Chapter 5

[ 5 ]



       Since the supernal providence of the Deific Trinity, at whose command all things do one thing then another through the varied alternation of revolving time, has compassionately perceived that the church which had been redeemed by sacrosanct blood and profusely cleansed by the liquid of sacred baptism, and excellently anointed with the fluid of oil and of chrism, is being immensely reduced by the misfortunes described briefly above, it does not desist, touched supplicatingly by the uninterrupted prayers of the Christians, from offering [that church] salvation-giving succor from the raging savageness of Dacian heathenism. So that it might be manfully invigorated whence it had been lamentably reduced. And be raised up to heaven by those through whom it had slipped into the precipice. And be rebuilt by the service of those in whose action it had been valued little. Be adorned by the gems and gold of those by a crowd of whom it had been abused. Be elegantly cloaked by the gift of those through whose booty-taking it had become tattered. Thus when very many throngs of young Dacian men have been formed by the human bond of sexual union and debauchery, and are frequently exciting the fires of war among themselves and against their fathers and maternal uncles, all the Dacians of greater age and power, coming together to the king, have said of one mind: "The state is being furiously overpowered by hostile attack, and shaken to its foundations by the crushing of our sons and nephews.
       "For we have renounced our ancient-established usage, wherefore the populace of the Dacian nation, enduring so very many evils, is being annihilated. Therefore, king, care for this realm, which you ought to rule with peace-making sovereignty, through that usage of a former time. Let Dacia be purged of the baleful plague of its most vile enemies, so we who are left behind may be able to live and rest in perpetual peace." Attentively assenting to their deliberations, and swiftly sending his enjoining ordinance throughout the land under his sovereignty, the king has ordered the viceroys of that land to come to him on a prescribed day to learn which nephews and sons the lot of expulsion has hit upon. Report of this royal embassy has soon struck with consternation those reaching the age of puberty. Their uneasy hearts would waver and, ignorant of future uncertainties, give way to alarmed sentiments. As they perceive that the future is unknown, their stunned spirits are brought to a standstill. Verily does solicitude, desirous of knowing the truth, fatigue them, and uncertain hope does tear them, full of doubt, to pieces. They would not know beforehand with certainty what sentiment was being meditated upon in the king's heart.
       But in the region of Dacia there was, in those days, a certain old man, most opulent with an abundance of all goods, and surrounded on all sides by a crowd of innumerable warriors, a man who never lowered the nape of his neck before any king, nor placed his hands in anyone else's hands in committing himself to service. Holding almost the entire realm of Dacia, he claimed for himself the lands bordering on Dacia and Alania, and by force and power he subjugated the populace to himself through very many battles. For, of all the easterners, he was the mightiest due to his superior strength and the most distinguished due to his cumulated surplus of all the virtues. But when he died, his two sons, vigorous in arms, well-versed in warfare, in body most fair, in spirit most hardy, survived him. Truly the older of them was called Rollo, but the other, the younger, Gurim. And, going to Rollo and Gurim, begging with all their strength on bended knee and with lowered countenance and humble voice, the youths assigned to banishment by royal order said of one mind:
       "Bring us aid, come to our assistance, we will stay under your protecting care and be incessantly in your service. Our king, on the other hand, wishes to banish us from Dacia, and to rob us forever of our estates and beneficia. Have mercy, we pray, have mercy on us who are destitute of all hope and help." Then those two brothers replied, saying to the youths who were praying supplicatingly: "We will aid you as best we can and will bring it to pass that you stay in Dacia and calmly occupy your properties, untroubled by royal threats." They, however, hearing these things, kissed the feet of Rollo and Gurim, and immediately returned home, rejoicing over what their leaders had said. Meanwhile, a truthful report of these events is published abroad, reaching the ears of the king of Dacia. The mightiest duke, that is to say, the father of Rollo and Gurim, was enjoying his supreme lot. Then the king, recalling the evils which that duke had brought upon him previously, says to all the leaders of his empire, who have been summoned to him: "It is not unknown to you that the father of Rollo and Gurim has died. Therefore I will go to their territory, and I will capture towns and encampments and fortifications, and I will take revenge on the sons for the deeds of the father and I will be satisfied with their misfortunes only by crushing them; I pray, prepare yourselves and your followers for such labors." Thus, once the date of departure for the future battle had been named, all went back with their followers whence they had come.
       Soon the fierce youth of Dacia, attending very closely to its passionate concerns, prepares whatever is appropriate for that advance. Some adjust light brazen shields and shining arrows with the artisinal skill of an adult. With a whetstone, some sharpen weapons and swords and hatchets. Others make safe coverings for the head, that is to say leather helmets, others for the breast, namely hauberks woven of iron and gold chain. Indeed they even recast in furnaces weapons handed down to them from their fathers, and restore them with hammers.
