Page images
PDF
EPUB

the island of Corsica. But there is no trace of this in con-
temporary authorities: the Frank never made over to the
Pope the sovereignty of Tuscany or Æmilia, much less of
Venice—which was not his to give, or the distant island of
Corsica.
On returning from Rome to the valley of the Po, in the early
summer of 774, Charles found Pavia ready to submit: Desi-
Fall of Pavia, derius and his men of war were wasted by famine
774. and opened the gates on condition that their lives
should be spared. The king was sent as a prisoner to Neu-
stria, and died many years after as a monk in the abbey of
Corbey. His royal treasure was divided among the Frankish
army. Adelchis, the heir of the Lombard throne, had, as we
have already mentioned, escaped to the Byzantine court, and
died there many years afterwards as a ‘patrician.”
Instead of following Pippin's example, and allowing Lom-
bardy to survive as a vassal state, Charles had himself pro-
claimed as king in Italy, and compelled all the Lombard dukes
and counts to do homage to him at Pavia. Only Arichis of
Benevento, the son-in-law of Desiderius, persistedin maintaining
his independence. For the future Charles styled himself “King
of the Franks and Lombards, and Roman Patrician.” Except
that he left a garrison in the capital, and handed over some
of the more important Italian cities to Frankish counts instead
of leaving them in the hands of their old Lombard governors,
he made little change in the administration of Italy. His
rights of conquest were used with such moderation, that Italy
gave him very little trouble for the rest of his reign. The
only serious disturbance that took place was in 776, when the
dukes of Friuli, Spoleto, and Benevento conspired to send for
Adelchis from Constantinople, and proclaim him as king of
Later expedi. the Lombards. Hearing of their plot, Charles
tion to Italy, descended upon Italy, slew the duke of Friuli in
battle, and compelled the duke of Spoleto to do him homage.
Arichis of Benevento was not subdued : he maintained his
Southern duchy intact, though the Franks sent more than one

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

expedition against him. Apparently Charles regarded the homage of this distant state as too small a thing to be worth his attention till 787, when he made another descent into Italy in person, besieged Arichis in Salerno, and finally compelled him to become his vassal. But in 792, Arichis being dead, his son Grimoald shook off the Frankish yoke, and maintained a precarious semi-independence for the future, though he was several times attacked, and saw more than one of his chief towns stormed by the armies of Charles. The great king himself, however, never entered Beneventan territory again, and it was only his presence that could have sufficed to subdue the unruly duke. But we must return to the doings of Charles after his first conquest of the Lombards in 774. During his absence the Saxons had once more taken arms, and it was now high time to recommence the campaign against them, which had been interrupted by the great expedition to Italy. The year 775 saw the first of the many subjections of Saxony which Charles was to carry out during his long reign. The Saxons were divided into four great divisions. Nearest the Frankish frontier were the Westphalians, who dwelt on the Ems and Lippe, and about the Teutobiirger Wald. Beyond them to the east, the Engrians occupied the valley of the Weser, from its mouth as far as the borders of Hesse. East of the Engrians again, lay the Eastphalians, on the Aller and Ocker and Elbe. The latter-named river separated them from the Slavonic tribes of the Abotrites, who lived in the modern Mecklemburg. The fourth division of the Saxons were the Nordalbingians, who dwelt in Holstein, beyond the Elbe, on the borders of the Danes, and were the least accessible and most savage of their race. Saxony was a land of state of wood, heath, and morass : only on its southern Saxony. border was there a hilly tract, the spurs of the Harz mountains. The chief obstacle in the way of conquering the country was the fact that the Saxons had no towns and very few fortified posts; they took refuge in woods or swamps when the king's army appeared, and came forth again when he was gone. The land was quite roadless, so that the pursuit of the flying tribes was very difficult. If surrounded and compelled to do homage to Charles, they gave hostages, and paid great fines in cattle, but the moment that the Franks had left their neighbourhood took arms again. Nine times did one or other section of the Saxon race rebel, and any will less strong than that of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

inflexible Charles, would have yielded before their intractable obstinacy. But he persevered to the end in leading expedition after expedition against the rebels, punished their revolts by fire and sword, transplanted incorrigible tribes across the Rhine, built towns and castles all over the land, erected bishoprics, and sent forth countless missionaries, till in the last ten years of his life he had the satisfaction of seeing Saxony both submissive and Christian. The expedition of 775 began by the invasion of Westphalia; after dispersing its inhabitants, and storming their great

