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Middle Ages

Now will we say no more about those at Constantinople, who were in sore trouble, but go back to the Doge of Venice and Geoffry the Marshal, who marched all the night that they left Adrianople, till the dawn of the following day; and then they came to a city called Pamphyle.

Afterwards the barons held a parliament at Soissons, to settle when they should start, and whither they should wend. But they could come to no agreement, because it did not seem to them that enough people had taken the cross. So during all that year (1200) no two months passed without assemblings in parliament at Compiègne. There met all the counts and barons who had taken the cross.

When Johannizza heard that the Franks were coming, he did not dare to abide, but burned his engines of war, and broke up his camp. So he departed from Demotica; and you must know that this was accounted by all the world as a great miracle. And Henry, the Regent of the empire, came on the fourth day (28th June) before Adrianople, and pitched his cainp near the river of Adrianople, in the fairest meadows in the world. When those who were within the city saw his host coming, they issued forth, bearing all their crosses, and in procession, and showed such joy as had never been seen.

Then arose much debate. The abbot of Vaux, of the order of the Cistercians, spoke, and that party that wished for the dispersal of the host; and they said they would never consent: that it was not to fall on Christians that they had left their homes, and that they would go to Syria.

When the marquis had come to Messinopolis, he did not remain there more than five days before he rode forth, by the advice of the Greeks of the land, on an expedition to the mountain of Messinopolis, which was distant a long day's journey. And when he had been through the land, and was about to depart, the Bulgarians of the land collected and saw that the marquis had but a small force with him. So they came from all parts and attacked the rear-guard. And when the marquis heard the shouting, he leapt on a horse, all unarmed as he was, with a lance in his hand.

Now may you hear of a strange deed of prowess; for the Doge of Venice, who was an old man, and saw naught (seeing he was blind), stood, fully armed, on the prow of his galley, and had the standard of St. Mark before him; and he cried to his people to put him on land, or else that he would do justice upon their bodies with his hands. And so they did, for the galley was run aground, and they leapt therefrom, and bore the standard of St. Mark before him on to the land.

All divisions of history into periods are artificial in proportion as they are precise. In history there is, strictly speaking, no end and no beginning.

Medieval history begins with the dissolution of the Western Empire, with the abandonment of the Latin world to German conquerors. Of the provinces affected by the catastrophe the youngest was Britain; and even Britain had then been Roman soil for more than three hundred years. For Italy, Spain, and Gaul, the change of masters meant the atrophy of institutions which, at first reluctantly accepted, had come by lapse of time to be accepted as part of the natural order.

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.

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