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510.] Consulship or CLOTIS.
After the success of the Gothic war, Clovis accepted the honours of the Roman consulship. The emperor Anastasius ambitiously bestowed on the most powerful rival of Theodoric,-the title aud ensigns of that eminent dignity; yet, from some unknown cause, the name of Clovis has not been inscribed in the Fasti either of the East or West.* On the solemn day, the monarch of Gaul, placing a diadem on his head, was invested in the church of St. Martin, with a purple tunic and mantle. From thence he proceeded on horseback to the cathedral of Tours; and, as he passed through the streets, profusely scattered, with his own hand, a donative of gold and silver to the joyful multitude, who incessantly repeated their acclamations of Consul and Augustus. The actual or legal authority of Clovis could not receive any new accessions from the consular dignity. It was a name, a shadow, an empty pageant; and if the conqueror had been instructed to claim the ancient prerogatives of that high office, they must have expired with the period of its annual duration. But the Romans were disposed to revere, in the person of their master, that antique title which the emperors condescended to assume: the barbarian himself seemed to contract a sacred obligation to respect the majesty of the republic; and the successors of Theodosius, by soliciting his friendship, tacitly forgave, and almost ratified, the usurpation of Gaul.
Twenty-five years after the death of Clovis, this important concession was more formally declared, in a treaty between his sons and the emperor Justinian. The Ostrogoths of Italy, unable to defend their distant acquisitions, had resigned to the Franks the cities of Aries and Marseilles: of Aries, still adorned with the seat of a praetorian prefect, and of Marseilles, enriched by the advantages of trade and navigation.f This transaction was confirmed by the im
* The Fasti of Italy would naturally reject a consul, the enemy oi their sovereign; but any ingenious hypothesis, that might explain the silence of Constantinople and Egypt (the Chronicle of Marcellinus, an d the Paschal), is overturned by the similar silence of Marius bishop of Avenehe, who composed his Fasti in the kingdom of Burgundy. Ii, the evidence of Gregory of Tours were less weighty and positive (1. 2 c. 88, in tom, ii, p. 183), I could believe that Clovis, like Odoacer' received the lasting title and honours of Patrician. (Pagi Critica* tom, ii, p. 474. 492.) + Under the Merovingian kings 1
Marseilles still imported from the East, paper, wine, oil, linen, silk precious stones, spices, &c. The Gauls, or Franks, traded to Syria 180
FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OP THE [CH. XXXVIII.
perial authority; and Justinian, generously yielding to the Franks the sovereignty of the countries beyond the Alps, which they already possessed, absolved the provincials from their allegiance; and established on a more lawful though not more solid, foundation, the throne ot the Merovingians.* From that era, they enjoyed the right of celebrating at Aries the games of the circus; and by a singular privilege, which was denied even to the Persian monarch, the gold coin, impressed with their name and image, obtained a legal currency in the empire.f A Greek historian of that age has praised the private and public virtues of the Franks, with a partial enthusiasm, which cannot be sufficiently
and the Syrians were established in Gaul. See M. de Quignes, Mem. de l'Academie, tom, xxxvii, p. 471—475.
