Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

every man to give accommodation to travellers; and was esteemed honorable and meritorious; and their the monasteries and religious houses were particu- manners gave but too much scope to this passion, larly expected to exercise hospitality in this way; in the excesses of the table, their propensity to and they did so. The chief towns were built of gaming, and the disposition to raillery for which wood, and even the walls were of that material. they were notorious. The high-spirited warrior The state of the mechanic arts was very low in chastised or vindicated with his own hand the inEurope: the Saracenes had brought them to greater juries he had received or inflicted. The magistrate perfection. Painting and sculpture were only pre- interfered, not to punish, but to reconcile, and was served from absolute extinction by the existing re- satisfied if he could persuade the aggressor to pay, mains of ancient art. Charlemagne appears to and the injured party to accept, the moderate fine have been anxious for the improvement of music; which was imposed as the price of blood; and of and the Italians are said to have instructed his which the measure was estimated according to the French performers in the art of playing on the rank, the sex, and the country of the person slain. organ. The composition of Mosaic appears to have The law in this case, through a sad oversight, legalbeen an invention of those ages. Charlemagne in- ized, as it were, the very worst of crimes, by estabtroduced it from Rome and Ravenna as one of the lishing a most inadequate and easy satisfaction. chief ornaments of the palaces he built at Ingel- But increasing civilization abolished those barbarheim, Nimeguen, and Aix-la-Chapelle.

ous distinctions. We have remarked the equal The knowledge of letters was extremely low, and severity of the laws of the Visigoths, both in the confined to a few of the ecclesiastics; but Charle- crime of murder and robbery; and even among the magne gave the utmost encouragement to literature Franks in the age of Charlemagne, deliberate murand the sciences, founding and establishing schools in der was punished with death. abbeys and cathedrals, and inviting into his domin- By their ancient laws, a party accused of any ions of France men eminent in those departments crime was allowed to produce compurgators, or a from Italy, and from the Britannic isles, which, in certain number of witnesses, according to the measthose dark ages, preserved more of the light of ure of the offence; and if these declared upon oath learning than any of the western kingdoms. their belief of his innocence, it was held a sufficient “Neque enim silenda laus Britanniæ, Scotiæ, et exculpation. Seventy-two compurgators were reHiberniæ, quæ studio liberalium artium eo tempore quired to acquit a murderer or an incendiary. The antecellebant reliquis occidentalibus regnis, et cura flagrant perjuries occasioned by this absurd practice præsertim monachorum, qui literarum gloriam, probably gave rise to the trial by ordeal, which was alibi aut languentem aut depressam, in iis regioni-termed, as it was believed to be, the judgment of bus impigrè, suscitarent atque tuebantur.” Murat. God. The criminal was ordered, at the option of Antiq. Ital. Diss. 43. Alcuin, a native of the the judge, to prove his innocence or guilt, by the north of England, being employed in an embassy ordeal of cold water, of boiling water, or red-hot from Offa, king of Mercia, to Charlemagne, was iron. He was tied hand and foot, and thrown into prevailed upon by the latter to remain at his court, a pool, to sink or swim; he was made to fetch a ring and become his preceptor. A French writer ac

from the bottom of a vessel of boiling water, or to knowledges that to Alcuin his country was indebted walk barefooted over burning plough-shares; and for all the polite learning it had to boast of, in that the early annalists, among the other legends which and the following ages. The scarcity of books in have been generally discredited in later times, prothose times, and the nature of their subjects- fess to record examples of those wonderful experilegends, lives of the saints, etc., evince the narrow ments having been undergone without injury or diffusion of literature.

pain. The pecuniary fines for homicide, the ordeal or Another peculiarity of the laws and manners of judgment of God, and judicial combat, were strik- the northern nations was judicial com bat. Both in ing peculiarities in the laws and manners of the civil suits and in the trial of crimes, the party destinorthern nations, and particularly of the Franks. tute of legal proofs might challenge his antagonist With this warlike but barbarous people, revenge to mortal combat, and rest the cause upon its issue,

