Medieval France - From the reign of Hugues Capet to the beginning of the 16th century - Gustave Masson

Medieval France - From the reign of Hugues Capet to the beginning of the 16th century

By Gustave Masson

  • Release Date: 2015-02-15
  • Genre: Europa
  • Size: 2.82 MB

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THE story of ancient France can scarcely be said to begin before Hugues Capet; during the Merovingian dynasty it is the story of the Celts, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Teutons; under Charlemagne and his successors it is closely interwoven with that of Germany. When, in 987, the Duke of France decided upon assuming the title of king, the large and fertile country included between the Rhine, the Pyrenees, and the Atlantic Ocean could scarcely indeed be regarded asforming one political community, but the various elements of which it consisted were gradually becoming welded together, and all the inhabitants of that region, whether north or south of the Loire, claimed the name of Frenchmen. Let us take a glance at that series of duchies, baronies, countships, and other quasi independent states of which Hugues Capet was the nominal king. Brittany strikes us first as the district which was the last to lose the originality of its laws, its customs, its language, and its literature; as far back as the fourth century the league or association of the Armorican cities, governed by independent chieftains, set at defiance both the Roman legions and the hordes of Barbarians, who from the further side of the Rhine overran the whole of Gaul. They maintained their freedom against the Northmen on the one side, and the Angevins on the other. After 982, however, they ceased to form a separate state and became part of France. If we travel southwards, starting from the banks of the Rhine, we find the provinces of Flanders,Vermandois, Picardy; and, going towards the east Lorraine. Champagne owes its name (Campaniain Gregorius Turonensis) to the fertility of its soil, and to its general appearance; it was originally governed by princes of the Vermandois family. The Counts of Anjou were undoubtedly the most powerful amongst the vassals of Hugues Capet, they played a conspicuous part in the history of the Middle Ages, and were closely mixed up with the political life, not only of France, but of England. Burgundy and Franche Comté must not be forgotten, and in the course of this “story” we shall often have the opportunity of recording the events which brought the rulers of these provinces into collision with the kings of France. And now we come to the banks of the Loire, on the southern side of which the large districts of Septimania, Toulouse, Gascony, Provence, and Guienne (corrupted from Aquitania) are occupied by a population which still betrays its Latin origin, and is decidedly the most intellectual and most refined part of France. There is the home of the Troubadours; there flourishes the Langue d'oc, which has produced so many brilliant monuments of elegant literature.