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ity. He banished Gregory VI. and named for pope
one Suiger, his chancellor, bishop of Bamberg, with-
out anyone daring to murmur at it.

In 1048, after the death of this German, who in
the list of popes, is called Clement II., the emperor,
who was then in Germany, made a Bavarian pon-

Emperors Otho II. and III. 239

tiff in his stead. This is the Damasus II., who
went with the emperor's brief to Rome, where he
was installed, notwithstanding all the efforts of this
Benedict IX., who wanted to get again into the
chair, after having sold it a very little before.

This Bavarian, living but twenty-three days after
his installation, the emperor gave the papacy to his
cousin Bruno, of the family of Lorraine, whom he
transferred from the see of Toul, to that of Rome,
by his absolute authority. Had the emperors kept
this authority, the popes would have been no better
than their chaplains, and Italy an enslaved country.

This pontiff, who took the name of Leo IX., and
has been ranked in the number of saints, will be
soon seen at the head of an army fighting against
the Norman princes, founders of the kingdom of
Naples, and falling into their hands a captive.

Could the emperors have fixed their residence at
Rome, we may see that by the weakness of the
Romans, the divisions in Italy, and the greatness of
the German power, they must have always been
masters of the popes ; and that there would in effect
have been a Roman Empire. But these elective
kings of Germany could not reside in Rome, at such
a distance from the other princes of Germany, who
were become too formidable to their sovereigns ; the
neighboring states being always ready to invade the
frontiers, which made it necessary to take arms at
different times, against the Danes, the Poles, and
the Hungarians. This it was that saved Italy, for

240 Ancient and Modern History.

some time, from a yoke, which it would otherwise
in vain have attempted to resist.



WHILE Germany thus began to put on a new form
of government, and Rome and Italy were without
any, France became like Germany, a government
entirely feudal.

This kingdom extended from the countries about
the Scheldt and the Meuse, to the English channel,
and from the Pyrenean mountains to the Rhone;
these were at that time its bounds ; for though so
many historians pretend that this great fief
extended beyond the Pyrenees, as far as the Ebro,
it does not at all appear, that the Spaniards of those
provinces, lying between the Ebro and the Pyre-
nees, were subject to the feeble government of
France, at the time they were fighting against the

France, in which neither Provence nor Dauphiny
were included, was a kingdom of a pretty large
extent ; but the king of France was far from being
a powerful sovereign. Louis, the last of the
descendants of Charlemagne, had no other demesnes,
but the cities of Laon and Soissons, and some few
territories besides, which were disputed him. The
homage yielded by Normandy only served to give

France. 241

the king of France a vassal, who was able to keep
his master in pay. Each province had either its
hereditary counts or dukes; he who could only
seize upon two or three small villages, paid homage
to the usurper of a province ; and he who had only
a castle, held of him who had taken possession of a
town : all which produced a monstrous assemblage
of members, without any compact body.

Time and necessity established it as a custom,
that the lords or possessors of great fiefs, should
march with troops to the assistance of the king.
One lord owed him forty days' service, another
twenty-five, and the under-vassals marched at the
orders of their immediate lords. But if these lords
served the state for a few days, they made war with
one another almost the year round. In vain did the
councils, which in these wicked times frequently
made very just laws, enact, that no one should fight
from Thursday until Monday at break of day, nor
during Lent, nor in other solemn seasons. These
regulations, not being supported by any coercive
power, proved of no effect. Every castle was the
capital of a small state of banditti, and every mon-
astery an armed garrison. The advocates, whom
they called avoyers, and who were originally insti-
tuted to present their petitions to the prince, and
manage their temporal affairs, were now the gener-
als of their troops : the harvests were either burned,
cut down before their time, or defended sword in
hand: the cities were reduced in a manner to

Vol. 2416

242 Ancient and Modern History.

deserts, and the country depopulated by long fam-

One would imagine that a kingdom thus left with-
out a head, without government, and without order,
must have fallen a prey to foreigners, but a like
anarchy, which prevailed in those times in almost
every other kingdom, proved its security ; and when
under the Othos, Germany appeared the most to be
dreaded, that kingdom was too much taken up with
its own intestine broils, to think of foreign con-

From these barbarous times, we derive the custom
of paying homage for a house or a hamlet, to the
lord of another village. A lawyer, or a merchant,
who is possessed of an ancient fief, receives homage
and fealty from another common man, or from a
peer of the kingdom, who has purchased a mesne
tenure in his manor. The laws of fiefs no longer
exist, but the old custom of fief dependency, hom-
ages, and duties, still continues. It is a maxim in
most courts of justice, that " there is no land with-
out its lord ; " as if it was not sufficient that it
belonged to the state.

