Page:The imperial peace; an ideal in European history.djvu/17

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The Imperial Peace

of Roman duties and life, and then to place them on the plane of Roman citizenship. Rome expanded by gradual steps, individual after individual, region after region, till it was coextensive with the Empire, and there were no longer any subjects, but all were Romans, lords of the world. Unfortunately, another process was in progress whereby the Romans became all mere subjects; and the provincials, while nominally elevated to be Romans, found that they with the Romans were sinking to the level of slaves.

Yet the ideal of the Empire continued long to be a power. Even under the tyranny of Domitian Statius caught a glimpse of it. Trajan felt it deeply through the discipline of a soldier, and Marcus through the training of a philosopher. It was the spirit which kept the Imperial law growing and ever young.

The Roman law lived on, and with it lived the Roman Imperial idea. In the University where Mr. Bryce's essay was produced, it would be unbecoming for the ordinary man to speak, or even to quote from him a sentence here and there, about the persistence of the Imperial idea in the mediaeval world, and the dominance of the Roman law in the mediaeval schools. The northern barbarian had found his pleasure and his business in war: the only honourable death for the Norseman was in battle or in the sea. It was from the Roman Imperial law that he learned to make war for the sake of peace.

I may, however, quote the words in which Professor Kleinclausz, of the University of Dijon, sums up the spirit that animated one of the greatest and most humane of conquering monarchs, Charlemagne. He states in a few words what I need an hour to say.

'Charlemagne set before himself an ideal, and he believed in that ideal. His aim was to make his Empire