The Jesuit New World Order

Sunday, 27 May 2012

H.G. Wells (1866–1946).  A Short History of the World.  1922.
Rome Comes into History




THE READER will note a general similarity in the history of all these civilizations in spite of the effectual separation caused by the great barriers of the Indian north-west frontier and of the mountain masses of Central Asia and further India. First for thousands of years the heliolithic culture spread over all the warm and fertile river valleys of the old world and developed a temple system and priest rulers about its sacrificial traditions. Apparently its first makers were always those brunette peoples we have spoken of as the central race of mankind. Then the nomads came in from the regions of seasonal grass and seasonal migrations and superposed their own characteristics and often their own language on the primitive civilization. They subjugated and stimulated it, and were stimulated to fresh developments and made it here one thing and here another. In Mesopotamia it was the Elamite and then the Semite, and at last the Nordic Medes and Persians and the Greeks who supplied the ferment; over the region of the Ægean peoples it was the Greeks; in India it was the Aryan-speakers; in Egypt there was a thinner infusion of conquerors into a more intensely saturated priestly civilization; in China, the Hun conquered and was absorbed and was followed by fresh Huns. China was Mongolized just as Greece and North India were Aryanized and Mesopotamia Semitized and Aryanized. Everywhere the nomads destroyed much, but everywhere they brought in a new spirit of free enquiry and moral innovation. They questioned the beliefs of immemorial ages. They let daylight into the temples. They set up kings who were neither priests nor gods but mere leaders among their captains and companions.
  In the centuries following the sixth century B.C. we find everywhere a great breaking down of ancient traditions and a new spirit of moral and intellectual enquiry awake, a spirit never more to be altogether stilled in the great progressive movement of mankind. We find reading and writing becoming common and accessible accomplishments among the ruling and prosperous minority; they were no longer the jealously guarded secret of the priests. Travel is increasing and transport growing easier by reason of horses and roads. A new and easy device to facilitate trade has been found in coined money.
  Let us now transfer our attention back from China in the extreme east of the old world to the western half of the Mediterranean. Here we have to note the appearance of a city which was destined to play at last a very great part indeed in human affairs, Rome.
  Hitherto we have told very little about Italy in our story. It was before 1000 B.C. a land of mountain and forest and thinly populated. Aryan-speaking tribes had pressed down this peninsula and formed little towns and cities, and the southern extremity was studded with Greek settlements. The noble ruins of Pæstum preserve for us to this day something of the dignity and splendour of these early Greek establishments. A non-Aryan people, probably akin to the Ægean peoples, the Etruscans, had established themselves in the central part of the peninsula. They had reversed the usual process by subjugating various Aryan tribes. Rome, when it comes into the light of history, is a little trading city at a ford on the Tiber, with a Latin-speaking population ruled over by Etruscan kings. The old chronologies gave 753 B.C. as the date of the founding of Rome, half a century later than the founding of the great Phœnician city of Carthage and twenty-three years after the first Olympiad. Etruscan tombs of a much earlier date than 753 B.C. have, however, been excavated in the Roman Forum.
  In that red-letter century, the sixth century B.C., the Etruscan kings were expelled (510 B.C.) and Rome became an aristocratic republic with a lordly class of “patrician” families dominating a commonalty of “plebeians.” Except that it spoke Latin it was not unlike many aristocratic Greek republics.
  For some centuries the internal history of Rome was the story of a long and obstinate struggle for freedom and a share in the government on the part of the plebeians. It would not be difficult to find Greek parallels to this conflict, which the Greeks would have called a conflict of aristocracy with democracy. In the end the plebeians broke down most of the exclusive barriers of the old families and established a working equality with them. They destroyed the old exclusiveness, and made it possible and acceptable for Rome to extend her citizenship by the inclusion of more and more “outsiders.” For while she still struggled at home, she was extending her power abroad.
  The extension of Roman power began in the fifth century B.C. Until that time they had waged war, and generally unsuccessful war, with the Etruscans. There was an Etruscan fort, Veii, only a few miles from Rome which the Romans had never been able to capture. In 474 B.C., however, a great misfortune came to the Etruscans. Their fleet was destroyed by the Greeks of Syracuse in Sicily. At the same time a wave of Nordic invaders came down upon them from the north, the Gauls. Caught between Roman and Gaul, the Etruscans fell—and disappear from history. Veii was captured by the Romans. The Gauls came through to Rome and sacked the city (390 B.C.) but could not capture the Capitol. An attempted night surprise was betrayed by the cackling of some geese, and finally the invaders were bought off and retired to the north of Italy again.
  The Gaulish raid seems to have invigorated rather than weakened Rome. The Romans conquered and assimilated the Etruscans, and extended their power over all central Italy from the Arno to Naples. To this they had reached within a few years of 300 B.C. Their conquests in Italy were going on simultaneously with the growth of Philip’s power in Macedonia and Greece, and the tremendous raid of Alexander to Egypt and the Indus. The Romans had become notable people in the civilized world to the east of them by the break-up of Alexander’s empire.
  To the north of the Roman power were the Gauls; to the south of them were the Greek settlements of Magna Græcia, that is to say of Sicily and of the toe and heel of Italy. The Gauls were a hardy, warlike people and the Romans held that boundary by a line of forts and fortified settlements. The Greek cities in the south headed by Tarentum (now Taranto) and by Syracuse in Sicily, did not so much threaten as fear the Romans. They looked about for some help against these new conquerors.
  We have already told how the empire of Alexander fell to pieces and was divided among his generals and companions. Among these adventurers was a kinsman of Alexander’s named Pyrrhus, who established himself in Epirus, which is across the Adriatic Sea over against the heel of Italy. It was his ambition to play the part of Philip of Macedonia to Magna Græcia, and to become protector and master-general of Tarentum, Syracuse and the rest of that part of the world. He had what was then a very efficient modern army; he had an infantry phalanx, cavalry from Thessaly—which was now quite as good as the original Macedonian cavalry—and twenty fighting elephants; he invaded Italy and routed the Romans in two considerable battles, Heraclea (280 B.C.) and Ausculum (279 B.C.), and having driven them north, he turned his attention to the subjugation of Sicily.
  But this brought against him a more formidable enemy than were the Romans at that time, the Phœnician trading city of Carthage, which was probably then the greatest city in the world. Sicily was too near Carthage for a new Alexander to be welcome there, and Carthage was mindful of the fate that had befallen her mother city Tyre half a century before. So she sent a fleet to encourage or compel Rome to continue the struggle, and she cut the overseas communications of Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus found himself freshly assailed by the Romans, and suffered a disastrous repulse in an attack he had made upon their camp at Beneventum between Naples and Rome.
  And suddenly came news that recalled him to Epirus. The Gauls were raiding south. But this time they were not raiding down into Italy; the Roman frontier, fortified and guarded, had become too formidable for them. They were raiding down through Illyria (which is now Serbia and Albania) to Macedonia and Epirus. Repulsed by the Romans, endangered at sea by the Carthaginians, and threatened at home by the Gauls, Pyrrhus abandoned his dream of conquest and went home (275 B.C.), and the power of Rome was extended to the Straits of Messina.
  On the Sicilian side of the Straits was the Greek city of Messina, and this presently fell into the hands of a gang of pirates. The Carthaginians, who were already practically overlords of Sicily and allies of Syracuse, suppressed these pirates (270 B.C.) and put in a Carthaginian garrison there. The pirates appealed to Rome and Rome listened to their complaint. And so across the Straits of Messina the great trading power of Carthage and this new conquering people, the Romans, found themselves in antagonism, face to face.Rome and Carthage




IT was in 264 B.C. that the great struggle between Rome and Carthage, the Punic Wars, began. In that year Asoka was beginning his reign in Behar and Shi-Hwang-ti was a little child, the Museum in Alexandria was still doing good scientific work, and the barbaric Gauls were now in Asia Minor and exacting a tribute from Pergamum. The different regions of the world were still separated by insurmountable distances, and probably the rest of mankind heard only vague and remote rumours of the mortal fight that went on for a century and a half in Spain, Italy, North Africa and the western Mediterranean, between the last stronghold of Semitic power and Rome, this newcomer among Aryan-speaking peoples.   1
  That war has left its traces upon issues that still stir the world. Rome triumphed over Carthage, but the rivalry of Aryan and Semite was to merge itself later on in the conflict of Gentile and Jew. Our history now is coming to events whose consequences and distorted traditions still maintain a lingering and expiring vitality in, and exercise a complicating and confusing influence upon, the conflicts and controversies of to-day.   2
  The First Punic War began in 264 B.C. about the pirates of Messina. It developed into a struggle for the possession of all Sicily except the dominions of the Greek king of Syracuse. The advantage of the sea was at first with the Carthaginians. They had great fighting ships of what was hitherto an unheard-of size, quinqueremes, galleys with five banks of oars and a huge ram. At the battle of Salamis, two centuries before, the leading battleships had only been triremes with three banks. But the Romans, with extraordinary energy and in spite of the fact that they had little naval experience, set themselves to outbuild the Carthaginians. They manned the new navy they created chiefly with Greek seamen, and they invented grappling and boarding to make up for the superior seamanship of the enemy. When the Carthaginian came up to ram or shear the oars of the Roman, huge grappling irons seized him and the Roman soldiers swarmed aboard him. At Mylæ (260 B.C.) and at Ecnomus (256 B.C.) the Carthaginians were disastrously beaten. They repulsed a Roman landing near Carthage but were badly beaten at Palermo, losing one hundred and four elephants there—to grace such a triumphal procession through the Forum as Rome had never seen before. But after that came two Roman defeats and then a Roman recovery. The last naval forces of Carthage were defeated by a last Roman effort at the battle of the Ægatian Isles (241 B.C.) and Carthage sued for peace. All Sicily except the dominions of Hiero, king of Syracuse, was ceded to the Romans.   3
  For twenty-two years Rome and Carthage kept the peace. Both had trouble enough at home. In Italy the Gauls came south again, threatened Rome—which in a state of panic offered human sacrifices to the Gods!—and were routed at Telamon. Rome pushed forward to the Alps, and even extended her dominions down the Adriatic coast to Illyria. Carthage suffered from domestic insurrections and from revolts in Corsica and Sardinia, and displayed far less recuperative power. Finally, an act of intolerable aggression, Rome seized and annexed the two revolting islands.   4
  Spain at that time was Carthaginian as far north as the river Ebro. To that boundary the Romans restricted them. Any crossing of the Ebro by the Carthaginians was to be considered an act of war against the Romans. At last in 218 B.C. the Carthaginians, provoked by new Roman aggressions, did cross this river under a young general named Hannibal, one of the most brilliant commanders in the whole of history. He marched his army from Spain over the Alps into Italy, raised the Gauls against the Romans, and carried on the Second Punic War in Italy itself for fifteen years. He inflicted tremendous defeats upon the Romans at Lake Trasimere and at Cannæ, and throughout all his Italian campaigns no Roman army stood against him and escaped disaster. But a Roman army had landed at Marseilles and cut his communications with Spain; he had no siege train, and he could never capture Rome. Finally the Carthaginians, threatened by the revolt of the Numidians at home, were forced back upon the defence of their own city in Africa, a Roman army crossed into Africa, and Hannibal experienced his first defeat under its walls at the battle of Zama (202 B.C.) at the hands of Scipio Africanus the Elder. The battle of Zama ended this Second Punic War. Carthage capitulated; she surrendered Spain and her war fleet; she paid an enormous indemnity and agreed to give up Hannibal to the vengeance of the Romans. But Hannibal escaped and fled to Asia where later, being in danger of falling into the hands of his relentless enemies, he took poison and died.   5
  For fifty-six years Rome and the shorn city of Carthage were at peace. And meanwhile Rome spread her empire over confused and divided Greece, invaded Asia Minor, and defeated Antiochus III, the Seleucid monarch, at Magnesia in Lydia. She made Egypt, still under the Ptolemies, and Pergamum and most of the small states of Asia Minor into “Allies,” or, as we should call them now, “protected states.”   6
  Meanwhile Carthage, subjugated and enfeebled, had been slowly regaining something of her former prosperity. Her recovery revived the hate and suspicion of the Romans. She was attacked upon the most shallow and artificial of quarrels (149 B.C.), she made an obstinate and bitter resistance, stood a long siege and was stormed (146 B.C.). The street fighting, or massacre, lasted six days; it was extraordinarily bloody, and when the citadel capitulated only about fifty thousand of the Carthaginian population remained alive out of a quarter of a million. They were sold into slavery, and the city was burnt and elaborately destroyed. The blackened ruins were ploughed and sown as a sort of ceremonial effacement.   7
  So ended the Third Punic War. Of all the Semitic states and cities that had flourished in the world five centuries before only one little country remained free under native rulers. This was Judea, which had liberated itself from the Seleucids and was under the rule of the native Maccabean princes. By this time it had its Bible almost complete, and was developing the distinctive traditions of the Jewish world as we know it now. It was natural that the Carthaginians, Phœnicians and kindred peoples dispersed about the world should find a common link in their practically identical language and in this literature of hope and courage. To a large extent they were still the traders and bankers of the world. The Semitic world had been submerged rather than replaced.   8
  Jerusalem, which has always been rather the symbol than the centre of Judaism, was taken by the Romans in 65 B.C.; and after various vicissitudes of quasi-independence and revolt was besieged by them in 70 A.D. and captured after a stubborn struggle. The Temple was destroyed. A later rebellion in 132 A.D. completed its destruction, and the Jerusalem we know to-day was rebuilt later under Roman auspices. A temple to the Roman god, Jupiter Capitolinus, stood in the place of the Temple, and Jews were forbidden to inhabit the city.The Growth of the Roman Empire




NOW this new Roman power which arose to dominate the western world in the second and first centuries B.C. was in several respects a different thing from any of the great empires that had hitherto prevailed in the civilized world. It was not at first a monarchy, and it was not the creation of any one great conqueror. It was not indeed the first of republican empires; Athens had dominated a group of Allies and dependents in the time of Pericles, and Carthage when she entered upon her fatal struggle with Rome was mistress of Sardinia and Corsica, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and most of Spain and Sicily. But it was the first republican empire that escaped extinction and went on to fresh developments.   1
  The centre of this new system lay far to the west of the more ancient centres of empire, which had hitherto been the river valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt. This westward position enabled Rome to bring in to civilization quite fresh regions and peoples. The Roman power extended to Morocco and Spain, and was presently able to thrust north-westward over what is now France and Belgium to Britain and north-eastward into Hungary and South Russia. But on the other hand it was never able to maintain itself in Central Asia or Persia because they were too far from its administrative centres. It included therefore great masses of fresh Nordic Aryan-speaking peoples, it presently incorporated nearly all the Greek people in the world, and its population was less strongly Hamitic and Semitic than that of any preceding empire.   2
  For some centuries this Roman Empire did not fall into the grooves of precedent that had so speedily swallowed up Persian and Greek, and all that time it developed. The rulers of the Medes and Persians became entirely Babylonized in a generation or so; they took over the tiara of the king of kings and the temples and priesthoods of his gods; Alexander and his successors followed in the same easy path of assimilation; the Seleucid monarchs had much the same court and administrative methods as Nebuchadnezzar; the Ptolemies became Pharaohs and altogether Egyptian. They were assimilated just as before them the Semitic conquerors of the Sumerians had been assimilated. But the Romans ruled in their own city, and for some centuries kept to the laws of their own nature. The only people who exercised any great mental influence upon them before the second or third century A.D. were the kindred and similar Greeks. So that the Roman Empire was essentially a first attempt to rule a great dominion upon mainly Aryan lines. It was so far a new pattern in history, it was an expanded Aryan republic. The old pattern of a personal conqueror ruling over a capital city that had grown up round the temple of a harvest god did not apply to it. The Romans had gods and temples, but like the gods of the Greeks their gods were quasi-human immortals, divine patricians. The Romans also had blood sacrifices and even made human ones in times of stress, things they may have learnt to do from their dusky Etruscan teachers; but until Rome was long past its zenith neither priest nor temple played a large part in Roman history.   3
  The Roman Empire was a growth, an unplanned novel growth; the Roman people found themselves engaged almost unawares in a vast administrative experiment. It cannot be called a successful experiment. In the end their empire collapsed altogether. And it changed enormously in form and method from century to century. It changed more in a hundred years than Bengal or Mesopotamia or Egypt changed in a thousand. It was always changing. It never attained to any fixity.   4
  In a sense the experiment failed. In a sense the experiment remains unfinished, and Europe and America to-day are still working out the riddles of world-wide statescraft first confronted by the Roman people.   5
  It is well for the student of history to bear in mind the very great changes not only in political but in social and moral matters that went on throughout the period of Roman dominion. There is much too strong a tendency in people’s minds to think of the Roman rule as something finished and stable, firm, rounded, noble and decisive. Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome, S.P.Q.R. the elder Cato, the Scipios, Julius Cæsar, Diocletian, Constantine the Great, triumphs, orations, gladiatorial combats and Christian martyrs are all mixed up together in a picture of something high and cruel and dignified. The items of that picture have to be disentangled. They are collected at different points from a process of change profounder than that which separates the London of William the Conqueror from the London of to-day.   6
  We may very conveniently divide the expansion of Rome into four stages. The first stage began after the sack of Rome by the Goths in 390 B.C. and went on until the end of the First Punic War (240 B.C.). We may call this stage the stage of the Assimilative Republic. It was perhaps the finest, most characteristic stage in Roman history. The age-long dissensions of patrician and plebeian were drawing to a close, the Etruscan threat had come to an end, no one was very rich yet nor very poor, and most men were public-spirited. It was a republic like the republic of the South African Boers before 1900 or like the northern states of the American Union between 1800 and 1850; a free-farmers republic. At the outset of this stage Rome was a little state scarcely twenty miles square. She fought the sturdy but kindred states about her, and sought not their destruction but coalescence. Her centuries of civil dissension had trained her people in compromise and concessions. Some of the defeated cities became altogether Roman with a voting share in the government, some became self-governing with the right to trade and marry in Rome; garrisons full of citizens were set up at strategic points and colonies of varied privileges founded among the freshly conquered people. Great roads were made. The rapid Latinization of all Italy was the inevitable consequence of such a policy. In 89 B.C. all the free inhabitants of Italy became citizens of the city of Rome Formally the whole Roman Empire became at last an extended city. In 212 A.D. every free man in the entire extent of the empire was given citizenship; the right, if he could get there, to vote in the town meeting in Rome.   7
  This extension of citizenship to tractable cities and to whole countries was the distinctive device of Roman expansion. It reversed the old process of conquest and assimilation altogether. By the Roman method the conquerors assimilated the conquered.   8
  But after the First Punic War and the annexation of Sicily, though the old process of assimilation still went on, another process arose by its side. Sicily for instance was treated as a conquered prey. It was declared an “estate” of the Roman people. Its rich soil and industrious population was exploited to make Rome rich. The patricians and the more influential among the plebeians secured the major share of that wealth. And the war also brought in a large supply of slaves. Before the First Punic War the population of the republic had been largely a population of citizen farmers. Military service was their privilege and liability. While they were on active service their farms fell into debt and a new large-scale slave agriculture grew up; when they returned they found their produce in competition with slave-grown produce from Sicily and from the new estates at home. Times had changed. The republic had altered its character. Not only was Sicily in the hands of Rome, the common man was in the hands of the rich creditor and the rich competitor. Rome had entered upon its second stage, the Republic of Adventurous Rich Men.   9
  For two hundred years the Roman soldier farmers had struggled for freedom and a share in the government of their state; for a hundred years they had enjoyed their privileges. The First Punic War wasted them and robbed them of all they had won.  10
  The value of their electoral privileges had also evaporated. The governing bodies of the Roman republic were two in number. The first and more important was the Senate. This was a body originally of patricians and then of prominent men of all sorts, who were summoned to it first by certain powerful officials, the consuls and censors. Like the British House of Lords it became a gathering of great landowners, prominent politicians, big business men and the like. It was much more like the British House of Lords than it was like the American Senate. For three centuries, from the Punic Wars onward, it was the centre of Roman political thought and purpose. The second body was the Popular Assembly. This was supposed to be an assembly of all the citizens of Rome. When Rome was a little state twenty miles square this was a possible gathering. When the citizenship of Rome had spread beyond the confines in Italy, it was an altogether impossible one. Its meetings, proclaimed by horn-blowing from the Capitol and the city walls, became more and more a gathering of political hacks and city riff-raff. In the fourth century B.C. the Popular Assembly was a considerable check upon the Senate, a competent representation of the claims and rights of the common man. By the end of the Punic Wars it was an impotent relic of a vanquished popular control. No effectual legal check remained upon the big men.  11
  Nothing of the nature of representative government was ever introduced into the Roman republic. No one thought of electing delegates to represent the will of the citizens. This is a very important point for the student to grasp. The Popular Assembly never became the equivalent of the American House of Representatives or the British House of Commons. In theory it was all the citizens; in practice it ceased to be anything at all worth consideration.  12
  The common citizen of the Roman Empire was therefore in a very poor case after the Second Punic War; he was impoverished, he had often lost his farm, he was ousted from profitable production by slaves, and he had no political power left to him to remedy these things. The only methods of popular expression left to a people without any form of political expression are the strike and the revolt. The story of the second and first centuries B.C., so far as internal politics go, is a story of futile revolutionary upheaval. The scale of this history will not permit us to tell of the intricate struggles of that time, of the attempts to break up estates and restore the land to the free farmer, of proposals to abolish debts in whole or in part. There was revolt and civil war. In 73 B.C., the distresses of Italy were enhanced by a great insurrection of the slaves under Spartacus. The slaves of Italy revolted with some effect, for among them were the trained fighters of the gladiatorial shows. For two years Spartacus held out in the crater of Vesuvius, which seemed at that time to be an extinct volcano. This insurrection was defeated at last and suppressed with frantic cruelty. Six thousand captured Spartacists were crucified along the Appian Way, the great highway that runs southward out of Rome (71 B.C.).  13
  The common man never made head against the forces that were subjugating and degrading him. But the big rich men who were overcoming him were even in his defeat preparing a new power in the Roman world over themselves and him, the power of the army.  14
  Before the Second Punic War the army of Rome was a levy of free farmers, who, according to their quality, rode or marched afoot to battle. This was a very good force for wars close at hand, but not the sort of army that will go abroad and bear long campaigns with patience. And moreover as the slaves multiplied and the estates grew, the supply of free-spirited fighting farmers declined. It was a popular leader named Marius who introduced a new factor. North Africa after the overthrow of the Carthaginian civilization had become a semi-barbaric kingdom, the kingdom of Numidia. The Roman power fell into conflict with Jugurtha, king of this state, and experienced enormous difficulties in subduing him. Marius was made consul, in a phase of public indignation, to end this discreditable war. This he did by raising paid troops and drilling them hard. Jugurtha was brought in chains to Rome (106 B.C.) and Marius, when his time of office had expired, held on to his consulship illegally with his newly created legions. There was no power in Rome to restrain him.  15
  With Marius began the third phase in the development of the Roman power, the Republic of the Military Commanders. For now began a period in which the leaders of the paid legions fought for the mastery of the Roman world. Against Marius was pitted the aristocratic Sulla who had served under him in Africa. Each in turn made a great massacre of his political opponents. Men were proscribed and executed by the thousand, and their estates were sold. After the bloody rivalry of these two and the horror of the revolt of Spartacus, came a phase in which Lucullus and Pompey the Great and Crassus and Julius Cæsar were the masters of armies and dominated affairs. It was Crassus who defeated Spartacus. Lucullus conquered Asia Minor and penetrated to Armenia, and retired with great wealth into private life. Crassus thrusting further invaded Persia and was defeated and slain by the Parthians. After a long rivalry Pompey was defeated by Julius Cæsar (48 B.C.) and murdered in Egypt, leaving Julius Cæsar sole master of the Roman world.  16
  The figure of Julius Cæsar is one that has stirred the human imagination out of all proportion to its merit or true importance. He has become a legend and a symbol. For us he is chiefly important as marking the transition from the phase of military adventurers to the beginning of the fourth stage in Roman expansion, the Early Empire. For in spite of the profoundest economic and political convulsions, in spite of civil war and social degeneration, throughout all this time the boundaries of the Roman state crept outward and continued to creep outward to their maximum about 100 A.D. There had been something like an ebb during the doubtful phases of the Second Punic War, and again a manifest loss of vigour before the reconstruction of the army by Marius. The revolt of Spartacus marked a third phase. Julius Cæsar made his reputation as a military leader in Gaul, which is now France and Belgium. (The chief tribes inhabiting this country belonged to the same Celtic people as the Gauls who had occupied north Italy for a time, and who had afterwards raided into Asia Minor and settled down as the Galatians.) Cæsar drove back a German invasion of Gaul and added all that country to the empire, and he twice crossed the Straits of Dover into Britain (55 and 54 B.C.), where however he made no permanent conquest. Meanwhile Pompey the Great was consolidating Roman conquests that reached in the east to the Caspian Sea.  17
  At this time, the middle of the first century B.C., the Roman Senate was still the nominal centre of the Roman government, appointing consuls and other officials, granting powers and the like; and a number of politicians, among whom Cicero was an outstanding figure, were struggling to preserve the great traditions of republican Rome and to maintain respect for its laws. But the spirit of citizenship had gone from Italy with the wasting away of the free farmers; it was a land now of slaves and impoverished men with neither the understanding nor the desire for freedom. There was nothing whatever behind these republican leaders in the Senate, while behind the great adventurers they feared and desired to control were the legions. Over the heads of the Senate Crassus and Pompey and Cæsar divided the rule of the Empire between them (The First Triumvirate). When presently Crassus was killed at distant Carrhæ by the Parthians, Pompey and Cæsar fell out. Pompey took up the republican side, and laws were passed to bring Cæsar to trial for his breaches of law and his disobedience to the decrees of the Senate.  18
  It was illegal for a general to bring his troops out of the boundary of his command, and the boundary between Cæsar’s command and Italy was the Rubicon. In 49 B.C. he crossed the Rubicon, saying “The die is cast” and marched upon Pompey and Rome.  19
  It had been the custom in Rome in the past, in periods of military extremity, to elect a “dictator” with practically unlimited powers to rule through the crisis. After his overthrow of Pompey, Cæsar was made dictator first for ten years and then (in 45 B.C.) for life. In effect he was made monarch of the empire for life. There was talk of a king, a word abhorrent to Rome since the expulsion of the Etruscans five centuries before. Cæsar refused to be king, but adopted throne and sceptre. After his defeat of Pompey, Cæsar had gone on into Egypt and had made love to Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemies, the goddess queen of Egypt. She seems to have turned his head very completely. He had brought back to Rome the Egyptian idea of a god-king. His statue was set up in a temple with an inscription “To the Unconquerable God.” The expiring republicanism of Rome flared up in a last protest, and Cæsar was stabbed to death in the Senate at the foot of the statue of his murdered rival, Pompey the Great.  20
  Thirteen years more of this conflict of ambitious personalities followed. There was a second Triumvirate of Lepidus, Mark Antony and Octavian Cæsar, the latter the nephew of Julius Cæsar. Octavian like his uncle took the poorer, hardier western provinces where the best legions were recruited. In 31 B.C., he defeated Mark Antony, his only serious rival, at the naval battle of Actium, and made himself sole master of the Roman world. But Octavian was a man of different quality altogether from Julius Cæsar. He had no foolish craving to be God or King. He had no queen-lover that he wished to dazzle. He restored freedom to the Senate and people of Rome. He declined to be dictator. The grateful Senate in return gave him the reality instead of the forms of power. He was to be called not King indeed, but “Princeps” and “Augustus.” He became Augustus Cæsar, the first of the Roman emperors (27 B.C. to 14 A.D.).  21
  He was followed by Tiberius Cæsar (14 to 37 A.D.) and he by others, Caligula, Claudius, Nero and so on up to Trajan (98 A.D.), Hadrian (117 A.D.), Antonius Pius (138 A.D.) and Marcus Aurelius (161–180 A.D.). All these emperors were emperors of the legions. The soldiers made them, and some the soldiers destroyed. Gradually the Senate fades out of Roman history, and the emperor and his administrative officials replace it. The boundaries of the empire crept forward now to their utmost limits. Most of Britain was added to the empire, Transylvania was brought in as a new province, Dacia; Trajan crossed the Euphrates. Hadrian had an idea that reminds us at once of what had happened at the other end of the old world. Like Shi-Hwang-ti he built walls against the northern barbarians; one across Britain and a palisade between the Rhine and the Danube. He abandoned some of the acquisitions of Trajan.  22
  The expansion of the Roman Empire was at an end.Between Rome and China




