The World's Greatest Books, Vol XI.
Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton

Part 5 out of 6

European countries, Holland and England, for example. Another
development, then, reveals itself--the development of individual life,
of the man himself, of his faculties, sentiments, and ideas.

These two notions that are comprehended in the broad notion of
civilisation--that of the development of social activity and that of the
development of individual activity--are intimately related to each
other. Their relationship is upheld by the instinctive conviction of
men; it is proved by the course of the world's history--all the great
moral and intellectual advances of man have profited society, all the
great social advances have profited the individual mind.

So much for civilisation in general. It is now necessary to point out
the essential difference between modern European and other
civilisations. The characteristic of other civilisations has been unity;
they seem to have emanated from a single fact, a single idea. In Egypt
and India, for example, the theocratic principle was dominant; in the
Greek and Phoenician republics, the democratic principle. The
civilisation of modern Europe, on the contrary, is diverse, confused,
stormy; all the forms and principles of social organisation theocratic,
monarchical, aristocratic, democratic, co-exist in it; there are
infinite gradations of liberty, wealth, influence. All the various
forces are in a state of constant struggle; yet all of them have a
certain family resemblance, as it were, that we cannot but recognise.

These diverse elements, for all their conflict, cannot any one of them
extinguish any other; each has to dwell with the rest, make a compromise
with the rest. The outcome, then, of this diversity and struggle is
liberty; and here is the grand and true superiority of the European over
the other civilisations. European civilisation, if I may say so, has
entered into eternal truth; it advances in the ways of God.


It would be an important confirmation of my assertion as to the diverse
character of our civilisation if we should find in its very cradle the
causes and the elements of that diversity. And indeed, at the fall of
the Roman empire, we do so find it. Three forms of society, each
entirely different from the other, are visible at this time of chaos.
The municipalities survived, the last remnant of the Imperial system.
The Christian Church survived. And in the third place there were the
Barbarians, who brought with them a military organisation, and a hardy
individual independence, that were wholly new to the peoples who had
dwelt under the shelter of the empire. The Barbarian epoch was the chaos
of all the elements, the infancy of all the systems, a universal hubbub
in which even conflict itself had no definite or permanent effects.

Europe laboured to escape from this confusion; at some times, and in
some places, it was temporarily checked--in particular by the great
Charlemagne in his revival of the imperial power; but the confusion did
not cease until its causes no longer acted. These causes were two--one
material, one moral. The material cause was the irruption of fresh
Barbarian hordes. The moral cause was the lack of any ideas in common
among men as to the structure of society. The old imperial fabric had
disappeared; Charlemagne's restoration of it depended wholly on his own
personality, and did not survive him; men had no ideas of any new
structure--their intellectual horizon was limited to their own affairs.
By the beginning of the tenth century the Barbarian invasions ended, and
as the populations settled down a new system appeared, based partly on
the Barbarians' love of independence, partly on their plans of military
gradation--the system of feudalism.

A sound proof that in the tenth century the feudal system was necessary,
and the only social state possible, lies in the universality of its
establishment. Everywhere society was dismembered; everywhere there was
formed a multitude of small, obscure, isolated societies, consisting of
the chief, his family, his retainers, and the wretched serfs over whom
he ruled without restraint, and who had no appeal against his whim. The
power he exercised was the power of individual over individual, the
domination of personal will and caprice; and this is perhaps the only
kind of tyranny that man, to his eternal honour, is never willing to
endure. Hence the prodigious and invincible hatred that the people have
at all times entertained for feudal rule, for the memories of it, for
its very name.

The narrow concentrated life of the feudal lord lent, undoubtedly, a
great preponderance to domesticity in his affairs. The lord had his wife
and children for his permanent society; they continually shared his
interests, his destiny. It was in the bosom of the feudal family that
woman gained her importance in civilisation. The system excited
development of private character and passion that were, all things
considered, noble. Chivalry was the daughter of feudalism.

But from the social point of view feudalism failed to provide either
legal order or political security. It contained elaborate obligations
between the higher and the lower orders of the feudal hierarchy, duties
of protection on the one side and of service on the other. But these
obligations could never be established as institutions. There was no
superior force to which all had to submit; there was public opinion to
make itself respected. Hence the feudal system was without political
guarantee to sustain it. Might alone was right. Feudalism was as much
opposed to the establishment of general order as to the extension of
general liberty. It was indispensable for the reconstruction of European
society, but politically it was in itself a radically bad system.

_III.--The Church_

Meanwhile the Church, adhering to its own principles, had steadily
advanced along the route that it had marked out for itself in the early
days of its organisation. It was during the feudal epoch the only power
that made for civilised development. All education was ecclesiastical;
all the arts were in the service of the Church. It had, during the Dark
Ages, won the Barbarians to its fold by the gorgeous solemnity of its
ritual; and, to protect itself against secular interference, it had
declared the spiritual power to be independent of the temporal--the
first great assertion, in the history of European civilisation, of the
liberty of thought.

In one set of respects the Church during the feudal epoch satisfied the
conditions of good government; in another, it did not. Its power was
uniformly distributed, it drew its recruits from all classes, and
entrusted the rule to the most capable. It was in close touch with every
grade of mankind; every colony of serfs, even, had its priest. It was
the most popular and most accessible society of the time, the most open
to all talents and all noble ambitions. But, on the other hand, it
failed in that all-important requisite of good government, respect for
liberty. It denied the rights of individual reason in spiritual matters,
and it claimed the right to compel belief--a claim that placed it in
some dependence upon the temporal powers, since as a purely spiritual
body, governing by influence and not by force, it could not persecute
without the aid of the secular arm.

To sum up, the Church exerted an immense and on the whole a beneficent
influence on ideas, sentiments, and conduct; but from the political
point of view the Church was nearly always the interpreter and defender
of the theocratic system and the Roman Imperial system--that is, of
religious and civil despotism.

_IV.--The Towns_

Like the Church, the municipalities survived the downfall of the Roman
empire. Their history varied greatly in different parts of Europe, but
none the less some observations can be made that are broadly accurate
with respect to most of them.

From the fifth to the tenth century, the state of the towns was a state
neither of servitude nor of liberty. They suffered all the woes that are
the fate of the weak; they were the prey of continual violence and
depredation; yet, in spite of the fearful disorders of the time, they
preserved a certain importance. When feudalism was established, the
towns lost such independence as they had possessed; they found
themselves under the heel of feudal chiefs. But feudalism did bring
about a sort of peace, a sort of order; and with the slightest gleam of
peace and order a man's hope revives, and on the revival of hope he
takes to work. So it was with the towns. New wants were created;
commerce and industry arose to satisfy them; wealth and population
slowly returned.

But industry and commerce were absolutely without security; the townsmen
were exposed to merciless extortion and plundering at the hands of their
feudal overlords. Nothing irritates a man more than to be harassed in
his toil, thus deprived of its promised fruits. The only way in which
the towns could defend themselves from the violence of their masters was
by using violence themselves. So in the eleventh century we find town
after town rising in revolt against its despot, and winning from him a
charter of liberty.

Although the insurrection was in a sense general, it was in no way
concerted--it was not a rising of the combined citizens against the
combined feudal aristocracy. All the towns found themselves exposed to
much the same evils, and rescued themselves in much the same manner. But
each town acted for itself--did not go to the help of any other town.
Hence these detached communities had no ambitions, no aspirations to
national importance; their outlook was limited to themselves. But at the
same time the emancipation of the towns created a new class, a class of
citizens engaged in the same pursuits, with the same interests and the
same modes of life; a class that would in time unite and assert itself,
and prevent the domination of a single order of society that has been
the curse of Asia.

Although it may be broadly asserted that the emancipation did not alter
the relations of the citizens with the general government, that
assertion must be modified in one respect. A link was established
between the citizens and the king. Sometimes they appealed for his aid
against their lord, sometimes the lord invoked him as judge; in one way
or another a relation was established between the king and the towns,
and the citizens thus came into touch with the centre of the State.

_V.--The Crusades_

From the fifth to the twelfth century, society, as we have seen,
contained kings, a lay aristocracy, a clergy, citizens, peasantry, the
germs, in fact, of all that goes to make a nation and a government;
yet--no government, no nation. We have come across a multitude of
particular forces, of local institutions, but nothing general, nothing
public, nothing properly speaking political.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, on the contrary, all the
classes and the particular forces have taken a secondary place, are
shadowy and almost effaced; the stage of the world is occupied by two
great figures, government and people.

Here, if I am not mistaken, is the essential distinction between
primitive Europe and modern Europe. Here is the change that was
accomplished in the period extending from the thirteenth to the
sixteenth century. Viewed by itself, that period seems a characterless
one of confusion without cause, of movement without direction, of
agitation without result. Yet, in relation to the period that followed,
this period had a tendency and a progress of its own; it slowly
accomplished a vast work. It was the second period of European
civilisation--the period of attempt and experiment, succeeding that of
origins and formation, and preparing the way for that of development
properly so called.

The first great event of this period was the Crusades--a universal
movement of all classes and all countries in moral unity--the truly
heroic event of Europe. Besides the religious impulse that led to the
Crusades, there was another impulse. They gave to me an opportunity of
widening their horizons, of indulging the taste for movement and
adventure. The opportunity, thus freely taken, changed the face of
society. Men's minds were opened, their ideas were extended, by contact
with other races; European society was dragged out of the groove along
which it had been travelling. Religious ideas remained unchanged, but
religious beliefs were no longer the only sphere in which the human
intellect exercised itself. The moral state of Europe was profoundly

The social state underwent a similar change. Many of the smaller feudal
lords sold their fiefs, or impoverished themselves by crusading, or lost
much of their power during their absence. Property and power came into
fewer hands; society was more centralised, no longer dispersed as it
formerly was. The citizens, on their part, were no longer content with
local industry and trade; they entered upon commerce on a grander scale
with countries oversea. Petty influence yielded place to larger
influences; the small existences grouped themselves round the great. By
the end of the Crusades, the march of society towards centralisation was
in steady progress.

_VI.--The Age of Centralisation_

Already, in the twelfth century, a new idea of kingship had begun, very
faintly, to make its appearance. In most European countries the king,
under the feudal system, had been a head who could not enforce his
headship. But there was, all the while, such a thing as kingship, and
somebody bore the title of king; and society, striving to escape from
feudal violence and to get hold of real order and unity, had recourse to
the king in an experimental way, to see, as one might say, what he could
do. Gradually there developed the idea of the king as the protector of
public order and justice and of the common interest as the paramount
magistrate--the idea that changed Europe society from a series of
classes into a group of centralised States.

But the old order did not perish without efforts to perpetuate itself.
These efforts were of two kinds; a particular class sought predominance,
or it was proposed that the classes should agree to act in concert. To
the first kind belonged the design of the Church to gain mastery over
Europe that culminated with Pope Gregory VII. It failed for three
reasons--because Christianity is a purely moral force and not a temporal
administrative force; because the ambitions of the Church were opposed
by the feudal aristocracy; and because the celibacy of the clergy
prevented the formation of a caste capable of theocratic organisation.
Attempts at democracy were made, for a time with apparent means, by the
Italian civic republics; but they were a prey to internal disorder,
their government tended to become oligarchical, and their incapacity for
uniting among themselves made them the victims of foreign invaders. The
Swiss Republican organisation was more successful, but became
aristocratic and immobile. The House Towns and the towns of Flanders and
the Rhine organised for pure defence; they preserved their privileges,
but remained confined within their walls.

