Cosmographers, having described the huge bulk of the entire world and accurately measured the circumference and surface of the land that is surrounded on all sides by an unbroken girdle of ocean, have divided all the land into three parts (reckoning them as Asia, Europe and Africa) by means of a celestial boundary line in the quadripartite sky, which they had measured by their understanding. Of those parts, Europe is cut by the beds of many rivers and denominated into various provinces; it is enclosed by a separating (note 1) boundary within various fatherlands. The most ample of these, the most plentiful of all the rest in its numerous crowd of innumerable men, is named Germania. There the Hister is called the Danube, a river rising from the apex of mount Adnoa, increasing profusely in a large number of streams and passing, tempestuous, from south to east and separating Germania from Scythia until it is taken back into the Black Sea.
Thus, spread over the plentiful space from the Danube to the neighborhood of the scythian Black Sea, do there inhabit fierce and barbarous nations, which are said to have burst forth in manifold variety like a swarm of bees from a honeycomb or a sword from a sheath, as is the barbarian custom, from the island of Scania, surrounded in different directions by the ocean. For indeed there is there a tract for the very many people of Alania, and the extremely well-supplied region of Dacia, and the very extensive passage of Greece. Dacia is the middle-most of these. Protected by very high alps in the manner of a crown and after the fashion of a city. With Mars' forewarning, raging warlike peoples inhabit those tortuous bends of extensive size, namely the Getae, also known as Goths, Sarmatians and Amacsobii, Tragoditae and Alans, and also very many nations who live by cultivating in the Baltic marshes. (note 2)
For these nations, greatly inflamed by lascivious unchastity, and ravishing very many women with singular baseness, by performing in this way, men beget from them countless filthy offspring through mingling in a union of unlawful sexual union. These offspring, who would have been superfluous had they continued after they had come to maturity by holdings of goods to dwell in the inadequate land which they inhabited, savagely fighting against their fathers and their grandfathers or more often amongst themselves, are driven out by lot - the multitude of those reaching puberty having been brought together - according to long-standing usage (note 3) , into the realms of foreign nations to obtain for themselves in battle realms whereby they might be able to live in never-ending peace, as did, for instance, the Getae, Goths who pillaged almost all of Europe up to where they now reside.
Besides, as the completion of their expulsions and departures, they would at some future time offer sacrifices, venerating their god Thor. They would not propitiate him by some offering of cattle or sheep or wine or grain, but they would sacrifice human blood, reckoning it the most precious of all offerings, and therefore, in accordance with the prior determination of a soothsayer priest, several victims would at the same time be struck abominably in the head by a team of oxen and, once the brain (note 4) of whichever one had been chosen by lot in that land was dashed by a solitary blow, that one would be thrown to the ground and the filament on the left side of his heart, that is the blood-vessel, would be hunted down. Besmearing their own heads and those of their followers, as is their custom, with his drained blood, they swiftly launch the canvas sails of their boats to the winds and, reckoning that they have appeased the winds by such business, they would swiftly ply the oars of their boats. If, on the other hand, after a more important casting of lots, horsemen were to depart, they would raise up the martial banners of battle. And thus, slipping away from their own borders, they would conceive a deadly plan for the extortion of other nations.
Indeed, they live in exile from their fathers, to butt manfully like rams against kings. They are sent away from their homes, destitute, to gain their banquets from strangers. They are deprived of the estates of their own families, to be calmly hired for those of others. Exiled, they are banished, to hunt, battling. They are thrust out from their own homes, to partake with those born in foreign lands. They are separated from their own nation, to give thanks for the holdings of foreigners. They are forsaken by their fathers, perhaps not to be seen by their mothers. The fierceness of the youths is aroused for the purpose of demolishing nations. The fatherland is delivered, cleansed for its own residents. Other provinces suffer greatly, vilely poisoned by so numerous an enemy. Thus do they pillage all the places which stand against them. They sail close to the coasts of the sea, to claim for themselves the spoils of the lands. Whatever they ravish from one realm, they escort to another. They beg for harbors as part of a negotiated peace, for the sake of exchanging ravished gain. (Thus the Dacians are called by their own people Greeks or Danes, and they boast that they are descended from Antenor. He entered with his followers the Illyrian borders, having slipped away from the midst of the Achaeans who pillaged Troy.)
