« НазадПродовжити »
of a formidable host, in the full confidence of surmounting all opposition, either of nature or of man. His first care was to suppress a domestic rebel, who commanded the most important passes of the Pyrenees : Munuza, a Moorish chief, had accepted (Abu-Nesa the alliance of the duke of Aquitain; and Eudes, from a motive of private or public interest, devoted his beauteous daughter to the embraces of the African misbeliever. But the strongest fortresses of Cerdagne were invested by a superior force; the rebel was overtaken and slain in the mountains; and his widow was sent a captive to Damascus, to gratify the desires, or more probably the vanity, of the commander of the faithful. From the Pyrenees Abderame proceeded without delay to the passage of the Rhone and the siege of Arles.
An army of Christians attempted the relief of the city; the tombs of their leaders were yet visible in the thirteenth century; and many thousands of their dead bodies were carried down the rapid stream into the Mediterranean sea. The arms of Abderame were not less successful on the side of the ocean. He passed without opposition the Garonne and Dordogne, which unite their waters in the gulf of Bordeaux; but he found, beyond those rivers, the camp of the intrepid Eudes, who had formed a second army, and sustained a second defeat, so fatal to the Christians that, according to their sad confession, God alone could reckon the number of the slain. The victorious Saracen overran the provinces of Aquitain, whose Gallic names are disguised, rather than lost, in the modern appellations of Périgord, Saintonge, and Poitou: his standards were planted on the walls, or at least before the gates, of Tours and of Sens; and his detachments overspread the kingdom of Burgundy, as far as the well-known cities of Lyons and Besançon. The memory of these devastations, for Abderame did not spare the country or the people, was long preserved by tradition; and the invasion of France by the Moors or Mahometans affords the groundwork of those fables which have been so wildly disfigured in the romances of chivalry and so elegantly adorned by the Italian muse.
In the decline of society and art, the deserted cities could supply a slender booty to the Saracens; their richest spoil was found in the churches and monasteries, which they stripped of their ornaments and delivered to the flames; and the tutelar saints, both Hilary of Poitiers and Martin of Tours,
Defeat of the Saracens by Charles Martel. A.D. 732
forgot their miraculous powers in the defence of their own sepulchres.23 A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland : the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet. 34
From such calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of one man. Charles, the illegitimate son of the elder Pepin, was content with the titles of mayor or duke of the Franks, but he deserved to become the father of a line of kings.35 In a laborious administration of twenty-four years, he restored and supported the dignity of the throne, and the rebels of Germany and Gaul were successively crushed by the activity of a warrior, who, in the same campaign, could display his banner on the Elbe, the Rhone, and the shores of the ocean. In the public danger, he was summoned by the voice of his country; and his rival, the duke of Aquitain, was reduced to appear among the fugitives and suppliants. “Alas !” exclaimed
" the Franks, “what a misfortune! what an indignity! We have long heard of the name and conquests of the Arabs: we were apprehensive of their attack from the East; they have now conquered Spain, and invade our country on the side of the West. Yet their numbers, and (since they have no buckler) their arms,
33 With regard to the sanctuary of St. Martin of Tours, Roderic Ximenes accuses the Saracens of the deed. Turonis civitatem, ecclesiam et palatia vastatione et incendio simili diruit et consumpsit. The continuator of Fredegarius imputes to them no more than the intention. Ad domum beatissimi Martini evertendam destinant. At Carolus, &c. The French annalist was more jealous of the honour of the saint.
34 Yet I sincerely doubt whether the Oxford mosque would have produced a volume of controversy so elegant and ingenious as the sermons lately preached by Mr. White, the Arabic professor, at Mr. Bampton's lecture. His observations on the character and religion of Mahomet are always adapted to his argument, and generally founded in truth and reason. He sustains the part of a lively and eloquent advocate; and sometimes rises to the merit of an historian and philosopher.
35 (For the life and acts of Charles see Th. Breysig's monograph, Die Zeit Karl Martells, in the series of the Jahrbücher des fränkischen Reiches, 1869.]
are inferior to our own." “If you follow my advice,” replied the prudent mayor of the palace, “you will not interrupt their march, nor precipitate your attack. They are like a torrent, which it is dangerous to stem in its career. The thirst of riches, and the consciousness of success, redouble their valour, and valour is of more avail than arms or numbers. Be patient till they have loaded themselves with the encumbrance of wealth. The possession of wealth will divide their counsels and assure your victory."
This subtle policy is perhaps a refinement of the Arabian writers; and the situation of Charles will suggest a more narrow and selfish motive of procrastination : the secret desire of humbling the pride, and wasting the provinces, of the rebel duke of Aquitain. It is yet more probable that the delays of Charles were inevitable and reluctant. A standing army was anknown under the first and second race; more than half the kingdom was now in the hands of the Saracens; according to their respective situation, the Franks of Neustria and Austrasia were too conscious or too careless of the impending danger; and the voluntary aids of the Gepidæ and Germans were separated by a long interval from the standard of the Christian general. No sooner had he collected his forces than he sought and found the enemy in the centre of France, between Tours and Poitiers. His well-conducted march was covered by a range of hills, and Abderame appears to have been surprised by his unexpected presence. The nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe advanced (October] with equal ardour to an encounter which would change the history of the whole world. In the six first days of desultory combat, the horsemen and archers of the East maintained their advantage; but in the closer onset of the seventh day the Orientals were oppressed by the strength and stature of the Germans, who, with stout hearts and iron hands,36 asserted the civil and religious freedom of their posterity. The epithet of Martel, the Hammer, which has been added to the name of Charles, is expressive of his weighty and irresistible strokes : the valour of Eudes was excited by resentment and emulation; and their companions, in the eye of history, are the true Peers and Paladins of French chivalry. After a bloody field, in which
* Gens Austriæ membrorum pre-eminentiâ valida, et gens Germana corde et corpore prestantissima, quasi in ictu oculi mana ferrea et pectore arduo Ara bes extinxerunt (Roderic. Toletan. c. xiv.).
