James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) online

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the sixteenth century. When
Birger and his brothers grew up they
soon disagreed. Erik and Waldemar were
not satisfied with the fiefs which they
had received, and revolted against Birger ;
but they were reduced to submission by
Tyrgils, who remained faithful to the
king. The dukes realised that it ^s
necessary for their plans to depose x e


Marsk ; they accordingly persuaded Birger
that Tyrgils was to blame for the brothers'
quarrel. Birger was sufficiently ungrate-
ful and indiscreet to order his faithful
minister to be beheaded in 1306. After
Tyrgils' death Birger's good fortune ceased.
He was taken prisoner by his brothers in
the same year, and in order to regain his
freedom, was forced to cede to them in
1308 and in 1310 two-thirds of the king-
dom. Birger meditated revenge, but acted
as if he had forgiven everything and
disarmed their fears by feigned friendship.
However, when they visited him at
Christmas, 1317, at the Castle of Nykoping,
he locked them into the tower, where they
probably died of hunger.

Birger profited little by this treachery..
On hearing that the dukes had been taken
prisoners, their retainers rose in rebellion ;
Birger was compelled to flee. Erik's
three-year-old son, Magnus II., was pro-
claimed king, and a regency was appointed
in 1319. In the same year the child
inherited the kingdom of Norway from
Haakon V. (Magnusson), his maternal
grandfather. Thus Sweden and Norway
were united for the first time.
However, the union was not
very close, because the two
kingdoms had only the one
king in common. During the minority of
the king the power of the lords grew ;
their behaviour in the country was any-
thing but seemly, and it did not improve
after Magnus took the government into his
own hands in 1332. He was a well-meaning
but weak prince, who entirely lacked the
strength necessary to control the arrogant
lords. Still, slavery was at last abolished,
the administration of justice improved,
and national and municipal codes of law
were issued.

Magnus extended his dominion by annex-
ing the Scanian cantons. It is true that
he was unable to keep them for any length
of time, owing to the attacks of Waldemar
Atterdag, so that they were soon reunited
with Denmark 1360. Of his other enter-
prises a war against the Russians was
unsuccessful ; they had been on hostile
terms with the Swedes since the conquest
of Finland. At the same time the country
was devastated by the Black Death,
which swept away at least a third of the
population. The king was helpless to
relieve the distress. In Sweden as well as
in Norway the people had been discon-
tented with him for a long time. The

Union of
Sweden and










Norwegians complained that he was
neglecting the country, and to satisfy
them he had been forced to give them his
son Haakon (VI.) as king in 1343. Haakon
was also elected King of Sweden in 1362
by the Swedish lords, whose powers and
liberties Magnus wished to restrict. How-
ever, he attached himself to his father ;
and, in order to be able to fight
against the refractory lords with


more success, the two kings

united with their former enemy,
Waldemar Atterdag, whose daughter, Mar-
garet, Haakon married. By his marriage
he severed himself completely from the
Swedish lords. Both he and his father were
deposed, and the son of Magnus' sister
Euphemia, Albert the Younger of Meck-
lenburg, was proclaimed king on November
30th, 1363.

Haakon attempted to regain the crown
by force of arms, but was defeated and
compelled to content himself with Norway ;
there Magnus also passed his last years.
In this way the first union between Sweden
and Norway was dissolved.

A year before the death of Magnus in
1374, occurred that of his kinswoman,
Saint Brigitta ; she has become celebrated
on account of her visions and revelations.
She was born about the year 1302, and
even in her childhood gave evidence of
unusual talents, and lived in a world of
devotion, in which the Saviour, the Virgin,
and the saints revealed themselves to her.
She was filled with ideas of reform,
preached repentance and renunciation, and
denounced the universal immorality of the
times. At the court, where she was for
a time the governess of the queen, she
roused indignation by her severe and
earnest reprimands ; but among the people
she acquired great reputation as a saint
and a prophetess. As the situation in
Sweden was no longer congenial to her,
she left her native country and went to
Rome, where she died in 1373. She had
received permission from


"Revelation." * Vadstena, on the east
shore of Lake Wetter. In
1370 Urban V. confirmed the rule which
she had drawn up for the convent of the
Brigittine order, and in 1391 she was
canonised. The " Revelations," which she
herself recorded or dictated, were trans-
lated into Latin and circulated over the
whole of Catholic Europe ; they rank
among the most important literary


productions of Sweden at a time when
there was hardly any literature in the real
sense of the word.

