A. D.

A. D.


A. D.

to A. D.

[ocr errors]

Pope Gre.

gory I.

A. D.

A. D.

[ocr errors]

A. D.

[ocr errors]


A. D.

History. Governors. In the imagination of some writers, these the Imperial Sovereignty, he rapidly reduced the whole

early Popes had already conceived the scheme of uni- Exarchate of Ravenna, and even planted his victorious
versal power : but their temporal authority, at least, standard on the walls of that impregnable Capital. From

was, more honourably, the insensible result of thei But the Pope, having secured his own authority, the 476.

struggles to alleviate the calamities of their See; independence of Rome, and the preservation of the 476.

and the ambition which in after Ages oppressed the favourite worship, had no desire to strengthen the more *

world with its audacious pretensions, was, perhaps, formidable power of his Lombard neighbours, by totally 755. first kindled in the most virtuous exercise of those overthrowing the feeble remains of the Imperial Sove

755. duties of Civil protection as well as spiritual govern- reignty. By the exhortations of Gregory himself, the ment, which were alike demanded from the Ecclesi. Venetian Republic, already respecta'ile by its maritime astical pastor of a helpless community.*

resources, was induced to cooperate with the ByzanThe most remarkable and energetic character among tine Exarch in the recovery of Ravenna; and that city the early Roman Pontiffs was the first Gregory; and was successfully surprised before Luitprand could

it may be sufficient in this place to advert to his Pon- march to its relief.* 590.

tificate, in the beginning of the VIIth century, as the The Lombard Monarch, after alarming Rome itself
era of the carliest decided increase of the Papal power. by his threatened vengeance, closed his existence in 736.

Notwithstanding his professed contempt of learning ainity with the Church; and his death suspended the 604.

and his superstition, he deserves to be favourably re- prosecution of the Lombard conquests. But the Greek
membered for his paternal government of Rome. He power, which, under the shadow of a mighty name,
actively provided for the defence of the city against the had long concealed the extent of its decline, now ap-

Lombards; and his spiritual eloquence, or his gold, di- proached the period of its subversion in Italy. Astol- Capture of Erest of verted a formidable attack of the Barbarians. With pho, the third Lombard Monarch in the series from Ravenna by his author the Sovereigns and the Hierarchy of the Western King- Luitprand, bursting into the Exarchate, easily made the Lomnity

doms, he maintained a regular correspondence; and himself inaster of Ravenna, and finally extinguished the baribe and
in his pretensions, the divine authority and office of the government and office of the Imperial Exarchs. As- of the Impe-
successors of St. Peter were first clearly defined, and tolpho was stimulated by this conquest to attempt the rial Exar-
as strangely acknowledged by the ignorant nations to reduction of Rome itself: all Italy lay prostrate before chate.
whom they were addressed. For one hundred and him; and the hour seeined to have arrived which was to
twenty years after the death of Gregory the Great, the complete the consolidation of the Loinbard power

power of the Papacy received no remarkable accession, throughout the Peninsula. But, contrary to all reasonable
though the lapse of time was confirming its authority; expectation, the crowning effort of the Lombard Princes Danger of
and it was not until the schism, produced by the con prepared, not the triumph, but the ruin of their Monar- Rome.
troversy on Image-worship, that the next great impulse chy. The reigning Pope, Stephen III., in his extre-
was given to the grandeur of the Popedom, and that the mity, cast his eyes beyond the Alps, and sought in per-
independent temporal authority of the Roman Pontiff

son a protector and avenger in the puissant Monarch was finally established in the ancient Capital of the world. of France. At the head of an irresistible host of his Sebion of

This important revolution occurred during the Pon- devout and warlike nation, the first French King of

tificate of Gregory II. The Clergy and the people of the Carlovingian race proclaimed himself the soldier of Churches Italy were equally attached to the superstitious worship the Church against the oppression of Astolpho. on Image of Images; and the edict of the Emperor, Leo the Ico- descended from the Alps; compelled the Lombard ance by worship. noclast, for their demolition, produced a general re- Prince, after a weak resistance, to conclude a dis- Pepin of

volt in Rome, Ravenna, and the other cities of the graceful Peace; obliged him to take a solemn oath France, Exarchiate and Pentapolis. The furious spirit of the that he would respect the sanctity of the Papal See;

