Part 7 out of 15

been a favorite author. No other ancient writer gives us so vivid and
intimate a picture of the classical world.


From the foregoing survey it is clear that the Greeks were pioneers in
many forms of literature. They first composed artistic epic poems. They
invented lyric and dramatic poetry. They were the first to write histories
and biographies. In oratory, as has been seen, they also rose to eminence.
[26] We shall now find that the Greek intellect was no less fertile and
original in the study of philosophy.



The Greek philosophy took its rise in the seventh century B.C., when a few
bold students began to search out the mysteries of the universe. Their
theories were so many and so contradictory, however, that after a time
philosophers gave up the study of nature and proposed in turn to study man
himself. These later thinkers were called sophists. They traveled
throughout Greece, gathering the young men about them and lecturing for
pay on subjects of practical interest. Among other things they taught the
rhetoric and oratory which were needed for success in a public career.


One of the founders of Greek philosophy and the greatest teacher of his
age was Socrates the Athenian. He lived and taught during the period of
the Peloponnesian War. Socrates resembled the sophists in his possession
of an inquiring, skeptical mind which questioned every common belief and
superstition. But he went beyond the sophists in his emphasis on problems
of every-day morality.

Though Socrates wrote nothing, his teaching and personality made a deep
impression on his contemporaries. The Delphic oracle declared that no one
in the world was wiser than Socrates. Yet he lived through a long life at
Athens, a poor man who would neither work at his trade of sculptor, nor
(as did the sophists) accept money for his instruction. He walked the
streets, barefoot and half-clad, and engaged in animated conversation with
anyone who was willing to discuss intellectual subjects with him. Socrates
must have been a familiar figure to the Athenians. His short body, large,
bald head, and homely features hardly presented the ideal of a
philosopher. Even Aristophanes in a comedy laughs at him.

[Illustration: SOCRATES (Vatican Gallery, Rome)]


Late in life Socrates was accused of impiety and of corrupting the youth
of Athens with his doctrines. As a matter of fact he was a deeply
religious man. If he objected to the crude mythology of Homer, he often
spoke of one God, who ruled the world, and of a divine spirit or
conscience within his own breast. A jury court found him guilty, however,
and condemned him to death. He refused to escape from prison when
opportunity offered and passed his last days in eager conversation on the
immortality of the soul. When the hour of departure arrived, he bade his
disciples farewell and calmly drained the cup of hemlock, a poison that
caused a painless death. Although Socrates gave his life for his
philosophy, this did not perish with him.


One of the members of the Socratic circle was Plato, a wealthy noble who
abandoned a public career for the attractions of philosophy. After the
death of Socrates, Plato traveled widely in the Greek world and even
visited Egypt, where he interviewed the learned priests. On his return to
Athens Plato began teaching in the garden and gymnasium called the
Academy. [27] His writings, known as _Dialogues_, are cast in the form of
question and answer that Socrates had used. In most of them Plato makes
Socrates the chief speaker. Plato's works are both profound in thought and
admirable in style. The Athenians used to say that if Zeus had spoken
Greek he would have spoken it as did Plato.


As great a philosopher as Plato, but a far less attractive writer, was
Aristotle. He was not an Athenian by birth, but he passed many years in
Athens, first as a pupil of Plato, who called him the "mind" of the
school, and then as a teacher in the Athenian city. Aristotle seems to
have taken all knowledge for his province. He investigated the ideas
underlying the arts of rhetoric and poetry; he gathered the constitutions
of many Greek states and drew from them some general principles of
politics; he studied collections of strange plants and animals to learn
their structure and habits; he examined the acts and beliefs of men in
order to write books on ethics. In all this investigation Aristotle was
not content to accept what previous men had written or to spin a pleasing
theory out of his own brain. Everywhere he sought for facts; everything he
tried to bring to the test of personal observation. Aristotle, then, was
as much a scientist as a philosopher. His books were reverently studied
for centuries after his death and are still used in our universities.


The system of philosophy called Epicureanism was founded by a Greek named
Epicurus. He taught in Athens during the earlier part of the third century
B.C. Epicurus believed that pleasure is the sole good, pain, the sole
evil. He meant by pleasure not so much the passing enjoyments of the hour
as the permanent happiness of a lifetime. In order to be happy men should
not trouble themselves with useless luxuries, but should lead the "simple
life." They must be virtuous, for virtue will bring more real satisfaction
than vice. Above all, men ought to free themselves from idle hopes and
fears about a future existence. The belief in the immortality of the soul,
said Epicurus, is only a delusion, for both soul and body are material
things which death dissolves into the atoms making up the universe. And if
there are any gods, he declared, they do not concern themselves with human
affairs. Some of the followers of Epicurus seemed to find in his
philosophic system justification for free indulgence in every appetite and
passion. Even to-day, when we call a person an "Epicurean," we think of
him as a selfish pleasure seeker.


The noblest of all pagan philosophies was Stoicism, founded by Zeno, a
contemporary of Epicurus. Virtue, said the Stoic, consists in living
"according to nature," that is, according to the Universal Reason or
Divine Providence that rules the world. The followers of this philosophy
tried, therefore, to ignore the feelings and exalt the reason as a guide
to conduct. They practiced self-denial, despised the pomps and vanities of
the world, and sought to rise above such emotions as grief, fear, hope,
and joy. The doctrines of Stoicism gained many adherents among the Romans
[28] and through them became a real moral force in the ancient world.
Stoicism is even now no outworn creed. Our very word "stoical" is a
synonym for calm indifference to pleasure or to pain.



The beginnings of Roman literature go back to the third century B.C., when
some knowledge of the Greek language became increasingly common in Rome.
The earlier writers--chiefly poets and dramatists--did little original
work, and usually were content to translate and adapt the productions of
Greek authors for Roman audiences. During this period the Romans gradually
discovered the capabilities of their language for prose composition. The
republican institutions of Rome, like those of Athens, were highly
favorable to the art of public speaking. It was the development of oratory
which did most to mold the Latin language into fitness for the varied
forms of prose.


Cicero, the greatest of Roman orators, created a style for Latin prose
composition which has been admired and imitated by men of letters even to
our own day. Latin, in his hands, became a magnificent instrument for the
expression of human thought. Cicero's qualities as an author are shown,
not only by his _Orations_, but also by the numerous _Epistles_ which he
wrote to friends and correspondents in all parts of the Roman world.
Besides their historical interest Cicero's letters are models of what good
letters ought to be--the expression of the writer's real thoughts and
feelings in simple, unstilted language. Cicero also composed a number of
_Dialogues_, chiefly on philosophical themes. If not very profound, they
are delightfully written, and long served as textbooks in the schools.


Another eminent statesman--Julius Caesar--won success in literature. As an
orator he was admitted by his contemporaries to stand second to Cicero.
None of his speeches have survived. We possess, however, his invaluable
_Commentaries_ on the Gallic and Civil wars. These works, though brief and
in most parts rather dull, are highly praised for their simple, concise
style and their mastery of the art of rapid narration.


The half century included within the Augustan Age marks a real epoch in
the history of Latin literature. The most famous poet of this period was
Vergil. The _Aeneid_, which he undertook at the suggestion of Augustus, is
his best-known work. In form the poem is a narrative of the adventures of
the Trojan hero, Aeneas, [29] but its real theme is the growth of Rome
under the fostering care of the gods. The _Aeneid_, though unfinished at
the author's death, became at once what it has always remained--the only
ancient epic worthy of comparison with the _Iliad_ or with the _Odyssey._
Another member of the Augustan circle was Vergil's friend and fellow-
worker, Horace. An imitative poet, Horace reproduced in Latin verse the
forms, and sometimes even the substance, of his Greek models. But, like
Vergil, what Horace borrowed he made his own by the added beauty which he
gave to it. His _Odes_ are perhaps the most admirable examples of literary
art to be found in any language.


The most famous prose writer of the Augustan Age was Livy. His _History of
Rome_, beginning with Romulus and extending to Augustus, traced the rise
and growth of the Roman state during eight centuries of triumphal
progress. It did in prose what Vergil's _Aeneid_ had done in verse.


The period of the "Good Emperors" saw the rise of several important
authors, of whom one, the historian Tacitus, was a man of genius. The
crowning labor of his life was a history of Rome from Tiberius to
Domitian. Of this work, issued under the two titles of _Histories_ and
_Annals_, only about one-half is extant.


Less than two hundred years separate Cicero and Tacitus. During this
period Latin authors, writing under the influence of old Greece,
accomplished much valuable work. Some of their productions are scarcely
inferior to the Greek masterpieces. In later centuries, when Greek
literature was either neglected or forgotten in the West, the literature
of Rome was still read and enjoyed. Even to-day a knowledge of it forms an
essential part of a "classical" education.



The existing monuments of Greek architecture--chiefly ruined temples--
afford some idea of its leading characteristics. The building materials
were limestone and white marble. The blocks of stone were not bound
together by cement, but by metal clamps which held them in a firm grip. It
was usual to color the ornamental parts of a temple and the open spaces
that served as a background for sculpture. The Greeks did not employ the
principle of the arch, in order to cover large spaces with a vaulted
ceiling. Their temples and other public buildings had only flat ceilings,
resting on long rows of columns. The column probably developed from the
wooden post or tree trunk used in timber construction. The capital at the
top of the column originated in the square wooden slab which supported the
heavy beam of the roof.




