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Title: General History for Colleges and High Schools
Author: Myers, P. V. N. (Philip Van Ness)
Language: English
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P. V. N. MYERS, A.M.

OF ATHENS.--Frontispiece.]


This volume is based upon my _Ancient History_ and _Mediæval and Modern
History_. In some instances I have changed the perspective and the
proportions of the narrative; but in the main, the book is constructed
upon the same lines as those drawn for the earlier works. In dealing with
so wide a range of facts, and tracing so many historic movements, I cannot
hope that I have always avoided falling into error. I have, however, taken
the greatest care to verify statements of fact, and to give the latest
results of discovery and criticism.

Considering the very general character of the present work, an enumeration
of the books that have contributed facts to my narration, or have helped
to mould my views on this or that subject, would hardly be looked for; yet
I wish here to acknowledge my special indebtedness, in the earlier parts
of the history, to the works of George Rawlinson, Sayce, Wilkinson,
Brugsch, Grote, Curtius, Mommsen, Merivale, and Leighton; and in the later
parts, and on special periods, to the writings of Hodgkin, Emerton, Ranke,
Freeman, Michaud, Bryce, Symonds, Green (J. R.), Motley, Hallam, Thiers,
Lecky, Baird, and Müller.

Several of the colored maps, with which the book will be found liberally
provided, were engraved especially for my _Ancient History_; but the
larger number are authorized reproductions of charts accompanying
Professor Freeman's _Historical Geography of Europe_. The Roman maps were
prepared for Professor William F. Allen's _History of Rome_, which is to
be issued soon, and it is to his courtesy that I am indebted for their

The illustrations have been carefully selected with reference to their
authenticity and historical truthfulness. Many of those in the Oriental
and Greek part of the work are taken from Oscar Jäger's _Weltgeschichte_;
while most of those in the Roman portion are from Professor Allen's
forthcoming work on Rome, to which I have just referred, the author having
most generously granted me the privilege of using them in my work,
notwithstanding it is to appear in advance of his.

Further acknowledgments of indebtedness are also due from me to many
friends who have aided me with their scholarly suggestions and criticism.
My warmest thanks are particularly due to Professor W.F. Allen, of the
University of Wisconsin; to Dr. E.W. Coy, Principal of Hughes High School,
Cincinnati; to Professor William A. Merrill, of Miami University; and to
Mr. D. H. Montgomery, author of _The Leading Facts of History_ series.

P. V. N. M.
July, 1889.






      I. India and China.
         1. India.
         2. China.
     II. Egypt.
         1. Political History.
         2. Religion, Arts, and General Culture.
    III. Chaldæa.
         1. Political History.
         2. Arts and General Culture.
     IV. Assyria.
         1. Political History.
         2. Religion, Arts, and General Culture.
      V. Babylonia.
     VI. The Hebrews.
    VII. The Phoenicians.
   VIII. The Persian Empire.
         1. Political History.
         2. Government, Religion, and Arts.


     IX. The Land and the People.
      X. The Legendary or Heroic Age.
     XI. Religion of the Greeks.
    XII. Age of the Tyrants and of Colonization: the Early Growth of
         Sparta and of Athens.
         1. Age of the Tyrants and of Colonization.
         2. The Growth of Sparta.
         3. The Growth of Athens.
   XIII. The Græco-Persian Wars.
    XIV. Period of Athenian Supremacy.
     XV. The Peloponnesian War: the Spartan and the Theban Supremacy.
         1. The Peloponnesian War.
         2. The Spartan and the Theban Supremacy.
    XVI. Period of Macedonian Supremacy: Empire of Alexander.
   XVII. States formed from the Empire of Alexander.
  XVIII. Greek Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting.
         1. Architecture.
         2. Sculpture and Painting.
    XIX. Greek Literature.
         1. Epic and Lyric Poetry.
         2. The Drama and Dramatists.
         3. History and Historians.
         4. Oratory.
     XX. Greek Philosophy and Science.
    XXI. Social Life of the Greeks.


   XXII. The Roman Kingdom.
  XXIII. The Early Roman Republic: Conquest of Italy.
   XXIV. The First Punic War.
    XXV. The Second Punic War.
   XXVI. The Third Punic War.
  XXVII. The Last Century of the Roman Republic.
 XXVIII. The Last Century of the Roman Republic (_concluded_).
   XXIX. The Roman Empire (from 31 B.C. to A.D. 180).
    XXX. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the West (A.D. 180-476).
   XXXI. Roman Civilization.
         1. Architecture.
         2. Literature, Philosophy, and Law.
         3. Social Life.





(From the Fall of Rome, A.D. 476, to the Eleventh Century.)

  XXXII. Migrations and Settlements of the Teutonic Tribes.
 XXXIII. The Conversion of the Barbarians.
  XXXIV. Fusion of the Latin and Teutonic Peoples.
   XXXV. The Roman Empire in the East.
  XXXVI. Mohammed and the Saracens.
 XXXVII. Charlemagne and the Restoration of the Empire in the West.
XXXVIII. The Northmen.
  XXXIX. Rise of the Papal Power.

(From the opening of the Eleventh Century to the Discovery of America by
Columbus, in 1492.)

     XL. Feudalism and Chivalry.
         1. Feudalism.
         2. Chivalry.
    XLI. The Norman Conquest of England.
   XLII. The Crusades.
         1. Introductory: Causes of the Crusades.
         2. The First Crusade.
         3. The Second Crusade.
         4. The Third Crusade.
         5. The Fourth Crusade.
         6. Close of the Crusades: Their Results.
  XLIII. Supremacy of the Papacy: Decline of its Temporal Power.
   XLIV. Conquests of the Turanian Tribes.
    XLV. Growth of the Towns: The Italian City-Republics.
   XLVI. The Revival of Learning.
  XLVII. Growth of the Nations: Formation of National Governments
         and Literatures.
         1. England.
         2. France.
         3. Spain.
         4. Germany.
         5. Russia.
         6. Italy.
         7. The Northern Countries.



(From the Discovery of America to the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648.)

 XLVIII. The Beginnings of the Reformation under Luther.
   XLIX. The Ascendency of Spain.
         1. Reign of the Emperor Charles V.
         2. Spain under Philip II.
      L. The Tudors and the English Reformation.
         1. Introductory.
         2. The Reign of Henry VII.
         3. England severed from the Papacy by Henry VIII.
         4. Changes in the Creed and Ritual under Edward VI.
         5. Reaction under Mary.
         6. Final Establishment of Protestantism under Elizabeth.
     LI. The Revolt of the Netherlands: Rise of the Dutch Republic.
    LII. The Huguenot Wars in France.
   LIII. The Thirty Years' War.

(From the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, to the present time.)

    LIV. The Ascendency of France under the Absolute Government of
         Louis XIV.
     LV. England under the Stuarts: The English Revolution.
         1. The First Two Stuarts.
         2. The Commonwealth.
         3. The Restored Stuarts.
         4. The Orange-Stuarts.
         5. England under the Earlier Hanoverians.
    LVI. The Rise of Russia: Peter the Great.
   LVII. The Rise of Prussia: Frederick the Great.
  LVIII. The French Revolution.
         1. Causes of the Revolution: The States-General of 1789.
         2. The National, or Constituent Assembly.
         3. The Legislative Assembly.
         4. The National Convention.
         5. The Directory.
    LIX. The Consulate and the First Empire: France since the Second
         1. The Consulate and the Empire.
         2. France since the Second Restoration.
     LX. Russia since the Congress of Vienna.
    LXI. German Freedom and Unity.
   LXII. Liberation and Unification of Italy.
  LXIII. England since the Congress of Vienna.
         1. Progress towards Democracy.
         2. Expansion of the Principle of Religious Equality.
         3. Growth of the British Empire in the East.



1.  Ancient Egypt
2.  The Tigris and the Euphrates
3.  Lydia, Media, and Babylonia, c. B.C. 550
4.  Greece and the Greek Colonies
5.  Greece in the 5th Century B.C.
6.  Dominions and Dependencies of Alexander, c. B.C. 323
7.  Kingdoms of the Successors of Alexander, c. B.C. 300
8.  Italy before the Growth of the Roman Power
9.  Mediterranean Lands at the Beginning of Second Punic War
10. Roman Dominions at the End of the Mithridatic War, B.C. 64
11. The Roman Empire under Trajan, A.D. 117
12. Roman Empire divided into Prefectures
13. Europe in the Reign of Theodoric, c. A.D. 500
14. Europe in the Time of Charles the Great, 814
15. The Western Empire as divided at Verdun, 843
16. Spanish Kingdoms, 1360
17. Central Europe, 1360
18. The Spanish Kingdoms and their European Dependencies under Charles V
19. Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries
20. The Baltic Lands, c. 1701
21. Central Europe, 1801
22. Sketch Map of Europe showing Principal Battles of Napoleon
    [Footnote: For the use of this map I am indebted to the courtesy
    of Mr. D. H. Montgomery, author of "Leading Facts of French History."]
23. Central Europe, 1810
24. Central Europe, 1815
25. South-Eastern Europe according to the Treaty of Berlin, 1878
26. Europe in 1880



DIVISIONS OF HISTORY.--History is usually divided into three periods,--
Ancient, Mediæval, and Modern. Ancient History begins with the earliest
nations of which we can gain any certain knowledge, and extends to the
fall of the Roman Empire in the West, A.D. 476. Mediæval History embraces
the period, about one thousand years in length, lying between the fall of
Rome and the discovery of the New World by Columbus, A.D. 1492. Modern
History commences with the close of the mediæval period and extends to the
present time. [Footnote: It is thought preferable by some scholars to let
the beginning of the great Teutonic migration (A.D. 375) mark the end of
the period of ancient history. Some also prefer to date the beginning of
the modern period from the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, A.D.
1453; while still others speak of it in a general way as commencing about
the close of the 15th century, at which time there were many inventions
and discoveries and a great stir in the intellectual world.]

ANTIQUITY OF MAN.--We do not know when man first came into possession of
the earth. We only know that, in ages vastly remote, when both the climate
and the outline of Europe were very different from what they are at
present, man lived on that continent with animals now extinct; and that as
early as 4000 or 3000 B.C.,--when the curtain first rises on the stage of
history,--in some favored regions, as in the Valley of the Nile, there
were nations and civilizations already venerable with age, and possessing
languages, arts, and institutions that bear evidence of slow growth
through very long periods of time before written history begins.
[Footnote: The investigation and study of this vast background of human
life is left to such sciences as _Ethnology, Comparative Philology_,
and _Prehistoric Archeology_.]

THE RACES OF MANKIND.--Distinctions in form, color, and physiognomy divide
the human species into three chief types, or races, known as the Black
(Ethiopian, or Negro), the Yellow (Turanian, or Mongolian), and the White
(Caucasian). But we must not suppose each of these three types to be
sharply marked off from the others; they shade into one another by
insensible gradations.

There has been no perceptible change in the great types during historic
times. The paintings upon the oldest Egyptian monuments show us that at
the dawn of history, about five or six thousand years ago, the principal
races were as distinctly marked as now, each bearing its racial badge of
color and physiognomy. As early as the times of Jeremiah, the permanency
of physical characteristics had passed into the proverb, "Can the
Ethiopian change his skin?"

Of all the races, the White, or Caucasian, exhibits by far the most
perfect type, physically, intellectually, and morally.

[Illustration: NEGRO CAPTIVES, From the Monuments of Thebes. (Illustrating
the permanence of race characteristics.)]

THE BLACK RACE.--Africa is the home of the peoples of the Black Race, but
we find them on all the other continents, whither they have been carried
as slaves by the stronger races; for since time immemorial they have been
"hewers of wood and drawers of water" for their more favored brethren.

THE YELLOW, OR TURANIAN RACE.--The term Turanian is very loosely applied
by the historian to many and widely separated families and peoples. In its
broadest application it is made to include the Chinese and other more or
less closely allied peoples of Eastern Asia; the Ottoman Turks, the
Hungarians, the Finns, the Lapps, and the Basques, in Europe; and (by
some) the Esquimaux and American Indians.

The peoples of this race were, it seems, the first inhabitants of Europe
and of the New World; but in these quarters, they have, in the main,
either been exterminated or absorbed by later comers of the White Race. In
Europe, however, two small areas of this primitive population escaped the
common fate--the Basques, sheltered among the Pyrenees, and the Finns and
Lapps, in the far north; [Footnote: The Hungarians and Turks are Turanian
peoples that have thrust themselves into Europe during historic times]
while in the New World, the Esquimaux and the Indians still represent the
race that once held undisputed possession of the land.

The polished stone implements found in the caves and river-gravels of
Western Europe, the shell-mounds, or kitchen-middens, upon the shores of
the Baltic, the Swiss lake habitations, and the barrows, or grave-mounds,
found in all parts of Europe, are supposed to be relics of a prehistoric
Turanian people.

Although some of the Turanian peoples, as for instance the Chinese, have
made considerable advance in civilization, still as a rule the peoples of
this race have made but little progress in the arts or in general culture.
Even their languages have remained undeveloped. These seem immature, or
stunted in their growth. They have no declensions or conjugations, like
those of the languages of the Caucasian peoples.

historic nations. This type divides into three families,--the Hamitic, the
Semitic, and the Aryan, or Indo-European (formerly called the Japhetic).

The ancient Egyptians were the chief people of the Hamitic branch. In the
gray dawn of history we discover them already settled in the Valley of the
Nile, and there erecting great monuments so faultless in construction as
to render it certain that those who planned them had had a very long
previous training in the art of building.

The Semitic family includes among its chief peoples the ancient
Babylonians and Assyrians, the Hebrews, the Phoenicians, and the Arabians.
We are not certain what region was the original abode of this family. We
only know that by the dawn of history its various clans and tribes,
whencesoever they may have come, had distributed themselves over the
greater part of Southwestern Asia.

It is interesting to note that the three great historic religions of the
world,--the Hebrew, the Christian, and the Mohammedan,--the three
religions that alone (if we except that of Zoroaster) teach a belief in
one God, arose among peoples belonging to the Semitic family.

The Aryan, or Indo-European, though probably the youngest, is the most
widely scattered family of the White Race. It includes among its members
the ancient Hindus, Medes, and Persians, the classic Greeks and Romans,
and the modern descendants of all these nations; also almost all the
peoples of Europe, and their colonists that have peopled the New World,
and taken possession of other parts of the earth.

MIGRATIONS OF THE ARYANS.--The original seat of the Aryan peoples was, it
is conjectured [Footnote: Some scholars seek the primitive home in
Europe], somewhere in Asia. At a period that cannot be placed later than
3000 B.C., the Aryan household began to break up and scatter, and the
different clans to set out in search of new dwelling-places. Some tribes
of the family spread themselves over the table-lands of Iran and the
plains of India, and became the progenitors of the Medes, the Persians,
and the Hindus. Other clans entering Europe probably by the way of the
Hellespont, pushed themselves into the peninsulas of Greece and Italy, and
founded the Greek and Italian states. Still other tribes seem to have
poured in successive waves into Central Europe. The vanguard of these
peoples are known as the Celts. After them came the Teutonic tribes, who
crowded the former out on the westernmost edge of Europe--into Gaul and
Spain, and out upon the British Isles. These hard-pressed Celts are
represented to-day by the Welsh, the Irish, and the Highland Scots. Behind
the Teutonic peoples were the Slavonic folk, who pushed the former hard
against the Celts, and, when they could urge them no farther to the west,
finally settled down and became the ancestors of the Russians and other
kindred nations.

Although these migratory movements of the various clans and tribes of this
wonderful Aryan family began in the early morning of history, some five
thousand or more years ago, still we must not think of them as something
past and unrelated to the present. These movements, begun in those remote
times, are still going on. The overflow of the population of Europe into
the different regions of the New World, is simply a continuation of the
prehistoric migrations of the members of the primitive Aryan household.

Everywhere the other races and families have given way before the advance
of the Aryan peoples, who have assumed the position of leaders and
teachers among the families of mankind, and are rapidly spreading their
arts and sciences and culture over the earth.

EARLY CULTURE OF THE ARYANS.--One of the most fascinating studies of
recent growth is that which reveals to us the customs, beliefs, and mode
of life of the early Aryans, while they were yet living together as a
single household. Upon comparing the myths, legends, and ballads of the
different Aryan peoples, we discover the curious fact that, under various
disguises, they are the same. Thus our nursery tales are found to be
identical with those with which the Hindu children are amused. But the
discovery should not surprise us. We and the Hindus are kinsmen, children
of the same home; so now, when after a long separation we meet, the tales
we tell are the same, for they are the stories that were told around the
common hearth-fire of our Aryan forefathers.

And when we compare certain words in different Aryan languages, we often
find them alike in form and meaning. Thus, take the word _father_. This
word occurs with but little change of form in several of the Aryan
tongues. [Footnote: Sanscrit, _pitri_; Persian, _padar_; Greek, _pater_;
Latin, _pater_; German, _vater_.] From this we infer that the remote
ancestors of the now widely separated Aryan peoples once lived together
and had a common speech.

Our knowledge of the prehistoric culture of the Aryans, gained through the
sciences of comparative philology and mythology, may be summed up as
follows: They personified and worshipped the various forces and parts of
the physical universe, such as the Sun, the Dawn, Fire, the Winds, the
Clouds. The all-embracing sky they worshipped as the Heaven-Father
(_Dyaus-Pitar_, whence Jupiter). They were herdsmen and at least
occasional farmers. They introduced the sheep, as well as the horse, into
Europe: the Turanian people whom they displaced had neither of these
domestic animals. In social life they had advanced to that stage where the
family is the unit of society. The father was the priest and absolute lord
of his house. The families were united to form village-communities ruled
by a chief, or patriarch, who was assisted by a council of elders.

IMPORTANCE OF ARYAN STUDIES.--This picture of life in the early Aryan
home, the elements of which are gathered in so novel a way, is of the very
greatest historical value and interest. In these customs and beliefs of
the early Aryans, we discover the germs of many of the institutions of the
classical Greeks and Romans, and of the nations of modern Europe. Thus, in
the council of elders around the village patriarch, political historians
trace the beginnings of the senates of Greece and Rome and the national
parliaments of later times.

Just as the teachings of the parental roof mould the life and character of
the children that go out from under its discipline, so have the influences
of that early Aryan home shaped the habits, institutions, and character of
those peoples and families that, as its children, went out to establish
new homes in their "appointed habitations."


BLACK RACE (Ethiopian, or Negro).
  Tribes of Central and Southern Africa, the Papuans and the Australians.
  (This group includes two great divisions, the Negroid and Australoid.)

YELLOW RACE (Turanian, or Mongolian).
  (1) The Chinese, Burmese, Japanese, and other kindred peoples of Eastern
  Asia; (2) the Malays of Southeastern  Asia, and the inhabitants of many
  of the Pacific  islands; (3) the nomads (Tartars, Mongols, etc.) of
  Northern and Central Asia and of Eastern Russia; (4) the Turks, the
  Magyars, or Hungarians, the Finns and Lapps, and the Basques, in Europe;
  (5) the Esquimaux and the American Indians. Languages of these peoples
  are monosyllabic or agglutinative. (Note that the Malays and American
  Indians were formerly classified as  distinct races.)

WHITE RACE (Caucasian).
  Hamitic Family
  Semitic Family
    Chaldæans (partly Turanian)
    Canaanites (chiefly Semitic),
  Aryan, or Indo-European Family
    Indo-Iranic Branch
    Græco-Italic Branch
    Celtic Branch
      Scots (Irish),
    Teutonic Branch
      High Germans,
      Low Germans,
    Slavonic Branch
      Poles, etc.

The peoples of modern Germany are the descendants of various Germanic
tribes. The Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes represent the Scandinavian
branch of the Teutonic family. The Irish, the Welsh, the Scotch
Highlanders, and the Bretons of Brittany (anciently Armorica), in France,
are the present representatives of the ancient Celts. The French,
Spaniards, Portuguese, and Italians have sprung, in the main, from a
blending of the Celts, the ancient Romans, and the Germanic tribes that
thrust themselves within the limits of the Roman Empire in the West. The
English are the descendants of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (Teutonic
tribes), slightly modified by interminglings with the Danes and Normans
(also of Teutonic origin). (See _Mediæval and Modern History_, pp. 169-







THE ARYAN INVASION.--At the time of the great Aryan migration (see p. 4),
some Aryan bands, journeying from the northwest, settled first the plains
of the Indus and then occupied the valley of the Ganges. They reached the
banks of the latter river as early probably as 1500 B.C.

These fair-skinned invaders found the land occupied by a dark-skinned,
non-Aryan race, whom they either subjugated and reduced to serfdom, or
drove out of the great river valleys into the mountains and the half-
desert plains of the peninsula.

THE ORIGIN OF CASTES.--The conflict of races in Northern India gave rise
to what is known as the system of castes; that is, society became divided
into a number of rigid hereditary classes. There arose gradually four
chief castes: (1) Brahmans, or priests; (2) warriors; (3) agriculturists
and traders; and (4) serfs, or Sudras. The Brahmans were those of pure
Aryan blood, while the Sudras were the despised and oppressed non-Aryan
aborigines. The two middle classes, the warriors and the cultivators of
the soil, were of mixed Aryan and non-Aryan blood. Below these several
castes were the Pariahs, or outcasts, the most degraded of the degraded
natives. [Footnote: At a later period, the Brahmans, in order to
perpetuate their own ascendancy and to secure increased reverence for
their order, incorporated among the sacred hymns an account of creation
which gave a sort of divine sanction to the system of castes by
representing the different classes of society to have had different
origins. The Brahmans, the sacred books are made to say, came forth from
the mouth of Brahma, the soldier from his arms, the farmer from his
thighs, and the Sudra from his feet. ]

The system of castes, modified however by various influences, particularly
by the later system of Buddhism (see p. 11), has characterized Hindu
society from the time the system originated down to the present, and is
one of the most important facts of Indian history.

THE VEDAS.--The most important of the sacred books of the Hindus are
called the Vedas. They are written in the Sanscrit language, which is
believed to be the oldest form of Aryan speech. The Rig-Veda, the most
ancient of the books, is made up of hymns which were composed chiefly
during the long period, perhaps a thousand years or more, while the Aryans
were slowly working their way from the mountains on the northwest of India
across the peninsula to the Ganges. These hymns are filled with memories
of the long conflict of the fair-faced Aryans with the dark-faced
aborigines. The Himalayas, through whose gloomy passes the early emigrants
journeyed, must have deeply impressed the wanderers, for the poets often
refer to the great dark mountains.

BRAHMANISM.--The religion of the Indian Aryans is known as Brahmanism.
This system gradually developed from the same germs as those out of which
grew the Greek and Roman religions. It was at first a pure nature-worship,
that is, the worship of the most striking phenomena of the physical world
as intelligent and moral beings. The chief god was Dyaus-Pitar, the
Heaven-Father. As this system characterized the early period when the
oldest Vedic hymns were composed, it is known as the Vedic religion.

In course of time this nature-worship of the Vedic period developed into a
sort of pantheism, that is, a system which identifies God with the
universe. This form of the Indian religion is known as Brahmanism. Brahma,
an impersonal essence, is conceived as the primal existence. Forth from
Brahma emanated, as heat and light emanate from the sun, all things and
all life. Banish a personal God from the universe, as some modern
scientists would do, leaving nothing but nature with her original nebula,
her endless cycles, her unconscious evolutions, and we have something very
like Brahmanism.

A second, fundamental conception of Brahmanism is that all life, apart
from Brahma, is evil, is travail and sorrow. We can make this idea
intelligible to ourselves by remembering what are our own ideas of this
earthly life. We call it a feverish dream, a journey through a vale of
sorrow. Now the Hindu regards _all_ conscious existence in the same
light. He has no hope in a better future; so long as the soul is
conscious, so long must it endure sorrow and pain.

This conception of all conscious existence as necessarily and always evil,
leads naturally to the doctrine that it is the part of wisdom and of duty
for man to get rid of consciousness, to annihilate himself, in a word, to
commit soul-suicide. Brahmanism teaches that the only way to extinguish
self and thus get rid of the burden of existence, is by re-absorption into
Brahma. But this return to Brahma is dependent upon the soul's
purification, for no impure soul can be re-absorbed into the primal
essence. The necessary freedom from passion and the required purity of
soul can best be attained by self-torture, by a severe mortification of
the flesh; hence the asceticism of the Hindu devotee.

As only a few in each generation reach the goal, it follows that the great
majority of men must be born again, and yet again, until all evil has been
purged away from the soul and eternal repose found in Brahma. He who lives
a virtuous life is at death born into some higher caste, and thus he
advances towards the longed-for end. The evil man, however, is born into a
lower caste, or perhaps his soul enters some unclean animal. This doctrine
of re-birth is known as the transmigration of souls (metempsychosis).

Only the first three classes are admitted to the benefits of religion. The
Sudras and the outcasts are forbidden to read the sacred books, and for
any one of the upper classes to teach a serf how to expiate sin is a

BUDDHISM.--In the fifth century before our era, a great teacher and
reformer, known as Buddha, or Gautama (died about 470 B.C.), arose in
India. He was a prince, whom legend represents as being so touched by the
universal misery of mankind, that he voluntarily abandoned the luxury of
his home, and spent his life in seeking out and making known to men a new
and better way of salvation.  He condemned the severe penances and the
self-torture of the Brahmans, yet commended poverty and retirement from
active life as the best means of getting rid of desire and of attaining
_Nirvana_, that is, the repose of unconsciousness.

[Illustration:  STATUE OF BUDDHA.]

Buddha admitted all classes to the benefits of religion, the poor outcast
as well as the high-born Brahman, and thus Buddhism was a revolt against
the earlier harsh and exclusive system of Brahmanism. It holds somewhat
the same relation to Brahmanism that Christianity bears to Judaism.

Buddhism gradually gained the ascendancy over Brahmanism; but after some
centuries the Brahmans regained their power, and by the eighth century
after Christ, the faith of Buddha was driven out of almost every part of
India. But Buddhism has a profound missionary spirit, like that of
Christianity, Buddha having commanded his disciples to make known to all
men the way to Nirvana and consequently during the very period when India
was being lost, the missionaries of the reformed creed were spreading the
teachings of their master among the peoples of all the countries of
Eastern Asia, so that to-day Buddhism is the religion of almost one third
of the human race. Buddha has probably nearly as many followers as both
Christ and Mohammed together.

During its long conflict with Buddhism, Brahmanism was greatly modified,
and caught much of the gentler spirit of the new faith, so that modern
Brahmanism is a very different religion from that of the ancient system;
hence it is usually given a new name, being known as Hinduism. [Footnote:
Among the customs introduced into Brahmanism during this period was the
rite of Suttee, or the voluntary burning of the widow on the funeral pyre
of her husband.]

ALEXANDER'S INVASION OF INDIA (327 B.C.).--Although we find obscure
notices of India in the records of the early historic peoples of Western
Asia, yet it is not until the invasion of the peninsula by Alexander the
Great in 327 B.C. that the history of the Indian Aryans comes in
significant contact with that of the progressive nations of the West. From
that day to our own its systems of philosophy, its wealth, and its
commerce have been more or less important factors in universal history.
Greece carried on an intellectual commerce with this country; Rome, and
the Italian republics of the Middle Ages, a more material but not less
important trade. Columbus was seeking a short all-sea route to this
country when he found the New World. And in the upbuilding of the imperial
greatness of the England of to-day, the wealth and trade of India have
played no inconsiderable part.


GENERAL REMARKS: THE BEGINNING.--China is the seat of a very old
civilization, older perhaps than that of any other land save Egypt; yet
Chinese affairs have not until recently exerted any appreciable influence
upon the general current of history. All through ancient and mediæval
times the country lay, vague and mysterious, in the haze of the world's
horizon. During the Middle Ages the land was known to Europe under the
name of Cathay.

The beginning of the Chinese nation was a band of Turanian wanderers who
came into the basin of the Yellow River, from the West, probably prior to
3000 B.C. These immigrants gradually pushed out the aborigines whom they
found in the land, and laid the basis of institutions that have endured to
the present day.

DYNASTIC HISTORY.--The government of China since the remotest times has
been a parental monarchy. The Emperor is the father of his people. But
though an absolute prince, still he dare not rule tyrannically: he must
rule justly, and in accordance with the ancient customs and laws.

The Chinese have books that purport to give the history of the different
dynasties that have ruled in the land from a vast antiquity; but these
records are largely mythical and legendary.  Everything is confused and
uncertain until we reach the eighth or seventh century before our era; and
even then we meet with little of interest in the dynastic history of the
country until we come to the reign of Che Hwang-te (246-210 B.C.). This
energetic ruler strengthened and consolidated the imperial power, and
executed great works of internal improvement, such as roads and canals.
As a barrier against the incursions of the Huns, he began the erection of
the celebrated Chinese Wall, a great rampart extending for about 1500
miles along the northern frontier of the country. [Footnote: The Great
Wall is one of the most remarkable works of man. "It is," says Dr.
Williams, "the only artificial structure which would arrest attention in a
hasty survey of the globe." It has been estimated that there is more than
seventy times as much material in the wall as there is in the Great
Pyramid of Cheops, and that it represents more labor than 100,000 miles of
ordinary railroad. It was begun in 214(?) and finished in 204(?) B.C. It
is twenty-five feet wide at base, and from fifteen to thirty feet high.
Towers forty feet high rise at irregular intervals. In some places it is a
mere earthen rampart; in others it is faced with brick; and then again it
is composed of stone throughout.]

From the strong reign of Che Hwang-te to the end of the period covered by
ancient history, Chinese dynastic records present no matters of universal
interest that need here occupy our attention.

CHINESE WRITING.--It is nearly certain that the art of writing was known
among the Chinese as early as 2000 B.C. The system employed is curiously
cumbrous. In the absence of an alphabet, each word of the language is
represented upon the written page by means of a symbol, or combination of
symbols; this, of course, requires that there be as many symbols, or
characters, as there are words in the language. The number sanctioned by
good use is about 25,000; but counting obsolete characters, the number
amounts to over 50,000. A knowledge of 5000 or 6000 characters, however,
enables one to read and write without difficulty. The task of learning
even this number might well be hopeless, were it not that many of the
characters bear a remote resemblance to the objects for which they stand,
and when once explained, readily suggest the thing or idea represented.
The nature of the characters shows conclusively that the Chinese system of
writing, like that of all others with which we are acquainted, was at
first purely hieroglyphical, that is, the characters were originally
simply rude outline pictures of material objects. Time and use have worn
them to their present form.

This Chinese system of representing thought, cumbrous and inconvenient as
it is, is employed at the present time by one third of the human race.

Printing from blocks was practised in China as early as the sixth century
of our era, and printing from movable types as early as the tenth or
eleventh century, that is to say, about four hundred years before the same
art was invented in Europe.

CHINESE LITERATURE: CONFUCIUS AND MENCIUS.--The most highly prized portion
of Chinese literature is embraced in what is known as the Five Classics
and the Four Books, called collectively the Nine Classics. The Five
Classics are among the oldest books in the world. For some of the books an
antiquity of 3000 years is claimed. The books embrace chronicles,
political and ethical maxims, and numerous odes. One of the most important
of the Classics is the so-called Book of Rites, said to date from 1200

The Four Books are of later origin than the Five Classics, having been
written about the fifth and fourth centuries before the Christian era; yet
they hardly yield to them in sacredness in the eyes of the Chinese. The
first three of the series are by the pupils of the great sage and moralist
Confucius (551-478 B.C.), and the fourth is by Mencius (371-288 B.C.), a
disciple of Confucius, and a scarcely less revered philosopher and ethical
teacher. The teachings of the Four Books may be summed up in the simple
precept, "Walk in the Trodden Paths." Confucius was not a prophet, or
revealer; he laid no claims to a supernatural knowledge of God or of the
hereafter; he said nothing of an Infinite Spirit, and but little of a
future life. His cardinal precepts were obedience to superiors, reverence
for the ancients, and imitation of their virtues. He himself walked in the
old paths, and thus added the force of example to that of precept. He gave
the Chinese the Golden Rule, stated negatively: "What you do not want done
to yourself, do not do to others."

During the reign of Che Hwang-te (see p. 13), Chinese literature suffered
a great disaster. That despot, for the reason that the teachers in their
opposition to him were constantly quoting the ancient writings against his
innovations, ordered the chief historical books to be destroyed, and
sentenced to death any one who should presume to talk about the proscribed
writings, or even allude to the virtues of the ancients in such a way as
to reflect upon his reforms. The contumacious he sent to work upon the
Great Wall. But the people concealed the books in the walls of their
houses, or better still hid them away in their memories; and in this way
the priceless inheritance of antiquity was preserved until the storm had

impossible to exaggerate the influence which the Nine Classics have had
upon the Chinese nation. For more than 2000 years these writings have been
the Chinese Bible. And as all of the Four Books, though they were not
written by Confucius, yet bear the impress of his mind and thought, just
as the Gospels teach the mind of Christ, a large part of this influence
must be attributed to the life and teachings of that great Sage. His
influence has been greater than that of any other teacher, excepting
Christ and perhaps Buddha. His precepts, implicitly followed by his
countrymen, have shaped their lives from his day to the present.

The moral system of Confucius, making, as it does, filial obedience and a
conformity to ancient customs primary virtues, has exalted the family life
among the Chinese and given a wonderful stability to Chinese society.
Chinese children are the most obedient and reverential to parents of any
children in the world, and the Chinese Empire is the only one in all
history that has prolonged its existence from ancient times to the

But along with much good, one great evil has resulted from this blind,
servile following of the past. The Chinese in strictly obeying the
injunction to walk in the old ways, to conform to the customs of the
ancients, have failed to mark out any new footpaths for themselves. Hence
their lack of originality, their habit of imitation: hence the unchanging,
unprogressive character of Chinese civilization.

ancient educational system. The land was filled with schools, academies,
and colleges more than a thousand years before our era, and education is
to-day more general among the Chinese than among any other pagan people. A
knowledge of the sacred books is the sole passport to civil office and
public employment. All candidates for places in the government must pass a
competitive examination in the Nine Classics. This system is practically
the same in principle as that which we, with great difficulty, are trying
to establish in connection with our own civil service.

leading religions in China,--Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The great
Sage Confucius is reverenced and worshipped throughout the Empire. He
holds somewhat the same relation to the system that bears his name that
Christ holds to that of Christianity. Taoism takes its name from Tao,
which is made, like Brahma in Brahmanism, the beginning of all things. It
is a very curious system of mystical ideas and superstitious practices.
Buddhism was introduced into China about the opening of the Christian era,
and soon became widely spread.

There is one element common to all these religions, and that is the
worship of ancestors. Every Chinese, whether he be a Confucianist, a
Taoist, or a Buddhist, reverences his ancestors, and prays and makes
offerings to their spirits.

POLICY OF NON-INTERCOURSE.--The Chinese have always been a very self-
satisfied and exclusive people. They have jealously excluded foreigners
and outside influence from their country. The Great Wall with which they
have hedged in their country on the north, is the symbol of their policy
of isolation. Doubtless this characteristic of the Chinese has been
fostered by their geographical isolation; for great mountain barriers and
wide deserts cut the country off from communication with the rest of the
Asiatic continent. And then their reverence for antiquity has rendered
them intolerant of innovation and change. Hence, in part, the
unwillingness of the Chinese to admit into their country railroads,
telegraphs, and other modern improvements. For them to adopt these new-
fangled inventions, would be like our adopting a new religion. Such a
departure from the ways and customs of the past has in it, to their way of
thinking, something akin to disrespect and irreverence for ancestors.




EGYPT AND THE NILE.--Egypt comprises the delta of the Nile and the flood-
plains of its lower course. The whole land is formed of the deposits of
the river; hence Herodotus, in happy phrase, called the country "the gift
of the Nile." The delta country was known to the ancients as Lower Egypt;
while the valley proper, reaching from the head of the delta to the First
Cataract, a distance of six hundred miles, was called Upper Egypt.
[Footnote: About seven hundred miles from the Mediterranean a low ledge of
rocks, stretching across the Nile, forms the first obstruction to
navigation in passing up the river. The rapids found at this point are
termed the First Cataract. Six other cataracts occur in the next seven
hundred miles of the river's course.]

Through the same means by which Egypt was originally created, is the land
each year still renewed and fertilized. The Nile, swollen by the heavy
tropical rains about its sources, begins to rise in its lower parts late
in June, and by October, when the inundation has attained its greatest
height, the country presents the appearance of an inland sea.

By the end of November the river has returned to its bed, and the fields,
over which has been spread a film of rich earth, [Footnote: The rate of
the fluviatile deposit is from three to five inches in a century. The
surface of the valley at Thebes, as shown by the accumulations about the
monuments, has been raised seven feet during the last seventeen hundred
years.] present the appearance of black mud-flats. Usually the plow is run
lightly over the soft surface, but in some cases the grain is sown upon
the undisturbed deposit, and simply trampled in by flocks of sheep and
goats driven over it. In a few weeks the entire land, so recently a
flooded plain, is overspread with a sea of verdure, which forms a striking
contrast to the desert sands and barren hills that rim the valley.

[Illustration: ANCIENT EGYPT]

CLIMATE.--In Lower Egypt, near the sea, the rainfall in the winter is
abundant; but the climate of Upper Egypt is all but rainless, only a few
slight showers falling throughout the year. This dryness of the Egyptian
air is what has preserved through so many thousand years, in such
wonderful freshness of color and with such sharpness of outline, the
numerous paintings and sculptures of the monuments of the Pharaohs.

The southern line of Egypt only just touches the tropics; still the
climate, influenced by the wide and hot deserts that hem the valley, is
semi-tropical in character. The fruits of the tropics and the cereals of
the temperate zone grow luxuriantly. Thus favored in climate as well as in
the matter of irrigation, Egypt became in early times the granary of the
East. To it less favored countries, when stricken by famine,--a calamity
so common in the East in regions dependent upon the rainfall,--looked for
food, as did the families of Israel during drought and failure of crops in

DYNASTIES AND CHRONOLOGY.--The kings, or Pharaohs, that reigned in Egypt
from the earliest times till the conquest of the country by Alexander the
Great (332 B.C.), are grouped into thirty-one dynasties. Thirty of these
we find in the lists of Manetho, an Egyptian priest who lived in the third
century B.C., and who compiled a chronicle of the kings of the country
from the manuscripts kept in the Egyptian temples.

We cannot assign a positive date to the beginning of the First Dynasty,
chiefly because Egyptologists are at a loss to know whether to consider
all the dynasties of Manetho's list as successive or in part
contemporaneous. Thus, it is held by some scholars that several of these
families were reigning at the same time in the different cities of Upper
and Lower Egypt; while others think that they all reigned at different
epochs, and that the sum of the lengths of the several dynasties gives us
the true date of the beginning of the political history of the country.
Accordingly, some place the beginning of the First Dynasty at about 5000
B.C., while others put it at about 3000 B.C. The constantly growing
evidence of the monuments is in favor of the higher figures.

MENES, THE FIRST OF THE PHARAOHS.--Menes is the first kingly personage,
shadowy and indistinct in form, that we discover in the early dawn of
Egyptian history. Tradition makes him the founder of Memphis, near the
head of the Delta, the site of which capital he secured against the
inundations of the Nile by vast dikes and various engineering works. To
him is ascribed the achievement of first consolidating the numerous petty
principalities of Lower Egypt into a single state.

THE FOURTH DYNASTY: THE PYRAMID KINGS (about 2700 B.C.).--The kings of the
Fourth Dynasty, who reigned at Memphis, are called the Pyramid builders.
Kufu I., the Cheops of the Greeks, was the first great builder. To him we
can now positively ascribe the building of the Great Pyramid, the largest
of the Gizeh group, near Cairo; for his name has been found upon some of
the stones,--painted on them by his workmen before the blocks were taken
from the quarries.

The mountains of stone heaped together by the Pyramid kings are proof that
they were cruel oppressors of their people, and burdened them with useless
labor upon these monuments of their ambition. Tradition tells how the very
memory of these monarchs was hated by the people. Herodotus says that the
Egyptians did not like even to speak the names of the builders of the two
largest pyramids.

THE TWELFTH DYNASTY (about 2300 B.C.).--After the Sixth Dynasty, Egypt,
for several centuries, is almost lost from view. When finally the valley
emerges from the obscurity of this period, the old capital Memphis has
receded into the background, and the city of Thebes has taken its place as
the seat of the royal power.

The period of the Twelfth Dynasty, a line of Theban kings, is one of the
brightest in Egyptian hhistory. Many monuments scattered throughout the
country perpetuate the fame of the sovereigns of this illustrious house.
Egyptian civilization is regarded by many as having during this period
reached the highest perfection to which it ever attained.

THE HYSKOS, OR SHEPHERD KINGS (from about 2100 to 1650 B.C.).--Soon after
the bright period of the Twelfth Dynasty, Egypt again suffered a great
eclipse. Nomadic tribes from Syria crossed the eastern frontier of Egypt,
took possession of the inviting pasture-lands of the Delta, and
established there the empire of the Shepherd Kings.

These Asiatic intruders were violent and barbarous, and destroyed or
mutilated the monuments of the country. But gradually they were
transformed by the civilization with which they were in contact, and in
time they adopted the manners and culture of the Egyptians. It was
probably during the supremacy of the Hyksos that the families of Israel
found a refuge in Lower Egypt. They received a kind reception from the
Shepherd Kings, not only because they had the same pastoral habits, but
also, probably, because of near kinship in race.

At last these intruders, after they had ruled in the valley four or five
hundred years, were expelled by the Theban kings, and driven back into
Asia. This occurred about 1650 B.C. The episode of the Shepherd Kings in
Egypt derives great importance from the fact that these Asiatic conquerors
were one of the mediums through which Egyptian civilization was
transmitted to the Phoenicians, who, through their wide commercial
relations, spread the same among all the early nations of the
Mediterranean area.

And further, the Hyksos conquest was an advantage to Egypt itself. The
conquerors possessed political capacity, and gave the country a strong
centralized government. They made Egypt in fact a great monarchy, and laid
the basis of the power and glory of the mighty Pharaohs of the Eighteenth
and Nineteenth Dynasties.

THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY (about 1650-1400 B.C.).--The revolt which drove the
Hyksos from the country was led by Amosis, or Ahmes, a descendant of the
Theban kings. He was the first king of what is known as the Eighteenth
Dynasty, probably the greatest race of kings, it has been said, that ever
reigned upon the earth.

The most eventful period of Egyptian history, covered by what is called
the New Empire, now opens. Architecture and learning seem to have
recovered at a bound from their long depression under the domination of
the Shepherd Kings. To free his empire from the danger of another invasion
from Asia, Amosis determined to subdue the Syrian and Mesopotamian tribes.
This foreign policy, followed out by his successors, shaped many of the
events of their reigns.

Thothmes III., one of the greatest kings of this Eighteenth Dynasty, has
been called "the Alexander of Egyptian history." During his reign the
frontiers of the empire reached their greatest expansion. His authority
extended from the oases of the Libyan desert to the Tigris and the

[Illustration: PHALANX OF THE KHITA: In the background, town protected by
walls and moats.]

Thothmes was also a magnificent builder. His architectural works in the
valley of the Nile were almost numberless. He built a great part of the
temple of Karnak, at Thebes, the remains of which form the most majestic
ruin in the world. His obelisks stand to-day in Constantinople, in Rome,
in London, and in New York.

The name of Amunoph III. stands next after that of Thothmes III. as one of
the great rulers and builders of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

THE NINETEENTH DYNASTY (about 1400-1280 B.C.).--The Pharaohs of the
Nineteenth Dynasty rival those of the Eighteenth in their fame as
conquerors and builders. It is their deeds and works, in connection with
those of the preceding dynasty, that have given Egypt such a name and
place in history. The two great names of the house are Seti I. and Rameses

One of the most important of Seti's wars was that against the Hittites
(_Khita_, in the inscriptions) and their allies. The Hittites were a
powerful non-Semitic people, whose capital was Carchemish, on the
Euphrates, and whose strength and influence were now so great as to be a
threat to Egypt.

But Seti's deeds as a warrior are eclipsed by his achievements as a
builder. He constructed the main part of what is perhaps the most
impressive edifice ever raised by man,--the world-renowned "Hall of
Columns," in the Temple of Karnak, at Thebes (see illustration, p. 32). He
also cut for himself in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, at the same
place, the most beautiful and elaborate of all the rock-sepulchres of the
Pharaohs (see p. 31). In addition to these and numerous other works, he
began a canal to unite the Red Sea and the Nile,--an undertaking which was
completed by his son and successor, Rameses II.

[Illustration: SETI I. (From a photograph of the mummy.)]

Rameses II., surnamed the Great, was the Sesostris of the Greeks. His is
the most prominent name of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Ancient writers, in
fact, accorded him the first place among all the Egyptian sovereigns, and
made him the hero of innumerable stories. His long reign, embracing sixty-
seven years, was, in truth, well occupied with military expeditions and
the superintendence of great architectural works.

His chief wars were those against the Hittites. Time and again is Rameses
found with his host of war-chariots in their country, but he evidently
fails to break their power; for we find him at last concluding with them a
celebrated treaty, in which the chief of the Hittites is called "The Great
King of the Khita" (Hittites), and is formally recognized as in every
respect the equal of the king of Egypt. Later, Rameses marries a daughter
of the Hittite king. All this means that the Pharaohs had met their peers
in the princes of the Hittites, and that they could no longer hope to
become masters of Western Asia.

It was probably the fear of an invasion by the tribes of Syria that led
Rameses to reduce to a position of grinding servitude the Semitic peoples
that under former dynasties had been permitted to settle in Lower Egypt;
for this Nineteenth Dynasty, to which Rameses II. belongs, was the new
king (dynasty) that arose "which knew not Joseph" (Ex. i. 8), and
oppressed the children of Israel. It was during the reign of his son
Menephtha that the Exodus took place (about 1300 B.C.).

chariot garnished with the heads of his enemies. (From the monuments of

THE TWENTY-SIXTH DYNASTY (666-527 B.C.).--We pass without comment a long
period of several centuries, marked, indeed, by great vicissitudes in the
fortunes of the Egyptian monarchs, yet characterized throughout by a sure
and rapid decline in the power and splendor of their empire.

During the latter part of this period Egypt was tributary to Assyria. But
about 666 B.C., a native prince, Psammetichus I. (666-612 B.C.), with the
aid of Greek mercenaries from Asia Minor, succeeded in expelling the
Assyrian garrisons. Psammetichus thus became the founder of the Twenty-
sixth Dynasty.

The reign of this monarch marks a new era in Egyptian history. Hitherto
Egypt had secluded herself from the world, behind barriers of jealousy,
race, and pride. But Psammetichus being himself, it seems, of non-Egyptian
origin, and owing his throne chiefly to the swords of Greek soldiers, was
led to reverse the policy of the past, and to throw the valley open to the
commerce and influences of the world. His capital, Sais, on the Canopic
branch of the Nile, forty miles from the Mediterranean, was filled with
Greek citizens; and Greek mercenaries were employed in his armies.

This change of policy, occurring at just the period when the rising states
of Greece and Rome were shaping their institutions, was a most significant
event. Egypt became the University of the Mediterranean nations. From this
time forward Greek philosophers, as in the case of Pythagoras and of
Plato, are represented as becoming pupils of the Egyptian priests; and
without question the learning and philosophy of the ancient Egyptians
exerted a profound influence upon the quick, susceptible mind of the
Hellenic race, that was, in its turn, to become the teacher of the world.

The liberal policy of Psammetichus, while resulting in a great advantage
to foreign nations, brought a heavy misfortune upon his own. Displeased
with the position assigned Greek mercenaries in the army, the native
Egyptian soldiers revolted, and two hundred thousand of the troops
seceding in a body, emigrated to Ethiopia, whence no inducement that
Psammetichus offered could persuade them to return.

The son of Psammetichus, Necho II. (612-596 B.C.), the Pharaoh-Necho of
the Bible, followed the liberal policy marked out by his father. To
facilitate commerce, he attempted to reopen the old canal dug by Seti I.
and his son, which had become unnavigable. After the loss of one hundred
and twenty thousand workmen in the prosecution of the undertaking, Necho
was constrained to abandon it; Herodotus says, on account of an
unfavorable oracle.

Necho then fitted out an exploring expedition for the circumnavigation of
Africa, in hope of finding a possible passage for his fleets from the Red
Sea to the Nile by a water channel already opened by nature, and to which
the priests and oracles could interpose no objections. The expedition, we
have reason to believe, actually accomplished the feat of sailing around
the continent; for Herodotus, in his account of the enterprise, says that
the voyagers upon their return reported that, when they were rounding the
cape, the sun was on their right hand (to the north). This feature of the
report, which led Herodotus to disbelieve it, is to us the very strongest
evidence possible that the voyage was really performed.

THE LAST OF THE PHARAOHS.--Before the close of his reign, Necho had come
into collision with the king of Babylon, and was forced to acknowledge his
supremacy. A little later, Babylon having yielded to the rising power of
Persia, Egypt also passed under Persian authority (see p. 77). The
Egyptians, however, were restive under this foreign yoke, and, after a
little more than a century, succeeded in throwing it off; but the country
was again subjugated by the Persian king Artaxerxes III. (about 340 B.C.),
and from that time until our own day no native prince has ever sat upon
the throne of the Pharaohs. Long before the Persian conquest, the Prophet
Ezekiel, foretelling the debasement of Egypt, had declared, "There shall
be no more a prince of the land of Egypt." [Footnote: Ezek. xxx. 13.]

Upon the extension of the power of the Macedonians over the East (333
B.C.), Egypt willingly exchanged masters; and for three centuries the
valley was the seat of the renowned Græco-Egyptian Empire of the
Ptolemies, which lasted until the Romans annexed the region to their all-
absorbing empire (30 B.C.).

"The mission of Egypt among the nations was fulfilled; it had lit the
torch of civilization in ages inconceivably remote, and had passed it on
to other peoples of the West."


CLASSES OF SOCIETY.--Egyptian society was divided into three great
classes, or orders,--priests, soldiers, and common people; the last
embracing shepherds, husbandmen, and artisans.

The sacerdotal order consisted of high-priests, prophets, scribes, keepers
of the sacred robes and animals, sacred sculptors, masons, and embalmers.
They enjoyed freedom from taxation, and met the expenses of the temple
services with the income of the sacred lands, which embraced one third of
the soil of the country.

The priests were extremely scrupulous in the care of their persons. They
bathed twice by day and twice by night, and shaved the entire body every
third day. Their inner clothing was linen, woollen garments being thought
unclean; their diet was plain and even abstemious, in order that, as
Plutarch says, "their bodies might sit light as possible about their

Next to the priesthood in rank and honor stood the military order. Like
the priests, the soldiers formed a landed class. They held one third of
the soil of Egypt. To each soldier was given a tract of about eight acres,
exempt from all taxes. They were carefully trained in their profession,
and there was no more effective soldiery in ancient times than that which
marched beneath the standard of the Pharaohs.

THE CHIEF DEITIES.--Attached to the chief temples of the Egyptians were
colleges for the training of the sacerdotal order. These institutions were
the repositories of the wisdom of the Egyptians. This learning was open
only to the initiated few.

The unity of God was the central doctrine in this private system. They
gave to this Supreme Being the very same name by which he was known to the
Hebrews--_Nuk Pu Nuk_, "I am that I am." [Footnote: "It is evident
what a new light this discovery throws on the sublime passage in Exodus
iii. 14; where Moses, whom we may suppose to have been initiated into this
formula, is sent both to his people and to Pharaoh to proclaim the true
God by this very title, and to declare that the God of the highest
Egyptian theology was also the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. The
case is parallel to that of Paul at Athens."--Smith's _Ancient History
of the East_, p. 196, note.] The sacred manuscripts say, "He is the one
living and true God,... who has made all things, and was not himself

The Egyptian divinities of the popular mythology were frequently grouped
in triads. First in importance among these groups was that formed by
Osiris, Isis (his wife and sister), and Horus, their son. The members of
this triad were worshipped throughout Egypt.

The god Set (called Typhon by the Greek writers), the principle of evil,
was the Satan of Egyptian mythology. While the good and beneficent Osiris
was symbolized by the life-giving Nile, the malignant Typhon was
emblemized by the terrors and barrenness of the desert.

[Illustration: MUMMY OF A SACRED BULL. (From a photograph.)]

ANIMAL-WORSHIP.--The Egyptians regarded certain animals as emblems of the
gods, and hence worshipped them. To kill one of these sacred animals was
adjudged the greatest impiety. Persons so unfortunate as to harm one
through accident were sometimes murdered by the infuriated people. The
destruction of a cat in a burning building was lamented more than the loss
of the property. Upon the death of a dog, every member of the family
shaved his head. The scarabæus, or beetle, was especially sacred, being
considered an emblem of the sun, or of life.

Not only were various animals held sacred, as being the emblems of certain
deities, but some were thought to be real gods. Thus the soul of Osiris,
it was imagined, animated the body of some bull, which might be known from
certain spots and markings.

Upon the death of the sacred bull, or Apis, as he was called, a great
search, accompanied with loud lamentation, was made throughout the land
for his successor: for, the moment the soul of Osiris departed from the
dying bull, it entered a calf that moment born. The calf was always found
with the proper markings; but, as Wilkinson says, the young animal had
probably been put to "much inconvenience and pain to make the marks and
hair conform to his description."

The body of the deceased Apis was carefully embalmed, and, amid funeral
ceremonies of great expense and magnificence, deposited in the tomb of his
predecessors. In 1851, Mariette discovered this sepulchral chamber of the
sacred bulls. It is a narrow gallery, two thousand feet in length, cut in
the limestone cliffs just opposite the site of ancient Memphis. A large
number of the immense granite coffins, fifteen feet long and eight wide
and high, have been brought to light.

Many explanations have been given to account for the existence of such a
debased form of worship among so cultured a people as were the ancient
Egyptians. Probably the sacred animals in the later worship represent an
earlier stage of the Egyptian religion, just as many superstitious beliefs
and observances among ourselves are simply survivals from earlier and
ruder times.

JUDGMENT OF THE DEAD.--Death was a great equalizer among the Egyptians.
King and peasant alike must stand before the judgment-seat of Osiris and
his forty-two assessors.

This judgment of the soul in the other world was prefigured by a peculiar
ordeal to which the body was subjected here. Between each chief city and
the burial-place on the western edge of the valley was a sacred lake,
across which the body was borne in a barge. But, before admittance to the
boat, it must pass the ordeal called "the judgment of the dead." This was
a trial before a tribunal of forty-two judges, assembled upon the shore of
the lake. Any person could bring accusations against the deceased, false
charges being guarded against by the most dreadful penalties. If it
appeared that the life of the deceased had been evil, passage to the boat
was denied; and the body was either carried home in dishonor, or, in case
of the poor who could not afford to care for the mummy, was interred on
the shores of the lake. Many mummies of those refused admission to the
tombs of their fathers have been dug up along these "Stygian banks."

[Illustration: JUDGMENT OF THE DEAD: above, an ape-assessor scourges an
evil soul, that has been changed into an unclean animal.]

But this ordeal of the body was only a faint symbol of the dread tribunal
of Osiris before which the soul must appear in the lower world. In one
scale of a balance was placed the heart of the deceased; in the other
scale, an image of Justice, or Truth. The soul stands by watching the
result, and, as the beam inclines, is either welcomed to the companionship
of the good Osiris, or consigned to oblivion in the jaws of a frightful
hippopotamus-headed monster, "the devourer of evil souls." This
annihilation, however, is only the fate of those inveterately wicked.
Those respecting whom hopes of reformation may be entertained are
condemned to return to earth and do penance in long cycles of lives in the
bodies of various animals. This is what is known as the transmigration of
souls. The kind of animals the soul should animate, and the length of its
transmigrations, were determined by the nature of its sins.

TOMBS.--The Egyptians bestowed little care upon the temporary residences
of the living, but the "eternal homes" of the dead were fitted up with the
most lavish expenditure of labor. These were chambers, sometimes built of
brick or stone, but more usually cut in the limestone cliffs that form the
western rim of the Nile valley; for that, as the land of the sunset, was
conceived to be the realm of darkness and of death. The cliffs opposite
the ancient Egyptian capitals are honeycombed with sepulchral cells.

[Illustration: BRICK-MAKING IN ANCIENT EGYPT, (From Thebes.)]

In the hills back of Thebes is the so-called Valley of the Tombs of the
Kings, the "Westminster Abbey of Egypt." Here are twenty-five magnificent
sepulchres. These consist of extensive rock-cut passages and chambers
richly sculptured and painted.

The subjects of the decorations of many of the tombs, particularly of the
oldest, are drawn from the life and manners of the times. Thus the artist
has converted for us the Egyptian necropolis into a city of the living,
where the Egypt of four thousand years ago seems to pass before our eyes.

THE PYRAMIDS.--The Egyptian pyramids, the tombs of the earlier Pharaohs,
are the most venerable monuments that have been preserved to us from the
early world. They were almost all erected before the Twelfth Dynasty.
Although thus standing away back in the earliest twilight of the historic
morning, nevertheless they mark, not the beginning, but the perfection of
Egyptian art. They speak of long periods of growth in art and science
lying beyond the era they represent. It is this vast and mysterious
background that astonishes us even more than these giant forms cast up
against it.


Being sepulchral monuments, the pyramids are confined to the western side
of the Nile valley (see p. 31). There are over thirty still standing, with
traces of about forty more.

The Pyramid of Cheops, the largest of the Gizeh group, near Cairo, rises
from a base covering thirteen acres, to a height of four hundred and fifty
feet. According to Herodotus, Cheops employed one hundred thousand men for
twenty years in its erection.

PALACES AND TEMPLES.---The earlier Memphian kings built great unadorned
pyramids, but the later Theban monarchs constructed splendid palaces and
temples. Two of the most prominent masses of buildings on the site of
Thebes are called, the one the Temple of Karnak, and the other the Temple
of Luxor, from the names of two native villages built near or within the
ruined enclosures. The former was more than five hundred years in
building. As an adjunct of the temple at Karnak was a Hall of Columns,
which consisted of a phalanx of one hundred and sixty-four gigantic
pillars. Some of these columns measure over seventy feet in height, with
capitals sixty-five feet in circumference.


In Nubia, beyond the First Cataract, is the renowned rock-hewn temple of
Ipsambul, the front of which is adorned with four gigantic portrait-
statues of Rameses II., seventy feet in height. This temple has been
pronounced the greatest and grandest achievement of Egyptian art.

SCULPTURE: SPHINXES AND COLOSSI.--A strange immobility, due to the
influence of religion, attached itself, at an early period, to Egyptian
art. The artist, in the portrayal of the figures of the gods, was not
allowed to change a single line in the conventional form. Hence the
impossibility of improvement in sacred sculpture. Wilkinson says that
Menes would have recognized the statue of Osiris in the Temple of Amasis.
Plato complained that the pictures and statues in the temples in his day
were no better than those made "ten thousand years" before.

The heroic, or colossal size of many of the Egyptian statues excites our
admiration. The two colossi at Thebes, known as the "Statues of Memnon,"
are forty-seven feet high, and are hewn each from a single block of
granite. The appearance of these time-worn, gigantic figures, upon the
solitary plain, is singularly impressive. "There they sit together, yet
apart, in the midst of the plain, serene and vigilant, still keeping their
untired watch over the lapse of ages and the eclipse of Egypt."

One of these statues acquired a wide reputation among the Greeks and
Romans, under the name of the "Vocal Memnon." When the rays of the rising
sun fell upon the colossus, it emitted low musical tones, which the
Egyptians believed to be the greeting of the statue to the mother-sun.
[Footnote: It is probable that the musical notes were produced by the
action of the sun upon the surface of the rock while wet with dew. The
phenomenon was observed only while the upper part of the colossus, which
was broken off by an earthquake, remained upon the ground. When the statue
was restored, the music ceased.]

The Egyptian sphinxes were figures having a human head and the body of a
lion, symbolizing intelligence and power. The most famous of the sphinxes
of Egypt is the colossal figure at the base of the Great Pyramid, at
Gizeh, sculptured, some think, by Menes, and others, by one of the kings
of the Fourth Dynasty. The immense statue, cut out of the native rock,
save the fore-legs, which are built of masonry, is ninety feet long and
seventy feet high. "This huge, mutilated figure has an astonishing effect;
it seems like an eternal spectre. The stone phantom seems attentive; one
would say that it hears and sees. Its great ear appears to collect the
sounds of the past; its eyes, directed to the east, gaze, as it were, into
the future; its aspect has a depth, a truth of expression, irresistibly
fascinating to the spectator. In this figure--half statue, half mountain--
we see a wonderful majesty, a grand serenity, and even a sort of sweetness
of expression."

GLASS MANUFACTURE.--The manufacture of glass, a discovery usually
attributed to the Phoenicians, [Footnote: The Phoenicians, being the
carriers of antiquity, often received credit among the peoples with whom
they traded, for various inventions and discoveries of which they were
simply the disseminators.] was carried on in Egypt more than four thousand
years ago. The paintings of the monuments represent glass-blowers moulding
all manner of articles. Glass bottles, and various other objects of the
same material, are found in great numbers in the tombs. Some of these
objects show that the ancient Egyptians were acquainted with processes of
coloring glass that secured results which we have not yet been able to
equal. The Egyptian artists imitated, with marvellous success, the
variegated hues of insects and stones. The manufacture of precious gems,
so like the natural stone as to defy detection, was a lucrative

THE PAPYRUS PAPER.--The chief writing material used by the ancient
Egyptians was the noted papyrus paper, manufactured from a reed which grew
in the marshes and along the water-channels of the Nile. From the Greek
names of this Egyptian plant, _byblos_ and _papyrus_, come our words
"Bible" and "paper." The plant has now entirely disappeared from Egypt,
and is found only on the Anapus, in the island of Sicily, and on a
small stream near Jaffa, in Palestine. Long before the plant became
extinct in Egypt an ancient prophecy had declared, "The paper reeds by the
brooks ... shall wither, be driven away, and be no more." (Isa. xix. 7.)
The costly nature of the papyrus paper led to the use of many substitutes
for writing purposes--as leather, broken pottery, tiles, stones, and
wooden tablets.

FORMS OF WRITING.--The Egyptians employed three forms of writing: the
_hieroglyphical_, consisting of rude pictures of material objects,
usually employed in monumental inscriptions; the _hieratic_, an
abbreviated or rather simplified form of the hieroglyphical, adapted to
writing, and forming the greater part of the papyrus manuscripts; and the
_demotic_, or _encorial_, a still simpler form than the hieratic. The last
did not come into use till about the seventh century B.C., and was then
used for all ordinary documents, both of a civil and commercial nature. It
could be written eight or ten times as fast as the hieroglyphical form.

KEY TO EGYPTIAN WRITING.--The key to the Egyptian writing was discovered
by means of the Rosetta Stone. This valuable relic, a heavy block of black
basalt, is now in the British Museum. It holds an inscription, written in
hieroglyphic, in demotic, and in Greek characters. Champollion, a French
scholar, by comparing the characters composing the words Ptolemy,
Alexander, and other names in the parallel inscriptions, discovered the
value of several of the symbols; and thus were opened the vast libraries
of Egyptian learning.

We have now the Ritual, or Book, of the Dead, a sort of guide to the soul
in its journey through the underworld; romances, and fairy tales, among
which is "Cinderella and the Glass Slipper"; autobiographies, letters,
fables, and epics; treatises on medicine, astronomy, and various other
scientific subjects; and books on history--in prose and verse--which fully
justify the declaration of the Egyptian priests to Solon: "You Greeks are
mere children, talkative and vain; you know nothing at all of the past."

ASTRONOMY, GEOGRAPHY AND ARITHMETIC.--The cloudless and brilliant skies of
Egypt invited the inhabitants of the Nile valley to the study of the
heavenly bodies. And another circumstance closely related to their very
existence, the inundation of the Nile, following the changing cycles of
the stars, could not but have incited them to the watching and predicting
of astronomical movements. Their observations led them to discover the
length, very nearly, of the sidereal year, which they made to consist of
365 days, every fourth year adding one day, making the number for that
year 366. They also divided the year into twelve months of thirty days
each, adding five days to complete the year. This was the calendar that
Julius Cæsar introduced into the Roman Empire, and which, slightly
reformed by Pope Gregory XIII. in 1582, has been the system employed by
almost all the civilized world up to the present day.

The Greeks accounted for the early rise of the science of geometry among
the Egyptians by reference to the necessity they were under each year of
re-establishing the boundaries of their fields--the inundation
obliterating old landmarks and divisions. The science thus forced upon
their attention was cultivated with zeal and success. A single papyrus has
been discovered that holds twelve geometrical theorems.

Arithmetic was necessarily brought into requisition in solving
astronomical and geometrical problems. We ourselves are debtors to the
ancient Egyptians for much of our mathematical knowledge, which has come
to us from the banks of the Nile, through the Greeks and the Saracens.

MEDICINE AND THE ART OF EMBALMING.--The custom of embalming the dead,
affording opportunities for the examination of the body, without doubt had
a great influence upon the development of the sciences of anatomy and
medicine among the Egyptians. That the embalmers were physicians, we know
from various testimonies. Thus we are told in the Bible that Joseph
"commanded the _physicians_ to embalm his father." The Egyptian doctors
had a very great reputation among the ancients.

Every doctor was a specialist, and was not allowed to take charge of cases
outside of his own branch. As the artist was forbidden to change the lines
of the sacred statues, so the physician was not permitted to treat cases
save in the manner prescribed by the customs of the past; and if he were
so presumptuous as to depart from the established mode of treatment, and
the patient died, he was adjudged guilty of murder. Many drugs and
medicines were used; the ciphers, or characters, employed by modern
apothecaries to designate grains and drams are of Egyptian invention.

The Egyptians believed that after a long lapse of time, several thousand
years, the departed soul would return to earth and reanimate its former
body; hence their custom of preserving the body by means of embalmment. In
the processes of embalming, the physicians made use of oils, resin,
bitumen, and various aromatic gums. The body was swathed in bandages of
linen, while the face was sometimes gilded, or covered with a gold mask.
As this, which was the "most approved method" of embalming, was very
costly, the expense being equivalent probably to $1000 of our money, the
bodies of the poorer classes were simply "salted and dried," wrapped in
coarse mats, and laid in tiers in great trenches in the desert sands.

[Illustration: PROFILE OF RAMESES II. (From a photograph of the mummy.)]

Only a few years ago (in 1881) the mummies of Thothmes III., Seti I., and
Rameses II., together with those of nearly all of the other Pharaohs of
the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Dynasties, were
found in a secret cave near Thebes. It seems that, some time in the 12th
century B.C., a sudden alarm caused these bodies to be taken hastily from
the royal tombs of which we have spoken (see p. 31), and secreted in this
hidden chamber. When the danger had passed, the place of concealment had
evidently been forgotten; so the bodies were never restored to their
ancient tombs, but remained in this secret cavern to be discovered in our
own day.

The mummies were taken to the Boulak Museum, at Cairo, where they were
identified by means of the inscriptions upon the cases and wrappings.
Among others the body of Seti I. and that of Rameses II. were unbandaged
(1886), so that now we may look upon the faces of the greatest and most
renowned of the Pharaohs. The faces of both Seti and Rameses are so
remarkably preserved, that "were their subjects to return to earth to-day
they could not fail to recognize their old sovereigns." Both are strong
faces, of Semitic cast, that of Rameses bearing a striking resemblance to
that of his father Seti, and both closely resembling their portrait
statues and profiles. Professor Maspero, the director-general of the
excavations and antiquities of Egypt, in his official report of the
uncovering of the mummies, writes as follows of the appearance of the face
of Rameses: "The face of the mummy gives a fair idea of the face of the
living king. The expression is unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal;
but even under the somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification, there is
plainly to be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
[Footnote: On the finding and identification of the Pharaohs, consult two
excellent articles in _The Century Magazine_ for May, 1887.]




BASIN OF THE TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES.-The northern part of the Tigris and
Euphrates valley, the portion that comprised ancient Assyria, consists of
undulating plains, broken in places by considerable mountain ridges.

But all the southern portion of the basin, the part known as Chaldæa, or
Babylonia, having been formed by the gradual encroachment of the deposits
of the Tigris and Euphrates upon the waters of the Persian Gulf, is as
level as the sea. During a large part of the year, rains are infrequent;
hence agriculture is dependent mainly upon artificial irrigation. The
distribution of the waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates was secured, in
ancient times, by a stupendous system of canals and irrigants, which, at
the present day, in a sand-choked and ruined condition, spread like a
perfect network over the face of the country (see cut, p. 41).

The productions of Babylonia are very like those of the Nile valley. The
luxuriant growth of grain upon these alluvial flats excited the wonder of
all the Greek travellers who visited the East. Herodotus will not tell the
whole truth, for fear his veracity may be doubted. The soil is as fertile
now as in the time of the historian; but owing to the neglect of the
ancient canals, the greater part of this once populous district has been
converted into alternating areas of marsh and desert.

THE THREE GREAT MONARCHIES.--Within the Tigris-Euphrates basin, three
great empires--the Chaldæan, the Assyrian, and the Babylonian--
successively rose to prominence and dominion. Each, in turn, not only
extended its authority over the valley, but also made the power of its
arms felt throughout the adjoining regions. We shall now trace the rise
and the varied fortunes of these empires, and the slow growth of the arts
and sciences from rude beginnings among the early Chaldæans to their
fuller and richer development under the Assyrian and Babylonian

THE CHALDÆANS A MIXED PEOPLE.--In the earliest times Lower Chaldæa was
known as Shumir, the Shinar of the Bible, while Upper Chaldæa bore the
name of Accad. The original inhabitants were conjecturally of Turanian
race, and are called Accadians.


These people laid the basis of civilization in the Euphrates valley, so
that with them the history of Asian culture begins. They brought with them
into the valley the art of hieroglyphical writing, which later developed
into the well-known cuneiform system. They also had quite an extensive
literature, and had made considerable advance in the art of building.

The civilization of the Accadians was given a great impulse by the arrival
of a Semitic people. These foreigners were nomadic in habits, and
altogether much less cultured than the Accadians. Gradually, however, they
adopted the arts and literature of the people among whom they had settled;
yet they retained their own language, which in the course of time
superseded the less perfect Turanian speech of the original inhabitants;
consequently the mixed people, known later as Chaldæans, that arose from
the blending of the two races, spoke a language essentially the same as
that used by their northern neighbors, the Semitic Assyrians.

SARGON (SHARRUKIN) I. (3800? B.C.).--We know scarcely anything about the
political affairs of the Accadians until after the arrival of the Semites.
Then, powerful kings, sometimes of Semitic and then again of Turanian, or
Accadian origin, appear ruling in the cities of Accad and Shumir, and the
political history of Chaldæa begins.

The first prominent monarch is called Sargon I. (Sharrukin), a Semitic
king of Agade, one of the great early cities. An inscription recently
deciphered makes this king to have reigned as early as 3800 B.C. He
appears to have been the first great organizer of the peoples of the
Chaldæan plains.

Yet not as a warrior, but as a patron and protector of letters, is
Sargon's name destined to a sure place in history. He classified and
translated into the Semitic, or Assyrian tongue the religious,
mythological, and astronomical literature of the Accadians, and deposited
the books in great libraries, which he established or enlarged,--the
oldest and most valuable libraries of the ancient world. The scholar Sayce
calls him the Chaldæan Solomon.

CONQUEST OF CHALDÆA BY THE ELAMITES (2286 B.C.).--While the Chaldæan kings
were ruling in the great cities of Lower Babylonia, the princes of the
Elamites, a people of Turanian race, were setting up a rival kingdom to
the northeast, just at the foot of the hills of Persia.

In the year 2286 B.C., a king of Elam, Kudur-Nakhunta by name, overran
Chaldæa, took all the cities founded by Sargon and his successors, and
from the temples bore off in triumph to his capital, Susa, the statues of
the Chaldæan gods, and set up in these lowland regions what is known as
the Elamite Dynasty.


More than sixteen hundred years after this despoiling of the Chaldæan
sanctuaries, a king of Nineveh captured the city of Susa, and finding
there these stolen statues, caused them to be restored to their original

The Chedorlaomer of Genesis, whose contact with the history of the Jewish
patriarch Abraham has caused his name to be handed down to our own times
in the records of the Hebrew people, is believed to have been the son and
successor of Kudur-Nakhunta.

CHALDÆA ECLIPSED BY ASSYRIA.--After the Elamite princes had maintained a
more or less perfect dominion over the cities of Chaldæa for two or three
centuries, their power seems to have declined; and then for several
centuries longer, down to about 1300 B.C., dynasties and kings of which we
know very little as yet, ruled the country.

During this period, Babylon, gradually rising into prominence,
overshadowed the more ancient Accadian cities, and became the leading city
of the land. From it the whole country was destined, later, to draw the
name by which it is best known--Babylonia.

Meanwhile a Semitic power had been slowly developing in the north. This
was the Assyrian empire, the later heart and centre of which was the great
city of Nineveh. For a long time Assyria was simply a province or
dependency of the lower kingdom; but about 1300 B.C., the Assyrian monarch
Tiglathi-nin conquered Babylonia, and Assyria assumed the place that had
been so long held by Chaldæa. From this time on to the fall of Nineveh in
606 B.C., the monarchs of this country virtually controlled the affairs of
Western Asia.


TOWER-TEMPLES.--In the art of building, the Chaldæans, though their
edifices fall far short of attaining the perfection exhibited by the
earliest Egyptian structures, displayed no inconsiderable architectural
knowledge and skill.

The most important of their constructions were their tower-temples. These
were simple in plan, consisting of two or three terraces, or stages,
placed one upon another so as to form a sort of rude pyramid. The material
used in their construction was chiefly sun-dried brick. The edifice was
sometimes protected by outer courses of burnt brick. The temple proper
surmounted the upper platform.

All these tower-temples have crumbled into vast mounds, with only here and
there a projecting mass of masonry to distinguish them from natural hills,
for which they were at first mistaken.

CUNEIFORM WRITING.--We have already mentioned the fact that the Accadians,
when they entered the Euphrates valley, were in possession of a system of
writing. This was a simple pictorial, or hieroglyphical system, which they
gradually developed into the cuneiform.

In the cuneiform system, the characters, instead of being formed of
unbroken lines, are composed of wedge-like marks; hence the name (from
_cuneus_, a wedge). This form, according to the scholar Sayce, arose
when the Accadians, having entered the low country, substituted tablets of
clay for the papyrus or other similar material which they had formerly
used. The characters were impressed upon the soft tablet by means of a
triangular writing-instrument, which gave them their peculiar wedge-shaped

The cuneiform mode of writing, improved and simplified by the Assyrians
and the Persians, was in use about two thousand years, being employed by
the nations in and near the Euphrates basin, down to the time of the
conquest of the East by the Macedonians.

BOOKS AND LIBRARIES.--The books of the Chaldæans were in general clay
tablets, varying in length from one inch to twelve inches, and being about
one inch thick. Those holding records of special importance, after having
been once written over and baked, were covered with a thin coating of
clay, and then the matter was written in duplicate and the tablets again
baked. If the outer writing were defaced by accident or altered by design,
the removal of the outer coating would at once show the true text.

The tablets were carefully preserved in great public libraries. Even
during the Turanian period, before the Semites had entered the land, one
or more of these collections existed in each of the chief cities of Accad
and Shumir. "Accad," says Sayce, "was the China of Asia. Almost every one
could read and write." Erech was especially renowned for its great
library, and was known as "the City of Books."

[Illustration: CHALDÆAN TABLET.]

THE RELIGION.--The Accadian religion, as revealed by the tablets, was
essentially the same as that held today by the nomadic Turanian tribes of
Northern Asia--what is known as Shamanism. It consisted in a belief in
good and evil spirits, of which the latter held by far the most prominent
place. To avert the malign influence of these wicked spirits, the
Accadians had resort to charms and magic rites. The religion of the
Semites was a form of Sabæanism,--that is, a worship of the heavenly
bodies,--in which the sun was naturally the central object of adoration.

When the Accadians and the Semites intermingled, their religious systems
blended to form one of the most influential religions of the world--one
which spread far and wide under the form of Baal worship. There were in
the perfected system twelve primary gods, at whose head stood Il, or Ra.
Besides these great divinities, there were numerous lesser and local

There were features of this old Chaldæan religion which were destined to
exert a wide-spread and potent influence upon the minds of men. Out of the
Sabæan Semitic element grew astrology, the pretended art of forecasting
events by the aspect of the stars, which was most elaborately and
ingeniously developed, until the fame of the Chaldæan astrologers was
spread throughout the ancient world, while the spell of that art held in
thraldom the mind of mediæval Europe.

Out of the Shamanistic element contributed by the Turanian Accadians, grew
a system of magic and divination which had a most profound influence not
only upon all the Eastern nations, including the Jews, but also upon the
later peoples of the West. mediæval magic and witchcraft were, in large
part, an unchanged inheritance from Chaldæa.

THE CHALDÆAN GENESIS.--The cosmological myths of the Chaldæans, that is,
their stories of the origin of things, are remarkably like the first
chapters of Genesis.


The discoveries and patient labors of various scholars have reproduced, in
a more or less perfect form, from the legendary tablets, the Chaldæan
account of the Creation of the World, of an ancestral Paradise and the
Tree of Life with its angel guardians, of the Deluge, and of the Tower of
Babel. [Footnote: Consult especially George Smith's _The Chaldæan
Account of Genesis_; see also _Records of the Past_, Vol. VII. pp.
127, 131.]

THE CHALDÆAN EPIC OF IZDUBAR.--Beside their cosmological myths, the
Chaldæans had a vast number of so-called heroic and nature myths. The most
noted of these form what is known as the Epic of Izdubar (Nimrod?), which
is doubtless the oldest epic of the race. This is in twelve parts, and is
really a solar myth, which recounts the twelve labors of the sun in his
yearly passage through the twelve signs of the Chaldæan zodiac.

This epic was carried to the West, by the way of Phoenicia and Asia Minor,
and played a great part in the mythology of the Greeks and Romans. "The
twelve labors of Heracles may be traced back to the adventures of
Gisdhubar [Izdubar] as recorded in the twelve books of the great epic of
Chaldæa." (Sayce.)

SCIENCE.--In astronomy and arithmetic the Chaldæans made substantial
progress. The clear sky and unbroken horizon of the Chaldæan plains,
lending an unusually brilliant aspect to the heavens, naturally led the
Chaldæans to the study of the stars. They early divided the zodiac into
twelve signs, and named the zodiacal constellations, a memorial of their
astronomical attainments which will remain forever inscribed upon the
great circle of the heavens; they foretold eclipses, constructed sun-dials
of various patterns, divided the year into twelve months, and the day and
night into twelve hours each, and invented or devised the week of seven
days, the number of days in the week being determined by the course of the
moon. "The 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st, and 28th days of the lunar month were
kept like the Jewish Sabbath, and were actually so named in Assyria."

In arithmetic, also, the Chaldæans made considerable advance. A tablet has
been found which contains the squares and cubes of the numbers from one to

CONCLUSION.-This hasty glance at the beginnings of civilization among the
primitive peoples of the Euphrates valley, will serve to give us at least
some little idea of how much modern culture owes to the old Chaldæans. We
may say that Chaldæa was one of the main sources--Egypt was the other--of
the stream of universal history.




TIGLATH-PILESER I. (1130-1110 B.C.).--It is not until about two centuries
after the conquest of Chaldæa by the Assyrian prince Tiglathi-Nin (see p.
43), that we find a sovereign of renown at the head of Assyrian affairs.
This was Tiglath-Pileser I., who came to the throne about 1130 B.C. The
royal records detail at great length his numerous war expeditions, and
describe minutely the great temples which he constructed.

For the two centuries following the reign of Tiglath-Pileser, Assyria is
quite lost to history; then it is again raised into prominence by two or
three strong kings; after which it once more almost "drops below the
historical horizon."

TIGLATH-PILESER II. (745-727 B.C.).--With this king, who was a usurper,
begins what is known as the Second Empire. He was a man of great energy
and of undoubted military talent,--for by him the Assyrian power was once
more extended over the greater part of Southwestern Asia.

But what renders the reign of this king a landmark in Assyrian history, is
the fact that he was not a mere conqueror like his predecessors, but a
political organizer of great capacity. He laid the basis of the power and
glory of the great kings who followed him upon the Assyrian throne.

SARGON (722-705 B.C.).--Sargon was one of the greatest conquerors and
builders of the Second Empire. In 722 B.C., he took Samaria and carried
away the Ten Tribes into captivity beyond the Tigris. The larger part of
the captives were scattered among the Median towns, where they became so
mingled with the native population as to be inquired after even to this
day as the "lost tribes."

During this reign the Egyptians and their allies, in the first encounter
(the battle of Raphia, 720 B.C.) between the empires of the Euphrates and
the Nile valley, suffered a severe defeat, and the ancient kingdom of the
Pharaohs became tributary to Assyria.

Sargon was a famous builder. Near the foot of the Persian hills he founded
a large city, which he named for himself; and there he erected a royal
residence, described in the inscriptions as "a palace of incomparable
magnificence," the site of which is now preserved by the vast mounds of

SENNACHERIB (705-681 B.C.).--Sennacherib, the son of Sargon, came to the
throne 705 B.C. We must accord to him the first place of renown among all
the great names of the Assyrian Empire. His name, connected as it is with
the story of the Jews, and with many of the most wonderful discoveries
among the ruined palaces of Nineveh, has become as familiar to the ear as
that of Nebuchadnezzar in the story of Babylon.

The fulness of the royal inscriptions of this reign enables us to permit
Sennacherib to tell us in his own words of his great works and military
expeditions. Respecting the decoration of Nineveh, he says: "I raised
again all the edifices of Nineveh, my royal city; I reconstructed all its
old streets, and widened those that were too narrow. I have made the whole
town a city shining like the sun."

Concerning an expedition against Hezekiah, king of Judah, he says: "I took
forty-six of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were
scattered about I took and plundered a countless number. And from these
places I captured and carried off as spoil 200,150 people, old and young,
male and female, together with horses and mares, asses and camels, oxen
and sheep, a countless multitude. And Hezekiah himself I shut up in
Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round
the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so
as to prevent escape." [Footnote: Rawlinson's _Ancient Monarchies_,
Vol. II. p. 161.]

While Sennacherib was besieging Jerusalem, the king of Egypt appeared in
the field in the south with aid for Hezekiah. This caused Sennacherib to
draw off his forces from the siege to meet the new enemy; but near the
frontiers of Egypt the Assyrian host, according to the Hebrew account, was
smitten by "the angel of the Lord," [Footnote: This expression is a
Hebraism, meaning often any physical cause of destruction, as a plague or
storm. In the present case, the destroying agency was probably a
pestilence. ] and the king returned with a shattered army and without
glory to his capital, Nineveh.

Sennacherib employed the closing years of his reign in the digging of
canals, and in the erection of a splendid palace at Nineveh. He was
finally murdered by his own sons.


ASSHUR-BANI-PAL (668-626? B.C.).--This king, the Sardanapalus of the
Greeks, is distinguished for his magnificent patronage of art and
literature. During his reign Assyria enjoyed her Augustan age.

But Asshur-bani-pal was also possessed of a warlike spirit. He broke to
pieces, with terrible energy, in swift campaigns, the enemies of his
empire. All the scenes of his sieges and battles he caused to be
sculptured on the walls of his palace at Nineveh. These pictured panels
are now in the British Museum. They are a perfect Iliad in stone.

SARACUS OR ESARHADDON II. (?-606 B.C.).--Saracus was the last of the long
line of Assyrian kings. His reign was filled with misfortunes for himself
and his kingdom. For nearly or quite seven centuries the Ninevite kings
had lorded it over the East. There was scarcely a state in all Western
Asia that had not, during this time, felt the weight of their conquering
arms; scarcely a people that had not suffered their cruel punishments, or
tasted the bitterness of their servitude.

But now swift misfortunes were bearing down upon the oppressor from every
quarter. The Scythian hordes, breaking through the mountain gates on the
north, spread a new terror throughout the upper Assyrian provinces; from
the mountain defiles on the east issued the armies of the recent-grown
empire of the Aryan Medes, led by the renowned Cyaxares; from the southern
lowlands, anxious to aid in the overthrow of the hated oppressor, the
Babylonians, led by the youthful Nebuchadnezzar, the son of the traitor
viceroy Nabopolassar, joined, it appears, the Medes as allies, and
together they laid close siege to the Assyrian capital.

The operations of the besiegers seem to have been aided by an unusual
inundation of the Tigris, which undermined a section of the city walls. At
all events the place was taken, and dominion passed away forever from the
proud capital [Footnote: Saracus, in his despair, is said to have erected
a funeral pyre within one of the courts of his palace, and, mounting the
pile with the members of his family, to have perished with them in the
flames; but this is doubtless a poetical embellishment of the story.] (606
B.C.). Two hundred years later, when Xenophon with his Ten Thousand
Greeks, in his memorable retreat (see p. 156), passed the spot, the once
great city was a crumbling mass of ruins, of which he could not even learn
the name.


RELIGION.--The Assyrians were Semites, and as such they possessed the deep
religious spirit that has always distinguished the peoples of this family.
In this respect they were very much like the Hebrews. The wars which the
Assyrian monarchs waged were not alone wars of conquest, but were, in a
certain sense, crusades made for the purpose of extending the worship and
authority of the gods of Assyria. They have been likened to the wars of
the Hebrew kings, and again to the conquests of the Saracens.

As with the wars, so was it with the architectural works of these
sovereigns. Greater attention, indeed, was paid to the palace in Assyria
than in Babylonia; yet the inscriptions, as well as the ruins, of the
upper country attest that the erection and adornment of the temples of the
gods were matters of anxious and constant care on the part of the Assyrian
monarchs. Their accounts of the construction and dedication of temples for
their gods afford striking parallels to the Bible account of the building
of the temple at Jerusalem by King Solomon.

[Illustration: EMBLEM OF ASSHUR.]

Not less prominently manifested is the religious spirit of these kings in
what we may call their sacred literature, which is filled with prayers
singularly like those of the Old Testament.

As to the Assyrian deities and their worship, these were in all their
essential characteristics so similar to those of the later Chaldæan
system, already described (see p. 45), that any detailed account of them
here is unnecessary. One difference, however, in the two systems should be
noted. The place occupied by Il, or Ra, as the head of the Chaldæan
deities, is in Assyria given to the national god Asshur, whose emblem was
a winged circle with the figure of a man within, the whole perhaps
symbolizing, according to Rawlinson, eternity, omnipresence, and wisdom.

CRUELTY OF THE ASSYRIANS.--The Assyrians have been called the "Romans of
Asia." They were a proud, martial, cruel, and unrelenting race. Although
possessing, as we have just noticed, a deep and genuine religious feeling,
still the Assyrian monarchs often displayed in their treatment of
prisoners the disposition of savages. In common with most Asiatics, they
had no respect for the body, but subjected captives to the most terrible
mutilations. The sculptured marbles taken from the palaces exhibit the
cruel tortures inflicted upon prisoners; kings are being led before their
conqueror by means of hooks thrust through one or both lips; [Footnote:
See 2 Chron. xxxiii. 10-13 (Revised Version).] other prisoners are being
flayed alive; the eyes of some are being bored out with the point of a
spear; and still others are having their tongues torn out.


An inscription by Asshur-nazir-pal, found in one of the palaces at Nimrud,
runs as follows: "Their men, young and old, I took prisoners. Of some I
cut off the feet and hands; of others I cut off the noses, ears, and lips;
of the young men's ears I made a heap; of the old men's heads I built a
tower. I exposed their heads as a trophy in front of their city. The male
children and the female children I burned in the flames."

ROYAL SPORTS.--The Assyrian king gloried in being, like the great Nimrod,
"a mighty hunter before the Lord." The monuments are covered with
sculptures that represent the king engaged in the favorite royal sport.
Asshur-nazir-pal had at Nineveh a menagerie, or hunting-park, filled with
various animals, many of which were sent him as tribute by vassal princes.

[Illustration: LION HUNT. (From Nineveh.)]

REMAINS OF ASSYRIAN CITIES.--Enormous grass-grown mounds, enclosed by
crumbled ramparts, alone mark the sites of the great cities of the
Assyrian kings. The character of the remains arises from the nature of the
building material. City walls, palaces, and temples were constructed
chiefly of sun-dried bricks, so that the generation that raised them had
scarcely passed away before they began to sink down into heaps of rubbish.
The rains of many centuries have beaten down and deeply furrowed these
mounds, while the grass has crept over them and made green alike the
palaces of the kings and the temples of the gods. [Footnote: Lying upon
the left bank of the Upper Tigris are two enormous mounds surrounded by
heavy earthen ramparts, about eight miles in circuit. This is the site of
ancient Nineveh, the immense enclosing ridges being the ruined city walls.
These ramparts are still, in their crumbled condition, about fifty feet
high, and average about one hundred and fifty in width. The lower part of
the wall was constructed of solid stone masonry; the upper portion of
dried brick. This upper and frailer part, crumbling into earth, has
completely buried the stone basement. The Turks of to-day quarry the stone
from these old walls for their buildings.]

PALACE-MOUNDS AND PALACES.--In order to give a certain dignity to the
royal residence, to secure the fresh breezes, and to render them more
easily defended, the Assyrians, as well as the Babylonians and the
Persians, built their palaces upon lofty artificial terraces, or
platforms. These eminences, which appear like natural, flat-topped hills,
were constructed with an almost incredible expenditure of human labor. The
great palace-mound at Nineveh, called by the natives Koyunjik, covers an
area of one hundred acres, and is from seventy to ninety feet high. Out of
the material composing it could be built four pyramids as large as that of
Cheops. Upon this mound stood several of the most splendid palaces of the
Ninevite kings.

(After Fergusson.)]

The group of buildings constituting the royal residence was often of
enormous extent; the various courts, halls, corridors, and chambers of the
Palace of Sennacherib, which surmounted the great platform at Nineveh,
covered an area of over ten acres. The palaces were usually one-storied.
The walls, constructed chiefly of dried brick, were immensely thick and
heavy. The rooms and galleries were plastered with stucco, or panelled
with precious woods, or lined with enamelled bricks. The main halls,
however, and the great open courts were faced with slabs of alabaster,
covered with sculptures and inscriptions, the illustrated narrative of the
wars and labors of the monarch. There were two miles of such sculptured
panelling at Koyunjik. At the portals of the palace, to guard the
approach, were stationed the colossal human-headed bulls.


An important adjunct of the palace was the temple, a copy of the tower-
temples of the Chaldæans. Its position is marked at present by a lofty
conical mound rising amidst and overlooking the palace ruins.

Upon the decay of the Assyrian palaces, the material forming the upper
part of the thick walls completely buried and protected all the lower
portion of the structure. In this way their sculptures and inscriptions
have been preserved through so many centuries, till brought to light by
the recent excavations of French and English antiquarians.

THE ROYAL LIBRARY AT NINEVEH.--Within the palace of Asshur-bani-pal at
Nineveh, Layard discovered what is known as the Royal Library. There were
two chambers, the floors of which were heaped with books, like the
Chaldæan tablets already described, The number of books in the collection
has been estimated at ten thousand. The writing upon some of the tablets
is so minute that it cannot be read without the aid of a magnifying glass.
We learn from the inscriptions that a librarian had charge of the
collection. Catalogues of the books have been found, made out on clay
tablets. The library was open to the public, for an inscription says, "I
[Asshur-bani-pal] wrote upon the tablets; I placed them in my palace for
the instruction of my people."

Asshur-bani-pal, as we have already learned, was the Augustus of Assyria.
It was under his patronage and direction that most of the books were
prepared and placed in the Ninevite collection. The greater part of these
were copies of older Chaldæan tablets; for the literature of the
Assyrians, as well as their arts and sciences, was borrowed almost in a
body from the Chaldæans. All the old libraries of the low country were
ransacked, and copies of their tablets made for the Royal Library at
Nineveh. Rare treasures were secured from the libraries founded or
enlarged by Sargon of Agade (see p. 42). In this way was preserved the
most valuable portion of the early Chaldæan literature, which would
otherwise have been lost to the world.

The tablets embrace a great variety of subjects; the larger part, however,
are lexicons and treatises on grammar, and various other works intended as
text-books for scholars. Perhaps the most curious of the tablets yet found
are notes issued by the government, and made redeemable in gold and silver
on presentation at the king's treasury.

From one part of the library, which seems to have been the archives
proper, were taken copies of treaties, reports of officers of the
government, deeds, wills, mortgages, and contracts. One tablet, known as
"the Will of Sennacherib," conveys to certain priests some personal
property to be held in trust for one of his sons. This is the oldest will
in existence.



BABYLONIAN AFFAIRS FROM 1300 TO 625 B.C.--During the six centuries and
more that intervened between the conquest of the old Chaldæan monarchy by
the Assyrian king Tiglathi-Nin and the successful revolt of the low
countries under Nabopolassar (see pp. 43, 51), the Babylonian peoples bore
the Assyrian yoke very impatiently. Again and again they made violent
efforts to throw it off; and in several instances they succeeded, and for
a time enjoyed home rulers. But for the most part the whole country as far
as the "Sea," as the Persian Gulf is called in the inscriptions, was a
dependency of the great overshadowing empire of the north.

NABOPOLASSAR (625-604 B.C.).--Nabopolassar was the first king of what is
called the New Babylonian Monarchy. When troubles and misfortunes began to
thicken about the last Assyrian king, Saracus, he intrusted to the care of
Nabopolassar, as his viceroy, the towns and provinces of the South. The
chance now presented of obtaining a crown proved too great a temptation
for the satrap's fidelity to his master. He revolted and became
independent (625 B.C.). Later, he entered into an alliance with the Median
king, Cyaxares, against his former sovereign (see p. 51). Through the
overthrow of Nineveh and the break-up of the Assyrian Empire, the new
Babylonian kingdom received large accessions of territory.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR (604-561 B.C.).--Nabopolassar was followed by his renowned
son Nebuchadnezzar, whose oppressive wars and gigantic architectural works
rendered Babylon at once the scourge and the wonder of the ancient world.

Jerusalem, having repeatedly revolted, was finally taken and sacked. The
temple was stripped of its sacred vessels of silver and gold, which were
carried away to Babylon, and the temple itself with the adjoining palace
was given to the flames; the people, save a miserable remnant, were also
borne away into the "Great Captivity" (586 B.C.).

With Jerusalem subdued, Nebuchadnezzar pushed with all his forces the
siege of the Phoenician city of Tyre, whose investment had been commenced
several years before. In striking language the prophet Ezekiel (ch. xxix.
18) describes the length and hardness of the siege: "Every head was made
bald, and every shoulder was peeled." After a siege of thirteen years, the
city seems to have fallen into the hands of the Babylonian king, and his
authority was now undisputed from the Zagros Mountains to the

The numerous captives of his many wars, embracing peoples of almost every
nation in Western Asia, enabled Nebuchadnezzar to rival even the Pharaohs
in the execution of enormous works requiring an immense expenditure of
human labor: Among his works were the Great Palace in the royal quarter of
the city; the celebrated Hanging Gardens; and gigantic reservoirs, canals,
and various engineering works, embracing a vast system of irrigation that
reached every part of Babylonia.

In addition to all these works, the indefatigable monarch seems to have
either rebuilt or repaired almost every city and temple throughout the
entire country. There are said to be at least a hundred sites in the tract
immediately about Babylon which give evidence, by inscribed bricks bearing
his legend, of the marvellous activity and energy of this monarch.

In the midst of all these gigantic undertakings, surrounded by a brilliant
court of councillors and flatterers, the reason of the king was suddenly
and mysteriously clouded. [Footnote: "Nebuchadnezzar fell a victim to that
mental aberration which has often proved the penalty of despotism, but in
the strange and degrading form to which physicians have given the name of
lycanthropy; in which the patient, fancying himself a beast, rejects
clothing and ordinary food, and even (as in this case) the shelter of a
roof, ceases to use articulate speech, and sometimes persists in going on
all-fours."--Smith's _Ancient History of the East_, p. 357.] After a
period the cloud passed away, "the glory of his kingdom, his honor, and
brightness returned unto him." But it was the splendor of the evening; for
the old monarch soon after died at the age of eighty, worn out by the
toils and cares of a reign of forty-three years, the longest, most
memorable, and instructive in the annals of the Babylonian or Assyrian

THE FALL OF BABYLON.--In 555 B.C., Nabonadius, the last king of Babylon,
began his reign. He seems to have associated with himself in the
government his son Belshazzar, who shared with his father the duties and
honors of royalty, apparently on terms of equal co-sovereignty.

To the east of the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates, beyond the
ranges of the Zagros, there had been growing up an Aryan kingdom, the
Medo-Persian, which, at the time now reached by us, had excited by its
aggressive spirit the alarm of all the nations of Western Asia. For
purposes of mutual defence, the king of Babylon, and Croesus, the well-
known monarch of Lydia, a state of Asia Minor, formed an alliance against
Cyrus, the strong and ambitious sovereign of the Medes and Persians. This
league awakened the resentment of Cyrus, and, after punishing Croesus and
depriving him of his kingdom (see p. 75), he collected his forces to
chastise the Babylonian king.

Anticipating the attack, Nabonadius had strengthened the defences of
Babylon, and stationed around it supporting armies. But he was able to
avert the fatal blow for only a few years. Risking a battle in the open
field, his army was defeated, and the gates of the capital were thrown
open to the Persians (538 B.C.). [Footnote: The device of turning the
Euphrates, which Herodotus makes an incident of the siege, was not
resorted to by Cyrus; but it seems that a little later (in 521-519 B.C.),
the city, having revolted, was actually taken in this way by the Persian
king Darius. Herodotus confused the two events.]

With the fall of Babylon, the sceptre of dominion, borne for so many years
by Semitic princes, was given into the hands of the Aryan peoples, who
were destined, from this time forward, to shape the course of events, and
control the affairs of civilization.

THE GREAT EDIFICES OF BABYLON.--The deep impression which Babylon produced
upon the early Greek travellers was made chiefly by her vast architectural
works,--her temples, palaces, elevated gardens, and great walls. The
Hanging Gardens of Nebuchadnezzar and the walls of the city were reckoned
among the wonders of the world.

[Illustration: BIRS-NIMRUD. (Ruins of the great Temple of the Seven
Spheres, near Babylon.)]

The Babylonians, like their predecessors the Chaldæans, accorded to the
sacred edifice the place of pre-eminence among their architectural works.
Sacred architecture in the time of Nebuchadnezzar had changed but little
from the early Chaldæan models (see p. 44); save that the temples were now
larger and more splendid, being made, in the language of the inscriptions,
"to shine like the sun." The celebrated Temple of the Seven Spheres, at
Borsippa, a suburb of Babylon, may serve as a representative of the later
Babylonian temples. This structure was a vast pyramid, rising in seven
consecutive stages, or platforms, to a height of over one hundred and
fifty feet. Each of the stages was dedicated to one of the seven planets,
or spheres. (The sun and moon were reckoned as planets.) The stages sacred
to the sun and moon were covered respectively with plates of gold and
silver. The chapel, or shrine proper, surmounted the uppermost stage. An
inscribed cylinder discovered under the corner of one of the stages (the
Babylonians always buried records beneath the corners of their public
edifices), informs us that this temple was a restoration by Nebuchadnezzar
of a very ancient one, which in his day had become, from "extreme old
age," a heap of rubbish. This edifice in its decay has left one of the
grandest and most impressive ruins in all the East.

The Babylonian palaces and palace-mounds, in all essential features, were
like those of the Assyrians, already described.

The so-called Hanging Gardens excited the greatest admiration of the
ancient Greek visitors to Babylon. They were constructed by
Nebuchadnezzar, to please his wife Amytis, who, tired of the monotony of
the Babylonian plains, longed for the mountain scenery of her native
Media. The gardens were probably built somewhat in the form of the tower-
temples, the successive stages being covered with earth, and beautified
with rare plants and trees, so as to simulate the appearance of a mountain
rising in cultivated terraces towards the sky.

Under the later kings, Babylon was surrounded with stupendous walls.
Herodotus affirms that these defences enclosed an area just fourteen miles
square. A recently discovered inscription corroborates the statement of
the historian. The object in enclosing such an enormous district seems to
have been to bring sufficient arable ground within the defences to support
the inhabitants in case of a protracted siege. No certain traces of these
great ramparts can now be found.



THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.--Hebrew history begins with the departure of Abraham
out of Ur of the Chaldees, about 2000 B.C. The story of Abraham and his
nephew Lot, of Isaac and his sons Jacob and Esau, of the sojourn of the
descendants of Jacob in Egypt, of the Exodus, of the conquest of Canaan
and the apportionment of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel,--all
this marvellous story is told in the Hebrew Scriptures with a charm and
simplicity that have made it the familiar possession of childhood.

THE JUDGES (from about 1300 to 1095 B.C.).--Along period of anarchy and
dissension followed the conquest and settlement of Canaan by the Hebrews.
"There was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his
own eyes." During this time there arose a line of national heroes, such as
Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, whose deeds of valor and daring, and the
timely deliverance they wrought for the tribes of Israel from their foes,
caused their names to be handed down with grateful remembrance to
following ages.

These popular leaders were called Judges because they usually exercised
judicial functions, acting as arbiters between the different tribes, as
well as between man and man. Their exploits are narrated in the Book of
Judges, which is a collection of the fragmentary, yet always interesting,
traditions of this early and heroic period of the nation's life. The last
of the Judges was Samuel, whose life embraces the close of the anarchical
age and the beginning of the monarchy.

FOUNDING OF THE HEBREW MONARCHY (about 1095 B.C.).--During the period of
the Judges, the tribes of Israel were united by no central government.
Their union was nothing more than a league, or confederation, which has
been compared to the Saxon Heptarchy in England. But the common dangers to
which they were exposed from the attacks of the half-subdued Canaanitish
tribes about them, and the example of the great kingdoms of Egypt and
Assyria, led the people to begin to think of the advantages of a closer
union and a stronger government. Consequently the republic, or
confederation, was changed into a kingdom, and Saul, of the tribe of
Benjamin, a man chosen in part because of his commanding stature and royal
aspect, was made king of the new monarchy (about 1095 B.C.).

The king was successful in subduing the enemies of the Hebrews, and
consolidated the tribes and settled the affairs of the new state. But
towards the close of his reign, his reason became disturbed: fits of gloom
and despondency passed into actual insanity, which clouded the closing
years of his life. At last he and his three sons fell in battle with the
Philistines upon Mount Gilboa (about 1055 B.C.).

THE REIGN OF DAVID (about 1055-1015 B.C.).--Upon the death of Saul, David,
son of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, who had been previously anointed and
encouraged to expect the crown by the prophet Samuel, assumed the sceptre.
This warlike king transformed the pastoral and half-civilized tribes into
a conquering people, and, in imitation of the monarchs of the Nile and the
Euphrates, extended the limits of his empire in every direction, and waged
wars of extermination against the troublesome tribes of Moab and Edom.

Poet as well as warrior, David enriched the literature of his own nation
and of the world with lyric songs that breathe such a spirit of devotion
and trust that they have been ever since his day the source of comfort and
inspiration to thousands. [Footnote: The authorship of the different
psalms is a matter of debate, yet critics are very nearly agreed in
ascribing the composition of at least a considerable number of them to
David.] He had in mind to build at Jerusalem, his capital city, a
magnificent temple, and spent the latter years of his life in collecting
material for this purpose. In dying, he left the crown to Solomon, his
youngest son, his eldest, Absalom, having been slain in a revolt against
his father, and the second, Adonijah, having been excluded from the
succession for a similar crime.