The effort at concerted action by the classes was manifested in the
States General of France, Spain, and Portugal, the Diet in Germany, and
the Parliament in England. All these, except the Parliament, were
ineffective and as it were accidental in their action; all they did was
to preserve in a manner the notion of liberty. The circumstances of
England were exceptional. The Parliament did not govern; but it became a
mode of government adopted in principle, and often indispensable in

Nothing, however, could arrest the march of centralisation. In France
the war of independence against England brought a sense of national
unity and purpose, and feudalism was finally overthrown, and the central
power made dominant, by the policy of Louis XI. Similar effects were
brought about in Spain by the war against the Moors and the rule of
Ferdinand. In England feudalism was destroyed by the Wars of the Roses,
and was succeeded by the Tudor despotism. In Germany, the House of
Austria began its long ascendancy. Thus in the fifteenth century the new
principles prevailed; the old forms, the old liberties were swept aside
to make way for centralised government under absolute rulers.

At the same time another new fact entered into European history. The
kings began to enter into relations with each other, to form alliances;
diplomacy was created. Since it is in the nature of diplomacy to be
conducted more or less secretly by a few persons, and since the peoples
did not and would not greatly concern themselves in it, this development
was favourable to the strengthening of royalty.

_VII.--The Spiritual Revolt_

Although the Church until the sixteenth century had successfully
suppressed all attempts at spiritual independence, yet the broadening of
men's minds that began with the Crusades, and received a vigorous
impetus from the Renaissance, made its mark even in the fifteenth
century upon ecclesiastical affairs. Three main facts of the moral order
are presented during this period: the ineffectual attempts of the
councils of Constance and Bale to reform the Church from within; the
most notable of which was that of Huss in Bohemia; and the intellectual
revolution that accompanied the Renaissance. The way was thus prepared
for the event that was inaugurated when Luther burnt the Pope's Bull at
Wittenberg in 1520.

The Reformation was not, as its opponents contend, the result of
accident or intrigue; nor was it, as its upholders contend, the outcome
of a simple desire for the reform of abuses. It was, in reality, a
revolt of the human spirit against absolute power in spiritual affairs.
The minds of men were during the sixteenth century in energetic
movement, consumed by desire for progress; the Church had become inert
and stationary, yet it maintained all its pretensions and external
importance. The Church, indeed, was less tyrannical than it had formerly
been, and not more corrupt. But it had not advanced; it had lost touch
with human thought.

The Reformation, in all the lands that it reached, in all the lands
where it played a great part, whether as conqueror, or as conquered,
resulted in general, constant, and immense progress in liberty and
activity of thought, and tended towards the emancipation of the human
spirit. It accomplished more than it knew; more, perhaps, than it would
have desired. It did not attack temporal absolutism; but the collision
between temporal absolutism and spiritual freedom was bound to come, and
did come.

Spiritual movement in European history has always been ahead of temporal
movement. The Church began as a very loose society, without a
properly-constituted government. Then it placed itself under an
aristocratic control of bishops and councils. Then it came under the
monarchical rule of the Popes; and finally a revolution broke out
against absolutism in spiritual affairs. The ecclesiastical and civil
societies have undergone the same vicissitudes; but the ecclesiastical
society has always been the first to be changed.

We are now in possession of one of the great facts of modern society,
the liberty of the human spirit. At the same time we see political
centralisation prevailing nearly everywhere. In the seventeenth century
the two principles were for the first time to be opposed.

_VIII.--The Political Revolt_

Their first shock was in England, for England was a country of
exceptional conditions both civil and religious. The Reformation there
had in part been the work of the kings themselves, and was incomplete;
the Reformers remained militant, and denounced the bishops as they had
formerly denounced the Pope. Moreover, the aspirations after civil
liberty that were stirred up by the emancipation of thought had means of
action in the old institution of the country--the charter, the
Parliament, the laws, the precedents. Similar aspirations in Continental
countries had no such means of action, and led to nothing.

Two national desires coincided in England at this epoch--the desire for
religious revolution and liberty, and the desire for political liberty
and the overthrow of despotism. The two sets of reformers joined forces.
For the political party, civil freedom was the end; for the religious
party, it was only a means; but throughout the conflict the political
party took the lead, and the others followed. It was not until 1688 that
the reformers finally attained their aim in the abolition of absolute
power spiritual and temporal; and the accession of William of Orange in
that year brought England into the great struggle that was raging on the
Continent between the principle of despotism and the principle of

England differed from other European countries in that the essential
diversity of European civilisation was more pronounced there than
anywhere else. Elsewhere, one element prevailed over the others until it
was overthrown; in England, even if one element was dominant, the others
were strong and important. Elizabeth had to be far more wary with her
nobles and commons than Louis XIV. with his. For this reason, Europe
lagged behind England in civil freedom. But there was another
reason--the influence of France.

During the seventeenth century, the French Government was the strongest
in Europe, and it was a despotic government. During the eighteenth
century, French thought was the most active and potent in Europe, and it
was unboundedly free thought. Louis XIV. did not, as is sometimes
supposed, adopt as his principles the propagation of absolutism; his aim
was the strength and greatness of France, and to this end he fought and
planned--just as William of Orange fought and planned, not against
despotism, but against France. France presented herself at that age as
the most redoubtable, skilful, and imposing Power in Europe.

Yet, after the death of Louis XIV., the government immediately
degenerated. This was inevitable. No system of government can be
maintained without institutions, and a despot dislikes institutions. The
rule of Louis XIV. was great, powerful, and brilliant, but it had no
roots. The decrepit remains of it were in the eighteenth century brought
face to face with a society in which free examination and free
speculation had been carried to lengths never imagined before. Freedom
of thought once came to grips with absolute power.

Of the stupendous consequence of that collision it is not for me to
speak here; I have reached the end. But let me, before concluding, dwell
upon the gravest and most instructive part that is revealed to us by
this grand spectacle of civilisation. It is the danger, the
insurmountable evil of absolute power in any form--whether in a form of
a despot like Louis XIV. or in that of the untrammelled human spirit
that prevailed at the Revolution. Each human power has in itself a
natural vice, a principle of weakness, to which there has to be assigned
a limit. It is only by general liberty of all rights, interests and
opinions that each power can be restrained within its legitimate bounds,
and intellectual freedom enabled to exist genuinely and to the advantage
of the whole community.

* * * * *


View of the State of Europe During the Middle Ages

Henry Hallam, the English historian, was born on July 9, 1777,
at Windsor, his father being Canon of Windsor, and Dean of
Bristol. Educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, he was
called to the English bar, but devoted himself to the study
and writing of history. He received an appointment in the
Civil Service, which, with his private means, placed him in
comfortable leisure for his wide researches. His son, Arthur
Henry, who died at the age of 22, is the subject of Tennyson's
"In Memoriam." Hallam died on January 21, 1859, and was buried
at Clevedon, Somersetshire. The "View of the State of Europe
during the Middle Ages," commonly known as Hallam's "Middle
Ages," was published by the author in 1818. Hallam was already
well known among the literary men of the day, but this was his
first important work. It is a study of the period from the
appearance of Clovis, the creator of the dominion of the
Franks, to the close of the Middle Ages, the arbitrary
dividing line being drawn at the invasion of Italy by Charles
VIII. of France.


The Frankish dominion was established over the Roman province of Gaul by
Clovis at the opening of the sixth century. The Merovingian dynasty
degenerated rapidly; and the power passed into the hands of the Mayors
of the Palace--an office which became hereditary with Pepin Heristal and
Charles Martel. With the sanction of the Pope the Merovingian king was
deposed by Pepin, the son of Charles Martel, who was crowned king and
overthrew the Lombard power in Italy.

Pepin was succeeded by Charlemagne, who completed the conquest of the
Lombards, carried his arms into Spain as far as the Ebro, and extended
his power eastwards over the Saxons as far as the Elbe. In his person
the Roman empire was revived, and he was crowned emperor at Rome on
Christmas Day A.D. 800. The great empire he had built up fell to pieces
under his successors, who adopted the disastrous plan of partition
amongst brothers.

France fell to the share of one branch of the Carlovingians. The
Northmen were allowed to establish themselves in Normandy, and Germany
was completely separated from France. The Carlovingians were displaced
by Hugh Capet. The actual royal domain was small, and the kings of the
House of Capet exercised little control over their great feudatories
until the reign of Philip Augustus. That crafty monarch drew into his
own hands the greater part of the immense territories held by the kings
of England as French feudatories. After a brief interval the craft of
Philip Augustus was succeeded by the idealism of St. Louis, whose
admirable character enabled him to achieve an extraordinary ascendancy
over the imagination of his people. In spite of the disastrous failure
of his crusading expeditions, the aggrandisement of the crown continued,
especially under Philip the Fair; but the failure of the direct heirs
after the successive reigns of his three sons placed Philip of Valois on
the throne according to the "Salic" law of succession in 1328.

On the pretext of claiming the succession for himself, Edward III. began
the great French war which lasted, interrupted by only one regular
pacification, for a hundred and twenty years. The brilliant personal
qualities of Edward and the Black Prince, the great resources of
England, and the quality of the soldiery, account for the English
successes. After the peace of Bretigny these triumphs were reversed, and
the English lost their possessions; but when Charles VI. ascended the
throne disaster followed. France was rent by the rival factions of
Burgundy and Orleans, the latter taking its more familiar name from the
Court of Armagnac. The troubled reigns of Richard II. and Henry IV.
prevented England from taking advantage of these dissensions; but Henry
V. renewed the war, winning the battle of Agincourt in his first
campaign and securing the Treaty of Troyes on his second invasion. After
his death came that most marvellous revolution wrought by Joan of Arc,
and the expulsion of the English from the country.

In France the effect of the war was to strengthen the Crown as against
the Nobility, a process developed by the subtlety of Louis XI. Out of
the long contest in which the diplomatic skill of the king was pitted
against the fiery ambitions of Charles of Burgundy, Louis extracted for
himself sundry Burgundian provinces. The supremacy of the Crown was
secured when his son Charles VIII. acquired Brittany by marrying the
Duchess Anne.

The essential distinction of ranks in France was found in the possession
of land. Besides the National lands, there were lands reserved to the
Crown, which, under the name of benefices, were bestowed upon personal
followers of the king, held more or less on military tenure; and the
king's vassals acquired vassals for themselves by a similar process of
subinfeudation. On the other hand freeholders inclined, for the sake of
protection, to commend themselves, as the phrase was, to their stronger
neighbours and so to assume the relation of vassal to liege lord. The
essential principle was a mutual contract of support and fidelity,
confirmed by the ceremonies of homage, fealty, and investiture, which
conferred upon the lord the right to various reliefs, fines, and rights
capable of conversion into money payments.

Gentility, now hereditary, was derived from the tenure of land; the idea
of it was emphasised by the adoption of surnames and armorial bearings.
A close aristocracy was created, somewhat modified by the right claimed
by the king of creating nobles. Prelates and abbots were in the same
position as feudal nobles, though the duty of personal service was in
many cases commuted for an equivalent. Below the gentle class were
freemen, and the remainder of the population were serfs or villeins. It
was not impossible for villeins to purchase freedom. In France the
privileges possessed by the vassals of the Crown were scarcely
consistent with the sovereignty. Such were the rights of coining money,
of private war, and of immunity from taxation.

Such legislation as there was appears to have been effected by the king,
supported by a Royal Council or a more general assembly of the barons.
It was only by degrees that the Royal ordinances came to be current in
the fiefs of the greater vassals. It was Philip the Fair who introduced
the general assembly of the Three Estates. This assembly very soon
claimed the right of granting and refusing money as well as of bringing
forward grievances. The kings of France, however, sought to avoid
convocation of the States General by obtaining grants from provincial
assemblies of the Three Estates.