Of the pagan sagas and poems only a
few traces have survived. The oldest
Swedish linguistic monuments of which we
know are the numerous runic inscriptions.
The laws of the several cantons, a few of
which are very old, are also drawn up in
Swedish. Everything else which has
survived dates from the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, as do also the national
code of law about 1350 a few rhyming
chronicles, the Euphemia songs, many
folk-songs, which are apparently of foreign
origin, and finally some prose translations
of foreign narratives.

The domestic conditions of Sweden did
not improve with Albert's accession.
The king was weak and not respected ; the
nobles played the role of masters. Assaults,
feuds, murder, and plunder were daily
occurrences ; from their castles and garri-
soned estates, which extended over the
whole country, the lords oppressed the
peasants, whose original freedom in this
way became seriously threatened. When,
in 1386, Albert at last made an
ofThree** attem pt to obtain more in-
fluence, the lords called Mar-

N&tions r T-I i A

garet of Denmark into the

country. She sent an army into Sweden,
and, on February 24th, 1389, in the battle
of Asle near Falkoping, won a victory over
Albert, who was taken prisoner. Soon the
whole of Sweden submitted. Stockholm
alone, which was supported by the
Mecklenburg princes and towns, upheld
the cause of Albert for several years ;
however, as he could not pay his ransom,
the town was eventually handed over to
the queen. In the meantime, in 1396, the
Swedes and Danes had chosen as their
king Margaret's grand-nephew, Erik of
Pomerania, who had become king of
Norway in 1389 ; and on June I7th, 1397,
he was crowned in Kalmar as king of the
three nations (Union of Kalmar).

Peace and quiet had been restored under
Margaret ; she managed to bridle the
unruly nobles and to make every one
obedient to her. But with her death, in
1412, the peace came to an end. Erik
XIII. did not possess the strength and
ability of his foster mother ; consequently,
his reign was injurious to the union as well
as to each kingdom individually. He
irritated the lords temporal and spiritual
by his despotic and indiscreet actions,









whilst he allowed his bailiffs and nobles
to oppress the people ; complaints were
made about the bad administration and
the heavy taxes, which were enacted with
the utmost rigour. As all complaints
were in vain the peasants of Dalarnen rose
up in 1434 against the foreign yoke ; they
found a capable leader in Engelbrekt
Engelbrektsson, and the rest of
lhon the people joined them, includ-

Erik mg the nobles > wno hP e cl to

recover the power of which
they had been deprived by Margaret. The
foreigners were driven out and Engelbrekt
was extolled as the liberator of his country
in 1435. The nobles, however, feared the
powerful leader of the people ; they had
attached themselves to the movement in
order to obtain a diminution of the king's
power, but they did not wish to share that
power with the peasants and their leader.
They were accordingly not displeased
when Engelbrekt was murdered on April
27th, 1436, by a personal enemy, and the
Council of State agreed with the Danish
Council that the union should be main-
tained. Erik, with whom the Danes were
also discontented, was deposed in Septem-
ber, 1439, and his sister's son, Christopher
of Bavaria, who willingly agreed to all the
conditions, was elected king in 1440.

This was a victory for the aristocracy ;
they had obtained a king after their
own heart, and made use of their triumph
to limit the privileges of the peasants.
There were, however, a few even among
the nobility who either from ambition or
patriotism joined the popular party ; thus
there arose two parties, one national, the
other attached to the union, which were
strongly opposed until the beginning of
the following century. After Christo-
pher's death, in 1448, the national party
triumphed and placed a Swede, Karl
Knutsson Bonde, who had bqen vice-
regent from 1438-1440, on the throne of
Sweden, while the Danes chose Christian,

TK T Count of Oldenburg, as their
l he 1 ragic , ,, . '. ,

Heritage km &' The latter Wished to
of Union maintain the union by force of
arms. The war was carried on
by both sides with great bitterness and
cruelty ; and it sowed the seeds of that
national hatred which was the most tragic
heritage of the union.

