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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closed abruptly, leaving all
important issues unsolved. His body was
buried in he church of St. George in
Wiener-Neustadt, but his magnificent
tomb, designed after his own idea, was
raised in the royal chapel at Innsbruck,



and not, as he had wished, over his actual
grave. When Maximilian, on December
28th, 1518, signed his will, twenty-eight of
the great bronze statues and 134 of
the smaller figures were ready. The
masters of the plastic arts at Nuremberg,
Landshut, and even in the Netherlands,
worked at those statues, the

carried out by the grandson,
was certainly not according
to the idea in the mind of the monarch
who gave the original order.

During the reign of King Maximilian,
many thoughts were born which after-
ward obtained a tangible form, and many
practical improvements sprang from the
creative brain of the king himself. But
his changeable nature, with the rapid
alteration of plans and intentions, pre-
vented him from carrying out systemat-
ically purposes when definitely formed.
However little results his exertions in the
field of imperial reform may have finally
given to the nation, still the nation showed
itself grateful. His contemporaries ad-
mired him; posterity celebrated him as
the "last of the knights." It was,
indeed, the chivalry of his nature that
won him the affection of his people,
notwithstanding the many evils from
which, during his reign and partly through
his mismanagement, the German nation
suffered. ARMIN TILLE


After the painting by Anton Fetter










""THE early settlements of the Teutons
in prehistoric times lay between the
Elbe and the Vistula, the Kelts being their
western neighbours. When the Teutons
proposed to migrate westwards and to
settle in the Keltic districts to the west of
the Rhine, the advance of these barbarians
was checked by the fortifications which
Julius and Augustus had added to the
natural barriers of the Rhine and Danube.
Three or four hundred years later the
Teutons broke through the Roman fron-
tiers they had often threatened.

While the East Teutons were advancing
on their path of victory and death amid
mighty conflicts, an event hardly less im-
portant was in progress on the frontiers of
Middle and Eastern Europe, noiselessly
and almost unobserved ; this was the
occupation by Slav races of those districts
which the Teutons had abandoned. They
entered the empty space between the Vis-
tula and the Elbe, and, cross-

poTs sk>V n in & this latter river> settled on

the Prankish ground of Thur-
of Bohemia . . ~, , . , .

mgia. They also seized modern

Bohemia, which had been abandoned
by the retiring Marcomanni, spread over
the Sudetic and Carpathian Mountains,
established themselves in Pannonia and
Noricum, and overran the eastern slopes
of the Alps, the districts from the
source of the Drave to the Adriatic,
and considerable portions of the Baltic

This Slav migration, which followed the
Teutonic migration, was accomplished
during the fifth, sixth, and seventh cen-
turies. So early as the sixth century their
oppressors and pursuers, the Avars, pushed
forward along the Theiss and Danube
into the territories occupied by the Slavs.
To this movement were added immediately
afterwards a backward Teutonic wave,
and, at a later date, a wedge-like advance
of the Magyars, with the result that the
Slavs were permanently divided into a
northern and southern group.


The occupation by the Slavs of these
wide territories which had belonged to the
Teutons brought the two nationalities
into relations providing material for endless
conflict. Such conflicts broke out to
some extent during the reconquest by the

Germans of the original Teu-
olavs and , , i 1,11^

-, tonic settlements, but led to

Teutons , /, .,

r* tt- * no definite result any more
in Conflict . , a - . , . J .,

than the conflict between the

Germans and the Romance peoples of
South-west Europe, with their constant
alternations, which were begun by the
struggle for territory, supremacy, and
material or moral power, and have con-
tinued for some fifteen hundred years.

The history of the struggles between the
Slav and the Teutonic military forces
and civilisations centred round two regions,
which must be separated geographically
and historically, one to the south-east
and, one to the north-east. The line of
demarcation between these two coincides
almost exactly with the frontiers of
Bohemia and Moravia. The state of
Austria was the result of the conflict in
the south-east, and the monarchy of
Brandenburg-Prussia was produced by
that on the north-east frontier.

A movement eastward at the expense
of the Slavs began in the seventh
and eighth centuries, and emanated from
Bavaria, the duchy of the Agilolfings
which was but nominally dependent
upon the Prankish Merovingians and
Carolingians. Availing themselves of the
decline of the power of the Avars, the
Bavarians extended their influence over
the Slavonic Carentanians, the
_ e . ini , ancestors of the modern Slo-
shanlty s venians, or Wends, of Central

Advance . . . A , , ,

Austria. At the same time
Christianity advanced from the Bavarian
bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg, and
Passau over the frontier districts. The
country as far as the Enns and the upper
Drave was already thrown open to the
German nationality, when a far greater




power prepared to intervene in the
struggle which was going on.