When France, Italy, and Germany, were thus
divided under an innumerable set of petty tyrants ;
the armies, whose chief strength, under Charle-
magne, as well as under the ancient Romans, lay
in the infantry, consisted now only of cavalry.
There were no other troops but the gendarmes : and
the infantry were not allowed this name; because,

France. 243

in comparison with the horsemen, they were not

The possessors of the smallest lordships never
entered the field without as many horsemen as they
could possibly bring : and their pride then consisted
in keeping a number of squires, whom they called
Vaslets, from the term Vassalet, which signifies a
petty vassal. The point of honor therefore was to
fight on horseback. They introduced the custom
of wearing a complete set of steel armor, which
would have weighed a footman down to the ground.
And the helmet and cuirass were parts of the dress.
It is pretended that Charlemagne wore them: but
they were not in common use till about the year one

Whoever was rich, came almost invulnerable to
the field. This made the use of clubs more frequent
than ever, with which they knocked down those
horsemen whose armor was proof against their
spears. The chief trade then was in cuirasses, buck-
lers, and helmets, ornamented with plumes of fea-
thers. The peasants whom they dragged to the
field, and who were alone left neglected and exposed
to danger, served rather as pioneers than combat-
ants. The horses, much more regarded than they,
were barbed, and their heads covered with iron.

There were no other laws known then, but what
were made by the most powerful for the service of
the fiefs. Every other object of distributive justice

244 Ancient and Modern History.

was left to the caprice of stewards, provosts, and
bailiffs, nominated by the possessors of lands.

The senates of those towns which, under the
Romans, enjoyed a municipal authority, were almost
everywhere abolished. The title " senior," " seign-
eur," or " lord," for a long time peculiar to the
principal senators of these towns, was now given
only to the possessors of fiefs. The title of " peer "
began then to be first introduced into the Gallo-
German tongue, which was then spoken in France.
It was taken from the Latin word par, which signi-
fies " equal," or " fellow " ; in which sense only, it
was used under the first and second race of the kings
of France. The sons of Louis the Debonnaire styled
each other pares, in one of their interviews, in the
year 851. And, a long time before, Dagobert had
given the title " peer " to the monks. Godegrand,
bishop of Metz, in the time of Charlemagne, calls
the bishops and abbots " peers," as remarks the
learned Du Cange. The vassals of the same lords,
then, were wont to call each other " peers."

Alfred the Great had established juries in Eng-
land. These were peers in each possession. Any
person criminally arraigned had a right of choos-
ing twelve men of his own profession to be his
judges. Some of the vassals in France adopted this
custom; but without limiting the number of peers
to twelve. There were, in each fief, as many as
there were barons, who all held of the same lord, and

France. 245

who were peers among themselves, but not peers of
their feudal lord.

The princes, therefore, who paid an immediate
homage to the crown, such as the dukes of Guienne,
Normandy, and Burgundy, and the counts of Flan-
ders and Toulouse, were in reality peers of France.

Of these, Hugh Capet was not the least power-
ful. He had, for a long time, been in possession of
the dukedom of France, which extended as far as
Touraine. He was also count, or earl, of Paris;
and the vast demesnes he held in Picardy and Cham-
pagne gave him likewise a great authority in those
provinces. His brother had the territories which, at
present, compose the dukedom of Burgundy. His
grandfather Robert, and his uncle Eudes or Odo,
had both of them worn the crown in the time of
Charles the Simple. Hugh his father, surnamed
the Abbot, on account of the abbeys of St. Denis,
St. Martin de Tours, and St.-Germain-des-Pres, and
a number of others which he possessed, had both
shaken and governed France. It may, therefore, be
said, that, from the year 810, in which King Eudes
began his reign, his family had held the reins of
government almost without interruption: and that
excepting Hugh the Abbot, who would not take
the royal diadem, it forms a series of sovereigns for
above 850 years ; a filial descent scarcely known to
any other kings.