Christian I. succeeded, in 1457, in gain-
ing the crown of Sweden with the help
of the union party, at the head of which
was Jons Bengtsson Oxenstierna, Arch-


bishop of Upsala ; however, he could not
keep it permanently. Eventually, in 1467,
Karl was still king of Sweden, and con-
tinued ruling till his death, in 1470. He
was succeeded by the Stures. Sven Sture
the elder (1470-1503), his kinsman, Svante
Nilsson (1503-1512), and Nilsson's son
Sten Sture the younger (1512-1520), were
successively, as regents, the leaders of the
national party and the defenders of
Sweden's liberty and independence ; they
were supported by the people, had several
of the nobles on their side, and successfully
opposed the attempts of the union kings
to conquer Sweden.

The Stures, however, found their most
dangerous opponents among their own
countrymen friends of the union who had
entered into secret negotiations with the
Danes. Sven Sture the younger quarrelled
with the leader of the party, the malicious
and vindictive Archbishop of Upsala,
Gustav Trolle, who was convicted of high
treason and by the orders of the regent
dismissed from office and arrested. There-
upon Pope Leo X. excommunicated Sven
Sture and his followers and commissioned
N . Christian II. to execute the

. bull of excommunication by
Massacred at r /~, , J .

Stockholm force ' Christian gladly sent
an army into Sweden in 1518.
At the second attack, in 1520, Sture's
troops were beaten, and he was mortally
wounded. Christian received homage as
hereditary king, and was crowned on
November 4th by Gustav Trolle in Stock-
holm. Christian believed that he would
secure his supremacy by severity ; he
wished to destroy the spirit of independ-
ence among the people and also the
defiance of the nobles ; and therefore some
days after his coronation a number of
nobles, clergy, and citizens were beheaded
in the market-place at Stockholm, a
tragedy known as the Stockholm Massacre
or Bloodbath. The corpse of Sture was
burnt at the stake ; the estates of those
who had been beheaded were confiscated,
Christian however succeeded in accom-
plishing exactly the reverse of what he
had hoped the massacre would effect, for,
at the instigation of the youthful Gustavus
Eriksson Vasa, a nobleman who had
escaped from the massacre, the Dalkarlar,
the inhabitants of the province of Dal-
arna, revolted in 1521. The Danes were
driven out, and, on June 6th, 1523, the
Swedes elected their deliverer, Gustavus,
as their king. HANS SCHJOTH






THE treaty of Verdun in 843, between
Lothair and his brothers, the sons of
Louis the Pious and grandsons of Charle-
magne, arranged that Lothair should
retain the empire and a formal supremacy,
together with the Italian dominions and a
piece of territory extending from the Aar
and the Rhine on one side, the Rhone,
Saone and Scheldt on the other, to the
North Sea, and including Friesland to the
right of the Rhine. Charles the Bald
secured the district to the west of this
boundary, and Louis, whose separate
kingdom had originally consisted of Ba-
varia, gained the territory on the east.
He therefore was in charge of the main
body of the future German nationality.

There was here no question of any
nationalist idea, even though at the con-
firmation of the Strasburg Oaths, on
February nth and I4th, 842, the troops
of Charles spoke Romance and those of
Louis German. A man who had been
educated under the general lay instruction
initiated by Charles, and who was still
, inspired with this spirit, the
Translations of historian Nith ard, acted

c . Oaths m a na tionalist spirit, and
transcribed the oaths in
the dialects of each people ; but no such
thoughts or ideas inspired the' general
policy of those affected. The compact
of Verdun was a purely geographical
division of territory. Louis' share was not
intended to include " Germans," but the
Bavarians, Alamanni, Franks, Thurin-
gians and Saxons who happened to be in

