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given a longer lease of power to the Merovingian house. But the times were now too late for his energy to avail.
Chilperich n. died only a year after his submission to Charles. There remain only two more names to chronicle in the ancient royal house, Theuderich iv. and Childerich n. These obscure persons—so obscure that the chroniclers do not even give us the date of Theuderich's death—were too weak even to be used as tools by the enemies of the great mayor. A well-known passage in Einhard describes their wretched position :—' For many years the house of the Merovings was destitute of vigour and had nothing illustrious about it save the empty name of king. For the rulers of their palace possessed both the wealth and the power of the kingdom, bearing the name of mayor, and had charge of all high matters of state. There was nothing for the king to do save to content himself with his title, and sit with his long hair and long beard on the throne, like the effigy of a ruler, to hear foreign ambassadors harangue him and answer them in words put into his mouth as if speaking for himself. His royal name was profitless and his allowance of revenue was at the discretion of the mayor, nor was there anything he could really call his own save one royal manor of moderate value (Montmacq). There he kept his
Effeteness family and his little establishment of servants.
of the last When he had to travel he set out in a covered
Merovines. j T 'i i . i
carriage drawn by oxen, and driven by a rustic retainer. Thus he used to travel up to his palace, or to the national gathering, which met once a year to settle the affairs of the realm, and thus he would return. But the administration of the kingdom, and everything that had to be done either at home or abroad was cared for by the Mayor of the Palace.' Theuderich's name covers the years 720-737, Childerich's the years 742-752. Between the one's death and the other's accession there was a period of six years, in which the great mayor did not even trouble to provide himself with a nominal king, but ruled on his own authority.
The twenty-two years of Charles Martel's rule as mayor of Neustria and Austrasia are the turning-point in the history of Western and Central Europe (719-41). Continuing the policy of his father Pippin the Younger, both at home and abroad, he devoted all his energies to restoring the old boundaries of the Frankish realm, taming its heathen neighbours, spreading Christianity among the more distant German tribes, and restoring law and order among the unruly counts and dukes within the empire. His strong hand was as valuable in ending anarchy at home as in winning victory abroad.
The six years of civil war which followed the death of Pippin the Younger had undone most of the work of that great man, and Charles had to commence once more the task which had busied his father. He was, however, in a position Riseofthe of greater firmness and strength than Pippin had mayoralty, enjoyed, and was able to make his will felt all over the Frankish realms in a much more thorough fashion. It was his task to make the arm of the central government feared all over the kingdom, as much as it had been in the days of the earliest Merovingian kings. The task was hard, because a century and a half of feeble administration had taught the local counts and dukes all the arts of insubordination, more especially the trick of utilising the annual meetings of the great national council —what England would have called the Witan—for the purpose of overawing their ruler. They appeared at the 'March-field,' followed by great hosts of armed followers, and bound them'selves together by family or party confederacies to withstand the central government. In this they succeeded as long as the feeble Merovings continued, and were able to elect the officers of state at their pleasure or to distribute the local governorships among each other. The great mayors put an end to this. The house of St. Arnulf had gathered such a great following of faithful partisans in Austrasia that, by their aid, it could face any combination of discontented counts. The other great houses of Austrasia seem to have gradually disappeared, and all the smaller nobility and freemen of the land between Meuse and Rhine had become the enthusiastic followers of Pippin and Charles. In return the great mayorS planted Austrasians in office all over the kingdom, and trusted mainly to their aid in all crises. Their system was a domination of the Austrasians over the Neustrians, Burgundians, Aquitanians, and East Germans: their empire reposed on the fact that their own countrymen were loyal, united, and selfconfident, while the other races were jealous, divided, and humbled by recent defeat. Yet the struggle was no easy one. It needed the repeated blows of Ambleve, Vincy, and Soissons to crush the Neustrian spirit of separatism. Aquitaine was only kept down by campaign after campaign directed against its disloyal dukes. Neither south Gaul nor south Germany (Suabia and Bavaria) were really tamed till they had been deprived of their native dukes, and cut up into countships or gaus, administered by Austrasian chiefs. But the house of St. Arnulf continued to produce great men for generation after generation, and the taming was finally accomplished.
