Part 11 out of 15

over the Great Wall [5] and into the fertile plains of China. All the
northern half of the country was quickly overrun. Then Jenghiz turned
westward and invaded Turkestan and Persia. Seven centuries have not
sufficed to repair the damage which the Mongols wrought in this once-
prosperous land. The great cities of Bokhara, Samarkand, Merv, and Herat,
[6] long centers of Moslem culture, were pillaged and burned, and their
inhabitants were put to the sword. Like the Huns the Mongols seemed a
scourge sent by God. Still further conquests enlarged the empire, which at
the death of Jenghiz in 1227 A.D. stretched from the Dnieper River to the
China Sea.


The Mongol dominions in the thirteenth century were increased by the
addition of Korea, southern China, and Mesopotamia, as well as the greater
part of Asia Minor and Russia. Japan, indeed, repulsed the Mongol hordes,
but at the other extremity of Asia they captured Bagdad, sacked the city,
and brought the caliphate to an end. [7] The Mongol realm was very loosely
organized, however, and during the fourteenth century it fell apart into a
number of independent states, or khanates.

[Illustration: Map, THE MONGOL EMPIRE]


It was reserved for another renowned Oriental monarch, Timur the Lame, [8]
to restore the empire of Jenghiz Khan. His biographers traced his descent
from that famous Mongol, but Timur was a Turk and an adherent of Islam. He
has come down to us as perhaps the most terrible personification in
history of the evil spirit of conquest. Such distant regions as India,
Syria, Armenia, Asia Minor, and Russia were traversed by Timur's soldiers,
who left behind them only the smoking ruins of a thousand cities and
abominable trophies in the shape of columns or pyramids of human heads.
Timur died in his seventieth year, while leading his troops against China,
and the extensive empire which he had built up in Asia soon crumbled to

Samarkand in Russian Central Asia became Timur's capital in 1369 AD. The
city was once a center of Mohammedan wealth and culture, famous for its
beautiful mosques, palaces, and colleges. The Gur-Amir, or tomb of Timur,
consists of a chapel, crowned by a dome and enclosed by a wall. Time and
earthquakes have greatly injured this fine building. The remains of Timur
lie here under a huge block of jade.]



The Mongols ruled over China for about one hundred and fifty years. During
this period they became thoroughly imbued with Chinese culture. "China,"
said an old writer, "is a sea that salts all the rivers flowing into it."
The most eminent of the Mongol emperors was Jenghiz Khan's grandson,
Kublai (1259-1294 A.D.). He built a new capital, which in medieval times
was known as Cambaluc and is now called Peking. While Kublai was on the
throne, the Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, [9] visited China, and he
describes in glowing colors the virtues and glories of the "Great Khan."
There appears to have been considerable trade between Europe and China at
this time, and Franciscan missionaries and papal legates penetrated to the
remote East. After the downfall of the Mongol dynasty in 1368 A.D. China
again shut her doors to foreign peoples. All intercourse with Europe
ceased until the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. [10]


Northern India, which in earlier ages had witnessed the coming of Persian,
Macedonian, and Arabian conquerors, did not escape visitations by fresh
Asiatic hordes. Timur the Lame, at the head of an innumerable host, rushed
down upon the banks of the Indus and the Ganges and sacked Delhi, making
there a full display of his unrivaled ferocity. Timur's invasion left no
permanent impress on the history of India, but its memory fired the
imagination of another Turkish chieftain, Baber, a remote descendant of
Timur. In 1525 A.D. he invaded India and speedily made himself master of
the northern part of the country.


The empire which Baber established in India is known as that of the
Moguls, an Arabic form of the word Mongol. The Moguls, however, were
Turkish in blood and Mohammedans in religion. The Mogul emperors reigned
in great splendor from their capitals at Delhi and Agra, until the decline
of their power in the eighteenth century opened the way for the British
conquest of India.



The location of Russia [11] on the border of Asia exposed that country to
the full force of the Mongol attack. Jenghiz Khan's successors, entering
Europe north of the Caspian, swept resistlessly over the Russian plain.
Moscow and Kiev fell in quick succession, and before long the greater part
of Russia was in the hands of the Mongols. Wholesale massacres marked
their progress. "No eye remained open to weep for the dead."

[Illustration: THE TAJ MAHAL, AGRA
Erected by the Mogul emperor, Shah Jehan, as a tomb for his favorite wife,
Muntaz Mahal. It was begun in 1632 A.D. and was completed in twenty-two
years. The material is pure white marble, inlaid with jasper, agate and
other precious stones. The building rests on a marble terrace, at each
corner of which rises a tall graceful minaret. The extreme delicacy of the
Taj Mahal and the richness of its ornamentation make it a masterpiece of


Still the invaders pressed on. They devastated Hungary, driving the Magyar
king in panic flight from his realm. They overran Poland. At a great
battle in Silesia they destroyed the knighthood of Germany and filled nine
sacks with the right ears of slaughtered enemies. The European peoples,
taken completely by surprise, could offer no effective resistance to these
Asiatics, who combined superiority in numbers with surpassing generalship.
Since the Arab attack in the eighth century Christendom had never been in
graver peril. But the wave of Mongol invasion, which threatened to engulf
Europe in barbarism, receded as quickly as it came. The Mongols soon
abandoned Poland and Hungary and retired to their possessions in Russia.



The ruler of the "Golden Horde," as the western section of the Mongol
Empire was called, continued to be the lord of Russia for about two
hundred and fifty years. Russia, throughout this period, was little more
than a dependency of Asia. The conquered people were obliged to pay a
heavy tribute and to furnish soldiers for the Mongol armies. Their
princes, also, became vassals of the Great Khan.


The Mongols, or "Tartars" [12] are usually said to have Orientalized
Russia. It seems clear, however, that they did not interfere with the
language, religion, and laws of their subjects. The chief result of the
Mongol supremacy was to cut off Russia from western Europe, just at the
time when England, France, Germany, and Italy were emerging from the
darkness of the early Middle Ages.


The invasion of the Mongols proved to be, indirectly, the making of the
Russian state. Before they came the country was a patchwork of rival, and
often warring, principalities. The need of union against the common enemy
welded them together. The principality of Muscovy, so named from the
capital city of Moscow, conquered its neighbors, annexed the important
city of Novgorod, whose vast possessions stretched from Lapland to the
Urals, and finally became powerful enough to shake off the Mongol yoke.


The final deliverance of Russia from the Mongols was accomplished by Ivan
III, surnamed the Great. This ruler is also regarded as the founder of
Russian autocracy, that is, of a personal, absolute, and arbitrary
government. With a view to strengthening his claim to be the political
heir of the eastern emperors, Ivan married a niece of the last ruler at
Constantinople, who in 1453 A.D. had fallen in the defense of his capital
against the Ottoman Turks. Henceforth the Russian ruler described himself
as "the new Tsar [13] Constantine in the new city of Constantine, Moscow."



The first appearance of the Ottoman Turks in history dates from 1227 A.D.,
the year of Jenghiz Khan's death. In that year a small Turkish horde,
driven westward from their central Asian homes by the Mongol advance,
settled in Asia Minor. There they enjoyed the protection of their kinsmen,
the Seljuk Turks, and from them accepted Islam. As the Seljuk power
declined, that of the Ottomans rose in its stead. About 1300 A.D. their
chieftain, Othman, [14] declared his independence and became the founder
of the Ottoman Empire.


The growth of the Ottoman power was almost as rapid as that of the Arabs
or of the Mongols. During the first half of the fourteenth century they
firmly established themselves in northwestern Asia Minor, along the
beautiful shores washed by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmora, and the
Dardanelles. The second half of the same century found them in Europe,
wresting province after province from the feeble hands of the eastern
emperors. First came the seizure of Gallipoli on the Dardanelles, which
long remained the principal Turkish naval station. Then followed the
capture of Adrianople, where in earlier centuries the Visigoths had
destroyed a Roman army. [15] By 1400 A.D. all that remained of the Roman
Empire in the East was Constantinople and a small district in the vicinity
of that city.


The Turks owed much of their success to the famous body of troops known as
Janizaries. [16] These were recruited for the most part from Christian
children surrendered by their parents as tribute. The Janizaries received
an education in the Moslem faith and careful instruction in the use of
arms. Their discipline and fanatic zeal made them irresistible on the
field of battle.

[Illustration: MOHAMMED II
A medal showing the strong face of the conqueror of Constantinople]


Constantinople had never recovered from the blow inflicted upon it by the
freebooters of the Fourth Crusade. [17] It was isolated from western
Europe by the advance of the Turks. Frantic appeals for help brought only
a few ships and men from Genoa and Venice. When in 1453 A.D. the sultan
Mohammed II, commanding a large army amply supplied with artillery,
appeared before the walls, all men knew that Constantinople was doomed.


