The barbarian states which arose on the ruins of the Western Empire were founded, under widely different circumstances of time and place, by tribes and federations of tribes drawn from every part of Germany. We expect to find, and we do find, infinite varieties of detail in their laws, their social distinctions, their methods of government. But from a broader point of view they may be grouped in two classes, not according to affinities of race, but according to their relations with the social order which they had invaded.

One group of kingdoms was founded under cover of a legal fiction; the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, and the Burgundians claimed to be the allies of the Empire. At one time or another they obtained the recognition of Constantinople for their settlements. Their kings accepted or usurped the titles of imperial administrators, stamped their coins with the effigies of the reigning Emperor, dated their proclamations by the names of the consuls for the year, and in many other ways flaunted their nominal subjection as the legal basis of their actual sovereignty. This fiction did not prevent them from governing their new dominions in true Teutonic fashion, through royal bailiffs, who administered the state demesnes, and military officers (dukes, counts, etc.) who ruled with autocratic sway over administrative districts. Nor did the most lenient of them hesitate to provide for their armies by wholesale confiscations; the ordinary rule was to take from the great proprietor one-third or two-thirds of his estate for the benefit of the Teutonic immigrant. Further, we have ample evidence that the provincials found existence considerably more precarious under the new order. The rich were exposed to the malice of the false informer and the venal judge; the cultivators of the soil were often oppressed and often reduced from partial freedom to absolute slavery. Yet in some respects the invaders of this type were tolerant and adaptable. They left to the provincials the civil law of Rome, and even codified it to guard against unauthorised innovations; the Lex Romana Burgundionum and the Visigothic Breviarium Alarici are still extant as memorials of this policy. They realised the necessity of compelling barbarians and provincials alike to respect the elementary rights of person and property; Theodoric the Ostrogoth and Gundobad the Burgundian were the authors of new criminal codes, in the one case mainly, in the other partially, derived from Roman jurisprudence. Such rulers were not content with professing an impartial regard for both classes of their subjects; they frequently raised the better-class provincials to posts of responsibility and confidence. By a singular fatality the chief races of this group had embraced the Arian heresy, which was repudiated and detested by their subjects. Yet their great statesmen uniformly extended toleration to the rival creed, and even patronised the orthodox bishops, by whom they were secretly regarded as worse than the lowest of the heathen. This generosity was little more than common prudence. Numerically the conquerors were much inferior to the provincials; economically they had everything to lose by needless ill-treatment of those whom they exploited. But the best of them had studied the organisation of the Empire at close quarters, sometimes as captains in the imperial service, sometimes as neighbours of flourishing provinces in the years preceding the grand catastrophe; and knowledge rarely failed to produce in them some respect or even enthusiasm for the Respublica Romana . "When I was young," said King Athaulf the Visigoth, "I desired to obliterate the Roman name and to bring under the sway of the Goths all that once belonged to the Romans. But I learned better by experience. The Goths were licentious barbarians who would obey no laws; and to deprive the commonwealth of laws would have been a crime. So for my part I chose the glory of restoring the Roman name to its old estate." To such men the ideal of the future was a federation of states owing a nominal allegiance to the official head of the Empire, but cherishing an effective loyalty to all that was best in Roman law and culture.

The second group comprises the kingdoms which were founded in outlying provinces or comparatively late in time. The invaders of England, the Franks in Northern Gaul, the Alemanni and the Bavarians on the Upper Rhine and the Danube, the Lombards in Italy, the Vandals in Africa, never came completely under the spell of the past. The Vandals might have done so, but for their fanatical devotion to Arianism; for the province of Africa, in which they settled, was one of those which Roman statesmanship had most completely civilised. The Franks might have imitated the Visigoths and the Burgundians, if fortune had laid the cradle of their power in the valley of the Loire or the Rhone instead of the forests and marshes of the Netherlands. The Lombards and the Saxons showed no innate aversion to the ways and works of Rome; but they entered upon provinces which had already been impoverished and depopulated by the scourge of war. Such races proceeded rapidly with the construction of a new social and political order, because the past was a sealed book to them. Roman law vanished from England so completely as to leave it doubtful whether the Saxons ever came to terms with the provincials; it was tolerated but not encouraged by the Franks; it was in great measure set aside by the Lombards; it seems to have been unknown to the Alemanni and Bavarians. We shall see in the sequel the importance of these facts. The future of Europe lay not with the Goths or with the Burgundians, but with more ignorant or less impressionable races who, rather by good fortune than by choice, escaped the vices in missing the lessons of Roman civilisation. The Franks and the Saxons, as we find them described by Gregory of Tours and the Venerable Bede, were far from resembling the noble savage imagined by Tacitus and other idealists. But they were trained for future empire in the hard school of a northern climate.

