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
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
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
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