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SUMMARY OF ERA THE NINTH.
1. Introductory. The empire of the East, under Justi
the victories of his general Belisarius; birth of Mahomet in the reign of Justin the Second.—2. The descent of Mahomet; the first advancement of his fortunes.-3. His personal recommendations.-4. His persuasive eloquence.-5. His ingratiating manners.—6. The genius of Mahomet.—7. He retires to the cave of Hera, and pretends to receive there a new revelation.—8. The design of the Koran.-9. His first converts.—10. His declaration of his Apostleship; his cause embraced by Ali.—11. He proceeds to preach the doctrines of the Koran, and to announce his Apostleship; meets with great opposition.—12. The conspiracy of the Koreish against him ; flies to Medina.—13. Reaches the city; the Hegira.–14. He establishes himself at Medina ; his cause there successful.–15. He builds himself a house and mosque ; marries the daughter of Abu-Beker.—16. He arms his followers; they attack the caravans; their incitements to these enterprises.-17. Mahomet gains a battle at Beder.—18. The defeat at Ohud.–19. He is again successful against some Arabian tribes; great enthusiasm of his followers.—20. He meditates the taking possession of Mecca; consents to a treaty for visiting the city as a pilgrim with his followers.-21. Conversion of Caled and Amrou; the truce is violated ; Mahomet proceeds to Mecca with his forces; is admitted without opposition, as a conqueror.–22. His treatment of the inhabitants; his hopes fulfilled.—23. The pilgrimage of valediction.—24. Submission of other tribes; he engages with the army of Heraclius in Syria ; accepts a treaty of peace.-25. His conduct to the deputies of Tayef.—26. Mahomet's military successes ; the great extension of his power.—27. His last illness and death.—28. Enthusiasm of his followers after this event; his burial.29. Character of the impostor ; his refusal to work miracles.
-30. His pretended journey to the seventh heaven.-31. The tale at first rejected; the miracles afterwards ascribed to him.—32. Absurdity of such pretensions.—33. Vices of
the public and private life of Mahomet.--34 and 35. His virtues; he makes some beneficial laws; the general tendency of his religion.
36. Sketch of Mahomet's successors; Abu-Beker. 37. Omar's reign; Jerusalem taken by the Saracens.—38. Further victories during his Caliphate.-39. Othman succeeds.—40. Ali reigns; the extent of his empire.—41. Moawiyah becomes Caliph ; the descendants of Mahomet excluded.—42. The Ommiades and their dynasty; the Caliphate divided ; the Moors and their kingdom.–43. The conquests of the Saracens in Spain and Europe; their progress checked by Charles Martel.--44. Their spread in India; defeat in Italy.--45. The Turks succeed to their power, and overthrow the Greco-Roman Empire of the East.
ERA THE TENTH.
THE LIFE OF CHARLEMAGNE.
THE RESTORATION OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF ROME, AND
THE RISE OF THE GERMANIC EMPIRE.
1. “The appellation of great,” says Gibbon, “has been often bestowed, and sometimes deserved, but Charlemagne is the only prince in whose favour the title has been indissolubly united with the name.”
Before we can enter with advantage upon the history of this sovereign-who was one of those persons who, to use the idea of Shakspeare, are not only, "born great, and achieve greatness, but have greatness thrust upon
them” it is necessary to take a brief view of the history of that nation, which had the honour to give birth to a hero, thus distinguished above all those who lived at this period.
2. The Franks, from whom Charlemagne descended, were originally one of the Gothic tribes, which established themselves in the neighbourhood of the Lower Rhine. About the period when the Romans left Britain never to return, and the Saxons came to their aid against the Scots and Picts (A.D. 449), there arose among these military adventurers, a chieftain more eminent than the rest, who earned for himself by his valour, and his sword, the title of Meroveus, or Merowing--and became the founder of a race of princes, who are styled the kings of France, during a dynasty which lasted for about 300 years, (or from A.D. 448 to 752). Twenty sovereigns, including Meroveus, are reckoned as belonging to this race. Of these, Clovis is first remembered, as the earliest prince of his nation who became a Christian;
having received the rite of Baptism in the cathedral of Rheims, together with a large retinue of soldiers, after a great victory obtained over the Germans (A.D. 481-511). During the reigns of his successors, the kingdom was divided into several small principalities, as that of Paris, Soissons, Rheims, and Orleans ; of which, however, the heritage still existed after various dissensions and struggles, in two branches of the family, one of whom exercised authority over Austrasia, the southern division of the kingdom, the other over Neustria or the more northern.