After the death of Tassilo, the last of
the Agilolfings, Charles the Great began
his struggle against the Avars in 791,
which ended with the destruction of
their kingdom in 796. As elsewhere, the
Prankish king founded margraviates on
the Central Danube, apparently
two in number, the East Mark,
including the land on the right
bank of the Danube, from the
Enns beyond the Vienna forest and
extending southwards to the Drave ; and
the Mark of Friuli, the land to the south
of the Drave, including Istria. Passau
and Salzburg, which had been an arch-
bishopric from 798, occupied themselves
with converting the inhabitants of the
former provinces of Noricum, Rhsetia, and
Pannonia, who were chiefly heathen ;
Salzburg and Aquileia obtained metro-
politan rights over the conquered districts.

Constitutional and ecclesiastical organisa-
tion were accompanied by immigration and
settlement. Lower Austria and Western
Hungary, Styria, and Carinthia, received
the main bulk of their German population
between the eighth and ninth centuries.
Bavarians and Franks made their settle-
ments side by side with Slav inhabitants
and also with Slav colon sts.

The Carolingian system of government
by no means aimed at the extermination
of the peaceful Slavs who had become
Christians ; at the same time the inhabi-
tants of the Slav marks continually
became dependent upon German terri-
torial lords, and as early as 828 the word
" Slav " (sclavus) acquired the significance
of slave. There was nothing oppressive in
this arrangement, as the land was divided
chiefly into large estates belonging to
ecclesiastical corporations or secular nobles
who appreciated the scattered population
at their full value. Thus from the
outset the German territories of the
^ Austrian Alps were brought

Campaigns ,,. *.. . .. .

of Charles uncler cultivation, primarily by
the Great ^ ar g e .territorial lords, and to a
less extent by a class of peasan-
try. The process of Germanising and Chris-
tianising the south-eastern frontiers of the
German kingdom is connected with the
Bavarian campaigns of Charles the Great
against the Avars ; similarly his Saxon
wars brought him into collision with the
Elbe Slavs on the north-east. The attacks
upon Bohemia occupy an intermediate


position. Charles overran this country
from the south-east and north-west,
until he had made it tributary to him-
self, though he did not throw it open to
German colonisation or to Christianity
(805-806). The complicated campaigns
against the Elbe Slavs forced the con-
quered tribes to make a nominal accep-
tance of Prankish supremacy, but left
them in other respects independent and
so dangerous that the great organiser
founded several frontier counties the
marks of Thuringia, Franconia, and
Bohemia and created a connected line of
defence, strengthened by fortresses, along
the Elbe, the Saale, and the Bohmerwald.
Here were situated the frontier marks,
in which peaceful intercourse with the
Slavs was developed, such as Bardowick,
Magdeburg, and Erfurt. In the north-
west Saxon, Danish, and Slav territories,
the frontier of the empire was pushed
across the Eider; however, Charlemagne
left to the federated tribes of the Abodrites
East Holstein, or Wagria, which was not
conquered until the bloody conflicts of
the twelfth century. After the death of

the great emperor in 814, his
Foundation ,. ,,

f N w disconnected empire naturally

fell to pieces, and the Elbe

Slav Mates ,-,, . , ,

Slavs, together with those of
the south, with the exception of the
Carentanians, broke away from French
influence. New Slav states were formed,
of which the great Moravian kingdom
was the most important and the most
hostile to the Germans. In Moravia and
Pannonia the Slavs voluntarily accepted
Christianity about 870, without obliging
the Germans to make much effort for
their conversion. Bohemia and Moravia
remained untouched by German influence
for another century.

The great Moravian kingdom had been
hard pressed by the Emperor Arnulf, and
was already in process of dissolution when
the South-east German marks of the
Carolingian period came to ruin ; the
Magyars, a Finno-Ugrian people, burst
into the district of the Theiss and Danube,
and, like the Huns and the Avars, ravaged
the higher civilisation of Europe, the
morality and resisting power of which had
never sunk so low as at the close of the
ninth century, the age of devastation.