of German

that district ; other Alamanni in Alsace
and other Franks further away on the
left bank of the Rhine were, like the
Frisians, assigned to the artificial Middle
Kingdom. The word " Thiudisk," " Ger-
man," was first intended to explain that
a man spoke no Latin but only a
vernacular dialect. For convenience of
distinction, Louis is styled by
students the "German." The
rights of the royal family as
recognised in the compact of
Verdun made their influence felt, both in
the realm of Louis and in the East
Frankish portion, and also in the share of
Lothair. The compact of Verdun began
to be imitated at every individual point,
and its effects were multiplied in corre-
spondence with the justice of the claims
of the victorious communities ; it seemed
that the empire of Charles would be
broken up more quickly by his own
family than by the existing forces of
disruption. In the imperial districts of
East Francia the Bavarians were assigned
to the share belonging to Carloman, the
Alamanni to Charles the Fat, and Central
and Lower Germany to Louis the
Younger. Of the foundation of the
German Empire by their father, Louis
the German, there can be no question.

These events were largely conditioned
by the fact that Lothair's family soon
became extinct, and that the questions
of imperial succession and title were there-
fore revived. As regards the latter, Louis
the Pious and Lothair had given the


Pope the right of coronation at his desire ;
the former had been recrowned at Rheims
by Pope Stephen, as he thought the first
coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle was in-
adequate, while Lothair had received the
imperial crown at Rome itself. An under-
standing between Charles the Bald and
the papacy secured to the former the
imperial crown after the death
, of the Emperor Louis II., son

for hnper,al Q Lothair L> in g^ though it

actually belonged by right of
succession to Charles' elder brother
Louis the German. The latter and his
sons maintained their rights against
Charles the Bald and his West Franks by
energetic military and diplomatic measures.
Hence they gained a considerable share
in the plunder from the desolate and
shattered central kingdom.

After 870 the convention of Mersen
advanced the boundary of the East
Prankish Empire to a line running from
Geneva along the Upper Moselle, the
Ourthe, and the Maas, while in 879 the
brilliant victory of Andernach extended
their powers beyond the Upper Maas to
the Scheldt. The East Frankish Empire
thus included not only almost all the
unmixed " German " tribes, but also a
number of Romance subjects, and even
now it was not regarded as natural
that the boundaries of nationalities
should coincide with those of states.
Metz and its immediate neighbourhood
formed at all times an isolated centre of
Romance language and civilisation. There
were, moreover, Romance peoples in the
Eastern Empire, further to the west of the
upper Lotharingian district in modern
Belgium, from the Central Scheldt to the
Maas ; these were the Walloons, a
Romance people, speaking a language of
Keltic origin with many Frankish addi-
tions, and clearly distinguished from
the later French. The Low Frankish
Flemings, who were Germans,
mnab i ted the coast beyond the
the Throne Scheldt, in the West Frankish
Empire, to Dunkirk. Eventu-
ally the imperial throne was recovered
by the most successful son of Louis the
German, Charles.

In the East Frankish Empire the Caro-
lingian family disappeared, through death
and misfortune, as rapidly as in the two
other lines. After 882 the Emperor
Charles III., known as the Fat, found
himself master of the whole kingdom.


Even then, however, no uniform national
German empire was developed. Before
long, Charles merely became once again
the chief of the whole Carolingian Empire,
as in Western Francia German help was
urgently required against the North-
men. The present incapacity of Charles
made it impossible for this help to be
rendered, and a final solution of the
problem thus became inevitable. West
Francia and the new kingdoms of Bur-
gundia and Italy went their own way,
while the leading tribes of East Francia
combined to break away from the dis-
honourable government of Charles. It
is through this somewhat negative enter-
prise and this military agreement that the
German Empire and nationality was really
founded. The German representatives
united to elect a leader in place of the
legitimate emperor, and chose from his
family, as his nearest blood relation,
Arnulf, the illegitimate son of Charles's
deceased brother, Carloman, who had held
a Bavarian office in Carinthia.