754. Italians left no alternative to the Pope, but to adopt the and restored Stephen in triumph to his Ecclesiastical course to which his own zeal and policy sufficiently and temporal Throne. The faithlessness and the infa

Decline of impelled him. He placed himself at the head of the tuation of Astolpho and his successors precipitated the the Lomkerelt of popular resistance to the Imperial edict; addressed an impending fall of the Lombard Kingdom :—but at this bard Mopret aperial intemperate remonstrance and defiance to his heretical period, we turn to contemplate the origin and growth narchy.

Sovereign ; authorized the Romans to renounce their of the mighty Power which effected its final subversion,
obedience to the Eastern Empire; and directed their in the History of France during the preceding Ages.f
rebellion in the establishment of an independent Re-
public, of which the real administration devolved on the
Papucy. I

The rebellion and distraction of the Imperial States If we listen implicitly to its zealous genealogists, France.
promised to realize the long-cherished project of the the origin of the French Monarchy, and the regular Origin of

Lombard Monarchy for the subjugation of all Italy. lineage of its Sovereigns,f ascend to a period long the French bëtagation. While the Eastern Emperors were labouring to chastise antecedent to the Fall of the Roman Empire. But we

Monarchy. the revolt of their subjects, Luitprand was prompted may safely decline the hopeless inquiry into the forby his ambition to declare himself the champion of the holy Images. Assisted by the popular disaffection to * Paul. Diacon. lib. vi. c. 44–54. Muratori, ad ann,

+ Paulus Diaconus, De Gestis Langobardis, 11b. vi, to the end of * See Spanheim's valuable dissertation on the early History of this excellent Chronicle, and the brief fragment of its continuation the Church Territory, in the Ist volume of his works.

by another hand, (Script. Rer. Ital. vol. part. p. 183, &c.) + See Fleury's analysis (Hist, Ecclés. vol. viii.) of the Pontificate Anastasius, in vita Stephani III. (also in the same collection, vol. iii.) of Gregory the Great.

and Greek

He Its deliver

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

Muratori, Annuli d'Italia, ad A. D. 755. i Avastasius. De Vil. Pontif. Gregorius II. (in the IIId volume of $ See the various Dissertations on this subject, in the Mémoires Scriptores Rer. Ital.) Maimbourg, Hist, des Iconoclastes. Muratori, de l'Académie des Inscriptions, particularly rols. i. p. 229, xx. p. 52, A. D, 726–28, &c.

**X, p. 557.

A. D.

A. D.




A. D.

A. D.

History. tunes and even the existence of the real or imaginary narchy of France, in the Country which was henceforth France,

Pbaramond ; we may equally confess ourselves ig- to be called after their nation.* From

norant of the era, the reign, and the identity of that For nearly ten years the new reign of Clovis seems From

Meroveus from whom the first dynasty of the French not to have been extended by further conquests: but 476. Kings is supposed to have derived its name: and we his own marriage with Clotilda, a Burgundian Prin

476. can with certainty trace the authentic succession of cess, and that of his sister with Theodoric the Great, A. D.

A. D. the long-haired * Princes of the Franks no higher intermediately mark the equality of his intercourse 768.

768. than two generations before Chlodwig, Luduin, or and his power with the other Barbarian Sovereigns and

Foundation Clovis—the contemporary of Odoacer and Theodoric Kingdoms of the West. The union of the Pagan of the

the Great, and the true founder of the French Empire. King of the Franks with Clotilda, who was a Chris- Kingdom of Clovis, Ten years after the suppression of the Roman Em- tian and an orthodox Catholic, had some memorable Frauce. King of the pire in Italy, Clovis first appears in History as the consequences. In the eleventh year after the battle of Salian

youthful Sovereign of the Salian Franks: the principal Soissons, Clovis marched against a formidable host of Franks.

