1194 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
fortresses were built in many parts, and into
these, when the cry of the "Saracen" was
raised in the country, the people would flee
On the whole, however, the disturbance
on the southern border was provoking rather
than dangerous. The incursions were made
by hordes of robbers, who expected to plunder and fly rather than plunder and fight.
Nor were the Mohammedans of Spain pressed
from behind by other hosts out of Africa,
as were the Northmen, driven from their
homes by innumerable swarms of Asiatic
barbarians. Thus it happened that, while
the northern and western frontier of France
was broken in and a large part of her territory taken by the audacious Danes, the
southern border was preserved from serious
As to the new province thus ceded by
Charles the Simple to Rollo and his countrymen, the same soon became one of the most
prosperous districts in France. The great
Danish chieftain was recognized as Duke
of Normandy. Nor should the pen of history here fail to note that William the Conqueror, whose valorous blood has flowed into the veins of all the English kings and
queens who have reigned since the Norman
conquest of 1066, was himself-though illegitimate-the eighth in regular descent
from Rolf, the Danish pirate turned reformer and civilizen.
After the settlement between Charles the
Simple and Duke Rollo, the kingdom enjoyed
peace for the space of ten years; but in 922
the ever-growing ambition of the French
barons led to a revolt against the feebleminded Charles and in favor of Count Robert, brother of Eudes. Civil war broke out between the rival parties, and Charles, in attempting to maintain his rights, half redeemed his forfeited fame. He took the field in person, met Count Robert in battle and slew
him with his own hand. But the cause of
the rebellion was taken up by Hugh the
Great, son of the slain count, and the king
was soon disastrously defeated. Hugh, already Count of Paris, Was ambitious to be the
maker of kings rather than be king himself.
He would fain restore that ancient regime
in which the Mayor of the Palace stood
behind the throne and directed the affairs of the kingdom. Accordingly, after the defeat and flight of Charles the Simple-for the latter with all speed sought refuge
with Herbert, count of Vermandois-Hugh
brought it about that the French crown
should be conferred on Rodolph, duke of
Burgundy, to whom his own sister had
been given in marriage. So predominant
was the influence of the great count that
Rodolph's nomination was ratified by the
barons, while the deposed Charles was shut
up as a prisoner in the Chateau Thierry.
Elgiva, the wife of the dethroned monarch,
who was a sister to Athelstane, king
of England, escaped with her son Louis
and sought protection with her brother.
The status thus fixed by revolution was
maintained until 929. In that year Charles
the Simple died, his taking-off being ascribed
to poison. Rodolph continued to reign
until 926; but the real power of the kingdom was wielded by Hugh the Great. Rodolph died childless, and the crown of France was again at the disposal of the great leader,
who again refused to claim it for himself.
Nor can it be doubted that in his policy
Count Hugh was guided by a desire to secure the peace and prosperity of the kingdom.
In looking about for a new sovereign he
failed not to take note of the absent Prince
Louis, who with his mother was still sojourning with his uncle Athelstane, of England.
A message was sent to the English
court, requesting the exiled queen to return
with her son, in order that he might receive the crown of France. As was natural,
the sincerity of the count was distrusted,
and the queen at first refused to put herself at his mercy. King Athelstane also
shared his sister's apprehensions; but the
fears of the exiles were at length quieted,
and Louis returned with his mother to France.
They were received by Hugh with profound respect, and were conducted by him
to the cathedral at Rheims where the prince
was solemnly crowned with the title of
Lonis IV. Nor did the imaginative French
fail to find for their new sovereign an appropriate name. He was called D'Outremer, or the Stranger; for his youth had been passed beyond the sea.
It was not long until King Louis showed
in the management of public affairs an ability
and prudence greater than had been exhibited