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Partition of Charlemagne's Empire. structed in the knowledge of the scriptures, in arithmetic, grammar, and church music. This was doing a great deal, . at a time when even the dignified clergy could not subscribe their own name; and when it was deemed a fufficient qualification for a priest to be able to read the Gospels, and undera fand the Lord's Prayer.
The companion and particular favourite of Charlemagne, was our learned countryman, Alcuin, who instructed him in the sciences, and was at the head of his Royal Academy. Several lucrative places were the reward of his learning and talents. Indeed, the emperor's generosity to men of letters knew no bounds. Perfuaded that genius thrives best when encouraged, he did all he could to cherish it. As ignorance every where prevailed, so this great man faw the necessity of protecting and encouraging a class of men, who could employ their talents for the public good.
The countries which he added by conquest to the empire of France, much exceeded his original dominions, and he retained them to his death, which happened at Aix-la-Chapelle,
his usual residence, in the seventy-first year of his A. D. 814.
age, and the forty-feventh of his reign. The
glory of the French empire seemed to expire with him. He portefed all France, all Germany, part of Hungary, part of Spain, the Low Countries, and the Continent of Italy as far as Benevento. But to govern such an extent of territory, a monarch must be endowed with the genius of a Charlemagne. About a year before his death, he asociated his fon Louis with him in the empire. The ceremony was very folemn. As if this great man had foreseen the ufurpations of the church, he placed the imperial crown upon the altar, and ordered the prince to lift it, and set it on his own head; intimating thereby, that he held it only of God *.
Louis, furnamed Debonnaire, on account of the gentlenes of his manners, was the only lawful son of Charlemagne that furvived him; on whofe death a partition of this extensive empire took place, among his three fons. Charles, furnamed the Bold, obtained the kingdom of France; Germany, finally feparated from the empire of the Franks, was the Thare of another son, Louis of Bavaria; and Italy fell to Lothaire, with the title of emperor. Before this division a battle was fought at Fontenoy, in which fell an hundred thousand Franks. Lo. thaire and his nephew Pepin were in this battle totally defeated; but the victorious brothers having retired to their own dominions, Lothaire rallied his scattered forces, and con
tinued the war for three years; after which mutual weaknels brought on a peace,
The concluding period of the history of the degenerate posterity of Charlemagne, is uninteresting and obscure. The most memorable event that has been recorded; is the irruptions of the Normans *, a fierce warlike people from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and other parts of Scandinavia. These barbarians, migrating from their native seats, ventured in light barks, hollowed out of the large trunks of trees, to brave the ocean. They penetrated into England, Scotland, the Orkney and Shedand Isands, the Western Illes, and even to Ireland, all which places they made the subjects of their de predations, marking their route by desolation and Naughter. The booty and wealth which those ravagers carried home, ex . cited others among them to advance along the coast of Britain to France, where they first landed. Under one of their most illustrious leaders, Rollo, they A. D. & 20. failed up the Seine; and taking the city of Rouen, soon became so formidable, that Charles the Simple offered his daughter in marriage to Rollo, and ceded to him Normandy, Bretagne, and Neustria.
The supreme divinity of these northern nations was Oden, whom they painted and worshipped as the God of terror. They believed that those heroes would stand highest in his favour, who had killed most enemies in the field; that after death, the brave would be admitted into his palace, and there have the happiness of drinking beer, their favourite liquor, out of the skulls of their slaughtered foes.
In consequence of this belief, fatigues, wounds, combats, and perils, were the exercise of infancy and the sport of youth, They were forbidden to pronounce the word fear, even on the most trying occasions. Education, prejudice, manners, example, habit, all contributed to subdue in them the sensation of timidity; to make them covet dar.ger, and seem greedy of death. Military discipline was only wanting to have enabled them to enllave the whole Christian world, then sinking under the weight of a debasıng superstition, and cringing beneath the rod of priestly tyranny.
The nuptials of Rollo with the French king's daughter, were celebrated in a very magnificent manner; when he likewise embraced the Christian Religion. This laid the foundation of the Norman power in France; which afterwards gave a king to England, in the person of William duke of Normandy, who subdued Harold, the last Saxon king, in the year 1066. This event proved unfortunate and ruinous
og So called from their northern situation,
Hugh Capet., to France, as it engaged that nation in almost perpetual warg with England, for whom they were not an equal match, notwithstanding their numbers, and the assistance they received from Scotland.
After the death of Charles, his son Louis, furnamed the Stranger, was recalled from England; whither he had been carried by his mother Egina, daughter of Edward the Elder, and grand-daughter of the great Alfred. He attempted to rescue himself from the tyranny of his tutor, Hugh the Great, son of Robert, late duke of France, who had aspired to the throne. In this, however he failed, and left only a shadow of royalty to his son Lothaire; or rather Hugh the Great was pleased to grant him the title of king, that he himself might enjoy the power. This ambitious nobleman, no less formidable than the ancient mayors, died in 955. He was fucceeded in consequence and abilities by his fon Hugh Capet, whom we shall soon see on the throne of France.
