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Title: History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 6
Author: Gibbon, Edward, 1737-1794
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 6" ***

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Edward Gibbon, Esq.

With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman

Vol. 6 (complete)

1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

     Transcriber's Note

     This is the sixth volume of the six volumes of Edward Gibbon's History
     Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. If you find any errors
     please feel free to notify me of them. I want to make this the best
     etext edition possible for both scholars and the general public. I
     would like to thank those who have helped in making this text better.
     Especially Dale R. Fredrickson who has hand entered the Greek characters
     in the footnotes and who has suggested retaining the conjoined ae
     character in the text. Haradda@aol.com and davidr@inconnect.com are my
     email addresses for now. Please feel free to send me your comments and I
     hope you enjoy this.

     David Reed

Chapter LIX: The Crusades.--Part I.

     Preservation Of The Greek Empire.--Numbers, Passage, And
     Event, Of The Second And Third Crusades.--St. Bernard.--
     Reign Of Saladin In Egypt And Syria.--His Conquest Of
     Jerusalem.--Naval Crusades.--Richard The First Of England.--
     Pope Innocent The Third; And The Fourth And Fifth Crusades.--
     The Emperor Frederic The Second.--Louis The Ninth Of
     France; And The Two Last Crusades.--Expulsion Of The Latins
     Or Franks By The Mamelukes.

In a style less grave than that of history, I should perhaps compare the
emperor Alexius [1] to the jackal, who is said to follow the steps, and
to devour the leavings, of the lion. Whatever had been his fears and
toils in the passage of the first crusade, they were amply recompensed
by the subsequent benefits which he derived from the exploits of the
Franks. His dexterity and vigilance secured their first conquest of
Nice; and from this threatening station the Turks were compelled to
evacuate the neighborhood of Constantinople. While the crusaders, with
blind valor, advanced into the midland countries of Asia, the crafty
Greek improved the favorable occasion when the emirs of the sea-coast
were recalled to the standard of the sultan. The Turks were driven from
the Isles of Rhodes and Chios: the cities of Ephesus and Smyrna, of
Sardes, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, were restored to the empire, which
Alexius enlarged from the Hellespont to the banks of the Mæander, and
the rocky shores of Pamphylia. The churches resumed their splendor: the
towns were rebuilt and fortified; and the desert country was peopled
with colonies of Christians, who were gently removed from the more
distant and dangerous frontier. In these paternal cares, we may forgive
Alexius, if he forgot the deliverance of the holy sepulchre; but, by
the Latins, he was stigmatized with the foul reproach of treason and
desertion. They had sworn fidelity and obedience to his throne; but _he_
had promised to assist their enterprise in person, or, at least, with
his troops and treasures: his base retreat dissolved their obligations;
and the sword, which had been the instrument of their victory, was the
pledge and title of their just independence. It does not appear that
the emperor attempted to revive his obsolete claims over the kingdom of
Jerusalem; [2] but the borders of Cilicia and Syria were more recent in
his possession, and more accessible to his arms. The great army of the
crusaders was annihilated or dispersed; the principality of Antioch
was left without a head, by the surprise and captivity of Bohemond; his
ransom had oppressed him with a heavy debt; and his Norman followers
were insufficient to repel the hostilities of the Greeks and Turks. In
this distress, Bohemond embraced a magnanimous resolution, of leaving
the defence of Antioch to his kinsman, the faithful Tancred; of arming
the West against the Byzantine empire; and of executing the design which
he inherited from the lessons and example of his father Guiscard.
His embarkation was clandestine: and, if we may credit a tale of the
princess Anne, he passed the hostile sea closely secreted in a coffin.
[3] But his reception in France was dignified by the public applause, and
his marriage with the king's daughter: his return was glorious, since
the bravest spirits of the age enlisted under his veteran command; and
he repassed the Adriatic at the head of five thousand horse and forty
thousand foot, assembled from the most remote climates of Europe. [4] The
strength of Durazzo, and prudence of Alexius, the progress of famine
and approach of winter, eluded his ambitious hopes; and the venal
confederates were seduced from his standard. A treaty of peace [5]
suspended the fears of the Greeks; and they were finally delivered by
the death of an adversary, whom neither oaths could bind, nor dangers
could appal, nor prosperity could satiate. His children succeeded to the
principality of Antioch; but the boundaries were strictly defined, the
homage was clearly stipulated, and the cities of Tarsus and Malmistra
were restored to the Byzantine emperors. Of the coast of Anatolia, they
possessed the entire circuit from Trebizond to the Syrian gates. The
Seljukian dynasty of Roum [6] was separated on all sides from the sea
and their Mussulman brethren; the power of the sultan was shaken by
the victories and even the defeats of the Franks; and after the loss of
Nice, they removed their throne to Cogni or Iconium, an obscure and in
land town above three hundred miles from Constantinople. [7] Instead of
trembling for their capital, the Comnenian princes waged an offensive
war against the Turks, and the first crusade prevented the fall of the
declining empire.

[Footnote 1: Anna Comnena relates her father's conquests in Asia Minor
Alexiad, l. xi. p. 321--325, l. xiv. p. 419; his Cilician war against
Tancred and Bohemond, p. 328--324; the war of Epirus, with tedious
prolixity, l. xii. xiii. p. 345--406; the death of Bohemond, l. xiv. p.

[Footnote 2: The kings of Jerusalem submitted, however, to a nominal
dependence, and in the dates of their inscriptions, (one is still
legible in the church of Bethlem,) they respectfully placed before
their own the name of the reigning emperor, (Ducange, Dissertations sur
Joinville xxvii. p. 319.)]

[Footnote 3: Anna Comnena adds, that, to complete the imitation, he was
shut up with a dead cock; and condescends to wonder how the Barbarian
could endure the confinement and putrefaction. This absurd tale is
unknown to the Latins. * Note: The Greek writers, in general, Zonaras,
p. 2, 303, and Glycas, p. 334 agree in this story with the princess
Anne, except in the absurd addition of the dead cock. Ducange has
already quoted some instances where a similar stratagem had been adopted
by _Norman_ princes. On this authority Wilken inclines to believe the
fact. Appendix to vol. ii. p. 14.--M.]

[Footnote 4: 'Apo QulhV in the Byzantine geography, must mean England;
yet we are more credibly informed, that our Henry I. would not suffer
him to levy any troops in his kingdom, (Ducange, Not. ad Alexiad. p.

[Footnote 5: The copy of the treaty (Alexiad. l. xiii. p. 406--416) is
an original and curious piece, which would require, and might afford, a
good map of the principality of Antioch.]

[Footnote 6: See, in the learned work of M. De Guignes, (tom. ii. part
ii.,) the history of the Seljukians of Iconium, Aleppo, and Damascus,
as far as it may be collected from the Greeks, Latins, and Arabians. The
last are ignorant or regardless of the affairs of _Roum_.]

[Footnote 7: Iconium is mentioned as a station by Xenophon, and by
Strabo, with an ambiguous title of KwmopoliV, (Cellarius, tom. ii. p.
121.) Yet St. Paul found in that place a multitude (plhqoV) of Jews
and Gentiles. under the corrupt name of _Kunijah_, it is described as a
great city, with a river and garden, three leagues from the mountains,
and decorated (I know not why) with Plato's tomb, (Abulfeda, tabul.
xvii. p. 303 vers. Reiske; and the Index Geographicus of Schultens from
Ibn Said.)]

In the twelfth century, three great emigrations marched by land from the
West for the relief of Palestine. The soldiers and pilgrims of Lombardy,
France, and Germany were excited by the example and success of the
first crusade. [8] Forty-eight years after the deliverance of the holy
sepulchre, the emperor, and the French king, Conrad the Third and
Louis the Seventh, undertook the second crusade to support the falling
fortunes of the Latins. [9] A grand division of the third crusade was
led by the emperor Frederic Barbarossa, [10] who sympathized with his
brothers of France and England in the common loss of Jerusalem. These
three expeditions may be compared in their resemblance of the greatness
of numbers, their passage through the Greek empire, and the nature
and event of their Turkish warfare, and a brief parallel may save the
repetition of a tedious narrative. However splendid it may seem, a
regular story of the crusades would exhibit the perpetual return of the
same causes and effects; and the frequent attempts for the defence or
recovery of the Holy Land would appear so many faint and unsuccessful
copies of the original.

[Footnote 8: For this supplement to the first crusade, see Anna Comnena,
(Alexias, l. xi. p. 331, &c., and the viiith book of Albert Aquensis.)]

[Footnote 9: For the second crusade, of Conrad III. and Louis VII.,
see William of Tyre, (l. xvi. c. 18--19,) Otho of Frisingen, (l. i. c.
34--45 59, 60,) Matthew Paris, (Hist. Major. p. 68,) Struvius, (Corpus
Hist Germanicæ, p. 372, 373,) Scriptores Rerum Francicarum à Duchesne
tom. iv.: Nicetas, in Vit. Manuel, l. i. c. 4, 5, 6, p. 41--48, Cinnamus
l. ii. p. 41--49.]

[Footnote 10: For the third crusade, of Frederic Barbarossa, see Nicetas
in Isaac Angel. l. ii. c. 3--8, p. 257--266. Struv. (Corpus. Hist. Germ.
p. 414,) and two historians, who probably were spectators, Tagino, (in
Scriptor. Freher. tom. i. p. 406--416, edit Struv.,) and the Anonymus de
Expeditione Asiaticâ Fred. I. (in Canisii Antiq. Lection. tom. iii. p.
ii. p. 498--526, edit. Basnage.)]

I. Of the swarms that so closely trod in the footsteps of the first
pilgrims, the chiefs were equal in rank, though unequal in fame and
merit, to Godfrey of Bouillon and his fellow-adventurers. At their
head were displayed the banners of the dukes of Burgundy, Bavaria, and
Aquitain; the first a descendant of Hugh Capet, the second, a father
of the Brunswick line: the archbishop of Milan, a temporal prince,
transported, for the benefit of the Turks, the treasures and ornaments
of his church and palace; and the veteran crusaders, Hugh the Great and
Stephen of Chartres, returned to consummate their unfinished vow. The
huge and disorderly bodies of their followers moved forward in two
columns; and if the first consisted of two hundred and sixty thousand
persons, the second might possibly amount to sixty thousand horse and
one hundred thousand foot. [11] [111] The armies of the second crusade might
have claimed the conquest of Asia; the nobles of France and Germany
were animated by the presence of their sovereigns; and both the rank and
personal character of Conrad and Louis gave a dignity to their cause,
and a discipline to their force, which might be vainly expected from the
feudatory chiefs. The cavalry of the emperor, and that of the king,
was each composed of seventy thousand knights, and their immediate
attendants in the field; [12] and if the light-armed troops, the peasant
infantry, the women and children, the priests and monks, be rigorously
excluded, the full account will scarcely be satisfied with four hundred
thousand souls. The West, from Rome to Britain, was called into action;
the kings of Poland and Bohemia obeyed the summons of Conrad; and it is
affirmed by the Greeks and Latins, that, in the passage of a strait
or river, the Byzantine agents, after a tale of nine hundred thousand,
desisted from the endless and formidable computation. [13] In the third
crusade, as the French and English preferred the navigation of the
Mediterranean, the host of Frederic Barbarossa was less numerous.
Fifteen thousand knights, and as many squires, were the flower of the
German chivalry: sixty thousand horse, and one hundred thousand foot,
were mustered by the emperor in the plains of Hungary; and after such
repetitions, we shall no longer be startled at the six hundred thousand
pilgrims, which credulity has ascribed to this last emigration. [14] Such
extravagant reckonings prove only the astonishment of contemporaries;
but their astonishment most strongly bears testimony to the existence
of an enormous, though indefinite, multitude. The Greeks might applaud
their superior knowledge of the arts and stratagems of war, but they
confessed the strength and courage of the French cavalry, and the
infantry of the Germans; [15] and the strangers are described as an iron
race, of gigantic stature, who darted fire from their eyes, and spilt
blood like water on the ground. Under the banners of Conrad, a troop of
females rode in the attitude and armor of men; and the chief of these
Amazons, from her gilt spurs and buskins, obtained the epithet of the
Golden-footed Dame.

[Footnote 11: Anne, who states these later swarms at 40,000 horse and
100,000 foot, calls them Normans, and places at their head two brothers
of Flanders. The Greeks were strangely ignorant of the names, families,
and possessions of the Latin princes.]

[Footnote 111: It was this army of pilgrims, the first body of which was
headed by the archbishop of Milan and Count Albert of Blandras, which
set forth on the wild, yet, with a more disciplined army, not impolitic,
enterprise of striking at the heart of the Mahometan power, by attacking
the sultan in Bagdad. For their adventures and fate, see Wilken, vol.
ii. p. 120, &c., Michaud, book iv.--M.]

[Footnote 12: William of Tyre, and Matthew Paris, reckon 70,000 loricati
in each of the armies.]

[Footnote 13: The imperfect enumeration is mentioned by Cinnamus,
(ennenhkonta muriadeV,) and confirmed by Odo de Diogilo apud Ducange ad
Cinnamum, with the more precise sum of 900,556. Why must therefore the
version and comment suppose the modest and insufficient reckoning of
90,000? Does not Godfrey of Viterbo (Pantheon, p. xix. in Muratori, tom.
vii. p. 462) exclaim?
----Numerum si poscere quæras,
Millia millena militis agmen erat.]

[Footnote 14: This extravagant account is given by Albert of Stade,
(apud Struvium, p. 414;) my calculation is borrowed from Godfrey of
Viterbo, Arnold of Lubeck, apud eundem, and Bernard Thesaur. (c. 169, p.
804.) The original writers are silent. The Mahometans gave him 200,000,
or 260,000, men, (Bohadin, in Vit. Saladin, p. 110.)]

[Footnote 15: I must observe, that, in the second and third crusades,
the subjects of Conrad and Frederic are styled by the Greeks and
Orientals _Alamanni_. The Lechi and Tzechi of Cinnamus are the Poles
and Bohemians; and it is for the French that he reserves the ancient
appellation of Germans. He likewise names the Brittioi, or Britannoi. *
Note: * He names both--Brittioi te kai Britanoi.--M.]

II. The number and character of the strangers was an object of terror
to the effeminate Greeks, and the sentiment of fear is nearly allied
to that of hatred. This aversion was suspended or softened by the
apprehension of the Turkish power; and the invectives of the Latins will
not bias our more candid belief, that the emperor Alexius dissembled
their insolence, eluded their hostilities, counselled their rashness,
and opened to their ardor the road of pilgrimage and conquest. But
when the Turks had been driven from Nice and the sea-coast, when the
Byzantine princes no longer dreaded the distant sultans of Cogni, they
felt with purer indignation the free and frequent passage of the western
Barbarians, who violated the majesty, and endangered the safety, of the
empire. The second and third crusades were undertaken under the reign
of Manuel Comnenus and Isaac Angelus. Of the former, the passions were
always impetuous, and often malevolent; and the natural union of a
cowardly and a mischievous temper was exemplified in the latter, who,
without merit or mercy, could punish a tyrant, and occupy his throne. It
was secretly, and perhaps tacitly, resolved by the prince and people to
destroy, or at least to discourage, the pilgrims, by every species
of injury and oppression; and their want of prudence and discipline
continually afforded the pretence or the opportunity. The Western
monarchs had stipulated a safe passage and fair market in the country
of their Christian brethren; the treaty had been ratified by oaths and
hostages; and the poorest soldier of Frederic's army was furnished with
three marks of silver to defray his expenses on the road. But every
engagement was violated by treachery and injustice; and the complaints
of the Latins are attested by the honest confession of a Greek
historian, who has dared to prefer truth to his country. [16] Instead
of a hospitable reception, the gates of the cities, both in Europe and
Asia, were closely barred against the crusaders; and the scanty pittance
of food was let down in baskets from the walls. Experience or foresight
might excuse this timid jealousy; but the common duties of humanity
prohibited the mixture of chalk, or other poisonous ingredients, in
the bread; and should Manuel be acquitted of any foul connivance, he
is guilty of coining base money for the purpose of trading with the
pilgrims. In every step of their march they were stopped or misled: the
governors had private orders to fortify the passes and break down the
bridges against them: the stragglers were pillaged and murdered:
the soldiers and horses were pierced in the woods by arrows from an
invisible hand; the sick were burnt in their beds; and the dead bodies
were hung on gibbets along the highways. These injuries exasperated the
champions of the cross, who were not endowed with evangelical patience;
and the Byzantine princes, who had provoked the unequal conflict,
promoted the embarkation and march of these formidable guests. On the
verge of the Turkish frontier Barbarossa spared the guilty Philadelphia,
[17] rewarded the hospitable Laodicea, and deplored the hard necessity
that had stained his sword with any drops of Christian blood. In their
intercourse with the monarchs of Germany and France, the pride of the
Greeks was exposed to an anxious trial. They might boast that on the
first interview the seat of Louis was a low stool, beside the throne
of Manuel; [18] but no sooner had the French king transported his army
beyond the Bosphorus, than he refused the offer of a second conference,
unless his brother would meet him on equal terms, either on the sea or
land. With Conrad and Frederic, the ceremonial was still nicer and more
difficult: like the successors of Constantine, they styled themselves
emperors of the Romans; [19] and firmly maintained the purity of their
title and dignity. The first of these representatives of Charlemagne
would only converse with Manuel on horseback in the open field; the
second, by passing the Hellespont rather than the Bosphorus, declined
the view of Constantinople and its sovereign. An emperor, who had
been crowned at Rome, was reduced in the Greek epistles to the humble
appellation of _Rex_, or prince, of the Alemanni; and the vain and
feeble Angelus affected to be ignorant of the name of one of the
greatest men and monarchs of the age. While they viewed with hatred and
suspicion the Latin pilgrims the Greek emperors maintained a strict,
though secret, alliance with the Turks and Saracens. Isaac Angelus
complained, that by his friendship for the great Saladin he had incurred
the enmity of the Franks; and a mosque was founded at Constantinople for
the public exercise of the religion of Mahomet. [20]

[Footnote 16: Nicetas was a child at the second crusade, but in
the third he commanded against the Franks the important post of
Philippopolis. Cinnamus is infected with national prejudice and pride.]

[Footnote 17: The conduct of the Philadelphians is blamed by Nicetas,
while the anonymous German accuses the rudeness of his countrymen,
(culpâ nostrâ.) History would be pleasant, if we were embarrassed only
by _such_ contradictions. It is likewise from Nicetas, that we learn the
pious and humane sorrow of Frederic.]

[Footnote 18: Cqamalh edra, which Cinnamus translates into Latin by the
word Sellion. Ducange works very hard to save his king and country from
such ignominy, (sur Joinville, dissertat. xxvii. p. 317--320.) Louis
afterwards insisted on a meeting in mari ex æquo, not ex equo, according
to the laughable readings of some MSS.]

[Footnote 19: Ego Romanorum imperator sum, ille Romaniorum, (Anonym
Canis. p. 512.) The public and historical style of the Greeks was
Rhx... _princeps_. Yet Cinnamus owns, that 'Imperatwr is synonymous to

[Footnote 20: In the Epistles of Innocent III., (xiii. p. 184,) and the
History of Bohadin, (p. 129, 130,) see the views of a pope and a cadhi
on this _singular_toleration.]

III. The swarms that followed the first crusade were destroyed in
Anatolia by famine, pestilence, and the Turkish arrows; and the princes
only escaped with some squadrons of horse to accomplish their lamentable
pilgrimage. A just opinion may be formed of their knowledge and
humanity; of their knowledge, from the design of subduing Persia and
Chorasan in their way to Jerusalem; [201] of their humanity, from the
massacre of the Christian people, a friendly city, who came out to meet
them with palms and crosses in their hands. The arms of Conrad and Louis
were less cruel and imprudent; but the event of the second crusade was
still more ruinous to Christendom; and the Greek Manuel is accused by
his own subjects of giving seasonable intelligence to the sultan, and
treacherous guides to the Latin princes. Instead of crushing the common
foe, by a double attack at the same time but on different sides,
the Germans were urged by emulation, and the French were retarded by
jealousy. Louis had scarcely passed the Bosphorus when he was met by
the returning emperor, who had lost the greater part of his army in
glorious, but unsuccessful, actions on the banks of the Mæander. The
contrast of the pomp of his rival hastened the retreat of Conrad: [202]
the desertion of his independent vassals reduced him to his hereditary
troops; and he borrowed some Greek vessels to execute by sea the
pilgrimage of Palestine. Without studying the lessons of experience,
or the nature of the war, the king of France advanced through the same
country to a similar fate. The vanguard, which bore the royal banner and
the oriflamme of St. Denys, [21] had doubled their march with rash and
inconsiderate speed; and the rear, which the king commanded in person,
no longer found their companions in the evening camp. In darkness and
disorder, they were encompassed, assaulted, and overwhelmed, by the
innumerable host of Turks, who, in the art of war, were superior to the
Christians of the twelfth century. [211] Louis, who climbed a tree in the
general discomfiture, was saved by his own valor and the ignorance of
his adversaries; and with the dawn of day he escaped alive, but
almost alone, to the camp of the vanguard. But instead of pursuing his
expedition by land, he was rejoiced to shelter the relics of his army
in the friendly seaport of Satalia. From thence he embarked for Antioch;
but so penurious was the supply of Greek vessels, that they could
only afford room for his knights and nobles; and the plebeian crowd of
infantry was left to perish at the foot of the Pamphylian hills. The
emperor and the king embraced and wept at Jerusalem; their martial
trains, the remnant of mighty armies, were joined to the Christian
powers of Syria, and a fruitless siege of Damascus was the final effort
of the second crusade. Conrad and Louis embarked for Europe with the
personal fame of piety and courage; but the Orientals had braved these
potent monarchs of the Franks, with whose names and military forces they
had been so often threatened. [22] Perhaps they had still more to fear
from the veteran genius of Frederic the First, who in his youth had
served in Asia under his uncle Conrad. Forty campaigns in Germany and
Italy had taught Barbarossa to command; and his soldiers, even the
princes of the empire, were accustomed under his reign to obey. As soon
as he lost sight of Philadelphia and Laodicea, the last cities of the
Greek frontier, he plunged into the salt and barren desert, a land (says
the historian) of horror and tribulation. [23] During twenty days, every
step of his fainting and sickly march was besieged by the innumerable
hordes of Turkmans, [24] whose numbers and fury seemed after each defeat
to multiply and inflame. The emperor continued to struggle and to
suffer; and such was the measure of his calamities, that when he reached
the gates of Iconium, no more than one thousand knights were able to
serve on horseback. By a sudden and resolute assault he defeated the
guards, and stormed the capital of the sultan, [25] who humbly sued for
pardon and peace. The road was now open, and Frederic advanced in a
career of triumph, till he was unfortunately drowned in a petty torrent
of Cilicia. [26] The remainder of his Germans was consumed by sickness
and desertion: and the emperor's son expired with the greatest part
of his Swabian vassals at the siege of Acre. Among the Latin heroes,
Godfrey of Bouillon and Frederic Barbarossa could alone achieve the
passage of the Lesser Asia; yet even their success was a warning; and
in the last and most experienced age of the crusades, every nation
preferred the sea to the toils and perils of an inland expedition. [27]

[Footnote 201: This was the design of the pilgrims under the archbishop of
Milan. See note, p. 102.--M.]

[Footnote 202: Conrad had advanced with part of his army along a central
road, between that on the coast and that which led to Iconium. He
had been betrayed by the Greeks, his army destroyed without a battle.
Wilken, vol. iii. p. 165. Michaud, vol. ii. p. 156. Conrad advanced
again with Louis as far as Ephesus, and from thence, at the invitation
of Manuel, returned to Constantinople. It was Louis who, at the passage
of the Mæander, was engaged in a "glorious action." Wilken, vol. iii. p.
179. Michaud vol. ii. p. 160. Gibbon followed Nicetas.--M.]

[Footnote 21: As counts of Vexin, the kings of France were the vassals
and advocates of the monastery of St. Denys. The saint's peculiar
banner, which they received from the abbot, was of a square form, and
a red or _flaming_ color. The _oriflamme_ appeared at the head of
the French armies from the xiith to the xvth century, (Ducange sur
Joinville, Dissert. xviii. p. 244--253.)]

[Footnote 211: They descended the heights to a beautiful valley which
by beneath them. The Turks seized the heights which separated the two
divisions of the army. The modern historians represent differently the
act to which Louis owed his safety, which Gibbon has described by the
undignified phrase, "he climbed a tree." According to Michaud, vol.
ii. p. 164, the king got upon a rock, with his back against a tree;
according to Wilken, vol. iii., he dragged himself up to the top of
the rock by the roots of a tree, and continued to defend himself till

[Footnote 22: The original French histories of the second crusade are
the Gesta Ludovici VII. published in the ivth volume of Duchesne's
collection. The same volume contains many original letters of the king,
of Suger his minister, &c., the best documents of authentic history.]

[Footnote 23: Terram horroris et salsuginis, terram siccam sterilem,
inamnam. Anonym. Canis. p. 517. The emphatic language of a sufferer.]

[Footnote 24: Gens innumera, sylvestris, indomita, prædones sine
ductore. The sultan of Cogni might sincerely rejoice in their defeat.
Anonym. Canis. p. 517, 518.]

[Footnote 25: See, in the anonymous writer in the Collection of
Canisius, Tagino and Bohadin, (Vit. Saladin. p. 119, 120,) the ambiguous
conduct of Kilidge Arslan, sultan of Cogni, who hated and feared both
Saladin and Frederic.]

[Footnote 26: The desire of comparing two great men has tempted many
writers to drown Frederic in the River Cydnus, in which Alexander so
imprudently bathed, (Q. Curt. l. iii c. 4, 5.) But, from the march of
the emperor, I rather judge, that his Saleph is the Calycadnus, a stream
of less fame, but of a longer course. * Note: It is now called the
Girama: its course is described in M'Donald Kinneir's Travels.--M.]

[Footnote 27: Marinus Sanutus, A.D. 1321, lays it down as a precept,
Quod stolus ecclesiæ per terram nullatenus est ducenda. He resolves,
by the divine aid, the objection, or rather exception, of the first
crusade, (Secreta Fidelium Crucis, l. ii. pars ii. c. i. p. 37.)]

The enthusiasm of the first crusade is a natural and simple event, while
hope was fresh, danger untried, and enterprise congenial to the spirit
of the times. But the obstinate perseverance of Europe may indeed excite
our pity and admiration; that no instruction should have been drawn from
constant and adverse experience; that the same confidence should have
repeatedly grown from the same failures; that six succeeding generations
should have rushed headlong down the precipice that was open before
them; and that men of every condition should have staked their public
and private fortunes on the desperate adventure of possessing or
recovering a tombstone two thousand miles from their country. In a
period of two centuries after the council of Clermont, each spring and
summer produced a new emigration of pilgrim warriors for the defence of
the Holy Land; but the seven great armaments or crusades were excited
by some impending or recent calamity: the nations were moved by the
authority of their pontiffs, and the example of their kings: their zeal
was kindled, and their reason was silenced, by the voice of their holy
orators; and among these, Bernard, [28] the monk, or the saint, may claim
the most honorable place. [281] About eight years before the first conquest
of Jerusalem, he was born of a noble family in Burgundy; at the age of
three-and-twenty he buried himself in the monastery of Citeaux, then in
the primitive fervor of the institution; at the end of two years he led
forth her third colony, or daughter, to the valley of Clairvaux [29] in
Champagne; and was content, till the hour of his death, with the humble
station of abbot of his own community. A philosophic age has abolished,
with too liberal and indiscriminate disdain, the honors of these
spiritual heroes. The meanest among them are distinguished by some
energies of the mind; they were at least superior to their votaries and
disciples; and, in the race of superstition, they attained the prize for
which such numbers contended. In speech, in writing, in action, Bernard
stood high above his rivals and contemporaries; his compositions are
not devoid of wit and eloquence; and he seems to have preserved as much
reason and humanity as may be reconciled with the character of a saint.
In a secular life, he would have shared the seventh part of a private
inheritance; by a vow of poverty and penance, by closing his eyes
against the visible world, [30] by the refusal of all ecclesiastical
dignities, the abbot of Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe, and the
founder of one hundred and sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs trembled
at the freedom of his apostolical censures: France, England, and Milan,
consulted and obeyed his judgment in a schism of the church: the debt
was repaid by the gratitude of Innocent the Second; and his successor,
Eugenius the Third, was the friend and disciple of the holy Bernard.
It was in the proclamation of the second crusade that he shone as the
missionary and prophet of God, who called the nations to the defence of
his holy sepulchre. [31] At the parliament of Vezelay he spoke before
the king; and Louis the Seventh, with his nobles, received their crosses
from his hand. The abbot of Clairvaux then marched to the less easy
conquest of the emperor Conrad: [311] a phlegmatic people, ignorant of
his language, was transported by the pathetic vehemence of his tone and
gestures; and his progress, from Constance to Cologne, was the
triumph of eloquence and zeal. Bernard applauds his own success in the
depopulation of Europe; affirms that cities and castles were emptied of
their inhabitants; and computes, that only one man was left behind for
the consolation of seven widows. [32] The blind fanatics were desirous of
electing him for their general; but the example of the hermit Peter was
before his eyes; and while he assured the crusaders of the divine favor,
he prudently declined a military command, in which failure and victory
would have been almost equally disgraceful to his character. [33] Yet,
after the calamitous event, the abbot of Clairvaux was loudly accused
as a false prophet, the author of the public and private mourning;
his enemies exulted, his friends blushed, and his apology was slow and
unsatisfactory. He justifies his obedience to the commands of the pope;
expatiates on the mysterious ways of Providence; imputes the misfortunes
of the pilgrims to their own sins; and modestly insinuates, that his
mission had been approved by signs and wonders. [34] Had the fact been
certain, the argument would be decisive; and his faithful disciples,
who enumerate twenty or thirty miracles in a day, appeal to the public
assemblies of France and Germany, in which they were performed. [35]
At the present hour, such prodigies will not obtain credit beyond the
precincts of Clairvaux; but in the preternatural cures of the blind,
the lame, and the sick, who were presented to the man of God, it is
impossible for us to ascertain the separate shares of accident, of
fancy, of imposture, and of fiction.

[Footnote 28: The most authentic information of St. Bernard must be
drawn from his own writings, published in a correct edition by Père
Mabillon, and reprinted at Venice, 1750, in six volumes in folio.
Whatever friendship could recollect, or superstition could add, is
contained in the two lives, by his disciples, in the vith volume:
whatever learning and criticism could ascertain, may be found in the
prefaces of the Benedictine editor.]

[Footnote 281: Gibbon, whose account of the crusades is perhaps the least
accurate and satisfactory chapter in his History, has here failed in
that lucid arrangement, which in general gives perspicuity to his most
condensed and crowded narratives. He has unaccountably, and to the great
perplexity of the reader, placed the preaching of St Bernard after the
second crusade to which i led.--M.]

[Footnote 29: Clairvaux, surnamed the valley of Absynth, is situate
among the woods near Bar sur Aube in Champagne. St. Bernard would blush
at the pomp of the church and monastery; he would ask for the library,
and I know not whether he would be much edified by a tun of 800 muids,
(914 1-7 hogsheads,) which almost rivals that of Heidelberg, (Mélanges
tirés d'une Grande Bibliothèque, tom. xlvi. p. 15--20.)]

[Footnote 30: The disciples of the saint (Vit. ima, l. iii. c. 2, p.
1232. Vit. iida, c. 16, No. 45, p. 1383) record a marvellous example
of his pious apathy. Juxta lacum etiam Lausannensem totius diei itinere
pergens, penitus non attendit aut se videre non vidit. Cum enim vespere
facto de eodem lacû socii colloquerentur, interrogabat eos ubi lacus
ille esset, et mirati sunt universi. To admire or despise St. Bernard as
he ought, the reader, like myself, should have before the windows of his
library the beauties of that incomparable landscape.]

[Footnote 31: Otho Frising. l. i. c. 4. Bernard. Epist. 363, ad Francos
Orientales Opp. tom. i. p. 328. Vit. ima, l. iii. c. 4, tom. vi. p.

[Footnote 311: Bernard had a nobler object in his expedition into
Germany--to arrest the fierce and merciless persecution of the Jews,
which was preparing, under the monk Radulph, to renew the frightful
scenes which had preceded the first crusade, in the flourishing
cities on the banks of the Rhine. The Jews acknowledge the Christian
intervention of St. Bernard. See the curious extract from the History of
Joseph ben Meir. Wilken, vol. iii. p. 1. and p. 63.--M.]

[Footnote 32: Mandastis et obedivi.... multiplicati sunt super
numerum; vacuantur urbes et castella; et _pene_ jam non inveniunt
quem apprehendant septem mulieres unum virum; adeo ubique viduæ vivis
remanent viris. Bernard. Epist. p. 247. We must be careful not to
construe _pene_ as a substantive.]

[Footnote 33: Quis ego sum ut disponam acies, ut egrediar ante facies
armatorum, aut quid tam remotum a professione meâ, si vires, si peritia,
&c. Epist. 256, tom. i. p. 259. He speaks with contempt of the hermit
Peter, vir quidam, Epist. 363.]

[Footnote 34: Sic dicunt forsitan isti, unde scimus quòd a Domino sermo
egressus sit? Quæ signa tu facis ut credamus tibi? Non est quod ad ista
ipse respondeam; parcendum verecundiæ meæ, responde tu pro me, et pro te
ipso, secundum quæ vidisti et audisti, et secundum quod te inspiraverit
Deus. Consolat. l. ii. c. 1. Opp. tom. ii. p. 421--423.]

[Footnote 35: See the testimonies in Vita ima, l. iv. c. 5, 6. Opp. tom.
vi. p. 1258--1261, l. vi. c. 1--17, p. 1286--1314.]

Omnipotence itself cannot escape the murmurs of its discordant votaries;
since the same dispensation which was applauded as a deliverance in
Europe, was deplored, and perhaps arraigned, as a calamity in Asia.
After the loss of Jerusalem, the Syrian fugitives diffused their
consternation and sorrow; Bagdad mourned in the dust; the cadhi
Zeineddin of Damascus tore his beard in the caliph's presence; and the
whole divan shed tears at his melancholy tale. [36] But the commanders of
the faithful could only weep; they were themselves captives in the hands
of the Turks: some temporal power was restored to the last age of the
Abbassides; but their humble ambition was confined to Bagdad and the
adjacent province. Their tyrants, the Seljukian sultans, had followed
the common law of the Asiatic dynasties, the unceasing round of valor,
greatness, discord, degeneracy, and decay; their spirit and power were
unequal to the defence of religion; and, in his distant realm of Persia,
the Christians were strangers to the name and the arms of Sangiar, the
last hero of his race. [37] While the sultans were involved in the silken
web of the harem, the pious task was undertaken by their slaves, the
Atabeks, [38] a Turkish name, which, like the Byzantine patricians, may
be translated by Father of the Prince. Ascansar, a valiant Turk, had
been the favorite of Malek Shaw, from whom he received the privilege of
standing on the right hand of the throne; but, in the civil wars that
ensued on the monarch's death, he lost his head and the government of
Aleppo. His domestic emirs persevered in their attachment to his son
Zenghi, who proved his first arms against the Franks in the defeat
of Antioch: thirty campaigns in the service of the caliph and sultan
established his military fame; and he was invested with the command of
Mosul, as the only champion that could avenge the cause of the prophet.
The public hope was not disappointed: after a siege of twenty-five
days, he stormed the city of Edessa, and recovered from the Franks their
conquests beyond the Euphrates: [39] the martial tribes of Curdistan were
subdued by the independent sovereign of Mosul and Aleppo: his soldiers
were taught to behold the camp as their only country; they trusted
to his liberality for their rewards; and their absent families were
protected by the vigilance of Zenghi. At the head of these veterans,
his son Noureddin gradually united the Mahometan powers; [391] added the
kingdom of Damascus to that of Aleppo, and waged a long and successful
war against the Christians of Syria; he spread his ample reign from the
Tigris to the Nile, and the Abbassides rewarded their faithful servant
with all the titles and prerogatives of royalty. The Latins themselves
were compelled to own the wisdom and courage, and even the justice and
piety, of this implacable adversary. [40] In his life and government the
holy warrior revived the zeal and simplicity of the first caliphs.
Gold and silk were banished from his palace; the use of wine from his
dominions; the public revenue was scrupulously applied to the public
service; and the frugal household of Noureddin was maintained from
his legitimate share of the spoil which he vested in the purchase of a
private estate. His favorite sultana sighed for some female object of
expense. "Alas," replied the king, "I fear God, and am no more than the
treasurer of the Moslems. Their property I cannot alienate; but I still
possess three shops in the city of Hems: these you may take; and these
alone can I bestow." His chamber of justice was the terror of the great
and the refuge of the poor. Some years after the sultan's death, an
oppressed subject called aloud in the streets of Damascus, "O Noureddin,
Noureddin, where art thou now? Arise, arise, to pity and protect us!" A
tumult was apprehended, and a living tyrant blushed or trembled at the
name of a departed monarch.

[Footnote 36: Abulmahasen apud de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p.
ii. p. 99.]

[Footnote 37: See his _article_ in the Bibliothèque Orientale of
D'Herbelot, and De Guignes, tom. ii. p. i. p. 230--261. Such was his
valor, that he was styled the second Alexander; and such the extravagant
love of his subjects, that they prayed for the sultan a year after his
decease. Yet Sangiar might have been made prisoner by the Franks, as
well as by the Uzes. He reigned near fifty years, (A.D. 1103--1152,) and
was a munificent patron of Persian poetry.]

[Footnote 38: See the Chronology of the Atabeks of Irak and Syria, in De
Guignes, tom. i. p. 254; and the reigns of Zenghi and Noureddin in the
same writer, (tom. ii. p. ii. p. 147--221,) who uses the Arabic text of
Benelathir, Ben Schouna and Abulfeda; the Bibliothèque Orientale,
under the articles _Atabeks_ and _Noureddin_, and the Dynasties of
Abulpharagius, p. 250--267, vers. Pocock.]

[Footnote 39: William of Tyre (l. xvi. c. 4, 5, 7) describes the loss
of Edessa, and the death of Zenghi. The corruption of his name
into _Sanguin_, afforded the Latins a comfortable allusion to his
_sanguinary_ character and end, fit sanguine sanguinolentus.]

[Footnote 391: On Noureddin's conquest of Damascus, see extracts from
Arabian writers prefixed to the second part of the third volume of

[Footnote 40: Noradinus (says William of Tyre, l. xx. 33) maximus
nominis et fidei Christianæ persecutor; princeps tamen justus, vafer,
providus' et secundum gentis suæ traditiones religiosus. To this
Catholic witness we may add the primate of the Jacobites, (Abulpharag.
p. 267,) quo non alter erat inter reges vitæ ratione magis laudabili,
aut quæ pluribus justitiæ experimentis abundaret. The true praise of
kings is after their death, and from the mouth of their enemies.]

Chapter LIX: The Crusades.--Part II.

By the arms of the Turks and Franks, the Fatimites had been deprived
of Syria. In Egypt the decay of their character and influence was still
more essential. Yet they were still revered as the descendants and
successors of the prophet; they maintained their invisible state in the
palace of Cairo; and their person was seldom violated by the profane
eyes of subjects or strangers. The Latin ambassadors [41] have described
their own introduction, through a series of gloomy passages, and
glittering porticos: the scene was enlivened by the warbling of birds
and the murmur of fountains: it was enriched by a display of rich
furniture and rare animals; of the Imperial treasures, something was
shown, and much was supposed; and the long order of unfolding doors was
guarded by black soldiers and domestic eunuchs. The sanctuary of
the presence chamber was veiled with a curtain; and the vizier, who
conducted the ambassadors, laid aside the cimeter, and prostrated
himself three times on the ground; the veil was then removed; and they
beheld the commander of the faithful, who signified his pleasure to the
first slave of the throne. But this slave was his master: the viziers or
sultans had usurped the supreme administration of Egypt; the claims
of the rival candidates were decided by arms; and the name of the most
worthy, of the strongest, was inserted in the royal patent of command.
The factions of Dargham and Shawer alternately expelled each other from
the capital and country; and the weaker side implored the dangerous
protection of the sultan of Damascus, or the king of Jerusalem, the
perpetual enemies of the sect and monarchy of the Fatimites. By his arms
and religion the Turk was most formidable; but the Frank, in an
easy, direct march, could advance from Gaza to the Nile; while the
intermediate situation of his realm compelled the troops of Noureddin
to wheel round the skirts of Arabia, a long and painful circuit, which
exposed them to thirst, fatigue, and the burning winds of the desert.
The secret zeal and ambition of the Turkish prince aspired to reign
in Egypt under the name of the Abbassides; but the restoration of the
suppliant Shawer was the ostensible motive of the first expedition; and
the success was intrusted to the emir Shiracouh, a valiant and veteran
commander. Dargham was oppressed and slain; but the ingratitude, the
jealousy, the just apprehensions, of his more fortunate rival, soon
provoked him to invite the king of Jerusalem to deliver Egypt from
his insolent benefactors. To this union the forces of Shiracouh were
unequal: he relinquished the premature conquest; and the evacuation of
Belbeis or Pelusium was the condition of his safe retreat. As the Turks
defiled before the enemy, and their general closed the rear, with a
vigilant eye, and a battle axe in his hand, a Frank presumed to ask him
if he were not afraid of an attack. "It is doubtless in your power to
begin the attack," replied the intrepid emir; "but rest assured, that
not one of my soldiers will go to paradise till he has sent an infidel
to hell." His report of the riches of the land, the effeminacy of the
natives, and the disorders of the government, revived the hopes
of Noureddin; the caliph of Bagdad applauded the pious design; and
Shiracouh descended into Egypt a second time with twelve thousand Turks
and eleven thousand Arabs. Yet his forces were still inferior to the
confederate armies of the Franks and Saracens; and I can discern an
unusual degree of military art, in his passage of the Nile, his retreat
into Thebais, his masterly evolutions in the battle of Babain, the
surprise of Alexandria, and his marches and countermarches in the
flats and valley of Egypt, from the tropic to the sea. His conduct
was seconded by the courage of his troops, and on the eve of action a
Mamaluke [42] exclaimed, "If we cannot wrest Egypt from the Christian
dogs, why do we not renounce the honors and rewards of the sultan, and
retire to labor with the peasants, or to spin with the females of the
harem?" Yet, after all his efforts in the field, [43] after the
obstinate defence of Alexandria [44] by his nephew Saladin, an honorable
capitulation and retreat [441] concluded the second enterprise of
Shiracouh; and Noureddin reserved his abilities for a third and more
propitious occasion. It was soon offered by the ambition and avarice
of Amalric or Amaury, king of Jerusalem, who had imbibed the pernicious
maxim, that no faith should be kept with the enemies of God. [442] A
religious warrior, the great master of the hospital, encouraged him to
proceed; the emperor of Constantinople either gave, or promised, a
fleet to act with the armies of Syria; and the perfidious Christian,
unsatisfied with spoil and subsidy, aspired to the conquest of Egypt.
In this emergency, the Moslems turned their eyes towards the sultan of
Damascus; the vizier, whom danger encompassed on all sides, yielded to
their unanimous wishes, and Noureddin seemed to be tempted by the
fair offer of one third of the revenue of the kingdom. The Franks were
already at the gates of Cairo; but the suburbs, the old city, were burnt
on their approach; they were deceived by an insidious negotiation, and
their vessels were unable to surmount the barriers of the Nile. They
prudently declined a contest with the Turks in the midst of a hostile
country; and Amaury retired into Palestine with the shame and reproach
that always adhere to unsuccessful injustice. After this deliverance,
Shiracouh was invested with a robe of honor, which he soon stained with
the blood of the unfortunate Shawer. For a while, the Turkish emirs
condescended to hold the office of vizier; but this foreign conquest
precipitated the fall of the Fatimites themselves; and the bloodless
change was accomplished by a message and a word. The caliphs had been
degraded by their own weakness and the tyranny of the viziers: their
subjects blushed, when the descendant and successor of the prophet
presented his naked hand to the rude gripe of a Latin ambassador; they
wept when he sent the hair of his women, a sad emblem of their grief and
terror, to excite the pity of the sultan of Damascus. By the command of
Noureddin, and the sentence of the doctors, the holy names of Abubeker,
Omar, and Othman, were solemnly restored: the caliph Mosthadi, of
Bagdad, was acknowledged in the public prayers as the true commander of
the faithful; and the green livery of the sons of Ali was exchanged
for the black color of the Abbassides. The last of his race, the caliph
Adhed, who survived only ten days, expired in happy ignorance of his
fate; his treasures secured the loyalty of the soldiers, and silenced
the murmurs of the sectaries; and in all subsequent revolutions, Egypt
has never departed from the orthodox tradition of the Moslems. [45]

[Footnote 41: From the ambassador, William of Tyre (l. xix. c. 17, 18,)
describes the palace of Cairo. In the caliph's treasure were found a
pearl as large as a pigeon's egg, a ruby weighing seventeen Egyptian
drams, an emerald a palm and a half in length, and many vases of crystal
and porcelain of China, (Renaudot, p. 536.)]

[Footnote 42: _Mamluc_, plur. _Mamalic_, is defined by Pocock,
(Prolegom. ad Abulpharag. p. 7,) and D'Herbelot, (p. 545,) servum
emptitium, seu qui pretio numerato in domini possessionem cedit. They
frequently occur in the wars of Saladin, (Bohadin, p. 236, &c.;) and it
was only the _Bahartie_ Mamalukes that were first introduced into Egypt
by his descendants.]

[Footnote 43: Jacobus à Vitriaco (p. 1116) gives the king of Jerusalem
no more than 374 knights. Both the Franks and the Moslems report the
superior numbers of the enemy; a difference which may be solved by
counting or omitting the unwarlike Egyptians.]

[Footnote 44: It was the Alexandria of the Arabs, a middle term in
extent and riches between the period of the Greeks and Romans, and that
of the Turks, (Savary, Lettres sur l'Egypte, tom. i. p. 25, 26.)]

[Footnote 441: The treaty stipulated that both the Christians and
the Arabs should withdraw from Egypt. Wilken, vol. iii. part ii. p.

[Footnote 442: The Knights Templars, abhorring the perfidious breach of
treaty partly, perhaps, out of jealousy of the Hospitallers, refused to
join in this enterprise. Will. Tyre c. xx. p. 5. Wilken, vol. iii. part
ii. p. 117.--M.]

[Footnote 45: For this great revolution of Egypt, see William of Tyre,
(l. xix. 5, 6, 7, 12--31, xx. 5--12,) Bohadin, (in Vit. Saladin, p.
30--39,) Abulfeda, (in Excerpt. Schultens, p. 1--12,) D'Herbelot,
(Bibliot. Orient. _Adhed_, _Fathemah_, but very incorrect,) Renaudot,
(Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 522--525, 532--537,) Vertot, (Hist. des
Chevaliers de Malthe, tom. i. p. 141--163, in 4to.,) and M. de Guignes,
(tom. ii. p. 185--215.)]

The hilly country beyond the Tigris is occupied by the pastoral tribes
of the Curds; [46] a people hardy, strong, savage impatient of the yoke,
addicted to rapine, and tenacious of the government of their national
chiefs. The resemblance of name, situation, and manners, seems to
identify them with the Carduchians of the Greeks; [47] and they still
defend against the Ottoman Porte the antique freedom which they asserted
against the successors of Cyrus. Poverty and ambition prompted them to
embrace the profession of mercenary soldiers: the service of his father
and uncle prepared the reign of the great Saladin; [48] and the son of
Job or Ayud, a simple Curd, magnanimously smiled at his pedigree,
which flattery deduced from the Arabian caliphs. [49] So unconscious was
Noureddin of the impending ruin of his house, that he constrained the
reluctant youth to follow his uncle Shiracouh into Egypt: his military
character was established by the defence of Alexandria; and, if we may
believe the Latins, he solicited and obtained from the Christian general
the _profane_honors of knighthood. [50] On the death of Shiracouh, the
office of grand vizier was bestowed on Saladin, as the youngest and
least powerful of the emirs; but with the advice of his father, whom he
invited to Cairo, his genius obtained the ascendant over his equals,
and attached the army to his person and interest. While Noureddin
lived, these ambitious Curds were the most humble of his slaves; and the
indiscreet murmurs of the divan were silenced by the prudent Ayub, who
loudly protested that at the command of the sultan he himself would lead
his sons in chains to the foot of the throne. "Such language," he added
in private, "was prudent and proper in an assembly of your rivals; but
we are now above fear and obedience; and the threats of Noureddin shall
not extort the tribute of a sugar-cane." His seasonable death relieved
them from the odious and doubtful conflict: his son, a minor of eleven
years of age, was left for a while to the emirs of Damascus; and the
new lord of Egypt was decorated by the caliph with every title [51] that
could sanctify his usurpation in the eyes of the people. Nor was Saladin
long content with the possession of Egypt; he despoiled the Christians
of Jerusalem, and the Atabeks of Damascus, Aleppo, and Diarbekir: Mecca
and Medina acknowledged him for their temporal protector: his brother
subdued the distant regions of Yemen, or the happy Arabia; and at the
hour of his death, his empire was spread from the African Tripoli to the
Tigris, and from the Indian Ocean to the mountains of Armenia. In the
judgment of his character, the reproaches of treason and ingratitude
strike forcibly on _our_ minds, impressed, as they are, with the
principle and experience of law and loyalty. But his ambition may in
some measure be excused by the revolutions of Asia, [52] which had erased
every notion of legitimate succession; by the recent example of the
Atabeks themselves; by his reverence to the son of his benefactor; his
humane and generous behavior to the collateral branches; by _their_
incapacity and _his_ merit; by the approbation of the caliph, the
sole source of all legitimate power; and, above all, by the wishes
and interest of the people, whose happiness is the first object of
government. In _his_ virtues, and in those of his patron, they admired
the singular union of the hero and the saint; for both Noureddin
and Saladin are ranked among the Mahometan saints; and the constant
meditation of the holy war appears to have shed a serious and sober
color over their lives and actions. The youth of the latter [53] was
addicted to wine and women: but his aspiring spirit soon renounced the
temptations of pleasure for the graver follies of fame and dominion: the
garment of Saladin was of coarse woollen; water was his only drink;
and, while he emulated the temperance, he surpassed the chastity, of his
Arabian prophet. Both in faith and practice he was a rigid Mussulman:
he ever deplored that the defence of religion had not allowed him to
accomplish the pilgrimage of Mecca; but at the stated hours, five times
each day, the sultan devoutly prayed with his brethren: the involuntary
omission of fasting was scrupulously repaid; and his perusal of the
Koran, on horseback between the approaching armies, may be quoted as a
proof, however ostentatious, of piety and courage. [54] The superstitious
doctrine of the sect of Shafei was the only study that he deigned to
encourage: the poets were safe in his contempt; but all profane science
was the object of his aversion; and a philosopher, who had invented some
speculative novelties, was seized and strangled by the command of the
royal saint. The justice of his divan was accessible to the meanest
suppliant against himself and his ministers; and it was only for a
kingdom that Saladin would deviate from the rule of equity. While the
descendants of Seljuk and Zenghi held his stirrup and smoothed his
garments, he was affable and patient with the meanest of his servants.
So boundless was his liberality, that he distributed twelve thousand
horses at the siege of Acre; and, at the time of his death, no more than
forty-seven drams of silver and one piece of gold coin were found in the
treasury; yet, in a martial reign, the tributes were diminished, and the
wealthy citizens enjoyed, without fear or danger, the fruits of
their industry. Egypt, Syria, and Arabia, were adorned by the royal
foundations of hospitals, colleges, and mosques; and Cairo was fortified
with a wall and citadel; but his works were consecrated to public use:
[55] nor did the sultan indulge himself in a garden or palace of private
luxury. In a fanatic age, himself a fanatic, the genuine virtues of
Saladin commanded the esteem of the Christians; the emperor of Germany
gloried in his friendship; [56] the Greek emperor solicited his alliance;
[57] and the conquest of Jerusalem diffused, and perhaps magnified, his
fame both in the East and West.

[Footnote 46: For the Curds, see De Guignes, tom. ii. p. 416, 417, the
Index Geographicus of Schultens and Tavernier, Voyages, p. i. p. 308,
309. The Ayoubites descended from the tribe of the Rawadiæi, one of
the noblest; but as _they_ were infected with the heresy of the
Metempsychosis, the orthodox sultans insinuated that their descent was
only on the mother's side, and that their ancestor was a stranger who
settled among the Curds.]

[Footnote 47: See the ivth book of the Anabasis of Xenophon. The ten
thousand suffered more from the arrows of the free Carduchians, than
from the splendid weakness of the great king.]

[Footnote 48: We are indebted to the professor Schultens (Lugd. Bat,
1755, in folio) for the richest and most authentic materials, a life
of Saladin by his friend and minister the Cadhi Bohadin, and copious
extracts from the history of his kinsman the prince Abulfeda of Hamah.
To these we may add, the article of _Salaheddin_ in the Bibliothèque
Orientale, and all that may be gleaned from the Dynasties of

[Footnote 49: Since Abulfeda was himself an Ayoubite, he may share the
praise, for imitating, at least tacitly, the modesty of the founder.]

[Footnote 50: Hist. Hierosol. in the Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 1152. A
similar example may be found in Joinville, (p. 42, edition du Louvre;)
but the pious St. Louis refused to dignify infidels with the order of
Christian knighthood, (Ducange, Observations, p 70.)]

[Footnote 51: In these Arabic titles, _religionis_ must always be
understood; _Noureddin_, lumen r.; _Ezzodin_, decus; _Amadoddin_,
columen: our hero's proper name was Joseph, and he was styled
_Salahoddin_, salus; _Al Malichus_, _Al Nasirus_, rex defensor; _Abu
Modaffer_, pater victoriæ, Schultens, Præfat.]

[Footnote 52: Abulfeda, who descended from a brother of Saladin,
observes, from many examples, that the founders of dynasties took the
guilt for themselves, and left the reward to their innocent collaterals,
(Excerpt p. 10.)]

[Footnote 53: See his life and character in Renaudot, p. 537--548.]

[Footnote 54: His civil and religious virtues are celebrated in the
first chapter of Bohadin, (p. 4--30,) himself an eye-witness, and an
honest bigot.]

[Footnote 55: In many works, particularly Joseph's well in the castle
of Cairo, the Sultan and the Patriarch have been confounded by the
ignorance of natives and travellers.]

[Footnote 56: Anonym. Canisii, tom. iii. p. ii. p. 504.]

[Footnote 57: Bohadin, p. 129, 130.]

During his short existence, the kingdom of Jerusalem [58] was supported
by the discord of the Turks and Saracens; and both the Fatimite caliphs
and the sultans of Damascus were tempted to sacrifice the cause of their
religion to the meaner considerations of private and present advantage.
But the powers of Egypt, Syria, and Arabia, were now united by a hero,
whom nature and fortune had armed against the Christians. All without
now bore the most threatening aspect; and all was feeble and hollow
in the internal state of Jerusalem. After the two first Baldwins, the
brother and cousin of Godfrey of Bouillon, the sceptre devolved by
female succession to Melisenda, daughter of the second Baldwin, and her
husband Fulk, count of Anjou, the father, by a former marriage, of our
English Plantagenets. Their two sons, Baldwin the Third, and Amaury,
waged a strenuous, and not unsuccessful, war against the infidels; but
the son of Amaury, Baldwin the Fourth, was deprived, by the leprosy, a
gift of the crusades, of the faculties both of mind and body. His sister
Sybilla, the mother of Baldwin the Fifth, was his natural heiress: after
the suspicious death of her child, she crowned her second husband, Guy
of Lusignan, a prince of a handsome person, but of such base renown,
that his own brother Jeffrey was heard to exclaim, "Since they have made
_him_ a king, surely they would have made _me_ a god!" The choice
was generally blamed; and the most powerful vassal, Raymond count
of Tripoli, who had been excluded from the succession and regency,
entertained an implacable hatred against the king, and exposed his honor
and conscience to the temptations of the sultan. Such were the guardians
of the holy city; a leper, a child, a woman, a coward, and a traitor:
yet its fate was delayed twelve years by some supplies from Europe,
by the valor of the military orders, and by the distant or domestic
avocations of their great enemy. At length, on every side, the sinking
state was encircled and pressed by a hostile line: and the truce was
violated by the Franks, whose existence it protected. A soldier of
fortune, Reginald of Chatillon, had seized a fortress on the edge of
the desert, from whence he pillaged the caravans, insulted Mahomet,
and threatened the cities of Mecca and Medina. Saladin condescended
to complain; rejoiced in the denial of justice, and at the head of
fourscore thousand horse and foot invaded the Holy Land. The choice of
Tiberias for his first siege was suggested by the count of Tripoli, to
whom it belonged; and the king of Jerusalem was persuaded to drain his
garrison, and to arm his people, for the relief of that important
place. [59] By the advice of the perfidious Raymond, the Christians were
betrayed into a camp destitute of water: he fled on the first onset,
with the curses of both nations: [60] Lusignan was overthrown, with the
loss of thirty thousand men; and the wood of the true cross (a dire
misfortune!) was left in the power of the infidels. [601] The royal captive
was conducted to the tent of Saladin; and as he fainted with thirst and
terror, the generous victor presented him with a cup of sherbet, cooled
in snow, without suffering his companion, Reginald of Chatillon, to
partake of this pledge of hospitality and pardon. "The person and
dignity of a king," said the sultan, "are sacred, but this impious
robber must instantly acknowledge the prophet, whom he has blasphemed,
or meet the death which he has so often deserved." On the proud or
conscientious refusal of the Christian warrior, Saladin struck him on
the head with his cimeter, and Reginald was despatched by the guards.
[61] The trembling Lusignan was sent to Damascus, to an honorable prison
and speedy ransom; but the victory was stained by the execution of two
hundred and thirty knights of the hospital, the intrepid champions and
martyrs of their faith. The kingdom was left without a head; and of
the two grand masters of the military orders, the one was slain and the
other was a prisoner. From all the cities, both of the sea-coast and the
inland country, the garrisons had been drawn away for this fatal field:
Tyre and Tripoli alone could escape the rapid inroad of Saladin; and
three months after the battle of Tiberias, he appeared in arms before
the gates of Jerusalem. [62]

[Footnote 58: For the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, see William of Tyre,
from the ixth to the xxiid book. Jacob a Vitriaco, Hist. Hierosolem l
i., and Sanutus Secreta Fidelium Crucis, l. iii. p. vi. vii. viii. ix.]

[Footnote 59: Templarii ut apes bombabant et Hospitalarii ut venti
stridebant, et barones se exitio offerebant, et Turcopuli (the Christian
light troops) semet ipsi in ignem injiciebant, (Ispahani de Expugnatione
Kudsiticâ, p. 18, apud Schultens;) a specimen of Arabian eloquence,
somewhat different from the style of Xenophon!]

[Footnote 60: The Latins affirm, the Arabians insinuate, the treason of
Raymond; but had he really embraced their religion, he would have been a
saint and a hero in the eyes of the latter.]

[Footnote 601: Raymond's advice would have prevented the abandonment of a
secure camp abounding with water near Sepphoris. The rash and insolent
valor of the master of the order of Knights Templars, which had before
exposed the Christians to a fatal defeat at the brook Kishon, forced the
feeble king to annul the determination of a council of war, and advance
to a camp in an enclosed valley among the mountains, near Hittin,
without water. Raymond did not fly till the battle was irretrievably
lost, and then the Saracens seem to have opened their ranks to allow
him free passage. The charge of suggesting the siege of Tiberias appears
ungrounded Raymond, no doubt, played a double part: he was a man of
strong sagacity, who foresaw the desperate nature of the contest with
Saladin, endeavored by every means to maintain the treaty, and, though
he joined both his arms and his still more valuable counsels to the
Christian army, yet kept up a kind of amicable correspondence with the
Mahometans. See Wilken, vol. iii. part ii. p. 276, et seq. Michaud, vol.
ii. p. 278, et seq. M. Michaud is still more friendly than Wilken to the
memory of Count Raymond, who died suddenly, shortly after the battle of
Hittin. He quotes a letter written in the name of Saladin by the caliph
Alfdel, to show that Raymond was considered by the Mahometans their
most dangerous and detested enemy. "No person of distinction among the
Christians escaped, except the count, (of Tripoli) whom God curse. God
made him die shortly afterwards, and sent him from the kingdom of death
to hell."--M.]

[Footnote 61: Benaud, Reginald, or Arnold de Chatillon, is celebrated
by the Latins in his life and death; but the circumstances of the latter
are more distinctly related by Bohadin and Abulfeda; and Joinville
(Hist. de St. Louis, p. 70) alludes to the practice of Saladin, of never
putting to death a prisoner who had tasted his bread and salt. Some of
the companions of Arnold had been slaughtered, and almost sacrificed, in
a valley of Mecca, ubi sacrificia mactantur, (Abulfeda, p. 32.)]

[Footnote 62: Vertot, who well describes the loss of the kingdom and
city (Hist. des Chevaliers de Malthe, tom. i. l. ii. p. 226--278,)
inserts two original epistles of a Knight Templar.]

He might expect that the siege of a city so venerable on earth and
in heaven, so interesting to Europe and Asia, would rekindle the last
sparks of enthusiasm; and that, of sixty thousand Christians, every man
would be a soldier, and every soldier a candidate for martyrdom. But
Queen Sybilla trembled for herself and her captive husband; and the
barons and knights, who had escaped from the sword and chains of the
Turks, displayed the same factious and selfish spirit in the public
ruin. The most numerous portion of the inhabitants was composed of the
Greek and Oriental Christians, whom experience had taught to prefer the
Mahometan before the Latin yoke; [63] and the holy sepulchre attracted a
base and needy crowd, without arms or courage, who subsisted only on the
charity of the pilgrims. Some feeble and hasty efforts were made for the
defence of Jerusalem: but in the space of fourteen days, a victorious
army drove back the sallies of the besieged, planted their engines,
opened the wall to the breadth of fifteen cubits, applied their
scaling-ladders, and erected on the breach twelve banners of the prophet
and the sultan. It was in vain that a barefoot procession of the queen,
the women, and the monks, implored the Son of God to save his tomb and
his inheritance from impious violation. Their sole hope was in the mercy
of the conqueror, and to their first suppliant deputation that mercy was
sternly denied. "He had sworn to avenge the patience and long-suffering
of the Moslems; the hour of forgiveness was elapsed, and the moment
was now arrived to expiate, in blood, the innocent blood which had
been spilt by Godfrey and the first crusaders." But a desperate and
successful struggle of the Franks admonished the sultan that his triumph
was not yet secure; he listened with reverence to a solemn adjuration
in the name of the common Father of mankind; and a sentiment of human
sympathy mollified the rigor of fanaticism and conquest. He consented
to accept the city, and to spare the inhabitants. The Greek and Oriental
Christians were permitted to live under his dominion, but it was
stipulated, that in forty days all the Franks and Latins should evacuate
Jerusalem, and be safely conducted to the seaports of Syria and Egypt;
that ten pieces of gold should be paid for each man, five for each
woman, and one for every child; and that those who were unable to
purchase their freedom should be detained in perpetual slavery. Of some
writers it is a favorite and invidious theme to compare the humanity of
Saladin with the massacre of the first crusade. The difference would
be merely personal; but we should not forget that the Christians had
offered to capitulate, and that the Mahometans of Jerusalem sustained
the last extremities of an assault and storm. Justice is indeed due to
the fidelity with which the Turkish conqueror fulfilled the conditions
of the treaty; and he may be deservedly praised for the glance of pity
which he cast on the misery of the vanquished. Instead of a rigorous
exaction of his debt, he accepted a sum of thirty thousand byzants,
for the ransom of seven thousand poor; two or three thousand more were
dismissed by his gratuitous clemency; and the number of slaves was
reduced to eleven or fourteen thousand persons. In this interview
with the queen, his words, and even his tears suggested the kindest
consolations; his liberal alms were distributed among those who had been
made orphans or widows by the fortune of war; and while the knights
of the hospital were in arms against him, he allowed their more pious
brethren to continue, during the term of a year, the care and service
of the sick. In these acts of mercy the virtue of Saladin deserves our
admiration and love: he was above the necessity of dissimulation, and
his stern fanaticism would have prompted him to dissemble, rather than
to affect, this profane compassion for the enemies of the Koran. After
Jerusalem had been delivered from the presence of the strangers, the
sultan made his triumphal entry, his banners waving in the wind, and to
the harmony of martial music. The great mosque of Omar, which had
been converted into a church, was again consecrated to one God and his
prophet Mahomet: the walls and pavement were purified with rose-water;
and a pulpit, the labor of Noureddin, was erected in the sanctuary.
But when the golden cross that glittered on the dome was cast down,
and dragged through the streets, the Christians of every sect uttered
a lamentable groan, which was answered by the joyful shouts of the
Moslems. In four ivory chests the patriarch had collected the crosses,
the images, the vases, and the relics of the holy place; they were
seized by the conqueror, who was desirous of presenting the caliph
with the trophies of Christian idolatry. He was persuaded, however,
to intrust them to the patriarch and prince of Antioch; and the pious
pledge was redeemed by Richard of England, at the expense of fifty-two
thousand byzants of gold. [64]

[Footnote 63: Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 545.]

[Footnote 64: For the conquest of Jerusalem, Bohadin (p. 67--75) and
Abulfeda (p. 40--43) are our Moslem witnesses. Of the Christian, Bernard
Thesaurarius (c. 151--167) is the most copious and authentic; see
likewise Matthew Paris, (p. 120--124.)]

The nations might fear and hope the immediate and final expulsion of the
Latins from Syria; which was yet delayed above a century after the death
of Saladin. [65] In the career of victory, he was first checked by the
resistance of Tyre; the troops and garrisons, which had capitulated,
were imprudently conducted to the same port: their numbers were adequate
to the defence of the place; and the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat
inspired the disorderly crowd with confidence and union. His father, a
venerable pilgrim, had been made prisoner in the battle of Tiberias; but
that disaster was unknown in Italy and Greece, when the son was urged
by ambition and piety to visit the inheritance of his royal nephew,
the infant Baldwin. The view of the Turkish banners warned him from the
hostile coast of Jaffa; and Conrad was unanimously hailed as the prince
and champion of Tyre, which was already besieged by the conqueror of
Jerusalem. The firmness of his zeal, and perhaps his knowledge of a
generous foe, enabled him to brave the threats of the sultan, and to
declare, that should his aged parent be exposed before the walls, he
himself would discharge the first arrow, and glory in his descent from a
Christian martyr. [66] The Egyptian fleet was allowed to enter the harbor
of Tyre; but the chain was suddenly drawn, and five galleys were either
sunk or taken: a thousand Turks were slain in a sally; and Saladin,
after burning his engines, concluded a glorious campaign by a
disgraceful retreat to Damascus. He was soon assailed by a more
formidable tempest. The pathetic narratives, and even the pictures, that
represented in lively colors the servitude and profanation of Jerusalem,
awakened the torpid sensibility of Europe: the emperor Frederic
Barbarossa, and the kings of France and England, assumed the cross; and
the tardy magnitude of their armaments was anticipated by the maritime
states of the Mediterranean and the Ocean. The skilful and provident
Italians first embarked in the ships of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice. They
were speedily followed by the most eager pilgrims of France, Normandy,
and the Western Isles. The powerful succor of Flanders, Frise, and
Denmark, filled near a hundred vessels: and the Northern warriors
were distinguished in the field by a lofty stature and a ponderous
battle-axe. [67] Their increasing multitudes could no longer be confined
within the walls of Tyre, or remain obedient to the voice of Conrad.
They pitied the misfortunes, and revered the dignity, of Lusignan, who
was released from prison, perhaps, to divide the army of the Franks. He
proposed the recovery of Ptolemais, or Acre, thirty miles to the south
of Tyre; and the place was first invested by two thousand horse and
thirty thousand foot under his nominal command. I shall not expatiate
on the story of this memorable siege; which lasted near two years, and
consumed, in a narrow space, the forces of Europe and Asia. Never did
the flame of enthusiasm burn with fiercer and more destructive rage; nor
could the true believers, a common appellation, who consecrated their
own martyrs, refuse some applause to the mistaken zeal and courage of
their adversaries. At the sound of the holy trumpet, the Moslems of
Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and the Oriental provinces, assembled under the
servant of the prophet: [68] his camp was pitched and removed within a
few miles of Acre; and he labored, night and day, for the relief of his
brethren and the annoyance of the Franks. Nine battles, not unworthy
of the name, were fought in the neighborhood of Mount Carmel, with such
vicissitude of fortune, that in one attack, the sultan forced his way
into the city; that in one sally, the Christians penetrated to the royal
tent. By the means of divers and pigeons, a regular correspondence was
maintained with the besieged; and, as often as the sea was left open,
the exhausted garrison was withdrawn, and a fresh supply was poured
into the place. The Latin camp was thinned by famine, the sword and the
climate; but the tents of the dead were replenished with new pilgrims,
who exaggerated the strength and speed of their approaching countrymen.
The vulgar was astonished by the report, that the pope himself, with an
innumerable crusade, was advanced as far as Constantinople. The march
of the emperor filled the East with more serious alarms: the obstacles
which he encountered in Asia, and perhaps in Greece, were raised by the
policy of Saladin: his joy on the death of Barbarossa was measured by
his esteem; and the Christians were rather dismayed than encouraged
at the sight of the duke of Swabia and his way-worn remnant of five
thousand Germans. At length, in the spring of the second year, the royal
fleets of France and England cast anchor in the Bay of Acre, and the
siege was more vigorously prosecuted by the youthful emulation of the
two kings, Philip Augustus and Richard Plantagenet. After every resource
had been tried, and every hope was exhausted, the defenders of Acre
submitted to their fate; a capitulation was granted, but their lives and
liberties were taxed at the hard conditions of a ransom of two hundred
thousand pieces of gold, the deliverance of one hundred nobles, and
fifteen hundred inferior captives, and the restoration of the wood of
the holy cross. Some doubts in the agreement, and some delay in the
execution, rekindled the fury of the Franks, and three thousand Moslems,
almost in the sultan's view, were beheaded by the command of the
sanguinary Richard. [69] By the conquest of Acre, the Latin powers
acquired a strong town and a convenient harbor; but the advantage was
most dearly purchased. The minister and historian of Saladin computes,
from the report of the enemy, that their numbers, at different periods,
amounted to five or six hundred thousand; that more than one hundred
thousand Christians were slain; that a far greater number was lost by
disease or shipwreck; and that a small portion of this mighty host could
return in safety to their native countries. [70]

[Footnote 65: The sieges of Tyre and Acre are most copiously described
by Bernard Thesaurarius, (de Acquisitione Terræ Sanctæ, c. 167--179,)
the author of the Historia Hierosolymitana, (p. 1150--1172, in
Bongarsius,) Abulfeda, (p. 43--50,) and Bohadin, (p. 75--179.)]

[Footnote 66: I have followed a moderate and probable representation of
the fact; by Vertot, who adopts without reluctance a romantic tale the
old marquis is actually exposed to the darts of the besieged.]

[Footnote 67: Northmanni et Gothi, et cæteri populi insularum quæ
inter occidentem et septentrionem sitæ sunt, gentes bellicosæ, corporis
proceri mortis intrepidæ, bipennibus armatæ, navibus rotundis, quæ
Ysnachiæ dicuntur, advectæ.]

[Footnote 68: The historian of Jerusalem (p. 1108) adds the nations of
the East from the Tigris to India, and the swarthy tribes of Moors and
Getulians, so that Asia and Africa fought against Europe.]

[Footnote 69: Bohadin, p. 180; and this massacre is neither denied nor
blamed by the Christian historians. Alacriter jussa complentes, (the
English soldiers,) says Galfridus à Vinesauf, (l. iv. c. 4, p. 346,) who
fixes at 2700 the number of victims; who are multiplied to 5000 by Roger
Hoveden, (p. 697, 698.) The humanity or avarice of Philip Augustus was
persuaded to ransom his prisoners, (Jacob à Vitriaco, l. i. c. 98, p.

[Footnote 70: Bohadin, p. 14. He quotes the judgment of Balianus, and
the prince of Sidon, and adds, ex illo mundo quasi hominum paucissimi
redierunt. Among the Christians who died before St. John d'Acre, I find
the English names of De Ferrers earl of Derby, (Dugdale, Baronage, part
i. p. 260,) Mowbray, (idem, p. 124,) De Mandevil, De Fiennes, St. John,
Scrope, Bigot, Talbot, &c.]

Chapter LIX: The Crusades.--Part III.

Philip Augustus, and Richard the First, are the only kings of France and
England who have fought under the same banners; but the holy service
in which they were enlisted was incessantly disturbed by their national
jealousy; and the two factions, which they protected in Palestine, were
more averse to each other than to the common enemy. In the eyes of the
Orientals; the French monarch was superior in dignity and power; and, in
the emperor's absence, the Latins revered him as their temporal chief.
[71] His exploits were not adequate to his fame. Philip was brave,
but the statesman predominated in his character; he was soon weary of
sacrificing his health and interest on a barren coast: the surrender
of Acre became the signal of his departure; nor could he justify this
unpopular desertion, by leaving the duke of Burgundy with five hundred
knights and ten thousand foot, for the service of the Holy Land. The
king of England, though inferior in dignity, surpassed his rival in
wealth and military renown; [72] and if heroism be confined to brutal and
ferocious valor, Richard Plantagenet will stand high among the heroes
of the age. The memory of _Cur de Lion_, of the lion-hearted prince, was
long dear and glorious to his English subjects; and, at the distance of
sixty years, it was celebrated in proverbial sayings by the grandsons of
the Turks and Saracens, against whom he had fought: his tremendous name
was employed by the Syrian mothers to silence their infants; and if
a horse suddenly started from the way, his rider was wont to exclaim,
"Dost thou think King Richard is in that bush?" [73] His cruelty to the
Mahometans was the effect of temper and zeal; but I cannot believe that
a soldier, so free and fearless in the use of his lance, would have
descended to whet a dagger against his valiant brother Conrad of
Montferrat, who was slain at Tyre by some secret assassins. [74] After
the surrender of Acre, and the departure of Philip, the king of England
led the crusaders to the recovery of the sea-coast; and the cities
of Cæsarea and Jaffa were added to the fragments of the kingdom of
Lusignan. A march of one hundred miles from Acre to Ascalon was a great
and perpetual battle of eleven days. In the disorder of his troops,
Saladin remained on the field with seventeen guards, without lowering
his standard, or suspending the sound of his brazen kettle-drum: he
again rallied and renewed the charge; and his preachers or heralds
called aloud on the _unitarians_, manfully to stand up against
the Christian idolaters. But the progress of these idolaters was
irresistible; and it was only by demolishing the walls and buildings of
Ascalon, that the sultan could prevent them from occupying an important
fortress on the confines of Egypt. During a severe winter, the armies
slept; but in the spring, the Franks advanced within a day's march
of Jerusalem, under the leading standard of the English king; and
his active spirit intercepted a convoy, or caravan, of seven thousand
camels. Saladin [75] had fixed his station in the holy city; but the
city was struck with consternation and discord: he fasted; he prayed;
he preached; he offered to share the dangers of the siege; but his
Mamalukes, who remembered the fate of their companions at Acre, pressed
the sultan with loyal or seditious clamors, to reserve _his_ person and
_their_ courage for the future defence of the religion and empire.
[76] The Moslems were delivered by the sudden, or, as they deemed, the
miraculous, retreat of the Christians; [77] and the laurels of Richard
were blasted by the prudence, or envy, of his companions. The hero,
ascending a hill, and veiling his face, exclaimed with an indignant
voice, "Those who are unwilling to rescue, are unworthy to view, the
sepulchre of Christ!" After his return to Acre, on the news that Jaffa
was surprised by the sultan, he sailed with some merchant vessels, and
leaped foremost on the beach: the castle was relieved by his presence;
and sixty thousand Turks and Saracens fled before his arms. The
discovery of his weakness, provoked them to return in the morning; and
they found him carelessly encamped before the gates with only seventeen
knights and three hundred archers. Without counting their numbers, he
sustained their charge; and we learn from the evidence of his enemies,
that the king of England, grasping his lance, rode furiously along their
front, from the right to the left wing, without meeting an adversary who
dared to encounter his career. [78] Am I writing the history of Orlando
or Amadis?

[Footnote 71: Magnus hic apud eos, interque reges eorum tum virtute tum
majestate eminens.... summus rerum arbiter, (Bohadin, p. 159.) He does
not seem to have known the names either of Philip or Richard.]

[Footnote 72: Rex Angliæ, præstrenuus.... rege Gallorum minor apud eos
censebatur ratione regni atque dignitatis; sed tum divitiis florentior,
tum bellicâ virtute multo erat celebrior, (Bohadin, p. 161.) A stranger
might admire those riches; the national historians will tell with what
lawless and wasteful oppression they were collected.]

[Footnote 73: Joinville, p. 17. Cuides-tu que ce soit le roi Richart?]

[Footnote 74: Yet he was guilty in the opinion of the Moslems, who
attest the confession of the assassins, that they were sent by the king
of England, (Bohadin, p. 225;) and his only defence is an absurd and
palpable forgery, (Hist. de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xv. p.
155--163,) a pretended letter from the prince of the assassins, the
Sheich, or old man of the mountain, who justified Richard, by assuming
to himself the guilt or merit of the murder. * Note: Von Hammer
(Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 202) sums up against Richard, Wilken
(vol. iv. p. 485) as strongly for acquittal. Michaud (vol. ii. p. 420)
delivers no decided opinion. This crime was also attributed to Saladin,
who is said, by an Oriental authority, (the continuator of Tabari,) to
have employed the assassins to murder both Conrad and Richard. It is a
melancholy admission, but it must be acknowledged, that such an act
would be less inconsistent with the character of the Christian than of
the Mahometan king.--M.]

[Footnote 75: See the distress and pious firmness of Saladin, as they
are described by Bohadin, (p. 7--9, 235--237,) who himself harangued
the defenders of Jerusalem; their fears were not unknown to the enemy,
(Jacob. à Vitriaco, l. i. c. 100, p. 1123. Vinisauf, l. v. c. 50, p.

[Footnote 76: Yet unless the sultan, or an Ayoubite prince, remained
in Jerusalem, nec Curdi Turcis, nec Turci essent obtemperaturi Curdis,
(Bohadin, p. 236.) He draws aside a corner of the political curtain.]

[Footnote 77: Bohadin, (p. 237,) and even Jeffrey de Vinisauf, (l.
vi. c. 1--8, p. 403--409,) ascribe the retreat to Richard himself;
and Jacobus à Vitriaco observes, that in his impatience to depart, in
alterum virum mutatus est, (p. 1123.) Yet Joinville, a French knight,
accuses the envy of Hugh duke of Burgundy, (p. 116,) without supposing,
like Matthew Paris, that he was bribed by Saladin.]

[Footnote 78: The expeditions to Ascalon, Jerusalem, and Jaffa, are
related by Bohadin (p. 184--249) and Abulfeda, (p. 51, 52.) The author
of the Itinerary, or the monk of St. Alban's, cannot exaggerate the
cadhi's account of the prowess of Richard, (Vinisauf, l. vi. c. 14--24,
p. 412--421. Hist. Major, p. 137--143;) and on the whole of this war
there is a marvellous agreement between the Christian and Mahometan
writers, who mutually praise the virtues of their enemies.]

During these hostilities, a languid and tedious negotiation [79] between
the Franks and Moslems was started, and continued, and broken, and again
resumed, and again broken. Some acts of royal courtesy, the gift of snow
and fruit, the exchange of Norway hawks and Arabian horses, softened the
asperity of religious war: from the vicissitude of success, the monarchs
might learn to suspect that Heaven was neutral in the quarrel; nor,
after the trial of each other, could either hope for a decisive victory.
[80] The health both of Richard and Saladin appeared to be in a declining
state; and they respectively suffered the evils of distant and domestic
warfare: Plantagenet was impatient to punish a perfidious rival who
had invaded Normandy in his absence; and the indefatigable sultan was
subdued by the cries of the people, who was the victim, and of the
soldiers, who were the instruments, of his martial zeal. The first
demands of the king of England were the restitution of Jerusalem,
Palestine, and the true cross; and he firmly declared, that himself and
his brother pilgrims would end their lives in the pious labor, rather
than return to Europe with ignominy and remorse. But the conscience
of Saladin refused, without some weighty compensation, to restore the
idols, or promote the idolatry, of the Christians; he asserted, with
equal firmness, his religious and civil claim to the sovereignty of
Palestine; descanted on the importance and sanctity of Jerusalem; and
rejected all terms of the establishment, or partition of the Latins.
The marriage which Richard proposed, of his sister with the sultan's
brother, was defeated by the difference of faith; the princess abhorred
the embraces of a Turk; and Adel, or Saphadin, would not easily renounce
a plurality of wives. A personal interview was declined by Saladin,
who alleged their mutual ignorance of each other's language; and the
negotiation was managed with much art and delay by their interpreters
and envoys. The final agreement was equally disapproved by the zealots
of both parties, by the Roman pontiff and the caliph of Bagdad. It was
stipulated that Jerusalem and the holy sepulchre should be open, without
tribute or vexation, to the pilgrimage of the Latin Christians; that,
after the demolition of Ascalon, they should inclusively possess the
sea-coast from Jaffa to Tyre; that the count of Tripoli and the prince
of Antioch should be comprised in the truce; and that, during three
years and three months, all hostilities should cease. The principal
chiefs of the two armies swore to the observance of the treaty; but the
monarchs were satisfied with giving their word and their right hand; and
the royal majesty was excused from an oath, which always implies some
suspicion of falsehood and dishonor. Richard embarked for Europe, to
seek a long captivity and a premature grave; and the space of a few
months concluded the life and glories of Saladin. The Orientals describe
his edifying death, which happened at Damascus; but they seem ignorant
of the equal distribution of his alms among the three religions, [81] or
of the display of a shroud, instead of a standard, to admonish the East
of the instability of human greatness. The unity of empire was dissolved
by his death; his sons were oppressed by the stronger arm of their uncle
Saphadin; the hostile interests of the sultans of Egypt, Damascus,
and Aleppo, [82] were again revived; and the Franks or Latins stood and
breathed, and hoped, in their fortresses along the Syrian coast.

[Footnote 79: See the progress of negotiation and hostility in Bohadin,
(p. 207--260,) who was himself an actor in the treaty. Richard declared
his intention of returning with new armies to the conquest of the Holy
Land; and Saladin answered the menace with a civil compliment, (Vinisauf
l. vi. c. 28, p. 423.)]

[Footnote 80: The most copious and original account of this holy war is
Galfridi à Vinisauf, Itinerarium Regis Anglorum Richardi et aliorum
in Terram Hierosolymorum, in six books, published in the iid volume
of Gale's Scriptores Hist. Anglicanæ, (p. 247--429.) Roger Hoveden and
Matthew Paris afford likewise many valuable materials; and the former
describes, with accuracy, the discipline and navigation of the English

[Footnote 81: Even Vertot (tom. i. p. 251) adopts the foolish notion
of the indifference of Saladin, who professed the Koran with his last

[Footnote 82: See the succession of the Ayoubites, in Abulpharagius,
(Dynast. p. 277, &c.,) and the tables of M. De Guignes, l'Art de
Vérifier les Dates, and the Bibliothèque Orientale.]

The noblest monument of a conqueror's fame, and of the terror which he
inspired, is the Saladine tenth, a general tax which was imposed on the
laity, and even the clergy, of the Latin church, for the service of the
holy war. The practice was too lucrative to expire with the occasion:
and this tribute became the foundation of all the tithes and tenths on
ecclesiastical benefices, which have been granted by the Roman pontiffs
to Catholic sovereigns, or reserved for the immediate use of the
apostolic see. [83] This pecuniary emolument must have tended to increase
the interest of the popes in the recovery of Palestine: after the death
of Saladin, they preached the crusade, by their epistles, their legates,
and their missionaries; and the accomplishment of the pious work might
have been expected from the zeal and talents of Innocent the Third.
[84] Under that young and ambitious priest, the successors of St.
Peter attained the full meridian of their greatness: and in a reign of
eighteen years, he exercised a despotic command over the emperors and
kings, whom he raised and deposed; over the nations, whom an interdict
of months or years deprived, for the offence of their rulers, of the
exercise of Christian worship. In the council of the Lateran he acted
as the ecclesiastical, almost as the temporal, sovereign of the East and
West. It was at the feet of his legate that John of England surrendered
his crown; and Innocent may boast of the two most signal triumphs over
sense and humanity, the establishment of transubstantiation, and the
origin of the inquisition. At his voice, two crusades, the fourth and
the fifth, were undertaken; but, except a king of Hungary, the princes
of the second order were at the head of the pilgrims: the forces were
inadequate to the design; nor did the effects correspond with the hopes
and wishes of the pope and the people. The fourth crusade was diverted
from Syria to Constantinople; and the conquest of the Greek or Roman
empire by the Latins will form the proper and important subject of the
next chapter. In the fifth, [85] two hundred thousand Franks were landed
at the eastern mouth of the Nile. They reasonably hoped that Palestine
must be subdued in Egypt, the seat and storehouse of the sultan; and,
after a siege of sixteen months, the Moslems deplored the loss of
Damietta. But the Christian army was ruined by the pride and insolence
of the legate Pelagius, who, in the pope's name, assumed the character
of general: the sickly Franks were encompassed by the waters of the Nile
and the Oriental forces; and it was by the evacuation of Damietta that
they obtained a safe retreat, some concessions for the pilgrims, and the
tardy restitution of the doubtful relic of the true cross. The failure
may in some measure be ascribed to the abuse and multiplication of the
crusades, which were preached at the same time against the Pagans of
Livonia, the Moors of Spain, the Albigeois of France, and the kings of
Sicily of the Imperial family. [86] In these meritorious services, the
volunteers might acquire at home the same spiritual indulgence, and a
larger measure of temporal rewards; and even the popes, in their zeal
against a domestic enemy, were sometimes tempted to forget the distress
of their Syrian brethren. From the last age of the crusades they derived
the occasional command of an army and revenue; and some deep reasoners
have suspected that the whole enterprise, from the first synod of
Placentia, was contrived and executed by the policy of Rome. The
suspicion is not founded, either in nature or in fact. The successors
of St. Peter appear to have followed, rather than guided, the impulse
of manners and prejudice; without much foresight of the seasons, or
cultivation of the soil, they gathered the ripe and spontaneous fruits
of the superstition of the times. They gathered these fruits without
toil or personal danger: in the council of the Lateran, Innocent the
Third declared an ambiguous resolution of animating the crusaders by his
example; but the pilot of the sacred vessel could not abandon the helm;
nor was Palestine ever blessed with the presence of a Roman pontiff. [87]

[Footnote 83: Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. iii. p. 311--374)
has copiously treated of the origin, abuses, and restrictions of
these _tenths_. A theory was started, but not pursued, that they were
rightfully due to the pope, a tenth of the Levite's tenth to the high
priest, (Selden on Tithes; see his Works, vol. iii. p. ii. p. 1083.)]

[Footnote 84: See the Gesta Innocentii III. in Murat. Script. Rer.
Ital., (tom. iii. p. 486--568.)]

[Footnote 85: See the vth crusade, and the siege of Damietta, in Jacobus
à Vitriaco, (l. iii. p. 1125--1149, in the Gesta Dei of Bongarsius,) an
eye-witness, Bernard Thesaurarius, (in Script. Muratori, tom. vii. p.
825--846, c. 190--207,) a contemporary, and Sanutus, (Secreta Fidel
Crucis, l. iii. p. xi. c. 4--9,) a diligent compiler; and of the
Arabians Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 294,) and the Extracts at the end of
Joinville, (p. 533, 537, 540, 547, &c.)]

[Footnote 86: To those who took the cross against Mainfroy, the
pope (A.D. 1255) granted plenissimam peccatorum remissionem. Fideles
mirabantur quòd tantum eis promitteret pro sanguine Christianorum
effundendo quantum pro cruore infidelium aliquando, (Matthew Paris p.
785.) A high flight for the reason of the xiiith century.]

[Footnote 87: This simple idea is agreeable to the good sense of
Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Ecclés. p. 332,) and the fine philosophy of
Hume, (Hist. of England, vol. i. p. 330.)]

The persons, the families, and estates of the pilgrims, were under the
immediate protection of the popes; and these spiritual patrons soon
claimed the prerogative of directing their operations, and enforcing,
by commands and censures, the accomplishment of their vow. Frederic the
Second, [88] the grandson of Barbarossa, was successively the pupil, the
enemy, and the victim of the church. At the age of twenty-one years, and
in obedience to his guardian Innocent the Third, he assumed the cross;
the same promise was repeated at his royal and imperial coronations; and
his marriage with the heiress of Jerusalem forever bound him to defend
the kingdom of his son Conrad. But as Frederic advanced in age and
authority, he repented of the rash engagements of his youth: his liberal
sense and knowledge taught him to despise the phantoms of superstition
and the crowns of Asia: he no longer entertained the same reverence
for the successors of Innocent: and his ambition was occupied by the
restoration of the Italian monarchy from Sicily to the Alps. But the
success of this project would have reduced the popes to their primitive
simplicity; and, after the delays and excuses of twelve years, they
urged the emperor, with entreaties and threats, to fix the time and
place of his departure for Palestine. In the harbors of Sicily and
Apulia, he prepared a fleet of one hundred galleys, and of one hundred
vessels, that were framed to transport and land two thousand five
hundred knights, with their horses and attendants; his vassals of Naples
and Germany formed a powerful army; and the number of English crusaders
was magnified to sixty thousand by the report of fame. But the
inevitable or affected slowness of these mighty preparations consumed
the strength and provisions of the more indigent pilgrims: the multitude
was thinned by sickness and desertion; and the sultry summer of Calabria
anticipated the mischiefs of a Syrian campaign. At length the emperor
hoisted sail at Brundusium, with a fleet and army of forty thousand
men: but he kept the sea no more than three days; and his hasty retreat,
which was ascribed by his friends to a grievous indisposition, was
accused by his enemies as a voluntary and obstinate disobedience. For
suspending his vow was Frederic excommunicated by Gregory the Ninth;
for presuming, the next year, to accomplish his vow, he was again
excommunicated by the same pope. [89] While he served under the banner
of the cross, a crusade was preached against him in Italy; and after
his return he was compelled to ask pardon for the injuries which he had
suffered. The clergy and military orders of Palestine were previously
instructed to renounce his communion and dispute his commands; and in
his own kingdom, the emperor was forced to consent that the orders
of the camp should be issued in the name of God and of the Christian
republic. Frederic entered Jerusalem in triumph; and with his own hands
(for no priest would perform the office) he took the crown from the
altar of the holy sepulchre. But the patriarch cast an interdict on the
church which his presence had profaned; and the knights of the hospital
and temple informed the sultan how easily he might be surprised and
slain in his unguarded visit to the River Jordan. In such a state of
fanaticism and faction, victory was hopeless, and defence was difficult;
but the conclusion of an advantageous peace may be imputed to the
discord of the Mahometans, and their personal esteem for the character
of Frederic. The enemy of the church is accused of maintaining with the
miscreants an intercourse of hospitality and friendship unworthy of a
Christian; of despising the barrenness of the land; and of indulging a
profane thought, that if Jehovah had seen the kingdom of Naples he never
would have selected Palestine for the inheritance of his chosen people.
Yet Frederic obtained from the sultan the restitution of Jerusalem,
of Bethlem and Nazareth, of Tyre and Sidon; the Latins were allowed
to inhabit and fortify the city; an equal code of civil and religious
freedom was ratified for the sectaries of Jesus and those of Mahomet;
and, while the former worshipped at the holy sepulchre, the latter might
pray and preach in the mosque of the temple, [90] from whence the prophet
undertook his nocturnal journey to heaven. The clergy deplored this
scandalous toleration; and the weaker Moslems were gradually expelled;
but every rational object of the crusades was accomplished without
bloodshed; the churches were restored, the monasteries were replenished;
and, in the space of fifteen years, the Latins of Jerusalem exceeded the
number of six thousand. This peace and prosperity, for which they were
ungrateful to their benefactor, was terminated by the irruption of the
strange and savage hordes of Carizmians. [91] Flying from the arms of the
Moguls, those shepherds [911] of the Caspian rolled headlong on Syria; and
the union of the Franks with the sultans of Aleppo, Hems, and Damascus,
was insufficient to stem the violence of the torrent. Whatever stood
against them was cut off by the sword, or dragged into captivity: the
military orders were almost exterminated in a single battle; and in
the pillage of the city, in the profanation of the holy sepulchre, the
Latins confess and regret the modesty and discipline of the Turks and

[Footnote 88: The original materials for the crusade of Frederic II. may
be drawn from Richard de St. Germano (in Muratori, Script. Rerum Ital.
tom. vii. p. 1002--1013) and Matthew Paris, (p. 286, 291, 300, 302,
304.) The most rational moderns are Fleury, (Hist. Ecclés. tom. xvi.,)
Vertot, (Chevaliers de Malthe, tom. i. l. iii.,) Giannone, (Istoria
Civile di Napoli, tom. ii. l. xvi.,) and Muratori, (Annali d' Italia,
tom. x.)]

[Footnote 89: Poor Muratori knows what to think, but knows not what to
say: "Chino qui il capo," &c. p. 322.]

[Footnote 90: The clergy artfully confounded the mosque or church of the
temple with the holy sepulchre, and their wilful error has deceived both
Vertot and Muratori.]

[Footnote 91: The irruption of the Carizmians, or Corasmins, is related
by Matthew Paris, (p. 546, 547,) and by Joinville, Nangis, and the
Arabians, (p. 111, 112, 191, 192, 528, 530.)]

[Footnote 911: They were in alliance with Eyub, sultan of Syria. Wilken
vol. vi. p. 630.--M.]

Of the seven crusades, the two last were undertaken by Louis the Ninth,
king of France; who lost his liberty in Egypt, and his life on the coast
of Africa. Twenty-eight years after his death, he was canonized at Rome;
and sixty-five miracles were readily found, and solemnly attested, to
justify the claim of the royal saint. [92] The voice of history renders a
more honorable testimony, that he united the virtues of a king, a hero,
and a man; that his martial spirit was tempered by the love of private
and public justice; and that Louis was the father of his people, the
friend of his neighbors, and the terror of the infidels. Superstition
alone, in all the extent of her baleful influence, [93] corrupted his
understanding and his heart: his devotion stooped to admire and imitate
the begging friars of Francis and Dominic: he pursued with blind
and cruel zeal the enemies of the faith; and the best of kings twice
descended from his throne to seek the adventures of a spiritual
knight-errant. A monkish historian would have been content to applaud
the most despicable part of his character; but the noble and gallant
Joinville, [94] who shared the friendship and captivity of Louis, has
traced with the pencil of nature the free portrait of his virtues as
well as of his failings. From this intimate knowledge we may learn to
suspect the political views of depressing their great vassals, which
are so often imputed to the royal authors of the crusades. Above all
the princes of the middle ages, Louis the Ninth successfully labored to
restore the prerogatives of the crown; but it was at home and not in the
East, that he acquired for himself and his posterity: his vow was the
result of enthusiasm and sickness; and if he were the promoter, he was
likewise the victim, of his holy madness. For the invasion of Egypt,
France was exhausted of her troops and treasures; he covered the sea of
Cyprus with eighteen hundred sails; the most modest enumeration amounts
to fifty thousand men; and, if we might trust his own confession, as
it is reported by Oriental vanity, he disembarked nine thousand five
hundred horse, and one hundred and thirty thousand foot, who performed
their pilgrimage under the shadow of his power. [95]

[Footnote 92: Read, if you can, the Life and Miracles of St. Louis, by
the confessor of Queen Margaret, (p. 291--523. Joinville, du Louvre.)]

[Footnote 93: He believed all that mother church taught, (Joinville, p.
10,) but he cautioned Joinville against disputing with infidels.
"L'omme lay (said he in his old language) quand il ot medire de la
loi Crestienne, ne doit pas deffendre la loi Crestienne ne mais que de
l'espée, dequoi il doit donner parmi le ventre dedens, tant comme elle y
peut entrer" (p. 12.)]

[Footnote 94: I have two editions of Joinville, the one (Paris, 1668)
most valuable for the observations of Ducange; the other (Paris, au
Louvre, 1761) most precious for the pure and authentic text, a MS. of
which has been recently discovered. The last edition proves that the
history of St. Louis was finished A.D. 1309, without explaining, or even
admiring, the age of the author, which must have exceeded ninety years,
(Preface, p. x. Observations de Ducange, p. 17.)]

[Footnote 95: Joinville, p. 32. Arabic Extracts, p. 549. * Note: Compare
Wilken, vol. vii. p. 94.--M.]

In complete armor, the oriflamme waving before him, Louis leaped
foremost on the beach; and the strong city of Damietta, which had cost
his predecessors a siege of sixteen months, was abandoned on the first
assault by the trembling Moslems. But Damietta was the first and the
last of his conquests; and in the fifth and sixth crusades, the
same causes, almost on the same ground, were productive of similar
calamities. [96] After a ruinous delay, which introduced into the camp
the seeds of an epidemic disease, the Franks advanced from the sea-coast
towards the capital of Egypt, and strove to surmount the unseasonable
inundation of the Nile, which opposed their progress. Under the eye of
their intrepid monarch, the barons and knights of France displayed their
invincible contempt of danger and discipline: his brother, the count of
Artois, stormed with inconsiderate valor the town of Massoura; and the
carrier pigeons announced to the inhabitants of Cairo that all was lost.
But a soldier, who afterwards usurped the sceptre, rallied the flying
troops: the main body of the Christians was far behind the vanguard; and
Artois was overpowered and slain. A shower of Greek fire was incessantly
poured on the invaders; the Nile was commanded by the Egyptian galleys,
the open country by the Arabs; all provisions were intercepted; each day
aggravated the sickness and famine; and about the same time a retreat
was found to be necessary and impracticable. The Oriental writers
confess, that Louis might have escaped, if he would have deserted his
subjects; he was made prisoner, with the greatest part of his nobles;
all who could not redeem their lives by service or ransom were inhumanly
massacred; and the walls of Cairo were decorated with a circle of
Christian heads. [97] The king of France was loaded with chains; but the
generous victor, a great-grandson of the brother of Saladin, sent a robe
of honor to his royal captive, and his deliverance, with that of his
soldiers, was obtained by the restitution of Damietta [98] and the
payment of four hundred thousand pieces of gold. In a soft and luxurious
climate, the degenerate children of the companions of Noureddin and
Saladin were incapable of resisting the flower of European chivalry:
they triumphed by the arms of their slaves or Mamalukes, the hardy
natives of Tartary, who at a tender age had been purchased of the Syrian
merchants, and were educated in the camp and palace of the sultan. But
Egypt soon afforded a new example of the danger of prætorian bands;
and the rage of these ferocious animals, who had been let loose on the
strangers, was provoked to devour their benefactor. In the pride
of conquest, Touran Shaw, the last of his race, was murdered by his
Mamalukes; and the most daring of the assassins entered the chamber of
the captive king, with drawn cimeters, and their hands imbrued in the
blood of their sultan. The firmness of Louis commanded their respect;
[99] their avarice prevailed over cruelty and zeal; the treaty was
accomplished; and the king of France, with the relics of his army, was
permitted to embark for Palestine. He wasted four years within the walls
of Acre, unable to visit Jerusalem, and unwilling to return without
glory to his native country.

[Footnote 96: The last editors have enriched their Joinville with large
and curious extracts from the Arabic historians, Macrizi, Abulfeda, &c.
See likewise Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 322--325,) who calls him by the
corrupt name of _Redefrans_. Matthew Paris (p. 683, 684) has described
the rival folly of the French and English who fought and fell at

[Footnote 97: Savary, in his agreeable Letters sur L'Egypte, has given
a description of Damietta, (tom. i. lettre xxiii. p. 274--290,) and a
narrative of the exposition of St. Louis, (xxv. p. 306--350.)]

[Footnote 98: For the ransom of St. Louis, a million of byzants was
asked and granted; but the sultan's generosity reduced that sum to
800,000 byzants, which are valued by Joinville at 400,000 French livres
of his own time, and expressed by Matthew Paris by 100,000 marks of
silver, (Ducange, Dissertation xx. sur Joinville.)]

[Footnote 99: The idea of the emirs to choose Louis for their sultan is
seriously attested by Joinville, (p. 77, 78,) and does not appear to me
so absurd as to M. de Voltaire, (Hist. Générale, tom. ii. p. 386, 387.)
The Mamalukes themselves were strangers, rebels, and equals: they had
felt his valor, they hoped his conversion; and such a motion, which
was not seconded, might be made, perhaps by a secret Christian in their
tumultuous assembly. * Note: Wilken, vol. vii. p. 257, thinks the
proposition could not have been made in earnest.--M.]

The memory of his defeat excited Louis, after sixteen years of wisdom
and repose, to undertake the seventh and last of the crusades. His
finances were restored, his kingdom was enlarged; a new generation of
warriors had arisen, and he advanced with fresh confidence at the head
of six thousand horse and thirty thousand foot. The loss of Antioch
had provoked the enterprise; a wild hope of baptizing the king of Tunis
tempted him to steer for the African coast; and the report of an immense
treasure reconciled his troops to the delay of their voyage to the Holy
Land. Instead of a proselyte, he found a siege: the French panted and
died on the burning sands: St. Louis expired in his tent; and no sooner
had he closed his eyes, than his son and successor gave the signal of
the retreat. [100] "It is thus," says a lively writer, "that a Christian
king died near the ruins of Carthage, waging war against the sectaries
of Mahomet, in a land to which Dido had introduced the deities of
Syria." [101]

[Footnote 100: See the expedition in the annals of St. Louis, by William
de Nangis, p. 270--287; and the Arabic extracts, p. 545, 555, of the
Louvre edition of Joinville.]

[Footnote 101: Voltaire, Hist. Générale, tom. ii. p. 391.]

