A. D.

A. D.

of laws among

the Barbarian

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
sunk into predial bondage to their own aristocracy ;* the arrogant conquerors surrendered their consciences

the lower Orders of the Frankish, and Lombard, and and their wills, with all the blind devotion of a super- Highly fa.
German races, equally with the descendants of the stitious Age, in spiritual dependence on an order of voured con-
Roman Provincials, had universally shared the same their subjects and tributaries. The rate of the compo- dition of the
fate in their several Countries; and the intermediate sition for homicide--the great test of political condition

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
gree of the latter indulgence are both very uncertain, influence of the institutions of Christianity on the state on the Dark
until a much subsequent period. The Roman, or at of Society among the Northern nations is closely con- Ages.
least native, population of France and Italy were, low- nected with their Political annals; and its considera-
ever, always suffered by the conquerors, from the outset, tion belongs to our present subject of inquiry. Nor,
to follow the rule of the Theodosian code in their Civil throughout the History of the Middle Ages, can the tem-
and domestic affairs, and to appeal to its protection in poral condition of the Papacy and the Church, which
the Courts, even against a plaintiff or accuser of the exercised so pervading and paramount an ascendancy
victorious stock. Among the Barbarians themselves, over the fortunes of the European Monarchies, be
whose different races came to be mingled in the same separated from the narrative of their Political vicissi-
Country, the utmost license was afforded to every free tudes. The rapid conversion of the Barbarian nations
man to choose under what national Law he would live; to Christianity, had accompanied their dismemberment
and, in the legal deeds of the times, a formal declara- of the Roman Empire. In their new seats, they found
tion, on the part of the subscriber, of his adherence the Clergy everywhere endowed with considerable Growth of
to the Salic, the Burgundian, Lombard, Gothic, Ba- possessions; and the lavish munificence of their new Ecclesiasti-
varian, or other German code, forms the common zeal was added to the former wealth of the Church.

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
Law had been silently acquired by the descendants of Northern nations, contributed to swell the amount of
the Roman population, the odious distinction of a these pious donations. Believing that offences might
dominant and subjugated race in the same community, be expiated by the measure of their offerings at the
must, by that circumstance, have merged into an equa- altar, they were actuated, in the intervals of their rapine
lity of rights, varying only in the hereditary preference and outrage, by remorse and Religious apprehension, to
of legal forms. And this separation of laws seems to satisfy the pangs of conscience in this manner. En-
have subsisted, in France especially, by the mere force dowments of land to the Episcopal sees, and still more
of caprice, for centuries after it had ceased to form the to the Monastic foundations, poured in from every
badge of conquest or servitude. I

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
tianity, and the imperfect rudiments of their acquaint- property in every Country thus passed into the hands of
ance with Letters, to Roman teachers ; and the posses- the Episcopal and Monastic Clergy; and the Ecclesias-
sion of sacred and profane learning, corrupted and tical Order obtained, in all the new Monarchies, a large
obscured as it was, enabled the subjugated race to re- share of positive temporal possessions and power, and

cover, by their superiority in knowledge and mental a still greater influence upon the Constitution of Govern-
Efects of cultivation, the temporal wealth and dominion which ments.
Like Cortet had been lost by their degeneracy in the field.

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.

[ocr errors]

di legion.

son of the hverthera

A. D.

A. D.

476. The vices of

wars and

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
duction of Christianity among the Northern nations, spiritual prohibitions of the Church exercised a great
though in its most corrupted form, had a signal and influence both in hastening the disuse of trial by com-
beneficial effect upon the aspect of Society. To judge bat, and in diminishing the frequency of private wars.
the question fairly, we should compare those times, not In the protection of the oppressed, the Clergy often 2. Br their

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
of human sacrifices, and its brutal proinises of an im- impeded the operation of justice, had some very different
mortality of drunkenness or slaughter, in those favoured consequences in the lawlessness and tyranny of the
regions of the globe, which had received the dawning Middle Ages. It undoubtedly enabled the Clergy to
light of Truth, humanity, and civilization. We should shelter many defenceless and persecuted individuals
imagine the ferocious passions of the Barbarians in an from the hand of violence and cruelty. If it afforded an
era of universal conquest, encouraged by that gloomy asylum for malefactors, it was also the only secure re-
and inexorable superstition of their forests, in which fuge for weakness and innocence; and we may readily
war and bloodshed were the creed of virtue ; instead of conceive, with an elegant writer, how much this pro-
being mitigated by the precepts of a Religion which, tection must have enhanced the veneration for Religious

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.