All that concerns us in the history of these kingdoms can be briefly stated.

(1) Teutonic England hardly enters into European history before the year 800. In the fifth and sixth centuries a multitude of small colonies had been founded on the soil of Roman Britain by the three tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who migrated thither from Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein. A few considerable kingdoms had emerged from this chaos by the time when the English received from Rome their first Christian teacher, St. Augustine: Kent, Sussex, and Wessex in the south; Mercia and East Anglia in the Midlands; Northumbria between the Humber and the Forth. The efforts of every ruler were devoted to the establishment of his personal ascendancy over the whole group. Such a supremacy was obtained by AEthelbert of Kent, the first royal convert to Christianity; by Edwin of Northumbria and his two immediate successors in the seventh century; by Offa of Mercia (757-796); and by Egbert of Wessex (802-839), whose power foreshadowed the later triumphs of the house of Alfred.

(2) Southern Gaul was divided in the fifth century between the Visigoths and the Burgundians. The former of these peoples entered the imperial service in 410, after the death of Alaric I, who had led them into Italy. His successors, Athaulf and Wallia, undertook to pacify Gaul and to recover Spain for the rulers of Ravenna; the second of these sovereigns was rewarded with a settlement, for himself and his followers, between the Loire and the Garonne (419). In the terrible battle of Troyes, against Attila the Hun (451), they did good service to the Roman cause; but both before and after that event they were chiefly occupied in extending their boundaries by force or fraud. At the close of the fifth century their power in Gaul extended from the Loire to the Pyrenees, from the Atlantic to the Rhone valley, and along the Mediterranean seaboard farther east to the Alps. In Spain - which had been, since 409, the prey of the Vandals, Alans and Suevi - they found a more legitimate field for their ambitions. Between 466 and 484 they annexed every part of the peninsula except the north-west corner, which remained the last stronghold of their defeated competitors. The Burgundians, from less auspicious beginnings, had built up a smaller but yet a powerful kingdom. Transplanted by a victorious Roman general to Savoy (443) from the lands between the Necker and the Main, they had descended into the Rhone basin at the invitation of the provincials, to protect that fertile land alike against Teutonic marauders and Roman tax-collectors. By the year 500 they ruled from the Durance in the south to the headwaters of the Doubs and the Saone in the north, from the Alps and the Jura to the sources of the Loire.

(3) Italy was less fortunate than Gaul; in the fifth century she was ravaged more persistently, since Rome and Ravenna were the most tempting prizes that the West could offer to conquerors seeking a settlement or to mere marauders; and for yet another two centuries her soil was in dispute between the Eastern Empire and the Teutons. The strategic importance of the peninsula, the magic of the name of Rome, the more recent tradition that Ravenna was the natural headquarters of imperial bureaucracy in the West, were three cogent reasons why the statesmen of Constantinople should insist that Italy must be recovered whatever outlying provinces of the West were abandoned. For sixty years after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus (476) Italy was entirely ruled by barbarians; then for more than two hundred years there was an Imperial Italy or a Papal Italy continually at feud with an Ostrogothic or a Lombard Italy. It would have been better for the Italians if either the Ostrogoths or the Lombards had triumphed decisively and at an early date.

