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34 THE FRANKS OR LATINS. Chap. LIII.
of the Latin church, the nations of the West, who stretched beyond their knowledge to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The vast body had been inspired and united by the soul of Charlemagne; but the division and degeneracy of his race soon annihilated the Imperial power, which would have rivalled the Caesars of Byzantium, and revenged the indignities of the Christian name. The enemies no longer feared, nor could the subjects any longer trust, the application of a public revenue, the labours of trade and manufactures in the military service, the mutual aid of provinces and armies, and the naval squadrons which were regularly stationed from the mouth of the Elbe to that of the Tiber. In the beginning of the tenth century the family of Charlemagne had almost disappeared; his monarchy was broken into many hostile and independent states; the regal title was assumed by the most ambitious chiefs; their revolt was imitated in a long subordination of anarchy and discord; and the nobles of every province disobeyed their sovereign, oppressed their vassals, and exercised perpetual hostilities against their equals and neighbours. Their private wars, which overturned the fabric of government, fomented the martial spirit of the nation. In the system of modern Europe the power of the sword is possessed, at least in fact, by five or six mighty potentates; their operations are conducted on a distant frontier by an order of men who devote their lives to the study and practice of the military art: the rest of the country and community enjoys in the midst of war the tranquillity of peace, and is only made sensible of the change by the aggravation or decrease of the public taxes. In the disorders of the tenth and eleventh centuries every peasant was a soldier, and every village a fortification; each wood or valley was a scene of murder and rapine; and the lords of each castle were compelled to assume the character of princes and warriors. To their own courage and policy they boldly trusted for the safety of their family, the protection of their lands, and the revenge of their injuries; and, like the conquerors of a larger size, they were too apt to transgress the privilege of defensive war. The powers of the mind and body were hardened by the presence of danger and necessity of resolution: the same spirit refused to desert a friend and to forgive an enemy; and, instead of sleeping under the guardian care of the magistrate, they proudly disdained the authority of the laws. In the days of feudal anarchy the instruments of agriculture and art were converted into the weapons of bloodshed; the peaceful occupations of
the name may be confirmed from Constantino (de Adniinutrando Imperio, 1. ii. c. 27, 28) and Eutychins (Annal. tom. i. p. 55, 5l>), who both lived before the Crusades. The testimonies of Abulpharagius (, Dynast, p. 09) and Abulfeda (Pnufat. ad Geograph.) are more recent.
A.D. 988. THEIR CHARACTER AND TACTICS. 35
civil and ecclesiastical society were abolished or corrupted; and the bishop who exchanged his mitre for an helmet was more forcibly urged by the manners of the times than by the obligation of his tenure.89
The love of freedom and of arms was felt with conscious pride by the Franks themselves, and is observed by the Greeks with _
, rwn T- i »> Their cha
some degree of amazement and terror. "The h ranks. racterand
says the emperor Constantine, " are bold and valiant to the "verge of temerity ; and their dauntless spirit is supported by the "contempt of danger and death. In the field, and in close onset, "they press to the front and rush headlong against the enemy, with"out deigning to compute either his numbers or their own. Their "ranks are formed by the firm connections of consanguinity and "friendship; and their martial deeds are prompted by the desire of "saving or revenging their dearest companions. In their eyes a "retreat is a shameful flight, and flight is indelible infamy."90 A nation endowed with such high and intrepid spirit must have been secure of victory if these advantages had not been counterbalanced by many weighty defects. The decay of their naval power left the Greeks and Saracens in possession of the sea for every purpose of annoyance and supply. In the age which preceded the institution of knighthood the Franks were rude and unskilful in the service of cavalry;9l and in all perilous emergencies their warriors were so conscious of their ignorance, that they chose to dismount from their horses and fight on foot Unpractised in the use of pikes or of missile weapons, they were encumbered by the length of their swords, the weight of their armour, the magnitude of their shields, and, if I may repeat the satire of the meagre Greeks, by their unwieldy internperance. Their independent spirit disdained the yoke of subordination, and abandoned the standard of their chief if he attempted to keep the field beyond the term of their stipulation or service. On all sides they were open to the snares of an enemy less brave but more artful than themselves. They might be bribed, for the bar
69 On this subject of ecclesiastical and beneficiary discipline, Father Thomassin (tom. iii. 1. i. c. 40, 45, 46, 47) may be usefully consulted. A general law of Charlemagne exempted the bishops from personal service; but the opposite practice, which prevailed from the ixth to the xvth century, is countenanced by the example or silence of saints and doctors. . . . You justify your cowardice by the holy canons, says Ratherius of Verona; the canons likewise forbid you to whore, and yet
*° In the xviiith chapter of his Tactics, the emperor Leo has fairly stated the military vices and virtues of the Franks (whom Meursius ridiculously translates by Galli) and the Lombards or Langobards. See likewise the xxvith Dissertation of Muratori de Antiquitatibus Italia! medii ^Evi.
