Page 1064

1064 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

the leadership of St. Augustine were sent

out by Gregory to rescue the island from paganism, and in a short time Ethelhert, king of

Kent, with ten thousand of his Saxon subjects,

had been baptized in the name of Christ.

Such was the beginning of the great spiritual

monarchy of Rome. Though the independence

of the Greek Church was yet reluctantly recognized by the popes of the West, and though

the open assertion of their temporal dominion

was still withheld as inexpedient or premature,

yet the foundations of the great hierarchical

kingdom in the midst of the nations were

securely laid.

It was the growth and encroachment of

Catholic power in Italy that ultimately led to

the overthrow of the Lombard kingdom. As

the eighth century drew to a close and the

kingdom of the Franks became more and

more predominant beyond the Alps, the popes

with increasing frequency called upon the

Carlovingian princes to relieve Italy of the

Lombard incubus. As early as the times of

Gregory III., Charles Martel was solicited to

come to the aid of his Catholic brethren in

the South. The entreaties of Pope Stephen

were still more importunate, and Pepin, king

of the Franks, was induced to lead an army

across the Alps. Two centuries of comparative peace had somewhat abated the warlike

valor of the Lombards. They were still brave

enough to make occasional depredations upon

the provinces and sanctuaries of the Holy Church, but not brave enough to confront the

spears of the Franks. Astolphus, the Lombard king, cowered at the approach of Pepin,

and he and his princes eagerly took an oath

to restore to the Church her captive possessions and henceforth to respect her wishes.

No sooner, however, had the Frankish sovereign returned beyond the mountains than

Astolphus broke his faith and renewed his

predatory war on the Catholic diocese. A

second time the angered Pepin came upon the

recreant Lombards, whose country he overran

and left the kingdom prostrate. For a period

of about twenty years the Lombard state survived the shock of this invasion, and then returned to its old ways. Again the Romans

were dispossessed of their property and driven

from their towns. Pope Adrian the First had now

come to the papal throne, and Charlemagne had succeeded his father Pepin. Vainly did

the Lombards attempt to guard the passes of

the Alps against the great Frankish conqueror.

By his vigilance he surprised the Lombard

outposts and made his way to Pavia. Here,

in 773, Desiderius, the last of the Lombard

princes, made his stand. For fifteen months

the city was besieged by the Franks. When

the rigors of the investment could be endured

no longer, the city surrendered, and the kingdom of the Lombards was at an end. The

country became a province in the empire of

Charlemagne, but Lombardy continued for a

time under the government of native princes.

CHAPTER LXXV- KINGDOMS OF THE VISIGOTHS,

VANDALS, AND FRANKS.

Then, in the year 410, Alaric, the Goth, was buried in the channel of the Basentius, his followers chose his brother-in-law, Adolphus, to be their sovereign. The new king opened negotiations with the Emperor of the West, and offered his services to that sovereign in repelling the barbarians beyond the Alps. Honorius gladly accepted the proffered alliance, and the Goth directed his march into Gaul. The cities of Narbonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux were permanently occupied, and the Gothic dominion was soon extended to the ocean.

The friendly league between Adolphus and the Roman Empire was further cemented by his marriage with Placidia, daughter of Theodosius the Great. By the year