The defense of the city forms one of the most stirring episodes in
history. The Christians, not more than eight thousand in number, were a
mere handful compared to the Ottoman hordes. Yet they held out for nearly
two months against every assault. When at length the end drew near, the
Roman emperor, Constantine Palaeologus, a hero worthy of the name he bore,
went with his followers at midnight to Sancta Sophia and there in that
solemn fane received a last communion. Before sunrise on the following day
the Turks were within the walls. The emperor, refusing to survive the city
which he could not save, fell in the onrush of the Janizaries.
Constantinople endured a sack of three days, during which many works of
art, previously spared by the crusaders, were destroyed. Mohammed II then
made a triumphal entry into the city and in Sancta Sophia, now stripped of
its crosses, images, and other Christian emblems, proclaimed the faith of
the prophet. And so the "Turkish night," as Slavic poets named it,
descended on this ancient home of civilization.


The capture of Constantinople is rightly regarded as an epoch-making
event. It meant the end, once for all, of the empire which had served so
long as the rearguard of Christian civilization, as the bulwark of the
West against the East. Europe stood aghast at a calamity which she had
done so little to prevent. The Christian powers of the West have been
paying dearly, even to our own time, for their failure to save New Rome
from infidel hands.



Turkey was now a European state. After the occupation of Constantinople
the Ottoman territories continued to expand, and at the death of Mohammed
II they included what are now Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, Albania, and
Greece. Of all the Balkan states only tiny Montenegro, protected by
mountain ramparts, preserved its independence.


The Turks form a small minority among the inhabitants of the Balkans. At
the present time there are said to be less than one million Turks in
southeastern Europe. Even about Constantinople the Greeks far outnumber
them. The Turks from the outset have been, not a nation in the proper
sense of the word, but rather an army of occupation, holding down by force
their far more numerous Christian subjects.


The people who thus acquired dominion over all southeastern Europe had
become, even at the middle of the fifteenth century, greatly mixed in
blood. Their ancestors were natives of central Asia, but in Europe they
intermarried freely with their Christian captives and with converts from
Christianity to Islam. So far has this admixture proceeded that the modern
Turks are almost entirely European in physique.



The Bulgarians, who came out of Asia to devastate Europe, at length turned
Christian, adopted a Slavic speech, and entered the family of European
nations. The Magyars, who followed them, also made their way into the
fellowship of Christendom. Quite the opposite has been the case with the
Turks. Preserving their Asiatic language and Moslem faith, they have
remained in southeastern Europe, not a transitory scourge, but an abiding
oppressor of Christian lands. Every century since 1453 A.D. has widened
the gulf between them and their subjects.


The isolation of the Turks has prevented them from assimilating the higher
culture of the peoples whom they conquered. They have never created
anything in science, art, literature, commerce, or industry. Conquest has
been the Turks' one business in the world, and when they ceased conquering
their decline set in. But it was not till the end of the seventeenth
century that the Turkish Empire entered on that downward road which is now
fast leading to its extinction as a European power.


1. Locate these cities: Bokhara; Samarkand; Merv; Herat; Bagdad; Peking;
Delhi; Kiev; Moscow; and Adrianople.

2. Who were Baber, Kublai Khan, Othman, Mohammed II, Constantine
Palaeologus, and Ivan the Great?

3. Why should the steppes of central and northern Asia have been a nursery
of warlike peoples?

4. What parts of Asia were not included in the Mongol Empire at its
greatest extent?

5. Trace on the map on page 486 the further expansion of the Mongol Empire
after the death of Jenghiz Khan.

6. "Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tartar." What does this mean?

7. Why did the Mongol conquest of Russia tend to strengthen the sentiment
of nationality in the Russian people?

8. How did the tsars come to regard themselves as the successors of the
Eastern emperors?

9. Compare the Janizaries with the Christian military-religious orders.

10. How was "the victory of the Crescent secured by the children of the

11. Why were the invasions of the Mongols and Ottoman Turks more
destructive to civilization than those of the Germans, the Arabs, and the

12. Enumerate the more important services of the Roman Empire in the East
to civilization.

13. On an outline map indicate the extent of the Ottoman Empire in 1453


[1] See pages 241, 247, 314, 316, 334.

[2] Mongolia has long been a part of the Chinese Empire, but in 1912 A.D.,
when China because a republic, Mongolia declared its independence.

[3] Herodotus, iv, 46.

[4] "The Very Mighty King."

[5] See page 20.

[6] For the location of these cities see the map on page 486.

[7] See page 381.

[8] Commonly known as Tamerlane.

[9] See page 616.

[10] See page 622.

[11] For the early history of Russia see page 400.

[12] The name Tartar (more correctly, Tatar) was originally applied to
both Mongol and Turkish tribes that entered Russia. There are still over
three millions of these "Tartars" in the Russian Empire.

[13] The title Tsar, or Czar, is supposed to be a contraction of the word

[14] Whence the name Ottoman applied to this branch of the Turks.

[15] See page 242.

[16] A name derived from the Turkish _yeni cheri_, "new troops."

[17] See page 478.





The map of western Europe, that is, of Europe west of the great Russian
plain and the Balkan peninsula, shows this part of the continent at
present divided into no less than thirteen separate and independent
nations. Most of them arose during the latter part of the Middle Ages.
They have existed so long that we now think of the national state as the
highest type of human association, forgetting that it has been preceded by
other forms of political organization, such as the Greek republic, the
Roman Empire, and the feudal state, and that it may be followed some day
by an international or universal state composed of all civilized peoples.


These national states were the successors of feudalism. The establishment
of the feudal system in any country meant, as has been seen, its division
into numerous small communities, each with a law court, treasury, and
army. This system of local government helped to keep order in an age of
confusion, but it did not meet the needs of a progressive society. In most
parts of Europe the feudal states gradually gave way to centralized
governments ruled by despotic kings.


A feudal king was often little more than a figurehead, equaled, or perhaps
surpassed, in power by some of his own vassals. But in England, France,
Spain, and other countries a series of astute and energetic sovereigns
were able to strengthen their authority at the expense of the nobles. They
formed permanent armies by insisting that all military service should be
rendered to themselves and not to the feudal lords. They got into their
own hands the administration of justice. They developed a revenue system,
with the taxes collected by royal officers and deposited in the royal
treasury. The kings thus succeeded in creating in each country one power
which all the inhabitants feared, respected, and obeyed.


A national state in modern times is keenly conscious of its separate
existence. All its people usually speak the same language and have for
their "fatherland" the warmest feelings of patriotic devotion. In the
Middle Ages, however, patriotism was commonly confounded with loyalty to
the sovereign, while the differences between nations were obscured by the
existence of an international Church and by the use of Latin as the common
language of all cultivated persons. The sentiment of nationality arose
earlier in England than on the Continent, partly owing to the insular
position of that country, but nowhere did it become a very strong
influence before the end of the fifteenth century.



The Normans were the last invaders of England. Since 1066 A.D. the English
Channel, not more than twenty-one miles wide between Dover and Calais, has
formed a watery barrier against Continental domination. The English
people, for eight and a half centuries, have been free to develop their
ideals, customs, and methods of government in their own way. We shall now
learn how they established a strong monarchy and at the same time laid
deep and firm the foundations of constitutional liberty.


William the Conqueror had won England by force of arms. He ruled it as a
despot. Those who resisted him he treated as rebels, confiscating their
land and giving it to Norman followers. To prevent uprisings he built a
castle in every important town and garrisoned it with his own soldiers.
The Tower of London still stands as an impressive memorial of the days of
the Conquest. But William did not rely on force alone. He sought with
success to attach the English to himself by retaining most of their old
customs and by giving them an enlightened administration of the law. "Good
peace he made in this land," said the old Anglo-Saxon chronicler, "so that
a man might travel over the kingdom with his bosom full of gold without
molestation, and no man durst kill another, however great the injury he
might have received from him."


The feudal system on the Continent permitted a powerful noble to gather
his vassals and make war on the king, whenever he chose to do so. William
had been familiar with this evil side of feudalism, both in France and in
his own duchy of Normandy, and he determined to prevent its introduction
into England. William established the principle that a vassal owed his
first duty to the king and not to his immediate lord. If a noble rebelled
and his men followed him, they were to be treated as traitors. Rebellion
proved to be an especially difficult matter in England, since the estates
which a great lord possessed were not all in any one place but were
scattered about the kingdom. A noble who planned to revolt could be put
down before he was able to collect his retainers from the most distant
parts of the country.

[Illustration: THE "WHITE TOWER"
Forms part of the Tower of London. Built by William the Conqueror]


The extent of William's authority is illustrated by the survey which he
caused to have made of the taxable property of the kingdom. Royal
commissioners went throughout the length and breadth of England to find
out how much farm land there was in every county, how many landowners
there were, and what each man possessed, to the last ox or cow or pig. The
reports were set down in the famous Domesday Book, perhaps so called
because one could no more appeal from it than from the Last Judgment. A
similar census of population and property had never before been taken in
the Middle Ages.

Beginning of the entry for Oxford. The handwriting is the beautiful
Carolingian minuscule which the Norman Conquest introduced into England.
The two volumes of this compilation and the chest in which they were
formerly preserved may be seen in the Public Record Office, London.]


Almost at the close of his reign William is said to have summoned all the
landowning men in England to a great meeting on Salisbury Plain. They
assembled there to the number, as it is reported, of sixty thousand and
promised "that they would be faithful to him against all other men." The
Salisbury Oath was a national act of homage and allegiance to the king.