The Ostrogoths entered Italy from the north-east in 489, under the lead of Theodoric, the first and last statesman of their race. They came from the Middle Danube, where they had settled, with the leave of the Empire, after the death of Attila and the dissolution of his army. They were now in search of a more kindly habitation, and brought with them their wives, their children, and their household stuff on waggons. Their way was barred by Odoacer the Patrician - general of the Italian army and King of Italy in all but name. It cost them four years of hard fighting to overthrow this self-constituted representative of the Empire. After that they had no overt opposition to fear. To the Italians there was little difference between Odoacer and Theodoric. The change of rulers did not affect their material interests, since Theodoric merely appropriated that proportion of the cultivated land (one-third) which Odoacer had claimed for his followers. Nor was submission inconsistent with the loyalty demanded by the Eastern Empire; since for the moment it suited imperial policy to accept the Visigothic King as the successor of Odoacer. Theodoric reigned over Italy for thirty-three years (493-526). A tolerant and enlightened ruler, he spared no effort to give his rule a legal character, and to protect the Italians against oppression. Two eminent Romans, Liberius and Cassiodorus, acted successively as his confidential advisers and interpreted his policy to their countrymen. No attempt was made to fuse the Ostrogoths with the Italians. The invaders remained, an army quartered on the soil, subject for most purposes to their own law. But the law of the Italians was similarly respected; Theodoric applied the Roman law of crime impartially to both races; and he rigourously interdicted the prosecution of private wars and feuds. Unfortunately his subordinates were less scrupulous than himself. The Ostrogothic soldiery maintained the national character for lawlessness; the royal officers and judges were corrupt; men of means were harassed by blackmailers and false informers; the poor and helpless were frequently enslaved by force or fraud. The Italians could not forgive the Arian tenets of their new rulers, even though the orthodox were tolerated and protected. Naturally the clergy and the remnants of the Roman aristocracy sighed for an imperial restoration. And Theodoric, rightly or wrongly, came to suspect them all of treason. In his later years he meted out a terrible and barbarous justice to the supposed authors of conspiracy - notably to the Senator Boethius, who was beaten to death with clubs after a long period of rigourous imprisonment. Boethius has vindicated his own fair name, and blackened for ever that of Theodoric, by his immortal treatise, the Consolation of Philosophy, composed in hourly expectation of death. A Christian it would seem, but certainly nurtured on the precepts of Plato and the Stoics, Boethius turned in his extremity to these teachers for reassurance on the doubts which must always afflict the just man enmeshed in undeserved misfortune. Himself a philosopher only in his sublime optimism and his resolve to treat the inevitable as immaterial, Boethius rivets the attention by his absolute honesty. His book, revered in the Middle Ages as all but inspired, will be read with interest and sympathy so long as honest men are vexed by human oppression and the dispensations of a seemingly capricious destiny. But the footprints of the Ostrogoths are effaced from the soil of Italy; the name of Theodoric is scantily commemorated by some mosaics and a rifled mausoleum at Ravenna. Here at least Time has done justice in the end; from all that age of violent deeds and half-sincere ideals nothing has passed into the spiritual heritage of mankind but the communings of one undaunted sufferer with his soul and God.

Theodoric died in 526, bequeathing his crown to his only daughter's son. Eight years afterwards the boy king, worn out by premature excess, was laid in the grave; his mother was murdered to clear the path of an ambitious kinsman; and, while the succession was still in doubt, the Emperor Justinian launched upon Italy the still invincible armies of the Empire, led by Belisarius, the greatest general of the time and already famous as the deliverer of Africa from the Vandals (536). The intrigues of his court rivals, rather than the resources of the divided Ostrogoths, robbed Belisarius of a decisive victory, and prolonged the struggle for years after he had been superseded. But in 553 the last embers of resistance were quenched in blood. Italy, devastated and depopulated, was reorganised as an imperial province with an elaborate hierarchy of civil and military officials. The change was welcome to the orthodox clergy, the more so because Justinian gave large powers in local administration to their bishops. Of outward pomp there was enough to gild corruption and inefficiency with a deceptive splendour; but in fact the restored Empire was little more civilised, in the true sense of the word, than the barbarian states of the past and future. Upon the Italians the Emperor conferred the boon of his famous Corpus Juris , a compendium of that legal wisdom which constitutes the best title of Rome to the world's gratitude. For the future it was momentous that Italy learned, at this early date, to regard the Corpus as the perfection of legal wisdom. Through the Italian schools of later times (Ravenna, Bologna, etc.) the Corpus has influenced the law of every European state and has dictated the principles of scientific jurisprudence. But in the sixth century good laws availed nothing for want of good government.

