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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visited the clergy and purged the ranks of
unworthy members. The same organised
power was exerted in Thuringia and Hesse,
until the German Church was firmly



incorporated with that hierarchical system
which centred in Rome. Boniface, who
by this time was sixty-five years of age,
hoped now to begin his missionary work
among the wild Saxons, and again was
forced to delay.

The Prankish Church was on the point

of dissolution. Owing to the economic

development of the Prankish

state, the bishops had become

Difficulties terr i toria ^ magnates, while their
higher education had secured
for them an important part in political
life. Hence they were involved in con-
stant struggles with the nobles for the
supremacy, and in the course of these
each party attempted to secure the largest
number of episcopal sees for itself. The
secular authorities presented or sold eccle-
siastical positions to their friends, who
naturally cared nothing for the spiritual
welfare of their people. In this way the
property of the Church was expended,
and ecclesiastical organisation trodden
under foot ; the clergy were scattered, the
monasteries were much disorganised, and
the people were relapsing into heathen-
dom. At that moment in 741, Charles
Martel died. He had employed with the
utmost ruthlessness the property of the
Church, and the presentation of bishoprics
as a means to found his supremacy.

His successor, Carloman, immediately
resolved "to restore the piety of the
Church, which had ceased to exist for some
seventy years." For this gigantic task
he summoned Boniface, and invited him to
hold a reforming synod, the " first Teu-
tonic council " in 742. So averse were the
Prankish clergy to a reformation that only
six bishops appeared. This, however,
was a benefit rather than otherwise. It
was now possible, unhindered by opposi-
tion, to adopt the most sweeping canons,
which were issued by Carloman as his own
decrees, and immediately received legal
force. The fact that Boniface devoted all

his strength to this work of
Carloman e i t i

reform is evidence of his gretat

and the . . ....

Ch h self-renunciation. The work,
however, was not carried out
as he would have wished, for Carloman
was by no means inclined to abandon
any of his rights of supremacy over
the Church. It was he, indeed, who
convoked the synods. The synods,
however, were not to issue resolutions,
but to offer advice. He then determined
the questions at issue, and it was he


who appointed bishops, including the
Archbishop Boniface.

With even greater independence did
Pippin begin his work, when he in his turn
resolved upon the reformation of his church.
Here Boniface was employed merely
as an adviser. He was able, however,
to inspire the clergy with a spirit that
allowed him confidently to expect that
which was unattainable in the present.
This was clear at the last synod which he
held, in 747. It was attended by many
priests, deacons, and suffragan bishops, and
by thirteen bishops. They agreed that
the archbishop or metropolitan should
have disciplinary power over the bishops,
and should occupy a position intermediary
between themselves and the Pope. All
signed this declaration : " We have re-
solved to maintain our subjection to the
Roman Church to the end of our lives, and
in every way to follow the commands
of Peter, that we may be numbered among
the sheep entrusted to his care."

These resolutions were, however, far from

becoming the constitutional basis of the

Prankish Church, for in practice the princes

were still its heads. The future,

K^Td^ however, was decided, not by

the Heathen le ? a ! teX /t> bu * b ? the Failing
spirit of brotherly community.

When Winfrid had first united them with
Rome, these same clergy desired anything
rather than subjection to the papacy,
and the fact that they now showed a
real enthusiasm for the papal supremacy
was a splendid result of his labours.
The wide extent to which the veneration
of the papal chair had become operative
was manifested by the fact that Pippin
could not assume the crown without the
Pope's consent. A closer connection be-
tween Rome and the Prankish Empire was
also secured by the fact that Pope Stephen
II. visited Frankland in 752, asked for
Pippin's help against the Lombards,
solemnly anointed Pippin and his two sons,
and received the assistance he required.
This success must have repaid the aged
Boniface for the many disappointments
which he had suffered.

He longed only for one thing more, that
he might be allowed to conclude his valu-
able life as a missionary and a martyr.
In the spring of 754 he again set out
for Friesland, and in June of the follow-
ing year he was killed by the heathen.
The work begun by Pippin and Boniface
was completed independently by Charles


the Great. It seemed as if this
superhuman character, Charlemagne, had
ascended the throne with a programme
ready in his hand, of which one point
after another was realised, with no weak-
ness or hesitation.