THE SECOND and first centuries B.C. mark a new phase in the history of mankind. Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean are no longer the centre of interest. Both Mesopotamia and Egypt were still fertile, populous and fairly prosperous, but they were no longer the dominant regions of the world. Power had drifted to the west and to the east. Two great empires now dominated the world, this new Roman Empire and the renascent Empire of China. Rome extended its power to the Euphrates, but it was never able to get beyond that boundary. It was too remote. Beyond the Euphrates the former Persian and Indian dominions of the Seleucids fell under a number of new masters. China, now under the Han dynasty, which had replaced the Ts’in dynasty at the death of Shi-Hwang-ti, had extended its power across Tibet and over the high mountain passes of the Pamirs into western Turkestan. But there, too, it reached its extremes. Beyond was too far.   1
  China at this time was the greatest, best organized and most civilized political system in the world. It was superior in area and population to the Roman Empire at its zenith. It was possible then for these two vast systems to flourish in the same world at the same time in almost complete ignorance of each other. The means of communication both by sea and land was not yet sufficiently developed and organized for them to come to a direct clash.   2
  Yet they reacted upon each other in a very remarkable way, and their influence upon the fate of the regions that lay between them, upon central Asia and India, was profound. A certain amount of trade trickled through, by camel caravans across Persia, for example, and by coasting ships by way of India and the Red Sea. In 66 B.C. Roman troops under Propey followed in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, and marched up the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea. In 102 A.D. a Chinese expeditionary force under Pan Chau reached the Caspian, and sent emissaries to report upon the power of Rome. But many centuries were still to pass before definite knowledge and direct intercourse were to link the great parallel worlds of Europe and Eastern Asia.   3
  To the north of both these great empires were barbaric wildernesses. What is now Germany was largely forest lands; the forests extended far into Russia and made a home for the gigantic aurochs, a bull of almost elephantine size. Then to the north of the great mountain masses of Asia stretched a band of deserts, steppes and then forests and frozen lands. In the eastward lap of the elevated part of Asia was the great triangle of Manchuria. Large parts of these regions, stretching between South Russia and Turkestan into Manchuria, were and are regions of exceptional climatic insecurity. Their rainfall has varied greatly in the course of a few centuries. They are lands treacherous to man. For years they will carry pasture and sustain cultivation, and then will come an age of decline in humidity and a cycle of killing droughts.   4
  The western part of this barbaric north from the German forests to South Russia and Turkestan and from Gothland to the Alps was the region of origin of the Nordic peoples and of the Aryan speech. The eastern steppes and deserts of Mongolia was the region of origin of the Hunnish or Mongolian or Tartar or Turkish peoples—for all these several peoples were akin in language, race, and way of life. And as the Nordic peoples seem to have been continually overflowing their own borders and pressing south upon the developing civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean coast, so the Hunnish tribes sent their surplus as wanderers, raiders and conquerors into the settled regions of China. Periods of plenty in the north would mean an increase in population there; a shortage of grass, a spell of cattle disease, would drive the hungry warlike tribesmen south.   5
  For a time there were simultaneously two fairly effective Empires in the world capable of holding back the barbarians and even forcing forward the frontiers of the imperial peace. The thrust of the Han empire from north China into Mongolia was strong and continuous. The Chinese population welled up over the barrier of the Great Wall. Behind the imperial frontier guards came the Chinese farmer with horse and plough, ploughing up the grass lands and enclosing the winter pasture. The Hunnish peoples raided and murdered the settlers, but the Chinese punitive expeditions were too much for them. The nomads were faced with the choice of settling down to the plough and becoming Chinese tax-payers or shifting in search of fresh summer pastures. Some took the former course and were absorbed. Some drifted north-eastward and eastward over the mountain passes down into western Turkestan.   6
  This westward drive of the Mongolian horsemen was going on from 200 B.C. onward. It was producing a westward pressure upon the Aryan tribes, and these again were pressing upon the Roman frontiers ready to break through directly there was any weakness apparent. The Parthians, who were apparently a Scythian people with some Mongolian admixture, came down to the Euphrates by the first century B.C. They fought against Pompey the Great in his eastern raid. They defeated and killed Crassus. They replaced the Seleucid monarchy in Persia by a dynasty of Parthian kings, the Arsacid dynasty.   7
  But for a time the line of least resistance for hungry nomads lay neither to the west nor the east but through central Asia and then south-eastward through the Khyber Pass into India. It was India which received the Mongolian drive in these centuries of Roman and Chinese strength. A series of raiding conquerors poured down through the Punjab into the great plains to loot and destroy. The empire of Asoka was broken up, and for a time the history of India passes into darkness. A certain Kushan dynasty founded by the “Indo-Scythians”—one of the raiding peoples—ruled for a time over North India and maintained a certain order. These invasions went on for several centuries. For a large part of the fifth century A.D. India was afflicted by the Ephthalites or White Huns, who levied tribute on the small Indian princes and held India in terror. Every summer these Ephthalites pastured in western Turkestan, every autumn they came down through the passes to terrorize India.   8
  In the second century A.D. a great misfortune came upon the Roman and Chinese empires that probably weakened the resistance of both to barbarian pressure. This was a pestilence of unexampled virulence. It raged for eleven years in China and disorganized the social framework profoundly. The Han dynasty fell, and a new age of division and confusion began from which China did not fairly recover until the seventh century A.D. with the coming of the great Tang dynasty.   9
  The infection spread through Asia to Europe. It raged throughout the Roman Empire from 164 to 180 A.D. It evidently weakened the Roman imperial fabric very seriously. We begin to hear of depopulation in the Roman provinces after this, and there was a marked deterioration in the vigour and efficiency of government. At any rate we presently find the frontier no longer invulnerable, but giving way first in this place and then in that. A new Nordic people, the Goths, coming originally from Gothland in Sweden, had migrated across Russia to the Volga region and the shores of the Black Sea and taken to the sea and piracy. By the end of the second century they may have begun to feel the westward thrust of the Huns. In 247 they crossed the Danube in a great land raid, and defeated and killed the Emperor Decius in a battle in what is now Serbia. In 236 another Germanic people, the Franks, had broken bounds upon the lower Rhine, and the Alemanni had poured into Alsace. The legions in Gaul beat back their invaders, but the Goths in the Balkan peninsula raided again and again. The province of Dacia vanished from Roman history.  10
  A chill had come to the pride and confidence of Rome. In 270–275 Rome, which had been an open and secure city for three centuries, was fortified by the Emperor Aurelian.The Common Man’s Life under the Early Roman Empire




BEFORE we tell of how this Roman empire which was built up in the two centuries B.C., and which flourished in peace and security from the days of Augustus Cæsar onward for two centuries, fell into disorder and was broken up, it may be as well to devote some attention to the life of the ordinary people throughout this great realm. Our history has come down now to within 2000 years of our own time; and the life of the civilized people, both under the Peace of Rome and the Peace of the Han dynasty, was beginning to resemble more and more clearly the life of their civilized successors to-day.   1
  In the western world coined money was now in common use; outside the priestly world there were many people of independent means who were neither officials of the government nor priests; people travelled about more freely than they had ever done before, and there were high roads and inns for them. Compared with the past, with the time before 500 B.C., life had become much more loose. Before that date civilized men had been bound to a district or country, had been bound to a tradition and lived within a very limited horizon; only the nomads traded and travelled.   2
  But neither the Roman Peace nor the Peace of the Han dynasty meant a uniform civilization over the large areas they controlled. There were very great local differences and great contrasts and inequalities of culture between one district and another, just as there are to-day under the British Peace in India. The Roman garrisons and colonies were dotted here and there over this great space, worshipping Roman gods and speaking the Latin language; but where there had been towns and cities before the coming of the Romans, they went on, subordinated indeed but managing their own affairs, and, for a time at least, worshipping their own gods in their own fashion. Over Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and the Hellenized East generally, the Latin language never prevailed. Greek ruled there invincibly. Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, was a Jew and a Roman citizen; but he spoke and wrote Greek and not Hebrew. Even at the court of the Parthian dynasty, which had overthrown the Greek Seleucids in Persia, and was quite outside the Roman imperial boundaries, Greek was the fashionable language. In some parts of Spain and in North Africa, the Carthaginian language also held on for a long time in spite of the destruction of Carthage. Such a town as Seville, which had been a prosperous city long before the Roman name had been heard of, kept its Semitic goddess and preserved its Semitic speech for generations, in spite of a colony of Roman veterans at Italica a few miles away. Septimius Severus, who was emperor from 193 to 211 A.D., spoke Carthaginian as his mother speech. He learnt Latin later as a foreign tongue; and it is recorded that his sister never learnt Latin and conducted her Roman household in the Punic language.   3
  In such countries as Gaul and Britain and in provinces like Dacia (now roughly Roumania) and Pannonia (Hungary south of the Danube), where there were no pre-existing great cities and temples and cultures, the Roman empire did however “Latinize.” It civilized these countries for the first time. It created cities and towns where Latin was from the first the dominant speech, and where Roman gods were served and Roman customs and fashions followed. The Roumanian, Italian, French and Spanish languages, all variations and modifications of Latin, remain to remind us of this extension of Latin speech and customs. North-west Africa also became at last largely Latin-speaking. Egypt, Greece and the rest of the empire to the east were never Latinized. They remained Egyptian and Greek in culture and spirit. And even in Rome, among educated men, Greek was learnt as the language of a gentleman and Greek literature and learning were very properly preferred to Latin.   4
  In this miscellaneous empire the ways of doing work and business were naturally also very miscellaneous. The chief industry of the settled world was still largely agriculture. We have told how in Italy the sturdy free farmers who were the backbone of the early Roman republic were replaced by estates worked by slave labour after the Punic wars. The Greek world had had very various methods of cultivation, from the Arcadian plan, wherein every free citizen toiled with his own hands, to Sparta, wherein it was a dishonour to work and where agricultural work was done by a special slave class, the Helots. But that was ancient history now, and over most of the Hellenized world the estate system and slavegangs had spread. The agricultural slaves were captives who spoke many different languages so that they could not understand each other, or they were born slaves; they had no solidarity to resist oppression, no tradition of rights, no knowledge, for they could not read nor write. Although they came to form a majority of the country population they never made a successful insurrection. The insurrection of Spartacus in the first century B.C. was an insurrection of the special slaves who were trained for the gladiatorial combats. The agricultural workers in Italy in the latter days of the Republic and the early Empire suffered frightful indignities; they would be chained at night to prevent escape or have half the head shaved to make it difficult. They had no wives of their own; they could be outraged, mutilated and killed by their masters. A master could sell his slave to fight beasts in the arena. If a slave slew his master, all the slaves in his household and not merely the murderer were crucified. In some parts of Greece, in Athens notably, the lot of the slave was never quite so frightful as this, but it was still detestable. To such a population the barbarian invaders who presently broke through the defensive line of the legions, came not as enemies but as liberators.   5
  The slave system had spread to most industries and to every sort of work that could be done by gangs. Mines and metallurgical operations, the rowing of galleys, road-making and big building operations were all largely slave occupations. And almost all domestic service was performed by slaves. There were poor freemen men and there were reed-men in the cities and upon the country side, working for themselves or even working for wages. They were artizans, supervisors and so forth, workers of a new money-paid class working in competition with slave workers; but we do not know what proportion they made of the general population. It probably varied widely in different places and at different periods. And there were also many modifications of slavery, from the slavery that was chained at night and driven with whips to the farm or quarry, to the slave whose master found it advantageous to leave him to cultivate his patch or work his craft and own his wife like a free-man, provided he paid in a satisfactory quittance to his owner.   6
  There were armed slaves. At the opening of the period of the Punic wars, in 264 B.C., the Etruscan sport of setting slaves to fight for their lives was revived in Rome. It grew rapidly fashionable; and soon every great Roman rich man kept a retinue of gladiators, who sometimes fought in the arena but whose real business it was to act as his bodyguard of bullies. And also there were learned slaves. The conquests of the later Republic were among the highly civilized cities of Greece, North Africa and Asia Minor; and they brought in many highly educated captives. The tutor of a young Roman of good family was usually a slave. A rich man would have a Greek slave as librarian, and slave secretaries and learned men. He would keep his poet as he would keep a performing dog. In this atmosphere of slavery the traditions of modern literary criticism were evolved. The slaves still boast and quarrel in our reviews. There were enterprising people who bought intelligent boy slaves and had them educated for sale. Slaves were trained as book copyists, as jewellers, and for endless skilled callings.   7
  But there were very considerable changes in the position of a slave during the four hundred years between the opening days of conquest under the republic of rich men and the days of disintegration that followed the great pestilence. In the second century B.C. war-captives were abundant, manners gross and brutal; the slave had no rights and there was scarcely an outrage the reader can imagine that was not practised upon slaves in those days. But already in the first century A.D. there was a perceptible improvement in the attitude of the Roman civilization towards slavery. Captives were not so abundant for one thing, and slaves were dearer. And slave-owners began to realize that the profit and comfort they got from their slaves increased with the self-respect of these unfortunates. But also the moral tone of the community was rising, and a sense of justice was becoming effective. The higher mentality of Greece was qualifying the old Roman harshness. Restrictions upon cruelty were made, a master might no longer sell his slave to fight beasts, a slave was given property rights in what was called his peculium, slaves were paid wages as an encouragement and stimulus, a form of slave marriage was recognized. Very many forms of agriculture do not lend themselves to gang working, or require gang workers only at certain seasons. In regions where such conditions prevailed the slave presently became a serf, paying his owner part of his produce or working for him at certain seasons.   8
  When we begin to realize how essentially this great Latin and Greek-speaking Roman Empire of the first two centuries A.D. was a slave state and how small was the minority who had any pride or freedom in their lives, we lay our hands on the clues to its decay and collapse. There was little of what we should call family life, few homes of temperate living and active thought and study; schools and colleges were few and far between. The free will and the free mind were nowhere to be found. The great roads, the ruins of splendid buildings, the tradition of law and power it left for the astonishment of succeeding generations must not conceal from us that all its outer splendour was built upon thwarted wills, stifled intelligence, and crippled and perverted desires. And even the minority who lorded it over that wide realm of subjugation and of restraint and forced labour were uneasy and unhappy in their souls; art and literature, science and philosophy, which are the fruits of free and happy minds, waned in that atmosphere. There was much copying and imitation, an abundance of artistic artificers, much slavish pedantry among the servile men of learning, but the whole Roman empire in four centuries produced nothing to set beside the bold and noble intellectual activities of the comparatively little city of Athens during its one century of greatness. Athens decayed under the Roman sceptre. The science of Alexandria decayed. The spirit of man, it seemed, was decaying in those days.Religious Developments under the Roman Empire




THE SOUL of man under that Latin and Greek empire of the first two centuries of the Christian era was a worried and frustrated soul. Compulsion and cruelty reigned; there were pride and display but little honour; little serenity or steadfast happiness. The unfortunate were despised and wretched; the fortunate were insecure and feverishly eager for gratifications. In a great number of cities life centred on the red excitement of the arena, where men and beasts fought and were tormented and slain. Amphitheatres are the most characteristic of Roman ruins. Life went on in that key. The uneasiness of men’s hearts manifested itself in profound religious unrest.   1
  From the days when the Aryan hordes first broke in upon the ancient civilizations, it was inevitable that the old gods of the temples and priesthoods should suffer great adaptations or disappear. In the course of hundreds of generations the agricultural peoples of the brunette civilizations had shaped their lives and thoughts to the temple-centred life. Observances and the fear of disturbed routines, sacrifices and mysteries, dominated their minds. Their gods seem monstrous and illogical to our modern minds because we belong to an Aryanized world, but to these older peoples these deities had the immediate conviction and vividness of things seen in an intense dream. The conquest of one city state by another in Sumeria or early Egypt meant a change or a renaming of gods or goddesses, but left the shape and spirit of the worship intact. There was no change in its general character. The figures in the dream changed, but the dream went on and it was the same sort of dream. And the early Semitic conquerors were sufficiently akin in spirit to the Sumerians to take over the religion of the Mesopotamian civilization they subjugated without any profound alteration. Egypt was never indeed subjugated to the extent of a religious revolution. Under the Ptolemies and under the Cæsars, her temples and altars and priesthoods remained essentially Egyptian.   2
  So long as conquests went on between people of similar social and religious habits it was possible to get over the clash between the god of this temple and region and the god of that by a process of grouping or assimilation. If the two gods were alike in character they were identified. It was really the same god under another name, said the priests and the people. This fusion of gods is called theocrasia; and the age of the great conquests of the thousand years B.C. was an age of theocrasia. Over wide areas the local gods were displaced by, or rather they were swallowed up in, a general god. So that when at last Hebrew prophets in Babylon proclaimed one God of Righteousness in all the earth men’s minds were fully prepared for that idea.   3
  But often the gods were too dissimilar for such an assimilation, and then they were grouped together in some plausible relationship. A female god—and the Ægean world before the coming of the Greek was much addicted to Mother Gods—would be married to a male god, and an animal god or a star god would be humanized and the animal or astronomical aspect, the serpent or the sun or the star, made into an ornament or a symbol. Or the god of a defeated people would become a malignant antagonist to the brighter gods. The history of theology is full of such adaptations, compromises and rationalizations of once local gods.   4
  As Egypt developed from city states into one united kingdom there was much of this theocrasia. The chief god so to speak was Osiris, a sacrificial harvest god of whom Pharaoh was supposed to be the earthly incarnation. Osiris was represented as repeatedly dying and rising again; he was not only the seed and the harvest but also by a natural extension of thought the means of human immortality. Among his symbols was the wide-winged scarabeus beetle which buries its eggs to rise again, and also the effulgent sun which sets to rise. Later on he was to be identified with Apis, the sacred bull. Associated with him was the goddess Isis. Isis was also Hathor, a cow-goddess, and the crescent moon and the Star of the sea. Osiris dies and she bears a child, Horus, who is also a hawk-god and the dawn, and who grows to become Osiris again. The effigies of Isis represent her as bearing the infant Horus in her arms and standing on the crescent moon. These are not logical relationships, but they were devised by the human mind before the development of hard and systematic thinking and they have a dream-like coherence. Beneath this triple group there are other and darker Egyptian gods, bad gods, the dog-headed Anubis, black night and the like, devourers, tempters, enemies of god and man.   5
  Every religious system does in the course of time fit itself to the shape of the human soul, and there can be no doubt that out of these illogical and even uncouth symbols, Egyptian people were able to fashion for themselves ways of genuine devotion and consolation. The desire for immortality was very strong in the Egyptian mind, and the religious life of Egypt turned on that desire. The Egyptian religion was an immortality religion as no other religion had ever been. As Egypt went down under foreign conquerors and the Egyptian gods ceased to have any satisfactory political significance, this craving for a life of compensations hereafter, intensified.   6
  After the Greek conquest, the new city of Alexandria became the centre of Egyptian religious life, and indeed of the religious life of the whole Hellenic world. A great temple, the Serapeum, was set up by Ptolemy I at which a sort of trinity of gods was worshipped. These were Serapis (who was Osiris-Apis rechristened), Isis and Horus. These were not regarded as separate gods but as three aspects of one god, and Serapis was identified with the Greek Zeus, the Roman Jupiter and the Persian sun-god. This worship spread wherever the Hellenic influence extended, even into North India and Western China. The idea of immortality, an immortality of compensations and consolation, was eagerly received by a world in which the common life was hopelessly wretched. Serapis was called “the saviour of souls.” “After death,” said the hymns of that time, “we are still in the care of his providence.” Isis attracted many devotees. Her images stood in her temples, as Queen of Heaven, bearing the infant Horus in her arms. Candles were burnt before her, votive offerings were made to her, shaven priests consecrated to celibacy waited on her altar.   7
  The rise of the Roman empire opened the western European world to this growing cult. The temples of Serapis-Isis, the chanting of the priests and the hope of immortal life, followed the Roman standards to Scotland and Holland. But there were many rivals to the Serapis-Isis religion. Prominent among these was Mithraism. This was a religion of Persian origin, and it centred upon some now forgotten mysteries about Mithras sacrificing a sacred and benevolent bull. Here we seem to have something more primordial than the complicated and sophisticated Serapis-Isis beliefs. We are carried back directly to the blood sacrifices of the heliolithic stage in human culture. The bull upon the Mithraic monuments always bleeds copiously from a wound in its side, and from this blood springs new life. The votary to Mithraism actually bathed in the blood of the sacrificial bull. At his initiation he went beneath a scaffolding upon which a bull was killed so that the blood could actually run down on him.   8
  Both these religions, and the same is true of many other of the numerous parallel cults that sought the allegiance of the slaves and citizens under the earlier Roman emperors, are personal religions. They aim at personal salvation and personal immortality. The older religions were not personal like that; they were social. The older fashion of divinity was god or goddess of the city first or of the state, and only secondarily of the individual. The sacrifices were a public and not a private function. They concerned collective practical needs in this world in which we live. But the Greeks first and now the Romans had pushed religion out of politics. Guided by the Egyptian tradition religion had retreated to the other world.   9
  These new private immortality religions took all the heart and emotion out of the old state religions, but they did not actually replace them. A typical city under the earlier Roman emperors would have a number of temples to all sorts of gods. There might be a temple to Jupiter of the Capitol, the great god of Rome, and there would probably be one to the reigning Cæsar. For the Cæsars had learnt from the Pharaohs the possibility of being gods. In such temples a cold and stately political worship went on; one would go and make an offering and burn a pinch of incense to show one’s loyalty. But it would be to the temple of Isis, the dear Queen of Heaven, one would go with the burthen of one’s private troubles for advice and relief. There might be local and eccentric gods. Seville, for example, long affected the worship of the old Carthaginian Venus. In a cave or an underground temple there would certainly be an altar to Mithras, attended by legionaries and slaves. And probably also there would be a synagogue where the Jews gathered to read their Bible and uphold their faith in the unseen God of all the Earth.  10
  Sometimes there would be trouble with the Jews about the political side of the state religion. They held that their God was a jealous God intolerant of idolatry, and they would refuse to take part in the public sacrifices to Cæsar. They would not even salute the Roman standards for fear of idolatry.  11
  In the East long before the time of Buddha there had been ascetics, men and women who gave up most of the delights of life, who repudiated marriage and property and sought spiritual powers and an escape from the stresses and mortifications of the world in abstinence, pain and solitude. Buddha himself set his face against ascetic extravagances, but many of his disciples followed a monkish life of great severity. Obscure Greek cults practised similar disciplines even to the extent of self-mutilation. Asceticism appeared in the Jewish communities of Judea and Alexandria also in the first century B.C. Communities of men abandoned the world and gave themselves to austerities and mystical contemplation. Such was the sect of the Essenes. Throughout the first and second centuries A.D. there was an almost world-wide resort to such repudiations of life, a universal search for “salvation” from the distresses of the time. The old sense of an established order, the old confidence in priest and temple and law and custom, had gone. Amidst the prevailing slavery, cruelty, fear, anxiety, waste, display and hectic self-indulgence, went this epidemic of self-disgust and mental insecurity, this agonized search for peace even at the price of renunciation and voluntary suffering. This it was that filled the Serapeum with weeping penitents and brought the converts into the gloom and gore of the Mithraic cave.The Barbarians Break the Empire into East and West




THROUGHOUT the third century the Roman Empire, decaying socially and disintegrating morally, faced the barbarians. The emperors of this period were fighting military autocrats, and the capital of the empire shifted with the necessities of their military policy. Now the imperial headquarters would be at Milan in north Italy, now in what is now Serbia at Sirmium or Nish, now in Nicomedia in Asia Minor. Rome halfway down Italy was too far from the centre of interest to be a convenient imperial seat. It was a declining city. Over most of the empire peace still prevailed and men went about without arms. The armies continued to be the sole repositories of power; the emperors, dependent on their legions, became more and more autocratic to the rest of the empire and their state more and more like that of the Persian and other oriental monarchs. Diocletian assumed a royal diadem and oriental robes.   1
  All along the imperial frontier, which ran roughly along the Rhine and Danube, enemies were now pressing. The Franks and other German tribes had come up to the Rhine. In north Hungary were the Vandals; in what was once Dacia and is now Roumania, the Visigoths or West Goths. Behind these in south Russia were the East Goths or Ostrogoths, and beyond these again in the Volga region the Alans. But now Mongolian peoples were forcing their way towards Europe. The Huns were already exacting tribute from the Alans and Ostrogoths and pushing them to the west.   2
  In Asia the Roman frontiers were crumpling back under the push of a renascent Persia. This new Persia, the Persia of the Sassenid kings, was to be a vigorous and on the whole a successful rival of the Roman Empire in Asia for the next three centuries.   3
  A glance at the map of Europe will show the reader the peculiar weakness of the empire. The river Danube comes down to within Vandals, being pressed by the Goths, asked to be received into the Roman Empire. They were assigned lands in Pannonia, which is now that part of Hungary west of the Danube, and their fighting men became nominally legionaries. But these new legionaries remained under their own chiefs. Rome failed to digest them.   5
  Constantine died working to reorganize his great realm, and soon the frontiers were ruptured again and the Visigoths came almost to Constantinople. They defeated the Emperor Valens at Adrianople and made a settlement in what is now Bulgaria, similar to the settlement of the Vandals in Pannonia. Nominally they were subjects of the emperor, practically they were conquerors.   6
  From 379 to 395 A.D. reigned the Emperor Theodosius the Great, and while he reigned the empire was still formally intact. Over the armies of Italy and Pannonia presided Stilicho, a Vandal, over the armies in the Balkan peninsula, Alaric, a Goth. When Theodosius died at the close of the fourth century he left two sons. Alaric supported one of these, Arcadius, in Constantinople, and Stilicho the other, Honorius, in Italy. In other words Alaric and Stilicho fought for the empire with the princes as puppets. In the course of their struggle Alaric marched into Italy and after a short siege took Rome (410 A.D.).   7
  The opening half of the fifth century saw the whole of the Roman Empire in Europe the prey of robber armies of barbarians. It is difficult to visualize the state of affairs in the world at that time. Over France, Spain, Italy and the Balkan peninsula, the great cities that had flourished under the early empire still stood, impoverished, partly depopulated and falling into decay. Life in them must have been shallow, mean and full of uncertainty. Local officials asserted their authority and went on with their work with such conscience as they had, no doubt in the name of a now remote and inaccessible emperor. The churches went on, but usually with illiterate priests. There was little reading and much superstition and fear. But everywhere except where looters had destroyed them, books and pictures and statuary and such-like works of art were still to be found.   8
  The life of the countryside had also degenerated. Everywhere this Roman world was much more weedy and untidy than it had been. In some regions war and pestilence had brought the land down to the level of a waste. Roads and forests were infested with robbers. Into such regions the barbarians marched, with little or no opposition, and set up their chiefs as rulers, often with Roman official titles. If they were half civilized barbarians they would give the conquered districts tolerable terms, they would take possession of the towns, associate and intermarry, and acquire (with an accent) the Latin speech; but the Jutes, the Angles and Saxons who submerged the Roman province of Britain were agriculturalists and had no use for towns, they seem to have swept south Britain clear of the Romanized population and they replaced the language by their own Teutonic dialects, which became at last English.   9
  It is impossible in the space at our disposal to trace the movements of all the various German and Slavonic tribes as they went to and fro in the disorganized empire in search of plunder and a pleasant home. But let the Vandals serve as an example. They came into history in east Germany. They settled as we have told in Pannonia. Thence they moved somewhen about 425 A.D. through the intervening provinces to Spain. There they found Visigoths from South Russia and other German tribes setting up dukes and kings. From Spain the Vandals under Genseric sailed for North Africa (429), captured Carthage (439), and built a fleet. They secured the mastery of the sea and captured and pillaged Rome (455), which had recovered very imperfectly from her capture and looting by Alaric half a century earlier. Then the Vandals made themselves masters of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and most of the other islands of the western Mediterranean. They made, in fact, a sea empire very similar in its extent to the sea empire of Carthage seven hundred odd years before. They were at the climax of their power about 477. They were a mere handful of conquerors holding all this country. In the next century almost all their territory had been reconquered for the empire of Constantinople during a transitory blaze of energy under Justinian I.  10
  The story of the Vandals is but one sample of a host of similar adventures. But now there was coming into the European world the least kindred and most redoubtable of all these devastators, the Mongolian Huns or Tartars, a yellow people active and able, such as the western world had never before encountered.The Huns and the End of the Western Empire




THIS appearance of a conquering Mongolian people in Europe may be taken to mark a new stage in human history. Until the last century or so before the Christian era, the Mongol and the Nordic peoples had not been in close touch. Far away in the frozen lands beyond the northern forests the Lapps, a Mongolian people, had drifted westward as far as Lapland, but they played no part in the main current of history. For thousands of years the western world carried on the dramatic interplay of the Aryan, Semitic and fundamental brunette peoples with very little interference (except for an Ethiopian invasion of Egypt or so) either from the black peoples to the south or from the Mongolian world in the far East.   1
  It is probable that there were two chief causes for the new westward drift of the nomadic Mongolians. One was the consolidation of the great empire of China, its extension northward and the increase of its population during the prosperous period of the Han dynasty. The other was some process of climatic change; a lesser rainfall that abolished swamps and forests perhaps, or a greater rainfall that extended grazing over desert steppes, or even perhaps both these processes going on in different regions but which anyhow facilitated a westward migration. A third contributary cause was the economic wretchedness, internal decay and falling population of the Roman Empire. The rich men of the later Roman Republic, and then the tax-gatherers of the military emperors had utterly consumed its vitality. So we have the factors of thrust, means and opportunity. There was pressure from the east, rot in the west and an open road.   2
  The Hun had reached the eastern boundaries of European Russia by the first century A.D., but it was not until the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. that these horsemen rose to predominance upon the steppes. The fifth century was the Hun’s century. The first Huns to come into Italy were mercenary bands in the pay of Stilicho the Vandal, the master of Honorius. Presently they were in possession of Pannonia, the empty nest of the Vandals.   3
  By the second quarter of the fifth century a great war chief had arisen among the Huns, Attila. We have only vague and tantalizing glimpses of his power. He ruled not only over the Huns but over a conglomerate of tributary Germanic tribes; his empire extended from the Rhine cross the plains into Central Asia. He exchanged ambassadors with China. His head camp was in the plain of Hungary east of the Danube. There he was visited by an envoy from Constantinople, Priscus, who has left us an account of his state. The way of living of these Mongols was very like the way of living of the primitive Aryans they had replaced. The common folk were in huts and tents; the chiefs lived in great stockaded timber halls. There were feasts and drinking and singing by the bards. The Homeric heroes and even the Macedonian companions of Alexander would probably have felt more at home in the camp-capital of Attila than they would have done in the cultivated and decadent court of Theodosius II, the son of Arcadius, who was then reigning in Constantinople.   4
  For a time it seemed as though the nomads under the leadership of the Huns and Attila would play the same part towards the Græco-Roman civilization of the Mediterranean countries that the barbaric Greeks had played long ago to the Ægean civilization. It looked like history repeating itself upon a larger stage. But the Huns were much more wedded to the nomadic life than the early Greeks, who were rather migratory cattle farmers than true nomads. The Huns raided and plundered but did not settle.   5
  For some years Attila bullied Theodosius as he chose. His armies devastated and looted right down to the walls of Constantinople, Gibbon says that he totally destroyed no less than seventy cities in the Balkan peninsula, and Theodosius bought him off by payments of tribute and tried to get rid of him for good by sending secret agents to assassinate him. In 451 Attila turned his attention to the remains of the Latin-speaking half of the empire and invaded Gaul. Nearly every town in northern Gaul was sacked. Franks, Visigoths and the imperial forces united against him and he was defeated at Troyes in a vast dispersed battle in which a multitude of men, variously estimated as between 150,000 and 300,000, were killed. This checked him in Gaul, but it did not exhaust his enormous military resources. Next year he came into Italy by way of Venetia, burnt Aquileia and Padua and looted Milan.   6
  Numbers of fugitives from these north Italian towns and particularly from Padua fled to islands in the lagoons at the head of the Adriatic and laid there the foundations of the city state of Venice, which was to become one of the greatest of the trading centres in the middle ages.   7
  In 453 Attila died suddenly after a great feast to celebrate his marriage to a young woman, and at his death this plunder confederation of his fell to pieces. The actual Huns disappear from history, mixed into the surrounding more numerous Aryan-speaking populations. But these great Hun raids practically consummated the end of the Latin Roman Empire. After his death ten different emperors ruled in Rome in twenty years, set up by Vandal and other mercenary troops. The Vandals from Carthage took and sacked Rome in 455. Finally in 476 Odoacer, the chief of the barbarian troops, suppressed a Pannonian who was figuring as emperor under the impressive name of Romulus Augustulus, and informed the Court of Constantinople that there was no longer an emperor in the west. So ingloriously the Latin Roman Empire came to an end. In 493 Theodoric the Goth became King of Rome.   8
  All over western and central Europe now barbarian chiefs were reigning as kings, dukes and the like, practically independent but for the most part professing some sort of shadowy allegiance to the emperor. There were hundreds and perhaps thousands of such practically independent brigand rulers. In Gaul, Spain and Italy and in Dacia the Latin speech still prevailed in locally distorted forms, but in Britain and east of the Rhine languages of the German group (or in Bohemia a Slavonic language, Czech) were the common speech. The superior clergy and a small remnant of other educated men read and wrote Latin. Everywhere life was insecure and property was held by the strong arm. Castles multiplied and roads fell into decay. The dawn of the sixth century was an age of division and of intellectual darkness throughout the western world. Had it not been for the monks and Christian missionaries Latin learning might have perished altogether.   9
  Why had the Roman Empire grown and why had it so completely decayed? It grew because at first the idea of citizenship held it together. Throughout the days of the expanding republic, and even into the days of the early empire there remained a great number of men conscious of Roman citizenship, feeling it a privilege and an obligation to be a Roman citizen, confident of their rights under the Roman law and willing to make sacrifices in the name of Rome. The prestige of Rome as of something just and great and law-up-holding spread far beyond the Roman boundaries. But even as early as the Punic wars the sense of citizenship was being undermined by the growth of wealth and slavery. Citizenship spread indeed but not the idea of citizenship.  10
  The Roman Empire was after all a very primitive organization; it did not educate, did not explain itself to its increasing multitudes of citizens, did not invite their co-operation in its decisions. There was no network of schools to ensure a common understanding, no distribution of news to sustain collective activity. The adventurers who struggled for power from the days of Marius and Sulla onward had no idea of creating and calling in public opinion upon the imperial affairs. The spirit of citizenship died of starvation and no one observed it die. All empires, all states, all organizations of human society are, in the ultimate, things of understanding and will. There remained no will for the Roman Empire in the World and so it came to an end.  11
  But though the Latin-speaking Roman Empire died in the fifth century, something else had been born within it that was to avail itself enormously of its prestige and tradition, and that was the Latin-speaking half of the Catholic Church. This lived while the empire died because it appealed to the minds and wills of men, because it had books and a great system of teachers and missionaries to hold it together, things stronger than any law or legions. Throughout the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. while the empire was decaying, Christianity was spreading to a universal dominion in Europe. It conquered its conquerors, the barbarians. When Attila seemed disposed to march on Rome, the patriarch of Rome intercepted him and did what no armies could do, turning him back by sheer moral force.  12
  The Patriarch or Pope of Rome claimed to be the head of the entire Christian church. Now that there were no more emperors, he began to annex imperial titles and claims. He took the title of pontifex maximus, head sacrificial priest of the Roman dominion, the most ancient of all the titles that the emperors had enjoyed.The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires




THE GREEK-SPEAKING eastern half of the Roman Empire showed much more political tenacity than the western half. It weathered the disasters of the fifth century A.D., which saw a complete and final breaking up of the original Latin Roman power. Attila bullied the Emperor Theodosius II and sacked and raided almost to the walls of Constantinople, but that city remained intact. The Nubians came down the Nile and looted Upper Egypt, but Lower Egypt and Alexandria were left still fairly prosperous. Most of Asia Minor was held against the Sassanid Persians.   1
  The sixth century, which was an age of complete darkness for the West, saw indeed a considerable revival of the Greek power. Justinian I (527–565) was a ruler of very great ambition and energy, and he was married to the Empress Theodora, a woman of quite equal capacity who had begun life as an actress. Justinian reconquered North Africa from the Vandals and most of Italy from the Goths. He even regained the south of Spain. He did not limit his energies to naval and military enterprises. He founded a university, built the great church of Sta. Sophia in Constantinople and codified the Roman law. But in order to destroy a rival to his university foundation he closed the schools of philosophy in Athens, which had been going on in unbroken continuity from the days of Plato, that is to say for nearly a thousand years.   2
  From the third century onwards the Persian Empire had been the steadfast rival of the Byzantine. The two empires kept Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt in a state of perpetual unrest and waste. In the first century A.D., these lands were still at a high level of civilization, wealthy and with an abundant population, but the continual coming and going of armies, massacres, looting and war taxation wore them down steadily until only shattered and ruinous cities remained upon a countryside of scattered peasants. In this melancholy process of impoverishment and disorder lower Egypt fared perhaps less badly than the rest of the world. Alexandria, like Constantinople, continued a dwindling trade between the east and the west.   3
  Science and political philosophy seemed dead now in both these warring and decaying empires. The last philosophers of Athens, until their suppression, preserved the texts of the great literature of the past with an infinite reverence and want of understanding. But there remained no class of men in the world, no free gentlemen with bold and independent habits of thought, to carry on the tradition of frank statement and enquiry embodied in these writings. The social and political chaos accounts largely for the disappearance of this class, but there was also another reason why the human intelligence was sterile and feverish during this age. In both Persia and Byzantium it was an age of intolerance. Both empires were religious empires in a new way, in a way that greatly hampered the free activities of the human mind.   4
  Of course the oldest empires in the world were religious empires, centring upon the worship of a god or of a god-king. Alexander was treated as a divinity and the Cæsars were gods in so much as they had altars and temples devoted to them and the offering of incense was made a test of loyalty to the Roman state. But these older religions were essentially religions of act and fact. They did not invade the mind. If a man offered his sacrifice and bowed to the god, he was left not only to think but to say practically whatever he liked about the affair. But the new sort of religions that had come into the world, and particularly Christianity, turned inward. These new faiths demanded not simply conformity but understanding belief. Naturally fierce controversy ensued upon the exact meaning of the things believed. These new religions were creed religions. The world was confronted with a new word. Orthodoxy, and with a stern resolve to keep not only acts but speech and private thought within the limits of a set teaching. For to hold a wrong opinion, much more to convey it to other people, was no longer regarded as an intellectual defect but a moral fault that might condemn a soul to everlasting destruction.   5
  Both Ardashir I who founded the Sassanid dynasty in the third century A.D., and Constantine the Great who reconstructed the Roman Empire in the fourth, turned to religious organizations for help, because in these organizations they saw a new means of using and controlling the wills of men. And already before the end of the fourth century both empires were persecuting free talk and religious innovation. In Persia Ardashir found the ancient Persian religion of Zoroaster (or Zarathushtra) with its priests and temples and a sacred fire that burnt upon its altars, ready for his purpose as a state religion. Before the end of the third century Zoroastrianism was persecuting Christianity, and in 277 A.D. Mani, the founder of a new faith, the Manichæans, was crucified and his body flayed. Constantinople, on its side, was busy hunting out Christian heresies. Manichæan ideas infected Christianity and had to be fought with the fiercest methods; in return ideas from Christianity affected the purity of the Zoroastrian doctrine. All ideas became suspect. Science, which demands before all things the free action of an untroubled mind, suffered a complete eclipse throughout this phase of intolerance.   6
  War, the bitterest theology, and the usual vices of mankind constituted Byzantine life of those days. It was picturesque, it was romantic; it had little sweetness or light. When Byzantium and Persia were not fighting the barbarians from the north, they wasted Asia Minor and Syria in dreary and destructive hostilities. Even in close alliance these two empires would have found it a hard task to turn back the barbarians and recover their prosperity. The Turks or Tartars first come into history as the allies first of one power and then of another. In the sixth century the two chief antagonists were Justinian and Chosroes I; in the opening of the seventh the Emperor Heraclius was pitted against Chosroes II (580).   7
  At first and until after Heraclius had become Emperor (610) Chosroes II carried all before him. He took Antioch, Damascus and Jerusalem and his armies reached Chalcedon, which is in Asia Minor over against Constantinople. In 619 he conquered Egypt. Then Heraclius pressed a counter attack home and routed a Persian army at Nineveh (627), although at that time there were still Persian troops at Chalcedon. In 628 Chosroes II was deposed and murdered by his son, Kavadh, and an inconclusive peace was made between the two exhausted empires.   8
  Byzantium and Persia had fought their last war. But few people as yet dreamt of the storm that was even then gathering in the deserts to put an end for ever to this aimless, chronic struggle.   9
  While Heraclius was restoring order in Syria a message reached him. It had been brought in to the imperial outpost at Bostra south of Damascus; it was in Arabic, an obscure Semitic desert language, and it was read to the Emperor, if it reached him at all, by an interpreter. It was from someone who called himself “Muhammad the Prophet of God.” It called upon the Emperor to acknowledge the One True God and to serve him. What the Emperor said is not recorded.  10
  A similar message came to Kavadh at Ctesiphon. He was annoyed, tore up the letter, and bade the messenger begone.  11
  This Muhammad, it appeared, was a Bedouin leader whose headquarters were in the mean little desert town of Medina. He was preaching a new religion of faith in the One True God.  12
  “Even so, O Lord!” he said; “rend thou his Kingdom from Kavadh.”  13
Muhammad and Islam




APROPHETIC amateur of history surveying the world in the opening of the seventh century might have concluded very reasonably that it was only a question of a few centuries before the whole of Europe and Asia fell under Mongolian domination. There were no signs of order or union in Western Europe, and the Byzantine and Persian Empires were manifestly bent upon a mutual destruction. India also was divided and wasted. On the other hand China was a steadily expanding empire which probably at that time exceeded all Europe in population, and the Turkish people who were growing to power in Central Asia were disposed to work in accord with China. And such a prophecy would not have been an altogether vain one. A time was to come in the thirteenth century when a Mongolian overlord would rule from the Danube to the Pacific, and Turkish dynasties were destined to reign over the entire Byzantine and Persian Empires, over Egypt and most of India.   1
  Where our prophet would have been most likely to have erred would have been in under-estimating the recuperative power of the Latin end of Europe and in ignoring the latent forces of the Arabian desert. Arabia would have seemed what it had been for times immemorial, the refuge of small and bickering nomadic tribes. No Semitic people had founded an empire now for more than a thousand years.   2
  Then suddenly the Bedouin flared out for a brief century of splendour. They spread their rule and language from Spain to the boundaries of China. They gave the world a new culture. They created a religion that is still to this day one of the most vital forces in the world.   3
  The man who fired this Arab flame appears first in history as the young husband of the widow of a rich merchant of the town of Mecca, named Muhammad. Until he was forty he did very little to distinguish himself in the world. He seems to have taken considerable interest in religious discussion. Mecca was a pagan city at that time worshipping in particular a black stone, the Kaaba, of great repute throughout all Arabia and a centre of pilgrimages; but there were great numbers of Jews in the country—indeed all the southern portion of Arabia professed the Jewish faith—and there were Christian churches in Syria.   4
  About forty Muhammad began to develop prophetic characteristics like those of the Hebrew prophets twelve hundred years before him. He talked first to his wife of the One True God, and of the rewards and punishments of virtue and wickedness. There can be no doubt that his thoughts were very strongly influenced by Jewish and Christian ideas. He gathered about him a small circle of believers and presently began to preach in the town against the prevalent idolatry. This made him extremely unpopular with his fellow townsmen because the pilgrimages to the Kaaba were the chief source of such prosperity as Mecca enjoyed. He became bolder and more definite in his teaching, declaring himself to be the last chosen prophet of God entrusted with a mission to perfect religion. Abraham, he declared, and Jesus Christ were his forerunners. He had been chosen to complete and perfect the revelation of God’s will.   5
  He produced verses which he said had been communicated to him by an angel, and he had a strange vision in which he was taken up through the Heavens to God and instructed in his mission.   6
  As his teaching increased in force the hostility of his fellow townsmen increased also. At last a plot was made to kill him; but he escaped with his faithful friend and disciple, Abu Bekr, to the friendly town of Medina which adopted his doctrine. Hostilities followed between Mecca and Medina which ended at last in a treaty. Mecca was to adopt the worship of the One True God and accept Muhammad as his prophet, but the adherents of the new faith were still to make the pilgrimage to Mecca just as they had done when they were pagans. So Muhammad established the One True God in Mecca without injuring its pilgrim traffic. In 629 Muhammad returned to Mecca as its master, a year after he had sent out these envoys of his to Heraclius, Tai-tsung, Kavadh and all the rulers of the earth.   7
  Then for four years more until his death in 632, Muhammad spread his power over the rest of Arabia. He married a number of wives in his declining years, and his life on the whole was by modern standards unedifying. He seems to have been a man compounded of very considerable vanity, greed, cunning, self-deception and quite sincere religious passion. He dictated a book of injunctions and expositions, the Koran, which he declared was communicated to him from God. Regarded as literature or philosophy the Koran is certainly unworthy of its alleged Divine authorship.   8
  Yet when the manifest defects of Muhammad’s life and writings have been allowed for, there remains in Islam, this faith he imposed upon the Arabs, much power and inspiration. One is its uncompromising monotheism; its simple enthusiastic faith in the rule and fatherhood of God and its freedom from theological complications. Another is its complete detachment from the sacrificial priest and the temple. It is an entirely prophetic religion, proof against any possibility of relapse towards blood sacrifices. In the Koran the limited and ceremonial nature of the pilgrimage to Mecca is stated beyond the possibility of dispute, and every precaution was taken by Muhammad to prevent the deification of himself after his death. And a third element of strength lay in the insistence of Islam upon the perfect brotherhood and equality before God of all believers, whatever their colour, origin or status.   9
  These are the things that made Islam a power in human affairs. It has been said that the true founder of the Empire of Islam was not so much Muhammad as his friend and helper, Abu Bekr. If Muhammad, with his shifty character, was the mind and imagination of primitive Islam, Abu Bekr was its conscience and its will. Whenever Muhammad wavered Abu Bekr sustained him. And when Muhammad died, Abu Bekr became Caliph = successor), and with that faith that moves mountains, he set himself simply and sanely to organize the subjugation of the whole world to Allah—with little armies of 3,000 or 4,000 Arabs—according to those letters the prophet had written from Medina in 628 to all the monarchs of the world.The Great Days of the Arabs




THERE follows the most amazing story of conquest in the whole history of our race. The Byzantine army was smashed at the battle of the Yarmuk (a tributary of the Jordan) in 634; and the Emperor Heraclius, his energy sapped by dropsy and his resources exhausted by the Persian war, saw his new conquests in Syria, Damascus, Palmyra, Antioch, Jerusalem and the rest fall almost without resistance to the Moslim. Large elements in the population went over to Islam. Then the Moslim turned east. The Persians had found an able general in Rustam; they had a great host with a force of elephants; and for three days they fought the Arabs at Kadessia (637) and broke at last in headlong rout.   1
  The conquest of all Persia followed, and the Moslem Empire pushed far into Western Turkestan and eastward until it met the Chinese. Egypt fell almost without resistance to the new conquerors, who full of a fanatical belief in the sufficiency of the Koran, wiped out the vestiges of the book-copying industry of the Alexandria Library. The tide of conquest poured along the north coast of Africa to the Straits of Gibraltar and Spain. Spain was invaded in 710 and the Pyrenees Mountains were reached in 720. In 732 the Arab advance had reached the centre of France, but here it was stopped for good at the battle of Poitiers and thrust back as far as the Pyrenees again. The conquest of Egypt had given the Moslim a fleet, and for a time it looked as though they would take Constantinople. They made repeated sea attacks between 672 and 718 but the great city held out against them.   2
  The Arabs had little political aptitude and no political experience, and this great empire with its capital now at Damascus, which stretched from Spain to China, was destined to break up very speedily. From the very beginning doctrinal differences undermined its unity. But our interest here lies not with the story of its political disintegration but with its effect upon the human mind and upon the general destinies of our race. The Arab intelligence had been flung across the world even more swiftly and dramatically than had the Greek a thousand years before. The intellectual stimulation of the whole world west of China, the break-up of old ideas and development of new ones, was enormous.   3
  In Persia this fresh excited Arabic mind came into contact not only with Manichæan, Zoroastrian and Christian doctrine, but with the scientific Greek literature, preserved not only in Greek but in Syrian translations. It found Greek learning in Egypt also. Everywhere, and particularly in Spain, it discovered an active Jewish tradition of speculation and discussion. In Central Asia it met Buddhism and the material achievements of Chinese civilization. It learnt the manufacture of paper—which made printed books possible—from the Chinese. And finally it came into touch with Indian mathematics and philosophy.   4
  Very speedily the intolerant self-sufficiency of the early days of faith, which made the Koran seem the only possible book, was dropped. Learning sprang up everywhere in the footsteps of the Arab conquerors. By the eighth century there was an educational organization throughout the whole “Arabized” world. In the ninth learned men in the schools of Cordoba in Spain were corresponding with learned men in Cairo, Bagdad, Bokhara and Samarkand. The Jewish mind assimilated very readily with the Arab, and for a time the two Semitic races worked together through the medium of Arabic. Long after the political break-up and enfeeblement of the Arabs, this intellectual community of the Arab-speaking world endured. It was still producing very considerable results in the thirteenth century.   5
  So it was that the systematic accumulation and criticism of facts which was first begun by the Greeks was resumed in this astonishing renascence of the Semitic world. The seed of Aristotle and the museum of Alexandria that had lain so long inactive and neglected now germinated and began to grow towards fruition. Very great advances were made in mathematical, medical and physical science.   6
  The clumsy Roman numerals were ousted by the Arabic figures we use to this day and the zero sign was first employed. The very name algebra is Arabic. So is the word chemistry. The names of such stars as Algol, Aldebaran and Boötes preserve the traces of Arab conquests in the sky. Their philosophy was destined to reanimate the medieval philosophy of France and Italy and the whole Christian world.   7
  The Arab experimental chemists were called alchemists, and they were still sufficiently barbaric in spirit to keep their methods and results secret as far as possible. They realized from the very beginning what enormous advantages their possible discoveries might give them, and what far-reaching consequences they might have on human life. They came upon many metallurgical and technical devices of the utmost value, alloys and dyes, distilling, tinctures and essences, optical glass; but the two chief ends they sought, they sought in vain. One was “the philosopher’s stone”—a means of changing the metallic elements one into another and so getting a control of artificial gold, and the other was the elixir vitœ, a stimulant that would revivify age and prolong life indefinitely. The crabbed patient experimenting of these Arab alchemists spread into the Christian world. The fascination of their enquiries spread. Very gradually the activities of these alchemists became more social and co-operative. They found it profitable to exchange and compare ideas. By insensible gradations the last of the alchemists became the first of the experimental philosophers.   8
  The old alchemists sought the philosopher’s stone which was to transmute base metals to gold, and an elixir of immortality; they found the methods of modern experimental science which promise in the end to give man illimitable power over the world and over his own destiny.   9
  10
  13
  12
   9
  11

  23
   9



XLV.  The Development of Latin Christendom




IT is worth while to note the extremely shrunken dimensions of the share of the world remaining under Aryan control in the seventh and eighth centuries. A thousand years before, the Aryan-speaking races were triumphant over all the civilized world west of China. Now the Mongol had thrust as far as Hungary, nothing of Asia remained under Aryan rule except the Byzantine dominions in Asia Minor, and all Africa was lost and nearly all Spain. The great Hellenic world had shrunken to a few possessions round the nucleus of the trading city of Constantinople, and the memory of the Roman world was kept alive by the Latin of the western Christian priests. In vivid contrast to this tale of retrogression, the Semitic tradition had risen again from subjugation and obscurity after a thousand years of darkness.   1
  Yet the vitality of the Nordic peoples was not exhausted. Confined now to Central and North-Western Europe and terribly muddled in their social and political ideas, they were nevertheless building up gradually and steadily a new social order and preparing unconsciously for the recovery of a power even more extensive than that they had previously enjoyed.   2
  We have told how at the beginning of the sixth century there remained no central government in Western Europe at all. That world was divided up among numbers of local rulers holding their own as they could. This was too insecure a state of affairs to last; a system of co-operation and association grew up in this disorder, the feudal system, which has left its traces upon European life up to the present time. This feudal system was a sort of crystallization of society about power. Everywhere the lone man felt insecure and was prepared to barter a certain amount of his liberty for help and protection. He sought a stronger man as his lord and protector; he gave him military services and paid him dues, and in return he was confirmed in his possession of what was his. His lord again found safety in vassalage to a still greater lord. Cities also found it convenient to have feudal protectors, and monasteries and church estates bound themselves by similar ties. No doubt in many cases allegiance was claimed before it was offered; the system grew downward as well as upward. So a sort of pyramidal system grew up, varying widely in different localities, permitting at first a considerable play of violence and private warfare but making steadily for order and a new reign of law. The pyramids grew up until some became recognizable as kingdoms. Already by the early sixth century a Frankish kingdom existed under its founder Clovis in what is now France and the Netherlands, and presently Visigothic and Lombard and Gothic kingdoms were in existence.   3
  The Moslim when they crossed the Pyrenees in 720 found this Frankish kingdom under the practical rule of Charles Martel, the Mayor of the Palace of a degenerate descendant of Clovis, and experienced the decisive defeat of Poitiers (732) at his hands. This Charles Martel was practically overlord of Europe north of the Alps from the Pyrenees to Hungary. He ruled over a multitude of subordinate lords speaking French-Latin, and High and Low German languages. His son Pepin extinguished the last descendants of Clovis and took the kingly state and title. His grandson Charlemagne, who began to reign in 768, found himself lord of a realm so large that he could think of reviving the title of Latin Emperor. He conquered North Italy and made himself master of Rome.   4
  Approaching the story of Europe as we do from the wider horizons of a world history we can see much more distinctly than the mere nationalist historian how cramping and disastrous this tradition of the Latin Roman Empire was. A narrow intense struggle for this phantom predominance was to consume European energy for more than a thousand years. Through all that period it is possible to trace certain unquenchable antagonisms; they run through the wits of Europe like the obsessions of a demented mind. One driving force was this ambition of successful rulers, which Charlemagne (Charles the Great) embodied, to become Cæsar. The realm of Charlemagne consisted of a complex of feudal German states at various stages of barbarism. West of the Rhine, most of these German peoples had learnt to speak various Latinized dialects which fused at last to form French. East of the Rhine, the racially similar German peoples did not lose their German speech. On account of this, communication was difficult between these two groups of barbarian conquerors and a split easily brought about. The split was made the more easy by the fact that the Frankish usage made it seem natural to divide the empire of Charlemagne among his sons at his death. So one aspect of the history of Europe from the days of Charlemagne onwards is a history of first this monarch and his family and then that, struggling to a precarious headship of the kings, princes, dukes, bishops and cities of Europe, while a steadily deepening antagonism between the French and German speaking elements develops in the medley. There was a formality of election for each emperor; and the climax of his ambition was to struggle to the possession of that worn-out, misplaced capital Rome and to a coronation there.   5
  The next factor in the European political disorder was the resolve of the Church at Rome to make no temporal prince but the Pope of Rome himself emperor in effect. He was already pontifex maximus; for all practical purposes he held the decaying city; if he had no armies he had at least a vast propaganda organization in his priests throughout the whole Latin world; if he had little power over men’s bodies he held the keys of heaven and hell in their imaginations and could exercise much influence upon their souls. So throughout the middle ages while one prince manœuvred against another first for equality, then for ascendancy, and at last for the supreme prize, the Pope of Rome, sometimes boldly, sometimes craftily, sometimes feebly—for the Popes were a succession of oldish men and the average reign of a Pope was not more than two years—manœuvred for the submission of all the princes to himself as the ultimate overlord of Christendom.   6
  But these antagonisms of prince against prince and of Emperor against Pope do not by any means exhaust the factors of the European confusion. There was still an Emperor in Constantinople speaking Greek and claiming the allegiance of all Europe. When Charlemagne sought to revive the empire, it was merely the Latin end of the empire he revived. It was natural that a sense of rivalry between Latin Empire and Greek Empire should develop very readily. And still more readily did the rivalry of Greek-speaking Christianity and the newer Latin-speaking version develop. The Pope of Rome claimed to be the successor of St. Peter, the chief of the apostles of Christ, and the head of the Christian community everywhere. Neither the emperor nor the patriarch in Constantinople were disposed to acknowledge this claim. A dispute about a fine point in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity consummated a long series of dissensions in a final rupture in 1054. The Latin Church and the Greek Church became and remained thereafter distinct and frankly antagonistic. This antagonism must be added to the others in our estimate of the conflicts that wasted Latin Christendom in the middle ages.   7
  Upon this divided world of Christendom rained the blows of three sets of antagonists. About the Baltic and North Seas remained a series of Nordic tribes who were only very slowly and reluctantly Christianized; these were the Northmen. They had taken to the sea and piracy, and were raiding all the Christian coasts down to Spain. They had pushed up the Russian rivers to the desolate central lands and brought their shipping over into the south-flowing rivers. They had come out upon the Caspian and Black Seas as pirates also. They set up principalities in Russia; they were the first people to be called Russians. These Northmen Russians came near to taking Constantinople. England in the early ninth century was a Christianized Low German country under a king, Egbert, a protégé and pupil of Charlemagne. The Northmen wrested half the kingdom from his successor Alfred the Great (886), and finally under Canute (1016) made themselves masters of the whole land. Under Rolph the Ganger (912) another band of Northmen conquered the north of France, which became Normandy.   8
  Canute ruled not only over England but over Norway and Denmark, but his brief empire fell to pieces at his death through that political weakness of the barbaric peoples—division among a ruler’s sons. It is interesting to speculate what might have happened if this temporary union of the Northmen had endured. They were a race of astonishing boldness and energy. They sailed in their galleys even to Iceland and Greenland. They were the first Europeans to land on American soil. Later on Norman adventurers were to recover Sicily from the Saracens and sack Rome. It is a fascinating thing to imagine what a great northern sea-faring power might have grown out of Canute’s kingdom, reaching from America to Russia.   9
  To the east of the Germans and Latinized Europeans was a medley of Slav tribes and Turkish peoples. Prominent among these were the Magyars or Hungarians who were coming westward throughout the eighth and ninth centuries. Charlemagne held them for a time, but after his death they established themselves in what is now Hungary; and after the fashion of their kindred predecessors, the Huns, raided every summer into the settled parts of Europe. In 938 they went through Germany into France, crossed the Alps into North Italy, and so came home, burning, robbing and destroying.  10
  Finally pounding away from the south at the vestiges of the Roman Empire were the Saracens. They had made themselves largely masters of the sea; their only formidable adversaries upon the water were the Northmen, the Russian Northmen out of the Black Sea and the Northmen of the west.  11
  Hemmed in by these more vigorous and aggressive peoples, amidst forces they did not understand and dangers they could not estimate, Charlemagne and after him a series of other ambitious spirits took up the futile drama of restoring the Western Empire under the name of the Holy Roman Empire. From the time of Charlemagne onward this idea obsessed the political life of Western Europe, while in the East the Greek half of the Roman power decayed and dwindled until at last nothing remained of it at all but the corrupt trading city of Constantinople and a few miles of territory about it. Politically the continent of Europe remained traditional and uncreative from the time of Charlemagne onward for a thousand years.  12
  The name of Charlemagne looms large in European history but his personality is but indistinctly seen. He could not read nor write, but he had a considerable respect for learning; he liked to be read aloud to at meals and he had a weakness for theological discussion. At his winter quarters at Aix-la-Chapelle or Mayence he gathered about him a number of learned men and picked up much from their conversation. In the summer he made war, against the Spanish Saracens, against the Slavs and Magyars, against the Saxons, and other still heathen German tribes. It is doubtful whether the idea of becoming Cæsar in succession to Romulus Augustulus occurred to him before his acquisition of North Italy, or whether it was suggested to him by Pope Leo III, who was anxious to make the Latin Church independent of Constantinople.  13
  There were the most extraordinary manœuvres at Rome between the Pope and the prospective emperor in order to make it appear or not appear as if the Pope gave him the imperial crown. The Pope succeeded in crowning his visitor and conqueror by surprise in St. Peter’s on Christmas Day 800 A.D. He produced a crown, put it on the head of Charlemagne and hailed him Cæsar and Augustus. There was great applause among the people. Charlemagne was by no means pleased at the way in which the thing was done, it rankled in his mind as a defeat; and he left the most careful instructions to his son that he was not to let the Pope crown him emperor; he was to seize the crown into his own hands and put it on his own head himself. So at the very outset of this imperial revival we see beginning the age-long dispute of Pope and Emperor for priority. But Louis the Pious, the son of Charlemagne, disregarded his father’s instructions and was entirely submissive to the Pope.  14
  The empire of Charlemagne fell apart at the death of Louis the Pious and the split between the French-speaking Franks and the German-speaking Franks widened. The next emperor to arise was Otto, the son of a certain Henry the Fowler, a Saxon, who had been elected King of Germany by an assembly of German princes and prelates in 919. Otto descended upon Rome and was crowned emperor there in 962. This Saxon line came to an end early in the eleventh century and gave place to other German rulers. The feudal princes and nobles to the west who spoke various French dialects did not fall under the sway of these German emperors after the Carlovingian line, the line that is descended from Charlemagne, had come to an end, and no part of Britain ever came into the Holy Roman Empire. The Duke of Normandy, the King of France and a number of lesser feudal rulers remained outside.  15
  In 987 the Kingdom of France passed out of the possession of the Carlovingian line into the hands of Hugh Capet, whose descendants were still reigning in the eighteenth century. At the time of Hugh Capet the King of France ruled only a comparatively small territory round Paris.  16
  In 1066 England was attacked almost simultaneously by an invasion of the Norwegian Northmen under King Harold Hardrada and by the Latinized Northmen under the Duke of Normandy. Harold King of England defeated the former at the battle of Stamford Bridge, and was defeated by the latter at Hastings. England was conquered by the Normans, and so cut off from Scandinavian, Teutonic and Russian affairs, and brought into the most intimate relations and conflicts with the French. For the next four centuries the English were entangled in the conflicts of the French feudal princes and wasted upon the fields of France.XLVI.  The Crusades and the Age of Papal Dominion