The old system of jurisdiction by elected officers was superseded by
feudal jurisdiction, having three degrees of power, and acting according
to recognised local customs, varied by the right to ordeal by combat.
The Crown began to encroach on these feudal jurisdictions by the
establishment of Royal courts of appeal; but there also subsisted a
supreme Court of Peers to whom were added the king's household officers.
The peers ceased by degrees to attend this court, while the Crown
multiplied the councillors of inferior rank; and this body became known
as the Parliament of Paris--in effect an assembly of lawyers.

The decline of the feudal system was due mainly to the increasing power
of the Crown on the one hand, and of the lower ranks on the other; more
especially from the extension of the privileges of towns. But the feudal
principle itself was weakened by the tendency to commute military
service for money, enabling the Crown to employ paid troops.

_II.--Italy and Spain_

After the disruption of Charlemagne's empire the imperial title was
revived from the German, Otto the Great of Saxony. His imperial
supremacy was recognised in Italy; the German king was the Roman
emperor. Italian unity had gone to pieces, but the German supremacy
offended Italy. Still from the time of Conrad of Franconia the election
of the King of Germany was assumed, at least my him, to convey the
sovereignty of Italy. In the eleventh century Norman adventurers made
themselves masters of Sicily and Southern Italy. In Northern Italy on
the other hand the emperors favoured the development of free cities,
owning only the imperial sovereignty and tending to self-government on
Republican lines. The appearance on the scene in the twelfth century of
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa introduced a period characterised by a
three-fold change: the victorious struggle of the northern cities for
independence; the establishment of the temporal sovereignty of the
Papacy in the middle provinces; and the union of the kingdom of Naples
to the dominions of the Imperial House. The first quarrels with Milan
led to the formation of the Lombard league, and a long war in which the
battle of Legnano gave the confederates a decisive victory. The mutual
rivalries of the States, however, prevented them from turning this to
good account. Barbarossa's grandson, Frederick II., was a child of four
when he succeeded to the Swabian inheritance, and through his mother to
that of Sicily.

It was now that the powerful Pope Innocent III. so greatly extended the
temporal power of the Papacy, and that the rival parties of Guelfs and
Ghibelins, adherents the one of the Papacy, the other of the Empire,
were established as factions in practically every Italian city. When the
young Frederick grew up he was drawn into a long struggle with the
Papacy which ended in the overthrow of the Imperial authority. From this
time the quarrel of Guelfs and Ghibelins for the most part became mere
family feuds resting on no principles. Charles of Anjou was adopted as
Papal champion; the republics of the North were in effect controlled by
despots for a brief moment. Rome revived her republicanism under the
leadership of Rienzi. In the general chaos the principle interest
attaches to the peculiar but highly complicated form of democracy
developed in Florence, where the old Patrician families were virtually
disfranchised. Wild and disorderly as was the state of Florence, the
records certainly point to the conditions having been far worse in the
cities ruled by the Visconti and their like.

Of Genoa's wars with Pisa and with Venice a detailed account cannot be
given. Of all the northern cities Venice achieved the highest political
position; isolated to a great extent from the political problems of the
cities of Lombardy and Tuscany, she developed her wealth and her
commerce by the sea. Her splendour may, however, be dated from the
taking of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204, when she became
effectively Queen of the Adriatic and Mistress of the Eastern
Mediterranean. In effect her government was a close oligarchy; possessed
of complete control over elections which in theory were originally
popular. The oligarchy reached its highest and narrowest development
with the institution of the famous Council of Ten.

Naples and Sicily came under the dominion of Charles of Anjou when he
was adopted as Papal champion. The French supremacy, however, was
overthrown when the Sicilians rose and carried out the massacre known as
the Sicilian Vespers. They offered the Crown to the King of Aragon. It
was not till 1409, however, that Sicily was definitely united to the
Crown of Aragon and a few years later the same king was able to assert
successfully a claim to Naples.

When the Roman empire was tottering the Visigoths established their
dominion in Spain. In 712 Saracen invaders made themselves masters of
the greater part of the peninsula. The Christians were driven into the
more northern parts and formed a number of small States out of which
were developed the kingdoms of Navarre, Leon and Castille, and Aragon.
Frontier towns acquired large liberties while they were practically
responsible for defence against the Moors. During the thirteenth century
great territories were recovered from the Moors; but the advance ceased
as the Moors were reduced to the compact kingdom of Granada. In the
fourteenth century the struggle for Castille between Pedro the Cruel and
his brother established the house of Trastamare on the throne. The
Crowns of Castille and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella
and Ferdinand.

The government of the old Gothic monarchy was through the Crown and a
Council of Prelates and Nobles. At a comparatively early date, however,
the "Cortes" was attended by deputies from the town, though the number
of these was afterwards closely limited. The principle of taxation
through representatives was recognised; and laws could neither be made
nor annulled except in the Cortes. This form of constitutionalism was
varied by the claim of the nobles to assume forcible control when
matters were conducted in a fashion of which they disapproved.

The union of Castille and Aragon led immediately to the conquest of
Granada completed in 1492; an event which in some respects
counterbalanced the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks.

_III.--The German Empire and the Papacy_

When the German branch of the Carlovingian dynasty became extinct the
five German nations--Franconia, Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony, and
Lorraine--resolved to make the German kingship elective. For some
generations the Crown was bestowed on the Saxon Ottos. On the extinction
of their house in 1024, it was succeeded by a Franconian dynasty which
came into collision with the Papacy under Pope Gregory VII. On the
extinction of this line in 1025 Germany became divided between the
partisans of the Houses of Swabia and Saxony, the Wibelungs and
Welfs,--the origin of the Hibelines and Guelfs. The Swabian House,
the Hohenstauffen, gained the ascendancy in the person of Frederick
Barbarossa. The lineal representatives of the Saxon Guelfs are found
to-day in the House of Brunswick.

The rule of the Swabian House is most intimately connected with Italian
history. In the thirteenth century the principle that the right of
election of the emperor lay with seven electors was apparently becoming
established. There were the Archbishops of Mentz, Treves, and Cologne,
the Duke of Saxony, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, the King of
Bohemia, and the Margrave of Brandenburg. In all other respects,
however, several other dukes and princes were at least on an equality
with the electors.

In 1272 the election fell on the capable Rudolph of Hapsburg; and for
some time after this the emperors were chosen from the Houses of
Austria, Bavaria, or Luxemburg.

Disintegration was greatly increased by the practice of the partition of
territories among brothers in place of primogeniture. A preponderating
authority was given to the electors by the Golden Bull of Charles IV. in
1355. The power of the emperor as against the princes was increased, as
that of the latter was counterbalanced by the development of free
cities. Considerable reforms were introduced at the close of our period
mainly by Maximilian.

The depravity of the Greek empire would have brought it to utter ruin at
a much earlier date but for the degeneration which overtook
Mohammedanism. Incidentally the Crusades helped the Byzantine power at
first to strengthen its hold on some of its threatened possessions; but
the so-called fourth crusade replaced the Greek Empire by a Latin one
with no elements of permanency. When a Greek dynasty was re-established,
and the crusading spirit of Western Europe was already dead, the
Byzantine Princes were left to cope with the Turks single handed, and
the last of the Caesars died heroically when the Ottomans captured
Constantinople in 1453.

Throughout the early middle ages the Church acquired enormous wealth and
Church lands were free from taxation. It was not till a comparatively
late period that the payment of tithes was enforced by law. Not
infrequently the Church was despoiled by violence, but the balance was
more than recovered by fraud. By the time of Charlemagne the clergy were
almost exempt from civil jurisdiction and held practically an exclusive
authority in matters of religion. The state, however, maintained its
temporal supremacy. When the strong hand of Charlemagne was removed
ecclesiastical influence increased.

It was under Gregory the Great that the Papacy acquired its great
supremacy over the Provincial Churches. As the power of the Church grew
after the death of Charlemagne, partly from the inclination of weak
kings to lean on ecclesiastical support, the Papal claims to authority
developed and began to be maintained by the penalties of excommunication
and interdict.

A period of extreme laxity in the tenth century was to be brought to a
close in the eleventh partly by the pressure brought to bear on the
Papacy by the Saxon emperors, but still bore by the ambitious resolution
of Gregory VII. This remarkable man was determined to assert the
complete supremacy of the Holy See over all secular powers. He refused
to recognise the right of secular princes to make ecclesiastical
appointments within their own dominions; and he emphasised the
distinction between the priesthood, as a cast having divine authority,
and the laity, by enforcing with the utmost strictness the
ecclesiastical law of celibacy, which completely separates the churchman
from the normal interests and ambitions which actuate the layman.

In the contest between Gregory and the emperor, it seemed for the moment
as if the secular power had won the victory; but, in fact, throughout
the twelfth century; the claims which Gregory had put forward were
becoming practically effective partly from the great influence exercised
through the Crusades. These Papal pretensions reached their climax in
the great Pope Innocent III., who asserted with practical success the
right to pronounce absolutely on all disputes between princes or between
princes and their subjects, and to depose those who rejected his
authority. Throughout the thirteenth century Rome was once more mistress
of the world.

The Church derived great influence from the institution of mendicant
orders, especially those of St. Dominic and St. Francis which recovered
much of the esteem forfeited by the old Monastic orders. Another
instrument of Papal influence was the power of granting dispensations
both with regard to marriages and as to the keeping of oaths. If the
clergy were free for the most part from civil taxation, they were
nevertheless severely mulcted by the Papacy. The ecclesiastical
jurisdiction encroached upon the secular tribunals; the classes of
persons with respect to whom it claimed exclusive authority were
persistently extended, in spite of the opposition of such Princes as
Henry II. and Edward I.

At last, however, the Papal aggressor met his match in Philip the Fair.
When Boniface VIII. died, his successors first submitted to the French
monarchy and then became its nominees; while they resided at Avignon,
virtually under French control. The restoration of the pontificate to
Rome in 1375 was shortly followed by the Great Schism. For some years
there were two rival Popes, each of whom was recognised by one or the
other half of Western Christendom. This was terminated by the Council of
Constance, which incidentally affirmed the supremacy of general councils
over the Pope. The following council at Basle was distinctly anti-papal;
but the Papacy had the better of the contest.


The Anglo-Saxon polity limited the succession of the Crown to a
particular house but allowed a latitude of choice within that house. The
community was divided into Thames or gentry, Ceorls or freemen, and
serfs. The ceorls tended to sink to the position known later as
villeinage. The composition of the king's great council called the
Witenagemot is doubtful. The country was divided into shires, the shire
into districts called hundreds, and the hundreds into tithings. There
appears to be no adequate authority for the idea that trial by jury was
practised; the prevailing characteristic of justice was the system of
penalty by fine, and the responsibility of the tithing for the misdeeds
of any of its members. There is no direct evidence as to the extent to
which feudal tenures were beginning to be established before the Norman

The Norman conquest involved a vast confiscation of property and the
exclusion of the native English from political privileges. The feudal
system of land tenure was established; but its political aspect here and
in France was quite different. There were no barons with territories
comparable to those of the great French feudataries. That the government
was extremely tyrannical is certain. The Crown derived its revenues from
feudal dues, customs duties, tallages--that is, special charges on
particular towns,--and the war tax called the Danegelt; all except the
first being arbitrary taxes. The violence of King John led to the demand
of the barons for the Great Charter, the keystone of English liberty,
securing the persons and property of all freemen from arbitrary
imprisonment or spoliation. Thenceforth no right of general taxation is
claimed. The barons held themselves warranted in refusing supplies.