Tribe of their nation or confederacy, and the possessors the Alemanni, to chastise their oppression of his kin481.

at this time of a narrow district of Belgic Gaul, from dredallies, the Ripuarian † Franks. At Zulpich, near
Arras and Tournay on the Scheldt to the mouths of Cologne, he engaged a German nation as valiant and
that river and the Rhine. It was from this circum- ferocious as his own; the battle was fiercely contested;
scribed territory and remote quarter that Clovis, in the and it was not until their King had fallen that the
fifth year of his reign, and in the twentieth only of his Alemanni fled from the field of carnage. The submis-
age, began a career of conquest which gradually ex- sion and subsequent allegiance of the remnant of their
tended his dominion over the greatest part of Gaul. nation to Clovis, extended the Eastern frontiers of his
The military force of his own Tribe did not exceed a Kingdom from the Rhine to the Elbe : but another
few thousand warriors : but the numerous kindred event which shortly followed, and which is attributed to
races of the Franks were everywhere established in the the same day, had a still greater influence on the for-
surrounding territory of the old Belgica, on the banks tunes of the conqueror. In his perilous extremity
of the Meuse and Moselle, the Scheldt and the Rhine; during the battle of Zulpich, Clovis was believed to Conversion
and the martial reputation of the young Salian Chief, have successfully invoked the aid of the God of the of Clovis to
or the mere report of his enterprise, was sufficient to Christians; and by the persuasion of his Queen, he Christianity

attract a host of voluntary followers to his standard. soon after declared himself a convert to the Catholic
State of
The condition of Gaul was highly favourable to the Faith. He was solemnly baptized at Rheims with three

496. Gaul at his progress

of his arms. The Visigothic Monarchy, which thousand of his hereditary subjects; and the mass of accession.

had filled all its South-Western Provinces, and but a his Frankish followers soon imitated the example. I Divided

few years before threatened its total subjugation as far Whatever doubts may be entertained on the occasion Its imporbetween the as the Rhine and the coasts of the North, had now de. of this conversion of Clovis, of the sincerity of his belief tart cunseVisigothic, clined in vigour, and fallen under the feeble sceptre of a or the depth of his conviction, it is certain that no quences. Burgun

minor. The Burgundian Kingdom was convulsed by measure could have been more politic. The Visigoths dian, Religious dissensions. And the remains of the Roman and Burgundians, who shared the dominion of Gaul and Roman

Provinces in the East and North, which still professed with the Franks, were Arians; the native Clergy and power.

a vague allegiance to the shade of the extinguished subject people of the Country were strongly attached to
Empire, were broken, partly into an uncertain confede. the Orthodox Faith ; and after the conversion of Clovis,
ration,Ị and partly under the authority of Syagrius, a the Roman population were everywhere induced, by

Roman Patrician, reigning by the dubious title of an hatred of their heretic masters, to give their zealous Invasion Imperial Governor or an hereditary usurper. At the support to the arms of the Catholic King. Aided by His triumph and con

head of a numerous army of confederate Franks, Clo- their disaffection, Clovis obtained considerable advan. over the quest of the Roman Provis invaded the Roman Province ; encountered and tages over the Burgundian power, and reduced the Burgha

dian, vince by

totally routed Syagrius at Soissons ; and easily com- Sovereign of that Kingdom to the condition of a subClovis. pleted the subjugation of his whole government by that ject-ally. A war which he commenced against the

500. victory. From the battle of Soissons may be dated the Heretic Monarchy of the Visigoths, ider the express 486.

final extinction of the Roman Sovereignty, and the pretence of Religious zeal, was signalized by a yet more
ancient name, of Gaul; the permanent settlement of triumphant result. In one great battle near Poictiers,
the Barbarian Franks in the civilized territory which in which Alaric the Gothic King fell, by the hand as it and Visigo-
they had reduced; and the establishment of the Mo- is said of Clovis himself, the power of that nation in thic power,
Gaul was completely broken. The weakness of a mi-

In the Meroviugian race, long hair was the peculiar and in- nority, a disputed succession, and a divided and dis-
dispensable symbol of the regal dignity; and to deprive one of its spirited nation, delivered the Visigothic territories
Princes of his flowing locks was, therefore, to incapacitate him from Northward of the Pyrenees an easy prey to the Frank-
reigning. After the Franks had embraced Christianity, shaving ish conqueror. The powerful interference of Theodoric
and seclusion in a Monastery became the usual form of Royal degra- the Great, on behalf of an infant grandson and a kin-
dation ; and the Ecclesiastical tonsure was rendered, in a double
sense, a perpetual disqualification from exercising the functions of

