I have decided also that for the reckoning of the years the first book shall begin with the very beginning of the world, and I have given its chapters below. BOOK I. The captivity of the people of Israel and the generations to David. Hadrian and the heretics' lies and the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp and Justin. As I am about to describe the struggles of kings with the heathen enemy, of martyrs with pagans, of churches with heretics, I desire first of all to declare my faith so that my reader may have no doubt that I am Catholic.
I have also decided, on account of those who are losing hope of the approaching end of the world, to collect the total of past years from chronicles and histories and set forth clearly how many years there are from the beginning of the world. But I first beg pardon of my readers if either in letter or in syllable I transgress the rules of the grammatic art in which I have not been fully instructed, since I have been eager only for this, to hold fast, without any subterfuge or irresolution of heart, to that which we are bidden in the church to believe, because I know that he who is liable to punishment for his sin can obtain pardon from God by untainted faith.
I believe, then, in God the Father omnipotent. For the Father could not have been so named unless he had a son; and there could be no son without a father. But as for those who say: "There was a time when he was not," [ note: A leading belief of Arian Christology. I believe that the word of the Father by which all things were made was Christ. I believe that this word was made fresh and by its suffering the world was redeemed, and I believe that humanity, not deity, was subject to the suffering. I believe that he rose again on the third day, that he freed sinful man, that he ascended to heaven, that he sits on the right hand of the Father, that he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe that this holy Trinity exists with separation of persons, and one person is that of the Father, another that the Son, another that of the Holy Spirit. And in this Trinity confess that there is one Deity, one power, one essence.
I believe that the blessed Mary was a virgin after the birth as she was a virgin before. I believe that the soul is immortal but that nevertheless it has no part in deity. But as to the end of the world I hold beliefs which I learned from our forefathers, that Antichrist will come first. An Antichrist will first propose circumcision, asserting that he is Christ; next he will place his statue in the temple at Jerusalem to be worshipped, just as we read that the Lord said: "You shall see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.
Let them learn then that Son here is the name applied to the Christian people, of whom God says: "I shall be to them a father and they shall be to me for sons. For he uses these words: "Not even the angels in heaven nor the Son," showing that he spoke these words not of the only-begotten but of the people of adoption. But our end is Christ himself, who will graciously bestow eternal life on us if we turn to him.
Orosius too , searching into these matters very carefully, collects the whole number of years from the beginning of the world down to his own time. Victor also examined into this in connection with the time of the Easter festival. And so we follow the works of the writers mentioned above and desire to reckon the complete series of years from the creation of the first man down to our own time, if the Lord shall deign to lend his aid.
And this we shall more easily accomplish if we begin with Adam himself.
In the beginning the Lord shaped the heaven and the earth in his Christ, who is the beginning of all things, that is, in his son; and after creating the elements of the whole universe, taking a frail clod he formed man after his own image and likeness, and breathed upon his face the breath of life and he was made into a living soul.
And while he slept a rib was taken from him and the woman, Eve, was created. There is no doubt that this first man Adam before he sinned typified the Redeemer. For as the Redeemer slept in the stupor of suffering and caused water and blood to issue from his side, he brought into existence the virgin and unspotted church, redeemed by blood, purified by water, having no spot or wrinkle, that is, washed with water to avoid a spot, stretched on the cross to avoid a wrinkle.
These first human beings, who were living happily amid the pleasant scenes of Paradise, were tempted by the craft of the serpent. They transgressed the divine precepts and were cast out from the abode of angels and condemned to the labors of the world. Through intercourse with her companion the woman conceived and bore two sons. But when God received the sacrifice of the one with honor, the other was inflamed with envy; he rushed on his brother, overcame and killed him, becoming the first parricide by shedding a brother's blood. Then the whole race rushed into accursed crime, except the just Enoch, who walked in the ways of God and was taken up from the midst by the Lord himself on account of his uprightness, and reed from a sinful people.