IT is interesting to note that Charlemagne corresponded with the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, the Haroun-al-Raschid of the Arabian Nights. It is recorded that Haroun-al-Raschid sent ambassadors from Bagdad—which had now replaced Damascus as the Moslem capital—with a splendid tent, a water clock, an elephant and the keys of the Holy Sepulchre. This latter present was admirably calculated to set the Byzantine Empire and this new Holy Roman Empire by the ears as to which was the proper protector of the Christians in Jerusalem.   1
  These presents remind us that while Europe in the ninth century was still a weltering disorder of war and pillage, there flourished a great Arab Empire in Egypt and Mesopotamia, far more civilized than anything Europe could show. Here literature and science still lived; the arts flourished, and the mind of man could move without fear or superstition. And even in Spain and North Africa where the Saracenic dominions were falling into political confusion there was a vigorous intellectual life. Aristotle was read and discussed by these Jews and Arabs during these centuries of European darkness. They guarded the neglected seeds of science and philosophy.   2
  North-east of the Caliph’s dominions was a number of Turkish tribes. They had been converted to Islam, and they held the faith much more simply and fiercely than the actively intellectual Arabs and Persians to the south. In the tenth century the Turks were growing strong and vigorous while the Arab power was divided and decaying. The relations of the Turks to the Empire of the Caliphate became very similar to the relations of the Medes to the last Babylonian Empire fourteen centuries before. In the eleventh century a group of Turkish tribes, the Seljuk Turks, came down into Mesopotamia and made the Caliph their nominal ruler but really their captive and tool. They conquered Armenia. Then they struck at the remnants of the Byzantine power in Asia Minor. In 1071 the Byzantine army was utterly smashed at the battle of Melasgird, and the Turks swept forward until not a trace of Byzantine rule remained in Asia. They took the fortress of Nicæa over against Constantinople, and prepared to attempt that city.   3
  The Byzantine emperor, Michael VII, was overcome with terror. He was already heavily engaged in warfare with a band of Norman adventurers who had seized Durazzo, and with a fierce Turkish people, the Petschenegs, who were raiding over the Danube. In his extremity he sought help where he could, and it is notable that he did not appeal to the western emperor but to the Pope of Rome as the head of Latin Christendom. He wrote to Pope Gregory VII, and his successor Alexius Comnenus wrote still more urgently to Urban II.   4
  This was not a quarter of a century from the rupture of the Latin and Greek churches. That controversy was still vividly alive in men’s minds, and this disaster to Byzantium must have presented itself to the Pope as a supreme opportunity for reasserting the supremacy of the Latin Church over the dissentient Greeks. Moreover this occasion gave the Pope a chance to deal with two other matters that troubled western Christendom very greatly. One was the custom of “private war” which disordered social life, and the other was the superabundant fighting energy of the Low Germans and Christianized Northmen and particularly of the Franks and Normans. A religious war, the Crusade, the War of the Cross, was preached against the Turkish captors of Jerusalem, and a truce to all warfare amongst Christians (1095). The declared object of this war was the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre from the unbelievers. A man called Peter the Hermit carried on a popular propaganda throughout France and Germany on broadly democratic lines. He went clad in a coarse garment, barefooted on an ass, he carried a huge cross and harangued the crowd in street or market-place or church. He denounced the cruelties practised upon the Christian pilgrims by the Turks, and the shame of the Holy Sepulchre being in any but Christian hands. The fruits of centuries of Christian teaching became apparent in the response. A great wave of enthusiasm swept the western world, and popular Christendom discovered itself.   5
  Such a widespread uprising of the common people in relation to a single idea as now occurred was a new thing in the history of our race. There is nothing to parallel it in the previous history of the Roman Empire or of India or China. On a smaller scale, however, there had been similar movements among the Jewish people after their liberation from the Babylonian captivity, and later on Islam was to display a parallel susceptibility to collective feeling. Such movements were certainly connected with the new spirit that had come into life with the development of the missionary-teaching religions. The Hebrew prophets, Jesus and his disciples, Mani, Muhammad, were all exhorters of men’s individual souls. They brought the personal conscience face to face with God. Before that time religion had been much more a business of fetish, of pseudoscience, than of conscience. The old kind of religion turned upon temple, initiated priest and mystical sacrifice, and ruled the common man like a slave by fear. The new kind of religion made a man of him.   6
  The preaching of the First Crusade was the first stirring of the common people in European history. It may be too much to call it the birth of modern democracy, but certainly at that time modern democracy stirred. Before very long we shall find it stirring again, and raising the most disturbing social and religious questions.   7
  Certainly this first stirring of democracy ended very pitifully and lamentably. Considerable bodies of common people, crowds rather than armies, set out eastward from France and the Rhineland and Central Europe without waiting for leaders or proper equipment to rescue the Holy Sepulchre. This was the “people’s crusade.” Two great mobs blundered into Hungary, mistook the recently converted Magyars for pagans, committed atrocities and were massacred. A third multitude with a similarly confused mind, after a great pogrom of the Jews in the Rhineland, marched eastward, and was also destroyed in Hungary. Two other huge crowds, under the leadership of Peter the Hermit himself, reached Constantinople, crossed the Bosphorus, and were massacred rather than defeated by the Seljuk Turks. So began and ended this first movement of the European people, as people.   8
  Next year (1097) the real fighting forces crossed the Bosphorus. Essentially they were Norman in leadership and spirit. They stormed Nicæa, marched by much the same route as Alexander had followed fourteen centuries before, to Antioch. The siege of Antioch kept them a year, and in June 1099 they invested Jerusalem. It was stormed after a month’s siege. The slaughter was terrible. Men riding on horseback were splashed by the blood in the streets. At nightfall on July 15th the Crusaders had fought their way into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and overcome all opposition there: blood-stained, weary and “sobbing from excess of joy” they knelt down in prayer.   9
  Immediately the hostility of Latin and Greek broke out again. The Crusaders were the servants of the Latin Church, and the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem found himself in a far worse case under the triumphant Latins than under the Turks. The Crusaders discovered themselves between Byzantine and Turk and fighting both. Much of Asia Minor was recovered by the Byzantine Empire, and the Latin princes were left, a buffer between Turk and Greek, with Jerusalem and a few small principalities, of which Edessa was one of the chief, in Syria. Their grip even on these possessions was precarious, and in 1144 Edessa fell to the Moslim, leading to an ineffective Second Crusade, which failed to recover Edessa but saved Antioch from a similar fate.  10
  In 1169 the forces of Islam were rallied under a Kurdish adventurer named Saladin who had made himself master of Egypt. He preached a Holy War against the Christians, recaptured Jerusalem in 1187, and so provoked the Third Crusade. This failed to recover Jerusalem. In the Fourth Crusade (1202–4) the Latin Church turned frankly upon the Greek Empire, and there was not even a pretence of fighting the Turks. It started from Venice and in 1204 it stormed Constantinople. The great rising trading city of Venice was the leader in this adventure, and most of the coasts and islands of the Byzantine Empire were annexed by the Venetians. A “Latin” emperor (Baldwin of Flanders) was set up in Constantinople and the Latin and Greek Church were declared to be reunited. The Latin emperors ruled in Constantinople from 1204 to 1261 when the Greek world shook itself free again from Roman predominance.  11
  The twelfth century then and the opening of the thirteenth was the age of papal ascendancy just as the eleventh was the age of the ascendancy of the Seljuk Turks and the tenth the age of the Northmen. A united Christendom under the rule of the Pope came nearer to being a working reality than it ever was before or after that time.  12
  In those centuries a simple Christian faith was real and widespread over great areas of Europe. Rome itself had passed through some dark and discreditable phases; few writers can be found to excuse the lives of Popes John XI and John XII in the tenth century; they were abominable creatures; but the heart and body of Latin Christendom had remained earnest and simple; the generality of the common priests and monks and nuns had lived exemplary and faithful lives. Upon the wealth of confidence such lives created rested the power of the church. Among the great Popes of the past had been Gregory the Great, Gregory I (590–604) and Leo III (795–816) who invited Charlemagne to be Cæsar and crowned him in spite of himself. Towards the close of the eleventh century there arose a great clerical statesman, Hildebrand, who ended his life as Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085). Next but one after him came Urban II (1087–1099), the Pope of the First Crusade. These two were the founders of this period of papal greatness during which the Popes lorded it over the Emperors. From Bulgaria to Ireland and from Norway to Sicily and Jerusalem the Pope was supreme. Gregory VII obliged the Emperor Henry IV to come in penitence to him at Canossa and to await forgiveness for three days and nights in the courtyard of the castle, clad in sackcloth and barefooted to the snow. In 1176 at Venice the Emperor Frederick (Frederick Barbarossa), knelt to Pope Alexander III and swore fealty to him.  13
  The great power of the church in the beginning of the eleventh century lay in the wills and consciences of men. It failed to retain the moral prestige on which its power was based. In the opening decades of the fourteenth century it was discovered that the power of the Pope had evaporated. What was it that destroyed the naïve confidence of the common people of Christendom in the church so that they would no longer rally to its appeal and serve its purposes?  14
  The first trouble was certainly the accumulation of wealth by the church. The church never died, and there was a frequent disposition on the part of dying childless people to leave lands to the church. Penitent sinners were exhorted to do so. Accordingly in many European countries as much as a fourth of the land became church property. The appetite for property grows with what it feeds upon. Already in the thirteenth century it was being said everywhere that the priests were not good men, that they were always hunting for money and legacies.  15
  The kings and princes disliked this alienation of property very greatly. In the place of feudal lords capable of military support, they found their land supporting abbeys and monks and nuns. And these lands were really under foreign dominion. Even before the time of Pope Gregory VII there had been a struggle between the princes and the papacy over the question of “investitures,” the question that is of who should appoint the bishops. If that power rested with the Pope and not the King, then the latter lost control not only of the consciences of his subjects but of a considerable part of his dominions. For also the clergy claimed exemption from taxation. They paid their taxes to Rome. And not only that, but the church also claimed the right to levy a tax of one-tenth upon the property of the layman in addition to the taxes he paid his prince.  16
  The history of nearly every country in Latin Christendom tells of the same phase in the eleventh century, a phase of struggle between monarch and Pope on the issue of investitures and generally it tells of a victory for the Pope. He claimed to be able to excommunicate the prince, to absolve his subjects from their allegiance to him, to recognize a successor. He claimed to be able to put a nation under an interdict, and then nearly all priestly functions ceased except the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and penance; the priests could neither hold the ordinary services, marry people, nor bury the dead. With these two weapons it was possible for the twelfth century Popes to curb the most recalcitrant princes and overawe the most restive peoples. These were enormous powers, and enormous powers are only to be used on extraordinary occasions. The Popes used them at last with a frequency that staled their effect. Within thirty years at the end of the twelfth century we find Scotland, France and England in turn under an interdict. And also the Popes could not resist the temptation to preach crusades against offending princes—until the crusading spirit was extinct.  17
  It is possible that if the Church of Rome had struggled simply against the princes and had had a care to keep its hold upon the general mind, it might have achieved a permanent dominion over all Christendom. But the high claims of the Pope were reflected as arrogance in the conduct of the clergy. Before the eleventh century the Roman priests could marry; they had close ties with the people among whom they lived; they were indeed a part of the people. Gregory VII made them celibates; he cut the priests off from too great an intimacy with the laymen in order to bind them more closely to Rome, but indeed he opened a fissure between the church and the commonalty. The church had its own law courts. Cases involving not merely priests but monks, students, crusaders, widows, orphans and the helpless were reserved for the clerical courts, and so were all matters relating to wills, marriages and oaths and all cases of sorcery, heresy and blasphemy. Whenever the layman found himself in conflict with the priest he had to go to a clerical court. The obligations of peace and war fell upon his shoulders alone and left the priest free. It is no great wonder that jealousy and hatred of the priests grew up in the Christian world.  18
  Never did Rome seem to realize that its power was in the consciences of common men. It fought against religious enthusiasm, which should have been its ally, and it forced doctrinal orthodoxy upon honest doubt and aberrant opinion. When the church interfered in matters of morality it had the common man with it, but not when it interfered in matters of doctrine. When in the south of France Waldo taught a return to the simplicity of Jesus in faith and life, Innocent III preached a crusade against the Waldenses, Waldo’s followers, and permitted them to be suppressed with fire, sword, rape and the most abominable cruelties. When again St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) taught the imitation of Christ and a life of poverty and service, his followers, the Franciscans, were persecuted, scourged, imprisoned and dispersed. In 1318 four of them were burnt alive at Marseilles. On the other hand the fiercely orthodox order of the Dominicans, founded by St. Dominic (1170–1221) was strongly supported by Innocent III, who with its assistance set up an organization, the Inquisition, for the hunting of heresy and the affliction of free thought.  19
  So it was that the church by excessive claims, by unrighteous privileges, and by an irrational intolerance destroyed that free faith of the common man which was the final source of all its power. The story of its decline tells of no adequate foemen from without but continually of decay from within.XLVII.  Recalcitrant Princes and the Great Schism




ONE very great weakness of the Roman Church in its struggle to secure the headship of all Christendom was the manner in which the Pope was chosen.   1
  If indeed the papacy was to achieve its manifest ambition and establish one rule and one peace throughout Christendom, then it was vitally necessary that it should have a strong, steady and continuous direction. In those great days of its opportunity it needed before all things that the Popes when they took office should be able men in the prime of life, that each should have his successor-designate with whom he could discuss the policy of the church, and that the forms and processes of election should be clear, definite, unalterable and unassailable. Unhappily none of these things obtained. It was not even clear who could vote in the election of a Pope, nor whether the Byzantine or Holy Roman Emperor had a voice in the matter. That very great papal statesman Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII, 1073–1085) did much to regularize the election. He confined the votes to the Roman cardinals and he reduced the Emperor’s share to a formula of assent conceded to him by the church, but he made no provision for a successor-designate and he left it possible for the disputes of the cardinals to keep the See vacant, as in some cases it was kept vacant, for a year or more.   2
  The consequences of this want of firm definition are to be seen in the whole history of the papacy up to the sixteenth century. From quite early times onward there were disputed elections and two or more men each claiming to be Pope. The church would then be subjected to the indignity of going to the Emperor or some other outside arbiter to settle the dispute. And the career of every one of the great Popes ended in a note of interrogation. At his death the church might be left headless and as ineffective as a decapitated body. Or he might be replaced by some old rival eager only to discredit and undo his work. Or some enfeebled old man tottering on the brink of the grave might succeed him.   3
  It was inevitable that this peculiar weakness of the papal organization should attract the interference of the various German princes, the French King, and the Norman and French Kings who ruled in England; that they should all try to influence the elections, and have a Pope in their own interest established in the Lateran Palace at Rome. And the more powerful and important the Pope became in European affairs, the more urgent did these interventions become. Under the circumstances it is no great wonder that many of the Popes were weak and futile. The astonishing thing is that many of them were able and courageous men.   4
  One of the most vigorous and interesting of the Popes of this great period was Innocent III (1198–1216) who was so fortunate as to become Pope before he was thirty-eight. He and his successors were pitted against an even more interesting personality, the Emperor Frederick II; Stupor mundi he was called, the Wonder of the world. The struggle of this monarch against Rome is a turning place in history. In the end Rome defeated him and destroyed his dynasty, but he left the prestige of the church and Pope so badly wounded that its wounds festered and led to its decay.   5
  Frederick was the son of the Emperor Henry VI and his mother was the daughter of Roger I, the Norman King of Sicily. He inherited this kingdom in 1198 when he was a child of four years. Innocent III had been made his guardian. Sicily in those days had been but recently conquered by the Normans; the Court was half oriental and full of highly educated Arabs; and some of these were associated in the education of the young king. No doubt they were at some pains to make their point of view clear to him. He got a Moslem view of Christianity as well as a Christian view of Islam, and the unhappy result of this double system of instruction was a view, exceptional in that age of faith, that all religions were impostures. He talked freely on the subject; his heresies and blasphemies are on record.   6
  As the young man grew up he found himself in conflict with his guardian. Innocent III wanted altogether too much from his ward. When the opportunity came for Frederick to succeed as Emperor, the Pope intervened with conditions. Frederick must promise to put down heresy in Germany with a strong hand. Moreover he must relinquish his crown in Sicily and South Italy, because otherwise he would be too strong for the Pope. And the German clergy were to be freed from all taxation. Frederick agreed—but with no intention of keeping his word. The Pope had already induced the French King to make war upon his own subjects in France, the cruel and bloody crusade against the Waldenses; he wanted Frederick to do the same thing in Germany. But Frederick being far more of a heretic than any of the simple pietists who had incurred the Pope’s animosity, lacked the crusading impulse. And when Innocent urged him to crusade against the Moslim and recover Jerusalem he was equally ready to promise and equally slack in his performance.   7
  Having secured the imperial crown Frederick II stayed in Sicily, which he greatly preferred to Germany as a residence, and did nothing to redeem any of his promises to Innocent III, who died baffled in 1216.   8
  Honorius III, who succeeded Innocent, could do no better with Frederick, and Gregory IX (1227) came to the papal throne evidently resolved to settle accounts with this young man at any cost. He excommunicated him. Frederick II was denied all the comforts of religion. In the half-Arab Court of Sicily this produced singularly little discomfort. And also the Pope addressed a public letter to the Emperor reciting his vices (which were indisputable), his heresies, and his general misconduct. To this Frederick replied in a document of diabolical ability. It was addressed to all the princes of Europe, and it made the first clear statement of the issue between the Pope and the princes. He made a shattering attack upon the manifest ambition of the Pope to become the absolute ruler of all Europe. He suggested a union of princes against this usurpation. He directed the attention of the princes specifically to the wealth of the church.   9
  Having fired off this deadly missile Frederick resolved to perform his twelve-year-old promise and go upon a crusade. This was the Sixth Crusade (1228). It was, as a crusade, farcical. Frederick II went to Egypt and met and discussed affairs with the Sultan. These two gentlemen, both of sceptical opinions, exchanged congenial views, made a commercial convention to their mutual advantage, and agreed to transfer Jerusalem to Frederick. This indeed was a new sort of crusade, a crusade by private treaty. Here was no blood splashing the conqueror, no “weeping with excess of joy.” As this astonishing crusader was an excommunicated man, he had to be content with a purely secular coronation as King of Jerusalem, taking the crown from the altar with his own hand—for all the clergy were bound to shun him. He then returned to Italy, chased the papal armies which had invaded his dominions back to their own territories, and obliged the Pope to grant him absolution from his excommunication. So a prince might treat the Pope in the thirteenth century, and there was now no storm of popular indignation to avenge him. Those days were past.  10
  In 1239 Gregory IX resumed his struggle with Frederick, excommunicated him for a second time, and renewed that warfare of public abuse in which the papacy had already suffered severely. The controversy was revived after Gregory IX was dead, when Innocent IV was Pope; and again a devastating letter, which men were bound to remember, was written by Frederick against the church. He denounced the pride and irreligion of the clergy, and ascribed all the corruptions of the time to their pride and wealth. He proposed to his fellow princes a general confiscation of church property—for the good of the church. It was a suggestion that never afterwards left the imagination of the European princes.  11
  We will not go on to tell of his last years. The particular events of his life are far less significant than its general atmosphere. It is possible to piece together something of his court life in Sicily. He was luxurious in his way of living, and fond of beautiful things. He is described as licentious. But it is clear that he was a man of very effectual curiosity and inquiry. He gathered Jewish and Moslem as well as Christian philosophers at his court, and he did much to irrigate the Italian mind with Saracenic influences. Through him the Arabic numerals and algebra were introduced to Christian students, and among other philosophers at his court was Michael Scott, who translated portions of Aristotle and the commentaries thereon of the great Arab philosopher Averroes (of Cordoba). In 1224 Frederick founded the University of Naples, and he enlarged and enriched the great medical school at Salerno University. He also founded a zoological garden. He left a book on hawking, which shows him to have been an acute observer of the habits of birds, and he was one of the first Italians to write Italian verse. Italian poetry was indeed born at his court. He has been called by an able writer, “the first of the moderns,” and the phrase expresses aptly the unprejudiced detachment of his intellectual side.  12
  A still more striking intimation of the decay of the living and sustaining forces of the papacy appeared when presently the Popes came into conflict with the growing power of the French King. During the lifetime of the Emperor Frederick II, Germany fell into disunion, and the French King began to play the rôle of guard, supporter and rival to the Pope that had hitherto fallen to the Hohenstaufen Emperors. A series of Popes pursued the policy of supporting the French monarchs. French princes were established in the kingdom of Sicily and Naples, with the support and approval of Rome, and the French Kings saw before them the possibility of restoring and ruling the Empire of Charlemagne. When, however, the German interregnum after the death of Frederick II, the last of the Hohenstaufens, came to an end and Rudolf of Habsburg was elected first Habsburg Emperor (1273), the policy of Rome began to fluctuate between France and Germany, veering about with the sympathies of each successive Pope. In the East in 1261 the Greeks recaptured Constantinople from the Latin emperors, and the founder of the new Greek dynasty, Michael Palæologus, Michael VIII, after some unreal tentatives of reconciliation with the Pope, broke away from the Roman communion altogether, and with that, and the fall of the Latin kingdoms in Asia, the eastward ascendancy of the Popes came to an end  13
  In 1294 Boniface VIII became Pope. He was an Italian, hostile to the French, and full of a sense of the great traditions and mission of Rome. For a time he carried things with a high hand. In 1300 he held a jubilee, and a vast multitude of pilgrims assembled in Rome. “So great was the influx of money into the papal treasury, that two assistants were kept busy with the rakes collecting the offerings that were deposited at the tomb of St. Peter.” But this festival was a delusive triumph. Boniface came into conflict with the French King in 1302, and in 1303, as he was about to pronounce sentence of excommunication against that monarch, he was surprised and arrested in his own ancestral palace at Anagni, by Guillaume de Nogaret. This agent from the French King forced an entrance into the palace, made his way into the bedroom of the frightened Pope—he was lying in bed with a cross in his hands—and heaped threats and insults upon him. The Pope was liberated a day or so later by the townspeople, and returned to Rome; but there he was seized upon and again made prisoner by the Orsini family, and in a few weeks’ time the shocked and disillusioned old man died a prisoner in their hands.  14
  The people of Anagni did resent the first outrage, and rose against Nogaret to liberate Boniface, but then Anagni was the Pope’s native town. The important point to note is that the French King in this rough treatment of the head of Christendom was acting with the full approval of his people; he had summoned a council of the Three Estates of France (lords, church and commons) and gained their consent before proceeding to extremities. Neither in Italy, Germany nor England was there the slightest general manifestation of disapproval at this free handling of the sovereign pontiff. The idea of Christendom had decayed until its power over the minds of men had gone.  15
  Throughout the fourteenth century the papacy did nothing to recover its moral sway. The next Pope elected, Clement V, was a Frenchman, the choice of King Philip of France. He never came to Rome. He set up his court in the town of Avignon, which then belonged not to France but to the papal See, though embedded in French territory, and there his successors remained until 1377, when Pope Gregory XI returned to the Vatican palace in Rome. But Gregory XI did not take the sympathies of the whole church with him. Many of the cardinals were of French origin and their habits and associations were rooted deep at Avignon. When in 1378 Gregory XI died, and an Italian, Urban VI, was elected, these dissentient cardinals declared the election invalid, and elected another Pope, the anti-Pope, Clement VII. This split is called the Great Schism. The Popes remained in Rome, and all the anti-French powers, the Emperor, the King of England, Hungary, Poland and the North of Europe were loyal to them. The anti-Popes, on the other hand, continued in Avignon, and were supported by the King of France, his ally the King of Scotland, Spain, Portugal and various German princes. Each Pope excommunicated and cursed the adherents of his rival (1378–1417).  16
  Is it any wonder that presently all over Europe people began to think for themselves in matters of religion?  17
  The beginnings of the Franciscans and the Dominicans, which we have noted in the preceding chapters, were but two among many of the new forces that were arising in Christendom, either to hold or shatter the church as its own wisdom might decide. Those two orders the church did assimilate and use, though with a little violence in the case of the former. But other forces were more frankly disobedient and critical. A century and a half later came Wycliffe (1320–1384). He was a learned Doctor at Oxford. Quite late in his life he began a series of outspoken criticisms of the corruption of the clergy and the unwisdom of the church. He organized a number of poor priests, the Wycliffites, to spread his ideas throughout England; and in order that people should judge between the church and himself, he translated the Bible into English. He was a more learned and far abler man than either St. Francis or St. Dominic. He had supporters in high places and a great following among the people; and though Rome raged against him, and ordered his imprisonment, he died a free man. But the black and ancient spirit that was leading the Catholic Church to its destruction would not let his bones rest in the grave. By a decree of the Council of Constance in 1415, his remains were ordered to be dug up and burnt, an order which was carried out at the command of Pope Martin V by Bishop Fleming in 1428. This desecration was not the act of some isolated fanatic; it was the official act of the church.J. H. Robinson.XLVIII.  The Mongol Conquests




BUT in the thirteenth century, while this strange and finally ineffectual struggle to unify Christendom under the rule of the Pope was going on in Europe, far more momentous events were afoot upon the larger stage of Asia. A Turkish people from the country to the north of China rose suddenly to prominence in the world’s affairs, and achieved such a series of conquests as has no parallel in history. These were the Mongols. At the opening of the thirteenth century they were a horde of nomadic horsemen, living very much as their predecessors, the Huns, had done, subsisting chiefly upon meat and mare’s milk and living in tents of skin. They had shaken themselves free from Chinese dominion, and brought a number of other Turkish tribes into a military confederacy. Their central camp was at Karakorum in Mongolia.   1
  At this time China was in a state of division. The great dynasty of Tang had passed into decay by the tenth century, and after a phase of division into warring states, three main empires, that of Kin in the north with Pekin as its capital and that of Sung in the south with a capital at Nankin, and Hsia in the centre, remain. In 1214 Jengis Khan, the leader of the Mongol confederates, made war on the Kin Empire and captured Pekin (1214). He then turned westward and conquered Western Turkestan, Persia, Armenia, India down to Lahore, and South Russia as far as Kieff. He died master of a vast empire that reached from the Pacific to the Dnieper.   2
  His successor, Ogdai Khan, continued this astonishing career of conquest. His armies were organized to a very high level of efficiency; and they had with them a new Chinese invention, gunpowder, which they used in small field guns. He completed the conquest of the Kin Empire and then swept his hosts right across Asia to Russia (1235), an altogether amazing march. Kieff was destroyed in 1240, and nearly all Russia became tributary to the Mongols. Poland was ravaged, and a mixed army of Poles and Germans was annihilated at the battle of Liegnitz in Lower Silesia in 1241. The Emperor Frederick II does not seem to have made any great efforts to stay the advancing tide.   3
  “It is only recently,” says Bury in his notes to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “that European history has begun to understand that the successes of the Mongol army which overran Poland and occupied Hungary in the spring of A.D. 1241 were won by consummate strategy and were not due to a mere overwhelming superiority of numbers. But this fact has not yet become a matter of common knowledge; the vulgar opinion which represents the Tartars as a wild horde carrying all before them solely by their multitude, and galloping through Eastern Europe without a strategic plan, rushing at all obstacles and overcoming them by mere weight, still prevailsƒ.   4
  “It was wonderful how punctually and effectually the arrangements were carried out in operations extending from the Lower Vistula to Transylvania. Such a campaign was quite beyond the power of any European army of the time, and it was beyond the vision of any European commander. There was no general in Europe, from Frederick II downward, who was not a tyro in strategy compared to Subutai. It should also be noticed that the Mongols embarked upon the enterprise with full knowledge of the political situation of Hungary and the condition of Poland—they had taken care to inform themselves by a well-organized system of spies; on the other hand, the Hungarians and the Christian powers, like childish barbarians, knew hardly anything about their enemies.”   5
  But though the Mongols were victorious at Liegnitz, they did not continue their drive westward. They were getting into woodlands and hilly country, which did not suit their tactics; and so they turned southward and prepared to settle in Hungary, massacring or assimilating the kindred Magyar, even as these had previously massacred and assimilated the mixed Scythians and Avars and Huns before them. From the Hungarian plain they would probably have made raids west and south as the Hungarians had done in the ninth century, the Avars in the seventh and eighth and the Huns in the fifth. But Ogdai died suddenly, and in 1242 there was trouble about the succession, and recalled by this, the undefeated hosts of Mongols began to pour back across Hungary and Roumania towards the east.   6
  Thereafter the Mongols concentrated their attention upon their Asiatic conquests. By the middle of the thirteenth century they had conquered the Sung Empire. Mangu Khan succeeded Ogdai Khan as Great Khan in 1251, and made his brother Kublai Khan governor of China. In 1280 Kublai Khan had been formally recognized Emperor of China, and so founded the Yuan dynasty which lasted until 1368. While the last ruins of the Sung rule were going down in China, another brother of Mangu, Hulagu, was conquering Persia and Syria. The Mongols displayed a bitter animosity to Islam at this time, and not only massacred the population of Bagdad when they captured that city, but set to work to destroy the immemorial irrigation system which had kept Mesopotamia incessantly prosperous and populous from the early days of Sumeria. From that time until our own Mesopotamia has been a desert of ruins, sustaining only a scanty population. Into Egypt the Mongols never penetrated; the Sultan of Egypt completely defeated an army of Hulagu’s in Palestine in 1260.   7
  After that disaster the tide of Mongol victory ebbed. The dominions of the Great Khan fell into a number of separate states. The eastern Mongols became Buddhists, like the Chinese; the western became Moslim. The Chinese threw off the rule of the Yuan dynasty in 1368, and set up the native Ming dynasty which flourished from 1368 to 1644. The Russians remained tributary to the Tartar hordes upon the south-east steppes until 1480, when the Grand Duke of Moscow repudiated his allegiance and laid the foundation of modern Russia.   8
  In the fourteenth century there was a brief revival of Mongol vigour under Timurlane, a descendant of Jengis Khan. He established himself in Western Turkestan, assumed the title of Grand Khan in 1369, and conquered from Syria to Delhi. He was the most savage and destructive of all the Mongol conquerors. He established an empire of desolation that did not survive his death. In 1505, however, a descendant of this Timur, an adventurer named Baber, got together an army with guns and swept down upon the plains of India. His grandson Akbar (1556–1605) completed his conquests, and this Mongol (or “Mogul” as the Arabs called it) dynasty ruled in Delhi over the greater part of India until the eighteenth century.   9
  One of the consequences of the first great sweep of Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century was to drive a certain tribe of Turks, the Ottoman Turks, out of Turkestan into Asia Minor. They extended and consolidated their power in Asia Minor, crossed the Dardanelles and conquered Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria, until at last Constantinople remained like an island amongst the Ottoman dominions. In 1453 the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad II, took Constantinople, attacking it from the European side with a great number of guns. This event caused intense excitement in Europe and there was talk of a crusade, but the day of the crusades was past.  10
  In the course of the sixteenth century the Ottoman Sultans conquered Bagdad, Hungary, Egypt and most of North Africa, and their fleet made them masters of the Mediterranean. They very nearly took Vienna, and they exacted a tribute from the Emperor. There were but two items to offset the general ebb of Christian dominion in the fifteenth century. One was the restoration of the independence of Moscow (1480); the other was the gradual reconquest of Spain by the Christians. In 1492, Granada, the last Moslem state in the peninsula, fell to King Ferdinand of Aragon and his Queen Isabella of Castile.  11
  But it was not until as late as 1571 that the naval battle of Lepanto broke the pride of the Ottomans, and restored the Mediterranean waters to Christian ascendancy.XLIX.  The Intellectual Revival of the Europeans




