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and the extinction of all the southern principalities of the peninsula. But punishment was at hand. On the news of the fall of Bari the Aglabite monarch in Africa had resolved that Italy should not be lost to Islam, and had prepared a vast expedition against southern Christendom. Duke Adelgis had only kept his suzerain forty days in bonds when he heard to his dismay that 30, ooo Moors under a general named Abdallah, who styled himself the Wali of Italy, had landed at Taranto. In terror at this approaching storm the duke liberated his august prisoner, after making him swear to bear no rancour for his captivity. It was felt that Lewis alone could save Italy, and the armies of the Lombards would be needed to drive out the African. Meanwhile the Wali Abdallah laid siege to Salerno, which its duke Waifer defended with great courage. The moment that he was released the emperor summoned the hosts of northern Italy to Rome: they mustered in great strength, eager to avenge Lewis on the treacherous duke, and pope Hadrian II. at once declared the oath that had been sworn at Benevento null and void, because extorted by force. Lewis routs But before punishing the traitor, Lewis was the Moors, magnanimous enough to resolve to drive away 872. the Moors who lay before Salerno. His vanguard under count Gunther defeated, near Capua, the covering army with which the besiegers were protecting their main operation. Then the emperor himself came down on the Moorish camp : after a short struggle the invaders fled to their ships. A tempest swept down on them ere they had well got out to sea, . and the whole armament was engulfed. (Aug. 872.) It was now time to deal with the traitor duke of Benevento. In the spring of 873 Lewis, supported by the solemn blessing of pope John VIII., marched into the duchy, overran it, and forced his way to the gates of the capital. But his successful campaign did not end, as might have been expected, by the annexation of Adelgis' dominions. At the intercession of the Pope the duke was admitted to pardon, and on doing
homage and penance was reinvested with the sovereignty of Benevento. Lewis had now leisure to undertake his great scheme for expelling the Moors from Calabria and Sicily. But to the grief of all his subjects, and the eternal misfortune Death of of Italy, he died in 875. To crown the disaster Lewis, 875. he left no male heir, but only a daughter, and the princess Hermengarde was not yet married to any stalwart count who could have championed her claim to her father's realm. Lewis was by far the best of the later Karlings. Just, pious, and forgiving like his grandfather and namesake, he was no weakling as the elder Lewis had been, but a mighty man of war from his youth up. If he had succeeded his father Lothair in all his kingdoms, the fall of the empire of the Franks would have been stayed for another generation. If he had lived longer and left male issue, a strong and compact kingdom of Italy would probably have come into being. But when they bore him to rest in the old basilica of St. Ambrose at Milan the hope of a united Italy was buried in his grave, and the “Age of Iron,’ as it was afterwards styled, set in for all the provinces of the peninsula. We have narrated in another chapter the troubles which were brought upon Italy and all the other kingdoms of the Frankish empire by the extinction of the eldest line of the descendants of Charles the Great and the vacancy of the imperial throne." Charles the Bald became the nominal successor of Lewis II., but while he was absent in Neustria, the Saracens recovering from their fearful defeat of 872 began once more to infest Apulia and Campania. They thrice defeated Adelgis of Benevento in the open field, and it was in vain that he and pope John joined to beg Charles the Bald to return and deliver them. Deliverance, however, came not from the West but from the East. While the Frankish emperor failed to appear, Basil the Macedonian had resolved to take up the task of driving the
* See page 432-3.
