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the emigration. Athelstan received the wretched exiles, who came to him under the same circumstances as those in which their ancestors had fled to Bretagne, with that humanity which ennobles the benefactor.

The young Alan, the son of Mathuedoi, by the daughter of the celebrated Alain, he took into his palace, and was the sponsor at his baptism. Nourished and educated by Athelstan's liberality, the young Alan grew up to manhood with ability and honour. He beheld indignantly the sufferings of his country; he projected a day of retribution. As soon as his age would permit, he assembled the surviving Bretons who had emigrated, and directed his course to the shores of Bretagne. He surprised Dol and St. Brieux. His appearance and first successes revived both patriotism and hope; he was numerously joined; he drove the Northmen from his country and from the Loire, and received the sceptre of Bretagne as his well-merited reward (1).

His connections

When Charles the Simple, the king of France, was with France. imprisoned and dethroned, his queen, Edgiva, fled into England to her father Edward the Elder, carrying over her son Louis, but three years old (2).

The queen and her son continued the guests of Athelstan, who treated his unfortunate sister with affection and respect.

Rodolf, a Frankish noble, who, after Robert's year of power, had assumed the throne of Charles, governed France, full of seditions, revolts, and hostilities, with those talents which gave celebrity to their possessor, and happiness to the peo926-939. ple (3). In 926, an intercourse was opened with Athelstan by Hugues the son of Robert, whose dignity had been so fleeting. Hugues requested of Athelstan his sister, Ethilda, in marriage. This was a very delicate negotiation. Hugues had co-operated with the other chiefs, that had dethroned and still kept imprisoned the king, who had married the sister of the lady he wooed. This sister was with Athelstan with her infant child. Hugues, however, persevered in his suit, and conducted it with dexterity. He obtained for his ambassador, Adulf, the son of the count of

(1) Chronicon Namnetense restitutum, in the appendix to Lobineau, vol. ii. p. 45.; and in Bouquet, vol. viii. p. 276.; and Flodoard. Chron. ib. Such was the desolation which had attended the Northman invasion, that the civitas Namnetica sine ullo habitatore vacua et omnino longo tempore deserta remansit. Ib. Of Alanus, the Chronicon says, "fuit vir potens ac valde adversus inimicos suos belligerator fortis habens et possidens omnem Britanniam, fugatis inde Normannis sibi subditam et Redonicam et Namneticum et etiam trans Ligerim Medalgicum, Theofalgicum et Herbadilicum." 8 Bouquet, 276. (2) Daniel, 236.

(3) His successful wars, the humiliation of the vassals of the crown, thirteen years' possession of an usurped throne, and la France pacifiée malgré tant d'esprits inquiets, sont des preuves très-certaines de sa prudence, de son courage, de sa fermeté et de ce génie supérieur qui fait les grands hommes et les héros. Daniel, 250.

Flanders, and of Alfred's daughter, the aunt of Athelstan (1). The affinity of Adulf must have given interest to his negotiation. Splendid presents enforced the request; perfumes never seen in England before; emeralds of fascinating verdure; many fine coursers with rich caparisons; a vase of onyx, so beautifully carved that the corn, vines, and men seemed animated, and so polished, that it reflected like a mirror; the sword of Constantine the Great; the conquering lance of Charlemagne ; a diadem of gold and gems, so radiant as to dazzle; and some venerated relics, composed the splendid gift (2). Policy, perhaps, taught the importance, even to the dethroned Charles, or to his family, of making Hugues a friend. His wishes were therefore gratified, and he became the brotherin-law of Athelstan (3).


When Rodolf died without male issue, the competition for the crown was renewed between Hugues and Vermandois. Their factions were too equally balanced to admit either to reign. Some persons, remembering the family of Charles, proposed the election of his son. Hugues, despairing of his own elevation, inclined to this idea. Athelstan, understanding the circumstances, exerted himself in behalf of Louis, the young prince, who was still at his court. He sent an embassy to the duke of Normandy (4), to engage his influence with the Frankish lords, who at last resolved to send to England to offer the crown to Louis (5).

Louis quits


The deputies, one of whom was the archbishop of Sens, reached England in 936, and supplicated Athelstan, on the part of the states of France, to permit their chosen king to join them. Athelstan had the glory of receiving this address, and of expressing, in return, his joy at the event, and his anxiety for the safety of the young prince. The French ambassadors plighted their oaths, and saluted him king. Athelstan allowed him to depart a few days afterwards, and sent many Anglo-Saxon bishops and lords to accompany him in honour. Hugues and the nobles of France received him at Boulogne, and he was crowned at Laon (6).