THROUGHOUT the twelfth century there were many signs that the European intelligence was recovering courage and leisure, and preparing to take up again the intellectual enterprises of the first Greek scientific enquiries and such speculations as those of the Italian Lucretius. The causes of this revival were many and complex. The suppression of private war, the higher standards of comfort and security that followed the crusades, and the stimulation of men’s minds by the experiences of these expeditions were no doubt necessary preliminary conditions. Trade was reviving; cities were recovering ease and safety; the standard of education was arising in the church and spreading among laymen. The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were a period of growing, independent or quasi-independent cities; Venice, Florence, Genoa, Lisbon, Paris, Bruges, London, Antwerp, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Novgorod, Wisby and Bergen for example. They were all trading cities with many travellers, and where men trade and travel they talk and think. The polemics of the Popes and princes, the conspicuous savagery and wickedness of the persecution of heretics, were exciting men to doubt the authority of the church and question and discuss fundamental things.   1
  We have seen how the Arabs were the means of restoring Aristotle to Europe, and how such a prince as Frederick II acted as a channel through which Arabic philosophy and science played upon the renascent European mind. Still more influential in the stirring up of men’s ideas were the Jews. Their very existence was a note of interrogation to the claims of the church. And finally the secret, fascinating enquiries of the alchemists were spreading far and wide and setting men to the petty, furtive and yet fruitful resumption of experimental science.   2
  And the stir in men’s minds was by no means confined now to the independent and well educated. The mind of the common man was awake in the world as it had never been before in all the experience of mankind. In spite of priest and persecution, Christianity does seem to have carried a mental ferment wherever its teaching reached. It established a direct relation between the conscience of the individual man and the God of Righteousness, so that now if need arose he had the courage to form his own judgment upon prince or prelate or creed.   3
  As early as the eleventh century philosophical discussion had begun again in Europe, and there were great and growing universities at Paris, Oxford, Bologna and other centres. There medieval “schoolmen” took up again and thrashed out a series of questions upon the value and meaning of words that were a necessary preliminary to clear thinking in the scientific age that was to follow. And standing by himself because of his distinctive genius was Roger Bacon (circa 1210 to circa 1293), a Franciscan of Oxford, the father of modern experimental science. His name deserves a prominence in our history second only to that of Aristotle.   4
  His writings are one long tirade against ignorance. He told his age it was ignorant, an incredibly bold thing to do. Nowadays a man may tell the world it is as silly as it is solemn, that all its methods are still infantile and clumsy and its dogmas childish assumptions, without much physical danger; but these peoples of the middle ages when they were not actually being massacred or starving or dying of pestilence, were passionately convinced of the wisdom, the completeness and finality of their beliefs, and disposed to resent any reflections upon them very bitterly. Roger Bacon’s writings were like a flash of light in a profound darkness. He combined his attack upon the ignorance of his times with a wealth of suggestion for the increase of knowledge. In his passionate insistence upon the need of experiment and of collecting knowledge, the spirit of Aristotle lives again in him. “Experiment, experiment,” that is the burthen of Roger Bacon.   5
  Yet of Aristotle himself Roger Bacon fell foul. He fell foul of him because men, instead of facing facts boldly, sat in rooms and pored over the bad Latin translations which were then all that was available of the master. “If I had my way,” he wrote, in his intemperate fashion, “I should burn all the books of Aristotle, for the study of them can only lead to a loss of time, produce error, and increase ignorance,” a sentiment that Aristotle would probably have echoed could he have returned to a world in which his works were not so much read as worshipped—and that, as Roger Bacon showed, in these most abominable translations.   6
  Throughout his books, a little disguised by the necessity of seeming to square it all with orthodoxy for fear of the prison and worse, Roger Bacon shouted to mankind, “Cease to be ruled by dogmas and authorities; look at the world!” Four chief sources of ignorance he denounced; respect for authority, custom, the sense of the ignorant crowd, and the vain, proud unteachableness of our dispositions. Overcome but these, and a world of power would open to men:—   7
  “Machines for navigating are possible without rowers, so that great ships suited to river or ocean, guided by one man, may be borne with greater speed than if they were full of men. Likewise cars may be made so that without a draught animal they may be moved cum impetu inœstimable, as we deem the scythed chariots to have been from which antiquity fought. And flying machines are possible, so that a man may sit in the middle turning some device by which artificial wings may beat the air in the manner of a flying bird.”   8
  So Roger Bacon wrote, but three more centuries were to elapse before men began any systematic attempts to explore the hidden stores of power and interest he realized so clearly existed beneath the dull surface of human affairs.   9
  But the Saracenic world not only gave Christendom the stimulus of its philosophers and alchemists; it also gave it paper. It is scarcely too much to say that paper made the intellectual revival of Europe possible. Paper originated in China, where its use probably goes back to the second century B.C. In 751 the Chinese made an attack upon the Arab Moslems in Samarkand; they were repulsed, and among the prisoners taken from them were some skilled papermakers, from whom the art was learnt. Arabic paper manuscripts from the ninth century onward still exist. The manufacture entered Christendom either through Greece or by the capture of Moorish paper-mills during the Christian reconquest of Spain. But under the Christian Spanish the product deteriorated sadly. Good paper was not made in Christian Europe until the end of the thirteenth century, and then it was Italy which led the world. Only by the fourteenth century did the manufacture reach Germany, and not until the end of that century was it abundant and cheap enough for the printing of books to be a practicable business proposition. Thereupon printing followed naturally and necessarily, for printing is the most obvious of inventions, and the intellectual life of the world entered upon a new and far more vigorous phase. It ceased to be a little trickle from mind to mind; it became a broad flood, in which thousands and presently scores and hundreds of thousands of minds participated.  10
  One immediate result of this achievement of printing was the appearance of an abundance of Bibles in the world. Another was a cheapening of school-books. The knowledge of reading spread swiftly. There was not only a great increase of books in the world, but the books that were now made were plainer to read and so easier to understand. Instead of toiling at a crabbed text and then thinking over its significance, readers now could think unimpeded as they read. With this increase in the facility of reading, the reading public grew. The book ceased to be a highly decorated toy or a scholar’s mystery. People began to write books to be read as well as looked at by ordinary people. They wrote in the ordinary language and not in Latin. With the fourteenth century the real history of the European literature begins.  11
  So far we have been dealing only with the Saracenic share in the European revival. Let us turn now to the influence of the Mongol conquests. They stimulated the geographical imagination of Europe enormously. For a time under the Great Khan, all Asia and Western Europe enjoyed an open intercourse; all the roads were temporarily open, and representatives of every nation appeared at the court of Karakorum. The barriers between Europe and Asia set up by the religious feud of Christianity and Islam were lowered. Great hopes were entertained by the papacy for the conversion of the Mongols to Christianity. Their only religion so far had been Shumanism, a primitive paganism. Envoys of the Pope, Buddhist priests from India, Parisian and Italian and Chinese artificers, Byzantine and Armenian merchants, mingled with Arab officials and Persian and Indian astronomers and mathematicians at the Mongol court. We hear too much in history of the campaigns and massacres of the Mongols, and not enough of their curiosity and desire for learning. Not perhaps as an originative people, but as transmitters of knowledge and method their influence upon the world’s history has been very great. And everything one can learn of the vague and romantic personalities of Jengis or Kublai tends to confirm the impression that these men were at least as understanding and creative monarchs as either that flamboyant but egotistical figure Alexander the Great or that raiser of political ghosts, that energetic but illiterate theologian Charlemagne.  12
  One of the most interesting of these visitors to the Mongol Court was a certain Venetian, Marco Polo, who afterwards set down his story in a book. He went to China about 1272 with his father and uncle, who had already once made the journey. The Great Khan had been deeply impressed by the elder Polos; they were the first men of the “Latin” peoples he had seen; and he sent them back with enquiries for teachers and learned men who could explain Christianity to him, and for various other European things that had aroused his curiosity. Their visit with Marco was their second visit.  13
  The three Polos started by way of Palestine and not by the Crimea, as in their previous expedition. They had with them a gold tablet and other indications from the Great Khan that must have greatly facilitated their journey. The Great Khan had asked for some oil from the lamp that burns in the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem; and so thither they first went, and then by way of Cilicia into Armenia. They went thus far north because the Sultan of Egypt was raiding the Mongol domains at this time. Thence they came by way of Mesopotamia to Ormuz on the Persian Gulf, as if they contemplated a sea voyage. At Ormuz they met merchants from India. For some reason they did not take ship, but instead turned northward through the Persian deserts, and so by way of Balkh over the Pamir to Kashgar, and by way of Kotan and the Lob Nor into the Hwang-ho valley and on to Pekin. At Pekin was the Great Khan, and they were hospitably entertained.  14
  Marco particularly pleased Kublai; he was young and clever, and it is clear he had mastered the Tartar language very thoroughly. He was given an official position and sent on several missions, chiefly in south-west China. The tale he had to tell of vast stretches of smiling and prosperous country, “all the way excellent hostelries for travellers,” and “fine vineyards, fields and gardens,” of “many abbeys” of Buddhist monks, of manufactures of “cloth of silk and gold and many fine taffetas,” a “constant succession of cities and boroughs,” and so on, first roused the incredulity and then fired the imagination of all Europe. He told of Burmah, and of its great armies with hundreds of elephants, and how these animals were defeated by the Mongol bowmen, and also of the Mongol conquest of Pegu. He told of Japan, and greatly exaggerated the amount of gold in that country. For three years Marco ruled the city of Yang-chow as governor, and he probably impressed the Chinese inhabitants as being very little more of a foreigner than any Tartar would have been. He may also have been sent on a mission to India. Chinese records mention a certain Polo attached to the imperial council in 1277, a very valuable confirmation of the general truth of the Polo story.  15
  The publication of Marco Polo’s travels produced a profound effect upon the European imagination. The European literature, and especially the European romance of the fifteenth century, echoes with the names in Marco Polo’s story, with Cathay (North China) and Cambulac (Pekin) and the like.  16
  Two centuries later, among the readers of the Travels of Marco Polo was a certain Genoese mariner, Christopher Columbus, who conceived the brilliant idea of sailing westward round the world to China. In Seville there is a copy of the Travels with marginal notes by Columbus. There were many reasons why the thought of a Genoese should be turned in this direction. Until its capture by the Turks in 1453 Constantinople had been an impartial trading mart between the Western world and the East, and the Genoese had traded there freely. But the “Latin” Venetians, the bitter rivals of the Genoese, had been the allies and helpers of the Turks against the Greeks, and with the coming of the Turks Constantinople turned an unfriendly face upon Genoese trade. The long forgotten discovery that the world was round had gradually resumed its sway over men’s minds. The idea of going westward to China was therefore a fairly obvious one. It was encouraged by two things. The mariner’s compass had now been invented and men were no longer left to the mercy of a fine night and the stars to determine the direction in which they were sailing, and the Normans, Catalonians and Genoese and Portuguese had already pushed out into the Atlantic as far as the Canary Isles, Madeira and the Azores.  17
  Yet Columbus found many difficulties before he could get ships to put his idea to the test. He went from one European Court to another. Finally at Granada, just won from the Moors, he secured the patronage of Ferdinand and Isabella, and was able to set out across the unknown ocean in three small ships. After a voyage of two months and nine days he came to a land which he believed to be India, but which was really a new continent, whose distinct existence the old world had never hitherto suspected. He returned to Spain with gold, cotton, strange beasts and birds, and two wild-eyed painted Indians to be baptized. They were called Indians because, to the end of his days, he believed that this land he had found was India. Only in the course of several years did men begin to realize that the whole new continent of America was added to the world’s resources.  18
  The success of Columbus stimulated overseas enterprise enormously. In 1497 the Portuguese sailed round Africa to India, and in 1515 there were Portuguese ships in Java. In 1519 Magellan, a Portuguese sailor in Spanish employment, sailed out of Seville westward with five ships, of which one, the Vittoria, came back up the river to Seville in 1522, the first ship that had ever circumnavigated the world. Thirty-one men were aboard her, survivors of two-hundred-and-eighty who had started. Magellan himself had been killed in the Philippine Isles.  19
  Printed paper books, a new realization of the round world as a thing altogether attainable, a new vision of strange lands, strange animals and plants, strange manners and customs, discoveries overseas and in the skies and in the ways and materials of life burst upon the European mind. The Greek classics, buried and forgotten for so long, were speedily being printed and studied, and were colouring men’s thoughts with the dreams of Plato and the traditions of an age of republican freedom and dignity. The Roman dominion had first brought law and order to Western Europe, and the Latin Church had restored it; but under both Pagan and Catholic Rome curiosity and innovation were subordinate to and restrained by organization. The reign of the Latin mind was now drawing to an end. Between the thirteenth and the sixteenth century the European Aryans, thanks to the stimulating influence of Semite and Mongol and the rediscovery of the Greek classics, broke away from the Latin tradition and rose again to the intellectual and material leadership of mankind.The Reformation of the Latin Church




THE LATIN CHURCH itself was enormously affected by this mental rebirth. It was dismembered; and even the portion that survived was extensively renewed.   1
  We have told how nearly the church came to the autocratic leadership of all Christendom in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and how in the fourteenth and fifteenth its power over men’s minds and affairs declined. We have described how popular religious enthusiasm which had in earlier ages been its support and power was turned against it by its pride, persecution s and centralization, and how the insidious scepticism of Frederick II bore fruit in a growing insubordination of the princes. The Great Schism had reduced its religious and political prestige to negligible proportions. The forces of insurrection struck it now from both sides.   2
  The teachings of the Englishman Wycliffe spread widely throughout Europe. In 1398 a learned Czech, John Huss, delivered a series of lectures upon Wycliffe’s teachings in the university of Prague. This teaching spread rapidly beyond the educated class and aroused great popular enthusiasm. In 1414–18 a Council of the whole church was held at Constance to settle the Great Schism. Huss was invited to this Council under promise of a safe conduct from the emperor, seized, put on trial for heresy and burnt alive (1415). So far from tranquillizing the Bohemian people, this led to an insurrection of the Hussites in that country, the first of a series of religious wars that inaugurated the break-up of Latin Christendom. Against this insurrection Pope Martin V, the Pope specially elected at Constance as the head of a reunited Christendom, preached a Crusade.   3
  Five Crusades in all were launched upon this sturdy little people and all of them failed. All the unemployed ruffianism of Europe was turned upon Bohemia in the fifteenth century, just as in the thirteenth it had been turned upon the Waldenses. But the Bohemian Czechs, unlike the Waldenses, believed in armed resistance. The Bohemian Crusade dissolved and streamed away from the battlefield at the sound of the Hussites’ waggons and the distant chanting of their troops; it did not even wait to fight (battle of Domazlice, 1431). In 1436 an agreement was patched up with the Hussites by a new Council of the church at Basle in which many of the special objections to Latin practice were conceded.   4
  In the fifteenth century a great pestilence had produced much social disorganization throughout Europe. There had been extreme misery and discontent among the common people, and peasant risings against the landlords and the wealthy in England and France. After the Hussite Wars these peasant insurrections increased in gravity in Germany and took on a religious character. Printing came in as an influence upon this development. By the middle of the fifteenth century there were printers at work with movable type in Holland and the Rhineland. The art spread to Italy and England, where Caxton was printing in Westminster in 1477. The immediate consequence was a great increase and distribution of Bibles, and greatly increased facilities for widespread popular controversies. The European world became a world of readers, to an extent that had never happened to any community in the past. And this sudden irrigation of the general mind with clearer ideas and more accessible information occurred just at a time when the church was confused and divided and not in a position to defend itself effectively, and when many princes were looking for means to weaken its hold upon the vast wealth it claimed in their dominions.   5
  In Germany the attack upon the church gathered round the personality of an ex-monk, Martin Luther (1483–1546), who appeared in Wittenberg in 1517 offering disputations against various orthodox doctrines and practices. At first he disputed in Latin in the fashion of the Schoolmen. Then he took up the new weapon of the printed word and scattered his views far and wide in German addressed to the ordinary people. An attempt was made to suppress him as Huss had been suppressed, but the printing press had changed conditions and he had too many open and secret friends among the German princes for this fate to overtake him.   6
  For now in this age of multiplying ideas and weakened faith there were many rulers who saw their advantage in breaking the religious ties between their people and Rome. They sought to make themselves in person the heads of a more nationalized religion. England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, North Germany and Bohemia, one after another, separated themselves from the Roman Communion. They have remained separated ever since.   7
  The various princes concerned cared very little for the moral and intellectual freedom of their subjects. They used the religious doubts and insurgence of their peoples to strengthen them against Rome, but they tried to keep a grip upon the popular movement as soon as that rupture was achieved and a national church set up under the control of the crown. But there has always been a curious vitality in the teaching of Jesus, a direct appeal to righteousness and a man’s self-respect over every loyalty and every subordination, lay or ecclesiastical. None of these princely churches broke off without also breaking off a number of fragmentary sects that would admit the intervention of neither prince nor Pope between a man and his God. In England and Scotland, for example, there was a number of sects who now held firmly to the Bible as their one guide in life and belief. They refused the disciplines of a state church. In England these dissentients were the Non-conformists, who played a very large part in the politics of that country in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In England they carried their objection to a princely head to the church so far as to decapitate King Charles I (1649), and for eleven prosperous years England was a republic under Non-conformist rule.   8
  The breaking away of this large section of Northern Europe from Latin Christendom is what is generally spoken of as the Reformation. But the shock and stress of these losses produced changes perhaps as profound in the Roman Church itself. The church was reorganized and a new spirit came into its life. One of the dominant figures in this revival was a young Spanish soldier, Inigo Lopez de Recalde, better known to the world as St. Ignatius of Loyola. After some romantic beginnings he became a priest (1538) and was permitted to found the Society of Jesus, a direct attempt to bring the generous and chivalrous traditions of military discipline into the service of religion. This Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, became one of the greatest teaching and missionary societies the world has ever seen. It carried Christianity to India, China and America. It arrested the rapid disintegration of the Roman Church. It raised the standard of education throughout the whole Catholic world; it raised the level of Catholic intelligence and quickened the Catholic conscience everywhere; it stimulated Protestant Europe to competitive educational efforts. The vigorous and aggressive Roman Catholic Church we know to-day is largely the product of this Jesuit revival.The Emperor Charles V




THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE came to a sort of climax in the reign of the Emperor Charles V. He was one of the most extraordinary monarchs that Europe has ever seen. For a time he had the air of being the greatest monarch since Charlemagne.   1
  His greatness was not of his own making. It was largely the creation of his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519). Some families have fought, others have intrigued their way to world power; the Habsburgs married their way. Maximilian began his career with Austria, Styria, part of Alsace and other districts, the original Habsburg patrimony; he married—the lady’s name scarcely matters to us—the Netherlands and Burgundy. Most of Burgundy slipped from him after his first wife’s death, but the Netherlands he held. Then he tried unsuccessfully to marry Brittany. He became Emperor in succession to his father, Frederick III, in 1493, and married the duchy of Milan. Finally he married his son to the weak-minded daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Ferdinand and Isabella of Columbus, who not only reigned over a freshly united Spain and over Sardinia and the kingdom of the two Sicilies, but over all America west of Brazil. So it was that this Charles V, his grandson, inherited most of the American continent and between a third and a half of what the Turks had left of Europe. He succeeded to the Netherlands in 1506. When his grandfather Ferdinand died in 1516, he became practically king of the Spanish dominions, his mother being imbecile; and his grandfather Maximilian dying in 1519, he was in 1520 elected Emperor at the still comparatively tender age of twenty.   2
  He was a fair young man with a not very intelligent face, a thick upper lip and a long clumsy chin. He found himself in a world of young and vigorous personalities. It was an age of brilliant young monarchs. Francis I had succeeded to the French throne in 1515 at the age of twenty-one, Henry VIII had become King of England in 1509 at eighteen. It was the age of Baber in India (1526–1530) and Suleiman the Magnificent in Turkey (1520), both exceptionally capable monarchs, and the Pope Leo X (1513) was also a very distinguished Pope. The Pope and Francis I attempted to prevent the election of Charles as Emperor because they dreaded the concentration of so much power in the hands of one man. Both Francis I and Henry VIII offered themselves to the imperial electors. But there was now a long established tradition of Habsburg Emperors (since 1273), and some energetic bribery secured the election for Charles.   3
  At first the young man was very much a magnificent puppet in the hands of his ministers. Then slowly he began to assert himself and take control. He began to realize something of the threatening complexities of his exalted position. It was a position as unsound as it was splendid.   4
  From the very outset of his reign he was faced by the situation created by Luther’s agitations in Germany. The Emperor had one reason for siding with the reformers in the opposition of the Pope to his election. But he had been brought up in Spain, that most Catholic of countries, and he decided against Luther. So he came into conflict with the Protestant princes and particularly the Elector of Saxony. He found himself in the presence of an opening rift that was to split the outworn fabric of Christendom into two contending camps. His attempts to close that rift were strenuous and honest and ineffective. There was an extensive peasant revolt in Germany which interwove with the general political and religious disturbance. And these internal troubles were complicated by attacks upon the Empire from east and west alike. On the west of Charles was his spirited rival, Francis I; to the east was the ever advancing Turk, who was now in Hungary, in alliance with Francis and clamouring for certain arrears of tribute from the Austrian dominions. Charles had the money and army of Spain at his disposal, but it was extremely difficult to get any effective support in money from Germany. His social and political troubles were complicated by financial distresses. He was forced to ruinous borrowing.   5
  On the whole, Charles, in alliance with Henry VIII, was successful against Francis I and the Turk. Their chief battlefield was North Italy; the generalship was dull on both sides; their advances and retreats depended mainly on the arrival of reinforcements. The German army invaded France, failed to take Marseilles, fell back into Italy, lost Milan, and was besieged in Pavia. Francis I made a long and unsuccessful siege of Pavia, was caught by fresh German forces, defeated, wounded and taken prisoner. But thereupon the Pope and Henry VIII, still haunted by the fear of his attaining excessive power, turned against Charles. The German troops in Milan, under the Constable of Bourbon, being unpaid, forced rather than followed their commander into a raid upon Rome. They stormed the city and pillaged it (1527). The Pope took refuge in the Castle of St. Angelo while the looting and slaughter went on. He bought off the German troops at last by the payment of four hundred thousand ducats. Ten years of such confused fighting impoverished all Europe. At last the Emperor found himself triumphant in Italy. In 1530, he was crowned by the Pope—he was the last German Emperor to be so crowned—at Bologna.   6
  Meanwhile the Turks were making great headway in Hungary. They had defeated and killed the king of Hungary in 1526, they held Buda-Pesth, and in 1529 Suleiman the Magnificent very nearly took Vienna. The Emperor was greatly concerned by these advances, and did his utmost to drive back the Turks, but he found the greatest difficulty in getting the German princes to unite even with this formidable enemy upon their very borders. Francis I remained implacable for a time, and there was a new French war; but in 1538 Charles won his rival over to a more friendly attitude after ravaging the south of France. Francis and Charles then formed an alliance against the Turk. But the Protestant princes, the German princes who were resolved to break away from Rome, had formed a league, the Schmalkaldic League, against the Emperor, and in the place of a great campaign to recover Hungary for Christendom Charles had to turn his mind to the gathering internal struggle in Germany. Of that struggle he saw only the opening war. It was a struggle, a sanguinary irrational bickering of princes, for ascendancy, now flaming into war and destruction, now sinking back to intrigues and diplomacies; it was a snake’s sack of princely policies that was to go on writhing incurably right into the nineteenth century and to waste and desolate Central Europe again and again.   7
  The Emperor never seems to have grasped the true forces at work in these gathering troubles. He was for his time and station an exceptionally worthy man, and he seems to have taken the religious dissensions that were tearing Europe into warring fragments as genuine theological differences. He gathered diets and councils in futile attempts at reconciliation. Formulæ and confessions were tried over. The student of German history must struggle with the details of the Religious Peace of Nuremberg, the settlement at the Diet of Ratisbon, the Interim of Augsburg, and the like. Here we do but mention them as details in the worried life of this culminating Emperor. As a matter of fact, hardly one of the multifarious princes and rulers in Europe seems to have been acting in good faith. The widespread religious trouble of the world, the desire of the common people for truth and social righteousness, the spreading knowledge of the time, all those things were merely counters in the imaginations of princely diplomacy. Henry VIII of England, who had begun his career with a book against heresy, and who had been rewarded by the Pope with the title of “Defender of the Faith,” being anxious to divorce his first wife in favour of a young lady named Anne Boleyn, and wishing also to loot the vast wealth of the church in England, joined the company of Protestant princes in 1530. Sweden, Denmark and Norway had already gone over to the Protestant side.   8
  The German religious war began in 1546, a few months after the death of Martin Luther. We need not trouble about the incidents of the campaign. The Protestant Saxon army was badly beaten at Lochau. By something very like a breach of faith Philip of Hesse, the Emperor’s chief remaining antagonist, was caught and imprisoned, and the Turks were bought off by the promise of an annual tribute. In 1547, to the great relief of the Emperor, Francis I died. So by 1547 Charles got to a kind of settlement, and made his last efforts to effect peace where there was no peace. In 1552 all Germany was at war again, only a precipitate flight from Innsbruck saved Charles from capture, and in 1552, with the treaty of Passau, came another unstable equilibriumƒ.   9
  Such is the brief outline of the politics of the Empire for thirty-two years. It is interesting to note how entirely the European mind was concentrated upon the struggle for European ascendancy. Neither Turks, French, English nor Germans had yet discovered any political interest in the great continent of America, nor any significance in the new sea routes to Asia. Great things were happening in America; Cortez with a mere handful of men had conquered the great Neolithic empire of Mexico for Spain, Pizarro had crossed the Isthmus of Panama (1530) and subjugated another wonder-land, Peru. But as yet these events meant no more to Europe than a useful and stimulating influx of silver to the Spanish treasury.  10
  It was after the treaty of Passau that Charles began to display his distinctive originality of mind. He was now entirely bored and disillusioned by his imperial greatness. A sense of the intolerable futility of these European rivalries came upon him. He had never been of a very sound constitution, he was naturally indolent and he was suffering greatly from gout. He abdicated. He made over all his sovereign rights in Germany to his brother Ferdinand, and Spain and the Netherlands he resigned to his son Philip. Then in a sort of magnificent dudgeon he retired to a monastery at Yuste, among the oak and chestnut forests in the hills to the north of the Tagus valley. There he died in 1558.  11
  Much has been written in a sentimental vein of this retirement, this renunciation of the world by this tired majestic Titan, world-weary, seeking in an austere solitude his peace with God. But his retreat was neither solitary nor austere; he had with him nearly a hundred and fifty attendants; his establishment had all the splendour and indulgences without the fatigues of a court, and Philip II was a dutiful son to whom his father’s advice was a command.  12
  And if Charles had lost his living interest in the administration of European affairs, there were other motives of a more immediate sort to stir him. Says Prescott: “In the almost daily correspondence between Quixada, or Gaztelu, and the Secretary of State at Valladolid, there is scarcely a letter that does not turn more or less on the Emperor’s eating or his illness. The one seems naturally to follow, like a running commentary, on the other. It is rare that such topics have formed the burden of communications with the department of state. It must have been no easy matter for the secretary to preserve his gravity in the perusal of despatches in which politics and gastronomy were so strangely mixed together. The courier from Valladolid to Lisbon was ordered to make a detour, so as to take Jarandilla in his route, and bring supplies to the royal table. On Thursdays he was to bring fish to serve for the jour maigre that was to follow. The trout in the neighbourhood Charles thought too small, so others of a larger size were to be sent from Valladolid. Fish of every kind was to his taste, as, indeed, was anything that in its nature or habits at all approached to fish. Eels, frogs, oysters, occupied an important place in the royal bill of fare. Potted fish, especially anchovies, found great favour with him; and he regretted that he had not brought a better supply of these from the Low Countries. On an eel-pasty he particularly doted.”ƒ  13
  In 1554 Charles had obtained a bull from Pope Julius III granting him a dispensation from fasting, and allowing him to break his fast early in the morning even when he was to take the sacrament.  14
  Eating and doctoring! it was a return to elemental things. He had never acquired the habit of reading, but he would make what one narrator describes as a “sweet and heavenly commentary.” He also amused himself with mechanical toys, by listening to music or sermons, and by attending to the imperial business that still came drifting in to him. The death of the Empress, to whom he was greatly attached, had turned his mind towards religion, which in his case took a punctilious and ceremonial form; every Friday in Lent he scourged himself with the rest of the monks with such good will as to draw blood. These exercises and the gout released a bigotry in Charles that had hitherto been restrained by considerations of policy. The appearance of Protestant teaching close at hand in Valladolid roused him to fury. “Tell the grand inquisitor and his council from me to be at their posts, and to lay the axe at the root of the evil before it spreads further.”ƒ He expressed a doubt whether it would not be well, in so black an affair, to dispense with the ordinary course of justice, and to show no mercy; “lest the criminal, if pardoned, should have the opportunity of repeating his crime.” He recommended, as an example, his own mode of proceeding in the Netherlands, “where all who remained obstinate in their errors were burned alive, and those who were admitted to penitence were beheaded.”  15
  And almost symbolical of his place and rôle in history was his preoccupation with funerals. He seems to have had an intuition that something great was dead in Europe and sorely needed burial, that there was a need to write Finis, overdue. He not only attended every actual funeral that was celebrated at Yuste, but he had services conducted for the absent dead, he held a funeral service in memory of his wife on the anniversary of her death, and finally he celebrated his own obsequies.  16
  “The chapel was hung with black, and the blaze of hundreds of wax-lights was scarcely sufficient to dispel the darkness. The brethren in their conventual dress, and all the Emperor’s household clad in deep mourning, gathered round a huge catafalque, shrouded also in black, which had been raised in the centre of the chapel. The service for the burial of the dead was then performed; and, amidst the dismal wail of the monks, the prayers ascended for the departed spirit, that it might be received into the mansions of the blessed. The sorrowful attendants were melted to tears, as the image of their master’s death was presented to their minds—or they were touched, it may be, with compassion by this pitiable display of weakness. Charles, muffled in a dark mantle, and bearing a lighted candle in his hand, mingled with his household, the spectator of his own obsequies; and the doleful ceremony was concluded by his placing the taper in the hands of the priest, in sign of his surrendering up his soul to the Almighty.”  17
  Within two months of this masquerade he was dead. And the brief greatness of the Holy Roman Empire died with him. His realm was already divided between his brother and his son. The Holy Roman Empire struggled on indeed to the days of Napoleon I but as an invalid and dying thing. To this day its unburied tradition still poisons the political air.Appendix to Robertson’s History of Charles V.The Age of Political Experiments; of Grand Monarchy and Parliaments and Republicanism in Europe