The two Greek orders of architecture, Doric and Ionic, [30] are
distinguished mainly by differences in the treatment of the column. The
Doric column has no base of its own. The sturdy shaft is grooved
lengthwise with some twenty flutings. The capital is a circular band of
stone capped by a square block, all without decoration. The mainland of
Greece was the especial home of the Doric order. This was also the
characteristic style of southern Italy and Sicily.


The Ionic column rests upon a base. Its shaft is tall and slender. The
beautifully carved capital swells outward into two spiral rolls, the ends
of which are curled under to form the "volutes." The Ionic order
flourished particularly in Asia Minor. It was well known, too, at Athens.

[Illustration: CAPITALS
The highly decorative Corinthian capital, modeled on acanthus leaves, came
into fashion in Alexandrian and Roman times. The Composite capital, as its
name indicates, combined details from the Ionic and Corinthian into one
ornate whole. This and the plain Tuscan capital were quite generally
employed by the Romans.]


The temple formed the chief structure in a Greek city. It was very simple
in outline--merely a rectangular building provided with doors, but without
windows. Around it was a single or a double row of columns. Above them
rose the architrave, a plain band of massive stones which reached from one
column to another. Then came the frieze, adorned with sculptured reliefs,
then the horizontal cornice, and at the ends of the building the
triangular pediments formed by the sloping roof. The pediments were
sometimes decorated with statues. Since the temple was not intended to
hold a congregation of worshipers, but only to contain the image of the
god, the interior usually had little ornamentation.

[Illustration: THE PARTHENON
After serving as a temple for about nine centuries the Parthenon was
turned into a Christian church and later into a Mohammedan mosque. In 1687
A.D. the Venetians bombarded Athens and sent a shell into the center of
the building which the Turks had used as a powder magazine. The result was
an explosion that threw down the side walls and many of the columns.]






Greek temples were not very large, for hugeness was no object to the
builders. They were not even lavishly decorated. Their beauty lies, most
of all, in their harmonious proportions and perfect symmetry. In the best
examples of the Greek temple there are, for instance, no straight lines.
The columns are not set at equal intervals, but closer together near the
corners of the building. The shafts of the columns, instead of tapering
upward at a uniform rate, swell slightly toward the center. The artistic
eyes of the Greeks delighted in such subtle curves. These characteristics
make a classical temple unique of its kind. [31]



The greatest achievement of the Greeks in art was their sculpture. Roman
artists surpassed them in the creation of massive architectural works;
modern artists have surpassed them in painting. In sculpture the Greeks
still remain unexcelled.


The existing remains of Greek sculpture are very scanty. The statues of
gold and ivory vanished long ago. The bronze statues, formerly numbered by
thousands, have nearly all gone into the melting pot. Sculptures in marble
were turned into mortar or used as building materials. Those which escaped
such a fate were often ruined by wanton mutilation and centuries of
neglect. The statues which we still possess are mainly marble copies, made
in Roman times from Greek originals. It is as if the paintings by the old
masters of Europe, four centuries ago, were now known only in the
reproductions by modern artists of inferior powers.


The Greek sculptor worked with a variety of materials. Wood was in common
use during primitive times. Terra cotta was employed at all periods for
statuettes a few inches in height. Productions in gold and ivory, from the
costliness of these objects, were extremely rare. Bronze was the favorite
material of some of the most eminent artists. The Greek sculptor
especially relied on the beautiful marbles in which his country abounded.


The methods employed by the ancient sculptor differed in some respects
from those followed by his modern successors. A Greek marble statue was
usually built up out of several parts. The joining was accomplished with
such skill as to escape ordinary observation. The preliminary work of
hewing out from the rough was done by means of chisels. The surface of the
marble afterwards received a careful polishing with the file, and also
with sand. Marble statues were always more or less painted. The coloring
seems to have been done sparingly, being applied, as a rule, only to the
features and draperies. Still, it is worth while to remember that the pure
white statues of modern sculptors would not have satisfied Greek artists
of the classical age.


Greek sculpture existed in the two forms of bas-reliefs and statuary in
the round. Reliefs were chiefly used for temple pediments and friezes, and
also for the many grave monuments. Statues consisted of the images of the
gods set up in their shrines, the sculptures dedicated as offerings to
divinities, and the figures of statesmen, generals, and victorious
athletes raised in public places and sanctuaries.


This list will show how many were the opportunities which the ancient
sculptor enjoyed. The service of religion created a constant demand for
his genius. The numerous athletic contests and the daily sports of the
gymnasium gave him a chance to study living models in the handsome,
finely-shaped bodies of the contestants. With such inspiration it is not
remarkable that sculpture reached so high a development in ancient Greece.



In architecture the Romans achieved preeminence. The temples and other
public works of Greece seem almost insignificant beside the stupendous
edifices raised by Roman genius in every province of the empire. The
ability of the Romans to build on so large a scale arose from their use of
vaulted constructions. Knowledge of the round arch passed over from the
Orient to the Etruscans and from them to the Romans. [33] At first the
arch was employed mainly for gates, drainage sewers, aqueducts, and
bridges. In imperial times this device was adopted to permit the
construction of vast buildings with overarching domes. The principle of
the dome has inspired some of the finest creations of ancient and modern


The Romans for many of their buildings made much use of concrete. Its
chief ingredient was _pozzolana_, a sand found in great abundance near
Rome and other sites. When mixed with lime, it formed a very strong
cement. This material was poured in a fluid state into timber casings,
where it quickly set and hardened. Small pieces of stone, called rubble,
were also forced down into the cement to give it additional stability.
Buildings of this sort were usually faced with brick, which in turn might
be covered with thin slabs of marble, thus producing an attractive


The triumphs of Roman architecture were not confined chiefly to sacred
edifices. Roman temples, indeed, are mostly copies from the Greek. In
comparison with their originals, they lack grace and refinement. There is
less accuracy in the masonry fitting and far less careful attention to
details of construction. A frequent departure from Greek models is found
in the restriction of the rows of pillars to the front of the building,
while the sides and rear are lined with "engaged" columns to give the idea
of a colonnade. [34] More characteristically Roman are vaulted temples,
such as the Pantheon, [35] where the circular dome is faced with a Greek


Roman basilicas, of which only the ruins are now in existence, were once
found in every city. These were large, lofty buildings for the use of
judges and merchants. The chief feature of a basilica was the spacious
central hall flanked by a single or double row of columns, forming aisles
and supporting the flat roof. At one end of the hall was a semicircular
recess--the apse--where the judges held court. This arrangement of the
interior bears a close resemblance to the plan of the early Christian
church with its nave, choir (or chancel) and columned aisles. The
Christians, in fact, seem to have taken the familiar basilicas as the
models for their places of worship.

The hall measured 360 feet in length and 180 feet in width.]

Built by the Emperor Trajan in connection with his Forum at Rome.]


Perhaps the most imposing, and certainly among the most useful, of Roman
structures were aqueducts. [36] There were sixty-eight in Italy and the
provinces. No less than fourteen supplied the capital city with water. The
aqueducts usually ran under the surface of the ground, as do our water
pipes. They were carried on arches only across depressions and valleys.
The Claudian aqueduct ran for thirty-six miles underground and for nine
and a half miles on arches. Though these monuments were intended simply as
engineering works, their heavy masses of rough masonry produce an
inspiring sense of power.

[Illustration: A ROMAN AQUEDUCT
The Pont du Gard near Nimes (ancient Nemausus) in southern France. Built
by the emperor Antoninus Pius. The bridge spans two hilltops nearly a
thousand feet apart. It carries an aqueduct with three tiers of massive
stone arches at a height of 160 feet above the stream. This is the finest
and best preserved aqueduct in existence.]


The abundant water supply furnished by the aqueducts was connected with a
system of great public baths, or _thermae_. [37] Scarcely a town or
village throughout the empire lacked one or more such buildings. Those at
Rome were constructed on a scale of magnificence of which we can form but
a slight conception from the ruins now in existence. In addition to many
elaborate arrangements for the bathers, the _thermae_ included lounging
and reading rooms, libraries, gymnasia, and even museums and galleries of
art. The baths, indeed, were splendid clubhouses, open at little or no
expense to every citizen of the metropolis.

[Illustration: THE COLOSSEUM]


A very characteristic example of Roman building is found in the triumphal
arches. [38] Their sides were adorned with bas-reliefs, which pictured the
principal scenes of a successful campaign. Memorial structures, called
columns of victory, [39] were also set up in Rome and other cities. Both
arch and column have been frequently imitated by modern architects.

[Illustration: A ROMAN CAMEO
Portrait of a youth cut in sardonyx. Probably of the first century A.D.]


The palaces of Roman emperors and nobles, together with their luxurious
country houses, or villas, have all disappeared. A like fate has befallen
the enormous circuses, such as the Circus Maximus [40] at Rome and the
Hippodrome [41] at Constantinople. The Roman theaters that still survive
reproduce, in most respects, the familiar outlines of the Greek
structures. In the amphitheaters, where animal shows and gladiatorial
combats were exhibited, we have a genuinely Roman invention. The gigantic
edifice, called the Colosseum, in its way as truly typifies Roman
architectural genius as the Parthenon represents at its best that of the


Roman sculpture owed much to Greek models. However, the portrait statues
and bas-reliefs show originality and illustrate the tendency of the Romans
toward realism in art. The sculptor tried to represent an historic person
as he really looked or an historic event, for example, a battle or a
triumphal procession, as it actually happened. The portrait statues of
Roman emperors and the bas-reliefs from the arch of Titus impress us at
once with a sense of their reality.