In 568, only fifteen years after the restoration, the Lombards descended upon Italy from the Middle Danube, following the track of Theodoric and inspirited by the fame of his success. A few years made them masters of the North Italian plain still known as Lombardy. Within three-quarters of a century they had demonstrated the hollowness of the Byzantine power. The power of their kings, whose capital was Pavia, extended on the one side into Liguria and Tuscany, on the other into Emilia and Friuli; far away in the south, behind the line of fortresses which linked Rome with Ravenna, the semi-independent dukes of Spoleto and Benevento were masters of the land on both sides of the Apennines, excepting Naples and the toe of the Bruttian peninsula. Apart from these districts there remained in the imperial allegiance only the fisher-folk of the Venetian lagoons and the lands which afterwards were to be known as the Papal States. What the Byzantines achieved by the maintenance of this precarious foothold was nothing less than the political disruption of Italy. The Lombard duchies of the south were kept separate from the parent state; with the result that their ruins were built long afterwards into the fabric of a South Italian monarchy which was irreconcilably hostile to the political heirs of the Lombard kings. In many respects the Lombards showed capacity for governing a subject population. They adopted the Latin language; they forsook Arianism for Catholicism; they accommodated themselves to city life; they were liberal patrons of Italian art and industry. Although they introduced a strictly Teutonic form of administration, their rule compared not unfavourably with the makeshift methods of Byzantine statesmanship. In Imperial Italy we see the strange spectacle of a military despotism tempered by the usurped privileges and jurisdictions of the great proprietors, or by the ill-defined temporal pretensions of the bishops. In Lombard Italy matters were at least no worse. The Lombards were aliens; but so were the Greeks. The Greeks treated the Italians as inferiors. But the Lombards intermarried freely with their subjects, and the Lombard legislators (Rotharis, Luitprand) recognised no invidious privileges of race.

(4) Northern Gaul remains to be considered. It was here that the Frankish monarchy developed; and we deal last with the Franks because they were destined to harvest the chief fruits of barbarian conquest and colonisation. By the close of the eighth century Africa, Spain, and Britain were the only western provinces of the Empire in which they had failed to establish themselves as the sole or the dominant power; and moreover they had penetrated by that time farther into Central Europe than any Roman statesman, since Tiberius, had extended his schemes of conquest. The expansion of the Franks was a slow process, interrupted by periods of stagnation or relapse; and we can only trace it in the barest outline.