The Prankish state had now entered
into a new relationship with Rome and
the papacy. Pippin had become the
protector of the districts which he had
transferred to the Pope, and questions
might arise as to the rights and duties
which this position involved. Charles
made his way without difficulty. The
Lombard kingdom, against the aggrandise-
ment of which the Pope had sought

Prankish help, became part of Charles'
kingdom, and Rome a city within it. The
Pope became his subject, and, as a secular
prince, was merely a Prankish vassal. He
was obliged to learn a language of which
he had previously been ignorant. The
King " ordered," and the Pope " ful-
filled the royal will."

What, then, were the results of this
incorporation of the old imperial city of
Rome with the Prankish state ? The final
act of the new system was the imperial
coronation of 800, which had been hang-
ing in the balance since 797. Charles
would no doubt have preferred to assume
the imperial crown himself rather than


St. Boniface, the monastic name of Winfrid, the great "Apostle of Germany," was a native of Crediton, Devonshire,
and was trained in Benedictine monasteries at Exeter and Nursling:. When he went to Rome in 718 he was commissioned
by Gregory II. to the heathen nations of Germany, and he laboured as missionary for thirty years. At Hesse, in 724,
in his great zeal for the cause of religion, he destroyed many objects of heathen worship, among them, as shown in the
illustration, the great oak of Geismar, sacred to Thor, and an idol named Stuffp, on a summit of the Harz, still called
Stuffenberg. He founded many churches and convents, and called to his aid priests, monks and nuns from England.
These illustrations are reproduced by permission of Messrs. Jftger & Gorgen, Munich.


to receive it from the Pope, and from one
whom he very much disliked, Pope
Leo III. But he wished to be emperor at
any^Ujst. Only now in the eyes of
contemporaries was Western Europe united
under his person. It was a unity far
removed from the later theory which
regarded empire and papacy as separate
forces. Charles was, in his own opinion,
master of God's empire, the supreme unity
of Church and State.

On the death of Pippin there were some
who regarded the Prankish Church as a
member of the universal Church, and were
willing, to place it under the- Pope's
supremacy. Others wished to maintain it
as an independent national Church, subject
to the Prankish king; and to reverence the
Pope merely as the head of all Christians.
Charles extended the Prankish Church under
his supremacy that it might be the imperial
Church, the empire of God upon earth, in
which it was the Pope's part to. teach, and
his to govern. Thus the unity which
Boniface had desired was attained, though
by other methods than he had pro-
posed ; the whole of the Western Church

reverenced the same emperor as their
ruler and the same bishop as their teacher.
It was a magnificent idea ; that it was
not impossibly magnificent was proved by
the events of the age. Far from sighing
under this theocratic supremacy, the
Church rejoiced ; far from suffering loss,
she enjoyed brilliant prosperity.

The succeeding age was to show whether
such a kingdom, uniting the secular and the
spiritual powers, could succeed under other
conditions, or whether it was possible only
under Charles the Great, who cared
alike for Church and State, and was fully
conscious of the needs of both, who pur-
sued his high purposes, whether secular or
religious, with indefatigable activity and
invincible persistence, and never aroused
opposition by misuse of his power or
by weak concession, but was inspired by the
lofty conviction that his supremacy was
derived from God, and that he must wield
it in God's service.

Thus the Popes were thrown into the
background, and Charles interfered di-
rectly in the domestic ecclesiastical affairs
of the papal patrimony. There was,


Inspired by high and noble purposes, the great Charlemagne endeavoured to make the Church a mighty power
throughout his dominions, and he aimed at the conversion of the Saxons. This purpose he ultimately accomplished for
after thirty years of struggle he was able to add this last of the Teutonic tribes to the Church. Charlemagne died in 814.

however, no pettifogging rivalry in his in-
terference, and he considerably raised the
prestige of Rome in the Prankish Church.
He regarded the Roman Church as the
guardian of apostolic tradition, and its
bishop as the supreme pastor of Christianity,
for which reason the regulations of Rome
were to be obeyed throughout the churches
of the empire. He, however, was the
man who secured this obedience. He
appointed bishops or confirmed their
nomination, and his laws appeared in the
collections of canon law side by side with
papal laws and the canons of councils.
He it was who convoked church synods,
and confirmed or extended their conclu-
sions as he considered wise. Ritual
disputes he settled himself after consulta-
tion with his imperial assemblies, deciding
even against the Pope in cases of neces-
sity, for if this teacher of Christianity
nflicted injury upon God's kingdom,
then it was the business of God's regent,
the emperor, to protect his kingdom.