It is well known how Hugh Capet, duke of
France, and count of Paris, in 987, took the crown

246 Ancient and Modern History.

from Duke Charles, uncle to the last king, Louis V.
Had the suffrages been free, the blood of Charle-
magne properly regarded, and the right of succes-
sion as sacred as it is at present, Charles would have
been king of France. He was not deprived of the
rights of his ancestors by a national parliament ; but
by that which makes and unmakes kings: force
assisted by prudence.

While Louis, this last king of the Charlemagne
blood, was, in 987, on the point of ending his obscene
life, by a lingering disease, at the age of twenty-
three, Hugh Capet assembled his forces ; and so far
from having recourse to the authority of a parlia-
ment, he, by his troops, dispersed that which kept
itself assembled at Compiegne, in order to secure
the succession to Charles.

This fact is sufficiently authenticated by the letter
written by Gerbert, afterwards archbishop of
Rheims, and pope, under the name of Silvester II.,
published by Duchesne.

Charles, duke of Brabant and Hainault, states that
composed the Lower Lorraine, sank under a rival
more powerful and more fortunate than himself:
and being betrayed by the bishop of Laon, and
unexpectedly delivered up to Hugh Capet, he died
a captive in the tower of Orleans, leaving two sons
behind him, who were incapable of avenging their
father's wrongs; though one of them succeeded
him in Lower Lorraine. These were the last princes
of the male line of Charlemagne. Hugh Capet,

France. 247

thus raised to the throne by his peers, did not how-
ever gain an increase of territory.



FRANCE dismembered, lay languishing in her ob-
scure maladies, from the reign of Charles the Gross,
to that of Philip I., great grandson of Hugh Capet ;
that is, for nearly two hundred and fifty years. We
shall see if the Crusades, which rendered the reign
of Philip I. so famous about the end of the eleventh
century, made that kingdom more happy or flourish-
ing. But, during the space of time of which I am
speaking, nothing prevailed but confusion, tyranny,
barbarism, and poverty. Every lord of the least
consideration coined money, but then any one could
at will debase it. The fine manufactures were all
confined to Greece and Italy ; for the French could
not imitate them in towns without privileges, and in
a nation entirely disunited.

Of all the events of those times, the most worthy
of attention is the excommunication of King Robert.
This prince, in 999, had espoused Bertha, his cousin
in the fourth degree; a marriage in itself lawful,
and, what is more, necessary to the well-being of the
state. We have, in our time, seen private persons
marrying their nieces, on paying the common price
for dispensations from Rome; as if that see could

248 Ancient and Modern History.

have any right over marriages made at Paris. But
this king of France did not meet with the same
indulgence. The Church of Rome, though loaded
with infamy and scandal, had the boldness to
impose a seven years' penance on the king ; ordered
him to quit his wife; and excommunicated him in
case of refusal. All the bishops, who had assisted
at the solemnization of this marriage, were laid
under an interdict by the pope, who ordered them to
repair personally to Rome, to ask his pardon.

This appears an incredible stretch of audacity;
but the ignorance and superstition of those times
might have suffered it ; and a stroke of policy might
have occasioned it. Gregory V., who fulminated
this excommunication, was, by birth, a German, and
was governed by Gerbert, formerly archbishop of
Rheims, and a declared enemy to the house of
France. The emperor Otho III., who was no friend
to Robert, assisted in person at the council where
the excommunication was pronounced. Therefore
we may suppose, that reasons of state had as great
a shara in this villainous proceeding, as bigotry and

Historians tell us, that this excommunication had
such an effect in France, that the king was aban-
doned by all his courtiers, and even by his own
domestics; two servants only staying with him:
and these threw into the fire all the victuals he left
at his meals ; so fearful were they of even what had
been touched by an excommunicated person. How-

France. 249

ever low human reason might have been sunk in
those times, one would hardly imagine that folly
and absurdity could have been carried to such
lengths. The first author who takes notice of this
stupidity of the court of France, is Cardinal Peter
Damien, who wrote only sixty-five years after this
happened : and he relates that, as a punishment for
this pretended incest, the queen was brought to bed
of a monster. However, there was nothing mon-
strous in all this affair, but the insolence of the
pope, and the weakness of the king in putting away
his wife.