Known from an early date to the Romans as vagrant marauders, the Franks had been heavily chastised by most of the soldier emperors from Probus to Julian. Some of them were forcibly settled as serf-colonists on the left bank of the Rhine; others (the Salian Franks) appropriated to themselves a large part of Batavia, the marsh country at the mouths of the Scheldt and Rhine; a third group (the Ripuarians) occupied the lands between the Rhine and the Meuse, in the neighbourhood of Koln and Bonn. The Salians and Ripuarians counted as allies (foederati) of the Empire, at least from the time of Aetius; under whom, like the Visigoths, they fought against the Huns at Troyes (451). Their aggressions were checked on the West by the Roman governors of the country lying between the Somme and the Loire; and their power was impaired by the partition of the Salian people among a swarm of petty kings. But in 481, with the accession of Clovis to the throne of Tournai, there began a period of consolidation and advance. In 486 Clovis overthrew the Roman governor Syagrius and usurped his power. In 496 he annexed the purely Teutonic principality which the Alemanni had recently established in the country now known as Suabia. This victory was the occasion of his conversion to Christianity. The legend goes that, in the crisis of the final battle, Clovis appealed to the God of his pious wife: "I have called on my gods and they have forsaken me. To Thee I turn, in Thee will I believe, if Thou wilt deliver me." He kept his word, and was baptised by St. Remi, the Bishop of Rheims, thus becoming a member of the orthodox communion, and the hope of all the Gallic clergy, who had hitherto submitted with an ill grace to the heretical rulers of the Visigoths and the Burgundians. A crafty and ambitious savage, the King of Tournai quickly realised the advantage of alliance with the native Church. In the year 500 he turned upon the Burgundians in the hope of making them his tributaries. He failed in his object, for the Burgundian King made a timely feint of conversion to orthodoxy and otherwise conciliated the Gallo-Roman population. But over Alaric II the Visigoth, who had been so impolitic as to persecute orthodox bishops, the Franks secured an easy and dramatic triumph. "It irks me," said Clovis to his army, "that these Arians should rule in Gaul." The Aquitanians welcomed him as a Crusader; Alaric, after a single defeat, took refuge in his Spanish dominions, where he was left to rule in peace. At one stroke the power of the Franks had advanced from the Loire to the Pyrenees (507). The latter days of Clovis were prosperously occupied in exterminating rival Frankish dynasties and the more dangerous of his own kindred. He died, after a reign of thirty years, in the odour of sanctity: "God increased his kingdom every day, because he walked with an upright heart and did what was pleasing in the eyes of God." He was buried in the Gallo-Roman part of his dominions, at Paris, which he had chosen as his capital. The province of Syagrius, later known as Neustria or Western Francia, was the natural centre of the Frankish state, nor was Clovis indifferent to the traditions and the luxury of an older civilisation. In Aquitaine he posed as the representative of the Empire, and he rode through the streets of Tours in the purple robe of a consul, which he had received from the Emperor Anastasius. The hope at Constantinople was that he would treat Theodoric the Ostrogoth as he had already treated Alaric; this was the first of many occasions on which the network of imperial diplomacy was woven round a Frankish king. Church and Empire conspired to inflame the ambitions and enlarge the schemes of Merovingian and Carolingian conquerors.

But the Franks, more faithfully than any of their rivals, held to the barbarian usage of dividing a kingdom, in the manner of a family estate, equally between the sons of a dead sovereign. Logically pursued this custom of inheritance would have led to utter disintegration, such as Germany exhibited in the fourteenth century. Among the Franks a partition was followed, as a matter of course, by fratricidal conflicts and consequent reunion of the kingdom in the hands of the ultimate survivor; but even so the energies of the nation were squandered upon civil wars. The descendants of Clovis did little to augment the realm that he bequeathed to them; this little was done in the fifty years following his death. The Burgundians, Bavarians and Thuringians were subdued; Provence was bought from the Ostrogoths at the price of armed support against Justinian; the Saxons were compelled to promise tribute. From 561 to 688 the power and the morale of the Franks steadily declined. Dagobert I (628-638), the most renowned of the Merovingians after Clovis, could only chastise rebels and strengthen the defences of the eastern frontier. He released the Saxons from tribute; he was unable to prevent an adventurer of his own race, the merchant Samo, from organising the Slavs of Bohemia and the neighbouring lands in a powerful and aggressive federation. Already in his time the East Franks (Austrasians) refused to be governed from Neustria, and insisted that the son of Dagobert should be their king. After Dagobert the three kingdoms of Neustria, Austrasia and Burgundy asserted their right to separate administrations, even when subject to one king.

In each of these divisions the effective ruler was the Mayor of the Palace, a viceroy who kept his sovereign in perpetual tutelage. The later Merovingians were feeble puppets, produced before their subjects on occasions of state, but at other times relegated to honourable seclusion on one of their estates. The history of the Franks from 638 to 719 is that of conflicts between the great families of Neustria and Austrasia for the position of sole Mayor. At length unity was restored by the triumph of the Austrasian Charles Martel. His father had gained the same position, but it was left for the son to sweep away the last remaining competitors.

Charles Martel is the true founder of the Carolingian house, although his ancestors had long played a conspicuous part in Austrasian and national politics. He was not the inventor of feudalism, but was the first to see the possibility of basing royal power on the support of vassals pledged to support their lord, in every quarrel, with life and limb and earthly substance. To provide his vassals with fiefs he stripped the churches of many rich estates. But he atoned for the sacrilege upon the memorable field of Poitiers. In 711 the Arabs, having wrested northern Africa from the Byzantine Empire, entered Spain and overthrew Roderic, the last King of the Visigoths. With his death the cause of his nation collapsed. Though the Visigoths had long since accepted the orthodox creed and were in close alliance with the Spanish bishops, they were detested by the provincials, whom they had reduced to serfdom and brutally oppressed. Within ten years the soldiers of the Caliph were masters of Spain and turned their attention to southern Gaul.