THE REIGN OF SOLOMON (about 1015-975 B.C.).--Solomon did not possess his
father's talent for military affairs, but was a liberal patron of
architecture, commerce, and learning. He erected, with the utmost
magnificence of adornment, the temple at Jerusalem, planned by his father
David. King Hiram of Tyre, who was a close friend of the Hebrew monarch,
aided him in this undertaking by supplying him with the celebrated cedar
of Lebanon, and with Tyrian architects, the most skilled workmen at that
time in the world. The dedication ceremonies upon the completion of the
building were most imposing and impressive. Thenceforth this temple was
the centre of the Jewish worship and of the national life.

[Illustration: THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. (A Restoration.)]

For the purpose of extending his commerce, Solomon built fleets upon the
Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The most remote regions of Asia and Africa
were visited by his ships, and their rich and wonderful products made to
contribute to the wealth and glory of his kingdom.

Solomon maintained one of the most magnificent courts ever held by an
oriental sovereign. When the Queen of Sheba, attracted by the reports of
his glory, came from Southern Arabia to visit the monarch, she exclaimed,
"The half was not told me." He was the wisest king of the East. His
proverbs are famous specimens of sententious wisdom. He was versed, too,
in botany, being acquainted with plants and trees "from the hyssop upon
the wall to the cedar of Lebanon."

But wise as was Solomon in his words, his life was far from being either
admirable or prudent. In conformity with Asiatic custom, he had many
wives--seven hundred, we are told--of different nationalities and
religions. Through their persuasion the old monarch himself fell into
idolatry, which turned from him the affections of his best subjects, and
prepared the way for the dissensions and wars that followed his death.

THE DIVISION OF THE KINGDOM (about 975 B.C.).--The reign of Solomon was
brilliant, yet disastrous in the end to the Hebrew monarchy. In order to
carry on his vast undertakings, he had laid most oppressive taxes upon his
people. When Rehoboam, his son, succeeded to his father's place, the
people entreated him to lighten the taxes that were making their very
lives a burden. Influenced by young and unwise counsellors, he replied to
the petition with haste and insolence: "My father," said he, "chastised
you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." Immediately all
the tribes, save Judah and Benjamin, rose in revolt, and succeeded in
setting up, to the north of Jerusalem, a rival kingdom, with Jeroboam as
its first king. This northern state, with Samaria as its capital, became
known as the Kingdom of Israel; the southern, of which Jerusalem remained
the capital, was called the Kingdom of Judah.

Thus was torn in twain the empire of David and Solomon. United, the tribes
might have maintained an empire capable of offering successful resistance
to the encroachments of the powerful and ambitious monarchs about them.
But now the land becomes an easy prey to the spoiler. It is henceforth the
pathway of the conquering armies of the Nile and the Euphrates. Between
the powerful monarchies of these regions, as between an upper and nether
millstone, the little kingdoms are destined, one after the other, to be
ground to pieces.

THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL (975?-722 B.C.).--The kingdom of the Ten Tribes
maintained an existence for about two hundred and fifty years. Its story
is instructive and sad. Many passages of its history are recitals of the
struggles between the pure worship of Jehovah and the idolatrous service
of the deities introduced from the surrounding nations. The cause of the
religion of Jehovah, as the tribes of Israel had received it from the
patriarch Abraham and the lawgiver Moses, was boldly espoused and upheld
by a line of the most remarkable teachers and prophets produced by the
Hebrew race, among whom Elijah and Elisha stand preeminent.

The little kingdom was at last overwhelmed by the Assyrian power. This
happened 722 B.C., when Samaria, as we have already narrated in the
history of Assyria, was captured by Sargon, king of Nineveh, and the Ten
Tribes were carried away into captivity beyond the Euphrates (see p. 48).
From this time they are quite lost to history.

The country, left nearly vacant by this wholesale deportation of its
inhabitants, was filled with other subjects or captives of the Assyrian
king. The descendants of these, mingled with the few Jews of the poorer
class that were still left in the country, formed the Samaritans of the
time of Christ.

THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH (975?-586 B.C.).--This little kingdom, torn by
internal religious dissensions, as was its rival kingdom of the north, and
often on the very verge of ruin from Egyptian or Assyrian armies,
maintained an independent existence for about four centuries. During this
period, a line of eighteen kings, of most diverse character, sat upon the
throne. Upon the extension of the power of Babylon to the west, Jerusalem
was forced to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Babylonian kings.

The kingdom at last shared the fate of its northern rival. Nebuchadnezzar,
in revenge for an uprising of the Jews, besieged and captured Jerusalem,
and carried away a large part of the people, and their king Zedekiah, into
captivity at Babylon (see p. 58). This event virtually ended the separate
and political life of the Hebrew race (586 B.C.). Henceforth Judah
constituted simply a province of the empires--Babylonian, Persian,
Macedonian, and Roman--which successively held sway over the regions of
Western Asia, with, however, just one flicker of national life under the
Maccabees, during a part of the two centuries preceding the birth of

It only remains to mention those succeeding events which belong rather to
the story of the Jews as a people than as a nation. Upon the capture of
Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus (see p. 60), that monarch, who was
kindly disposed towards the Jews that he there found captives, permitted
them to return to Jerusalem and restore the temple. Jerusalem thus became
again the centre of the old Hebrew worship, and, although shorn of
national glory, continued to be the sacred centre of the ancient faith
till the second generation after Christ. Then, in chastisement for
repeated revolts, the city was laid in ruins by the Romans; while vast
numbers of the inhabitants--some authorities say over one million--were
slain, or perished by famine, and the remnant were driven into exile to
different lands.

Thus, by a series of unparalleled calamities and persecutions, the
descendants of Abraham were "sifted among all nations"; but to this day
they cling with a strange devotion and loyalty to the simple faith of
their fathers.


The ancient Hebrews made little or no contribution to science. They
produced no new order of architecture. In sculpture they did nothing:
their religion forbade their making "graven images." Their mission was to
teach religion. Here they have been the instructors of the world. Their
literature is a religious one; for literature with them was simply a
medium for the conveyance of religious instruction and the awakening of
devotional feeling.

The Hebrew religion, a pure monotheism, the teachings of a long line of
holy men--patriarchs, lawgivers, prophets, and priests--stretching from
Abraham down to the fifth century B.C., is contained in the sacred books
of the Old Testament Scriptures. In these ancient writings, patriarchal
traditions, histories, dramas, poems, prophecies, and personal narratives
blend in a wonderful mosaic, which pictures with vivid and grand effect
the various migrations, the deliverances, the calamities--all the events
and religious experiences in the checkered life of the Chosen People.

Out of this old exclusive, formal Hebrew religion, transformed and
spiritualized by the Great Teacher, grew the Christian faith. Out of the
Old Testament arose the New, which we should think of as a part of Hebrew
literature: for although written in the Greek language, and long after the
close of the political life of the Jewish nation, still it is essentially
Hebrew in thought and doctrine, and the supplement and crown of the Hebrew

Besides the Sacred Scriptures, called collectively, by way of pre-
eminence, the Bible (The Book), it remains to mention especially the
Apocrypha, embracing a number of books that were composed after the
decline of the prophetic spirit, and which show traces, as indeed do
several of the later books of the Bible, of the influence of Persian and
Greek thought. These books are generally regarded by the Jews and
Protestants as uncanonical, but in the main are considered by the Roman
Catholics as possessing equal authority with the other books of the Bible.

Neither should we fail to mention the Talmud, a collection of Hebrew
customs and traditions, with the comments thereupon of the rabbis, a work
held by most Jews next in sacredness to the Holy Book; the writings of
Philo, an illustrious rabbi who lived at Alexandria just before the birth
of Christ; and the _Antiquities of the Jews_ and the _Jewish Wars_ by the
historian Josephus, who lived and wrote about the time of the taking of
Jerusalem by Titus; that is, during the latter part of the first century
after Christ.



THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE.--Ancient Phoenicia embraced a little strip of
broken sea-coast lying between the Mediterranean and the ranges of Mount
Lebanon. One of the most noted productions of the country was the fine
fir-timber cut from the forests that crowned the lofty ranges of the
Lebanon Mountains. The "cedar of Lebanon" holds a prominent place both in
the history and the poetry of the East.

Another celebrated product of the country was the Tyrian purple, which was
obtained from several varieties of the murex, a species of shell-fish,
secured at first along the Phoenician coast, but later sought in distant
waters, especially in the Grecian seas.

The Phoenicians were of Semitic race, and of close kin to most of the so-
called Canaanitish tribes. They were a maritime and trading people.

TYRE AND SIDON.--The various Phoenician cities never coalesced to form a
true nation. They simply constituted a sort of league, or confederacy, the
petty states of which generally acknowledged the leadership of Tyre or of
Sidon, the two chief cities. The place of supremacy in the confederation
was at first held by Sidon, but later by Tyre.

From the 11th to the 4th century B.C., Tyre controlled, almost without
dispute on the part of Sidon, the affairs of Phoenicia. During this time
the maritime enterprise and energy of her merchants spread the fame of the
little island-capital throughout the world. She was queen and mistress of
the Mediterranean.

During all the last centuries of her existence, Phoenicia was, for the
most part, tributary to one or another of the great monarchies about her.
She acknowledged in turn the suzerainty of the Assyrian, the Egyptian, the
Babylonian, the Persian, and the Macedonian kings. Alexander the Great,
after a most memorable siege, captured the city of Tyre--which alone of
all the Phoenician cities closed her gates against the conqueror--and
reduced it to ruins (332 B.C.). The city never recovered from this blow.
The larger part of the site of the once brilliant maritime capital is now
"bare as the top of a rock,"--a place where the fishermen that still
frequent the spot spread their nets to dry.

PHOENICIAN COMMERCE.--When we catch our first glimpse of the
Mediterranean, about 1500 B.C., it is dotted with the sails of Phoenician
navigators. It was natural that the people of the Phoenician coast should
have been led to a seafaring life. The lofty mountains that back the
little strip of shore seemed to shut them out from a career of conquest
and to prohibit an extension of their land domains. At the same time, the
Mediterranean in front invited them to maritime enterprise; while the
forests of Lebanon in the rear offered timber in abundance for their
ships. The Phoenicians, indeed, were the first navigators who pushed out
boldly from the shore and made real sea voyages.

The longest voyages were made to procure tin, which was in great demand
for the manufacture of articles in bronze. The nearest region where this
metal was found was the Caucasus, on the eastern shore of the Euxine. The
Phoenician sailors boldly threaded the Aegean Archipelago, passed through
the Hellespont, braved the unknown terrors of the Black Sea, and from the
land of Colchis brought back to the manufacturers of Asia the coveted

Towards the close of the 11th century B.C., the jealousy of the Pelasgic
states of Greece and of the Archipelago, that were now growing into
maritime power, closed the Aegean Sea against the Phoenician navigators.
They then pushed out into the Western Mediterranean, and opened the tin-
mines of the Iberian (Spanish) peninsula. When these began to fail, these
bold sailors passed the Pillars of Hercules, faced the dangers of the
Atlantic, and brought back from those distant seas the tin gathered in the
mines of Britain.

PHOENICIAN COLONIES.--Along the different routes pursued by their ships,
and upon the coasts visited by them, the Phoenicians established naval
stations and trading-posts. Settlements were made in Cyprus, in Rhodes,
and on other islands of the Aegean Sea, as well as in Greece itself. The
shores of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were fringed with colonies; while
the coast of North Africa was dotted with such great cities as Utica,
Hippo, and Carthage. Colonies were even planted beyond the Pillars of
Hercules, upon the Atlantic seaboard. The Phoenician settlement of Gades,
upon the western coast of Spain, is still preserved in the modern Cadiz.

ARTS DISSEMINATED BY THE PHOENICIANS.--We can scarcely overrate the
influence of Phoenician maritime enterprise upon the distribution of the
arts and the spread of culture among the early peoples of the
Mediterranean area. "Egypt and Assyria," says Lenormant, "were the
birthplace of material civilization; the Canaanites [Phoenicians] were its
missionaries." Most prominent of the arts which they introduced among all
the nations with whom they traded was that of alphabetical writing.

Before or during the rule of the Hyksos in Egypt, the Phoenician settlers
in the Delta borrowed from the Egyptians twenty-two hieratic characters,
which they passed on to their Asiatic kinsmen. These characters received
new names, and became the Phoenician alphabet. Now, wherever the
Phoenicians went, they carried this alphabet as "one of their exports." It
was through them, probably, that the Greeks received it; the Greeks passed
it on to the Romans, and the Romans gave it to the German peoples. In this
way did our alphabet come to us from Old Egypt.

The introduction of letters among the different nations, vast as was the
benefit which the gift conferred upon peoples just beginning to make
advances in civilization, was only one of the many advantages which
resulted to the early civilization of Europe from the commercial
enterprise of the Phoenicians. It is probable that they first introduced
among the semi-civilized tribes of that continent the use of bronze, which
marks an epoch in their growing culture. Articles of Phoenician
workmanship are found in the earliest tombs of the Greeks, the Etruscans,
and the Romans; and in very many of the manufactures of these peoples may
be traced the influence of Phoenician art.

civilization and culture broadcast over the entire Mediterranean area, the
enterprising Phoenicians were also lending aid to almost every great
undertaking of antiquity.

King Hiram of Tyre furnished Solomon with artisans and skilled workmen,
and with great rafts of timber from Lebanon, for building the splendid
temple at Jerusalem. The Phoenicians also provided timber from their fine
forests for the construction of the great palaces and temples of the
Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. They built for the Persian
king Xerxes the Hellespontine bridges over which he marched his immense
army into Greece (see p. 81). They furnished contingents of ships to the
kings of Nineveh and Babylon for naval operations both upon the
Mediterranean and the Persian and Arabian gulfs. Their fleets served as
transports and convoys to the expeditions of the Persian monarchs aiming
at conquest in Asia Minor or in Europe. They formed, too, the naval branch
of the armaments of the Pharaohs; for the Egyptians hated the sea, and
never had a native fleet. And it was Phoenician sailors that, under the
orders of Pharaoh-Necho, circumnavigated Africa (see p. 26)--an
undertaking which, although attended perhaps with less advantage to the
world, still is reckoned quite as remarkable, considering the remote age
in which it was accomplished, as the circumnavigation of the globe by the
Portuguese navigator Magellan, more than two thousand years later.




KINSHIP OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS.--It was in very remote times, that some
Aryan tribes, separating themselves from the other members of the Aryan
family, sought new abodes on the plateau of Iran. The tribes that settled
in the south became known as the Persians; while those that took
possession of the mountain regions of the northwest were called Medes. The
Medes, through mingling with native non-Aryan tribes, became quite
different from the Persians; but notwithstanding this, the names of the
two peoples were always very closely associated, as in the familiar
legend, "The law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."

THE MEDES AT FIRST THE LEADING RACE.--Although the Persians were destined
to become the dominant tribe of all the Iranian Aryans, still the Medes
were at first the leading people. Cyaxares (625-585 B.C.) was their first
prominent leader and king. We have already seen how, aided by the
Babylonians, he overthrew the last king of Nineveh, and burned that
capital (see p. 51).

Cyaxares was followed by his son Astyages (585-558 B.C.), during whose
reign the Persians, whom Cyaxares had brought into at least partial
subjection to the Median crown, revolted, overthrew the Median power, and
thenceforth held the place of leadership and authority.

REIGN OF CYRUS THE GREAT (558-529 B.C.).--The leader of the revolt against
the Medes was Cyrus, the tributary king of the Persians. Through his
energy and soldierly genius, he soon built up an empire more extended than
any over which the sceptre had yet been swayed by an Oriental monarch, or
indeed, so far as we know, by any ruler before his time. It stretched from
the Indus to the farthest limits of Asia Minor, and from the Caspian Sea
to the Persian Gulf, thus embracing not only the territories of the Median
kingdom, but also those of the allied kingdoms of Lydia and Babylonia. The
subjugation of Babylonia to the Persian authority has already been
narrated (see p. 60). We will now tell how Cyrus gained the kingdom of


Lydia was a country in the western part of Asia Minor. It was a land
highly favored by nature. It embraced two rich river valleys,--the plains
of the Hermus and the Cayster,--which, from the mountains inland, slope
gently to the island-dotted Aegean. The Pactolus, and other tributaries of
the streams we have named, rolled down "golden sands," while the mountains
were rich in the precious metals. The coast region did not at first belong
to Lydia; it was held by the Greeks, who had fringed it with cities. The
capital of the country was Sardis, whose citadel was set on a lofty and
precipitous rock.

The Lydians were a mixed people, formed, it is thought, by the mingling,
in prehistoric times, of Aryan tribes that crossed the Aegean from Europe,
with the original non-Aryan population of the country.

The last and most renowned of the Lydian kings was Croesus. Under him the
Lydian empire attained its greatest extension, embracing all the states of
Asia Minor west of the Halys, save Lycia. The tribute Croesus collected
from the Greek cities, which he subjugated, and the revenues he derived
from his gold mines, rendered him the richest monarch of his times, so
that his name has passed into the proverb "Rich as Croesus."

Now Astyages, whom Cyrus had just overthrown, was the brother-in-law of
this Croesus. When Croesus heard of his relative's misfortune, he resolved
to avenge his wrongs. The Delphian oracle (see p. 104), to which he sent
to learn the issue of a war upon Cyrus, told him that he "would destroy a
great kingdom." Interpreting this favorably, he sent again to inquire
whether the empire he should establish would prove permanent, and received
this oracle: "Flee and tarry not when a mule [Footnote: The allusion is to
the (traditional) mixed Persian and Median descent of Cyrus.] shall be
king of the Medes." Deeming the accession of a mule to the Persian throne
altogether impossible, he inferred the oracle to mean that his empire
should last forever.

Thus encouraged in his purpose, Croesus prepared to make war upon Persia.
But he had miscalculated the strength and activity of his enemy. Cyrus
marched across the Halys, defeated the Lydian army in the field, and after
a short siege captured Sardis; and Lydia became a province of the new
Persian empire.

[Illustration: TOMB OF CYRUS THE GREAT. (Present Condition.)]

There is a story which tells how Cyrus had caused a pyre to be erected on
which to burn Croesus, but at the last moment was struck by hearing the
unfortunate monarch repeatedly call the name of Solon. Seeking the meaning
of this, he was told that Croesus in his prosperous years was visited by
the Greek sage Solon, who, in answer to the inquiry of Croesus as to
whether he did not deem him a happy man, replied, "Count no man happy
until he is dead." Cyrus was so impressed with the story, so the legend
tells, that he released the captive king, and treated him with the
greatest kindness.

This war between Croesus and Cyrus derives a special importance from the
fact that it brought the Persian empire into contact with the Greek cities
of Asia, and thus led on directly to that memorable struggle between
Greece and Persia known as the Græco-Persian War.

Tradition says that Cyrus lost his life while leading an expedition
against some Scythian tribes in the north. He was buried at Pasargadæ, the
old Persian capital, and there his tomb stands to-day, surrounded by the
ruins of the magnificent buildings with which he adorned that city. The
following cuneiform inscription may still be read upon a pillar near the
sepulchre: "I am Cyrus, the king, the Akhæmenian."

Cyrus, notwithstanding his seeming love for war and conquest, possessed a
kindly and generous disposition. Almost universal testimony has ascribed
to him the purest and most beneficent character of any Eastern monarch.

REIGN OF CAMBYSES (529-522 B.C.).--Cyrus the Great left two sons, Cambyses
and Smerdis: the former, as the oldest, inherited the sceptre, and the
title of king. He began a despotic and unfortunate reign by causing his
brother, whose influence he feared, to be secretly put to death.

With far less ability than his father for their execution, Cambyses
conceived even vaster projects of conquest and dominion. Asia had hitherto
usually afforded a sufficient field for the ambition of Oriental despots.
Cambyses determined to add the country of Africa to the vast inheritance
received from his father. Upon some slight pretext, he invaded Egypt,
captured Memphis, and ascended the Nile to Thebes. From here he sent an
army of fifty thousand men to subdue the oasis of Ammon, in the Libyan
desert. Of the vast host not a man returned from the expedition. It is
thought that the army was overwhelmed and buried by one of those fatal
storms, called simooms, that so frequently sweep over those dreary wastes
of sand.

After a short, unsatisfactory stay in Egypt, Cambyses set out on his
return to Persia. While on his way home, news was brought to him that his
brother Smerdis had usurped the throne. A Magian [Footnote: There were at
this time two opposing religions in Persia: Zoroastrianism, which taught
the simple worship of God under the name of Ormazd; and Magianism, a less
pure faith, whose professors were fire-worshippers. The former was the
religion of the Aryans; the latter, that of the non-Aryan portion of the
population. The usurpation which placed Smerdis on the throne was planned
by the Magi, Smerdis himself being a fire-priest.] impostor, Gomates by
name, who resembled the murdered Smerdis, had personated him, and actually
grasped the sceptre.  Entirely disheartened by this startling
intelligence, Cambyses in despair took his own life.

REIGN OF DARIUS I. (521-486 B.C.).--The Persian nobles soon rescued the
sceptre from the grasp of the false Smerdis, and their leader, Darius,
took the throne.  The first act of Darius was to punish, by a general
massacre, the Magian priests for the part they had taken in the usurpation
of Smerdis.

is the Magus Gomates, the false Smerdis. (From the great Behistun Rock.)]

With quiet and submission secured throughout the empire, Darius gave
himself, for a time, to the arts of peace.  He built a palace at Susa, and
erected magnificent structures at Persepolis; reformed the administration
of the government (see p. 82), making such wise and lasting changes that
he has been called "the second founder of the Persian empire"; established
post-roads, instituted a coinage for the realm, and upon the great rock of
Behistun, a lofty smooth-faced cliff on the western frontier of Persia,
caused to be inscribed a record of all his achievements. [Footnote: This
important inscription is written in the cuneiform characters, and in three
languages, Aryan, Turanian, and Semitic. It is the Rosetta Stone of the
cuneiform writings, the key to their treasures having been obtained from
its parallel columns.]

And now the Great King, Lord of Western Asia and of Egypt, conceived and
entered upon the execution of vast designs of conquest, the far-reaching
effects of which were destined to live long after he had passed away.
Inhospitable steppes on the north, and burning deserts on the south, whose
shifting sands within a period yet fresh in memory had been the grave of a
Persian army, seemed to be the barriers which Nature herself had set for
the limits of empire in these directions. But on the eastern flank of the
kingdom the rich and crowded plains of India invited the conqueror with
promises of endless spoils and revenues; while on the west a new
continent, full of unknown mysteries, presented virgin fields never yet
traversed by the army of an Eastern despot. Darius determined to extend
the frontiers of his empire in both these directions.

At one blow the region of northwestern India known as the Punjab, was
brought under Persian authority; and thus with a single effort were the
eastern limits of the empire pushed out so as to include one of the
richest countries of Asia--one which henceforth returned to the Great King
an annual revenue vastly larger than that of any other province hitherto
acquired, not even excepting the rich district of Babylonia.

With an army numbering, it is said, more than 700,000 men, Darius now
crossed the Bosphorus by means of a sort of pontoon bridge, constructed by
Grecian architects, and passing the Danube by means of a similar bridge,
penetrated far into what is now Russia, which was then occupied by
Scythian hordes. The results of the expedition were the addition of Thrace
to the Persian empire, and the making of Macedonia a tributary kingdom.
Thus the Persian kings secured their first foothold upon the European

The most significant campaign in Europe was yet to follow. In 500 B.C.,
the Ionian cities in Asia Minor subject to the Persian authority revolted.
The Greeks of Europe lent aid to their sister states. Sardis was sacked
and burned by the insurgents. With the revolt crushed and punished with
great severity, Darius determined to chastise the European Greeks, and
particularly the Athenians, for their insolence in giving aid to his
rebellious subjects. Herodotus tells us that he appointed a person whose
sole duty it was daily to stir up the purpose of the king with the words,
"Master, remember the Athenians."

A large land and naval armament was fitted out and placed under the
command of Mardonius, a son-in-law of Darius. The land forces suffered
severe losses at the hands of the barbarians of Thrace, and the fleet was
wrecked by a violent storm off Mount Athos, three hundred ships being lost
(492 B.C.).

Two years after this disaster, another expedition, consisting of 120,000
men, was borne by ships across the AEgean to the plains of Marathon. The
details of the significant encounter that there took place between the
Persians and the Athenians will be given when we come to narrate the
history of Greece. We need now simply note the result,--the complete
overthrow of the Persian forces by the Greeks under Miltiades (490 B.C.).

Darius, angered beyond measure by the failure of the expedition, stirred
up all the provinces of his vast empire, and called for new levies from
far and near, resolved upon leading in person such an army into Greece
that the insolent Athenians should be crushed at a single blow, and the
tarnished glory of the Persian arms restored. In the midst of these
preparations, with the Egyptians in revolt, the king suddenly died, in the
year 486 B.C.

REIGN OF XERXES I. (486-465 B.C.).--The successor of Darius, his son
Xerxes, though more inclined to indulge in the ease and luxury of the
palace than to subject himself to the hardship and discipline of the camp,
was urged by those about him to an active prosecution of the plans of his

After crushing the Egyptian revolt and another insurrection in Babylonia,
the Great King was free to devote his attention to the distant Greeks.
Mustering the contingents of the different provinces of his empire, Xerxes
led his vast army over the bridges he had caused to be thrown across the
Hellespont, crushed the Spartan guards at the Pass of Thermopylæ, pushed
on into Attica, and laid Athens in ruins. But there fortune forsook him.
At the naval battle of Salamis, his fleet was cut to pieces by the Grecian
ships; and the king, making a precipitate retreat into Asia, hastened to
his capital, Susa. Here, in the pleasures of the harem, he sought solace
for his wounded pride and broken hopes. He at last fell a victim to palace
intrigue, being slain in his own chamber (465 B.C.).

END OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE.--The power and supremacy of the Persian
monarchy passed away with the reign of Xerxes. The last one hundred and
forty years of the existence of the empire was a time of weakness and
anarchy. This period was spanned by the reigns of eight kings. It was in
the reign of Artaxerxes II., called Mnemon for his remarkable memory, that
took place the well-known expedition of the Ten Thousand Greeks under
Cyrus, the brother of Artaxerxes, an account of which will be given in
connection with Grecian history (see chap. XV.).

The march of the Ten Thousand through the very heart of the dominions of
the Great King demonstrated the amazing internal weakness of the empire.
Marathon and Salamis had shown the immense superiority of the free
soldiery of Greece over the splendid but servile armies of Persia, that
were often driven to battle with the lash. These disclosures invited the
Macedonians to the invasion and conquest of the empire.

In the year 334 B.C., Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, led a small
army of thirty-five thousand Greeks and Macedonians across the Hellespont.
Three great battles--that of the Granicus, that of Issus, and that of
Arbela--decided the fate of the Persian Empire. Darius III., the last of
the Persian kings, fled from the field of Arbela, on the plains of
Assyria, only to be treacherously assassinated by one of his own generals.

The succeeding movements of Alexander, and the establishment by him of the
short-lived Macedonian monarchy upon the ruins of the Persian state, are
matters that properly belong to Grecian history, and will be related in a
following chapter.


THE GOVERNMENT.--Before the reign of Darius I., the government of the
Persian Empire was like that of all the great monarchies that had preceded
it; that is, it consisted of a great number of subject states, which were
allowed to retain their own kings and manage their own affairs, only
paying tribute and homage, and furnishing contingents in time of war, to
the Great King.

We have seen how weak was this rude and primitive type of government.
Darius I., who possessed rare ability as an organizer, remodelled the
system of his predecessors, and actually realized for the Persian monarchy
what Tiglath-Pileser II. had long before attempted, but only with partial
and temporary success, to accomplish for the Assyrian.

The system of government which Darius I. thus first made a real fact in
the world, is known as the _satrapal_, a form represented to-day by
the government of the Turkish Sultan. The entire kingdom was divided into
twenty or more provinces, over each of which was placed a governor, called
a satrap, appointed by the king. These officials held their position at
the pleasure of the sovereign, and were thus rendered his subservient
creatures. Each province contributed to the income of the king a stated

There were provisions in the system by which the king might be apprised of
the disloyalty of his satraps. Thus the whole dominion was firmly cemented
together, and the facility with which almost sovereign states--which was
the real character of the different parts of the empire under the old
system--could plan and execute revolt, was removed.

Persians was mostly religious. Their sacred book is called the Zendavesta.
The oldest part is named the Vendidad. This consists of laws,
incantations, and mythical tales.

[Illustration: THE KING IN COMBAT WITH A MONSTER. (From Persepolis.)]

The religious system of the Persians, as taught in the Zendavesta, is
known as Zoroastrianism, from Zoroaster, its founder. This great reformer
and teacher is now generally supposed to have lived and taught about 1000

Zoroastrianism was a system of belief known as dualism. Opposed to the
"good spirit," Ormazd (Ahura Mazda), there was a "dark spirit," Ahriman
(Angro-Mainyus), who was constantly striving to destroy the good creations
of Ormazd by creating all evil things--storm, drought, pestilence, noxious
animals, weeds and thorns in the world without, and evil in the heart of
man within. From all eternity these two powers had been contending for the
mastery; in the present neither had the decided advantage; but in the near
future Ormazd would triumph over Ahriman, and evil be forever destroyed.

The duty of man was to aid Ormazd by working with him against the evil-
loving Ahriman. He must labor to eradicate every evil and vice in his own
bosom; to reclaim the earth from barrenness; and to kill all bad animals--
frogs, toads, snakes, lizards--which Ahriman had created. Herodotus saw
with amazement the Magian priests armed with weapons and engaged in
slaying these animals as a "pious pastime." Agriculture was a sacred
calling, for the husbandman was reclaiming the ground from the curse of
the Dark Spirit. Thus men might become co-workers with Ormazd in the
mighty work of overthrowing and destroying the kingdom of the wicked

The evil man was he who allowed vice and degrading passions to find a
place in his own soul, and neglected to exterminate noxious animals and
weeds, and to help redeem the earth from the barrenness and sterility
created by the enemy of Ormazd. [Footnote: The belief of the Zoroastrians
in the sacredness of the elements,--earth, water, fire, and air,--created
a difficulty in regard to the disposal of dead bodies. They could neither
be burned, buried, thrown into the water, nor left to decay in a
sepulchral chamber or in the open air, without polluting one or another of
the sacred elements. So they were given to the birds and wild beasts,
being exposed on lofty towers or in desert places. Those whose feelings
would not allow them thus to dispose of their dead, were permitted to bury
them, provided they first encased the body in wax, to preserve the ground
from contamination. The modern Parsees, or Fire-Worshippers, give their
dead to the birds.]

After death the souls of the good and the bad alike must pass over a
narrow bridge: the good soul crosses in safety, and is admitted to the
presence of Ahura Mazda; while the evil soul is sure to fall from the
path, sharp as the edge of a scimitar, into a pit of woe, the dwelling-
place of Ahriman.

ARCHITECTURE.--The simple religious faith of the Persians discouraged,
though it did not prohibit, the erection of temples: their sacred
architecture scarcely included more than an altar and pedestal. The palace
of the monarch was the structure that absorbed the best efforts of the
Persian artist.

In imitation of the inhabitants of the valley of the Euphrates, the
Persian kings raised their palaces upon lofty terraces, or platforms. But
upon the table-lands they used stone instead of adobe or brick, and at
Persepolis, raised, for the substruction of their palaces, an immense
platform of massive masonry, which is one of the most wonderful monuments
of the world's ancient builders. This terrace, which is uninjured by the
2300 years that have passed since its erection, is about 1500 feet long,
1000 feet wide, and 40 feet high. The summit is reached by broad stairways
of stone, pronounced by competent judges the finest work of the kind that
the ancient or even the modern world can boast.


Surmounting this platform are the ruins of the palaces of several of the
Persian monarchs, from Cyrus the Great to Artaxerxes Ochus. These ruins
consist chiefly of walls, columns, and great monolithic door- and window-
frames. Colossal winged bulls, copied from the Assyrians, stand as wardens
at the gateway of the ruined palaces.

Numerous sculptures in bas-relief decorate the faces of the walls, and
these throw much light upon the manners and customs of the ancient Persian
kings. The successive palaces increase, not only in size, but in
sumptuousness of adornment, thus registering those changes which we have
been tracing in the national history. The residence of Cyrus was small and
modest, while that of Artaxerxes Ochus equalled in size the great palace
of the Assyrian Sargon.


Kings of Media
  Phraortes. . . . . . . . . . . . ?  -625
  Cyaxares . . . . . . . . . . . . 625-585
  Astyages . . . . . . . . . . . . 585-558

Kings of Persia
  Cyrus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 558-529
  Cambyses . . . . . . . . . . . . 529-522
  Pseudo-Smerdis . . . . . . . . . 522-521
  Darius I.  . . . . . . . . . . . 521-486
  Xerxes I.  . . . . . . . . . . . 486-465
  Artaxerxes I. (Longimanus) . . . 465-425
  Xerxes II. . . . . . . . . . . .     425
  Sogdianus  . . . . . . . . . . . 425-424
  Darius II. (Nothus)  . . . . . . 424-405
  Artaxerxes II. (Mnemon)  . . . . 405-359
  Artaxerxes III. (Ochus)  . . . . 359-338
  Arses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338-336
  Darius III. (Codomannus) . . . . 336-330




DIVISIONS OF GREECE.--Long arms of the sea divide the Grecian peninsula
into three parts, called Northern, Central, and Southern Greece.

Northern Greece included the ancient districts of Thessaly and Epirus.
Thessaly consists mainly of a large and beautiful valley, walled in on all
sides by rugged mountains. It was celebrated far and wide for the variety
and beauty of its scenery. On its northern edge, lay a beautiful glen,
called the Vale of Tempe, the only pass by which the plain of Thessaly
could be entered from the north. The district of Epirus stretched along
the Ionian Sea on the west. In the gloomy recesses of its forests of oak
was situated the renowned Dodonean oracle of Zeus.

Central Greece was divided into eleven districts, among which were Phocis,
Boeotia, and Attica. In Phocis was the city of Delphi, famous for its
oracle and temple; in Boeotia, the city of Thebes; and in Attica, the
brilliant Athens.

Southern Greece, or the Peloponnesus, was also divided into eleven
provinces, of which the more important were Arcadia, embracing the central
part of the peninsula; Achaia, the northern part; Argolis, the eastern;
and Messenia and Laconia, the southern. The last district was ruled by the
city of Sparta, the great rival of Athens.

MOUNTAINS.--The Cambunian Mountains form a lofty wall along a considerable
reach of the northern frontier of Greece, shutting out at once the cold
winds and hostile races from the north. Branching off at right angles to
these mountains is the Pindus range, which runs south into Central Greece.

In Northern Thessaly is Mount Olympus, the most celebrated mountain of the
peninsula. The ancient Greeks thought it the highest mountain in the world
(it is 9700 feet in height), and believed that its cloudy summit was the
abode of the celestials.

South of Olympus, close by the sea, are Ossa and Pelion, celebrated in
fable as the mountains which the giants, in their war against the gods,
piled one upon another, in order to scale Olympus.

Parnassus and Helicon, in Central Greece,--beautiful mountains clad with
trees and vines and filled with fountains,--were believed to be the
favorite haunts of the Muses. Near Athens are Hymettus, praised for its
honey, and Pentelicus, renowned for its marbles.

The Peloponnesus is rugged with mountains that radiate in all directions
from the central country of Arcadia,--"the Switzerland of Greece."

ISLANDS ABOUT GREECE.--Very much of the history of Greece is intertwined
with the islands that lie about the mainland. On the east, in the Aegean
Sea, are the Cyclades, so called because they form an irregular circle
about the sacred isle of Delos, where was a very celebrated shrine of
Apollo. Between the Cyclades and Asia Minor lie the Sporades, which
islands, as the name implies, are sown irregularly over that portion of
the Aegean.

Just off the coast of Attica is a large island called by the ancients
Euboea, but known to us as Negropont. Close to the Asian shores are the
large islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, and Rhodes.

To the west of Greece lie the Ionian Islands, the largest of which was
called Corcyra, now Corfu. The rugged island of Ithaca was the birthplace
of Odysseus, or Ulysses, the hero of the _Odyssey_. Cythera, just south of
the Peloponnesus, was sacred to Aphrodite (Venus), as it was here fable
said she rose from the sea-foam. Beyond Cythera, in the Mediterranean,
midway between Greece and Egypt, is the large island of Crete, noted in
legend for its labyrinth and its legislator Minos.

INFLUENCE OF COUNTRY.--The physical features of a country have much to do
with the moulding of the character and the shaping of the history of its
people. Mountains, isolating neighboring communities and shutting out
conquering races, foster the spirit of local patriotism and preserve
freedom; the sea, inviting abroad, and rendering intercourse with distant
countries easy, awakens the spirit of adventure and develops commercial

Now, Greece is at once a mountainous and a maritime country. Abrupt
mountain-walls fence it off into a great number of isolated districts,
each of which in ancient times became the seat of a distinct community, or
state. Hence the fragmentary character of its political history. The
Hellenic states never coalesced to form a single nation.

The peninsula is, moreover, by deep arms and bays of the sea, converted
into what is in effect an archipelago. (No spot in Greece is forty miles
from the sea.) Hence its people were early tempted to a sea-faring life.
The shores of the Mediterranean and the Euxine were dotted with Hellenic
colonies. Intercourse with the old civilizations of Egypt and Phoenicia
stirred the naturally quick and versatile Greek intellect to early and
vigorous thought. The islands strewn with seeming carelessness through the
AEgean Sea were "stepping-stones," which invited the earliest settlers of
Greece to the delightful coast countries of Asia Minor, and thus blended
the life and history of the opposite shores.

Again, the beauty of Grecian scenery inspired many of the most striking
passages of her poets; and it is thought that the exhilarating atmosphere
and brilliant skies of Attica were not unrelated to the lofty achievements
of the Athenian intellect.

THE PELASGIANS.--The historic inhabitants of the land we have described
were called by the Romans Greeks, but they called themselves Hellenes,
from their fabled ancestor Hellen.

But the Hellenes, according to their own account, were not the original
inhabitants of the country. They were preceded by a people whom they
called Pelasgians. Who these folk were is a matter of debate. Some think
that the Pelasgians and Hellenes were kindred tribes, but that the
Hellenes, possessing superior qualities, gradually acquired ascendency
over the Pelasgians and finally absorbed them.

[Illustration: PREHISTORIC WALLS AT MYCENÆ. (The Lions' Gate.)]

The Pelasgians were somewhat advanced beyond the savage state. They
cultivated the ground, and protected their cities with walls. Remnants of
their rude but massive masonry still encumber in places the soil of

THE HELLENES.--The Hellenes were divided into four tribes; namely, the
Ionians, the Dorians, the Achæans, and the Æolians. The Ionians were a
many-sided, imaginative people. They developed every part of their nature,
and attained unsurpassed excellence in art, literature, and philosophy.
The most noted Ionian city was Athens, whose story is a large part of the
history of Hellas.

The Dorians were a practical, unimaginative race. Their speech and their
art were both alike without ornament. They developed the body rather than
the mind. Their education was almost wholly gymnastic and military. They
were unexcelled as warriors. The most important city founded by them was
Sparta, the rival of Athens.

These two great Hellenic families divided Hellas [Footnote: Under the name
Hellas the ancient Greeks included not only Greece proper and the islands
of the adjoining seas, but also the Hellenic cities in Asia Minor,
Southern Italy, Sicily, and elsewhere. "Wherever were Hellenes, there was
Hellas."] into two rival parties, which through their mutual jealousies
and contentions finally brought all the bright hopes and promises of the
Hellenic race to utter ruin.

The Achæans are represented by the Greek legends as being the predominant
race in the Peloponnesus during the Heroic Age. The Æolians formed a
rather ill-defined division. In historic times the name is often made to
include all Hellenes not enumerated as Ionians or Dorians.

These several tribes, united by bonds of language and religion, always
regarded themselves as members of a single family. They were proud of
their ancestry, and as exclusive almost as the Hebrews. All non-Hellenic
people they called _Barbarians_ [Footnote: At first, this term meant
scarcely more than "unintelligible folk"; but later, it came to express
aversion and contempt.].

When the mists of antiquity are first lifted from Greece, about the
beginning of the eighth century B.C., we discover the several families of
the Hellenic race in possession of Greece proper, of the islands of the
Ægean, and of the western coasts of Asia Minor. Respecting their
prehistoric migrations and settlements, we have little or no certain

ORIENTAL IMMIGRANTS.--According to their own traditions the early growth
of civilization among the European Hellenes was promoted by the settlement
among them of Oriental immigrants, who brought with them the arts and
culture of the different countries of the East.

From Egypt, legend affirms, came Cecrops, bringing with him the arts,
learning, and priestly wisdom of the Nile valley. He is represented as the
builder of the citadel (the _Cecropia_) of what was afterwards the
illustrious city of Athens. From Phoenicia Cadmus brought the letters of
the alphabet, and founded the city of Thebes. The Phrygian Pelops, the
progenitor of the renowned heroes Agamemnon and Menelaus, settled in the
southern peninsula, which was called after him the Peloponnesus (the
Island of Pelops).

The nucleus of fact in all these legends is probably this,--that the
European Greeks received the primary elements of their culture from the
East through their Asiatic kinsmen.

political sympathies of the ancient Greeks prevented their ever uniting to
form a single nation. The city was with them the political unit. It was
regarded as a distinct, self-governing state, just like a modern nation. A
citizen of one city was an alien in any other: he could not marry a woman
of a city not his own, nor hold property in houses or lands within its

A Greek city-state usually embraced, besides the walled town, a more or
less extensive border of gardens and farms, a strip of sea-coast, or
perhaps a considerable mountain-hemmed valley or plain. The _model_
city (or _state_, as we should say) must not be over large. In this,
as in everything else, the ancient Greeks applied the Delphian rule--
"Measure in all things." "A small city," says one of their poets, "set
upon a rock and well governed, is better than all foolish Nineveh."
Aristotle thought that the ideal city should not have more than ten
thousand citizens.


(From the earliest times to 776 B.C.)

CHARACTER OF THE LEGENDARY AGE.--The real history of the Greeks does not
begin before the eighth century B.C. All that lies back of that date is an
inseparable mixture of myth, legend, and fact. Yet this shadowy period
forms the background of Grecian history, and we cannot understand the
ideas and acts of the Greeks of historic times without at least some
knowledge of what they believed their ancestors did and experienced in
those prehistoric ages.

So, as a sort of prelude to the story we have to tell, we shall repeat
some of the legends of the Greeks respecting their national heroes and
their great labors and undertakings. But it must be carefully borne in
mind that these legends are not history, though some of them may be
confused remembrances of actual events.

THE HEROES: HERACLES, THESEUS, AND MINOS.--The Greeks believed that their
ancestors were a race of heroes of divine or semi-divine lineage. Every
tribe, district, city, and village even, preserved traditions of its
heroes, whose wonderful exploits were commemorated in song and story. Many
of these personages acquired national renown, and became the revered
heroes of the whole Greek race.

Heracles was the greatest of the national heroes of the Greeks. He is
represented as performing, besides various other exploits, twelve
superhuman labors, and as being at last translated from a blazing pyre to
a place among the immortal gods. The myth of Heracles, who was at first a
solar divinity, is made up mainly of the very same fables that were told
of the Chaldæan solar hero Izdubar (see p. 46). Through the Phoenicians,
these stories found their way to the Greeks, who ascribed to their own
Heracles the deeds of the Chaldæan sun-god.

Theseus, a descendant of Cecrops, was the favorite hero of the Athenians,
being one of their legendary kings. Among his great exploits was the
slaying of the Minotaur,--a monster which Minos, king of Crete, kept in a
labyrinth, and fed upon youths and maidens sent from Athens as a forced

Minos, king of Crete, was one of the greatest tribal heroes of the
Dorians. Legend makes him a legislator of divine wisdom, the suppressor of
piracy in the Grecian seas, and the founder of the first great maritime
state of Hellas.

THE ARGONAUTIC EXPEDITION.--Besides the labors and exploits of single
heroes, the legends of the Greeks tell of several memorable enterprises
conducted by bands of heroes. Among these were the Argonautic Expedition
and the Siege of Troy.

The tale of the Argonautic Expedition is told with many variations in the
legends of the Greeks. Jason, a prince of Thessaly, with fifty companion
heroes, among whom were Heracles, Theseus, and Orpheus, the latter a
musician of superhuman skill, the music of whose lyre moved brutes and
stones, set sail in "a fifty-oared galley," called the _Argo_ (hence
the name _Argonauts_, given to the heroes), in search of a "golden
fleece" which was fabled to be nailed to a tree and watched by a dragon,
in the Grove of Ares, on the eastern shores of the Euxine, an inhospitable
region of unknown terrors. The expedition is successful, and, after many
wonderful adventures, the heroes return in triumph with the sacred relic.

Different meanings have been given to this tale. In its primitive form it
was doubtless a pure myth of the rain-clouds; but in its later forms we
may believe it to symbolize the maritime explorations in the eastern seas,
of some of the tribes of Pelasgian Greece.

THE TROJAN WAR (legendary date 1194-1184 B.C.).--The Trojan War was an
event about which gathered a great circle of tales and poems, all full of
an undying interest and fascination.

Ilios, or Troy, was the capital of a strong empire, represented as Grecian
in race and language, which had grown up in Asia Minor, along the shores
of the Hellespont. The traditions tell how Paris, son of Priam, king of
Troy, visited the Spartan king Menelaus, and ungenerously requited his
hospitality by secretly bearing away to Troy his wife Helen, famous for
her rare beauty.

All the heroes of Greece flew to arms to avenge the wrong. A host of one
hundred thousand warriors was speedily gathered. Agamemnon, brother of
Menelaus and "king of men," was chosen leader of the expedition. Under him
were the "lion-hearted Achilles," of Thessaly, the "crafty Ulysses"
(Odysseus), king of Ithaca, Ajax, "the swift son of Oileus," the
Telamonian Ajax, the aged Nestor, and many more--the most valiant heroes
of all Hellas. Twelve hundred galleys bore the gathered clans from Aulis
in Greece, across the Ægean to the Trojan shores.

For ten years the Greeks and their allies hold in close siege the city of
Priam. On the plains beneath the walls of the capital, the warriors of the
two armies fight in general battle, or contend in single encounter. At
first, Achilles is foremost in every fight; but a fair-faced maiden, who
fell to him as a prize, having been taken from him by his chief,
Agamemnon, he is filled with wrath, and sulks in his tent. Though the
Greeks are often sorely pressed, still the angered hero refuses them his
aid. At last, however, his friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, eldest
son of Priam, and then Achilles goes forth to avenge his death. In a
fierce combat he slays Hector, fastens his body to his chariot wheels, and
drags it thrice around the walls of Troy.

The city is at last taken through a device of the "crafty Ulysses." Upon
the plain in sight of the walls is built a wooden statue of a horse, in
the body of which are hidden several Grecian warriors. Then the Greeks
retire to their ships, as though about to abandon the siege. The Trojans
issue from the gates and gather in wondering crowds about the image. They
believe it to be an offering sacred to Athena, and so dare not destroy it;
but, on the other hand, misled by certain omens and by a lying Greek named
Sinon, they level a place in the walls of their city, and drag the statue
within. At night the concealed warriors issue from the horse, open the
gates of the city to the Grecians, and Troy is sacked, and burned to the
ground. The aged Priam is slain, after having seen his sons and many of
his warriors perish before his face. Æneas, with his aged father,
Anchises, and a few devoted followers, escapes, and, after long
wanderings, becomes the fabled founder of the Roman race in Italy.

It is a matter of difficulty to point out the nucleus of fact in this the
most elaborate and interesting of the Grecian legends. Some believe it to
be the dim recollection of a prehistoric conflict between the Greeks and
the natives of Asia Minor, arising from the attempt of the former to
secure a foothold upon the coast. That there really existed in prehistoric
times such a city as Troy, has been placed beyond doubt by the excavations
and discoveries of Dr. Schliemann.

RETURN OF THE GRECIAN CHIEFTAINS.--After the fall of Troy, the Grecian
chieftains and princes returned home. The poets represent the gods as
withdrawing their protection from the hitherto favored heroes, because
they had not respected the altars of the Trojans. So, many of them were
driven in endless wanderings over sea and land. Homer's _Odyssey_ portrays
the sufferings of the "much-enduring" Odysseus (Ulysses), impelled by
divine wrath to long journeyings through strange seas.

In some cases, according to the tradition, advantage had been taken of the
absence of the princes, and their thrones had been usurped. Thus at Argos,
Ægisthus had won the unholy love of Clytemnestra, wife and queen of
Agamemnon, who on his return was murdered by the guilty couple. In
pleasing contrast with this we have exhibited to us the constancy of
Penelope, although sought by many suitors during the absence of her
husband Ulysses.

B.C.).--We set the tradition of the return of the Heraclidæ apart from the
legends of the enterprises just detailed, for the reason that it
undoubtedly contains quite a large historical element. The legend tells
how Heracles, an Achæan, in the times before the Trojan War, ruled over
the Peloponnesian Achæans. Just before that event his children were driven
from the land. Eighty years after the war, the hundred years of exile
appointed by the Fates having expired, the descendants of the hero, at the
head of the Dorians from Northern Greece, returned, and with their aid
effected the conquest of the greater part of the Peloponnesus, and
established themselves as conquerors and masters in the land that had
formerly been ruled by their semi-divine ancestor.

This legend seems to be a dim remembrance of a prehistoric invasion of the
Peloponnesus by the Dorians from the north of Greece, and the expulsion or
subjugation of the native inhabitants of the peninsula.

Some of the dispossessed Achæans, crowding towards the north of the
Peloponnesus, drove out the Ionians who occupied the southern shore of the
Corinthian Gulf, and settling there, gave the name _Achaia_ to all that

Arcadia, in the centre of the Peloponnesus, was another district which did
not fall into the hands of the Dorians. The people here, even down to the
latest times, retained their primitive customs and country mode of life;
hence _Arcadian_ came to mean rustic and artless.

MIGRATIONS TO ASIA MINOR.--The Greek legends represent that the Dorian
invasion of the Peloponnesus resulted in three distinct migrations from
the mother-land to the shores of Asia Minor and the adjoining islands.

The northwestern shore of Asia Minor was settled, mainly, by Aeolian
emigrants from Boeotia. The neighboring island of Lesbos became the home
and centre of Æolian culture in poetry and music.

The coast to the south of the Æolians was occupied by Ionian emigrants,
who, uniting with their Ionian kinsmen already settled upon that shore,
built up twelve splendid cities (Ephesus, Miletus, etc.), which finally
united to form the celebrated Ionian confederacy.

South of the Ionians, all along the southwestern shore of Asia Minor, the
Dorians established their colonies. They also settled the important
islands of Cos and Rhodes, and conquered and colonized Crete.

The traditions of these various settlements represent them as having been
effected in a very short period; but it is probable that the movement
embraced several centuries,--possibly a longer time than has been occupied
by the English race in colonizing the different lands of the Western

With these migrations to the Asiatic shores, the Legendary Age of Greece
comes to an end. From this time forward we tread upon fairly firm historic

SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE.--In Homeric times the Greeks were ruled by
hereditary kings, who were believed to be of divine or superhuman lineage.
The king was at once the lawgiver, the judge, and the military leader of
his people. He was expected to prove his divine right to rule, by his
courage, strength, wisdom, and eloquence. When he ceased to display these
qualities, "the sceptre departed from him."

The king was surrounded by an advisory council of chiefs or nobles. The
king listened to what the nobles had to say upon any measure he might
propose, and then acted according to his own will or judgment, restrained
only by the time-honored customs of the community.

Next to the council of chiefs, there was a general assembly, called the
_Agora_, made up of all the common freemen. The members of this body
could not take part in any debate, nor could they vote upon any question.
This body, so devoid seemingly of all authority in the Homeric age, was
destined to become the all-powerful popular assembly in the democratic
cities of historic Greece.

Of the condition of the common freemen we know but little; the legendary
tales were concerned chiefly with the kings and nobles. Slavery existed,
but the slaves did not constitute as numerous a class as they became in
historic times.

In the family, the wife held a much more honored position than she
occupied in later times. The charming story of the constant Penelope,
which we find in the _Odyssey_, assures us that the Homeric age cherished
a chivalric feeling for woman.

In all ranks of society, life was marked by a sort of patriarchal
simplicity. Manual labor was not yet thought to be degrading. Ulysses
constructs his own house and raft, and boasts of his skill in swinging the
scythe and guiding the plow. Spinning and weaving were the chief
occupations of the women of all classes.

One pleasing and prominent virtue of the age was hospitality. There were
no public inns in those times, hence a sort of gentle necessity compelled
the entertainment of wayfarers. The hospitality accorded was the same free
and impulsive welcome that the Arab sheik of to-day extends to the
traveller whom chance brings to his tent. But while hospitable, the nobles
of the heroic age were often cruel, violent, and treacherous. Homer
represents his heroes as committing without a blush all sorts of fraud and
villanies. Piracy was considered an honorable occupation.

[Illustration: FORTY-OARED GREEK BOAT. (After a Vase Painting.)]

Art and architecture were in a rudimentary state. Yet some advance had
been made. The cities were walled, and the palaces of the kings possessed
a certain barbaric splendor. Coined money was unknown; wealth was reckoned
chiefly in flocks and herds, and in uncoined metals. The art of writing
was probably unknown, at least there is no certain mention of it; and
sculpture could not have been in an advanced state, as the Homeric poems
make no mention of statues. The state of literature is shown by the poems
of the _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_: before the close of the age, epic poetry had
reached a perfection beyond which it has never been carried.

Commerce was yet in its infancy. Although the Greeks were to become a
great maritime people, still in the Homeric age they had evidently
explored the sea but little. The Phoenicians then ruled the waves. The
Greeks in those early times knew scarcely anything of the world beyond
Greece proper and the neighboring islands and shores. Scarcely an echo of
the din of life from the then ancient and mighty cities of Egypt and
Chaldæa seems to have reached their ears.



INTRODUCTORY.--Without at least some little knowledge of the religious
ideas and institutions of the ancient Greeks, we should find very many
passages of their history wholly unintelligible. Hence a few remarks upon
these matters will be in place here.

COSMOGRAPHY OF THE GREEKS.--The Greeks supposed the earth to be, as it
appears, a plane, circular in form like a shield. Around it flowed the
"mighty strength of the ocean river," a stream broad and deep, beyond
which on all sides lay realms of Cimmerian darkness and terror. The
heavens were a solid vault, or dome, whose edge shut down close upon the
earth. Beneath the earth, reached by subterranean passages, was Hades, a
vast region, the realm of departed souls. Still beneath this was the
prison Tartarus, a pit deep and dark, made fast by strong gates of brass
and iron. Sometimes the poets represent the gloomy regions beyond the
ocean stream as the cheerless abode of the dead.

The sun was an archer-god, borne in a fiery chariot up and down the steep
pathway of the skies. Naturally it was imagined that the regions in the
extreme east and west, which were bathed in the near splendors of the
sunrise and sunset, were lands of delight and plenty. The eastern was the
favored country of the Ethiopians [Footnote: There was also a western
division of these people.], a land which even Zeus himself so loved to
visit that often he was found absent from Olympus when sought by
suppliants. The western region, adjoining the ocean stream, formed the
Elysian Fields, the abodes of the souls of heroes and of poets. [Footnote:
These conceptions, it will be understood, belong to the early period of
Greek mythology. As the geographical knowledge of the Greeks became more
extended, they modified considerably the topography not only of the upper-
world, but also of the nether-world.]

THE OLYMPIC COUNCIL.--There were twelve members of the celestial council,
six gods and as many goddesses. The male deities were Zeus, the father of
gods and men; Poseidon, ruler of the sea; Apollo, or Phoebus, the god of
light, of music, and of prophecy; Ares, the god of war; Hephæstus, the
deformed god of fire, and the forger of the thunderbolts of Zeus; Hermes,
the wing-footed herald of the celestials, the god of invention and
commerce, himself a thief and the patron of thieves.


The female divinities were Hera, the proud and jealous queen of Zeus;
Athena, or Pallas,--who sprang full-grown from the forehead of Zeus,--the
goddess of wisdom, and the patroness of the domestic arts; Artemis, the
goddess of the chase; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, born of
the sea-foam; Hestia, the goddess of the hearth; Demeter, the earth-
mother, the goddess of grains and harvests. [Footnote: The Latin names of
these divinities are as follows: Zeus = Jupiter; Poseidon = Neptune;
Apollo = Apollo; Ares = Mars; Hephæstus = Vulcan; Hermes = Mercury; Hera =
Juno; Athena = Minerva; Artemis = Diana; Aphrodite = Venus; Hestia =
Vesta; Demeter = Ceres.

These Latin names, however, are not the equivalents of the Greek names,
and should not be used as such. The mythologies of the Hellenes and Romans
were as distinct as their languages. Consult Rawlinson's _Religions of
the Ancient World_.]

These great deities were simply magnified human beings, possessing all
their virtues, and often their weaknesses. They give way to fits of anger
and jealousy. "Zeus deceives, and Hera is constantly practising her
wiles." All the celestial council, at the sight of Hephæstus limping
across the palace floor, burst into "inextinguishable laughter"; and
Aphrodite, weeping, moves all to tears. They surpass mortals rather in
power, than in size of body. They can render themselves visible or
invisible to human eyes. Their food is ambrosia and nectar; their
movements are swift as light. They may suffer pain; but death can never
come to them, for they are immortal. Their abode is Mount Olympus and the
airy regions above the earth.

LESSER DEITIES AND MONSTERS.--Besides the great gods and goddesses that
constituted the Olympian council there was an almost infinite number of
other deities, celestial personages, and monsters neither human nor

Hades (Pluto) ruled over the lower realms; Dionysus (Bacchus) was the god
of wine; the goddess Nemesis was the punisher of crime, and particularly
the queller of the proud and arrogant; Æolus was the ruler of the winds,
which he confined in a cave secured by mighty gates.

There were nine Muses, inspirers of art and song. The Nymphs were
beautiful maidens, who peopled the woods, the fields, the rivers, the
lakes, and the ocean. Three Fates allotted life and death, and three
Furies (Eumenides or Erinnyes) avenged crime, especially murder and
unnatural crimes. The Gorgons were three sisters, with hair entwined with
serpents. A single gaze upon them chilled the beholder to stone. Besides
these there were Scylla and Charybdis, sea-monsters that made perilous the
passage of the Sicilian Straits, the Centaurs, the Cyclops, Cerberus, the
watch-dog of Hades, and a thousand others.

Many at least of these monsters were simply personifications of the human
passions or of the malign and destructive forces of nature. Thus, the
Furies were the embodiment of an aroused and accusing conscience; the
Gorgons were tempests, which lash the sea into a fury that paralyzes the
affrighted sailor; Scylla and Charybdis were dangerous whirlpools off the
coast of Sicily. To the common people at least, however, they were real
creatures, with all the parts and habits given them by the poets.

MODES OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION.--In the early ages the gods were wont, it
was believed, to visit the earth and mingle with men. But even in Homer's
time this familiar intercourse was a thing of the past--a tradition of a
golden age that had passed away. Their forms were no longer seen, their
voices no longer heard. In these later and more degenerate times the
recognized modes of divine communication with men were by oracles, and by
casual and unusual sights and sounds, as thunder and lightning, a sudden
tempest, an eclipse, a flight of birds,--particularly of birds that mount
to a great height, as these were supposed to know the secrets of the
heavens,--the appearance or action of the sacrificial victims, or any
strange coincidence. The art of interpreting these signs or omens was
called the art of divination.

ORACLES.--But though the gods might reveal their will and intentions
through signs and portents, still they granted a more special
communication of counsel through what were known as _oracles_. These
communications, it was believed, were made by Zeus, and especially by
Apollo, who was the god of prophecy, the Revealer.

Not everywhere, but only in chosen places, did these gods manifest their
presence and communicate the divine will. These favored spots were called
oracles, as were also the responses there received. There were twenty-two
oracles of Apollo in different parts of the Grecian world, but a much
smaller number of those of Zeus. These were usually situated in wild and
desolate spots--in dark forests or among gloomy mountains.

The most renowned of the oracles was that of the Pelasgian Zeus at Dodona,
in Epirus, and that of Apollo at Delphi, in Phocis. At Dodona the priests
listened in the dark forests for the voice of Zeus in the rustling leaves
of the sacred oak. At Delphi there was a deep fissure in the ground, which
emitted stupefying vapors, that were thought to be the inspiring breath of
Apollo. Over the spot was erected a splendid temple, in honor of the
oracle. The revelation was generally received by the Pythia, or priestess,
seated upon a tripod placed over the orifice. As she became overpowered by
the influence of the prophetic exhalations, she uttered the message of the
god. These mutterings of the Pythia were taken down by attendant priests,
interpreted, and written in hexameter verse. Sometimes the will of Zeus
was communicated to the pious seeker by dreams and visions granted to him
while sleeping in the temple of the oracle.

The oracle of Delphi gained a celebrity wide as the world: it was often
consulted by the monarchs of Asia and the people of Rome in times of
extreme danger and perplexity. Among the Greeks scarcely any undertaking
was entered upon without the will and sanction of the oracle being first

Especially true was this in the founding of colonies. Apollo was believed
"to take delight in the foundation of new cities." No colony could prosper
that had not been established under the superintendence of the Delphian

Some of the responses of the oracle contained plain and wholesome advice;
but very many of them, particularly those that implied a knowledge of the
future, were obscure and ingeniously ambiguous, so that they might
correspond with the event however affairs should turn. Thus, Croesus is
told that, if he undertake an expedition against Persia, he will destroy a
great empire. He did, indeed;--but the empire was his own.

The Delphian oracle was at the height of its fame before the Persian War;
in that crisis it did not take a bold or patriotic stand, and its
reputation was sensibly impaired.

IDEAS OF THE FUTURE.--To the Greeks life was so bright and joyous a thing
that they looked upon death as a great calamity. They therefore pictured
life after death, except in the case of a favored few, as being hopeless
and aimless. [Footnote: Homer makes the shade of the great Achilles in
Hades to say:--
  "I would be
  A laborer on earth, and serve for hire
  Some man of mean estate, who makes scant cheer,
  Rather than reign o'er all who have gone down
  To death."--_Od._ XI. 489-90 [Bryant's Trans.].] The Elysian Fields,
away in the land of sunset, were, indeed, filled with every delight; but
these were the abode only of the great heroes and benefactors of the race.
So long as the body remained unburied, the soul wandered restless in
Hades; hence the sacredness of the rites of sepulture.

THE SACRED GAMES.--The celebrated games of the Greeks had their origin in
the belief of their Aryan ancestors that the souls of the dead were
gratified by such spectacles as delighted them during their earthly life.
During the Heroic Age these festivals were simply sacrifices or games
performed at the tomb, or about the pyre of the dead. Gradually these grew
into religious festivals observed by an entire city or community, and were
celebrated near the oracle or shrine of the god in whose honor they were
instituted; the idea now being that the gods were present at the festival,
and took delight in the various contests and exercises.

Among these festivals, four acquired a world-wide celebrity. These were
the Olympian, celebrated in honor of Zeus, at Olympia, in the
Peloponnesus; the Pythian, in honor of Apollo, near his shrine and oracle
at Delphi; the Nemean, in honor of Zeus, at Nemea; and the Isthmian, held
in honor of Poseidon, on the isthmus of Corinth.

THE OLYMPIAN GAMES.--Of these four festivals the Olympian secured the
greatest renown. In 776 B.C. Coroebus was victor in the foot-race at
Olympia, and as from that time the names of the victors were carefully
registered, that year came to be used by the Greeks as the starting-point
in their chronology. The games were held every fourth year, and the
interval between two successive festivals was known as an Olympiad.

The contests consisted of foot-races, boxing, wrestling, and other
athletic games. Later, chariot-racing was introduced, and became the most
popular of all the contests. The competitors must be of the Hellenic race;
and must, moreover, be unblemished by any crime against the state or sin
against the gods. Spectators from all parts of the world crowded to the

The victor was crowned with a garland of wild olive; heralds proclaimed
his name abroad; his native city received him as a conqueror, sometimes
through a breach made in the city walls; his statues, executed by eminent
artists, were erected at Olympia and in his own city; sometimes even
divine honor and worship were accorded to him; and poets and orators vied
with the artist in perpetuating the name and deeds of him who had
reflected undying honor upon his native state.

INFLUENCE OF THE GRECIAN GAMES.--For more than a thousand years these
national festivals exerted an immense influence upon the literary, social,
and religious life of Hellas. They enkindled among the widely scattered
Hellenic states and colonies a common literary taste and enthusiasm; for
into all the four great festivals, excepting the Olympian, were
introduced, sooner or later, contests in poetry, oratory, and history.
During the festivals, poets and historians read their choicest
productions, and artists exhibited their masterpieces. The extraordinary
honors accorded to the victors stimulated the contestants to the utmost,
and strung to the highest tension every power of body and mind. To this
fact we owe some of the grandest productions of the Greek race.

They moreover promoted intercourse and trade; for the festivals became
great centres of traffic and exchange during the continuance of the games.
They softened, too, the manners of the people, turning their thoughts from
martial exploits and giving the states respite from war; for during the
month in which the religious games were held it was sacrilegious to engage
in military expeditions. In all these ways, though they never drew the
states into a common political union, still they did impress a common
character upon their social, intellectual, and religious life.

THE AMPHICTYONIC COUNCIL.--Closely connected with the religious festivals
were the so-called Amphictyonies, or "leagues of neighbors." These were
associations of a number of cities or tribes for the celebration of
religious rites at some shrine, or for the protection of some particular

Pre-eminent among all such unions was that known as the Delphic
Amphictyony, or simply The Amphictyony. This was a league of twelve of the
sub-tribes of Hellas, whose main object was the protection of the Temple
of Apollo at Delphi. Another of its purposes was, by humane regulations,
to mitigate the cruelties of war.

The so-called First Sacred War (600-590 B.C.) was a crusade of ten years
carried on by the Amphictyons against the cities of Crissa and Cirrha for
their robbery of the treasures of the Delphian temple. The cities were
finally taken, levelled to the ground, and the wrath of the gods invoked
upon any one who should dare to rebuild them. The spoils of the war were
devoted to the establishment of musical contests in honor of the Delphian
Apollo. Thus originated the renowned Pythian festivals, to which allusion
has just been made.


(776-500 B.C.)


THE TYRANTS.--In the Heroic Age the preferred form of government was a
patriarchal monarchy. The _Iliad_ says, "The rule of many is not a
good thing: let us have one ruler only,--one king,--him to whom Zeus has
given the sceptre." But by the dawn of the historic period, the
patriarchal monarchies of the Achæan age had given place, in almost all
the Grecian cities, to oligarchies or aristocracies.

THE OLIGARCHIES GIVE WAY TO TYRANNIES.--The nobles into whose hands the
ancient royal authority thus passed were often divided among themselves,
and invariably opposed by the common freemen, who, as they grew in
intelligence and wealth, naturally aspired to a place in the government.
The issue of long contentions was the overthrow almost everywhere of
oligarchical government and the establishment of the rule of a single

Usually this person was one of the nobility, who held himself out as the
champion of the people, and who with their help usurped the government.
One who had thus seized the government was called a tyrant. By this term
the Greeks did not mean one who rules harshly, but simply one who holds
the supreme authority in the state illegally. Some of the Greek Tyrants
were mild and beneficent rulers, though too often they were all that the
name implies among us.

But the Greeks always had an inextinguishable hatred of arbitrary rule;
consequently the Tyrannies were, as a rule, short-lived, rarely lasting
longer than three generations. They were usually violently overthrown, and
the old oligarchies re-established, or democracies set up in their place.
As a rule, the Dorian cities preferred oligarchical, and the Ionian cities
democratical, government. The so-called Age of the Tyrants lasted from 650
to 500 B.C.

Among the most noted of the Tyrants were the Pisistratidæ, at Athens, of
whom we shall speak hereafter; Periander at Corinth (625-585 B.C.), who
was a most cruel ruler, yet so generous a patron of artists and literary
men that he was thought worthy of a place among the Seven Sages; and
Polycrates, Tyrant of Samos (535-522 B.C.), who, with that island as a
stronghold, and with a fleet of a hundred war-galleys, built up a sort of
maritime kingdom in the AEgean, and for the space of more than a decade
enjoyed such astonishing and uninterrupted prosperity, that it was
believed his sudden downfall and death--he was allured to the Asian shore
by a Persian satrap, and crucified--were brought about by the envy of the
gods, [Footnote: Herodotus tells how Amasis of Egypt, the friend and ally
of the Tyrant, becoming alarmed at his extraordinary course of good
fortune, wrote him, begging him to interrupt it and disarm the envy of the
gods, by sacrificing his most valued possession. Polycrates, acting upon
the advice, threw into the sea a precious ring, which he highly prized;
but soon afterwards the jewel was found by his servants in a fish that a
fisherman had brought to the palace as a present for Polycrates. When
Amasis heard of this, he at once broke off his alliance with the Tyrant,
feeling sure that he was fated to suffer some terrible reverse of fortune.
The event justified his worst fears.] who the Greeks thought were apt to
be jealous of over-prosperous mortals.

THE FOUNDING OF COLONIES.--The Age of the Tyrants coincides very nearly
with the era of greatest activity in the founding of new colonies.
Thousands, driven from their homes, like the Puritans in the time of the
Stuart tyranny in England, fled over the seas, and, under the direction of
the Delphian Apollo, laid upon remote and widely separated shores the
basis of "Dispersed Hellas." The overcrowding of population and the Greek
love of adventure also contributed to swell the number of emigrants.
During this colonizing era Southern Italy became so thickly set with Greek
cities as to become known as _Magna Græcia_, "Great Greece." Here were
founded during the latter part of the eighth century B.C. the important
Dorian city of Tarentum; the wealthy and luxurious Achæan city of Sybaris
(whence the term _Sybarite_, meaning a voluptuary); the Great Crotona,
distinguished for its schools of philosophy and its victors in the
Olympian games.

Upon the island of Sicily was planted, by the Dorian Corinth, the city of
Syracuse (734 B.C.), which, before Rome had become great, waged war on
equal terms with Carthage.

In the Gulf of Lyons was established about 600 B.C. the important Ionian
city of Massalia (Marseilles), the radiating point of long routes of
travel and trade.

On the African coast was founded the great Dorian city of Cyrene (630
B.C.), and probably about the same time was established in the Nile delta
the city of Naucratis, through which the civilization of Egypt flowed into

The tide of emigration flowed not only to the west and south, but to the
north as well. The northern shores of the Ægean and those of the
Hellespont and the Propontis were fringed with colonies. The Argonautic
terrors of the Black Sea were forgotten or unheeded, and even those remote
shores received their emigrants. Many of the settlements in that quarter
were established by the Ionian city of Miletus, which, swarming like a
hive, became the mother of more than eighty colonies.

Through this wonderful colonizing movement, Greece came to hold somewhat
the same place in the ancient Mediterranean world that England as a
colonizer occupies in the world of today. Many of these colonies not only
reflected honor upon the mother land through the just renown of their
citizens, but through their singularly free, active, and progressive life,
they exerted upon her a most healthful and stimulating influence.


SITUATION OF SPARTA.--Sparta was one of the cities of the Peloponnesus
which owed their origin or importance to the Dorian Invasion (see p. 96).
It was situated in the deep valley of the Eurotas, in Laconia, and took
its name Sparta (sown land) from the circumstance that it was built upon
tillable ground, whereas the heart and centre of most Greek cities
consisted of a lofty rock (the citadel, or acropolis). It was also called
Lacedæmon, after an early legendary king.

CLASSES IN THE SPARTAN STATE.--In order to understand the social and
political institutions of the Spartans, we must first notice the three
classes--Spartans (Spartiatæ), Perioeci, and Helots--into which the
population of Laconia was divided.

The Spartans proper were the descendants of the Dorian conquerors of the
country. They composed but a small fraction of the entire population.
Their relations to the conquered people were those of an army of
occupation. Sparta, their capital, was simply a vast camp, unprotected by
any walls until later and degenerate times. The martial valor of its
citizens was thought its only proper defence.

The Perioeci (dwellers-around), who constituted the second class, were the
subjugated Achæans. They were allowed to retain possession of their lands,
but were forced to pay tribute, and, in times of war, to fight for the
glory and interest of their Spartan masters.

The third and lowest class was composed of slaves, or serfs, called
Helots. The larger number of these were laborers upon the estates of the
Spartans. They were the property of the state, and not of the individual
Spartan lords, among whom they were distributed by lot. Practically they
had no rights which their Spartan masters felt bound to respect. It is
affirmed that when they grew too numerous for the safety of the state,
their numbers were thinned by a deliberate massacre of the surplus

THE LEGEND OF LYCURGUS.--The laws and customs of the Spartans have excited
more interest, perhaps, than any similar institutions of the ancient
world. A mystery and halo were thrown about them by their being attributed
to the creative genius of a single lawgiver, Lycurgus.

Lycurgus, according to tradition, lived about the ninth century B.C. He is
represented as acquainting himself with the laws and institutions of
different lands, by converse with their priests and sages. He is said to
have studied with great zeal the laws of Minos, the legendary lawgiver of
the Cretans. Like the great legislator Moses, he became learned in all the
wisdom of the Egyptians.

After much opposition, a system of laws and regulations drawn up by
Lycurgus was adopted by the Spartan people. Then, binding his countrymen
by a solemn oath that they would carefully observe his laws during his
absence, he set out on a pilgrimage to Delphi. In response to his inquiry,
the oracle assured him that Sparta would endure and prosper as long as the
people obeyed the laws he had given them. Lycurgus caused this answer to
be carried to his countrymen; and then, that they might remain bound by
the oath they had taken, he resolved never to return. He went into an
unknown exile.

Constitution of Lycurgus provided for two joint kings, a Senate of Elders,
and a Popular Assembly.

The two kings corresponded in some respects to the two consuls in the
later Roman republic. One served as a check upon the other. This double
sovereignty worked admirably; for five centuries there were no attempts on
the part of the Spartan kings to subvert the constitution. The power of
the joint kings, it should be added, was rather nominal than real (save in
time of war); so that while the Spartan government was monarchical in
form, it was in reality an aristocracy, the Spartans corresponding very
closely to the feudal lords of mediæval Europe.

The Senate consisted of thirty elders. The powers of this body were at
first almost unlimited. After a time, however, officers called ephors were
elected by the Popular Assembly, and these gradually absorbed the powers
and functions of the Senate, as well as the authority of the two associate

The Popular Assembly was composed of all the citizens of Sparta over
thirty years of age. By this body laws were made, and questions of peace
and war decided. In striking contrast to what was the custom at Athens,
all matters were decided without debate. The Spartans were fighters, not
talkers; they hated discussion.

REGULATIONS AS TO LANDS AND MONEY.--At the time of Lycurgus the lands of
Laconia had become absorbed by the rich, leaving the masses in poverty and
distress. It is certain that the lawgiver did much to remedy this ruinous
state of affairs. Tradition says that all the lands were redistributed, an
equal portion being assigned to each of the nine thousand Spartan
citizens, and a smaller and less desirable portion to each of the thirty
thousand Perioeci,--but it is not probable that there was any such exact
equalization of property.

The Spartans were forbidden to engage in trade; all their time must be
passed in the chase, or in gymnastic and martial exercise. Iron was made
the sole money of the state. This, according to Plutarch, "was of great
size and weight, and of small value, so that the equivalent for ten minæ
(about $140) required a great room for its stowage, and a yoke of oxen to
draw it." The object of this, he tell us, was to prevent its being used
for the purchase of "foreign trumpery."

THE PUBLIC TABLES.--The most peculiar, perhaps, of the Lycurgean
institutions were the public meals. In order to correct the extravagance
with which the tables of the rich were often spread, Lycurgus ordered that
all the Spartan citizens should eat at public and common tables. Excepting
the ephors, none, not even the kings, were excused from sitting at the
common mess. One of the kings, returning from a long expedition, presumed
to dine privately with his wife, but received therefor a severe reproof.

A luxury-loving Athenian, once visiting Sparta and seeing the coarse fare
of the citizens, is reported to have declared that now he understood the
Spartan disregard of life in battle. "Any one," said he, "must naturally
prefer death to life on such fare as this."

EDUCATION OF THE YOUTH.--Children were considered as belonging to the
state. Every infant was brought before the Council of Elders; and if it
did not seem likely to become a robust and useful citizen, it was exposed
in a mountain glen. At seven the education and training of the youth were
committed to the charge of public officers, called boy-trainers. The aim
of the entire course, as to the boys, was to make a nation of soldiers who
should despise toil and danger and prefer death to military dishonor.
Reading and writing were untaught, and the art of rhetoric was despised.
Spartan brevity was a proverb, whence our word _laconic_ (from Laconia),
implying a concise and pithy mode of expression. Boys were taught to
respond in the fewest words possible. At the public tables they were not
permitted to speak until questioned: they sat "silent as statues." As
Plutarch puts it, "Lycurgus was for having the money bulky, heavy, and of
little value; and the language, on the contrary, very pithy and short, and
a great deal of sense compressed in a few words."

But before all things else the Spartan youth was taught to bear pain
unflinchingly. Often he was scourged just for the purpose of accustoming
his body to pain. Frequently, it is said, boys died under the lash,
without betraying their suffering by look or moan.

Another custom tended to the same end as the foregoing usage. The boys
were at times compelled to forage for their food. If detected, they were
severely punished for having been so unskilful as not to get safely away
with their booty. This custom, as well as the fortitude of the Spartan
youth, is familiar to all through the story of the boy who, having stolen
a young fox and concealed it beneath his tunic, allowed the animal to tear
out his vitals, without betraying himself by the movement of a muscle.

The Cryptia, which has been represented as an organization of young
Spartans who were allowed, as a means of rendering themselves ready and
expert in war, to hunt and kill the Helots, seems in reality to have been
a sort of police institution, designed to guard against uprisings of the

ESTIMATE OF THE SPARTAN INSTITUTIONS.--That the laws and regulations of
the Spartan constitution were admirably adapted to the end in view,--the
rearing of a nation of skilful and resolute warriors,--the long military
supremacy of Sparta among the states of Greece abundantly attests. But
when we consider the aim and object of the Spartan institutions, we must
pronounce them low and unworthy. The true order of things was just
reversed among the Lacedæmonians. Government exists for the individual: at
Sparta the individual lived for the state. The body is intended to be the
instrument of the mind: the Spartans reversed this, and attended to the
education of the mind only so far as its development enhanced the
effectiveness of the body as a weapon in warfare.

Spartan history teaches how easy it is for a nation, like an individual,
to misdirect its energies--to subordinate the higher to the lower. It
illustrates, too, the fact that only those nations that labor to develop
that which is best and highest in man make helpful contributions to the
progress of the world. Sparta, in significant contrast to Athens,
bequeathed nothing to posterity.

THE MESSENIAN WARS.--The most important event in Spartan history between
the age of Lycurgus and the commencement of the Persian War was the long
contest with Messenia, known as the First and Second Messenian Wars (about
750-650 B.C.). Messenia was one of the districts of the Peloponnesus
which, like Laconia, had been taken possession of by the Dorians at the
time of the great invasion.

It is told that the Spartans, in the second war, falling into despair,
sent to Delphi for advice. The oracle directed them to ask Athens for a
commander. The Athenians did not wish to aid the Lacedæmonians, yet dared
not oppose the oracle. So they sent Tyrtæus, a poet-schoolmaster, who they
hoped and thought would prove of but little service to Sparta. Whatever
truth there may be in this part of the story, it seems indisputable that
during the Second Messenian War, Tyrtæus, an Attic poet, reanimated the
drooping spirits of the Spartans by the energy of his martial strains.
Perhaps it would not be too much to say that Sparta owed her final victory
to the inspiring songs of this martial poet.

The conquered Messenians were reduced to serfdom, and their condition made
as degrading and bitter as that of the Helots of Laconia. Many, choosing
exile, pushed out into the western seas in search of new homes. Some of
the fugitives founded Rhegium, in Italy; others, settling in Sicily, gave
name and importance to the still existing city of Messina.

GROWTH OF THE POWER OF SPARTA.--After having secured possession of
Messenia, Sparta conquered the southern part of Argolis. All the southern
portion of the Peloponnesus was now subject to her commands.

On the north, Sparta extended her power over many of the villages, or
townships, of Arcadia; but her advance in this direction having been
checked by Tegea, one of the few important Arcadian cities, Sparta entered
into an alliance with that city, which ever after remained her faithful
friend and helper. This alliance was one of the main sources of Spartan
preponderance in Greece during the next hundred years and more.

Sparta was now the most powerful state in the Peloponnesus. Her fame was
spread even beyond the limits of Hellas. Croesus, king of Lydia, sought an
alliance with her in his unfortunate war with Persia, which just now was
the rising power in Asia.


THE ATTIC PEOPLE.--The population of Attica in historic times was
essentially Ionian in race, but there were in it strains of other Hellenic
stocks, besides some non-Hellenic elements as well. This mixed origin of
the population is believed to be one secret of the versatile yet well-
balanced character which distinguished the Attic people above all other
branches of the Hellenic family. It is not the absolutely pure, but the
mixed races, like the English people, that have made the largest
contributions to civilization.

THE SITE OF ATHENS.--Four or five miles from the sea, a flat-topped rock,
about one thousand feet in length and half as many in width, rises with
abrupt cliffs, one hundred and fifty feet above the level of the plains of
Attica. The security afforded by this eminence doubtless led to its
selection as a stronghold by the early Attic settlers. Here a few
buildings, perched upon the summit of the rock and surrounded by a
palisade, constituted the beginning of the capital whose fame has spread
over all the world.

THE KINGS OF ATHENS.--During the Heroic Age Athens was ruled by kings,
like all the other Grecian cities. The names of Theseus and Codrus are the
most noted of the regal line.

[Illustration: THE ACROPOLIS AT ATHENS. (From a Photograph.)]

To Theseus tradition ascribed the work of uniting the different Attic
villages, or cantons, twelve in number, into a single city, on the seat of
the ancient Cecropia (see p. 92). This prehistoric union, however or by
whomsoever effected, laid the basis of the greatness of Athens.

Respecting Codrus, the following legend is told: At one time the Dorians
from the Peloponnesus invaded Attica. Codrus having learned that an oracle
had assured them of success if they spared the life of the Athenian king,
disguised himself, and, with a single companion, made an attack upon some
Spartan soldiers, who instantly slew him. Discovering that the king of
Athens had fallen by a Lacedæmonian sword, the Spartans despaired of
taking the city, and withdrew from the country.

THE ARCHONS (1050?-612 B.C.).--Codrus was the last king of Athens. His
successor, elected by the nobles, was given simply the name of Archon, or
Ruler, for the reason, it is said, that no one was thought worthy to bear
the title of the divine Codrus. The real truth is, that the nobles were
transforming the Homeric monarchy into an oligarchy, and to effect the
change were taking away from the king his royal powers. At the outset
there was but one Archon, elected for life; later, there were nine, chosen

Throughout these early times the government was in the hands of the
nobles; the people, that is, the free farmers and artisans, having no part
in the management of public affairs. The people at length demanded a voice
in the government, or at least legal protection from the exactions and
cruelties of the wealthy.

THE LAWS OF DRACO (about 620 B.C.).--To meet these demands, the nobles
appointed one of their own number, Draco, to prepare a code of laws. He
reduced existing customs and regulations to a definite and written
constitution, assigning to the smallest offence the penalty of death. This
cruel severity of the Draconian laws caused an Athenian orator to say of
them that "they were written, not in ink, but in blood." But for their
harshness Draco was not responsible: he did not make them; their severity
was simply a reflection of the harshness of those early times.

THE REBELLION OF CYLON (612 B.C.).--Soon after the enactment of Draco's
laws, which naturally served only to increase the discontent of the
people, Cylon, a rich and ambitious noble, taking advantage of the state
of affairs, attempted to overthrow the government and make himself
supreme. He seized the citadel of the Acropolis, where he was closely
besieged by the Archons. Finally the Archon Megacles offered the
insurgents their lives on condition of surrender. They accepted the offer,
but fearing to trust themselves among their enemies without some
protection, fastened a string to a statue of Athena, and holding fast to
this, descended from the citadel, into the streets of Athens. As they came
in front of the altars of the Furies, the line broke; and Megacles,
professing to believe that this mischance indicated that the goddess
refused to shield them, caused them to be set upon and massacred.

The people were alarmed lest the fierce anger of the avenging Furies had
been incurred by the slaughter of prisoners in violation of a sacred oath
and before their very altars. Calamities that now befell the state
deepened their apprehension. Thus the people were inflamed still more
against the aristocracy. They demanded and finally secured the banishment
of the Alcmæonidæ, the family to which Megacles belonged. Even the bones
of the dead of the family were dug up, and cast beyond the frontiers. The
people further insisted upon a fresh revision of the laws and a share in
the government.

THE LAWS OF SOLON (594 B.C.).--Solon, a man held in great esteem by all
classes, was chosen to draw up a new code of laws. He repealed many of the
cruel laws of Draco; permitted the return of persons driven into exile;
gave relief to the debtor class, especially to the poor farmers, whose
little plots were covered with mortgages, by reducing the value of the
money in which they would have to make payment; ordered those held in
slavery for debt to be set free; and cancelled all fines payable to the
state. These measures caused contentment and prosperity to take the place,
everywhere throughout Attica, of previous discontent and wretchedness.

CHANGES IN THE ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION.--The changes wrought by Solon in the
political constitution of Athens were equally wise and beneficent. He
divided all the citizens of Athens into four classes, according to their
income. Only members of the first class could hold the office of Archon;
and only those of the first three classes were eligible to the Council of
Elders; but every member of all the classes had the right to vote in the
popular assembly.

Thus property instead of birth was made the basis of political rights.
This completely changed the character of the government; it was no longer
an exclusive oligarchy.

A council known as the Council of the Four Hundred was created by Solon.
Its chief duties were to decide what matters might be discussed by the
public assembly, and to execute the resolutions of that body.

THE TRIBUNAL OF THE AREOPAGUS.--Solon also enlarged the jurisdiction of
the celebrated Tribunal of the Areopagus, a venerable council that from
time out of memory had been held on the Areopagus, or Mars' Hill, near the
Acropolis. The judges sat beneath the open sky, that they might not be
contaminated, it is said, by the breath of the criminals brought before
them. To this court was committed the care of morals and religion. It was
in the presence of this venerable tribunal, six hundred years after
Solon's time, that Paul stood when he made his eloquent defence of

THE PUBLIC ASSEMBLY.--The public assembly, under the constitution of
Solon, was made the most important of all the institutions of the state.
It was the fountain of all power. Contrary to the rule in Sparta, any
citizen had the right not only of voting, but of speaking on any question
which the assembly had a right to discuss. Six thousand citizens were
required to constitute a quorum to transact business in cases of special
importance. This popular assembly grew into vast importance in later
times. By it were discussed and decided questions affecting the entire
Hellenic world.

These laws and institutions of Solon laid the basis of the Athenian

THE TYRANT PISISTRATUS (560-527 B.C.).--Solon had the misfortune of living
to see his institutions used to set up a tyranny, by an ambitious kinsman,
his nephew Pisistratus. This man courted popular favor, and called himself
the "friend of the people." One day, having inflicted many wounds upon
himself, he drove his chariot hastily into the public square, and
pretended that he had been thus set upon by the nobles, because of his
devotion to the people's cause. The people, moved with sympathy and
indignation, voted him a guard of fifty men. Under cover of raising this
company, Pisistratus gathered a much larger force, seized the Acropolis,
and made himself master of Athens. Though twice expelled from the city, he
as often returned, and finally succeeded in getting a permanent hold of
the government.

The rule of the usurper was mild, and under him Athens enjoyed a period of
great prosperity. He adorned the city with temples and other splendid
buildings, and constructed great aqueducts. Just beyond the city walls, he
laid out the Lyceum, a sort of public park, which became in after years
the favorite resort of the philosophers and poets of Athens. He was a
liberal patron of literature; and caused the Homeric poems to be collected
and edited. He died 527 B.C., thirty-three years after his first seizure
of the citadel. Solon himself said of him that he had no vice save

Pisistratus, Hippias and Hipparchus, succeeded to his power. At first they
emulated the example of their father, and Athens flourished under their
parental rule. But at length an unfortunate event gave an entirely
different tone to the government. Hipparchus, having insulted a young
noble, was assassinated. Hippias escaped harm, but the event caused him to
become suspicious and severe. His rule now became a tyranny indeed, and
was brought to an end in the following way.

After his last return to Athens, Pisistratus had sent the "accursed"
Alcmæonidæ into a second exile. During this period of banishment an
opportunity arose for them to efface the stain of sacrilege which was
still supposed to cling to them on account of the old crime of Megacles.
The temple at Delphi having been destroyed by fire, they contracted with
the Amphictyons to rebuild it. They not only completed the work in the
most honorable manner throughout, but even went so far beyond the terms of
their contract as to use beautiful Parian marble for the front of the
temple, when only common stone was required by the specifications.

By this act the exiled family won to such a degree the favor of the
priests of the sacred college, that they were able to influence the
utterances of the oracle. The invariable answer now of the Pythia to
Spartan inquirers at the shrine was, "Athens must be set free."

Moved at last by the repeated injunctions of the oracle, the Spartans
resolved to drive Hippias from Athens. Their first attempt was
unsuccessful; but in a second they were so fortunate as to capture the two
children of the tyrant, who, to secure their release, agreed to leave the
city (510 B.C.). He retired to Asia Minor, and spent the rest of his life,
as we shall learn hereafter, seeking aid in different quarters to re-
establish his tyranny in Athens. The Athenians passed a decree of
perpetual exile against him and all his family.

THE REFORMS OF CLISTHENES (509 B.C.).--Straightway upon the expulsion of
the Tyrant Hippias, there arose a great strife between the people, who of
course wished to organize the government in accord with the constitution
of Solon, and the nobles, who desired to re-establish the old
aristocratical rule. Clisthenes, an aristocrat, espoused the cause of the
popular party. Through his influence several important changes in the
constitution, which rendered it still more democratical than under Solon,
were now effected.

Athenian citizenship was conferred upon _all the free inhabitants of
Attica_. This made such a radical change in the constitution in the
interest of the masses, that Clisthenes rather than Solon is regarded by
many as the real founder of the Athenian democracy.

OSTRACISM.--But of all the innovations or institutions of Clisthenes, that
known as _ostracism_ was the most characteristic. By means of this
process any person who had excited the suspicions or displeasure of the
people could, without trial, be banished from Athens for a period of ten
years. Six thousand votes cast against any person in a meeting of the
popular assembly was a decree of banishment. The name of the person whose
banishment was sought was written on a piece of pottery or a shell (in
Greek _ostrakon_), hence the term _ostracism_.

The original design of this institution was to prevent the recurrence of
such a usurpation as that of the Pisistratidæ. The privilege and power it
gave the people were often abused, and many of the ablest and best
statesmen of Athens were sent into exile through the influence of some
demagogue who for the moment had caught the popular ear.

No stigma or disgrace attached to the person ostracized. The vote came to
be employed, as a rule, simply to settle disputes between rival leaders of
political parties. Thus the vote merely expressed political preference,
the ostracized person being simply the defeated candidate for popular

The institution was short-lived. It was resorted to for the last time
during the Peloponnesian War (417 B.C.). The people then, in a freak,
ostracized a man whom all admitted to be the meanest man in Athens. This
was regarded as such a degradation of the institution, as well as such an
honor to the mean man, that never thereafter did the Athenians degrade a
good man, or honor a bad one, by a resort to the measure.

SPARTA OPPOSES THE ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY.--The aristocratic party at Athens
was naturally bitterly opposed to all these democratic innovations. The
Spartans, also, viewed with disquiet and jealousy this rapid growth of the
Athenian democracy, and tried to overthrow the new government and restore
Hippias to power. But they did not succeed in their purpose, and Hippias
went away to Persia to seek aid of King Darius. His solicitations, in
connection with an affront which the Athenians just now offered the king
himself by aiding his revolted subjects in Ionia, led directly up to the
memorable struggle known as the Græco-Persian wars.



(500-479 B.C.)

EXPEDITIONS OF DARIUS AGAINST GREECE.--In narrating the history of the
Persians, we told how Darius, after having subdued the revolt of his
Ionian subjects in Asia Minor, turned his armaments against the European
Greeks, to punish them for the part they had taken in the capture and
burning of Sardis. It will be recalled how ill-fated was his first
expedition, which was led by his son-in-law Mardonius (see p. 80).

Undismayed by this disaster, Darius issued orders for the raising and
equipping of another and stronger armament. Meanwhile he sent heralds to
the various Grecian states to demand earth and water, which elements among
the Persians were symbols of submission. The weaker states gave the tokens
required; but the Athenians and Spartans threw the envoys of the king into
pits and wells, and bade them help themselves to earth and water. By the
beginning of the year 490 B.C., another Persian army of 120,000 men had
been mustered for the second attempt upon Greece. This armament was
intrusted to the command of the experienced generals Datis and
Artaphernes; but was under the guidance of the traitor Hippias. A fleet of
six hundred ships bore the army from the coasts of Asia Minor over the
Aegean towards the Grecian shores.

After receiving the submission of the most important of the Cyclades, and
capturing and sacking the city of Eretria upon the island of Euboea, the
Persians landed at Marathon, barely one day's journey from Athens. Here is
a sheltered bay, which is edged by a crescent-shaped plain, backed by the
rugged ranges of Parnes and Pentelicus. Upon this level ground the Persian
generals drew up their army, flushed and confident with their recent

THE BATTLE OF MARATHON (490 B.C.).--The Athenians were nerved by the very
magnitude of the danger to almost superhuman energy. Slaves were
transformed into soldiers by the promise of liberty. A fleet runner,
Phidippides by name, was despatched to Sparta for aid. In just thirty-six
hours he was in Sparta, which is one hundred and fifty miles from Athens.
But it so happened that it lacked a few days of the full moon, during
which interval the Spartans, owing to an old superstition, were averse to
setting out upon a military expedition. They promised aid, but moved only
in time to reach Athens when all was over. The Platæans, firm and grateful
friends of the Athenians, on account of some former service, no sooner
received the latter's appeal for help than they responded to a man.

The Athenians and their faithful allies, numbering about ten thousand in
all, under the command of Miltiades, were drawn up in battle array just
where the hills of Pentelicus sink down into the plain of Marathon. The
vast host of the Persians filled the level ground in their front. The fate
of Greece and the future of Europe were in the keeping of Miltiades and
his trusty warriors. Without waiting for the attack of the Persians, the
Greeks charged and swept like a tempest from the mountain over the plain,
pushed the Persians back towards the shore, and with great slaughter drove
them to their ships.

Miltiades at once despatched a courier to Athens with intelligence of his
victory. The messenger reached the city in a few hours, but so breathless
from his swift run that, as the people thronged eagerly around him to hear
the news he bore, he could merely gasp, "Victory is ours," and fell dead.

But the danger was not yet past. The Persian fleet, instead of returning
to the coast of Asia, bore down upon Athens. Informed by watchers on the
hills of the movements of the enemy, Miltiades immediately set out with
his little army for the capital, which he reached just at evening, the
battle at Marathon having been won in the forenoon of that same day. The
next morning, when the Persian generals would have made an attack upon the
city, they found themselves confronted by the same men who but yesterday
had beaten them back from the plains of Marathon. Shrinking from another
encounter with these citizen-soldiers of Athens, the Persians spread their
sails, and bore away towards the Ionian shore.

Thus the cloud that had lowered so threateningly over Hellas was for a
time dissipated. The most imposing honors were accorded to the heroes who
had achieved the glorious victory, and their names and deeds were
transmitted to posterity, in song and marble. And as the gods were
believed to have interposed in behalf of Greece, suitable recognition of
their favor was made in gifts and memorials. A considerable part of the
brazen arms and shields gathered from the battle-field was melted into a
colossal statue of Athena, which was placed upon the Acropolis, as the
guardian of Athens.

RESULTS OF THE BATTLE OF MARATHON.--The battle of Marathon is reckoned as
one of the "decisive battles of the world." It marks an epoch, not only in
the life of Greece, but in that of Europe. Hellenic civilization was
spared to mature its fruit, not for itself alone, but for the world. The
battle decided that no longer the despotism of the East, with its
repression of all individual action, but the freedom of the West, with all
its incentives to personal effort, should control the affairs and mould
the ideas and institutions of the future. It broke the spell of the
Persian name, and destroyed forever the prestige of the Persian arms. It
gave the Hellenic peoples that position of authority and pre-eminence that
had been so long enjoyed by the successive races of the East. It
especially revealed the Athenians to themselves. The consciousness of
resources and power became the inspiration of their future acts. They
performed great deeds thereafter because they believed themselves able to
perform them.

MILTIADES FALLS INTO DISGRACE.--The distinguished services Miltiades had
rendered his country, made him the hero of the hour at Athens. Taking
advantage of the public feeling in his favor, he persuaded the Athenians
to put in his hands a fleet for an enterprise respecting the nature of
which no one save himself was to know anything whatever. Of course it was
generally supposed that he meditated an attack upon the Persians or their
allies, and with full faith in the judgment as well as in the integrity of
their favorite, the Athenians gave him the command he asked.

But Miltiades abused the confidence imposed in him. He led the expedition
against the island of Paros, simply to avenge some private wrong. The
undertaking was unsuccessful, and Miltiades, severely wounded, returned to
Athens, where he was brought to trial for his conduct. His never-to-be-
forgotten services at Marathon pleaded eloquently for him, and he escaped
being sentenced to death, but was subjected to a heavy fine. This he was
unable to pay, and in a short time he died of his wound. The unfortunate
affair left an ineffaceable blot upon a fame otherwise the most
resplendent in Grecian story.

inclined to believe that the battle of Marathon had freed Athens forever
from the danger of a Persian invasion. But there was at least one among
them who was clear-sighted enough to see that that battle was only the
beginning of a great struggle. This was Themistocles, a sagacious,
versatile, and ambitious statesman, who labored to persuade the Athenians
to strengthen their navy, in order to be ready to meet the danger he

Themistocles was opposed in this policy by Aristides, called the Just, a
man of the most scrupulous integrity, who feared that Athens would make a
serious mistake if she converted her land force into a naval armament. The
contention grew so sharp between them that the ostracism was called into
use to decide the matter. Six thousand votes were cast against Aristides,
and he was sent into exile.

It is related that while the vote that ostracized him was being taken in
the popular assembly, an illiterate peasant, who was a stranger to
Aristides, asked him to write the name of Aristides upon his tablet. As he
placed the name desired upon the shell, the statesman asked the man what
wrong Aristides had ever done him. "None," responded the voter; "I don't
even know him; but I am tired of hearing him called 'the Just.'"

After the banishment of Aristides, Themistocles was free to carry out his
naval policy without any serious opposition, and soon Athens had the
largest fleet of any Greek city, with a harbor at Piræus.

XERXES' PREPARATIONS TO INVADE GREECE.--No sooner had the news of the
disaster at Marathon been carried to Darius than he began to make gigantic
preparations to avenge this second defeat and insult. It was in the midst
of these plans for revenge that, as we have already learned, death cut
short his reign, and his son Xerxes came to the throne (see p. 80).

Urged on by his nobles, as well as by exiled Greeks at his court, who
sought to gratify ambition or enjoy revenge in the humiliation and ruin of
their native land, Xerxes, though at first disinclined to enter into a
contest with the Greeks, at length ordered the preparations begun by his
father to be pushed forward with the utmost energy. For eight years all
Asia resounded with the din of preparation. Levies were made upon all the
provinces that acknowledged the authority of the Great King, from India to
the Hellespont. Vast contingents of vessels were furnished by the coast
countries of the Mediterranean. Immense stores of provisions, the harvests
of many years, were gathered into great storehouses along the intended
line of march.

While all these preparations were going on in Asia itself, Phoenician and
Egyptian architects were employed in spanning the Hellespont with a double
bridge of boats, which was to unite the two continents as with a royal
highway. At the same time, the isthmus at Mount Athos, in rounding which
promontory the admirals of Mardonius had lost their fleet, was cut by a
canal, traces of which may be seen at this day. Three years were consumed
in these gigantic works. With them completed, or far advanced, Xerxes set
out from his capital to join the countless hosts that from all quarters of
the compass were gathering at Sardis, in Asia Minor.

of the gigantic preparations that the Persian king was making to crush
them were constantly borne across the Aegean to the ears of the Greeks in
Europe. Finally came intelligence that Xerxes was about to begin his
march. Something must now be done to meet the impending danger. Mainly
through the exertions of Themistocles, a council of the Greek cities was
convened at Corinth in the fall of 481 B.C.

But on account of feuds, jealousies, and party spirit, only a small number
of the states of Hellas could be brought to act in concert. Argos would
not join the proposed confederation through hatred of Sparta; Thebes,
through jealousy of Athens. The Cretans, to whom an embassy had been sent
soliciting aid, refused all assistance. Gelon, the Tyrant of Syracuse,
offered to send over a large armament, provided that he were given the
chief command of the allied forces. His aid on such terms was refused.

Thus, through different causes, many of the Greek cities held aloof from
the confederation, so that only about fifteen or sixteen states were
brought to unite their resources against the Barbarians; and even the
strength of many of those cities that did enter into the alliance was
divided by party spirit. The friends of aristocratical government were
almost invariably friends of Persia, because a Persian victory in Greece
proper meant what it had already meant in Ionia,--a suppression of the
democracies as incompatible with the Persian form of government. Thus for
the sake of a party victory, the aristocrats were ready to betray their
country into the hands of the Barbarians. Furthermore, the Delphian
oracle, aristocratical in its sympathies, was luke-warm and wavering, if
not actually disloyal, and by its timid responses, disheartened the
patriot party.

But under the inspiration of Themistocles the patriots in convention at
Corinth determined upon desperate resistance to the Barbarians. It was at
first decided to concentrate a strong force in the Vale of Tempe, and at
that point to dispute the advance of the enemy; but this being found
impracticable, it was resolved that the first stand against the invaders
should be made at the pass of Thermopylæ.

The Spartans were given the chief command of both the land and the naval
forces. The Athenians might fairly have insisted upon their right to the
command of the allied fleet, but they patriotically waived their claim,
for the sake of harmony.

THE HELLESPONTINE BRIDGES BROKEN.--As the vast army of Xerxes was about to
move from Sardis, intelligence came that the bridges across the Hellespont
had been wrecked by a violent tempest. It is said that Xerxes, in great
wrath, ordered the architects to be put to death, and the sea to be bound
with fetters and scourged. The scourgers faithfully performed their duty,
at the same time gratuitously cursing the traitorous and rebellious
Hellespont with what Herodotus calls "non-Hellenic and blasphemous terms."

Other architects spanned the channel with two stronger and firmer bridges.
Each roadway rested upon a row of from three to four hundred vessels, all
securely anchored like modern pontoons. The bridges were each about one
mile in length, and furnished with high parapets, that the horses and
cattle might not be rendered uneasy at sight of the water.

PASSAGE OF THE HELLESPONT.--With the first indications of the opening
spring of 480 B.C., just ten years after the defeat at Marathon, the vast
Persian army was astir and concentrating from all points upon the
Hellespont. The passage of this strait, as pictured to us in the
inimitable narration of Herodotus, is one of the most dramatic of all the
spectacles afforded by history.

