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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5 by Edward Gibbon

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annual squadrons issued from the port of Palermo, and were
entertained with too much indulgence by the Christians of Naples:
the more formidable fleets were prepared on the African coast;
and even the Arabs of Andalusia were sometimes tempted to assist
or oppose the Moslems of an adverse sect. In the revolution of
human events, a new ambuscade was concealed in the Caudine Forks,
the fields of Cannae were bedewed a second time with the blood of
the Africans, and the sovereign of Rome again attacked or
defended the walls of Capua and Tarentum. A colony of Saracens
had been planted at Bari, which commands the entrance of the
Adriatic Gulf; and their impartial depredations provoked the
resentment, and conciliated the union of the two emperors. An
offensive alliance was concluded between Basil the Macedonian,
the first of his race, and Lewis the great-grandson of
Charlemagne; ^3 and each party supplied the deficiencies of his
associate. It would have been imprudent in the Byzantine monarch
to transport his stationary troops of Asia to an Italian
campaign; and the Latin arms would have been insufficient if his
superior navy had not occupied the mouth of the Gulf. The
fortress of Bari was invested by the infantry of the Franks, and
by the cavalry and galleys of the Greeks; and, after a defence of
four years, the Arabian emir submitted to the clemency of Lewis,
who commanded in person the operations of the siege. This
important conquest had been achieved by the concord of the East
and West; but their recent amity was soon imbittered by the
mutual complaints of jealousy and pride. The Greeks assumed as
their own the merit of the conquest and the pomp of the triumph;
extolled the greatness of their powers, and affected to deride
the intemperance and sloth of the handful of Barbarians who
appeared under the banners of the Carlovingian prince. His reply
is expressed with the eloquence of indignation and truth: "We
confess the magnitude of your preparation," says the great-
grandson of Charlemagne. "Your armies were indeed as numerous as
a cloud of summer locusts, who darken the day, flap their wings,
and, after a short flight, tumble weary and breathless to the
ground. Like them, ye sunk after a feeble effort; ye were
vanquished by your own cowardice; and withdrew from the scene of
action to injure and despoil our Christian subjects of the
Sclavonian coast. We were few in number, and why were we few?
Because, after a tedious expectation of your arrival, I had
dismissed my host, and retained only a chosen band of warriors to
continue the blockade of the city. If they indulged their
hospitable feasts in the face of danger and death, did these
feasts abate the vigor of their enterprise? Is it by your fasting
that the walls of Bari have been overturned? Did not these
valiant Franks, diminished as they were by languor and fatigue,
intercept and vanish the three most powerful emirs of the
Saracens? and did not their defeat precipitate the fall of the
city? Bari is now fallen; Tarentum trembles; Calabria will be
delivered; and, if we command the sea, the Island of Sicily may
be rescued from the hands of the infidels. My brother,"
accelerate (a name most offensive to the vanity of the Greek,)
"accelerate your naval succors, respect your allies, and distrust
your flatterers." ^4

[Footnote 1: For the general history of Italy in the ixth and xth
centuries, I may properly refer to the vth, vith, and viith books
of Sigonius de Regno Italiae, (in the second volume of his works,
Milan, 1732;) the Annals of Baronius, with the criticism of Pagi;
the viith and viiith books of the Istoria Civile del Regno di
Napoli of Giannone; the viith and viiith volumes (the octavo
edition) of the Annali d' Italia of Muratori, and the 2d volume
of the Abrege Chronologique of M. de St. Marc, a work which,
under a superficial title, contains much genuine learning and
industry. But my long-accustomed reader will give me credit for
saying, that I myself have ascended to the fountain head, as
often as such ascent could be either profitable or possible; and
that I have diligently turned over the originals in the first
volumes of Muratori's great collection of the Scriptores Rerum

[Footnote 2: Camillo Pellegrino, a learned Capuan of the last
century, has illustrated the history of the duchy of Beneventum,
in his two books Historia Principum Longobardorum, in the
Scriptores of Muratori tom. ii. pars i. p. 221 - 345, and tom. v.
p 159 - 245.]

[Footnote 3: See Constantin. Porphyrogen. de Thematibus, l. ii. c
xi. in Vit Basil. c. 55, p. 181.]

[Footnote 4: The oriental epistle of the emperor Lewis II. to the
emperor Basil, a curious record of the age, was first published
by Baronius, (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 871, No. 51 - 71,) from the
Vatican Ms. of Erchempert, or rather of the anonymous historian
of Salerno.] These lofty hopes were soon extinguished by the
death of Lewis, and the decay of the Carlovingian house; and
whoever might deserve the honor, the Greek emperors, Basil, and
his son Leo, secured the advantage, of the reduction of Bari The
Italians of Apulia and Calabria were persuaded or compelled to
acknowledge their supremacy, and an ideal line from Mount
Garganus to the Bay of Salerno, leaves the far greater part of
the kingdom of Naples under the dominion of the Eastern empire.
Beyond that line, the dukes or republics of Amalfi ^5 and Naples,
who had never forfeited their voluntary allegiance, rejoiced in
the neighborhood of their lawful sovereign; and Amalfi was
enriched by supplying Europe with the produce and manufactures of
Asia. But the Lombard princes of Benevento, Salerno, and Capua,
^6 were reluctantly torn from the communion of the Latin world,
and too often violated their oaths of servitude and tribute. The
city of Bari rose to dignity and wealth, as the metropolis of the
new theme or province of Lombardy: the title of patrician, and
afterwards the singular name of Catapan, ^7 was assigned to the
supreme governor; and the policy both of the church and state was
modelled in exact subordination to the throne of Constantinople.
As long as the sceptre was disputed by the princes of Italy,
their efforts were feeble and adverse; and the Greeks resisted or
eluded the forces of Germany, which descended from the Alps under
the Imperial standard of the Othos. The first and greatest of
those Saxon princes was compelled to relinquish the siege of
Bari: the second, after the loss of his stoutest bishops and
barons, escaped with honor from the bloody field of Crotona. On
that day the scale of war was turned against the Franks by the
valor of the Saracens. ^8 These corsairs had indeed been driven
by the Byzantine fleets from the fortresses and coasts of Italy;
but a sense of interest was more prevalent than superstition or
resentment, and the caliph of Egypt had transported forty
thousand Moslems to the aid of his Christian ally. The
successors of Basil amused themselves with the belief, that the
conquest of Lombardy had been achieved, and was still preserved
by the justice of their laws, the virtues of their ministers, and
the gratitude of a people whom they had rescued from anarchy and
oppression. A series of rebellions might dart a ray of truth
into the palace of Constantinople; and the illusions of flattery
were dispelled by the easy and rapid success of the Norman

[Footnote 5: See an excellent Dissertation de Republica
Amalphitana, in the Appendix (p. 1 - 42) of Henry Brencman's
Historia Pandectarum, (Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1722, in 4to.)]

[Footnote 6: Your master, says Nicephorus, has given aid and
protection prinminibus Capuano et Beneventano, servis meis, quos
oppugnare dispono .... Nova (potius nota) res est quod eorum
patres et avi nostro Imperio tributa dederunt, (Liutprand, in
Legat. p. 484.) Salerno is not mentioned, yet the prince changed
his party about the same time, and Camillo Pellegrino (Script.
Rer. Ital. tom. ii. pars i. p. 285) has nicely discerned this
change in the style of the anonymous Chronicle. On the rational
ground of history and language, Liutprand (p. 480) had asserted
the Latin claim to Apulia and Calabria.]

[Footnote 7: See the Greek and Latin Glossaries of Ducange
(catapanus,) and his notes on the Alexias, (p. 275.) Against the
contemporary notion, which derives it from juxta omne, he treats
it as a corruption of the Latin capitaneus. Yet M. de St. Marc
has accurately observed (Abrege Chronologique, tom. ii. p. 924)
that in this age the capitanei were not captains, but only nobles
of the first rank, the great valvassors of Italy.]

[Footnote 8: (the Lombards), (Leon. Tactic. c. xv. p. 741.) The
little Chronicle of Beneventum (tom. ii. pars i. p. 280) gives a
far different character of the Greeks during the five years (A.D.
891 - 896) that Leo was master of the city.]

The revolution of human affairs had produced in Apulia and
Calabria a melancholy contrast between the age of Pythagoras and
the tenth century of the Christian aera. At the former period,
the coast of Great Greece (as it was then styled) was planted
with free and opulent cities: these cities were peopled with
soldiers, artists, and philosophers; and the military strength of
Tarentum; Sybaris, or Crotona, was not inferior to that of a
powerful kingdom. At the second aera, these once flourishing
provinces were clouded with ignorance impoverished by tyranny,
and depopulated by Barbarian war nor can we severely accuse the
exaggeration of a contemporary, that a fair and ample district
was reduced to the same desolation which had covered the earth
after the general deluge. ^9 Among the hostilities of the Arabs,
the Franks, and the Greeks, in the southern Italy, I shall select
two or three anecdotes expressive of their national manners. 1.
It was the amusement of the Saracens to profane, as well as to
pillage, the monasteries and churches. At the siege of Salerno,
a Mussulman chief spread his couch on the communion-table, and on
that altar sacrificed each night the virginity of a Christian
nun. As he wrestled with a reluctant maid, a beam in the roof
was accidentally or dexterously thrown down on his head; and the
death of the lustful emir was imputed to the wrath of Christ,
which was at length awakened to the defence of his faithful
spouse. ^10 2. The Saracens besieged the cities of Beneventum and
Capua: after a vain appeal to the successors of Charlemagne, the
Lombards implored the clemency and aid of the Greek emperor. ^11
A fearless citizen dropped from the walls, passed the
intrenchments, accomplished his commission, and fell into the
hands of the Barbarians as he was returning with the welcome
news. They commanded him to assist their enterprise, and deceive
his countrymen, with the assurance that wealth and honors should
be the reward of his falsehood, and that his sincerity would be
punished with immediate death. He affected to yield, but as soon
as he was conducted within hearing of the Christians on the
rampart, "Friends and brethren," he cried with a loud voice, "be
bold and patient, maintain the city; your sovereign is informed
of your distress, and your deliverers are at hand. I know my
doom, and commit my wife and children to your gratitude." The
rage of the Arabs confirmed his evidence; and the self-devoted
patriot was transpierced with a hundred spears. He deserves to
live in the memory of the virtuous, but the repetition of the
same story in ancient and modern times, may sprinkle some doubts
on the reality of this generous deed. ^12 3. The recital of a
third incident may provoke a smile amidst the horrors of war.
Theobald, marquis of Camerino and Spoleto, ^13 supported the
rebels of Beneventum; and his wanton cruelty was not incompatible
in that age with the character of a hero. His captives of the
Greek nation or party were castrated without mercy, and the
outrage was aggravated by a cruel jest, that he wished to present
the emperor with a supply of eunuchs, the most precious ornaments
of the Byzantine court. The garrison of a castle had been
defeated in a sally, and the prisoners were sentenced to the
customary operation. But the sacrifice was disturbed by the
intrusion of a frantic female, who, with bleeding cheeks
dishevelled hair, and importunate clamors, compelled the marquis
to listen to her complaint. "Is it thus," she cried, 'ye
magnanimous heroes, that ye wage war against women, against women
who have never injured ye, and whose only arms are the distaff
and the loom?" Theobald denied the charge, and protested that,
since the Amazons, he had never heard of a female war. "And how,"
she furiously exclaimed, "can you attack us more directly, how
can you wound us in a more vital part, than by robbing our
husbands of what we most dearly cherish, the source of our joys,
and the hope of our posterity? The plunder of our flocks and
herds I have endured without a murmur, but this fatal injury,
this irreparable loss, subdues my patience, and calls aloud on
the justice of heaven and earth." A general laugh applauded her
eloquence; the savage Franks, inaccessible to pity, were moved by
her ridiculous, yet rational despair; and with the deliverance of
the captives, she obtained the restitution of her effects. As
she returned in triumph to the castle, she was overtaken by a
messenger, to inquire, in the name of Theobald, what punishment
should be inflicted on her husband, were he again taken in arms.
"Should such," she answered without hesitation, "be his guilt and
misfortune, he has eyes, and a nose, and hands, and feet. These
are his own, and these he may deserve to forfeit by his personal
offences. But let my lord be pleased to spare what his little
handmaid presumes to claim as her peculiar and lawful property."