The Frankish Duke of Aquitaine could neither protect his duchy nor obtain a lasting treaty. In the last extremity he turned to the Mayor of the Palace, whom he had hitherto regarded as an enemy. The appeal was answered; and Charles with a great Frankish host confronted the Arabs under the walls of Poitiers. For seven days neither side would make the first move; on the eighth the infidels attacked. The Frankish host was composed of infantry protected by mail-shirts and shields; against their close-locked lines, which resembled iron walls, the Arabs dashed themselves in vain. When the attack had been repelled in disorder, the Franks advanced, bearing down resistance by sheer weight and strength. The Emir Abderrahman fell on the field, and then night put an end to the conflict. Both armies camped on the field; but next morning the Arabs had vanished in full retreat for the Pyrenees (Oct. 732). The flood of Islam had received the first check; though Spain was not to be recovered by the Franks, they were held to have saved northern Europe. Modern criticism has remarked that the internal dissensions of Moslem Spain did better service than this victory to the cause of Christendom; that the Arabs continued to hold Septimania and sent raids into Provence. But for contemporaries there was no question that the Franks had established a claim to the special gratitude of the Church, and Charles to his anomalous position as an uncrowned King. The Mayor of the Palace was fully alive to the value of ecclesiastical support. He lent his support to the work of the English missionaries Willibrord and Boniface among the unconverted German tribes (Frisians, Hessians, Thuringians) over whom he claimed supremacy. He permitted Boniface to enrol himself as the servant of the Holy See. It is true that he would not form a political alliance with the Roman Church against the Lombards. Northern wars absorbed him; wars with the Frisians, the Saxons, the rebellious Bavarians, Alemannians, and Aquitanians. But from alliance with the Church to alliance with Rome was a natural step for his successors. Shortly before his death (741) he divided his power between his sons Carlmann and Pepin, giving Austrasia to the one, Neustria to the other. But Carlmann abdicated to become a monk (747) and Pepin his junior was left to continue the work of their father single-handed. Both brothers employed Boniface to reorganise and reform the clergy of their dominions; Pepin allowed the saint to take from all the Frankish bishops an oath of subjection to the Holy See; and accepted him as Archbishop of Mainz and primate of the German church. Three years later the Mayor obtained the permission of Pope Zacharias to depose the last of the Merovingian puppet-kings and to assume the regal style; the Pope justly recommending that he should have the title to whom the power belonged (751). So ended the line of Clovis, and with it the barbarian period of Frankish history. For the next sixty years the history of Europe is that of Carolingian conquests and essays in political reconstruction.

And now the growing connection with the Papacy acquired a new character. Since the beginning of the eighth century the Eastern Empire had forfeited the last claim to Italian allegiance by embracing the Iconoclastic heresy, a protest at once belated and premature against the growing materialism and polytheism of Catholic Christianity. Pope and Lombards made common cause to protect the images in imperial Italy. Gregory III excommunicated the iconoclasts (731); the Lombard King Aistulf seized Ravenna, the last important stronghold of the Byzantines in the peninsula (751). Too late the Papacy realised that the orthodox Lombard was a greater menace than the Greek heretic. Aistulf regarded Rome, in common with the other territories of the Empire, as his rightful spoil. For the first time the issue was raised between secular statesmanship scheming for Italian unity and a Roman bishop claiming sovereign power as the historical and indispensable adjunct of his office. Pope Stephen II visited the Frankish court to urge, not in vain, the claims of religion and of gratitude. By two raids across the Alps Pepin forced the Lombard to withdraw the claim on Rome, and furthermore to restore what had been conquered from the Empire. These territories, lying in Romagna and the Marches, the Frankish King conferred on the Pope, as the legitimate representative of imperial power (756). Pepin's Donation, made in defiance of Byzantine protests, greatly extended the temporal power which the predecessors of Stephen had long exercised in Rome and the neighbourhood. A shrewd expedient for crippling the most formidable rival of the Franks, it was to be the rock on which ideals then undreamed of were to founder. For it was the temporal power which provoked the last and mortal struggle of the Holy Roman Empire with the Papacy, which presented the most stubborn obstacle to the leaders of the Risorgimento.