THE LATIN CHURCH was broken, the Holy Roman Empire was in extreme decay; the history of Europe from the opening of the sixteenth century onward in a story of peoples feeling their way darkly to some new method of government, better adapted to the new conditions that were arising. In the Ancient World, over long periods of time, there had been changes of dynasty and even changes of ruling race and language, but the form of government through monarch and temple remained fairly stable, and still more stable was the ordinary way of living. In this modern Europe since the sixteenth century the dynastic changes are unimportant, and the interest of history lies in the wide and increasing variety of experiments in political and social organization.   1
  The political history of the world from the sixteenth century onward was, we have said, an effort, a largely unconscious effort, of mankind to adapt its political and social methods to certain new conditions that had now arisen. The effort to adapt was complicated by the fact that the conditions themselves were changing with a steadily increasing rapidity. The adaptation, mainly unconscious and almost always unwilling (for man in general hates voluntary change), has lagged more and more behind the alterations in conditions. From the sixteenth century onward the history of mankind is a story of political and social institutions becoming more and more plainly misfits, less comfortable and more vexatious, and of the slow reluctant realization of the need for a conscious and deliberate reconstruction of the whole scheme of human societies in the face of needs and possibilities new to all the former experiences of life.   2
  What are these changes in the conditions of human life that have disorganized that balance of empire, priest, peasant and trader, with periodic refreshment by barbaric conquest, that has held human affairs in the Old World in a sort of working rhythm for more than a hundred centuries?   3
  They are manifold and various, for human affairs are multitudinously complex; but the main changes seem all to turn upon one cause, namely the growth and extension of a knowledge of the nature of things, beginning first of all in small groups of intelligent people and spreading at first slowly, and in the last five hundred years very rapidly, to larger and larger proportions of the general population.   4
  But there has also been a great change in human conditions due to a change in the spirit of human life. This change has gone on side by side with the increase and extension of knowledge, and is subtly connected with it. There has been an increasing disposition to treat a life based on the common and more elementary desires and gratifications as unsatisfactory, and to seek relationship with and service and participation in a larger life. This is the common characteristic of all the great religions that have spread throughout the world in the last twenty odd centuries, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam alike. They have had to do with the spirit of man in a way that the older religions did not have to do. They are forces quite different in their nature and effect from the old fetishistic blood-sacrifice religions of priest and temple that they have in part modified and in part replaced. They have gradually evolved a self-respect in the individual and a sense of participation and responsibility in the common concerns of mankind that did not exist among the populations of the earlier civilizations.   5
  The first considerable change in the conditions of political and social life was the simplification and extended use of writing in the ancient civilizations which made larger empires and wider political understandings practicable and inevitable. The next movement forward came with the introduction of the horse, and later on of the camel as a means of transport, the use of wheeled vehicles, the extension of roads and the increased military efficiency due to the discovery of terrestrial iron. Then followed the profound economic disturbances due to the device of coined money and the change in the nature of debt, proprietorship and trade due to this convenient but dangerous convention. The empires grew in size and range, and men’s ideas grew likewise to correspond with these things. Came the disappearance of local gods, the age of theocrasia, and the teaching of the great world religions. Came also the beginnings of reasoned and recorded history and geography, the first realization by man of his profound ignorance, and the first systematic search for knowledge.   6
  For a time the scientific process which began so brilliantly in Greece and Alexandria was interrupted. The raids of the Teutonic barbarians, the westward drive of the Mongolian peoples, convulsive religious reconstruction and great pestilences put enormous strains upon political and social order. When civilization emerged again from this phase of conflict and confusion, slavery was no longer the basis of economic life; and the first paper-mills were preparing a new medium for collective information and co-operation in printed matter. Gradually at this point and that, the search for knowledge, the systematic scientific process, was resumed   7
  And now from the sixteenth century onward, as an inevitable by-product of systematic thought, appeared a steadily increasing series of inventions and devices affecting the intercommunication and interaction of men with one another. They all tended towards wider range of action, greater mutual benefits or injuries, and increased co-operation, and they came faster and faster. Men’s minds had not been prepared for anything of the sort, and until the great catastrophes at the beginning of the twentieth century quickened men’s minds, the historian has very little to tell of any intelligently planned attempts to meet the new conditions this increasing flow of inventions was creating. The history of mankind for the last four centuries is rather like that of an imprisoned sleeper, stirring clumsily and uneasily while the prison that restrains and shelters him catches fire, not waking but incorporating the crackling and warmth of the fire with ancient and incongruous dreams, than like that of a man consciously awake to danger and opportunity.   8
  Since history is the story not of individual lives but of communities, it is inevitable that the inventions that figure most in the historical record are inventions affecting communications. In the sixteenth century the chief new things that we have to note are the appearance of printed paper and the sea-worthy, ocean-going sailing ship using the new device of the mariner’s compass. The former cheapened, spread, and revolutionized teaching, public information and discussion, and the fundamental operations of political activity. The latter made the round world one. But almost equally important was the increased utilization and improvement of guns and gunpowder which the Mongols had first brought westward in the thirteenth century. This destroyed the practical immunity of barons in their castles and of walled cities. Guns swept away feudalism. Constantinople fell to guns. Mexico and Peru fell before the terror of the Spanish guns.   9
  The seventeenth century saw the development of systematic scientific publication, a less conspicuous but ultimately far more pregnant innovation. Conspicuous among the leaders in this great forward step was Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626) afterwards Lord Verulam, Lord Chancellor of England. He was the pupil and perhaps the mouthpiece of another Englishman, Dr. Gilbert, the experimental philosopher of Colchester (1540–1603). This second Bacon, like the first, preached observation and experiment, and he used the inspiring and fruitful form of a Utopian story, The New Atlantis, to express his dream of a great service of scientific research.  10
  Presently arose the Royal Society of London, the Florentine Society, and later other national bodies for the encouragement of research and the publication and exchange of knowledge. These European scientific societies became fountains not only of countless inventions but also of a destructive criticism of the grotesque theological history of the world that had dominated and crippled human thought for many centuries.  11
  Neither the seventeenth nor the eighteenth century witnessed any innovations so immediately revolutionary in human conditions as printed paper and the ocean-going ship, but there was a steady accumulation of knowledge and scientific energy that was to bear its full fruits in the nineteenth century. The exploration and mapping of the world went on. Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand appeared on the map. In Great Britain in the eighteenth century coal coke began to be used for metallurgical purposes, leading to a considerable cheapening of iron and to the possibility of casting and using it in larger pieces than had been possible before, when it had been smelted with wood charcoal. Modern machinery dawned.  12
  Like the trees of the celestial city, science bears bud and flower and fruit at the same time and continuously. With the onset of the nineteenth century the real fruition of science—which indeed henceforth may never cease—began. First came steam and steel, the railway, the great liner, vast bridges and buildings, machinery of almost limitless power, the possibility of a bountiful satisfaction of every material human need, and then, still more wonderful, the hidden treasures of electrical science were opened to men.ƒ  13
  We have compared the political and social life of man from the sixteenth century onward to that of a sleeping prisoner who lies and dreams while his prison burns about him. In the sixteenth century the European mind was still going on with its Latin Imperial dream, its dream of a Holy Roman Empire, united under a Catholic Church. But just as some uncontrollable element in our composition will insist at times upon introducing into our dreams the most absurd and destructive comments, so thrust into this dream we find the sleeping face and craving stomach of the Emperor Charles V, while Henry VIII of England and Luther tear the unity of Catholicism to shreds.  14
  In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the dream turned to personal monarchy. The history of nearly all Europe during this period tells with variations the story of an attempt to consolidate a monarchy, to make it absolute and to extend its power over weaker adjacent regions, and of the steady resistance, first of the landowners and then with the increase of foreign trade and home industry, of the growing trading and moneyed class, to the exaction and interference of the crown. There is no universal victory of either side; here it is the King who gets the upper hand while there it is the man of private property who beats the King. In one case we find a King becoming the sun and centre of his national world, while just over his borders a sturdy mercantile class maintains a republic. So wide a range of variation shows how entirely experimental, what local accidents, were all the various governments of this period.  15
  A very common figure in these national dramas is the King’s minister, often in the still Catholic countries a prelate, who stands behind the King, serves him and dominates him by his indispensable services.  16
  Here in the limits set to us it is impossible to tell these various national dramas in detail. The trading folk of Holland went Protestant and republican, and cast off the rule of Philip II of Spain, the son of the Emperor Charles V. In England Henry VIII and his minister Wolsey, Queen Elizabeth and her minister Burleigh, prepared the foundations of an absolutism that was wrecked by the folly of James I and Charles I. Charles I was beheaded for treason to his people (1649), a new turn in the political thought of Europe. For a dozen years (until 1660) Britain was a republic; and the crown was an unstable power, much overshadowed by Parliament, until George III (1760–1820) made a strenuous and partly successful effort to restore its predominance. The King of France, on the other hand, was the most successful of all the European Kings in perfecting monarchy. Two great ministers, Richelieu (1585–1642) and Mazarin (1602–1661), built up the power of the crown in that country, and the process was aided by the long reign and very considerable abilities of King Louis XIV, “the Grand Monarque” (1643–1715).  17
  Louis XIV was indeed the pattern King of Europe. He was, within his limitations, an exceptionally capable King; his ambition was stronger than his baser passions, and he guided his country towards bankruptcy through the complication of a spirited foreign policy with an elaborate dignity that still extorts our admiration. His immediate desire was to consolidate and extend France to the Rhine and Pyrenees, and to absorb the Spanish Netherlands; his remoter view saw the French Kings as the possible successors of Charlemagne in a recast Holy Roman Empire. He made bribery a state method almost more important than warfare. Charles II of England was in his pay, and so were most of the Polish nobility, presently to be described. His money, or rather the money of the tax-paying classes in France, went everywhere. But his prevailing occupation was splendour. His great palace at Versailles with its salons, its corridors, its mirrors, its terraces and fountains and parks and prospects, was the envy and admiration of the world.  18
  He provoked a universal imitation. Every king and princelet in Europe was building his own Versailles as much beyond his means as his subjects and credits would permit. Everywhere the nobility rebuilt or extended their chateaux to the new pattern. A great industry of beautiful and elaborate fabrics and furnishings developed. The luxurious arts flourished everywhere; sculpture in alabaster, faience, gilt woodwork, metal work, stamped leather, much music, magnificent painting, beautiful printing and bindings, fine crockery, fine vintages. Amidst the mirrors and fine furniture went a strange race of “gentlemen” in tall powdered wigs, silks and laces, poised upon high red heels, supported by amazing canes; and still more wonderful “ladies,” under towers of powdered hair and wearing vast expansions of silk and satin sustained on wire. Through it all postured the great Louis, the sun of his world, unaware of the meagre and sulky and bitter faces that watched him from those lower darknesses to which his sunshine did not penetrate.  19
  The German people remained politically divided throughout this period of the monarchies and experimental governments, and a considerable number of ducal and princely courts aped the splendours of Versailles on varying scales. The Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), a devastating scramble among the Germans, Swedes and Bohemians for fluctuating political advantages, sapped the energies of Germany for a century. A map must show the crazy patchwork in which this struggle ended, a map of Europe according to the peace of Westphalia (1648). One sees a tangle of principalities, dukedoms, free states and the like, some partly in and partly out of the Empire. Sweden’s arm, the reader will note, reached far into Germany; and except for a few islands of territory within the imperial boundaries France was still far from the Rhine. Amidst this patchwork the Kingdom of Prussia—it became a Kingdom in 1701—rose steadily to prominence and sustained a series of successful wars. Frederick the Great of Prussia (1740–86) had his Versailles at Potsdam, where his court spoke French, read French literature and rivalled the culture of the French King.  20
  In 1714 the Elector of Hanover became King of England, adding one more to the list of monarchies half in and half out of the empire.  21
  The Austrian branch of the descendants of Charles V retained the title of Emperor; the Spanish branch retained Spain. But now there was also an Emperor of the East again. After the fall of Constantinople (1453), the grand duke of Moscow, Ivan the Great (1462–1505), claimed to be heir to the Byzantine throne and adopted the Byzantine double-headed eagle upon his arms. His grandson, Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible (1533–1584), assumed the imperial title of Cæsar (Tsar). But only in the latter half of the seventeenth century did Russia cease to seem remote and Asiatic to the European mind. The Tsar Peter the Great (1682–1725) brought Russia into the arena of Western affairs. He built a new capital for his empire, Petersburg upon the Neva, that played the part of a window between Russia and Europe, and he set up his Versailles at Peterhof eighteen miles away, employing a French architect who gave him a terrace, fountains, cascades, picture gallery, park and all the recognized appointments of Grand Monarchy. In Russia as in Prussia French became the language of the court.  22
  Unhappily placed between Austria, Prussia and Russia was the Polish kingdom, an ill-organized state of great landed proprietors too jealous of their own individual grandeur to permit more than a nominal kingship to the monarch they elected. Her fate was division among these three neighbours, in spite of the efforts of France to retain her as an independent ally. Switzerland at this time was a group of republican cantons; Venice was a republic; Italy like so much of Germany was divided among minor dukes and princes. The Pope ruled like a prince in the papal states, too fearful now of losing the allegiance of the remaining Catholic princes to interfere between them and their subjects or to remind the world of the commonweal of Christendom. There remained indeed no common political idea in Europe at all; Europe was given over altogether to division and diversity.  23
  All these sovereign princes and republics carried on schemes of aggrandizement against each other. Each one of them pursued a “foreign policy” of aggression against its neighbours and of aggressive alliances. We Europeans still live to-day in the last phase of this age of the multifarious sovereign states, and still suffer from the hatreds, hostilities and suspicions it engendered. The history of this time becomes more and more manifestly “gossip,” more and more unmeaning and wearisome to a modern intelligence. You are told of how this war was caused by this King’s mistress, and how the jealousy of one minister for another caused that. A tittle-tattle of bribes and rivalries disgusts the intelligent student. The more permanently significant fact is that in spite of the obstruction of a score of frontiers, reading and thought still spread and increased and inventions multiplied. The eighteenth century saw the appearance of a literature profoundly sceptical and critical of the courts and policies of the time. In such a book as Voltaire’s Candide we have the expression of an infinite weariness with the planless confusion of the European world.  24
   9
The New Empires of the Europeans in Asia and Overseas




WHILE Central Europe thus remained divided and confused, the Western Europeans and particularly the Dutch, the Scandinavians, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the French and the British were extending the area of their struggles across the seas of all the world. The printing press had dissolved the political ideas of Europe into a vast and at first indeterminate fermentation, but that other great innovation, the oceangoing sailing ship, was inexorably extending the range of European experience to the furthermost limits of salt water.   1
  The first overseas settlements of the Dutch and Northern Atlantic Europeans were not for colonization but for trade and mining. The Spaniards were first in the field; they claimed dominion over the whole of this new world of America. Very soon however the Portuguese asked for a share. The Pope—it was one of the last acts of Rome as mistress of the world—divided the new continent between these two first-comers, giving Portugal Brazil and everything else east of a line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, and all the rest to Spain (1494). The Portuguese at this time were also pushing overseas enterprise southward and eastward. In 1497 Vasco da Gama had sailed from Lisbon round the Cape to Zanzibar and then to Calicut in India. In 1515 there were Portuguese ships in Java and the Moluccas, and the Portuguese were setting up and fortifying trading stations round and about the coasts of the Indian Ocean. Mozambique, Goa, and two smaller possessions in India, Macao in China and a part of Timor are to this day Portuguese possessions.   2
  The nations excluded from America by the papal settlement paid little heed to the rights of Spain and Portugal. The English, the Danes and Swedes, and presently the Dutch, were soon staking out claims in North America and the West Indies, and his Most Catholic Majesty of France heeded the papal settlement as little as any Protestant. The wars of Europe extended themselves to these claims and possessions.   3
  In the long run the English were the most successful in this scramble for overseas possessions. The Danes and Swedes were too deeply entangled in the complicated affairs of Germany to sustain effective expeditions abroad. Sweden was wasted upon the German battlefields by a picturesque king, Gustavus Adolphus, the Protestant “Lion of the North.” The Dutch were the heirs of such small settlements as Sweden made in America, and the Dutch were too near French aggressions to hold their own against the British. In the far East the chief rivals for empire were the British, Dutch and French, and in America the British, French and Spanish. The British had the supreme advantage of a water frontier, the “silver streak” of the English Channel, against Europe. The tradition of the Latin Empire entangled them least.   4
  France has always thought too much in terms of Europe. Throughout the eighteenth century she was wasting her opportunities of expansion in West and East alike in order to dominate Spain, Italy and the German confusion. The religious and political dissensions of Britain in the seventeenth century had driven many of the English to seek a permanent home in America. They struck root and increased and multiplied, giving the British a great advantage in the American struggle. In 1756 and 1760 the French lost Canada to the British and their American colonists, and a few years later the British trading company found itself completely dominant over French, Dutch and Portuguese in the peninsula of India. The great Mongol Empire of Baber, Akbar and their successors had now far gone in decay, and the story of its practical capture by a London trading company, the British East India Company, is one of the most extraordinary episodes in the whole history of conquest.   5
  This East India Company had been originally at the time of its incorporation under Queen Elizabeth no more than a company of sea adventurers. Step by step they had been forced to raise troops and arm their ships. And now this trading company, with its tradition of gain, found itself dealing not merely in spices and dyes and tea and jewels, but in the revenues and territories of princes and the destinies of India. It had come to buy and sell, and it found itself achieving a tremendous piracy. There was no one to challenge its proceedings. Is it any wonder that its captains and commanders and officials, nay, even its clerks and common soldiers, came back to England loaded with spoils?   6
  Men under such circumstances, with a great and wealthy land at their mercy, could not determine what they might or might not do. It was a strange land to them, with a strange sunlight; its brown people seemed a different race, outside their range of sympathy; its mysterious temples sustained fantastic standards of behaviour. Englishmen at home were perplexed when presently these generals and officials came back to make dark accusations against each other of extortions and cruelties. Upon Clive Parliament passed a vote of censure. He committed suicide in 1774. In 1788 Warren Hastings, a second great Indian administrator, was impeached and acquitted (1792). It was a strange and unprecedented situation in the world’s history. The English Parliament found itself ruling over a London trading company, which in its turn was dominating an empire far greater and more populous than all the domains of the British crown. To the bulk of the English people India was a remote, fantastic, almost inaccessible land, to which adventurous poor young men went out, to return after many years very rich and very choleric old gentlemen. It was difficult for the English to conceive what the life of these countless brown millions in the eastern sunshine could be. Their imaginations declined the task. India remained romantically unreal. It was impossible for the English, therefore, to exert any effective supervision and control over the company’s proceedings.   7
  And while the Western European powers were thus fighting for these fantastic overseas empires upon every ocean in the world, two great land conquests were in progress in Asia. China had thrown off the Mongol yoke in 1360, and flourished under the great native dynasty of the Mings until 1644. Then the Manchus, another Mongol people, reconquered China and remained masters of China until 1912. Meanwhile Russia was pushing East and growing to greatness in the world’s affairs. The rise of this great central power of the old world, which is neither altogether of the East nor altogether of the West, is one of the utmost importance to our human destiny. Its expansion is very largely due to the appearance of a Christian steppe people, the Cossacks, who formed a barrier between the feudal agriculture of Poland and Hungary to the west and the Tartar to the east. The Cossacks were the wild east of Europe, and in many ways not unlike the wild west of the United States in the middle nineteenth century. All who had made Russia too hot to hold them, criminals as well as the persecuted innocent, rebellious serfs, religious secretaries, thieves, vagabonds, murderers, sought asylum in the southern steppes and there made a fresh start and fought for life and freedom against Pole, Russian and Tartar alike. Doubtless fugitives from the Tartars to the east also contributed to the Cossack mixture. Slowly these border folk were incorporated in the Russian imperial service, much as the highland clans of Scotland were converted into regiments by the British government. New lands were offered them in Asia. They became a weapon against the dwindling power of the Mongolian nomads, first in Turkestan and then across Siberia as far as the Amur.   8
  The decay of Mongol energy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is very difficult to explain. Within two or three centuries from the days of Jengis and Timurlane Central Asia had relapsed from a period of world ascendancy to extreme political impotence. Changes of climate, unrecorded pestilences, infections of a malarial type, may have played their part in this recession—which may be only a temporary recession measured by the scale of universal history—of the Central Asian peoples. Some authorities think that the spread of Buddhist teaching from China also had a pacifying influence upon them. At any rate, by the sixteenth century the Mongol, Tartar and Turkish peoples were no longer pressing outward, but were being invaded, subjugated and pushed back both by Christian Russia in the west and by China in the east.   9
  All through the seventeenth century the Cossacks were spreading eastward from European Russia, and settling wherever they found agricultural conditions. Cordons of forts and stations formed a moving frontier to these settlements to the south, where the Turkomans were still strong and active; to the north-east, however, Russia had no frontier until she reached right to the Pacificƒ.The American War of Independence




THE THIRD quarter of the eighteenth century thus saw the remarkable and unstable spectacle of a Europe divided against itself, and no longer with any unifying political or religious idea, yet through the immense stimulation of men’s imaginations by the printed book, the printed map, and the opportunity of the new ocean-going shipping, able in a disorganized and contentious manner to dominate all the coasts of the world. It was a planless, incoherent ebullition of enterprise due to temporary and almost accidental advantages over the rest of mankind. By virtue of these advantages this new and still largely empty continent of America was peopled mainly from Western European sources, and South Africa and Australia and New Zealand marked down as prospective homes for a European population.   1
  The motive that had sent Columbus to America and Vasco da Gama to India was the perennial first motive of all sailors since the beginning of things—trade. But while in the already populous and productive East the trade motive remained dominant, and the European settlements remained trading settlements from which the European inhabitants hoped to return home to spend their money, the Europeans in America, dealing with communities at a very much lower level of productive activity, found a new inducement for persistence in the search for gold and silver. Particularly did the mines of Spanish America yield silver. The Europeans had to go to America not simply as armed merchants but as prospectors, miners, searchers after natural products, and presently as planters. In the north they sought furs. Mines and plantations necessitated settlements. They obliged people to set up permanent overseas homes. Finally in some cases, as when the English Puritans went to New England in the early seventeenth century to escape religious persecution, when in the eighteenth Oglethorpe sent people from the English debtors’ prisons to Georgia, and when in the end of the eighteenth the Dutch sent orphans to the Cape of Good Hope, the Europeans frankly crossed the seas to find new homes for good. In the nineteenth century, and especially after the coming of the steamship, the stream of European emigration to the new empty lands of America and Australia rose for some decades to the scale of a great migration.   2
  So there grew up permanent overseas populations of Europeans, and the European culture was transplanted to much larger areas than those in which it had been developed. These new communities bringing a ready-made civilization with them to these new lands grew up, as it were, unplanned and unperceived; the statecraft of Europe did not foresee them, and was unprepared with any ideas about their treatment. The politicians and ministers of Europe continued to regard them as essentially expeditionary establishments, sources of revenue, “possessions” and “dependencies,” long after their peoples had developed a keen sense of their separate social life. And also they continued to treat them as helplessly subject to the mother country long after the population had spread inland out of reach of any effectual punitive operations from the sea.   3
  Because until right into the nineteenth century, it must be remembered, the link of all these overseas empires was the oceangoing sailing ship. On land the swiftest thing was still the horse, and the cohesion and unity of political systems on land was still limited by the limitations of horse communications.   4
  Now at the end of the third quarter of the eighteenth century the northern two-thirds of North America was under the British crown. France had abandoned America. Except for Brazil, which was Portuguese, and one or two small islands and areas in French, British, Danish and Dutch hands, Florida, Louisiana, California and all America to the south was Spanish. It was the British colonies south of Maine and Lake Ontario that first demonstrated the inadequacy of the sailing ship to hold overseas populations together in one political system.   5
  These British colonies were very miscellaneous in their origin and character. There were French, Swedish and Dutch settlements as well as British; there were British Catholics in Maryland and British ultra-Protestants in New England, and while the New Englanders farmed their own land and denounced slavery, the British in Virginia and the south were planters employing a swelling multitude of imported negro slaves. There was no natural common unity in such states. To get from one to the other might mean a coasting voyage hardly less tedious than the transatlantic crossing. But the union that diverse origin and natural conditions denied the British Americans was forced upon them by the selfishness and stupidity of the British government in London. They were taxed without any voice in the spending of the taxes; their trade was sacrificed to British interests; the highly profitable slave trade was maintained by the British government in spite of the opposition of the Virginians who—though quite willing to hold and use slaves—feared to be swamped by an evergrowing barbaric black population.   6
  Britain at that time was lapsing towards an intenser form of monarchy, and the obstinate personality of George III (1760–1820) did much to force on a struggle between the home and the colonial governments.   7
  The conflict was precipitated by legislation which favoured the London East India Company at the expense of the American shipper. Three cargoes of tea which were imported under the new conditions were thrown overboard in Boston harbour by a band of men disguised as Indians (1773). Fighting only began in 1775 when the British government attempted to arrest two of the American leaders at Lexington near Boston. The first shots were fired in Lexington by the British; the first fighting occurred at Concord.   8
  So the American War of Independence began, though for more than a year the colonists showed themselves extremely unwilling to sever their links with the mother land. It was not until the middle of 1776 that the Congress of the insurgent states issued “The Declaration of Independence.” George Washington, who like many of the leading colonists of the time had had a military training in the wars against the French, was made commander-in-chief. In 1777 a British general, General Burgoyne, in an attempt to reach New York from Canada, was defeated at Freemans Farm and obliged to surrender at Saratoga. In the same year the French and Spanish declared war upon Great Britain, greatly hampering her sea communications. A second British army under General Cornwallis was caught in the Yorktown peninsula in Virginia and obliged to capitulate in 1781. In 1783 peace was made in Paris, and the Thirteen Colonies from Maine to Georgia became a union of independent sovereign States. So the United States of America came into existence. Canada remained loyal to the British flag.   9
  For four years these States had only a very feeble central government under certain Articles of Confederation, and they seemed destined to break up into separate independent communities. Their immediate separation was delayed by the hostility of the British and a certain aggressiveness on the part of the French which brought home to them the immediate dangers of division. A Constitution was drawn up and ratified in 1788 establishing a more efficient Federal government with a President holding very considerable powers, and the weak sense of national unity was invigorated by a second war with Britain in 1812. Nevertheless the area covered by the States was so wide and their interests so diverse at that time, that—given only the means of communication then available—a disintegration of the Union into separate states on the European scale of size was merely a question of time. Attendance at Washington meant a long, tedious and insecure journey for the senators and congressmen of the remoter districts, and the mechanical impediments to the diffusion of a common education and a common literature and intelligence were practically insurmountable. Forces were at work in the world however that were to arrest the process of differentiation altogether. Presently came the river steamboat and then the railway and the telegraph to save the United States from fragmentation, and weave its dispersed people together again into the first of great modern nations.  10
  Twenty-two years later the Spanish colonies in America were to follow the example of the Thirteen and break their connection with Europe. But being more dispersed over the continent and separated by great mountainous chains and deserts and forests and by the Portuguese Empire of Brazil, they did not achieve a union among themselves. They became a constellation of republican states, very prone at first to wars among themselves and to revolutions.  11
  Brazil followed a rather different line towards the inevitable separation. In 1807 the French armies under Napoleon had occupied the mother country of Portugal, and the monarchy had fled to Brazil. From that time on until they separated, Portugal was rather a dependency of Brazil than Brazil of Portugal. In 1822 Brazil declared itself a separate Empire under Pedro I, a son of the Portuguese King. But the new world has never been very favourable to monarchy. In 1889 the Emperor of Brazil was shipped off quietly to Europe, and the United States of Brazil fell into line with the rest of republican America.The French Revolution and the Restoration of Monarchy in France




