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need not marvel that the Ostrogoth refused to listen for a moment to the overture, and chose rather to open negotiation with his East-Roman foes. The surrender of Ravenna and the triumph of Belisarius followed, and Theudebert found that, in invading the peninsula, he would have the emperor as his foe rather than the king of the Goths. He refrained for the time from following up his first successes, but it is strange to find that when the Gothic cause had again triumphed in the hands of king Baduila, and north Italy was once more torn asunder between Roman and Teuton, the Frank did not take advantage of the renewed troubles to make a second expedition. It is probable that in these years, 541-45, he was conquest of occupied in another conquest, that of the land Bavaria. between the Danube and the Noric Alps, which now bore the name of Bavaria. The German tribes in the ancient Noricum, who had been subject to Theodoric in the great days of the Gothic Empire, the remnant of the Rugians, Scyrri, Turcilingi, and Herules, had lately formed themselves into a federation under the name of Bavarians, and had chosen a duke Garibald as their prince.” We have no details of Theudebert's wars against them, but merely know that by the end of his reign he had made the Bavarians tributary to the Franks. Their conquest in all probability fills the unrecorded time between Theudebert's expedition to Italy and his death in 548. For some years at the end of this period we know that he was sick and bedridden, so that it is fair to put the subjection of Bavaria somewhere about 443, five years before the death-date of the Ripuarian king. Theudebert left his kingdom to his young son, Theudebald, a weak and sickly boy, whose accession, knowing the character of his greatuncles, we are surprised to hear was not troubled by any opposition. While Theudebert had been buried in Italy, the other two * This seems the best way of accounting for the obscure beginnings of

the Bavarian duchy. The derivation of the word Bavaria is hard to fathom.

Frankish kings, Childebert and Chlothar, though now they were both advanced in years, had made a second expedition against the Visigoths, and in 542 overran the Gothic province north of the Pyrenees, and then crossed into the valley of the Ebro. They took Pampeluna, and advanced as far as Saragossa, to which they laid siege, but in front of that city they received a crushing defeat from Theudegisel, the general of the old Gothic king, Theudis, and were driven back into Gaul without retaining one foot of their conquests. Narbonne and the Mediterranean shore still remained an appendage of the kingdom of Spain. A similar fate to that which attended the armies of his great-uncles in Spain was destined to befall the first expedition which Theudebald of Ripuaria despatched to Italy. The boy-king was too young to head the army, but the Eastern Frankish magnates who governed in his name had resolved to renew the enterprise of king Theudebert. Two dukes of Alamannian race, Buccelin and Chlothar, who seemed to have possessed the chief influence at the court of Metz, set out in 551, while King Baduila was engaged in his last desperate struggle with the East-Romans, and overran part of Venetia. Holding to the alliance of neither Roman nor Goth, they threatened to attack both ; but Narses, when he marched into Italy from Illyria, left them alone, and proceeded to assault king Baduila, without paying attention to the northern invaders. It was only in the next year, when Baduila and his successor Teia had both been slain, that the Battle of armies of the Franks broke up from their en- Casilinum,553. campments in northern Italy, and marched down to challenge the supremacy of the victorious Narses in the desolated peninsula. How they fared we have had to relate in the preceding chapter. Chlothar and his division perished of want, or plague, in Apulia. Buccelin and the main body were defeated and exterminated by Narses at the battle of Casilinum. By the end of 553 all the gains of the Franks in Italy were gone, and 75,000 Frankish corpses had been buried in Italian soil or left to the Italian vultures,

Less than two years after the armies of his generals had been exterminated by Narses the weakly Theudebald died, and, as he left no brother or uncle, the East-Frankish realm was heirless. It fell by the choice of the Ripuarian folk-moot to Theudebald's great-uncle, the aged Chlothar, king of Soissons, who thus became possessed of three-fourths of the Frankish Empire. As his brother, the still older Childebert, king of Paris, was childless, it was now certain that after fifty years of division the empire of Chlodovech was about to be once more reunited (555).