Before the passage commenced, the bridges were strewn with the sacred
myrtle and perfumed with incense from golden censers, while the sea was
placated with libations poured by the king himself. As the east reddened
with the approach of day, prayers were offered, and the moment the rays of
the sun touched the bridges the passage began. To avoid accidents and
delays, the trains of baggage wagons and the beasts of burden crossed by
one causeway, leaving the other free for the march of the army. The first
of the host to cross was the sacred guard of the Great King, the Ten
Thousand Immortals, all crowned with garlands as in festival procession.
Preceding the king, the gorgeous Chariot of the Sun moved slowly, drawn by
eight milk-white steeds. Herodotus affirms that for seven days and seven
nights the bridges groaned beneath the living tide that Asia was pouring
into Europe. [Footnote: According to Herodotus, the land and naval forces
of Xerxes amounted to 2,317,000 men, besides about 2,000,000 slaves and
attendants. It is believed that these figures are a great exaggeration,
and that the actual number of the Persian army could not have exceeded
900,000 men.]

BATTLE OF THERMOPYLÆ (480 B.C.).--Leading from Thessaly into Central
Greece is a narrow pass, pressed on one side by the sea and on the other
by rugged mountain ridges. At the foot of the cliffs break forth several
hot springs, whence the name of the pass, Thermopylæ, or "Hot Gates."

At this point, in accordance with the decision of the Corinthian Congress,
was offered the first resistance to the progress of the Persian army.
Leonidas, king of Sparta, with three hundred Spartan soldiers and about
six thousand allies from different states of Greece, held the pass. As the
Greeks were about to celebrate the Olympian games, which their religious
scruples would not allow them to postpone, they left this handful of men
unsupported to hold in check the army of Xerxes until the festival days
should be past.

The Spartans could be driven from their advantageous position only by an
attack in front, as the Grecian fleet prevented Xerxes from landing a
force in their rear. Before assaulting them, Xerxes summoned them to give
up their arms. The answer of Leonidas was, "Come and take them." For two
days the Persians tried to storm the pass. The Asiatics were driven to the
attack by their officers armed with whips. But every attempt to force the
way was repulsed; even the Ten Thousand Immortals were hurled back from
the Spartan front like waves from a cliff.

But an act of treachery on the part of a native Greek rendered unavailing
all the bravery of the keepers of the pass. A by-way leading over the
mountains to the rear of the Spartans was revealed to Xerxes. The
startling intelligence was brought to Leonidas that the Persians were
descending the mountain-path in his rear. He saw instantly that all was
lost. The allies were permitted to seek safety in flight while opportunity
remained. But to him and his Spartan companions there could be no thought
of retreat. Death in the pass, the defence of which had been intrusted to
them, was all that Spartan honor and Spartan law now left them. The next
day, surrounded by the Persian host, they fought with desperate valor;
but, overwhelmed by mere numbers, they were slain to the last man. With
them also perished seven hundred Thespians who had chosen death with their
companions. Over the bodies of the Spartan soldiers a monument was
afterwards erected with this inscription: "Stranger, tell the
Lacedæmonians that we lie here in obedience to their orders."

THE BURNING OF ATHENS.-Athens now lay open to the invaders. The
Peloponnesians, thinking of their own safety simply, commenced throwing up
defences across the isthmus of Corinth, working day and night under the
impulse of an almost insane fear. Athens was thus left outside to care for

Counsels were divided. The Delphian oracle had obscurely declared, "When
everything else in the land of Cecrops shall be taken, Zeus grants to
Athena that the _wooden walls_ alone shall remain unconquered, to defend
you and your children." The oracle was believed to be, as was declared,
"firm as adamant."

But there were various opinions as to what was meant by the "wooden
walls." Some thought the Pythian priestess directed the Athenians to seek
refuge in the forests on the mountains; but Themistocles (who it is
thought may have himself prompted the oracle) contended that the ships
were plainly indicated.

The last interpretation was acted upon. All the soldiers of Attica were
crowded upon the vessels of the fleet at Salamis. The aged men, with the
women and children, were carried out of the country to different places of
safety. All the towns of Attica, with the capital, were thus abandoned to
the conquerors.

A few days afterwards the Persians entered upon the deserted plain, which
they rendered more desolate by ravaging the fields and burning the empty
towns. Athens shared the common fate, and her splendid temples sank in
flames. Sardis was avenged. The joy in distant Susa was unbounded.

THE NAVAL BATTLE OF SALAMIS (480 B.C.).--Just off the coast of Attica,
separated from the mainland by a narrow passage of water, lies the island
of Salamis. Here lay the Greek fleet, awaiting the Persian attack. To
hasten on the attack before dissensions should divide the Greek forces,
Themistocles resorted to the following stratagem. He sent a messenger to
Xerxes representing that he himself was ready to espouse the Persian
cause, and advised an immediate attack upon the Athenian fleet, which he
represented as being in no condition to make any formidable resistance.
Xerxes was deceived. He ordered an immediate attack. From a lofty throne
upon the shore he himself overlooked the scene and watched the result. The
Persian fleet was broken to pieces and two hundred of the ships destroyed.
[Footnote: The entire Persian fleet numbered about seven hundred and fifty
vessels; the Grecian, about three hundred and eighty-five ships, mostly

The blow was decisive. Xerxes, fearing that treachery might burn or break
the Hellespontine bridges, instantly despatched a hundred ships to protect
them; and then, leaving Mardonius with three hundred thousand men to
retrieve the disaster of Salamis, and effect, as he promised to do, the
conquest of the rest of Greece, the monarch set out on his ignominious
retreat to Asia. [Footnote: On the very day of the battle of Salamis,
Gelon of Syracuse gained a great victory over the Carthaginians at the
battle of Himera, in the north of Sicily. So it was a memorable day for
Hellas in the West as well as in the East.]

THE BATTLES OF PLATÆA AND MYCALE (479 B.C.).--The next year the Persian
fleet and army thus left behind in Europe were entirely destroyed, both on
the same day--the army at Platæa, near Thebes, by the combined Greek
forces under the Spartan Pausanias; and the fleet, including the Asiatic
land forces, at Mycale, on the Ionian coast.

The battles of Salamis, Platæa, and Mycale were the successive blows that
shattered into fragments the most splendid armaments ever commanded by
Asiatic despot.

MEMORIALS AND TROPHIES OF THE WAR.--The glorious issue of the war caused a
general burst of joy and exultation throughout all Greece. Poets, artists,
and orators, all vied with one another in commemorating the deeds of the
heroes whose valor had warded off the impending danger.

Nor did the pious Grecians think that the marvellous deliverance had been
effected without the intervention of the gods in their behalf. To the
temple at Delphi was gratefully consecrated a tenth of the immense spoils
in gold and silver from the field of Platæa; and within the sanctuary of
Athena, upon the Acropolis at Athens, were placed the broken cables of the
Hellespontine bridges, at once a proud trophy of victory, and a signal
illustration of the divine punishment that had befallen the audacious and
impious attempt to lay a yoke upon the sacred waters of the Hellespont.



REBUILDING THE WALLS OF ATHENS.--After the Persians had been expelled from
Greece, the first care of the Athenians was the rebuilding of their homes.
Their next task was the restoration of the city walls. The exalted hopes
for the future which had been raised by the almost incredible achievements
of the past few months, led the Athenians to draw a vast circuit of seven
miles about the Acropolis as the line of the new ramparts.

The rival states of the Peloponnesus watched the proceedings of the
Athenians with the most jealous interest. While they could not but admire
Athens, they feared her. Sparta sent an embassy to dissuade the citizens
from rebuilding the walls, hypocritically assigning as the cause of her
interest in the matter her solicitude lest, in case of another Persian
invasion, the city, if captured, might become a shelter and defence to the
enemy. But the Athenians persisted in their purpose, and in a marvellously
short time had raised the wall to such a height that they could defy

THEMISTOCLES' NAVAL POLICY.--Themistocles saw clearly that the supremacy
of Athens among the Grecian states must be secured and maintained by her
mastery of the sea. He had unbounded visions of the maritime power and
glory that might come to her through her fleet, those "wooden walls" to
which at this moment she owed her very existence; and he succeeded in
inspiring his countrymen with his own enthusiasm and sanguine hopes.

In the prosecution of his views, Themistocles persuaded the Athenians to
enlarge the harbor of Piræus, the most spacious of the ports of Athens,
and to surround the place with immense walls, far exceeding, both in
compass and strength, those of the capital. He also led his countrymen to
the resolution of adding each year twenty well-equipped triremes to their

This policy, initiated by Themistocles, was, as we shall see, zealously
pursued by the statesmen that after him successively assumed the lead in
Athenian affairs.

HIS OSTRACISM.--Themistocles well deserved the honor of being called, as
he was, the founder of the New Athens. But, although an able statesman, he
was an unscrupulous man. He accepted bribes and sold his influence,
thereby acquiring an enormous property. Finally he was ostracized (471
B.C.). After long wanderings, he became a resident at the court of the
Persian king.

Tradition affirms that Artaxerxes, in accordance with Persian usage,
provided for the courtier exile by assigning to three cities in Asia Minor
the care of providing for his table: one furnished bread, a second meat,
and a third wines. It is told that one day, as he sat down to his richly
loaded board, he exclaimed, "How much we should have lost, my children, if
we had not been ruined!"

THE CONFEDERACY OF DELOS (477 B.C.).--In order that they might be able to
carry on the war more effectively against the Persians, the Ionian states
of Asia Minor, the islands of the Ægean, and some of the states in Greece
proper, shortly after the battle of Platæa, formed themselves into what is
known as the Confederacy of Delos. Sparta, on account of her military
reputation, had hitherto been accorded the place of pre-eminence and
authority in all such alliances of the Hellenic cities. She had come,
indeed, to regard herself as the natural guardian and leader of Greece.
But at this time the unbearable arrogance of the Spartan general
Pausanias, who presumed upon the great reputation he had gained at the
battle of Platæa, led the states which had entered into the alliance to
look to Athens to assume the position of leadership in the new

The lofty character of Aristides, who was now the most prominent Athenian
leader, and his great reputation for fairness and incorruptible integrity,
also contributed to the same result. He was chosen the first president of
the league (477 B.C.), and the sacred island of Delos was made the
repository of the common funds. What proportion of the ships and money
needed for carrying out the purposes of the union should be contributed by
the different states, was left entirely to the decision of Aristides, such
was the confidence all had in his equity; and so long as he had control of
the matter, none of the members of the alliance ever had cause of

Thus did Sparta lose, and Athens gain, the place of precedence among the
Ionian states. The Dorian states of the Peloponnesus, in the main, still
looked to Sparta as their leader and adviser. All Greece was thus divided
into two great leagues, under the rival leadership of Sparta and Athens.

of Delos laid the basis of the imperial power of Athens. The Athenians
misused their authority as leaders of the league, and gradually, during
the interval between the formation of the union and the beginning of the
Peloponnesian War, reduced their allies, or confederates, to the condition
of tributaries and subjects.

Athens transformed the league into an empire in the following manner. The
contributions assessed by Aristides upon the different members of the
confederation consisted of ships and their crews for the larger states,
and of money payments for the smaller ones. From the first, Athens
attended to this assessment matter, and saw to it that each member of the
league made its proper contribution. After a while, some of the cities
preferring to make a money payment in lieu of ships, Athens accepted the
commutation, and then building the ships herself, added them to her own
navy. Thus the confederates disarmed themselves and armed their master.

Very soon the restraints which Athens imposed upon her allies became
irksome, and they began to refuse, one after another, to pay the
assessment in any form. Naxos, one of the Cyclades, was the first island
to secede, as it were, from the league (466 B.C.). But Athens had no idea
of admitting any such doctrine of state rights, and with her powerful navy
forced the Naxians to remain within the union, and to pay an increased

What happened in the case of Naxos happened in the case of almost all the
other members of the confederation. By the year 449 B.C. only three of the
island members of the league still retained their independence.

Even before this date (probably about 457 B.C.) the Athenians had
transferred the common treasury from Delos to Athens, and diverting the
tribute from its original purpose, were beginning to spend it, not in the
prosecution of war against the Barbarians, but in the execution of home
enterprises, as though the treasure were their own revenue.

Thus what had been simply a voluntary confederation of sovereign and
independent cities, was converted into what was practically an absolute
monarchy, with the Attic democracy as the imperial master.

What made this servitude of the former allies of Athens all the more
galling was the fact that they themselves had been compelled to forge the
very chains which fettered them; for it was their money that had built and
was maintaining the fleet by which they were kept in subjection and forced
to do whatever might be the will of the Athenians.

THE LEADERSHIP OF CIMON; HIS OSTRACISM.--One of the ablest and most
popular of the generals who commanded the forces of the Athenians during
this same period when they were enslaving their confederates, was Cimon,
the son of Miltiades. He was one of those whose spirits had been fired by
the exciting events attendant upon the Persian invasion. He had acquired a
certain reputation, at the time of the abandonment of Athens, by being the
first to hang up his bridle in the sanctuary of the Acropolis, thus
expressing his resolution to place all his confidence in the fleet, as
Themistocles advised.

The popularity of Cimon at last declined, and he suffered ostracism, as
had Aristides and Themistocles before him. His loss of public favor came
about in this manner. In the year 464 B.C., a terrible earthquake
destroyed a large portion of Sparta. In the panic of the appalling
disaster the Spartans were led to believe that the evil had befallen them
as a punishment for their recent violation of the Temple of Poseidon, from
which some Helots who had fled to the sanctuary for refuge had been torn.
The Helots, on their part, were quick to interpret the event as an
intervention of the gods in their behalf, and as an unmistakable signal
for their uprising. Everywhere they flew to arms, and, being joined by
some of the Perioeci, furiously attacked their masters. The Spartans,
after maintaining the bitter struggle for several years, finding
themselves unable to reduce their former slaves to submission, were forced
to ask aid of the other Grecian states.

The great Athenian statesman Pericles implored his countrymen not to lend
themselves to the building up of the power of their rival. But the
aristocratic Cimon, who had always entertained the most friendly feelings
for the Spartans, exhorted the Athenians to put aside all sentiments of
enmity or jealousy, and to extend succor to their kinsmen. "Let not
Greece," said he, "be lamed, and thus Athens herself be deprived of her
yokefellow." The assembly voted as he advised, and so the Athenian forces
fought for some time side by side with the Lacedæmonians.

But the Spartans were distrustful of their Athenian allies, and fearing
they might pass over to the side of the Helots, they dismissed them. The
discourtesy of the act aroused the most bitter resentment at Athens. The
party of Pericles took advantage of the exasperated feelings of the people
to effect some important changes in the constitution in favor of the
people, which made it almost purely democratical in character, and to
secure the exercise of the ostracism against Cimon as the leader of the
aristocratical party and the friend of Sparta (459 B.C.).


GENERAL FEATURES OF THE AGE.--Under the inspiration of Pericles, the
Athenian state now entered upon the most brilliant period of its history.
The epoch embraces less than the lifetime of a single generation, yet its
influence upon the civilization of the world can hardly be overrated.
During this short period Athens gave birth to more great men--poets,
artists, statesmen, and philosophers--than all the world besides has
produced in any period of equal length.

[Illustration: PERICLES.]

Among all the great men of this age, Pericles stood pre-eminent. Such was
the impression he left upon the period in which he lived, that it is
called after him the Periclean Age. Yet Pericles' authority was simply
that which talent and character justly confer. He ruled, as Plutarch says,
by the art of persuasion.

During the Periclean period the Athenian democracy was supreme. Every
matter that concerned the empire was discussed and decided by the popular
assembly. Never before had any people enjoyed such perfect political
liberty as did the citizens of Athens at this time, and never before were
any people, through so intimate a knowledge of public affairs, so well
able to direct the policies of state. Every citizen, it is affirmed, was
qualified to hold civil office.

keep the Grecian cities united in order that they might offer effectual
resistance to the Persian power. The aim of his rival Pericles was to
maintain Athens as the leading state in Hellas, and to oppose the
pretensions of Sparta. Accordingly he encouraged the Athenians to
strengthen their naval armament and to perfect themselves in naval
discipline, for with Themistocles he was convinced that the supremacy of
Athens must depend chiefly upon her fleet.

As a part of his maritime policy, Pericles persuaded the Athenians to
build what were known as the Long Walls,--great ramparts between four and
five miles in length,--which united Athens to the ports of Piræus and
Phalerum. Later, as a double security, a third wall was built parallel to
the one running to the former harbor. By means of these walls Athens and
her ports, with the intervening land, were converted into a vast fortified
district, capable in time of war of holding the entire population of
Attica. With her communication with the sea thus secured, and with a
powerful navy at her command, Athens could bid defiance to her foes on sea
and land.


Pericles was making the maritime supremacy of Athens more secure, he was
endeavoring to build up for her a land empire in Central Greece. As her
influence in this quarter increased, Sparta became more and more jealous,
and strove to counteract it, chiefly by enhancing the power of Thebes.

The contest between the two rivals was long and bitter. It was ended by
the well-known Peace of Pericles, or the Thirty Years' Truce (445 B.C.).
By the terms of this treaty each of the rival cities was left at the head
of the confederation it had formed, but neither was to interfere with the
subjects or allies of the other, while those cities of Hellas which were
not yet members of either league were to be left free to join either
according to choice.

The real meaning of the Truce was that Athens gave up her ambition to
establish a land empire, and was henceforth to be content with supremacy
on the seas. It meant further that Greece was to remain a house divided
against itself; that democratic Athens must share with aristocratic Sparta
the hegemony, or leadership, of the Hellenic cities.

had failed to build up for Athens a land dominion, he had nevertheless
succeeded in securing for her a place of proud pre-eminence in maritime
Hellas. Athens having achieved such a position as she now held, it was the
idea of Pericles that the Athenians should so adorn their city that it
should be a fitting symbol of the power and glory of their empire. Nor was
it difficult for him to persuade his art-loving countrymen to embellish
their city with those masterpieces of genius that in their ruins still
excite the admiration of the world.

Upon the commanding site of the Acropolis was erected the unrivalled
Parthenon. Various other edifices, rich with sculptures, were also erected
there and in different parts of Athens, until the whole city took on a
surprisingly brilliant and magnificent appearance. The whole world looked
up to the Attic city with the same surprised wonder with which a century
before it had regarded the city of Babylon as adorned by the power and
wealth of the great Nebuchadnezzar.

The Athenians secured the vast sums of money needed for the prosecution of
their great architectural works, out of the treasury of the Delian
confederacy. The allies naturally declaimed bitterly against this
proceeding, complaining that Athens, with their money, was "gilding itself
as a proud and vain woman decks herself out with jewels." But the answer
of Pericles to them was, that the money was contributed to the end that
the cities of the league should be protected from the Persians, and that
so long as the Athenians kept the enemy at a distance they had a right to
use the money as they pleased.

The Citizens are taken into the Pay of the State.--It was a fixed idea of
Pericles that in a democracy there should be not only an equal
distribution of political rights among all classes, but also an
equalization of the means and opportunities of exercising these rights, as
well as an equal participation by all in social and intellectual

In promoting his views Pericles carried to great length the system of
payment for the most common public services. Thus, he introduced the
custom of military pay; hitherto the Athenian soldier had served his
country in the field as a matter of honor and duty. He also secured the
payment of the citizen for serving as a juryman, as well as for his
attendance upon the meetings of the popular assembly. Through his
influence, also, salaries were attached to the various civil offices, the
most of which had hitherto been unpaid positions.

These various measures enabled the poorer citizens to enjoy, without an
inconvenient sacrifice, their franchise in the popular assembly, and to
offer themselves for the different magistracies, which up to this time had
been practically open only to men of means and leisure.

Furthermore, Pericles introduced or extended the practice of supplying all
the citizens with free tickets to the theatre and other places of
amusement, and of banqueting the people on festival days at the public

become the most powerful naval state in the world. In one of his last
speeches, made at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, in which he
recounts the resources of the Athenian empire, Pericles says to his
fellow-citizens: "There is not now a king, there is not any nation in the
universal world, able to withstand that navy which at this juncture you
can launch out to sea."

But the most significant feature of this new imperial power was the
combination of these vast material resources with the most imposing
display of intellectual resources that the world had ever witnessed. Never
before had there been such a union of the material and intellectual
elements of civilization at the seat of empire. Literature and art had
been carried to the utmost perfection possible to human genius. Art was
represented by the inimitable creations of Phidias and Polygnotus. The
drama was illustrated by the incomparable tragedies of Æschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripides, and by the comedies of Aristophanes, while the
writing of the world's annals had become an art in the graceful narrations
of Herodotus.

But there were elements of weakness in the splendid imperial structure.
The subject cities of the empire were the slaves of Athens. To her they
paid tribute. To her courts they were dragged for trial. Naturally they
regarded Athens as the destroyer of Hellenic liberties, and watched
impatiently for the first favorable moment to revolt, and throw off the
hateful yoke that she had imposed upon them. Hence the Athenian empire
rested upon a foundation of sand.

Had Athens, instead of enslaving her confederates of the Delian league,
only been able to find out some way of retaining them as allies in an
equal union,--a great and perhaps impossible task in that age of the
world,--as head of the federated Greek race, she might have secured for
Hellas the sovereignty of the Mediterranean, and the history of Rome might
have ended with the first century of the Republic.

Furthermore, in his system of payment for the most common public services,
and of wholesale public gratuities, Pericles had introduced or encouraged
practices that had the same demoralizing effects upon the Athenians that
the free distribution of grain at Rome had upon the Roman populace. These
pernicious customs cast discredit upon labor, destroyed frugality, and
fostered idleness, thus sapping the virtues and strength of the Athenian

Illustrations of these weaknesses, as well as of the strength of the
Athenian empire, will be afforded by the great struggle between Athens and
Sparta known as the Peloponnesian War, the causes and chief incidents of
which we shall next rehearse.




CAUSES OF THE WAR.--During the closing years of the life of Pericles, the
growing jealousy between Athens and Sparta broke out in the long struggle
known as the Peloponnesian War. Pericles had foreseen the coming storm: "I
descry war," said he, "lowering from the Peloponnesus." His whole later
policy looked toward the preparation of Athens for the "irrepressible

The immediate causes of the war were, first, the interference of Athens,
on the side of the Corcyræans, in a quarrel between them and their mother
city Corinth; and secondly, the blockade by the Athenians of Potidæa, on
the Macedonian coast. This was a Corinthian colony, but it was a member of
the Delian league, and was now being chastised by Athens for attempted
secession. Corinth, as the ever-jealous naval rival of Athens, had
endeavored to lend aid to her daughter, but had been worsted in an
engagement with the Athenians.

With affairs in this shape, Corinth, seconded by other states that had
causes of complaint against Athens, appealed to Sparta, as the head of the
Dorian alliance, for aid and justice. The Spartans, after listening to the
deputies of both sides, decided that the Athenians had been guilty of
injustice, and declared for war. The resolution of the Spartans was
endorsed by the Peloponnesian confederation, and apparently approved by
the Delphian oracle, which, in response to an inquiry of the Spartans as
to what would be the issue of the proposed undertaking, assured them that
"they would gain the victory, if they fought with all their might."

Hellas were, at the outbreak of the war, very evenly divided between the
two parties. With Sparta were all the states of the Peloponnesus, save
Argos and Achaia, while beyond the Isthmus the Boeotian League, headed by
Thebes, and other states were her allies. Together, these states could
raise a land force of sixty thousand men, besides a considerable naval
armament, Corinth being especially strong in ships.

Athens commanded all the resources of the subject cities--about three
hundred in number, with twice as many smaller towns--of her great maritime
empire. Her independent allies were Chios, Lesbos, Corcyra, and other
states. Of course the chief strength of Athens lay in her splendid navy.

long and terrible drama was enacted at night, within the walls of Platæa.
This city, though in Boeotia, was under the protection of Athens, and
would have nothing to do with the Boeotian League.

Anxious to get possession of this place before the actual outbreak of the
war which they saw to be inevitable, the Thebans planned its surprise and
capture. Three hundred Thebans gained access to the unguarded city in the
dead of night, and marching to the public square, summoned the Platæans to
exchange the Athenian for a Boeotian alliance.

The Platæans were upon the point of acceding to all the demands made upon
them, when, discovering the small number of the enemy, they attacked and
overpowered them in the darkness, and took a hundred and eighty of them
prisoners. These captives they afterwards murdered, in violation, as the
Thebans always maintained, of a sacred promise that their lives should be
spared. This wretched affair at Platæa precipitated the war (431 B.C.).

overrunning Attica, while an Athenian fleet was ravaging the coasts of the
Peloponnesus. Pericles persuaded the country people of Attica to abandon
their villas and hamlets and gather within the defences of the city. He
did not deem it prudent to risk a battle in the open fields. From the
walls of Athens the people could see the flames of their burning villages
and farmhouses, as the enemy ravaged the plains of Attica up to the very
gates of the city. It required all the persuasion of Pericles to restrain
them from issuing in a body from behind the ramparts and rushing to the
defence of their homes.

The second year the Lacedæmonians again ravaged the fields about Athens,
and drove the Athenians almost to frenzy with the sight of the flame and
smoke of such property as had escaped the destruction of the previous
year. To increase their misery, a pestilence broke out within the crowded
city, and added its horrors to the already unbearable calamities of war.
No pen could picture the despair and gloom that settled over the city.
Athens lost, probably, one-fourth of her fighting men. Pericles, who had
been the very soul and life of Athens through these dark days, fell a
victim to the plague (429 B.C.). In dying, he said he considered his
greatest praise to be that "he had never caused an Athenian to put on

After the death of Pericles the leadership of affairs at Athens fell into
the hands of unprincipled demagogues, of whom Cleon was chief. The mob
element got control of the popular assembly, so that hereafter we shall
find many of its actions characterized neither by virtue nor wisdom.

DESPERATE AND CRUEL CHARACTER OF THE WAR.--On both sides the war was waged
with the utmost vindictiveness and cruelty. As a rule, all the men
captured by either side were killed.

In the year 428 B.C. the city of Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos,
revolted from the Athenians. With the rebellion suppressed, the fate of
the Mytileneans was in the hands of the Athenian assembly. Cleon proposed
that all the men of the place, six thousand in number, should be slain,
and the women and children sold as slaves. This infamous decree was
passed, and a galley despatched bearing the sentence for execution to the
Athenian general at Mytilene.

By the next morning, however, the Athenians had repented of their hasty
and cruel resolution. A second meeting of the assembly was hurriedly
called; the barbarous vote was repealed; and a swift trireme, bearing the
reprieve, set out in anxious haste to overtake the former galley, which
had twenty-four hours the start. The trireme reached the island just in
time to prevent the execution of the barbarous edict.

The second resolution of the Athenians, though more discriminating than
the first decree, was quite severe enough. Over one thousand of the nobles
of Mytilene were killed, the city was destroyed, and the larger part of
the lands of the island given to citizens of Athens.

Still more unrelenting and cruel were the Spartans. In the summer of the
same year that the Athenians wreaked such vengeance upon the Mytileneans,
the Spartans and their allies captured the city of Platæa, put to death
all the men, sold the women as slaves, and turned the site of the city
into pasture-land.

affair at Mytilene and the destruction of Platæa, an enterprising general
of the Athenians, named Demosthenes, seized and fortified a point of land
(Pylos) on the coast of Messenia. The Spartans made every effort to
dislodge the enemy. In the course of the siege, four hundred Spartans
under Brasidas, having landed upon a little island (Sphacteria), were so
unfortunate as to be cut off from the mainland by the sudden arrival of an
Athenian fleet. About three hundred of them were at last captured and
taken as prisoners to Athens.

But affairs now took a different turn; the Athenians were worsted (at the
battle of Delium, 424 B.C.), and then much indecisive fighting followed.
At last negotiations for peace were opened, which, after many embassies to
and fro, resulted in what is known as the Peace of Nicias, from the
prominent Athenian general who is supposed to have had most to do in
bringing it about. The treaty arranged for a truce of fifty years. Each
party was to give up to the other all prisoners and captured places.

Nicias was only a nominal one. Some of the allies of the two principal
parties to the truce were dissatisfied with it, and consequently its terms
were not carried out in good faith or temper on either side. So the war
went on. For about seven years, however, Athens and Sparta refrained from
invading each other's territory; but even during this period each was
aiding its allies in making war upon the dependents or confederates of the
other. Finally, hostilities flamed out in open and avowed war, and all
Hellas was again lit up with the fires of the fratricidal strife.

[Illustration: ALCIBIADES]

The most prominent person on the Athenian side during this latter period
of the struggle was Alcibiades, a versatile and brilliant man, but a
reckless and unsafe counsellor. He was a pupil of Socrates, but he failed
to follow the counsels of his teacher. His astonishing escapades only
seemed to attach the people more closely to him, for he possessed all
those personal traits which make men popular idols. His influence over the
democracy was unlimited. He was able to carry through the popular assembly
almost any measure that it pleased him to advocate. The more prudent of
the Athenians were filled with apprehension for the future of the state
under such guidance. The noted misanthrope Timon gave expression to this
feeling when, after Alcibiades had secured the assent of the popular
assembly to one of his impolitic measures, he said to him: "Go on, my
brave boy, and prosper; for your prosperity will bring on the ruin of all
this crowd." And it did, as we shall see.

The most prosperous enterprise of Alcibiades, in the Timonian sense, was
the inciting the Athenians to undertake an expedition against the Dorian
city of Syracuse, in Sicily. The scheme that Alcibiades was revolving in
his mind was a most magnificent one. He proposed that the Athenians, after
effecting the conquest of Sicily, should make that island the base of
operations against both Africa and Italy. With the Italians and
Carthaginians subdued, the armaments of the entire Hellenic world outside
of the Peloponnesus, were to be turned against the Spartans, who with one
blow should be forever crushed, and Athens be left the arbiter of the
destinies of Hellas.

Alcibiades succeeded in persuading the Athenians to undertake at least the
first part of the colossal enterprise. An immense fleet was carefully
equipped and manned. [Footnote: It consisted of one hundred and thirty-
four costly triremes, bearing thirty-six thousand soldiers and sailors.
The commanders were Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus. Later, Demosthenes
was sent out with a reinforcement consisting of seventy-three triremes and
five thousand soldiers.] Anxiously did those remaining behind watch the
squadron as it bore away from the port of Athens. Could the watchers have
foreseen the fate of the splendid armament, their anxiety would have
passed into despair. "Athens itself was sailing out of the Piræus, never
again to return."

Scarcely had the expedition arrived at Sicily, before Alcibiades, who was
one of the leading generals in command of the armament, was summoned back
to Athens to answer a charge of impiety. [Footnote: Just upon the eve of
the departure of the expedition, the numerous statues of Hermes scattered
throughout the city were grossly mutilated. Alcibiades was accused of
having had a hand in the affair, and furthermore of having mimicked the
sacred rites of the Eleusinian mysteries.] Fearing to trust himself in the
hands of his enemies at Athens, he fled to Sparta, and there, by
traitorous counsel, did all in his power to ruin the very expedition he
had planned. He advised the Spartans to send at once their best general to
the Syracusans. They sent Gylippus, an able commander, whose generalship
contributed largely to the total and irretrievable defeat that the
Athenians finally suffered. Their fleet and army were both virtually
annihilated. Seven thousand prisoners were crowded into the open stone
quarries, where hundreds speedily died of exposure and starvation. Most of
the wretched survivors were sold as slaves. The disaster was appalling and
complete. The resources of Athens were wrecked.

THE DECELEAN WAR: THE FALL OF ATHENS--While the Athenians were before
Syracuse, the Spartans, acting upon the advice of Alcibiades, had taken
possession of and fortified a strong and commanding position known as
Decelea, in Attica, only twelve miles from Athens. This was a thorn in the
side of Athens. Secure in this stronghold, the Spartans could annoy and
keep in terror almost all the Attic plain. The occupation by the Spartans
of this strategic point had such a determining influence upon the
remainder of the Peloponnesian War, that this latter portion of it is
known as the Decelean War (413-404 B.C.).

Taking advantage of the terrible misfortunes of Athens, her subject-allies
now revolted and fell away from her on every side. The Persians, ever
ready to aid the Greeks in destroying one another, lent a willing ear to
the solicitations of the traitor Alcibiades, and gave help to the

The Athenians put forth almost superhuman efforts to retrieve their
fortunes. Had they been united among themselves, perhaps their efforts
might not have been in vain. But the oligarchical party, for the sake of
ruining the democracy were willing to ruin the empire. While the army was
absent from Athens, they overturned the government, and established a sort
of aristocratical rule (411 B.C.), under which affairs were in the hands
of a council of Four Hundred.

The Athenian troops, however, who were at Samos, would not recognize the
new government. They voted themselves to be the true Athens, and
forgetting and forgiving the past, recalled Alcibiades, and gave him
command of the army, thereby well illustrating what the poet Aristophanes
said respecting the disposition of the Athenians towards the spoiled
favorite,--"They love, they hate, but cannot live without him."

Alcibiades detached the Persians from the side of the Spartans, and gained
some splendid victories for Athens. But he could not undo the evil he had
done. He had ruined Athens beyond redemption by any human power.
Constantly the struggle grew more and more hopeless. Alcibiades was
defeated, and fearing to face the Athenians, who had deposed him from his
command, sought safety in flight.

Finally, at Ægospotami, on the Hellespont, the Athenian fleet was
surprised and captured by the Spartans under Lysander (405 B.C.). The
prisoners, three thousand in number, were massacred, and the usual rites
of burial denied their bodies.

The battle of Ægospotami sealed the fate of Athens. "That night," writes
the historian Xenophon, referring to the night upon which the news of the
woful disaster reached Athens, "That night no man slept."

The towns on the Thracian and Macedonian coasts, and the islands of the
Ægean belonging to the Athenian Empire, now fell into the hands of the
Peloponnesians. Athens was besieged by sea and land, and soon forced to
surrender. Some of the allies insisted upon the total destruction of the
city, and the conversion of its site into pasture-land. The Spartans,
however, with apparent magnanimity, declared that they would never consent
thus "to put out one of the eyes of Greece."

The real motive, doubtless, of the Spartans in sparing the city was their
fear lest, with Athens blotted out, Thebes or Corinth should become too
powerful. So the city itself was spared, but the fortifications of Piræus
and the Long Walls were levelled to the ground, the work of demolition
being begun to the accompaniment of festive music (404 B.C.).

Sparta's power was now supreme. She had neither peer nor rival among all
the Grecian states. Throughout the war she had maintained that her only
purpose in warring against Athens was to regain liberty for the Grecian
cities. We shall very soon see what sort of liberty it was that they
enjoyed under her guardianship.

RESULTS OF THE WAR.--"Never," says Thucydides, commenting upon the
lamentable results of the Peloponnesian War, "Never had so many cities
been made desolate by victories;... never were there so many instances of
banishment; never so many scenes of slaughter either in battle or

Athens was but the wreck of her former self. She had lost two hundred
ships and sixty thousand men, including the killed among her allies.
Things were just the reverse now of what they were at the time of the
Persian invasion. When, with all Athens in ruins, Themistocles at Salamis
was taunted by the Spartans with being a man without a city, he replied
grandly, "Athens is here in her ships." But now the real Athens was gone;
only the empty shell remained.

And all the rest of Hellas showed the marks of the cruel war. Spots where
once had stood large towns were now pasture-land. But more lamentable than
all else besides, was the effect of the war upon the intellectual and
moral life of the Greek race. The Grecian world had sunk many degrees in
morality; while the vigor and productiveness of the intellectual and
artistic life of Hellas, the centre and home of which had been Athens,
were impaired beyond recovery. The achievements of the Greek intellect,
especially in the fields of philosophic thought, in the century following
the war were, it is true, wonderful; but these triumphs merely show, we
may believe, what the Hellenic mind would have done for art and general
culture, had it been permitted, unchecked, and under the favoring and
inspiring conditions of liberty and self-government, to disclose all that
was latent in it.


SPARTAN SUPREMACY.--For just one generation following the Peloponnesian
War (404-371 B.C.), Sparta held the leadership of the Grecian states.
Aristocratical governments, with institutions similar to the Spartan, were
established in the different cities of the old Athenian Empire. At Athens,
the democratical constitution of Solon, under which the Athenians had
attained their greatness, was abolished, and an oppressive oligarchy
established in its stead. The Thirty Tyrants, however, who administered
this government, were, after eight months' infamous rule, driven from the
city, and the old democratic constitution, somewhat modified, was re-
established (403 B.C.).

It was during this period that Socrates, the greatest moralist and teacher
of antiquity that Europe had produced, was condemned to death, because his
teachings were thought contrary to the religion of the Athenians. To this
era also belongs the well-known expedition of the Ten Thousand Greeks.

EXPEDITION OF THE TEN THOUSAND (401-400 B.C.).--Cyrus, satrap of the
Persian province of Asia Minor, thinking that his brother Artaxerxes held
the throne unjustly, planned to wrest it from him. For carrying out this
purpose, he raised an army composed of a hundred thousand Barbarians and
about eleven thousand Greek mercenaries.

With this force Cyrus set out from Sardis, in the spring of 401 B.C. He
marched without opposition across Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to Babylonia,
into the very heart of the Persian empire. Here, at Cunaxa, he was
confronted by Artaxerxes with a force of more than half a million of men.
The Barbarian allies of Cyrus were scattered at the first onset of the
enemy; but the Greeks stood like a rampart of rock. Cyrus, however, was
slain; and the other Greek generals, having been persuaded to enter into a
council, were treacherously murdered by the Persians.

The Greeks, in a hurried night meeting, chose new generals to lead them
back to their homes. One of these was Xenophon, the popular historian of
the expedition. Now commenced one of the most memorable retreats in all
history. After a most harassing march over the hot plains of the Tigris
and the icy passes of Armenia, the survivors reached the Black Sea, the
abode of sister Greek colonies.

THEBAN SUPREMACY (371-362 B.C.).--Throughout all the period of her
supremacy, Sparta dealt selfishly and tyrannically with the other Grecian
states. But at last the fiery resentment kindled by her oppressive
measures inspired such a determined revolt against her as brought to an
end her assumed supremacy over her sister cities. It was a city in Boeotia
that led the uprising against Sparta. This was Thebes. The oligarchical
government which the Lacedæmonians had set up in that capital was
overthrown by Pelopidas at the head of the so-called Sacred Band, a
company of three hundred select men who were bound by oath to stand by
each other to the last. Pelopidas was seconded in all his efforts by
Epaminondas, one of the ablest generals the Grecian race ever produced.
Under the masterly guidance and inspiration of these patriot leaders,
Thebes very soon secured a predominating influence in the affairs of

It was Epaminondas who, when his enemies sought to disgrace and annoy him
by electing him "public scavenger," made, in accepting the office, the
memorable utterance, "If the office will not reflect honor upon me, I will
reflect honor upon it."

At Leuctra (371 B.C.) the Thebans earned the renown of being the most
invincible soldiers in the world by completely overthrowing, with a force
of six thousand men, the Spartan army of twice that number. This is said
to have been the first time that the Spartans were ever fairly defeated in
open battle. Their forces had been annihilated, as at Thermopylæ,--but
annihilation is not defeat.

From the victory of Leuctra dates the short but brilliant period of Theban
supremacy. The year after that battle Epaminondas led an army into the
Peloponnesus to aid the Arcadians, who had risen against Sparta. Laconia
was ravaged, and for the first time Spartan women saw the smoke of fires
kindled by an enemy.

To strengthen Arcadia's power of resistance to Sparta, Epaminondas
perfected a league among the hitherto isolated towns and cantons of the
district. As the mutual jealousies of the leading cities prevented him
from making any one of them the capital of the confederation, he founded
Megalopolis, or the Great City, and made it the head of the union. In the
pursuit of the same policy, Epaminondas also restored the independence of

But, moved by jealousy of the rapidly growing power of Thebes, Athens now
formed an alliance with her old rival Sparta against her. Three times more
did Epaminondas lead an army into the Peloponnesus. During his fourth and
last expedition he fought with the Spartans and Athenians the great battle
of Mantinea, in Arcadia. On this memorable field, Epaminondas led the
Thebans once more to victory; but he himself was slain, and with him fell
the hopes and power of Thebes (362 B.C.).

All the states of Greece now lay exhausted, worn out by their endless
domestic contentions and wars. There was scarcely sufficient strength left
to strike one worthy blow against enslavement by the master destined soon
to come from the North.



GENERAL STATEMENT.--Macedonia lay to the north of Greece proper. The
ruling class of the country was probably of Hellenic race; at all events
the Macedonian kings were allowed to take part in the Olympian games--a
privilege accorded to none but pure Hellenes. Their efforts to spread
Greek art and culture among their subjects, a race of rough but brave and
martial men, unaccustomed to city life, had been so far successful that
the country had, to a certain degree, become Hellenized.

So this period of Macedonian supremacy upon which we are entering belongs
to the history of the political life of the Greek race, as well as the
eras marked by Athenian, Spartan, or Theban leadership. It was Hellenic
institutions, customs, and manners, Hellenic language and civilization,
that the Macedonians, in the extended conquests which we are about to
narrate, spread over the world. [Footnote: Of course it was rather the
outer forms than the real inner life and spirit of the old Greek
civilization which were adopted by the non-Hellenic peoples of Egypt and
Western Asia. Hence the resulting culture is given a special name,
_Hellenism_, which, in Professor Jebbs' language, means,--"not '_being_
Hellenes,' or Greeks, but--'doing _like_ Hellenes'; and as the adjective
answering to _Hellas_ is _Hellenic_, so the adjective answering to
_Hellenism_ is _Hellenistic_."] It is this which makes the short-lived
Macedonian empire so important in universal history.

PHILIP OF MACEDON.--Macedonia first rose to importance during the reign of
Philip II. (359-336 B.C.), better known as Philip of Macedon. He was a man
of pre-eminent ability, of wonderful address in diplomacy, and possessed
rare genius as an organizer and military chieftain. The art of war he had
learned in youth as a hostage-pupil of Epaminondas of Thebes. He was the
originator of the "Macedonian phalanx" a body as renowned in the military
history of Macedonia as is the "legion" in that of Rome.

With his kingdom settled and consolidated at home, Philip's ambition led
him to seek the leadership of the Grecian states. He sought to gain his
purpose rather by artful diplomacy and intrigue than by open force. In the
use of these weapons he might have been the teacher of the Athenian

THE SECOND SACRED WAR (355-346 B.C.).--Philip quickly extended his power
over a large part of Thrace and the Greek cities of Chalcidice. Meanwhile
he was, in the following way, acquiring a commanding position in the
affairs of the states of Greece proper.

The Phocians had put to secular use some of the lands which, at the end of
the First Sacred War (see p. 108), had been consecrated to the Delphian
Apollo. Taken to task and heavily fined for this act by the other members
of the Delphian Amphictyony, the Phocians deliberately robbed the temple,
and used the treasure in the maintenance of a large force of mercenary
soldiers. The Amphictyons not being able to punish the Phocians for their
impiety, were forced to ask help of Philip, who gladly rendered the
assistance sought.

The Phocians were now quickly subdued, their cities were destroyed, and
the inhabitants scattered in villages and forced to pay tribute to the
Delphian Apollo. The place that the Phocians had held in the Delphian
Amphictyony was given to Philip, upon whom was also bestowed the privilege
of presiding at the Pythian games. The position he had now secured was
just what Philip had coveted, in order that he might use it to make
himself master of all Greece.

BATTLE OF CHÆRONEA (338 B.C.).--Demosthenes at Athens was one of the few
who seemed to understand the real designs of Philip. His penetration, like
that of Pericles, descried a cloud lowering over Greece--this time from
the North. With all the energy of his wonderful eloquence, he strove to
stir up the Athenians to resist the encroachments of the king of Macedon.
He hurled against him his famous "Philippics," speeches so filled with
fierce denunciation that they have given name to all writings
characterized by bitter criticism or violent invective.

At length the Athenians and Thebans, aroused by the oratory of Demosthenes
and by some fresh encroachments of the Macedonians, united their forces,
and met Philip upon the memorable field of Chæronea in Boeotia. The
Macedonian phalanx swept everything before it. The Theban band was
annihilated. The power and authority of Philip were now extended and
acknowledged throughout Greece (338 B.C.).

PLAN TO INVADE ASIA.--While the Greek states were divided among
themselves, they were united in an undying hatred of the Persians. They
were at this time meditating an enterprise fraught with the greatest
importance to the history of the world. This was a joint expedition
against Persia. The march of the Ten Thousand Greeks through the very
heart of the dominions of the Great King had encouraged this national
undertaking, and illustrated the feasibility of the conquest of Asia. At a
great council of the Grecian cities held at Corinth, Philip was chosen
leader of this expedition. All Greece was astir with preparation. In the
midst of all, Philip was assassinated during the festivities attending the
marriage of his daughter, and his son Alexander succeeded to his place and
power (336 B.C.).

ACCESSION OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT.--Alexander was only twenty years of age
when he came to his father's throne. The spirit of the man is shown in the
complaint of the boy when news of his father's victories came to him:
"Friends," said he to his playmates, "my father will possess himself of
everything and leave nothing for us to do."

For about two years Alexander was busy suppressing revolts against his
power among the different cities of Hellas, and chastising hostile tribes
on the northern frontiers of Macedonia. Thebes having risen against him,
he razed the city to the ground,--sparing, however, the house of the poet
Pindar,--and sold thirty thousand of the inhabitants into slavery. Thus
was one of the most renowned of the cities of Greece blotted out of

ALEXANDER CROSSES THE HELLESPONT (334 B.C.).--Alexander was now free to
carry out his father's scheme in regard to the Asiatic expedition. In the
spring of 334 B.C., he set out, at the head of an army numbering about
thirty-five thousand men, for the conquest of the Persian empire. Now
commenced one of the most remarkable and swiftly executed campaigns
recorded in history.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF ISSUS. (From a Mosaic found at Pompeii.)]

Crossing the Hellespont, Alexander routed the Persians at the important
battle of the Granicus, by which victory all Asia Minor was laid open to
the invader.

THE BATTLE OF ISSUS (333 B.C.).--At the northeast corner of the
Mediterranean lies the plain of Issus. Here Alexander again defeated the
Persian army, numbering six hundred thousand men. The family of Darius,
including his mother, wife, and children, fell into the hands of
Alexander; but the king himself escaped from the field, and hastened to
his capital, Susa, to raise another army to oppose the march of the

SIEGE OF TYRE (332 B.C.).--Before penetrating to the heart of the empire,
Alexander turned to the south, in order to effect the subjugation of
Phoenicia, that he might command the Phoenician fleets and prevent their
being used to sever his communication with Greece. The island-city of
Tyre, after a memorable siege, was taken by means of a mole, or causeway,
built with incredible labor through the sea to the city. Eight thousand of
the inhabitants were slain, and thirty thousand sold into slavery--a
terrible warning to those cities that should dare to close their gates
against the Macedonian.

ALEXANDER IN EGYPT.--With the cities of Phoenicia and the fleets of the
Mediterranean subject to his control, Alexander easily effected the
conquest of Egypt. The Egyptians, indeed, made no resistance to the
Macedonians, but willingly exchanged masters.

While in the country, Alexander founded, at one of the mouths of the Nile,
a city called, after himself, Alexandria. The city became the meeting-
place of the East and West; and its importance through many centuries
attests the far-sighted wisdom of its founder.

A less worthy enterprise of the conqueror was his expedition to the oasis
of Siwah, located in the Libyan desert, where were a celebrated temple and
oracle of Zeus Ammon. To gratify his own vanity, as well as to impress the
superstitious barbarians, Alexander desired to be declared of celestial
descent. The priests of the temple, in accordance with the wish of the
king, gave out that the oracle pronounced Alexander to be the son of Zeus
Ammon, and the destined ruler of the world.

THE BATTLE OF ARBELA (331 B.C.).--From Egypt Alexander recommenced his
march towards the Persian capital. He had received offers of peace from
Darius, but to these he is said to have replied, "There cannot be two suns
in the heavens." Pushing on, he crossed the Euphrates and the Tigris
without opposition; but upon the plain of Arbela, not far from ancient
Nineveh, he found his further advance disputed by Darius with an immense
army. Again the Macedonian phalanx "cut through the ranks of the Persians
as a boat cuts through the waves." The fate of Darius has been already
narrated in our story of the last of the Persian kings (see p. 82).

The battle of Arbela was one of the decisive combats of history. It marked
the end of the long struggle between the East and the West, between Persia
and Greece, and prepared the way for the spread of Hellenic civilization
over all Western Asia.

Alexander marched south to Babylon, which opened its gates to him without
opposition. Susa was next entered by the conqueror. Here he seized
incredible quantities of gold and silver ($57,000,000, it is said), the
treasure of the Great King.

From Susa Alexander's march was next directed to Persepolis, where he
secured a treasure more than twice as great ($138,000,000) as that found
at Susa. Upon Persepolis Alexander wreaked vengeance, for all Greece had
suffered at the hands of the Persians. Many of the inhabitants were
massacred, and others sold into slavery; while the palaces of the Persian
kings were given to the flames.

Alexander, having thus overthrown the power of Darius, now began to regard
himself, not only as his conqueror, but as his successor, and was thus
looked upon by the Persians, He assumed the pomp and state of an Oriental
monarch, and required the most obsequious homage from all who approached
him. His Greek and Macedonian companions, unused to paying such servile
adulation to their king, were much displeased at Alexander's conduct, and
from this time on to his death, intrigues and conspiracies were being
constantly formed among them against his power and life.

CONQUEST OF BACTRIA.--Urged on by an uncontrollable desire to possess
himself of the most remote countries of which any accounts had ever
reached him, Alexander now led his army to the north, and, after subduing
many tribes that dwelt about the Caspian Sea, boldly conducted his
soldiers over the snowy passes of the Hindu Kush, and descended into the
fair provinces of Bactria.

During the years 329-328 B.C. Alexander conquered not only Bactria but
Sogdiana, a country lying north of the Oxus. Among his captives here was a
beautiful Bactrian princess, Roxana by name, who became his bride.

Alexander's stay in Sogdiana was saddened by his murder of his dearest
friend Clitus, who had saved his life at the Granicus. Both were flushed
with wine when the quarrel arose; after the deed, Alexander was
overwhelmed with remorse.

CONQUESTS IN INDIA.--With the countries north of the Hindu Kush subdued
and settled, Alexander recrossed the mountains, and led his army down upon
the rich and crowded plains of India (327 B.C.). Here again he showed
himself invincible, and received the submission of many of the native

The most formidable resistance encountered by the Macedonians was offered
by a strong and wealthy king named Porus. Captured at last and brought
into the presence of Alexander, his proud answer to the conqueror's
question as to how he thought he ought to be treated was, "Like a king."
The impulsive Alexander gave him back his kingdom, to be held, however,
subject to the Macedonian crown.

Alexander's desire was to extend his conquests to the Ganges, but his
soldiers began to murmur because of the length and hardness of their
campaigns, and he reluctantly gave up the undertaking. To secure the
conquests already made, he founded, at different points in the valley of
the Indus, Greek towns and colonies. One of these he named Alexandria,
after himself; another Bucephala, in memory of his favorite steed; and
still another Nicæa, for his victories. The modern museum at Lahore
contains many relics of Greek art, dug up on the site of these Macedonian
cities and camps.

Alexander's return route lay through the ancient Gedrosia, now
Beluchistan, a region frightful with burning deserts, amidst which his
soldiers endured almost incredible privations and sufferings. After a
trying and calamitous march of over two months, Alexander, with the
survivors of his army, reached Carmania. Here, to his unbounded joy, he
was joined by Nearchus, the trusted admiral of his fleet, whom he had
ordered to explore the sea between the Indus and the Euphrates.

To appropriately celebrate his conquests and discoveries, Alexander
instituted a series of religious festivals, amidst which his soldiers
forgot the dangers of their numberless battles and the hardships of their
unparalleled marches, which had put to the test every power of human
endurance. And well might these veterans glory in their achievements. In a
few years they had conquered half the world, and changed the whole course
of history.

PLANS AND DEATH OF ALEXANDER.--As the capital of his vast empire, which
now stretched from the Ionian Sea to the Indus, Alexander chose the
ancient Babylon, upon the Euphrates. His designs were to push his
conquests as far to the west as he had extended them to the east. Arabia,
Carthage, Italy, and Spain were to be added to his already vast domains.
Indeed, the plans of Alexander embraced nothing less than the union and
Hellenizing of the world. Not only were the peoples of Asia and Europe to
be blended by means of colonies, but even the floras of the two continents
were to be intermingled by the transplanting of fruits and trees from one
continent to the other. Common laws and customs, a common language and a
common religion, were to unite the world into one great family.
Intermarriages were to blend the races. Alexander himself married a
daughter of Darius III., and also one of Artaxerxes Ochus; and to ten
thousand of his soldiers, whom he encouraged to take Asiatic wives, he
gave magnificent gifts.

In the midst of his vast projects, Alexander was seized by a fever,
brought on by his insane excesses, and died at Babylon, 323 B.C., in the
thirty-second year of his age. His soldiers could not let him die without
seeing him. The watchers of the palace were obliged to open the doors to
them, and the veterans of a hundred battle-fields filed sorrowfully past
the couch of their dying commander. His body was carried to Alexandria, in
Egypt, and there enclosed in a golden coffin, and a splendid mausoleum was
raised over it. His ambition for celestial honors was gratified in his
death; for in Egypt and elsewhere temples were dedicated to him, and
divine worship was paid to his statues.

We cannot deny to Alexander, in addition to a remarkable genius for
military affairs, a profound and comprehensive intellect. He had fine
tastes, and liberally encouraged art, science, and literature. The artists
of his times had in him a munificent patron; and to his preceptor
Aristotle he sent large collections of natural-history objects, gathered
in his extended expeditions. He had a kind and generous nature: he avenged
the murder of his enemy Darius; and he repented in bitter tears over the
body of his faithful Clitus. He exposed himself like the commonest
soldier, sharing with his men the hardships of the march and the dangers
of the battle-field.

But he was self-seeking, foolishly vain, and madly ambitious of military
glory. He plunged into shameful excesses, and gave way to bursts of
passion that transformed a usually mild and generous disposition into the
fury of a madman. The contradictions of his life cannot, perhaps, be
better expressed than in the words once applied to the gifted
Themistocles: "He was greater in genius than in character."

RESULTS OF ALEXANDER'S CONQUESTS.--The remarkable conquests of Alexander
had far-reaching consequences. They ended the long struggle between Persia
and Greece, and spread Hellenic civilization over Egypt and Western Asia.
The distinction between Greek and Barbarian was obliterated, and the
sympathies of men, hitherto so narrow and local, were widened, and thus an
important preparation was made for the reception of the cosmopolitan creed
of Christianity. The world was also given a universal language of culture,
which was a further preparation for the spread of Christian teachings.

But the evil effects of the conquest were also positive and far-reaching.
The sudden acquisition by the Greeks of the enormous wealth of the Persian
empire, and contact with the vices and the effeminate luxury of the
Oriental nations, had a most demoralizing effect upon Hellenic life.
Greece became corrupt, and she in turn corrupted Rome. Thus the
civilization of antiquity was undermined.


Legendary Age
  The Trojan War, legendary date           1194-1184
  The Dorians enter the Peloponnesus,     about 1104

Early History of Sparta
  Lycurgus gives laws to Sparta, about           850
  The Messenian Wars, about                  750-650

Early History of Athens
  Rule of the Archons                       1050-612
  Rebellion of Cylon                             612
  Legislation of Solon                           594
  Pisistratus rules                          560-527
  Expulsion of the Pisistratidæ                  510

Period of Græco-Persian War
  First Expedition of Darius (led by Mardonius)  492
  Battle of Marathon                             490
  Battle of Thermopylæ                           480
  Battle of Salamis                              480
  Battles of Platæa and Mycale                   479

Period of Athenian Supremacy
  Athens rebuilt                                 478
  Aristides chosen first president of the
    Confederacy of Delos                         477
  Themistocles sent into exile                   471
  Ostracism of Cimon                             459
  Pericles at the head of affairs--
    Periclean Age                            459-431

Events of the Peloponnesian War
  Beginning of the Peloponnesian War             431
  Pestilence at Athens                           430
  Expedition against Syracuse                    415
  Battle of Ægospotami                           405
  Close of the War                               404

Period of Spartan Supremacy
  Rule of the Thirty Tyrants at Athens       404-403
  Expedition of the Ten Thousand             401-400
  Peace of Antalcidas                            387
  Oligarchy established at Thebes                382
 Spartan power broken on the field of Leuctra    371

Period of Theban Supremacy
  Battle of Leuctra, which secures the
    supremacy of Thebes                          371
  Battle of Mantinea and death of Epaminondas    362

Period of Macedonian Supremacy
  Battle of Chæronea                             338
  Death of Philip of Macedon                     336
  Alexander crosses the Hellespont               334
  Battle of Issus                                333
  Battle of Arbela                               331
  Death of Alexander at Babylon                  323



DIVISION OF THE EMPIRE OF ALEXANDER.--There was no one who could wield the
sword that fell from the hand of Alexander. It is told that, when dying,
being asked to whom the kingdom should belong, he replied, "To the
strongest," and handed his signet ring to his general Perdiccas. But
Perdiccas was not strong enough to master the difficulties of the
situation. [Footnote: Perdiccas ruled as regent for Philip Arridæus (an
illegitimate brother of Alexander), who was proclaimed titular king.]
Indeed, who is strong enough to rule the world?

Consequently the vast empire created by Alexander's unparalleled conquests
was distracted by quarrels and wars, and before the close of the fourth
century B.C., had become broken into many fragments. Besides minor states,
[Footnote: Two of these lesser states, Rhodes and Pontus, deserve special

RHODES.--Rhodes became the head of a maritime confederation of the cities
and islands along the coasts of Asia Minor, and thus laid the basis of a
remarkable commercial prosperity and naval power.

PONTUS.--Pontus (Greek for _sea_), a state of Asia Minor, was so called
from its position upon the Euxine. It was never thoroughly conquered by
the Macedonians. It has a place in history mainly because of the lustre
shed upon it by the transcendent ability of one of its kings, Mithridates
the Great (120-63 B.C.), who for a long time made successful resistance to
the Roman arms.] four well-defined and important monarchies arose out of
the ruins. After the rearrangement of boundaries that followed the
decisive battle of Ipsus (fought in Phrygia 301 B.C.), these principal
states had the outlines shown by the accompanying map. Their rulers were
Lysimachus, Seleucus Nicator, Ptolemy, and Cassander, who had each assumed
the title of king. The great horn being broken, in its place came up four
notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. [Footnote: Dan. viii. 8.]

Lysimachus held Thrace and the western part of Asia Minor; Seleucus
Nicator, Syria and the countries eastward to the Indus; Ptolemy ruled
Egypt; and Cassander governed Macedonia, and claimed authority over
Greece. [Footnote: Cassander never secured complete control of Greece,
hence this country is not included in his domains as these appear upon the

After barely mentioning the fate of the kingdom of Lysimachus, we will
trace very briefly the fortunes of the other three monarchies until they
were overthrown, one after the other, by the now rapidly rising power of

THRACE, OR THE KINGDOM OF LYSIMACHUS.--The kingdom of Lysimachus soon
disappeared. He was defeated by Seleucus in the year 281 B.C., and his
dominions were divided. The lands in Asia Minor were joined to the Syrian
kingdom, while Thrace was absorbed by Macedonia.

SYRIA, OR THE KINGDOM OF THE SELEUCIDÆ (312-63 B.C.).--This kingdom,
during the two centuries and more of its existence, played an important
part in the political history of the world. Under its first king it
comprised nominally almost all the countries of Asia conquered by
Alexander, thus stretching from the Hellespont to the Indus. Its rulers
were called Seleucidæ, from the founder of the kingdom, Seleucus Nicator.

Seleucus Nicator (312-280 B.C.), besides being a ruler of unusual ability,
was a most liberal patron of learning and art. He is declared to have been
"the greatest founder of cities that ever lived." Throughout his dominions
he founded a vast number, some of which endured for many centuries.
Antioch, on the Orontes, in Northern Syria, became, after Seleucia on the
Tigris, the capital of the kingdom, and obtained an influence and renown
as a centre of population and trade which have given its name a sure place
in history.

The successors of Seleucus Nicator led the kingdom through checkered
fortunes. On different sides provinces fell away and became independent
states. [Footnote: The most important of these were the following:--1.
PERGAMUS.--This was a state in western Asia Minor, which became
independent upon the death of Seleucus Nicator (280 B.C.). Favored by the
Romans, it gradually grew into a powerful kingdom, which at one time
embraced a considerable part of Asia Minor. Its capital, also called
Pergamus, became a most noted centre of Greek learning and civilization.
2. PARTHIA.--Parthia was a powerful Turanian state that grew up east of
the Euphrates River (from about 255 B.C. to 226 A.D.). Its kings were at
first formidable enemies of the rulers of Syria, and later of the Romans,
whom they never allowed to make any considerable conquest beyond the
Euphrates.] Antiochus III. (223-187 B.C.), called "the Great," raised the
kingdom for a short time into great prominence; but attempting to make
conquests in Europe, and further, giving asylum to the Carthaginian
general Hannibal, he incurred the fatal hostility of Rome. Quickly driven
by the Roman legions across the Hellespont, he was hopelessly defeated at
the battle of Magnesia (190 B.C.). After this, the Syrian kingdom was of
very little importance in the world's affairs. At last, brought again into
collision with Rome, the country was overrun by Pompey the Great, and
became a part of the Roman Republic, 63 B.C.


[Illustration: PTOLEMY SOTER.]

KINGDOM OF THE PTOLEMIES IN EGYPT (323-30 B.C.).--The Græco-Egyptian
empire of the Ptolemies was by far the most important, in its influence
upon the civilization of the world, of all the kingdoms that owed their
origin to the conquests of Alexander. The founder of the house and dynasty
was Ptolemy I., surnamed Soter (323-283 B.C.), one of Alexander's ablest
generals. His descendants ruled in Egypt for nearly three centuries, a
most important period in the intellectual life of the world. Under Ptolemy
I., Alexandria became the great depot of exchange for the productions of
the world. At the entrance of the harbor stood the Pharos, or light-
house,--the first structure of its kind,--which Ptolemy built to guide the
fleets of the world to his capital. This edifice was reckoned one of the
Seven Wonders.

But it was not alone the exchange of material products that was
comprehended in Ptolemy's scheme. His aim was to make his capital the
intellectual centre of the world--the place where the arts, sciences,
literatures, and even the religions, of the world should meet and mingle.
He founded the famous Museum, a sort of college, which became the
"University of the East," and established the renowned Alexandrian
Library. Poets, artists, philosophers, and teachers in all departments of
learning were encouraged to settle in Alexandria by the conferring of
immunities and privileges, and by gifts and munificent patronage. His
court embraced the learning and genius of the age.

Ptolemy II., Philadelphus (283-247 B.C.), followed closely in the
footsteps of his father, carrying out, as far as possible, the plans and
policies of the preceding reign. Under his successor, Ptolemy III.,
Euergetes (247-242 B.C.), the dominions of the Ptolemies touched their
widest limits; while the capital Alexandria reached the culminating point
in her fame as the centre of Hellenistic civilization.

Altogether the Ptolemies reigned in Egypt almost exactly three centuries
(323-30 B.C.). Those rulers who held the throne for the last two hundred
years were, with few exceptions, a succession of monsters, such as even
Rome in her worst days could scarcely equal. The usage of intermarriage
among the members of the royal family,--a usage in which the Ptolemies
followed what was a custom of the ancient Pharaohs,--led to endless family
quarrels, which resulted in fratricide, matricide, and all the dark deeds
included in the calendar of royal crime. The story of the renowned
Cleopatra, the last of the house of the Ptolemies, will be told in
connection with Roman history, to which it properly belongs.

MACEDONIA AND GREECE.--From the time of the subjection of Greece by Philip
and Alexander to the absorption of Macedonia into the growing dominions of
Rome, the Greek cities of the peninsula were very much under the control
or influence of the Macedonian kings. But the Greeks were never made for
royal subjects, and consequently they were in a state of chronic revolt
against this foreign authority.

Thus, no sooner had they heard of the death of Alexander than several of
the Grecian states rose against the Macedonian general Antipater, and
carried on with him what is known as the Lamian War (323-321 B.C.). The
struggle ended disastrously for the Greeks, and Demosthenes, who had been
the soul of the movement, was forced to flee from Athens. He took refuge
upon an island just off the coast of the Peloponnesus; but being still
hunted by Antipater, he put an end to his own life by means of poison.

[Illustration: THE DYING GAUL.]

The next matter of moment in the history of Macedonia, was an invasion of
the Gauls (279 B.C.), kinsmen of the Celtic tribes that about a century
before this time had sacked the city of Rome. These savage marauders
inflicted terrible suffering upon both Macedonia and Greece. But they were
at last expelled from Europe, and settling in Asia Minor, they there gave
name to the province of Galatia. The celebrated Greek sculpture, The Dying
Gaul, popularly but erroneously called The Dying Gladiator, is a most
interesting memorial of this episode in Greek history.

Macedonia finally came in contact with a new enemy--the great military
republic of the West. For lending aid to Carthage in the Second Punic War,
she incurred the anger of Rome, and the result was that, after much
intrigue and hard fighting, the country was brought into subjection to the
Italian power. In the year 146 B.C. it was erected into a Roman province.

The political affairs of Greece proper during the period we are
considering were chiefly comprehended in the fortunes of two
confederacies, or leagues, one of which was called the Achæan, and the
other the Ætolian League. United, these two confederacies might have
maintained the political independence of Greece; but that spirit of
dissension which we have seen to be the bane of the Hellenic peoples
caused them to become, in the hands of intriguing Rome, weapons first for
crushing Macedonia, and then for grinding each other to pieces. Finally,
in the year 146 B.C., the splendid city of Corinth was taken by the Roman
army and laid in ashes. This was the last act in the long and varied drama
of the political life of ancient Greece. Henceforth it constituted simply
a portion of the Roman Empire.

CONCLUSION.--We have now traced the political fortunes of the Hellenic
race through about seven centuries of authentic history. In succeeding
chapters it will be our pleasanter task to trace the more brilliant and
worthy fortunes of the artistic and intellectual life of Hellas,--to
portray, though necessarily in scanty outline, the achievements of that
wonderful genius which enabled her, "captured, to lead captive her



THE GREEK SENSE OF BEAUTY.--The Greeks were artists by nature. "Ugliness
gave them pain like a blow." Everything they made was beautiful. Beauty
they placed next to holiness; indeed, they almost or quite made beauty and
right the same thing. They are said to have thought it strange that
Socrates was good, seeing he was so unprepossessing in appearance.

[Illustration: PELASGIAN MASONRY.]


PELASGIAN ARCHITECTURE.--The term Pelasgian is applied to various
structures of massive masonry found in different parts of Greece, Italy,
and Asia Minor. The origin of these works was a mystery to the earliest
Hellenes, who ascribed them to a race of giants called Cyclops; hence the
name Cyclopean that also attaches to them.

These works exhibit three well-defined stages of development. In the
earliest and rudest structures the stones are gigantic in size and
untouched by the chisel; in the next oldest the stones are worked into
irregular polygonal blocks; while in the latest the blocks are cut into
rectangular shapes and laid in regular courses. The walls of the old
citadels or castles of several Grecian cities exhibit specimens of this
primitive architecture (see p. 90).

ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE.--There are three styles, or orders, of Grecian
architecture--the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. They are
distinguished from one another chiefly by differences in the proportions
and ornamentation of the column.

[Illustration: DORIC CAPITAL.]

[Illustration: IONIC CAPITAL.]

The Doric column is without a base, and has a simple and massive capital.
At first the Doric temples of the Greeks were almost as massive as the
Egyptian temples, but later they became more refined.

The Ionic column is characterized by the spiral volutes of the capital.
This form was borrowed from the Assyrians, and was principally employed by
the Greeks of Ionia, whence its name.

The Corinthian order is distinguished by its rich capital, formed of
acanthus leaves. This type is made up of Egyptian, Assyrian, and Grecian
elements. The addition of the acanthus leaves is said to have been
suggested to the artist Callimachus by the pretty effect of a basket
surrounded by the leaves of an acanthus plant, upon which it had
accidentally fallen.

The entire structure was made to harmonize with its supporting columns.
The general characteristics of the several orders are well portrayed by
the terms we use when we speak of the "stern" Doric, the "graceful" Ionic,
and the "ornate" Corinthian.


TEMPLE OF DIANA AT EPHESUS.--The temple of Diana at Ephesus was regarded
as one of the wonders of the world. The original structure was commenced
about the beginning of the sixth century B.C., and, according to Pliny,
was one hundred and twenty years in process of building. Croesus gave
liberally of his wealth to ornament the shrine.

In the year 356 B.C., on the same night, it is said, that Alexander was
born, an ambitious youth, named Herostratus, fired the building, simply to
immortalize his name. Alexander offered to rebuild the temple, provided
that he be allowed to inscribe his name upon it. The Ephesians gracefully
declined the proposal by replying that it was not right for one deity to
erect a temple to another. Alexander was obliged to content himself with
placing within the shrine his own portrait by Apelles--a piece of work
which cost $30,000. The value of the gifts to the temple was beyond all
calculation: kings and states vied with one another in splendid donations.
Painters and sculptors were eager to have their masterpieces assigned a
place within its walls, so that it became a great national gallery of
paintings and statuary.

So inviolable was the sanctity of the temple that at all times, and
especially in times of tumult and danger, property and treasures were
carried to it as a safe repository. [Footnote: The Grecian temples were,
in a certain sense, banks of deposit. They contained special chambers or
vaults for the safe-keeping of valuables. The heaps of gold and silver
relics discovered by Di Cesnola at Sunium, in the island of Cyprus, were
found in the secret subterranean vaults of a great temple. The priests
often loaned out on interest the money deposited with them, the revenue
from this source being added to that from the leased lands of the temple
and from the tithes of war booty, to meet the expenses of the services of
the shrine. Usually the temple property in Greece was managed solely by
the priests; but the treasure of the Parthenon at Athens formed an
exception to this rule. The treasure here belonged to the state, and was
controlled and disposed of by the vote of the people. Even the personal
property of the goddess, the gold drapery of the statue (see p. 185),
which was worth about $600,000, could be used in case of great need, but
it must be replaced in due time, with a fair interest.] But the riches of
the sanctuary proved too great a temptation to the Roman emperor Nero. He
risked incurring the anger of the great Diana, and robbed the temple of
many statues and a vast amount of gold. Later (in 262 A.D.), the barbarian
Goths enriched themselves with the spoils of the shrine, and left it a

THE DELPHIAN TEMPLE.--The first temple erected at Delphi over the spot
whence issued the mysterious vapors (see p. 105) was a rude wooden
structure. In the year 548 B.C., the temple then standing was destroyed by
fire. All the cities and states of Hellas contributed to its rebuilding.
Even the king of Egypt, Amasis, sent a munificent gift. More than half a
million of dollars was collected; for the temple was to exceed in
magnificence anything the world had yet seen. It will be recalled that the
Athenian Alcmæonidæ were the contractors who undertook the rebuilding of
the shrine (see p. 122).

The temple was crowded with the spoils of many battle-fields, with the
rich gifts of kings, and with rare works of art. Like the temple at
Ephesus, the Delphian shrine, after remaining for many years secure,
through the awe and reverence which its oracle inspired, suffered frequent
spoliation. The greed of conquerors overcame all religious scruples. The
Phocians robbed the temple of a treasure equivalent, it is estimated, to
more than $10,000,000 with us (see p. 160); and Nero plundered it of five
hundred bronze images. But Constantine (emperor of Rome 306-337 A.D., and
founder of Constantinople) was the Nebuchadnezzar who bore off the sacred
vessels and many statues as trophies to his new capital then rising on the

THE ATHENIAN ACROPOLIS AND THE PARTHENON.--In the history of art there is
no other spot in the world possessed of such interest as the flat-topped
rock, already described, which constituted the Athenian Acropolis. We
have seen that in early times the eminence was used as a stronghold. But
by the fifth century B.C. the city had slipped down upon the plain, and
the summit of the rock was consecrated to the temples and the worship of
the deities, and came to be called "the city of the gods." During the
period of Athenian supremacy, especially in the Periclean Age, Hellenic
genius and piety adorned this spot with temples and statues that all the
world has pronounced to be faultless specimens of beauty and taste.

[Illustration: ATHENIAN YOUTH IN PROCESSION. (From the Frieze of the

The most celebrated of the buildings upon the Acropolis was the Parthenon,
the "Residence of the virgin-goddess Athena." This is considered the
finest specimen of Greek architecture. It was designed by the architect
Ictinus, but the sculptures that adorned it were the work of the
celebrated Phidias. [Footnote: The subject of the wonderful frieze running
round the temple was the procession which formed the most important
feature of the Athenian festival known as the Great Panathenæa, which was
celebrated every four years in honor of the patron-goddess of Athens. The
larger part of the frieze is now in the British Museum, the Parthenon
having been despoiled of its coronal of sculptures by Lord Elgin. Read
Lord Byron's _The Curse of Minerva_. To the poet, Lord Elgin's act
appeared worse than vandalism.] It was built in the Doric order, of marble
from the neighboring Pentelicus. After standing for more than two thousand
years, and having served successively as a Pagan temple, a Christian
church, and a Mohammedan mosque, it finally was made to serve as a Turkish
powder-magazine, in a war with the Venetians, in 1687. During the progress
of this contest a bomb fired the magazine, and more than half of this
masterpiece of ancient art was shivered into fragments. The front is
nearly perfect, and is the most prominent feature of the Acropolis at the
present time.


THE MAUSOLEUM AT HALICARNASSUS.--This structure was another of the Seven
Wonders of the World. It was a monumental tomb designed to preserve the
memory of Mausolus, king of Caria, who died 353 B.C. Its erection was
prompted by the love and grief of his wife Artemisia. The combined genius
of the most noted artists of the age executed the wish of the queen. It is
the traditions of this beautiful structure that have given the world a
name for all magnificent monuments raised to perpetuate the memory of the

THEATRES.--The most noted of Greek theatres was the Theatre of Dionysus at
Athens, which was the model of all the others. It was semi-circular in
form, and was partly cut in the rock on the southeastern slope of the
Acropolis, the Greeks in the construction of their theatres generally
taking advantage of a hillside. There were about one hundred rows of
seats, the lowest one, bordering the orchestra, consisting of sixty-seven
marble arm-chairs. The structure would hold thirty thousand spectators.

[Illustration: THE THEATRE OF DIONYSUS AT ATHENS. (Restored by G.


material first employed by the Greek artists. About the eighth century
B.C. bronze and marble were generally substituted for the less durable
material. With this change sculpture began to make rapid progress.

[Illustration: PITCHING THE DISCUS, OR QUOIT (Discobolus.)]

But what exerted the most positive influence upon Greek sculpture was the
gymnastic art. The exercises of the gymnasium and the contests of the
sacred games afforded the artist unrivalled opportunities for the study of
the human form. "The whole race," as Symonds says, "lived out its
sculpture and its painting, rehearsed, as it were, the great works of
Phidias and Polygnotus, in physical exercises, before it learned to
express itself in marble or in color."

As the sacred buildings increased in number and costliness, the services
of the artist were called into requisition for their adornment. At first
the temple held only the statue of the god; but after a time it became, as
we have already seen, a sort of national museum. The entablature, the
pediments, and every niche of the interior of the shrine, as well as the
surrounding grounds and groves, were peopled with statues and groups of
figures, executed by the most renowned artists, and representing the
national deities, the legendary heroes, victors at the public games, or
incidents in the life of the state in which piety saw the special
interposition of the god in whose honor the shrine had been reared.

PHIDIAS.--Among all the great sculptors of antiquity, Phidias stands pre-
eminent. He was an Athenian, and was born about 488 B.C. He delighted in
the beautiful myths and legends of the Heroic Age, and from these he drew
subjects for his art. It was his genius that created the wonderful figures
of the pediments and the frieze of the Parthenon.

[Illustration: ATHENA PARTHENOS. After a statue found at Athens in 1880,
which is supposed to be a copy of the colossal statue of Athena by
Phidias, described in the text.]

The most celebrated of his colossal sculptures were the statue of Athena
within the Parthenon, and that of Olympian Zeus in the temple at Olympia.
The statue of Athena was of gigantic size, being about forty feet in
height, and was constructed of ivory and gold, the hair, weapons, and
drapery being of the latter material.

The statue of Olympian Zeus was also of ivory and gold. It was sixty feet
high, and represented the god seated on his throne. The hair, beard, and
drapery were of gold. The eyes were brilliant stones. Gems of great value
decked the throne, and figures of exquisite design were sculptured on the
golden robe. The colossal proportions of this wonderful work, as well as
the lofty yet benign aspect of the countenance, harmonized well with the
popular conception of the majesty and grace of the "father of gods and
men." It was thought a great misfortune to die without having seen the
Olympian Zeus. [Footnote: Phidias avowed that he took his idea from the
representation which Homer gives in the first book of the _Iliad_ in
the passage thus translated by Pope:--
  "He spake, and awful bends his sable brow,
  Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives the nod,
  The stamp of fate, and sanction of the god.
  High heaven with reverence the dread signal took,
  And all Olympus to the centre shook."  BULFINCH'S _Age of Fable_.]

The statue was in existence for eight hundred years, being finally
destroyed by fire in the fifth century A.D.


Phidias also executed other works in both bronze and marble. He met an
unworthy fate. Upon the famous shield at the feet of the statue of Athena
in the Parthenon, among the figures in the representation of a battle
between the Athenians and the Amazons, Phidias introduced a portrait of
himself and also one of his patron Pericles. The enemies of the artist
caused him to be prosecuted for this, which was considered an act of
sacrilege. He died in prison (432 B.C.).

POLYCLETUS.--At the same time that Phidias was executing his ideal
representations of the gods, Polycletus the elder, whose home was at
Argos, was producing his renowned bronze statues of athletes. Among his
pieces was one representing a spear-bearer, which was so perfect as to be
known as "the Rule."

PRAXITELES.--This artist, after Polycletus, stands next to Phidias as one
of the most eminent of Greek sculptors. His works were executed during the
fourth century B.C. Among his chief pieces may be mentioned the "Cnidian
Aphrodite." This stood in the Temple of Aphrodite at Cnidus, and was
regarded by the ancients as the most perfect embodiment of the goddess of
beauty. Pilgrimages were made from distant countries to Cnidus for the
sake of looking upon the matchless statue.

LYSIPPUS.--This artist is renowned for his works in bronze. He flourished
about the middle of the fourth century B.C. His statues were in great
demand. Many of these were of colossal size. Alexander gave the artist
many orders for statues of himself, and also of the heroes that fell in
his campaigns.

[Illustration: THE LAOCOON GROUP.]

THE RHODIAN COLOSSUS AND SCHOOLS OF ART.--The most noted pupil of Lysippus
was Chares, who gave to the world the celebrated Colossus at Rhodes (about
280 B.C.). This was another of the wonders of the world. Its height was
about one hundred and seven feet, and a man could barely encircle with his
arms the thumb of the statue. [Footnote: The statue was not as large as
the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. The height of the latter is 151
feet.] After standing little more than half a century, it was overthrown
by an earthquake. For nine hundred years the Colossus then lay, like a
Homeric god, prone upon the ground. Finally, the Arabs, having overrun
this part of the Orient (A.D. 672), appropriated the statue, and thriftily
sold it to a Jewish merchant. It is said that it required a train of nine
hundred camels to bear away the bronze.

This gigantic piece of statuary was not a solitary one at Rhodes; for that
city, next after Athens, was the great art centre of the Grecian world.
Its streets and gardens and public edifices were literally crowded with
statues. The island became the favorite resort of artists, and the various
schools there founded acquired a wide renown. Many of the most prized
works of Grecian art in our modern museums were executed by members of
these Rhodian schools. The "Laocoön Group," found at Rome in 1506, and now
in the Museum of the Vatican, is generally thought to be the work of three
Rhodian sculptors.

GREEK PAINTING.--Although the Greek artists attained a high degree of
excellence in painting, still they probably never brought the art to the
perfection which they reached in sculpture. One reason for this was that
paintings were never, like statues, objects of adoration; hence less
attention was directed to them.

With the exception of antique vases and a few patches of mural decoration,
all specimens of Greek painting have perished. Consequently our knowledge
of Greek painting is derived chiefly from the descriptions of renowned
works, by the ancient writers, and their anecdotes of great painters.

POLYGNOTUS.--Polygnotus (flourished 475-455 B.C.) has been called the
Prometheus of painting, because he was the first to give fire and
animation to the expression of the countenance. "In his hand," it is
affirmed, "the human features became for the first time the mirror of the
soul." Of a Polyxena [Footnote: Polyxena was a daughter of the Trojan
Priam, famous for her beauty and her sufferings.] painted by this great
master, it was said that "she carried in her eyelids the whole history of
the Trojan War."

ZEUXIS AND PARRHASIUS.--These great artists lived and painted about 400
B.C. A favorite and familiar story preserves their names as companions,
and commemorates their rival genius. Zeuxis, such is the story, painted a
cluster of grapes which so closely imitated the real fruit that the birds
pecked at them. His rival, for his piece, painted a curtain. Zeuxis asked
Parrhasius to draw aside the veil and exhibit his picture. "I confess I am
surpassed," generously admitted Zeuxis to his rival; "I deceived birds,
but you have deceived the eyes of an experienced artist."

APELLES.--Apelles, who has been called the "Raphael of antiquity," was the
court painter of Alexander the Great. He was such a consummate master of
the art of painting, and carried it to such a state of perfection, that
the ancient writers spoke of it as the "art of Apelles."

That Apelles, like Zeuxis and Parrhasius, painted life-like pictures is
shown by the following story. In a contest between him and some rival
artists, horses were the objects represented. Perceiving that the judges
were unfriendly to him, and partial, Apelles insisted that less prejudiced
judges should pronounce upon the merit of the respective pieces,
demanding, at the same time, that the paintings should be shown to some
horses that were near. When brought before the pictures of his rival, the
horses exhibited no concern; but upon being shown the painting of Apelles,
they manifested by neighing and other intelligent signs their instant
recognition of the companions the great master had created.

NOTE.--Recent excavations (1878-1886) on the site of ancient Pergamus, in
Asia Minor, have brought to light a great Altar, dating seemingly from the
second century B.C., whose sides were decorated with gigantic sculptures
representing the Battle of the Giants against the Gods. The sculptures,
which by some are placed next to those of the Parthenon, are now in the
Berlin Museum.




THE GREEKS AS LITERARY ARTISTS.--It was that same exquisite sense of
fitness and proportion and beauty which made the Greeks artists in marble
that also made them artists in language. "Of all the beautiful things
which they created," says Professor Jebb, "their own language was the most
beautiful." This language they wrought into epics, lyrics, dramas,
histories, and orations as incomparable in form and beauty as their
temples and statues.

THE HOMERIC POEMS,--The earliest specimens of Greek poetry are the so-
called "Homeric poems," consisting of the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_. The
subject of the _Iliad_ (from Ilios, Troy) is the "Wrath of Achilles." The
_Odyssey_ tells of the long wanderings of the hero Odysseus (Ulysses) up
and down over many seas while seeking his native Ithaca, after the
downfall of Ilios. These poems exerted an incalculable influence upon the
literary and religious life of the Hellenic race.

The _Iliad_ must be pronounced the world's greatest epic. It has been
translated into all languages, and has been read with an ever fresh
interest by generation after generation for nearly 3000 years. Alexander,
it is told, slept with a copy beneath his pillow,--a copy prepared
especially for him by his preceptor Aristotle, and called the "casket
edition," from the jewelled box in which Alexander is said to have kept
it. We preserve it quite as sacredly in all our courses of classical
study. The poem has made warriors as well as poets. It incited the
military ambition of Alexander, of Hannibal, and of Cæsar; it inspired
Virgil, Dante, and Milton. All epic writers have taken it as their model.

[Illustration: HOMER.]

DATE AND AUTHORSHIP OF THE HOMERIC POEMS.--Until the rise of modern German
criticism, the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ were almost universally
ascribed to a single bard named Homer, who was believed to have lived
about the middle of the ninth or tenth century B.C., one or two centuries
after the events commemorated in his poems. Though tradition represents
many cities as contending for the honor of having been his birthplace,
still he was generally regarded as a native of Smyrna, in Asia Minor. He
travelled widely (so it was believed), lost his sight, and then, as a
wandering minstrel, sang his immortal verses to admiring listeners in the
different cities of Hellas.

But it is now the opinion of many scholars that the _Iliad_ and the
_Odyssey_, as they stand today, are not, either of them, the creation
of a single poet. They are believed to be mosaics; that is, to be built up
out of the fragments of an extensive ballad literature that grew up in an
age preceding the Homeric. The "Wrath of Achilles," which forms the
nucleus of the _Iliad_ as we have it, may, with very great probability, be
ascribed to Homer, whom we may believe to have been the most prominent of
a brotherhood of bards who flourished about 850 or 750 B.C.

THE HESIODIC POEMS.--Hesiod, who lived a century or more after the age
that gave birth to the Homeric poems, was the poet of nature and of real
life, especially of peasant life, in the dim transition age of Hellas. The
Homeric bards sing of the deeds of heroes, and of a far-away time when
gods mingled with men. Hesiod sings of common men, and of every-day,
present duties. His greatest poem, a didactic epic, is entitled _Works
and Days_. This is, in the main, a sort of farmers' calendar, in which
the poet points out to the husbandman the lucky and unlucky days for doing
certain kinds of work, eulogizes industry, and intersperses among all his
practical lines homely maxims of morality and beautiful descriptive
passages of the changing seasons.

LYRIC POETRY: PINDAR.--The Æolian island of Lesbos was the hearth and home
of the earlier lyric poets. Among the earliest of the Lesbian singers was
the poetess Sappho, whom the Greeks exalted to a place next to Homer.
Plato calls her the Tenth Muse. Although her fame endures, her poetry,
except some mere fragments, has perished.

Anacreon was a courtier at the time of the Greek tyrannies. He was a
native of Ionia, but passed much of his time at the court of Polycrates of
Samos. He seems to have enjoyed to the full the gay and easy life of a
courtier, and sung so voluptuously of love and wine and festivity that the
term "Anacreontic" has come to be used to characterize all poetry over-
redolent of these themes.

But the greatest of the Greek lyric poets, and perhaps the greatest of all
lyric poets of every age and race, was Pindar (about 522-443 B.C.). He was
born at Thebes, but spent most of his time in the cities of Magna Græcia.
Such was the reverence in which his memory was held that when Alexander,
one hundred years after Pindar's time, levelled the city of Thebes to the
ground on account of a revolt, the house of the poet was spared, and left
standing amid the general ruin (see p. 161). The greater number of
Pindar's poems were inspired by the scenes of the national festivals. They
describe in lofty strains the splendors of the Olympian chariot-races, or
the glory of the victors at the Isthmian, the Nemean, or the Pythian

Pindar insists strenuously upon virtue and self-culture. With deep meaning
he says, "Become that which thou art;" that is, be that which you are made
to be.


ORIGIN OF THE GREEK DRAMA.--The Greek drama, in both its branches of
tragedy and comedy, grew out of the songs and dances instituted in honor
of the god of wine--Dionysus (the same as the Roman Bacchus).

Tragedy (goat-song, possibly from the accompanying sacrifice of a goat)
sprang from the graver songs, and comedy (village-song) from the lighter
and more farcical ones. Gradually, recital and dialogue were added, there
being at first but a single speaker, then two, and finally three, which
last was the classical number. Thespis (about 536 B.C.) is said to have
introduced this idea of the dialogue; hence the term "Thespian" applied to
the tragic drama.


Owing to its origin, the Greek drama always retained a religious
character, and further, presented two distinct features, the chorus (the
songs and dances) and the dialogue. At first, the chorus was the all-
important part; but later, the dialogue became the more prominent portion,
the chorus, however, always remaining an essential feature of the
performance. Finally, in the golden age of the Attic stage, the chorus
dancers and singers were carefully trained, at great expense, and the
dialogue became the masterpiece of some great poet,--and then the Greek
drama, the most splendid creation of human genius, was complete.

THE THREE GREAT TRAGIC POETS.--There are three great names in Greek
tragedy,--Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. These dramatists all wrote
during the splendid period which followed the victories of the Persian
war, when the intellectual life of all Hellas, and especially that of
Athens, was strung to the highest tension. This lent nervous power and
intensity to almost all they wrote, particularly to the tragedies of
AEschylus and Sophocles. Of the two hundred and more dramas produced by
these poets, only thirty-two have escaped the accidents of time.

Æschylus (525-456 B.C.) knew how to touch the hearts of the generation
that had won the victories of the Persian war; for he had fought with
honor both at Marathon and at Salamis. But it was on a very different
arena that he was destined to win his most enduring fame. Eleven times did
he carry off the prize in tragic composition. The Athenians called him the
"Father of Tragedy."

[Illustration: ÆSCHYLUS.]

The central idea of his dramas is that "no mortal may dare raise his heart
too high,"--that "Zeus tames excessive lifting up of heart." _Prometheus
Bound_ is one of his chief works. Another of his great tragedies is
_Agamemnon_, thought by some to be his masterpiece. The subject is
the crime of Clytemnestra (see p. 96). It is a tragedy crowded with
spirit-shaking terrors, and filled with more than human crimes and woes.
Nowhere is portrayed with greater power the awful vengeance with which the
implacable Nemesis is armed.

Sophocles (495-405 B.C.) while yet a youth gained the prize in a poetic
contest with Æschylus. Plutarch says that Æschylus was so chagrined by his
defeat that he left Athens and retired to Sicily. Sophocles now became the
leader of tragedy at Athens. In almost every contest he carried away the
first prize. He lived through nearly a century, a century, too, that
comprised the most brilliant period of the life of Hellas. His dramas were
perfect works of art. The leading idea of his pieces is the same as that
which characterizes those of Æschylus; namely, that self-will and insolent
pride arouse the righteous indignation of the gods, and that no mortal can
contend successfully against the will of Zeus.

[Illustration: SOPHOCLES.]

Euripides (485-406 B.C.) was a more popular dramatist than either Æschylus
or Sophocles. His fame passed far beyond the limits of Greece. Herodotus
asserts that the verses of the poet were recited by the natives of the
remote country of Gedrosia; and Plutarch says that the Sicilians were so
fond of his lines that many of the Athenian prisoners, taken before
Syracuse, bought their liberty by teaching their masters his verses.

COMEDY: ARISTOPHANES.--Foremost among all writers of comedy must be placed
Aristophanes (about 444-380 B.C.). He introduces us to the every-day life
of the least admirable classes of Athenian society. Four of his most noted
works are the _Clouds_, the _Knights_, the _Birds_, and the _Wasps_.

In the comedy of the _Clouds_, Aristophanes especially ridicules the
Sophists, a school of philosophers and teachers just then rising into
prominence at Athens, of whom the satirist unfairly makes Socrates the

The aim of the _Knights_ was the punishment and ruin of Cleon, whom
we already know as one of the most conceited and insolent of the
demagogues of Athens.

[Illustration: EURIPIDES.]

The play of the _Birds_ is "the everlasting allegory of foolish sham
and flimsy ambition." It was aimed particularly at the ambitious Sicilian
schemes of Alcibiades; for at the time the play appeared, the Athenian
army was before Syracuse, and elated by good news daily arriving, the
Athenians were building the most gorgeous air-castles, and indulging in
the most extravagant day-dreams of universal dominion.

In the _Wasps_, the poet satirizes the proceedings in the Athenian
law-courts, by showing how the great citizen-juries, numbering sometimes
five or six hundred, were befooled by the demagogues. But Aristophanes was
something more than a master of mere mirth-provoking satire and ridicule:
many of the choruses of his pieces are inexpressibly tender and beautiful.

[Illustration: HERODOTUS.]


Poetry is the first form of literary expression among all peoples. So we
must not be surprised to find that it was not until several centuries
after the composition of the Homeric poems--that is, about the sixth
century B.C.--that prose-writing appeared among the Greeks. Historical
composition was then first cultivated. We can speak briefly of only three
historians,--Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon,--whose names were
cherished among the ancients, and whose writings are highly valued and
carefully studied by ourselves.

HERODOTUS.--Herodotus (about 484-402 B.C.), born at Halicarnassus, in Asia
Minor, is called the "Father of History." He travelled over much of the
then known world, visiting Italy, Egypt, and Babylonia, and as an eye-
witness describes with a never-failing vivacity and freshness the wonders
of the different lands he had seen. Herodotus lived in a story-telling
age, and he is himself an inimitable story-teller. To him we are indebted
for a large part of the tales of antiquity--stories of men and events
which we never tire of repeating. He was over-credulous, and was often
imposed upon by his guides in Egypt and at Babylon; but he describes with
great care and accuracy what he himself saw. It is sometimes very
difficult, however, to determine just what he actually did see with his
own eyes and experience in his own person; for it seems certain that,
following the custom of the story-tellers of his time, he often related as
his own personal adventures the experiences of others, yet with no thought
of deceiving. In this he might be likened to our modern writers of
historical romances.

The central theme of his great History is the Persian wars, the struggle
between Asia and Greece. Around this he groups the several stories of the
nations of antiquity. In the pictures which the artist-historian draws, we
see vividly contrasted, as in no other writings, the East and the West,
Persia and Hellas.

THUCYDIDES.--Thucydides (about 471-400 B.C.), though not so popular an
historian as Herodotus, was a much more philosophical one. He was born
near Athens. A pretty story is told of his youth, which must be repeated,
though critics have pronounced it fabulous. The tale is that Thucydides,
when only fifteen, was taken by his father to hear Herodotus recite his
history at the Olympian games, and that the reading and the accompanying
applause caused the boy to shed tears, and to resolve to become an

[Illustration: THUCYDIDES.]

Thucydides was engaged in military service during the first years of the
Peloponnesian War; but, on account of his being unfortunate, possibly
through his own neglect, the Athenians deprived him of his command, and he
went into an exile of twenty years. It is to this circumstance that we are
indebted for his invaluable _History of the War between the Peloponnesians
and the Athenians_.

Through the closest observation and study, he qualified himself to become
the historian of what he from the first foresaw would prove a memorable
war. "I lived," he says, "through its whole extent, in the very flower of
my understanding and strength, and with a close application of my
thoughts, to gain an exact insight into all its occurrences." He died
before his task was completed. The work is considered a model of
historical writing. Demosthenes read and re-read his writings to improve
his own style; and the greatest orators and historians of modern times
have been equally diligent students of the work of the great Athenian.

XENOPHON.--Xenophon (about 445-355 B.C.) was an Athenian, and is known
both as a general and a writer. The works that render his name so familiar
are his _Anabasis_, a simple yet thrilling narrative of the Expedition of
the Ten Thousand Greeks; and his _Memorabilia_, or Recollections of
Socrates. This work by his devoted pupil is the most faithful portraiture
that we possess of that philosopher.


INFLUENCE OF THE PUBLIC ASSEMBLY.--The art of oratory among the Greeks was
fostered and developed by the democratic character of their institutions.
The public assemblies of the democratic cities were great debating clubs,
open to all. The gift of eloquence secured for its possessor a sure pre-
eminence. The law-courts, too, especially the great jury-courts of Athens,
were schools of oratory; for every citizen was obliged to be his own
advocate and to defend his own case. Hence the attention bestowed upon
public speaking, and the high degree of perfection attained by the Greeks
in the difficult art of persuasion. Almost all the prominent Athenian
statesmen were masters of oratory.

THEMISTOCLES AND PERICLES.--We have already become acquainted with
Themistocles and Pericles as statesmen and leaders of Athenian affairs
during the most stirring period of the history of Athens. They both were
also great orators, and to that fact were largely indebted for their power
and influence. Thucydides has preserved the oration delivered by Pericles
in commemoration of those who fell in the first year of the Peloponnesian
War. It is an incomparable picture of the beauty and glory of Athens at
the zenith of her power, and has been pronounced one of the finest
productions of antiquity. The language of the address, as we have it, is
the historian's, but the sentiments are doubtless those of the great
statesman. It was the habit of Thucydides to put speeches into the mouths
of his characters.

DEMOSTHENES AND ÆSCHINES.--It has been the fortune of Demosthenes (385-322
B.C.) to have his name become throughout the world the synonym of
eloquence. The labors and struggles by which, according to tradition, he
achieved excellence in his art are held up anew to each generation of
youth as guides of the path to success. His first address before the
public assembly was a complete failure, owing to defects of voice and
manner. With indomitable will he set himself to the task of correcting
these. He shut himself up in a cave, and gave himself to the diligent
study of Thucydides. That he might not be tempted to spend his time in
society, he rendered his appearance ridiculous by shaving one side of his
head. To correct a stammering utterance, he spoke with pebbles in his
mouth, and broke himself of an ungainly habit of shrugging his shoulders
by speaking beneath a suspended sword. To accustom himself to the tumult
and interruptions of a public assembly, he declaimed upon the noisiest

[Illustration: DEMOSTHENES.]

These are some of the many stories told of the world's greatest orator.
There is doubtless this much truth in them at least--that Demosthenes
attained success, in spite of great discouragements, by persevering and
laborious effort. It is certain that he was a most diligent student of
Thucydides, whose great history he is said to have known by heart. More
than sixty of his orations have been preserved. "Of all human productions
they present to us the models which approach the nearest to perfection."

The latter part of the life of Demosthenes is intertwined with that of
another and rival Athenian orator, Æschines. For his services to the
state, the Athenians proposed to award to Demosthenes a golden crown.
Æschines opposed this. All Athens and strangers from far and near gathered
to hear the rival orators; for every matter at Athens was decided by a
great debate. Demosthenes made the grandest effort of his life. His
address, known as the "Oration on the Crown," has been declared to be "the
most polished and powerful effort of human oratory." Æschines was
completely crushed, and was sent into exile, and became a teacher of
oratory at Rhodes.

He is said to have once gathered his disciples about him and to have read
to them the oration of Demosthenes that had proved so fatal to himself.
Carried away by the torrent of its eloquence, his pupils, unable to
restrain their enthusiasm, burst into applause. "Ah!" said Æschines, who
seemed to find solace in the fact that his defeat had been at the hands of
so worthy an antagonist, "you should have heard the wild beast himself!"

Respecting the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon, and the
death of the eloquent patriot, we have already spoken (see pp. 160, 174).


The Alexandrian period of Greek literature embraces the time between the
break-up of Alexander's empire and the conquest of Greece by Rome (300-146
B.C.). During this period Alexandria in Egypt was the centre of literary
activity, hence the term _Alexandrian_, applied to the literature of
the age. The great Museum and Library of the Ptolemies afforded in that
capital such facilities for students and authors as existed in no other
city in the world.


But the creative age of Greek literature was over. With the loss of
political liberty, literature was cut off from its sources of inspiration.
Consequently the Alexandrian literature lacked freshness and originality.
The writers of the period were grammarians, commentators, and
translators,--in a word, book-worms.

One of the most important literary undertakings of the age was the
translation of the Old Testament into Greek. From the traditional number
of translators (seventy) the version is known as the _Septuagint_ (Latin
for seventy.) The work was probably begun by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and was
completed under his successors.

Among the poets of the period one name, and only one, stands out clear and
pre-eminent. This is that of Theocritus, a Sicilian idyllist, who wrote at
Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus. His idyls are beautiful pictures of
Sicilian pastoral life.

CONCLUSION: GRÆCO-ROMAN WRITERS.--After the Roman conquest of Greece, the
centre of Greek literary activity shifted from Alexandria to Rome. Hence
Greek literature now passes into what is known as its Græco-Roman period
(146 B.C.-527 A.D.).

The most noted historical writer of the first part of this period was
Polybius (about 203-121 B.C.), who wrote a history of the Roman conquests
from 264 to 146 B.C. His work, though the larger part of it has reached us
in a very mutilated state, is of great worth; for Polybius wrote of
matters that had become history in his own day. He had lived to see the
larger part of the world he knew absorbed by the ever-growing power of the
Imperial City.

Plutarch (b. about 40 A.D.), "the prince of ancient biographers," will
always live in literature as the author of the _Parallel Lives_, in
which, with great wealth of illustrative anecdotes, he compares or
contrasts Greek and Roman statesmen and soldiers.



THE SEVEN SAGES; THE FORERUNNERS.--About the sixth century B.C. there
lived and taught in different parts of Hellas many philosophers of real or
reputed originality and wisdom. Among these were seven men, called the
"Seven Sages," who held the place of pre-eminence. [Footnote: As in the
case of the Seven Wonders of the World, ancient writers were not always
agreed as to what names should be accorded the honor of enrolment in the
sacred number. Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilo, Bias, and
Pittacus are, however, usually reckoned as the Seven Wise Men.] To them
belongs the distinction of having first aroused the Greek intellect to
philosophical thought. The wise sayings--such as "Know thyself" and
"Nothing in excess"--attributed to them, are beyond number.

The ethical maxims and practical proverbs ascribed to the sages, while,
like the so-called proverbs of Solomon, they contain a vast amount of
practical wisdom, still do not constitute philosophy proper, which is a
systematic search for the reason and causes of things. They form simply
the introduction or prelude to Greek philosophy.

THE IONIC PHILOSOPHERS.--The first Greek school of philosophy grew up in
the cities of Ionia, in Asia Minor, where almost all forms of Hellenic
culture seem to have had their beginning. The founder of the system was
Thales of Miletus (about 640-550 B.C.), who was followed by Anaximander,
Anaximenes, and Heraclitus.

One tenet held in common by all these philosophers was that matter and
mind are inseparable; or, in other words, that all matter is animate. They
never thought of the soul as something distinct and separable from matter
as we do. Even the soul in Hades was conceived as having a body in every
respect like that the soul possessed in the earthly life, only it was
composed of a subtler substance. This conception of matter as being alive
will help us to understand Greek mythology, which, it will be remembered,
endowed trees, rivers, springs, clouds, the planets, all physical objects
indeed, with intelligence and will.

PYTHAGORAS.--Pythagoras (about 580-500 B.C.) was born on the island of
Samos, whence his title of "Samian Sage." Probable tradition says that he
spent many years of his early life in Egypt, where he became versed in all
the mysteries of the Egyptians. He returned to Greece with a great
reputation, and finally settled at Crotona, in Italy.

Like many another ancient philosopher, Pythagoras sought to increase the
reverence of his disciples for himself by peculiarities of dress and
manner. His uncut hair and beard flowed down upon his shoulders and over
his breast. He never smiled. His dress was a white robe, with a golden
crown. For the first years of their novitiate, his pupils were not allowed
to look upon their master. They listened to his lectures from behind a
curtain. _Ipse dixit_, "he himself said so," was the only argument
they must employ in debate. It is to Pythagoras, according to legend, that
we are indebted for the word _philosopher_. Being asked of what he
was master, he replied that he was simply a "philosopher," that is, a
"lover of wisdom."

Pythagoras held views of the solar system that anticipated by two thousand
years those of Copernicus and his school. He taught, only to his most
select pupils however, that the earth is a sphere; and that, like the
other planets, it revolves about a central globe of fire. From him comes
the pretty conceit of the "music of the spheres." He imagined that the
heavenly spheres, by their swift, rolling motions, produced musical notes,
which united in a celestial melody, too refined, however, for human ears.

He taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, an idea he had
doubtless brought from Egypt. Because of this belief the Pythagoreans were
strict vegetarians, abstaining religiously from the use of all animal

ANAXAGORAS.--Anaxagoras (499-427 B.C.) was the first Greek philosopher who
made _mind_, instead of necessity or chance, the arranging and harmonizing
force of the universe. "Reason rules the world" was his first maxim.

Anaxagoras was the teacher in philosophy of Pericles, and it is certain
that that statesman was greatly influenced by the liberal views of the
philosopher; for in his general conceptions of the universe, Anaxagoras
was far in advance of his age. He ventured to believe that the moon was
somewhat like the earth, and inhabited; and taught that the sun was not a
god, but a glowing rock, as large, probably, as the Peloponnesus.

