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painters. There is, above all, a picture in the Campo Santo, at Pisa, which is described by M. Renan, the artist being Andrea Orcagna, and the date 1335; and in this picture, which represents the Inferno, there is a special bolge reserved for the leaders of misbelief. Three figures are there placed side by side: first, Mahomet, next Antichrist, and lastly a figure marked by a turban and long beard, and entwined in the folds of a serpent: this last is Averroes. But another phase of opinion was near at hand. Not only the race of the Suabian princes, but their traditions, having passed away, the sceptical spirit which had been cherished at their Court subsided as rapidly as it rose. The followers of Averroes were no longer regarded as of course enemies of the Church. No stronger proof of this can be given than that for a long period they held supremacy in the Catholic University of Padua. The faith" in Averroes came to mean faith in his commentary; that is, to regard him as the best and most trustworthy of all expounders of Aristotle. In like manner the Averroist tenet of a common intelligence was frittered down until it came to little more than the identity of spiritual principles and powers in the divers souls of men,_a dogma to which, as thus modified, no reasonable objection could be made. Still, however, we are to understand that the doctrines of Averroes, in their primitive sense, continued to be held and even taught in private by no small number of persons. In the mitigated form which Averroism had now assumed, or at least professed, it might still have continued during many years to bear sway in Northern Italy. But at the commencement of the sixteenth century, there came that great stir and upheaving of the human intellect which produced Luther, and in its results tore Christendom asunder. It was at work even earlier in Italy than in central Europe, but embraced other topics besides those of the Reformation, since even so fundamental a doctrine as the immortality of the soul was in some quarters frequently denied. Then, as had already happened in the thirteenth century, the sceptics, if they were not joined by the Averroists, endeavoured at least to shelter themselves under their name and authority. Then, as was natural and reasonable, the theologians took alarm. A Council was held at the Lateran, and in December, 1512, there was issued a Pontifical Bull, joining in one common condemnation the men who denied the immortality of the soul and the men who maintained the anima mundi. And in this manner came forth at last an authoritative decision of the Roman Catholic Church against, in one form or another, the favourite and distinctive tenet of Averroes.
In my view of the case, however, the decline of Averroism may be traced to a different cause and to a somewhat earlier period. Its decline, as I conceive, dates from the 4th of April, 1497, on which day a learned man, whose name is given, rose in his professorial chair at Padua to lecture upon Aristotle, then first from the original Greek." Then fell Averroes, never more to rise. For let it be remembered what was in truth the commentary of Averroes. It was derived by him from a faulty Arabic version, and it was transmitted by his disciples to the Western races in a faulty Latin version. How could a commentary thus exposed to a twofold cycle of errors in translation continue to hold its ground against other commentaries founded on the living, the authoritative, Greek 2 To conclude; there is only one other observation which I have to make. I should wish you to notice that the subject which I have chosen does not imply any knowledge of the original Arabic sources. If it did I could not have undertaken it without the most extreme presumption. But in truth the subject which I announced, and which accordingly I have now discussed, is solely the “influence” of the Arabic philosophy —its influence in mediaeval Europe. Now, as I have already had occasion to apprise you, that influence was exerted in every case and quite exclusively by means of Latin translations. It is therefore only with these translations. or with the testimonies to them, that my appointed subject has led me to deal, or that I have dealt, in the address which at this point I have the
* His name was Nicolas Leonicus Thomacus. See Renan, p. 385.
LEGENDS OF CHARLEMAGNE.
[Fraser's Magazine, July, 1866.]
LEGENDs and mythical stories of various kinds have often in the progress of time gathered around the memories of remarkable men. But there is one curious fact respecting them, which has only of late years been, I might, perhaps, say discovered—certainly, at least, acknowledged. They were formerly thought to have proceeded, like any other falsehoods, from a deliberate purpose to deceive. Now, on the contrary, it seems to be admitted by most persons that they spring up almost unconsciously, and in many cases with a full conviction of their truth by those who first composed them. The explanation of this the later, and, as I should say, the sounder view, is to be found in the following train of thought which we may assume to have passed in the mind of the credulous fabulist. The thing must have been so and so; therefore the thing was so and so. Such a man was a great hero—of course then he was eight feet high. Such a man was very learned—of course then he had studied the Black Art. Such a man was a Saint--of course then we cannot be wrong in ascribing to him any virtue or any marvel. A process of reasoning like this in the darker ages has sufficed to transform Attila into a giant, Virgil into a magician, and Mahomet into what he certainly never claimed to be, a worker of miracles. Thus does wonder crowd on wonder, each succeeding writer adding a new circumstance, until at last the true historical personage is obscured, and well nigh lost to sight in a cloud of legendary lore. On no period of history however have these legends settled more closely or in greater numbers than on the era of Charlemagne. That great Sovereign might well make a powerful impression on the popular mind. His dominion was as extensive as that of Napoleon, and indeed almost conterminous with it, while the duration of his reign was about three-fold. The excellence of his civil institutions enhanced the glory of his military exploits; and he looms high above the series both of his predecessors and of his descendants. The life and character of Charlemagne have been described with full authority by Eginhard, an accomplished man of letters, who knew him well, and who filled an office at his Court. This is in truth the only quite accurate and trustworthy record. But on the other hand, it is rather brief and summary, and might well appear to the next age incommensurate to the extent of his conquests and the lustre of his reign. In order to supply this popular craving, there came forth in the eleventh century a fabulous history of Charlemagne, falsely ascribed to Turpin, who in the days of the great Emperor had been Archbishop of Rheims. To the same effect, but in divers forms, and in every