Henry II, who ascended the English throne in 1154 A.D., was a grandson of
William the Conqueror and the first of the famous Plantagenet [2] family,
Henry spent more than half of his reign abroad, looking after his
extensive possessions in France but this fact did not prevent him from
giving England good government. Three things in which all Englishmen take
special pride--the courts, the jury system, and the Common law--began to
take shape during Henry's reign.


Henry, first of all, developed the royal court of justice. This had been,
at first, simply the court of the king's chief vassals, corresponding to
the local feudal courts. [3] Henry transformed it from an occasional
assembly of warlike nobles into a regular body of trained lawyers, and at
the same time opened its doors to all except serfs. In the king's court
any freeman could find a justice that was cheaper and speedier than that
dispensed by the feudal lords. The higher courts of England have sprung
from this institution.


Henry also took measures to bring the king's justice directly to the
people. He sent members of the royal court on circuit throughout the
kingdom. At least once a year a judge was to hold an assembly in each
county and try such cases as were brought before him. This system of
circuit judges helped to make the law uniform in all parts of England.


The king's court owed much of its popularity to the fact that it employed
a better form of trying cases than the old ordeal, oath-swearing, or
judicial duel. Henry introduced a method of jury trial which had long been
in use in Normandy. When a case came before the king's judges on circuit,
they were to select twelve knights, usually neighbors of the parties
engaged in the dispute, to make an investigation and give a "verdict" [4]
as to which side was in the right. These selected men bore the name of
"jurors," [5] because they swore to tell the truth. In Henry's time this
method of securing justice applied only to civil cases, that is, to cases
affecting land and other forms of property, but later it was extended to
persons charged with criminal offenses. Thus arose the "petty jury," an
institution which nearly all European peoples have borrowed from England.

[Illustration: WINDSOR CASTLE
The town of Windsor lies on the west bank of the Thames about twenty-one
miles from London. Its famous castle has been the chief residence of
English sovereigns from the time of William the Conqueror. The massive
round tower which forms the most conspicuous feature of the castle was
built by Henry III about 1272 A.D. but Edward III wholly reconstructed it
about 1344 A.D. The state apartments of the castle include the throne
room, a guard room with medieval armor a reception room adorned with
tapestries picture galleries and the royal library.]


Another of Henry's innovations developed into the "grand jury." Before his
time many offenders went unpunished, especially if they were so powerful
that no private individual dared accuse them. Henry provided that when the
king's justices came to a county court a number of selected men should be
put upon their oath and required to give the names of any persons whom
they knew or believed to be guilty of crimes. Such persons were then to be
arrested and tried. This "grand jury," as it came to be called, thus had
the public duty of making accusations, whether its members felt any
personal interest in the matter or not.


The decisions handed down by the legal experts who composed the royal
court formed the basis of the English system of jurisprudence. It received
the name Common law because it grew out of such customs as were common to
the realm, as distinguished from those which were merely local. This law,
from Henry's II's time, became so widespread and so firmly established
that it could not be supplanted by the Roman law followed on the
Continent. Carried by English colonists across the seas, it has now come
to prevail throughout a great part of the world.


RICHARD I AND JOHN, 1189-1216 A.D.

The great Henry, from whose legal reforms English-speaking peoples receive
benefit even to-day, was followed by his son, Richard, the Lion-hearted
crusader. [6] After a short reign Richard was succeeded by his brother,
John, a man so cruel, tyrannical, and wicked that he is usually regarded
as the worst of English kings. In a war with the French ruler, Philip
Augustus, John lost Normandy and some of the other English possessions on
the Continent. [7] In a dispute with Innocent III he ended by making an
abject submission to the Papacy. [8] Finally, John's oppressive government
provoked a revolt, and he was forced to grant the charter of privileges
known as Magna Carta.



The Norman Conquest had made the king so strong that his authority could
be resisted only by a union of all classes of the people. The feudal lords
were obliged to unite with the clergy and the commons, [9] in order to
save their honor, their estates, and their heads. Matters came to a crisis
in 1215 A.D., when the nobles, supported by the archbishop of Canterbury,
placed their demands for reform in writing before the king. John swore
furiously that they were "idle dreams without a shadow of reason" and
refused to make any concessions. Thereupon the nobles formed the "army of
God and the Holy Church," as it was called, and occupied London, thus
ranging the townspeople on their side. Deserted by all except the hired
troops which he had brought from the Continent, John was compelled to
yield. At Runnimede on the Thames, not far from Windsor, he set his seal
to the Great Charter.

Facsimile of the opening lines. Four copies of Magna Carta, sealed with
the great seal of King John, as well as several unsealed copies, are in
existence. The British Museum possesses two of the sealed copies; the
other two belong to the cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury,


Magna Carta does not profess to be a charter of liberties for all
Englishmen. Most of its sixty-three clauses merely guarantee to each
member of the coalition against John--nobles, clergy, and commons--those
special privileges which the Norman rulers had tried to take away. Very
little is said in this long document about the serfs, who composed
probably five-sixths of the population of England in the thirteenth


But there are three clauses of Magna Carta which came to have a most
important part in the history of English freedom. The first declared that
no taxes were to be levied on the nobles--besides the three recognized
feudal aids [10]--except by consent of the Great Council of the realm.
[11] By this clause the nobles compelled the king to secure their consent
before imposing any taxation. The second set forth that no one was to be
arrested, imprisoned, or punished in any way, except after a trial by his
equals and in accordance with the law of the land. The third said simply
that to no one should justice be sold, denied, or delayed. These last two
clauses contained the germ of great legal principles on which the English
people relied for protection against despotic kings. They form a part of
our American inheritance from England and have passed into the laws of all
our states.


HENRY III, 1216-1272 A.D.

The thirteenth century, which opened so auspiciously with the winning of
the Great Charter, is also memorable as the time when England developed
her Parliament [12] into something like its present form. The first steps
in parliamentary government were taken during the reign of John's son,
Henry III.


It had long been the custom in England that in all important matters a
ruler ought not to act without the advice and consent of his leading men.
The Anglo-Saxon kings sought the advice and consent of their Witenagemot,
[13] a body of nobles, royal officers, bishops, and abbots. It approved
laws, served as a court of final appeal, elected a new monarch, and at
times deposed him. The Witenagemot did not disappear after the Norman
Conquest. Under the name of the Great Council it continued to meet from
time to time for consultation with the king. This assembly was now to be
transformed from a feudal body into a parliament representing the entire


The Great Council, which by one of the provisions of Magna Carta had been
required to give its consent to the levying of feudal dues, met quite
frequently during Henry III's reign. On one occasion, when Henry was in
urgent need of money and the bishops and lords refused to grant it, the
king took the significant step of calling to the council two knights from
each county to declare what aid they would give him. These knights, so ran
Henry's summons, were to come "in the stead of each and all," in other
words, they were to act as representatives of the counties. Then in 1265
A.D., when the nobles were at war with the king, a second and even more
significant step was taken. Their leader, Simon de Montfort, summoned to
the council not only two knights from each county, but also two citizens
from each of the more important towns.


The custom of selecting certain men to act in the name and on the behalf
of the community had existed during Anglo-Saxon times in local government.
Representatives of the counties had been employed by the Norman kings to
act as assessors in levying taxes. As we have just learned, the "juries"
of Henry II also consisted of such representatives. The English people, in
fact, were quite familiar with the idea of representation long before it
was applied on a larger scale to Parliament.


Simon de Montfort's Parliament included only his own supporters, and hence
was not a truly national body. But it made a precedent for the future.
Thirty years later Edward I called together at Westminster, now a part of
London, a Parliament which included all classes of the people. Here were
present archbishops, bishops, and abbots, earls and barons, two knights
from every county, and two townsmen to represent each town in that county.
After this time all these classes were regularly summoned to meet in
assembly at Westminster.


The separation of Parliament into two chambers came in the fourteenth
century. The House of Lords included the nobles and higher clergy, the
House of Commons, the representatives from counties and cities. This
bicameral arrangement, as it is called, has been followed in the
parliaments of most modern countries.


The early English Parliament was not a law-making but a tax-voting body.
The king would call the two houses in session only when he needed their
sanction for raising money. Parliament in its turn would refuse to grant
supplies until the king had corrected abuses in the administration or had
removed unpopular officials. This control of the public purse in time
enabled Parliament to grasp other powers. It became an accepted principle
that royal officials were responsible to Parliament for their actions,
that the king himself might be deposed for good cause, and that bills,
when passed by Parliament and signed by the king, were the law of the
land. England thus worked out in the Middle Ages a system of parliamentary
government which nearly all civilized nations have held worthy of



Our narrative has been confined until now to England, which forms,
together with Wales and Scotland, the island known as Great Britain.
Ireland is the only other important division of the United Kingdom. It was
almost inevitable that in process of time the British Isles should have
come under a single government, but political unity has not yet fused
English, Scotch, Welsh, and Irish into a single people.


The conquest of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons drove many of the Welsh, [14]
as the invaders called the Britons, into the western part of the island.
This district, henceforth known as Wales, was one of the last strongholds
of the Celts. Even to-day a variety of the old Celtic language, called
Cymric, is still spoken by the Welsh people.