But for his audacity, the philosopher suffered the fate of Galileo in a
later age; he was charged with impiety and exiled. Yet this did not
disturb the serenity of his mind. In banishment he said, "It is not I who
have lost the Athenians, but the Athenians who have lost me."

EMPEDOCLES AND DEMOCRITUS.--In the teachings of Empedocles (about 492-432
B.C.) and Democritus (about 460-370 B.C.) we meet with many speculations
respecting the constitution of matter and the origin of things which are
startlingly similar to some of the doctrines held by modern scientists.
Empedocles, with the evolutionists of to-day, taught that the higher forms
of life arise out of the lower; Democritus conceived all things to be
composed of invisible atoms, all alike in quality, but differing in form
and combination.

THE SOPHISTS.--The Sophists, of whom the most noted were Protagoras,
Gorgias, and Prodicus, were a class of philosophers or teachers who gave
instruction in rhetoric and the art of disputation. They travelled about
from city to city, and contrary to the usual custom of the Greek
philosophers, took fees from their pupils. They were shallow but brilliant
men, caring more for the dress in which the thought was arrayed than for
the thought itself, more for victory than for truth; and some of them
inculcated a selfish morality. The better philosophers of the time
despised them, and applied to them many harsh epithets, taunting them with
selling wisdom, and accusing them of boasting that they could "make the
worse appear the better reason."

SOCRATES.--Volumes would not contain what would be both instructive and
interesting respecting the lives and works of the three great philosophers
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We can, however, accord to each only a few
words. Of these three eminent thinkers, Socrates (469-399 B.C.), though
surpassed in grasp and power of intellect by both Plato and Aristotle, has
the firmest hold upon the affections of the world.

Nature, while generous to the philosopher in the gifts of soul, was unkind
to him in the matter of his person. His face was ugly as a satyr's, and he
had an awkward, shambling walk, so that he invited the shafts of the comic
poets of his time. He loved to gather a little circle about him in the
Agora or in the streets, and then to draw out his listeners by a series of
ingenious questions. His method was so peculiar to himself that it has
received the designation of the "Socratic dialogue." He has very happily
been called an _educator_, as opposed to an _instructor_. In the young men
of his time Socrates found many devoted pupils. The youthful Alcibiades
declared that "he was forced to stop his ears and flee away, that he might
not sit down by the side of Socrates and grow old in listening."

[Illustration: SOCRATES.]

Socrates was unfortunate in his domestic relations. Xanthippe, his wife,
seems to have been of a practical turn of mind, and unable to sympathize
with the abstracted ways of her husband.

This great philosopher believed that the proper study of mankind is man,
his favorite maxim being "Know Thyself"; hence he is said to have brought
philosophy from the heavens and introduced it to the homes of men.

Socrates held the Sophists in aversion, and in opposition to their selfish
expediency taught the purest system of morals that the world had yet
known, and which has been surpassed only by the precepts of the Great
Teacher. He thought himself to be restrained from entering upon what was
inexpedient or wrong by a tutelary spirit. He believed in the immortality
of the soul and in a Supreme Ruler of the universe, but sometimes spoke
slightingly of the temples and the popular deities. This led to his
prosecution on the double charge of blasphemy and of corrupting the
Athenian youth. The fact that Alcibiades had been his pupil was used to
prove the demoralizing tendency of his teachings. He was condemned to
drink the fatal hemlock. The night before his death he spent with his
disciples, discoursing on the immortality of the soul.

PLATO.--Plato (429-348 B.C.), "the broad-browed," was a philosopher of
noble birth, before whom in youth a brilliant career in the world of Greek
affairs opened; but, coming under the influence of Socrates, he resolved
to give up all his prospects in politics and devote himself to philosophy.
Upon the condemnation and death of his master he went into voluntary
exile. In many lands he gathered knowledge and met with varied
experiences. He visited Sicily, where he was so unfortunate as to call
upon himself the resentment of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, through
having worsted him in an argument, and also by an uncourtly plainness of
speech. The king caused him to be sold into slavery as a prisoner of war.
Being ransomed by a friend, he found his way to his native Athens, and
established a school of philosophy in the Academy, a public garden close
to Athens. Here amid the disciples that thronged to his lectures, he
passed the greater part of his long life,--he died 348 B.C., at the age of
eighty-one years,--laboring incessantly upon the great works that bear his

[Illustration: PLATO.]

Plato imitated in his writings the method of Socrates in conversation. The
discourse is carried on by questions and answers, hence the term
_Dialogues_ that attaches to his works. He attributes to his master,
Socrates, much of the philosophy that he teaches: yet his _Dialogues_
are all deeply tinged with his own genius and thought. In the _Republic_
Plato portrays his conception of an ideal state. He was opposed to the
republic of Athens, and his system, in some of its main features, was
singularly like the Feudal System of Mediæval Europe.

The _Phædo_ is a record of the last conversation of Socrates with his
disciples--an immortal argument for the immortality of the soul.

Plato believed not only in a future life (post-existence), but also in
pre-existence; teaching that the ideas of reason, or our intuitions, are
reminiscences of a past experience. [Footnote: In the following lines from
Wordsworth we catch a glimpse of Plato's doctrine of pre-existence:--
 "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
  The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
  Hath had elsewhere its setting,
  And cometh from afar:
  Not in entire forgetfulness,
  Nor yet in utter nakedness,
  But trailing clouds of glory, do we come
  From God, who is our home."--_Ode on Immortality_.] Plato's
doctrines have exerted a profound influence upon all schools of thought
and philosophies since his day. In some of his precepts he made a close
approach to the teachings of Christianity. "We ought to become like God,"
he said, "as far as this is possible; and to become like Him is to become
holy and just and wise."

ARISTOTLE.--As Socrates was surpassed by his pupil Plato, so in turn was
Plato excelled in certain respects by his disciple Aristotle, "the master
of those who know." In him the philosophical genius of the Hellenic
intellect reached its culmination. He was born in the Macedonian city of
Stagira (384 B.C.), and hence is frequently called the "Stagirite." As in
the case of Socrates, his personal appearance gave no promise of the
philosopher. His teacher, Plato, however, recognized the genius of his
pupil, and called him the "Mind of the school."

After studying for twenty years in the school of Plato, Aristotle became
the preceptor of Alexander the Great. When Philip invited him to become
the tutor of his son, he gracefully complimented the philosopher by saying
in his letter that he was grateful to the gods that the prince was born in
the same age with him. Alexander became the liberal patron of his tutor,
and aided him in his scientific studies by sending him large collections
of plants and animals, gathered on his distant expeditions.

At Athens the great philosopher delivered his lectures while walking about
beneath the trees and porticoes of the Lyceum; hence the term
_peripatetic_ (from the Greek _peripatein_, "to walk about") applied to
his philosophy.

[Illustration: ARISTOTLE.]

Among the productions of his fertile intellect are works on rhetoric,
logic, poetry, morals and politics, physics and metaphysics. For centuries
his works were studied and copied and commented upon by both European and
Asiatic scholars, in the schools of Athens and Rome, of Alexandria and
Constantinople. Until the time of Bacon in England, for nearly two
thousand years, Aristotle ruled over the realm of mind with a despotic
sway. All teachers and philosophers acknowledged him as their guide and

ZENO AND THE STOICS.--We are now approaching the period when the political
life of Hellas was failing, and was being fast overshadowed by the
greatness of Rome. But the intellectual life of the Greek race was by no
means eclipsed by the calamity that ended its political existence. For
centuries after that event the poets, scholars, and philosophers of this
intellectual people led a brilliant career in the schools and universities
of the Roman world.

From among all the philosophers of this long period, we can select for
brief mention only a few. And first we shall speak of Zeno and Epicurus,
who are noted as founders of schools of philosophy that exerted a vast
influence upon both the thought and the conduct of many centuries.

Zeno, founder of the celebrated school of the Stoics, lived in the third
century before our era (about 362-264). He taught at Athens in a public
porch (in Greek, _stoa_), from which circumstance comes the name applied
to his disciples.

The Stoical philosophy was the outgrowth, in part at least, of that of the
Cynics, a sect of most rigid and austere morals. The typical
representative of this sect is found in Diogenes, who lived, so the story
goes, in a tub, and went about Athens by daylight with a lantern, in
search, as he said, of a _man_. The Cynics were simply a race of pagan

The Stoics inculcated virtue for the sake of itself. They believed--and it
would be very difficult to frame a better creed--that "man's chief
business here is to do his duty." They schooled themselves to bear with
perfect composure any lot that destiny might appoint. Any sign of emotion
on account of calamity was considered unmanly and unphilosophical. Thus,
when told of the sudden death of his son, the Stoic replied, "Well, I
never imagined that I had given life to an immortal."

Stoicism became a favorite system of thought with certain classes of the
Romans, and under its teachings and doctrines were nourished some of the
purest and loftiest characters produced by the pagan world. It numbered
among its representatives, in later times, the illustrious Roman emperor
Marcus Aurelius, and the scarcely less renowned and equally virtuous slave
Epictetus. In many of its teachings it anticipated Christian doctrines,
and was, in the philosophical world, a very important preparation for

[Illustration: EPICURUS.]

EPICURUS AND THE EPICUREANS.--Epicurus (342-270 B.C.), who was a
contemporary of Zeno, taught, in opposition to the Stoics, that
_pleasure_ is the highest good. He recommended virtue, indeed, but
only as a means for the attainment of pleasure; whereas the Stoics made
virtue an end in itself. In other words, Epicurus said, "Be virtuous,
because virtue will bring you the greatest amount of happiness"; Zeno
said, "Be virtuous, because you ought to be."

Epicurus had many followers in Greece, and his doctrines were eagerly
embraced by many among the Romans during the corrupt period of the Roman
empire. Many of these disciples carried the doctrines of their master to
an excess that he himself would have been the first to condemn. Allowing
full indulgence to every appetite and passion, their whole philosophy was
expressed in the proverb, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." No
pure or exalted life could be nourished in the unwholesome atmosphere of
such a philosophy. Epicureanism never produced a single great character.

THE SKEPTICS; PYRRHO.--About the beginning of the third century B.C.
skepticism became widespread in Greece. It seemed as though men were
losing faith in everything. Many circumstances had worked together in
bringing about this state of universal unbelief. A wider knowledge of the
world had caused many to lose their faith in the myths and legends of the
old mythologies. The existence of so many opposing systems of philosophy
caused men to doubt the truth of any of them. Many thoughtful minds were
hopelessly asking, "What is truth?"

Pyrrho (about 360-270 B.C.) was the doubting Thomas of the Greeks. He
questioned everything, and declared that the great problems of the
universe could not be solved. He asserted that it was the duty of man, and
the part of wisdom, to entertain no positive judgment on any matter, and
thus to ensure serenity and peace of mind.

The disciples of Pyrrho went to absurd lengths in their skepticism, some
of them even saying that they asserted nothing, not even that they
asserted nothing. They doubted whether they doubted.

THE NEO-PLATONISTS.--Neo-Platonism was a blending of Greek philosophy and
Oriental mysticism. It has been well called the "despair of reason,"
because it abandoned all hope of man's ever being able to attain the
_highest_ knowledge through reason alone, and looked for a Revelation. The
centre of this last movement in Greek philosophical thought was Alexandria
in Egypt, the meeting-place, in the closing centuries of the ancient
world, of the East and the West.

Philo the Jew (b. about 30 B.C.), who labored to harmonize Hebrew
doctrines with the teachings of Plato, was the forerunner of the Neo-
Platonists. But the greatest of the school was Plotinus (A.D. 204-269),
who spent the last years of his life at Rome, where he was a great

were laboring to restore, in modified form, the ancient Greek philosophy
and worship, the teachers of Christianity were fast winning the world over
to a new faith. The two systems came into deadly antagonism. Christianity
triumphed. The gifted and beautiful Hypatia, almost the last
representative of the old system of speculation and belief, was torn to
pieces in the streets of Alexandria by a mob of fanatic Christian monks
(A.D. 415). Finally the Roman emperor Justinian forbade the pagan
philosophers to teach their doctrines (A.D. 529). This imperial edict
closed forever the Greek schools, in which for more than a thousand years
the world had received instruction upon the loftiest themes that can
engage the human mind. The Greek philosophers, as living, personal
teachers, had finished their work; but their systems of thought will never
cease to attract and influence the best minds of the race.


The contributions of the Greek observers to the physical sciences have
laid us under no small obligation to them. Some of those whom we have
classed as philosophers, were careful students of nature, and might be
called scientists. The great philosopher Aristotle wrote some valuable
works on anatomy and natural history. From his time onward the sciences
were pursued with much zeal and success. Especially did the later Greeks
do much good and lasting work in the mathematical sciences.

MATHEMATICS: EUCLID AND ARCHIMEDES.--Alexandria, in Egypt, became the seat
of the most celebrated school of mathematics of antiquity. Here, under
Ptolemy Lagus, flourished Euclid, the great geometer, whose work forms the
basis of the science of geometry as taught in our schools at the present
time. Ptolemy himself was his pupil. The royal student, however, seems to
have disliked the severe application required to master the problems of
Euclid, and asked his teacher if there was not some easier way. Euclid
replied, "There is no royal road to geometry."

In the third century B.C., Syracuse, in Sicily, was the home of
Archimedes, the greatest mathematician that the Grecian world produced.

ASTRONOMY.--Among ancient Greek astronomers, Aristarchus, Hipparchus, and
Claudius Ptolemy are distinguished.

Aristarchus of Samos, who lived in the third century B.C., held that the
earth revolves about the sun as a fixed centre, and rotates on its own
axis. He was the Greek Copernicus. But his theory was rejected by his
contemporaries and successors.

Hipparchus, who flourished about the middle of the second century B.C.,
was, through his careful observations, the real founder of scientific
astronomy. He calculated eclipses, catalogued the stars, and wrote several
astronomical works of a really scientific character.

Claudius Ptolemy lived in Egypt about the middle of the second century
after Christ. His great reputation is due not so much to his superior
genius as to the fortunate circumstance that a vast work compiled by him,
preserved and transmitted to later times almost all the knowledge of the
ancients on astronomical and geographical subjects. In this way it has
happened that his name has become attached to various doctrines and views
respecting the universe, though these probably were not originated by him.
The phrase _Ptolemaic system_, however, links his name inseparably
with that conception of the solar system set forth in his works, which
continued to be the received theory from his time until Copernicus--
fourteen centuries later.

Ptolemy combated the theory of Aristarchus in regard to the rotation and
revolution of the earth; yet he believed the earth to be a globe, and
supported this view by exactly the same arguments that we to-day use to
prove the doctrine.



EDUCATION.--Education at Sparta, where it was chiefly gymnastic, as we
have seen (p. 115), was a state affair; but at Athens and throughout
Greece generally, the youth were trained in private schools. These schools
were of all grades, ranging from those kept by the most obscure teachers,
who gathered their pupils in some recess of the street, to those
established in the Athenian Academy and Lyceum by such philosophers as
Plato and Aristotle.

[Illustration: A GREEK SCHOOL. (After a vase-painting.)]

It was only the boys who received education. These Grecian boys, Professor
Mahaffy imagines, were "the most attractive the world has ever seen." At
all events, we may believe that they were trained more carefully and
delicately than the youth among any other people before or since the days
of Hellenic culture.

In the nursery, the boy was taught the beautiful myths and stories of the
national mythology. At about seven he entered school, being led to and
from the place of training by an old slave, who bore the name of
_pedagogue_, which in Greek means a guide or leader of boys--not a
teacher. His studies were grammar, music, and gymnastics, the aim of the
course being to secure a symmetrical development of mind and body alike.

Grammar included reading, writing, and arithmetic; music, which embraced a
wide range of mental accomplishments, trained the boy to appreciate the
masterpieces of the great poets, to contribute his part to the musical
diversions of private entertainments, and to join in the sacred choruses
and in the pæan of the battlefield. The exercises of the palestræ and the
gymnasia trained him for the Olympic contests, or for those sterner hand-
to-hand battle-struggles, in which so much depended upon personal strength
and dexterity.

Upon reaching maturity, the youth was enrolled in the list of citizens.
But his graduation from school was his "commencement" in a much more real
sense than with the average modern graduate. Never was there a people
besides the Greeks whose daily life was so emphatically a discipline in
liberal culture. The schools of the philosophers, the debates of the
popular assembly, the practice of the law-courts, the religious
processions, the representations of an unrivalled stage, the Panhellenic
games--all these were splendid and efficient educational agencies, which
produced and maintained a standard of average intelligence and culture
among the citizens of the Greek cities that probably has never been
attained among any other people on the earth. Freeman, quoted approvingly
by Mahaffy, says that "the average intelligence of the assembled Athenian
citizens was higher than that of our [the English] House of Commons."

SOCIAL POSITION OF WOMAN.--Woman's social position in ancient Greece may
be defined in general as being about half-way between Oriental seclusion
and Western freedom. Her main duties were to cook and spin, and to oversee
the domestic slaves, of whom she herself was practically one. In the
fashionable society of Ionian cities, she was seldom allowed to appear in
public, or to meet, even in her own house, the male friends of her
husband. In Sparta, however, and in Dorian states generally, she was
accorded much greater freedom, and was a really important factor in

The low position generally assigned the wife in the home had a most
disastrous effect upon Greek morals. She could exert no such elevating or
refining influence as she casts over the modern home. The men were led to
seek social and intellectual sympathy and companionship outside the family
circle, among a class of women known as Hetairæ, who were esteemed chiefly
for their brilliancy of intellect. As the most noted representative of
this class stands Aspasia, the friend of Pericles. The influence of the
Hetairæ was most harmful to social morality.

THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENTS.--Among the ancient Greeks the theatre was a
state establishment, "a part of the constitution." This arose from the
religious origin and character of the drama (see p. 193), all matters
pertaining to the popular worship being the care and concern of the state.
Theatrical performances, being religious acts, were presented only during
religious festivals, and were attended by all classes, rich and poor, men,
women, and children. The women, however, except the Hetairæ, were, it
would seem, permitted to witness tragedies only; the comic stage was too
gross to allow of their presence. The spectators sat under the open sky;
and the pieces followed one after the other in close succession from early
morning till nightfall.

[Illustration: GREEK TRAGIC FIGURE.]

There were companies of players who strolled about the country, just as
the English actors of Shakespeare's time were wont to do. While the better
class of actors were highly honored, ordinary players were held in very
low esteem. The tragic actor increased his height and size by wearing
thick-soled buskins, an enormous mask, and padded garments. The actor in
comedy wore thin-soled slippers, or socks. The _sock_ being thus a
characteristic part of the make-up of the ancient comic actor, and the
_buskin_ that of the tragic actor, these foot coverings have come to
be used as the symbols respectively of comedy and tragedy, as in the
familiar lines of Dryden:--

  "Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,
  Nor greater Jonson dares in socks appear."

The theatre exerted a great influence upon Greek life. It performed for
ancient Greek society somewhat the same service as that rendered to modern
society by the pulpit and the press. During the best days of Hellas the
frequent rehearsal upon the stage of the chief incidents in the lives of
the gods and the heroes served to deepen and strengthen the religious
faith of the people; and later, in the Macedonian period, the theatre was
one of the chief agents in the diffusion of Greek literary culture over
the world.

BANQUETS AND SYMPOSIA.--Banquets and drinking-parties among the Greeks
possessed some features which set them apart from similar entertainments
among other peoples.

The banquet proper was partaken, in later times, by the guest in a
reclining position, upon couches or divans, arranged about the table in
the Oriental manner. After the usual courses, a libation was poured out
and a hymn sung in honor of the gods, and then followed that
characteristic part of the entertainment known as the _symposium_.

The symposium was "the intellectual side of the feast." It consisted of
general conversation, riddles, and convivial songs rendered to the
accompaniment of the lyre passed from hand to hand. Generally,
professional singers and musicians, dancing-girls, jugglers, and jesters
were called in to contribute to the merrymaking. All the while the wine-
bowl circulated freely, the rule being that a man might drink "as much as
he could carry home without a guide,--unless he were far gone in years."
Here also the Greeks applied their maxim, "Never too much."

The banqueters usually consumed the night in merry-making, sometimes being
broken in upon from the street by other bands of revellers, who made
themselves self-invited guests.

OCCUPATION.--The enormous body of slaves in ancient Greece relieved the
free population from most of those forms of labor classed as drudgery. The
æsthetic Greek regarded as degrading any kind of manual labor that marred
the symmetry or beauty of the body.

At Sparta, and in other states where oligarchical institutions prevailed,
the citizens formed a sort of military class, strikingly similar to the
military aristocracy of Feudal Europe. Their chief occupation was martial
and gymnastic exercises and the administration of public affairs. The
Spartans, it will be recalled, were forbidden by law to engage in trade.
In other aristocratic states, as at Thebes, a man by engaging in trade
disqualified himself for full citizenship.

In the democratic states, however, speaking generally, labor and trade
were regarded with less contempt. A considerable portion of the citizens
were traders, artisans, and farmers.

Life at Athens presented some peculiar features. All Attica being included
in what we should term the corporate limits of the city, the roll of
Athenian citizens included a large body of well-to-do farmers, whose
residence was outside the city walls. The Attic plains, and the slopes of
the half-encircling hills, were dotted with beautiful villas and inviting

And then Athens being the head of a great empire of subject cities, a
large number of Athenian citizens were necessarily employed as salaried
officials in the minor positions of the public service, and thus politics
became a profession. In any event, the meetings of the popular assembly
and the discussion of matters of state engrossed more or less of the time
and attention of every citizen.

Again, the great Athenian jury-courts, which were busied with cases from
all parts of the empire, gave constant employment to nearly one fourth of
the citizens, the fee that the juryman received enabling him to live
without other business. It is said that, in the early morning, when the
jurymen were passing through the streets to the different courts, Athens
appeared like a city wholly given up to the single business of law.
Furthermore, the great public works, such as temples and commemorative
monuments, which were in constant process of erection, afforded employment
for a vast number of artists and skilled workmen of every class.

In the Agora, again, at any time of the day, a numerous class might have
been found whose sole occupation, as in the case of Socrates, was to talk.
The writer of the "Acts of the Apostles" was so impressed with this
feature of life at Athens that he summarized the habits of the people by
saying, "All the Athenians, and strangers which were there, spent their
time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing."
(Chap. xvii. 21.)

SLAVERY.--There was a dark side to Greek life. Hellenic art, culture,
refinement--"these good things were planted, like exquisite exotic
flowers, upon the black, rank soil of slavery."

The proportion of slaves to the free population in many of the states was
astonishingly large. In Corinth and Ægina there were ten slaves to every
freeman. In Attica the proportion was four to one; that is to say, out of
a population of about 500,000, 400,000 were slaves. [Footnote: The
population of Attica in 317 B.C. is reckoned at about 527,000. That of
Athens in its best days was probably not far from 150,000.] Almost every
freeman was a slave owner. It was accounted a real hardship to have to get
along with less than half a dozen slaves.

This large class of slaves was formed in various ways. In the prehistoric
period, the fortunes of war had brought the entire population of whole
provinces into a servile condition, as in certain parts of the
Peloponnesus. During later times, the ordinary captives of war still
further augmented the ranks of these unfortunates. Their number was also
largely added to by the slave traffic carried on with the barbarian
peoples of Asia Minor. Criminals and debtors, too, were often condemned to
servitude; while foundlings were usually brought up as slaves.

The relation of master and slave was regarded by the Greek as being, not
only a legal, but a natural one. A free community, in his view, could not
exist without slavery. It formed the natural basis of both the family and
the state,--the relation of master and slave being regarded as "strictly
analogous to the relation of soul and body." Even Aristotle and other
Greek philosophers approved the maxim that "slaves are simply domestic
animals possessed of intelligence." They were regarded as just as
necessary in the economy of the family as cooking utensils.

In general, Greek slaves were not treated harshly--judging their treatment
by the standard of humanity that prevailed in antiquity. Some held places
of honor in the family, and enjoyed the confidence and even the friendship
of their master. Yet at Sparta, where slavery assumed the form of serfdom,
the lot of the slave was peculiarly hard and unendurable.

If slavery was ever justified by its fruits, it was in Greece. The
brilliant civilization of the Greeks was its product, and could never have
existed without it. As one truthfully says, "Without the slaves the Attic
democracy would have been an impossibility, for they alone enabled the
poor, as well as the rich, to take a part in public affairs." Relieving
the citizen of all drudgery, the system created a class characterized by
elegant leisure, refinement, and culture.

We find an almost exact historical parallel to all this in the feudal
aristocracy of mediæval Europe. Such a society has been well likened to a
great pyramid, whose top may be gilded with light, while the base lies in
dark shadows. The civilization of ancient Hellas was splendid and
attractive, but it rested with a crushing weight upon all the lower orders
of Greek society.



(Legendary Date, 753-509 B.C.)

DIVISIONS OF ITALY.--The peninsula of Italy, like that of Greece, divides
itself into three parts--Northern, Central, and Southern Italy. The first
comprises the great basin of the Po, lying between the Alps and the
Apennines. In ancient times this part of Italy included three districts--
Liguria, Gallia Cisalpina, which means "Gaul on this (the Italian) side of
the Alps," and Venetia.

The countries of Central Italy were Etruria, Latium, and Campania, facing
the Western, or Tuscan Sea; Umbria and Picenum, looking out over the
Eastern, or Adriatic Sea; and Samnium and the country of the Sabines,
occupying the rough mountain districts of the Apennines.

Southern Italy comprised the countries of Apulia, Lucania, Calabria, and
Bruttium. Calabria occupied the "heel," and Bruttium formed the "toe," of
the peninsula. This part of Italy, as we have already learned, was called
Magna Græcia, or "Great Greece," on account of the number and importance
of the Greek cities that during the period of Hellenic supremacy were
established in these regions.

The large island of Sicily, lying just off the mainland on the south, may
be regarded simply as a detached fragment of Italy, so intimately has its
history been interwoven with that of the peninsula. In ancient times it
was the meeting-place and battleground of the Carthaginians, Greeks, and

EARLY INHABITANTS OF ITALY.--There were, in early times, three chief races
in Italy--the Italians, the Etruscans, and the Greeks. The Italians, a
branch of the Aryan family, embraced many tribes (Latins, Umbrians,
Sabines, Samnites, etc.), that occupied nearly all Central Italy. The
Etruscans, a wealthy, cultured, and maritime people of uncertain race,
dwelt in Etruria, now Tuscany. Before the rise of the Romans they were the
leading race in the peninsula. Of the establishment of the Greek cities in
Southern Italy, we have already learned in connection with Grecian History
(p. 111).

Some five hundred years B.C., the Gauls, a Celtic race, came over the
Alps, and settling in Northern Italy, became formidable enemies of the
infant republic of Rome.

THE LATINS.--Most important of all the Italian peoples were the Latins,
who dwelt in Latium, between the Tiber and the Liris. These people, like
all the Italians, were near kindred of the Greeks, and brought with them
into Italy those same customs, manners, beliefs, and institutions which we
have seen to have been the common possession of the various branches of
the Aryan household (see p. 5). There are said to have been in all Latium
thirty towns, and these formed an alliance known as the Latin League. The
city which first assumed importance and leadership among the towns of this
confederation was Alba Longa, the "Long White City," so called because its
buildings stretched for a great distance along the summit of a whitish

THE BEGINNINGS OF ROME.--The place of preeminence among the Latin towns
was soon lost by Alba Longa, and gained by another city. This was Rome,
the stronghold of the Ramnes, or Romans, located upon a low hill on the
south bank of the Tiber, about fifteen miles from the sea.

The traditions of the Romans place the founding of their city in the year
753 B.C. The town was established, it would seem, as an outpost to guard
the northern frontier of Latium against the Etruscans.

Recent excavations have revealed the foundations of the old walls and two
of the ancient gates. We thus learn that the city at first covered only
the top of the Palatine Hill, one of a cluster of low eminences close to
the Tiber, which, finally embraced within the limits of the growing city,
became the famed "Seven Hills of Rome." From the shape of its enclosing
walls, the original city was called _Roma Quadrata_, "Square Rome."

Roman state seems to have been formed by the union of three communities.
These constituted three tribes, known as Ramnes (the Romans proper, who
gave name to the mixed people), Tities, and Luceres. Each of these tribes
was divided into ten wards, or districts (_curiæ_); each ward was
made up of _gentes_, or clans, and each clan was composed of a number
of families. The heads of these families were called _patres_, or
"fathers," and all the members patricians, that is, "children of the

At the head of the nation stood the King, who was the father of the state.
He was at once ruler of the people, commander of the army, judge and high
priest of the nation, with absolute power as to life and death.

Next to the king stood the Senate, or "council of the old men," composed
of the "fathers," or heads of the families. This council had no power to
enact laws: the duty of its members was simply to advise with the king,
who was free to follow or to disregard their suggestions.

The Popular Assembly (_comitia curiata_) comprised all the citizens
of Rome, that is, all the members of the patrician families, old enough to
bear arms. It was this body that enacted the laws of the state, determined
upon peace or war, and also elected the king.

CLASSES OF SOCIETY.--The two important classes of the population of Rome
under the kingdom and the early republic, were the patricians and the
plebeians. The former were the members of the three original tribes that
made up the Roman people, and at first alone possessed political rights.
They were proud, exclusive, and tenacious of their inherited privileges.
The latter were made up chiefly of the inhabitants of subjected cities,
and of refugees from various quarters that had sought an asylum at Rome.
They were free to acquire property, and enjoyed personal freedom, but at
first had no political rights whatever. The greater number were petty
land-owners, who held and cultivated the soil about the city. A large part
of the early history of Rome is simply the narration of the struggles of
this class to secure social and political equality with the patricians.

Besides these two principal orders, there were two other classes--clients
and slaves. The former were attached to the families of patricians, who
became their patrons, or protectors. The condition of the client was
somewhat like that of the serf in the feudal system of the Middle Ages. A
large clientage was considered the crown and glory of a patrician house.

The slaves were, in the main, captives in war. Their number, small at
first, gradually increased as the Romans extended their conquests, till
they outnumbered all the other classes taken together, and more than once
turned upon their masters in formidable revolts that threatened the very
existence of the Roman state.

THE LEGENDARY KINGS.--For nearly two and a half centuries after the
founding of Rome (from 753 to 509 B.C., according to tradition), the
government was a monarchy. To span this period, the legends of the Romans
tell of the reigns of seven kings--Romulus, the founder of Rome; Numa, the
lawgiver; Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Marcius, conquerors both; Tarquinius
Priscus, the great builder; Servius Tullius, the reorganizer of the
government and second founder of the state; and Tarquinius Superbus, the
haughty tyrant, whose oppressions led to the abolition by the people of
the office of king.

The traditions of the doings of these monarchs and of what happened to
them, blend hopelessly fact and fable. We cannot be quite sure even as to
the names. Respecting Roman affairs, however, under the last three rulers
(the Tarquins), who were of Etruscan origin, some important things are
related, the substantial truth of which we may rely upon with a fair
degree of certainty; and these matters we shall notice in the following

GROWTH OF ROME UNDER THE TARQUINS.--The Tarquins extended their authority
over the whole of Latium. The position of supremacy thus given Rome was
naturally attended by the rapid growth in population and importance of the
little Palatine city. The original walls soon became too strait for the
increasing multitudes; new ramparts were built--tradition says under the
direction of the king Servius Tullius--which, with a great circuit of
seven miles, swept around the entire cluster of the Seven Hills. A large
tract of marshy ground between the Palatine and Capitoline hills was
drained by means of the Cloaca Maxima, the "Great Sewer," which was so
admirably constructed that it has been preserved to the present day. It
still discharges its waters through a great arch into the Tiber. The land
thus reclaimed became the Forum, the assembling-place of the people. Upon
the summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Forum, was built the
famous sanctuary called the Capitol, or the Capitoline temple, where
beneath the same roof were the shrines of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, the
three great national deities. Upon the level ground between the Aventine
and the Palatine was laid out the Circus Maximus, the "Great Circus,"
where were celebrated the Roman games.


NEW CONSTITUTION OF SERVIUS TULLIUS.--The second king of the Etruscan
house, Servius Tullius by name, effected a most important change in the
constitution of the Roman state. He did here at Rome just what Solon at
about this time did at Athens (see p. 120). He made property instead of
birth the basis of the constitution. The entire population was divided
into five classes, the first of which included all citizens, whether
patricians or plebeians, who owned twenty _jugera_ (about twelve acres) of
land; the fifth and lowest embraced all that could show title to even two
jugera. The army was made up of the members of the five classes; as it was
thought right and proper that the public defence should be the care of
those who, on account of their possessions, were most interested in the
maintenance of order and in the protection of the boundaries of the state.

The assembling-place of the military classes thus organized was on a large
plain just outside the city walls, called the Campus Martius, or "Field of
Mars." The meeting of these military orders was called the _comitia
centuriata_, or the "assembly of hundreds." [Footnote: This assembly
was not organized by Servius Tullius, but it grew out of the military
organization he created.] This body, which of course was made up of
patricians and plebeians, gradually absorbed the powers of the earlier
patrician assembly (_comitia curiata_).

THE EXPULSION OF THE KINGS.--The legends make Tarquinius Superbus, or
Tarquin the Proud, the last king of Rome. He is represented as a monstrous
tyrant, whose arbitrary acts caused both patricians and plebeians to unite
and drive him and all his house into exile. This event, according to
tradition, occurred in the year 509 B.C., only one year later than the
expulsion of the tyrants from Athens (see p. 122).

So bitterly did the people hate the tyranny they had abolished that it is
said they all, the nobles as well as the commons, bound themselves by most
solemn oaths never again to tolerate a king. We shall hereafter see how
well this vow was kept for nearly five hundred years.


THE CHIEF ROMAN DEITIES.--The basis of the Roman religious system was the
same as that of the Grecian: the germs of its institutions were brought
from the same early Aryan home. At the head of the Pantheon stood Jupiter,
identical in all essential attributes with the Hellenic Zeus. He was the
special protector of the Roman people. To him, together with Juno and
Minerva, was consecrated, as we have already noticed, a magnificent temple
upon the summit of the Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Forum and the
city. Mars, the god of war, standing next in rank, was the favorite deity
and the fabled father of the Roman race, who were fond of calling
themselves the "children of Mars." They proved themselves worthy offspring
of the war-god. Martial games and festivals were celebrated in his honor
during the first month of the Roman year, which bore, and still bears, in
his honor, the name of March. Janus was a double-faced deity, "the god of
the beginning and the end of everything." The month of January was sacred
to him, as were also all gates and doors. The gates of his temple were
always kept open in time of war and shut in time of peace.

The fire upon the household hearth was regarded as the symbol of the
goddess Vesta. Her worship was a favorite one with the Romans. The nation,
too, as a single great family, had a common national hearth in the Temple
of Vesta, where the sacred fires were kept burning from generation to
generation by six virgins, daughters of the Roman state. The Lares and
Penates were household gods. Their images were set in the entrance of the
dwelling. The Lares were the spirits of ancestors, which were thought to
linger about the home as its guardians.

ORACLES AND DIVINATION.--The Romans, like the Greeks, thought that the
will of the gods was communicated to men by means of oracles, and by
strange sights, unusual events, or singular coincidences. There were no
true oracles at Rome. The Romans, therefore, often had recourse to those
in Magna Græcia, even sending for advice, in great emergencies, to the
Delphian shrine. From Etruria was introduced the art of the haruspices, or
soothsayers, which consisted in discovering the divine mind by the
appearance of victims slain for the sacrifices.

THE SACRED COLLEGES.--The four chief sacred colleges, or societies, were
the Keepers of the Sibylline Books, the College of Augurs, the College of
Pontiffs, and the College of the Heralds.

[Illustration: VESTAL VIRGIN.]

A curious legend is told of the Sibylline Books. An old woman came to
Tarquinius Superbus and offered to sell him, for an extravagant price,
nine volumes. As the king declined to pay the sum demanded, the woman
departed, destroyed three of the books, and then, returning, offered the
remainder at the very same sum that she had wanted for the complete
number. The king still refused to purchase; so the sibyl went away and
destroyed three more of the volumes, and bringing back the remaining
three, asked the same price as before. Tarquin was by this time so curious
respecting the contents of the mysterious books that he purchased the
remaining volumes. It was found upon examination that they were filled
with prophecies respecting the future of the Roman people. The books were
placed in a stone chest, which was kept in a vault beneath the Capitoline
temple; and special custodians were appointed to take charge of them and
interpret them. The number of keepers, throughout the most important
period of Roman history, was fifteen. The books were consulted only in
times of extreme danger.

The duty of the members of the College of Augurs was to interpret the
omens, or auspices, which were casual sights or appearances, by which
means it was believed that Jupiter made known his will. Great skill was
required in the "taking of the auspices," as it was called. No business of
importance, public or private, was entered upon without first consulting
the auspices, to ascertain whether they were favorable. The public
assembly, for illustration, must not convene, to elect officers or to
enact laws, unless the auspices had been taken and found propitious.
Should a peal of thunder occur while the people were holding a meeting,
that was considered an unfavorable omen, and the assembly must instantly

The College of Pontiffs was so called because one of the duties of its
members was to keep in repair the bridges (_pontes_) over which the
religious processions were accustomed to pass. This was the most important
of all the religious institutions of the Romans; for to the pontiffs
belonged the superintendence of all religious matters. In their keeping,
too, was the calendar, and they could lengthen or shorten the year, which
power they sometimes used to extend the office of a favorite or to cut
short that of one who had incurred their displeasure. The head of the
college was called Pontifex Maximus, or the Chief Bridge-builder, which
title was assumed by the Roman emperors, and after them by the Christian
bishops of Rome; and thus the name has come down to our own times.  The
College of Heralds had the care of all public matters pertaining to
foreign nations. If the Roman people had suffered any wrong from another
state, it was the duty of the heralds to demand satisfaction. If this was
denied, and war determined upon, then a herald proceeded to the frontier
of the enemy's country and hurled over the boundary a spear dipped in
blood. This was a declaration of war. The Romans were very careful in the
observance of this ceremony.

SACRED GAMES.--The Romans had many religious games and festivals.
Prominent among these were the so-called Circensian Games, or Games of the
Circus, which were very similar to the sacred games of the Greeks (see p.
106). They consisted, in the main, of chariot-racing, wrestling, foot-
racing, and various other athletic contests.

These festivals, as in the case of those of the Greeks, had their origin
in the belief that the gods delighted in the exhibition of feats of skill,
strength, or endurance; that their anger might be appeased by such
spectacles; or that they might be persuaded by the promise of games to
lend aid to mortals in great emergencies. At the opening of the year it
was customary for the Roman magistrate, in behalf of the people, to
promise to the gods games and festivals, provided good crops, protection
from pestilence, and victory were granted the Romans during the year. So,
too, a general in great straits in the field might, in the name of the
state, vow plays to the gods, and the people were sacredly bound by his
act to fulfil the promise. Plays given in fulfilment of vows thus made
were called votive games.

Towards the close of the republic these games lost much of their religious
character, and at last became degraded into mere brutal shows given by
ambitious leaders for the purpose of winning popularity.


(509-264 B.C.)

THE FIRST CONSULS.--With the monarchy overthrown and the last king and his
house banished from Rome, the people set to work to reorganize the
government. In place of the king, there were elected (by the _comitia
centuriata_, in which assembly the plebeians had a place) two patrician
magistrates, called consuls, [Footnote: That is, _colleagues_. Each
consul had the power of obstructing the acts or vetoing the commands of
the other. In times of great public danger the consuls were superseded by
a special officer called a _dictator_, whose term of office was limited to
six months, but whose power during this time was as unlimited as that of
the kings had been.] who were chosen for one year, and were invested with
all the powers, save some priestly functions, that had been held by the
monarch during the regal period.

In public each consul was attended by twelve servants, called lictors,
each of whom bore an axe bound in a bundle of rods (_fasces_), the
symbols of the authority of the consul to flog and to put to death. Within
the limits of the city, however, the axe must be removed from the
_fasces_, by which was indicated that no Roman citizen could be put
to death by the consuls without the consent of the public assembly.

Lucius Junius Brutus and Tarquinius Collatinus were the first consuls
under the new constitution. But it is said that the very name of
Tarquinius was so intolerable to the people that he was forced to resign
the consulship, and that he and all his house were driven out of Rome.
[Footnote: The truth is, he was related to the exiled royal family, and
the people were distrustful of his loyalty to the republic.] Another
consul, Publius Valerius, was chosen in his stead.


FIRST SECESSION OF THE PLEBEIANS (494 B.C.).--Taking advantage of the
disorders that followed the political revolution, the Latin towns which
had been forced to acknowledge the supremacy of Rome rose in revolt, and
the result was that almost all the conquests that had been made under the
kings were lost. For a long time the little republic had to struggle hard
for bare existence.

[Illustration: LICTORS.]

Troubles without brought troubles within. The poor plebeians, during this
period of disorder and war, fell in debt to the wealthy class,--for the
Roman soldier went to war at his own charge, equipping and feeding
himself,--and payment was exacted with heartless severity. A debtor became
the absolute property of his creditor, who might sell him as a slave to
pay the debt, and in some cases even put him to death. All this was
intolerable. The plebeians determined to secede from Rome and build a new
city for themselves on a neighboring eminence, called afterwards the
Sacred Hill. They marched away in a body from Rome to the chosen spot, and
began making preparations for erecting new homes (494 B.C.).

THE COVENANT AND THE TRIBUNES.--The patricians saw clearly that such a
division must prove ruinous to the state, and that the plebeians must be
persuaded to give up their enterprise and come back to Rome. The consul
Valerius was sent to treat with the insurgents. The plebeians were at
first obstinate, but at last were persuaded to yield to the entreaties of
the embassy to return, being won to this mind, so it is said, by one of
the wise senators, Menenius, who made use of the well-known fable of the
Body and the Members.

The following covenant was entered into, and bound by the most solemn
oaths and vows before the gods: The debts of the poor plebeians were to be
cancelled and those held in slavery set free; and two magistrates (the
number was soon increased to ten), called tribunes, whose duty it should
be to watch over the plebeians, and protect them against the injustice,
harshness, and partiality of the patrician magistrates, were to be chosen
from the commons. The persons of these officers were made sacred. Any one
interrupting a tribune in the discharge of his duties, or doing him any
violence, was declared an outlaw, whom any one might kill. That the
tribunes might be always easily found, they were not allowed to go more
than one mile beyond the city walls. Their houses were to be open night as
well as day, that any plebeian unjustly dealt with might flee thither for
protection and refuge.

We cannot overestimate the importance of the change effected in the Roman
constitution by the creation of this office of the tribunate. Under the
protection and leadership of the tribunes, who were themselves protected
by oaths of inviolable sanctity, the plebeians carried on a struggle for a
share in the offices and dignities of the state which never ceased until
the Roman government, as yet only republican in name, became in fact a
real democracy, in which patrician and plebeian shared equally in all
emoluments and privileges.

CORIOLANUS.--The tradition of Coriolanus illustrates in what manner the
tribunes cared for the rights of the common people and protected them from
the oppression of the nobles. During a severe famine at Rome, Gelon, the
King of Syracuse, sent large quantities of grain to the capital for
distribution among the suffering poor. A certain patrician, Coriolanus by
name, made a proposal that none of the grain should be given to the
plebeians save on condition that they give up their tribunes. These
officials  straightway summoned him before the plebeian assembly,
[Footnote:  This was the _Concilium Tributum Plebis_, an  assembly
which came into existence about this time. It was made up wholly of
plebeians, and was presided over by the tribunes. Later, there came into
existence  another tribal assembly, which was composed of patricians and
plebeians, and  presided over by consuls or prætors. Some authorities are
inclined to regard these two assemblies as one and the same body; but
others, among whom is  Mommsen, with probably better reason, look upon
them as two distinct organizations.] on the charge of having broken the
solemn covenant of the Sacred Mount, and so bitter was the feeling against
him that he was obliged to flee from Rome.

He now allied himself with the Volscians, enemies of Rome, and even led
their armies against his native city. An embassy from the Senate was sent
to him, to sue for peace. But the spirit of Coriolanus was bitter and
revengeful, and he would listen to none of their proposals. Nothing
availed to move him until his mother, at the head of a train of Roman
matrons, came to his tent, and with tears pleaded with him to spare the
city. Her entreaties and the "soft prayers" of his own wife and children
prevailed, and with the words "Mother, thou hast saved Rome, but lost thy
son," he led away the Volscian army.

CINCINNATUS MADE DICTATOR.--The enemies of Rome, taking advantage of the
dissensions of the nobles and commons, pressed upon the frontiers of the
republic on all sides. In 458 B.C., the Æquians, while one of the consuls
was away fighting the Sabines, defeated the forces of the other, and shut
them up in a narrow valley, whence escape seemed impossible. There was
great terror in Rome when news of the situation of the army was brought to
the city.

The Senate immediately appointed Cincinnatus, a noble patrician, dictator.
The ambassadors that carried to him the message from the Senate found him
upon his little farm near the Tiber, at work behind the plough. Accepting
the office at once, he hastily gathered an army, marched to the relief of
the consul, captured the entire army of the Æquians, and sent them beneath
the yoke. [Footnote: This was formed of two spears thrust firmly into the
ground and crossed a few feet from the earth by a third. Prisoners of war
were forced to pass beneath this yoke as a symbol of submission.]
Cincinnatus then led his army back to Rome in triumph, laid down his
office, and sought again the retirement of his farm.

THE DECEMVIRS AND THE TABLES OF LAWS.--Written laws are always a great
safeguard against oppression. Until what shall constitute a crime and what
shall be its penalty are clearly written down and well known and
understood by all, judges may render unfair decisions, or inflict unjust
punishment, and yet run little risk--unless they go altogether too far--of
being called to an account; for no one but themselves knows what the law
or the penalty really is. Hence in all struggles of the people against the
tyranny of the ruling class, the demand for written laws is one of the
first measures taken by the people for the protection of their persons and
property. Thus we have seen the people of Athens, early in their struggle
with the nobles, demanding and obtaining a code of written laws (see p.
119). The same thing now took place at Rome. The plebeians demanded that a
code of laws be drawn up, in accordance with which the consuls, who
exercised judicial powers, should render their decisions. The patricians
offered a stubborn resistance to their wishes, but finally were forced to
yield to the popular clamor.

A commission was sent to the Greek cities of Southern Italy and to Athens
to study the Grecian laws and customs. Upon the return of this embassy, a
commission of ten magistrates, who were known as decemvirs, was appointed
to frame a code of laws (451 B.C.). These officers, while engaged in this
work, were also to administer the entire government, and so were invested
with the supreme power of the state. The patricians gave up their consuls
and the plebeians their tribunes. At the end of the first year, the task
of the board was quite far from being finished, so a new decemvirate was
elected to complete the work. Appius Claudius was the only member of the
old board that was returned to the new.

The code was soon finished, and the laws were written on twelve tablets of
brass, which were fastened to the rostrum, or orator's platform in the
Forum, where they might be seen and read by all. These "Laws of the Twelve
Tables" were to Roman jurisprudence what the good laws of Solon (see p.
120) were to the Athenian constitution. They formed the basis of all new
legislation for many centuries, and constituted a part of the education of
the Roman youth--every school-boy being required to learn them by heart.

MISRULE AND OVERTHROW OF THE DECEMVIRS.--The first decemvirs used the
great power lodged in their hands with justice and prudence; but the
second board, under the leadership of Appius Claudius, instituted a most
infamous and tyrannical rule. The result was a second secession of the
plebeians to the Sacred Hill. This procedure, which once before had proved
so effectual in securing justice to the oppressed, had a similar issue
now. The situation was so critical that the decemvirs were forced to
resign. The consulate and the tribunate were restored. Eight of the
decemvirs were forced to go into exile; Appius Claudius and one other,
having been imprisoned, committed suicide.

CONSULAR, OR MILITARY TRIBUNES.--The overthrow of the decemvirate was
followed by a long struggle between the nobles and the commons, which was
an effort on the part of the latter to gain admission to the consulship;
for up to this time only a patrician could hold that office. The
contention resulted in a compromise. It was agreed that, in place of the
two consuls, the people _might_ elect from either order magistrates,
who should be known as "military tribunes with consular powers." These
officers, whose numbers varied, differed from consuls more in name than in
functions or authority. In fact, the plebeians had gained the office, but
not the name (444 B.C.).

THE CENSORS.--No sooner had the plebeians virtually secured admission to
the consulship, than the jealous and exclusive patricians commenced
scheming to rob them of the fruit of the victory they had gained. They
effected this by taking from the consulate some of its most distinctive
duties and powers, and conferring them upon two new patrician officers
called censors. The functions of these magistrates were many and
important. They took the census, and thus assigned to every man his
position in the different classes of the citizens; and they could, for
immorality or any improper conduct, not only degrade a man from his rank,
but deprive him of his vote. It was their duty to watch the public morals
and in case of necessity to administer wholesome advice. Thus we are told
of their reproving the young Romans for wearing tunics with long sleeves--
an Oriental and effeminate custom--and for neglecting to marry upon
arriving at a proper age. From the name of these Roman officers comes our
word _censorious_, meaning fault-finding.

The first censors were elected probably in the year 444 B.C.; about one
hundred years afterwards, in 351 B.C., the plebeians secured the right of
holding this office also.

SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF VEII.--We must now turn to notice the fortunes of
Rome in war. Almost from the founding of the city, we find its warlike
citizens carrying on a fierce contest with their powerful Etruscan
neighbors on the north. Veii was one of the largest and richest of the
cities of Etruria. Around this the war gathered. The Romans, like the
Grecians at Troy, attacked its walls for ten years. The length of the
siege, and the necessity of maintaining a force permanently in the field,
led to the establishment of a paid standing army; for hitherto the soldier
had not only equipped himself, but had served without pay. Thus was laid
the basis of that military power which was destined to effect the conquest
of the world, and then, in the hands of ambitious and favorite generals,
to overthrow the republic itself.

[Illustration: ROMAN SOLDIER.]

The capture of Veii by the dictator Camillus (396 B.C.) was followed by
that of many other Etruscan towns. Rome was enriched by their spoils, and
became the centre of a large and lucrative trade. The frontiers of the
republic were pushed out even beyond the utmost limits of the kingdom
before its overthrow. All that was lost by the revolution had been now
regained, and much besides had been won. At this moment there broke upon
the city a storm from the north, which all but cut short the story we are

SACK OF ROME BY THE GAULS (390 B.C.).--We have already mentioned how, in
very remote times, the tribes of Gaul crossed the Alps and established
themselves in Northern Italy (see p. 223). While the Romans were
conquering the towns of Etruria, these barbarian hordes were moving
southward, and overrunning and devastating the countries of Central Italy.

[Illustration: GAULS IN SIGHT OF ROME.]

News was brought to Rome that they were advancing upon that city. A Roman
army met them on the banks of the river Allia, eleven miles from the
capital. The Romans were driven in great panic from the field. It would be
impossible to picture the consternation and despair that reigned at Rome
when the fugitives brought to the city intelligence of the terrible
disaster. It was never forgotten, and the day of the battle of Allia was
ever after a black day in the Roman calendar. The sacred vessels of the
temples were buried; the eternal fires of Vesta were hurriedly borne by
their virgin keepers to a place of safety in Etruria; and a large part of
the population fled in dismay across the Tiber. No attempt was made to
defend any portion of the city save the citadel. This stronghold was kept
by a little garrison, under the command of the hero Marius Manlius. A
tradition tells how, when the barbarians, under cover of the darkness of
night, had climbed the steep rock and had almost effected an entrance to
the citadel, the defenders were awakened by the cackling of some geese,
which the piety of the famishing soldiers had spared, because these birds
were sacred to Juno.

News was now brought the Gauls that the Venetians were overrunning their
possessions in Northern Italy. This led them to open negotiations with the
Romans. For one thousand pounds of gold, according to the historian Livy,
the Gauls agreed to retire from the city. As the story runs, while the
gold was being weighed out in the Forum, the Romans complained that the
weights were false, when Brennus, the Gallic leader, threw his sword also
into the scales, exclaiming, "_Væ, victis!_" "Woe to the vanquished."
Just at this moment, so the tale continues, Camillus, a brave patrician
general, appeared upon the scene with a Roman army that had been gathered
from the fugitives; and, as he scattered the barbarians with heavy blows,
he exclaimed, "Rome is ransomed with steel and not with gold." According
to one account Brennus himself was taken prisoner; but another tradition
says that he escaped, carrying with him not only the ransom, but a vast
booty besides.

THE REBUILDING OF ROME.--When the fugitives returned to Rome after the
withdrawal of the Gauls, they found the city a heap of ruins. Some of the
poorer classes, shrinking from the labor of rebuilding their old homes,
proposed to abandon the site and make Veii their new capital. But love for
the old spot at last prevailed over all the persuasions of indolence, and
the people, with admirable courage, set themselves to the task of
rebuilding their homes. It was a repetition of the scene at Athens after
the retreat of the Persians (see p. 136). The city was speedily restored,
and was soon enjoying her old position of supremacy among the surrounding
states. There were some things, however, which even Roman resolution and
perseverance could not restore. These were the ancient records and
documents, through whose irreparable loss the early history of Rome is
involved in great obscurity and uncertainty.

TREASON AND DEATH OF MANLIUS.--The ravages of the Gauls left the poor
plebeians in a most pitiable condition. In order to rebuild their
dwellings and restock their farms, they were obliged to borrow money of
the rich patricians, and consequently soon began again to experience the
insult and oppression that were ever incident to the condition of the
debtor class at Rome.

The patrician Manlius, the hero of the brave defence of the Capitol, now
came forward as the champion of the plebeians. He sold the larger part of
his estates, and devoted the proceeds to the relief of the debtor class.
It seems evident that in thus undertaking the cause of the commons he had
personal aims and ambitions. The patricians determined to crush him. He
was finally brought to trial before the popular assembly, on the charge of
conspiring to restore the office of king. From the Forum, where the people
were gathered, the Capitol, which Manlius had so bravely defended against
the barbarians, was in full sight. Pointing to the temples he had saved,
he appealed to the gods and to the gratitude of the Roman people. The
people responded to the appeal in a way altogether natural. They refused
to condemn him. But brought to trial a second time, and now in a grove
whence the citadel could not be seen, he was sentenced to death, and was
thrown from the Tarpeian Rock. [Footnote: The Tarpeian Rock was the name
given to the cliff which the Capitoline Hill formed on the side towards
the Tiber (or towards the Palatine, according to some). It received its
name from Tarpeia, daughter of one of the legendary keepers of the
citadel. State criminals were frequently executed by being thrown from
this rock.] This event occurred 384 B.C.

PLEBEIANS ADMITTED TO THE CONSULSHIP.--For nearly half a century after the
death of Manlius the most important events in the history of Rome centre
about the struggle of the plebeians, for admission to those offices of the
government whence the jealousy of the patricians still excluded them. The
Licinian laws, so called from one of their proposers, the tribune C.
Licinius, besides relieving the poor of usurious interest, and effecting a
more just division of the public lands, also provided that consuls should
be chosen yearly, as at first (see p. 238), and that one of the consuls
should be a plebeian. This last provision opened to any one of the
plebeian class the highest office in the state. The nobles, when they saw
that it would be impossible to resist the popular demand, had recourse to
the old device. They effected a compromise, whereby the judicial powers of
the consuls were taken from them and conferred upon a new magistrate, who
bore the name of prætor. Only patricians, of course, were to be eligible
to this new office. They then permitted the Licinian laws to pass (367

During the latter half of the fourth century B.C. (between the years 356-
300) the plebeians gained admittance to the dictatorship, the censorship,
the prætorship, and to the College of Augurs and the College of Pontiffs.
They had been admitted to the College of Priests having charge of the
Sibylline books, at the time of the passing of the Licinian laws. With
plebeians in all these positions, the rights of the lower order were
fairly secured against oppressive and partisan decisions on the part of
the magistrates, and against party fraud in the taking of the auspices and
in the regulation of the calendar. There was now political equality
between the nobility and the commonalty.


THE FIRST SAMNITE WAR (343-341 B.C.).--The union of the two orders in the
state allowed the Romans now to employ their undivided strength in
subjugating the different states of the peninsula. The most formidable
competitors of the Romans for supremacy in Italy were the Samnites, rough
and warlike mountaineers who held the Apennines to the east of Latium.
They were worthy rivals of the "children of Mars." The successive
struggles between these martial races are known as the First, Second, and
Third Samnite wars. They extended over a period of half a century, and in
their course involved almost all the states of Italy.

Of the first of this series of wars we know very little, although Livy
wrote a long, but unfortunately very unreliable, narration of it. In the
midst of the struggle, Rome was confronted by a dangerous revolt of her
Latin allies, and, leaving the war unfinished, turned her forces upon the

REVOLT OF THE LATIN CITIES (340-338 B.C.).--The strife between the Romans
and their Latin allies was simply the old contest within the walls of the
capital between the patricians and the plebeians transferred to a larger
arena. As the nobles had oppressed the commons, so now both these orders
united in the oppression of the Latins--the plebeians in their bettered
circumstances forgetting the lessons of adversity. The Latin allies
demanded a share in the government, and that the lands acquired by
conquest should be distributed among them as well as among Roman citizens.
The Romans refused. All Latium rose in revolt against the injustice and
tyranny of the oppressor.

After about three years' hard fighting, the rebellion was subdued. The
Latin League was now broken up. Some of the towns retained their
independence (Tibur, Præneste, and Cora); some received full Roman
citizenship (Aricia, Lanuvium, and Nomentum); while others received only
the private rights of Roman citizens, the right of suffrage being

SECOND AND THIRD SAMNITE WARS (326-290 B.C.).--In a few years after the
close of the Latin contest, the Romans were at war again with their old
rivals, the Samnites. Notwithstanding the latter were thoroughly defeated
in this second contest, still it was not long before they were again in
arms and engaged in their third struggle with Rome. This time they had
formed a powerful coalition which embraced the Etruscans, the Umbrians,
the Gauls, and other nations.

Roman courage rose with the danger. The united armies of the league met
with a most disastrous defeat (at Sentinum, 295 B.C.), and the power of
the coalition was broken. One after another the states that had joined the
alliance were chastised, and the Samnites were forced to acknowledge the
supremacy of Rome. A few years later, almost all of the Greek cities of
Southern Italy, save Tarentum, also came under the growing power of the
imperial city.

WAR WITH PYRRHUS (282-272 B.C.).--Tarentum was one of the most noted of
the Hellenic cities of Magna Græcia. It was a seaport on the Calabrian
coast, and had grown opulent through the extended trade of its merchants.
The capture of some Roman vessels, and an insult offered to an envoy of
the republic by the Tarentines, led to a declaration of war against them
by the Roman Senate. The Tarentines turned to Greece for aid. Pyrrhus,
king of Epirus, a cousin of Alexander the Great, who had an ambition to
build up such an empire in the West as his renowned kinsman had
established in the East, responded to their entreaties, and crossed over
into Italy with a small army of Greek mercenaries and twenty war-
elephants. He organized and drilled the effeminate Tarentines, and soon
felt prepared to face the Romans.

The hostile armies met at Heraclea (280 B.C.). It is said that when
Pyrrhus, who had underestimated his foe, observed the skill which the
Romans evinced in forming their line of battle, he exclaimed, in
admiration, "In war, at least, these men are not barbarians." The battle
was won for Pyrrhus by his war-elephants, the sight of which, being new to
the Romans, caused them to flee from the field in dismay. But Pyrrhus had
lost thousands of his bravest troops. Victories gained by such losses in a
country where he could not recruit his army, he saw clearly, meant final
defeat. As he looked over the battle-field, he is said to have turned to
his companions and remarked, "Another such victory, and I must return to
Epirus alone." He noticed also, and not without appreciating its
significance, that the wounds of the Roman soldiers killed in the action
were all in front. "Had I such soldiers," said he, "I should soon be
master of the world."

The prudence of the victorious Pyrrhus led him to send to the Romans an
embassy with proposals of peace. When the Senate hesitated, its resolution
was fixed by the eloquence of the aged Appius: "Rome," exclaimed he,
"shall never treat with a victorious foe." The ambassadors were obliged to
return to Pyrrhus unsuccessful in their mission.

Pyrrhus, according to the Roman story-tellers, who most lavishly
embellished this chapter of their history, was not more successful in
attempts at bribery than in the arts of negotiation. Upon his attempting
by large offers of gold to win Fabricius, who had been intrusted by the
Senate with an important embassy, the sturdy old Roman replied, "Poverty,
with an honest name, is more to be desired than wealth."

After a second victory, as disastrous as his first, Pyrrhus crossed over
into Sicily, to aid the Grecians there in their struggle with the
Carthaginians. At first he was everywhere successful; but finally fortune
turned against him, and he was glad to escape from the island. Recrossing
the straits into Italy, he once more engaged the Romans, but at the battle
of Beneventum suffered a disastrous and final defeat at the hands of the
consul Curius Dentatus (274 B.C.). Leaving a sufficient force to garrison
Tarentum, the baffled and disappointed king set sail for Epirus. He had
scarcely embarked before Tarentum surrendered to the Romans (272 B.C.).
This ended the struggles for the mastery of Italy. Rome was now mistress
of all the peninsula south of the Arnus and the Rubicon. It was now her
care to consolidate these possessions, and to fasten her hold upon them,
by means of a perfect network of colonies and military roads. [Footnote:
"Colonies were not all of the same character. They must be distinguished
into two classes--the colonies of Roman citizens and the Latin colonies.
The colonies of Roman citizens consisted usually of three hundred men of
approved military experience, who went forth with their families to occupy
conquered cities of no great magnitude, but which were important as
military positions, being usually on the sea-coast. These three hundred
families formed a sort of patrician caste, while the old inhabitants sank
into the condition formerly occupied by the plebeians at Rome. The heads
of these families retained all their rights as Roman citizens, and might
repair to Rome to vote in the popular assemblies."--Liddell's _History
of Rome_.

The Latin colonies numbered about thirty at the time of the Second Punic
War. A few of these were colonies that had been founded by the old Latin
Confederacy; but the most were towns that had been established by Rome
subsequent to the dissolution of the League (see p. 244). The term Latin
was applied to these later colonies of purely Roman origin, for the reason
that they enjoyed the same rights as the Latin towns that had retained
their independence. Thus the inhabitants of a Latin colony possessed some
of the most valuable of the private rights of Roman citizens, but they had
no political rights at the capital.]


(264-241 B.C.)

CARTHAGE AND THE CARTHAGINIAN EMPIRE.--Foremost among the cities founded
by the Phoenicians upon the different shores of the Mediterranean was
Carthage, upon the northern coast of Africa. The city is thought to have
had its beginnings in a small trading-post, established late in the ninth
century B.C., about one hundred years before the founding of Rome.
Carthage was simply another Tyre. She was mistress and queen of the
Western Mediterranean. At the period we have now reached, she held sway,
through peaceful colonization or by force of arms, over all the northern
coast of Africa from the Greater Syrtis to the Pillars of Hercules, and
possessed the larger part of Sicily, as well as Sardinia, Corsica, the
Balearic Isles, Southern Spain, and scores of little islands scattered
here and there in the neighboring seas. With all its shores dotted with
her colonies and fortresses, and swept in every direction by the
Carthaginian war-galleys, the Western Mediterranean had become a
"Phoenician lake," in which, as the Carthaginians boasted, no one dared
wash his hands without their permission.

CARTHAGINIAN GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION.--The government of Carthage, like
that of Rome, was republican in form. Corresponding to the Roman consuls,
two magistrates, called Suffetes, stood at the head of the state. The
Senate was composed of the heads of the leading families; its duties and
powers were very like those of the Roman Senate. So well-balanced was the
constitution, and so prudent was its administration, that six hundred
years of Carthaginian history exhibited not a single revolution.

The religion of the Carthaginians was the old Canaanitish worship of Baal,
or the Sun. To Moloch,--another name for the fire-god,--"who rejoiced in
human victims and in parents' tears," they offered human sacrifices.

ROME AND CARTHAGE COMPARED.--These two great republics, which for more
than five centuries had been slowly extending their limits and maturing
their powers upon the opposite shores of the Mediterranean, were now about
to begin one of the most memorable struggles of all antiquity--a duel that
was to last, with every vicissitude of fortune, for over one hundred

As was the case in the contest between Athens and Sparta, so now the two
rival cities, with their allies and dependencies, were very nearly matched
in strength and resources. The Romans, it is true, were almost destitute
of a navy; while the Carthaginians had the largest and most splendidly
equipped fleet that ever patrolled the waters of the Mediterranean. But
although the Carthaginians were superior to the Romans in naval warfare,
they were greatly their inferiors in land encounters. The Carthaginian
territory, moreover, was widely scattered, embracing extended coasts and
isolated islands; while the Roman possessions were compact, and confined
to a single and easily defended peninsula. Again, the Carthaginian armies
were formed chiefly of mercenaries, while those of Rome were recruited
very largely from the ranks of the Roman people. And then the subject
states of Carthage were mostly of another race, language, and religion
from their Phoenician conquerors, and were ready, upon the first disaster
to the ruling city, to drop away from their allegiance; while the Latin
allies and Italian dependencies of Rome were close kindred to her in race
and religion, and so, through natural impulse, for the most part remained
loyal to her during even the darkest periods of her struggle with her

THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR.--Lying between Italy and the coast of Africa is
the large island of Sicily. It is in easy sight of the former, and its
southernmost point is only ninety miles from the latter. At the
commencement of the First Punic War, the Carthaginians held possession of
all the island save a strip of the eastern coast, which was under the sway
of the Greek city of Syracuse. The Greeks and Carthaginians had carried on
an almost uninterrupted struggle through two centuries for the control of
the island. The Romans had not yet set foot upon it. But it was destined
to become the scene of the most terrible encounters between the armaments
of the two rivals. Pyrrhus had foreseen it all. As he withdrew from the
island, he said, "What a fine battlefield we are leaving for the Romans
and Carthaginians."

In the year 264 B.C., on a flimsy pretext of giving protection to some
friends, the Romans crossed over to the island. That act committed them to
a career of foreign conquest destined to continue till their arms had made
the circuit of the Mediterranean.

The Syracusans and Carthaginians, old enemies and rivals though they had
been, joined their forces against the insolent newcomers. The allies were
completely defeated in the first battle, and the Roman army obtained a
sure foothold upon the island.

In the following year both consuls were placed at the head of formidable
armies for the conquest of Sicily. A large portion of the island was
quickly overrun, arid many of the cities threw off their allegiance to
Syracuse and Carthage, and became allies of Rome. Hiero, king of Syracuse,
seeing that he was upon the losing side, deserted the cause of the
Carthaginians, and formed an alliance with the Romans, and ever after
remained their firm friend.

during the past campaigns had shown the Romans that if they were to cope
successfully with the Carthaginians, they must be able to meet them upon
the sea as well as upon the land. So they determined to build a fleet. A
Carthaginian galley that had been wrecked upon the shores of Italy, served
as a pattern. It is affirmed that, within the almost incredibly short
space of sixty days, a growing forest was converted into a fleet of one
hundred and twenty war galleys.

The consul C. Duillius was entrusted with the command of the fleet. He met
the Carthaginian squadron near the city and promontory of Mylæ, on the
northern coast of Sicily. Now, distrusting their ability to match the
skill of their enemy in naval tactics, the Romans had provided each of
their vessels with a drawbridge. As soon as a Carthaginian ship came near
enough to a Roman vessel, this gangway was allowed to fall upon the
approaching galley; and the Roman soldiers, rushing along the bridge, were
soon engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with their enemies, in which
species of encounter the former were unequalled. The result was a complete
victory for the Romans.

The joy at Rome was unbounded. It inspired in the more sanguine splendid
visions of maritime command and glory. The Mediterranean should speedily
become a Roman lake, in which no vessel might float without the consent of

THE ROMANS CARRY THE WAR INTO AFRICA.--The results of the naval engagement
at Mylæ encouraged the Romans to push the war with redoubled energy. They
resolved to carry it into Africa. An immense Carthaginian fleet that
disputed the passage of the Roman squadron was almost annihilated, and the
Romans disembarked near Carthage. Regulus, one of the consuls who led the
army of invasion, sent word to Rome that he had sealed up the gates of
Carthage with terror. Finally, however, Regulus suffered a crushing
defeat, and was made prisoner. A fleet which was sent to bear away the
remnants of the shattered army was wrecked in a terrific storm off the
coast of Sicily, and the shores of the island were strewn with the
wreckage of between two and three hundred ships and with the bodies of one
hundred thousand men.

Undismayed at the terrible disaster that had overtaken the transport
fleet, the Romans set to work to build another, and made a second descent
upon the African coast. The expedition, however, accomplished nothing of
importance; and the fleet on its return voyage was almost destroyed, just
off the coast of Italy, by a tremendous storm.

refrained from tempting again the hostile powers of the sea, and Sicily
became once more the battle-ground of the contending rivals. At last,
having lost a great battle (battle of Panormus, 251 B.C.), the
Carthaginians became dispirited, and sent an embassy to Rome, to negotiate
for peace, or, if that could not be reached, to effect an exchange of
prisoners. Among the commissioners was Regulus, who since his capture,
five years before, had been held a prisoner in Africa. Before setting out
from Carthage he had promised to return if the embassy were unsuccessful.
For the sake of his own release, the Carthaginians supposed he would
counsel peace, or at least urge an exchange of prisoners. But it is
related, that upon arrival at Rome, he counselled war instead of peace, at
the same time revealing to the Senate the enfeebled condition of Carthage.
As to the exchange of prisoners, he said, "Let those who have surrendered
when they ought to have died, die in the land which has witnessed their

The Roman Senate, following his counsel, rejected all the proposals of the
embassy; and Regulus, in spite of the tears and entreaties of his wife and
friends, turned away from Rome, and set out for Carthage to bear such fate
as he well knew the Carthaginians, in their disappointment and anger,
would be sure to visit upon him.

The tradition goes on to tell how, upon his arrival at Carthage, he was
confined in a cask driven full of spikes, and then left to die of
starvation and pain. This part of the tale has been discredited, and the
finest touches of the other portions are supposed to have been added by
the story-tellers.

LOSS OF TWO MORE ROMAN FLEETS.--After the failure of the Carthaginian
embassy, the war went on for several years by land and sea with varying
vicissitudes. At last, on the coast of Sicily, one of the consuls,
Claudius, met with an overwhelming defeat. Almost a hundred vessels of his
fleet were lost. The disaster caused the greatest alarm at Rome.
Superstition increased the fears of the people. It was reported that just
before the battle, when the auspices were being taken, and the sacred
chickens would not eat, Claudius had given orders to have them thrown into
the sea, irreverently remarking, "At any rate, they shall drink."
Imagination was free to depict what further evils the offended gods might
inflict upon the Roman state.

The gloomiest forebodings might have found justification in subsequent
events. The other consul just now met with a great disaster. He was
proceeding along the southern coast of Sicily with a squadron of eight
hundred merchantmen and over one hundred war galleys, the former loaded
with grain for the Roman army on the island. A severe storm arising, the
squadron was beaten to pieces upon the rocks. Not a single ship escaped.
The coast for miles was strewn with broken planks, and with bodies, and
heaped with vast windrows of grain cast up by the waves.

CLOSE OF THE FIRST PUNIC WAR.--The war had now lasted for fifteen years.
Four Roman fleets had been destroyed, three of which had been sunk or
broken to pieces by storms. Of the fourteen hundred vessels which had been
lost, seven hundred were war galleys,--all large and costly quinqueremes,
that is, vessels with five banks of oars. Only one hundred of these had
fallen into the hands of the enemy; the remainder were a sacrifice to the
malign and hostile power of the waves. Such successive blows from an
invisible hand were enough to blanch the faces even of the sturdy Romans.
Neptune manifestly denied to the "Children of Mars" the realm of the sea.

It was impossible for the six years following the last disaster to infuse
any spirit into the struggle. In 247 B.C., Hamilcar Barcas, the father of
the great Hannibal, assumed the command of the Carthaginian forces, and
for several years conducted the war with great ability on the island of
Sicily, even making Rome tremble for the safety of her Italian

Once more the Romans determined to commit their cause to the element that
had been so unfriendly to them. A fleet of two hundred vessels was built
and equipped, but entirely by private subscription; for the Senate feared
that public sentiment would not sustain them in levying a tax for fitting
up another costly armament as an offering to the insatiable Neptune. This
people's squadron, as we may call it, was intrusted to the command of the
consul Catulus. He met the Carthaginian fleet under the command of the
Admiral Hanno, near the Ægatian islands, and inflicted upon it a crushing

The Carthaginians now sued for peace. A treaty was at length arranged, the
terms of which required that Carthage should give up all claims to the
island of Sicily, surrender all her prisoners, and pay an indemnity of
3200 talents (about $4,000,000), one-third of which was to be paid down,
and the balance in ten yearly payments. Thus ended (241 B.C.), after a
continuance of twenty-four years, the first great struggle between
Carthage and Rome.


(2l8-201 B.C.)


THE FIRST ROMAN PROVINCE.--For the twenty-three years that followed the
close of the first struggle between Rome and Carthage, the two rivals
strained every power and taxed every resource in preparation for a renewal
of the contest.

The Romans settled the affairs of Sicily, organizing all of it, save the
lands belonging to Syracuse, as a province of the republic. This was the
first territory beyond the limits of Italy that Rome had conquered, and
the Sicilian the first of Roman provinces. But as the imperial city
extended her conquests, her provincial possessions increased in number and
size until they formed at last a perfect cordon about the Mediterranean.
Each province was governed by a magistrate sent out from the capital, and
paid an annual tribute, or tax, to Rome.

ROME ACQUIRES SARDINIA AND CORSICA.--The first acquisition by the Romans
of lands beyond the peninsula seems to have created in them an insatiable
ambition for foreign conquests. They soon found a pretext for seizing the
island of Sardinia, the most ancient and, after Sicily, the most prized of
the possessions of the Carthaginians. The island, in connection with
Corsica, which was also seized, was formed into a Roman province. With her
hands upon these islands, the authority of Rome in the Western, or Tuscan
Sea, was supreme.

THE ILLYRIAN CORSAIRS ARE PUNISHED.--At about the same time, the Romans
also extended their influence over the seas that wash the eastern shores
of Italy. For a long time the Adriatic and Ionian waters had been infested
with Illyrian pirates, who issued from the roadsteads of the northeastern
coasts of the former sea. The Roman fleet chased these corsairs from the
Adriatic, and captured several of their strongholds. Rome now assumed a
sort of protectorate over the Greek cities of the Adriatic coasts. This
was her first step towards final supremacy in Macedonia and Greece.

WAR WITH THE GAULS.--In the north, during this same period, Roman
authority was extended from the Apennines and the Rubicon to the foot of
the Alps. Alarmed at the advance of the Romans, who were pushing northward
their great military road, called the Flaminian Way, and also settling
with discharged soldiers and needy citizens the tracts of frontier land
wrested some time before from the Gauls, the Boii, a tribe of that race,
stirred up all the Gallic peoples already in Italy, besides their kinsmen
who were yet beyond the mountains, for an assault upon Rome. Intelligence
of this movement among the northern tribes threw all Italy into a fever of
excitement. At Rome the terror was great; for not yet had died out of
memory what the city had once suffered at the hands of the ancestors of
these same barbarians that were now again gathering their hordes for sack
and pillage. An ancient prediction, found in the Sibylline books, declared
that a portion of Roman territory must needs be occupied by Gauls. Hoping
sufficiently to fulfil the prophecy and satisfy Fate, the Roman Senate
caused two Gauls to be buried alive in one of the public squares of the

Meanwhile the barbarians had advanced into Etruria, ravaging the country
as they moved southward. After gathering a large amount of booty, they
were carrying this back to a place of safety, when they were surrounded by
the Roman armies at Telamon, and almost annihilated (225 B.C.). The
Romans, taking advantage of this victory, pushed on into the plains of the
Po, captured the city which is now known as Milan, and extended their
authority to the foot-hills of the Alps.


THE TRUCELESS WAR.--Scarcely had peace been concluded with Rome at the end
of the First Punic War, before Carthage was plunged into a still deadlier
struggle, which for a time threatened her very existence. The mercenary
troops, upon their return from Sicily, revolted, on account of not
receiving their pay. Their appeal to the native tribes of Africa was
answered by a general uprising throughout the dependencies of Carthage.
The extent of the revolt shows how hateful and hated was the rule of the
great capital over her subject states.

The war was unspeakably bitter and cruel. It is known in history as "The
Truceless War." At one time Carthage was the only city remaining in the
hands of the government. But the genius of the great Carthaginian general
Hamilcar Barcas at last triumphed, and the authority of Carthage was
everywhere restored.

THE CARTHAGINIANS IN SPAIN.--After the disastrous termination of the First
Punic War, the Carthaginians determined to repair their losses by new
conquests in Spain. Hamilcar Barcas was sent over into that country, and
for nine years he devoted his commanding genius to organizing the
different Iberian tribes into a compact state, and to developing the rich
gold and silver mines of the southern part of the peninsula. He fell in
battle 228 B.C.

Hamilcar Barcas was the greatest general that up to this time the
Carthaginian race had produced. As a rule, genius is not heritable; but in
the Barcine family the rule was broken, and the rare genius of Hamilcar
reappeared in his sons, whom he himself, it is said, was fond of calling
the "lion's brood." Hannibal, the oldest, was only nineteen at the time of
his father's death, and being thus too young to assume command, Hasdrubal,
[Footnote: Not to be confounded with Hannibal's own brother Hasdrubal.]
the son-in-law of Hamilcar, was chosen to succeed him. He carried out the
unfinished plans of Hamilcar, extended and consolidated the Carthaginian
power in Spain, and upon the eastern coast founded New Carthage as the
centre and capital of the newly acquired territory. The native tribes were
conciliated rather than conquered. The Barcine family knew how to rule as
well as how to fight.

HANNIBAL'S VOW.--Upon the death of Hasdrubal, which occurred 221 B.C.,
Hannibal, now twenty-six years of age, was by the unanimous voice of the
army called to be their leader. When a child of nine years he had been led
by his father to the altar; and there, with his hands upon the sacrifice,
the little boy had sworn eternal hatred to the Roman race. He was driven
on to his gigantic undertakings and to his hard fate, not only by the
restless fires of his warlike genius, but, as he himself declared, by the
sacred obligations of a vow that could not be broken.

HANNIBAL ATTACKS SAGUNTUM.--In two years Hannibal extended the
Carthaginian power to the Ebro. Saguntum, a Greek city upon the east coast
of Spain, alone remained unsubdued. The Romans, who were jealously
watching affairs in the peninsula, had entered into an alliance with this
city, and taken it, with other Greek cities in that quarter of the
Mediterranean, under their protection. Hannibal, although he well knew
that an attack upon this place would precipitate hostilities with Rome,
laid siege to it in the spring of 219 B.C. He was eager for the renewal of
the old contest. The Roman Senate sent messengers to him forbidding his
making war upon a city which was a friend and ally of the Roman people;
but Hannibal, disregarding their remonstrances, continued the siege, and,
after an investment of eight months, gained possession of the town.

The Romans now sent commissioners to Carthage to demand of the Senate that
they should give up Hannibal to them, and by so doing repudiate the act of
their general. The Carthaginians hesitated. Then Quintus Fabius, chief of
the embassy, gathering up his toga, said: "I carry here peace and war;
choose, men of Carthage, which ye will have." "Give us whichever ye will,"
was the reply. "War, then," said Fabius, dropping his toga. The "die was
now cast; and the arena was cleared for the foremost man of his race and
his time, perhaps the mightiest military genius of any race and of any


HANNIBAL'S PASSAGE OF THE ALPS.--The Carthaginian empire was now stirred
with preparations for the impending struggle. Hannibal was the life and
soul of every movement. His bold plan was to cross the Pyrenees and the
Alps and descend upon Rome from the north.

[Illustration: HANNIBAL]

With his preparations completed, Hannibal left New Carthage early in the
spring of 218 B.C., with an army numbering about one hundred thousand men,
and including thirty-seven war elephants. Crossing the Pyrenees and the
Rhone, he reached the foot-hills of the Alps. Nature and man joined to
oppose the passage. The season was already far advanced--it was October--
and snow was falling upon the higher portions of the trail. Day after day
the army toiled painfully up the dangerous path. In places the narrow way
had to be cut wider for the monstrous bodies of the elephants. Often
avalanches of stone were hurled upon the trains by the hostile bands that
held possession of the heights above. At last the summit was gained, and
the shivering army looked down into the warm haze of the Italian plains.
The sight alone was enough to rouse the drooping spirits of the soldiers;
but Hannibal stirred them to enthusiasm by addressing them with these
words: "Ye are standing upon the Acropolis of Italy; yonder lies Rome."
The army began its descent, and at length, after toils and losses equalled
only by those of the ascent, its thinned battalions issued from the
defiles of the mountains upon the plains of the Po. Of the fifty thousand
men and more with which Hannibal had begun the passage, barely half that
number had survived the march, and these "looked more like phantoms than

not the remotest idea of Hannibal's plans. With war determined upon, the
Senate had sent one of the consuls, L. Sempronius Longus, with an army
into Africa by the way of Sicily; while the other, Publius Cornelius
Scipio, they had directed to lead another army into Spain.

While the Senate were watching the movements of these expeditions, they
were startled with the intelligence that Hannibal, instead of being in
Spain, had crossed the Pyrenees and was among the Gauls upon the Rhone.
Sempronius was hastily recalled from his attempt upon Africa, to the
defence of Italy. Scipio, on his way to Spain, had touched at Massilia,
and there learned of the movements of Hannibal. He turned back, hurried
into Northern Italy, and took command of the levies there. The cavalry of
the two armies met upon the banks of the Ticinus, a tributary of the Po.
The Romans were driven from the field by the fierce onset of the Numidian
horsemen. Scipio now awaited the arrival of the other consular army, which
was hurrying up through Italy by forced marches.

In the battle of the Trebia the united armies of the two consuls were
almost annihilated. The Gauls, who had been waiting to see to which side
fortune would incline, now flocked to the standard of Hannibal, and hailed
him as their deliverer.

The spring following the victory at the Trebia, Hannibal led his army, now
recruited by many Gauls, across the Apennines, and moved southward. At
Lake Trasimenus he entrapped the Romans under Flaminius in a mountain
defile, where, bewildered by a fog that filled the valley, the greater
part of the army was slaughtered, and the consul himself was slain.

The way to Rome was now open. Believing that Hannibal would march directly
upon the capital, the Senate caused the bridges that spanned the Tiber to
be destroyed, and appointed Fabius Maximus dictator.

In one respect only had events disappointed Hannibal's expectations. He
had thought that all the states of Italy were, like the Gauls, ready to
revolt from Rome at the first opportunity that might offer itself. But not
a single city had thus far proved unfaithful to her.

FABIUS "THE DELAYER."--The fate of Rome was now in the hands of Fabius.
Should he risk a battle and lose it, the destiny of the capital would be
sealed. He determined to adopt a more prudent policy--to follow and annoy
the Carthaginian army, but to refuse all proffers of battle. Thus time
might be gained for raising a new army and perfecting measures for the
public defence. In every possible way Hannibal endeavored to draw his
enemy into an engagement. He ravaged the fields far and wide and fired the
homesteads of the Italians, in order to force Fabius to fight in their
defence. The soldiers of the dictator began to murmur. They called him
_Cunctator_, or "the Delayer." They even accused him of treachery to
the cause of Rome. But nothing moved him from the steady pursuit of the
policy which he clearly saw was the only prudent one to follow.

THE BATTLE OF CANNÆ.--The time gained by Fabius enabled the Romans to
raise and discipline an army that might hope successfully to combat the
Carthaginian forces. Early in the summer of the year 216 B.C. these new
levies, numbering 80,000 men, confronted the army of Hannibal, amounting
to not more than half that number, at Cannæ, in Apulia. It was the largest
army the Romans had ever gathered on any battle-field. But it had been
collected only to meet the most overwhelming defeat that ever befell the
forces of the republic. Through the skilful manoeuvres of Hannibal, the
Romans were completely surrounded, and huddled together in a helpless mass
upon the field, and then for eight hours were cut down by the Numidian
cavalry. From fifty to seventy thousand were slain; a few thousand were
taken prisoners; only the merest handful escaped, including one of the
consuls. The slaughter was so great that, according to Livy, when Mago, a
brother of Hannibal, carried the news of the victory to Carthage, he, in
confirmation of the intelligence, poured down in the porch of the Senate-
house, nearly a peck of gold rings taken from the fingers of Roman

EVENTS AFTER THE BATTLE OF CANNÆ.--The awful news flew to Rome.
Consternation and despair seized the people. The city would have been
emptied of its population had not the Senate ordered the gates to be
closed. Never did that body display greater calmness, wisdom, prudence,
and resolution. By word and act they bade the people never to despair of
the republic. Little by little the panic was allayed. Measures were
concerted for the defence of the capital, as it was expected that Hannibal
would immediately march upon Rome. Swift horsemen were sent out along the
Appian Way to gather information of the conqueror's movements, and to
learn, as Livy expresses it, "if the immortal gods, out of pity to the
empire, had left any remnant of the Roman name."

The leader of the Numidian cavalry, Maharbal, urged Hannibal to follow up
his victory closely, "Let me advance with the cavalry," said he, "and in
five days thou shalt dine in the capital." But Hannibal refused to adopt
the counsel of his impetuous general. Maharbal turned away, and, with
mingled reproach and impatience, exclaimed, "Alas! thou knowest how to
gain a victory, but not how to use one." The great commander, while he
knew he was invincible in the open field, did not think it prudent to
fight the Romans behind their walls.

Hannibal now sent an embassy to Rome to offer terms of peace. The Senate,
true to the Appian policy never to treat with a victorious enemy (see p.
245), would not even permit the ambassadors to enter the gates. Not less
disappointed was Hannibal in the temper of the Roman allies. For the most
part they adhered to the cause of Rome with unshaken loyalty through all
these trying times. Some tribes in the South of Italy, however, among
which were the Lucanians, the Apulians, and the Bruttians, went over to
the Carthaginians. Hannibal marched into Campania and quartered his army
for the winter in the luxurious city of Capua, which had opened its gates
to him. Here he rested and sent urgent messages to Carthage for re-
inforcements, while Rome exhausted every resource in raising and equipping
new levies, to take the place of the legions lost at Cannæ. For several
years there was an ominous lull in the war, while both parties were
gathering strength for a renewal of the struggle.

THE FALL OF SYRACUSE AND OF CAPUA.--In the year 216 B.C., Hiero, King of
Syracuse, who loved to call himself the friend and ally of the Roman
people, died, and the government fell into the hands of a party unfriendly
to the republic. An alliance was formed with Carthage, and a large part of
Sicily was carried over to the side of the enemies of Rome. The
distinguished Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, called "the Sword
of Rome," was intrusted with the task of reconquering the island. After
reducing many towns, he at last laid siege to Syracuse.

This noted capital was then one of the largest and richest cities of the
Grecian world. For three years it held out against the Roman forces. It is
said that Archimedes (see p. 213), the great mathematician, rendered
valuable aid to the besieged with curious and powerful engines contrived
by his genius. But the city fell at last, and was given over to sack and
pillage. Rome was adorned with the rare works of Grecian art--paintings
and sculptures--which for centuries had been accumulating in this the
oldest and most renowned of the colonies of ancient Hellas. Syracuse never
recovered from the blow inflicted upon her at this time by the relentless

[Illustration: MARCELLUS, "The sword of Rome."]

Capua must next be punished for opening her gates and extending her
hospitalities to the enemies of Rome. A line of circumvallation was drawn
about the devoted city, and two Roman armies held it in close siege.
Hannibal, ever faithful to his allies and friends, hastened to the relief
of the Capuans. Unable to break the enemy's lines, he marched directly
upon Rome, as if to make an attack upon that city, hoping thus to draw off
the legions about Capua to the defence of the capital. The "dread
Hannibal" himself rode alongside the walls of the hated city, and,
tradition says, even hurled a defiant spear over the defences. The Romans
certainly were trembling with fear; yet Livy tells how they manifested
their confidence in their affairs by selling at public auction the land
upon which Hannibal was encamped. He in turn, in the same manner, disposed
of the shops fronting the Forum. The story is that there were eager
purchasers in both cases.

Failing to draw the legions from Capua as he had hoped, Hannibal now
retired from before Rome, and, retreating into the southern part of Italy,
abandoned Capua to its fate. It soon fell, and paid the penalty that Rome
never failed to inflict upon an unfaithful ally. The chief men in the city
were put to death, and a large part of the inhabitants sold as slaves.
Capua had aspired to the first place among the cities of Italy: scarcely
more than the name of the ambitious capital now remained.

Hasdrubal attempts to carry Aid to his Brother.--During all the years
Hannibal was waging war in Italy, his brother Hasdrubal was carrying on a
desperate struggle with the Roman armies in Spain. At length he determined
to leave the conduct of the war in that country to others, and go to the
relief of his brother, who was sadly in need of aid. Like Pyrrhus,
Hannibal had been brought to realize that even constant victories won at
the cost of soldiers that could not be replaced, meant final defeat.

Hasdrubal followed the same route that had been taken by his brother
Hannibal, and in the year 207 B.C. descended from the Alps upon the plains
of Northern Italy. Thence he advanced southward, while Hannibal moved
northward from Bruttium to meet him. Rome made a last great effort to
prevent the junction of the armies of the two brothers. At the river
Metaurus, Hasdrubal's march was withstood by a large Roman army. Here his
forces were cut to pieces, and he himself was slain (207 B.C.). His head
was severed from his body and sent to Hannibal. Upon recognizing the
features of his brother, Hannibal exclaimed sadly, "Carthage, I see thy

WAR IN AFRICA: BATTLE OF ZAMA.--The defeat and death of Hasdrubal gave a
different aspect to the war. Hannibal now drew back into the rocky
peninsula of Bruttium, the southernmost point of Italy. There he faced the
Romans like a lion at bay. No one dared attack him. It was resolved to
carry the war into Africa, in hopes that the Carthaginians would be forced
to call their great commander out of Italy to the defence of Carthage.
Publius Cornelius Scipio, who after the departure of Hasdrubal from Spain
had quickly brought the peninsula under the power of Rome, led the army of
invasion. He had not been long in Africa before the Carthaginian Senate
sent for Hannibal to conduct the war. At Zama, not far from Carthage, the
hostile armies came face to face. Fortune had deserted Hannibal; he was
fighting [Footnote: Son of the consul mentioned on page 259.] against
fate. He here met his first and final defeat. His army, in which were many
of the veterans that had served through all the Italian campaigns, was
almost annihilated (202 B.C.). Scipio was accorded a splendid triumph at
Rome, and given the surname Africanus in honor of his achievements.
[Footnote:  Some time after the close of the Second Punic War, the Romans,
persuading themselves that Hannibal was preparing Carthage for another
war, demanded his surrender of the Carthaginians. He fled to Syria, and
thence to Asia Minor, where, to avoid falling into the hands of his
implacable foes, he committed suicide by means of poison (183 B.C.).]

[Illustration: PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO (Africanus).]

THE CLOSE OF THE WAR.--Carthage was now completely exhausted, and sued for
peace. Even Hannibal himself could no longer counsel war. The terms of the
treaty were much severer than those imposed upon the city at the end of
the First Punic War. She was required to give up all claims to Spain and
the islands of the Mediterranean; to surrender her war elephants, and all
her ships of war save ten galleys; to pay an indemnity of five thousand
talents at once, and two hundred and fifty talents annually for fifty
years; and not to engage in any war without the consent of Rome. Five
hundred of the costly Phoenician war galleys were towed out of the harbor
of Carthage and burned in the sight of the citizens.

Such was the end of the Second Punic, or Hannibalic War, as called by the
Romans, the most desperate struggle ever maintained by rival powers for


(149-146 B.C.)


The terms imposed upon Carthage at the end of the Second Punic War left
Rome mistress of the Western Mediterranean. During the fifty eventful
years that elapsed between the close of that struggle and the breaking-out
of the last Punic war, her authority became supreme also in the Eastern
seas. In a preceding chapter (see p. 170), while narrating the fortunes of
the most important states into which the great empire of Alexander was
broken at his death, we followed them until one after another they fell
beneath the arms of Rome, and were successively absorbed into her growing
kingdom. We shall therefore speak of them here only in the briefest
manner, simply indicating the connection of their several histories with
the series of events which mark the advance of Rome to universal empire.

THE BATTLE OF CYNOSCEPHALÆ (197 B.C.).--During the Hannibalic War, Philip
V. (III.) of Macedonia had aided the Carthaginians, or at least had
entered into an alliance with them. He was now troubling the Greek cities
which were under the protection of Rome. For these things the Roman Senate
determined to punish him. An army under Flamininus was sent into Greece,
and on the plains of Cynoscephalæ, in Thessaly, the Roman legion
demonstrated its superiority over the unwieldy Macedonian phalanx by
subjecting Philip to a most disastrous defeat (197 B.C.). The king was
forced to give up all his conquests, and Rome extended her protectorate
over Greece.

THE BATTLE OF MAGNESIA (190 B.C.).--Antiochus the Great of Syria had at
this time not only overrun all Asia Minor, but had crossed the Hellespont
into Europe, and was intent upon the conquest of Thrace and Greece. Rome,
that could not entertain the idea of a rival empire upon the southern
shores of the Mediterranean, could much less tolerate the establishment in
the East of such a colossal kingdom as the ambition of Antiochus proposed
to itself. Just as soon as intelligence was carried to Italy that the
Syrian king was leading his army into Greece, the legions of the republic
were set in motion. Some reverses caused Antiochus to retreat in haste
across the Hellespont into Asia, whither he was followed by the Romans,
led by Scipio, a brother of Africanus.

At Magnesia, Antiochus was overthrown, and a large part of Asia Minor fell
into the hands of the Romans. Not yet prepared to maintain provinces so
distant from the Tiber, the Senate conferred the new territory, with the
exception of Lycia and Caria, which were given to the Rhodians, upon their
friend and ally Eumenes, King of Pergamus (see p. 171). This "Kingdom of
Asia," as it was called, was really nothing more than a dependency of
Rome, and its nominal ruler only a puppet-king in the hands of the Roman

Scipio enjoyed a magnificent triumph at Rome, and, in accordance with a
custom that had now become popular with successful generals, erected a
memorial of his deeds in his name by assuming the title of Asiaticus.

[Illustration: PERSEUS, of Macedonia.]

THE BATTLE OF PYDNA (168 B.C.).--In a few years Macedonia, under the
leadership of Perseus, son of Philip V., was again in arms and offering
defiance to Rome; but in the year 168 B.C. the Roman consul Æmilius Paulus
crushed the Macedonian power forever upon the memorable field of Pydna.
This was one of the decisive battles fought by the Romans in their
struggle for the dominion of the world. The last great power in the East
was here broken. The Roman Senate was henceforth recognized by the whole
civilized world as the source and fountain of supreme political wisdom and
power. We shall have yet to record many campaigns of the Roman legions;
but these were efforts to suppress revolt among dependent or semi-vassal
states, or were struggles with barbarian tribes that skirted the Roman

THE DESTRUCTION OF CORINTH (146 B.C.).--Barely twenty years had passed
after the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy before the cities and
states that formed the Achæan League (see p. 175) were goaded to revolt by
the injustice of their Roman protectors. In the year 146 B.C. the consul
Mummius signalized the suppression of the rebellion by the complete
destruction of the brilliant city of Corinth, the "eye of Hellas," as the
ancient poets were fond of calling it. This fair capital, the most
beautiful and renowned of all the cities of Greece after the fall of
Athens, was sacked, and razed to the ground. Much of the booty was sold on
the spot at public auction. Numerous works of art,--rare paintings and
sculptures,--with which the city was crowded, were carried off to Italy.
"Never before or after," says Long, "was such a display of the wonders of
Grecian art carried in triumphal procession through the streets of Rome."


"CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED."--The same year that Rome destroyed Corinth
(146 B.C.), she also blotted her great rival Carthage from the face of the
earth. It will be recalled that one of the conditions imposed upon the
last-named city at the close of the Second Punic War was that she should,
under no circumstances, engage in any war without the permission of the
Roman Senate. Taking advantage of the helpless condition of Carthage,
Masinissa, King of Numidia, began to make depredations upon her
territories. She appealed to Rome for protection. The envoys sent to
Africa by the Senate to settle the dispute, unfairly adjudged every case
in favor of the robber Masinissa. In this way Carthage was deprived of her
lands and towns.

Chief of one of the embassies sent out was Marcus Cato the Censor. When he
saw the prosperity of Carthage,--her immense trade, which crowded her
harbor with ships, and the country for miles back of the city a beautiful
landscape of gardens and villas,--he was amazed at the growing power and
wealth of the city, and returned home convinced that the safety of Rome
demanded the destruction of her rival. Never afterwards did he address the
Romans, no matter upon what subject, but he always ended with the words,
"Carthage must be destroyed" (_delenda est Carthago_).

ROMAN PERFIDY.--A pretext for the accomplishment of the hateful work was
not long wanting. In 150 B.C. the Carthaginians, when Masinissa made
another attack upon their territory, instead of calling upon Rome, from
which source the past had convinced them they could hope for neither aid
nor justice, gathered an army, and resolved to defend themselves. Their
forces, however, were defeated by the Numidians, and sent beneath the

In entering upon this war without the consent of Rome, Carthage had broken
the conditions of the last treaty. The Carthaginian Senate, in great
anxiety, now sent an embassy to Italy to offer any reparation the Romans
might demand. They were told that if they would give three hundred
hostages, members of the noblest Carthaginian families, the independence
of their city should be respected. They eagerly complied with this demand.
But no sooner were these in the hands of the Romans than the consular
armies, numbering eighty thousand men, secured against attack by the
hostages so perfidiously drawn from the Carthaginians, crossed from Sicily
into Africa, and disembarked at Utica, only ten miles from Carthage.

The Carthaginians were now commanded to give up all their arms; still
hoping to win their enemy to clemency, they complied with this demand
also. Then the consuls made known the final decree of the Roman Senate--
"That Carthage must be destroyed, but that the inhabitants might build a
new city, provided it were located ten miles from the coast."

When this resolution of the Senate was announced to the Carthaginians, and
they realized the baseness and perfidy of their enemy, a cry of
indignation and despair burst from the betrayed city.

to the bitter end the execution of the cruel decree. The gates of the city
were closed. Men, women, and children set to work and labored day and
night manufacturing arms. The entire city was converted into one great
workshop. The utensils of the home and the sacred vessels of the temples,
statues, and vases were melted down for weapons. Material was torn from
the buildings of the city for the construction of military engines. The
women cut off their hair and braided it into strings for the catapults. By
such labor, and through such means, the city was soon put in a state to
withstand a siege.

When the Romans advanced to take possession of the place, they were
astonished to find the people they had just treacherously disarmed, with
weapons in their hands, manning the walls of their capital, and ready to
bid them defiance.

THE DESTRUCTION OF CARTHAGE.--It is impossible for us here to give the
circumstances of the siege of Carthage. For four years the city held out
against the Roman army. At length the consul Scipio Æmilianus succeeded in
taking it by storm. When resistance ceased, only 50,000 men, women, and
children, out of a population of 700,000, remained to be made prisoners.
The city was fired, and for seventeen days the space within the walls was
a sea of flames. Every trace of building which the fire could not destroy
was levelled, a plough was driven over the site, and a dreadful curse
invoked upon any one who should dare attempt to rebuild the city.

Such was the hard fate of Carthage. It is said that Scipio, as he gazed
upon the smouldering ruins, seemed to read in them the fate of Rome, and,
bursting into tears, sadly repeated the lines of Homer:

  "The day shall come in which our sacred Troy,
  And Priam, and the people over whom
  Spear-bearing Priam rules, shall perish all."

The Carthaginian territory in Africa was made into a Roman province, with
Utica as the leading city; and Roman civilization was spread rapidly, by
means of traders and settlers, throughout the regions that lie between the
ranges of the Atlas and the sea.


SIEGE OF NUMANTIA.--It is fitting that the same chapter which narrates the
destruction of Corinth in Greece, and the blotting-out of Carthage in
Africa, should tell the story of the destruction of Numantia in Spain.

The expulsion of the Carthaginians from the Spanish peninsula really gave
Rome the control of only a small part of that country. The war-like native
tribes--the Celtiberians and Lusitanians--of the North and the West were
ready stubbornly to dispute with the new-comers the possession of the

The war gathered about Numantia, the siege of which was brought to a close
by Scipio Æmilianus, the conqueror of Carthage. Before the surrender of
the place, almost all the inhabitants had met death, either in defence of
the walls, or by deliberate suicide. The miserable remnant which the
ravages of battle, famine, pestilence, and despair had left alive were
sold into slavery, and the city was levelled to the ground (133 B.C.).

The capture of Numantia was considered quite as great an achievement as
the taking of Carthage. Scipio celebrated another triumph at Rome, and to
his surname Africanus, which he had received for his achievements in
Africa, added that of Numantinus. Spain became a favorite resort of Roman
merchants, and many colonies were established in different parts of the
country. As a result of this great influx of Italians, the laws, manners,
customs, language, and religion of the conquerors were introduced
everywhere, and the peninsula became rapidly Romanized.


(133-31 B.C.)

We have now traced the growth of the power of republican Rome, as through
two centuries and more of conquest she has extended her authority, first
throughout Italy, and then over almost all the countries that border upon
the Mediterranean. It must be our less pleasant task now to follow the
declining fortunes of the republic through the last century of its
existence. We shall here learn that wars waged for spoils and dominion are
in the end more ruinous, if possible, to the conqueror than to the

THE SERVILE WAR IN SICILY (134-132 B.C.).--With the opening of this period
we find a terrible struggle going on in Sicily between masters and slaves
--or what is known as "The First Servile War." The condition of affairs in
that island was the legitimate result of the Roman system of slavery. The
captives taken in war were usually sold into servitude. The great number
of prisoners furnished by the numerous conquests of the Romans caused
slaves to become a drug in the slave-markets of the Roman world. They were
so cheap that masters found it more profitable to wear their slaves out by
a few years of unmercifully hard labor, and then to buy others, than to
preserve their lives for a longer period by more humane treatment. In case
of sickness, they were left to die without attention, as the expense of
nursing exceeded the cost of new purchases. Some Sicilian estates were
worked by as many as 20,000 slaves. That each owner might know his own,
the poor creatures were branded like cattle. What makes all this the more
revolting is the fact that many of these slaves were in every way the
peers of their owners, and often were their superiors. The fortunes of war
alone had made one servant and the other master.

The wretched condition of these slaves and the cruelty of their masters at
last drove them to revolt. The insurrection spread throughout the island,
until 200,000 slaves were in arms, and in possession of many of the
strongholds of the country. They defeated four Roman armies sent against
them, and for three years defied the power of Rome. Finally, however, in
the year 132 B.C., the revolt was crushed, and peace was restored to the
distracted island. [Footnote: In the year 102 B.C. another insurrection of
the slaves broke out in the island, which it required three years to
quell. This last revolt is known as "The Second Servile War."]

THE PUBLIC LANDS.--In Italy itself affairs were in a scarcely less
wretched condition than in Sicily. When the different states of the
peninsula were subjugated, large portions of the conquered territory had
become public land (_ager publicus_); for upon the subjugation of a
state Rome never left to the conquered people more than two-thirds of
their lands, and often not so much as this. The land appropriated was
disposed of at public sale, leased at low rentals, allotted to discharged
soldiers, or allowed to lie unused. [Footnote: These land matters may be
made plain by a reference to the public lands of the United States. The
troubles in Ireland between the land-owners and their tenants will also
serve to illustrate the agrarian disturbances in ancient Rome.]