BRITAIN had hardly lost the Thirteen Colonies-in America before a profound social and political convulsion at the very heart of Grand Monarchy was to remind Europe still more vividly of the essentially temporary nature of the political arrangements of the world.   1
  We have said that the French monarchy was the most successful of the personal monarchies in Europe. It was the envy and model of a multitude of competing and minor courts. But it flourished on a basis of injustice that led to its dramatic collapse. It was brilliant and aggressive, but it was wasteful of the life and substance of its common people. The clergy and nobility were protected from taxation by a system of exemption that threw the whole burden of the state upon the middle and lower classes. The peasants were ground down by taxation; the middle classes were dominated and humiliated by the nobility.   2
  In 1787 this French monarchy found itself bankrupt and obliged to call representatives of the different classes of the realm into consultation upon the perplexities of defective income and excessive expenditure. In 1789 the States General, a gathering of the nobles, clergy and commons, roughly equivalent to the earlier form of the British Parliament, was called together at Versailles. It had not assembled since 1610. For all that time France had been an absolute monarchy. Now the people found a means of expressing their long fermenting discontent. Disputes immediately broke out between the three estates, due to the resolve of the Third Estate, the Commons, to control the Assembly. The Commons got the better of these disputes and the States General became a National Assembly, clearly resolved to keep the crown in order, as the British Parliament kept the British crown in order. The king (Louis XVI) prepared for a struggle and brought up troops from the provinces. Whereupon Paris and France revolted.   3
  The collapse of the absolute monarchy was very swift. The grim-looking prison of the Bastille was stormed by the people of Paris, and the insurrection spread rapidly throughout France. In the east and north-west provinces many chateaux belonging to the nobility were burnt by the peasants, their title-deeds carefully destroyed, and the owners murdered or driven away. In a month the ancient and decayed system of the aristocratic order had collapsed. Many of the leading princes and courtiers of the queen’s party fled abroad. A provisional city government was set up in Paris and in most of the other large cities, and a new armed force, the National Guard, a force designed primarily and plainly to resist the forces of the crown, was brought into existence by these municipal bodies. The National Assembly found itself called upon to create a new political and social system for a new age.   4
  It was a task that tried the powers of that gathering to the utmost. It made a great sweep of the chief injustices of the absolutist regime; it abolished tax exemptions, serfdom, aristocratic titles and privileges and sought to establish a constitutional monarchy in Paris. The king abandoned Versailles and its splendours and kept a diminished state in the palace of the Tuileries in Paris.   5
  For two years it seemed that the National Assembly might struggle through to an effective modernized government. Much of its work was sound and still endures, if much was experimental and had to be undone. Much was ineffective. There was a clearing up of the penal code; torture, arbitrary imprisonment and persecutions for heresy were abolished. The ancient provinces of France, Normandy, Burgundy and the like gave place to eighty departments. Promotion to the highest ranks in the army was laid open to men of every class. An excellent and simple system of law courts was set up, but its value was much vitiated by having the judges appointed by popular election for short periods of time. This made the crowd a sort of final court of appeal, and the judges, like the members of the Assembly, were forced to play to the gallery. And the whole vast property of the church was seized and administered by the state; religious establishments not engaged in education or works of charity were broken up, and the salaries of the clergy made a charge upon the nation. This in itself was not a bad thing for the lower clergy in France, who were often scandalously underpaid in comparison with the richer dignitaries. But in addition the choice of priests and bishops was made elective, which struck at the very root idea of the Roman Church, which centred everything upon the Pope, and in which all authority is from above downward. Practically the National Assembly wanted at one blow to make the church in France Protestant, in organization if not in doctrine. Everywhere there were disputes and conflicts between the state priests created by the National Assembly and the recalcitrant (non-juring) priests who were loyal to Rome.   6
  In 1791 the experiment of Constitutional monarchy in France was brought to an abrupt end by the action of the king and queen, working in concert with their aristocratic and monarchist friends abroad. Foreign armies gathered on the Eastern frontier and one night in June the king and queen and their children slipped away from the Tuileries and fled to join the foreigners and the aristocratic exiles. They were caught at Varennes and brought back to Paris, and all France flamed up into a passion of patriotic republicanism. A Republic was proclaimed, open war with Austria and Prussia ensued, and the king was tried and executed (January, 1793) on the model already set by England, for treason to his people.   7
  And now followed a strange phase in the history of the French people. There arose a great flame of enthusiasm for France and the Republic. There was to be an end to compromise at home and abroad; at home royalists and every form of disloyalty were to be stamped out; abroad France was to be the protector and helper of all revolutionaries. All Europe, all the world, was to become Republican. The youth of France poured into the Republican armies; a new and wonderful song spread through the land, a song that still warms the blood like wine, the Marseillaise. Before that chant and the leaping columns of French bayonets and their enthusiastically served guns the foreign armies rolled back; before the end of 1792 the French armies had gone far beyond the utmost achievements of Louis XIV; everywhere they stood on foreign soil. They were in Brussels, they had overrun Savoy, they had raided to Mayence; they had seized the Scheldt from Holland. Then the French Government did an unwise thing. It had been exasperated by the expulsion of its representative from England upon the execution of Louis, and it declared war against England. It was an unwise thing to do, because the revolution which had given France a new enthusiastic infantry and a brilliant artillery released from its aristocratic officers and many cramping conditions had destroyed the discipline of the navy, and the English were supreme upon the sea. And this provocation united all England against France, whereas there had been at first a very considerable liberal movement in Great Britain in sympathy with the revolution.   8
  Of the fight that France made in the next few years against a European coalition we cannot tell in any detail. She drove the Austrians for ever out of Belgium, and made Holland a republic. The Dutch fleet, frozen in the Texel, surrendered to a handful of cavalry without firing its guns. For some time the French thrust towards Ita’y was hung up, and it was only in 1796 that a new general, Napoleon Bonaparte, led the ragged and hungry republican armies in triumph across Piedmont to Mantua and Verona. Says C. F. Atkinson, “What astonished the Allies most of all was the number and the velocity of the Republicans. These improvised armies had in fact nothing to delay them. Tents were unprocurable for want of money, untransportable for want of the enormous number of wagons that would have been required, and also unnecessary, for the discomfort that would have caused wholesale desertion in professional armies was cheerfully borne by the men of 1793–94. Supplies for armies of then unheard-of size could not be carried in convoys, and the French soon became familiar with ‘living on the country.’ Thus 1793 saw the birth of the modern system of war—rapidity of movement, full development of national strength, bivouacs, requisitions and force as against cautious manœuvring, small professional armies, tents and full rations, and chicane. The first represented the decision-compelling spirit, the second the spirit of risking little to gain a littleƒ.”   9
  And while these ragged hosts of enthusiasts were chanting the Marseillaise and fighting for la France, manifestly never quite clear in their minds whether they were looting or liberating the countries into which they poured, the republican enthusiasm in Paris was spending itself in a far less glorious fashion. The revolution was now under the sway of a fanatical leader, Robespierre. This man is difficult to judge; he was a man of poor physique, naturally timid, and a prig. But he had that most necessary gift for power, faith. He set himself to save the Republic as he conceived it, and he imagined it could be saved by no other man than he. So that to keep in power was to save the Republic. The living spirit of the Republic, it seemed, had sprung from a slaughter of royalists and the execution of the king. There were insurrections; one in the west, in the district of La Vendée, where the people rose against the conscription and against the dispossession of the orthodox clergy, and were led by noblemen and priests; one in the south, where Lyons and Marseilles had risen and the royalists of Toulon had admitted an English and Spanish garrison. To which there seemed no more effectual reply than to go on killing royalists.  10
  The Revolutionary Tribunal went to work, and a steady slaughtering began. The invention of the guillotine was opportune to this mood. The queen was guillotined, most of Robespierre’s antagonists were guillotined, atheists who argued that there was no Supreme Being were guillotined; day by day, week by week, this infernal new machine chopped off heads and more heads and more. The reign of Robespierre lived, it seemed, on blood; and needed more and more, as an opium-taker needs more and more opium.  11
  Finally in the summer of 1794 Robespierre himself was overthrown and guillotined. He was succeeded by a Directory of five men which carried on the war of defence abroad and held France together at home for five years. Their reign formed a curious interlude in this history of violent changes. They took things as they found them. The propagandist zeal of the revolution carried the French armies into Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, south Germany and north Italy. Everywhere kings were expelled and republics set up. But such propagandist zeal as animated the Directorate did not prevent the looting of the treasures of the liberated peoples to relieve the financial embarrassment of the French Government. Their wars became less and less the holy wars of freedom, and more and more like the aggressive wars of the ancient regime. The last feature of Grand Monarchy that France was disposed to discard was her tradition of foreign policy. One discovers it still as vigorous under the Directorate as if there had been no revolution.  12
  Unhappily for France and the world a man arose who embodied in its intensest form this national egotism of the French. He gave that country ten years of glory and the humiliation of a final defeat. This was that same Napoleon Bonaparte who had led the armies of the Directory to victory in Italy.  13
  Throughout the five years of the Directorate he had been scheming and working for self-advancement. Gradually he clambered to supreme power. He was a man of severely limited understanding but of ruthless directness and great energy. He had begun life as an extremist of the school of Robespierre; he owed his first promotion to that side; but he had no real grasp of the new forces that were working in Europe. His utmost political imagination carried him to a belated and tawdry attempt to restore the Western Empire. He tried to destroy the remains of the old Holy Roman Empire, intending to replace it by a new one centring upon Paris. The Emperor in Vienna ceased to be the Holy Roman Emperor and became simply Emperor of Austria. Napoleon divorced his French wife in order to marry an Austrian princess.  14
  He became practically monarch of France as First Consul in 1799, and he made himself Emperor of France in 1804 in direct imitation of Charlemagne. He was crowned by the Pope in Paris, taking the crown from the Pope and putting it upon his own head himself as Charlemagne had directed. His son was crowned King of Rome.  15
  For some years Napoleon’s reign was a career of victory. He conquered most of Italy and Spain, defeated Prussia and Austria, and dominated all Europe west of Russia. But he never won the command of the sea from the British and his fleets sustained a conclusive defeat inflicted by the British Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar (1805). Spain rose against him in 1808 and a British army under Wellington thrust the French armies slowly northward out of the peninsula. In 1811 Napoleon came into conflict with the Tsar Alexander I, and in 1812 he invaded Russia with a great conglomerate army of 600,000 men, that was defeated and largely destroyed by the Russians and the Russian winter. Germany rose against him, Sweden turned against him. The French armies were beaten back and at Fontainebleau Napoleon abdicated (1814). He was exiled to Elba, returned to France for one last effort in 1815 and was defeated by the allied British, Belgians and Prussians at Waterloo. He died a British prisoner at St. Helena in 1821.  16
  The forces released by the French revolution were wasted and finished. A great Congress of the victorious allies met at Vienna to restore as far as possible the state of affairs that the great storm had rent to pieces. For nearly forty years a sort of peace, a peace of exhausted effort, was maintained in Europe.In his article, “French Revolutionary Wars,” in the Encyclopædia Britannica.  17
The Uneasy Peace in Europe That Followed the Fall of Napoleon




TWO main causes prevented that period from being a complete social and international peace, and prepared the way for the cycle of wars between 1854 and 1871. The first of these was the tendency of the royal courts concerned, towards the restoration of unfair privilege and interference with freedom of thought and writing and teaching. The second was the impossible system of boundaries drawn by the diplomatists of Vienna.   1
  The inherent disposition of monarchy to march back towards past conditions was first and most particularly manifest in Spain. Here even the Inquisition was restored. Across the Atlantic the Spanish colonies had followed the example of the United States and revolted against the European Great Power System, when Napoleon set his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne in 1810. The George Washington of South America was General Bolivar. Spain was unable to suppress this revolt, it dragged on much as the United States War of Independence had dragged on, and at last the suggestion was made by Austria, in accordance with the spirit of the Holy Alliance, that the European monarch should assist Spain in this struggle. This was opposed by Britain in Europe, but it was the prompt action of President Monroe of the United States in 1823 which conclusively warned off this projected monarchist restoration. He announced that the United States would regard any extension of the European system in the Western Hemisphere as a hostile act. Thus arose the Monroe Doctrine, the doctrine that there must be no extension of extra-American government in America, which has kept the Great Power system out of America for nearly a hundred years and permitted the new states of Spanish America to work out their destinies along their own lines.   2
  But if Spanish monarchism lost its colonies, it could at least, under the protection of the Concert of Europe, do what it chose in Europe. A popular insurrection in Spain was crushed by a French army in 1823, with a mandate from a European congress, and simultaneously Austria suppressed a revolution in Naples.   3
  In 1824 Louis XVIII died, and was succeeded by Charles X. Charles set himself to destroy the liberty of the press and universities, and to restore absolute government; the sum of a billion francs was voted to compensate the nobles for the chateau burnings and sequestrations of 1789. In 1830 Paris rose against this embodiment of the ancient regime, and replaced him by Louis Philippe, the son of that Philip, Duke of Orleans, who was executed during the Terror. The other continental monarchies, in face of the open approval of the revolution by Great Britain and a strong liberal ferment in Germany and Austria, did not interfere in this affair. After all, France was still a monarchy. This man Louis Philippe (1830–48) remained the constitutional King of France for eighteen years.   4
  Such were the uneasy swayings of the peace of the Congress of Vienna, which were provoked by the reactionary proceedings of the monarchists. The stresses that arose from the unscientific boundaries planned by the diplomatists at Vienna gathered force more deliberately, but they were even more dangerous to the peace of mankind. It is extraordinarily inconvenient to administer together the affairs of peoples speaking different languages and so reading different literatures and having different general ideas, especially if those differences are exacerbated by religious disputes. Only some strong mutual interest, such as the common defensive needs of the Swiss mountaineers, can justify a close linking of peoples of dissimilar languages and faiths; and even in Switzerland there is the utmost local autonomy. When, as in Macedonia, populations are mixed in a patchwork of villages and districts, the cantonal system is imperatively needed. But if the reader will look at the map of Europe as the Congress of Vienna drew it, he will see that this gathering seems almost as if it had planned the maximum of local exasperation.   5
  It destroyed the Dutch Republic, quite needlessly, it lumped together the Protestant Dutch with the French-speaking Catholics of the old Spanish (Austrian) Netherlands, and set up a kingdom of the Netherlands. It handed over not merely the old republic of Venice, but all of North Italy as far as Milan to the German-speaking Austrians. French-speaking Savoy it combined with pieces of Italy to restore the kingdom of Sardinia. Austria and Hungary, already a sufficiently explosive mixture of discordant nationalities, Germans, Hungarians, Czecho-Slovaks, Jugo-Slavs, Roumanians, and now Italians, was made still more impossible by confirming Austria’s Polish acquisitions of 1772 and 1795. The Catholic and republican-spirited Polish people were chiefly given over to the less civilized rule of the Greek-orthodox Tsar, but important districts went to Protestant Prussia. The Tsar was also confirmed in his acquisition of the entirely alien Finns. The very dissimilar Norwegian and Swedish peoples were bound together under one king. Germany, the reader will see, was left in a particularly dangerous state of muddle. Prussia and Austria were both partly in and partly out of a German confederation, which included a multitude of minor states. The King of Denmark came into the German confederation by virtue of certain German-speaking possessions in Holstein. Luxembourg was included in the German confederation, though its ruler was also King of the Netherlands, and though many of its peoples talked French.   6
  Here was a complete disregard of the fact that the people who talk German and base their ideas on German literature, the people who talk Italian and base their ideas on Italian literature, and the people who talk Polish and base their ideas on Polish literature, will all be far better off and most helpful and least obnoxious to the rest of mankind if they conduct their own affairs in their own idiom within the ring-fence of their own speech. Is it any wonder that one of the most popular songs in Germany during this period declared that wherever the German tongue was spoken, there was the German Fatherland!   7
  In 1830 French-speaking Belgium, stirred up by the current revolution in France, revolted against its Dutch association in the kingdom of the Netherlands. The powers, terrified at the possibilities of a republic or of annexation to France, hurried in to pacify this situation, and gave the Belgians a monarch, Leopold I of Saxe-Coburg Gotha. There were also ineffectual revolts in Italy and Germany in 1830, and a much more serious one in Russian Poland. A republican government held out in Warsaw for a year against Nicholas I (who succeeded Alexander in 1825), and was then stamped out of existence with great violence and cruelty. The Polish language was banned, and the Greek Orthodox church was substituted for the Roman Catholic as the state religionƒ.   8
  In 1821 there was an insurrection of the Greeks against the Turks. For six years they fought a desperate war, while the governments of Europe looked on. Liberal opinion protested against this inactivity; volunteers from every European country joined the insurgents, and at last Britain, France and Russia took joint action. The Turkish fleet was destroyed by the French and English at the battle of Navarino (1827), and the Tsar invaded Turkey. By the treaty of Adrianople (1829) Greece was declared free, but she was not permitted to resume her ancient republican traditions. A German king was found for Greece, one Prince Otto of Bavaria, and Christian governors were set up in the Danubian provinces (which are now Roumania) and Serbia (a part of the Jugo-Slav region). Much blood had still to run however before the Turk was altogether expelled from these lands.





































The Expansion of the United States


THE REGION of the world that displayed the most immediate and striking results from the new inventions in transport was North America. Politically the United States embodied, and its constitution crystallized, the liberal ideas of the middle eighteenth century. It dispensed with state-church or crown, it would have no titles, it protected property very jealously as a method of freedom, and—the exact practice varied at first in the different states—it gave nearly every adult male citizen a vote. Its method of voting was barbarically crude, and as a consequence its political life fell very soon under the control of highly organized party machines, but that did not prevent the newly emancipated population developing an energy, enterprise and public spirit far beyond that of any other contemporary population.   1
  Then came that acceleration of locomotion to which we have already called attention. It is a curious thing that America, which owes most to this acceleration in locomotion, has felt it least. The United States have taken the railway, the river steamboat, the telegraph and so forth as though they were a natural part of their growth. They were not. These things happened to come along just in time to save American unity. The United States of to-day were made first by the river steamboat, and then by the railway. Without these things, the present United States, this vast continental nation, would have been altogether impossible. The westward flow of population would have been far more sluggish. It might never have crossed the great central plains. It took nearly two hundred years for effective settlement to reach from the coast to Missouri, much less than halfway across the continent. The first state established beyond the river was the steamboat state of Missouri in 1821. But the rest of the distance to the Pacific was done in a few decades.   2
  If we had the resources of the cinema it would be interesting to show a map of North America year by year from 1600 onward, with little dots to represent hundreds of people, each dot a hundred, and stars to represent cities of a hundred thousand people.   3
  For two hundred years the reader would see that stippling creeping slowly along the coastal districts and navigable waters, spreading still more gradually into Indiana, Kentucky and so forth. Then somewhere about 1810 would come a change. Things would get more lively along the river courses. The dots would be multiplying and spreading. That would be the steamboat. The pioneer dots would be spreading soon over Kansas and Nebraska from a number of jumping-off places along the great rivers.   4
  Then from about 1830 onward would come the black lines of the railways, and after that the little black dots would not simply creep but run. They would appear now so rapidly, it would be almost as though they were being put on by some sort of spraying machine. And suddenly here and then there would appear the first stars to indicate the first great cities of a hundred thousand people. First one or two and then a multitude of cities—each like a knot in the growing net of the railways.   5
  The growth of the United States is a process that has no precedent in the world’s history; it is a new kind of occurrence. Such a community could not have come into existence before, and if it had, without railways it would certainly have dropped to pieces long before now. Without railways or telegraph it would be far easier to administer California from Pekin than from Washington. But this great population of the United States of America has not only grown outrageously; it has kept uniform. Nay, it has become more uniform. The man of San Francisco is more like the man of New York to-day than the man of Virginia was like the man of New England a century ago. And the process of assimilation goes on unimpeded. The United States is being woven by railway, by telegraph, more and more into one vast unity, speaking, thinking and acting harmoniously with itself. Soon aviation will be helping in the work.   6
  This great community of the United States is an altogether new thing in history. There have been great empires before with populations exceeding 100 millions, but these were associations of divergent peoples; there has never been one single people on this scale before. We want a new term for this new thing. We call the United States a country just as we call France or Holland a country. But the two things are as different as an automobile and a one-horse shay. They are the creations of different periods and different conditions; they are going to work at a different pace and in an entirely different way. The United States in scale and possibility is halfway between a European state and a United States of all the world.   7
  But on the way to this present greatness and security the American people passed through one phase of dire conflict. The river steamboats, the railways, the telegraph, and their associate facilities, did not come soon enough to avert a deepening conflict of interests and ideas between the southern and northern states of the Union. The former were slave-holding states; the latter, states in which all men were free. The railways and steamboats at first did but bring into sharper conflict an already established difference between the two sections of the United States. The increasing unification due to the new means of transport made the question whether the southern spirit or the northern should prevail an ever more urgent one. There was little possibility of compromise. The northern spirit was free and individualistic; the southern made for great estates and a conscious gentility ruling over a dusky subject multitude.   8
  Every new territory that was organized into a state as the tide of population swept westward, every new incorporation into the fast growing American system, became a field of conflict between the two ideas, whether it should become a state of free citizens, or whether the estate and slavery system should prevail. From 1833 an American anti-slavery society was not merely resisting the extension of the institution but agitating the whole country for its complete abolition. The issue flamed up into open conflict over the admission of Texas to the Union. Texas had originally been a part of the republic of Mexico, but it was largely colonized by Americans from the slave-holding states, and it seceded from Mexico, established its independence in 1835, and was annexed to the United States in 1844. Under the Mexican law slavery had been forbidden in Texas, but now the South claimed Texas for slavery and got it.   9
  Meanwhile the development of ocean navigation was bringing a growing swarm of immigrants from Europe to swell the spreading population of the northern states, and the raising of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Oregon, all northern farm lands, to state level, gave the anti-slavery North the possibility of predominance both in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The cotton-growing South, irritated by the growing threat of the Abolitionist movement, and fearing this predominance in Congress, began to talk of secession from the Union. Southerners began to dream of annexations to the south of them in Mexico and the West Indies, and of a great slave state, detached from the North and reaching to Panama.  10
  The return of Abraham Lincoln as an anti-extension President in 1860 decided the South to split the Union. South Carolina passed an “ordinance of secession,” and prepared for war. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas joined her, and a convention met at Montgomery in Alabama, elected Jefferson Davis president of the “Confederated States” of America, and adopted a constitution specifically upholding “the institution of negro slavery.”  11
  Abraham Lincoln was, it chanced, a man entirely typical of the new people that had grown up after the War of Independence. His early years had been spent as a drifting particle in the general westward flow of the population. He was born in Kentucky (1809), was taken to Indiana as a boy and later on to Illinois. Life was rough in the backwoods of Indiana in those days; the house was a mere log cabin in the wilderness, and his schooling was poor and casual. But his mother taught him to read early, and he became a voracious reader. At seventeen he was a big athletic youth, a great wrestler and runner. He worked for a time as clerk in a store, went into business as a storekeeper with a drunken partner, and contracted debts that he did not fully pay off for fifteen years. In 1834, when he was still only five and twenty, he was elected member of the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois. In Illinois particularly the question of slavery flamed because the great leader of the party for the extension of slavery in the national Congress was Senator Douglas of Illinois. Douglas was a man of great ability and prestige, and for some years Lincoln fought against him by speech and pamphlet, rising steadily to the position of his most formidable and finally victorious antagonist. Their culminating struggle was the presidential campaign of 1860, and on the fourth of March, 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated President, with the southern states already in active secession from the rule of the federal government at Washington, and committing acts of war.  12
  This civil war in America was fought by improvised armies that grew steadily from a few score thousands to hundreds of thousands—until at last the Federal forces exceeded a million men; it was fought over a vast area between New Mexico and the eastern sea, Washington and Richmond were the chief objectives. It is beyond our scope here to tell of the mounting energy of that epic struggle that rolled to and fro across the hills and woods of Tennessee and Virginia and down the Mississippi. There was a terrible waste and killing of men. Thrust was followed by counter thrust; hope gave way to despondency, and returned and was again disappointed. Sometimes Washington seemed within the Confederate grasp; again the Federal armies were driving towards Richmond. The Confederates, outnumbered and far poorer in resources, fought under a general of supreme ability, General Lee. The generalship of the Union was far inferior. Generals were dismissed, new generals appointed; until at last, under Sherman and Grant, came victory over the ragged and depleted South. In October, 1864, a Federal army under Sherman broke through the Confederate left and marched down from Tennessee through Georgia to the coast, right across the Confederate country, and then turned up through the Carolinas, coming in upon the rear of the Confederate armies. Meanwhile Grant held Lee before Richmond until Sherman closed on him. On April 9th, 1865, Lee and his army surrendered at Appomattox Court House, and within a month all the remaining secessionist armies had laid down their arms and the Confederacy was at an end.  13
  This four years’ struggle had meant an enormous physical and moral strain for the people of the United States. The principle of state autonomy was very dear to many minds, and the North seemed in effect to be forcing abolition upon the South. In the border states brothers and cousins, even fathers and sons, would take opposite sides and find themselves in antagonistic armies. The North felt its cause a righteous one, but for great numbers of people it was not a full-bodied and unchallenged righteousness. But for Lincoln there was no doubt. He was a clear-minded man in the midst of much confusion. He stood for union; he stood for the wide peace of America. He was opposed to slavery, but slavery he held to be a secondary issue; his primary purpose was that the United States should not be torn into two contrasted and jarring fragments.  14
  When in the opening stages of the war Congress and the Federal generals embarked upon a precipitate emancipation, Lincoln opposed and mitigated their enthusiasm. He was for emancipation by stages and with compensation. It was only in January, 1865, that the situation had ripened to a point when Congress could propose to abolish slavery for ever by a constitutional amendment, and the war was already over before this amendment was ratified by the states.  15
  As the war dragged on through 1862 and 1863, the first passions and enthusiasms waned, and America learnt all the phases of war weariness and war disgust. The President found himself with defeatists, traitors, dismissed generals, tortuous party politicians, and a doubting and fatigued people behind him and uninspired generals and depressed troops before him; his chief consolation must have been that Jefferson Davis at Richmond could be in little better case. The English government misbehaved, and permitted the Confederate agents in England to launch and man three swift privateer ships—the Alabama is the best remembered of them—which chased United States shipping from the seas. The French army in Mexico was trampling the Monroe Doctrine in the dirt. Came subtle proposals from Richmond to drop the war, leave the issues of the war for subsequent discussion, and turn, Federal and Confederate in alliance, upon the French in Mexico. But Lincoln would not listen to such proposals unless the supremacy of the Union was maintained. The Americans might do such things as one people but not as two.  16
  He held the United States together through long weary months of reverses and ineffective effort, through black phases of division and failing courage; and there is no record that he ever faltered from his purpose. There were times when there was nothing to be done, when he sat in the White House silent and motionless, a grim monument of resolve; times when he relaxed his mind by jesting and broad anecdotes.  17
  He saw the Union triumphant. He entered Richmond the day after its surrender, and heard of Lee’s capitulation. He returned to Washington, and on April 11th made his last public address. His theme was reconciliation and the reconstruction of loyal government in the defeated states. On the evening of April 14th he went to Ford’s theatre in Washington, and as he sat looking at the stage, he was shot in the back of the head and killed by an actor named Booth who had some sort of grievance against him, and who had crept into the box unobserved. But Lincoln’s work was done; the Union was saved.  18
  At the beginning of the war there was no railway to the Pacific coast; after it the railways spread like a swiftly growing plant until now they have clutched and held and woven all the vast territory of the United States into one indissoluble mental and material unity—the greatest real community—until the common folk of China have learnt to read—in the world.  19
The Rise of Germany to Predominance in Europe




WE have told how after the convulsion of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic adventure, Europe settled down again for a time to an insecure peace and a sort of modernized revival of the political conditions of fifty years before. Until the middle of the century the new facilities in the handling of steel and the railway and steamship produced no marked political consequences. But the social tension due to the development of urban industrialism grew. France remained a conspicuously uneasy country. The revolution of 1830 was followed by another in 1848. Then Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, became first President, and then (in 1852) Emperor.   1
  He set about rebuilding Paris, and changed it from a picturesque seventeenth century insanitary city into the spacious Latinized city of marble it is to-day. He set about rebuilding France, and made it into a brilliant-looking modernized imperialism. He displayed a disposition to revive that competitiveness of the Great Powers which had kept Europe busy with futile wars during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (1825–1856) was also becoming aggressive and pressing southward upon the Turkish Empire with his eyes on Constantinople.   2
  After the turn of the century Europe broke out into a fresh cycle of wars. They were chiefly “balance-of-power” and ascendancy wars. England, France and Sardinia assailed Russia in the Crimean war in defence of Turkey; Prussia (with Italy as an ally) and Austria fought for the leadership of Germany, France liberated North Italy from Austria at the price of Savoy, and Italy gradually unified itself into one kingdom. Then Napoleon III was so ill advised as to attempt adventures in Mexico, during the American Civil War; he set up an Emperor Maximilian there and abandoned him hastily to his fate—he was shot by the Mexicans—when the victorious Federal Government showed its teeth.   3
  In 1870 came a long-pending struggle for predominance in Europe between France and Prussia. Prussia had long foreseen and prepared for this struggle, and France was rotten with financial corruption. Her defeat was swift and dramatic. The Germans invaded France in August, one great French army under the Emperor capitulated at Sedan in September, another surrendered in October at Metz, and in January 1871, Paris, after a siege and bombardment, fell into German hands. Peace was signed at Frankfort surrendering the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans. Germany, excluding Austria, was unified as an empire, and the King of Prussia was added to the galaxy of European Cæsars, as the German Emperor.   4
  For the next forty-three years Germany was the leading power upon the European continent. There was a Russo-Turkish war in 1877–8, but thereafter, except for certain readjustments in the Balkans, European frontiers remained uneasily stable for thirty years.European Aggression in Asia, and the Rise of Japan




