Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/758

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lasted two centuries, until overthrown by Charlemagne and the Franks; and they again were succeeded by the Germans, in 962, under Otho the Great.

Thus, during the space of five centuries, Italy was overrun by five successive hosts of invaders: but, with great sagacity, they left the Roman municipal institutions untouched: so that while the forms remained the population was almost entirely renewed. Moreover, the invaders on all occasions favored emancipation, so that by the eleventh century slavery had died out, and the land was once more inhabited by a free people.

Thus, after the gestation of five centuries, the conquering races and the conquered had become amalgamated into one people, and a new nation arose which exhibited such a transformation as had never before been exhibited in the history of the world. The land which had been held by the most prosaic and unimaginative of nations became the mother of all the arts and of all the sciences.

The cities of Italy, enjoying peace and settled government under the Germanic emperors, rapidly progressed in prosperity and wealth, and began to extend their commerce throughout Europe, and became habituated to self-government under the decaying house of Franconia.

But when the Hohenstaufens, a more energetic race, succeeded, Frederick Barbarossa, one of the ablest sovereigns of the middle ages, attempted to reimpose upon them the yoke of the empire. The Lombard cities took up arms in their own defense. Barbarossa was at first successful: he captured Milan and razed it to the ground. But he was finally vanquished in 1176, on the field of Legnano; and Italy became all but nominally independent.

The energies of the people being thus aroused, soon developed themselves in every direction. First architecture, then sculpture, then painting, then poesy, was called into existence; and, during the space of four centuries, Italy produced such a galaxy of illustrious names in the arts as no other country can boast. The powers of Nature seemed to culminate in Michael Angelo, and then decayed.

The day that Michael Angelo died, Galileo was born.

At the same time the study of jurisprudence revived. The great Code of Justinian had been published during a short period while Italy was reunited to the Eastern Empire, and then Justinian caused his code to be adopted throughout the whole empire. But the original Latin soon fell into desuetude in the East, and was superseded by Greek compilations; and was finally set aside by the revised code called the Basilica, published in Greek in the ninth century.

In the troubled state of Italy the study of jurisprudence was naturally much neglected. Each separate race of invaders had its own code of laws—founded, however, on preceding Roman codes; and every nationality was allowed to follow its own laws. Consequently, though the Code of Justinian never ceased to exist, its effects were