Gregorii Turonensis, Hist. lib. i.-i. ad c. 26. The tasteless
+ It would he beyond our purpose to examine the doubtful exist- History of Gregory of Tours is the authority most nearly contemporary
ence of a Republican Union at this epoch among the cities of Armo- with-and in fact ihe only original and Jetailed Chronicle of —the reign
rica, (the modern Brittany,) which a celebrated French Antiquary of Clovis.
(Du Bos, Histoire Critique de l'Etablissement des Français dans + Ripuarii, (a ripis,) for they were dwellers on the banks of the
les Gaules) has laboured to prove, but which succeeding writers have Rhine and other Belgic rivers. The origin of the distinctive name
generally discredited. The evidence adựuced by the imaginative of the Salian Franks is more doubtful. The most probable conjecture
Abbé is, perhaps, insufficient: the fact itself is at all events unim- derives it from their settlement on the river Sala.

Greg. Turon. lib. ii. c. 27–31.

A. D.

A. D.

A. D.



From A. D. 476.

to A. D. 768.


A. D.

A. D.


A. D.

[ocr errors]

History. dred people, saved the Visigothic Monarchy of Spain; with minuteness the successive reigns and the mono

and the severe defeat which the Ostrogothic Sovereign tonous crimes of a cruel dynasty, or to paint in detail
inflicted upon the arms of Clovis in the battle of Arles, the perpetual anarchy and atrocities of a fierce and
checked their career in the South. But the great

savage people, would be an useless as well as a dis476.

Province of Aquitaine had been already torn from the gusting task; and we may be contented to dismiss
Visigothic, and annexed to the Frankish Kingdom, with a general survey the transactions of a whole cen-

from the Loire to the Pyrenees; and the remain. tury, during which the mind would in vain seek a 768.

ing possessions of the Spanish Monarchy in Gaul single circumstance whereon to dwell with complacency Aquitaine andered to were restricted by a Treaty of Peace to the narrow or interest. the Frank• maritime Province of Septimania between those moun- On the death of Clovis, his four sons made a par- Partition of ish Mouar- tains and the Rhone.

tition of his extensive dominions. Thierri, the eldest,

the Mocbs. The foreign conquests of Clovis terminated with the received the Eastern or German portion, which, stretch-narchy of Gothie war; and the consolidation of his power was in ing from the Meuse to the Elbe, with Metz for its


his 509.

a few years arrested by a natural, though premature, metropolis, came to be distinguished as the Kingdom sons. Death and caurder of

death in the vigour of his age. To the political anti- of Austrasia. The other three divisions, which de

quaries of his Country, we may resign the task of volved to Clodomir, Childebert, and Clotaire, were A. D. illustrating the obscure and uninviting subject of his termed from their Capitals respectively the Kingdoms 511. government;t nor is there any temptation to dwell on of Orleans, Paris, and Soissons; and these three States

the revolting transactions of his domestic reign. As a were also comprehended loosely under one general
conqueror, he may be shortly characterised among the designation as Neustria, or Western France. But
most able and the worst of his species. The great Aquitaine was excepted from this latter classification;
talents which he must unquestionably have possessed and, in the beginning of the VIIth century, was sepa-
were not enlightened by a single ray of benevolence : rated from the Monarchy under a subordinate Ducal
his Religion, if it was not cool calculating hypocrisy, line of the Merovingian race. Burgundy, too, though
consisted only in a gross and ferocious fanaticism; his politically annexed to one of the States of Neus-
boasted policy was distinguished but by deliberate, in- tria, appears to have been always considered, in a
exorable cruelty ; and his whole reign was defiled with Geographical sense, as forming a distinct division of
injustice and blood. His sanguinary ambition in the France. The conquest of the Burgundian Kingdom is Their con,
field, aud nis oppression of foreign rivals, appear as the most important event in the simultaneous reigns of quest of
gracefil virtues in comparison with his domestic assas- the sons of Clovis. Its strength had been shattered by Burgundy.
sinations ; and the founder of the Merovingian dynasty the arms of that Monarch ; and, about twenty years