The King's Court was gradually separated into three branches, King's
Bench, Exchequer, and Common Pleas. The advance in the study of law had
the definite effect of establishing a fixed rule of succession to the
Crown. One point must still be noticed which distinguishes England from
other European countries; that the law recognises no distinction of
class among freemen who stand between the peers and villeins.

The reign of Edward I. forms an epoch. The Confirmation of the Charters
put an end to all arbitrary taxation; and the type of the English
Parliament was fixed. In the Great Councils the prelates and greater
barons had assembled, and the lesser barons were also summoned; the term
baron being equivalent to tenant in chief. A system of representation is
definitely formulated in Montfort's Parliament of 1265. Whether the
knights were elected by the freemen of the shire or only by the tenants
in chief, is not clear. Many towns were self governing--independent,
that is, of local magnates--under charters from the Crown. Montfort's
Parliament is the first to which towns sent representatives. Edward
established the practice in his Model Parliament; probably in order to
ensure that his demands for money from the towns might in appearance at
least receive their formal assent.

Parliament was not definitely divided into two houses until the reign of
Edward III. In this reign the Commons succeeded in establishing the
illegality of raising money without consent; the necessity that the two
houses should concur for any alterations in the law; and the right of
the Commons to enquire into public abuses and to impeach public
counsellors. Under the second heading is introduced a distinction
between statutes and ordinances; the latter being of a temporary
character, and requiring to be confirmed by Parliament before they
acquire permanent authority. In the next reign the Commons assert the
right of examining the public expenditure. Moreover the Parliaments more
openly and boldly expressed resentment at the acts of the king's
ministers and claimed rights of control. For a time, however, the king
secured supremacy by a coup d'etat; which in turn brought about his
deposition, and the accession of Henry IV., despite the absurd weakness
of his title to the inheritance of the Crown.

The rights thus acquired developed until the War of the Roses. Notably
redress of grievances became the condition of supply; and the
inclination of the Crown to claim a dispensing power is resolutely
combated. It is also to be remarked that the king's foreign policy of
war or peace is freely submitted to the approval of Parliament.

This continues during the minority of Henry VI.; but the revival of
dissatisfaction with the government leads to a renewed activity in the
practice of impeachments; and Parliament begins to display a marked
sensitiveness on the question of its privileges. The Commons further
definitely express their exclusive right of originating money bills.

At this time it is clear that at least all freeholders were entitled to
vote in the election of the knights of the shire. The selection of the
towns which sent up members, and the franchise under which their members
were elected, seems to have been to a considerable extent arbitrary. Nor
can we be perfectly certain of the principles on which writs were issued
for attendance in the upper house. We find that for some time the lower
clergy as well as the higher were summoned to attend Parliament; but
presently, sitting in a separate chamber, they ceased to take part in
Parliamentary business.

We have seen the King's Court divided into three courts of justice. The
court itself, however, as the king's Council, continued to exercise a
juridical as well as a deliberative and administrative function. In
spite of the charter, it possessed an effective if illegal power of
arbitrary imprisonment.

So far the essential character of our constitution appears to be a
monarchy greatly limited by law but swerving continually into irregular
courses which there was no constraint adequate to correct. There is
absolutely no warrant for the theory that the king was merely a
hereditary executive magistrate, the first officer of the State. The
special advantage enjoyed by England lay in the absence of an
aristocracy with interests antagonistic to those of the people. It would
be truer to say that the liberties of England were bought by money than
by the blood of our forefathers.

The process by which the villein became a hired labourer is obscure and
an attempt was made to check it by the Statute of Labourers at the time
of the Black Death. This was followed by the peasant's revolt of 1382,
which corresponded to the far worse horrors of the French Jacquerie.
Sharply though this was suppressed, the real object of the rising seemed
to have been accomplished. Of the period of the Wars of the Roses it is
here sufficient to say that it established the principle embodied in a
statute of Henry VII. that obedience to the _de facto_ government is not
to be punished on the ground that government is not also _de jure_.


In spite of the Teutonic incursion, Latin remained the basis of language
as it survived in Italy, France, and Spain. But the pursuit of letters
was practically confined to the clergy and was by them employed almost
exclusively in the interests of clerical authority. To this end a
multitude of superstitions were encouraged; superstitions which were the
cause of not a few strange and irrational outbursts of fanaticism. The
monasteries served indeed a useful purpose as sanctuaries in days of
general lawlessness and rapine; but the huge weight of evidence is
conclusive as to the general corruption of morals among the clergy as
among the laity. The common diversion of the upper classes, lay and
clerical, when not engaged in actual war, was hunting. An extended
commerce was impossible when robbery was a normal occupation of the

Gradually, however, a more orderly society emerged. Maritime commerce
developed in two separate areas, the northern and western, and the
Mediterranean. The first great commerce in the north arises from the
manufacture in Flanders of the wool exported from England. And in the
fourteenth century England herself began to compete in the woollen
manufacture. The German free manufacturing towns established the Great
Hanseatic League; but maritime commerce between the Northern and
Southern areas was practically non-existent till the fifteenth century,
by which time English ships were carrying on a fairly extensive traffic
in the Mediterranean. In that area the great seaports of Italy, and in a
less degree, of Catalonia and the French Mediterranean seaboard,
developed a large commerce. Naturally, however, the law which it was
sufficiently difficult to enforce by land was even more easily defied on
the sea, and piracy was extremely prevalent.

Governments as well as private persons were under a frequent necessity
of borrowing, and for a long time the great money lenders were the Jews.
They, however, were later to a great extent displaced by the merchants
of Lombardy, and the fifteenth century witnesses the rise of the great
bankers, Italian and German.

The structure and furniture of all buildings for private purposes made
exceedingly little provision for comfort, offering an extreme contrast
to the dignity of the public buildings and the sublimity of
ecclesiastical architecture.

During the last three hundred years of our period it is clear that there
was a great diminution of the status of servitude and a great increase
in the privileges extended to corporate towns. Private warfare was
checked and lawless robbery to a considerable extent restrained. It is
tolerably clear that the rise of heretical sects were both the cause and
the result of moral dissatisfaction, tending to the adoption of higher
moral standards. Some of these sects were cruelly crushed by merciless
persecution, as in the case of the Albigenses. The doctrines of
Wickliffe, however, were never stamped out in England; and the form
which they took in Bohemia among the followers of the martyred John Huss
had little about them that was beneficial.

The great moral school of the Middle Ages was the institution of
chivalry, which existed to animate and cherish the principle of honour.
To this a strong religious flavor was superadded, perhaps by the
Crusades. To valour and devotion was added the law of service to
womanhood, and chivalry may fairly claim to have developed generally the
three virtues essential to it, of loyalty, courtesy, and liberality.
Resting, however, as it did on the personal prowess and skill of the
individual in single combat, the whole system of chivalry was destroyed
by the introduction on an extensive scale of the use of firearms.

We turn lastly to the intellectual improvement which may be referred to
four points: the study of civil laws the institution of universities;
the application of modern languages to literature, and especially to
poetry; and the revival of ancient learning. Education may almost be
said to have begun with the establishment of the great schools by
Charlemagne out of which sprang the European universities. For a long
time of course all studies were dominated by that of theology, and the
scholastic philosophy which pertained to it. Barren as these pursuits
were, they kept alive an intellectual activity which ultimately found
fresh channels. The Romance languages developed a new literature first
on the tongues of the troubadours and then in Italy--the Italy which
gave birth to Dante and Petrarch. It was about the fourteenth century
that a new enthusiasm was born for the study of classical authors,
though Greek was still unknown. And the final and decisive impulse was
given when the invention of printing made the great multiplication of
books possible.

* * * * *


Egypt in the Middle Ages

Stanley Lane-Poole, born on December 18, 1845, studied Arabic
under his great-uncle, Lane, the Orientalist, and, before
going up to Oxford for his degree, began his "Catalogue of
Oriental Coins in the British Museum," which appeared in
fourteen volumes between 1875 and 1892, and founded his
reputation as the first living authority on Arabic
numismatics. In 1883, 1896, and 1897 he was at Cairo
officially employed by the British Government upon the
Mohammedan antiquities, and published his treatise on "The Art
of the Saracens in Egypt" in 1886, in which year he visited
Stockholm, Helsingfors, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and
Constantinople to examine their Oriental collections. He has
written histories of the "Moors in Spain," "Turkey," "The
Barbary Corsairs," and "Mediaeval India," which have run to
many editions; and biographies of Saladin, Babar, Aurangzib;
of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and Sir Harry Parkes. He has
also published a miniature Koran in the "Golden Treasury"
series, and written "Studies in a Mosque," besides editing
three volumes of Lane's "Arabic Lexicon." For five years he
held the post of Professor of Arabic at Trinity College,
Dublin, of which he is Litt.D. Mohammedan Egypt, his special
subject, he has treated in several books on Cairo, the latest
being "The Story of Cairo." But his most complete work on this
subject is "The History of Egypt in the Middle Ages," here
epitomised by the author.

_I.--A Province of the Caliphate_

Ever since the Arab conquest in 641 Egypt has been ruled by Mohammedans,
and for more than half the time by men of Turkish race. Though now and
again a strong man has gathered all the reins of control into his own
hands and been for a time a personal monarch, as a rule the government
has been, till recent years, a military bureaucracy.

The people, of course, had no voice in the government. The Egyptians
have never been a self-governing race, and such a dream as
constitutional democracy was never heard of until a few years ago. By
the Arab conquest in the seventh century the people merely changed
masters. They were probably not indisposed to welcome the Moslems as
their deliverers from the tyranny of the Orthodox Church of the East
Roman or Byzantine Empire, invincibly intolerant of the native
monophysite heresy; and when the conquest was complete they found
themselves, on the whole, better off than before. They paid their taxes
to officials with Arabic instead of Greek titles, but the taxes were
lighter and the amount was strictly laid down by law.

The land-tax of about a pound per acre was not excessive on so fertile a
soil, and the poll-tax on nonconformity, of the same amount, was a
moderate price to pay for entire liberty of conscience and freedom in
public worship guaranteed by solemn treaty. The other taxes were
comparatively insignificant, and the total revenue in the eighth century
was about L7,000,000. The surplus went to the caliph, the head of the
vast Mohammedan empire, which then stretched from Seville to Samarkand,
whose capital was first Damascus and afterwards Baghdad.

For over 200 years (till 868) Egypt was a mere province of this huge
caliphate, and was governed, like other provinces, with a sole view to
revenue. "Milk till the udder be dry and let blood to the last drop" was
a caliph's instructions to a governor of Egypt. As these governors were
constantly changed--there were sixty-seven in 118 years under the
Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad--and as a governor's main object was to "make
hay while the sun shines," the process of milking the Egyptian cow was
often accelerated by illegal extortion, and the governor's harvest was
reaped before it was due. Illegality was, however, checked to some
extent by the generally wise and just influence of the chief justice, or
kadi, whose probity often formed the best feature of the Arab government
in Egypt.

Nor did the caliphs extort taxes without giving something in return. The
development of irrigation works was always a main consideration with the
early Mohammedan rules, from Spain to India, and in Egypt, where
irrigation is the country's very life, it was specially cared for, with
a corresponding increase in the yield. Moreover, the governors usually
held to the agreement that the Christians should have liberty of
conscience, and protected them from the Moslem soldiery. As time went
on, this toleration abated, partly because the Moslems had gradually
become the predominant population. At the beginning the caliphs had
taken anxious precautions against the colonising of Egypt; they held it
by an army, but they were insistent that the army should not take root,
but be always free to join the caliph's standard. But it was inevitable
that the Arabs should settle in so fertile and pleasant a land. Each
governor brought a small army as his escort, and these Arab troops
naturally intermarried with Egyptian women, who were constitutionally
inclined to such alliances. A few Arab tribes also settled in Egypt.

