20 JANUARY 1900, Page 19


ITALY AND HER INVADERS.* Finis corona opus. We sincerely congratulate Dr. Hodgkin on the successful crowning of a great edifice of historical learning on the building of which he has spent no less than twenty-five years. This patient toil, involving no little linguistic knowledge, much travel and personal investigation, the com- parison of authorities, and that quick insight and good sense which judges their relative worth, appeals to us strongly in these days of cheap manuals, and "series," and superficial book-making generally. Dr. Hodgkin's judgments may not all stand the final test, his views may need modification here and there. But assuredly a more judicious work, a history more completely marked by sound historical feeling, by wide views and sympathies, and by clear political insight, has rarely, if ever, been produced by any English writer. The two final volumes are governed by the same method, and are written in the same temper and spirit as those which preceded them. Dr. Hodgkin combines the merits of the "picturesque" and the scientific schools of history. He is interesting, like Fronde, without Froude's inaccuracies ; he is learned like Freeman, but without Freeman's pedantry. He believes with the great historical writers of antiquity that the narratives of history should possess a literary grace ; but there is, on the other band, no German professor who is keener in his analysis of the authorities. The result is a narrative smoc.c.h and easy, and yet a narrative on which we feel that we can rely; the steps have been carefully cut for us beforehand in our ascent. We like, too, Dr. Hodgkin's plan of not burdening the text with notes, the more obscure and difficult points of discussion being relegated to smaller type at the end of a chapter. The reader is also greatly aided by the state- ment of both original authorities and standard works of reference at the head of a chapter. On the whole, we do not, we must repeat, know of any great historical work covering a long period quite so satisfactory as this ; and when we add that it is pervaded throughout by a fine ethical feeling, and often enriched by happy historical illustrations and allusions, we feel that we are giving it high praise, and yet no higher than it deserves.

The two final volumes deal with a period of wild turbulence, and yet of a kind of cosmos growing up out of chaos. They begin with Clovis and the rise of the Merovingian dynasty, and end with the death of Charles the Great and a survey of the practical reforms introduced into Western Europe by the Caroline Capitnlaries. The greater part of the epoch is so dark that one is agreeably surprised at the ease and finish with which Dr. Hodgkin tells its story. The authorities are meagre. Paulus Diaconns is silent, so that we know little of the Lombards after the death of Liutprand, whose career was so admirably treated in a former volume, and we witness in much ignorance the overthrow and death of the Lombard power in Italy. The historian has to draw mainly on the Liber Pontificalis, with its ecclesiastical and Papal prejudices, and on Frankish chroniclers. The decline of the Lombards and the rise of the great Frankish Monarchy are not only coincident with, but are inextricably bound up with, the ex- pansion of the Papacy and its secular claims. The period, in fact, with its stories of " donations " to the Holy See, its pro- tection. of the Papacy on the one hand by the Frankish King, and on the other hand the Papal crowning of Charles at Rome, affords the main clue to the long history of the contests between Pope and Emperor which mark the Middle Ages. The epoch is again of deep importance as marking the sever-

Italy and her Invaders, 744-774. By Thomas Hodgkin. Vols. VII. and VIII. Oxford : Clarendon Press, [24s.]

ance between East and West, and the fearful moral decline of the Eastern Empire. The pretensions of the Eastern Emperors to represent the old Roman Republic may now be said to end, so far as Western Europe is concerned, and with the crowning of Charles at Rome the feeling of the Roman Empire is revived for Europe, whose imagination, as well as whose practical political interests, see in the great Germanic warrior and statesman the representative of the old Cwsars. Of course the gap is considerable, and there is one new element,—the initial stages of feudalism—which make the Germanic-Roman Empire different from that of Julius ; but still the Holy Roman Empire now takes form, and continues, partly in theory, partly as a more or less real influence in the mind of Europe, until it is suppressed by Napoleon in 1806. Simultaneously with the severance of the two Empires is the alienation of the Eastern and Western Churches, and the consequent development of Rome as the ecclesiastical centre of the world. Thus we have internal revolution in Italy—the substitution of Frank for Lombard secular power—the immense expansion of the German Monarchy from the little chieftainship of Clovis at Tournai to the great power of Charles, comprising what we now know as France and Germany, involving the nominal Christianising of this great region, and the foundation of that secular order which was to endure through so much hideous turmoil. We feel that we are indeed watching "titanic forces taking birth," are witnessing, in fact, the beginning of modern Europe.

Institutions, it has been said, are the long-drawn shadows of some great man. It is, perhaps, a doubtful proposition, but if ever it were true, one feels that it is true of this epoch, for here the great movements of history do centre round a man, one of the greatest rulers who ever lived. In no respect are Dr. Hodgkin's concluding volumes more admirable than in their treatment of Charles the Great. The romantic and doubtful elements of the Charlemagne of the Middle Ages are dissolved, and we see Charles as he really was ; and the real Charles is much more fascinating than the mystical Charlemagne. Perhaps no ruler ever toiled so hard and accomplished so much on a great scale. His chief blot, his neglect of the marriage tie and sexual faults generally, must be judged, not from our point of view, but from that of his age. Charles, it must be remembered, was a powerful barbarian whose great nature was emerging from a matrix of animalism. More to the purpose is it to see how careful he was for the purification of the Church, seeing, as he did, that the Church was then a far greater agency for the world's moral progress than any mere secular power could be ; how, though not himself learned, he reverenced learning and learned men; how magnanimous he was throughout his career; and what excellent political and moral sense marked in the main his Capitalaries (which Dr. Hodgkin properly warns us must not be compared with Codes like those of Justinian or Napoleon). The pictures of his Court in his loved Rhineland are charming ; he liked to have some one read to him aloud, and his favourite book was Augastine's City of Cod; he loved to be surrounded by learned men like Alcuin; he was hospitable, friendly, temperate; and he was intent on the application of the principles of justice. Perhaps, next to Charles, the most important figure of the period is that of Pope Hadrian, whose connection with Charles was so intimate. Hadrian is not of the first rank, he is not a Gregory the Great nor an Innocent III., but he is high in the second rank of the Roman Pontiffs, and is of vital import- ance in the history of the Papacy as having helped to establish the secular claims on which the Popes relied in the Middle Ages, and on which Leo XIII rests his claim to temporal power at this moment. During this epoch the Papacy for a short time was absolutely independent of any secular over- lord. Dr. Hodgkin treats the claim to secular sovereignty with much learning and power and with entire fairness. He shows that there is a great difference between gifts of farms and castles to the patrimony of St. Peter—i.e., ordinary endowments—and the surrender of districts to the Pope as Sovereign. His discussion of the alleged " donation " to Hadrian is, indeed, characteristic of the general methods of a work of which English historical scholarship may be justly proud.