A more unjust and absurd constitution cannot be devised than that which
condemns the natives of a country to perpetual servitude, under the
arbitrary dominion of strangers and slaves. Yet such has been the state
of Egypt above five hundred years. The most illustrious sultans of the
Baharite and Borgite dynasties [102] were themselves promoted from the
Tartar and Circassian bands; and the four-and-twenty beys, or military
chiefs, have ever been succeeded, not by their sons, but by their
servants. They produce the great charter of their liberties, the treaty
of Selim the First with the republic: [103] and the Othman emperor still
accepts from Egypt a slight acknowledgment of tribute and subjection.
With some breathing intervals of peace and order, the two dynasties
are marked as a period of rapine and bloodshed: [104] but their throne,
however shaken, reposed on the two pillars of discipline and valor:
their sway extended over Egypt, Nubia, Arabia, and Syria: their
Mamalukes were multiplied from eight hundred to twenty-five thousand
horse; and their numbers were increased by a provincial militia of one
hundred and seven thousand foot, and the occasional aid of sixty-six
thousand Arabs. [105] Princes of such power and spirit could not long
endure on their coast a hostile and independent nation; and if the ruin
of the Franks was postponed about forty years, they were indebted to the
cares of an unsettled reign, to the invasion of the Moguls, and to the
occasional aid of some warlike pilgrims. Among these, the English reader
will observe the name of our first Edward, who assumed the cross in the
lifetime of his father Henry. At the head of a thousand soldiers the
future conqueror of Wales and Scotland delivered Acre from a siege;
marched as far as Nazareth with an army of nine thousand men; emulated
the fame of his uncle Richard; extorted, by his valor, a ten years'
truce; [1051] and escaped, with a dangerous wound, from the dagger of a
fanatic _assassin_. [106] [1061] Antioch, [107] whose situation had been less
exposed to the calamities of the holy war, was finally occupied and
ruined by Bondocdar, or Bibars, sultan of Egypt and Syria; the Latin
principality was extinguished; and the first seat of the Christian name
was dispeopled by the slaughter of seventeen, and the captivity of one
hundred, thousand of her inhabitants. The maritime towns of Laodicea,
Gabala, Tripoli, Berytus, Sidon, Tyre and Jaffa, and the stronger
castles of the Hospitallers and Templars, successively fell; and the
whole existence of the Franks was confined to the city and colony of St.
John of Acre, which is sometimes described by the more classic title of

[Footnote 102: The chronology of the two dynasties of Mamalukes, the
Baharites, Turks or Tartars of Kipzak, and the Borgites, Circassians, is
given by Pocock (Prolegom. ad Abulpharag. p. 6--31) and De Guignes
(tom. i. p. 264--270;) their history from Abulfeda, Macrizi, &c., to the
beginning of the xvth century, by the same M. De Guignes, (tom. iv. p.

[Footnote 103: Savary, Lettres sur l'Egypte, tom. ii. lettre xv. p.
189--208. I much question the authenticity of this copy; yet it is true,
that Sultan Selim concluded a treaty with the Circassians or Mamalukes
of Egypt, and left them in possession of arms, riches, and power. See a
new Abrégé de l'Histoire Ottomane, composed in Egypt, and translated by
M. Digeon, (tom. i. p. 55--58, Paris, 1781,) a curious, authentic, and
national history.]

[Footnote 104: Si totum quo regnum occupârunt tempus respicias,
præsertim quod fini propius, reperies illud bellis, pugnis, injuriis,
ac rapinis refertum, (Al Jannabi, apud Pocock, p. 31.) The reign of
Mohammed (A.D. 1311--1341) affords a happy exception, (De Guignes, tom.
iv. p. 208--210.)]

[Footnote 105: They are now reduced to 8500: but the expense of each
Mamaluke may be rated at a hundred louis: and Egypt groans under the
avarice and insolence of these strangers, (Voyages de Volney, tom. i. p.

[Footnote 1051: Gibbon colors rather highly the success of Edward. Wilken
is more accurate vol. vii. p. 593, &c.--M.]

[Footnote 106: See Carte's History of England, vol. ii. p. 165--175, and
his original authors, Thomas Wikes and Walter Hemingford, (l. iii. c.
34, 35,) in Gale's Collection, (tom. ii. p. 97, 589--592.) They are both
ignorant of the princess Eleanor's piety in sucking the poisoned wound,
and saving her husband at the risk of her own life.]

[Footnote 1061: The sultan Bibars was concerned in this attempt at
assassination Wilken, vol. vii. p. 602. Ptolemæus Lucensis is the
earliest authority for the devotion of Eleanora. Ibid. 605.--M.]

[Footnote 107: Sanutus, Secret. Fidelium Crucis, 1. iii. p. xii. c.
9, and De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. iv. p. 143, from the Arabic

After the loss of Jerusalem, Acre, [108] which is distant about seventy
miles, became the metropolis of the Latin Christians, and was adorned
with strong and stately buildings, with aqueducts, an artificial port,
and a double wall. The population was increased by the incessant streams
of pilgrims and fugitives: in the pauses of hostility the trade of the
East and West was attracted to this convenient station; and the market
could offer the produce of every clime and the interpreters of every
tongue. But in this conflux of nations, every vice was propagated and
practised: of all the disciples of Jesus and Mahomet, the male and
female inhabitants of Acre were esteemed the most corrupt; nor could the
abuse of religion be corrected by the discipline of law. The city had
many sovereigns, and no government. The kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus,
of the house of Lusignan, the princes of Antioch, the counts of Tripoli
and Sidon, the great masters of the hospital, the temple, and the
Teutonic order, the republics of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa, the pope's
legate, the kings of France and England, assumed an independent command:
seventeen tribunals exercised the power of life and death; every
criminal was protected in the adjacent quarter; and the perpetual
jealousy of the nations often burst forth in acts of violence and blood.
Some adventurers, who disgraced the ensign of the cross, compensated
their want of pay by the plunder of the Mahometan villages: nineteen
Syrian merchants, who traded under the public faith, were despoiled and
hanged by the Christians; and the denial of satisfaction justified the
arms of the sultan Khalil. He marched against Acre, at the head of sixty
thousand horse and one hundred and forty thousand foot: his train of
artillery (if I may use the word) was numerous and weighty: the separate
timbers of a single engine were transported in one hundred wagons; and
the royal historian Abulfeda, who served with the troops of Hamah, was
himself a spectator of the holy war. Whatever might be the vices of the
Franks, their courage was rekindled by enthusiasm and despair; but they
were torn by the discord of seventeen chiefs, and overwhelmed on all
sides by the powers of the sultan. After a siege of thirty three days,
the double wall was forced by the Moslems; the principal tower yielded
to their engines; the Mamalukes made a general assault; the city was
stormed; and death or slavery was the lot of sixty thousand Christians.
The convent, or rather fortress, of the Templars resisted three days
longer; but the great master was pierced with an arrow; and, of five
hundred knights, only ten were left alive, less happy than the victims
of the sword, if they lived to suffer on a scaffold, in the unjust
and cruel proscription of the whole order. The king of Jerusalem, the
patriarch and the great master of the hospital, effected their retreat
to the shore; but the sea was rough, the vessels were insufficient; and
great numbers of the fugitives were drowned before they could reach the
Isle of Cyprus, which might comfort Lusignan for the loss of Palestine.
By the command of the sultan, the churches and fortifications of the
Latin cities were demolished: a motive of avarice or fear still opened
the holy sepulchre to some devout and defenceless pilgrims; and a
mournful and solitary silence prevailed along the coast which had so
long resounded with the world's debate. [109]

[Footnote 108: The state of Acre is represented in all the chronicles
of te times, and most accurately in John Villani, l. vii. c. 144, in
Muratori, Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, tom. xiii. 337, 338.]

[Footnote 109: See the final expulsion of the Franks, in Sanutus, l.
iii. p. xii. c. 11--22; Abulfeda, Macrizi, &c., in De Guignes, tom. iv.
p. 162, 164; and Vertot, tom. i. l. iii. p. 307--428. * Note: after
these chapters of Gibbon, the masterly prize composition, "Essai sur
'Influence des Croisades sur l'Europe," par A H. L. Heeren: traduit de
l'Allemand par Charles Villars, Paris, 1808,' or the original German, in
Heeren's "Vermischte Schriften," may be read with great advantage.--M.]

Chapter LX: The Fourth Crusade.--Part I.

     Schism Of The Greeks And Latins.--State Of Constantinople.--
     Revolt Of The Bulgarians.--Isaac Angelus Dethroned By His
     Brother Alexius.--Origin Of The Fourth Crusade.--Alliance Of
     The French And Venetians With The Son Of Isaac.--Their Naval
     Expedition To Constantinople.--The Two Sieges And Final
     Conquest Of The City By The Latins.

The restoration of the Western empire by Charlemagne was speedily
followed by the separation of the Greek and Latin churches. [1]
A religious and national animosity still divides the two largest
communions of the Christian world; and the schism of Constantinople,
by alienating her most useful allies, and provoking her most dangerous
enemies, has precipitated the decline and fall of the Roman empire in
the East.

[Footnote 1: In the successive centuries, from the ixth to the xviiith,
Mosheim traces the schism of the Greeks with learning, clearness, and
impartiality; the _filioque_ (Institut. Hist. Ecclés. p. 277,) Leo III.
p. 303 Photius, p. 307, 308. Michael Cerularius, p. 370, 371, &c.]

In the course of the present History, the aversion of the Greeks for the
Latins has been often visible and conspicuous. It was originally derived
from the disdain of servitude, inflamed, after the time of Constantine,
by the pride of equality or dominion; and finally exasperated by the
preference which their rebellious subjects had given to the alliance of
the Franks. In every age the Greeks were proud of their superiority in
profane and religious knowledge: they had first received the light
of Christianity; they had pronounced the decrees of the seven general
councils; they alone possessed the language of Scripture and philosophy;
nor should the Barbarians, immersed in the darkness of the West, [2]
presume to argue on the high and mysterious questions of theological
science. Those Barbarians despised in then turn the restless and subtile
levity of the Orientals, the authors of every heresy; and blessed their
own simplicity, which was content to hold the tradition of the apostolic
church. Yet in the seventh century, the synods of Spain, and afterwards
of France, improved or corrupted the Nicene creed, on the mysterious
subject of the third person of the Trinity. [3] In the long controversies
of the East, the nature and generation of the Christ had been
scrupulously defined; and the well-known relation of father and son
seemed to convey a faint image to the human mind. The idea of birth
was less analogous to the Holy Spirit, who, instead of a divine gift or
attribute, was considered by the Catholics as a substance, a person, a
god; he was not begotten, but in the orthodox style he _proceeded_.
Did he proceed from the Father alone, perhaps _by_ the Son? or from the
Father _and_ the Son? The first of these opinions was asserted by the
Greeks, the second by the Latins; and the addition to the Nicene
creed of the word _filioque_, kindled the flame of discord between the
Oriental and the Gallic churches. In the origin of the disputes the
Roman pontiffs affected a character of neutrality and moderation: [4]
they condemned the innovation, but they acquiesced in the sentiment, of
their Transalpine brethren: they seemed desirous of casting a veil
of silence and charity over the superfluous research; and in the
correspondence of Charlemagne and Leo the Third, the pope assumes the
liberality of a statesman, and the prince descends to the passions
and prejudices of a priest. [5] But the orthodoxy of Rome spontaneously
obeyed the impulse of the temporal policy; and the _filioque_, which
Leo wished to erase, was transcribed in the symbol and chanted in the
liturgy of the Vatican. The Nicene and Athanasian creeds are held as the
Catholic faith, without which none can be saved; and both Papists and
Protestants must now sustain and return the anathemas of the Greeks, who
deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son, as well as from the
Father. Such articles of faith are not susceptible of treaty; but the
rules of discipline will vary in remote and independent churches;
and the reason, even of divines, might allow, that the difference is
inevitable and harmless. The craft or superstition of Rome has imposed
on her priests and deacons the rigid obligation of celibacy; among the
Greeks it is confined to the bishops; the loss is compensated by dignity
or annihilated by age; and the parochial clergy, the papas, enjoy
the conjugal society of the wives whom they have married before their
entrance into holy orders. A question concerning the _Azyms_ was
fiercely debated in the eleventh century, and the essence of the
Eucharist was supposed in the East and West to depend on the use of
leavened or unleavened bread. Shall I mention in a serious history the
furious reproaches that were urged against the Latins, who for a long
while remained on the defensive? They neglected to abstain, according
to the apostolical decree, from things strangled, and from blood: they
fasted (a Jewish observance!) on the Saturday of each week: during the
first week of Lent they permitted the use of milk and cheese; [6] their
infirm monks were indulged in the taste of flesh; and animal grease was
substituted for the want of vegetable oil: the holy chrism or unction
in baptism was reserved to the episcopal order: the bishops, as the
bridegrooms of their churches, were decorated with rings; their priests
shaved their faces, and baptized by a single immersion. Such were the
crimes which provoked the zeal of the patriarchs of Constantinople; and
which were justified with equal zeal by the doctors of the Latin church.

[Footnote 2: ''AndreV dussebeiV kai apotropaioi, andreV ek sktouV
anadunteV, thV gar 'Esperiou moiraV uphrcon gennhmata, (Phot. Epist.
p. 47, edit. Montacut.) The Oriental patriarch continues to apply
the images of thunder, earthquake, hail, wild boar, precursors of
Antichrist, &c., &c.]

[Footnote 3: The mysterious subject of the procession of the Holy Ghost
is discussed in the historical, theological, and controversial sense, or
nonsense, by the Jesuit Petavius. (Dogmata Theologica, tom. ii. l. vii.
p. 362--440.)]

[Footnote 4: Before the shrine of St. Peter he placed two shields of the
weight of 94 1/2 pounds of pure silver; on which he inscribed the text
of both creeds, (utroque symbolo,) pro amore et _cautelâ_ orthodoxæ
fidei, (Anastas. in Leon. III. in Muratori, tom. iii. pars. i. p. 208.)
His language most clearly proves, that neither the _filioque_, nor the
Athanasian creed were received at Rome about the year 830.]

[Footnote 5: The Missi of Charlemagne pressed him to declare, that all
who rejected the _filioque_, or at least the doctrine, must be damned.
All, replies the pope, are not capable of reaching the altiora mysteria
qui potuerit, et non voluerit, salvus esse non potest, (Collect. Concil.
tom. ix. p. 277--286.) The _potuerit_ would leave a large loophole of

[Footnote 6: In France, after some harsher laws, the ecclesiastical
discipline is now relaxed: milk, cheese, and butter, are become a
perpetual, and eggs an annual, indulgence in Lent, (Vie privée des
François, tom. ii. p. 27--38.)]

[Footnote 7: The original monuments of the schism, of the charges of
the Greeks against the Latins, are deposited in the epistles of Photius,
(Epist Encyclica, ii. p. 47--61,) and of Michael Cerularius, (Canisii
Antiq. Lectiones, tom. iii. p. i. p. 281--324, edit. Basnage, with the
prolix answer of Cardinal Humbert.)]

Bigotry and national aversion are powerful magnifiers of every object
of dispute; but the immediate cause of the schism of the Greeks may
be traced in the emulation of the leading prelates, who maintained the
supremacy of the old metropolis superior to all, and of the reigning
capital, inferior to none, in the Christian world. About the middle of
the ninth century, Photius, [8] an ambitious layman, the captain of the
guards and principal secretary, was promoted by merit and favor to the
more desirable office of patriarch of Constantinople. In science, even
ecclesiastical science, he surpassed the clergy of the age; and the
purity of his morals has never been impeached: but his ordination was
hasty, his rise was irregular; and Ignatius, his abdicated predecessor,
was yet supported by the public compassion and the obstinacy of his
adherents. They appealed to the tribunal of Nicholas the First, one of
the proudest and most aspiring of the Roman pontiffs, who embraced the
welcome opportunity of judging and condemning his rival of the East.
Their quarrel was embittered by a conflict of jurisdiction over the
king and nation of the Bulgarians; nor was their recent conversion to
Christianity of much avail to either prelate, unless he could number the
proselytes among the subjects of his power. With the aid of his court
the Greek patriarch was victorious; but in the furious contest he
deposed in his turn the successor of St. Peter, and involved the Latin
church in the reproach of heresy and schism. Photius sacrificed the
peace of the world to a short and precarious reign: he fell with his
patron, the Cæsar Bardas; and Basil the Macedonian performed an act of
justice in the restoration of Ignatius, whose age and dignity had not
been sufficiently respected. From his monastery, or prison, Photius
solicited the favor of the emperor by pathetic complaints and artful
flattery; and the eyes of his rival were scarcely closed, when he was
again restored to the throne of Constantinople. After the death of Basil
he experienced the vicissitudes of courts and the ingratitude of a royal
pupil: the patriarch was again deposed, and in his last solitary hours
he might regret the freedom of a secular and studious life. In each
revolution, the breath, the nod, of the sovereign had been accepted by
a submissive clergy; and a synod of three hundred bishops was always
prepared to hail the triumph, or to stigmatize the fall, of the holy,
or the execrable, Photius. [9] By a delusive promise of succor or reward,
the popes were tempted to countenance these various proceedings; and the
synods of Constantinople were ratified by their epistles or legates. But
the court and the people, Ignatius and Photius, were equally adverse
to their claims; their ministers were insulted or imprisoned; the
procession of the Holy Ghost was forgotten; Bulgaria was forever annexed
to the Byzantine throne; and the schism was prolonged by their rigid
censure of all the multiplied ordinations of an irregular patriarch. The
darkness and corruption of the tenth century suspended the intercourse,
without reconciling the minds, of the two nations. But when the Norman
sword restored the churches of Apulia to the jurisdiction of Rome,
the departing flock was warned, by a petulant epistle of the Greek
patriarch, to avoid and abhor the errors of the Latins. The rising
majesty of Rome could no longer brook the insolence of a rebel; and
Michael Cerularius was excommunicated in the heart of Constantinople by
the pope's legates. Shaking the dust from their feet, they deposited
on the altar of St. Sophia a direful anathema, [10] which enumerates the
seven mortal heresies of the Greeks, and devotes the guilty teachers,
and their unhappy sectaries, to the eternal society of the devil and his
angels. According to the emergencies of the church and state, a friendly
correspondence was some times resumed; the language of charity and
concord was sometimes affected; but the Greeks have never recanted their
errors; the popes have never repealed their sentence; and from this
thunderbolt we may date the consummation of the schism. It was enlarged
by each ambitious step of the Roman pontiffs: the emperors blushed and
trembled at the ignominious fate of their royal brethren of Germany; and
the people were scandalized by the temporal power and military life of
the Latin clergy. [11]

[Footnote 8: The xth volume of the Venice edition of the Councils
contains all the acts of the synods, and history of Photius: they are
abridged, with a faint tinge of prejudice or prudence, by Dupin and

[Footnote 9: The synod of Constantinople, held in the year 869, is the
viiith of the general councils, the last assembly of the East which is
recognized by the Roman church. She rejects the synods of Constantinople
of the years 867 and 879, which were, however, equally numerous and
noisy; but they were favorable to Photius.]

[Footnote 10: See this anathema in the Councils, tom. xi. p.

[Footnote 11: Anna Comnena (Alexiad, l. i. p. 31--33) represents the
abhorrence, not only of the church, but of the palace, for Gregory VII.,
the popes and the Latin communion. The style of Cinnamus and Nicetas is
still more vehement. Yet how calm is the voice of history compared with
that of polemics!]

The aversion of the Greeks and Latins was nourished and manifested in
the three first expeditions to the Holy Land. Alexius Comnenus contrived
the absence at least of the formidable pilgrims: his successors, Manuel
and Isaac Angelus, conspired with the Moslems for the ruin of the
greatest princes of the Franks; and their crooked and malignant policy
was seconded by the active and voluntary obedience of every order of
their subjects. Of this hostile temper, a large portion may doubtless be
ascribed to the difference of language, dress, and manners, which
severs and alienates the nations of the globe. The pride, as well as
the prudence, of the sovereign was deeply wounded by the intrusion of
foreign armies, that claimed a right of traversing his dominions, and
passing under the walls of his capital: his subjects were insulted
and plundered by the rude strangers of the West: and the hatred of the
pusillanimous Greeks was sharpened by secret envy of the bold and pious
enterprises of the Franks. But these profane causes of national enmity
were fortified and inflamed by the venom of religious zeal. Instead of
a kind embrace, a hospitable reception from their Christian brethren of
the East, every tongue was taught to repeat the names of schismatic and
heretic, more odious to an orthodox ear than those of pagan and infidel:
instead of being loved for the general conformity of faith and worship,
they were abhorred for some rules of discipline, some questions of
theology, in which themselves or their teachers might differ from the
Oriental church. In the crusade of Louis the Seventh, the Greek clergy
washed and purified the altars which had been defiled by the sacrifice
of a French priest. The companions of Frederic Barbarossa deplore the
injuries which they endured, both in word and deed, from the peculiar
rancor of the bishops and monks. Their prayers and sermons excited the
people against the impious Barbarians; and the patriarch is accused of
declaring, that the faithful might obtain the redemption of all their
sins by the extirpation of the schismatics. [12] An enthusiast, named
Dorotheus, alarmed the fears, and restored the confidence, of the
emperor, by a prophetic assurance, that the German heretic, after
assaulting the gate of Blachernes, would be made a signal example of
the divine vengeance. The passage of these mighty armies were rare and
perilous events; but the crusades introduced a frequent and familiar
intercourse between the two nations, which enlarged their knowledge
without abating their prejudices. The wealth and luxury of
Constantinople demanded the productions of every climate these imports
were balanced by the art and labor of her numerous inhabitants; her
situation invites the commerce of the world; and, in every period of her
existence, that commerce has been in the hands of foreigners. After the
decline of Amalphi, the Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese, introduced their
factories and settlements into the capital of the empire: their services
were rewarded with honors and immunities; they acquired the possession
of lands and houses; their families were multiplied by marriages with
the natives; and, after the toleration of a Mahometan mosque, it was
impossible to interdict the churches of the Roman rite. [13] The two
wives of Manuel Comnenus [14] were of the race of the Franks: the first,
a sister-in-law of the emperor Conrad; the second, a daughter of the
prince of Antioch: he obtained for his son Alexius a daughter of Philip
Augustus, king of France; and he bestowed his own daughter on a
marquis of Montferrat, who was educated and dignified in the palace
of Constantinople. The Greek encountered the arms, and aspired to the
empire, of the West: he esteemed the valor, and trusted the fidelity, of
the Franks; [15] their military talents were unfitly recompensed by the
lucrative offices of judges and treasures; the policy of Manuel had
solicited the alliance of the pope; and the popular voice accused him of
a partial bias to the nation and religion of the Latins. [16] During
his reign, and that of his successor Alexius, they were exposed at
Constantinople to the reproach of foreigners, heretics, and favorites;
and this triple guilt was severely expiated in the tumult, which
announced the return and elevation of Andronicus. [17] The people rose
in arms: from the Asiatic shore the tyrant despatched his troops and
galleys to assist the national revenge; and the hopeless resistance of
the strangers served only to justify the rage, and sharpen the daggers,
of the assassins. Neither age, nor sex, nor the ties of friendship or
kindred, could save the victims of national hatred, and avarice, and
religious zeal; the Latins were slaughtered in their houses and in the
streets; their quarter was reduced to ashes; the clergy were burnt in
their churches, and the sick in their hospitals; and some estimate may
be formed of the slain from the clemency which sold above four thousand
Christians in perpetual slavery to the Turks. The priests and monks were
the loudest and most active in the destruction of the schismatics;
and they chanted a thanksgiving to the Lord, when the head of a Roman
cardinal, the pope's legate, was severed from his body, fastened to the
tail of a dog, and dragged, with savage mockery, through the city. The
more diligent of the strangers had retreated, on the first alarm, to
their vessels, and escaped through the Hellespont from the scene of
blood. In their flight, they burnt and ravaged two hundred miles of the
sea-coast; inflicted a severe revenge on the guiltless subjects of the
empire; marked the priests and monks as their peculiar enemies; and
compensated, by the accumulation of plunder, the loss of their property
and friends. On their return, they exposed to Italy and Europe the
wealth and weakness, the perfidy and malice, of the Greeks, whose
vices were painted as the genuine characters of heresy and schism. The
scruples of the first crusaders had neglected the fairest opportunities
of securing, by the possession of Constantinople, the way to the Holy
Land: domestic revolution invited, and almost compelled, the French and
Venetians to achieve the conquest of the Roman empire of the East.

[Footnote 12: His anonymous historian (de Expedit. Asiat. Fred. I.
in Canisii Lection. Antiq. tom. iii. pars ii. p. 511, edit. Basnage)
mentions the sermons of the Greek patriarch, quomodo Græcis injunxerat
in remissionem peccatorum peregrinos occidere et delere de terra. Tagino
observes, (in Scriptores Freher. tom. i. p. 409, edit. Struv.,)
Græci hæreticos nos appellant: clerici et monachi dictis et factis
persequuntur. We may add the declaration of the emperor Baldwin fifteen
years afterwards: Hæc est (_gens_) quæ Latinos omnes non hominum nomine,
sed canum dignabatur; quorum sanguinem effundere penè inter merita
reputabant, (Gesta Innocent. III., c. 92, in Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum, tom. iii. pars i. p. 536.) There may be some exaggeration,
but it was as effectual for the action and reaction of hatred.]

[Footnote 13: See Anna Comnena, (Alexiad, l. vi. p. 161, 162,) and a
remarkable passage of Nicetas, (in Manuel, l. v. c. 9,) who observes
of the Venetians, kata smhnh kai jratriaV thn Kwnstantinou polin thV
oikeiaV hllaxanto, &c.]

[Footnote 14: Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 186, 187.]

[Footnote 15: Nicetas in Manuel. l. vii. c. 2. Regnante enim
(Manuele).... apud eum tantam Latinus populus repererat gratiam ut
neglectis Græculis suis tanquam viris mollibus et effminatis,.... solis
Latinis grandia committeret negotia.... erga eos profusâ liberalitate
abundabat.... ex omni orbe ad eum tanquam ad benefactorem nobiles et
ignobiles concurrebant. Willelm. Tyr. xxii. c. 10.]

[Footnote 16: The suspicions of the Greeks would have been confirmed, if
they had seen the political epistles of Manuel to Pope Alexander III.,
the enemy of his enemy Frederic I., in which the emperor declares his
wish of uniting the Greeks and Latins as one flock under one shepherd,
&c (See Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xv. p. 187, 213, 243.)]

[Footnote 17: See the Greek and Latin narratives in Nicetas (in Alexio
Comneno, c. 10) and William of Tyre, (l. xxii. c. 10, 11, 12, 13;) the
first soft and concise, the second loud, copious, and tragical.]

In the series of the Byzantine princes, I have exhibited the hypocrisy
and ambition, the tyranny and fall, of Andronicus, the last male of the
Comnenian family who reigned at Constantinople. The revolution, which
cast him headlong from the throne, saved and exalted Isaac Angelus,
[18] who descended by the females from the same Imperial dynasty. The
successor of a second Nero might have found it an easy task to deserve
the esteem and affection of his subjects; they sometimes had reason to
regret the administration of Andronicus. The sound and vigorous mind of
the tyrant was capable of discerning the connection between his own and
the public interest; and while he was feared by all who could inspire
him with fear, the unsuspected people, and the remote provinces, might
bless the inexorable justice of their master. But his successor was vain
and jealous of the supreme power, which he wanted courage and abilities
to exercise: his vices were pernicious, his virtues (if he possessed
any virtues) were useless, to mankind; and the Greeks, who imputed their
calamities to his negligence, denied him the merit of any transient or
accidental benefits of the times. Isaac slept on the throne, and was
awakened only by the sound of pleasure: his vacant hours were amused by
comedians and buffoons, and even to these buffoons the emperor was an
object of contempt: his feasts and buildings exceeded the examples of
royal luxury: the number of his eunuchs and domestics amounted to twenty
thousand; and a daily sum of four thousand pounds of silver would swell
to four millions sterling the annual expense of his household and table.
His poverty was relieved by oppression; and the public discontent was
inflamed by equal abuses in the collection, and the application, of
the revenue. While the Greeks numbered the days of their servitude,
a flattering prophet, whom he rewarded with the dignity of patriarch,
assured him of a long and victorious reign of thirty-two years; during
which he should extend his sway to Mount Libanus, and his conquests
beyond the Euphrates. But his only step towards the accomplishment of
the prediction was a splendid and scandalous embassy to Saladin, [19]
to demand the restitution of the holy sepulchre, and to propose an
offensive and defensive league with the enemy of the Christian name. In
these unworthy hands, of Isaac and his brother, the remains of the Greek
empire crumbled into dust. The Island of Cyprus, whose name excites the
ideas of elegance and pleasure, was usurped by his namesake, a Comnenian
prince; and by a strange concatenation of events, the sword of our
English Richard bestowed that kingdom on the house of Lusignan, a rich
compensation for the loss of Jerusalem.

[Footnote 18: The history of the reign of Isaac Angelus is composed, in
three books, by the senator Nicetas, (p. 228--290;) and his offices
of logothete, or principal secretary, and judge of the veil or palace,
could not bribe the impartiality of the historian. He wrote, it is true,
after the fall and death of his benefactor.]

[Footnote 19: See Bohadin, Vit. Saladin. p. 129--131, 226, vers.
Schultens. The ambassador of Isaac was equally versed in the Greek,
French, and Arabic languages; a rare instance in those times. His
embassies were received with honor, dismissed without effect, and
reported with scandal in the West.]

The honor of the monarchy and the safety of the capital were deeply
wounded by the revolt of the Bulgarians and Walachians. Since the
victory of the second Basil, they had supported, above a hundred and
seventy years, the loose dominion of the Byzantine princes; but no
effectual measures had been adopted to impose the yoke of laws and
manners on these savage tribes. By the command of Isaac, their sole
means of subsistence, their flocks and herds, were driven away, to
contribute towards the pomp of the royal nuptials; and their fierce
warriors were exasperated by the denial of equal rank and pay in the
military service. Peter and Asan, two powerful chiefs, of the race
of the ancient kings, [20] asserted their own rights and the national
freedom; their dæmoniac impostors proclaimed to the crowd, that their
glorious patron St. Demetrius had forever deserted the cause of the
Greeks; and the conflagration spread from the banks of the Danube to the
hills of Macedonia and Thrace. After some faint efforts, Isaac Angelus
and his brother acquiesced in their independence; and the Imperial
troops were soon discouraged by the bones of their fellow-soldiers, that
were scattered along the passes of Mount Hæmus. By the arms and
policy of John or Joannices, the second kingdom of Bulgaria was firmly
established. The subtle Barbarian sent an embassy to Innocent the Third,
to acknowledge himself a genuine son of Rome in descent and religion,
[21] and humbly received from the pope the license of coining money, the
royal title, and a Latin archbishop or patriarch. The Vatican exulted in
the spiritual conquest of Bulgaria, the first object of the schism; and
if the Greeks could have preserved the prerogatives of the church, they
would gladly have resigned the rights of the monarchy.

[Footnote 20: Ducange, Familiæ, Dalmaticæ, p. 318, 319, 320. The
original correspondence of the Bulgarian king and the Roman pontiff is
inscribed in the Gesta Innocent. III. c. 66--82, p. 513--525.]

[Footnote 21: The pope acknowledges his pedigree, a nobili urbis Romæ
prosapiâ genitores tui originem traxerunt. This tradition, and the
strong resemblance of the Latin and Walachian idioms, is explained by M.
D'Anville, (Etats de l'Europe, p. 258--262.) The Italian colonies of
the Dacia of Trajan were swept away by the tide of emigration from the
Danube to the Volga, and brought back by another wave from the Volga to
the Danube. Possible, but strange!]

The Bulgarians were malicious enough to pray for the long life of Isaac
Angelus, the surest pledge of their freedom and prosperity. Yet their
chiefs could involve in the same indiscriminate contempt the family and
nation of the emperor. "In all the Greeks," said Asan to his troops,
"the same climate, and character, and education, will be productive of
the same fruits. Behold my lance," continued the warrior, "and the long
streamers that float in the wind. They differ only in color; they are
formed of the same silk, and fashioned by the same workman; nor has the
stripe that is stained in purple any superior price or value above its
fellows." [22] Several of these candidates for the purple successively
rose and fell under the empire of Isaac; a general, who had repelled the
fleets of Sicily, was driven to revolt and ruin by the ingratitude
of the prince; and his luxurious repose was disturbed by secret
conspiracies and popular insurrections. The emperor was saved by
accident, or the merit of his servants: he was at length oppressed by an
ambitious brother, who, for the hope of a precarious diadem, forgot the
obligations of nature, of loyalty, and of friendship. [23] While Isaac
in the Thracian valleys pursued the idle and solitary pleasures of the
chase, his brother, Alexius Angelus, was invested with the purple,
by the unanimous suffrage of the camp; the capital and the clergy
subscribed to their choice; and the vanity of the new sovereign rejected
the name of his fathers for the lofty and royal appellation of the
Comnenian race. On the despicable character of Isaac I have exhausted
the language of contempt, and can only add, that, in a reign of eight
years, the baser Alexius [24] was supported by the masculine vices of his
wife Euphrosyne. The first intelligence of his fall was conveyed to the
late emperor by the hostile aspect and pursuit of the guards, no longer
his own: he fled before them above fifty miles, as far as Stagyra,
in Macedonia; but the fugitive, without an object or a follower, was
arrested, brought back to Constantinople, deprived of his eyes, and
confined in a lonesome tower, on a scanty allowance of bread and water.
At the moment of the revolution, his son Alexius, whom he educated
in the hope of empire, was twelve years of age. He was spared by the
usurper, and reduced to attend his triumph both in peace and war; but
as the army was encamped on the sea-shore, an Italian vessel facilitated
the escape of the royal youth; and, in the disguise of a common sailor,
he eluded the search of his enemies, passed the Hellespont, and found a
secure refuge in the Isle of Sicily. After saluting the threshold of
the apostles, and imploring the protection of Pope Innocent the Third,
Alexius accepted the kind invitation of his sister Irene, the wife of
Philip of Swabia, king of the Romans. But in his passage through Italy,
he heard that the flower of Western chivalry was assembled at Venice for
the deliverance of the Holy Land; and a ray of hope was kindled in his
bosom, that their invincible swords might be employed in his father's

[Footnote 22: This parable is in the best savage style; but I wish the
Walach had not introduced the classic name of Mysians, the experiment of
the magnet or loadstone, and the passage of an old comic poet, (Nicetas
in Alex. Comneno, l. i. p. 299, 300.)]

[Footnote 23: The Latins aggravate the ingratitude of Alexius, by
supposing that he had been released by his brother Isaac from Turkish
captivity This pathetic tale had doubtless been repeated at Venice and
Zara but I do not readily discover its grounds in the Greek historians.]

[Footnote 24: See the reign of Alexius Angelus, or Comnenus, in the
three books of Nicetas, p. 291--352.]

About ten or twelve years after the loss of Jerusalem, the nobles of
France were again summoned to the holy war by the voice of a third
prophet, less extravagant, perhaps, than Peter the hermit, but far below
St. Bernard in the merit of an orator and a statesman. An illiterate
priest of the neighborhood of Paris, Fulk of Neuilly, [25] forsook his
parochial duty, to assume the more flattering character of a popular and
itinerant missionary. The fame of his sanctity and miracles was spread
over the land; he declaimed, with severity and vehemence, against the
vices of the age; and his sermons, which he preached in the streets of
Paris, converted the robbers, the usurers, the prostitutes, and even the
doctors and scholars of the university. No sooner did Innocent the Third
ascend the chair of St. Peter, than he proclaimed in Italy, Germany,
and France, the obligation of a new crusade. [26] The eloquent pontiff
described the ruin of Jerusalem, the triumph of the Pagans, and the
shame of Christendom; his liberality proposed the redemption of sins, a
plenary indulgence to all who should serve in Palestine, either a year
in person, or two years by a substitute; [27] and among his legates and
orators who blew the sacred trumpet, Fulk of Neuilly was the loudest and
most successful. The situation of the principal monarchs was averse to
the pious summons. The emperor Frederic the Second was a child; and his
kingdom of Germany was disputed by the rival houses of Brunswick and
Swabia, the memorable factions of the Guelphs and Ghibelines. Philip
Augustus of France had performed, and could not be persuaded to renew,
the perilous vow; but as he was not less ambitious of praise than of
power, he cheerfully instituted a perpetual fund for the defence of the
Holy Land Richard of England was satiated with the glory and misfortunes
of his first adventure; and he presumed to deride the exhortations of
Fulk of Neuilly, who was not abashed in the presence of kings. "You
advise me," said Plantagenet, "to dismiss my three daughters, pride,
avarice, and incontinence: I bequeath them to the most deserving; my
pride to the knights templars, my avarice to the monks of Cisteaux, and
my incontinence to the prelates." But the preacher was heard and obeyed
by the great vassals, the princes of the second order; and Theobald,
or Thibaut, count of Champagne, was the foremost in the holy race. The
valiant youth, at the age of twenty-two years, was encouraged by the
domestic examples of his father, who marched in the second crusade, and
of his elder brother, who had ended his days in Palestine with the title
of King of Jerusalem; two thousand two hundred knights owed service and
homage to his peerage; [28] the nobles of Champagne excelled in all the
exercises of war; [29] and, by his marriage with the heiress of Navarre,
Thibaut could draw a band of hardy Gascons from either side of the
Pyrenæan mountains. His companion in arms was Louis, count of Blois
and Chartres; like himself of regal lineage, for both the princes were
nephews, at the same time, of the kings of France and England. In a
crowd of prelates and barons, who imitated their zeal, I distinguish the
birth and merit of Matthew of Montmorency; the famous Simon of
Montfort, the scourge of the Albigeois; and a valiant noble, Jeffrey of
Villehardouin, [30] marshal of Champagne, [31] who has condescended, in
the rude idiom of his age and country, [32] to write or dictate [33]
an original narrative of the councils and actions in which he bore a
memorable part. At the same time, Baldwin, count of Flanders, who had
married the sister of Thibaut, assumed the cross at Bruges, with his
brother Henry, and the principal knights and citizens of that rich and
industrious province. [34] The vow which the chiefs had pronounced in
churches, they ratified in tournaments; the operations of the war were
debated in full and frequent assemblies; and it was resolved to seek
the deliverance of Palestine in Egypt, a country, since Saladin's death,
which was almost ruined by famine and civil war. But the fate of so many
royal armies displayed the toils and perils of a land expedition; and if
the Flemings dwelt along the ocean, the French barons were destitute of
ships and ignorant of navigation. They embraced the wise resolution of
choosing six deputies or representatives, of whom Villehardouin was
one, with a discretionary trust to direct the motions, and to pledge the
faith, of the whole confederacy. The maritime states of Italy were alone
possessed of the means of transporting the holy warriors with their arms
and horses; and the six deputies proceeded to Venice, to solicit, on
motives of piety or interest, the aid of that powerful republic.

[Footnote 25: See Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xvi. p. 26, &c., and
Villehardouin, No. 1, with the observations of Ducange, which I always
mean to quote with the original text.]

[Footnote 26: The contemporary life of Pope Innocent III., published by
Baluze and Muratori, (Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, tom. iii. pars i.
p. 486--568), is most valuable for the important and original documents
which are inserted in the text. The bull of the crusade may be read, c.
84, 85.]

[Footnote 27: Por-ce que cil pardon, fut issi gran, si s'en esmeurent
mult li cuers des genz, et mult s'en croisierent, porce que li pardons
ere si gran. Villehardouin, No. 1. Our philosophers may refine on the
causes of the crusades, but such were the genuine feelings of a French

[Footnote 28: This number of fiefs (of which 1800 owed liege homage) was
enrolled in the church of St. Stephen at Troyes, and attested A.D. 1213,
by the marshal and butler of Champagne, (Ducange, Observ. p. 254.)]

[Footnote 29: Campania.... militiæ privilegio singularius excellit....
in tyrociniis.... prolusione armorum, &c., Duncage, p. 249, from the old
Chronicle of Jerusalem, A.D. 1177--1199.]

[Footnote 30: The name of Villehardouin was taken from a village and
castle in the diocese of Troyes, near the River Aube, between Bar
and Arcis. The family was ancient and noble; the elder branch of our
historian existed after the year 1400, the younger, which acquired
the principality of Achaia, merged in the house of Savoy, (Ducange, p.

[Footnote 31: This office was held by his father and his descendants;
but Ducange has not hunted it with his usual sagacity. I find that, in
the year 1356, it was in the family of Conflans; but these provincial
have been long since eclipsed by the national marshals of France.]

[Footnote 32: This language, of which I shall produce some specimens,
is explained by Vigenere and Ducange, in a version and glossary. The
president Des Brosses (Méchanisme des Langues, tom. ii. p. 83) gives
it as the example of a language which has ceased to be French, and is
understood only by grammarians.]

[Footnote 33: His age, and his own expression, moi qui ceste uvre
_dicta_, (No. 62, &c.,) may justify the suspicion (more probable than
Mr. Wood's on Homer) that he could neither read nor write. Yet Champagne
may boast of the two first historians, the noble authors of French
prose, Villehardouin and Joinville.]

[Footnote 34: The crusade and reigns of the counts of Flanders, Baldwin
and his brother Henry, are the subject of a particular history by the
Jesuit Doutremens, (Constantinopolis Belgica; Turnaci, 1638, in 4to.,)
which I have only seen with the eyes of Ducange.]

In the invasion of Italy by Attila, I have mentioned [35] the flight of
the Venetians from the fallen cities of the continent, and their obscure
shelter in the chain of islands that line the extremity of the Adriatic
Gulf. In the midst of the waters, free, indigent, laborious, and
inaccessible, they gradually coalesced into a republic: the first
foundations of Venice were laid in the Island of Rialto; and the annual
election of the twelve tribunes was superseded by the permanent office
of a duke or doge. On the verge of the two empires, the Venetians exult
in the belief of primitive and perpetual independence. [36] Against the
Latins, their antique freedom has been asserted by the sword, and may
be justified by the pen. Charlemagne himself resigned all claims of
sovereignty to the islands of the Adriatic Gulf: his son Pepin was
repulsed in the attacks of the _lagunas_ or canals, too deep for the
cavalry, and too shallow for the vessels; and in every age, under the
German Cæsars, the lands of the republic have been clearly distinguished
from the kingdom of Italy. But the inhabitants of Venice were considered
by themselves, by strangers, and by their sovereigns, as an inalienable
portion of the Greek empire: [37] in the ninth and tenth centuries, the
proofs of their subjection are numerous and unquestionable; and the
vain titles, the servile honors, of the Byzantine court, so ambitiously
solicited by their dukes, would have degraded the magistrates of a free
people. But the bands of this dependence, which was never absolute or
rigid, were imperceptibly relaxed by the ambition of Venice and the
weakness of Constantinople. Obedience was softened into respect,
privilege ripened into prerogative, and the freedom of domestic
government was fortified by the independence of foreign dominion. The
maritime cities of Istria and Dalmatia bowed to the sovereigns of
the Adriatic; and when they armed against the Normans in the cause of
Alexius, the emperor applied, not to the duty of his subjects, but to
the gratitude and generosity of his faithful allies. The sea was their
patrimony: [38] the western parts of the Mediterranean, from Tuscany to
Gibraltar, were indeed abandoned to their rivals of Pisa and Genoa; but
the Venetians acquired an early and lucrative share of the commerce of
Greece and Egypt. Their riches increased with the increasing demand of
Europe; their manufactures of silk and glass, perhaps the institution of
their bank, are of high antiquity; and they enjoyed the fruits of their
industry in the magnificence of public and private life. To assert her
flag, to avenge her injuries, to protect the freedom of navigation,
the republic could launch and man a fleet of a hundred galleys; and the
Greeks, the Saracens, and the Normans, were encountered by her naval
arms. The Franks of Syria were assisted by the Venetians in the
reduction of the sea coast; but their zeal was neither blind nor
disinterested; and in the conquest of Tyre, they shared the sovereignty
of a city, the first seat of the commerce of the world. The policy of
Venice was marked by the avarice of a trading, and the insolence of a
maritime, power; yet her ambition was prudent: nor did she often forget
that if armed galleys were the effect and safeguard, merchant vessels
were the cause and supply, of her greatness. In her religion, she
avoided the schisms of the Greeks, without yielding a servile obedience
to the Roman pontiff; and a free intercourse with the infidels of every
clime appears to have allayed betimes the fever of superstition. Her
primitive government was a loose mixture of democracy and monarchy; the
doge was elected by the votes of the general assembly; as long as he
was popular and successful, he reigned with the pomp and authority of a
prince; but in the frequent revolutions of the state, he was deposed,
or banished, or slain, by the justice or injustice of the multitude.
The twelfth century produced the first rudiments of the wise and jealous
aristocracy, which has reduced the doge to a pageant, and the people to
a cipher. [39]

[Footnote 35: History, &c., vol. iii. p. 446, 447.]

[Footnote 36: The foundation and independence of Venice, and Pepin's
invasion, are discussed by Pagi (Critica, tom. iii. A.D. 81, No. 4,
&c.) and Beretti, (Dissert. Chorograph. Italiæ Medii Ævi, in Muratori,
Script. tom. x. p. 153.) The two critics have a slight bias, the
Frenchman adverse, the Italian favorable, to the republic.]

[Footnote 37: When the son of Charlemagne asserted his right of
sovereignty, he was answered by the loyal Venetians, oti hmeiV douloi
Jelomen einai tou 'Rwmaiwn basilewV, (Constantin. Porphyrogenit. de
Administrat. Imperii, pars ii. c. 28, p. 85;) and the report of the
ixth establishes the fact of the xth century, which is confirmed by the
embassy of Liutprand of Cremona. The annual tribute, which the emperor
allows them to pay to the king of Italy, alleviates, by doubling, their
servitude; but the hateful word douloi must be translated, as in the
charter of 827, (Laugier, Hist. de Venice, tom. i. p. 67, &c.,) by the
softer appellation of _subditi_, or _fideles_.]

[Footnote 38: See the xxvth and xxxth dissertations of the Antiquitates
Medii Ævi of Muratori. From Anderson's History of Commerce, I understand
that the Venetians did not trade to England before the year 1323. The
most flourishing state of their wealth and commerce, in the beginning of
the xvth century, is agreeably described by the Abbé Dubos, (Hist. de la
Ligue de Cambray, tom. ii. p. 443--480.)]

[Footnote 39: The Venetians have been slow in writing and publishing
their history. Their most ancient monuments are, 1. The rude Chronicle
(perhaps) of John Sagorninus, (Venezia, 1765, in octavo,) which
represents the state and manners of Venice in the year 1008. 2. The
larger history of the doge, (1342--1354,) Andrew Dandolo, published for
the first time in the xiith tom. of Muratori, A.D. 1728. The History
of Venice by the Abbé Laugier, (Paris, 1728,) is a work of some merit,
which I have chiefly used for the constitutional part. * Note: It is
scarcely necessary to mention the valuable work of Count Daru, "History
de Venise," of which I hear that an Italian translation has been
published, with notes defensive of the ancient republic. I have not yet
seen this work.--M.]

Chapter LX: The Fourth Crusade.--Part II.

When the six ambassadors of the French pilgrims arrived at Venice, they
were hospitably entertained in the palace of St. Mark, by the reigning
duke; his name was Henry Dandolo; [40] and he shone in the last period of
human life as one of the most illustrious characters of the times.
Under the weight of years, and after the loss of his eyes, [41] Dandolo
retained a sound understanding and a manly courage: the spirit of a
hero, ambitious to signalize his reign by some memorable exploits; and
the wisdom of a patriot, anxious to build his fame on the glory and
advantage of his country. He praised the bold enthusiasm and liberal
confidence of the barons and their deputies: in such a cause, and with
such associates, he should aspire, were he a private man, to terminate
his life; but he was the servant of the republic, and some delay was
requisite to consult, on this arduous business, the judgment of his
colleagues. The proposal of the French was first debated by the six
_sages_ who had been recently appointed to control the administration of
the doge: it was next disclosed to the forty members of the council
of state; and finally communicated to the legislative assembly of four
hundred and fifty representatives, who were annually chosen in the six
quarters of the city. In peace and war, the doge was still the chief
of the republic; his legal authority was supported by the personal
reputation of Dandolo: his arguments of public interest were balanced
and approved; and he was authorized to inform the ambassadors of
the following conditions of the treaty. [42] It was proposed that the
crusaders should assemble at Venice, on the feast of St. John of the
ensuing year; that flat-bottomed vessels should be prepared for four
thousand five hundred horses, and nine thousand squires, with a number
of ships sufficient for the embarkation of four thousand five hundred
knights, and twenty thousand foot; that during a term of nine months
they should be supplied with provisions, and transported to whatsoever
coast the service of God and Christendom should require; and that the
republic should join the armament with a squadron of fifty galleys. It
was required, that the pilgrims should pay, before their departure, a
sum of eighty-five thousand marks of silver; and that all conquests, by
sea and land, should be equally divided between the confederates. The
terms were hard; but the emergency was pressing, and the French barons
were not less profuse of money than of blood. A general assembly was
convened to ratify the treaty: the stately chapel and place of St. Mark
were filled with ten thousand citizens; and the noble deputies were
taught a new lesson of humbling themselves before the majesty of the
people. "Illustrious Venetians," said the marshal of Champagne, "we are
sent by the greatest and most powerful barons of France to implore the
aid of the masters of the sea for the deliverance of Jerusalem. They
have enjoined us to fall prostrate at your feet; nor will we rise from
the ground till you have promised to avenge with us the injuries of
Christ." The eloquence of their words and tears, [43] their martial
aspect, and suppliant attitude, were applauded by a universal shout; as
it were, says Jeffrey, by the sound of an earthquake. The venerable doge
ascended the pulpit to urge their request by those motives of honor and
virtue, which alone can be offered to a popular assembly: the treaty
was transcribed on parchment, attested with oaths and seals, mutually
accepted by the weeping and joyful representatives of France and Venice;
and despatched to Rome for the approbation of Pope Innocent the Third.
Two thousand marks were borrowed of the merchants for the first expenses
of the armament. Of the six deputies, two repassed the Alps to announce
their success, while their four companions made a fruitless trial of the
zeal and emulation of the republics of Genoa and Pisa.

[Footnote 40: Henry Dandolo was eighty-four at his election, (A.D.
1192,) and ninety-seven at his death, (A.D. 1205.) See the Observations
of Ducange sur Villehardouin, No. 204. But this _extraordinary_
longevity is not observed by the original writers, nor does there exist
another example of a hero near a hundred years of age. Theophrastus
might afford an instance of a writer of ninety-nine; but instead
of ennenhkonta, (Prom. ad Character.,)I am much inclined to read
ebdomhkonta, with his last editor Fischer, and the first thoughts of
Casaubon. It is scarcely possible that the powers of the mind and body
should support themselves till such a period of life.]

[Footnote 41: The modern Venetians (Laugier, tom. ii. p. 119) accuse
the emperor Manuel; but the calumny is refuted by Villehardouin and the
older writers, who suppose that Dandolo lost his eyes by a wound, (No.
31, and Ducange.) * Note: The accounts differ, both as to the extent and
the cause of his blindness According to Villehardouin and others, the
sight was totally lost; according to the Chronicle of Andrew Dandolo.
(Murat. tom. xii. p. 322,) he was vise debilis. See Wilken, vol. v. p.

[Footnote 42: See the original treaty in the Chronicle of Andrew
Dandolo, p. 323--326.]

[Footnote 43: A reader of Villehardouin must observe the frequent tears
of the marshal and his brother knights. Sachiez que la ot mainte lerme
plorée de pitié, (No. 17;) mult plorant, (ibid.;) mainte lerme plorée,
(No. 34;) si orent mult pitié et plorerent mult durement, (No. 60;) i ot
mainte lerme plorée de pitié, (No. 202.) They weep on every occasion of
grief, joy, or devotion.]

The execution of the treaty was still opposed by unforeseen difficulties
and delays. The marshal, on his return to Troyes, was embraced and
approved by Thibaut count of Champagne, who had been unanimously chosen
general of the confederates. But the health of that valiant youth
already declined, and soon became hopeless; and he deplored the untimely
fate, which condemned him to expire, not in a field of battle, but on
a bed of sickness. To his brave and numerous vassals, the dying prince
distributed his treasures: they swore in his presence to accomplish his
vow and their own; but some there were, says the marshal, who accepted
his gifts and forfeited their words. The more resolute champions of the
cross held a parliament at Soissons for the election of a new general;
but such was the incapacity, or jealousy, or reluctance, of the princes
of France, that none could be found both able and willing to assume the
conduct of the enterprise. They acquiesced in the choice of a stranger,
of Boniface marquis of Montferrat, descended of a race of heroes, and
himself of conspicuous fame in the wars and negotiations of the times;
[44] nor could the piety or ambition of the Italian chief decline this
honorable invitation. After visiting the French court, where he
was received as a friend and kinsman, the marquis, in the church of
Soissons, was invested with the cross of a pilgrim and the staff of a
general; and immediately repassed the Alps, to prepare for the distant
expedition of the East. About the festival of the Pentecost he displayed
his banner, and marched towards Venice at the head of the Italians: he
was preceded or followed by the counts of Flanders and Blois, and the
most respectable barons of France; and their numbers were swelled by the
pilgrims of Germany, [45] whose object and motives were similar to their
own. The Venetians had fulfilled, and even surpassed, their engagements:
stables were constructed for the horses, and barracks for the troops:
the magazines were abundantly replenished with forage and provisions;
and the fleet of transports, ships, and galleys, was ready to hoist
sail as soon as the republic had received the price of the freight and
armament. But that price far exceeded the wealth of the crusaders who
were assembled at Venice. The Flemings, whose obedience to their count
was voluntary and precarious, had embarked in their vessels for the long
navigation of the ocean and Mediterranean; and many of the French
and Italians had preferred a cheaper and more convenient passage from
Marseilles and Apulia to the Holy Land. Each pilgrim might complain,
that after he had furnished his own contribution, he was made
responsible for the deficiency of his absent brethren: the gold and
silver plate of the chiefs, which they freely delivered to the treasury
of St. Marks, was a generous but inadequate sacrifice; and after all
their efforts, thirty-four thousand marks were still wanting to
complete the stipulated sum. The obstacle was removed by the policy and
patriotism of the doge, who proposed to the barons, that if they would
join their arms in reducing some revolted cities of Dalmatia, he would
expose his person in the holy war, and obtain from the republic a
long indulgence, till some wealthy conquest should afford the means
of satisfying the debt. After much scruple and hesitation, they chose
rather to accept the offer than to relinquish the enterprise; and the
first hostilities of the fleet and army were directed against Zara,
[46] a strong city of the Sclavonian coast, which had renounced its
allegiance to Venice, and implored the protection of the king of
Hungary. [47] The crusaders burst the chain or boom of the harbor;
landed their horses, troops, and military engines; and compelled the
inhabitants, after a defence of five days, to surrender at discretion:
their lives were spared, but the revolt was punished by the pillage
of their houses and the demolition of their walls. The season was far
advanced; the French and Venetians resolved to pass the winter in a
secure harbor and plentiful country; but their repose was disturbed
by national and tumultuous quarrels of the soldiers and mariners. The
conquest of Zara had scattered the seeds of discord and scandal: the
arms of the allies had been stained in their outset with the blood, not
of infidels, but of Christians: the king of Hungary and his new subjects
were themselves enlisted under the banner of the cross; and the scruples
of the devout were magnified by the fear of lassitude of the reluctant
pilgrims. The pope had excommunicated the false crusaders who had
pillaged and massacred their brethren, [48] and only the marquis Boniface
and Simon of Montfort [481] escaped these spiritual thunders; the one by
his absence from the siege, the other by his final departure from the
camp. Innocent might absolve the simple and submissive penitents of
France; but he was provoked by the stubborn reason of the Venetians, who
refused to confess their guilt, to accept their pardon, or to allow, in
their temporal concerns, the interposition of a priest.

[Footnote 44: By a victory (A.D. 1191) over the citizens of Asti, by
a crusade to Palestine, and by an embassy from the pope to the German
princes, (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. x. p. 163, 202.)]

[Footnote 45: See the crusade of the Germans in the Historia C. P. of
Gunther, (Canisii Antiq. Lect. tom. iv. p. v.--viii.,) who celebrates
the pilgrimage of his abbot Martin, one of the preaching rivals of Fulk
of Neuilly. His monastery, of the Cistercian order, was situate in the
diocese of Basil.]

[Footnote 46: Jadera, now Zara, was a Roman colony, which acknowledged
Augustus for its parent. It is now only two miles round, and contains
five or six thousand inhabitants; but the fortifications are strong, and
it is joined to the main land by a bridge. See the travels of the two
companions, Spon and Wheeler, (Voyage de Dalmatie, de Grèce, &c., tom.
i. p. 64--70. Journey into Greece, p. 8--14;) the last of whom, by
mistaking _Sestertia_ for _Sestertii_, values an arch with statues and
columns at twelve pounds. If, in his time, there were no trees
near Zara, the cherry-trees were not yet planted which produce our
incomparable _marasquin_.]

[Footnote 47: Katona (Hist. Critica Reg. Hungariæ, Stirpis Arpad. tom.
iv. p. 536--558) collects all the facts and testimonies most adverse to
the conquerors of Zara.]

[Footnote 48: See the whole transaction, and the sentiments of the pope,
in the Epistles of Innocent III. Gesta, c. 86, 87, 88.]

[Footnote 481: Montfort protested against the siege. Guido, the abbot of
Vaux de Sernay, in the name of the pope, interdicted the attack on a
Christian city; and the immediate surrender of the town was thus delayed
for five days of fruitless resistance. Wilken, vol. v. p. 167. See
likewise, at length, the history of the interdict issued by the pope.

The assembly of such formidable powers by sea and land had revived the
hopes of young [49] Alexius; and both at Venice and Zara, he solicited
the arms of the crusaders, for his own restoration and his father's [50]
deliverance. The royal youth was recommended by Philip king of Germany:
his prayers and presence excited the compassion of the camp; and his
cause was embraced and pleaded by the marquis of Montferrat and the doge
of Venice. A double alliance, and the dignity of Cæsar, had connected
with the Imperial family the two elder brothers of Boniface: [51] he
expected to derive a kingdom from the important service; and the
more generous ambition of Dandolo was eager to secure the inestimable
benefits of trade and dominion that might accrue to his country. [52]
Their influence procured a favorable audience for the ambassadors of
Alexius; and if the magnitude of his offers excited some suspicion,
the motives and rewards which he displayed might justify the delay and
diversion of those forces which had been consecrated to the deliverance
of Jerusalem. He promised in his own and his father's name, that as soon
as they should be seated on the throne of Constantinople, they would
terminate the long schism of the Greeks, and submit themselves and
their people to the lawful supremacy of the Roman church. He engaged
to recompense the labors and merits of the crusaders, by the immediate
payment of two hundred thousand marks of silver; to accompany them
in person to Egypt; or, if it should be judged more advantageous, to
maintain, during a year, ten thousand men, and, during his life, five
hundred knights, for the service of the Holy Land. These tempting
conditions were accepted by the republic of Venice; and the eloquence
of the doge and marquis persuaded the counts of Flanders, Blois, and St.
Pol, with eight barons of France, to join in the glorious enterprise. A
treaty of offensive and defensive alliance was confirmed by their
oaths and seals; and each individual, according to his situation and
character, was swayed by the hope of public or private advantage; by
the honor of restoring an exiled monarch; or by the sincere and
probable opinion, that their efforts in Palestine would be fruitless and
unavailing, and that the acquisition of Constantinople must precede and
prepare the recovery of Jerusalem. But they were the chiefs or equals
of a valiant band of freemen and volunteers, who thought and acted
for themselves: the soldiers and clergy were divided; and, if a large
majority subscribed to the alliance, the numbers and arguments of the
dissidents were strong and respectable. [53] The boldest hearts were
appalled by the report of the naval power and impregnable strength of
Constantinople; and their apprehensions were disguised to the world,
and perhaps to themselves, by the more decent objections of religion
and duty. They alleged the sanctity of a vow, which had drawn them from
their families and homes to the rescue of the holy sepulchre; nor
should the dark and crooked counsels of human policy divert them from
a pursuit, the event of which was in the hands of the Almighty. Their
first offence, the attack of Zara, had been severely punished by the
reproach of their conscience and the censures of the pope; nor would
they again imbrue their hands in the blood of their fellow-Christians.
The apostle of Rome had pronounced; nor would they usurp the right
of avenging with the sword the schism of the Greeks and the doubtful
usurpation of the Byzantine monarch. On these principles or pretences,
many pilgrims, the most distinguished for their valor and piety,
withdrew from the camp; and their retreat was less pernicious than the
open or secret opposition of a discontented party, that labored, on
every occasion, to separate the army and disappoint the enterprise.

[Footnote 49: A modern reader is surprised to hear of the valet de
Constantinople, as applied to young Alexius, on account of his youth,
like the _infants_ of Spain, and the _nobilissimus puer_ of the Romans.
The pages and _valets_ of the knights were as noble as themselves,
(Villehardouin and Ducange, No. 36.)]

[Footnote 50: The emperor Isaac is styled by Villehardouin, _Sursac_,
(No. 35, &c.,) which may be derived from the French _Sire_, or the Greek
Kur (kurioV?) melted into his proper name; the further corruptions of
Tursac and Conserac will instruct us what license may have been used in
the old dynasties of Assyria and Egypt.]

[Footnote 51: Reinier and Conrad: the former married Maria, daughter
of the emperor Manuel Comnenus; the latter was the husband of Theodora
Angela, sister of the emperors Isaac and Alexius. Conrad abandoned
the Greek court and princess for the glory of defending Tyre against
Saladin, (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 187, 203.)]

[Footnote 52: Nicetas (in Alexio Comneno, l. iii. c. 9) accuses the doge
and Venetians as the first authors of the war against Constantinople,
and considers only as a kuma epi kumati, the arrival and shameful offers
of the royal exile. * Note: He admits, however, that the Angeli had
committed depredations on the Venetian trade, and the emperor himself
had refused the payment of part of the stipulated compensation for the
seizure of the Venetian merchandise by the emperor Manuel. Nicetas, in

[Footnote 53: Villehardouin and Gunther represent the sentiments of
the two parties. The abbot Martin left the army at Zara, proceeded to
Palestine, was sent ambassador to Constantinople, and became a reluctant
witness of the second siege.]

Notwithstanding this defection, the departure of the fleet and army was
vigorously pressed by the Venetians, whose zeal for the service of the
royal youth concealed a just resentment to his nation and family. They
were mortified by the recent preference which had been given to Pisa,
the rival of their trade; they had a long arrear of debt and injury to
liquidate with the Byzantine court; and Dandolo might not discourage
the popular tale, that he had been deprived of his eyes by the emperor
Manuel, who perfidiously violated the sanctity of an ambassador. A
similar armament, for ages, had not rode the Adriatic: it was composed
of one hundred and twenty flat-bottomed vessels or _palanders_ for
the horses; two hundred and forty transports filled with men and arms;
seventy store-ships laden with provisions; and fifty stout galleys,
well prepared for the encounter of an enemy. [54] While the wind was
favorable, the sky serene, and the water smooth, every eye was fixed
with wonder and delight on the scene of military and naval pomp which
overspread the sea. [541] The shields of the knights and squires, at once
an ornament and a defence, were arranged on either side of the ships;
the banners of the nations and families were displayed from the stern;
our modern artillery was supplied by three hundred engines for casting
stones and darts: the fatigues of the way were cheered with the sound
of music; and the spirits of the adventurers were raised by the mutual
assurance, that forty thousand Christian heroes were equal to the
conquest of the world. [55] In the navigation [56] from Venice and Zara,
the fleet was successfully steered by the skill and experience of
the Venetian pilots: at Durazzo, the confederates first landed on the
territories of the Greek empire: the Isle of Corfu afforded a station
and repose; they doubled, without accident, the perilous cape of Malea,
the southern point of Peloponnesus or the Morea; made a descent in
the islands of Negropont and Andros; and cast anchor at Abydus on the
Asiatic side of the Hellespont. These preludes of conquest were easy and
bloodless: the Greeks of the provinces, without patriotism or courage,
were crushed by an irresistible force: the presence of the lawful heir
might justify their obedience; and it was rewarded by the modesty and
discipline of the Latins. As they penetrated through the Hellespont, the
magnitude of their navy was compressed in a narrow channel, and the face
of the waters was darkened with innumerable sails. They again expanded
in the basin of the Propontis, and traversed that placid sea, till
they approached the European shore, at the abbey of St. Stephen, three
leagues to the west of Constantinople. The prudent doge dissuaded them
from dispersing themselves in a populous and hostile land; and, as
their stock of provisions was reduced, it was resolved, in the season
of harvest, to replenish their store-ships in the fertile islands of
the Propontis. With this resolution, they directed their course: but a
strong gale, and their own impatience, drove them to the eastward; and
so near did they run to the shore and the city, that some volleys of
stones and darts were exchanged between the ships and the rampart. As
they passed along, they gazed with admiration on the capital of the
East, or, as it should seem, of the earth; rising from her seven hills,
and towering over the continents of Europe and Asia. The swelling domes
and lofty spires of five hundred palaces and churches were gilded by the
sun and reflected in the waters: the walls were crowded with soldiers
and spectators, whose numbers they beheld, of whose temper they were
ignorant; and each heart was chilled by the reflection, that, since the
beginning of the world, such an enterprise had never been undertaken by
such a handful of warriors. But the momentary apprehension was dispelled
by hope and valor; and every man, says the marshal of Champagne, glanced
his eye on the sword or lance which he must speedily use in the glorious
conflict. [57] The Latins cast anchor before Chalcedon; the mariners only
were left in the vessels: the soldiers, horses, and arms, were safely
landed; and, in the luxury of an Imperial palace, the barons tasted
the first fruits of their success. On the third day, the fleet and
army moved towards Scutari, the Asiatic suburb of Constantinople: a
detachment of five hundred Greek horse was surprised and defeated by
fourscore French knights; and in a halt of nine days, the camp was
plentifully supplied with forage and provisions.

[Footnote 54: The birth and dignity of Andrew Dandolo gave him the
motive and the means of searching in the archives of Venice the
memorable story of his ancestor. His brevity seems to accuse the copious
and more recent narratives of Sanudo, (in Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum, tom. xxii.,) Blondus, Sabellicus, and Rhamnusius.]

[Footnote 541: This description rather belongs to the first setting sail
of the expedition from Venice, before the siege of Zara. The armament
did not return to Venice.--M.]

[Footnote 55: Villehardouin, No. 62. His feelings and expressions are
original: he often weeps, but he rejoices in the glories and perils of
war with a spirit unknown to a sedentary writer.]

[Footnote 56: In this voyage, almost all the geographical names are
corrupted by the Latins. The modern appellation of Chalcis, and all
Euba, is derived from its _Euripus_, _Evripo_, _Negri-po_, _Negropont_,
which dishonors our maps, (D'Anville, Géographie Ancienne, tom. i. p.

[Footnote 57: Et sachiez que il ni ot si hardi cui le cuer ne fremist,
(c. 66.).. Chascuns regardoit ses armes.... que par tems en arons
mestier, (c. 67.) Such is the honesty of courage.]

In relating the invasion of a great empire, it may seem strange that I
have not described the obstacles which should have checked the progress
of the strangers. The Greeks, in truth, were an unwarlike people; but
they were rich, industrious, and subject to the will of a single man:
had that man been capable of fear, when his enemies were at a distance,
or of courage, when they approached his person. The first rumor of his
nephew's alliance with the French and Venetians was despised by the
usurper Alexius: his flatterers persuaded him, that in this contempt he
was bold and sincere; and each evening, in the close of the banquet, he
thrice discomfited the Barbarians of the West. These Barbarians had
been justly terrified by the report of his naval power; and the sixteen
hundred fishing boats of Constantinople [58] could have manned a fleet,
to sink them in the Adriatic, or stop their entrance in the mouth of the
Hellespont. But all force may be annihilated by the negligence of the
prince and the venality of his ministers. The great duke, or admiral,
made a scandalous, almost a public, auction of the sails, the masts,
and the rigging: the royal forests were reserved for the more important
purpose of the chase; and the trees, says Nicetas, were guarded by the
eunuchs, like the groves of religious worship. [59] From his dream of
pride, Alexius was awakened by the siege of Zara, and the rapid advances
of the Latins; as soon as he saw the danger was real, he thought it
inevitable, and his vain presumption was lost in abject despondency and
despair. He suffered these contemptible Barbarians to pitch their camp
in the sight of the palace; and his apprehensions were thinly disguised
by the pomp and menace of a suppliant embassy. The sovereign of the
Romans was astonished (his ambassadors were instructed to say) at the
hostile appearance of the strangers. If these pilgrims were sincere in
their vow for the deliverance of Jerusalem, his voice must applaud, and
his treasures should assist, their pious design but should they dare to
invade the sanctuary of empire, their numbers, were they ten times more
considerable, should not protect them from his just resentment. The
answer of the doge and barons was simple and magnanimous. "In the cause
of honor and justice," they said, "we despise the usurper of Greece, his
threats, and his offers. _Our_ friendship and _his_ allegiance are due
to the lawful heir, to the young prince, who is seated among us, and to
his father, the emperor Isaac, who has been deprived of his sceptre, his
freedom, and his eyes, by the crime of an ungrateful brother. Let that
brother confess his guilt, and implore forgiveness, and we ourselves
will intercede, that he may be permitted to live in affluence and
security. But let him not insult us by a second message; our reply will
be made in arms, in the palace of Constantinople."

[Footnote 58: Eandem urbem plus in solis navibus piscatorum abundare,
quam illos in toto navigio. Habebat enim mille et sexcentas piscatorias
naves..... Bellicas autem sive mercatorias habebant infinitæ
multitudinis et portum tutissimum. Gunther, Hist. C. P. c. 8, p. 10.]

[Footnote 59: Kaqaper iervn alsewn, eipein de kai Jeojuteutwn paradeiswn
ejeid?onto toutwni. Nicetas in Alex. Comneno, l. iii. c. 9, p. 348.]

On the tenth day of their encampment at Scutari, the crusaders prepared
themselves, as soldiers and as Catholics, for the passage of the
Bosphorus. Perilous indeed was the adventure; the stream was broad and
rapid: in a calm the current of the Euxine might drive down the liquid
and unextinguishable fires of the Greeks; and the opposite shores of
Europe were defended by seventy thousand horse and foot in formidable
array. On this memorable day, which happened to be bright and pleasant,
the Latins were distributed in six battles or divisions; the first, or
vanguard, was led by the count of Flanders, one of the most powerful of
the Christian princes in the skill and number of his crossbows. The four
successive battles of the French were commanded by his brother Henry,
the counts of St. Pol and Blois, and Matthew of Montmorency; the last of
whom was honored by the voluntary service of the marshal and nobles of
Champagne. The sixth division, the rear-guard and reserve of the army,
was conducted by the marquis of Montferrat, at the head of the Germans
and Lombards. The chargers, saddled, with their long comparisons
dragging on the ground, were embarked in the flat _palanders_; [60] and
the knights stood by the side of their horses, in complete armor, their
helmets laced, and their lances in their hands. The numerous train of
sergeants [61] and archers occupied the transports; and each transport
was towed by the strength and swiftness of a galley. The six divisions
traversed the Bosphorus, without encountering an enemy or an obstacle:
to land the foremost was the wish, to conquer or die was the resolution,
of every division and of every soldier. Jealous of the preeminence of
danger, the knights in their heavy armor leaped into the sea, when it
rose as high as their girdle; the sergeants and archers were animated
by their valor; and the squires, letting down the draw-bridges of the
palanders, led the horses to the shore. Before their squadrons could
mount, and form, and couch their Lances, the seventy thousand Greeks
had vanished from their sight: the timid Alexius gave the example to his
troops; and it was only by the plunder of his rich pavilions that the
Latins were informed that they had fought against an emperor. In the
first consternation of the flying enemy, they resolved, by a double
attack, to open the entrance of the harbor. The tower of Galata, [62] in
the suburb of Pera, was attacked and stormed by the French, while the
Venetians assumed the more difficult task of forcing the boom or chain
that was stretched from that tower to the Byzantine shore. After some
fruitless attempts, their intrepid perseverance prevailed: twenty ships
of war, the relics of the Grecian navy, were either sunk or taken: the
enormous and massy links of iron were cut asunder by the shears, or
broken by the weight, of the galleys; [63] and the Venetian fleet, safe
and triumphant, rode at anchor in the port of Constantinople. By these
daring achievements, a remnant of twenty thousand Latins solicited
the license of besieging a capital which contained above four hundred
thousand inhabitants, [64] able, though not willing, to bear arms
in defence of their country. Such an account would indeed suppose a
population of near two millions; but whatever abatement may be required
in the numbers of the Greeks, the _belief_ of those numbers will equally
exalt the fearless spirit of their assailants.

[Footnote 60: From the version of Vignere I adopt the well-sounding word
_palander_, which is still used, I believe, in the Mediterranean.
But had I written in French, I should have preserved the original and
expressive denomination of _vessiers_ or _huissiers_, from the _huis_ or
door which was let down as a draw-bridge; but which, at sea, was closed
into the side of the ship, (see Ducange au Villehardouin, No. 14, and
Joinville. p. 27, 28, edit. du Louvre.)]

[Footnote 61: To avoid the vague expressions of followers, &c., I use,
after Villehardouin, the word _sergeants_ for all horsemen who were not
knights. There were sergeants at arms, and sergeants at law; and if we
visit the parade and Westminster Hall, we may observe the strange result
of the distinction, (Ducange, Glossar. Latin, _Servientes_, &c., tom.
vi. p. 226--231.)]

[Footnote 62: It is needless to observe, that on the subject of Galata,
the chain, &c., Ducange is accurate and full. Consult likewise the
proper chapters of the C. P. Christiana of the same author. The
inhabitants of Galata were so vain and ignorant, that they applied to
themselves St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians.]

[Footnote 63: The vessel that broke the chain was named the Eagle,
_Aquila_, (Dandolo, Chronicon, p. 322,) which Blondus (de Gestis Venet.)
has changed into _Aquilo_, the north wind. Ducange (Observations, No.
83) maintains the latter reading; but he had not seen the respectable
text of Dandolo, nor did he enough consider the topography of the
harbor. The south-east would have been a more effectual wind. (Note to
Wilken, vol. v. p. 215.)]

[Footnote 64: Quatre cens mil homes ou plus, (Villehardouin, No. 134,)
must be understood of _men_ of a military age. Le Beau (Hist. du. Bas
Empire, tom. xx. p. 417) allows Constantinople a million of inhabitants,
of whom 60,000 horse, and an infinite number of foot-soldiers. In its
present decay, the capital of the Ottoman empire may contain 400,000
souls, (Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 401, 402;) but as the Turks keep
no registers, and as circumstances are fallacious, it is impossible
to ascertain (Niebuhr, Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 18, 19) the real
populousness of their cities.]

In the choice of the attack, the French and Venetians were divided by
their habits of life and warfare. The former affirmed with truth,
that Constantinople was most accessible on the side of the sea and the
harbor. The latter might assert with honor, that they had long enough
trusted their lives and fortunes to a frail bark and a precarious
element, and loudly demanded a trial of knighthood, a firm ground, and a
close onset, either on foot or on horseback. After a prudent compromise,
of employing the two nations by sea and land, in the service best suited
to their character, the fleet covering the army, they both proceeded
from the entrance to the extremity of the harbor: the stone bridge of
the river was hastily repaired; and the six battles of the French formed
their encampment against the front of the capital, the basis of the
triangle which runs about four miles from the port to the Propontis. [65]
On the edge of a broad ditch, at the foot of a lofty rampart, they had
leisure to contemplate the difficulties of their enterprise. The gates
to the right and left of their narrow camp poured forth frequent sallies
of cavalry and light-infantry, which cut off their stragglers, swept the
country of provisions, sounded the alarm five or six times in the
course of each day, and compelled them to plant a palisade, and sink an
intrenchment, for their immediate safety. In the supplies and convoys
the Venetians had been too sparing, or the Franks too voracious: the
usual complaints of hunger and scarcity were heard, and perhaps felt
their stock of flour would be exhausted in three weeks; and their
disgust of salt meat tempted them to taste the flesh of their
horses. The trembling usurper was supported by Theodore Lascaris,
his son-in-law, a valiant youth, who aspired to save and to rule his
country; the Greeks, regardless of that country, were awakened to the
defence of their religion; but their firmest hope was in the strength
and spirit of the Varangian guards, of the Danes and English, as they
are named in the writers of the times. [66] After ten days' incessant
labor, the ground was levelled, the ditch filled, the approaches of
the besiegers were regularly made, and two hundred and fifty engines of
assault exercised their various powers to clear the rampart, to batter
the walls, and to sap the foundations. On the first appearance of a
breach, the scaling-ladders were applied: the numbers that defended the
vantage ground repulsed and oppressed the adventurous Latins; but they
admired the resolution of fifteen knights and sergeants, who had
gained the ascent, and maintained their perilous station till they were
precipitated or made prisoners by the Imperial guards. On the side
of the harbor the naval attack was more successfully conducted by the
Venetians; and that industrious people employed every resource that was
known and practiced before the invention of gunpowder. A double line,
three bow-shots in front, was formed by the galleys and ships; and the
swift motion of the former was supported by the weight and loftiness of
the latter, whose decks, and poops, and turret, were the platforms of
military engines, that discharged their shot over the heads of the first
line. The soldiers, who leaped from the galleys on shore, immediately
planted and ascended their scaling-ladders, while the large ships,
advancing more slowly into the intervals, and lowering a draw-bridge,
opened a way through the air from their masts to the rampart. In the
midst of the conflict, the doge, a venerable and conspicuous form, stood
aloft in complete armor on the prow of his galley. The great standard
of St. Mark was displayed before him; his threats, promises, and
exhortations, urged the diligence of the rowers; his vessel was the
first that struck; and Dandolo was the first warrior on the shore. The
nations admired the magnanimity of the blind old man, without reflecting
that his age and infirmities diminished the price of life, and enhanced
the value of immortal glory. On a sudden, by an invisible hand, (for
the standard-bearer was probably slain,) the banner of the republic was
fixed on the rampart: twenty-five towers were rapidly occupied; and, by
the cruel expedient of fire, the Greeks were driven from the adjacent
quarter. The doge had despatched the intelligence of his success, when
he was checked by the danger of his confederates. Nobly declaring that
he would rather die with the pilgrims than gain a victory by their
destruction, Dandolo relinquished his advantage, recalled his troops,
and hastened to the scene of action. He found the six weary diminutive
_battles_ of the French encompassed by sixty squadrons of the Greek
cavalry, the least of which was more numerous than the largest of their
divisions. Shame and despair had provoked Alexius to the last effort of
a general sally; but he was awed by the firm order and manly aspect of
the Latins; and, after skirmishing at a distance, withdrew his troops in
the close of the evening. The silence or tumult of the night exasperated
his fears; and the timid usurper, collecting a treasure of ten thousand
pounds of gold, basely deserted his wife, his people, and his fortune;
threw himself into a bark; stole through the Bosphorus; and landed in
shameful safety in an obscure harbor of Thrace. As soon as they were
apprised of his flight, the Greek nobles sought pardon and peace in
the dungeon where the blind Isaac expected each hour the visit of the
executioner. Again saved and exalted by the vicissitudes of fortune, the
captive in his Imperial robes was replace on the throne, and surrounded
with prostrate slaves, whose real terror and affected joy he was
incapable of discerning. At the dawn of day, hostilities were suspended,
and the Latin chiefs were surprised by a message from the lawful and
reigning emperor, who was impatient to embrace his son, and to reward
his generous deliverers. [67]

[Footnote 65: On the most correct plans of Constantinople, I know not
how to measure more than 4000 paces. Yet Villehardouin computes the
space at three leagues, (No. 86.) If his eye were not deceived, he must
reckon by the old Gallic league of 1500 paces, which might still be used
in Champagne.]

[Footnote 66: The guards, the Varangi, are styled by Villehardouin, (No.
89, 95) Englois et Danois avec leurs haches. Whatever had been their
origin, a French pilgrim could not be mistaken in the nations of which
they were at that time composed.]

[Footnote 67: For the first siege and conquest of Constantinople, we may
read the original letter of the crusaders to Innocent III., Gesta, c.
91, p. 533, 534. Villehardouin, No. 75--99. Nicetas, in Alexio Comnen.
l. iii. c. 10, p. 349--352. Dandolo, in Chron. p. 322. Gunther, and his
abbot Martin, were not yet returned from their obstinate pilgrim age to
Jerusalem, or St. John d'Acre, where the greatest part of the company
had died of the plague.]

Chapter LX: The Fourth Crusade.--Part III.

But these generous deliverers were unwilling to release their hostage,
till they had obtained from his father the payment, or at least the
promise, of their recompense. They chose four ambassadors, Matthew of
Montmorency, our historian the marshal of Champagne, and two Venetians,
to congratulate the emperor. The gates were thrown open on their
approach, the streets on both sides were lined with the battle axes of
the Danish and English guard: the presence-chamber glittered with gold
and jewels, the false substitute of virtue and power: by the side of the
blind Isaac his wife was seated, the sister of the king of Hungary: and
by her appearance, the noble matrons of Greece were drawn from their
domestic retirement, and mingled with the circle of senators and
soldiers. The Latins, by the mouth of the marshal, spoke like men
conscious of their merits, but who respected the work of their own
hands; and the emperor clearly understood, that his son's engagements
with Venice and the pilgrims must be ratified without hesitation
or delay. Withdrawing into a private chamber with the empress, a
chamberlain, an interpreter, and the four ambassadors, the father
of young Alexius inquired with some anxiety into the nature of his
stipulations. The submission of the Eastern empire to the pope, the
succor of the Holy Land, and a present contribution of two hundred
thousand marks of silver.--"These conditions are weighty," was his
prudent reply: "they are hard to accept, and difficult to perform. But
no conditions can exceed the measure of your services and deserts."
After this satisfactory assurance, the barons mounted on horseback, and
introduced the heir of Constantinople to the city and palace: his youth
and marvellous adventures engaged every heart in his favor, and Alexius
was solemnly crowned with his father in the dome of St. Sophia. In
the first days of his reign, the people, already blessed with the
restoration of plenty and peace, was delighted by the joyful catastrophe
of the tragedy; and the discontent of the nobles, their regret, and
their fears, were covered by the polished surface of pleasure and
loyalty The mixture of two discordant nations in the same capital might
have been pregnant with mischief and danger; and the suburb of Galata,
or Pera, was assigned for the quarters of the French and Venetians. But
the liberty of trade and familiar intercourse was allowed between the
friendly nations: and each day the pilgrims were tempted by devotion
or curiosity to visit the churches and palaces of Constantinople. Their
rude minds, insensible perhaps of the finer arts, were astonished by the
magnificent scenery: and the poverty of their native towns enhanced
the populousness and riches of the first metropolis of Christendom. [68]
Descending from his state, young Alexius was prompted by interest
and gratitude to repeat his frequent and familiar visits to his Latin
allies; and in the freedom of the table, the gay petulance of the French
sometimes forgot the emperor of the East. [69] In their most serious
conferences, it was agreed, that the reunion of the two churches must
be the result of patience and time; but avarice was less tractable than
zeal; and a larger sum was instantly disbursed to appease the wants, and
silence the importunity, of the crusaders. [70] Alexius was alarmed
by the approaching hour of their departure: their absence might
have relieved him from the engagement which he was yet incapable of
performing; but his friends would have left him, naked and alone, to the
caprice and prejudice of a perfidious nation. He wished to bribe their
stay, the delay of a year, by undertaking to defray their expense, and
to satisfy, in their name, the freight of the Venetian vessels. The
offer was agitated in the council of the barons; and, after a repetition
of their debates and scruples, a majority of votes again acquiesced in
the advice of the doge and the prayer of the young emperor. At the
price of sixteen hundred pounds of gold, he prevailed on the marquis of
Montferrat to lead him with an army round the provinces of Europe; to
establish his authority, and pursue his uncle, while Constantinople
was awed by the presence of Baldwin and his confederates of France and
Flanders. The expedition was successful: the blind emperor exulted
in the success of his arms, and listened to the predictions of his
flatterers, that the same Providence which had raised him from the
dungeon to the throne, would heal his gout, restore his sight, and watch
over the long prosperity of his reign. Yet the mind of the suspicious
old man was tormented by the rising glories of his son; nor could his
pride conceal from his envy, that, while his own name was pronounced
in faint and reluctant acclamations, the royal youth was the theme of
spontaneous and universal praise. [71]

[Footnote 68: Compare, in the rude energy of Villehardouin, (No.
66, 100,) the inside and outside views of Constantinople, and their
impression on the minds of the pilgrims: cette ville (says he) que
de toutes les autres ere souveraine. See the parallel passages of
Fulcherius Carnotensis, Hist. Hierosol. l. i. c. 4, and Will. Tyr. ii.
3, xx. 26.]

[Footnote 69: As they played at dice, the Latins took off his diadem,
and clapped on his head a woollen or hairy cap, to megaloprepeV kai
pagkleiston katerrupainen onoma, (Nicetas, p. 358.) If these merry
companions were Venetians, it was the insolence of trade and a

[Footnote 70: Villehardouin, No. 101. Dandolo, p. 322. The doge affirms,
that the Venetians were paid more slowly than the French; but he owns,
that the histories of the two nations differed on that subject. Had he
read Villehardouin? The Greeks complained, however, good totius Græciæ
opes transtulisset, (Gunther, Hist. C. P. c 13) See the lamentations and
invectives of Nicetas, (p. 355.)]

[Footnote 71: The reign of Alexius Comnenus occupies three books in
Nicetas, p. 291--352. The short restoration of Isaac and his son is
despatched in five chapters, p. 352--362.]

By the recent invasion, the Greeks were awakened from a dream of nine
centuries; from the vain presumption that the capital of the Roman
empire was impregnable to foreign arms. The strangers of the West had
violated the city, and bestowed the sceptre, of Constantine: their
Imperial clients soon became as unpopular as themselves: the well-known
vices of Isaac were rendered still more contemptible by his infirmities,
and the young Alexius was hated as an apostate, who had renounced the
manners and religion of his country. His secret covenant with the Latins
was divulged or suspected; the people, and especially the clergy, were
devoutly attached to their faith and superstition; and every convent,
and every shop, resounded with the danger of the church and the tyranny
of the pope. [72] An empty treasury could ill supply the demands of regal
luxury and foreign extortion: the Greeks refused to avert, by a general
tax, the impending evils of servitude and pillage; the oppression of
the rich excited a more dangerous and personal resentment; and if the
emperor melted the plate, and despoiled the images, of the sanctuary,
he seemed to justify the complaints of heresy and sacrilege. During the
absence of Marquis Boniface and his Imperial pupil, Constantinople was
visited with a calamity which might be justly imputed to the zeal and
indiscretion of the Flemish pilgrims. [73] In one of their visits to the
city, they were scandalized by the aspect of a mosque or synagogue,
in which one God was worshipped, without a partner or a son. Their
effectual mode of controversy was to attack the infidels with the sword,
and their habitation with fire: but the infidels, and some Christian
neighbors, presumed to defend their lives and properties; and the flames
which bigotry had kindled, consumed the most orthodox and innocent
structures. During eight days and nights, the conflagration spread above
a league in front, from the harbor to the Propontis, over the thickest
and most populous regions of the city. It is not easy to count the
stately churches and palaces that were reduced to a smoking ruin, to
value the merchandise that perished in the trading streets, or to number
the families that were involved in the common destruction. By this
outrage, which the doge and the barons in vain affected to disclaim, the
name of the Latins became still more unpopular; and the colony of that
nation, above fifteen thousand persons, consulted their safety in a
hasty retreat from the city to the protection of their standard in the
suburb of Pera. The emperor returned in triumph; but the firmest and
most dexterous policy would have been insufficient to steer him through
the tempest, which overwhelmed the person and government of that unhappy
youth. His own inclination, and his father's advice, attached him to
his benefactors; but Alexius hesitated between gratitude and patriotism,
between the fear of his subjects and of his allies. [74] By his feeble
and fluctuating conduct he lost the esteem and confidence of both;
and, while he invited the marquis of Monferrat to occupy the palace,
he suffered the nobles to conspire, and the people to arm, for the
deliverance of their country. Regardless of his painful situation, the
Latin chiefs repeated their demands, resented his delays, suspected his
intentions, and exacted a decisive answer of peace or war. The haughty
summons was delivered by three French knights and three Venetian
deputies, who girded their swords, mounted their horses, pierced through
the angry multitude, and entered, with a fearful countenance, the
palace and presence of the Greek emperor. In a peremptory tone, they
recapitulated their services and his engagements; and boldly declared,
that unless their just claims were fully and immediately satisfied, they
should no longer hold him either as a sovereign or a friend. After this
defiance, the first that had ever wounded an Imperial ear, they departed
without betraying any symptoms of fear; but their escape from a servile
palace and a furious city astonished the ambassadors themselves; and
their return to the camp was the signal of mutual hostility.

[Footnote 72: When Nicetas reproaches Alexius for his impious league,
he bestows the harshest names on the pope's new religion, meizon
kai atopwtaton... parektrophn pistewV... tvn tou Papa pronomiwn
kainismon,... metaqesin te kai metapoihsin tvn palaivn 'RwmaioiV?eqvn,
(p. 348.) Such was the sincere language of every Greek to the last gasp
of the empire.]

[Footnote 73: Nicetas (p. 355) is positive in the charge, and specifies
the Flemings, (FlamioneV,) though he is wrong in supposing it an ancient
name. Villehardouin (No. 107) exculpates the barons, and is ignorant
(perhaps affectedly ignorant) of the names of the guilty.]

[Footnote 74: Compare the suspicions and complaints of Nicetas (p.
359--362) with the blunt charges of Baldwin of Flanders, (Gesta Innocent
III. c. 92, p. 534,) cum patriarcha et mole nobilium, nobis promises
perjurus et mendax.]

Among the Greeks, all authority and wisdom were overborne by the
impetuous multitude, who mistook their rage for valor, their numbers
for strength, and their fanaticism for the support and inspiration of
Heaven. In the eyes of both nations Alexius was false and contemptible;
the base and spurious race of the Angeli was rejected with clamorous
disdain; and the people of Constantinople encompassed the senate,
to demand at their hands a more worthy emperor. To every senator,
conspicuous by his birth or dignity, they successively presented the
purple: by each senator the deadly garment was repulsed: the contest
lasted three days; and we may learn from the historian Nicetas, one of
the members of the assembly, that fear and weaknesses were the guardians
of their loyalty. A phantom, who vanished in oblivion, was forcibly
proclaimed by the crowd: [75] but the author of the tumult, and the
leader of the war, was a prince of the house of Ducas; and his
common appellation of Alexius must be discriminated by the epithet of
Mourzoufle, [76] which in the vulgar idiom expressed the close junction
of his black and shaggy eyebrows. At once a patriot and a courtier, the
perfidious Mourzoufle, who was not destitute of cunning and courage,
opposed the Latins both in speech and action, inflamed the passions
and prejudices of the Greeks, and insinuated himself into the favor
and confidence of Alexius, who trusted him with the office of great
chamberlain, and tinged his buskins with the colors of royalty. At the
dead of night, he rushed into the bed-chamber with an affrighted aspect,
exclaiming, that the palace was attacked by the people and betrayed
by the guards. Starting from his couch, the unsuspecting prince threw
himself into the arms of his enemy, who had contrived his escape by a
private staircase. But that staircase terminated in a prison: Alexius
was seized, stripped, and loaded with chains; and, after tasting some
days the bitterness of death, he was poisoned, or strangled, or beaten
with clubs, at the command, or in the presence, of the tyrant.
The emperor Isaac Angelus soon followed his son to the grave; and
Mourzoufle, perhaps, might spare the superfluous crime of hastening the
extinction of impotence and blindness.

[Footnote 75: His name was Nicholas Canabus: he deserved the praise of
Nicetas and the vengeance of Mourzoufle, (p. 362.)]

[Footnote 76: Villehardouin (No. 116) speaks of him as a favorite,
without knowing that he was a prince of the blood, _Angelus_ and
_Ducas_. Ducange, who pries into every corner, believes him to be the
son of Isaac Ducas Sebastocrator, and second cousin of young Alexius.]

The death of the emperors, and the usurpation of Mourzoufle, had changed
the nature of the quarrel. It was no longer the disagreement of allies
who overvalued their services, or neglected their obligations: the
French and Venetians forgot their complaints against Alexius, dropped a
tear on the untimely fate of their companion, and swore revenge against
the perfidious nation who had crowned his assassin. Yet the prudent doge
was still inclined to negotiate: he asked as a debt, a subsidy, or a
fine, fifty thousand pounds of gold, about two millions sterling; nor
would the conference have been abruptly broken, if the zeal, or policy,
of Mourzoufle had not refused to sacrifice the Greek church to the
safety of the state. [77] Amidst the invectives of his foreign and
domestic enemies, we may discern, that he was not unworthy of the
character which he had assumed, of the public champion: the second siege
of Constantinople was far more laborious than the first; the treasury
was replenished, and discipline was restored, by a severe inquisition
into the abuses of the former reign; and Mourzoufle, an iron mace in
his hand, visiting the posts, and affecting the port and aspect of a
warrior, was an object of terror to his soldiers, at least, and to his
kinsmen. Before and after the death of Alexius, the Greeks made two
vigorous and well-conducted attempts to burn the navy in the harbor; but
the skill and courage of the Venetians repulsed the fire-ships; and the
vagrant flames wasted themselves without injury in the sea. [78] In a
nocturnal sally the Greek emperor was vanquished by Henry, brother of
the count of Flanders: the advantages of number and surprise aggravated
the shame of his defeat: his buckler was found on the field of battle;
and the Imperial standard, [79] a divine image of the Virgin, was
presented, as a trophy and a relic to the Cistercian monks, the
disciples of St. Bernard. Near three months, without excepting the holy
season of Lent, were consumed in skirmishes and preparations, before
the Latins were ready or resolved for a general assault. The land
fortifications had been found impregnable; and the Venetian pilots
represented, that, on the shore of the Propontis, the anchorage was
unsafe, and the ships must be driven by the current far away to the
straits of the Hellespont; a prospect not unpleasing to the reluctant
pilgrims, who sought every opportunity of breaking the army. From the
harbor, therefore, the assault was determined by the assailants,
and expected by the besieged; and the emperor had placed his scarlet
pavilions on a neighboring height, to direct and animate the efforts of
his troops. A fearless spectator, whose mind could entertain the ideas
of pomp and pleasure, might have admired the long array of two embattled
armies, which extended above half a league, the one on the ships and
galleys, the other on the walls and towers raised above the ordinary
level by several stages of wooden turrets. Their first fury was spent
in the discharge of darts, stones, and fire, from the engines; but the
water was deep; the French were bold; the Venetians were skilful; they
approached the walls; and a desperate conflict of swords, spears, and
battle-axes, was fought on the trembling bridges that grappled the
floating, to the stable, batteries. In more than a hundred places, the
assault was urged, and the defence was sustained; till the superiority
of ground and numbers finally prevailed, and the Latin trumpets sounded
a retreat. On the ensuing days, the attack was renewed with equal vigor,
and a similar event; and, in the night, the doge and the barons held a
council, apprehensive only for the public danger: not a voice pronounced
the words of escape or treaty; and each warrior, according to his
temper, embraced the hope of victory, or the assurance of a glorious
death. [80] By the experience of the former siege, the Greeks were
instructed, but the Latins were animated; and the knowledge that
Constantinople might be taken, was of more avail than the local
precautions which that knowledge had inspired for its defence. In the
third assault, two ships were linked together to double their strength;
a strong north wind drove them on the shore; the bishops of Troyes and
Soissons led the van; and the auspicious names of the _pilgrim_ and
the _paradise_ resounded along the line. [81] The episcopal banners were
displayed on the walls; a hundred marks of silver had been promised to
the first adventurers; and if their reward was intercepted by death,
their names have been immortalized by fame. [811] Four towers were scaled;
three gates were burst open; and the French knights, who might tremble
on the waves, felt themselves invincible on horseback on the solid
ground. Shall I relate that the thousands who guarded the emperor's
person fled on the approach, and before the lance, of a single warrior?
Their ignominious flight is attested by their countryman Nicetas: an
army of phantoms marched with the French hero, and he was magnified to a
giant in the eyes of the Greeks. [82] While the fugitives deserted their
posts and cast away their arms, the Latins entered the city under
the banners of their leaders: the streets and gates opened for their
passage; and either design or accident kindled a third conflagration,
which consumed in a few hours the measure of three of the largest cities
of France. [83] In the close of evening, the barons checked their
troops, and fortified their stations: They were awed by the extent and
populousness of the capital, which might yet require the labor of a
month, if the churches and palaces were conscious of their internal
strength. But in the morning, a suppliant procession, with crosses and
images, announced the submission of the Greeks, and deprecated the wrath
of the conquerors: the usurper escaped through the golden gate: the
palaces of Blachernæ and Boucoleon were occupied by the count of
Flanders and the marquis of Montferrat; and the empire, which still bore
the name of Constantine, and the title of Roman, was subverted by the
arms of the Latin pilgrims. [84]

[Footnote 77: This negotiation, probable in itself, and attested by
Nicetas, (p 65,) is omitted as scandalous by the delicacy of Dandolo and
Villehardouin. * Note: Wilken places it before the death of Alexius, vol. v. p.

[Footnote 78: Baldwin mentions both attempts to fire the fleet, (Gest.
c. 92, p. 534, 535;) Villehardouin, (No. 113--15) only describes the
first. It is remarkable that neither of these warriors observe any
peculiar properties in the Greek fire.]

[Footnote 79: Ducange (No. 119) pours forth a torrent of learning on the
_Gonfanon Imperial_. This banner of the Virgin is shown at Venice as a
trophy and relic: if it be genuine the pious doge must have cheated the
monks of Citeaux.]

[Footnote 80: Villehardouin (No. 126) confesses, that mult ere grant
peril; and Guntherus (Hist. C. P. c. 13) affirms, that nulla spes
victoriæ arridere poterat. Yet the knight despises those who thought of
flight, and the monk praises his countrymen who were resolved on death.]

[Footnote 81: Baldwin, and all the writers, honor the names of these two
galleys, felici auspicio.]

[Footnote 811: Pietro Alberti, a Venetian noble and Andrew d'Amboise a
French knight.--M.]

[Footnote 82: With an allusion to Homer, Nicetas calls him enneorguioV,
nine orgyæ, or eighteen yards high, a stature which would, indeed, have
excused the terror of the Greek. On this occasion, the historian seems
fonder of the marvellous than of his country, or perhaps of truth.
Baldwin exclaims in the words of the psalmist, persequitur unus ex nobis
centum alienos.]

[Footnote 83: Villehardouin (No. 130) is again ignorant of the authors
of _this_ more legitimate fire, which is ascribed by Gunther to a quidam
comes Teutonicus, (c. 14.) They seem ashamed, the incendiaries!]

[Footnote 84: For the second siege and conquest of Constantinople, see
Villehardouin (No. 113--132,) Baldwin's iid Epistle to Innocent III.,
(Gesta c. 92, p. 534--537,) with the whole reign of Mourzoufle, in
Nicetas, (p 363--375;) and borrowed some hints from Dandolo (Chron.
Venet. p. 323--330) and Gunther, (Hist. C. P. c. 14--18,) who added the
decorations of prophecy and vision. The former produces an oracle of
the Erythræan sibyl, of a great armament on the Adriatic, under a
blind chief, against Byzantium, &c. Curious enough, were the prediction
anterior to the fact.]

Constantinople had been taken by storm; and no restraints, except those
of religion and humanity, were imposed on the conquerors by the laws of
war. Boniface, marquis of Montferrat, still acted as their general; and
the Greeks, who revered his name as that of their future sovereign, were
heard to exclaim in a lamentable tone, "Holy marquis-king, have mercy
upon us!" His prudence or compassion opened the gates of the city to the
fugitives; and he exhorted the soldiers of the cross to spare the lives
of their fellow-Christians. The streams of blood that flowed down the
pages of Nicetas may be reduced to the slaughter of two thousand of his
unresisting countrymen; [85] and the greater part was massacred, not by
the strangers, but by the Latins, who had been driven from the city, and
who exercised the revenge of a triumphant faction. Yet of these exiles,
some were less mindful of injuries than of benefits; and Nicetas himself
was indebted for his safety to the generosity of a Venetian merchant.
Pope Innocent the Third accuses the pilgrims for respecting, in their
lust, neither age nor sex, nor religious profession; and bitterly
laments that the deeds of darkness, fornication, adultery, and incest,
were perpetrated in open day; and that noble matrons and holy nuns were
polluted by the grooms and peasants of the Catholic camp. [86] It is
indeed probable that the license of victory prompted and covered a
multitude of sins: but it is certain, that the capital of the East
contained a stock of venal or willing beauty, sufficient to satiate the
desires of twenty thousand pilgrims; and female prisoners were no
longer subject to the right or abuse of domestic slavery. The marquis
of Montferrat was the patron of discipline and decency; the count of
Flanders was the mirror of chastity: they had forbidden, under pain
of death, the rape of married women, or virgins, or nuns; and the
proclamation was sometimes invoked by the vanquished [87] and respected
by the victors. Their cruelty and lust were moderated by the authority
of the chiefs, and feelings of the soldiers; for we are no longer
describing an irruption of the northern savages; and however ferocious
they might still appear, time, policy, and religion had civilized the
manners of the French, and still more of the Italians. But a free scope
was allowed to their avarice, which was glutted, even in the holy week,
by the pillage of Constantinople. The right of victory, unshackled by
any promise or treaty, had confiscated the public and private wealth of
the Greeks; and every hand, according to its size and strength, might
lawfully execute the sentence and seize the forfeiture. A portable and
universal standard of exchange was found in the coined and uncoined
metals of gold and silver, which each captor, at home or abroad, might
convert into the possessions most suitable to his temper and situation.
Of the treasures, which trade and luxury had accumulated, the silks,
velvets, furs, the gems, spices, and rich movables, were the most
precious, as they could not be procured for money in the ruder countries
of Europe. An order of rapine was instituted; nor was the share of
each individual abandoned to industry or chance. Under the tremendous
penalties of perjury, excommunication, and death, the Latins were bound
to deliver their plunder into the common stock: three churches were
selected for the deposit and distribution of the spoil: a single share
was allotted to a foot-soldier; two for a sergeant on horseback; four to
a knight; and larger proportions according to the rank and merit of
the barons and princes. For violating this sacred engagement, a knight
belonging to the count of St. Paul was hanged with his shield and coat
of arms round his neck; his example might render similar offenders more
artful and discreet; but avarice was more powerful than fear; and it
is generally believed that the secret far exceeded the acknowledged
plunder. Yet the magnitude of the prize surpassed the largest scale of
experience or expectation. [88] After the whole had been equally divided
between the French and Venetians, fifty thousand marks were deducted
to satisfy the debts of the former and the demands of the latter. The
residue of the French amounted to four hundred thousand marks of silver,
[89] about eight hundred thousand pounds sterling; nor can I better
appreciate the value of that sum in the public and private transactions
of the age, than by defining it as seven times the annual revenue of the
kingdom of England. [90]

[Footnote 85: Ceciderunt tamen eâ die civium quasi duo millia, &c.,
(Gunther, c. 18.) Arithmetic is an excellent touchstone to try the
amplifications of passion and rhetoric.]

[Footnote 86: Quidam (says Innocent III., Gesta, c. 94, p. 538)
nec religioni, nec ætati, nec sexui pepercerunt: sed fornicationes,
adulteria, et incestus in oculis omnium exercentes, non solûm maritatas
et viduas, sed et matronas et virgines Deoque dicatas, exposuerunt
spurcitiis garcionum. Villehardouin takes no notice of these common

[Footnote 87: Nicetas saved, and afterwards married, a noble virgin,
(p. 380,) whom a soldier, eti martusi polloiV onhdon epibrimwmenoV, had
almost violated in spite of the entolai, entalmata eu gegonotwn.]