For we read: " Enoch walked with the Lord, and he did not appear for God took him. And so the Lord, being angered against the iniquities of the people who did not walk in his ways, sent a flood, and by its waters destroyed every living soul from the face of the earth; only Noah, who was most faithful and especially belonged to him and bore the stamp of his image, he saved in the ark, with his wife and those of his three sons, that they might restore posterity.
Here the heretics upbraid us because the holy Scripture says that the Lord was angry. Let them know therefore that our God is not angry like a man; for he is aroused in order to inspire fear; he drives away to summon back; he is angry in order to amend. Furthermore I have no doubt that the ark typified the mother church. For passing amidst the waves and rocks of this world it protects us in its motherly arms from threatening ills, and guards us with its holy embrace and protection. In these ten generations years are included.
The book Joshua clearly indicates that Adam was buried in the land of Enacim, which before was called Hebron. Noah had after the flood three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. From Japheth issued nations, and likewise from Ham and from Shem. And, as ancient history says, from these the human race was scattered under the whole heaven.
The first-born of Ham was Cush. He was the first inventor of the whole art of magic and of idolatry, being instructed by the devil. He was the first to set up an idol to be worshipped, at the instigation of the devil, and by his false power he showed to men stars and fire falling from heaven. He passed over to the Persians. The Persians called him Zoroaster, that is, living star. They were trained by him to worship fire, and they reverence as a god the man who was himself consumed by the divine fire.
Since men had multiplied and were spreading over all the earth they passed out from the East and found the grassy plain of Senachar. There they built a city and strove to raise a tower which should reach the heavens. And God brought confusion both to their vain enterprise and their language, and scattered them over the wide world, and the city was called Babyl, that is, confusion, because there God had confused their tongues.
This is Babylonia, built by the giant Nebron, son of Cush. As the history of Orosius tells, it is laid out foursquare on a very level plain. Its wall, made of baked brick cemented with pitch, is fifty cubits wide, two hundred high, and four hundred and seventy stades in circumference.
A stade contains five agripennes. Twenty-five gates are situated on each side, which make in all one hundred. The doors of these gates, which are of wonderful size, are cast in bronze. The same historian tells many other tales of this city, and says: "Although such was the glory of its building still it was conquered and destroyed. Abraham, who is described as "the beginning of our faith. Isaac, Esau, Jacob, Job.
The twelve patriarchs, the story of Joseph, and the coming out of Egypt to the crossing of the Red Sea. Since many authorities have made varying statements about this crossing of the sea I have decided to give here some information concerning the situation of the place and the crossing itself.
And many travelers say its shores are filled at the present time with holy monasteries. And on its bank is situated, not the Babylonia of which we spoke above, but the city of Babylonia in which Joseph built wonderful granaries of squared stone and rubble. From this city the king set out in pursuit of the Hebrews with armies of chariots and a great infantry force.
Now the stream mentioned above coming from the east passes in a westerly direction towards the Red Sea; and from the west a lake or arm of the Red Sea juts out and stretches to the east, being about fifty miles long and eighteen wide. Toward this arm the Hebrews hastened through the wilderness, and they came to the sea itself and encamped, finding fresh water. It was it this place, shut in by the wilderness as well as by the sea, that they encamped, as it is written: "Pharaoh, hearing that the sea and the wilderness shut them in and that they had no way by which they could go, set out in pursuit of them.
And many tales are told of this crossing, as I have said. But we desire to insert in this account what we have learned as true from the wise, and especially from those who have visited the place. They actually say that the furrows which the wheels of the chariots made remain to the present time and are seen in the deep water as far as the eye can trace them.
And if the roughness of the sea obliterates them in a slight degree, when the sea is calm they are divinely renewed again as they were. Others say that they returned to the very bank where they had entered, making a small circuit through the sea. And others assert that all entered by one way; and a good many, that a separate way opened to each tribe, giving this evidence from the Psalms: "Who divided the Red Sea in parts. For there are many parts in this world, which is figuratively called a sea. For all cannot pass to life; equally or by one way. Some pass in the first hour, that is those who are born anew by baptism and are able to endure to the departure from this life unspotted by any defilement of the flesh.
