horse. II. In the parliament that was held at Paris, in ths kind's presence, about two months after the council of Clermont, Hugh, count of Vermandois, was the most conspicuous of the princes who assumed the cross. But the appellation of the Great was applied, not so much to his merit or possessions, (though neither were contemptible,) as to the royal birth of the brother of the king of France.48 Robert, duke of Normandy, was the eldest son of William the Conqueror; but on his father's death he was deprived of the kingdom cf England, by his own indolence and the activity of his brother Rufus. The worth of Robert was degraded by an excessive levity and easiness of temper: his cheerfulness seduced him to the indulgence of pleasure; his profuse liberality impoverished the prince and people; his indiscriminate clemency multiplied the number of offenders; and the amiable qualities of a private man became the essential defects of a sovereign. For the trifling sum of ten thousand marks, he mortgaged Normandy during his absence to the English usurper;47 but his engagement and behavior in the holy war announced in Robert a reformation of manners, and restored him in some degree to the public esteem. Another Robert was count of Flanders, a royal province, which, in this century, gave three queens to the thrones of France, England, and Denmark: he was surnamed the Sword and Lance of the Christians; but in the exploits of a soldier he sometimes forgot the duties of a general. Stephen, count of Chartres, of Blois, and of Troyes, was one of the richest princes of the age; and the number of his castles has been compared to the three hundred and sixty-rive days of the year. His mind was improved by literature; and, in the council of the chiefs, the eloquent Stephen4B was chosen to discharge the office of

46 Anna Comnena supposes, that Hugh was proud of his nobility riches, and power, (1. x. p. 288:) the two last articles appear more equivocal; but an tiyttnfa, which seven hundred years ago was famous in the palace of Constantinople, attests the ancient dignity of the Capetian family of France.

4* Will. Gemeticensis, 1. vii. c. 7, p. 672, 673. in Camden. Normani cis. He pawned the duchy for one hundredth part of the present yearly revenue. Ten thousand marks may be equal to five hundred thousand livres, and Normandy annually yields fifty-seven millions U? the king. (Necker, Administration des Finances, torn. i. p. 287.)

48 His original letter to his wife is inserted in the Spicilegii.m ci Dom. Luc. dAcheri, torn. iv. and quoted in the Esprit ties Croieadwr *om. i. D. 63.

their president. These four were the principal leaders of th« French, the Normans, and the pilgrims of the British isles: but the list of the barons who were possessed of three o» fi>t«- towns would exceed, says a contemporary, the catalogue of the Trojan war.48 III. In the south of France, the command was assumed by Adhemar bishop of Puy, the pope* egate, and by Raymond count of St. Giles and Thoulouse who added the prouder titles of duke of Narbonne and mar juis of Provence. The former was a' respectable prelate «ilike qualified for this world and the next. The latter was a, veteran warrior, who had fought against the Saracens of Spain, and who consecrated his declining age, not only to the deliverance, but to the perpetual service, of the holy sepulchre. His experience and riches gave him a strong ascendant in the Christian camp, whose distress he was often able, and sometimes willing, to relieve. But it was easier for him to extort the praise of the Infidels, than to preserve the love of his subjects and associates. His eminent qualities were clouded by a temper haughty, envious, and obstinate; and, though he resigned an ample patrimony for the cause of God, his piety, in the public opinion, was not exempt from avarice and ambition." A mercantile, rather than a martial, spirit prevailed among his provincials*1 a common name, which included the natives of Auvergne and Languedoc," the vassals of the kingdom of Burgundy or Aries. From the adjacent frontier of Spain he drew a band of hardy adventurers; as he marched through Lombardy, a crowd of Italians flocked to his standard, and his united force con

49 Unius enim duum, trium seu quatuor oppidorum dominoa quis numeret? quorum tanta fuit copia, ut non vix totidem Trojana obsidio coegisse putetur. (Ever the lively and interesting Guil>ert, p. 486.)

60 It is singular enough, that Raymond of St. Giles, a second cliar acter in the genuine history of the crusades, should shine as the first of heroes in the writings of the Greeks (Anna Comnen. Alexiad, 1. x xi.) and the Arabians, (Longueruana, p. 129.)

61 Omnes de Burgundia, et Alvernia, et Vasconia, et Gothi. (of Languedoc,) provinciates appellabantur, caeteri vero Francigense et hot in exercitu; inter hostes autem Franci dicebantur. Raymond dei Affiles, p. 144.

The town of his birth, or first appanage, was consecrated tr. St jflgidius, whose name, as early as the first crusade, was corrupted bj the French into St, Gilles, or St. Giles. It is situate in the Ijowei Languedoc, between Nismes and the Rhone, and still boasts a coll* giate church of the foundation of Raymond, (Melanges tires •I'vou Grande Bibliotheque, torn, xxxvii. p 51.)

sisted of one hundred thousand horse and foot. If Raymond was the first to enlist and the last to depart, the delay may be excused by the greatness of his preparation and the promise of an everlasting farewell. IV. The name of Bohemond, the son of Robert Guiscard, was already famous by his double victory over the Greek emperor; but his father's will had reduced him to the principality of Tarentum, ifind the remembrance of his Eastern trophies, till he was wakened by the rumor and passage of the French pilgrims. It is in the person of this Norman chief that we may seek for the coolest policy and ambition, with a small allay of religious fanaticism. His conduct may justify a belief that he had secretly directed the design of the pope, which he affected to second with astonishment and zeal: at the siege of Amalphi, his example and discourse inflamed the passions of a confederate army; he instantly tore his garment to supply crosses for the numerous candidates, and prepared to visit Constantinople and Asia at the head of ten thousand horse and twenty thousand foot. Several princes of the Norman race accompanied this veteran general; and his cousin Tancred *' was the partner, rather than the servant, of the war. In the accomplished character of Tancred we discover all the virtues of a perfect knight," the true spirit of chivalry, which inspired the generous sentiments and social offices of man far better than the base philosophy, or the baser religion, of the times.