[Footnote 88: Of the general mass of wealth, Gunther observes, ut de
pauperibus et advenis cives ditissimi redderentur, (Hist. C. P. c. 18;
(Villehardouin, (No. 132,) that since the creation, ne fu tant gaaignié
dans une ville; Baldwin, (Gesta, c. 92,) ut tantum tota non videatur
possidere Latinitas.]

[Footnote 89: Villehardouin, No. 133--135. Instead of 400,000, there
is a various reading of 500,000. The Venetians had offered to take the
whole booty, and to give 400 marks to each knight, 200 to each priest
and horseman, and 100 to each foot-soldier: they would have been great
losers, (Le Beau, Hist. du. Bas Empire tom. xx. p. 506. I know not from

[Footnote 90: At the council of Lyons (A.D. 1245) the English
ambassadors stated the revenue of the crown as below that of the foreign
clergy, which amounted to 60,000 marks a year, (Matthew Paris, p. 451
Hume's Hist. of England, vol. ii. p. 170.)]

In this great revolution we enjoy the singular felicity of comparing the
narratives of Villehardouin and Nicetas, the opposite feelings of the
marshal of Champagne and the Byzantine senator. [91] At the first view it
should seem that the wealth of Constantinople was only transferred from
one nation to another; and that the loss and sorrow of the Greeks is
exactly balanced by the joy and advantage of the Latins. But in the
miserable account of war, the gain is never equivalent to the loss,
the pleasure to the pain; the smiles of the Latins were transient and
fallacious; the Greeks forever wept over the ruins of their country;
and their real calamities were aggravated by sacrilege and mockery.
What benefits accrued to the conquerors from the three fires which
annihilated so vast a portion of the buildings and riches of the city?
What a stock of such things, as could neither be used nor transported,
was maliciously or wantonly destroyed! How much treasure was idly wasted
in gaming, debauchery, and riot! And what precious objects were bartered
for a vile price by the impatience or ignorance of the soldiers, whose
reward was stolen by the base industry of the last of the Greeks!
These alone, who had nothing to lose, might derive some profit from the
revolution; but the misery of the upper ranks of society is strongly
painted in the personal adventures of Nicetas himself His stately palace
had been reduced to ashes in the second conflagration; and the senator,
with his family and friends, found an obscure shelter in another house
which he possessed near the church of St. Sophia. It was the door of
this mean habitation that his friend, the Venetian merchant, guarded
in the disguise of a soldier, till Nicetas could save, by a precipitate
flight, the relics of his fortune and the chastity of his daughter. In
a cold, wintry season, these fugitives, nursed in the lap of prosperity,
departed on foot; his wife was with child; the desertion of their slaves
compelled them to carry their baggage on their own shoulders; and their
women, whom they placed in the centre, were exhorted to conceal their
beauty with dirt, instead of adorning it with paint and jewels Every
step was exposed to insult and danger: the threats of the strangers were
less painful than the taunts of the plebeians, with whom they were
now levelled; nor did the exiles breathe in safety till their mournful
pilgrimage was concluded at Selymbria, above forty miles from the
capital. On the way they overtook the patriarch, without attendance
and almost without apparel, riding on an ass, and reduced to a state of
apostolical poverty, which, had it been voluntary, might perhaps have
been meritorious. In the mean while, his desolate churches were profaned
by the licentiousness and party zeal of the Latins. After stripping the
gems and pearls, they converted the chalices into drinking-cups; their
tables, on which they gamed and feasted, were covered with the pictures
of Christ and the saints; and they trampled under foot the most
venerable objects of the Christian worship. In the cathedral of St.
Sophia, the ample veil of the sanctuary was rent asunder for the sake
of the golden fringe; and the altar, a monument of art and riches, was
broken in pieces and shared among the captors. Their mules and horses
were laden with the wrought silver and gilt carvings, which they tore
down from the doors and pulpit; and if the beasts stumbled under the
burden, they were stabbed by their impatient drivers, and the holy
pavement streamed with their impure blood. A prostitute was seated on
the throne of the patriarch; and that daughter of Belial, as she
is styled, sung and danced in the church, to ridicule the hymns and
processions of the Orientals. Nor were the repositories of the royal
dead secure from violation: in the church of the Apostles, the tombs of
the emperors were rifled; and it is said, that after six centuries
the corpse of Justinian was found without any signs of decay or
putrefaction. In the streets, the French and Flemings clothed themselves
and their horses in painted robes and flowing head-dresses of linen;
and the coarse intemperance of their feasts [92] insulted the splendid
sobriety of the East. To expose the arms of a people of scribes and
scholars, they affected to display a pen, an inkhorn, and a sheet of
paper, without discerning that the instruments of science and valor were
_alike_ feeble and useless in the hands of the modern Greeks.

[Footnote 91: The disorders of the sack of Constantinople, and his own
adventures, are feelingly described by Nicetas, p. 367--369, and in the
Status Urb. C. P. p. 375--384. His complaints, even of sacrilege, are
justified by Innocent III., (Gesta, c. 92;) but Villehardouin does not
betray a symptom of pity or remorse.]

[Footnote 92: If I rightly apprehend the Greek of Nicetas's receipts,
their favorite dishes were boiled buttocks of beef, salt pork and peas,
and soup made of garlic and sharp or sour herbs, (p. 382.)]

Their reputation and their language encouraged them, however, to despise
the ignorance and to overlook the progress of the Latins. [93] In the
love of the arts, the national difference was still more obvious and
real; the Greeks preserved with reverence the works of their ancestors,
which they could not imitate; and, in the destruction of the statues of
Constantinople, we are provoked to join in the complaints and invectives
of the Byzantine historian. [94] We have seen how the rising city was
adorned by the vanity and despotism of the Imperial founder: in the
ruins of paganism, some gods and heroes were saved from the axe of
superstition; and the forum and hippodrome were dignified with the
relics of a better age. Several of these are described by Nicetas, [95]
in a florid and affected style; and from his descriptions I shall select
some interesting particulars. _1._ The victorious charioteers were cast
in bronze, at their own or the public charge, and fitly placed in the
hippodrome: they stood aloft in their chariots, wheeling round the
goal: the spectators could admire their attitude, and judge of the
resemblance; and of these figures, the most perfect might have been
transported from the Olympic stadium. _2._ The sphinx, river-horse, and
crocodile, denote the climate and manufacture of Egypt and the spoils of
that ancient province. _3._ The she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus,
a subject alike pleasing to the _old_ and the _new_ Romans, but which
could really be treated before the decline of the Greek sculpture.
_4._ An eagle holding and tearing a serpent in his talons, a domestic
monument of the Byzantines, which they ascribed, not to a human artist,
but to the magic power of the philosopher Apollonius, who, by this
talisman, delivered the city from such venomous reptiles. _5._ An
ass and his driver, which were erected by Augustus in his colony of
Nicopolis, to commemorate a verbal omen of the victory of Actium. _6._
An equestrian statue which passed, in the vulgar opinion, for Joshua,
the Jewish conqueror, stretching out his hand to stop the course of the
descending sun. A more classical tradition recognized the figures of
Bellerophon and Pegasus; and the free attitude of the steed seemed to
mark that he trod on air, rather than on the earth. _7._ A square
and lofty obelisk of brass; the sides were embossed with a variety
of picturesque and rural scenes, birds singing; rustics laboring, or
playing on their pipes; sheep bleating; lambs skipping; the sea, and a
scene of fish and fishing; little naked cupids laughing, playing, and
pelting each other with apples; and, on the summit, a female figure,
turning with the slightest breath, and thence denominated _the wind's
attendant_. _8._ The Phrygian shepherd presenting to Venus the prize
of beauty, the apple of discord. _9._ The incomparable statue of Helen,
which is delineated by Nicetas in the words of admiration and love: her
well-turned feet, snowy arms, rosy lips, bewitching smiles, swimming
eyes, arched eyebrows, the harmony of her shape, the lightness of her
drapery, and her flowing locks that waved in the wind; a beauty that
might have moved her Barbarian destroyers to pity and remorse. _10._ The
manly or divine form of Hercules, [96] as he was restored to life by the
masterhand of Lysippus; of such magnitude, that his thumb was equal to
his waist, his leg to the stature, of a common man: [97] his chest ample,
his shoulders broad, his limbs strong and muscular, his hair curled, his
aspect commanding. Without his bow, or quiver, or club, his lion's skin
carelessly thrown over him, he was seated on an osier basket, his right
leg and arm stretched to the utmost, his left knee bent, and supporting
his elbow, his head reclining on his left hand, his countenance
indignant and pensive. _11._ A colossal statue of Juno, which had once
adorned her temple of Samos, the enormous head by four yoke of oxen was
laboriously drawn to the palace. _12._ Another colossus, of Pallas or
Minerva, thirty feet in height, and representing with admirable spirit
the attributes and character of the martial maid. Before we accuse the
Latins, it is just to remark, that this Pallas was destroyed after the
first siege, by the fear and superstition of the Greeks themselves.
[98] The other statues of brass which I have enumerated were broken and
melted by the unfeeling avarice of the crusaders: the cost and labor
were consumed in a moment; the soul of genius evaporated in smoke; and
the remnant of base metal was coined into money for the payment of the
troops. Bronze is not the most durable of monuments: from the marble
forms of Phidias and Praxiteles, the Latins might turn aside with stupid
contempt; [99] but unless they were crushed by some accidental injury,
those useless stones stood secure on their pedestals. [100] The most
enlightened of the strangers, above the gross and sensual pursuits of
their countrymen, more piously exercised the right of conquest in the
search and seizure of the relics of the saints. [101] Immense was the
supply of heads and bones, crosses and images, that were scattered by
this revolution over the churches of Europe; and such was the increase
of pilgrimage and oblation, that no branch, perhaps, of more lucrative
plunder was imported from the East. [102] Of the writings of antiquity,
many that still existed in the twelfth century, are now lost. But the
pilgrims were not solicitous to save or transport the volumes of an
unknown tongue: the perishable substance of paper or parchment can only
be preserved by the multiplicity of copies; the literature of the Greeks
had almost centred in the metropolis; and, without computing the extent
of our loss, we may drop a tear over the libraries that have perished in
the triple fire of Constantinople. [103]

[Footnote 93: Nicetas uses very harsh expressions, par agrammatoiV
BarbaroiV, kai teleon analfabhtoiV, (Fragment, apud Fabric. Bibliot.
Græc. tom. vi. p. 414.) This reproach, it is true, applies most strongly
to their ignorance of Greek and of Homer. In their own language,
the Latins of the xiith and xiiith centuries were not destitute of
literature. See Harris's Philological Inquiries, p. iii. c. 9, 10, 11.]

[Footnote 94: Nicetas was of Chonæ in Phrygia, (the old Colossæ of St.
Paul:) he raised himself to the honors of senator, judge of the veil,
and great logothete; beheld the fall of the empire, retired to Nice, and
composed an elaborate history from the death of Alexius Comnenus to the
reign of Henry.]

[Footnote 95: A manuscript of Nicetas in the Bodleian library contains
this curious fragment on the statues of Constantinople, which fraud, or
shame, or rather carelessness, has dropped in the common editions. It
is published by Fabricius, (Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 405--416,) and
immoderately praised by the late ingenious Mr. Harris of Salisbury,
(Philological Inquiries, p. iii. c. 5, p. 301--312.)]

[Footnote 96: To illustrate the statue of Hercules, Mr. Harris quotes
a Greek epigram, and engraves a beautiful gem, which does not, however,
copy the attitude of the statue: in the latter, Hercules had not his
club, and his right leg and arm were extended.]

[Footnote 97: I transcribe these proportions, which appear to me
inconsistent with each other; and may possibly show, that the boasted
taste of Nicetas was no more than affectation and vanity.]

[Footnote 98: Nicetas in Isaaco Angelo et Alexio, c. 3, p. 359. The
Latin editor very properly observes, that the historian, in his bombast
style, produces ex pulice elephantem.]

[Footnote 99: In two passages of Nicetas (edit. Paris, p. 360. Fabric.
p. 408) the Latins are branded with the lively reproach of oi tou kalou
anerastoi barbaroi, and their avarice of brass is clearly expressed.
Yet the Venetians had the merit of removing four bronze horses from
Constantinople to the place of St. Mark, (Sanuto, Vite del Dogi, in
Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xxii. p. 534.)]

[Footnote 100: Winckelman, Hist. de l'Art. tom. iii. p. 269, 270.]

[Footnote 101: See the pious robbery of the abbot Martin, who
transferred a rich cargo to his monastery of Paris, diocese of Basil,
(Gunther, Hist. C. P. c. 19, 23, 24.) Yet in secreting this booty, the
saint incurred an excommunication, and perhaps broke his oath. (Compare
Wilken vol. v. p. 308.--M.)]

[Footnote 102: Fleury, Hist. Eccles tom. xvi. p. 139--145.]

[Footnote 103: I shall conclude this chapter with the notice of a modern
history, which illustrates the taking of Constantinople by the Latins;
but which has fallen somewhat late into my hands. Paolo Ramusio, the
son of the compiler of Voyages, was directed by the senate of Venice to
write the history of the conquest: and this order, which he received
in his youth, he executed in a mature age, by an elegant Latin work,
de Bello Constantinopolitano et Imperatoribus Comnenis per Gallos et
Venetos restitutis, (Venet. 1635, in folio.) Ramusio, or Rhamnusus,
transcribes and translates, sequitur ad unguem, a MS. of Villehardouin,
which he possessed; but he enriches his narrative with Greek and Latin
materials, and we are indebted to him for a correct state of the fleet,
the names of the fifty Venetian nobles who commanded the galleys of the
republic, and the patriot opposition of Pantaleon Barbus to the choice
of the doge for emperor.]

Chapter LXI: Partition Of The Empire By The French And Venetians.--Part I.

     Partition Of The Empire By The French And Venetians,--Five
     Latin Emperors Of The Houses Of Flanders And Courtenay.--
     Their Wars Against The Bulgarians And Greeks.--Weakness And
     Poverty Of The Latin Empire.--Recovery Of Constantinople By
     The Greeks.--General Consequences Of The Crusades.

After the death of the lawful princes, the French and Venetians,
confident of justice and victory, agreed to divide and regulate
their future possessions. [1] It was stipulated by treaty, that twelve
electors, six of either nation, should be nominated; that a majority
should choose the emperor of the East; and that, if the votes were
equal, the decision of chance should ascertain the successful candidate.
To him, with all the titles and prerogatives of the Byzantine throne,
they assigned the two palaces of Boucoleon and Blachernæ, with a fourth
part of the Greek monarchy. It was defined that the three remaining
portions should be equally shared between the republic of Venice and the
barons of France; that each feudatory, with an honorable exception
for the doge, should acknowledge and perform the duties of homage and
military service to the supreme head of the empire; that the nation
which gave an emperor, should resign to their brethren the choice of a
patriarch; and that the pilgrims, whatever might be their impatience
to visit the Holy Land, should devote another year to the conquest and
defence of the Greek provinces. After the conquest of Constantinople
by the Latins, the treaty was confirmed and executed; and the first and
most important step was the creation of an emperor. The six electors
of the French nation were all ecclesiastics, the abbot of Loces, the
archbishop elect of Acre in Palestine, and the bishops of Troyes,
Soissons, Halberstadt, and Bethlehem, the last of whom exercised in the
camp the office of pope's legate: their profession and knowledge were
respectable; and as _they_ could not be the objects, they were best
qualified to be the authors of the choice. The six Venetians were the
principal servants of the state, and in this list the noble families of
Querini and Contarini are still proud to discover their ancestors.
The twelve assembled in the chapel of the palace; and after the solemn
invocation of the Holy Ghost, they proceeded to deliberate and vote. A
just impulse of respect and gratitude prompted them to crown the virtues
of the doge; his wisdom had inspired their enterprise; and the most
youthful knights might envy and applaud the exploits of blindness and
age. But the patriot Dandolo was devoid of all personal ambition, and
fully satisfied that he had been judged worthy to reign. His nomination
was overruled by the Venetians themselves: his countrymen, and perhaps
his friends, [2] represented, with the eloquence of truth, the mischiefs
that might arise to national freedom and the common cause, from the
union of two incompatible characters, of the first magistrate of a
republic and the emperor of the East. The exclusion of the doge left
room for the more equal merits of Boniface and Baldwin; and at their
names all meaner candidates respectfully withdrew. The marquis of
Montferrat was recommended by his mature age and fair reputation, by
the choice of the adventurers, and the wishes of the Greeks; nor can
I believe that Venice, the mistress of the sea, could be seriously
apprehensive of a petty lord at the foot of the Alps. [3] But the count
of Flanders was the chief of a wealthy and warlike people: he was
valiant, pious, and chaste; in the prime of life, since he was only
thirty-two years of age; a descendant of Charlemagne, a cousin of the
king of France, and a compeer of the prelates and barons who had yielded
with reluctance to the command of a foreigner. Without the chapel, these
barons, with the doge and marquis at their head, expected the decision
of the twelve electors. It was announced by the bishop of Soissons, in
the name of his colleagues: "Ye have sworn to obey the prince whom we
should choose: by our unanimous suffrage, Baldwin count of Flanders and
Hainault is now your sovereign, and the emperor of the East." He was
saluted with loud applause, and the proclamation was reechoed through
the city by the joy of the Latins, and the trembling adulation of the
Greeks. Boniface was the first to kiss the hand of his rival, and to
raise him on the buckler: and Baldwin was transported to the cathedral,
and solemnly invested with the purple buskins. At the end of three weeks
he was crowned by the legate, in the vacancy of the patriarch; but the
Venetian clergy soon filled the chapter of St. Sophia, seated Thomas
Morosini on the ecclesiastical throne, and employed every art to
perpetuate in their own nation the honors and benefices of the Greek
church. [4] Without delay the successor of Constantine instructed
Palestine, France, and Rome, of this memorable revolution. To Palestine
he sent, as a trophy, the gates of Constantinople, and the chain of
the harbor; [5] and adopted, from the Assise of Jerusalem, the laws or
customs best adapted to a French colony and conquest in the East. In his
epistles, the natives of France are encouraged to swell that colony,
and to secure that conquest, to people a magnificent city and a fertile
land, which will reward the labors both of the priest and the soldier.
He congratulates the Roman pontiff on the restoration of his authority
in the East; invites him to extinguish the Greek schism by his presence
in a general council; and implores his blessing and forgiveness for the
disobedient pilgrims. Prudence and dignity are blended in the answer of
Innocent. [6] In the subversion of the Byzantine empire, he arraigns the
vices of man, and adores the providence of God; the conquerors will be
absolved or condemned by their future conduct; the validity of their
treaty depends on the judgment of St. Peter; but he inculcates their
most sacred duty of establishing a just subordination of obedience
and tribute, from the Greeks to the Latins, from the magistrate to the
clergy, and from the clergy to the pope.

[Footnote 1: See the original treaty of partition, in the Venetian
Chronicle of Andrew Dandolo, p. 326--330, and the subsequent election in
Ville hardouin, No. 136--140, with Ducange in his Observations, and the
book of his Histoire de Constantinople sous l'Empire des François.]

[Footnote 2: After mentioning the nomination of the doge by a French
elector his kinsman Andrew Dandolo approves his exclusion, quidam
Venetorum fidelis et nobilis senex, usus oratione satis probabili, &c.,
which has been embroidered by modern writers from Blondus to Le Beau.]

[Footnote 3: Nicetas, (p. 384,) with the vain ignorance of a Greek,
describes the marquis of Montferrat as a _maritime_ power. Dampardian de
oikeisqai paralion. Was he deceived by the Byzantine theme of Lombardy
which extended along the coast of Calabria?]

[Footnote 4: They exacted an oath from Thomas Morosini to appoint no
canons of St. Sophia the lawful electors, except Venetians who had lived
ten years at Venice, &c. But the foreign clergy was envious, the pope
disapproved this national monopoly, and of the six Latin patriarchs of
Constantinople, only the first and the last were Venetians.]

[Footnote 5: Nicetas, p. 383.]

[Footnote 6: The Epistles of Innocent III. are a rich fund for
the ecclesiastical and civil institution of the Latin empire of
Constantinople; and the most important of these epistles (of which
the collection in 2 vols. in folio is published by Stephen Baluze) are
inserted in his Gesta, in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. iii.
p. l. c. 94--105.]

In the division of the Greek provinces, [7] the share of the Venetians
was more ample than that of the Latin emperor. No more than one fourth
was appropriated to his domain; a clear moiety of the remainder was
reserved for Venice; and the other moiety was distributed among the
adventures of France and Lombardy. The venerable Dandolo was proclaimed
despot of Romania, and invested after the Greek fashion with the purple
buskins. He ended at Constantinople his long and glorious life; and if
the prerogative was personal, the title was used by his successors till
the middle of the fourteenth century, with the singular, though true,
addition of lords of one fourth and a half of the Roman empire. [8] The
doge, a slave of state, was seldom permitted to depart from the helm of
the republic; but his place was supplied by the _bail_, or regent, who
exercised a supreme jurisdiction over the colony of Venetians: they
possessed three of the eight quarters of the city; and his independent
tribunal was composed of six judges, four counsellors, two chamberlains
two fiscal advocates, and a constable. Their long experience of the
Eastern trade enabled them to select their portion with discernment:
they had rashly accepted the dominion and defence of Adrianople; but
it was the more reasonable aim of their policy to form a chain of
factories, and cities, and islands, along the maritime coast, from the
neighborhood of Ragusa to the Hellespont and the Bosphorus. The labor
and cost of such extensive conquests exhausted their treasury: they
abandoned their maxims of government, adopted a feudal system, and
contented themselves with the homage of their nobles, [9] for the
possessions which these private vassals undertook to reduce and
maintain. And thus it was that the family of Sanut acquired the duchy
of Naxos, which involved the greatest part of the archipelago. For the
price of ten thousand marks, the republic purchased of the marquis of
Montferrat the fertile Island of Crete or Candia, with the ruins of a
hundred cities; [10] but its improvement was stinted by the proud and
narrow spirit of an aristocracy; [11] and the wisest senators would
confess that the sea, not the land, was the treasury of St. Mark. In
the moiety of the adventurers the marquis Boniface might claim the most
liberal reward; and, besides the Isle of Crete, his exclusion from the
throne was compensated by the royal title and the provinces beyond
the Hellespont. But he prudently exchanged that distant and difficult
conquest for the kingdom of Thessalonica Macedonia, twelve days' journey
from the capital, where he might be supported by the neighboring powers
of his brother-in-law the king of Hungary. His progress was hailed by
the voluntary or reluctant acclamations of the natives; and Greece, the
proper and ancient Greece, again received a Latin conqueror, [12] who
trod with indifference that classic ground. He viewed with a careless
eye the beauties of the valley of Tempe; traversed with a cautious
step the straits of Thermopylæ; occupied the unknown cities of Thebes,
Athens, and Argos; and assaulted the fortifications of Corinth and
Napoli, [13] which resisted his arms. The lots of the Latin pilgrims were
regulated by chance, or choice, or subsequent exchange; and they abused,
with intemperate joy, their triumph over the lives and fortunes of a
great people. After a minute survey of the provinces, they weighed in
the scales of avarice the revenue of each district, the advantage of
the situation, and the ample on scanty supplies for the maintenance of
soldiers and horses. Their presumption claimed and divided the long-lost
dependencies of the Roman sceptre: the Nile and Euphrates rolled through
their imaginary realms; and happy was the warrior who drew for his prize
the palace of the Turkish sultan of Iconium. [14] I shall not descend
to the pedigree of families and the rent-roll of estates, but I wish
to specify that the counts of Blois and St. Pol were invested with the
duchy of Nice and the lordship of Demotica: [15] the principal fiefs were
held by the service of constable, chamberlain, cup-bearer, butler, and
chief cook; and our historian, Jeffrey of Villehardouin, obtained a fair
establishment on the banks of the Hebrus, and united the double office
of marshal of Champagne and Romania. At the head of his knights and
archers, each baron mounted on horseback to secure the possession of his
share, and their first efforts were generally successful. But the public
force was weakened by their dispersion; and a thousand quarrels must
arise under a law, and among men, whose sole umpire was the sword.
Within three months after the conquest of Constantinople, the emperor
and the king of Thessalonica drew their hostile followers into the
field; they were reconciled by the authority of the doge, the advice of
the marshal, and the firm freedom of their peers. [16]

[Footnote 7: In the treaty of partition, most of the names are corrupted
by the scribes: they might be restored, and a good map, suited to the
last age of the Byzantine empire, would be an improvement of geography.
But, alas D'Anville is no more!]

[Footnote 8: Their style was dominus quartæ partis et dimidiæ imperii
Romani, till Giovanni Dolfino, who was elected doge in the year of
1356, (Sanuto, p. 530, 641.) For the government of Constantinople, see
Ducange, Histoire de C. P. i. 37.]

[Footnote 9: Ducange (Hist. de C. P. ii. 6) has marked the conquests
made by the state or nobles of Venice of the Islands of Candia, Corfu,
Cephalonia, Zante, Naxos, Paros, Melos, Andros, Mycone, Syro, Cea, and

[Footnote 10: Boniface sold the Isle of Candia, August 12, A.D. 1204.
See the act in Sanuto, p. 533: but I cannot understand how it could be
his mother's portion, or how she could be the daughter of an emperor

[Footnote 11: In the year 1212, the doge Peter Zani sent a colony to
Candia, drawn from every quarter of Venice. But in their savage manners
and frequent rebellions, the Candiots may be compared to the Corsicans
under the yoke of Genoa; and when I compare the accounts of Belon and
Tournefort, I cannot discern much difference between the Venetian and
the Turkish island.]

[Footnote 12: Villehardouin (No. 159, 160, 173--177) and Nicetas (p.
387--394) describe the expedition into Greece of the marquis Boniface.
The Choniate might derive his information from his brother Michael,
archbishop of Athens, whom he paints as an orator, a statesman, and a
saint. His encomium of Athens, and the description of Tempe, should be
published from the Bodleian MS. of Nicetas, (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom.
vi. p. 405,) and would have deserved Mr. Harris's inquiries.]

[Footnote 13: Napoli de Romania, or Nauplia, the ancient seaport of
Argos, is still a place of strength and consideration, situate on a
rocky peninsula, with a good harbor, (Chandler's Travels into Greece, p.

[Footnote 14: I have softened the expression of Nicetas, who strives
to expose the presumption of the Franks. See the Rebus post C. P.
expugnatam, p. 375--384.]

[Footnote 15: A city surrounded by the River Hebrus, and six leagues to
the south of Adrianople, received from its double wall the Greek name
of Didymoteichos, insensibly corrupted into Demotica and Dimot. I have
preferred the more convenient and modern appellation of Demotica. This
place was the last Turkish residence of Charles XII.]

[Footnote 16: Their quarrel is told by Villehardouin (No. 146--158) with
the spirit of freedom. The merit and reputation of the marshal are so
acknowledged by the Greek historian (p. 387) mega para touV tvn Dauinwn
dunamenou strateumasi: unlike some modern heroes, whose exploits are
only visible in their own memoirs. * Note: William de Champlite, brother
of the count of Dijon, assumed the title of Prince of Achaia: on the
death of his brother, he returned, with regret, to France, to assume his
paternal inheritance, and left Villehardouin his "_bailli_," on
condition that if he did not return within a year Villehardouin was to
retain an investiture. Brosset's Add. to Le Beau, vol. xvii. p. 200. M.
Brosset adds, from the Greek chronicler edited by M. Buchon, the
somewhat unknightly trick by which Villehardouin disembarrassed himself
from the troublesome claim of Robert, the cousin of the count of Dijon.
to the succession. He contrived that Robert should arrive just fifteen
days too late; and with the general concurrence of the assembled knights
was himself invested with the principality. Ibid. p. 283. M.]

Two fugitives, who had reigned at Constantinople, still asserted the
title of emperor; and the subjects of their fallen throne might be moved
to pity by the misfortunes of the elder Alexius, or excited to revenge
by the spirit of Mourzoufle. A domestic alliance, a common interest, a
similar guilt, and the merit of extinguishing his enemies, a brother and
a nephew, induced the more recent usurper to unite with the former the
relics of his power. Mourzoufle was received with smiles and honors
in the camp of his father Alexius; but the wicked can never love, and
should rarely trust, their fellow-criminals; he was seized in the bath,
deprived of his eyes, stripped of his troops and treasures, and turned
out to wander an object of horror and contempt to those who with more
propriety could hate, and with more justice could punish, the assassin
of the emperor Isaac and his son. As the tyrant, pursued by fear or
remorse, was stealing over to Asia, he was seized by the Latins of
Constantinople, and condemned, after an open trial, to an ignominious
death. His judges debated the mode of his execution, the axe, the wheel,
or the stake; and it was resolved that Mourzoufle [17] should ascend
the Theodosian column, a pillar of white marble of one hundred and
forty-seven feet in height. [18] From the summit he was cast down
headlong, and dashed in pieces on the pavement, in the presence of
innumerable spectators, who filled the forum of Taurus, and admired
the accomplishment of an old prediction, which was explained by this
singular event. [19] The fate of Alexius is less tragical: he was sent
by the marquis a captive to Italy, and a gift to the king of the
Romans; but he had not much to applaud his fortune, if the sentence of
imprisonment and exile were changed from a fortress in the Alps to a
monastery in Asia. But his daughter, before the national calamity, had
been given in marriage to a young hero who continued the succession,
and restored the throne, of the Greek princes. [20] The valor of Theodore
Lascaris was signalized in the two sieges of Constantinople. After
the flight of Mourzoufle, when the Latins were already in the city, he
offered himself as their emperor to the soldiers and people; and his
ambition, which might be virtuous, was undoubtedly brave. Could he have
infused a soul into the multitude, they might have crushed the strangers
under their feet: their abject despair refused his aid; and Theodore
retired to breathe the air of freedom in Anatolia, beyond the immediate
view and pursuit of the conquerors. Under the title, at first of despot,
and afterwards of emperor, he drew to his standard the bolder spirits,
who were fortified against slavery by the contempt of life; and as every
means was lawful for the public safety implored without scruple the
alliance of the Turkish sultan Nice, where Theodore established his
residence, Prusa and Philadelphia, Smyrna and Ephesus, opened their
gates to their deliverer: he derived strength and reputation from his
victories, and even from his defeats; and the successor of Constantine
preserved a fragment of the empire from the banks of the Mæander to the
suburbs of Nicomedia, and at length of Constantinople. Another portion,
distant and obscure, was possessed by the lineal heir of the Comneni,
a son of the virtuous Manuel, a grandson of the tyrant Andronicus. His
name was Alexius; and the epithet of great [201] was applied perhaps to his
stature, rather than to his exploits. By the indulgence of the Angeli,
he was appointed governor or duke of Trebizond: [21] [211] his birth gave
him ambition, the revolution independence; and, without changing his
title, he reigned in peace from Sinope to the Phasis, along the coast
of the Black Sea. His nameless son and successor [212] is described as
the vassal of the sultan, whom he served with two hundred lances: that
Comnenian prince was no more than duke of Trebizond, and the title
of emperor was first assumed by the pride and envy of the grandson
of Alexius. In the West, a third fragment was saved from the common
shipwreck by Michael, a bastard of the house of Angeli, who, before the
revolution, had been known as a hostage, a soldier, and a rebel. His
flight from the camp of the marquis Boniface secured his freedom; by his
marriage with the governor's daughter, he commanded the important
place of Durazzo, assumed the title of despot, and founded a strong and
conspicuous principality in Epirus, Ætolia, and Thessaly, which have
ever been peopled by a warlike race. The Greeks, who had offered their
service to their new sovereigns, were excluded by the haughty Latins
[22] from all civil and military honors, as a nation born to tremble and
obey. Their resentment prompted them to show that they might have been
useful friends, since they could be dangerous enemies: their nerves were
braced by adversity: whatever was learned or holy, whatever was noble or
valiant, rolled away into the independent states of Trebizond, Epirus,
and Nice; and a single patrician is marked by the ambiguous praise of
attachment and loyalty to the Franks. The vulgar herd of the cities and
the country would have gladly submitted to a mild and regular servitude;
and the transient disorders of war would have been obliterated by some
years of industry and peace. But peace was banished, and industry was
crushed, in the disorders of the feudal system. The _Roman_ emperors
of Constantinople, if they were endowed with abilities, were armed with
power for the protection of their subjects: their laws were wise,
and their administration was simple. The Latin throne was filled by
a titular prince, the chief, and often the servant, of his licentious
confederates; the fiefs of the empire, from a kingdom to a castle, were
held and ruled by the sword of the barons; and their discord, poverty,
and ignorance, extended the ramifications of tyranny to the most
sequestered villages. The Greeks were oppressed by the double weight of
the priest, who were invested with temporal power, and of the soldier,
who was inflamed by fanatic hatred; and the insuperable bar of religion
and language forever separated the stranger and the native. As long
as the crusaders were united at Constantinople, the memory of their
conquest, and the terror of their arms, imposed silence on the captive
land: their dispersion betrayed the smallness of their numbers and the
defects of their discipline; and some failures and mischances revealed
the secret, that they were not invincible. As the fears of the Greeks
abated, their hatred increased. They murdered; they conspired; and
before a year of slavery had elapsed, they implored, or accepted, the
succor of a Barbarian, whose power they had felt, and whose gratitude
they trusted. [23]

[Footnote 17: See the fate of Mourzoufle in Nicetas, (p. 393,)
Villehardouin, (No. 141--145, 163,) and Guntherus, (c. 20, 21.) Neither
the marshal nor the monk afford a grain of pity for a tyrant or rebel,
whose punishment, however, was more unexampled than his crime.]

[Footnote 18: The column of Arcadius, which represents in basso relievo
his victories, or those of his father Theodosius, is still extant at
Constantinople. It is described and measured, Gyllius, (Topograph. iv.
7,) Banduri, (ad l. i. Antiquit. C. P. p. 507, &c.,) and Tournefort,
(Voyage du Levant, tom. ii. lettre xii. p. 231.) (Compare Wilken, note,
vol. v p. 388.--M.)]

[Footnote 19: The nonsense of Gunther and the modern Greeks concerning
this _columna fatidica_, is unworthy of notice; but it is singular
enough, that fifty years before the Latin conquest, the poet Tzetzes,
(Chiliad, ix. 277) relates the dream of a matron, who saw an army in the
forum, and a man sitting on the column, clapping his hands, and uttering
a loud exclamation. * Note: We read in the "Chronicle of the Conquest of
Constantinople, and of the Establishment of the French in the Morea,"
translated by J A Buchon, Paris, 1825, p. 64 that Leo VI., called the
Philosopher, had prophesied that a perfidious emperor should be
precipitated from the top of this column. The crusaders considered
themselves under an obligation to fulfil this prophecy. Brosset, note on
Le Beau, vol. xvii. p. 180. M Brosset announces that a complete edition
of this work, of which the original Greek of the first book only has
been published by M. Buchon in preparation, to form part of the new
series of the Byzantine historian.--M.]

[Footnote 20: The dynasties of Nice, Trebizond, and Epirus (of which
Nicetas saw the origin without much pleasure or hope) are learnedly
explored, and clearly represented, in the Familiæ Byzantinæ of Ducange.]

[Footnote 201: This was a title, not a personal appellation. Joinville
speaks of the "Grant Comnenie, et sire de Traffezzontes." Fallmerayer,
p. 82.--M.]

[Footnote 21: Except some facts in Pachymer and Nicephorus Gregoras,
which will hereafter be used, the Byzantine writers disdain to speak of
the empire of Trebizond, or principality of the _Lazi_; and among the
Latins, it is conspicuous only in the romancers of the xivth or xvth
centuries. Yet the indefatigable Ducange has dug out (Fam. Byz. p. 192)
two authentic passages in Vincent of Beauvais (l. xxxi. c. 144) and the
prothonotary Ogerius, (apud Wading, A.D. 1279, No. 4.)]

[Footnote 211: On the revolutions of Trebizond under the later empire
down to this period, see Fallmerayer, Geschichte des Kaiserthums von
Trapezunt, ch. iii. The wife of Manuel fled with her infant sons and
her treasure from the relentless enmity of Isaac Angelus. Fallmerayer
conjectures that her arrival enabled the Greeks of that region to make
head against the formidable Thamar, the Georgian queen of Teflis, p. 42.
They gradually formed a dominion on the banks of the Phasis, which
the distracted government of the Angeli neglected or were unable to
suppress. On the capture of Constantinople by the Latins, Alexius
was joined by many noble fugitives from Constantinople. He had always
retained the names of Cæsar and BasileuV. He now fixed the seat of his
empire at Trebizond; but he had never abandoned his pretensions to the
Byzantine throne, ch. iii. Fallmerayer appears to make out a triumphant
case as to the assumption of the royal title by Alexius the First. Since
the publication of M. Fallmerayer's work, (München, 1827,) M. Tafel has
published, at the end of the opuscula of Eustathius, a curious chronicle
of Trebizond by Michael Panaretas, (Frankfort, 1832.) It gives the
succession of the emperors, and some other curious circumstances of
their wars with the several Mahometan powers.--M.]

[Footnote 212: The successor of Alexius was his son-in-law Andronicus I.,
of the Comnenian family, surnamed Gidon. There were five successions
between Alexius and John, according to Fallmerayer, p. 103. The troops
of Trebizond fought in the army of Dschelaleddin, the Karismian, against
Alaleddin, the Seljukian sultan of Roum, but as allies rather than
vassals, p. 107. It was after the defeat of Dschelaleddin that they
furnished their contingent to Alai-eddin. Fallmerayer struggles in vain
to mitigate this mark of the subjection of the Comneni to the sultan. p.

[Footnote 22: The portrait of the French Latins is drawn in Nicetas
by the hand of prejudice and resentment: ouden tvn allwn eqnvn eiV
''AreoV?rga parasumbeblhsqai sjisin hneiconto all' oude tiV tvn caritwn
h tvn?mousvn para toiV barbaroiV toutoiV epexenizeto, kai para
touto oimai thn jusin hsan anhmeroi, kai ton xolon eixon tou logou
prstreconta. [P. 791 Ed. Bek.]

[Footnote 23: I here begin to use, with freedom and confidence, the
eight books of the Histoire de C. P. sous l'Empire des François, which
Ducange has given as a supplement to Villehardouin; and which, in a
barbarous style, deserves the praise of an original and classic work.]

The Latin conquerors had been saluted with a solemn and early embassy
from John, or Joannice, or Calo-John, the revolted chief of the
Bulgarians and Walachians. He deemed himself their brother, as the
votary of the Roman pontiff, from whom he had received the regal title
and a holy banner; and in the subversion of the Greek monarchy, he might
aspire to the name of their friend and accomplice. But Calo-John was
astonished to find, that the Count of Flanders had assumed the pomp
and pride of the successors of Constantine; and his ambassadors were
dismissed with a haughty message, that the rebel must deserve a pardon,
by touching with his forehead the footstool of the Imperial throne. His
resentment [24] would have exhaled in acts of violence and blood: his
cooler policy watched the rising discontent of the Greeks; affected
a tender concern for their sufferings; and promised, that their first
struggles for freedom should be supported by his person and kingdom.
The conspiracy was propagated by national hatred, the firmest band of
association and secrecy: the Greeks were impatient to sheathe their
daggers in the breasts of the victorious strangers; but the execution
was prudently delayed, till Henry, the emperor's brother, had
transported the flower of his troops beyond the Hellespont. Most of the
towns and villages of Thrace were true to the moment and the signal; and
the Latins, without arms or suspicion, were slaughtered by the vile and
merciless revenge of their slaves. From Demotica, the first scene of
the massacre, the surviving vassals of the count of St. Pol escaped to
Adrianople; but the French and Venetians, who occupied that city, were
slain or expelled by the furious multitude: the garrisons that could
effect their retreat fell back on each other towards the metropolis; and
the fortresses, that separately stood against the rebels, were ignorant
of each other's and of their sovereign's fate. The voice of fame and
fear announced the revolt of the Greeks and the rapid approach of their
Bulgarian ally; and Calo-John, not depending on the forces of his own
kingdom, had drawn from the Scythian wilderness a body of fourteen
thousand Comans, who drank, as it was said, the blood of their captives,
and sacrificed the Christians on the altars of their gods. [25]

[Footnote 24: In Calo-John's answer to the pope we may find his claims
and complaints, (Gesta Innocent III. c. 108, 109:) he was cherished at
Rome as the prodigal son.]

[Footnote 25: The Comans were a Tartar or Turkman horde, which encamped
in the xiith and xiiith centuries on the verge of Moldavia. The greater
part were pagans, but some were Mahometans, and the whole horde was
converted to Christianity (A.D. 1370) by Lewis, king of Hungary.]

Alarmed by this sudden and growing danger, the emperor despatched a
swift messenger to recall Count Henry and his troops; and had Baldwin
expected the return of his gallant brother, with a supply of twenty
thousand Armenians, he might have encountered the invader with equal
numbers and a decisive superiority of arms and discipline. But the
spirit of chivalry could seldom discriminate caution from cowardice; and
the emperor took the field with a hundred and forty knights, and their
train of archers and sergeants. The marshal, who dissuaded and obeyed,
led the vanguard in their march to Adrianople; the main body was
commanded by the count of Blois; the aged doge of Venice followed with
the rear; and their scanty numbers were increased from all sides by the
fugitive Latins. They undertook to besiege the rebels of Adrianople; and
such was the pious tendency of the crusades that they employed the holy
week in pillaging the country for their subsistence, and in framing
engines for the destruction of their fellow-Christians. But the Latins
were soon interrupted and alarmed by the light cavalry of the Comans,
who boldly skirmished to the edge of their imperfect lines: and
a proclamation was issued by the marshal of Romania, that, on the
trumpet's sound, the cavalry should mount and form; but that none, under
pain of death, should abandon themselves to a desultory and dangerous
pursuit. This wise injunction was first disobeyed by the count of Blois,
who involved the emperor in his rashness and ruin. The Comans, of the
Parthian or Tartar school, fled before their first charge; but after
a career of two leagues, when the knights and their horses were almost
breathless, they suddenly turned, rallied, and encompassed the heavy
squadrons of the Franks. The count was slain on the field; the emperor
was made prisoner; and if the one disdained to fly, if the other
refused to yield, their personal bravery made a poor atonement for their
ignorance, or neglect, of the duties of a general. [26]

[Footnote 26: Nicetas, from ignorance or malice, imputes the defeat to
the cowardice of Dandolo, (p. 383;) but Villehardouin shares his own
glory with his venerable friend, qui viels home ére et gote ne veoit,
mais mult ére sages et preus et vigueros, (No. 193.) * Note: Gibbon
appears to me to have misapprehended the passage of Nicetas. He says,
"that principal and subtlest mischief. that primary cause of all the
horrible miseries suffered by the _Romans_," i. e. the Byzantines. It is
an effusion of malicious triumph against the Venetians, to whom he
always ascribes the capture of Constantinople.--M.]

Chapter LXI: Partition Of The Empire By The French And Venetians.--Part II.

Proud of his victory and his royal prize, the Bulgarian advanced to
relieve Adrianople and achieve the destruction of the Latins. They
must inevitably have been destroyed, if the marshal of Romania had not
displayed a cool courage and consummate skill; uncommon in all ages,
but most uncommon in those times, when war was a passion, rather than
a science. His grief and fears were poured into the firm and faithful
bosom of the doge; but in the camp he diffused an assurance of
safety, which could only be realized by the general belief. All day he
maintained his perilous station between the city and the Barbarians:
Villehardouin decamped in silence at the dead of night; and his masterly
retreat of three days would have deserved the praise of Xenophon and
the ten thousand. In the rear, the marshal supported the weight of the
pursuit; in the front, he moderated the impatience of the fugitives;
and wherever the Comans approached, they were repelled by a line of
impenetrable spears. On the third day, the weary troops beheld the sea,
the solitary town of Rodosta, [27] and their friends, who had landed from
the Asiatic shore. They embraced, they wept; but they united their arms
and counsels; and in his brother's absence, Count Henry assumed the
regency of the empire, at once in a state of childhood and caducity. [28]
If the Comans withdrew from the summer heats, seven thousand Latins, in
the hour of danger, deserted Constantinople, their brethren, and their
vows. Some partial success was overbalanced by the loss of one hundred
and twenty knights in the field of Rusium; and of the Imperial domain,
no more was left than the capital, with two or three adjacent fortresses
on the shores of Europe and Asia. The king of Bulgaria was resistless
and inexorable; and Calo-John respectfully eluded the demands of the
pope, who conjured his new proselyte to restore peace and the emperor to
the afflicted Latins. The deliverance of Baldwin was no longer, he said,
in the power of man: that prince had died in prison; and the manner of
his death is variously related by ignorance and credulity. The lovers
of a tragic legend will be pleased to hear, that the royal captive was
tempted by the amorous queen of the Bulgarians; that his chaste refusal
exposed him to the falsehood of a woman and the jealousy of a savage;
that his hands and feet were severed from his body; that his bleeding
trunk was cast among the carcasses of dogs and horses; and that he
breathed three days, before he was devoured by the birds of prey. [29]
About twenty years afterwards, in a wood of the Netherlands, a hermit
announced himself as the true Baldwin, the emperor of Constantinople,
and lawful sovereign of Flanders. He related the wonders of his escape,
his adventures, and his penance, among a people prone to believe and to
rebel; and, in the first transport, Flanders acknowledged her long-lost
sovereign. A short examination before the French court detected the
impostor, who was punished with an ignominious death; but the Flemings
still adhered to the pleasing error; and the countess Jane is accused
by the gravest historians of sacrificing to her ambition the life of an
unfortunate father. [30]

[Footnote 27: The truth of geography, and the original text of
Villehardouin, (No. 194,) place Rodosto three days' journey (trois
jornées) from Adrianople: but Vigenere, in his version, has most
absurdly substituted _trois heures_; and this error, which is not
corrected by Ducange has entrapped several moderns, whose names I shall

[Footnote 28: The reign and end of Baldwin are related by Villehardouin
and Nicetas, (p. 386--416;) and their omissions are supplied by Ducange
in his Observations, and to the end of his first book.]

[Footnote 29: After brushing away all doubtful and improbable
circumstances, we may prove the death of Baldwin, 1. By the firm belief
of the French barons, (Villehardouin, No. 230.) 2. By the declaration
of Calo-John himself, who excuses his not releasing the captive emperor,
quia debitum carnis exsolverat cum carcere teneretur, (Gesta Innocent
III. c. 109.) * Note: Compare Von Raumer. Geschichte der Hohenstaufen,
vol. ii. p. 237. Petitot, in his preface to Villehardouin in the
Collection des Mémoires, relatifs a l'Histoire de France, tom. i. p. 85,
expresses his belief in the first part of the "tragic legend."--M.]

[Footnote 30: See the story of this impostor from the French and Flemish
writers in Ducange, Hist. de C. P. iii. 9; and the ridiculous fables
that were believed by the monks of St. Alban's, in Matthew Paris, Hist.
Major, p. 271, 272.]

In all civilized hostility, a treaty is established for the exchange
or ransom of prisoners; and if their captivity be prolonged, their
condition is known, and they are treated according to their rank with
humanity or honor. But the savage Bulgarian was a stranger to the laws
of war: his prisons were involved in darkness and silence; and above a
year elapsed before the Latins could be assured of the death of Baldwin,
before his brother, the regent Henry, would consent to assume the title
of emperor. His moderation was applauded by the Greeks as an act of rare
and inimitable virtue. Their light and perfidious ambition was eager to
seize or anticipate the moment of a vacancy, while a law of succession,
the guardian both of the prince and people, was gradually defined and
confirmed in the hereditary monarchies of Europe. In the support of the
Eastern empire, Henry was gradually left without an associate, as the
heroes of the crusade retired from the world or from the war. The doge
of Venice, the venerable Dandolo, in the fulness of years and glory,
sunk into the grave. The marquis of Montferrat was slowly recalled
from the Peloponnesian war to the revenge of Baldwin and the defence
of Thessalonica. Some nice disputes of feudal homage and service were
reconciled in a personal interview between the emperor and the king;
they were firmly united by mutual esteem and the common danger; and
their alliance was sealed by the nuptials of Henry with the daughter of
the Italian prince. He soon deplored the loss of his friend and father.
At the persuasion of some faithful Greeks, Boniface made a bold and
successful inroad among the hills of Rhodope: the Bulgarians fled on his
approach; they assembled to harass his retreat. On the intelligence
that his rear was attacked, without waiting for any defensive armor,
he leaped on horseback, couched his lance, and drove the enemies before
him; but in the rash pursuit he was pierced with a mortal wound; and the
head of the king of Thessalonica was presented to Calo-John, who
enjoyed the honors, without the merit, of victory. It is here, at this
melancholy event, that the pen or the voice of Jeffrey of Villehardouin
seems to drop or to expire; [31] and if he still exercised his military
office of marshal of Romania, his subsequent exploits are buried in
oblivion. [32] The character of Henry was not unequal to his arduous
situation: in the siege of Constantinople, and beyond the Hellespont, he
had deserved the fame of a valiant knight and a skilful commander; and
his courage was tempered with a degree of prudence and mildness unknown
to his impetuous brother. In the double war against the Greeks of Asia
and the Bulgarians of Europe, he was ever the foremost on shipboard or
on horseback; and though he cautiously provided for the success of his
arms, the drooping Latins were often roused by his example to save and
to second their fearless emperor. But such efforts, and some supplies
of men and money from France, were of less avail than the errors, the
cruelty, and death, of their most formidable adversary. When the despair
of the Greek subjects invited Calo-John as their deliverer, they hoped
that he would protect their liberty and adopt their laws: they were soon
taught to compare the degrees of national ferocity, and to execrate the
savage conqueror, who no longer dissembled his intention of dispeopling
Thrace, of demolishing the cities, and of transplanting the inhabitants
beyond the Danube. Many towns and villages of Thrace were already
evacuated: a heap of ruins marked the place of Philippopolis, and a
similar calamity was expected at Demotica and Adrianople, by the first
authors of the revolt. They raised a cry of grief and repentance to the
throne of Henry; the emperor alone had the magnanimity to forgive and
trust them. No more than four hundred knights, with their sergeants
and archers, could be assembled under his banner; and with this
slender force he fought [321] and repulsed the Bulgarian, who, besides his
infantry, was at the head of forty thousand horse. In this expedition,
Henry felt the difference between a hostile and a friendly country: the
remaining cities were preserved by his arms; and the savage, with
shame and loss, was compelled to relinquish his prey. The siege of
Thessalonica was the last of the evils which Calo-John inflicted or
suffered: he was stabbed in the night in his tent; and the general,
perhaps the assassin, who found him weltering in his blood, ascribed the
blow, with general applause, to the lance of St. Demetrius. [33] After
several victories, the prudence of Henry concluded an honorable peace
with the successor of the tyrant, and with the Greek princes of Nice and
Epirus. If he ceded some doubtful limits, an ample kingdom was reserved
for himself and his feudatories; and his reign, which lasted only ten
years, afforded a short interval of prosperity and peace. Far above the
narrow policy of Baldwin and Boniface, he freely intrusted to the Greeks
the most important offices of the state and army; and this liberality of
sentiment and practice was the more seasonable, as the princes of Nice
and Epirus had already learned to seduce and employ the mercenary valor
of the Latins. It was the aim of Henry to unite and reward his deserving
subjects, of every nation and language; but he appeared less solicitous
to accomplish the impracticable union of the two churches. Pelagius,
the pope's legate, who acted as the sovereign of Constantinople, had
interdicted the worship of the Greeks, and sternly imposed the payment
of tithes, the double procession of the Holy Ghost, and a blind
obedience to the Roman pontiff. As the weaker party, they pleaded
the duties of conscience, and implored the rights of toleration: "Our
bodies," they said, "are Cæsar's, but our souls belong only to God." The
persecution was checked by the firmness of the emperor: [34] and if we
can believe that the same prince was poisoned by the Greeks themselves,
we must entertain a contemptible idea of the sense and gratitude of
mankind. His valor was a vulgar attribute, which he shared with ten
thousand knights; but Henry possessed the superior courage to oppose,
in a superstitious age, the pride and avarice of the clergy. In the
cathedral of St. Sophia he presumed to place his throne on the right
hand of the patriarch; and this presumption excited the sharpest censure
of Pope Innocent the Third. By a salutary edict, one of the first
examples of the laws of mortmain, he prohibited the alienation of fiefs:
many of the Latins, desirous of returning to Europe, resigned their
estates to the church for a spiritual or temporal reward; these holy
lands were immediately discharged from military service, and a colony
of soldiers would have been gradually transformed into a college of
priests. [35]

[Footnote 31: Villehardouin, No. 257. I quote, with regret, this
lamentable conclusion, where we lose at once the original history, and
the rich illustrations of Ducange. The last pages may derive some light
from Henry's two epistles to Innocent III., (Gesta, c. 106, 107.)]

[Footnote 32: The marshal was alive in 1212, but he probably died soon
afterwards, without returning to France, (Ducange, Observations sur
Villehardouin, p. 238.) His fief of Messinople, the gift of Boniface,
was the ancient Maximianopolis, which flourished in the time of Ammianus
Marcellinus, among the cities of Thrace, (No. 141.)]

[Footnote 321: There was no battle. On the advance of the Latins, John
suddenly broke up his camp and retreated. The Latins considered
this unexpected deliverance almost a miracle. Le Beau suggests the
probability that the detection of the Comans, who usually quitted the
camp during the heats of summer, may have caused the flight of the
Bulgarians. Nicetas, c. 8 Villebardouin, c. 225. Le Beau, vol. xvii. p.

[Footnote 33: The church of this patron of Thessalonica was served by
the canons of the holy sepulchre, and contained a divine ointment which
distilled daily and stupendous miracles, (Ducange, Hist. de C. P. ii.

[Footnote 34: Acropolita (c. 17) observes the persecution of the
legate, and the toleration of Henry, ('Erh, * as he calls him) kludwna
katestorese. Note: Or rather 'ErrhV.--M.]

[Footnote 35: See the reign of Henry, in Ducange, (Hist. de C. P. l. i.
c. 35--41, l. ii. c. 1--22,) who is much indebted to the Epistles of the
Popes. Le Beau (Hist. du Bas Empire, tom. xxi. p. 120--122) has found,
perhaps in Doutreman, some laws of Henry, which determined the service
of fiefs, and the prerogatives of the emperor.]

The virtuous Henry died at Thessalonica, in the defence of that kingdom,
and of an infant, the son of his friend Boniface. In the two first
emperors of Constantinople the male line of the counts of Flanders was
extinct. But their sister Yolande was the wife of a French prince,
the mother of a numerous progeny; and one of her daughters had married
Andrew king of Hungary, a brave and pious champion of the cross. By
seating him on the Byzantine throne, the barons of Romania would have
acquired the forces of a neighboring and warlike kingdom; but the
prudent Andrew revered the laws of succession; and the princess Yolande,
with her husband Peter of Courtenay, count of Auxerre, was invited by
the Latins to assume the empire of the East. The royal birth of his
father, the noble origin of his mother, recommended to the barons of
France the first cousin of their king. His reputation was fair, his
possessions were ample, and in the bloody crusade against the Albigeois,
the soldiers and the priests had been abundantly satisfied of his zeal
and valor. Vanity might applaud the elevation of a French emperor
of Constantinople; but prudence must pity, rather than envy, his
treacherous and imaginary greatness. To assert and adorn his title,
he was reduced to sell or mortgage the best of his patrimony. By these
expedients, the liberality of his royal kinsman Philip Augustus, and the
national spirit of chivalry, he was enabled to pass the Alps at the
head of one hundred and forty knights, and five thousand five hundred
sergeants and archers. After some hesitation, Pope Honorius the Third
was persuaded to crown the successor of Constantine: but he performed
the ceremony in a church without the walls, lest he should seem to imply
or to bestow any right of sovereignty over the ancient capital of the
empire. The Venetians had engaged to transport Peter and his forces
beyond the Adriatic, and the empress, with her four children, to the
Byzantine palace; but they required, as the price of their service, that
he should recover Durazzo from the despot of Epirus. Michael Angelus, or
Comnenus, the first of his dynasty, had bequeathed the succession of
his power and ambition to Theodore, his legitimate brother, who
already threatened and invaded the establishments of the Latins. After
discharging his debt by a fruitless assault, the emperor raised the
siege to prosecute a long and perilous journey over land from Durazzo
to Thessalonica. He was soon lost in the mountains of Epirus: the passes
were fortified; his provisions exhausted; he was delayed and deceived by
a treacherous negotiation; and, after Peter of Courtenay and the Roman
legate had been arrested in a banquet, the French troops, without
leaders or hopes, were eager to exchange their arms for the delusive
promise of mercy and bread. The Vatican thundered; and the impious
Theodore was threatened with the vengeance of earth and heaven; but the
captive emperor and his soldiers were forgotten, and the reproaches of
the pope are confined to the imprisonment of his legate. No sooner
was he satisfied by the deliverance of the priests and a promise of
spiritual obedience, than he pardoned and protected the despot of
Epirus. His peremptory commands suspended the ardor of the Venetians and
the king of Hungary; and it was only by a natural or untimely death [36]
that Peter of Courtenay was released from his hopeless captivity. [37]

[Footnote 36: Acropolita (c. 14) affirms, that Peter of Courtenay died
by the sword, (ergon macairaV genesqai;) but from his dark expressions,
I should conclude a previous captivity, wV pantaV ardhn desmwtaV poihsai
sun pasi skeuesi. * The Chronicle of Auxerre delays the emperor's death
till the year 1219; and Auxerre is in the neighborhood of Courtenay.
Note: Whatever may have been the fact, this can hardly be made out
from the expressions of Acropolita.--M.]

[Footnote 37: See the reign and death of Peter of Courtenay, in Ducange,
(Hist. de C. P. l. ii. c. 22--28,) who feebly strives to excuse the
neglect of the emperor by Honorius III.]

The long ignorance of his fate, and the presence of the lawful
sovereign, of Yolande, his wife or widow, delayed the proclamation of
a new emperor. Before her death, and in the midst of her grief, she was
delivered of a son, who was named Baldwin, the last and most unfortunate
of the Latin princes of Constantinople. His birth endeared him to the
barons of Romania; but his childhood would have prolonged the troubles
of a minority, and his claims were superseded by the elder claims of his
brethren. The first of these, Philip of Courtenay, who derived from his
mother the inheritance of Namur, had the wisdom to prefer the substance
of a marquisate to the shadow of an empire; and on his refusal, Robert,
the second of the sons of Peter and Yolande, was called to the throne
of Constantinople. Warned by his father's mischance, he pursued his slow
and secure journey through Germany and along the Danube: a passage
was opened by his sister's marriage with the king of Hungary; and the
emperor Robert was crowned by the patriarch in the cathedral of St.
Sophia. But his reign was an æra of calamity and disgrace; and the
colony, as it was styled, of New France yielded on all sides to the
Greeks of Nice and Epirus. After a victory, which he owed to his
perfidy rather than his courage, Theodore Angelus entered the kingdom
of Thessalonica, expelled the feeble Demetrius, the son of the marquis
Boniface, erected his standard on the walls of Adrianople; and added, by
his vanity, a third or a fourth name to the list of rival emperors.
The relics of the Asiatic province were swept away by John Vataces, the
son-in-law and successor of Theodore Lascaris, and who, in a triumphant
reign of thirty-three years, displayed the virtues both of peace and
war. Under his discipline, the swords of the French mercenaries were the
most effectual instruments of his conquests, and their desertion from
the service of their country was at once a symptom and a cause of the
rising ascendant of the Greeks. By the construction of a fleet, he
obtained the command of the Hellespont, reduced the islands of Lesbos
and Rhodes, attacked the Venetians of Candia, and intercepted the rare
and parsimonious succors of the West. Once, and once only, the Latin
emperor sent an army against Vataces; and in the defeat of that army,
the veteran knights, the last of the original conquerors, were left on
the field of battle. But the success of a foreign enemy was less painful
to the pusillanimous Robert than the insolence of his Latin subjects,
who confounded the weakness of the emperor and of the empire. His
personal misfortunes will prove the anarchy of the government and the
ferociousness of the times. The amorous youth had neglected his Greek
bride, the daughter of Vataces, to introduce into the palace a beautiful
maid, of a private, though noble family of Artois; and her mother had
been tempted by the lustre of the purple to forfeit her engagements with
a gentleman of Burgundy. His love was converted into rage; he assembled
his friends, forced the palace gates, threw the mother into the sea,
and inhumanly cut off the nose and lips of the wife or concubine of
the emperor. Instead of punishing the offender, the barons avowed and
applauded the savage deed, [38] which, as a prince and as a man, it was
impossible that Robert should forgive. He escaped from the guilty city
to implore the justice or compassion of the pope: the emperor was coolly
exhorted to return to his station; before he could obey, he sunk under
the weight of grief, shame, and impotent resentment. [39]

[Footnote 38: Marinus Sanutus (Secreta Fidelium Crucis, l. ii. p. 4,
c. 18, p. 73) is so much delighted with this bloody deed, that he has
transcribed it in his margin as a bonum exemplum. Yet he acknowledges
the damsel for the lawful wife of Robert.]

[Footnote 39: See the reign of Robert, in Ducange, (Hist. de C. P. l.
ii. c.--12.)]

It was only in the age of chivalry, that valor could ascend from a
private station to the thrones of Jerusalem and Constantinople. The
titular kingdom of Jerusalem had devolved to Mary, the daughter of
Isabella and Conrad of Montferrat, and the granddaughter of Almeric
or Amaury. She was given to John of Brienne, of a noble family in
Champagne, by the public voice, and the judgment of Philip Augustus, who
named him as the most worthy champion of the Holy Land. [40] In the fifth
crusade, he led a hundred thousand Latins to the conquest of Egypt: by
him the siege of Damietta was achieved; and the subsequent failure
was justly ascribed to the pride and avarice of the legate. After the
marriage of his daughter with Frederic the Second, [41] he was provoked
by the emperor's ingratitude to accept the command of the army of the
church; and though advanced in life, and despoiled of royalty, the
sword and spirit of John of Brienne were still ready for the service
of Christendom. In the seven years of his brother's reign, Baldwin of
Courtenay had not emerged from a state of childhood, and the barons of
Romania felt the strong necessity of placing the sceptre in the hands of
a man and a hero. The veteran king of Jerusalem might have disdained the
name and office of regent; they agreed to invest him for his life
with the title and prerogatives of emperor, on the sole condition that
Baldwin should marry his second daughter, and succeed at a mature age
to the throne of Constantinople. The expectation, both of the Greeks and
Latins, was kindled by the renown, the choice, and the presence of John
of Brienne; and they admired his martial aspect, his green and vigorous
age of more than fourscore years, and his size and stature, which
surpassed the common measure of mankind. [42] But avarice, and the love
of ease, appear to have chilled the ardor of enterprise: [421] his troops
were disbanded, and two years rolled away without action or honor, till
he was awakened by the dangerous alliance of Vataces emperor of Nice,
and of Azan king of Bulgaria. They besieged Constantinople by sea and
land, with an army of one hundred thousand men, and a fleet of three
hundred ships of war; while the entire force of the Latin emperor
was reduced to one hundred and sixty knights, and a small addition of
sergeants and archers. I tremble to relate, that instead of defending
the city, the hero made a sally at the head of his cavalry; and that of
forty-eight squadrons of the enemy, no more than three escaped from the
edge of his invincible sword. Fired by his example, the infantry and
the citizens boarded the vessels that anchored close to the walls; and
twenty-five were dragged in triumph into the harbor of Constantinople.
At the summons of the emperor, the vassals and allies armed in her
defence; broke through every obstacle that opposed their passage; and,
in the succeeding year, obtained a second victory over the same enemies.
By the rude poets of the age, John of Brienne is compared to Hector,
Roland, and Judas Machabæus: [43] but their credit, and his glory,
receive some abatement from the silence of the Greeks. The empire was
soon deprived of the last of her champions; and the dying monarch was
ambitious to enter paradise in the habit of a Franciscan friar. [44]

[Footnote 40: Rex igitur Franciæ, deliberatione habitâ, respondit
nuntiis, se daturum hominem Syriæ partibus aptum; in armis probum
(_preux_) in bellis securum, in agendis providum, Johannem comitem
Brennensem. Sanut. Secret. Fidelium, l. iii. p. xi. c. 4, p. 205 Matthew
Paris, p. 159.]

[Footnote 41: Giannone (Istoria Civile, tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 380--385)
discusses the marriage of Frederic II. with the daughter of John of
Brienne, and the double union of the crowns of Naples and Jerusalem.]

[Footnote 42: Acropolita, c. 27. The historian was at that time a boy,
and educated at Constantinople. In 1233, when he was eleven years old,
his father broke the Latin chain, left a splendid fortune, and escaped
to the Greek court of Nice, where his son was raised to the highest

[Footnote 421: John de Brienne, elected emperor 1229, wasted two years in
preparations, and did not arrive at Constantinople till 1231. Two years
more glided away in inglorious inaction; he then made some ineffective
warlike expeditions. Constantinople was not besieged till 1234.--M.]

[Footnote 43: Philip Mouskes, bishop of Tournay, (A.D. 1274--1282,) has
composed a poem, or rather string of verses, in bad old Flemish French,
on the Latin emperors of Constantinople, which Ducange has published at
the end of Villehardouin; see p. 38, for the prowess of John of Brienne.
N'Aie, Ector, Roll' ne Ogiers
Ne Judas Machabeus li fiers
Tant ne fit d'armes en estors
Com fist li Rois Jehans cel jors
Et il defors et il dedans
La paru sa force et ses sens
Et li hardiment qu'il avoit.]

[Footnote 44: See the reign of John de Brienne, in Ducange, Hist. de C.
P. l. ii. c. 13--26.]

In the double victory of John of Brienne, I cannot discover the name
or exploits of his pupil Baldwin, who had attained the age of military
service, and who succeeded to the imperial dignity on the decease of his
adoptive father. [45] The royal youth was employed on a commission more
suitable to his temper; he was sent to visit the Western courts, of the
pope more especially, and of the king of France; to excite their pity by
the view of his innocence and distress; and to obtain some supplies of
men or money for the relief of the sinking empire. He thrice repeated
these mendicant visits, in which he seemed to prolong his stay and
postpone his return; of the five-and-twenty years of his reign, a
greater number were spent abroad than at home; and in no place did the
emperor deem himself less free and secure than in his native country and
his capital. On some public occasions, his vanity might be soothed
by the title of Augustus, and by the honors of the purple; and at the
general council of Lyons, when Frederic the Second was excommunicated
and deposed, his Oriental colleague was enthroned on the right hand of
the pope. But how often was the exile, the vagrant, the Imperial beggar,
humbled with scorn, insulted with pity, and degraded in his own eyes and
those of the nations! In his first visit to England, he was stopped at
Dover by a severe reprimand, that he should presume, without leave, to
enter an independent kingdom. After some delay, Baldwin, however, was
permitted to pursue his journey, was entertained with cold civility, and
thankfully departed with a present of seven hundred marks. [46] From the
avarice of Rome he could only obtain the proclamation of a crusade, and
a treasure of indulgences; a coin whose currency was depreciated by too
frequent and indiscriminate abuse. His birth and misfortunes recommended
him to the generosity of his cousin Louis the Ninth; but the martial
zeal of the saint was diverted from Constantinople to Egypt and
Palestine; and the public and private poverty of Baldwin was alleviated,
for a moment, by the alienation of the marquisate of Namur and the
lordship of Courtenay, the last remains of his inheritance. [47] By such
shameful or ruinous expedients, he once more returned to Romania, with
an army of thirty thousand soldiers, whose numbers were doubled in the
apprehension of the Greeks. His first despatches to France and England
announced his victories and his hopes: he had reduced the country round
the capital to the distance of three days' journey; and if he succeeded
against an important, though nameless, city, (most probably Chiorli,)
the frontier would be safe and the passage accessible. But these
expectations (if Baldwin was sincere) quickly vanished like a dream: the
troops and treasures of France melted away in his unskilful hands; and
the throne of the Latin emperor was protected by a dishonorable alliance
with the Turks and Comans. To secure the former, he consented to bestow
his niece on the unbelieving sultan of Cogni; to please the latter, he
complied with their Pagan rites; a dog was sacrificed between the two
armies; and the contracting parties tasted each other's blood, as
a pledge of their fidelity. [48] In the palace, or prison, of
Constantinople, the successor of Augustus demolished the vacant houses
for winter fuel, and stripped the lead from the churches for the daily
expense of his family. Some usurious loans were dealt with a scanty hand
by the merchants of Italy; and Philip, his son and heir, was pawned at
Venice as the security for a debt. [49] Thirst, hunger, and nakedness,
are positive evils: but wealth is relative; and a prince who would be
rich in a private station, may be exposed by the increase of his wants
to all the anxiety and bitterness of poverty.

[Footnote 45: See the reign of Baldwin II. till his expulsion from
Constantinople, in Ducange, Hist. de C. P. l. iv. c. 1--34, the end l.
v. c. 1--33.]

[Footnote 46: Matthew Paris relates the two visits of Baldwin II. to the
English court, p. 396, 637; his return to Greece armatâ manû, p. 407
his letters of his nomen formidabile, &c., p. 481, (a passage which has
escaped Ducange;) his expulsion, p. 850.]

[Footnote 47: Louis IX. disapproved and stopped the alienation of
Courtenay (Ducange, l. iv. c. 23.) It is now annexed to the
royal demesne but granted for a term (_engagé_) to the family of
Boulainvilliers. Courtenay, in the election of Nemours in the Isle de
France, is a town of 900 inhabitants, with the remains of a castle,
(Mélanges tirés d'une Grande Bibliothèque, tom. xlv. p. 74--77.)]

[Footnote 48: Joinville, p. 104, edit. du Louvre. A Coman prince, who
died without baptism, was buried at the gates of Constantinople with a
live retinue of slaves and horses.]

[Footnote 49: Sanut. Secret. Fidel. Crucis, l. ii. p. iv. c. 18, p. 73.]

Chapter LXI: Partition Of The Empire By The French And Venetians.--Part III.

But in this abject distress, the emperor and empire were still
possessed of an ideal treasure, which drew its fantastic value from the
superstition of the Christian world. The merit of the true cross was
somewhat impaired by its frequent division; and a long captivity among
the infidels might shed some suspicion on the fragments that were
produced in the East and West. But another relic of the Passion was
preserved in the Imperial chapel of Constantinople; and the crown of
thorns which had been placed on the head of Christ was equally precious
and authentic. It had formerly been the practice of the Egyptian debtors
to deposit, as a security, the mummies of their parents; and both their
honor and religion were bound for the redemption of the pledge. In the
same manner, and in the absence of the emperor, the barons of Romania
borrowed the sum of thirteen thousand one hundred and thirty-four
pieces of gold [50] on the credit of the holy crown: they failed in the
performance of their contract; and a rich Venetian, Nicholas Querini,
undertook to satisfy their impatient creditors, on condition that the
relic should be lodged at Venice, to become his absolute property, if it
were not redeemed within a short and definite term. The barons apprised
their sovereign of the hard treaty and impending loss and as the empire
could not afford a ransom of seven thousand pounds sterling, Baldwin was
anxious to snatch the prize from the Venetians, and to vest it with more
honor and emolument in the hands of the most Christian king. [51] Yet the
negotiation was attended with some delicacy. In the purchase of relics,
the saint would have started at the guilt of simony; but if the mode of
expression were changed, he might lawfully repay the debt, accept the
gift, and acknowledge the obligation. His ambassadors, two Dominicans,
were despatched to Venice to redeem and receive the holy crown which had
escaped the dangers of the sea and the galleys of Vataces. On opening a
wooden box, they recognized the seals of the doge and barons, which were
applied on a shrine of silver; and within this shrine the monument
of the Passion was enclosed in a golden vase. The reluctant Venetians
yielded to justice and power: the emperor Frederic granted a free and
honorable passage; the court of France advanced as far as Troyes in
Champagne, to meet with devotion this inestimable relic: it was borne in
triumph through Paris by the king himself, barefoot, and in his shirt;
and a free gift of ten thousand marks of silver reconciled Baldwin to
his loss. The success of this transaction tempted the Latin emperor to
offer with the same generosity the remaining furniture of his chapel;
[52] a large and authentic portion of the true cross; the baby-linen of
the Son of God, the lance, the sponge, and the chain, of his Passion;
the rod of Moses, and part of the skull of St. John the Baptist. For
the reception of these spiritual treasures, twenty thousand marks were
expended by St. Louis on a stately foundation, the holy chapel of Paris,
on which the muse of Boileau has bestowed a comic immortality. The truth
of such remote and ancient relics, which cannot be proved by any human
testimony, must be admitted by those who believe in the miracles which
they have performed. About the middle of the last age, an inveterate
ulcer was touched and cured by a holy prickle of the holy crown: [53]
the prodigy is attested by the most pious and enlightened Christians of
France; nor will the fact be easily disproved, except by those who are
armed with a general antidote against religious credulity. [54]

[Footnote 50: Under the words _Perparus_, _Perpera_, _Hyperperum_,
Ducange is short and vague: Monetæ genus. From a corrupt passage of
Guntherus, (Hist. C. P. c. 8, p. 10,) I guess that the Perpera was
the nummus aureus, the fourth part of a mark of silver, or about ten
shillings sterling in value. In lead it would be too contemptible.]

[Footnote 51: For the translation of the holy crown, &c., from
Constantinople to Paris, see Ducange (Hist. de C. P. l. iv. c. 11--14,
24, 35) and Fleury, (Hist. Ecclés. tom. xvii. p. 201--204.)]

[Footnote 52: Mélanges tirés d'une Grande Bibliothèque, tom. xliii.
p. 201--205. The Lutrin of Boileau exhibits the inside, the soul
and manners of the _Sainte Chapelle_; and many facts relative to the
institution are collected and explained by his commentators, Brosset and
De St. Marc.]

[Footnote 53: It was performed A.D. 1656, March 24, on the niece of
Pascal; and that superior genius, with Arnauld, Nicole, &c., were on the
spot, to believe and attest a miracle which confounded the Jesuits,
and saved Port Royal, (uvres de Racine, tom. vi. p. 176--187, in his
eloquent History of Port Royal.)]

[Footnote 54: Voltaire (Siécle de Louis XIV. c. 37, uvres, tom. ix. p.
178, 179) strives to invalidate the fact: but Hume, (Essays, vol. ii.
p. 483, 484,) with more skill and success, seizes the battery, and turns
the cannon against his enemies.]

The Latins of Constantinople [55] were on all sides encompassed and
pressed; their sole hope, the last delay of their ruin, was in the
division of their Greek and Bulgarian enemies; and of this hope they
were deprived by the superior arms and policy of Vataces, emperor of
Nice. From the Propontis to the rocky coast of Pamphylia, Asia was
peaceful and prosperous under his reign; and the events of every
campaign extended his influence in Europe. The strong cities of the
hills of Macedonia and Thrace were rescued from the Bulgarians; and
their kingdom was circumscribed by its present and proper limits, along
the southern banks of the Danube. The sole emperor of the Romans could
no longer brook that a lord of Epirus, a Comnenian prince of the West,
should presume to dispute or share the honors of the purple; and the
humble Demetrius changed the color of his buskins, and accepted with
gratitude the appellation of despot. His own subjects were exasperated
by his baseness and incapacity; they implored the protection of their
supreme lord. After some resistance, the kingdom of Thessalonica was
united to the empire of Nice; and Vataces reigned without a competitor
from the Turkish borders to the Adriatic Gulf. The princes of Europe
revered his merit and power; and had he subscribed an orthodox creed,
it should seem that the pope would have abandoned without reluctance the
Latin throne of Constantinople. But the death of Vataces, the short and
busy reign of Theodore his son, and the helpless infancy of his grandson
John, suspended the restoration of the Greeks. In the next chapter,
I shall explain their domestic revolutions; in this place, it will
be sufficient to observe, that the young prince was oppressed by
the ambition of his guardian and colleague, Michael Palæologus, who
displayed the virtues and vices that belong to the founder of a new
dynasty. The emperor Baldwin had flattered himself, that he might
recover some provinces or cities by an impotent negotiation. His
ambassadors were dismissed from Nice with mockery and contempt. At every
place which they named, Palæologus alleged some special reason, which
rendered it dear and valuable in his eyes: in the one he was born; in
another he had been first promoted to military command; and in a third
he had enjoyed, and hoped long to enjoy, the pleasures of the chase.
"And what then do you propose to give us?" said the astonished deputies.
"Nothing," replied the Greek, "not a foot of land. If your master be
desirous of peace, let him pay me, as an annual tribute, the sum which
he receives from the trade and customs of Constantinople. On these
terms, I may allow him to reign. If he refuses, it is war. I am not
ignorant of the art of war, and I trust the event to God and my sword."
[56] An expedition against the despot of Epirus was the first prelude
of his arms. If a victory was followed by a defeat; if the race of the
Comneni or Angeli survived in those mountains his efforts and his reign;
the captivity of Villehardouin, prince of Achaia, deprived the Latins
of the most active and powerful vassal of their expiring monarchy. The
republics of Venice and Genoa disputed, in the first of their naval
wars, the command of the sea and the commerce of the East. Pride and
interest attached the Venetians to the defence of Constantinople; their
rivals were tempted to promote the designs of her enemies, and the
alliance of the Genoese with the schismatic conqueror provoked the
indignation of the Latin church. [57]

[Footnote 55: The gradual losses of the Latins may be traced in the
third fourth, and fifth books of the compilation of Ducange: but of
the Greek conquests he has dropped many circumstances, which may be
recovered from the larger history of George Acropolita, and the three
first books of Nicephorus, Gregoras, two writers of the Byzantine
series, who have had the good fortune to meet with learned editors Leo
Allatius at Rome, and John Boivin in the Academy of Inscriptions of

[Footnote 56: George Acropolita, c. 78, p. 89, 90. edit. Paris.]

[Footnote 57: The Greeks, ashamed of any foreign aid, disguise the
alliance and succor of the Genoese: but the fact is proved by the
testimony of J Villani (Chron. l. vi. c. 71, in Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum, tom. xiii. p. 202, 203) and William de Nangis, (Annales de
St. Louis, p. 248 in the Louvre Joinville,) two impartial foreigners;
and Urban IV threatened to deprive Genoa of her archbishop.]

Intent on his great object, the emperor Michael visited in person and
strengthened the troops and fortifications of Thrace. The remains of
the Latins were driven from their last possessions: he assaulted without
success the suburb of Galata; and corresponded with a perfidious baron,
who proved unwilling, or unable, to open the gates of the metropolis.
The next spring, his favorite general, Alexius Strategopulus, whom he
had decorated with the title of Cæsar, passed the Hellespont with
eight hundred horse and some infantry, [58] on a secret expedition. His
instructions enjoined him to approach, to listen, to watch, but not to
risk any doubtful or dangerous enterprise against the city. The adjacent
territory between the Propontis and the Black Sea was cultivated by
a hardy race of peasants and outlaws, exercised in arms, uncertain
in their allegiance, but inclined by language, religion, and
present advantage, to the party of the Greeks. They were styled the
_volunteers_; [59] and by their free service the army of Alexius, with
the regulars of Thrace and the Coman auxiliaries, [60] was augmented
to the number of five-and-twenty thousand men. By the ardor of the
volunteers, and by his own ambition, the Cæsar was stimulated to disobey
the precise orders of his master, in the just confidence that success
would plead his pardon and reward. The weakness of Constantinople, and
the distress and terror of the Latins, were familiar to the observation
of the volunteers; and they represented the present moment as the most
propitious to surprise and conquest. A rash youth, the new governor of
the Venetian colony, had sailed away with thirty galleys, and the best
of the French knights, on a wild expedition to Daphnusia, a town on the
Black Sea, at the distance of forty leagues; [601] and the remaining Latins
were without strength or suspicion. They were informed that Alexius
had passed the Hellespont; but their apprehensions were lulled by the
smallness of his original numbers; and their imprudence had not watched
the subsequent increase of his army. If he left his main body to second
and support his operations, he might advance unperceived in the night
with a chosen detachment. While some applied scaling-ladders to the
lowest part of the walls, they were secure of an old Greek, who would
introduce their companions through a subterraneous passage into his
house; they could soon on the inside break an entrance through the
golden gate, which had been long obstructed; and the conqueror would
be in the heart of the city before the Latins were conscious of their
danger. After some debate, the Cæsar resigned himself to the faith
of the volunteers; they were trusty, bold, and successful; and in
describing the plan, I have already related the execution and success.
[61] But no sooner had Alexius passed the threshold of the golden gate,
than he trembled at his own rashness; he paused, he deliberated; till
the desperate volunteers urged him forwards, by the assurance that in
retreat lay the greatest and most inevitable danger. Whilst the Cæsar
kept his regulars in firm array, the Comans dispersed themselves on
all sides; an alarm was sounded, and the threats of fire and pillage
compelled the citizens to a decisive resolution. The Greeks of
Constantinople remembered their native sovereigns; the Genoese merchants
their recent alliance and Venetian foes; every quarter was in arms; and
the air resounded with a general acclamation of "Long life and victory
to Michael and John, the august emperors of the Romans!" Their rival,
Baldwin, was awakened by the sound; but the most pressing danger could
not prompt him to draw his sword in the defence of a city which he
deserted, perhaps, with more pleasure than regret: he fled from the
palace to the seashore, where he descried the welcome sails of the
fleet returning from the vain and fruitless attempt on Daphnusia.
Constantinople was irrecoverably lost; but the Latin emperor and the
principal families embarked on board the Venetian galleys, and steered
for the Isle of Euba, and afterwards for Italy, where the royal fugitive
was entertained by the pope and Sicilian king with a mixture of contempt
and pity. From the loss of Constantinople to his death, he consumed
thirteen years, soliciting the Catholic powers to join in his
restoration: the lesson had been familiar to his youth; nor was his last
exile more indigent or shameful than his three former pilgrimages to the
courts of Europe. His son Philip was the heir of an ideal empire;
and the pretensions of his daughter Catherine were transported by her
marriage to Charles of Valois, the brother of Philip the Fair, king of
France. The house of Courtenay was represented in the female line by
successive alliances, till the title of emperor of Constantinople, too
bulky and sonorous for a private name, modestly expired in silence and
oblivion. [62]

[Footnote 58: Some precautions must be used in reconciling the
discordant numbers; the 800 soldiers of Nicetas, the 25,000 of
Spandugino, (apud Ducange, l. v. c. 24;) the Greeks and Scythians of
Acropolita; and the numerous army of Michael, in the Epistles of Pope
Urban IV. (i. 129.)]

[Footnote 59: Qelhmatarioi. They are described and named by Pachymer,
(l. ii. c. 14.)]

[Footnote 60: It is needless to seek these Comans in the deserts of
Tartary, or even of Moldavia. A part of the horde had submitted to John
Vataces, and was probably settled as a nursery of soldiers on some waste
lands of Thrace, (Cantacuzen. l. i. c. 2.)]

[Footnote 601: According to several authorities, particularly Abulfaradj.
Chron. Arab. p. 336, this was a stratagem on the part of the Greeks to
weaken the garrison of Constantinople. The Greek commander offered to
surrender the town on the appearance of the Venetians.--M.]

[Footnote 61: The loss of Constantinople is briefly told by the Latins:
the conquest is described with more satisfaction by the Greeks; by
Acropolita, (c. 85,) Pachymer, (l. ii. c. 26, 27,) Nicephorus Gregoras,
(l. iv. c. 1, 2) See Ducange, Hist. de C. P. l. v. c. 19--27.]

[Footnote 62: See the three last books (l. v.--viii.) and the
genealogical tables of Ducange. In the year 1382, the titular emperor
of Constantinople was James de Baux, duke of Andria in the kingdom of
Naples, the son of Margaret, daughter of Catherine de Valois, daughter
of Catharine, daughter of Philip, son of Baldwin II., (Ducange, l. viii.
c. 37, 38.) It is uncertain whether he left any posterity.]

After this narrative of the expeditions of the Latins to Palestine
and Constantinople, I cannot dismiss the subject without resolving the
general consequences on the countries that were the scene, and on the
nations that were the actors, of these memorable crusades. [63] As soon
as the arms of the Franks were withdrawn, the impression, though not
the memory, was erased in the Mahometan realms of Egypt and Syria. The
faithful disciples of the prophet were never tempted by a profane desire
to study the laws or language of the idolaters; nor did the simplicity
of their primitive manners receive the slightest alteration from their
intercourse in peace and war with the unknown strangers of the West. The
Greeks, who thought themselves proud, but who were only vain, showed a
disposition somewhat less inflexible. In the efforts for the recovery of
their empire, they emulated the valor, discipline, and tactics of
their antagonists. The modern literature of the West they might justly
despise; but its free spirit would instruct them in the rights of man;
and some institutions of public and private life were adopted from the
French. The correspondence of Constantinople and Italy diffused the
knowledge of the Latin tongue; and several of the fathers and classics
were at length honored with a Greek version. [64] But the national and
religious prejudices of the Orientals were inflamed by persecution, and
the reign of the Latins confirmed the separation of the two churches.

[Footnote 63: Abulfeda, who saw the conclusion of the crusades, speaks
of the kingdoms of the Franks, and those of the Negroes, as equally
unknown, (Prolegom. ad Geograph.) Had he not disdained the Latin
language, how easily might the Syrian prince have found books and

[Footnote 64: A short and superficial account of these versions from
Latin into Greek is given by Huet, (de Interpretatione et de claris
Interpretibus p. 131--135.) Maximus Planudes, a monk of Constantinople,
(A.D. 1327--1353) has translated Cæsar's Commentaries, the Somnium
Scipionis, the Metamorphoses and Heroides of Ovid, &c., (Fabric. Bib.
Græc. tom. x. p. 533.)]

If we compare the æra of the crusades, the Latins of Europe with the
Greeks and Arabians, their respective degrees of knowledge, industry,
and art, our rude ancestors must be content with the third rank in the
scale of nations. Their successive improvement and present superiority
may be ascribed to a peculiar energy of character, to an active and
imitative spirit, unknown to their more polished rivals, who at that
time were in a stationary or retrograde state. With such a disposition,
the Latins should have derived the most early and essential benefits
from a series of events which opened to their eyes the prospect of the
world, and introduced them to a long and frequent intercourse with the
more cultivated regions of the East. The first and most obvious progress
was in trade and manufactures, in the arts which are strongly prompted
by the thirst of wealth, the calls of necessity, and the gratification
of the sense or vanity. Among the crowd of unthinking fanatics, a
captive or a pilgrim might sometimes observe the superior refinements
of Cairo and Constantinople: the first importer of windmills [65] was
the benefactor of nations; and if such blessings are enjoyed without
any grateful remembrance, history has condescended to notice the more
apparent luxuries of silk and sugar, which were transported into Italy
from Greece and Egypt. But the intellectual wants of the Latins were
more slowly felt and supplied; the ardor of studious curiosity was
awakened in Europe by different causes and more recent events; and,
in the age of the crusades, they viewed with careless indifference the
literature of the Greeks and Arabians. Some rudiments of mathematical
and medicinal knowledge might be imparted in practice and in figures;
necessity might produce some interpreters for the grosser business
of merchants and soldiers; but the commerce of the Orientals had not
diffused the study and knowledge of their languages in the schools of
Europe. [66] If a similar principle of religion repulsed the idiom of the
Koran, it should have excited their patience and curiosity to understand
the original text of the gospel; and the same grammar would have
unfolded the sense of Plato and the beauties of Homer. Yet in a reign
of sixty years, the Latins of Constantinople disdained the speech and
learning of their subjects; and the manuscripts were the only treasures
which the natives might enjoy without rapine or envy. Aristotle was
indeed the oracle of the Western universities, but it was a barbarous
Aristotle; and, instead of ascending to the fountain head, his Latin
votaries humbly accepted a corrupt and remote version, from the Jews
and Moors of Andalusia. The principle of the crusades was a savage
fanaticism; and the most important effects were analogous to the cause.
Each pilgrim was ambitious to return with his sacred spoils, the relics
of Greece and Palestine; [67] and each relic was preceded and followed
by a train of miracles and visions. The belief of the Catholics was
corrupted by new legends, their practice by new superstitions; and the
establishment of the inquisition, the mendicant orders of monks and
friars, the last abuse of indulgences, and the final progress of
idolatry, flowed from the baleful fountain of the holy war. The active
spirit of the Latins preyed on the vitals of their reason and religion;
and if the ninth and tenth centuries were the times of darkness, the
thirteenth and fourteenth were the age of absurdity and fable.

[Footnote 65: Windmills, first invented in the dry country of Asia
Minor, were used in Normandy as early as the year 1105, (Vie privée des
François, tom. i. p. 42, 43. Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. iv. p. 474.)]

[Footnote 66: See the complaints of Roger Bacon, (Biographia Britannica,
vol. i. p. 418, Kippis's edition.) If Bacon himself, or Gerbert,
understood _some_Greek, they were prodigies, and owed nothing to the
commerce of the East.]

[Footnote 67: Such was the opinion of the great Leibnitz, (uvres de
Fontenelle, tom. v. p. 458,) a master of the history of the middle ages.
I shall only instance the pedigree of the Carmelites, and the flight of
the house of Loretto, which were both derived from Palestine.]

Chapter LXI: Partition Of The Empire By The French And Venetians.--Part IV.

In the profession of Christianity, in the cultivation of a fertile land,
the northern conquerors of the Roman empire insensibly mingled with the
provincials, and rekindled the embers of the arts of antiquity. Their
settlements about the age of Charlemagne had acquired some degree
of order and stability, when they were overwhelmed by new swarms of
invaders, the Normans, Saracens, [68] and Hungarians, who replunged
the western countries of Europe into their former state of anarchy and
barbarism. About the eleventh century, the second tempest had subsided
by the expulsion or conversion of the enemies of Christendom: the tide
of civilization, which had so long ebbed, began to flow with a steady
and accelerated course; and a fairer prospect was opened to the hopes
and efforts of the rising generations. Great was the increase, and rapid
the progress, during the two hundred years of the crusades; and some
philosophers have applauded the propitious influence of these holy wars,
which appear to me to have checked rather than forwarded the maturity of
Europe. [69] The lives and labors of millions, which were buried in the
East, would have been more profitably employed in the improvement of
their native country: the accumulated stock of industry and wealth would
have overflowed in navigation and trade; and the Latins would have been
enriched and enlightened by a pure and friendly correspondence with
the climates of the East. In one respect I can indeed perceive the
accidental operation of the crusades, not so much in producing a benefit
as in removing an evil. The larger portion of the inhabitants of Europe
was chained to the soil, without freedom, or property, or knowledge;
and the two orders of ecclesiastics and nobles, whose numbers were
comparatively small, alone deserved the name of citizens and men. This
oppressive system was supported by the arts of the clergy and the swords
of the barons. The authority of the priests operated in the darker ages
as a salutary antidote: they prevented the total extinction of
letters, mitigated the fierceness of the times, sheltered the poor
and defenceless, and preserved or revived the peace and order of civil
society. But the independence, rapine, and discord of the feudal lords
were unmixed with any semblance of good; and every hope of industry and
improvement was crushed by the iron weight of the martial aristocracy.
Among the causes that undermined that Gothic edifice, a conspicuous
place must be allowed to the crusades. The estates of the barons were
dissipated, and their race was often extinguished, in these costly and
perilous expeditions. Their poverty extorted from their pride those
charters of freedom which unlocked the fetters of the slave, secured
the farm of the peasant and the shop of the artificer, and gradually
restored a substance and a soul to the most numerous and useful part
of the community. The conflagration which destroyed the tall and barren
trees of the forest gave air and scope to the vegetation of the smaller
and nutritive plants of the soil. [691]

[Footnote 68: If I rank the Saracens with the Barbarians, it is only
relative to their wars, or rather inroads, in Italy and France, where
their sole purpose was to plunder and destroy.]

[Footnote 69: On this interesting subject, the progress of society in
Europe, a strong ray of philosophical light has broke from Scotland in
our own times; and it is with private, as well as public regard, that I
repeat the names of Hume, Robertson, and Adam Smith.]

[Footnote 691: On the consequences of the crusades, compare the valuable
Essay of Heeren, that of M. Choiseul d'Aillecourt, and a chapter of
Mr. Forster's "Mahometanism Unveiled." I may admire this gentleman's
learning and industry, without pledging myself to his wild theory of
prophets interpretation.--M.]

_Digression On The Family Of Courtenay._

The purple of three emperors, who have reigned at Constantinople, will
authorize or excuse a digression on the origin and singular fortunes
of the house of Courtenay, [70] in the three principal branches: I. Of
Edessa; II. Of France; and III. Of England; of which the last only has
survived the revolutions of eight hundred years.

[Footnote 70: I have applied, but not confined, myself to _A
genealogical History of the noble and illustrious Family of Courtenay,
by Ezra Cleaveland, Tutor to Sir William Courtenay, and Rector of
Honiton; Exon. 1735, in folio._ The first part is extracted from William
of Tyre; the second from Bouchet's French history; and the third from
various memorials, public, provincial, and private, of the Courtenays of
Devonshire The rector of Honiton has more gratitude than industry, and
more industry than criticism.]

I. Before the introduction of trade, which scatters riches, and of
knowledge, which dispels prejudice, the prerogative of birth is most
strongly felt and most humbly acknowledged. In every age, the laws and
manners of the Germans have discriminated the ranks of society; the
dukes and counts, who shared the empire of Charlemagne, converted
their office to an inheritance; and to his children, each feudal lord
bequeathed his honor and his sword. The proudest families are content
to lose, in the darkness of the middle ages, the tree of their pedigree,
which, however deep and lofty, must ultimately rise from a plebeian
root; and their historians must descend ten centuries below the
Christian æra, before they can ascertain any lineal succession by the
evidence of surnames, of arms, and of authentic records. With the first
rays of light, [71] we discern the nobility and opulence of Atho, a
French knight; his nobility, in the rank and title of a nameless father;
his opulence, in the foundation of the castle of Courtenay in the
district of Gatinois, about fifty-six miles to the south of Paris. From
the reign of Robert, the son of Hugh Capet, the barons of Courtenay are
conspicuous among the immediate vassals of the crown; and Joscelin, the
grandson of Atho and a noble dame, is enrolled among the heroes of the
first crusade. A domestic alliance (their mothers were sisters) attached
him to the standard of Baldwin of Bruges, the second count of Edessa;
a princely fief, which he was worthy to receive, and able to maintain,
announces the number of his martial followers; and after the departure
of his cousin, Joscelin himself was invested with the county of Edessa
on both sides of the Euphrates. By economy in peace, his territories
were replenished with Latin and Syrian subjects; his magazines with
corn, wine, and oil; his castles with gold and silver, with arms
and horses. In a holy warfare of thirty years, he was alternately a
conqueror and a captive: but he died like a soldier, in a horse litter
at the head of his troops; and his last glance beheld the flight of the
Turkish invaders who had presumed on his age and infirmities. His son
and successor, of the same name, was less deficient in valor than
in vigilance; but he sometimes forgot that dominion is acquired and
maintained by the same arms. He challenged the hostility of the Turks,
without securing the friendship of the prince of Antioch; and, amidst
the peaceful luxury of Turbessel, in Syria, [72] Joscelin neglected the
defence of the Christian frontier beyond the Euphrates. In his absence,
Zenghi, the first of the Atabeks, besieged and stormed his capital,
Edessa, which was feebly defended by a timorous and disloyal crowd of
Orientals: the Franks were oppressed in a bold attempt for its recovery,
and Courtenay ended his days in the prison of Aleppo. He still left a
fair and ample patrimony But the victorious Turks oppressed on all sides
the weakness of a widow and orphan; and, for the equivalent of an annual
pension, they resigned to the Greek emperor the charge of defending,
and the shame of losing, the last relics of the Latin conquest. The
countess-dowager of Edessa retired to Jerusalem with her two children;
the daughter, Agnes, became the wife and mother of a king; the son,
Joscelin the Third, accepted the office of seneschal, the first of the
kingdom, and held his new estates in Palestine by the service of fifty
knights. His name appears with honor in the transactions of peace and
war; but he finally vanishes in the fall of Jerusalem; and the name of
Courtenay, in this branch of Edessa, was lost by the marriage of his two
daughters with a French and German baron. [73]

[Footnote 71: The primitive record of the family is a passage of the
continuator of Aimoin, a monk of Fleury, who wrote in the xiith century.
See his Chronicle, in the Historians of France, (tom. xi. p. 276.)]

[Footnote 72: Turbessel, or, as it is now styled, Telbesher, is fixed
by D'Anville four-and-twenty miles from the great passage over the
Euphrates at Zeugma.]

[Footnote 73: His possessions are distinguished in the Assises of
Jerusalem (c. B26) among the feudal tenures of the kingdom, which must
therefore have been collected between the years 1153 and 1187. His
pedigree may be found in the Lignages d'Outremer, c. 16.]

II. While Joscelin reigned beyond the Euphrates, his elder brother Milo,
the son of Joscelin, the son of Atho, continued, near the Seine, to
possess the castle of their fathers, which was at length inherited by
Rainaud, or Reginald, the youngest of his three sons. Examples of genius
or virtue must be rare in the annals of the oldest families; and, in a
remote age their pride will embrace a deed of rapine and violence;
such, however, as could not be perpetrated without some superiority of
courage, or, at least, of power. A descendant of Reginald of Courtenay
may blush for the public robber, who stripped and imprisoned several
merchants, after they had satisfied the king's duties at Sens and
Orleans. He will glory in the offence, since the bold offender could not
be compelled to obedience and restitution, till the regent and the count
of Champagne prepared to march against him at the head of an army. [74]
Reginald bestowed his estates on his eldest daughter, and his daughter
on the seventh son of King Louis the Fat; and their marriage was crowned
with a numerous offspring. We might expect that a private should have
merged in a royal name; and that the descendants of Peter of France
and Elizabeth of Courtenay would have enjoyed the titles and honors of
princes of the blood. But this legitimate claim was long neglected,
and finally denied; and the causes of their disgrace will represent the
story of this second branch. _1._ Of all the families now extant, the
most ancient, doubtless, and the most illustrious, is the house of
France, which has occupied the same throne above eight hundred years,
and descends, in a clear and lineal series of males, from the middle
of the ninth century. [75] In the age of the crusades, it was already
revered both in the East and West. But from Hugh Capet to the marriage
of Peter, no more than five reigns or generations had elapsed; and
so precarious was their title, that the eldest sons, as a necessary
precaution, were previously crowned during the lifetime of their
fathers. The peers of France have long maintained their precedency
before the younger branches of the royal line, nor had the princes of
the blood, in the twelfth century, acquired that hereditary lustre which
is now diffused over the most remote candidates for the succession. _2._
The barons of Courtenay must have stood high in their own estimation,
and in that of the world, since they could impose on the son of a king
the obligation of adopting for himself and all his descendants the name
and arms of their daughter and his wife. In the marriage of an heiress
with her inferior or her equal, such exchange often required and
allowed: but as they continued to diverge from the regal stem, the
sons of Louis the Fat were insensibly confounded with their maternal
ancestors; and the new Courtenays might deserve to forfeit the honors
of their birth, which a motive of interest had tempted them to renounce.
_3._ The shame was far more permanent than the reward, and a momentary
blaze was followed by a long darkness. The eldest son of these nuptials,
Peter of Courtenay, had married, as I have already mentioned, the sister
of the counts of Flanders, the two first emperors of Constantinople: he
rashly accepted the invitation of the barons of Romania; his two sons,
Robert and Baldwin, successively held and lost the remains of the Latin
empire in the East, and the granddaughter of Baldwin the Second again
mingled her blood with the blood of France and of Valois. To support the
expenses of a troubled and transitory reign, their patrimonial estates
were mortgaged or sold: and the last emperors of Constantinople depended
on the annual charity of Rome and Naples.

[Footnote 74: The rapine and satisfaction of Reginald de Courtenay, are
preposterously arranged in the Epistles of the abbot and regent Suger,
(cxiv. cxvi.,) the best memorials of the age, (Duchesne, Scriptores
Hist. Franc. tom. iv. p. 530.)]

[Footnote 75: In the beginning of the xith century, after naming the
father and grandfather of Hugh Capet, the monk Glaber is obliged to add,
cujus genus valde in-ante reperitur obscurum. Yet we are assured that
the great-grandfather of Hugh Capet was Robert the Strong count of
Anjou, (A.D. 863--873,) a noble Frank of Neustria, Neustricus...
generosæ stirpis, who was slain in the defence of his country against
the Normans, dum patriæ fines tuebatur. Beyond Robert, all is conjecture
or fable. It is a probable conjecture, that the third race descended
from the second by Childebrand, the brother of Charles Martel. It is an
absurd fable that the second was allied to the first by the marriage of
Ansbert, a Roman senator and the ancestor of St. Arnoul, with Blitilde,
a daughter of Clotaire I. The Saxon origin of the house of France is
an ancient but incredible opinion. See a judicious memoir of M. de
Foncemagne, (Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xx. p.
548--579.) He had promised to declare his own opinion in a second
memoir, which has never appeared.]

While the elder brothers dissipated their wealth in romantic adventures,
and the castle of Courtenay was profaned by a plebeian owner, the
younger branches of that adopted name were propagated and multiplied.
But their splendor was clouded by poverty and time: after the decease of
Robert, great butler of France, they descended from princes to barons;
the next generations were confounded with the simple gentry; the
descendants of Hugh Capet could no longer be visible in the rural lords
of Tanlay and of Champignelles. The more adventurous embraced without
dishonor the profession of a soldier: the least active and opulent might
sink, like their cousins of the branch of Dreux, into the condition of
peasants. Their royal descent, in a dark period of four hundred years,
became each day more obsolete and ambiguous; and their pedigree, instead
of being enrolled in the annals of the kingdom, must be painfully
searched by the minute diligence of heralds and genealogists. It was
not till the end of the sixteenth century, on the accession of a
family almost as remote as their own, that the princely spirit of the
Courtenays again revived; and the question of the nobility provoked them
to ascertain the royalty of their blood. They appealed to the justice
and compassion of Henry the Fourth; obtained a favorable opinion from
twenty lawyers of Italy and Germany, and modestly compared themselves to
the descendants of King David, whose prerogatives were not impaired by
the lapse of ages or the trade of a carpenter. [76] But every ear was
deaf, and every circumstance was adverse, to their lawful claims. The
Bourbon kings were justified by the neglect of the Valois; the princes
of the blood, more recent and lofty, disdained the alliance of his
humble kindred: the parliament, without denying their proofs, eluded
a dangerous precedent by an arbitrary distinction, and established
St. Louis as the first father of the royal line. [77] A repetition of
complaints and protests was repeatedly disregarded; and the hopeless
pursuit was terminated in the present century by the death of the
last male of the family. [78] Their painful and anxious situation was
alleviated by the pride of conscious virtue: they sternly rejected
the temptations of fortune and favor; and a dying Courtenay would have
sacrificed his son, if the youth could have renounced, for any temporal
interest, the right and title of a legitimate prince of the blood of
France. [79]

[Footnote 76: Of the various petitions, apologies, &c., published by the
princes of Courtenay, I have seen the three following, all in octavo:
1. De Stirpe et Origine Domus de Courtenay: addita sunt Responsa
celeberrimorum Europæ Jurisconsultorum; Paris, 1607. 2. Representation
du Procedé tenû a l'instance faicte devant le Roi, par Messieurs de
Courtenay, pour la conservation de l'Honneur et Dignité de leur Maison,
branche de la royalle Maison de France; à Paris, 1613. 3. Representation
du subject qui a porté Messieurs de Salles et de Fraville, de la Maison
de Courtenay, à se retirer hors du Royaume, 1614. It was a homicide, for
which the Courtenays expected to be pardoned, or tried, as princes of
the blood.]