Others in the third hour, plainly those who are converted later in life; others in the sixth hour, being those who hold in check the heat of wanton living. And in each of these hours, as the evangelist relates, they are hired for the work of the Lord's vineyard, each according to his faith. These are the parts in which the passage is made across this sea.
As to the opinion that upon entering the sea they kept close to the shore and returned, these are the words which the Lord said to Moses: "Let them turn back and encamp before Phiahiroth which is between Magdalum and the sea before Belsephon. Now from the birth of Abraham to the going forth of the children of Israel from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea, which was in the eightieth year of Moses, there are reckoned four hundred and sixty-two years.
The Israelites spend forty years in the wilderness. From the crossing of the Jordan to David. The captivity. From the captivity to the birth of Christ. In order not to seem to have knowledge of the Hebrew race alone [ note: Gregory's purpose is not realized ] we shall tell what the remaining kingdoms were in the time of the Israelites. In the time of Abraham Ninus ruled over the Assyrians; Eorops over the Sitiones; among the Egyptians it was the sixteenth government, which they call in their own tongue dynasty.
It is dear that Gregory had not much sense of the historical perspective in spite of a list of states Which might impress his audience. He passes directly from "Servius the sixth king of Rome " to Julius Caesar the founder of the empire. Beginning of the Roman empire; founding of Lyons, a city afterwards ennobled by the blood of martyrs. Birth of Christ. Christ's crucifixion. Joseph is imprisoned and escapes miraculously.
James fasts from the death of the Lord to the resurrection The day of the Lord's resurrection is the first, not the seventh. Pilate transmits an account of Christ to Tiberius. The end of Pilate and of Herod. Peter and Paul are executed at Rome by order of Nero, who later kills himself. Persecution under Trajan. The rise of heresy. Further persecutions. The martyrs of Lyons. His death and that of vast numbers," of whom Gregory knows of forty-eight. Under the emperor Decius many persecutions arose against the name of Christ, and there was such a slaughter of believers that they could not be numbered.
Babillas, bishop of Antioch, with his three little sons, Urban, Prilidan and Epolon, and Xystus, bishop of Rome, Laurentius, an archdeacon, and Hyppolitus, were made perfect by martyrdom because they confessed the name of the Lord. Valentinian and Novatian were then the chief heretics and were active against our faith, the enemy urging them on. At this time seven men were ordained as bishops and sent into the Gauls to preach, as the history of the martyrdom of the holy martyr Saturninus relates.
For it says: " In the consulship of Decius and Gratus, as faithful memory recalls, the city of Toulouse received the holy Saturninus as its first and greatest bishop. And of these the blessed Dionisius, bishop of Paris, after suffering divers pains in Christ's name, ended the present life by the threatening sword. And Saturninus, already certain of martyrdom said to his two priests: "Behold, I am now to be offered as a victim and the time of my death draws near.
I ask you not to leave me at all before I come to the end. And so when he saw that he was abandoned he is said to have made this prayer; "Lord Jesus Christ, grant my request from holy heaven, that this church may never in all time have the merit to receive a bishop from among its citizens.
And he was tied to the feet of a mad bull, and being sent headlong from the capitol he ended his life. Catianus, Trophimus, Stremonius, Paul and Marcial lived in the greatest sanctity, winning people to the church and spreading the faith of Christ among all, and died in peace, confessing the faith. And thus the former by martyrdom as well as the latter by confession, left the earth and were united in the heavens.
One of their disciples went to the city of Bourges and carried to the people the news of Christ the lord as the saviour of all. But as they had small means for building as yet, the citizens asked for the house of a certain man to use for a church. But the Senators and the rest of the better class of the place were at that time, devoted to the heathen religion and the believers were of the poor, according to the word of the Lord with which he reproached the Jews saying; "Harlots and publicans go into the kingdom of God before you.
