Page 1200

1200 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

Lorraine, Henry easily succeeded, rather by

pacific conduct than by open force, in bringing his rivals to submission. In like manner was settled a difficulty with Charles

the Simple, of France, with whom, in the

year 921, a treaty was made defining the

territorial boundaries of the two kingdoms.

Three years afterwards the Hungarians again

invaded Conrad's kingdom, and over them

he likewise obtained the advantage by a

superiority of wit. Having had the good

fortune to capture one of the Hungarian

chiefs, the king would accept as the condition of his liberation nothing less than a

nine years' truce. A breathing-time was

thus obtained in which to prepare for the

next outbreak of war.

King Henry labored incessantly to bring

his army to a better discipline and his people to a better government. In both of

these duties he was preeminently successful.

The Saxon warriors, hitherto accustomed

to fight only on foot, were exercised as horsemen until their skill became equal to that

of the best. The frontier of the kingdom

on the side of danger was carefully surveyed, and the fortified towns of Quedlinburg, Merseburg, and Meissen were founded

within supporting distance of each other.

The people were ordered to store within

the fortified enclosure one-third of the

products of their fields, and regular markets

were instituted in order to facilitate the

transfer of supplies.

Having now a well disciplined army, Henry

tried the mettle of his soldiers in a campaign

against the Slavonians beyond the Elbe. In

928 he conquered the province of Brandenburg, which was destined in after times to

expand into the kingdom of Prussia. His conquests in Bohemia were extended to the river

Oder; and in 932 Lusatia, or East Saxony,

was added to his dominions, thus advancing

his frontier line from Stettin, on the Baltic,

to Vienna, on the Danube.

Finally, when the nine years' truce with

the Hungarians had expired, King Henry,

who, in order to secure the truce, had agreed

to pay tribute in the interim, sent as his annual contribution to the Hungarian treasury

a mangy dog. The insult was easily understood, and the Magyars rushed to the

conflict with such fury that the king's forces

were at first stunned by the shock; but they soon rallied and inflicted one defeat after

another on the enemy until, in 933, the contest was decided by a great victory, in which

the Hungarian army was well-nigh annihilated.

A short time afterwards Henry made a

successful war on Gorm, the king of Denmark. The latter was driven back across

the Eider, and Schleswig was annexed to

Germany. Having thus conquered a peace

throughout his dominions, the king seemed

destined to a long and glorious reign; but

in the year 935 he fell under a stroke of

apoplexy and came to his death. While

he lingered, however, he called a diet at

Erfurt, and his second son Otho, afterwards

known as Otho the Great, was chosen

for the succession. Though the king had

two other sons, no attempt was made again

to divide the kingdom, the unity of which

had been achieved only after a century of

turmoil.

Henry the Fowler died in the summer of

936. Otho was accepted without opposition,

and was crowned with a splendid ceremony in

the cathedral of Aix la Chapelle. The dukes

of Lorraine, Franconia, Suabia, and Bavaria

served as chamberlain, steward, cup bearer,

and marshal at the coronation. Nor was there

wanting any circumstance of pomp to this

royal spectacle, which so critical a thinker as

Bayard Taylor has declared to be "the first

national event of a spontaneous character

which took place in Germany."

Without the prudence and patience of his

father, King Otho equaled that monarch in

energy and surpassed him in genius. Great,

however, as were his abilities, and distinguished as was his reign, he failed-could

but fail-to give unity and nationality to the

German people. The various parts of the

Teutonic race were still discordant, belligerent.

Nor could it be hoped that a German king of

the tenth century could do more than hold

together by the force of his will and the magic

of his sword the as yet heterogeneous parts of

his people.

The first duty of Emperor Otho was to repel the Bohemians and Wends, who had made

their way into Brandenburg. The wars that

ensued were of considerable duration, but victory remained with the Germans. The Hungarians were also defeated in Thuringia and

Saxony. But while these successes crowned