Moors from Italy. His armies crossed the Ionian Sea, and seized Bari in 875. They met with unbroken success. The Apulian towns opened their gates one after another in order to get succour from the infidel. Two splendid naval victories annihilated for a space the piratical fleets of the African and The eyan Sicilian Moors. Their stronghold of Taranto was tines conquer stormed, and then, in three years, the great ****, general Nicephorus Phocas, grandfather of the 875-94. emperor of the same name, overran Calabria, and left not a single Saracen on the eastern side of Italy (884-87). The Byzantines then went on to attack the duchy of Benevento. They swept over it with ease, and forced duke Urso to fly into exile. For four years East Roman governors ruled at Benevento itself; but in 894 Wido king of Italy drove them out of that city, and reconstituted the Beneventan state on a smaller scale. Its south-eastern half, the provinces which got from the Greeks the names of the Basilicata and Catapanata, remained permanently in the hands of the eastern emperor. It is strange to find that while the Byzantines were faring so well in Italy, their fate in Sicily had been disastrous, unless, indeed, it was success in one quarter that led to the neglect of the other. In 877 a great horde of African and Sicilian Moslems laid siege to Syracuse, the main post of the East Romans in the island. It was defended stubbornly by two forgotten worthies, John the Patrician and Nicetas of Tarsus, and held out for ten months. By May 878 the besieged were reduced to feed on grass, nettles, and unclean animals, and the fainting troops could no longer man the Syracuse walls. The Moors burst in, and massacred the taken by the patrician and the remains of the gallant garrison. **7. Nothing now remained to the empire in Sicily save a few forts among the roots of Etna and the single town of Catania. These were held throughout the war, and only fell in the beginning of the next century. While the Byzantines were maintaining their struggle in south Italy and Sicily with the Aglabite monarchs of the Moors, Lombardy and Rome had troubles of their own. Much vexed by Saracen inroads on Campania, pope John VIII. summoned Charles the Bald to return to Italy. The king of Neustria did for once appear to vindicate his imperial claims in 877. But it was only to fly in haste, and to expire while crossing the pass of Mont Cenis. The title of emperor and the kingdom of Lombardy were both now vacant; several princes stepped forward to claim them. The majority of the North Italians, headed by the bishop of Milan, chose to rule them Carloman, the eldest son of Lewis the German, though the Pope tried to support the claims of count Boso, a Burgundian noble, who had just married the princess Hermengarde, the heiress of the good emperor Lewis II. But Carloman never was able to make good his rule over Lombardy; soon after his election he lost his health, and fell into a lethargy, which obliged him to abandon all State affairs. Yet till his death in 880 he held the title of king of Italy. Meanwhile the peninsula fared very ill without the hand of a ruler to guide it. While the East Roman armies were evicting the Moors from the Adriatic shore, the expelled infidels kept throwing themselves upon Latium and Campania. Aided by new swarms from Africa they infested the regions about Naples, Capua, and Gaëta, till, in despair, the Neapolitan republic made a private peace with them, and bought immunity from their ravages by allowing its harbour to become a base of operations for the plunder of the neighbouring lands. A veritable colony of Mohammedans was soon established on the banks of the Garigliano, and from 882 till 916 the central Italian powers were quite unable to drive them out. Their ravages extended far and wide The Moors in into the Samnite Apennines, and even as far as Campania. Tuscany. Yet, strangely enough, the adventurers never succeeded in capturing Gaëta or Capua or any other of the strong towns around them. They were purely predatory, and showed no signs of settling down into an organised state.
In his despairing search for an emperor who should save Rome and Italy, pope John finally crowned Charles the Fat, the most unpromising candidate upon whom he could possibly have pitched. But the incapable and unwieldy monarch soon returned to Germany, and even took with him for northern wars the Lombard levies which John had fondly hoped to use for the extirpation of the Campanian Moslems (881). Next year John VIII. died. He was the last of those able pontiffs of the ninth century who did their best to defend Italy from the infidel, and to strengthen and extend the Papal power over the Frankish kings and the Frankish church. After his decease the same blight which had already fallen on the house of Charles the Great seemed to descend on the bearers of the Roman keys. Three Popes died in eight years, and men of mark ceased to appear on the papal throne. The last fifteen years of the century saw the first of those scandalous prelates who were for a century to be the disgrace of Christendom. The inglorious reign of Charles the Fat was no less fatal to Italy than to the rest of the Frankish realms. The Moors of Sicily and their colonists on the Garigliano sent their expeditions farther and farther afield; their vessels were seen as far north as Pisa and Genoa. Another band from Spain descended on the Provençal coast at the same moment, and seized the sea-girt fortress of Fraxinet, where they established a strong colony, which lasted nearly a hundred years (888-975). The raids of the Moors of Fraxinet reached far inland, in despite of the kings of Arles and Upper Burgundy. We read, to our surprise, of incursions which devastated the whole valley of the The Moors of Rhone, and reached as far as Lausanne and St. Fraxinet, Maurice in Switzerland. On one occasion a band 888-975. of Provençal Saracens and a band of Magyars from the Danube met and fought at Orbe in the land of Vaud. It seemed as if the enemies of Europe had met at her central point, and that Christendom was doomed to succumb. After the deposition of Charles the Fat no more Karlings