Page 1172


seized and hanged. The lives of his two sons

were spared only on condition of vassalage.

But while Aquitaine was thus reduced to a

dependency, the politic king took pains that

the province should still be left sufficiently

free to constitute a bulwark against the

Arabs. The national vanity of the Aquitanians

was flattered with the rule of a native duke,

but the real purpose of such a concession was

the making of a defense against the Andalusian


During his absence on the Spanish campaign Queen Hildegarde added another son

to the royal household. The child received

the name of Louis, and was afterwards

known as the Debonair. In 781 the child,

then three years of age, was taken with his

brother Pepin to Rome, and was anointed

by the Pope as King of Aquitaine. Within

less than a year he was taken by the courtiers to his own province. In order that the

farce might be as imposing as possible the

child was clad in armor, mounted on a horse,

and conducted by his councilors to the royal

seat of government. The administration of

the affairs of Aquitania was henceforth

conducted in Louises name, though the

real authority proceeded from the court of Charlemagne.

One of the leading principles in the policy

of the king of France was the establishment

of a secure frontier around his empire. In

this work he was measurably successful. From the eastern borders of the Frankish

dominions the Huns and Slavonians were

driven back against the borders of the Empire

of the East. The Saracens were confined to

Spain and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. On all sides a boundary was so well established as to secure comparative exemption

from foreign invasion. In the mean time the

king had found it desirable to transfer the

seat of government to his new capital of Aix la Chapelle, which was favorably situated on

the side of the kingdom next the German

peoples. At this place the court of the monarch became the most important, if not the

most splendid, in all Christendom. Hither

came embassies bearing presents from the

great potentates of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Neither the emperors of the East nor the Caliphs of Baghdad failed to respect in this way

their fellow sovereign of the West. So great

had been his activity and so signal his success,

both in war and in peace, that by the dose

of the eighth century Charlemagne had taken

and held a rank among the greatest monarchs

of the age.

In the year 799 intelligence was brought

to Aix la Chapelle of serious and most disgraceful riots at Rome. It was said that a

band of conspirators had been organized, that

Pope Leo III had been attacked, that his

eyes and his tongue had been cut out, and

himself shut up in the castle of Saint Erasmus. The intention of the Holy Father, thus