Abderame was slain, the Saracens, in the close of the evening, retired to their camp. In the disorder and despair of the night, the various tribes of Yemen and Damascus, of Africa and Spain, were provoked to turn their arms against each other; the remains of their host was suddenly dissolved, and each emir consulted his safety by an hasty and separate retreat.
At the dawn of day, the stillness of an hostile camp was suspected by the victorious Christians : on the report of their spies, they ventured to explore the riches of the vacant tents; but, if we except some celebrated relics, a small portion of the spoil was restored to the innocent and lawful owners. The joyful tidings were soon diffused over the Catholic world, and the monks of Italy could affirm and believe that three hundred and fifty, or three hundred and seventy-five, thousand of the Mahometans had been crushed by the hammer of Charles ; 37 while no more than fifteen hundred Christians were slain in the field of Tours. But this incredible tale is sufficiently disproved by the caution of the French general, who apprehended the snares and accidents of a pursuit, and dismissed his German allies to their native forests, The inactivity of a conqueror betrays the loss of strength and blood, and the most cruel execution is inflicted, not in the ranks of battle, but on
the backs of a flying enemy. Yet the victory of the Franks was before the complete and final; Aquitain was recovered by the arms of
Eudes; the Arabs never resumed the conquest of Gaul,28 and they were soon driven beyond the Pyrenees by Charles Martel and his valiant race.3 It might have been expected that the
37 These numbers are stated by Paul Warnefrid, the deacon of Aquileie (de Gestis Langobard. I. vi. p. 921, edit. Grot. (c. 46]), and Anastasius, the librarian of the Roman church in Vit. Gregorii II.), who tells a miraculous story of three consecrated spunges, which rendered invulnerable the French soldiers among whom they had been shared. It should seem that in his letters to the pope Eudes usurped the honour of the victory, for which he is chastised by the French annalists, who, with equal falsehood, accuse him of inviting the Saracens.
38 [This is not quite accurs te. Maurontius, the dake of Marseilles, preferred the alliance of the misbelievers to that of the Frank warrior, and handed over Arles, Avignon, and other towns to the lords of Narbonne, who also obtained possession of Lyons and Valence. They were smitten back to Narbonne by Charles the Hammer in A.D. 737, and yet again in 739. Cp. Weil, op. cit., p. 647. Okba was at this time governor of Spain. For the expedition of Charles in 737, see Contin. Fredegar. 109.]
39 Narbonne, and the rest of Septimania, was recovered by Pepin, the son of Charles Martel, A.D. 755 (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 300). Thirty-seven years afterwards it was pillaged by a sudden inroad of the Arabs, who employed the captives in the construction of the mosque of Cordova (de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 354).
saviour of Christendom would have been canonized, or at least applauded, by the gratitude of the clergy, who are indebted to his sword for their present existence. But in the public distress the mayor of the palace had been compelled to apply the riches, or at least the revenues, of the bishops and abbots to the relief of the state and the reward of the soldiers. His merits were forgotten, his sacrilege alone was remembered, and, in an epistle to a Carlovingian prince, a Gallic synod presumes to declare that his ancestor was damned ; that on the opening of his tomb the spectators were affrighted by a smell of fire and the aspect of a horrid dragon; and that a saint of the times was indulged with a pleasant vision of the soul and body of Charles Martel burning, to all eternity, in the abyss of bell."
The loss of an army, or a province, in the Western world was Elevation less painful to the court of Damascus than the rise and progress bassides, of a domestic competitor. Except among the Syrians, the caliphs of the house of Ommiyah had never been the objects of the public favour. The life of Mahomet recorded their perseverance in idolatry and rebellion; their conversion had been reluctant, their elevation irregular and factious, and their throne was cemented with the most holy and noble blood of Arabia. The best of their race, the pious Omar, was dissatisfied with his own title; their personal virtues were insufficient to justify a departure from the order of succession; and the eyes and wishes of the faithful were turned towards the line of Hashem and the kindred of the apostle of God. Of these the Fatimites were either rash or pusillanimous; but the descendants of Abbas cherished, with courage and discretion, the hopes of their rising fortunes. From an obscure residence in Syria, they secretly dispatched their agents and missionaries, who preached in the Eastern provinces their hereditary indefeasible right; and Mohammed, the son of Ali, the son of Abdallah, the son of Abbas, the uncle of the prophet, gave audience to the deputies of Chorasan, and accepted their free gift of four hundred thousand
** This pastoral letter, addressed to Lewis the Germanic, the grandson of Charlemagne, and most probably composed by the pen of the artful Hincmar, is dated in the year 858, and signed by the bishops of the provinces of Rheims and Roden (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 741 ; Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. x. p. 514516). Yet Baronius himself, and the French critics, reject with contempt this episcopal fiction.