In their wild and mountainous country the Welsh long resisted all attempts
to subjugate them. Harold exerted some authority over Wales, William the
Conqueror entered part of it, and Henry II induced the local rulers to
acknowledge him as overlord, but it was Edward I who first brought all
Wales under English sway. Edward fostered the building of towns in his new
possession, divided it into counties or shires, after the system that
prevailed in England, and introduced the Common law. He called his son,
Edward II, who was born in the country, the "Prince of Wales," and this
title has ever since been borne by the heir apparent to the English
throne. The work of uniting Wales to England went on slowly, and two
centuries elapsed before Wales was granted representation in the House of

Every English ruler since Edward I has been crowned in this oak chair.
Under the seat is the "Stone of Scone," said to have been once used by the
patriarch Jacob. Edward I brought it to London in 1291 A.D., as a token of
the subjection of Scotland.]


Scotland derives its name from the Scots, who came over from Ireland early
in the fifth century. [15] The northern Highlands, a nest of rugged
mountains washed by cold and stormy seas, have always been occupied in
historic times by a Celtic-speaking people, whose language, called Gaelic,
is not yet extinct there. This part of Scotland, like Wales, was a home of
freedom. The Romans did not attempt to annex the Highlands, and the Anglo-
Saxons and Danes never penetrated their fastnesses. On the other hand the
southern Lowlands, which include only about one-third of Scotland, were
subdued by the Teutonic invaders, and so this district became thoroughly
English in language and culture. [16]

[Illustration: Map, SCOTLAND in the 13th Century]


One might suppose that the Lowlands, geographically only an extension of
northern England and inhabited by an English-speaking people, would have
early united with the southern kingdom. But matters turned out otherwise.
The Lowlands and the Highlands came together under a line of Celtic kings,
who fixed their residence at Edinburgh and long maintained their


Edward I, having conquered Wales, took advantage of the disturbed
conditions which prevailed in Scotland to interfere in the affairs of that
country. The Scotch offered a brave but futile resistance under William
Wallace. This heroic leader, who held out after most of his countrymen
submitted, was finally captured and executed. His head, according to the
barbarous practice of the time, was set upon a pole on London Bridge. The
English king now annexed Scotland without further opposition.

After the death of his wife Eleanor, Edward I caused a memorial cross to
be set up at each place where her funeral procession had stopped on its
way to London. There were originally seven crosses. Of the three that
still exist, the Geddington cross is the best preserved. It consists of
three stories and stands on a platform of eight steps.]


But William Wallace by his life and still more by his death had lit a fire
which might never be quenched. Soon the Scotch found another champion in
the person of Robert Bruce. Edward I, now old and broken, marched against
him, but died before reaching the border. The weakness of his son, Edward
II, permitted the Scotch, ably led by Bruce, to win the signal victory of
Bannockburn, near Stirling Castle. Here the Scottish spearmen drove the
English knighthood into ignominious flight and freed their country from
its foreign overlords.


The battle of Bannockburn made a nation. A few years afterwards the
English formally recognized the independence of the northern kingdom. So
the great design of Edward I to unite all the peoples of Britain under one
government had to be postponed for centuries. [17]


No one kingdom ever arose in Ireland out of the numerous tribes into which
the Celtic-speaking inhabitants were divided. The island was not troubled,
however, by foreign invaders till the coming of the Northmen in the ninth
century. [18] The English, who first entered Ireland during the reign of
Henry II, did not complete its conquest till the seventeenth century.
Ireland by its situation could scarcely fail to become an appanage of
Great Britain, but the dividing sea has combined with differences in race,
language, and religion, and with English misgovernment, to prevent
anything like a genuine union of the conquerors and the conquered.



Nature seems to have intended that France should play a leading part in
European affairs. The geographical unity of the country is obvious.
Mountains and seas form its permanent boundaries, except on the north-east
where the frontier is not well defined. The western coast of France opens
on the Atlantic, now the greatest highway of the world's commerce, while
on the southeast France touches the Mediterranean, the home of classical
civilization. This intermediate position between two seas helps us to
understand why French history should form, as it were, a connecting link
between ancient and modern times.


But the greatness of France has been due, also, to the qualities of the
French people. Many racial elements have contributed to the population.
The blood of prehistoric tribes, whose monuments and grave mounds are
scattered over the land, still flows in the veins of Frenchmen. At the
opening of historic times France was chiefly occupied by the Celts, whom
Julius Caesar found there and subdued. The Celts, or Gauls, have formed in
later ages the main stock of the French nation, but their language gave
place to Latin after the Roman conquest. In the course of five hundred
years the Gauls were so thoroughly Romanized that they may best be
described as Gallo-Romans. The Burgundians, Franks, and Northmen
afterwards added a Teutonic element to the population, as well as some
infusion of Teutonic laws and customs.


France, again, became a great nation because of the greatness of its
rulers. Hugh Capet, who became the French king in 987 A.D., [19] was
fortunate in his descendants. The Capetian dynasty was long lived, and for
more than three centuries son followed father on the throne without a
break in the succession. [20] During this time the French sovereigns
worked steadily to exalt the royal power and to unite the feudal states of
medieval France into a real nation under a common government. Their
success in this task made them, at the close of the Middle Ages, the
strongest monarchs in Europe.


Hugh Capet's duchy--the original France--included only a small stretch of
inland country centering about Paris on the Seine and Orleans on the
Loire. His election to the kingship did not increase his power over the
great lords who ruled in Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine, Burgundy, and
other parts of the country. They did homage to the king for their fiefs
and performed the usual feudal services, but otherwise regarded themselves
as independent in their own territories.



The most considerable additions to the royal domains were made by Philip
II, called Augustus. We have already referred to his contest with Pope
Innocent III and to his participation in the Third Crusade. [21] The
English king, John, was Philip's vassal for Normandy and other provinces
in France. A quarrel between the two rulers gave Philip an opportunity to
declare John's fiefs forfeited by feudal law. Philip then seized all the
English possessions north of the river Loire. The loss of these
possessions abroad had the result of separating England almost completely
from Continental interests; for France it meant a great increase in
territory and population. Philip made Paris his chief residence, and that
city henceforth became the capital of France.

LOUIS IX, THE SAINT, 1226-1276 A.D.

During the long reign of Philip's grandson, Louis IX, rich districts to
the west of the Rhone were added to the royal domains. This king, whose
Christian virtues led to his canonization, distinguished himself as an
administrator. His work in unifying France may be compared with that of
Henry II in England. He decreed that only the king's money was to
circulate in the provinces owned directly by himself, thus limiting the
right of coinage enjoyed by feudal lords. He restricted very greatly the
right of private war and forbade the use of judicial duels. Louis also
provided that important cases could be appealed from feudal courts to the
king's judges, who sat in Paris and followed in their decisions the
principles of Roman law. In these and other ways he laid the foundations
of absolute monarchy in France.

PHILIP IV, THE FAIR, 1265-1314 A.D.

The grandson of St. Louis, Philip IV, did much to organize a financial
system for France. Now that the kingdom had become so large and powerful,
the old feudal dues were insufficient to pay the salaries of the royal
officials and support a standing army. Philip resorted to new methods of
raising revenue by imposing various taxes and by requiring the feudal
lords to substitute payments in money for the military service due from


Philip also called into existence the Estates-General, an assembly in
which the clergy, the nobles, and representatives from the commons (the
"third estate") met as separate bodies and voted grants of money. The
Estates-General arose almost at the same time as the English Parliament,
to which it corresponded, but it never secured the extensive authority of
that body. After a time the kings of France became so powerful that they
managed to reign without once summoning the nation in council. The French
did not succeed, as the English had done, in founding political liberty
upon the vote and control of taxation.



The task of unifying France was interrupted by a deplorable war between
that country and England. It continued, including periods of truce, for
over a century. The pretext for the war was found in a disputed
succession. In 1328 A.D. the last of the three sons of Philip IV passed
away, and the direct line of the house of Capet, which had reigned over
France for more than three hundred years, came to an end. The English
ruler, Edward III, whose mother was the daughter of Philip IV, considered
himself the next lineal heir. The French nobles were naturally unwilling
to receive a foreigner as king, and gave the throne, instead, to a nephew
of Philip IV. This decision was afterwards justified on the ground that,
by the old law of the Salian Franks, women could neither inherit estates
nor transmit them to a son. [22]

Edward III, having in 1340 A.D. set up a claim to the throne of France,
proceeded to add the French lilies (_fleurs-de-lis_) to his coat of arms.
He also took as his motto _Dieu et mon Droit_ ("God and my Right"). The
lilies of France remained in the royal arms till 1801 A.D.; the motto is
still retained.]


Edward III at first accepted the situation. Philip VI, however, irritated
Edward by constant encroachments on the territories which the English
still kept in France. Philip also allied himself with the Scotch and
interfered with English trade interests in the county of Flanders. [23]
This attitude of hostility provoked retaliation. Edward now reasserted his
claim to the crown of France and prepared by force of arms to make it

[Illustration: ENGLISH ARCHER
From an old manuscript.]