This gradual and undesigned Arabising of the country would lead to
oppression of the Christians, to the "squeezing" of wealthy natives, and
occasionally to the institution of humiliating distinctions of dress and
other vexations, and even to the spoiling of Coptic churches. Then
sometimes the Copts, as the Egyptian Christians are called, would rebel.
Their last and greatest rebellion, which occurred in the Delta in
830-832, was ruthlessly trampled out by Turkish troops under Mamun, the
only Abbasid caliph who made a visit to Egypt. Many Copts now
apostatised, and from this time dates the predominance of the Moslem
population and the settling of Arabs in the villages and on the land,
instead of as heretofore only in the two or three large towns.

The coming of the Turkish troops with the caliph Mamun was an ominous
event for the country. Up to 846 all the successive governors had been
Arabs, and many of them were related to the caliphs themselves. With
some unfortunate exceptions, they seem to have been men of simple
habits--the Arabs were never luxurious--and usually of strict Mohammedan
principles. They made money, honestly if possible, during their brief
tenure; but they did not harass the people much by their personal
interference, and left the local officials to manage matters in their
own way, as had always been the custom. They lived at the new capital,
Fustat, which grew up on the site of the conqueror's camp, and very near
the modern Cairo; for Alexandria, the symbol of Roman domination, was
dismantled in 645 after the Emperor Manuel's attempt at reconquest. If
they did not do much active good, they did little harm, and Egypt
pursued her immemorial ways.

The last Arab governor, Anbasa, was a man of fine character, and his
term of office was distinguished by the building of the fort of
Damietta, as a protection against Roman raids, and by a defeat of the
tributary Sudanis near Dongola.

_II.--Turkish Governors_

The Arabs have neither the ferocity nor the luxuriousness, nor, it
should be added, the courage and the genius for administration of the
Turkish race. In the arrival of Turkish troops in 830 we see a symptom
of what was going on all over the eastern caliphate. Turks were taking
the place of Arabs in the army and the provincial governments, just as
the Persians were filling up the civil appointments. The caliph's
Turkish bodyguard was the beginning of the dismemberment of the
caliphate. It became the habit of the caliphs to grant the government of
Egypt, as a sort of fief, to a leading Turkish officer, who usually
appointed a deputy to do his work and to pay him the surplus revenue.
Such a deputy was Ahmad-ibn-Tulun (868-884), the first of the many
Turkish despots of Egypt. Ibn-Tulun was the first ruler to raise Egypt
from a mere tax-paying appendage of the caliphate to a kingdom,
independent save for the recognition of the caliph on the coinage, and
he was the first to found a Moslem dynasty there. A man of fair
Mohammedan education, iron will, and ubiquitous personal attention to
affairs, he added Syria to his dominions, defeated the East Romans with
vast slaughter near Tarsus (883), kept an army of 30,000 Turkish slaves
and a fleet of a hundred fighting ships.

He beautified his capital by building a sumptuous palace and his
well-known mosque, which still stands in his new royal suburb of Katai;
he encouraged the small farmers and reduced the taxation, yet he left
five millions in the treasury when he died in 884. His son maintained
his power, and more than his luxury and artistic extravagance; but there
were no elements of stability in the dynasty, which depended solely upon
the character of the ruler. The next generation saw Egypt once more
(905) a mere province of the caliphate, but with this difference, that
its governors were now Turks, generally under the control of their own
soldiery, and much less dependent upon the ever-weakening power of the
Caliph of Baghdad. One of them, the Ikhshid, in 935 emulated Ibn-Tulun
and united part of Syria to Egypt; but the sons he left were almost
children, and the power fell into the hands of the regent Kafur, a black
eunuch from the Sudan, bought for L25, who combined a luxurious and
cultivated court with some military successes and real administrative

_III.--The Fatimid Caliphs_

The Mohammedan world is roughly divided into Sunnis and Shia. The Shia
are the idealists, the mystics of Islam; the Sunnis are the formalists,
the schoolmen. The Shia trace an apostolic succession from Ali, the
husband of the prophet Mohammed's daughter Fatima, hold doctrines of
immanence and illumination, adopt an allegorical interpretation of
scripture, and believe in the coming of a Mahdi or Messiah. The Sunnis
adhere to the elective historical caliphate descended from Mohammed's
uncle, maintain the eternal uncreated sufficiency of the Koran,
literally interpreted, and believe in no Messiah save Mohammed.

The Shia, whatever their racial origin, form the Persian, the Aryan,
adaptation of Islam, which is an essentially Semitic creed. In the tenth
century they had established a caliph among the Berbers at Kayrawan
(908). They had thence invaded Egypt with temporary success in 914 and
919. When the death of Kafur in 968 left the country a prey to rival
military factions, the fourth of the caliphs of Kayrawan--called the
Fatimid caliphs, because they claimed a very doubtful descent from
Fatima--sent his army into Egypt. The people, who had too long been the
sport of Turkish mercenaries, received the invaders as deliverers, just
as the Copts had welcomed the Arabs three centuries before. Gauhar, the
Fatimid general, entered Fustat (or Misr, as it was usually called, a
name still applied both to Egypt and to its capital) amid acclamations
in 969, and immediately laid the foundations of the fortified palace
which he named, astrologically, after the planet Mars (Kahir),
El-Kahira, "the Martial," or "the Victorious," which gradually expanded
to the city of Cairo. He also founded the great historic university
mosque of the Azhar, which, begun by the heretical Shia, became the
bulwark of rigid scholasticism and the theological centre of orthodox

The theological change was abrupt. It was as though Presbyterian
Scotland had suddenly been put under the rule of the Jesuits. But, like
the Society of Jesus, the Shia were pre-eminently intellectual and
recognised the necessity of adapting their teaching to the capacities of
their hearers, and the conditions of the time. They did not force
extreme Shia doctrine upon the Egyptians. Their esoteric system, with
its graduated stages of initiation, permitted a large latitude, and they
were content to add their distinctive formulas to the ordinary
Mohammedan ritual, and to set them conspicuously on their coinage,
without entering upon a propaganda. The bulk of the Egyptian Moslems
apparently preserved their orthodoxy and suffered an heretical caliphate
for two centuries with traditional composure. The Christian Copts found
the new _regime_ a marked improvement. Mysticism finds kindred elements
in many faiths, and the Fatimid caliphs soon struck up relations with
the local heads of the Christian religion.

The second Egyptian caliph, Aziz (975-996), was greatly influenced by a
Christian wife, who encouraged his natural clemency. Bishop Severus
attended his court, and Coptic churches were rebuilt. Throughout the
Fatimid period we constantly find Christians and Jews, and especially
Armenians, advanced to the highest offices of state. This was partly
due, of course, to their special qualifications as scribes and
accountants, for Arabs and Turks were no hands at "sums." The land had
rest under this wise and tolerant caliph. If he set a dangerous example
in his luxury and love of display, he unquestionably maintained law,
enforced equity, punished corruption, and valiantly defended his
kingdom. He fitted out a fleet of 600 sail at Maks (then the port of
Cairo, on the Nile), which kept the Emperor Basil at a distance and
assured the caliph's ascendancy from end to end of the Mediterranean

After these two great rulers the Fatimid caliphate subsisted for nearly
two centuries by no virtue or energy of its own. The caliphs lived
secluded, like veiled prophets, in their huge palace at Cairo, given
over to sensual delights (Saladin found 12,000 women in the Great Palace
when he entered it in 1171), and wholly regardless of their kingdom,
which they left to the care of vezirs, who were chiefly bent on making
their own fortunes, though there were many able, and a few honest men
amongst them. The real power rested with the army, and the only check
upon the tyranny and debauchery of the army lay in its own jealous
divisions. The fanatical Berber regiments imported from Tunis, the
bloody blacks recruited in the Sudan, and the mutinous Turkish troops
long established in the country, were always at daggers drawn, and their
rivalry was the vezirs' opportunity. In such anarchy the country fell
from bad to worse.

The reign of Hakim, the frantic son of Aziz and his Christian wife, was
a personal despotism of the most eccentric kind, marked by apparently
unreasonable regulations, such as keeping the shops open by night
instead of by day, and confining all women to the house for seven years,
as well as by intermittent persecution of Christians and Jews; and also
by enlightened acts, such as the founding of the Hall of Science and the
building of mosques, for all the Fatimides were friends to the arts; and
ending in the proclamation of Hakim as the incarnation of the Divine
Reason, in which capacity he is still adored by the Druses of the
Lebanon. This assumption led to popular tumults and an orgy of carnage,
in the midst of which Hakim mysteriously disappeared (1021).

His successors, Zahir (1021-1036), and Mustansir (1036-1096) did nothing
to retrieve the anarchic situation, of which the soldiers were the
unruly masters. Palace cliques, disastrous famines (one of which lasted
seven years, 1066-1072, and even led to the public selling of human
joints as butcher's meat), slave, or rather freedmen's, revolts,
military tumults, and the occasional temporary ascendancy of a talented
vezir, sum up the history of Egypt during most of the eleventh century.
The wisdom and firmness of two great Armenian vezirs, Bedr-el-Gemali
(1073-1094) and his son Afdal (1094-1121), brought a large degree of
order, but the last years of the Fatimid caliphate were blotted by
savage murders both of caliphs and vezirs, and by the loss of their
Syrian dominions to Seljuks and Crusaders.

_IV.--The House of Saladin_

It was a question whether Egypt would fall to the Christian king of
Jerusalem or the Moslem king of Damascus; but, after several invasions
by both, Nur-ed-din settled the problem by sending his Syrian army to
Cairo in 1169, when the Crusaders withdrew without offering battle, and
the Fatimid caliphate came to an end in 1171.

On the Syrian general's death, two months after the conquest, his
nephew, Salah-ed-din ibn-Ayyub (Saladin), succeeded to the vezirate, and
after Nur-ed-din's death, in 1174, he made himself independent sultan,
not only of Egypt but of Syria and Mesopotamia. Saladin was a Kurd from
the Tigris districts; but his training and his following were purely
Turkish, moulded on the Seljuk model, and recruited largely from the
Seljuk lands. His fame was won outside Egypt, and only eight of the
twenty-four years of his reign were spent in Cairo; the rest was passed
in waging wars in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, culminating in the
catastrophic defeat of the Crusaders near Tiberias in 1187, and the
conquest of Jerusalem and all of the Holy Land.

The famous crusade of Richard I., though it resulted only in recovering
a strip of coast from Acre to Jaffa, and did not rescue Jerusalem, wore
out Saladin's strength, and in 1193 the chivalrous and magnanimous
"Soldan" died. In Egypt his chief work, after repressing revolts of
black troops and Shia conspiracies, and repelling successive naval
attacks on Damietta and Alexandria by the Eastern emperor and the kings
of Jerusalem and Sicily, was the building of the Citadel of Cairo after
the model of Norman fortresses in Syria, and the encouragement of Sunni
orthodoxy by the founding and endowment of medresas, or theological
colleges. The people, who had never been really converted to the Fatimid
creed, accepted the latest reformation with their habitual nonchalance.
This was really the greatest achievement of Saladin and his house. Cairo
succeeded to Baghdad and Cordova as the true metropolis of Islam, and
Egypt has remained true to the most narrow school of orthodoxy ever

Saladin's kinsmen, known as the Ayyubid dynasty, ruled Egypt for over
half a century after the death of their great leader. First his politic
brother, Adil Seyf-ed-din ("Saphadin") carried on his fine tradition for
a quarter of a century, and then from 1218 to 1238 Seyf-ed-din's able
son Kamil, who had long been the ruler of Egypt during his father's
frequent absences, followed in his steps. The futile efforts of the
discredited Crusaders disturbed their peace. John of Brienne's seizure
of Damietta was a serious menace, and it took all Kamil's energy to
defeat the "Franks" at Mansura (1219) and drive them out of the country.