Our knowledge of Roman painting is almost wholly confined to the wall
paintings found at Rome, Herculaneum, and Pompeii. What has survived is
apparently the work of ordinary craftsmen, who, if not Greeks, were deeply
affected by the Greek spirit. Most of the scenes they depict are taken
from classical mythology. The coloring is very rich; and the peculiar
shade of red used is known to-day by the name of "Pompeian red." The
practice of mural painting passed over from the Romans to European
artists, who have employed it in the frescoes of medieval and modern



Athens and Rome were the artistic centers of the classical world.
Architects, sculptors, and painters lavished their finest efforts on the
adornment of these two capitals. Here there are still to be seen some of
the most beautiful and impressive monuments of antiquity.


Athens lies in the center of the Attic plain, about four miles from the
sea. [42] The city commands a magnificent view of purple-hued mountains
and the shining waters of the Aegean. Roads approached the ancient city
from all parts of Attica. Among these were the highway from Piraeus,
running between the Long Walls, [43] and the Sacred Way from Eleusis,
where the famous mysteries were yearly celebrated. [44] The suburbs of
Athens included the Outer Ceramicus, part of which was used as a national
cemetery, and a pleasure ground and gymnasium on the banks of the
Cephissus, called the Academy. Another resort, known as the Lyceum,
bordered the little stream of the Ilissus.


The traveler who passed through these suburbs came at length to the great
wall, nearly five miles in circumference, raised by Themistocles to
surround the settlement at the foot of the Acropolis. [45] The area
included within this wall made up Old Athens. About six centuries after
Themistocles the Roman emperor Hadrian, by building additional
fortifications on the east, brought an extensive quarter, called New
Athens, inside the city limits.


The region within the walls was broken up by a number of rocky eminences
which have a prominent place in the topography of Athens. Near the center
the Acropolis rises more than two hundred feet above the plain, its summit
crowned with monuments of the Periclean Age. Not far away is the hill
called the Areopagus. Here the Council of the Areopagus, a court of
justice in trials for murder, held its deliberations in the open air.
Beyond this height is the hill of the Pnyx. This was the meeting place of
the Athenian Assembly until the fourth century B.C., when the sessions
were transferred to the theater of Dionysus.

[Illustration: Map, ATHENS]


The business and social center of an ancient city was the agora or market
place. The Athenian Agora lay in the hollow north of the Areopagus and
Acropolis. The square was shaded by rows of plane trees and lined with
covered colonnades. In the great days of the city, when the Agora was
filled with countless altars and shrines, it presented a most varied and
attractive scene.


Not all the splendid structures in Athens were confined to the Agora and
the Acropolis. On a slight eminence not far from the Agora, rose the so-
called "Theseum," [46] a marble temple in the Doric order. Another famous
temple, the colossal edifice known as the Olympieum, lay at some distance
from the Acropolis on the southeast. Fifteen of the lofty columns with
their Corinthian capitals are still standing. The theater of Dionysus [47]
is in a fair state of preservation. Beyond this are the remains of the
Odeum, or "Hall of Song," used for musical contests and declamations. The
original building was raised by Pericles, in imitation, it is said, of the
tent of Xerxes. The present ruins are those of the structure erected in
the second century A.D. by a public-spirited benefactor of Athens.


The adornment of the Acropolis formed perhaps the most memorable
achievement of Pericles. [48] This rocky mount was approached on the
western side by a flight of sixty marble steps. To the right of the
stairway rose a small but very beautiful Ionic temple dedicated to Athena.
Having mounted the steps, the visitor passed through the superb entrance
gate, or Propylaea, which was constructed to resemble the front of a
temple with columns and pediment. Just beyond the Propylaea stood a great
bronze statue of the Guardian Athena, a masterpiece of the sculptor




The Erechtheum, a temple which occupies part of the Acropolis, is in the
Ionic style. It may be regarded as the best existing example of this light
and graceful order. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the porch of
the Caryatides, with a marble roof supported by six pillars carved in the
semblance of maidens. [49] This curious but striking device has been often
copied by modern architects.


The other temple on the Acropolis is the world-famed edifice known as the
Parthenon, the shrine of the Virgin of the Athena. [50] The Parthenon
illustrates the extreme simplicity of a Greek temple. It had no great size
or height and included only two chambers. The rear room stored sacred
vessels and furniture used in worship, state treasure, and the more
valuable offerings intrusted to the goddess for safekeeping. The second
and larger room contained a colossal gold and ivory statue of Athena, the
work of Phidias. It faced the eastern entrance so that it might be bathed
in the rays of the rising sun. Apart from the large doors a certain amount
of light reached the interior through the semi-transparent marble tiles of
the roof. The Doric columns surrounding the building are marvels of fine
workmanship. The Parthenon, because of its perfection of construction and
admirable proportions, is justly regarded as a masterpiece of

The larger room (cella) measured exactly one hundred feet in length.]


The Parthenon was also remarkable for its sculptures [51] executed under
the superintendence of Phidias. The subjects of the pediment sculptures
are taken from the mythic history of Athena. The frieze of the Parthenon
consists of a series of sculptured slabs, over five hundred feet in
length. The subject was the procession of the Great Panathenaea, [52] the
principal festival in honor of Athena. At this time the sacred robe of the
goddess, woven anew for each occasion, was brought to adorn her statue.
The procession is thought of as starting from the western front, where
Athenian youths dash forward on their spirited steeds. Then comes a
brilliant array of maidens, matrons, soldiers, and luteplayers. Near the
center of the eastern front they meet a group of divinities, who are
represented as spectators of the imposing scene. This part of the frieze
is still in excellent condition.


It was, indeed, a splendid group of buildings that rose on the Acropolis
height. If to-day they have lost much of their glory, we can still
understand how they were the precious possession of the Athenians and the
wonder of all the ancient world. "O shining, violet-crowned city of song,
great Athens, bulwark of Hellas, walls divine!" The words are those of an
old Greek poet, [53] but they are reechoed by all who have come under the
magic spell of the literature and art of the Athenian city.



The monuments of Rome, unlike those of Athens, cannot lay claim to great
antiquity. The destruction wrought by the Gauls in 390 B.C. and the great
fire under Nero in 64 A.D. removed nearly all traces of the regal and
republican city. Many buildings erected in the imperial age have also
disappeared, because in medieval and modern times the inhabitants of Rome
used the ancient edifices as quarries. The existing monuments give only a
faint idea of the former magnificence of the capital city.


The city of Rome lies on the Tiber. Where the river approaches Rome it
makes two sharp turns, first to the west and then to the east. On the
western, or Etruscan, bank stood the two hills called Vatican and
Janiculum. They were higher than the famous seven which rose on the
eastern side, where the ancient city was built. Two of these seven hills
possess particular interest. The earliest settlement, as we have seen,
[54] probably occupied the Palatine. It became in later days the favorite
site for the town houses of Roman nobles. In the imperial age the splendid
palaces of the Caesars were located here. The Capitoline, steepest of the
seven hills, was divided into two peaks. On one of these rose the most
famous of all Roman temples, dedicated to Jupiter and his companion
deities, Juno and Minerva. The other peak was occupied by a large temple
of Juno Moneta ("the Adviser"), which served as the mint. The altars,
shrines, and statues which once covered this height were so numerous that
the Capitoline, like the Athenian Acropolis, became a museum of art.

[Illustration: Map, ROME]


Rome in early times was surrounded by a wall which bore the name of its
legendary builder, Servius Tullius. The present fortifications were not
constructed until the reign of the emperor Aurelian. [55] The ancient city
was closely built up, with only two great open spaces, in addition to the
Forum. These were the Circus Maximus, in the hollow between the Palatine
Mount and the Aventine, and the Campus Martius, stretching along the Tiber
to the northwest of the Capitoline Hill.


Following the map of ancient Rome under the empire we may note the more
important monuments which still exist in something like their original
condition. Across the Tiber and beyond the Campus Martius stands the
mausoleum of Hadrian. [56] The most notable structure in the Campus
Martius is the Pantheon. [57] It is the one ancient building in the entire
Roman world which still survives, inside and out, in a fair state of
preservation. The depression between the Caelian and Esquiline hills
contains the Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum. [58] It
was begun by Vespasian and probably completed by Titus. No less than
eighty entrances admitted the forty-five thousand spectators who could be
accommodated in this huge structure. Despite the enormous mass of the
present ruins probably two-thirds of the original materials have been
carried away to be used in other buildings. Close to the Colosseum stands
the arch [59] erected by the Senate in honor of the victory of Constantine
over his rival Maxentius. From this event is dated the triumph of
Christianity in the Roman state. The ruins of the huge baths of Caracalla
lie about half a mile from the Colosseum. Near the center of the city are
the remains of the Forum added by Trajan to the accommodations of the
original Forum. It contains the column of Trajan [60] under which that
emperor was buried.


The Forum lies in the valley north of the Palatine Hill. It was the
business and social center of the Roman city. During the Middle Ages the
site was buried in ruins and rubbish, in some places to a depth of forty
feet or more. Recent excavations have restored the ancient level and
uncovered the remains of the ancient structures.




