The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5

Part 7 out of 8

cross, who had fought with great credit and renown at the siege of
Jerusalem. Hugh de Payens was chosen by the knights to be superior of
the new religious and military society, by the title of "the Master of
the Temple"; and he has, in consequence, been generally called the
founder of the order.

The name and reputation of the Knights Templars speedily spread
throughout Europe, and various illustrious pilgrims of the Far West
aspired to become members of the holy fraternity. Among these was Fulk,
Count of Anjou, who joined the society as a married brother (1120), and
annually remitted the order thirty pounds of silver. Baldwin, King of
Jerusalem, foreseeing that great advantages would accrue to the Latin
kingdom by the increase of the power and numbers of these holy warriors,
exerted himself to extend the order throughout all Christendom, so that
he might, by means of so politic an institution, keep alive the holy
enthusiasm of the West, and draw a constant succor from the bold and
warlike races of Europe for the support of his Christian throne and

St. Bernard, the holy abbot of Clairvaux, had been a great admirer of
the Templars. He wrote a letter to the Count of Champagne, on his
entering the order (1123), praising the act as one of eminent merit in
the sight of God; and it was determined to enlist the all-powerful
influence of this great ecclesiastic in favor of the fraternity. "By a
vow of poverty and penance, by closing his eyes against the visible
world, by the refusal of all ecclesiastical dignities, the abbot of
Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe and the founder of one hundred and
sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs trembled at the freedom of his
apostolical censures; France, England, and Milan consulted and obeyed
his judgment in a schism of the Church; the debt was repaid by the
gratitude of Innocent II; and his successor, Eugenius III, was the
friend and disciple of the holy St. Bernard."

To this learned and devout prelate two Knights Templars were despatched
with the following letter:

"Baldwin, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Jerusalem and
Prince of Antioch, to the venerable Father Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux;
health and regard.

"The Brothers of the Temple, whom the Lord hath deigned to raise up, and
whom by an especial providence he preserves for the defence of this
kingdom, desiring to obtain from the Holy See the confirmation of their
institution and a rule for their particular guidance, we have determined
to send to you the two knights, Andrew and Gondemar, men as much
distinguished by their military exploits as by the splendor of their
birth, to obtain from the Pope the approbation of their order, and to
dispose his holiness to send succor and subsidies against the enemies of
the faith, reunited in their design to destroy us and to invade our
Christian territories.

"Well knowing the weight of your mediation with God and his vicar upon
earth, as well as with the princes and powers of Europe, we have thought
fit to confide to you these two important matters, whose successful
issue cannot be otherwise than most agreeable to ourselves. The statutes
we ask of you should be so ordered and arranged as to be reconcilable
with the tumult of the camp and the profession of arms; they must, in
fact, be of such a nature as to obtain favor and popularity with the
Christian princes.

"Do you then so manage that we may, through you, have the happiness of
seeing this important affair brought to a successful issue, and address
for us to Heaven the incense of your prayers."

Soon after the above letter had been despatched to St. Bernard, Hugh de
Payens himself proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Geoffrey de St. Aldemar
and four other brothers of the order: namely, Brother Payen de
Montdidier, Brother Gorall, Brother Geoffrey Bisol, and Brother
Archambauld de St. Armand. They were received with great honor and
distinction by Pope Honorius, who warmly approved of the objects and
designs of the holy fraternity. St. Bernard had, in the mean time, taken
the affair greatly to heart; he negotiated with the pope, the legate,
and the bishops of France, and obtained the convocation of a great
ecclesiastical council at Troyes (1128), which Hugh de Payens and his
brethren were invited to attend. This council consisted of several
archbishops, bishops, and abbots, among which last was St. Bernard
himself. The rules to which the Templars had subjected themselves were
there described by the master, and to the holy abbot of Clairvaux was
confided the task of revising and correcting these rules, and of framing
a code of statutes fit and proper for the governance of the great
religious and military fraternity of the temple.

_The Rule of the Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ and of the Temple
of Solomon_, arranged by St. Bernard, and sanctioned by the holy Fathers
of the Council of Troyes, for the government and regulation of the
monastic and military society of the Temple, is principally of a
religious character and of an austere and gloomy cast. It is divided
into seventy-two heads or chapters, and is preceded by a short prologue
addressed "to all who disdain to follow after their own wills, and
desire with purity of mind to fight for the most high and true King,"
exhorting them to put on the armor of obedience, and to associate
themselves together with piety and humility for the defence of the Holy
Catholic Church; and to employ a pure diligence, and a steady
perseverance in the exercise of their sacred profession, so that they
might share in the happy destiny reserved for the holy warriors who had
given up their lives for Christ.

The rule enjoins severe devotional exercises, self-mortification,
fasting, and prayer, and a constant attendance at matins, vespers, and
on all the services of the Church, "that, being refreshed and satisfied
with heavenly food, instructed and stablished with heavenly precepts,
after the consummation of the divine mysteries," none might be afraid of
the _Fight_, but be prepared for the _Crown_.

If unable to attend the regular service of God, the absent brother is
for matins to say over thirteen _pater-nosters_, for every hour seven,
and for vespers nine. When any Templar draweth nigh unto death, the
chaplains and clerk are to assemble and offer up a solemn mass for his
soul; the surrounding brethren are to spend the night in prayer, and a
hundred pater-nosters are to be repeated for the dead brother.
"Moreover," say the holy Fathers, "we do strictly enjoin you, that with
divine and most tender charity ye do daily bestow as much meat and drink
as was given to that brother when alive, unto some poor man for forty

The brethren are, on all occasions, to speak sparingly and to wear a
grave and serious deportment. They are to be constant in the exercise of
charity and almsgiving, to have a watchful care over all sick brethren,
and to support and sustain all old men. They are not to receive letters
from their parents, relations, or friends without the license of the
master, and all gifts are immediately to be taken to the latter or to
the treasurer, to be disposed of as he may direct. They are, moreover,
to receive no service or attendance from a woman, and are commanded,
above all things, to shun feminine kisses.

"This same year (1128) Hugh of the Temple came from Jerusalem to the
King in Normandy, and the King received him with much honor and gave him
much treasure in gold and silver, and afterward he sent him into
England, and there he was well received by all good men, and all gave
him treasure, and in Scotland also, and they sent in all a great sum in
gold and silver by him to Jerusalem, and there went with him and after
him so great a number as never before since the days of Pope Urban."
Grants of land, as well as of money, were at the same time made to Hugh
de Payens and his brethren, some of which were shortly afterward
confirmed by King Stephen on his accession to the throne (1135). Among
these is a grant of the manor of Bistelesham made to the Templars by
Count Robert de Ferrara, and a grant of the Church of Langeforde in
Bedfordshire made by Simon de Wahull and Sibylla his wife and Walter
their son.

Hugh de Payens, before his departure, placed a Knight Templar at the
head of the order in England, who was called the prior of the temple and
was the procurator and viceregent of the master. It was his duty to
manage the estates granted to the fraternity, and to transmit the
revenues to Jerusalem. He was also delegated with the power of admitting
members into the order, subject to the control and direction of the
master, and was to provide means of transport for such newly-admitted
brethren to the Far East, to enable them to fulfil the duties of their
profession. As the houses of the Temple increased in number in England,
subpriors came to be appointed, and the superior of the order in this
country was then called the "grand prior," and afterward master, of the

Many illustrious knights of the best families in Europe aspired to the
habit and vows, but, however exalted their rank, they were not received
within the bosom of the fraternity until they had proved themselves by
their conduct worthy of such a fellowship. Thus, when Hugh d'Amboise,
who had harassed and oppressed the people of Marmontier by unjust
exactions, and had refused to submit to the judicial decision of the
Count of Anjou, desired to enter the order, Hugh de Payens refused to
admit him to the vows until he had humbled himself, renounced his
pretensions, and given perfect satisfaction to those whom he had
injured. The candidates, moreover, previous to their admission, were
required to make reparation and satisfaction for all damage done by them
at any time to churches and to public or private property.

An astonishing enthusiasm was excited throughout Christendom in behalf
of the Templars; princes and nobles, sovereigns and their subjects, vied
with each other in heaping gifts and benefits upon them, and scarce a
will of importance was made without an article in it in their favor.
Many illustrious persons on their death-beds took the vows, that they
might be buried in the habit of the order; and sovereigns, quitting the
government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves among the holy
fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the master and the
brethren of the temple.

Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and Provence, at a very
advanced age, abdicating his throne and shaking off the ensigns of royal
authority, retired to the house of the Templars at Barcelona, and
pronounced his vows (1130) before Brother Hugh de Rigauld, the prior.
His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person to the chief house
of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money thither, and
immuring himself in a small cell in the temple at Barcelona, he there
remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his
profession until the day of his death.

At the same period, the emperor Lothair bestowed on the order a large
portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg; and the year following (1131),
Alphonso I, King of Navarre and Aragon, also styled Emperor of Spain,
one of the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the
Knights of the Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre
and Aragon, and a few hours before his death he caused this will to be
ratified and signed by most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity
of this document, however, was disputed, and the claims of the Templars
were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre; but in Aragon they
obtained, by way of compromise, lands and castles and considerable
dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the
kingdom, and the contributions raised from the Moors.

To increase the enthusiasm in favor of the Templars, and still further
to swell their ranks with the best and bravest of the European chivalry,
St. Bernard, at the request of Hugh de Payens, took up his powerful pen
in their behalf. In a famous discourse, _In Praise of the New Chivalry_,
the holy abbot sets forth, in eloquent and enthusiastic terms, the
spiritual advantages and blessings enjoyed by the military friars of the
temple over all other warriors. He draws a curious picture of the
relative situations and circumstances of the _secular_ soldiery and the
soldiery of _Christ_, and shows how different in the sight of God are
the bloodshed and slaughter of the one from that committed by the other.

This extraordinary discourse is written with great spirit; it is
addressed "To Hugh, Knight of Christ, and Master of the Knighthood of
Christ," is divided into fourteen parts or chapters, and commences with
a short prologue. It is curiously illustrative of the spirit of the
times, and some of its most striking passages will be read with

The holy abbot thus pursues his comparison between the soldier of the
world and the soldier of Christ--the _secular_ and the _religious_
warrior: "As often as thou who wagest a secular warfare marchest forth
to battle, it is greatly to be feared lest when thou slayest thine enemy
in the body, he should destroy thee in the spirit, or lest peradventure
thou shouldst be at once slain by him both in body and soul. From the
disposition of the heart, indeed, not by the event of the fight, is to
be estimated either the jeopardy or the victory of the Christian. If,
fighting with the desire of killing another, thou shouldst chance to get
killed thyself, thou diest a manslayer; if, on the other hand, thou
prevailest, and through a desire of conquest or revenge killest a man,
thou livest a manslayer.... O unfortunate victory! when in overcoming
thine adversary thou fallest into sin, and, anger or pride having the
mastery over thee, in vain thou gloriest over the vanquished....

"What, therefore, is the fruit of this secular, I will not say
_militia_, but _malitia_, if the slayer committeth a deadly sin, and the
slain perisheth eternally? Verily, to use the words of the apostle, he
that plougheth should plough in hope, and he that thresheth should be
partaker of his hope. Whence, therefore, O soldiers, cometh this so
stupendous error? What insufferable madness is this--to wage war with so
great cost and labor, but with no pay except either death or crime? Ye
cover your horses with silken trappings, and I know not how much fine
cloth hangs pendent from your coats of mail. Ye paint your spears,
shields, and saddles; your bridles and spurs are adorned on all sides
with gold and silver and gems, and with all this pomp, with a shameful
fury and a reckless insensibility, ye rush on to death. Are these
military ensigns, or are they not rather the garnishments of women? Can
it happen that the sharp-pointed sword of the enemy will respect gold,
will it spare gems, will it be unable to penetrate the silken garment?

"As ye yourselves have often experienced, three things are indispensably
necessary to the success of the soldier: he must, for example, be bold,
active, and circumspect; quick in running, prompt in striking; ye,
however, to the disgust of the eye, nourish your hair after the manner
of women, ye gather around your footsteps long and flowing vestures, ye
bury up your delicate and tender hands in ample and wide-spreading
sleeves. Among you indeed naught provoketh war or awakeneth strife, but
either an irrational impulse of anger or an insane lust of glory or the
covetous desire of possessing another man's lands and possessions. In
such cases it is neither safe to slay nor to be slain.... But the
soldiers of Christ indeed securely fight the battles of their Lord, in
no wise fearing sin, either from the slaughter of the enemy or danger
from their own death. When indeed death is to be given or received for
Christ, it has naught of crime in it, but much of glory....

