WHEN King Clovis died, his four sons divided the kingdom among them much as if it had been a farm. Then they quarreled, and a
quarrel in those days led to savage fighting. Each ruler intended to get as much as he could, and if any one stood in
the way the first thought was, "Kill him." For instance, one of Clovis's sons died, leaving three boys. Queen Clotilda
tried to protect the rights of her grandchildren, but two of her sons sent her a sword and a pair of scissors. That
meant, "Should you rather have the boys slain or have them lose their long hair?" To lose their long hair would shut
them out of the royal family, and Clotilda replied that she would rather see them dead than disgraced. Two of the boys
were at once murdered by their uncle.
For more than a century, the Frankish kingdom was full of quarrels and fighting. During the following century, a king
was always on the throne, but he never ruled; and these sovereigns have been nicknamed the "do-nothing kings." The real
rulers were officers called mayors of the palace. The "mayor" was at
 first only a sort of royal attendant, but several of the kings were children when they came to the throne; therefore the
mayors acted as their guardians. For a long while some of the kings were stupid, and some cared only for amusement, and
hardly any of them were strong and manly enough to govern. The mayors of the palace were rulers in peace, and as the
"do-nothing kings" were of course unable to lead armies, the mayors became also commanders in war. This arrangement
suited the Frankish nobles. They were always afraid that their kings would get too much power over them; but as a mayor
was chosen from among themselves, it did not seem to trouble them in the least if he became quite as powerful as any
One of these mayors was named Pep'in. He treated the king with the utmost respect, permitted him to live on one
of the royal estates, and sent servants to wait on him. When some national festival was to be held, the king was brought
to court dressed in most elegant robes and with his long hair floating over his shoulders. He rode in a heavy wagon
drawn by oxen and driven by a cowherd. This was according to the ancient custom, and the people would have been
displeased to have it altered. He was escorted into the palace and seated upon the throne, and the nobles came to do him
honor. He recited a little speech, made up for him beforehand, urging the army to be valiant and to be always ready for
service. If ambassadors were to be received, he met them graciously, and said what Mayor Pepin told him to say. Then
with all deference he was led to the cart and driven back to the estate upon which he lived. He was free to go on
hunting or raising doves or combing his long hair until a figurehead was needed again.
 When Pepin died, his son Charles became mayor. It was fortunate that he was a good fighter, for there was a great deal
of fighting to be done. There were hostile tribes on the north and east to be subdued. Then, too, there were rumors of
trouble coming from another people, the Mo-ham'med-ans. Charles did not dare be without an army ready to set out
at a moment's notice. But he could not keep an army without the help of the nobles, and for such help he must pay, and
pay well. The churches owned a vast amount of land and money; and when Charles needed either to reward his nobles, he
took it. It is probable that he did not give away the land, but only lent it to his nobles by what is called a feudal
tenure; that is, so long as a noble provided a certain number of men for the mayor's army, he might hold the land and
get as much gain from it as he could. This was all very well for the nobles, but it is no wonder that the bishops were
not pleased. And yet this very army was to be used to defend them in a great battle with the Mohammedans.
MOSQUE OF SULTAN AHMED, A FAMOUS MOHAMMEDAN RULER.
This battle came about because of a man named Mo-ham'med who had lived about one hundred and fifty years before
that time. He was born in Mec'ca in A-ra'bi-a, and he became so famous when he was a man that the people
who knew him as a child fancied that many wonderful things had happened to him when he was small. It was said that the
sheep bowed to him as he passed by, and that even the moon stooped from her place in the heavens to do him honor. While
he was in the house of his nurse, so the legend says, her well never dried and her pastures were always fresh and green.
The little boy soon lost both father and mother, and was
 brought up in the house of his uncle. He must have been a most lovable boy, for every one seems to have been kind to
him. This uncle held an office of great honor,—he was guardian of a certain black stone which, it was said, the angel
Ga'bri-el had given to A'bra-ham. The stone was built into the outer wall of the Kaa'ba, a little
square temple which the A-ra'bi-ans looked upon as especially holy. Most of them were worshipers of idols, and
the Kaaba was the home of enough idols to provide a different one for every day in the year. Throngs of pilgrims
journeyed to Mecca to kiss the stone and worship in the Kaaba; and the boy
 must have heard marvelous tales of the strange places from which they came. His uncle was a merchant and used to go with
caravans to Syr'i-a and elsewhere to get goods. When Mohammed was twelve years old, he begged earnestly to be
allowed to go with him. The uncle said "No." Then the boy pleaded, "But, my uncle, who will take care of me when you are
gone?" The tender-hearted man could not refuse any longer, and Mohammed went on his first journey.
After this, he always traveled with his uncle, and when the uncle went out to help his tribe fight another one, he
became the uncle's armor-bearer. He learned about life in a caravan, and about buying and selling goods, and while he
was hardly more than a boy, he was often employed by merchants to go on such trips as their agent. At length he was
engaged by a wealthy widow named Ka-di'jah to manage the large business which the death of her husband had left
in her charge. She became more and more pleased with the young man, and after a while she sent a trusty slave to offer
him her hand. He was surprised, but not at all unwilling, and soon there was a generous wedding feast with music and
dancing. The house was open to all who chose to come, and a camel was killed that its flesh might be given to the poor.
