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of laws among
History. rights and conditions might be surrendered, or their ignorance of the illiterate Barbarians naturally excluded Settlement political existence swallowed up in the accumulation of them, for many Ages after they had embraced the of the
Barbarian the greater domains. Even of the Saxon race in Eng. Christian worship, from the ministry and offices of the
Nations. 476. land, where a portion of the peasantry always remained Church; the Clergy in the new Kingdoms were com
free, at least two-thirds, before the iXth century, had posed almost wholly out of the Roman population; and
Clergy. ranks between the Noble and the Slave were becoming in the Barbaric codes—denotes the respect and the almost everywhere obliterated by the operation of vio- sanctity in which the Clergy were held. By the laws lence and want, oppression and weakness. At this of the Frankish Monarchy, for example, the life of the epoch, it was happy for the well-being, and almost the lowest Minister of Religion was made equivalent in value existence of Society, that the feudal system, with its long to that of two freemen; a simple priest was rated with chain of defined relations, its manly spirit of mutual a Nobleman ; and the compensation for the blood of a and fixed obligations, arose to preserve the social frame Bishop rose to one half more than for that of the highest of Europe from a state of indiscriminate Asiatic servi- Civil dignitary under the Crown.* No distinction of tude.
Frankish or Gaulish birth was here preserved in the Distiaction It has been usual with modern writers to extol the protection of the Ecclesiastical Body; but the estimate
liberal principle of the Barbarian codes, which left the silently marks the power, not of a Barbarian, but a
Roman Provincials in the possession of their own Civil Roman Order, who filled the Church. and Ronan institutions, and further allowed every man to declare The establishment and growth of the Christian General inpopulation. under what Law he would be governed. But the first Church in the Barbarian Kingdoms of Europe, will be fluence of la efects. permission served only to prolong the distinction of the more properly related in that division of our pages, tions of
conquering and conquered races : the extent and de- which is assigned to ECCLESIASTica. History: but the Christianity
and power. How far preamble. At whatever period in the lapse of time The mixture of a superstitious imagination with violent
the same privilege of adopting a Barbarian nation and passions, which entered into the character of all the
quarter; and Monarchs, powerful Lords, and petty But a much more powerful cause in eradicating this Barons, all felt the necessity of atoning for the disorders et ly distinction was the influence of a common Religion and crimes of their past lives by accumulated bequests
The Northern nations owed their conversion to Chris- to the Church. A considerable portion of the territorial
cover, by their superiority in knowledge and mental a still greater influence upon the Constitution of Govern-
The The revolting spectacle of ignorance and supersti- Moral tion, of crime and anarchy, which is presented in the effects of
Christianity * Turner, Anglo-Sarons, vol. iii. p. 213.
in those + Muratori, Antiquitates Ilaliæ, Dissert. xxii. Vaissette et De • Leges Salice, c. 38.
Ages, Vic, Hist. Gén. de Languedoc, vol. ii. App. p. 56—70.
+ Fleury, Discours sur l'Histoire Ecclésiastique (12mo. Paris, 1763) Vaissette, ibid.
passim. Muralori, Antiq. Ital. Dissert. Ixv, and lxvii.
son of the hverthera
476. The vices of
History. aspect of Europe during the Dark Ages, might lead us, jurisprudence, manners, and Arts, which has cemented Settlement on a cursory view, to question the beneficial effects of the bonds of humanity through the modern World.*
of the the Barbarian conversion on the state of Society. Nor Nor, in the exaggerated tone of declamation, which Barbarian
Nations. 476. have endeavours been wanting to depreciate and deny it has been usual for almost all controversial Protestant potwith- the salutary influence of Christianity over those times, by writers to adopt, in stigmatizing the vices of the Clergy standing the
a certain class of writers, who have delighted to mul- of the Dark Ages, has justice been rendered to their acknowledged cor
tiply examples of the corruption of the Church, and the memory, even for the real benefits, which they either ruption of
wickedness of its Ministers and Professors. Unques- positively conferred, or were instrumental in engrafting, the Romish the Church, tionably the Romish Clergy of the Middle Ages, as a Body, on Society. Their efforts were in general unceasingly Clergy ex
were very corrupt : their private lives were frequently directed to soften the ferocity, and humanize the feel- aggerated. dissolute; their covetousness and rapacity in the pur- ings of their times. They constantly opposed the san- Benefits suit of wealth unbounded; their ambition worldly and guinary institution of the judicial duel, and fulminated which they unholy; their hypocrisies, frauds, and impostures every species of Ecclesiastical censure against that absurd conferred manifold ; their ignorance extreme; and the sacred and cruel practice.
With equal consistency, they Society. truths of Christianity were violated and perverted in laboured strenuously, by exhortation and anathema, to 1.