[Footnote 77: The sense of the parliaments is thus expressed by Thuanus
Principis nomen nusquam in Galliâ tributum, nisi iis qui per mares e
regibus nostris originem repetunt; qui nunc tantum a Ludovico none beatæ
memoriæ numerantur; nam _Cortini_ et Drocenses, a Ludovico crasso
genus ducentes, hodie inter eos minime recensentur. A distinction of
expediency rather than justice. The sanctity of Louis IX. could not
invest him with any special prerogative, and all the descendants of Hugh
Capet must be included in his original compact with the French nation.]

[Footnote 78: The last male of the Courtenays was Charles Roger, who
died in the year 1730, without leaving any sons. The last female was
Helene de Courtenay, who married Louis de Beaufremont. Her title of
Princesse du Sang Royal de France was suppressed (February 7th, 1737) by
an _arrêt_ of the parliament of Paris.]

[Footnote 79: The singular anecdote to which I allude is related in the
Recueil des Pieces interessantes et peu connues, (Maestricht, 1786, in 4
vols. 12mo.;) and the unknown editor quotes his author, who had received
it from Helene de Courtenay, marquise de Beaufremont.]

III. According to the old register of Ford Abbey, the Courtenays of
Devonshire are descended from Prince _Florus_, the second son of Peter,
and the grandson of Louis the Fat. [80] This fable of the grateful or
venal monks was too respectfully entertained by our antiquaries, Cambden
[81] and Dugdale: [82] but it is so clearly repugnant to truth and
time, that the rational pride of the family now refuses to accept this
imaginary founder. Their most faithful historians believe, that, after
giving his daughter to the king's son, Reginald of Courtenay abandoned
his possessions in France, and obtained from the English monarch a
second wife and a new inheritance. It is certain, at least, that Henry
the Second distinguished in his camps and councils a Reginald, of the
name and arms, and, as it may be fairly presumed, of the genuine race,
of the Courtenays of France. The right of wardship enabled a feudal lord
to reward his vassal with the marriage and estate of a noble heiress;
and Reginald of Courtenay acquired a fair establishment in Devonshire,
where his posterity has been seated above six hundred years. [83] From
a Norman baron, Baldwin de Brioniis, who had been invested by
the Conqueror, Hawise, the wife of Reginald, derived the honor of
Okehampton, which was held by the service of ninety-three knights; and a
female might claim the manly offices of hereditary viscount or sheriff,
and of captain of the royal castle of Exeter. Their son Robert married
the sister of the earl of Devon: at the end of a century, on the failure
of the family of Rivers, [84] his great-grandson, Hugh the Second,
succeeded to a title which was still considered as a territorial
dignity; and twelve earls of Devonshire, of the name of Courtenay, have
flourished in a period of two hundred and twenty years. They were ranked
among the chief of the barons of the realm; nor was it till after a
strenuous dispute, that they yielded to the fief of Arundel the first
place in the parliament of England: their alliances were contracted with
the noblest families, the Veres, Despensers, St. Johns, Talbots, Bohuns,
and even the Plantagenets themselves; and in a contest with John of
Lancaster, a Courtenay, bishop of London, and afterwards archbishop of
Canterbury, might be accused of profane confidence in the strength and
number of his kindred. In peace, the earls of Devon resided in their
numerous castles and manors of the west; their ample revenue was
appropriated to devotion and hospitality; and the epitaph of Edward,
surnamed from his misfortune, the _blind_, from his virtues, the _good_,
earl, inculcates with much ingenuity a moral sentence, which may,
however, be abused by thoughtless generosity. After a grateful
commemoration of the fifty-five years of union and happiness which he
enjoyed with Mabe his wife, the good earl thus speaks from the tomb:--

     "What we gave, we have;
     What we spent, we had;
     What we left, we lost." [85]

But their _losses_, in this sense, were far superior to their gifts and
expenses; and their heirs, not less than the poor, were the objects
of their paternal care. The sums which they paid for livery and seizin
attest the greatness of their possessions; and several estates have
remained in their family since the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
In war, the Courtenays of England fulfilled the duties, and deserved the
honors, of chivalry. They were often intrusted to levy and command the
militia of Devonshire and Cornwall; they often attended their supreme
lord to the borders of Scotland; and in foreign service, for a
stipulated price, they sometimes maintained fourscore men-at-arms and
as many archers. By sea and land they fought under the standard of
the Edwards and Henries: their names are conspicuous in battles, in
tournaments, and in the original list of the Order of the Garter; three
brothers shared the Spanish victory of the Black Prince; and in the
lapse of six generations, the English Courtenays had learned to despise
the nation and country from which they derived their origin. In the
quarrel of the two roses, the earls of Devon adhered to the house of
Lancaster; and three brothers successively died either in the field or
on the scaffold. Their honors and estates were restored by Henry the
Seventh; a daughter of Edward the Fourth was not disgraced by the
nuptials of a Courtenay; their son, who was created Marquis of Exeter,
enjoyed the favor of his cousin Henry the Eighth; and in the camp of
Cloth of Gold, he broke a lance against the French monarch. But the
favor of Henry was the prelude of disgrace; his disgrace was the signal
of death; and of the victims of the jealous tyrant, the marquis of
Exeter is one of the most noble and guiltless. His son Edward lived a
prisoner in the Tower, and died in exile at Padua; and the secret love
of Queen Mary, whom he slighted, perhaps for the princess Elizabeth, has
shed a romantic color on the story of this beautiful youth. The relics
of his patrimony were conveyed into strange families by the marriages
of his four aunts; and his personal honors, as if they had been legally
extinct, were revived by the patents of succeeding princes. But there
still survived a lineal descendant of Hugh, the first earl of Devon,
a younger branch of the Courtenays, who have been seated at Powderham
Castle above four hundred years, from the reign of Edward the Third to
the present hour. Their estates have been increased by the grant and
improvement of lands in Ireland, and they have been recently restored to
the honors of the peerage. Yet the Courtenays still retain the plaintive
motto, which asserts the innocence, and deplores the fall, of their
ancient house. [86] While they sigh for past greatness, they are
doubtless sensible of present blessings: in the long series of
the Courtenay annals, the most splendid æra is likewise the most
unfortunate; nor can an opulent peer of Britain be inclined to envy the
emperors of Constantinople, who wandered over Europe to solicit alms for
the support of their dignity and the defence of their capital.

[Footnote 80: Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, vol. i. p. 786. Yet
this fable must have been invented before the reign of Edward III.
The profuse devotion of the three first generations to Ford Abbey was
followed by oppression on one side and ingratitude on the other; and in
the sixth generation, the monks ceased to register the births, actions,
and deaths of their patrons.]

[Footnote 81: In his Britannia, in the list of the earls of Devonshire.
His expression, e regio sanguine ortos, credunt, betrays, however, some
doubt or suspicion.]

[Footnote 82: In his Baronage, P. i. p. 634, he refers to his own
Monasticon. Should he not have corrected the register of Ford Abbey, and
annihilated the phantom Florus, by the unquestionable evidence of the
French historians?]

[Footnote 83: Besides the third and most valuable book of Cleaveland's
History, I have consulted Dugdale, the father of our genealogical
science, (Baronage, P. i. p. 634--643.)]

[Footnote 84: This great family, de Ripuariis, de Redvers, de Rivers,
ended, in Edward the Fifth's time, in Isabella de Fortibus, a famous
and potent dowager, who long survived her brother and husband, (Dugdale,
Baronage, P i. p. 254--257.)]

[Footnote 85: Cleaveland p. 142. By some it is assigned to a Rivers
earl of Devon; but the English denotes the xvth, rather than the xiiith

[Footnote 86: _Ubi lapsus! Quid feci?_ a motto which was probably
adopted by the Powderham branch, after the loss of the earldom of
Devonshire, &c. The primitive arms of the Courtenays were, _Or_, _three
torteaux_, _Gules_, which seem to denote their affinity with Godfrey of
Bouillon, and the ancient counts of Boulogne.]

Chapter LXII: Greek Emperors Of Nice And Constantinople.--Part I.

     The Greek Emperors Of Nice And Constantinople.--Elevation
     And Reign Of Michael Palæologus.--His False Union With The
     Pope And The Latin Church.--Hostile Designs Of Charles Of
     Anjou.--Revolt Of Sicily.--War Of The Catalans In Asia And
     Greece.--Revolutions And Present State Of Athens.

The loss of Constantinople restored a momentary vigor to the Greeks.
From their palaces, the princes and nobles were driven into the field;
and the fragments of the falling monarchy were grasped by the hands of
the most vigorous or the most skilful candidates. In the long and barren
pages of the Byzantine annals, [1] it would not be an easy task to equal
the two characters of Theodore Lascaris and John Ducas Vataces, [2]
who replanted and upheld the Roman standard at Nice in Bithynia. The
difference of their virtues was happily suited to the diversity of their
situation. In his first efforts, the fugitive Lascaris commanded only
three cities and two thousand soldiers: his reign was the season of
generous and active despair: in every military operation he staked his
life and crown; and his enemies of the Hellespont and the Mæander, were
surprised by his celerity and subdued by his boldness. A victorious
reign of eighteen years expanded the principality of Nice to the
magnitude of an empire. The throne of his successor and son-in-law
Vataces was founded on a more solid basis, a larger scope, and more
plentiful resources; and it was the temper, as well as the interest, of
Vataces to calculate the risk, to expect the moment, and to insure the
success, of his ambitious designs. In the decline of the Latins, I have
briefly exposed the progress of the Greeks; the prudent and gradual
advances of a conqueror, who, in a reign of thirty-three years, rescued
the provinces from national and foreign usurpers, till he pressed on all
sides the Imperial city, a leafless and sapless trunk, which must
full at the first stroke of the axe. But his interior and peaceful
administration is still more deserving of notice and praise. [3] The
calamities of the times had wasted the numbers and the substance of the
Greeks; the motives and the means of agriculture were extirpated; and
the most fertile lands were left without cultivation or inhabitants.
A portion of this vacant property was occupied and improved by the
command, and for the benefit, of the emperor: a powerful hand and a
vigilant eye supplied and surpassed, by a skilful management, the minute
diligence of a private farmer: the royal domain became the garden and
granary of Asia; and without impoverishing the people, the sovereign
acquired a fund of innocent and productive wealth. According to the
nature of the soil, his lands were sown with corn or planted with vines;
the pastures were filled with horses and oxen, with sheep and hogs; and
when Vataces presented to the empress a crown of diamonds and pearls, he
informed her, with a smile, that this precious ornament arose from the
sale of the eggs of his innumerable poultry. The produce of his domain
was applied to the maintenance of his palace and hospitals, the calls
of dignity and benevolence: the lesson was still more useful than the
revenue: the plough was restored to its ancient security and honor; and
the nobles were taught to seek a sure and independent revenue from their
estates, instead of adorning their splendid beggary by the oppression of
the people, or (what is almost the same) by the favors of the court. The
superfluous stock of corn and cattle was eagerly purchased by the
Turks, with whom Vataces preserved a strict and sincere alliance; but he
discouraged the importation of foreign manufactures, the costly silks of
the East, and the curious labors of the Italian looms. "The demands of
nature and necessity," was he accustomed to say, "are indispensable; but
the influence of fashion may rise and sink at the breath of a monarch;"
and both his precept and example recommended simplicity of manners and
the use of domestic industry. The education of youth and the revival
of learning were the most serious objects of his care; and, without
deciding the precedency, he pronounced with truth, that a prince and a
philosopher [4] are the two most eminent characters of human society. His
first wife was Irene, the daughter of Theodore Lascaris, a woman more
illustrious by her personal merit, the milder virtues of her sex, than
by the blood of the Angeli and Comneni that flowed in her veins, and
transmitted the inheritance of the empire. After her death he was
contracted to Anne, or Constance, a natural daughter of the emperor
Frederic [499] the Second; but as the bride had not attained the years of
puberty, Vataces placed in his solitary bed an Italian damsel of her
train; and his amorous weakness bestowed on the concubine the honors,
though not the title, of a lawful empress. His frailty was censured as
a flagitious and damnable sin by the monks; and their rude invectives
exercised and displayed the patience of the royal lover. A philosophic
age may excuse a single vice, which was redeemed by a crowd of virtues;
and in the review of his faults, and the more intemperate passions of
Lascaris, the judgment of their contemporaries was softened by gratitude
to the second founders of the empire. [5] The slaves of the Latins,
without law or peace, applauded the happiness of their brethren who had
resumed their national freedom; and Vataces employed the laudable policy
of convincing the Greeks of every dominion that it was their interest to
be enrolled in the number of his subjects.

[Footnote 1: For the reigns of the Nicene emperors, more especially of
John Vataces and his son, their minister, George Acropolita, is the only
genuine contemporary; but George Pachymer returned to Constantinople
with the Greeks at the age of nineteen, (Hanckius de Script. Byzant. c.
33, 34, p. 564--578. Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 448--460.) Yet
the history of Nicephorus Gregoras, though of the xivth century, is a
valuable narrative from the taking of Constantinople by the Latins.]

[Footnote 2: Nicephorus Gregoras (l. ii. c. 1) distinguishes between the
oxeia ormh of Lascaris, and the eustaqeia of Vataces. The two portraits
are in a very good style.]

[Footnote 3: Pachymer, l. i. c. 23, 24. Nic. Greg. l. ii. c. 6. The
reader of the Byzantines must observe how rarely we are indulged with
such precious details.]

[Footnote 4: Monoi gar apantwn anqrwpwn onomastotatoi basileuV
kai jilosojoV, (Greg. Acropol. c. 32.) The emperor, in a familiar
conversation, examined and encouraged the studies of his future

[Footnote 499: Sister of Manfred, afterwards king of Naples. Nic. Greg. p.

[Footnote 5: Compare Acropolita, (c. 18, 52,) and the two first books of
Nicephorus Gregoras.]

A strong shade of degeneracy is visible between John Vataces and his son
Theodore; between the founder who sustained the weight, and the heir
who enjoyed the splendor, of the Imperial crown. [6] Yet the character of
Theodore was not devoid of energy; he had been educated in the school of
his father, in the exercise of war and hunting; Constantinople was
yet spared; but in the three years of a short reign, he thrice led
his armies into the heart of Bulgaria. His virtues were sullied by a
choleric and suspicious temper: the first of these may be ascribed to
the ignorance of control; and the second might naturally arise from
a dark and imperfect view of the corruption of mankind. On a march in
Bulgaria, he consulted on a question of policy his principal ministers;
and the Greek logothete, George Acropolita, presumed to offend him
by the declaration of a free and honest opinion. The emperor half
unsheathed his cimeter; but his more deliberate rage reserved Acropolita
for a baser punishment. One of the first officers of the empire was
ordered to dismount, stripped of his robes, and extended on the ground
in the presence of the prince and army. In this posture he was chastised
with so many and such heavy blows from the clubs of two guards or
executioners, that when Theodore commanded them to cease, the great
logothete was scarcely able to rise and crawl away to his tent. After a
seclusion of some days, he was recalled by a peremptory mandate to his
seat in council; and so dead were the Greeks to the sense of honor and
shame, that it is from the narrative of the sufferer himself that we
acquire the knowledge of his disgrace. [7] The cruelty of the emperor was
exasperated by the pangs of sickness, the approach of a premature end,
and the suspicion of poison and magic. The lives and fortunes, the eyes
and limbs, of his kinsmen and nobles, were sacrificed to each sally of
passion; and before he died, the son of Vataces might deserve from the
people, or at least from the court, the appellation of tyrant. A matron
of the family of the Palæologi had provoked his anger by refusing to
bestow her beauteous daughter on the vile plebeian who was recommended
by his caprice. Without regard to her birth or age, her body, as high
as the neck, was enclosed in a sack with several cats, who were
pricked with pins to irritate their fury against their unfortunate
fellow-captive. In his last hours the emperor testified a wish to
forgive and be forgiven, a just anxiety for the fate of John his son and
successor, who, at the age of eight years, was condemned to the dangers
of a long minority. His last choice intrusted the office of guardian
to the sanctity of the patriarch Arsenius, and to the courage of George
Muzalon, the great domestic, who was equally distinguished by the royal
favor and the public hatred. Since their connection with the Latins, the
names and privileges of hereditary rank had insinuated themselves into
the Greek monarchy; and the noble families [8] were provoked by the
elevation of a worthless favorite, to whose influence they imputed the
errors and calamities of the late reign. In the first council, after
the emperor's death, Muzalon, from a lofty throne, pronounced a labored
apology of his conduct and intentions: his modesty was subdued by a
unanimous assurance of esteem and fidelity; and his most inveterate
enemies were the loudest to salute him as the guardian and savior of
the Romans. Eight days were sufficient to prepare the execution of the
conspiracy. On the ninth, the obsequies of the deceased monarch were
solemnized in the cathedral of Magnesia, [9] an Asiatic city, where he
expired, on the banks of the Hermus, and at the foot of Mount Sipylus.
The holy rites were interrupted by a sedition of the guards; Muzalon,
his brothers, and his adherents, were massacred at the foot of the
altar; and the absent patriarch was associated with a new colleague,
with Michael Palæologus, the most illustrious, in birth and merit, of
the Greek nobles. [10]

[Footnote 6: A Persian saying, that Cyrus was the _father_ and Darius
the _master_, of his subjects, was applied to Vataces and his son.
But Pachymer (l. i. c. 23) has mistaken the mild Darius for the cruel
Cambyses, despot or tyrant of his people. By the institution of taxes,
Darius had incurred the less odious, but more contemptible, name of
KaphloV, merchant or broker, (Herodotus, iii. 89.)]

[Footnote 7: Acropolita (c. 63) seems to admire his own firmness in
sustaining a beating, and not returning to council till he was called.
He relates the exploits of Theodore, and his own services, from c. 53 to
c. 74 of his history. See the third book of Nicephorus Gregoras.]

[Footnote 8: Pachymer (l. i. c. 21) names and discriminates fifteen or
twenty Greek families, kai osoi alloi, oiV h megalogenhV seira kai crush
sugkekrothto. Does he mean, by this decoration, a figurative or a real
golden chain? Perhaps, both.]

[Footnote 9: The old geographers, with Cellarius and D'Anville, and
our travellers, particularly Pocock and Chandler, will teach us to
distinguish the two Magnesias of Asia Minor, of the Mæander and of
Sipylus. The latter, our present object, is still flourishing for a
Turkish city, and lies eight hours, or leagues, to the north-east
of Smyrna, (Tournefort, Voyage du Levant, tom. iii. lettre xxii. p.
365--370. Chandler's Travels into Asia Minor, p. 267.)]

[Footnote 10: See Acropolita, (c. 75, 76, &c.,) who lived too near the
times; Pachymer, (l. i. c. 13--25,) Gregoras, (l. iii. c. 3, 4, 5.)]

Of those who are proud of their ancestors, the far greater part must be
content with local or domestic renown; and few there are who dare trust
the memorials of their family to the public annals of their country.
As early as the middle of the eleventh century, the noble race of the
Palæologi [11] stands high and conspicuous in the Byzantine history: it
was the valiant George Palæologus who placed the father of the Comneni
on the throne; and his kinsmen or descendants continue, in each
generation, to lead the armies and councils of the state. The purple
was not dishonored by their alliance, and had the law of succession, and
female succession, been strictly observed, the wife of Theodore Lascaris
must have yielded to her elder sister, the mother of Michael Palæologus,
who afterwards raised his family to the throne. In his person, the
splendor of birth was dignified by the merit of the soldier and
statesman: in his early youth he was promoted to the office of
_constable_ or commander of the French mercenaries; the private expense
of a day never exceeded three pieces of gold; but his ambition was
rapacious and profuse; and his gifts were doubled by the graces of his
conversation and manners. The love of the soldiers and people excited
the jealousy of the court, and Michael thrice escaped from the dangers
in which he was involved by his own imprudence or that of his friends.
I. Under the reign of Justice and Vataces, a dispute arose [12]
between two officers, one of whom accused the other of maintaining the
hereditary right of the Palæologi The cause was decided, according to
the new jurisprudence of the Latins, by single combat; the defendant was
overthrown; but he persisted in declaring that himself alone was guilty;
and that he had uttered these rash or treasonable speeches without the
approbation or knowledge of his patron Yet a cloud of suspicion hung
over the innocence of the constable; he was still pursued by the
whispers of malevolence; and a subtle courtier, the archbishop of
Philadelphia, urged him to accept the judgment of God in the fiery proof
of the ordeal. [13] Three days before the trial, the patient's arm was
enclosed in a bag, and secured by the royal signet; and it was incumbent
on him to bear a red-hot ball of iron three times from the altar to the
rails of the sanctuary, without artifice and without injury. Palæologus
eluded the dangerous experiment with sense and pleasantry. "I am a
soldier," said he, "and will boldly enter the lists with my accusers;
but a layman, a sinner like myself, is not endowed with the gift of
miracles. _Your_ piety, most holy prelate, may deserve the interposition
of Heaven, and from your hands I will receive the fiery globe, the
pledge of my innocence." The archbishop started; the emperor smiled; and
the absolution or pardon of Michael was approved by new rewards and
new services. II. In the succeeding reign, as he held the government of
Nice, he was secretly informed, that the mind of the absent prince was
poisoned with jealousy; and that death, or blindness, would be his final
reward. Instead of awaiting the return and sentence of Theodore, the
constable, with some followers, escaped from the city and the empire;
and though he was plundered by the Turkmans of the desert, he found a
hospitable refuge in the court of the sultan. In the ambiguous state
of an exile, Michael reconciled the duties of gratitude and loyalty:
drawing his sword against the Tartars; admonishing the garrisons of the
Roman limit; and promoting, by his influence, the restoration of peace,
in which his pardon and recall were honorably included. III. While
he guarded the West against the despot of Epirus, Michael was again
suspected and condemned in the palace; and such was his loyalty or
weakness, that he submitted to be led in chains above six hundred miles
from Durazzo to Nice. The civility of the messenger alleviated his
disgrace; the emperor's sickness dispelled his danger; and the
last breath of Theodore, which recommended his infant son, at once
acknowledged the innocence and the power of Palæologus.

[Footnote 11: The pedigree of Palæologus is explained by Ducange,
(Famil. Byzant. p. 230, &c.:) the events of his private life are related
by Pachymer (l. i. c. 7--12) and Gregoras (l. ii. 8, l. iii. 2, 4, l.
iv. 1) with visible favor to the father of the reigning dynasty.]

[Footnote 12: Acropolita (c. 50) relates the circumstances of this
curious adventure, which seem to have escaped the more recent writers.]

[Footnote 13: Pachymer, (l. i. c. 12,) who speaks with proper contempt
of this barbarous trial, affirms, that he had seen in his youth many
person who had sustained, without injury, the fiery ordeal. As a Greek,
he is credulous; but the ingenuity of the Greeks might furnish some
remedies of art or fraud against their own superstition, or that of
their tyrant.]

But his innocence had been too unworthily treated, and his power was too
strongly felt, to curb an aspiring subject in the fair field that was
opened to his ambition. [14] In the council, after the death of Theodore,
he was the first to pronounce, and the first to violate, the oath of
allegiance to Muzalon; and so dexterous was his conduct, that he reaped
the benefit, without incurring the guilt, or at least the reproach,
of the subsequent massacre. In the choice of a regent, he balanced the
interests and passions of the candidates; turned their envy and hatred
from himself against each other, and forced every competitor to own,
that after his own claims, those of Palæologus were best entitled to
the preference. Under the title of great duke, he accepted or assumed,
during a long minority, the active powers of government; the patriarch
was a venerable name; and the factious nobles were seduced, or
oppressed, by the ascendant of his genius. The fruits of the economy of
Vataces were deposited in a strong castle on the banks of the Hermus,
in the custody of the faithful Varangians: the constable retained his
command or influence over the foreign troops; he employed the guards
to possess the treasure, and the treasure to corrupt the guards; and
whatsoever might be the abuse of the public money, his character
was above the suspicion of private avarice. By himself, or by his
emissaries, he strove to persuade every rank of subjects, that their
own prosperity would rise in just proportion to the establishment of
his authority. The weight of taxes was suspended, the perpetual theme
of popular complaint; and he prohibited the trials by the ordeal and
judicial combat. These Barbaric institutions were already abolished or
undermined in France [15] and England; [16] and the appeal to the sword
offended the sense of a civilized, [17] and the temper of an unwarlike,
people. For the future maintenance of their wives and children, the
veterans were grateful: the priests and the philosophers applauded his
ardent zeal for the advancement of religion and learning; and his vague
promise of rewarding merit was applied by every candidate to his own
hopes. Conscious of the influence of the clergy, Michael successfully
labored to secure the suffrage of that powerful order. Their expensive
journey from Nice to Magnesia, afforded a decent and ample pretence: the
leading prelates were tempted by the liberality of his nocturnal visits;
and the incorruptible patriarch was flattered by the homage of his new
colleague, who led his mule by the bridle into the town, and removed to
a respectful distance the importunity of the crowd. Without renouncing
his title by royal descent, Palæologus encouraged a free discussion into
the advantages of elective monarchy; and his adherents asked, with
the insolence of triumph, what patient would trust his health, or
what merchant would abandon his vessel, to the _hereditary_ skill of
a physician or a pilot? The youth of the emperor, and the impending
dangers of a minority, required the support of a mature and experienced
guardian; of an associate raised above the envy of his equals, and
invested with the name and prerogatives of royalty. For the interest
of the prince and people, without any selfish views for himself or
his family, the great duke consented to guard and instruct the son of
Theodore; but he sighed for the happy moment when he might restore to
his firmer hands the administration of his patrimony, and enjoy the
blessings of a private station. He was first invested with the title and
prerogatives of _despot_, which bestowed the purple ornaments and the
second place in the Roman monarchy. It was afterwards agreed that John
and Michael should be proclaimed as joint emperors, and raised on the
buckler, but that the preeminence should be reserved for the birthright
of the former. A mutual league of amity was pledged between the royal
partners; and in case of a rupture, the subjects were bound, by their
oath of allegiance, to declare themselves against the aggressor; an
ambiguous name, the seed of discord and civil war. Palæologus was
content; but, on the day of the coronation, and in the cathedral of
Nice, his zealous adherents most vehemently urged the just priority of
his age and merit. The unseasonable dispute was eluded by postponing to
a more convenient opportunity the coronation of John Lascaris; and he
walked with a slight diadem in the train of his guardian, who alone
received the Imperial crown from the hands of the patriarch. It was
not without extreme reluctance that Arsenius abandoned the cause of his
pupil; out the Varangians brandished their battle-axes; a sign of assent
was extorted from the trembling youth; and some voices were heard,
that the life of a child should no longer impede the settlement of the
nation. A full harvest of honors and employments was distributed among
his friends by the grateful Palæologus. In his own family he created a
despot and two sebastocrators; Alexius Strategopulus was decorated
with the title of Cæsar; and that veteran commander soon repaid the
obligation, by restoring Constantinople to the Greek emperor.

[Footnote 14: Without comparing Pachymer to Thucydides or Tacitus, I
will praise his narrative, (l. i. c. 13--32, l. ii. c. 1--9,) which
pursues the ascent of Palæologus with eloquence, perspicuity, and
tolerable freedom. Acropolita is more cautious, and Gregoras more

[Footnote 15: The judicial combat was abolished by St. Louis in his own
territories; and his example and authority were at length prevalent in
France, (Esprit des Loix, l. xxviii. c. 29.)]

[Footnote 16: In civil cases Henry II. gave an option to the defendant:
Glanville prefers the proof by evidence; and that by judicial combat
is reprobated in the Fleta. Yet the trial by battle has never been
abrogated in the English law, and it was ordered by the judges as late
as the beginning of the last century. * Note : And even demanded in
the present.--M.]

[Footnote 17: Yet an ingenious friend has urged to me in mitigation
of this practice, 1. _That_ in nations emerging from barbarism, it
moderates the license of private war and arbitrary revenge. 2. _That_ it
is less absurd than the trials by the ordeal, or boiling water, or the
cross, which it has contributed to abolish. 3. _That_ it served at least
as a test of personal courage; a quality so seldom united with a
base disposition, that the danger of a trial might be some check to a
malicious prosecutor, and a useful barrier against injustice supported
by power. The gallant and unfortunate earl of Surrey might probably have
escaped his unmerited fate, had not his demand of the combat against his
accuser been overruled.]

It was in the second year of his reign, while he resided in the palace
and gardens of Nymphæum, [18] near Smyrna, that the first messenger
arrived at the dead of night; and the stupendous intelligence was
imparted to Michael, after he had been gently waked by the tender
precaution of his sister Eulogia. The man was unknown or obscure; he
produced no letters from the victorious Cæsar; nor could it easily
be credited, after the defeat of Vataces and the recent failure of
Palæologus himself, that the capital had been surprised by a detachment
of eight hundred soldiers. As a hostage, the doubtful author was
confined, with the assurance of death or an ample recompense; and the
court was left some hours in the anxiety of hope and fear, till the
messengers of Alexius arrived with the authentic intelligence, and
displayed the trophies of the conquest, the sword and sceptre, [19] the
buskins and bonnet, [20] of the usurper Baldwin, which he had dropped in
his precipitate flight. A general assembly of the bishops, senators,
and nobles, was immediately convened, and never perhaps was an event
received with more heartfelt and universal joy. In a studied oration,
the new sovereign of Constantinople congratulated his own and the public
fortune. "There was a time," said he, "a far distant time, when the
Roman empire extended to the Adriatic, the Tigris, and the confines of
Æthiopia. After the loss of the provinces, our capital itself, in
these last and calamitous days, has been wrested from our hands by the
Barbarians of the West. From the lowest ebb, the tide of prosperity has
again returned in our favor; but our prosperity was that of fugitives
and exiles: and when we were asked, which was the country of the Romans,
we indicated with a blush the climate of the globe, and the quarter of
the heavens. The divine Providence has now restored to our arms the
city of Constantine, the sacred seat of religion and empire; and it will
depend on our valor and conduct to render this important acquisition the
pledge and omen of future victories." So eager was the impatience of
the prince and people, that Michael made his triumphal entry into
Constantinople only twenty days after the expulsion of the Latins.
The golden gate was thrown open at his approach; the devout conqueror
dismounted from his horse; and a miraculous image of Mary the
Conductress was borne before him, that the divine Virgin in person might
appear to conduct him to the temple of her Son, the cathedral of St.
Sophia. But after the first transport of devotion and pride, he sighed
at the dreary prospect of solitude and ruin. The palace was defiled with
smoke and dirt, and the gross intemperance of the Franks; whole streets
had been consumed by fire, or were decayed by the injuries of time; the
sacred and profane edifices were stripped of their ornaments: and, as
if they were conscious of their approaching exile, the industry of the
Latins had been confined to the work of pillage and destruction. Trade
had expired under the pressure of anarchy and distress, and the numbers
of inhabitants had decreased with the opulence of the city. It was the
first care of the Greek monarch to reinstate the nobles in the palaces
of their fathers; and the houses or the ground which they occupied
were restored to the families that could exhibit a legal right of
inheritance. But the far greater part was extinct or lost; the vacant
property had devolved to the lord; he repeopled Constantinople by a
liberal invitation to the provinces; and the brave _volunteers_ were
seated in the capital which had been recovered by their arms. The French
barons and the principal families had retired with their emperor; but
the patient and humble crowd of Latins was attached to the country, and
indifferent to the change of masters. Instead of banishing the factories
of the Pisans, Venetians, and Genoese, the prudent conqueror accepted
their oaths of allegiance, encouraged their industry, confirmed their
privileges, and allowed them to live under the jurisdiction of their
proper magistrates. Of these nations, the Pisans and Venetians preserved
their respective quarters in the city; but the services and power of the
Genoese deserved at the same time the gratitude and the jealousy of the
Greeks. Their independent colony was first planted at the seaport town
of Heraclea in Thrace. They were speedily recalled, and settled in the
exclusive possession of the suburb of Galata, an advantageous post,
in which they revived the commerce, and insulted the majesty, of the
Byzantine empire. [21]

[Footnote 18: The site of Nymphæum is not clearly defined in ancient or
modern geography. But from the last hours of Vataces, (Acropolita, c.
52,) it is evident the palace and gardens of his favorite residence
were in the neighborhood of Smyrna. Nymphæum might be loosely placed in
Lydia, (Gregoras, l. vi. 6.)]

[Footnote 19: This sceptre, the emblem of justice and power, was a long
staff, such as was used by the heroes in Homer. By the latter Greeks
it was named _Dicanice_, and the Imperial sceptre was distinguished as
usual by the red or purple color.]

[Footnote 20: Acropolita affirms (c. 87,) that this "Onnet" was after the
French fashion; but from the ruby at the point or summit, Ducange (Hist.
de C. P. l. v. c. 28, 29) believes that it was the high-crowned hat of
the Greeks. Could Acropolita mistake the dress of his own court?]

[Footnote 21: See Pachymer, (l. ii. c. 28--33,) Acropolita, (c. 88,)
Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. iv. 7,) and for the treatment of the subject
Latins, Ducange, (l. v. c. 30, 31.)]

The recovery of Constantinople was celebrated as the æra of a new
empire: the conqueror, alone, and by the right of the sword, renewed his
coronation in the church of St. Sophia; and the name and honors of John
Lascaris, his pupil and lawful sovereign, were insensibly abolished. But
his claims still lived in the minds of the people; and the royal youth
must speedily attain the years of manhood and ambition. By fear or
conscience, Palæologus was restrained from dipping his hands in innocent
and royal blood; but the anxiety of a usurper and a parent urged him to
secure his throne by one of those imperfect crimes so familiar to the
modern Greeks. The loss of sight incapacitated the young prince for the
active business of the world; instead of the brutal violence of tearing
out his eyes, the visual nerve was destroyed by the intense glare of a
red-hot basin, [22] and John Lascaris was removed to a distant castle,
where he spent many years in privacy and oblivion. Such cool and
deliberate guilt may seem incompatible with remorse; but if Michael
could trust the mercy of Heaven, he was not inaccessible to the
reproaches and vengeance of mankind, which he had provoked by cruelty
and treason. His cruelty imposed on a servile court the duties of
applause or silence; but the clergy had a right to speak in the name of
their invisible Master; and their holy legions were led by a prelate,
whose character was above the temptations of hope or fear. After a short
abdication of his dignity, Arsenius [23] had consented to ascend
the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople, and to preside in the
restoration of the church. His pious simplicity was long deceived by
the arts of Palæologus; and his patience and submission might soothe the
usurper, and protect the safety of the young prince. On the news of his
inhuman treatment, the patriarch unsheathed the spiritual sword; and
superstition, on this occasion, was enlisted in the cause of humanity
and justice. In a synod of bishops, who were stimulated by the example
of his zeal, the patriarch pronounced a sentence of excommunication;
though his prudence still repeated the name of Michael in the public
prayers. The Eastern prelates had not adopted the dangerous maxims
of ancient Rome; nor did they presume to enforce their censures, by
deposing princes, or absolving nations from their oaths of allegiance.
But the Christian, who had been separated from God and the church,
became an object of horror; and, in a turbulent and fanatic capital,
that horror might arm the hand of an assassin, or inflame a sedition
of the people. Palæologus felt his danger, confessed his guilt, and
deprecated his judge: the act was irretrievable; the prize was obtained;
and the most rigorous penance, which he solicited, would have raised the
sinner to the reputation of a saint. The unrelenting patriarch
refused to announce any means of atonement or any hopes of mercy; and
condescended only to pronounce, that for so great a crime, great indeed
must be the satisfaction. "Do you require," said Michael, "that I should
abdicate the empire?" and at these words, he offered, or seemed to
offer, the sword of state. Arsenius eagerly grasped this pledge of
sovereignty; but when he perceived that the emperor was unwilling to
purchase absolution at so dear a rate, he indignantly escaped to his
cell, and left the royal sinner kneeling and weeping before the door.

[Footnote 22: This milder invention for extinguishing the sight was
tried by the philosopher Democritus on himself, when he sought to
withdraw his mind from the visible world: a foolish story! The word
_abacinare_, in Latin and Italian, has furnished Ducange (Gloss. Lat.)
with an opportunity to review the various modes of blinding: the more
violent were scooping, burning with an iron, or hot vinegar, and binding
the head with a strong cord till the eyes burst from their sockets.
Ingenious tyrants!]

[Footnote 23: See the first retreat and restoration of Arsenius, in
Pachymer (l. ii. c. 15, l. iii. c. 1, 2) and Nicephorus Gregoras,
(l. iii. c. 1, l. iv. c. 1.) Posterity justly accused the ajeleia and
raqumia of Arsenius the virtues of a hermit, the vices of a minister,
(l. xii. c. 2.)]

[Footnote 24: The crime and excommunication of Michael are fairly told
by Pachymer (l. iii. c. 10, 14, 19, &c.) and Gregoras, (l. iv. c. 4.)
His confession and penance restored their freedom.]

Chapter LXII: Greek Emperors Of Nice And Constantinople.--Part II.

The danger and scandal of this excommunication subsisted above three
years, till the popular clamor was assuaged by time and repentance; till
the brethren of Arsenius condemned his inflexible spirit, so repugnant
to the unbounded forgiveness of the gospel. The emperor had artfully
insinuated, that, if he were still rejected at home, he might seek, in
the Roman pontiff, a more indulgent judge; but it was far more easy and
effectual to find or to place that judge at the head of the Byzantine
church. Arsenius was involved in a vague rumor of conspiracy and
disaffection; [248] some irregular steps in his ordination and government
were liable to censure; a synod deposed him from the episcopal office;
and he was transported under a guard of soldiers to a small island of
the Propontis. Before his exile, he sullenly requested that a strict
account might be taken of the treasures of the church; boasted, that his
sole riches, three pieces of gold, had been earned by transcribing the
psalms; continued to assert the freedom of his mind; and denied, with
his last breath, the pardon which was implored by the royal sinner. [25]
After some delay, Gregory, [259 bishop of Adrianople, was translated
to the Byzantine throne; but his authority was found insufficient to
support the absolution of the emperor; and Joseph, a reverend monk,
was substituted to that important function. This edifying scene was
represented in the presence of the senate and the people; at the end
of six years the humble penitent was restored to the communion of the
faithful; and humanity will rejoice, that a milder treatment of the
captive Lascaris was stipulated as a proof of his remorse. But the
spirit of Arsenius still survived in a powerful faction of the monks and
clergy, who persevered about forty-eight years in an obstinate schism.
Their scruples were treated with tenderness and respect by Michael and
his son; and the reconciliation of the Arsenites was the serious labor
of the church and state. In the confidence of fanaticism, they had
proposed to try their cause by a miracle; and when the two papers,
that contained their own and the adverse cause, were cast into a fiery
brazier, they expected that the Catholic verity would be respected by
the flames. Alas! the two papers were indiscriminately consumed, and
this unforeseen accident produced the union of a day, and renewed the
quarrel of an age. [26] The final treaty displayed the victory of
the Arsenites: the clergy abstained during forty days from all
ecclesiastical functions; a slight penance was imposed on the laity; the
body of Arsenius was deposited in the sanctuary; and, in the name of
the departed saint, the prince and people were released from the sins of
their fathers. [27]

[Footnote 248: Except the omission of a prayer for the emperor, the
charges against Arsenius were of different nature: he was accused of
having allowed the sultan of Iconium to bathe in vessels signed with the
cross, and to have admitted him to the church, though unbaptized, during
the service. It was pleaded, in favor of Arsenius, among other proofs of
the sultan's Christianity, that he had offered to eat ham. Pachymer,
l. iv. c. 4, p. 265. It was after his exile that he was involved in a
charge of conspiracy.--M.]

[Footnote 25: Pachymer relates the exile of Arsenius, (l. iv. c. 1--16:)
he was one of the commissaries who visited him in the desert island.
The last testament of the unforgiving patriarch is still extant, (Dupin,
Bibliothèque Ecclésiastique, tom. x. p. 95.)]

[Footnote 259: Pachymer calls him Germanus.--M.]

[Footnote 26: Pachymer (l. vii. c. 22) relates this miraculous trial
like a philosopher, and treats with similar contempt a plot of the
Arsenites, to hide a revelation in the coffin of some old saint, (l.
vii. c. 13.) He compensates this incredulity by an image that weeps,
another that bleeds, (l. vii. c. 30,) and the miraculous cures of a deaf
and a mute patient, (l. xi. c. 32.)]

[Footnote 27: The story of the Arsenites is spread through the thirteen
books of Pachymer. Their union and triumph are reserved for Nicephorus
Gregoras, (l. vii. c. 9,) who neither loves nor esteems these

The establishment of his family was the motive, or at least the
pretence, of the crime of Palæologus; and he was impatient to confirm
the succession, by sharing with his eldest son the honors of the purple.
Andronicus, afterwards surnamed the Elder, was proclaimed and crowned
emperor of the Romans, in the fifteenth year of his age; and, from the
first æra of a prolix and inglorious reign, he held that august title
nine years as the colleague, and fifty as the successor, of his father.
Michael himself, had he died in a private station, would have been
thought more worthy of the empire; and the assaults of his temporal and
spiritual enemies left him few moments to labor for his own fame or the
happiness of his subjects. He wrested from the Franks several of the
noblest islands of the Archipelago, Lesbos, Chios, and Rhodes: his
brother Constantine was sent to command in Malvasia and Sparta; and the
eastern side of the Morea, from Argos and Napoli to Cape Thinners, was
repossessed by the Greeks. This effusion of Christian blood was
loudly condemned by the patriarch; and the insolent priest presumed to
interpose his fears and scruples between the arms of princes. But in
the prosecution of these western conquests, the countries beyond the
Hellespont were left naked to the Turks; and their depredations verified
the prophecy of a dying senator, that the recovery of Constantinople
would be the ruin of Asia. The victories of Michael were achieved by his
lieutenants; his sword rusted in the palace; and, in the transactions
of the emperor with the popes and the king of Naples, his political acts
were stained with cruelty and fraud. [28]

[Footnote 28: Of the xiii books of Pachymer, the first six (as the ivth
and vth of Nicephorus Gregoras) contain the reign of Michael, at the
time of whose death he was forty years of age. Instead of breaking,
like his editor the Père Poussin, his history into two parts, I follow
Ducange and Cousin, who number the xiii. books in one series.]

I. The Vatican was the most natural refuge of a Latin emperor, who had
been driven from his throne; and Pope Urban the Fourth appeared to pity
the misfortunes, and vindicate the cause, of the fugitive Baldwin. A
crusade, with plenary indulgence, was preached by his command against
the schismatic Greeks: he excommunicated their allies and adherents;
solicited Louis the Ninth in favor of his kinsman; and demanded a tenth
of the ecclesiastical revenues of France and England for the service of
the holy war. [29] The subtle Greek, who watched the rising tempest of
the West, attempted to suspend or soothe the hostility of the pope, by
suppliant embassies and respectful letters; but he insinuated that the
establishment of peace must prepare the reconciliation and obedience of
the Eastern church. The Roman court could not be deceived by so gross
an artifice; and Michael was admonished, that the repentance of the
son should precede the forgiveness of the father; and that _faith_ (an
ambiguous word) was the only basis of friendship and alliance. After a
long and affected delay, the approach of danger, and the importunity of
Gregory the Tenth, compelled him to enter on a more serious negotiation:
he alleged the example of the great Vataces; and the Greek clergy, who
understood the intentions of their prince, were not alarmed by the first
steps of reconciliation and respect. But when he pressed the conclusion
of the treaty, they strenuously declared, that the Latins, though not in
name, were heretics in fact, and that they despised those strangers as
the vilest and most despicable portion of the human race. [30] It was
the task of the emperor to persuade, to corrupt, to intimidate the
most popular ecclesiastics, to gain the vote of each individual, and
alternately to urge the arguments of Christian charity and the public
welfare. The texts of the fathers and the arms of the Franks were
balanced in the theological and political scale; and without approving
the addition to the Nicene creed, the most moderate were taught to
confess, that the two hostile propositions of proceeding from the Father
by the Son, and of proceeding from the Father and the Son, might be
reduced to a safe and Catholic sense. [31] The supremacy of the pope was
a doctrine more easy to conceive, but more painful to acknowledge: yet
Michael represented to his monks and prelates, that they might submit
to name the Roman bishop as the first of the patriarchs; and that their
distance and discretion would guard the liberties of the Eastern church
from the mischievous consequences of the right of appeal. He protested
that he would sacrifice his life and empire rather than yield the
smallest point of orthodox faith or national independence; and this
declaration was sealed and ratified by a golden bull. The patriarch
Joseph withdrew to a monastery, to resign or resume his throne,
according to the event of the treaty: the letters of union and obedience
were subscribed by the emperor, his son Andronicus, and thirty-five
archbishops and metropolitans, with their respective synods; and the
episcopal list was multiplied by many dioceses which were annihilated
under the yoke of the infidels. An embassy was composed of some trusty
ministers and prelates: they embarked for Italy, with rich ornaments
and rare perfumes for the altar of St. Peter; and their secret orders
authorized and recommended a boundless compliance. They were received in
the general council of Lyons, by Pope Gregory the Tenth, at the head
of five hundred bishops. [32] He embraced with tears his long-lost and
repentant children; accepted the oath of the ambassadors, who abjured
the schism in the name of the two emperors; adorned the prelates with
the ring and mitre; chanted in Greek and Latin the Nicene creed with the
addition of _filioque_; and rejoiced in the union of the East and West,
which had been reserved for his reign. To consummate this pious work,
the Byzantine deputies were speedily followed by the pope's nuncios; and
their instruction discloses the policy of the Vatican, which could not
be satisfied with the vain title of supremacy. After viewing the temper
of the prince and people, they were enjoined to absolve the schismatic
clergy, who should subscribe and swear their abjuration and obedience;
to establish in all the churches the use of the perfect creed; to
prepare the entrance of a cardinal legate, with the full powers and
dignity of his office; and to instruct the emperor in the advantages
which he might derive from the temporal protection of the Roman pontiff.

[Footnote 29: Ducange, Hist. de C. P. l. v. c. 33, &c., from the
Epistles of Urban IV.]

[Footnote 30: From their mercantile intercourse with the Venetians and
Genoese, they branded the Latins as kaphloi and banausoi, (Pachymer,
l. v. c. 10.) "Some are heretics in name; others, like the Latins,
in fact," said the learned Veccus, (l. v. c. 12,) who soon afterwards
became a convert (c. 15, 16) and a patriarch, (c. 24.)]

[Footnote 31: In this class we may place Pachymer himself, whose copious
and candid narrative occupies the vth and vith books of his history. Yet
the Greek is silent on the council of Lyons, and seems to believe that
the popes always resided in Rome and Italy, (l. v. c. 17, 21.)]

[Footnote 32: See the acts of the council of Lyons in the year 1274.
Fleury, Hist. Ecclésiastique, tom. xviii. p. 181--199. Dupin, Bibliot.
Ecclés. tom. x. p. 135.]

[Footnote 33: This curious instruction, which has been drawn with more
or less honesty by Wading and Leo Allatius from the archives of the
Vatican, is given in an abstract or version by Fleury, (tom. xviii. p.

But they found a country without a friend, a nation in which the names
of Rome and Union were pronounced with abhorrence. The patriarch Joseph
was indeed removed: his place was filled by Veccus, an ecclesiastic of
learning and moderation; and the emperor was still urged by the same
motives, to persevere in the same professions. But in his private
language Palæologus affected to deplore the pride, and to blame the
innovations, of the Latins; and while he debased his character by
this double hypocrisy, he justified and punished the opposition of
his subjects. By the joint suffrage of the new and the ancient Rome,
a sentence of excommunication was pronounced against the obstinate
schismatics; the censures of the church were executed by the sword of
Michael; on the failure of persuasion, he tried the arguments of prison
and exile, of whipping and mutilation; those touchstones, says an
historian, of cowards and the brave. Two Greeks still reigned in Ætolia,
Epirus, and Thessaly, with the appellation of despots: they had yielded
to the sovereign of Constantinople, but they rejected the chains of the
Roman pontiff, and supported their refusal by successful arms. Under
their protection, the fugitive monks and bishops assembled in hostile
synods; and retorted the name of heretic with the galling addition of
apostate: the prince of Trebizond was tempted to assume the forfeit
title of emperor; [339] and even the Latins of Negropont, Thebes, Athens,
and the Morea, forgot the merits of the convert, to join, with open or
clandestine aid, the enemies of Palæologus. His favorite generals,
of his own blood, and family, successively deserted, or betrayed, the
sacrilegious trust. His sister Eulogia, a niece, and two female cousins,
conspired against him; another niece, Mary queen of Bulgaria, negotiated
his ruin with the sultan of Egypt; and, in the public eye, their treason
was consecrated as the most sublime virtue. [34] To the pope's nuncios,
who urged the consummation of the work, Palæologus exposed a naked
recital of all that he had done and suffered for their sake. They were
assured that the guilty sectaries, of both sexes and every rank, had
been deprived of their honors, their fortunes, and their liberty; a
spreading list of confiscation and punishment, which involved many
persons, the dearest to the emperor, or the best deserving of his favor.
They were conducted to the prison, to behold four princes of the royal
blood chained in the four corners, and shaking their fetters in an agony
of grief and rage. Two of these captives were afterwards released; the
one by submission, the other by death: but the obstinacy of their two
companions was chastised by the loss of their eyes; and the Greeks,
the least adverse to the union, deplored that cruel and inauspicious
tragedy. [35] Persecutors must expect the hatred of those whom they
oppress; but they commonly find some consolation in the testimony of
their conscience, the applause of their party, and, perhaps, the success
of their undertaking. But the hypocrisy of Michael, which was prompted
only by political motives, must have forced him to hate himself, to
despise his followers, and to esteem and envy the rebel champions by
whom he was detested and despised. While his violence was abhorred at
Constantinople, at Rome his slowness was arraigned, and his sincerity
suspected; till at length Pope Martin the Fourth excluded the Greek
emperor from the pale of a church, into which he was striving to reduce
a schismatic people. No sooner had the tyrant expired, than the union
was dissolved, and abjured by unanimous consent; the churches were
purified; the penitents were reconciled; and his son Andronicus, after
weeping the sins and errors of his youth most piously denied his father
the burial of a prince and a Christian. [36]

[Footnote 339: According to Fallmarayer he had always maintained this

[Footnote 34: This frank and authentic confession of Michael's
distress is exhibited in barbarous Latin by Ogerius, who signs himself
Protonotarius Interpretum, and transcribed by Wading from the MSS. of
the Vatican, (A.D. 1278, No. 3.) His annals of the Franciscan order,
the Fratres Minores, in xvii. volumes in folio, (Rome, 1741,) I have now
accidentally seen among the waste paper of a bookseller.]

[Footnote 35: See the vith book of Pachymer, particularly the chapters
1, 11, 16, 18, 24--27. He is the more credible, as he speaks of this
persecution with less anger than sorrow.]

[Footnote 36: Pachymer, l. vii. c. 1--ii. 17. The speech of Andronicus
the Elder (lib. xii. c. 2) is a curious record, which proves that if
the Greeks were the slaves of the emperor, the emperor was not less the
slave of superstition and the clergy.]

II. In the distress of the Latins, the walls and towers of
Constantinople had fallen to decay: they were restored and fortified by
the policy of Michael, who deposited a plenteous store of corn and salt
provisions, to sustain the siege which he might hourly expect from the
resentment of the Western powers. Of these, the sovereign of the Two
Sicilies was the most formidable neighbor: but as long as they were
possessed by Mainfroy, the bastard of Frederic the Second, his monarchy
was the bulwark, rather than the annoyance, of the Eastern empire. The
usurper, though a brave and active prince, was sufficiently employed
in the defence of his throne: his proscription by successive popes had
separated Mainfroy from the common cause of the Latins; and the forces
that might have besieged Constantinople were detained in a crusade
against the domestic enemy of Rome. The prize of her avenger, the crown
of the Two Sicilies, was won and worn by the brother of St Louis, by
Charles count of Anjou and Provence, who led the chivalry of France on
this holy expedition. [37] The disaffection of his Christian subjects
compelled Mainfroy to enlist a colony of Saracens whom his father had
planted in Apulia; and this odious succor will explain the defiance of
the Catholic hero, who rejected all terms of accommodation. "Bear this
message," said Charles, "to the sultan of Nocera, that God and the sword
are umpire between us; and that he shall either send me to paradise,
or I will send him to the pit of hell." The armies met: and though I
am ignorant of Mainfroy's doom in the other world, in this he lost his
friends, his kingdom, and his life, in the bloody battle of Benevento.
Naples and Sicily were immediately peopled with a warlike race of
French nobles; and their aspiring leader embraced the future conquest of
Africa, Greece, and Palestine. The most specious reasons might point his
first arms against the Byzantine empire; and Palæologus, diffident of
his own strength, repeatedly appealed from the ambition of Charles to
the humanity of St. Louis, who still preserved a just ascendant over the
mind of his ferocious brother. For a while the attention of that brother
was confined at home by the invasion of Conradin, the last heir to
the imperial house of Swabia; but the hapless boy sunk in the unequal
conflict; and his execution on a public scaffold taught the rivals of
Charles to tremble for their heads as well as their dominions. A second
respite was obtained by the last crusade of St. Louis to the African
coast; and the double motive of interest and duty urged the king of
Naples to assist, with his powers and his presence, the holy enterprise.
The death of St. Louis released him from the importunity of a virtuous
censor: the king of Tunis confessed himself the tributary and vassal of
the crown of Sicily; and the boldest of the French knights were free
to enlist under his banner against the Greek empire. A treaty and a
marriage united his interest with the house of Courtenay; his daughter
Beatrice was promised to Philip, son and heir of the emperor Baldwin; a
pension of six hundred ounces of gold was allowed for his maintenance;
and his generous father distributed among his aliens the kingdoms and
provinces of the East, reserving only Constantinople, and one day's
journey round the city for the imperial domain. [38] In this perilous
moment, Palæologus was the most eager to subscribe the creed, and
implore the protection, of the Roman pontiff, who assumed, with
propriety and weight, the character of an angel of peace, the common
father of the Christians. By his voice, the sword of Charles was chained
in the scabbard; and the Greek ambassadors beheld him, in the pope's
antechamber, biting his ivory sceptre in a transport of fury, and deeply
resenting the refusal to enfranchise and consecrate his arms. He appears
to have respected the disinterested mediation of Gregory the Tenth; but
Charles was insensibly disgusted by the pride and partiality of Nicholas
the Third; and his attachment to his kindred, the Ursini family,
alienated the most strenuous champion from the service of the church.
The hostile league against the Greeks, of Philip the Latin emperor, the
king of the Two Sicilies, and the republic of Venice, was ripened into
execution; and the election of Martin the Fourth, a French pope, gave a
sanction to the cause. Of the allies, Philip supplied his name; Martin,
a bull of excommunication; the Venetians, a squadron of forty galleys;
and the formidable powers of Charles consisted of forty counts, ten
thousand men at arms, a numerous body of infantry, and a fleet of more
than three hundred ships and transports. A distant day was appointed for
assembling this mighty force in the harbor of Brindisi; and a previous
attempt was risked with a detachment of three hundred knights, who
invaded Albania, and besieged the fortress of Belgrade. Their defeat
might amuse with a triumph the vanity of Constantinople; but the more
sagacious Michael, despairing of his arms, depended on the effects of
a conspiracy; on the secret workings of a rat, who gnawed the bowstring
[39] of the Sicilian tyrant.

[Footnote 37: The best accounts, the nearest the time, the most full
and entertaining, of the conquest of Naples by Charles of Anjou, may
be found in the Florentine Chronicles of Ricordano Malespina, (c.
175--193,) and Giovanni Villani, (l. vii. c. 1--10, 25--30,) which are
published by Muratori in the viiith and xiiith volumes of the Historians
of Italy. In his Annals (tom. xi. p. 56--72) he has abridged these great
events which are likewise described in the Istoria Civile of Giannone.
tom. l. xix. tom. iii. l. xx.]

[Footnote 38: Ducange, Hist. de C. P. l. v. c. 49--56, l. vi. c. 1--13.
See Pachymer, l. iv. c. 29, l. v. c. 7--10, 25 l. vi. c. 30, 32, 33, and
Nicephorus Gregoras, l. iv. 5, l. v. 1, 6.]

[Footnote 39: The reader of Herodotus will recollect how miraculously
the Assyrian host of Sennacherib was disarmed and destroyed, (l. ii. c.

Among the proscribed adherents of the house of Swabia, John of Procida
forfeited a small island of that name in the Bay of Naples. His birth
was noble, but his education was learned; and in the poverty of exile,
he was relieved by the practice of physic, which he had studied in the
school of Salerno. Fortune had left him nothing to lose, except life;
and to despise life is the first qualification of a rebel. Procida was
endowed with the art of negotiation, to enforce his reasons and disguise
his motives; and in his various transactions with nations and men, he
could persuade each party that he labored solely for _their_ interest.
The new kingdoms of Charles were afflicted by every species of fiscal
and military oppression; [40] and the lives and fortunes of his Italian
subjects were sacrificed to the greatness of their master and the
licentiousness of his followers. The hatred of Naples was repressed by
his presence; but the looser government of his vicegerents excited the
contempt, as well as the aversion, of the Sicilians: the island was
roused to a sense of freedom by the eloquence of Procida; and he
displayed to every baron his private interest in the common cause. In
the confidence of foreign aid, he successively visited the courts of
the Greek emperor, and of Peter king of Arragon, [41] who possessed the
maritime countries of Valentia and Catalonia. To the ambitious Peter a
crown was presented, which he might justly claim by his marriage with
the sister [419] of Mainfroy, and by the dying voice of Conradin, who from
the scaffold had cast a ring to his heir and avenger. Palæologus was
easily persuaded to divert his enemy from a foreign war by a rebellion
at home; and a Greek subsidy of twenty-five thousand ounces of gold was
most profitably applied to arm a Catalan fleet, which sailed under a
holy banner to the specious attack of the Saracens of Africa. In the
disguise of a monk or beggar, the indefatigable missionary of revolt
flew from Constantinople to Rome, and from Sicily to Saragossa: the
treaty was sealed with the signet of Pope Nicholas himself, the enemy
of Charles; and his deed of gift transferred the fiefs of St. Peter from
the house of Anjou to that of Arragon. So widely diffused and so freely
circulated, the secret was preserved above two years with impenetrable
discretion; and each of the conspirators imbibed the maxim of Peter, who
declared that he would cut off his left hand if it were conscious of the
intentions of his right. The mine was prepared with deep and dangerous
artifice; but it may be questioned, whether the instant explosion of
Palermo were the effect of accident or design.

[Footnote 40: According to Sabas Malaspina, (Hist. Sicula, l. iii. c.
16, in Muratori, tom. viii. p. 832,) a zealous Guelph, the subjects of
Charles, who had reviled Mainfroy as a wolf, began to regret him as a
lamb; and he justifies their discontent by the oppressions of the French
government, (l. vi. c. 2, 7.) See the Sicilian manifesto in Nicholas
Specialis, (l. i. c. 11, in Muratori, tom. x. p. 930.)]

[Footnote 41: See the character and counsels of Peter, king of Arragon,
in Mariana, (Hist. Hispan. l. xiv. c. 6, tom. ii. p. 133.) The reader
for gives the Jesuit's defects, in favor, always of his style, and often
of his sense.]

[Footnote 419: Daughter. See Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 517.--M.]

On the vigil of Easter, a procession of the disarmed citizens visited
a church without the walls; and a noble damsel was rudely insulted by a
French soldier. [42] The ravisher was instantly punished with death; and
if the people was at first scattered by a military force, their numbers
and fury prevailed: the conspirators seized the opportunity; the flame
spread over the island; and eight thousand French were exterminated in
a promiscuous massacre, which has obtained the name of the Sicilian
Vespers. [43] From every city the banners of freedom and the church
were displayed: the revolt was inspired by the presence or the soul
of Procida and Peter of Arragon, who sailed from the African coast
to Palermo, was saluted as the king and savior of the isle. By the
rebellion of a people on whom he had so long trampled with impunity,
Charles was astonished and confounded; and in the first agony of grief
and devotion, he was heard to exclaim, "O God! if thou hast decreed
to humble me, grant me at least a gentle and gradual descent from the
pinnacle of greatness!" His fleet and army, which already filled the
seaports of Italy, were hastily recalled from the service of the Grecian
war; and the situation of Messina exposed that town to the first storm
of his revenge. Feeble in themselves, and yet hopeless of foreign
succor, the citizens would have repented, and submitted on the assurance
of full pardon and their ancient privileges. But the pride of the
monarch was already rekindled; and the most fervent entreaties of the
legate could extort no more than a promise, that he would forgive the
remainder, after a chosen list of eight hundred rebels had been yielded
to his discretion. The despair of the Messinese renewed their courage:
Peter of Arragon approached to their relief; [44] and his rival was
driven back by the failure of provision and the terrors of the equinox
to the Calabrian shore. At the same moment, the Catalan admiral, the
famous Roger de Loria, swept the channel with an invincible squadron:
the French fleet, more numerous in transports than in galleys, was
either burnt or destroyed; and the same blow assured the independence of
Sicily and the safety of the Greek empire. A few days before his death,
the emperor Michael rejoiced in the fall of an enemy whom he hated and
esteemed; and perhaps he might be content with the popular judgment,
that had they not been matched with each other, Constantinople and Italy
must speedily have obeyed the same master. [45] From this disastrous
moment, the life of Charles was a series of misfortunes: his capital was
insulted, his son was made prisoner, and he sunk into the grave without
recovering the Isle of Sicily, which, after a war of twenty years,
was finally severed from the throne of Naples, and transferred, as an
independent kingdom, to a younger branch of the house of Arragon. [46]

[Footnote 42: After enumerating the sufferings of his country, Nicholas
Specialis adds, in the true spirit of Italian jealousy, Quæ omnia et
graviora quidem, ut arbitror, patienti animo Siculi tolerassent,
nisi (quod primum cunctis dominantibus cavendum est) alienas fminas
invasissent, (l. i. c. 2, p. 924.)]

[Footnote 43: The French were long taught to remember this bloody
lesson: "If I am provoked, (said Henry the Fourth,) I will breakfast
at Milan, and dine at Naples." "Your majesty (replied the Spanish
ambassador) may perhaps arrive in Sicily for vespers."]

[Footnote 44: This revolt, with the subsequent victory, are related by
two national writers, Bartholemy à Neocastro (in Muratori, tom. xiii.,)
and Nicholas Specialis (in Muratori, tom. x.,) the one a contemporary,
the other of the next century. The patriot Specialis disclaims the name
of rebellion, and all previous correspondence with Peter of Arragon,
(nullo communicato consilio,) who _happened_ to be with a fleet and army
on the African coast, (l. i. c. 4, 9.)]

[Footnote 45: Nicephorus Gregoras (l. v. c. 6) admires the wisdom of
Providence in this equal balance of states and princes. For the honor
of Palæologus, I had rather this balance had been observed by an Italian

[Footnote 46: See the Chronicle of Villani, the xith volume of the
Annali d'Italia of Muratori, and the xxth and xxist books of the Istoria
Civile of Giannone.]

Chapter LXII: Greek Emperors Of Nice And Constantinople.--Part III.

I shall not, I trust, be accused of superstition; but I must remark
that, even in this world, the natural order of events will sometimes
afford the strong appearances of moral retribution. The first Palæologus
had saved his empire by involving the kingdoms of the West in rebellion
and blood; and from these scenes of discord uprose a generation of iron
men, who assaulted and endangered the empire of his son. In modern times
our debts and taxes are the secret poison which still corrodes the bosom
of peace: but in the weak and disorderly government of the middle ages,
it was agitated by the present evil of the disbanded armies. Too idle
to work, too proud to beg, the mercenaries were accustomed to a life of
rapine: they could rob with more dignity and effect under a banner and
a chief; and the sovereign, to whom their service was useless, and
their presence importunate, endeavored to discharge the torrent on some
neighboring countries. After the peace of Sicily, many thousands of
Genoese, _Catalans_, [47] &c., who had fought, by sea and land, under
the standard of Anjou or Arragon, were blended into one nation by the
resemblance of their manners and interest. They heard that the Greek
provinces of Asia were invaded by the Turks: they resolved to share the
harvest of pay and plunder: and Frederic king of Sicily most liberally
contributed the means of their departure. In a warfare of twenty years,
a ship, or a camp, was become their country; arms were their sole
profession and property; valor was the only virtue which they knew;
their women had imbibed the fearless temper of their lovers and
husbands: it was reported, that, with a stroke of their broadsword, the
Catalans could cleave a horseman and a horse; and the report itself
was a powerful weapon. Roger de Flor [477] was the most popular of their
chiefs; and his personal merit overshadowed the dignity of his prouder
rivals of Arragon. The offspring of a marriage between a German
gentleman of the court of Frederic the Second and a damsel of Brindisi,
Roger was successively a templar, an apostate, a pirate, and at length
the richest and most powerful admiral of the Mediterranean. He sailed
from Messina to Constantinople, with eighteen galleys, four great
ships, and eight thousand adventurers; [478] and his previous treaty was
faithfully accomplished by Andronicus the elder, who accepted with
joy and terror this formidable succor. A palace was allotted for his
reception, and a niece of the emperor was given in marriage to the
valiant stranger, who was immediately created great duke or admiral
of Romania. After a decent repose, he transported his troops over the
Propontis, and boldly led them against the Turks: in two bloody battles
thirty thousand of the Moslems were slain: he raised the siege of
Philadelphia, and deserved the name of the deliverer of Asia. But after
a short season of prosperity, the cloud of slavery and ruin again
burst on that unhappy province. The inhabitants escaped (says a Greek
historian) from the smoke into the flames; and the hostility of the
Turks was less pernicious than the friendship of the Catalans. [479] The
lives and fortunes which they had rescued they considered as their own:
the willing or reluctant maid was saved from the race of circumcision
for the embraces of a Christian soldier: the exaction of fines and
supplies was enforced by licentious rapine and arbitrary executions;
and, on the resistance of Magnesia, the great duke besieged a city
of the Roman empire. [48] These disorders he excused by the wrongs and
passions of a victorious army; nor would his own authority or person
have been safe, had he dared to punish his faithful followers, who
were defrauded of the just and covenanted price of their services. The
threats and complaints of Andronicus disclosed the nakedness of the
empire. His golden bull had invited no more than five hundred horse and
a thousand foot soldiers; yet the crowds of volunteers, who migrated to
the East, had been enlisted and fed by his spontaneous bounty. While his
bravest allies were content with three byzants or pieces of gold, for
their monthly pay, an ounce, or even two ounces, of gold were assigned
to the Catalans, whose annual pension would thus amount to near a
hundred pounds sterling: one of their chiefs had modestly rated at three
hundred thousand crowns the value of his _future_ merits; and above a
million had been issued from the treasury for the maintenance of these
costly mercenaries. A cruel tax had been imposed on the corn of the
husbandman: one third was retrenched from the salaries of the public
officers; and the standard of the coin was so shamefully debased, that
of the four-and-twenty parts only five were of pure gold. [49] At the
summons of the emperor, Roger evacuated a province which no longer
supplied the materials of rapine; [496] but he refused to disperse his
troops; and while his style was respectful, his conduct was independent
and hostile. He protested, that if the emperor should march against
him, he would advance forty paces to kiss the ground before him; but in
rising from this prostrate attitude Roger had a life and sword at the
service of his friends. The great duke of Romania condescended to accept
the title and ornaments of Cæsar; but he rejected the new proposal of
the government of Asia with a subsidy of corn and money, [497] on condition
that he should reduce his troops to the harmless number of three
thousand men. Assassination is the last resource of cowards. The
Cæsar was tempted to visit the royal residence of Adrianople; in the
apartment, and before the eyes, of the empress he was stabbed by the
Alani guards; and though the deed was imputed to their private revenge,
[498] his countrymen, who dwelt at Constantinople in the security of peace,
were involved in the same proscription by the prince or people. The loss
of their leader intimidated the crowd of adventurers, who hoisted
the sails of flight, and were soon scattered round the coasts of the
Mediterranean. But a veteran band of fifteen hundred Catalans,
or French, stood firm in the strong fortress of Gallipoli on the
Hellespont, displayed the banners of Arragon, and offered to revenge and
justify their chief, by an equal combat of ten or a hundred warriors.
Instead of accepting this bold defiance, the emperor Michael, the son
and colleague of Andronicus, resolved to oppress them with the weight
of multitudes: every nerve was strained to form an army of thirteen
thousand horse and thirty thousand foot; and the Propontis was covered
with the ships of the Greeks and Genoese. In two battles by sea and
land, these mighty forces were encountered and overthrown by the despair
and discipline of the Catalans: the young emperor fled to the palace;
and an insufficient guard of light-horse was left for the protection
of the open country. Victory renewed the hopes and numbers of the
adventures: every nation was blended under the name and standard of the
_great company_; and three thousand Turkish proselytes deserted from the
Imperial service to join this military association. In the possession of
Gallipoli, [499] the Catalans intercepted the trade of Constantinople and
the Black Sea, while they spread their devastation on either side of
the Hellespont over the confines of Europe and Asia. To prevent their
approach, the greatest part of the Byzantine territory was laid waste
by the Greeks themselves: the peasants and their cattle retired into the
city; and myriads of sheep and oxen, for which neither place nor food
could be procured, were unprofitably slaughtered on the same day. Four
times the emperor Andronicus sued for peace, and four times he was
inflexibly repulsed, till the want of provisions, and the discord of the
chiefs, compelled the Catalans to evacuate the banks of the Hellespont
and the neighborhood of the capital. After their separation from the
Turks, the remains of the great company pursued their march through
Macedonia and Thessaly, to seek a new establishment in the heart of
Greece. [50]

[Footnote 47: In this motley multitude, the Catalans and Spaniards,
the bravest of the soldiery, were styled by themselves and the Greeks
_Amogavares_. Moncada derives their origin from the Goths, and Pachymer
(l. xi. c. 22) from the Arabs; and in spite of national and religious
pride, I am afraid the latter is in the right.]

[Footnote 477: On Roger de Flor and his companions, see an historical
fragment, detailed and interesting, entitled "The Spaniards of the
Fourteenth Century," and inserted in "L'Espagne en 1808," a work
translated from the German, vol. ii. p. 167. This narrative enables us
to detect some slight errors which have crept into that of Gibbon.--G.]

[Footnote 478: The troops of Roger de Flor, according to his companions
Ramon de Montaner, were 1500 men at arms, 4000 Almogavares, and 1040
other foot, besides the sailors and mariners, vol. ii. p. 137.--M.]

[Footnote 479: Ramon de Montaner suppresses the cruelties and oppressions
of the Catalans, in which, perhaps, he shared.--M.]

[Footnote 48: Some idea may be formed of the population of these cities,
from the 36,000 inhabitants of Tralles, which, in the preceding reign,
was rebuilt by the emperor, and ruined by the Turks. (Pachymer, l. vi.
c. 20, 21.)]

[Footnote 49: I have collected these pecuniary circumstances from
Pachymer, (l. xi. c. 21, l. xii. c. 4, 5, 8, 14, 19,) who describes the
progressive degradation of the gold coin. Even in the prosperous times
of John Ducas Vataces, the byzants were composed in equal proportions
of the pure and the baser metal. The poverty of Michael Palæologus
compelled him to strike a new coin, with nine parts, or carats, of gold,
and fifteen of copper alloy. After his death, the standard rose to ten
carats, till in the public distress it was reduced to the moiety. The
prince was relieved for a moment, while credit and commerce were forever
blasted. In France, the gold coin is of twenty-two carats, (one twelfth
alloy,) and the standard of England and Holland is still higher.]

[Footnote 496]: Roger de Flor, according to Ramon de Montaner, was recalled
from Natolia, on account of the war which had arisen on the death of
Asan, king of Bulgaria. Andronicus claimed the kingdom for his nephew,
the sons of Asan by his sister. Roger de Flor turned the tide of success
in favor of the emperor of Constantinople and made peace.--M.]

[Footnote 497: Andronicus paid the Catalans in the debased money, much to
their indignation.--M.]

[Footnote 498: According to Ramon de Montaner, he was murdered by order of
Kyr (kurioV) Michael, son of the emperor. p. 170.--M.]

[Footnote 499: Ramon de Montaner describes his sojourn at Gallipoli: Nous
etions si riches, que nous ne semions, ni ne labourions, ni ne faisions
enver des vins ni ne cultivions les vignes: et cependant tous les ans
nous recucillions tour ce qu'il nous fallait, en vin, froment et avoine.
p. 193. This lasted for five merry years. Ramon de Montaner is high
authority, for he was "chancelier et maitre rational de l'armée,"
(commissary of _rations_.) He was left governor; all the scribes of the
army remained with him, and with their aid he kept the books in
which were registered the number of horse and foot employed on each
expedition. According to this book the plunder was shared, of which he
had a fifth for his trouble. p. 197.--M.]

[Footnote 50: The Catalan war is most copiously related by Pachymer, in
the xith, xiith, and xiiith books, till he breaks off in the year
1308. Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vii. 3--6) is more concise and complete.
Ducange, who adopts these adventurers as French, has hunted their
footsteps with his usual diligence, (Hist. de C. P. l. vi. c. 22--46.)
He quotes an Arragonese history, which I have read with pleasure,
and which the Spaniards extol as a model of style and composition,
(Expedicion de los Catalanes y Arragoneses contra Turcos y Griegos:
Barcelona, 1623 in quarto: Madrid, 1777, in octavo.) Don Francisco de
Moncada Conde de Ossona, may imitate Cæsar or Sallust; he may
transcribe the Greek or Italian contemporaries: but he never quotes his
authorities, and I cannot discern any national records of the exploits
of his countrymen. * Note: Ramon de Montaner, one of the Catalans, who
accompanied Roger de Flor, and who was governor of Gallipoli, has
written, in Spanish, the history of this band of adventurers, to which
he belonged, and from which he separated when it left the Thracian
Chersonese to penetrate into Macedonia and Greece.--G.----The
autobiography of Ramon de Montaner has been published in French by M.
Buchon, in the great collection of Mémoires relatifs à l'Histoire de
France. I quote this edition.--M.]

After some ages of oblivion, Greece was awakened to new misfortunes by
the arms of the Latins. In the two hundred and fifty years between the
first and the last conquest of Constantinople, that venerable land
was disputed by a multitude of petty tyrants; without the comforts of
freedom and genius, her ancient cities were again plunged in foreign and
intestine war; and, if servitude be preferable to anarchy, they might
repose with joy under the Turkish yoke. I shall not pursue the obscure
and various dynasties, that rose and fell on the continent or in the
isles; but our silence on the fate of Athens [51] would argue a strange
ingratitude to the first and purest school of liberal science and
amusement. In the partition of the empire, the principality of Athens
and Thebes was assigned to Otho de la Roche, a noble warrior of
Burgundy, [52] with the title of great duke, [53] which the Latins
understood in their own sense, and the Greeks more foolishly derived
from the age of Constantine. [54] Otho followed the standard of the
marquis of Montferrat: the ample state which he acquired by a miracle
of conduct or fortune, [55] was peaceably inherited by his son and two
grandsons, till the family, though not the nation, was changed, by the
marriage of an heiress into the elder branch of the house of Brienne.
The son of that marriage, Walter de Brienne, succeeded to the duchy of
Athens; and, with the aid of some Catalan mercenaries, whom he invested
with fiefs, reduced above thirty castles of the vassal or neighboring
lords. But when he was informed of the approach and ambition of the
great company, he collected a force of seven hundred knights, six
thousand four hundred horse, and eight thousand foot, and boldly met
them on the banks of the River Cephisus in Botia. The Catalans amounted
to no more than three thousand five hundred horse, and four thousand
foot; but the deficiency of numbers was compensated by stratagem and
order. They formed round their camp an artificial inundation; the duke
and his knights advanced without fear or precaution on the verdant
meadow; their horses plunged into the bog; and he was cut in pieces,
with the greatest part of the French cavalry. His family and nation were
expelled; and his son Walter de Brienne, the titular duke of Athens, the
tyrant of Florence, and the constable of France, lost his life in the
field of Poitiers Attica and Botia were the rewards of the victorious
Catalans; they married the widows and daughters of the slain; and during
fourteen years, the great company was the terror of the Grecian states.
Their factions drove them to acknowledge the sovereignty of the house of
Arragon; and during the remainder of the fourteenth century, Athens, as
a government or an appanage, was successively bestowed by the kings of
Sicily. After the French and Catalans, the third dynasty was that of
the Accaioli, a family, plebeian at Florence, potent at Naples, and
sovereign in Greece. Athens, which they embellished with new buildings,
became the capital of a state, that extended over Thebes, Argos,
Corinth, Delphi, and a part of Thessaly; and their reign was finally
determined by Mahomet the Second, who strangled the last duke, and
educated his sons in the discipline and religion of the seraglio.

[Footnote 51: See the laborious history of Ducange, whose accurate table
of the French dynasties recapitulates the thirty-five passages, in which
he mentions the dukes of Athens.]

[Footnote 52: He is twice mentioned by Villehardouin with honor, (No.
151, 235;) and under the first passage, Ducange observes all that can be
known of his person and family.]

[Footnote 53: From these Latin princes of the xivth century, Boccace,
Chaucer. and Shakspeare, have borrowed their Theseus _duke_ of Athens.
An ignorant age transfers its own language and manners to the most
distant times.]

[Footnote 54: The same Constantine gave to Sicily a king, to Russia the
_magnus dapifer_ of the empire, to Thebes the _primicerius_; and these
absurd fables are properly lashed by Ducange, (ad Nicephor. Greg. l.
vii. c. 5.) By the Latins, the lord of Thebes was styled, by corruption,
the Megas Kurios, or Grand Sire!]

[Footnote 55: _Quodam miraculo_, says Alberic. He was probably received
by Michael Choniates, the archbishop who had defended Athens against the
tyrant Leo Sgurus, (Nicetas urbs capta, p. 805, ed. Bek.) Michael was
the brother of the historian Nicetas; and his encomium of Athens is
still extant in MS. in the Bodleian library, (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc tom.
vi. p. 405.) * Note: Nicetas says expressly that Michael surrendered the Acropolis to
the marquis.--M.]

Athens, [56] though no more than the shadow of her former self, still
contains about eight or ten thousand inhabitants; of these, three
fourths are Greeks in religion and language; and the Turks, who compose
the remainder, have relaxed, in their intercourse with the citizens,
somewhat of the pride and gravity of their national character. The
olive-tree, the gift of Minerva, flourishes in Attica; nor has the honey
of Mount Hymettus lost any part of its exquisite flavor: [57] but the
languid trade is monopolized by strangers, and the agriculture of a
barren land is abandoned to the vagrant Walachians. The Athenians
are still distinguished by the subtlety and acuteness of their
understandings; but these qualities, unless ennobled by freedom, and
enlightened by study, will degenerate into a low and selfish cunning:
and it is a proverbial saying of the country, "From the Jews of
Thessalonica, the Turks of Negropont, and the Greeks of Athens, good
Lord deliver us!" This artful people has eluded the tyranny of the
Turkish bashaws, by an expedient which alleviates their servitude
and aggravates their shame. About the middle of the last century, the
Athenians chose for their protector the Kislar Aga, or chief black
eunuch of the seraglio. This Æthiopian slave, who possesses the sultan's
ear, condescends to accept the tribute of thirty thousand crowns: his
lieutenant, the Waywode, whom he annually confirms, may reserve for
his own about five or six thousand more; and such is the policy of
the citizens, that they seldom fail to remove and punish an oppressive
governor. Their private differences are decided by the archbishop,
one of the richest prelates of the Greek church, since he possesses a
revenue of one thousand pounds sterling; and by a tribunal of the eight
_geronti_ or elders, chosen in the eight quarters of the city: the noble
families cannot trace their pedigree above three hundred years; but
their principal members are distinguished by a grave demeanor, a fur
cap, and the lofty appellation of _archon_. By some, who delight in
the contrast, the modern language of Athens is represented as the most
corrupt and barbarous of the seventy dialects of the vulgar Greek: [58]
this picture is too darkly colored: but it would not be easy, in the
country of Plato and Demosthenes, to find a reader or a copy of their
works. The Athenians walk with supine indifference among the glorious
ruins of antiquity; and such is the debasement of their character, that
they are incapable of admiring the genius of their predecessors. [59]

[Footnote 56: The modern account of Athens, and the Athenians, is
extracted from Spon, (Voyage en Grece, tom. ii. p. 79--199,) and
Wheeler, (Travels into Greece, p. 337--414,) Stuart, (Antiquities of
Athens, passim,) and Chandler, (Travels into Greece, p. 23--172.) The
first of these travellers visited Greece in the year 1676; the last,
1765; and ninety years had not produced much difference in the tranquil

[Footnote 57: The ancients, or at least the Athenians, believed that
all the bees in the world had been propagated from Mount Hymettus.
They taught, that health might be preserved, and life prolonged, by the
external use of oil, and the internal use of honey, (Geoponica, l. xv. c
7, p. 1089--1094, edit. Niclas.)]

[Footnote 58: Ducange, Glossar. Græc. Præfat. p. 8, who quotes for his
author Theodosius Zygomalas, a modern grammarian. Yet Spon (tom. ii.
p. 194) and Wheeler, (p. 355,) no incompetent judges, entertain a more
favorable opinion of the Attic dialect.]

[Footnote 59: Yet we must not accuse them of corrupting the name of
Athens, which they still call Athini. From the eiV thn 'Aqhnhn, we have
formed our own barbarism of _Setines_. * Note: Gibbon did not foresee a
Bavarian prince on the throne of
Greece, with Athens as his capital.--M.]

Chapter LXIII: Civil Wars And The Ruin Of The Greek Empire.--Part I.

     Civil Wars, And Ruin Of The Greek Empire.--Reigns Of
     Andronicus, The Elder And Younger, And John Palæologus.--
     Regency, Revolt, Reign, And Abdication Of John Cantacuzene.--
     Establishment Of A Genoese Colony At Pera Or Galata.--Their
     Wars With The Empire And City Of Constantinople.

The long reign of Andronicus [1] the elder is chiefly memorable by the
disputes of the Greek church, the invasion of the Catalans, and the rise
of the Ottoman power. He is celebrated as the most learned and virtuous
prince of the age; but such virtue, and such learning, contributed
neither to the perfection of the individual, nor to the happiness of
society A slave of the most abject superstition, he was surrounded on
all sides by visible and invisible enemies; nor were the flames of hell
less dreadful to his fancy, than those of a Catalan or Turkish war.
Under the reign of the Palæologi, the choice of the patriarch was the
most important business of the state; the heads of the Greek church were
ambitious and fanatic monks; and their vices or virtues, their
learning or ignorance, were equally mischievous or contemptible. By his
intemperate discipline, the patriarch Athanasius [2] excited the hatred
of the clergy and people: he was heard to declare, that the sinner
should swallow the last dregs of the cup of penance; and the foolish
tale was propagated of his punishing a sacrilegious ass that had tasted
the lettuce of a convent garden. Driven from the throne by the universal
clamor, Athanasius composed before his retreat two papers of a very
opposite cast. His public testament was in the tone of charity and
resignation; the private codicil breathed the direst anathemas against
the authors of his disgrace, whom he excluded forever from the communion
of the holy trinity, the angels, and the saints. This last paper he
enclosed in an earthen pot, which was placed, by his order, on the top
of one of the pillars, in the dome of St. Sophia, in the distant hope of
discovery and revenge. At the end of four years, some youths, climbing
by a ladder in search of pigeons' nests, detected the fatal secret; and,
as Andronicus felt himself touched and bound by the excommunication, he
trembled on the brink of the abyss which had been so treacherously dug
under his feet. A synod of bishops was instantly convened to debate
this important question: the rashness of these clandestine anathemas was
generally condemned; but as the knot could be untied only by the same
hand, as that hand was now deprived of the crosier, it appeared that
this posthumous decree was irrevocable by any earthly power. Some faint
testimonies of repentance and pardon were extorted from the author of
the mischief; but the conscience of the emperor was still wounded, and
he desired, with no less ardor than Athanasius himself, the restoration
of a patriarch, by whom alone he could be healed. At the dead of night,
a monk rudely knocked at the door of the royal bed-chamber, announcing
a revelation of plague and famine, of inundations and earthquakes.
Andronicus started from his bed, and spent the night in prayer, till he
felt, or thought that he felt, a slight motion of the earth. The emperor
on foot led the bishops and monks to the cell of Athanasius; and, after
a proper resistance, the saint, from whom this message had been
sent, consented to absolve the prince, and govern the church of
Constantinople. Untamed by disgrace, and hardened by solitude, the
shepherd was again odious to the flock, and his enemies contrived a
singular, and as it proved, a successful, mode of revenge. In the night,
they stole away the footstool or foot-cloth of his throne, which they
secretly replaced with the decoration of a satirical picture. The
emperor was painted with a bridle in his mouth, and Athanasius leading
the tractable beast to the feet of Christ. The authors of the libel were
detected and punished; but as their lives had been spared, the Christian
priest in sullen indignation retired to his cell; and the eyes of
Andronicus, which had been opened for a moment, were again closed by his

[Footnote 1: Andronicus himself will justify our freedom in the
invective, (Nicephorus Gregoras, l. i. c. i.,) which he pronounced
against historic falsehood. It is true, that his censure is more
pointedly urged against calumny than against adulation.]

[Footnote 2: For the anathema in the pigeon's nest, see Pachymer, (l.
ix. c. 24,) who relates the general history of Athanasius, (l. viii. c.
13--16, 20, 24, l. x. c. 27--29, 31--36, l. xi. c. 1--3, 5, 6, l. xiii.
c. 8, 10, 23, 35,) and is followed by Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. vi. c.
5, 7, l. vii. c. 1, 9,) who includes the second retreat of this second

If this transaction be one of the most curious and important of a reign
of fifty years, I cannot at least accuse the brevity of my materials,
since I reduce into some few pages the enormous folios of Pachymer, [3]
Cantacuzene, [4] and Nicephorus Gregoras, [5] who have composed the prolix
and languid story of the times. The name and situation of the emperor
John Cantacuzene might inspire the most lively curiosity. His memorials
of forty years extend from the revolt of the younger Andronicus to his
own abdication of the empire; and it is observed, that, like Moses and
Cæsar, he was the principal actor in the scenes which he describes. But
in this eloquent work we should vainly seek the sincerity of a hero or
a penitent. Retired in a cloister from the vices and passions of the
world, he presents not a confession, but an apology, of the life of
an ambitious statesman. Instead of unfolding the true counsels and
characters of men, he displays the smooth and specious surface of
events, highly varnished with his own praises and those of his friends.
Their motives are always pure; their ends always legitimate: they
conspire and rebel without any views of interest; and the violence which
they inflict or suffer is celebrated as the spontaneous effect of reason
and virtue.

[Footnote 3: Pachymer, in seven books, 377 folio pages, describes the
first twenty-six years of Andronicus the Elder; and marks the date of
his composition by the current news or lie of the day, (A.D. 1308.)
Either death or disgust prevented him from resuming the pen.]

[Footnote 4: After an interval of twelve years, from the conclusion of
Pachymer, Cantacuzenus takes up the pen; and his first book (c. 1--59,
p. 9--150) relates the civil war, and the eight last years of the elder
Andronicus. The ingenious comparison with Moses and Cæsar is fancied by
his French translator, the president Cousin.]

[Footnote 5: Nicephorus Gregoras more briefly includes the entire life
and reign of Andronicus the elder, (l. vi. c. 1, p. 96--291.) This
is the part of which Cantacuzene complains as a false and malicious
representation of his conduct.]

After the example of the first of the Palæologi, the elder Andronicus
associated his son Michael to the honors of the purple; and from the age
of eighteen to his premature death, that prince was acknowledged, above
twenty-five years, as the second emperor of the Greeks. [6] At the head
of an army, he excited neither the fears of the enemy, nor the jealousy
of the court; his modesty and patience were never tempted to compute
the years of his father; nor was that father compelled to repent of his
liberality either by the virtues or vices of his son. The son of Michael
was named Andronicus from his grandfather, to whose early favor he was
introduced by that nominal resemblance. The blossoms of wit and beauty
increased the fondness of the elder Andronicus; and, with the common
vanity of age, he expected to realize in the second, the hope which had
been disappointed in the first, generation. The boy was educated in the
palace as an heir and a favorite; and in the oaths and acclamations of
the people, the _august triad_ was formed by the names of the father,
the son, and the grandson. But the younger Andronicus was speedily
corrupted by his infant greatness, while he beheld with puerile
impatience the double obstacle that hung, and might long hang, over his
rising ambition. It was not to acquire fame, or to diffuse happiness,
that he so eagerly aspired: wealth and impunity were in his eyes the
most precious attributes of a monarch; and his first indiscreet demand
was the sovereignty of some rich and fertile island, where he might lead
a life of independence and pleasure. The emperor was offended by the
loud and frequent intemperance which disturbed his capital; the sums
which his parsimony denied were supplied by the Genoese usurers of Pera;
and the oppressive debt, which consolidated the interest of a faction,
could be discharged only by a revolution. A beautiful female, a matron
in rank, a prostitute in manners, had instructed the younger Andronicus
in the rudiments of love; but he had reason to suspect the nocturnal
visits of a rival; and a stranger passing through the street was pierced
by the arrows of his guards, who were placed in ambush at her door. That
stranger was his brother, Prince Manuel, who languished and died of his
wound; and the emperor Michael, their common father, whose health was in
a declining state, expired on the eighth day, lamenting the loss of
both his children. [7] However guiltless in his intention, the younger
Andronicus might impute a brother's and a father's death to the
consequence of his own vices; and deep was the sigh of thinking and
feeling men, when they perceived, instead of sorrow and repentance, his
ill-dissembled joy on the removal of two odious competitors. By these
melancholy events, and the increase of his disorders, the mind of
the elder emperor was gradually alienated; and, after many fruitless
reproofs, he transferred on another grandson [8] his hopes and affection.
The change was announced by the new oath of allegiance to the reigning
sovereign, and the _person_ whom he should appoint for his successor;
and the acknowledged heir, after a repetition of insults and complaints,
was exposed to the indignity of a public trial. Before the sentence,
which would probably have condemned him to a dungeon or a cell, the
emperor was informed that the palace courts were filled with the armed
followers of his grandson; the judgment was softened to a treaty of
reconciliation; and the triumphant escape of the prince encouraged the
ardor of the younger faction.

[Footnote 6: He was crowned May 21st, 1295, and died October 12th, 1320,
(Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 239.) His brother Theodore, by a second marriage,
inherited the marquisate of Montferrat, apostatized to the religion
and manners of the Latins, (oti kai gnwmh kai pistei kai schkati, kai
geneiwn koura kai pasin eqesin DatinoV hn akraijnhV. Nic. Greg. l. ix.
c. 1,) and founded a dynasty of Italian princes, which was extinguished
A.D. 1533, (Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 249--253.)]

[Footnote 7: We are indebted to Nicephorus Gregoras (l. viii. c. 1)
for the knowledge of this tragic adventure; while Cantacuzene more
discreetly conceals the vices of Andronicus the Younger, of which he was
the witness and perhaps the associate, (l. i. c. 1, &c.)]

[Footnote 8: His destined heir was Michael Catharus, the bastard of
Constantine his second son. In this project of excluding his grandson
Andronicus, Nicephorus Gregoras (l. viii. c. 3) agrees with Cantacuzene,
(l. i. c. 1, 2.)]

Yet the capital, the clergy, and the senate, adhered to the person, or
at least to the government, of the old emperor; and it was only in
the provinces, by flight, and revolt, and foreign succor, that the
malecontents could hope to vindicate their cause and subvert his throne.
The soul of the enterprise was the great domestic John Cantacuzene;
the sally from Constantinople is the first date of his actions and
memorials; and if his own pen be most descriptive of his patriotism, an
unfriendly historian has not refused to celebrate the zeal and ability
which he displayed in the service of the young emperor. [89] That prince
escaped from the capital under the pretence of hunting; erected his
standard at Adrianople; and, in a few days, assembled fifty thousand
horse and foot, whom neither honor nor duty could have armed against the
Barbarians. Such a force might have saved or commanded the empire; but
their counsels were discordant, their motions were slow and doubtful,
and their progress was checked by intrigue and negotiation. The quarrel
of the two Andronici was protracted, and suspended, and renewed, during
a ruinous period of seven years. In the first treaty, the relics of
the Greek empire were divided: Constantinople, Thessalonica, and
the islands, were left to the elder, while the younger acquired the
sovereignty of the greatest part of Thrace, from Philippi to the
Byzantine limit. By the second treaty, he stipulated the payment of his
troops, his immediate coronation, and an adequate share of the power and
revenue of the state. The third civil war was terminated by the surprise
of Constantinople, the final retreat of the old emperor, and the sole
reign of his victorious grandson. The reasons of this delay may be found
in the characters of the men and of the times. When the heir of the
monarchy first pleaded his wrongs and his apprehensions, he was heard
with pity and applause: and his adherents repeated on all sides the
inconsistent promise, that he would increase the pay of the soldiers and
alleviate the burdens of the people. The grievances of forty years were
mingled in his revolt; and the rising generation was fatigued by the
endless prospect of a reign, whose favorites and maxims were of other
times. The youth of Andronicus had been without spirit, his age was
without reverence: his taxes produced an unusual revenue of five hundred
thousand pounds; yet the richest of the sovereigns of Christendom was
incapable of maintaining three thousand horse and twenty galleys, to
resist the destructive progress of the Turks. [9] "How different," said
the younger Andronicus, "is my situation from that of the son of Philip!
Alexander might complain, that his father would leave him nothing to
conquer: alas! my grandsire will leave me nothing to lose." But the
Greeks were soon admonished, that the public disorders could not be
healed by a civil war; and that their young favorite was not destined to
be the savior of a falling empire. On the first repulse, his party was
broken by his own levity, their intestine discord, and the intrigues of
the ancient court, which tempted each malecontent to desert or betray
the cause of the rebellion. Andronicus the younger was touched with
remorse, or fatigued with business, or deceived by negotiation: pleasure
rather than power was his aim; and the license of maintaining a thousand
hounds, a thousand hawks, and a thousand huntsmen, was sufficient to
sully his fame and disarm his ambition.

[Footnote 89: The conduct of Cantacuzene, by his own showing, was
inexplicable. He was unwilling to dethrone the old emperor, and
dissuaded the immediate march on Constantinople. The young Andronicus,
he says, entered into his views, and wrote to warn the emperor of his
danger when the march was determined. Cantacuzenus, in Nov. Byz. Hist.
Collect. vol. i. p. 104, &c.--M.]

[Footnote 9: See Nicephorus Gregoras, l. viii. c. 6. The younger
Andronicus complained, that in four years and four months a sum
of 350,000 byzants of gold was due to him for the expenses of his
household, (Cantacuzen l. i. c. 48.) Yet he would have remitted the
debt, if he might have been allowed to squeeze the farmers of the

Let us now survey the catastrophe of this busy plot, and the final
situation of the principal actors. [10] The age of Andronicus was
consumed in civil discord; and, amidst the events of war and treaty, his
power and reputation continually decayed, till the fatal night in which
the gates of the city and palace were opened without resistance to
his grandson. His principal commander scorned the repeated warnings
of danger; and retiring to rest in the vain security of ignorance,
abandoned the feeble monarch, with some priests and pages, to the
terrors of a sleepless night. These terrors were quickly realized by the
hostile shouts, which proclaimed the titles and victory of Andronicus
the younger; and the aged emperor, falling prostrate before an image of
the Virgin, despatched a suppliant message to resign the sceptre, and
to obtain his life at the hands of the conqueror. The answer of his
grandson was decent and pious; at the prayer of his friends, the younger
Andronicus assumed the sole administration; but the elder still enjoyed
the name and preeminence of the first emperor, the use of the great
palace, and a pension of twenty-four thousand pieces of gold, one
half of which was assigned on the royal treasury, and the other on
the fishery of Constantinople. But his impotence was soon exposed to
contempt and oblivion; the vast silence of the palace was disturbed
only by the cattle and poultry of the neighborhood, [101] which roved with
impunity through the solitary courts; and a reduced allowance of ten
thousand pieces of gold [11] was all that he could ask, and more than he
could hope. His calamities were imbittered by the gradual extinction of
sight; his confinement was rendered each day more rigorous; and during
the absence and sickness of his grandson, his inhuman keepers, by the
threats of instant death, compelled him to exchange the purple for the
monastic habit and profession. The monk _Antony_ had renounced the pomp
of the world; yet he had occasion for a coarse fur in the winter season,
and as wine was forbidden by his confessor, and water by his physician,
the sherbet of Egypt was his common drink. It was not without difficulty
that the late emperor could procure three or four pieces to satisfy
these simple wants; and if he bestowed the gold to relieve the more
painful distress of a friend, the sacrifice is of some weight in
the scale of humanity and religion. Four years after his abdication,
Andronicus or Antony expired in a cell, in the seventy-fourth year of
his age: and the last strain of adulation could only promise a more
splendid crown of glory in heaven than he had enjoyed upon earth. [12] [121]

[Footnote 10: I follow the chronology of Nicephorus Gregoras, who is
remarkably exact. It is proved that Cantacuzene has mistaken the dates
of his own actions, or rather that his text has been corrupted by
ignorant transcribers.]

[Footnote 101: And the washerwomen, according to Nic. Gregoras, p.

[Footnote 11: I have endeavored to reconcile the 24,000 pieces of
Cantacuzene (l. ii. c. 1) with the 10,000 of Nicephorus Gregoras, (l.
ix. c. 2;) the one of whom wished to soften, the other to magnify, the
hardships of the old emperor.]

[Footnote 12: See Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. ix. 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, l. x. c.
1.) The historian had tasted of the prosperity, and shared the retreat,
of his benefactor; and that friendship which "waits or to the scaffold
or the cell," should not lightly be accused as "a hireling, a prostitute
to praise." * Note: But it may be accused of unparalleled absurdity. He
compares the extinction of the feeble old man to that of the sun: his
coffin is to be floated like Noah's ark by a deluge of tears.--M.]

[Footnote 121: Prodigies (according to Nic. Gregoras, p. 460) announced
the departure of the old and imbecile Imperial Monk from his earthly

Nor was the reign of the younger, more glorious or fortunate than that
of the elder, Andronicus. [13] He gathered the fruits of ambition; but
the taste was transient and bitter: in the supreme station he lost the
remains of his early popularity; and the defects of his character became
still more conspicuous to the world. The public reproach urged him to
march in person against the Turks; nor did his courage fail in the
hour of trial; but a defeat and a wound were the only trophies of his
expedition in Asia, which confirmed the establishment of the Ottoman
monarchy. The abuses of the civil government attained their full
maturity and perfection: his neglect of forms, and the confusion of
national dresses, are deplored by the Greeks as the fatal symptoms
of the decay of the empire. Andronicus was old before his time; the
intemperance of youth had accelerated the infirmities of age; and after
being rescued from a dangerous malady by nature, or physic, or the
Virgin, he was snatched away before he had accomplished his forty-fifth
year. He was twice married; and, as the progress of the Latins in arms
and arts had softened the prejudices of the Byzantine court, his two
wives were chosen in the princely houses of Germany and Italy. The
first, Agnes at home, Irene in Greece, was daughter of the duke of
Brunswick. Her father [14] was a petty lord [15] in the poor and savage
regions of the north of Germany: [16] yet he derived some revenue from
his silver mines; [17] and his family is celebrated by the Greeks as the
most ancient and noble of the Teutonic name. [18] After the death of this
childish princess, Andronicus sought in marriage Jane, the sister of
the count of Savoy; [19] and his suit was preferred to that of the French
king. [20] The count respected in his sister the superior majesty of a
Roman empress: her retinue was composed of knights and ladies; she
was regenerated and crowned in St. Sophia, under the more orthodox
appellation of Anne; and, at the nuptial feast, the Greeks and Italians
vied with each other in the martial exercises of tilts and tournaments.

[Footnote 13: The sole reign of Andronicus the younger is described by
Cantacuzene (l. ii. c. 1--40, p. 191--339) and Nicephorus Gregoras, (l.
ix c. 7--l. xi. c. 11, p. 262--361.)]

[Footnote 14: Agnes, or Irene, was the daughter of Duke Henry the
Wonderful, the chief of the house of Brunswick, and the fourth in
descent from the famous Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and Bavaria,
and conqueror of the Sclavi on the Baltic coast. Her brother Henry was
surnamed the _Greek_, from his two journeys into the East: but these
journeys were subsequent to his sister's marriage; and I am ignorant
_how_ Agnes was discovered in the heart of Germany, and recommended
to the Byzantine court. (Rimius, Memoirs of the House of Brunswick, p.

[Footnote 15: Henry the Wonderful was the founder of the branch of
Grubenhagen, extinct in the year 1596, (Rimius, p. 287.) He resided in
the castle of Wolfenbuttel, and possessed no more than a sixth part of
the allodial estates of Brunswick and Luneburgh, which the Guelph family
had saved from the confiscation of their great fiefs. The frequent
partitions among brothers had almost ruined the princely houses of
Germany, till that just, but pernicious, law was slowly superseded by
the right of primogeniture. The principality of Grubenhagen, one of
the last remains of the Hercynian forest, is a woody, mountainous,
and barren tract, (Busching's Geography, vol. vi. p. 270--286, English

[Footnote 16: The royal author of the Memoirs of Brandenburgh will teach
us, how justly, in a much later period, the north of Germany deserved
the epithets of poor and barbarous. (Essai sur les Murs, &c.) In the
year 1306, in the woods of Luneburgh, some wild people of the Vened race
were allowed to bury alive their infirm and useless parents. (Rimius, p.

[Footnote 17: The assertion of Tacitus, that Germany was destitute of
the precious metals, must be taken, even in his own time, with some
limitation, (Germania, c. 5. Annal. xi. 20.) According to Spener,
(Hist. Germaniæ Pragmatica, tom. i. p. 351,) _Argentifodin_ in Hercyniis
montibus, imperante Othone magno (A.D. 968) primum apertæ, largam etiam
opes augendi dederunt copiam: but Rimius (p. 258, 259) defers till the
year 1016 the discovery of the silver mines of Grubenhagen, or the Upper
Hartz, which were productive in the beginning of the xivth century, and
which still yield a considerable revenue to the house of Brunswick.]

