the largest of these branches, that nearest to Gaul, is called Vahalum. In the days of Charlemagne the Rhine communicated with the Escaut by a branch of the Meuse which has since disappeared.
A great inundation, A. D. 860, obliterated many minor channels near the efflux, and opened new ones.
In the thirteenth century the Zuyder Zee was converted from an inland fresh-water lake into a gulf of the sea by a storm which destroyed the barrier between it and the latter.
The Roman legions under Drusus, B. C. 12, dug a canal between the Rhine and the small river Sala, as a military defence; this became enlarged into a third branch of the Rhine; it is mentioned by Pliny.
A fourth branch, the Leck, was created subsequently, in a similar manner, during an insurrection under Claudius Civilis.
When the Roman Empire fell to pieces, all engineering enterprises ceased, and the completed works fell into decay.
Charlemagne revived the project of uniting the Rhine and the Danube, so as to connec