[graphic]
[graphic]

entrenched camp at Sigiburg, Charles passed on into Engria,
defeated the Mid-Saxons and crossed the Weser. This brought
him into Eastphalia, which he ravaged as far as the river Ocker.
The Eastphalians, though the furthest of the Saxons from the
Frankish border, were the first to submit to Charles, and their
chief Hessi eagerly accepted Christianity, and did homage.
Soon after the Engrians also came in to the king's camp, and
gave up hostages for their fidelity. The Westphalians held out
last, and only submitted when Charles, on his return towards
Austrasia, ravaged their land from end to end, and First conquest
made a great slaughter of their warriors. The of Saxony.
king left garrisons in two great camps at Sigiburg and Eresburg,
to hold down the Westphalians and Engrians respectively. The
hostages whom he brought back were mostly boys of noble
samily, whom he sent to be brought up as Christians in various
Austrasian monasteries. Three-fourths of Saxony had thus
done homage to Charles, but their adhesion was of the most
unstable sort. They hated the Franks as ancestral enemies,
and detested Christianity as a Frankish device for subduing
them body and soul. It was only the presence of Charles and
the fear of his return that kept them in order for a moment.
No sooner had Charles started in the next year for his second
invasion of Italy, to put down the dukes of Friuli and Bene-
vento, than the Westphalians and Engrians at once took arms.
They stormed the Frankish camp at Eresburg, and slaughtered
the garrison, but failed in a similar attempt at Sigiburg. The
moment that Charles heard of this rebellion, he hastened back
from Italy with such speed that he was already on the Lippe
before the Saxons suspected that he had crossed the Alps.
So great was their fear of him that the whole race at once asked
for peace, and sent their local chiefs to do him homage, ‘pro-
mising that they would all be baptized, and hold their land as
true vassals of the king.’ Only one chief, named Second con-
Witikind, refused to submit, and fled northward, quest of ,
to take refuge with the Danes (776). Charles *y, 77°.
replaced his garrison in the fort of Eresburg, and built

f

another entrenched camp at Karlstadt. That winter he remained in Austrasia, close to the Saxon border, in order to watch these untrustworthy subjects. In the next spring he summoned the great national council of the whole Frankish realm to meet at Paderborn, in the heart of Engria, in order to mark the fact that Saxony had now become an integral part of his dominions (777). ‘Then were a great multitude of the Saxons baptized, and following their national custom, they swore that they would forfeit their freedom and their lands if ever they revolted again, according to their old habit, and unless they kept their Christianity and their loyalty to king Charles and his heirs.” To this great diet at Paderborn came some ambassadors from Spain, bearing an unexpected offer of homage to the king. Abderahman, the Ommeyad, had finally succeeded in conquering well-nigh the whole of the Spanish peninsula from those of the Saracens who refused to accept him as king. The last survivors of his opponents, in desperate straits, sent to offer to become the vassals of Charles if he would preserve them from the conqueror. These chiefs were Soliman Ibn-al-Arabi and Kasmin Ibn-Yussuf, who were holding the towns of Barcelona, Gerona, and Huesca, in the extreme north-west of Spain, on the Frankish border. Charles determined to accept their offer, and so to thrust forward his frontier beyond the Pyrenees, as to protect Septimania from Saracen raids by interposing a new line of fortresses between it and the dominion of the ruler of Cordova. He believed that Saxony was fully subdued, and might be safely left alone to settle down into loyalty and Christian ways. Accordingly, in 778, Charles led his first great expedition into Spain. He himself crossed the Western Pyrenees with charis, in the host of Neustria, while the levy of Austrasia, vades Spain, Burgundy, and Lombardy, passed the Eastern 778. Pyrenees. The two armies met in front of Saragossa, and Charles there received the homage of the rebel Saracen chiefs of Barcelona and Gerona. Saragossa, how

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »