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might sincerely worship the Christian God, as a being more excellent and powerful than his national deities; and the signal deliverance and victory of Tolbiac encouraged Clovis to confide in the future protection of the Lord of Hosts. Martin, the most popular of the saints, had filled the western world with the fame of those miracles, which were incessantly performed at his holy sepulchre of Tours. His visible or invisible aid promoted the cause of a liberal and orthodox prince; and the profane remark of Clovis himself, that St. Martin was an expensive friend,k need not be interpreted as the symptom of any permanent, or rational, scepticism. But earth, as well as Heaven, rejoiced in the conversion of the Franks. On the memorable day, when Clovis ascended from the baptismal font, he alone, in the Christian world, deserved the name and prerogatives of a Catholic king. The emperor Anastasius entertained some dangerous errors concerning the nature of the divine incarnation; and the barbarians of Italy, Africa, Spain, and Gaul, were involved in the Arian heresy. The eldest, or rather the only son, of the church, was acknowledged by the clergy as their lawful sovereign, or glorious deliverer; and the arms of Clovis were strenuously supported by the zeal and favour of the Catholic faction.1
Under the Roman empire, the wealth and juris
Suhmission ,. • * » . i * . , i
of the Ar- diction of the bishops, their sacred character, anTthT and perpetual office, their numerous dependEoman ^ats, popular eloquence, and provincial assemA.D.W, blies, had rendered them always respectable, and sometimes dangerous. Their influence was augmented with the progress of superstition; and the establishment of the French monarchy may, in some degree, be ascribed to the firm alliance of a hundred prelates, who reigned in the discontented, or independent, cities of Gaul. The slight foundations of the Armorican republic had been repeatedly shaken, or overthrown ; but the same people still guarded their domestic freedom; asserted the dignity of the Roman name; and bravely resisted the predatory inroads, and regular attacks, of Clovis, who laboured to extend his conquests from the Seine to the Loire. Their successful opposition introduced an equal and honourable union. The Franks esteemed the valour of the Armoricans,m and the Arm oricans were reconciled by the religion of the Franks. The military force which had been stationed for the defence of Gaul, consisted of one hundred different bands of cavalry or infantry; and these troops, while they assumed the title and privileges of Roman soldiers, were renewed by an incessant supply of the barbarian youth. The extreme fortifications, and scattered fragments, of the empire, was still defended by their hopeless courage. But their retreat was intercepted, and their communication was impracticable; they were abandoned by the Greek princes of Constantinople, and they piously disclaimed all connexion with the Arian usurpers of Gaul. They accepted, without shame or reluctance, the generous capitulation, which was proposed by a Catholic hero; and this spurious, or legitimate, progeny of the Roman legions, was distinguished in the succeeding age by their arms, their ensigns^ and their peculiar dress and institutions. But the national strength was increased by these powerful and voluntary accessions; and the neighbouring kingdoms dreaded the numbers,
repeated crimes, and affected remorse, of Clovis, concludes, perhaps undesignedly, with a lesson, which ambition will never hear; "His ita transact!s ... obit."
* After the Gothic victory Clovis made rich offerings to St. Martin of Tours. He wished to redeem his war-horse by the gift of one hundred pieces of gold; but the enchanted steed could not move from the stable till the price of his redemption had been doubled. This miracle provoked the king to exclaim, Vere B. Mnrtinus est bonus in auxilia, sed cartts in negotio. (Gesta Francoram, in tom. t. p. 554, 655.)
1 See the epistle from Pope Anastasius to the royal convert. (in tom. 4. p. 50,51.) Avitns. bishop of Vienna, addressed Clovis on the same subject,(p. 49.) and many of the Latin bishops would assure him of their joy and attachment.
"Instead of the ^ftpi^a, an unknown people, who now appear in the text of Procopius, Hadrian de Valois has restored the proper name of the AffHpyfH and this easy correction has been almost universally approved. Yet an unprejudiced reader would naturally suppose, that Procopius means to describe a tribe of Germans in the alliance of Rome ; and not a confederacy of Gallic cities, which had revolted from the empire.
as well as the spirit, of the Franks. The reduction of the northern provinces of Gaul, instead of being decided by the chance of a single battle, appears to have been slowly effected by the gradual operation of war and treaty; and Clovis acquired each object of his ambition, by such efforts, or such concessions, as were adequate to its real value. His savage character, and the virtues of Henry IV., suggest the most opposite ideas of human nature: yet some resemblance may be found in the situation of two princes, who conquered France by their valour, their policy, and the merits of a seasonable conversion."
