Page images

the lid, into the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, and establish'd there as a presidiary Colony , were called Franks. Petrus de Vineis, lib. epist. 6. cap. 2<). * — " Fol-' "lowing (fays he ) the Law and * These are only bro"Custom of the Franks, in this In- ken pieces of Sentences,

w stance, that the Eldest Brother to t0 Pro/eA 'h? "I .J i n r 11 i ^ man* (eltablilh d in Na

the Exclufion of all the Younger pUs and s!(ily) were

"succeeds, even in the Camp it (elf. called . and actually

Imp. Freder. 2. Neapol. constit. were Franks.

lib. 2. tit. 32. speaking of those

Franks, "who upon occafion trusted the fortune of

"their Lives, and of aU their Estates, to the Event

"of a Duel, or fingle Combat. And again,

c —'The aforefaid manner of Proof, which all who

(c observe the Rites of the Franks made use of .

Also lib. 2. tit. 33. —" Which Lav), our Will u,

< snail in all Causes be common both to the Franks

"and Longobards.

Matters being thus plain, 'tis strange that

Gregory Bishop of Tours ( who writ concerning

the Original of the Franks 800 Years ago )

shou'd say, in the first part of his History, That

altho' he'had made diligent Enquiry about the

Rife and Beginning of the Franks, he cou'd

find nothing certain: notwithstanding he had

seen an ancient Book of a certain Historian of

theirs, called, Sulphius Alexander who affirms

nothing either of their first Habitations, or the

Beginnings of their Domination.

But we have found out, that these People

originally came from that Country which lies

between the Rhine and the Elb, and is bounded

on the West by the Sea, almost in the fame

Tract where the greater and the lesser Chauci

dwelt. "A People (fays Taatus)thc most. nobie

w among all the Germans, who founded their

Da "Great

c( Greatness, and maintained it by Justide. These were next Neighbours to the Bata.vians for 'tis agreed on all Hands, that the Franks had their first Seats near the Sea-shore, in very marshy Grounds; and were the most skilful People in Navigation, and Sea-fights, known at that time: Whereof we have the following Testimonies. First, in Claudian, who congratulating Stilicons Victory, writes thus;

JJt jam trans fluvium rion indignante Chayco Pascat Belga pecus, mediumque ingrejfa fer Albin Gallica Francorum monies armenta pererrent.

In which place he makes use of a Poetical License, and calls those People Chayci, which the Geographers call Chattel. Now that they were seated near the Sea , that Panegyrical Oration made to Constantine the Great, is a Testimony: (( Jguid loquar rurfus, &c. What should I speak "more of those remote Nations of the Franks, "transplanted not from places which the Ro"' mans of old invaded; but plucked from their (c very original Habitations, and their farthest "Barbarous Shores, to be planted in the wast "Places of Gallia ' where with their Husban(t dry, they may help the Roman Empire in "time of Peace; and with their Bodies, sup^c ply its Armies in time of War—. And in another Panegyrick , by Eumenius the Rhetorician, we find this Pasfage, fc Aut hac iffa, &c. *f Or this Country, which was once overspread <c with the Fierceness of the Franks, more "than if the Waters of their Rivers, or their "Sea, had cover'd it; but now ceases to be barbarous, and rs civilized. To the fame Purcose is Procefcuss Testimony, in his first Book of theGothick War • For where he describes the place where the Rhine falls into the Ocean; cc In these parts ( fays he ) there are great (f Marshes, where of old the Germans dwelt; "a barbarous People, and at that time of small "Reputation, which now are called Franks—. And Zonarus, in the ;d.Tome of his Annals, quotes this very Passage of Procofws. Also Flavins Vofiscus, in his Life of Probus, tells us, That the Frmks were discomfited by Probus in their inaccessible Marshes. —Testes sunt Franci inviis strati paludibus. Also Sidonius Apollinaris fays thus;

cf Francorum & penitijjimas paludes,
f* Intrares venerantibus S'ccambris.