For these Dacians, once ejected from their own lands by means of the reported rite, have savagely landed with duke Anstign where Francia extensively spreads out its tracts. So much does this accursed and headstrong, extremely cruel and harsh, destructive, troublesome, wild, ferocious, infamous, destructive and inconstant, brash, conceited and lawless, death-dealing, rude, everywhere on guard, rebellious traitor and kindler of evil, this double-faced hypocrite and ungodly, arrogant, seductive and foolhardy deceiver, this lewd, unbridled, contentious rascal, aggravate towards the starry height of heaven an increase of destructive evil and an augmentation of deceit (note 5) and through such accursed deeds is he more monstrous than all the rest, that he ought to be marked not by ink but by charcoal. He has defiled nations, fleeing hither and thither; and he has claimed their wealth for himself and his followers. He has attacked a powerful lordship in Gaul; he has unlawfully appropriated the Frankish realm for himself. He has profaned the priesthood; he has tread in the sacristy. With words and deeds he has challenged the king of the Franks who, with his followers, has dolefully remained inside the cities. He rages around the walls of the garrisons as does a wolf around the pens of sheep. He accounts the Franks, withdrawn in fear within their garrisons, of slight value. He pursues them all, as a lion does stags. Whomever he meets, discovered distant from the garrisons, he butchers. It becomes a carnage, as the disconsolate are slaughtered by the spear. The clergy is tormented, punished by a cruel death. Impious men deck themselves out in chasubles, which they snatch from the sacred altars. He wears the alb, dedicated to the office of the mass. Whoever takes up arms against them is slain in a cruel manner. The rest of the nation, feeble in arms, is led away, captive. Wives, ravished by many men, are lamentably led away, foreigners. Every girl is dishonorably deflowered by them. The old are dragged away, exiled far and wide along with the young. (note 6) They reduce every living being to a cash value. The mad frenzy grows, increased by many evils. The shrine, girded with religious objects, of the martyr Quentin, known for his merits in the heavens above, is torched. And so are all the other churches located in the territory of Vermandois. The monastery of Dionysius, Christ's champion, has been reduced to ashes by vanquishing Vulcan. Bishop Emmo of Noyon (alas, ah grief!) has been slain with his deacons on the fourth day before the kalends of May. And the whole nation, foresaken, is led captive to the ships. The basilicas of Medardus and Eligius, confessors of Christ, have been burned up by the very same impious men. The sacred church of the holy virgin Genovefa, located in Paris, has been consumed by the very same abominable ones. And, spread throughout Francia, almost all the other churches located outside a rampart are consumed.
As evil rages, Francia is foresaken, nearly emptied. It mourns, destitute of wine or grain, in which it had once been extremely richly endowed. It moans that it has been abandoned by its residents and deprived of its farmers. It wails, not tilled by the ploughshare, and uncultivated by the plough-coulter. The earth grows listless by resting, not worked by the exertion of oxen. The thoroughfares are not even recognized, not beaten down by the footsteps of men. As time rolls on, fields grow thick with a class of woods and shrubs and trees. Safety is bewailed as lost and confidence for life has passed away from men.
Those very same Dacians would take to the waters in navigation and, springing forth from there, would pillage the adjoining lands. They would attack, at night, the bodies of those lying buried in the calm of a forgetful deep sleep. After everything that met their eyes had been ravaged, they would return to the garrisons of their ships, taking everything as booty and never in all of Francia meeting with the combats of battle. Thus, when all had been summoned to consult concerning what to do about their business, Anstign, the most vile one of all, spoke for all of them: "The breezes we have wished for are becoming frequent and gentle favorable winds are blowing a path for us. If it does not displease you, let us go to Rome and subject it to our lordship, as we have Francia." This advice was very pleasing to them all and, once the sails have been selected by the booty-takers, they turn their prows away from the Frankish shores.
For indeed, having been carried far and wide over the deep billows and having claimed for themselves lands on both shores, wishing to arrive secretly at Rome, mistress of nations, they sailed to the town of Lux, which is called Luna. Thus the leaders of the city, terrified at the fearful assault of such men, fortified the town with very many armed men. The blasphemer Anstign, judging that the city could not be captured by all the arms in the world, devised the deceitful measure of a most abominable fraud. Thus, he sent a messenger to the count of the city and to the bishop, to say the following words to them. The messenger, standing in their sight, poured forth such words before them, saying: "Anstign duke of the Dacians and likewise all his followers, ejected with him by lot from Dacia, send you faithful service. It is not unknown to you that we, ejected by lot from Dacia, delivered by the whirling motion of the marvelous high waves of the sea, were carried around all the seas through the wave-driven main to the realm of the frankish-born nation. Also, we attacked this realm, granted to us by the allotment of the gods, we much struggled with all our strength in battles against the frankish-born nations, and we overthrew the whole region at the command of our lord. But wishing, when all had been subjugated to our authority, to return to the land of our birth, bruised first by unfavorable north winds, afterwards by contrary west and south winds, all unwilling we barely swam to your borders. We have not come to pillage your town by the sword, nor to escort the booty of your district to our boats. We do not have the strength for that, having been fatigued by so many dangers. We beseech you to grant us a negotiated peace, let us be permitted to buy what is needful. Our lord, enfeebled and filled with much grief, wishes to be redeemed by you through the salvation-giving font, and to become a Christian. And should he, in this infirmity, fall prey to death, to be buried in this city through your mercy and your compassion." Hearing this, the prelate and the count replied to the go-between, saying: "We are in favor of making with you a pact of never-ending alliance and of making your lord a Christian."