THE AFFAIRS OF

THE

This sanguinary and most iniquitous custom, which with the Roman Pontiff, Gregory the Third, as to may be traced to this day in the practice of duel- induce the latter to erase the emperor's name from ling, had the authority of law in the court of the the Dyptics, and led the way to the union soon after constable and marshal, even in the last century, in effected between the popes and the French court, France and England.

which established the temporal power of the for

mer, and in time raised them in a most extraordiRETROSPECTIVE VIEW OF

nary manner above all ecclesiastical, regal, and even CHURCH PRECEDING THE AGE OF CHARLE

imperial competitors. MAGNE.

From the doctrines of the Platonic and Stoic phiThe Arian and Pelagian heresies divided the losophy, which recommended the purification of the Christian church for many ages.

In the fourth soul, by redeeming it from its subjection to the century, Arius, a Presbyter of Alexandria, main- senses, arose the system of penances, mortification, tained the separate and inferior nature of the sec- religious sequestration, and monachism. After ond Person of the Trinity, regarding Christ as the Constantine had put an end to the persecution of noblest of created beings, through whose agency the the Christians, many conceived it a duty to procure Creator had formed the universe. His doctrine for themselves voluntary grievances and sufferings. was condemned in the Council of Nice, held by They retired into caves and hermitages, and there Constantine, A.D. 325, who afterwards became a practiced the most rigorous mortifications of the convert to his opinions. These for many centuries flesh, by fasting, scourging, vigils, etc. This frenzy had an extensive influence, and produced the sects first showed itself in Egypt in the fourth century, of the Eunomians, Semi-Arians, Eusebians, etc. whence it spread all over the East, a great part of

In the beginning of the fifth century, Pelagius Africa, and within the limits of the bishopric of and Cælestius, the former a native of Britain, the Rome. In the time of Theodosius, these devotees latter of Ireland, denied the doctrine of original sin, began to form communities or coenobia, each associand the necessity of Divine grace to enlighten the ate binding himself by oath to observe the rules of understanding, and purify the heart; and main- his order. St. Benedict introduced monachism into tained the sufficiency of man's natural powers for Italy under the reign of Justinian; and his order, the attainment of the highest degrees of piety and the Benedictine, soon became extremely numerous, virtue. These tenets were ably combated by St. and most opulent, from the many rich donations Augustine, and condemned by an ecclesiastical coun- made by the devout and charitable, who conceived cil, but still continued to find supporters.

they profited by the prayers of the brethren. BenThe most obstinate source of controversy in those edict sent colonies into Sicily and France, whence ages was regarding the worship of images; a prac- they soon spread over all Europe; but though his tice which, though at first opposed by the clergy, was original rule of discipline was far from being favorafterwards countenanced and vindicated by them. able either to luxury or ambition, his followers soon It was, libwever, long a subject of division in the deviated from the good purposes and directions of Church. The emperor Leo the Isaurian, A.D. 727, the founder, and in both respects abused the ends prompted, as it has been suggested, by a desire of and designs of the institution. The new order, averting the enmity of the Mahometans, who perse- however, made a rapid progress in the West. cuted the Christians of the East on this very ac- In the East, monachi solitarii, were first incorpocount, attempted to suppress this idolatry, by the rated into coenobia by St. Basil, bishop of Cæsarea, destruction of every statue and picture found in the in the middle of the fourth century; and some time churches, and by punishment of their worshippers; before that period, the first monasteries for women but this intemperate zeal rather increased than re- were founded in Egypt by the sister of St. Pacomo. pressed the superstition. His son, Constantine From these, in the following age, sprung a variety Copronymus, with wiser policy, satisfied himself of orders, under different rules. The rule of the with procuring its condemnation by the Church; Canons Regular was framed after the model of the but the efforts of Leo (Iconoclastes, as he was apostolic life. The Mendicants, to chastity, obedicalled), from the course he took, embroiled him so ence, and poverty, added the obligation of begging alms. The military religious orders were unknown own sons, was compelled by Lothaire to do pen. till the age of the holy war. The monastic frater- ance in the church, and to abdicate his throne, and nities owed their reputation chiefly to the little lit- was afterwards shut up for some time in a cloister. erary knowledge which, in those ages of ignorance, Full of sorrow, he ended his days, A.D. 840, on a they exclusively possessed.