in France did not scruple to secure the unity of his after his death, the French Princes, under the plea of
power by the cold-blooded murder of all the Princes avenging the early family wrongs which their mother
of the same Royal race who reigned over the collateral Clotilda had sustained in the murder of her parents,
Tribes of the Ripuarian and German Franks. I

attacked the reigning branch of the Burgundian dyGeneral The same character which is impressed on the nasty with overwhelming force, extirpated their race euracter

actions of Clovis is repeated more faintly in that of his with a shocking retaliation of cruelty, and completed desceodants

descendants; and the Annals of the Frankish Monarchy the subjugation of their Monarchy. of the Mero

for above a century present only a revolting uniformity The partition of the dominions of Clovis by his sons, Frightful fungiaa line. of bloodshed and cruelty. Unlike the series of the instead of satisfying the ambition of the four Princes disorders of Visigothic , the Ostrogothic, and the Lombard Kings, and cementing their fraternal union, produced only the

Monarchy. the barbarous succession of the Merovingian Sovereigns interchange among them of open enmity and frightful of the Franks is relieved by no fair examples of crimes, as often as their interests or their passions came humanity and moral virtue; nor does a single Prince into collision. But passing over their mutual perfidies, of their number deserve to be distinguished either for injustice, and violence, our attention need be arrested the benignant attributes of his government, the wis- only by the relapse of their various succession into a dom of his legislation, the encouragement of civilizing single line. The fall of Clodomir in an engagement in and peaceful Arts, or for any other quality than the the Burgundian war; the inhuman murder of his infant brute

and desolating ambition of ferocious Bar- sons by the hands of their uncles Childebert and Clobarians. The national character, indeed, of the Frank- taire; the death of Childebert without issue ; and the ish Tribes appears to no advantage beside that of most rapid extinction also of the male line of Thierri in the of the other Barbaric races ;ß nor would it be easy to third generation ; finally delivered the whole Frankish la reunion select

, from the scanty records of their political and Monarchy into the possession of Clotaire. Notwith- uader Clodomestic life which have descended to us, any trait of standing the dissensions of the brothers, its limits had taire I. benevolent conduct or generous sympathy. To trace been considerably enlarged since the death of Clovis. Thierri had annexed the German Kingdom of Thuringia

559. Greg. Turon. lib. ii. c. 31–37. The investiture of Clovis by by conquest to that of Austrasia; and during the Gothic the Eastern Emperor Anastasius, two years after the success of this

wars of Belisarius and Narses in Italy, the terror, if Gothic war, with the ideal Consuiship, (as related by Gregory, lib. ii. not the dominion, of the Austrasian arms had been 6. 38.) has been gisted by Du Bos and others with more importance spread beyond the Alps. Through those mountains than that empty pageant deserved.

This has been ably examined by the Duc de Nivernois, Mém. Theodubert, the son of Thierri, led an immense force de P Académie des Inscriptions, vol. xx. p. 147, &c.

of his Eastern Franks to attempt, though unsuccessi Greg. Turon. lib. ii. c. 37–43.

fully, the subjugation of all Italy; and under the Even in the Vilth and VIIIth centuries, the Roman, the Gothic

, minority which followed his death, the power of the and the Lombard Chronicles of Italy all represent the Franks as the Austrasian Kingdom was a second time evinced in dice in the picture : but its uniformity is also in perfect agreement that invasion of the same Country by a host of Franks with the tenour of the Frankish Annals.

and subject Alemanni, which Narses with difficulty

[ocr errors]


A. D.

A. D.

Å. D.

to A. D.