Moreover the go-between reported to his lord, that most abominable of all men, everything he himself had said fraudulently to them and everything he had heard, deceitful, from them. Thus, once the negotiated peace has been enacted, the treasonous pagans and the Christians have dealings with one another, both through many agreements and through many purchases and also through common assemblies. Meanwhile the bath is being readied by the bishop, but it will not benefit the treasonous one. The waters are sanctified, drained from the well's whirlpool. The tares are lit for the sacred mystery of the bath. The imposter Anstign, malevolent deviser of the deceitful measure, is carried in. Treasonous, he enters the font, which cleanses only his body. Impious, he has received baptism, to the destruction of his soul. He is received from sacrosanct baptism by the bishop and the count. Anointed with sacred chrism and oil, he is escorted as though he were sick. He is not physically ill, but a wretch mentally diseased through the pursuit of treachery. Bleached in body alone, he is carried off, as though sick, to the ship's company.
Thus, he immediately calls together the most vile ones of all to consult about his fraudulent deceit. He has made known to them the detestable secret which he had conceived, born of his mad heart: "When night is falling, notify the prelate and the count that I am dead and earnestly request, weeping greatly, that they have me buried, a neophyte, in their town. Say that you will give them swords and armbands, and whatever is rightfully mine." Moreover they, coming, as had been bidden, before the lords of the city, have said, wailing: "Our lord your godson, ah, the grief! has passed away. Wretched, we pray that you have him buried as in your monastery and take back those extremely great presents which he, dying, bade be given to you." And they indeed, ensnared by such sophism, and almost blinded by the giving and receiving of presents, have pledged that his body would be taken back and properly interred in the monastery. Moreover the calamity-causing go-betweens, having marched back, have reported what they had fraudulently procured.
Then that insolent mischievous one, rejoicing over their replies, summons the chief of each and every clan. Moreover, when they had all been assembled, Anstign, more vile than the most vile of them, has said: "Now, make a bier for me, and place me upon it as though I were dead. Place my arms in it with me and, with lamentations, station yourselves in a ring around them. Go howling through the streets, and compel your followers bewail me. Let your cry raise a tumult throughout our tents. Let the cry of those who preside over the ships sound along with that of the rest of the troops. Have armbands and belts borne before the bier. Display axes and swords adorned with gold and gems." What that calamity-causing one had commanded is no sooner said than done. The bawling of howlings and the roar of mourners is heard. The mountains resound, ringing with the cries of deceitful moaners.
The prelate calls together from the flatlands the nation scattered throughout the whole city. And the clergy comes, clad in religious garments. Likewise the leaders of that town, who are to be crowned by martyrdom. The feminine sex is present, to be escorted into exile. Of one mind they proceed to meet that monster placed on the bier. Schoolboys carry candlesticks and crosses, preceding their elders. Anstign, placed live on the bier, is carried by the pagans. And the Christians encounter the pagans at the city's outlet. He is carried, by both peoples, to the monastery where the tomb had been prepared for him. The bishop prepares himself to celebrate a mass for his godson. And in the choir stands the clergy, accustomed to singing most ceremoniously. The Christians to be butchered do not recognize the deceit of the deadly fraud. The mass is recited, solemnly celebrated. All the Christians partake of the mystical sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
These festivities of the mass having been properly completed and the pagans gradually assembled, the prelate has ordered the body brought forward for burial. The pagans, with great bawling, would beg for the bier and say, one after another, that it ought not to be buried. The Christians would stand firm, stunned by their replies. Then Anstign has jumped down from the bier and snatched his flashing sword from its sheath. The calamity-causing one has attacked the prelate, who is holding a book in his hand. He is slaughtering the prelate and, having overthrown the count, the clergy standing defenseless in the church as well. The pagans have blocked the doors of the sanctuary, so that no one can slip away. Then the frenzy of the pagans butchers the defenseless Christians. All upon whom the enemy's fury hits are delivered to the slaughter. They vent their rage within the enclosures of the shrine as do wolves within the pens of sheep. Women stifle the groan in their hearts and pour out useless tears. Young men and maidens are bound together with thongs. The last day of life befalls them all, and for all of them this lifetime is brief and irretrievable. Those doing battle overthrow all the hardier ones with whom they meet inside the walls of the town. The citizens are exhausted, grieving as Mars vents his rage. That nation which was presiding over the ships is now at the gates, open in both directions. With sword-point glittering, the iron battle-line stands closely drawn, ready for the slaughter. From both sides they join those already battling, fighting on every side. In a cruel manner they slay all with whom they meet who stand against them by force of arms.