small island of the Rhine. The dissensions of the In the fifth century arose a set of fanatics termed brothers still continued. Lothaire, now emperor, Stylites, or pillar-saints, who passed their lives on and Pepin, his brother's son, having taken up arms the tops of pillars of various heights. Simeon of against the other two sons of Louis le Débonaire, Syria lived thirty-seven years on a pillar sixty feet Louis of Bavaria, and Charles the Bald, were dehigh, and died upon it. This frenzy prevailed in feated by them in the great battle of Fontenaille, the East for many centuries.

fought a. D. 841, in which it is said that so many of Auricular confession, which had been abolished the bravest generals and soldiers of the empire fell, in the East in the fourth century, began to be in that it was afterwards impossible to repel the inuse in the West in the age of Charlemagne, and has vasions of the Normans, who about this time comever since prevailed in the Roman Church. The menced their piratical attacks. By the treaty of canonization of saints was for near twelve centuries Verdun, 843, or two years after this battle, the practiced by every bishop. Pope Alexander III. western part of France, termed Neustria and Aquifirst claimed and assumed this right as the exclusive taine, was assigned to Charles the Bald; Lothaire, privilege of the successor of St. Peter.

with the title of Emperor, had the nominal The conquests of Charlemagne spread Christianity sovereignty of Italy, and the real territory of Lorin the north of Europe; but all beyond the limits of raine, Franche Compté, Provence, and the Lyonhis conquests was idolatrous. Scandinavia and Den- nais. The share of Louis was the kingdom of Germark, in particular, the native seats of those Nor- many. Thus was Germany finally separated from mans who afterwards fixed themselves in so many the kingdom of the Franks, though still for some important countries of Christendom, were plunged time called Oriental France (Francia Orientalis). in the grossest idolatry. Britain and Ireland had On the death of Lothaire, Charles the Bald asreceived the light of Christianity at an earlier pe- sumed the empire, or, as it is said, purchased it riod, but it was afterwards extinguished, and again from Pope John VIII., on the condition of holding revived under the Saxon Heptarchy.

it as a vassal to the Holy See. This prince died of The empire of Charlemagne, raised and sup- poison after an inglorious reign, A.D. 877. He was ported solely by his abilities, fell to pieces under the first of the French monarchs who made dignihis weak posterity. “His sceptre," as has been ob- ties and titles hereditary. He had also the credit served, "was as the bow of Ulysses, which could of being considered as the first monarch of modern not be drawn by any weaker hand.” Louis le France, having introduced into his kingdom and Débonaire, the only survivor of his lawful sons, was court the use of the lingua Romana, or Romancic consecrated emperor and King of the Franks at language, the mother of the present French, inAix-la-Chapelle, A.D. 816. Among the first acts stead of the Teutonic; and Gallic instead of Gerof his reign was the partition of his dominions man manners, -so that at this period the Franks amongst his children. To Pepin, his second son, he became French. gave Aquitaine, the southern third of France; to In the Reign of Charles the Bald, France was Louis, the youngest, Bavaria, and he associated his plundered by the Normans, a new race of Goths oldest son, Lotharius, with himself in the govern- from Scandinavia, who had begun their depredations ment of the rest. The three princes quarrelled even in the time of Charlemagne, and were checked amongst themselves, agreeing in nothing but hos- only in their purpose by the terror of his arms, and tilities against their father, who had proposed an by the wise precautions he took to guard his coasts, alteration in the empire in favor of his fourth son, which his successors neglected. In 843 the NorCharles (the Bald), the fruit of a second marriage. mans sailed up the Seine, and plundered Rouen; Louis, faithlessly deserted by his vassals on "the while another fleet entered the Loire, and laid waste field of lies” near Strasburg, and betrayed to his the country in its vicinity, carrying, together with