"Domini tui milites (says the proud Nicephorus) equitandi ignari, pedestris pugna; sunt inscii: scutorum magnitude, loricarum gravitudo, ensium longitudo, galearumque pondus neutra parte pugnare eos sinit; ac subridens, impedit, inquit, et eos gastrimargia, hoc est ventris ingluvies, &c. Liutprand in Legat. p. 480, 481.
36 OBLIVION OF THE Chap. L1II.
bariaiis were venal; or surprised in the night, for they neglected the precautions of a close encampment or vigilant sentinels. The fatigues of a summer's campaign exhausted their strength and patience, and they sunk in despair if their voracious appetite was disappointed of a plentiful supply of wine and of food. This general character of the Franks was marked with some national and local shades, which I should ascribe to accident rather than to climate, but which were visible both to natives and to foreigners. An ambassador of the great Otho declared, in the palace of Constantinople, that the Saxons could dispute with swords better than with pens, and that they preferred inevitable death to the dishonour of turning their backs to an enemy.98 It was the glory of the nobles of France that in their humble dwellings, war and rapine were the only pleasure, the sole occupation, of their lives. They affected to deride the palaces, the banquets, the polished manners of the Italians, who in the estimate of the Greeks themselves had degenerated from the liberty and valour of the ancient Lombards.93
By the well-known edict of Caracalla, his subjects, from Britain to Egypt, were entitled to the name and privileges of Romans,
Oblivion of °j, . . . ,. f. 6 .
the Latin and their national sovereign might fix his occasional or permanent residence in any province of their common country. In the division of the East and West an ideal unity was scrupulously preserved, and in their titles, laws, and statutes the successors of Arcadius and Honorius announced themselves as the inseparable colleagues of the same office, as the joint sovereigns of the Roman world and city, which were bounded by the same limits. After the fall of the Western monarchy the majesty of the purple resided solely in the princes of Constantinople, and of these Justinian was the first who, after a divorce of sixty years, regained the dominion
m In Saxonia certo Bcio .... decentiua enaibus pugnare quam calamis, et prius mortem obire quam kostibus terga dare (Liutprand, p. 482).
B3 ^etyyii Tt'ttvt not) \tyiSa(ioi Koyn i*.tv$lptett xipi •rtWev roiovtrmt, &XX' ti flit AoylSa»hi rj «-xi«» ri( Teialnm i(trr,t tut aroXirer. Leonis Tactica, c. 18. p. 804. The emperor Leo died A.d. 911: an historical poem, which ends in 910, and appears to have been composed in 9 to, by a native of Venetia, discriminates in these verses the manners of Italy and France:
Quid inertia bello
Pectora (Ubertus ait) duris prsetenditis armis,
(Anonym. Carmen Paucgyricum de Laudibus Berengarii Auguati, 1. ii. in Muratori
A.D. 988. LATIN LANGUAGE. 37
of ancient Rome, and asserted, by the right of conquest, the august title of Emperor of the Romans.91 A motive of vanity or discontent solicited one of his successors, Constans the Second, to abandon the Thracian Bosphorus and to restore the pristine honours of the Tiber: an extravagant project (exclaims the malicious Byzantine), as if he had despoiled a beautiful and blooming virgin, to enrich, or rather to expose, the deformity of a wrinkled and decrepit matron.95 But the sword of the Lombards opposed his settlement in Italy; he entered Rome, not as a conqueror, but as a fugitive, and, after a visit of twelve days, he pillaged and for ever deserted the ancient capital of the world.90 The final revolt and separation of Italy was accomplished about two centuries after the conquests of Justinian, and from his reign we may date the gradual oblivion of the Latin tongue. That legislator had composed his Institutes, his Code, and his Pandects in a language which he celebrates as the proper and public style of the Roman government, the consecrated idiom of the palace and senate of Constantinople, of the camps and tribunals of the East97 But this foreign dialect was unknown to the people and soldiers of the Asiatic provinces, it was imperfectly understood by the greater part of the interpreters of the laws and the ministers of the state. After a short conflict, nature and habit prevailed over the obsolete institutions of human power: for the general benefit of his subjects Justinian promulgated his novels in the two languages, the several parts of his voluminous jurisprudence were successively translated,98 the original was forgotten, the version was studied, and the
w Justinian, says the historian Agathias (1. v. p. 157 [ed. Par.; p. 306, ed. Bonn]), Tairtt 'Pv/*Mi*t avTOKoa-uo Wtfiar't rt jtai *o£yfim.rt. Yet the specific title of Emperor of the Romans was not used at Constantinople till it had been claimed by the French and German emperors of old Rome.
