Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/186

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180 SYNOPSIS OF EVENTS AFTER


Elbe, the Saale, the Bohemian Mountains, and a line drawn from thence crossing the Danube above Vienna, and prolonged to the Gulf of Istria.*

Throughout this vast assemblage of provinces, Charlemagne established an organized and firm government. But it is not as a mere conqueror that he demands admiration. "In a life restlessly active, we see him reforming the coinage and establishing the legal divisions of money; gathering about him the learned of every country; founding schools and collecting libraries; interfering, with the air of a king, in religious controversies; attempting, for the sake of commerce, the magnificent enterprise of uniting the Rhine and the Danube, and meditating to mold the discordant code of Roman and barbarian laws into a uniform system."†

814-888. Repeated partitions of the empire and civil wars between Charlemagne's descendants. Ultimately the kingdom of France is finally separated from Germany and Italy. In 962, Otho the Great of Germany revives the imperial dignity.

827. Egbert, king of Wessex, acquires the supremacy over the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

832. The first Danish squadron attacks part of the English coast. The Danes, or Northmen, had begun their ravages in France a few years earlier. For two centuries Scandinavia sends out fleet after fleet of sea-rovers, who desolate all the western kingdoms of Europe, and in many caes effect permanent conquests.

871-900. Reign of Alfred in England. After a long and varied struggle, he rescues England from the Danish invaders.

911. The French king cedes Neustria to Hrolf the Northman. Hrolf (or Duke Rollo, as he thenceforth was termed) and his army of Scandinavian warriors become the ruling class of the population of the province, which is called after them, Normandy.

1016. Four knights from Normandy, who had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, while returning through Italy, head the people of Salerno in repelling an attack of a band of Saracen corsairs. In the next year many adventurers from Normandy settle in Italy, where they conquer Apulia (1040), and afterward (1060) Sicily.

1017. Canute, king of Denmark, becomes king of England. On the death of the last of his sons, in 1041, the Saxon line is re-

  • Hallam's "Middle Ages."

† Hallam, ut supra.