[Footnote 9: Calabriam adeunt, eamque inter se divisam
reperientes funditus depopulati sunt, (or depopularunt,) ita ut
deserta sit velut in diluvio. Such is the text of Herempert, or
Erchempert, according to the two editions of Carraccioli (Rer.
Italic. Script. tom. v. p. 23) and of Camillo Pellegrino, tom.
ii. pars i. p. 246.) Both were extremely scarce, when they were
reprinted by Muratori.]

[Footnote 10: Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 874, No. 2) has drawn
this story from a Ms. of Erchempert, who died at Capua only
fifteen years after the event. But the cardinal was deceived by
a false title, and we can only quote the anonymous Chronicle of
Salerno, (Paralipomena, c. 110,) composed towards the end of the
xth century, and published in the second volume of Muratori's
Collection. See the Dissertations of Camillo Pellegrino, tom.
ii. pars i. p. 231 - 281, &c.]

[Footnote 11: Constantine Porphyrogenitus (in Vit. Basil. c. 58,
p. 183) is the original author of this story. He places it under
the reigns of Basil and Lewis II.; yet the reduction of
Beneventum by the Greeks is dated A.D. 891, after the decease of
both of those princes.]

[Footnote 12: In the year 663, the same tragedy is described by
Paul the Deacon, (de Gestis Langobard. l. v. c. 7, 8, p. 870,
871, edit. Grot.,) under the walls of the same city of
Beneventum. But the actors are different, and the guilt is
imputed to the Greeks themselves, which in the Byzantine edition
is applied to the Saracens. In the late war in Germany, M.
D'Assas, a French officer of the regiment of Auvergne, is said to
have devoted himself in a similar manner. His behavior is the
more heroic, as mere silence was required by the enemy who had
made him prisoner, (Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XV. c. 33, tom. ix.
p. 172.)]

[Footnote 13: Theobald, who is styled Heros by Liutprand, was
properly duke of Spoleto and marquis of Camerino, from the year
926 to 935. The title and office of marquis (commander of the
march or frontier) was introduced into Italy by the French
emperors, (Abrege Chronologique, tom. ii. p. 545 - 732 &c.)]

[Footnote 14: Liutprand, Hist. l. iv. c. iv. in the Rerum Italic.
Script. tom. i. pars i. p. 453, 454. Should the licentiousness
of the tale be questioned, I may exclaim, with poor Sterne, that
it is hard if I may not transcribe with caution what a bishop
could write without scruple What if I had translated, ut viris
certetis testiculos amputare, in quibus nostri corporis
refocillatio, &c.?]

The establishment of the Normans in the kingdoms of Naples
and Sicily ^15 is an event most romantic in its origin, and in
its consequences most important both to Italy and the Eastern
empire. The broken provinces of the Greeks, Lombards, and
Saracens, were exposed to every invader, and every sea and land
were invaded by the adventurous spirit of the Scandinavian
pirates. After a long indulgence of rapine and slaughter, a fair
and ample territory was accepted, occupied, and named, by the
Normans of France: they renounced their gods for the God of the
Christians; ^16 and the dukes of Normandy acknowledged themselves
the vassals of the successors of Charlemagne and Capet. The
savage fierceness which they had brought from the snowy mountains
of Norway was refined, without being corrupted, in a warmer
climate; the companions of Rollo insensibly mingled with the
natives; they imbibed the manners, language, ^17 and gallantry,
of the French nation; and in a martial age, the Normans might
claim the palm of valor and glorious achievements. Of the
fashionable superstitions, they embraced with ardor the
pilgrimages of Rome, Italy, and the Holy Land. ^! In this active
devotion, the minds and bodies were invigorated by exercise:
danger was the incentive, novelty the recompense; and the
prospect of the world was decorated by wonder, credulity, and
ambitious hope. They confederated for their mutual defence; and
the robbers of the Alps, who had been allured by the garb of a
pilgrim, were often chastised by the arm of a warrior. In one of
these pious visits to the cavern of Mount Garganus in Apulia,
which had been sanctified by the apparition of the archangel
Michael, ^18 they were accosted by a stranger in the Greek habit,
but who soon revealed himself as a rebel, a fugitive, and a
mortal foe of the Greek empire. His name was Melo; a noble
citizen of Bari, who, after an unsuccessful revolt, was compelled
to seek new allies and avengers of his country. The bold
appearance of the Normans revived his hopes and solicited his
confidence: they listened to the complaints, and still more to
the promises, of the patriot. The assurance of wealth
demonstrated the justice of his cause; and they viewed, as the
inheritance of the brave, the fruitful land which was oppressed
by effeminate tyrants. On their return to Normandy, they kindled
a spark of enterprise, and a small but intrepid band was freely
associated for the deliverance of Apulia. They passed the Alps
by separate roads, and in the disguise of pilgrims; but in the
neighborhood of Rome they were saluted by the chief of Bari, who
supplied the more indigent with arms and horses, and instantly
led them to the field of action. In the first conflict, their
valor prevailed; but in the second engagement they were
overwhelmed by the numbers and military engines of the Greeks,
and indignantly retreated with their faces to the enemy. ^* The
unfortunate Melo ended his life a suppliant at the court of
Germany: his Norman followers, excluded from their native and
their promised land, wandered among the hills and valleys of
Italy, and earned their daily subsistence by the sword. To that
formidable sword the princes of Capua, Beneventum, Salerno, and
Naples, alternately appealed in their domestic quarrels; the
superior spirit and discipline of the Normans gave victory to the
side which they espoused; and their cautious policy observed the
balance of power, lest the preponderance of any rival state
should render their aid less important, and their service less
profitable. Their first asylum was a strong camp in the depth of
the marshes of Campania: but they were soon endowed by the
liberality of the duke of Naples with a more plentiful and
permanent seat. Eight miles from his residence, as a bulwark
against Capua, the town of Aversa was built and fortified for
their use; and they enjoyed as their own the corn and fruits, the
meadows and groves, of that fertile district. The report of
their success attracted every year new swarms of pilgrims and
soldiers: the poor were urged by necessity; the rich were excited
by hope; and the brave and active spirits of Normandy were
impatient of ease and ambitious of renown. The independent
standard of Aversa afforded shelter and encouragement to the
outlaws of the province, to every fugitive who had escaped from
the injustice or justice of his superiors; and these foreign
associates were quickly assimilated in manners and language to
the Gallic colony. The first leader of the Normans was Count
Rainulf; and, in the origin of society, preeminence of rank is
the reward and the proof of superior merit. ^19 ^*

[Footnote 15: The original monuments of the Normans in Italy are
collected in the vth volume of Muratori; and among these we may
distinguish the poems of William Appulus (p. 245 - 278) and the
history of Galfridus (Jeffrey) Malaterra, (p. 537 - 607.) Both
were natives of France, but they wrote on the spot, in the age of
the first conquerors (before A.D. 1100,) and with the spirit of
freemen. It is needless to recapitulate the compilers and
critics of Italian history, Sigonius, Baronius, Pagi, Giannone,
Muratori, St. Marc, &c., whom I have always consulted, and never

Note: M. Goutier d'Arc has discovered a translation of the
Chronicle of Aime, monk of Mont Cassino, a contemporary of the
first Norman invaders of Italy. He has made use of it in his
Histoire des Conquetes des Normands, and added a summary of its
contents. This work was quoted by later writers, but was
supposed to have been entirely lost. - M.]

[Footnote 16: Some of the first converts were baptized ten or
twelve times, for the sake of the white garment usually given at
this ceremony. At the funeral of Rollo, the gifts to monasteries
for the repose of his soul were accompanied by a sacrifice of one
hundred captives. But in a generation or two, the national
change was pure and general.]

[Footnote 17: The Danish language was still spoken by the Normans
of Bayeux on the sea-coast, at a time (A.D. 940) when it was
already forgotten at Rouen, in the court and capital. Quem
(Richard I.) confestim pater Baiocas mittens Botoni militiae suae
principi nutriendum tradidit, ut, ibi lingua eruditus Danica,
suis exterisque hominibus sciret aperte dare responsa, (Wilhelm.
Gemeticensis de Ducibus Normannis, l. iii. c. 8, p. 623, edit.
Camden.) Of the vernacular and favorite idiom of William the
Conqueror, (A.D. 1035,) Selden (Opera, tom. ii. p. 1640 - 1656)
has given a specimen, obsolete and obscure even to antiquarians
and lawyers.]

[Footnote !: A band of Normans returning from the Holy Land had
rescued the city of Salerno from the attack of a numerous fleet
of Saracens. Gainar, the Lombard prince of Salerno wished to
retain them in his service and take them into his pay. They
answered, "We fight for our religion, and not for money." Gaimar
entreated them to send some Norman knights to his court. This
seems to have been the origin of the connection of the Normans
with Italy. See Histoire des Conquetes des Normands par Goutier
d'Arc, l. i. c. i., Paris, 1830. - M.]

[Footnote 18: See Leandro Alberti (Descrizione d'Italia, p. 250)
and Baronius, (A.D. 493, No. 43.) If the archangel inherited the
temple and oracle, perhaps the cavern, of old Calchas the
soothsayer, (Strab. Geograph l. vi. p. 435, 436,) the Catholics
(on this occasion) have surpassed the Greeks in the elegance of
their superstition.]

[Footnote *: Nine out of ten perished in the field. Chronique
d'Aime, tom. i. p. 21 quoted by M Goutier d'Arc, p. 42. - M.]

[Footnote 19: See the first book of William Appulus. His words
are applicable to every swarm of Barbarians and freebooters: -

Si vicinorum quis pernitiosus ad illos

Confugiebat eum gratanter suscipiebant:

Moribus et lingua quoscumque venire videbant

Informant propria; gens efficiatur ut una.

And elsewhere, of the native adventurers of Normandy: -

Pars parat, exiguae vel opes aderant quia nullae:

Pars, quia de magnis majora subire volebant.]

[Footnote *: This account is not accurate. After the retreat of
the emperor Henry II. the Normans, united under the command of
Rainulf, had taken possession of Aversa, then a small castle in
the duchy of Naples. They had been masters of it a few years when
Pandulf IV., prince of Capua, found means to take Naples by
surprise. Sergius, master of the soldiers, and head of the
republic, with the principal citizens, abandoned a city in which
he could not behold, without horror, the establishment of a
foreign dominion he retired to Aversa; and when, with the
assistance of the Greeks and that of the citizens faithful to
their country, he had collected money enough to satisfy the
rapacity of the Norman adventurers, he advanced at their head to
attack the garrison of the prince of Capua, defeated it, and
reentered Naples. It was then that he confirmed the Normans in
the possession of Aversa and its territory, which he raised into
a count's fief, and granted the investiture to Rainulf. Hist.
des Rep. Ital. tom. i. p. 267]

