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Church, and enables us to judge of her actions chiefly on the principle, “ By their fruits you shall know them.” In applying this, however, we must, firstly, be certain that the fruit really belongs to the tree to which we ascribe it, and secondly, remember that even on the best trees some of the fruit is cankered or worm-eaten, some of the branches prove barren or wither. Again, we must bear in mind the circumstances of time and place. Moral right is always right, moral wrong always wrong. We would not excuse or defend a robber or murderer because he happened to be a mediæval baron. But in the political and scientific world time and place are for much. Washington achieved and solidly established freedom for us; we honor him, we praise his wisdom. What would we think of the man who would undertake to depose Mwanga and establish a republic in Uganda ? Besides, we must not expect from the child the learning and wisdom of the sage. The Middle Ages were the childhood and youth of modern Europe. They had to learn with effort what we receive gratuitously from our forefathers. We may, therefore, justly and sincerely praise in those days what we should not wish to see revived in our own. We may award great credit for deeds that to-day would be commonplace. We must not censure our mediæval forefathers for not doing impossibilities. Of modern mechanical, chemical, and electrical discoveries and inventions we are justly proud; ignorance of these same inventions and discoveries cannot fairly be made a ground of reproach to mediæval times. Now that steam presses strike off thousands of pages in an hour, it is easy to have books, to read, to own a library; we have a right to rejoice over our good fortune, and to pity the times when it took months to make a single copy of a work of which we print thousands in a week; we have no right to berate and revile those times. It may be well to remember that the art of printing was invented in 1450, not in the nineteenth century.

To form a correct judgment of the Middle Ages, these principles must be kept in view. If we do so, the picture of those times displayed by modern historical research will astonish us. We will be amazed that there could have been a time, and that not very remote, when scarce a light relieved the sombre color in which it was customary to paint the “dark” ages. A black background of universal ignorance, an atmosphere of superstition, the blood-red demons of fanaticism and cruelty in the foreground, dark gray filth and poverty and wretchedness in the middle distance; the love of morality and justice has sunk out of sight, charity hardly sheds a flickering light, all is darkness, pitch black darkness. Kings and nobles, proud of their ignorance, rob and murder; priests and monks, sunk in idleness, at most, discuss the interesting question how many angels can stand

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on the point of a needle; art, science and literature are banished or made little of; the Bible is unknown and uncared for; am bitious Popes enthrall kings and people; the Church crushes the spirit of nationality and hinders the growth of nations ; she discourages inquiry and learning, makes religion the slave of worldly ends, neglects charity. How such an age could have given to the world a Charlemagne and an Alfred, á Barbarossa and a St. Louis, an Alcuin and an Aquinas, a Roger Bacon and a Copernicus, a Gutenberg and a Columbus, is a riddle that should have opened the eyes of the shallowest and most ignorant of unconscious, and warned the most daring of conscious libellers.

But times have changed. Even Protestants and infidels are ready to repudiate such self-destructive misrepresentation.

"During the last century,” says Frederick von Hellwald, a devoted disciple of the materialist, Prof. Haeckel, “men's judgment of the Middle Ages has passed through three stages; it has denounced, admired, and understood them. The second half of the 19th century felt an interest in degrading the Middle Ages as much as possible ; by doing so that age strove to become conscious of its own perfection. It gathered the charges made by serious satirists and enthusiastic preachers in the Middle Ages against their contemporaries; every complaint about the moral decay of the times was dragged to light. It described mediæval constitutions and state decrees, and found no difficulty in proving that they little aided the true objects of the State; the ideas of feudalism and the law of brute force (Faustrecht) were the most dreadful notions a trained politician could conceive. It pointed out that many useful inventions had not been made, and that, therefore, manufactures and comfort were in a distressing condition. It thought it had fully proved its point, when investigating the state of religion and science, it could show up the blindest obedience to authority and the densest superstition; the natural sciences were at the lowest ebb, philosophy unproductive, philology ill conditioned, theology that controlled all things could not lead to the deliverance of the intellect. So judged men even at the end of the last century. Hardly a dozen years later views had become greatly changed, and the Middle Ages were regarded with quite different eyes. The romantic school discovered an ocean of light of dazzling brilliancy, where their predecessors had seen only dark masses of shadow. But opposed to these two points of view, detestation and veneration, condemnation and worship, there is a third point of view, that of understanding, of intelligence, of objective historical knowledge. We will see neither all light nor all shade; for us, too, mediævalism is a state of comparative imperfection, and we may accept the term 'night.' But it is a clear bright