Arndt, Introd. And when they had made known to him at the same time their petition and their faith he answered; " If my own house in the city of Bourges were worthy of this work I would not refuse to offer it. And he accepted three gold pieces from them for a blessing and kindly returned the rest, although he was yet entangled in the error of idolatry, and he became a Christian and made his house a church.
This is now the first church in the city of Bourges, built with marvelous skill and made illustrious by the relics of Stephen, the first martyr. At that time Cornelius brought fame to Rome by his happy death, and Cyprian to Carthage. In their time also Chrocus the famous king of the Alemanni raised an army and overran the Gauls.
This Chrocus is said to have been very arrogant. And when he had committed a great many crimes he gathered the tribe of the Alemanni, as we have stated,-by the advice, it is said, of his wicked mother,-and overran the whole of the Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which had been built in ancient times. It had been built and made strong with wonderful skill.
And its wall was double, for on the inside it was built of small stone and on the outside of squared blocks. The wall had a thickness of thirty feet. It was adorned on the inside with marble and mosaics. The pavement of the temple was also of marble and its roof above was of lead. Martyrs of Clermont. Under Diocletian, who was emperor of Rome in the thirty-third place, a cruel persecution of the Christians was kept up for four years, at one time in the course of which great numbers of Christians were put to death, on the sacred day of Easter, for worshipping the true God.
At that time Quirinus, bishop of the church of Sissek, [ note: In Hungary ] endured glorious martyrdom in Christ's name. The cruel pagans cast him into a river with a millstone tied to his neck, and when he had fallen into the waters he was long supported on the surface by a divine miracle, and the waters did not suck him down since the weight of crime did not press upon him. And a multitude of people standing around wondered at the thing, and despising the rage of the heathen they hastened to free the bishop.
He saw this and did not permit himself to be deprived of martyrdom, and raising his eyes to heaven he said: "Jesus lord, who sittest in glory at the right hand of the Father, suffer me not to be taken from this course, but receive my soul and deign to unite me with thy martyrs in eternal peace. Constantine was the thirty-fourth emperor of the Romans, and he reigned prosperously for thirty years. In the eleventh year of his reign, when peace had been granted to the churches after the death of Diocletian, our blessed patron Martin was born at Sabaria, a city of Pannonia, of heathen parents, who still were not of the lowest station.
This Constantine in the twentieth year of his reign caused the death of his son Crispus by poison, and of his wife Fausta by means of a hot bath, because they had plotted to betray his rule. In his time the venerated wood of the Lord's cross was found, through the zeal of his mother Helen on the information of Judas, a Hebrew who was called Quiriacus after baptism.
The historian Eusebius comes down to this period in his chronicle. The priest Jerome continues it from the twenty-first year of Constantine's reign. He informs us that the priest Juvencus wrote the gospels in verse at the request of the emperor named above. Hilarius bishop of Poitiers. At that time our light arose and Gaul was traversed by the rays of a new lamp, that is, the most blessed Martin then began to preach in the Gauls, and he overcame the unbelief of the heathen, showing among the people by many miracles that Christ the Son of God was the true God.
He destroyed heathen shrines, crushed heresy, built churches, and while he was glorious for many other miracles, he completed his title to fame by restoring three dead men to life. At Poitiers, in the fourth year of Valentinian and Valens, Saint Hilarius passed to heaven full of sanctity and faith, a priest of many miracles; for he too is said to have raised the dead. After the death of Valentinian, Valens, who succeeded to the undivided empire, gave orders that the monks be compelled to serve in the army, and commanded that those who refused should be beaten with clubs.
After this the Romans fought a very fierce battle in Thrace, in which there was such slaughter that the Romans fled on foot after losing their horses, and when they were being cut to pieces by the Goths, and Valens was fleeing with an arrow wound, he entered a small hut, the enemy closely pursuing, and the little dwelling was burned over him.