In 1346 A.D. Edward led his troops across the Channel and at Crecy gained
a complete victory over the knighthood of France. Ten years later the
English at Poitiers almost annihilated another French force much superior
in numbers. These two battles were mainly won by foot soldiers armed with
the long bow, in the use of which the English excelled. Ordinary iron mail
could not resist the heavy, yard-long arrows, which fell with murderous
effect upon the bodies of men and horses alike. Henceforth infantry, when
properly armed and led, were to prove themselves on many a bloody field
more than a match for feudal cavalry. The long bow, followed later by the
musket, struck a deadly blow at feudalism.


Edward's son, the Prince of Wales, when only sixteen years of age, won his
spurs by distinguished conduct at Crecy. It was the "Black Prince," [24]
also, who gained the day at Poitiers, where he took prisoner the French
king, John. Toward his royal captive he behaved in chivalrous fashion. At
supper, on the evening of the battle, he stood behind John's chair and
waited on him, praising the king's brave deeds. But this "flower of
knighthood," who regarded warfare as only a tournament on a larger scale,
could be ruthless in his treatment of the common people. On one occasion
he caused three thousand inhabitants of a captured town--men, women and
children--to be butchered before his eyes. The incident shows how far
apart in the Middle Ages were chivalry and humanity.


The English, in spite of their victories, could not conquer France. The
French refused to fight more pitched battles and retired to their castles
and fortified towns. The war almost ceased for many years after the death
of Edward III. It began again early in the fifteenth century, and the
English this time met with more success. They gained possession of almost
all France north of the Loire, except the important city of Orleans. Had
the English taken it, French resistance must have collapsed. That they did
not take it was due to one of the most remarkable women in history--Joan
of Arc. [25]


Joan was a peasant girl, a native of the little village of Domremy. Always
a devout and imaginative child, she early began to see visions of saints
and angels and to hear mysterious voices. At the time of the siege of
Orleans the archangel Michael appeared to her, so she declared, and bade
her go forth and save France. Joan obeyed, and though barely seventeen
years of age made her way to the court of the French king. There her
piety, simplicity, and evident faith in her mission overcame all doubts.
Clad in armor, girt with an ancient sword, and with a white banner borne
before her, Joan was allowed to accompany an army for the relief of
Orleans. She inspired the French with such enthusiasm that they quickly
compelled the English to raise the siege. Then Joan led her king to Reims
and stood beside him at his coronation in the cathedral.


Though Joan was soon afterwards captured by the English, who, to their
lasting dishonor, burned her as a witch, her example nerved the French to
further resistance. The English gradually lost ground and in 1453 A.D.,
the year of the fall of Constantinople, abandoned the effort to conquer a
land much larger than their own. They retained of the French territories
only the port of Calais and the Channel Islands. [26]


Few wars have had less to justify them, either in their causes or in their
consequences, than this long struggle between England and France. It was a
calamity to both lands. For England it meant the dissipation abroad of the
energies which would have been better employed at home. For France it
resulted in widespread destruction of property, untold suffering, famines,
and terrible loss of life. From this time dates that traditional hostility
between the two countries which was to involve them in future conflicts.
One beneficial effect the war did have. It helped to make the two nations
conscious of their separate existence. The growth of a national feeling,
the awakening of a sentiment of patriotism, was especially marked in
France, which had fought so long for independence.


Shortly after the conclusion of the Hundred Years' War the two branches of
the English royal family became involved in desperate struggle for the
crown. It was known as the War of the Roses, because the house of York
took as its badge a white rose and the house of Lancaster, a red rose. The
contest lasted 1485 A.D., when the Lancastrians conquered, and their
leader, Henry Tudor, ascended the throne as Henry VII. He married a
Yorkist wife, thus uniting the two factions, and founded the Tudor
dynasty. The War of the Roses arrested the progress of English freedom. It
created a demand for a strong monarchy which could keep order and prevent
civil strife between the nobles. The Tudors met that demand and ruled as
absolute sovereigns. It was more than a century before Parliament,
representing the people, could begin to win back free government. It did
this only at the cost of a revolution.


France also issued from the Hundred Years' War with an absolute
government. Strengthened by victory over the English, the French kings
were able to reduce both the nobility and the commons to impotence. During
the reign of Louis XI (1461-1483 A.D.) the royal domains were enlarged by
the addition of Anjou, Provence, and the duchy of Burgundy. His son,
Charles VIII (1483-1498 A.D.), made Brittany a possession of the French
crown. The unification of France was now almost complete.



The Spanish peninsula, known to the Romans as Hispania, is sharply
separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains. At the same
time the nearness of the peninsula to Africa has always brought it into
intimate relations with that continent. Just as Russia has formed a link
between Asia and Europe, so Spain has served as a natural highway from
Africa to Europe.


The first settlers in Spain, of whom we know anything, were the Iberians.
They may have emigrated from northern Africa. After them came the Celts,
who overran a large part of the peninsula and appear to have mingled with
the Iberians, thus forming the mixed people known as Celtiberians. In
historic times Spain was conquered by the Carthaginians, who left few
traces of their occupation, by the Romans, who thoroughly Romanized the
country, by the Visigoths, who founded a Germanic kingdom, and lastly by
the Moors, who introduced Arabian culture and the faith of Islam. [27]
These invaders were not numerous enough greatly to affect the population,
in which the Celtiberian strain is still predominant.


The Moors never wholly conquered a fringe of mountain territory in the
extreme north of Spain. Here a number of small Christian states, including
Leon, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon, came into being. In the west there
also arose the Christian state of Portugal. Geographically, Portugal
belongs to Spain, from which it is separated only by artificial frontiers,
but the country has usually managed to maintain its independence.


Acting sometimes singly and sometimes in concert, the Christian states
fought steadily to enlarge their boundaries at the expense of their Moslem
neighbors. The contest had the nature of a crusade, for it was blessed by
the pope and supported by the chivalry of Europe. Periods of victory
alternated with periods of defeat, but by the close of the thirteenth
century Mohammedan Spain had been reduced to the kingdom of Granada at the
southern extremity of the peninsula.


The long struggle with the Moors made the Spanish a patriotic people,
keenly conscious of their national unity. The achievements of Christian
warriors were recited in countless ballads, and especially in the fine
_Poem of the Cid_. It deals with the exploits of Rodrigo Diaz, better
known by the title of the Cid (lord) given to him by the Moors. The Cid of
romance was the embodiment of every knightly virtue; the real Cid was a
bandit, who fought sometimes for the Christians, sometimes against them,
but always in his own interest. The Cid's evil deeds were forgotten,
however, and after his death in 1099 A.D. he became the national hero of


Meanwhile the separate Spanish kingdoms were coming together to form a
nation. Leon and Castile in 1230 A.D. combined into the one kingdom of
Castile, so named because its frontiers bristled with castles against the
Moors. But the most important step in the making of Spain was the marriage
of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of Castile, leading in 1479 A.D. to the
union of these two kingdoms. About the same time the Castilian language
began to crowd out the other Spanish dialects and to become the national



The new sovereigns of Spain aimed to continue the unification of the
peninsula by the conquest of Granada. No effort was made by the Turks, who
shortly before had captured Constantinople, to defend this last stronghold
of Islam in the West. The Moors, though thrown upon their own resources,
made a gallant resistance. At least once Ferdinand wearied of the
struggle, but Isabella's determination never wavered. In 1492 A.D. Granada
surrendered, and the silver cross of the crusading army was raised on the
highest tower of the city. Moslem rule in Spain, after an existence of
almost eight centuries, now came to an end.


Ferdinand and Isabella belong in the front rank of European sovereigns.
Like their contemporaries, Henry VII and Louis XI, they labored with
success to build up an absolute monarchy. Spain had found, as England and
France had found, that feudalism spelled disorder, and that only a strong
central government could keep the peace, repress crime, and foster trade
and commerce. Ferdinand and Isabella firmly established the supremacy of
the crown. By the end of the fifteenth century Spain had become a leading
European power. Its importance in the councils of Europe was soon to be
increased by the marriage of a daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella to the
heir of the Austrian house of Hapsburg.



The name Austria--in German Oesterreich--means simply the eastern part of
any kingdom. It came to be applied particularly to the territory on the
Danube east of Bavaria, which Otto the Great had formed into a mark or
border province for defense against the Magyars. [28] This mark, soon to
be known as Austria, gained an important place among German states. The
frontiers were pushed down the Danube valley and the capital was finally
located at Vienna, once a Roman city. Frederick Barbarossa raised Austria
to the rank of a duchy. Rudolf of Hapsburg, who became emperor in 1273
A.D., first brought the country into the hands of the Hapsburg family.


The Hapsburgs founded the power of the present Austrian monarchy. At the
end of the fourteenth century their dominions included a large part of
eastern Germany, [30] reaching from beyond the Danube southward to the
Adriatic. Early in the sixteenth century they secured Bohemia, a Slavic
land thrust like a wedge into German territory, as well as part of the
Magyar land of Hungary. The possession of these two kingdoms gave Austria
its special character of a state formed by the union under one ruler of
several wholly distinct nations. Meanwhile the right of election as Holy
Roman Emperor became hereditary in the Hapsburg family.