1. By their their doctrines by the gross admixture of a thousand repress the private wars of the Barons, which, in rather reprobation Pagan superstitions and idolatries. It was not to be a later Age, had converted every Kingdom of Europe of private expected that the moral and intellectual character of into one great battle-field. The periodical observance the laity should attain a higher standard than that which they attempted to enforce of the Truce of God, t
combats. of their teachers; and while the Clergy were them- was a humane endeavour to suspend, at least for brief selves ignorant and vicious, the people were natu- seasons, the fury of those inextinguishable and bloody rally plunged into a lower deep of impurity and feuds; to afford the harassed and wearied people some darkness.
short intervals of breathing and repose ; and to tempt decidedly But admitting the operation of all these debasing even their tyrants with the familiar blessings of tranbeneficial. influences to the fullest extent, it is still easy to discern, quillity. The success of their efforts, indeed, was not
on an attentive and candid examination, that the intro- immediately visible: but there can be no doubt that the
with the enlightened period to which they have given discharged a yet higher and holier vocation. The right protection Contrast of birth, but with the previous state of the world. We of sanctuary, which was very early established, secured of the op the Gothic should endeavour to conceive the fate of Europe, if the persons from seizure within the hallowed vicinity of pressed. Paganism. Gothic nations had been permitted to plant the bloody churches ; and this superstitious privilege which, in
idolatry of Woden and Thor, with its reeking hecatombs the Roman Catholic Countries of modern times, has only
however imperfectly heard and obeyed, breathed nothing institutions, how gladly the victims of internal war must Silent ame. but mercy and peace. The ameliorating power of a have turned their eyes from the Baronial castle, the lioration
purer spirit often went forth, even from among the dread and scourge of the neighbourhood, to those veneproduced
clouds of error and falsehood which veiled the divine rable walls, within which, not even the clamour of arms by the Christian form of Revelation. If that power was insufficient to could be heard to disturb the chant of holy men, and faith and direct the actions and control the passions of rude and the sacred service of the altar. morality. ignorant men, it sometimes touched their consciences, Among these Religious institutions, the Monasteries 3. Elemo
and frequently awakened their remorse. The political especially seem to have been everywhere, in those Ages, synary vir effects of Christianity in the Dark Ages, were not, we a blessing to the surrounding districts. In ameliorat-tues of the
Monks, may confess, so beneficial as its individual influence; ing the condition of the poor, some of the virtues of the but they were as good as the constitution of Society Monks had the most benign effects. The Clergy of all would admit, and far better than, under the same cir- denominations were continually enjoining upon laymen cumstances, any mere human restraints of Law or the duty of enfranchising their slaves: though indeed opinion could possibly have produced. Even a cele- they are accused of not being equally ready to set the brated Historian, who has rendered his name unhappily example of manumission on their own lands. But
4. Enfranproverbial for hostility to the Christian faith, has been when we find them inveighing against the sin of keeping chisement compelled to acknowledge the universal benefits which Christians in bondage, and observe how frequently the of slaves followed its introduction among the Barbarian nations, manumission of slaves is expressly performed in testa- successfully in inculcating justice and mercy; in alleviating the mentary acts from Religious motives, we may safely enjoined by horrors of war, and moderating the insolence of conquest; in preventing the total extinction of ancient Civilization, Learning, and Science; and in producing
* Gibbon, vol. vi. p. 276, 278.
+ See Du Cange, ad v. Treuga. that union of the European Republic, that community of Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 351.
History. ascribe the practice to the injunctions of the Clergy.* tinction only by its corrupted use in the liturgy, the Settlement
of the The general exercise of charity by the Monks in the theological writings, and the decretal correspondence of
Barbarian relief of indigence, too, is undisputed; and the condi- the Church. All the manuscripts of the great classical
tion of the peasantry on the church estates, was always authors must have been utterly lost and destroyed 3. Superior superior to that of the vassals of lay lords. It was a amidst the disorders and Barbarism which followed the condition of
common saying of the people, that men lived more subversion of the Roman Empire, if they had not been 476. the peasan. happily under the crosier than the sceptre. The lands of preserved by the care of the Monks. Nor is it too Church the Monasteries were far better cultivated than any much to assert, that the very use of Letters and the lands. : other;t and to the peaceful occupations and superior memory of Learning might have perished in the pro6. The resto- intelligence of the Monks, we are indebted for the agri- found darkness which had overspread Europe, but for ration of
cultural restoration of great part of Europe. Many of the studious occupations, ill-directed and tasteless as Agriculture,
the grants to Monasteries, which appear enormous, were they were, of the Monastic communities. Even the
kindled that sacred flame of Truth and Science which, 7, and the But beyond all question the most important benefit when the improved relations of Society began to foster
for which the modern world is indebted to the Clergy its diffusion, at last burst into a splendid and general
and the Monastic institutions of the Dark Ages, is the illumination. It was thus in the fate of Learning, as in ciest Learn. ing attri
preservation of ancient Learning. However gross the the vicissitudes of Civil and Political institutions, that beiable to ignorance in which the Clergy were themselves involved, the dispensations of a beneficent Providence ordained the Monks. they were the only Order which retained any glimmerings Good out of Evil, harmony and light out of chaos and
of knowledge; and their Monastic houses were the sole darkness; that the efforts of superstition in their pro-
stage after the lowest point of its obscurity, and that
the cause of Human Reason and Divine Truth has never
peared to have approached the verge of its extreme and
preserva tion of 29
628 Rise of the Mayors of the Palace. The Monarchy again 577 Leovogild. Revolt and martyrdom of his son Herness
631 Dagobert I, sole Monarch.
653 Aribert I.......
586 Recared, the first Catholic King of Spain,
633 Partition until
KiyODTH OF THE LONTARDS; divid.
ing Italy with the Imperial Exar.