And he was deprived of the burial he desired. And thus the divine vengeance finally came for shedding the blood of the saints. Thus far Jerome; from this period the priest Orosius wrote at greater length. The pious emperor Theodosius. Urbicus, second bishop of Clermont, and his wife. Hillidius, third bishop of Clermont, and his miracles. Nepotian and Arthemius, fourth and fifth bishops of Clermont. Legend of the two lovers of Clermont. Now as soon as the saint of God fell sick at the village of Candes, as we have related, the people of Poitiers came to be present at his death, as did also the people of Tours.
And when he died, a great dispute arose between the two peoples. For the people of Poitiers said: "As a monk, he is ours; as an abbot, he belonged to us; we demand that he be given to us.
Let it be enough for you that when he was a bishop on earth you enjoyed his conversation, ate with him, were strengthened by his blessings and cheered by his miracles. Let all that be enough for you. Let us be permitted to carry away his dead body. For, to pass over most of them, he raised two dead men for you, and one for us; and as he used often to say himself, there was more virtue in him before he was bishop than after. And so it is necessary that he complete for us after death what he did not finish in his lifetime. For he was taken away from you and given to us by God.
If a custom long established is kept, a man shall have his tomb by God's command in the city in which he was ordained. And if you desire to claim him because of the right of the monastery, let us tell you that his first monastery was at Milan. And the body was placed in the midst, and the doors were barred and the body was guarded by both peoples, and it was going to be carried off by violence by the people of Poitiers in the morning. But omnipotent God was unwilling that the city of Tours should be deprived of its protector.
Finally at midnight the whole band from Poitiers were overwhelmed with sleep and no one remained out of this multitude to keep watch. Then when the people of Tours saw that they had fallen asleep they seized on the clay of the holy body and some thrust it out the window and others received it outside, and placing it in a boat they went down the river Vienne with all their people and entered the channel of the Loire, and made their way to the city of Tours with great praises and plentiful psalm-singing, and the people of Poitiers were waked by their voices, and having no treasure to guard they returned to their own place greatly crestfallen.
For they who lived as Christians at that time celebrated the divine office secretly and in hiding. For if any Christians were found by the heathen they were punished with stripes or slain by the sword. Now from the suffering of the Lord to the passing of Saint Martin, years are included. The Vandals and the persecution of the Christians under them. What the prophets of the Lord write about the images of the nations.
The episcopate of Eustochius at Tours and of Perpetuus; St. Martin's church. How Childeric went to Orleans and Odoacer to Angers. The holiness of bishop Sidonius and the visitation of the divine vengeance for the wrongs done to him. Death of the holy Perpetuus and the episcopates of Volusianus and Virus.
Death of their first son in his baptismal garments. I do not think that we shall be condemned thoughtlessly if we tell of the happy lives of the blessed together with the deaths of the wretched, since it is not the skill of the writer but the succession of times that has furnished the arrangement. The attentive reader, if he seeks diligently, will find in the famous histories of the kings of the Israelites that under the just Samuel the wicked Phineas perished, and that under David, whom they called Stronghand, the stranger Goliath was destroyed.
Let him remember also in the time of the great prophet Elias, who prevented rains when he wished and when he pleased poured them on the parched ground, who enriched the poverty of the widow by his prayer, what slaughters of the people there were, what famine and what thirst oppressed the wretched earth. Let him remember what evil Jerusalem endured in the time of Hezekiah, to whom God granted fifteen additional years of life. Moreover under the prophet Elisha, who restored the dead to life and did many other miracles among the peoples, what butcheries, what miseries crushed the very people of Israel.