Switzerland, during the earlier period of the Middle Ages, formed a part
of the German duchy of Swabia and belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. [31]
About two-thirds of the population of Switzerland remain German in speech
and feeling, though now the country includes districts in which French or
Italian are spoken. All Swiss laws are still proclaimed in the three


Swiss history is closely bound up with that of Austria. The little
mountain communities of Schwyz, [32] Uri, and Unterwalden, on the shores
of beautiful Lake Lucerne, were possessions of the counts of Hapsburg. In
1291 A.D., the year when Rudolf of Hapsburg died, these three "Forest
Cantons" formed a confederation for resistance to their Hapsburg
overlords. Additional cantons joined the league, which now entered upon a
long struggle, dear to all lovers of liberty, against Austrian rule.
Nowhere did the old methods of feudal warfare break down more
conspicuously than in the battles gained by Swiss pikemen over the haughty
knights of Austria. The struggle closed in 1499 A.D., when Switzerland
became practically a free state. [33]

[Illustration: Map, THE SWISS CONFEDERATION, 1291-1513 A.D.]


Switzerland has two heroes of her war for independence. William Tell is a
wholly mythical character, for the story of a skillful marksman who
succeeds in striking off some small object placed on a child's head is
found in England, Norway, Denmark, and other countries. The Swiss have
localized it in Uri. Another popular hero has a better claim to historical
existence. It is said that at a critical moment in the battle of Sempach,
when the Swiss with their short weapons failed to break the Austrian
ranks, Arnold von Winkelried, a man of Unterwalden, came to the rescue.
Rushing single-handed upon the enemy, he seized all the spears within
reach and turned them into his own body. He thus opened a gap in the line,
through which the Swiss pressed on to victory. Winkelried's deed might
well have been performed, though the evidence for it is very scanty.


Little Switzerland, lying in the heart of the Alps and surrounded by
powerful neighbors, is one of the most interesting states in Europe. The
twenty-two communities, or cantons, which make up the Swiss Confederation,
differ among themselves in language, religion (Roman Catholic or
Protestant), and customs, according to their nearness to Germany, France,
or Italy. Nevertheless the Swiss form a patriotic and united nation. It is
remarkable that a people whose chief bond of union was common hostility to
the Austrian Hapsburgs, should have established a federal government so
strong and enduring.



An examination of the map shows how deficient Germany is in good natural
boundaries. The valley of the Danube affords an easy road to the
southeast, a road which the early rulers of Austria followed as far as
Vienna and the Hungarian frontier. Eastward along the Baltic no break
occurs in the great plain stretching from the North Sea to the Ural
Mountains. It was in this direction that German conquests and colonization
during the Middle Ages laid the foundation of modern Prussia.


The Germans, in descending upon the Roman Empire, had abandoned much of
their former territories to the Slavs. In the reign of Charlemagne all the
region between the Elbe and the Vistula belonged to Slavic tribes. To win
it back for Germany required several centuries of hard fighting. The Slavs
were heathen and barbarous, so that warfare with them seemed to be a kind
of crusade. In the main, however, German expansion eastward was a business
venture, due to the need for free land. It was the same need which in the
nineteenth century carried the frontiers of the United States from the
Alleghanies to the Pacific.


German expansion began early in the tenth century, when Henry the Fowler
annexed Brandenburg between the Elbe and the Oder. [34] Subsequently much
of the territory between the Oder and the Vistula, including Pomerania on
the southern coast of the Baltic, came under German control. The Slavic
inhabitants were exterminated or reduced to slavery. Their place was taken
by thousands of German colonists, who introduced Christianity, built
churches and monasteries, cleared the woods, drained the marshes, and
founded many cities destined to become centers of German trade and


Between the Vistula and the Niemen lay the lands of the Prussians, a non-
Teutonic people closely related to the Slavs. The Prussian language and
religion have disappeared, the Prussians themselves have been completely
absorbed by the Germans who settled in their country, but the Prussian
name is borne to-day by one of the great states of modern Europe.


The conquest and conversion of the Prussians was accomplished by the
famous order of Teutonic Knights. It had been founded in Palestine as a
military-religious order, at the time of the Third Crusade. [35] The
decline of the crusading movement left the knights with no duties to
perform, and so they transferred their activities to the Prussian
frontier, where there was still a chance to engage in a holy war.
Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Teutonic Order
flourished, until its grand master ruled over the entire Baltic coast from
the Vistula to the gulf of Finland. The knights later had to relinquish
much of this region to the Slavs, but they sowed there the seeds of
civilization. Russia's Baltic provinces [36] are to-day the richest and
most advanced in the empire.


Germany at the close of the Middle Ages was not a united, intensely
national state, such as had been established in England, France, and
Spain. It had split into hundreds of principalities, none large, some
extremely small, and all practically independent of the feeble German
kings. [37] This weakness of the central power condemned Germany to a
minor part in the affairs of Europe, as late as the nineteenth century.
Yet Germany found some compensation for political backwardness in the
splendid city life which it developed during the later Middle Ages. The
German cities, together with those of Italy and other European lands, now
call for our attention.



1. On an outline map indicate (a) William the Conqueror's French dominions
and (b) additional dominions of the Plantagenet kings in France.

2. Prepare a chart showing the leading rulers mentioned in this chapter.
Arrange your material in parallel columns with dates, one column for
England, one for France, and one for the other European countries.

3. Locate the following places: Crecy; Calais; Poitiers; Salisbury;
Stirling; Edinburgh; Orleans; and Granada.

4. What happened in 987 A.D.? in 1066 A.D.? in 1215 A.D.? in 1295 A.D.? in
1346 A.D.? in 1453 A.D.? in 1485 A.D.?

5. Distinguish between a nation, a government, and a state.

6. Are unity of race, a common language, a common religion, and
geographical unity of themselves sufficient to make a nation? May a nation
arise where these bonds are lacking?

7. "The thirteenth century gave Europe the nations as we now know them."
Comment on this statement.

8. Account for the rise of national feeling in France, Spain, Scotland,
and Switzerland.

9. "Good government in the Middle Ages was only another name for a public-
spirited and powerful monarchy." Comment on this statement.

10. What advantages has trial by jury over the older forms of trial, such
as oaths, ordeals, and the judicial duel?

11. Explain the difference between a grand jury and a trial, or petty

12. Compare the extent of territory in which Roman law now prevails with
that which follows the Common law.

13. Why was the Parliament of 1295 A.D. named the "Model Parliament"?

14. Why has England been called "the mother of parliaments"?

15. Distinguish between England and Great Britain. Between Great Britain
and the United Kingdom.

16. What were the Roman names of England, Scotland, and Ireland?

17. "Islands seem dedicated by nature to freedom." How does the history of
Ireland illustrate this statement?

18. Trace on the map the main water routes in France between the
Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

19. Show that Paris occupies an exceptionally good location for a capital

20. What French kings did most to form the French nation?

21. Why have queens never ruled in France?

22. Compare the Hundred Years' War and the Peloponnesian War as needless

23. Compare Joan of Arc's visions with those of Mohammed.

24. "Beyond the Pyrenees begins Africa." What does this statement mean?

25. Why was Spain inconspicuous in European politics before the opening of
the sixteenth century?

26. Look up in an encyclopedia the story of William Tell and prepare an
oral report upon it.

27. Why was the German system of elective rulers politically less
advantageous than the settled hereditary succession which prevailed in
England and France?


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History,_ chapter xiv, "St.
Louis"; chapter xv, "Episodes of the Hundred Years' War"; chapter xvi,
"Memoirs of a French Courtier."

[2] The name comes from that of the broom plant (Latin _planta genesta_),
a sprig of which Henry's father used to wear in his hat. The family is
also called Angevin, because Henry on his father's side descended from the
counts of Anjou in France.

[3] See page 419.

[4] Latin _verum dictum_, "a true statement."

[5] Latin _juro_, "I take an oath."

[6] See pages 475-476.

[7] See page 514.

[8] See page 461.

[9] A term which refers to all freemen in town and country below the rank
of nobles.

[10] See page 418.

[11] Made up of the chief lords and bishops.

[12] The word "parliament," from French _parler,_ "to speak," originally
meant a talk or conference. Later, the word came to be applied to the body
of persons assembled for conference.

[13] See page 407 and note 1.

[14] See page 319.

[15] See page 246.

[16] See the map, page 321.

[17] In 1603 A.D. James VI of Scotland ascended the throne of England as
James I. In 1707 A.D. the two countries adopted a plan of union which gave
them a common Parliament and one flag.

[18] See page 397.

[19] See page 403.

[20] From 987 A.D. to 1328 A.D. France had only fourteen kings. The
average length of their reigns was, therefore, something more than twenty-
four years.

[21] See pages 461, 475.

[22] Hence the name "Salic law" applied to the rule excluding women from
succession to the French throne.

[23] See page 550.

[24] Probably so called from the black armor which he wore. It may still
be seen above his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral.

[25] In French, Jeanne d'Arc.

[26] Calais went back to the French in 1558 A.D. The Channel Islands are
still English possessions.

[27] See pages 164, 169, 244, 378. The Arabs and Berbers who settled in
Spain are generally called Moors.

[28] See page 316.

[29] See page 462.

[30] The duchies of Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and
Carniola, and the county of Tyrol.

[31] See the map facing page 462.