"And now for an example, or to the confusion of our soldiers fighting
not manifestly for God, but for the devil, we will briefly display the
mode of life of the Knights of Christ, such as it is in the field and in
the convent, by which means it will be made plainly manifest to what
extent the soldiery of God and the soldiery of the World differ from one
another.... The soldiers of Christ live together in common in an
agreeable but frugal manner, without wives and without children; and
that nothing may be wanting to evangelical perfection, they dwell
together without property of any kind, in one house, under one rule,
careful to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. You
may say that to the whole multitude there is but one heart and one soul,
as each one in no respect followeth after his own will or desire, but is
diligent to do the will of the Master. They are never idle nor rambling
abroad, but, when they are not in the field, that they may not eat their
bread in idleness, they are fitting and repairing their armor and their
clothing, or employing themselves in such occupations as the will of the
Master requireth or their common necessities render expedient. Among
them there is no distinction of persons; respect is paid to the best and
most virtuous, not the most noble. They participate in each other's
honor, they bear one anothers' burdens, that they may fulfil the law of

"An insolent expression, a useless undertaking, immoderate laughter, the
least murmur or whispering, if found out, passeth not without severe
rebuke. They detest cards and dice, they shun the sports of the field,
and take no delight in the ludicrous catching of birds (hawking), which
men are wont to indulge in. Jesters and soothsayers and story-tellers,
scurrilous songs, shows, and games, they contemptuously despise and
abominate as vanities and mad follies. They cut their hair, knowing
that, according to the apostle, it is not seemly in a man to have long
hair. They are never combed, seldom washed, but appear rather with rough
neglected hair, foul with dust, and with skins browned by the sun and
their coats of mail.

"Moreover, on the approach of battle they fortify themselves with faith
within and with steel without, and not with gold, so that, armed and not
adorned, they may strike terror into the enemy, rather than awaken his
lust of plunder. They strive earnestly to possess strong and swift
horses, but not garnished with ornaments or decked with trappings,
thinking of battle and of victory, and not of pomp and show, studying to
inspire fear rather than admiration....

"Such hath God chosen for his own, and hath collected together as his
ministers from the ends of the earth, from among the bravest of Israel,
who indeed vigilantly and faithfully guard the Holy Sepulchre, all armed
with the sword, and most learned in the art of war....

"There is indeed a temple at Jerusalem in which they dwell together,
unequal, it is true, as a building, to that ancient and most famous one
of Solomon, but not inferior in glory. For truly the entire magnificence
of that consisted in corrupt things, in gold and silver, in carved
stone, and in a variety of woods; but the whole beauty of this resteth
in the adornment of an agreeable conversation, in the godly devotion of
its inmates, and their beautifully ordered mode of life. That was
admired for its various external beauties, this is venerated for its
different virtues and sacred actions, as becomes the sanctity of the
house of God, who delighteth not so much in polished marbles as in
well-ordered behavior, and regardeth pure minds more than gilded walls.
The face likewise of this temple is adorned with arms, not with gems,
and the wall, instead of the ancient golden chapiters, is covered around
with pendent shields.

"Instead of the ancient candelabra, censers, and lavers, the house is on
all sides furnished with bridles, saddles, and lances, all which plainly
demonstrate that the soldiers burn with the same zeal for the house of
God as that which formerly animated their great Leader, when, vehemently
enraged, he entered into the Temple, and with that most sacred hand,
armed not with steel, but with a scourge which he had made of small
thongs, drove out the merchants, poured out the changers' money, and
overthrew the tables of them that sold doves; most indignantly
condemning the pollution of the house of prayer by the making of it a
place of merchandise.

"The devout army of Christ, therefore, earnestly incited by the example
of its king, thinking indeed that the holy places are much more
impiously and insufferably polluted by the infidels than when defiled by
merchants, abide in the holy house with horses and with arms, so that
from that, as well as all the other sacred places, all filthy and
diabolical madness of infidelity being driven out, they may occupy
themselves by day and by night in honorable and useful offices. They
emulously honor the temple of God with sedulous and sincere oblations,
offering sacrifices therein with constant devotion, not indeed of the
flesh of cattle after the manner of the ancients, but peaceful
sacrifices, brotherly love, devout obedience, voluntary poverty.

"These things are done perpetually at Jerusalem, and the world is
aroused, the islands hear, and the nations take heed from afar...."

St. Bernard then congratulates Jerusalem on the advent of the soldiers
of Christ, and declares that the Holy City will rejoice with a double
joy in being rid of all her oppressors, the ungodly, the robbers, the
blasphemers, murderers, perjurers, and adulterers; and in receiving her
faithful defenders and sweet consolers, under the shadow of whose
protection "Mount Zion shall rejoice, and the daughters of Judah sing
for joy."



A.D. 1135-1154


(William the Conqueror, King of England, was succeeded by his sons
William Rufus and Henry--on account of his scholarship known as
Beauclerc. Prince William, Henry's only son, was drowned when starting
from Normandy for England in 1120. In the absence of male issue Henry
settled the English and Norman crowns upon his daughter Matilda, and
demanded an oath of fidelity to her from the barons.

Matilda had been married first to Emperor Henry V of Germany, who died
in 1125, and secondly to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.

Stephen was the son of Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror, who had
married Stephen, Count of Blois. Stephen, with his brother Henry, had
been invited to the court of England by their uncle, and had received
honors, preferments, and riches. Henry becoming an ecclesiast was
created abbot of Glastonbury and bishop of Winchester. Stephen, among
other possessions, received the great estate forfeited by Robert Mallet
in England, and that forfeited by the Earl of Mortaigne in Normandy. By
his marriage with Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Boulogne, he had
succeeded also to the territories of his father-in-law. Stephen by
studied arts and personal qualities became a great favorite with the
English barons and the people.

The empress Matilda and her husband Geoffrey, unfortunately, were
unpopular both in England and Normandy, the English barons especially
viewing with disfavor the prospect of a woman occupying the throne.

Henry Beauclerc died in 1135 at his favorite hunting-seat, the Castle of
Lions, near Rouen, in Normandy. Stephen, ignoring the oath of fealty to
the daughter of his benefactor, hastened to England, and,
notwithstanding some opposition, with the help of his clerical brother
and other functionaries had himself proclaimed and crowned king. This
act involved England in years of civil war, anarchy, and wretchedness,
which ended only with the accession as Henry II of Empress Matilda's
son, Henry Plantagenet of Anjou.)

Of the reign of Stephen, Sir James Mackintosh has said, "It perhaps
contains the most perfect condensation of all the ills of feudality to
be found in history." He adds, "The whole narrative would have been
rejected, as devoid of all likeness to truth, if it had been hazarded in
fiction." As a picture of "all the ills of feudality," this narrative is
a picture of the entire social state--the monarchy, the Church, the
aristocracy, the people--and appears to us, therefore, to demand a more
careful examination than if the historical interest were chiefly centred
in the battles and adventures belonging to a disputed succession, and in
the personal characters of a courageous princess and her knightly rival.

Stephen, Earl of Boulogne, the nephew of King Henry I, was no stranger
to the country which he aspired to rule. He had lived much in England
and was a universal favorite. "From his complacency of manners, and his
readiness to joke, and sit and regale even with low people, he had
gained so much on their affections as is hardly to be conceived." This
popular man was at the death-bed of his uncle; but before the royal body
was borne on the shoulders of nobles from the Castle of Lions to Rouen,
Stephen was on his road to England. He embarked at Whitsand, undeterred
by boisterous weather, and landed during a winter storm of thunder and
lightning. It was a more evil omen when Dover and Canterbury shut their
gates against him. But he went boldly on to London. There can be no
doubt that his proceedings were not the result of a sudden impulse, and
that his usurpation of the crown was successful through a very powerful
organization. His brother Henry was Bishop of Winchester; and his
influence with the other dignitaries of the Church was mainly
instrumental in the election of Stephen to be king, in open disregard of
the oaths taken a few years before to recognize the succession of
Matilda and of her son. Between the death of a king and the coronation
of his successor there was usually a short interval, in which the form
of election was gone through. But it is held that during that suspension
of the royal functions there was usually a proclamation of "the king's
peace," under which all violations of law were punished as if the head
of the law were in the full exercise of his functions and dignities.
King Henry I died on the 1st of December, 1135. Stephen was crowned on
the 26th of December. The death of Henry would probably have been
generally known in England in a week after the event. There is a
sufficient proof that this succession was considered doubtful, and,
consequently, that there was an unusual delay in the proclamation of
"the king's peace." The Forest Laws were the great grievance of Henry's
reign. His death was the signal for their violation by the whole body of
the people. "It was wonderful how so many myriads of wild animals, which
in large herds before plentifully stocked the country, suddenly
disappeared, so that out of the vast number scarcely two now could be
found together. They seemed to be entirely extirpated." According to the
same authority, "the people also turned to plundering each other without
mercy"; and "whatever the evil passions suggested in peaceable times,
now that the opportunity of vengeance presented itself, was quickly
executed." This is a remarkable condition of a country which, having
been governed by terror, suddenly passed out of the evils of despotism
into the greater evils of anarchy. This temporary confusion must have
contributed to urge on the election of Stephen. By the Londoners he was
received with acclamations; and the _witan_ chose him for king without
hesitation, as one who could best fulfil the duties of the office and
put an end to the dangers of the kingdom.

Stephen succeeded to a vast amount of treasure. All the rents of Henry I
had been paid in money, instead of in necessaries; and he was rigid in
enforcing the payment in coin of the best quality. With this possession
of means, Stephen surrounded himself with troops from Flanders and
Brittany. The objections to his want of hereditary right appear to have
been altogether laid aside for a time, in the popularity which he
derived from his personal qualities and his command of wealth. Strict
hereditary claims to the choice of the nation had been disregarded since
the time of the Confessor. The oath to Matilda, it was maintained, had
been unwillingly given, and even extorted by force. It is easy to
conceive that, both to Saxon and Norman, the notion of a female
sovereign would be out of harmony with their ancient traditions and
their warlike habits. The king was the great military chief, as well as
the supreme dispenser of justice and guardian of property. The time was
far distant when the sovereign rule might be held to be most
beneficially exercised by a wise choice of administrators, civil and
military; and the power of the crown, being cooerdinate with other
powers, strengthening as well as controlling its final authority, might
be safely and happily exercised by a discreet, energetic, and just
female. King Stephen vindicated the choice of the nation at the very
outset of his reign. He went in person against the robbers who were
ravaging the country. The daughter of "the Lion of Justice" would
probably have done the same. But more than three hundred years had
passed since the Lady of Mercia, the sister of Alfred, had asserted the
courage of her race. Norman and Saxon wanted a king; for though ladies
defended castles, and showed that firmness and bravery were not the
exclusive possession of one sex, no thane or baron had yet knelt before
a queen, and sworn to be her "liege man of life and limb."

The unanimity which appeared to hail the accession of Stephen was soon
interrupted. David, King of Scotland, had advanced to Carlisle and
Newcastle, to assert the claim of Matilda which he had sworn to uphold.
But Stephen came against him with a great army, and for a time there was
peace. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate son of Henry I, had
done homage to Stephen; but his allegiance was very doubtful; and the
general belief that he would renounce his fealty engendered secret
hostility or open resistance among other powerful barons. Robert of
Gloucester very soon defied the King's power. Within two years of his
accession the throne of Stephen was evidently becoming an insecure seat.
To counteract the power of the great nobles, he made a lavish
distribution of crown lands to a large number of tenants-in-chief. Some
of them were called earls; but they had no official charge, as the
greater barons had, but were mere titular lords, made by the royal
bounty. All those who held direct from the Crown were called barons; and
these new barons, who were scattered over the country, had permission
from the King to build castles. Such permission was extended to many
other lay barons. The accustomed manor-house of the land proprietor, in
which he dwelt amid the churls and serfs of his demesne, was now
replaced by a stone tower, surrounded by a moat and a wall. The wooden
one-storied homestead, with its thatched roof, shaded by the "toft" of
ash and elm and maple, was pulled down, and a square fortress with
loopholes and battlement stood in solitary nakedness upon some bleak
hill, ugly and defiant. There with a band of armed men--sometimes with a
wife and children, and not unfrequently with an unhappy victim of his
licentiousness--the baron lived in gloom and gluttony, till the love of
excitement, the approach of want, or the call to battle drove him forth.
His passion for hunting was not always free to be exercised. Venison was
not everywhere to be obtained without danger even to the powerful and
lawless. But within a ride of a few miles there was generally corn in
the barns and herds were in the pastures. The petty baron was almost
invariably a robber--sometimes on his own account, often in some
combined adventure of plunder. The spirit of rapine, always too
prevalent under the strongest government of those times, was now
universal when the government was fighting for its own existence. Bands
of marauders sallied forth from the great towns, especially from
Bristol; and of their proceedings the author of the _Gesta Stephani_
speaks with the precision of an eye-witness. The Bristolians, under the
instigation of the Earl of Gloucester, were partisans of the ex-empress
Matilda; and wherever the King or his adherents had estates they came to
seize their oxen and sheep, and carried men of substance into Bristol as
captives, with bandaged eyes and bits in their mouths. From other towns
as well as Bristol came forth plunderers, with humble gait and courteous
discourse; who, when they met with a lonely man having the appearance of
being wealthy, would bear him off to starvation and torture, till they
had mulcted him to the last farthing. These and other indications of an
unsettled government took place before the landing of Matilda to assert
her claims. An invasion of England, by the Scottish King, without regard
to the previous pacification, was made in 1138. But this attempt,
although grounded upon the oath which David had sworn to Henry, was
regarded by the Northumbrians as a national hostility which demanded a
national resistance. The course of this invasion has been minutely
described by contemporary chroniclers.