Excommunications and interdicts are thunderbolts
that never set a state on fire but when they meet
with combustible materials. There were none then ;
but perhaps Robert was afraid that some might be

This mean compliance in King Robert so embold-
ened the popes, that they afterwards excommuni-
cated his grandson Philip I. as they had done him.
The famous Gregory VII. first threatened to depose
him, if he did not clear himself, before his nuncios,
of a charge of simony brought against him; and
another pope did actually excommunicate him.
Philip had taken a dislike to his wife, and enter-
tained a passion for Bertrade, wife of the count of
Anjou ; he, therefore, made use of the laws to annul
his marriage under pretence of kindred; and his
mistress got hers dissolved on the same plea.

The king and his mistress were, after this solem-

250 Ancient and Modern History.

nity, espoused by the bishop of Bayeux. They were
certainly culpable; but they at least paid such
respect to the laws, as to make use of them to cover
their faults. However it be, one pope had excom-
municated Robert for marrying his relation; and
another excommunicated Philip for having put a
relation away. But, what is still more extraordi-
nary, Urban II., who pronounced this sentence, pro-
nounced it in the very dominions of this king,
namely: at Clermont in Auvergne, whither he had
retired for shelter, and in the very council where we
shall find him preaching the crusade.

However, it does not appear that Philip, though
excommunicated, was held in horror by his subjects,
which is another reason for calling in question the
general desertion which they said befell King Robert
on the like occasion.

It is remarkable, that King Henry, Philip's father,
was married to a Muscovite princess. The Mus-
covites or Russians began at that time to embrace
Christianity; but they had no commerce with the
rest of Europe. They inhabited the countries
beyond Poland, which had yet scarcely any knowl-
edge of Christianity, and held no commerce with
France. However, King Henry sent into Russia to
demand the daughter of that prince, to whom the
other emperors gave the title of duke, as well as to
the chief of Poland. The Russians called him, in
their language, tsar; from whence has been since
formed the word czar. It is pretended that Henry

France. 251

determined upon this marriage through the fear
of having a church dispute upon his hands. Of all
the superstitions of those times, there was not one
more destructive to the welfare of states than that
of not being allowed to marry a relation in the
seventh degree. Henry was related to almost all
the sovereigns of Europe. But, in short, Anne,
daughter to Jaraslau, czar of Muscovy, was made
queen of France ; and it is to be observed that after
the death of her husband, in 1060, she did not
enjoy the regency, nor ever made pretence to it.
Laws change with the times. The count of Flan-
ders, one of the vassals of the kingdom, was regent ;
and the queen dowager was afterwards married
to a count of Crepi. All this would appear extraor-
dinary nowadays, but it did not seem so then.

Neither Henry nor Philip I. did anything remark-
able; but, during their reign, their vassals and
under-vassals conquered kingdoms.

We shall now see in what manner a few adven-
turers of the province of Normandy, without money,
without lands, and almost without soldiers, founded
the monarchy of the two Sicilies, that afterwards
became such a bone of contention among the
emperors of the house of Suabia and the popes, the
houses of Anjou and Aragon, and those of Austria
and France.

252 Ancient and Modern History.



WHEN Charlemagne took the name of emperor, that
title gave him nothing more than what he could
secure by force of arms. He pretended to the lord-
ship paramount of the duchy of Benevento, which
then composed a considerable part of the states
known at present by the name of the kingdom of
Naples. The dukes of Benevento, more fortunate
than the king of Lombardy, made head against him
and his successors. Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily
were a prey to the incursions of the Arabs. The
Greek and Latin emperors in vain disputed between
them the sovereignty of those countries. Several
private lords shared the spoils of them with the Sara-
cens. The inhabitants knew not who were their
masters ; nor whether they were to be of the Greek
or Roman communion, or Mahometans. The
emperor Otho I. exercised authority in those coun-
tries, as being the strongest, and erected Padua into
a principality. Otho II., not so fortunate as his
predecessor, was defeated by the Greeks and Arabs,
who united against him. The emperors of the East
at that time remained in possession of Apula and
Calabria, which they governed by a catapan. Certain
lords had usurped Salerno. The possessors of Ben-
evento and Capua invaded, as often as they could,

