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to make his headquarters among the North men. Within a year, however, he again

crossed into Saxony and incited his countrymen to another revolt. In 782 Charlemagne's

armies were twice defeated on the banks

of the Weser, and the king himself was

obliged to take the field. Unable to meet

his great enemy, Wittikind again fled to the

Northmen, and the brunt of the king's hostility fell upon those who had participated

in the revolt. Four thousand five hundred

of the Saxons were brought together at

Werden, on the river Auer, and were all beheaded by the orders of Cliarlemagne. Having thus soaked the river banks in blood, the king retired into France and made his

winter quarters at Thionville.

The terrible vengeance taken by the

king of the Franks was by no means sufficient to terrify the now desperate Saxons.

On the contrary, their anger and determination rose to a greater height than ever. During the winter of 782-83 the tribes again

revolted, and held out against the attest

persistent efforts of Charlemagne till 785.

In the latter year the king's victories were

more decisive, and it seemed that the pagans

must finally submit. The king took up

his residence at. the castle of Ehresburg,

and from that stronghold sent out one expedition after another to overawe the rebellious tribes.

Charlemagne had now learned what the

barbaric despair of the pagan Saxons was

able to do in war. Nor did he lack that

kingly prudence upon which the desire for

personal vengeance was made to wait in patience. He adopted diplomacy where force

had failed. He sent across the Elbe a distinguished embassy to the place where Wittikind

had his camp, and invited that austere warrior and his friend, the chieftain Abbio, to

come to him under protection and to confer

on the interests of Saxony. At first the great barbarian feared to trust himself to the

good faith of his foe, but was finally

induced to accept the invitation. He accordingly presented himself to the king

at the palace of Attigny, and so considerate

was the reception extended by Charlemagne,

and so favorable the proffered conditions

of peace, that Wittikind was induced to

accept them for himself and his countrymen.

He accordingly professed the Christian faith

and underwent the rite of baptism. He

received at the hands of Charlemagne a

full amnesty and the title of Duke of Saxony, though the sovereignty was thenceforth to be lodged with the king of the Franks.

Wittikind ever faithfully observed the

conditions to which he had pledged his

honor. So exemplary was his life, so tractable his disposition under the teaching of

the priests, that some of the old chroniclers

added his name to the calendar of the saints.

In the year 807 he was killed in a battle with

Gerold, and the tomb of

the old Saxon hero is still to be seen at Ratisbonne. Nor is the tradition wanting that

the great House of Capet, destined, after

two centuries, to supplant the Carlovingian

dynasty on the throne of France, had Wittikind for its ancestor; for the legend runs

that he was the father of Robert the

Strong, great-grandfather of Hugh Capet.

But the pacification of Saxony was not

completed by the actions of Wittikind. The

old spirit of paganism was not to be extinguished by a single act. Through a series

of years insurrections broke out here and

there, and were suppressed with not a little

difficulty and bloodshed, in some, instances

the king found it necessary to remove whole

tribes to other territories, and to fill their

places with Christian, or at least Frankish,

colonists. Nevertheless it was not doubtful after the surrender of Wittikind, that

the conquest of Saxony was virtually accomplished, and Charlemagne might with

propriety consider the country beyond the

Elbe as an integral part of his growing


The task of Charlemagne on the German

side of Gaul was by no means completed.

Many of the populations which had already

been subdued continued in a state of turbulence, and the utmost vigilance of the king