The Forum could be approached from the east by one of the most famous
streets in the world, the Roman Sacred Way. The illustration of the Forum
at the present time gives a view, looking eastward from the Capitoline
Mount, and shows several of the buildings on or near the Sacred Way. At
the left are seen the ruins of the basilica of Constantine. Farther in the
distance the Colosseum looms up. Directly ahead is the arch of Titus,
which commemorates the capture of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. [61] The ruins of
the palaces of the Caesars occupy the slopes of the Palatine.


The only well-preserved monument in the Forum is the beautiful arch
erected by the emperor Septimius Severus. Beyond it are three columns
which once formed part of the temple of Castor. They date from the time of
Tiberius. In front are the foundations of the Basilica Julia, built by
Augustus. Next come eight Ionic columns, all that remain of the temple of
Saturn. Near it and in the foreground are several columns in the
Corinthian style, belonging to a temple built by Vespasian.


These ruined monuments, these empty foundations and lonely pillars, afford
little idea of all the wealth of architecture that once adorned this spot.
Here stood the circular shrine of Vesta, [62] guarding the altar and its
ever-blazing fire. Here was the temple of Concord, famous in Roman
history. [63] The Senate-house was here, and just before it, the Rostra, a
platform adorned with the beaks (_rostra_) of captured ships. From this
place Roman orators addressed their assembled fellow-citizens.


How splendid a scene must have greeted an observer in ancient times who,
from the height of the Capitol, gazed at the city before him. The Forum
was then one radiant avenue of temples, triumphal arches, columns, and
shrines. And beyond the Forum stretched a magnificent array of theaters
and amphitheaters, enormous baths, colossal sepulchers, and statues in
stone and bronze. So prodigious an accumulation of objects beautiful,
costly, and rare has never before or since been found on earth.


1. What is the origin of our words _pedagogue_, _symposium_, _circus_, and

2. Make a list of such Roman names as you have met in your reading.

3. Write a letter describing an imaginary visit to the theater of Dionysus
during the performance of a tragedy.

4. What did civic patriotism mean to the Greek and to the Roman?

5. Have we anything to learn from the Greeks about the importance of
training in music?

6. What were the schoolbooks of Greek boys?

7. What features of Athenian education are noted in the illustration, page

8. How did the position of women at Athens differ from their position in
Homeric Greece?

9. Why does classical literature contain almost no "love stories," or

10. What contrasts exist between the ancient and the modern house?

11. Describe a Roman litter (illustration, page 263).

12. What differences exist between an ancient and a modern theatre?

13. What features of our "circus" recall the proceedings at the Roman

14. How many holidays (including Sundays) are there in your state? How do
they compare in number with those at Rome in the reign of Marcus Aurelius?

15. Describe the theater of Dionysus (illustration, page 264).

16. What is the "Socratic method" of teaching?

17. How did the Greeks manage to build solidly without the use of mortar?

18. Discuss the appropriateness of the terms: _severe_ Doric; _graceful_
Ionic; _ornate_ Corinthian.

19. Can you find examples of any of the Greek orders in public buildings
familiar to you?

20. How do you explain the almost total loss of original Greek sculptures?

21. By reference to the illustrations, page 279, explain the following
terms: _shaft_; _capital_; _architrave_; _frieze;_ and _cornice._

22. Explain the "Greek profile" seen in the Aphrodite of Cnidus and the
Apollo of the Belvedere (plate facing page 76).

23. Name five famous works of Greek sculpture which exist to-day only in
Roman copies.

24. What is your favorite Greek statue? Why do you like it?

25. "The dome, with the round arch out of which it sprang, is the most
fertile conception in the whole history of building." Justify this

26. What famous examples of domed churches and public buildings are
familiar to you?

27. What artistic objections to the use of "engaged columns" can you

28. Discuss the revival of cement construction in modern times. What are
its special advantages?

29. What examples of triumphal arches in the United States and France are
known to you?

30. Do you know of any modern columns of victory?

31. Why is it likely that the bust of Nerva (illustration, page 200) is a
more faithful likeness than that of Pericles (illustration, page 103)?

32. Write a brief essay describing an imaginary walk on the Athenian
Acropolis in the Age of Pericles.

33. Enumerate the most important contributions to civilization made in
classical antiquity.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Ancient History_, chapter xxi, "Roman Life as
Seen in Pliny's Letters"; chapter xxii, "A Satirist of Roman Society."

[2] Euripides, _Iphigenia in Tauris_, 57.

[3] See page 237.

[4] In "Marcus Tullius Cicero," "Marcus," the _praenomen_, corresponds to
our "given" name; "Tullius," the _nomen_, marks the clan, or _gens;_
"Cicero," the _cognomen_, indicates the family.

[5] See pages 151, 206.

[6] See page 218.

[7] See page 148.

[8] See page 144.

[9] See the illustrations, pages 117, 271.

[10] The corresponding names of women's garments were _stola_ and

[11] See page 199.

[12] See the illustration, page 145.

[13] See page 288.

[14] See page 285.

[15] Panathenaic means 'belonging to all the Athenians.' See page 292.

[16] See page 234.

[17] See page 200.

[18] _Panem et circenses_ (Juvenal x, 80-81).

[19] See page 215.

[20] See pages 436, 463.

[21] See page 73.

[22] See page 80.

[23] See page 120.

[24] See page 265.

[25] See page 121.

[26] See page 117.

[27] See page 261.

[28] See page 226.

[29] See page 142.

[30] The so-called Corinthian order differs from the Ionic only in its

[31] For illustrations of Greek temples, see pages 89, 101.

[32] For illustrations of Greek statues see pages 80, 81, 103, 117, 119,
129, 271 and the plates facing pages 76, 77, 80, 130, 131.

[33] See pages 61, 138.

[34] See the illustration, page 215.

[35] See the illustration, page 202.

[36] See the illustrations, pages 157, 285.

[37] See page 263.

[38] See the illustration, page 236.

[39] See the illustrations, pages 163, 201.

[40] See the illustration, page 266.

[41] See the illustration, page 339.

[42] See the map, page 107.

[43] See page 108.

[44] See page 227.

[45] See page 100.

[46] See the illustration, page 101.

[47] See the illustration, page 264.

[48] See page 108.

[49] See the plate facing page 281.

[50] See the plate facing page 280.

[51] See the plate facing page 281.

[52] See page 264.

[53] Pindar, _Fragments_, 76.

[54] See page 140.

[55] See the illustration, page 220.

[56] See the illustration, page 203.

[57] See the illustration, page 202.

[58] See the illustration, page 286.

[59] See the illustration, page 236.

[60] See the illustration, page 201.

[61] See the plate facing page 198.

[62] See page 146.

[63] See page 177.





We are not to suppose that the settlement of Germans within the Roman
Empire ended with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, near the close of
the fifth century. The following centuries witnessed fresh invasions and
the establishment of new Germanic states. The study of these troubled
times leads us from the classical world to the world of medieval Europe,
from the history of antiquity to the history of the Middle Ages.


The kingdom which Odoacer established on Italian soil did not long endure.
It was soon overthrown by the Ostrogoths. At the time of the "fall" of
Rome in 476 A.D. they occupied a district south of the middle Danube,
which the government at Constantinople had hired them to defend. The
Ostrogoths proved to be expensive and dangerous allies. When, therefore,
their chieftain, Theodoric, offered to lead his people into Italy and
against Odoacer, the Roman emperor gladly sanctioned the undertaking.


Theodoric led the Ostrogoths--women and children as well as warriors--
across the Alps and came down to meet Odoacer and his soldiers in battle.
After suffering several defeats, Odoacer shut himself up in the strong
fortress of Ravenna. Theodoric could not capture the place and at last
agreed to share with Odoacer the government of Italy, if the latter would
surrender. The agreement was never carried into effect. When Theodoric
entered Ravenna, he invited Odoacer to a great feast and at its conclusion
slew him in cold blood. Theodoric had now no rival in Italy.


Though Theodoric gained the throne by violence and treachery, he soon
showed himself to be, as a ruler, wise, broad-minded, and humane. He had
lived as a youth in the imperial court at Constantinople and there had
become well acquainted with Roman ideas of law and order. Roman
civilization impressed him; and he wished not to destroy but to preserve
it. Theodoric reigned in Italy for thirty-three years, and during this
time the country enjoyed unbroken peace and prosperity.

A two storied marble building erected by Theodoric in imitation of a Roman
tomb. The roof is a single block of marble 33 feet in diameter and
weighing more than 300 tons. Theodoric's body was subsequently removed
from its resting place, and the mausoleum was converted into a church.]


The enlightened policy of Theodoric was exhibited in many ways. He
governed Ostrogoths and Romans with equal consideration. He kept all the
old offices, such as the senatorship and the consulate, and by preference
filled them with men of Roman birth. His chief counselors were Romans. A
legal code, which he drew up for the use of Ostrogoths and Romans alike,
contained only selections from Roman law. He was remarkably tolerant and,
in spite of the fact that the Ostrogoths were Arians, [2] was always ready
to extend protection to Catholic Christians. Theodoric patronized
literature and gave high positions to Roman writers. He restored the
cities of Italy, had the roads and aqueducts repaired, and so improved the
condition of agriculture that Italy, from a wheat-importing, became a
wheat-exporting, country. At Ravenna, the Ostrogothic capital, Theodoric
erected many notable buildings, including a palace, a mausoleum, and
several churches. The remains of these structures are still to be seen.