The author of the _Gesta Stephani_ says: "Scotland, also called Albany,
is a country overspread by extensive moors, but containing flourishing
woods and pastures, which feed large herds of cows and oxen." Of the
mountainous regions he says nothing. Describing the natives as savage,
swift of foot, and lightly armed, he adds, "A confused multitude of this
people being assembled from the lowlands of Scotland, they were formed
into an irregular army and marched for England." From the period of the
Conquest, a large number of Anglo-Saxons had been settled in the
lowlands; and the border countries of Westmoreland and Cumberland were
also occupied, to a considerable extent, by the same race. The people of
Galloway were chiefly of the original British stock. The historians
describe "the confused multitude" as exercising great cruelties in their
advance through the country that lies between the Tweed and the Tees;
and Matthew Paris uses a significant phrase which marks how completely
they spread over the land. He calls them the "Scottish Ants." The
Archbishop of York, Thurstan, an aged but vigorous man, collected a
large army to resist the invaders; and he made a politic appeal to the
old English nationality, by calling out the population under the banners
of their Saxon saints. The Bishop of Durham was the leader of this army,
composed of the Norman chivalry and the English archers. The opposing
forces met at Northallerton, on the 22d of August, 1138. The
Anglo-Norman army was gathered round a tall cross, raised on a car, and
surrounded by the banners of St. Cuthbert and St. Wilfred and St. John
of Beverley. From this incident the bloody day of Northallerton was
called "the Battle of the Standard." Hoveden has given an oration made
by Ralph, Bishop of Durham, in which he addresses the captains as "Brave
nobles of England, Normans by birth"; and pointing to the enemy, who
knew not the use of armor, exclaims, "Your head is covered with the
helmet, your breast with a coat of mail, your legs with greaves, and
your whole body with the shield." Of the Saxon yeomanry he says nothing.
Whether the oration be genuine or not, it exhibits the mode in which the
mass of the people were regarded at that time. Thierry appears to
consider that the bold attempt of David of Scotland was made in reliance
upon the support of the Anglo-Saxon race. But it is perfectly clear that
they bore the brunt of the English battle; and whatever might be their
wrongs, were not disposed to yield their fields and houses to a fierce
multitude who came for spoil and for possession. The Scotch fought with
darts and long spears, and attacked the solid mass of Normans and
English gathered round the standard. Prince Henry, the son of the King
of Scotland, made a vigorous onslaught with a body of horse, composed of
English and Normans attached to his father's household. These were,
without doubt, especial partisans of the claim to the English crown of
the ex-empress Matilda; and, as the King of Scotland himself is
described, were "inflamed with zeal for a just cause."[42] The issue of
the battle was the signal defeat of the Scottish army, with the loss of
eleven thousand men upon the field. A peace was concluded with King
Stephen in the following year.

[Footnote 42: Scott has given a picturesque account of the battle in his
_Tales of a Grandfather_. Writing, as he often did, from general
impressions, in describing the gallant charge of Prince Henry, he states
that he broke the English line "as if it had been a spider's web."
Hoveden, the historian to whom Scott alludes, applies this strong image
to the scattering of the men of Lothian: "For the Almighty was offended
at them, and their strength was rent like a cobweb."]

The issue of the battle of the Standard might have given rest to England
if Stephen had understood the spirit of his age. In 1139 he engaged in a
contest more full of peril than the assaults of Scotland or the
disturbances of Wales. He had been successful against some of the
disaffected barons. He had besieged and taken Hereford Castle and
Shrewsbury Castle. Dover Castle had surrendered to his Queen. Robert,
Earl of Gloucester, kept possession of the castles of Bristol and Leeds;
and other nobles held out against him in various strong places. London
and some of the larger towns appear to have steadily clung to his
government. The influence of the Church, by which he had been chiefly
raised to sovereignty, had supported him during his four years of
struggle. But that influence was now to be shaken.

The rapid and steady growth of the ecclesiastical power in England, from
the period of the Conquest, is one of the most remarkable
characteristics of that age. This progress we must steadily keep in view
if we would rightly understand the general condition of society. All the
great offices of the Church, with scarcely an exception, were filled by
Normans. The Conqueror sternly resisted any attempts of bishops or
abbots to control his civil government. The "Red King" misappropriated
their revenues in many cases. Henry I quarrelled with Anselm about the
right of investiture, which the Pope declared should not be in the hands
of any layman, but Henry compromised a difficult question with his usual
prudence. Whatever difficulties the Church encountered, during seventy
years, and especially during the whole course of Henry's reign, wealth
flowed in upon the ecclesiastics, from king and noble, from burgess and
socman; and every improvement of the country increased the value of
church possessions. It was not only from the lands of the Crown and the
manors of earls that bishoprics and monasteries derived their large
endowments. Henry I founded the Abbey of Reading, but the _mimus_ of
Henry I built the priory and hospital of St. Bartholomew. This
"pleasant-witted gentleman," as Stow calls the royal mimus (which Percy
interprets "minstrel"), having, according to the legend, "diverted the
palaces of princes with courtly mockeries and triflings" for many years,
bethought himself at last of more serious matters, and went to do
penance at Rome. He returned to London; and obtaining a grant of land in
a part of the King's market of Smithfield, which was a filthy marsh
where the common gallows stood, there erected the priory, whose Norman
arches as satisfactorily attest its date as Henry's charter. The piety
of a court jester in the twelfth century, when the science of medicine
was wholly empirical, founded one of the most valuable medical schools
of the nineteenth century. The desire to raise up splendid churches in
the place of the dilapidated Saxon buildings was a passion with Normans,
whether clerics or laymen. Ralph Flambard, the bold and unscrupulous
minister of William II, erected the great priory of Christchurch, in his
capacity of bishop. But he raised the necessary funds with his usual
financial vigor. He took the revenues of the canons into his hands, and
put the canons upon a short allowance till the work was completed. The
Cistercian order of monks was established in England late in the reign
of Henry I. Their rule was one of the most severe mortification and of
the strictest discipline. Their lives were spent in labor and in prayer,
and their one frugal daily meal was eaten in silence. While other
religious orders had their splendid abbeys amid large communities, the
Cistercians humbly asked grants of land in the most solitary places,
where the recluse could meditate without interruption by his fellow-men,
amid desolate moors and in the uncultivated gorges of inaccessible
mountains. In such a barren district Walter l'Espee, who had fought at
Northallerton, founded Rievaulx Abbey. It was "a solitary place in
Blakemore," in the midst of hills. The Norman knight had lost his son,
and here he derived a holy comfort in seeing the monastic buildings rise
under his munificent care, and the waste lands become fertile under the
incessant labors of the devoted monks. The ruins of Tintern Abbey and
Melrose Abbey, whose solemn influences have inspired the poets of our
own age with thoughts akin to the contemplations of their Cistercian
founders, belong to a later period of ecclesiastical architecture; for
the dwellings of the original monks have perished, and the "broken
arches," and "shafted oriel," the "imagery," and "the scrolls that teach
thee to live and die," speak of another century, when the Norman
architecture, like the Norman character, was losing its distinctive
features and becoming "Early English." We dwell a little upon these
Norman foundations, to show how completely the Church was spreading
itself over the land, and asserting its influence in places where man
had seldom trod, as well as in populous towns, where the great cathedral
was crowded with earnest votaries, and the lessons of peace were
proclaimed amid the distractions of unsettled government and the
oppressions of lordly despotism. Whatever was the misery of the country,
the ordinary family ties still bound the people to the universal
Christian church, whether the priest were Norman or English. The
new-born infant was dipped in the great Norman font, as the children of
the Confessor's time had been dipped in the ruder Saxon. The same Latin
office, unintelligible in words, but significant in its import, was said
and sung when the bride stood at the altar and the father was laid in
his grave. The vernacular tongue gradually melted into one dialect; and
the penitent and the confessor were the first to lay aside the great
distinction of race and country--that of language.

The Norman prelates were men of learning and ability, of taste and
magnificence; and, whatever might have been the luxury and even vices of
some among them, the vast revenues of the great sees were not wholly
devoted to worldly pomp, but were applied to noble uses. After the lapse
of seven centuries we still tread with reverence those portions of our
cathedrals in which the early Norman architecture is manifest. There is
no English cathedral in which we are so completely impressed with the
massive grandeur of the round-arched style as by Durham. Durham
Cathedral was commenced in the middle of the reign of Rufus, and the
building went on through the reign of Henry I. Canterbury was commenced
by Archbishop Lanfranc, soon after the Conquest, and was enlarged and
altered in various details, till it was burned in 1174. Some portions of
the original building remain. Rochester was commenced eleven years after
the Conquest; and its present nave is an unaltered part of the original
building. Chichester has nearly the same date of its commencement; and
the building of this church was continued till its dedication in 1148.
Norwich was founded in 1094, and its erection was carried forward so
rapidly that in seven years there were sixty monks here located.
Winchester is one of the earliest of these noble cathedrals; but its
Norman feature of the round arch is not the general characteristic of
the edifice, the original piers having been recased in the pointed
style, in the reign of Edward III. The dates of these buildings, so
grand in their conception, so solid in their execution, would be
sufficient of themselves to show the wealth and activity of the Church
during the reigns of the Conqueror and his sons. But, during this period
of seventy years, and in part of the reign of Stephen, the erection of
monastic buildings was universal in England, as in Continental Europe.
The crusades gave a most powerful impulse to the religious fervor. In
the enthusiasm of chivalry, which covered many of its enormities with
outward acts of piety, vows were frequently made by wealthy nobles that
they would depart for the Holy Wars. But sometimes the vow was
inconvenient. The lady of the castle wept at the almost certain perils
of her lord, and his projects of ambition often kept the lord at home to
look after his own especial interests. Then the vow to wear the cross
might be commuted by the foundation of a religious house. Death-bed
repentance for crimes of violence and a licentious life increased the
number of these endowments. It has been computed that three hundred
monastic establishments were founded in England during the reigns of
Henry I, Stephen, and Henry II.

We have briefly stated these few general facts regarding the outward
manifestation of the power and the wealth of the Church at this period,
to show how important an influence it must have exercised upon all
questions of government. But its organization was of far greater
importance than the aggregate wealth of the sees and abbeys. The English
Church, during the troubled reign of Stephen, had become more completely
under the papal dominion than at any previous period of its history. The
King attempted, rashly perhaps, but honestly, to interpose some check to
the ecclesiastical desire for supremacy; but from the hour when he
entered into a contest with bishops and synods, his reign became one of
kingly trouble and national misery.