On the other hand, he cultivated very friendly relations with the
Emperor Frederic II., who concluded a singular defensive alliance with
him in 1229, to the indignation of the Pope. He was tolerant to
Christians, and listened to the preaching of St. Francis of Assisi; he
granted trading concessions to the Venetians and Pisans, who established
a consulate at Alexandria. At the same time he notably encouraged Moslem
learning, built colleges, and developed the resources of the kingdom in
every way. What had happened to the dynasties of Tulun, Ikhshid, and the
Fatimides, was repeated on the death of Kamil. Two sons kept the throne
successively till 1249, and then, in the midst of Louis IX's crusade,
the salvation of Egypt devolved on the famous Mamluks, or white slaves,
who had formed the _corps d'elite_ of Saladin's army.

_V.--The Mamluks_

Political women have played a great role in Egypt from Hatshepsut and
Cleopatra to the Christian wife of Aziz, the princess royal who
engineered the downfall of Hakim, and the black mother who dominated
Mustansir; and it was a woman who was the first queen of the Mamluks.
Sheger-ed-durr ("Tree of Pearls"), widow of Salih, the last reigning
Ayyubid of Egypt, was the brain of the army which broke the chivalry of

At the second battle of Mansura in 1249, she took Louis prisoner. Then
she married a leading Mamluk emir, to conciliate Moslem prejudice
against a woman's rule, and thenceforth for more than two centuries and
a half one Mamluk after another seized the throne, held it as long as he
could, and sometimes transmitted it to his son. When it is noted that
forty-eight sultans (twenty-five Bahri Mamluks, or "white slaves of the
river," so called from the barracks on an island in the Nile, and
twenty-three Burgis, named after the burg, or citadel, where their
quarters originally were), succeeded one another from 1250 to 1517, it
will be seen that their average reign was but three and a half years.
The throne, in fact, belonged to the man with the longest sword.

The bravest and richest generals and court officials surrounded
themselves with bands of warrior slaves, and reached a power almost
equal to the reigning sultan, who was, in fact, only _primus inter
pares_, and on his death--usually by assassination--they fought for his
title. All were alike slaves by origin, but this term implied no
degradation. Any slave with courage and address had the chance of
becoming a freedman, rising to influence, and climbing into his master's
seat. Every man was every other man's equal--if he could prove it; but
the process of proving it often turned Cairo into a shambles.

The Mamluks were physically superb, a race of born soldiers, dashing
horsemen, skilled leaders, brilliant alike in battle and in all manly
sports. They were at the same time the most luxurious of men, heavy
drinkers, debauched sensualists, magnificent in their profusion, in
their splendid prodigality in works of art and luxury, and in the
munificence with which they filled their capital with noble monuments of
the most exquisite Saracenic architecture. Most of the beautiful mosques
of Cairo were built by these truculent soldiers, all foreigners, chiefly
Turks, a caste apart, with no thought for the native Egyptians whose
lands they received as fiefs from the sultan; with no mercy when
ambition called for secret assassination or wholesale massacre; yet
fastidious in dress, equipment, and manners, given to superb pageants,
laborious in business, and fond of music and poetry. Their orthodoxy is
attested not only by their innumerable religious foundations and
endowments, but by their importing into Cairo a line of Abbasid
caliphs--_faineants_ indeed, but in a manner representative of the great
caliphs of Baghdad, extinguished by the Mongols in 1258--and in
maintaining them till the Ottoman sultan usurped their very nominal
authority as Commanders of the Faithful.

The greatest of all the Mamluks was Beybars (1260-1277). He it was who
had charged St. Louis's knights at Mansura in 1249, and afterwards
helped to rout the Mongol hordes at the critical battle of Goliath's
Spring in 1260; and he was the real founder of the Mamluk empire, and
organised and consolidated his wide dominions so skilfully and firmly
that all the follies and jealousies and crimes of his successors could
not destroy the fabric. He made his army perfect in discipline, built a
navy, made canals, roads, and bridges, annexed Nubia, organised a
regular postal service, built fortifications, mosques, colleges, halls
of justice, and managed everything, from the fourth cataract of the Nile
and the Holy Cities of Arabia to the Pyramus and the Euphrates, by his
immense capacity for work and amazing rapidity of movements.

Egypt prospered exceedingly under his just, firm, and capable rule; he
was severe to immorality and strictly prohibited wine, beer, and
hashish. He entered into diplomatic relations with European powers to
the great advantage of his country's trade; and his bravery,
munificence, and justice have made him a popular hero in Arabic romances
down to the present day.

None of his successors approached his high example Khalil indeed
recovered Acre and all that remained of the Crusader's possessions in
Palestine, and the Mamluks, who never lost their soldierly qualities
whoever happened to be their nominal ruler, handsomely defeated the
Mongols again in 1299 and 1303, and for ever saved Egypt from the
unspeakable curse of a Mongol conquest Nasir, whose reign covers most of
the first half of the fourteenth century, was a great builder, and so
were many of the nobles of his court. It was the golden age of Saracenic
architecture, and Cairo is still full of the monuments of Nasir's emirs.
He encouraged agriculture, stockbreeding, farming, falconry, as well as
literature and art, everything, in short, except vice, wine, and

The Burgi, or Circassian Mamluks (1382-1517), were little more than
chief among the emirs. Widespread corruption, the open sale of high
offices and of "justice," and general debauchery characterised their
rule. Yet they built many of the loveliest mosques in Cairo, and the
conquest of Cyprus, long a nest of Mediterranean piracy, by Bars Bey in
1426 may be added to their credit. Kait Bey (1468-1496) was a great
builder, and in every way a wise, brave, and energetic, public-spirited
sovereign, and was an exception to the general baseness.

Egypt was rich in his day. The European trade had swelled enormously,
and the duties brought in a prodigious revenue. The Italian Republics
had their consulates or their marts in Alexandria, and Marseilles,
Narbonne, and Catalonia sent their representatives. The Indian trade was
also very considerable; we read of L36,000 paid at one time in customs
dues at Gidda, then an Egyptian port on the Red Sea. The Mamluk sultan
took toll on every bale of goods that passed between Europe and India in
the palmy days that preceded Vasco de Gama's discovery of the Cape route
in 1497. It was an immense monopoly, extortionately used, and it was not
resigned without a struggle. The Mamluk fleet engaged the Portuguese off
Chaul in the Bay of Bengal in 1508 and defeated them; but Almeida
avenged the honour of his country by a victory over the Mamluk admiral
Hoseyn off Diu in the following year, and the prolific transit trade of
Egypt was to a great extent lost.

This final effort was made by the last great sultan of the Circassian
dynasty, Kansuh Ghuri (1501-1516), who also exerted himself manfully in
defending his country from the impending disaster of Ottoman invasion.
But the Othmanli Turks, greatly heartened by the conquest of
Constantinople in 1453, had been steadily encroaching in Asia, and,
after defeating the shah of Persia, their advance upon Syria and Egypt
was only a matter of time. The victory was made easier by jealousies and
treachery among the Mamluks. Kansuh fell at the head of his gallant
troops in a battle near Aleppo in August 1516; a last desperate stand of
the Mamluks under the Mukattam Hill at Cairo in January 1517, was
overcome, and Sultan Selim made Egypt a province of the Turkish empire.
Such it remains, formally, to this day.

* * * * *


Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Raphael Holinshed, who was born about 1520, is one of the most
celebrated of English chroniclers. The "Chronicles of England,
Scotland, and Ireland," known by his name, cover a long period
of English history, beginning with a "Description" of Britain
from the earliest times, and carried on until the reign of
Elizabeth, in the course of which, between 1580 and 1584,
Holinshed died. The work did good service to Shakespeare, who
drew from it much of the material for his historical plays.
The first edition, published in 1577, was succeeded in 1587 by
another, in which the "Chronicles" were continued by John
Hooker and others. An edition appeared in 1807, in the
foreword to which the "Chronicles" are described as containing
"the most curious and authentic account of the manners and
customs of our island in the reign of Henry VIII. and
Elizabeth "; and being the work of a contemporary observer
this is not too much to claim for it. Owing to the great scope
of this work, it is impossible to convey an impression of the
whole, which is best represented by means of selected examples
of the chronicler's method. Being the work of so many
different authors, the literary quality of the "Chronicles"
naturally varies; but the learning and research they show make
them an invaluable aid to the study of the manners and customs
of early England.

_I.--Master Holinshed to his Good Lord and Master, Sir William Brooke,

Being earnestlie required, Right Honorable, of divers my freends, to set
down some breefe discourse of some of those things which I had observed
in the reading of manifold antiquities, I was at first verie loth to
yeeld to their desires. But, they pressing their irksome sute, I
condescended to it, and went in hand with the work, with hopes of good,
although no gaie success. In the process of this Booke, if your Honor
regard the substance of that which is here declared, I must needs
confess that it is none of mine owne; but if your lordship have
consideration of the barbarous composition shewed herein, that I may
boldlie claim and challenge for mine owne. Certes, I protest before God
and your Honor, that I never made any choise of stile, or words, neither
regarded to handle this Treatise in such precise order and method as
manie other would have done, thinking it sufficient, truelie and
plainelie to set forth such things as I minded to intreat of, rather
than with vain affectation of eloquence to paint out a rotten sepulchre,
a thing neither commendable in a writer, nor profitable to the reader.
But howsoever it be done, I have had an especial eye unto the truth of
things, and for the rest, I hope that this foule frizeled Treatise of
mine will prove a spur to others better learned to handle the self-same
argument, if in my life-time I doo not peruse it again.

_II.--Some Account of the Historie of Britaine_

As few or no nations can justlie boast themselves to have continued
sithence their countrie was first replenished, without anie mixture,
more or lesse, of forreine inhabitant mixture, more or lesse, of
forreine inhabitants; no more can this our Iland, whose manifold
commodities have oft allured sundrie princes and famous capteines of the
world to conquer and subdue the same unto their owne subjection. Manie
sorts of people therefore have come in hither and settled themselves
here in this Ile, and first of all other, a parcell of the lineage and
posteritie of Japhet, brought in by Samothes, in the 1910 after the
creation of Adam. Howbeit in process of time, and after they had
indifferentlie replenished and furnished this Iland with people, Albion,
the giant, repaired hither with a companie of his owne race proceeding
from Cham, and not onelie annexed the same to his owne dominion, but
brought all such as he found here of the line of Japhet, into miserable
servitude and most extreame thraldome. After him also, and within lesse
than six hundred and two yeares, came Brute, the son of Sylvius, with a
great train of the posteritie of the dispersed Trojans in 324 ships; who
rendering the like courtesie unto Chemminits as they had done before
unto the seed of Japhet, brought them also wholie under his rule and
governance, and dispossessing them he divided the countrie among such
princes and capteines as he had led out of Grecia with him.