       Report of this unexpected occurrence slips through to the ears of Rollo and Gurim, who have been disturbed by discussion of the report. After calling together a host composed of men abounding in plentiful and proportioned manhood, and assembling a multitude of those, of middle age and older, who had been assigned for banishment, their right hands raised in greeting, [Rollo] commands silence. With the murmuring of the bustling people completely calmed and himself loftily furnished with the platform of a becoming chair, Rollo begins to speak, his mouth flowing with honey: "It is you, in whom youthful ardor glows and who are in the flower of a superior mandhood, I am addressing. Grow manfully strong, let you imitate your reverend fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers with intelligent design, and gain strength, and let you not scorn to join together harmoniously so that you might have the strength, for each one by turns, to be their equal. If indeed the king of this realm is attempting to step over us and to attack the authority of our monarchy and to ruin us and all of you, let us, both in anticipating and in resisting his arrival, occupy like an enemy the land under his own rule, before he seizes the land of our hereditary lordship."
        However the king, hearing this, proceeds to battle against Rollo and his brother and after contending with them for a while turns in flight, fleeing to the protection of the towns. Then Rollo has interred the dead of his own army, however he has left those of the king's army behind, unburied.
       But when the war between the king and Rollo had continued for a period of one year, the king in deceit has sent to [Rollo] with these peace-making words: "Let there be nothing between you and me except intimate esteem. Allow the republic to be at rest, I pray, so that I might be at liberty patiently to hold what is mine by right and what my father held, you, moreover, to hold what is yours by right, and what your father held. And between you and me may peace and harmony be agreed upon through an inextricable alliance." Then Rollo and Gurim and their warriors and those who had been assigned for banishment have all praised the peace very much. Thus, both come to a conference (note 1) at the time settled upon for swearing the alliance; enriched by reciprocal gifts, they are allied.
       And then, musing upon the fraudulent deceit conceived in his inimical heart, the treasonous king begins to fight, moving against them at night with some of his assembled army and attacking their territory and concealing ambushes near the walls of one of their cities. Then Rollo, and Gurim and those who were with him, springing forth from the city, have been pursuing the king, who is turning in flight and pretending to flee. Thus, once Rollo has passed beyond the location of the ambushes, a certain portion of the ambushers, come out from their lurking-holes, make for the city itself. Finding the city emptied of armed men, they do set it afire, and have carried off as their spoils all the household furnishings. But certain of the ambushers have been following Rollo, who is putting the king to flight with hostile fierceness.
       However, perceiving that the town has been set on fire and that the ambushers have prevailed, the king, turning back, has been battling against [Rollo]. With very many from Rollo's side having therefore fallen, his brother Gurim has fallen in battle. However, seeing himself between the two armies, the one pretending to flee, the other having come out from its lurking-holes, and his dead brother mutilated (though only with great difficulty) by very many wounds, Rollo (with a few followers) separates from all of them. Then the king, beseiging and capturing every town, has subjugated to himself the populace which has been battling against him. But Rollo, not having the power to remain in Dacia because of the king, despairing of himself, has gone to the island of Scania with six boats. Then Dacia, deprived of that compassionate duke and patrician and that most hardy advocate, begins exceedingly to lament, shaken by great wailing.

                            Apostrophe

Dacia, desirous of a true promise, prophesied and deserved,
Make yourself merry, you who send your nurslings to the Gauls by lot,
Checking the grief in your heart, not ignorant now of the future things
That will be granted by the stars.
This is not a misfortune for his soul or a blow of stinging fortune.
Change shall have ever transformed this outrageous calamity,
With sumptuous, prosperous gifts it will assign to him every good,
Enriching, it will enrich and reward him.
And once the Dacians have been reconciled with the Franks,
Vast, fertile Francia will spread out (note 2) , put forth, bring forth,
Producing kings and pontiffs, dukes, counts and prelates
From your blessed scions, themselves formed
From the seed of most noble worshippers of Christ.
Under them the world will be rich, exulting in Christ its prince,
And under them churches will be everywhere made fruitful
And in their new never-ending progeny those churches will rejoice,
Yea indeed, once they have been thrice purified by three-foldbaptism,
Immense throngs will be thereafter brought on high by them, rather than damned.


Notes:


1. Placitum.

2. Preferring the "exporget" of CC 276.


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