(1) Malmsbury, 51. The British Chronicle, Cleop. B. 5., mentions this y daeth Edulf iarll Boloyn ap Baudewine iarll Flandrys ac aurec gan Huges." (2) The presents are enumerated by Malmsbury, p. 51., who says, "Equos plurimos." The British Chronicle specifies, but with apparent amplification, "Try chant emmys ac eu gwisgoed,' three hundred coursers with their trappings.' MSS. Cleop. B. 5.

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(3) Athelstan returned the courtesy with non minoribus beneficiis, in addition to the lady. Malmsb. 51.

(4) Dudo de Act. Norman. lib. iii. p. 97.

(5) Hugo comes trans mare mittit pro accersendo Ludovico Caroli filio quem Rex Alstannus avunculus ipsius nutriebat. Flodoardi Hist. Eccles. Rhem. lib. iv. c. 26.

(6) Flodoardi, ibid. Louis, from his residence in England, was surnamed Transmarinus, or Outremer.

Louis allies with The reign of Louis was not attended with the friendAthelstan. ship of Hugues. Differences, in time, arose, and Hugues increased his consequence by marrying Hadwida, the daughter of Henry the First, emperor of Germany (1). Louis, to collect a power capable of securing himself against the aspiring nobles, procured the alliance of Athelstan, who promised to send a fleet to his succour. "This is the first example ", says a modern French historian, "which we have in our history, not only of an offensive league between France and England, but it is also the first treaty by which these two kingdoms concerned themselves about each other's welfare. Until this event, the two nations had considered themselves as two worlds, which had no connection but that of commerce to maintain, and had no interest to cultivate either friendship or enmity in other concerns (2) ".

939. Athelstan aids

Athelstan performed his engagements. When Otho passed the Rhine, in 939, Louis claimed of England Louis with a fleet. the stipulated aid. The Anglo-Saxon fleet sailed immediately for his support. It appeared off the coast of Flanders, and protected the maritime cities: it ravaged some territories of the enemy, but returned to England without having had the opportunity of any important achievement (3).

So much was Athelstan considered abroad, that Arnulf, the count of Flanders, having taken the fortress of the count Herluin, in 939, sent his captive wife and children to Athelstan (4).

His connection

The Emperor of Germany, Henry the First, perwith the Emperor mitted his son, Otho, afterwards surnamed the Great, to solicit a sister of Athelstan in marriage.

Henry I.


In 919, the dignity of emperor was conferred on the prince nominated by Conrad, who has become illustriously known to posterity under the title of Henry the First, or the Fowler.

The wars of Henry with the barbarous nations of Hungary, with the Danes, Bavarians, Suabians, Bohemians, Vandals, Dalmatians, and Francs, by their successful issue, produced to him a high reputation, and gave new dignity and power to the imperial crown; but his mind soared above the praise of a barbarous conqueror. Such characters have a thousand rivals. The catalogue of men, whose successful courage or tactical management has decided fields of battle in their favour, is as extensive as time itself. Wars have every where deformed the world, and conquerors may of course every where be found. It is for those who display a cultured in

(1) Chronicon Flodoardi, 8 Bouquet, 184. By her he had Hugh Capet, who completed the deposition of the family of Charlemagne, which his ancestors had begun, and whose dynasty that seemed violently terminated in our days has been since restored.

(2) Daniel, p. 250,

(9) Chronicon Flodnardi, 8, Bouquet, 193,

(4) Ibid. 199.

tellect and useful virtues; whose lives have added something to the stock of human happiness; and whose characters therefore present to us the visions of true greatness, that history must reserve its frugal panegyrics: Henry the Fowler was one of these most fortunate personages. He found his German subjects wedded to their barbarism by their agricultural and pastoral habits; and while he provided for their safety, he laboured to improve both their morals and their mind (1).

He determined, for this purpose, to draw the population of Germany from their rude, unsocial, and exposed villages, into towns (2) ; into those happy approximations of society which present a barrier to the sword of war, which are the nurseries of the middle orders of men, which tame the ferocities of the human passions, give dominion to moral sympathy, communicate cultivation and knowledge by perpetual contagion, and cause the virtues to blossom amid general emulation, by daily lessons of their necessity, their diffusion, and their fame. These towns he fortified with skilful labour (3).