Then after some further space of time the Roman Emperours subdued the
land to their dominion; and after the coming of the Romans, it is hard
to say with how manie sorts of people we were dailie pestered. For their
armies did commonlie consist of manie sorts of people, and were (as I
may call them) a confused mixture of all other countries and nations
then living in the world. Howbeit I thinke it best, because they did all
beare the title of Romans, to retaine onelie that name for them all,
albeit they were wofull guests to this our Iland: sith that with them
came all kinds of vice, all riot and excess of behaviour into our
countrie, which their legions brought with them from each corner of
their dominions.

Then did follow the Saxons, and the Danes, and at last the Normans, of
whom it is worthilie doubted whether they were more hard and cruell to
our countrymen than the Danes, or more heavie and intollerable to our
Iland than the Saxons or the Romans. For they were so cruellie bent to
our utter subversion and overthrow, that in the beginning it was lesse
reproach to be accounted a slave than an Englishman, or a drudge in anie
filthie businesse than a Britaine: insomuch that everie French page was
superiour to the greatest Peere; and the losse of an Englishman's life
but a pastime to such of them as contended in their braverie who should
give the greatest strokes or wounds unto their bodies when their toiling
and drudgerie could not please them or satisfie their greedie humours.
Yet such was our lot in those daies by the divine appointed order, that
we must needs obey such as the Lord did set pyer us, and this all
because we refused grace offered in time, and would not heare when God
by his preachers did call us so favourablie unto him.

By all this then we perceive, how from time to time this Hand hath not
onelie been a prey, but as it were a common receptacle for strangers,
the naturall homelings or Britons being still cut shorter and shorter,
till in the end they came not onelie to be driven into a corner of this
region, but in time also verie like utterlie to have been extinguished.
Thus we see how England hath been manie times subject to the reproach of
conquest. And whereas the Scots seeme to challenge manie famous
victories also over us, it shall suffice for answer, that they deale in
this as in the most part of their historie, which is to seeke great
honour by lying, and great renown by prating and craking. Indeed they
have done great mischief in this Hand, and with extreime crueltie; but
as for anie conquest the first is yet to heare of.

But beside those conquests aforementioned, Huntingdon, the old
historiographer, speaketh of another, likelie (as he saith) to come one
daie out of the North, which is a wind that bloweth no man to good, sith
nothing is to be had in those parts, but hunger and much cold.

_III.--Of King Richard, the First, and his Journie to the Holie Land_

Richard the First of that name, and second sonne of Henrie the Second,
began his reign over England the sixt day of Julie, in the yere of our
Lord 1189. He received the crowne with all due and accustomed
sollemnitie, at the hands of Baldwin, the archbishop of Canterburie, the
third daie of September.

Upon this daie of King Richard's coronation, the Jewes that dwelt in
London and in other parts of the realme, being there assembled, had but
sorie hap, as it chanced. For they meaning to honour the same coronation
with their presence, and to present to the king some honourable gift,
whereby they might declare themselves glad for his advancement, and
procure his freendship towards them, for the confirming of their
privileges and liberties; he of a zealous mind to Christes religion,
abhorring their nation (and doubting some sorcerie by them to be
practised) commanded that they should not come within the church when he
should receive the crowne, nor within the palace whilest he was at

But at dinner-time, among other that pressed in at the palace gate,
diverse of the Jews were about to thrust in, till one of them was
striken by a Christian, who alledging the king's commandment, kept them
backe from comming within the palace. Which some of the unrulie people,
perceiving, and supposing it had been done by the king's commandement,
tooke lightlie occasion thereof, and falling upon the Jewes with staves,
bats, and stones, beat them and chased them home to their houses and
lodgings. Then did they set fire on the houses, and the Jewes within
were either smoldred and burned to death within, or else at their
comming forth most cruellie received upon the points of speares, billes,
and swords of their adversaries that watched for them verie diligentlie.
This great riot well deserved sere and grievous punishment, but yet it
passed over without correction, because of the hatred generallie
conceived against the obstinate frowardnesse of the Jewes. Finallie,
after the tumult was ceased, the king commanded that no man should hurt
or harm any of the Jewes, and so they were restored to peace after they
had susteined infinit damage.

No great while after this his coronation, the king sought to prepare
himself to journey to the holie land, and to this end he had great need
of money. Therefore he made such sale of things appertaining to him, as
well in right of the crowne, as otherwise, that it seemed to divers that
he made his reckoning never to return agan, in so much that some of his
councillors told him plainelie, that he did not well in making things
awaie so freelie; unto whom he answered "that in time of need it was no
evill policie for a man to help himself with his owne." and further,
"that if London at that time of need would be bought, he would surelie
sell it, if he might meet with a convenient merchant that were able to
give him monie enough for it."

Then all things being readie, King Richard set forth, and, after great
hindrance by tempests, and at the hands of the men of Cyprus, who warred
against him and were overcome, he came to the citie of Acres, which then
was besieged by the Christian armie. Such was the valiancie of King
Richard shown in manfull constraining of the citie, that his praise was
greatly bruted both amongst the Christians and also the Saracens.

At last, on the twelfth date of Julie, in the yeare of grace 1192, the
citie of Acres was surrendered into the Christian men's hands. These
things being concluded, the French King Philip, upon envie and malice
conceived against King Richard (although he pretended sickness for
excuse) departed homewards. Now touching this departure, divers
occasions are remembered by writers of the emulation and secret spite
which he should bear towards King Richard. But, howsoever, it came to
passe, partlie through envie (as hath beene thought) conceived at the
great deeds of King Richard, whose mightie power and valiantnesse he
could not well abide, and partlie for other respects him moving, he took
the sea with three gallies of the Genevois, and returned into Italie,
and so home into France, having promised first unto King Richard in the
holie land, and after to pope Celestine at Rome, that he would not
attempt any hurtfull enterprise against the English dominions, till King
Richard should be returned out of the holie land. But this promise was
not kept, for he sought to procure Earle John, King Richard's brother,
to rebell against him, though he then sought it in vaine.

Yet were matters nowise peacefull within the realme of England, and
because of this, and likewise because the froward humours of the French
so greatlie hindered him in warring against the Saracens, King Richard
determined fullie to depart homewards, and at last there was a peace
concluded with Saladin. But on his journie homewards the King had but
sorie hap, for he made shipwracke on the coast of Istria, and then fell
into captivitie; and this was the manner that it came to passe.

_IV.--Of King Richard's Captivitie_

King Richard, doubting to fall into the hands of those who might bear
him ill-will, made the best shift he could to passe through quietlie,
yet were many of his servants made captive, and he himself came with but
three men to Vienna. There causing his servants to provide meat for him
more sumptuous and fine than was thought requisite for so meane a person
as he counterfeited then, he was straightway remarked, and some gave
knowledge to the Duke of Austrich named Leopold, who loved him not for
some matter that had passed in the holie land. Moreover, his page, going
about the towne to change gold, and buy vittels, bewraied him, having by
chance the King's gloves under his girdle: whereupon, being examined,
for fear of tortures he confessed the truth.

The Duke sent men to apprehend him, but he, being warie that he was
descried, got him to his weapon; but they alledging the Duke's
commandement, he boldly answered, "that sith he must be taken, he being
a King, would yeeld himselfe to none of the companie but to the Duke
alone." The Duke hearing of this, speedilie came unto him, whom he
meeting, delivered up his sword, and committed him unto his custodie.
Then was he brought before the princes and lords of the empire, in whose
presence the emperour charged him with diverse unlawfull doings. King
Richard notwithstanding the vaine and frivolous objections laid to his
charge, made his answers always so pithilie and directlie to all that
could be laid against him, and excused himself e in everie point so
thoroughlie, that the emperour much marvelled at his high wisdom and
prudence, and not onelie greatlie commended him for the same, but from
thenceforth used him more courteously. Yet did King Richard perceive
that no excuses would serve, but that he must paie to his covetous host
some great summe of monie for his hard entertainment. Therefore he sent
the bishop of Salisburie into England to provide for the paiment of his

Finallie the King, after he had beene prisoner one yeare, six weekes,
and three daies, was set at libertie on Candle-mass day, and then with
long and hastie journies, not keeping the high waies, he hasted forth
towards England. It is reported that if he had lingered by the way, he
had beene eftsoones apprehended. For the emperour being incensed against
him by ambassadors that came from the French king, immediatlie after he
was set forward, began to repent himselfe in that he had suffered him so
soon to depart from him, and hereupon sent men after him with all speed
to bring him backe if they could by any means overtake him, meaning as
then to have kept him in perpetual prison. But these his knavish tricks
being in the good providence of God defeated, King Richard at length in
good safetie landed at Sandwich, and the morrow after came to
Canterburie, where he was received with procession. From thence he came
unto London, where he was received with great joy and gladnesse of the
people, giving heartie thanks to almightie God for his safe return and

The same yeare that King Richard was taken by the Duke of Austrich, one
night in the month of Januarie about the first watch of the night, the
northwest side of the element appeared of such a ruddie colour as though
it had burned, without any clouds or other darknesse to cover it, so
that the stars showed through that redness and might be verie well
discerned. Diverse bright strakes appeared to flash upwards now and
then, dividing the rednesse, through the which the stars seemed to be of
a bright sanguine colour.

In Februarie next insuing, one night after midnight the like wonder was
seene and shortlie after newes came that the king was taken in Almaigne.
And the same daie and selfe houre that the king arrived at Sandwich,
whitest the sunne shone verie bright and cleare, there appeared a most
brightsome and unaccustomed clearnesse, not farre distant from the
sunne, as it were to the length and breadth of a man's personage, having
a red shining brightnesse withall, like to the rainbow, which strange
sight when manie beheld, there were that prognosticated the king
alreadie to be arrived.

_V.--Of Good Queen Elisabeth, and How She Came into Her Kingdom_

After all the stormie, tempestuous, and blustering windie weather of
Queene Marie was overblowne, the darksome clouds of discomfort
dispersed, the palpable fogs and mists of most intollerable miserie
consumed, and the dashing showers of persecution overpast, it pleased
God to send England a calm and quiet season, a cleare and lovelie
sunshine, and a world of blessings by good Queene Elisabeth, into whose
gracious reign we are now to make an happie entrance as followeth.

On her entering the citie of London, she was received of the people with
prayers, wishes, welcomings, cries, and tender words, all which argued a
wonderfull earnest love of most obedient subjects towards their
sovereign. And on the other side, her grace, by holding up her hands,
and merrie countenance to such as stood farre off, and most tender and
gentle language to those that stood nigh unto her grace, did declare
herselfe no lesse thankfullie to receive her people's good will, than
they lovinglie offered it to her. And it was not onelie to those her
subjects who were of noble birth that she showed herself thus verie
gracious, but also to the poorest sort. How manie nose gaies did her
grace receive at poore women's hands? How oftentimes staid she her
chariot, when she saw anie simple bodie offer to speake to her grace? A
branch of rosemarie given her grace with a supplication about
Fleetbridge, was seene in her chariot till her grace came to
Westminster, not without the marvellous wondering of such as knew the
presenter, and noted the queene's most gracious receiving and keeping
the same. Therefore may the poore and needie looke for great hope at her
grace's hand, who hath shown so loving a carefulnesse for them.