This change introduced the principle of

royal election into German history a

N w principle which was better than

the joint succession of the most

nearly related families, though
an Emperor ", 9.

not so good as dynastic

primogeniture. The elections were not
conducted upon any revolutionary prin-
ciple ; it was not demanded that the suc-
cession should remain undetermined until
the death of the existing king, or that
all other considerations should be dis-
regarded. The traditional feeling that the
succession ought to be vested in the
reigning family continued to exercise a
hardly diminished influence, and remained
preponderant until the interregnum, and
indeed for some time subsequently. The
innovation, however, that the successor
was subjected to general recognition by a
process of election which might take place
even during the lifetime of the reigning
monarch, modified the dynastic idea, and
led to a connection of the two theories.
In the case of Arnulf's son, Louis
the Child, the anointing and coronation
were carried out by the hand of the
bishops for the first time in the history
of the East Frankish kings ; in West
Francia this transference of the ceremonies
usual at an imperial coronation to the
coronation of an emperor had been
employed to confer greater distinction
upon Charles the Bald,


Arnulf (887-899) was distinguished for
his brilliant victory of October 20th, 891,
at Lowen on the Dyle. This prevented
the Northmen from plundering or forti-
fying positions in Germany, which was
then defenceless by sea. Henceforward
North-west France and the British Isles
remained the sole areas open to their
enterprises and establishment. These
raids, like the settlements of the North-
men in Russia, are to be regarded as a
sequel of the general Teutonic migration,
and point to a series of related causes and
events in the same manner as the great
migration proper. Arnulf's interference

act for themselves, were able to impose
any permanent check upon these invaders.
The stage was now clear for the appear-
ance of the tribal duchy ; the election
of Arnulf to the kingship had definitely
established the elective theory and super-
seded the partitions of the kingdom
among the royal families. Arnulf's illegiti-
mate son Zwentibald, the namesake of
the great Moravian despot Sviatopolk,
while joint king of Lotharingia, had
succeeded only in discrediting this form of
partition and in driving his subjects from
himself to Louis the Child. Tribal par-
ticularism as such was far from abolished.

Coronation gloves and sandals


in Italy and his assumption of the imperial
crown have but a temporary importance.
Immediately after his reign the crown
became the object of petty papal intrigues
with Burgundia or native rulers who were
aiming at a dominant position in Italy,
and had secured their independence as
officials under the empire's vanishing power.
Under Arnulf's successor Germany was
terribly ravaged from the south-east by
the Magyars ; neither the government,
which ruled in the name of Louis the Child
(899-911), nor the bold individual resistance
of the tribal duchies, which now began to


In place of the partition kings no longer
members of the royal stock native rulers
attempted to make themselves supreme
with the goodwill of the people ; these
traced their descent from families possess-
ing hereditary estates and prestige ; their
importance was increased by the tenure
of high offices. It was not immediately
clear in every case which family was the
most capable of rule, or would be able to
maintain its ground if appointed. In
Franconia, for instance, there was a keen
rivalry between the Conradiner family,
which was settled in the Lahn district,



and the eastern family of the Babenbergers,
which held property on the Upper Main.
The imperial government itself favoured
Conrad and helped him to secure a definite
victory over the Babenbergers, permitting
him also to adopt the somewhat indefinite
style of duke. Under Louis the Child,
the title of duke became, in Saxony,
Francia, Alamannia and
Church Leaders Bayaria the or dinary
m Imperial method of denoting a

Government , , , TU

popular leader, ihe same
was the case in Lotharingia, where the
original sense of Prankish relationship had
been modified by historical events.

About 900 the imperial government
consisted chiefly of the leading ecclesiastics
of East Francia, Archbishop Hatto of
Mainz and Bishop Salomo of Constance.
Under Louis the Pious, the clergy had
attempted to secure all possible political
unity in order to preserve their ecclesias-
tical unity ; so now, when the division of
the empire into halves had proved definite
and irrevocable, they attempted to pursue
some policy of union within the East
Francian division. There were at the
same time more direct motives to influence
their action. The results which the
upper clergy might expect from the
division of the empire among the leading
princely families were also to be expected
from the more obvious and tangible
power that the dukes either claimed or
exerted over the bishoprics which lay
within their spheres of government.

Thus, in 911, when Louis died in child-
hood, leaving no heir, the episcopate im-
mediately undertook the choice of an East
Frankish king ; the laity offered no oppo-
sition, as this seemed the surest means of
breaking away from the hereditary claims
of the West Frankish Carolingians and
from the collective monarchy. Whether
they would obey the new ruler of
their choice was another question. The

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 9) → online text (page 11 of 55)