Now, it had happened that, in various ways, the greater part of the public
lands had fallen into the hands of the wealthy. They alone had the capital
necessary to stock and work them to advantage; hence the possessions of
the small proprietors were gradually absorbed by the large landholders.
These great proprietors, also, disregarding a law which forbade any person
to hold more than five hundred jugera of land, held many times that
amount. Almost all the lands of Italy, about the beginning of the first
century B.C., are said to have been held by not more than two thousand
persons; for the large proprietors, besides the lands they had secured by
purchase from the government, or had wrested from the smaller farmers,
claimed enormous tracts to which they had only a squatter's title. So long
had they been left in undisturbed possession of these government lands
that they had come to look upon them as absolutely their own. In many
cases, feeling secure through great lapse of time,--the lands having been
handed down through many generations,--the owners had expended large sums
in their improvement, and now resisted as very unjust every effort to
dispossess them of their hereditary estates. Money-lenders, too, had, in
many instances, made loans upon these lands, and they naturally sided with
the owners in their opposition to all efforts to disturb the titles.

These wealthy "possessors" employed slave rather than free labor, as they
found it more profitable; and so the poorer Romans, left without
employment, crowded into the cities, especially congregating at Rome,
where they lived in vicious indolence. The proprietors also found it to
their interest to raise stock rather than to cultivate the soil. All Italy
became a great sheep-pasture.

Thus, largely through the workings of the public land system, the Roman
people had become divided into two great classes, which are variously
designated as the Rich and the Poor, the Possessors and the Non-
Possessors, the Optimates (the "Best"), and the Populares (the "People").
We hear nothing more of patricians and plebeians. As one expresses it,
"Rome had become a commonwealth of millionaires and beggars."

For many years before and after the period at which we have now arrived, a
bitter struggle was carried on between these two classes; just such a
contest as we have seen waged between the nobility and the commonalty in
the earlier history of Rome. The most instructive portion of the story of
the Roman republic is found in the records of this later struggle. The
misery of the great masses naturally led to constant agitation at the
capital. Popular leaders introduced bill after bill into the Senate, and
brought measure after measure before the assemblies of the people, all
aiming at the redistribution of the public lands and the correction of
existing abuses.

THE REFORMS OF THE GRACCHI.--The most noted champions of the cause of the
poorer classes against the rich and powerful were Tiberius and Caius
Gracchus. These reformers are reckoned among the most popular orators that
Rome ever produced. They eloquently voiced the wrongs of the people. Said
Tiberius, "You are called 'lords of the earth' without possessing a single
clod to call your own." The people made him tribune; and in that position
he secured the passage of a law for the redistribution of the public
lands, which gave some relief. It took away from Possessors without sons
all the land they held over five hundred jugera; Possessors with one son
might hold seven hundred and fifty jugera, and those with two sons one

At the end of his term of office, Tiberius stood a second time for the
tribunate. The nobles combined to defeat him. Foreseeing that he would not
be re-elected, Tiberius resolved to use force upon the day of voting. His
partisans were overpowered, and he and three hundred of his followers were
killed in the Forum, and their bodies thrown into the Tiber (133 B.C.).
This was the first time that the Roman Forum had witnessed such a scene of
violence and crime.

Caius Gracchus, the younger brother of Tiberius, now assumed the position
made vacant by the death of Tiberius. It is related that Caius had a dream
in which the spirit of his brother seemed to address him thus: "Caius, why
do you linger? There is no escape: one life for both of us, and one death
in defence of the people, is our fate." The dream came true. Caius was
chosen tribune in 123 B.C. He secured the passage of grain-laws which
provided that grain should be sold to the poor from public granaries, at
half its value or less. This was a very unwise and pernicious measure. It
was not long before grain was distributed free to all applicants; and a
considerable portion of the population of the capital were living in
vicious indolence and feeding at the public crib.

Caius proposed other measures in the interest of the people, which were
bitterly opposed by the Optimates; and the two orders at last came into
collision. Caius sought death by a friendly sword (121 B.C.), and three
thousand of his adherents were massacred. The consul offered for the head
of Caius its weight in gold. "This is the first instance in Roman history
of head-money being offered and paid, but it was not the last" (Long).

The people ever regarded the Gracchi as martyrs to their cause, and their
memory was preserved by statues in the public square. To Cornelia, their
mother, a monument was erected, simply bearing the inscription, "The
Mother of the Gracchi."

THE WAR WITH JUGURTHA (111-106 B.C.).--After the death of the Gracchi
there seemed no one left to resist the heartless oppressions and to
denounce the scandalous extravagances of the aristocratic party. Many of
the laws of the Gracchi respecting the public lands were annulled. Italy
fell again into the hands of a few over-rich land-owners. The provinces
were plundered by the Roman governors, who squandered their ill-gotten
wealth at the capital. The votes of senators and the decisions of judges,
the offices at Rome and the places in the provinces--everything pertaining
to the government had its price, and was bought and sold like merchandise.
Affairs in Africa at this time illustrate how Roman virtue and integrity
had declined since Fabricius indignantly refused the gold of Pyrrhus.

Jugurtha, king of Numidia, had seized all that country, having put to
death the rightful rulers of different provinces of the region, who had
been confirmed in their possessions by the Romans at the close of the
Punic wars. Commissioners sent from Rome to look into the matter were
bribed by Jugurtha. Even the consul Bestia, who had been sent into Africa
with an army to punish the insolent usurper, sold himself to the robber.
An investigation was ordered; but many prominent officials at Rome were
implicated in the offences, and the matter was hushed up with money. The
venality of the Romans disgusted even Jugurtha, who exclaimed, "O venal
city, thou wouldst sell thyself if thou couldst find a purchaser!"

In the year 106 B.C. the war against Jugurtha was brought to a close by
Caius Marius, a man who had risen to the consulship from the lowest ranks
of the people. Under him fought a young nobleman named Sulla, of whom we
shall hear much hereafter. Marius celebrated a grand triumph at Rome.
Jugurtha, after having graced the triumphal procession, was thrown into
the Mamertine dungeon, beneath the Capitoline, where he died of

INVASION OF THE CIMBRI AND TEUTONES.--The war was not yet ended in Africa
before terrible tidings came to Rome from the north. Two mighty nations of
"horrible barbarians," three hundred thousand strong in fighting-men,
coming whence no one could tell, had invaded, and were now desolating, the
Roman provinces of Gaul, and might any moment cross the Alps and pour down
into Italy.

The mysterious invaders proved to be two Germanic tribes, the Teutones and
Cimbri, the vanguard of that great German migration which was destined to
change the face and history of Europe. These intruders were seeking new
homes. They carried with them, in rude wagons, all their property, their
wives, and their children. The Celtic tribes of Gaul were no match for the
newcomers, and fled before them as they advanced. Several Roman armies
beyond the Alps were cut to pieces. The terror at Rome was only equalled
by that occasioned by the invasion of the Gauls two centuries before. The
Gauls were terrible enough; but now the conquerors of the Gauls were

Marius, the conqueror of Jugurtha, was looked to by all as the only man
who could save the state in this crisis. Accompanied by Sulla as one of
his most skilful lieutenants, Marius hastened into Northern Italy. The
barbarians had divided into two bands. The Cimbri were to cross the
Eastern Alps, and join in the valley of the Po the Teutones, who were to
force the defiles of the Western, or Maritime Alps. Marius determined to
prevent the union of the barbarians, and to crush each band separately.

Anticipating the march of the Teutones, he hurried over the Alps into
Gaul, and falling upon them at a favorable moment (at Aquæ Sextæ, not far
from Marseilles, 102 B.C.), almost annihilated the entire host. Two
hundred thousand barbarians are said to have been slain. Marius now
recrossed the Alps, and, after visiting Rome, hastened to meet the Cimbri,
who were entering the northeastern corner of Italy. He was not a day too
soon. Already the barbarians had defeated the Roman army under the
nobleman Catulus, and were ravaging the rich plains of the Po. The Cimbri,
unconscious of the fate of the Teutones, sent an embassy to Marius, to
demand that they and their kinsmen should be given lands in Italy. Marius
sent back in reply, "The Teutones have got all the land they need on the
other side of the Alps." The devoted Cimbri were soon to have all they
needed on this side.

A terrible battle almost immediately followed at Vercellæ (101 B.C.). The
barbarians were drawn up in an enormous hollow square, the men forming the
outer ranks being fastened together with chains, to prevent the lines
being broken. This proved their ruin. More than 100,000 were killed and
60,000 taken prisoners to be sold as slaves in the Roman markets. Marius
was hailed as the "Saviour of his Country."

"The forlorn-hope of the German migration had performed its duty; the
homeless people of the Cimbri and their comrades were no more" (Mommsen).
Their kinsmen yet behind the Danube and the Rhine were destined to exact a
terrible revenge for their slaughter.

THE SOCIAL, OR MARSIC WAR (91-89 B.C.).--Scarcely was the danger of the
barbarian invasion past, before Rome was threatened by another and greater
evil arising within her own borders. At this time all the free inhabitants
of Italy were embraced in three classes,--_Roman citizens_, _Latins,_
and _Italian allies_. The Roman citizens included the inhabitants of
the capital and of the various Roman colonies planted in different parts
of the peninsula (see p. 246, note), besides the people of a number of
towns called _municipia;_ the Latins were the inhabitants of the Latin
colonies (see p. 246, note); the Italian allies (_socii_) included the
various subjugated races of Italy.

The Social, or Marsic War (as it is often called on account of the
prominent part taken in the insurrection by the warlike Marsians) was a
struggle that arose from the demands of the Italian allies for the
privileges of Roman citizenship, from which they were wholly excluded.
Their demands were stubbornly resisted by both the aristocratic and the
popular party at Rome. Some, however, recognized the justice of these
claims of the Italians. The tribune Livius Drusus championed their cause,
but he was killed by an assassin. The Italians now flew to arms. They
determined upon the establishment of a rival state. A town called
Corfinium, among the Apennines, was chosen as the capital of the new
republic, and its name changed to Italica. Thus, in a single day, almost
all Italy south of the Rubicon was lost to Rome. The Etrurians, the
Umbrians, the Campanians, the Latins, and some of the Greek cities were
the only states that remained faithful.

[Illustration: COIN OF THE ITALIAN CONFEDERACY. (The Sabellian Bull goring
the Roman Wolf.)]

The greatness of the danger aroused all the old Roman courage and
patriotism. Aristocrats and democrats hushed their quarrels, and fought
bravely side by side for the endangered life of the republic. The war
lasted three years. Finally Rome prudently extended the right of suffrage
to the Latins, Etruscans, and Umbrians, who had so far remained true to
her, but now began to show signs of wavering in their loyalty. Shortly
afterwards she offered the same to all Italians who should lay down their
arms within sixty days. This tardy concession to the just demands of the
Italians virtually ended the war. It had been extremely disastrous to the
republic. Hundreds of thousands of lives had been lost, many towns had
been depopulated, and vast tracts of the country made desolate by those
ravages that never fail to characterize civil contentions.

In after-years, under the empire, the rights of Roman citizenship, which
the most of the Italians had now so hardly won, were extended to all the
free inhabitants of the various provinces, beyond the confines of Italy
(see p. 327).

THE CIVIL WAR OF MARIUS AND SULLA.--The Social War was not yet ended when
a formidable enemy appeared in the East. Mithridates the Great, king of
Pontus (see p. 170, note), taking advantage of the distracted condition of
the republic, had encroached upon the Roman provinces in Asia Minor, and
had caused a general massacre of the Italian traders and residents in that
country. The number of victims of this wholesale slaughter has been
variously estimated at from 80,000 to 150,000. The Roman Senate instantly
declared war.

A contest straightway arose between Marius and Sulla for the command of
the forces. The sword settled the dispute. Sulla, at the head of the
legions he commanded, marched upon Rome, entered the gates, and "for the
first time in the annals of the city a Roman army encamped within the
walls." The party of Marius was defeated, and he and ten of his companions
were proscribed. Marius escaped and fled to Africa; Sulla embarked with
the legions to meet Mithridates in the East (87 B.C.).

[Illustration: MARIUS.]

the Mithridatic War, we must first follow the fortunes of the outlawed
Marius. The ship in which he embarked for Africa was driven back upon the
Italian coast at Circeii, and he was captured. A Cimbrian slave was sent
to despatch him in prison. The cell where Marius lay was dark, and the
eyes of the old soldier "seemed to flash fire." As the slave advanced,
Marius shouted, "Man, do you dare to kill Caius Marius?" The frightened
slave dropped his sword, and fled from the chamber, half dead with fear.

A better feeling now took possession of the captors of Marius, and they
resolved that the blood of the "Saviour of Italy" should not be upon their
hands. They put him aboard a vessel, which bore him and his friends to an
island just off the coast of Africa. When he attempted to set foot upon
the mainland near Carthage, Sextius, the Roman governor of the province,
sent a messenger to forbid him to land. The legend says that the old
general, almost choking with indignation, only answered, "Go, tell your
master, that you have seen Marius a fugitive sitting amidst the ruins of

A successful move of his friends at Rome brought Marius back to the
capital. He now took a terrible revenge upon his enemies. The consul
Octavius was assassinated, and his head set up in front of the Rostrum.
Never before had such a thing been seen at Rome--a consul's head exposed
to the public gaze. The senators, equestrians, and leaders of the Optimate
party fled from the capital. For five days and nights a merciless
slaughter was kept up. The life of every man in the capital was in the
hands of the revengeful Marius. If he refused to return the greeting of
any citizen, that sealed his fate: he was instantly despatched by the
soldiers who awaited the dictator's nod. The bodies of the victims lay
unburied in the streets. Sulla's house was torn down, and he himself
declared a public enemy.

Rumors were now spread that Sulla, having overthrown Mithridates, was
about to set out on his return with his victorious legions. He would
surely exact speedy and terrible vengeance. Marius, old and enfeebled by
the hardships of many campaigns, seemed to shrink from again facing his
hated rival. He plunged into dissipation to drown his remorse and gloomy
forebodings, and died in his seventy-first year (86 B.C.).

SULLA AND THE MITHRIDATIC WAR.--When Sulla left Italy with his legions for
the East, he knew very well that his enemies would have their own way in
Italy during his absence; but he also knew that, if successful in his
campaign against Mithridates, he could easily regain Italy, and wrest the
government from the hands of the Marian party.

We can here take space to give simply the results of Sulla's campaigns in
the East. After driving the army of Mithridates out of Greece, Sulla
crossed the Hellespont, and forced the king to sue for peace. He gave up
his conquered territory, surrendered his war ships, and paid a large
indemnity to cover the expenses of the war.

[Illustration: SULLA.]

With the Mithridatic War ended, Sulla wrote to the Senate, saying that he
was now coming to take vengeance upon the Marian party,--his own and the
republic's foes.

The terror and consternation produced at Rome by this letter were
increased by the accidental burning of the Capitol. The Sibylline books,
which held the secrets of the fate of Rome, were consumed. Such an event,
it was believed, could only foreshadow the most direful calamities to the

THE PROSCRIPTIONS OF SULLA.--The returning army from the East landed in
Italy. With his veteran legions at his back, Sulla marched into Rome with
all the powers of a dictator. The leaders of the Marian party were
proscribed, rewards were offered for their heads, and their property was
confiscated. Sulla was implored to make out a list of those he designed to
put to death, that those he intended to spare might be relieved of the
terrible suspense in which all were now held. He made out a list of
eighty, which was attached to the Rostrum. The people murmured at the
length of the roll. In a few days it was extended to over three hundred,
and grew rapidly, until it included the names of thousands of the best
citizens of Italy. Hundreds were murdered, not for any offence, but
because some favorites of Sulla coveted their estates. A wealthy noble
coming into the Forum, and reading his own name in the list of the
proscribed, exclaimed, "Alas! my villa has proved my ruin." The infamous
Catiline, by having the name of a brother placed upon the fatal roll,
secured his property. Julius Cæsar, at this time a mere boy of eighteen,
was proscribed on account of his relationship to Marius; but, upon the
intercession of friends, Sulla spared him: as he did so, however, he said
warningly, and, as the event proved, prophetically, "There is in that boy
many a Marius."

Senators, knights, and wealthy land-owners fell by hundreds and by
thousands; but the poor Italians who had sided with the Marian party were
simply slaughtered by tens of thousands. Nor did the provinces escape. In
Sicily, Spain, and Africa the enemies of the dictator were hunted and
exterminated like noxious animals. It is estimated that the civil war of
Marius and Sulla cost the republic over one hundred and fifty thousand

When Sulla had sated his revenge, he celebrated a splendid triumph at
Rome, and the Senate enacted a law declaring all that he had done legal
and right, caused to be erected in the Forum a gilded equestrian statue of
the dictator, which bore the legend, "To Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the
Commander Beloved by Fortune," and made him dictator for life. Sulla used
his position and influence in recasting the constitution in the interest
of the aristocratic party. After enjoying the unlimited power of an
Asiatic despot for three years, he suddenly resigned the dictatorship, and
retired to his villa at Puteoli, where he gave himself up to the grossest
dissipations. He died the year following his abdication (78 B.C.).



POMPEY THE GREAT IN SPAIN.--The fires of the Civil War, though quenched in
Italy, were still smouldering in Spain. Sertorius, an adherent of Marius,
had there stirred up the martial tribes of Lusitania, and incited a
general revolt against the power of the aristocratic government at Rome.
Cnæus Pompey, a rising young leader of the oligarchy, upon whom the title
of Great had already been conferred as a reward for crushing the Marian
party in Sicily and Africa, was sent into Spain to perform a similar
service there.

For several years the war was carried on with varying fortunes. At times
the power of Rome in the peninsula seemed on the verge of utter
extinction. Finally, the brave Sertorius was assassinated, and then the
whole of Spain was quickly regained. Pompey boasted of having forced the
gates of more than eight hundred cities in Spain and Southern Gaul.
Throughout all the conquered regions he established military colonies, and
reorganized the local governments, putting in power those who would be,
not only friends and allies of the Roman state, but also his own personal
adherents. How he used these men as instruments of his ambition, we shall
learn a little later.

SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE GLADIATORS.--While Pompey was subduing the Marian
faction in Spain, a new danger broke out in the midst of Italy.
Gladiatorial combats had become, at this time, the favorite sport of the
amphitheatre. At Capua was a sort of training-school, from which skilled
fighters were hired out for public or private entertainments. In this
seminary was a Thracian slave, known by the name of Spartacus, who incited
his companions to revolt. The insurgents fled to the crater of Vesuvius,
and made that their stronghold. There they were joined by gladiators from
other schools, and by slaves and discontented men from every quarter. Some
slight successes enabled them to arm themselves with the weapons of their
enemies. Their number at length increased to one hundred thousand men. For
three years they defied the power of Rome, and even gained control of the
larger part of Southern Italy. Four Roman armies sent against them were
cut to pieces. But at length Spartacus himself was slain, and the
insurgents were crushed.

The rebellion was punished with Roman severity. The slaves that had taken
part in the revolt were hunted through the mountains and forests, and
exterminated like dangerous beasts. The Appian Way was lined with six
thousand crosses, bearing aloft as many bodies--a terrible warning of the
fate awaiting slaves that should dare to strike for freedom.

THE ABUSES OF VERRES.--Terrible as was the state of society in Italy,
still worse was the condition of affairs outside the peninsula. At first
the rule of the Roman governors in the provinces, though severe, was
honest and prudent. But during the period of profligacy and corruption
upon which we have now entered, the administration of these foreign
possessions was shamefully dishonest and incredibly cruel and rapacious.
The prosecution of Verres, the proprætor of Sicily, exposed the scandalous
rule of the oligarchy, into whose hands the government had fallen. For
three years Verres plundered and ravaged that island with impunity. He
sold all the offices, and all his decisions as judge. He demanded of the
farmers the greater part of their crops, which he sold, to swell his
already enormous fortune. Agriculture was thus ruined, and the farms were
abandoned. Verres had a taste for art, and when on his tours through the
island confiscated gems, vases, statues, paintings, and other things that
struck his fancy, whether in temples or private dwellings. He even caused
a Roman trader, for a slight offence, to be crucified, "the cross being
set on the beach within sight of Italy, that he might address to his
native shores the ineffectual cry 'I am a Roman citizen.'"

Verres could not be called to account while in office; and it was doubtful
whether, after the end of his term, he could be convicted, so corrupt and
venal had become the members of the Senate, before whom all such offenders
must be tried. Indeed, Verres himself openly boasted that he intended two
thirds of his gains for his judges and lawyers, while the remaining one
third would satisfy himself.

At length, after Sicily had come to look as though it had been ravaged by
barbarian conquerors, the infamous robber was impeached. The prosecutor
was Marcus Tullius Cicero, the brilliant orator, who was at this time just
rising into prominence at Rome. The storm of indignation raised by the
developments of the trial caused Verres to flee into exile to Massilia,
whither he took with him much of his ill-gotten wealth.

WAR WITH THE MEDITERRANEAN PIRATES (66 B.C.).--The Roman republic was now
threatened by a new danger from the sea. The Mediterranean was swarming
with pirates. Roman conquests in Africa, Spain, and especially in Greece
and Asia Minor, had caused thousands of adventurous spirits from those
maritime countries to flee to their ships, and seek a livelihood by
preying upon the commerce of the seas. The cruelty and extortions of the
Roman governors had also driven large numbers to the same course of life.
These corsairs had banded themselves into a sort of government, and held
possession of numerous strongholds--four hundred, it is said--in Cilicia,
Crete, and other countries. With a full thousand swift ships they scoured
the waters of the Mediterranean, so that no merchantman could spread her
sails in safety. They formed a floating empire, which Michelet calls "a
wandering Carthage, which no one knew where to seize, and which floated
from Spain to Asia."

These buccaneers, the Vikings of the South, made descents upon the coast
everywhere, plundered villas and temples, attacked and captured cities,
and sold the inhabitants as slaves in the various slave-markets of the
Roman world. They carried off merchants and magistrates from the Appian
Way itself, and held them for ransom. At last the grain-ships of Sicily
and Africa were intercepted, and Rome was threatened with the alternative
of starvation or the paying of an enormous ransom.

The Romans now bestirred themselves. Pompey was invested with dictatorial
power for three years over the Mediterranean and all its coasts for fifty
miles inland. An armament of five hundred ships and one hundred thousand
men was intrusted to his command. The great general acted with his
characteristic energy. Within forty days he had swept the pirates from the
Western Mediterranean, and in forty-nine more hunted them from all the
waters east of Italy, captured their strongholds in Cilicia, and settled
the twenty thousand prisoners that fell into his hands in various colonies
in Asia Minor and Greece. Pompey's vigorous and successful conduct of this
campaign against the pirates gained him great honor and reputation.

POMPEY AND THE MITHRIDATIC WAR.--In the very year that Pompey suppressed
the pirates (66 B.C.), he was called to undertake a more difficult task.
Mithridates the Great, led on by his ambition and encouraged by the
discontent created throughout the Eastern provinces by Roman rapacity and
misrule, was again in arms against Rome. He had stirred almost all Asia
Minor to revolt. The management of the war was eventually intrusted to
Pompey, whose success in the war of the pirates had aroused unbounded
enthusiasm for him.

In a great battle in Lesser Armenia, Pompey almost annihilated the army of
Mithridates. The king fled from the field, and, after seeking in vain for
a refuge in Asia Minor, sought an asylum beyond the Caucasus Mountains,
whose bleak barriers interposed their friendly shield between him and his
pursuers. Desisting from the pursuit, Pompey turned south and conquered
Syria, Phoenicia, and Coele-Syria, which countries he erected into a Roman
province. Still pushing southward, the conqueror entered Palestine, and
after a short siege captured Jerusalem (63 B.C.).

[Illustration: MITHRIDATES VI. (The Great) ]

While Pompey was thus engaged, Mithridates was straining every energy to
raise an army among the Scythian tribes with which to carry out a most
daring project. He proposed to cross Europe and fall upon Italy from the
north. A revolt on the part of his son Pharnaces ruined all his plans and
hopes; and the disappointed monarch, to avoid falling into the hands of
the Romans, took his own life (63 B.C.). His death removed one of the most
formidable enemies that Rome had ever encountered. Hamilcar, Hannibal, and
Mithridates were the three great names that the Romans always pronounced
with respect and dread.

POMPEY'S TRIUMPH.--After regulating the affairs of the different states
and provinces in the East, Pompey set out on his return to Rome, where he
enjoyed such a triumph as never before had been seen since Rome had become
a city. The spoils of all the East were borne in the procession; 322
princes walked as captives before the triumphal chariot of the conqueror;
legends upon the banners proclaimed that he had conquered 21 kings,
captured 1000 strongholds, 900 towns, and 800 ships, and subjugated more
than 12,000,000 people; and that he had put into the treasury more than
$25,000,000, besides doubling the regular revenues of the state. He
boasted that three times he had triumphed, and each time for the conquest
of a continent--first for Africa, then for Europe, and now for Asia, which
completed the conquest of the world.

THE CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE.--While the legions were absent from Italy with
Pompey in the East, a most daring conspiracy against the government was
formed at Rome. Catiline, a ruined spendthrift, had gathered a large
company of profligate young nobles, weighed down with debt and desperate
like himself, and had deliberately planned to murder the consuls and the
chief men of the state, and to plunder and burn the capital. The offices
of the new government were to be divided among the conspirators. They
depended upon receiving aid from Africa and Spain, and proposed to invite
to their standard the gladiators in the various schools of Italy, as well
as slaves and criminals. The proscriptions of Sulla were to be renewed,
and all debts were to be cancelled.

Fortunately, all the plans of the conspirators were revealed to the consul
Cicero, the great orator. The Senate immediately clothed the consuls with
dictatorial power with the usual formula, that they should take care that
the republic received no harm. The gladiators were secured; the city walls
were manned; and at every point the capital and state were armed against
the "invisible foe." Then in the Senate-chamber, with Catiline himself
present, Cicero exposed the whole conspiracy in a famous philippic, known
as "The First Oration against Catiline." The senators shrank from the
conspirator, and left the seats about him empty. After a feeble effort to
reply to Cicero, overwhelmed by a sense of his guilt, and the cries of
"traitor" and "parricide" from the senators, Catiline fled from the
chamber, and hurried out of the city to the camp of his followers, in
Etruria. In a desperate battle fought near Pistoria (62 B.C.), he was
slain with many of his followers. His head was borne as a trophy to Rome.
Cicero was hailed as the "Saviour of his Country."

CÆSAR, CRASSUS, AND POMPEY.--Although the conspiracy of Catiline had
failed, it was very easy to foresee that the downfall of the Roman
republic was near at hand. Indeed, from this time on only the name
remains. The basis of the institutions of the republic--the old Roman
virtue, integrity, patriotism, and faith in the gods--was gone, having
been swept away by the tide of luxury, selfishness, and immorality
produced by the long series of foreign conquests and robberies in which
the Roman people had been engaged. The days of liberty at Rome were over.
From this time forward the government was really in the hands of ambitious
and popular leaders, or of corrupt combinations and "rings." Events gather
about a few great names, and the annals of the republic become
biographical rather than historical.

There were now in the state three men--Cæsar, Crassus, and Pompey--who
were destined to shape affairs. Caius Julius Cæsar was born in the year
100 B.C. Although descended from an old patrician family, still his
sympathies, and an early marriage to the daughter of Cinna, one of the
adherents of Marius, led him early to identify himself with the Marian, or
democratic party. In every way Cæsar courted public favor. He lavished
enormous sums upon public games and tables. His debts are said to have
amounted to 25,000,000 sesterces ($1,250,000). His popularity was
unbounded. A successful campaign in Spain had already made known to
himself, as well as to others, his genius as a commander.

Crassus belonged to the senatorial, or aristocratic party. He owed his
influence to his enormous wealth, being one of the richest men in the
Roman world. His property was estimated at 7100 talents (about

With Pompey and his achievements we are already familiar. His influence
throughout the Roman world was great; for, in settling and reorganizing
the many countries he subdued, he had always taken care to reconstruct
them in his own interest, as well as in that of the republic. The offices,
as we have seen, were filled with his friends and adherents (see p. 285).
This patronage had secured for him incalculable authority in the
provinces. His veteran legionaries, too, were naturally devoted to the
general who had led them so often to victory.

THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE.--What is known as the First Triumvirate rested on
the genius of Cæsar, the wealth of Crassus, and the achievements of
Pompey. It was a coalition or private arrangement entered into by these
three men for the purpose of securing to themselves the control of public
affairs. Each pledged himself to work for the interests of the others.
Cæsar was the manager of the "ring," and through the aid of his colleagues
secured the consulship (59 B.C.).

CÆSAR'S CONQUESTS IN GAUL AND BRITAIN.--At the end of his consulship, the
administration of the provinces of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul was
assigned to Cæsar. Already he was revolving in his mind plans for seizing
supreme power. Beyond the Alps the Gallic and Germanic tribes were in
restless movement. He saw there a grand field for military exploits, which
should gain for him such glory and prestige as, in other fields, had been
won and were now enjoyed by Pompey. With this achieved, and with a veteran
army devoted to his interests, he might hope easily to attain that
position at the head of affairs towards which his ambition was urging him.

In the spring of 58 B.C. alarming intelligence from beyond the Alps caused
Cæsar to hasten from Rome into Transalpine Gaul. Now began a series of
eight brilliant campaigns directed against the various tribes of Gaul,
Germany, and Britain. In his _Commentaries_ Cæsar himself has left us
a faithful and graphic account of all the memorable marches, battles, and
sieges that filled the years between 58 and 50 B.C.  The year 55 B.C.
marked two great achievements. Early in the spring of this year Cæsar
constructed a bridge across the Rhine, and led his legions against the
Germans in their native woods and swamps. In the autumn of the same year
he crossed, by means of hastily constructed ships, the channel that
separates the mainland from Britain, and after maintaining a foothold upon
that island for two weeks withdrew his legions into Gaul for the winter.
The following season he made another invasion of Britain; but, after some
encounters with the fierce barbarians, recrossed to the mainland without
having established any permanent garrisons in the island. Almost one
hundred years passed away before the natives of Britain were again
molested by the Romans (see p. 311).

In the year 52 B.C., while Cæsar was absent in Italy, a general revolt
occurred among the Gallic tribes. It was a last desperate struggle for the
recovery of their lost independence. Vercingetorix, chief of the Arverni,
was the leader of the insurrection. For a time it seemed as though the
Romans would be driven from the country. But Cæsar's despatch and military
genius saved the province to the republic.

In his campaigns in Gaul, Cæsar had subjugated three hundred tribes,
captured eight hundred cities, and slain a million of barbarians--one
third of the entire population of the country. Another third he had taken
prisoners. Great enthusiasm was aroused at Rome by these victories. "Let
the Alps now sink," exclaimed Cicero: "the gods raised them to shelter
Italy from the barbarians: they are now no longer needed."

RESULTS OF THE GALLIC WARS.--The most important result of the Gallic wars
of Cæsar was the Romanizing of Gaul. The country was opened to Roman
traders and settlers, who carried with them the language, customs, and
arts of Italy.

Another result of the conquest was the checking of the migratory movements
of the German tribes, which gave Græco-Roman civilization time to become
thoroughly rooted, not only in Gaul, but also in Spain and other lands.

was in the midst of his Transalpine wars, Crassus was leading an army
against the Parthians, hoping to rival there the brilliant conquests of
Cæsar in Gaul. But his army was almost annihilated by the Parthian
cavalry, and he himself was slain (54 B.C.). His captors, so it is said,
poured molten gold down his throat, that he might be sated with the metal
which he had so coveted during life. In the death of Crassus, Cæsar lost
his stanchest friend, one who had never failed him, and whose wealth had
been freely used for his advancement.

The world now belonged to Cæsar and Pompey. That the insatiable ambition
of these two rivals should sooner or later bring them into collision was
inevitable. Their alliance in the triumvirate was simply one of selfish
convenience, not of friendship. While Cæsar was carrying on his campaigns
in Gaul, Pompey was at Rome watching jealously the growing reputation of
his great rival. He strove, by a princely liberality, to win the
affections of the common people. On the Field of Mars he erected an
immense theatre with seats for forty thousand spectators. He gave
magnificent games, and set public tables; and when the interest of the
people in the sports of the Circus flagged, he entertained them with
gladiatorial combats. In a similar manner Cæsar strengthened himself with
the people for the struggle which he plainly foresaw. He sought in every
way to ingratiate himself with the Gauls; increased the pay of his
soldiers; conferred the privileges of Roman citizenship upon the
inhabitants of different cities in his province; and sent to Rome enormous
sums of gold to be expended in the erection of temples, theatres, and
other public structures, and in the celebration of games and shows that
should rival in magnificence those given by Pompey.

The terrible condition of affairs at the capital favored the ambition of
Pompey. So selfish and corrupt were the members of the Senate, so dead to
all virtue and to every sentiment of patriotism were the people, that even
such patriots as Cato and Cicero saw no hope for the maintenance of the
republic. The former favored the appointment of Pompey as sole consul for
one year, which was about the same thing as making him dictator. "It is
better," said Cato, "to choose a master than to wait for the tyrant whom
anarchy will impose upon us." The "tyrant" in his and everybody's mind was

Pompey now broke with Cæsar, and attached himself again to the old
aristocratic party, which he had deserted for the alliance and promises of
the triumvirate. The death at this time of his wife Julia, the daughter of
Cæsar, severed the bonds of relationship at the same moment that those of
ostensible friendship were broken.

The Senate, hostile to Cæsar, now issued a decree that he should resign
his office, and disband his Gallic legions by a stated day. The crisis had
now come. Cæsar ordered his legions to hasten from Gaul into Italy.
Without waiting for their arrival, at the head of a small body of veterans
that he had with him at Ravenna, he crossed the Rubicon, a little stream
that marked the boundary of his province. This was a declaration of war.
As he plunged into the river, he exclaimed, "The die is cast."

THE CIVIL WAR OF CÆSAR AND POMPEY (49-48 B.C.).--The bold movement of
Cæsar produced great consternation at Rome. Realizing the danger of delay,
Cæsar, without waiting for the Gallic legions to join him, marched
southward. One city after another threw open its gates to him; legion
after legion went over to his standard. Pompey and the Senate hastened
from Rome to Brundisium, and thence, with about twenty-five thousand men,
fled across the Adriatic into Greece. Within sixty days Cæsar made himself
undisputed master of all Italy.

Pompey and Cæsar now controlled the Roman world. It was large, but not
large enough for both these ambitious men. As to which was likely to
become sole master, it were difficult for one watching events at that time
to foresee. Cæsar held Italy, Illyricum, and Gaul, with the resources of
his own genius and the idolatrous attachment of his soldiers; Pompey
controlled Spain, Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Greece, and the provinces of
Asia, with the prestige of his great name and the indefinite resources of
the East.

Cæsar's first care was to pacify Italy. His moderation and prudence won
all classes to his side. Many had looked to see the terrible scenes of the
days of Marius and Sulla re-enacted. Cæsar, however, soon gave assurance
that life and property should be held sacred. He needed money; but, to
avoid laying a tax upon the people, he asked for the treasure kept beneath
the Capitol. Legend declared that this gold was the actual ransom-money
which Brennus had demanded of the Romans, and which Camillus had saved by
his timely appearance (see p. 241). It was esteemed sacred, and was never
to be used save in case of another Gallic invasion. When Cæsar attempted
to get possession of the treasure, the tribune Metellus prevented him; but
Cæsar impatiently brushed him aside, saying, "The fear of a Gallic
invasion is over: I have subdued the Gauls."

With order restored in Italy, Cæsar's next movement was to gain control of
the wheat-fields of Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. A single legion brought
over Sardinia without resistance to the side of Cæsar. Cato, the
lieutenant of Pompey, fled from before Curio out of Sicily. In Africa,
however, the lieutenant of Cæsar sustained a severe defeat, and the
Pompeians held their ground there until the close of the war. Cæsar,
meanwhile, had subjugated Spain. In forty days the entire peninsula was
brought under his authority. Massilia had ventured to close her gates
against the conqueror; but a brief siege forced the city to capitulate.
Cæsar was now free to turn his forces against Pompey in the East.

THE BATTLE OF PHARSALUS (48 B.C.).--From Brundisium Cæsar embarked his
legions for Epirus. The armies of the rivals met upon the plains of
Pharsalia, in Thessaly. The adherents of Pompey were so confident of an
easy victory that they were already disputing about the offices at Rome,
and were renting the most eligible houses fronting the public squares of
the capital. The battle was at length joined. It proved Pompey's Waterloo.
His army was cut to pieces. He himself fled from the field, and escaped to
Egypt. Just as he was landing there, he was assassinated.

The head of the great general was severed from his body; and when Cæsar,
who was pressing after Pompey in hot pursuit, landed in Egypt, the bloody
trophy was brought to him. He turned from the sight with generous tears.
It was no longer the head of his rival, but of his old associate and son-
in-law. He ordered the assassins to be executed, and directed that fitting
obsequies should be performed over the body.

CLOSE OF THE CIVIL WAR.--Cæsar was detained at Alexandria nine months in
settling a dispute respecting the throne of Egypt. After a severe contest
he overthrew the reigning Ptolemy, and secured the kingdom to the
celebrated Cleopatra and a younger brother. Intelligence was now brought
from Asia Minor that Pharnaces, son of Mithridates the Great, was inciting
a revolt among the peoples of that region. Cæsar met the Pontic king at
Zela, defeated him, and in five days put an end to the war. His laconic
message to the Senate, announcing his victory, is famous. It ran thus:
_Veni, vidi, vici_,--"I came, I saw, I conquered."

Cæsar now hurried back to Italy, and thence proceeded to Africa, which the
friends of the old republic had made their last chief rallying-place. At
the great battle of Thapsus (46 B.C.) they were crushed. Fifty thousand
lay dead upon the field. Cato, who had been the very life and soul of the
army, refusing to outlive the republic, took his own life.

CÆSAR'S TRIUMPH.--Cæsar was now virtually lord of the Roman world.
Although he refrained from assuming the title of king, no Eastern monarch
was ever possessed of more absolute power, or surrounded by more abject
flatterers and sycophants. He was invested with all the offices and
dignities of the state. The Senate made him perpetual dictator, and
conferred upon him the powers of censor, consul, and tribune, with the
titles of Pontifex Maximus and Imperator (whence Emperor). "He was to sit
in a golden chair in the Senate-house, his image was to be borne in the
procession of the gods, and the seventh month of the year was changed in
his honor from Quintilis to Julius [whence our July]."

His triumph celebrating his many victories far eclipsed in magnificence
anything that Rome had before witnessed. In the procession were led
captive princes from all parts of the world. Beneath his standards marched
soldiers gathered out of almost every country beneath the heavens.
Seventy-five million dollars of treasure were displayed. Splendid games
and tables attested the liberality of the conqueror. Sixty thousand
couches were set for the multitudes. The shows of the theatre and the
combats of the arena followed one another in an endless round. "Above the
combats of the amphitheatre floated for the first time the awning of silk,
the immense velarium of a thousand colors, woven from the rarest and
richest products of the East, to protect the people from the sun"

CÆSAR AS A STATESMAN.--Cæsar was great as a general, yet greater, if
possible, as a statesman. The measures which he instituted evince profound
political sagacity and surprising breadth of view. He sought to reverse
the jealous and narrow policy of Rome in the past, and to this end rebuilt
both Carthage and Corinth, and founded numerous colonies in all the
different provinces, in which he settled about one hundred thousand of the
poorer citizens of the capital. Upon some of the provincials he conferred
full Roman citizenship, and upon others Latin rights (see p. 246, note),
and thus strove to blend the varied peoples and races within the
boundaries of the empire in a real nationality, with community of
interests and sympathies. He reformed the calendar so as to bring the
festivals once more in their proper seasons, and provided against further
confusion by making the year consist of 365 days, with an added day for
every fourth or leap year.

Besides these achievements, Cæsar projected many vast undertakings, which
the abrupt termination of his life prevented his carrying into execution.
Among these was his projected conquest of the Parthians and the Germans.
He proposed, in revenge for the defeat and death of his friend Crassus, to
break to pieces the Parthian empire; then, sweeping with an army around
above the Euxine, to destroy the dreaded hordes of Scythia; and then,
falling upon the German tribes in the rear, to crush their power forever,
and thus relieve the Roman empire of their constant threat. He was about
to set out on the expedition against the Parthians, when he was struck
down by assassins.

THE DEATH OF CÆSAR.--Cæsar had his bitter personal enemies, who never
ceased to plot his downfall. There were, too, sincere lovers of the old
republic, who longed to see restored the liberty which the conqueror had
overthrown. The impression began to prevail that Cæsar was aiming to make
himself king. A crown was several times offered him in public by Mark
Antony; but, seeing the manifest displeasure of the people, he each time
pushed it aside. Yet there is no doubt that secretly he desired it. It was
reported that he proposed to rebuild the walls of Troy, whence the Roman
race had sprung, and make that ancient capital the seat of the new Roman
empire. Others professed to believe that the arts and charms of the
Egyptian Cleopatra, who had borne him a son at Rome, would entice him to
make Alexandria the centre of the proposed kingdom. So many, out of love
for Rome and the old republic, were led to enter into a conspiracy against
the life of Cæsar with those who sought to rid themselves of the dictator
for other and personal reasons.

The Ides (the 15th day) of March, 44 B.C., upon which day the Senate
convened, witnessed the assassination. Seventy or eighty conspirators,
headed by Cassius and Brutus, both of whom had received special favors
from the hands of Cæsar, were concerned in the plot. The soothsayers must
have had some knowledge of the plans of the conspirators, for they had
warned Cæsar to "beware of the Ides of March." On his way to the Senate-
meeting that day, a paper warning him of his danger was thrust into his
hand; but, not suspecting its urgent nature, he did not open it. As he
entered the assembly chamber he observed the astrologer Spurinna, and
remarked carelessly to him, referring to his prediction, "The Ides of
March have come." "Yes," replied Spurinna, "but not gone."

No sooner had Cæsar taken his seat than the conspirators crowded about him
as if to present a petition. Upon a signal from one of their number their
daggers were drawn. For a moment Cæsar defended himself; but seeing
Brutus, upon whom he had lavished gifts and favors, among the
conspirators, he exclaimed reproachfully, _Et tu, Brute!_--"Thou, too,
Brutus!" drew his mantle over his face, and received unresistingly their
further thrusts. Pierced with twenty-three wounds, he sank dead at the
foot of Pompey's statue.

FUNERAL ORATION by MARK ANTONY.--The conspirators, or "liberators," as
they called themselves, had thought that the Senate would confirm, and the
people applaud, their act. But both people and senators, struck with
consternation, were silent. Men's faces grew pale as they recalled the
proscriptions of Sulla, and saw in the assassination of Cæsar the first
act in a similar reign of terror. As the conspirators issued from the
assembly hall, and entered the Forum, holding aloft their bloody daggers,
instead of the expected acclamations they were met by an ominous silence.
The liberators hastened for safety to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus,
going thither ostensibly for the purpose of giving thanks for the death of
the tyrant.

Upon the day set for the funeral ceremonies, Mark Antony, the trusted
friend and secretary of Cæsar, mounted the rostrum in the Forum to deliver
the usual funeral oration. He recounted the great deeds of Cæsar, the
glory he had conferred upon the Roman name, dwelt upon his liberality and
his munificent bequests to the people--even to some who were now his
murderers; and, when he had wrought the feelings of the multitude to the
highest tension, he raised the robe of Cæsar, and showed the rents made by
the daggers of the assassins. Cæsar had always been beloved by the people
and idolized by his soldiers. They were now driven almost to frenzy with
grief and indignation. Seizing weapons and torches, they rushed through
the streets, vowing vengeance upon the conspirators. The liberators,
however, escaped from the fury of the mob, and fled from Rome, Brutus and
Cassius seeking refuge in Greece.

[Illustration: MARK ANTONY.]

THE SECOND TRIUMVIRATE.--Antony had gained possession of the will and
papers of Cæsar, and now, under color of carrying out the testament of the
dictator, according to a decree of the Senate, entered upon a course of
high-handed usurpation. He was aided in his designs by Lepidus, one of
Cæsar's old lieutenants. Very soon he was exercising all the powers of a
real dictator. "The tyrant is dead," said Cicero, "but the tyranny still
lives." This was a bitter commentary upon the words of Brutus, who, as he
drew his dagger from the body of Cæsar, turned to Cicero, and exclaimed,
"Rejoice, O Father of your Country, for Rome is free." Rome could not be
free, the republic could not be reestablished because the old love for
virtue and liberty had died out from among the people--had been
overwhelmed by the rising tide of vice, corruption, sensuality, and
irreligion that had set in upon the capital.

[Illustration: JULIUS CÆSAR. (From a Bust in the Museum of the Louvre.)]

To what length Antony would have gone in his career of usurpation it is
difficult to say, had he not been opposed at this point by Caius Octavius,
the grand-nephew of Julius Cæsar, and the one whom he had named in his
will as his heir and successor. Upon the Senate declaring in favor of
Octavius, civil war immediately broke out between him and Antony and
Lepidus. After several indecisive battles between the forces of the rival
competitors, Octavius proposed to Antony and Lepidus a reconciliation. The
three met on a small island in the Rhenus, a little stream in Northern
Italy, and there formed a league known as the Second Triumvirate (43

The plans of the triumvirs were infamous. They first divided the world
among themselves: Octavius was to have the government of the West; Antony,
that of the East; while to Lepidus fell the control of Africa. A general
proscription, such as had marked the coming to power of Sulla (see p.
283), was then resolved upon. It was agreed that each should give up to
the assassin such friends of his as had incurred the ill will of either of
the other triumvirs. Under this arrangement Octavius gave up his friend
Cicero,--who had incurred the hatred of Antony by opposing his schemes,--
and allowed his name to be put at the head of the list of the proscribed.

The friends of the orator urged him to flee the country. "Let me die,"
said he, "in my fatherland, which I have so often saved!" His attendants
were hurrying him, half unwilling, towards the coast, when his pursuers
came up and despatched him in the litter in which he was being carried.
His head was taken to Rome, and set up in front of the rostrum, "from
which he had so often addressed the people with his eloquent appeals for
liberty." It is told that Fulvia, the wife of Antony, ran her gold bodkin
through the tongue, in revenge for the bitter philippics it had uttered
against her husband. The right hand of the victim--the hand that had
penned the eloquent orations--was nailed to the rostrum.

Cicero was but one victim among many hundreds. All the dreadful scenes of
the days of Sulla were re-enacted. Three hundred senators and two thousand
knights were murdered. The estates of the wealthy were confiscated, and
conferred by the triumvirs upon their friends and favorites.

old republic, and the enemies of the triumvirs, were meanwhile rallying in
the East. Brutus and Cassius were the animating spirits. The Asiatic
provinces were plundered to raise money for the soldiers of the
liberators. Octavius and Antony, as soon as they had disposed of their
enemies in Italy, crossed the Adriatic into Greece, to disperse the forces
of the republicans there. The liberators, advancing to meet them, passed
over the Hellespont into Thrace.

Tradition tells how one night a spectre appeared to Brutus and seemed to
say, "I am thy evil genius; we will meet again at Philippi." At Philippi,
in Thrace, the hostile armies met (42 B.C.). In two successive engagements
the new levies of the liberators were cut to pieces, and both Brutus and
Cassius, believing the cause of the republic forever lost, committed
suicide. It was, indeed, the last effort of the republic. The history of
the events that lie between the action at Philippi and the establishment
of the empire is simply a record of the struggles among the triumvirs for
the possession of the prize of supreme power. After various
redistributions of provinces, Lepidus was at length expelled from the
triumvirate, and then again the Roman world, as in the times of Cæsar and
Pompey, was in the hands of two masters--Antony in the East, and Octavius
in the West.

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.--After the battle of Philippi, Antony went into Asia
for the purpose of settling the affairs of the provinces and vassal states
there. He summoned Cleopatra, the fair queen of Egypt, to meet him at
Tarsus, in Cilicia, there to give account to him for the aid she had
rendered the liberators. She obeyed the summons, relying upon the power of
her charms to appease the anger of the triumvir. She ascended the Cydnus
in a gilded barge, with oars of silver, and sails of purple silk. Beneath
awnings wrought of the richest manufactures of the East, the beautiful
queen, attired to personate Venus, reclined amidst lovely attendants
dressed to represent cupids and nereids. Antony was completely fascinated,
as had been the great Cæsar before him, by the dazzling beauty of the
"Serpent of the Nile." Enslaved by her enchantments, and charmed by her
brilliant wit, in the pleasure of her company he forgot all else--ambition
and honor and country.

Once, indeed, Antony did rouse himself and break away from his enslavement
to lead the Roman legions across the Euphrates against the Parthians. But
the storms of approaching winter, and the incessant attacks of the
Parthian cavalry, at length forced him to make a hurried and disastrous
retreat. He hastened back to Egypt, and sought to forget his shame and
disappointment amidst the revels of the Egyptian court.

THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM (31 B.C.).--Affairs could not long continue in their
present course. Antony had put away his faithful wife Octavia for the
beautiful Cleopatra. It was whispered at Rome, and not without truth, that
he proposed to make Alexandria the capital of the Roman world, and
announce Cæsarion, son of Julius Cæsar and Cleopatra, as heir of the
empire. All Rome was stirred. It was evident that a conflict was at hand
in which the question for decision would be whether the West should rule
the East, or the East rule the West. All eyes were instinctively turned to
Octavius as the defender of Italy, and the supporter of the sovereignty of
the Eternal City. Both parties made the most gigantic preparations.
Octavius met the combined fleets of Antony and Cleopatra just off the
promontory of Actium, on the Grecian coast. While the issue of the battle
that there took place was yet undecided, Cleopatra turned her galley in
flight. The Egyptian ships, to the number of fifty, followed her example.
Antony, as soon as he perceived the withdrawal of Cleopatra, forgot all
else, and followed in her track with a swift galley. Overtaking the
fleeing queen, the infatuated man was received aboard her vessel, and
became her partner in the disgraceful flight.

The abandoned fleet and army surrendered to Octavius. The conqueror was
now sole master of the civilized world. From this decisive battle (31
B.C.) are usually dated the end of the republic and the beginning of the
empire. Some, however, make the establishment of the empire date from the
year 27 B.C., as it was not until then that Octavius was formally invested
with imperial powers.

DEATHS OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.--Octavius pursued Antony to Egypt, where
the latter, deserted by his army, and informed by a messenger from the
false queen that she was dead, committed suicide. Cleopatra then sought to
enslave Octavius with her charms; but, failing in this, and becoming
convinced that he proposed to take her to Rome that she might there grace
his triumph, she took her own life, being in the thirty-eighth year of her
age. Tradition says that she effected her purpose by applying an asp to
her arm. But it is really unknown in what way she killed herself.


(From 31 B.C. to A.D. 180.)

REIGN OF AUGUSTUS CÆSAR (31 B.C. to A.D. 14).--The hundred years of strife
which ended with the battle of Actium left the Roman republic, exhausted
and helpless, in the hands of one wise enough and strong enough to remould
its crumbling fragments in such a manner that the state, which seemed
ready to fall to pieces, might prolong its existence for another five
hundred years. It was a great work thus to create anew, as it were, out of
anarchy and chaos, a political fabric that should exhibit such elements of
perpetuity and strength. "The establishment of the Roman empire," says
Merivale, "was, after all, the greatest political work that any human
being ever wrought. The achievements of Alexander, of Cæsar, of
Charlemagne, of Napoleon, are not to be compared with it for a moment."

The government which Octavius established was a monarchy in fact, but a
republic in form. Mindful of the fate of Julius Cæsar, who fell because he
gave the lovers of the republic reason to think that he coveted the title
of king, Octavius carefully veiled his really absolute sovereignty under
the forms of the old republican state. The Senate still existed; but so
completely subjected were its members to the influence of the conqueror
that the only function it really exercised was the conferring of honors
and titles and abject flatteries upon its master. All the republican
officials remained; but Octavius absorbed and exercised their chief powers
and functions. He had the powers of consul, tribune, censor, and Pontifex
Maximus. All the republican magistrates--the consuls, the tribunes, the
prætors--were elected as usual; but they were simply the nominees and
creatures of the emperor. They were the effigies and figure-heads to
delude the people into believing that the republic still existed. Never
did a people seem more content with the shadow after the loss of the

[Illustration: AUGUSTUS.]

The Senate, acting under the inspiration of Octavius, withheld from him
the title of king, which ever since the expulsion of the Tarquins, five
centuries before this time, had been intolerable to the people; but they
conferred upon him the titles of Imperator and Augustus, the latter having
been hitherto sacred to the gods. The sixth month of the Roman year was
called Augustus (whence our August) in his honor, an act in imitation of
that by which the preceding month had been given the name of Julius in
honor of Julius Cæsar.

The domains over which Augustus held sway were imperial in magnitude. They
stretched from the Atlantic to the Euphrates, and upon the north were
hemmed by the forests of Germany and the bleak steppes of Scythia, and
were bordered on the south by the sands of the African desert and the
dreary wastes of Arabia, which seemed the boundaries set by nature to
dominion in those directions. Within these limits were crowded more than
100,000,000 people, embracing every conceivable condition and variety in
race and culture, from the rough barbarians of Gaul to the refined
voluptuary of the East.

Octavius was the first to moderate the ambition of the Romans, and to
council them not to attempt to conquer any more of the world, but rather
to devote their energies to the work of consolidating the domains already
acquired. He saw the dangers that would attend any further extension of
the boundaries of the state.

The reign of Augustus lasted forty-four years, from 31 B.C. to A.D. 14. It
embraced the most splendid period of the annals of Rome. Under the
patronage of the emperor, and that of his favorite minister Mæcenas, poets
and writers flourished and made this the "golden age" of Latin literature.
During this reign Virgil composed his immortal epic of the _Æneid_,
and Horace his famous odes; while Livy wrote his inimitable history, and
Ovid his _Metamorphoses_. Many who lamented the fall of the republic
sought solace in the pursuit of letters; and in this they were encouraged
by Augustus, as it gave occupation to many restless spirits that would
otherwise have been engaged in political intrigues against his government.

Augustus was also a munificent patron of architecture and art. He adorned
the capital with many splendid structures. Said he proudly, "I found Rome
a city of brick; I left it a city of marble." The population of the city
at this time was probably about one million.

Although the government of Augustus was disturbed by some troubles upon
the frontiers, still never before, perhaps, did the world enjoy so long a
period of general rest from the preparation and turmoil of war. Three
times during this auspicious reign the gates of the Temple of Janus at
Rome, which were open in time of war and closed in time of peace, were
shut. Only twice before during the entire history of the city had they
been closed, so constantly had the Roman people been engaged in war. It
was in the midst of this happy reign, when profound peace prevailed
throughout the civilized world, that Christ was born in Bethlehem of
Judea. The event was unheralded at Rome; yet it was filled with profound
significance, not only for the Roman empire, but for the world.

The latter years of the life of Augustus were clouded both by domestic
bereavement and national disaster. His beloved nephew Marcellus, and his
two grandsons Caius and Lucius, whom he purposed making his heirs, were
all removed by death; and then, far away in the German forest, his general
Varus, who had attempted to rule the freedom-loving Teutons as he had
governed the abject Asiatics of the Eastern provinces, was surprised by
the barbarians, led by their brave chief Hermanu,--Arminius, as called by
the Romans,--and his army destroyed almost to a man (A.D. 9). Twenty
thousand of the legionaries lay dead and unburied in the tangled woods and
morasses of Germany.

The victory of Arminius over the Roman legions was an event of the
greatest significance in the history of European civilization. Germany was
almost overrun by the Roman army. The Teutonic tribes were on the point of
being completely subjugated and Romanized, as had been the Celts of Gaul
before them. Had this occurred, the entire history of Europe would have
been changed; for the Germanic element is the one that has given shape and
color to the important events of the last fifteen hundred years. Those
barbarians, too, were our ancestors. Had Rome succeeded in exterminating
or enslaving them, Britain, as Creasy says, would never have received the
name of England, and the great English nation would never have had an

In the year A.D. 14, Augustus died, having reached the seventy-sixth year
of his age. It was believed that his soul ascended visibly amidst the
flames of the funeral pyre. By decree of the Senate divine worship was
accorded to him, and temples were erected in his honor.

One of the most important of the acts of Augustus, in its influence upon
following events, was the formation of the Prætorian Guard, which was
designed for a sort of body-guard to the emperor. In the succeeding reign
this body of soldiers, about ten thousand in number, was given a permanent
camp alongside the city walls. It soon became a formidable power in the
state, and made and unmade emperors at will.

REIGN OF TIBERIUS (A.D. 14-37).--Tiberius succeeded to an unlimited
sovereignty. The Senate conferred upon him all the titles that had been
worn by Augustus. One of the first acts of Tiberius gave the last blow to
the ancient republican institutions. He took away from the popular
assembly the privilege of electing the consuls and prætors, and bestowed
the same upon the Senate, which, however, must elect from candidates
presented by the emperor. As the Senate was the creation of the emperor,
who as censor made up the list of its members, he was now of course the
source and fountain of all patronage. During the first years of his reign,
Tiberius used his practically unrestrained authority with moderation and
justice, but soon yielding to the promptings of a naturally cruel,
suspicious, and jealous nature, he entered upon a course of the most high-
handed tyranny. He enforced oppressively an old law, known as the _law
of majestas_, which made it a capital offence for any one to speak a
careless word, or even to entertain an unfriendly thought, respecting the
emperor. "It was dangerous to speak, and equally dangerous to keep
silent," says Leighton, "for silence even might be construed into
discontent." Rewards were offered to informers, and hence sprang up a
class of persons called "delators," who acted as spies upon society. Often
false charges were made, to gratify personal enmity; and many, especially
of the wealthy class, were accused and put to death that their property
might be confiscated.

Tiberius appointed, as his chief minister and as commander of the
prætorians, one Sejanus, a man of the lowest and most corrupt life. This
officer actually persuaded Tiberius to retire to the little island of
Capreæ, in the Bay of Naples, and leave to him the management of affairs
at Rome. The emperor built several villas in different parts of the
beautiful islet, and, having gathered a band of congenial companions,
passed in this pleasant retreat the later years of his reign. Both Tacitus
the historian and Suetonius the biographer tell many stories of the
scandalous profligacy of the emperor's life on the island; but these
tales, it should be added, are discredited by some.

Meanwhile, Sejanus was ruling at Rome very much according to his own will.
No man's life was safe. He even grew so bold as to plan the assassination
of the emperor himself. His designs, however, became known to Tiberius;
and the infamous and disloyal minister was arrested and put to death.

After the execution of his minister, Tiberius ruled more despotically than
ever before. Multitudes sought refuge from his tyranny in suicide. Death
at last relieved the world of the monster. His end was probably hastened
by his attendants, who are believed to have smothered him in his bed, as
he lay dying.

It was in the midst of the reign of Tiberius that, in a remote province of
the Roman empire, the Saviour was crucified. Animated by an unparalleled
missionary spirit, His followers traversed the length and breadth of the
empire, preaching everywhere the "glad tidings." Men's loss of faith in
the gods of the old mythologies, the softening and liberalizing influence
of Greek culture, the unification of the whole civilized world under a
single government, the widespread suffering and the inexpressible
weariness of the oppressed and servile classes,--all these things had
prepared the soil for the seed of the new doctrines. In less than three
centuries the Pagan empire had become Christian not only in name, but also
very largely in fact. This conversion of Rome is one of the most important
events in all history. A new element is here introduced into civilization,
an element which we shall find giving color and character to very much of
the story of the eighteen centuries that we have yet to study.

REIGN OF CALIGULA (A.D. 37-41).--Caius Cæsar, better known as Caligula,
was only twenty-five years of age when the death of Tiberius called him to
the throne. His career was very similar to that of Tiberius. After a few
months spent in arduous application to the affairs of the empire, during
which time his many acts of kindness and piety won for him the affections
of all classes, the mind of the young emperor became unsettled, and he
began to indulge in all sorts of insanities. The cruel sports of the
amphitheatre possessed for him a strange fascination. When animals failed,
he ordered spectators to be seized indiscriminately, and thrown to the
beasts. He entered the lists himself, and fought as a gladiator upon the
arena. In a sanguinary mood, he wished that "the people of Rome had but
one neck." As an insult to his nobles, he gave out that he proposed to
make his favorite horse, Incitatus, consul. He declared himself divine,
and removing the heads of Jupiter's statues, put on his own.

After four years the insane career of Caligula was brought to a close by
some of the officers of the prætorian guard, whom he had wantonly

REIGN OF CLAUDIUS (A.D. 4l-54).--The reign of Claudius, Caligula's
successor, was signalized by the conquest of Britain. Nearly a century had
now passed since the invasion of the island by Julius Cæsar, who, as has
been seen (see p. 292), simply made a reconnoissance of the island and
then withdrew. Claudius conquered all the southern portion of the island,
and founded many colonies, which in time became important centres of Roman
trade and culture. The leader of the Britons was Caractacus. He was taken
captive and carried to Rome. Gazing in astonishment upon the magnificence
of the imperial city, he exclaimed, "How can a people possessed of such
splendor at home envy Caractacus his humble cottage in Britain?"

Claudius distinguished his reign by the execution of many important works.
At the mouth of the Tiber he constructed a magnificent harbor, called the
Portus Romanus. The Claudian Aqueduct, which he completed, was a
stupendous work, bringing water to the city from a distance of forty-five

The delight of the people in gladiatorial shows had at this time become
almost an insane frenzy. Claudius determined to give an entertainment that
should render insignificant all similar efforts. Upon a large lake, whose
sloping bank afforded seats for the vast multitudes of spectators, he
exhibited a naval battle, in which two opposing fleets, bearing nineteen
thousand gladiators, fought as though in real battle, till the water was
filled with thousands of bodies, and covered with the fragments of the
broken ships.

Throughout his life Claudius was ruled by intriguing favorites and
unworthy wives. For his fourth wife Claudius married the "wicked
Agrippina," who secured his death by means of a dish of poisoned
mushrooms, in order to make place for the succession of her son Nero.

REIGN OF NERO (A.D. 54-68).--Nero was fortunate in having for his
preceptor the great philosopher and moralist Seneca; but never was teacher
more unfortunate in his pupil. For five years Nero ruled with moderation
and equity. He then broke away from the guidance of his tutor Seneca, and
entered upon a career filled with crimes of almost incredible enormity.
The dagger and poison--the latter a means of murder the use of which at
Rome had become a "fine art," and was in the hands of those who made it a
regular profession--were employed almost unceasingly, to remove persons
that had incurred his hatred, or who possessed wealth that he coveted.

It was in the tenth year of his reign that the so-called Great Fire laid
more than half of Rome in ashes. It was rumored that Nero had ordered the
conflagration to be lighted, and that from the roof of his palace he had
enjoyed the spectacle, and amused himself by singing a poem which he had
written, entitled the "Sack of Troy."

Nero did everything in his power to discredit the rumor. To turn attention
from himself, he accused the Christians of having conspired to destroy the
city, in order to help out their prophecies. The doctrine which was taught
by some of the new sect respecting the second coming of Christ, and the
destruction of the world by fire, lent color to the charge. The
persecution that followed was one of the most cruel recorded in the
history of the Church. Many victims were covered with pitch and burned at
night, to serve as torches in the imperial gardens. Tradition preserves
the names of the Apostles Peter and Paul as victims of this Neronian

As to Rome, the conflagration was a blessing in disguise. The city rose
from its ashes as quickly as Athens from her ruins at the close of the
Persian wars. The new buildings were made fireproof; and the narrow,
crooked streets reappeared as broad and beautiful avenues. A considerable
portion of the burnt region was appropriated by Nero for the buildings and
grounds of an immense palace, called the "Golden House." It covered so
much space that the people "maliciously hinted" that Nero had fired the
old city, in order to make room for it.

The emperor secured money for his enormous expenditures by new extortions,
murders, and confiscations. No one of wealth knew but that his turn might
come next. A conspiracy was formed among the nobles to relieve the state
of the monster. The plot was discovered, and again "the city was filled
with funerals." Lucan the poet, and Seneca, the old preceptor of Nero,
both fell victims to the tyrant's rage.

Nero now made a tour through the East, and there plunged deeper and deeper
into every shame, sensuality, and crime. The tyranny and the disgrace were
no longer endurable. Almost at the same moment the legions in several of
the provinces revolted. The Senate decreed that Nero was a public enemy,
and condemned him to a disgraceful death by scourging, to avoid which he
instructed a slave how to give him a fatal thrust. His last words were,
"What a loss my death will be to art!"

Nero was the sixth and last of the Julian line. The family of the Great
Cæsar was now extinct; but the name remained, and was adopted by all the
succeeding emperors.

GALBA, OTHO, AND VITELLIUS (A.D. 68-69).--These three names are usually
grouped together, as their reigns were all short and uneventful. The
succession, upon the death of Nero and the extinction in him of the Julian
line, was in dispute, and the legions in different quarters supported the
claims of their favorite leaders. One after another the three aspirants
named were killed in bloody struggles for the imperial purple. The last,
Vitellius, was hurled from the throne by the soldiers of Flavius
Vespasian, the old and beloved commander of the legions in Palestine,
which were at this time engaged in a war with the Jews.

REIGN OF VESPASIAN (A.D. 69-79).--The accession of Flavius Vespasian marks
the beginning of a period, embracing three reigns, known as the _Flavian
Age_ (A.D. 69-96). Vespasian's reign was signalized both by important
military achievements abroad and by stupendous public works undertaken at

[Illustration: COIN OF VESPASIAN.]

After one of the most harassing sieges recorded in history, Jerusalem was
taken by Titus, son of Vespasian. The Temple was destroyed, and more than
a million of Jews that were crowded in the city are believed to have
perished. Great multitudes suffered death by crucifixion. The miserable
remnants of the nation were scattered everywhere over the world. Josephus,
the great historian, accompanied the conqueror to Rome. In imitation of
Nebuchadnezzar, Titus robbed the Temple of its sacred utensils, and bore
them away as trophies. Upon the triumphal arch at Rome that bears his name
may be seen at the present day the sculptured representation of the golden
candlestick, which was one of the memorials of the war.

In the opposite corner of the empire a dangerous revolt of the Gauls was
suppressed, and in the island of Britain the Roman commander Agricola
subdued or crowded back the native tribes until he had extended the
frontiers of the empire into what is now Scotland. Then, as a protection
against the incursions of the Caledonians, the ancestors of the Scottish
Highlanders, he constructed a line of fortresses from the Frith of Forth
to the Frith of Clyde.

Vespasian rebuilt the Capitoline temple, which had been burned during the
struggle between his soldiers and the adherents of Vitellius; he
constructed a new forum which bore his own name; and also began the
erection of the celebrated Flavian amphitheatre, which was completed by
his successor. After a most prosperous reign of ten years, Vespasian died
A.D. 79, the first emperor after Augustus that did not meet with a violent

Seven-branched Candlestick and other Trophies from the Temple at

At the last moment he requested his attendants to raise him upon his feet
that he might "die standing," as befitted a Roman emperor.

REIGN OF TITUS (A.D. 79-81).--In a short reign of two years Titus won the
title, the "Delight of Mankind." He was unwearied in acts of benevolence
and in bestowal of favors. Having let a day slip by without some act of
kindness performed, he is said to have exclaimed reproachfully, "I have
lost a day."

Titus completed and dedicated the great Flavian amphitheatre begun by his
father, Vespasian. This vast structure, which accommodated more than
eighty thousand spectators, is better known as the Colosseum--a name given
it either because of its gigantic proportions, or on account of a colossal
statue of Nero which happened to stand near it.

[Illustration: STREET IN POMPEII. (A Reconstruction.)]

The reign of Titus, though so short, was signalized by two great
disasters. The first was a conflagration at Rome, which was almost as
calamitous as the Great Fire in the reign of Nero. The second was the
destruction, by an eruption of Vesuvius, of the Campanian cities of
Pompeii and Herculaneum. The cities were buried beneath showers of
cinders, ashes, and streams of volcanic mud. Pliny the elder, the great
naturalist, venturing too near the mountain to investigate the phenomenon,
lost his life. [Footnote: In the year 1713, sixteen centuries after the
destruction of the cities, the ruins were discovered by some persons
engaged in digging a well, and since then extensive excavations have been
made, which have uncovered a large part of Pompeii, and revealed to us the
streets, homes, theatres, baths, shops, temples, and various monuments of
the ancient city--all of which presents to us a very vivid picture of
Roman life during the imperial period, eighteen hundred years ago.]

DOMITIAN--LAST OF THE TWELVE CÆSARS (A.D. 81-96).--Domitian, the brother
of Titus, was the last of the line of emperors known as "the Twelve
Cæsars." The title, however, was assumed by, and is applied to, all
succeeding emperors; the sole reason that the first twelve princes are
grouped together is because the Roman biographer Suetonius completed the
lives of that number only.

Domitian's reign was an exact contrast to that of his brother Titus. It
was one succession of extravagances, tyrannies, confiscations, and
murders. Under this emperor took place what is known in Church history as
"the second persecution of the Christians." This class, as well as the
Jews, were the special objects of Domitian's hatred, because they refused
to worship the statues of himself which he had set up (see p. 322).

The last of the Twelve Cæsars perished in his own palace, and by the hands
of members of his own household. The Senate ordered his infamous name to
be erased from the public monuments, and to be blotted from the records of
the Roman state.

THE FIVE GOOD EMPERORS: REIGN OF NERVA (A.D. 96-98).--The five emperors--
Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines--that succeeded Domitian
were elected by the Senate, which during this period assumed something of
its former weight and influence in the affairs of the empire. The wise and
beneficent administration of the government by these rulers secured for
them the enviable distinction of being called "the five good emperors."
Nerva died after a short reign of sixteen months, and the sceptre passed
into the stronger hands of the able commander Trajan, whom Nerva had
previously made his associate in the government.

[Illustration: TRAJAN.]

REIGN OF TRAJAN (A.D. 98-117).--Trajan was a native of Spain, and a
soldier by profession and talent. His ambition to achieve military renown
led him to undertake distant and important conquests. It was the policy of
Augustus--a policy adopted by most of his successors--to make the Danube
in Europe and the Euphrates in Asia the limits of the Roman empire in
those respective quarters. But Trajan determined to push the frontiers of
his dominions beyond both these rivers, scorning to permit Nature by these
barriers to mark out the confines of Roman sovereignty.

He crossed the Danube by means of a bridge, the foundations of which may
still be seen, and subjugated the bold and warlike Dacian tribes lying
behind that stream--tribes that had often threatened the peace of the
empire. After celebrating his victories in a magnificent triumph at Rome,
Trajan turned to the East, led his legions across the Euphrates, reduced
Armenia, and wrested from the Parthians most of the territory which
anciently formed the heart of the Assyrian monarchy. To Trajan belongs the
distinction of extending the boundaries of the empire to the most distant
points to which Roman ambition and prowess were ever able to push them.

But Trajan was something besides a soldier. He had a taste for literature:
Juvenal, Plutarch, and the younger Pliny wrote under his patronage; and,
moreover, as is true of almost all great conquerors, he had a perfect
passion for building. Among the great works with which he embellished the
capital was the Trajan Forum. Here he erected the celebrated marble shaft
known as Trajan's column. It is one hundred and forty-seven feet high, and
is wound from base to summit by a spiral band of sculptures, containing
more than twenty-five thousand human figures. The column is nearly as
perfect to-day as when reared eighteen centuries ago. It was intended to
commemorate the Dacian conquests of Trajan; and its pictured sides are the
best, and almost the only, record we now possess of those wars.

[Illustration: BESIEGING A DACIAN CITY. (From Trajan's Column.)]

Respecting the rapid spread of Christianity at this time, the character of
the early professors of the new faith, and the light in which they were
viewed by the rulers of the Roman world, we have very important evidence
in a certain letter written by Pliny the Younger to the emperor in regard
to the Christians of Pontus, in Asia Minor, of which remote province Pliny
was governor. Pliny speaks of the new creed as a "contagious superstition,
that had seized not cities only, but the lesser towns also, and the open
country." Yet he could find no fault in the converts to the new doctrines.
Notwithstanding this, however, because the Christians steadily refused to
sacrifice to the Roman gods, he ordered many to be put to death for their
"inflexible obstinacy."

Trajan died A.D. 117, after a reign of nineteen years, one of the most
prosperous and fortunate that had yet befallen the lot of the Roman

REIGN OF HADRIAN (A.D. 117-138).--Hadrian, a kinsman of Trajan, succeeded
him in the imperial office. He possessed great ability, and displayed
admirable moderation and prudence in the administration of the government.
He gave up the territory conquered by Trajan in the East, and made the
Euphrates once more the boundary of the empire in that quarter. He also
broke down the bridge that Trajan had built over the Danube, and made that
stream the real frontier line, notwithstanding the Roman garrisons were
still maintained in Dacia. Hadrian saw plainly that Rome could not safely
extend any more widely the frontiers of the empire. Indeed, so active and
threatening were the enemies of the empire in the East, and so daring and
numerous had now become its barbarian assailants of the North, that there
was reason for the greatest anxiety lest they should break through even
the old and strong lines of the Danube and the Euphrates, and pour their
devastating hordes over the provinces.

More than fifteen years of his reign were spent by Hadrian in making tours
of inspection through all the different provinces of the empire. He
visited Britain, and secured the Roman possessions there against the Picts
and Scots by erecting a continuous wall across the island. Next he
journeyed through Gaul and Spain, and then visited in different tours all
the remaining countries bordering upon the Mediterranean. He ascended the
Nile, and, traveller-like, carved his name upon the vocal Memnon. The
cities which he visited he decorated with temples, theatres, and other

In the year 131, the Jews in Palestine, who had in a measure recovered
from the blow Titus had given their nation, broke out in desperate revolt,
because of the planting of a Roman colony upon the almost desolate site of
Jerusalem, and the placing of the statue of Jupiter in the Holy Temple.
More than half a million of Jews perished in the useless struggle, and the
survivors were driven into exile--the last dispersion of the race.

The latter years of his reign Hadrian passed at Rome. It was here that
this princely builder erected his most splendid structures. Among these
was the Mole, or Mausoleum, of Hadrian, an immense structure surmounted by
a gilded dome, erected on the banks of the Tiber, and designed as a tomb
for himself.

THE ANTONINES (A.D. 138-180).--Aurelius Antoninus, surnamed Pius, the
adopted son of Hadrian, and his successor, gave the Roman empire an
administration singularly pure and parental. Of him it has been said that
"he was the first, and, saving his colleague and successor Aurelius, the
only one of the emperors who devoted himself to the task of government
with a single view to the happiness of his people." Throughout his long
reign of twenty-three years, the empire was in a state of profound peace.
The attention of the historian is attracted by no striking events, which,
as many have not failed to observe, illustrates admirably the oft-repeated
maxim, "Happy is that people whose annals are brief."

Antoninus, early in his reign, united with himself in the government his
adopted son Marcus Aurelius, and upon the death of the former (A.D. 161)
the latter succeeded quietly to his place and work. His studious habits
won for him the title of "Philosopher." He belonged to the school of the
Stoics, and was a most thoughtful writer. His _Meditations_ breathe the
tenderest sentiments of devotion and benevolence, and make the nearest
approach to the spirit of Christianity of all the writings of Pagan
antiquity. He established an Institution, or Home, for orphan girls; and,
finding the poorer classes throughout Italy burdened by their taxes and
greatly in arrears in paying them, he caused all the tax-claims to be
heaped in the Forum and burned.

The tastes and sympathies of Aurelius would have led him to choose a life
passed in retirement and study at the capital; but hostile movements of
the Parthians, and especially invasions of the barbarians along the
Rhenish and Danubian frontiers, called him from his books, and forced him
to spend most of the latter years of his reign in the camp. The Parthians,
who had violated their treaty with Rome, were chastised by the lieutenants
of the emperor, and Mesopotamia again fell under Roman authority.

This war drew after it a series of terrible calamities. The returning
soldiers brought with them the Asiatic plague, which swept off vast
numbers, especially in Italy, where entire cities and districts were
depopulated. In the general distress and panic, the superstitious people
were led to believe that it was the new sect of Christians that had called
down upon the nation the anger of the gods. Aurelius permitted a fearful
persecution to be instituted against them, during which the famous
Christian fathers and bishops, Justin Martyr and Polycarp, suffered death.

It should be noted that the persecution of the Christians under the Pagan
emperors, sprung from political rather than religious motives, and that
this is why we find the names of the best emperors, as well as those of
the worst, in the list of persecutors. It was believed that the welfare of
the state was bound up with the careful performance of the rites of the
national worship; and hence, while the Roman rulers were usually very
tolerant, allowing all forms of worship among their subjects, still they
required that men of every faith should at least recognize the Roman gods,
and burn incense before their statues. This the Christians steadily
refused to do. Their neglect of the service of the temple, it was
believed, angered the gods, and endangered the safety of the state,
bringing upon it drought, pestilence, and every disaster. This was the
main reason of their persecution by the Pagan emperors.

But pestilence and persecution were both forgotten amidst the imperative
calls for immediate help that now came from the North. The barbarians were
pushing in the Roman outposts, and pouring impetuously over the frontiers.
To the panic of the plague was added this new terror. Aurelius placed
himself at the head of his legions, and hurried beyond the Alps. For many
years, amidst the snows of winter and the heats of summer, he strove to
beat back the assailants of the empire.

The efforts of the devoted Aurelius checked the inroads of the barbarians;
but he could not subdue them, so weakened was the empire by the ravages of
the pestilence, and so exhausted was the treasury from the heavy and
constant drains upon it. At last his weak body gave way beneath the
hardships of his numerous campaigns, and he died in his camp at Vindobona
(now Vienna), in the nineteenth year of his reign (A.D. 180).

The united voice of the Senate and people pronounced him a god, and divine
worship was accorded to his statue. Never was Monarchy so justified of her
children as in the lives and works of the Antonines. As Merivale, in
dwelling upon their virtues, very justly remarks, "the blameless career of
these illustrious princes has furnished the best excuse for Cæsarism in
all after-ages."

(From 31 B.C. to A.D. 180.)

Augustus reigns   . 31 B.C. to A.D. 14
Tiberius .  .  .  .  .  .   A.D. 14-37
Caligula .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  37-41
Claudius .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  41-54
Nero  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  54-68
Galba    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  68-69
Otho  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     69
Vitellius   .  .  .  .  .  .  .     69
Vespasian   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  69-79
Titus    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  79-81
Domitian    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  81-96
Nerva    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  96-98
Trajan   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 98-117
Hadrian  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   117-138
Antoninus Pius .  .  .  .  .   138-161
Marcus Aurelius   .  .  .  .   161-180
Verus associated with Aurelius 161-169

The first eleven, in connection with Julius Cæsar, are called the Twelve
Cæsars. The last five (excluding Verus) are known as the Five Good


(A.D. 180-476.)

REIGN OF COMMODUS (A.D. 180-192).--Under the wise and able administration
of "the five good emperors"--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two
Antonines--the Roman empire reached its culmination in power and
prosperity; and now, under the enfeebling influences of vice and
corruption within, and the heavy blows of the barbarians without, it
begins to decline rapidly to its fall.

[Illustration: COMMODUS (as Hercules).]

Commodus, son of Marcus Aurelius, and the last of the Antonines, was a
most unworthy successor of his illustrious father. For three years,
however, surrounded by the able generals and wise counsellors that the
prudent administration of the preceding emperors had drawn to the head of
affairs, Commodus ruled with fairness and lenity, when an unsuccessful
conspiracy against his life seemed suddenly to kindle all the slumbering
passions of a Nero. He secured the favor of the rabble with the shows of
the amphitheatre, and purchased the support of the prætorians with bribes
and flatteries. Thus he was enabled for ten years to retain the throne,
while perpetrating all manner of cruelties, and staining the imperial
purple with the most detestable debaucheries and crimes.

Commodus had a passion for gladiatorial combats, and attired in a lion's
skin, and armed with the club of Hercules, he valiantly set upon and slew
antagonists arrayed to represent mythological monsters, and armed with
great sponges for rocks. The Senate, so obsequiously servile had that body
become, conferred upon him the title of the Roman Hercules, and also voted
him the additional surnames of Pius and Felix, and even proposed to change
the name of Rome and call it Colonia Commodiana.

The empire was finally relieved of the insane tyrant by some members of
the royal household, who anticipated his designs against themselves by
putting him to death.

"THE BARRACK EMPERORS."--For nearly a century after the death of Commodus
(from A.D. 192 to 284), the emperors were elected by the army, and hence
the rulers for this period have been called "the Barrack Emperors." The
character of the period is revealed by the fact that of the twenty-five
emperors who mounted the throne during this time all except four came to
their deaths by violence. "Civil war, pestilence, bankruptcy, were all
brooding over the empire. The soldiers had forgotten how to fight, the
rulers how to govern." On every side the barbarians were breaking into the
empire to rob, to murder, and to burn.

THE PUBLIC SALE OF THE EMPIRE (A.D. 193).--The beginning of these
troublous times was marked by a shameful proceeding on the part of the
prætorians. Upon the death of Commodus, Pertinax, a distinguished senator,
was placed on the throne; but his efforts to enforce discipline among the
prætorians aroused their anger, and he was slain by them after a short
reign of only three months. These soldiers then gave out notice that they
would sell the empire to the highest bidder. It was, accordingly, set up
for sale at the prætorian camp, and struck off to Didius Julianus, a
wealthy senator, who gave $1000 to each of the 12,000 soldiers at this
time composing the guard. So the price of the empire was about

But these turbulent and insolent soldiers at the capital of the empire
were not to have things entirely their own way. As soon as the news of the
disgraceful transaction reached the legions on the frontiers, they rose as
a single man in indignant revolt. Each of the three armies that held the
Euphrates, the Rhine, and the Danube, proclaimed its favorite commander
emperor. The leader of the Danubian troops was Septimius Severus, a man of
great energy and force of character. He knew that there were other
competitors for the throne, and that the prize would be his who first
seized it. Instantly he set his veterans in motion and was soon at Rome.
The prætorians were no match for the trained legionaries of the frontiers,
and did not even attempt to defend their emperor, who was taken prisoner
and put to death after a reign of sixty-five days.  REIGN OF SEPTIMIUS
SEVERUS (A.D. 193-211).--One of the first acts of Severus was to organize
a new body-guard of 50,000 legionaries, to take the place of the unworthy
prætorians, whom, as a punishment for the insult they had offered to the
Roman state, he disbanded, and banished from the capital, and forbade to
approach within a hundred miles of its walls. He next crushed his two
rival competitors, and was then undisputed master of the empire. He put to
death forty senators for having favored his late rivals, and completely
destroyed the power of their body. Committing to the prefect of the new
prætorian guard the management of affairs at the capital, Severus passed
the greater part of his long and prosperous reign upon the frontiers. At
one time he was chastising the Parthians beyond the Euphrates, and at
another, pushing back the Caledonian tribes from the Hadrian wall in the
opposite corner of his dominions. Finally, in Britain, in his camp at
York, death overtook him.

REIGN OF CARACALLA (A.D. 211-217).--Severus conferred the empire upon his
two sons, Caracalla and Geta. Caracalla murdered his brother, and then
ordered Papinian, the celebrated jurist, to make a public argument in
vindication of the fratricide. When that great lawyer refused, saying that
"it was easier to commit such a crime than to justify it," he put him to
death. Thousands fell victims to his senseless rage. Driven by remorse and
fear, he fled from the capital, and wandered about the most distant
provinces. At Alexandria, on account of some uncomplimentary remarks by
the citizens upon his appearance, he ordered a general massacre. Finally,
after a reign of six years, the monster was slain in a remote corner of

[Illustration: CARACALLA.]

Caracalla's sole political act of real importance was the bestowal of
citizenship upon all the free inhabitants of the empire; and this he did,
not to give them a just privilege, but that he might collect from them
certain special taxes which only Roman citizens had to pay. Before the
reign of Caracalla it was only particular classes of subjects, or the
inhabitants of some particular city or province, that, as a mark of
special favor, had, from time to time, been admitted to the rights of
citizenship (see p. 280). By this wholesale act of Caracalla, the entire
population of the empire was made Roman, at least in name and nominal
privilege. "The city had become the world, or, viewed from the other side,
the world had become the city" (Merivale).

REIGN OF ALEXANDER SEVERUS (A.D. 222-235).--Severus restored the virtues
of the Age of the Antonines. His administration was pure and energetic;
but he strove in vain to resist the corrupt and downward tendencies of the
times. He was assassinated, after a reign of fourteen years, by his
seditious soldiers, who were angered by his efforts to reduce them to
discipline. They invested with the imperial purple an obscure officer
named Maximin, a Thracian peasant, whose sole recommendation for this
dignity was his gigantic stature and his great strength of limbs. Rome had
now sunk to the lowest possible degradation. We may pass rapidly over the
next fifty years of the empire.


THE THIRTY TYRANTS (A.D. 251-268).--Maximin was followed swiftly by
Gordian, Philip, and Decius, and then came what is called the "Age of the
Thirty Tyrants." The imperial sceptre being held by weak emperors, there
sprang up in every part of the empire, competitors for the throne--several
rivals frequently appearing in the field at the same time. The barbarians
pressed upon all the frontiers, and thrust themselves into all the
provinces. The empire seemed on the point of falling to pieces. [Footnote:
It was during this period that the Emperor Valerian (A.D. 253-260), in a
battle with the Persians before Edessa, in Mesopotamia, was defeated and
taken prisoner by Sapor, the Persian king. A large rock tablet (see cut
above), still to be seen near the Persian town of Shiraz, is believed to
commemorate the triumph of Sapor over the unfortunate emperor.] But a
fortunate succession of five good emperors--Claudius, Aurelian, Tacitus,
Probus, and Carus (A.D. 268-284)--restored for a time the ancient
boundaries, and again forced together into some sort of union the
fragments of the shattered state.

THE FALL OF PALMYRA.--The most noted of the usurpers of authority in the
provinces during the period of anarchy of which we have spoken, was
Odenatus, Prince of Palmyra, a city occupying an oasis in the midst of the
Syrian Desert, midway between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates. In
gratitude for the aid he had rendered the Romans against the Parthians,
the Senate had bestowed upon him titles and honors. When the empire began
to show signs of weakness and approaching dissolution, Odenatus conceived
the ambitious project of erecting upon its ruins in the East a great
Palmyrian kingdom. Upon his death, his wife, Zenobia, succeeded to his
authority and to his ambitions. This famous princess claimed descent from
Cleopatra, and it is certain that in the charms of personal beauty she was
the rival of the Egyptian queen. Boldly assuming the title of "Queen of
the East," she bade defiance to the emperor of Rome. Aurelian marched
against her, defeated her armies, and carried her a captive to Italy (273
A.D.). After having been led in golden chains in the triumphal procession
of Aurelian, the queen was given a beautiful villa in the vicinity of
Tibur, where, surrounded by her children, she passed the remainder of her
checkered life.

The ruins of Palmyra are among the most interesting remains of Græco-Roman
civilization in the East.

REIGN OF DIOCLETIAN (A.D. 284-305).--The reign of Diocletian marks an
important era in Roman history. Up to this time the imperial government
had been more or less carefully concealed under the forms and names of the
old republic. The government now became an unveiled and absolute monarchy.
Diocletian's reforms, though radical, were salutary, and infused such
fresh vitality into the frame of the dying state as to give it a new lease
of life for another term of nearly two hundred years.

He determined to divide the numerous and increasing cares of the
distracted empire, so that it might be ruled from two centres--one in the
East and the other in the West. In pursuance of this plan, he chose as a
colleague a companion soldier, Maximian, upon whom he conferred the title
of Augustus. After a few years, finding the cares of the co-sovereignty
still too heavy, each sovereign associated with himself an assistant, who
took the title of Cæsar, and was considered the son and heir of the
emperor. There were thus two Augusti and two Cæsars. Milan, in Italy,
became the capital and residence of Maximian; while Nicomedia, in Asia
Minor, became the seat of the court of Diocletian. The Augusti took charge
of the countries near their respective capitals, while the younger and
more active Cæsars were assigned the government of the more distant and
turbulent provinces.  The vigorous administration of the government in
every quarter of the empire was thus secured. The authority of each of the
rulers was supreme within the territory allotted him; but all acknowledged
Diocletian as "the father and head of the state."

[Illustration: DIOCLETIAN.]

The most serious drawback to the system of government thus instituted was
the heavy expense incident to the maintenance of four courts with their
trains of officers and dependants. The taxes became unendurable, husbandry
ceased, and large masses of the population were reduced almost to

While the changes made in the government have rendered the name of
Diocletian famous in the political history of the Roman state, the cruel
persecutions which he ordered against the Christians have made his name in
an equal degree infamous in ecclesiastical annals; for it was during this
reign that the tenth--the last and severest--of the persecutions of the
Church took place. By an imperial decree the churches of the Christians
were ordered to be torn down, and they themselves were outlawed. For ten
years the fugitives were hunted in forest and cave. The victims were
burned, were cast to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre--were put to
death by every torture and in every mode that ingenious cruelty could
devise. But nothing could shake the constancy of their faith. They courted
the death that secured them, as they firmly believed, immediate entrance
upon an existence of unending happiness. The exhibition of devotion and
constancy shown by the martyrs won multitudes to the persecuted faith.

It was during this and the various other persecutions that vexed the
Church in the second and third centuries that the Christians sought refuge
in the Catacombs, those vast subterranean galleries and chambers under the
city of Rome. Here the Christians lived and buried their dead, and on the
walls of the chambers sketched rude symbols of their hope and faith. It
was in the darkness of these subterranean abodes that Christian art had
its beginnings.

[Illustration: CHRIST AS THE GOOD SHEPHERD. (From the Catacombs.)]

After a prosperous reign of twenty years, becoming weary of the cares of
state, Diocletian abdicated the throne, and forced or induced his
colleague Maximian also to lay down his authority on the same day.
Galerius and Constantius were, by this act, advanced to the purple and
made Augusti; and two new associates were appointed as Cæsars. Diocletian,
having enjoyed the extreme satisfaction of seeing the imperial authority
quietly and successfully transmitted by his system, without the dictation
of the insolent prætorians or the interference of the turbulent
legionaries, now retired to his country-seat at Salona, on the eastern
shore of the Adriatic, and there devoted himself to rural pursuits. It is
related that, when Maximian wrote him urging him to endeavor, with him, to
regain the power they had laid aside, he replied: "Were you but to come to
Salona and see the vegetables which I raise in my garden with my own
hands, you would no longer talk to me of empire."

CHRISTIAN.--Galerius and Constantius had reigned together only one year,
when the latter died at York, in Britain; and his soldiers, disregarding
the rule of succession as determined by the system of Diocletian,
proclaimed his son Constantine emperor. Six competitors for the throne
arose in different quarters. For eighteen years Constantine fought to gain
supremacy. At the end of that time every rival was crushed, and he was the
sole ruler of the Roman world.

Constantine was the first Christian emperor. He was converted to the new
religion--such is the story--by seeing in the heavens, during one of his
campaigns against his rivals, a luminous cross with this inscription:
"With this sign you will conquer." He made the cross the royal standard;
and the Roman legions now for the first time marched beneath the emblem of

By a decree issued from Milan A.D. 313, Christianity was made in effect
the state religion; but all other forms of worship were tolerated. With
the view of harmonizing the different sects that had sprung up among the
Christians, and to settle the controversy between the Arians and the
Athanasians respecting the nature of Christ,--the former denied his
equality with God the Father,--Constantine called the first OEcumenical,
or General Council of the Church, at Nicæa, a town of Asia Minor, A.D.
325. Arianism was denounced, and a formula of Christian faith adopted,
which is known as the Nicene Creed.

After the recognition of Christianity, the most important act of
Constantine was the selection of Byzantium, on the Bosporus, as the new
capital of the empire. One reason which led the emperor to choose this
site in preference to Rome was the ungracious conduct towards him of the
inhabitants of the latter city, because he had abandoned the worship of
the old national deities. But there were political reasons for such a
change. Through the Eastern conquests of Rome, the centre of the
population, wealth, and culture of the empire had shifted eastward. The
West--Gaul, Britain, Spain--was rude and barbarous; the East--Egypt,
Syria, Asia Minor--was the abode of ancient civilizations from which Rome
was proud to trace her origin. Constantine was not the first to entertain
the idea of seeking in the East a new centre for the Roman world. The
Italians were inflamed against the first Cæsar by the report that he
intended to restore Ilium, the cradle of the Roman race, and make that the
capital of the empire.

Constantine organized at Byzantium a new Senate, while that at Rome sank
to the obscure position of the council of a provincial municipality.
Multitudes eagerly thronged to the new capital, and almost in a night the
little colony grew into an imperial city. In honor of the emperor its name
was changed to Constantinople, the "City of Constantine." Hereafter the
eyes of the world were directed towards the Bosporus instead of the Tiber.

To aid in the administration of the government, Constantine laid out the
empire into four great divisions, called prefectures (see map), which were
subdivided into thirteen dioceses, and these again into one hundred and
sixteen provinces.

The character of Constantine has been greatly eulogized by Christian
writers, while pagan historians very naturally painted it in dark colors.
It is probable that he embraced Christianity, not entirely from
conviction, but partly from political motives. As the historian Hodgkin
puts it, "He was half convinced of the truth of Christianity, and wholly
convinced of the policy of embracing it." In any event, Constantine's
religion was a strange mixture of the old and the new faith: on his medals
the Christian cross is held by the pagan deity, Victory. In his domestic
relations he was tyrannical and cruel. He died in the thirty-first year of
his reign, leaving his kingdom to his three sons, Constans, Constantius,
and Constantine.

REIGN OF JULIAN THE APOSTATE (A.D. 361-363).--The parcelling out of the
empire by Constantine among his sons led to strife and wars, which, at the
end of sixteen years, left Constantius master of the whole. He reigned as
sole emperor for about eight years, engaged in ceaseless warfare with
German tribes in the West and with the Persians [Footnote: The great
Parthian empire, which had been such a formidable antagonist of Rome, was,
after an existence of five centuries, overthrown (A.D. 226) by a revolt of
the Persians, and the New Persian, or Sassanian monarchy established. This
empire lasted till the country was overrun by the Saracens in the seventh
century A.D.] in the East. Constantius was followed by his cousin Julian,
who was killed while in pursuit of the troops of Sapor, king of the
Persians (A.D. 363).

Julian is called the Apostate because he abandoned Christianity and
labored to restore the pagan faith. In his persecution of the Christians,
however, he could not resort to the old means--"the sword, the fire, the
lions;" for, under the softening influences of the very faith he sought to
extirpate, the Roman world had already learned a gentleness and humanity
that rendered impossible the renewal of the Neronian and Diocletian
persecutions. Julian's weapons were sophistry and ridicule, in the use of
which he was a master. To degrade the Christians, and place them at a
disadvantage in controversy, he excluded them from the schools of logic
and rhetoric.

Furthermore, to cast discredit upon the predictions of the Scriptures,
Julian determined to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, which the Christians
contended could not be restored because of the prophecies against it. He
actually began excavations, but his workmen were driven in great panic
from the spot by terrific explosions and bursts of flame. The Christians
regarded the occurrence as miraculous; and Julian himself, it is certain,
was so dismayed by it that he desisted from the undertaking. [Footnote:
The explosions which so terrified the workmen of Julian are supposed to
have been caused by accumulations of gases--similar to those that so
frequently occasion accidents in mines--in the subterranean chambers of
the Temple foundations.]

It was in vain that the apostate emperor labored to uproot the new faith;
for the purity of its teachings, the universal and eternal character of
its moral precepts, had given it a name to live. Equally in vain were his
efforts to restore the worship of the old Grecian and Roman divinities.
Polytheism was a transitional form of religious belief which the world had
now outgrown: Great Pan was dead.

The disabilities under which Julian had placed the Christians were removed
by his successor Jovian (A.D. 363-4), and the Christian worship was re-

[Illustration: GERMANS CROSSING THE RHINE. (Drawing by Alphonse de

VALENTINIAN AND VALENS.--Upon the death of Jovian, Valentinian, the
commander of the imperial guard, was elected emperor by a council of the
generals of the army and the ministers of the court. He appointed his
brother Valens as his associate in office, and assigned to him the Eastern
provinces, while reserving for himself the Western. He set up his own
court at Milan, while his brother established his residence at

THE MOVEMENTS OF THE BARBARIANS.--The reigns of Valentinian and Valens
were signalized by threatening movements of the barbarian tribes, that
now, almost at the same moment, began to press with redoubled energy
against all the barriers of the empire. The Alemanni (Germans) crossed the
Rhine--sometimes swarming over the river on the winter's ice--and, before
pursuit could be made, escaped with their booty into the depths of the
German forests. The Saxons, pirates of the northern seas, who issued from
the mouth of the Elbe, ravaged the coasts of Gaul and Britain, even
pushing their light skiffs far up the rivers and creeks of those
countries, and carrying spoils from the inland cities. In Britain, the
Picts broke through the Wall of Antoninus, and wrested almost the entire
island from the hands of the Romans. In Africa, the Moorish and other
tribes, issuing from the ravines of the Atlas Mountains and swarming from
the deserts of the south, threatened to obliterate the last trace of Roman
civilization occupying the narrow belt of fertile territory skirting the

The barbarian tide of invasion seemed thus on the point of overwhelming
the empire in the West; but for twelve years Valentinian defended with
signal ability and energy, not only his own territories, but aided with
arms and counsel his weaker brother Valens in the defence of his. Upon the
death of Valentinian, his son Gratian succeeded to his authority (A.D.

THE GOTHS CROSS THE DANUBE.--The year following the death of Valentinian,
an event of the greatest importance occurred in the East. The Visigoths
(Western Goths) dwelling north of the Lower Danube, who had often in
hostile bands crossed that river to war against the Roman emperors, now
appeared as suppliants in vast multitudes upon its banks. They said that a
terrible race, whom they were powerless to withstand, had invaded their
territories, and spared neither their homes nor their lives. They begged
permission of the Romans to cross the river and settle in Thrace, and
promised, should this request be granted, ever to remain the grateful and
firm allies of the Roman state.

Valens consented to grant their petition on condition that they should
surrender their arms, give up their children as hostages, and all be
baptized in the Christian faith. Their terror and despair led them to
assent to these conditions. So the entire nation, numbering one million
souls,--counting men, women, and children,--were allowed to cross the
river. Several days and nights were consumed in the transport of the vast
multitudes. The writers of the times liken the passage to that of the
Hellespont by the hosts of Xerxes.

The enemy that had so terrified the Goths were the Huns, a monstrous race
of fierce nomadic horsemen, that two centuries and more before the
Christian era were roving the deserts north of the Great Wall of China
(see p. 13). Migrating from that region, they moved slowly to the west,
across the great plains of Central Asia, and, after wandering several
centuries, appeared in Europe. They belonged to a different race (the
Turanian) from all the other European tribes with which we have been so
far concerned. Their features were hideous, their noses being flattened,
and their cheeks gashed, to render their appearance more frightful, as
well as to prevent the growth of a beard. Even the barbarous Goths called
them "barbarians."

Scarcely had the fugitive Visigoths been received within the limits of the
empire before a large company of their kinsmen, the Ostrogoths (Eastern
Goths), also driven from their homes by the same terrible Huns, crowded to
the banks of the Danube, and pleaded that they might be allowed, as their
countrymen had been, to place the river between themselves and their
dreaded enemies. But Valens, becoming alarmed at the presence of so many
barbarians within his dominions, refused their request; whereupon they,
dreading the fierce and implacable foe behind more than the wrath of the
Roman emperor in front, crossed the river with arms in their hands. At
this moment the Visigoths, rising in revolt, joined their kinsmen that
were just now forcing the passage of the Danube, and began to ravage the
Danubian provinces. Valens despatched swift messengers to Gratian in the
West, asking for assistance against the foe he had so imprudently admitted
within the limits of the empire.

THEODOSIUS THE GREAT (A.D. 379-395).--Gratian was hurrying to the help of
his colleague Valens, when news of his defeat and death at the hands of
the barbarians was brought to him, and he at once appointed as his
associate Theodosius, known afterwards as the Great, and entrusted him
with the government of the Eastern provinces. Theodosius, by wise and
vigorous measures, quickly reduced the Goths to submission. Vast
multitudes of the Visigoths were settled upon the waste lands of Thrace,
while the Ostrogoths were scattered in various colonies in different
regions of Asia Minor. The Goths became allies of the Emperor of the East,
and more than 40,000 of these warlike barbarians, who were destined to be
the subverters of the empire, were enlisted in the imperial legions.

While Theodosius was thus composing the East, the West, through the
jealous rivalries of different competitors for the control of the
government, had fallen into great disorder. Theodosius twice interposed to
right affairs, and then took the government into his own hands. For four
months he ruled as sole monarch of the empire.

FINAL DIVISION OF THE EMPIRE (A.D. 395).--The Roman world was now united
for the last time under a single master. Just before his death, Theodosius
divided the empire between his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, assigning
the former, who was only eighteen years of age, the government of the
East, and giving the latter, a mere child of eleven, the sovereignty of
the West. This was the final partition of the Roman empire--the issue of
that growing tendency, which we have observed in its immoderately extended
dominions, to break apart. The separate histories of the East and the West
now begin.

THE EASTERN EMPIRE.--The story of the fortunes of the Empire in the East
need not detain us long at this point of our history. This monarchy lasted
over a thousand years--from the accession to power of Arcadius, A.D. 395,
to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, A.D. 1453. It will thus be
seen that the greater part of its history belongs to the mediæval period.
Up to the time of the overthrow of the Empire in the West, the sovereigns
of the East were engaged almost incessantly in suppressing uprisings of
their Gothic allies or mercenaries, or in repelling invasions of the Huns
and the Vandals. Frequently during this period, in order to save their own
territories, the Eastern emperors, by dishonorable inducements, persuaded
the barbarians to direct their ravaging expeditions against the provinces
of the West.


FIRST INVASION OF ITALY BY ALARIC.--Only a few years had elapsed after the
death of the great Theodosius, before the barbarians were trooping in vast
hordes through all the regions of the West. First, from Thrace and Moesia
came the Visigoths, led by the great Alaric. They poured through the Pass
of Thermopylæ, and devastated almost the entire peninsula of Greece; but,
being driven from that country by Stilicho, the renowned Vandal general of
Honorius, they crossed the Julian Alps, and spread terror throughout all
Italy. Stilicho followed the barbarians cautiously, and, attacking them at
a favorable moment, inflicted a terrible and double defeat upon them at
Pollentia and Verona (A.D. 402-403). The captured camp was found filled
with the spoils of Thebes, Corinth, and Sparta. Gathering the remnants of
his shattered army, Alaric forced his way with difficulty through the
defiles of the Alps, and escaped.

LAST TRIUMPH AT ROME (A.D. 404).--A terrible danger had been averted. All
Italy burst forth in expressions of gratitude and joy. The days of the
Cimbri and Teutones were recalled, and the name of Stilicho was pronounced
with that of Marius. A magnificent triumph at Rome celebrated the victory
and the deliverance. It was the last triumph that Rome ever saw. Three
hundred times--such is asserted to be the number--the Imperial City had
witnessed the triumphal procession of her victorious generals, celebrating
conquests in all quarters of the world.

the last military triumph at Rome also signalizes the last gladiatorial
combat in the Roman amphitheatre. It is to Christianity that the credit of
the suppression of the inhuman exhibitions of the amphitheatre is
entirely, or almost entirely, due. The pagan philosophers usually regarded
them with indifference, often with favor. Thus Pliny commends a friend for
giving a gladiatorial entertainment at the funeral of his wife. And when
the pagan moralists did condemn the spectacles, it was rather for other
reasons than that they regarded them as inhuman and absolutely contrary to
the rules of ethics. They were defended on the ground that they fostered a
martial spirit among the people and inured the soldier to the sights of
the battlefield. Hence gladiatorial games were actually exhibited to the
legions before they set out on their campaigns. Indeed, all classes appear
to have viewed the matter in much the same light, and with exactly the
same absence of moral disapprobation, that we ourselves regard the
slaughter of animals for food.

