Imágenes de páginas

In this he signally failed. He undertook to rebuild the

Jewish temple at Jerusalem, without success. 363 — He was mortally wounded in an invasion of Persia, and

was succeeded by Jovian, who restored imperial favor 364 — to the Christian religion. He died after one years reign

and Valentinian was elected emperor by the council of ministers and generals. He divided the empire with his brother, Valens, and afterward Rome and Constanti

nople usually had each an emperor. Valentinian died 375 — and was succeeded by his son, Gratian. 378 — The Huns appeared in Europe, having wandered from

the borders of China, and defeated Valens with dread. ful slaughter. Valens himself was among the slain. This was the commencement of the great migrations

that finally overwhelmed the Roman Empire of the west. 379 — Gratian, left sole emperor, appointed Theodosius, called

The Great, his colleague, who subdued the Goths,

repelled the Huns, and restored order, 383 — Gratian was murdered by the usurper Maximus. 388 — Theodosius conquered and put Maximus to death and

restored Valentinian II., brother of Gratian, to the

throne of the western empire. In a few years the whole 394 — empire was reunited by the death of Valentinian.

Theodosius soon died, universally lamented, leaving the

two empires to his sons, Honorius and Arcadius. 402 — Alaric, the Goth, invaded Italy and, though defeated,

endangered the safety of Rome. 408 - Theodosius II. succeeded to the empire of the east. 410 — Alaric again invaded Italy and sacked Rome. Alaric

soon after died and his forces were pursuaded, by negotiations, to leave Italy, but they permanently established themselves in Spain and Southern Gaul (France). Thus

the empire began to fall to pieces. 425 - Honorius died and Valentinian III. became emperor. 429 - The Vandals soon conquered the Roman provinces in

Africa, under their king, Genseric. They extended 440 — their conquests to Sicily. 447 — Attila, called the “Scourge of God," appeared at the

head of the Huns, and Theodosius made a humiliating

treaty with him to save his dominions from desolation. 448 — In the next year the Saxons and Angles were invited

into Britain by the civilized Romans, to protect them from the Picts and Scots, and laid the foundation of the modern Anglo-Saxon race, and the Franks invaded Gaul laying the foundations of the modern kingdom of France. England received its name from the Angles — France

from the Franks. 451 - Attila, the Hun, invaded Gaul, and was defeated at 452 — Chalons, by the united Romans and Visigoths. Attila

then invaded Italy and laid it waste, but died before he 454 — had completed the ruin of the empire. Valentinian III, .

was murdered, and the Vandals from Sicily invaded Italy and sacked Rome.



476 - After a succession of puppet emperors in Rome, Odoacer

abolished the name and took the title of king of Italy. He was a German in command of the auxiliaries in Roman

pay. Thus ended, in disaster and disgrace, the once mighty Roman Empire. Its ruin was gradual and the barbarians who overthrew it had already embraced Christianity, so that the institutions of the

church did not share its fall. 486 – Clovis, king of the Franks, defeated the Romans and

Gauls at the battle of Soissons. The Ostrogoths invaded 492 - Italy under Theodoric the Great, deposed Odoacer, and

founded a new kingdom. 496 - Clovis defeated the invading Germans and embraced 500 - Christianity. Clovis next defeated the Burgundians.

507 — He subdued the Visigoths and all France was united

under one rule. He was of the Merovingian line, or dynasty, of kings, which lasted over two hundred years, during which the remains of Roman civilization and the influence of the church were gradually modifying and penetrating the character of a new and energetic

race. 527 - Justinian became the ruler of the Eastern or Grecian

Empire. 534 His generals waged war with the Vandals in Africa

and the Ostrogoths in Italy, and after eighteen years of conflict, succeeded in reconquering part of Italy, which the Greek emperors continued to hold nominally for about three hundred years; the seat of their representative being at Ravenna. He was called an Exarch. Rome itself was left, substantially, to the control of the

Christian bishop. When the Lombards founded a king568 — dom in the north of Italy they were prevented, by the

exarch and bishop, from spreading over the southern part; and when the exarch threatened to become too powerful to suit the views of the bishop, he supported the Lombards. Thus the temporal or political power of the popes arose, and they were the politic authors of the “Balance of Power” theory, or system, that has played so large a part in European history. The result has been exceedingly favorable to progress in all directions, since it has secured the independence of states, and a more various and perfect civilization by the development of the special genius of each people. Many circumstances conspired to support this idea, in later times, and render it very prominent and influential.

This gradual advance of the bishop of Rome in political influence associated him with the mighty memories of the “Eternal City,” and suggested the idea of a spiritual empire over all Christendom, which gradually became realized and quite changed the char

acter of Christianity for near 800 years. Hurtful as it ultimately became, by reviving a universal despotism over conscience and freedom of thought, it was long powerful for good by giving a common centre to Europe, broken into fragments as it was by the rise of feudalism. That was disorganizing; this was centralizing, and kept the channels of communication open and the missionary spirit and the elements of a restored learning in activity. Its influence in commencing and carrying forward the crusades, which substantially broke the strength of feudalism, was of immense import



622 — Mahomet arose in the Arabian peninsula, and his new

religion spread with astonishing rapidity. In one hundred years from the death of Mahomet the Saracens had established a vast empire, covering two thirds of the Roman empire, viz.: all of the old Persian empire, Egypt, and all of nothern Africa and Spain, and threatened to inundate Europe. . They poured a vast army over the Pyrenees into France. This was defeated in a great battle at Tours, by Charles Martel, who founded a new dynasty, replacing the Merovingian, called the Carlovingian, and made France the most powerful, as it became the leading, nation in Europe, for promoting civilization during many centuries.

By this means the center of political influence, “ The Star of Empire," took another step westward. His

son, Pepin le Bref, or the Short, caused himself to be 752 - crowned king of France by the Roman Pontiff, Stephen

II, which added to his own prestige, as it also did to that of the pope. It was a sort of league between the rising temporal and spiritual powers in Europe, and set an example long followed. Charlemagne, or Charles

the Great, the son of Pepin, ascended the throne in 771, 771 – and by his intelligence, energy, and wise statesmanship,

by his encouragement of learning, his organizing talents

and his success in conquering and civilizing the seething mass of nationalities in Germany, he may be said to have really founded inodern civilization during his long reign of forty-three years. He conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, and was crowned by the pope, Adrian I, Emperor of the Romans,” kneeling at the altar in Rome; but he virtually confirmed the temporal authority of the popes, and associated their influence in all his conquests. He thoroughly broke the spirit of the pagan Saxons, in northwestern Germany, by a war of thirty-three years, carried his conquests east over most of the present Austrian empire, civilizing and bringing the barbarians into the pale of Christendom by the aid of Christian missionaries, and conquered some portions of Spain from the Saracens.

It seemed as if the history of the western Roman Empire, which had fallen three hundred years before, was to be repeated. That was the hope and dream of . both Charlemagne and the Roman Pontiff, who joined hands to realize it. This new western emperor

had great abilities and the church was very strong. The centre of Europe had so long been within the reach of civilizing influences, and had attained such a point of development in its various nationalities, that they readily accepted permanent institutions, when presented by a power so strong as that of the mighty Frank ruler. But when he died, it was found that there was no other hand strong enough to wield his sceptre. All the memories of the old empire, all the influence of the Christian church, the remains of the Roman organization, and the ripening vigor of new races, which had begun to lay aside their barbarous impulses, were united to aid the vast designs of this great statesman. But the tendencies of the new society, in general, were in a different direction. The Germanic civilization was totally different from the Roman, and had there been


« AnteriorContinuar »