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William required Harold to swear that he would support with all his might William's succession to the crown of England, so soon as a vacancy should be created by the death of Edward. Harold's life was in the duke's power, and he consented to take the oath, secretly resolving to violate its obligations. But an artifice was employed, which, in that superstitious age, was supposed to give the oath such sanctity as to render its violation an inexpiable crime. By the duke's orders, a chest was secretly conveyed into the place of meeting, filled with the bones and relics of the saints most honored in the surrounding country, and covered with a cloth of gold. A missal was laid upon the cloth, and at William's summons Harold came forward and took the required oath, the whole assembly joining in the imprecation, “So help you God, at his holy doom.” When the ceremony was concluded, the cloth of gold was removed, and Harold shuddered with superstitious horror when he found that his oath had been taken on the relics of saints and martyrs.
On Edward's death, Harold, notwithstanding his oath, allowed himself to be elected king by the English nobles and people; but the papal clergy refused to recognise his title, the pope issued a bull excommunicating Harold and his adherents, which he sent to Duke William, accompanied by a consecrated banner, and a ring, said to have contained one of St. Peter's hairs, set under a valuable diamond. Thus supported by the superstitious feelings of the period, William found no difficulty in levying a numerous army, with which he passed over into England. The fate of the kingdom was decided by the battle of Hastings, in which Harold and his bravest soldiers fell. William found little difficulty in completing the conquest of England, into which he introduced the inheritance of fiefs, and the severities of the feudal law. He deprived the native English nobles of their estates, which he shared among his own needy and rapacious followers, and he treated his new subjects with more than the cruelty that barbarous conquerors usually display toward the vanquished.
Ābout the same time, some Norman adventurers laid the foundation of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, in southern Europe. The provinces that compose it were shared among the Lombard feudatories of the empire, the Greeks, and the Saracens, who harassed each other with mutual wars. About a hundred Normans landing on the coast (A. D. 1016), offered their services to the Lombard princes, and displayed so much valor, that they obtained from the duke of Naples a grant of territory, where they built the city of Aversa. Encouraged by their success, Tancred, with another body of Norman adventurers, undertook the conquest of Apulia, which was completed by his son, Robert Guiscard. This warrior subdued Calabria also, and took the title of duke of both provinces. To secure his possessions, he entered into alliance with the pope, securing to the pontiff homage, and an annual tribute, on condition of receiving investiture. Nicholas II., who then filled the chair of St. Peter, willingly ratified a treaty by which the papacy gained important advantages, at the price of an empty title ; he stimulated Guiscard to undertake the conquest of Sicily also, an enterprise in which that adventurer completely succeeded. Thus, at the moment that the papacy was about to struggle for power with the em pire, the former had been strengthened by the accession of powerful allies and vassals, while the latter had given away the greater part of its strength by the alienation of its domains, to gratify the church, or to win the favor of feudatories whose influence was already formidable.
SECTION IV.-State of the East from the Establishment to the Overthrow of
The history of the Byzantine empire, in the ninth, tenth, and eleva enth centuries, is little better than a tissue of usurpation, fanaticism, and perfidy. “Externally surrounded by foes, superior in numbers, in discipline, and in valor, it seemed as if is safety was guarantied by cowardice, and its security confirmed by defeat. Internally were at work all the causes that usually effect the destruction of states: dishonor and profligacy triumphant in the palace ; ferocious bigotry, based at once on enthusiasm and hypocrisy, ruling the church ; civil dissensions, equally senseless and bloody, distracting the state ; complete demoralization pervading every rank, from the court to the cottage ; so that its existence seemed owing to the antagonising effect of the causes that singly produce the ruin of empires." In the tenth century these causes seemed to have reached their consummation; emperor after emperor perished by poison, or the dagger of the assassin ; parricide and fratricide were crimes of such ordinary occurrence, that they ceased to excite feelings of horror or disgust. Theological disputes, about questions that pass the limits of human knowledge, and a jealous rivalry between the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome, produced a division between the eastern and western churches, which the disputes respecting the Bulgarians aggravated into a formal schism. These barbarians were converted to Christianity by Greek and Latin missionaries; the patriarch and the pope contended for the patronage of the new ecclesiastical establishments; the Greeks prevailed in the contest, and forthwith banished their Latin adversaries, while the court of Rome took revenge by describing the Greeks as worse than the worst of the heathen. A briet display of vigor by Nicephorus, Phocus, and John Zimisces, arrested the progress of the Saracens, who were forming permanent establishments within sight of Constantinople. But Zimisces was poisoned at the very moment when his piety, courage, and moderation, had averted impending ruin, and promised to restore some portion of the empire's former strength and former glory. His feeble successors swayed the sceptre with unsteady hands, at a time when the empire was attacked by the fiercest enemies it had yet encountered, the Normans in Sicily, and the Seljukian Turks in Asia Minor.
