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of which, published among the French Capitularies *, may be considered as the official rule of the reformed Benedictines. But the difference between the two sets of regulations is enough to prove to us how completely the idea of the monastic life had degenerated, and had settled down into an unalterable, cold, dull formalism, than which no other spirit could have dictated, in an assembly of divines and statesmen, an edict which proposed to accomplish the great object of succouring perilled religion by defining the size and material of monkish hoods, the weight of monkish loaves, and the propriety or impropriety of violating ascetic vows by the occasional consumption of a forbidden fowl. However, it must be confessed that even this extreme of narrowmindedness, fatal as its effects afterwards proved, did, in as far as it consolidated the monastic system, materially conduce to the benefits derived by succeeding ages from that system, even in its most degraded form. For every one who rejoices in the transmission to our own days of the remains of classical or theological learning must look upon it as a peculiarly providential circumstance that the severity of asceticism to which we owe their preservation should have been restored, and the inmates of the cloister more than ever separated from the world without, before the unheard-of disasters of the tenth century began. For during that troubled period many a landmark which had withstood the fury of an Attila and an Alaric was
* Baluz. t. i. coll. 579—590. Cap. Aquisgran. de Vita et Conversatione Monachorum.
swept away by the less merciful marauders, whom Scandinavia, Italy, Africa, and Spain sent forth to carry fire and sword to every extremity of Christendom1. The Gothic hordes had turned away with superstitious awe from the Christian fanes, and soon ceased to devastate lands of which they looked upon themselves as the rightful owners; but the Norman and Saracen bands attacked with peculiar ferocity the asylums of that faith which to them was associated with all that they had suffered from the religious zeal of Charlemagne; and they yearly carried back to their northern homes the spoils of the devoted south. Amid such perils as these, before the towns of Central Europe were fortified, and before the strongholds of feudalism had arisen throughout the country, the monastic buildings alone seemed capable of offering any resistance to the fury of the invaders. Although the walls reared by the piety of former generations often succumbed to the rage of the idolaters, and we read of the utter desolation of such renowned establishments as St Germain's* and Croyland2, yet in general
1 The islands of the Italian coast seem to have been occupied by monks as in the days of S. Augustine: for under the year 807 we read, in Einhard's Annales (Pertz. i. 194), of the destruction of the Moorish pirates by Count Burchard, which they themselves confessed had been inflicted upon them "eo quod anno superiore contra omnem justitiam de Patelaria insula sexaginta monachos asportatos in Hispania vendiderunt, quorum aliqui per liberalitatem imperatoris iterum ad sua loca reversi sunt."
• Sismondi, Hist, des Fr. t. iii. p. 139.
2 For a description of the Danish sack of Croyland see the Hist, lngulph. ap. Gale, Rer. Ang. Scr. i. 21—24.
the monks, protected either by the accumulated treasures, which they so freely disbursed as ransoms, or by the unyielding masonry of their cloisters, enjoyed an immunity from desolation to which the other ranks of society were strangers; and at this period, more strictly than during the first inroad of the Germanic nations, did monasticism accomplish its great work of preserving in the minds of a few men, and transmitting to succeeding generations, the genius and religion of days whose spirit had been so long extinct.
In discussing the zeal for learning which clerical influence had powerfully tended to promote in the mind of Charlemagne, we alluded to the great monastic schools which throughout every portion of his vast empire rose and flourished at his command. The successes of his armies were not more closely followed by the proclamation of the Gospel than by the foundation of great educational establishments. The monasteries of Fulda and Osnabriick transmitted to after times monuments and supporters of theological erudition, the most satisfactory proof of the conquest of central Germany by the Imperial arms, and the renowned schools established at Reichenau, Hirschau, and St Gallen might well look back upon the sovereign of the Franks as the originator of monastic learning to the east of the Rhine.
The intellectual results of Charlemagne's reign appear to us to be, in one respect at least, deserving of even greater attention than those which accrued to Europe from his political administration, inasmuch as they continued to make themselves felt long after all the other glories of his reign were preserved only in distorted fables or exaggerated romances. For, during the melancholy days which witnessed the demolition of the edifice raised by so much toil and genius, the powers of the cloister and the schools seem to have sunk far less rapidly than the more historical energies of the council and the camp1. Such a conclusion could, perhaps, with difficulty be drawn from the records of French literature and science; since it appears that the death of the Emperor was very closely followed by revolutions in the realms of mind as well as in those of matter2, which transferred the more lasting results of his policy and the true heritage of his mighty name to the east of the
1 The following notice of the educational labors of S. Notger or Nodker, bishop of Liege from 971 to 1008, is given incidentally by Ducange (s. v. Scholares) from a life of the saint. "Quanta fuerit Notgero in educandis pueris scholaribusque disciplinis instruendis sollicitudo, hinc probatur, quod semper, dum in via pergeret, longe seu prope, scholares adolescentes secum ducebat, qui uni ex Capellanis suis sub arctissima parerent disciplina; quibus etiam librorum copiam cum ceteris scholaribus utensilibus circumferri faciebat."
2 After describing the rapid decline of Latinity previous to Charlemagne, Ducange thus continues (Preface to Glossary, c. 27): "Ac si aliquantulum revixit Caroli Magni cura et industria rursumque instaurata est, haud diu id sane stetit, bellis civilibus inter Ludovici Pii filios flagrantibus universamque deinde Franciam Normannis invadentibus et depopulantibus. Ita enim siluit inter arma Latina lingua; siluere vel potius exstinctse penitus fuere discipline omnes, et si quid ex iis superfuit clericos ac monachos fere tantum spectavit, quos ad ea servanda studia adstrinxit ecclesiastici ordinis professio."
Rhine, to that German nation which yet looks back to him as the most illustrious of her sovereigns. The Benedictine historians of French literature, in recounting the intellectual glories of the tenth century*, are compelled to assign the palm of excellence to the renowned religious houses we have above enumerated, crowded as they yet continued to be with willing scholars, and fertile of the results of Imperial patronage. France, it is true, though left far behind in the race, was yet by no means destitute of those intellectual trophies of which the preceding century had been so prolific, and in the monasteries of Corbey, St Germain, and Tours the lamp of learning still burned, though with a feeble and flickering light.
But throughout the whole of the tenth century it is apparent that such among the clergy as made any progress in the humanizing arts were, in France, but lights amid an almost universally prevailing darkness. The general ignorance of the clergy was only equalled by their gross neglect of the holiest duties of their office and the strictest requirements of ancient disci plinef. However, the ponderous tomes which have come down to us bearing the name of Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims1, may lead us to believe that even the busiest and most intriguing priest, in an age when intrigue and the priesthood were inseparable, could find time to bestow on the interests
* Hist. Lit. de France, t. iv. p. 448.
t Id. t. vi. pp. 1—17.
1 See Frodoard, Chron. lib. iii. passim.