Like his father, Pepin laboured hard to knit together the conquests of the early Merovingians, but without the same success. He expelled the Arabs from Narbonne; he recovered the duchy of Aquitaine and suppressed the ducal dynasty after eight hard-fought campaigns. But neither from the Saxons nor from the Bavarians could he win effective recognition of his suzerainty. What he had achieved in Aquitaine was seriously endangered when, on his deathbed, he followed the tradition of dividing his realm between his sons Carloman and Charles (768). Fortunately Charles, though harassed by the intrigues of his incompetent senior, weathered the storm of a new Aquitanian rising; he saw Carloman sink unlamented into an early grave (771) and easily obtained recognition as sole king. Then indeed he stood in a position singularly favourable for prosecuting a policy which should embrace and transcend the ambitions of his ancestors. Heir to a power extending from the Atlantic to the Bohemian border in the one direction, in the other from the North Sea and the Channel to the Alps and Pyrenees; the hereditary patron of the Roman Church; ruler of a hierarchy which had definitely accepted the ideal of a Christian Republic and desired to see Christian unity enforced by the sword of the secular power; lord of a military caste of vassals filled with the pride and lust of conquest; he had at his disposal the resources and supporters sufficient to make him, what Theodoric had idly dreamed of becoming, the supreme lord of the Teutonic peoples, the lieutenant of the Empire in all the western provinces. It was no ordinary man to whom this opportunity fell. Imperfectly educated, even for his age, but of ready wit and unbounded curiosity; a general whose iron will and superhuman energy seldom failed in leading his soldiers through difficulties and reverses to ultimate victory; a dreamer whose imagination kindled whenever he came into contact with the great ideas, Christian or pagan, of an older world; a practical statesman whose innate love of order and respect for justice were coupled with a gift for organisation and the power of extracting their best work from his subordinates, it is not for any want of natural qualifications that his claim to rank with the great world-heroes can be challenged. The shortcomings of his work are merely those of the race and the age to which he belonged. The highest statesmanship is only possible when the statesman has at his disposal the accumulated experience and the specialised capacity of a civilisation which is old and at the same time vigorous.

The policy of Charles in his period of sole rule (771-814) is Janus-headed; it looks forward and looks back. A true Austrasian, he is faithful to the old Frankish ideal of military conquest; but he gives it a new meaning, and besides fulfilling the projects of his predecessors goes beyond the horizon of their most ambitious enterprises. In his friendship for the Pope, in his care for ecclesiastical reform, he is his father's son; but the relations of the son with the Church have a new purpose and involve more than one breach with the past. His administration is largely guided by the traditional standard of royal duty; he is a notable steward of his demesnes; he is the reliever of the poor, the refuge of the defenceless, the champion of justice. But he is also a far-sighted reformer adapting old administrative methods to the requirements of a new political fabric. In fact, to epitomise all these antitheses in one, he is the heir of an old barbarian monarchy and also the founder of a new Empire.

The story of his conquests reads like the epitome of a lost romance - so varied are the incidents, so jejune the details afforded by contemporary sources.

(1) In 773 he crossed the Alps, at the prayer of Pope Hadrian, because the Lombard King Didier had seized some cities comprised in Pepin's Donation and was even threatening Rome. Pavia was starved into surrender, Didier relegated to a monastery; Charles annexed the whole of Lombard territory except Spoleto (which submitted to the Pope) and Benevento. He assumed the title of King of the Lombards; but beyond garrisoning a few towns and appointing a few Frankish counts made no attempt to displace Lombard officials or alter the Lombard modes of government. He visited Hadrian at Rome, renewed the Donation of Pepin, and concluded a pact of eternal friendship with the Papacy.