At length the duel is drawn to a close for, alas, the company of Christians has been slain. For indeed the rest of the lamentable band is led away to the ships. Raging Anstign's frenzy is at rest because the leaders of the town have been overthrown. Anstign would boast with his followers, supposing that they have captured Rome, the head of the world. He gives thanks that he holds the monarchy of the whole empire through that town which he would reckon as Rome, which is the mistress of nations. After he has learned that it is not Rome, moved thus by anger, he has said: "Take booty from the entire province and torch that town. Conduct the captives and as much spoil as possible to the ships. Let the tillers of the soil of this land feel that we have busied ourselves in their territory." What the loathsome one commands, the attendant rejoices to comply with. The whole province is attacked, and vanquished by a most vile enemy. The greatest possible carnage is brought to pass, captives are led to the ships. By sword and fire they ravage everything which has been in their presence. Once these things are completed, they load the ships with captives and spoil. Now they turn the prows to lead them to the realm of the Frankish-born nation. They traverse the sail-winged sea, returning to the realm of Francia.
Valiant, hardy, headstrong, steady, robust and circumspect,
Law-giving, distinguished, mild, gentle, splendid,
Vigorous, trusty, courteous, zealous in matters of warfare
And excelling in all things, mighty and skilled in victories,
You, Francia, at one time vanquishing so many arrogant nations in battle,
Extravagantly intent upon compassionate and respectable obligations,
Having obtained twice thrice three realms for your empire,
Having moreover dominated a populace that wished to
Scatter you like hairs and defile you in a fruitless effort,
But, having neglected the law, (note 7) having scorned the commands of the lord
Who thunders beyond the stars, you now lie prostrate,
Filled beyond measure with the heaped-up weight of such an accursed deed
And with every filth, (note 8) sitting on your arms, shamefaced,
Thunderstruck and stunned, sluggish beyond measure, uneasy, disconsolate,
Downtrodden, challenged, scorned and rebuked
By troublesome, filthy, wild, accursed, (note 9)
Mischievous, arrogant, conceited, infamous culprits.
For, restored to arms, arise speedily, draw swiftly nigh
And now search for some measure that will be salutary for both you and yours.
Write down the commands of your God, reciting every one aloud,
And let the sin of your public trial, dreadful in its many mistakes,
Cause you repentance, shame, disgust and horror.
Another generation is being sent away from that Dacia
To slide with vigorous oar through the arrogant billows.
Through time it will wage many combats against you,
Prosecuting martial battles with robust spears,
Fierce, it will pound thousands of Franks, waging war.
In the end, resting in peace by a favorable alliance,
It will grow tame, it will be at hand, it will pound with a sword
Those arrogant nations refusing to serve you zealously,
And it will place your name and your empire on the level of heaven.
Oh fortunate one, oh three and four and a thousand times bountiful,
Be well and hail, celebrating and reigning without end!
Notes:1. Preferring the "diremptionis" of Rouen 1173 and other mss.
2. Preferring the "in meotidibus" of Rouen 1173 and others; the "Meotic Marshes" are frequently the Sea of Azov but can also refer to the Baltic.
3. Preferring the "veterrimo ritu" of Bern Bongars 390 and other witnesses.
4. Preferring the "cerebro" of Rouen 1173 and others.
5. Preferring the "doli" of Rouen 1173 and others.
6. Preferring the "cum iuuenibus" of Rouen 1173 and others.
7. Preferring the "Legeque" of Rouen BM 1173 and other witnesses.
8. Preferring the "cuncto spurcamine" of Rouen BM 1173 and others.
9. Preferring the "sceleratis" of Rouen BM 1173 and others.