So too Eusebius, Severus and Jerome in their chronicles, and Orosius also, interwove the wars of kings and the miracles of the martyrs. We have written in this way also, because it is thus easier to perceive in their entirety the order of the centuries and the system of the years down to our day. And so, leaving the histories of the writers who have been mentioned above, we shall describe at God's bidding what was done in the later time. After the death of the blessed Martin, bishop of Tours, a very great and incomparable man, whose miracles fill great volumes in our possession, Bricius succeeded to the bishopric.
Now this Bricius, when he was a young man and the saint was yet living in the body, used to lay many traps for him, because he was often accused by Saint Martin of following the easy way. And one day when a sick man was looking for the blessed Martin in order to get medicine from him he met Bricius, at this time a deacon, in the square, and he said to him in a simple fashion: "Behold I am seeking the blessed man, and I don't know where he is or what he is doing.
Verily I say unto you that I have prevailed upon God that you shall succeed to the bishop's office after me, but let me tell you that you will suffer many misfortunes in your tenure of the office. Bricius on hearing this laughed and said: "Did I not speak the truth that he uttered crazy words? But when he had become bishop by the choice of the citizens, he devoted himself to prayer.
And although he was proud and vain he was nevertheless considered chaste in his body. But in the thirty-third year after his ordination there arose against him a lamentable ground for accusation. For a woman to whom his servants used to give his garments to be washed, one who had changed her garb on the pretext of religion, conceived and bore a child. Because of this the whole population of Tours arose in wrath and laid the whole blame on the bishop, wishing with one accord to stone him.
For they said: "The piety of a holy man has too long been a cover for your wantonness. But God does not any longer allow us to be polluted by kissing your unworthy hands. And when the infant, which was thirty days old was brought, the bishop said to it: "I adjure you in the name of Jesus Christ, son of omnipotent God, to declare publicly to all if I begot you. I was troubled in so far as the matter concerned me; inquire for yourselves whatever you want.
And when the coals were cast down before the tomb his robe was seen to be unburned. And he said: "Just as you see this robe uninjured by the fire, so too my body is undefiled by union with a woman. Finally Bricius went to see the pope of the city of Rome, weeping and wailing and saying: "Rightly do I suffer this because I sinned against a saint of God and often called him crazy and daft; and when I saw his miracles I did not believe.
The people of Tours heard of his death, and persisting in their evil course, they appointed Armentius in his place. But bishop Bricius went to Rome and related to the pope all that he had endured. And while he remained at the apostolic see he often celebrated the solemn ceremony of the mass, weeping for the wrong he had done to the saint of God. In the seventh year he left Rome and by the authority of that pope purposed to return to Tours.
And when he came to the village called Mont-Louis at the sixth milestone from the city, he resided there. Now Armentius was seized with a fever and died at midnight. This was at once revealed to bishop Bricius in a vision, and he said to his people: "Rise quickly, so that we may go to bury our brother, the bishop of Tours. And when he was buried, Bricius returned to the bishop's chair and lived happily seven years after. And when he died in the forty-seventh year of his episcopate, Saint Eustochius, a man of magnificent holiness, succeeded him. After this the Vandals left their own country and burst into the Gauls under king Gunderic.
And when the Gauls had been thoroughly laid waste they made for the Spains. The Suebi, that is, Alamanni, following them, seized Gallicia. Not long after a quarrel arose between the two peoples, since they were neighbors And when they had gone armed to the battle, and were already at the point of fighting, the king of the Alemanni said: "Why are all the people involved in war? Let our people, I pray, not kill one another in battle, but let two of our warriors go to the field in arms and fight with one another. Then he whose champion wins shall hold the region without strife.
In these days king Gunderic had died and in his place Thrasamund held the kingdom. And in the conflict of the champions the side of the Vandals was overcome, and, his champion being slain, Thrasamund promised to depart, and so, when he had made the necessary preparations for the journey, he removed from the territories of Spain. About the same time Thrasamund persecuted the Christians, and by torture and different sorts of death tried to force all Spain to consent to the perfidy of the Arian sect.