Since the conquest of Sicily by the Arabs, the Grecian
emperors had been anxious to regain that valuable possession; but
their efforts, however strenuous, had been opposed by the
distance and the sea. Their costly armaments, after a gleam of
success, added new pages of calamity and disgrace to the
Byzantine annals: twenty thousand of their best troops were lost
in a single expedition; and the victorious Moslems derided the
policy of a nation which intrusted eunuchs not only with the
custody of their women, but with the command of their men ^20
After a reign of two hundred years, the Saracens were ruined by
their divisions. ^21 The emir disclaimed the authority of the
king of Tunis; the people rose against the emir; the cities were
usurped by the chiefs; each meaner rebel was independent in his
village or castle; and the weaker of two rival brothers implored
the friendship of the Christians. In every service of danger the
Normans were prompt and useful; and five hundred knights, or
warriors on horseback, were enrolled by Arduin, the agent and
interpreter of the Greeks, under the standard of Maniaces,
governor of Lombardy. Before their landing, the brothers were
reconciled; the union of Sicily and Africa was restored; and the
island was guarded to the water's edge. The Normans led the van
and the Arabs of Messina felt the valor of an untried foe. In a
second action the emir of Syracuse was unhorsed and transpierced
by the iron arm of William of Hauteville. In a third engagement,
his intrepid companions discomfited the host of sixty thousand
Saracens, and left the Greeks no more than the labor of the
pursuit: a splendid victory; but of which the pen of the
historian may divide the merit with the lance of the Normans. It
is, however, true, that they essentially promoted the success of
Maniaces, who reduced thirteen cities, and the greater part of
Sicily, under the obedience of the emperor. But his military
fame was sullied by ingratitude and tyranny. In the division of
the spoils, the deserts of his brave auxiliaries were forgotten;
and neither their avarice nor their pride could brook this
injurious treatment. They complained by the mouth of their
interpreter: their complaint was disregarded; their interpreter
was scourged; the sufferings were his; the insult and resentment
belonged to those whose sentiments he had delivered. Yet they
dissembled till they had obtained, or stolen, a safe passage to
the Italian continent: their brethren of Aversa sympathized in
their indignation, and the province of Apulia was invaded as the
forfeit of the debt. ^22 Above twenty years after the first
emigration, the Normans took the field with no more than seven
hundred horse and five hundred foot; and after the recall of the
Byzantine legions ^23 from the Sicilian war, their numbers are
magnified to the amount of threescore thousand men. Their herald
proposed the option of battle or retreat; "of battle," was the
unanimous cry of the Normans; and one of their stoutest warriors,
with a stroke of his fist, felled to the ground the horse of the
Greek messenger. He was dismissed with a fresh horse; the insult
was concealed from the Imperial troops; but in two successive
battles they were more fatally instructed of the prowess of their
adversaries. In the plains of Cannae, the Asiatics fled before
the adventurers of France; the duke of Lombardy was made
prisoner; the Apulians acquiesced in a new dominion; and the four
places of Bari, Otranto, Brundusium, and Tarentum, were alone
saved in the shipwreck of the Grecian fortunes. From this aera
we may date the establishment of the Norman power, which soon
eclipsed the infant colony of Aversa. Twelve counts ^24 were
chosen by the popular suffrage; and age, birth, and merit, were
the motives of their choice. The tributes of their peculiar
districts were appropriated to their use; and each count erected
a fortress in the midst of his lands, and at the head of his
vassals. In the centre of the province, the common habitation of
Melphi was reserved as the metropolis and citadel of the
republic; a house and separate quarter was allotted to each of
the twelve counts: and the national concerns were regulated by
this military senate. The first of his peers, their president
and general, was entitled count of Apulia; and this dignity was
conferred on William of the iron arm, who, in the language of the
age, is styled a lion in battle, a lamb in society, and an angel
in council. ^25 The manners of his countrymen are fairly
delineated by a contemporary and national historian. ^26 "The
Normans," says Malaterra, "are a cunning and revengeful people;
eloquence and dissimulation appear to be their hereditary
qualities: they can stoop to flatter; but unless they are curbed
by the restraint of law, they indulge the licentiousness of
nature and passion. Their princes affect the praises of popular
munificence; the people observe the medium, or rather blond the
extremes, of avarice and prodigality; and in their eager thirst
of wealth and dominion, they despise whatever they possess, and
hope whatever they desire. Arms and horses, the luxury of dress,
the exercises of hunting and hawking ^27 are the delight of the
Normans; but, on pressing occasions, they can endure with
incredible patience the inclemency of every climate, and the toil
and absence of a military life." ^28

[Footnote 20: Liutprand, in Legatione, p. 485. Pagi has
illustrated this event from the Ms. history of the deacon Leo,
(tom. iv. A.D. 965, No. 17 - 19.)]

[Footnote 21: See the Arabian Chronicle of Sicily, apud Muratori,
Script. Rerum Ital. tom. i. p. 253.]

[Footnote 22: Jeffrey Malaterra, who relates the Sicilian war,
and the conquest of Apulia, (l. i. c. 7, 8, 9, 19.) The same
events are described by Cedrenus (tom. ii. p. 741 - 743, 755,
756) and Zonaras, (tom. ii. p. 237, 238;) and the Greeks are so
hardened to disgrace, that their narratives are impartial

[Footnote 23: Lydia: consult Constantine de Thematibus, i. 3, 4,
with Delisle's map.]

[Footnote 24: Omnes conveniunt; et bis sex nobiliores,

Quos genus et gravitas morum decorabat et aetas,

Elegere duces. Provectis ad comitatum

His alii parent. Comitatus nomen honoris

Quo donantur erat. Hi totas undique terras

Divisere sibi, ni sors inimica repugnet;

Singula proponunt loca quae contingere sorte

Cuique duci debent, et quaeque tributa locorum.

And after speaking of Melphi, William Appulus adds,

Pro numero comitum bis sex statuere plateas,

Atque domus comitum totidem fabricantur in urbe.
Leo Ostiensis (l. ii. c. 67) enumerates the divisions of the
Apulian cities, which it is needless to repeat.]

[Footnote 25: Gulielm. Appulus, l. ii. c 12, according to the
reference of Giannone, (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. ii. p.
31,) which I cannot verify in the original. The Apulian praises
indeed his validas vires, probitas animi, and vivida virtus; and
declares that, had he lived, no poet could have equalled his
merits, (l. i. p. 258, l. ii. p. 259.) He was bewailed by the
Normans, quippe qui tanti consilii virum, (says Malaterra, l. i.
c. 12, p. 552,) tam armis strenuum, tam sibi munificum,
affabilem, morigeratum, ulterius se habere diffidebant.]

[Footnote 26: The gens astutissima, injuriarum ultrix ....
adulari sciens .... eloquentiis inserviens, of Malaterra, (l. i.
c. 3, p. 550,) are expressive of the popular and proverbial
character of the Normans.]

[Footnote 27: The hunting and hawking more properly belong to the
descendants of the Norwegian sailors; though they might import
from Norway and Iceland the finest casts of falcons.]

[Footnote 28: We may compare this portrait with that of William
of Malmsbury, (de Gestis Anglorum, l. iii. p. 101, 102,) who
appreciates, like a philosophic historian, the vices and virtues
of the Saxons and Normans. England was assuredly a gainer by the

Chapter LVI: The Saracens, The Franks And The Normans.

Part II.

The Normans of Apulia were seated on the verge of the two
empires; and, according to the policy of the hour, they accepted
the investiture of their lands, from the sovereigns of Germany or
Constantinople. But the firmest title of these adventurers was
the right of conquest: they neither loved nor trusted; they were
neither trusted nor beloved: the contempt of the princes was
mixed with fear, and the fear of the natives was mingled with
hatred and resentment. Every object of desire, a horse, a woman,
a garden, tempted and gratified the rapaciousness of the
strangers; ^29 and the avarice of their chiefs was only colored
by the more specious names of ambition and glory. The twelve
counts were sometimes joined in the league of injustice: in their
domestic quarrels they disputed the spoils of the people: the
virtues of William were buried in his grave; and Drogo, his
brother and successor, was better qualified to lead the valor,
than to restrain the violence, of his peers. Under the reign of
Constantine Monomachus, the policy, rather than benevolence, of
the Byzantine court, attempted to relieve Italy from this
adherent mischief, more grievous than a flight of Barbarians; ^30
and Argyrus, the son of Melo, was invested for this purpose with
the most lofty titles ^31 and the most ample commission. The
memory of his father might recommend him to the Normans; and he
had already engaged their voluntary service to quell the revolt
of Maniaces, and to avenge their own and the public injury. It
was the design of Constantine to transplant the warlike colony
from the Italian provinces to the Persian war; and the son of
Melo distributed among the chiefs the gold and manufactures of
Greece, as the first-fruits of the Imperial bounty. But his arts
were baffled by the sense and spirit of the conquerors of Apulia:
his gifts, or at least his proposals, were rejected; and they
unanimously refused to relinquish their possessions and their
hopes for the distant prospect of Asiatic fortune. After the
means of persuasion had failed, Argyrus resolved to compel or to
destroy: the Latin powers were solicited against the common
enemy; and an offensive alliance was formed of the pope and the
two emperors of the East and West. The throne of St. Peter was
occupied by Leo the Ninth, a simple saint, ^32 of a temper most
apt to deceive himself and the world, and whose venerable
character would consecrate with the name of piety the measures
least compatible with the practice of religion. His humanity was
affected by the complaints, perhaps the calumnies, of an injured
people: the impious Normans had interrupted the payment of
tithes; and the temporal sword might be lawfully unsheathed
against the sacrilegious robbers, who were deaf to the censures
of the church. As a German of noble birth and royal kindred, Leo
had free access to the court and confidence of the emperor Henry
the Third; and in search of arms and allies, his ardent zeal
transported him from Apulia to Saxony, from the Elbe to the
Tyber. During these hostile preparations, Argyrus indulged
himself in the use of secret and guilty weapons: a crowd of
Normans became the victims of public or private revenge; and the
valiant Drogo was murdered in a church. But his spirit survived
in his brother Humphrey, the third count of Apulia. The
assassins were chastised; and the son of Melo, overthrown and
wounded, was driven from the field, to hide his shame behind the
walls of Bari, and to await the tardy succor of his allies.

[Footnote 29: The biographer of St. Leo IX. pours his holy venom
on the Normans. Videns indisciplinatam et alienam gentem
Normannorum, crudeli et inaudita rabie, et plusquam Pagana
impietate, adversus ecclesias Dei insurgere, passim Christianos
trucidare, &c., (Wibert, c. 6.) The honest Apulian (l. ii. p.
259) says calmly of their accuser, Veris commiscens fallacia.]

[Footnote 30: The policy of the Greeks, revolt of Maniaces, &c.,
must be collected from Cedrenus, (tom. ii. p. 757, 758,) William
Appulus, (l. i. p 257, 258, l. ii. p. 259,) and the two
Chronicles of Bari, by Lupus Protospata, (Muratori, Script. Ital.
tom. v. p. 42, 43, 44,) and an anonymous writer, (Antiquitat,
Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. i. p 31 - 35.) This last is a fragment
of some value.]

[Footnote 31: Argyrus received, says the anonymous Chronicle of
Bari, Imperial letters, Foederatus et Patriciatus, et Catapani et
Vestatus. In his Annals, Muratori (tom. viii. p. 426) very
properly reads, or interprets, Sevestatus, the title of Sebastos
or Augustus. But in his Antiquities, he was taught by Ducange to
make it a palatine office, master of the wardrobe.]

[Footnote 32: A Life of St. Leo IX., deeply tinged with the
passions and prejudices of the age, has been composed by Wibert,
printed at Paris, 1615, in octavo, and since inserted in the
Collections of the Bollandists, of Mabillon, and of Muratori.
The public and private history of that pope is diligently treated
by M. de St. Marc. (Abrege, tom. ii. p. 140 - 210, and p. 25 -
95, second column.)]

But the power of Constantine was distracted by a Turkish
war; the mind of Henry was feeble and irresolute; and the pope,
instead of repassing the Alps with a German army, was accompanied
only by a guard of seven hundred Swabians and some volunteers of
Lorraine. In his long progress from Mantua to Beneventum, a vile
and promiscuous multitude of Italians was enlisted under the holy
standard: ^33 the priest and the robber slept in the same tent;
the pikes and crosses were intermingled in the front; and the
martial saint repeated the lessons of his youth in the order of
march, of encampment, and of combat. The Normans of Apulia could
muster in the field no more than three thousand horse, with a
handful of infantry: the defection of the natives intercepted
their provisions and retreat; and their spirit, incapable of
fear, was chilled for a moment by superstitious awe. On the
hostile approach of Leo, they knelt without disgrace or
reluctance before their spiritual father. But the pope was
inexorable; his lofty Germans affected to deride the diminutive
stature of their adversaries; and the Normans were informed that
death or exile was their only alternative. Flight they
disdained, and, as many of them had been three days without
tasting food, they embraced the assurance of a more easy and
honorable death. They climbed the hill of Civitella, descended
into the plain, and charged in three divisions the army of the
pope. On the left, and in the centre, Richard count of Aversa,
and Robert the famous Guiscard, attacked, broke, routed, and
pursued the Italian multitudes, who fought without discipline,
and fled without shame. A harder trial was reserved for the
valor of Count Humphrey, who led the cavalry of the right wing.
The Germans ^34 have been described as unskillful in the
management of the horse and the lance, but on foot they formed a
strong and impenetrable phalanx; and neither man, nor steed, nor
armor, could resist the weight of their long and two-handed
swords. After a severe conflict, they were encompassed by the
squadrons returning from the pursuit; and died in the ranks with
the esteem of their foes, and the satisfaction of revenge. The
gates of Civitella were shut against the flying pope, and he was
overtaken by the pious conquerors, who kissed his feet, to
implore his blessing and the absolution of their sinful victory.
The soldiers beheld in their enemy and captive the vicar of
Christ; and, though we may suppose the policy of the chiefs, it
is probable that they were infected by the popular superstition.
In the calm of retirement, the well-meaning pope deplored the
effusion of Christian blood, which must be imputed to his
account: he felt, that he had been the author of sin and scandal;
and as his undertaking had failed, the indecency of his military
character was universally condemned. ^35 With these dispositions,
he listened to the offers of a beneficial treaty; deserted an
alliance which he had preached as the cause of God; and ratified
the past and future conquests of the Normans. By whatever hands
they had been usurped, the provinces of Apulia and Calabria were
a part of the donation of Constantine and the patrimony of St.
Peter: the grant and the acceptance confirmed the mutual claims
of the pontiff and the adventurers. They promised to support
each other with spiritual and temporal arms; a tribute or
quitrent of twelve pence was afterwards stipulated for every
ploughland; and since this memorable transaction, the kingdom of
Naples has remained above seven hundred years a fief of the Holy
See. ^36

[Footnote 33: See the expedition of Leo XI. against the Normans.
See William Appulus (l. ii. p. 259 - 261) and Jeffrey Malaterra
(l. i. c. 13, 14, 15, p. 253.) They are impartial, as the
national is counterbalanced by the clerical prejudice]

[Footnote 34: Teutonici, quia caesaries et forma decoros

Fecerat egregie proceri corporis illos

Corpora derident Normannica quae breviora

Esse videbantur.