But the Christian fathers denounced the combats as absolutely immoral, and
labored in every possible way to create a public opinion against them. The
members of their own body who attended the spectacles were excommunicated.
At length, in A.D. 325, the first imperial edict against them was issued
by Constantine. This decree appears to have been very little regarded;
nevertheless, from this time forward the exhibitions were under something
of a ban, until their final abolition was brought about by an incident of
the games that closed the triumph of Honorius. In the midst of the
exhibition a Christian monk, named Telemachus, descending into the arena,
rushed between the combatants, but was instantly killed by a shower of
missiles thrown by the people, who were angered by this interruption of
their sports. But the people soon repented of their act; and Honorius
himself, who was present, was moved by the scene. Christianity had
awakened the conscience and touched the heart of Rome. The martyrdom of
the monk led to an imperial edict "which abolished forever the human
sacrifices of the amphitheatre."

her triumph over the Goths, another and more formidable invasion was
preparing in the North. The tribes beyond the Rhine--the Vandals, the
Suevi, the Burgundians, and other peoples--driven onward by some unknown
cause, poured in impetuous streams from the forests and morasses of
Germany, and bursting the barriers of the Alps, overspread the devoted
plains of Italy. The alarm caused by them among the Italians was even
greater than that inspired by the Gothic invasion; for Alaric was a
Christian, while Radagaisus, the leader of the new hordes, was a
superstitious savage, who paid worship to gods that required the bloody
sacrifice of captive enemies.

By such efforts as Rome put forth in the younger and more vigorous days of
the republic, when Hannibal was at her gates, an army was now equipped and
placed under the command of Stilicho. Meanwhile the barbarians had
advanced as far as Florence, and were now besieging that place. Stilicho
here surrounded the vast host--variously estimated from 200,000 to 400,000
men--and starved them into a surrender. Their chief, Radagaisus, was put
to death, and great multitudes of the barbarians that the sword and famine
had spared were sold as slaves (A.D. 406).

THE RANSOM OF ROME (A.D. 409).--Shortly after the victory of Stilicho over
the German barbarians, he came under the suspicion of the weak and jealous
Honorius, and was executed. Thus fell the great general whose sword and
counsel had twice saved Rome from the barbarians, and who might again have
averted similar dangers that were now at hand. Listening to the rash
counsels of his unworthy advisers, Honorius provoked to revolt the 30,000
Gothic mercenaries in the Roman legions by a massacre of their wives and
children, who were held as hostages in the different cities of Italy. The
Goths beyond the Alps joined with their kinsmen to avenge the perfidious
act. Alaric again crossed the mountains, and pillaging the cities in his
way, led his hosts to the very gates of Rome. Not since the time of the
dread Hannibal (see p. 263)--more than six hundred years before--had Rome
been insulted by the presence of a foreign foe beneath her walls.

The barbarians laying siege to the city, famine soon forced the Romans to
sue for terms of surrender. The ambassadors of the Senate, when they came
before Alaric, began, in lofty language, to warn him not to render the
Romans desperate by hard or dishonorable terms: their fury when driven to
despair, they represented, was terrible, and their number enormous. "The
thicker the grass, the easier to mow it," was Alaric's derisive reply. The
barbarian chieftain at length named the ransom that he would accept, and
spare the city. Small as it comparatively was, the Romans were able to
raise it only by the most extraordinary measures. The images of the gods
were stripped of their ornaments of gold and precious stones, and even the
statues themselves were melted down.

SACK OF ROME BY ALARIC (A.D. 410).--Upon retiring from Rome, Alaric
established his camp in Etruria. Here he was joined by great numbers of
fugitive slaves, and by fresh accessions of barbarians from beyond the
Alps. The Gallic king now demanded for his followers lands of Honorius,
but the emperor treated all the proposals of the barbarian with foolish
insolence. Rome paid the penalty. Alaric turned upon the devoted city,
determined upon its sack and plunder. The barbarians broke into the
capital by night, "and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous
sound of the Gothic trumpet." Precisely eight hundred years had passed
since its sack by the Gauls. During that time the Imperial City had
carried its victorious standards over three continents, and had gathered
within the temples of its gods and the palaces of its nobles the plunder
of the world. Now it was given over for a spoil to the fierce tribes from
beyond the Danube.

Alaric commanded his soldiers to respect the lives of the people, and to
leave untouched the treasures of the Christian temples; but the wealth of
the citizens he encouraged them to make their own. For six days and nights
the rough barbarians trooped through the streets of the city on their
mission of pillage. Their wagons were heaped with the costly furniture,
the rich plate, and the silken garments stripped from the palaces of the
wealthy patricians and the temples of the gods. Amidst the license of the
sack, the barbarian instincts of the robbers broke loose from all
restraint, and the city was everywhere wet with blood, while the nights
were lighted with burning buildings.

EFFECTS OF THE DISASTER UPON PAGANISM.--The overwhelming disaster that had
befallen the Imperial City produced a profound impression upon both Pagans
and Christians throughout the Roman world. The former asserted that these
unutterable calamities had fallen upon the Roman state because of the
abandonment by the people of the worship of the gods of their forefathers,
under whose protection and favor Rome had become the mistress of the
world. The Christians, on the other hand, saw in the fall of the Eternal
City the fulfilment of the prophecies against the Babylon of the
Apocalypse. The latter interpretation of the appalling calamity gained
credit amidst the panic and despair of the times. The temples of the once
popular deities were deserted by their worshippers, who had lost faith in
gods that could neither save themselves nor protect their shrines from
spoliation. "Henceforth," says Merivale, "the power of paganism was
entirely broken, and the indications which occasionally meet us of its
continued existence are rare and trifling. Christianity stepped into its
deserted inheritance. The Christians occupied the temples, transforming
them into churches."

THE DEATH OF ALARIC.--After withdrawing his warriors from Rome, Alaric led
them southward. As they moved slowly on, they piled still higher the
wagons of their long trains with the rich spoils of the cities and villas
of Campania and other districts of Southern Italy. In the villas of the
Roman nobles the rough barbarians spread rare banquets from the stores of
their well-filled cellars, and drank from jewelled cups the famed
Falernian wine.

Alaric led his soldiers to the extreme southern point of Italy, intending
to cross the Straits of Messina into Sicily, and, after subduing that
island, to carry his conquests into the provinces of Africa. His designs
were frustrated by his death, which occurred A.D. 412. With religious care
his followers secured the body of their hero against violation by his
enemies. The little river Busentinus, in Northern Bruttium, was turned
from its course with great labor, and in the bed of the stream was
constructed a tomb, in which was placed the body of the king, with his
jewels and trophies. The river was then restored to its old channel, and,
that the exact spot might never be known, the prisoners who had been
forced to do the work were all put to death.

from Rome and Italy to observe the movement of events in the provinces. In
his efforts to defend Italy, Stilicho had withdrawn the last legion from
Britain, and had drained the camps and fortresses of Gaul. The Wall of
Antoninus was left unmanned; the passages of the Rhine were left
unguarded; and the agitated multitudes of barbarians beyond these defences
were free to pour their innumerable hosts into all the fair provinces of
the empire. Hordes of Suevi, Alani, Vandals, and Burgundians overspread
all the plains and valleys of Gaul. The Vandals pushed on into the south
of Spain, and there occupied a large tract of country, which, in its
present name of Andalusia, preserves the memory of its barbarian settlers.
From these regions they crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, overran the
Roman provinces of Northern Africa, captured Carthage (A.D. 439), and made
that city the seat of the dread empire of the Vandals. The Goths, with
Italy pillaged, recrossed the Alps, and establishing their camps in the
south of Gaul and the north of Spain, set up in those regions what is
known as the Kingdom of the Visigoths.

In Britain, upon the withdrawal of the Roman legions, the Picts breaking
over the Wall of Antoninus, descended upon and pillaged the cities of the
South. The half-Romanized and effeminate provincials--no match for their
hardy kinsmen who had never bowed their necks to the yoke of Rome--were
driven to despair by the ravages of their relentless enemies, and, in
their helplessness, invited to their aid the Angles and Saxons from the
shores of the North Sea. These people came in their rude boats, drove back
the invaders, and, being pleased with the soil and climate of the island,
took possession of the country for themselves, and became the ancestors of
the English people.

INVASION OF THE HUNS: BATTLE OF CHALONS.--The barbarians that were thus
overrunning and parcelling out the inheritance of the dying empire were
now, in turn, pressed upon and terrified by a foe more hideous and
dreadful in their eyes than were they in the sight of the peoples among
whom they had thrust themselves. These were the non-Aryan Huns, of whom we
have already caught a glimpse as they drove the panic-stricken Goths
across the Danube. At this time their leader was Attila, whom the
affrighted inhabitants of Europe called the "Scourge of God." It was
declared that the grass never grew again where once the hoof of Attila's
horse had trod.

Attila defeated the armies of the Eastern emperor, and exacted tribute
from the court of Constantinople. Finally he turned westward, and, at the
head of a host numbering, it is asserted, 700,000 warriors, crossed the
Rhine into Gaul, purposing first to ravage that province, and then to
traverse Italy with fire and sword, in order to destroy the last vestige
of the Roman power.

The Romans and their Gothic conquerors laid aside their animosities, and
made common cause against the common enemy. The Visigoths were rallied by
their king, Theodoric; the Italians, the Franks, the Burgundians, flocked
to the standard of the Roman general Ætius. Attila drew up his mighty
hosts upon the plain of Chalons, in the north of Gaul, and there awaited
the onset of the Romans and their allies. The conflict was long and
terrible. Theodoric was slain; but at last fortune turned against the
barbarians. The loss of the Huns is variously estimated at from 100,000 to
300,000 warriors. Attila succeeded in escaping from the field, and
retreated with his shattered hosts across the Rhine (A.D. 451).

This great victory is placed among the significant events of history; for
it decided that the Christian Germanic races, and not the pagan Scythic
Huns, should inherit the dominions of the expiring Roman Empire, and
control the destinies of Europe.

THE DEATH OF ATTILA.--The year after his defeat at Chalons, Attila again
crossed the Alps, and burned or plundered all the important cities of
Northern Italy. The Veneti fled for safety to the morasses at the head of
the Adriatic (A.D. 452). Upon the islets where they built their rude
dwellings, there grew up in time the city of Venice, the "eldest daughter
of the Roman Empire," the "Carthage of the Middle Ages."

The conqueror threatened Rome; but Leo the Great, bishop of the capital,
went with an embassy to the camp of Attila, and pleaded for the city. He
recalled to the mind of Attila the fact that death had overtaken the
impious Alaric soon after he had given the Imperial City to be sacked, and
warned him not to call down upon himself the like judgment of heaven. To
these admonitions of the Christian bishop was added the persuasion of a
golden bribe from the Emperor Valentinian; and Attila was induced to spare
Southern Italy, and to lead his warriors back beyond the Alps. Shortly
after he had crossed the Danube, he died suddenly in his camp. His
followers gradually withdrew from Europe into the wilds of their native
Scythia, or were absorbed by the peoples they had conquered.

SACK OF ROME BY THE VANDALS (A.D. 455).--Rome had been saved a visitation
from the spoiler of the North, but a new destruction was about to burst
upon it by way of the sea from the South. Africa sent out another enemy
whose greed for plunder proved more fatal to Rome than the eternal hate of
Hannibal. The kings of the Vandal Empire in Northern Africa had acquired
as perfect a supremacy in the Western Mediterranean as Carthage ever
enjoyed in the days of her commercial pride. Vandal corsairs swept the
seas and harassed the coasts of Sicily and Italy, and even plundered the
maritime towns of the Eastern provinces. In the year 455 a Vandal fleet,
led by the dread Genseric, sailed up the Tiber.

Panic seized the people; for the name of Vandal was pronounced with terror
throughout the world. Again the great Leo, who had once before saved his
flock from the fury of an Attila, went forth to intercede in the name of
Christ for the Imperial City. Genseric granted to the pious bishop the
lives of the citizens, but said that the plunder of the capital belonged
to his warriors. For fourteen days and nights the city was given over to
the ruthless barbarians. The ships of the Vandals, which almost hid with
their number the waters of the Tiber, were piled, as had been the wagons
of the Goths before them, with the rich and weighty spoils of the capital.
Palaces were stripped of their ornaments and furniture, and the walls of
the temples denuded of their statues and of the trophies of a hundred
Roman victories. From the Capitoline sanctuary were borne off the golden
candlestick and other sacred articles that Titus had stolen from the
Temple at Jerusalem.

The greed of the barbarians was sated at last, and they were ready to
withdraw. The Vandal fleet sailed for Carthage, bearing, besides the
plunder of the city, more than 30,000 of the inhabitants as slaves.
[Footnote: The fleet was overtaken by a storm and suffered some damage,
but the most precious of the relics it bore escaped harm. "The golden
candlestick reached the African capital, was recovered a century later,
and lodged in Constantinople by Justinian, and by him replaced, from
superstitious motives, in Jerusalem. From that time its history is lost."
--Merivale.] Carthage, through her own barbarian conquerors, was at last
avenged upon her hated rival. The mournful presentiment of Scipio had
fallen true (see p. 271). The cruel fate of Carthage might have been read
again in the pillaged city that the Vandals left behind them.

FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE WEST (A.D. 476).--Only the shadow of the
Empire in the West now remained. All the provinces--Illyricum, Gaul,
Britain, Spain, and Africa--were in the hands of the Goths, the Vandals,
the Franks, the Burgundians, the Angles and Saxons, and various other
intruding tribes. Italy, as well as Rome herself, had become again and
again the spoil of the insatiable barbarians. The story of the twenty
years following the sack of the capital by Genseric affords only a
repetition of the events we have been narrating. During these years
several puppet emperors were set up by the different leaders of the
invading tribes. A final seditious movement placed upon the shadow-throne
a child of six years, named Romulus Augustus. Chiefly because of the
imperial farce he was forced to play, this child-emperor became known as
Augustulus, "the little Augustus." He had reigned only a year, when
Odoacer, the leader of a tribe of German mercenaries, dethroned him, and
abolishing the title of emperor, took upon himself the government of

The Roman Senate now sent an embassy to Constantinople, with the royal
vestments and the insignia of the imperial office, to represent to the
Emperor Zeno that the West was willing to give up its claims to an emperor
of its own, and to request that the German chief, with the title of
"Patrician," might rule Italy as his viceroy. This was granted; and Italy
now became in effect a province of the Empire in the East (A.D. 476). The
Roman Empire in the West had come to an end, after an existence from the
founding of Rome of 1229 years.

[Illustration: THE APPIAN WAY. (From a photograph).]

(A.D. 180-476.)
Commodus  . . . . . . . . . . 180-192
Pertinax  . . . . . . . . . .     193
Didius Julianus . . . . . . .     193
Septimius Severus . . . . . . 193-211
/ Caracalla . . . . . . . . . 211-217
\ Geta  . . . . . . . . . . . 211-213
Macrinus  . . . . . . . . . . 2l7-218
Elagabalus  . . . . . . . . . 218-222
Alexander Severus . . . . . . 222-235
Maximin . . . . . . . . . . . 235-238
Gordian III . . . . . . . . . 238-244
Philip  . . . . . . . . . . . 244-249
Decius  . . . . . . . . . . . 249-251
Period of the Thirty Tyrants. 251-268
Claudius  . . . . . . . . . . 268-270
Aurelian  . . . . . . . . . . 270-275
Tacitus . . . . . . . . . . . 275-276
Probus  . . . . . . . . . . . 276-282
Carus . . . . . . . . . . . . 282-283
/ Carinus . . . . . . . . . . 283-284
\ Numerian  . . . . . . . . . 283-284
/ Diocletian  . . . . . . . . 284-305
\ Maximian  . . . . . . . . . 286-305
/ Constantius I . . . . . . . 305-306
\ Galerius  . . . . . . . . . 305-311
Constantine the Great . . . . 306-337
  Reigns as sole ruler .. . . 323-337
Constantine II . . . . .. . . 337-340
Constans I . . . . . . .. . . 337-350
Constantius II . . . . .. . . 337-361
  Reigns as sole ruler .. . . 350-361
Julian the Apostate . . . . . 361-363
Jovian  . . . . . . . . . . . 363-364
/ Valentinian I . . . . . . . 364-375
\ Valens (in the East). . . . 364-378
Gratian . . . . . . . . . . . 375-383
Maximus . . . . . . . . . . . 383-388
Valentinian II . . . . .. . . 375-392
Eugenius . . . . . . . .. . . 392-394
Theodosius the Great . .. . . 379-395
  Reigns as sole emperor. . . 394-395


(From A.D. 395 to Fall of Rome.)
Arcadius . . . . . . . . . . 395-408
Theodosius II. . . . . . . . 408-450
Marcian  . . . . . . . . . . 450-457
Leo I  . . . . . . . . . . . 457-474
Zeno . . . . . . . . . . . . 474-491

Honorius . . . . . . . . . . 395-423
Valentinian III. . . . . . . 425-455
Maximus  . . . . . . . . . .     455
Avitus . . . . . . . . . . . 455-456
Count Ricimer creates and
  deposes emperors . . . . . 456-472
Romulus Augustus . . . . . . 475-476




Romans was, in the main, an imitation of Greek models. But the Romans were
not mere servile imitators. They not only modified the architectural forms
they borrowed, but they gave their structures a distinct character by the
prominent use of the arch, which the Greek and Oriental builders seldom
employed, though they were acquainted with its properties. By means of it
the Roman builders vaulted the roofs of the largest buildings, carried
stupendous aqueducts across the deepest valleys, and spanned the broadest
streams with bridges that have resisted all the assaults of time and flood
to the present day.

SACRED EDIFICES.--The temples of the Romans were in general so like those
of the Greeks that we need not here take time and space to enter into a
particular description of them. Mention, however, should be made of their
circular vaulted temples, as this was a style of building almost
exclusively Italian. The best representative of this style of sacred
edifices is the Pantheon at Rome, which has come down to our own times in
a state of wonderful preservation. This structure is about 140 feet in
diameter. The great concrete dome which vaults the building, is one of the
boldest pieces of masonry executed by the master-builders of the world.

CIRCUSES, THEATRES, AND AMPHITHEATRES.--The circuses of the Romans were
what we should call race-courses. There were several at Rome, the most
celebrated being the Circus Maximus, which was first laid out in the time
of the Tarquins, and afterwards enlarged as the population of the capital
increased, until it was capable of holding two or three hundred thousand

[Illustration: THE ROMAN FORUM IN 1885]

The Romans borrowed the plan of their theatres from the Greeks; their
amphitheatres, however, were original with them. The Flavian Amphitheatre,
known as the Colosseum, has already come under our notice (see p. 316).
The edifice was 574 feet in its greatest diameter, and was capable of
seating eighty-seven thousand spectators. The ruins of this immense
structure stand to-day as "the embodiment of the power and splendor of the
Roman Empire."

AQUEDUCTS.--The aqueducts of ancient Rome were among the most important of
the utilitarian works of the Romans. The water-system of the capital was
commenced by Appius Claudius (about 313 B.C.), who secured the building of
an aqueduct which led water into the city from the Sabine hills. During
the republic four aqueducts in all were completed; under the emperors the
number was increased to fourteen. [Footnote: Several of these are still in
use.] The longest of these was about fifty-five miles in length. The
aqueducts usually ran beneath the surface, but when a depression was to be
crossed, they were lifted on arches, which sometimes were over one hundred
feet high. These lofty arches running in long broken lines over the plains
beyond the walls of Rome, are the most striking feature of the Campagna at
the present time.

THERMÆ, OR BATHS.--The greatest demand upon the streams of water poured
into Rome by the aqueducts was made by the Thermæ, or baths. Among the
ancients Romans, bathing, regarded at first simply as a troublesome
necessity, became in time a luxurious art. Under the republic, bathing-
houses were erected in considerable numbers. But it was during the
imperial period that those magnificent structures to which the name of
Thermæ properly attaches, were erected. These edifices were among the most
elaborate and expensive of the imperial works. They contained chambers for
cold, hot, tepid, sudatory, and swimming baths; dressing-rooms and
gymnasia; museums and libraries; covered colonnades for lounging and
conversation, extensive grounds filled with statues and traversed by
pleasant walks; and every other adjunct that could add to the sense of
luxury and relaxation. Being intended to exhibit the liberality of their
builders, they were thrown open to the public free of charge.

MEMORIAL ARCHITECTURE.--Among the memorial structures of the Romans, their
triumphal arches are especially characteristic. These were modelled after
the city gates, being constructed with single and with triple archways.
Two of the most noted monuments of this character, and the most
interesting because of their historic connections, are the Arch of Titus
(see p. 315) and the Arch of Constantine, both of which are still
standing. The Arch of Constantine was intended to commemorate the victory
of that emperor over his rival Maxentius, which event established
Christianity as the imperial and favored religion of the empire.

[Illustration: ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.]


Latin literature was almost wholly imitative or borrowed, being a
reproduction of Greek models; still it performed a most important service
for civilization: it was the medium for the dissemination throughout the
world of the rich literary treasures of Greece.

It was the dramatic productions of the Greeks which were first studied and
copied at Rome. Livius Andronicus, Nævius, Ennius, Plautus, and Terence,
all of whom wrote under the republic, are the most noted of the Roman
dramatists. Most of their plays were simply adaptations or translations of
Greek masterpieces.

Lucilius (born 148 B.C.) was one of the greatest of Roman satirists. The
later satirists of the corrupt imperial era were his imitators. Besides
Lucilius, there appeared during the later republican era only two other
poets of distinguished merit, Lucretius and Catullus. Lucretius (95-51
B.C.) was an evolutionist, and in his great poem, _On the Nature of
Things_, we find anticipated many of the conclusions of modern scientists.

POETS OF THE AUGUSTAN AGE.--We have in another place (see p. 307) spoken
of the effects of the fall of the republic upon the development of Latin
literature. Many, who if the republican institutions had continued would
have been absorbed in the affairs of state, were led, by the change of
government, to seek solace for their disappointed hopes, and employment
for their enforced leisure, in the graceful labors of elegant composition.
Four names have cast an unfading lustre over the period covered by the
reign of Augustus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Livy. So distinguished have
these writers rendered the age in which they lived, that any period in a
people's literature marked by unusual literary taste and refinement is
called, in allusion to the Roman era, an _Augustan Age_. Of the three
poets, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid, a word has already been said; of Livy we
shall find place to say something a little later, under the head of the
Roman historians.

SATIRE AND SATIRISTS.--Satire thrives best in the reeking soil and tainted
atmosphere of an age of selfishness, immorality, and vice. Such an age was
that which followed the Augustan era at Rome. The throne was held by such
imperial monsters as Caligula, Nero, and Domitian. The profligacy of
fashionable life at the capital and the various watering-places of the
empire, and the degradation of the court gave venom and point to the
shafts of those who were goaded by the spectacle into attacking the
immoralities and vices which were silently yet rapidly sapping the
foundations of both society and state. Hence arose a succession of writers
whose mastery of sharp and stinging satire has caused their productions to
become the models of all subsequent attempts in the same species of
literature. Two names stand out in special prominence--Persius and
Juvenal, who lived and wrote during the last half of the first and the
beginning of the second century of our era.

ORATORY AMONG THE ROMANS.--"Public oratory," as has been truly said, "is
the child of political freedom, and cannot exist without it." We have seen
this illustrated in the history of republican Athens. Equally well is the
same truth exemplified by the records of the Roman state. All the great
orators of Rome arose under the republic.

Roman oratory was senatorial, popular, or judicial. These different styles
of eloquence were represented by the grave and dignified debates of the
Senate, the impassioned and often noisy and inelegant harangues of the
Forum, and the learned pleadings or ingenious appeals of the courts. Among
the orators of ancient Rome, Hortensius, (114-50 B.C.), an eloquent
advocate, and Cicero (106-43 B.C.) are easily first.

HISTORIANS.--Ancient Rome produced four writers of history whose works
have won for them a permanent fame--Cæsar, Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus. Of
Cæsar and his _Commentaries on the Gallic War_, we have learned in a
previous chapter. His _Commentaries_ will always be mentioned with the
_Anabasis_ of Xenophon, as a model of the narrative style of writing.
Sallust (86-34 B.C.) was the contemporary and friend of Cæsar. The two
works upon which his fame rests are the _Conspiracy of Catiline_ and the
_Jugurthine War_.

Livy (59 B.C.-A.D. 17) was one of the brightest ornaments of the Augustan
age. Herodotus among the ancient, and Macaulay among the modern, writers
of historical narrative, are the names with which his is most frequently
compared. His greatest work is his _Annals_, a history of Rome from
the earliest times to the year 9 B.C. Unfortunately, all save thirty-five
of the books [Footnote: It should be borne in mind that a book in the
ancient sense was simply a roll of manuscript or parchment, and contained
nothing like the amount of matter held by an ordinary modern volume. Thus
Cæsar's _Gallic Wars_, which makes a single volume of moderate size
with us, made eight Roman books.]--the work filled one hundred and forty-
two volumes--perished during the disturbed period that followed the
overthrow of the empire. Many have been the laments over "the lost books
of Livy." As a chronicle of actual events, Livy's history, particularly in
its earlier parts, is very unreliable; however, it is invaluable as an
account of what the Romans themselves believed respecting the origin of
their race, the founding of their city, and the deeds and virtues of their

The most highly prized work of Tacitus is his _Germania_, a treatise
on the manners and customs of the Germans. Tacitus dwells with delight
upon the simple life of the uncivilized Germans, and sets their virtues in
strong contrast with the immoralities of the refined and cultured Romans.

ETHICS, SCIENCE, AND PHILOSOPHY.--Under this head may be grouped the names
of Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus. Seneca (about
A.D. 1-65), moralist and philosopher, has already come to our notice as
the tutor of Nero (see p. 312). He was a disbeliever in the popular
religion of his countrymen, and entertained conceptions of God and his
moral government not very different from the doctrines of Socrates. Pliny
the Elder (A.D. 23-79) is almost the only Roman who won renown as a
naturalist. The only work of his that has been spared to us is his
_Natural History_, a sort of "Roman Encyclopædia," embracing thirty-
seven books.

[Illustration: SENECA.]

Marcus Aurelius the emperor and Epictetus the slave hold prominent places
among the ethical teachers of Rome. Of the emperor as a philosopher we
have already spoken (see p. 321).

Epictetus (b. about 60 A.D.) was for many years a slave at the capital;
but, securing in some way his freedom, he became a teacher of philosophy.
Epictetus and Aurelius were the last eminent representatives and
expositors of the philosophy of Zeno. Christianity, giving a larger place
to the affections than did Stoicism, was already fast winning the hearts
of men.

WRITERS OF THE EARLY LATIN CHURCH.--The Christian authors of the first
three centuries, like the writers of the New Testament, employed the
Greek, that being the language of learning and culture. As the Latin
tongue, however, came into more general use throughout the extended
provinces of the Roman empire, the Christian authors naturally began to
use the same in the composition of their works. Hence, almost all the
writings of the Fathers of the Church, produced during the last two
centuries of the empire, were composed in Latin. Among the many names that
adorn the Church literature of this period may be mentioned Saint Jerome
and Saint Augustine,--the former celebrated for his translation of the
Scriptures into Latin, [Footnote: The _Vulgate_, which is the version
still used in the Roman Catholic Church.] and the latter for his "City of
God." This was truly a wonderful work. It was written just when Rome was
becoming the spoil of the barbarians, and was designed to answer the
charge of the pagans that Christianity, turning the hearts of the people
away from the worship of the ancient gods, was the cause of the calamities
that were befalling the Roman state.

ROMAN LAW AND LAW LITERATURE.--Although the Latin writers in all the
departments of literary effort which we have so far reviewed did much
valuable work, yet the Roman intellect in all these directions was under
Greek guidance. Its work was largely imitative. But in another department
it was different. We mean, of course, the field of legal and political
science. Here the Romans ceased to be pupils, and became teachers.
Nations, like men, have their mission. Rome's mission was to give laws to
the world.

In the year 527 A.D. Justinian became emperor of the Roman empire in the
East. He almost immediately appointed a commission, headed by the great
lawyer Tribonian, to collect and arrange in a systematic manner the
immense mass of Roman laws, and the writings of the jurists. The
undertaking was like that of the Decemvirs in connection with the Twelve
Tables (see p. 236), only far greater. The result of the work of the
commission was what is known as the _Corpus Juris Civilis_, or "Body
of the Civil Law." This consisted of three parts: the _Code_, the
_Pandects_ and the _Institutes_, [Footnote: A later work called the
_Novels_ comprised the laws of Justinian subsequent to the completion of
the _Code_.] The Code was a revised and compressed collection of all the
laws, instructions to judicial officers, and opinions on legal subjects,
promulgated by the different emperors since the time of Hadrian; the
Pandects (all-containing) were a digest or abridgment of the writings,
opinions, and decisions of the most eminent of the old Roman jurists and
lawyers. The Institutes were a condensed edition of the Pandects, and were
intended to form an elementary text-book for the use of students in the
great law-schools of the empire.

The Body of the Roman Law thus preserved and transmitted was the great
contribution of the Latin intellect to civilization. It has exerted a
profound influence upon all the law-systems of Europe. Thus does the once
little Palatine city of the Tiber still rule the world. The religion of
Judea, the arts of Greece, and the laws of Rome are three very real and
potent elements in modern civilization.


EDUCATION.--Roman children were subject in an extraordinary manner to
their father (_paterfamilias_). They were regarded as his property,
and their life and liberty were in general at his absolute disposal. This
power he exercised by usually drowning at birth the deformed or sickly
child. Even the married son remained legally subject to his father, who
could banish him, sell him as a slave, or even put him to death. It should
be said, however, that the right of putting to death was seldom exercised,
and that in the time of the empire the law put some limitations upon it.

The education of the Roman boy differed from that of the Greek youth in
being more practical. The Laws of the Twelve Tables were committed to
memory; and rhetoric and oratory were given special attention, as a
mastery of the art of public speaking was an almost indispensable
acquirement for the Roman citizen who aspired to take a prominent part in
the affairs of state.

After the conquest of Magna Græcia and of Greece, the Romans were brought
into closer relations than had hitherto existed with Greek culture. The
Roman youth were taught the language of Athens, often to the neglect, it
appears, of their native tongue. Young men belonging to families of means,
not unusually went to Greece, just as the graduates of our schools go to
Europe, to finish their education. Many of the most prominent statesmen of
Rome, as for instance Cicero and Julius Cæsar, received the advantages of
this higher training in the schools of Greece.

Somewhere between the age of fourteen and eighteen the boy exchanged his
purple-hemmed toga, or gown, for one of white wool, which was in all
places and at all times the significant badge of Roman citizenship.

SOCIAL POSITION OF WOMEN.--Until after her marriage, the daughter of the
family was kept in almost Oriental seclusion. Marriage gave her a certain
freedom. She might now be present at the races of the circus and the
various shows of the theatre and the arena, a privilege rarely accorded to
her before marriage. In the early virtuous period of the Roman state,
divorce was unusual, but in later and more degenerate times, it became
very common. The husband had the right to divorce his wife for the
slightest cause, or for no cause at all. In this disregard of the sanctity
of the family relation, may doubtless be found one cause of the degeneracy
and failure of the Roman stock.

PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS.--The entertainments of the theatre, the games of the
circus, and the combats of the amphitheatre were the three principal
public amusements of the Romans. These entertainments in general increased
in popularity as liberty declined, the great festive gatherings at the
various places of amusement taking the place of the political assemblies
of the republic. The public exhibitions under the empire were, in a
certain sense, the compensation which the emperors offered the people for
their surrender of the right of participation in public affairs,--and the
people were content to accept the exchange.

Tragedy was never held in high esteem at Rome: the people saw too much
real tragedy in the exhibitions of the amphitheatre to care much for the
make-believe tragedies of the stage. The entertainments of the theatres
usually took the form of comedies, farces, and pantomimes. The last were
particularly popular, both because the vast size of the theatres made it
quite impossible for the actor to make his voice heard throughout the
structure, and for the reason that the language of signs was the only
language that could be readily understood by an audience made up of so
many different nationalities as composed a Roman assemblage.

More important and more popular than the entertainments of the theatre
were the various games, especially the chariot races, of the circus. But
surpassing in their terrible fascination all other public amusements were
the animal-baitings and the gladiatorial combats of the arena.

The beasts required for the baitings were secured in different parts of
the world, and transported to Rome and the other cities of the empire at
an enormous expense. The wildernesses of Northern Europe furnished bears
and wolves; Africa contributed lions, crocodiles, and leopards; Asia
elephants and tigers. These creatures were pitted against one another in
every conceivable way. Often a promiscuous multitude would be turned loose
in the arena at once. But even the terrific scene that then ensued, became
at last too tame to stir the blood of the Roman populace. Hence a new
species of show was introduced, and grew rapidly into favor with the
spectators of the amphitheatre. This was the gladiatorial combat.

THE GLADIATORIAL COMBATS.--Gladiatorial games seem to have had their
origin in Etruria, whence they were brought to Rome. It was a custom among
the early Etruscans to slay prisoners upon the warrior's grave, it being
thought that the spirit of the dead delighted in the blood of such
victims. In time the condemned prisoners were allowed to fight and kill
one another, this being deemed more humane than their cold-blooded
slaughter. Thus it happened that sentiments of humanity gave rise to an
institution which, afterwards perverted, became the most inhuman of any
that ever existed among a civilized people.

The first gladiatorial spectacle at Rome was presented by two sons at the
funeral of their father, in the year 264 B.C. This exhibition was arranged
in one of the forums, as there were at that time no amphitheatres in
existence. From this time the public taste for this species of
entertainment grew rapidly, and by the beginning of the imperial period
had mounted into a perfect passion. It was now no longer the manes of the
dead, but the spirits of the living, that they were intended to appease.
At first the combatants were slaves, captives, or condemned criminals; but
at last knights, senators, and even women descended into the arena.
Training-schools were established at Rome, Capua, Ravenna, and other
cities. Free citizens often sold themselves to the keepers of these
seminaries; and to them flocked desperate men of all classes, and ruined
spendthrifts of the noblest patrician houses. Slaves and criminals were
encouraged to become proficient in this art by the promise of freedom if
they survived the combats beyond a certain number of years.

[Illustration: GLADIATORS. (After an old Mosaic.)]

Sometimes the gladiators fought in pairs; again great companies engaged at
once in the deadly fray. They fought in chariots, on horseback, on foot--
in all the ways that soldiers were accustomed to fight in actual battle.
The contestants were armed with lances, swords, daggers, tridents, and
every manner of weapon. Some were provided with nets and lassos, with
which they entangled their adversaries, and then slew them.

The life of a wounded gladiator was in the hands of the audience. If in
response to his appeal for mercy, which was made by outstretching the
forefinger, the spectators reached out their hands with thumbs turned
down, that indicated that his prayer had been heard and that the sword was
to be sheathed; but if they extended their hands with thumbs turned up,
that was the signal for the victor to complete his work upon his wounded
foe. Sometimes the dying were aroused and forced on to the fight by
burning with a hot iron. The dead bodies were dragged from the arena with
hooks, like the carcasses of animals, and the pools of blood soaked up
with dry sand.

These shows increased to such an extent that they entirely overshadowed
the entertainments of the circus and the theatre. Ambitious officials and
commanders arranged such spectacles in order to curry favor with the
masses; magistrates were expected to give them in connection with the
public festivals; the heads of aspiring families exhibited them "in order
to acquire social position"; wealthy citizens prepared them as an
indispensable feature of a fashionable banquet; the children caught the
spirit of their elders and imitated them in their plays. The demand for
gladiators was met by the training-schools; the managers of these hired
out bands of trained men, that travelled through the country like opera
troupes among us, and gave exhibitions in private houses or in the
provincial amphitheatres.

The rivalries between ambitious leaders during the later years of the
republic tended greatly to increase the number of gladiatorial shows, as
liberality in arranging these spectacles was a sure passport to popular
favor. It was reserved for the emperors, however, to exhibit them on a
truly imperial scale. Titus, upon the dedication of the Flavian
Amphitheatre, provided games, mostly gladiatorial combats, that lasted one
hundred days. Trajan celebrated his victories with shows that continued
still longer, in the progress of which 10,000 gladiators fought upon the
arena, and more than that number of wild beasts were slain. (For the
suppression of the gladiatorial games, see p. 339.)

STATE DISTRIBUTION OF CORN.--The free distribution of corn at Rome has
been characterized as the "leading fact of Roman life." It will be
recalled that this pernicious practice had its beginnings in the
legislation of Caius Gracchus (see p. 276). Just before the establishment
of the empire, over 300,000 Roman citizens were recipients of this state
bounty. In the time of the Antonines the number is asserted to have been
even larger. The corn for this enormous distribution was derived in large
part from a grain tribute exacted of the African and other corn-producing
provinces. The evils that resulted from this misdirected state charity can
hardly be overstated. Idleness and all its accompanying vices were
fostered to such a degree that we probably shall not be wrong in
enumerating the practice as one of the most prominent causes of the
demoralization of society at Rome under the emperors.

SLAVERY.--A still more demoralizing element in Roman life than that of the
state largesses of corn, was the institution of slavery. The number of
slaves in the Roman state under the later republic and the earlier empire
was probably as great or even greater than the number of freemen. The love
of ostentation led to the multiplication of offices in the households of
the wealthy, and the employment of a special slave for every different
kind of work. Thus there was the slave called the _sandalio_, whose
sole duty it was to care for his master's sandals; and another, called the
_nomenclator_, whose exclusive business it was to accompany his master
when he went upon the street, and give him the names of such persons as he
ought to recognize. The price of slaves varied from a few dollars to ten
or twenty thousand dollars,--these last figures being of course
exceptional. Greek slaves were the most valuable, as their lively
intelligence rendered them serviceable in positions calling for special

The slave class was chiefly recruited, as in Greece, by war, and by the
practice of kidnapping. Some of the outlying provinces in Asia and Africa
were almost depopulated by the slave hunters. Delinquent tax payers were
often sold as slaves, and frequently poor persons sold themselves into

Slaves were treated better under the empire than under the later republic
(see p. 273), a change to be attributed doubtless to the softening
influence of the Stoical philosophy and of Christianity. The feeling
entertained towards this unfortunate class in the later republican period
is illustrated by Varro's classification of slaves as "vocal agricultural
implements," and again by Cato the Elder's recommendation that old and
worn-out slaves be sold, as a matter of economy. Sick and hopelessly
infirm slaves were taken to an island in the Tiber and left there to die
of starvation and exposure. In many cases, as a measure of precaution, the
slaves were forced to work in chains, and to sleep in subterranean
prisons. Their bitter hatred towards their masters, engendered by harsh
treatment, is witnessed by the well-known proverb, "As many enemies as
slaves," and by the servile revolts and wars of the republican period. But
from the first century of the empire there is observable a growing
sentiment of humanity towards the bondsman. Imperial edicts take away from
the master the right to kill his slave, or to sell him to the trader in
gladiators, or even to treat him with any undue severity. This marks the
beginning of a slow reform which in the course of ten or twelve centuries
resulted in the complete abolition of slavery in Christian Europe.





DIVISIONS OF THE SUBJECT.--As we have already noted, the fourteen
centuries since the fall of the Roman empire in the West (A.D. 476) are
usually divided into two periods,--the _Middle Ages_, or the period lying
between the fall of Rome and the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492,
and the _Modern Age_, which extends from the latter event to the present
time. The Middle Ages, again, naturally subdivide into two periods,--the
_Dark Ages_, and the _Age of Revival_; while the Modern Age also falls
into two divisions,--the _Era of the Protestant Reformation_, and the _Era
of the Political Revolution_.

embrace the years intervening between the fall of Rome and the opening of
the eleventh century. The period was one of _origins_,--of the beginnings
of peoples and languages and institutions. During this time arose the
Papacy and Feudalism, the two great institutions of the Mediæval Ages.

The _Age of Revival_ begins with the opening of the eleventh century,
and ends with the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492. During all
this time civilization was making slow but sure advances. The last century
of the period, especially, was marked by a great revival of classical
learning (known as the _Renaissance_, or New Birth), by improvements,
inventions, and discoveries, which greatly stirred men's minds, and
awakened them as from a sleep. The Crusades, or Holy Wars, were the most
remarkable undertakings of the age.

The _Era of the Reformation_ embraces the sixteenth century and the
first half of the seventeenth. The period is characterized by the great
religious movement known as the Reformation, and the tremendous struggle
between Catholicism and Protestantism. Almost all the wars of the period
were religious wars. The last great combat was the Thirty Years' War in
Germany, which was closed by the celebrated Peace of Westphalia, in 1648.
After this date the disputes and wars between parties and nations were
political rather than religious in character.

The _Era of the Political Revolution_ extends from the Peace of Westphalia
to the present time. This age is especially marked by the great conflict
between despotic and liberal principles of government, resulting in the
triumph of democratic ideas. The central event of the period is the French

Having now made a general survey of the ground we are to traverse, we must
return to our starting-point,--the fall of Rome.

fifth century befell the Roman empire in the West is sometimes represented
as having destroyed the treasures of the Old World. It was not so. All
that was really valuable in the accumulations of antiquity escaped harm,
and became sooner or later the possession of the succeeding ages. The
catastrophe simply prepared the way for the shifting of the scene of
civilization from the south to the north of Europe, simply transferred at
once political power, and gradually social and intellectual preeminence,
from one branch of the Aryan family to another,--from the Græco-Italic to
the Teutonic.

The event was not an unrelieved calamity, because, fortunately, the floods
that seemed to be sweeping so much away were not the mountain torrent,
which covers fruitful fields with worthless drift, but the overflowing
Nile with its rich deposits. Over all the regions covered by the barbarian
inundation a new stratum of population was deposited, a new soil formed
that was capable of nourishing a better civilization than any the world
had yet seen.

THE THREE ELEMENTS OF CIVILIZATION.--We must now notice what survived the
catastrophe of the fifth century, what it was that Rome transmitted to the
new rulers of the world, the Teutonic race. This renders necessary an
analysis of the elements of civilization.

Modern civilization is the result of the blending of three historic
elements,--the _Classical_, the _Hebrew_, and the _Teutonic_.

By the classical element in civilization is meant that whole body of arts,
sciences, literatures, laws, manners, ideas, and social arrangements,--
everything, in a word, save Christianity, that Greece and Rome gave to
mediæval and modern Europe. Taken together, these things constituted a
valuable gift to the new northern race that was henceforth to represent

By the Hebrew element in history is meant Christianity. This has been the
most potent factor in modern civilization. It has so colored the whole
life, and so moulded all the institutions of the European people that
their history is very largely a story of the fortunes and influences of
this religion, which, first going forth from Judea, was given to the
younger world by the missionaries of Rome.

By the Teutonic element in history is meant of course the Germanic race.
The Teutons were poor in those things in which the Romans were rich. They
had neither arts, nor sciences, nor philosophies, nor literatures. But
they had something better than all these; they had personal worth. Three
prominent traits of theirs we must especially notice; namely, their
capacity for civilization, their love of personal freedom, and their
reverence for womanhood.

The Teutons fortunately belonged to a progressive family of peoples. As
Kingsley puts it, they came of a royal race. They were Aryans. It was
their boundless capacity for growth, for culture, for civilization, which
saved the countries of the West from the sterility and barbarism reserved
for those of the East that were destined to be taken possession of by the
Turanian Turks.

The Teutons loved personal freedom. They never called any man master, but
followed their chosen leader as companions and equals. They could not even
bear to have the houses of their villages set close together. And again we
see the same independent spirit expressed in their assemblies of freemen,
in which meetings, all matters of public interest were debated and
decided. In this trait of the Teutonic disposition lay the germ of
representative government and of Protestant, or Teutonic Christianity.

A feeling of respect for woman characterized all the northern, or Teutonic
peoples. Tacitus says of the Germans that they deemed something sacred to
reside in woman's nature. This sentiment guarded the purity and sanctity
of the home. In their high estimation of the sacredness of the family
relation, the barbarians stood in marked contrast with the later Romans.
Our own sacred word _home_, as well as all that it represents, comes
from our Teutonic ancestors.

CELTS, SLAVONIANS, AND OTHER PEOPLES.--Having noticed the Romans and
Teutons, the two most prominent peoples that present themselves to us at
the time of the downfall of Rome, if we now name the Celts, the
Slavonians, the Persians, the Arabians, and the Turanian tribes of Asia,
we shall have under view the chief actors in the drama of mediæval and
modern history.

At the commencement of the mediæval era the Celts were in front of the
Teutons, clinging to the western edge of the European continent, and
engaged in a bitter contest with these latter peoples, which, in the
antagonism of England and Ireland, was destined to extend itself to our
own day.

The Slavonians were in the rear of the Teutonic tribes, pressing them on
even as the Celts in front were struggling to resist their advance. These
peoples, progressing but little beyond the pastoral state before the
Modern Age, will play only an obscure part in the events of the mediæval
era, but in the course of the modern period will assume a most commanding
position among the European nations.

The Persians were in their old seat beyond the Euphrates, maintaining
there what is called the New Persian Empire, the kings of which, until the
rise of the Saracens in the seventh century, were the most formidable
rivals of the emperors of Constantinople.

The Arabians were hidden in their deserts; but in the seventh century we
shall see them, animated by a wonderful religious fanaticism, issue from
their peninsula and begin a contest with the Christian nations of the East
and the West which, in its varying phases, was destined to fill a large
part of the mediæval period.

The Tartar tribes were buried in Central Asia. They will appear late in
the eleventh century, proselytes for the most part of Mohammedanism; and,
as the religious ardor of the Semitic Arabians grows cool, we shall see
the Crescent upheld by these zealous converts of another race, and
finally, in the fifteenth century, placed by the Turks upon the dome of
St. Sophia in Constantinople.

As the Middle Ages draw to a close, the remote nations of Eastern Asia
will gradually come within our circle of vision; and, as the Modern Age
dawns, we shall catch a glimpse of new continents and strange races of men
beyond the Atlantic.





INTRODUCTORY.--In connection with the history of the break-up of the Roman
empire in the West, we have already given some account of the migrations
and settlements of the German tribes. In the present chapter we shall
relate briefly the political fortunes, for the two centuries following the
fall of Rome, of the principal kingdoms set up by the German chieftains in
the different provinces of the old empire.

KINGDOM OF THE OSTROGOTHS (A.D. 493-554).--Odoacer will be recalled as the
barbarian chief who dethroned the last of the Western Roman emperors (see
p. 348). His feeble government in Italy lasted only seventeen years, when
it was brought to a close by the invasion of the Ostrogoths (Eastern
Goths) under Theodoric, the greatest of their chiefs, who set up in Italy
a new dominion, known as the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths.

The reign of Theodoric covered thirty-three years--years of such quiet and
prosperity as Italy had not known since the happy era of the Antonines.
The king made good his promise that his reign should be such that "the
only regret of the people should be that the Goths had not come at an
earlier period."

The kingdom established by the rare abilities of Theodoric lasted only
twenty-seven years after his death, which occurred A.D. 527. Justinian,
emperor of the East, taking advantage of that event, sent his generals,
first Belisarius and afterwards Narses, to deliver Italy from the rule of
the barbarians. The last of the Ostrogothic kings fell in battle, and
Italy, with her fields ravaged and her cities in ruins, was reunited to
the empire (A.D. 554).

KINGDOM OF THE VISIGOTHS (A.D. 415-711).--The Visigoths (Western Goths)
were already in possession of Spain and Southern Gaul at the time of the
fall of Rome. Being driven south of the Pyrenees by Clovis, king of the
Franks, they held possession of Spain until the beginning of the eighth
century, when the Saracens crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, destroyed the
kingdom of Roderick, the last of the Gothic kings, and established
throughout the country the authority of the Koran (A.D. 711). The
Visigothic empire when thus overturned had lasted nearly three hundred
years. During this time the conquerors had mingled with the old Romanized
inhabitants of Spain, so that in the veins of the Spaniard of to-day is
blended the blood of Iberian, Celt, Roman, and Teuton, together with that
of the last comers, the Moors.

KINGDOM OF THE BURGUNDIANS (A.D. 443-534).--The Burgundians, who were near
kinsmen of the Goths, built up a kingdom in Southeastern Gaul. A portion
of this ancient domain still retains, from these German settlers, the name
of "Burgundy." The Burgundians soon came in collision with the Franks on
the north, and were reduced by the Frankish kings to a state of

KINGDOM OF THE VANDALS (A.D. 429-533).--We have already spoken of the
establishment in North Africa of the kingdom of the Vandals, and told how,
under the lead of their king Genseric, they bore in triumph down the Tiber
the heavy spoils of Rome. (see p. 346).

Being Arian Christians, the Vandals persecuted with furious zeal the
orthodox party, the followers of Athanasius. Moved by the entreaties of
the African Catholics, the Emperor Justinian sent his general Belisarius
to drive the barbarians from Africa, and to restore that province to the
bosom of the true Catholic Church. The expedition was successful, and
Carthage and the fruitful fields of Africa were restored to the empire,
after having suffered the insolence of the barbarian conquerors for the
space of one hundred years. The Vandals remaining in the country were
gradually absorbed by the old Roman population, and after a few
generations no certain trace of the barbarian invaders could be detected
in the physical appearance, the language, or the customs of the
inhabitants of the African coast. The Vandal nation had disappeared; the
name alone remained.

[Illustration: CLOVIS AND THE VASE OF SOISSONS (After a drawing by
Alphonse de Neuville.) [Footnote: The story of the Vase of Soissons
illustrates at once the customs of the Franks and the power and personal
character of their leader Clovis. Upon the division at Soissons of some
spoils, Clovis asked his followers to set aside a rule whereby they
divided the booty by lot, and to let him have a certain beautiful vase.
One of his followers objected, and broke the vase to pieces with his
battle-axe. Clovis concealed his anger at the time, but some time
afterwards, when reviewing his troops, he approached the man who had
offended him, and chiding him for not keeping his arms bright, cleft his
head with a battle-axe, at the same time exclaiming, "Thus didst thou to
the vase of Soissons."]]

THE FRANKS UNDER THE MEROVINGIANS (A.D. 482-752).--The Franks, who were
destined to give a new name to Gaul and form the nucleus of the French
nation, made their first settlement west of the Rhine about two hundred
years before the fall of Rome. The name was the common designation of a
number of Teutonic tribes that had formed a confederation while dwelling
beyond the Rhine. The Salian Franks were the leading tribe of the league,
and it was from the members of their most powerful family, who traced
their descent from Merovæus, a legendary sea-king of the Franks, that
leaders were chosen by the free vote of all the warriors.

After the downfall of Rome, Clovis, then chief of the Franks, conceived
the ambition of erecting a kingdom upon the ruins of the Roman power. He
attacked Syagrius, the Roman governor of Gaul, and at Soissons gained a
decisive victory over his forces (A.D. 486). Thus was destroyed forever in
Gaul that Roman authority established among its barbarous tribes more than
five centuries before by the conquests of Julius Cæsar.

During his reign, Clovis extended his authority over the greater part of
Gaul, reducing to the condition of tributaries the various Teutonic tribes
that had taken possession of different portions of the country. About a
century and a half of discord followed his energetic rule, by the end of
which time the princes of the house of Merovæus had become so feeble and
inefficient that they were contemptuously called "do-nothings," and an
ambitious officer of the crown, who bore the title of Mayor of the Palace,
pushed aside his imbecile master, and gave to the Frankish monarchy a new
royal line,--the Carolingian (see p. 404).

KINGDOM OF THE LOMBARDS (A.D. 568-774).--The circumstances attending the
establishment of the Lombards in Italy were very like those marking the
settlement of the Ostrogoths. The Lombards (Langobardi), so called either
from their long beards, or their long battle-axes, came from the region of
the Upper Danube. In just such a march as the Ostrogoths had made nearly a
century before, the Lombard nation crossed the Alps and descended upon the
plains of Italy. After many years of desperate fighting, they wrested from
the empire [Footnote: Italy, it will be borne in mind, had but recently
been delivered from the hands of the Ostrogoths by the lieutenants of the
Eastern emperor (see p. 372).] all the peninsula save some of the great
cities, and set up in the country a monarchy which lasted almost exactly
two centuries.

The rule of the Lombard princes was brought to an end by Charlemagne, the
greatest of the Frankish rulers (see p. 405); but the blood of the
invaders had by this time become intermingled with that of the former
subjects of the Roman empire, so that throughout all that part of the
peninsula which is still called Lombardy after them, the people at the
present day reveal, in the light hair and fair features which distinguish
them from the inhabitants of Southern Italy, their partly German origin.

THE ANGLO-SAXONS IN BRITAIN.--We have already seen how in the time of
Rome's distress the Angles and Saxons secured a foothold in Britain (see
p. 344). The advance of the invaders here was stubbornly resisted by the
half-Romanized Celts of the island. At the end of a century and a half of
fighting, the German tribes had gained possession of only the eastern half
of what is now England. On the conquered soil they set up eight or nine,
or perhaps more, petty kingdoms. For the space of two hundred years there
was an almost perpetual strife among these states for supremacy. Finally
Egbert, king of the West Saxons, brought all the other states into a
subject or tributary condition, and became the first king of the English,
and the founder of the long line of Saxon monarchs (A.D. 827).

TEUTONIC TRIBES OUTSIDE THE EMPIRE.--We have now spoken of the most
important of the Teutonic tribes that forced themselves within the limits
of the Roman empire in the West, and that there, upon the ruins of the
civilization they had overthrown, laid or helped to lay the foundations of
the modern nations of Italy, Spain, France, and England. Beyond the
boundaries of the old empire were still other tribes and clans of this
same mighty family of nations,--tribes and clans that were destined to
play great parts in European history.

On the east, beyond the Rhine, were the ancestors of the modern Germans.
Notwithstanding the immense hosts that the forests and morasses of Germany
had poured into the Roman provinces, the Father-land, in the sixth century
of our era, seemed still as crowded as before the great migration began.
These tribes were yet savages in manners and for the most part pagans in

In the northwest of Europe were the Scandinavians, the ancestors of the
modern Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians. They were as yet untouched either by
the civilization or the religion of Rome. We shall scarcely get a glimpse
of them before the ninth century, when they will appear as the Northmen,
the dreaded corsairs of the northern seas.



INTRODUCTORY.--The most important event in the history of the tribes that
took possession of the Roman empire in the West was their conversion to
Christianity. Many of the barbarians were converted before or soon after
their entrance into the empire; to this circumstance the Roman provinces
owed their immunity from the excessive cruelties which pagan barbarians
seldom fail to inflict upon a subjected enemy. Alaric left untouched the
treasures of the churches of the Roman Christians, because his own faith
was also Christian (see p. 342). For like reason the Vandal king Genseric
yielded to the prayers of Pope Leo the Great, and promised to leave to the
inhabitants of the Imperial City their lives (see p. 346). The more
tolerable fate of Italy, Spain, and Gaul, as compared with the hard fate
of Britain, is owing, in part at least, to the fact that the tribes which
overran those countries had become, in the main, converts to Christianity
before they crossed the boundaries of the empire, while the Saxons, when
they entered Britain, were still untamed pagans.

Christianity among the barbarians beyond the limits of the empire were won
from among the Goths. Foremost of the apostles that arose among them was
Ulfilas, who translated the Scriptures into the Gothic language, omitting
from his version, however, "the Book of Kings," as he feared that the
stirring recital of wars and battles in that portion of the Word might
kindle into too fierce a flame the martial ardor of his new converts.

When the Visigoths, distressed by the Huns, besought the Eastern Emperor
Valens for permission to cross the Danube, one of the conditions imposed
upon them was that they should all be baptized in the Christian faith (see
p. 336). This seems to have crowned the work that had been going on among
them for some time, and thereafter they were called Christians.

What happened to the Goths happened also to most of the barbarian tribes
that participated in the overthrow of the Roman empire in the West. By the
time of the fall of Rome, the Goths, the Vandals, the Suevi, the
Burgundians, had all become proselytes to Christianity. The greater part
of them, however, professed the Arian creed, which had been condemned by
the great council of the church held at Nicæa during the reign of
Constantine the Great (see p. 332). Hence they were regarded as heretics
by the Roman Church, and all had to be reconverted to the orthodox creed,
which was gradually effected.

The remaining Teutonic tribes of whose conversion we shall speak,--the
Franks, the Anglo Saxons, the Scandinavians, and the chief tribes of
Germany,--embraced at the outset the Catholic faith.

CONVERSION OF THE FRANKS.--The Franks, when they entered the empire, like
the Angles and Saxons when they landed in Britain, were still pagans.
Christianity gained way very slowly among them until a supposed
interposition by the Christian God in their behalf led the king and nation
to adopt the new religion in place of their old faith. The circumstances
were these. In the year 496 of our era, the Alemanni crossed the Rhine and
fell upon the Franks. A desperate battle ensued. In the midst of it,
Clovis, falling upon his knees, called upon the God of the Christians, and
solemnly vowed that if He would give victory to his arms, he would become
his faithful follower. The battle turned in favor of the Franks, and
Clovis, faithful to his vow, was baptized, and with him several thousand
of his warriors. This incident illustrates how the very superstitions of
the barbarians, their belief in omens and divine interpositions,
contributed to their conversion.

Pope Gregory I. sent the monk Augustine with a band of forty companions to
teach the Christian faith in Britain. Gregory had become interested in the
inhabitants of that remote region in the following way. One day, some
years before his elevation to the papal chair, he was passing through the
slave-market at Rome, and noticed there some English captives, whose fair
features awakened his curiosity respecting them. Inquiring of what nation
they were, he was told that they were called Angles. "Right," said he,
"for they have an angelic face, and it becomes such to become co-heirs
with the angels in heaven." A little while afterwards he was elected Pope,
and still mindful of the incident of the slave-market, he sent to the
Angles the embassy to which we have alluded.

The monks were favorably received by the English, who listened attentively
to the story the strangers had come to tell them, and being persuaded that
the tidings were true, they burned the temples of Woden and Thor, and were
in large numbers baptized in the Christian faith.

THE CELTIC CHURCH.--It here becomes necessary for us to say a word
respecting the Celtic Church. Christianity, it must be borne in mind, held
its place among the Celts whom the Saxons crowded slowly westward. Now,
during the very period that England was being wrested from the Celtic
warriors, the Celtic missionaries were effecting the spiritual conquest of
Ireland. Among these messengers of the Cross, was a zealous priest named
Patricius, better known as Saint Patrick, the patron saint of the Irish.

Never did any race receive the Gospel with more ardent enthusiasm. The
Irish Church sent out its devoted missionaries into the Pictish Highlands,
into the forests of Germany, and among the wilds of Alps and Apennines.
"For a time it seemed," says the historian Green, "that the course of the
world's history was to be changed; as if the older Celtic race that Roman
and German had driven before them had turned to the moral conquest of
their conquerors; as if Celtic, and not Latin, Christianity was to mould
the destinies of the churches of the West."

Among the numerous religious houses founded by the Celtic missionaries was
the famous monastery established about A.D. 564 by the Irish monk Saint
Columba, on the little isle of Iona, just off the Pictish coast. Iona
became a most renowned centre of Christian learning and missionary zeal,
and for almost two centuries was the point from which radiated light
through the darkness of the surrounding heathenism. Fitly has it been
called the Nursery of Saints and the Oracle of the West.

moment that Augustine touched the shores of Britain and summoned the Welsh
clergy to acknowledge the discipline of the Roman Church, there had been a
growing jealousy between the Latin and the Celtic Church, which by this
time had risen into the bitterest rivalry and strife. So long had the
Celtic Church been cut off from all relations with Rome, that it had come
to differ somewhat from it in the matter of certain ceremonies and
observances, such as the time of keeping Easter and the form of the
tonsure. Furthermore, it was inclined to look upon St. John rather than
upon St. Peter as the apostle of pre-eminence.

THE COUNCIL OF WHITBY (A.D. 664).--With a view to settling the quarrel
Oswy, king of Northumbria, called a synod composed of representatives of
both parties, at the monastery of Whitby. The chief question of debate,
which was argued before the king by the ablest advocates of both Churches,
was the proper time for the observance of Easter. Finally Wilfred, the
speaker for the Roman party, happening to quote the words of Christ to
Peter, "To thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven," the king
asked the Celtic monks if these words were really spoken by Christ to that
apostle, and upon their admitting that they were, Oswy said, "He being the
door-keeper,... I will in all things obey his decrees, lest when I come to
the gates of the kingdom of heaven, there should be none to open them."
[Footnote: Bede's _Eccl. Hist._ III. 25.]

The decision of the prudent Oswy gave the British Isles to Rome; for not
only was all England quickly won to the Roman side, but the Celtic
churches and monasteries of Wales and Ireland and Scotland soon came to
conform to the Roman standard and custom. "By the assistance of our Lord,"
says the pious Latin chronicler, "the monks were brought to the canonical
observation of Easter, and the right mode of the tonsure."

THE ROMAN VICTORY FORTUNATE FOR ENGLAND.--There is no doubt but that it
was very fortunate for England that the controversy turned as it did. For
one of the most important of the consequences of the conversion of Britain
was the re-establishment of that connection of the island with Roman
civilization which had been severed by the calamities of the fifth
century. As Green says,--he is speaking of the embassy of St. Augustine,--
"The march of the monks as they chanted their solemn litany was in one
sense a return of the Roman legions who withdrew at the trumpet call of
Alaric.... Practically Augustine's landing renewed that union with the
western world which the landing of Hengest had destroyed. The new England
was admitted into the older Commonwealth of nations. The civilization,
art, letters, which had fled before the sword of the English conquerors
returned with the Christian faith."

Now all this advantage would have been lost had Iona instead of Rome won
at Whitby. England would have been isolated from the world, and would have
had no part or lot in that rich common life which was destined to the
European peoples as co-heirs of the heritage bequeathed to them by the
dying empire.

A second valuable result of the Roman victory was the hastening of the
political unity of England through its ecclesiastical unity. The Celtic
Church, in marked contrast with the Latin, was utterly devoid of capacity
for organization. It could have done nothing in the way of developing
among the several Anglo-Saxon states the sentiment of nationality. On the
other hand, the Roman Church, through the exercise of a central authority,
through national synods and general legislation, overcame the isolation of
the different kingdoms, and helped powerfully to draw them together into a
common political life.

THE CONVERSION OF GERMANY.--The conversion of the tribes of Germany was
effected by Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Frankish missionaries,--and the sword
of Charlemagne (see p. 406). The great apostle of Germany was the Saxon
Winfred, or Winifred, better known as St. Boniface. During a long and
intensely active life he founded schools and monasteries, organized
churches, preached and baptized; and at last died a martyr's death (A.D.

The christianizing of the tribes of Germany relieved the Teutonic states
of Western Europe from the constant peril of massacre by their heathen
kinsmen, and erected a strong barrier in Central Europe against the
advance of the waves of Turanian paganism and Mohammedanism which for
centuries beat so threateningly against the eastern frontiers of Germany.
[Footnote: The conversion of Russia dates from about the close of the
tenth century. Its evangelization was effected by the missionaries of
Constantinople, that is, of the Greek, or Eastern Church. Of the Turanian
tribes, only the Hungarians, or Magyars, embraced Christianity. All the
other Turanian peoples that appeared on the eastern edge of Europe during
the Middle Ages, came as pagan or Moslem enemies.]

CHRISTIANITY IN THE NORTH.--The progress of Christianity in the North was
slow: but gradually, during the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, the
missionaries of the Church won over all the Scandinavian peoples. One
important effect of their conversion was the checking of their piratical
expeditions, which previously had vexed almost every shore to the south.

By the opening of the fourteenth century all Europe was claimed by
Christianity, save a limited district in Southern Spain held by the Moors,
and another in the Baltic regions possessed by the still pagan Finns and

MONASTICISM.--It was during this very conflict with the barbarians that
the Church developed the remarkable institution known as Monasticism,
which denotes a life of seclusion from the world, with the object of
promoting the interests of the soul. The central idea of the system is,
that the body is a weight upon the spirit, and that to "mortify the flesh"
is a prime duty.

The monastic system embraced two prominent classes of ascetics: 1.
Hermits, or anchorites, persons who, retiring from the world, lived
solitary lives in desolate places; 2. Cenobites, or monks, who formed
communities and lived under a common roof.

St. Antony, an Egyptian ascetic, who by his example and influence gave a
tremendous impulse to the strange enthusiasm, is called the "father of the
hermits." The persecutions that arose under the Roman emperors, driving
thousands into the deserts, contributed vastly to the movement. The cities
of Egypt became almost emptied of their Christian population.

About the close of the fourth century the cenobite system was introduced
into Europe, and in an astonishingly short space of time spread throughout
all the western countries where Christianity had gained a foothold.
Monasteries arose on every side, in the wilds of the desert and in the
midst of the crowded city. The number that fled to these retreats was
vastly augmented by the disorder and terror attending the invasion of the
barbarians and the overthrow of the empire in the West.

With the view of introducing some sort of system and uniformity among the
numerous communities, fraternities or associations were early organized
and spread rapidly. The three essential vows required of their members
were poverty, chastity, and obedience. The most celebrated of these
fraternities was the Order of the Benedictines, so called from its founder
St. Benedict (A.D. 480-543). This order became immensely popular. At one
time it embraced about 40,000 abbeys.

ADVANTAGES OF THE MONASTIC SYSTEM.--The early establishment of the
monastic system in the Church resulted in great advantages to the new
world that was shaping itself out of the ruins of the old.

The monks became missionaries, and it was largely to their zeal and
devotion that the Church owed her speedy and signal victory over the
barbarians; they also became teachers, and under the shelter of the
monasteries established schools which were the nurseries of learning
during the Middle Ages; they became copyists, and with great care and
industry gathered and multiplied ancient manuscripts, and thus preserved
and transmitted to the modern world much classical learning and literature
that would otherwise have been lost; they became agriculturists,
especially the Benedictines, and by skilful labor converted the wilderness
about their retreats into fair gardens, thus redeeming from barrenness
some of the most desolate districts of Europe; they became further the
almoners of the pious and the wealthy, and distributed alms to the poor
and needy. Everywhere the monasteries opened their hospitable doors to the
weary, the sick, and the discouraged. In a word, these retreats were the
inns, the asylums, and the hospitals, mediæval Europe. Nor should we fail
to mention how the asceticism of the monks checked those flagrant social
evils that had sapped the strength of the Roman race, and which
uncounteracted would have contaminated and weakened the purer peoples of
the North; nor how, through its requirements of self-control and self-
sacrifice, it gave prominence to the inner life of the spirit.

CONCLUSION.--With a single word or two respecting the general consequences
of the conversion to Christianity of the Teutonic tribes, we will close
the present chapter.

The adoption of a common faith by the European peoples drew them together
into a sort of religious brotherhood, and rendered it possible for the
continent to employ its undivided strength, during the succeeding
centuries, in staying the threatening progress toward the West of the
colossal Mohammedan power of the East. The Christian Church set in the
midst of the seething, martial nations and races of Europe an influence
that fostered the gentler virtues, and a power that was always to be found
on the side of order, and usually of mercy. It taught the brotherhood of
man, the essential equality in the sight of God of the high and the low,
and thus pleaded powerfully and at last effectually for the freedom of the
slave and the serf. It prepared the way for the introduction among the
barbarians of the arts, the literature, and the culture of Rome, and
contributed powerfully to hasten the fusion into a single people of the
Latins and Teutons, of which important matter we shall treat in the
following chapter.



INTRODUCTORY.--Having seen how the Hebrew element, that is, the ideas,
beliefs, and sentiments of Christianity, became the common possession of
the Latins and Teutons, it yet remains to notice how these two races, upon
the soil of the old empire, intermingled their blood, their language,
their laws, their usages and customs, to form new peoples, new tongues,
and new institutions.

THE ROMANCE NATIONS.--In some districts the barbarian invaders and the
Roman provincials were kept apart for a long time by the bitter antagonism
of race, and a sense of injury on the one hand and a feeling of disdainful
superiority on the other. But for the most part the Teutonic intruders and
the Latin-speaking inhabitants of Italy, Spain, and Gaul very soon began
freely to mingle their blood by family alliances. It is quite impossible
to say what proportion the Teutons bore to the Romans. Of course the
proportion varied in the different countries. In none of the countries
named, however, was it large enough to absorb the Latinized population; on
the contrary, the barbarians were themselves absorbed, yet not without
changing very essentially the body into which they were incorporated. By
the close of the ninth century the two elements had become quite
intimately blended, and a century or two later Roman and Teuton have alike
disappeared, and we are introduced to Italians, Spaniards, and Frenchmen.
These we call Romance nations, because at base they are Roman. [Footnote:
Britain did not become a Romance nation on account of the nature of the
barbarian conquest of that island. The Romanized provincials, as has been
seen, were there almost destroyed by the fierce Teutonic invaders.]

THE FORMATION OF THE ROMANCE LANGUAGES.--During the five centuries of
their subjection to Rome, the natives of Spain and Gaul forgot their
barbarous dialects and came to speak a corrupt Latin. Now in exactly the
same way that the dialects of the Celtic tribes of Gaul and of the
Celtiberians of Spain had given way to the more refined speech of the
Romans, did the rude languages of the Teutons yield to the more cultured
speech of the Roman provincials. In the course of two or three centuries
after their entrance into the empire, Goths, Lombards, Burgundians, and
Franks had, in a large measure, dropped their own tongue, and were
speaking that of the people they had subjected. But of course this
provincial Latin underwent a great change upon the lips of the mixed
descendants of the Romans and Teutons. Owing to the absence of a common
popular literature, the changes that took place in one country did not
exactly correspond to those going on in another. Hence, in the course of
time, we find different dialects springing up, and by about the ninth
century the Latin has virtually disappeared as a spoken language, and its
place been usurped by what will be known as the Italian, Spanish, and
French languages, all more or less resembling the ancient Latin, and all
called Romance tongues, because children of the old Roman speech.

barbarians was generally personal instead of territorial, as with us; that
is, instead of all the inhabitants of a given country being subject to the
same laws, there were different ones for the different classes of society.
The Latins, for instance, were subject in private law only to the old
Roman code, while the Teutons lived under the rules and regulations which
they had brought with them from beyond the Rhine.

Even among themselves the Teutons knew nothing of the modern legal maxim
that all should stand equal before the law. The penalty inflicted upon the
evil-doer depended, not upon the nature of his crime, but upon his rank,
or that of the party injured. Thus slaves and serfs could be beaten and
put to death for minor offences, while a freeman might atone for any
crime, even for murder, by the payment of a fine, the amount of the
penalty being determined by the rank of the victim. Among the Saxons the
life of a king's thane was worth 1200 shillings, while that of a common
free man was valued only one-sixth as high.

ORDEALS.--The modes by which guilt or innocence was ascertained show in
how rude a state was the administration of justice among the barbarians.
One very common method of proof was by what were called ordeals, in which
the question was submitted to the judgment of God. Of these the chief were
the _ordeal by fire_, the _ordeal by water_, and the _ordeal by battle_.

The _ordeal by fire_ consisted in taking in the hand a red-hot iron,
or in walking blindfolded with bare feet over a row of hot ploughshares
laid lengthwise at irregular distances. If the person escaped without
serious harm, he was held to be innocent. Another way of performing the
fire ordeal was by running through the flame of two fires built close
together, or by walking over live brands; hence the phrase "to haul over
the coals."

The _ordeal by water_ was of two kinds, by hot water and cold. In the
hot-water ordeal the accused person thrust his arm into boiling water, and
if no hurt was visible upon the arm three days after the operation, the
person was considered guiltless. When we speak of one's being "in hot
water," we use an expression which had its origin in this ordeal.

In the cold-water trial the suspected person was thrown into a stream or
pond: if he floated, he was held guilty; if he sank, innocent. The water,
it was believed, would reject the guilty, but receive the innocent into
its bosom. The practice common in Europe until a very recent date of
trying supposed witches by weighing them, or by throwing them into a pond
of water to see whether they would sink or float, grew out of this

The _trial by combat_, or _wager of battle_, was a solemn judicial duel.
It was resorted to in the belief that God would give victory to the right.
Naturally it was a favorite mode of trial among a people who found their
chief delight in fighting. Even religious disputes were sometimes settled
in this way. The modern duel may probably be regarded as a relic of this
form of trial.

The ordeal was frequently performed by deputy, that is, one person for
hire or for the sake of friendship would undertake it for another; hence
the expression "to go through fire and water to serve one." Especially was
such substitution common in the judicial duel, as women and ecclesiastics
were generally forbidden to appear personally in the lists. The champions,
as the deputies were called, became in time a regular class in society,
like the gladiators in ancient Rome. Religious houses and chartered towns
hired champions at a regular salary to defend all the cases to which they
might become a party.

THE REVIVAL OF THE ROMAN LAW.--Now the barbarian law-system, if such it
can be called, the character of which we have simply suggested by the
preceding illustrations, gradually displaced the Roman law in all those
countries where the two systems at first existed alongside each other,
save in Italy and Southern France, where the provincials greatly
outnumbered the invaders. But the admirable jurisprudence of Rome was
bound to assert its superiority. About the close of the eleventh century,
there was a great revival in the study of the Roman law as embodied in the
_Corpus Juris Civilis_ of Justinian (see p. 358), and in the course of a
century or two this became either the groundwork or a strong modifying
element in the jurisprudence of almost all the peoples of Europe.

What took place may be illustrated by reference to the fate of the
Teutonic languages in Gaul, Italy, and Spain. As the barbarian tongues,
after maintaining a place in those countries for two or three centuries,
at length gave place to the superior Latin, which became the basis of the
new Romance languages, so now in the domain of law the barbarian maxims
and customs, though holding their place more persistently, likewise
finally give way, almost everywhere and in a greater or less degree, to
the more excellent law-system of the empire. Rome must fulfil her destiny
and give laws to the nations.



THE REIGN OF JUSTINIAN (A.D. 527-565).--During the fifty years immediately
following the fall of Rome, the Eastern emperors struggled hard and
doubtfully to withstand the waves of the barbarian inundation which
constantly threatened to overwhelm Constantinople with the same awful
calamities that had befallen the imperial city of the West. Had the new
Rome--the destined refuge for a thousand years of Græco-Roman learning and
culture--also gone down at this time before the storm, the loss to the
cause of civilization would have been incalculable.

Fortunately, in the year 527, there ascended the Eastern throne a prince
of unusual ability, to whom fortune gave a general of such rare genius
that his name has been allotted a place in the short list of the great
commanders of the world. Justinian was the name of the prince, and
Belisarius that of the soldier. The sovereign has given name to the
period, which is called after him the "Era of Justinian."

It will be recalled that it was during this reign that Africa was
recovered from the Vandals and Italy from the Goths (see p. 372). These
conquests brought once more within the boundaries of the empire some of
the fairest lands of the West.

But that which has given Justinian's reign a greater distinction than any
conferred upon it by brilliant military achievements, is the collection
and publication, under the imperial direction, of the _Corpus Juris
Civilis_, or "Body of the Roman Law." This work is the most precious
legacy of Rome to the modern world. In causing its publication, Justinian
earned the title of "The Lawgiver of Civilization" (see p. 358).

In the midst of this brilliant reign an awful pestilence, bred probably in
Egypt, fell upon the empire, and did not cease its ravages until about
fifty years afterwards. This plague was the most terrible scourge of which
history has any knowledge, save perhaps the so called Black Death, which
afflicted Europe in the fourteenth century. The number of victims of the
plague has been estimated at 100,000,000.

THE REIGN OF HERACLIUS (A.D. 610-641).--For half a century after the death
of Justinian, the annals of the Byzantine empire are unimportant. Then we
reach the reign of Heraclius, a prince about whose worthy name gather
matters of significance in world-history.

About this time Chosroes II., king of Persia, wrested from the empire the
fortified cities that guarded the Euphratean frontier, and overran all
Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor. What was known as the True Cross was torn
from the church at Jerusalem and carried off in triumph to Persia. In
order to compel Chosroes to recall his armies, which were distressing the
provinces of the empire, Heraclius, pursuing the same plan as that by
which the Romans in the Second Punic War forced the Carthaginians to call
Hannibal out of Italy (see p. 264), with a small company of picked men
marched boldly into the heart of Persia, and in revenge for the insults
heaped by the infidels upon the Christian churches, overturned the altars
of the fire-worshippers and quenched their sacred flames.

The struggle between the two rival empires was at last decided by a
terrible combat known as the Battle of Nineveh (A.D. 627), which was
fought around the ruins of the old Assyrian capital. The Persian army was
almost annihilated. In a few days grief or violence ended the life of
Chosroes. With him passed away the glory of the Second Persian Empire. The
new Persian king negotiated a treaty of peace with Heraclius. The articles
of this treaty left the boundaries of the two empires unchanged.

THE EMPIRE BECOMES GREEK.--The two combatants in the fierce struggle which
we have been watching, were too much absorbed in their contentions to
notice the approach of a storm from the deserts of Arabia,--a storm
destined to overwhelm both alike in its destructive course. Within a few
years from the date of the Battle of Nineveh, the Saracens entered upon
their surprising career of conquest, which in a short time completely
changed the face of the entire East, and set the Crescent, the emblem of a
new faith, alike above the fire-altars of Persia and the churches of the
Empire. Heraclius himself lived to see--so cruel are the vicissitudes of
fortune--the very provinces which he had wrested from the hands of the
fire-worshippers, in the hands of the more insolent followers of the False
Prophet, and the Crescent planted within sight of the walls of

The conquests of the Saracens cut off from the empire those provinces that
had the smallest Greek element and thus rendered the population subject to
the emperor more homogeneous, more thoroughly Greek. The Roman element
disappeared, and the court of Constantinople became Greek in tone, spirit,
and manners. Hence, instead of longer applying to the empire the
designation _Roman_, we shall from this on call it the _Greek_, or
Byzantine empire.

We shall trace no further as a separate story the fortunes of the Eastern
emperors. In the eighth century the so-called Iconoclastic controversy
[Footnote: See p. 417.] will draw our attention to them; and then again in
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Crusades will once more bring
their affairs into prominence, and we shall see a line of Latin princes
seated for a time (from 1204 to 1261) upon the throne of Constantine.
[Footnote: See p. 446.] Finally, in the year 1453, we shall witness the
capture of Constantinople by the Turks, [Footnote: See p. 462.] which
disaster closes the long and checkered history of the Græco-Roman empire
in the East.



[Illustration: AN ARAB RIDER.]

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT.--The Arabs, or Saracens, who are now about to play
their surprising part in history, are, after the Hebrews, the most
important people of the Semitic race. Secure in their inaccessible
deserts, the Arabs have never as a people bowed their necks to a foreign
conqueror, although portions of the Arabian peninsula have been repeatedly
subjugated by different races.

Mohammed, the Arabs were idolaters. Their holy city was Mecca. Here was
the ancient and most revered shrine of the Caaba, where was preserved a
sacred black stone believed to have been given by an angel to Abraham.

But though the native tribes of the peninsula were idolaters, still there
were many followers of other faiths; for Arabia at this time was a land of
religious freedom. The altar of the fire-worshipper rose alongside the
Jewish synagogue and the Christian church. The Jews especially were to be
found everywhere in great numbers, having been driven from Palestine by
the Roman persecutions. It was from the Jews and Christians, doubtless,
that Mohammed learned many of the doctrines that he taught.

MOHAMMED.--Mohammed, the great prophet of the Arabs, was born in the holy
city of Mecca, about the year 570 of our era. He sprang from the
distinguished tribe of the Koreishites, the custodians of the sacred
shrine of the Caaba. Like Moses, he spent many years of his life as a

[Illustration: MOSQUE AND CAABA AT MECCA. (From a photograph.)]

Mohammed possessed a deeply religious nature, and it was his wont often to
retire to a cave a few miles from Mecca, and there spend long vigils in
prayer. He declared that here he had visions, in which the angel Gabriel
appeared to him, and made to him revelations which he was commanded to
make known to his fellow-men. The sum of the new faith which he was to
teach was this: "There is but one God, and Mohammed is his Prophet."

Mohammed communicated the nature of his visions to his wife, and she
became his first convert. At the end of three years his disciples numbered
forty persons.

THE HEGIRA (622).--The teachings of Mohammed at last aroused the anger of
a powerful party among the Koreishites, who feared that they, as the
guardians of the national idols of the Caaba, would be compromised in the
eyes of the other tribes by allowing such heresy to be openly taught by
one of their number, and accordingly plots were formed against his life.
Barely escaping assassination, he fled to the city of Medina.

This Hegira, or Flight, as the word signifies, occurred in the year 622,
and was considered by the Moslems as such an important event in the
history of their religion that they adopted it as the beginning of a new
era, and from it still continue to reckon their dates.

THE FAITH EXTENDED BY THE SWORD.--His cause being warmly espoused by the
inhabitants of Medina, Mohammed threw aside the character of an exhorter,
and assumed that of a warrior. He declared it to be the will of God that
the new faith should be spread by the sword. Accordingly, the year
following the Hegira, he began to attack and plunder caravans. The flames
of a sacred war were soon kindled. The reckless enthusiasm of his wild
converts was intensified by the assurance of the Apostle that death met in
fighting those who resisted the true faith ensured the martyr immediate
entrance upon the joys of Paradise. Within ten years from the time of the
assumption of the sword by Mohammed, Mecca had been conquered, and the new
creed established among all the tribes of Arabia.

Mohammed died in the year 632. No character in all history has been the
subject of more conflicting speculations than the Arabian Prophet. By some
he has been called a self-deluded enthusiast, while others have denounced
him as the boldest of impostors. We shall, perhaps, reconcile these
discordant views, if we bear in mind that the same person may, in
different periods of a long career, be both.

THE KORAN AND THE DOCTRINES OF ISLAM.--Before going on to trace the
conquests of the successors of Mohammed, we must form some acquaintance
with the religion of the great Prophet.

The doctrines of Mohammedanism, or Islam, which means "submission," are
contained in the Koran, the sacred book of the Moslems. They declare that
God has revealed himself through four holy men: to Moses he gave the
Pentateuch; to David, the Psalms; to Jesus, the Gospels; and to Mohammed,
the last and greatest of all the prophets, he gave the Koran.

"There is no God save Allah," is the fundamental doctrine of Islamism, and
to this is added the equally binding declaration that "Mohammed is the
Prophet of Allah." The faithful Moslem must also believe in the sacredness
and infallibility of the Koran. He is also required to believe in the
resurrection and the day of judgment, and an after-state of happiness and
of misery. Also he must believe in the absoluteness of the decrees of
God,--that he foreordains whatsoever comes to pass, and that nothing man
can do can change his appointments.

The Koran, while requiring assent to the foregoing creed, inculcates the
practice of four virtues. The first is prayer; five times each day must
the believer turn his face towards Mecca and engage in devotion. The
second requirement is almsgiving. The third is keeping the Fast of
Ramadan, which lasts a whole month. The fourth duty is making a pilgrimage
to Mecca.

ABUBEKR, FIRST SUCCESSOR OF MOHAMMED (632-634).--Upon the death of
Mohammed a dispute at once arose as to his successor; for the Prophet left
no children, nor had he designated upon whom his mantle should fall.
Abubekr, the Apostle's father-in-law, was at last chosen to the position,
with the title of Caliph, or Vicar, of the Prophet, although many thought
that the place belonged to Ali, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, and
one of his first and most faithful companions. This question of succession
was destined at a later period to divide the Mohammedan world into two
sects, animated by the most bitter and lasting hostility towards each
other. [Footnote: The Mohammedans of Persia, who are known as Shiites, are
the leaders of the party of Ali; while the Turks, known as Sunnites, are
the chief adherents of the opposite party.]

During the first part of his caliphate, Abubekr was engaged in suppressing
revolts in different parts of the peninsula. These commotions quieted, he
was free to carry out the last injunction of the Prophet to his followers,
which enjoined them to spread his doctrines by the sword, till all men had
confessed the creed of Islam, or consented to pay tribute to the Faithful.

THE CONQUEST OF SYRIA.--The country which Abubekr resolved first to reduce
was Syria. A call addressed to all the Faithful throughout Arabia was
responded to with the greatest alacrity and enthusiasm. From every quarter
the warriors flocked to Medina, until the desert about the city was
literally covered with their black tents, and crowded with men and horses
and camels. After invoking the blessing of God upon the hosts, Abubekr
sent them forward upon their holy mission.

Heraclius made a brave effort to defend the holy places against the
fanatical warriors of the desert, but all in vain. His armies were cut to
pieces. Seeing there was no hope of saving Jerusalem, he removed from that
city to Constantinople the True Cross, which he had rescued from the
Persians (see p. 390). "Farewell, Syria," were his words, as he turned
from the consecrated land which he saw must be given up to the followers
of the False Prophet.

THE CONQUEST OF PERSIA (632-641).--While one Saracen army was overrunning
Syria, another was busy with the subjugation of Persia. Enervated as this
country was through luxury, and weakened by her long wars with the Eastern
emperors, she could offer but feeble resistance to the terrible energy of
the Saracens.

Soon after the conquest of Persia, the Arabs crossed the mountains that
wall Persia on the north, and spread their faith among the Turanian tribes
of Central Asia. Among the most formidable of the clans that adopted the
new religion were the Turks. Their conversion was an event of the greatest
significance, for it was their swords that were destined to uphold and to
spread the creed of Mohammed when the fiery zeal of his own countrymen
should abate, and their arms lose the dreaded power which religious
fanaticism had for a moment imparted to them.

THE CONQUEST OF EGYPT (638).--The reduction of Persia was not yet fully
accomplished, when the Caliph Omar, the successor of Abubekr, commissioned
Amrou, the chief whose valor had won many of the cities of Palestine, to
carry the standard of the Prophet into the Valley of the Nile. Alexandria,
after holding out against the arms of the Saracens for more than a year,
was at length abandoned to the enemy. Amrou, in communicating the
intelligence of the important event to Omar, wrote him also about the
great Alexandrian Library, and asked him what he should do with the books.
Omar is said to have replied: "If these books agree with the Koran, they
are useless; if they disagree, they are pernicious: in either case they
ought to be destroyed." Accordingly the books were distributed among the
four thousand baths of the capital, and served to feed their fires for six

THE CONQUEST OF NORTHERN AFRICA (643-689).--The lieutenants of the Caliphs
were obliged to do much and fierce fighting before they obtained
possession of the oft-disputed shores of North Africa. They had to contend
not only with the Græco-Roman Christians of the coast, but to battle also
with the idolatrous Moors of the interior. Furthermore, all Europe had
begun to feel alarm at the threatening advance of the Saracens; so now
Roman soldiers from Constantinople, and Gothic warriors from Italy and
Spain hastened across the Mediterranean to aid in the protection of
Carthage, and to help arrest the alarming progress of these wild fanatics
of the desert.

But all was of no avail. Destiny had allotted to the followers of the
Apostle the land of Hannibal and Augustine. Carthage was taken and razed
to the ground, and the entire coast from the Nile to the Atlantic, was
forced to acknowledge the authority of the Caliphs. By this conquest all
the countries of Northern Africa, whose history for a thousand years had
been intertwined with that of the opposite shores of Europe, and which at
one time seemed destined to share in the career of freedom and progress
opening to the peoples of that continent, were drawn back into the
fatalism, the despotism, and the stagnation of the East. From being an
extension of Europe, they became once more an extension of Asia.

ATTACKS UPON CONSTANTINOPLE.--Only fifty years had now passed since the
death of Mohammed, but during this short time his standard had been
carried by the lieutenants of his successors through Asia to the
Hellespont on the one side, and across Africa to the Straits of Gibraltar
on the other. From each of these two points, so remote from each other,
the fanatic warriors of the desert were casting longing glances across
those narrow passages of water which alone separated them from the single
continent that their swift coursers had not yet traversed, or whence the
spoil of the unbelievers had not yet been borne to the feet of the Vicar
of the Prophet of God. We may expect to see the Saracens at one or both of
these points attempt the invasion of Europe.

The first attempt was made in the East (in 668), where the Arabs
endeavored to gain control of the Bosporus, by wresting Constantinople
from the hands of the Eastern emperors. But the capital was saved through
the use, by the besieged, of a certain bituminous compound, called Greek
Fire. In 716, the city was again besieged by a powerful Moslem army; but
its heroic defence by the Emperor Leo III. saved the capital for several
centuries longer to the Christian world.

THE CONQUEST OF SPAIN (711).--While the Moslems were thus being repulsed
from Europe at its eastern extremity, the gates of the continent were
opened to them by treachery at the western, and they gained a foothold in
Spain. At the great battle of Xeres (711), Roderic, the last of the
Visigothic kings, was hopelessly defeated, and all the peninsula, save
some mountainous regions in the northwest, quickly submitted to the
invaders. Thus some of the fairest provinces of Europe were lost to
Christendom for a period of nearly eight hundred years.

No sooner had the subjugation of the country been effected than multitudes
of colonists from Arabia, Syria, and North Africa crowded into the
peninsula, until in a short time the provinces of Seville, Cordova,
Toledo, and Granada became Arabic in dress, manners, language, and

INVASION OF FRANCE: BATTLE OF TOURS (732).--Four or five years after the
conquest of Spain, the Saracens crossed the Pyrenees, and established
themselves upon the plains of Gaul. This advance of the Moslem hosts
beyond the northern wall of Spain was viewed with the greatest alarm by
all Christendom. It looked as though the followers of Mohammed would soon
possess all the continent. As Draper pictures it, the Crescent, lying in a
vast semi-circle upon the northern shore of Africa and the curving coast
of Asia, with one horn touching the Bosporus and the other the Straits of
Gibraltar, seemed about to round to the full and overspread all Europe.

In the year 732, exactly one hundred years after the death of the great
Prophet, the Franks, under their renowned chieftain, Charles, and their
allies met the Moslems upon the plains of Tours in the centre of Gaul, and
committed to the issue of a single battle the fate of Christendom and the
future course of history. The desperate valor displayed by the warriors of
both armies was worthy of the prize at stake. Abderrahman, the Mohammedan
leader, fell in the thick of the fight, and night saw the complete
discomfiture of the Moslem hordes. The loss that the sturdy blows of the
Germans had inflicted upon them was enormous, the accounts of that age
swelling the number killed to the impossible figures of 375,000. The
disaster at all events was too overwhelming to permit the Saracens ever to
recover from the blow, and they soon retreated behind the Pyrenees.

The young civilization of Europe was thus delivered from an appalling
danger, such as had not threatened it since the fearful days of Attila and
the Huns. The heroic Duke Charles who had led the warriors of Christendom
to the glorious victory was given the surname _Martel_, the "Hammer,"
in commemoration of the mighty blows of his huge battle-axe.

CHANGES IN THE CALIPHATE.--During the century of conquests we have traced,
there were many changes in the caliphate. Abubekr was followed by Omar
(634-644), Othman (644-655), and Ali (655-661), all of whom fell by the
hands of assassins, for from the very first dissensions were rife among
the followers of the Prophet. Ali was the last of the four so-called
"Orthodox Caliphs," all of whom were relatives or companions of the

Moawiyah, a usurper, was now recognized as Caliph (661). He succeeded in
making the office hereditary, instead of elective, as it hitherto had
been, and thus established what is known as the dynasty of the Ommiades
[Footnote: So called from Ommaya, an ancestor of Moawiyah.], the rulers of
which family for nearly a century issued their commands from the city of

The house of the Ommiades was overthrown by the adherents of the house of
Ali, who established a new dynasty (750), known as that of the Abbassides,
so called from Abbas, an uncle of Mohammed. The new family, soon after
coming to power, established the seat of the royal residence on the lower
Tigris, and upon the banks of that river founded the renowned city of
Bagdad, which was destined to remain the abode of the Abbasside Caliphs
for a period of five hundred years,--until the subversion of the house by
the Tartars of the North.

The golden age of the caliphate of Bagdad covers the latter part of the
eighth and the ninth century of our era, and was illustrated by the reign
of the renowned Haroun-al-Raschid (786-809), the hero of the Arabian
Nights. During this period science, philosophy, and literature were most
assiduously cultivated by the Arabian scholars, and the court of the
Caliphs presented in culture and luxury a striking contrast to the rude
and barbarous courts of the kings and princes of Western Christendom.

THE DISMEMBERMENT OF THE CALIPHATE.--"At the close of the first century of
the Hegira," writes Gibbon, "the Caliphs were the most potent and absolute
monarchs of the globe. The word that went forth from the palace at
Damascus was obeyed on the Indus, on the Jaxartes, and on the Tagus."
Scarcely less potent was the word that at first went forth from Bagdad.
But in a short time the extended empire of the Abbassides, through the
quarrels of sectaries and the ambitions of rival aspirants for the honors
of the caliphate, was broken in fragments, and from three capitals--Bagdad
upon the Tigris, Cairo upon the Nile, and Cordova upon the Guadalquivir--
were issued the commands of three rival Caliphs, each of whom was regarded
by his adherents as the sole rightful spiritual and civil successor of the
Apostle. All, however, held the great Arabian Prophet in the same
reverence, all maintained with equal zeal the sacred character of the
Koran, and all prayed with their faces turned toward the holy city of

Romanized the peoples they conquered, so did the Saracens Saracenize the
populations of the countries subjected to their authority. Over a large
part of Spain, over North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Babylonia, Persia,
Northern India, and portions of Central Asia, were spread--to the more or
less perfect exclusion of native customs, speech, and worship--the
manners, the language, and the religion of the Arabian conquerors.
[Footnote: Beyond the eastern edge of Mesopotamia, the Arabs failed to
impress their language upon the subjected peoples, or in any way, save in
the matter of creed, to leave upon them any important permanent trace of
their conquests.]

In Arabia no religion was tolerated save the faith of the Koran. But in
all the countries beyond the limits of the peninsula, freedom of worship
was allowed (save to _idolaters_, who were to be "rooted out");
unbelievers, however, must purchase this liberty by the payment of a
moderate tribute. Yet notwithstanding this toleration, the Christian and
Zoroastrian religions gradually died out almost everywhere throughout the
domains of the Caliphs. [Footnote: The number of Guebers, or fire-
worshippers, in Persia at the present time is estimated at from 50,000 to
100,000. About the same number may be counted in India, the descendants of
the Guebers who fled from Persia at the time of the Arabian invasion. They
are there called Parsees, from the land whence they came.]

THE DEFECTS OF ISLAM.--Civilization certainly owes a large debt to the
Saracens. They preserved and transmitted much that was valuable in the
science of the Greeks and the Persians (see p. 472). They improved
trigonometry and algebra, and from India they borrowed the decimal system
of notation and introduced it into the West.

Many of the doctrines of Islam, however, are most unfavorable to human
liberty, progress, and improvement. It teaches fatalism, and thus
discourages effort and enterprise. It allows polygamy and pelts no
restraint upon divorce, and thus destroys the sanctity of the family life.
It permits slavery and fosters despotism. It inspires a blind and bigoted
hatred of race and creed, and thus puts far out of sight the salutary
truth of the brotherhood of man. Because of these and other scarcely less
prominent defects in its teachings, Islam has proved a blight and curse to
almost every race embracing its sterile doctrines.

Mohammedism is vastly superior, however, either to fetichism or idolatry,
and consequently, upon peoples very low in the scale of civilization, it
has an elevating influence. Thus, upon the negro tribes of Central Africa,
where it is to-day spreading rapidly, it is acknowledged to have a
civilizing effect.



GENERAL REMARKS.--In the foregoing chapter we traced the rise and decline
of the power of the Saracens. We saw the Semitic East roused for a moment
to a life of tremendous energy by the miracle of religious enthusiasm, and
then beheld it sinking rapidly again into inaction and weakness,
disappointing all its early promises. Manifestly the "Law" is not to go
forth from Mecca. The Semitic race is not to lead the civilization of the

But returning again to the West, we discover among the Teutonic barbarians
indications of such youthful energy and life, that we are at once
persuaded that to them has been given the future. The Franks, who, with
the aid of their confederates, withstood the advance of the Saracens upon
the field of Tours, and saved Europe from subjection to the Koran, are the
people that first attract our attention. It is among them that a man
appears who makes the first grand attempt to restore the laws, the order,
the institutions of the ancient Romans. Charlemagne, their king, is the
imposing figure that moves amidst all the events of the times; indeed, is
the one who makes the events, and renders the period in which he lived an
epoch in universal history. The story of this era affords the key to very
much of the subsequent history of Europe.

HOW DUKE PEPIN BECAME KING OF THE FRANKS--Charles Martel, whose tremendous
blows at Tours earned for him his significant surname (see p. 399),
although the real head of the Frankish nation, was nominally only an
officer of the Merovingian court. He died without ever having borne the
title of king, notwithstanding he had exercised all the authority of that

But Charles's son Pepin, called _le Bref_ (the Short), on account of
his diminutive stature, aspired to the regal title and honors. He resolved
to depose his titular master, and to make himself king. Not deeming it
wise, however, to do this without the sanction of the Pope, he sent an
embassy to represent to him the state of affairs, and to solicit his
advice. Mindful of recent favors that he had received at the hands of
Pepin, the Pope gave his approval to the proposed scheme by replying that
it seemed altogether reasonable that the one who was king in power should
be king also in name. This was sufficient. Chilperic--such was the name of
the Merovingian king--was straightway deposed, and placed in a monastery;
while Pepin, whose own deeds together with those of his illustrious father
had done so much for the Frankish nation and for Christendom, was anointed
and crowned king of the Franks (752), and thus became the first of the
Carolingian line, the name of his illustrious son Charlemagne giving name
to the house.

Stephen II., who was troubled by the Lombards (see p. 374), besought
Pepin's aid. Quick to return the favor which the head of the Church had
rendered him in the establishment of his power as king, Pepin straightway
crossed the Alps with a large army, expelled the Lombards from their
recent conquests, and made a donation to the Pope of these captured cities
and provinces (755).

This famous gift may be regarded as having laid the basis of the temporal
power of the Popes; for though Pepin probably did not intend to convey to
the Papal See the absolute sovereignty of the transferred lands, after a
time the Popes claimed this, and finally came to exercise within the
limits of the donated territory all the rights and powers of independent
temporal rulers. So here we have the beginning of the celebrated _Papal
States_, and of the story of the Popes as temporal princes.

ACCESSION OF CHARLEMAGNE.--Pepin died in the year 768, and his kingdom
passed into the hands of his two sons, Carloman and Charles; but within
three years the death of Carloman and the free votes of the Franks
conferred the entire kingdom upon Charles, better known as Charlemagne, or
"Charles the Great."

HIS CAMPAIGNS.--Charlemagne's long reign of nearly half a century--he
ruled forty-six years--was filled with military expeditions and conquests,
by which he so extended the boundaries of his dominions, that at his death
they embraced the larger part of Western Europe. He made fifty-two
military campaigns, the chief of which were against the Lombards, the
Saracens, and the Saxons. Of these we will speak briefly.

Among Charlemagne's first undertakings was a campaign against the
Lombards, whose king, Desiderius, was troubling the Pope. Charlemagne
wrested from Desiderius all his possessions, shut up the unfortunate king
in a monastery, and placed on his own head the iron crown of the Lombards.
While in Italy he visited Rome, and, in return for the favor of the Pope,
confirmed the donation of his father, Pepin (774).

[Illustration: CHARLEMAGNE. (Head of a bronze equestrian statuette.)]

In the ninth year of his reign Charlemagne gathered his warriors for a
crusade against the Saracens in Spain. He crossed the Pyrenees, and
succeeded in wresting from the Moslems all the northeastern corner of the
peninsula. As he was leading his victorious bands back across the
Pyrenees, the rear of his army under the lead of the renowned paladin
Roland, while hemmed in by the walls of the Pass of Roncesvalles, was set
upon by the wild mountaineers (the Gascons and Basques), and cut to pieces
before Charlemagne could give relief. Of the details of this event no
authentic account has been preserved; but long afterwards it formed the
favorite theme of the tales and songs of the Troubadours of Southern

But by far the greater number of the campaigns of Charlemagne were
directed against the pagan Saxons, who almost alone of the German tribes
still retained their ancient idolatry. Thirty years and more of his reign
were occupied in these wars across the Rhine. Reduced to submission again
and again, as often did the Saxons rise in desperate revolt. The heroic
Witikind was the "second Arminius" (see p. 308) who encouraged his
countrymen to resist to the last the intruders upon their soil. Finally,
Charlemagne, angered beyond measure by the obstinacy of the barbarians,
caused 4500 prisoners in his hands to be massacred in revenge for the
contumacy of the nation. The Saxons at length yielded, and accepted
Charlemagne as their sovereign, and Christianity as their religion.

RESTORATION OF THE EMPIRE IN THE WEST (800).--An event of seemingly little
real moment, yet, in its influence upon succeeding affairs, of the very
greatest importance, now claims our attention. Pope Leo III. having called
upon Charlemagne for aid against a hostile faction at Rome, the king soon
appeared in person at the capital, and punished summarily the disturbers
of the peace of the Church. The gratitude of Leo led him at this time to
make a most signal return for the many services of the Frankish king. To
understand his act a word of explanation is needed.

For a considerable time a variety of circumstances had been fostering a
growing feeling of enmity between the Italians and the emperors at
Constantinople. Disputes had arisen between the churches of the East and
those of the West, and the Byzantine rulers had endeavored to compel the
Italian churches to introduce certain changes and reforms in their
worship, which had aroused the most determined opposition of the Roman
bishops, who denounced the Eastern emperors as schismatics and heretics.
Furthermore, while persecuting the orthodox churches of the West, these
unworthy emperors had allowed the Christian lands of the East to fall a
prey to the Arabian infidels.

Just at this time, moreover, by the crime of the Empress Irene, who had
deposed her son Constantine VI., and put out his eyes, that she might have
his place, the Byzantine throne was vacant, in the estimation of the
Italians, who contended that the crown of the Cæsars could not be worn by
a woman. Confessedly it was time that the Pope should exercise the power
reposing in him as Head of the Church, and take away from the heretical
and effeminate Greeks the Imperial crown, and bestow it upon some strong,
orthodox, and worthy prince in the West.

Now, among all the Teutonic chiefs of Western Christendom, there was none
who could dispute the claims to the honor with the king of the Franks, the
representative of a most illustrious house, and the strongest champion of
the young Christianity of the West against her pagan foes. Accordingly, as
Charlemagne was participating in the festivities of Christmas Day in the
Cathedral of St. Peter at Rome, the Pope approached the kneeling king,--
who declared afterwards that he was wholly ignorant of the designs of his
friend,--and placing a crown of gold upon his head, proclaimed him emperor
of the Romans, and the rightful and consecrated successor of Cæsar
Augustus and Constantine (800).

The intention of Pope Leo was, by a sort of reversal of the act of
Constantine, to bring back from the East the seat of the Imperial court;
but what he really accomplished was a restoration of the line of emperors
in the West, which 324 years before had been ended by Odoacer, when he
dethroned Romulus Augustus and sent the royal vestments to Constantinople
(see p. 348). We say this was what he actually effected; for the Greeks of
the East, disregarding wholly what the Roman people and the Pope had done,
maintained their line of emperors just as though nothing had occurred in
Italy. So now from this time on for centuries there were two emperors, one
in the East, and another in the West, each claiming to be the rightful
successor of Cæsar Augustus. [Footnote: From this time on it will be
proper for us to use the terms _Western_ Empire and _Eastern_ Empire.
These names should not, however, be employed before this time, for the two
parts of the old Roman Empire were simply administrative divisions of a
single empire; we may though, properly enough, speak of the Roman empire
_in_ the West, and the Roman empire _in_ the East, or of the Western and
Eastern emperors. See Bryce's _Holy Roman Empire_. The Eastern Empire was
destroyed by the Turks in 1453; the line of Western Teutonic emperors was
maintained until the present century, when it was ended by the act of
Napoleon in the dismemberment of Germany (1806).]

