Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/89

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The Germans overpowered the weak Roman Empire, but the heart o that Empire, the Christian Church, in turn conquered the Germanic world. Gregory the Great, farseeing captain of his ship, had cast anchor far off in the British Isles, where his legates established them- selves firmly in a soil that was fertile and nourishing. Then he had carefully tried also to anneal the Prankish Christian kingdom more firmly to the Roman rule. Two hundred years after Gregory was laid to rest in the Vatican, Charlemagne erected his Roman palace next to St. Peter's; but on the tower of his redoubt in Aachen, there hovered a mighty eagle with gilded wings flung wide. This was reminiscent, it is true, of the eagles of the oriental sovereigns, of Job's eagle, of the eagle of the Roman Emperors, which according to Dante's image flew down into the tree of young Christianity and destroyed leaves and blossoms. But it was also like unto the eagle of the Evangelists, a symbol of power to behold the things of God and to ascend unto them. There followed (to use a more modern expression) the translatio im~ perii ad Francos the passing of the West Roman Imperial author- ity to the Franks, who were now to restore it and give it added vigour.

The New Eagle hovering over that northern city looked down on buildings ercted in the styles of the East and the South. The ro- tunda of the dome, Roman in conception and Byzantine in construc- tion, arched itself like a kind of Pantheon over relics of many saints of the One God. The city hall was copied from models in Constanti- nople; and everywhere pillars and blocks of marble taken from the ruins of Roman Trier, from Rome itself or from Ravenna, were em- ployed. But this new Empire which took over from the old its idea, its law, and many treasures of the mind, was not the same in so far as extent and territorial possessions were concerned. Ancient Rome had been divided into three parts Byzantine, Arabian, and Latino- Germanic. Proceeding from the last, a new correlation of energies could be effected round the ancient centre, the Rome of the Church. That which now arose and lasted for centuries despite all vicissitudes of temporal and spiritual power was the idea and the actual realiza- tion of a religious super-state. This had only one aim: the sancti-