The verses of the Apulian are commonly in this strain, though he
heats himself a little in the battle. Two of his similes from
hawking and sorcery are descriptive of manners.]

[Footnote 35: Several respectable censures or complaints are
produced by M. de St. Marc, (tom. ii. p. 200 - 204.) As Peter
Damianus, the oracle of the times, has denied the popes the right
of making war, the hermit (lugens eremi incola) is arraigned by
the cardinal, and Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 1053, No. 10 -
17) most strenuously asserts the two swords of St. Peter.]

[Footnote 36: The origin and nature of the papal investitures are
ably discussed by Giannone, (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. ii.
p. 37 - 49, 57 - 66,) as a lawyer and antiquarian. Yet he vainly
strives to reconcile the duties of patriot and Catholic, adopts
an empty distinction of "Ecclesia Romana non dedit, sed accepit,"
and shrinks from an honest but dangerous confession of the

The pedigree of Robert of Guiscard ^37 is variously deduced
from the peasants and the dukes of Normandy: from the peasants,
by the pride and ignorance of a Grecian princess; ^38 from the
dukes, by the ignorance and flattery of the Italian subjects. ^39
His genuine descent may be ascribed to the second or middle order
of private nobility. ^40 He sprang from a race of valvassors or
bannerets, of the diocese of Coutances, in the Lower Normandy:
the castle of Hauteville was their honorable seat: his father
Tancred was conspicuous in the court and army of the duke; and
his military service was furnished by ten soldiers or knights.
Two marriages, of a rank not unworthy of his own, made him the
father of twelve sons, who were educated at home by the impartial
tenderness of his second wife. But a narrow patrimony was
insufficient for this numerous and daring progeny; they saw
around the neighborhood the mischiefs of poverty and discord, and
resolved to seek in foreign wars a more glorious inheritance.
Two only remained to perpetuate the race, and cherish their
father's age: their ten brothers, as they successfully attained
the vigor of manhood, departed from the castle, passed the Alps,
and joined the Apulian camp of the Normans. The elder were
prompted by native spirit; their success encouraged their younger
brethren, and the three first in seniority, William, Drogo, and
Humphrey, deserved to be the chiefs of their nation and the
founders of the new republic. Robert was the eldest of the seven
sons of the second marriage; and even the reluctant praise of his
foes has endowed him with the heroic qualities of a soldier and a
statesman. His lofty stature surpassed the tallest of his army:
his limbs were cast in the true proportion of strength and
gracefulness; and to the decline of life, he maintained the
patient vigor of health and the commanding dignity of his form.
His complexion was ruddy, his shoulders were broad, his hair and
beard were long and of a flaxen color, his eyes sparkled with
fire, and his voice, like that of Achilles, could impress
obedience and terror amidst the tumult of battle. In the ruder
ages of chivalry, such qualifications are not below the notice of
the poet or historians: they may observe that Robert, at once,
and with equal dexterity, could wield in the right hand his
sword, his lance in the left; that in the battle of Civitella he
was thrice unhorsed; and that in the close of that memorable day
he was adjudged to have borne away the prize of valor from the
warriors of the two armies. ^41 His boundless ambition was
founded on the consciousness of superior worth: in the pursuit of
greatness, he was never arrested by the scruples of justice, and
seldom moved by the feelings of humanity: though not insensible
of fame, the choice of open or clandestine means was determined
only by his present advantage. The surname of Guiscard ^42 was
applied to this master of political wisdom, which is too often
confounded with the practice of dissimulation and deceit; and
Robert is praised by the Apulian poet for excelling the cunning
of Ulysses and the eloquence of Cicero. Yet these arts were
disguised by an appearance of military frankness: in his highest
fortune, he was accessible and courteous to his fellow-soldiers;
and while he indulged the prejudices of his new subjects, he
affected in his dress and manners to maintain the ancient fashion
of his country. He grasped with a rapacious, that he might
distribute with a liberal, hand: his primitive indigence had
taught the habits of frugality; the gain of a merchant was not
below his attention; and his prisoners were tortured with slow
and unfeeling cruelty, to force a discovery of their secret
treasure. According to the Greeks, he departed from Normandy
with only five followers on horseback and thirty on foot; yet
even this allowance appears too bountiful: the sixth son of
Tancred of Hauteville passed the Alps as a pilgrim; and his first
military band was levied among the adventurers of Italy. His
brothers and countrymen had divided the fertile lands of Apulia;
but they guarded their shares with the jealousy of avarice; the
aspiring youth was driven forwards to the mountains of Calabria,
and in his first exploits against the Greeks and the natives, it
is not easy to discriminate the hero from the robber. To
surprise a castle or a convent, to ensnare a wealthy citizen, to
plunder the adjacent villages for necessary food, were the
obscure labors which formed and exercised the powers of his mind
and body. The volunteers of Normandy adhered to his standard;
and, under his command, the peasants of Calabria assumed the name
and character of Normans.

[Footnote 37: The birth, character, and first actions of Robert
Guiscard, may be found in Jeffrey Malaterra, (l. i. c. 3, 4, 11,
16, 17, 18, 38, 39, 40,) William Appulus, (l. ii. p. 260 - 262,)
William Gemeticensis, or of Jumieges, (l. xi. c. 30, p. 663, 664,
edit. Camden,) and Anna Comnena, (Alexiad, l. i. p. 23 - 27, l.
vi. p. 165, 166,) with the annotations of Ducange, (Not. in
Alexiad, p. 230 - 232, 320,) who has swept all the French and
Latin Chronicles for supplemental intelligence.]

[Footnote 38: (a Greek corruption), and elsewhere, (l. iv. p.
84,). Anna Comnena was born in the purple; yet her father was no
more than a private though illustrious subject, who raised
himself to the empire.]

[Footnote 39: Giannone, (tom. ii. p. 2) forgets all his original
authors, and rests this princely descent on the credit of
Inveges, an Augustine monk of Palermo in the last century. They
continue the succession of dukes from Rollo to William II. the
Bastard or Conqueror, whom they hold (communemente si tiene) to
be the father of Tancred of Hauteville; a most strange and
stupendous blunder! The sons of Tancred fought in Apulia, before
William II. was three years old, (A.D. 1037.)]

[Footnote 40: The judgment of Ducange is just and moderate: Certe
humilis fuit ac tenuis Roberti familia, si ducalem et regium
spectemus apicem, ad quem postea pervenit; quae honesta tamen et
praeter nobilium vulgarium statum et conditionem illustris habita
est, "quae nec humi reperet nec altum quid tumeret." (Wilhem.
Malmsbur. de Gestis Anglorum, l. iii. p. 107. Not. ad Alexiad. p.

[Footnote 41: I shall quote with pleasure some of the best lines
of the Apulian, (l. ii. p. 270.)

Pugnat utraque manu, nec lancea cassa, nec ensis

Cassus erat, quocunque manu deducere vellet.

Ter dejectus equo, ter viribus ipse resumptis

Major in arma redit: stimulos furor ipse ministrat.

Ut Leo cum frendens, &c.

- - - - - - -

Nullus in hoc bello sicuti post bella probatum est

Victor vel victus, tam magnos edidit ictus.]

[Footnote 42: The Norman writers and editors most conversant with
their own idiom interpret Guiscard or Wiscard, by Callidus, a
cunning man. The root (wise) is familiar to our ear; and in the
old word Wiseacre, I can discern something of a similar sense and
termination. It is no bad translation of the surname and
character of Robert.]

As the genius of Robert expanded with his fortune, he
awakened the jealousy of his elder brother, by whom, in a
transient quarrel, his life was threatened and his liberty
restrained. After the death of Humphrey, the tender age of his
sons excluded them from the command; they were reduced to a
private estate, by the ambition of their guardian and uncle; and
Guiscard was exalted on a buckler, and saluted count of Apulia
and general of the republic. With an increase of authority and of
force, he resumed the conquest of Calabria, and soon aspired to a
rank that should raise him forever above the heads of his equals.

By some acts of rapine or sacrilege, he had incurred a papal
excommunication; but Nicholas the Second was easily persuaded
that the divisions of friends could terminate only in their
mutual prejudice; that the Normans were the faithful champions of
the Holy See; and it was safer to trust the alliance of a prince
than the caprice of an aristocracy. A synod of one hundred
bishops was convened at Melphi; and the count interrupted an
important enterprise to guard the person and execute the decrees
of the Roman pontiff. His gratitude and policy conferred on
Robert and his posterity the ducal title, ^43 with the
investiture of Apulia, Calabria, and all the lands, both in Italy
and Sicily, which his sword could rescue from the schismatic
Greeks and the unbelieving Saracens. ^44 This apostolic sanction
might justify his arms; but the obedience of a free and
victorious people could not be transferred without their consent;
and Guiscard dissembled his elevation till the ensuing campaign
had been illustrated by the conquest of Consenza and Reggio. In
the hour of triumph, he assembled his troops, and solicited the
Normans to confirm by their suffrage the judgment of the vicar of
Christ: the soldiers hailed with joyful acclamations their
valiant duke; and the counts, his former equals, pronounced the
oath of fidelity with hollow smiles and secret indignation.
After this inauguration, Robert styled himself, "By the grace of
God and St. Peter, duke of Apulia, Calabria, and hereafter of
Sicily;" and it was the labor of twenty years to deserve and
realize these lofty appellations. Such sardy progress, in a
narrow space, may seem unworthy of the abilities of the chief and
the spirit of the nation; but the Normans were few in number;
their resources were scanty; their service was voluntary and
precarious. The bravest designs of the duke were sometimes
opposed by the free voice of his parliament of barons: the twelve
counts of popular election conspired against his authority; and
against their perfidious uncle, the sons of Humphrey demanded
justice and revenge. By his policy and vigor, Guiscard
discovered their plots, suppressed their rebellions, and punished
the guilty with death or exile: but in these domestic feuds, his
years, and the national strength, were unprofitably consumed.
After the defeat of his foreign enemies, the Greeks, Lombards,
and Saracens, their broken forces retreated to the strong and
populous cities of the sea-coast. They excelled in the arts of
fortification and defence; the Normans were accustomed to serve
on horseback in the field, and their rude attempts could only
succeed by the efforts of persevering courage. The resistance of
Salerno was maintained above eight months; the siege or blockade
of Bari lasted near four years. In these actions the Norman duke
was the foremost in every danger; in every fatigue the last and
most patient. As he pressed the citadel of Salerno, a huge stone
from the rampart shattered one of his military engines; and by a
splinter he was wounded in the breast. Before the gates of Bari,
he lodged in a miserable hut or barrack, composed of dry
branches, and thatched with straw; a perilous station, on all
sides open to the inclemency of the winter and the spears of the
enemy. ^45

[Footnote 43: The acquisition of the ducal title by Robert
Guiscard is a nice and obscure business. With the good advice of
Giannone, Muratori, and St. Marc, I have endeavored to form a
consistent and probable narrative.]

[Footnote 44: Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 1059, No. 69) has
published the original act. He professes to have copied it from
the Liber Censuum, a Vatican Ms. Yet a Liber Censuum of the
xiith century has been printed by Muratori, (Antiquit. Medii
Aevi, tom. v. p. 851 - 908;) and the names of Vatican and
Cardinal awaken the suspicions of a Protestant, and even of a

[Footnote 45: Read the life of Guiscard in the second and third
books of the Apulian, the first and second books of Malaterra.]