The work of the great mayors without was no less arduous than within. To subdue those indomitable tribes of northern Germany, from whose pathless woodlands even the iron legions of Augustus had drawn back in despair, was a great work for the tumultuary armies of Austrasia to accomplish. But they carried out the struggle to the bitter end, till they had conquered the very easternmost Teuton, and had looked upon the Baltic and the unknown boundaries of the Slavs. Bavaria and Frisia took many a hard blow ere they were incorporated with the Frankish realm; but at last they relinquished, with a sigh, their heathen independence. Even the Italian kingdom of the gallant Lombards, protected by the great Roman fortresses of Pavia, Verona, and Ravenna could not withstand the Austrasian sword.
But of all the military achievements of the East Franks under the house of St. Arnulf, the grandest, as well as the most enduring in effect, was to be won over a foe unknown to their ancestors, a new enemy who threatened not merely to ravage the borders of the realm like Frisian or Lombard, but to dismember it by lopping away Aquitaine from Approach of Western Christendom. Great as were their other the Saracen*, feats, the most important of all was the turning back of the wave of Mussulman fanaticism at the battle of Poictiers. For that crowning mercy, if for nothing else, Europe owes an eternal debt of gratitude to the great mayors of the eighth century and the indomitable hosts of Austrasia.
Three years before the death of Pippin the Younger, king Roderic the Visigoth had fallen at the battle of the Guadalete, and Spain had been overrun by the infidel. In 720,—the first year of the complete domination of Charles over the two Frankish kingdoms,—the Saracens had pushed beyond the bounds of the Iberian peninsula, crossed the Pyrenees, and entered Aquitaine, where they laid siege to Toulouse. Their first blow fell on Eudo, duke of Aquitaine, who had just acknowledged himself the vassal of the Frankish king, and given up his claim to reign as an independent prince. The duke obtained aid from the Frankish governors on his borders, attacked the Saracens in their camp at Toulouse, and put them to rout with the loss of their leader El-Samah. But though beaten in battle, the Moslems kept a foothold north of the Pyrenees, by holding to the old Visigothic capital of Narbonne. The danger from them was but postponed, not finally warded off. Ere long Charles himself was to be obliged to take the field, to defend the southern borders of the Frankish realm against expeditions far more formidable than that which duke Eudo had turned back in 721.
Usurpation and successful wars of Grimoald—Reigns of Berthari and Cunibert—Quarrels of the Papacy and the empire—The exile of Pope Martin I. —Gradual alienation of Italy from the empire—Civil wars of Aribert 11. and Ansprand—Successful reign of Liutprand—Leo the Isaurian and Gregory n.—Italy rebels against the Iconoclasts—Liutprand conquers most of the Exarchate.
After the death of Rothari the law-giver the Lombard kingdom entered into its second stage: it had now almost reached the full growth of its territorial extension, and had settled down into its final shape. For nearly a hundred years the main events of its political history are civil wars, or defensive campaigns against its two neighbours, the Roman exarch and the Chagan of the Avars. There is no sustained effort either to expel the Imperialists from Italy, or to extend the boundary of the Lombard realm to the north. It was only in the middle of the eighth century that the estrangement between Constantinople and its Roman subjects in Italy led to such a weakening of the Imperial authority, that the Lombard kings were able to seize the long-coveted Exarchate. The history of the cutting short of the dominions of the eastern Caesar beyond the Adriatic turns much more on the growth of the Papal power, and on the quarrel on the subject of Iconoclasm, which sundered the churches of Rome and Constantinople, than on the ambition or ability of the rulers of Lombardy.
On the murder of Rothari's short-lived son in 653, the Lombards elected as their king Aribert, a nephew of the