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Christians from the bosom of the church, had not the face of affairs been changed in Spain by the victorious arms of the kings of Arragon and Castile, and more especially Ferdinand I. for these princes, whose zeal for Christianity was equal to their military courage, defeated the Saracens, in several battles, and deprived them of a great part of their territories and possessions.
The number of those among the Danes, Hungarians, and other European nations, who retained their prejudices in favour of the idolatrous religion of their ancestors, was as yet very considerable; and they persecuted, with the utmost cruelty, the neighbouring nations, and also such of their fellow-citizens as had embraced the gospel. To put a stop to this barbarous persecution, Christian princes exerted their zeal in a terrible manner, proclaiming capital punishment against all who persisted in the worship of the pagan deities. This dreadful severity contributed much more toward the extirpation of paganism, than the exhortations and instructions of ignorant missionaries, who were unacquainted with the true nature of the gospel, and dishonoured its pure and holy doctrines by their licentious lives, and their superstitious practices.
The Prussians, Lithuanians, Sclavonians, Obotriti, and several other nations, who dwelt in the lower parts of Germany, and lay still grovelling in the darkness of paganism, continued to vex the Christians, who lived in their neighbourhood, by perpetual acts of hostility and violence, by frequent incursions into their territories, and by putting numbers of them to death in the most inhuman man
i For an account of these wars between the first Christian kings of Spain and the Mahometans or Moors, see the Spanish historics of Jo. Mariana and Jo. Ferrera.
k Helmoldi Chron, Slavorum, lib. i. cap. xvi. p. 52. Adam. Bremens. Histor. lib. ii. cap. xxvii.
The state of
1. The declining condition of the Grecian empire was fatal to the progress of letters and philosophy. Its glory and power diminished from day to day caring the under the insults and usurpations of the Turks Grecks. and Saracens; and while the empire suffered by these attacks from without, it was consumed gradually by the internal pestilence of civil discord, by frequent seditions and conspiracies, and by those violent revolutions which shook from time to time the imperial throne, and were attended with the sudden fall and elevation of those that held the reins of government." So many foreign invasions, so many internal troubles, so many emperors dethroned, deprived the political body of its strength and consistence, broke in upon the public order, rendered all things precarious, and dejecting the spirits of the nation, damped the fire of genius, and discouraged the efforts of literary ambition. There were however some emperors, such as Alexius Comnenus, who seemed to cherish and encourage the drooping sciences, and whose zeal was seconded by several prelates who were willing to lend a supporting hand to the cause of letters. The controversies also that subsisted between the Greeks and Latins, obliged the former, amidst all their disadvantages, to a certain degree of application to study, and prevented them from abandoning entirely the culture of the sciences. And hence it is, that we find among the Greeks of this century some writers, at least, who have deserved well of the republic of letters.
I a The sentence which begins with the words so many foreign, and ends with tbe words literary ambition, is added by the translator to render the connexion with what follows more evident.
pass in silence the poets, rhetoricians, and philoThe principal logists of this century, who were neither highly Greek writers. eminent, nor absolutely contemptible. Among the writers of history, Leo the Grammarian, John Scylizes, Cedrenus, and a few others deserve to be mentioned with a certain degree of approbation; notwithstanding the partiality with which they are chargeable, and the zeal they discover for many of the fabulous records of their nation. But the greatest ornament of the republic of letters at this time, was Michael Psellus, a man illustrious in every respect, and deeply versed in all the various kinds of erudition that were known in this age. This great man recommended warmly to his countrymen the study of philosophy, and particularly the system of Aristotle, which he embellished and illustrated in several learned and ingenious productions. If we turn our eyes toward the Arabians, we shall find that they still retained a high degree of zeal for the culture of the sciences; as appears evidently from the number of physicians, mathematicians, and astronomers, who flourished among them in this century. III. The arts and sciences seemed, in some measure, to
revive in the west among the clergy at least, and here are the monastic orders; they were not indeed culti
vated by any other set of men, and the nobility, if we except such of them as were designed to fill certain ecclesiastical dignities, or had voluntarily devoted themselves to a religious solitude, treated all sorts of learning and erudition with indifference and contempt. The schools of learning flourished in several parts of Italy about the year 1050; and of the Italian doctors, who acquired a name by their writings or their academical lessons, several removed afterward into France, and particularly into Normandy, where they instructed the youth, who had consecrated themselves to the service of the church. The French also, though they acknowledge their obligations to the learned Italians who settled in their provinces, yet give us, at the same time, a considerable list of their own countrymen, who, without any foreign succours, cultivated the sciences, and contributed not a little to the advancement of letters in
b Leo Allatius, Diatriba De Psellis, p. 14, edit. Fabricii.