And it so happened that a certain maiden bound by religious vows was brought to trial. She was very rich and of the senatorial nobility according to the ranking of the world, and what is nobler than all this, strong in the catholic faith and a blameless servant of Almighty God. And when she was brought before the eyes of the king he first began to coax her with kind words to be baptized again. And when she repelled his venomous shaft by the armor of the faith, the king commanded that wealth be taken from her who already in her heart possessed the kingdom of paradise, and later that she should be tortured without hope of this life.
Why make a long story? And when she was being forcibly immersed in that filthy bath and was crying loudly; "I believe that the Father and the holy Spirit are of one substance With the Son," when she said this she stained the water with a worthy ointment [ note: For qua sanguine cuncta infecit read digne aquas unguine infecit. Then she was ; taken to the examination according to the law, and after the needle, flame and claw, she was beheaded for Christ the lord. After this the Vandals crossed the sea, the Alemanni following as far as Tangier, and were dispersed throughout all Africa and Mauritania.
The same, under the Gothic king Athanaric of Spain. Journey of Bishop Aravatius of Tongres to Rome thait he might avert by prayer the threatened invasion of the Huns. But there he learns that "it was sanctioned in the council of the Lord that the Huns must come into the Gauls and ravage them.
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Anarchist economics came into force in In a letter to a Donatist named Vencentius, Augustine noted:. Originally my opinion was, that no one should be coerced into the unity of Christ, that we must act only by words, fight only by arguments, and prevail by force of reason, lest we should have those whom we knew as avowed heretics feigning themselves to be Catholics. But this opinion of mine was overcome not by the words of those who controverted it, but by the conclusive instances to which they could point. For, in the first place, there was set over against my opinion my own town [Hippo], which, although it was once wholly on the side of Donatus, was brought over to the Catholic unity by fear of the imperial edicts.
Therefore, they must be conquered if they are ever to be won to Christ and His Church. In all three he made known to Charlemagne how exasperated he was of his method of forcing the conversion of Saxons and the Huns—which many times meant whole villages were ran through with the sword, pillaged, or burned. It is true, that in an age when the usual penalty for defeat was death, Charlemagne several times spared the lives of his defeated foes. However, in one specific instance in at Verden, after a Saxon uprising, he ordered 4, Saxons beheaded, and compelled the clergy and nobles to reform.
Finally, Alcuin reminded Charlemagne that his power and authority was not unlimited, and that he was not above the law. After his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in , Charlemagne declared war on the political and constitutional anarchy that existed among the Franks and throughout much of the empire, by establishing a centralized legal code and through an organized network of missi dominici itinerant judges from the royal court who made legal inquiries inquisitios and issued decrees or changes in the laws in the name of the Holy Roman Emperor.
And last, but not least, he promoted cultural reform through a formal educational training that gave special attention to the liberal arts. Above all, the accusatorial procedure of litigation in both civil and criminal cases came virtually to eliminate the inquisitorial procedure that had taken over Roman law and been introduced into the law of the Church in the fourth century. To charge anyone with any offense, public or private, once again required an accuser, and the limited institutions of social control in eighth- and ninth-century Europe made the process difficult and cumbersome.
This code incorporated both the Salic and Ripuarian constitutions of the Franks, and thus became the principal representative of Roman law among the Franks. Even though both the Theodosianus and the Breviarium codes were later superseded by the Justinian Code in A.
The injunction is given me not to make mention of any other god, not even by speaking—as little by the tongue as by the hand—to fashion a god, and not to worship or in any way show reverence to another than Him only who thus commands me, whom I am both bid fear that I may not be forsaken by Him, and love with my whole being, that I may die for Him. The nature of the sword was moral, thus disciplinary and reformatory. Do not err, my brethren. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. Clement of Alexandria, while condemning excesses, had given guidelines for Christians who wished to attend the baths The papacy ruled supremely in Europe from A.
