chapter  II
THE NORTHMEN
Pages 24

FROM the time of Charlemagne, all the populations of Germanic speech living to the south of Jutland, being thenceforward Christians and incorporated in the Frankish kingdoms, came under the influence of Western civilization. But farther to the north lived other Germans who had preserved their independence and their own traditions. Their speech, differing among themselves, but differing much more from the idioms of Germany properly so-called, belonged to another of the branches that sprang originally from the common linguistic stock; we call this today the Scandinavian branch. The contrast between their culture and that of their more southerly neighbours had been clearly marked after the great migrations which, in the second and third centuries of our era, had almost depopulated the German lands along the Baltic and about the mouth of the Elbe and thus removed many intermediate and transitional elements.