Such was the case in the quarrel
concerning the veneration of images.
At the council of Nicaea, in 787, Pope
Hadrian II. and the Byzantine Empress

Irene had again legalised the veneration of
images. Charles decided against them. He
argued that the iconoclasm, which had
formerly been popular in the East, and the
veneration of images, which was now com
manded, were alike boundless folly. Images
might be permitted to remind worshippers
of the Scripture story or for decorative
purposes, but there was no necessity for
them, and their veneration might inflict no
small harm upon spiritual progress. Charles
therefore instructed the Pope to reverse
this decision. At the Synod of Frankfort, ii
794, in the presence of two papal legates, it
was resolved " by all the bishops and priests,
in virtue of their apostolic authority, and
at the command of our pious master, the
Emperor Charles, and in the presence of
our gracious master himself," to prohibit
the veneration or worship of images, and
to condemn all who should agree with the
conclusions of the Greek synod. The Pope
did not venture to protest.

The reform begun by Boniface within
the Church was continued by Charles
with brilliant success, but here again the
objects and methods of the two men were
divergent. Boniface was anxious to educate



Ideal of

the people, but only so long as they lived
within the Church and were subject to
it. Hence he was particularly anxious
to create a powerful hierarchy. Charles
desired to educate mankind as a whole,
for all its tasks, for membership of the
kingdom of God. The ideal before his
eyes seems to have been the formation of
, independent character. Natu-
magnes rally the education of the

clergy was of first importance.

But as the advanced schools
of which he was the founder provided a
learned education both for his own children
and for many youths of the first families
of the empire, so also the laity were to
have their share of consideration in other
schools. Indeed, his ultimate object must
have been national education ; for the
children, at any rate, an attempt was
made to introduce a general system of
school attendance, and it was arranged
that the children of the poor should be
supported by small contributions during
their school lives.

Divine service also was not merely to
be the outward expression of religious
usage, but was to do something for the
individual. Hence Charles made preach-
ing in the vernacular the central point of
the service, and ordered that a sermon
should be preached in every parish church
on every Sunday and saint's day. That
part of the service which was said by
memory was not to be used mechanically,
but with understanding. So much is
shown by the German commentaries upon
the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, which
still remain to us.

An attempt was made to form a German
Bible. Some fragments still survive of the
German translation of St. Matthew's Gospel
made at that time, which show a real power
of penetrating the meaning of the Scriptures.
Charles earnestly urged upon his clergy their
duty of caring for souls, and, above all, of
hearing confessions. It then seemed that

the old ecclesiastical system

, 1 ? ce . of penance, which had disap-
of Confession , ,-, r .

. . peared in the storms of the
in the Church f , ,

last century, could no longer

be revived. The penalty for open offences
consisted in exclusion from the communion
of the Church, while readmission was to be
secured only by humble atonement, all of
which presupposed the fact that communion
with the Church should be regarded as a
valuable privilege by the individual. At
the present moment the clergy were deal-


ing with masses who had not yet acquired
love or appreciation for the Church. As
they attached little or no importance to
church membership, it would be impossible
to force them to buy this privilege at the
expense of a heavy penance. The Irish
saint, Columba, who had attempted from
about 584 to reform the degenerate Prank-
ish Church, had endeavoured to influence
individual souls by introducing the prac-
tice of private confession to the priest. He
had drawn up a penitential, which was to
instruct the clergy in this very difficult
task. This institution was now revived.
It is, however, a sign of his deep appre-
ciation of religious conditions that Charles,
who demanded a knowledge of the
Christian verities from every one of his
subjects, did not make confession com-
pulsory. In his eyes it was valuable only
when performed voluntarily. Theologians
of that age, however, were the more
vigorous in insisting upon the great bless-
ings of confession. They taught that
every sin could be forgiven if the sinner
made the sacrifice of confession to the
priest. Whatever opposition was to be
expressed later to the insti-

