Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05 eBook

John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05.

AUTHORITIES.

The Koran; Dean Prideaux’s Life of Mohammed; Vie de Mahomet, by the Comte de Boulainvilliers; Gagnier’s Life of Mohammed; Ockley’s History of the Saracens; Gibbon, fiftieth chapter; Hallam’s Middle Ages; Milman’s Latin Christianity; Dr. Weil’s Mohammed der Prophet, sein Leben und seine Lehre; Renan, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1851; Bustner’s Pilgrimage to El Medina and Mecca; Life of Mahomet, by Washington Irving; Essai sur l’Histoire des Arabes, par A.P.  Caussin de Perceval; Carlyle’s Lectures on Heroes and Hero Worship; E.A.  Freeman’s Lectures on the History of the Saracens; Forster’s Mahometanism Unveiled; Maurice on the Religions of the World; Life and Religion of Mohammed, translated from the Persian, by Rev. I.L.  Merrick.

CHARLEMAGNE.

* * * * *

A.D. 742-814.

REVIVAL OF WESTERN EMPIRE.

The most illustrious monarch of the Middle Ages was doubtless Charlemagne.  Certainly he was the first great statesman, hero, and organizer that looms up to view after the dissolution of the Roman Empire.  Therefore I present him as one with whom is associated an epoch in civilization.  To him we date the first memorable step which Europe took out of the anarchies of the Merovingian age.  His dream was to revive the Empire that had fallen.  He was the first to labor, with giant strength, to restore what vice and violence had destroyed.  He did not succeed in realizing the great ends to which he aspired, but his aspirations were lofty.  It was not in the power of any man to civilize semi-barbarians in a single reign; but if he attempted impossibilities he did not live in vain, since he bequeathed some permanent conquests and some great traditions.  He left a great legacy to civilization.  His life has not dramatic interest like that of Hildebrand, nor poetic interest like the lives of the leaders of the Crusades; but it is very instructive.  He was the pride of his own generation, and the boast of succeeding ages, “claimed,” says Sismondi, “by the Church as a saint, by the French as the greatest of their kings, by the Germans as their countryman, and by the Italians as their emperor.”

His remote ancestors, it is said, were ecclesiastical magnates.  His grandfather was Charles Martel, who gained such signal victories over the Mohammedan Saracens; his father was Pepin, who was a renowned conqueror, and who subdued the southern part of France, or Gaul.  He did not rise, like Clovis, from the condition of a chieftain of a tribe of barbarians; nor, like the founder of his family, from a mayor of the palace, or minister of the Merovingian kings.  His early life was spent amid the turmoils and dangers of camps, and as a young man he was distinguished for precocity of talent, manly beauty, and gigantic physical strength.  He was a type of chivalry, before chivalry arose.  He was born to greatness, and early succeeded to a great inheritance.  At

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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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