THE DIM BEGINNINGS OF GENEVA'S PROBLEMS

BUT the Slavs were not the only people on the move in Eastern Europe. The Finno-Ugrian tribes on the Volga had already moved on, and into the places they left went the Slavs, occupying nearly all European Russia except the south-east, which the Asiatics ruled and along the frontiers of which there was perpetual war. These Finno-Ugrians had moved westward in two waves. In the sixth and seventh centuries the Bulgars had gone south-westward, penetrated into the Balkans beside the mouth of the Danube, and in the plain of the Maritza and on the slopes of the Balkan ranges had founded an empire among the less warlike Slav invaders. They adopted the speech and customs of the conquered, to the great embarrassment of later politicians, and, under warrior-kings, created a great Balkan empire which endured until the Byzantium they had threatened rallied under a new dynasty, and under Basil II. (976-1025), crushed them for generations. The routes and objects of the second wave are less well known. By the end of the ninth century the nomad horsemen of the Magyars were raiding into Germany and even crossing the Rhine. The heavy armed horse and foot of the German nobles were no match for them, until finally the skill of the Emperor Otto I. destroyed their main army in the battle of the Lechfeld (955) and drove them back to found in the Danubian plain a kingdom which was composed of Magyar nobles and a subject population of Slavs and Dacians. Here there was no absorption. The races remained distinct, to, contribute to the twentieth century the worst of its nationality problems. The Magyars were the last menace that the German state had to meet for many a year. While Hugh Capet, as the most powerful noble in France, had founded a dynasty (987) which, in spite of all the turbulence of its vassals, was permanent, the German state to which the title deeds to the Holy Roman Empire had descended had become a prey to the great houses. A strong ruler united the Empire ; a weak one had to struggle with civil war. But, in 911, Henry the Fowler founded a dynasty which lasted a century, and gave to Germany the three Ottos. Under their vigorous rule the Empire expanded eastward and the new Slav states, like Bohemia and Poland, found it politic not merely to accept their overlordship, but also to accept Latin Christianity. The ground plan of modern Europe was being laid down. Under these three emperors the Empire was supreme. The Papacy, which had become the bone of contention between Italian noble houses, was sunk in disorder and corruption which the intervention of the Emperor was powerless to check.