[32] From Schwyz comes the name Switzerland.

[33] The independence of the country was not formally recognized till 1648

[34] See page 315.

[35] See page 473.

[36] Courland, Livonia, and Esthonia.

[37] See pages 319, 462.





Civilization has always had its home in the city. [1] The statement
applies as well to medieval times as to the present day. Nothing marks
more strongly the backwardness of the early Middle Ages than the absence
of large and flourishing cities throughout western Europe. The growth of
trade in the later Middle Ages led, however, to a civic revival beginning
in the eleventh century. This change from rural to urban life was scarcely
less significant for European history than the change from the feudal to
the national state.


A number of medieval cities stood on the sites, and even within the walls,
of Roman municipalities. Particularly in Italy, southern France, and
Spain, and also in the Rhine and Danube regions, it seems that some
ancient _municipia_ had never been entirely destroyed during the Germanic
invasions. They preserved their Roman names, their streets, aqueducts,
amphitheaters, and churches, and possibly vestiges of their Roman
institutions. Among them were such important centers as Milan, Florence,
Venice, Lyons, Marseilles, Paris, Vienna, Cologne, London, and York.


Many medieval cities were new foundations. Some rose to importance because
of advantages of situation. A place where a river could be forded, where
two roads met, or where a good harbor existed, would naturally become the
resort of traders. Some, again, started as fortresses, behind whose
ramparts the peasants took refuge when danger threatened. A third group of
cities developed from villages on the manors. A thriving settlement was
pretty sure to arise near a monastery or castle, which offered both
protection and employment to the common people.


The city at first formed part of the feudal system. It grew upon the
territory of a feudal lord and naturally owed obedience to him. The
citizens ranked not much higher than serfs, though they were traders and
artisans instead of farmers. They enjoyed no political rights, for their
lord collected the taxes, appointed officials, kept order, and punished
offenders. In short, the city was not free.

The fortifications of Carcassonne an ancient city of southwestern France
are probably unique in Europe for completeness and strength. They consist
of a double line of ramparts protected by towers and pierced by only two
gates. A part of the fortifications is attributed to the Visigoths in the
sixth century, the remainder, including the castle, was raised during the
Middle Ages (eleventh to thirteenth centuries)]


But the city from the first was the decided enemy of feudalism. [2] As its
inhabitants increased in number and wealth, they became Revolt of
conscious of their strength and refused to submit the cities to
oppression. Sometimes they won their freedom by hard fighting, more often
they purchased it, perhaps from some noble who needed money to go on a
crusade. In France, England, and Spain, where the royal power was strong,
the cities obtained exemption from their feudal burdens, but did not
become entirely self-governing. In Germany and Italy, on the other hand,
the weakness of the central government permitted many cities to secure
complete independence. They became true republics, like the old Greek
city-states. [3]


The contract which the citizens extorted from their lord was known as a
charter. It specified what taxes they should be required to pay and
usually granted to them various privileges, such as those of holding
assemblies, electing magistrates, and raising militia for local defense.
The revolt of the cities gradually extended over all western Europe, so
that at the end of the fourteenth century hardly any of them lacked a


The free city had no room for either slaves or serfs. All servile
conditions ceased inside its walls. The rule prevailed that anyone who had
lived in a city for the term of a year and a day could no longer be
claimed by a lord as his serf. This rule found expression in the famous
saying: "Town air renders free."


The freedom of the cities naturally attracted many immigrants to them.
There came into existence a middle class of city people, between the
nobles and clergy on the one side and the peasants on the other side--what
the French call the _bourgeoisie._ [4] As we have [5] learned, the kings
of England and France soon began to summon representatives of this middle
class to sit in assemblies as the "third estate," by the side of the
nobles and the clergy, who formed the first two estates. Henceforth the
middle class, the _bourgeoisie,_ the "third estate," distinguished as it
was for wealth, intelligence, and enterprise, exerted an ever-greater
influence on European affairs.

* * * * *



The visitor approaching a medieval city through miles of open fields saw
it clear in the sunlight, unobscured by coal smoke. From without it looked
like a fortress, with walls, towers, gateways, drawbridges, and moat.
Beyond the fortifications he would see, huddled together against the sky,
the spires of the churches and the cathedral, the roofs of the larger
houses, and the dark, frowning mass of the castle. The general impression
would be one of wealth and strength and beauty.


Once within the walls the visitor would not find things so attractive. The
streets were narrow, crooked, and ill-paved, dark during the day because
of the overhanging houses, and without illumination at night. There were
no open spaces or parks except a small market place. The whole city was
cramped by its walls, which shut out light, air, and view, and prevented
expansion into the neighboring country. Medieval London, for instance,
covered an area of less than one square mile. [6]



A city in the Middle Ages lacked all sanitary arrangements. The only water
supply came from polluted streams and wells. There were no sewers and no
sidewalks. People piled up their refuse in the backyard or flung it into
the street, to be devoured by the dogs and pigs which served as
scavengers. The holes in the pavement collected all manner of filth, and
the unpaved lanes, in wet weather, became deep pits of mud. We can
understand why the townspeople wore overshoes when they went out, and why
even the saints in the pictures were represented with them on. The living
were crowded together in many-storied houses, airless and gloomy; the dead
were buried close at hand in crowded churchyards. Such unsanitary
conditions must have been responsible for much of the sickness that was
prevalent. The high death rate could only be offset by a birth rate
correspondingly high, and by the constant influx of country people.


Numerous petty regulations restricted the private life of the townspeople.
The municipal authorities sometimes decided how many guests might be
invited to weddings, how much might be spent on wedding presents, what
different garments might be owned and worn by a citizen, and even the
number of trees that might be planted in his garden. Each citizen had to
serve his turn as watchman on the walls or in the streets at night. When
the great bell in the belfry rang the "curfew," [7] at eight or nine
o'clock, this was the signal for every one to extinguish lights and fires
and go to bed. It was a useful precaution, since conflagrations were
common enough in the densely packed wooden houses. After curfew the
streets became deserted, except for the night watch making their rounds
and the presence of occasional pedestrians carrying lanterns. The
municipal government spent little or nothing on police protection, so that
street brawls, and even robbery and murder, were not infrequent.


The inhabitants of the city took a just pride in their public buildings.
The market place, where traders assembled, often contained a beautiful
cross and sometimes a market hall to shelter goods from the weather. Not
far away rose the city hall, [8] for the transaction of public business
and the holding of civic feasts. The hall might be crowned by a high
belfry with an alarm bell to summon citizens to mass meeting. Then there
would be a number of churches and abbeys and, if the city was the capital
of a bishop's diocese, an imposing cathedral.


The small size of medieval cities--few included as many as ten thousand
inhabitants--simplified the problem of governing them. The leading
merchants usually formed a council presided over by a head magistrate, the
burgomaster [9] or mayor, [10] who was assisted by aldermen. [11] In some
places the guilds chose the officials and managed civic affairs. These
associations had many functions and held a most important place in city



The Anglo-Saxon word "guild," which means "to pay," came to be applied to
a club or society whose members made contributions for some common
purpose. This form Of association is very old. Some of the guilds in
imperial Rome had been established in the age of the kings, while not a
few of those which flourish to-day in China and India were founded before
the Christian era. Guilds existed in Continental Europe as early as the
time of Charlemagne, but they did not become prominent till after the


A guild of merchants grew up when those who bought and sold goods in any
place united to protect their own interests. The membership included many
artisans, as well as professional traders, for in medieval times a man
often sold in the front room of his shop the goods which he made in the
back rooms. He was often both shopkeeper and workman in one.


The chief duty of a merchant guild was to preserve to its own members the
monopoly of trade within a town. Strangers and non-guildsmen could not buy
or sell there except under the conditions imposed by the guild. They must
pay the town tolls, confine their dealings to guildsmen, and as a rule
sell only at wholesale. They were forbidden to purchase wares which the
townspeople wanted for themselves or to set up shops for retail trade.
They enjoyed more freedom at fairs, which were intended to attract

Hildesheim, near Hanover, is perhaps the richest of all German towns in
fine wooden-framed houses. The house of the Butchers' Guild has recently
been restored, with all its original coloring carefully reproduced.]


After a time the traders and artisans engaged in a particular occupation
began to form an association of their own. Thus arose the craft guilds,
composed of weavers, shoemakers, bakers, tailors, carpenters, and so on,
until almost every form of industry had its separate organization. The
names of the various occupations came to be used as the surnames of those
engaged in them, so that to-day we have such common family names as Smith,
Cooper, Fuller, Potter, Chandler, and many others. The number of craft
guilds in an important city might be very large. London and Paris at one
time each had more than one hundred, and Cologne in Germany had as many as
eighty. The members of a particular guild usually lived in the same street
or quarter of the city, not only for companionship but also for better
supervision of their labor. [12]


Just as the merchant guild regulated town trade, so the craft guilds had
charge of town industry. No one could engage in any craft without becoming
a member of the guild which controlled it and submitting to the guild
regulations. A man's hours of labor and the prices at which he sold his
goods were fixed for him by the guild. He might not work elsewhere than in
his shop, because of the difficulty of supervising him, nor might he work
by artificial light, lest he turn out badly finished goods. Everything
made by him was carefully inspected to see if it contained shoddy
materials or showed poor workmanship. Failure to meet the test meant a
heavy fine or perhaps expulsion from the guild. Thus the industrial
monopoly possessed by the craft guild gave some protection to both
producer and consumer.