* Ou yap Ttote, yovro TaXXiaff %itv T(p aatpaXtl KtKTtjaQai <bpavyoi, /ji) row avrOKfaTopog To Ipyov iirioipayioavrOC Tovto ye. This strong declaration of Procopius (De Bell. Gothic. 1. 3, cap. 33, in tom, ii, p. 41) would almost suffice to justify the abbe1 Dubos. [Mr. Hallam takes a different view of this subject, on which he says: "The theory of Dubos, who considers Clovis as a sort of lieutenant of the emperors, And as governing the Roman part of his subjects by no other title, has justly seemed extravagant to later critical inquirers into the history of France. But it may nevertheless be true, that the connection between him and the empire, and the emblems ot Roman magistracy which he bore, reconciled the conquered to their new masters. This is judiciously stated by the due de Nivernois, Me"m. de l'Acad. des Inscrip. tom, xx, p. 174." (Europe in the Mid. Ages, vol. i, p. 3, note.) The ready submission of the conquered is better accounted for in a subsequent part oi this chapter, by their improved condition under their new masters.—Ed.] f The Franks, who probably used
the mints of Treves, Lyons, and Arles, imitated the coinage of the Roman emperors of seventy-two solidi, or pieces, to the pound of gold. But as the Franks established only a decuple proportion of gold and silver, ten shillings will be a sufficient valuation of their solidus of gold. It was the common standard of the barbaric fines, and contained forty denarii, or silver threepences. Twelve of these denarii made a solidus or shilling, the twentieth part of the ponderal and numeral livre, or pound of silver, which has been so strangely reduced in modern France. See Le Blanc, Traite" Historique des Monnoyes de France, p. 37—43, &c. [Amalarich issued gold money in Spain at the same time. The "aurese moneta?" of Ermenigild, during his rebellion (a.d. 580) are mentioned by Mariana (1. 5, c. 12). This coinage, both in Spain and Gaul, consisted chiefly of trientes, which form an interesting series. The trims was equal to one-third of the Byzantine solidus (long known in later times as a Bezant) and had generally a small, not ill-executed head of the king, with his name, though sometimes the name was that of the moneyer. On the reverse was a cross, with the name of the city where the coin was minted. Humphreys' Manual
justified by their domestic annals.* He celebrates their politeness and urbanity, their regular government and orthodox religion; and boldly asserts, that these barbarians could be distinguished oidy by their dress and language from the subjects of Rome. Perhaps the Franks already displayed the social disposition and lively graces which in , every age have disguised their vices, and sometimes concealed their intrinsic merit. Perhaps Agathias and the Greeks were dazzled by the rapid progress ot their arms, and the splendour of their empire. Since the conquest of Burgundy, Gaul, except the Gothic province of Septimania, was subject, in its whole extent, to the sons of Clovis. They had extinguished the German kingdom of Thuringia, and their vague dominion penetrated beyond the Rhine, into the heart of their native forests. The Allemanni and Bavarians, who had occupied the Roman provinces of Ehaetia and Noricum to the south of the Danube, confessed themselves the humble vassals of the Franks; and the feeble barrier of the Alps was incapable of resisting their ambition. When the last survivor of the sons of Clovis united the inheritance and conquests of the Merovingians, his kingdom extended far beyond the limits of modern France. Yet modern France, such has been the progress of arts and policy, far surpasses in wealth, populousness, and power, the spacious but savage realms of Clotaire or Dagobert.f
The Franks, or French, are the only people of Europe who can deduce a perpetual succession from the conquerors of the Western empire. But their conquest of Gaul was followed by ten centuries of anarchy and ignorance. On the revival of learning, the students, who had been formed in the schools of Athens and Rome, disdained their barbarian ancestors; and a long period elapsed before patient labour could provide the requisite materials to satisfy, or rather to
of Coins, edit , Bohn, p. 517. 531.—Ed.] * Agathias, in tom, ii,
p. 47. Gregory of Tours exhibits a very different picture. Perhaps it would not be easy within the same historical space, to find more vice and less virtue. We are continually shocked by the union of savage and corrupt manners. [In a continuation of the just quoted note, Mr. Hallam observes, that "In the sixth century, the Greeks appear to have been nearly ignorant of Clovis's countrymen. Nothing can be made out of a passage in Procopius; and Agathias gives a strangely romantic account of the Franks—one would almost believe him ironical."—Ed.]
