Page 1161

1161 THE AGE OF CHARLEMAGNE-THE FIRST CARLOVINGIANS.

pursuit of the Arabs, who, though overthrown

north of the Pyrenees, were still in full force

in Spain. He afterwards renewed the war

with the Arabian emirs, who still retained a

foothold on the Gallic side of the mountains,

and the intruders were gradually forced out

of the country. The annexation of Aquitaine

to the Prankish kingdom followed; nor was

there any longer a likelihood that the Saracens could regain what they had lost within

the limits of Gaul. Charles continued in

authority until his death. Like his father,

however, he chose to be recognized as Mayor

of the Palace rather than as King of the

Franks. The assumption of the latter dignity

remained for his son and successor, Pepin the

Short.

At his death Charles Martel bequeathed

his authority to his two heirs, Carloman, who received Austrasia, and Pepin, who inherited

Neustria. The measures by which the latter

circumvented his brother and became sole

ruler of the Frankish kingdom have been

already narrated. Pepin soon took upon

himself the title of king. Childeric III, the last of the Rois.Faineants, was sent to the

monastery of Sithien, at Saint Omer, and

Pope Zachary consented to the substitution

of the Carlovingian for the Merovingian Dynasty. Pepin was anointed and crowned

by Saint Boniface at Soissons, in the year 752.

It was at this time that the province of

Septimania, which had been overrun by the

Mohammedans, finally submitted to the

Franks. In 753 Pepin enforced the payment

of tribute upon the Saxons, and also obliged

them to receive with civility the Christian

ministers who had been sent among them.

At this juncture the relations between

France and Italy were greatly strengthened

and extended by the favor of the Pope to the

Carlovingian dynasty. Stephen III crossed

the Alps and visited Pepin, with a view to securing his aid against the Lombards. Astolphus, the king of that people, had become

the oppressor of the papacy, and the Pope

naturally looked for help to the most Christian king of the Franks. Pepin received

the great ecclesiastic with as much dignity

as an uncourtly barbarian could be expected to maintain. He readily assented to

lend the powerful aid of the Franks in upholding the dignity and honor of the Church.

A large army was at once collected and

led across the mountains to Pavia, where Astolphus was besieged and brought to his

senses. The Lombard king sought earnestly

for a peace, but it soon appeared that his earnestness was in direct ratio to his fears. For

no sooner had Pepin consented to cease from

hostility and withdrawn his army than Astolphus repudiated the compact and threatened,

should he again be disturbed, to capture and

pillage Rome. But Pepin was a monarch

whom threats merely excited to belligerency.

He hastily recrossed the mountains and

completely broke the power of Astolphus.

The exarchate of Ravenna was overrun,

and that province, together with the Pentapolis, was given to Pope Stephen. Thus, in

the year 755, was laid the foundation of

the temporal sovereignty of the Popes of

Rome.

Five years later, the chieftain Waifar

raised a revolt in Aquitania. The province

was declared independent, and the Aquitanians defended themselves with great heroism.

For eight years Pepin and his Franks were

seriously occupied with the rebellion. Nor did

the king succeed in bringing the refractory

state to submission until he had procured the

removal of Waifar by assassination. Pepin,

however, did not long survive this crime.

He died in 768, and left the kingdom to

his two sons, Carlomanand Karl, or

Charles.

The elder son of the late king of the

Franks exercised but a small influence on the

destinies of the state. His character was

without the element of greatness, and his

early death, which occurred only three years

after that of his father, cut short any small

plans of ambition which he may have entertained. In 771 his younger brother, soon to

be known as Charlemagne, or Charles the

Great, became sole sovereign of the kingdom

of the Franks, which now embraced the whole

of Gaul and the western parts of Germany.

But even this widely extended territory was

by no means commensurate with the ambition

of the young prince who occupied the throne.

He soon developed a genius which, alike in

war and peace, shone with such extraordinary

luster that its brilliancy flashed into the

courts of the East.

Charlemagne appears to have been one of

those men of whom Guizot has said that to