The Italian conquests of Robert correspond with the limits
of the present kingdom of Naples; and the countries united by his
arms have not been dissevered by the revolutions of seven hundred
years. ^46 The monarchy has been composed of the Greek provinces
of Calabria and Apulia, of the Lombard principality of Salerno,
the republic of Amalphi, and the inland dependencies of the large
and ancient duchy of Beneventum. Three districts only were
exempted from the common law of subjection; the first forever,
the two last till the middle of the succeeding century. The city
and immediate territory of Benevento had been transferred, by
gift or exchange, from the German emperor to the Roman pontiff;
and although this holy land was sometimes invaded, the name of
St. Peter was finally more potent than the sword of the Normans.
Their first colony of Aversa subdued and held the state of Capua;
and her princes were reduced to beg their bread before the palace
of their fathers. The dukes of Naples, the present metropolis,
maintained the popular freedom, under the shadow of the Byzantine
empire. Among the new acquisitions of Guiscard, the science of
Salerno, ^47 and the trade of Amalphi, ^48 may detain for a
moment the curiosity of the reader. I. Of the learned faculties,
jurisprudence implies the previous establishment of laws and
property; and theology may perhaps be superseded by the full
light of religion and reason. But the savage and the sage must
alike implore the assistance of physic; and, if our diseases are
inflamed by luxury, the mischiefs of blows and wounds would be
more frequent in the ruder ages of society. The treasures of
Grecian medicine had been communicated to the Arabian colonies of
Africa, Spain, and Sicily; and in the intercourse of peace and
war, a spark of knowledge had been kindled and cherished at
Salerno, an illustrious city, in which the men were honest and
the women beautiful. ^49 A school, the first that arose in the
darkness of Europe, was consecrated to the healing art: the
conscience of monks and bishops was reconciled to that salutary
and lucrative profession; and a crowd of patients, of the most
eminent rank, and most distant climates, invited or visited the
physicians of Salerno. They were protected by the Norman
conquerors; and Guiscard, though bred in arms, could discern the
merit and value of a philosopher. After a pilgrimage of
thirty-nine years, Constantine, an African Christian, returned
from Bagdad, a master of the language and learning of the
Arabians; and Salerno was enriched by the practice, the lessons,
and the writings of the pupil of Avicenna. The school of
medicine has long slept in the name of a university; but her
precepts are abridged in a string of aphorisms, bound together in
the Leonine verses, or Latin rhymes, of the twelfth century. ^50
II. Seven miles to the west of Salerno, and thirty to the south
of Naples, the obscure town of Amalphi displayed the power and
rewards of industry. The land, however fertile, was of narrow
extent; but the sea was accessible and open: the inhabitants
first assumed the office of supplying the western world with the
manufactures and productions of the East; and this useful traffic
was the source of their opulence and freedom. The government was
popular, under the administration of a duke and the supremacy of
the Greek emperor. Fifty thousand citizens were numbered in the
walls of Amalphi; nor was any city more abundantly provided with
gold, silver, and the objects of precious luxury. The mariners
who swarmed in her port, excelled in the theory and practice of
navigation and astronomy: and the discovery of the compass, which
has opened the globe, is owing to their ingenuity or good
fortune. Their trade was extended to the coasts, or at least to
the commodities, of Africa, Arabia, and India: and their
settlements in Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and
Alexandria, acquired the privileges of independent colonies. ^51
After three hundred years of prosperity, Amalphi was oppressed by
the arms of the Normans, and sacked by the jealousy of Pisa; but
the poverty of one thousand ^* fisherman is yet dignified by the
remains of an arsenal, a cathedral, and the palaces of royal

[Footnote 46: The conquests of Robert Guiscard and Roger I., the
exemption of Benevento and the xii provinces of the kingdom, are
fairly exposed by Giannone in the second volume of his Istoria
Civile, l. ix. x. xi and l. xvii. p. 460 - 470. This modern
division was not established before the time of Frederic II.]

[Footnote 47: Giannone, (tom. ii. p. 119 - 127,) Muratori,
(Antiquitat. Medii Aevi, tom. iii. dissert. xliv. p. 935, 936,)
and Tiraboschi, (Istoria della Letteratura Italiana,) have given
an historical account of these physicians; their medical
knowledge and practice must be left to our physicians.]

[Footnote 48: At the end of the Historia Pandectarum of Henry
Brenckmann, (Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1722, in 4to.,) the
indefatigable author has inserted two dissertations, de Republica
Amalphitana, and de Amalphi a Pisanis direpta, which are built on
the testimonies of one hundred and forty writers. Yet he has
forgotten two most important passages of the embassy of
Liutprand, (A.D. 939,) which compare the trade and navigation of
Amalphi with that of Venice.]

[Footnote 49: Urbs Latii non est hac delitiosior urbe,

Frugibus, arboribus, vinoque redundat; et unde

Non tibi poma, nuces, non pulchra palatia desunt,

Non species muliebris abest probitasque virorum.

Gulielmus Appulus, l. iii. p. 367]

[Footnote 50: Muratori carries their antiquity above the year
(1066) of the death of Edward the Confessor, the rex Anglorum to
whom they are addressed. Nor is this date affected by the
opinion, or rather mistake, of Pasquier (Recherches de la France,
l. vii. c. 2) and Ducange, (Glossar. Latin.) The practice of
rhyming, as early as the viith century, was borrowed from the
languages of the North and East, (Muratori, Antiquitat. tom. iii.
dissert. xl. p. 686 - 708.)]

[Footnote 51: The description of Amalphi, by William the Apulian,
(l. iii. p. 267,) contains much truth and some poetry, and the
third line may be applied to the sailor's compass: -

Nulla magis locuples argento, vestibus, auro

Partibus innumeris: hac plurimus urbe moratur

Nauta maris Caelique vias aperire peritus.

Huc et Alexandri diversa feruntur ab urbe

Regis, et Antiochi. Gens haec freta plurima transit.

His Arabes, Indi, Siculi nascuntur et Afri.

Haec gens est totum proore nobilitata per orbem,

Et mercando forens, et amans mercata referre.]

[Footnote *: Amalfi had only one thousand inhabitants at the
commencement of the 18th century, when it was visited by
Brenckmann, (Brenckmann de Rep. Amalph. Diss. i. c. 23.) At
present it has six or eight thousand Hist. des Rep. tom. i. p.
304. - G.]

Chapter LVI: The Saracens, The Franks And The Normans.

Part III.

Roger, the twelfth and last of the sons of Tancred, had been
long detained in Normandy by his own and his father' age. He
accepted the welcome summons; hastened to the Apulian camp; and
deserved at first the esteem, and afterwards the envy, of his
elder brother. Their valor and ambition were equal; but the
youth, the beauty, the elegant manners, of Roger engaged the
disinterested love of the soldiers and people. So scanty was his
allowance for himself and forty followers, that he descended from
conquest to robbery, and from robbery to domestic theft; and so
loose were the notions of property, that, by his own historian,
at his special command, he is accused of stealing horses from a
stable at Melphi. ^52 His spirit emerged from poverty and
disgrace: from these base practices he rose to the merit and
glory of a holy war; and the invasion of Sicily was seconded by
the zeal and policy of his brother Guiscard. After the retreat
of the Greeks, the idolaters, a most audacious reproach of the
Catholics, had retrieved their losses and possessions; but the
deliverance of the island, so vainly undertaken by the forces of
the Eastern empire, was achieved by a small and private band of
adventurers. ^53 In the first attempt, Roger braved, in an open
boat, the real and fabulous dangers of Scylla and Charybdis;
landed with only sixty soldiers on a hostile shore; drove the
Saracens to the gates of Messina and safely returned with the
spoils of the adjacent country. In the fortress of Trani, his
active and patient courage were equally conspicuous. In his old
age he related with pleasure, that, by the distress of the siege,
himself, and the countess his wife, had been reduced to a single
cloak or mantle, which they wore alternately; that in a sally his
horse had been slain, and he was dragged away by the Saracens;
but that he owed his rescue to his good sword, and had retreated
with his saddle on his back, lest the meanest trophy might be
left in the hands of the miscreants. In the siege of Trani,
three hundred Normans withstood and repulsed the forces of the
island. In the field of Ceramio, fifty thousand horse and foot
were overthrown by one hundred and thirty-six Christian soldiers,
without reckoning St. George, who fought on horseback in the
foremost ranks. The captive banners, with four camels, were
reserved for the successor of St. Peter; and had these barbaric
spoils been exposed, not in the Vatican, but in the Capitol, they
might have revived the memory of the Punic triumphs. These
insufficient numbers of the Normans most probably denote their
knights, the soldiers of honorable and equestrian rank, each of
whom was attended by five or six followers in the field; ^54 yet,
with the aid of this interpretation, and after every fair
allowance on the side of valor, arms, and reputation, the
discomfiture of so many myriads will reduce the prudent reader to
the alternative of a miracle or a fable. The Arabs of Sicily
derived a frequent and powerful succor from their countrymen of
Africa: in the siege of Palermo, the Norman cavalry was assisted
by the galleys of Pisa; and, in the hour of action, the envy of
the two brothers was sublimed to a generous and invincible
emulation. After a war of thirty years, ^55 Roger, with the
title of great count, obtained the sovereignty of the largest and
most fruitful island of the Mediterranean; and his administration
displays a liberal and enlightened mind, above the limits of his
age and education. The Moslems were maintained in the free
enjoyment of their religion and property: ^56 a philosopher and
physician of Mazara, of the race of Mahomet, harangued the
conqueror, and was invited to court; his geography of the seven
climates was translated into Latin; and Roger, after a diligent
perusal, preferred the work of the Arabian to the writings of the
Grecian Ptolemy. ^57 A remnant of Christian natives had promoted
the success of the Normans: they were rewarded by the triumph of
the cross. The island was restored to the jurisdiction of the
Roman pontiff; new bishops were planted in the principal cities;
and the clergy was satisfied by a liberal endowment of churches
and monasteries. Yet the Catholic hero asserted the rights of
the civil magistrate. Instead of resigning the investiture of
benefices, he dexterously applied to his own profit the papal
claims: the supremacy of the crown was secured and enlarged, by
the singular bull, which declares the princes of Sicily
hereditary and perpetual legates of the Holy See. ^58

[Footnote 52: Latrocinio armigerorum suorum in multis
sustentabatur, quod quidem ad ejus ignominiam non dicimus; sed
ipso ita praecipiente adhuc viliora et reprehensibiliora dicturi
sumus ut pluribus patescat, quam laboriose et cum quanta angustia
a profunda paupertate ad summum culmen divitiarum vel honoris
attigerit. Such is the preface of Malaterra (l. i. c. 25) to the
horse-stealing. From the moment (l. i. c. 19) that he has
mentioned his patron Roger, the elder brother sinks into the
second character. Something similar in Velleius Paterculus may
be observed of Augustus and Tiberius.]

[Footnote 53: Duo sibi proficua deputans animae scilicet et
corporis si terran: Idolis deditam ad cultum divinum revocaret,
(Galfrid Malaterra, l. ii. c. 1.) The conquest of Sicily is
related in the three last books, and he himself has given an
accurate summary of the chapters, (p. 544 - 546.)]

[Footnote 54: See the word Milites in the Latin Glossary of

[Footnote 55: Of odd particulars, I learn from Malaterra, that
the Arabs had introduced into Sicily the use of camels (l. i. c.
33) and of carrier- pigeons, (c. 42;) and that the bite of the
tarantula provokes a windy disposition, quae per anum inhoneste
crepitando emergit; a symptom most ridiculously felt by the whole
Norman army in their camp near Palermo, (c. 36.) I shall add an
etymology not unworthy of the xith century: Messana is divided
from Messis, the place from whence the harvests of the isle were
sent in tribute to Rome, (l. ii. c. 1.)]

[Footnote 56: See the capitulation of Palermo in Malaterra, l.
ii. c. 45, and Giannone, who remarks the general toleration of
the Saracens, (tom ii. p. 72.)]

[Footnote 57: John Leo Afer, de Medicis et Philosophus Arabibus,
c. 14, apud Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. xiii. p. 278, 279. This
philosopher is named Esseriph Essachalli, and he died in Africa,
A. H. 516, A.D. 1122. Yet this story bears a strange resemblance
to the Sherif al Edrissi, who presented his book (Geographia
Nubiensis, see preface p. 88, 90, 170) to Roger, king of Sicily,
A. H. 541, A.D. 1153, (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p.
786. Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 188. Petit de la Croix,
Hist. de Gengiscan, p. 535, 536. Casiri, Bibliot. Arab. Hispan.
tom. ii. p. 9 - 13;) and I am afraid of some mistake.]