CHARLEMAGNE'S DEATH; HIS WORK.--Charlemagne enjoyed the Imperial dignity
only fourteen years, dying in 814. Within the cathedral at Aachen, in a
tomb which he himself had built, the dead monarch was placed upon a
throne, with his royal robes around him, his good sword by his side, and
the Bible open on his lap. It seemed as though men could not believe that
his reign was over; and it was not.

By the almost universal verdict of students of the mediæval period,
Charles the Great has been pronounced the most imposing personage that
appears between the fall of Rome and the fifteenth century. His greatness
has erected an enduring monument for itself in his name, the one by which
he is best known--Charlemagne.

Charlemagne must not be regarded as a warrior merely. His most noteworthy
work was that which he effected as a reformer and statesman. He founded
schools, reformed the laws, collected libraries, and extended to the
Church a patronage worthy of a Constantine. In a word, he laid "the
foundation of all that is noble and beautiful and useful in the history of
the Middle Ages."

DIVISION OF THE EMPIRE; TREATY OF VERDUN (843).--Like the kingdom of
Alexander, the mighty empire of Charlemagne fell to pieces soon after his
death. "His sceptre was the bow of Ulysses which could not be drawn by any
weaker hand." After a troublous period of dissension arid war, the empire
was divided, by the important Treaty of Verdun, among Charlemagne's three
grandchildren,--Charles, Lewis, and Lothair. To Charles was given France;
to Lewis, Germany; and to Lothair, Italy and the valley of the Rhone,
together with a narrow strip of land extending from Switzerland to the
mouth of the Rhine. With these possessions of Lothair went also the
Imperial title.

[Illustration: THE WESTERN EMPIRE As Divided at Verdun (843)]

This treaty is celebrated, not only because it was the first great treaty
among the European states, but also on account of its marking the
divergence from one another, and in some sense the origin, of three of the
great nations of modern Europe,--of France, Germany, and Italy.

CONCLUSION.--After this dismemberment of the dominions of Charlemagne, the
annals of the different branches of the Carolingian family become
intricate, wearisome, and uninstructive. A fate as dark and woeful as that
which, according to Grecian story, overhung the royal house of Thebes,
seemed to brood over the house of Charlemagne. In all its different lines
a strange and adverse destiny awaited the lineage of the great king. The
tenth century witnessed the extinction of the family.



THE PEOPLE.--Northmen, Norsemen, Scandinavians, are different names
applied in a general way to the early inhabitants of Denmark, Norway, and
Sweden. These people formed the northern branch of the Teutonic family. We
cannot be certain when they took possession of the northern peninsulas,
but it is probable that they had entered those countries long before Cæsar
invaded Gaul.

THE NORTHMEN AS PIRATES AND COLONIZERS.--For the first eight centuries of
our era the Norsemen are hidden from our view in their remote northern
home; but with the opening of the ninth century their black piratical
crafts are to be seen creeping along all the coasts of Germany, Gaul, and
the British Isles, and even venturing far up their inlets and creeks.
Every summer these dreaded sea-rovers made swift descents upon the exposed
shores of these countries, plundering, burning, murdering; then upon the
approach of the stormy season, they returned to winter in the sheltered
fiords of the Scandinavian peninsula. After a time the bold corsairs began
to winter in the lands they had harried during the summer; and soon all
the shores of the countries visited were dotted with their stations or

These marauding expeditions and colonizing enterprises of the Northmen did
not cease until the eleventh century was far advanced. The consequences of
this wonderful outpouring of the Scandinavian peoples were so important
and lasting that the movement has well been compared to the great
migration of their German kinsmen in the fifth and sixth centuries. Europe
is a second time inundated by the Teutonic barbarians.

The most noteworthy characteristic of these Northmen was the readiness
with which they laid aside their own manners, habits, ideas, and
institutions, and adopted those of the country in which they established
themselves. "In Russia they became Russians; in France, Frenchmen; in
England, Englishmen."

Northmen in the ninth century, [Footnote: Iceland became the literary
centre of the Scandinavian world. There grew up here a class of scalds, or
bards, who, before the introduction of writing, preserved and transmitted
orally the sagas, or legends, of the Northern races. About the twelfth
century these poems and legends were gathered into collections known as
the Elder, or poetic, Edda, and the Younger, or prose, Edda. These are
among the most interesting and important of the literary memorials that we
possess of the early Teutonic peoples. They reflect faithfully the
beliefs, manners, and customs of the Norsemen, and the wild, adventurous
spirit of their Sea-Kings.] and about a century later Greenland was
discovered and colonized. In 1874 the Icelanders celebrated the thousandth
anniversary of the settlement of their island, an event very like our
Centennial of 1876.

America was reached by the Northmen as early as the beginning of the
eleventh century: the Vineland of their traditions was possibly some part
of the New England coast. It is believed that these first visitors to the
continent made settlements in this new land; but no certain remains of
these exist.

THE NORSEMEN IN RUSSIA.--While the Norwegians were sailing boldly out into
the Atlantic and taking possession of the isles and coasts of the western
seas, the Swedes were pushing their crafts across the Baltic and troubling
the Slavonian tribes that dwelt upon the eastern shore of that sea. Either
by right of conquest or through the invitation of the contentious
Slavonian clans, the renowned Scandinavian chieftain Ruric acquired, in
the year 862, kingly dignity, and became the founder of the first royal
line of Russia, the successive kings of which family gradually
consolidated the monarchy which was destined to become one of the foremost
powers of Europe.

THE DANISH CONQUEST OF ENGLAND.--The Danes began to make descents upon the
English coast about the beginning of the ninth century. These sea-rovers
spread the greatest terror through the island; for they were not content
with plunder, but being pagans, they took special delight in burning the
churches and monasteries of the now Christian Anglo-Saxons, or English, as
we shall hereafter call them. After a time the Danes began to make
permanent settlements in the land. The wretched English were subjected to
exactly the same treatment that they had inflicted upon the Celts. Much
need had they to pray the petition of the Litany of those days, "From the
fury of the Northmen, Good Lord, deliver us." Just when it began to look
as though they would be entirely annihilated or driven from the island by
the barbarous intruders, the illustrious Alfred (871-901) came to the
throne of Wessex.

For six years the youthful king fought heroically at the head of his brave
thanes; but each succeeding year the possessions of the English grew
smaller, and finally Alfred and his few remaining followers were driven to
take refuge in the woods and morasses.

After a time, however, the affairs of the English began to brighten. The
Danes were overpowered, and though allowed to hold the northeastern half
of the land, still they were forced nominally to acknowledge the authority
of the English king.

For a full century following the death of Alfred, his successors were
engaged in a constant struggle to hold in subjection the Danes already
settled in the land, or to protect their domains from the plundering
inroads of fresh bands of pirates from the northern peninsulas. In the
end, the Danes got the mastery, and Canute, king of Denmark, became king
of England (1016). For eighteen years he reigned in a wise and parental

Altogether the Danes ruled in England about a quarter of a century (from
1016 to 1042), and then the old English line was restored in the person of
Edward the Confessor.

The great benefit which resulted to England from the Danish conquest, was
the infusion of fresh blood into the veins of the English people, who
through contact with the half-Romanized Celts, and especially through the
enervating influence of a monastic church, had lost much of that bold,
masculine vigor which characterized their hardy ancestors.

SETTLEMENT OF THE NORTHMEN IN GAUL.--The Northmen began to make piratical
descents upon the coasts of Gaul before the end of the reign of
Charlemagne. Tradition tells how the great king, catching sight one day of
some ships of the Northmen, burst into tears as he reflected on the
sufferings that he foresaw the new foe would entail upon his country.

The record of the raids of the Northmen in Gaul, and of their final
settlement in the north of the country, is simply a repetition of the tale
of the Danish forays and settlement in England. At last, in the year 918,
Charles the Simple did exactly what Alfred the Great had done across the
Channel only a very short time before. He granted the adventurous Rollo,
the leader of the Northmen that had settled at Rouen, a considerable
section of country in the north-west of Gaul, upon condition of homage and

In a short time the barbarians had adopted the language, the manners, and
the religion of the French, and had caught much of their vivacity and
impulsiveness of spirit, without, however, any loss of their own native
virtues. This transformation in their manners and life we may conceive as
being recorded in their transformed name--_Northmen_ becoming softened
into _Norman_. As has been said, they were simply changed from heathen
Vikings, delighting in the wild life of sea-rover and pirate, into
Christian knights, eager for pilgrimages and crusades.



INTRODUCTION.--In an early chapter of our book we told how Christianity as
a system of beliefs and precepts took possession of the different nations
and tribes of Europe. We purpose in the present chapter to tell how the
Christian Church grew into a great spiritual monarchy, with the bishop of
Rome as its head.

It must be borne in mind that the bishops of Rome put forth a double
claim, namely, that they were the supreme head of the Church, and also the
rightful, divinely appointed suzerain of all temporal princes, the
"earthly king of kings." Their claim to supremacy in all spiritual matters
was very generally acknowledged throughout at least the West as early as
the sixth century, and continued to be respected by almost every one until
the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, when the nations of
Northern Europe revolted, denied the spiritual authority of the Pope, and
separated themselves from the ancient ecclesiastical empire.

The papal claim to supremacy in temporal affairs was never fully and
willingly allowed by the secular rulers of Europe; yet during a
considerable part of the Middle Ages, particularly throughout the
thirteenth century, the Pope was very generally acknowledged by kings and
princes as their superior and suzerain in temporal as well as in spiritual

EARLY ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH.--The Christian Church very early in its
history became an organized body, with a regular gradation of officers,
such as presbyters, bishops, metropolitans or archbishops, and patriarchs.
There were at first four regular patriarchates, that is, districts
superintended by patriarchs. These centred in the great cities of Rome,
Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch. Jerusalem was also made an
honorary patriarchate.

PRIMACY OF THE BISHOP OF ROME.--It is maintained by some that the
patriarchs at first had equal and coordinate powers; that is, that no one
of the patriarchs had preeminence or authority over the others. But others
assert that the bishop of Rome from the very first was regarded as above
the others in dignity and authority, and as the divinely appointed head of
the visible Church on earth.

However this may be, the pontiffs of Rome began very early to _claim_
supremacy over all other bishops and patriarchs. This claim of the Roman
pontiffs was based on several alleged grounds, the chief of which was that
the Church at Rome had been founded by St. Peter himself, the first bishop
of that capital, to whom Christ had given the keys of the kingdom of
heaven, and had further invested with superlative authority as a teacher
and interpreter of the Word by the commission, "Feed my Sheep;... feed my
Lambs," thus giving into his charge the entire flock of the Church. This
authority and preeminence conferred by the great Head of the Church upon
Peter was held to be transmitted to his successor in the holy office.

claims of the Roman bishops were greatly favored from the very first by
the spell in which the world was held by the name and prestige of imperial
Rome. Thence it had been accustomed to receive its commands in all
temporal matters; how very natural, then, that thither it should turn for
command and guidance in spiritual affairs. The Roman bishops in thus
occupying the geographical and political centre of the world enjoyed a
great advantage over all other bishops and patriarchs.

Nor was this advantage lost when misfortune befell the imperial city. Thus
the removal by Constantine the Great of the seat of government to the
Bosporus (see p. 332), instead of diminishing the power and dignity of the
Roman bishops, tended powerfully to promote their claims and authority. In
the phrase of Dante, it "gave the Shepherd room." It left the pontiff the
foremost personage of Rome.

Again, when the barbarians came, there came another occasion for the Roman
bishops to increase their influence, and to raise themselves to a position
of absolute supremacy throughout the West. Rome's extremity was their
opportunity. Thus it will be recalled how, mainly through the intercession
of Leo the Great, the fierce Attila was persuaded to turn back and leave
Rome unpillaged; and how, through the intercession of the same pious
bishop, the savage Genseric was prevailed upon to spare the lives of the
inhabitants of the city at the time of its sack by the Vandals (see pp.
346, 347). So when the emperors, the natural defenders of the capital,
were unable to protect it, the unarmed pastor was able, through the awe
and reverence inspired by his holy office, to render services that could
not but result in bringing increased honor and dignity to the Roman See.

But if the misfortunes of Rome tended to the enhancement of the reputation
and influence of the Roman bishops, much more did the final downfall of
the capital tend to the same end. Upon the surrender of the sovereignty of
the West into the hands of the emperor of the East, the bishops of Rome
became the most important persons in Western Europe, and being so far
removed from the court at Constantinople, gradually assumed almost
imperial powers. They became the arbiters between the barbarian chiefs and
the Italians, and to them were referred for decision the disputes arising
between cities, states, and kings. It is easy to understand how directly
and powerfully these things tended to strengthen the authority and
increase the influence of the Roman See.

THE MISSIONS OF ROME.--Again, the early missionary zeal of the church at
Rome made her the mother of many churches, all of whom looked up to her
with affectionate and grateful loyalty. Thus the Angles and Saxons, won to
the faith by the missionaries of Rome, conceived a deep veneration for the
Holy See and became her most devoted children. To Rome it was that they
made their most frequent pilgrimages, and thither they sent their offering
of "St. Peter's penny." And when the Saxons became missionaries to their
pagan kinsmen of the continent, they transplanted into the heart of
Germany these same feelings of filial attachment and love. Thus was Rome
exalted in the eyes of the children of the churches of the West, until
Gregory II. (715-731), writing the Eastern emperor, could say that to
these peoples the very statue of the founder of the Roman church seemed "a
god on earth."

THE ICONOCLASTS.--The dispute about the worship of images, known in church
history as the Iconoclastic controversy, which broke out in the eighth
century between the Greek churches of the East and the Latin churches of
the West, drew after it far-reaching consequences as respects the growing
power of the Roman pontiffs.

Even long before the seventh century, the churches both in the East and in
the West had become crowded with images or pictures of the apostles,
saints, and martyrs, which to the ignorant classes at least were objects
of adoration and worship. A strong party opposed to the use of images
[Footnote: The so-called images of the Greek Church were not statues, but
mosaics, or paintings. The Eastern Church has at no period sanctioned the
use of sculptures in worship.] at last arose in the East. These reformers
were given the name of Iconoclasts (image-breakers).

Leo the Isaurian, who came to the throne of Constantinople in 717, was a
most zealous Iconoclast. The Greek churches of the East having been
cleared of images, the emperor resolved to clear also the Latin churches
of the West of these symbols. To this end he issued a decree that they
should not be used.

The bishop of Rome not only opposed the execution of the edict, but by the
ban of excommunication cut off the emperor and all the iconoclastic
churches of the East from communion with the true Catholic Church. Though
images were permanently restored in the Eastern churches in 842, still by
this time other causes of alienation had arisen, and the breach between
the two sections of Christendom could not now be closed. The final outcome
was the permanent separation, about the middle of the eleventh century, of
the churches of the East from those of the West. The former became known
as the Greek, Byzantine, or Eastern Church; the latter as the Latin,
Roman, or Catholic Church.

The East was thus lost to the Roman See. But the loss was more than made
good by fresh accessions of power in the West. In this quarrel with the
Eastern emperors the Roman bishops cast about for an alliance with some
powerful Western prince. We have already told the story of the friendship
of the Carolingian kings and the Roman pontiffs, and of the favors they
exchanged (see ch. xxxvii). Never did friends render themselves more
serviceable to each other. The Popes made the descendants of Charles
Martel kings and emperors; the grateful Frankish princes defended the
Popes against all their enemies, imperial and barbarian, and dowering them
with cities and provinces, laid the basis of their temporal sovereignty,
which continued for more than a thousand years (until 1870).

the principle, held from early times by the Church, that ecclesiastics
should be amenable only to the ecclesiastical tribunals, by freeing the
whole body of the clergy from the jurisdiction of the temporal courts, in
criminal as well as civil cases. Gradually the bishops acquired the right
to try all cases relating to marriage, trusts, perjury, simony, or
concerning widows, orphans, or crusaders, on the ground that such cases
had to do with religion. Even the right to try all criminal cases was
claimed on the ground that all crime is sin, and hence can properly be
dealt with only by the Church. Persons convicted by the ecclesiastical
tribunals were subjected to penance, imprisoned in the monasteries, or
handed over to the civil authorities for punishment.

Thus by the end of the twelfth century the Church had absorbed, not only
the whole criminal administration of the clergy, but in part that of the
laity also. [Footnote: Hallam, _Middle Ages_, ch. vii.] Now the particular
feature of this enormous extension of the jurisdiction of the Church
tribunals which at present it especially concerns us to notice, is the
establishment of the principle that all cases might be appealed or cited
from the courts of the bishops and archbishops of the different European
countries to the Papal See, which thus became the court of last resort in
all cases affecting ecclesiastics or concerning religion. The Pope thus
came to be regarded as the fountain of justice, and, in theory at least,
the supreme judge of Christendom, while emperors and kings and all civil
magistrates bore the sword simply as his ministers to carry into effect
his sentences and decrees.

THE PAPACY AND THE EMPIRE.--We must now speak of the relation of the Popes
to the Emperors. About the middle of the tenth century Otto the Great of
Germany, like a second Charlemagne, restored once more the fallen Imperial
power, which now became known as the Holy Roman Empire, the heads of which
from this on were the German kings (see p. 502). Here now were two world-
powers, the Empire and the Papacy, whose claims and ambitions were
practically antagonistic and irreconcilable.

There were three different theories of the divinely constituted relation
of the "World-King" and the "World-Priest." The first was that Pope and
Emperor were each independently commissioned by God, the first to rule the
spirits of men, the second to rule their bodies. Each reigning thus by
original divine right, neither is set above the other, but both are to
cooperate and to help each other. The special duty of the temporal power
is to maintain order in the world and to be the protector of the Church.

The second theory, the one held by the Imperial party, was that the
Emperor was superior to the Pope. Arguments from Scripture and from the
transactions of history were not wanting to support this view of the
relation of the two world-powers. Thus Christ's payment of tribute money
was cited as proof that he regarded the temporal power as superior to the
spiritual; and again, his submission to the jurisdiction of the Roman
tribunal was held to be a recognition on his part of the supremacy of the
civil authority. Further, the gifts of Pepin and Charlemagne to the Roman
See made the Popes, it was maintained, the vassals of the Emperors.

The third theory, the one held by the Papal party, maintained that the
ordained relation of the two powers was the subordination of the temporal
to the spiritual authority. This view was maintained by such texts of
Scripture as these: "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he
himself is judged of no man;" [Footnote: 1 Cor. ii. 15.] "See, I have this
day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to
pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant."
[Footnote: Jer. i. 10.] The conception was further illustrated by such
comparisons as the following. As God has set in the heavens two lights,
the sun and the moon, so has he established on earth two powers, the
spiritual and the temporal; but as the moon is inferior to the sun and
receives its light from it, so is the Emperor inferior to the Pope and
receives all power from him. Again, the two authorities were likened to
the soul and body; as the former rules over the latter, so is it ordered
that the spiritual power shall rule over and subject the temporal.

The first theory was the impracticable dream of lofty souls who forgot
that men are human. Christendom was virtually divided into two hostile
camps, the members of which were respectively supporters of the Imperial
and the Papal theory. The most interesting and instructive chapters of
mediæval history after the tenth century are those that record the
struggles between Pope and Emperor, springing from their efforts to reduce
to practice these irreconcilable theories. [Footnote: For a most admirable
presentation of this whole subject, consult Bryce's _The Holy Roman





FEUDALISM DEFINED.--Feudalism is the name given to a special form of
society and government, based upon a peculiar military tenure of land
which prevailed in Europe during the latter half of the Middle Ages,
attaining, however, its most perfect development in the eleventh, twelfth,
and thirteenth centuries.

A feudal estate, which might embrace a few acres or an entire province,
was called a _fief_, or _feud_, whence the term Feudalism. The person
granting a fief was called the _suzerain_, _liege_, or _lord;_ the one
receiving it, his _vassal_, _liegeman_, or _retainer_.

THE IDEAL SYSTEM.--The few definitions given above will render
intelligible the following explanation of the theory of the Feudal System.

In theory, all the soil of the country was held by the king as a fief from
God (in practice, the king's title was his good sword), granted on
conditions of fealty to right and justice. Should the king be unjust or
wicked, he forfeited the kingdom, and it might be taken from him and given
to another. According to Papal theorists it was the Pope who, as God's
vicar on earth, had the right to pronounce judgment against a king, depose
him, and put another in his place.

In the same way that the king received his fief from God, so he might
grant it out in parcels to his chief men, they, in return for it,
promising, in general, to be faithful to him as their lord, and to serve
and aid him. Should these men, now vassals, be in any way untrue to their
engagement, they forfeited their fiefs, and these might be resumed by
their suzerain and bestowed upon others.

In like manner these immediate vassals of the king or suzerain might
parcel out their domains in smaller tracts to others, on the same
conditions as those upon which they had themselves received theirs; and so
on down through any number of stages.

We have thus far dealt only with the soil of a country. We must next
notice what disposition was made of the people under this system.

The king in receiving his fief was intrusted with sovereignty over all
persons living upon it: he became their commander, their lawmaker, and
their judge--in a word, their absolute and irresponsible ruler. Then, when
he parcelled out his fief among his great men, he invested them, within
the limits of the fiefs granted, with all his own sovereign rights. Each
vassal became a virtual sovereign in his own domain. And when these great
vassals divided their fiefs and granted them to others, they in turn
invested their vassals with those powers of sovereignty with which they
themselves had been clothed. Thus every holder of a fief became "monarch
of all he surveyed."

To illustrate the workings of the system, we will suppose the king or
suzerain to be in need of an army. He calls upon his own immediate vassals
for aid; these in turn call upon their vassals; and so the order runs down
through the various ranks of retainers. The retainers in the lowest rank
rally around their respective lords, who, with their bands, gather about
their lords, and so on up through the rising tiers of the system, until
the immediate vassals of the suzerain, or chief lord, present themselves
before him with their graduated trains of followers. The array constitutes
a feudal army,--a splendidly organized body in theory, but in fact an
extremely poor instrument for warfare.

Such was the ideal feudal state. It is needless to say that the ideal was
never perfectly realized. The system simply made more or less distant
approaches to it in the several European countries.

ROMAN AND TEUTONIC ELEMENTS IN THE SYSTEM.--Like many another institution
that grew up on the conquered soil of the empire. Feudalism was of a
composite character; that is, it contained both Roman and Teutonic
elements. The spirit of the institution was barbarian, but the form was
classical. We might illustrate the idea we are trying to convey, by
referring to the mediæval papal church. It, while Hebrew in spirit, was
Roman in form. It had shaped itself upon the model of the empire, and was
thoroughly imperial in its organization. Thus was it with Feudalism.
Beneath the Roman garb it assumed, beat a German life.

THE CEREMONY OF HOMAGE.--A fief was conferred by a very solemn and
peculiar ceremony called homage. The person about to become a vassal,
kneeling with uncovered head, placed his hands in those of his future
lord, and solemnly vowed to be henceforth his man (Latin _homo_, whence
"homage"), and to serve him faithfully even with his life. This part of
the ceremony, sealed with a kiss, was what properly constituted the
ceremony of homage. It was accompanied by an oath of fealty, and the
whole was concluded by the act of investiture, whereby the lord put his
vassal in actual possession of the land, or by placing in his hand a clod
of earth or a twig, symbolized the delivery to him of the estate for which
he had just now done homage and sworn fealty.

THE RELATIONS OF LORD AND VASSAL.--In general terms the duty of the vassal
was service; that of the lord, protection. The most honorable service
required of the vassal, and the one most willingly rendered in a martial
age, was military aid. The liegeman must always be ready to follow his
lord upon his military expeditions; he must defend his lord in battle; if
he should be unhorsed, must give him his own animal; and, if he should be
made a prisoner, must offer himself as a hostage for his release.

Among other incidents attaching to a fief were _escheat_, _forfeiture_,
and _aids_. By Escheat was meant the falling back of the fief into the
hands of the lord through failure of heirs. If the fief lapsed through
disloyalty or other misdemeanor on the part of the vassal, this was known
as Forfeiture. Aids were sums of money which the lord had a right to
demand, in order to defray the expense of knighting his eldest son, of
marrying his eldest daughter, or for ransoming his own person in case of

The chief return that the lord was bound to make to the vassal as a
compensation for these various services, was counsel and protection--by no
means a small return in an age of turmoil and insecurity.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE FEUDAL SYSTEM.--After the death of Charlemagne and the
partition of his great empire among his feeble successors, it seemed as
though the world was again falling back into chaos. The bonds of society
seemed entirely broken. The strong oppressed the weak; the nobles became
highway-robbers and marauders.

It was this distracted state of things that, during the ninth and tenth
centuries, caused the rapid development of the Feudal System. It was the
only form of social organization, the only form of government that it was
practicable to maintain in that rude, transitional age. All classes of
society, therefore, hastened to enter the system, in order to secure the
protection which it alone could afford. Kings, princes, and wealthy
persons who had large landed possessions which they had never parcelled
out as fiefs, were now led to do so, that their estates might be held by
tenants bound to protect them by all the sacred obligations of homage and
fealty. Again, the smaller proprietors who held their estates by allodial
tenure voluntarily surrendered them into the hands of some neighboring
lord, and then received them again from him as fiefs, that they might
claim protection as vassals. They deemed this better than being robbed of
their property altogether. Thus it came that almost all the allodial lands
of France, Germany, Italy, and Northern Spain were, during the ninth,
tenth, and eleventh centuries, converted into feudal estates, or fiefs.

Moreover, for like reasons and in like manner, churches, monasteries, and
cities became members of the Feudal System. They granted out their vast
possessions as fiefs, and thus became suzerains and lords. Bishops and
abbots became the heads of great bands of retainers, and led military
expeditions, like temporal chiefs. On the other hand, these same
monasteries and towns, as a means of security and protection, did homage
to some powerful lord, and thus came in vassalage to him.

In this way were Church and State, all classes of society from the
wealthiest suzerain to the humblest tenant, bound together by feudal ties.
Everything was impressed with the stamp of Feudalism.

CLASSES OF FEUDAL SOCIETY.--Besides the nobility, or the landed class,
there were under the Feudal System three other classes, namely,
_freemen_, _serfs_ or _villeins_, and _slaves._ These lower classes made
up the great bulk of the population of a feudal state. The freemen were
the inhabitants of chartered towns, and in some countries the yeomanry, or
small farmers, who did not hold their lands by a regular feudal tenure.
The serfs, or villeins, were the laborers who cultivated the ground. The
peculiarity of their condition was that they were not allowed to move from
the estate where they lived, and when the land was sold they passed with
it just like any fixture. The slaves constituted a still lower class made
up of captives in war or of persons condemned to bondage as a penalty for
crime. These chattel slaves, however, almost disappeared before the
thirteenth century, being converted into the lowest order of serfs, which
was a step toward freedom.

CASTLES OF THE NOBLES.--The lawless and violent character of the times
during which Feudalism prevailed is well shown by the nature of the
residences of the nobles. These were strong stone fortresses, usually
perched upon some rocky eminence, and defended by moats and towers.
France, Germany, Italy, Northern Spain, England, and Scotland, in which
countries the Feudal System became most thoroughly developed, fairly
bristled with these fortified residences of the nobility. One of the most
striking and picturesque features of the scenery of many districts of
Europe at the present time is the ivy-mantled towers and walls of these
feudal castles, now falling into ruins.

CAUSES OF THE DECAY OF FEUDALISM.--Chief among the various causes which
undermined and at length overthrew Feudalism, were the hostility to the
system of the kings and the common people, the Crusades, the revolt of the
cities, and the introduction of fire-arms in the art of war.


The Feudal System was hated and opposed by both the royal power and the
people. Kings opposed it and sought to break it down, because it left them
only the semblance of power. The people always hated it for the reason
that under it they were regarded as of less value than the game in the
lord's hunting-park.

The Crusades, or Holy Wars, that agitated all Europe during the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries did much to weaken the power of the nobles; for
in order to raise money for their expeditions, they frequently sold or
mortgaged their estates, and in this way power and influence passed into
the hands of the kings or of the wealthy merchants of the cities. Many of
the great nobles also perished in battle with the Infidels, and their
lands escheated to their suzerain, whose domains were thus augmented.  The
growth of the towns also tended to the same end. As they increased in
wealth and influence, they became able to resist the exactions and tyranny
of the lord in whose fief they happened to be, and eventually were able to
secede, as it were, from his authority, and to make of themselves little
republics (see p. 464).

Again, the use of gunpowder in war hastened the downfall of Feudalism, by
rendering the yeoman foot-soldier equal to the armor-clad knight. "It made
all men of the same height." as Carlyle puts it.

But it is to be noted that, though Feudalism as a system of government
virtually disappeared during the latter part of the mediæval age, it still
continued to exist as a social organization. The nobles lost their power
and authority as rulers and magistrates, as petty sovereigns, but retained
generally their titles, privileges, and social distinctions.

DEFECTS OF THE FEUDAL SYSTEM.--Feudalism was perhaps the best form of
social organization that it was possible to maintain in Europe during the
mediæval period; yet it had many and serious defects, which rendered it
very far from being a perfect social or political system. Among its chief
faults may be pointed out the two following. First, it rendered impossible
the formation of strong national governments. Every country was divided
and subdivided into a vast number of practically independent
principalities. Thus, in the tenth century France was partitioned among
nearly two hundred overlords, all exercising equal and coordinate powers
of sovereignty. The enormous estates of these great lords were again
divided into about 70,000 smaller fiefs.

In theory, as we have seen, the holders of these petty estates were bound
to serve and obey their overlords, and these great nobles were in turn the
sworn vassals of the French king. But many of these lords were richer and
stronger than the king himself, and if they chose to cast off their
allegiance to him, he found it impossible to reduce them to obedience.

A second evil of the institution was its exclusiveness. It was, in theory,
only the person of noble birth that could become the holder of a fief. The
feudal lords constituted a proud and oppressive aristocracy. It was only
as the lower classes in the different countries gradually wrested from the
feudal nobility their special and unfair privileges, that a better form of
society arose, and civilization began to make more rapid progress.

GOOD RESULTS OF THE SYSTEM.--The most noteworthy of the good results
springing from the Feudal System was the development among its privileged
members of that individualism, that love of personal independence, which
we have seen to be a marked trait of the Teutonic character (see p. 369).
Turbulent, violent, and refractory as was the feudal aristocracy of
Europe, it performed the grand service of keeping alive during the later
mediæval period the spirit of liberty. It prevented Royalty from becoming
as despotic as it would otherwise have become. Thus in England, for
instance, the feudal lords held such tyrannical rulers as King John in
check, until such time as the yeomen and the burghers were bold enough and
strong enough alone to resist their despotically inclined sovereigns. In
France, where, unfortunately, the power of the feudal nobles was broken
too soon,--before the common people, the Third Estate, were prepared to
take up the struggle for liberty,--the result was the growth of that
autocratic, despotic Royalty which led the French people to the Revolution
and the Reign of Terror.

Another of the good effects of Feudalism was the impulse it gave to
certain forms of polite literature. Just as learning and philosophy were
fostered by the seclusion of the cloister, so were poetry and romance
fostered by the open and joyous hospitalities of the baronial hall. The
castle door was always open to the wandering singer and story-teller, and
it was amidst the scenes of festivity within that the ballads and romances
of mediæval minstrelsy and literature had their birth.

Still another service which Feudalism rendered to civilization was the
development within the baronial castle of those ideas and sentiments--
among others, a nice sense of honor and an exalted consideration for the
female sex--which found their noblest expression in Chivalry, of which
institution and its good effects upon the social life of Europe we shall
now proceed to speak.


defined as the "Flower of Feudalism." It was a military institution, or
order, the members of which, called _knights_, were pledged to the
protection of the church, and to the defence of the weak and the
oppressed. Although the germs of the system may be found in society before
the age of Charlemagne, still Chivalry did not assume its distinctive
character until the eleventh century, and died out during the fifteenth.

[Illustration: A KNIGHT IN FULL ARMOR. (Drawing by Alphonse de Neuville.)]

Chivalry seems to have had France for its cradle. That country at least
was its true home. There it was that it exhibited its most complete and
romantic development. Yet its influence was felt everywhere and in
everything. It colored all the events and enterprises of the latter half
of the Middle Ages. The literature of the period is instinct with its
spirit. The Crusades, or Holy Wars, the greatest undertakings of the
mediæval ages, were predominantly enterprises of the Christian chivalry of

TRAINING OF THE KNIGHT.--When Chivalry had once become established, all
the sons of the nobility, save such as were to enter the holy orders of
the Church, were set apart and disciplined for its service. The sons of
the poorer nobles were usually placed in the family of some superior lord
of renown and wealth, whose castle became a sort of school, where they
were trained in the duties and exercises of knighthood.

This education began at the early age of seven, the youth bearing the name
of page or varlet until he attained the age of fourteen, when he acquired
the title of squire or esquire. At the age of twenty-one the squire became
a knight, being then introduced to the order of knighthood by a peculiar
and impressive service. After a long fast and vigil, the candidate
listened to a lengthy sermon on his duties as a knight. Then kneeling, as
in the feudal ceremony of homage, before the lord conducting the services,
he vowed to defend religion and the ladies, to succor the distressed, and
ever to be faithful to his companion knights. His arms were now given to
him, and his sword was girded on, when the lord, striking him with the
flat of his sword on the shoulders or the neck, said, "In the name of God,
of St. Michael, and of St. George, I dub thee knight: be brave, bold, and


Sometimes knighthood was conferred with less ceremony upon the battle-
field, as the reward of signal bravery or address.

THE TOURNAMENT.--The tournament was the favorite amusement of the age of
Chivalry. It was a mimic battle between two companies of noble knights,
armed usually with pointless swords or blunted lances. In the universal
esteem in which the participants were held, it reminds us of the Sacred
Games of the Greeks; while in the fierce and sanguinary character it
sometimes assumed, especially before it was brought fully under the spirit
of Chivalry, it recalls the gladiatorial combats of the Roman

[Illustration: A TOURNAMENT.]

DECLINE OF CHIVALRY.--The fifteenth century was the evening of Chivalry.
The decline of the system resulted from the operation of the same causes
that effected the overthrow of Feudalism. The changes in the mode of
warfare which helped to do away with the feudal baron and his mail-clad
retainers, likewise tended to destroy knight errantry. And then as
civilization advanced, new feelings and sentiments began to claim the
attention, and to work upon the imagination of men. Governments, too,
became more regular, and the increased order and security of society
rendered less needful the services of the gallant knight in behalf of
distressed maidens.

INFLUENCE OF CHIVALRY.--The system of Chivalry had many vices, chief among
which were its exclusive, aristocratic tendencies. An indignant writer
declares that "it is not probable that the knights supposed they could be
guilty of injustice to the lower classes." These were regarded with
indifference or contempt, and considered as destitute of any claims upon
those of noble birth as were beasts of burden or the game of the chase. It
is always the young and beautiful lady of gentle birth whose wrongs the
valiant knight is risking his life to avenge, always the smiles of the
"queen of love and beauty" for which he is splintering his lance in the
fierce tournament. The fostering of this aristocratic spirit was one of
the most serious faults of Chivalry.

But to speak of the beneficial, refining influences of Chivalry, we should
say that it undoubtedly contributed powerfully to lift that sentiment of
respect for the gentler sex that characterized all the Northern nations,
into that reverence for womanhood which forms one of the distinguishing
characteristics of the present age.

Again, Chivalry did much towards producing that type of manhood among us
which we rightly think to surpass any ever formed under the influences of
antiquity. Just as Christianity gave to the world an ideal manhood which
it was to strive to realize, so did Chivalry hold up an ideal to which men
were to conform their lives. Men, indeed, have never perfectly realized
either the ideal of Christianity or that of Chivalry; but the influence
which these two ideals have had in shaping and giving character to the
lives of men cannot be overestimated. Together, through the enthusiasm and
effort awakened for their realization, they produced a new type of
manhood, which we indicate by the phrase "a knightly and Christian

Tapestry.) ]



INTRODUCTORY.--The history of the Normans--the name, it will be recalled,
of the transformed Scandinavians who settled in Northern Gaul (see p.
4l3)--is simply a continuation of the story of the Northmen. The most
important of the enterprises of the Normans, and one followed by
consequences of the greatest magnitude not only to the conquered people,
but indirectly to the world, was their conquest of England. [Footnote: Not
long before the Normans conquered England, they succeeded in gaining a
foothold in the south of Italy, where they established a sort of republic,
which ultimately included the island of Sicily. The fourth president of
the commonwealth was the celebrated Robert Guiscard (d. 1085), who spread
the renown of the Norman name throughout the Mediterranean lands. This
Norman state, converted finally into a kingdom, lasted until late in the
twelfth century (1194).]

EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE CONQUEST.--In the year 1066 Edward the Confessor
died, in whose person, it will be recalled, the old English line was
restored after the Danish usurpation (see p. 412). Immediately the Witan,
that is, the assembly of the chief men of the nation, in accordance with
the dying wish of the king, chose Harold, Earl of the West Saxons, son of
the famous Godwin, and the best and strongest man in all England, to be
his successor.

When the news of the action of the Witan and of Harold's acceptance of the
English crown was carried across the channel to William, Duke of Normandy,
he was really or feignedly transported with rage. He declared that Edward,
who was his cousin, had during his lifetime promised the throne to him,
and that Harold had assented to this, and by solemn oath engaged to
sustain him. He now demanded of Harold that he surrender to him the
usurped throne, threatening the immediate invasion of the island in case
he refused. King Harold answered the demand by expelling from the country
the Normans who had followed Edward into the kingdom, and by collecting
fleets and armies for the defence of his dominions.

While Harold was watching the southern coasts against the Normans, a
Danish host appeared in the north, led by Tostig, the traitor brother of
the English king, and Harold Hardrada, king of Norway. The English army in
that quarter, attempting to withstand the invaders, was cut to pieces; and
the important city of York fell into the hands of the Northmen. As soon as
news of this disaster was borne to King Harold in the south, he instantly
marched northward with his army, and at Stamford Bridge met the invaders,
and there gained a decisive victory over them.

THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS (1066).--The festivities that followed the victory
of Stamford Bridge were not yet ended, when a messenger from the south
brought to Harold intelligence of the landing of the Normans. Hurrying
southward with his army, Harold came face to face with the forces of
William at Senlac, a short distance from the port of Hastings.

The battle soon opened--the battle that was to determine the fate of
England. It was begun by a horseman riding out from the Norman lines and
advancing alone toward the English army, tossing up his sword and
skilfully catching it as it fell, and singing all the while the stirring
battle-song of Charlemagne and Roland (see p. 405). The English watched
with astonishment this exhibition of "careless dexterity," and if they did
not contrast the vivacity and nimbleness of the Norman foe with their own
heavy and clumsy manners, others at least have not failed to do so for

The battle once joined, the conflict was long and terrific. The day
finally went against the English. Harold fell, pierced through the eye by
an arrow; and William was master of the field (1066).

The conqueror now marched upon London, and at Westminster Abbey, on
Christmas Day, 1066, was crowned and anointed king of England.

[ILLUSTRATION: BATTLE OF HASTINGS. (From the Bayeux Tapestry.)]

THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE LAND.--Almost the first act of William after he
had established his power in England was to fulfil his promise to the
nobles who had aided him in his enterprise, by distributing among them the
unredeemed [Footnote: "When the lands of all those who had fought for
Harold were confiscated, those who were willing to acknowledge William
were allowed to redeem theirs, either paying money at once, or giving
hostages for the payment."--Stubbs, Const. Hist. I. 258.] estates of the
English who had fought at Hastings in defence of their king and country.
Large as was the number of these confiscated estates, there would have
been a lack of land to satisfy all, had not subsequent uprisings against
the authority of William afforded him an opportunity to confiscate almost
all the soil of England as forfeited by treason.

Profiting by the lesson taught by the wretched condition of France, which
country was kept in a state of constant turmoil by a host of feudal chiefs
and lords many of whom were almost or quite as powerful as the king
himself, William took care that in the distribution no feudatory should
receive an entire shire, save in two or three exceptional cases. To the
great lord to whom he must needs give a large fief, he granted, not a
continuous tract of land, but several estates, or manors, scattered in
different parts of the country, in order that there might be no dangerous
concentration of property or power in the hands of the vassal. He also
required of all the sub-vassals of the realm, in addition to their oath of
allegiance to their own lord, an oath of fealty to the crown. This was a
most important modification of feudal custom. On the Continent, the sub-
tenant swore allegiance to his own lord simply, and was in duty bound to
aid him in all his wars, even in one against the sovereign. But the oath
of allegiance to himself exacted by William of all holders of fiefs, just
reversed this, and made it the first duty of the sub-vassal, even in the
case of a war between his lord and the king, to follow and obey the king.
Furthermore, William denied to his feudatories the right of coining money
or making laws; and by other wise restrictions upon their power, he saved
England from those endless contentions and petty wars that were
distracting almost every other country of Europe.

THE NORMAN SUCCESSORS OF THE CONQUEROR.--For nearly three-quarters of a
century after the death of William the Conqueror, England was ruled by
Norman kings. [Footnote: William II., known as Rufus "the Red" (1087-
1100); Henry I., surnamed Beauclerc, "the good scholar" (1100-1135); and
Stephen of Blois (1135-1154). William and Henry were sons, and Stephen a
grandson, of the conqueror.] The latter part of this period was a
troublous time. The succession to the crown coming into dispute, civil war
broke out. The result of the contention was a decline in the royal power,
and the ascendency of the Norman barons, who for a time made England the
scene of the same feudal anarchy that prevailed at this time upon the
Continent. Finally, in 1154, the Norman dynasty gave place to that of the
Plantagenets. Under Henry II., the first king of the new house, and an
energetic and strong ruler, the barons were again brought into proper
subjection to the crown, and many castles which had been built without
royal permission during the preceding anarchical period, and some of which
at least were little better than robbers' dens, were destroyed.

noteworthy result of the Norman Conquest of England, was the establishment
in the island of a strong centralized government. England now for the
first time became a real kingdom.

A second result of the Conquest was the founding of a new feudal
aristocracy. Even to this day there is a great preponderance of Norman
over English blood in the veins of the nobility of England.

A third result was the bringing of England into more intimate relations
with the nations of continental Europe, by which means her advance in art,
science, and general culture was greatly promoted.





GENERAL STATEMENT.--The Crusades were great military expeditions
undertaken by the Christian nations of Europe for the purpose of rescuing
from the hands of the Mohammedans the holy places of Palestine. They were
eight in number, the first four being sometimes called the Principal
Crusades, and the remaining four the Minor Crusades. Besides these there
were a Children's Crusade, and several other expeditions, which, being
insignificant in numbers or results, are not usually enumerated.

CAUSES OF THE CRUSADES.--Among the early Christians it was thought a pious
and meritorious act to undertake a journey to some sacred place.
Especially was it thought that a pilgrimage to the land that had been trod
by the feet of the Saviour of the world, to the Holy City that had
witnessed his martyrdom, was a peculiarly pious undertaking, and one which
secured for the pilgrim the special favor and blessing of Heaven.

The Saracen caliphs, for the four centuries and more that they held
possession of Palestine, pursued usually an enlightened policy towards the
pilgrims, even encouraging pilgrimages as a source of revenue. But in the
eleventh century the Seljukian Turks, a prominent Tartar tribe, zealous
proselytes of Islam, wrested from the caliphs almost all their Asiatic
possessions. The Christians were not long in realizing that power had
fallen into new hands. Pilgrims were insulted and persecuted in every way.
The churches in Jerusalem were destroyed or turned into stables.

Now, if it were a meritorious thing to make a pilgrimage to the Holy
Sepulchre, much more would it be a pious act to rescue the sacred spot
from the profanation of infidels. This was the conviction that changed the
pilgrim into a warrior,--this the sentiment that for two centuries and
more stirred the Christian world to its profoundest depths, and cast the
population of Europe in wave after wave upon Asia.

Although this religious feeling was the principal cause of the Crusades,
still there was another concurring cause which must not be overlooked.
This was the restless, adventurous spirit of the Teutonic peoples of
Europe, who had not as yet outgrown their barbarian instincts. The feudal
knights and lords, just now animated by the rising spirit of chivalry,
were very ready to enlist in an undertaking so consonant with their
martial feelings and their new vows of knighthood.

PREACHING OF PETER THE HERMIT.--The _immediate_ cause of the First
Crusade was the preaching of Peter the Hermit, a native of Picardy, in
France. Having been commissioned by Pope Urban II. to preach a crusade,
the Hermit traversed all Italy and France, addressing everywhere, in the
church, in the street, and in the open field, the crowds that flocked
about him, moving all hearts with sympathy or firing them with
indignation, as he recited the sufferings of their brethren at the hands
of the infidels, or pictured the profanation of the holy places, polluted
by the presence and insults of the unbelievers.

THE COUNCILS OF PLACENTIA AND CLERMONT.--While Peter the Hermit had been
arousing the warriors of the West, the Turks had been making constant
advances in the East, and were now threatening Constantinople itself. The
Greek emperor (Alexius Comnenus) sent urgent letters to the Pope, asking
for aid against the infidels, representing that, unless assistance was
extended immediately, the capital with all its holy relics must soon fall
into the hands of the barbarians.

Urban called a great council of the Church at Placentia, in Italy, to
consider the appeal (1095), but nothing was effected. Later in the same
year a new council was convened at Clermont, in France, Urban purposely
fixing the place of meeting among the warm tempered and martial Franks.
The Pope himself was one of the chief speakers. He was naturally eloquent,
so that the man, the cause, and the occasion all conspired to achieve one
of the greatest triumphs of human oratory. He pictured the humiliation and
misery of the provinces of Asia; the profanation of the places made sacred
by the presence and footsteps of the Son of God; and then he detailed the
conquests of the Turks, until now, with all Asia Minor in their
possession, they were threatening Europe from the shores of the
Hellespont. "When Jesus Christ summons you to his defence," exclaimed the
eloquent pontiff, "let no base affection detain you in your homes; whoever
will abandon his house, or his father, or his mother, or his wife, or his
children, or his inheritance, for the sake of my name, shall be
recompensed a hundred-fold, and possess life eternal."

Here the enthusiasm of the vast assembly burst through every restraint.
With one voice they cried, _Dieu le volt! Dieu le volt!_ "It is the
will of God! It is the will of God!" Thousands immediately affixed the
cross to their garments, [Footnote: Hence the name Crusade given to the
Holy Wars, from old French _crois_ cross.] as a pledge of their sacred
engagement to go forth to the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre. The fifteenth
day of August of the following year was set for the departure of the

2. THE FIRST CRUSADE (1096-1099).

MUSTERING OF THE CRUSADERS.--All Western Europe now rang with the cry, "He
who will not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me." The
contagion of enthusiasm seized all classes; for while the religious
feelings of the age had been specially appealed to, all the various
sentiments of ambition, chivalry, love of license, had also been skilfully
enlisted on the side of the undertaking. The council of Clermont had
declared Europe to be in a state of peace, and pronounced anathemas
against any one who should invade the possessions of a prince engaged in
the holy war. By further edicts of the assembly, the debtor was released
from meeting his obligations while a soldier of the Cross, and during this
period the interest on his debt was to cease; and the criminal, as soon as
he assumed the badge of the crusader, was by that act instantly absolved
from all his sins of whatever nature.

Under such inducements princes and nobles, bishops and priests, monks and
anchorites, saints and sinners, rich and poor, hastened to enroll
themselves beneath the consecrated banner. "Europe," says Michaud,
"appeared to be a land of exile, which every one was eager to quit."

THE VANGUARD.--Before the regular armies of the crusaders were ready to
move, those who had gathered about Peter the Hermit, becoming impatient of
delay, urged him to place himself at their head and lead them at once to
the Holy Land. Dividing command of the mixed multitudes with a poor
knight, called Walter the Penniless, and followed by a throng of about
80,000 persons, among whom were many women and children, the Hermit set
out for Constantinople by the overland route through Germany and Hungary.
Thousands of the crusaders fell in battle with the natives of the
countries through which they marched, and thousands more perished
miserably of hunger and exposure. Those that crossed the Bosporus were
surprised by the Turks, and almost all were slaughtered. Thus perished the
forlorn hope of the First Crusade.

MARCH OF THE MAIN BODY.--Meanwhile there were gathering in the West
disciplined armies composed of men worthy to be champions of the holy
cause they had espoused. Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine, and
Tancred, "the mirror of knighthood," were among the most noted of the
leaders of the different divisions of the army. The expedition numbered
about 700,000 men, of whom fully 100,000 were mailed knights.

The crusaders traversed Europe by different routes and reassembled at
Constantinople. Crossing the Bosporus, they first captured Nicæa, the
Turkish capital, in Bithynia, and then set out across Asia Minor for
Syria. The line of their dreary march between Nicæa and Antioch was
whitened with the bones of nearly one-half their number. Arriving at
Antioch, the survivors captured that place, and then, after some delays,
pushed on towards Jerusalem.  When at length the Holy City burst upon
their view, a perfect delirium of joy seized the crusaders. They embraced
one another with tears of joy, and even embraced and kissed the ground on
which they stood. As they passed on, they took off their shoes, and
marched with uncovered head and bare feet, singing the words of the
prophet: "Jerusalem, lift up thine eyes, and behold the liberator who
comes to break thy chains."

The first assault made by the Christians upon the walls of the city was
repulsed; but the second was successful, and the city was in the hands of
the crusaders (1099). A terrible slaughter of the infidels now took place.
For seven days the carnage went on, at the end of which time scarcely any
of the Moslem faith were left alive. The Christians took possession of the
houses and property of the infidels, each soldier having a right to that
which he had first seized and placed his mark upon.

the hands of the crusaders than they set themselves to the task of
organizing a government for the city and country they had conquered. The
government which they established was a sort of feudal league, known as
the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. At its head was placed Godfrey of
Bouillon, the most valiant and devoted of the crusader knights. The prince
refused the title and vestments of royalty, declaring that he would never
wear a crown of gold in the city where his Lord and Master had worn a
crown of thorns. The only title he would accept was that of "Defender of
the Holy Sepulchre."

Many of the crusaders, considering their vows fulfilled, now set out on
their return to their homes, some making their way back by sea and some by
land. Godfrey, Tancred, and a few hundred other knights, were all that
stayed behind to maintain the conquests that had been made, and to act as
guardians of the holy places.

3. THE SECOND CRUSADE (1147-1149).

Second and the Third Crusade, the two famed religious military orders,
known as the Hospitallers and the Templars, [Footnote: The Hospitallers,
or Knights of St. John, took their name from the fact that the
organization was first formed among the monks of the Hospital of St. John,
at Jerusalem; while the Templars, or Knights of the Temple, were so called
on account of one of the buildings of the brotherhood occupying the site
of Solomon's Temple.] were formed. A little later, during the Third
Crusade, still another fraternity, known as the Teutonic Knights was
established. The objects of all the orders were the care of the sick and
wounded crusaders, the entertainment of Christian pilgrims, the guarding
of the holy places, and ceaseless battling for the Cross. These
fraternities soon acquired a military fame that was spread throughout the
Christian world. They were joined by many of the most illustrious knights
of the West, and through the gifts of the pious acquired great wealth, and
became possessed of numerous estates and castles in Europe as well as in

city of Edessa, the bulwark of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem on the side
towards Mesopotamia, was taken by the Turks, and the entire population was
slaughtered, or sold into slavery. This disaster threw the entire West
into a state of the greatest alarm, lest the little Christian state,
established at such cost of tears and suffering, should be completely
overwhelmed, and all the holy places should again fall into the hands of
the infidels.

The scenes that marked the opening of the First Crusade were now repeated
in all the countries of the West. St. Bernard, an eloquent monk, was the
second Peter the Hermit, who went everywhere, arousing the warriors of the
Cross to the defence of the birthplace of their religion. The contagion of
the holy enthusiasm seized not only barons, knights, and the common
people, which classes alone participated in the First Crusade, but kings
and emperors were now infected with the sacred frenzy. Conrad III.,
emperor of Germany, was persuaded to leave the affairs of his distracted
empire in the hands of God, and consecrate himself to the defence of the
sepulchre of Christ. Louis VII., king of France, was led to undertake the
crusade through remorse for an act of great cruelty that he had
perpetrated upon some of his revolted subjects. [Footnote: The act which
troubled the king's conscience was the burning of thirteen hundred people
in a church, whither they had fled for refuge.]

The strength of both the French and the German division of the expedition
was wasted in Asia Minor, and the crusade accomplished nothing.

4. THE THIRD CRUSADE (1189-1192).

THE THREE LEADERS.--The Third Crusade was caused by the capture of
Jerusalem (1187) by Saladin, the sultan of Egypt. Three of the great
sovereigns of Europe, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, Philip Augustus of
France, and Richard I. of England, assumed the Cross, and set out, each at
the head of a large army, for the recovery of the Holy City.

The English king, Richard, afterwards given the title of _Coeur de
Lion_, the "Lion-hearted," in memory of his heroic exploits in Palestine,
was the central figure among the Christian knights of this crusade. He
raised money for the enterprise by the persecution and robbery of the
Jews; by the imposition of an unusual tax upon all classes; and by the
sale of offices, dignities, and the royal lands. When some one
expostulated with him on the means employed to raise money, he declared
that "he would sell the city of London, if he could find a purchaser."

the overland route, was consumed in Asia Minor by the hardships of the
march and the swords of the Turks. The Emperor Frederick, according to the
most probable accounts, was drowned while crossing a swollen stream, and
the most of the survivors of his army, disheartened by the loss of their
leader, returned to Germany.

The English and French kings finally mustered their forces beneath the
walls of Acre, which city the Christians were then besieging. It is
estimated that 600,000 men were engaged in the investment of the place.
After one of the longest and most costly sieges they ever carried on in
Asia, the crusaders at last forced the place to capitulate, in spite of
all the efforts of Saladin to render the garrison relief.

RICHARD AND SALADIN.--The knightly adventures and chivalrous exploits
which mark the career of Richard in the Holy Land read like a romance. Nor
was the chief of the Mohammedans, the renowned Saladin, lacking in any of
those knightly virtues with which the writers of the time invested the
character of the English hero. At one time, when Richard was sick with a
fever, Saladin, knowing that he was poorly supplied with delicacies, sent
him a gift of the choicest fruits of the land. And on another occasion,
Richard's horse having been killed in battle, the sultan caused a fine
Arabian steed to be led to the Christian camp as a present for his rival.

For two years did Richard the Lion-hearted vainly contend in almost daily
combat with his generous antagonist for the possession of the tomb of
Christ. He finally concluded a truce of three years and eight months with
Saladin, which provided that the Christians during that period should have
free access to the holy places, and remain in undisturbed possession of
the coast from Jaffa to Tyre.

5. THE FOURTH CRUSADE (1202-1204).

CAPTURE OF CONSTANTINOPLE BY THE LATINS.--None of the Crusades after the
Third effected much in the Holy Land; either their force was spent before
reaching it, or they were diverted from their purpose by different objects
and ambitions.

The crusaders of the Fourth expedition captured Constantinople instead of
Jerusalem. The circumstances were these: A usurper had seized upon the
Byzantine throne. The rightful claimant, Alexius, besought the aid of the
Frankish warriors to regain the sceptre. The Christian knights listened
favorably to his appeals. The Venetians, in consideration of a share of
the conquests that might be made, also joined their forces to those of the
crusaders. Constantinople was taken by storm, and Alexius was invested
with the Imperial authority.

Scarcely was Alexius seated upon the throne, before the turbulent Greeks
engaged in a revolt which resulted in his death. The crusaders now
resolved to take possession of the capital, and set a Latin prince on the
throne of Constantine. The determination was carried out. Constantinople
was taken a second time by storm, and sacked, and Baldwin, Count of
Flanders, was crowned Emperor of the East.

The Latin empire thus established lasted only a little over half a century
(1204-1261). The Greeks, at the end of this period, succeeded in regaining
the throne, which they then held until the capture of Constantinople by
the Turks in 1453.


THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE (1212).--During the interval between the Fourth and
the Fifth Crusade, the epidemical fanaticism that had so long agitated
Europe seized upon the children, resulting in what is known as the
Children's Crusade.

The preacher of this crusade was a child about twelve years of age, a
French peasant lad, named Stephen, who became persuaded that Jesus Christ
had commanded him to lead a crusade of children to the rescue of the Holy
Sepulchre. The children became wild with excitement, and flocked in vast
crowds to the places appointed for rendezvous. Nothing could restrain them
or thwart their purpose. "Even bolts and bars," says an old chronicler,
"could not hold them."

The movement excited the most diverse views. Some declared that it was
inspired by the Holy Spirit, and quoted such Scriptural texts as these to
justify the enthusiasm: "A child shall lead them;" "Out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings thou hast ordained praise." Others, however, were
quite as confident that the whole thing was the work of the Devil.

The great majority of those who collected at the rallying places were boys
under twelve years of age, but there were also many girls. The German
children, 50,000 in number, crossed the Alps, and marched down the Italian
shores, looking for a miraculous pathway through the Mediterranean. From
Brundusium 2000 or 3000 of the little crusaders sailed away into oblivion.
Not a word ever came back from them.

The French children--about 30,000 in number--set out from the place of
rendezvous for Marseilles. Those that sailed from that port were betrayed,
and sold as slaves in Alexandria and other Mohammedan slave markets.

This remarkable spectacle of the children's crusade affords the most
striking exhibition possible of the ignorance, superstition, and
fanaticism that characterized the period. Yet we cannot but reverence the
holy enthusiasm of an age that could make such sacrifices of innocence and
helplessness in obedience to what was believed to be the will of God.

The children's expedition marked at once the culmination and the decline
of the crusading movement. The fanatic zeal that inspired the first
crusaders was already dying out. "These children," said the Pope,
referring to the young crusaders, "reproach us with having fallen asleep,
whilst they were flying to the assistance of the Holy Land."

expeditions--the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth--undertaken by the
Christians of Europe against the infidels of the East, may be conveniently
grouped as the Minor Crusades. They were marked by a less fervid and holy
enthusiasm than that which characterized the first movements, and exhibit
among those taking part in them the greatest variety of objects and
ambitions. [Footnote: The _Fifth Crusade_ (1216-1220) was led by the
kings of Hungary and Cyprus. Its strength was wasted in Egypt, and it
resulted in nothing The _Sixth Crusade_ (1227-1229), headed by Frederick
II. of Germany, succeeded in securing from the Saracens the restoration of
Jerusalem, together with several other cities of Palestine. The _Seventh
Crusade_ (1249-1254) was under the lead of Louis IX. Of France, surnamed
the Saint. The _Eighth Crusade_ (1270-1272) was incited by the fresh
misfortunes that, towards the close of the thirteenth century, befell the
Christian kingdom in Palestine. The two principal leaders of the
expedition were Louis IX. of France, and Prince Edward of England,
afterwards Edward I. Louis directed his forces against the Moors about
Tunis, in North Africa. Here the king died of the plague. Nothing was
effected by this division of the expedition. The division led by the
English prince, was, however, more fortunate. Edward succeeded in
capturing Nazareth, and in compelling the sultan of Egypt to agree to a
treaty favorable to the Christians (1272).] The flame of the Crusades had
burned itself out, and the fate of the little Christian kingdom in Asia,
isolated from Europe, and surrounded on all sides by bitter enemies,
became each day more and more apparent. Finally the last of the places
(Acre) held by the Christians fell before the attacks of the Mamelukes of
Egypt, and with this event the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem came to an end
(1291). The second great combat between Mohammedanism and Christianity was
over, and "silence reigned along the shore that had so long resounded with
the world's debate."

RESULTS OF THE CRUSADES.--The Crusades kept all Europe in a tumult for two
centuries, and directly and indirectly cost Christendom several millions
of lives (from 2,000,000 to 6,000,000 according to different estimates),
besides incalculable expenditures in treasure and suffering. They were,
moreover, attended by all the disorder, license, and crime with which war
is always accompanied.

On the other hand, the Holy Wars were productive indirectly of so much and
lasting good that they form a most important factor in the history of the
progress of civilization. To show this to be so, we will speak briefly of
their influence upon the Church, and upon the political, the social, the
intellectual, and the material progress and development of the European

The Crusades contributed to increase the wealth of the Church and the
power of the Papacy. Thus the prominent part which the Popes took in the
enterprises naturally fostered their authority and influence, by placing
in their hands, as it were, the armies and resources of Christendom, and
accustoming the people to look to them as guides and leaders. As to the
wealth of the churches and monasteries, this was augmented enormously by
the sale to them, often for a mere fraction of their actual value, of the
estates of those preparing for the expeditions, or by the out and out gift
of the lands of such in return for prayers and pious benedictions. Again,
thousands of the crusaders, returning broken in spirits and in health,
sought an asylum in cloistral retreats, and endowed the establishments
that they entered with all their worldly goods. Besides all this, the
stream of the ordinary gifts of piety was swollen by the extraordinary
fervor of religious enthusiasm which characterized the period into
enormous proportions. In all these ways, the power of the Papacy and the
wealth of the Church were vastly augmented. [Footnote: It should be said
in regard to this increase in the riches of the Church and the authority
of the Popes, that while Catholics count this as one of the good results
of the Holy Wars, Protestants consider it as one of the evils of the
movements, urging that it led to papal tyranny and to the corruption of
monastic morals.]

As to the political effects of the Crusades, they helped to break down the
power of the feudal aristocracy, and to give prominence to the kings and
the people. Many of the nobles who set out on the expeditions never
returned, and their estates, through failure of heirs, escheated to the
Crown; while many more wasted their fortunes in meeting the expenses of
their undertaking. At the same time, the cities also gained many political
advantages at the expense of the crusading barons and princes. Ready money
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was largely in the hands of the
burgher class, and in return for the contributions and loans they made to
their overlords, or suzerains, they received charters conferring special
and valuable privileges. And under this head of the political effects of
the Crusades, it should be noticed that, in checking the advance of the
Turks, they postponed the fall of Constantinople for three centuries or
more. This gave the young Christian civilization of Germany time to
acquire sufficient strength to roll back the returning tide of Mohammedan
invasion when it broke upon Europe in the fifteenth century.

The effects of the Crusades upon the social life of the Western nations
were marked and important. Giving opportunity for romantic adventure, they
were one of the principal fostering influences of Chivalry; while by
bringing the rude peoples of the West in contact with the culture of the
East, they exerted upon them a general refining influence.

The influence of the Crusades upon the intellectual development of Europe
can hardly be overestimated. Above all, they liberalized the minds of the
crusaders. Furthermore, the knowledge of the science and learning of the
East gained by the crusaders through their expeditions, greatly stimulated
the Latin intellect, and helped to awaken in Western Europe that mental
activity which resulted finally in the great intellectual outburst known
as the Revival of Learning (see p. 471).

Among the effects of the Holy Wars upon the material development of Europe
must be mentioned the spur they gave to commercial enterprise, especially
to the trade and commerce of the Italian cities. During this period,
Venice, Pisa, and Genoa acquired great wealth and reputation through the
fostering of their trade by the needs of the crusaders, and the opening up
of the East. The Mediterranean was whitened with the sails of their
transport ships, which were constantly plying between the various ports of
Europe and the towns of the Syrian coast. Moreover, various arts,
manufactures, and inventions before unknown in Europe, were introduced
from Asia. This enrichment of the civilization of the West with the
"spoils of the East" we may allow to be emblemized by the famous bronze
horses that the crusaders carried off from Constantinople, and set up
before St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice.

Lastly, the incentive given to geographical discovery led various
travellers, such as the celebrated Italian, Marco Polo, and the scarcely
less noted Englishman, Sir John Mandeville, to explore the most remote
countries of Asia. Even that spirit of maritime enterprise and adventure
which rendered illustrious the fifteenth century, inspiring the voyages of
Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Magellan, may be traced back to that lively
interest in geographical matters awakened by the expeditions of the



INTRODUCTORY.--In a previous chapter we traced the gradual rise of the
spiritual and temporal power of the Papacy, and stated the several
theories respecting its relation to secular rulers. In the present
chapter, we purpose to follow its increasing power to the culmination of
its authority in the thirteenth century, and then to speak of some of the
circumstances that caused, or that marked, the decline of its temporal

promoters of the papal fortunes was Pope Gregory VII., perhaps better
known as Hildebrand, the most noteworthy character after Charlemagne that
the Middle Ages produced. In the year 1049 he was called from the
cloisters of a French monastery to Rome, there to become the maker and
adviser of Popes, and finally to be himself elevated to the pontifical
throne, which he held from 1073 to 1080. Being a man of great force of
character and magnificent breadth of view, he did much towards
establishing the universal spiritual and temporal sovereignty of the Holy

In carrying out his purpose of exalting the Papal See above all prelates
and princes, Gregory, as soon as he became Pope, set about two important
reforms,--the enforcement of celibacy among the secular clergy, and the
suppression of simony. By the first measure he aimed to effect not only a
much-needed moral reform, but, by separating the clergy from all the
attachments of home and neighborhood and country, to render them more
devoted to the interests of the Church.

The second reform, the correction of simony, had for its ultimate object
the freeing of the lands and offices of the Church from the control of
temporal lords and princes, and the bringing of them more completely into
the hands of the Roman bishop.

The evil of simony [Footnote: By simony is meant the purchase of an office
in the Church, the name of the offence coming from Simon Magus, who
offered Paul money for the gift of working miracles.] had grown up in the
Church in the following way: As the feudal system took possession of
European society, the Church, like individuals and cities, assumed feudal
relations. Thus, as we have already seen, abbots and bishops, as the heads
of monasteries and churches, for the sake of protection, became the
vassals of powerful barons or princes. When once a prelate had rendered
homage for his estates, or temporalities, as they were called, these
became thenceforth a permanent fief of the overlord, and upon the death of
the holder could be re-bestowed by the lord upon whomsoever he chose.
These Church estates and positions that thus came within the gift of the
temporal princes were often given to unworthy court favorites, or sold to
the highest bidder. So long as a considerable portion of the clergy
sustained this vassal relation to the feudal lords, the Papal See could
not hope to exercise any great authority over them.

To remedy the evil, Gregory issued a decree that no ecclesiastic should do
homage to a temporal lord, but that he should receive the ring and staff,
the symbols of investiture, from the hands of the Pope alone. Any one who
should dare disobey the decree was threatened with the anathemas of the

Such was the bold measure by which Gregory proposed to wrest out of the
hands of the feudal lords and princes the vast patronage and immense
revenues resulting from the relation they had gradually come to sustain to
a large portion of the lands and riches of the Church. To realize the
magnitude of the proposed revolution, we must bear in mind that the Church
at this time was in possession of probably one-half of the lands of

EXCOMMUNICATIONS AND INTERDICTS.--The principal instruments relied upon by
Gregory for the carrying out of his reforms were Excommunication and

The first was directed against individuals. The person excommunicated was
cut off from all relations with his fellow-men. If a king, his subjects
were released from their oath of allegiance. Any one providing the
accursed with food or shelter incurred the wrath of the Church. The
Interdict was directed against a city, province, or kingdom. Throughout
the region under this ban, the churches were closed; no bell could be
rung, no marriage celebrated, no burial ceremony performed. The rites of
baptism and extreme unction alone could be administered. These spiritual
punishments rarely failed during the eleventh and twelfth centuries in
bringing the most contumacious offender to a speedy and abject confession.
This will appear in the following paragraph.

GREGORY VII. AND HENRY IV. OF GERMANY.--The decree of Gregory respecting
the relation of the clergy to the feudal lords created a perfect storm of
opposition, not only among the temporal princes and sovereigns of Europe,
but also among the clergy themselves. The dispute thus begun distracted
Europe for centuries.

Gregory experienced the most formidable opposition to his reforms in
Germany. The Emperor Henry IV. refused to recognize his decree, and even
called a council of the clergy of Germany and deposed him. Gregory in turn
gathered a council at Rome, and deposed and excommunicated the emperor.
This encouraged a revolt on the part of some of Henry's discontented
subjects. He was shunned as a man accursed by heaven. His authority seemed
to have slipped entirely out of his hands, and his kingdom was on the
point of going to pieces. In this wretched state of his affairs there was
but one thing for him to do,--to go to Gregory, and humbly sue for pardon
and re-instatement in the favor of the Church.

Henry sought the Pontiff at Canossa among the Apennines. But Gregory
refused to admit the penitent to his presence. It was winter, and for
three successive days the king, clothed in sackcloth, stood with bare feet
in the snow of the court-yard of the palace, waiting for permission to
kneel at the feet of the Pontiff and to receive forgiveness. On the fourth
day the penitent king was admitted to the presence of Gregory, who re-
instated him in favor--to the extent of removing the sentence of
excommunication (1077).

Henry afterwards avenged his humiliation. He raised an army, invaded
Italy, and drove Gregory into exile at Salerno, where he died. His last
words were, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die
in exile" (1085),

But the quarrel did not end here. It was taken up by the successors of
Gregory, and Henry was again excommunicated. After maintaining a long
struggle with the power of the Church, and with his own sons, who were
incited to rebel against him, he at last died of a broken heart (1106).

THE POPES AND THE HOHENSTAUFEN EMPERORS.--In the twelfth century began the
long and fierce contention--lasting more than a hundred years--between the
Papal See and the emperors of the proud House of Hohenstaufen (see p.
504). It was simply the continuation and culmination of the struggle begun
long before to decide which should be supreme, the "world-priest" or the
"world-king." The outcome was the final triumph of the Roman bishops and
the utter ruin of the Hohenstaufen.

THE PAPACY AT ITS HEIGHT.--The authority of the Popes was at its height
during the thirteenth century. The beginning of this period of papal
splendor is marked by the accession to the pontifical throne of Innocent
III. (1198-1216), the greatest of the Popes after Gregory VII. Under him
was very nearly made good the papal claim that all earthly sovereigns were
merely vassals of the Roman Pontiff. Almost all the kings and princes of
Europe swore fealty to him as their overlord. "Rome was once more the
mistress of the world."

signal triumphs in his contest with the kings of Europe was gained over
Philip Augustus (1180-1223) of France. That king having put away his wife,
Innocent commanded him to take her back, and forced him to submission by
means of an interdict. "This submission of such a prince," says Hallam,
"not feebly superstitious like his predecessor Robert, nor vexed with
seditions, like the Emperor Henry IV., but brave, firm, and victorious, is
perhaps the proudest trophy in the scutcheon of Rome."

POPE INNOCENT III. AND KING JOHN OF ENGLAND.--Innocent's quarrel with King
John (1199-1216) of England will afford another illustration of the power
of the Popes. The See of Canterbury falling vacant, John ordered the monks
who had the right of election to give the place to a favorite of his. They
obeyed; but the Pope immediately declared the election void, and caused
the vacancy to be filled with one of his own friends, Stephen Langton.
John declared that the Pope's archbishop should never enter England as
primate, and proceeded to confiscate the estates of the See. Innocent III.
now laid all England under an interdict, excommunicated John, and incited
the French king, Philip Augustus, to undertake a crusade against the
contumacious rebel.

The outcome of the matter was that John, like the German Emperor before
him, was compelled to yield to the power of the Church. He gave back the
lands he had confiscated, acknowledged Langton to be the rightful primate
of England, and even went so far as to give England to the Pope as a
perpetual fief. In token of his vassalage he agreed to pay to the Papal
See the annual sum of 1000 marks. This tribute money was actually paid,
though with very great irregularity, until the seventeenth year of the
reign of Edward I. (1289).

THE MENDICANTS, OR BEGGING FRIARS.--The authority of the immediate
successors of Innocent III. was powerfully supported by the monastic
orders of the Dominicans and Franciscans, established early in the
thirteenth century. They were named after their respective founders, St.
Dominic (1170-1221) and St. Francis (1182-1226). The principles on which
these fraternities were established were very different from those which
had shaped all previous monastic institutions. Until now the monk had
sought cloistral solitude in order to escape from the world, and through
penance and prayer and contemplation to work out his own salvation. In the
new orders, the monk was to give himself wholly to the work of securing
the salvation of others.

Again, the orders were also as _orders_ to renounce all earthly
possessions, and, "espousing Poverty as a bride," to rely entirely for
support upon the alms of the pious. Hitherto, while the individual members
of a monastic order must affect extreme poverty, the house or fraternity
might possess any amount of communal wealth.

The new fraternities grew and spread with marvellous rapidity, and in less
than a generation they quite overshadowed all of the old monastic orders
of the Church. The Popes conferred many and special privileges upon them,
and they in turn became the staunchest friends and supporters of the Roman
See. They were to the Papacy of the thirteenth century what the later
order of the Jesuits was to the Roman Church of the seventeenth (see p.

REMOVAL OF THE PAPAL SEAT TO AVIGNON (1309).--Having now noticed some of
the most prominent circumstances and incidents that marked the gradual
advance of the bishops of Rome to almost universal political and
ecclesiastical sovereignty, we shall next direct attention to some of the
chief events that marked the decline of their temporal power, and prepared
the way for the rejection, at a later date, by a large part of
Christendom, of their spiritual authority.

One of the severest blows given both the temporal and the spiritual
authority of the Popes was the removal, in 1309, through the influence of
the French king, Philip the Fair, of the papal chair from Rome to Avignon,
in Provence, near the frontier of France. Here it remained for a space of
about seventy years, an era known in Church history as the Babylonian
Captivity. While it was established here, all the Popes were French, and
of course all their policies were shaped and controlled by the French
kings. "In that city," says Stille, "the Papacy ceased, in the eyes of a
very large part of Christendom, to possess that sacred cosmopolitan
character which no doubt had had much to do with the veneration and
respect with which the Catholic authority had been regarded."

THE GREAT SCHISM (1378).--The discontent awakened among the Italians by
the situation of the papal court at length led to an open rupture between
them and the French party. In 1378 the opposing factions each elected a
Pope, and thus there were two heads of the Church, one at Avignon and the
other at Rome.

The spectacle of two rival Popes, each claiming to be the rightful
successor of St. Peter and the sole infallible head of the Church, very
naturally led men to question the claims and infallibility of both. It
gave the reverence which the world had so generally held for the Roman See
a rude shock, and one from which it never recovered.

council of the Church assembled at Pisa, for the purpose of composing the
shameful quarrel. This council deposed both Popes, and elected Alexander
V. as the supreme head of the Church. But matters instead of being mended
hereby were only made worse; for neither of the deposed pontiffs would lay
down his authority in obedience to the demands of the council, and
consequently there were now three Popes instead of two.

In 1414 another council was called, at Constance, for the settlement of
the growing dispute. Two of the claimants were deposed, and one resigned.
A new Pope was then elected,--Pope Martin V. In his person the Catholic
world was again united under a single spiritual head. The schism was
outwardly healed, but the wound had been too deep not to leave permanent
marks upon the Church.

THE REVOLT OF THE TEMPORAL PRINCES.--Taking advantage of the declining
authority of the Papal See, the temporal rulers in France, Germany, and
England successively revolted, and freed themselves from the authority of
the Papacy as touching political or governmental affairs. But it must be
borne in mind that the princes or governments that at this time repudiated
the temporal authority of the Papal See, did not think of challenging the
claims of the Popes to recognition as the supreme head of the
_Church_, and the rightful arbiters in all _spiritual_ matters. At the
very time that they were striving to emancipate themselves from papal
control in temporal matters, they were lending the Church all their
strength to punish heresy and schism. Thus the Albigenses [Footnote: See
p. 493.] in Southern France, the Lollards [Footnote: See p. 491.] in
England, and the Hussites [Footnote: See p. 506.] in Bohemia, were
extirpated or punished by the civil authorities, acting either in
accordance with the then universal idea of how heresy should be dealt
with, or in obedience to the commands of the Roman See.



THE HUNS AND THE HUNGARIANS.--The Huns, of whom we have already told, were
the first Turanians that during historic times pushed their way in among
the peoples of Europe (see p. 345).

The next Turanian invaders of Europe that we need here notice were the
Magyars, or Hungarians, another branch of the Hunnic race, who in the
ninth century of our era succeeded in thrusting themselves far into the
continent, and establishing there the important Kingdom of Hungary. These
people, in marked contrast to almost every other tribe of Turanian origin,
adopted the manners, customs, and religion of the peoples about them--
became, in a word, thoroughly Europeanized, and for a long time were the
main defence of Christian Europe against the Turkish tribes of the same
race that followed closely in their footsteps.

THE SELJUKIAN TURKS.--The Seljukian Turks, so called from the name of one
of their chiefs, are the next Tartar people that thrust themselves
prominently upon our notice. It was the capture of the holy places in
Palestine by this intolerant race, and their threatening advance towards
the Bosporus, that alarmed the Christian nations of Europe, and led to the
First Crusade.

The blows dealt the empire of the Seljuks by the crusaders, and disputes
respecting the succession, caused the once formidable sovereignty to
crumble to pieces, only, however, to be replaced by others of equally
rapid growth, destined to as quick a decay.

THE MONGOLS OR MOGULS.--While the power of the Seljukian Turks was
declining in Western Asia, the Mongols, or Moguls, a fierce and utterly
untamed Tartar tribe that first issued from the easternmost part of
Chinese Tartary, were building up a new dynasty among the various tribes
of the central portion of the continent. In the year 1156 was born their
greatest chieftain, Temujin, afterwards named Genghis Khan, or "Universal
Sovereign," the most terrible scourge that ever afflicted the human race.
At the head of vast armies, made up of numerous Turanian hordes, he
traversed with sword and torch a great part of Asia. It is estimated that
his enormous empire was built up at the cost of fifty thousand cities and
towns and five millions of lives,--a greater waste, probably, than
resulted from all the Crusades.

The successors of Genghis Khan still farther enlarged and strengthened the
monarchy, so that it came to embrace, besides the best part of Asia, a
considerable portion of Europe as well. At length the immoderately
extended empire fell into disorder, and became broken into many petty
states. It was restored by Tamerlane, or Timour the Lame (born about
1336), a descendant of Genghis Khan. With his wild Mongolian hordes he
traversed anew almost all the countries that had been desolated by the
sanguinary marches of his predecessors. The route of the barbarians was
everywhere marked by ruined fields and burned villages.

Asia has never recovered from the terrible devastation of the Mongol
conquerors. Many districts, swarming with life, were entirely swept of
their population by these destroyers of the race, and have remained to
this day desolate as the tomb.

The immense empire of Tamerlane crumbled to pieces after his death. One of
its fragments had a remarkable history. This was the dynasty established
in India, which became known as the Kingdom of the Great Moguls. This
Mongol state lasted upwards of 300 years,--until destroyed by the English
in the present century. The magnificence of the court of the Great Moguls
at Delhi and Agra is one of the most splendid traditions of the East.


FOUNDING OF THE EMPIRE.--The latest, most permanent, and most important of
the Tartar sovereignties was established by the Ottoman Turks, who were an
offshoot of the Seljukians. Gradually this martial race seized province
after province of the Asiatic possessions of the Byzantine emperors.
Through the quarrels that were constantly distracting Constantinople, they
at last gained a foothold in Europe (1353). During the reign of Amurath I.
(1360-1389), a large part of the country known as Turkey in Europe fell
into their hands.

CONQUESTS OF BAJAZET (1389-1403).--Amurath was followed by his son Bajazet
who, by the rapid advance of his arms, spread the greatest alarm
throughout Western Europe. The warriors of Hungary, Germany, and France
united their armies to arrest his progress; but their combined forces,
numbering 100,000 men, were cut to pieces by the sabres of the Turks on
the fatal field of Nicopolis, in Bulgaria (1396). Bajazet now vowed that
he would stable his horse in the Cathedral of St. Peter at Rome, and there
seemed no power in Christendom to prevent the sacrilege.

Before proceeding to fulfil his threat, however, Bajazet turned back to
capture Constantinople, which he believed in the present despondent state
of its inhabitants would make little or no resistance. Now it happened
that just at this time Tamerlane was leading the Mongols on their career
of conquest. He directed them against the Turks in Asia Minor, and Bajazet
was forced to raise the siege of Constantinople, and hasten across the
Bosporus, to check the advance in his dominions of these new enemies. The
Turks and Mongols met upon the plains of Angora, where the former suffered
a disastrous defeat (1402). The battle of Angora checked for a time the
conquests of the Ottomans, and saved Constantinople to the Christian world
for another period of fifty years.

THE CAPTURE OF CONSTANTINOPLE (1453).--The Ottomans gradually recovered
from the blow they had received at Angora. In the year 1421 they made
another attempt upon Constantinople, but were unsuccessful. Finally, in
the year 1453, Mohammed II., the Great, sultan of the Ottomans, laid siege
to the capital, with an army of over 200,000 men. After a short
investment, the place was taken by storm. The Cross, which since the time
of Constantine the Great had surmounted the dome of St. Sophia, was
replaced by the Crescent, which remains to this day.

CHECK TO THE OTTOMAN ARMS.--The consternation which the fall of Byzantium
created throughout Christendom was like the dismay which filled the world
upon the downfall of Rome in the fifth century. All Europe now lay open to
the Moslem barbarians, and there seemed nothing to prevent their marching
to the Atlantic. But the warriors of Hungary made a valiant stand against
the invaders, and succeeded in checking their advance upon the continent,
while the Knights of St. John (see p. 443), now established in the island
of Rhodes, held them in restraint in the Mediterranean. Mohammed II. did
succeed in planting the Crescent upon the shores of Italy--capturing and
holding for a year the city of Otranto, in Calabria; but by the time of
the death of that energetic prince, the conquering energy of the Ottomans
seems to have nearly spent itself, and the limits of their empire were not
afterwards materially enlarged.

The Turks have ever remained quite insensible to the influences of
European civilization, and their government has been a perfect blight and
curse to the countries subjected to their rule. They have always been
looked upon as intruders in Europe, and their presence there has led to
several of the most sanguinary wars of modern times. Gradually they are
being pushed out from their European possessions, and the time is probably
not very far distant when they will be driven back across the Bosporus, as
their Moorish brethren were expelled long ago from the opposite corner of
the continent by the Christian chivalry of Spain.



possession of Europe, the cities became a part of the system. Each town
formed a part of the fief in which it happened to be situated, and was
subject to all the incidents of feudal ownership. It owed allegiance to
its lord, must pay to him feudal tribute, and aid him in his war
enterprises. As the cities, through their manufactures and trade, were the
most wealthy members of the Feudal System, the lords naturally looked to
them for money when in need. Their exactions at last became unendurable,
and a long struggle broke out between them and the burghers, which
resulted in what is known as the enfranchisement of the towns.

It was in the eleventh century that this revolt of the cities against the
feudal lords become general. During the course of this and the succeeding
century, the greater number of the towns of the countries of Western
Europe either bought, or wrested by force of arms, charters from their
lords or suzerains. The cities thus chartered did not become independent
of the feudal lords, but they acquired the right of managing, with more or
less supervision, their own affairs, and were secured against arbitrary
and oppressive taxation. This was a great gain; and as, under the
protection of their charters, they increased in wealth and population,
very many of them grew at last strong enough to cast off all actual
dependence upon lord or suzerain, and became in effect independent states
--little commonwealths. Especially was this true in the case of the
Italian cities, and in a less marked degree in that of the German towns.

RISE OF THE ITALIAN CITY-REPUBLICS.--The Italian cities were the first to
rise to power and importance. Several things conspired to secure their
early and rapid development, but the main cause of their prosperity was
their trade with the East, and the enormous impulse given to this commerce
by the Crusades.

[Illustration: A MEDIÆVAL SIEGE, SHOWING BALLISTAE, ETC. (By Alphonse de

With wealth came power, and all the chief Italian cities became distinct,
self-governing states, with just a nominal dependence upon the pope or the
emperor. Towards the close of the thirteenth century, Northern and Central
Italy was divided among about two hundred contentious little city-
republics. Italy had become another Greece.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF TYRANNIES.--Just what happened among the contending
republics of Greece took place in the case of the quarrelling city-
commonwealths of Italy. Their republican constitutions were overthrown,
and the supreme power fell into the hands of an ambitious aristocracy, or
was seized by some bold usurper, who often succeeded in making the
government hereditary in his family. Before the close of the fourteenth
century almost all the republics of the peninsula had become converted
into exclusive oligarchies or hereditary principalities.

We shall now relate some circumstances, for the most part of a commercial
character, which concern some of the most renowned of the Italian city-

VENICE.--Venice, the most celebrated of the Italian republics, had its
beginnings in the fifth century, in the rude huts of some refugees who
fled out into the marshes of the Adriatic to escape the fury of the Huns
of Attila (see p. 346). Conquests and negotiations gradually extended the
possessions of the island-city until she came to control the coasts and
waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in much the same way that Carthage had
mastery of the Western Mediterranean at the time of the First Punic War.
Even before the Crusades her trade with the East was very extensive, and
by those expeditions was expanded into enormous proportions.

[Illustration: PALACE OF THE DOGES. (From a photograph.)]

Venice was at the height of her power during the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth centuries. Her supremacy on the sea was celebrated each year
by the brilliant ceremony of "Wedding the Adriatic," by the dropping of a
ring into the sea.

The decline of Venice dates from the fifteenth century. The conquests of
the Turks during that century deprived her of much of the territory she
held east of the Adriatic, and finally the voyage of Vasco da Gama round
the Cape of Good Hope (1497-8), showing a new path to India, gave a death-
blow to her commerce. From this time forward, the trade of Europe with the
East was to be conducted from the Atlantic ports of the continent instead
of from those in the Mediterranean.

GENOA.--Genoa, on the western coast of Italy, was the most formidable
commercial rival of Venice. The period of her greatest prosperity dates
from the recapture of Constantinople from the Latins by the Greeks in
1261; for the Genoese had assisted the Greek princes in the recovery of
their throne, and as a reward were shown commercial favors by the Greek

The jealousy with which the Venetians regarded the prosperity of the
Genoese led to oft-renewed war between the two rival republics. For nearly
two centuries their hostile fleets contended, as did the navies of Rome
and Carthage during the First Punic War, for the supremacy of the sea.

The merchants of Genoa, like those of Venice, reaped a rich harvest during
the Crusades. Their prosperity was brought to an end by the irruption of
the Mongols and Turks, and the capture of Constantinople by the latter in
1453. The Genoese traders were now driven from the Black Sea, and their
traffic with Eastern Asia was completely broken up; for the Venetians had
control of the ports of Egypt and Syria and the southern routes to India
and the countries beyond--that is, the routes by way of the Euphrates and
the Red Sea.

FLORENCE.--Florence, although shut out, by her inland location upon the
Arno, from engaging in those naval enterprises that conferred wealth and
importance upon the coast cities of Venice and Genoa, became,
notwithstanding, through the skill, industry, enterprise, and genius of
her citizens, the great manufacturing, financial, literary, and art centre
of the Middle Ages. The list of her illustrious citizens, of her poets,
statesmen, historians, architects, sculptors, and painters, is more
extended than that of any other city of mediæval times; and indeed, as
respects the number of her great men, Florence is perhaps unrivalled by
any city, excepting Athens, of the ancient or the modern world. [Footnote:
In her long roll of fame we find the names of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio,
Macchiavelli, Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Amerigo
Vespucci, and the Medici.]

THE HANSEATIC LEAGUE.--From speaking of the Italian city-republics, we
must now turn to say a word respecting the free cities of Germany, in
which country, next after Italy, the mediæval municipalities had their
most perfect development, and acquired their greatest power and influence.

[Illustration: ROBBER KNIGHTS.]

When, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the towns of Northern Europe
began to extend their commercial connections, the greatest drawback to
their trade was the general insecurity and disorder that everywhere
prevailed. The trader who entrusted his goods designed for the Italian
market to the overland routes was in danger of losing them at the hands of
the robber nobles, who watched all the lines of travel, and either robbed
the merchant outright, or levied an iniquitous toll upon his goods. The
plebeian tradesmen, in the eyes of these patrician barons, had no rights
which they felt bound to respect. Nor was the way to Italy by the Baltic
and the North Sea beset with less peril. Piratical crafts scoured those
waters, and made booty of any luckless merchantman they might overpower,
or lure to wreck upon the dangerous shores.  This state of things led some
of the German cities, about the middle of the fourteenth century, to form,
for the protection of their merchants, an alliance called the Hanseatic
League. The confederation eventually embraced eighty-five of the principal
towns of North Germany. In order to facilitate the trading operations of
its members, the League established in different parts of the world
trading-posts and warehouses. The four most noted centres of the trade of
the confederation were the cities of Bruges, London, Bergen, and Novgorod.
The League thus became a vast monopoly, which endeavored to control, in
the interests of its own members, the entire commerce of Northern Europe.

Among other causes of the dismemberment of the association may be
mentioned the maritime discoveries of the fifteenth century, which
disarranged all the old routes of trade in the north of Europe as well as
in the south; the increased security which the formation of strong
governments gave to the merchant class upon sea and land; and the heavy
expense incident to membership in the association, resulting from its
ambitious projects. All these things combined resulted in the decline of
the power and usefulness of the League, and finally led to its formal
dissolution about the middle of the seventeenth century.

INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIÆVAL CITIES.--The chartered towns and free cities of
the mediæval era exerted a vast influence upon the commercial, social,
artistic, and political development of Europe.

They were the centres of the industrial and commercial life of the Middle
Ages, and laid the foundations of that vast system of international
exchange and traffic which forms a characteristic feature of modern
European civilization.

Their influence upon the social and artistic life of Europe cannot be
overestimated. It was within the walls of the cities that the civilization
uprooted by the Teutonic invaders first revived. With their growing wealth
came not only power, but those other usual accompaniments of wealth,--
culture and refinement. The Italian cities were the cradle and home of
mediæval art, science, and literature.

Again, these cities were the birthplace of political liberty, of
representative government. It was the burghers, the inhabitants of the
cities, that in England, in France, and in Germany finally grew into the
Third Estate, or Commons, the controlling political class in all these
countries. In a word, municipal freedom was the germ of national liberty.



By the Revival of Learning, in the most general sense, is meant the
intellectual awakening of Europe after the languor and depression of the
first mediæval centuries. In a narrower sense, however, the phrase is used
to designate that wonderful renewal of interest in the old Greek and Latin
authors which sprung up in Italy about the beginning of the fourteenth
century. We shall use the expression in its most comprehensive sense, thus
making the restoration of classical letters simply a part of the great
Revival of Learning.

SCHOLASTICISM AND THE SCHOOLMEN.--One of Charlemagne's most fruitful
labors was the establishment of schools, in connection with the cathedrals
and monasteries, throughout his dominions. Within these schools there grew
up in the course of time a form of philosophy called, from the place of
its origin, Scholasticism, while its expounders were known as Schoolmen.
This philosophy was a fusion of Christianity and Aristotelian logic. It
might be defined as being, in its later stages, an effort to reconcile
revelation and reason, faith and philosophy. Viewed in this light, it was
not altogether unlike that theological philosophy of the present day whose
aim is to harmonize the Bible with the facts of modern science.

The greatest of the Schoolmen appeared in the thirteenth century. Among
them were Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus.
The most eminent of these was Thomas Aquinas (died 1274), who was called
the "Angel of the Schools." He was the strongest champion of mediæval
orthodoxy. His remarkable work, entitled the _Summa Theologica_, outlines
and defends the whole scheme of Roman Catholic theology.

The Schoolmen often busied themselves with the most unprofitable questions
in metaphysics and theology, yet their discussions were not without good
results. These debates sharpened the wits of men, created activity of
thought and deftness in argument. The schools of the times became real
mental gymnasia, in which the young awakening mind of Europe received its
first training and gained its earliest strength.

THE UNIVERSITIES.--Closely related to the subject of Scholasticism is the
history of the universities, which, springing up in the thirteenth
century, became a powerful agency in the Revival of Learning. They were
for the most part expansions of the old cathedral and abbey schools, their
transformation being effected largely through the reputation of the
Schoolmen, who drew such multitudes to their lectures that it became
necessary to reorganize the schools on a broader basis. Popes and kings
granted them charters which conferred special privileges upon their
faculties and students, as, for instance, exemption from taxation and from
the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. The celebrated University of
Paris was the first founded, and that of Bologna was probably next in

The usual course of study in the universities was divided into what was
known as the _trivium_ and the _quadrivium_. The trivium embraced Grammar,
Logic, and Rhetoric; the quadrivium, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and
Music. These constituted the seven liberal arts. Greek, Hebrew, and the
physical sciences received but little attention. Medicine had not yet
freed itself from the influence of magic and astrology, and alchemy had
not yet given birth to chemistry. The Ptolemaic theory of the universe
still held sway. However, in all these matters the European mind was
making progress, was blindly groping its way towards the light.

INFLUENCE OF THE SARACENS.--The progress of the Christian scholars of
Europe in the physical sciences was greatly accelerated by the Saracens,
who, during the Dark Ages, were almost the sole repositories of the
scientific knowledge of the world. A part of this they gathered for
themselves, for the Arabian scholars were original investigators, but a
larger share of it they borrowed from the Greeks. While the Western
nations were too ignorant to know the value of the treasures of antiquity,
the Saracens preserved them by translating into Arabic the scientific
works of Aristotle and other Greek authors; and then, when Europe was
prepared to appreciate these accumulations of the past, gave them back to
her. This learning came into Europe in part through the channel of the
Crusades, but more largely, and at an earlier date, through the Arabian
schools in Spain. Two of the greatest scholars of the thirteenth century,
or perhaps of all the mediæval ages, Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus, owed
very much of their scientific knowledge to the Arabians.

EFFECTS OF THE CRUSADES.--Having in a previous chapter dwelt on the
effects of the Crusades upon the intellectual development of the European
peoples (see p. 449) there is no need that we here do more than refer to
the matter, in order that we may fix in mind the place of the Holy Wars
among the agencies that conspired to bring about the Revival of Learning.
The stimulating, quickening, liberalizing tendency of these chivalric
enterprises was one of the most potent forces concerned in the mental
movement we are tracing.

fourteenth century the native tongues of Europe. began to form literatures
of their own. We have already spoken of the formation and gradual growth
of these languages (see p. 386). As soon as their forms became somewhat
settled, then literature was possible, and all these speeches bud and
blossom into song and romance. This formation of modern European languages
and birth of native literatures, was one of the greatest gains in the
interest of general intelligence; for the Schoolmen used the Latin
language, and their discussions and writings consequently influenced only
a limited class; while the native literatures addressed themselves to the
masses, and thus stirred the universal mind and heart of Europe.

THE REVIVAL OF CLASSICAL LEARNING.--About the beginning of the fourteenth
century there sprung up in Italy a great enthusiasm for Greek and Latin
literature and art. This is what is generally known as the Italian
Renaissance, or the New Birth.

The Renaissance divides itself as follows: 1. The revival of classical
learning; 2. The revival of classical art. It is with the first only, the
intellectual and literary phase of the movement, that we are now
concerned. This feature of the movement is called _Humanism_, and the
promoters of it are known as _Humanists_. [Footnote: That is, students of
the _humanities_, or polite literature.] The real originator of the
humanistic movement was Petrarch [Footnote: The great Florentine poet,
Dante (1265-1321), was the forerunner of Humanism, but was not, properly
speaking, a Humanist. His Divine Comedy is the "Epic of Mediævalism."]
(1304-1374). His love for the old Greek and Latin writers was a passion
amounting to a worship. He often wrote love-letters to his favorite
authors. In one to Homer he laments the lack of taste among his
countrymen, and declares that there are not more than ten persons in all
Italy who could appreciate the Iliad. Next to Petrarch stands Boccaccio
(1313-1375), as the second of the Humanists.

[Illustration: DANTE. [Footnote: The great Florentine poet, Dante (1265-
1321), was the forerunner of Humanism, but was not, properly speaking, a
Humanist. His Divine Comedy is the "Epic of Mediævalism."] (From Raphael's

Just as the antiquarians of to-day search the mounds of Assyria for relics
of the ancient civilizations of the East, so did the Humanists ransack the
libraries of the monasteries and cathedrals, and all the out-of-the-way
places of Europe, for old manuscripts of the classic writers. The precious
documents were found covered with mould in damp cellars, or loaded with
dust in the attics of monasteries. This late search for these remains of
classical authors saved to the world hundreds of valuable manuscripts
which, a little longer neglected, would have been forever lost. Libraries
were founded in which the new treasures might be stored, and copies of the
manuscripts were made and distributed among all who could appreciate them.
It was at this time that the celebrated Vatican Library was established by
Pope Nicholas V. (1447-1455), one of the most generous promoters of the
humanistic movement.

This reviving interest in the literature of ancient Greece was vastly
augmented by the disasters just now befalling the Greek empire (see p.
462). From every part of the crumbling state scholars fled before the
approach of the barbarians, and sought shelter in the West, especially in
Italy, bringing with them many valuable manuscripts of the old Greek
masters, who were almost unknown in Western Europe, and always an
enthusiasm for Greek learning. There was now a repetition of what took
place at Rome upon the conquest of Greece in the days of the Republic.
Italy was conquered a second time by the genius of Greece.

Before the close of the fifteenth century, the enthusiasm for classical
authors had infected the countries beyond the Alps. The New Learning, as
it was called, found a place in the colleges and universities of Germany,
France, and England. Greek was added to Latin as one of the requirements
in a liberal education, and from that day to this has maintained a
prominent place in all our higher institutions of learning. In Northern
Europe, however, the humanistic movement became blended with other
tendencies. In Italy it had been an exclusive passion, a single devotion
to classical literature; but here in the North there was added to this
enthusiasm for Græco-Roman letters an equal and indeed supremer interest
in what we have called the Hebrew element in civilization (see p. 368).
Petrarch hung over the pages of Homer; Luther pores over the pages of the
Bible. The Renaissance, in a word, becomes the Reformation; the Humanist
becomes the Reformer.

evils inherent in the classical revival. In Italy, especially, where the
humanistic spirit took most complete possession of society, it was
"disastrous to both faith and morals." The study of the old pagan writers
produced the result predicted by the monks,--caused a revival of paganism.
To be learned in Greek was to excite suspicion of heresy. With the New
Learning came also those vices and immoralities that characterized the
decline of classical civilization. Italy was corrupted by the new
influences that flowed in upon her, just as Rome was corrupted by Grecian
luxury and vice in the days of the failing republic.

On the other hand, the benefits of the movement to European civilization
were varied and positive. The classical revival gave to Europe, not only
faultless literary models, but large stores of valuable knowledge. As
Woolsey says, "The old civilization contained treasures of permanent value
which the world could not spare, which the world will never be able or
willing to spare. These were taken up into the stream of life, and proved
true aids to the progress of a culture which is gathering in one the
beauty and truth of all the ages." And to the same effect are the words of
Symonds, who closes his appreciative review of the Italian Revival of
Letters as follows: "Such is the Lampadephoria, or torch-race, of the
nations. Greece stretches out her hand to Italy; Italy consigns the sacred
fire to Northern Europe; the people of the North pass on the flame to
America, to India, and the Australasian Isles."

[Illustration: JOHN GUTENBERG.]

PRINTING.--One of the most helpful agencies concerned in the Revival of
Learning, was the invention of printing from movable blocks, or type,--the
most important discovery, in the estimation of Hallam, recorded in the
annals of mankind. For this improvement the world is probably indebted to
John Gutenberg of Mentz (1438).[Footnote: Dutch writers maintain that the
honor of the invention belongs to Costar of Haarlem.]

The new art would have been much restricted in its usefulness had it not
been for the bringing to perfection about this time of the art of making
paper from linen rags. This article took the place of the costly
parchment, and rendered it possible to place books within the reach of all

The first book printed from movable types was a Latin copy of the Bible,
issued at Mentz, in Germany, between the years 1450 and 1455. The art
spread rapidly, and before the close of the fifteenth century presses were
busy in every country of Europe, multiplying books with a rapidity
undreamed of by the patient copyists of the cloister.

It is needless to dwell upon the tremendous impulse which the new art
gave, not only to the humanistic movement, but to the general intellectual
progress of the European nations. Without it, the Revival of Learning must
have languished, and the Reformation could hardly have become a fact in
history. Its instrument, the _press_, is fitly chosen as the symbol
of the new era of intelligence and freedom which it ushered in.



INTRODUCTORY.--The most important movement that marked the latter part of
the Middle Ages was the grouping, in several of the countries of Europe,
of the petty feudal states and half-independent cities and towns into
great nations with strong centralized governments. This movement was
accompanied by, or rather consisted in, the decline of Feudalism as a
governmental system, the loss by the cities of their freedom, and the
growth of the power of the kings.

Many things contributed to this consolidation of peoples and governments,
different circumstances favoring the movement in the several countries. In
some countries, however, events were opposed to the centralizing tendency,
and in these the Modern Age was reached without nationality having been
found. But in England, in France, and in Spain circumstances all seemed to
tend towards unity, and by the close of the fifteenth century there were
established in these countries strong despotic monarchies. Yet even among
those peoples where national governments did not appear, some progress was
made towards unity through the formation of national languages and
literatures, and the development of common feelings, sentiments, and
aspirations, so that these peoples were manifestly only awaiting the
opportunities of a happier period for the maturing of their national life.

This rise of Monarchy and decline of Feudalism, this substitution of
strong centralized governments in place of the feeble, irregular, and
conflicting authorities of the feudal nobles, was a very great gain to the
cause of law and good order. It paved the way for modern progress and


GENERAL STATEMENT.--In preceding chapters we have told of the origin of
the English people, and traced their growth under Saxon, Danish, and
Norman rulers (see pp. 375, 411, 433). We shall, in the present section,
tell very briefly the story of their progress under the Plantagenet kings,
thus carrying on our narrative to the accession of the Tudors in 1485,
from which event dates the beginning of the modern history of England.

The era of the Plantagenets, which covers three hundred and thirty-one
years, was a most eventful one in English history. The chief political
matters that we shall notice were the wresting of Magna Charta from King
John, the formation of the House of Commons, the Conquest of Wales, the
Wars with Scotland, the Hundred Years' War with France, and the Wars of
the Roses. [Footnote: The name Plantagenet came from the peculiar badge, a
sprig of broom-plant (_plante de genet_), adopted by one of the early
members of the House. Following is a table of the sovereigns of the
  Henry II.. . . . . . . 1154-1189
  Richard I. . . . . . . 1189-1199
  John . . . . . . . . . 1199-1216
  Henry III. . . . . . . 1216-1272
  Edward I . . . . . . . 1272-1307
  Edward II. . . . . . . 1307-1327
  Edward III . . . . . . 1327-1377
  Richard II . . . . . . 1377-1399

  Henry IV . . . . . . . 1399-1413
  Henry V. . . . . . . . 1413-1422
  Henry VI . . . . . . . 1422-1461

  Edward IV. . . . . . . 1461-1483
  Edward V . . . . . . . 1483
  Richard III. . . . . . 1483-1485]

MAGNA CHARTA (1215).--Magna Charta, the "Great Charter," held sacred as
the basis of English liberties, was an instrument which the English barons
and clergy forced King John to grant, in which the ancient rights and
privileges of the people were clearly defined and guaranteed.

King John (1199-1216), the third of the Plantagenet line, was as
tyrannical as he was unscrupulous and wicked. His course led to an open
revolt of the barons, who were resolved upon the recovery of their ancient
liberties. The tyrant was forced to bow to the storm he had raised. He met
his barons at Runnymede, a meadow on the Thames, and there affixed his
seal to the instrument that had been prepared to receive it.

Among the important articles of the paper were the following: No freeman
should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, "save by legal judgment
of his peers." No taxes (save several feudal aids specified) should be
imposed "save by the Common Council of the realm." [Footnote: This article
respecting taxation was suffered to fall into abeyance in the reign of
John's successor, Henry III., and it was not until about one hundred years
after the granting of _Magna Charta_ that the great principle that the
people should be taxed only through their representatives in Parliament,
became fully established.]