A. D.

A. D.

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

Nations. 476.

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
of tracts absolutely desolated by wars, that would pro- vilest legends which they produced, kept alive some
bably have been reclaimed from sterility by no other sparks of intellectual light; and from these were slowly

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-
depositaries of the neglected remains of classical Litera- gress dispelled the clouds which they had most thickly
ture. The Latin language itself was rescued from ex- collected, that Knowledge gained something in every

stage after the lowest point of its obscurity, and that
* Du Cange, ad vv. Testamentum and Manumissio.

the cause of Human Reason and Divine Truth has never
+ See the proofs of this in England, collected by Mr. Turner, ceased to advance, since that period in which it ap-
Anglo-Saxons, vol. ii. p. 167.
And by Mr. Hallam, vol, iii. p. 436.

peared to have approached the verge of its extreme and
total ruin.


preserva tion of 29


[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

623 Arivald

636 Rotharis.....

628 Rise of the Mayors of the Palace. The Monarchy again 577 Leovogild. Revolt and martyrdom of his son Herness



652 Rodoald.....

631 Dagobert I, sole Monarch.

653 Aribert I.......

661 Godebert
662 Grimoald .......

586 Recared, the first Catholic King of Spain,

633 Partition until


ing Italy with the Imperial Exar.
chate of Ravenna.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

660 Partition until

Epoch of the meridian greatness of the Visigothic

Monarchy, which gradually declines to the end the century;

[blocks in formation]

After which the crimes of Witika provoke his deposition

and the elevation of

744 Rachis ..

687 Pepin d'Heristal, Mayor of the

whole Monarchy.
717 Charles Martel, Duke of


749 Astolpho


slnggard or idiot.
Kings under the


memorable battle of Tours.

710 Roderic, the last King of the Visigoths.
711 THE SARACEN INVASION, and battle of Xeres. Death

Roderic, and ruin of the Gothic Monarchy.
712 Conquest of Spain by the Arabs. Some Christians retir

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,

the Monarchy;

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.

[blocks in formation]

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



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.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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

[blocks in formation]

569 The birth of Mohammed at Mecca.

[blocks in formation]

7. And unites Susses by conquest to Wesser.

655 The Sarwen arms continnally progressive up to this year 712 Conquest of Spain.
against the Empire.

714 Soliman. 716 Second siege of Constantinoplo by the

668 Constantine IV. Constantinople itself besieged by the 717 Omar II. 719 Yezid II. 723 Hashem.

Full Ethelbert, King of Mercia, supreme, antil,


Z his defeat in a furious battle by Cathred, King of Wessex


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


750 Saffah (descended from Abbas the uncle of the Prophet.)

753 Almansor.

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
to his sceptre, extends his supremacy over all South
Britain, and becomes the rightH BRETWALDA of 775 Leo IV. 780 Constantine VI.

the Anglo-Saxons.
Eesseth, King of the Scots, soon after subjugates the 797 Irene. The Empiro tributary to the Caliph Haroun
Picts, and reigns over North Britain


755 Commencement of the TRIPLE DIVISION OF THE CALIPH

ATE: the Abbassides still reigning in the East, or
Asia, the Edrissites and Fatimites in Africa, and

the Ommiades in the West, or Spain,
774 Mohadi, (in Asia.)

704 Musalhadi.

786 Haroun Alraschid. Renders the Greek Empire tributary


« ElőzőTovább »