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beginning of the conflict victory seemed to

incline to the banners of Lothaire; but the

forces of Charles and Louis rallied from

their temporary repulse, and inflicted on

their enemy an overwhelming defeat. Hardly

ever in the previous history of France had

such fearful carnage been witnessed. The

overthrow of the old Imperial party was

ruinous to the last degree, and well might the

aged poet of the court of Charlemagne bewail

the irreparable disaster.

Notwithstanding his discomfiture Lothaire

made most strenuous efforts to restore his

fortunes. He appealed to the Saxons and

promised the restoration of paganism if

they would espouse his cause. Several of

the tribes revolted in his favor; but Louis

and Charles were little disposed to lose

by negligence the .fruits of their great victory. The two princes met in a public assembly on the right bank of the Rhine,

between Bale and Strasbourg. Each came at

the head of his army, and there, in the most

solemn manner, they renewed their covenant

against Lothaire. The alliance thus made

was publicly celebrated by the officers and

soldiers of the two armies in a series of games,

military sports, and jousting, the same being,

perhaps, the beginning of those knightly tournaments which became one of the leading

features in the social history of the Middle

Ages. The two kings themselves, dad in

armor, entered the lists, attacked each other,

as if in battle, pursued, retreated, and performed feats of fictitious daring.

But neither the league between Louis

and Charles nor the royal sports which they

instituted for the delight of their soldiers

could overawe the courageous Lothaire. In

spite of the efforts of the allied princes he

made such headway on the side of Saxony

that they were obliged to recognize his

rights and to consent to a new territorial adjustment. The three brothers met in a

conference in the summer of 843, and it was

agreed that Italy, Aquitaine, and Bavaria

should remain in the hands of their present

possessors, and that to Louis should also

be given the three cities of Mayence, Worms,

and Spires, on the left bank of the Rhine.

The eastern part of Gaul, bounded by the

Rhine and the Alps and the rivers Mouse,

Sa6ne, and Rhone, was assigned to Lothaire.

The remainder of the Gaulish territory was

given to Charles the Bald, and to him also

fell the provinces of Vasconia, Septimania,

and the French possessions beyond the


This settlement of affairs made at Verdun,

in the year 843, gave the finishing stroke to

the project of restoring the Empire of the

West. The name 6f Emperor was still retained and has continued for many centuries

as a sort of traditional factor in the politics of

Europe. But it was the shadow without the

substance. The Empire itself became a myth,

into which not even the greatest minds could

do more than breathe the breath of a fitful

and evanescent vitality.

In the midst of the great civil disturbances to which the Frankish kingdoms were

thus subjected the Northern Pirates came

in to reap their abundant harvest of spoil.

They made their way at times to the very

gates of Paris. The abbeys of St. Germain

and St. Denis were captured and sacked.

The outer quarters of the city were several

times in the hands of the sea robbers, to

whom all treasures, both sacred and profane,

were alike. In the year 850, Pepin of Aquitaine

made a league with the Northmen and consented to their capture of Toulouse. The

marauders went from place to place through

the province of Aquitaine, seizing what

they liked and destroying what they would.

Nor did it appear that either Pepin or Charles

the Bald had the courage requisite to scourge

the Northmen out of their territories.

One of the most audacious of the piratical

leaders was the sea king Hastings. Several times he appeared with his fleet in the rivers

and harbors of France. Not satisfied with

the spoils of the western coasts, he made his

way into the Mediterranean. On the shore

of Tuscany he descried a city which he mistook for Rome, but being unable to take the

place by assault, he resorted to stratagem.