It was the only body of civil law publicly received as authentic in the western part of Europe till the twelfth century, the use and authority of the Code of Justinian being during that interval confined to the East. But in Charlemagne received from Pope Hadrian I a copy of the collection of conciliar canons and decretals compiled in the sixth century by the monk Dionysius Exiguus.
Charlemagne would use this collection as the basis for religious legislation, and for his ecclesiastical capitularies. The main reason was because Charles knew that the papacy wanted him to develop a unified canonical pattern worked out under its supervision.
Even though Charles was extremely devoted to the Church, he could not bring himself to accept the concept of a Church and State united. Instead, he envisioned a theocracy based on the Old Testament and Old Testament laws; and especially upon the Church-State relationship manifested in the roles of Moses and Aaron.
While Aaron served as the high priest and functioned in strictly spiritual terms, Moses was both magistrate and prophet, and could also go into the temple holy places when necessary, thus giving him direct oversight over all matters pertaining to God and man. Charlemagne viewed himself as the divinely appointed protector, regulator, and executor of the external and internal affairs of the Church.
In he presided at the Council of Frankfurt. Charlemagne for the most part possessed noble goals. But if he had one weakness, it was that he thought of himself too highly. He was often compared to King David by his chief counselor Alcuin. In a capitulary law intended for the clergy and scholars of the Church in the Admonitio generalis or General Admonition , Charlemagne decided to be brash and compared himself to King Josiah in his absolute authority over the religious life of the kingdom of Judah.
Furthermore, he believed that his own devotion to the virtues of Christianity and to the Church should be reflected throughout the empire. Of the many religious reforms that were put in place, none were more noticeable than the ones aimed at reforming the lower clergy, the monasteries, and especially liturgical practices. It was common knowledge that the clergy had gotten lazy and more licentious; had been ill-equipped; and the young men coming up through the ranks were largely illiterate and poorly uneducated. We implore them to lead such a life as befits their profession.
Let them join and associate to themselves not only children of servile condition, but also sons of freemen. And let schools be established in which boys may learn to read. Correct carefully the Psalms, the signs in writing, the sons, the calendar, the grammar, in each monastery or bishopric, and the Catholic books; because often men desire to pray to God properly, but they pray badly because of incorrect books.
And do not permit mere boys to corrupt them in reading or writing. If the Gospel, Psalter, and Missal have to be copied let men of mature age do the copying, with the greatest care. It would not take long for Charles to produce a considerable amount of religious legislation: 1 mandatory Sunday observance; 2 the duties of priests; 3 laws regarding parishioners and godparents; 4 the dating of Easter; and 5 the contents of sermons.
Charles wanted more meat in the sermons, but spoken in the common vernacular and with allegorical meaning as a stimulus to personal understanding and enrichment. Besides this, he also wanted the sermon content to be more focused on such basic tenets as the gospel, the holy trinity, the incarnation, the resurrection, and topics on Christian virtues such as chastity, humility, modesty, charity, liberality, compassion, moderation in eating and drinking, and abstinence from everyday activities and marital sex on Sunday.
Such modest demands show that the further injunction that a priest should also be able to read and understand the gospels was probably a counsel of perfection. This involved a higher standard of bishopric supervision of the rural clergy. This meant more frequent checkup visits by the bishops through a new system of rural deans and archdeacons. New rules were laid down for parishioners as well. We stand here at the starting-point of the christianization of Germanic royalty. It meant that the Church was incorporated into the State and thrown into service for the crown.
Moreover, the higher clergy played an active part in political life. The positions occupied by the arch-chaplain and the chancellor in the palace were of primary importance; both were Churchmen. In the cities, the bishop and the count exercised joint control, and the capitularies were promulgated by them together. One of the missi was always a bishop or an abbot, and seems always to have had the greater prestige and to have commanded confidence as a Churchman.
Southern points out that the bishops did not rush forward with banners advertising their willingness and eagerness to jump into the civil administrative affairs of the local provinces, cities, villages and towns.