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INTRODUCTION. The reign of Charlemagne has a two-fold interest -historical and biographical. Historically, it has a peculiar value and importance, as the era of the reconstruction of European society. For five centuries the northern hordes had been pouring down upon the Roman empire. That flood of barbarous invasion had swept Europe from side to side, from end to end. Goth, Saxon, Frank, Burgundian, Sclavon, Hun, Avar, rushed on in wild confusion ; the foremost in advance impelled onward by the ever-increasing pressure in the rear. In the storm and fury of these barbaric inroads, the whole fabric of society had been destroyed ; and, with a few exceptions, all the productions of ancient science, literature, and art, perished. All that has come down to us are but the fragments and relics rescued from that wreck. Well may that period be styled “the dark ages !” We use no hyperbole when we apply to it the language in which Scripture describes

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