[Footnote 58: Malaterra remarks the foundation of the bishoprics,
(l. iv. c. 7,) and produces the original of the bull, (l. iv. c.
29.) Giannone gives a rational idea of this privilege, and the
tribunal of the monarchy of Sicily, (tom. ii. p. 95 - 102;) and
St. Marc (Abrege, tom. iii. p. 217 - 301, 1st column) labors the
case with the diligence of a Sicilian lawyer.]

To Robert Guiscard, the conquest of Sicily was more glorious
than beneficial: the possession of Apulia and Calabria was
inadequate to his ambition; and he resolved to embrace or create
the first occasion of invading, perhaps of subduing, the Roman
empire of the East. ^59 From his first wife, the partner of his
humble fortune, he had been divorced under the pretence of
consanguinity; and her son Bohemond was destined to imitate,
rather than to succeed, his illustrious father. The second wife
of Guiscard was the daughter of the princes of Salerno; the
Lombards acquiesced in the lineal succession of their son Roger;
their five daughters were given in honorable nuptials, ^60 and
one of them was betrothed, in a tender age, to Constantine, a
beautiful youth, the son and heir of the emperor Michael. ^61 But
the throne of Constantinople was shaken by a revolution: the
Imperial family of Ducas was confined to the palace or the
cloister; and Robert deplored, and resented, the disgrace of his
daughter and the expulsion of his ally. A Greek, who styled
himself the father of Constantine, soon appeared at Salerno, and
related the adventures of his fall and flight. That unfortunate
friend was acknowledged by the duke, and adorned with the pomp
and titles of Imperial dignity: in his triumphal progress through
Apulia and Calabria, Michael ^62 was saluted with the tears and
acclamations of the people; and Pope Gregory the Seventh exhorted
the bishops to preach, and the Catholics to fight, in the pious
work of his restoration. His conversations with Robert were
frequent and familiar; and their mutual promises were justified
by the valor of the Normans and the treasures of the East. Yet
this Michael, by the confession of the Greeks and Latins, was a
pageant and an impostor; a monk who had fled from his convent, or
a domestic who had served in the palace. The fraud had been
contrived by the subtle Guiscard; and he trusted, that after this
pretender had given a decent color to his arms, he would sink, at
the nod of the conqueror, into his primitive obscurity. But
victory was the only argument that could determine the belief of
the Greeks; and the ardor of the Latins was much inferior to
their credulity: the Norman veterans wished to enjoy the harvest
of their toils, and the unwarlike Italians trembled at the known
and unknown dangers of a transmarine expedition. In his new
levies, Robert exerted the influence of gifts and promises, the
terrors of civil and ecclesiastical authority; and some acts of
violence might justify the reproach, that age and infancy were
pressed without distinction into the service of their unrelenting
prince. After two years' incessant preparations the land and
naval forces were assembled at Otranto, at the heel, or extreme
promontory, of Italy; and Robert was accompanied by his wife, who
fought by his side, his son Bohemond, and the representative of
the emperor Michael. Thirteen hundred knights ^63 of Norman race
or discipline, formed the sinews of the army, which might be
swelled to thirty thousand ^64 followers of every denomination.
The men, the horses, the arms, the engines, the wooden towers,
covered with raw hides, were embarked on board one hundred and
fifty vessels: the transports had been built in the ports of
Italy, and the galleys were supplied by the alliance of the
republic of Ragusa.

[Footnote 59: In the first expedition of Robert against the
Greeks, I follow Anna Comnena, (the ist, iiid, ivth, and vth
books of the Alexiad,) William Appulus, (l. ivth and vth, p.
270-275,) and Jeffrey Malaterra, (l. iii. c. 13, 14, 24 - 29,
39.) Their information is contemporary and authentic, but none of
them were eye-witnesses of the war.]

[Footnote 60: One of them was married to Hugh, the son of Azzo,
or Axo, a marquis of Lombardy, rich, powerful, and noble,
(Gulielm. Appul. l. iii. p. 267,) in the xith century, and whose
ancestors in the xth and ixth are explored by the critical
industry of Leibnitz and Muratori. From the two elder sons of
the marquis Azzo are derived the illustrious lines of Brunswick
and Este. See Muratori, Antichita Estense.]

[Footnote 61: Anna Comnena, somewhat too wantonly, praises and
bewails that handsome boy, who, after the rupture of his barbaric
nuptials, (l. i. p. 23,) was betrothed as her husband. (p. 27.)
Elsewhere she describes the red and white of his skin, his hawk's
eyes, &c., l. iii. p. 71.]

[Footnote 62: Anna Comnena, l. i. p. 28, 29. Gulielm. Appul. l.
iv p. 271. Galfrid Malaterra, l. iii. c. 13, p. 579, 580.
Malaterra is more cautious in his style; but the Apulian is bold
and positive. - Mentitus se Michaelem Venerata Danais quidam
seductor ad illum.

As Gregory VII had believed, Baronius almost alone, recognizes
the emperor Michael. (A.D. No. 44.)]

[Footnote 63: Ipse armatae militiae non plusquam MCCC milites
secum habuisse, ab eis qui eidem negotio interfuerunt attestatur,
(Malaterra, l. iii. c. 24, p. 583.) These are the same whom the
Apulian (l. iv. p. 273) styles the equestris gens ducis, equites
de gente ducis.]

[Footnote 64: Anna Comnena (Alexias, l. i. p. 37;) and her
account tallies with the number and lading of the ships. Ivit in
Dyrrachium cum xv. millibus hominum, says the Chronicon Breve
Normannicum, (Muratori, Scriptores, tom. v. p. 278.) I have
endeavored to reconcile these reckonings.]

At the mouth of the Adriatic Gulf, the shores of Italy and
Epirus incline towards each other. The space between Brundusium
and Durazzo, the Roman passage, is no more than one hundred
miles; ^65 at the last station of Otranto, it is contracted to
fifty; ^66 and this narrow distance had suggested to Pyrrhus and
Pompey the sublime or extravagant idea of a bridge. Before the
general embarkation, the Norman duke despatched Bohemond with
fifteen galleys to seize or threaten the Isle of Corfu, to survey
the opposite coast, and to secure a harbor in the neighborhood of
Vallona for the landing of the troops. They passed and landed
without perceiving an enemy; and this successful experiment
displayed the neglect and decay of the naval power of the Greeks.
The islands of Epirus and the maritime towns were subdued by the
arms or the name of Robert, who led his fleet and army from Corfu
(I use the modern appellation) to the siege of Durazzo. That
city, the western key of the empire, was guarded by ancient
renown, and recent fortifications, by George Palaeologus, a
patrician, victorious in the Oriental wars, and a numerous
garrison of Albanians and Macedonians, who, in every age, have
maintained the character of soldiers. In the prosecution of his
enterprise, the courage of Guiscard was assailed by every form of
danger and mischance. In the most propitious season of the year,
as his fleet passed along the coast, a storm of wind and snow
unexpectedly arose: the Adriatic was swelled by the raging blast
of the south, and a new shipwreck confirmed the old infamy of the
Acroceraunian rocks. ^67 The sails, the masts, and the oars, were
shattered or torn away; the sea and shore were covered with the
fragments of vessels, with arms and dead bodies; and the greatest
part of the provisions were either drowned or damaged. The ducal
galley was laboriously rescued from the waves, and Robert halted
seven days on the adjacent cape, to collect the relics of his
loss, and revive the drooping spirits of his soldiers. The
Normans were no longer the bold and experienced mariners who had
explored the ocean from Greenland to Mount Atlas, and who smiled
at the petty dangers of the Mediterranean. They had wept during
the tempest; they were alarmed by the hostile approach of the
Venetians, who had been solicited by the prayers and promises of
the Byzantine court. The first day's action was not
disadvantageous to Bohemond, a beardless youth, ^68 who led the
naval powers of his father. All night the galleys of the
republic lay on their anchors in the form of a crescent; and the
victory of the second day was decided by the dexterity of their
evolutions, the station of their archers, the weight of their
javelins, and the borrowed aid of the Greek fire. The Apulian
and Ragusian vessels fled to the shore, several were cut from
their cables, and dragged away by the conqueror; and a sally from
the town carried slaughter and dismay to the tents of the Norman
duke. A seasonable relief was poured into Durazzo, and as soon
as the besiegers had lost the command of the sea, the islands and
maritime towns withdrew from the camp the supply of tribute and
provision. That camp was soon afflicted with a pestilential
disease; five hundred knights perished by an inglorious death;
and the list of burials (if all could obtain a decent burial)
amounted to ten thousand persons. Under these calamities, the
mind of Guiscard alone was firm and invincible; and while he
collected new forces from Apulia and Sicily, he battered, or
scaled, or sapped, the walls of Durazzo. But his industry and
valor were encountered by equal valor and more perfect industry.
A movable turret, of a size and capacity to contain five hundred
soldiers, had been rolled forwards to the foot of the rampart:
but the descent of the door or drawbridge was checked by an
enormous beam, and the wooden structure was constantly consumed
by artificial flames.

[Footnote 65: The Itinerary of Jerusalem (p. 609, edit.
Wesseling) gives a true and reasonable space of a thousand stadia
or one hundred miles which is strangely doubled by Strabo (l. vi.
p. 433) and Pliny, (Hist. Natur. iii. 16.)]

[Footnote 66: Pliny (Hist. Nat. iii. 6, 16) allows quinquaginta
millia for this brevissimus cursus, and agrees with the real
distance from Otranto to La Vallona, or Aulon, (D'Anville,
Analyse de sa Carte des Cotes de la Grece, &c., p. 3 - 6.)
Hermolaus Barbarus, who substitutes centum. (Harduin, Not. lxvi.
in Plin. l. iii.,) might have been corrected by every Venetian
pilot who had sailed out of the gulf.]

[Footnote 67: Infames scopulos Acroceraunia, Horat. carm. i. 3.
The praecipitem Africum decertantem Aquilonibus, et rabiem Noti
and the monstra natantia of the Adriatic, are somewhat enlarged;
but Horace trembling for the life of Virgil, is an interesting
moment in the history of poetry and friendship.]

[Footnote 68: (Alexias, l. iv. p. 106.) Yet the Normans shaved,
and the Venetians wore, their beards: they must have derided the
no beard of Bohemond; a harsh interpretation. (Duncanga ad
Alexiad. p. 283.)]

While the Roman empire was attacked by the Turks in the
East, east, and the Normans in the West, the aged successor of
Michael surrendered the sceptre to the hands of Alexius, an
illustrious captain, and the founder of the Comnenian dynasty.
The princess Anne, his daughter and historian, observes, in her
affected style, that even Hercules was unequal to a double
combat; and, on this principle, she approves a hasty peace with
the Turks, which allowed her father to undertake in person the
relief of Durazzo. On his accession, Alexius found the camp
without soldiers, and the treasury without money; yet such were
the vigor and activity of his measures, that in six months he
assembled an army of seventy thousand men, ^69 and performed a
march of five hundred miles. His troops were levied in Europe
and Asia, from Peloponnesus to the Black Sea; his majesty was
displayed in the silver arms and rich trappings of the companies
of Horse-guards; and the emperor was attended by a train of
nobles and princes, some of whom, in rapid succession, had been
clothed with the purple, and were indulged by the lenity of the
times in a life of affluence and dignity. Their youthful ardor
might animate the multitude; but their love of pleasure and
contempt of subordination were pregnant with disorder and
mischief; and their importunate clamors for speedy and decisive
action disconcerted the prudence of Alexius, who might have
surrounded and starved the besieging army. The enumeration of
provinces recalls a sad comparison of the past and present limits
of the Roman world: the raw levies were drawn together in haste
and terror; and the garrisons of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, had
been purchased by the evacuation of the cities which were
immediately occupied by the Turks. The strength of the Greek
army consisted in the Varangians, the Scandinavian guards, whose
numbers were recently augmented by a colony of exiles and
volunteers from the British Island of Thule. Under the yoke of
the Norman conqueror, the Danes and English were oppressed and
united; a band of adventurous youths resolved to desert a land of
slavery; the sea was open to their escape; and, in their long
pilgrimage, they visited every coast that afforded any hope of
liberty and revenge. They were entertained in the service of the
Greek emperor; and their first station was in a new city on the
Asiatic shore: but Alexius soon recalled them to the defence of
his person and palace; and bequeathed to his successors the
inheritance of their faith and valor. ^70 The name of a Norman
invader revived the memory of their wrongs: they marched with
alacrity against the national foe, and panted to regain in Epirus
the glory which they had lost in the battle of Hastings. The
Varangians were supported by some companies of Franks or Latins;
and the rebels, who had fled to Constantinople from the tyranny
of Guiscard, were eager to signalize their zeal and gratify their
revenge. In this emergency, the emperor had not disdained the
impure aid of the Paulicians or Manichaeans of Thrace and
Bulgaria; and these heretics united with the patience of
martyrdom the spirit and discipline of active valor. ^71 The
treaty with the sultan had procured a supply of some thousand
Turks; and the arrows of the Scythian horse were opposed to the
lances of the Norman cavalry. On the report and distant prospect
of these formidable numbers, Robert assembled a council of his
principal officers. "You behold," said he, "your danger: it is
urgent and inevitable. The hills are covered with arms and
standards; and the emperor of the Greeks is accustomed to wars
and triumphs. Obedience and union are our only safety; and I am
ready to yield the command to a more worthy leader." The vote and
acclamation even of his secret enemies, assured him, in that
perilous moment, of their esteem and confidence; and the duke
thus continued: "Let us trust in the rewards of victory, and
deprive cowardice of the means of escape. Let us burn our
vessels and our baggage, and give battle on this spot, as if it
were the place of our nativity and our burial." The resolution
was unanimously approved; and, without confining himself to his
lines, Guiscard awaited in battle-array the nearer approach of
the enemy. His rear was covered by a small river; his right wing
extended to the sea; his left to the hills: nor was he conscious,
perhaps, that on the same ground Caesar and Pompey had formerly
disputed the empire of the world. ^72