The influence of Theodoric reached far beyond Italy. He allied himself by
marriage with most of the Germanic rulers of the West. His second wife was
a Frankish foreign princess, his sister was the wife of a Vandal
chieftain, one of his daughters married a king of the Visigoths, and
another daughter wedded a Burgundian king. Theodoric by these alliances
brought about friendly relations between the various barbarian peoples. It
seemed, in fact, as if the Roman dominions in the West might again be
united under a single ruler; as if the Ostrogoths might be the Germanic
people to carry on the civilizing work of Rome. But no such good fortune
was in store for Europe.


Theodoric died in 526 A.D. The year after his death, a great emperor,
Justinian, came to the throne at Constantinople. Justinian had no
intention of abandoning to the Ostrogothic Germans the rich provinces of
Sicily and Italy. Although the Ostrogoths made a stubborn resistance to
his armies, in the end they were so completely overcome that they agreed
to withdraw from the Italian peninsula. The feeble remnant of their nation
filed sadly through the passes of the Alps and, mingling with other
barbarian tribes, disappeared from history.

103. THE LOMBARDS IN ITALY, 568-774 A.D.


The destruction of the Ostrogothic kingdom did not free Italy of the
Germans. Soon after Justinian's death the country was again overrun, this
time by the Lombards. The name of these invaders (in Latin, _Langobardi_)
may have been derived from the long beards that gave them such a ferocious
aspect. The Lombards were the last of the Germanic peoples to quit their
northern wilderness and seek new homes in sunny Italy. They seized the
territory north of the river Po--a region ever since known as Lombardy--
and established their capital at Pavia. The Lombards afterwards made many
settlements in central and southern Italy, but never succeeded in subduing
the entire peninsula.



The rule of the Lombards at first bore hardly on Italy, which they treated
as a conquered land. In character they seem to been far less attractive
than their predecessors the Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Many of them were
still heathen when they entered Italy and others were converts to the
Arian [3] form of Christianity. In course of time, however, the Lombards
accepted Roman Catholicism and adopted the customs of their subjects. They
even forgot their Germanic language and learned to speak Latin. The
Lombard kingdom lasted over two centuries, until it was overthrown by the
Franks. [4]


The failure of the Lombards to conquer all Italy had important results in
later history. Sicily and the extreme southern part of the Italian
peninsula, besides large districts containing the cities of Naples, Rome,
Genoa, Venice, and Ravenna, continued to belong to the Roman Empire in the
East. The rulers at Constantinople could not exercise effective control
over their Italian possessions, now that these were separated from one
another by the Lombard territories. The consequence was that Italy broke
up into a number of small and practically independent states, which never
combined into one kingdom until our own time. The ideal of a united Italy
waited thirteen hundred years for its realization. [5]



We have already met the Franks in their home on the lower Rhine, from
which they pushed gradually into Roman territory. [6] In 486 A.D., just
ten years after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, the Franks went
forth to conquer under Clovis, [7] one of their chieftains. By overcoming
the governor of Roman Gaul, in a battle near Soissons, Clovis destroyed
the last vestige of imperial rule in the West and extended the Frankish
dominions to the river Loire. Clovis then turned against his German
neighbors. East of the Franks, in the region now known as Alsace, lived
the Alamanni, a people whose name still survives in the French name of
Germany. [8] The Alamanni were defeated in a great battle near Strassburg
(496 A.D.), and much of their territory was added to that of the Franks.
Clovis subsequently conquered the Visigothic possessions between the Loire
and the Pyrenees, and compelled the Burgundians to pay tribute. Thus
Clovis made himself supreme over nearly the whole of Gaul and even
extended his authority to the other side of the Rhine. This great work
entitles him to be called the founder of the French nation.


Clovis reigned in western Europe as an independent king, but he
acknowledged a sort of allegiance to the Roman emperor by accepting the
title of honorary consul. Henceforth to the Gallo-Romans he represented
the distant ruler at Constantinople. The Roman inhabitants of Gaul were
not oppressed; their cities were preserved; and their language and laws
were undisturbed. Clovis, as a statesman, may be compared with his eminent
contemporary, Theodoric the Ostrogoth.


The Franks were still a heathen people, when they began their career of
conquest. Clovis, however, had married a Burgundian princess, Clotilda,
who was a devout Catholic and an ardent advocate of Christianity. The
story is told how, when Clovis was hard-pressed by the Alamanni at the
battle of Strassburg, he vowed that if Clotilda's God gave him victory he
would become a Christian. The Franks won, and Clovis, faithful to his vow,
had himself baptized by St. Remi, bishop of Reims. "Bow down thy head,"
spoke the bishop, as the Frankish king approached the font, "adore what
thou hast burned, burn what thou has adored." [9] With Clovis were
baptized on that same day three thousand of his warriors.

[Illustration: Map, GROWTH OF THE FRANKISH DOMINIONS, 481-768 A.D.]


The conversion of Clovis was an event of the first importance. He and his
Franks naturally embraced the orthodox Catholic faith, which was that of
his wife, instead of the Arian form of Christianity, which had been
accepted by almost all the other Germanic invaders. Thus, by what seems
the merest accident, Catholicism, instead of Arianism, became the religion
of a large part of western Europe. More than this, the conversion of
Clovis gained for the Frankish king and his successors the support of
conversion the Roman Church. The friendship between the popes and the
Franks afterwards ripened into a close alliance which greatly influenced
European history.


The descendants of Clovis are called Merovingians. [10] They occupied the
throne of the Franks for nearly two hundred and fifty years. The annals of
their reigns form an unpleasant catalogue of bloody wars, horrible
murders, and deeds of treachery without number. Nevertheless, the earlier
Merovingians were strong men, under whose direction the Frankish territory
continued to expand, until it included nearly all of what is now France,
Belgium, and Holland, besides a considerable part of Germany.


The Frankish conquests differed in two important respects from those of
the other Germanic peoples. In the first place, the Franks did not cut
themselves off completely from their original homes. They kept permanently
their territory in Germany, drawing from it continual reinforcements of
fresh German blood. In the second place, the Franks steadily added new
German lands to their possessions. They built up in this way what was the
largest and the most permanent of all the barbarian states founded on the
ruins of the Roman Empire.



After the middle of the seventh century the Frankish rulers, worn out by
violence and excesses, degenerated into weaklings, who reigned but did not
rule. The actual management of the state passed into the hands of
officers, called "mayors of the palace." They left to the kings little
more than their title, their long hair,--the badge of royalty among the
Franks,--and a scanty allowance for their support. The later Merovingians,
accordingly, are often known as the "do-nothing kings."


The most illustrious of these mayors was Charles, surnamed Martel, "the
Hammer," from the terrible defeat which he administered to the Mohammedans
near Tours, in central France. [11] Charles Martel was virtually a king,
but he never ventured to set aside the Merovingian ruler and himself
ascend the throne. This step was taken, however, by Charles's son, Pepin
the Short.


Before dethroning the last feeble "do-nothing," Pepin sought the approval
of the bishop of Rome. The pope, without hesitation, declared that it was
only right that the man who had the real authority in the state should
have the royal title also. Pepin, accordingly, caused himself to be
crowned king of the Franks, thus founding the Carolingian [12] dynasty.
(751 A.D.). Three years later Pope Stephen II came to Pepin's court and
solemnly anointed the new ruler with holy oil, in accordance with ancient
Jewish custom. The rite of anointing, something unknown to the Germans,
gave to Pepin's coronation the sanction of the Roman Church. Henceforth
the Frankish sovereigns called themselves "kings by the grade of God."


Pepin was soon able to repay his great obligation to the Roman Church by
becoming its protector against the Lombards. These barbarians, who were
trying to extend their rule in Italy, threatened to capture Rome and the
territory in the vicinity of that city, then under the control of the
pope. Pepin twice entered Italy with his army, defeated the Lombards, and
forced them to cede to Pope Stephen an extensive district lying between
Rome and Ravenna. Pepin might have returned this district to the emperor
at Constantinople, to whom it belonged, but the Frankish king declared
that he had not fought for the advantage of any man but for the welfare of
his own soul. He decided, therefore, to bestow his conquests on St.
Peter's representative, the pope. Before this time the bishops of Rome had
owned much land in Italy and had acted as virtual sovereigns in Rome and
its neighborhood. Pepin's gift, known as the "Donation of Pepin," greatly
increased their possessions, which came to be called the States of the
Church. They remained in the hands of the popes until late in the
nineteenth century. [13]



Pepin was succeeded in 768 A.D. by his two sons, one of whom, Charlemagne,
three years later became sole king of the Franks. Charlemagne reigned for
nearly half a century, and during this time he set his stamp on all later
European history. His character and personality are familiar to us from a
brief biography, written by his secretary, Einhard. Charlemagne, we learn,
was a tall, square-shouldered, strongly built man, with bright, keen eyes,
and an expression at once cheerful and dignified. Riding, hunting, and
swimming were his favorite sports. He was simple in his tastes and very
temperate in both food and drink. Except when in Rome, he wore the old
Frankish costume, with high-laced boots, linen tunic, blue cloak, and
sword girt at his side. He was a clear, fluent speaker, used Latin as
readily as his native tongue, and understood Greek when it was spoken. "He
also tried to learn to write and often kept his tablets and writing book
under the pillow of his couch, that, when he had leisure, he might
practice his hand in forming letters; but he made little progress in this
task, too long deferred and begun too late in life." [14] For the times,
however, Charlemagne was a well-educated man--by no means a barbarian.