Slott tution of confession, it was
one which, at any rate,
exerted an educative influence
upon the people, which aroused a con-
sciousness of the individual's responsibility
to God, and of the necessity for forgiveness.
Finally, Charles completed the projects
of Boniface for the conversion of the
heathen, but once again by wholly different

The conversion of the Saxons was
secured at the price of such appalling
struggles that Charles would certainly
have been obliged to confine his efforts
to defending his own dominions against
these threatening neighbours had he not
been inspired by the idea of the theocratic
king who should make his master's
enemies the footstool of his feet. After
thirty years of struggle he was able to
add this last of the Teutonic tribes to
the Church.

When he ended his energetic life, on
January 28th, 814, the Gospels were
placed upon his knees, a fragment of the
true Cross was laid upon his head, and
his sword was girded about his loins. The
unity he had attempted to create was soon
to be divided, for there is no symbol which
can combine the sword and the Gospel.

of the









HTHE northern part of Europe, or
* Scandinavia, consists of Denmark
and the so-called Scandinavian peninsula
Norway and Sweden to which we may
add, in a physical sense, the peninsulas of
Kola and Finland. The island of Iceland,
which has been peopled by the Norwegians,
may also be considered as belonging to
these northern lands. Scandinavia forms
the most north-westerly portion of the
European continent ; but, thanks to the
sea which washes its shores on almost
every side, and the influence of the warm
Atlantic currents, it has a mild climate in
comparison with its high latitude. It is
owing to this fact that. Scandinavia,
although partly an arctic land, is the most
productive region in so northerly a situa-
tion. Nevertheless, the climate is not
alike in all these northern regions ; it
varies according to the altitude and dis-
tance from the sea. Denmark and Western
Norway enjoy a climate of
insular character, while Eastern
Norway and Sweden are con-
tinental in their variations of
temperature. Denmark, physically a por-
tion of the mid-European plain, is much
more cut up by the sea, and consists
of two natural main divisions the pen-
insula of Jutland and a group of islands.
Western and Central Jutland have been
little favoured by Nature ; on the whole,
the soils are unfertile, and the west coast,
which is sheltered from the North Sea by
the dunes, is without a single harbour, and
on that account dreaded by seafarers.
East Jutland and the islands are, on the
contrary, very fertile, and well watered by
small lakes and streamlets ; the fiords
and bays, which are formed by the sea
along the whole coast -line, make, in
addition, good harbours. Denmark was
formerly covered with rich forests, but is
now almost bare of wood ; the land lends
itself to agriculture and cattle-breeding,
and the sea, which surrounds the country
on every side, has always been a source of

of Northern

wealth to the country, and has developed
the Danes into skilful seamen.

The Scandinavian peninsula is a con-
tinuous range of mountains. In the west,
where they reach their highest point
Galdhoppigen, 8,400 feet they rise almost
precipitously from the Atlantic Ocean,
N and then decrease gradually

in height towards the Skager
and aweden -,-> , ,, -i? , , ?i

r Rack, th3 Kattegat, and the

in Contrast ,, . . ' c ' . . .

Baltic Sea, until they sink into
lowlands, and further south emerge gradu-
ally as the Danish isles. We thus see that
Norway, which forms the western portion
of the peninsula, is a much more moun-
tainous country than Sweden. The
northern range consists almost entirely of
primary rocks, and of the oldest and
hardest slates, which are not easily disin-
tegrated by the weather, and are therefore
covered with only a thin layer of feebly
productive soil. The south of Sweden is
less barren, owing to the greater disinte-
gration of the rocks.