German supremacy was thrown back
beyond the Enns ; the more accessible
districts of the Carolingian Mark became
deserted ; and the remnants of the


colonial population remained scattered in
mountain and forest valleys, surviving
two generations of this terror. The in-
habitants of the Pannonian plains, who
were chiefly Slavs, became serfs, and the
Slovacks were reduced to pay tribute ;
only the Slovenians or Carentanians re-
mained free. A protracted frontier war
was in process, which brought forth new
royal families, and in particular a new
Bavarian ducal house.

The conditions in Saxony were similar.
The conduct of the uninterrupted fron-
tier war against the heathen Elbe Slavs
brought the ducal family of the Ludol-
fings to the front. This house the Saxon
emperors continued the frontier war,
which was imposed upon them by tradition
and necessity. The second period of
successful struggle against the Elbe Slavs
began, and Henry I. started by attack-
ing the Hevelli in 928, with the Saxon
army, which had been reorganised for the

In the year 928 Henry I. attacked the
Hevelli and captured their main fortress,
Brennaburg, or Brandenburg, after pitch-
ing his camp on the frozen

Elements in TT , T i ji

*K v t Havel. Ice, steel, and hunger,

these three brought Brenna-

Brandenburg , , , ,, T ,,

burg to her fall. In the same

year the king stormed Gana, or Jahna, the
town of the Daleminzii, and founded the
fortress of Meissen on the conquered
territory. Here, again, the defeated popu-
lation was subjected to pillage, while
the warriors were put to death and the
remainder sold into slavery. When
Henry, in 928 and 929, invaded Bohemia,
which had been united for a generation
under a duke of the Premyslid house,
Wenzel I., the later martyr and patron
saint, offered no resistance, but accepted
the land as a tributary fief from the hands
of the German king. Although Bohemia
several times shook off the German supre-
macy, the feudal suzerainty was upon the
whole maintained, so that the duchy and
the later kingdom became a permanent
portion of the empire, and belonged to the
German federation until its end in 1866.
By the further subjection of the Redarii,
Abodrites, Wilzes, and Liutizi, all the land
on both sides of the Elbe as far as the Oder
obeyed the first king of the Saxon house.

The civil wars, which fill the earlier
years of Otto I., were accompanied by
wars upon the Wends. The successor of
Henry I. had made over the frontier of

How Gero
the Slavs

the Saale and Central Elbe to the Mar-
grave Gero, and the district on the lower
Elbe to the Duke Hermann Billung. Gero
waged war with fearful vigour and with
reckless choice of means. In 939, when
informed that the Wends had planned a
surprise attack, he invited thirty of their
chiefs, made them drunk, and killed them.
He thus ruled the Slavs to the
Havel as Hermann ruled the
Baltic Slavs ; but he was con-
stantly supported by the king,
and the Wendish wars of the Saxon period
thus assumed a character of imperial

Between 950 and 970 the Wends were
constantly revolting. After the death of
Gero, in 966, the king divided this district
into five marks, from which were gradually
formed the Northern Mark, or Old Mark,
the Eastern Mark of Lausitz, or Saxony,
and the Thuringian Mark the Margraviate
of Meissen. Otto's wars with his German
rivals, the Danes, for the mastery of the
North Sea and the Baltic territories, and
the mark organised in 934 by his father
and occupied by the Germans between the
Eider and Schlei afterwards the Mark of
Schleswig are legendary achievements.

Throughout this time German merchants
and German missionaries, those historical
pioneers of military and constitutional
supremacy, had been visiting the marsh
and forest districts occupied by the Wends;
German missionaries had also come face to
face with the obstinate heathenism of
Scandinavia. In these frontier territories
Christianity did not secure its hold until
the ecclesiastical institutions of the Saxon
period were established. The bishopric
of Hamburg, founded in 831 an arch-
bishopric after 834 and the seat of St.
Ansgar, who first secured the title " Apostle
of the North" was united with Bremen
in 847, and remained under the Saxon
kings the starting-point for missions to the
north. Otto I. made the bishoprics of
Schleswig, Ripen, and Aarhus,

founded in 948, subordinate to
the metropo i itan see of B re _

1 men. At that time, in 946 and
949, the king founded the first bishoprics
upon Wendish soil, Havelberg and Bran-
denburg, to which the subject Slavs were
obliged to pay tithes and tribute. To
these must be added the bishopric of
Oldenburg in Wagria East Holstein
known to the Wends as Stargard.
In 968 Otto succeeded in his favourite