night, in which sparkle countless stars, beaming some gently, some brilliantly."

Von Hellwald's self-complacent superiority over his predecessors of the eighteenth century is a little amusing ; still his views are clear proof that light has begun to break. Yet even now there is much darkness among us. “In England,” says Prof. Karl Pearson, of University College, London, "there seems no reason why anything but rubbish should be written [on the Middle Ages). In our universities no training is offered in mediæval thought, and its language, mediæval Latin, is dubbed a barbarism unworthy of scientific study.” “It is almost impossible to find a German Mediævalist (I would except such men as Maurenbrecher, Geffken, Kampschulte and one or two others practically of the past) who does not prostitute his scholarship to a preconceived religious opinion, and so remain blind to all but one side of a question.” What admissions, then, are made by non-Catholic German writers are all the stronger proof that the tide of evidence on the other side is irresistible. There are, however,

. honorable exceptions to Prof. Pearson's rule, and we hope to introduce some of them to our readers. Meantime, whilst recognizing the value of Von Hellwald's concessions, we are not impressed by the happiness of his comparison of the Middle Ages to a star-lit “night,” unless he means to imply that the night is the parent of the day. To us Prof. Paulsen, of the Berlin University, seems more happy. “The Middle Ages," says he, " are the school-time of the Germanic nations. Antiquity is their teacher, though not youthful, pagan antiquity, but antiquity grown old and religious." Perhaps they have been described even more happily by the author of Barnes' Modern School History. “The thoughtful student of history sees in the Middle Ages a time, not of decay, but of preparation ; a period during which the seeds of a better growth were germinating in the soil."*

But let us come to particulars. Among the bugbears with which the defamers of mediævalism frightened the simple public, let us begin with that which always seemed most dreadful, the Popes. They were either wicked men, or ambitious, designing, worldly-minded men, who aimed at universal empire and crushed nations and the national spirit, or they were no men at all. The popess Joan haunted Protestant historians from the Magdeburg Centuriators down to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Still even two hundred years ago Leibnitz was too enlightened to

i Von Hellwald, Cultur geschichte in ihrer natürlichen Enturickelung, p. 409.
? K. Pearson in the “ Academy” of Sept. 26th, 1885.
• Paulsen—“Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts,” p. 6.
• Barnes's Modern History, p. 12, note.


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believe in the spectre. Since the Protestant Church historian Neander has stamped it as a myth, and especially since Döllinger published his “ Papstfabeln des Mittelalters,” the spectre has been effectually laid. No self-respecting, well-informed writer cares now-a-days to mention the tale of the popess Joan except as an exploded fable.

We come next to the power-grasping Popes. Of these, beginning with Gregory the Great, there used to be a whole legion; to investigate them all would take a company of Bollandists. But“ Gregory”[the Great], says Arnold," was the real founder of papal primacy in its later signification. . . . . And yet at bottom he did no more than to gather all the elements, which up to that time had developed themselves in the Church, in faith and practice, in constitution and discipline, and to make them the basis of a new development. He is in no sense a ‘Reformer'; he only took up the traditions of antiquity and with them entered into the new era, not greedy of honor or power, not a shrewd politician, but wholly full of the spirit which lived in the Church; whilst the patriarch of Constantinople just at that time claimed the title of Universal Bishop, Gregory, in striking contrast, called himself the servant of the servants of God,' and this title the Roman bishops have retained to the present day."