The Norman bishops not only combined in their own persons the functions
of the priest and of the lawyer, but were often military leaders. As
barons they had knight-service to perform; and this condition of their
tenures naturally surrounded them with armed retainers. That this
anomalous position should have corrupted the ambitious churchman into a
proud and luxurious lord was almost inevitable. The authority of the
Crown might have been strong enough to repress the individual
discontent, or to punish the individual treason, of these great
prelates; but every one of them was doubly formidable as a member of a
confederacy over which a foreign head claimed to preside. There were
three bishops whose intrigues King Stephen had especially to dread at
the time when an open war for the succession of Matilda was on the point
of bursting forth. Roger, the Bishop of Salisbury, had been promoted
from the condition of a parish priest at Caen, to be chaplain,
secretary, chancellor, and chief justiciary of Henry I. He was
instrumental in the election of Stephen to the throne; and he was
rewarded with extravagant gifts, as he had been previously rewarded by
Henry. Stephen appears to have fostered his rapacity, in the conviction
that his pride would have a speedier fall; the King often saying, "I
would give him half England, if he asked for it: till the time be ripe
he shall tire of asking ere I tire of giving." The time was ripe in
1139. The Bishop had erected castles at Devizes, at Sherborne, and at
Malmesbury. King Henry had given him the castle of Salisbury. This lord
of four castles had powerful auxiliaries in his nephews, the Bishop of
Lincoln and the Bishop of Ely. Alexander of Lincoln had built the
castles of Newark and Sleaford, and was almost as powerful as his uncle.
In July, 1139, a great council was held at Oxford; and thither came
these three bishops with military and secular pomp, and with an escort
that became "the wonder of all beholders." A quarrel ensued between the
retainers of the bishops and those of Alain, Earl of Brittany, about a
right to quarters; and the quarrel went on to a battle, in which men
were slain on both sides. The bishops of Salisbury and Lincoln were
arrested, as breakers of the king's peace. The Bishop of Ely fled to his
uncle's castle of Devizes. The King, under the advice of the sagacious
Earl Millent, resolved to dispossess these dangerous prelates of their
fortresses, which were all finally surrendered. "The bishops, humbled
and mortified, and stripped of all pomp and vainglory, were reduced to a
simple ecclesiastical life, and to the possessions belonging to them as
churchmen." The contemporary who writes this--the author of the _Gesta
Stephani_--although a decided partisan of Stephen, speaks of this event
as the result of mad counsels, and a grievous sin that resembled the
wickedness of the sons of Korah and of Saul. The great body of the
ecclesiastics were indignant at what they considered an offence to their
order. The Bishop of Winchester, the brother of Stephen, had become the
Pope's legate in England, and he summoned the King to attend a synod at
Winchester. He there produced his authority as legate from Pope
Innocent, and denounced the arrest of the bishops as a dreadful crime.
The King had refused to attend the council, but he sent Alberic de Vere,
"a man deeply versed in legal affairs," to represent him. This advocate
urged that the Bishop of Lincoln was the author of the tumult at Oxford;
that whenever Bishop Roger came to court, his people, presuming on his
power, excited tumults; that the Bishop secretly favored the King's
enemies, and was ready to join the party of the Empress. The council was
adjourned, but on a subsequent day came the Archbishop of Rouen, as the
champion of the King, and contended that it was against the canons that
the bishops should possess castles; and that even if they had the right,
they were bound to deliver them up to the will of the King, as the times
were eventful, and the King was bound to make war for the common
security. The Archbishop of Rouen reasoned as a statesman; the Bishop of
Winchester as the Pope's legate. Some of the bishops threatened to
proceed to Rome; and the King's advocate intimated that if they did so,
their return might not be so easy. Swords were at last unsheathed. The
King and the earls were now in open hostility with the legate and the
bishops. Excommunication of the King was hinted at; but persuasion was
resorted to. Stephen, according to one authority, made humble
submission, and thus "abated the rigor of ecclesiastical discipline." If
he did submit, his submission was too late. Within a month Earl Robert
and the empress Matilda were in England.

Matilda and the Earl of Gloucester landed at Arundel, where the widow of
Henry I was dwelling. They had a very small force to support their
pretensions. The Earl crossed the country to Bristol. "All England was
struck with alarm, and men's minds were agitated in various ways. Those
who secretly or openly favored the invaders were roused to more than
usual activity against the King, while his own partisans were terrified
as if a thunderbolt had fallen." Stephen invested the castle of Arundel.
But in the most romantic spirit of chivalry he permitted the Empress to
pass out, and to set forward to join her brother at Bristol, under a
safe-conduct. In 1140 the whole kingdom appears to have been subjected
to the horrors of a partisan warfare. The barons in their castles were
making a show of "defending their neighborhoods, but, more properly to
speak, were laying them waste." The legate and the bishops were
excommunicating the plunderers of churches, but the plunderers laughed
at their anathemas. Freebooters came over from Flanders, not to practise
the industrial arts as in the time of Henry I, but to take their part in
the general pillage. There was frightful scarcity in the country, and
the ordinary interchange of man with man was unsettled by the debasement
of the coin. "All things," says Malmesbury, "became venial in England;
and churches and abbeys were no longer secretly but even publicly
exposed to sale." All things become venial, under a government too weak
to repress plunder or to punish corruption. The strong aim to be rich by
rapine, and the cunning by fraud, when the confusion of a kingdom is
grown so great that, as is recorded of this period, "the neighbor could
put no faith in his nearest neighbor, nor the friend in his friend, nor
the brother in his own brother." The demoralization of anarchy is even
more terrible than its bloodshed.

The marches and sieges, the revolts and treacheries, of this evil time
are occasionally varied by incidents which illustrate the state of
society. Robert Fitz-Herbert, with a detachment of the Earl of
Gloucester's soldiers, surprised the castle of Devizes, which the King
had taken from the Bishop of Salisbury. Robert Fitz-Herbert varies the
atrocities of his fellow-barons, by rubbing his prisoners with honey,
and exposing them naked to the sun. But Robert, having obtained Devizes,
refused to admit the Earl of Gloucester to any advantage of its
possession, and commenced the subjection of the neighborhood on his own
account. Another crafty baron, John Fitz-Gilbert, held the castle of
Marlborough; and Robert Fitz-Herbert, having an anxious desire to be
lord of that castle also, endeavoring to cajole Fitz-Gilbert into the
admission of his followers, went there as a guest, but was detained as a
prisoner. Upon this the Earl of Gloucester came in force for revenge
against his treacherous ally, Fitz-Herbert, and, conducting him to
Devizes, there hanged him. The surprise of Lincoln Castle, upon which
the events of 1141 mainly turned, is equally characteristic of the age.
Ranulf, Earl of Chester, and William de Roumare, his half-brother, were
avowed friends of King Stephen. But their ambition took a new direction
for the support of Matilda. The garrison of Lincoln had no apprehension
of a surprise, and were busy in those sports which hardy men enjoy even
amid the rougher sport of war. The Countess of Chester and her
sister-in-law, with a politeness that the ladies of the court of Louis
le Grand could not excel, paid a visit to the wife of the knight who had
the defence of the castle. While there, at this pleasant morning call,
"talking and joking" with the unsuspecting matron, as Ordericus relates,
the Earl of Chester came in, "without his armor or even his mantle,"
attended only by three soldiers. His courtesy was as flattering as that
of his countess and her friend. But his men-at-arms suddenly mastered
the unprepared guards, and the gates were thrown open to Earl William
and his numerous followers. The earls, after this stratagem, held the
castle against the King, who speedily marched to Lincoln. But the Earl
of Chester contrived to leave the castle, and soon raised a powerful
army of his own vassals. The Earl of Gloucester joined him with a
considerable force, and they together advanced to the relief of the
besieged city. The battle of Lincoln was preceded by a trifling incident
to which the chroniclers have attached importance. It was the Feast of
the Purification; and at the mass which was celebrated at the dawn of
day, when the King was holding a lighted taper in his hand it was
suddenly extinguished. "This was an omen of sorrow to the King," says
Hoveden. But another chronicler, the author of the _Gesta Stephain_,
tells us, in addition, that the wax candle was suddenly relighted; and
he accordingly argues that this incident was "a token that for his sins
he should be deprived of his crown, but on his repentance, through God's
mercy, he should wonderfully and gloriously recover it." The King had
been more than a month laying siege to the castle, and his army was
encamped around the city of Lincoln. When it was ascertained that his
enemies were at hand he was advised to raise the siege and march out to
strengthen his power by a general levy. He decided upon instant battle.
He was then exhorted not to fight on the solemn festival of the
Purification. But his courage was greater than his prudence or his
piety. He set forth to meet the insurgent earls. The best knights were
in his army; but the infantry of his rivals was far more numerous.
Stephen detached a strong body of horse and foot to dispute the passage
of a ford of the Trent. But Gloucester by an impetuous charge obtained
possession of the ford, and the battle became general. The King's
horsemen fled. The desperate bravery of Stephen, and the issue of the
battle, have been described by Henry of Huntingdon with singular
animation: "King Stephen, therefore, with his infantry, stood alone in
the midst of the enemy. These surrounded the royal troops, attacking the
columns on all sides, as if they were assaulting a castle. Then the
battle raged terribly round this circle; helmets and swords gleamed as
they clashed, and the fearful cries and shouts reechoed from the
neighboring hills and city walls. The cavalry, furiously charging the
royal column, slew some and trampled down others; some were made
prisoners. No respite, no breathing time, was allowed; except in the
quarter in which the King himself had taken his stand, where the
assailants recoiled from the unmatched force of his terrible arm. The
Earl of Chester seeing this, and envious of the glory the King was
gaining, threw himself upon him with the whole weight of his
men-at-arms. Even then the King's courage did not fail, but his heavy
battle-axe gleamed like lightning, striking down some, bearing back
others. At length it was shattered by repeated blows. Then he drew his
well-tried sword, with which he wrought wonders, until that too was
broken. Perceiving which, William de Kaims, a brave soldier, rushed on
him, and seizing him by his helmet, shouted, 'Here, here, I have taken
the King!' Others came to his aid, and the King was made prisoner."

After the capture of King Stephen, at this brief but decisive battle, he
was kept a close prisoner at Bristol Castle. Then commenced what might
be called the reign of Queen Matilda, which lasted about eight months.
The defeat of Stephen was the triumph of the greater ecclesiastics. On
the third Sunday in Lent, 1141, there was a conference on the plain in
the neighborhood of Winchester--a day dark and rainy, which portended
disasters. The Bishop of Winchester came forth from his city with all
the pomp of the pope's legate; and there Matilda swore that in all
matters of importance, and especially in the bestowal of bishoprics and
abbeys, she would submit to the Church; and the Bishop and his
supporters pledged their faith to the Empress on these conditions. After
Easter, a great council was held at Winchester, which the Bishop called
as the Pope's vicegerent. The unscrupulous churchman boldly came
forward, and denounced his brother, inviting the assembly to elect a
sovereign; and, with an amount of arrogance totally unprecedented, thus
asserted the notorious untruth that the right of electing a king of
England principally belonged to the clergy: "The case was yesterday
agitated before a part of the higher clergy of England, to whose right
it principally pertains to elect the sovereign, and also to crown him.
First, then, as is fitting, invoking God's assistance, we elect the
daughter of that peaceful, that glorious, that rich, that good, and in
our times incomparable king, as sovereign of England and Normandy, and
promise her fidelity and support." The Bishop then said to the
applauding assembly: "We have despatched messengers for the Londoners,
who, from the importance of their city in England, are almost nobles, as
it were, to meet us on this business." The next day the Londoners came.
They were sent, they said, by their fraternity to entreat that their
lord, the King, might be liberated from captivity. The legate refused
them, and repeated his oration against his brother. It was a work of
great difficulty to soothe the minds of the Londoners; and St. John's
Day had arrived before they would consent to acknowledge Matilda. Many
parts of the kingdom had then submitted to her government, and she
entered London with great state. Her nature seems to have been rash and
imperious. Her first act was to demand subsidies of the citizens; and
when they said that their wealth was greatly diminished by the troubled
state of the kingdom, she broke forth into insufferable rage. The
vigilant queen of Stephen, who kept possession of Kent, now approached
the city with a numerous force, and by her envoys demanded her husband's
freedom. Of course her demand was made in vain. She then put forth a
front of battle. Instead of being crowned at Westminster, the daughter
of Henry I fled in terror; for "the whole city flew to arms at the
ringing of the bells, which was the signal for war, and all with one
accord rose upon the Countess [of Anjou] and her adherents, as swarms of
wasps issue from their hives."

William Fitzstephen, the biographer of Thomas a Becket, in his
_Description of London_, supposed to be written about the middle of the
reign of Henry II, says of this city, "ennobled by her men, graced by
her arms, and peopled by a multitude of inhabitants," that "in the wars
under King Stephen there went out to a muster of armed horsemen,
esteemed fit for war, twenty thousand, and of infantry, sixty thousand."
In general, the _Description of London_ appears trustworthy, and in some
instances is supported by other authorities. But this vast number of
fighting men must, unquestionably, be exaggerated: unless, as Lyttelton
conjectures, such a muster included the militia of Middlesex, Kent, and
other counties adjacent to London. Peter of Blois, in the reign of Henry
II, reckons the inhabitants of the city at forty thousand. That the
citizens were trained to warlike exercises, and that their manly sports
nurtured them in the hardihood of military habits, we may well conclude
from Fitzstephen's account of this community at a little later period
than that of which we are writing. To the north of the city were pasture
lands, with streams on whose banks the clack of many mills was pleasing
to the ear; and beyond was an immense forest, with densely wooded
thickets, where stags, fallow-deer, boars, and wild bulls had their
coverts. We have seen that in the charter of Henry I the citizens had
liberty to hunt through a very extensive district, and hawking was also
among their free recreations. Football was the favorite game; and the
boys of the schools, and the various guilds of craftsmen, had each their
ball. The elder citizens came on horseback to see these contests of the
young men. Every Sunday in Lent a company with lances and shields went
out to joust. In the Easter holidays they had river tournaments. During
the summer the youths exercised themselves in leaping, archery,
wrestling, stone-throwing, slinging javelins, and fighting with
bucklers. When the great marsh which washed the walls of the city on the
north was frozen over, sliding, sledging, and skating were the sports of
crowds. They had sham fights on the ice, and legs and arms were
sometimes broken. "But," says Fitzstephen, "youth is an age eager for
glory and desirous of victory, and so young men engage in counterfeit
battles, that they may conduct themselves more valiantly in real ones."
That universal love of hardy sports, which is one of the greatest
characteristics of England, and from which we derive no little of that
spirit which keeps our island safe, is not of modern growth. It was one
of the most important portions of the education of the people seven
centuries ago.