Lothaire died in 986, and was quietly succeeded by his son Louis V. who governed under the direction of Hugh Capet, during a short reign of one year and two months, which, was
one continued scene of troubles. In hiin ended A. D. 9876 the Carlovingians, or the descendants of Charle,
magne, the second race of French kings,
Hugh Capet, the Founder of a new Family. His Charakter,
-Robert is excommunicated by the Pope. His Character, -Henry I.-William, Duke of Normandy.--Henry mara ries a Rufian Princess:
UGH Capet, the most powerful nobleman in France,
and founder of the third race of French kings, now ascended the throne, and annexed to the crown the dioceses of Paris and Orleans. The voice of the nation preferred him for his merit and power to his rival Charles, duke of Lorrain, the uncle of the deceased king. He was proclaimed at Nojou a few days after the death of Louis, and was crowned at Rheims. Yet several of the nobles betrayed, by their absence from the coronation, their disaffection to his cause; and it is probable that had Charles roused himself from his natural indolence, and appeared immediately in arms, he might have established his claims. But he wasted the hours in deliberation which ought
to have been devoted to action; and while Charles hesitated, Hugh had received the erown, and led on a considerable force, to humble the nobles that had refused him homage. The most confiderable of these was William, duke of Guienne, or, as he is sometimes called, of Aquitaine; but while the king, who had entered his territories, invested the city of Poictiers, he was compelled to raise the fiege by Charles, who had now collected a formidable army in Champagne. In his retreat the king was encountered by the duke of Guienne; who, in a short and bloody engagement, was defeated, and immediately made submission to his sovereign.
Hugh seized the opportunity of this victory to secure the crown to his family, and proposed in assembly of the nobles the affociation of his son Robert. The Barons, humbled by his late conqueft, acquiesced ; and Robert was crowned at Orleans, by the archbishop of Sens.
During this interval, Charles had taken the city of Laon, and with it the queen-dowager Emma, his implacable enemy. On the appearance of Hugh he retired within the walls; but afterwards by a successful fally, in which a considerable detachment of the king's troops were destroyed, he compelled his enemy to abandon the fiege.
The city of Rheims, whose archbishopric had been given by Hugh to Arnold, the nephew of Charles, and the illegitimate son of Lothaire, as the price of his desertion, was afa terwards betrayed by him to the duke of Lorrains and he led on the troops of his uncle.
Hugh, to call the attention of Charles to the defence of Rheims, marched towards that city; and then suddenly changing his route, advanced to Laon, which he surprised by the intelligence of its bishop. The duke and duchess of Lorrain, who with the archbishop of Rheims were taken prisoners, were sent to Orleans, where they were held in an easy captivity for life. The duchy of Lorrain, however, was suffered to descend to their son, on whose death the male line of Charlemagne became extinct. But Arnold, whose perfidy had been betrayed by the priest to whom he had given orders to open the gates of Rheims, was degraded from his archbishopric, and the vacant fee was bestowed on Gerbert, a monk of Rheims. The Pope, John the Fifteenth, indignant at not being consulted in this affair, revised the sentence, and Arnold was again feated in the archiepiscopal chair. He was Atill
, however, detained in confinement by Hugh, who dreaded his intrigues more than the displeasure of the Pope.
Hugh Capet, though not distinguished by those splendid traits which mark the character of a hero, was wise, humane, and temperate. He conducted all his affairs with great pru
Excommunication of king Robert. dence and moderation. After having had the honour of eftablishing a new family, and in some measure a new form gogovernment, with few circumstances of violence, he died in
he eighth year of his reign, and was quietly fucA.D. 999. ceeded by his son Robert, a prince of a less vigo
rous genius, though not of a less amiable dispotion.
The most remarkable circumstance in the reign of Robert, is his excummunication by the Pope. This prince had efpoufed Bertha, his cousin in the fourth degree; a marriage not only lawful according to our present ideas of things, and justified by the practice of all nations, ancient and modern, but necessary to the welfare of the state, the being the fifter of Rodolph, king of Burgundy. But the clergy, among their other usurpations, had about this time made a facrament of marriage, and laid the most eflential of civil engagements under spiritual prohibitions, which extended even to the feventh degree of confanguinity. The Pope's politically arrogated to themselves a special jurisdiction over the first ob. ject of society, and that on which all the rest hang. Gregory V. therefore undertook to diffolve the marriage between Robert and Bertha, though it had been authorised by several bithops ; and in a council held at Rome, without examining the cause, and without hearing the parties, he published, with the most despotic authority, an imperious decree, which ordered the king and queen to be separated, under peril of excommunication. And all the bishops who had countenanced the pretended crime, were suspended from their functions, until such time as they should make fatisfaction to the Holy See.
Robert, however, persisted in keeping his wife, and there by incursed the sentence of excommunication, which had such an effect on the minds of men, that the king was abandoned by all his courtiers, and even by his own domestics, two servants excepted. And these threw to the dogs all the victuals which their master left at meals, and purified, by fire, the vessels in which he had been served; so fearful were they of what had been touched by an excommunicated person! The king, giving way to superstitious terrors, or afraid of civil commotions, at last repudiated his wife Bertha, and married Constance, daughter to the count of Arles, in whom he found an imperious termanant, instead of an amiable confort. Gregory also obliged him to restore the traitor Arnold to the fee of Rheims.
There is not any monarch in the French hisA. D. 103?. tory more highly commended than Robert, or on whose death the lamentations of all ranks of peo