A. D.


[ocr errors]

A. D.


A. D.

History. repelled. By the acquisition of Burgundy and Thurin- by disorders and distracted by Civil wars, than that of France and

gia, and the Country of the Alemanni and Bavarians any one of his predecessors since Clovis; and under Germany. From South of the Danube, the Frankish Monarchy extended his reign the power of the Merovingian line had, per

without interruption from the Atlantic to the Elbe and haps, attained its meridian height: the Annals of the From 476. the Weser, and from the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean, next hundred years present only its decline and fall,

476. and the Alps to the Northern Ocean; and when Clo- and the rise of the second, or Carlovingian dynasty of

taire reunited its Sovereignty in his person, he was France and Germany. To Clotaire himself is gene768. Its great master of the whole of Gaul (except the small Visi- rally ascribed the error of having laid the preparation

768. extent.

gothic Province of Septimania) and of the greater por- for the ruin of his House, by the aggrandizement of the
tion of Germany.*

Mayors of the Palace. The holders of a dignity which Its second Notwithstanding the experience of its evils, a second was to acquire so extraordinary and famous a characpartition partition of the French Monarchy took place, on the ter, were originally the principal Officers of the Houseamong his

death of Clotaire I., among his four sons. The King- hold in the Merovingian Courts, next the Prime Minis

dom of Paris fell by lot to Caribert, those of Soissons ters, and, ultimately, the masters of their feeble Sove562.

and Austrasia to Chilperic and Sigebert, and Orleans reigns. To recompense the services of the Mayors of
(to which Burgundy was annexed) to Gontram. The Austrasia and Burgundy, who had assisted him in

Decline of subsequent History of the divided Empire is but a securing possession of those Kingdoms, Clotaire seems the Mero613. darker repetition of the events which followed the death to have been the first French Monarch who contirmed vingian Spectacle of of Clovis. Aunidst a host of assassinations, and in the their office for life. That which they acquired by pre- dynasty.

The Mayors universal prevalence of wickedness under every conceivable form, vious agreement or favour, their successors demanded as violence

of the two Queens of rival pretensions in beauty, address, and a right; the prerogative of their appointment strangely Palace. and wicked.

ambition, but rather demons in the form of human lapsed from the Crown; and their dignity was thenceness.

loveliness than women, were conspicuous even in their forth suffered to become partly hereditary, partly elec,

own Age for the number and enormity of their crimes. tive by the Nobles or people, like that of the original Crimes of These were Brune silda, or Brunehaut, † a Visigothic Sovereigns themselves of the Franks. The distinct Brunehaut Princess of Spain, and consort of the Austrasian power and gradual independence of the Mayors of the and Frede- Monarch Sigebert; and Fredegonde, a female ori- Palace in the three Kingdoms of Neustria, Austrasia, gonde.

ginally of low birth and infamous reputation, first the and Burgundy, prolonged the division of the Monarchy
concubine and then the wife of Chilperic, King of under even a more decided forın than the partition of
Soissons. The mutual hatred of these women, their the Royal inheritance. *
artful influence over their husbands, their iniquitous Under the vigorous administration of Clotaire II. the The pro-
interference in the administration of the Frankish King- extent of this impending usurpation was little felt : but gress of
doms, and their restless struggle for the ascendancy of the luxurious indolence and vices of his son Dagobert their usurp-

their own power, occasioned repeated Civil wars, which favoured the political ascendancy of the Mayors; and
were attended with dreadful bloodshed and signalized the minority of that Monarch's children completed the

628. by every species of cruelty and perfidy. After a num- extinction of the Royal authority, and threw the whole ber of Kings and Princes of the Merovingian family power of the State into the hands of those Officers. By had perished violently and miserably on both sides by iheir artful ambition, the education of the Princes was

697. their remorseless machinations, Fredegonde, with a studiously neglected: their youth was condemned to reduces ibe happier fate than her atrocities deserved, was suffered sluggish inaction and grovelling occupations; they Mersinto die a natural death: but Brunehaut, who survived were prevented from engaging in public affairs; and gian Kings

to insiguither with various authority over the Frankish King- both their mental and bodily faculties were purposely dedoms for fifteen years, at last met with the retribution based and enfeebled. It is useless to pursue the enuof her crimes; and failing into the hands of Clotaire II., meration of a series of titular reigns, in which the the son of her deceased rival, was put to death with Monarchs were pageants and the Mayors supreme. every aggravation of cruelty which the savage ven- The talents and energy of all, and the wise and just geance of the times could invent or inflict. I

administration of some of these vice-regal governors, The Frank- By the extinction of all the other Royal branches of are the best apology for their ambitious usurpation, ish Mo- the four Kingdoms which had been completed before the Grimoald and Ebroin, the Mayors of Austrasia and narchy death of Brunehaut, Clotaire II. remained the sole Neustria, the first of their order who very openly arroagain re

Merovingian Sovereign; and the whole power of the gated the supreme power, and whose administration united under Clotaire II.