It was this community, then, so brave, so energetic, so enriched by
commerce above all the other cities of England, that resolutely abided
by the fortunes of King Stephen. They had little to dread from any
hostile assaults of the rival faction; for the city was strongly
fortified on all sides except to the river; but on that side it was
secure, after the Tower was built. The palace of Westminster had also a
breastwork and bastions. After Matilda had taken her hasty departure,
the indignant Londoners marched out, and they sustained a principal part
in what has been called "the rout of Winchester," in which Robert, Earl
of Gloucester, was taken prisoner. The ex-Empress escaped to Devizes.
The capture of the Earl of Gloucester led to important results. A
convention was agreed to between the adherents of each party that the
King should be exchanged for the Earl. Stephen was once more "every inch
a king." But still there was no peace in the land.

The Bishop of Winchester had again changed his side. In the hour of
success the empress Matilda had refused the reasonable request that
Prince Eustace, the son of Stephen, should be put in possession of his
father's earldom of Boulogne. Malmesbury says, "A misunderstanding arose
between the legate and the Empress which may be justly considered as the
melancholy cause of every subsequent evil in England." The chief actors
in this extraordinary drama present a curious study of human character.
Matilda, resting her claim to the throne upon her legitimate descent
from Henry I, who had himself usurped the throne--possessing her
father's courage and daring, with some of his cruelty--haughty,
vindictive--furnishes one of the most striking portraits of the proud
lady of the feudal period, who shrank from no danger by reason of her
sex, but made the homage of chivalry to woman a powerful instrument for
enforcing her absolute will. The Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate
brother of Matilda, brave, steadfast, of a free and generous nature, a
sagacious counsellor, a lover of literature, appears to have had few of
the vices of that age, and most of its elevating qualities. Of Stephen
it has been said, "He deserves no other reproach than that of having
embraced the occupation of a captain of banditti." This appears rather a
harsh judgment from a philosophical writer. Bearing in mind that the
principle of election prevailed in the choice of a king, whatever was
the hereditary claim, and seeing how welcome was the advent of Stephen
when he came, in 1135, to avert the dangers of the kingdom, he merits
the title of "a captain of banditti" no more than Harold or William the
Conqueror. After the contests of six years--the victories, the defeats,
the hostility of the Church, his capture and imprisonment--the
attachment of the people of the great towns to his person and government
appears to have been unshaken. When he was defeated at Lincoln, and led
captive through the city, "the surrounding multitude were moved with
pity, shedding tears and uttering cries of grief." Ordericus says: "The
King's disaster filled with grief the clergy and monks and the common
people; because he was condescending and courteous to those who were
good and quiet, and if his treacherous nobles had allowed it, he would
have put an end to their rapacious enterprises, and been a generous
protector and benevolent friend of the country." The fourth and not
least remarkable personage of this history is Henry, the Bishop of
Winchester, and the Pope's legate. At that period, when the functions of
churchman and statesman were united, we find this man the chief
instrument for securing the crown for his brother. He subsequently
becomes the vicegerent of the papal see. Stephen, with more justice than
discretion, is of opinion that bishops are not doing their duty when
they build castles, ride about in armor, with crowds of retainers, and
are not at all scrupulous in appropriating some of the booty of a
lawless time. From the day when he exhibited his hostility to fighting
bishops, the Pope's legate was his brother's deadly enemy. But he found
that the rival whom he had set up was by no means a pliant tool in his
hands, and he then turned against Matilda. When Stephen had shaken off
the chains with which he was loaded in Bristol Castle, the Bishop
summoned a council at Westminster, on his legatine authority; and there
"by great powers of eloquence, endeavored to extenuate the odium of his
own conduct"; affirming that he had supported the Empress, "not from
inclination, but necessity." He then "commanded on the part of God and
of the Pope, that they should strenuously assist the King, appointed by
the will of the people, and by the approbation of the Holy See."
Malmesbury, who records these doings, adds that a layman sent from the
Empress affirmed that "her coming to England had been effected by the
legate's frequent letters"; and that "her taking the King, and holding
him in captivity, had been done principally by his connivance." The
reign of Stephen is not only "the most perfect condensation of all the
ills of feudality," but affords a striking picture of the ills which
befall a people when an ambitious hierarchy, swayed to and fro at the
will of a foreign power, regards the supremacy of the Church as the one
great object to be attained, at whatever expense of treachery and
falsehood, of national degradation and general suffering.

In 1142 the civil war is raging more fiercely than ever. Matilda is at
Oxford, a fortified city, protected by the Thames, by a wall, and by an
impregnable castle. Stephen, with a body of veterans, wades across the
river and enters the city. Matilda and her followers take refuge in the
keep. For three months the King presses the siege, surrounding the
fortress on all sides. Famine is approaching to the helpless garrison.
It is the Christmas season. The country is covered with a deep snow. The
Thames and the tributary rivers are frozen over. With a small escort
Matilda contrives to escape, and passes undiscovered through the royal
posts, on a dark and silent night, when no sound is heard but the clang
of a trumpet or the challenge of a sentinel. In the course of the night
she went to Abingdon on foot, and afterwards reached Wallingford on
horseback. The author of the _Gesta Stephani_ expresses his wonder at
the marvellous escapes of this courageous woman. The changes of her
fortune are equally remarkable. After the flight from Oxford the arms of
the Earl of Gloucester are again successful. Stephen is beaten at
Wilton, and retreats precipitately with his military brother, the Bishop
of Winchester. There are now in the autumn of 1142 universal turmoil and
desolation. Many people emigrate. Others crowd round the sanctuary of
the churches, and dwell there in mean hovels. Famine is general. Fields
are white with ripened corn, but the cultivators have fled, and there is
none to gather the harvest. Cities are deserted and depopulated. Fierce
foreign mercenaries, for whom the barons have no pay, pillage the farms
and the monasteries. The bishops, for the most part, rest supine amid
all this storm of tyranny. When they rouse themselves they increase
rather than mitigate the miseries of the people. Milo, Earl of Hereford,
has demanded money of the Bishop of Hereford to pay his troops. The
Bishop refuses, and Milo seizes his lands and goods. The Bishop then
pronounces sentence of excommunication against Milo and his adherents,
and lays an interdict upon the country subject to the Earl's authority.
We might hastily think that the solemn curse pronounced against a
nation, or a district, was an unmeaning ceremony, with its "bell, book,
and candle," to terrify only the weakminded. It was one of the most
outrageous of the numerous ecclesiastical tyrannies. The consolations of
religion were eagerly sought for and justly prized by the great body of
the people, who earnestly believed that a happy future would be a reward
for the patient endurance of a miserable present. As they were admitted
to the holy communion, they recognized an acknowledgment of the equality
of men before the great Father of all. Their marriages were blessed and
their funerals were hallowed. Under an interdict all the churches were
shut. No knell was tolled for the dead, for the dead remained unburied.
No merry peals welcomed the bridal procession, for no couple could be
joined in wedlock. The awe-stricken mother might have her infant
baptized, and the dying might receive extreme unction. But all public
offices of the Church were suspended. If we imagine such a condition of
society in a village devastated by fire and sword, we may wonder how a
free government and a Christian church have ever grown up among us.

If Stephen had quietly possessed the throne, and his heir had succeeded
him, the crowns of England and Normandy would have been disconnected
before the thirteenth century. Geoffrey of Anjou, while his duchess was
in England, had become master of Normandy, and its nobles had
acknowledged his son Henry as their rightful duke. The boy was in
England, under the protection of the Earl of Gloucester, who attended to
his education. The great Earl died in 1147. For a few years there had
been no decided contest between the forces of the King and the Empress.
After eight years of terrible hostility, and of desperate adventure,
Matilda left the country. Stephen made many efforts to control the
license of the barons, but with little effect. He was now engaged in
another quarrel with the Church. His brother had been superseded as
legate by Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, in consequence of the
death of the Pope who had supported the Bishop of Winchester. Theobald
was Stephen's enemy, and his hostility was rendered formidable by his
alliance with Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk. The Archbishop excommunicated
Stephen and his adherents, and the King was enforced to submission. In
1150 Stephen, having been again reconciled to the Church, sought the
recognition of his son Eustace as the heir to the kingdom. This
recognition was absolutely refused by the Archbishop, who said that
Stephen was regarded by the papal see as an usurper. But time was
preparing a solution of the difficulties of the kingdom. Henry of Anjou
was grown into manhood. Born in 1133, he had been knighted by his uncle,
David of Scotland, in 1149. His father died in 1151, and he became not
only Duke of Normandy, but Earl of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine. In 1152
he contracted a marriage of ambition with Eleanor, the divorced wife of
Louis of France, and thus became Lord of Aquitaine and Poitou, which
Eleanor possessed in her own right. Master of all the western coast of
France, from the Somme to the Pyrenees, with the exception of Brittany,
his ambition, thus strengthened by his power, prepared to dispute the
sovereignty of England with better hopes than ever waited on his
mother's career. He landed with a well-appointed band of followers in
1153, and besieged various castles. But no general encounter took place.
The King and the Duke had a conference, without witnesses, across a
rivulet, and this meeting prepared the way for a final pacification. The
negotiators were Henry, the Bishop, on the one part, and Theobald, the
Archbishop, on the other. Finally Stephen led the Prince in solemn
procession through the streets of Winchester, "and all the great men of
the realm, by the King's command, did homage, and pronounced the fealty
due to their liege lord, to the Duke of Normandy, saving only their
allegiance to King Stephen during his life." Stephen's son Eustace had
died during the negotiations. The troublesome reign of Stephen was soon
after brought to a close. He died on the 25th of October, 1154. His
constant and heroic queen had died three years before him.



A.D. 1145-1155


(During the first half of the twelfth century--a period marked by
conflicting spiritual tendencies--in Italy began a work of political and
religious reform, which has ever since been associated with the name of
its chief originator and apostle, Arnold of Brescia, so called from his
native city in Lombardy. He was born about the year 1100, became a
disciple of Abelard--whose teachings fired him with enthusiasm--and
entered the priesthood.

Although quite orthodox in doctrine, he rebelled against the
secularization of the Church--which had given to the pope almost supreme
power in temporal affairs--and against the worldly disposition and life
then prevalent among ecclesiastics and monks. His own life was sternly
simple and ascetic, and this habit had been strongly confirmed by the
ethical passion which burned in the religious and philosophical
instructions of Abelard. With the popular religion Arnold had earnest
sympathy, but he would reduce the clergy to their primitive and
apostolic poverty, depriving them of individual wealth and of all
temporal power.

The inspiring idea of Arnold's movement was that of a holy and pure
church, a renovation of the spiritual order after the pattern of the
apostolic church. He conformed in dress as well as in his mode of life
to the principles he taught. The worldly and often corrupt clergy, he
maintained, were unfit to discharge the priestly functions--they were no
longer priests, and the secularized Church was no longer the house of

Arnold dreamed of a great Christian republic and labored to establish
it, insomuch that his ideal, never realized in concrete form, either in
church or state, took, and in history has kept, the name of republic.
His eloquence and sincerity brought him powerful popular support, and
even a large part of the nobility were won to his side. But of course,
among those whom his aims condemned or antagonized, there were many who
spared no pains to place him in an unfavorable light and to bring his
labors to naught. In the simple story of his career, as here told by the
great church historian, his figure appears in an attitude of heroism,
which the pathos of his end can only make the reader more deeply
appreciate. Through all this agitation is heard the voice of St. Bernard
urging the religious conscience and better aspiration of the time,
preaching the Second Crusade, and speeding its eastward march with
earnest expectation--his high hope doomed to perish with its inglorious

Arnold's discourses were directly calculated by their tendency to find
ready entrance into the minds of the laity, before whose eyes the
worldly lives of the ecclesiastics and monks were constantly present,
and to create a faction in deadly hostility to the clergy. Superadded to
this was the inflammable matter already prepared by the collision of the
spirit of political freedom with the power of the higher clergy. Thus
Arnold's addresses produced in the minds of the Italian people, quite
susceptible to such excitements, a prodigious effect, which threatened
to spread more widely, and Pope Innocent felt himself called upon to
take preventive measures against it. At the Lateran Council, in the year
1139, he declared against Arnold's proceedings, and commanded him to
quit Italy--the scene of the disturbances thus far--and not to return
again without express permission from the Pope. Arnold, moreover, is
said to have bound himself by an oath to obey this injunction, which
probably was expressed in such terms as to leave him free to interpret
it as referring exclusively to the person of Pope Innocent. If the oath
was not so expressed, he might afterward have been accused of violating
that oath. It is to be regretted that the form in which the sentence was
pronounced against Arnold has not come down to us; but from its very
character it is evident that he could not have been convicted of any
false doctrine, since otherwise the Pope would certainly not have
treated him so mildly--would not have been contented with merely
banishing him from Italy, since teachers of false doctrine would be
dangerous to the Church everywhere.