95 Constantine Manages reprobates this design in his barbarous verse:
T»»» rtXii <rili frxalXutfi aToKWprieat 9iA.wt,
[v. 3836, p. 165, ed. Bonn.]
and it is confirmed by Tlieophanes, Zonaras, Cedrenus, and the, Historia Miscella: voluit in urbem Romaru Imperium transferre (l. xix. p. 137, in torn. i. pars i. of the Scriptures Rer. Ital. of Muratori).
■ Paul. Diacon. 1. v. c. 11, p. 480; Anastasius in Vitis Poutificum, in Muratori's Collection, torn. iii. pars i. p. 141.
97 Consult the preface of Ducange (ad Gloss. Gncc. medii -Evi) and the Novels of Justinian (vii. lxvi.). The Greek language was 'seas, the Latin was trdrim to himself, "e"'"" to the TskiTtixi r%rip.K, the system of government.
98 Ov ptii> aAXot xui Aurivix.il Xt%>; xai Qttig-it tiffin roiif ii/jiavs KovTTovva rovf funutat rac/Tn. Mil itnxfiwut Irxutui aTiTtix'Z' (Matth. Blastares, Hist. Juris, apud Fabric. Biblioth. Gr:ec. torn. xii. p. 3il!l [ed. Hamb. 1724]). The Code and Pandects (the latter by Thalelreus) were translated in the time of Justinian (p. 3.'i8, oUti). Theophilus, one of the original triumvira, has left an elegant, though diffuse, paraphrase of the Institutes. On the other hand, Julian, antecessor of Constantinople (a.d. 570), exx Novellas Grsccas eleganti Latinitate donavit (HeinecciuB, Hist. J. R. p. 396) for the use of Italy and Africa.
38 NAME OF ROMANS RETAINED BY THE GREEKS. Chap. LID,
Greek, whose intrinsic merit deserved indeed the preference, obtains a legal as well as popular establishment in the Byzantine Dinarchy. The birth and residence of succeeding princes estrangw them from the Roman idiom; Tiberius by the Arabs," and Maria by the Italians,100 are distinguished as the first of the Greek Csesar-, as the founders of a new dynasty and empire; the silent revolution was accomplished before the death of Heraclius, and the ruins of the Latin speech were darkly preserved in the terms of jurisprudent and the acclamations of the palace. After the restoration of u» Western empire by Charlemagne and the Othos, the names of Franb and Latins acquired an equal signification and extent, and these haughty barbarians asserted, with some justice, their superior claim to the language and dominion of Rome. They insulted the aliens of the East who had renounced the dress and idiom of Romans, awl The Greek their reasonable practice will justify the frequent appelia«citm? tion of Greeks.101 But this contemptuous appellation w& Jeui^'Li indignantly rejected by the prince and people to whom it «Men the js applied. Whatsoever changes had been introduced hv Romans tne iaDae 0f ages, they alleged a lineal and unbroken succession from Augustus and Constantine; and, in the lowest period of degeneracy and decay, the name of Romans adhered to the last fragments of the empire of Constantinople.10"
While the government of the East was transacted in Latin, the
99 Abulpharagius assigns the viith Dynasty to the Franks or Romans, the viiith to the Greeks, the ixth to the Arabs. A tempore Augusti Cresaris donee imperares Tiberius Caesar spatio circiter annorum 000 fuerunt Imperatorea C. P. Patricii, et prscipua pars exercitus Romani [1. e. Franci]: extra quod, consiliarii, scribte et popului. omnes Gra>ci fuerunt: deinde regnura etiam Gracanicum factum est (p. 95, vers. Pocock). The Christian and ecclesiastical studies of Abulpharagius gave him some advantage over the more ignorant Moslems.
100 Primus ex Grsccorum genere in Imperio confirmatus est; or, according to another MS. of Paulus Diaconus (l. iii. c. 15, p. 443), in Gnccorum Imperio.
101 Quia liuguam, mores, vestesque mutastis, putavit Sanctissimus Papa (an audacious irony), ita vobis displicero Romanorurn norn*m." His nuncios, rogabant Nice, phorum Imperatorem Griccorum, ut cum Othone Imperatore Romanorurn amicitiam faceret (Liutprand in Legatione, p. 486).
"" By Laonicus Chalcocoudyles, who survived the last siege of Constantinople, the account is thus stated (1, i. p. 3 [p. 6, M. Bonn]). Constantine transplanted his Latins of Italy to a Greek city of Thrace: they adopted the language and manners of the natives, who were confounded with them under the name of Romans. The kings of Constantinople, says the historian, It) T» rfit avrils Vvftilw /WiAiit Ti Mi ctmjuxTtoti ri/itunet*i ivox*\u>t 'eaajjv*»» il fiaeiXut ot/xiri ciiajj.ri a^tavr.
"Sicut et vestem. These words follow confusion, which rarely occurs in Gib
in the text of Liutprand (apud Murat. bon's references, the rest of the quotation
Script. Ital. tom, ii. p. 486, to which Gib- which as it stands is unintelligible, does
bon refers). But with some inaccuracy or not appear.—M.