Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHIVALRY. Origin of Chivalry.Tilts and Tournaments. Among the rough kings and a barons of the feudal times, it often happened that private acts of violence and injustice took place. Sometimes a powerful baron would come suddenly upon a weaker one, seize his castle, and either murder him or shut him up in a dungeon. Some. times one of these barons would carry off the beautiful daughter of another king or baron.

Even in these rude times, such things were considered wrong, and sometimes a brave warrior, called a knight, would take it upon himself to redress these grievances, He would perhaps go and challenge the baron who had been guilty of injustice, to come out and fight with him, or in some other way seek to repair the injury done.

Thus originated knight-errantry, or chivalry, and when it had become established, those who belonged to the profession were considered as under a religious vow to devote themselves to the cause of justice and humanity. If any person had suffered an act of injustice, they considered themselves bound to set the matter right. If any person was in distress, they were under obligation to peril their lives for his relief.

Besides this, the knights were required always to tell the truth, and always to perform their promises; they were expected to be full of generosity and courage, and never to be guilty of any act of meanness. They were, in short, expected to devote themselves to the cause of humanity; and to remedy, as far as in their power, the injustice and violence which belonged to the age in which they lived.

The knight was powerfully armed, his chief weapon being a long pointed lance. Beside this, he had a sword,

dagger, battle-axe, and mace, which was a heavy sort of club. In addition to these he was clad in armour.

A knight was always attended by a squire, and sometimes by several squires. These attended upon their masters, and were considered as learning to become knights themselves. As the institution of chivalry advanced, it became a matter of honour to be a knight, and therefore most kings, princes, and military leaders took upon themselves the vows of knighthood. The celebrated leaders of the crusades, Richard of England, Godfrey of France, and others, were knights.

In after times, there were several orders of knights ; those of each order taking upon themselves peculiar vows. Such were the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the Knights of Malta the Knights of the Cross, Knights Templars, &c.

When society had become somewhat more civilized, it was the custom in different parts of Europe to have tilts and tournaments. These were occasions of great ceremony, and multitudes of people collected together to witness them. They were often splendid beyond 'description. Kings, princes, and fair ladies delighted in these exhibitions.

They consisted of encounters between celebrated knights, clad in complete armour. They took place in some open plain, surrounded with tents and pavilions filled with spectators. The victorious knights were honoured with applause from the people, and with marks of favour even from kings and queens.

Chivalry was at its height from the year 1200 to about 1400. From this latter period it rapidly declined, and in the time of Elizabeth of England, that is, about 1600, it had ceased. The few tilts and tournaments after thii, were only as relics of an age that had passed.

1. Vide Root. 2. A title introduced by the Normans, and applied to one holding a manor or feudal estate of the king, and hence sometimes used to mean al! the nobility. The title is now used between the viscount and the baronet or knight.

PORTUGAL. PORTUGAL was originally considered a part of Spain, and shared in the events of that country. In the twelfth century it became 'independent. Since that time it has been considered a separate kingdom, though it has been subject to Spain for a 8 portion of this period.

The history of Portugal is of little interest, till about the year 1400, when the Portuguese took the lead in navigating the “ Atlantic Ocean. At this time, this great sea was little known; nobody had gone across it to America, nor had any one dared to sail round Africa.

But the little Portuguese vessels ventured out farther and farther, and finally one of them reached the Cape of * Good Hope. After this a Portuguese fleet coasted the western side of Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and reached India.

These wonderful adventures and discoveries 'excited other nations, and in a few years Christopher Columbus discovered America.

In the year 1755 an earthquake took place, which shook down nearly the whole city of Lisbon. Houses, churches, and palaces, were suddenly tumbled into heaps of ruins. Large chasms were opened in the earth, and hundreds of houses were plunged into them. The sea at first rolled back from the land, and then returned, sweeping every thing before it. In this awful calamity, ten thousand persons lost their lives.

The Portuguese founded a good many colonies in different parts of the world. One of these was in Brazil, in South America. To this place the king of Portugal retired with his family in 1807, and established his court at Rio Janeiro, the 'capital of the country. This was done because Portugal had been invaded by the French.

1. Vide Root. 2. The first king of Portugal was Alphonso, in 1139. 3. From 1580 to 1640, by the extinction of the reigning dynasty, it fell to Philip II., of Spain. 4. In 1420 they discovered the island of Madeira, and planted sugar canes from the East Indies. 5. Vasco de Gama in 148.. 6. Whence they drew their gold and silver,

The French being driven out in 1808, the king returned in a few years. After his death there was a struggle for the crown, but it was finally settled upon Donna Maria, the present queen.

The commerce and industry of the Portuguese were formerly great, but they are now inconsiderable. "Manufactured goods are imported from Great Britain, and salted and dried fish from the United States. The exports are wine and fruit. The commerce is mostly carried on by British and American vessels. The language is very similar to the Spanish. Education is very low. The government is professedly liberal, but in effect despotic. The 'legislative body, according to the charter, consists of a chamber of peers and a chamber of deputies. The latter is chosen by the people, and the 'concurrence of both is necessary to the passing of a law.

Notwithstanding the fertility of the soil, 'agriculture is little practised or understood. Wheat and maize are the grains most commonly raised, but supplies are imported. Flax and hemp are partially cultivated. Wine is the chief production of the country.

GEOGRAPHICAL.-Area, 36,945 square miles. Population four millions.
What part of Europe does Portugal occupy?
How is it bounded ? Name its six provinces.
What Portuguese towns stand on the Tagus, Douro, Guadiana, and Mondego?
How are its foreign possessions situated--the Azores, the island of Madeira, Goa

in India, and Macao in China ?
What are the latitude and longitude of Lisbon and Oporto ?
CHRONOLOGICAL.-Portugal subjected to the Moors, A.D. 713.
The Portuguese discover Brazil, A.D. 1501.
Pedro,' emperor of Brazil, and king of Portugal, resigned the Portuguese crown to

his daughter Maria, A.D. 1826. Don Miguel opposed Maria successfully, but was subsequently dethroned, a.v. 1833. 1. Vide Root. 2. On the side of the sun, bocause the sun is so much farther than the moon. Sir I. Newton proved the power of the moon to be about 44 times that of the sun. The moon raises the waters in the ocean 8 feet 7 inches, ti ne sun

ASTRONOMY.

The Tides. The ebbing and flowing of the sea, which regularly take place twice in 24 hours, are called the tides. The cause of the tides is the attraction of the sun and moon, but chiefly of the moon, on the waters of the ocean.

In virtue of the universal principle of gravitation, the moon, by her attraction, draws or raises the waters towards her, but because the power of attraction diminishes as the squares of the distances increase, the waters on the & opposite sides of the earth are not so much attracted as they are on the side nearest the moon.

This want of attraction, together with the greater centrifugal force of the earth on its opposite side, produced in consequence of its greater distance from the common centre of gravity, between the earth and moon, causes the waters to rise on the opposite side, at the same time that they are raised by direct attraction on the side nearest the moon.

Thus the waters are constantly elevated on the sides of the earth opposite to each other above their common level, and consequently depressed at opposite points equally distant from these elevations.

The tides are not at their greatest heights at the time when the moon is at its meridian, but some time afterwards, because the water, having a motion forward, continues to advance by its own 'inertia, some time after the direct influence of the moon has ceased to affect it.

The tides are greatest at the new and full moons, and are thence called spring tides, and least at the first and at 8 quadratures, and are thence called neap tides.

When the moon is in the northern hemisphere, it pro

« AnteriorContinuar »