Bernard, moreover, in his letter directed against Arnold, states that he
was accused before the Pope of being the author of a very bad schism.
Arnold now betook himself to France, and here he became entangled in the
quarrels with his old teacher Abelard, to whom he was indebted for the
first impulse of his mind toward this more serious and free bent of the
religious spirit. Expelled from France, he directed his steps to
Switzerland, and sojourned in Zurich. The abbot Bernard thought it
necessary to caution the Bishop of Constance against him; but the man
who had been condemned by the Pope found protection there from the papal
legate, Cardinal Guido, who, indeed, made him a member of his household
and companion of his table. The abbot Bernard severely censured the
prelate, on the ground that Arnold's connection with him would
contribute, without fail, to give importance and influence to that
dangerous man. This deserves to be noticed on two accounts, for it makes
it evident what power he could exercise over men's minds, and that no
false doctrines could be charged to his account.

But independent of Arnold's personal presence, the impulse which he had
given continued to operate in Italy, and the effects of it extended even
to Rome. By the papal condemnation, public attention was only more
strongly drawn to the subject.

The Romans certainly felt no great sympathy for the religious element in
that serious spirit of reform which animated Arnold; but the political
movements, which had sprung out of his reforming tendency, found a point
of attachment in their love of liberty, and their dreams of the ancient
dominion of Rome over the world. The idea of emancipating themselves
from the yoke of the Pope, and of reestablishing the old Republic,
flattered their Roman pride. Espousing the principles of Arnold, they
required that the Pope, as spiritual head of the Church, should confine
himself to the administration of spiritual affairs; and they committed
to a senate the supreme direction of civil affairs.

Innocent could do nothing to stem such a violent current; and he died in
the midst of these disturbances, in the year 1143. The mild Cardinal
Guido, the friend of Abelard and Arnold, became his successor, and
called himself, when pope, Celestine II. By his gentleness, quiet was
restored for a short time. Perhaps it was the news of the elevation of
this friendly man to the papal throne that encouraged Arnold himself to
come to Rome. But Celestine died after six months, and Lucius II was his
successor. Under his reign the Romans renewed the former agitations with
more violence; they utterly renounced obedience to the Pope, whom they
recognized only in his priestly character, and the restored Roman
Republic sought to strike a league in opposition to the Pope and to
papacy with the new Emperor, Conrad III.

In the name of the "senate and Roman people," a pompous letter was
addressed to Conrad. The Emperor was invited to come to Rome, that from
thence, like Justinian and Constantine, in former days, he might give
laws to the world.

Caesar should have the things that are Caesar's; the priest the things
that are the priest's, as Christ ordained when Peter paid the tribute
money. Long did the tendency awakened by Arnold's principles continue to
agitate Rome. In the letters written amidst these commotions, by
individual noblemen of Rome to the Emperor, we perceive a singular
mixing together of the Arnoldian spirit with the dreams of Roman vanity;
a radical tendency to the separation of secular from spiritual things
which if it had been capable enough in itself, and if it could have
found more points of attachment in the age, would have brought
destruction on the old theocratical system of the Church. They said that
the Pope could claim no political sovereignty in Rome; he could not even
be consecrated without the consent of the Emperor--a rule which had in
fact been observed till the time of Gregory VII. Men complained of the
worldliness of the clergy, of their bad lives, of the contradiction
between their conduct and the teachings of Scripture.

The popes were accused as the instigators of the wars. "The popes," it
was said, "should no longer unite the cup of the eucharist with the
sword; it was their vocation to preach, and to confirm what they
preached by good works. How could those who eagerly grasped at all the
wealth of this world, and corrupted the true riches of the Church, the
doctrine of salvation obtained by Christ, by their false doctrines and
their luxurious living, receive that word of our Lord, 'Blessed are the
poor in spirit,' when they were poor themselves neither in fact nor in
disposition?" Even the donative of Constantine to the Roman bishop
Silvester was declared to be a pitiable fiction. This lie had been so
clearly exposed that it was obvious to the very day-laborers and to
women, and that these could put to silence the most learned men if they
ventured to defend the genuineness of this donative; so that the Pope,
with his cardinals, no longer dared to appear in public. But Arnold was
perhaps the only individual in whose case such a tendency was deeply
rooted in religious conviction; with many it was but a transitory
intoxication, in which their political interests had become merged for
the moment.

The pope Lucius II was killed as early as 1145, in the attack on the
Capitol. A scholar of the great abbot Bernard, the abbot Peter Bernard
of Pisa, now mounted the papal chair under the name of Eugene III. As
Eugene honored and loved the abbot Bernard as his spiritual father and
old preceptor, so the latter took advantage of his relation to the Pope
to speak the truth to him with a plainness which no other man would
easily have ventured to use. In congratulating him upon his elevation to
the papal dignity, he took occasion to exhort him to do away with the
many abuses which had become so widely spread in the Church by worldly
influences. "Who will give me the satisfaction," said he in his letter,
"of beholding the Church of God, before I die, in a condition like that
in which it was in ancient days, when the apostles threw out their nets,
not for silver and gold, but for souls? How fervently I wish thou
mightest inherit the word of that apostle whose episcopal seat thou hast
acquired, of him who said, 'Thy gold perish with thee.' Oh that all the
enemies of Zion might tremble before this dreadful word, and shrink back
abashed! This, thy mother indeed expects and requires of thee, for this
long and sigh the sons of thy mother, small and great, that every plant
which our Father in heaven has not planted may be rooted up by thy
hands." He then alluded to the sudden deaths of the last predecessors of
the Pope, exhorting him to humility, and reminding him of his
responsibility. "In all thy works," he wrote, "remember that thou art a
man; and let the fear of Him who taketh away the breath of rulers be
ever before thine eyes."

Eugene was soon forced to yield, it is true, to the superior force of
the insurrectionary spirit in Rome, and in 1146 to take refuge in
France; but, like Urban and Innocent, he too, from this country,
attained to the highest triumph of the papal power. Like Innocent, he
found there, in the abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, a mightier instrument
for operating on the minds of the age than he could have found in any
other country; and like Urban, when banished from the ancient seat of
the papacy, he was enabled to place himself at the head of a crusade
proclaimed in his name, and undertaken with great enthusiasm; an
enterprise from which a new impression of sacredness would be reflected
back upon his own person.

The news of the success which had attended the arms of the Saracens in
Syria, the defeat of the Christians, the conquest of the ancient
Christian territory of Edessa, the danger which threatened the new
Christian kingdom of Jerusalem and the Holy City, had spread alarm among
the Western nations, and the Pope considered himself bound to summon the
Christians of the West to the assistance of their hard-pressed brethren
in the faith and to the recovery of the holy places. By a letter
directed to the abbot Bernard he commissioned him to exhort the Western
Christians in his name, that, for penance and forgiveness of sins, they
should march to the East, to deliver their brethren, or to give up their
lives for them. Enthusiastic for the cause himself Bernard communicated,
through the power of the living word and by letters, his enthusiasm to
the nations. He represented the new crusade as a means furnished by God
to the multitudes sunk in sin, of calling them to repentance, and of
paving the way, by devout participation in a pious work, for the
forgiveness of their sins. Thus, in his letter to the clergy and people
in East Frankland (Germany), he exhorts them eagerly to lay hold on this
opportunity; he declares that the Almighty condescended to invite
murderers, robbers, adulterers, perjurers, and those sunk in other
crimes, into his service, as well as the righteous. He calls upon them
to make an end of waging war with one another, and to seek an object for
their warlike prowess in this holy contest. "Here, brave warrior," he
exclaims, "thou hast a field where thou mayest fight without danger,
where victory is glory and death is gain. Take the sign of the cross,
and thou shalt obtain the forgiveness of all the sins which thou hast
never confessed with a contrite heart." By Bernard's fiery discourses
men of all ranks were carried away. In France and in Germany he
travelled about, conquering by an effort his great bodily infirmities,
and the living word from his lips produced even mightier effects than
his letters.

A peculiar charm, and a peculiar power of moving men's minds, must have
existed in the tones of his voice; to this must be added the
awe-inspiring effect of his whole appearance, the way in which his whole
being and the motions of his bodily frame joined in testifying of that
which seized and inspired him. Thus it admits of being explained how, in
Germany, even those who understood but little, or in fact nothing, of
what he said, could be so moved as to shed tears and smite their
breasts; could, by his own speeches in a foreign language, be more
strongly affected and agitated than by the immediate interpretation of
his words by another. From all quarters sick persons were conveyed to
him by the friends who sought from him a cure; and the power of his
faith, the confidence he inspired in the minds of men, might sometimes
produce remarkable effects. With this enthusiasm, however, Bernard
united a degree of prudence and a discernment of character such as few
of that age possessed, and such qualities were required to counteract
the multiform excitements of the wild spirit of fanaticism which mixed
in with this great ferment of minds.

Thus, he warned the Germans not to suffer themselves to be misled so far
as to follow certain independent enthusiasts, ignorant of war, who were
bent on moving forward the bodies of the crusaders prematurely. He held
up as a warning the example of Peter the Hermit, and declared himself
very decidedly opposed to the proposition of an abbot who was disposed
to march with a number of monks to Jerusalem; "for," said he, "fighting
warriors are more needed there than singing monks." At an assembly held
at Chartres it was proposed that he himself should take the lead of the
expedition; but he rejected the proposition at once, declaring that it
was beyond his power and contrary to his calling. Having, perhaps,
reason to fear that the Pope might be hurried on, by the shouts of the
many, to lay upon him some charge to which he did not feel himself
called, he besought the Pope that he would not make him a victim to
men's arbitrary will, but that he would inquire, as it was his duty to
do, how God had determined to dispose of him.

With the preaching of this Second Crusade, as with the invitation to the
First, was connected an extraordinary awakening. Many who had hitherto
given themselves up to their unrestrained passions and desires, and
become strangers to all higher feelings, were seized with compunction.
Bernard's call to repentance penetrated many a heart; people who had
lived in all manner of crime were seen following this voice and flocking
together in troops to receive the badge of the cross. Bishop Otto of
Freisingen, the historian, who himself took the cross at that time,
expresses it as his opinion "that every man of sound understanding would
be forced to acknowledge so sudden and uncommon a change could have been
produced in no other way than by the right hand of the Lord." The
provost Gerhoh of Reichersberg, who wrote in the midst of these
movements, was persuaded that he saw here a work of the Holy Spirit,
designed to counteract the vices and corruptions which had got the upper
hand in the Church.

Many who had been awakened to repentance confessed what they had taken
from others by robbery or fraud, and hastened, before they went to the
holy war, to seek reconciliation with their enemies. The Christian
enthusiasm of the German people found utterance in songs in the German
tongue; and even now the peculiar adaptation of this language to sacred
poetry began to be remarked. Indecent songs could no longer venture to
appear abroad.

While some were awakened by Bernard's preaching from a life of crime to
repentance, and by taking part in the holy war strove to obtain the
remission of their sins, others again, who though hitherto borne along
in the current of ordinary worldly pursuits, yet had not given
themselves up to vice, were filled by Bernard's words with loathing of
the worldly life, inflamed with a vehement longing after a higher stage
of Christian perfection, after a life of entire consecration to God.
They longed rather to enter upon the pilgrimage to the heavenly than to
an earthly Jerusalem; they resolved to become monks, and would fain have
the man of God himself, whose words had made so deep an impression on
their hearts, as their guide in the spiritual life, and commit
themselves to his directions, in the monastery of Clairvaux. But here
Bernard showed his prudence and knowledge of mankind; he did not allow
all to become monks who wished to do so. Many he rejected because he
perceived they were not fitted for the quiet of the contemplative life,
but needed to be disciplined by the conflicts and cares of a life of

As contemporaries themselves acknowledge, these first impressions, in
the case of many who went to the crusades, were of no permanent
duration, and their old nature broke forth again the more strongly under
the manifold temptations to which they were exposed, in proportion to
the facility with which, through the confidence they reposed in a
plenary indulgence, without really laying to heart the condition upon
which it was bestowed, they could flatter themselves with security in
their sins.

Gerhoh of Reichersberg, in describing the blessed effects of that
awakening which accompanied the preaching of the crusader, yet says: "We
doubt not that among so vast a multitude some became in the true sense
and in all sincerity soldiers of Christ. Some, however, were led to
embark in the enterprise by various other occasions, concerning whom it
does not belong to us to judge, but only to Him who alone knows the
hearts of those who marched to the contest either in the right or not in
the right spirit. Yet this we do confidently affirm, that to this
crusade many were called, but few were chosen." And it was said that
many returned from this expedition, not better, but worse than they
went. Therefore the monk Cesarius of Heisterbach, who states this, adds:
"All depends on bearing the yoke of Christ not _one_ year or _two_
years, but daily, if a man is really intent on doing it in truth, and in
that sense in which our Lord requires it to be done, in order to follow

When it turned out, however, that the event did not answer the
expectations excited by Bernard's enthusiastic confidence, but the
crusade came to that unfortunate issue which was brought about
especially by the treachery of the princes and nobles of the Christian
kingdom in Syria, this was a source of great chagrin to Bernard, who had
been so active in setting it in motion, and who had inspired such
confident hopes by his promises. He appeared now in the light of a bad
prophet, and he was reproached by many with having incited men to engage
in an enterprise which had cost so much blood to no purpose; but
Bernard's friends alleged, in his defence, that he had not excited such
a popular movement single-handed, but as the organ of the Pope, in whose
name he acted; and they appealed to the facts by which his preaching of
the cross was proved to be a work of God--to the wonders which attended
it. Or they ascribed the failure of the undertaking to the bad conduct
of the crusaders themselves, to the unchristian mode of life which many
of them led, as one of these friends maintained, in a consoling letter
to Bernard himself, adding, "God, however, has turned it to good.
Numbers who, if they had returned home, would have continued to live a
life of crime, disciplined and purified by many sufferings, have passed
into the life eternal."

But Bernard himself could not be staggered in his faith by this event.
In writing to Pope Eugene on this subject, he refers to the
incomprehensibleness of the divine ways and judgments; to the example of
Moses, who, although his work carried on its face incontestable evidence
of being a work of God, yet was not permitted himself to conduct the
Jews into the Promised Land. As this was owing to the fault of the Jews
themselves, so too the crusaders had none to blame but themselves for
the failure of the divine work. "But," says he, "it will be said,
perhaps, how do we know that this work came from the Lord? What miracle
dost thou work that we should believe thee? To this question I need not
give an answer; it is a point on which my modesty asks to be excused
from speaking. Do you answer," says he to the Pope, "for me and for
yourself, according to that which you have seen and heard." So firmly
was Bernard convinced that God had sustained his labors by miracles.

Eugene was at length enabled, in the year 1149, after having for a long
time excited against himself the indignation of the cardinals by his
dependence on the French abbot, with the assistance of Roger, King of
the Sicilies, to return to Rome; where, however, he still had to
maintain a struggle with the party of Arnold.

The provost Gerhoh finds something to complain of in the fact that the
Church of St. Peter wore so warlike an aspect that men beheld the tomb
of the apostle surrounded with bastions and the implements of war.

As Bernard was no longer sufficiently near the Pope to exert on him the
same immediate personal influence as in times past, he addressed to him
a voice of admonition and warning, such as the mighty of the earth
seldom enjoy the privilege of hearing. With the frankness of a love
which, as he himself expresses it, knew not the master, but recognized
the son, even under the pontifical robes, he set before him, in his four
books _On Meditation_, which he sent to him singly at different times,
the duties of his office, and the faults against which, in order to
fulfil these duties, he needed especially to guard.

Bernard was penetrated with a conviction that to the Pope, as St.
Peter's successor, was committed by God a sovereign power of church
government over all, and responsible to no other tribunal; that to this
church theocracy, guided by the Pope, the administration even of the
secular power, though independent within its own peculiar sphere, should
be subjected, for the service of the kingdom of God; but he also
perceived, with the deepest pain, how very far the papacy was from
corresponding to this its idea and destination; what prodigious
corruption had sprung and continued to spring from the abuse of papal
authority; he perceived already, with prophetic eye, that this very
abuse of arbitrary will must eventually bring about the destruction of
this power. He desired that the Pope should disentangle himself from the
secular part of his office, and reduce that office within the purely
spiritual domain; and that, above all, he should learn to govern and
restrict himself.

But to the close of his life, in the year 1153, Pope Eugene had to
contend with the turbulent spirit of the Romans and the influences of
the principles disseminated by Arnold; and this contest was prolonged
into the reign of his second successor, Adrian IV. Among the people and
among the nobles, a considerable party had arisen who would concede to
the Pope no kind of secular dominion. And there seems to have been a
shade of difference among the members of this party. A mob of the people
is said to have gone to such an extreme of arrogance as to propose the
choosing of a new emperor from among the Romans themselves, the
restoration of a Roman empire independent of the Pope. The other party,
to which belonged the nobles, were for placing the emperor Frederick I
at the head of the Roman Republic, and uniting themselves with him in a
common interest against the Pope. They invited him to receive the
imperial crown, in the ancient manner, from the "senate and Roman
people," and not from the heretical and recreant clergy and false monks,
who acted in contradiction to their calling, exercising lordship despite
of the evangelical and apostolical doctrine; and in contempt of all
laws, divine and human, brought the Church of God and the kingdom of the
world into confusion. Those who pretend that they are the
representatives of Peter, it was said, in a letter addressed in the
spirit of this party to the emperor Frederick I, "act in contradiction
to the doctrines which that apostle teaches in his epistles. How can
they say with the apostle Peter, 'Lo, we have left all and followed
thee,' and, 'Silver and gold have I none'? How can our Lord say to such,
'Ye are the light of the world,' 'the salt of the earth'? Much rather is
to be applied to them what our Lord says of the salt that has lost its
savor. 'Eager after earthly riches, they spoil the true riches, from
which the salvation of the world has proceeded.' How can the saying be
applied to them, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'? for they are neither
poor in spirit nor in fact."

Pope Adrian IV was first enabled, under more favorable circumstances,
and assisted by the Emperor Frederick I, to deprive the Arnold party of
its leader, and then to suppress it entirely. It so happened that, in
the first year of Adrian's reign, 1155, a cardinal, on his way to visit
the Pope, was attacked and wounded by followers of Arnold. This induced
the Pope to put all Rome under the interdict, with a view to force the
expulsion of Arnold and his party. This means did not fail of its
effect. The people who could not bear the suspension of divine worship,
now themselves compelled the nobles to bring about the ejection of
Arnold and his friends. Arnold, on leaving Rome, found protection from
Italian nobles. By the order, however, of the emperor Frederick, who had
come into Italy, he was torn from his protectors and surrendered up to
the papal authority. The Prefect of Rome then took possession of his
person and caused him to be hanged. His body was burned, and its ashes
thrown into the Tiber, lest his bones might be preserved as the relics
of a martyr by the Romans, who were enthusiastically devoted to him.
Worthy men, who were in other respects zealous defenders of the church
orthodoxy and of the hierarchy--as, for example, Gerhoh of
Reichersberg--expressed their disapprobation, first, that Arnold should
be punished with death on account of the errors which he disseminated;
secondly, that the sentence of death should proceed from a spiritual
tribunal, or that such a tribunal should at least have subjected itself
to that bad appearance.

But on the part of the Roman court it was alleged, in defence of this
proceeding, that "it was done without the knowledge and contrary to the
will of the Roman curia." "The Prefect of Rome had forcibly removed
Arnold from the prison where he was kept, and his servants had put him
to death in revenge for injuries they had suffered from Arnold's party.
Arnold, therefore, was executed, not on account of his doctrines, but in
consequence of tumults excited by himself." It may be a question whether
this was said with sincerity, or whether, according to the proverb, a
confession of guilt is not implied in the excuse. But Gerhoh was of the
opinion that in this case they should at least have done as David did,
in the case of Abner's death, and, by allowing Arnold to be buried, and
his death to be mourned over, instead of causing his body to be burned,
and the remains thrown into the Tiber, washed their hands of the whole

But the idea for which Arnold had contended, and for which he died,
continued to work in various forms, even after his death--the idea of a
purification of the Church from the foreign worldly elements with which
it had become vitiated, of its restoration to its original spiritual


A.D. 1146


(From the enthronement of the Commenian dynasty in A.D. 1081, which was
accomplished through a successful rebellion, attended by shameful
treachery and rapine, the Byzantine empire, and especially
Constantinople, its capital, passed through many vicissitudes; but the
sack of the city by Alexius Commenus, the founder of the line, was
remembered by the populace to the disadvantage of all his successors;
the last of whom, Andronicus I, ended his reign in 1185. John, the son
of Alexius [1118-1143], ruled with discretion and ability, and recovered
some territory from the Turks.

Manuel I, the son of John [1143-1181], ruled during a period of almost
constant war, and for a time he held the enemies of the empire in check.
But he appears to have been more endowed with courage and the spirit of
enterprise than with good judgment, and his conduct of the empire
coincided with events that, as seen in history, contributed to its
decline, which after his death followed rapidly. As this decline is to
be dated especially from the passing but not ineffectual invasion of
Roger II, King of Sicily, in 1146, some account of that, together with a
view of conditions immediately preceding, becomes important in a work
like this.

The century and a half before Roger's invasion had been a period of
tranquillity for the distinctively Greek people of the empire, who had
increased rapidly in numbers and wealth, and were in possession of an
extensive commerce and many manufactures. Therefore they were perhaps
the greatest sufferers from the adverse events which befell the State.)

The emperor Alexius I had concluded a commercial treaty with Pisa toward
the end of his reign. Manuel renewed this alliance, and he appears to
have been the first of the Byzantine emperors who concluded a public
treaty with Genoa. The pride of the emperors of the Romans--as the
sovereigns of Constantinople were styled--induced them to treat the
Italian republics as municipalities still dependent on the Empire of the
Caesars, of which they had once formed a part; and the rulers both of
Pisa and Genoa yielded to this assumption of supremacy, and consented to
appear as vassals and liegemen of the Byzantine emperors, in order to
participate in the profits which they saw the Venetians gained by
trading in their dominions.

Several commercial treaties with Pisa and Genoa, as well as with Venice,
have been preserved. The obligations of the republics are embodied in
the charter enumerating the concessions granted by the Emperor, and the
document is called a _chrysobulum_, or golden bull, from the golden seal
of the Emperor attached to it as the certificate of its authenticity.

In Manuel's treaties with the Genoese and Pisans, the republics bind
themselves never to engage in hostilities against the empire; but, on
the contrary, all the subjects of the republics residing in the
Emperor's dominions become bound to assist him against all assailants;
they engage to act with their own ships, or to serve on board the
imperial fleet, for the usual pay granted to Latin mercenaries. They
promise to offer no impediment to the extension of the empire in Syria,
reserving to themselves the factories and privileges they already
possess in any place that may be conquered. They submit their civil and
criminal affairs to the jurisdiction of the Byzantine courts of justice,
as was then the case with the Venetians and other foreigners in the
empire. Acts of piracy and armed violence, unless the criminals were
taken in the act, were to be reported to the rulers of the republic
whose subjects had committed the crime, and the Byzantine authorities
were not to render the innocent traders in the empire responsible for
the injuries inflicted by these brigands. The republicans engaged to
observe all the stipulations in their treaties, in defiance of
ecclesiastical excommunication or the prohibition of any individual,
crowned or not crowned.

Manuel, in return, granted to the republicans the right of forming a
factory, erecting a quay for landing their goods, and building a church;
and the Genoese received their grant in an agreeable position on the
side of the port opposite Constantinople, where in after-times their
great colony of Galata was formed. The Emperor promised to send an
annual of from four hundred to five hundred gold bezants, with two
pieces of a rich brocade then manufactured only in the Byzantine empire,
to the republican governments, and sixty bezants, with one piece of
brocade, to their archbishops. These treaties fixed the duty levied on
the goods imported or exported from Constantinople by the Italians at 4
per cent.; but in the other cities of the empire, the Pisans and Genoese
were to pay the same duties as other Latin traders, excepting, of
course, the privileged Venetians. These duties generally amounted to 10
per cent. The republics were expressly excluded, by the Genoese treaty,
from the Black Sea trade, except when they received a special license
from the Emperor. In case of shipwreck, the property of the foreigners
was to be protected by the imperial authorities and respected by the
people, and every assistance was to be granted to the unfortunate
sufferers. This humane clause was not new in Byzantine commercial
treaties, for it is contained in the earliest treaty concluded by
Alexius I with the Pisans. On the whole, the arrangements for the
administration of justice in these treaties prove that the Byzantine
empire still enjoyed a greater degree of order than the rest of Europe.