Mohammed thought much about religious questions. He came to believe that his people were wrong in worshiping idols, and
that there was only one true God. He used to go to a cavern a few miles from Mecca to pray and meditate. One month in
every year he gave up entirely to this. After a while, he began to have strange dreams and visions. In one of these he
thought the angel Gabriel held before him a silken cloth on which there was golden writing and bade him read it. "But I
do not know
 how to read," replied Mohammed. "Read, in the name of the Most High," said the angel; and suddenly the power to read the
letters came to him, and he found the writings were commands of God. Then the angel declared, "Thou art the prophet of
MUSSELMANS AT PRAYER IN THE GRAND MOSQUE AT DAMASCUS.
Mohammed told Kadijah of his vision, and she believed that the angel had really come to him. After a little, he began to
preach wherever people would listen. A few believed in him, but most people only laughed at his story. Still he kept on
preaching, and after a while, although he had but few followers in Mecca, there were many in Me-di'na who had
come to believe that he was the prophet of God. He decided that it was best for him to go to them, and in the year 622
he and a few friends escaped from their enemies in Mecca and went to Medina. This is called the He-gi'ra, or
flight. To this day Mohammedans
 do not count the years from the birth of Christ, but from the Hegira.
As soon as the prophet was in Medina, his followers began to build a mosque, or place for prayer, in which he might
preach. They made the walls of earth and brick. The pillars were the trunks of palm trees, and the roof was formed of
their branches with a thatch of leaves. He decided that his disciples should be called to prayer five times a day, and
after all these centuries the call, or mu-ez'zin, is still heard in the East from some minaret of each mosque,—
"God is great. There is no God but God. Mohammed is the apostle of God. Come to prayers. Come to prayers." At dawn the
crier adds, "Prayer is better than sleep." Every true Mus'sul-man, as followers of Mohammed are called, is bound
to obey this rule of prayer, and as he prays, he must turn his face toward Mecca. He is also commanded to make at least
one pilgrimage to Mecca before he dies, and to kiss the sacred black stone. It is still in the wall of the Kaaba, but
the Kaaba itself is now within a mosque so large that it will hold 35,000 persons.
It is probable that Mohammed never learned to read or write, but his followers jotted down his words on bits of palm
leaves or skins or even the shoulder-blades of animals, and many of them they learned by heart. After the death of the
prophet, the ca'lifs, as his successors were called, collected these sayings and arranged them in a book called
the Ko'ran, which is the sacred volume of the Mussulmans.
CAPTURE OF MECCA BY MOHAMMED.
For a long while, Mohammed preached peace and gentleness and charity, and he won many followers. Then he came to believe
that if people would not obey his teachings, it was right to make
 war upon them. He marched against Mecca with a large army of his disciples, and soon captured it. After a time, either
by preaching or by fighting, the Mohammedans, or Mussulmans, became the rulers of all Arabia. After the death of their
prophet, they continued their conquests. They overcame Syria, Per'sia, Egypt, northern Africa, and Spain. A little
later they swarmed over the Pyrenees Mountains, and pushed on as far north as Tours. In
 732, just one hundred years after the death of Mohammed, the Mohammedans and the Franks met in battle on the plain of
Tours, and after a terrible combat the Mohammedans were so completely overwhelmed that they retreated toward Spain and
never again tried to conquer the land of the Franks.
CHARLES MARTEL IN THE BATTLE OF TOURS.
It was fortunate for all Europe that the Frankish troops were led by so valiant a warrior as Charles. He not only led,
but he fought with his own hands; and he swung his mighty battle-axe
 with such crushing blows that after this battle he was known as Charles the Hammer, or Charles Mar-tel'. It was
no wonder that when the long-haired Merovingian died who was then called king of the Franks, no one saw any need of
putting another on the throne while Charles lived.
When Charles Martel died, his son Pepin became mayor. He is known as Pepin the Short. By this time, the Pope had become
so powerful that kings liked to have his sanction to whatever they proposed to do. Before long, Pepin sent an embassy to
him to say, "Who ought to be king, the man who has the name or the man who has the power?" The Pope thought it
reasonable that the man who was really king should also be king in name; and so it came to pass that no more
Merovingians drove up from their farms once a year to sit on the throne for a day. Pepin was made king, and soon the
Pope traveled all the way from Rome to St. Den-is' near Paris, to crown the new sovereign and anoint him with the
sacred oil. He was the first king of the Car-o-lin'gi-an Line.
The sons of Clovis divide the kingdom. — Queen Clotilda and her grandsons. — The "do-nothing kings."—Their appearance in
public. — Charles and his army. — Feudal tenure. — The childhood of Mohammed. — The Kaaba. — Mohammed as a young man. — His
marriage. — His visions and preaching. — The Hegira. — The mosque in Medina. — The muezzin. — The Koran. — The conquests of the
Mohammedans. — The battle of Tours. — Charles Martel in battle. — Pepin becomes king.
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