[Illustration: CHARLEMAGNE (Lateran Museum, Rome)
A mosaic picture, made during the lifetime of Charlemagne and probably a
fair likeness of him.]


Much of Charlemagne's long life, almost to its close, was filled with
warfare. He fought chiefly against the still-heathen peoples on the
frontiers of the Frankish realm. The subjugation of the Saxons, who lived
in the forests and marshes of northwestern Germany, took many years.
Charlemagne at the head of a great army would invade their territory, beat
them in battle, and receive their submission, only to find his work undone
by a sudden rising of the liberty-loving natives, after the withdrawal of
the Franks. Once when Charlemagne was exasperated by a fresh revolt, he
ordered forty-five hundred prisoners to be executed. This savage massacre
was followed by equally severe laws, which threatened with death all
Saxons who refused baptism or observed the old heathen rites. By such
harsh means Charlemagne at length broke down the spirit of resistance
among the people. All Saxony, from the Rhine to the Elbe, became a
Christian land and a permanent part of the Frankish realm.

A fillet of iron, which, according to pious legend, had been beaten out of
one of the nails of the True Cross. It came to the Lombards as a gift from
Pope Gregory I. as a reward for their conversion to Roman Catholicism.
During the Middle Ages it was used to crown the German emperors kings of
Italy. This precious relic is now kept in a church at Monza in northern


Shortly after the beginning of the Saxon wars the king of the Franks
received an urgent summons from the pope, who was again being threatened
by his old enemies, the Lombards. Charlemagne led a mighty host across the
Alps, captured Pavia, where the Lombard ruler had taken refuge, and added
his possessions to those of the Franks. Thus passed away one more of the
Germanic states which had arisen on the ruins of the Roman Empire.
Charlemagne now placed on his own head the famous "Iron Crown," and
assumed the title of "King of the Franks and Lombards, and Patrician of
the Romans."


Charlemagne's conquests were not confined to Germanic peoples. He forced
the wild Avars, who had advanced from the Caspian into the Danube valley,
to acknowledge his supremacy. He compelled various Slavic tribes,
including the Bohemians, to pay tribute. He also invaded Spain and wrested
from the Moslems the district between the Ebro River and the Pyrenees. By
this last conquest Charlemagne may be said to have begun the recovery of
the Spanish peninsula from Mohammedan rule. [15]

[Illustration: Map, EUROPE In the Age of Charlemagne, 800 A.D.]


Charlemagne was a statesman, as well as a warrior. He divided his wide
dominions into counties, each one ruled by a count, who was expected to
keep order and administer justice. The border districts, which lay exposed
to invasion, were organized into "marks," under the military supervision
of counts of the mark, or margraves (marquises). These officials had so
much power and lived so far from the royal court that it was necessary for
Charlemagne to appoint special agents, called _missi dominici_ ("the
lord's messengers"), to maintain control over them. The _missi_ were
usually sent out in pairs, a layman and a bishop or abbot, in order that
the one might serve as a check upon the other. They traveled from county
to county, bearing the orders of their royal master and making sure that
these orders were promptly obeyed. In this way Charlemagne kept well
informed as to the condition of affairs throughout his kingdom.


Charlemagne made a serious effort to revive classical culture in the West
from the low state into which it had fallen during the period of the
invasions. We still possess a number of laws issued by this Frankish king
for the promotion of education. He founded schools in the monasteries and
cathedrals, where not only the clergy but also the common people might
receive some training. He formed his whole court into a palace school, in
which learned men from Italy, Spain, and England gave instruction to his
own children and those of his nobles. The king himself often studied with
them, under the direction of his good friend, Alcuin, an Englishman and
the foremost scholar in western Europe. He had the manuscripts of Latin
authors collected and copied, so that the knowledge preserved in books
should not be forgotten. All this civilizing work, together with the peace
and order which he maintained throughout a wide territory, made his reign
the most brilliant period of the early Middle Ages.

Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) was the capital city and favorite residence of
Charlemagne. The church which he built here was almost entirely destroyed
by the Northmen in the tenth century. The octagonal building surmounted by
a dome which forms the central part of the present cathedral is a
restoration of the original structure. The marble columns pavements and
mosaics of Charlemagne's church were brought by him from Ravenna.]



Charlemagne, the champion of Christendom and the foremost ruler in Europe,
seemed to the men of his day the rightful successor of the Roman emperors.
He had their power, and now he was to have their name. In the year 800
A.D. the Frankish king visited Rome to investigate certain accusations
made against the pope, Leo III, by his enemies in the city. Charlemagne
absolved Leo of all wrong-doing and restored him to his office.
Afterwards, on Christmas Day Charlemagne went to old St. Peter's Church,
where the pope was saying Mass. As the king, dressed in the rich robes of
a Roman patrician, knelt in prayer before the high altar, the pope
suddenly placed on his head a golden crown, while all the people cried out
with one voice, "Long life and victory to Charles Augustus, the great and
pacific emperor of the Romans, crowned by God!"


Although Charlemagne appears to have been surprised by the pope's act, we
know that he wished to become emperor. The imperial title would confer
upon him greater dignity and honor, though not greater power, than he
possessed as king of the Franks and of the Lombards. The pope, in turn,
was glad to reward the man who had protected the Church and had done so
much to spread the Catholic faith among the heathen. The Roman people also
welcomed the coronation, because they felt that the time had come for Rome
to assume her old place as the capital of the world. To reject the eastern
ruler, in favor of the great Frankish king, was an emphatic method of
asserting Rome's independence of Constantinople.


The coronation of Charlemagne was one of the most important events in
medieval history. It might be thought a small matter that he should take
the imperial title, when he already exercised imperial sway throughout
western Europe. But Charlemagne's contemporaries believed that the old
Roman Empire had now been revived, and a German king now sat on the throne
once occupied by Augustus and Constantine. Henceforth there was
established in the West a line of Roman emperors which lasted until the
opening of the nineteenth century. [16]


Charlemagne's empire was not in any true sense a continuation of the Roman
Empire. It did not include the dominions over which the emperors at
Constantinople were to reign for centuries. Moreover, Charlemagne and his
successors on the throne had little in common with the old rulers of Rome,
who spoke Latin, administered Roman law, and regarded the Germans as among
their most dangerous enemies. Charlemagne's empire was, in fact, largely a
new creation.



The empire of Charlemagne did not long remain intact. So vast was its
extent and so unlike were its inhabitants in race, language, and customs
that it could be managed only by a ruler of the greatest energy and
strength of will. Unfortunately, the successors of Charlemagne proved to
be too weak for the task of maintaining peace and order. Western Europe
now entered on a long period of confusion and violence, during which
Charlemagne's possessions broke up into separate and warring kingdoms.


Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious, who became emperor in 814 A.D., was a
well-meaning but feeble ruler, better fitted for the quiet life of a
monastery than for the throne. He could not control his rebellious sons,
who, even during his lifetime, fought bitterly over their inheritance. The
unnatural strife, which continued after his death, was temporarily settled
by a treaty concluded at the city of Verdun. According to its terms
Lothair, the eldest brother, received Italy and the imperial title,
together with a narrow stretch of land along the valleys of the Rhine and
the Rhone, between the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Louis and Charles,
the other brothers, received kingdoms lying to the east and west,
respectively, of Lothair's territory. The Treaty of Verdun may be said to
mark the first stage in the dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.


A second treaty, made at Mersen in Holland, was entered into by Louis and
Charles, after the death of their brother Lothair. They divided between
themselves Lothair's kingdom north of the Alps, leaving to his young son
the possession of Italy and the empty title of "emperor." The Treaty of
Mersen may be said to mark the second stage in the dissolution of the
Carolingian Empire. That empire, as such, had now ceased to exist.

VERDUN (843 A.D.) AND MERSEN (870 A.D.)]


The territorial arrangements made by the treaties of Verdun and Mersen
foreshadowed the future map of western Europe. The East Frankish kingdom
of Louis, inhabited almost entirely by Germanic peoples, was to develop
into modern Germany. The West Frankish kingdom of Charles, inhabited
mainly by descendants of Romanized Gauls, was to become modern France.
Lothair's kingdom, separated into two parts by the Alps, never became a
national state. Italy, indeed, might be united under one government, but
the long, narrow strip north of the Alps had no unity of race, no common
language, and no national boundaries. It was fated to be broken into
fragments and to be fought over for centuries by its stronger neighbors.
Part of this territory now forms the small countries of Belgium, Holland,
and Switzerland, and another part, known as Alsace and Lorraine, [17]
still remains a bone of contention between France and Germany.


Even had Charlemagne been followed by strong and able rulers, it would
have been a difficult matter to hold the empire together in the face of
the fresh series of barbarian inroads which began immediately after his
death. The Mohammedans, though checked by the Franks at the battle of
Tours, [18] continued to be dangerous enemies. They ravaged southern
France, Sicily, and parts of Italy. The piratical Northmen from Denmark
and Norway harried the coast of France and made inroads far beyond Paris.
They also penetrated into western Germany, sailing up the Rhine in their
black ships and destroying such important towns as Cologne and Aix-la-
Chapelle. Meanwhile, eastern Germany lay exposed to the attacks of the
Slavs, whom Charlemagne had defeated but not subdued. The Magyars, or
Hungarians, were also dreaded foes. Their wild horsemen entered Europe
from the plains of Asia and, like the Huns and Avars to whom they were
probably related, spread devastation far and wide. A great part of Europe
thus suffered from invasions almost as destructive as those which had
brought ruin to the old Roman world.