Frankish Monarchy was again reunited under his occupies the Frankish Annals during the middle of the

sceptre. The government of Clotaire was less sullied VIIth century, both paid the penalty of their tyranny Pepin 613. * Greg. Turon. lib. iii.-iv. ad c. 21.

or ambition by violent deaths. But Pepin d'Heristal, d'Heristal, + The gallantry of some modern French Historians (particularly a subsequent Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, after Mayor, or Velly, Huxl.de France

, vol. I
, p. 195) has been amused, at the dis- totally defeating the rival viceroy of Neustria, reunited Duke, op

the whole
tance of ten centuries, in vindicating the character of Brunehaut, once more the whole Frankish Monarchy under his
while they are unanimous in branding that of her rival. Gregory of

Monarchs. Tours

, in relating the first marriage of Brunehaut, (lib. iv. c. 27.) sway; and suffering the phantom King, Thierri III., to rather praises her: but the subsequent facts of her ambition and

retain the semblance of Royalty, governed, under his 657. cruelty are too strong for her advocates; and the most that can name and by the title of Mayor or Duke, for twentyrationally be discerned in her favour is, that her life was a shade less seven years with equal vigour, splendour, and priiniquitous than that of her rival. dence.t

A. D.


A. D.


A. D.

A, D.


714. I Greg. Turon. lib. iv. c. 22. ad fin. lib. x. Fredegarii Chronicon, (in the same volume of the Benedictine Collection of French His. torians) ad c. 42. Gesta Francorum, (also in the same volume, had c.37. * The original unctions and increasing powers of the Mayors of The History of Gregory of Tours concludes before the death of Fre- the Palace may be traced in Fredegarius, Chron. c. 54. 101. 105, &c. degonde ; and neither the Chronicle of Fredegarius his continuator, Gesla Regum Francorum, c. 36. 45, &c. Dor the anonymous text of the Gesta, is at all deserving of equal † Fredegarius, c. 42. ad fin, and his continuators, ad c. 104. credit with his contemporary authority.

Gesta Francorum, c. 38–51.

A. D.

A, D.

From A.D. 4;6.

to A. D. 768.

to, A. D.

[ocr errors]

met be

A. D.


Duke of France.

A. D.


History At the elevatiun of Pepin d'Heristal, as the period the personal prowess of a hero of romance had an France and

from which the supreme power became hereditary in obvious effect in strengthening his own dominion and Germany. his family, some writers terminate the dynasty of Clovis, perpetuating the grandeur of his family. Even in the

From and date the accession of the Carlovingian race. But ignorance of the times and the imperfect intercourse of the imbecile and sluggard Kings of the Merovingian nations, the peril which had menaced all Christendom

476. line, the Rois Fainéans of the French Historians, were was too palpable and imminent to be overlooked by still for above half a century exhibited to the people as general apprehension; and the glory which the con

State puppets, and suffered by the discreet ambition of queror acquired throughout France and Europe was goverti.

768. their masters to reflect the vain image of Sovereignty. proportioned to the terror which the progress of the ames here. After the death of Pepin, his son Charles Martel, a still Saracens had everywhere excited. His name and ditary in his more illustrious personage, asserted iu arms his suc- power became equally respected and feared; and on family.

cession to the same office with consummate ability, and his death he peacefully transmitted the government of

governed the Frankish Empire, though still under only the French Empire to his three sons.* Of these, on Martel,

744. the modest title of Duke, with increased lustre and the voluntary retirement of the eldest Carloman to a power. But the most brilliant and lasting renown of Monastery, and the misconduct, deprivation, and death his memory

has been established by one great exploit, of Griffon, the youngest, Pepin, surnamed Le Bref, or Pepin le 717. of which the effects have, perhaps, to this day influenced the short, became the sole ruler of France. He proved Bref.

the Political and Religious aspect of the universe. The himself the heir to his father's genius as well as his