The Wends
Back to their
Old Gods

project of making Magdeburg an archbish-
opric, independent of Mainz ; and to this
the sees of Havelberg and Brandenburg,
Meissen, Merseburg, and Zeitz, were sub-
ordinate as suffragan bishoprics. Thus
Christianity had secured a firm foothold
in the marks, and the missions pros-
pered among the refractory Wends.
However, when Otto II. was
defeated on July I5th, 982, by
the Saracens in Apulia, the
Danes and Slavs renewed their
attacks in 983, and the patient achieve-
ments of fifty years' policy collapsed
amid this wild disturbance. Havelberg
and Brandenburg were destroyed ; Ham-
burg was reduced to ashes ; and the
Wends returned to the service of their god
Gerowitt and the three-headed Triglav,
at the places of sacrifice. Tithes and
tribute were no longer paid.

The German nationality became power-
less between the Elbe and the Oder. The
only true method of securing Germanisation
had not yet been discovered. Germans had
entered the fortresses which the Slavs had
already built or reconstructed, and German
wardens had replaced the Slav castellans
or Zupans. Only under the shelter of the
fortresses had the land been cultivated
here and there, and it was impossible for
such a colonisation to put out strong roots
in the territory east of the Elbe.

Under the regency of Theophano some
campaigns against the Wends were under-
taken between 986 and 990, but under
Adelheid (991-996) the frontier was barely
defended. The Emperor Otto III., whose
sympathies were wholly foreign, and who
was absorbed by the dream of a universal
monarchy, was sufficiently ill-advised to
diminish German influence in the east. It
was at that period that the duchy of
Poland emerged from the deep obscurity
of the time, and Christianity made its way
here under the dukes Mesko and Boleslav
Chabri. About this time Hungary and
H Russia were also Christianised,

. while Denmark, Norway and

Kussia Adopt o j T i j j X

ChHstianit Sweden, Iceland and Green-
land, followed in the eleventh
century. Inspired by sincere reverence
for the Bohemian Adalbert, his personal
friend, who had been murdered by the
heathen Prussians in 997, Otto III. made
a pilgrimage in the year 1000 to Gnesen,
where a memorial was erected to this
saintly martyr, whose corpse Boleslav had
covered with gold.

At the wish of Duke Boleslav, and with
the emperor's consent, a special arch-
bishopric for Poland was organised in
Gnesen ; seven suffragan bishoprics were
to be subject to the new metropolitan,
including the bishops of Cracow, Breslau,
and Kolberg, all to the disadvantage of
the metropolitan chair of Magdeburg, to
which the Poles had been hitherto subordi-
nate. Only the Bishop of Posen protested
against this new organisation of the Polish
Church and adhered to Magdeburg for the
moment. In that same year Hungary
was for ever separated from the German
Church, after Stefan I. had made Gran
the seat of a primate for the whole kingdom.
From that date Poland and Hungary
continued a separate ecclesiastical and
political existence, but the Germans never
ceased to transmit their own civilisation
and that of the west to their eastern
neighbours. The kingdoms of the Piasts
and of the Arpads resisted German supre-
macy, which they recognised only under
the immediate pressure of German military
force ; none the less the time approached
when German migration no longer
trickled, but flowed, into the
two countries ; after that date
agriculture, mining, trade,
manufacture, and town life
were stamped with German characteristics.
The Saxon emperors were more suc-
cessful in the south-eastern mark than
upon the Wendish frontier ; the former
had been shattered by the Magyars at the
beginning of the tenth century, but had
been restored in 995 after the victory on
the Lechfeld.

Once again the rulers gave large tracts
of land to secular nobles, churches and
monasteries ; and again a strong German
and especially Bavarian immigration
began. Like the East Babenberg mark,
the frontier of which had been definitely
advanced to the Leitha since the Hungarian
wars of the Emperor Henry III., so also
the Carentanian or Styrian mark gradually
broke away from the Bavarian duchy.
In view of the extraordinary independence
of these south-eastern frontiers and their
princes, it was possible at a later period
that larger independent states might be
developed there.