Full membership in a guild was reached only by degrees. A boy started as
an apprentice, that is, a learner. He paid a sum of money to his master
and agreed to serve him for a fixed period, usually seven years. The
master, in turn, promised to provide the apprentice with food, lodging,
and clothing, and to teach him all the secrets of the craft. At the end of
the seven years the apprentice had to pass an examination by the guild. If
he was found fit, he then became a journeyman and worked for daily wages.
As soon as he had saved enough money, he might set up as a master in his
own shop. A master was at once workman and employer, laborer and


Like the old Roman guilds, those of the Middle Ages had their charitable
and religious aspects. Each guild raised large benefit funds for the
relief of members or their widows and orphans. Each guild had its private
altar in the cathedral, or often its own chapel, where masses were said
for the repose of the souls of deceased members, and where on the day of
its patron saint religious services were held. The guild was also a social
organization, with frequent meetings for a feast in its hall or in some
inn. The guilds in some cities entertained the people with an annual play
or procession. [13] It is clear that the members of a medieval craft guild
had common interests and shared a common life.

As the craft guilds prospered and increased in wealth, they tended to
become exclusive organizations. Membership fees were raised so high that
few could afford to pay them, while the number of apprentices that a
master might take was strictly limited. It also became increasingly
difficult for journeymen to rise to the station of masters; they often
remained wage-earners for life. The mass of workmen could no longer
participate in the benefits of the guild system. In the eighteenth century
most of the guilds lost their monopoly of industry, and in the nineteenth
century they gave way to trade unions.



Nearly every town of any consequence had a weekly or semiweekly market,
which was held in the market place or in the churchyard. Marketing often
occurred on Sunday, in spite of many laws against this desecration of the
day. Outsiders who brought cattle and farm produce for sale in the market
were required to pay tolls, either to the town authorities or sometimes to
a neighboring nobleman. These market dues still survive in the "octroi"
collected at the gates of some European cities.


People in the Middle Ages did not believe in unrestricted competition. It
was thought wrong for anyone to purchase goods outside of the regular
market ("forestalling") or to purchase them in larger quantities than
necessary ("engrossing"). A man ought not to charge for a thing more than
it was worth, or to buy a thing cheap and sell it dear. The idea prevailed
that goods should be sold at their "just price" which was not determined
by supply and demand but by an estimate of the cost of the materials and
the labor that went into their manufacture. Laws were often passed fixing
this "just price," but it was as difficult then as now to prevent the
"cornering of the market" by shrewd and unscrupulous traders.


Besides markets at frequent intervals, many towns held fairs once or twice
a year. The fairs often lasted for a month or more. They were especially
necessary in medieval Europe, because merchants did not keep large
quantities or many kinds of goods on their shelves, nor could intending
purchasers afford to travel far in search of what they wanted. The more
important English fairs included those at Stourbridge near Cambridge,
Winchester, St. Ives, and Boston. On the Continent fairs were numerous and
in some places, such as Leipzig in Germany and Nijni-Novgorod in Russia,
they are still kept up.


A fair gave opportunity for the sale of commodities brought from the most
distant regions. Stourbridge Fair, for instance, attracted Venetians and
Genoese with silk, pepper, and spices of the East, Flemings with fine
cloths and linens, Spaniards with iron and wine, Norwegians with tar and
pitch from their forests, and Baltic merchants with furs, amber, and
salted fish. The fairs, by fostering commerce, helped to make the various
European peoples better acquainted with one another.



Commerce in western Europe had almost disappeared as a result of the
Germanic invasions and the establishment of feudalism. What little
commercial intercourse there was encountered many obstacles. A merchant
who went by land from country to country might expect to find bad roads,
few bridges, and poor inns. Goods were transported on pack-horses instead
of in wagons. Highway robbery was so common that travelers always carried
arms and often united in bands for better protection. The feudal lords,
often themselves not much more than highwaymen, demanded tolls at every
bridge and ford and on every road. If the merchant proceeded by water, he
must face, in addition to the ordinary hazards of wind and wave, the
danger from the ill-lighted coasts and from attacks by pirates. No wonder
commerce languished in the early Middle Ages and for a long time lay
chiefly in the hands of Byzantines [14] and Arabs. [15]


Even during the dark centuries that followed the end of the Roman Empire,
some trade with the Orient had been carried on by the cities of Italy and
southern France. The crusades, which brought East and West face to face,
greatly increased this trade. The Mediterranean lands first felt the
stimulating effects of intercourse with the Orient, but before long the
commercial revival extended to the rest of Europe.


Before the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope the spices, drugs, incense,
carpets, tapestries, porcelains, and gems of India, China, and the East
Indies reached the West by three main routes. All had been used in ancient
times. [16] The central and most important route led up the Persian Gulf
and Tigris River to Bagdad, from which city goods went by caravan to
Antioch or Damascus. The southern route reached Cairo and Alexandria by
way of the Red Sea and the Nile. By taking advantage of the monsoons, a
merchant ship could make the voyage from India to Egypt in about three
months. The northern route, entirely overland, led to ports on the Black
Sea and thence to Constantinople. It traversed high mountain passes and
long stretches of desert, and could profitably be used only for the
transport of valuable articles small in bulk. The conquests of the Ottoman
Turks greatly interfered with the use of this route by Christians after
the middle of the fifteenth century.


Oriental goods, upon reaching the Mediterranean, could be transported by
water to northern Europe. Every year the Venetians sent a fleet loaded
with eastern products to Bruges in Flanders, a city which was the most
important depot of trade with Germany, England, and Scandinavia. Bruges
also formed the terminus of the main overland route leading from Venice
over the Alps and down the Rhine. But as the map indicates, many other
commercial highways linked the Mediterranean with the North Sea and the


It is important to note that until late in the Middle Ages trade existed,
not between nations, but between cities. A merchant of London was almost
as much a foreigner in any other English city as he would have been in
Bruges, Paris, or Cologne. Consequently, each city needed to make
commercial treaties with its neighbors, stipulating what were the
privileges and obligations of its merchants, wherever they went. It was
not until the kings grew strong in western Europe that merchants could
rely on the central government, rather than on local authorities, for

Land Routes
Water Routes
Marco Polo's Route]



We have seen that business in the Middle Ages was chiefly of a retail
character and was conducted in markets and fairs. The artisan who
manufactured the goods he sold and the peddler who carried his goods about
from place to place were the leading types of medieval traders. Little
wholesale business existed, and the merchant prince who owned warehouses
and large stocks of goods was an exceptional figure.


One reason for the small scale of business enterprise is found in the
inadequate supply of money. From the beginning of the Christian era to the
twelfth century there seems to have been a steady decrease in the amount
of specie in circulation, partly because so much moved to the Orient in
payment for luxuries, and partly because the few mines in western Europe
went out of use during the period of the invasions. The scarcity of money,
as has been shown, [17] helped directly to build up the feudal system,
since salaries, wages, and rents could be paid only in personal services
or in produce. The money supply increased during the latter part of the
Middle Ages, but it did not become sufficient for the needs of business
till the discovery of the New World enabled the Spaniards to tap the
wealth of the silver mines in Mexico and Peru. [18]


Medieval currency was not only small in amount but also faulty in
character. Many great nobles enjoyed the privilege of keeping a mint and
issuing coins. Since this feudal money passed at its full value only in
the locality where it was minted, a merchant had to be constantly changing
his money, as he went from one fief to another, and always at a loss.
Kings and nobles for their own profit would often debase the currency by
putting silver into the gold coins and copper into the silver coins. Every
debasement, as it left the coins with less pure metal, lowered their
purchasing power and so raised prices unexpectedly. Even in countries like
England, where debasement was exceptional, much counterfeit money
circulated, to the constant impediment of trade.


The prejudice against "usury," as any lending of money at interest was
called, made another hindrance to business enterprise. It seemed wrong for
a person to receive interest, since he lost nothing by the loan of his
money. Numerous Church laws condemned the receipt of interest as
unchristian. If, however, the lender could show that he had suffered any
loss, or had been prevented from making any gain, through not having his
money, he might charge something for its use. In time people began to
distinguish between interest moderate in amount and an excessive charge
for the use of money. The latter alone was henceforth prohibited as
usurious. Most modern states still have usury laws which fix the legal
rate of interest.


The business of money lending, denied to Christians, fell into the hands
of the Jews. In nearly all European countries popular prejudice forbade
the Jews to engage in agriculture, while the guild regulations barred them
from industry. They turned to trade and finance for a livelihood and
became the chief capitalists of medieval times. But the law gave the Jews
no protection, and kings and nobles constantly extorted large sums from
them. The persecutions of the Jews date from the era of the crusades, when
it was as easy to excite fanatical hatred against them as against the
Moslems. Edward I drove the Jews from England and Ferdinand and Isabella
expelled them from Spain. They are still excluded from the Spanish
peninsula, and in Russia and Austria they are not granted all the
privileges which Christians enjoy.



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