Perhaps no Pope has been attacked as virulently as Gregory VII., the great Hildebrand. Against him for centuries the older Protestants discharged their bile and their bitterness. Höllenbrand (brand of hell) he was called by the Magdeburg Centuriators, whilst Bibliander called him Gog the king of Magog. He aspired to universal monarchy, he unrighteously and cruelly humbled the emperor, he claimed the right to make and unmake kings and emperors, he was ambitious, proud, hypocritical, rash, obstinate. But abuse and denunciation are not history; revilings are not proofs. The day of investigation came, the day of honest historical research, and with it the day of Hildebrand's triumph. Hildebrand, says Johannes von Müller, “was firm and bold as a hero, wise as a senator, zealous as a prophet, strict in his morals, tenacious of one idea.” The Protestant Church historians Gieseler and Neander admit that he was convinced of the justice of his

Gaab, Voigt, Giesebrecht, Bowden, Luden, Rühs, Leo, Stenzel, Creighton, all of them Protestants, have shown up many of the errors of former historians and done justice to Gregory's great qualities. At present all well-informed writers praise his honesty, his zeal for religion, his justice. Popes Hadrian IV.



1 W. Arnold-Deutsche Geschichte, ii., 1, p. 171.

2 For the Protestant authorities on Gregory VII., see Hergenrocther's Kirchengeschichte, 3d ed., vol. ii., PP. 210 and 230, notes.


(Nicholas Breakspeare, the only English Pope) and Alexander III., the contemporaries of Frederick I., Barbarossa, were also often accused of undue worldly ambition, of attempting to degrade the Empire and the Emperor. But Frederick, though a man of undoubted genius and possessed of the noblest qualities of the heart, unfortunately misconceived his relations to the Church and the Popes. "Towards the Church,” says the Protestant historian Leo, " Frederick from the beginning assumed as haughty an attitude as any of his predecessors of the Frankish house; in this respect he was no better than Henry V.” “Only a Pope that was ready to sacrifice his own rights and those of others could continue to have a good understanding with such an emperor as Frederick."?“ Frederick wished, like Charlemagne, to rule Rome and the bishops of the Empire as his vassals,” says Gregorovius. The false conception of Barbarossa and the Popes Hadrian IV. and Alexander III., propagated by former historians, were based on the Gesta Frederici I., written by Otto, Bishop of Freising, and continued by Ragewin, his secretary. Now Otto was Frederick's uncle, and built up his history on notes furnished him by the Emperor. “Otto," says Wattenbach,* " wrote to Frederick that

“ he was ready to write the history of his (Frederick's) time if the Emperor wished it, and if he would send him the necessary material by his notaries.' And Frederick accepted the proposal. We still possess a letter of his dated September, 1156, in which he sent a rapid review of his deeds to Otto, which the latter was to expand in his history. We may, in a way, regard this letter as the text on which Otto based his new work, the Gesta Frederici.When the Bishop died before its completion, Ragewin, Otto's scholar and notary, continued the work. “The Emperor himself,

· who manifestly took a deep interest in the work, had approved of Ragewin's choice as continuator, and his chancellor and notary, to whom Ragewin dedicated his work, appears to have furnished him facts and documents." No wonder that history derived from such a source should not be too favorable to Frederick's opponents. At all events, now that sound criticism has recognized the need of using these works with caution, Giesebrecht speaks

I Leo-Vorlesungen über die Geschichte des deutschen Volkes und Reiches, II., 648, quoted in “Geschichtsligen," p. 183. The latter little work, a refutation of current historical slanders against the Church and churchmen, is a work full of learning, that briefly, fairly and quietly puts down the chief lies that have disfigured many histories. It is so very handy and so useful, that it richly deserves to be translated. 2 Döllinger, Kirchengeschichte, ii., p. 175, quoted in Geschichtslügen, p. 183.

Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rome, iv., p. 521, quoted in Geschichtslügen, p. 291.

* Geschichtsquellen des M. A., p. 423. 5 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 423.


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