The Bar- The kingdom of the Burgundians, which was ^^"d defined by the course of two Gallic rivers, the 499. Saone and the Rhone, extended from the forest of Vosges to the Alps and the sea of Marseilles." The sceptre was in the hands of Gundobald. That valiant and ambitious prince had reduced the number of royal candidates by the death of two brothers, one of whom was the father of Clotilda;1' but his imperfect prudence still permitted Godegesil, the youngest of his brothers, to possess the dependant principality of Geneva. The Arian monarch was justly alarmed by the satisfaction, and the hopes, which seemed to animate his clergy and people, after the conversion of Clovis; and Gundobald convened at Lyons an assembly of his bishops, to reconcile, if it were possible, their religious and political discontents. A vain conference was agitated between the two factions. The Arians upbraided the Catholics with the worship of three gods; the Catholics defended their cause by theological distinctions; and the usual arguments, objections, and replies, were reverberated with obstinate clamour; till the king revealed his secret apprehensions, by an abrupt but decisive question, which he addressed to the orthodox bishops. If you truly profess the Christian religion, why do you not restrain the king of the Franks? He has declared war against me, and forms alliances with my enemies for my destruction. A sanguinary and covetous mind is not the symptom of a sincere conversion: let him shew his faith by his works. The answer of Avitus, bishop, of Vienna, who spoke in the name of his brethren, was delivered with the voice and countenance of an angel. We are ignorant of the motives and intentions of the king of the Franks: but we are taught by the Scripture, that the kingdoms which abandon the divine law, are frequently subverted; and that enemies will arise on every side against those who have made God their enemy. Return, with thy people, to the law of God, and he will give peace and security to thy dominions. The king of Burgundy, who was not prepared to accept the condition which the Catholics considered as essential to the treaty, delayed and dismissed the ecclesiastical conference; after reproaching his bishops, that Clovis, their friend and proselyte, had privately tempted the allegiance of his brother.q
"This important digression of Procopius (de Bell. Gothic. lib. 1. c. 12. in tom. 2. ji. 89—3O.) illustrates the origin of the French monarchy. Yet I must observe, 1. That the Greek historian betrays an inexcusable ignorance of the geography of the west. '-'. That these treaties and privileges, which should leave some lasting traces, are totally invisible in Gregory of Tours, the Salic laws, &c.
0 Regnum circa Rhodanum aut Ararim cum provinciik Massilicnsi retinebant. Greg. Turon. lib. 2. c. 52. in tom. 2. p. 178. The province of Marseilles, as far as the Durance, was afterward ceded to the Ostrogoths: and the signatures of twenty-five bishops are supposed to represent the kingdom of Burgundy, A. D. 519. (Concil. Epaon. in tom. 4. p. 104, 105.) Yet I would except Vindonissa. The bishop, who lived under the Pagan Alemanni, would naturally resort to the synods of the next Christian kingdom. Mascou (in his four first annotations) has explained many circumstances relative to the Burgundian monarchy.
t Mascou, (Hist. of the Germans, 11. 10.) who very reasonably distrusts the testimony of Gregory of Tours, has produced a passage from Avrtua, (epist. 5.) to prove that Gundobald affected to deplore the tragic event, which his subjects affected to applaud.
Victory of The allegiance of his brother was already doTM, seduced; and the obedience of Godegesil, who joined the royal standard with the troops of Geneva, more effectually promoted the success of the conspiracy. While the Franks and Burgundians con
i See the original conference, (in tom. 4. p. 99.102.) Avitus, the principal actor, and probably the secretary of the meeting, was bishop of Vienna. A short account of his person and works may be found in Dupin. (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique tom. 5. p. 5—10.)
tended with equal valour, his seasonable desertion decided the event of the battle; and as Gundobald was faintly supported by the disaffected Gauls, he yielded to the arms of Clovis, and hastily retreated from the field, which appears to have been situated between Langres and Dijon. He distrusted the strength of Dijon, a quadrangular fortress, encompassed by two rivers, and by a wall thirty feet high, and fifteen thick, with four gates, and thirty-three towers :r he abandoned to the pursuit of Clovis the important cities of Lyons and Vienna; and Gundobald still fled with precipitation, till he had reached Avignon, at the distance of two hundred and fifty miles from the field of battle. A long siege, and an artful negotiation, admonished the king of the Franks of the danger and difficulty of his enterprise. He imposed a tribute on the Burgundian prince, compelled him to pardon and reward his brother's treachery, and proudly returned to his own dominions, with the spoils and captives of the southern provinces. This splendid triumph was soon clouded by the intelligence, that Gundobald had violated his recent obligations, and that the unfortunate Godegesil, who was left at Vienna, with a garrison of five thousand Franks,' had been besieged, surprised, and massacred, by this inhuman brother. Such an outrage might have exasperated the patience of the most peaceful sovereign; yet the conqueror of Gaul dissembled the injury, released the tribute, and accepted the alliance, and military service, of the king of Burgundy. Clovis no longer possessed those advantages, which had assured the success of the preceding war; and his rival, instructed by adversity,
* Gregory of Tours (lib. 3. c. 19. in tom. 2. p. 197.) indulges his genius, or rather IranscTi J«:s some more eloquent writer, in the description of Dijon; a castle, which already deserved the title of a city. It depended on the bishops of Langres till the twelfth century, and afterward became the capital of the dukes of Burgundy. Longuerue Description de la France, part 1. p. 280.
• The epitomizer of Gregory of Tours (in tom. 2. p. 401.) has supplied this number of Franks; but he rashly supposes that they were cut in pieces by Gundobald. The prudent Burgundian spared the soldiers of Clovis, and sent these captives to the king of the Visigoths, who settled them in the territory of Tboulouse.