[Footnote 69: Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. ix. p. 136, 137)
observes, that some authors (Petrus Diacon. Chron. Casinen. l.
iii. c. 49) compose the Greek army of 170,000 men, but that the
hundred may be struck off, and that Malaterra reckons only
70,000; a slight inattention. The passage to which he alludes is
in the Chronicle of Lupus Protospata, (Script. Ital. tom. v. p.
45.) Malaterra (l. iv. c. 27) speaks in high, but indefinite
terms of the emperor, cum copiisinnumerabilbus: like the Apulian
poet, (l. iv. p. 272: ) -

More locustarum montes et pianna teguntur.]

[Footnote 70: See William of Malmsbury, de Gestis Anglorum, l.
ii. p. 92. Alexius fidem Anglorum suspiciens praecipuis
familiaritatibus suis eos applicabat, amorem eorum filio
transcribens. Odericus Vitalis (Hist. Eccles. l. iv. p. 508, l.
vii. p. 641) relates their emigration from England, and their
service in Greece.]

[Footnote 71: See the Apulian, (l. i. p. 256.) The character and
the story of these Manichaeans has been the subject of the livth

[Footnote 72: See the simple and masterly narrative of Caesar
himself, (Comment. de Bell. Civil. iii. 41 - 75.) It is a pity
that Quintus Icilius (M. Guichard) did not live to analyze these
operations, as he has done the campaigns of Africa and Spain.]

Against the advice of his wisest captains, Alexius resolved
to risk the event of a general action, and exhorted the garrison
of Durazzo to assist their own deliverance by a well-timed sally
from the town. He marched in two columns to surprise the Normans
before daybreak on two different sides: his light cavalry was
scattered over the plain; the archers formed the second line; and
the Varangians claimed the honors of the vanguard. In the first
onset, the battle-axes of the strangers made a deep and bloody
impression on the army of Guiscard, which was now reduced to
fifteen thousand men. The Lombards and Calabrians ignominiously
turned their backs; they fled towards the river and the sea; but
the bridge had been broken down to check the sally of the
garrison, and the coast was lined with the Venetian galleys, who
played their engines among the disorderly throng. On the verge
of ruin, they were saved by the spirit and conduct of their
chiefs. Gaita, the wife of Robert, is painted by the Greeks as a
warlike Amazon, a second Pallas; less skilful in arts, but not
less terrible in arms, than the Athenian goddess: ^73 though
wounded by an arrow, she stood her ground, and strove, by her
exhortation and example, to rally the flying troops. ^74 Her
female voice was seconded by the more powerful voice and arm of
the Norman duke, as calm in action as he was magnanimous in
council: "Whither," he cried aloud, "whither do ye fly? Your
enemy is implacable; and death is less grievous than servitude."
The moment was decisive: as the Varangians advanced before the
line, they discovered the nakedness of their flanks: the main
battle of the duke, of eight hundred knights, stood firm and
entire; they couched their lances, and the Greeks deplore the
furious and irresistible shock of the French cavalry. ^75 Alexius
was not deficient in the duties of a soldier or a general; but he
no sooner beheld the slaughter of the Varangians, and the flight
of the Turks, than he despised his subjects, and despaired of his
fortune. The princess Anne, who drops a tear on this melancholy
event, is reduced to praise the strength and swiftness of her
father's horse, and his vigorous struggle when he was almost
overthrown by the stroke of a lance, which had shivered the
Imperial helmet. His desperate valor broke through a squadron of
Franks who opposed his flight; and after wandering two days and
as many nights in the mountains, he found some repose, of body,
though not of mind, in the walls of Lychnidus. The victorious
Robert reproached the tardy and feeble pursuit which had suffered
the escape of so illustrious a prize: but he consoled his
disappointment by the trophies and standards of the field, the
wealth and luxury of the Byzantine camp, and the glory of
defeating an army five times more numerous than his own. A
multitude of Italians had been the victims of their own fears;
but only thirty of his knights were slain in this memorable day.
In the Roman host, the loss of Greeks, Turks, and English,
amounted to five or six thousand: ^76 the plain of Durazzo was
stained with noble and royal blood; and the end of the impostor
Michael was more honorable than his life.

[Footnote 73: It is very properly translated by the President
Cousin, (Hist. de Constantinople, tom. iv. p. 131, in 12mo.,) qui
combattoit comme une Pallas, quoiqu'elle ne fut pas aussi savante
que celle d'Athenes. The Grecian goddess was composed of two
discordant characters, of Neith, the workwoman of Sais in Egypt,
and of a virgin Amazon of the Tritonian lake in Libya, (Banier,
Mythologie, tom. iv. p. 1 - 31, in 12mo.)]

[Footnote 74: Anna Comnena (l. iv. p. 116) admires, with some
degree of terror, her masculine virtues. They were more familiar
to the Latins and though the Apulian (l. iv. p. 273) mentions her
presence and her wound, he represents her as far less intrepid.

Uxor in hoc bello Roberti forte sagitta

Quadam laesa fuit: quo vulnere territa nullam.

Dum sperabat opem, se poene subegerat hosti.

The last is an unlucky word for a female prisoner.]

[Footnote 75: (Anna, l. v. p. 133;) and elsewhere, (p. 140.) The
pedantry of the princess in the choice of classic appellations
encouraged Ducange to apply to his countrymen the characters of
the ancient Gauls.]

[Footnote 76: Lupus Protospata (tom. iii. p. 45) says 6000:
William the Apulian more than 5000, (l. iv. p. 273.) Their
modesty is singular and laudable: they might with so little
trouble have slain two or three myriads of schismatics and

It is more than probable that Guiscard was not afflicted by
the loss of a costly pageant, which had merited only the contempt
and derision of the Greeks. After their defeat, they still
persevered in the defence of Durazzo; and a Venetian commander
supplied the place of George Palaeologus, who had been
imprudently called away from his station. The tents of the
besiegers were converted into barracks, to sustain the inclemency
of the winter; and in answer to the defiance of the garrison,
Robert insinuated, that his patience was at least equal to their
obstinacy. ^77 Perhaps he already trusted to his secret
correspondence with a Venetian noble, who sold the city for a
rich and honorable marriage. At the dead of night, several
rope-ladders were dropped from the walls; the light Calabrians
ascended in silence; and the Greeks were awakened by the name and
trumpets of the conqueror. Yet they defended the streets three
days against an enemy already master of the rampart; and near
seven months elapsed between the first investment and the final
surrender of the place. From Durazzo, the Norman duke advanced
into the heart of Epirus or Albania; traversed the first
mountains of Thessaly; surprised three hundred English in the
city of Castoria; approached Thessalonica; and made
Constantinople tremble. A more pressing duty suspended the
prosecution of his ambitious designs. By shipwreck, pestilence,
and the sword, his army was reduced to a third of the original
numbers; and instead of being recruited from Italy, he was
informed, by plaintive epistles, of the mischiefs and dangers
which had been produced by his absence: the revolt of the cities
and barons of Apulia; the distress of the pope; and the approach
or invasion of Henry king of Germany. Highly presuming that his
person was sufficient for the public safety, he repassed the sea
in a single brigantine, and left the remains of the army under
the command of his son and the Norman counts, exhorting Bohemond
to respect the freedom of his peers, and the counts to obey the
authority of their leader. The son of Guiscard trod in the
footsteps of his father; and the two destroyers are compared, by
the Greeks, to the caterpillar and the locust, the last of whom
devours whatever has escaped the teeth of the former. ^78 After
winning two battles against the emperor, he descended into the
plain of Thessaly, and besieged Larissa, the fabulous realm of
Achilles, ^79 which contained the treasure and magazines of the
Byzantine camp. Yet a just praise must not be refused to the
fortitude and prudence of Alexius, who bravely struggled with the
calamities of the times. In the poverty of the state, he
presumed to borrow the superfluous ornaments of the churches: the
desertion of the Manichaeans was supplied by some tribes of
Moldavia: a reenforcement of seven thousand Turks replaced and
revenged the loss of their brethren; and the Greek soldiers were
exercised to ride, to draw the bow, and to the daily practice of
ambuscades and evolutions. Alexius had been taught by
experience, that the formidable cavalry of the Franks on foot was
unfit for action, and almost incapable of motion; ^80 his archers
were directed to aim their arrows at the horse rather than the
man; and a variety of spikes and snares were scattered over the
ground on which he might expect an attack. In the neighborhood
of Larissa the events of war were protracted and balanced. The
courage of Bohemond was always conspicuous, and often successful;
but his camp was pillaged by a stratagem of the Greeks; the city
was impregnable; and the venal or discontented counts deserted
his standard, betrayed their trusts, and enlisted in the service
of the emperor. Alexius returned to Constantinople with the
advantage, rather than the honor, of victory. After evacuating
the conquests which he could no longer defend, the son of
Guiscard embarked for Italy, and was embraced by a father who
esteemed his merit, and sympathized in his misfortune.

[Footnote 77: The Romans had changed the inauspicious name of
Epi-damnus to Dyrrachium, (Plin. iii. 26;) and the vulgar
corruption of Duracium (see Malaterra) bore some affinity to
hardness. One of Robert's names was Durand, a durando: poor wit!

(Alberic. Monach. in Chron. apud Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom.
ix. p. 137.)]

[Footnote 78: (Anna, l. i. p. 35.) By these similes, so different
from those of Homer she wishes to inspire contempt as well as
horror for the little noxious animal, a conqueror. Most
unfortunately, the common sense, or common nonsense, of mankind,
resists her laudable design.]

[Footnote 79: Prodiit hac auctor Trojanae cladis Achilles. The
supposition of the Apulian (l. v. p. 275) may be excused by the
more classic poetry of Virgil, (Aeneid. ii. 197,) Larissaeus
Achilles, but it is not justified by the geography of Homer.]

[Footnote 80: The items which encumbered the knights on foot,
have been ignorantly translated spurs, (Anna Comnena, Alexias, l.
v. p. 140.) Ducange has explained the true sense by a ridiculous
and inconvenient fashion, which lasted from the xith to the xvth
century. These peaks, in the form of a scorpion, were sometimes
two feet and fastened to the knee with a silver chain.]

Chapter LVI: The Saracens, The Franks And The Normans.

Part IV.