Naples and Sicily. 253

the territories of the catapan ; who, in his turn, took
every opportunity of stripping them. Naples and
Gaeta were petty republics like those of Sienna and
Lucca, and the Mahometans, who were in possession
of several important castles, and made depredations
equally on the Greeks and Latins. The churches
of the provinces under the catapan were subject
to the metropolitan of Constantinople, and the others
to him of Rome. The manners took a tincture from
this diversity of people, governments, and religions,
and the natural genius of the inhabitants no longer
darted a single ray. It no longer appeared like the
place which had given birth to a Horace and a
Cicero, and was afterwards to produce a Tasso.
Such was the situation of this fertile country in the
tenth and eleventh centuries, from Gaeta and the
Garigliano, as far as Otranto.

The taste for pilgrimages and adventure of knight-
errantry prevailed in those days. Times of anarchy
produce the greatest excess of heroism, its flight
being more restrained in well regulated govern-
ments. Fifty or sixty Frenchmen, having set out
from Normandy in 983 on a journey to Jerusalem,
returned by the sea of Naples; and in their way
arrived at Salerno, at the time that this city, which
had been besieged by the Mahometans, had just pur-
chased its deliverance with money. They found the
inhabitants busied in raising the sum for their ran-
som ; and the conquerors in their camp, given up in
full security to brutal merriment and debauchery.

254 Ancient and Modern History.

This handful of foreigners reproached the besieged
with the cowardice of their submission ; and imme-
diately marching with the greatest boldness in the
middle of the night, attended by a few of the inhab-
itants, who had courage enough to follow them, they
fell upon the Saracen camp, struck the enemy with
a panic, put them to flight, and obliged them to
retire on board their ships : and this not only saved
the riches of Salerno, but added to them the spoils
of the enemy.

The prince of Salerno, struck with their valor,
would have loaded them with presents, but found
his astonishment increased by their refusal ; they
were, however, entertained a considerable time at
Salerno, in a manner befitting heroes who had been
the deliverers of the country ; and at their departure
they were obliged to promise that they would return
again. The honor gained by so extraordinary an
exploit quickly engaged other Normans to make a
visit to Salerno and Benevento : thus these people, by
little and little, resumed their forefathers' habit of
crossing the seas, to seek for warlike employments,
and enlisted sometimes in the service of the Greek
emperors, sometimes in that of the princes of the
country, and sometimes in that of the pope: it
mattered not with them for whom they signalized
themselves, provided they reaped the fruits of their
toils. There arose a duke of Naples, who had
enslaved the rising republic. This duke thought
himself happy to make an alliance with this small

Naples and Sicily. 255

number of Normans, who assisted him against the
duke of Benevento. They afterwards, in the year
1030, founded the city of Aversa, between these two
dukedoms; and this was the first sovereignty they
acquired by their valor.

A short time after arrived three sons of Tancred
of Hauteville, in the territory of Coutance, William,
surnamed Fier-a-bras, Drogo,and Humphrey. Noth-
ing more strongly resembles the fabulous times.
These three brothers, together with the Normans of
Aversa, accompany the catapan into Sicily. William
Fier-a-bras kills a general of the Arabs, turns the
victory in favor of the Greeks, and Sicily would
again have been theirs, had they not proved ungrate-
ful. But the captain, beginning to fear these
Frenchmen, who had been his defenders, was guilty
of several acts of injustice towards them, which
drew upon him their vengeance; they now turned
their arms against him, for whom they had so lately
fought ; and three or four hundred Normans make
themselves masters of all Apulia in 1041. This fact
seems almost incredible ; but the adventurers of the
country joined them, and soon became good soldiers
under such masters; and those Calabrians who
sought their fortunes by their courage, quickly
became so many Normans. William Fier-a-bras
made himself count of Apulia, without consulting
either the emperor, the pope, nor the neighboring

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