The higher regions of the mountainous
areas are fairly level, forming extensive
plateaux at different elevations, embossed
with prominent peaks and heights, and
separated from one another by gorges and
deep valleys. These formations are most
wonderful on the western side, where
the sea has forced its way into some
of the deep gorges, thereby changing
them into long, narrow fiords, hemmed
in by steep rocky walls. From these
rocks, at one time well wooded, but now
showing only here and there a single tree,

gush forth streams, forming
A Land of

. magnificent cascades, which

Cascades and V ,

Glaciers ar6 P* 1 "^ fed ^ the lar & e

glaciers covering the moun-
tain heights. The extent of land adapted
to agricultural purposes is small, but the
grazing and rearing of cattle and sheep
form important industries. It is, however,
the sea to which the inhabitants now look,
as in earlier times, for their livelihood.
Ships form the most natural and easy



means of communication between fiord

and fiord, and the numerous islands of

different size which stretch along the coast

afford good harbours and safe navigation.

Further inland, where the mountains

fall softly away, the deep valleys broaden

out, and plains are gradually formed.

The valleys are still well wooded, and

watered by streams abound-

oHhe " in & in fish ' There are als
many lakes ; in Norway, and

Scandinavians ., J ., r o j

the northern parts of Sweden

these conform to the lo,:g, narrow shape of
the valleys, while in the central regions,
and in the south of Sweden they become
larger and broader. Cattle-rearing, agri-
culture, and trade in timber formed, even
in the earliest days, the chief means of
subsistence in these parts. Mining is also
of importance, as the peninsula is rich in
useful minerals and metals ; and in the
forests there are different kinds of game,
.which will repay the sportsman for his

Finland, the south-eastern continuation
.of the northern range of mountains, is a low
plateau covered with forests, innumerable
lakes and marshes, called by the Finns
for this reason " Suomi," that is, Fenland.
The coasts, in the west low and flat, and
in the south hilly, are backed by cliffs
and ridges ; the Aland islands in the south-
west form a natural link in the direc-
.tion of Sweden. The wealth of Finland
consists in its forests ; agriculture and
cattle-rearing are also of some importance.
There is a scarcity of metals.

The island of Iceland, situated in the
North Atlantic Ocean between Norway
and America, is a mountainous mass of
volcanic origin. Bare peaks tower over
wastes of ashes and lava ; large glaciers
and streams of lava cover wide areas of
the interior, and make them quite un-
inhabitable. Even now volcanic eruptions
occasionally take place, and there are
numerous hot springs scattered about the
island. The north and west

Iceland , , ,

_ coasts are broken up by numer-

'* ous fiprds into peninsulas and
and Dare . , , ~, ,. l . . .

islands. 1 he climate is in winter
comparatively mild, but in summer rough
and stormy ; on this account the grain
harvest seldom ripens, and there are no
forests. There is, however, fine meadow-
land, and sheep-breeding is, together with
the fisheries, the chief means of livelihood.
We do not know to which race the people
who first inhabited the northern regions


of Scandinavia belonged. From the
traces they have left behind, we see that
they stood on a low level of civilisation.
They were without knowledge of metals,
and their weapons and utensils were made
of stone, bone, horn, or wood. The country
was covered with immense forests in
the Stone Age, and the people, who
supported themselves by the chase and
fishing, lived on the banks of rivers, the
shores of lakes, or on the coast, where they
obtained means of subsistence.

By degrees they began to clear the
primeval forests, to engage in cattle-
rearing, and to cultivate the land ; they also
built ships [see page 2368], and came into
communication with their southern neigh-
bours, from whom they learned the art of
working in metal. The metal which they
first learned to use was copper, or, rather,
bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, which
was exchanged for amber. We learn from
weapons and pieces of ornamental work
that the civilisation of this Bronze Age
reached an advanced stage of development.
The rudely executed pictures and drawings
which are found cut on rocks and stones
_. also belong to this age, and fur-

ivi isai >n n - s k us w - t k i m p 0r t an t informa-
tion regarding the life of that
Stone Age . , , I7 .. , r , u

period. Written records of this

time are just as rare as those of the Stone
Age; and as the language of the inhabi-
tants is unknown, we cannot well deter-
mine their racial affinities. Archaeologists
are nevertheless of the opinion that, since
the Stone Age, one and the same race has

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 5 of 55)