Saracens (whose rapid conquests and diffusion of their power; and either more stimulated by the ambition of 741. Faith in Asia and Africa will form a distinct subject joining the name to the authority of King, or finding

of narration) had in the beginning of the VIIIth cen- the circumstances of his Empire better matured for the
tury carried their arms across the Straits of Gibraltar, event, he finally resolved to assume the Regal dignity,
overthrown the Visigothic Monarchy of Spain, and from which his father had always abstained, and to
established their sway in that Peninsula. Pursuing complete by its assumption the splendid, elevation of
their ambitious and fanatical scheme of universal domi- his House.
nion and proselytism by the sword, their leaders, dur- The state of Italy proved highly propitious to the His assump
ing the administration of Charles Martel, passed the designs of Pepin ; and the support of the Church tion of the

Pyrenees with an immense_Mohammedan host, and enabled him to strengthen his title to the Frankish
penetrated into the heart of France before the Christian Throne in the eyes of a superstitious Age by the sanc-
hero could assemble the forces of that Empire to oppose tion of Religion. In the pressing danger which threat-
them. In a memorable battle between Tours and ened their independence from the Lombard arms, the
Poitiers, Charles Martel, with a boldness which was sagacity of the Popes had early discovered the policy
only justified by the result, staked the fate

of Christen- of appealing for mediation and protection to the powerdom upon the issue of a single contest. The Moham- ful rulers of France. Even during the government of rable deleat

medans suffered a tremendous defeat, with a slaughter Charles Martel, Gregory III. had addressed a flatterof the Sa which the Monkish Chroniclers have exaggerated to ing overture to that hero to prove himself' a faithful son

the incredible amount of three hundred thousand of of the Church by the defence of the Holy See against

their number.* The remains of their host evacuated its Lombard oppressors; and though Charles did not 732. France with precipitation; the memory of their ter- feel disposed to embrace the Papal cause in arms, the

rible reverse secured the Frankish Empire against any dread of his power, or the influence of his great charac-
serious repetition of invasion from the Saracens of ter, gave almost equal effect to the peaceable exercise of
Spain; and a few years later the Franks tore from the his good offices. Luitprand, who then filled the Lom-
Infidels the Province of Septimania, (of which they had bard Throne, was induced by his remonstrances to with-
possessed themselves with the rest of the Visigothic draw his troops from before Rome, and to restore the
Monarchy) and finally drove them back within the lands which he had seized from the Church. The ser-

vice which Charles thus rendered to the Roman See,
Such were the immediate fruits of the Frankish vic- led to a close intercourse between the Papacy and the
tory: its general consequences to the world can be French Court, and laid the foundation for the Imperial
estimated only on the presumption that a contrary title of his descendants. His son improved the advan-
result might have plunged the European mind in bond- tage by cultivating the friendship, not only of succes-
age to a false Religion, and subjected the nations of sive Popes, but also of the Clergy of the French States,
the West to the debasing influence of an Oriental with whom Charles had lived on indifferent terms.
despotism. But the vain and narrow calculations of The pious, or prudent, liberality of Pepin to the Church,
political sagacity are ever mocked by the intervention and his attention to the Ecclesiastical Order, secured
of a Superior Power. The destinies of Mankind and their devoted attachment; and fortified by their sup-
the doctrines of eternal Truth are placed beyond the port, he proposed a formal and solemn reference to the
event of battles, or the blind chances of Historical spe- reigning Pope Zachary on a case of conscience:
culation ; vor is it for human judgment to discern the Whether considering the incapacity of the Merovingian,
causes and the means which are shaped to further the and the merits of his own family in the administration
inscrutable designs of Infinite Wisdom.

of the French Empire, it were not expedient that he, The victory of Charles,—whose quaint surname of who already exercised the duties, should assume the Martel, or “the Hammer," is derived from the iron name of King? The part of Zachary in this strange weapon which he wielded on the day of Poitiers with but momentous farce had already been prepared ; and

His memo

A. D.

Paulus Diaconus, (De Gestis Langob.) lib. vi. c. 46. Anastasius in vitâ Gregorii III. &c.

* The principal and almost the only authority for the life and actions of Charles Martel, is the continuation of Fredegarius, c. 104_110.



« ElőzőTovább »