[Footnote 18: Cantacuzene has given a most honorable testimony, hn d' ek
Germanvn auth Jugathr doukoV nti Mprouzouhk, (the modern Greeks employ
the nt for the d, and the mp for the b, and the whole will read in the
Italian idiom di Brunzuic,) tou par autoiV epijanestatou, kai?iamprothti
pantaV touV omojulouV uperballontoV. The praise is just in itself, and
pleasing to an English ear.]

[Footnote 19: Anne, or Jane, was one of the four daughters of Amedée
the Great, by a second marriage, and half-sister of his successor Edward
count of Savoy. (Anderson's Tables, p. 650. See Cantacuzene, l. i. c.

[Footnote 20: That king, if the fact be true, must have been Charles
the Fair who in five years (1321--1326) was married to three wives,
(Anderson, p. 628.) Anne of Savoy arrived at Constantinople in February,

The empress Anne of Savoy survived her husband: their son, John
Palæologus, was left an orphan and an emperor in the ninth year of his
age; and his weakness was protected by the first and most deserving
of the Greeks. The long and cordial friendship of his father for John
Cantacuzene is alike honorable to the prince and the subject. It had
been formed amidst the pleasures of their youth: their families were
almost equally noble; [21] and the recent lustre of the purple was amply
compensated by the energy of a private education. We have seen that
the young emperor was saved by Cantacuzene from the power of his
grandfather; and, after six years of civil war, the same favorite
brought him back in triumph to the palace of Constantinople. Under the
reign of Andronicus the younger, the great domestic ruled the emperor
and the empire; and it was by his valor and conduct that the Isle of
Lesbos and the principality of Ætolia were restored to their ancient
allegiance. His enemies confess, that, among the public robbers,
Cantacuzene alone was moderate and abstemious; and the free and
voluntary account which he produces of his own wealth [22] may sustain
the presumption that he was devolved by inheritance, and not accumulated
by rapine. He does not indeed specify the value of his money, plate,
and jewels; yet, after a voluntary gift of two hundred vases of silver,
after much had been secreted by his friends and plundered by his foes,
his forfeit treasures were sufficient for the equipment of a fleet of
seventy galleys. He does not measure the size and number of his estates;
but his granaries were heaped with an incredible store of wheat and
barley; and the labor of a thousand yoke of oxen might cultivate,
according to the practice of antiquity, about sixty-two thousand five
hundred acres of arable land. [23] His pastures were stocked with two
thousand five hundred brood mares, two hundred camels, three hundred
mules, five hundred asses, five thousand horned cattle, fifty thousand
hogs, and seventy thousand sheep: [24] a precious record of rural
opulence, in the last period of the empire, and in a land, most probably
in Thrace, so repeatedly wasted by foreign and domestic hostility.
The favor of Cantacuzene was above his fortune. In the moments of
familiarity, in the hour of sickness, the emperor was desirous to level
the distance between them and pressed his friend to accept the diadem
and purple. The virtue of the great domestic, which is attested by his
own pen, resisted the dangerous proposal; but the last testament of
Andronicus the younger named him the guardian of his son, and the regent
of the empire.

[Footnote 21: The noble race of the Cantacuzeni (illustrious from the
xith century in the Byzantine annals) was drawn from the Paladins of
France, the heroes of those romances which, in the xiiith century, were
translated and read by the Greeks, (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 258.)]

[Footnote 22: See Cantacuzene, (l. iii. c. 24, 30, 36.)]

[Footnote 23: Saserna, in Gaul, and Columella, in Italy or Spain, allow
two yoke of oxen, two drivers, and six laborers, for two hundred jugera
(125 English acres) of arable land, and three more men must be added if
there be much underwood, (Columella de Re Rustica, l. ii. c. 13, p 441,
edit. Gesner.)]

[Footnote 24: In this enumeration (l. iii. c. 30) the French translation
of the president Cousin is blotted with three palpable and essential
errors. 1. He omits the 1000 yoke of working oxen. 2. He interprets the
pentakosiai proV diaciliaiV, by the number of fifteen hundred. * 3. He
confounds myriads with chiliads, and gives Cantacuzene no more than 5000
hogs. Put not your trust in translations! Note: * There seems to be
another reading, ciliaiV. Niebuhr's edit. in

Had the regent found a suitable return of obedience and gratitude,
perhaps he would have acted with pure and zealous fidelity in the
service of his pupil. [25] A guard of five hundred soldiers watched over
his person and the palace; the funeral of the late emperor was decently
performed; the capital was silent and submissive; and five hundred
letters, which Cantacuzene despatched in the first month, informed
the provinces of their loss and their duty. The prospect of a tranquil
minority was blasted by the great duke or admiral Apocaucus, and to
exaggerate _his_ perfidy, the Imperial historian is pleased to magnify
his own imprudence, in raising him to that office against the advice of
his more sagacious sovereign. Bold and subtle, rapacious and profuse,
the avarice and ambition of Apocaucus were by turns subservient to each
other; and his talents were applied to the ruin of his country.
His arrogance was heightened by the command of a naval force and an
impregnable castle, and under the mask of oaths and flattery he secretly
conspired against his benefactor. The female court of the empress was
bribed and directed; he encouraged Anne of Savoy to assert, by the law
of nature, the tutelage of her son; the love of power was disguised by
the anxiety of maternal tenderness: and the founder of the Palæologi had
instructed his posterity to dread the example of a perfidious guardian.
The patriarch John of Apri was a proud and feeble old man, encompassed
by a numerous and hungry kindred. He produced an obsolete epistle of
Andronicus, which bequeathed the prince and people to his pious care:
the fate of his predecessor Arsenius prompted him to prevent, rather
than punish, the crimes of a usurper; and Apocaucus smiled at the
success of his own flattery, when he beheld the Byzantine priest
assuming the state and temporal claims of the Roman pontiff. [26] Between
three persons so different in their situation and character, a private
league was concluded: a shadow of authority was restored to the senate;
and the people was tempted by the name of freedom. By this powerful
confederacy, the great domestic was assaulted at first with clandestine,
at length with open, arms. His prerogatives were disputed; his opinions
slighted; his friends persecuted; and his safety was threatened both in
the camp and city. In his absence on the public service, he was
accused of treason; proscribed as an enemy of the church and state; and
delivered with all his adherents to the sword of justice, the
vengeance of the people, and the power of the devil; his fortunes were
confiscated; his aged mother was cast into prison; [261] all his past
services were buried in oblivion; and he was driven by injustice to
perpetrate the crime of which he was accused. [27] From the review of
his preceding conduct, Cantacuzene appears to have been guiltless of any
treasonable designs; and the only suspicion of his innocence must arise
from the vehemence of his protestations, and the sublime purity which
he ascribes to his own virtue. While the empress and the patriarch
still affected the appearances of harmony, he repeatedly solicited the
permission of retiring to a private, and even a monastic, life. After
he had been declared a public enemy, it was his fervent wish to throw
himself at the feet of the young emperor, and to receive without a
murmur the stroke of the executioner: it was not without reluctance that
he listened to the voice of reason, which inculcated the sacred duty of
saving his family and friends, and proved that he could only save them
by drawing the sword and assuming the Imperial title.

[Footnote 25: See the regency and reign of John Cantacuzenus, and the
whole progress of the civil war, in his own history, (l. iii. c. 1--100,
p. 348--700,) and in that of Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. xii. c. 1--l. xv.
c. 9, p. 353--492.)]

[Footnote 26: He assumes the royal privilege of red shoes or buskins;
placed on his head a mitre of silk and gold; subscribed his epistles
with hyacinth or green ink, and claimed for the new, whatever
Constantine had given to the ancient, Rome, (Cantacuzen. l. iii. c. 36.
Nic. Gregoras, l. xiv. c. 3.)]

[Footnote 261: She died there through persecution and neglect.--M.]

[Footnote 27: Nic. Gregoras (l. xii. c. 5) confesses the innocence and
virtues of Cantacuzenus, the guilt and flagitious vices of Apocaucus;
nor does he dissemble the motive of his personal and religious enmity
to the former; nun de dia kakian allwn, aitioV o praotatoV thV tvn olwn
edoxaV? eioai jqoraV. Note: The alloi were the religious enemies and
persecutors of Nicephorus.--M.]

Chapter LXIII: Civil Wars And The Ruin Of The Greek Empire.--Part II.

In the strong city of Demotica, his peculiar domain, the emperor John
Cantacuzenus was invested with the purple buskins: his right leg was
clothed by his noble kinsmen, the left by the Latin chiefs, on whom he
conferred the order of knighthood. But even in this act of revolt, he
was still studious of loyalty; and the titles of John Palæologus and
Anne of Savoy were proclaimed before his own name and that of his wife
Irene. Such vain ceremony is a thin disguise of rebellion, nor are there
perhaps any personal wrongs that can authorize a subject to take arms
against his sovereign: but the want of preparation and success may
confirm the assurance of the usurper, that this decisive step was the
effect of necessity rather than of choice. Constantinople adhered to
the young emperor; the king of Bulgaria was invited to the relief of
Adrianople: the principal cities of Thrace and Macedonia, after some
hesitation, renounced their obedience to the great domestic; and the
leaders of the troops and provinces were induced, by their private
interest, to prefer the loose dominion of a woman and a priest. [271] The
army of Cantacuzene, in sixteen divisions, was stationed on the banks
of the Melas to tempt or to intimidate the capital: it was dispersed
by treachery or fear; and the officers, more especially the mercenary
Latins, accepted the bribes, and embraced the service, of the Byzantine
court. After this loss, the rebel emperor (he fluctuated between the two
characters) took the road of Thessalonica with a chosen remnant; but
he failed in his enterprise on that important place; and he was closely
pursued by the great duke, his enemy Apocaucus, at the head of a
superior power by sea and land. Driven from the coast, in his march, or
rather flight, into the mountains of Servia, Cantacuzene assembled his
troops to scrutinize those who were worthy and willing to accompany his
broken fortunes. A base majority bowed and retired; and his trusty band
was diminished to two thousand, and at last to five hundred, volunteers.
The _cral_, [28] or despot of the Servians received him with general
hospitality; but the ally was insensibly degraded to a suppliant, a
hostage, a captive; and in this miserable dependence, he waited at the
door of the Barbarian, who could dispose of the life and liberty of a
Roman emperor. The most tempting offers could not persuade the cral to
violate his trust; but he soon inclined to the stronger side; and his
friend was dismissed without injury to a new vicissitude of hopes and
perils. Near six years the flame of discord burnt with various success
and unabated rage: the cities were distracted by the faction of the
nobles and the plebeians; the Cantacuzeni and Palæologi: and the
Bulgarians, the Servians, and the Turks, were invoked on both sides
as the instruments of private ambition and the common ruin. The regent
deplored the calamities, of which he was the author and victim: and his
own experience might dictate a just and lively remark on the different
nature of foreign and civil war. "The former," said he, "is the external
warmth of summer, always tolerable, and often beneficial; the latter is
the deadly heat of a fever, which consumes without a remedy the vitals
of the constitution." [29]

[Footnote 271: Cantacuzene asserts, that in all the cities, the populace
were on the side of the emperor, the aristocracy on his. The
populace took the opportunity of rising and plundering the wealthy as
Cantacuzenites, vol. iii. c. 29 Ages of common oppression and ruin had
not extinguished these republican factions.--M.]

[Footnote 28: The princes of Servia (Ducange, Famil. Dalmaticæ, &c.,
c. 2, 3, 4, 9) were styled Despots in Greek, and Cral in their native
idiom, (Ducange, Gloss. Græc. p. 751.) That title, the equivalent
of king, appears to be of Sclavonic origin, from whence it has been
borrowed by the Hungarians, the modern Greeks, and even by the Turks,
(Leunclavius, Pandect. Turc. p. 422,) who reserve the name of Padishah
for the emperor. To obtain the latter instead of the former is the
ambition of the French at Constantinople, (Aversissement à l'Histoire de
Timur Bec, p. 39.)]

[Footnote 29: Nic. Gregoras, l. xii. c. 14. It is surprising that
Cantacuzene has not inserted this just and lively image in his own

The introduction of barbarians and savages into the contests of
civilized nations, is a measure pregnant with shame and mischief; which
the interest of the moment may compel, but which is reprobated by the
best principles of humanity and reason. It is the practice of both sides
to accuse their enemies of the guilt of the first alliances; and those
who fail in their negotiations are loudest in their censure of the
example which they envy and would gladly imitate. The Turks of Asia were
less barbarous perhaps than the shepherds of Bulgaria and Servia; but
their religion rendered them implacable foes of Rome and Christianity.
To acquire the friendship of their emirs, the two factions vied with
each other in baseness and profusion: the dexterity of Cantacuzene
obtained the preference: but the succor and victory were dearly
purchased by the marriage of his daughter with an infidel, the captivity
of many thousand Christians, and the passage of the Ottomans into
Europe, the last and fatal stroke in the fall of the Roman empire. The
inclining scale was decided in his favor by the death of Apocaucus, the
just though singular retribution of his crimes. A crowd of nobles or
plebeians, whom he feared or hated, had been seized by his orders in
the capital and the provinces; and the old palace of Constantine was
assigned as the place of their confinement. Some alterations in raising
the walls, and narrowing the cells, had been ingeniously contrived
to prevent their escape, and aggravate their misery; and the work
was incessantly pressed by the daily visits of the tyrant. His guards
watched at the gate, and as he stood in the inner court to overlook
the architects, without fear or suspicion, he was assaulted and
laid breathless on the ground, by two [291] resolute prisoners of the
Palæologian race, [30] who were armed with sticks, and animated by
despair. On the rumor of revenge and liberty, the captive multitude
broke their fetters, fortified their prison, and exposed from the
battlements the tyrant's head, presuming on the favor of the people and
the clemency of the empress. Anne of Savoy might rejoice in the fall of
a haughty and ambitious minister, but while she delayed to resolve or
to act, the populace, more especially the mariners, were excited by the
widow of the great duke to a sedition, an assault, and a massacre. The
prisoners (of whom the far greater part were guiltless or inglorious of
the deed) escaped to a neighboring church: they were slaughtered at the
foot of the altar; and in his death the monster was not less bloody and
venomous than in his life. Yet his talents alone upheld the cause of the
young emperor; and his surviving associates, suspicious of each other,
abandoned the conduct of the war, and rejected the fairest terms of
accommodation. In the beginning of the dispute, the empress felt, and
complained, that she was deceived by the enemies of Cantacuzene: the
patriarch was employed to preach against the forgiveness of injuries;
and her promise of immortal hatred was sealed by an oath, under the
penalty of excommunication. [31] But Anne soon learned to hate without a
teacher: she beheld the misfortunes of the empire with the indifference
of a stranger: her jealousy was exasperated by the competition of a
rival empress; and on the first symptoms of a more yielding temper, she
threatened the patriarch to convene a synod, and degrade him from
his office. Their incapacity and discord would have afforded the most
decisive advantage; but the civil war was protracted by the weakness
of both parties; and the moderation of Cantacuzene has not escaped
the reproach of timidity and indolence. He successively recovered the
provinces and cities; and the realm of his pupil was measured by the
walls of Constantinople; but the metropolis alone counterbalanced the
rest of the empire; nor could he attempt that important conquest till he
had secured in his favor the public voice and a private correspondence.
An Italian, of the name of Facciolati, [32] had succeeded to the office
of great duke: the ships, the guards, and the golden gate, were subject
to his command; but his humble ambition was bribed to become the
instrument of treachery; and the revolution was accomplished without
danger or bloodshed. Destitute of the powers of resistance, or the hope
of relief, the inflexible Anne would have still defended the palace,
and have smiled to behold the capital in flames, rather than in the
possession of a rival. She yielded to the prayers of her friends and
enemies; and the treaty was dictated by the conqueror, who professed a
loyal and zealous attachment to the son of his benefactor. The marriage
of his daughter with John Palæologus was at length consummated:
the hereditary right of the pupil was acknowledged; but the sole
administration during ten years was vested in the guardian. Two emperors
and three empresses were seated on the Byzantine throne; and a general
amnesty quieted the apprehensions, and confirmed the property, of the
most guilty subjects. The festival of the coronation and nuptials was
celebrated with the appearances of concord and magnificence, and both
were equally fallacious. During the late troubles, the treasures of
the state, and even the furniture of the palace, had been alienated or
embezzled; the royal banquet was served in pewter or earthenware; and
such was the proud poverty of the times, that the absence of gold and
jewels was supplied by the paltry artifices of glass and gilt-leather.

[Footnote 291: Nicephorus says four, p.734.]

[Footnote 30: The two avengers were both Palæologi, who might resent,
with royal indignation, the shame of their chains. The tragedy of
Apocaucus may deserve a peculiar reference to Cantacuzene (l. iii. c.
86) and Nic. Gregoras, (l. xiv. c. 10.)]

[Footnote 31: Cantacuzene accuses the patriarch, and spares the empress,
the mother of his sovereign, (l. iii. 33, 34,) against whom Nic.
Gregoras expresses a particular animosity, (l. xiv. 10, 11, xv. 5.) It
is true that they do not speak exactly of the same time.]

[Footnote 32: The traitor and treason are revealed by Nic. Gregoras,
(l. xv. c. 8;) but the name is more discreetly suppressed by his great
accomplice, (Cantacuzen. l. iii. c. 99.)]

[Footnote 33: Nic. Greg. l. xv. 11. There were, however, some true
pearls, but very thinly sprinkled. The rest of the stones had only
pantodaphn croian proV to diaugeV.]

I hasten to conclude the personal history of John Cantacuzene. [34] He
triumphed and reigned; but his reign and triumph were clouded by the
discontent of his own and the adverse faction. His followers might style
the general amnesty an act of pardon for his enemies, and of oblivion
for his friends: [35] in his cause their estates had been forfeited or
plundered; and as they wandered naked and hungry through the streets,
they cursed the selfish generosity of a leader, who, on the throne of
the empire, might relinquish without merit his private inheritance. The
adherents of the empress blushed to hold their lives and fortunes by the
precarious favor of a usurper; and the thirst of revenge was concealed
by a tender concern for the succession, and even the safety, of her son.
They were justly alarmed by a petition of the friends of Cantacuzene,
that they might be released from their oath of allegiance to the
Palæologi, and intrusted with the defence of some cautionary towns; a
measure supported with argument and eloquence; and which was rejected
(says the Imperial historian) "by _my_ sublime, and almost incredible
virtue." His repose was disturbed by the sound of plots and seditions;
and he trembled lest the lawful prince should be stolen away by some
foreign or domestic enemy, who would inscribe his name and his wrongs in
the banners of rebellion. As the son of Andronicus advanced in the years
of manhood, he began to feel and to act for himself; and his rising
ambition was rather stimulated than checked by the imitation of his
father's vices. If we may trust his own professions, Cantacuzene labored
with honest industry to correct these sordid and sensual appetites, and
to raise the mind of the young prince to a level with his fortune. In
the Servian expedition, the two emperors showed themselves in cordial
harmony to the troops and provinces; and the younger colleague was
initiated by the elder in the mysteries of war and government. After the
conclusion of the peace, Palæologus was left at Thessalonica, a royal
residence, and a frontier station, to secure by his absence the peace
of Constantinople, and to withdraw his youth from the temptations of a
luxurious capital. But the distance weakened the powers of control,
and the son of Andronicus was surrounded with artful or unthinking
companions, who taught him to hate his guardian, to deplore his exile,
and to vindicate his rights. A private treaty with the cral or despot
of Servia was soon followed by an open revolt; and Cantacuzene, on
the throne of the elder Andronicus, defended the cause of age and
prerogative, which in his youth he had so vigorously attacked. At his
request the empress-mother undertook the voyage of Thessalonica, and the
office of mediation: she returned without success; and unless Anne of
Savoy was instructed by adversity, we may doubt the sincerity, or at
least the fervor, of her zeal. While the regent grasped the sceptre with
a firm and vigorous hand, she had been instructed to declare, that the
ten years of his legal administration would soon elapse; and that, after
a full trial of the vanity of the world, the emperor Cantacuzene sighed
for the repose of a cloister, and was ambitious only of a heavenly
crown. Had these sentiments been genuine, his voluntary abdication would
have restored the peace of the empire, and his conscience would have
been relieved by an act of justice. Palæologus alone was responsible for
his future government; and whatever might be his vices, they were
surely less formidable than the calamities of a civil war, in which the
Barbarians and infidels were again invited to assist the Greeks in their
mutual destruction. By the arms of the Turks, who now struck a deep and
everlasting root in Europe, Cantacuzene prevailed in the third contest
in which he had been involved; and the young emperor, driven from the
sea and land, was compelled to take shelter among the Latins of the Isle
of Tenedos. His insolence and obstinacy provoked the victor to a step
which must render the quarrel irreconcilable; and the association of
his son Matthew, whom he invested with the purple, established the
succession in the family of the Cantacuzeni. But Constantinople was
still attached to the blood of her ancient princes; and this last
injury accelerated the restoration of the rightful heir. A noble Genoese
espoused the cause of Palæologus, obtained a promise of his sister, and
achieved the revolution with two galleys and two thousand five hundred
auxiliaries. Under the pretence of distress, they were admitted into the
lesser port; a gate was opened, and the Latin shout of, "Long life and
victory to the emperor, John Palæologus!" was answered by a general
rising in his favor. A numerous and loyal party yet adhered to the
standard of Cantacuzene: but he asserts in his history (does he hope for
belief?) that his tender conscience rejected the assurance of conquest;
that, in free obedience to the voice of religion and philosophy, he
descended from the throne and embraced with pleasure the monastic habit
and profession. [36] So soon as he ceased to be a prince, his successor
was not unwilling that he should be a saint: the remainder of his life
was devoted to piety and learning; in the cells of Constantinople
and Mount Athos, the monk Joasaph was respected as the temporal and
spiritual father of the emperor; and if he issued from his retreat, it
was as the minister of peace, to subdue the obstinacy, and solicit the
pardon, of his rebellious son. [37]

[Footnote 34: From his return to Constantinople, Cantacuzene continues
his history and that of the empire, one year beyond the abdication of
his son Matthew, A.D. 1357, (l. iv. c. l--50, p. 705--911.) Nicephorus
Gregoras ends with the synod of Constantinople, in the year 1351, (l.
xxii. c. 3, p. 660; the rest, to the conclusion of the xxivth book, p.
717, is all controversy;) and his fourteen last books are still MSS. in
the king of France's library.]

[Footnote 35: The emperor (Cantacuzen. l. iv. c. 1) represents his own
virtues, and Nic. Gregoras (l. xv. c. 11) the complaints of his friends,
who suffered by its effects. I have lent them the words of our poor
cavaliers after the Restoration.]

[Footnote 36: The awkward apology of Cantacuzene, (l. iv. c. 39--42,)
who relates, with visible confusion, his own downfall, may be supplied
by the less accurate, but more honest, narratives of Matthew Villani (l.
iv. c. 46, in the Script. Rerum Ital. tom. xiv. p. 268) and Ducas, (c
10, 11.)]

[Footnote 37: Cantacuzene, in the year 1375, was honored with a letter
from the pope, (Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 250.) His death
is placed by a respectable authority on the 20th of November, 1411,
(Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 260.) But if he were of the age of his
companion Andronicus the Younger, he must have lived 116 years; a rare
instance of longevity, which in so illustrious a person would have
attracted universal notice.]

Yet in the cloister, the mind of Cantacuzene was still exercised by
theological war. He sharpened a controversial pen against the Jews
and Mahometans; [38] and in every state he defended with equal zeal the
divine light of Mount Thabor, a memorable question which consummates the
religious follies of the Greeks. The fakirs of India, [39] and the
monks of the Oriental church, were alike persuaded, that in the total
abstraction of the faculties of the mind and body, the purer spirit
may ascend to the enjoyment and vision of the Deity. The opinion and
practice of the monasteries of Mount Athos [40] will be best represented
in the words of an abbot, who flourished in the eleventh century. "When
thou art alone in thy cell," says the ascetic teacher, "shut thy door,
and seat thyself in a corner: raise thy mind above all things vain and
transitory; recline thy beard and chin on thy breast; turn thy eyes and
thy thoughts toward the middle of thy belly, the region of the navel;
and search the place of the heart, the seat of the soul. At first, all
will be dark and comfortless; but if you persevere day and night, you
will feel an ineffable joy; and no sooner has the soul discovered the
place of the heart, than it is involved in a mystic and ethereal light."
This light, the production of a distempered fancy, the creature of an
empty stomach and an empty brain, was adored by the Quietists as the
pure and perfect essence of God himself; and as long as the folly was
confined to Mount Athos, the simple solitaries were not inquisitive
how the divine essence could be a _material_ substance, or how an
_immaterial_ substance could be perceived by the eyes of the body. But
in the reign of the younger Andronicus, these monasteries were visited
by Barlaam, [41] a Calabrian monk, who was equally skilled in philosophy
and theology; who possessed the language of the Greeks and Latins; and
whose versatile genius could maintain their opposite creeds, according
to the interest of the moment. The indiscretion of an ascetic revealed
to the curious traveller the secrets of mental prayer and Barlaam
embraced the opportunity of ridiculing the Quietists, who placed the
soul in the navel; of accusing the monks of Mount Athos of heresy
and blasphemy. His attack compelled the more learned to renounce or
dissemble the simple devotion of their brethren; and Gregory Palamas
introduced a scholastic distinction between the essence and operation
of God. His inaccessible essence dwells in the midst of an uncreated
and eternal light; and this beatific vision of the saints had been
manifested to the disciples on Mount Thabor, in the transfiguration
of Christ. Yet this distinction could not escape the reproach of
polytheism; the eternity of the light of Thabor was fiercely denied; and
Barlaam still charged the Palamites with holding two eternal substances,
a visible and an invisible God. From the rage of the monks of Mount
Athos, who threatened his life, the Calabrian retired to Constantinople,
where his smooth and specious manners introduced him to the favor of the
great domestic and the emperor. The court and the city were involved
in this theological dispute, which flamed amidst the civil war; but
the doctrine of Barlaam was disgraced by his flight and apostasy: the
Palamites triumphed; and their adversary, the patriarch John of Apri,
was deposed by the consent of the adverse factions of the state. In the
character of emperor and theologian, Cantacuzene presided in the synod
of the Greek church, which established, as an article of faith, the
uncreated light of Mount Thabor; and, after so many insults, the reason
of mankind was slightly wounded by the addition of a single absurdity.
Many rolls of paper or parchment have been blotted; and the impenitent
sectaries, who refused to subscribe the orthodox creed, were deprived
of the honors of Christian burial; but in the next age the question was
forgotten; nor can I learn that the axe or the fagot were employed for
the extirpation of the Barlaamite heresy. [42]

[Footnote 38: His four discourses, or books, were printed at Basil,
1543, (Fabric Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 473.) He composed them to
satisfy a proselyte who was assaulted with letters from his friends of
Ispahan. Cantacuzene had read the Koran; but I understand from Maracci
that he adopts the vulgar prejudices and fables against Mahomet and his

[Footnote 39: See the Voyage de Bernier, tom. i. p. 127.]

[Footnote 40: Mosheim, Institut. Hist. Ecclés. p. 522, 523. Fleury,
Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 22, 24, 107--114, &c. The former unfolds the
causes with the judgment of a philosopher, the latter transcribes and
transcribes and translates with the prejudices of a Catholic priest.]

[Footnote 41: Basnage (in Canisii Antiq. Lectiones, tom. iv. p.
363--368) has investigated the character and story of Barlaam. The
duplicity of his opinions had inspired some doubts of the identity
of his person. See likewise Fabricius, (Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p.

[Footnote 42: See Cantacuzene (l. ii. c. 39, 40, l. iv. c. 3, 23, 24,
25) and Nic. Gregoras, (l. xi. c. 10, l. xv. 3, 7, &c.,) whose last
books, from the xixth to xxivth, are almost confined to a subject so
interesting to the authors. Boivin, (in Vit. Nic. Gregoræ,) from the
unpublished books, and Fabricius, (Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 462--473,)
or rather Montfaucon, from the MSS. of the Coislin library, have added
some facts and documents.]

For the conclusion of this chapter, I have reserved the Genoese war,
which shook the throne of Cantacuzene, and betrayed the debility of the
Greek empire. The Genoese, who, after the recovery of Constantinople,
were seated in the suburb of Pera or Galata, received that honorable
fief from the bounty of the emperor. They were indulged in the use of
their laws and magistrates; but they submitted to the duties of vassals
and subjects; the forcible word of _liegemen_[43] was borrowed from the
Latin jurisprudence; and their _podesta_, or chief, before he entered
on his office, saluted the emperor with loyal acclamations and vows of
fidelity. Genoa sealed a firm alliance with the Greeks; and, in case of
a defensive war, a supply of fifty empty galleys and a succor of fifty
galleys, completely armed and manned, was promised by the republic to
the empire. In the revival of a naval force, it was the aim of Michael
Palæologus to deliver himself from a foreign aid; and his vigorous
government contained the Genoese of Galata within those limits which
the insolence of wealth and freedom provoked them to exceed. A sailor
threatened that they should soon be masters of Constantinople, and slew
the Greek who resented this national affront; and an armed vessel, after
refusing to salute the palace, was guilty of some acts of piracy in the
Black Sea. Their countrymen threatened to support their cause; but the
long and open village of Galata was instantly surrounded by the Imperial
troops; till, in the moment of the assault, the prostrate Genoese
implored the clemency of their sovereign. The defenceless situation
which secured their obedience exposed them to the attack of their
Venetian rivals, who, in the reign of the elder Andronicus, presumed to
violate the majesty of the throne. On the approach of their fleets, the
Genoese, with their families and effects, retired into the city: their
empty habitations were reduced to ashes; and the feeble prince, who had
viewed the destruction of his suburb, expressed his resentment, not by
arms, but by ambassadors. This misfortune, however, was advantageous
to the Genoese, who obtained, and imperceptibly abused, the dangerous
license of surrounding Galata with a strong wall; of introducing into
the ditch the waters of the sea; of erecting lofty turrets; and of
mounting a train of military engines on the rampart. The narrow bounds
in which they had been circumscribed were insufficient for the growing
colony; each day they acquired some addition of landed property; and the
adjacent hills were covered with their villas and castles, which they
joined and protected by new fortifications. [44] The navigation and trade
of the Euxine was the patrimony of the Greek emperors, who commanded the
narrow entrance, the gates, as it were, of that inland sea. In the reign
of Michael Palæologus, their prerogative was acknowledged by the sultan
of Egypt, who solicited and obtained the liberty of sending an annual
ship for the purchase of slaves in Circassia and the Lesser Tartary:
a liberty pregnant with mischief to the Christian cause; since these
youths were transformed by education and discipline into the formidable
Mamalukes. [45] From the colony of Pera, the Genoese engaged with
superior advantage in the lucrative trade of the Black Sea; and their
industry supplied the Greeks with fish and corn; two articles of food
almost equally important to a superstitious people. The spontaneous
bounty of nature appears to have bestowed the harvests of Ukraine, the
produce of a rude and savage husbandry; and the endless exportation of
salt fish and caviare is annually renewed by the enormous sturgeons that
are caught at the mouth of the Don or Tanais, in their last station
of the rich mud and shallow water of the Mæotis. [46] The waters of the
Oxus, the Caspian, the Volga, and the Don, opened a rare and laborious
passage for the gems and spices of India; and after three months'
march the caravans of Carizme met the Italian vessels in the harbors
of Crimæa. [47] These various branches of trade were monopolized by the
diligence and power of the Genoese. Their rivals of Venice and Pisa
were forcibly expelled; the natives were awed by the castles and cities,
which arose on the foundations of their humble factories; and their
principal establishment of Caffa [48] was besieged without effect by the
Tartar powers. Destitute of a navy, the Greeks were oppressed by these
haughty merchants, who fed, or famished, Constantinople, according to
their interest. They proceeded to usurp the customs, the fishery, and
even the toll, of the Bosphorus; and while they derived from these
objects a revenue of two hundred thousand pieces of gold, a remnant of
thirty thousand was reluctantly allowed to the emperor. [49] The colony
of Pera or Galata acted, in peace and war, as an independent state; and,
as it will happen in distant settlements, the Genoese podesta too often
forgot that he was the servant of his own masters.

[Footnote 43: Pachymer (l. v. c. 10) very properly explains liziouV
(_ligios_) by?lidiouV. The use of these words in the Greek and Latin of
the feudal times may be amply understood from the Glossaries of Ducange,
(Græc. p. 811, 812. Latin. tom. iv. p. 109--111.)]

[Footnote 44: The establishment and progress of the Genoese at Pera, or
Galata, is described by Ducange (C. P. Christiana, l. i. p. 68, 69) from
the Byzantine historians, Pachymer, (l. ii. c. 35, l. v. 10, 30, l. ix.
15 l. xii. 6, 9,) Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. v. c. 4, l. vi. c. 11, l. ix.
c. 5, l. ix. c. 1, l. xv. c. 1, 6,) and Cantacuzene, (l. i. c. 12, l.
ii. c. 29, &c.)]

[Footnote 45: Both Pachymer (l. iii. c. 3, 4, 5) and Nic. Greg. (l. iv.
c. 7) understand and deplore the effects of this dangerous indulgence.
Bibars, sultan of Egypt, himself a Tartar, but a devout Mussulman,
obtained from the children of Zingis the permission to build a stately
mosque in the capital of Crimea, (De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. iii.
p. 343.)]

[Footnote 46: Chardin (Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 48) was assured at
Caffa, that these fishes were sometimes twenty-four or twenty-six feet
long, weighed eight or nine hundred pounds, and yielded three or
four quintals of caviare. The corn of the Bosphorus had supplied the
Athenians in the time of Demosthenes.]

[Footnote 47: De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 343, 344. Viaggi
di Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 400. But this land or water carriage could
only be practicable when Tartary was united under a wise and powerful

[Footnote 48: Nic. Gregoras (l. xiii. c. 12) is judicious and well
informed on the trade and colonies of the Black Sea. Chardin describes
the present ruins of Caffa, where, in forty days, he saw above 400
sail employed in the corn and fish trade, (Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p.

[Footnote 49: See Nic. Gregoras, l. xvii. c. 1.]

These usurpations were encouraged by the weakness of the elder
Andronicus, and by the civil wars that afflicted his age and the
minority of his grandson. The talents of Cantacuzene were employed to
the ruin, rather than the restoration, of the empire; and after his
domestic victory, he was condemned to an ignominious trial, whether the
Greeks or the Genoese should reign in Constantinople. The merchants
of Pera were offended by his refusal of some contiguous land,
some commanding heights, which they proposed to cover with new
fortifications; and in the absence of the emperor, who was detained at
Demotica by sickness, they ventured to brave the debility of a female
reign. A Byzantine vessel, which had presumed to fish at the mouth of
the harbor, was sunk by these audacious strangers; the fishermen
were murdered. Instead of suing for pardon, the Genoese demanded
satisfaction; required, in a haughty strain, that the Greeks should
renounce the exercise of navigation; and encountered with regular arms
the first sallies of the popular indignation. They instantly occupied
the debatable land; and by the labor of a whole people, of either sex
and of every age, the wall was raised, and the ditch was sunk, with
incredible speed. At the same time, they attacked and burnt two
Byzantine galleys; while the three others, the remainder of the Imperial
navy, escaped from their hands: the habitations without the gates,
or along the shore, were pillaged and destroyed; and the care of the
regent, of the empress Irene, was confined to the preservation of the
city. The return of Cantacuzene dispelled the public consternation: the
emperor inclined to peaceful counsels; but he yielded to the obstinacy
of his enemies, who rejected all reasonable terms, and to the ardor of
his subjects, who threatened, in the style of Scripture, to break them
in pieces like a potter's vessel. Yet they reluctantly paid the taxes,
that he imposed for the construction of ships, and the expenses of the
war; and as the two nations were masters, the one of the land, the
other of the sea, Constantinople and Pera were pressed by the evils of
a mutual siege. The merchants of the colony, who had believed that a
few days would terminate the war, already murmured at their losses: the
succors from their mother-country were delayed by the factions of Genoa;
and the most cautious embraced the opportunity of a Rhodian vessel to
remove their families and effects from the scene of hostility. In
the spring, the Byzantine fleet, seven galleys and a train of smaller
vessels, issued from the mouth of the harbor, and steered in a single
line along the shore of Pera; unskilfully presenting their sides to the
beaks of the adverse squadron. The crews were composed of peasants and
mechanics; nor was their ignorance compensated by the native courage of
Barbarians: the wind was strong, the waves were rough; and no sooner
did the Greeks perceive a distant and inactive enemy, than they leaped
headlong into the sea, from a doubtful, to an inevitable peril. The
troops that marched to the attack of the lines of Pera were struck at
the same moment with a similar panic; and the Genoese were astonished,
and almost ashamed, at their double victory. Their triumphant vessels,
crowned with flowers, and dragging after them the captive galleys,
repeatedly passed and repassed before the palace: the only virtue of the
emperor was patience; and the hope of revenge his sole consolation. Yet
the distress of both parties interposed a temporary agreement; and the
shame of the empire was disguised by a thin veil of dignity and power.
Summoning the chiefs of the colony, Cantacuzene affected to despise the
trivial object of the debate; and, after a mild reproof, most liberally
granted the lands, which had been previously resigned to the seeming
custody of his officers. [50]

[Footnote 50: The events of this war are related by Cantacuzene (l. iv.
c. 11 with obscurity and confusion, and by Nic. Gregoras l. xvii. c.
1--7) in a clear and honest narrative. The priest was less responsible
than the prince for the defeat of the fleet.]

But the emperor was soon solicited to violate the treaty, and to join
his arms with the Venetians, the perpetual enemies of Genoa and her
colonies. While he compared the reasons of peace and war, his moderation
was provoked by a wanton insult of the inhabitants of Pera, who
discharged from their rampart a large stone that fell in the midst of
Constantinople. On his just complaint, they coldly blamed the imprudence
of their engineer; but the next day the insult was repeated; and they
exulted in a second proof that the royal city was not beyond the reach
of their artillery. Cantacuzene instantly signed his treaty with the
Venetians; but the weight of the Roman empire was scarcely felt in the
balance of these opulent and powerful republics. [51] From the Straits
of Gibraltar to the mouth of the Tanais, their fleets encountered each
other with various success; and a memorable battle was fought in the
narrow sea, under the walls of Constantinople. It would not be an easy
task to reconcile the accounts of the Greeks, the Venetians, and
the Genoese; [52] and while I depend on the narrative of an impartial
historian, [53] I shall borrow from each nation the facts that redound
to their own disgrace, and the honor of their foes. The Venetians, with
their allies the Catalans, had the advantage of number; and their
fleet, with the poor addition of eight Byzantine galleys, amounted to
seventy-five sail: the Genoese did not exceed sixty-four; but in those
times their ships of war were distinguished by the superiority of their
size and strength. The names and families of their naval commanders,
Pisani and Doria, are illustrious in the annals of their country; but
the personal merit of the former was eclipsed by the fame and abilities
of his rival. They engaged in tempestuous weather; and the tumultuary
conflict was continued from the dawn to the extinction of light.
The enemies of the Genoese applaud their prowess; the friends of the
Venetians are dissatisfied with their behavior; but all parties agree
in praising the skill and boldness of the Catalans, [531] who, with many
wounds, sustained the brunt of the action. On the separation of the
fleets, the event might appear doubtful; but the thirteen Genoese
galleys, that had been sunk or taken, were compensated by a double loss
of the allies; of fourteen Venetians, ten Catalans, and two Greeks; [532]
and even the grief of the conquerors expressed the assurance and habit
of more decisive victories. Pisani confessed his defeat, by retiring
into a fortified harbor, from whence, under the pretext of the orders of
the senate, he steered with a broken and flying squadron for the Isle
of Candia, and abandoned to his rivals the sovereignty of the sea. In a
public epistle, [54] addressed to the doge and senate, Petrarch employs
his eloquence to reconcile the maritime powers, the two luminaries of
Italy. The orator celebrates the valor and victory of the Genoese,
the first of men in the exercise of naval war: he drops a tear on the
misfortunes of their Venetian brethren; but he exhorts them to pursue
with fire and sword the base and perfidious Greeks; to purge the
metropolis of the East from the heresy with which it was infected.
Deserted by their friends, the Greeks were incapable of resistance; and
three months after the battle, the emperor Cantacuzene solicited and
subscribed a treaty, which forever banished the Venetians and Catalans,
and granted to the Genoese a monopoly of trade, and almost a right of
dominion. The Roman empire (I smile in transcribing the name) might soon
have sunk into a province of Genoa, if the ambition of the republic
had not been checked by the ruin of her freedom and naval power. A long
contest of one hundred and thirty years was determined by the triumph
of Venice; and the factions of the Genoese compelled them to seek for
domestic peace under the protection of a foreign lord, the duke of
Milan, or the French king. Yet the spirit of commerce survived that of
conquest; and the colony of Pera still awed the capital and navigated
the Euxine, till it was involved by the Turks in the final servitude of
Constantinople itself.

[Footnote 51: The second war is darkly told by Cantacuzene, (l. iv. c.
18, p. 24, 25, 28--32,) who wishes to disguise what he dares not deny. I
regret this part of Nic. Gregoras, which is still in MS. at Paris. * Note:
This part of Nicephorus Gregoras has not been printed in the new
edition of the Byzantine Historians. The editor expresses a hope that
it may be undertaken by Hase. I should join in the regret of Gibbon,
if these books contain any historical information: if they are but
a continuation of the controversies which fill the last books in our
present copies, they may as well sleep their eternal sleep in MS. as in

[Footnote 52: Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. xii. p. 144) refers to
the most ancient Chronicles of Venice (Caresinus, the continuator
of Andrew Dandulus, tom. xii. p. 421, 422) and Genoa, (George Stella
Annales Genuenses, tom. xvii. p. 1091, 1092;) both which I have
diligently consulted in his great Collection of the Historians of

[Footnote 53: See the Chronicle of Matteo Villani of Florence, l. ii. c.
59, p. 145--147, c. 74, 75, p. 156, 157, in Muratori's Collection, tom.

[Footnote 531: Cantacuzene praises their bravery, but imputes their losses
to their ignorance of the seas: they suffered more by the breakers than
by the enemy, vol. iii. p. 224.--M.]

[Footnote 532: Cantacuzene says that the Genoese lost twenty-eight ships
with their crews, autandroi; the Venetians and Catalans sixteen,
the Imperials, none Cantacuzene accuses Pisani of cowardice, in not
following up the victory, and destroying the Genoese. But Pisani's
conduct, and indeed Cantacuzene's account of the battle, betray the
superiority of the Genoese.--M.]

[Footnote 54: The Abbé de Sade (Mémoires sur la Vie de Petrarque, tom.
iii. p. 257--263) translates this letter, which he copied from a MS.
in the king of France's library. Though a servant of the duke of Milan,
Petrarch pours forth his astonishment and grief at the defeat and
despair of the Genoese in the following year, (p. 323--332.)]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turks.--Part I.

     Conquests Of Zingis Khan And The Moguls From China To
     Poland.--Escape Of Constantinople And The Greeks.--Origin Of
     The Ottoman Turks In Bithynia.--Reigns And Victories Of
     Othman, Orchan, Amurath The First, And Bajazet The First.--
     Foundation And Progress Of The Turkish Monarchy In Asia And
     Europe.--Danger Of Constantinople And The Greek Empire.

From the petty quarrels of a city and her suburbs, from the cowardice
and discord of the falling Greeks, I shall now ascend to the victorious
Turks; whose domestic slavery was ennobled by martial discipline,
religious enthusiasm, and the energy of the national character. The rise
and progress of the Ottomans, the present sovereigns of Constantinople,
are connected with the most important scenes of modern history; but they
are founded on a previous knowledge of the great eruption of the Moguls
[100] and Tartars; whose rapid conquests may be compared with the primitive
convulsions of nature, which have agitated and altered the surface of
the globe. I have long since asserted my claim to introduce the nations,
the immediate or remote authors of the fall of the Roman empire; nor can
I refuse myself to those events, which, from their uncommon magnitude,
will interest a philosophic mind in the history of blood. [1]

[Footnote 100: Mongol seems to approach the nearest to the proper name
of this race. The Chinese call them Mong-kou; the Mondchoux, their
neighbors, Monggo or Monggou. They called themselves also Beda.
This fact seems to have been proved by M. Schmidt against the French
Orientalists. See De Brosset. Note on Le Beau, tom. xxii p. 402.]

[Footnote 1: The reader is invited to review chapters xxii. to xxvi.,
and xxiii. to xxxviii., the manners of pastoral nations, the conquests
of Attila and the Huns, which were composed at a time when I entertained
the wish, rather than the hope, of concluding my history.]

From the spacious highlands between China, Siberia, and the Caspian Sea,
the tide of emigration and war has repeatedly been poured. These ancient
seats of the Huns and Turks were occupied in the twelfth century by many
pastoral tribes, of the same descent and similar manners, which were
united and led to conquest by the formidable Zingis. [101] In his ascent
to greatness, that Barbarian (whose private appellation was Temugin) had
trampled on the necks of his equals. His birth was noble; but it was the
pride of victory, that the prince or people deduced his seventh ancestor
from the immaculate conception of a virgin. His father had reigned over
thirteen hordes, which composed about thirty or forty thousand families:
above two thirds refused to pay tithes or obedience to his infant
son; and at the age of thirteen, Temugin fought a battle against his
rebellious subjects. The future conqueror of Asia was reduced to fly and
to obey; but he rose superior to his fortune, and in his fortieth year
he had established his fame and dominion over the circumjacent tribes.
In a state of society, in which policy is rude and valor is universal,
the ascendant of one man must be founded on his power and resolution to
punish his enemies and recompense his friends. His first military league
was ratified by the simple rites of sacrificing a horse and tasting of a
running stream: Temugin pledged himself to divide with his followers the
sweets and the bitters of life; and when he had shared among them his
horses and apparel, he was rich in their gratitude and his own hopes.
After his first victory, he placed seventy caldrons on the fire, and
seventy of the most guilty rebels were cast headlong into the boiling
water. The sphere of his attraction was continually enlarged by the
ruin of the proud and the submission of the prudent; and the boldest
chieftains might tremble, when they beheld, enchased in silver, the
skull of the khan of Keraites; [2] who, under the name of Prester John,
had corresponded with the Roman pontiff and the princes of Europe. The
ambition of Temugin condescended to employ the arts of superstition;
and it was from a naked prophet, who could ascend to heaven on a white
horse, that he accepted the title of Zingis, [3] the _most great_; and
a divine right to the conquest and dominion of the earth. In a
general _couroultai_, or diet, he was seated on a felt, which was long
afterwards revered as a relic, and solemnly proclaimed great khan, or
emperor of the Moguls [4] and Tartars. [5] Of these kindred, though rival,
names, the former had given birth to the imperial race; and the latter
has been extended by accident or error over the spacious wilderness of
the north.

[Footnote 101: On the traditions of the early life of Zingis, see D'Ohson,
Hist des Mongols; Histoire des Mongols, Paris, 1824. Schmidt, Geschichte
des Ost-Mongolen, p. 66, &c., and Notes.--M.]

[Footnote 2: The khans of the Keraites were most probably incapable of
reading the pompous epistles composed in their name by the Nestorian
missionaries, who endowed them with the fabulous wonders of an Indian
kingdom. Perhaps these Tartars (the Presbyter or Priest John) had
submitted to the rites of baptism and ordination, (Asseman, Bibliot
Orient tom. iii. p. ii. p. 487--503.)]

[Footnote 3: Since the history and tragedy of Voltaire, Gengis, at least
in French, seems to be the more fashionable spelling; but Abulghazi Khan
must have known the true name of his ancestor. His etymology appears
just: _Zin_, in the Mogul tongue, signifies _great_, and _gis_ is the
superlative termination, (Hist. Généalogique des Tatars, part iii. p.
194, 195.) From the same idea of magnitude, the appellation of _Zingis_
is bestowed on the ocean.]

[Footnote 4: The name of Moguls has prevailed among the Orientals, and
still adheres to the titular sovereign, the Great Mogul of Hindastan. *
Note: M. Remusat (sur les Langues Tartares, p. 233) justly observes,
that Timour was a Turk, not a Mogul, and, p. 242, that probably there
was not Mogul in the army of Baber, who established the Indian throne of
the "Great Mogul."--M.]

[Footnote 5: The Tartars (more properly Tatars) were descended from
Tatar Khan, the brother of Mogul Khan, (see Abulghazi, part i. and ii.,)
and once formed a horde of 70,000 families on the borders of Kitay, (p.
103--112.) In the great invasion of Europe (A.D. 1238) they seem to
have led the vanguard; and the similitude of the name of _Tartarei_,
recommended that of Tartars to the Latins, (Matt. Paris, p. 398, &c.) *
Note: This relationship, according to M. Klaproth, is fabulous, and
invented by the Mahometan writers, who, from religious zeal, endeavored
to connect the traditions of the nomads of Central Asia with those of
the Old Testament, as preserved in the Koran. There is no trace of it in
the Chinese writers. Tabl. de l'Asie, p. 156.--M.]

The code of laws which Zingis dictated to his subjects was adapted
to the preservation of a domestic peace, and the exercise of foreign
hostility. The punishment of death was inflicted on the crimes of
adultery, murder, perjury, and the capital thefts of a horse or ox; and
the fiercest of men were mild and just in their intercourse with each
other. The future election of the great khan was vested in the princes
of his family and the heads of the tribes; and the regulations of the
chase were essential to the pleasures and plenty of a Tartar camp. The
victorious nation was held sacred from all servile labors, which were
abandoned to slaves and strangers; and every labor was servile except
the profession of arms. The service and discipline of the troops, who
were armed with bows, cimeters, and iron maces, and divided by hundreds,
thousands, and ten thousands, were the institutions of a veteran
commander. Each officer and soldier was made responsible, under pain
of death, for the safety and honor of his companions; and the spirit of
conquest breathed in the law, that peace should never be granted unless
to a vanquished and suppliant enemy. But it is the religion of Zingis
that best deserves our wonder and applause. [501] The Catholic inquisitors
of Europe, who defended nonsense by cruelty, might have been confounded
by the example of a Barbarian, who anticipated the lessons of
philosophy, [6] and established by his laws a system of pure theism
and perfect toleration. His first and only article of faith was the
existence of one God, the Author of all good; who fills by his presence
the heavens and earth, which he has created by his power. The Tartars
and Moguls were addicted to the idols of their peculiar tribes; and many
of them had been converted by the foreign missionaries to the religions
of Moses, of Mahomet, and of Christ. These various systems in freedom
and concord were taught and practised within the precincts of the same
camp; and the Bonze, the Imam, the Rabbi, the Nestorian, and the Latin
priest, enjoyed the same honorable exemption from service and tribute:
in the mosque of Bochara, the insolent victor might trample the Koran
under his horse's feet, but the calm legislator respected the prophets
and pontiffs of the most hostile sects. The reason of Zingis was not
informed by books: the khan could neither read nor write; and, except
the tribe of the Igours, the greatest part of the Moguls and Tartars
were as illiterate as their sovereign. [601] The memory of their exploits
was preserved by tradition: sixty-eight years after the death of Zingis,
these traditions were collected and transcribed; [7] the brevity of
their domestic annals may be supplied by the Chinese, [8] Persians, [9]
Armenians, [10] Syrians, [11] Arabians, [12] Greeks, [13] Russians, [14]
Poles, [15] Hungarians, [16] and Latins; [17] and each nation will deserve
credit in the relation of their own disasters and defeats. [18]

[Footnote 501: Before his armies entered Thibet, he sent an embassy to
Bogdosottnam-Dsimmo, a Lama high priest, with a letter to this effect:
"I have chosen thee as high priest for myself and my empire. Repair then
to me, and promote the present and future happiness of man: I will be
thy supporter and protector: let us establish a system of religion,
and unite it with the monarchy," &c. The high priest accepted the
invitation; and the Mongol history literally terms this step the _period
of the first respect for religion_; because the monarch, by his public
profession, made it the religion of the state. Klaproth. "Travels in
Caucasus," ch. 7, Eng. Trans. p. 92. Neither Dshingis nor his son and
successor Oegodah had, on account of their continual wars, much leisure
for the propagation of the religion of the Lama. By religion they
understand a distinct, independent, sacred moral code, which has but
one origin, one source, and one object. This notion they universally
propagate, and even believe that the brutes, and all created beings,
have a religion adapted to their sphere of action. The different forms
of the various religions they ascribe to the difference of individuals,
nations, and legislators. Never do you hear of their inveighing against
any creed, even against the obviously absurd Schaman paganism, or of
their persecuting others on that account. They themselves, on the
other hand, endure every hardship, and even persecutions, with perfect
resignation, and indulgently excuse the follies of others, nay, consider
them as a motive for increased ardor in prayer, ch. ix. p. 109.--M.]

[Footnote 6: A singular conformity may be found between the religious
laws of Zingis Khan and of Mr. Locke, (Constitutions of Carolina, in his
works, vol. iv. p. 535, 4to. edition, 1777.)]

[Footnote 601: See the notice on Tha-tha-toung-o, the Ouogour minister of
Tchingis, in Abel Remusat's 2d series of Recherch. Asiat. vol. ii. p.
61. He taught the son of Tchingis to write: "He was the instructor of
the Moguls in writing, of which they were before ignorant;" and hence
the application of the Ouigour characters to the Mogul language cannot
be placed earlier than the year 1204 or 1205, nor so late as the time of
Pà-sse-pa, who lived under Khubilai. A new alphabet, approaching to that
of Thibet, was introduced under Khubilai.--M.]

[Footnote 7: In the year 1294, by the command of Cazan, khan of Persia,
the fourth in descent from Zingis. From these traditions, his vizier
Fadlallah composed a Mogul history in the Persian language, which has
been used by Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Genghizcan, p. 537--539.) The
Histoire Généalogique des Tatars (à Leyde, 1726, in 12mo., 2 tomes) was
translated by the Swedish prisoners in Siberia from the Mogul MS. of
Abulgasi Bahadur Khan, a descendant of Zingis, who reigned over the
Usbeks of Charasm, or Carizme, (A.D. 1644--1663.) He is of most value
and credit for the names, pedigrees, and manners of his nation. Of his
nine parts, the ist descends from Adam to Mogul Khan; the iid, from
Mogul to Zingis; the iiid is the life of Zingis; the ivth, vth, vith,
and viith, the general history of his four sons and their posterity; the
viiith and ixth, the particular history of the descendants of Sheibani
Khan, who reigned in Maurenahar and Charasm.]

[Footnote 8: Histoire de Gentchiscan, et de toute la Dinastie des
Mongous ses Successeurs, Conquerans de la Chine; tirée de l'Histoire
de la Chine par le R. P. Gaubil, de la Société de Jesus, Missionaire
à Peking; à Paris, 1739, in 4to. This translation is stamped with the
Chinese character of domestic accuracy and foreign ignorance.]

[Footnote 9: See the Histoire du Grand Genghizcan, premier Empereur des
Moguls et Tartares, par M. Petit de la Croix, à Paris, 1710, in 12mo.; a
work of ten years' labor, chiefly drawn from the Persian writers, among
whom Nisavi, the secretary of Sultan Gelaleddin, has the merit and
prejudices of a contemporary. A slight air of romance is the fault
of the originals, or the compiler. See likewise the articles of
_Genghizcan_, _Mohammed_, _Gelaleddin_, &c., in the Bibliothèque
Orientale of D'Herbelot. * Note: The preface to the Hist. des Mongols,
(Paris, 1824) gives a catalogue of the Arabic and Persian authorities.--

[Footnote 10: Haithonus, or Aithonus, an Armenian prince, and afterwards
a monk of Premontré, (Fabric, Bibliot. Lat. Medii Ævi, tom. i. p.
34,) dictated in the French language, his book _de Tartaris_, his
old fellow-soldiers. It was immediately translated into Latin, and is
inserted in the Novus Orbis of Simon Grynæus, (Basil, 1555, in folio.) *
Note: A précis at the end of the new edition of Le Beau, Hist. des
Empereurs, vol. xvii., by M. Brosset, gives large extracts from
the accounts of the Armenian historians relating to the Mogul

[Footnote 11: Zingis Khan, and his first successors, occupy the
conclusion of the ixth Dynasty of Abulpharagius, (vers. Pocock, Oxon.
1663, in 4to.;) and his xth Dynasty is that of the Moguls of Persia.
Assemannus (Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii.) has extracted some facts from his
Syriac writings, and the lives of the Jacobite maphrians, or primates of
the East.]

[Footnote 12: Among the Arabians, in language and religion, we may
distinguish Abulfeda, sultan of Hamah in Syria, who fought in person,
under the Mamaluke standard, against the Moguls.]

[Footnote 13: Nicephorus Gregoras (l. ii. c. 5, 6) has felt the
necessity of connecting the Scythian and Byzantine histories. He
describes with truth and elegance the settlement and manners of the
Moguls of Persia, but he is ignorant of their origin, and corrupts the
names of Zingis and his sons.]

[Footnote 14: M. Levesque (Histoire de Russie, tom. ii.) has described
the conquest of Russia by the Tartars, from the patriarch Nicon, and the
old chronicles.]

[Footnote 15: For Poland, I am content with the Sarmatia Asiatica et
Europæa of Matthew à Michou, or De Michoviâ, a canon and physician of
Cracow, (A.D. 1506,) inserted in the Novus Orbis of Grynæus. Fabric
Bibliot. Latin. Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis, tom. v. p. 56.]

[Footnote 16: I should quote Thuroczius, the oldest general historian
(pars ii. c. 74, p. 150) in the 1st volume of the Scriptores Rerum
Hungaricarum, did not the same volume contain the original narrative of
a contemporary, an eye-witness, and a sufferer, (M. Rogerii, Hungari,
Varadiensis Capituli Canonici, Carmen miserabile, seu Historia super
Destructione Regni Hungariæ Temporibus Belæ IV. Regis per Tartaros
facta, p. 292--321;) the best picture that I have ever seen of all the
circumstances of a Barbaric invasion.]

[Footnote 17: Matthew Paris has represented, from authentic documents,
the danger and distress of Europe, (consult the word _Tartari_ in his
copious Index.) From motives of zeal and curiosity, the court of the
great khan in the xiiith century was visited by two friars, John de
Plano Carpini, and William Rubruquis, and by Marco Polo, a Venetian
gentleman. The Latin relations of the two former are inserted in the
1st volume of Hackluyt; the Italian original or version of the third
(Fabric. Bibliot. Latin. Medii Ævi, tom. ii. p. 198, tom. v. p. 25) may
be found in the second tome of Ramusio.]

[Footnote 18: In his great History of the Huns, M. de Guignes has
most amply treated of Zingis Khan and his successors. See tom. iii. l.
xv.--xix., and in the collateral articles of the Seljukians of Roum,
tom. ii. l. xi., the Carizmians, l. xiv., and the Mamalukes, tom. iv. l.
xxi.; consult likewise the tables of the 1st volume. He is ever learned
and accurate; yet I am only indebted to him for a general view, and some
passages of Abulfeda, which are still latent in the Arabic text. *
Note: To this catalogue of the historians of the Moguls may be added
D'Ohson, Histoire des Mongols; Histoire des Mongols, (from Arabic and
Persian authorities,) Paris, 1824. Schmidt, Geschichte der Ost
Mongolen, St. Petersburgh, 1829. This curious work, by Ssanang Ssetsen
Chungtaidschi, published in the original Mongol, was written after the
conversion of the nation to Buddhism: it is enriched with very valuable
notes by the editor and translator; but, unfortunately, is very barren
of information about the European and even the western Asiatic conquests
of the Mongols.--M.]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turks.--Part II.

The arms of Zingis and his lieutenants successively reduced the hordes
of the desert, who pitched their tents between the wall of China and the
Volga; and the Mogul emperor became the monarch of the pastoral world,
the lord of many millions of shepherds and soldiers, who felt their
united strength, and were impatient to rush on the mild and wealthy
climates of the south. His ancestors had been the tributaries of the
Chinese emperors; and Temugin himself had been disgraced by a title of
honor and servitude. The court of Pekin was astonished by an embassy
from its former vassal, who, in the tone of the king of nations, exacted
the tribute and obedience which he had paid, and who affected to treat
the _son of heaven_ as the most contemptible of mankind. A haughty
answer disguised their secret apprehensions; and their fears were soon
justified by the march of innumerable squadrons, who pierced on all
sides the feeble rampart of the great wall. Ninety cities were stormed,
or starved, by the Moguls; ten only escaped; and Zingis, from a
knowledge of the filial piety of the Chinese, covered his vanguard with
their captive parents; an unworthy, and by degrees a fruitless, abuse of
the virtue of his enemies. His invasion was supported by the revolt of a
hundred thousand Khitans, who guarded the frontier: yet he listened to
a treaty; and a princess of China, three thousand horses, five hundred
youths, and as many virgins, and a tribute of gold and silk, were the
price of his retreat. In his second expedition, he compelled the Chinese
emperor to retire beyond the yellow river to a more southern residence.
The siege of Pekin [19] was long and laborious: the inhabitants were
reduced by famine to decimate and devour their fellow-citizens; when
their ammunition was spent, they discharged ingots of gold and silver
from their engines; but the Moguls introduced a mine to the centre of
the capital; and the conflagration of the palace burnt above thirty
days. China was desolated by Tartar war and domestic faction; and the
five northern provinces were added to the empire of Zingis.

[Footnote 19: More properly _Yen-king_, an ancient city, whose ruins
still appear some furlongs to the south-east of the modern _Pekin_,
which was built by Cublai Khan, (Gaubel, p. 146.) Pe-king and Nan-king
are vague titles, the courts of the north and of the south. The identity
and change of names perplex the most skilful readers of the Chinese
geography, (p. 177.) * Note: And likewise in Chinese history--see Abel
Remusat, Mel. Asiat. 2d tom. ii. p. 5.--M.]

In the West, he touched the dominions of Mohammed, sultan of Carizme,
who reigned from the Persian Gulf to the borders of India and Turkestan;
and who, in the proud imitation of Alexander the Great, forgot the
servitude and ingratitude of his fathers to the house of Seljuk. It was
the wish of Zingis to establish a friendly and commercial intercourse
with the most powerful of the Moslem princes: nor could he be tempted by
the secret solicitations of the caliph of Bagdad, who sacrificed to his
personal wrongs the safety of the church and state. A rash and inhuman
deed provoked and justified the Tartar arms in the invasion of the
southern Asia. [191] A caravan of three ambassadors and one hundred and
fifty merchants were arrested and murdered at Otrar, by the command of
Mohammed; nor was it till after a demand and denial of justice, till he
had prayed and fasted three nights on a mountain, that the Mogul emperor
appealed to the judgment of God and his sword. Our European battles,
says a philosophic writer, [20] are petty skirmishes, if compared to the
numbers that have fought and fallen in the fields of Asia. Seven hundred
thousand Moguls and Tartars are said to have marched under the standard
of Zingis and his four sons. In the vast plains that extend to the north
of the Sihon or Jaxartes, they were encountered by four hundred thousand
soldiers of the sultan; and in the first battle, which was suspended
by the night, one hundred and sixty thousand Carizmians were slain.
Mohammed was astonished by the multitude and valor of his enemies: he
withdrew from the scene of danger, and distributed his troops in the
frontier towns; trusting that the Barbarians, invincible in the field,
would be repulsed by the length and difficulty of so many regular
sieges. But the prudence of Zingis had formed a body of Chinese
engineers, skilled in the mechanic arts; informed perhaps of the secret
of gunpowder, and capable, under his discipline, of attacking a foreign
country with more vigor and success than they had defended their own.
The Persian historians will relate the sieges and reduction of Otrar,
Cogende, Bochara, Samarcand, Carizme, Herat, Merou, Nisabour, Balch,
and Candahar; and the conquest of the rich and populous countries of
Transoxiana, Carizme, and Chorazan. [204 The destructive hostilities of
Attila and the Huns have long since been elucidated by the example of
Zingis and the Moguls; and in this more proper place I shall be content
to observe, that, from the Caspian to the Indus, they ruined a tract of
many hundred miles, which was adorned with the habitations and labors of
mankind, and that five centuries have not been sufficient to repair the
ravages of four years. The Mogul emperor encouraged or indulged the fury
of his troops: the hope of future possession was lost in the ardor of
rapine and slaughter; and the cause of the war exasperated their native
fierceness by the pretence of justice and revenge. The downfall and
death of the sultan Mohammed, who expired, unpitied and alone, in a
desert island of the Caspian Sea, is a poor atonement for the calamities
of which he was the author. Could the Carizmian empire have been saved
by a single hero, it would have been saved by his son Gelaleddin, whose
active valor repeatedly checked the Moguls in the career of victory.
Retreating, as he fought, to the banks of the Indus, he was oppressed by
their innumerable host, till, in the last moment of despair, Gelaleddin
spurred his horse into the waves, swam one of the broadest and most
rapid rivers of Asia, and extorted the admiration and applause of Zingis
himself. It was in this camp that the Mogul conqueror yielded with
reluctance to the murmurs of his weary and wealthy troops, who sighed
for the enjoyment of their native land. Eucumbered with the spoils of
Asia, he slowly measured back his footsteps, betrayed some pity for the
misery of the vanquished, and declared his intention of rebuilding the
cities which had been swept away by the tempest of his arms. After he
had repassed the Oxus and Jaxartes, he was joined by two generals,
whom he had detached with thirty thousand horse, to subdue the western
provinces of Persia. They had trampled on the nations which opposed
their passage, penetrated through the gates of Derbent, traversed the
Volga and the desert, and accomplished the circuit of the Caspian Sea,
by an expedition which had never been attempted, and has never been
repeated. The return of Zingis was signalized by the overthrow of
the rebellious or independent kingdoms of Tartary; and he died in
the fulness of years and glory, with his last breath exhorting and
instructing his sons to achieve the conquest of the Chinese empire. [205]

[Footnote 191: See the particular account of this transaction, from the
Kholauesut el Akbaur, in Price, vol. ii. p. 402.--M.]

[Footnote 20: M. de Voltaire, Essai sur l'Histoire Générale, tom. iii.
c. 60, p. 8. His account of Zingis and the Moguls contains, as usual,
much general sense and truth, with some particular errors.]

[Footnote 204: Every where they massacred all classes, except the
artisans, whom they made slaves. Hist. des Mongols.--M.]

[Footnote 205: Their first duty, which he bequeathed to them, was to
massacre the king of Tangcoute and all the inhabitants of Ninhia, the
surrender of the city being already agreed upon, Hist. des Mongols. vol.
i. p. 286.--M.]

The harem of Zingis was composed of five hundred wives and concubines;
and of his numerous progeny, four sons, illustrious by their birth and
merit, exercised under their father the principal offices of peace and
war. Toushi was his great huntsman, Zagatai [21] his judge, Octai his
minister, and Tuli his general; and their names and actions are often
conspicuous in the history of his conquests. Firmly united for their
own and the public interest, the three brothers and their families were
content with dependent sceptres; and Octai, by general consent, was
proclaimed great khan, or emperor of the Moguls and Tartars. He was
succeeded by his son Gayuk, after whose death the empire devolved to
his cousins Mangou and Cublai, the sons of Tuli, and the grandsons of
Zingis. In the sixty-eight years of his four first successors, the
Mogul subdued almost all Asia, and a large portion of Europe. Without
confining myself to the order of time, without expatiating on the detail
of events, I shall present a general picture of the progress of their
arms; I. In the East; II. In the South; III. In the West; and IV. In the

[Footnote 21: Zagatai gave his name to his dominions of Maurenahar,
or Transoxiana; and the Moguls of Hindostan, who emigrated from that
country, are styled Zagatais by the Persians. This certain etymology,
and the similar example of Uzbek, Nogai, &c., may warn us not absolutely
to reject the derivations of a national, from a personal, name. *
Note: See a curious anecdote of Tschagatai. Hist. des Mongols, p.

I. Before the invasion of Zingis, China was divided into two empires or
dynasties of the North and South; [22] and the difference of origin and
interest was smoothed by a general conformity of laws, language, and
national manners. The Northern empire, which had been dismembered by
Zingis, was finally subdued seven years after his death. After the loss
of Pekin, the emperor had fixed his residence at Kaifong, a city many
leagues in circumference, and which contained, according to the Chinese
annals, fourteen hundred thousand families of inhabitants and fugitives.
He escaped from thence with only seven horsemen, and made his last stand
in a third capital, till at length the hopeless monarch, protesting his
innocence and accusing his fortune, ascended a funeral pile, and gave
orders, that, as soon as he had stabbed himself, the fire should be
kindled by his attendants. The dynasty of the _Song_, the native and
ancient sovereigns of the whole empire, survived about forty-five years
the fall of the Northern usurpers; and the perfect conquest was reserved
for the arms of Cublai. During this interval, the Moguls were often
diverted by foreign wars; and, if the Chinese seldom dared to meet
their victors in the field, their passive courage presented and endless
succession of cities to storm and of millions to slaughter. In the
attack and defence of places, the engines of antiquity and the Greek
fire were alternately employed: the use of gunpowder in cannon and bombs
appears as a familiar practice; [23] and the sieges were conducted by the
Mahometans and Franks, who had been liberally invited into the service
of Cublai. After passing the great river, the troops and artillery
were conveyed along a series of canals, till they invested the royal
residence of Hamcheu, or Quinsay, in the country of silk, the
most delicious climate of China. The emperor, a defenceless youth,
surrendered his person and sceptre; and before he was sent in exile into
Tartary, he struck nine times the ground with his forehead, to adore in
prayer or thanksgiving the mercy of the great khan. Yet the war (it was
now styled a rebellion) was still maintained in the southern provinces
from Hamcheu to Canton; and the obstinate remnant of independence and
hostility was transported from the land to the sea. But when the fleet
of the _Song_ was surrounded and oppressed by a superior armament, their
last champion leaped into the waves with his infant emperor in his
arms. "It is more glorious," he cried, "to die a prince, than to live a
slave." A hundred thousand Chinese imitated his example; and the whole
empire, from Tonkin to the great wall, submitted to the dominion of
Cublai. His boundless ambition aspired to the conquest of Japan: his
fleet was twice shipwrecked; and the lives of a hundred thousand
Moguls and Chinese were sacrificed in the fruitless expedition. But the
circumjacent kingdoms, Corea, Tonkin, Cochinchina, Pegu, Bengal, and
Thibet, were reduced in different degrees of tribute and obedience by
the effort or terror of his arms. He explored the Indian Ocean with
a fleet of a thousand ships: they sailed in sixty-eight days, most
probably to the Isle of Borneo, under the equinoctial line; and though
they returned not without spoil or glory, the emperor was dissatisfied
that the savage king had escaped from their hands.

[Footnote 22: In Marco Polo, and the Oriental geographers, the names of
Cathay and Mangi distinguish the northern and southern empires, which,
from A.D. 1234 to 1279, were those of the great khan, and of the
Chinese. The search of Cathay, after China had been found, excited and
misled our navigators of the sixteenth century, in their attempts to
discover the north-east passage.]

[Footnote 23: I depend on the knowledge and fidelity of the Père Gaubil,
who translates the Chinese text of the annals of the Moguls or Yuen, (p.
71, 93, 153;) but I am ignorant at what time these annals were composed
and published. The two uncles of Marco Polo, who served as engineers
at the siege of Siengyangfou, * (l. ii. 61, in Ramusio, tom. ii. See
Gaubil, p. 155, 157) must have felt and related the effects of this
destructive powder, and their silence is a weighty, and almost decisive
objection. I entertain a suspicion, that their recent discovery was
carried from Europe to China by the caravans of the xvth century and
falsely adopted as an old national discovery before the arrival of the
Portuguese and Jesuits in the xvith. Yet the Père Gaubil affirms, that
the use of gunpowder has been known to the Chinese above 1600 years. **
Note: * Sou-houng-kian-lou. Abel Remusat.--M.
Note: ** La poudre à canon et d'autres compositions inflammantes,
dont ils se servent pour construire des pièces d'artifice d'un effet
suprenant, leur étaient connues depuis très long-temps, et l'on croit
que des bombardes et des pierriers, dont ils avaient enseigné l'usage
aux Tartares, ont pu donner en Europe l'idée d'artillerie, quoique la
forme des fusils et des canons dont ils se servent actuellement, leur
ait été apportée par les Francs, ainsi que l'attestent les noms mêmes
qu'ils donnent à ces sortes d'armes. Abel Remusat, Mélanges Asiat. 2d
ser. tom. i. p. 23.--M.]

II. The conquest of Hindostan by the Moguls was reserved in a later
period for the house of Timour; but that of Iran, or Persia, was
achieved by Holagou Khan, [231] the grandson of Zingis, the brother and
lieutenant of the two successive emperors, Mangou and Cublai. I shall
not enumerate the crowd of sultans, emirs, and atabeks, whom he trampled
into dust; but the extirpation of the _Assassins_, or Ismaelians [24] of
Persia, may be considered as a service to mankind. Among the hills
to the south of the Caspian, these odious sectaries had reigned with
impunity above a hundred and sixty years; and their prince, or Imam,
established his lieutenant to lead and govern the colony of Mount
Libanus, so famous and formidable in the history of the crusades. [25]
With the fanaticism of the Koran the Ismaelians had blended the Indian
transmigration, and the visions of their own prophets; and it was their
first duty to devote their souls and bodies in blind obedience to the
vicar of God. The daggers of his missionaries were felt both in the
East and West: the Christians and the Moslems enumerate, and persons
multiply, the illustrious victims that were sacrificed to the zeal,
avarice, or resentment of _the old man_ (as he was corruptly styled)
_of the mountain_. But these daggers, his only arms, were broken by the
sword of Holagou, and not a vestige is left of the enemies of mankind,
except the word _assassin_, which, in the most odious sense, has been
adopted in the languages of Europe. The extinction of the Abbassides
cannot be indifferent to the spectators of their greatness and decline.
Since the fall of their Seljukian tyrants the caliphs had recovered
their lawful dominion of Bagdad and the Arabian Irak; but the city was
distracted by theological factions, and the commander of the faithful
was lost in a harem of seven hundred concubines. The invasion of the
Moguls he encountered with feeble arms and haughty embassies. "On the
divine decree," said the caliph Mostasem, "is founded the throne of the
sons of Abbas: and their foes shall surely be destroyed in this world
and in the next. Who is this Holagou that dares to rise against them?
If he be desirous of peace, let him instantly depart from the sacred
territory; and perhaps he may obtain from our clemency the pardon of
his fault." This presumption was cherished by a perfidious vizier, who
assured his master, that, even if the Barbarians had entered the city,
the women and children, from the terraces, would be sufficient to
overwhelm them with stones. But when Holagou touched the phantom, it
instantly vanished into smoke. After a siege of two months, Bagdad
was stormed and sacked by the Moguls; [* and their savage commander
pronounced the death of the caliph Mostasem, the last of the temporal
successors of Mahomet; whose noble kinsmen, of the race of Abbas, had
reigned in Asia above five hundred years. Whatever might be the designs
of the conqueror, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina [26] were protected
by the Arabian desert; but the Moguls spread beyond the Tigris and
Euphrates, pillaged Aleppo and Damascus, and threatened to join the
Franks in the deliverance of Jerusalem. Egypt was lost, had she been
defended only by her feeble offspring; but the Mamalukes had breathed in
their infancy the keenness of a Scythian air: equal in valor, superior
in discipline, they met the Moguls in many a well-fought field; and
drove back the stream of hostility to the eastward of the Euphrates. [261]
But it overflowed with resistless violence the kingdoms of Armenia [262]
and Anatolia, of which the former was possessed by the Christians, and
the latter by the Turks. The sultans of Iconium opposed some resistance
to the Mogul arms, till Azzadin sought a refuge among the Greeks of
Constantinople, and his feeble successors, the last of the Seljukian
dynasty, were finally extirpated by the khans of Persia. [263]

[Footnote 231: See the curious account of the expedition of Holagou,
translated from the Chinese, by M. Abel Remusat, Mélanges Asiat. 2d ser.
tom. i. p. 171.--M.]

[Footnote 24: All that can be known of the Assassins of Persia and Syria
is poured from the copious, and even profuse, erudition of M. Falconet,
in two _Mémoires_ read before the Academy of Inscriptions, (tom. xvii.
p. 127--170.) * Note: Von Hammer's History of the Assassins has now
thrown Falconet's Dissertation into the shade.--M.]

[Footnote 25: The Ismaelians of Syria, 40,000 Assassins, had acquired
or founded ten castles in the hills above Tortosa. About the year 1280,
they were extirpated by the Mamalukes.]

[Footnote 251: Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 283, 307.
Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzzüge, vol. vii. p. 406. Price, Chronological
Retrospect, vol. ii. p. 217--223.--M.]

[Footnote 26: As a proof of the ignorance of the Chinese in foreign
transactions, I must observe, that some of their historians extend the
conquest of Zingis himself to Medina, the country of Mahomet, (Gaubil p.

[Footnote 261: Compare Wilken, vol. vii. p. 410.--M.]

[Footnote 262: On the friendly relations of the Armenians with the Mongols
see Wilken, Geschichte der Kreuzzüge, vol. vii. p. 402. They eagerly
desired an alliance against the Mahometan powers.--M.]

[Footnote 263: Trebizond escaped, apparently by the dexterous politics of
the sovereign, but it acknowledged the Mogul supremacy. Falmerayer, p.

III. No sooner had Octai subverted the northern empire of China, than he
resolved to visit with his arms the most remote countries of the West.
Fifteen hundred thousand Moguls and Tartars were inscribed on the
military roll: of these the great khan selected a third, which he
intrusted to the command of his nephew Batou, the son of Tuli; who
reigned over his father's conquests to the north of the Caspian Sea.
[264] After a festival of forty days, Batou set forwards on this great
expedition; and such was the speed and ardor of his innumerable
squadrons, than in less than six years they had measured a line of
ninety degrees of longitude, a fourth part of the circumference of the
globe. The great rivers of Asia and Europe, the Volga and Kama, the Don
and Borysthenes, the Vistula and Danube, they either swam with their
horses or passed on the ice, or traversed in leathern boats, which
followed the camp, and transported their wagons and artillery. By
the first victories of Batou, the remains of national freedom were
eradicated in the immense plains of Turkestan and Kipzak. [27] In his
rapid progress, he overran the kingdoms, as they are now styled, of
Astracan and Cazan; and the troops which he detached towards Mount
Caucasus explored the most secret recesses of Georgia and Circassia. The
civil discord of the great dukes, or princes, of Russia, betrayed their
country to the Tartars. They spread from Livonia to the Black Sea, and
both Moscow and Kiow, the modern and the ancient capitals, were reduced
to ashes; a temporary ruin, less fatal than the deep, and perhaps
indelible, mark, which a servitude of two hundred years has imprinted on
the character of the Russians. The Tartars ravaged with equal fury
the countries which they hoped to possess, and those which they were
hastening to leave. From the permanent conquest of Russia they made a
deadly, though transient, inroad into the heart of Poland, and as far
as the borders of Germany. The cities of Lublin and Cracow were
obliterated: [271] they approached the shores of the Baltic; and in
the battle of Lignitz they defeated the dukes of Silesia, the Polish
palatines, and the great master of the Teutonic order, and filled nine
sacks with the right ears of the slain. From Lignitz, the extreme point
of their western march, they turned aside to the invasion of Hungary;
and the presence or spirit of Batou inspired the host of five hundred
thousand men: the Carpathian hills could not be long impervious to their
divided columns; and their approach had been fondly disbelieved till it
was irresistibly felt. The king, Bela the Fourth, assembled the military
force of his counts and bishops; but he had alienated the nation by
adopting a vagrant horde of forty thousand families of Comans, and these
savage guests were provoked to revolt by the suspicion of treachery and
the murder of their prince. The whole country north of the Danube was
lost in a day, and depopulated in a summer; and the ruins of cities and
churches were overspread with the bones of the natives, who expiated the
sins of their Turkish ancestors. An ecclesiastic, who fled from the sack
of Waradin, describes the calamities which he had seen, or suffered; and
the sanguinary rage of sieges and battles is far less atrocious than the
treatment of the fugitives, who had been allured from the woods under a
promise of peace and pardon and who were coolly slaughtered as soon as
they had performed the labors of the harvest and vintage. In the winter
the Tartars passed the Danube on the ice, and advanced to Gran or
Strigonium, a German colony, and the metropolis of the kingdom. Thirty
engines were planted against the walls; the ditches were filled with
sacks of earth and dead bodies; and after a promiscuous massacre, three
hundred noble matrons were slain in the presence of the khan. Of all
the cities and fortresses of Hungary, three alone survived the Tartar
invasion, and the unfortunate Bata hid his head among the islands of the

[Footnote 264: See the curious extracts from the Mahometan writers, Hist.
des Mongols, p. 707.--M.]

[Footnote 27: The _Dashté Kipzak_, or plain of Kipzak, extends on
either side of the Volga, in a boundless space towards the Jaik and
Borysthenes, and is supposed to contain the primitive name and nation of
the Cossacks.]

[Footnote 271: Olmutz was gallantly and successfully defended by Stenberg,
Hist. des Mongols, p. 396.--M.]

The Latin world was darkened by this cloud of savage hostility: a
Russian fugitive carried the alarm to Sweden; and the remote nations of
the Baltic and the ocean trembled at the approach of the Tartars, [28]
whom their fear and ignorance were inclined to separate from the human
species. Since the invasion of the Arabs in the eighth century, Europe
had never been exposed to a similar calamity: and if the disciples
of Mahomet would have oppressed her religion and liberty, it might be
apprehended that the shepherds of Scythia would extinguish her cities,
her arts, and all the institutions of civil society. The Roman pontiff
attempted to appease and convert these invincible Pagans by a mission of
Franciscan and Dominican friars; but he was astonished by the reply of
the khan, that the sons of God and of Zingis were invested with a divine
power to subdue or extirpate the nations; and that the pope would be
involved in the universal destruction, unless he visited in person,
and as a suppliant, the royal horde. The emperor Frederic the Second
embraced a more generous mode of defence; and his letters to the kings
of France and England, and the princes of Germany, represented the
common danger, and urged them to arm their vassals in this just and
rational crusade. [29] The Tartars themselves were awed by the fame
and valor of the Franks; the town of Newstadt in Austria was bravely
defended against them by fifty knights and twenty crossbows; and they
raised the siege on the appearance of a German army. After wasting
the adjacent kingdoms of Servia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria, Batou slowly
retreated from the Danube to the Volga to enjoyed the rewards of victory
in the city and palace of Serai, which started at his command from the
midst of the desert. [291]

[Footnote 28: In the year 1238, the inhabitants of Gothia (_Sweden_)
and Frise were prevented, by their fear of the Tartars, from sending, as
usual, their ships to the herring fishery on the coast of England; and
as there was no exportation, forty or fifty of these fish were sold for
a shilling, (Matthew Paris, p. 396.) It is whimsical enough, that the
orders of a Mogul khan, who reigned on the borders of China, should have
lowered the price of herrings in the English market.]

[Footnote 29: I shall copy his characteristic or flattering epithets of
the different countries of Europe: Furens ac fervens ad arma Germania,
strenuæ militiæ genitrix et alumna Francia, bellicosa et audax Hispania,
virtuosa viris et classe munita fertilis Anglia, impetuosis bellatoribus
referta Alemannia, navalis Dacia, indomita Italia, pacis ignara
Burgundia, inquieta Apulia, cum maris Græci, Adriatici et Tyrrheni
insulis pyraticis et invictis, Cretâ, Cypro, Siciliâ, cum Oceano
conterterminis insulis, et regionibus, cruenta Hybernia, cum agili
Wallia palustris Scotia, glacialis Norwegia, suam electam militiam sub
vexillo Crucis destinabunt, &c. (Matthew Paris, p. 498.)]

[Footnote 291: He was recalled by the death of Octai.--M.]

IV. Even the poor and frozen regions of the north attracted the arms of
the Moguls: Sheibani khan, the brother of the great Batou, led a
horde of fifteen thousand families into the wilds of Siberia; and his
descendants reigned at Tobolskoi above three centuries, till the Russian
conquest. The spirit of enterprise which pursued the course of the
Oby and Yenisei must have led to the discovery of the icy sea. After
brushing away the monstrous fables, of men with dogs' heads and cloven
feet, we shall find, that, fifteen years after the death of Zingis, the
Moguls were informed of the name and manners of the Samoyedes in the
neighborhood of the polar circle, who dwelt in subterraneous huts, and
derived their furs and their food from the sole occupation of hunting.

[Footnote 30: See Carpin's relation in Hackluyt, vol. i. p. 30. The
pedigree of the khans of Siberia is given by Abulghazi, (part viii. p.
485--495.) Have the Russians found no Tartar chronicles at Tobolskoi? *
Note: * See the account of the Mongol library in Bergman, Nomadische
Streifereyen, vol. iii. p. 185, 205, and Remusat, Hist. des
Langues Tartares, p. 327, and preface to Schmidt, Geschichte der

While China, Syria, and Poland, were invaded at the same time by the
Moguls and Tartars, the authors of the mighty mischief were content with
the knowledge and declaration, that their word was the sword of death.
Like the first caliphs, the first successors of Zingis seldom appeared
in person at the head of their victorious armies. On the banks of the
Onon and Selinga, the royal or _golden horde_ exhibited the contrast
of simplicity and greatness; of the roasted sheep and mare's milk
which composed their banquets; and of a distribution in one day of five
hundred wagons of gold and silver. The ambassadors and princes of
Europe and Asia were compelled to undertake this distant and laborious
pilgrimage; and the life and reign of the great dukes of Russia, the
kings of Georgia and Armenia, the sultans of Iconium, and the emirs of
Persia, were decided by the frown or smile of the great khan. The sons
and grandsons of Zingis had been accustomed to the pastoral life; but
the village of Caracorum [31] was gradually ennobled by their election
and residence. A change of manners is implied in the removal of Octai
and Mangou from a tent to a house; and their example was imitated by the
princes of their family and the great officers of the empire. Instead of
the boundless forest, the enclosure of a park afforded the more indolent
pleasures of the chase; their new habitations were decorated with
painting and sculpture; their superfluous treasures were cast in
fountains, and basins, and statues of massy silver; and the artists of
China and Paris vied with each other in the service of the great khan.
[32] Caracorum contained two streets, the one of Chinese mechanics, the
other of Mahometan traders; and the places of religious worship, one
Nestorian church, two mosques, and twelve temples of various idols, may
represent in some degree the number and division of inhabitants. Yet a
French missionary declares, that the town of St. Denys, near Paris, was
more considerable than the Tartar capital; and that the whole palace of
Mangou was scarcely equal to a tenth part of that Benedictine abbey. The
conquests of Russia and Syria might amuse the vanity of the great khans;
but they were seated on the borders of China; the acquisition of that
empire was the nearest and most interesting object; and they might
learn from their pastoral economy, that it is for the advantage of the
shepherd to protect and propagate his flock. I have already celebrated
the wisdom and virtue of a Mandarin who prevented the desolation of
five populous and cultivated provinces. In a spotless administration
of thirty years, this friend of his country and of mankind continually
labored to mitigate, or suspend, the havoc of war; to save the
monuments, and to rekindle the flame, of science; to restrain the
military commander by the restoration of civil magistrates; and to
instil the love of peace and justice into the minds of the Moguls. He
struggled with the barbarism of the first conquerors; but his salutary
lessons produced a rich harvest in the second generation. [321] The
northern, and by degrees the southern, empire acquiesced in the
government of Cublai, the lieutenant, and afterwards the successor, of
Mangou; and the nation was loyal to a prince who had been educated
in the manners of China. He restored the forms of her venerable
constitution; and the victors submitted to the laws, the fashions, and
even the prejudices, of the vanquished people. This peaceful triumph,
which has been more than once repeated, may be ascribed, in a great
measure, to the numbers and servitude of the Chinese. The Mogul army
was dissolved in a vast and populous country; and their emperors adopted
with pleasure a political system, which gives to the prince the solid
substance of despotism, and leaves to the subject the empty names of
philosophy, freedom, and filial obedience. [322] Under the reign of Cublai,
letters and commerce, peace and justice, were restored; the great canal,
of five hundred miles, was opened from Nankin to the capital: he fixed
his residence at Pekin; and displayed in his court the magnificence of
the greatest monarch of Asia. Yet this learned prince declined from the
pure and simple religion of his great ancestor: he sacrificed to the
idol Fo; and his blind attachment to the lamas of Thibet and the bonzes
of China [33] provoked the censure of the disciples of Confucius. His
successors polluted the palace with a crowd of eunuchs, physicians, and
astrologers, while thirteen millions of their subjects were consumed in
the provinces by famine. One hundred and forty years after the death of
Zingis, his degenerate race, the dynasty of the Yuen, was expelled by
a revolt of the native Chinese; and the Mogul emperors were lost in the
oblivion of the desert. Before this revolution, they had forfeited
their supremacy over the dependent branches of their house, the khans of
Kipzak and Russia, the khans of Zagatai, or Transoxiana, and the khans
of Iran or Persia. By their distance and power, these royal lieutenants
had soon been released from the duties of obedience; and after the death
of Cublai, they scorned to accept a sceptre or a title from his unworthy
successors. According to their respective situations, they maintained
the simplicity of the pastoral life, or assumed the luxury of the cities
of Asia; but the princes and their hordes were alike disposed for the
reception of a foreign worship. After some hesitation between the Gospel
and the Koran, they conformed to the religion of Mahomet; and while they
adopted for their brethren the Arabs and Persians, they renounced all
intercourse with the ancient Moguls, the idolaters of China.

[Footnote 31: The Map of D'Anville and the Chinese Itineraries (De
Guignes, tom. i. part ii. p. 57) seem to mark the position of Holin,
or Caracorum, about six hundred miles to the north-west of Pekin. The
distance between Selinginsky and Pekin is near 2000 Russian versts,
between 1300 and 1400 English miles, (Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 67.)]

[Footnote 32: Rubruquis found at Caracorum his _countryman Guillaume
Boucher, orfevre de Paris_, who had executed for the khan a silver tree
supported by four lions, and ejecting four different liquors. Abulghazi
(part iv. p. 366) mentions the painters of Kitay or China.]

[Footnote 321: See the interesting sketch of the life of this minister
(Yelin-Thsouthsai) in the second volume of the second series of
Recherches Asiatiques, par A Remusat, p. 64.--M.]

[Footnote 322: Compare Hist. des Mongols, p. 616.--M.]

[Footnote 33: The attachment of the khans, and the hatred of the
mandarins, to the bonzes and lamas (Duhalde, Hist. de la Chine, tom. i.
p. 502, 503) seems to represent them as the priests of the same god,
of the Indian _Fo_, whose worship prevails among the sects of Hindostan
Siam, Thibet, China, and Japan. But this mysterious subject is still
lost in a cloud, which the researchers of our Asiatic Society may
gradually dispel.]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turks.--Part III.

In this shipwreck of nations, some surprise may be excited by the escape
of the Roman empire, whose relics, at the time of the Mogul invasion,
were dismembered by the Greeks and Latins. Less potent than Alexander,
they were pressed, like the Macedonian, both in Europe and Asia, by
the shepherds of Scythia; and had the Tartars undertaken the siege,
Constantinople must have yielded to the fate of Pekin, Samarcand, and
Bagdad. The glorious and voluntary retreat of Batou from the Danube
was insulted by the vain triumph of the Franks and Greeks; [34] and in
a second expedition death surprised him in full march to attack the
capital of the Cæsars. His brother Borga carried the Tartar arms into
Bulgaria and Thrace; but he was diverted from the Byzantine war by a
visit to Novogorod, in the fifty-seventh degree of latitude, where he
numbered the inhabitants and regulated the tributes of Russia. The
Mogul khan formed an alliance with the Mamalukes against his brethren
of Persia: three hundred thousand horse penetrated through the gates of
Derbend; and the Greeks might rejoice in the first example of domestic
war. After the recovery of Constantinople, Michael Palæologus, [35] at
a distance from his court and army, was surprised and surrounded in a
Thracian castle, by twenty thousand Tartars. But the object of their
march was a private interest: they came to the deliverance of Azzadin,
the Turkish sultan; and were content with his person and the treasure of
the emperor. Their general Noga, whose name is perpetuated in the hordes
of Astracan, raised a formidable rebellion against Mengo Timour, the
third of the khans of Kipzak; obtained in marriage Maria, the natural
daughter of Palæologus; and guarded the dominions of his friend and
father. The subsequent invasions of a Scythian cast were those of
outlaws and fugitives: and some thousands of Alani and Comans, who had
been driven from their native seats, were reclaimed from a vagrant life,
and enlisted in the service of the empire. Such was the influence in
Europe of the invasion of the Moguls. The first terror of their arms
secured, rather than disturbed, the peace of the Roman Asia. The sultan
of Iconium solicited a personal interview with John Vataces; and his
artful policy encouraged the Turks to defend their barrier against
the common enemy. [36] That barrier indeed was soon overthrown; and
the servitude and ruin of the Seljukians exposed the nakedness of the
Greeks. The formidable Holagou threatened to march to Constantinople at
the head of four hundred thousand men; and the groundless panic of
the citizens of Nice will present an image of the terror which he had
inspired. The accident of a procession, and the sound of a doleful
litany, "From the fury of the Tartars, good Lord, deliver us," had
scattered the hasty report of an assault and massacre. In the blind
credulity of fear, the streets of Nice were crowded with thousands of
both sexes, who knew not from what or to whom they fled; and some hours
elapsed before the firmness of the military officers could relieve
the city from this imaginary foe. But the ambition of Holagou and his
successors was fortunately diverted by the conquest of Bagdad, and a
long vicissitude of Syrian wars; their hostility to the Moslems inclined
them to unite with the Greeks and Franks; [37] and their generosity
or contempt had offered the kingdom of Anatolia as the reward of an
Armenian vassal. The fragments of the Seljukian monarchy were disputed
by the emirs who had occupied the cities or the mountains; but they all
confessed the supremacy of the khans of Persia; and he often interposed
his authority, and sometimes his arms, to check their depredations, and
to preserve the peace and balance of his Turkish frontier. The death
of Cazan, [38] one of the greatest and most accomplished princes of the
house of Zingis, removed this salutary control; and the decline of the
Moguls gave a free scope to the rise and progress of the Ottoman Empire.

[Footnote 34: Some repulse of the Moguls in Hungary (Matthew Paris, p.
545, 546) might propagate and color the report of the union and victory
of the kings of the Franks on the confines of Bulgaria. Abulpharagius
(Dynast. p. 310) after forty years, beyond the Tigris, might be easily

[Footnote 35: See Pachymer, l. iii. c. 25, and l. ix. c. 26, 27; and the
false alarm at Nice, l. iii. c. 27. Nicephorus Gregoras, l. iv. c. 6.]

[Footnote 36: G. Acropolita, p. 36, 37. Nic. Greg. l. ii. c. 6, l. iv.
c. 5.]

[Footnote 37: Abulpharagius, who wrote in the year 1284, declares that
the Moguls, since the fabulous defeat of Batou, had not attacked either
the Franks or Greeks; and of this he is a competent witness. Hayton
likewise, the Armenian prince, celebrates their friendship for himself
and his nation.]

[Footnote 38: Pachymer gives a splendid character of Cazan Khan, the
rival of Cyrus and Alexander, (l. xii. c. 1.) In the conclusion of his
history (l. xiii. c. 36) he _hopes_ much from the arrival of 30,000
Tochars, or Tartars, who were ordered by the successor of Cazan to
restrain the Turks of Bithynia, A.D. 1308.]

[Footnote 39: The origin of the Ottoman dynasty is illustrated by
the critical learning of Mm. De Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iv. p.
329--337) and D'Anville, (Empire Turc, p. 14--22,) two inhabitants of
Paris, from whom the Orientals may learn the history and geography of
their own country. * Note: They may be still more enlightened by the
Geschichte des Osman Reiches, by M. von Hammer Purgstall of Vienna.--M.]

After the retreat of Zingis, the sultan Gelaleddin of Carizme had
returned from India to the possession and defence of his Persian
kingdoms. In the space of eleven years, than hero fought in person
fourteen battles; and such was his activity, that he led his cavalry in
seventeen days from Teflis to Kerman, a march of a thousand miles.
Yet he was oppressed by the jealousy of the Moslem princes, and the
innumerable armies of the Moguls; and after his last defeat, Gelaleddin
perished ignobly in the mountains of Curdistan. His death dissolved
a veteran and adventurous army, which included under the name of
Carizmians or Corasmins many Turkman hordes, that had attached
themselves to the sultan's fortune. The bolder and more powerful chiefs
invaded Syria, and violated the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem: the more
humble engaged in the service of Aladin, sultan of Iconium; and among
these were the obscure fathers of the Ottoman line. They had formerly
pitched their tents near the southern banks of the Oxus, in the plains
of Mahan and Nesa; and it is somewhat remarkable, that the same spot
should have produced the first authors of the Parthian and Turkish
empires. At the head, or in the rear, of a Carizmian army, Soliman Shah
was drowned in the passage of the Euphrates: his son Orthogrul became
the soldier and subject of Aladin, and established at Surgut, on the
banks of the Sangar, a camp of four hundred families or tents, whom he
governed fifty-two years both in peace and war. He was the father
of Thaman, or Athman, whose Turkish name has been melted into the
appellation of the caliph Othman; and if we describe that pastoral chief
as a shepherd and a robber, we must separate from those characters all
idea of ignominy and baseness. Othman possessed, and perhaps surpassed,
the ordinary virtues of a soldier; and the circumstances of time and
place were propitious to his independence and success. The Seljukian
dynasty was no more; and the distance and decline of the Mogul khans
soon enfranchised him from the control of a superior. He was situate on
the verge of the Greek empire: the Koran sanctified his _gazi_, or
holy war, against the infidels; and their political errors unlocked the
passes of Mount Olympus, and invited him to descend into the plains of
Bithynia. Till the reign of Palæologus, these passes had been vigilantly
guarded by the militia of the country, who were repaid by their
own safety and an exemption from taxes. The emperor abolished their
privilege and assumed their office; but the tribute was rigorously
collected, the custody of the passes was neglected, and the hardy
mountaineers degenerated into a trembling crowd of peasants without
spirit or discipline. It was on the twenty-seventh of July, in the year
twelve hundred and ninety-nine of the Christian æra, that Othman first
invaded the territory of Nicomedia; [40] and the singular accuracy of
the date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive
growth of the monster. The annals of the twenty-seven years of his
reign would exhibit a repetition of the same inroads; and his hereditary
troops were multiplied in each campaign by the accession of captives and
volunteers. Instead of retreating to the hills, he maintained the most
useful and defensive posts; fortified the towns and castles which he
had first pillaged; and renounced the pastoral life for the baths and
palaces of his infant capitals. But it was not till Othman was oppressed
by age and infirmities, that he received the welcome news of the
conquest of Prusa, which had been surrendered by famine or treachery to
the arms of his son Orchan. The glory of Othman is chiefly founded on
that of his descendants; but the Turks have transcribed or composed a
royal testament of his last counsels of justice and moderation. [41]

[Footnote 40: See Pachymer, l. x. c. 25, 26, l. xiii. c. 33, 34, 36;
and concerning the guard of the mountains, l. i. c. 3--6: Nicephorus
Gregoras, l. vii. c. l., and the first book of Laonicus Chalcondyles,
the Athenian.]

[Footnote 41: I am ignorant whether the Turks have any writers older
than Mahomet II., * nor can I reach beyond a meagre chronicle (Annales
Turcici ad Annum 1550) translated by John Gaudier, and published by
Leunclavius, (ad calcem Laonic. Chalcond. p. 311--350,) with copious
pandects, or commentaries. The history of the Growth and Decay (A.D.
1300--1683) of the Othman empire was translated into English from the
Latin MS. of Demetrius Cantemir, prince of Moldavia, (London, 1734, in
folio.) The author is guilty of strange blunders in Oriental history;
but he was conversant with the language, the annals, and institutions
of the Turks. Cantemir partly draws his materials from the Synopsis of
Saadi Effendi of Larissa, dedicated in the year 1696 to Sultan Mustapha,
and a valuable abridgment of the original historians. In one of the
Ramblers, Dr. Johnson praises Knolles (a General History of the Turks to
the present Year. London, 1603) as the first of historians, unhappy only
in the choice of his subject. Yet I much doubt whether a partial and
verbose compilation from Latin writers, thirteen hundred folio pages of
speeches and battles, can either instruct or amuse an enlightened
age, which requires from the historian some tincture of philosophy and
criticism. Note: * We could have wished that M. von Hammer had given a
more clear and distinct reply to this question of Gibbon. In a note,
vol. i. p. 630. M. von Hammer shows that they had not only sheiks
(religious writers) and learned lawyers, but poets and authors on
medicine. But the inquiry of Gibbon obviously refers to historians. The
oldest of their historical works, of which V. Hammer makes use, is the
"Tarichi Aaschik Paschasade," i. e. the History of the Great Grandson of
Aaschik Pasha, who was a dervis and celebrated ascetic poet in the reign
of Murad (Amurath) I. Ahmed, the author of the work, lived during the
reign of Bajazet II., but, he says, derived much information from the
book of Scheik Jachshi, the son of Elias, who was Imaum to Sultan
Orchan, (the second Ottoman king) and who related, from the lips of his
father, the circumstances of the earliest Ottoman history. This book
(having searched for it in vain for five-and-twenty years) our author
found at length in the Vatican. All the other Turkish histories on his
list, as indeed this, were _written_ during the reign of Mahomet II. It
does not appear whether any of the rest cite earlier authorities of
equal value with that claimed by the "Tarichi Aaschik Paschasade."--M.
(in Quarterly Review, vol. xlix. p. 292.)]

