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toons*; of Crusades to conquer Infidels, Ch. I.
* This alludes to the two methods of TRIAL, much practised in thofe dark times, the Trial by ORDEAL, and that by DUEL.
Heated Plough-fhares were often employed in Trials by ORDEAL, and 'tis remarkable that express mention is made of this abfurd method of Purgation by Fire, even in the Antigene of Sophocles. The Meffenger there fays, in order to justify himself and his Companions
Ἤμεν δ ̓ ἔτοιμοι καὶ μύδρος αἴρειν χεροίν,
Ready we were with both our hands TO LIFT
THE GLOWING MASS; or flowly CROSS THE FIRE,
The Deed, nor knew, &c.
Antig. v. 270.
This carries up the Practice to the time of Eteocles and Polynices, before the Trojan War.
Perhaps the Poet, by the incidental mention of fo ftrange à Cuftom, intended to characterife the manners of a ruder age; an age, widely different from his own, which was an Age of Science and Philofo phical Difquifition.
P. III. and extirpate Heretics; of Princes de
As to Trials by BATTLE, they were either before the Earl Marshal, or the fudges of Westminster Hall. If 'before the Earl Marshal, they were upon accufations of Treafon or other capital Crimes, and the Parties were ufually of high and noble rank. If before the Judges of Weftminster Hall, the Caufe was often of inferior fort, as well as the Parties litigating.
Hence the Combats differed in their Ends. That before the Earl Marshal was Victory, often attended with flaughter; that before the Judges was Victory alone, with no fuch confequence.
The Weapons too differed, as well as the Ends. The Weapons before the Earl Marshal were a long Sword, a fhort Sword, and a Dagger: that before the Judges was a Battoon above mentioned, called in barbarous Latin Druncus, but in words more intelligible Fuftis teres.
So late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth an instance occurs of this Trial being infifted upon, But that wife Princefs, tho' fhe permitted the previous forms, I mean that of the Lifts being inclofed, of the Judges taking their feats there, of the Champions making their appearance, &c. (Forms, which perhaps could not legally be prevented) had too much fenfe to permit fo foolish a decifion. She compelled the Parties
pofed, not as Crafus was by Cyrus, but Ch. I.
to a compromife, by the Plaintiff's taking an equivalent in money for his claim, and making in confequence a voluntary default.
Wyvil, Bishop of Salisbury, in the reign of Edward the Third, recurred to Trial by BATTLE in a difpute with the Earl of Salisbury, and ordered public Prayers thro' his Diocese for the fuccefs of his Champion, till the matter, by the King's authority, was compromised.
But notwithstanding this Bifhop's Conduct, 'twas A PRACTICE which THE CHURCH difapproved, and wifely, as well as humanely endeavoured to prevent. TRUCULENTUM MOREM in omni ævo acriter infectarunt THEOLOGI, præ aliis Agobardus, et plurimo Canone IPSA ECCLESSIA. See Spelman, under the words Campus, Campfius, and Campio.
I must not omit that there is a complete Hiftory of fuch a Duel, recorded by Walfingham, in the reign of Richard the Second, between Aneflee a Knight, and Karryngton an Efquire. Karryngton was accufed by the other of Treafon, for felling a Caftle to the French, and, being defeated in the Combat, died the next day raving mad. Walfingham's Narrative is curious and exact, but their Weapons differed from thofe above mentioned, for they first fought with Lances, then with Swords, and laftly with Daggers.
Hiftor. p. 237.
P. III. by one, who had no Armies, and who did not even wear a sword *.
DIFFERENT Portions of this Age have been distinguished by different defcriptions; fuch as Sæculum Monotheleticum, Saculum Eiconoclafticum, Sæculum Obscurum, Sæculum Ferreum, Sæculum Hildibrandi
* Such was Pope Innocent the third, who, befides his Crufades to extirpate Heretics by Armies not his own, excommunicated Philip, King of France; Alphonfo, King of Leon; Raimond, Earl of Toulouse; and John, King of England.
Nor is this wonderful, when we view in his own Language the Opinion he had of his own Station and Authority.
I am placed (fays he) IN THE MIDDLE, between GOD and MAN, ON THIS SIDE God, but BEYOND Man; nay I am greater than MAN, as I can judge of all Men, but can be judged by no one. Sum enim inter DEUM et HOMINEM MEDIUS conftitutus, citra Deum fed ultra Hominem; imò major Homine, qui de omnibus judicem, a nemine vero judicari poffim. Innocen. III. Serm. 2. in Hiftoriâ Tranfubflantionis Joannis Cafin. Epifcop. Dunelm. Lond. 1675. See alfo all the Church Hiftories of this Period.
num, &c. ftrange names it must be con- Ch. I. feft, fome more obvious, others lefs fo, yet none tending to furnish us with any high, or promifing Ideas *.
AND yet we muft aknowledge for the honour of Humanity, and of its GREAT and DIVINE AUTHOR, who never forfakes it, that fome fparks of Intellect were at all times vifible, thro' the whole of this dark and dreary Period. 'Tis here we muft look for the TASTE and LITERATURE OF THE TIMES.
THE few, who were enlightened, when Arts and Sciences were thus obfcured, may be faid to have happily maintained the Continuity of Knowlege; to have been (if I may ufe the expreffion) like the Twilight of a
*Thofe, who would be farther informed concerning thefe Sæcula, may, among other authors, confult two very learned ones, CAVE in his Hiftoria Literaria, and MOSHEIM in his Ecclefiaftical Hiftory.