(2) Then followed the period of the Saxon wars, as much a crusade against German heathenism as the vindication of old and dubious claims to suzerainty. The first campaign against the Saxons had taken place in 772; their final submission was not made till 785. The Saxons were still in that stage of political development which Tacitus describes in his Germania, ruled by petty chiefs who set up a war-leader when there was need for common action, otherwise united only by racial sentiment and the cult of a tribal deity. But they were a warlike race, and found in this crisis a leader of genius, the famous Widukind. At last he set his followers the example of embracing Christianity. Charles acted as sponsor at his baptism, and Widukind became a loyal subject of his spiritual father. In a few years the whole of Saxony was dotted with mission churches; in a few generations the Saxons were conspicuous for their loyalty to the faith, and the Saxon bishops counted among the wealthiest and most influential of ecclesiastical princes. It was through Saxon rulers, descended from Widukind, that the imperial policy of Charles was revived in the tenth century and the imperial diadem appropriated by the German nation. Yet the Saxons sturdily adhered to their national laws and language; their obstinate refusal to be ruled by other races was a stumbling-block to the most masterful sovereigns that medieval Germany produced.

(3) During the years 786-787 Charles was threatened with a conspiracy against his power in Italy. Tassilo, the vassal Duke of Bavaria, aspired to independence and was induced by his wife, a daughter of King Didier, to make common cause with her nation; Areghis, the Lombard ruler of Benevento, had emphasised his independence by assuming the style and crown of a king. The two princes made common cause, but were detected before their plans had matured, and successively terrified into submission by the appearance of overwhelming armies on their borders.

The Lombard duchy was no permanent acquisition for the Franks, but that of Bavaria was suppressed, in consequence of a second plot (788). The addition of this large and wealthy province made the eastern half of the Frankish kingdom practically coextensive with medieval Germany, and almost equal in importance to the Romanised provinces of Gaul.

(4) As a natural precaution for the defence of Bavaria, Charles then turned against the Avars, a race akin to the Huns, who had settled on the middle Danube after the departure of the Lombards for Italy. The Avars invaded Bavaria and Friuli as allies of Tassilo (788); they were punished by three campaigns of extirpation (791-796), which broke their power and spared only a miserable remnant of their people. Their land was annexed but not settled; for Germany offered a more tempting field to the Frankish pioneers. Indeed, some of the surviving Avars were planted in the Ostmark (Austria), which Charles established as an outpost of Bavaria, to keep watch upon the Slavs.

(5) To Spain the Emperor first turned his attention in 777, when he was invited by the discontented emirs on the north of the Ebro to free them from the Caliph of Cordova. The next year saw his abortive march through the pass of Roncesvalles to the walls of Saragossa - an expedition immortalised in the Chanson de Roland, the earliest and most famous epic of the Charlemagne cycle, but fabulous from first to last, except in recording the fact that there was a certain Roland (warden of the Breton Mark) who fell in the course of the Frankish retreat. More substantial work was done in Spain during the last years of the reign. Navarre declared for the Franks and Christianity; the eldest son of Charles captured Tortosa at the mouth of the Ebro (811), and founded the Spanish Mark.

This lengthy catalogue only accounts for the more important of the wars in which Charles and his lieutenants were engaged. We must imagine, to complete the picture, a background of minor conflicts within and without the Empire - against the Slavs, the Danes, the Greeks, the Bretons, the Arabs, the Lombards of Benevento. These crowded years of war leave the Frankish Empire established as the one great power west of the Elbe and Adriatic. It did not include the Scandinavian lands or British Isles; the Franks were never masters of the northern seas. It had failed to expel the Arabs and Byzantines from the western Mediterranean; Spain, Sicily, even parts of Italy remain unconquered. Of recovering North Africa there could be no question. Still in magnitude the Frankish realm was a worthy successor of the Western Empire. On Christmas Day, 800, Charles was crowned Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III, in St. Peter's basilica at Rome; and his subjects vainly imagined that, by this dramatic ceremony, the clock of history had been put back four hundred years. Though the Age of the Barbarians had been ended by the greatest of them, the era which he inaugurated was an era not of revival but of new development.