+ M. de Foncemagne has traced in a correct and elegant dissertation (Jlem. de l'Academie, tom, viii, p, 505—528) the extent and limits of 182
POLITICAL CONTEOVEBSY. [CH. XXXY1IL
excite, the curiosity of more enlightened times.* At length the eye ot criticism and philosophy was directed to the antiquities of France; but even philosophers have been tainted by the contagion of prejudice and passion. The most extreme and exclusive systems of the personal servitude of the Gauls, or of their voluntary and equal alliance with the Franks, have been rashly conceived, and obstinately defended: and the intemperate disputants have accused each other of conspiring against the prerogative of the crown, the dignity of the nobles, or the freedom of the people. Yet the sharp conflict has usefully exercised the adverse powers of learning and genius; and each antagonist, alternately vanquished and victorious, has extirpated some ancient errors, and established some interesting truths. An impartial stranger, instructed by their discoveries, their disputes, and even their faults, may describe, from the same original materials, the state of the Roman provincials, after Gaul had submitted to the arms and laws of the Merovingian kings.f
the French monarchy. * The abbe" Dubos (Histoire Critique,
tom, i, p. 29—36) has truly and agreeably represented the slow progress of these studies; and he observes, that Gregory of Tours was only once printed before the year 1560. According to the complaint of Heineccius, (Opera, tom, iii, Sylloge 3, p. 248, &c.) Germany received with indifference and contempt the codes of barbaric laws, which were published by Heroldus, Lindenbrogius, &c. At present those laws (as far as they relate to Gaul), the history of Gregory of Toura, and all the monuments of the Merovingian race, appear in a pure and perfect state in the first four volumes of the Historians of France. [" Ten centuries of anarchy and ignorance 1" What a prospect to open before the student of history entering on this part of his course! Yet nothing better can be looked for in ages when the instructors of the world taught none to read or write but their own order, and not even all of these. In such times we cannot expect to find faithful records or works of genius. We, who have emerged from the darkness, can now perceive that progress is the natural, the essential attribute of mind. But while we exult in the vigour of liberated intellect, we feel conscious that we are far below the point which we might have reached. Had the human mind been allowed to continue unchecked and unrestrained, the advance which it had accomplished during the eighteen hundred years before the age of Augustus, how much more elevated might now have been its position, how much wider its perceptions, how much more vivid its enjoyments and its happiness !—Ed.]
+ In the space of thirty-years, (1728—1765) this interesting subject has been agitated by the free spirit of the count de Boulainvilliers, (Memoires Historiques sur l'Etat de la France, particularly tom, i, p. 15—49), the learned ingenuity of the abbe' Dubos (Histoire Critique de l'Etablksement de la Monarchic Franchise dans les Gaules, two vols. A.D. 536.] LAWS OP THE BAEBAEIANS.
The rudest, or the most servile, condition of human society, is regulated, however, by some fixed and general rules. When Tacitus surveyed the primitive simplicity of the Germans, he discovered some permanent maxims, or customs, of public and private life, which were preserved by faithful tradition, till the introduction of the art of writing, and of the Latin tongue.* Before the election of the Merovingian kings, the most powerful tribe, or nation, of the Franks, appointed four venerable chieftains to compose the Salic laws ;t and their labours were examined and approved in three successive assemblies of the people. After the baptism of Clovis, he reformed several articles that appeared incompatible with Christianity: the Salic law was again amended by his sons; and at length, under the reign of Dagobert, the code was revised and promulgated in its actual form, one hundred years after the establishment of the French monarchy. Within the same period, the customs of the Ripuarians were transcribed and published; and Charlemagne himself, the legislator of his age and country, had accurately studied the two national laws, which still prevailed among the Franks.J The same care was extended to
in 4to.), the comprehensive genius of the president de Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, particularly 1. 28. 30, 31), and the good sense and diligence of the Abbe' de Mably (Observations sur l'Histoire de France, 2 vols. 12mo.) * I have derived much instruction from
two learned works of Heineccius. the History and the Elements of theGermanic law. In a judicious preface to the Elements, he considers, and tries to excuse, the defects of that barbarous jurisprudence.
+ Latin appears to have been the original language of the Salic law. It was probably composed in the beginning of the fifth century, before the era (a.d. 421) of the real or fabulous Pharamond. The preface mentions the four cantons which produced the four legislators; and many provinces, Franconia, Saxony, Hanover, Brabant, &c. have claimed them as their own. See an excellent Dissertation of Heineccius, de Lege Salica, tom. iii, Sylloge 3, p. 247—267.
J Eginhard, in Vit. Caroli Magni, c. 29, in tom. v, p. TOO. By these two laws, most critics understand the Salic and the Ripuarian. The former extended from the Carbonarian forest to the Loire (tom. iv, p. 151); and the latter might be obeyed from the same forest to the Rhine (tom. iv, p. 222). [It may be doubted whether the high antiquity claimed by Gibbon for the Salic laws, can be conceded. Such a code can scarcely have been "preserved by ancient tradition till the introduction of the art of writing and of the Latin tongue." Some customs that had the force of laws, were probably so transmitted; but their digested form having been originally Latin, Mr. Hallam's opinion seems to be more correct, that they " appear to have been framed by a Christian prince, and after the conquest of GauL They are, therefore,