From the conquest of Prusa, we may date the true æra of the Ottoman
empire. The lives and possessions of the Christian subjects were
redeemed by a tribute or ransom of thirty thousand crowns of gold; and
the city, by the labors of Orchan, assumed the aspect of a Mahometan
capital; Prusa was decorated with a mosque, a college, and a hospital,
of royal foundation; the Seljukian coin was changed for the name and
impression of the new dynasty: and the most skilful professors, of human
and divine knowledge, attracted the Persian and Arabian students from
the ancient schools of Oriental learning. The office of vizier was
instituted for Aladin, the brother of Orchan; [411] and a different habit
distinguished the citizens from the peasants, the Moslems from the
infidels. All the troops of Othman had consisted of loose squadrons of
Turkman cavalry; who served without pay and fought without discipline:
but a regular body of infantry was first established and trained by the
prudence of his son. A great number of volunteers was enrolled with a
small stipend, but with the permission of living at home, unless they
were summoned to the field: their rude manners, and seditious temper,
disposed Orchan to educate his young captives as his soldiers and those
of the prophet; but the Turkish peasants were still allowed to mount on
horseback, and follow his standard, with the appellation and the hopes
of _freebooters_. [412] By these arts he formed an army of twenty-five
thousand Moslems: a train of battering engines was framed for the use
of sieges; and the first successful experiment was made on the cities
of Nice and Nicomedia. Orchan granted a safe-conduct to all who were
desirous of departing with their families and effects; but the widows of
the slain were given in marriage to the conquerors; and the sacrilegious
plunder, the books, the vases, and the images, were sold or ransomed at
Constantinople. The emperor Andronicus the Younger was vanquished and
wounded by the son of Othman: [42] [421] he subdued the whole province
or kingdom of Bithynia, as far as the shores of the Bosphorus and
Hellespont; and the Christians confessed the justice and clemency of a
reign which claimed the voluntary attachment of the Turks of Asia. Yet
Orchan was content with the modest title of emir; and in the list of his
compeers, the princes of Roum or Anatolia, [43] his military forces were
surpassed by the emirs of Ghermian and Caramania, each of whom could
bring into the field an army of forty thousand men. Their domains were
situate in the heart of the Seljukian kingdom; but the holy warriors,
though of inferior note, who formed new principalities on the Greek
empire, are more conspicuous in the light of history. The maritime
country from the Propontis to the Mæander and the Isle of Rhodes,
so long threatened and so often pillaged, was finally lost about the
thirteenth year of Andronicus the Elder. [44] Two Turkish chieftains,
Sarukhan and Aidin, left their names to their conquests, and their
conquests to their posterity. The captivity or ruin of the _seven_
churches of Asia was consummated; and the barbarous lords of Ionia and
Lydia still trample on the monuments of classic and Christian antiquity.
In the loss of Ephesus, the Christians deplored the fall of the first
angel, the extinction of the first candlestick, of the Revelations; [45]
the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana, or the church of
Mary, will equally elude the search of the curious traveller. The circus
and three stately theatres of Laodicea are now peopled with wolves and
foxes; Sardes is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Mahomet,
without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira and
Pergamus; and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign
trade of the Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been saved
by prophecy, or courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the
emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens
defended their religion and freedom above fourscore years; and at length
capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies
and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect; a column in a scene
of ruins; a pleasing example, that the paths of honor and safety may
sometimes be the same. The servitude of Rhodes was delayed about two
centuries by the establishment of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem:
[46] under the discipline of the order, that island emerged into fame and
opulence; the noble and warlike monks were renowned by land and sea: and
the bulwark of Christendom provoked, and repelled, the arms of the Turks
and Saracens.

[Footnote 411: Von Hammer, Osm. Geschichte, vol. i. p. 82.--M.]

[Footnote 412: Ibid. p. 91.--M.]

[Footnote 42: Cantacuzene, though he relates the battle and heroic
flight of the younger Andronicus, (l. ii. c. 6, 7, 8,) dissembles by
his silence the loss of Prusa, Nice, and Nicomedia, which are fairly
confessed by Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. viii. 15, ix. 9, 13, xi. 6.) It
appears that Nice was taken by Orchan in 1330, and Nicomedia in 1339,
which are somewhat different from the Turkish dates.]

[Footnote 421: For the conquests of Orchan over the ten pachaliks, or
kingdoms of the Seljukians, in Asia Minor. see V. Hammer, vol. i. p.

[Footnote 43: The partition of the Turkish emirs is extracted from
two contemporaries, the Greek Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vii. 1) and
the Arabian Marakeschi, (De Guignes, tom. ii. P. ii. p. 76, 77.) See
likewise the first book of Laonicus Chalcondyles.]

[Footnote 44: Pachymer, l. xiii. c. 13.]

[Footnote 45: See the Travels of Wheeler and Spon, of Pocock and
Chandler, and more particularly Smith's Survey of the Seven Churches
of Asia, p. 205--276. The more pious antiquaries labor to reconcile the
promises and threats of the author of the Revelations with the _present_
state of the seven cities. Perhaps it would be more prudent to confine
his predictions to the characters and events of his own times.]

[Footnote 46: Consult the ivth book of the Histoire de l'Ordre
de Malthe, par l'Abbé de Vertot. That pleasing writer betrays his
ignorance, in supposing that Othman, a freebooter of the Bithynian
hills, could besiege Rhodes by sea and land.]

The Greeks, by their intestine divisions, were the authors of their
final ruin. During the civil wars of the elder and younger Andronicus,
the son of Othman achieved, almost without resistance, the conquest of
Bithynia; and the same disorders encouraged the Turkish emirs of Lydia
and Ionia to build a fleet, and to pillage the adjacent islands and the
sea-coast of Europe. In the defence of his life and honor, Cantacuzene
was tempted to prevent, or imitate, his adversaries, by calling to his
aid the public enemies of his religion and country. Amir, the son of
Aidin, concealed under a Turkish garb the humanity and politeness of
a Greek; he was united with the great domestic by mutual esteem and
reciprocal services; and their friendship is compared, in the vain
rhetoric of the times, to the perfect union of Orestes and Pylades.
[47] On the report of the danger of his friend, who was persecuted by
an ungrateful court, the prince of Ionia assembled at Smyrna a fleet of
three hundred vessels, with an army of twenty-nine thousand men; sailed
in the depth of winter, and cast anchor at the mouth of the Hebrus. From
thence, with a chosen band of two thousand Turks, he marched along
the banks of the river, and rescued the empress, who was besieged in
Demotica by the wild Bulgarians. At that disastrous moment, the life
or death of his beloved Cantacuzene was concealed by his flight into
Servia: but the grateful Irene, impatient to behold her deliverer,
invited him to enter the city, and accompanied her message with a
present of rich apparel and a hundred horses. By a peculiar strain of
delicacy, the Gentle Barbarian refused, in the absence of an unfortunate
friend, to visit his wife, or to taste the luxuries of the palace;
sustained in his tent the rigor of the winter; and rejected the
hospitable gift, that he might share the hardships of two thousand
companions, all as deserving as himself of that honor and distinction.
Necessity and revenge might justify his predatory excursions by sea and
land: he left nine thousand five hundred men for the guard of his
fleet; and persevered in the fruitless search of Cantacuzene, till his
embarkation was hastened by a fictitious letter, the severity of the
season, the clamors of his independent troops, and the weight of his
spoil and captives. In the prosecution of the civil war, the prince
of Ionia twice returned to Europe; joined his arms with those of the
emperor; besieged Thessalonica, and threatened Constantinople. Calumny
might affix some reproach on his imperfect aid, his hasty departure,
and a bribe of ten thousand crowns, which he accepted from the Byzantine
court; but his friend was satisfied; and the conduct of Amir is excused
by the more sacred duty of defending against the Latins his hereditary
dominions. The maritime power of the Turks had united the pope, the
king of Cyprus, the republic of Venice, and the order of St. John, in a
laudable crusade; their galleys invaded the coast of Ionia; and Amir was
slain with an arrow, in the attempt to wrest from the Rhodian knights
the citadel of Smyrna. [48] Before his death, he generously recommended
another ally of his own nation; not more sincere or zealous than
himself, but more able to afford a prompt and powerful succor, by his
situation along the Propontis and in the front of Constantinople. By the
prospect of a more advantageous treaty, the Turkish prince of Bithynia
was detached from his engagements with Anne of Savoy; and the pride of
Orchan dictated the most solemn protestations, that if he could obtain
the daughter of Cantacuzene, he would invariably fulfil the duties of
a subject and a son. Parental tenderness was silenced by the voice
of ambition: the Greek clergy connived at the marriage of a Christian
princess with a sectary of Mahomet; and the father of Theodora
describes, with shameful satisfaction, the dishonor of the purple. [49]
A body of Turkish cavalry attended the ambassadors, who disembarked
from thirty vessels, before his camp of Selybria. A stately pavilion was
erected, in which the empress Irene passed the night with her daughters.
In the morning, Theodora ascended a throne, which was surrounded with
curtains of silk and gold: the troops were under arms; but the emperor
alone was on horseback. At a signal the curtains were suddenly withdrawn
to disclose the bride, or the victim, encircled by kneeling eunuchs and
hymeneal torches: the sound of flutes and trumpets proclaimed the joyful
event; and her pretended happiness was the theme of the nuptial song,
which was chanted by such poets as the age could produce. Without the
rites of the church, Theodora was delivered to her barbarous lord: but
it had been stipulated, that she should preserve her religion in the
harem of Bursa; and her father celebrates her charity and devotion in
this ambiguous situation. After his peaceful establishment on the throne
of Constantinople, the Greek emperor visited his Turkish ally, who with
four sons, by various wives, expected him at Scutari, on the Asiatic
shore. The two princes partook, with seeming cordiality, of the
pleasures of the banquet and the chase; and Theodora was permitted
to repass the Bosphorus, and to enjoy some days in the society of her
mother. But the friendship of Orchan was subservient to his religion and
interest; and in the Genoese war he joined without a blush the enemies
of Cantacuzene.

[Footnote 47: Nicephorus Gregoras has expatiated with pleasure on
this amiable character, (l. xii. 7, xiii. 4, 10, xiv. 1, 9, xvi. 6.)
Cantacuzene speaks with honor and esteem of his ally, (l. iii. c. 56,
57, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 86, 89, 95, 96;) but he seems ignorant of
his own sentimental passion for the Turks, and indirectly denies the
possibility of such unnatural friendship, (l. iv. c. 40.)]

[Footnote 48: After the conquest of Smyrna by the Latins, the defence of
this fortress was imposed by Pope Gregory XI. on the knights of Rhodes,
(see Vertot, l. v.)]

[Footnote 49: See Cantacuzenus, l. iii. c. 95. Nicephorus Gregoras,
who, for the light of Mount Thabor, brands the emperor with the names
of tyrant and Herod, excuses, rather than blames, this Turkish marriage,
and alleges the passion and power of Orchan, eggutatoV, kai th dunamo?
touV kat' auton hdh PersikouV (Turkish) uperairwn SatrapaV, (l. xv.
5.) He afterwards celebrates his kingdom and armies. See his reign in
Cantemir, p. 24--30.]

In the treaty with the empress Anne, the Ottoman prince had inserted
a singular condition, that it should be lawful for him to sell his
prisoners at Constantinople, or transport them into Asia. A naked crowd
of Christians of both sexes and every age, of priests and monks, of
matrons and virgins, was exposed in the public market; the whip was
frequently used to quicken the charity of redemption; and the indigent
Greeks deplored the fate of their brethren, who were led away to the
worst evils of temporal and spiritual bondage [50] Cantacuzene was
reduced to subscribe the same terms; and their execution must have been
still more pernicious to the empire: a body of ten thousand Turks had
been detached to the assistance of the empress Anne; but the entire
forces of Orchan were exerted in the service of his father. Yet these
calamities were of a transient nature; as soon as the storm had passed
away, the fugitives might return to their habitations; and at the
conclusion of the civil and foreign wars, Europe was completely
evacuated by the Moslems of Asia. It was in his last quarrel with his
pupil that Cantacuzene inflicted the deep and deadly wound, which could
never be healed by his successors, and which is poorly expiated by his
theological dialogues against the prophet Mahomet. Ignorant of their own
history, the modern Turks confound their first and their final passage
of the Hellespont, [51] and describe the son of Orchan as a nocturnal
robber, who, with eighty companions, explores by stratagem a hostile
and unknown shore. Soliman, at the head of ten thousand horse, was
transported in the vessels, and entertained as the friend, of the Greek
emperor. In the civil wars of Romania, he performed some service and
perpetrated more mischief; but the Chersonesus was insensibly filled
with a Turkish colony; and the Byzantine court solicited in vain the
restitution of the fortresses of Thrace. After some artful delays
between the Ottoman prince and his son, their ransom was valued at sixty
thousand crowns, and the first payment had been made when an earthquake
shook the walls and cities of the provinces; the dismantled places were
occupied by the Turks; and Gallipoli, the key of the Hellespont, was
rebuilt and repeopled by the policy of Soliman. The abdication of
Cantacuzene dissolved the feeble bands of domestic alliance; and his
last advice admonished his countrymen to decline a rash contest, and to
compare their own weakness with the numbers and valor, the discipline
and enthusiasm, of the Moslems. His prudent counsels were despised by
the headstrong vanity of youth, and soon justified by the victories
of the Ottomans. But as he practised in the field the exercise of the
_jerid_, Soliman was killed by a fall from his horse; and the aged
Orchan wept and expired on the tomb of his valiant son. [511]

[Footnote 50: The most lively and concise picture of this captivity
may be found in the history of Ducas, (c. 8,) who fairly describes what
Cantacuzene confesses with a guilty blush!]

[Footnote 51: In this passage, and the first conquests in Europe,
Cantemir (p. 27, &c.) gives a miserable idea of his Turkish guides; nor
am I much better satisfied with Chalcondyles, (l. i. p. 12, &c.)
They forget to consult the most authentic record, the ivth book
of Cantacuzene. I likewise regret the last books, which are still
manuscript, of Nicephorus Gregoras. * Note: Von Hammer excuses the
silence with which the Turkish historians
pass over the earlier intercourse of the Ottomans with the European
continent, of which he enumerates sixteen different occasions, as
if they disdained those peaceful incursions by which they gained
no conquest, and established no permanent footing on the Byzantine
territory. Of the romantic account of Soliman's first expedition, he
says, "As yet the prose of history had not asserted its right over
the poetry of tradition." This defence would scarcely be accepted as
satisfactory by the historian of the Decline and Fall.--M. (in Quarterly
Review, vol. xlix. p. 293.)]

[Footnote 511: In the 75th year of his age, the 35th of his reign. V.
Hammer. M.]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turks.--Part IV.

But the Greeks had not time to rejoice in the death of their enemies;
and the Turkish cimeter was wielded with the same spirit by Amurath the
First, the son of Orchan, and the brother of Soliman. By the pale and
fainting light of the Byzantine annals, [52] we can discern, that he
subdued without resistance the whole province of Romania or Thrace, from
the Hellespont to Mount Hæmus, and the verge of the capital; and that
Adrianople was chosen for the royal seat of his government and religion
in Europe. Constantinople, whose decline is almost coeval with her
foundation, had often, in the lapse of a thousand years, been assaulted
by the Barbarians of the East and West; but never till this fatal hour
had the Greeks been surrounded, both in Asia and Europe, by the arms
of the same hostile monarchy. Yet the prudence or generosity of Amurath
postponed for a while this easy conquest; and his pride was satisfied
with the frequent and humble attendance of the emperor John Palæologus
and his four sons, who followed at his summons the court and camp of the
Ottoman prince. He marched against the Sclavonian nations between
the Danube and the Adriatic, the Bulgarians, Servians, Bosnians, and
Albanians; and these warlike tribes, who had so often insulted the
majesty of the empire, were repeatedly broken by his destructive
inroads. Their countries did not abound either in gold or silver;
nor were their rustic hamlets and townships enriched by commerce or
decorated by the arts of luxury. But the natives of the soil have been
distinguished in every age by their hardiness of mind and body; and
they were converted by a prudent institution into the firmest and most
faithful supporters of the Ottoman greatness. [53] The vizier of Amurath
reminded his sovereign that, according to the Mahometan law, he was
entitled to a fifth part of the spoil and captives; and that the
duty might easily be levied, if vigilant officers were stationed in
Gallipoli, to watch the passage, and to select for his use the stoutest
and most beautiful of the Christian youth. The advice was followed:
the edict was proclaimed; many thousands of the European captives were
educated in religion and arms; and the new militia was consecrated and
named by a celebrated dervis. Standing in the front of their ranks, he
stretched the sleeve of his gown over the head of the foremost soldier,
and his blessing was delivered in these words: "Let them be called
Janizaries, (_Yengi cheri_, or new soldiers;) may their countenance be
ever bright! their hand victorious! their sword keen! may their spear
always hang over the heads of their enemies! and wheresoever they go,
may they return with a _white face!_" [54] [541] Such was the origin of
these haughty troops, the terror of the nations, and sometimes of
the sultans themselves. Their valor has declined, their discipline is
relaxed, and their tumultuary array is incapable of contending with
the order and weapons of modern tactics; but at the time of their
institution, they possessed a decisive superiority in war; since
a regular body of infantry, in constant exercise and pay, was not
maintained by any of the princes of Christendom. The Janizaries fought
with the zeal of proselytes against their _idolatrous_ countrymen; and
in the battle of Cossova, the league and independence of the Sclavonian
tribes was finally crushed. As the conqueror walked over the field,
he observed that the greatest part of the slain consisted of beardless
youths; and listened to the flattering reply of his vizier, that age and
wisdom would have taught them not to oppose his irresistible arms. But
the sword of his Janizaries could not defend him from the dagger of
despair; a Servian soldier started from the crowd of dead bodies, and
Amurath was pierced in the belly with a mortal wound. [542] The grandson
of Othman was mild in his temper, modest in his apparel, and a lover
of learning and virtue; but the Moslems were scandalized at his absence
from public worship; and he was corrected by the firmness of the
mufti, who dared to reject his testimony in a civil cause: a mixture of
servitude and freedom not unfrequent in Oriental history. [55]

[Footnote 52: After the conclusion of Cantacuzene and Gregoras, there
follows a dark interval of a hundred years. George Phranza, Michael
Ducas, and Laonicus Chalcondyles, all three wrote after the taking of

[Footnote 53: See Cantemir, p. 37--41, with his own large and curious

[Footnote 54: _White_ and _black_ face are common and proverbial
expressions of praise and reproach in the Turkish language. Hic _niger_
est, hunc tu Romane caveto, was likewise a Latin sentence.]

[Footnote 541: According to Von Hammer. vol. i. p. 90, Gibbon and the
European writers assign too late a date to this enrolment of the
Janizaries. It took place not in the reign of Amurath, but in that of
his predecessor Orchan.--M.]

[Footnote 542: Ducas has related this as a deliberate act of self-devotion
on the part of a Servian noble who pretended to desert, and stabbed
Amurath during a conference which he had requested. The Italian
translator of Ducas, published by Bekker in the new edition of the
Byzantines, has still further heightened the romance. See likewise in
Von Hammer (Osmanische Geschichte, vol. i. p. 138) the popular Servian
account, which resembles that of Ducas, and may have been the source of
that of his Italian translator. The Turkish account agrees more nearly
with Gibbon; but the Servian, (Milosch Kohilovisch) while he lay
among the heap of the dead, pretended to have some secret to impart to
Amurath, and stabbed him while he leaned over to listen.--M.]

[Footnote 55: See the life and death of Morad, or Amurath I., in
Cantemir, (p 33--45,) the first book of Chalcondyles, and the Annales
Turcici of Leunclavius. According to another story, the sultan was
stabbed by a Croat in his tent; and this accident was alleged to
Busbequius (Epist i. p. 98) as an excuse for the unworthy precaution
of pinioning, as if were, between two attendants, an ambassador's arms,
when he is introduced to the royal presence.]

The character of Bajazet, the son and successor of Amurath, is strongly
expressed in his surname of _Ilderim_, or the lightning; and he might
glory in an epithet, which was drawn from the fiery energy of his soul
and the rapidity of his destructive march. In the fourteen years of his
reign, [56] he incessantly moved at the head of his armies, from
Boursa to Adrianople, from the Danube to the Euphrates; and, though he
strenuously labored for the propagation of the law, he invaded, with
impartial ambition, the Christian and Mahometan princes of Europe
and Asia. From Angora to Amasia and Erzeroum, the northern regions of
Anatolia were reduced to his obedience: he stripped of their hereditary
possessions his brother emirs of Ghermian and Caramania, of Aidin and
Sarukhan; and after the conquest of Iconium the ancient kingdom of the
Seljukians again revived in the Ottoman dynasty. Nor were the conquests
of Bajazet less rapid or important in Europe. No sooner had he imposed a
regular form of servitude on the Servians and Bulgarians, than he
passed the Danube to seek new enemies and new subjects in the heart
of Moldavia. [57] Whatever yet adhered to the Greek empire in Thrace,
Macedonia, and Thessaly, acknowledged a Turkish master: an obsequious
bishop led him through the gates of Thermopylæ into Greece; and we may
observe, as a singular fact, that the widow of a Spanish chief, who
possessed the ancient seat of the oracle of Delphi, deserved his favor
by the sacrifice of a beauteous daughter. The Turkish communication
between Europe and Asia had been dangerous and doubtful, till he
stationed at Gallipoli a fleet of galleys, to command the Hellespont
and intercept the Latin succors of Constantinople. While the monarch
indulged his passions in a boundless range of injustice and cruelty, he
imposed on his soldiers the most rigid laws of modesty and abstinence;
and the harvest was peaceably reaped and sold within the precincts of
his camp. Provoked by the loose and corrupt administration of justice,
he collected in a house the judges and lawyers of his dominions, who
expected that in a few moments the fire would be kindled to reduce them
to ashes. His ministers trembled in silence: but an Æthiopian buffoon
presumed to insinuate the true cause of the evil; and future venality
was left without excuse, by annexing an adequate salary to the office
of cadhi. [58] The humble title of emir was no longer suitable to the
Ottoman greatness; and Bajazet condescended to accept a patent of sultan
from the caliphs who served in Egypt under the yoke of the Mamalukes:
[59] a last and frivolous homage that was yielded by force to opinion; by
the Turkish conquerors to the house of Abbas and the successors of
the Arabian prophet. The ambition of the sultan was inflamed by the
obligation of deserving this august title; and he turned his arms
against the kingdom of Hungary, the perpetual theatre of the Turkish
victories and defeats. Sigismond, the Hungarian king, was the son and
brother of the emperors of the West: his cause was that of Europe and
the church; and, on the report of his danger, the bravest knights of
France and Germany were eager to march under his standard and that of
the cross. In the battle of Nicopolis, Bajazet defeated a confederate
army of a hundred thousand Christians, who had proudly boasted, that
if the sky should fall, they could uphold it on their lances. The
far greater part were slain or driven into the Danube; and Sigismond,
escaping to Constantinople by the river and the Black Sea, returned
after a long circuit to his exhausted kingdom. [60] In the pride of
victory, Bajazet threatened that he would besiege Buda; that he would
subdue the adjacent countries of Germany and Italy, and that he would
feed his horse with a bushel of oats on the altar of St. Peter at Rome.
His progress was checked, not by the miraculous interposition of the
apostle, not by a crusade of the Christian powers, but by a long and
painful fit of the gout. The disorders of the moral, are sometimes
corrected by those of the physical, world; and an acrimonious humor
falling on a single fibre of one man, may prevent or suspend the misery
of nations.

[Footnote 56: The reign of Bajazet I., or Ilderim Bayazid, is contained
in Cantemir, (p. 46,) the iid book of Chalcondyles, and the Annales
Turcici. The surname of Ilderim, or lightning, is an example, that the
conquerors and poets of every age have _felt_ the truth of a system
which derives the sublime from the principle of terror.]

[Footnote 57: Cantemir, who celebrates the victories of the great
Stephen over the Turks, (p. 47,) had composed the ancient and modern
state of his principality of Moldavia, which has been long promised, and
is still unpublished.]

[Footnote 58: Leunclav. Annal. Turcici, p. 318, 319. The venality of the
cadhis has long been an object of scandal and satire; and if we distrust
the observations of our travellers, we may consult the feeling of the
Turks themselves, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orientale, p. 216, 217, 229,

[Footnote 59: The fact, which is attested by the Arabic history of Ben
Schounah, a contemporary Syrian, (De Guignes Hist. des Huns. tom. iv. p.
336.) destroys the testimony of Saad Effendi and Cantemir, (p. 14, 15,)
of the election of Othman to the dignity of sultan.]

[Footnote 60: See the Decades Rerum Hungaricarum (Dec. iii. l. ii. p.
379) of Bonfinius, an Italian, who, in the xvth century, was invited
into Hungary to compose an eloquent history of that kingdom. Yet, if it
be extant and accessible, I should give the preference to some homely
chronicle of the time and country.]

Such is the general idea of the Hungarian war; but the disastrous
adventure of the French has procured us some memorials which illustrate
the victory and character of Bajazet. [61] The duke of Burgundy,
sovereign of Flanders, and uncle of Charles the Sixth, yielded to the
ardor of his son, John count of Nevers; and the fearless youth was
accompanied by four princes, his _cousins_, and those of the French
monarch. Their inexperience was guided by the Sire de Coucy, one of the
best and oldest captain of Christendom; [62] but the constable, admiral,
and marshal of France [63] commanded an army which did not exceed the
number of a thousand knights and squires. [631] These splendid names were
the source of presumption and the bane of discipline. So many might
aspire to command, that none were willing to obey; their national spirit
despised both their enemies and their allies; and in the persuasion that
Bajazet _would_ fly, or _must_ fall, they began to compute how soon they
should visit Constantinople and deliver the holy sepulchre. When their
scouts announced the approach of the Turks, the gay and thoughtless
youths were at table, already heated with wine; they instantly clasped
their armor, mounted their horses, rode full speed to the vanguard,
and resented as an affront the advice of Sigismond, which would have
deprived them of the right and honor of the foremost attack. The battle
of Nicopolis would not have been lost, if the French would have obeyed
the prudence of the Hungarians; but it might have been gloriously won,
had the Hungarians imitated the valor of the French. They dispersed
the first line, consisting of the troops of Asia; forced a rampart
of stakes, which had been planted against the cavalry; broke, after
a bloody conflict, the Janizaries themselves; and were at length
overwhelmed by the numerous squadrons that issued from the woods, and
charged on all sides this handful of intrepid warriors. In the speed
and secrecy of his march, in the order and evolutions of the battle, his
enemies felt and admired the military talents of Bajazet. They accuse
his cruelty in the use of victory. After reserving the count of Nevers,
and four-and-twenty lords, [632] whose birth and riches were attested by
his Latin interpreters, the remainder of the French captives, who had
survived the slaughter of the day, were led before his throne; and, as
they refused to abjure their faith, were successively beheaded in
his presence. The sultan was exasperated by the loss of his bravest
Janizaries; and if it be true, that, on the eve of the engagement, the
French had massacred their Turkish prisoners, [64] they might impute to
themselves the consequences of a just retaliation. [641] A knight, whose
life had been spared, was permitted to return to Paris, that he
might relate the deplorable tale, and solicit the ransom of the noble
captives. In the mean while, the count of Nevers, with the princes and
barons of France, were dragged along in the marches of the Turkish camp,
exposed as a grateful trophy to the Moslems of Europe and Asia, and
strictly confined at Boursa, as often as Bajazet resided in his capital.
The sultan was pressed each day to expiate with their blood the blood of
his martyrs; but he had pronounced that they should live, and either for
mercy or destruction his word was irrevocable. He was assured of their
value and importance by the return of the messenger, and the gifts and
intercessions of the kings of France and of Cyprus. Lusignan presented
him with a gold saltcellar of curious workmanship, and of the price
of ten thousand ducats; and Charles the Sixth despatched by the way of
Hungary a cast of Norwegian hawks, and six horse-loads of scarlet cloth,
of fine linen of Rheims, and of Arras tapestry, representing the battles
of the great Alexander. After much delay, the effect of distance rather
than of art, Bajazet agreed to accept a ransom of two hundred thousand
ducats for the count of Nevers and the surviving princes and barons:
the marshal Boucicault, a famous warrior, was of the number of the
fortunate; but the admiral of France had been slain in battle; and the
constable, with the Sire de Coucy, died in the prison of Boursa. This
heavy demand, which was doubled by incidental costs, fell chiefly on the
duke of Burgundy, or rather on his Flemish subjects, who were bound by
the feudal laws to contribute for the knighthood and captivity of the
eldest son of their lord. For the faithful discharge of the debt, some
merchants of Genoa gave security to the amount of five times the sum; a
lesson to those warlike times, that commerce and credit are the links of
the society of nations. It had been stipulated in the treaty, that the
French captives should swear never to bear arms against the person of
their conqueror; but the ungenerous restraint was abolished by Bajazet
himself. "I despise," said he to the heir of Burgundy, "thy oaths
and thy arms. Thou art young, and mayest be ambitious of effacing the
disgrace or misfortune of thy first chivalry. Assemble thy powers,
proclaim thy design, and be assured that Bajazet will rejoice to meet
thee a second time in a field of battle." Before their departure, they
were indulged in the freedom and hospitality of the court of Boursa. The
French princes admired the magnificence of the Ottoman, whose hunting
and hawking equipage was composed of seven thousand huntsmen and seven
thousand falconers. [65] In their presence, and at his command, the belly
of one of his chamberlains was cut open, on a complaint against him for
drinking the goat's milk of a poor woman. The strangers were astonished
by this act of justice; but it was the justice of a sultan who disdains
to balance the weight of evidence, or to measure the degrees of guilt.

[Footnote 61: I should not complain of the labor of this work, if my
materials were always derived from such books as the chronicle of
honest Froissard, (vol. iv. c. 67, 72, 74, 79--83, 85, 87, 89,) who read
little, inquired much, and believed all. The original Mémoires of the
Maréchal de Boucicault (Partie i. c. 22--28) add some facts, but they
are dry and deficient, if compared with the pleasant garrulity of

[Footnote 62: An accurate Memoir on the Life of Enguerrand VII., Sire
de Coucy, has been given by the Baron de Zurlauben, (Hist. de l'Académie
des Inscriptions, tom. xxv.) His rank and possessions were equally
considerable in France and England; and, in 1375, he led an army of
adventurers into Switzerland, to recover a large patrimony which he
claimed in right of his grandmother, the daughter of the emperor Albert
I. of Austria, (Sinner, Voyage dans la Suisse Occidentale, tom. i. p.

[Footnote 63: That military office, so respectable at present, was still
more conspicuous when it was divided between two persons, (Daniel, Hist.
de la Milice Françoise, tom. ii. p. 5.) One of these, the marshal of
the crusade, was the famous Boucicault, who afterwards defended
Constantinople, governed Genoa, invaded the coast of Asia, and died in
the field of Azincour.]

[Footnote 631: Daru, Hist. de Venice, vol. ii. p. 104, makes the whole
French army amount to 10,000 men, of whom 1000 were knights. The curious
volume of Schiltberger, a German of Munich, who was taken prisoner
in the battle, (edit. Munich, 1813,) and which V. Hammer receives as
authentic, gives the whole number at 6000. See Schiltberger. Reise in
dem Orient. and V. Hammer, note, p. 610.--M.]

[Footnote 632: According to Schiltberger there were only twelve French
lords granted to the prayer of the "duke of Burgundy," and "Herr Stephan
Synther, and Johann von Bodem." Schiltberger, p. 13.--M.]

[Footnote 64: For this odious fact, the Abbé de Vertot quotes the Hist.
Anonyme de St. Denys, l. xvi. c. 10, 11. (Ordre de Malthe, tom. ii. p.

[Footnote 641: See Schiltberger's very graphic account of the massacre.
He was led out to be slaughtered in cold blood with the rest f
the Christian prisoners, amounting to 10,000. He was spared at the
intercession of the son of Bajazet, with a few others, on account of
their extreme youth. No one under 20 years of age was put to death. The
"duke of Burgundy" was obliged to be a spectator of this butchery which
lasted from early in the morning till four o'clock, P. M. It ceased only
at the supplication of the leaders of Bajazet's army. Schiltberger, p.

[Footnote 65: Sherefeddin Ali (Hist. de Timour Bec, l. v. c. 13) allows
Bajazet a round number of 12,000 officers and servants of the chase.
A part of his spoils was afterwards displayed in a hunting-match of
Timour, l. hounds with satin housings; 2. leopards with collars set with
jewels; 3. Grecian greyhounds; and 4, dogs from Europe, as strong as
African lions, (idem, l. vi. c. 15.) Bajazet was particularly fond of
flying his hawks at cranes, (Chalcondyles, l. ii. p. 85.)]

After his enfranchisement from an oppressive guardian, John Palæologus
remained thirty-six years, the helpless, and, as it should seem, the
careless spectator of the public ruin. [66] Love, or rather lust, was his
only vigorous passion; and in the embraces of the wives and virgins of
the city, the Turkish slave forgot the dishonor of the emperor of the
_Romans_ Andronicus, his eldest son, had formed, at Adrianople, an
intimate and guilty friendship with Sauzes, the son of Amurath; and the
two youths conspired against the authority and lives of their parents.
The presence of Amurath in Europe soon discovered and dissipated their
rash counsels; and, after depriving Sauzes of his sight, the Ottoman
threatened his vassal with the treatment of an accomplice and an enemy,
unless he inflicted a similar punishment on his own son. Palæologus
trembled and obeyed; and a cruel precaution involved in the same
sentence the childhood and innocence of John, the son of the criminal.
But the operation was so mildly, or so unskilfully, performed, that the
one retained the sight of an eye, and the other was afflicted only with
the infirmity of squinting. Thus excluded from the succession, the two
princes were confined in the tower of Anema; and the piety of Manuel,
the second son of the reigning monarch, was rewarded with the gift of
the Imperial crown. But at the end of two years, the turbulence of the
Latins and the levity of the Greeks, produced a revolution; [661] and the
two emperors were buried in the tower from whence the two prisoners were
exalted to the throne. Another period of two years afforded Palæologus
and Manuel the means of escape: it was contrived by the magic or
subtlety of a monk, who was alternately named the angel or the devil:
they fled to Scutari; their adherents armed in their cause; and the two
Byzantine factions displayed the ambition and animosity with which Cæsar
and Pompey had disputed the empire of the world. The Roman world was now
contracted to a corner of Thrace, between the Propontis and the Black
Sea, about fifty miles in length and thirty in breadth; a space of
ground not more extensive than the lesser principalities of Germany or
Italy, if the remains of Constantinople had not still represented the
wealth and populousness of a kingdom. To restore the public peace, it
was found necessary to divide this fragment of the empire; and while
Palæologus and Manuel were left in possession of the capital, almost
all that lay without the walls was ceded to the blind princes, who fixed
their residence at Rhodosto and Selybria. In the tranquil slumber of
royalty, the passions of John Palæologus survived his reason and his
strength: he deprived his favorite and heir of a blooming princess
of Trebizond; and while the feeble emperor labored to consummate his
nuptials, Manuel, with a hundred of the noblest Greeks, was sent on a
peremptory summons to the Ottoman _porte_. They served with honor in
the wars of Bajazet; but a plan of fortifying Constantinople excited
his jealousy: he threatened their lives; the new works were instantly
demolished; and we shall bestow a praise, perhaps above the merit of
Palæologus, if we impute this last humiliation as the cause of his

[Footnote 66: For the reigns of John Palæologus and his son Manuel, from
1354 to 1402, see Ducas, c. 9--15, Phranza, l. i. c. 16--21, and the ist
and iid books of Chalcondyles, whose proper subject is drowned in a sea
of episode.]

[Footnote 661: According to Von Hammer it was the power of Bajazet, vol.
i. p. 218.]

The earliest intelligence of that event was communicated to Manuel,
who escaped with speed and secrecy from the palace of Boursa to the
Byzantine throne. Bajazet affected a proud indifference at the loss of
this valuable pledge; and while he pursued his conquests in Europe and
Asia, he left the emperor to struggle with his blind cousin John of
Selybria, who, in eight years of civil war, asserted his right of
primogeniture. At length, the ambition of the victorious sultan pointed
to the conquest of Constantinople; but he listened to the advice of his
vizier, who represented that such an enterprise might unite the powers
of Christendom in a second and more formidable crusade. His epistle to
the emperor was conceived in these words: "By the divine clemency, our
invincible cimeter has reduced to our obedience almost all Asia,
with many and large countries in Europe, excepting only the city of
Constantinople; for beyond the walls thou hast nothing left. Resign
that city; stipulate thy reward; or tremble, for thyself and thy unhappy
people, at the consequences of a rash refusal." But his ambassadors
were instructed to soften their tone, and to propose a treaty, which
was subscribed with submission and gratitude. A truce of ten years was
purchased by an annual tribute of thirty thousand crowns of gold; the
Greeks deplored the public toleration of the law of Mahomet, and Bajazet
enjoyed the glory of establishing a Turkish cadhi, and founding a royal
mosque in the metropolis of the Eastern church. [67] Yet this truce was
soon violated by the restless sultan: in the cause of the prince of
Selybria, the lawful emperor, an army of Ottomans again threatened
Constantinople; and the distress of Manuel implored the protection of
the king of France. His plaintive embassy obtained much pity and some
relief; and the conduct of the succor was intrusted to the marshal
Boucicault, [68] whose religious chivalry was inflamed by the desire of
revenging his captivity on the infidels. He sailed with four ships of
war, from Aiguesmortes to the Hellespont; forced the passage, which was
guarded by seventeen Turkish galleys; landed at Constantinople a supply
of six hundred men-at-arms and sixteen hundred archers; and reviewed
them in the adjacent plain, without condescending to number or array the
multitude of Greeks. By his presence, the blockade was raised both by
sea and land; the flying squadrons of Bajazet were driven to a more
respectful distance; and several castles in Europe and Asia were stormed
by the emperor and the marshal, who fought with equal valor by each
other's side. But the Ottomans soon returned with an increase of
numbers; and the intrepid Boucicault, after a year's struggle, resolved
to evacuate a country which could no longer afford either pay or
provisions for his soldiers. The marshal offered to conduct Manuel to
the French court, where he might solicit in person a supply of men and
money; and advised, in the mean while, that, to extinguish all domestic
discord, he should leave his blind competitor on the throne. The
proposal was embraced: the prince of Selybria was introduced to the
capital; and such was the public misery, that the lot of the exile
seemed more fortunate than that of the sovereign. Instead of applauding
the success of his vassal, the Turkish sultan claimed the city as his
own; and on the refusal of the emperor John, Constantinople was more
closely pressed by the calamities of war and famine. Against such an
enemy prayers and resistance were alike unavailing; and the savage
would have devoured his prey, if, in the fatal moment, he had not been
overthrown by another savage stronger than himself. By the victory of
Timour or Tamerlane, the fall of Constantinople was delayed about
fifty years; and this important, though accidental, service may justly
introduce the life and character of the Mogul conqueror.

[Footnote 67: Cantemir, p. 50--53. Of the Greeks, Ducas alone (c. 13,
15) acknowledges the Turkish cadhi at Constantinople. Yet even Ducas
dissembles the mosque.]

[Footnote 68: Mémoires du bon Messire Jean le Maingre, dit _Boucicault_,
Maréchal de France, partie ire c. 30, 35.]

Chapter LXV: Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane, And His Death.--Part I.

     Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane To The Throne Of
     Samarcand.--His Conquests In Persia, Georgia, Tartary
     Russia, India, Syria, And Anatolia.--His Turkish War.--
     Defeat And Captivity Of Bajazet.--Death Of Timour.--Civil
     War Of The Sons Of Bajazet.--Restoration Of The Turkish
     Monarchy By Mahomet The First.--Siege Of Constantinople By
     Amurath The Second.

The conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object of the
ambition of Timour. To live in the memory and esteem of future ages was
the second wish of his magnanimous spirit. All the civil and military
transactions of his reign were diligently recorded in the journals of
his secretaries: [1] the authentic narrative was revised by the persons
best informed of each particular transaction; and it is believed in
the empire and family of Timour, that the monarch himself composed
the _commentaries_ [2] of his life, and the _institutions_ [3] of his
government. [4] But these cares were ineffectual for the preservation of
his fame, and these precious memorials in the Mogul or Persian language
were concealed from the world, or, at least, from the knowledge of
Europe. The nations which he vanquished exercised a base and impotent
revenge; and ignorance has long repeated the tale of calumny, [5] which
had disfigured the birth and character, the person, and even the name,
of _Tamerlane_. [6] Yet his real merit would be enhanced, rather than
debased, by the elevation of a peasant to the throne of Asia; nor can
his lameness be a theme of reproach, unless he had the weakness to blush
at a natural, or perhaps an honorable, infirmity. [606]

[Footnote 1: These journals were communicated to Sherefeddin, or
Cherefeddin Ali, a native of Yezd, who composed in the Persian language
a history of Timour Beg, which has been translated into French by M.
Petit de la Croix, (Paris, 1722, in 4 vols. 12 mo.,) and has always
been my faithful guide. His geography and chronology are wonderfully
accurate; and he may be trusted for public facts, though he servilely
praises the virtue and fortune of the hero. Timour's attention to
procure intelligence from his own and foreign countries may be seen in
the Institutions, p. 215, 217, 349, 351.]

[Footnote 2: These Commentaries are yet unknown in Europe: but Mr. White
gives some hope that they may be imported and translated by his friend
Major Davy, who had read in the East this "minute and faithful narrative
of an interesting and eventful period." * Note: The manuscript of Major
Davy has been translated by Major Stewart, and published by the Oriental
Translation Committee of London. It contains the life of Timour, from
his birth to his forty-first year; but the last thirty years of western
war and conquest are wanting. Major Stewart intimates that two
manuscripts exist in this country containing the whole work, but excuses
himself, on account of his age, from undertaking the laborious task of
completing the translation. It is to be hoped that the European public
will be soon enabled to judge of the value and authenticity of the
Commentaries of the Cæsar of the East. Major Stewart's work commences
with the Book of Dreams and Omens--a wild, but characteristic, chronicle
of Visions and Sortes Koranicæ. Strange that a life of Timour should
awaken a reminiscence of the diary of Archbishop Laud! The early dawn
and the gradual expression of his not less splendid but more real
visions of ambition are touched with the simplicity of truth and nature.
But we long to escape from the petty feuds of the pastoral chieftain, to
the triumphs and the legislation of the conqueror of the world.--M.]

[Footnote 3: I am ignorant whether the original institution, in the
Turki or Mogul language, be still extant. The Persic version, with an
English translation, and most valuable index, was published (Oxford,
1783, in 4to.) by the joint labors of Major Davy and Mr. White, the
Arabic professor. This work has been since translated from the Persic
into French, (Paris, 1787,) by M. Langlès, a learned Orientalist, who
has added the life of Timour, and many curious notes.]

[Footnote 4: Shaw Allum, the present Mogul, reads, values, but cannot
imitate, the institutions of his great ancestor. The English translator
relies on their internal evidence; but if any suspicions should arise
of fraud and fiction, they will not be dispelled by Major Davy's letter.
The Orientals have never cultivated the art of criticism; the patronage
of a prince, less honorable, perhaps, is not less lucrative than that of
a bookseller; nor can it be deemed incredible that a Persian, the _real_
author, should renounce the credit, to raise the value and price, of the

[Footnote 5: The original of the tale is found in the following work,
which is much esteemed for its florid elegance of style: _Ahmedis
Arabsiad_ (Ahmed Ebn Arabshah) _Vitæ et Rerum gestarum Timuri. Arabice
et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger. Franequer_, 1767, 2 tom.
in 4to. This Syrian author is ever a malicious, and often an ignorant
enemy: the very titles of his chapters are injurious; as how the wicked,
as how the impious, as how the viper, &c. The copious article of
Timur, in Bibliothèque Orientale, is of a mixed nature, as D'Herbelot
indifferently draws his materials (p. 877--888) from Khondemir Ebn
Schounah, and the Lebtarikh.]

[Footnote 6: _Demir_ or _Timour_ signifies in the Turkish language,
Iron; and it is the appellation of a lord or prince. By the change of
a letter or accent, it is changed into _Lenc_, or Lame; and a European
corruption confounds the two words in the name of Tamerlane. *
Note: According to the memoirs he was so called by a Shaikh, who, when
visited by his mother on his birth, was reading the verse of the Koran,
'Are you sure that he who dwelleth in heaven will not cause the earth
to swallow you up, and behold _it shall shake_, Tamûrn." The Shaikh then
stopped and said, "We have named your son _Timûr_," p. 21.--M.]

[Footnote 606: He was lamed by a wound at the siege of the capital of
Sistan. Sherefeddin, lib. iii. c. 17. p. 136. See Von Hammer, vol. i. p.

In the eyes of the Moguls, who held the indefeasible succession of the
house of Zingis, he was doubtless a rebel subject; yet he sprang from
the noble tribe of Berlass: his fifth ancestor, Carashar Nevian, had
been the vizier [607] of Zagatai, in his new realm of Transoxiana; and in
the ascent of some generations, the branch of Timour is confounded, at
least by the females, [7] with the Imperial stem. [8] He was born forty
miles to the south of Samarcand in the village of Sebzar, in the
fruitful territory of Cash, of which his fathers were the hereditary
chiefs, as well as of a toman of ten thousand horse. [9] His birth [10]
was cast on one of those periods of anarchy, which announce the fall of
the Asiatic dynasties, and open a new field to adventurous ambition. The
khans of Zagatai were extinct; the emirs aspired to independence; and
their domestic feuds could only be suspended by the conquest and tyranny
of the khans of Kashgar, who, with an army of Getes or Calmucks, [11]
invaded the Transoxian kingdom. From the twelfth year of his age, Timour
had entered the field of action; in the twenty-fifth [111] he stood forth
as the deliverer of his country; and the eyes and wishes of the people
were turned towards a hero who suffered in their cause. The chiefs of
the law and of the army had pledged their salvation to support him with
their lives and fortunes; but in the hour of danger they were silent
and afraid; and, after waiting seven days on the hills of Samarcand,
he retreated to the desert with only sixty horsemen. The fugitives
were overtaken by a thousand Getes, whom he repulsed with incredible
slaughter, and his enemies were forced to exclaim, "Timour is a
wonderful man: fortune and the divine favor are with him." But in this
bloody action his own followers were reduced to ten, a number which was
soon diminished by the desertion of three Carizmians. [112] He wandered
in the desert with his wife, seven companions, and four horses; and
sixty-two days was he plunged in a loathsome dungeon, from whence he
escaped by his own courage and the remorse of the oppressor. After
swimming the broad and rapid steam of the Jihoon, or Oxus, he led,
during some months, the life of a vagrant and outlaw, on the borders
of the adjacent states. But his fame shone brighter in adversity; he
learned to distinguish the friends of his person, the associates of his
fortune, and to apply the various characters of men for their advantage,
and, above all, for his own. On his return to his native country,
Timour was successively joined by the parties of his confederates, who
anxiously sought him in the desert; nor can I refuse to describe, in
his pathetic simplicity, one of their fortunate encounters. He presented
himself as a guide to three chiefs, who were at the head of seventy
horse. "When their eyes fell upon me," says Timour, "they were
overwhelmed with joy; and they alighted from their horses; and they came
and kneeled; and they kissed my stirrup. I also came down from my horse,
and took each of them in my arms. And I put my turban on the head of
the first chief; and my girdle, rich in jewels and wrought with gold,
I bound on the loins of the second; and the third I clothed in my
own coat. And they wept, and I wept also; and the hour of prayer was
arrived, and we prayed. And we mounted our horses, and came to my
dwelling; and I collected my people, and made a feast." His trusty bands
were soon increased by the bravest of the tribes; he led them against a
superior foe; and, after some vicissitudes of war the Getes were finally
driven from the kingdom of Transoxiana. He had done much for his own
glory; but much remained to be done, much art to be exerted, and some
blood to be spilt, before he could teach his equals to obey him as their
master. The birth and power of emir Houssein compelled him to accept a
vicious and unworthy colleague, whose sister was the best beloved of his
wives. Their union was short and jealous; but the policy of Timour, in
their frequent quarrels, exposed his rival to the reproach of injustice
and perfidy; and, after a final defeat, Houssein was slain by some
sagacious friends, who presumed, for the last time, to disobey the
commands of their lord. [113] At the age of thirty-four, [12] and in a
general diet or _couroultai_, he was invested with _Imperial_ command,
but he affected to revere the house of Zingis; and while the emir Timour
reigned over Zagatai and the East, a nominal khan served as a private
officer in the armies of his servant. A fertile kingdom, five hundred
miles in length and in breadth, might have satisfied the ambition of a
subject; but Timour aspired to the dominion of the world; and before his
death, the crown of Zagatai was one of the twenty-seven crowns which
he had placed on his head. Without expatiating on the victories of
thirty-five campaigns; without describing the lines of march, which he
repeatedly traced over the continent of Asia; I shall briefly represent
his conquests in, I. Persia, II. Tartary, and, III. India, [13] and from
thence proceed to the more interesting narrative of his Ottoman war.

[Footnote 607: In the memoirs, the title Gurgân is in one place (p. 23)
interpreted the son-in-law; in another (p. 28) as Kurkan, great prince,
generalissimo, and prime minister of Jagtai.--M.]

[Footnote 7: After relating some false and foolish tales of Timour
_Lenc_, Arabshah is compelled to speak truth, and to own him for a
kinsman of Zingis, per mulieres, (as he peevishly adds,) laqueos Satanæ,
(pars i. c. i. p. 25.) The testimony of Abulghazi Khan (P. ii. c. 5, P.
v. c. 4) is clear, unquestionable, and decisive.]

[Footnote 8: According to one of the pedigrees, the fourth ancestor of
Zingis, and the ninth of Timour, were brothers; and they agreed, that
the posterity of the elder should succeed to the dignity of khan, and
that the descendants of the younger should fill the office of their
minister and general. This tradition was at least convenient to justify
the _first_ steps of Timour's ambition, (Institutions, p. 24, 25, from
the MS. fragments of Timour's History.)]

[Footnote 9: See the preface of Sherefeddin, and Abulfeda's Geography,
(Chorasmiæ, &c., Descriptio, p. 60, 61,) in the iiid volume of Hudson's
Minor Greek Geographers.]

[Footnote 10: See his nativity in Dr. Hyde, (Syntagma Dissertat. tom.
ii. p. 466,) as it was cast by the astrologers of his grandson Ulugh
Beg. He was born, A.D. 1336, April 9, 11º 57'. p. m., lat. 36. I know
not whether they can prove the great conjunction of the planets from
whence, like other conquerors and prophets, Timour derived the surname
of Saheb Keran, or master of the conjunctions, (Bibliot. Orient. p.

[Footnote 11: In the Institutions of Timour, these subjects of the khan
of Kashgar are most improperly styled Ouzbegs, or Usbeks, a name which
belongs to another branch and country of Tartars, (Abulghazi, P. v.
c. v. P. vii. c. 5.) Could I be sure that this word is in the Turkish
original, I would boldly pronounce, that the Institutions were framed a
century after the death of Timour, since the establishment of the Usbeks
in Transoxiana. * Note: Col. Stewart observes, that the Persian
translator has sometimes made use of the name Uzbek by anticipation. He
observes, likewise, that these Jits (Getes) are not to be confounded
with the ancient Getæ: they were unconverted Turks. Col. Tod (History of
Rajasthan, vol. i. p. 166) would identify the Jits with the ancient

[Footnote 111: He was twenty-seven before he served his first wars under
the emir Houssein, who ruled over Khorasan and Mawerainnehr. Von Hammer,
vol. i. p. 262. Neither of these statements agrees with the Memoirs. At
twelve he was a boy. "I fancied that I perceived in myself all the signs
of greatness and wisdom, and whoever came to visit me, I received with
great hauteur and dignity." At seventeen he undertook the management
of the flocks and herds of the family, (p. 24.) At nineteen he became
religious, and "left off playing chess," made a kind of Budhist vow
never to injure living thing and felt his foot paralyzed from having
accidentally trod upon an ant, (p. 30.) At twenty, thoughts of rebellion
and greatness rose in his mind; at twenty-one, he seems to have
performed his first feat of arms. He was a practised warrior when he
served, in his twenty-seventh year, under Emir Houssein.]

[Footnote 112: Compare Memoirs, page 61. The imprisonment is there stated
at fifty-three days. "At this time I made a vow to God that I would
never keep any person, whether guilty or innocent, for any length of
time, in prison or in chains." p. 63.--M.]

[Footnote 113: Timour, on one occasion, sent him this message: "He who
wishes to embrace the bride of royalty must kiss her across the edge
of the sharp sword," p. 83. The scene of the trial of Houssein, the
resistance of Timour gradually becoming more feeble, the vengeance
of the chiefs becoming proportionably more determined, is strikingly
portrayed. Mem. p 130.--M.]

[Footnote 12: The ist book of Sherefeddin is employed on the private
life of the hero: and he himself, or his secretary, (Institutions, p.
3--77,) enlarges with pleasure on the thirteen designs and enterprises
which most truly constitute his _personal_ merit. It even shines through
the dark coloring of Arabshah, (P. i. c. 1--12.)]

[Footnote 13: The conquests of Persia, Tartary, and India, are
represented in the iid and iiid books of Sherefeddin, and by Arabshah,
(c. 13--55.) Consult the excellent Indexes to the Institutions. *
Note: Compare the seventh book of Von Hammer, Geschichte des
Osmanischen Reiches.--M.]

I. For every war, a motive of safety or revenge, of honor or zeal,
of right or convenience, may be readily found in the jurisprudence of
conquerors. No sooner had Timour reunited to the patrimony of Zagatai
the dependent countries of Carizme and Candahar, than he turned his eyes
towards the kingdoms of Iran or Persia. From the Oxus to the Tigris,
that extensive country was left without a lawful sovereign since the
death of Abousaid, the last of the descendants of the great Holacou.
Peace and justice had been banished from the land above forty years;
and the Mogul invader might seem to listen to the cries of an oppressed
people. Their petty tyrants might have opposed him with confederate
arms: they separately stood, and successively fell; and the difference
of their fate was only marked by the promptitude of submission or the
obstinacy of resistance. Ibrahim, prince of Shirwan, or Albania, kissed
the footstool of the Imperial throne. His peace-offerings of silks,
horses, and jewels, were composed, according to the Tartar fashion, each
article of nine pieces; but a critical spectator observed, that there
were only eight slaves. "I myself am the ninth," replied Ibrahim, who
was prepared for the remark; and his flattery was rewarded by the smile
of Timour. [14] Shah Mansour, prince of Fars, or the proper Persia, was
one of the least powerful, but most dangerous, of his enemies. In a
battle under the walls of Shiraz, he broke, with three or four thousand
soldiers, the _coul_ or main body of thirty thousand horse, where
the emperor fought in person. No more than fourteen or fifteen guards
remained near the standard of Timour: he stood firm as a rock, and
received on his helmet two weighty strokes of a cimeter: [15] the Moguls
rallied; the head of Mansour was thrown at his feet; and he declared
his esteem of the valor of a foe, by extirpating all the males of so
intrepid a race. From Shiraz, his troops advanced to the Persian Gulf;
and the richness and weakness of Ormuz [16] were displayed in an annual
tribute of six hundred thousand dinars of gold. Bagdad was no longer
the city of peace, the seat of the caliphs; but the noblest conquest of
Holacou could not be overlooked by his ambitious successor. The whole
course of the Tigris and Euphrates, from the mouth to the sources of
those rivers, was reduced to his obedience: he entered Edessa; and the
Turkmans of the black sheep were chastised for the sacrilegious
pillage of a caravan of Mecca. In the mountains of Georgia, the native
Christians still braved the law and the sword of Mahomet, by three
expeditions he obtained the merit of the _gazie_, or holy war; and the
prince of Teflis became his proselyte and friend.

[Footnote 14: The reverence of the Tartars for the mysterious number of
_nine_ is declared by Abulghazi Khan, who, for that reason, divides his
Genealogical History into nine parts.]

[Footnote 15: According to Arabshah, (P. i. c. 28, p. 183,) the coward
Timour ran away to his tent, and hid himself from the pursuit of Shah
Mansour under the women's garments. Perhaps Sherefeddin (l. iii. c. 25)
has magnified his courage.]

[Footnote 16: The history of Ormuz is not unlike that of Tyre. The old
city, on the continent, was destroyed by the Tartars, and renewed in
a neighboring island, without fresh water or vegetation. The kings of
Ormuz, rich in the Indian trade and the pearl fishery, possessed large
territories both in Persia and Arabia; but they were at first the
tributaries of the sultans of Kerman, and at last were delivered (A.D.
1505) by the Portuguese tyrants from the tyranny of their own viziers,
(Marco Polo, l. i. c. 15, 16, fol. 7, 8. Abulfeda, Geograph. tabul. xi.
p. 261, 262, an original Chronicle of Ormuz, in Texeira, or Stevens's
History of Persia, p. 376--416, and the Itineraries inserted in the ist
volume of Ramusio, of Ludovico Barthema, (1503,) fol. 167, of Andrea
Corsali, (1517) fol. 202, 203, and of Odoardo Barbessa, (in 1516,) fol.

II. A just retaliation might be urged for the invasion of Turkestan, or
the Eastern Tartary. The dignity of Timour could not endure the impunity
of the Getes: he passed the Sihoon, subdued the kingdom of Kashgar, and
marched seven times into the heart of their country. His most distant
camp was two months' journey, or four hundred and eighty leagues to the
north-east of Samarcand; and his emirs, who traversed the River Irtish,
engraved in the forests of Siberia a rude memorial of their exploits.
The conquest of Kipzak, or the Western Tartary, [17] was founded on the
double motive of aiding the distressed, and chastising the ungrateful.
Toctamish, a fugitive prince, was entertained and protected in his
court: the ambassadors of Auruss Khan were dismissed with a haughty
denial, and followed on the same day by the armies of Zagatai; and their
success established Toctamish in the Mogul empire of the North. But,
after a reign of ten years, the new khan forgot the merits and the
strength of his benefactor; the base usurper, as he deemed him, of the
sacred rights of the house of Zingis. Through the gates of Derbend,
he entered Persia at the head of ninety thousand horse: with the
innumerable forces of Kipzak, Bulgaria, Circassia, and Russia, he passed
the Sihoon, burnt the palaces of Timour, and compelled him, amidst
the winter snows, to contend for Samarcand and his life. After a mild
expostulation, and a glorious victory, the emperor resolved on revenge;
and by the east, and the west, of the Caspian, and the Volga, he
twice invaded Kipzak with such mighty powers, that thirteen miles were
measured from his right to his left wing. In a march of five months,
they rarely beheld the footsteps of man; and their daily subsistence
was often trusted to the fortune of the chase. At length the armies
encountered each other; but the treachery of the standard-bearer,
who, in the heat of action, reversed the Imperial standard of Kipzak,
determined the victory of the Zagatais; and Toctamish (I peak the
language of the Institutions) gave the tribe of Toushi to the wind
of desolation. [18] He fled to the Christian duke of Lithuania; again
returned to the banks of the Volga; and, after fifteen battles with a
domestic rival, at last perished in the wilds of Siberia. The pursuit of
a flying enemy carried Timour into the tributary provinces of Russia:
a duke of the reigning family was made prisoner amidst the ruins of his
capital; and Yeletz, by the pride and ignorance of the Orientals, might
easily be confounded with the genuine metropolis of the nation. Moscow
trembled at the approach of the Tartar, and the resistance would have
been feeble, since the hopes of the Russians were placed in a miraculous
image of the Virgin, to whose protection they ascribed the casual and
voluntary retreat of the conqueror. Ambition and prudence recalled him
to the South, the desolate country was exhausted, and the Mogul soldiers
were enriched with an immense spoil of precious furs, of linen of
Antioch, [19] and of ingots of gold and silver. [20] On the banks of the
Don, or Tanais, he received an humble deputation from the consuls
and merchants of Egypt, [21] Venice, Genoa, Catalonia, and Biscay, who
occupied the commerce and city of Tana, or Azoph, at the mouth of the
river. They offered their gifts, admired his magnificence, and trusted
his royal word. But the peaceful visit of an emir, who explored
the state of the magazines and harbor, was speedily followed by the
destructive presence of the Tartars. The city was reduced to ashes; the
Moslems were pillaged and dismissed; but all the Christians, who had
not fled to their ships, were condemned either to death or slavery.
[22] Revenge prompted him to burn the cities of Serai and Astrachan, the
monuments of rising civilization; and his vanity proclaimed, that he had
penetrated to the region of perpetual daylight, a strange phenomenon,
which authorized his Mahometan doctors to dispense with the obligation
of evening prayer. [23]

[Footnote 17: Arabshah had travelled into Kipzak, and acquired a
singular knowledge of the geography, cities, and revolutions, of that
northern region, (P. i. c. 45--49.)]

[Footnote 18: Institutions of Timour, p. 123, 125. Mr. White, the
editor, bestows some animadversion on the superficial account of
Sherefeddin, (l. iii. c. 12, 13, 14,) who was ignorant of the designs of
Timour, and the true springs of action.]

[Footnote 19: The furs of Russia are more credible than the ingots. But
the linen of Antioch has never been famous: and Antioch was in ruins.
I suspect that it was some manufacture of Europe, which the Hanse
merchants had imported by the way of Novogorod.]

[Footnote 20: M. Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. ii. p. 247. Vie de
Timour, p. 64--67, before the French version of the Institutes) has
corrected the error of Sherefeddin, and marked the true limit of
Timour's conquests. His arguments are superfluous; and a simple appeal
to the Russian annals is sufficient to prove that Moscow, which six
years before had been taken by Toctamish, escaped the arms of a more
formidable invader.]

[Footnote 21: An Egyptian consul from Grand Cairo is mentioned in
Barbaro's voyage to Tana in 1436, after the city had been rebuilt,
(Ramusio, tom. ii. fol. 92.)]

[Footnote 22: The sack of Azoph is described by Sherefeddin, (l. iii. c.
55,) and much more particularly by the author of an Italian chronicle,
(Andreas de Redusiis de Quero, in Chron. Tarvisiano, in Muratori,
Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xix. p. 802--805.) He had conversed with
the Mianis, two Venetian brothers, one of whom had been sent a deputy
to the camp of Timour, and the other had lost at Azoph three sons and
12,000 ducats.]

[Footnote 23: Sherefeddin only says (l. iii. c. 13) that the rays of
the setting, and those of the rising sun, were scarcely separated by any
interval; a problem which may be solved in the latitude of Moscow, (the
56th degree,) with the aid of the Aurora Borealis, and a long summer
twilight. But a _day_ of forty days (Khondemir apud D'Herbelot, p. 880)
would rigorously confine us within the polar circle.]

III. When Timour first proposed to his princes and emirs the invasion of
India or Hindostan, [24] he was answered by a murmur of discontent: "The
rivers! and the mountains and deserts! and the soldiers clad in armor!
and the elephants, destroyers of men!" But the displeasure of the
emperor was more dreadful than all these terrors; and his superior
reason was convinced, that an enterprise of such tremendous aspect was
safe and easy in the execution. He was informed by his spies of the
weakness and anarchy of Hindostan: the soubahs of the provinces had
erected the standard of rebellion; and the perpetual infancy of Sultan
Mahmoud was despised even in the harem of Delhi. The Mogul army moved
in three great divisions; and Timour observes with pleasure, that the
ninety-two squadrons of a thousand horse most fortunately corresponded
with the ninety-two names or epithets of the prophet Mahomet. [241] Between
the Jihoon and the Indus they crossed one of the ridges of mountains,
which are styled by the Arabian geographers The Stony Girdles of the
Earth. The highland robbers were subdued or extirpated; but great
numbers of men and horses perished in the snow; the emperor himself was
let down a precipice on a portable scaffold--the ropes were one hundred
and fifty cubits in length; and before he could reach the bottom, this
dangerous operation was five times repeated. Timour crossed the Indus
at the ordinary passage of Attok; and successively traversed, in the
footsteps of Alexander, the _Punjab_, or five rivers, [25] that fall into
the master stream. From Attok to Delhi, the high road measures no
more than six hundred miles; but the two conquerors deviated to the
south-east; and the motive of Timour was to join his grandson, who had
achieved by his command the conquest of Moultan. On the eastern bank of
the Hyphasis, on the edge of the desert, the Macedonian hero halted and
wept: the Mogul entered the desert, reduced the fortress of Batmir, and
stood in arms before the gates of Delhi, a great and flourishing city,
which had subsisted three centuries under the dominion of the Mahometan
kings. [251] The siege, more especially of the castle, might have been a
work of time; but he tempted, by the appearance of weakness, the sultan
Mahmoud and his vizier to descend into the plain, with ten thousand
cuirassiers, forty thousand of his foot-guards, and one hundred and
twenty elephants, whose tusks are said to have been armed with sharp
and poisoned daggers. Against these monsters, or rather against the
imagination of his troops, he condescended to use some extraordinary
precautions of fire and a ditch, of iron spikes and a rampart of
bucklers; but the event taught the Moguls to smile at their own fears;
and as soon as these unwieldy animals were routed, the inferior species
(the men of India) disappeared from the field. Timour made his triumphal
entry into the capital of Hindostan; and admired, with a view to
imitate, the architecture of the stately mosque; but the order or
license of a general pillage and massacre polluted the festival of
his victory. He resolved to purify his soldiers in the blood of the
idolaters, or Gentoos, who still surpass, in the proportion of ten to
one, the numbers of the Moslems. [252] In this pious design, he advanced
one hundred miles to the north-east of Delhi, passed the Ganges, fought
several battles by land and water, and penetrated to the famous rock of
Coupele, the statue of the cow, [253] that _seems_ to discharge the mighty
river, whose source is far distant among the mountains of Thibet. [26]
His return was along the skirts of the northern hills; nor could this
rapid campaign of one year justify the strange foresight of his emirs,
that their children in a warm climate would degenerate into a race of

[Footnote 24: For the Indian war, see the Institutions, (p. 129--139,)
the fourth book of Sherefeddin, and the history of Ferishta, (in Dow,
vol. ii. p. 1--20,) which throws a general light on the affairs of

[Footnote 241: Gibbon (observes M. von Hammer) is mistaken in the
correspondence of the ninety-two squadrons of his army with the
ninety-two names of God: the names of God are ninety-nine. and Allah is
the hundredth, p. 286, note. But Gibbon speaks of the names or epithets
of Mahomet, not of God.--M.]

[Footnote 25: The rivers of the Punjab, the five eastern branches of the
Indus, have been laid down for the first time with truth and accuracy in
Major Rennel's incomparable map of Hindostan. In this Critical Memoir
he illustrates with judgment and learning the marches of Alexander and
Timour. * Note See vol. i. ch. ii. note 1.--M.]

[Footnote 251: They took, on their march, 100,000 slaves, Guebers they
were all murdered. V. Hammer, vol. i. p. 286. They are called idolaters.
Briggs's Ferishta, vol. i. p. 491.--M.]

[Footnote 252: See a curious passage on the destruction of the Hindoo
idols, Memoirs, p. 15.--M.]

[Footnote 253: Consult the very striking description of the Cow's Mouth by
Captain Hodgson, Asiat. Res. vol. xiv. p. 117. "A most wonderful scene.
The B'hagiratha or Ganges issues from under a very low arch at the foot
of the grand snow bed. My guide, an illiterate mountaineer compared the
pendent icicles to Mahodeva's hair." (Compare Poems, Quarterly Rev.
vol. xiv. p. 37, and at the end of my translation of Nala.) "Hindoos of
research may formerly have been here; and if so, I cannot think of any
place to which they might more aptly give the name of a cow's mouth than
to this extraordinary debouche."--M.]

[Footnote 26: The two great rivers, the Ganges and Burrampooter, rise in
Thibet, from the opposite ridges of the same hills, separate from each
other to the distance of 1200 miles, and, after a winding course of
2000 miles, again meet in one point near the Gulf of Bengal. Yet so
capricious is Fame, that the Burrampooter is a late discovery, while his
brother Ganges has been the theme of ancient and modern story Coupele,
the scene of Timour's last victory, must be situate near Loldong, 1100
miles from Calcutta; and in 1774, a British camp! (Rennel's Memoir, p.
7, 59, 90, 91, 99.)]

It was on the banks of the Ganges that Timour was informed, by his
speedy messengers, of the disturbances which had arisen on the confines
of Georgia and Anatolia, of the revolt of the Christians, and the
ambitious designs of the sultan Bajazet. His vigor of mind and body was
not impaired by sixty-three years, and innumerable fatigues; and, after
enjoying some tranquil months in the palace of Samarcand, he proclaimed
a new expedition of seven years into the western countries of Asia. [27]
To the soldiers who had served in the Indian war he granted the choice
of remaining at home, or following their prince; but the troops of
all the provinces and kingdoms of Persia were commanded to assemble at
Ispahan, and wait the arrival of the Imperial standard. It was first
directed against the Christians of Georgia, who were strong only in
their rocks, their castles, and the winter season; but these obstacles
were overcome by the zeal and perseverance of Timour: the rebels
submitted to the tribute or the Koran; and if both religions boasted of
their martyrs, that name is more justly due to the Christian prisoners,
who were offered the choice of abjuration or death. On his descent
from the hills, the emperor gave audience to the first ambassadors
of Bajazet, and opened the hostile correspondence of complaints and
menaces, which fermented two years before the final explosion. Between
two jealous and haughty neighbors, the motives of quarrel will seldom be
wanting. The Mogul and Ottoman conquests now touched each other in the
neighborhood of Erzeroum, and the Euphrates; nor had the doubtful limit
been ascertained by time and treaty. Each of these ambitious monarchs
might accuse his rival of violating his territory, of threatening his
vassals, and protecting his rebels; and, by the name of rebels, each
understood the fugitive princes, whose kingdoms he had usurped,
and whose life or liberty he implacably pursued. The resemblance of
character was still more dangerous than the opposition of interest;
and in their victorious career, Timour was impatient of an equal, and
Bajazet was ignorant of a superior. The first epistle [28] of the Mogul
emperor must have provoked, instead of reconciling, the Turkish sultan,
whose family and nation he affected to despise. [29] "Dost thou not know,
that the greatest part of Asia is subject to our arms and our laws?
that our invincible forces extend from one sea to the other? that the
potentates of the earth form a line before our gate? and that we have
compelled Fortune herself to watch over the prosperity of our empire.
What is the foundation of thy insolence and folly? Thou hast fought
some battles in the woods of Anatolia; contemptible trophies! Thou hast
obtained some victories over the Christians of Europe; thy sword was
blessed by the apostle of God; and thy obedience to the precept of the
Koran, in waging war against the infidels, is the sole consideration
that prevents us from destroying thy country, the frontier and bulwark
of the Moslem world. Be wise in time; reflect; repent; and avert the
thunder of our vengeance, which is yet suspended over thy head. Thou
art no more than a pismire; why wilt thou seek to provoke the elephants?
Alas! they will trample thee under their feet." In his replies, Bajazet
poured forth the indignation of a soul which was deeply stung by such
unusual contempt. After retorting the basest reproaches on the thief and
rebel of the desert, the Ottoman recapitulates his boasted victories in
Iran, Touran, and the Indies; and labors to prove, that Timour had never
triumphed unless by his own perfidy and the vices of his foes. "Thy
armies are innumerable: be they so; but what are the arrows of the
flying Tartar against the cimeters and battle-axes of my firm and
invincible Janizaries? I will guard the princes who have implored my
protection: seek them in my tents. The cities of Arzingan and Erzeroum
are mine; and unless the tribute be duly paid, I will demand the arrears
under the walls of Tauris and Sultania." The ungovernable rage of the
sultan at length betrayed him to an insult of a more domestic kind. "If
I fly from thy arms," said he, "may _my_ wives be thrice divorced from
my bed: but if thou hast not courage to meet me in the field, mayest
thou again receive _thy_ wives after they have thrice endured the
embraces of a stranger." [30] Any violation by word or deed of the
secrecy of the harem is an unpardonable offence among the Turkish
nations; [31] and the political quarrel of the two monarchs was
imbittered by private and personal resentment. Yet in his first
expedition, Timour was satisfied with the siege and destruction of Siwas
or Sebaste, a strong city on the borders of Anatolia; and he revenged
the indiscretion of the Ottoman, on a garrison of four thousand
Armenians, who were buried alive for the brave and faithful discharge of
their duty. [311] As a Mussulman, he seemed to respect the pious occupation
of Bajazet, who was still engaged in the blockade of Constantinople; and
after this salutary lesson, the Mogul conqueror checked his pursuit, and
turned aside to the invasion of Syria and Egypt. In these transactions,
the Ottoman prince, by the Orientals, and even by Timour, is styled the
_Kaissar of Roum_, the Cæsar of the Romans; a title which, by a small
anticipation, might be given to a monarch who possessed the provinces,
and threatened the city, of the successors of Constantine. [32]

[Footnote 27: See the Institutions, p. 141, to the end of the 1st
book, and Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 1--16,) to the entrance of Timour into

[Footnote 28: We have three copies of these hostile epistles in the
Institutions, (p. 147,) in Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 14,) and in Arabshah,
(tom. ii. c. 19 p. 183--201;) which agree with each other in the spirit
and substance rather than in the style. It is probable, that they have
been translated, with various latitude, from the Turkish original into
the Arabic and Persian tongues. * Note: Von Hammer considers the letter
which Gibbon inserted in the text to be spurious. On the various copies
of these letters, see his note, p 116.--M.]

[Footnote 29: The Mogul emir distinguishes himself and his countrymen by
the name of _Turks_, and stigmatizes the race and nation of Bajazet with
the less honorable epithet of _Turkmans_. Yet I do not understand how
the Ottomans could be descended from a Turkman sailor; those inland
shepherds were so remote from the sea, and all maritime affairs. *
Note: Price translated the word pilot or boatman.--M.]

[Footnote 30: According to the Koran, (c. ii. p. 27, and Sale's
Discourses, p. 134,) Mussulman who had thrice divorced his wife, (who
had thrice repeated the words of a divorce,) could not take her again,
till after she had been married _to_, and repudiated _by_, another
husband; an ignominious transaction, which it is needless to aggravate,
by supposing that the first husband must see her enjoyed by a second
before his face, (Rycaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, l. ii. c. 21.)]

[Footnote 31: The common delicacy of the Orientals, in never speaking
of their women, is ascribed in a much higher degree by Arabshah to the
Turkish nations; and it is remarkable enough, that Chalcondyles (l. ii.
p. 55) had some knowledge of the prejudice and the insult. *
Note: See Von Hammer, p. 308, and note, p. 621.--M.]

[Footnote 311: Still worse barbarities were perpetrated on these brave men.
Von Hammer, vol. i. p. 295.--M.]

[Footnote 32: For the style of the Moguls, see the Institutions, (p.
131, 147,) and for the Persians, the Bibliothèque Orientale, (p. 882;)
but I do not find that the title of Cæsar has been applied by the
Arabians, or assumed by the Ottomans themselves.]

Chapter LXV: Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane, And His Death.--Part II.

The military republic of the Mamalukes still reigned in Egypt and Syria:
but the dynasty of the Turks was overthrown by that of the Circassians;
[33] and their favorite Barkok, from a slave and a prisoner, was raised
and restored to the throne. In the midst of rebellion and discord, he
braved the menaces, corresponded with the enemies, and detained the
ambassadors, of the Mogul, who patiently expected his decease, to
revenge the crimes of the father on the feeble reign of his son Farage.
The Syrian emirs [34] were assembled at Aleppo to repel the invasion:
they confided in the fame and discipline of the Mamalukes, in the temper
of their swords and lances of the purest steel of Damascus, in the
strength of their walled cities, and in the populousness of sixty
thousand villages; and instead of sustaining a siege, they threw open
their gates, and arrayed their forces in the plain. But these forces
were not cemented by virtue and union; and some powerful emirs had been
seduced to desert or betray their more loyal companions. Timour's front
was covered with a line of Indian elephants, whose turrets were filled
with archers and Greek fire: the rapid evolutions of his cavalry
completed the dismay and disorder; the Syrian crowds fell back on each
other: many thousands were stifled or slaughtered in the entrance of the
great street; the Moguls entered with the fugitives; and after a short
defence, the citadel, the impregnable citadel of Aleppo, was surrendered
by cowardice or treachery. Among the suppliants and captives, Timour
distinguished the doctors of the law, whom he invited to the dangerous
honor of a personal conference. [35] The Mogul prince was a zealous
Mussulman; but his Persian schools had taught him to revere the memory
of Ali and Hosein; and he had imbibed a deep prejudice against the
Syrians, as the enemies of the son of the daughter of the apostle
of God. To these doctors he proposed a captious question, which the
casuists of Bochara, Samarcand, and Herat, were incapable of resolving.
"Who are the true martyrs, of those who are slain on my side, or on that
of my enemies?" But he was silenced, or satisfied, by the dexterity
of one of the cadhis of Aleppo, who replied in the words of Mahomet
himself, that the motive, not the ensign, constitutes the martyr; and
that the Moslems of either party, who fight only for the glory of God,
may deserve that sacred appellation. The true succession of the caliphs
was a controversy of a still more delicate nature; and the frankness of
a doctor, too honest for his situation, provoked the emperor to exclaim,
"Ye are as false as those of Damascus: Moawiyah was a usurper, Yezid a
tyrant, and Ali alone is the lawful successor of the prophet." A prudent
explanation restored his tranquillity; and he passed to a more familiar
topic of conversation. "What is your age?" said he to the cadhi.
"Fifty years."--"It would be the age of my eldest son: you see me here
(continued Timour) a poor lame, decrepit mortal. Yet by my arm has the
Almighty been pleased to subdue the kingdoms of Iran, Touran, and the
Indies. I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness, that in all my
wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have
always been the authors of their own calamity." During this peaceful
conversation the streets of Aleppo streamed with blood, and reechoed
with the cries of mothers and children, with the shrieks of violated
virgins. The rich plunder that was abandoned to his soldiers might
stimulate their avarice; but their cruelty was enforced by the
peremptory command of producing an adequate number of heads, which,
according to his custom, were curiously piled in columns and pyramids:
the Moguls celebrated the feast of victory, while the surviving Moslems
passed the night in tears and in chains. I shall not dwell on the
march of the destroyer from Aleppo to Damascus, where he was rudely
encountered, and almost overthrown, by the armies of Egypt. A retrograde
motion was imputed to his distress and despair: one of his nephews
deserted to the enemy; and Syria rejoiced in the tale of his defeat,
when the sultan was driven by the revolt of the Mamalukes to escape
with precipitation and shame to his palace of Cairo. Abandoned by their
prince, the inhabitants of Damascus still defended their walls; and
Timour consented to raise the siege, if they would adorn his retreat
with a gift or ransom; each article of nine pieces. But no sooner had
he introduced himself into the city, under color of a truce, than he
perfidiously violated the treaty; imposed a contribution of ten millions
of gold; and animated his troops to chastise the posterity of those
Syrians who had executed, or approved, the murder of the grandson
of Mahomet. A family which had given honorable burial to the head of
Hosein, and a colony of artificers, whom he sent to labor at Samarcand,
were alone reserved in the general massacre, and after a period of seven
centuries, Damascus was reduced to ashes, because a Tartar was moved by
religious zeal to avenge the blood of an Arab. The losses and fatigues
of the campaign obliged Timour to renounce the conquest of Palestine
and Egypt; but in his return to the Euphrates he delivered Aleppo to the
flames; and justified his pious motive by the pardon and reward of two
thousand sectaries of Ali, who were desirous to visit the tomb of
his son. I have expatiated on the personal anecdotes which mark the
character of the Mogul hero; but I shall briefly mention, [36] that he
erected on the ruins of Bagdad a pyramid of ninety thousand heads; again
visited Georgia; encamped on the banks of Araxes; and proclaimed his
resolution of marching against the Ottoman emperor. Conscious of the
importance of the war, he collected his forces from every province:
eight hundred thousand men were enrolled on his military list; [37] but
the splendid commands of five, and ten, thousand horse, may be rather
expressive of the rank and pension of the chiefs, than of the genuine
number of effective soldiers. [38] In the pillage of Syria, the Moguls
had acquired immense riches: but the delivery of their pay and arrears
for seven years more firmly attached them to the Imperial standard.

[Footnote 33: See the reigns of Barkok and Pharadge, in M. De Guignes,
(tom. iv. l. xxii.,) who, from the Arabic texts of Aboulmahasen, Ebn
(Schounah, and Aintabi, has added some facts to our common stock of

[Footnote 34: For these recent and domestic transactions, Arabshah,
though a partial, is a credible, witness, (tom. i. c. 64--68, tom. ii.
c. 1--14.) Timour must have been odious to a Syrian; but the notoriety
of facts would have obliged him, in some measure, to respect his enemy
and himself. His bitters may correct the luscious sweets of Sherefeddin,
(l. v. c. 17--29.)]

[Footnote 35: These interesting conversations appear to have been copied
by Arabshah (tom. i. c. 68, p. 625--645) from the cadhi and historian
Ebn Schounah, a principal actor. Yet how could he be alive seventy-five
years afterwards? (D'Herbelot, p. 792.)]

[Footnote 36: The marches and occupations of Timour between the Syrian
and Ottoman wars are represented by Sherefeddin (l. v. c. 29--43) and
Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 15--18.)]

[Footnote 37: This number of 800,000 was extracted by Arabshah,
or rather by Ebn Schounah, ex rationario Timuri, on the faith of a
Carizmian officer, (tom. i. c. 68, p. 617;) and it is remarkable enough,
that a Greek historian (Phranza, l. i. c. 29) adds no more than 20,000
men. Poggius reckons 1,000,000; another Latin contemporary (Chron.
Tarvisianum, apud Muratori, tom. xix. p. 800) 1,100,000; and the
enormous sum of 1,600,000 is attested by a German soldier, who was
present at the battle of Angora, (Leunclav. ad Chalcondyl. l. iii.
p. 82.) Timour, in his Institutions, has not deigned to calculate his
troops, his subjects, or his revenues.]

[Footnote 38: A wide latitude of non-effectives was allowed by the
Great Mogul for his own pride and the benefit of his officers. Bernier's
patron was Penge-Hazari, commander of 5000 horse; of which he maintained
no more than 500, (Voyages, tom. i. p. 288, 289.)]

During this diversion of the Mogul arms, Bajazet had two years to
collect his forces for a more serious encounter. They consisted of four
hundred thousand horse and foot, [39] whose merit and fidelity were of
an unequal complexion. We may discriminate the Janizaries, who have been
gradually raised to an establishment of forty thousand men; a national
cavalry, the Spahis of modern times; twenty thousand cuirassiers of
Europe, clad in black and impenetrable armor; the troops of Anatolia,
whose princes had taken refuge in the camp of Timour, and a colony
of Tartars, whom he had driven from Kipzak, and to whom Bajazet
had assigned a settlement in the plains of Adrianople. The fearless
confidence of the sultan urged him to meet his antagonist; and, as if he
had chosen that spot for revenge, he displayed his banner near the
ruins of the unfortunate Suvas. In the mean while, Timour moved from the
Araxes through the countries of Armenia and Anatolia: his boldness was
secured by the wisest precautions; his speed was guided by order
and discipline; and the woods, the mountains, and the rivers, were
diligently explored by the flying squadrons, who marked his road and
preceded his standard. Firm in his plan of fighting in the heart of
the Ottoman kingdom, he avoided their camp; dexterously inclined to the
left; occupied Cæsarea; traversed the salt desert and the River Halys;
and invested Angora: while the sultan, immovable and ignorant in his
post, compared the Tartar swiftness to the crawling of a snail; [40] he
returned on the wings of indignation to the relief of Angora: and as
both generals were alike impatient for action, the plains round that
city were the scene of a memorable battle, which has immortalized the
glory of Timour and the shame of Bajazet. For this signal victory the
Mogul emperor was indebted to himself, to the genius of the moment, and
the discipline of thirty years. He had improved the tactics, without
violating the manners, of his nation, [41] whose force still consisted in
the missile weapons, and rapid evolutions, of a numerous cavalry. From
a single troop to a great army, the mode of attack was the same: a
foremost line first advanced to the charge, and was supported in a just
order by the squadrons of the great vanguard. The general's eye watched
over the field, and at his command the front and rear of the right and
left wings successively moved forwards in their several divisions, and
in a direct or oblique line: the enemy was pressed by eighteen or twenty
attacks; and each attack afforded a chance of victory. If they all
proved fruitless or unsuccessful, the occasion was worthy of the emperor
himself, who gave the signal of advancing to the standard and main body,
which he led in person. [42] But in the battle of Angora, the main body
itself was supported, on the flanks and in the rear, by the bravest
squadrons of the reserve, commanded by the sons and grandsons of Timour.
The conqueror of Hindostan ostentatiously showed a line of elephants,
the trophies, rather than the instruments, of victory; the use of
the Greek fire was familiar to the Moguls and Ottomans; but had they
borrowed from Europe the recent invention of gunpowder and cannon, the
artificial thunder, in the hands of either nation, must have turned the
fortune of the day. [43] In that day Bajazet displayed the qualities of
a soldier and a chief: but his genius sunk under a stronger ascendant;
and, from various motives, the greatest part of his troops failed him
in the decisive moment. His rigor and avarice [431] had provoked a mutiny
among the Turks; and even his son Soliman too hastily withdrew from the
field. The forces of Anatolia, loyal in their revolt, were drawn away to
the banners of their lawful princes. His Tartar allies had been tempted
by the letters and emissaries of Timour; [44] who reproached their
ignoble servitude under the slaves of their fathers; and offered to
their hopes the dominion of their new, or the liberty of their ancient,
country. In the right wing of Bajazet the cuirassiers of Europe charged,
with faithful hearts and irresistible arms: but these men of iron
were soon broken by an artful flight and headlong pursuit; and the
Janizaries, alone, without cavalry or missile weapons, were encompassed
by the circle of the Mogul hunters. Their valor was at length oppressed
by heat, thirst, and the weight of numbers; and the unfortunate sultan,
afflicted with the gout in his hands and feet, was transported from the
field on the fleetest of his horses. He was pursued and taken by the
titular khan of Zagatai; and, after his capture, and the defeat of the
Ottoman powers, the kingdom of Anatolia submitted to the conqueror,
who planted his standard at Kiotahia, and dispersed on all sides the
ministers of rapine and destruction. Mirza Mehemmed Sultan, the eldest
and best beloved of his grandsons, was despatched to Boursa, with thirty
thousand horse; and such was his youthful ardor, that he arrived with
only four thousand at the gates of the capital, after performing in five
days a march of two hundred and thirty miles. Yet fear is still more
rapid in its course; and Soliman, the son of Bajazet, had already passed
over to Europe with the royal treasure. The spoil, however, of the
palace and city was immense: the inhabitants had escaped; but the
buildings, for the most part of wood, were reduced to ashes From Boursa,
the grandson of Timour advanced to Nice, ever yet a fair and flourishing
city; and the Mogul squadrons were only stopped by the waves of the
Propontis. The same success attended the other mirzas and emirs in their
excursions; and Smyrna, defended by the zeal and courage of the Rhodian
knights, alone deserved the presence of the emperor himself. After an
obstinate defence, the place was taken by storm: all that breathed was
put to the sword; and the heads of the Christian heroes were launched
from the engines, on board of two carracks, or great ships of Europe,
that rode at anchor in the harbor. The Moslems of Asia rejoiced in their
deliverance from a dangerous and domestic foe; and a parallel was drawn
between the two rivals, by observing that Timour, in fourteen days,
had reduced a fortress which had sustained seven years the siege, or at
least the blockade, of Bajazet. [45]

[Footnote 39: Timour himself fixes at 400,000 men the Ottoman army,
(Institutions, p. 153,) which is reduced to 150,000 by Phranza, (l. i.
c. 29,) and swelled by the German soldier to 1,400,000. It is evident
that the Moguls were the more numerous.]

[Footnote 40: It may not be useless to mark the distances between Angora
and the neighboring cities, by the journeys of the caravans, each of
twenty or twenty-five miles; to Smyrna xx., to Kiotahia x., to Boursa
x., to Cæsarea, viii., to Sinope x., to Nicomedia ix., to Constantinople
xii. or xiii., (see Tournefort, Voyage au Levant, tom. ii. lettre xxi.)]

[Footnote 41: See the Systems of Tactics in the Institutions, which the
English editors have illustrated with elaborate plans, (p. 373--407.)]

[Footnote 42: The sultan himself (says Timour) must then put the foot of
courage into the stirrup of patience. A Tartar metaphor, which is lost
in the English, but preserved in the French, version of the Institutes,
(p. 156, 157.)]

[Footnote 43: The Greek fire, on Timour's side, is attested by
Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 47;) but Voltaire's strange suspicion, that some
cannon, inscribed with strange characters, must have been sent by
that monarch to Delhi, is refuted by the universal silence of

[Footnote 431: See V. Hammer, vol. i. p. 310, for the singular hints
which were conveyed to him of the wisdom of unlocking his hoarded

[Footnote 44: Timour has dissembled this secret and important
negotiation with the Tartars, which is indisputably proved by the joint
evidence of the Arabian, (tom. i. c. 47, p. 391,) Turkish, (Annal.
Leunclav. p. 321,) and Persian historians, (Khondemir, apud d'Herbelot,
p. 882.)]

[Footnote 45: For the war of Anatolia or Roum, I add some hints in the
Institutions, to the copious narratives of Sherefeddin (l. v. c. 44--65)
and Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 20--35.) On this part only of Timour's
history it is lawful to quote the Turks, (Cantemir, p. 53--55, Annal.
Leunclav. p. 320--322,) and the Greeks, (Phranza, l. i. c. 59, Ducas, c.
15--17, Chalcondyles, l. iii.)]

The _iron cage_ in which Bajazet was imprisoned by Tamerlane, so long
and so often repeated as a moral lesson, is now rejected as a fable by
the modern writers, who smile at the vulgar credulity. [46] They appeal
with confidence to the Persian history of Sherefeddin Ali, which has
been given to our curiosity in a French version, and from which I
shall collect and abridge a more specious narrative of this memorable
transaction. No sooner was Timour informed that the captive Ottoman was
at the door of his tent, than he graciously stepped forwards to receive
him, seated him by his side, and mingled with just reproaches a soothing
pity for his rank and misfortune. "Alas!" said the emperor, "the decree
of fate is now accomplished by your own fault; it is the web which you
have woven, the thorns of the tree which yourself have planted. I wished
to spare, and even to assist, the champion of the Moslems; you braved
our threats; you despised our friendship; you forced us to enter
your kingdom with our invincible armies. Behold the event. Had you
vanquished, I am not ignorant of the fate which you reserved for myself
and my troops. But I disdain to retaliate: your life and honor are
secure; and I shall express my gratitude to God by my clemency to
man." The royal captive showed some signs of repentance, accepted the
humiliation of a robe of honor, and embraced with tears his son Mousa,
who, at his request, was sought and found among the captives of the
field. The Ottoman princes were lodged in a splendid pavilion; and the
respect of the guards could be surpassed only by their vigilance. On the
arrival of the harem from Boursa, Timour restored the queen Despina and
her daughter to their father and husband; but he piously required, that
the Servian princess, who had hitherto been indulged in the profession
of Christianity, should embrace without delay the religion of the
prophet. In the feast of victory, to which Bajazet was invited, the
Mogul emperor placed a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand, with
a solemn assurance of restoring him with an increase of glory to the
throne of his ancestors. But the effect of his promise was disappointed
by the sultan's untimely death: amidst the care of the most skilful
physicians, he expired of an apoplexy at Akshehr, the Antioch of
Pisidia, about nine months after his defeat. The victor dropped a tear
over his grave: his body, with royal pomp, was conveyed to the mausoleum
which he had erected at Boursa; and his son Mousa, after receiving a
rich present of gold and jewels, of horses and arms, was invested by a
patent in red ink with the kingdom of Anatolia.

[Footnote 46: The scepticism of Voltaire (Essai sur l'Histoire Générale,
c. 88) is ready on this, as on every occasion, to reject a popular tale,
and to diminish the magnitude of vice and virtue; and on most occasions
his incredulity is reasonable.]

Such is the portrait of a generous conqueror, which has been extracted
from his own memorials, and dedicated to his son and grandson,
nineteen years after his decease; [47] and, at a time when the truth
was remembered by thousands, a manifest falsehood would have implied a
satire on his real conduct. Weighty indeed is this evidence, adopted
by all the Persian histories; [48] yet flattery, more especially in the
East, is base and audacious; and the harsh and ignominious treatment
of Bajazet is attested by a chain of witnesses, some of whom shall be
produced in the order of their time and country. _1._ The reader has not
forgot the garrison of French, whom the marshal Boucicault left behind
him for the defence of Constantinople. They were on the spot to receive
the earliest and most faithful intelligence of the overthrow of their
great adversary; and it is more than probable, that some of them
accompanied the Greek embassy to the camp of Tamerlane. From their
account, the _hardships_ of the prison and death of Bajazet are affirmed
by the marshal's servant and historian, within the distance of seven
years. [49] _2._ The name of Poggius the Italian [50] is deservedly famous
among the revivers of learning in the fifteenth century. His elegant
dialogue on the vicissitudes of fortune [51] was composed in his fiftieth
year, twenty-eight years after the Turkish victory of Tamerlane; [52]
whom he celebrates as not inferior to the illustrious Barbarians of
antiquity. Of his exploits and discipline Poggius was informed by
several ocular witnesses; nor does he forget an example so apposite to
his theme as the Ottoman monarch, whom the Scythian confined like a wild
beast in an iron cage, and exhibited a spectacle to Asia. I might add
the authority of two Italian chronicles, perhaps of an earlier date,
which would prove at least that the same story, whether false or true,
was imported into Europe with the first tidings of the revolution. [53]
_3._ At the time when Poggius flourished at Rome, Ahmed Ebn Arabshah
composed at Damascus the florid and malevolent history of Timour,
for which he had collected materials in his journeys over Turkey and
Tartary. [54] Without any possible correspondence between the Latin and
the Arabian writer, they agree in the fact of the iron cage; and their
agreement is a striking proof of their common veracity. Ahmed Arabshah
likewise relates another outrage, which Bajazet endured, of a more
domestic and tender nature. His indiscreet mention of women and divorces
was deeply resented by the jealous Tartar: in the feast of victory the
wine was served by female cupbearers, and the sultan beheld his own
concubines and wives confounded among the slaves, and exposed without a
veil to the eyes of intemperance. To escape a similar indignity, it is
said that his successors, except in a single instance, have abstained
from legitimate nuptials; and the Ottoman practice and belief, at least
in the sixteenth century, is asserted by the observing Busbequius, [55]
ambassador from the court of Vienna to the great Soliman. _4._ Such is
the separation of language, that the testimony of a Greek is not less
independent than that of a Latin or an Arab. I suppress the names of
Chalcondyles and Ducas, who flourished in the latter period, and who
speak in a less positive tone; but more attention is due to George
Phranza, [56] protovestiare of the last emperors, and who was born a year
before the battle of Angora. Twenty-two years after that event, he was
sent ambassador to Amurath the Second; and the historian might converse
with some veteran Janizaries, who had been made prisoners with the
sultan, and had themselves seen him in his iron cage. 5. The last
evidence, in every sense, is that of the Turkish annals, which have been
consulted or transcribed by Leunclavius, Pocock, and Cantemir. [57] They
unanimously deplore the captivity of the iron cage; and some credit
may be allowed to national historians, who cannot stigmatize the Tartar
without uncovering the shame of their king and country.

[Footnote 47: See the History of Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 49, 52, 53, 59,
60.) This work was finished at Shiraz, in the year 1424, and dedicated
to Sultan Ibrahim, the son of Sharokh, the son of Timour, who reigned in
Farsistan in his father's lifetime.]

[Footnote 48: After the perusal of Khondemir, Ebn Schounah, &c., the
learned D'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 882) may affirm, that this
fable is not mentioned in the most authentic histories; but his denial
of the visible testimony of Arabshah leaves some room to suspect his

[Footnote 49: Et fut lui-même (Bajazet) pris, et mené en prison, en
laquelle mourut de _dure mort!_ Mémoires de Boucicault, P. i. c. 37.
These Memoirs were composed while the marshal was still governor of
Genoa, from whence he was expelled in the year 1409, by a popular
insurrection, (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xii. p. 473, 474.)]

[Footnote 50: The reader will find a satisfactory account of the life
and writings of Poggius in the Poggiana, an entertaining work of
M. Lenfant, and in the Bibliotheca Latina Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis of
Fabricius, (tom. v. p. 305--308.) Poggius was born in the year 1380, and
died in 1459.]

[Footnote 51: The dialogue de Varietate Fortunæ, (of which a complete
and elegant edition has been published at Paris in 1723, in 4to.,) was
composed a short time before the death of Pope Martin V., (p. 5,) and
consequently about the end of the year 1430.]

[Footnote 52: See a splendid and eloquent encomium of Tamerlane, p.
36--39 ipse enim novi (says Poggius) qui fuere in ejus castris.... Regem
vivum cepit, caveâque in modum feræ inclusum per omnem Asian circumtulit
egregium admirandumque spectaculum fortunæ.]

[Footnote 53: The Chronicon Tarvisianum, (in Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum tom. xix. p. 800,) and the Annales Estenses, (tom. xviii.
p. 974.) The two authors, Andrea de Redusiis de Quero, and James de
Delayto, were both contemporaries, and both chancellors, the one of
Trevigi, the other of Ferrara. The evidence of the former is the most

[Footnote 54: See Arabshah, tom. ii. c. 28, 34. He travelled in regiones
Rumæas, A. H. 839, (A.D. 1435, July 27,) tom. i. c. 2, p. 13.]

[Footnote 55: Busbequius in Legatione Turcicâ, epist. i. p. 52. Yet his
respectable authority is somewhat shaken by the subsequent marriages
of Amurath II. with a Servian, and of Mahomet II. with an Asiatic,
princess, (Cantemir, p. 83, 93.)]

[Footnote 56: See the testimony of George Phranza, (l. i. c. 29,) and
his life in Hanckius (de Script. Byzant. P. i. c. 40.) Chalcondyles and
Ducas speak in general terms of Bajazet's _chains_.]

[Footnote 57: Annales Leunclav. p. 321. Pocock, Prolegomen. ad
Abulpharag Dynast. Cantemir, p. 55. * Note: Von Hammer, p. 318,
cites several authorities unknown to

From these opposite premises, a fair and moderate conclusion may be
deduced. I am satisfied that Sherefeddin Ali has faithfully described
the first ostentatious interview, in which the conqueror, whose spirits
were harmonized by success, affected the character of generosity. But
his mind was insensibly alienated by the unseasonable arrogance of
Bajazet; the complaints of his enemies, the Anatolian princes, were just
and vehement; and Timour betrayed a design of leading his royal captive
in triumph to Samarcand. An attempt to facilitate his escape, by digging
a mine under the tent, provoked the Mogul emperor to impose a harsher
restraint; and in his perpetual marches, an iron cage on a wagon might
be invented, not as a wanton insult, but as a rigorous precaution.
Timour had read in some fabulous history a similar treatment of one
of his predecessors, a king of Persia; and Bajazet was condemned to
represent the person, and expiate the guilt, of the Roman Cæsar [58] [581]
But the strength of his mind and body fainted under the trial, and his
premature death might, without injustice, be ascribed to the severity
of Timour. He warred not with the dead: a tear and a sepulchre were all
that he could bestow on a captive who was delivered from his power; and
if Mousa, the son of Bajazet, was permitted to reign over the ruins of
Boursa, the greatest part of the province of Anatolia had been restored
by the conqueror to their lawful sovereigns.

[Footnote 58: Sapor, king of Persia, had been made prisoner, and
enclosed in the figure of a cow's hide by Maximian or Galerius Cæsar.
Such is the fable related by Eutychius, (Annal. tom. i. p. 421, vers.
Pocock). The recollection of the true history (Decline and Fall, &c.,
vol. ii. p 140--152) will teach us to appreciate the knowledge of the
Orientals of the ages which precede the Hegira.]

[Footnote 581: Von Hammer's explanation of this contested point is both
simple and satisfactory. It originates in a mistake in the meaning of
the Turkish word kafe, which means a covered litter or palanquin drawn
by two horses, and is generally used to convey the harem of an Eastern
monarch. In such a litter, with the lattice-work made of iron, Bajazet
either chose or was constrained to travel. This was either mistaken
for, or transformed by, ignorant relaters into a cage. The European
Schiltberger, the two oldest of the Turkish historians, and the most
valuable of the later compilers, Seadeddin, describe this litter.
Seadeddin discusses the question with some degree of historical
criticism, and ascribes the choice of such a vehicle to the indignant
state of Bajazet's mind, which would not brook the sight of his Tartar
conquerors. Von Hammer, p. 320.--M.]

From the Irtish and Volga to the Persian Gulf, and from the Ganges to
Damascus and the Archipelago, Asia was in the hand of Timour: his armies
were invincible, his ambition was boundless, and his zeal might aspire
to conquer and convert the Christian kingdoms of the West, which already
trembled at his name. He touched the utmost verge of the land; but an
insuperable, though narrow, sea rolled between the two continents of
Europe and Asia; [59] and the lord of so many _tomans_, or myriads,
of horse, was not master of a single galley. The two passages of
the Bosphorus and Hellespont, of Constantinople and Gallipoli, were
possessed, the one by the Christians, the other by the Turks. On this
great occasion, they forgot the difference of religion, to act with
union and firmness in the common cause: the double straits were
guarded with ships and fortifications; and they separately withheld the
transports which Timour demanded of either nation, under the pretence
of attacking their enemy. At the same time, they soothed his pride with
tributary gifts and suppliant embassies, and prudently tempted him
to retreat with the honors of victory. Soliman, the son of Bajazet,
implored his clemency for his father and himself; accepted, by a red
patent, the investiture of the kingdom of Romania, which he already
held by the sword; and reiterated his ardent wish, of casting himself
in person at the feet of the king of the world. The Greek emperor [60]
(either John or Manuel) submitted to pay the same tribute which he had
stipulated with the Turkish sultan, and ratified the treaty by an oath
of allegiance, from which he could absolve his conscience so soon as the
Mogul arms had retired from Anatolia. But the fears and fancy of nations
ascribed to the ambitious Tamerlane a new design of vast and romantic
compass; a design of subduing Egypt and Africa, marching from the Nile
to the Atlantic Ocean, entering Europe by the Straits of Gibraltar, and,
after imposing his yoke on the kingdoms of Christendom, of returning
home by the deserts of Russia and Tartary. This remote, and perhaps
imaginary, danger was averted by the submission of the sultan of Egypt:
the honors of the prayer and the coin attested at Cairo the supremacy
of Timour; and a rare gift of a _giraffe_, or camelopard, and nine
ostriches, represented at Samarcand the tribute of the African world.
Our imagination is not less astonished by the portrait of a Mogul,
who, in his camp before Smyrna, meditates, and almost accomplishes, the
invasion of the Chinese empire. [61] Timour was urged to this enterprise
by national honor and religious zeal. The torrents which he had shed of
Mussulman blood could be expiated only by an equal destruction of the
infidels; and as he now stood at the gates of paradise, he might best
secure his glorious entrance by demolishing the idols of China, founding
mosques in every city, and establishing the profession of faith in
one God, and his prophet Mahomet. The recent expulsion of the house of
Zingis was an insult on the Mogul name; and the disorders of the empire
afforded the fairest opportunity for revenge. The illustrious Hongvou,
founder of the dynasty of _Ming_, died four years before the battle of
Angora; and his grandson, a weak and unfortunate youth, was burnt in his
palace, after a million of Chinese had perished in the civil war. [62]
Before he evacuated Anatolia, Timour despatched beyond the Sihoon a
numerous army, or rather colony, of his old and new subjects, to open
the road, to subdue the Pagan Calmucks and Mungals, and to found cities
and magazines in the desert; and, by the diligence of his lieutenant, he
soon received a perfect map and description of the unknown regions,
from the source of the Irtish to the wall of China. During these
preparations, the emperor achieved the final conquest of Georgia; passed
the winter on the banks of the Araxes; appeased the troubles of Persia;
and slowly returned to his capital, after a campaign of four years and
nine months.