its spoils, men, women, and children into captivity. In the following year, they attacked the coasts of England, France, and Spain, but were repelled from the last by its Mahometan rulers. In 845, they entered the Elbe, plundered Hamburgh, and penetrated far into Germany. Eric, king of Denmark, who commanded these Normans, sent once more a fleet into the Seine, which advanced to Paris. Its inhabitants fled, and the city was burnt. Another fleet, with little resistance, pillaged Bordeaux. To avert the arms of these ravagers, Charles the Bald bribed them with money; and his successor, Charles the Fat, yielded them a portion of his Flemish dominions. Paris was attacked a second time, but gallantly defended by Count Odo, or Eudes, and the venerable Bishop Goslin. truce was a second time concluded, and the barbarians only changed the scene of their attack. They besieged Sens, and plundered Burgundy, while an assembly of the states, held at Mendz, deposed Charles and conferred the crown on Eudes. A great part of the states of France, however, refused to recognize any monarch save Charles, surnamed the Simple. Rollo, the Norman, A.D. 902, compelled the king of France to yield him a large slice of the territory of Neustria, and to give him his daughter in marriage. The new kingdom was called Normandy, of which Rouen was the capital. The Normans about this time crossed the Atlantic, and established colonies in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland, and in the next century are supposed to have visited the eastern shore of North America, in the latitude of New England.

stant scene of rebellion and conspiracies; and the imperial family still exhibited a series of the most horrid crimes and atrocities: one emperor put to death to revenge murder and incest; another poisoned by his queen; a third assassinated in his bath by his own domestics; a fourth tearing out the eyes of his brother; the empress Irene, respectable for her talents, but infamous for the murder of her only son. Of such complexion was that series of princes who swayed the sceptre of the East for near two hundred years. The misfortunes of the empire were increased by the invasion of the Russians, A. D. 865, who descended the Borysthenes (Dnieper) in their rude boats and sailed into the Bosphorus to attack Constantinople. occasions they were repulsed, but they returned during the next century, to be again twice driven back with slaughter. During the reign of Zimisces -969–976—the Russians, having gained a great victory over the Bulgarians, again threatened Constantinople, but were finally compelled to capitulate. Thus terminated these dangerous inroads.

The next formidable enemy of the empire was the Turks, a new race of barbarians of Scythian or Tartarian breed, who abandoned their ancient habitations in Central Asia; and, in the eleventh century, taking advantage of the dissensions of the Saracens, conquered Persia, capturing Bagdad 1055. Prior to this they had victoriously penetrated as far as Northern India. In 1090 they had subdued Asia Minor and Syria; and their empire extended from the Hellespont to the borders of Chinese Tartary. These Turks are not to be confounded with the Ottoman Turks, of whom more hereafter, for they belonged to the tribe called Seljuks. The dominions of the Seljuks were afterwards divided, and a new kingdom was subsequently established by them in Asia Minor, called the kingdom of Roum, which lasted about two centuries—1075 to 1272—during which period it waged wars with the Greek empire. In 1076, Jerusalem, which had been in the possession of the Saracens for four centuries, was taken by the Seljuk Turks, who treated the pilgrims to the Sepulchre of our Lord with such insult and cruelty, that the Christian nations of Europe were roused to indignation, and sent against them those remarkable expeditions called the Crusades, which are dealt with in detail farther on in this History of the World.

THE EMPIRE OF THE EAST DURING THE

EIGHTH AND NINTH CENTURIES.