Moreover, because princes be set in their seat by God's appointing, and
they must therefore first and chieflie tender the glorie of Him from
whom their glorie issueth; it is to be noted in her grace that for so
much as God hath so wonderfullie placed her in the seat of government of
this realme, she in all her doings doth show herselfe most mindful of
His goodness and mercie shewed unto her. And one notable signe thereof
her grace gave at the verie time of her passage through London, for in
the Tower, before she entered her chariot, she lifted up her eies to
Heaven and saith as followeth:

"O Lord Almightie and everlasting God, I give Thee most heartie thanks
that Thou hast beene so mercifull unto me as to spare me to behold this
joy full daie. And I acknowledge that Thou hast dealt as wonderfullie
and as mercifullie with me as Thou diddest with Thy true and faithfull
servant Daniell Thy prophet, whom Thou deliveredst out of the den from
the crueltie of the greedie and raging lions; even so was I overwhelmed,
and onlie by Thee delivered. To Thee, therefore, onlie be thankes,
honor, and praise, for ever. Amen."

On Sundaie, the five and twentieth daie of Januarie, her majestie was
with great solemnitie crowned at Westminster, in the Abbey church there,
by doctor Oglethorpe bishop of Carlisle. She dined in Westminster hall,
which was richlie hung, and everything ordered in such royall manner, as
to such a regall and most solemn feast appertained. In the meane time,
whilst her grace sat at dinner, Sir Edward Dimmocke, knight, her
champion by office, came riding into the hall in faire complete armour,
mounted upon a beautifull courser, richlie trapped in cloth of gold, and
in the midst of the hall cast downe his gauntlet, with offer to fight
in her quarell with anie man that should denie her to be the righteous
and lawfull queene of this realme. The queene, taking a cup of gold full
of wine, dranke to him thereof, and sent it to him for his fee.
Finallie, this feast being celebrated with all due and fitting royall
ceremonies, tooke end with great joy and contentation to all the

Yet, though there was thus an end of the ceremonies befitting the
queene's coronation, her majesty was everywhere received with brave
shows, and with pageants, all for the love and respect that her subjects
bare her. Thus on Whitsundaie, in the first year of her reign, the
citizens of London set forth a muster before the queene's majestie at
Greenwich in the parke there, of the number of 1,400 men, whereof 800
were pikes, armed in fine corselets, 400 shot in shirts of mail, and 200
halberdiers armed in Almaine rivets; these were furnished forth by the
crafts and companies of the citie. To everie hundred two wifflers were
assigned, richlie appointed and apparelled for the purpose. There were
also twelve wardens of the best companies mounted on horsebacke in
coates of blacke velvet, to conduct them, with drums and fifes, and sixe
ensigne all in lerkins of white sattin of Bridges, cut and lined with
black sarsenet, and caps, hosen, and scarfs according. The
sergeant-majors, captaine Constable, and captaine Sanders, brought them
in order before the queene's presence, placing them in battell arraie,
even as they should have fought; so the shew was verie faire, the
emperour's and the French king's ammbassadors being present.

Verilie the queene hath ever shown herself forward and most willing that
her faithfull subjects should be readie and skilfull in war as in peace.
Thus in the fourteenth yeare of her reign, by order of her council, the
citizens of London, assembling in their several halles, the masters
chose out the most likelie and active persons of their companies to be
pikemen and shot. To these were appointed diverse valiant captaines, who
to train them up in warlike feats, mustered them thrice everie weeke,
sometimes in the artillerie yard, teaching the gunners to handle their
pieces, sometimes at the Miles end, and in saint George's field,
teaching them to skirmish.

In the arts of peace likewise, she is greatlie pleased with them who are
good craftsmen, and shews them favour. In government we have peace and
securitie, and do not greatlie fear those who may stir up wicked
rebellion within our land, or may come against us from beyond the sea.

In brief, they of Norwich did say well, when the queene's majestie came
thither, and in a pageant in her honour, one spake these words:

"Dost them not see the joie of all this flocke?
Vouchsafe to view their passing gladsome cheere,
Be still (good queene) their refuge and their rocke,
As they are thine to serve in love and feare;
So fraud, nor force, nor forreine foe may stand
Against the strength of thy most puissant hand."

* * * * *


The Norman Conquest of England

Edward Augustus Freeman was born at Harborne, Staffordshire,
England, Aug. 2, 1823. His precocity as a child was
remarkable; at seven he read English and Roman history, and at
eleven he had acquired a knowledge of Greek and Latin, and had
taught himself the rudiments of Hebrew. An increase in fortune
in 1848 enabled him to settle down and devote himself to
historical research, and from that time until his death on
March 17, 1892, his life was one spell of literary
strenuousness. His first published work, other than a share in
two volumes of verse, was "A History of Architecture," which
appeared in 1849. Freeman's reputation as historian rests
principally on his monumental "History of the Norman
Conquest." It was published in fifteen volumes between 1867
and 1876, and, in common with all his works, is distinguished
by critical ability, exhaustiveness of research, and an
extraordinary degree of insight. His historical scenes are
remarkably clear and vivid, as though, according to one critic
"he had actually lived in the times."

_Preliminary Events_

The Norman Conquest is important, not as the beginning of English
history, but as its chief turning point. Its whole importance is that
which belongs to a turning point. This conquest is an event which stands
by itself in the history of Europe. It took place at a transitional
period in the world's development. A kingdom which had hitherto been
only Teutonic, was brought within the sphere of the laws, manners, and
speech of the Romance nations.

At the very moment when Pope and Caesar held each other in the death
grasp, a church which had hitherto maintained a sort of insular and
barbaric independence was brought into a far more intimate connection
with the Roman See. The conquest of England by William wrought less
immediate change than when the first English conquerors slew, expelled,
or enslaved the whole nation of the vanquished Britons or than when
Africa was subdued by Genseric. But it wrought a greater immediate
change than the conquest of Sicily by Charles of Anjou. It brought with
it not only a new dynasty, but a new nobility. It did not expel or
transplant the English nation or any part of it; but it gradually
deprived the leading men and families of England of their land and
offices, and thrust them down into a secondary position under the alien

It must not be forgotten that the old English constitution survived the
Norman Conquest. What the constitution had been under the Saxon Eadgar,
that it remained under William. The laws, with a few changes in detail,
and also the language of the public documents, remained the same. The
powers vested in King William and his Witan remained constitutionally
the same as those which had been vested in King Eadgar and his Witan a
hundred years before. Immense changes ensued in social condition and
administration, and in the relation of the kingdom to foreign lands.
There was also a vast increase of royal power, and new relations were
introduced between the king and every class of his subjects; but formal
constitutional changes there were none.

I cannot too often repeat, for the saying is the very summing up of the
whole history, that the Norman Conquest was not the wiping out of the
constitution, the laws, the language, the national life of Englishmen.
The English kingship gradually changed from the old Teutonic to the
later mediaeval type; but the change began before the Norman Conquest. It
was hastened by that event; it was not completed till long after it, and
the gradual transition, was brought to perfection by Henry II.

Certain events indicate the remoter causes of the Norman Conquest. The
accession of Eadward at once brings us among the events that led
immediately to that conquest, or rather we may look on the accession of
this Saxon king as the first stage of the conquest itself. Swend and
Cnut, the Danes, had shown that it was possible for a foreign power to
overcome England by force of arms.

The misgovernment of the sons of Cnut hindered the formation of a
lasting Danish dynasty in England. The throne of Cerdic was again filled
by a son of Woden; but there can be no doubt that the shock given to the
country by the Danish Conquest, especially the way in which the ancient
nobility was cut off in the long struggle with Swend and Cnut, directly
opened the way for the coming of the Norman. Eadward did his best,
wittingly or unwillingly, to make his path still easier. This he did by
accustoming Englishmen to the sight of strangers--not national kinsmen
like Cnut's Danes, but Frenchmen, men of utterly alien speech and
manners--enjoying every available place of honour or profit in the

The great national reaction under Godwine and Harold made England once
more England for a few years. But this change, happy as it was, could
not altogether do away with the effects of the French predilections of
Eadward. With Eadward, then, the Norman Conquest really begins. The men
of the generation before the Conquest, the men whose eyes were not to
behold the event itself, but who were to do all that they could do to
advance or retard it, are now in the full maturity of life, in the full
possession of power.

Eadward is on the throne of England; Godwine, Leofric, and Siward divide
among them the administration of the realm. The next generation, the
warriors of Stamfordbridge and Senlac, of York and Ely, are fast growing
into maturity. Harold Hadrada is already pursuing his wild career of
night-errantry in distant lands, and is astonishing the world by his
exploits in Russia and Sicily, at Constantinople and at Jerusalem.

The younger warriors of the Conquest, Eadwine and Morcere and Waltheof
and Hereward, were probably born, but they must still have been in their
cradles or in their mothers' arms. But, among the leaders of Church and
State, Ealdred, who lived to place the crown on the head both of Harold
and of William, is already a great prelate, abbot of the great house of
Tewkesbury, soon to succeed Lyfing in the chair of Worcester.

Tostig must have been on the verge of manhood; Swegen and Harold were
already men, bold and vigorous, ready to march at their father's
bidding, and before long to affect the destiny of their country for evil
and for good. Beyond the sea, William, still a boy in years but a man in
conduct and counsel, is holding his own among the storms of a troubled
minority, and learning those arts of the statesman and the warrior which
fitted him to become the wisest ruler of Normandy, the last and greatest
conqueror of England.

The actors in the great drama are ready for their parts; the ground is
gradually preparing for the scene of their performance. The great
struggle of nations and tongues and principles in which each of them had
his share, the struggle in which William of Normandy and Harold of
England stand forth as worthy rivals of the noblest of prizes, will form
the subject of the next, the chief and central portion of my history.

The struggle between Normans and Englishmen began with the accession of
Eadward in 1042, although the actual subjugation of England by force of
arms was still twenty-four years distant. The thought of another Danish
king was now hateful. "All folk chose Eadward to King." As the son of
AEthelred and Emma, the brother of the murdered and half-canonised
Alfred, he had long been-familiar to English imaginations. Eadward, and
Eadward alone, stood forth as the heir of English royalty, the
representative of English nationality. In his behalf the popular voice
spoke out at once, and unmistakably. His popular election took place in
June, immediately on the death of Harthacnut, and even before his
burial. Eadward, then, was king, and he reigned as every English king
before him had reigned, by that union of popular election and royal
descent which formed the essence of all ancient Teutonic kingship. He
was crowned at Winchester, April 3, 1043. But by virtue of his peculiar
character, his natural place was not on the throne of England, but at
the head of a Norman abbey, for all his best qualities were those of a
monk. Like him father, he was constantly under the dominion of

It was to the evil choice of his favourites during the early part of his
reign that most of the misfortunes of his time were owing, and that a
still more direct path was opened for the ambition of his Norman
kinsman. In the latter part of his reign, either by happy accident or
returning good sense, led him to a better choice. Without a guide he
could not reign, but the good fortune of his later years gave him the
wisest and noblest of all guides.

We have now reached the first appearance of the illustrious man round
whom the main interest of this history will henceforth centre. The
second son of Godwine lived to be the last of our kings, the hero and
martyr of our native freedom. The few recorded actions of Harold, Earl
of the East Angles, could hardly have enabled me to look forward to the
glorious career of Harold, Earl of the West Saxons, King of the English.

Tall in stature, beautiful in countenance, of a bodily strength whose
memory still lives in the rude pictorial art of his time, he was
foremost alike in the active courage and in the passive endurance of the
warrior. It is plain that in him, no less than in his more successful,
and, therefore, more famous, rival, we have to admire not only the mere
animal courage, but that true skill of the leader of armies which would
have placed both Harold and William high among the captains of any age.

Great as Harold was in war, his character as a civil ruler is still more
remarkable, still more worthy of admiration. The most prominent feature
in his character is his singular gentleness and mercy. Never, either in
warfare or in civil strife, do we find Harold bearing hardly upon an
enemy. From the time of his advancement to the practical government of


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