[Footnote 59: Arabshah (tom. ii. c. 25) describes, like a curious
traveller, the Straits of Gallipoli and Constantinople. To acquire a
just idea of these events, I have compared the narratives and prejudices
of the Moguls, Turks, Greeks, and Arabians. The Spanish ambassador
mentions this hostile union of the Christians and Ottomans, (Vie de
Timour, p. 96.)]

[Footnote 60: Since the name of Cæsar had been transferred to the
sultans of Roum, the Greek princes of Constantinople (Sherefeddin, l.
v. c. 54) were confounded with the Christian _lords_ of Gallipoli,
Thessalonica, &c. under the title of _Tekkur_, which is derived by
corruption from the genitive tou kuriou, (Cantemir, p. 51.)]

[Footnote 61: See Sherefeddin, l. v. c. 4, who marks, in a just
itinerary, the road to China, which Arabshah (tom. ii. c. 33) paints in
vague and rhetorical colors.]

[Footnote 62: Synopsis Hist. Sinicæ, p. 74--76, (in the ivth part of
the Relations de Thevenot,) Duhalde, Hist. de la Chine, (tom. i. p. 507,
508, folio edition;) and for the Chronology of the Chinese emperors, De
Guignes, Hist. des Huns, (tom. i. p. 71, 72.)]

Chapter LXV: Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane, And His Death.--Part III.

On the throne of Samarcand, [63] he displayed, in a short repose, his
magnificence and power; listened to the complaints of the people;
distributed a just measure of rewards and punishments; employed his
riches in the architecture of palaces and temples; and gave audience to
the ambassadors of Egypt, Arabia, India, Tartary, Russia, and Spain, the
last of whom presented a suit of tapestry which eclipsed the pencil of
the Oriental artists. The marriage of six of the emperor's grandsons was
esteemed an act of religion as well as of paternal tenderness; and the
pomp of the ancient caliphs was revived in their nuptials. They were
celebrated in the gardens of Canighul, decorated with innumerable tents
and pavilions, which displayed the luxury of a great city and the spoils
of a victorious camp. Whole forests were cut down to supply fuel for the
kitchens; the plain was spread with pyramids of meat, and vases of
every liquor, to which thousands of guests were courteously invited: the
orders of the state, and the nations of the earth, were marshalled at
the royal banquet; nor were the ambassadors of Europe (says the haughty
Persian) excluded from the feast; since even the _casses_, the smallest
of fish, find their place in the ocean. [64] The public joy was testified
by illuminations and masquerades; the trades of Samarcand passed in
review; and every trade was emulous to execute some quaint device, some
marvellous pageant, with the materials of their peculiar art. After the
marriage contracts had been ratified by the cadhis, the bride-grooms and
their brides retired to the nuptial chambers: nine times, according to
the Asiatic fashion, they were dressed and undressed; and at each
change of apparel, pearls and rubies were showered on their heads, and
contemptuously abandoned to their attendants. A general indulgence
was proclaimed: every law was relaxed, every pleasure was allowed; the
people was free, the sovereign was idle; and the historian of Timour may
remark, that, after devoting fifty years to the attainment of empire,
the only happy period of his life were the two months in which he
ceased to exercise his power. But he was soon awakened to the cares of
government and war. The standard was unfurled for the invasion of China:
the emirs made their report of two hundred thousand, the select and
veteran soldiers of Iran and Touran: their baggage and provisions were
transported by five hundred great wagons, and an immense train of horses
and camels; and the troops might prepare for a long absence, since more
than six months were employed in the tranquil journey of a caravan from
Samarcand to Pekin. Neither age, nor the severity of the winter, could
retard the impatience of Timour; he mounted on horseback, passed the
Sihoon on the ice, marched seventy-six parasangs, three hundred miles,
from his capital, and pitched his last camp in the neighborhood of
Otrar, where he was expected by the angel of death. Fatigue, and the
indiscreet use of iced water, accelerated the progress of his fever;
and the conqueror of Asia expired in the seventieth year of his age,
thirty-five years after he had ascended the throne of Zagatai. His
designs were lost; his armies were disbanded; China was saved; and
fourteen years after his decease, the most powerful of his children sent
an embassy of friendship and commerce to the court of Pekin. [65]

[Footnote 63: For the return, triumph, and death of Timour, see
Sherefeddin (l. vi. c. 1--30) and Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 36--47.)]

[Footnote 64: Sherefeddin (l. vi. c. 24) mentions the ambassadors of one
of the most potent sovereigns of Europe. We know that it was Henry III.
king of Castile; and the curious relation of his two embassies is still
extant, (Mariana, Hist. Hispan. l. xix. c. 11, tom. ii. p. 329, 330.
Avertissement à l'Hist. de Timur Bec, p. 28--33.) There appears likewise
to have been some correspondence between the Mogul emperor and the
court of Charles VII. king of France, (Histoire de France, par Velly et
Villaret, tom. xii. p. 336.)]

[Footnote 65: See the translation of the Persian account of their
embassy, a curious and original piece, (in the ivth part of the
Relations de Thevenot.) They presented the emperor of China with an old
horse which Timour had formerly rode. It was in the year 1419 that they
departed from the court of Herat, to which place they returned in 1422
from Pekin.]

The fame of Timour has pervaded the East and West: his posterity is
still invested with the Imperial _title_; and the admiration of his
subjects, who revered him almost as a deity, may be justified in
some degree by the praise or confession of his bitterest enemies. [66]
Although he was lame of a hand and foot, his form and stature were not
unworthy of his rank; and his vigorous health, so essential to himself
and to the world, was corroborated by temperance and exercise. In his
familiar discourse he was grave and modest, and if he was ignorant of
the Arabic language, he spoke with fluency and elegance the Persian
and Turkish idioms. It was his delight to converse with the learned on
topics of history and science; and the amusement of his leisure
hours was the game of chess, which he improved or corrupted with new
refinements. [67] In his religion he was a zealous, though not perhaps
an orthodox, Mussulman; [68] but his sound understanding may tempt us to
believe, that a superstitious reverence for omens and prophecies, for
saints and astrologers, was only affected as an instrument of policy. In
the government of a vast empire, he stood alone and absolute, without
a rebel to oppose his power, a favorite to seduce his affections, or
a minister to mislead his judgment. It was his firmest maxim, that
whatever might be the consequence, the word of the prince should never
be disputed or recalled; but his foes have maliciously observed, that
the commands of anger and destruction were more strictly executed than
those of beneficence and favor. His sons and grandsons, of whom Timour
left six-and-thirty at his decease, were his first and most submissive
subjects; and whenever they deviated from their duty, they were
corrected, according to the laws of Zingis, with the bastinade, and
afterwards restored to honor and command. Perhaps his heart was not
devoid of the social virtues; perhaps he was not incapable of loving his
friends and pardoning his enemies; but the rules of morality are founded
on the public interest; and it may be sufficient to applaud the _wisdom_
of a monarch, for the liberality by which he is not impoverished, and
for the justice by which he is strengthened and enriched. To maintain
the harmony of authority and obedience, to chastise the proud, to
protect the weak, to reward the deserving, to banish vice and idleness
from his dominions, to secure the traveller and merchant, to restrain
the depredations of the soldier, to cherish the labors of the
husbandman, to encourage industry and learning, and, by an equal and
moderate assessment, to increase the revenue, without increasing the
taxes, are indeed the duties of a prince; but, in the discharge of these
duties, he finds an ample and immediate recompense. Timour might boast,
that, at his accession to the throne, Asia was the prey of anarchy
and rapine, whilst under his prosperous monarchy a child, fearless and
unhurt, might carry a purse of gold from the East to the West. Such was
his confidence of merit, that from this reformation he derived an excuse
for his victories, and a title to universal dominion. The four following
observations will serve to appreciate his claim to the public gratitude;
and perhaps we shall conclude, that the Mogul emperor was rather the
scourge than the benefactor of mankind. _1._ If some partial disorders,
some local oppressions, were healed by the sword of Timour, the remedy
was far more pernicious than the disease. By their rapine, cruelty, and
discord, the petty tyrants of Persia might afflict their subjects; but
whole nations were crushed under the footsteps of the reformer. The
ground which had been occupied by flourishing cities was often marked
by his abominable trophies, by columns, or pyramids, of human heads.
Astracan, Carizme, Delhi, Ispahan, Bagdad, Aleppo, Damascus, Boursa,
Smyrna, and a thousand others, were sacked, or burnt, or utterly
destroyed, in his presence, and by his troops: and perhaps his
conscience would have been startled, if a priest or philosopher had
dared to number the millions of victims whom he had sacrificed to the
establishment of peace and order. [69] _2._ His most destructive wars
were rather inroads than conquests. He invaded Turkestan, Kipzak,
Russia, Hindostan, Syria, Anatolia, Armenia, and Georgia, without a
hope or a desire of preserving those distant provinces. From thence he
departed laden with spoil; but he left behind him neither troops to awe
the contumacious, nor magistrates to protect the obedient, natives. When
he had broken the fabric of their ancient government, he abandoned them
to the evils which his invasion had aggravated or caused; nor were these
evils compensated by any present or possible benefits. _3._ The kingdoms
of Transoxiana and Persia were the proper field which he labored to
cultivate and adorn, as the perpetual inheritance of his family. But his
peaceful labors were often interrupted, and sometimes blasted, by the
absence of the conqueror. While he triumphed on the Volga or the Ganges,
his servants, and even his sons, forgot their master and their duty. The
public and private injuries were poorly redressed by the tardy rigor
of inquiry and punishment; and we must be content to praise the
_Institutions_ of Timour, as the specious idea of a perfect monarchy.
_4._ Whatsoever might be the blessings of his administration, they
evaporated with his life. To reign, rather than to govern, was the
ambition of his children and grandchildren; [70] the enemies of each
other and of the people. A fragment of the empire was upheld with some
glory by Sharokh, his youngest son; but after _his_ decease, the scene
was again involved in darkness and blood; and before the end of a
century, Transoxiana and Persia were trampled by the Uzbeks from the
north, and the Turkmans of the black and white sheep. The race of Timour
would have been extinct, if a hero, his descendant in the fifth degree,
had not fled before the Uzbek arms to the conquest of Hindostan. His
successors (the great Moguls [71]) extended their sway from the mountains
of Cashmir to Cape Comorin, and from Candahar to the Gulf of Bengal.
Since the reign of Aurungzebe, their empire had been dissolved; their
treasures of Delhi have been rifled by a Persian robber; and the richest
of their kingdoms is now possessed by a company of Christian merchants,
of a remote island in the Northern Ocean.

[Footnote 66: From Arabshah, tom. ii. c. 96. The bright or softer colors
are borrowed from Sherefeddin, D'Herbelot, and the Institutions.]

[Footnote 67: His new system was multiplied from 32 pieces and 64
squares to 56 pieces and 110 or 130 squares; but, except in his court,
the old game has been thought sufficiently elaborate. The Mogul emperor
was rather pleased than hurt with the victory of a subject: a chess
player will feel the value of this encomium!]

[Footnote 68: See Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 15, 25. Arabshah tom. ii. c. 96,
p. 801, 803) approves the impiety of Timour and the Moguls, who
almost preferred to the Koran the _Yacsa_, or Law of Zingis, (cui Deus
maledicat;) nor will he believe that Sharokh had abolished the use and
authority of that Pagan code.]

[Footnote 69: Besides the bloody passages of this narrative, I must
refer to an anticipation in the third volume of the Decline and Fall,
which in a single note (p. 234, note 25) accumulates nearly 300,000
heads of the monuments of his cruelty. Except in Rowe's play on
the fifth of November, I did not expect to hear of Timour's amiable
moderation (White's preface, p. 7.) Yet I can excuse a generous
enthusiasm in the reader, and still more in the editor, of the

[Footnote 70: Consult the last chapters of Sherefeddin and Arabshah,
and M. De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. iv. l. xx.) Fraser's History of
Nadir Shah, (p. 1--62.) The story of Timour's descendants is imperfectly
told; and the second and third parts of Sherefeddin are unknown.]

[Footnote 71: Shah Allum, the present Mogul, is in the fourteenth degree
from Timour, by Miran Shah, his third son. See the second volume of
Dow's History of Hindostan.]

Far different was the fate of the Ottoman monarchy. The massy trunk was
bent to the ground, but no sooner did the hurricane pass away, than it
again rose with fresh vigor and more lively vegetation. When Timour,
in every sense, had evacuated Anatolia, he left the cities without a
palace, a treasure, or a king. The open country was overspread with
hordes of shepherds and robbers of Tartar or Turkman origin; the recent
conquests of Bajazet were restored to the emirs, one of whom, in base
revenge, demolished his sepulchre; and his five sons were eager, by
civil discord, to consume the remnant of their patrimony. I shall
enumerate their names in the order of their age and actions. [72] _1._ It
is doubtful, whether I relate the story of the true _Mustapha_, or of an
impostor who personated that lost prince. He fought by his father's side
in the battle of Angora: but when the captive sultan was permitted to
inquire for his children, Mousa alone could be found; and the Turkish
historians, the slaves of the triumphant faction, are persuaded that his
brother was confounded among the slain. If Mustapha escaped from that
disastrous field, he was concealed twelve years from his friends and
enemies; till he emerged in Thessaly, and was hailed by a numerous
party, as the son and successor of Bajazet. His first defeat would have
been his last, had not the true, or false, Mustapha been saved by the
Greeks, and restored, after the decease of his brother Mahomet, to
liberty and empire. A degenerate mind seemed to argue his spurious
birth; and if, on the throne of Adrianople, he was adored as the Ottoman
sultan, his flight, his fetters, and an ignominious gibbet, delivered
the impostor to popular contempt. A similar character and claim was
asserted by several rival pretenders: thirty persons are said to have
suffered under the name of Mustapha; and these frequent executions may
perhaps insinuate, that the Turkish court was not perfectly secure of
the death of the lawful prince. _2._ After his father's captivity, Isa
[73] reigned for some time in the neighborhood of Angora, Sinope, and
the Black Sea; and his ambassadors were dismissed from the presence of
Timour with fair promises and honorable gifts. But their master was soon
deprived of his province and life, by a jealous brother, the sovereign
of Amasia; and the final event suggested a pious allusion, that the
law of Moses and Jesus, of _Isa_ and _Mousa_, had been abrogated by
the greater Mahomet. _3._ _Soliman_ is not numbered in the list of the
Turkish emperors: yet he checked the victorious progress of the Moguls;
and after their departure, united for a while the thrones of Adrianople
and Boursa. In war he was brave, active, and fortunate; his courage was
softened by clemency; but it was likewise inflamed by presumption,
and corrupted by intemperance and idleness. He relaxed the nerves of
discipline, in a government where either the subject or the sovereign
must continually tremble: his vices alienated the chiefs of the army and
the law; and his daily drunkenness, so contemptible in a prince and a
man, was doubly odious in a disciple of the prophet. In the slumber of
intoxication he was surprised by his brother Mousa; and as he fled from
Adrianople towards the Byzantine capital, Soliman was overtaken and
slain in a bath, [731] after a reign of seven years and ten months. _4._
The investiture of Mousa degraded him as the slave of the Moguls: his
tributary kingdom of Anatolia was confined within a narrow limit, nor
could his broken militia and empty treasury contend with the hardy and
veteran bands of the sovereign of Romania. Mousa fled in disguise from
the palace of Boursa; traversed the Propontis in an open boat; wandered
over the Walachian and Servian hills; and after some vain attempts,
ascended the throne of Adrianople, so recently stained with the blood
of Soliman. In a reign of three years and a half, his troops were
victorious against the Christians of Hungary and the Morea; but Mousa
was ruined by his timorous disposition and unseasonable clemency. After
resigning the sovereignty of Anatolia, he fell a victim to the perfidy
of his ministers, and the superior ascendant of his brother Mahomet.
_5._The final victory of Mahomet was the just recompense of his prudence
and moderation. Before his father's captivity, the royal youth had
been intrusted with the government of Amasia, thirty days' journey
from Constantinople, and the Turkish frontier against the Christians
of Trebizond and Georgia. The castle, in Asiatic warfare, was esteemed
impregnable; and the city of Amasia, [74] which is equally divided by
the River Iris, rises on either side in the form of an amphitheatre, and
represents on a smaller scale the image of Bagdad. In his rapid career,
Timour appears to have overlooked this obscure and contumacious angle of
Anatolia; and Mahomet, without provoking the conqueror, maintained his
silent independence, and chased from the province the last stragglers of
the Tartar host. [741] He relieved himself from the dangerous neighborhood
of Isa; but in the contests of their more powerful brethren his firm
neutrality was respected; till, after the triumph of Mousa, he stood
forth the heir and avenger of the unfortunate Soliman. Mahomet obtained
Anatolia by treaty, and Romania by arms; and the soldier who presented
him with the head of Mousa was rewarded as the benefactor of his
king and country. The eight years of his sole and peaceful reign were
usefully employed in banishing the vices of civil discord, and restoring
on a firmer basis the fabric of the Ottoman monarchy. His last care was
the choice of two viziers, Bajazet and Ibrahim, [75] who might guide the
youth of his son Amurath; and such was their union and prudence, that
they concealed above forty days the emperor's death, till the arrival of
his successor in the palace of Boursa. A new war was kindled in Europe
by the prince, or impostor, Mustapha; the first vizier lost his army
and his head; but the more fortunate Ibrahim, whose name and family are
still revered, extinguished the last pretender to the throne of Bajazet,
and closed the scene of domestic hostility.

[Footnote 72: The civil wars, from the death of Bajazet to that of
Mustapha, are related, according to the Turks, by Demetrius Cantemir,
(p. 58--82.) Of the Greeks, Chalcondyles, (l. iv. and v.,) Phranza, (l.
i. c. 30--32,) and Ducas, (c. 18--27,) the last is the most copious and
best informed.]

[Footnote 73: Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 26,) whose testimony on this
occasion is weighty and valuable. The existence of Isa (unknown to the
Turks) is likewise confirmed by Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 57.)]

[Footnote 731: He escaped from the bath, and fled towards Constantinople.
Five mothers from a village, Dugundschi, whose inhabitants had suffered
severely from the exactions of his officers, recognized and followed
him. Soliman shot two of them, the others discharged their arrows in
their turn the sultan fell and his head was cut off. V. Hammer, vol. i.
p. 349.--M.]

[Footnote 74: Arabshah, loc. citat. Abulfeda, Geograph. tab. xvii. p.
302. Busbequius, epist. i. p. 96, 97, in Itinere C. P. et Amasiano.]

[Footnote 741: See his nine battles. V. Hammer, p. 339.--M.]

[Footnote 75: The virtues of Ibrahim are praised by a contemporary
Greek, (Ducas, c. 25.) His descendants are the sole nobles in
Turkey: they content themselves with the administration of his pious
foundations, are excused from public offices, and receive two annual
visits from the sultan, (Cantemir, p. 76.)]

In these conflicts, the wisest Turks, and indeed the body of the nation,
were strongly attached to the unity of the empire; and Romania and
Anatolia, so often torn asunder by private ambition, were animated by
a strong and invincible tendency of cohesion. Their efforts might
have instructed the Christian powers; and had they occupied, with a
confederate fleet, the Straits of Gallipoli, the Ottomans, at least in
Europe, must have been speedily annihilated. But the schism of the West,
and the factions and wars of France and England, diverted the Latins
from this generous enterprise: they enjoyed the present respite, without
a thought of futurity; and were often tempted by a momentary interest to
serve the common enemy of their religion. A colony of Genoese, [76] which
had been planted at Phocæa [77] on the Ionian coast, was enriched by
the lucrative monopoly of alum; [78] and their tranquillity, under the
Turkish empire, was secured by the annual payment of tribute. In the
last civil war of the Ottomans, the Genoese governor, Adorno, a bold
and ambitious youth, embraced the party of Amurath; and undertook, with
seven stout galleys, to transport him from Asia to Europe. The sultan
and five hundred guards embarked on board the admiral's ship; which was
manned by eight hundred of the bravest Franks. His life and liberty were
in their hands; nor can we, without reluctance, applaud the fidelity
of Adorno, who, in the midst of the passage, knelt before him, and
gratefully accepted a discharge of his arrears of tribute. They landed
in sight of Mustapha and Gallipoli; two thousand Italians, armed with
lances and battle-axes, attended Amurath to the conquest of Adrianople;
and this venal service was soon repaid by the ruin of the commerce and
colony of Phocæa.

[Footnote 76: See Pachymer, (l. v. c. 29,) Nicephorus Gregoras, (l.
ii. c. 1,) Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 57,) and Ducas, (c. 25.) The last of
these, a curious and careful observer, is entitled, from his birth
and station, to particular credit in all that concerns Ionia and the
islands. Among the nations that resorted to New Phocæa, he mentions the
English; ('Igglhnoi;) an early evidence of Mediterranean trade.]

[Footnote 77: For the spirit of navigation, and freedom of ancient
Phocæa, or rather the Phocæans, consult the first book of Herodotus,
and the Geographical Index of his last and learned French translator, M.
Larcher (tom. vii. p. 299.)]

[Footnote 78: Phocæa is not enumerated by Pliny (Hist. Nat. xxxv. 52)
among the places productive of alum: he reckons Egypt as the first,
and for the second the Isle of Melos, whose alum mines are described by
Tournefort, (tom. i. lettre iv.,) a traveller and a naturalist. After
the loss of Phocæa, the Genoese, in 1459, found that useful mineral in
the Isle of Ischia, (Ismael. Bouillaud, ad Ducam, c. 25.)]

If Timour had generously marched at the request, and to the relief, of
the Greek emperor, he might be entitled to the praise and gratitude of
the Christians. [79] But a Mussulman, who carried into Georgia the sword
of persecution, and respected the holy warfare of Bajazet, was not
disposed to pity or succor the _idolaters_ of Europe. The Tartar
followed the impulse of ambition; and the deliverance of Constantinople
was the accidental consequence. When Manuel abdicated the government,
it was his prayer, rather than his hope, that the ruin of the church
and state might be delayed beyond his unhappy days; and after his return
from a western pilgrimage, he expected every hour the news of the
sad catastrophe. On a sudden, he was astonished and rejoiced by the
intelligence of the retreat, the overthrow, and the captivity of the
Ottoman. Manuel [80] immediately sailed from Modon in the Morea; ascended
the throne of Constantinople, and dismissed his blind competitor to an
easy exile in the Isle of Lesbos. The ambassadors of the son of Bajazet
were soon introduced to his presence; but their pride was fallen, their
tone was modest: they were awed by the just apprehension, lest the
Greeks should open to the Moguls the gates of Europe. Soliman saluted
the emperor by the name of father; solicited at his hands the government
or gift of Romania; and promised to deserve his favor by inviolable
friendship, and the restitution of Thessalonica, with the most important
places along the Strymon, the Propontis, and the Black Sea. The alliance
of Soliman exposed the emperor to the enmity and revenge of Mousa: the
Turks appeared in arms before the gates of Constantinople; but they
were repulsed by sea and land; and unless the city was guarded by some
foreign mercenaries, the Greeks must have wondered at their own triumph.
But, instead of prolonging the division of the Ottoman powers, the
policy or passion of Manuel was tempted to assist the most formidable of
the sons of Bajazet. He concluded a treaty with Mahomet, whose progress
was checked by the insuperable barrier of Gallipoli: the sultan and
his troops were transported over the Bosphorus; he was hospitably
entertained in the capital; and his successful sally was the first step
to the conquest of Romania. The ruin was suspended by the prudence
and moderation of the conqueror: he faithfully discharged his own
obligations and those of Soliman, respected the laws of gratitude and
peace; and left the emperor guardian of his two younger sons, in the
vain hope of saving them from the jealous cruelty of their brother
Amurath. But the execution of his last testament would have offended the
national honor and religion; and the divan unanimously pronounced, that
the royal youths should never be abandoned to the custody and education
of a Christian dog. On this refusal, the Byzantine councils were
divided; but the age and caution of Manuel yielded to the presumption
of his son John; and they unsheathed a dangerous weapon of revenge, by
dismissing the true or false Mustapha, who had long been detained as a
captive and hostage, and for whose maintenance they received an annual
pension of three hundred thousand aspers. [81] At the door of his prison,
Mustapha subscribed to every proposal; and the keys of Gallipoli, or
rather of Europe, were stipulated as the price of his deliverance. But
no sooner was he seated on the throne of Romania, than he dismissed the
Greek ambassadors with a smile of contempt, declaring, in a pious tone,
that, at the day of judgment, he would rather answer for the violation
of an oath, than for the surrender of a Mussulman city into the hands of
the infidels. The emperor was at once the enemy of the two rivals; from
whom he had sustained, and to whom he had offered, an injury; and the
victory of Amurath was followed, in the ensuing spring, by the siege of
Constantinople. [82]

[Footnote 79: The writer who has the most abused this fabulous
generosity, is our ingenious Sir William Temple, (his Works, vol. iii.
p. 349, 350, octavo edition,) that lover of exotic virtue. After the
conquest of Russia, &c., and the passage of the Danube, his Tartar hero
relieves, visits, admires, and refuses the city of Constantine. His
flattering pencil deviates in every line from the truth of history;
yet his pleasing fictions are more excusable than the gross errors of

[Footnote 80: For the reigns of Manuel and John, of Mahomet I. and
Amurath II., see the Othman history of Cantemir, (p. 70--95,) and the
three Greeks, Chalcondyles, Phranza, and Ducas, who is still superior to
his rivals.]

[Footnote 81: The Turkish asper (from the Greek asproV) is, or was, a
piece of _white_ or silver money, at present much debased, but which was
formerly equivalent to the 54th part, at least, of a Venetian ducat or
sequin; and the 300,000 aspers, a princely allowance or royal tribute,
may be computed at 2500_l_. sterling, (Leunclav. Pandect. Turc. p.
406--408.) * Note: According to Von Hammer, this calculation is much too low. The
asper was a century before the time of which writes, the tenth part of a
ducat; for the same tribute which the Byzantine writers state at 300,000
aspers the Ottomans state at 30,000 ducats, about 15000l Note, vol. p.

[Footnote 82: For the siege of Constantinople in 1422, see the
particular and contemporary narrative of John Cananus, published by Leo
Allatius, at the end of his edition of Acropolita, (p. 188--199.)]

The religious merit of subduing the city of the Cæsars attracted from
Asia a crowd of volunteers, who aspired to the crown of martyrdom: their
military ardor was inflamed by the promise of rich spoils and beautiful
females; and the sultan's ambition was consecrated by the presence and
prediction of Seid Bechar, a descendant of the prophet, [83] who
arrived in the camp, on a mule, with a venerable train of five hundred
disciples. But he might blush, if a fanatic could blush, at the failure
of his assurances. The strength of the walls resisted an army of two
hundred thousand Turks; their assaults were repelled by the sallies of
the Greeks and their foreign mercenaries; the old resources of defence
were opposed to the new engines of attack; and the enthusiasm of the
dervis, who was snatched to heaven in visionary converse with Mahomet,
was answered by the credulity of the Christians, who _beheld_ the Virgin
Mary, in a violet garment, walking on the rampart and animating their
courage. [84] After a siege of two months, Amurath was recalled to Boursa
by a domestic revolt, which had been kindled by Greek treachery, and was
soon extinguished by the death of a guiltless brother. While he led his
Janizaries to new conquests in Europe and Asia, the Byzantine empire
was indulged in a servile and precarious respite of thirty years. Manuel
sank into the grave; and John Palæologus was permitted to reign, for an
annual tribute of three hundred thousand aspers, and the dereliction of
almost all that he held beyond the suburbs of Constantinople.

[Footnote 83: Cantemir, p. 80. Cananus, who describes Seid Bechar,
without naming him, supposes that the friend of Mahomet assumed in his
amours the privilege of a prophet, and that the fairest of the Greek
nuns were promised to the saint and his disciples.]

[Footnote 84: For this miraculous apparition, Cananus appeals to the
Mussulman saint; but who will bear testimony for Seid Bechar?]

In the establishment and restoration of the Turkish empire, the first
merit must doubtless be assigned to the personal qualities of the
sultans; since, in human life, the most important scenes will depend on
the character of a single actor. By some shades of wisdom and virtue,
they may be discriminated from each other; but, except in a single
instance, a period of nine reigns, and two hundred and sixty-five years,
is occupied, from the elevation of Othman to the death of Soliman, by a
rare series of warlike and active princes, who impressed their subjects
with obedience and their enemies with terror. Instead of the slothful
luxury of the seraglio, the heirs of royalty were educated in the
council and the field: from early youth they were intrusted by their
fathers with the command of provinces and armies; and this manly
institution, which was often productive of civil war, must have
essentially contributed to the discipline and vigor of the monarchy.
The Ottomans cannot style themselves, like the Arabian caliphs, the
descendants or successors of the apostle of God; and the kindred which
they claim with the Tartar khans of the house of Zingis appears to be
founded in flattery rather than in truth. [85] Their origin is obscure;
but their sacred and indefeasible right, which no time can erase, and no
violence can infringe, was soon and unalterably implanted in the
minds of their subjects. A weak or vicious sultan may be deposed and
strangled; but his inheritance devolves to an infant or an idiot: nor
has the most daring rebel presumed to ascend the throne of his lawful
sovereign. [86]

[Footnote 85: See Ricaut, (l. i. c. 13.) The Turkish sultans assume the
title of khan. Yet Abulghazi is ignorant of his Ottoman cousins.]

[Footnote 86: The third grand vizier of the name of Kiuperli, who was
slain at the battle of Salankanen in 1691, (Cantemir, p. 382,) presumed
to say that all the successors of Soliman had been fools or tyrants, and
that it was time to abolish the race, (Marsigli Stato Militaire, &c., p.
28.) This political heretic was a good Whig, and justified against
the French ambassador the revolution of England, (Mignot, Hist. des
Ottomans, tom. iii. p. 434.) His presumption condemns the singular
exception of continuing offices in the same family.]

While the transient dynasties of Asia have been continually subverted by
a crafty vizier in the palace, or a victorious general in the camp, the
Ottoman succession has been confirmed by the practice of five centuries,
and is now incorporated with the vital principle of the Turkish nation.

To the spirit and constitution of that nation, a strong and singular
influence may, however, be ascribed. The primitive subjects of Othman
were the four hundred families of wandering Turkmans, who had followed
his ancestors from the Oxus to the Sangar; and the plains of Anatolia
are still covered with the white and black tents of their rustic
brethren. But this original drop was dissolved in the mass of voluntary
and vanquished subjects, who, under the name of Turks, are united by
the common ties of religion, language, and manners. In the cities, from
Erzeroum to Belgrade, that national appellation is common to all
the Moslems, the first and most honorable inhabitants; but they have
abandoned, at least in Romania, the villages, and the cultivation of
the land, to the Christian peasants. In the vigorous age of the Ottoman
government, the Turks were themselves excluded from all civil and
military honors; and a servile class, an artificial people, was raised
by the discipline of education to obey, to conquer, and to command.
[87] From the time of Orchan and the first Amurath, the sultans were
persuaded that a government of the sword must be renewed in each
generation with new soldiers; and that such soldiers must be sought, not
in effeminate Asia, but among the hardy and warlike natives of Europe.
The provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Servia,
became the perpetual seminary of the Turkish army; and when the royal
fifth of the captives was diminished by conquest, an inhuman tax of
the fifth child, or of every fifth year, was rigorously levied on the
Christian families. At the age of twelve or fourteen years, the most
robust youths were torn from their parents; their names were enrolled in
a book; and from that moment they were clothed, taught, and maintained,
for the public service. According to the promise of their appearance,
they were selected for the royal schools of Boursa, Pera, and
Adrianople, intrusted to the care of the bashaws, or dispersed in
the houses of the Anatolian peasantry. It was the first care of their
masters to instruct them in the Turkish language: their bodies were
exercised by every labor that could fortify their strength; they learned
to wrestle, to leap, to run, to shoot with the bow, and afterwards with
the musket; till they were drafted into the chambers and companies
of the Janizaries, and severely trained in the military or monastic
discipline of the order. The youths most conspicuous for birth, talents,
and beauty, were admitted into the inferior class of _Agiamoglans_, or
the more liberal rank of _Ichoglans_, of whom the former were attached
to the palace, and the latter to the person, of the prince. In four
successive schools, under the rod of the white eunuchs, the arts of
horsemanship and of darting the javelin were their daily exercise, while
those of a more studious cast applied themselves to the study of the
Koran, and the knowledge of the Arabic and Persian tongues. As they
advanced in seniority and merit, they were gradually dismissed to
military, civil, and even ecclesiastical employments: the longer their
stay, the higher was their expectation; till, at a mature period, they
were admitted into the number of the forty agas, who stood before the
sultan, and were promoted by his choice to the government of provinces
and the first honors of the empire. [88] Such a mode of institution was
admirably adapted to the form and spirit of a despotic monarchy. The
ministers and generals were, in the strictest sense, the slaves of the
emperor, to whose bounty they were indebted for their instruction and
support. When they left the seraglio, and suffered their beards to grow
as the symbol of enfranchisement, they found themselves in an important
office, without faction or friendship, without parents and without
heirs, dependent on the hand which had raised them from the dust, and
which, on the slightest displeasure, could break in pieces these statues
of glass, as they were aptly termed by the Turkish proverb. [89] In the
slow and painful steps of education, their characters and talents were
unfolded to a discerning eye: the _man_, naked and alone, was reduced to
the standard of his personal merit; and, if the sovereign had wisdom to
choose, he possessed a pure and boundless liberty of choice. The Ottoman
candidates were trained by the virtues of abstinence to those of action;
by the habits of submission to those of command. A similar spirit
was diffused among the troops; and their silence and sobriety, their
patience and modesty, have extorted the reluctant praise of their
Christian enemies. [90] Nor can the victory appear doubtful, if we
compare the discipline and exercise of the Janizaries with the pride of
birth, the independence of chivalry, the ignorance of the new levies,
the mutinous temper of the veterans, and the vices of intemperance and
disorder, which so long contaminated the armies of Europe.

[Footnote 87: Chalcondyles (l. v.) and Ducas (c. 23) exhibit the rude
lineament of the Ottoman policy, and the transmutation of Christian
children into Turkish soldiers.]

[Footnote 88: This sketch of the Turkish education and discipline is
chiefly borrowed from Ricaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, the Stato
Militaire del' Imperio Ottomano of Count Marsigli, (in Haya, 1732,
in folio,) and a description of the Seraglio, approved by Mr. Greaves
himself, a curious traveller, and inserted in the second volume of his

[Footnote 89: From the series of cxv. viziers, till the siege of Vienna,
(Marsigli, p. 13,) their place may be valued at three years and a half

[Footnote 90: See the entertaining and judicious letters of Busbequius.]

The only hope of salvation for the Greek empire, and the adjacent
kingdoms, would have been some more powerful weapon, some discovery in
the art of war, that would give them a decisive superiority over their
Turkish foes. Such a weapon was in their hands; such a discovery had
been made in the critical moment of their fate. The chemists of China or
Europe had found, by casual or elaborate experiments, that a mixture
of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal, produces, with a spark of fire, a
tremendous explosion. It was soon observed, that if the expansive force
were compressed in a strong tube, a ball of stone or iron might be
expelled with irresistible and destructive velocity. The precise æra of
the invention and application of gunpowder [91] is involved in doubtful
traditions and equivocal language; yet we may clearly discern, that it
was known before the middle of the fourteenth century; and that before
the end of the same, the use of artillery in battles and sieges, by sea
and land, was familiar to the states of Germany, Italy, Spain, France,
and England. [92] The priority of nations is of small account; none could
derive any exclusive benefit from their previous or superior knowledge;
and in the common improvement, they stood on the same level of relative
power and military science. Nor was it possible to circumscribe the
secret within the pale of the church; it was disclosed to the Turks by
the treachery of apostates and the selfish policy of rivals; and the
sultans had sense to adopt, and wealth to reward, the talents of a
Christian engineer. The Genoese, who transported Amurath into Europe,
must be accused as his preceptors; and it was probably by their hands
that his cannon was cast and directed at the siege of Constantinople.
[93] The first attempt was indeed unsuccessful; but in the general
warfare of the age, the advantage was on _their_ side, who were most
commonly the assailants: for a while the proportion of the attack and
defence was suspended; and this thundering artillery was pointed against
the walls and towers which had been erected only to resist the less
potent engines of antiquity. By the Venetians, the use of gunpowder was
communicated without reproach to the sultans of Egypt and Persia, their
allies against the Ottoman power; the secret was soon propagated to the
extremities of Asia; and the advantage of the European was confined to
his easy victories over the savages of the new world. If we contrast the
rapid progress of this mischievous discovery with the slow and laborious
advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher,
according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.

[Footnote 91: The first and second volumes of Dr. Watson's Chemical
Essays contain two valuable discourses on the discovery and composition
of gunpowder.]

[Footnote 92: On this subject modern testimonies cannot be trusted. The
original passages are collected by Ducange, (Gloss. Latin. tom. i. p.
675, _Bombarda_.) But in the early doubtful twilight, the name, sound,
fire, and effect, that seem to express _our_ artillery, may be fairly
interpreted of the old engines and the Greek fire. For the English
cannon at Crecy, the authority of John Villani (Chron. l. xii. c.
65) must be weighed against the silence of Froissard. Yet Muratori
(Antiquit. Italiæ Medii Ævi, tom. ii. Dissert. xxvi. p. 514, 515)
has produced a decisive passage from Petrarch, (De Remediis utriusque
Fortunæ Dialog.,) who, before the year 1344, execrates this terrestrial
thunder, _nuper_ rara, _nunc_ communis. * Note:  Mr. Hallam makes
the following observation on the objection
thrown our by Gibbon: "The positive testimony of Villani, who
died within two years afterwards, and had manifestly obtained much
information as to the great events passing in France, cannot be
rejected. He ascribes a material effect to the cannon of Edward, Colpi
delle bombarde, which I suspect, from his strong expressions, had not
been employed before, except against stone walls. It seems, he says,
as if God thundered con grande uccisione di genti e efondamento di
cavalli." Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 510.--M.]

[Footnote 93: The Turkish cannon, which Ducas (c. 30) first introduces
before Belgrade, (A.D. 1436,) is mentioned by Chalcondyles (l. v. p.
123) in 1422, at the siege of Constantinople.]

Chapter LXVI: Union Of The Greek And Latin Churches.--Part I.

     Applications Of The Eastern Emperors To The Popes.--Visits
     To The West, Of John The First, Manuel, And John The Second,
     Palæologus.--Union Of The Greek And Latin Churches, Promoted
     By The Council Of Basil, And Concluded At Ferrara And
     Florence.--State Of Literature At Constantinople.--Its
     Revival In Italy By The Greek Fugitives.--Curiosity And
     Emulation Of The Latins.

In the four last centuries of the Greek emperors, their friendly or
hostile aspect towards the pope and the Latins may be observed as the
thermometer of their prosperity or distress; as the scale of the rise
and fall of the Barbarian dynasties. When the Turks of the house of
Seljuk pervaded Asia, and threatened Constantinople, we have seen, at
the council of Placentia, the suppliant ambassadors of Alexius imploring
the protection of the common father of the Christians. No sooner had
the arms of the French pilgrims removed the sultan from Nice to Iconium,
than the Greek princes resumed, or avowed, their genuine hatred and
contempt for the schismatics of the West, which precipitated the first
downfall of their empire. The date of the Mogul invasion is marked in
the soft and charitable language of John Vataces. After the recovery of
Constantinople, the throne of the first Palæologus was encompassed
by foreign and domestic enemies; as long as the sword of Charles was
suspended over his head, he basely courted the favor of the Roman
pontiff; and sacrificed to the present danger his faith, his virtue, and
the affection of his subjects. On the decease of Michael, the prince
and people asserted the independence of their church, and the purity of
their creed: the elder Andronicus neither feared nor loved the Latins;
in his last distress, pride was the safeguard of superstition; nor could
he decently retract in his age the firm and orthodox declarations of
his youth. His grandson, the younger Andronicus, was less a slave in
his temper and situation; and the conquest of Bithynia by the Turks
admonished him to seek a temporal and spiritual alliance with the
Western princes. After a separation and silence of fifty years, a secret
agent, the monk Barlaam, was despatched to Pope Benedict the Twelfth;
and his artful instructions appear to have been drawn by the master-hand
of the great domestic. [1] "Most holy father," was he commissioned to
say, "the emperor is not less desirous than yourself of a union between
the two churches: but in this delicate transaction, he is obliged to
respect his own dignity and the prejudices of his subjects. The ways of
union are twofold; force and persuasion. Of force, the inefficacy has
been already tried; since the Latins have subdued the empire, without
subduing the minds, of the Greeks. The method of persuasion, though
slow, is sure and permanent. A deputation of thirty or forty of our
doctors would probably agree with those of the Vatican, in the love of
truth and the unity of belief; but on their return, what would be the
use, the recompense, of such an agreement? the scorn of their brethren,
and the reproaches of a blind and obstinate nation. Yet that nation
is accustomed to reverence the general councils, which have fixed the
articles of our faith; and if they reprobate the decrees of Lyons, it is
because the Eastern churches were neither heard nor represented in that
arbitrary meeting. For this salutary end, it will be expedient, and
even necessary, that a well-chosen legate should be sent into Greece,
to convene the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and
Jerusalem; and, with their aid, to prepare a free and universal
synod. But at this moment," continued the subtle agent, "the empire is
assaulted and endangered by the Turks, who have occupied four of the
greatest cities of Anatolia. The Christian inhabitants have expressed a
wish of returning to their allegiance and religion; but the forces and
revenues of the emperor are insufficient for their deliverance: and the
Roman legate must be accompanied, or preceded, by an army of Franks,
to expel the infidels, and open a way to the holy sepulchre." If the
suspicious Latins should require some pledge, some previous effect of
the sincerity of the Greeks, the answers of Barlaam were perspicuous and
rational. "_1._ A general synod can alone consummate the union of
the churches; nor can such a synod be held till the three Oriental
patriarchs, and a great number of bishops, are enfranchised from the
Mahometan yoke. _2._ The Greeks are alienated by a long series of
oppression and injury: they must be reconciled by some act of brotherly
love, some effectual succor, which may fortify the authority and
arguments of the emperor, and the friends of the union. _3._ If some
difference of faith or ceremonies should be found incurable, the Greeks,
however, are the disciples of Christ; and the Turks are the common
enemies of the Christian name. The Armenians, Cyprians, and Rhodians,
are equally attacked; and it will become the piety of the French princes
to draw their swords in the general defence of religion. _4._ Should
the subjects of Andronicus be treated as the worst of schismatics, of
heretics, of pagans, a judicious policy may yet instruct the powers of
the West to embrace a useful ally, to uphold a sinking empire, to guard
the confines of Europe; and rather to join the Greeks against the
Turks, than to expect the union of the Turkish arms with the troops and
treasures of captive Greece." The reasons, the offers, and the demands,
of Andronicus were eluded with cold and stately indifference. The kings
of France and Naples declined the dangers and glory of a crusade; the
pope refused to call a new synod to determine old articles of faith;
and his regard for the obsolete claims of the Latin emperor and clergy
engaged him to use an offensive superscription,--"To the _moderator_ [2]
of the Greeks, and the persons who style themselves the patriarchs of
the Eastern churches." For such an embassy, a time and character less
propitious could not easily have been found. Benedict the Twelfth [3] was
a dull peasant, perplexed with scruples, and immersed in sloth and wine:
his pride might enrich with a third crown the papal tiara, but he was
alike unfit for the regal and the pastoral office.

[Footnote 1: This curious instruction was transcribed (I believe) from
the Vatican archives, by Odoricus Raynaldus, in his Continuation of the
Annals of Baronius, (Romæ, 1646--1677, in x. volumes in folio.) I have
contented myself with the Abbé Fleury, (Hist. Ecclésiastique. tom. xx.
p. 1--8,) whose abstracts I have always found to be clear, accurate, and

[Footnote 2: The ambiguity of this title is happy or ingenious; and
_moderator_, as synonymous to _rector_, _gubernator_, is a word of
classical, and even Ciceronian, Latinity, which may be found, not in the
Glossary of Ducange, but in the Thesaurus of Robert Stephens.]

[Footnote 3: The first epistle (sine titulo) of Petrarch exposes the
danger of the _bark_, and the incapacity of the _pilot_. Hæc inter,
vino madidus, ævo gravis, ac soporifero rore perfusus, jamjam nutitat,
dormitat, jam somno præceps, atque (utinam solus) ruit..... Heu quanto
felicius patrio terram sulcasset aratro, quam scalmum piscatorium
ascendisset! This satire engages his biographer to weigh the virtues and
vices of Benedict XII. which have been exaggerated by Guelphs and
Ghibe lines, by Papists and Protestants, (see Mémoires sur la Vie de
Pétrarque, tom. i. p. 259, ii. not. xv. p. 13--16.) He gave occasion to
the saying, Bibamus papaliter.]

After the decease of Andronicus, while the Greeks were distracted by
intestine war, they could not presume to agitate a general union of
the Christians. But as soon as Cantacuzene had subdued and pardoned
his enemies, he was anxious to justify, or at least to extenuate, the
introduction of the Turks into Europe, and the nuptials of his
daughter with a Mussulman prince. Two officers of state, with a Latin
interpreter, were sent in his name to the Roman court, which was
transplanted to Avignon, on the banks of the Rhône, during a period of
seventy years: they represented the hard necessity which had urged him
to embrace the alliance of the miscreants, and pronounced by his command
the specious and edifying sounds of union and crusade. Pope Clement the
Sixth, [4] the successor of Benedict, received them with hospitality
and honor, acknowledged the innocence of their sovereign, excused his
distress, applauded his magnanimity, and displayed a clear knowledge of
the state and revolutions of the Greek empire, which he had imbibed
from the honest accounts of a Savoyard lady, an attendant of the empress
Anne. [5] If Clement was ill endowed with the virtues of a priest, he
possessed, however, the spirit and magnificence of a prince, whose
liberal hand distributed benefices and kingdoms with equal facility.
Under his reign Avignon was the seat of pomp and pleasure: in his youth
he had surpassed the licentiousness of a baron; and the palace, nay, the
bed-chamber of the pope, was adorned, or polluted, by the visits of his
female favorites. The wars of France and England were adverse to the
holy enterprise; but his vanity was amused by the splendid idea; and the
Greek ambassadors returned with two Latin bishops, the ministers of the
pontiff. On their arrival at Constantinople, the emperor and the nuncios
admired each other's piety and eloquence; and their frequent conferences
were filled with mutual praises and promises, by which both parties were
amused, and neither could be deceived. "I am delighted," said the devout
Cantacuzene, "with the project of our holy war, which must redound to
my personal glory, as well as to the public benefit of Christendom. My
dominions will give a free passage to the armies of France: my troops,
my galleys, my treasures, shall be consecrated to the common cause;
and happy would be my fate, could I deserve and obtain the crown of
martyrdom. Words are insufficient to express the ardor with which I sigh
for the reunion of the scattered members of Christ. If my death could
avail, I would gladly present my sword and my neck: if the spiritual
phnix could arise from my ashes, I would erect the pile, and kindle the
flame with my own hands." Yet the Greek emperor presumed to observe,
that the articles of faith which divided the two churches had been
introduced by the pride and precipitation of the Latins: he disclaimed
the servile and arbitrary steps of the first Palæologus; and firmly
declared, that he would never submit his conscience unless to the
decrees of a free and universal synod. "The situation of the times,"
continued he, "will not allow the pope and myself to meet either at Rome
or Constantinople; but some maritime city may be chosen on the verge of
the two empires, to unite the bishops, and to instruct the faithful, of
the East and West." The nuncios seemed content with the proposition; and
Cantacuzene affects to deplore the failure of his hopes, which were
soon overthrown by the death of Clement, and the different temper of
his successor. His own life was prolonged, but it was prolonged in a
cloister; and, except by his prayers, the humble monk was incapable of
directing the counsels of his pupil or the state. [6]

[Footnote 4: See the original Lives of Clement VI. in Muratori, (Script.
Rerum Italicarum, tom. iii. P. ii. p. 550--589;) Matteo Villani, (Chron.
l. iii. c. 43, in Muratori, tom. xiv. p. 186,) who styles him, molto
cavallaresco, poco religioso; Fleury, (Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 126;)
and the Vie de Pétrarque, (tom. ii. p. 42--45.) The abbé de Sade treats
him with the most indulgence; but _he_ is a gentleman as well as a

[Footnote 5: Her name (most probably corrupted) was Zampea. She had
accompanied, and alone remained with her mistress at Constantinople,
where her prudence, erudition, and politeness deserved the praises of
the Greeks themselves, (Cantacuzen. l. i. c. 42.)]

[Footnote 6: See this whole negotiation in Cantacuzene, (l. iv. c. 9,)
who, amidst the praises and virtues which he bestows on himself, reveals
the uneasiness of a guilty conscience.]

Yet of all the Byzantine princes, that pupil, John Palæologus, was the
best disposed to embrace, to believe, and to obey, the shepherd of the
West. His mother, Anne of Savoy, was baptized in the bosom of the
Latin church: her marriage with Andronicus imposed a change of name, of
apparel, and of worship, but her heart was still faithful to her country
and religion: she had formed the infancy of her son, and she governed
the emperor, after his mind, or at least his stature, was enlarged to
the size of man. In the first year of his deliverance and restoration,
the Turks were still masters of the Hellespont; the son of Cantacuzene
was in arms at Adrianople; and Palæologus could depend neither on
himself nor on his people. By his mother's advice, and in the hope of
foreign aid, he abjured the rights both of the church and state; and
the act of slavery, [7] subscribed in purple ink, and sealed with the
_golden_ bull, was privately intrusted to an Italian agent. The first
article of the treaty is an oath of fidelity and obedience to Innocent
the Sixth and his successors, the supreme pontiffs of the Roman and
Catholic church. The emperor promises to entertain with due reverence
their legates and nuncios; to assign a palace for their residence, and
a temple for their worship; and to deliver his second son Manuel as
the hostage of his faith. For these condescensions he requires a prompt
succor of fifteen galleys, with five hundred men at arms, and a
thousand archers, to serve against his Christian and Mussulman enemies.
Palæologus engages to impose on his clergy and people the same spiritual
yoke; but as the resistance of the Greeks might be justly foreseen, he
adopts the two effectual methods of corruption and education. The legate
was empowered to distribute the vacant benefices among the ecclesiastics
who should subscribe the creed of the Vatican: three schools were
instituted to instruct the youth of Constantinople in the language and
doctrine of the Latins; and the name of Andronicus, the heir of the
empire, was enrolled as the first student. Should he fail in the
measures of persuasion or force, Palæologus declares himself unworthy
to reign; transferred to the pope all regal and paternal authority; and
invests Innocent with full power to regulate the family, the government,
and the marriage, of his son and successor. But this treaty was neither
executed nor published: the Roman galleys were as vain and imaginary as
the submission of the Greeks; and it was only by the secrecy that their
sovereign escaped the dishonor of this fruitless humiliation.

[Footnote 7: See this ignominious treaty in Fleury, (Hist. Ecclés. p.
151--154,) from Raynaldus, who drew it from the Vatican archives. It was
not worth the trouble of a pious forgery.]

The tempest of the Turkish arms soon burst on his head; and after the
loss of Adrianople and Romania, he was enclosed in his capital, the
vassal of the haughty Amurath, with the miserable hope of being the last
devoured by the savage. In this abject state, Palæologus embraced the
resolution of embarking for Venice, and casting himself at the feet of
the pope: he was the first of the Byzantine princes who had ever
visited the unknown regions of the West, yet in them alone he could seek
consolation or relief; and with less violation of his dignity he might
appear in the sacred college than at the Ottoman _Porte_. After a long
absence, the Roman pontiffs were returning from Avignon to the banks
of the Tyber: Urban the Fifth, [8] of a mild and virtuous character,
encouraged or allowed the pilgrimage of the Greek prince; and, within
the same year, enjoyed the glory of receiving in the Vatican the
two Imperial shadows who represented the majesty of Constantine and
Charlemagne. In this suppliant visit, the emperor of Constantinople,
whose vanity was lost in his distress, gave more than could be expected
of empty sounds and formal submissions. A previous trial was imposed;
and, in the presence of four cardinals, he acknowledged, as a true
Catholic, the supremacy of the pope, and the double procession of the
Holy Ghost. After this purification, he was introduced to a public
audience in the church of St. Peter: Urban, in the midst of the
cardinals, was seated on his throne; the Greek monarch, after three
genuflections, devoutly kissed the feet, the hands, and at length the
mouth, of the holy father, who celebrated high mass in his presence,
allowed him to lead the bridle of his mule, and treated him with a
sumptuous banquet in the Vatican. The entertainment of Palæologus was
friendly and honorable; yet some difference was observed between the
emperors of the East and West; [9] nor could the former be entitled to
the rare privilege of chanting the gospel in the rank of a deacon. [10]
In favor of his proselyte, Urban strove to rekindle the zeal of the
French king and the other powers of the West; but he found them cold in
the general cause, and active only in their domestic quarrels. The last
hope of the emperor was in an English mercenary, John Hawkwood, [11]
or Acuto, who, with a band of adventurers, the white brotherhood,
had ravaged Italy from the Alps to Calabria; sold his services to the
hostile states; and incurred a just excommunication by shooting his
arrows against the papal residence. A special license was granted to
negotiate with the outlaw, but the forces, or the spirit, of Hawkwood,
were unequal to the enterprise: and it was for the advantage, perhaps,
of Palæologus to be disappointed of succor, that must have been costly,
that could not be effectual, and which might have been dangerous. [12]
The disconsolate Greek [13] prepared for his return, but even his return
was impeded by a most ignominious obstacle. On his arrival at Venice, he
had borrowed large sums at exorbitant usury; but his coffers were empty,
his creditors were impatient, and his person was detained as the best
security for the payment. His eldest son, Andronicus, the regent of
Constantinople, was repeatedly urged to exhaust every resource; and even
by stripping the churches, to extricate his father from captivity and
disgrace. But the unnatural youth was insensible of the disgrace, and
secretly pleased with the captivity of the emperor: the state was poor,
the clergy were obstinate; nor could some religious scruple be wanting
to excuse the guilt of his indifference and delay. Such undutiful
neglect was severely reproved by the piety of his brother Manuel, who
instantly sold or mortgaged all that he possessed, embarked for Venice,
relieved his father, and pledged his own freedom to be responsible
for the debt. On his return to Constantinople, the parent and king
distinguished his two sons with suitable rewards; but the faith and
manners of the slothful Palæologus had not been improved by his Roman
pilgrimage; and his apostasy or conversion, devoid of any spiritual or
temporal effects, was speedily forgotten by the Greeks and Latins. [14]

[Footnote 8: See the two first original Lives of Urban V., (in Muratori,
Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. iii. P. ii. p. 623, 635,) and the
Ecclesiastical Annals of Spondanus, (tom. i. p. 573, A.D. 1369, No. 7,)
and Raynaldus, (Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 223, 224.) Yet, from
some variations, I suspect the papal writers of slightly magnifying the
genuflections of Palæologus.]

[Footnote 9: Paullo minus quam si fuisset Imperator Romanorum. Yet his
title of Imperator Græcorum was no longer disputed, (Vit. Urban V. p.

[Footnote 10: It was confined to the successors of Charlemagne, and
to them only on Christmas-day. On all other festivals these Imperial
deacons were content to serve the pope, as he said mass, with the book
and the _corporale_. Yet the abbé de Sade generously thinks that the
merits of Charles IV. might have entitled him, though not on the proper
day, (A.D. 1368, November 1,) to the whole privilege. He seems to affix
a just value on the privilege and the man, (Vie de Petrarque, tom. iii.
p. 735.)]

[Footnote 11: Through some Italian corruptions, the etymology of
_Falcone in bosco_, (Matteo Villani, l. xi. c. 79, in Muratori, tom.
xv. p. 746,) suggests the English word _Hawkwood_, the true name of
our adventurous countryman, (Thomas Walsingham, Hist. Anglican. inter
Scriptores Camdeni, p. 184.) After two-and-twenty victories, and one
defeat, he died, in 1394, general of the Florentines, and was buried
with such honors as the republic has not paid to Dante or Petrarch,
(Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xii. p. 212--371.)]

[Footnote 12: This torrent of English (by birth or service) overflowed
from France into Italy after the peace of Bretigny in 1630. Yet the
exclamation of Muratori (Annali, tom. xii. p. 197) is rather true than
civil. "Ci mancava ancor questo, che dopo essere calpestrata l'Italia
da tanti masnadieri Tedeschi ed Ungheri, venissero fin dall' Inghliterra
nuovi _cani_ a finire di divorarla."]

[Footnote 13: Chalcondyles, l. i. p. 25, 26. The Greek supposes his
journey to the king of France, which is sufficiently refuted by the
silence of the national historians. Nor am I much more inclined to
believe, that Palæologus departed from Italy, valde bene consolatus et
contentus, (Vit. Urban V. p. 623.)]

[Footnote 14: His return in 1370, and the coronation of Manuel, Sept.
25, 1373, (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 241,) leaves some intermediate æra
for the conspiracy and punishment of Andronicus.]

Thirty years after the return of Palæologus, his son and successor,
Manuel, from a similar motive, but on a larger scale, again visited the
countries of the West. In a preceding chapter I have related his treaty
with Bajazet, the violation of that treaty, the siege or blockade of
Constantinople, and the French succor under the command of the gallant
Boucicault. [15] By his ambassadors, Manuel had solicited the Latin
powers; but it was thought that the presence of a distressed monarch
would draw tears and supplies from the hardest Barbarians; [16] and the
marshal who advised the journey prepared the reception of the Byzantine
prince. The land was occupied by the Turks; but the navigation of Venice
was safe and open: Italy received him as the first, or, at least, as the
second, of the Christian princes; Manuel was pitied as the champion and
confessor of the faith; and the dignity of his behavior prevented that
pity from sinking into contempt. From Venice he proceeded to Padua and
Pavia; and even the duke of Milan, a secret ally of Bajazet, gave him
safe and honorable conduct to the verge of his dominions. [17] On the
confines of France [18] the royal officers undertook the care of his
person, journey, and expenses; and two thousand of the richest citizens,
in arms and on horseback, came forth to meet him as far as Charenton, in
the neighborhood of the capital. At the gates of Paris, he was saluted
by the chancellor and the parliament; and Charles the Sixth, attended by
his princes and nobles, welcomed his brother with a cordial embrace.
The successor of Constantine was clothed in a robe of white silk, and
mounted on a milk-white steed, a circumstance, in the French ceremonial,
of singular importance: the white color is considered as the symbol of
sovereignty; and, in a late visit, the German emperor, after a haughty
demand and a peevish refusal, had been reduced to content himself with
a black courser. Manuel was lodged in the Louvre; a succession of feasts
and balls, the pleasures of the banquet and the chase, were ingeniously
varied by the politeness of the French, to display their magnificence,
and amuse his grief: he was indulged in the liberty of his chapel; and
the doctors of the Sorbonne were astonished, and possibly scandalized,
by the language, the rites, and the vestments, of his Greek clergy.
But the slightest glance on the state of the kingdom must teach him to
despair of any effectual assistance. The unfortunate Charles, though
he enjoyed some lucid intervals, continually relapsed into furious or
stupid insanity: the reins of government were alternately seized by his
brother and uncle, the dukes of Orleans and Burgundy, whose factious
competition prepared the miseries of civil war. The former was a gay
youth, dissolved in luxury and love: the latter was the father of John
count of Nevers, who had so lately been ransomed from Turkish captivity;
and, if the fearless son was ardent to revenge his defeat, the more
prudent Burgundy was content with the cost and peril of the first
experiment. When Manuel had satiated the curiosity, and perhaps fatigued
the patience, of the French, he resolved on a visit to the adjacent
island. In his progress from Dover, he was entertained at Canterbury
with due reverence by the prior and monks of St. Austin; and, on
Blackheath, King Henry the Fourth, with the English court, saluted
the Greek hero, (I copy our old historian,) who, during many days, was
lodged and treated in London as emperor of the East. [19] But the state
of England was still more adverse to the design of the holy war. In the
same year, the hereditary sovereign had been deposed and murdered: the
reigning prince was a successful usurper, whose ambition was punished by
jealousy and remorse: nor could Henry of Lancaster withdraw his person
or forces from the defence of a throne incessantly shaken by conspiracy
and rebellion. He pitied, he praised, he feasted, the emperor of
Constantinople; but if the English monarch assumed the cross, it was
only to appease his people, and perhaps his conscience, by the merit or
semblance of his pious intention. [20] Satisfied, however, with gifts and
honors, Manuel returned to Paris; and, after a residence of two years
in the West, shaped his course through Germany and Italy, embarked at
Venice, and patiently expected, in the Morea, the moment of his ruin or
deliverance. Yet he had escaped the ignominious necessity of offering
his religion to public or private sale. The Latin church was distracted
by the great schism; the kings, the nations, the universities, of Europe
were divided in their obedience between the popes of Rome and Avignon;
and the emperor, anxious to conciliate the friendship of both parties,
abstained from any correspondence with the indigent and unpopular
rivals. His journey coincided with the year of the jubilee; but he
passed through Italy without desiring, or deserving, the plenary
indulgence which abolished the guilt or penance of the sins of the
faithful. The Roman pope was offended by this neglect; accused him of
irreverence to an image of Christ; and exhorted the princes of Italy to
reject and abandon the obstinate schismatic. [21]

[Footnote 15: Mémoires de Boucicault, P. i. c. 35, 36.]

[Footnote 16: His journey into the west of Europe is slightly, and I
believe reluctantly, noticed by Chalcondyles (l. ii. c. 44--50) and
Ducas, (c. 14.)]

[Footnote 17: Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xii. p. 406. John Galeazzo
was the first and most powerful duke of Milan. His connection with
Bajazet is attested by Froissard; and he contributed to save and deliver
the French captives of Nicopolis.]

[Footnote 18: For the reception of Manuel at Paris, see Spondanus,
(Annal. Ecclés. tom. i. p. 676, 677, A.D. 1400, No. 5,) who quotes
Juvenal des Ursins and the monk of St. Denys; and Villaret, (Hist. de
France, tom. xii. p. 331--334,) who quotes nobody according to the last
fashion of the French writers.]

[Footnote 19: A short note of Manuel in England is extracted by Dr. Hody
from a MS. at Lambeth, (de Græcis illustribus, p. 14,) C. P. Imperator,
diu variisque et horrendis Paganorum insultibus coarctatus, ut pro
eisdem resistentiam triumphalem perquireret, Anglorum Regem visitare
decrevit, &c. Rex (says Walsingham, p. 364) nobili apparatû... suscepit
(ut decuit) tantum Heroa, duxitque Londonias, et per multos dies
exhibuit gloriose, pro expensis hospitii sui solvens, et eum respiciens
tanto fastigio donativis. He repeats the same in his Upodigma Neustriæ,
(p. 556.)]

[Footnote 20: Shakspeare begins and ends the play of Henry IV. with
that prince's vow of a crusade, and his belief that he should die in

[Footnote 21: This fact is preserved in the Historia Politica, A.D.
1391--1478, published by Martin Crusius, (Turco Græcia, p. 1--43.)
The image of Christ, which the Greek emperor refused to worship, was
probably a work of sculpture.]

Chapter LXVI: Union Of The Greek And Latin Churches.--Part II.

During the period of the crusades, the Greeks beheld with astonishment
and terror the perpetual stream of emigration that flowed, and continued
to flow, from the unknown climates of their West. The visits of their
last emperors removed the veil of separation, and they disclosed to
their eyes the powerful nations of Europe, whom they no longer presumed
to brand with the name of Barbarians. The observations of Manuel, and
his more inquisitive followers, have been preserved by a Byzantine
historian of the times: [22] his scattered ideas I shall collect
and abridge; and it may be amusing enough, perhaps instructive, to
contemplate the rude pictures of Germany, France, and England, whose
ancient and modern state are so familiar to _our_ minds. I. Germany
(says the Greek Chalcondyles) is of ample latitude from Vienna to the
ocean; and it stretches (a strange geography) from Prague in Bohemia to
the River Tartessus, and the Pyrenæan Mountains. [23] The soil, except
in figs and olives, is sufficiently fruitful; the air is salubrious; the
bodies of the natives are robust and healthy; and these cold regions are
seldom visited with the calamities of pestilence, or earthquakes. After
the Scythians or Tartars, the Germans are the most numerous of nations:
they are brave and patient; and were they united under a single head,
their force would be irresistible. By the gift of the pope, they have
acquired the privilege of choosing the Roman emperor; [24] nor is any
people more devoutly attached to the faith and obedience of the Latin
patriarch. The greatest part of the country is divided among the princes
and prelates; but Strasburg, Cologne, Hamburgh, and more than two
hundred free cities, are governed by sage and equal laws, according
to the will, and for the advantage, of the whole community. The use of
duels, or single combats on foot, prevails among them in peace and war:
their industry excels in all the mechanic arts; and the Germans may
boast of the invention of gunpowder and cannon, which is now diffused
over the greatest part of the world. II. The kingdom of France is spread
above fifteen or twenty days' journey from Germany to Spain, and from
the Alps to the British Ocean; containing many flourishing cities, and
among these Paris, the seat of the king, which surpasses the rest
in riches and luxury. Many princes and lords alternately wait in his
palace, and acknowledge him as their sovereign: the most powerful are
the dukes of Bretagne and Burgundy; of whom the latter possesses the
wealthy province of Flanders, whose harbors are frequented by the ships
and merchants of our own, and the more remote, seas. The French are
an ancient and opulent people; and their language and manners, though
somewhat different, are not dissimilar from those of the Italians. Vain
of the Imperial dignity of Charlemagne, of their victories over the
Saracens, and of the exploits of their heroes, Oliver and Rowland,
[25] they esteem themselves the first of the western nations; but this
foolish arrogance has been recently humbled by the unfortunate events of
their wars against the English, the inhabitants of the British island.
III. Britain, in the ocean, and opposite to the shores of Flanders,
may be considered either as one, or as three islands; but the whole
is united by a common interest, by the same manners, and by a similar
government. The measure of its circumference is five thousand stadia:
the land is overspread with towns and villages: though destitute of
wine, and not abounding in fruit-trees, it is fertile in wheat and
barley; in honey and wool; and much cloth is manufactured by the
inhabitants. In populousness and power, in richness and luxury, London,
[26] the metropolis of the isle, may claim a preeminence over all the
cities of the West. It is situate on the Thames, a broad and rapid
river, which at the distance of thirty miles falls into the Gallic
Sea; and the daily flow and ebb of the tide affords a safe entrance and
departure to the vessels of commerce. The king is head of a powerful
and turbulent aristocracy: his principal vassals hold their estates by
a free and unalterable tenure; and the laws define the limits of his
authority and their obedience. The kingdom has been often afflicted by
foreign conquest and domestic sedition: but the natives are bold and
hardy, renowned in arms and victorious in war. The form of their shields
or targets is derived from the Italians, that of their swords from the
Greeks; the use of the long bow is the peculiar and decisive advantage
of the English. Their language bears no affinity to the idioms of
the Continent: in the habits of domestic life, they are not easily
distinguished from their neighbors of France: but the most singular
circumstance of their manners is their disregard of conjugal honor
and of female chastity. In their mutual visits, as the first act of
hospitality, the guest is welcomed in the embraces of their wives and
daughters: among friends they are lent and borrowed without shame; nor
are the islanders offended at this strange commerce, and its inevitable
consequences. [27] Informed as we are of the customs of Old England and
assured of the virtue of our mothers, we may smile at the credulity, or
resent the injustice, of the Greek, who must have confounded a modest
salute [28] with a criminal embrace. But his credulity and injustice
may teach an important lesson; to distrust the accounts of foreign and
remote nations, and to suspend our belief of every tale that deviates
from the laws of nature and the character of man. [29]

[Footnote 22: The Greek and Turkish history of Laonicus Chalcondyles
ends with the winter of 1463; and the abrupt conclusion seems to mark,
that he laid down his pen in the same year. We know that he was an
Athenian, and that some contemporaries of the same name contributed
to the revival of the Greek language in Italy. But in his numerous
digressions, the modest historian has never introduced himself; and his
editor Leunclavius, as well as Fabricius, (Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p.
474,) seems ignorant of his life and character. For his descriptions of
Germany, France, and England, see l. ii. p. 36, 37, 44--50.]

[Footnote 23: I shall not animadvert on the geographical errors of
Chalcondyles. In this instance, he perhaps followed, and mistook,
Herodotus, (l. ii. c. 33,) whose text may be explained, (Herodote de
Larcher, tom. ii. p. 219, 220,) or whose ignorance may be excused.
Had these modern Greeks never read Strabo, or any of their lesser

[Footnote 24: A citizen of new Rome, while new Rome survived, would have
scorned to dignify the German 'Rhx with titles of BasileuV or Autokratwr
'Rwmaiwn: but all pride was extinct in the bosom of Chalcondyles; and he
describes the Byzantine prince, and his subject, by the proper, though
humble, names of ''EllhneV and BasileuV 'Ellhnwn.]

[Footnote 25: Most of the old romances were translated in the xivth
century into French prose, and soon became the favorite amusement of the
knights and ladies in the court of Charles VI. If a Greek believed in
the exploits of Rowland and Oliver, he may surely be excused, since the
monks of St. Denys, the national historians, have inserted the fables of
Archbishop Turpin in their Chronicles of France.]

[Footnote 26: Londinh.... de te poliV dunamei te proecousa tvn en th
nhsw tauth pasvn polewn, olbw te kai th allh eudaimonia oudemiaV tvn
peoV esperan leipomenh. Even since the time of Fitzstephen, (the xiith
century,) London appears to have maintained this preeminence of wealth
and magnitude; and her gradual increase has, at least, kept pace with
the general improvement of Europe.]

[Footnote 27: If the double sense of the verb Kuw (osculor, and in utero
gero) be equivocal, the context and pious horror of Chalcondyles can
leave no doubt of his meaning and mistake, (p. 49.) *

Note: * I can discover no "pious horror" in the plain manner in which
Chalcondyles relates this strange usage. He says, oude aiscunun tovto
feoei eautoiV kuesqai taV te gunaikaV autvn kai taV qugateraV, yet these
are expression beyond what would be used, if the ambiguous word kuesqai
were taken in its more innocent sense. Nor can the phrase parecontai
taV eautvn gunaikaV en toiV epithdeioiV well bear a less coarse
interpretation. Gibbon is possibly right as to the origin of this
extraordinary mistake.--M.]

[Footnote 28: Erasmus (Epist. Fausto Andrelino) has a pretty passage on
the English fashion of kissing strangers on their arrival and departure,
from whence, however, he draws no scandalous inferences.]

[Footnote 29: Perhaps we may apply this remark to the community of
wives among the old Britons, as it is supposed by Cæsar and Dion, (Dion
Cassius, l. lxii. tom. ii. p. 1007,) with Reimar's judicious annotation.
The _Arreoy_ of Otaheite, so certain at first, is become less visible
and scandalous, in proportion as we have studied the manners of that
gentle and amorous people.]

After his return, and the victory of Timour, Manuel reigned many years
in prosperity and peace. As long as the sons of Bajazet solicited his
friendship and spared his dominions, he was satisfied with the national
religion; and his leisure was employed in composing twenty theological
dialogues for its defence. The appearance of the Byzantine ambassadors
at the council of Constance, [30] announces the restoration of the
Turkish power, as well as of the Latin church: the conquest of the
sultans, Mahomet and Amurath, reconciled the emperor to the Vatican;
and the siege of Constantinople almost tempted him to acquiesce in the
double procession of the Holy Ghost. When Martin the Fifth ascended
without a rival the chair of St. Peter, a friendly intercourse of
letters and embassies was revived between the East and West. Ambition on
one side, and distress on the other, dictated the same decent language
of charity and peace: the artful Greek expressed a desire of marrying
his six sons to Italian princesses; and the Roman, not less artful,
despatched the daughter of the marquis of Montferrat, with a company
of noble virgins, to soften, by their charms, the obstinacy of the
schismatics. Yet under this mask of zeal, a discerning eye will
perceive that all was hollow and insincere in the court and church of
Constantinople. According to the vicissitudes of danger and repose, the
emperor advanced or retreated; alternately instructed and disavowed his
ministers; and escaped from the importunate pressure by urging the duty
of inquiry, the obligation of collecting the sense of his patriarchs
and bishops, and the impossibility of convening them at a time when
the Turkish arms were at the gates of his capital. From a review of the
public transactions it will appear that the Greeks insisted on three
successive measures, a succor, a council, and a final reunion, while
the Latins eluded the second, and only promised the first, as a
consequential and voluntary reward of the third. But we have an
opportunity of unfolding the most secret intentions of Manuel, as he
explained them in a private conversation without artifice or disguise.
In his declining age, the emperor had associated John Palæologus, the
second of the name, and the eldest of his sons, on whom he devolved the
greatest part of the authority and weight of government. One day, in the
presence only of the historian Phranza, [31] his favorite chamberlain,
he opened to his colleague and successor the true principle of his
negotiations with the pope. [32] "Our last resource," said Manuel,
against the Turks, "is their fear of our union with the Latins, of the
warlike nations of the West, who may arm for our relief and for their
destruction. As often as you are threatened by the miscreants, present
this danger before their eyes. Propose a council; consult on the means;
but ever delay and avoid the convocation of an assembly, which cannot
tend either to our spiritual or temporal emolument. The Latins are
proud; the Greeks are obstinate; neither party will recede or retract;
and the attempt of a perfect union will confirm the schism, alienate
the churches, and leave us, without hope or defence, at the mercy of the
Barbarians." Impatient of this salutary lesson, the royal youth arose
from his seat, and departed in silence; and the wise monarch (continued
Phranza) casting his eyes on me, thus resumed his discourse: "My son
deems himself a great and heroic prince; but, alas! our miserable age
does not afford scope for heroism or greatness. His daring spirit might
have suited the happier times of our ancestors; but the present state
requires not an emperor, but a cautious steward of the last relics of
our fortunes. Well do I remember the lofty expectations which he built
on our alliance with Mustapha; and much do I fear, that this rash
courage will urge the ruin of our house, and that even religion may
precipitate our downfall." Yet the experience and authority of Manuel
preserved the peace, and eluded the council; till, in the seventy-eighth
year of his age, and in the habit of a monk, he terminated his career,
dividing his precious movables among his children and the poor, his
physicians and his favorite servants. Of his six sons, [33] Andronicus
the Second was invested with the principality of Thessalonica, and died
of a leprosy soon after the sale of that city to the Venetians and
its final conquest by the Turks. Some fortunate incidents had restored
Peloponnesus, or the Morea, to the empire; and in his more prosperous
days, Manuel had fortified the narrow isthmus of six miles [34] with
a stone wall and one hundred and fifty-three towers. The wall was
overthrown by the first blast of the Ottomans; the fertile peninsula
might have been sufficient for the four younger brothers, Theodore and
Constantine, Demetrius and Thomas; but they wasted in domestic contests
the remains of their strength; and the least successful of the rivals
were reduced to a life of dependence in the Byzantine palace.

[Footnote 30: See Lenfant, Hist. du Concile de Constance, tom. ii.
p. 576; and or the ecclesiastical history of the times, the Annals of
Spondanus the Bibliothèque of Dupin, tom. xii., and xxist and xxiid
volumes of the History, or rather the Continuation, of Fleury.]

[Footnote 31: From his early youth, George Phranza, or Phranzes, was
employed in the service of the state and palace; and Hanckius (de
Script. Byzant. P. i. c. 40) has collected his life from his own
writings. He was no more than four-and-twenty years of age at the death
of Manuel, who recommended him in the strongest terms to his successor:
Imprimis vero hunc Phranzen tibi commendo, qui ministravit mihi
fideliter et diligenter (Phranzes, l. ii. c. i.) Yet the emperor John
was cold, and he preferred the service of the despots of Peloponnesus.]

[Footnote 32: See Phranzes, l. ii. c. 13. While so many manuscripts
of the Greek original are extant in the libraries of Rome, Milan, the
Escurial, &c., it is a matter of shame and reproach, that we should be
reduced to the Latin version, or abstract, of James Pontanus, (ad calcem
Theophylact, Simocattæ: Ingolstadt, 1604,) so deficient in accuracy and
elegance, (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 615--620.) *

Note: * The Greek text of Phranzes was edited by F. C. Alter Vindobonæ,
1796. It has been re-edited by Bekker for the new edition of the
Byzantines, Bonn, 1838.--M.]

[Footnote 33: See Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 243--248.]

[Footnote 34: The exact measure of the Hexamilion, from sea to sea, was
3800 orgyiæ, or _toises_, of six Greek feet, (Phranzes, l. i. c. 38,)
which would produce a Greek mile, still smaller than that of 660 French
_toises_, which is assigned by D'Anville, as still in use in Turkey.
Five miles are commonly reckoned for the breadth of the isthmus. See the
Travels of Spon, Wheeler and Chandler.]

The eldest of the sons of Manuel, John Palæologus the Second, was
acknowledged, after his father's death, as the sole emperor of the
Greeks. He immediately proceeded to repudiate his wife, and to contract
a new marriage with the princess of Trebizond: beauty was in his eyes
the first qualification of an empress; and the clergy had yielded to his
firm assurance, that unless he might be indulged in a divorce, he would
retire to a cloister, and leave the throne to his brother Constantine.
The first, and in truth the only, victory of Palæologus, was over a
Jew, [35] whom, after a long and learned dispute, he converted to the
Christian faith; and this momentous conquest is carefully recorded in
the history of the times. But he soon resumed the design of uniting the
East and West; and, regardless of his father's advice, listened, as it
should seem with sincerity, to the proposal of meeting the pope in
a general council beyond the Adriatic. This dangerous project was
encouraged by Martin the Fifth, and coldly entertained by his successor
Eugenius, till, after a tedious negotiation, the emperor received a
summons from the Latin assembly of a new character, the independent
prelates of Basil, who styled themselves the representatives and judges
of the Catholic church.

[Footnote 35: The first objection of the Jews is on the death of Christ:
if it were voluntary, Christ was a suicide; which the emperor parries
with a mystery. They then dispute on the conception of the Virgin,
the sense of the prophecies, &c., (Phranzes, l. ii. c. 12, a whole

The Roman pontiff had fought and conquered in the cause of
ecclesiastical freedom; but the victorious clergy were soon exposed
to the tyranny of their deliverer; and his sacred character was
invulnerable to those arms which they found so keen and effectual
against the civil magistrate. Their great charter, the right of
election, was annihilated by appeals, evaded by trusts or commendams,
disappointed by reversionary grants, and superseded by previous and
arbitrary reservations. [36] A public auction was instituted in the court
of Rome: the cardinals and favorites were enriched with the spoils of
nations; and every country might complain that the most important
and valuable benefices were accumulated on the heads of aliens and
absentees. During their residence at Avignon, the ambition of the
popes subsided in the meaner passions of avarice [37] and luxury: they
rigorously imposed on the clergy the tributes of first-fruits and
tenths; but they freely tolerated the impunity of vice, disorder, and
corruption. These manifold scandals were aggravated by the great schism
of the West, which continued above fifty years. In the furious conflicts
of Rome and Avignon, the vices of the rivals were mutually exposed;
and their precarious situation degraded their authority, relaxed their
discipline, and multiplied their wants and exactions. To heal the
wounds, and restore the monarchy, of the church, the synods of Pisa and
Constance [38] were successively convened; but these great assemblies,
conscious of their strength, resolved to vindicate the privileges of the
Christian aristocracy. From a personal sentence against two pontiffs,
whom they rejected, and a third, their acknowledged sovereign, whom they
deposed, the fathers of Constance proceeded to examine the nature and
limits of the Roman supremacy; nor did they separate till they had
established the authority, above the pope, of a general council. It was
enacted, that, for the government and reformation of the church, such
assemblies should be held at regular intervals; and that each synod,
before its dissolution, should appoint the time and place of the
subsequent meeting. By the influence of the court of Rome, the next
convocation at Sienna was easily eluded; but the bold and vigorous
proceedings of the council of Basil [39] had almost been fatal to the
reigning pontiff, Eugenius the Fourth. A just suspicion of his design
prompted the fathers to hasten the promulgation of their first decree,
that the representatives of the church-militant on earth were invested
with a divine and spiritual jurisdiction over all Christians, without
excepting the pope; and that a general council could not be dissolved,
prorogued, or transferred, unless by their free deliberation and
consent. On the notice that Eugenius had fulminated a bull for that
purpose, they ventured to summon, to admonish, to threaten, to censure
the contumacious successor of St. Peter. After many delays, to allow
time for repentance, they finally declared, that, unless he submitted
within the term of sixty days, he was suspended from the exercise of all
temporal and ecclesiastical authority. And to mark their jurisdiction
over the prince as well as the priest, they assumed the government of
Avignon, annulled the alienation of the sacred patrimony, and protected
Rome from the imposition of new taxes. Their boldness was justified, not
only by the general opinion of the clergy, but by the support and power
of the first monarchs of Christendom: the emperor Sigismond declared
himself the servant and protector of the synod; Germany and France
adhered to their cause; the duke of Milan was the enemy of Eugenius; and
he was driven from the Vatican by an insurrection of the Roman people.
Rejected at the same time by temporal and spiritual subjects, submission
was his only choice: by a most humiliating bull, the pope repealed his
own acts, and ratified those of the council; incorporated his legates
and cardinals with that venerable body; and _seemed_ to resign himself
to the decrees of the supreme legislature. Their fame pervaded the
countries of the East: and it was in their presence that Sigismond
received the ambassadors of the Turkish sultan, [40] who laid at his feet
twelve large vases, filled with robes of silk and pieces of gold. The
fathers of Basil aspired to the glory of reducing the Greeks, as well as
the Bohemians, within the pale of the church; and their deputies invited
the emperor and patriarch of Constantinople to unite with an assembly
which possessed the confidence of the Western nations. Palæologus was
not averse to the proposal; and his ambassadors were introduced with due
honors into the Catholic senate. But the choice of the place appeared
to be an insuperable obstacle, since he refused to pass the Alps, or
the sea of Sicily, and positively required that the synod should be
adjourned to some convenient city in Italy, or at least on the Danube.
The other articles of this treaty were more readily stipulated: it was
agreed to defray the travelling expenses of the emperor, with a train of
seven hundred persons, [41] to remit an immediate sum of eight thousand
ducats [42] for the accommodation of the Greek clergy; and in his absence
to grant a supply of ten thousand ducats, with three hundred archers and
some galleys, for the protection of Constantinople. The city of Avignon
advanced the funds for the preliminary expenses; and the embarkation was
prepared at Marseilles with some difficulty and delay.

[Footnote 36: In the treatise delle Materie Beneficiarie of Fra Paolo,
(in the ivth volume of the last, and best, edition of his works,) the
papal system is deeply studied and freely described. Should Rome and
her religion be annihilated, this golden volume may still survive, a
philosophical history, and a salutary warning.]

[Footnote 37: Pope John XXII. (in 1334) left behind him, at Avignon,
eighteen millions of gold florins, and the value of seven millions more
in plate and jewels. See the Chronicle of John Villani, (l. xi. c. 20,
in Muratori's Collection, tom. xiii. p. 765,) whose brother received the
account from the papal treasurers. A treasure of six or eight millions
sterling in the xivth century is enormous, and almost incredible.]

[Footnote 38: A learned and liberal Protestant, M. Lenfant, has given
a fair history of the councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basil, in six
volumes in quarto; but the last part is the most hasty and imperfect,
except in the account of the troubles of Bohemia.]

[Footnote 39: The original acts or minutes of the council of Basil are
preserved in the public library, in twelve volumes in folio. Basil was a
free city, conveniently situate on the Rhine, and guarded by the arms
of the neighboring and confederate Swiss. In 1459, the university was
founded by Pope Pius II., (Æneas Sylvius,) who had been secretary to the
council. But what is a council, or a university, to the presses o Froben
and the studies of Erasmus?]

[Footnote 40: This Turkish embassy, attested only by Crantzius, is
related with some doubt by the annalist Spondanus, A.D. 1433, No. 25,
tom. i. p. 824.]

[Footnote 41: Syropulus, p. 19. In this list, the Greeks appear to
have exceeded the real numbers of the clergy and laity which afterwards
attended the emperor and patriarch, but which are not clearly specified
by the great ecclesiarch. The 75,000 florins which they asked in this
negotiation of the pope, (p. 9,) were more than they could hope or

[Footnote 42: I use indifferently the words _ducat_ and _florin_, which
derive their names, the former from the _dukes_ of Milan, the latter
from the republic of _Florence_. These gold pieces, the first that were
coined in Italy, perhaps in the Latin world, may be compared in weight
and value to one third of the English guinea.]

In his distress, the friendship of Palæologus was disputed by the
ecclesiastical powers of the West; but the dexterous activity of a
monarch prevailed over the slow debates and inflexible temper of a
republic. The decrees of Basil continually tended to circumscribe the
despotism of the pope, and to erect a supreme and perpetual tribunal
in the church. Eugenius was impatient of the yoke; and the union of the
Greeks might afford a decent pretence for translating a rebellious synod
from the Rhine to the Po. The independence of the fathers was lost
if they passed the Alps: Savoy or Avignon, to which they acceded with
reluctance, were described at Constantinople as situate far beyond the
pillars of Hercules; [43] the emperor and his clergy were apprehensive
of the dangers of a long navigation; they were offended by a haughty
declaration, that after suppressing the _new_ heresy of the Bohemians,
the council would soon eradicate the _old_ heresy of the Greeks. [44] On
the side of Eugenius, all was smooth, and yielding, and respectful; and
he invited the Byzantine monarch to heal by his presence the schism of
the Latin, as well as of the Eastern, church. Ferrara, near the coast of
the Adriatic, was proposed for their amicable interview; and with some
indulgence of forgery and theft, a surreptitious decree was procured,
which transferred the synod, with its own consent, to that Italian city.
Nine galleys were equipped for the service at Venice, and in the Isle
of Candia; their diligence anticipated the slower vessels of Basil: the
Roman admiral was commissioned to burn, sink, and destroy; [45] and these
priestly squadrons might have encountered each other in the same seas
where Athens and Sparta had formerly contended for the preeminence of
glory. Assaulted by the importunity of the factions, who were ready to
fight for the possession of his person, Palæologus hesitated before
he left his palace and country on a perilous experiment. His father's
advice still dwelt on his memory; and reason must suggest, that since
the Latins were divided among themselves, they could never unite in
a foreign cause. Sigismond dissuaded the unreasonable adventure; his
advice was impartial, since he adhered to the council; and it was
enforced by the strange belief, that the German Cæsar would nominate
a Greek his heir and successor in the empire of the West. [46] Even the
Turkish sultan was a counsellor whom it might be unsafe to trust, but
whom it was dangerous to offend. Amurath was unskilled in the disputes,
but he was apprehensive of the union, of the Christians. From his own
treasures, he offered to relieve the wants of the Byzantine court; yet
he declared with seeming magnanimity, that Constantinople should
be secure and inviolate, in the absence of her sovereign. [47] The
resolution of Palæologus was decided by the most splendid gifts and the
most specious promises: he wished to escape for a while from a scene of
danger and distress and after dismissing with an ambiguous answer the
messengers of the council, he declared his intention of embarking in the
Roman galleys. The age of the patriarch Joseph was more susceptible of
fear than of hope; he trembled at the perils of the sea, and expressed
his apprehension, that his feeble voice, with thirty perhaps of his
orthodox brethren, would be oppressed in a foreign land by the power
and numbers of a Latin synod. He yielded to the royal mandate, to the
flattering assurance, that he would be heard as the oracle of nations,
and to the secret wish of learning from his brother of the West, to
deliver the church from the yoke of kings. [48] The five _cross-bearers_,
or dignitaries, of St. Sophia, were bound to attend his person; and one
of these, the great ecclesiarch or preacher, Sylvester Syropulus, [49]
has composed a free and curious history [50] of the _false_ union. [51]
Of the clergy that reluctantly obeyed the summons of the emperor and the
patriarch, submission was the first duty, and patience the most useful
virtue. In a chosen list of twenty bishops, we discover the metropolitan
titles of Heracleæ and Cyzicus, Nice and Nicomedia, Ephesus and
Trebizond, and the personal merit of Mark and Bessarion who, in the
confidence of their learning and eloquence, were promoted to the
episcopal rank. Some monks and philosophers were named to display the
science and sanctity of the Greek church; and the service of the choir
was performed by a select band of singers and musicians. The patriarchs
of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, appeared by their genuine or
fictitious deputies; the primate of Russia represented a national
church, and the Greeks might contend with the Latins in the extent of
their spiritual empire. The precious vases of St. Sophia were exposed
to the winds and waves, that the patriarch might officiate with becoming
splendor: whatever gold the emperor could procure, was expended in the
massy ornaments of his bed and chariot; [52] and while they affected to
maintain the prosperity of their ancient fortune, they quarrelled for
the division of fifteen thousand ducats, the first alms of the Roman
pontiff. After the necessary preparations, John Palæologus, with a
numerous train, accompanied by his brother Demetrius, and the most
respectable persons of the church and state, embarked in eight vessels
with sails and oars which steered through the Turkish Straits of
Gallipoli to the Archipelago, the Morea, and the Adriatic Gulf. [53]

[Footnote 43: At the end of the Latin version of Phranzes, we read a
long Greek epistle or declamation of George of Trebizond, who advises
the emperor to prefer Eugenius and Italy. He treats with contempt the
schismatic assembly of Basil, the Barbarians of Gaul and Germany, who
had conspired to transport the chair of St. Peter beyond the Alps; oi
aqlioi (says he) se kai thn meta sou sunodon exw tvn 'Hrakleiwn sthlwn
kai pera Gadhrwn exaxousi. Was Constantinople unprovided with a map?]

[Footnote 44: Syropulus (p. 26--31) attests his own indignation, and
that of his countrymen; and the Basil deputies, who excused the rash
declaration, could neither deny nor alter an act of the council.]

[Footnote 45: Condolmieri, the pope's nephew and admiral, expressly
declared, oti orismon eceipara tou Papa ina polemhsh opou an eurh ta
katerga thV Sunodou, kai ei dunhqh, katadush, kai ajanish. The naval
orders of the synod were less peremptory, and, till the hostile
squadrons appeared, both parties tried to conceal their quarrel from the

[Footnote 46: Syropulus mentions the hopes of Palæologus, (p. 36,) and
the last advice of Sigismond,(p. 57.) At Corfu, the Greek emperor was
informed of his friend's death; had he known it sooner, he would have
returned home,(p. 79.)]

[Footnote 47: Phranzes himself, though from different motives, was of
the advice of Amurath, (l. ii. c. 13.) Utinam ne synodus ista unquam
fuisset, si tantes offensiones et detrimenta paritura erat. This Turkish
embassy is likewise mentioned by Syropulus, (p. 58;) and Amurath kept
his word. He might threaten, (p. 125, 219,) but he never attacked, the

[Footnote 48: The reader will smile at the simplicity with which he
imparted these hopes to his favorites: toiauthn plhrojorian schsein
hlpize kai dia tou Papa eqarrei eleuqervdai thn ekklhsian apo thV
apoteqeishV autou douleiaV para tou basilewV, (p. 92.) Yet it would have
been difficult for him to have practised the lessons of Gregory VII.]

[Footnote 49: The Christian name of Sylvester is borrowed from the Latin
calendar. In modern Greek, pouloV, as a diminutive, is added to the end
of words: nor can any reasoning of Creyghton, the editor, excuse his
changing into S_gur_opulus, (Sguros, fuscus,) the Syropulus of his own
manuscript, whose name is subscribed with his own hand in the acts
of the council of Florence. Why might not the author be of Syrian

[Footnote 50: From the conclusion of the history, I should fix the date
to the year 1444, four years after the synod, when great ecclesiarch
had abdicated his office, (section xii. p. 330--350.) His passions were
cooled by time and retirement; and, although Syropulus is often partial,
he is never intemperate.]

[Footnote 51: _Vera historia unionis non ver inter Græcos et Latinos_,
(_Haga Comitis_, 1660, in folio,) was first published with a loose and
florid version, by Robert Creyghton, chaplain to Charles II. in his
exile. The zeal of the editor has prefixed a polemic title, for the
beginning of the original is wanting. Syropulus may be ranked with the
best of the Byzantine writers for the merit of his narration, and even
of his style; but he is excluded from the orthodox collections of the

[Footnote 52: Syropulus (p. 63) simply expresses his intention in' outw
pompawn en' 'ItaloiV megaV basileuV par ekeinvn nomizoito; and the Latin
of Creyghton may afford a specimen of his florid paraphrase. Ut pompâ
circumductus noster Imperator Italiæ populis aliquis deauratus Jupiter
crederetur, aut Crsus ex opulenta Lydia.]

[Footnote 53: Although I cannot stop to quote Syropulus for every fact,
I will observe that the navigation of the Greeks from Constantinople to
Venice and Ferrara is contained in the ivth section, (p. 67--100,) and
that the historian has the uncommon talent of placing each scene before
the reader's eye.]

Chapter LXVI: Union Of The Greek And Latin Churches.--Part III.

After a tedious and troublesome navigation of seventy-seven days,
this religious squadron cast anchor before Venice; and their reception
proclaimed the joy and magnificence of that powerful republic. In the
command of the world, the modest Augustus had never claimed such honors
from his subjects as were paid to his feeble successor by an independent
state. Seated on the poop on a lofty throne, he received the visit, or,
in the Greek style, the _adoration_ of the doge and senators. [54]
They sailed in the Bucentaur, which was accompanied by twelve stately
galleys: the sea was overspread with innumerable gondolas of pomp and
pleasure; the air resounded with music and acclamations; the mariners,
and even the vessels, were dressed in silk and gold; and in all the
emblems and pageants, the Roman eagles were blended with the lions of
St. Mark. The triumphal procession, ascending the great canal, passed
under the bridge of the Rialto; and the Eastern strangers gazed with
admiration on the palaces, the churches, and the populousness of a city,
that seems to float on the bosom of the waves. [55] They sighed to behold
the spoils and trophies with which it had been decorated after the sack
of Constantinople. After a hospitable entertainment of fifteen days,
Palæologus pursued his journey by land and water from Venice to Ferrara;
and on this occasion the pride of the Vatican was tempered by policy
to indulge the ancient dignity of the emperor of the East. He made his
entry on a _black_ horse; but a milk-white steed, whose trappings were
embroidered with golden eagles, was led before him; and the canopy
was borne over his head by the princes of Este, the sons or kinsmen
of Nicholas, marquis of the city, and a sovereign more powerful than
himself. [56] Palæologus did not alight till he reached the bottom of the
staircase: the pope advanced to the door of the apartment; refused his
proffered genuflection; and, after a paternal embrace, conducted the
emperor to a seat on his left hand. Nor would the patriarch descend from
his galley, till a ceremony almost equal, had been stipulated between
the bishops of Rome and Constantinople. The latter was saluted by his
brother with a kiss of union and charity; nor would any of the Greek
ecclesiastics submit to kiss the feet of the Western primate. On the
opening of the synod, the place of honor in the centre was claimed by
the temporal and ecclesiastical chiefs; and it was only by alleging that
his predecessors had not assisted in person at Nice or Chalcedon, that
Eugenius could evade the ancient precedents of Constantine and Marcian.
After much debate, it was agreed that the right and left sides of the
church should be occupied by the two nations; that the solitary chair
of St. Peter should be raised the first of the Latin line; and that the
throne of the Greek emperor, at the head of his clergy, should be equal
and opposite to the second place, the vacant seat of the emperor of the
West. [57]

[Footnote 54: At the time of the synod, Phranzes was in Peloponnesus:
but he received from the despot Demetrius a faithful account of the
honorable reception of the emperor and patriarch both at Venice and
Ferrara, (Dux.... sedentem Imperatorem _adorat_,) which are more
slightly mentioned by the Latins, (l. ii. c. 14, 15, 16.)]

[Footnote 55: The astonishment of a Greek prince and a French ambassador
(Mémoires de Philippe de Comines, l. vii. c. 18,) at the sight of
Venice, abundantly proves that in the xvth century it was the first and
most splendid of the Christian cities. For the spoils of Constantinople
at Venice, see Syropulus, (p. 87.)]

[Footnote 56: Nicholas III. of Este reigned forty-eight years, (A.D.
1393--1441,) and was lord of Ferrara, Modena, Reggio, Parma, Rovigo,
and Commachio. See his Life in Muratori, (Antichità Estense, tom. ii. p.

[Footnote 57: The Latin vulgar was provoked to laughter at the strange
dresses of the Greeks, and especially the length of their garments,
their sleeves, and their beards; nor was the emperor distinguished,
except by the purple color, and his diadem or tiara, with a jewel on
the top, (Hody de Græcis Illustribus, p. 31.) Yet another spectator
confesses that the Greek fashion was piu grave e piu degna than the
Italian. (Vespasiano in Vit. Eugen. IV. in Muratori, tom. xxv. p. 261.)]

But as soon as festivity and form had given place to a more serious
treaty, the Greeks were dissatisfied with their journey, with
themselves, and with the pope. The artful pencil of his emissaries
had painted him in a prosperous state; at the head of the princes and
prelates of Europe, obedient at his voice, to believe and to arm. The
thin appearance of the universal synod of Ferrara betrayed his weakness:
and the Latins opened the first session with only five archbishops,
eighteen bishops, and ten abbots, the greatest part of whom were the
subjects or countrymen of the Italian pontiff. Except the duke of
Burgundy, none of the potentates of the West condescended to appear in
person, or by their ambassadors; nor was it possible to suppress the
judicial acts of Basil against the dignity and person of Eugenius, which
were finally concluded by a new election. Under these circumstances, a
truce or delay was asked and granted, till Palæologus could expect from
the consent of the Latins some temporal reward for an unpopular union;
and after the first session, the public proceedings were adjourned
above six months. The emperor, with a chosen band of his favorites
and _Janizaries_, fixed his summer residence at a pleasant, spacious
monastery, six miles from Ferrara; forgot, in the pleasures of the
chase, the distress of the church and state; and persisted in destroying
the game, without listening to the just complaints of the marquis or the
husbandman. [58] In the mean while, his unfortunate Greeks were exposed
to all the miseries of exile and poverty; for the support of each
stranger, a monthly allowance was assigned of three or four gold
florins; and although the entire sum did not amount to seven hundred
florins, a long arrear was repeatedly incurred by the indigence or
policy of the Roman court. [59] They sighed for a speedy deliverance,
but their escape was prevented by a triple chain: a passport from their
superiors was required at the gates of Ferrara; the government of
Venice had engaged to arrest and send back the fugitives; and inevitable
punishment awaited them at Constantinople; excommunication, fines, and a
sentence, which did not respect the sacerdotal dignity, that they
should be stripped naked and publicly whipped. [60] It was only by the
alternative of hunger or dispute that the Greeks could be persuaded to
open the first conference; and they yielded with extreme reluctance to
attend from Ferrara to Florence the rear of a flying synod. This new
translation was urged by inevitable necessity: the city was visited
by the plague; the fidelity of the marquis might be suspected; the
mercenary troops of the duke of Milan were at the gates; and as they
occupied Romagna, it was not without difficulty and danger that the
pope, the emperor, and the bishops, explored their way through the
unfrequented paths of the Apennine. [61]

[Footnote 58: For the emperor's hunting, see Syropulus, (p. 143, 144,
191.) The pope had sent him eleven miserable hacks; but he bought a
strong and swift horse that came from Russia. The name of _Janizaries_
may surprise; but the name, rather than the institution, had passed from
the Ottoman, to the Byzantine, court, and is often used in the last age
of the empire.]

[Footnote 59: The Greeks obtained, with much difficulty, that instead of
provisions, money should be distributed, four florins _per_ month to the
persons of honorable rank, and three florins to their servants, with an
addition of thirty more to the emperor, twenty-five to the patriarch,
and twenty to the prince, or despot, Demetrius. The payment of the first
month amounted to 691 florins, a sum which will not allow us to reckon
above 200 Greeks of every condition. (Syropulus, p. 104, 105.) On the
20th October, 1438, there was an arrear of four months; in April, 1439,
of three; and of five and a half in July, at the time of the union, (p.
172, 225, 271.)]

[Footnote 60: Syropulus (p. 141, 142, 204, 221) deplores the
imprisonment of the Greeks, and the tyranny of the emperor and

[Footnote 61: The wars of Italy are most clearly represented in the
xiiith vol. of the Annals of Muratori. The schismatic Greek, Syropulus,
(p. 145,) appears to have exaggerated the fear and disorder of the pope
in his retreat from Ferrara to Florence, which is proved by the acts to
have been somewhat more decent and deliberate.]

Yet all these obstacles were surmounted by time and policy. The violence
of the fathers of Basil rather promoted than injured the cause of
Eugenius; the nations of Europe abhorred the schism, and disowned the
election, of Felix the Fifth, who was successively a duke of Savoy, a
hermit, and a pope; and the great princes were gradually reclaimed by
his competitor to a favorable neutrality and a firm attachment. The
legates, with some respectable members, deserted to the Roman army,
which insensibly rose in numbers and reputation; the council of Basil
was reduced to thirty-nine bishops, and three hundred of the inferior
clergy; [62] while the Latins of Florence could produce the subscriptions
of the pope himself, eight cardinals, two patriarchs, eight archbishops,
fifty two bishops, and forty-five abbots, or chiefs of religious orders.
After the labor of nine months, and the debates of twenty-five sessions,
they attained the advantage and glory of the reunion of the Greeks. Four
principal questions had been agitated between the two churches; _1._
The use of unleavened bread in the communion of Christ's body. _2._
The nature of purgatory. _3._ The supremacy of the pope. And, _4._
The single or double procession of the Holy Ghost. The cause of either
nation was managed by ten theological champions: the Latins were
supported by the inexhaustible eloquence of Cardinal Julian; and Mark
of Ephesus and Bessarion of Nice were the bold and able leaders of the
Greek forces. We may bestow some praise on the progress of human reason,
by observing that the first of these questions was now treated as an
immaterial rite, which might innocently vary with the fashion of the age
and country. With regard to the second, both parties were agreed in the
belief of an intermediate state of purgation for the venial sins of the
faithful; and whether their souls were purified by elemental fire was
a doubtful point, which in a few years might be conveniently settled on
the spot by the disputants. The claims of supremacy appeared of a more
weighty and substantial kind; yet by the Orientals the Roman bishop had
ever been respected as the first of the five patriarchs; nor did they
scruple to admit, that his jurisdiction should be exercised agreeably to
the holy canons; a vague allowance, which might be defined or eluded by
occasional convenience. The procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father
alone, or from the Father and the Son, was an article of faith which had
sunk much deeper into the minds of men; and in the sessions of Ferrara
and Florence, the Latin addition of _filioque_ was subdivided into two
questions, whether it were legal, and whether it were orthodox. Perhaps
it may not be necessary to boast on this subject of my own impartial
indifference; but I must think that the Greeks were strongly supported
by the prohibition of the council of Chalcedon, against adding any
article whatsoever to the creed of Nice, or rather of Constantinople.
[63] In earthly affairs, it is not easy to conceive how an assembly equal
of legislators can bind their successors invested with powers equal
to their own. But the dictates of inspiration must be true and
unchangeable; nor should a private bishop, or a provincial synod, have
presumed to innovate against the judgment of the Catholic church. On the
substance of the doctrine, the controversy was equal and endless: reason
is confounded by the procession of a deity: the gospel, which lay on the
altar, was silent; the various texts of the fathers might be corrupted
by fraud or entangled by sophistry; and the Greeks were ignorant of the
characters and writings of the Latin saints. [64] Of this at least we may
be sure, that neither side could be convinced by the arguments of their
opponents. Prejudice may be enlightened by reason, and a superficial
glance may be rectified by a clear and more perfect view of an object
adapted to our faculties. But the bishops and monks had been taught from
their infancy to repeat a form of mysterious words: their national and
personal honor depended on the repetition of the same sounds; and their
narrow minds were hardened and inflamed by the acrimony of a public

[Footnote 62: Syropulus is pleased to reckon seven hundred prelates in
the council of Basil. The error is manifest, and perhaps voluntary. That
extravagant number could not be supplied by _all_ the ecclesiastics of
every degree who were present at the council, nor by _all_ the absent
bishops of the West, who, expressly or tacitly, might adhere to its

[Footnote 63: The Greeks, who disliked the union, were unwilling to
sally from this strong fortress, (p. 178, 193, 195, 202, of Syropulus.)
The shame of the Latins was aggravated by their producing an old MS.
of the second council of Nice, with _filioque_ in the Nicene creed. A
palpable forgery! (p. 173.)]