Though verging on his seventieth year, Chlothar was still energetic enough to go forth to war. When the dominions of Theudebald passed into his hands, he took up the scheme which his brother Theuderich, now twenty years dead, had once entertained, of subduing all the nations of inner Germany. Beyond the vassal Thuringians lay the independent Saxons, and against them Chlothar led out, in 555, the full force of both the Ripuarian and the Salian Franks. The Saxons, on the other hand, induced many of the Thuringians to rise in rebellion, and endeavour to shake off the Frankish yoke. The fortune of war was at first favourable to Chlothar, who put down the Thuringian insurrection without much difficulty, but when, in the next year, he led his host into the unexplored woods and moors of Saxony, he suffered such a terrible defeat that he was fain to flee behind the Rhine, and cover himself by the walls of Köln. The pursuing Saxons devastated the Trans-Rhenane possessions of the Franks up to the gates of Deutz. They were not destined to become the vassals of their western neighbours for another two hundred years.

The news of Chlothar's disaster in Germany, and the false report of his death, which rumour added to the news, brought on trouble in Gaul. Chramn, the eldest son of Chlothar, and Childebert of Paris, his aged brother, at once took arms to divide his kingdom. Nor when the news came that he still lived did they desist from their attempt. They sent to stir up the Saxons, and persisted in the war. But, before they had actually crossed swords with Chlothar, the old king of Paris died, and Chramn, reduced to his own resources, was fain to throw himself on his father's mercy (558). Thus Chlothar, by Childebert's death, gathered in the last independent fragment of his father's vast heritage, and reigned for three years (558-561) over the realm of Chlo- chlothar sole dovech, swelled by the conquests of Burgundy, King, 558. Thuringia, Provence, and Bavaria, made since the division of the Frankish Empire. Chlothar was the worst of his house. It will be remembered how his career had begun by the brutal murder of his nephews. It was destined to end by an even greater atrocity. His undutiful son, Chramn, though pardoned in 558, rebelled again in 560, with the aid of the Bretons of Armorica. Chlothar pursued, defeated, and caught the rebellious prince. Then he bound him, with his wife and his young sons, to pillars of a wooden house, and burnt them alive by firing the building. This shocking deed roused even the brutal Franks to horror, and it was noted as the judgment of heaven that the king died exactly a year after he had given his heir to the flames. The wicked old man's body, however, was buried in great state in the church of St. Medard, as though he had been the best of sovereigns (561). His kingdom fell to his four sons, destined to a new division just fifty years after its first partition among the sons of Chlodovech. The realm of the Merovings having now attained to its full growth, and assumed the shape which it was to keep till the fall of the dynasty, we may proceed to give the chief facts concerning its social and political organisation. Like all the other Teutonic states which were erected on the ruins of the western provinces of the Roman percussing: potic king Empire, it possessed a political constitution which ship of the had advanced very far beyond the simple state of **** things described in the Germania of Tacitus. The conquests of the Franks had resulted in the increase of the kingly power to a height which it had never reached in earlier days. As the permanent war-chief, in a time when war was incessant, the king had gradually extended his power from supreme command in the field into supreme command in all things. He and his war-band of sworn followers had borne the brunt of the fighting, and naturally reaped the greater part of the profit. The check exercised by popular assemblies on the royal power seems almost to have disappeared after the first days of the conquest. In the time of Chlodovech himself we find some traces of them still remaining. Once or twice the army, in the capacity of public assembly of the manhood of all the Franks, seems to assert itself against the king, but even this check gradually disappeared. The Frankish Empire grew too broad for any public folk-moot of the nation to be able to meet, and the king only took counsel of such magnates —high officers of the household, bishops, and provincial governors—as he chose to summon to his presence. Two additional factors gave increased strength to the monarch. The first was the high respect paid to the supreme power by the conquered Gallic provincials, men long habituated to the despotic government of Rome—a respect far greater than any that the Franks had been accustomed to give their kings. The habit of obedience of the Gallo-Roman was soon copied by the Frank. The second factor was the enriching of the king by the vast extent of the old imperial domain land in Gaul, which was transferred at the conquest to the Frankish king, and became his private property, placing a vast store both of land and money at his disposal. The Merovings, then, were despotic rulers, little controlled by any constitutional checks, and only liable to be deposed by their subjects if their conduct became absolutely unbearable. Their worst danger was always from their ambitious relatives, not from their people. The Frankish king was distinguished from his followers by the regal privilege of wearing long hair, to shear a king's head was the best token of deposing him, by his royal

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