To effect his purpose, he commanded, that of the men in the villages who bore arms, a ninth should be placed in towns, for whose benefit the rest should cultivate the labours of husbandry. The townsmen were to receive a third of the collected harvest; and, in return, they built barns and habitations, within the city, for the peasants. When war summoned, the burghers hastened to the defence of their country. By this institution the ravages of enemies never introduced famine, because the granaries in the cities were an ultimate supply, and warriors were always ready to fly to the field when exigency called (4).

To induce the people to make towns their voluntary residence, he forbad suburbs; and ordered that the country habitations should be few and mean. He ordered all solemn meetings, the festivities of marriage, and the traffic of merchandise, to be held in towns; he directed the citizens to improve themselves by useful industry,

(1) Conrad seems to have foreseen this disposition in Henry, for it is his reason for selecting the Saxon duke: "Sunt nobis, frater, copiæ exercitus congregandi atque ducendi, sunt urbes et arma cum regalibus insigniis et omne quod decus regium deposcit, præter fortunam atque mores. Fortuna, frater, cum nobilissimis moribus, Henrico cedit. Wittichind, p. 10.

(2) "Before this period, excepting the castles on the mountains, the seats of the nobility and convents, which happened to be surrounded with walls, there were only lonely farms and villages." Pütter's Historical Developement, vol. i. p. 114.

(3) In this respect Germany has undergone but little alteration. Most of the ancient cities, and even inconsiderable towns, are surrounded with walls, towers, etc. which give them a singular and dismal appearance." Pütter, ed. note, p. 115.

(4) See the Instituta of Henry apud Goldastum, sub anno 924. I find them cited in the Aquila Saxonica, p. 24. ed. Venet. 1673. Wittichind mentions them briefly,

and, in peace, to learn those arts which they might practise to their benefit (1).

By his regulations, by his personal diligence, and by their own beneficial experience, the Germans gradually laid aside their aversion to live in towns, and these important seminaries of human improvement perpetually increased (2).

Henry, during his life, extended his communications 932. to England; and in 932, by his permission, Otho sought a wife from the sisters of Athelstan.

Otho marries

Athelstan's sister. for his son.

Editha was residing in her brother Athelstan's court, when the ambassadors of Henry arrived to request her Athelstan received them benignly, his sister assented (3), and a magnificent attendance, which his chancellor, Turketul, headed (4), conducted her to her royal lover. Her sister Adiva went with her, that Otho might be more honoured, and might take his choice (5). Editha was preferred by the too highly honoured Otho, and her sister was married to a prince near the Alps, who was one of the emperor's court (6).

Athelstan's Athelstan's transactions with Norway were also interesting.

transactions with


In the reign of Edward, and at the accession of Athelstan, Harald Harfragre was reigning the monarch of Norway. He had subdued all the little kings, who had divided it into many small states, and his victories had never been reversed.

Harald, though a barbarian, was not merely the brutal soldier. The spirit of improvement, which at this period influenced an Alfred and a Henry, seems to have been communicated to him. He also aspired to legislate as well as to conquer (7). He endeavoured to civilize the countries he subdued.

The wars of Harald, though inevitably productive of much individual misery, have the great excuse, that defence first compelled him into the martial field (8). In a general view, his conquests had a beneficial effect. They dispersed several portions

(1) Instituta Henrici in Aquila Sax. p. 24. The latter precept is enforced by a moral observation : " Disciplina enim et labor magnum ad virtutem afferunt momentum." Ibid.

(2) Soest, in Westphalia, is probably one of the first cities founded by Henry. Next to this town, the most ancient are supposed to be Quedlinburg, Nordhausen, Duderstadt, Merseberg, etc. Pütter, note 117.

(3) Hrosvida. Poem de Gestis Oddonis, p. 165. She calls our island, terram sat deliciosam.

(4) Ingulf, p. 38.

(5) Hrosvida, p. 165. (6) Ethelwerd's preface. Ingulf, 38., and Malmsb. 47. Hrosvida mourns the death of Editha with great expressions of sorrow, p. 171.

(7) Snorre has preserved some of the laws of Harald, in his Haralld's Saga, c. vi. p. 79.

(8) Post obitum Halfdani Nigri regnum ab co relictum invasere principum multi. Snorre, Haralld's Saga, c. i. p. 75. He details the invasions, their issue, and Harald's retaliations.

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