Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/41

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THE COMING OF THE NORTHMEN

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dates in history, is somewhat arbitrary. The Northmen first invaded Normandy in 841, and their inroads did not cease until about 966, so that the year 911 falls near the middle of a century and a quarter of invasion and settlement, and marks neither the beginning nor the end of an epoch. It is also true that this date, like many another which appears in heavy-faced type in our histories, is not known with entire certainty, for some historians have placed in 912 or even later the events commonly assigned to that year. On the whole, however, there is good reason for maintaining 911—and a thousandth anniversary must have some definite date to commemorate!

For the actual occurrences of that year, we have only the account of a romancing historian of a hundred years later, reënforced here and there by the exceedingly scanty records of the time. The main fact is clear, namely that the Frankish king, Charles the Simple, granted Rollo as a fief a considerable part, the eastern part, of later Normandy. Apparently Rollo did homage for his fief in feudal fashion by placing his hands between the hands of the king, something, we are told, which "neither his father, nor his grandfather, nor his great- grandfather before him had ever done for any man." Legend goes on to relate, however, that Rollo refused to kneel and kiss the king's foot, crying out in his own speech, "No, by God!" and that the companion to whom he delegated the unwelcome obligation performed