The names Turk and Tartar are loosely given to the inhabitants of those regions which ancient authors included under the designation of Scythia. Their uncivilized tribes possessed the countries north of the Caucasus and east of the Caspian, from the river Oxus to the wall of China: hordes issuing from these wide plains had frequently devastated the empire of Persia, and more than once placed a new race of sovereigns on the throne. It was not, however, until the eighth century that they were themselves invaded in turn; the Saracens, in the first burst of their enthusiasm, passed the Oxus, subdued Kharasm and Transoxiana, and imposed the religion and law of Mohammed on a race of warriors more fiery and zealous than themselves. Soon after the es tablishment of the khaliphate at Bagdad, the Saracenic empire began to be dismembered, as we have already stated, and the khaliphs, alarmed by the revolt of their armies, and surrounded only by subjects devoted to the arts of peace, began to intrust the guard of their persons and their capital to foreign mercenaries. Al Moutassem was the first who levied a Turkish army to protect his states (A. D. 833); and even during his reign, much inconvenience was felt from the pride and insolence of soldiers unconnected with the soil they were employed to defend. The evil went on daily increasing, until thé emirs, or Turkish commanders, usurped all the real authority of the state, leaving to the khaliphs the outward show and gewgaws of sovereignty, with empty titles, whose pomp was increased as the authority they pretended to represent was diminished. The revolution was completed in the reign of Al Khadi (A. D. 936); hoping to arrest the progress of the revolution, he created a new minister, called the Emir-al-Omra,* to whom far greater powers were given than had been intrusted to the ancient viziers. This, as might have been expected, aggravated the evil it was designed to pre
The family of the Bowides, so called from their ancestor Buyah, usurped this high office and the sovereignty of Bagdad ; the khaliph was deprived of all temporal authority, and was regarded simply as the chief Imán, or pontiff of the Mohammedan faith.
Such was the state of the khaliphate, when a new horde from the interi of Turkestán appeared to change the entire face of Asia. This horde, deriving its name from Seljúk, one of its most renowned chiefs, was invited to cross the Oxus by the Ghaznevidt sultans, who had already established a powerful kingdom in the east of Persia, and subdued the north of Hindostan. The Seljukians finding the pasturages of Khorassan far superior to those of their native country, invited new colonies to the fertile land; they soon became so powerful that 'Togrul Beg proclaimed himself a sultan, and seized several of the best provinces belonging to the khaliphate. Finally, having taken Bagdad, he became master of the khaliph's person (A. D. 1055) and succeeded to the power which had formerly been possessed by the Bowides. Togrul transmitted his authority to his nephew and heir, the formidable Alp Arslan.g This prince renewed the war against the Greek empire, obtained a signal victory over its forces in Armenia, and took the emperor,
* “ Lord of the lords,” or “ Commander of the commanders.”
† The Ghaznevid dynasty was founded by Sebektagen, who is said to have been originally a slave (A. D. 977). But his fame is eclipsed by that of his son Mahmúd, whose conquests in northern India rival those of a hero of romance. His desire of conquest was rendered more terrible to those he attacked by his cruel bigotry, for in every country that he subdued, the horrors of war were increased by those of religious persecution. At his death, the empire of Ghizni included a great part of Persia, Afghanistan, and northern India, to the provinces of Bengal and the Deccan. But the rise of this great dynasty was not more rapid than its downfall, which we may date from the death of that monarch, to whom it owes all its lustre in the page of history (A. D. 1028). Little more than a century after Mohammed's death, the last of the Ghaznevids was deposed by Mohammed Gourí, the founder of a new dynasty, equally transitory as that which it displaced.
| The title of sultan, which in the Chaldaic and Arabic languages signifies a vereign, was first assumed by the Ghaznevid princes.
$ His name signifies the Conquering Lion.
Romanus Diogenes, prisoner (A. D. 1070). The distractions produced by this event in the Byzantine dominions, enabled the Turks not only to expel the Greeks from Syria, but also to seize some of the finest provinces in Asia Minor.