While the new empire of the West was thus rapidly tending to dissolution, the empire of Constantinople still retained a vestige of its former splendor. It had lost its African and Syrian dependencies, and was plundered by the Saracens on the eastern frontier, and ravaged on the north and west by the Abari and Bulgarians. All the noble province of Romania, in which Adrian and Trajan had built so many noble cities, and expended so much on public roads, was being laid waste. The capital, though magnificent and refined, was a con

Meanwhile, a tremendous revolution had taken into slavery. The subjugation of the remaining place in Western Asia, occasioned by an incursion dominions of the empire immediately followed, of the Mongols, a Tartar race who, in the beginning which, after an existence of 1,058 years, was now of the thirteenth century, under the renowned Gen- brought to an end. The minute history of the ghis Kahn, subdued a large part of China, overturn- dynasties and emperors which followed each other ing the flourishing kingdom of Kharasna (Khiva), during this long period, presents probably the most and conquered the greater part of Persia. After the shocking and disgraceful narrative of imbecility, death of Genghis, 1227, the Mongols passed into wickedness and crime, contained in any part of the Syria and Asia Minor, pillaged Aleppo and Damas- annals of the world. cus, and destroyed the kingdom of Roum, or Iconium, the last Seljuk sultan seeking refuge among the Greeks of Constantinople, 1272. The Mongols

THE SARACENS IN THE EIGHTH AND subsequently carried their victorious armies into

NINTH CENTURIES. Europe, and devastated or conquered many of its most fertile and populous countries.

In the beginning of the eighth century the SaraNot long after these events, and while the de- cens subverted the monarchy of the Visigoths in scendants of Palæologous still continued a feeble Spain, and easily overran the country. They had administration at Constantinople, there arose a lately founded in Africa the empire of Morocco, power which was destined to cause the final destruc- which was governed by Muza, viceroy of the Caliph, tion of the Byzantine empire, and establish upon

Valid Almanzor. A dispute about the successor its ruins one which should rival it in extent, and to the Spanish throne led to an appeal to the Afrifar surpass it in the splendor of its conquests. This can viceroy for aid and assistance. Muza sent his was the Ottoman Turks, so called from their found- general, Tariff, into Spain, who in one memorable er, Othman, Ottoman, or Osman, who in 1299 in- engagement, in the plains of Xeres, in Andaluvaded Asia Minor, and in a few years succeeded in sia, fought A.D. 713, stripped the Gothic king, establishing there a kingdom-its capital Prusa in Rodrigo, of his crown and life. The conqueror, Bythnia—which soon became one of the most flour- satisfied with the sovereignty of the country, left ishing states of the East.

the vanquished Goths in possession of their propThe century and a half of the remaining history erty, their laws, and their religion. Abdallah the of the Greek empire, is but the narrative of its con- Moor married the widow of Rodrigo, and the two tests with the “unspeakable Turk," or Ottoman, who nations formed a perfect union. One small part of successively wrested from it the fairest portions of the rocky country of Asturia alone adhered to its its dominions. In the middle of the fourteenth Christian prince Pelagius, who being crowned king century-1360-Amurath, one of the successors of of Oviedo, and having the support of all who disOthman, captured Adrianople, and made it his dained submission, chiefly nobles and the sons of capital. He afterwards subdued Thrace and Mace- nobles, maintained his little sovereignty, and transdonia. His successor, Bajazet, continued the tide mitted it in violate to his successors. of conquest, and for ten years besieged Constantino- The Moors pushed their conquests beyond the ple, but was called away to defend his dominions Pyrenees; but division arising among their emirs, against the celebrated chieftain, Timour, or Tam- and civil wars ensuing, Louis le Débonaire, takerlane, by whom he was afterwards, in 1402, de- ing advantage of the disturbed condition of the feated and taken prisoner. This protracted the country, seized Barcelona.

The Moorish soverfall of the Greek empire for some years, but Ti- eignty in the north of Spain was warkened by mour's empire being dismembered, the Turks re- throwing off its dependence on the Caliphs; and at sumed their encroachments, and finally, under Ma- this juncture, the Christian sovereignty of the Ashomet II., after a siege of fifty-three days, took turias, under Alphonso the Chaste, began to make Constantinople by storm on May 29, 1453. Con- vigorous encroachments on the territory of the stantine Palæologous, its last emperor, fell in battle, Moors. Navarre and Arragon, roused by this exand the inhabitants were either massacred or carried ample, chose each a Christian king, and boldly as

« ForrigeFortsæt »