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(17) [Page vii] - Introduction
i\.BOUT the middle of the ninth century of the Christian era, a tribe or
colony of Scandinavians, issuing from their native wilds of the North, and
following the footsteps of the Gothic and Vandalic tribes who had pre-
ceded them, advanced with their families and household possessions, —
resolved, in the more fertile parts of Europe, to purchase with their
swords a habitation and a country.
Under the appellation of Nordmen or Normans,* they appeared on
the frontiers of France ; and such was the fame of their power, and the
terror of their valour, that the once potent King of the Franks, whose
warriors, in a former age, would have exulted to meet them in the field,
now trembled on his throne. They demanded a settlement for them-
selves, and a wife for their leader, the far-famed and heroic Rollo.
* Nigellus, the poetical biographer of Louis le Debonair, gives the following de-
scription of the Normans : —
" Nort, quoque Francisco dicuntur nomine, manni,
" Veloces, agiles, armigerique nimis :
" Ipse quidem populus late pernotus habetur,
" Lintre dapes quaerit, incolitatque mare ;
" Pulcher adest facie, vultuque statuque decorus."
Hallatris Middle Ages, vol. i. fol. 27.

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