The tenth century saw another movement toward the restoration of law and
order. The civilizing work of Charlemagne was taken up by German kings,
not of the old Prankish stock, but belonging to that Saxon people which
had opposed Charlemagne so long and bitterly. Saxony was one of the five
great territorial states, or stem-duchies, as they are usually called,
into which Germany was then divided. [19] Germany at that time extended
only as far east as the river Elbe, beyond which lay the territory
occupied by half-civilized Slavic tribes.


The rulers of the stem-duchies enjoyed practical independence, though they
had recognized some king of Germany ever since the Treaty of Verdun. Early
in the tenth century the Carolingian dynasty died out in Germany, and the
German nobles then proceeded to elect their own kings. Their choice fell
first upon Conrad, duke of Franconia, but he had little authority outside
his own duchy. A stronger man was required to keep the peace among the
turbulent nobles and to repel the invaders of Germany. Such a man appeared
in the person of Henry, duke of Saxony, who, after Conrad's death, was
chosen king.


Henry I, called the Fowler, because he was fond of hunting birds, spent
the greater part of his reign in wars against the Slavs, Magyars, and
other invaders. He conquered from the Slavs the territory afterwards known
as Brandenburg. This country was to furnish Germany, in later centuries,
with its present dynasty--the Hohenzollerns. [20] He occupied the southern
part of Denmark (Schleswig) and Christianized it. He also recovered for
Germany Lorraine, a district which remained in German hands until the
eighteenth century.


Henry the Fowler was succeeded by his son, Otto I, whom history knows as
Otto the Great. He well deserved the title. Like Charlemagne, Otto
presented the aspect of a born ruler. He is described as being tall and
commanding in presence, strong and vigorous of body, and gifted with great
charm of manner. In his bronzed face shone clear and sparkling eyes, and
down his breast hung a long, thick beard. Though subject to violent
outbursts of temper, he was liberal to his friends and just to his foes.
Otto was a man of immense energy and ambition, with a high conception of
his duties as a sovereign. His reign forms one of the most notable epochs
in German history.

The inscription reads _Oddo Rex_.]


Otto continued Henry's work of defending Germany from the foes which
threatened to overrun that country. He won his most conspicuous success
against the Magyars, who suffered a crushing defeat on the banks of the
river Lech in Bavaria (955 A.D.). These barbarians now ceased their raids
and retired to the lands on the middle Danube which they had seized from
the Slavs. Here they settled down, accepted Christianity from the Roman
Church, and laid the foundations of the kingdom of Hungary. [21] As a
protection against future Magyar inroads Otto established the East Mark.
This region afterwards rose to great importance under the name of Austria.


Otto was an excellent ruler of Germany. He made it his business to
strengthen the royal authority by weakening that of the stem-dukes. He had
to fight against them on more than one occasion, for they regarded
themselves almost as independent kings. Otto was able to keep them in
check, but the rulers who followed him were less successful in this
respect. The struggle between the kings and their powerful nobles formed a
constant feature of the medieval history of Germany.



Otto the Great is not to be remembered only as a German king. His reign
was also noteworthy in the history of Italy. The country at this time was
hopelessly divided between rival and contending peoples. The emperor at
Constantinople controlled the southern extremity of the peninsula. The
Mohammedans held Sicily and some cities on the mainland. The pope ruled at
Rome and in the States of the Church. A so-called king of Italy still
reigned in Lombardy, but he could not manage the powerful counts, dukes,
and marquises, who were virtually independent within their own domains.
Even the imperial title died out, and now there was no longer a Roman
emperor in the West.


The deplorable condition of Italy invited interference from abroad.
Following in the footsteps of Charlemagne, Otto the Great led two
expeditions across the Alps, assumed the "Iron Crown" [22] of Lombardy,
and then proceeded to Rome, where he secured the pope (John XII) against
the latter's enemies in that city. Otto's reward was the same as
Charlemagne's. On Candlemas Day, (February 2d) 962 A.D., the grateful pope
crowned him Roman emperor.


The coronation of Otto the Great seemed to his contemporaries a necessary
and beneficial act. They still believed that the Roman Empire was
suspended, not extinct; and that now, one hundred and fifty years after
Charlemagne, the occasion was opportune to revive the name and power
associated with the golden age of the first Frankish emperor. Otto's
ardent spirit, one may well believe, was fired with this vision of
imperial sway and the renewal of a title around which clustered so many
memories of success and glory.

[Illustration: Map, EUROPE IN THE AGE OF OTTO THE GREAT, 962 A.D.]


But the outcome of Otto's restoration of the Roman Empire was good neither
for Italy nor for Germany. It became the rule, henceforth, that the man
whom the German nobles chose as their king had a claim, also, to the
Italian crown and the imperial title. The efforts of the German kings to
make good this claim led to their constant interference in the affairs of
Italy. They treated that country as a conquered province which had no
right to a national life and an independent government under its own
rulers. At the same time they neglected Germany and failed to keep their
powerful territorial lords in subjection. Neither Italy nor Germany, in
consequence, could become a unified, centralized state, such as was formed
in France and England during the later Middle Ages.


The empire of Charlemagne, restored by Otto the Great, came to be called
in later centuries the "Holy Roman Empire." The title points to the idea
of a world monarchy--the Roman Empire--and a world religion--Roman
Christianity--united in one institution. This magnificent idea was never
fully realized. The popes and emperors, instead of being bound to each
other by the closest ties, were more generally enemies than friends. A
large part of medieval history was to turn on this conflict between the
Empire and the Papacy. [23]



From the history of Continental Europe we now turn to the history of
Britain. That island had been overrun by the Germanic barbarians after the
middle of the fifth century. [24] They are commonly known as Anglo-Saxons,
from the names of their two principal peoples, the Angles and Saxons. The
Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain was a slow process, which lasted at least
one hundred and fifty years. The invaders followed the rivers into the
interior and gradually subdued more than a half of what is now England,
comprising the fertile plain district in the southern and eastern parts of
the island.


Though the Anglo-Saxons probably destroyed many flourishing cities and
towns of the Romanized Britons, it seems likely that the conquerors spared
the women, with whom they intermarried, and the agricultural laborers,
whom they made slaves. Other natives took refuge in the hill regions of
western and northern Britain, and here their descendants still keep up the
Celtic language and traditions. The Anglo-Saxons regarded the Britons with
contempt, naming them Welsh, a word which means one who talks gibberish.
The antagonism between the two peoples died out in the course of
centuries, conquerors and conquered intermingled, and an English nation,
partly Celtic and partly Germanic, came into being.

Horn of Ulphus (Wulf) in the cathedral of York. The old English were heavy
drinkers chiefly of ale and mead. The evening meal usually ended with a
drinking bout.]


The Anglo-Saxons started to fight one another before they ceased fighting
their common enemy, the Britons. Throughout the seventh and eighth
centuries, the Anglo-Saxon states were engaged in almost constant
struggles, either for increase of territory or for supremacy. The kingdoms
farthest east--Kent, Sussex, Essex, and East Anglia--found their expansion
checked by other kingdoms--Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex--which grew up
in the interior of the island. Each of these three stronger states gained
in turn the leading place.


The beginning of the supremacy of Wessex dates from the reign of Egbert.
He had lived for some years as an exile at the court of Charlemagne, from
whom he must have learned valuable lessons of war and statesmanship. After
returning from the Continent, Egbert became king of Wessex and gradually
forced the rulers of the other states to acknowledge him as overlord.
Though Egbert was never directly king of all England, he began the work of
uniting the Anglo-Saxons under one government. His descendants have
occupied the English throne to the present day.


When the Germans along the Rhine and the Danube crossed the frontiers and
entered the western provinces, they had already been partially Romanized.
They understood enough of Roman civilization to appreciate it and to
desire to preserve it. The situation was quite different with the Anglo-
Saxons. Their original home lay in a part of Germany far beyond the
borders of the Roman Empire and remote from the cultural influences of
Rome. Coming to Britain as barbarians, they naturally introduced their own
language, laws, and customs wherever they settled. Much of what the Anglo-
Saxons brought with them still lives in England, and from that country has
spread to the United States and the vast English colonies beyond the seas.
The English language is less indebted to Latin than any of the Romance
languages, [25] and the Common law of England owes much less to Roman law
than do the legal systems of Continental Europe. England, indeed, looks to
the Anglo-Saxons for some of the most characteristic and important
elements of her civilization.

[Illustration: Map, ANGLO-SAXON BRITAIN]



The Anglo-Saxons also brought to Britain their heathen faith. Christianity
did not come to them until the close the sixth century. At this time more
or less intercourse had sprung up between the people of Kent, lying
nearest to the Continent, and the Franks in Gaul. Ethelbert, the king of
Kent, had even married the Frankish princess, Bertha. He allowed his
Christian wife to bring a bishop to her new home and gave her the deserted
church of St. Martin at Canterbury as a place of worship. Queen Bertha's
fervent desire for the conversion of her husband and his people prepared
the way for an event of first importance in English history--the mission
of Augustine.