Besides these articles, which form the foundation of the English
Constitution, there were others abolishing numerous abuses and confirming
various time-honored rights and privileges of the towns and of different
classes of freemen.

The Great Charter was often disregarded and broken by despotic sovereigns;
but the people always clung to it as the warrant and basis of their
liberties, and again and again forced tyrannical kings to renew and
confirm its provisions, and swear solemnly to observe all its articles.

Considering the far-reaching consequences that resulted from the granting
of _Magna Charta_,--the securing of constitutional liberty as an
inheritance for the English-speaking race in all parts of the world,--it
must always be considered the most important concession that a freedom-
loving people ever wrung from a tyrannical sovereign.

BEGINNING OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS (1265).--The reign of Henry III. (1216-
1272), John's son and successor, witnessed the second important step taken
in English constitutional freedom. This was the formation of the House of
Commons, Parliament having up to this time consisted of a single House,
made up of nobles and bishops. It was again the royal misbehavior that led
to this great change in the form of the English national assembly. Henry
had violated his oath to rule according to the Great Charter, and had
become even more tyrannical than his father. The indignant barons rose in
revolt, and Henry and his son being worsted in a great engagement, known
as the battle of Lewes (1264), were made prisoners.

Simon de Montfort, a Frenchman, whom Henry had given a prominent position
in the government, now assumed control of affairs. He issued, in the
king's name, writs of summons to the nobles and bishops to meet in
Parliament; and at the same time sent similar writs to the sheriffs of the
different shires, directing them "to return two knights for the body of
their county, with two citizens or burghers for every city and borough
contained in it." This was the first time that plain untitled citizens or
burghers had been called to take their place with the knights, lords, and
bishops in the great council of the nation, to join in deliberations on
the affairs of the realm. [Footnote: At first the Commons could only take
part in questions relating to taxation, but gradually they acquired the
right to share in all matters that might come before Parliament.] The
Commons were naturally at first a weak and timorous body, quite overawed
by the great lords, but were destined eventually to grow into the
controlling branch of the British Parliament.

CONQUEST OF WALES.--For more than a thousand years the Celtic tribes of
Wales maintained among their mountain fastnesses an ever-renewed struggle
with the successive invaders and conquerors of England--with Roman, Saxon,
and Norman. They never submitted their necks to the Roman yoke, but they
were forced to acknowledge the overlordship of some of the Saxon and
Norman kings. They were restless vassals, however, and were constantly
withholding tribute and refusing homage.

When Edward I. came to the English throne in 1272, Llewellyn, the overlord
of the Welsh chiefs, with the title of Prince of Wales, refused to render
homage to the new king. War followed. Llewellyn was slain, and the
independence of his race forever extinguished (1282). The title of the
Welsh chieftain has ever since been borne by the eldest son of the English

WARS WITH SCOTLAND (1296-1328).--In 1285 the ancient Celtic line of
Scottish chiefs became extinct. Thirteen claimants for the vacant throne
immediately arose. Chief among these were Robert Bruce and John Balliol,
distinguished noblemen of Norman descent, attached to the Scottish court.
King Edward I. of England, who claimed suzerain rights over the Scottish
realm, was asked to act as arbitrator, and decide to whom the crown should
be given. He decided the question of the succession in favor of Balliol,
who now took the crown of Scotland as the acknowledged vassal of the
English sovereign.

Edward's unjust demands on the Scottish king led him to cast off his
feudal allegiance. In the war that followed, the Scots were defeated, and
Scotland now fell back as a fief forfeited by treason, into the hands of
Edward (1296). As a sign that the Scottish kingdom had come to an end,
Edward carried off to London the royal regalia, and with this a large
stone, known as the Stone of Scone, upon which the Scottish kings, from
time out of memory, had been accustomed to be crowned. Legend declared
that the relic was the very stone on which Jacob had slept at Bethel. The
block was taken to Westminster Abbey, and there made to support the seat
of a stately throne-chair, which to this day is used in the coronation
ceremonies of the English sovereigns. It is said that the stone once bore
this legend:--

  "Should fate not fail, where'er this stone be found,
  The Scot shall monarch of that realm be crowned,"

which prophecy was fulfilled when James VI. of Scotland became James I. of
England. [Footnote: "Whether the prophecy was actually inscribed on the
stone may be doubted, though this seems to be implied, and on the lower
side is still visible a groove which may have contained it; but the fact
that it was circulated and believed as early as the fourteenth century, is
certain."--Dean Stanley's _Memorials of Westminster Abbey_.]

The two countries were not long united. The Scotch people loved too well
their ancient liberties to submit quietly to this extinguishment of their
national independence. Under the inspiration and lead of the famous Sir
William Wallace, an outlaw knight, all the Lowlands were soon in
determined revolt. It was chiefly from the peasantry that the patriot hero
drew his followers. Wallace gained some successes, but at length was
betrayed into Edward's hands. He was condemned to death as a traitor, and
his head, garlanded with a crown of laurel, was exposed on London Bridge
(1305). The romantic life of Wallace, his patriotic service, his heroic
exploits, and his tragic death, at once lifted him to the place that he
has ever since held, as the national hero of Scotland.

The struggle in which Wallace had fallen, was soon renewed by the almost
equally renowned hero Robert Bruce (grandson of the Robert Bruce mentioned
on p. 482), who was the representative of the nobles, as Wallace had been
of the common people. With Edward II. Bruce fought the great _Battle of
Bannockburn_, near Stirling. Edward's army was almost annihilated (1314).
It was the most appalling disaster that had befallen the arms of the
English people since the memorable defeat of Harold at Hastings.

The independence of Scotland really dates from the great victory of
Bannockburn, but the English were too proud to acknowledge it until
fourteen years more of war. Finally, in the year 1328, the young king
Edward III. gave up all claim to the Scottish crown, and Scotland with the
hero Bruce as its king, took its place as an independent power among the
nations of Europe.

The independence gained by the Scotch at Bannockburn was maintained for
nearly three centuries,--until 1603,--when the crowns of England and
Scotland were peacefully united in the person of James Stuart VI. of
Scotland. During the greater part of these three hundred years the two
countries were very quarrelsome neighbors.

_The Hundred Years' War_ (1336-1453).

CAUSES OF THE WAR.--The long and wasteful war between England and France,
known in history as the Hundred Years' War, was a most eventful one, and
its effects upon both England and France so important and lasting as to
entitle it to a prominent place in the records of the closing events of
the Middle Ages. Freeman likens the contest to the Peloponnesian War in
ancient Greece.

The war with Scotland was one of the things that led up to this war. All
through that struggle, France, as the jealous rival of England, was ever
giving aid and encouragement to the Scotch rebels. Then the English lands
in France, for which the English king did homage to the French king as
overlord, were a source of constant dispute between the two countries.
Furthermore, upon the death of Charles IV., the last of the Capetian line,
Edward III. laid claim, through his mother, to the French crown, in much
the same way that William of Normandy centuries before had laid claim to
the crown of England.

THE BATTLE OF CRÉCY (1346).--The first great combat of the long war was
the memorable battle of Crécy. Edward had invaded France with an army of
30,000 men, made up largely of English bowmen, and had penetrated far into
the country, ravaging as he went, when he finally halted, and faced the
pursuing French army near the village of Crécy, where he inflicted upon it
a most terrible defeat; 1200 knights, the flower of French chivalry, and
30,000 foot-soldiers lay dead upon the field.

The great battle of Crécy is memorable for several reasons, but chiefly
because Feudalism and Chivalry there received their death-blow. The
yeomanry of England there showed themselves superior to the chivalry of
France. "The churl had struck down the noble; the bondsman proved more
than a match, in sheer hard fighting, for the knight. From the day of
Crécy, Feudalism tottered slowly but surely to its grave." The battles of
the world were hereafter, with few exceptions, to be fought and won, not
by mail-clad knights with battle-axe and lance, but by common foot-
soldiers with bow and gun.

THE CAPTURE OF CALAIS.--From the field of Crécy Edward led his army to the
siege of Calais. At the end of a year's investment, the city fell into the
hands of the English. The capture of this sea-port was a very important
event for the English, as it gave them control of the commerce of the
Channel, and afforded them a convenient landing-place for their
expeditions of invasion into France.

THE BATTLE OF POITIERS (1356).-The terrible scourge of the "Black Death,"
[Footnotes: The Black Death was so called on account of the black spots
which covered the body of the person attacked. It was a contagious fever,
which, like the pestilence in the reign of Justinian, entered Europe from
the East, and made terrible ravages during the years 1347-49. In Germany
over 1,000,000 persons fell victims to the plague, while in England,
according to some authorities, one-half of the population was swept away.
The pestilence was also especially severe in Florence, in Italy. Under the
terror and excitement of the dreadful visitation, religious penitents,
thinking to turn away the wrath of heaven by unusual penances, went about
in procession, lacerating themselves with whips (hence they were called
_flagellants_). This religious frenzy had its most remarkable
manifestation in Germany.] which desolated all Europe about the middle of
the fourteenth century, caused the contending nations for a time to forget
their quarrel. But no sooner had a purer atmosphere breathed upon the
continent than the old struggle was renewed with fresh eagerness.

Edward III. planned a double invasion of France. He himself led an army
through the already wasted provinces of the North, while the Black Prince
with another army ravaged the fields of the South. As the Prince's army,
numbering about 8000 men, loaded with booty, was making its way back to
the coast, it found its path, near Poitiers, obstructed by a French army
of 50,000. A battle ensued which proved for the French a second Crécy. The
arrows of the English bowmen drove them in fatal panic from the field,
which was strewn with 11,000 of their dead.


BATTLE OF AGINCOURT (1415).--For half a century after the Peace [Footnote:
The Treaty of Brétigny (1360).] that followed the battle of Poitiers there
was a lull in the war. But while Henry V. (1413-1422) was reigning in
England, France was unfortunate in having an insane king, Charles VI.; and
Henry, taking advantage of the disorder into which the French kingdom
naturally fell under these circumstances, invaded the country with a
powerful army, defeated the French in the great battle of Agincourt
(1415), and five years later concluded the Treaty of Troyes, in which, so
discouraged had the French become, a large party agreed that the crown of
France should be given to him upon the death of Charles.

JOAN OF ARC.--But patriotism was not yet wholly extinct among the French
people. There were many who regarded the concessions of the Treaty of
Troyes as not only weak and shameful, but as unjust to the Dauphin
Charles, who was thereby disinherited, and they accordingly refused to be
bound by its provisions. Consequently, when the poor insane king died, the
terms of the treaty were not carried out, and the war dragged on. The
party that stood by their native prince, afterwards crowned as Charles
VII., were at last reduced to most desperate straits. A great part of the
northern section of the country was in the hands of the English, who were
holding in close siege the important city of Orleans.

But the darkness was the deep gloom that precedes the dawn. A strange
deliverer now appears,--the famous Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans. This
young peasant girl, with imagination all aflame from brooding over her
country's wrongs and sufferings, seemed to see visions and hear voices,
which bade her undertake the work of delivering France. She was obedient
unto the heavenly vision.

The warm, impulsive French nation, ever quick in responding to appeals to
the imagination, was aroused exactly as it was stirred by the voice of the
preachers of the Crusades. Religious enthusiasm now accomplished what
patriotism alone could not do.

Received by her countrymen as a messenger from heaven, the maiden kindled
throughout the land a flame of enthusiasm that nothing could resist.
Inspiring the dispirited French soldiers with new courage, she forced the
English to raise the siege of Orleans (from which exploit she became known
as the Maid of Orleans), and speedily brought about the coronation of
Prince Charles at Reims (1429). Shortly afterward she fell into the hands
of the English, and was condemned and burned as a heretic and witch.

But the spirit of the Maid had already taken possession of the French
nation. From this on, the war, though long continued, went steadily
against the English. Little by little they were pushed back and off from
the soil they had conquered, until, by the middle of the fifteenth
century, they were driven quite out of the country, retaining no foothold
in the land save Calais (see p. 553).

Thus ended the Hundred Years' War, in 1453, the very year which saw
Constantinople fall before the Turks.

EFFECTS UPON ENGLAND OF THE WAR.--The most lasting and important effects
upon England of the war were the enhancement of the power of the Lower
House of Parliament, and the awakening of a national spirit and feeling.
The maintaining of the long and costly quarrel called for such heavy
expenditures of men and money that the English kings were made more
dependent than hitherto upon the representatives of the people, who were
careful to make their grants of supplies conditional upon the correction
of abuses or the confirming of their privileges. Thus the war served to
make the Commons a power in the English government. Again, as the war was
participated in by all classes alike, the great victories of Crécy,
Poitiers, and Agincourt roused a national pride, which led to a closer
union between the different elements of society. Normans and English were
fused by the ardor of a common patriotic enthusiasm into a single people.
The real _national_ life of England dates from this time. (For the
effects of the war on France, see p. 494.)

_The Wars of the Roses_ (1455-1485).

GENERAL STATEMENT.--The Wars of the Roses is the name given to a long,
shameful, and selfish contest between the adherents of the Houses of York
and Lancaster, rival branches of the royal family of England. The strife,
which was for place and power, was so named because the Yorkists adopted
as their badge a white rose and the Lancastrians a red one.

The battle of Bosworth Field (1485) marks the close of the war. In this
fight King Richard III., the last of the House of York, was overthrown and
slain by Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, who was crowned on the field
with the diadem which had fallen from the head of Richard, and saluted as
King Henry VII., the first of the Tudors.

THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR.--The most important result of the Wars of the
Roses was the ruin of the baronage of England. One-half of the nobility
was slain. Those that survived were ruined, their estates having been
wasted or confiscated during the progress of the struggle. Not a single
great house retained its old-time wealth and influence.

The second result of the struggle sprung from the first. This was the
great peril into which English liberty was cast by the ruin of the
nobility. It will be recalled that it was the barons who forced the Great
Charter from King John (see p. 479), and who kept him and his successors
from reigning like absolute monarchs. Now that once proud and powerful
baronage were ruined, and their confiscated estates had gone to increase
the influence and patronage of the king. He being no longer in wholesome
fear of Parliament, for the Commons were as yet weak and timid, did pretty
much as he pleased, and became insufferably oppressive and tyrannical;
raising taxes, for instance, without the consent of Parliament, and
imprisoning and executing persons without due process of law. For the
hundred years following the Wars of the Roses the government of England
was rather an absolute than a limited monarchy. Not until the final
Revolution of the seventeenth century (see Chap. LV.) did the people, by
overturning the throne of the Stuarts, fully recover their lost liberties.

_Growth of the English Language and Literature._

THE LANGUAGE.--From the Norman Conquest to the middle of the fourteenth
century there were in use in England three languages: Norman French was
the speech of the conquerors and the medium of polite literature; Old
English was the tongue of the common people; while Latin was the language
of the laws and records, of the church services, and of the works of the

Modern English is the Old English worn and improved by use, and enriched
by a large infusion of Norman-French words, with less important additions
from the Latin and other languages. It took the place of the Norman-French
in the courts of law about the middle of the fourteenth century. At this
time the language was broken up into many dialects, and the expression
"King's English" is supposed to have referred to the standard form
employed in state documents and in use at court.

down King Harold and his brave thanes on the field of Hastings silenced
for the space of about a century the voice of English literature. The
tongue of the conquerors became the speech of the court, the nobility, and
the clergy; while the language of the despised English was, like
themselves, crowded out of every place of honor. But when, after a few
generations, the down-trodden race began to re-assert itself, English
literature emerged from its obscurity, and with an utterance somewhat
changed--yet it is unmistakably the same voice--resumes its interrupted
lesson and its broken song.

CHAUCER (1328?-1400).--Holding a position high above all other writers of
early English is Geoffrey Chaucer. He is the first in time, and, after
Shakespeare, perhaps the first in genius, among the great poets of the
English-speaking race. He is reverently called the "Father of English

Chaucer stands between two ages, the mediæval and the modern. He felt not
only the influences of the age of Feudalism which was passing away, but
also those of the new age of learning and freedom which was dawning. It is
because he reflects his surroundings so faithfully in his writings, that
these are so valuable as interpreters of the period in which he lived.
Chaucer's greatest work is his _Canterbury Tales_, wherein the poet
represents himself as one of a company of story-telling pilgrims who have
set out from London on a journey to the tomb of Thomas Becket, at

[Illustration: STATUE OF WYCLIFFE. (From the Luther Monument at Worms.)]

WYCLIFFE AND THE REFORMATION (1324-1384).--Foremost among the reformers
and religious writers of the period under review was Wycliffe, "The
Morning Star of the Reformation." He gave the English people the first
translation of the entire Bible in their native tongue. There was no press
at that time to multiply editions of the book, but by means of manuscript
copies it was widely circulated and read. Its influence was very great,
and from its appearance may be dated the beginning of the Reformation in

The followers of Wycliffe became known as "Lollards" (babblers), a term
applied to them in derision. They grew to be very numerous, and threatened
by their excesses and imprudent zeal the peace of the state. They were
finally suppressed by force.


BEGINNING OF THE FRENCH KINGDOM.--The kingdom of France begins properly
with the accession of the first of the Capetian rulers, late in the tenth
century. The Merovingian and Carolingian kings were simply German princes
reigning in Gaul. The Capetians held the throne for more than three
centuries, when they were followed by the Valois kings. The last of the
main line of the Valois family gave way to the first of the Valois-Orleans
sovereigns in 1498, which date may be allowed to mark the beginning of
modern French history.

We shall now direct attention to the most important transactions of the
period covered by the Capetian and Valois dynasties. Our aim will be to
give prominence to those matters which concern the gradual consolidation
of the French monarchy.

_France under the Capetians_ (987-1328).
[Footnote: Table of the Capetian Kings:--
  Hugh Capet (the Great). . . 987--996
  Robert II. (the Sage) . . . 996-1031
  Henry I.. . . . . . . . . . 1031-1060
  Philip I. . . . . . . . . . 1060-1108
  Louis VI. (the Fat) . . . .  1108-1137
  Louis VII. (the Young). . . 1137-1180
  Philip II. (Augustus) . . . 1180-1223
  Louis VIII. (Lion-hearted). 1223-1226
  Louis IX. (the Saint) . . . 1226-1270
  Philip III. (the Hardy) . . 1270-1285
  Philip IV. (the Fair) . . . 1285-1314
  Louis X. (the Stubborn) . . 1314-1316
  Philip V. (the Tall). . . . 1316-1322
  Charles IV.(the Handsome) . 1322-1328]

The first Capetian king differed from his vassal counts and dukes simply
in having a more dignified title; his power was scarcely greater than that
of many of the lords who paid him homage as their suzerain. The fourth
king of the line (Philip I.) confessed that he had grown gray while trying
to capture a castle which stood within sight of Paris; and evidently he
had abandoned all hope of getting possession of it, for he charged his
son, to whom he one day pointed it out, to watch it well. How various
events and circumstances--conquests, treaties, politic marriage alliances,
and unjust encroachments--conspired to build up the power of the kings
will appear as we go on.

The most noteworthy events of the Capetian period were the acquisition by
the French crown of the English possessions in France, the Holy Wars for
the recovery of Jerusalem, the crusade against the Albigenses, and the
creation of the States-General. Of these several matters we will now speak
in order.

THE ENGLISH POSSESSIONS IN FRANCE.--The issue of the battle of Hastings,
in 1066, made William of Normandy king of England. He ruled that country
by right of conquest. But we must bear in mind that he still held his
possessions in France as a fief from the French king, whose vassal he was.
This was the beginning of the possessions on the continent of the English
kings. Then, when Henry, Count of Anjou, came to the English throne as the
first of the Plantagenets, these territories were greatly increased by the
French possessions of that prince. The larger part of Henry's dominions,
indeed, was in France, almost the whole of the western coast of the
country being in his hands; but for all of this he, of course, paid homage
to the French king.

As was inevitable, a feeling of intense jealousy sprang up between the two
sovereigns. The French king was ever watching for some pretext upon which
he might deprive his rival of his possessions in France. The opportunity
came when King John, in 1199, succeeded Richard the Lion-hearted upon the
English throne. That odious tyrant was accused, and doubtless justly, of
having murdered his nephew Arthur. Philip Augustus, who then held the
French throne, as John's feudal superior, ordered him to clear himself of
the charge before his French peers. John refusing to do so, Philip
declared forfeited all the lands he held as fiefs of the French Crown
[Footnote: This was the second condemnation of John. A year before this
time (in 1202), John having refused to answer a charge of tyranny
preferred by the nobles of Poitou, Philip had declared his fief to be
forfeited. It was in the turmoil which followed this sentence, that Arthur
was taken prisoner by John and afterwards murdered.], and thereupon
proceeded to seize Normandy and other possessions of John in the North of
France, leaving him scarcely anything save the Duchy of Aquitaine in the
South. The annexation of these large possessions to the crown of France
brought a vast accession of power and patronage to the king, who was now
easily the superior of any of his great vassals.

THE FRENCH AND THE CRUSADES.--The age of the Capetians was the age of the
Crusades. These romantic expeditions, while stirring all Christendom,
appealed especially to the ardent, imaginative genius of the Gallic race.
Three Capetian kings, Louis VII., Philip Augustus, and Louis IX.,
themselves headed several of the wild expeditions.

It is the influence of the Crusades on the French monarchy that we alone
need to notice in this place. They tended very materially to weaken the
power and influence of the feudal nobility, and in a corresponding degree
to strengthen the authority of the crown and add to its dignity. The way
in which they brought about this transfer of power from the aristocracy to
the king has been explained in the chapter on the Crusades (see p. 450).

CRUSADE AGAINST THE ALBIGENSES (1207-1229).--During this age of religious
enthusiasm holy wars were directed as well against heretics as infidels.
In the South of France was a sect of Christians called Albigenses
[Footnote: From _Albi_, the name of a city and district in which their
tenets prevailed.], who had departed so far from the faith of the Church,
and had embraced such dangerous social heresies, that Pope Innocent III.
felt constrained to call upon the French king and his nobles to lead a
crusade against them. The outcome was the almost total extirpation of the
heretical sect, and the acquisition by the French crown of large and rich
territories that were formerly the possessions of the Counts of Toulouse,
the patrons of the heretics.

CREATION OF THE STATES-GENERAL (1302).--The event of the greatest
significance in the Capetian age was the admission, in the reign of Philip
the Fair, of the commons to the feudal assembly, or council, of the king.
This transaction is in French history what the first summoning of the
House of Commons is in English (see p. 480).

A dispute having arisen between Philip and the Pope respecting the control
of the offices and revenues of the French Church, in order to rally to his
support all classes throughout his kingdom, Philip called an assembly, to
which he invited representatives of the burghers, or inhabitants of the
cities (1302). The royal council had hitherto been made up of two estates
only,--the nobles and the clergy; now is added what comes to be known as
the _Tiers État_, or Third Estate, and henceforth the assembly is known as
the _States-General_. Eventually, before the power of this Third Estate,
we shall see the Church, the nobility, and the monarchy all go down,
through revolution; just as in England we shall see clergy, nobles, and
king gradually yield to the rising power of the English Commons.

_France under the House of Valois_ (1328-1498).
[Footnote: Names of the sovereigns of the main line of the House of
  Philip VI. . . . . . . . . . . . 1328-1350
  John (the Good). . . . . . . . . 1350-1364
  Charles V. (the Wise). . . . . . 1364-1380
  Charles VI. (the Well-Beloved) . 1380-1422
  Charles VII. (the Victorious). . 1422-1461
  Louis XI.  . . . . . . . . . . . 1461-1483
  Charles VIII. (the Affable)  . . 1483-1498]

period of French history upon which we here enter attaches to that long
struggle between England and France known as the Hundred Years' War.
Having already, in connection with English affairs (see p. 484), touched
upon the causes and incidents of this war, we shall here simply speak of
the effects of the struggle on the French people and kingdom. Among these
results must be noticed the almost complete prostration, by the successive
shocks of Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt, of the French feudal
aristocracy, which was already tottering to its fall through the
undermining influences of the Crusades; the growth of the power of the
king, a consequence, largely, of the ruin of the nobility; and, lastly,
the awakening of a feeling of nationality, and the drawing together of the
hitherto isolated sections of the country by the attraction of a common
and patriotic enthusiasm.

Speaking in a very general manner, we may say that by the close of the war
Feudalism in France was over, and that France had become, partly in spite
of the war but more largely by reason of it, not only a great monarchy,
but a great nation.

LOUIS XI. AND CHARLES THE BOLD OF BURGUNDY.--The foundations of the French
monarchy were greatly enlarged and strengthened by the unscrupulous
measures of Louis XI. (1461-1483), who was a perfect Ulysses in cunning
and deceit. His maxim was, "He who knows how to deceive, knows how to
reign." The great feudal lords that still retained power and influence, he
brought to destruction one after another, and united their fiefs to the
royal domains. Of all the vassal nobles ruined by the craft and cunning of
Louis, the most famous and powerful was Charles the Bold, Duke of
Burgundy, with whom the French king was almost constantly warring, and
against whom he was forever intriguing. Upon the death of the duke, Louis,
without clear right, seized a great part of his dominions, which were
almost large and rich enough to sustain the dignity of a king. By
inheritance and treaty, Louis also gained large accessions of territory in
the South of France, which gave his kingdom a wide frontage upon the
Mediterranean, and made the Pyrenees its southern defence.

INVASION OF ITALY BY CHARLES VIII.--Charles VIII., the son of Louis XI.,
was the last of the direct line of the Valois. Through the favor of a long
series of circumstances, the persistent policy of his predecessors, and
his own politic marriage, [Footnote: He married Anne of Brittany, and thus
brought that large province, which had hitherto constituted an almost
independent state, under the authority of the French crown.] he found
himself at the head of a state that had been gradually transformed from a
feudal league into a true monarchy. The strength of this kingdom he
determined to employ in some enterprise beyond the limits of France. With
a standing army, created by Charles VII during the latter years of the war
with England, [Footnote: The paid force of infantry and cavalry created by
Charles VII in 1448, was the first standing army in Europe, and the
beginning of that vast military system which now burdens the great nations
of that continent with the support of several millions of soldiers
constantly under arms.] at his command, he invaded Italy, intent on the
conquest of Naples,--to which he laid claim on the strength of some old
bequest,--proposing, with that state subdued, to lead a crusade to the
East against the Turks. He reached Naples in triumph, but was soon forced,
with heavy losses, to retreat into France.

This enterprise of Charles is noteworthy not only because it marks the
commencement of a long series of brilliant yet disastrous campaigns
carried on by the French in Italy, but also on account of Charles' army
having been made up largely of paid troops instead of feudal retainers,
which fact assures us that the Feudal System in France, as a governmental
organization, had come to an end.

_Beginnings of French Literature._

THE TROUBADOURS.--The contact of the old Latin speech in Gaul with that of
the Teutonic invaders gave rise there to two very distinct dialects. These
were the _Langue d'Oc_, or Provencal, the tongue of the South of France
and of the adjoining regions of Spain and Italy; and the _Langue d'Oil_,
or French proper, the language of the North. [Footnote: The terms _Langue
d'Oc_ and _Langue d'Oil_ arose from the use of different words for _yes_,
which in the tongue of the South was _oc_, and in that of the North

About the beginning of the twelfth century, by which time the Provencal
tongue had become settled and somewhat polished, literature in France
first began to find a voice in the songs of the Troubadours, the poets of
the South. It is instructive to note that it was the home of the
Albigensian heresy, the land that had felt the influence of every
Mediterranean civilization, that was also the home of the Troubadour
literature. The Counts of Toulouse, the protectors of the heretics, were
also the patrons of the poets. The same fierce persecution that uprooted
the heretical faith of the Albigenses, also stilled the song of the
Troubadours (see p. 493).

The verses of the Troubadours were sung in every land, and to the
stimulating influence of their musical harmonies the early poetry of
almost every people of Europe is largely indebted.

THE TROUVEURS.--These were the poets of Northern France, who composed in
the _Langue d' Oil_, or Old French tongue. They flourished during the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. While the compositions of the
Troubadours were almost exclusively lyrical songs, those of the Trouveurs
were epic, or narrative poems, called _romances_. They gather about
three great names,--King Arthur, Alexander the Great, and Charlemagne. It
will be noted that the poet story-tellers thus drew their material from
the heroic legends of all the different races that blended to form the
French nation, namely, the Celtic, the Græco-Roman, and the Teutonic.

The influence of these French romances upon the springing literatures of
Europe was most inspiring and helpful. Nor has their influence yet ceased.
Thus in English literature, not only did Chaucer and Spenser and all the
early island-poets draw inspiration from these fountains of continental
song, but the later Tennyson, in his _Idylls of the King_, has illustrated
the power over the imagination yet possessed by the Arthurian poems of the
old Trouveurs.

FROISSART'S CHRONICLES.--The first really noted prose writer in French
literature was Froissart (1337-1410), whose entertaining credulity and
artlessness, and skill as a story-teller, have won for him the title of
the French Herodotus. Born, as he was, only a little after the opening of
the Hundred Years' War, and knowing personally many of the actors in that
struggle, it was fitting that he should become, as he did, the annalist of
those stirring times.


The Beginnings of Spain.--When, in the eighth century, the Saracens swept
like a wave over Spain, the mountains of Asturia, in the northwest corner
of the peninsula, afforded a refuge for the most resolute of the Christian
chiefs who refused to submit their necks to the Moslem yoke. These brave
and hardy warriors not only successfully defended the hilly districts that
formed their retreat, but gradually pushed back the invaders, and regained
control of a portion of the fields and cities that had been lost. This
work of reconquest was greatly furthered by Charlemagne, who, it will be
recalled, drove the Saracens out of all the northeastern portion of the
country as far south as the Ebro, and made the subjugated district a
province of his great empire, under the name of the Spanish March.

By the opening of the eleventh century several little Christian states,
among which we must notice the names of Castile and Aragon, because of the
prominent part they were to play in later history, had been established
upon the ground thus recovered or always maintained. Castile was at first
simply "a line of castles" against the Moors, whence its name.

UNION OF CASTILE AND ARAGON (1479).--For several centuries the princes of
the little states to which we have referred kept up an incessant warfare
with their Mohammedan neighbors; owing however to dissensions among
themselves, they were unable to combine in any effective way for the
reconquest of their ancient possessions. But the marriage, in 1469, of
Ferdinand, prince of Aragon, to Isabella, princess of Castile, paved the
way for the union a little later of these two leading states. Thus the
quarrels of these rival principalities were composed, and they were now
free to employ their united strength in effecting what the Christian
princes amidst all their contentions had never lost sight of,--the
expulsion of the Moors from the peninsula.

[Illustration: THE SPANISH KINGDOMS 1800.]

THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA (1492).--At the time when the basis of the Spanish
monarchy was laid by the union of Castile and Aragon, the Mohammedan
possessions had been reduced, by the constant pressure of the Christian
chiefs through eight centuries, to a very limited dominion in the south of
Spain. Here the Moors had established a strong, well-compacted state,
known as the Kingdom of Granada.

As soon as Ferdinand and Isabella had settled the affairs of their
dominions, they began to make preparation for the conquest of Granada,
eager to signalize their reign by the reduction of this last stronghold of
the Moorish power in the peninsula. The Moors made a desperate defence of
their little state. The struggle lasted for ten years. City after city
fell into the hands of the Christian knights, and finally the capital,
Granada, pressed by an army of seventy thousand, was forced to surrender,
and the Cross replaced the Crescent on its walls and towers (1492). The
Moors, or Moriscoes, as they were called, were allowed to remain in the
country and to retain their Mohammedan worship, though under many annoying
restrictions. What is known as their _expulsion_ occurred at a later
date (see p. 538).

a photograph.)]

The fall of Granada holds an important place among the many significant
events that mark the latter half of the fifteenth century. It ended, after
an existence of eight hundred years, the Mohammedan kingdom in the Spanish
peninsula, and thus formed an offset to the progress of the Moslem power
in Eastern Europe and the loss to the Christian world of Constantinople.
It advanced Spain to the first rank among the nations of Europe, and gave
her arms a prestige that secured for her position, influence, and
deference long after the decline of her power had commenced.

THE INQUISITION.--Ferdinand greatly enhanced his power by the active and
tyrannical use of the Inquisition, a court that had been established by
the Church for the purpose of detecting and punishing heresy. The chief
victims of the tribunal were the Moors and Jews, but it was also directed
against the enemies of the sovereign among the nobility and the clergy.
The Holy Office, as the tribunal was styled, thus became the instrument of
the most incredible cruelty. Thousands were burned at the stake, and tens
of thousands more condemned to endure penalties scarcely less terrible.
Queen Isabella, in giving her consent to the establishment of the tribunal
in her dominions, was doubtless actuated by the purest religious zeal, and
sincerely believed that in suppressing heresy she was discharging a simple
duty, and rendering God good service. "In the love of Christ and his Maid-
Mother," she says, "I have caused great misery. I have depopulated towns
and districts, provinces and kingdoms."

DEATH OF FERDINAND AND OF ISABELLA.--Queen Isabella died in 1504, and
Ferdinand followed her in the year 1516, upon which latter event the crown
of Spain descended upon the head of his grandson, Charles, of whom we
shall hear much as Emperor Charles V. With his reign the modern history of
Spain begins.

_Beginnings of the Spanish Language and Literature._

THE LANGUAGE.--After the union of Castile and Aragon it was the language
of the former that became the speech of the Spanish court. During the
reign of Ferdinand and Isabella it gradually gained the ascendancy over
the numerous dialects of the country, and became the national speech, just
as in France the Langue d'Oil finally crowded out all other dialects. By
the conquests and colonizations of the sixteenth century this Castilian
speech was destined to become only less widely spread than the English

THE POEM OF THE CID.--Castilian, or Spanish literature begins in the
twelfth century with the romance-poem of the _Cid_ (that is, _Chief_, the
title of the hero of the poem), one of the great literary productions of
the mediæval period. This grand national poem was the outgrowth of the
sentiments inspired by the long struggle between the Spanish Christians
and the Mohammedan Moors.



BEGINNINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF GERMANY.--The history of Germany as a
separate kingdom begins with the break-up of the empire of Charlemagne
(see p. 408). Germany at that time comprised several groups of tribes,--
the Saxons, the Suabians, the Thuringians, the Bavarians, and the Franks.
Closely allied in race, speech, manners, and social arrangements, all
these peoples seemed ready to be welded into a close and firm nation; but,
unfortunately, the circumstances tending to keep the several states or
communities apart were stronger than those operating to draw them
together, so that for a thousand years after Charlemagne we find them
constituting hardly anything more than a very loose confederation, the
members of which were constantly struggling among themselves for
supremacy, or were engaged in private wars with the neighboring nations.
[Footnote: During the mediæval period, Germany was under the following
lines of kings and emperors:--
  Carolingians. . . . . . . . . . . . . 843-911
  Conrad of Franconia.. . . . . . . . . 911-918
  Saxon Emperors. . . . . . . . . . . . 919-1024
  Franconian Emperors . . . . . . . . . 1024-1125
  Lothair of Saxony . . . . . . . . . . 1125-1137
  Hohenstaufen Emperors . . . . . . . . 1138-1254
  The Interregnum . . . . . . . . . . . 1254-1273
  Emperors of different Houses. . . . . 1273-1438
  Emperors of the House of Austria. . . 1438-]

That which more than all else operated to prevent Germany from becoming a
powerful, closely-knit nation, was the adoption by the German rulers of an
unfortunate policy respecting a world-empire. This matter will be
explained in the following paragraphs.

of Charlemagne were divided among his three grandsons (see p. 408), the
Imperial title was given to Lothair, to whom fell Italy and the Rhine-
land. The title, however, meant scarcely anything, carrying with it little
or no real authority. Thus matters ran on for more than a century, the
empty honor of the title sometimes being enjoyed by the kings of Italy,
and again by those of Germany.

But with the accession of the second of the Saxon line, Otto I., who was
crowned king at Aachen in 936, there appeared among the princes of Europe
a second Charlemagne. He was easily first among them all. Besides being
king of Germany, he became, through, interference on request in the
affairs of Italy, king of that country also. Furthermore, he wrested large
tracts of land from the Slavonians, and forced the Danes, Poles, and
Hungarians to acknowledge his suzerainty. Thus favored by fortune, he
naturally conceived the idea of restoring once more the Roman empire, even
as it had been revived by Charles the Great (see p. 406).

So in 962, just a little more than a century and a half after the
coronation at Rome of Charlemagne as emperor, Otto, at the same place and
by the same papal authority, was crowned Emperor of the Romans. For a
generation no one had borne the title. From this time on it was the rule
that the German king who was crowned at Aachen had a right to be crowned
king of Italy at Milan, and emperor at Rome (Freeman). Thus three crowns,
and in time still more, came to be heaped upon a single head.

respecting a world-empire was a grand one, but, as had been demonstrated
by the failure of the attempt of Charlemagne, was an utterly impracticable
idea. It was simply a dream, and never became anything more than a ghostly
shadow. Yet the pursuit of this phantom by the German kings resulted in
the most woeful consequences to Germany. Trying to grasp too much, these
rulers seized nothing at all. Attempting to be emperors of the world, they
failed to become even kings of Germany. While engaged in their schemes of
foreign conquest, their home affairs were neglected, and their vassals
succeeded in increasing their power and making it hereditary. Thus while
the kings of England, France, and Spain were gradually consolidating their
dominions, and building up strong centralized monarchies on the ruins of
Feudalism, the sovereigns of Germany, neglecting the affairs of their own
kingdom, were allowing it to become split up into a vast number of
virtually independent states, the ambitions and jealousies of whose rulers
were to postpone the unification of Germany for four or five hundred
years--until our own day.

Had the emperors inflicted loss and disaster upon Germany alone through
their pursuit of this phantom, the case would not be so lamentable; but
Italy was made the camping field of the Imperial armies, and the whole
peninsula kept distracted with the bitter quarrels of Guelphs and
Ghibellines (see p. 504), and thus the nationalization of the Italian
people was also delayed for centuries.

Germany received just one positive compensation for all this loss accruing
from the ambition of her kings. This was the gift of Italian civilization,
which came into the country through the connections of the emperors with
the peninsula.

GERMANY UNDER THE HOHENSTAUFEN EMPERORS (1138-1254).--The Hohenstaufen, or
Suabian dynasty was a most notable line of emperors. The matter of chief
importance in German history under the Hohenstaufen is the long and bitter
conflict, begun generations before, that was waged between them and the
Popes (see p. 455). Germany and Italy were divided into two great parties,
known as Welfs and Waiblings, or, as designated in Italy, Guelphs and
Ghibellines, the former adhering to the Pope, the latter to the Emperor.
The issue of a century's contention was the complete ruin of the House of

The most noted ruler of the line was Frederick I. (1152-1190), better
known as _Frederick Barbarossa_, from his red beard. He gave Germany
a good and strong government, and gained a sure place in the affections of
the German people, who came to regard him as the representative of the
sentiment of German nationality. When news of his death was brought back
from the East,--it will be recalled that he took part in the Third
Crusade, and lost his life in Asia Minor (see p. 445),--they refused to
believe that he was dead, and, as time passed, a tradition arose which
told how he slept in a cavern beneath one of his castles on a mountain-
top, and how, when the ravens should cease to circle about the hill, he
would appear, to make the German people a nation united and strong.

Frederick Barbarossa was followed by his son Henry VI. (1190-1197), who,
by marriage, had acquired a claim to the kingdom of Sicily.[Footnote: The
Hohenstaufen held the kingdom until 1265, when the Pope gave it as a fief
to Charles I. of Anjou (brother of Louis IX. of France), who beheaded the
rightful heir, the ill-starred boy Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen
race (1268). Charles' oppressive rule led to a revolt of his island
subjects, and to the great massacre known as the Sicilian Vespers (1282).
All of the hated race of Frenchmen were either killed or driven out of the
island.] Almost all his time and resources were spent in reducing that
remote realm to a state of proper subjection to his authority. By thus
leading the emperors to neglect their German subjects and interests, this
southern kingdom proved a fatal dower to the Suabian house.

By the close of the Hohenstaufen period, Germany was divided into two
hundred and seventy-six virtually independent states, the princes and
nobles having taken advantage of the prolonged absences of the emperors,
or their troubles with the Popes, to free themselves almost completely
from the control of the crown. There was really no longer either a German
kingdom or a Roman empire.

CATHEDRAL-BUILDING.--The age of the Hohenstaufen was the age of the
Crusades, which is to say that it was the age of religious faith. The most
striking expression of the spirit of the period, if we except the Holy
Wars, is to be found in the sacred architecture of the time. The style of
architecture first employed was the Romanesque, characterized by the
rounded arch and the dome; but towards the close of the twelfth century
this was superseded by the Gothic, distinguished by the pointed arch, the
tower or the slender spire, and rich ornamentation.

The enthusiasm for church-building was universal throughout Europe; yet
nowhere did it find nobler or more sustained expression than in Germany.
Among the most noted of the German cathedrals are the one at Strasburg,
begun in the eleventh century, and that at Cologne, commenced in 1248, but
not wholly finished until our own day (in 1880).

RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC.--The most noteworthy matters in German history
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, are the struggles between
the Swiss and the dukes of Austria; the religious movement of the
Hussites; and the growing power of the House of Austria.

From early in the eleventh century, the country now known as Switzerland
was a part of the Holy Roman Empire; but its liberty-loving people never
acknowledged any man as their master, save the German emperor, to whom
they yielded a merely nominal obedience. The dukes of Austria, princes of
the empire, laid claim to a certain authority over them, and tried to make
themselves masters in Switzerland. This led to a memorable struggle
between the dukes and the brave mountaineers. To the early part of the
contest belongs the legend of William Tell, which historical criticism now
pronounces a myth, with nothing but the revolt as the nucleus of fact.

In 1315, at the noted battle of Morgarten Pass, the Austrians suffered a
severe defeat at the hands of the Swiss patriots. Later in the same
century, the Austrians sustained another defeat on the memorable field of
Sempach (1386). It was here, tradition says, that Arnold of Winkelried
broke the ranks of the Austrians, by collecting in his arms as many of
their lances as he could, and, as they pierced his breast, bearing them
with him to the ground, exclaiming, "Comrades, I will open a road for

Shortly after the battle of Sempach, the Eidgenossen, or Confederates, as
the Swiss were at this time called, gained another victory over the
Austrians at Wafels (1388), which placed on a firm basis the growing power
of the League.

THE HUSSITES.--About the beginning of the fifteenth century, the doctrines
of the English reformer, Wycliffe (see p. 490) began to spread in
Bohemia. The chief of the new sect was John Huss, a professor of the
University of Prague. The doctrines of the reformer were condemned by the
great Council of Constance, and Huss himself, having been delivered over
into the hands of the civil authorities for punishment, was burned at the
stake (1415). The following year Jerome of Prague, another reformer, was
likewise burned.

Shortly after the burning of Huss a crusade was proclaimed against his
followers, who had risen in arms. Then began a cruel, desolating war of
fifteen years, the outcome of which was the almost total extermination of
the radical party among the Hussites. With the more moderate of the
reformers, however, a treaty was made which secured them freedom of

[Illustration: CENTRAL EUROPE 1880.]

the year 1438, Albert, Duke of Austria, was raised by the Electors
[Footnote: When, in the beginning of the tenth century, the German
Carolingian line became extinct, the great nobles of the kingdom assumed
the right of choosing the successor of the last of the house, and Germany
thus became an elective feudal monarchy. In the course of time a few of
the leading nobles usurped the right of choosing the king, and these
princes became known as Electors. There were, at the end of the
Hohenstaufen period, seven princes who enjoyed this important privilege,
four of whom were secular princes and three spiritual.] to the Imperial
throne. His accession marks an epoch in German history, for from this time
until. the dissolution of the empire by Napoleon in 1806, the Imperial
crown was regarded as hereditary in the Hapsburg [Footnote: The House of
Austria is often so called from the Castle of Hapsburg in Switzerland, the
cradle of the family.] family, the Electors, although never failing to go
through the formality of an election, almost always choosing one of the
members of that house as king.

From the beginning of the practically uninterrupted succession upon the
Imperial throne of the princes of the House of Austria, up to the close of
the Middle Ages, the power and importance of the family steadily
increased, until it seemed that Austria would overshadow all the other
German states, and subject them to her sway; would, in a word, become
Germany, just as Francia in Gaul had become France. But this, as we shall
learn, never came about.

[Illustration: GERMAN FOOT-SOLDIER (15th Century.)]

The greatest of the Hapsburg line during the mediæval period was
Maximilian I. (1493-1519). His reign is in every way a noteworthy one in
German history, marking, as it does, a strong tendency to centralization,
and the material enhancement of the Imperial authority.

_Beginning of German Literature._

SONG OF THE NIBELUNGEN.--It was under the patronage of the Hohenstaufen
that Germany produced the first pieces of a national literature. The "Song
of the Nibelungen" is the great German mediæval epic. It was reduced to
writing about 1200, being a recast, by some Homeric genius, perhaps, of
ancient German and Scandinavian legends and lays dating from the sixth and
seventh centuries. The hero of the story is Siegfried, the Achilles of
Teutonic legend and song.

THE MINNESINGERS.--Under the same emperors, during the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries, the Minnesingers, or lyric poets, flourished. They
were the "Troubadours of Germany." For the most part, refined and tender
and chivalrous and pure, the songs of these poets tended to soften the
manners and lift the hearts of the German people.


BEGINNINGS OF RUSSIA.--We have seen how, about the middle of the ninth
century, the Swedish adventurer Ruric laid, among the Slavonian tribes
dwelling eastward from the Baltic, the foundation of what was destined to
become one of the leading powers of Europe (see p. 411). The state came to
be known as Russia, probably from the word _Ruotsi_ (corsairs?), the
name given by the Finns to the foreigners.

THE TARTAR CONQUEST.--In the thirteenth century an overwhelming calamity
befell Russia. This was the overrunning and conquest of the country by the
Tartar hordes (see p. 461). The barbarian conquerors inflicted the most
horrible atrocities upon the unfortunate land, and for more than two
hundred years held the Russian princes in a degrading bondage, forcing
them to pay homage and tribute. This misfortune delayed for centuries the
nationalization of the Slavonian peoples.

RUSSIA FREED FROM THE MONGOLS.--It was not until the reign of Ivan the
Great (1462-1505) that Russia,--now frequently called Muscovy from the
fact that it had been reorganized with Moscow as a centre,--after a
terrible struggle, succeeded in freeing itself from the hateful Tartar
domination, and began to assume the character of a well-consolidated

Thus, by the end of the Middle Ages, Russia had become a really great
power; but she was as yet too much hemmed in by hostile states to be able
to make her influence felt in the affairs of Europe. Between her and the
Caspian and Euxine were the Tartars; shutting her out from the Baltic were
the Swedes and other peoples; and between her and Germany were the
Lithuanians and Poles.


NO NATIONAL GOVERNMENT.--In marked contrast to all those countries of
which we have thus far spoken, unless we except Germany, Italy came to the
close of the Middle Ages without a national or regular government. This is
to be attributed in large part to that unfortunate rivalry between Pope
and Emperor which resulted in dividing Italy into the two hostile camps of
Guelph and Ghibelline. And yet the mediæval period did not pass without
attempts on the part of patriot spirits to effect some sort of political
union among the different cities and states of the peninsula. The most
noteworthy of these movements, and one which gave assurance that the spark
of patriotism which was in time to flame into an inextinguishable passion
for national unity was kindling in the Italian heart, was that headed by
the hero Rienzi, in the fourteenth century.

RIENZI, TRIBUNE OF ROME (1347).--During the greater part of the fourteenth
century the seat of the Papal See was at Avignon, beyond the Alps (see p.
457). Throughout this period of the "Babylonish captivity," Rome, deprived
of her natural guardians, was in a state of the greatest confusion. The
nobles terrorized the country about the capital, and kept the streets of
the city itself in constant turmoil with their bitter feuds.

In the midst of these disorders there appeared from among the lowest ranks
of the people a deliverer in the person of one Nicola di Rienzi. Possessed
of considerable talent and great eloquence, Rienzi easily incited the
people to a revolt against the rule, or rather misrule, of the nobles, and
succeeded in having himself, with the title of Tribune, placed at the head
of a new government for Rome.

Encouraged by the success that had thus far attended his schemes, Rienzi
now began to concert measures for the union of all the principalities and
commonwealths of Italy in a great republic, with Rome as its capital. He
sent ambassadors throughout Italy to plead, at the courts of the princes
and in the council chamber of the municipalities, the cause of Italian
unity and freedom. The splendid dream of Rienzi was shared by other
Italian patriots besides himself, among whom was the poet Petrarch, who
was the friend and encourager of the "plebeian hero."

But the moment for Italy's unification had not yet come. Not only were
there hindrances to the national movement in the ambitions and passions of
rival parties and classes, but there were still greater impediments in the
character of the plebeian patriot himself. Rienzi proved to be an unworthy
leader. His sudden elevation and surprising success completely turned his
head, and he soon began to exhibit the most incredible vanity and
weakness. The people withdrew from him their support, and he was finally

Thus vanished the dream of Rienzi and Petrarch, of the hero and the poet.
Centuries of division, of shameful subjection to foreign princes,--French,
Spanish, and Austrian,--of wars and suffering, were yet before the Italian
people ere Rome should become the centre of a free, orderly, and united

THE RENAISSANCE.--Though the Middle Ages closed in Italy without the rise
there of a national government, still before the end of the period much
had been done to awaken those common ideas and sentiments upon which
political unity can alone safely repose. Literature and art here performed
the part that war did in other countries in arousing a national spirit.
The Renaissance (see p. 474) did much toward creating among the Italians a
common pride in race and country; and thus this great literary and
artistic enthusiasm was the first step in a course of national development
which was to lead the Italian people to a common political life.

Upon the literary phase of the Italian Renaissance we have said something
in the chapter on the Revival of Learning (see p. 474); we shall here say
just a word respecting the artistic side of the movement.

The most splendid period of the art revival covered the latter part of the
fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth. The characteristic
art of the Renaissance in Italy was painting, although the æsthetic genius
of the Italians also expressed itself both in architecture and sculpture.
[Footnote: The four supreme masters of the Italian Renaissance were
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michael Angelo (1475-1564), Raphael (1483-
1520), and Titian (1477-1576). All were great painters. Perhaps the one of
greatest, at least of most varied, genius, was Michael Angelo, who was at
once architect, painter, and sculptor. His grandest architectural triumph
was the majestic dome of St. Peter's,--which work, however, he did not
live to see completed.] The mediæval artists devoted themselves to
painting instead of sculpture, for the reason that it best expresses the
ideas and sentiments of Christianity. The art that would be the handmaid
of the Church needed to be able to represent faith and hope, ecstasy and
suffering,--none of which things can well be expressed by sculpture, which
is essentially the art of repose.

SAVONAROLA (1452-1498).--A word must here be said respecting the
Florentine monk and reformer Girolamo Savonarola, who stands as the most
noteworthy personage in Italy during the closing years of the mediæval

Savonarola was at once Roman censor and Hebrew prophet. Such a preacher of
righteousness the world had not seen since the days of Elijah. His
powerful preaching alarmed the conscience of the Florentines. At his
suggestion the women brought their finery and ornaments, and others their
beautiful works of art, and piling them in great heaps in the streets of
Florence, burned them as "vanities." Savonarola even persuaded the people
of Florence to set up a sort of theocratic government, of which Christ was
the acknowledged head. But at length the activity of his enemies brought
about the reformer's downfall, and he was condemned to death, executed,
and his body burned. Savonarola may be regarded as the last great mediæval
forerunner of the reformers of the sixteenth century.


THE UNION OF CALMAR.--The great Scandinavian Exodus of the ninth and tenth
centuries drained the Northern lands of some of the best elements of their
population. For this reason these countries did not play as prominent a
part in mediæval history as they would otherwise have done. The constant
quarrels between their sovereigns and the nobility were also another cause
of internal weakness.

In the year 1397, by what is known as the Union of Calmar, the three
kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were united under Margaret of
Denmark, "the Semiramis of the North." The treaty provided that each
country should make its own laws. But the treaty was violated, and though
the friends of the measure had hoped much from it, it brought only
jealousies, feuds, and wars.

The Swedes arose again and again in revolt, and finally, under the lead of
a nobleman named Gustavus Vasa, made good their independence (1523).
During the seventeenth century, under the descendants and successors of
the Liberator, Sweden was destined to play an important part in the
affairs of the continent.

Norway became virtually a province of Denmark, and the Norwegian nobles
were driven into exile or killed. The country remained attached to the
Danish Crown until the present century.



As an introduction to the history of the Modern Age, we shall give a brief
account of the voyages and geographical discoveries of Columbus, Vasco da
Gama, and Magellan, and of the beginning of European conquests and
settlements in the New World, inasmuch as these great events lie at the
opening of the era and form the prelude of its story.

DISCOVERY OF THE NEW WORLD BY COLUMBUS (1492).--Christopher Columbus was
one of those Genoese navigators who, when Genoa's Asiatic lines of trade
were broken by the irruption of the Turks (see p. 467), conceived the idea
of reaching India by an ocean route. While others were endeavoring to
reach that country by sailing around the southern point of Africa, he
proposed the bolder plan of reaching this eastern land by sailing directly
westward. The sphericity of the earth was a doctrine held by many at that
day; but the theory was not in harmony with the religious ideas of the
time, and so it was not prudent for one to publish too openly one's belief
in the notion.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS. (After the Yanez Portrait in the Madrid

In his endeavors to secure a patron for his enterprise, Columbus met at
first with repeated repulse and disappointment. At last, however, he
gained the ear of Queen Isabella of Spain; a little fleet was fitted out
for the explorer,--and the New World was found.

Columbus never received a fitting reward for the great service he had
rendered mankind. Even the continent to which he had shown the way,
instead of being called after him as a perpetual memorial, was named from
a Florentine navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, whose chief claim to this
distinction was his having published the first account of the new lands.

ASIA. From the Globe of Martin Behaim, 1492. (Cathaja--China; Cipango =

THE VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA (1497-1498).--The favorable position of
Portugal upon the Atlantic seaboard naturally led her sovereigns to
conceive the idea of competing with the Italian cities for the trade of
the East Indies, by opening up an ocean route to those lands. During all
the latter part of the fifteenth century Portuguese sailors were year
after year penetrating a little farther into the mysterious tropical seas,
and exploring new reaches of the western coast of Africa.

In 1487 the most southern point of the continent was reached, and was
named the Cape of Good Hope, as the possibility of reaching India by sea
now seemed assured. A decade later Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese admiral,
doubled the Cape, crossed the Indian Sea, and landed on the coast of
Malabar (1498).

The discovery of a water-path to India effected, as we have already
noticed (see p. 467), most important changes in the traffic of the world.
It made the ports of Portugal and of other countries on the Atlantic
seaboard the depots of the Eastern trade. "The front of Europe was
suddenly changed." The Italian merchants were ruined. The great warehouses
of Egypt and Syria were left empty. The traffic of the Mediterranean
dwindled to insignificant proportions. Portugal established trading-posts
and colonies in the East, and built up there a great empire,--like that
which England is maintaining in the same region at the present day.

THE VOYAGE AROUND THE GLOBE (1519-1522).--Upon the return of Columbus from
his successful expedition, Pope Alexander VI., with a view to adjusting
the conflicting claims of Spain and Portugal, divided the world by a
meridian line drawn about midway through the Atlantic, and gave to the
Spanish sovereigns all unclaimed pagan lands that their subjects might
find west of this line, and to the Portuguese kings all new pagan lands
discovered by Portuguese navigators east of the designated meridian.

The determination on the part of the king of Spain to acquire title under
the papal grant to the valuable Spice Islands of the Pacific by reaching
them through sailing westward, led him to organize an expedition of
discovery in the western seas. The little fleet was entrusted to the
command of Magellan, a Portuguese admiral.

Magellan directed his fleet in a southwesterly course across the Atlantic,
hoping to find towards the south a break in the land discovered by
Columbus. Near the most southern point of Patagonia he found the narrow
strait that now bears his name, through which he pushed his vessel into
the sea beyond. From the calm, unruffled face of the new ocean, so
different from the stormy Atlantic, he gave to it the name _Pacific_.

After a most adventurous voyage upon the hitherto untraversed waters of
the new sea, the expedition reached the Spice Islands, and eventually
arrived home, after an absence of over three years. For the first time men
had gone around the globe that they had so long lived upon. The
achievement of course settled forever the question as to the shape of the
earth. It pushed aside all the old narrow geographical ideas, and
broadened immensely the physical horizon of the world.

CONQUEST OF MEXICO (1519-1521).--Soon after the discovery of the New
World, Spanish settlements were established upon the islands in front of
the Gulf of Mexico. Among the colonists here were constantly spread
reports of a great and rich Indian monarchy upon the mainland to the west.
These stories inflamed the imagination of the more adventurous among the
settlers, and an expedition was organized and placed under the command of
Hernando Cortez, for the conquest and "conversion" of the heathen nation.
The expedition was successful, and soon the Spaniards were masters of the
greater part of Mexico.

The state that the conquerors destroyed was hardly an "empire," as termed
by the Spanish writers, but rather a confederacy, somewhat like the
Iroquois confederacy in the North. It embraced three tribes, of which the
Aztecs were leaders. At the head of the league was a war-chief, who bore
the name of Montezuma.

The Mexican Indians had taken some steps in civilization. They employed a
system of picture-writing, and had cities and temples. But they were
cannibals, and offered human sacrifices to their gods. They had no
knowledge of the horse or of the ox, and were of course ignorant of the
use of fire-arms.

THE CONQUEST OF PERU (1532-1536).--Shortly after the conquest of the
Indians of Mexico, the subjugation of the Indians of Peru was also
effected. The civilization of the Peruvians was superior to that of the
Mexicans. Not only were the great cities of the Peruvian empire filled
with splendid temples and palaces, but throughout the country were
magnificent works of public utility, such as roads, bridges, and
aqueducts. The government of the Incas, the royal, or ruling race, was a
mild, parental autocracy.

Glowing reports of the enormous wealth of the Incas,--the commonest
articles in whose palaces, it was asserted, were of solid gold, reached
the Spaniards by way of the Isthmus of Darien, and it was not long before
an expedition was organized for the conquest of the country. The leader of
the band was Francisco Pizarro, an iron-hearted, perfidious, and
illiterate adventurer.

Through treachery, Pizarro made a prisoner of the Inca Atahualpa. The
captive offered, as a ransom for his release, to fill the room in which he
was confined "as high as he could reach" with vessels of gold. Pizarro
accepted the offer, and the palaces and temples throughout the empire were
stripped of their golden vessels, and the apartment was filled with the
precious relics. The value of the treasure is estimated at over
$17,000,000. When this vast wealth was once under the control of the
Spaniards, they seized it all, and then treacherously put the Inca to
death (1533). With the death of Atahualpa the power of the Inca dynasty
passed away forever.

SPANISH COLONIZATION IN THE NEW WORLD.--Not until more than one hundred
years after the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by Columbus, was there
established a single permanent English settlement within the limits of
what is now the United States, the portion of the New World destined to be
taken possession of by the peoples of Northern Europe, and to become the
home of civil and religious freedom.

But into those parts of the new lands opened up by Spanish exploration and
conquest there began to pour at once a tremendous stream of Spanish
adventurers and colonists, in search of fortune and fame. It was a sort of
Spanish migration. The movement might be compared to the rush of
population from the Eastern States to California, after the announcement
of the discovery there of gold, in 1848-9. Upon the West India Islands, in
Mexico, in Central America, all along the Pacific slope of the Andes, and
everywhere upon the lofty and pleasant table-lands that had formed the
heart of the empire of the Incas, there sprang up rapidly great cities as
the centres of mining and agricultural industries, of commerce and of
trade. Thus did a Greater Spain grow up in the New World. It was, in a
large measure, the treasures derived from these new possessions that
enabled the sovereigns of Spain to play the imposing part they did in the
affairs of Europe during the century following the discovery of America.
[Footnote: After having robbed the Indians of their wealth in gold and
silver, the slow accumulations of centuries, the Spaniards further
enriched themselves by the enforced labor of the unfortunate natives.
Unused to such toil as was exacted of them under the lash of worse than
Egyptian task-masters, the Indians wasted away by millions in the mines of
Mexico and Peru, and upon the sugar plantations of the West Indies. More
than half of the native population of Peru is thought to have been
consumed in the Peruvian mines. To save the Indians, negroes were
introduced as a substitute for native laborers. This was the beginning of
the African slave-trade in the New World. The traffic was especially
encouraged by a benevolent priest named Las Casas (1474-1566), known as
the "Apostle of the Indians." Thus the gigantic evil of African slavery in
the Western Hemisphere, like the gladiatorial shows of the Romans, was
brought into existence, or, rather, in its beginning was fostered, by a
philanthropic desire and effort to mitigate human suffering.]




GENERAL STATEMENT.--We have already indicated (see pp. 366-7), the two
periods of modern history; namely, the _Era of the Protestant Reformation_
and the _Era of the Political Revolution_. We need here simply to remind
the reader that the first period, extending from the opening of the
sixteenth century to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, is characterized by
the revolt of the nations of Northern Europe against the spiritual
jurisdiction of Rome, and the great combat between Protestantism and
Catholicism; and that the second period, running from the Peace of
Westphalia to our own day, is distinguished by the contest between the
people and their rulers, or, in other words, by the conflict between
liberal and despotic principles of government.

We shall now proceed to speak of the causes and general features of the
Reformation, and in succeeding chapters shall follow its fortunes in the
various countries of Europe.

CENTURY.--In a preceding chapter on the Papacy it was shown how perfect at
one time was the obedience of the West, not only to the spiritual, but to
the temporal, authority of the Pope. It was also shown how the papal claim
of the right to dictate in temporal or governmental affairs was
practically rejected by the princes and sovereigns of Europe as early as
the fourteenth century (see p. 458). But previous to the opening of the
sixteenth century there had been comparatively few--though there had been
some, like the Albigenses in the South of France, the Wickliffites in
England, and the Hussites in Bohemia--who denied the supreme and
infallible authority of the bishops of Rome in all matters touching
religion. Speaking in a very general manner, it would be correct to say
that at the close of the fifteenth century all the nations of Western
Europe professed the faith of the Latin, or Roman Catholic Church, and
yielded spiritual obedience to the Papal See.

CAUSES OF REFORMATION.--We must now seek the causes which led one-half of
the nations of Europe to secede, as it were, from the Roman Catholic
Church. The causes were many. Among others may be mentioned the great
mental awakening which marked the close of the mediæval and the opening of
the modern age; for the intellectual revival, though often spoken of, in
so far as it concerned the Northern nations, as an effect of the religious
revival, was in reality at once cause and effect. It hastened the
Reformation, and was itself hastened by it. And in connection with the
Revival of Learning must be mentioned the invention of printing as a
powerful agency in the promotion of the religious movement. The press
scattered broadcast over Europe, not only the Bible, but the writings of
the men who had begun to doubt the scriptural authority for many of the
doctrines and ceremonies of the Church,--such as devotion to the Virgin
Mary, the invoking of saints, the use of images, confession to a priest,
and the nature of the elements in the Eucharist. These writings of course
stirred up debate, and led to questioning and criticism.

A second cause was the existence of most serious scandals and abuses in
the Church. During the fifteenth century, the morality of the Church was
probably lower than at any other period in its history. The absolute
necessity of its thorough reform in both "head and members" was recognized
by all earnest and spiritual-minded men. The only difference of opinion
among such was as to the manner in which the work of purification should
be effected.

A third cause may be found in the claims of the Popes to the right to
interfere in the internal, governmental affairs of a nation; for, although
these claims had been rejected by the sovereigns of Europe, they were
nevertheless still maintained by the Roman bishops, and this caused the
temporal princes to regard with great jealousy the papal power.

But foremost among the proximate causes, and the actual _occasion_ of
the revolution, was the controversy which arose about indulgences. These,
in the Catholic Church, are remissions, to penitents, of punishment due
for sin, upon the performance of some work of mercy or piety, or the
payment of a sum of money. It is, and always has been, the theory of the
Catholic Church, that the indulgence remits merely temporal penalties,--
that is, penalties imposed by ecclesiastical authority, and the pains of
Purgatory,--and that it can take effect only upon certain conditions,
among which is that of sincere repentance. Indulgences were frequently
granted by various pontiffs, as a means of raising funds for pious
enterprises. A considerable portion of the money for building the
Cathedral of St. Peter at Rome was raised in this manner.

TETZEL AND THE PREACHING OF INDULGENCES.--Leo X., upon his election to the
papal dignity, in 1513, found the coffers of the Church almost empty; and,
being in pressing need of money to carry on his various undertakings,
among which was work upon St. Peter's, he had recourse to the then common
expedient of a grant of indulgences. He delegated the power of dispensing
these in Germany to the archbishop of Magdeburg, who employed a Dominican
friar by the name of Tetzel as his deputy in Saxony.

The archbishop was unfortunate in the selection of his agent. Tetzel
carried out his commission in such a way as to give rise to great scandal.
The language that he, or at least his subordinates, used, in exhorting the
people to comply with the conditions of gaining the indulgences, one of
which was a donation of money, was unseemly and exaggerated. The result
was that erroneous views as to the effect of indulgences began to spread
among the ignorant and credulous, some being so far misled as to think
that if they only contributed this money to the building of St. Peter's at
Rome they would be exempt from all penalty for sins, paying little heed to
the other conditions, such as sorrow for sin, and purpose of amendment.
Hence, many were led to declaim against the procedure of the zealous
friar. These protests were the near mutterings of a storm that had long
been gathering, and that was soon to shake all Europe from the Baltic to
the Mediterranean.

[Illustration: MARTIN LUTHER]

MARTIN LUTHER.--Foremost among those who opposed and denounced Tetzel was
Martin Luther (1483-1546), an Augustine monk, and a teacher of theology in
the university of Wittenberg. He was of humble parentage, his father being
a poor miner. The boy possessed a good voice, and frequently, while a
student, earned his bread by singing from door to door. The natural bent
of his mind, and, if we may believe a somewhat doubtful legend, the death
of a friend struck down at his side by lightning, led him to resolve to
enter a monastery and devote himself to the service of the Church. Before
Tetzel appeared in Germany, Luther had already earned a wide reputation
for learning and piety.

THE NINETY-FIVE THESES.--The form which Church penances had taken in the
hands of Tetzel and his associates, together with other circumstances,
awakened in Luther's mind doubts and questionings as to many of the
doctrines of the Church. Especially was there gradually maturing within
him a conviction that the entire system of ecclesiastical penances and
indulgences was unscriptural and wrong. His last lingering doubt
respecting this matter appears to have been removed while, during an
official visit to Rome in 1510, he was penitentially ascending on his
knees the sacred stairs (_scala santa_) of the Lateran, when he
seemed to hear an inner voice declaring, "The just shall live by faith."

At length Luther drew up ninety-five theses, or articles, wherein he
fearlessly stated his views respecting indulgences. These theses, written
in Latin, he nailed to the door of the church at Wittenberg, and invited
all scholars to examine and criticise them, and to point out if in any
respect they were opposed to the teachings of the Word of God, or of the
early Fathers of the Church (1517). By means of the press the theses were
scattered with incredible rapidity throughout every country in Europe.

BURNING OF THE PAPAL BULL (1520).--All the continent was now plunged into
a perfect tumult of controversy. Luther, growing bolder, was soon
attacking the entire system and body of teachings of the Roman Catholic
Church. At first the Pope, Leo X., was inclined to regard the whole matter
as "a mere squabble of monks," but at length he felt constrained to issue
a bull against the audacious reformer (1520). His writings were condemned
as heretical, and all persons were forbidden to read them; and he himself,
if he did not recant his errors within sixty days, was to be seized and
sent to Rome to be dealt with as an heretic. Luther in reply publicly
burned the papal bull at one of the gates of Wittenberg.

THE DIET OF WORMS (1521).--Leo now invoked the aid of the recently elected
Emperor Charles the Fifth in extirpating the spreading heresy. The emperor
complied by summoning Luther before the Diet of Worms, an assembly of the
princes, nobles, and clergy of Germany, convened at Worms to deliberate
upon the affairs of Germany, and especially upon matters touching the
great religious controversy.

Called upon in the Imperial assembly to recant his errors, Luther steadily
refused to do so, unless his teachings could be shown to be inconsistent
with the Bible. Although some wished to deliver the reformer to the
flames, the safe-conduct of the emperor under which he had come to the
Diet protected him. So Luther was allowed to depart in safety, but was
followed by a decree of the assembly which pronounced him a heretic and an

But Luther had powerful friends among the princes of Germany, one of whom
was his own prince, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. Solicitors for
the safety of the reformer, the prince caused him to be seized on his way
from the Diet by a company of masked horsemen, who carried him to the
castle of the Wartburg, where he was kept about a year, his retreat being
known only to a few friends. During this period of forced retirement from
the world, Luther was hard at work upon his celebrated translation of the

THE PEASANTS' WAR (1524-1525).--Before quite a year had passed, Luther was
called from the Wartburg by the troubles caused by a new sect that had
appeared, known as the Anabaptists, whose excesses were casting great
discredit upon the whole reform movement. Luther's sudden appearance at
Wittenberg gave a temporary check to the agitation.

But in the course of two or three years the trouble broke out afresh, and
in a more complex and aggravated form. The peasants of Suabia and
Franconia, stung to madness by the oppressions of their feudal lords,
stirred by the religious excitement that filled the air, and influenced by
the incendiary preaching of their prophets Carlstadt and Muenzer, rose in
revolt against the nobles and priests. Castles and monasteries were sacked
and burned, and horrible outrages were committed. The rebellion was at
length crushed, but not until one hundred thousand lives had been
sacrificed, a large part of South Germany ravaged, and great reproach cast
upon the reformers, whose teachings were held by their enemies to be the
whole cause of the ferment.

The Reformers are called Protestants. Notwithstanding all the efforts that
were made to suppress the doctrines of Luther, they gained ground rapidly,
and in the year 1529 another assembly, known as the Second Diet of Spires,
was called to consider the matter. This body issued an edict forbidding
all persons doing anything to promote the spread of the new doctrines,
until a general council of the Church should have investigated them and
pronounced authoritatively upon them. Seven of the German princes, and a
large number of the cities of the empire, issued a formal _protest_
against the action of the Diet. Because of this protest, the reformers
from this time began to be known as _Protestants_.

death of Luther, [Footnote: After the death of Luther, the leadership of
the Reformation in Germany fell to Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), one of
Luther's friends and fellow-workers. Melanchthon's disposition was exactly
the opposite of Luther's. He often reproved Luther for his indiscretion
and vehemence, and was constantly laboring to effect, through mutual
concessions, a reconciliation between the Roman Catholics and the
Protestants.] which occurred in the year 1546, the Reformation had gained
a strong foothold in most of the countries of Western Christendom, save in
Spain and Italy, and even in these parts the new doctrines had made some
progress. It seemed as if the revolt from Rome was destined to become
universal, and the old ecclesiastical empire to be completely broken up.

But several causes now conspired to check the hitherto triumphant advance
of Protestantism, and to confine the movement to the Northern nations.
Chief among these were the _divisions among the Protestants_, the
_Catholic counter-reform_, the _increased activity of the Inquisition_,
and the _rise of the Order of the Jesuits_.

DIVISIONS AMONG THE PROTESTANTS.--Early in their contest with Rome, the
Protestants became divided into numerous hostile sects. In Switzerland
arose the Zwinglians (followers of Ulrich Zwingle, 1484-1531), who
differed from the Lutherans in their views regarding the Eucharist, and on
some other points of doctrine. The Calvinists were followers of John
Calvin (1509-1564), a Frenchman by birth, who, forced to flee from France
on account of persecution, found a refuge at Geneva, of which city he
became a sort of Protestant pope. [Footnote: Calvin was, next after
Luther, the greatest of the reformers. The doctrines of Calvin came to
prevail very widely, and have exerted a most remarkable influence upon the
general course of history. "The Huguenots of France, the Covenanters of
Scotland, the Puritans of England, the Pilgrim Fathers of New England,
were all the offspring of Calvinism."]

The great Protestant communions quickly broke up into a large number of
denominations, or churches, each holding to some minor point of doctrine,
or adhering to some form of worship disregarded by the others, yet all
agreeing in the central doctrine of the Reformation, "Justification by

[Illustration: JOHN CALVIN]

Now the contentions between these different sects were sharp and bitter.
The liberal-minded reformer had occasion to lament the same state of
things as that which troubled the apostle Paul in the early days of
Christianity. One said, I am of Luther; another said, I am of Calvin; and
another said, I am of Zwingle. Even Luther himself denounced Zwingle as a
heretic; and the Calvinists would have no dealings with the Lutherans.

The influence of these sectarian divisions upon the progress of the
Reformation was most disastrous. They afforded the Catholics a strong and
effective argument against the entire movement as tending to uncertainty
and discord.

THE CATHOLIC COUNTER-REFORM.--While the Protestants were thus breaking up
into numerous rival sects, the Catholics were removing the causes of
dissension within the old Church by a thorough reform in its head and
members, and by a clear and authoritative restatement of the doctrines of
the Catholic faith. This was accomplished very largely by the labors of
the celebrated Council of Trent (1545-1563). The correction of the abuses
that had so much to do in causing the great schism, smoothed the way for
the return to the ancient Church of thousands who had become alarmed at
the dangers into which society seemed to drift when once it cast loose
from anchorage in the safe harbor of tradition and authority.

THE INQUISITION.--The Roman Catholic Church having purified itself and
defined clearly its articles of faith, demanded of all a more implicit
obedience than hitherto. The Inquisition, or Holy Office (see p. 500), now
assumed new vigor and activity, and heresy was sternly dealt with. The
tribunal was assisted in the execution of its sentences by the secular
authorities in all the Romance countries, but outside of these it was not
generally recognized by the temporal princes, though it did succeed in
establishing itself for a time in the Netherlands and in some parts of
Germany. Death, usually by burning, and loss of property were the penalty
of obstinate heresy. Without doubt the Holy Office did much to check the
advance of the Reformation in Southern Europe, aiding especially in
holding Italy and Spain compactly obedient to the ancient Church.

At this point, in connection with the persecutions of the Inquisition, we
should not fail to recall that in the sixteenth century a refusal to
conform to the established worship was regarded by all, by Protestants as
well as by Catholics, as a species of treason against society, and was
dealt with accordingly. Thus we find Calvin at Geneva consenting to the
burning of Servetus (1553), because he published views that the Calvinists
thought heretical; and in England we see the Anglican Protestants waging
the most cruel, bitter, and persistent persecutions, not only against the
Catholics, but also against all Protestants that refused to conform to the
Established Church.

THE JESUITS.--The Order of Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, was another most
powerful agent concerned in the re-establishment of the threatened
authority of the Papal See. The founder of the institution was St.
Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), a native of Spain. Loyola's object was to
form a society, the devotion and energy of whose numbers should counteract
the zeal and activity of the reformers.

[Illustration: LOYOLA. (From a medal.)]

As the well-disciplined, watchful, and uncompromising foes of the
Protestant reformers, now divided into many and often hostile sects, the
Jesuits did very much to bring about a reaction, to retrieve the failing
fortunes of the papal power in Europe, and to extend the authority and
doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church in all other parts of the world.
Most distinguished of the missionaries of the order to pagan lands was
Francis Xavier (1506-1552), known as the Apostle of the Indies. His labors
in India, Japan, and other lands of the East were attended with
astonishing results.

OUTCOME OF THE REVOLT.--As in following chapters we are to trace the
fortunes of the Reformation in the leading European countries, we shall
here say only a word as to the issue of the great contest.

The outcome of the revolt, very broadly stated, was the separation from
the Roman Catholic Church of the Northern, or Teutonic nations; that is to
say, of Northern Germany, of portions of Switzerland and of the
Netherlands, of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, and Scotland. The
Romance nations, namely, Italy, France and Spain, together with Celtic
Ireland, adhered to the old Church.

What this separation from Rome meant in the political realm is well stated
by Seebohm: "It was the claiming by the civil power in each nation of
those rights which the Pope had hitherto claimed within it as head of the
great ecclesiastical empire. The clergy and monks had hitherto been
regarded more or less as foreigners--that is, as subjects of the Pope's
ecclesiastical empire. Where there was a revolt from Rome the allegiance
of these persons to the Pope was annulled, and the civil power claimed as
full a sovereignty over them as it had over its lay subjects. Matters
relating to marriage and wills still for the most part remained under
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but then, as the ecclesiastical courts
themselves became national courts and ceased to be Roman or papal, all
these matters came under the control of the civil power."

In a spiritual or religious point of view, this severance by the Northern
nations of the bonds that formerly united them to the ecclesiastical
empire of Rome, meant a transfer of their allegiance from the
_Church_ to the _Bible_. The decrees of Popes and the decisions of
Councils were no longer to be regarded as having divine and binding force;
the Scriptures alone were to be held as possessing divine and infallible
authority, and, theoretically, this rule and standard of faith and
practice each one was to interpret for himself.

Thus one-half of Western Christendom was lost to the Roman Church. Yet
notwithstanding this loss, notwithstanding the earlier loss of the Eastern
part of Christendom (see p. 417), and notwithstanding the fact that its
temporal power has been entirely taken from it, the Papacy still remains,
as Macaulay says, "not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful
vigor." The Pope is to-day the supreme Head of a Church that, in the words
of the brilliant writer just quoted, "was great and respected before Saxon
had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when
Grecian eloquence still flourished in Antioch, when idols were still
worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished
vigor when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast
solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the
ruins of St. Paul's."




CHARLES' DOMINIONS.--Charles I. of Spain, better known to fame as Emperor
Charles V., was the son of Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria, and
Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. He was "the
converging point and heir of four great royal lines, which had become
united by a series of happy matrimonial alliances." These were the houses
of Austria, Burgundy, Castile, and Aragon. Before Charles had completed
his nineteenth year, there were heaped upon his head, through the removal
of his ancestors by death, the crowns of the four dynasties.

But vast as were the hereditary possessions of the young prince, there was
straightway added to these (in 1519), by the vote of the Electors of
Germany, the sovereignty of the Holy Roman Empire. After this election he
was known as _Emperor Charles V.,_ whereas hitherto he had borne the
title of _Don Carlos I._ of Spain.

CHARLES AND THE REFORMATION.--It is Charles' relations to the Lutheran
movement which constitute the significant feature of his life and work.
Here his policies and acts concerned universal history. It would hardly be
asserting too much to say that Charles, at the moment he ascended the
Imperial throne, held in his hands the fortunes of the Reformation, so far
as regards the countries of Southern Europe. Whether these were to be
saved to Rome or not, seemed at this time to depend largely upon the
attitude which Charles should assume towards the reform movement.
Fortunately for the Catholic Church, the young emperor placed himself at
the head of the Catholic party, and during his reign employed the strength
and resources of his empire in repressing the heresy of the reformers.

[Illustration: THE SPANISH KINGDOMS And Their European Dependencies under
Charles the Fifth]

HIS TWO CHIEF ENEMIES.--Had Charles been free from the outset to devote
all his energies to the work of suppressing the Lutheran heresy, it is
difficult to see what could have saved the reform doctrines within his
dominions from total extirpation. But fortunately for the cause of the
reformers, Charles' attention, during all the first part of his reign, was
drawn away from the serious consideration of Church questions, by the
attacks upon his dominions of two of the most powerful monarchs of the
times,--Francis I. (1515-1547) of France, and Solyman the Magnificent
(1520-1566), Sultan of Turkey. Whenever Charles was inclined to proceed to
severe measures against the Protestant princes of Germany, the threatening
movements of one or both of these enemies, at times acting in concert and
alliance, forced him to postpone his proposed crusade against heretics for
a campaign against foreign foes.

  First War (ended by Peace of Madrid). . 1521-1526
  Second War (ended by Ladies' Peace) . . 1527-1529
  Third War (ended by Truce of Nice). . . 1536-1538
  Fourth War (ended by Peace of Crespy).. 1542-1544] (1521-1544).--Francis
I. was the rival of Charles in the contest for Imperial honors. When the
Electors conferred the title of emperor upon the Spanish monarch, Francis
was sorely disappointed, and during all the remainder of his reign kept up
a jealous and almost incessant warfare with Charles, whose enormous
possessions now nearly surrounded the French kingdom. Italy was the field
of much of the fighting, as the securing of dominion in that peninsula was
the chief aim of each of the rivals.

The so-called _First War_ between Francis and the emperor was full of
misfortunes for Francis. His army was driven out of Northern Italy by the
Imperial forces; his most skilful and trusted commander, the Constable of
Bourbon, turned traitor and went over to Charles, and another of his most
valiant nobles, the celebrated Chevalier Bayard, the knight _sans peur,
sans reproche_, "without fear and without reproach," was killed; while,
to crown all, Francis himself, after suffering a crushing defeat at Pavia,
in Italy, was wounded and taken prisoner. In his letter to his mother
informing her of the disaster, he is said to have laconically written,
"All is lost save honor." He was liberated by the Peace of Madrid (1526).

The most memorable incident of the _Second War_ between the king and
the emperor, was the sack of Rome by an Imperial army, made up chiefly of
Lutherans. Rome had not witnessed such scenes since the terrible days of
the Goth and Vandal.

In the _Third War_ Francis shocked all Christendom by forming an
alliance with the Turkish Sultan, who ravaged with his fleets the Italian
coasts, and sold his plunder and captives in the port of Marseilles. Thus
was a Christian city shamefully opened to the Moslems as a refuge and a

The _Fourth War_, which was the last between the rivals, left their
respective possessions substantially the same as at the beginning of the
strife, in 1521.

DISASTROUS EFFECTS OF THE WAR.--The results of these royal contentions had
been extremely calamitous. For a quarter of a century they had kept nearly
all Europe in a perfect turmoil, and by preventing alliances of the
Christian states, had been the occasion of the severe losses which
Christendom during this period suffered at the hands of the Turks. Hungary
had been ravaged with fire and sword; Rhodes had been captured from the
Knights of St. John; and all the Mediterranean shores pillaged, and
thousands of Christian captives chained to the oars of Turkish galleys.
[Footnote: The worst feature of this advance of the Sultan's authority in
the Mediterranean was the growth, under his protection, of the power of
the Algerian pirates. One of the chief strongholds of the pirates on the
African coast was Tunis, which was held by the famous Barbarossa. In the
interval between his second and third wars with Francis, Charles, with a
large army and fleet, made an assault upon this place, defeated the
corsair, and set free 20,000 Christian captives. For this brilliant and
knightly achievement, the emperor received great applause throughout
Europe. Just after his third war with Francis, the emperor made an
unsuccessful and most disastrous assault upon Algiers, another stronghold
of the corsairs.]

wars between Francis and Charles left each free to give his attention to
his heretical subjects. And both had work enough on hand; for while the
king and the emperor had been fighting each other, the doctrines of the
reformers had been spreading rapidly in all directions and among all

The severest blow dealt by Francis against the heretics of his kingdom
fell upon the Vaudois, or Waldenses, [Footnote: So called from the founder
of the sect, Peter Waldo, or Pierre de Vaux, who lived about the beginning
of the thirteenth century.] the inhabitants of a number of hamlets in
Piedmont and Provence. Thousands were put to death by the sword, thousands
more were burned at the stake, and the land was reduced to a wilderness.
Only a miserable remnant, who found an asylum among the mountains, were
left to hand down their faith to later times.

turned his attention to the reformers in Germany. Inspired by religious
motives and convictions, and apprehensive, further, of the effect upon his
authority in Germany of the growth there of a confederacy of the
Protestant princes, known as the League of Schmalkald, Charles resolved to
suppress the reform movement by force. He was at first successful, but in
the end, the war proved the most disastrous and humiliating to him of any
in which he had engaged. Successive defeats of his armies forced him to
give up his undertaking to make all his German subjects think alike in
matters of religion.

THE RELIGIOUS PEACE OF AUGSBURG (1555).--In the celebrated Diet of
Augsburg, convened in 1555 to compose the distracted affairs of the German
states, it was arranged and agreed that every prince should be allowed to
choose between the Catholic religion and the Augsburg Confession,
[Footnote: The "Augsburg Confession" was the formula of belief of the
adherents of Luther. It was drawn up by the scholar Melanchthon, and laid
before the Imperial Diet assembled at Augsburg by Charles V. in 1530.] and
should have the right to make his religion the worship of his people.
This, it will be noted, was simply toleration as concerns princes or
governments. The people individually had no freedom of choice; every
subject must follow his prince, and think and believe as he thought and
believed. Of course, this was no real toleration.

Even to the article of toleration as stated above, the Diet made one
important exception. The Catholics insisted that _ecclesiastical_ princes,
_i.e._, bishops and abbots who were heads of states, on becoming
Protestants, should lose their offices and revenues; and this provision,
under the name of the _Ecclesiastical Reservation_, was finally made a
part of the treaty. This was a most fortunate article for the Catholics.

ABDICATION AND DEATH OF CHARLES.--While the Diet of Augsburg was arranging
the Religious Peace, the Emperor Charles was enacting the part of a second
Diocletian (see p. 331). There had long been forming in his mind the
purpose of spending his last days in monastic seclusion. The disappointing
issue of his contest with the Protestant princes of Germany, the weight of
advancing years, together with menacing troubles which began "to thicken
like dark clouds about the evening of his reign," now led the emperor to
carry this resolution into effect. Accordingly he abdicated in favor of
his son Philip the crown of the Netherlands (1555), and that of Spain and
its colonies (1556), and then retired to the monastery of San Yuste,
situated in a secluded region in the western part of Spain (1556).

[Illustration: EMPEROR CHARLES THE FIFTH. (After a painting by Angel

In his retreat at Yuste, Charles passed the remaining short term of his
life in participating with the monks in the exercises of religion, and in
watching the current of events without; for Charles never lost interest in
the affairs of the empire over which he had ruled, and Philip constantly
had the benefit of his father's wisdom and experience.

There is a tradition which tells how. Charles, after vainly endeavoring to
make some clocks that he had about him at Yuste run together, made the
following reflection: "How foolish I have been to think I could make all
men believe alike about religion, when here I cannot make even two clocks
keep the same time."

This story is probably mythical. Charles seems never to have doubted
either the practicability or the policy of securing uniformity of belief
by force. While in retirement at Yuste, he expressed the deepest regret
that he did not burn Luther at Worms. He was constantly urging Philip to
use greater severity in dealing with his heretical subjects, and could
scarcely restrain himself from leaving his retreat, in order to engage
personally in the work of extirpating the pestilent doctrines, which he
heard were spreading in Spain.

2. SPAIN UNDER PHILIP II. (1556-1598).

PHILIP'S DOMAINS.--With the abdication of Charles V. the Imperial crown
passed out of the Spanish line of the House of Hapsburg. [Footnote: The
Imperial crown went to Charles' brother, Ferdinand, of Austria.] Yet the
dominions of Philip were scarcely less extensive than those over which his
father had ruled. All the hereditary possessions of the Spanish crown were
of course his. Then just before his father's abdication gave him these
domains, he had become king-consort of England by marriage with Mary
Tudor. And about the middle of his reign he conquered Portugal and added
to his empire that kingdom and its rich dependencies in Africa and the
East Indies,--an acquisition which more than made good to the Spanish
crown the loss of the Imperial dignity. After this accession of territory,
Philip's sovereignty was acknowledged by more than 100,000,000 persons-
probably as large a number as was embraced within the limits of the Roman
empire at the time of its greatest extension.

But notwithstanding that Philip's dominions were so extensive, his
resources enormous, and many of the outward circumstances of his reign
striking and brilliant, there were throughout the period causes at work
which were rapidly undermining the greatness of Spain and preparing her
fall. By wasteful wars and extravagant buildings Philip managed to
dissipate the royal treasures; and by his tyrannical course in respect of
his Moorish, Jewish, and Protestant subjects, he ruined the industries of
the most flourishing of the provinces of Spain, and drove the Netherlands
into a desperate revolt, which ended in the separation of the most
valuable of those provinces from the Spanish crown.

As the most important matters of Philip's reign--namely, his war against
the revolted Netherlands, and his attempt upon England with his
"Invincible Armada"--belong more properly to the respective histories of
England and the Netherlands, and will be treated of in connection with the
affairs of those countries (see pp. 558, 564), we shall give here only a
very little space to the history of the period.

PHILIP'S WAR WITH FRANCE.--Philip took up his father's quarrel with
France. He was aided by the English, who were persuaded to this step by
their queen, Mary Tudor, now the wife of the Spanish sovereign. Fortune
favored Philip. The French were defeated in two great battles, and were
forced to agree to the terms of a treaty (Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, 1559)
so advantageous to Spain as to give Philip great distinction in the eyes
of all Europe.

PHILIP'S CRUSADE AGAINST THE MOORS.--It will be recalled that after the
conquest of Granada the Moors were still allowed the exercise of their
religion (see p. 499). Philip conceived it to be his duty to impose upon
them conditions that should thoroughly obliterate all traces of their
ancient faith and manners. So he issued a decree that the Moors should no
longer use their native tongue; and that they should give their children
Christian names, and send them to Christian schools. A determined revolt
followed. Philip repressed the uprising with terrible severity (1571). The
fairest provinces of Spain were almost depopulated, and large districts
relapsed into primeval wilderness.

DEFEAT OF THE TURKISH FLEET AT LEPANTO (1571).--Philip rendered an eminent
service to civilization in helping to stay the progress of the Turks in
the Mediterranean. They had captured the important island of Cyprus, and
had assaulted the Hospitallers at Malta, [Footnote: After the knights had
been driven from the island of Rhodes by the Turks (see p. 532), Charles
gave the survivors of the Order the island of Malta (1530).] which island
had been saved from falling into the hands of the infidels only by the
splendid conduct of the knights. All Christendom was becoming alarmed.
Pope Pius V. called upon the princes of Europe to rally to the defence of
the Church. An alliance was formed, embracing the Pope, the Venetians, and
Philip II. An immense fleet was equipped, and put under the command of Don
John of Austria, Philip's half-brother, a young general whose consummate
ability had been recently displayed in the crusade against the Moors.

The Christian fleet met the Turkish squadron in the Gulf of Lepanto, on
the western coast of Greece. The battle was unequalled by anything the
Mediterranean had seen since the naval encounters of the Romans and
Carthaginians in the First Punic War. More than 600 ships and 200,000 men
mingled in the struggle. The Ottoman fleet was almost totally destroyed.
Thousands of Christian captives, who were found chained to the oars of the
Turkish galleys, were liberated. All Christendom rejoiced as when
Jerusalem was captured by the first crusaders.

The battle of Lepanto holds an important place in history, because it
marks the turning-point of the long struggle between the Mohammedans and
the Christians, which had now been going on for nearly one thousand years.
The Ottoman Turks, though they afterwards made progress in some quarters,
never recovered the prestige they lost in that disaster, and their
authority and power thenceforward steadily declined. [Footnote: After the
battle of Lepanto the next most critical moment in the history of the
Turkish conquests was in 1683. In that year the Turks besieged Vienna, and
had all but secured the prize, when the city was relieved by the
distinguished Polish general Sobieski.]

THE DEATH OF PHILIP: LATER EVENTS.--In the year 1588 Philip made his
memorable attempt with the so-called "Invincible Armada" upon England, at
this time the stronghold of Protestantism. As we shall see a little later,
he failed utterly in the undertaking (see p. 558). Ten years after this he
died in the palace of the Escurial. With his death closed that splendid
era of Spanish history which began with the discovery of the New World by
Columbus. From this time forward the nation steadily declined in power,
reputation, and influence.

Thus, under Philip III. (1598-1621), a severe loss, and one from which
they never recovered, was inflicted upon the manufactures and various
other industries of Spain, by the expulsion of the Moors, or Moriscoes.
More than half a million of the most intelligent, skilful, and industrious
inhabitants of the Peninsula were driven into exile. And then in 1609, the
Protestant Netherlands, whose revolt against the tyranny of Philip II. has
been mentioned, virtually achieved their independence (see p. 570). In the
secession of these provinces the Spanish crown lost her most valuable
possessions, and she now sank rapidly to the position of a third or fourth
rate power. [Footnote: The loss of the Netherlands was followed in 1639 by
the loss of Portugal. During the latter part of the seventeenth century
Spain was involved in disastrous wars with France, and suffered a decline
of 8,000,000 in her population. After the revolt of her American colonies,
in the early part of the present century, and her cession to the United
States of Florida (in 1819), Spain was almost shorn--she still held Cuba
and a few other patches of territory scattered about the world--of those
rich and magnificent colonial possessions which had been her pride in the
time of her ascendency.]





THE TUDOR PERIOD.--The Tudor period [Footnote: The Tudor sovereigns were
Henry VII. (1485-1509); Henry VIII. (1509-1547); Edward VI. (1547-1553);
Mary (1553-1558); and Elizabeth (1558-1603).] in English history covers
the sixteenth century, and overlaps a little the preceding and the
following century. It was an eventful and stirring time for the English
people. It witnessed among them great progress in art, science, and trade,
and a literary outburst such as the world had not seen since the best days
of Athens. But the great event of the period was the Reformation. It was
under the Tudors that England was severed from the spiritual empire of
Rome, and Protestantism firmly established in the island. To tell how
these great results were effected will be our chief aim in the present

in England was, more distinctly than elsewhere, a double movement. First,
England was separated violently from the ecclesiastical empire of Rome.
All papal and priestly authority was cast off, but without any essential
change being made in creed or mode of worship. This was accomplished under
Henry VIII.

Secondly, the English Church, thus rendered independent of Rome, gradually
changed its creed and ritual. This was effected chiefly under Edward VI.
So the movement was first a _revolt_ and then a _reform_.

THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING IN ENGLAND.--The soil in England was, in a
considerable measure, prepared for the seed of the Reformation by the
labors of the Humanists (see p. 474). Three men stand preeminent as lovers
and promoters of the New Learning. Their names are Colet, Erasmus, and

Colet was leader and master of the little band. His generous enthusiasm
was kindled at Florence, in Italy. It was an important event in the
history of the Reformation when Colet crossed the Alps to learn Greek at
the feet of the Greek exiles; for on his return to England he brought back
with him not only an increased love for classical learning, but a fervent
zeal for religious reform, inspired, it would seem, by the stirring
eloquence of Savonarola (see p. 511).

[Illustration: ERASMUS]

Erasmus was probably superior in classical scholarship to any student of
his times. "He bought Greek books first, and clothes afterwards." His
Greek testament, published in 1516, was one of the most powerful agents
concerned in bringing about the Reformation. Indeed, his relation to the
reform movement is well indicated by the charge made against him by the
enemies of the Reformation, who declared that "Erasmus laid the egg, and
Luther hatched it."

Thomas More was drawn, or rather forced, into political life, and of him
and his writings we shall have occasion to speak hereafter, in connection
with the reign of Henry VIII. (see p. 549).

THE LOLLARDS.--Another special preparation for the entrance into England
of the Reformation was the presence among the lower classes there of a
considerable body of Lollards (see p. 491). Persecution had driven the
sect into obscurity, but had not been able to extirpate the heresy. In
holding the Scriptures as the sole rule of faith, and in the maintenance
of other doctrines denounced by the Roman Catholic Church, the Lollards
occupied a position similar to that held by the German reformers, and
consequently, when the teachings of Luther were disseminated in England,
they received them gladly.

2. THE REIGN OF HENRY VII. (1485-1509).

THE UNION OF THE ROSES.--Henry VII. and his queen united the long-disputed
titles of the two Roses [Footnote: Henry represented the claims of the
House of Lancaster, and soon after his coronation he married the Princess
Elizabeth, a daughter of Edward IV., and the representative of the claims
of the House of York.] (see p. 488); but the bitter feelings engendered by
the contentions of the rival families still existed. Particularly was
there much smothered discontent among the Yorkists, which manifested
itself in two attempts to place impostors upon the throne, both of which,
however, were unsuccessful.

BENEVOLENCES.--Avarice and a love of despotic rule were Henry's chief
faults. Much of his attention was given to heaping up a vast fortune. One
device adopted by the 'king for wringing money from his wealthy subjects
was what was euphoniously termed _Benevolences_. Magna Charta forbade
the king to impose taxes without the consent of Parliament. But Henry did
not like to convene Parliament, as he wished to rule like the kings of the
Continent, guided simply by his own free will. Furthermore, his title not
being above question, it was his policy to relieve the poorer classes of
the burden of tax-paying, in order to secure their good-will and support.
So Benevolences were made to take the place of regular taxes. These were
nothing more nor less than gifts extorted from the well-to-do, generally
by moral pressure. One of Henry's favorite ministers, named Morton, was
particularly successful in his appeals for gifts of this kind. To those
who lived splendidly he would say that it was very evident they were quite
able to make a generous donation to their sovereign; while to others who
lived in a narrow and pinched way he would represent that their economical
mode of life must have made them wealthy. This famous dilemma received the
name of "Morton's Fork."

MARITIME DISCOVERIES.--It was during this reign that great geographical
discoveries enlarged the boundaries of the world. In 1492 Columbus
announced to Europe the existence of land to the west. In 1497 Vasco da
Gama sailed around the cape of Good Hope and found a water-road to the
East Indies.

The same year of this last enterprise, Henry fitted out a fleet under the
command of John Cabot, a Venetian sailor doing business in England, and
his son Sebastian, for exploration in the western seas. The Cabots first
touched at Newfoundland (or Cape Breton Island), and then the following
year Sebastian explored the coast they had run against, from that point to
what is now Virginia or the Carolinas. They were the first Europeans, if
we except the Northmen, to look upon the American continent, for Columbus
at this time had seen only the islands in front of the Gulf of Mexico.
These explorations of the Cabots were of great importance for the reason
that they gave England a title to the best portion of the North American

FOREIGN MATRIMONIAL ALLIANCES.--The marriages of Henry's children must be
noted by us here, because of the great influence these alliances had upon
the after-course of English history. A common fear of France caused
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and Henry to form a protective alliance.
To secure the permanency of the union it was deemed necessary to cement it
by a marriage bond. The Spanish Infanta was accordingly betrothed to
Arthur, Prince of Wales. Unfortunately, the prince died soon after the
celebration of the nuptials. The Spanish sovereigns, still anxious to
retain the advantages of an English alliance, now urged that the young
widow be espoused to Arthur's brother Henry, and the English king,
desirous on his side to preserve the friendship of Spain, assented to the
betrothal. A rule of the Church, however, which forbade a man to marry his
brother's widow, stood in the way of this arrangement; but the queen-
mother Isabella managed to secure a decree from the Pope granting
permission in this case, and so the young widow was betrothed to Prince
Henry, afterward Henry VIII. This alliance of the royal families of
England and Spain led to many important consequences, as we shall learn.

To relieve England of danger on her northern frontier, Henry steadily
pursued the policy of a marriage alliance with Scotland. His wishes were
realized when his eldest daughter Margaret became the wife of James IV.,
king of that realm. This was a most fortunate marriage, and finally led to
the happy union of the two countries under a single crown (see p. 601).

Henry VII. died in 1509, leaving his throne to his son Henry, an energetic
and headstrong youth of eighteen years.


CARDINAL WOLSEY.--We must here, at the opening of Henry VIII.'s reign,
[Footnote: In 1512, joining what was known as the Holy League,--a union
against the French king, of which the Pope was the head,--Henry made his
first campaign in France. While Henry was across the Channel, James IV. of
Scotland thought to give aid to the French king by invading England. The
Scottish army was met by the English force at Flodden, beneath the Cheviot
Hills, and completely overwhelmed (1513). King James was killed, and the
flower of the Scottish nobility were left dead upon the field. It was the
most terrible disaster that had ever befallen the Scottish nation. Scott's
poem entitled _Marmion, a Tale of Flodden Field_, commemorates the
battle.] introduce his greatest minister, Thomas Wolsey (1471-1530). This
man was one of the most remarkable characters of his generation. Henry
VIII. elevated him to the office of Archbishop of York, and made him lord
chancellor of the realm. The Pope, courting the minister's influence, made
him a cardinal, and afterwards papal legate in England. He was now at the
head of affairs in both State and Church. His revenues from his many
offices were enormous, and enabled him to assume a style of living
astonishingly magnificent. His household numbered five hundred persons;
and a truly royal train, made up of bishops and nobles, attended him with
great pomp and parade wherever he went.

HENRY AS DEFENDER OF THE FAITH.--It was early in the reign of Henry VIII.
that Martin Luther tacked upon the door of the Wittenberg church his
epoch-making theses. England was stirred with the rest of Western
Christendom. Henry wrote a Latin treatise replying to the articles of the
audacious monk. The Pope, Leo X., rewarded Henry's Catholic zeal by
conferring upon him the title of "Defender of the Faith" (1521). This
title was retained by Henry after the secession of the Church of England
from the Papal See, and is borne by his successors at this day, though
they are "defenders" of quite a different faith from that in the defence
of which Henry first earned the title.

[Illustration: HENRY VIII. OF ENGLAND. (After a painting by Carl Piloty.)]

circumstances which changed Henry from a zealous supporter of the Papacy
into its bitterest enemy.

Henry's marriage with Catherine of Aragon had been prompted by policy and
not by love. Of the five children born of the union, all had died save a
sickly daughter named Mary. In these successive afflictions which left him
without a son to succeed him, Henry saw, or feigned to see, a certain sign
of Heaven's displeasure because he had taken to wife the widow of his

And now a new circumstance arose,--if it had not existed for some time
previous to this. Henry conceived a violent passion for Anne Boleyn, a
beautiful and vivacious maid of honor in the queen's household. This new
affection so quickened the king's conscience, that he soon became fully
convinced that it was his duty to put Catherine aside. [Footnote:
Political considerations, without doubt, had much if not most to do in
bringing Henry to this state of mind. He was ready to divorce Catherine
and openly break with Spain, because the Emperor Charles V., to whom he
had offered the hand of the Princess Mary, had married the Infanta of
Portugal, and thus cast aside the English alliance. On this point consult
Seebohm, _The Era of the Protestant Revolution_, pp. 178-180.]

Accordingly, Henry asked the Pope, Clement VII., to grant him a divorce.
The request placed Clement in a very embarrassing position; for if he
refused to grant it, he would offend Henry; and if he granted it, he would
offend Charles V., who was Catherine's relative. So Clement in his
bewilderment was led to temporize, to make promises to Henry and then
evade them. At last, after a year's delay, he appointed Cardinal Wolsey
and an Italian cardinal named Campeggio as commissioners to hold a sort of
court in England to determine the validity of Henry's marriage to
Catherine. A year or more dragged along without anything being
accomplished, and then Clement, influenced by the Emperor Charles, ordered
Henry and Catherine both to appear before him at Rome. (Respecting appeals
to Rome, see p. 418).

THE FALL OF WOLSEY.--Henry's patience was now completely exhausted.
Becoming persuaded that Wolsey was not exerting himself as he might to
secure the divorce, he banished him from the court. The hatred of Anne
Boleyn and of others pursued the fallen minister. He was deposed from all
his offices save the archbishopric, and eventually was arrested on the
charge of high treason. While on his way to London the unhappy minister,
broken in spirits and health, was prostrated by a fatal fever. As he lay
dying, he uttered these words, which have lived so long after him: "Had I
served my God as diligently as I have served my king, He would not have
given me over in my gray hairs" (1530).

THOMAS CROMWELL.--A man of great power and mark now rises to our notice.
Upon the disgrace of Wolsey, a faithful attendant of his named Thomas
Cromwell straightway assumed in Henry's regard the place from which the
Cardinal had fallen. He was just the opposite of Wolsey in caring nothing
for pomp and parad