3. Of these territories the city of Cologne was the capital belonging to the former, and Paris to that of the latter. Among the sovereigns who reigned over these kingdoms from Childebert the First to Childebert the Second (A.D. 511-668), embracing a period of a hundred and fifty-seven years, there are none whose names are distinguished, except for deeds of savage cruelty and barbarism. Clotaire, brother of Childebert the First, having conquered his rebellious son, shut him up in a cottage where he had taken rufuge after being defeated in battle, with his wife and children, and having given orders that they should be fastened to stakes with chains of iron, he set fire to the four corners of the building, and a whole family of his own kindred, the victims of his wrath, were thus burnt alive. This monster soon after died of inexpressible remorse (A.D. 562), leaving his kingdom to be divided among the rest of his children, who profited but little by the gift, and embroiled themselves in quarrels, which ended in the extinction of one branch of it, that of Sigibert lord of Austrasia.
Clotaire the Second, the son of Fredegonda (who is said to have been the murderer of five kings), having by his crimes and those of his mother become master of the empire of the Franks (A.D. 584), bequeathed at his death, the whole of the provinces of Gaul to his son Dagobert (A.D. 628). But by this time, the mayors of the palace to whom the education of the royal line was entrusted, and who exercised a sort of regency in the affairs of the empire, during the minority of the princes, had acquired a power which made them not only the prime ministers, but virtually the sovereigns of the state. This ascendancy became still more visible, during the reigns of the sons of Dagobert who succeeded him, the one with the title of Sigibert the Third,
king of Austrasia; the other bore the name of Clovis the Second, king of Neustria. The first was aged eight years, and the other only four, on the death of their father (A.D. 638). These princes as they grew up found themselves reduced to an empty shadow of royalty, under the guardianship of their respective mayors, who were in reality the sovereigns, acting as they did in concert with, and under the advice of the most powerful of the Frankish and Burgundian lords. Clovis the Second, who, on the death of his brother a short time after his accession, succeeded to the whole empire of the Franks, was the first of the line of princes upon whom the epithet of sluggard has been bestowed, to mark their character. Being fonder of indolence and of pleasure than of the cares of royalty, they entirely abandoned the reins of empire to their ministers, who thus eventually usurped the dominion entrusted to them by the legitimate, but unworthy successors of the empire.
It was thus that, during the reign of Thierry the Second (A.D. 720), who had been raised to the kingdom of Neustria on the death of Dagobert the Second, Pepin of Heristal laid the foundation of an empire, which his posterity at length enlarged and extended, not only over the Frankish nation but over a large part of Europe.
4. Having with the aid of the lords of Austrasia dethroned the sluggish king Dagobert, he obtained, as the reward of intrepidity and ambition, the title of Duke of Austria, a dignity which was in effect the possession of the kingdom itself, Dagobert being the last of the Austrasian princes. His next step was to become Mayor of the palace of Neustria, an office which the feeble sovereign Thierry could not withhold, as he was constrained to submit to the terms which his conqueror imposed, against whom he had taken the field without success. From that period Pepin D'Heristal became in reality the sovereign, while Thierry, retaining the name, and shut up in his palace, bore only the ensigns of royalty. The heir of Pepin was the illustrious Charles Martel, who acquired his title from the heavy blows which he inflicted upon his enemies in the field of battle. His valour and success were seen in the manner in which he defeated the Neustrians, who had revolted against the lawful heir of the empire Dagobert the Third, and thus restored himself to the possession of that place of trust and power in