IT is difficult to believe that any large number of people really accepted this headlong painting of the map of Africa in European colours as a permanent new settlement of the world’s affairs, but it is the duty of the historian to record that it was so accepted. There was but a shallow historical background to the European mind in the nineteenth century, and no habit of penetrating criticism. The quite temporary advantages that the mechanical revolution in the west had given the Europeans over the rest of the old world were regarded by people, blankly ignorant of such events as the great Mongol conquests, as evidences of a permanent and assured European leadership of mankind. They had no sense of the transferability of science and its fruits. They did not realize that Chinamen and Indians could carry on the work of research as ably as Frenchmen or Englishmen. They believed that there was some innate intellectual drive in the west, and some innate indolence and conservatism in the east, that assured the Europeans a world predominance for ever.   1
  The consequence of this infatuation was that the various European foreign offices set themselves not merely to scramble with the British for the savage and undeveloped regions of the world’s surface, but also to carve up the populous and civilized countries of Asia as though these people also were no more than raw material for exploitation. The inwardly precarious but outwardly splendid imperialism of the British ruling class in India, and the extensive and profitable possessions of the Dutch in the East Indies, filled the rival Great Powers with dreams of similar glories in Persia, in the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, and in Further India, China and Japan.   2
  In 1898 Germany seized Kiau Chau in China. Britain responded by seizing Wei-hai-wei, and the next year the Russians took possession of Port Arthur. A flame of hatred for the Europeans swept through China. There were massacres of Europeans and Christian converts, and in 1900 an attack upon and siege of the European legations in Pekin. A combined force of Europeans made a punitive expedition to Pekin, rescued the legations, and stole an enormous amount of valuable property. The Russians then seized Manchuria, and in 1904 the British invaded Tibetƒ.   3
  But now a new Power appeared in the struggle of the Great Powers, Japan. Hitherto Japan has played but a small part in this history; her secluded civilization has not contributed very largely to the general shaping of human destinies; she has received much, but she has given little. The Japanese proper are of the Mongolian race. Their civilization, their writing and their literary and artistic traditions are derived from the Chinese. Their history is an interesting and romantic one; they developed a feudal system and a system of chivalry in the earlier centuries of the Christian era; their attacks upon Korea and China are an Eastern equivalent of the English wars in France. Japan was first brought into contact with Europe in the sixteenth century; in 1542 some Portuguese reached it in a Chinese junk, and in 1549 a Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, began his teaching there. For a time Japan welcomed European intercourse, and the Christian missionaries made a great number of converts. A certain William Adams became the most trusted European adviser of the Japanese, and showed them how to build big ships. There were voyages in Japanese-built ships to India and Peru. Then arose complicated quarrels between the Spanish Dominicans, the Portuguese Jesuits, and the English and Dutch Protestants, each warning the Japanese against the political designs of the others. The Jesuits, in a phase of ascendancy, persecuted and insulted the Buddhists with great acrimony. In the end the Japanese came to the conclusion that the Europeans were an intolerable nuisance, and that Catholic Christianity in particular was a mere cloak for the political dreams of the Pope and the Spanish monarchy—already in possession of the Philippine Islands; there was a great persecution of the Christians, and in 1638 Japan was absolutely closed to Europeans, and remained closed for over 200 years. During those two centuries the Japanese were as completely cut off from the rest of the world as though they lived upon another planet. It was forbidden to build any ship larger than a mere coasting boat. No Japanese could go abroad, and no European enter the country.   4
  For two centuries Japan remained outside the main current of history. She lived on in a state of picturesque feudalism in which about five per cent. of the population, the samurai, or fighting men, and the nobles and their families, tyrannized without restraint over the rest of the population. Meanwhile the great world outside went on to wider visions and new powers. Strange shipping became more frequent, passing the Japanese headlands; sometimes ships were wrecked and sailors brought ashore. Through the Dutch settlement in the island of Deshima, their one link with the outer universe, came warnings that Japan was not keeping pace with the power of the Western world. In 1837 a ship sailed into Yedo Bay flying a strange flag of stripes and stars, and carrying some Japanese sailors she had picked up far adrift in the Pacific. She was driven off by cannon shot. This flag presently reappeared on other ships. One in 1849 came to demand the liberation of eighteen shipwrecked American sailors. Then in 1853 came four American warships under Commodore Perry, and refused to be driven away. He lay at anchor in forbidden waters, and sent messages to the two rulers who at that time shared the control of Japan. In 1854 he returned with ten ships, amazing ships propelled by steam, and equipped with big guns, and he made proposals for trade and intercourse that the Japanese had no power to resist. He landed with a guard of 500 men to sign the treaty. Incredulous crowds watched this visitation from the outer world, marching through the streets.   5
  Russia, Holland and Britain followed in the wake of America. A great nobleman whose estates commanded the Straits of Shimonoseki saw fit to fire on foreign vessels, and a bombardment by a fleet of British, French, Dutch and American warships destroyed his batteries and scattered his swordsmen. Finally an allied squadron (1865), at anchor off Kioto, imposed a ratification of the treaties which opened Japan to the world.   6
  The humiliation of the Japanese by these events was intense. With astonishing energy and intelligence they set themselves to bring their culture and organization to the level of the European Powers. Never in all the history of mankind did a nation make such a stride as Japan then did. In 1866 she was a medieval people, a fantastic caricature of the extremest romantic feudalism; in 1899 hers was a completely Westernized people, on a level with the most advanced European Powers. She completely dispelled the persuasion that Asia was in some irrevocable way hopelessly behind Europe. She made all European progress seem sluggish by comparison.   7
  We cannot tell here in any detail of Japan’s war with China in 1894–95. It demonstrated the extent of her Westernization. She had an efficient Westernized army and a small but sound fleet. But the significance of her renascence, though it was appreciated by Britain and the United States, who were already treating her as if she were a European state, was not understood by the other Great Powers engaged in the pursuit of new Indias in Asia. Russia was pushing down through Manchuria to Korea. France was already established far to the south in Tonkin and Annam, Germany was prowling hungrily on the look-out for some settlement. The three Powers combined to prevent Japan reaping any fruits from the Chinese war. She was exhausted by the struggle, and they threatened her with war.   8
  Japan submitted for a time and gathered her forces. Within ten years she was ready for a struggle with Russia, which marks an epoch in the history of Asia, the close of the period of European arrogance. The Russian people were, of course, innocent and ignorant of this trouble that was being made for them halfway round the world, and the wiser Russian statesmen were against these foolish thrusts; but a gang of financial adventurers, including the Grand Dukes, his cousins, surrounded the Tsar. They had gambled deeply in the prospective looting of Manchuria and China, and they would suffer no withdrawal. So there began a transportation of great armies of Japanese soldiers across the sea to Port Arthur and Korea, and the sending of endless trainloads of Russian peasants along the Siberian railway to die in those distant battlefields.   9
  The Russians, badly led and dishonestly provided, were beaten on sea and land alike. The Russian Baltic Fleet sailed round Africa to be utterly destroyed in the Straits of Tshushima. A revolutionary movement among the common people of Russia, infuriated by this remote and reasonless slaughter, obliged the Tsar to end the war (1905); he returned the southern half of Saghalien, which had been seized by Russia in 1875, evacuated Manchuria, resigned Korea to Japan. The European invasion of Asia was coming to an end and the retraction of Europe’s tentacles was beginning.The British Empire in 1914




WE may note here briefly the varied nature of the constituents of the British Empire in 1914 which the steamship and railway had brought together. It was and is a quite unique political combination; nothing of the sort has ever existed before.   1
  First and central to the whole system was the “crowned republic” of the United British Kingdom, including (against the will of a considerable part of the Irish people) Ireland. The majority of the British Parliament, made up of the three united parliaments of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, determines the headship, the quality and policy of the ministry, and determines it largely on considerations arising out of British domestic politics. It is this ministry which is the effective supreme government, with powers of peace and war, over all the rest of the empire.   2
  Next in order of political importance to the British States were the “crowned republics” of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland (the oldest British possession, 1583), New Zealand and South Africa, all practically independent and self-governing states in alliance with Great Britain, but each with a representative of the Crown appointed by the Government in office;   3
  Next the Indian Empire, an extension of the Empire of the Great Mogul, with its dependent and “protected” states reaching now from Beluchistan to Burma, and including Aden, in all of which empire the British Crown and the India Office (under Parliamentary control) played the rôle of the original Turkoman dynasty;   4
  Then the ambiguous possession of Egypt, still nominally a part of the Turkish Empire and still retaining its own monarch, the Khedive, but under almost despotic British official rule;   5
  Then the still more ambiguous “Anglo-Egyptian” Sudan province, occupied and administered jointly by the British and by the (British controlled) Egyptian Government;   6
  Then a number of partially self-governing communities, some British in origin and some not, with elected legislatures and an appointed executive, such as Malta, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Bermuda;   7
  Then the Crown colonies, in which the rule of the British Home Government (through the Colonial Office) verged on autocracy, as in Ceylon, Trinidad and Fiji (where there was an appointed council), and Gibraltar and St. Helena (where there was a governor);   8
  Then great areas of (chiefly) tropical lands, raw-product areas, with politically weak and under-civilized native communities which were nominally protectorates, and administered either by a High Commissioner set over native chiefs (as in Basutoland) or over a chartered company (as in Rhodesia). In some cases the Foreign Office, in some cases the Colonial Office, and in some cases the India Office, has been concerned in acquiring the possessions that fell into this last and least definite class of all, but for the most part the Colonial Office was now responsible for them.   9
  It will be manifest, therefore, that no single office and no single brain had ever comprehended the British Empire as a whole. It was a mixture of growths and accumulations entirely different from anything that has ever been called an empire before. It guaranteed a wide peace and security; that is why it was endured and sustained by many men of the “subject” races—in spite of official tyrannies and insufficiencies, and of much negligence on the part of the “home” public. Like the Athenian Empire, it was an overseas empire; its ways were sea ways, and its common link was the British Navy. Like all empires, its cohesion was dependent physically upon a method of communication; the development of seamanship, shipbuilding and steamships between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries had made it a possible and convenient Pax—the “Pax Britannica,” and fresh developments of air or swift land transport might at any time make it inconvenient.The Age of Armament in Europe, and the Great War of 1914–18




THE PROGRESS in material science that created this vast steamboat-and-railway republic of America and spread this precarious British steamship empire over the world, produced quite other effects upon the congested nations upon the continent of Europe. They found themselves confined within boundaries fixed during the horse-and-high-road period of human life, and their expansion overseas had been very largely anticipated by Great Britain. Only Russia had any freedom to expand eastward; and she drove a great railway across Siberia until she entangled herself in a conflict with Japan, and pushed south-eastwardly towards the borders of Persia and India to the annoyance of Britain. The rest of the European Powers were in a state of intensifying congestion. In order to realize the full possibilities of the new apparatus of human life they had to rearrange their affairs upon a broader basis, either by some sort of voluntary union or by a union imposed upon them by some predominant power. The tendency of modern thought was in the direction of the former alternative, but all-the force of political tradition drove Europe towards the latter.   1
  The downfall of the “empire” of Napoleon III, the establishment of the new German Empire, pointed men’s hopes and fears towards the idea of a Europe consolidated under German auspices. For thirty-six years of uneasy peace the politics of Europe centred upon that possibility. France, the steadfast rival of Germany for European ascendancy since the division of the empire of Charlemagne, sought to correct her own weakness by a close alliance with Russia, and Germany linked herself closely with the Austrian Empire (it had ceased to be the Holy Roman Empire in the days of Napoleon I) and less successfully with the new kingdom of Italy. At first Great Britain stood as usual half in and half out of continental affairs. But she was gradually forced into a close association with the Franco-Russian group by the aggressive development of a great German navy. The grandiose imagination of the Emperor William II (1888–1918) thrust Germany into premature overseas enterprise that ultimately brought not only Great Britain but Japan and the United States into the circle of her enemies.   2
  All these nations armed. Year after year the proportion of national production devoted to the making of guns, equipment, battleships and the like increased. Year after year the balance of things seemed trembling towards war, and then war would be averted. At last it came. Germany and Austria struck at France and Russia and Serbia; the German armies marching through Belgium, Britain immediately came into the war on the side of Belgium, bringing in Japan as her ally, and very soon Turkey followed on the German side. Italy entered the war against Austria in 1915, and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in the October of that year. In 1916 Rumania, and in 1917 the United States and China were forced into war against Germany. It is not within the scope of this history to define the exact share of blame for this vast catastrophe. The more interesting question is not why the Great War was begun but why the Great War was not anticipated and prevented. It is a far graver thing for mankind that scores of millions of people were too “patriotic,” stupid, or apathetic to prevent this disaster by a movement towards European unity upon frank and generous lines, than that a small number of people may have been active in bringing it about.   3
  It is impossible within the space at our command here to trace the intricate details of the war. Within a few months it became apparent that the progress of modern technical science had changed the nature of warfare very profoundly. Physical science gives power, power over steel, over distance, over disease; whether that power is used well or ill depends upon the moral and political intelligence of the world. The governments of Europe, inspired by antiquated policies of hate and suspicion, found themselves with unexampled powers both of destruction and resistance in their hands. The war became a consuming fire round and about the world, causing losses both to victors and vanquished out of all proportion to the issues involved. The first phase of the war was a tremendous rush of the Germans upon Paris and an invasion of East Prussia by the Russians. Both attacks were held and turned. Then the power of the defensive developed; there was a rapid elaboration of trench warfare until for a time the opposing armies lay entrenched in long lines right across Europe, unable to make any advance without enormous losses. The armies were millions strong, and behind them entire populations were organized for the supply of food and munitions to the front. There was a cessation of nearly every sort of productive activity except such as contributed to military operations. All the able-bodied manhood of Europe was drawn into the armies or navies or into the improvised factories that served them. There was an enormous replacement of men by women in industry. Probably more than half the people in the belligerent countries of Europe changed their employment altogether during this stupendous struggle. They were socially uprooted and transplanted. Education and normal scientific work were restricted or diverted to immediate military ends, and the distribution of news was crippled and corrupted by military control and “propaganda” activities.   4
  The phase of military deadlock passed slowly into one of aggression upon the combatant populations behind the fronts by the destruction of food supplies and by attacks through the air. And also there was a steady improvement in the size and range of the guns employed and of such ingenious devices as poison-gas shells and the small mobile forts known as tanks, to break down the resistance of troops in the trenches. The air offensive was the most revolutionary of all the new methods. It carried warfare from two dimensions into three. Hitherto in the history of mankind war had gone on only where the armies marched and met. Now it went on everywhere. First the Zeppelin and then the bombing aeroplane carried war over and past the front to an ever-increasing area of civilian activities beyond. The old distinction maintained in civilized warfare between the civilian and combatant population disappeared. Everyone who grew food, or who sewed a garment, everyone who felled a tree or repaired a house, every railway station and every warehouse was held to be fair game for destruction. The air offensive increased in range and terror with every month in the war. At last great areas of Europe were in a state of siege and subject to nightly raids. Such exposed cities as London and Paris passed sleepless night after sleepless night while the bombs burst, the anti-aircraft guns maintained an intolerable racket, and the fire engines and ambulances rattled headlong through the darkened and deserted streets. The effects upon the minds and health of old people and of young children were particularly distressing and destructive.   5
  Pestilence, that old follower of warfare, did not arrive until the very end of the fighting in 1918. For four years medical science staved off any general epidemic; then came a great outbreak of influenza about the world which destroyed many millions of people. Famine also was staved off for some time. By the beginning of 1918 however most of Europe was in a state of mitigated and regulated famine. The production of food throughout the world had fallen very greatly through the calling off of peasant mankind to the fronts, and the distribution of such food as was produced was impeded by the havoc wrought by the submarine, by the rupture of customary routes through the closing of frontiers, and by the disorganization of the transport system of the world. The various governments took possession of the dwindling food supplies, and, with more or less success, rationed their populations. By the fourth year the whole world was suffering from shortages of clothing and housing and of most of the normal gear of life as well as of food. Business and economic life were profoundly disorganized. Everyone was worried, and most people were leading lives of unwonted discomfort.   6
  The actual warfare ceased in November, 1918. After a supreme effort in the spring of 1918 that almost carried the Germans to Paris, the Central Powers collapsed. They had come to an end of their spirit and resources.The Revolution and Famine in Russia




BUT a good year and more before the collapse of the Central Powers the half oriental monarchy of Russia, which had professed to be the continuation of the Byzantine Empire, had collapsed. The Tsardom had been showing signs of profound rottenness for some years before the war; the court was under the sway of a fantastic religious impostor, Rasputin, and the public administration, civil and military, was in a state of extreme inefficiency and corruption. At the outset of the war there was a great flare of patriotic enthusiasm in Russia. A vast conscript army was called up, for which there was neither adequate military equipment nor a proper supply of competent officers, and this great host, ill supplied and badly handled, was hurled against the German and Austrian frontiers.   1
  There can be no doubt that the early appearance of Russian armies in East Prussia in September, 1914, diverted the energies and attention of the Germans from their first victorious drive upon Paris. The sufferings and deaths of scores of thousands of ill-led Russian peasants saved France from complete overthrow in that momentous opening campaign, and made all western Europe the debtors of that great and tragic people. But the strain of the war upon this sprawling, ill-organized empire was too heavy for its strength. The Russian common soldiers were sent into battle without guns to support them, without even rifle ammunition; they were wasted by their officers and generals in a delirium of militarist enthusiasm. For a time they seemed to be suffering mutely as the beasts suffer; but there is a limit to the endurance even of the most ignorant. A profound disgust for Tsardom was creeping through these armies of betrayed and wasted men. From the close of 1915 onward Russia was a source of deepening anxiety to her Western Allies. Throughout 1916 she remained largely on defensive, and there were rumours of a separate peace with Germany.   2
  On December 29th, 1916, the monk Rasputin was murdered at a dinner party in Petrograd, and a belated attempt was made to put the Tsardom in order. By March things were moving rapidly; food riots in Petrograd developed into a revolutionary insurrection; there was an attempted suppression of the Duma, the representative body, there were attempted arrests of liberal leaders, the formation of a provisional government under Prince Lvoff, and an abdication (March 15th) by the Tsar. For a time it seemed that a moderate and controlled revolution might be possible—perhaps under a new Tsar. Then it became evident that the destruction of popular confidence in Russia had gone too far for any such adjustments. The Russian people were sick to death of the old order of things in Europe, of Tsars and wars and of Great Powers; it wanted relief, and that speedily, from unendurable miseries. The Allies had no understanding of Russian realities; their diplomatists were ignorant of Russian, genteel persons with their attention directed to the Russian Court rather than to Russia, they blundered steadily with the new situation. There was little goodwill among these diplomatists for republicanism, and a manifest disposition to embarrass the new government as much as possible. At the head of the Russian republican government was an eloquent and picturesque leader, Kerensky, who found himself assailed by the forces of a profounder revolutionary movement, the “social revolution,” at home and cold-shouldered by the Allied governments abroad. His Allies would neither let him give the Russian peasants the land for which they craved nor peace beyond their frontiers. The French and the British press pestered their exhausted ally for a fresh offensive, but when presently the Germans made a strong attack by sea and land upon Riga, the British Admiralty quailed before the prospect of a Baltic expedition in relief. The new Russian Republic had to fight unsupported. In spite of their naval predominance and the bitter protests of the great English admiral, Lord Fisher (1841–1920), it is to be noted that the British and their Allies, except for some submarine attacks, left the Germans the complete mastery of the Baltic throughout the war.   3
  The Russian masses, however, were resolute to end the war. At any cost. There had come into existence in Petrograd a body representing the workers and common soldiers, the Soviet, and this body clamoured for an international conference of socialists at Stockholm. Food riots were occurring in Berlin at this time, war weariness in Austria and Germany was profound, and there can be little doubt, in the light of subsequent events, that such a conference would have precipitated a reasonable peace on democratic lines in 1917 and a German revolution. Kerensky implored his Western allies to allow this conference to take place, but, fearful of a worldwide outbreak of socialism and republicanism, they refused, in spite of the favourable response of a small majority of the British Labour Party. Without either moral or physical help from the Allies, the unhappy “moderate” Russian Republic still fought on and made a last desperate offensive effort in July. It failed after some preliminary successes, and there came another great slaughtering of Russians.   4
  The limit of Russian endurance was reached. Mutinies broke out in the Russian armies, and particularly upon the northern front, and on November 7th, 1917, Kerensky’s government was overthrown and power was seized by the Soviets, dominated by the Bolshevik socialists under Lenin, and pledged to make peace regardless of the Western powers. On March 2nd, 1918, a separate peace between Russia and Germany was signed at Brest-Litovsk.   5
  It speedily became evident that these Bolshevik socialists were men of a very different quality from the rhetorical constitutionalists and revolutionaries of the Kerensky phase. They were fanatical Marxist communists. They believed that their accession to power in Russia was only the opening of a world-wide social revolution, and they set about changing the social and economic order with the thoroughness of perfect faith and absolute inexperience. The western European and the American governments were themselves much too ill-informed and incapable to guide or help this extraordinary experiment, and the press set itself to discredit and the ruling classes to wreck these usurpers upon any terms and at any cost to themselves or to Russia. A propaganda of abominable and disgusting inventions went on unchecked in the press of the world; the Bolshevik leaders were represented as incredible monsters glutted with blood and plunder and living lives of sensuality before which the realities of the Tsarist court during the Rasputin regime paled to a white purity. Expeditions were launched at the exhausted country, insurgents and raiders were encouraged, armed and subsidized, and no method of attack was too mean or too monstrous for the frightened enemies of the Bolshevik regime. In 1919, the Russian Bolsheviks, ruling a country already exhausted and disorganized by five years of intensive warfare, were fighting a British Expedition at Archangel, Japanese invaders in Eastern Siberia, Roumanians with French and Greek contingents in the south, the Russian Admiral Koltchak in Siberia and General Deniken, supported by the French fleet, in the Crimea. In July of that year an Esthonian army, under General Yudenitch, almost got to Petersburg. In 1920 the Poles, incited by the French, made a new attack on Russia; and a new reactionary raider, General Wrangel, took over the task of General Deniken in invading and devastating his own country. In March, 1921, the sailors at Cronstadt revolted. The Russian Government under its president, Lenin, survived all these various attacks. It showed an amazing tenacity, and the common people of Russia sustained it unswervingly under conditions of extreme hardship. By the end of 1921 both Britain and Italy had made a sort of recognition of the communist rule.   6
  But if the Bolshevik Government was successful in its struggle against foreign intervention and internal revolt, it was far less happy in its attempts to set up a new social order based upon communist ideas in Russia. The Russian peasant is a small land-hungry proprietor, as far from communism in his thoughts and methods as a whale is from flying; the revolution gave him the land of the great landowners but could not make him grow food for anything but negotiable money, and the revolution, among other things, had practically destroyed the value of money. Agricultural production, already greatly disordered by the collapse of the railways through war-strain, shrank to a mere cultivation of food by the peasants for their own consumption. The towns starved. Hasty and ill-planned attempts to make over industrial production in accordance with communist ideas were equally unsuccessful. By 1920 Russia presented the unprecedented spectacle of a modern civilization in complete collapse. Railways were rusting and passing out of use, towns were falling into ruin, everywhere there was an immense mortality. Yet the country still fought with its enemies at its gates. In 1921 came a drought and a great famine among the peasant cultivators in the war-devastated south-east provinces. Millions of people starved.   7
  But the question of the distresses and the possible recuperation of Russia brings us too close to current controversies to be discussed here.The Political and Social Reconstruction of the World




THE SCHEME and scale upon which this History is planned do not permit us to enter into the complicated and acrimonious disputes that centre about the treaties, and particularly of the treaty of Versailles, which concluded the Great War. We are beginning to realize that that conflict, terrible and enormous as it was, ended nothing, began nothing and settled nothing. It killed millions of people; it wasted and impoverished the world. It smashed Russia altogether. It was at best an acute and frightful reminder that we were living foolishly and confusedly without much plan or foresight in a dangerous and unsympathetic universe. The crudely organized egotisms and passions of national and imperial greed that carried mankind into that tragedy, emerged from it sufficiently unimpaired to make some other similar disaster highly probable so soon as the world has a little recovered from its war exhaustion and fatigue. Wars and revolutions make nothing; their utmost service to mankind is that, in a very rough and painful way, they destroy superannuated and obstructive things. The great war lifted the threat of German imperialism from Europe, and shattered the imperialism of Russia. It cleared away a number of monarchies. But a multitude of flags still waves in Europe, the frontiers still exasperate, great armies accumulate fresh stores of equipment.   1
  The Peace Conference at Versailles was a gathering very ill adapted to do more than carry out the conflicts and defeats of the war to their logical conclusions. The Germans, Austrians, Turks and Bulgarians were permitted no share in its deliberations; they were only to accept the decisions it dictated to them. From the point of view of human welfare the choice of the place of meeting was particularly unfortunate. It was at Versailles in 1871 that, with every circumstance of triumphant vulgarity, the new German Empire had been proclaimed. The suggestion of a melodramatic reversal of that scene, in the same Hall of Mirrors, was overpowering.   2
  Whatever generosities had appeared in the opening phases of the Great War had long been exhausted. The populations of the victorious countries were acutely aware of their own losses and sufferings, and entirely regardless of the fact that the defeated had paid in the like manner. The war had arisen as a natural and inevitable consequence of the competitive nationalisms of Europe and the absence of any Federal adjustment of these competitive forces; war is the necessary logical consummation of independent sovereign nationalities living in too small an area with too powerful an armament; and if the great war had not come in the form it did it would have come in some similar form—just as it will certainly return upon a still more disastrous scale in twenty or thirty years’ time if no political unification anticipates and prevents it. States organized for war will make wars as surely as hens will lay eggs, but the feeling of these distressed and war-worn countries disregarded this fact, and the whole of the defeated peoples were treated as morally and materially responsible for all the damage, as they would no doubt have treated the victor peoples had the issue of war been different. The French and English thought the Germans were to blame, the Germans thought the Russians, French and English were to blame, and only an intelligent minority thought that there was anything to blame in the fragmentary political constitution of Europe. The treaty of Versailles was intended to be exemplary and vindictive; it provided tremendous penalties for the vanquished; it sought to provide compensations for the wounded and suffering victors by imposing enormous debts upon nations already bankrupt, and its attempts to reconstitute international relations by the establishment of a League of Nations against war were manifestly insincere and inadequate.   3
  So far as Europe was concerned it is doubtful if there would have been any attempt whatever to organize international relations for a permanent peace. The proposal of the League of Nations was brought into practical politics by the President of the United States of America, President Wilson. Its chief support was in America. So far the United States, this new modern state, had developed no distinctive ideas of international relationship beyond the Monroe Doctrine, which protected the new world from European interference. Now suddenly it was called upon for its mental contribution to the vast problem of the time. It had none. The natural disposition of the American people was towards a permanent world peace. With this however was linked a strong traditional distrust of old-world politics and a habit of isolation from old-world entanglements. The Americans had hardly begun to think out an American solution of world problems when the submarine campaign of the Germans dragged them into the war on the side of the anti-German allies. President Wilson’s scheme of a League of Nations was an attempt at short notice to create a distinctively American world project. It was a sketchy, inadequate and dangerous scheme. In Europe however it was taken as a matured American point of view. The generality of mankind in 1918–19 was intensely weary of war and anxious at almost any sacrifice to erect barriers against its recurrence, but there was not a single government in the old world willing to waive one iota of its sovereign independence to attain any such end. The public utterances of President Wilson leading up to the project of a World League of Nations seemed for a time to appeal right over the heads of the governments to the peoples of the world; they were taken as expressing the ripe intentions of America, and the response was enormous. Unhappily President Wilson had to deal with governments and not with peoples; he was a man capable of tremendous flashes of vision and yet when put to the test egotistical and limited, and the great wave of enthusiasm he evoked passed and was wasted.   4
  Says Dr. Dillon in his book, The Peace Conference: “Europe, when the President touched its shores, was as clay ready for the creative potter. Never before were the nations so eager to follow a Moses who would take them to the long-promised land where wars are prohibited and blockades unknown. And to their thinking he was just that great leader. In France men bowed down before him with awe and affection. Labour leaders in Paris told me that they shed tears of joy in his presence, and that their comrades would go through fire and water to help him to realize his noble schemes. To the working classes in Italy his name was a heavenly clarion at the sound of which the earth would be renewed. The Germans regarded him and his doctrine as their sheet-anchor of safety. The fearless Herr Muehlon said: ‘If President Wilson were to address the Germans, and pronounce a severe sentence upon them, they would accept it with resignation and without a murmur and set to work at once.’ In German-Austria his fame was that of a saviour, and the mere mention of his name brought balm to the suffering and surcease of sorrow to the afflictedƒ.”   5
  Such were the overpowering expectations that President Wilson raised. How completely he disappointed them and how weak and futile was the League of Nations he made is too long and too distressful a story to tell here. He exaggerated in his person our common human tragedy, he was so very great in his dreams and so incapable in his performance. America dissented from the acts of its President and would not join the League Europe accepted from him. There was a slow realization on the part of the American people that it had been rushed into something for which it was totally unprepared. There was a corresponding realization on the part of Europe that America had nothing ready to give to the old world in its extremity. Born prematurely and crippled at its birth, that League has become indeed, with its elaborate and unpractical constitution and its manifest limitations of power, a serious obstacle in the way of any effective reorganization of international relationships. The problem would be a clearer one if the League did not yet exist. Yet that world-wide blaze of enthusiasm that first welcomed the project, that readiness of men everywhere round and about the earth, of men, that is, as distinguished from governments, for a world control of war, is a thing to be recorded with emphasis in any history. Behind the short-sighted governments that divide and mismanage human affairs, a real force for world unity and world order exists and grows.   6
  From 1918 onward the world entered upon an age of conferences. Of these the Conference at Washington called by President Harding (1921) has been the most successful and suggestive. Notable, too, is the Genoa Conference (1922) for the appearance of German and Russian delegates at its deliberations. We will not discuss this long procession of conferences and tentatives in any detail. It becomes more and more clearly manifest that a huge work of reconstruction has to be done by mankind if a crescendo of such convulsions and world massacres as that of the great war is to be averted. No such hasty improvisation as the League of Nations, no patched-up system of Conferences between this group of states and that, which change nothing with an air of settling everything, will meet the complex political needs of the new age that lies before us. A systematic development and a systematic application of the sciences of human relationship, of personal and group psychology, of financial and economic science and of education, sciences still only in their infancy, is required. Narrow and obsolete, dead and dying moral and political ideas have to be replaced by a clearer and a simpler conception of the common origins and destinies of our kind.   7
  But if the dangers, confusions and disasters that crowd upon man in these days are enormous beyond any experience of the past, it is because science has brought him such powers as he never had before. And the scientific method of fearless thought, exhaustively lucid statement, and exhaustively criticized planning, which has given him these as yet uncontrollable powers, gives him also the hope of controlling these powers. Man is still only adolescent. His troubles are not the troubles of senility and exhaustion but of increasing and still undisciplined strength. When we look at all history as one process, as we have been doing in this book, when we see the steadfast upward struggle of life towards vision and control, then we see in their true proportions the hopes and dangers of the present time. As yet we are hardly in the earliest dawn of human greatness. But in the beauty of flower and sunset, in the happy and perfect movement of young animals and in the delight of ten thousand various landscapes, we have some intimations of what life can do for us, and in some few works of plastic and pictorial art, in some great music, in a few noble buildings and happy gardens, we have an intimation of what the human will can do with material possibilities. We have dreams; we have at present undisciplined but ever increasing power. Can we doubt that presently our race will more than realize our boldest imaginations, that it will achieve unity and peace, that it will live, the children of our blood and lives will live, in a world made more splendid and lovely than any palace or garden that we know, going on from strength to strength in an ever widening circle of adventure and achievement? What man has done, the little triumphs of his present state, and all this history we have told, form but the prelude to the things that man has got to do.   8

   8

   7
  10
   5


  12
  20
  12
  18
  17

No comments:

Post a Comment