Of the Latin princes, the allies of Alexius and enemies of
Robert, the most prompt and powerful was Henry the Third or
Fourth, king of Germany and Italy, and future emperor of the
West. The epistle of the Greek monarch ^81 to his brother is
filled with the warmest professions of friendship, and the most
lively desire of strengthening their alliance by every public and
private tie. He congratulates Henry on his success in a just and
pious war; and complains that the prosperity of his own empire is
disturbed by the audacious enterprises of the Norman Robert. The
lists of his presents expresses the manners of the age - a
radiated crown of gold, a cross set with pearls to hang on the
breast, a case of relics, with the names and titles of the
saints, a vase of crystal, a vase of sardonyx, some balm, most
probably of Mecca, and one hundred pieces of purple. To these he
added a more solid present, of one hundred and forty-four
thousand Byzantines of gold, with a further assurance of two
hundred and sixteen thousand, so soon as Henry should have
entered in arms the Apulian territories, and confirmed by an oath
the league against the common enemy. The German, ^82 who was
already in Lombardy at the head of an army and a faction,
accepted these liberal offers, and marched towards the south: his
speed was checked by the sound of the battle of Durazzo; but the
influence of his arms, or name, in the hasty return of Robert,
was a full equivalent for the Grecian bribe. Henry was the
severe adversary of the Normans, the allies and vassals of
Gregory the Seventh, his implacable foe. The long quarrel of the
throne and mitre had been recently kindled by the zeal and
ambition of that haughty priest: ^83 the king and the pope had
degraded each other; and each had seated a rival on the temporal
or spiritual throne of his antagonist. After the defeat and
death of his Swabian rebel, Henry descended into Italy, to assume
the Imperial crown, and to drive from the Vatican the tyrant of
the church. ^84 But the Roman people adhered to the cause of
Gregory: their resolution was fortified by supplies of men and
money from Apulia; and the city was thrice ineffectually besieged
by the king of Germany. In the fourth year he corrupted, as it
is said, with Byzantine gold, the nobles of Rome, whose estates
and castles had been ruined by the war. The gates, the bridges,
and fifty hostages, were delivered into his hands: the anti-pope,
Clement the Third, was consecrated in the Lateran: the grateful
pontiff crowned his protector in the Vatican; and the emperor
Henry fixed his residence in the Capitol, as the lawful successor
of Augustus and Charlemagne. The ruins of the Septizonium were
still defended by the nephew of Gregory: the pope himself was
invested in the castle of St. Angelo; and his last hope was in
the courage and fidelity of his Norman vassal. Their friendship
had been interrupted by some reciprocal injuries and complaints;
but, on this pressing occasion, Guiscard was urged by the
obligation of his oath, by his interest, more potent than oaths,
by the love of fame, and his enmity to the two emperors.
Unfurling the holy banner, he resolved to fly to the relief of
the prince of the apostles: the most numerous of his armies, six
thousand horse, and thirty thousand foot, was instantly
assembled; and his march from Salerno to Rome was animated by the
public applause and the promise of the divine favor. Henry,
invincible in sixty-six battles, trembled at his approach;
recollected some indispensable affairs that required his presence
in Lombardy; exhorted the Romans to persevere in their
allegiance; and hastily retreated three days before the entrance
of the Normans. In less than three years, the son of Tancred of
Hauteville enjoyed the glory of delivering the pope, and of
compelling the two emperors, of the East and West, to fly before
his victorious arms. ^85 But the triumph of Robert was clouded by
the calamities of Rome. By the aid of the friends of Gregory,
the walls had been perforated or scaled; but the Imperial faction
was still powerful and active; on the third day, the people rose
in a furious tumult; and a hasty word of the conqueror, in his
defence or revenge, was the signal of fire and pillage. ^86 The
Saracens of Sicily, the subjects of Roger, and auxiliaries of his
brother, embraced this fair occasion of rifling and profaning the
holy city of the Christians: many thousands of the citizens, in
the sight, and by the allies, of their spiritual father were
exposed to violation, captivity, or death; and a spacious quarter
of the city, from the Lateran to the Coliseum, was consumed by
the flames, and devoted to perpetual solitude. ^87 From a city,
where he was now hated, and might be no longer feared, Gregory
retired to end his days in the palace of Salerno. The artful
pontiff might flatter the vanity of Guiscard with the hope of a
Roman or Imperial crown; but this dangerous measure, which would
have inflamed the ambition of the Norman, must forever have
alienated the most faithful princes of Germany.

[Footnote 81: The epistle itself (Alexias, l. iii. p. 93, 94, 95)
well deserves to be read. There is one expression which Ducange
does not understand. I have endeavored to grope out a tolerable
meaning: The first word is a golden crown; the second is
explained by Simon Portius, (in Lexico Graeco-Barbar.,) by a
flash of lightning.]

[Footnote 82: For these general events I must refer to the
general historians Sigonius, Baronius, Muratori, Mosheim, St.
Marc, &c.]

[Footnote 83: The lives of Gregory VII. are either legends or
invectives, (St. Marc, Abrege, tom. iii. p. 235, &c.;) and his
miraculous or magical performances are alike incredible to a
modern reader. He will, as usual, find some instruction in Le
Clerc, (Vie de Hildebrand, Bibliot, ancienne et moderne, tom.
viii.,) and much amusement in Bayle, (Dictionnaire Critique,
Gregoire VII.) That pope was undoubtedly a great man, a second
Athanasius, in a more fortunate age of the church. May I presume
to add, that the portrait of Athanasius is one of the passages of
my history (vol. ii. p. 332, &c.) with which I am the least

Note: There is a fair life of Gregory VII. by Voigt,
(Weimar. 1815,) which has been translated into French. M.
Villemain, it is understood, has devoted much time to the study
of this remarkable character, to whom his eloquence may do
justice. There is much valuable information on the subject in
the accurate work of Stenzel, Geschichte Deutschlands unter den
Frankischen Kaisern - the History of Germany under the Emperors
of the Franconian Race. - M.]

[Footnote 84: Anna, with the rancor of a Greek schismatic, calls
him (l. i. p. 32,) a pope, or priest, worthy to be spit upon and
accuses him of scourging, shaving, and perhaps of castrating the
ambassadors of Henry, (p. 31, 33.) But this outrage is improbable
and doubtful, (see the sensible preface of Cousin.)]

[Footnote 85: Sic uno tempore victi

Sunt terrae Domini duo: rex Alemannicus iste,

Imperii rector Romani maximus ille.

Alter ad arma ruens armis superatur; et alter

Nominis auditi sola formidine cessit.

It is singular enough, that the Apulian, a Latin, should
distinguish the Greek as the ruler of the Roman empire, (l. iv.
p. 274.)]

[Footnote 86: The narrative of Malaterra (l. iii. c. 37, p. 587,
588) is authentic, circumstantial, and fair. Dux ignem exclamans
urbe incensa, &c. The Apulian softens the mischief, (inde
quibusdam aedibus exustis,) which is again exaggerated in some
partial chronicles, (Muratori, Annali, tom. ix. p. 147.)]

[Footnote 87: After mentioning this devastation, the Jesuit
Donatus (de Roma veteri et nova, l. iv. c. 8, p. 489) prettily
adds, Duraret hodieque in Coelio monte, interque ipsum et
capitolium, miserabilis facies prostrates urbis, nisi in hortorum
vinetorumque amoenitatem Roma resurrexisset, ut perpetua
viriditate contegeret vulnera et ruinas suas.]

The deliverer and scourge of Rome might have indulged
himself in a season of repose; but in the same year of the flight
of the German emperor, the indefatigable Robert resumed the
design of his eastern conquests. The zeal or gratitude of
Gregory had promised to his valor the kingdoms of Greece and
Asia; ^88 his troops were assembled in arms, flushed with
success, and eager for action. Their numbers, in the language of
Homer, are compared by Anna to a swarm of bees; ^89 yet the
utmost and moderate limits of the powers of Guiscard have been
already defined; they were contained on this second occasion in
one hundred and twenty vessels; and as the season was far
advanced, the harbor of Brundusium ^90 was preferred to the open
road of Otranto. Alexius, apprehensive of a second attack, had
assiduously labored to restore the naval forces of the empire;
and obtained from the republic of Venice an important succor of
thirty-six transports, fourteen galleys, and nine galiots or
ships of extra-ordinary strength and magnitude. Their services
were liberally paid by the license or monopoly of trade, a
profitable gift of many shops and houses in the port of
Constantinople, and a tribute to St. Mark, the more acceptable,
as it was the produce of a tax on their rivals at Amalphi. By
the union of the Greeks and Venetians, the Adriatic was covered
with a hostile fleet; but their own neglect, or the vigilance of
Robert, the change of a wind, or the shelter of a mist, opened a
free passage; and the Norman troops were safely disembarked on
the coast of Epirus. With twenty strong and well-appointed
galleys, their intrepid duke immediately sought the enemy, and
though more accustomed to fight on horseback, he trusted his own
life, and the lives of his brother and two sons, to the event of
a naval combat. The dominion of the sea was disputed in three
engagements, in sight of the Isle of Corfu: in the two former,
the skill and numbers of the allies were superior; but in the
third, the Normans obtained a final and complete victory. ^91 The
light brigantines of the Greeks were scattered in ignominious
flight: the nine castles of the Venetians maintained a more
obstinate conflict; seven were sunk, two were taken; two thousand
five hundred captives implored in vain the mercy of the victor;
and the daughter of Alexius deplores the loss of thirteen
thousand of his subjects or allies. The want of experience had
been supplied by the genius of Guiscard; and each evening, when
he had sounded a retreat, he calmly explored the causes of his
repulse, and invented new methods how to remedy his own defects,
and to baffle the advantages of the enemy. The winter season
suspended his progress: with the return of spring he again
aspired to the conquest of Constantinople; but, instead of
traversing the hills of Epirus, he turned his arms against Greece
and the islands, where the spoils would repay the labor, and
where the land and sea forces might pursue their joint operations
with vigor and effect. But, in the Isle of Cephalonia, his
projects were fatally blasted by an epidemical disease: Robert
himself, in the seventieth year of his age, expired in his tent;
and a suspicion of poison was imputed, by public rumor, to his
wife, or to the Greek emperor. ^92 This premature death might
allow a boundless scope for the imagination of his future
exploits; and the event sufficiently declares, that the Norman
greatness was founded on his life. ^93 Without the appearance of
an enemy, a victorious army dispersed or retreated in disorder
and consternation; and Alexius, who had trembled for his empire,
rejoiced in his deliverance. The galley which transported the
remains of Guiscard was ship-wrecked on the Italian shore; but
the duke's body was recovered from the sea, and deposited in the
sepulchre of Venusia, ^94 a place more illustrious for the birth
of Horace ^95 than for the burial of the Norman heroes. Roger,
his second son and successor, immediately sunk to the humble
station of a duke of Apulia: the esteem or partiality of his
father left the valiant Bohemond to the inheritance of his sword.

The national tranquillity was disturbed by his claims, till the
first crusade against the infidels of the East opened a more
splendid field of glory and conquest. ^96

[Footnote 88: The royalty of Robert, either promised or bestowed
by the pope, (Anna, l. i. p. 32,) is sufficiently confirmed by
the Apulian, (l. iv. p. 270.)

Romani regni sibi promisisse coronam
Papa ferebatur.

Nor can I understand why Gretser, and the other papal advocates,
should be displeased with this new instance of apostolic

[Footnote 89: See Homer, Iliad, B. (I hate this pedantic mode of
quotation by letters of the Greek alphabet) 87, &c. His bees are
the image of a disorderly crowd: their discipline and public
works seem to be the ideas of a later age, (Virgil. Aeneid. l.

[Footnote 90: Gulielm. Appulus, l. v. p. 276.) The admirable
port of Brundusium was double; the outward harbor was a gulf
covered by an island, and narrowing by degrees, till it
communicated by a small gullet with the inner harbor, which
embraced the city on both sides. Caesar and nature have labored
for its ruin; and against such agents what are the feeble efforts
of the Neapolitan government? (Swinburne's Travels in the Two
Sicilies, vol. i. p. 384 - 390.]

[Footnote 91: William of Apulia (l. v. p. 276) describes the
victory of the Normans, and forgets the two previous defeats,
which are diligently recorded by Anna Comnena, (l. vi. p. 159,
160, 161.) In her turn, she invents or magnifies a fourth action,
to give the Venetians revenge and rewards. Their own feelings
were far different, since they deposed their doge, propter
excidium stoli, (Dandulus in Chron in Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum, tom. xii. p. 249.)]

[Footnote 92: The most authentic writers, William of Apulia. (l.
v. 277,) Jeffrey Malaterra, (l. iii. c. 41, p. 589,) and Romuald
of Salerno, (Chron. in Muratori, Script. Rerum Ital. tom. vii.,)
are ignorant of this crime, so apparent to our countrymen William
of Malmsbury (l. iii. p. 107) and Roger de Hoveden, (p. 710, in
Script. post Bedam) and the latter can tell, how the just Alexius
married, crowned, and burnt alive, his female accomplice. The
English historian is indeed so blind, that he ranks Robert
Guiscard, or Wiscard, among the knights of Henry I, who ascended
the throne fifteen years after the duke of Apulia's death.]

[Footnote 93: The joyful Anna Comnena scatters some flowers over

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