660 Partition until
Epoch of the meridian greatness of the Visigothic
Monarchy, which gradually declines to the end the century;
After which the crimes of Witika provoke his deposition
and the elevation of
744 Rachis ..
687 Pepin d'Heristal, Mayor of the
FALL OF THE MEROVIN
GIAN DYNASTY: into
732 DEFEATS THE SARACENS in the
memorable battle of Tours.
710 Roderic, the last King of the Visigoths.
Roderic, and ruin of the Gothic Monarchy.
into Asturias, where, under
752 Conquest of the Exarchate by the sombards; and gradual 741 His son, Pepin le Bref, rules rise of the Papal Power,
Extingnishes the Merovingian Dynasty; and assuming the 754 Rome threatened by the Lombards: but delivered by
crown, founds Pepin, King of France,
II. Tax CARLOVINGIAN DYNASTY OF THE FRANKS, 756 Who bestows the Exarchate on the Holy See.
751 Pepin, the first King of bis Family. 757 Desiderio, King of the Lombards.
768 Charles and Carloman, Sovereigns of the Frankish
771 Charles the Great, or CHARLEMAGNE, sole Monarch, 774 EXTINCTION OF THE LOMBARD MONARCHY. Italy under
Charlemagne, the Popedom, and the Eastern Empire. 774 Conquers Italy.
755 Abdalrahman, first independent Caliph of the Sarace
or Arabians in Spain. 758 Garcias Ximines, the supposed founder of the Christ
state of Navarre.
778 The country north of the Ebro conquered by Chanenag
778 Charlemagne conquers Spain North of the Ebro from the
Saracens ; 796 Subdues the Huns; and completes the settlement of his
Monarchy in Germany, Italy, &c. 800 CORONATION OF CHARLEMAGNE AS EXPEROR OF THE
Abdalrahman reigns over Saracen Spain with consi
able splendoor to the close of the century: but supremacy does not prevent dissensious and intes wars among the Arabian Emirs, or Goventions Provinces.
THE MOHAMMEDAN OR SARACEN POWER. 4. D. Throughout the Vth and Vith centuries, Arabia appears
to have been divided among a number of petty Chieftains and Tribes of the cultivated country and de serts, who enjoyed a common independence: though they recognised a 'superior dignity in the state of Mecca, as the holiest seat of their idolatrous worship, and the principal city of their nation. Under the general name of SARACENS, (from some unknown etymology) the natives of Arabia alternately engaged during these Ages in capricious alliance and desul. tory hostility with the Eastern and Persian Empires; and towards the close of the VIth century, the South-Western parts of the Peninsula, in the Arabia Felix, or Yemen, were subjugated by the latter Power. But the History of the Arabian Tribes is obscure and disjointed ; and the authentic Saracen Annals coma mence only with
569 The birth of Mohammed at Mecca.
7. And unites Susses by conquest to Wesser.
655 The Sarwen arms continnally progressive up to this year 712 Conquest of Spain.
714 Soliman. 716 Second siege of Constantinoplo by the
Full Ethelbert, King of Mercia, supreme, antil,
Z his defeat in a furious battle by Cathred, King of Wessex
732 GREAT DEFEAT OF THE SARACENS AT Tours,
become for a time tributary to the
Northumbria declines in power:
675 They are repulsed, an
742 Waled II. 743 Yezid III. Marwan II., who is killed in
a Civil war and succeeded by the
11. DYNASTY OF THE ABBASSIDES,
750 Saffah (descended from Abbas the uncle of the Prophet.)
685 Jastinian II. 711 Philippicus. 713 Anastasius II. 17 073, of Mereis, overpowers the Kings of Wessex and
Northumbria; Espels the Britons beyond the Wye, and constructs h18 776 Theodosius IIT. Constantinople again besieged by the * Dyke," or rampart of separation between Mercia
Saracens, who are repulsed by and Wales.
717 Leo III. He interdicts (726) the Worship of Images, and
prorokes the separation of the Greek and Latin
Churches. 34 Death of Oifa. Decline of the Mercian power,
741 Constantine V. 752 Loss of the Italian Exarchate. ES72T, King of Wesscz Subjects the Kingdoms of
Kent, Essex, East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria
755 Commencement of the TRIPLE DIVISION OF THE CALIPH
ATE: the Abbassides still reigning in the East, or
the Ommiades in the West, or Spain,
786 Haroun Alraschid. Renders the Greek Empire tributary
800 MERIDIAN GRANDEUR OF THE ABBASSIDAN CALIPHATE,