Under Malek Shah, the son and successor of Alp Arslan, the Seljukian monarchy touched the summit of its greatness. This wise prince extended his dominions from the Mediterranean to the wall of China. Guided by the wise counsels of the vizier, Nezam-al-Mulk, the sultan ruled this mighty empire with great justice and moderation, Asia enjoyed tranquillity, to which it had been long unaccustomed, and learning and civilization began to revive.
In the midst of this prosperity, a circumstance occurred, which, though little noticed at the time, became the source of unparalleled misfortunes to the east. This was the seizure of the mountain-castle of Alamút, and the foundation of the order of the Assassins, by Hassan Sabah. This formidable enthusiast had become a convert to the Ismaëlian doctrines, in which the creed of Islam was mingled with the darker air more gloomy superstitions of Asiatic paganism. His followers, persuaded that obedience to the commands of their chief would ensure their eternal felicity, never hesitated to encounter any danger in order to remove his enemies. Emissaries from the formidable Sheikh al Jebal* went in disguise to palaces and private houses, watching the favorable opportunity of striking the blow, to those who had provoked the hostility of their grand master. So dreadful was this scourge that oriental historians, during a long period of their annals, terminate their account of each year with a list of the men of note who had fallen victims during its course to the daggers of the assassins. After the death of Malek Shah (A. D. 1092), disputes arose between his sons, which led to sanguinary civil wars, and the dismemberment of the empire. Three powerful sultanies were formed from its fragments, namely, Iran, Kerman, and Rúm, or Iconium. That of Iran was the most powerful, for it possessed the rich provinces of Upper Asia, but its greatness soon declined. The emirs, or governors of cities and provinces, threw off cheir allegiance, and under the modest title of Atta-begs,t exercised sovereign authority. The Seljukians of Rúm, known to the crusaders as the Sultans of Nice, or Iconium, I were first raised into notice by Soleiman. Their history is important only from its connexion with that of the crusades. These divisions were the cause of the success which attended the early wars of the Christians in Palestine, and of the qualified independence of the late khaliphs, who shook off the Seljúkian yoke, and established themselves in the sovereignty of Irak Arabi, or the province of Bagdad.
* “ Lord of the Mountain ;" from the equivocal sense of the Arabic word Sheikh, the name is commonly translated - Old Man of the Mountain."
† Atta-beg is a Turkish word, and signifies “father or guardian of the prince.”
I Cogni, or Iconium, is a city of Lycaonia, which these sultans made their capital, after Nice had been taken by the crusaders.
GROWTH OF THE PAPAL POWER.
SECTION I.-The Origin of the Papacy.
THERE is nothing more remarkable in the clerical organization of Christianity at its first institution, than its adaptation to all times and al circumstances. Without entering into any controverted question, we may generally state, that in the infant church provision was made for self-government on the one hand, and general superintendence on the other; and that, before the gospel was preached beyond the bounds of Judæa, the two great principles of the independence of national churches, and the authority of a council to ensure the unity of the faith, were fully recognised. Infidels have endeavored to trace the form of church government to Constantine, though the slightest glance at the history of the preceding age suffices to prove that the ecclesiastical constitution was, long before that emperor's accession, perfected in all its parts. The management belonged to the local priesthood, the government to the bishops, the superintendence of all to the council. This is the general outline of the apostolic model, and we may see in it one mark, at least, of a more than human origin, its capability of unlimited expansion.
The best institutions are open to abuse, and the Christian clergy were exposed to two different lines of temptation, both, however, tending to the same point, acquisition of power. The emperors of Constantinople endeavored to make the clergy their instruments in establishing a perfect despotism, while the people looked upon their spiritual guides as their natural protectors against the oppressions of their temporal rulers. Under these circumstances, episcopacy formed a new power in the empire, a power continually extending, because it was soon obvious that a common faith was the only bond which would hold together nations differing in language, institutions, and blood. But this political use of Christianity naturally suggested a gross and dangerous perversion of its first principles ; when unity of faith appeared to be of such great value, it was natural that toleration should be refused to any great difference of opinion, and consequently, persecuting edicts were issued against paganism and heresy. This false step led to a still more dangerous confusion between spiritual and temporal power ; when ecclesiastical censures produced civil consequences, the priest was identified with the magistrate, and every hour it became more difficult to separate their functions. In the decline of the empire also, the