The state of civilization in the Eastern Empire rendered the public
finances the moving power of the government, as in the nations of modern
Europe. This must always tend to the centralization of political
authority, for the highest branch of the executive will always endeavor
to dispose of the revenues of the State according to its views of
necessity. This centralizing policy led Manuel to order all the money
which the Greek commercial communities had hitherto devoted to
maintaining local squadrons of galleys for the defence of the islands
and coasts of the Aegean to be remitted to the treasury at
Constantinople. The ships were compelled to visit the imperial dockyard
in the capital to undergo repairs and to receive provisions and pay.

A navy is a most expensive establishment; kings, ministers, and people
are all very apt to think that when it is not wanted at any particular
time, the cost of its maintenance may be more profitably applied to
other objects. Manuel, after he had secured the funds of the Greeks for
his own treasury, soon left their ships to rot, and the commerce of
Greece became exposed to the attacks of small squadrons of Italian
pirates who previously would not have dared to plunder in the
Archipelago. It may be thought by some that Manuel acted wisely in
centralizing the naval administration of his empire; but the great
number, the small size, and the relative position of many of the Greek
islands with regard to the prevailing winds render the permanent
establishment of naval stations at several points necessary to prevent

Manuel and Otho ruined the navy of Greece by their unwise measures of
centralization; Pericles, by prudently centralizing the maritime forces
of the various states, increased the naval power of Athens, and gave
additional security to every Greek ship that navigated the sea.

The same fiscal views which induced Manuel to centralize the naval
administration when it was injurious to the interests of the empire,
prompted him to act diametrically opposite with regard to the army. The
emperor John had added greatly to the efficiency of the Byzantine
military force by improving and centralizing its administration, and he
left Manuel an excellent army, which rendered the Eastern Empire the
most powerful state in Europe. But Manuel, from motives of economy,
abandoned his father's system. Instead of assembling all the military
forces of the empire annually in camps, where they received pay and were
subjected to strict discipline, toward the end of his reign he
distributed even the regular army in cities and provinces, where they
were quartered far apart, in order that each district, by maintaining a
certain number of men, might relieve the treasury from the burden of
their pay and subsistence while they were not on actual service. The
money thus retained in the central treasury was spent in idle festivals
at Constantinople, and the troops, dispersed and neglected, became
careless of their military exercises, and lived in a state of relaxed
discipline. Other abuses were quickly introduced; resident yeomen,
shopkeepers, and artisans were enrolled in the legions, with the
connivance of the officers. The burden of maintaining the troops was in
this way diminished, but the army was deteriorated.

In other districts, where the divisions were exposed to be called into
action, or were more directly under central inspection, the effective
force was kept up at its full complement, but the people were compelled
to submit to every kind of extortion and tyranny. The tendency of
absolute power being always to weaken the power of the law, and to
increase the authority of the executive agents of the sovereign, soon
manifested its effects in the rapid progress of administrative
corruption. The Byzantine garrisons in a few years became prototypes of
the shopkeeping janizaries of the Ottoman empire, and bore no
resemblance to the feudal militia of Western Europe, which Manuel had
proposed as the model of his reform. This change produced a rapid
decline in the military strength of the Byzantine army and accelerated
the fall of the empire.

For a considerable period the Byzantine emperors had been gradually
increasing the proportion of foreign mercenaries in their service; this
practice Manuel carried further than any of his predecessors. Besides
the usual Varangian, Italian, and German guards, we find large corps of
Patzinaks, Franks, and Turks enrolled in his armies, and officers of
these nations occupying situations of the highest rank. A change had
taken place in the military tactics, caused by the heavy armor and
powerful horses which the crusaders brought into the field, and by the
greater personal strength and skill in warlike exercises of the Western
troops, who had no occupation from infancy but gymnastic exercises and
athletic amusements. The nobility of the feudal nations expended more
money on arms and armor than on other luxuries; and this becoming the
general fashion, the Western troops were much better armed than the
Byzantine soldiers. War became the profession of the higher ranks, and
the expense of military undertakings was greatly increased by the
military classes being completely separated from the rest of society.
The warlike disposition of Manuel led him to favor the military nobles
of the West who took service at his court; while his confidence in his
own power, and in the political superiority of his empire, deluded him
with the hope of being able to quell the turbulence of the Franks, and
set bounds to the ambition and power of the popes.

The wars of Manuel were sometimes forced on him by foreign powers, and
sometimes commenced for temporary objects; but he appears never to have
formed any fixed idea of the permanent policy which ought to have
determined the constant employment of all the military resources at his
command, for the purpose of advancing the interest of his empire and
giving security to his subjects. His military exploits may be considered
under three heads: His wars with the Franks, whether in Asia or Europe;
his wars with the Hungarians and Servians; and his wars with the Turks.

His first operations were against the principality of Antioch. The death
of John II caused the dispersion of the fine army he had assembled for
the conquest of Syria; but Manuel sent a portion of that army, and a
strong fleet, to attack the principality. One of the generals of the
land forces was Prosuch, a Turkish officer in high favor with his
father. Raymond of Antioch was no longer the idle gambler he had shown
himself in the camp of the emperor John; but though he was now
distinguished by his courage and skill in arms, he was completely
defeated, and the imperial army carried its ravages up to the very walls
of Antioch, while the fleet laid waste the coast. Though the Byzantine
troops retired, the losses of the campaign convinced Raymond that it
would be impossible to defend Antioch should Manuel take the field in
person. He therefore hastened to Constantinople, as a suppliant, to sue
for peace; but Manuel, before admitting him to an audience, required
that he should repair to the tomb of the emperor John and ask pardon for
having violated his former promises. When the Hercules of the Franks, as
Raymond was called, had submitted to this humiliation, he was admitted
to the imperial presence, swore fealty to the Byzantine empire as Prince
of Antioch, and became the vassal of the emperor Manuel. The conquest of
Edessa by the Mahometans, which took place in the month of December,
1144, rendered the defence of Antioch by the Latins a doubtful
enterprise, unless they could secure the assistance of the Greeks.

Manuel involved himself in a war with Roger, King of Sicily, which
perhaps he might have avoided by more prudent conduct. An envoy he had
sent to the Sicilian court concluded a treaty, which Manuel thought fit
to disavow with unsuitable violence. This gave the Sicilian King a
pretext for commencing war, but the real cause of hostilities must be
sought in the ambition of Roger and the hostile feelings of Manuel.
Roger was one of the wealthiest princes of his time; he had united under
his sceptre both Sicily and all the Norman possessions in Southern
Italy; his ambition was equal to his wealth and power, and he aspired at
eclipsing the glory of Robert Guiscard and Bohemund by some permanent
conquests in the Byzantine empire. On the other hand, the renown of
Roger excited the envy of Manuel, who, proud of his army and confident
of his own valor and military skill, hoped to reconquer Sicily. His
passion made him forget that he was surrounded by numerous enemies, who
would combine to prevent his employing all his forces against one
adversary. Manuel consequently acted imprudently in revealing his
hostile intentions; while Roger could direct all his forces against one
point, and avail himself of Manuel's embarrassments. He commenced
hostilities by inflicting a blow on the wealth and prosperity of Greece,
from which it never recovered.

At the commencement of the Second Crusade, when the attention of Manuel
was anxiously directed to the movements of Louis VII of France, and
Conrad, Emperor of Germany, Roger, who had collected a powerful fleet at
Brindisi, for the purpose either of attacking the Byzantine empire or
transporting the crusaders to Palestine, availed himself of an
insurrection in Corfu to conclude a convention with the inhabitants, who
admitted a garrison of one thousand Norman troops into their citadel.
The Corfutes complained with great reason of the intolerable weight of
taxation to which they were subjected; of the utter neglect of their
interests by the central government, which consumed their wealth, and of
the great abuses which prevailed in the administration of justice; but
the remedy they adopted, by placing themselves under the rule of foreign
masters, was not likely to alleviate these evils.

The Sicilian admiral, after landing the Norman garrison at Corfu, sailed
to Monembasia, then one of the principal commercial cities in the East,
hoping to gain possession of it without difficulty; but the maritime
population of this impregnable fortress gave him a warm reception and
easily repulsed his attack. After plundering the coasts of Euboea and
Attica, the Sicilian fleet returned to the West, and laid waste
Acarnania and Etolia; it then entered the Gulf of Corinth, and debarked
a body of troops at Crissa. This force marched through the country to
Thebes, plundering every town and village on the way. Thebes offered no
resistance and was plundered in the most deliberate and barbarous
manner. The inhabitants were numerous and wealthy. The soil of Boeotia
is extremely productive, and numerous manufactures established in the
city of Thebes gave additional value to the abundant produce of
agricultural industry.

A century had elapsed since the citizens of Thebes had gone out
valiantly to fight the army of Slavonian rebels in the reign of Michael
IV (the Paphlagonian), and that defeat had long been forgotten. But all
military spirit was now dead, and the Thebans had so long lived without
any fear of invasion that they had forgotten the use of arms. The
Sicilians found them not only unprepared to offer any resistance, but so
surprised that they had not even adopted any effectual measures to
secure or conceal their movable property. The conquerors, secure against
all danger of interruption, plundered Thebes at their leisure. Not only
gold, silver, jewels, and church plate were carried off, but even the
goods found in the warehouses, and the rarest articles of furniture in
private houses, were transported to the ships. Bales of silk and dyed
leather were sent off to the fleet as deliberately as if they had been
legally purchased in time of peace. When all ordinary means of
collecting booty were exhausted, the citizens were compelled to take an
oath on the Holy Scriptures that they had not concealed any portion of
their property; yet many of the wealthiest were dragged away captive, in
order to profit by their ransom; and many of the most skilful workmen in
the silk manufactories, for which Thebes had long been famous, were
pressed on board the fleet to labor at the oar.

From Boeotia the army passed to Corinth. Nicephorus Caluphes, the
governor, retired into the Acro-Corinth, but the garrison appeared to
his cowardly heart not strong enough to defend this impregnable
fortress, and he surrendered it to George Antiochenus, the Sicilian
admiral, on the first summons. On examining the fortress of which he had
thus unexpectedly gained possession, the admiral could not help
exclaiming that he fought under the protection of heaven, for if
Caluphes had not been more timid than a virgin, Corinth should have
repulsed every attack.

Corinth was sacked as cruelly as Thebes; men of rank, beautiful women,
and skilful artisans, with their wives and families, were carried away
into captivity. Even the relics of St. Theodore were taken from the
church in which they were preserved; and it was not until the whole
Sicilian fleet was laden with as much of the wealth of Greece as it was
capable of transporting that the admiral ordered it to sail. The
Sicilians did not venture to retain possession of the impregnable
citadel of Corinth, as it would have been extremely difficult for them
to keep up their communications with the garrison. This invasion of
Greece was conducted entirely as a plundering expedition, having for its
object to inflict the greatest possible injury on the Byzantine empire,
while it collected the largest possible quantity of booty for the
Sicilian troops. Corfu was the only conquest of which Roger retained

The ruin of the Greek commerce and manufactures has been ascribed to the
transference of the silk trade from Thebes and Corinth to Palermo, under
the judicious protection it received from Roger; but it would be more
correct to say that the injudicious and oppressive financial
administration of the Byzantine emperors destroyed the commercial
prosperity and manufacturing industry of the Greeks; while the wise
liberality and intelligent protection of the Norman kings extended the
commerce and increased the industry of the Sicilians.

When the Sicilian fleet returned to Palermo, Roger determined to employ
all the silk manufacturers in their original occupations. He
consequently collected all their families together, and settled them at
Palermo, supplying them with the means of exercising their industry with
profit to themselves, and inducing them to teach his own subjects to
manufacture the richest brocades and to rival the rarest productions of
the East.

Roger, unlike most of the monarchs of his age, paid particular attention
to improving the wealth of his dominions by increasing the prosperity of
his subjects. During his reign the cultivation of the sugar-cane was
introduced into Sicily. The conduct of Manuel was very different; when
he concluded peace with William, the son and successor of Roger, in
1158, he paid no attention to the commercial interests of his Greek
subjects; the silk manufactures of Thebes and Corinth were not reclaimed
and reinstated in their native seats; they were left to exercise their
industry for the profit of their new prince, while their old sovereign


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