In the time of the Salian emperors the
imperial policy paid no special attention
to the Slav districts on the Elbe. Colonisa-
tion and missionary activity came to an
end. It should have been the task of

Where the
Saxons were

3 6 97


the territorial princes and bishops to
continue the work which the empire had
ceased to perform. However, even the
Saxon dukes of the family of Billung con-
fined themselves to exacting taxation from
the Slavs, but made no attempt to foster
colonisation or Christianity. For a short
time the archbishopric of Bremen, especi-

ally under the ambitious
Dioe. e*of Archbish P Adalbert, who died
A!I C I! t m I0 7 2 > whose diocese included

the whole of North Europe,
revived the missions to the Slavs ; he
seems to have been the first to induce
the Netherland colonists to bring the
peat districts on the Weser under cul-
tivation. He was supported in 1046
by the alliance of the Abodrite prince,
Gottschalk, who had voluntarily ac-
cepted Christianity.

Christianity under the Wends soon
made such progress that it was possible
to found the bishoprics of Mecklenburg
and Ratzeburg. But in a few years the
reaction set in. The Liutizi attacked the
Abodrites, who reverted to their old gods
and obeyed the heathen prince, Kruto,
after Gottschalk had been killed in 1066,
and Bishop John of Ratzeburg 'had been
sacrificed before the idol Radegast.

No fundamental change took place until
the Saxon duke, Lothar of Suplinburg,
became German king on August 3Oth,
1125. The Elbe Slavs were again made
tributary ; the sanctuary of Radegast in
Rethra was destroyed ; and even the
Polish duke, Boleslav III., did homage to
the emperor for Pomerania and Riigen.
Christianity had secured a hold in Pome-
rania in 1124 ; a pious German bishop,
Otto of Bamberg, was an apostle of this
heathen country. German customs and
language crossed the Elbe in force, ex-
tended over the wide river-valleys, and
advanced towards the shores of the Baltic.
These districts at the present day are
thoroughly German, and are, indeed, the

centre of German strength and
Heroes of ^, , ^

f, power. The time had come

oerman , ,, .

,. when the nation was in posses-

Lxpnnsion . , , _

sion of that superfluous
strength which felt the need for conquest
and colonisation. The age also brought
forth those leading personalities required
by every great movement, the heroes of
the German expansion beyond the Elbe.
These were the Ascanian Albert the Bear,
the Schauemburger Adolf II. of Holstein,
and Henry the Lion.


In the year 1134 the Ascanian Albert
of Anhalt, the son of Otto the Rich of
Ballenstedt, was invested with the fief of
the Saxon Nordmark, a barren and
swampy district then inhabited only in the
west. There were no actual settlements
in the Wendish territory to the east of
the Elbe, and only historical claims to
this imperial fief. In rapid succession,
however, Albert conquered Prignitz, to-
gether with Zauche, restored the episcopal
chair of Havelberg in 1136, and concluded
a treaty of inheritance with Pribislav of
Brandenburg, so that this district, the later
Middle Mark, came into his hands in 1150.

The bishopric of Brandenburg was then
revived, and it was finally possible for the
titular bishops of the marks, who had been
driven from their dioceses for a century and
a half, to resume residence. Together with
Archbishop Wichmann of Magdeburg
(1152-1192) the Ascanian now devoted
himself to the colonisation of the Slav
districts on the Elbe. The conquests of the
sword were secured by the work of the
ploughshare. As Ranke says : " The
sword, the cross, and the plough
co-operated to secure the land

ofth"' ' on the right of the Elbe for
Germany." The colonisation

Slav Races ,, J . , , , , / .1

on the nght bank of the

Elbe, which is most characteristic of
Germany, originated, however, not in
Brandenburg, but further north, in Wagria.
Count Adolf II. of Holstein, of the family
of Schauemburg, had almost exterminated
the heathen Slav population of this dis-
trict in a series of massacres. He then
sent out messages to the Lower Rhine, to
the Flemings and the Dutch, to the effect
that all who wanted land might come and
receive arable and pasture land, cattle
and fodder, in abundance.

The colonists came and settled in small
villages. Adolf II. also built a town ; in
the neighbourhood of Buku, which was
destroyed in 1138, rose the new town of
Liibeck in 1143, which was destined after-
wards to secure the supremacy of the
Baltic and the commercial predominance
of the whole of Northern Europe.

For fifteen years German colonists
continued to enter Brandenburg. Since
the Wendish revolt of 1157 the property
and the rights of the Slav population seem
no longer to have been recognised. The
margrave distributed the land, where he
did not keep it for himself, to noble lords,
chiefly coming from the Altmark, who


had helped in the process of conquest, to

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 27 of 55)