Now what we have faid concerning the Neighbourhood of the Franks to the Chauci, may be plainly proved by comparing of Places, and the Descriptions of their particular Seats. Those of the Chauci are described by Pliny, lib. 16. cap. i. Those of the Franks by the Rhetorician Panegyrist, above-mentioned: For Pliny fays thus, "We have seen in the Northern

parts the Nations of the Chauci, called "Majores & Minor es, where twice every 24 "Hours the Ocean is forcibly driven in a "great way over the Land , thro' a vast Pas"fage which is there, making it a perpetual "Controversy. of Nature; and a Doubt, "whether it ought to be reckon'd part of the "Land or of the Sea. .;

The Panegyrist speaks in these Terms,

fc Jguanquam ilia Regio, &c . When thy noble

tc Expeditions, O Cafar, have proceeded so 'c far, as to clear and conquer that Country,


[ocr errors]

"which the Rhine runs through, with his cun "ning Masanders or Windings, [Meatibus calli.. "dis, for so it must be read, and not Scaldx, "as in some Copies, ] and embraces in his "Arms a Region, which I can scarce call "Land; 'tis so soak'd with Water, that not "only the Marshy part of it gives way, but ct even that which seems more firm, shakes "when trod upon, and trembles at a distance "under the weight of the foot.

We think therefore we have made it plain from what Seats the Nation of the Ffanks first came into Gallia; that is to fay, from that marshy Country which lies upon the Ocean, between the Rivers Elb and Rhine: which may be further confirm'd by this Argument. That the Franks were very well skill'd in maritime affairs, and fail'd far and near all about those Coasts: For so fays Eutropius, lib. 9. where he gives a short History of the Emperor Galienus.. "Af"ter this time, when Caraufim had in charge "to scour the Sea-coasts of Belgia and Armori"ca, then infested by the Franks and Saxons, &c. The very fame thing Paulus Orofiu s mentions, lib. 7. Also what the Panegyrist, before cited, fays in a certain place, has reference to this.— "The Franks (fays he) are cruel above all . "others • the tide of whose warlike fury sur"mounting that of their very Ocean it self, "carried them to the Sea-coasts of Spain, which ■s they very much infested with their Depreda<c tions. And therefore the Emperor Justinian, when he explains to the General Governor of Affrick the duty of his Office, makes mention of ^hofe Franks which were seated in a certain part of Gallia, bordering upon Spain.


But we find a very memorable passage, which highly sets forth the great Glory of their warlike Achievements, in another place of that Panegyrick; viz.. That a small Body of Franks which Probm the Emperor had overcome and carried captive into Pontus, seiz'd on some Ships, wandred all about the Sea-coafts of Gracia and A/td, invaded Sicily, took Syracusa, and afterwards laden with booty, return'd into the Ocean thro' the Streights of Gibraltar. "Recursabat in animos sub Divo Probo & paucorum ex "Francis Captivorum incredibilis audacia, & "indigna fcelicitas: qui a Ponto usque cor"reptis navibus, Græciam Asiamque populari, fc nec impune plerisque Lybiæ littoribus appul"si, ipfas postremo navalibus quondam victo"riis nobiles ceperant Syracufas : & immenso w itinere permensi, Oceanum, qua terras rupit (c intraverant: atque ita eventu temeritatis "ostenderant, nihil esse clausum prraticæ de"sperationi quo navigiis pateret accessus.

And, as farther Arguments of what I have been proving, may be added all those places' in several Authors, which inform us that the Habitations of the Franks were Bordering upon the Bat avians. The fame Rhetorician, in his Speeches to Maximianus and Ccnflantine, fays,— "Many thoufand Franks, who had crossed the "Rhine, and invaded Batavia, with other Coun"tries on this fide, were flain, driven out, or "carried away captive.

Besides, there is a notable instance in Corn. Tacitus, lib. 20. where speaking of the Neighbourhood of Frifia and Bataz/ia to each other, he mixes the Canines at es among them,; whose. custom in Electing their Kings was (as I shall


;w) the very fame with that of the


« PreviousContinue »