The pope at this time was Gregory I, better known, from his services to
the Roman Church, as Gregory the Great. [26] The kingdom of Kent, with its
Christian queen, must have seemed to him a promising field for missionary
enterprise. Gregory, accordingly, sent out the monk Augustine with forty
companions to carry the Gospel to the heathen English. The king of Kent,
already well disposed toward the Christian faith, greeted the missionaries
kindly and told them that they were free to convert whom they would.
Before long he and his court embraced Christianity, and the people of Kent
soon followed the royal example. The monks were assigned a residence in
Canterbury, a city which has ever since remained the religious capital of
England. From Kent Christianity in its Roman form gradually spread into
the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

The present church, dating from the thirteenth century occupies the site
of a chapel built before the arrival of Augustine, The walls still contain
some of the Roman bricks used in the original structure. St Martin's
Church was the scene of the earliest work of Augustine in Canterbury.]


Augustine and his monks were not the first missionaries to Britain. Roman
soldiers, merchants, and officials had introduced Christianity among the
Britons as early as second century. During the fifth century the famous
St. Patrick had carried Christianity to the heathen Irish. The Anglo-Saxon
invasion of Britain drove many Christians to Ireland, and that island in
the sixth and seventh centuries became a center from which devoted monks
went forth to labor in western Scotland and northern Britain [27] Here
they came in contact with the Roman missionaries.


The Celtic Christians followed some customs which differed from those
observed by Roman Christians. They computed the date on which Easter fell
according to a system unlike that of the Romans. They permitted their
priests to marry; the Romans forbade the practice. Their monks shaved the
front of the head from ear to ear as a tonsure, while Roman monks shaved
the top of the head, leaving a "crown of thorns." These differences may
not seem very important, but they were enough to prevent the cooperation
of Celtic and Roman missionaries for the conversion of the heathen.

The choir dates from the twelfth century, the nave, transepts, and central
tower, from the fifteenth century. One of the two towers at the west front
was built in 1834-1840 A.D. The beautiful stained glass in the windows of
the choir belongs to the thirteenth century.]


The rivalry between Celtic and Roman Christians was finally settled at a
church gathering, or synod, called by the king of Northumbria at Whitby.
The main controversy at this synod concerned the proper date for Easter.
In the course of the debate it was asserted that the Roman custom had the
sanction of St. Peter, to whom Christ had intrusted the keys of heaven.
This statement was enough for the Northumbrian king, who thereupon decided
in favor of the Roman claim, declaring that he would not oppose St. Peter,
"lest when I come before the gates of the kingdom of heaven, he who holds
the keys should not open to me." [28] The representatives of the Celtic
Church then withdrew from England, leaving the field clear for Roman


The decision of the Synod of Whitby in favor of Rome meant that all
England henceforth would recognize the pope's authority in religious
matters. It remained a Roman Catholic country until the time of the
Reformation, nearly nine hundred years later. [29] The Celtic Christians
in Ireland and Scotland also in the course of time became the devoted
children of the Roman Church.



We have now followed the fortunes of the Germans for five centuries from
the end of the Roman Empire in the West. Most of their kingdoms, it has
been seen, were not permanent. The Visigothic and Burgundian dominions in
Gaul yielded to the Franks, and those of the Visigoths in Spain, to the
Mohammedan Arabs. [30] The Vandal possessions in North Africa were
regained by the emperors at Constantinople. [31] The rule of the
Ostrogoths in Italy endured for only sixty years and that of the Lombards
passed away after two centuries. The kingdoms established by the Franks
and the Anglo-Saxons alone developed into lasting states.


But even where the Germans did not found permanent kingdoms, they mingled
with the subject provincials and adopted much of the old Roman
civilization. The fusion of the two peoples naturally required a long
time, being scarcely completed before the middle of the tenth century. It
was hindered, in the first place, by the desire of the Germans to secure
the lands of the Romans. Wherever the barbarians settled, they
appropriated a large part of the agricultural soil. How much they took
varied in different countries. The Ostrogoths seem to have seized one-
third of the land in Italy; the Visigoths, two-thirds of that in Gaul and
Spain; the Anglo-Saxons, perhaps all the tillable soil of Britain. It
could not but be galling to the Romans to surrender their farms to the
barbarians. In the second place, the Germans often assessed heavy taxes on
the Romans, which they themselves refused to pay. Tax-paying seemed to the
Germans a mark of servitude. In the third place, a barrier between the two
peoples arose from the circumstance that each had its particular law. For
several centuries following the invasions there was one law for the
Romans--that which they had enjoyed under the empire--and another law for
the Germans--their old tribal customs. After the Germans had lived for
some time in contact with the Romans they wrote out their laws in the
Latin language. These "Laws of the Barbarians" still survive and throw
much light on their early beliefs and manners.


In spite of the hindrances to fusion, it seems true that the Germans and
the Romans felt no great dislike for each other and that, as a rule, they
freely intermingled. Certain conditions directly favored this result.
First, many Germans had found their way within the empire as hired
soldiers, colonists, and slaves, long before the invasions began. Second,
the Germanic invaders came in relatively small numbers. Third, the Germans
entered the Roman world not as destroyers, but as homeseekers. They felt a
real reverence for Roman civilization. And fourth, some of the principal
Germanic nations, including the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Vandals, were
already Christians at the time of their invasions, while other nations,
such as the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, were afterwards converted to
Christianity. As long, however, as most of the Germans remained Arian
Christians [32] their belief stood in the way of friendly intercourse with
the Roman provincials, who had accepted the Catholic faith.

[Illustration: Map, THE PEOPLES OF EUROPE at the beginning of the Tenth


If western Europe during the early Middle Ages presented a scene of
violence and confusion while the Germans were settling in their new homes,
a different picture was afforded by eastern Europe. Here the Roman Empire
still survived and continued to uphold for centuries the Roman tradition
of law and order. The history of that empire forms the theme of the
following chapter.


1. On an outline map indicate the boundaries of the empire of Charlemagne,
distinguishing his hereditary possessions from those which he acquired by

2. On an outline map indicate the boundaries of the empire of Otto the

3. What events are connected with the following places: Soissons; Mersen;
Whitby; Reims; Verdun; Canterbury; and Strassburg?

4. What is the historical importance of Augustine, Henry the Fowler, Pepin
the Short, Charles Martel, Egbert, and Ethelbert?

5. Give dates for the following events: battle of Tours; crowning of
Charlemagne as emperor; crowning of Otto the Great as emperor; deposition
of Romulus Augustulus; Augustine's mission to England; and the Treaty of

6. Explain the following expressions: "do-nothing kings"; _missi
dominici_; Holy Roman Empire; and "Donation of Pepin."

7. Why was the extinction of the Ostrogothic kingdom a misfortune for

8. Why did Italy remain for so many centuries after the Lombard invasion
merely "a geographical expression"?

9. What difference did it make whether Clovis became an Arian or a

10. What events in the lives of Clovis and Pepin the Short contributed to
the alliance between the Franks and the popes?

11. What provinces of the Roman Empire in the West were not included
within the limits of Charlemagne's empire?

12. What countries of modern Europe are included within the limits of
Charlemagne's empire?

13. Compare the _missi dominici_ with the "eyes and ears" of Persian

14. What is the origin of the word "emperor"? As a title distinguish it
from that of "king."

15. Why has Lothair's kingdom north of the Alps been called the "strip of

16. In what parts of the British Isles are Celtic languages still spoken?

17. How did the four English counties, Sussex, Essex, Norfolk, and
Suffolk, receive their names?

18. What was the importance of the Synod of Whitby?

19. Set forth the conditions which hindered, and those which favored, the
fusion of Germans and Romans.


[1] Webster, _Readings in Medieval and Modern History_, chapter i,
"Stories of the Lombard Kings"; chapter ii, "Charlemagne."

[2] See page 236.

[3] See page 236.

[4] See page 309.

[5] The modern kingdom of Italy dates from 1861-1870 A.D.

[6] See page 245.

[7] His name is properly spelled Chlodweg, which later became Ludwig, and
in French, Louis.

[8] _Allemagne_. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Gaul came to call
their country _France_ and themselves _Francais_ after their conquerors,
the Germanic Franks.

[9] Gregory of Tours, _Historia Francorum_, ii, 31.

[10] From Merovech, grandfather of Clovis.

[11] See page 379.

[12] So called from Pepin's son, Charles the Great (in Latin, _Carolus
Magnus_). The French form of his name is Charlemagne.

[13] In 1870 A.D. the States of the Church were added to the newly formed
kingdom of Italy.

[14] Einhard, _Vita Caroli Magni_, 25.

[15] The rearguard of Charlemagne's army, when returning from Spain, was
attacked and overwhelmed by the mountaineers of the Pyrenees. The incident
gave rise to the famous French epic known as the _Song of Roland_.

[16] The title of "Holy Roman Emperor," assumed by the later successors of
Charlemagne, was kept by them till 1806 A.D.

[17] The French name Lorraine and the German name Lothringen are both
derived from the Latin title of Lothair's kingdom--_Lotharii regnum_.

[18] See page 306.

[19] The others were Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria, and Lorraine.

[20] The Hohenzollerns became electors of Brandenburg in 1415 A.D., kings
of Prussia in 1701, and emperors of Germany in 1871.

[21] The Magyar settlement in central Europe had the important result of
dividing the Slavic peoples into three groups. Those who remained south of
the Danube (Serbians, Croatians, etc.) were henceforth separated from the
northwestern Slavs (Bohemians, Moravians, and Poles) and from the eastern
Slavs (Russians). See the map facing page 326.

[22] See the Illustration, page 308.

[23] See pages 455-463.

[24] See page 246.


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