c Elmacini Historia Saracen. p. 281. Jo. Henr. Hottingeri Histor. Eccles. Sec. xi. p. 419.
d See Muratori Antiquitates Ilal. medii æri, tom. iii. p. 871. Giannone, Histoire de Naples, tom. ii. p. 14.9
this century; they mention also several schools erected in different parts of that kingdom, which were in the highest reputation, both on account of the fame of their masters, and the multitude of disciples that resorted to them. And indeed it is certain beyond all contradiction, that the liberal arts and sciences were cultivated in France, which abounded with learned men, while the greatest part of Italy lay as yet covered with a thick cloud of ignorance and darkness. For Robert, king of France, son and successor of Hugh Capet, disciple of the famous Gerbert, afterward Silvester II. and the great protector of the sciences, and friend of the learned, reigned so early as the year 1031,' and exerted upon all occasions the most ardent zeal for the restoration of letters; nor were his generous efforts without success. The provinces of Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and other southern parts of Italy, were indebted, for the introduction of the sciences among them, to the Normans, who became their masters, and who brought with them from France the knowledge of letters to a people that sat benighted in the darkest ignorance. _To the Normans also was due the restoration of letters in England. William the Conqueror, a prince of uncommon sagacity and genius, and the great Mæcenas of his time, upon his accession to the throne of England in the year 1066, engaged by the most alluring solicitations a considerable number of learned inen from Normandy, and other countries, to settle in his new dominions, and exerted his most zealous endeavours to dispel that savage ignorance that is always a source of innumerable evils. The reception of Christianity had polished and civilized, in an extraordinary manner, the rugged minds of the valiant Normans; for those fierce warriors, who, under the darkness of paganism, had m fested the utmost aversion to all branches of knowledge and every kind of instruction, distinguished themselves,
e Histoire Literaire de la France, tom. vii. at the Introduction. Du Boulay, Hist. Acad. Paris. tom. I. p. 355. Le Boeuf, Diss. sur l' Elat des Sciences en France depuis la mort du Roi Rebert, which is published among his Dissertations sur l'Histoire Ecclesiastique et Civile de Paris, tom. ii. part i.
if Robert died in the year 1031, after a reign of thirty-five years.
§ Daniel, Histoire de la France, tom. iii. p, 58. Du Boulay, Hisi. Academ. Paris, tom. i. p. 636, et passim.
See Hist. Liter. de la France, tom. viii. p. 171. “ The English,” says Matthew Paris, were so illiterate and ignorant before the time of William the Conqueror, that a man who understood the principles of grammar, was universally looked upon as a pro. digy of learning.” VOL. II.
ed in several places.
after conversion, by their ardent application to the study of religion and the pursuit of learning. iv. This vehement desire of knowledge, that increased
from day to day, and became at length the preer en dominant passion of the politest European na
tions, produced many happy effects. To it, more particularly, we must attribute the considerable number of public schools that were opened in various places, and the choice of more able and eminent masters, than those who had formerly presided in the seminaries of learning. Toward the conclusion of the preceding age, there were no schools in Europe but those which belonged to monasteries, or episcopal residences, nor were there any other masters except the Benedictine monks, to instruct the youth in the principles of sacred and profane erudition. But not long after the commencement of this century, the face of things was totally changed, and that in a manner the most advantageous to the cause of letters. In many cities of France and Italy, learned men, both among the clergy and laity, undertook the weighty and important charge of instructing the youth, and succeeded much better in this worthy undertaking than the monks had done, not only by comprehending in their course of instruction more branches of knowledge than the monastic doctors were acquainted with, but also by teaching in a better method, and with more perspicuity and success, many of the same branches of science which the others had taught before them. The most eminent of these new masters were such as had either travelled into Spain with a view to study in the schools of the Saracens, which was extremely customary in this age among those that were ambitious of a distinguished reputation for wisdom and knowledge, or had improved their stock of erudition and philosophy by a diligent and attentive perusal of the writings of the Arabians, of which a great number were translated into Latin. For with these foreign succours they were enabled to teach philosophy, mathematics, physic, astronomy, and the other sciences that are connected with them, in a much more learned and solid manner than the monks, or such as had received their education from them alone. The school of Salernum, in the kingdom of Naples, was renowned above all others for the study of physic
in this century, and vast numbers crowded thither from all the provinces of Europe to receive instruc