]>etween the age of Charlemagne and that of the crusades,

'* The mother of Tancred was Emma, sister of the great Robert Guiscard; his father, the Marquis Odo the Good. It is singular enough, that the family and country of so illustrious a person should be unknown; but Muratori reasonably conjectures that he was an Italian, and perhaps of the race of the marquises of Montferrat i» Piedmont, (Script, torn. v. p. 281, 282.)

M To gratify the childish vanity of the house of Este. Tasso has inserted in his poem, and in the first crusade, a fabulous hero, the brave and amorous Rinaldo, (x. 75, xvii. 66—94.) He might borrow his name from a Rinaldo, with the Aquila bianca Estense, who van quished, as the standard-bearer of the Roman church, the emperoi Fr*vleric I., (Storia Imperiale di Ricobaldo, in Muratori Script. Ttal torn. ix. p. 360. Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, iii. 30.) But, 1. The dia tance of sixty years between the youth of the two Uinaldos destroys their identity. 2. The Storia Imperiale is a forgery of the Cont« Boyaido. at the end of the xvth century, (Muratori. p. 281—289) S. This Rinaldo, and his exploits, are not less chimerical th»r kl\e hen' W Tasso, (Muratori, Antiehita Estense torn. i. p. 350.}

% revolution had taken place among- the Spaniards, the Normans, and tne P-ench, which was gradually extended to the rest of Europe. The service of the infantry was degraded to the plebeians; the cavalry formed the strength of the Armies, and the honorable name of miles, or soldier, was confined to the gentlemen" who served on horseback, and were invested with the character of knighthood. The duke» And counts, who had usurped the rights of sovereignty, divided the provinces among their faithful barons: the barons distributed among their vassals the fiefs or benefices of their jurisdiction; and these military tenants, the peers of each other and of their lord, composed the noble or equestrian order, which disdained to conceive the peasant or burgher as of the same species with themselves. The dignity of their birth was preserved by pure and equal alliances; their sons alone, who could produce four quarters or lines of ancestry without spot or reproach, might legally pretend to the honor of knighthood; but a valiant plebeian was sometimes enriched and ennobled by the sword, and became the father of a new race. A single knight could impart, according to his judgment, the character which he received; and the warlike sovereigns of Europe derived more glory from this personal distinction than from the lustre of their diadem. This ceremony, of which some traces may be found in Tacitus and the woods of Germany," was in its origin simple and profane; the candidate, after some previous trial, was invested with the sword and spurs; and his cheek or shoulder was touched with a slight blow, as an emblem of the last affront which it was lawful for him to endure. But superstition mingled in every public and private action of life: in the holy wars, it sanctified the profession of arms; and the order of chivalry was assimilated in its rights and privileges to the sacred orders of priesthood. The bath and white garment of the novice were an indecent copy of the regeneration of baptism: his sword, which he offered on the altar, was blessed by the ministers of religion: his solemn reception was preceded by fasts and

M Of the words gentilis, gentilhomme, gentleman, two etymologies are produced: 1. From the Barbarians of the fifth century, the soldiers, and at length the conquerors of the Rrman empire, who were vain of their foreign nobility; and 2. From the sense of the civilians, who ronsider gentilis as synonymous with ingenutifi. Selden inclines to Um |rst. but the latter is more pure, as well as probable.

•* Framea seutoque juvenem ornant. Tacitus. Germania, c. It.

vigils; and he was created a knight in the name of God, of 8t. George, and of St. Michael the archangel. He swort to accomplish the duties of his profession; and education, example, and the public opinion, were the inviolable guardians of his oath. As the champion of God and the ladies, (I blush to unite such discordant names,) he devoted himself to speak the truth; to maintain the right; to protect the distressed; to practise courtesy, a virtue less familiar to the ancients; to pursue the infidels; to despise the allurements of ease and safety; and to vindicate in every perilous adventure the honor of his character. The abuse of the same spirit provoked the illiterate knight to disdain the arts of industry and peace; to esteem himself the sole judge and avenger of his own injuries; and proudly to neglect the laws of civil society and military discipline. Yet the benefits of this institution, to refine the temper of Barbarians, and to infuse some principles of faith, justice, and humanity, were strongly felt, and have been often observed. The asperity of national prejudice was softened; and the community of religion and arms spread a similar color and generous emulation over the face of Christendom. Abroad in enterprise and pilgrimage, at home in martial exercise, the warriors of every country were perpetually associated; and impartial taste must prefer a Gothic tournament to the Olympic games of classic antiquity." Instead of the naked spectacles which corrupted the manners of the Greeks, and banished from the stadium the virgins and matrons, the pompous decoration of the lists was crowned with the presence of chaste and high-born beauty, from whose hands the conqueror received the prize of his dexterity and courage. The skill and strength that were exerted in wrestling and boxing bear a distant and doubtful relation to the merit of a soldier; but the tournament*, as they were invented in France, and eagerly adopted both in the East and West, presented a lively image of the business of the field. The single combats, the general skirmish, the defence of a pass, or castle, were rehearsed as in actual service; and the contest, both in real and mimic war, was decided by the superior

*" The athletic exercises, particularly the caestus and pancratium, were condemned by Lycurgus, Philopoemen, and Galen, a lawgiver, a general, ana a physician. Against their authority and reasons, thf reader may weigh the apology of Lueian, in the character of Solon See West on the Olympic Games, in his Pindar, vol ii. p- 86—96 141 —248

VOL. V.- 19

« ForrigeFortsett »