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Friday, February 08, 2013

The Carlovingian Coins

The Carlovingian Coins; or, The Daughters of Charlemagne by Eugene Sue

The Carlovingian Coins; or, The Daughters of Charlemagne by Eugene Sue, set in the 9th century, is the 9th volume of a history of France in novel form. The first part takes place is the court of Charlemagne at Aix-la Chapelle in the year 811 where two Gauls, old Amael and his grandson Vortigern, are hostages taken by Charlemagne's Frankish troops in an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Brittany. Charlemagne attempts to convince them of the benefits to Brittany were they to capitulate and become a part of his vast empire. They argue back for their independence, saying if he did conquer, they would never submit, and constantly be preparing a revolt that would be a drain on him. They convince him to leave Brittany alone so he can focus his resources on other enemies.

Part two takes place 7 years later when Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious attacks Brittany, and shows Vortigern leading the fierce resistance of the Gallic people defending their last homeland.

Amael, who is now ancient, was the young warrior of the previous novel in the series, The Abbatial Crosier, which was set set in the year 737 AD. Each book stands on its own, but together they show the ongoing struggle between the native Gauls of France and their Frankish conquerors.

The Age of Charlemagne is the watershed of the history of the present era. The rough barbarian flood that poured over Western Europe reaches in that age a turning point of which Charlemagne is eminently the incarnation. The primitive physical features of the barbarian begin to be blunted, or toned down by a new force that has lain latent in him, but that only then begins to step into activity—the spiritual, the intellectual powers. The Age of Charlemagne is the age of the first conflict between the intellectual and the brute in the principal branches of the races that occupied Europe. The conflict raged on a national scale, and it raged in each particular individual. The colossal stature, physical and mental, of Charlemagne himself typifies the epoch. Brute instincts of the most primitive and savage, intellectual aspirations of the loftiest are intermingled, each contends for supremacy—and alternately wins it, in the monarch, in his court and in his people.
The Carlovingian Coins; or, The Daughters of Charlemagne is the ninth of the brilliant series of historical novels written by Eugene Sue under the title, The Mysteries of the People; or, History of a Proletarian Family Across the Ages. The age and its people are portrayed in a charming and chaste narrative, that is fittingly and artistically brought to a close by a veritable epopee—the Frankish conquest of Brittany, and, as fittingly, serves to introduce the next epopee— the Northman's invasion of Gaul—dealt with in the following story, The Iron Arrow Head; or, The Buckler Maiden.
Daniel De Leon.
New York, May, 1905.


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