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THE Aryan nations again

claim our attention. After a long sojourn among

the tribes of Ishmael after following the flaming Crescent to its zenith

_______________ over the field of Poitiers let us turn to the peoples north of the Alps

and the Pyrenees, and, taking our stand in

the great Kingdom of the Franks, trace out

the course of human affairs in the west of


The career of Pepin of Heristal, duke of

the Austrasian Franks, has already been

sketched in the First Book of the present volume. It will be .remembered that after the

battle of Laon, A.D. 680, in which conflict his

brother Martin was killed, Pepin became sole

ruler of the Austrasians. In the years that

followed he was engaged in several desultory

wars with the German tribes on the right bank

of the Rhine, and in 687 invaded the province

of Neustria. The fate of this country was

decided in the battle of Testry, in which Pepin was victorious. Roman France, as the

northern part of Gaul was called, yielded to

See Book Eleventh, ante p. 1084.

the Austrasians; and Duke Pepin was acknowledged as the sovereign of the Frankish


It was now the heyday of the Rois Faineants. The kingly Donothings still occupied

the alleged throne of the Franks. They had,

however, been gradually reduced to the condition of puppets in the hands of the powerful mayors of the palace. For reasons of policy Pepin chose not to disturb the royal show,

and the Faineanis were kept in nominal authority. Thus the puny race was lengthened

out during the so-called reigns of Thierry III.,

Dagobert II., Clovis III., Childebert III., and

Dagobertin. Once a year, namely, at the

great national assembly in May, Pepin would

bring forth the royal manikin, show him to

the people, and then return him to the villa,

where he was kept under guard.

For a quarter of a century (687-712) Pepin was engaged in almost constant wars with

the Frisians and Alemanni dwelling on the

Rhine. The hardest battles of the period

were fought with these barbarians, who, after

many defeats, were subdued by the Frankish

king. It was, however, in the great family

which he was about to establish, rather than