[Footnote 64: 'WV egw (said an eminent Greek) otan eiV naon eiselqw
Datinwn ou proskunv tina tvn ekeise agiwn, epei oude gnwrizw tina,
(Syropulus, p. 109.) See the perplexity of the Greeks, (p. 217, 218,
252, 253, 273.)]

While they were most in a cloud of dust and darkness, the Pope and
emperor were desirous of a seeming union, which could alone accomplish
the purposes of their interview; and the obstinacy of public dispute was
softened by the arts of private and personal negotiation. The patriarch
Joseph had sunk under the weight of age and infirmities; his dying voice
breathed the counsels of charity and concord, and his vacant benefice
might tempt the hopes of the ambitious clergy. The ready and active
obedience of the archbishops of Russia and Nice, of Isidore and
Bessarion, was prompted and recompensed by their speedy promotion to the
dignity of cardinals. Bessarion, in the first debates, had stood forth
the most strenuous and eloquent champion of the Greek church; and if the
apostate, the bastard, was reprobated by his country, [65] he appears in
ecclesiastical story a rare example of a patriot who was recommended to
court favor by loud opposition and well-timed compliance. With the aid
of his two spiritual coadjutors, the emperor applied his arguments to
the general situation and personal characters of the bishops, and each
was successively moved by authority and example. Their revenues were
in the hands of the Turks, their persons in those of the Latins: an
episcopal treasure, three robes and forty ducats, was soon exhausted:
[66] the hopes of their return still depended on the ships of Venice and
the alms of Rome; and such was their indigence, that their arrears, the
payment of a debt, would be accepted as a favor, and might operate as
a bribe. [67] The danger and relief of Constantinople might excuse
some prudent and pious dissimulation; and it was insinuated, that the
obstinate heretics who should resist the consent of the East and West
would be abandoned in a hostile land to the revenge or justice of the
Roman pontiff. [68] In the first private assembly of the Greeks, the
formulary of union was approved by twenty-four, and rejected by twelve,
members; but the five _cross-bearers_ of St. Sophia, who aspired to
represent the patriarch, were disqualified by ancient discipline; and
their right of voting was transferred to the obsequious train of monks,
grammarians, and profane laymen. The will of the monarch produced a
false and servile unanimity, and no more than two patriots had courage
to speak their own sentiments and those of their country. Demetrius, the
emperor's brother, retired to Venice, that he might not be witness of
the union; and Mark of Ephesus, mistaking perhaps his pride for his
conscience, disclaimed all communion with the Latin heretics, and avowed
himself the champion and confessor of the orthodox creed. [69] In the
treaty between the two nations, several forms of consent were proposed,
such as might satisfy the Latins, without dishonoring the Greeks; and
they weighed the scruples of words and syllables, till the theological
balance trembled with a slight preponderance in favor of the Vatican.
It was agreed (I must entreat the attention of the reader) that the Holy
Ghost proceeds from the Father _and_ the Son, as from one principle and
one substance; that he proceeds _by_ the Son, being of the same nature
and substance, and that he proceeds from the Father _and_ the Son, by
one _spiration_ and production. It is less difficult to understand the
articles of the preliminary treaty; that the pope should defray all the
expenses of the Greeks in their return home; that he should annually
maintain two galleys and three hundred soldiers for the defence of
Constantinople: that all the ships which transported pilgrims to
Jerusalem should be obliged to touch at that port; that as often as they
were required, the pope should furnish ten galleys for a year, or twenty
for six months; and that he should powerfully solicit the princes of
Europe, if the emperor had occasion for land forces.

[Footnote 65: See the polite altercation of Marc and Bessarion in
Syropulus, (p. 257,) who never dissembles the vices of his own party,
and fairly praises the virtues of the Latins.]

[Footnote 66: For the poverty of the Greek bishops, see a remarkable
passage of Ducas, (c. 31.) One had possessed, for his whole property,
three old gowns, &c. By teaching one-and-twenty years in his monastery,
Bessarion himself had collected forty gold florins; but of these, the
archbishop had expended twenty-eight in his voyage from Peloponnesus,
and the remainder at Constantinople, (Syropulus, p. 127.)]

[Footnote 67: Syropulus denies that the Greeks received any money before
they had subscribed the art of union, (p. 283:) yet he relates
some suspicious circumstances; and their bribery and corruption are
positively affirmed by the historian Ducas.]

[Footnote 68: The Greeks most piteously express their own fears of exile
and perpetual slavery, (Syropul. p. 196;) and they were strongly moved
by the emperor's threats, (p. 260.)]

[Footnote 69: I had forgot another popular and orthodox protester: a
favorite bound, who usually lay quiet on the foot-cloth of the emperor's
throne but who barked most furiously while the act of union was reading
without being silenced by the soothing or the lashes of the royal
attendants, (Syropul. p. 265, 266.)]

The same year, and almost the same day, were marked by the deposition
of Eugenius at Basil; and, at Florence, by his reunion of the Greeks
and Latins. In the former synod, (which he styled indeed an assembly
of dæmons,) the pope was branded with the guilt of simony, perjury,
tyranny, heresy, and schism; [70] and declared to be incorrigible in
his vices, unworthy of any title, and incapable of holding any
ecclesiastical office. In the latter, he was revered as the true and
holy vicar of Christ, who, after a separation of six hundred years, had
reconciled the Catholics of the East and West in one fold, and under one
shepherd. The act of union was subscribed by the pope, the emperor,
and the principal members of both churches; even by those who, like
Syropulus, [71] had been deprived of the right of voting. Two copies
might have sufficed for the East and West; but Eugenius was not
satisfied, unless four authentic and similar transcripts were signed and
attested as the monuments of his victory. [72] On a memorable day, the
sixth of July, the successors of St. Peter and Constantine ascended
their thrones the two nations assembled in the cathedral of Florence;
their representatives, Cardinal Julian and Bessarion archbishop of Nice,
appeared in the pulpit, and, after reading in their respective tongues
the act of union, they mutually embraced, in the name and the presence
of their applauding brethren. The pope and his ministers then officiated
according to the Roman liturgy; the creed was chanted with the addition
of _filioque_; the acquiescence of the Greeks was poorly excused by
their ignorance of the harmonious, but inarticulate sounds; [73] and the
more scrupulous Latins refused any public celebration of the Byzantine
rite. Yet the emperor and his clergy were not totally unmindful of
national honor. The treaty was ratified by their consent: it was
tacitly agreed that no innovation should be attempted in their creed or
ceremonies: they spared, and secretly respected, the generous firmness
of Mark of Ephesus; and, on the decease of the patriarch, they refused
to elect his successor, except in the cathedral of St. Sophia. In the
distribution of public and private rewards, the liberal pontiff exceeded
their hopes and his promises: the Greeks, with less pomp and pride,
returned by the same road of Ferrara and Venice; and their reception at
Constantinople was such as will be described in the following chapter.
[74] The success of the first trial encouraged Eugenius to repeat the
same edifying scenes; and the deputies of the Armenians, the Maronites,
the Jacobites of Syria and Egypt, the Nestorians and the Æthiopians,
were successively introduced, to kiss the feet of the Roman pontiff, and
to announce the obedience and the orthodoxy of the East. These Oriental
embassies, unknown in the countries which they presumed to represent,
[75] diffused over the West the fame of Eugenius; and a clamor was
artfully propagated against the remnant of a schism in Switzerland and
Savoy, which alone impeded the harmony of the Christian world. The vigor
of opposition was succeeded by the lassitude of despair: the council
of Basil was silently dissolved; and Felix, renouncing the tiara, again
withdrew to the devout or delicious hermitage of Ripaille. [76] A general
peace was secured by mutual acts of oblivion and indemnity: all ideas
of reformation subsided; the popes continued to exercise and abuse
their ecclesiastical despotism; nor has Rome been since disturbed by the
mischiefs of a contested election. [77]

[Footnote 70: From the original Lives of the Popes, in Muratori's
Collection, (tom. iii. p. ii. tom. xxv.,) the manners of Eugenius IV.
appear to have been decent, and even exemplary. His situation, exposed
to the world and to his enemies, was a restraint, and is a pledge.]

[Footnote 71: Syropulus, rather than subscribe, would have assisted,
as the least evil, at the ceremony of the union. He was compelled to
do both; and the great ecclesiarch poorly excuses his submission to the
emperor, (p. 290--292.)]

[Footnote 72: None of these original acts of union can at present be
produced. Of the ten MSS. that are preserved, (five at Rome, and the
remainder at Florence, Bologna, Venice, Paris, and London,) nine have
been examined by an accurate critic, (M. de Brequigny,) who condemns
them for the variety and imperfections of the Greek signatures. Yet
several of these may be esteemed as authentic copies, which were
subscribed at Florence, before (26th of August, 1439) the final
separation of the pope and emperor, (Mémoires de l'Académie des
Inscriptions, tom. xliii. p. 287--311.)]

[Footnote 73: Hmin de wV ashmoi edokoun jwnai, (Syropul. p. 297.)]

[Footnote 74: In their return, the Greeks conversed at Bologna with
the ambassadors of England: and after some questions and answers,
these impartial strangers laughed at the pretended union of Florence,
(Syropul. p. 307.)]

[Footnote 75: So nugatory, or rather so fabulous, are these reunions
of the Nestorians, Jacobites, &c., that I have turned over, without
success, the Bibliotheca Orientalis of Assemannus, a faithful slave of
the Vatican.]

[Footnote 76: Ripaille is situate near Thonon in Savoy, on the southern
side of the Lake of Geneva. It is now a Carthusian abbey; and Mr.
Addison (Travels into Italy, vol. ii. p. 147, 148, of Baskerville's
edition of his works) has celebrated the place and the founder. Æneas
Sylvius, and the fathers of Basil, applaud the austere life of the ducal
hermit; but the French and Italian proverbs most unluckily attest the
popular opinion of his luxury.]

[Footnote 77: In this account of the councils of Basil, Ferrara, and
Florence, I have consulted the original acts, which fill the xviith
and xviiith tome of the edition of Venice, and are closed by the
perspicuous, though partial, history of Augustin Patricius, an
Italian of the xvth century. They are digested and abridged by Dupin,
(Bibliothèque Ecclés. tom. xii.,) and the continuator of Fleury, (tom.
xxii.;) and the respect of the Gallican church for the adverse parties
confines their members to an awkward moderation.]

The journeys of three emperors were unavailing for their temporal,
or perhaps their spiritual, salvation; but they were productive of a
beneficial consequence--the revival of the Greek learning in Italy, from
whence it was propagated to the last nations of the West and North. In
their lowest servitude and depression, the subjects of the Byzantine
throne were still possessed of a golden key that could unlock the
treasures of antiquity; of a musical and prolific language, that gives
a soul to the objects of sense, and a body to the abstractions of
philosophy. Since the barriers of the monarchy, and even of the capital,
had been trampled under foot, the various Barbarians had doubtless
corrupted the form and substance of the national dialect; and ample
glossaries have been composed, to interpret a multitude of words, of
Arabic, Turkish, Sclavonian, Latin, or French origin. [78] But a purer
idiom was spoken in the court and taught in the college; and the
flourishing state of the language is described, and perhaps embellished,
by a learned Italian, [79] who, by a long residence and noble marriage,
[80] was naturalized at Constantinople about thirty years before the
Turkish conquest. "The vulgar speech," says Philelphus, [81] "has been
depraved by the people, and infected by the multitude of strangers
and merchants, who every day flock to the city and mingle with the
inhabitants. It is from the disciples of such a school that the Latin
language received the versions of Aristotle and Plato; so obscure
in sense, and in spirit so poor. But the Greeks who have escaped the
contagion, are those whom _we_ follow; and they alone are worthy of
our imitation. In familiar discourse, they still speak the tongue
of Aristophanes and Euripides, of the historians and philosophers of
Athens; and the style of their writings is still more elaborate and
correct. The persons who, by their birth and offices, are attached to
the Byzantine court, are those who maintain, with the least alloy,
the ancient standard of elegance and purity; and the native graces
of language most conspicuously shine among the noble matrons, who are
excluded from all intercourse with foreigners. With foreigners do I
say? They live retired and sequestered from the eyes of their
fellow-citizens. Seldom are they seen in the streets; and when they
leave their houses, it is in the dusk of evening, on visits to the
churches and their nearest kindred. On these occasions, they are on
horseback, covered with a veil, and encompassed by their parents, their
husbands, or their servants." [82]

[Footnote 78: In the first attempt, Meursius collected 3600
Græco-barbarous words, to which, in a second edition, he subjoined 1800
more; yet what plenteous gleanings did he leave to Portius, Ducange,
Fabrotti, the Bollandists, &c.! (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 101,
&c.) _Some_ Persic words may be found in Xenophon, and some Latin ones
in Plutarch; and such is the inevitable effect of war and commerce; but
the form and substance of the language were not affected by this slight

[Footnote 79: The life of Francis Philelphus, a sophist, proud,
restless, and rapacious, has been diligently composed by Lancelot
(Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 691--751) (Istoria
della Letteratura Italiana, tom. vii. p. 282--294,) for the most
part from his own letters. His elaborate writings, and those of his
contemporaries, are forgotten; but their familiar epistles still
describe the men and the times.]

[Footnote 80: He married, and had perhaps debauched, the daughter
of John, and the granddaughter of Manuel Chrysoloras. She was young,
beautiful, and wealthy; and her noble family was allied to the Dorias of
Genoa and the emperors of Constantinople.]

[Footnote 81: Græci quibus lingua depravata non sit.... ita loquuntur
vulgo hâc etiam tempestate ut Aristophanes comicus, aut Euripides
tragicus, ut oratores omnes, ut historiographi, ut philosophi....
litterati autem homines et doctius et emendatius.... Nam viri aulici
veterem sermonis dignitatem atque elegantiam retinebant in primisque
ipsæ nobiles mulieres; quibus cum nullum esset omnino cum viris
peregrinis commercium, merus ille ac purus Græcorum sermo servabatur
intactus, (Philelph. Epist. ad ann. 1451, apud Hodium, p. 188, 189.)
He observes in another passage, uxor illa mea Theodora locutione erat
admodum moderatâ et suavi et maxime Atticâ.]

[Footnote 82: Philelphus, absurdly enough, derives this Greek or
Oriental jealousy from the manners of ancient Rome.]

Among the Greeks a numerous and opulent clergy was dedicated to
the service of religion: their monks and bishops have ever been
distinguished by the gravity and austerity of their manners; nor were
they diverted, like the Latin priests, by the pursuits and pleasures of
a secular, and even military, life. After a large deduction for the
time and talent that were lost in the devotion, the laziness, and the
discord, of the church and cloister, the more inquisitive and ambitious
minds would explore the sacred and profane erudition of their native
language. The ecclesiastics presided over the education of youth; the
schools of philosophy and eloquence were perpetuated till the fall of
the empire; and it may be affirmed, that more books and more knowledge
were included within the walls of Constantinople, than could be
dispersed over the extensive countries of the West. [83] But an important
distinction has been already noticed: the Greeks were stationary or
retrograde, while the Latins were advancing with a rapid and progressive
motion. The nations were excited by the spirit of independence and
emulation; and even the little world of the Italian states contained
more people and industry than the decreasing circle of the Byzantine
empire. In Europe, the lower ranks of society were relieved from the
yoke of feudal servitude; and freedom is the first step to curiosity and
knowledge. The use, however rude and corrupt, of the Latin tongue
had been preserved by superstition; the universities, from Bologna to
Oxford, [84] were peopled with thousands of scholars; and their misguided
ardor might be directed to more liberal and manly studies. In the
resurrection of science, Italy was the first that cast away her shroud;
and the eloquent Petrarch, by his lessons and his example, may justly be
applauded as the first harbinger of day. A purer style of composition,
a more generous and rational strain of sentiment, flowed from the study
and imitation of the writers of ancient Rome; and the disciples of
Cicero and Virgil approached, with reverence and love, the sanctuary of
their Grecian masters. In the sack of Constantinople, the French, and
even the Venetians, had despised and destroyed the works of Lysippus and
Homer: the monuments of art may be annihilated by a single blow; but the
immortal mind is renewed and multiplied by the copies of the pen; and
such copies it was the ambition of Petrarch and his friends to possess
and understand. The arms of the Turks undoubtedly pressed the flight
of the Muses; yet we may tremble at the thought, that Greece might have
been overwhelmed, with her schools and libraries, before Europe had
emerged from the deluge of barbarism; that the seeds of science might
have been scattered by the winds, before the Italian soil was prepared
for their cultivation.

[Footnote 83: See the state of learning in the xiiith and xivth
centuries, in the learned and judicious Mosheim, (Instit. Hist. Ecclés.
p. 434--440, 490--494.)]

[Footnote 84: At the end of the xvth century, there existed in Europe
about fifty universities, and of these the foundation of ten or twelve
is prior to the year 1300. They were crowded in proportion to their
scarcity. Bologna contained 10,000 students, chiefly of the civil law.
In the year 1357 the number at Oxford had decreased from 30,000 to 6000
scholars, (Henry's History of Great Britain, vol. iv. p. 478.) Yet even
this decrease is much superior to the present list of the members of the

Chapter LXVI: Union Of The Greek And Latin Churches.--Part IV.

The most learned Italians of the fifteenth century have confessed and
applauded the restoration of Greek literature, after a long oblivion of
many hundred years. [85] Yet in that country, and beyond the Alps, some
names are quoted; some profound scholars, who in the darker ages were
honorably distinguished by their knowledge of the Greek tongue; and
national vanity has been loud in the praise of such rare examples of
erudition. Without scrutinizing the merit of individuals, truth must
observe, that their science is without a cause, and without an effect;
that it was easy for them to satisfy themselves and their more ignorant
contemporaries; and that the idiom, which they had so marvellously
acquired was transcribed in few manuscripts, and was not taught in any
university of the West. In a corner of Italy, it faintly existed as
the popular, or at least as the ecclesiastical dialect. [86] The first
impression of the Doric and Ionic colonies has never been completely
erased: the Calabrian churches were long attached to the throne of
Constantinople: and the monks of St. Basil pursued their studies in
Mount Athos and the schools of the East. Calabria was the native country
of Barlaam, who has already appeared as a sectary and an ambassador; and
Barlaam was the first who revived, beyond the Alps, the memory, or
at least the writings, of Homer. [87] He is described, by Petrarch and
Boccace, [88] as a man of diminutive stature, though truly great in the
measure of learning and genius; of a piercing discernment, though of a
slow and painful elocution. For many ages (as they affirm) Greece
had not produced his equal in the knowledge of history, grammar, and
philosophy; and his merit was celebrated in the attestations of the
princes and doctors of Constantinople. One of these attestations
is still extant; and the emperor Cantacuzene, the protector of his
adversaries, is forced to allow, that Euclid, Aristotle, and Plato,
were familiar to that profound and subtle logician. [89] In the court of
Avignon, he formed an intimate connection with Petrarch, [90] the first
of the Latin scholars; and the desire of mutual instruction was the
principle of their literary commerce. The Tuscan applied himself with
eager curiosity and assiduous diligence to the study of the Greek
language; and in a laborious struggle with the dryness and difficulty
of the first rudiments, he began to reach the sense, and to feel the
spirit, of poets and philosophers, whose minds were congenial to his
own. But he was soon deprived of the society and lessons of this useful
assistant: Barlaam relinquished his fruitless embassy; and, on his
return to Greece, he rashly provoked the swarms of fanatic monks, by
attempting to substitute the light of reason to that of their navel.
After a separation of three years, the two friends again met in the
court of Naples: but the generous pupil renounced the fairest occasion
of improvement; and by his recommendation Barlaam was finally settled in
a small bishopric of his native Calabria. [91] The manifold avocations of
Petrarch, love and friendship, his various correspondence and frequent
journeys, the Roman laurel, and his elaborate compositions in prose and
verse, in Latin and Italian, diverted him from a foreign idiom; and as
he advanced in life, the attainment of the Greek language was the object
of his wishes rather than of his hopes. When he was about fifty years of
age, a Byzantine ambassador, his friend, and a master of both tongues,
presented him with a copy of Homer; and the answer of Petrarch is at one
expressive of his eloquence, gratitude, and regret. After celebrating
the generosity of the donor, and the value of a gift more precious in
his estimation than gold or rubies, he thus proceeds: "Your present of
the genuine and original text of the divine poet, the fountain of all
inventions, is worthy of yourself and of me: you have fulfilled
your promise, and satisfied my desires. Yet your liberality is still
imperfect: with Homer you should have given me yourself; a guide, who
could lead me into the fields of light, and disclose to my wondering
eyes the spacious miracles of the Iliad and Odyssey. But, alas! Homer
is dumb, or I am deaf; nor is it in my power to enjoy the beauty which
I possess. I have seated him by the side of Plato, the prince of
poets near the prince of philosophers; and I glory in the sight of
my illustrious guests. Of their immortal writings, whatever had been
translated into the Latin idiom, I had already acquired; but, if there
be no profit, there is some pleasure, in beholding these venerable
Greeks in their proper and national habit. I am delighted with the
aspect of Homer; and as often as I embrace the silent volume, I exclaim
with a sigh, Illustrious bard! with what pleasure should I listen to thy
song, if my sense of hearing were not obstructed and lost by the death
of one friend, and in the much-lamented absence of another. Nor do I yet
despair; and the example of Cato suggests some comfort and hope, since
it was in the last period of age that he attained the knowledge of the
Greek letters." [92]

[Footnote 85: Of those writers who professedly treat of the restoration
of the Greek learning in Italy, the two principal are Hodius, Dr.
Humphrey Hody, (de Græcis Illustribus, Linguæ Græcæ Literarumque
humaniorum Instauratoribus; Londini, 1742, in large octavo,) and
Tiraboschi, (Istoria della Letteratura Italiana, tom. v. p. 364--377,
tom. vii. p. 112--143.) The Oxford professor is a laborious scholar, but
the librarian of Modena enjoys the superiority of a modern and national

[Footnote 86: In Calabria quæ olim magna Græcia dicebatur, coloniis
Græcis repleta, remansit quædam linguæ veteris, cognitio, (Hodius, p.
2.) If it were eradicated by the Romans, it was revived and perpetuated
by the monks of St. Basil, who possessed seven convents at Rossano
alone, (Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, tom. i. p. 520.)]

[Footnote 87: Ii Barbari (says Petrarch, the French and Germans) vix,
non dicam libros sed nomen Homeri audiverunt. Perhaps, in that respect,
the xiiith century was less happy than the age of Charlemagne.]

[Footnote 88: See the character of Barlaam, in Boccace de Genealog.
Deorum, l. xv. c. 6.]

[Footnote 89: Cantacuzen. l. ii. c. 36.]

[Footnote 90: For the connection of Petrarch and Barlaam, and the two
interviews at Avignon in 1339, and at Naples in 1342, see the excellent
Mémoires sur la Vie de Pétrarque, tom. i. p. 406--410, tom. ii. p.

[Footnote 91: The bishopric to which Barlaam retired, was the old Locri,
in the middle ages. Scta. Cyriaca, and by corruption Hieracium, Gerace,
(Dissert. Chorographica Italiæ Medii Ævi, p. 312.) The dives opum of the
Norman times soon lapsed into poverty, since even the church was poor:
yet the town still contains 3000 inhabitants, (Swinburne, p. 340.)]

[Footnote 92: I will transcribe a passage from this epistle of Petrarch,
(Famil. ix. 2;) Donasti Homerum non in alienum sermonem violento alveâ??
derivatum, sed ex ipsis Græci eloquii scatebris, et qualis divino illi
profluxit ingenio.... Sine tuâ voce Homerus tuus apud me mutus, immo
vero ego apud illum surdus sum. Gaudeo tamen vel adspectû solo, ac sæpe
illum amplexus atque suspirans dico, O magne vir, &c.]

The prize which eluded the efforts of Petrarch, was obtained by the
fortune and industry of his friend Boccace, [93] the father of the
Tuscan prose. That popular writer, who derives his reputation from the
Decameron, a hundred novels of pleasantry and love, may aspire to
the more serious praise of restoring in Italy the study of the Greek
language. In the year one thousand three hundred and sixty, a disciple
of Barlaam, whose name was Leo, or Leontius Pilatus, was detained in his
way to Avignon by the advice and hospitality of Boccace, who lodged the
stranger in his house, prevailed on the republic of Florence to allow
him an annual stipend, and devoted his leisure to the first Greek
professor, who taught that language in the Western countries of Europe.
The appearance of Leo might disgust the most eager disciple, he was
clothed in the mantle of a philosopher, or a mendicant; his countenance
was hideous; his face was overshadowed with black hair; his beard long
an uncombed; his deportment rustic; his temper gloomy and inconstant;
nor could he grace his discourse with the ornaments, or even the
perspicuity, of Latin elocution. But his mind was stored with a treasure
of Greek learning: history and fable, philosophy and grammar, were
alike at his command; and he read the poems of Homer in the schools
of Florence. It was from his explanation that Boccace composed [* and
transcribed a literal prose version of the Iliad and Odyssey, which
satisfied the thirst of his friend Petrarch, and which, perhaps, in
the succeeding century, was clandestinely used by Laurentius Valla,
the Latin interpreter. It was from his narratives that the same Boccace
collected the materials for his treatise on the genealogy of the
heathen gods, a work, in that age, of stupendous erudition, and which he
ostentatiously sprinkled with Greek characters and passages, to excite
the wonder and applause of his more ignorant readers. [94] The first
steps of learning are slow and laborious; no more than ten votaries of
Homer could be enumerated in all Italy; and neither Rome, nor Venice,
nor Naples, could add a single name to this studious catalogue. But
their numbers would have multiplied, their progress would have been
accelerated, if the inconstant Leo, at the end of three years, had
not relinquished an honorable and beneficial station. In his passage,
Petrarch entertained him at Padua a short time: he enjoyed the scholar,
but was justly offended with the gloomy and unsocial temper of the
man. Discontented with the world and with himself, Leo depreciated his
present enjoyments, while absent persons and objects were dear to
his imagination. In Italy he was a Thessalian, in Greece a native of
Calabria: in the company of the Latins he disdained their language,
religion, and manners: no sooner was he landed at Constantinople, than
he again sighed for the wealth of Venice and the elegance of Florence.
His Italian friends were deaf to his importunity: he depended on their
curiosity and indulgence, and embarked on a second voyage; but on his
entrance into the Adriatic, the ship was assailed by a tempest, and the
unfortunate teacher, who like Ulysses had fastened himself to the mast,
was struck dead by a flash of lightning. The humane Petrarch dropped a
tear on his disaster; but he was most anxious to learn whether some
copy of Euripides or Sophocles might not be saved from the hands of the
mariners. [95]

[Footnote 93: For the life and writings of Boccace, who was born in
1313, and died in 1375, Fabricius (Bibliot. Latin. Medii Ævi, tom. i. p.
248, &c.) and Tiraboschi (tom. v. p. 83, 439--451) may be consulted. The
editions, versions, imitations of his novels, are innumerable. Yet he
was ashamed to communicate that trifling, and perhaps scandalous, work
to Petrarch, his respectable friend, in whose letters and memoirs he
conspicuously appears.]

[Footnote *: This translation of Homer was by Pilatus, not by Boccacio.
See Hallam, Hist. of Lit. vol. i. p. 132.--M.]

[Footnote 94: Boccace indulges an honest vanity: Ostentationis causâ
Græca carmina adscripsi.... jure utor meo; meum est hoc decus, mea
gloria scilicet inter Etruscos Græcis uti carminibus. Nonne ego fui qui
Leontium Pilatum, &c., (de Genealogia Deorum, l. xv. c. 7, a work which,
though now forgotten, has run through thirteen or fourteen editions.)]

[Footnote 95: Leontius, or Leo Pilatus, is sufficiently made known by
Hody, (p. 2--11,) and the abbé de Sade, (Vie de Pétrarque, tom. iii. p.
625--634, 670--673,) who has very happily caught the lively and dramatic
manner of his original.]

But the faint rudiments of Greek learning, which Petrarch had encouraged
and Boccace had planted, soon withered and expired. The succeeding
generation was content for a while with the improvement of Latin
eloquence; nor was it before the end of the fourteenth century that a
new and perpetual flame was rekindled in Italy. [96] Previous to his own
journey the emperor Manuel despatched his envoys and orators to implore
the compassion of the Western princes. Of these envoys, the most
conspicuous, or the most learned, was Manuel Chrysoloras, [97] of noble
birth, and whose Roman ancestors are supposed to have migrated with
the great Constantine. After visiting the courts of France and England,
where he obtained some contributions and more promises, the envoy was
invited to assume the office of a professor; and Florence had again
the honor of this second invitation. By his knowledge, not only of the
Greek, but of the Latin tongue, Chrysoloras deserved the stipend, and
surpassed the expectation, of the republic. His school was frequented
by a crowd of disciples of every rank and age; and one of these, in a
general history, has described his motives and his success. "At that
time," says Leonard Aretin, [98] "I was a student of the civil law;
but my soul was inflamed with the love of letters; and I bestowed some
application on the sciences of logic and rhetoric. On the arrival
of Manuel, I hesitated whether I should desert my legal studies, or
relinquish this golden opportunity; and thus, in the ardor of youth,
I communed with my own mind--Wilt thou be wanting to thyself and thy
fortune? Wilt thou refuse to be introduced to a familiar converse with
Homer, Plato, and Demosthenes; with those poets, philosophers, and
orators, of whom such wonders are related, and who are celebrated by
every age as the great masters of human science? Of professors and
scholars in civil law, a sufficient supply will always be found in our
universities; but a teacher, and such a teacher, of the Greek language,
if he once be suffered to escape, may never afterwards be retrieved.
Convinced by these reasons, I gave myself to Chrysoloras; and so strong
was my passion, that the lessons which I had imbibed in the day were the
constant object of my nightly dreams." [99] At the same time and place,
the Latin classics were explained by John of Ravenna, the domestic pupil
of Petrarch; [100] the Italians, who illustrated their age and country,
were formed in this double school; and Florence became the fruitful
seminary of Greek and Roman erudition. [101] The presence of the emperor
recalled Chrysoloras from the college to the court; but he afterwards
taught at Pavia and Rome with equal industry and applause. The remainder
of his life, about fifteen years, was divided between Italy and
Constantinople, between embassies and lessons. In the noble office of
enlightening a foreign nation, the grammarian was not unmindful of a
more sacred duty to his prince and country; and Emanuel Chrysoloras died
at Constance on a public mission from the emperor to the council.

[Footnote 96: Dr. Hody (p. 54) is angry with Leonard Aretin, Guarinus,
Paulus Jovius, &c., for affirming, that the Greek letters were restored
in Italy _post septingentos annos_; as if, says he, they had flourished
till the end of the viith century. These writers most probably reckoned
from the last period of the exarchate; and the presence of the Greek
magistrates and troops at Ravenna and Rome must have preserved, in some
degree, the use of their native tongue.]

[Footnote 97: See the article of Emanuel, or Manuel Chrysoloras, in Hody
(p 12--54) and Tiraboschi, (tom. vii. p. 113--118.) The precise date of
his arrival floats between the years 1390 and 1400, and is only confined
by the reign of Boniface IX.]

[Footnote 98: The name of _Aretinus_ has been assumed by five or six
natives of _Arezzo_ in Tuscany, of whom the most famous and the most
worthless lived in the xvith century. Leonardus Brunus Aretinus, the
disciple of Chrysoloras, was a linguist, an orator, and an historian,
the secretary of four successive popes, and the chancellor of
the republic of Florence, where he died A.D. 1444, at the age
of seventy-five, (Fabric. Bibliot. Medii Ævi, tom. i. p. 190 &c.
Tiraboschi, tom. vii. p. 33--38.)]

[Footnote 99: See the passage in Aretin. Commentario Rerum suo Tempore
in Italia gestarum, apud Hodium, p. 28--30.]

[Footnote 100: In this domestic discipline, Petrarch, who loved the
youth, often complains of the eager curiosity, restless temper, and
proud feelings, which announce the genius and glory of a riper age,
(Mémoires sur Pétrarque, tom. iii. p. 700--709.)]

[Footnote 101: Hinc Græcæ Latinæque scholæ exortæ sunt, Guarino
Philelpho, Leonardo Aretino, Caroloque, ac plerisque aliis tanquam ex
equo Trojano prodeuntibus, quorum emulatione multa ingenia deinceps ad
laudem excitata sunt, (Platina in Bonifacio IX.) Another Italian
writer adds the names of Paulus Petrus Vergerius, Omnibonus Vincentius,
Poggius, Franciscus Barbarus, &c. But I question whether a rigid
chronology would allow Chrysoloras _all_ these eminent scholars,
(Hodius, p. 25--27, &c.)]

After his example, the restoration of the Greek letters in Italy was
prosecuted by a series of emigrants, who were destitute of fortune, and
endowed with learning, or at least with language. From the terror
or oppression of the Turkish arms, the natives of Thessalonica and
Constantinople escaped to a land of freedom, curiosity, and wealth. The
synod introduced into Florence the lights of the Greek church, and the
oracles of the Platonic philosophy; and the fugitives who adhered to the
union, had the double merit of renouncing their country, not only for
the Christian, but for the catholic cause. A patriot, who sacrifices
his party and conscience to the allurements of favor, may be possessed,
however, of the private and social virtues: he no longer hears the
reproachful epithets of slave and apostate; and the consideration which
he acquires among his new associates will restore in his own eyes
the dignity of his character. The prudent conformity of Bessarion was
rewarded with the Roman purple: he fixed his residence in Italy; and the
Greek cardinal, the titular patriarch of Constantinople, was respected
as the chief and protector of his nation: [102] his abilities were
exercised in the legations of Bologna, Venice, Germany, and France;
and his election to the chair of St. Peter floated for a moment on the
uncertain breath of a conclave. [103] His ecclesiastical honors diffused
a splendor and preeminence over his literary merit and service: his
palace was a school; as often as the cardinal visited the Vatican, he
was attended by a learned train of both nations; [104] of men applauded
by themselves and the public; and whose writings, now overspread with
dust, were popular and useful in their own times. I shall not attempt to
enumerate the restorers of Grecian literature in the fifteenth century;
and it may be sufficient to mention with gratitude the names of Theodore
Gaza, of George of Trebizond, of John Argyropulus, and Demetrius
Chalcocondyles, who taught their native language in the schools of
Florence and Rome. Their labors were not inferior to those of Bessarion,
whose purple they revered, and whose fortune was the secret object of
their envy. But the lives of these grammarians were humble and obscure:
they had declined the lucrative paths of the church; their dress and
manners secluded them from the commerce of the world; and since they
were confined to the merit, they might be content with the rewards,
of learning. From this character, Janus Lascaris [105] will deserve an
exception. His eloquence, politeness, and Imperial descent, recommended
him to the French monarch; and in the same cities he was alternately
employed to teach and to negotiate. Duty and interest prompted them
to cultivate the study of the Latin language; and the most successful
attained the faculty of writing and speaking with fluency and elegance
in a foreign idiom. But they ever retained the inveterate vanity of
their country: their praise, or at least their esteem, was reserved for
the national writers, to whom they owed their fame and subsistence; and
they sometimes betrayed their contempt in licentious criticism or satire
on Virgil's poetry, and the oratory of Tully. [106] The superiority of
these masters arose from the familiar use of a living language; and
their first disciples were incapable of discerning how far they
had degenerated from the knowledge, and even the practice of their
ancestors. A vicious pronunciation, [107] which they introduced, was
banished from the schools by the reason of the succeeding age. Of the
power of the Greek accents they were ignorant; and those musical notes,
which, from an Attic tongue, and to an Attic ear, must have been the
secret soul of harmony, were to their eyes, as to our own, no more than
minute and unmeaning marks, in prose superfluous and troublesome in
verse. The art of grammar they truly possessed; the valuable fragments
of Apollonius and Herodian were transfused into their lessons; and their
treatises of syntax and etymology, though devoid of philosophic spirit,
are still useful to the Greek student. In the shipwreck of the Byzantine
libraries, each fugitive seized a fragment of treasure, a copy of some
author, who without his industry might have perished: the transcripts
were multiplied by an assiduous, and sometimes an elegant pen; and the
text was corrected and explained by their own comments, or those of
the elder scholiasts. The sense, though not the spirit, of the Greek
classics, was interpreted to the Latin world: the beauties of style
evaporate in a version; but the judgment of Theodore Gaza selected
the more solid works of Aristotle and Theophrastus, and their natural
histories of animals and plants opened a rich fund of genuine and
experimental science.

[Footnote 102: See in Hody the article of Bessarion, (p. 136--177.)
Theodore Gaza, George of Trebizond, and the rest of the Greeks whom
I have named or omitted, are inserted in their proper chapters of his
learned work. See likewise Tiraboschi, in the 1st and 2d parts of the
vith tome.]

[Footnote 103: The cardinals knocked at his door, but his conclavist
refused to interrupt the studies of Bessarion: "Nicholas," said he, "thy
respect has cost thee a hat, and me the tiara." *

Note: * Roscoe (Life of Lorenzo de Medici, vol. i. p. 75) considers that
Hody has refuted this "idle tale."--M.]

[Footnote 104: Such as George of Trebizond, Theodore Gaza, Argyropulus,
Andronicus of Thessalonica, Philelphus, Poggius, Blondus, Nicholas
Perrot, Valla, Campanus, Platina, &c. Viri (says Hody, with the pious
zeal of a scholar) (nullo ævo perituri, p. 156.)]

[Footnote 105: He was born before the taking of Constantinople, but his
honorable life was stretched far into the xvith century, (A.D. 1535.)
Leo X. and Francis I. were his noblest patrons, under whose auspices he
founded the Greek colleges of Rome and Paris, (Hody, p. 247--275.)
He left posterity in France; but the counts de Vintimille, and their
numerous branches, derive the name of Lascaris from a doubtful marriage
in the xiiith century with the daughter of a Greek emperor (Ducange,
Fam. Byzant. p. 224--230.)]

[Footnote 106: Two of his epigrams against Virgil, and three against
Tully, are preserved and refuted by Franciscus Floridus, who can find no
better names than Græculus ineptus et impudens, (Hody, p. 274.) In our
own times, an English critic has accused the Æneid of containing multa
languida, nugatoria, spiritû et majestate carminis heroici defecta; many
such verses as he, the said Jeremiah Markland, would have been ashamed
of owning, (præfat. ad Statii Sylvas, p. 21, 22.)]

[Footnote 107: Emanuel Chrysoloras, and his colleagues, are accused of
ignorance, envy, or avarice, (Sylloge, &c., tom. ii. p. 235.) The modern
Greeks pronounce the b as a V consonant, and confound three vowels, (h i
u,) and several diphthongs. Such was the vulgar pronunciation which
the stern Gardiner maintained by penal statutes in the university of
Cambridge: but the monosyllable bh represented to an Attic ear the
bleating of sheep, and a bellwether is better evidence than a bishop or
a chancellor. The treatises of those scholars, particularly Erasmus, who
asserted a more classical pronunciation, are collected in the Sylloge
of Havercamp, (2 vols. in octavo, Lugd. Bat. 1736, 1740:) but it is
difficult to paint sounds by words: and in their reference to modern
use, they can be understood only by their respective countrymen. We may
observe, that our peculiar pronunciation of the O, th, is approved by
Erasmus, (tom. ii. p. 130.)]

Yet the fleeting shadows of metaphysics were pursued with more curiosity
and ardor. After a long oblivion, Plato was revived in Italy by a
venerable Greek, [108] who taught in the house of Cosmo of Medicis.
While the synod of Florence was involved in theological debate, some
beneficial consequences might flow from the study of his elegant
philosophy: his style is the purest standard of the Attic dialect, and
his sublime thoughts are sometimes adapted to familiar conversation, and
sometimes adorned with the richest colors of poetry and eloquence. The
dialogues of Plato are a dramatic picture of the life and death of a
sage; and, as often as he descends from the clouds, his moral system
inculcates the love of truth, of our country, and of mankind. The
precept and example of Socrates recommended a modest doubt and liberal
inquiry; and if the Platonists, with blind devotion, adored the visions
and errors of their divine master, their enthusiasm might correct
the dry, dogmatic method of the Peripatetic school. So equal, yet
so opposite, are the merits of Plato and Aristotle, that they may
be balanced in endless controversy; but some spark of freedom may be
produced by the collision of adverse servitude. The modern Greeks were
divided between the two sects: with more fury than skill they fought
under the banner of their leaders; and the field of battle was removed
in their flight from Constantinople to Rome. But this philosophical
debate soon degenerated into an angry and personal quarrel of
grammarians; and Bessarion, though an advocate for Plato, protected the
national honor, by interposing the advice and authority of a mediator.
In the gardens of the Medici, the academical doctrine was enjoyed by the
polite and learned: but their philosophic society was quickly dissolved;
and if the writings of the Attic sage were perused in the closet, the
more powerful Stagyrite continued to reign, the oracle of the church and
school. [109]

[Footnote 108: George Gemistus Pletho, a various and voluminous writer,
the master of Bessarion, and all the Platonists of the times. He visited
Italy in his old age, and soon returned to end his days in Peloponnesus.
See the curious Diatribe of Leo Allatius de Georgiis, in Fabricius.
(Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 739--756.)]

[Footnote 109: The state of the Platonic philosophy in Italy is
illustrated by Boivin, (Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, tom. ii. p.
715--729,) and Tiraboschi, (tom. vi. P. i. p. 259--288.)]

I have fairly represented the literary merits of the Greeks; yet it must
be confessed, that they were seconded and surpassed by the ardor of the
Latins. Italy was divided into many independent states; and at that time
it was the ambition of princes and republics to vie with each other in
the encouragement and reward of literature. The fame of Nicholas the
Fifth [110] has not been adequate to his merits. From a plebeian origin
he raised himself by his virtue and learning: the character of the man
prevailed over the interest of the pope; and he sharpened those weapons
which were soon pointed against the Roman church. [111] He had been the
friend of the most eminent scholars of the age: he became their patron;
and such was the humility of his manners, that the change was scarcely
discernible either to them or to himself. If he pressed the acceptance
of a liberal gift, it was not as the measure of desert, but as the proof
of benevolence; and when modest merit declined his bounty, "Accept it,"
would he say, with a consciousness of his own worth: "ye will not always
have a Nicholas among you." The influence of the holy see pervaded
Christendom; and he exerted that influence in the search, not of
benefices, but of books. From the ruins of the Byzantine libraries, from
the darkest monasteries of Germany and Britain, he collected the dusty
manuscripts of the writers of antiquity; and wherever the original could
not be removed, a faithful copy was transcribed and transmitted for
his use. The Vatican, the old repository for bulls and legends, for
superstition and forgery, was daily replenished with more precious
furniture; and such was the industry of Nicholas, that in a reign
of eight years he formed a library of five thousand volumes. To his
munificence the Latin world was indebted for the versions of Xenophon,
Diodorus, Polybius, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Appian; of Strabo's
Geography, of the Iliad, of the most valuable works of Plato and
Aristotle, of Ptolemy and Theophrastus, and of the fathers of the Greek
church. The example of the Roman pontiff was preceded or imitated by a
Florentine merchant, who governed the republic without arms and without
a title. Cosmo of Medicis [112] was the father of a line of princes,
whose name and age are almost synonymous with the restoration of
learning: his credit was ennobled into fame; his riches were dedicated
to the service of mankind; he corresponded at once with Cairo and
London: and a cargo of Indian spices and Greek books was often imported
in the same vessel. The genius and education of his grandson Lorenzo
rendered him not only a patron, but a judge and candidate, in the
literary race. In his palace, distress was entitled to relief, and merit
to reward: his leisure hours were delightfully spent in the Platonic
academy; he encouraged the emulation of Demetrius Chalcocondyles and
Angelo Politian; and his active missionary Janus Lascaris returned from
the East with a treasure of two hundred manuscripts, fourscore of which
were as yet unknown in the libraries of Europe. [113] The rest of Italy
was animated by a similar spirit, and the progress of the nation repaid
the liberality of their princes. The Latins held the exclusive property
of their own literature; and these disciples of Greece were soon capable
of transmitting and improving the lessons which they had imbibed. After
a short succession of foreign teachers, the tide of emigration subsided;
but the language of Constantinople was spread beyond the Alps and the
natives of France, Germany, and England, [114] imparted to their country
the sacred fire which they had kindled in the schools of Florence and
Rome. [115] In the productions of the mind, as in those of the soil, the
gifts of nature are excelled by industry and skill: the Greek authors,
forgotten on the banks of the Ilissus, have been illustrated on those
of the Elbe and the Thames: and Bessarion or Gaza might have envied the
superior science of the Barbarians; the accuracy of Budæus, the taste
of Erasmus, the copiousness of Stephens, the erudition of Scaliger, the
discernment of Reiske, or of Bentley. On the side of the Latins, the
discovery of printing was a casual advantage: but this useful art has
been applied by Aldus, and his innumerable successors, to perpetuate and
multiply the works of antiquity. [116] A single manuscript imported from
Greece is revived in ten thousand copies; and each copy is fairer than
the original. In this form, Homer and Plato would peruse with more
satisfaction their own writings; and their scholiasts must resign the
prize to the labors of our Western editors.

[Footnote 110: See the Life of Nicholas V. by two contemporary authors,
Janottus Manettus, (tom. iii. P. ii. p. 905--962,) and Vespasian of
Florence, (tom. xxv. p. 267--290,) in the collection of Muratori; and
consult Tiraboschi, (tom. vi. P. i. p. 46--52, 109,) and Hody in the
articles of Theodore Gaza, George of Trebizond, &c.]

[Footnote 111: Lord Bolingbroke observes, with truth and spirit, that
the popes in this instance, were worse politicians than the muftis, and
that the charm which had bound mankind for so many ages was broken by
the magicians themselves, (Letters on the Study of History, l. vi. p.
165, 166, octavo edition, 1779.)]

[Footnote 112: See the literary history of Cosmo and Lorenzo of Medicis,
in Tiraboschi, (tom. vi. P. i. l. i. c. 2,) who bestows a due measure
of praise on Alphonso of Arragon, king of Naples, the dukes of Milan,
Ferrara Urbino, &c. The republic of Venice has deserved the least from
the gratitude of scholars.]

[Footnote 113: Tiraboschi, (tom. vi. P. i. p. 104,) from the preface
of Janus Lascaris to the Greek Anthology, printed at Florence, 1494.
Latebant (says Aldus in his preface to the Greek orators, apud Hodium,
p. 249) in Atho Thraciæ monte. Eas Lascaris.... in Italiam reportavit.
Miserat enim ipsum Laurentius ille Medices in Græciam ad inquirendos
simul, et quantovis emendos pretio bonos libros. It is remarkable
enough, that the research was facilitated by Sultan Bajazet II.]

[Footnote 114: The Greek language was introduced into the university of
Oxford in the last years of the xvth century, by Grocyn, Linacer, and
Latimer, who had all studied at Florence under Demetrius Chalcocondyles.
See Dr. Knight's curious Life of Erasmus. Although a stout academical
patriot, he is forced to acknowledge that Erasmus learned Greek at
Oxford, and taught it at Cambridge.]

[Footnote 115: The jealous Italians were desirous of keeping a monopoly
of Greek learning. When Aldus was about to publish the Greek scholiasts
on Sophocles and Euripides, Cave, (said they,) cave hoc facias, ne
_Barbari_ istis adjuti domi maneant, et pauciores in Italiam ventitent,
(Dr. Knight, in his Life of Erasmus, p. 365, from Beatus Rhemanus.)]

[Footnote 116: The press of Aldus Manutius, a Roman, was established at
Venice about the year 1494: he printed above sixty considerable works
of Greek literature, almost all for the first time; several containing
different treatises and authors, and of several authors, two, three, or
four editions, (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. xiii. p. 605, &c.) Yet
his glory must not tempt us to forget, that the first Greek book, the
Grammar of Constantine Lascaris, was printed at Milan in 1476; and that
the Florence Homer of 1488 displays all the luxury of the typographical
art. See the Annales Typographical of Mattaire, and the Bibliographie
Instructive of De Bure, a knowing bookseller of Paris.]

Before the revival of classic literature, the Barbarians in Europe were
immersed in ignorance; and their vulgar tongues were marked with the
rudeness and poverty of their manners. The students of the more perfect
idioms of Rome and Greece were introduced to a new world of light and
science; to the society of the free and polished nations of antiquity;
and to a familiar converse with those immortal men who spoke the sublime
language of eloquence and reason. Such an intercourse must tend to
refine the taste, and to elevate the genius, of the moderns; and yet,
from the first experiments, it might appear that the study of the
ancients had given fetters, rather than wings, to the human mind.
However laudable, the spirit of imitation is of a servile cast; and the
first disciples of the Greeks and Romans were a colony of strangers in
the midst of their age and country. The minute and laborious diligence
which explored the antiquities of remote times might have improved or
adorned the present state of society, the critic and metaphysician were
the slaves of Aristotle; the poets, historians, and orators, were proud
to repeat the thoughts and words of the Augustan age: the works of
nature were observed with the eyes of Pliny and Theophrastus; and some
Pagan votaries professed a secret devotion to the gods of Homer and
Plato. [117] The Italians were oppressed by the strength and number of
their ancient auxiliaries: the century after the deaths of Petrarch and
Boccace was filled with a crowd of Latin imitators, who decently repose
on our shelves; but in that æra of learning it will not be easy to
discern a real discovery of science, a work of invention or eloquence,
in the popular language of the country. [118] But as soon as it had been
deeply saturated with the celestial dew, the soil was quickened into
vegetation and life; the modern idioms were refined; the classics of
Athens and Rome inspired a pure taste and a generous emulation; and in
Italy, as afterwards in France and England, the pleasing reign of poetry
and fiction was succeeded by the light of speculative and experimental
philosophy. Genius may anticipate the season of maturity; but in the
education of a people, as in that of an individual, memory must be
exercised, before the powers of reason and fancy can be expanded: nor
may the artist hope to equal or surpass, till he has learned to imitate,
the works of his predecessors.

[Footnote 117: I will select three singular examples of this classic
enthusiasm. I. At the synod of Florence, Gemistus Pletho said, in
familiar conversation to George of Trebizond, that in a short time
mankind would unanimously renounce the Gospel and the Koran, for a
religion similar to that of the Gentiles, (Leo Allatius, apud Fabricium,
tom. x. p. 751.) 2. Paul II. persecuted the Roman academy, which had
been founded by Pomponius Lætus; and the principal members were accused
of heresy, impiety, and _paganism_, (Tiraboschi, tom. vi. P. i. p.
81, 82.) 3. In the next century, some scholars and poets in France
celebrated the success of Jodelle's tragedy of Cleopatra, by a festival
of Bacchus, and, as it is said, by the sacrifice of a goat, (Bayle,
Dictionnaire, Jodelle. Fontenelle, tom. iii. p. 56--61.) Yet the spirit
of bigotry might often discern a serious impiety in the sportive play of
fancy and learning.]

[Footnote 118: The survivor Boccace died in the year 1375; and we cannot
place before 1480 the composition of the Morgante Maggiore of Pulci
and the Orlando Innamorato of Boyardo, (Tiraboschi, tom. vi. P. ii. p.

Chapter LXVII: Schism Of The Greeks And Latins.--Part I.

     Schism Of The Greeks And Latins.--Reign And Character Of
     Amurath The Second.--Crusade Of Ladislaus, King Of Hungary.--
     His Defeat And Death.--John Huniades.--Scanderbeg.--
     Constantine Palæologus, Last Emperor Of The East.

The respective merits of Rome and Constantinople are compared and
celebrated by an eloquent Greek, the father of the Italian schools. [1]
The view of the ancient capital, the seat of his ancestors, surpassed
the most sanguine expectations of Emanuel Chrysoloras; and he no longer
blamed the exclamation of an old sophist, that Rome was the habitation,
not of men, but of gods. Those gods, and those men, had long since
vanished; but to the eye of liberal enthusiasm, the majesty of ruin
restored the image of her ancient prosperity. The monuments of the
consuls and Cæsars, of the martyrs and apostles, engaged on all sides
the curiosity of the philosopher and the Christian; and he confessed
that in every age the arms and the religion of Rome were destined to
reign over the earth. While Chrysoloras admired the venerable beauties
of the mother, he was not forgetful of his native country, her fairest
daughter, her Imperial colony; and the Byzantine patriot expatiates
with zeal and truth on the eternal advantages of nature, and the more
transitory glories of art and dominion, which adorned, or had adorned,
the city of Constantine. Yet the perfection of the copy still redounds
(as he modestly observes) to the honor of the original, and parents are
delighted to be renewed, and even excelled, by the superior merit of
their children. "Constantinople," says the orator, "is situate on a
commanding point, between Europe and Asia, between the Archipelago and
the Euxine. By her interposition, the two seas, and the two continents,
are united for the common benefit of nations; and the gates of commerce
may be shut or opened at her command. The harbor, encompassed on all
sides by the sea, and the continent, is the most secure and capacious
in the world. The walls and gates of Constantinople may be compared
with those of Babylon: the towers many; each tower is a solid and
lofty structure; and the second wall, the outer fortification, would be
sufficient for the defence and dignity of an ordinary capital. A broad
and rapid stream may be introduced into the ditches and the artificial
island may be encompassed, like Athens, [2] by land or water." Two strong
and natural causes are alleged for the perfection of the model of new
Rome. The royal founder reigned over the most illustrious nations of the
globe; and in the accomplishment of his designs, the power of the Romans
was combined with the art and science of the Greeks. Other cities have
been reared to maturity by accident and time: their beauties are mingled
with disorder and deformity; and the inhabitants, unwilling to remove
from their natal spot, are incapable of correcting the errors of their
ancestors, and the original vices of situation or climate. But the free
idea of Constantinople was formed and executed by a single mind; and the
primitive model was improved by the obedient zeal of the subjects and
successors of the first monarch. The adjacent isles were stored with
an inexhaustible supply of marble; but the various materials were
transported from the most remote shores of Europe and Asia; and
the public and private buildings, the palaces, churches, aqueducts,
cisterns, porticos, columns, baths, and hippodromes, were adapted to
the greatness of the capital of the East. The superfluity of wealth was
spread along the shores of Europe and Asia; and the Byzantine territory,
as far as the Euxine, the Hellespont, and the long wall, might be
considered as a populous suburb and a perpetual garden. In this
flattering picture, the past and the present, the times of prosperity
and decay, are art fully confounded; but a sigh and a confession escape,
from the orator, that his wretched country was the shadow and sepulchre
of its former self. The works of ancient sculpture had been defaced
by Christian zeal or Barbaric violence; the fairest structures were
demolished; and the marbles of Paros or Numidia were burnt for lime, or
applied to the meanest uses. Of many a statue, the place was marked by
an empty pedestal; of many a column, the size was determined by a broken
capital; the tombs of the emperors were scattered on the ground; the
stroke of time was accelerated by storms and earthquakes; and the vacant
space was adorned, by vulgar tradition, with fabulous monuments of gold
and silver. From these wonders, which lived only in memory or belief, he
distinguishes, however, the porphyry pillar, the column and colossus of
Justinian, [3] and the church, more especially the dome, of St. Sophia;
the best conclusion, since it could not be described according to its
merits, and after it no other object could deserve to be mentioned. But
he forgets that, a century before, the trembling fabrics of the colossus
and the church had been saved and supported by the timely care of
Andronicus the Elder. Thirty years after the emperor had fortified
St. Sophia with two new buttresses or pyramids, the eastern hemisphere
suddenly gave way: and the images, the altars, and the sanctuary, were
crushed by the falling ruin. The mischief indeed was speedily repaired;
the rubbish was cleared by the incessant labor of every rank and age;
and the poor remains of riches and industry were consecrated by the
Greeks to the most stately and venerable temple of the East. [4]

[Footnote 1: The epistle of Emanuel Chrysoloras to the emperor John
Palæologus will not offend the eye or ear of a classical student, (ad
calcem Codini de Antiquitatibus C. P. p. 107--126.) The superscription
suggests a chronological remark, that John Palæologus II. was associated
in the empire before the year 1414, the date of Chrysoloras's death.
A still earlier date, at least 1408, is deduced from the age of his
youngest sons, Demetrius and Thomas, who were both _Porphyrogeniti_
(Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 244, 247.)]

[Footnote 2: Somebody observed that the city of Athens might be
circumnavigated, (tiV eipen tin polin tvn Aqhnaiwn dunasqai kai
paraplein kai periplein.) But what may be true in a rhetorical sense of
Constantinople, cannot be applied to the situation of Athens, five
miles from the sea, and not intersected or surrounded by any navigable

[Footnote 3: Nicephorus Gregoras has described the Colossus of
Justinian, (l. vii. 12:) but his measures are false and inconsistent.
The editor Boivin consulted his friend Girardon; and the sculptor gave
him the true proportions of an equestrian statue. That of Justinian was
still visible to Peter Gyllius, not on the column, but in the outward
court of the seraglio; and he was at Constantinople when it was melted
down, and cast into a brass cannon, (de Topograph. C. P. l. ii. c. 17.)]

[Footnote 4: See the decay and repairs of St. Sophia, in Nicephorus
Gregoras (l. vii. 12, l. xv. 2.) The building was propped by Andronicus
in 1317, the eastern hemisphere fell in 1345. The Greeks, in their
pompous rhetoric, exalt the beauty and holiness of the church, an
earthly heaven the abode of angels, and of God himself, &c.]

The last hope of the falling city and empire was placed in the harmony
of the mother and daughter, in the maternal tenderness of Rome, and the
filial obedience of Constantinople. In the synod of Florence, the Greeks
and Latins had embraced, and subscribed, and promised; but these signs
of friendship were perfidious or fruitless; [5] and the baseless fabric
of the union vanished like a dream. [6] The emperor and his prelates
returned home in the Venetian galleys; but as they touched at the Morea
and the Isles of Corfu and Lesbos, the subjects of the Latins complained
that the pretended union would be an instrument of oppression. No sooner
did they land on the Byzantine shore, than they were saluted, or rather
assailed, with a general murmur of zeal and discontent. During their
absence, above two years, the capital had been deprived of its civil and
ecclesiastical rulers; fanaticism fermented in anarchy; the most furious
monks reigned over the conscience of women and bigots; and the hatred
of the Latin name was the first principle of nature and religion. Before
his departure for Italy, the emperor had flattered the city with the
assurance of a prompt relief and a powerful succor; and the clergy,
confident in their orthodoxy and science, had promised themselves and
their flocks an easy victory over the blind shepherds of the West. The
double disappointment exasperated the Greeks; the conscience of the
subscribing prelates was awakened; the hour of temptation was past; and
they had more to dread from the public resentment, than they could hope
from the favor of the emperor or the pope. Instead of justifying their
conduct, they deplored their weakness, professed their contrition,
and cast themselves on the mercy of God and of their brethren. To
the reproachful question, what had been the event or the use of their
Italian synod? they answered with sighs and tears, "Alas! we have made
a new faith; we have exchanged piety for impiety; we have betrayed the
immaculate sacrifice; and we are become _Azymites_." (The Azymites were
those who celebrated the communion with unleavened bread; and I must
retract or qualify the praise which I have bestowed on the growing
philosophy of the times.) "Alas! we have been seduced by distress, by
fraud, and by the hopes and fears of a transitory life. The hand
that has signed the union should be cut off; and the tongue that has
pronounced the Latin creed deserves to be torn from the root." The best
proof of their repentance was an increase of zeal for the most
trivial rites and the most incomprehensible doctrines; and an absolute
separation from all, without excepting their prince, who preserved some
regard for honor and consistency. After the decease of the patriarch
Joseph, the archbishops of Heraclea and Trebizond had courage to
refuse the vacant office; and Cardinal Bessarion preferred the warm and
comfortable shelter of the Vatican. The choice of the emperor and his
clergy was confined to Metrophanes of Cyzicus: he was consecrated in
St. Sophia, but the temple was vacant. The cross-bearers abdicated
their service; the infection spread from the city to the villages; and
Metrophanes discharged, without effect, some ecclesiastical thunders
against a nation of schismatics. The eyes of the Greeks were directed to
Mark of Ephesus, the champion of his country; and the sufferings of the
holy confessor were repaid with a tribute of admiration and applause.
His example and writings propagated the flame of religious discord; age
and infirmity soon removed him from the world; but the gospel of Mark
was not a law of forgiveness; and he requested with his dying breath,
that none of the adherents of Rome might attend his obsequies or pray
for his soul.

[Footnote 5: The genuine and original narrative of Syropulus (p.
312--351) opens the schism from the first _office_ of the Greeks at
Venice to the general opposition at Constantinople, of the clergy and

[Footnote 6: On the schism of Constantinople, see Phranza, (l. ii. c.
17,) Laonicus Chalcondyles, (l. vi. p. 155, 156,) and Ducas, (c. 31;)
the last of whom writes with truth and freedom. Among the moderns we
may distinguish the continuator of Fleury, (tom. xxii. p. 338, &c., 401,
420, &c.,) and Spondanus, (A.D. 1440--50.) The sense of the latter
is drowned in prejudice and passion, as soon as Rome and religion are

The schism was not confined to the narrow limits of the Byzantine
empire. Secure under the Mamaluke sceptre, the three patriarchs of
Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, assembled a numerous synod; disowned
their representatives at Ferrara and Florence; condemned the creed and
council of the Latins; and threatened the emperor of Constantinople
with the censures of the Eastern church. Of the sectaries of the
Greek communion, the Russians were the most powerful, ignorant, and
superstitious. Their primate, the cardinal Isidore, hastened from
Florence to Moscow, [7] to reduce the independent nation under the Roman
yoke. But the Russian bishops had been educated at Mount Athos; and
the prince and people embraced the theology of their priests. They were
scandalized by the title, the pomp, the Latin cross of the legate, the
friend of those impious men who shaved their beards, and performed the
divine office with gloves on their hands and rings on their fingers:
Isidore was condemned by a synod; his person was imprisoned in a
monastery; and it was with extreme difficulty that the cardinal could
escape from the hands of a fierce and fanatic people. [8] The Russians
refused a passage to the missionaries of Rome who aspired to convert
the Pagans beyond the Tanais; [9] and their refusal was justified by the
maxim, that the guilt of idolatry is less damnable than that of schism.
The errors of the Bohemians were excused by their abhorrence for the
pope; and a deputation of the Greek clergy solicited the friendship of
those sanguinary enthusiasts. [10] While Eugenius triumphed in the union
and orthodoxy of the Greeks, his party was contracted to the walls, or
rather to the palace of Constantinople. The zeal of Palæologus had been
excited by interest; it was soon cooled by opposition: an attempt to
violate the national belief might endanger his life and crown; not could
the pious rebels be destitute of foreign and domestic aid. The sword of
his brother Demetrius, who in Italy had maintained a prudent and popular
silence, was half unsheathed in the cause of religion; and Amurath, the
Turkish sultan, was displeased and alarmed by the seeming friendship of
the Greeks and Latins.

[Footnote 7: Isidore was metropolitan of Kiow, but the Greeks subject
to Poland have removed that see from the ruins of Kiow to Lemberg, or
Leopold, (Herbestein, in Ramusio, tom. ii. p. 127.) On the other hand,
the Russians transferred their spiritual obedience to the archbishop,
who became, in 1588, the patriarch, of Moscow, (Levesque Hist. de
Russie, tom. iii. p. 188, 190, from a Greek MS. at Turin, Iter et
labores Archiepiscopi Arsenii.)]

[Footnote 8: The curious narrative of Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom.
ii. p. 242--247) is extracted from the patriarchal archives. The scenes
of Ferrara and Florence are described by ignorance and passion; but the
Russians are credible in the account of their own prejudices.]

[Footnote 9: The Shamanism, the ancient religion of the Samanæans and
Gymnosophists, has been driven by the more popular Bramins from India
into the northern deserts: the naked philosophers were compelled to wrap
themselves in fur; but they insensibly sunk into wizards and physicians.
The Mordvans and Tcheremisses in the European Russia adhere to this
religion, which is formed on the earthly model of one king or God,
his ministers or angels, and the rebellious spirits who oppose his
government. As these tribes of the Volga have no images, they might
more justly retort on the Latin missionaries the name of idolaters,
(Levesque, Hist. des Peuples soumis à la Domination des Russes, tom. i.
p. 194--237, 423--460.)]

[Footnote 10: Spondanus, Annal. Eccles. tom ii. A.D. 1451, No. 13. The
epistle of the Greeks with a Latin version, is extant in the college
library at Prague.]

"Sultan Murad, or Amurath, lived forty-nine, and reigned thirty years,
six months, and eight days. He was a just and valiant prince, of a great
soul, patient of labors, learned, merciful, religious, charitable; a
lover and encourager of the studious, and of all who excelled in any art
or science; a good emperor and a great general. No man obtained more or
greater victories than Amurath; Belgrade alone withstood his attacks. [101]
Under his reign, the soldier was ever victorious, the citizen rich and
secure. If he subdued any country, his first care was to build mosques
and caravansaras, hospitals, and colleges. Every year he gave a thousand
pieces of gold to the sons of the Prophet; and sent two thousand five
hundred to the religious persons of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem." [11]
This portrait is transcribed from the historian of the Othman empire:
but the applause of a servile and superstitious people has been lavished
on the worst of tyrants; and the virtues of a sultan are often the vices
most useful to himself, or most agreeable to his subjects. A nation
ignorant of the equal benefits of liberty and law, must be awed by the
flashes of arbitrary power: the cruelty of a despot will assume the
character of justice; his profusion, of liberality; his obstinacy,
of firmness. If the most reasonable excuse be rejected, few acts of
obedience will be found impossible; and guilt must tremble, where
innocence cannot always be secure. The tranquillity of the people, and
the discipline of the troops, were best maintained by perpetual action
in the field; war was the trade of the Janizaries; and those who
survived the peril, and divided the spoil, applauded the generous
ambition of their sovereign. To propagate the true religion, was the
duty of a faithful Mussulman: the unbelievers were _his_ enemies, and
those of the Prophet; and, in the hands of the Turks, the cimeter was
the only instrument of conversion. Under these circumstances, however,
the justice and moderation of Amurath are attested by his conduct, and
acknowledged by the Christians themselves; who consider a prosperous
reign and a peaceful death as the reward of his singular merits. In the
vigor of his age and military power, he seldom engaged in war till he
was justified by a previous and adequate provocation: the victorious
sultan was disarmed by submission; and in the observance of treaties,
his word was inviolate and sacred. [12] The Hungarians were commonly
the aggressors; he was provoked by the revolt of Scanderbeg; and the
perfidious Caramanian was twice vanquished, and twice pardoned, by the
Ottoman monarch. Before he invaded the Morea, Thebes had been surprised
by the despot: in the conquest of Thessalonica, the grandson of Bajazet
might dispute the recent purchase of the Venetians; and after the first
siege of Constantinople, the sultan was never tempted, by the distress,
the absence, or the injuries of Palæologus, to extinguish the dying
light of the Byzantine empire.

[Footnote 101: See the siege and massacre at Thessalonica. Von Hammer vol.
i p. 433.--M.]

[Footnote 11: See Cantemir, History of the Othman Empire, p. 94. Murad,
or Morad, may be more correct: but I have preferred the popular name
to that obscure diligence which is rarely successful in translating an
Oriental, into the Roman, alphabet.]

[Footnote 12: See Chalcondyles, (l. vii. p. 186, 198,) Ducas, (c. 33,)
and Marinus Barletius, (in Vit. Scanderbeg, p. 145, 146.) In his good
faith towards the garrison of Sfetigrade, he was a lesson and example to
his son Mahomet.]

But the most striking feature in the life and character of Amurath is
the double abdication of the Turkish throne; and, were not his
motives debased by an alloy of superstition, we must praise the royal
philosopher, [13] who at the age of forty could discern the vanity of
human greatness. Resigning the sceptre to his son, he retired to the
pleasant residence of Magnesia; but he retired to the society of saints
and hermits. It was not till the fourth century of the Hegira, that the
religion of Mahomet had been corrupted by an institution so adverse
to his genius; but in the age of the crusades, the various orders of
Dervises were multiplied by the example of the Christian, and even the
Latin, monks. [14] The lord of nations submitted to fast, and pray, and
turn round [141] in endless rotation with the fanatics, who mistook the
giddiness of the head for the illumination of the spirit. [15] But he was
soon awakened from his dreams of enthusiasm by the Hungarian invasion;
and his obedient son was the foremost to urge the public danger and
the wishes of the people. Under the banner of their veteran leader, the
Janizaries fought and conquered but he withdrew from the field of Varna,
again to pray, to fast, and to turn round with his Magnesian brethren.
These pious occupations were again interrupted by the danger of the
state. A victorious army disdained the inexperience of their youthful
ruler: the city of Adrianople was abandoned to rapine and slaughter;
and the unanimous divan implored his presence to appease the tumult,
and prevent the rebellion, of the Janizaries. At the well-known voice
of their master, they trembled and obeyed; and the reluctant sultan was
compelled to support his splendid servitude, till at the end of four
years, he was relieved by the angel of death. Age or disease, misfortune
or caprice, have tempted several princes to descend from the throne; and
they have had leisure to repent of their irretrievable step. But Amurath
alone, in the full liberty of choice, after the trial of empire and
solitude, has _repeated_ his preference of a private life.

[Footnote 13: Voltaire (Essai sur l'Histoire Générale, c. 89, p. 283,
284) admires _le Philosophe Turc:_ would he have bestowed the same
praise on a Christian prince for retiring to a monastery? In his way,
Voltaire was a bigot, an intolerant bigot.]

[Footnote 14: See the articles _Dervische_, _Fakir_, _Nasser_,
_Rohbaniat_, in D'Herbelot's Bibliothèque Orientale. Yet the subject is
superficially treated from the Persian and Arabian writers. It is among
the Turks that these orders have principally flourished.]

[Footnote 141: Gibbon has fallen into a remarkable error. The unmonastic
retreat of Amurath was that of an epicurean rather than of a dervis;
more like that of Sardanapalus than of Charles the Fifth. Profane, not
divine, love was its chief occupation: the only dance, that described by
Horace as belonging to the country, motus doceri gaudet Ionicos. See Von
Hammer note, p. 652.--M.]

[Footnote 15: Ricaut (in the Present State of the Ottoman Empire, p.
242--268) affords much information, which he drew from his personal
conversation with the heads of the dervises, most of whom ascribed
their origin to the time of Orchan. He does not mention the _Zichid_ of
Chalcondyles, (l. vii. p. 286,) among whom Amurath retired: the _Seids_
of that author are the descendants of Mahomet.]

After the departure of his Greek brethren, Eugenius had not been
unmindful of their temporal interest; and his tender regard for the
Byzantine empire was animated by a just apprehension of the Turks, who
approached, and might soon invade, the borders of Italy. But the spirit
of the crusades had expired; and the coldness of the Franks was not less
unreasonable than their headlong passion. In the eleventh century, a
fanatic monk could precipitate Europe on Asia for the recovery of the
holy sepulchre; but in the fifteenth, the most pressing motives of
religion and policy were insufficient to unite the Latins in the defence
of Christendom. Germany was an inexhaustible storehouse of men and arms:
[16] but that complex and languid body required the impulse of a
vigorous hand; and Frederic the Third was alike impotent in his
personal character and his Imperial dignity. A long war had impaired the
strength, without satiating the animosity, of France and England: [17]
but Philip duke of Burgundy was a vain and magnificent prince; and
he enjoyed, without danger or expense, the adventurous piety of his
subjects, who sailed, in a gallant fleet, from the coast of Flanders
to the Hellespont. The maritime republics of Venice and Genoa were
less remote from the scene of action; and their hostile fleets were
associated under the standard of St. Peter. The kingdoms of Hungary and
Poland, which covered as it were the interior pale of the Latin church,
were the most nearly concerned to oppose the progress of the Turks. Arms
were the patrimony of the Scythians and Sarmatians; and these nations
might appear equal to the contest, could they point, against the common
foe, those swords that were so wantonly drawn in bloody and domestic
quarrels. But the same spirit was adverse to concord and obedience:
a poor country and a limited monarch are incapable of maintaining a
standing force; and the loose bodies of Polish and Hungarian horse were
not armed with the sentiments and weapons which, on some occasions, have
given irresistible weight to the French chivalry. Yet, on this side, the
designs of the Roman pontiff, and the eloquence of Cardinal Julian,
his legate, were promoted by the circumstances of the times: [18] by
the union of the two crowns on the head of Ladislaus, [19] a young and
ambitious soldier; by the valor of a hero, whose name, the name of John
Huniades, was already popular among the Christians, and formidable to
the Turks. An endless treasure of pardons and indulgences was scattered
by the legate; many private warriors of France and Germany enlisted
under the holy banner; and the crusade derived some strength, or at
least some reputation, from the new allies both of Europe and Asia.
A fugitive despot of Servia exaggerated the distress and ardor of the
Christians beyond the Danube, who would unanimously rise to vindicate
their religion and liberty. The Greek emperor, [20] with a spirit unknown
to his fathers, engaged to guard the Bosphorus, and to sally from
Constantinople at the head of his national and mercenary troops. The
sultan of Caramania [21] announced the retreat of Amurath, and a powerful
diversion in the heart of Anatolia; and if the fleets of the West could
occupy at the same moment the Straits of the Hellespont, the Ottoman
monarchy would be dissevered and destroyed. Heaven and earth must
rejoice in the perdition of the miscreants; and the legate, with prudent
ambiguity, instilled the opinion of the invisible, perhaps the visible,
aid of the Son of God, and his divine mother.

[Footnote 16: In the year 1431, Germany raised 40,000 horse,
men-at-arms, against the Hussites of Bohemia, (Lenfant, Hist. du Concile
de Basle, tom. i. p. 318.) At the siege of Nuys, on the Rhine, in 1474,
the princes, prelates, and cities, sent their respective quotas; and the
bishop of Munster (qui n'est pas des plus grands) furnished 1400 horse,
6000 foot, all in green, with 1200 wagons. The united armies of the king
of England and the duke of Burgundy scarcely equalled one third of this
German host, (Mémoires de Philippe de Comines, l. iv. c. 2.) At present,
six or seven hundred thousand men are maintained in constant pay and
admirable discipline by the powers of Germany.]

[Footnote 17: It was not till the year 1444, that France and England
could agree on a truce of some months. (See Rymer's Fdera, and the
chronicles of both nations.)]

[Footnote 18: In the Hungarian crusade, Spondanus (Annal. Ecclés. A.D.
1443, 1444) has been my leading guide. He has diligently read, and
critically compared, the Greek and Turkish materials, the historians of
Hungary, Poland, and the West. His narrative is perspicuous and where
he can be free from a religious bias, the judgment of Spondanus is not

[Footnote 19: I have curtailed the harsh letter (Wladislaus) which
most writers affix to his name, either in compliance with the Polish
pronunciation, or to distinguish him from his rival the infant Ladislaus
of Austria. Their competition for the crown of Hungary is described by
Callimachus, (l. i. ii. p. 447--486,) Bonfinius, (Decad. iii. l. iv.,)
Spondanus, and Lenfant.]

[Footnote 20: The Greek historians, Phranza, Chalcondyles, and Ducas, do
not ascribe to their prince a very active part in this crusade, which he
seems to have promoted by his wishes, and injured by his fears.]

[Footnote 21: Cantemir (p. 88) ascribes to his policy the original plan,
and transcribes his animating epistle to the king of Hungary. But the
Mahometan powers are seldom it formed of the state of Christendom and
the situation and correspondence of the knights of Rhodes must connect
them with the sultan of Caramania.]

Of the Polish and Hungarian diets, a religious war was the unanimous
cry; and Ladislaus, after passing the Danube, led an army of his
confederate subjects as far as Sophia, the capital of the Bulgarian
kingdom. In this expedition they obtained two signal victories, which
were justly ascribed to the valor and conduct of Huniades. In the first,
with a vanguard of ten thousand men, he surprised the Turkish camp; in
the second, he vanquished and made prisoner the most renowned of their
generals, who possessed the double advantage of ground and numbers. The
approach of winter, and the natural and artificial obstacles of Mount
Hæmus, arrested the progress of the hero, who measured a narrow interval
of six days' march from the foot of the mountains to the hostile towers
of Adrianople, and the friendly capital of the Greek empire. The retreat
was undisturbed; and the entrance into Buda was at once a military and
religious triumph. An ecclesiastical procession was followed by the king
and his warriors on foot: he nicely balanced the merits and rewards of
the two nations; and the pride of conquest was blended with the humble
temper of Christianity. Thirteen bashaws, nine standards, and four
thousand captives, were unquestionable trophies; and as all were
willing to believe, and none were present to contradict, the crusaders
multiplied, with unblushing confidence, the myriads of Turks whom they
had left on the field of battle. [22] The most solid proof, and the most
salutary consequence, of victory, was a deputation from the divan
to solicit peace, to restore Servia, to ransom the prisoners, and to
evacuate the Hungarian frontier. By this treaty, the rational objects
of the war were obtained: the king, the despot, and Huniades himself, in
the diet of Segedin, were satisfied with public and private emolument;
a truce of ten years was concluded; and the followers of Jesus and
Mahomet, who swore on the Gospel and the Koran, attested the word of God
as the guardian of truth and the avenger of perfidy. In the place of the
Gospel, the Turkish ministers had proposed to substitute the Eucharist,
the real presence of the Catholic deity; but the Christians refused to
profane their holy mysteries; and a superstitious conscience is less
forcibly bound by the spiritual energy, than by the outward and visible
symbols of an oath. [23]

[Footnote 22: In their letters to the emperor Frederic III. the
Hungarians slay 80,000 Turks in one battle; but the modest Julian
reduces the slaughter to 6000 or even 2000 infidels, (Æneas Sylvius in
Europ. c. 5, and epist. 44, 81, apud Spondanum.)]

[Footnote 23: See the origin of the Turkish war, and the first
expedition of Ladislaus, in the vth and vith books of the iiid decad of
Bonfinius, who, in his division and style, copies Livy with tolerable
success Callimachus (l. ii p. 487--496) is still more pure and

During the whole transaction, the cardinal legate had observed a sullen
silence, unwilling to approve, and unable to oppose, the consent of
the king and people. But the diet was not dissolved before Julian was
fortified by the welcome intelligence, that Anatolia was invaded by the
Caramanian, and Thrace by the Greek emperor; that the fleets of Genoa,
Venice, and Burgundy, were masters of the Hellespont; and that the
allies, informed of the victory, and ignorant of the treaty, of
Ladislaus, impatiently waited for the return of his victorious army.
"And is it thus," exclaimed the cardinal, [24] "that you will desert
their expectations and your own fortune? It is to them, to your God, and
your fellow-Christians, that you have pledged your faith; and that prior
obligation annihilates a rash and sacrilegious oath to the enemies of
Christ. His vicar on earth is the Roman pontiff; without whose sanction
you can neither promise nor perform. In his name I absolve your perjury
and sanctify your arms: follow my footsteps in the paths of glory
and salvation; and if still ye have scruples, devolve on my head the
punishment and the sin." This mischievous casuistry was seconded by his
respectable character, and the levity of popular assemblies: war was
resolved, on the same spot where peace had so lately been sworn; and, in
the execution of the treaty, the Turks were assaulted by the Christians;
to whom, with some reason, they might apply the epithet of Infidels.
The falsehood of Ladislaus to his word and oath was palliated by the
religion of the times: the most perfect, or at least the most popular,
excuse would have been the success of his arms and the deliverance of
the Eastern church. But the same treaty which should have bound his
conscience had diminished his strength. On the proclamation of the
peace, the French and German volunteers departed with indignant murmurs:
the Poles were exhausted by distant warfare, and perhaps disgusted with
foreign command; and their palatines accepted the first license, and
hastily retired to their provinces and castles. Even Hungary was divided
by faction, or restrained by a laudable scruple; and the relics of
the crusade that marched in the second expedition were reduced to an
inadequate force of twenty thousand men. A Walachian chief, who joined
the royal standard with his vassals, presumed to remark that their
numbers did not exceed the hunting retinue that sometimes attended the
sultan; and the gift of two horses of matchless speed might admonish
Ladislaus of his secret foresight of the event. But the despot of
Servia, after the restoration of his country and children, was tempted
by the promise of new realms; and the inexperience of the king, the
enthusiasm of the legate, and the martial presumption of Huniades
himself, were persuaded that every obstacle must yield to the invincible
virtue of the sword and the cross. After the passage of the Danube, two
roads might lead to Constantinople and the Hellespont: the one direct,
abrupt, and difficult through the mountains of Hæmus; the other more
tedious and secure, over a level country, and along the shores of the
Euxine; in which their flanks, according to the Scythian discipline,
might always be covered by a movable fortification of wagons. The latter
was judiciously preferred: the Catholics marched through the plains of
Bulgaria, burning, with wanton cruelty, the churches and villages of
the Christian natives; and their last station was at Warna, near the
sea-shore; on which the defeat and death of Ladislaus have bestowed a
memorable name. [25]

[Footnote 24: I do not pretend to warrant the literal accuracy of
Julian's speech, which is variously worded by Callimachus, (l. iii.
p. 505--507,) Bonfinius, (dec. iii. l. vi. p. 457, 458,) and other
historians, who might indulge their own eloquence, while they represent
one of the orators of the age. But they all agree in the advice and
arguments for perjury, which in the field of controversy are fiercely
attacked by the Protestants, and feebly defended by the Catholics. The
latter are discouraged by the misfortune of Warna.]

[Footnote 25: Warna, under the Grecian name of Odessus, was a colony of
the Milesians, which they denominated from the hero Ulysses, (Cellarius,
tom. i. p. 374. D'Anville, tom. i. p. 312.) According to Arrian's
Periplus of the Euxine, (p. 24, 25, in the first volume of Hudson's
Geographers,) it was situate 1740 stadia, or furlongs, from the mouth
of the Danube, 2140 from Byzantium, and 360 to the north of a ridge of
promontory of Mount Hæmus, which advances into the sea.]

Chapter LXVII: Schism Of The Greeks And Latins.--Part II.

It was on this fatal spot, that, instead of finding a confederate fleet
to second their operations, they were alarmed by the approach of Amurath
himself, who had issued from his Magnesian solitude, and transported the
forces of Asia to the defence of Europe. According to some writers, the
Greek emperor had been awed, or seduced, to grant the passage of the
Bosphorus; and an indelible stain of corruption is fixed on the Genoese,
or the pope's nephew, the Catholic admiral, whose mercenary connivance
betrayed the guard of the Hellespont. From Adrianople, the sultan
advanced by hasty marches, at the head of sixty thousand men; and when
the cardinal, and Huniades, had taken a nearer survey of the numbers
and order of the Turks, these ardent warriors proposed the tardy and
impracticable measure of a retreat. The king alone was resolved to
conquer or die; and his resolution had almost been crowned with a
glorious and salutary victory. The princes were opposite to each other
in the centre; and the Beglerbegs, or generals of Anatolia and Romania,
commanded on the right and left, against the adverse divisions of the
despot and Huniades. The Turkish wings were broken on the first onset:
but the advantage was fatal; and the rash victors, in the heat of the
pursuit, were carried away far from the annoyance of the enemy, or
the support of their friends. When Amurath beheld the flight of his
squadrons, he despaired of his fortune and that of the empire: a veteran
Janizary seized his horse's bridle; and he had magnanimity to pardon
and reward the soldier who dared to perceive the terror, and arrest
the flight, of his sovereign. A copy of the treaty, the monument of
Christian perfidy, had been displayed in the front of battle; and it is
said, that the sultan in his distress, lifting his eyes and his hands to
heaven, implored the protection of the God of truth; and called on the
prophet Jesus himself to avenge the impious mockery of his name and
religion. [26] With inferior numbers and disordered ranks, the king of
Hungary rushed forward in the confidence of victory, till his career was
stopped by the impenetrable phalanx of the Janizaries. If we may credit
the Ottoman annals, his horse was pierced by the javelin of Amurath;
[27] he fell among the spears of the infantry; and a Turkish soldier
proclaimed with a loud voice, "Hungarians, behold the head of your
king!" The death of Ladislaus was the signal of their defeat. On his
return from an intemperate pursuit, Huniades deplored his error, and the
public loss; he strove to rescue the royal body, till he was overwhelmed
by the tumultuous crowd of the victors and vanquished; and the last
efforts of his courage and conduct were exerted to save the remnant
of his Walachian cavalry. Ten thousand Christians were slain in the
disastrous battle of Warna: the loss of the Turks, more considerable
in numbers, bore a smaller proportion to their total strength; yet the
philosophic sultan was not ashamed to confess, that his ruin must be the
consequence of a second and similar victory. [271] At his command a column
was erected on the spot where Ladislaus had fallen; but the modest
inscription, instead of accusing the rashness, recorded the valor, and
bewailed the misfortune, of the Hungarian youth. [28]

[Footnote 26: Some Christian writers affirm, that he drew from his bosom
the host or wafer on which the treaty had _not_ been sworn. The Moslems
suppose, with more simplicity, an appeal to God and his prophet Jesus,
which is likewise insinuated by Callimachus, (l. iii. p. 516. Spondan.
A.D. 1444, No. 8.)]

[Footnote 27: A critic will always distrust these _spolia opima_ of
a victorious general, so difficult for valor to obtain, so easy for
flattery to invent, (Cantemir, p. 90, 91.) Callimachus (l. iii. p. 517)
more simply and probably affirms, supervenitibus Janizaris, telorum
multitudine, non jam confossus est, quam obrutus.]

[Footnote 271: Compare Von Hammer, p. 463.--M.]

[Footnote 28: Besides some valuable hints from Æneas Sylvius, which
are diligently collected by Spondanus, our best authorities are three
historians of the xvth century, Philippus Callimachus, (de Rebus a
Vladislao Polonorum atque Hungarorum Rege gestis, libri iii. in Bel.
Script. Rerum Hungaricarum, tom. i. p. 433--518,) Bonfinius, (decad.
iii. l. v. p. 460--467,) and Chalcondyles, (l. vii. p. 165--179.) The
two first were Italians, but they passed their lives in Poland and
Hungary, (Fabric. Bibliot. Latin. Med. et Infimæ Ætatis, tom. i. p.
324. Vossius, de Hist. Latin. l. iii. c. 8, 11. Bayle, Dictionnaire,
Bonfinius.) A small tract of Fælix Petancius, chancellor of Segnia, (ad
calcem Cuspinian. de Cæsaribus, p. 716--722,) represents the theatre of
the war in the xvth century.]

Before I lose sight of the field of Warna, I am tempted to pause on the
character and story of two principal actors, the cardinal Julian and
John Huniades. Julian [29] Cæsarini was born of a noble family of Rome:
his studies had embraced both the Latin and Greek learning, both the
sciences of divinity and law; and his versatile genius was equally
adapted to the schools, the camp, and the court. No sooner had he been
invested with the Roman purple, than he was sent into Germany to arm
the empire against the rebels and heretics of Bohemia. The spirit of
persecution is unworthy of a Christian; the military profession ill
becomes a priest; but the former is excused by the times; and the latter
was ennobled by the courage of Julian, who stood dauntless and alone
in the disgraceful flight of the German host. As the pope's legate, he
opened the council of Basil; but the president soon appeared the most
strenuous champion of ecclesiastical freedom; and an opposition of
seven years was conducted by his ability and zeal. After promoting the
strongest measures against the authority and person of Eugenius, some
secret motive of interest or conscience engaged him to desert on a
sudden the popular party. The cardinal withdrew himself from Basil to
Ferrara; and, in the debates of the Greeks and Latins, the two nations
admired the dexterity of his arguments and the depth of his theological
erudition. [30] In his Hungarian embassy, we have already seen the
mischievous effects of his sophistry and eloquence, of which Julian
himself was the first victim. The cardinal, who performed the duties
of a priest and a soldier, was lost in the defeat of Warna. The
circumstances of his death are variously related; but it is believed,
that a weighty encumbrance of gold impeded his flight, and tempted the
cruel avarice of some Christian fugitives.

[Footnote 29: M. Lenfant has described the origin (Hist. du Concile
de Basle, tom. i. p. 247, &c.) and Bohemian campaign (p. 315, &c.) of
Cardinal Julian. His services at Basil and Ferrara, and his unfortunate
end, are occasionally related by Spondanus, and the continuator of

[Footnote 30: Syropulus honorably praises the talent of an enemy, (p.
117:) toiauta tina eipen o IoulianoV peplatusmenwV agan kai logikwV, kai
met episthmhV kai deinothtoV 'RhtprikhV.]

From an humble, or at least a doubtful origin, the merit of John
Huniades promoted him to the command of the Hungarian armies. His father
was a Walachian, his mother a Greek: her unknown race might possibly
ascend to the emperors of Constantinople; and the claims of the
Walachians, with the surname of Corvinus, from the place of his
nativity, might suggest a thin pretence for mingling his blood with the
patricians of ancient Rome. [31] In his youth he served in the wars of
Italy, and was retained, with twelve horsemen, by the bishop of Zagrab:
the valor of the _white knight_ [32] was soon conspicuous; he increased
his fortunes by a noble and wealthy marriage; and in the defence of
the Hungarian borders he won in the same year three battles against
the Turks. By his influence, Ladislaus of Poland obtained the crown of
Hungary; and the important service was rewarded by the title and office
of Waivod of Transylvania. The first of Julian's crusades added two
Turkish laurels on his brow; and in the public distress the fatal errors
of Warna were forgotten. During the absence and minority of Ladislaus
of Austria, the titular king, Huniades was elected supreme captain and
governor of Hungary; and if envy at first was silenced by terror, a
reign of twelve years supposes the arts of policy as well as of war. Yet
the idea of a consummate general is not delineated in his campaigns; the
white knight fought with the hand rather than the head, as the chief of
desultory Barbarians, who attack without fear and fly without shame; and
his military life is composed of a romantic alternative of victories and
escapes. By the Turks, who employed his name to frighten their perverse
children, he was corruptly denominated _Jancus Lain_, or the Wicked:
their hatred is the proof of their esteem; the kingdom which he guarded
was inaccessible to their arms; and they felt him most daring and
formidable, when they fondly believed the captain and his country
irrecoverably lost. Instead of confining himself to a defensive war,
four years after the defeat of Warna he again penetrated into the heart
of Bulgaria, and in the plain of Cossova, sustained, till the third day,
the shock of the Ottoman army, four times more numerous than his own. As
he fled alone through the woods of Walachia, the hero was surprised by
two robbers; but while they disputed a gold chain that hung at his neck,
he recovered his sword, slew the one, terrified the other, and, after
new perils of captivity or death, consoled by his presence an afflicted
kingdom. But the last and most glorious action of his life was the
defence of Belgrade against the powers of Mahomet the Second in person.
After a siege of forty days, the Turks, who had already entered the
town, were compelled to retreat; and the joyful nations celebrated
Huniades and Belgrade as the bulwarks of Christendom. [33] About a
month after this great deliverance, the champion expired; and his most
splendid epitaph is the regret of the Ottoman prince, who sighed that he
could no longer hope for revenge against the single antagonist who had
triumphed over his arms. On the first vacancy of the throne, Matthias
Corvinus, a youth of eighteen years of age, was elected and crowned by
the grateful Hungarians. His reign was prosperous and long: Matthias
aspired to the glory of a conqueror and a saint: but his purest merit is
the encouragement of learning; and the Latin orators and historians,
who were invited from Italy by the son, have shed the lustre of their
eloquence on the father's character. [34]

[Footnote 31: See Bonfinius, decad. iii. l. iv. p. 423. Could the
Italian historian pronounce, or the king of Hungary hear, without a
blush, the absurd flattery which confounded the name of a Walachian
village with the casual, though glorious, epithet of a single branch of
the Valerian family at Rome?]

[Footnote 32: Philip de Comines, (Mémoires, l. vi. c. 13,) from the
tradition of the times, mentions him with high encomiums, but under the
whimsical name of the Chevalier Blanc de Valaigne, (Valachia.) The Greek
Chalcondyles, and the Turkish annals of Leunclavius, presume to accuse
his fidelity or valor.]

[Footnote 33: See Bonfinius (decad. iii. l. viii. p. 492) and Spondanus,
(A.D. 456, No. 1--7.) Huniades shared the glory of the defence of
Belgrade with Capistran, a Franciscan friar; and in their respective
narratives, neither the saint nor the hero condescend to take notice of
his rival's merit.]

[Footnote 34: See Bonfinius, decad. iii. l. viii.--decad. iv. l. viii.
The observations of Spondanus on the life and character of Matthias
Corvinus are curious and critical, (A.D. 1464, No. 1, 1475, No. 6, 1476,
No. 14--16, 1490, No. 4, 5.) Italian fame was the object of his vanity.
His actions are celebrated in the Epitome Rerum Hungaricarum (p.
322--412) of Peter Ranzanus, a Sicilian. His wise and facetious sayings
are registered by Galestus Martius of Narni, (528--568,) and we have a
particular narrative of his wedding and coronation. These three
tracts are all contained in the first vol. of Bel's Scriptores Rerum

In the list of heroes, John Huniades and Scanderbeg are commonly
associated; [35] and they are both entitled to our notice, since their
occupation of the Ottoman arms delayed the ruin of the Greek empire.
John Castriot, the father of Scanderbeg, [36] was the hereditary prince
of a small district of Epirus or Albania, between the mountains and
the Adriatic Sea. Unable to contend with the sultan's power, Castriot
submitted to the hard conditions of peace and tribute: he delivered
his four sons as the pledges of his fidelity; and the Christian youths,
after receiving the mark of circumcision, were instructed in the
Mahometan religion, and trained in the arms and arts of Turkish policy.
[37] The three elder brothers were confounded in the crowd of slaves;
and the poison to which their deaths are ascribed cannot be verified
or disproved by any positive evidence. Yet the suspicion is in a great
measure removed by the kind and paternal treatment of George Castriot,
the fourth brother, who, from his tender youth, displayed the strength
and spirit of a soldier. The successive overthrow of a Tartar and two
Persians, who carried a proud defiance to the Turkish court, recommended
him to the favor of Amurath, and his Turkish appellation of Scanderbeg,
(_Iskender beg_,) or the lord Alexander, is an indelible memorial of
his glory and servitude. His father's principality was reduced into a
province; but the loss was compensated by the rank and title of
Sanjiak, a command of five thousand horse, and the prospect of the first
dignities of the empire. He served with honor in the wars of Europe and
Asia; and we may smile at the art or credulity of the historian, who
supposes, that in every encounter he spared the Christians, while he
fell with a thundering arm on his Mussulman foes. The glory of Huniades
is without reproach: he fought in the defence of his religion and
country; but the enemies who applaud the patriot, have branded his rival
with the name of traitor and apostate. In the eyes of the Christian,
the rebellion of Scanderbeg is justified by his father's wrongs, the
ambiguous death of his three brothers, his own degradation, and the
slavery of his country; and they adore the generous, though tardy, zeal,
with which he asserted the faith and independence of his ancestors. But
he had imbibed from his ninth year the doctrines of the Koran; he was
ignorant of the Gospel; the religion of a soldier is determined by
authority and habit; nor is it easy to conceive what new illumination at
the age of forty [38] could be poured into his soul. His motives would be
less exposed to the suspicion of interest or revenge, had he broken his
chain from the moment that he was sensible of its weight: but a long
oblivion had surely impaired his original right; and every year of
obedience and reward had cemented the mutual bond of the sultan and his
subject. If Scanderbeg had long harbored the belief of Christianity
and the intention of revolt, a worthy mind must condemn the base
dissimulation, that could serve only to betray, that could promise only
to be forsworn, that could actively join in the temporal and spiritual
perdition of so many thousands of his unhappy brethren. Shall we praise
a secret correspondence with Huniades, while he commanded the vanguard
of the Turkish army? shall we excuse the desertion of his standard, a
treacherous desertion which abandoned the victory to the enemies of
his benefactor? In the confusion of a defeat, the eye of Scanderbeg was
fixed on the Reis Effendi or principal secretary: with the dagger at his
breast, he extorted a firman or patent for the government of Albania;
and the murder of the guiltless scribe and his train prevented the
consequences of an immediate discovery. With some bold companions,
to whom he had revealed his design he escaped in the night, by rapid
marches, from the field or battle to his paternal mountains. The gates
of Croya were opened to the royal mandate; and no sooner did he command
the fortress, than George Castriot dropped the mask of dissimulation;
abjured the prophet and the sultan, and proclaimed himself the avenger
of his family and country. The names of religion and liberty provoked
a general revolt: the Albanians, a martial race, were unanimous to live
and die with their hereditary prince; and the Ottoman garrisons were
indulged in the choice of martyrdom or baptism. In the assembly of the
states of Epirus, Scanderbeg was elected general of the Turkish war; and
each of the allies engaged to furnish his respective proportion of men
and money. From these contributions, from his patrimonial estate, and
from the valuable salt-pits of Selina, he drew an annual revenue of two
hundred thousand ducats; [39] and the entire sum, exempt from the demands
of luxury, was strictly appropriated to the public use. His manners were
popular; but his discipline was severe; and every superfluous vice was
banished from his camp: his example strengthened his command; and under
his conduct, the Albanians were invincible in their own opinion and that
of their enemies. The bravest adventurers of France and Germany were
allured by his fame and retained in his service: his standing militia
consisted of eight thousand horse and seven thousand foot; the horses
were small, the men were active; but he viewed with a discerning eye the
difficulties and resources of the mountains; and, at the blaze of the
beacons, the whole nation was distributed in the strongest posts. With
such unequal arms Scanderbeg resisted twenty-three years the powers
of the Ottoman empire; and two conquerors, Amurath the Second, and his
greater son, were repeatedly baffled by a rebel, whom they pursued
with seeming contempt and implacable resentment. At the head of sixty
thousand horse and forty thousand Janizaries, Amurath entered Albania:
he might ravage the open country, occupy the defenceless towns, convert
the churches into mosques, circumcise the Christian youths, and punish
with death his adult and obstinate captives: but the conquests of
the sultan were confined to the petty fortress of Sfetigrade; and the
garrison, invincible to his arms, was oppressed by a paltry artifice and
a superstitious scruple. [40] Amurath retired with shame and loss from
the walls of Croya, the castle and residence of the Castriots; the
march, the siege, the retreat, were harassed by a vexatious, and almost
invisible, adversary; [41] and the disappointment might tend to imbitter,
perhaps to shorten, the last days of the sultan. [42] In the fulness
of conquest, Mahomet the Second still felt at his bosom this domestic
thorn: his lieutenants were permitted to negotiate a truce; and the
Albanian prince may justly be praised as a firm and able champion of
his national independence. The enthusiasm of chivalry and religion has
ranked him with the names of Alexander and Pyrrhus; nor would they blush
to acknowledge their intrepid countryman: but his narrow dominion, and
slender powers, must leave him at an humble distance below the heroes
of antiquity, who triumphed over the East and the Roman legions. His
splendid achievements, the bashaws whom he encountered, the armies
that he discomfited, and the three thousand Turks who were slain by
his single hand, must be weighed in the scales of suspicious criticism.
Against an illiterate enemy, and in the dark solitude of Epirus, his
partial biographers may safely indulge the latitude of romance: but
their fictions are exposed by the light of Italian history; and they
afford a strong presumption against their own truth, by a fabulous tale
of his exploits, when he passed the Adriatic with eight hundred horse to
the succor of the king of Naples. [43] Without disparagement to his fame,
they might have owned, that he was finally oppressed by the Ottoman
powers: in his extreme danger he applied to Pope Pius the Second for
a refuge in the ecclesiastical state; and his resources were almost
exhausted, since Scanderbeg died a fugitive at Lissus, on the
Venetian territory. [44] His sepulchre was soon violated by the Turkish
conquerors; but the Janizaries, who wore his bones enchased in a
bracelet, declared by this superstitious amulet their involuntary
reverence for his valor. The instant ruin of his country may redound to
the hero's glory; yet, had he balanced the consequences of submission
and resistance, a patriot perhaps would have declined the unequal
contest which must depend on the life and genius of one man. Scanderbeg
might indeed be supported by the rational, though fallacious, hope, that
the pope, the king of Naples, and the Venetian republic, would join in
the defence of a free and Christian people, who guarded the sea-coast
of the Adriatic, and the narrow passage from Greece to Italy. His
infant son was saved from the national shipwreck; the Castriots [45] were
invested with a Neapolitan dukedom, and their blood continues to flow
in the noblest families of the realm. A colony of Albanian fugitives
obtained a settlement in Calabria, and they preserve at this day the
language and manners of their ancestors. [46]

[Footnote 35: They are ranked by Sir William Temple, in his pleasing
Essay on Heroic Virtue, (Works, vol. iii. p. 385,) among the seven
chiefs who have deserved without wearing, a royal crown; Belisarius,
Narses, Gonsalvo of Cordova, William first prince of Orange, Alexander
duke of Parma, John Huniades, and George Castriot, or Scanderbeg.]

[Footnote 36: I could wish for some simple authentic memoirs of a friend
of Scanderbeg, which would introduce me to the man, the time, and the
place. In the old and national history of Marinus Barletius, a priest of
Scodra, (de Vita. Moribus, et Rebus gestis Georgii Castrioti, &c. libri
xiii. p. 367. Argentorat. 1537, in fol.,) his gaudy and cumbersome robes
are stuck with many false jewels. See likewise Chalcondyles, l vii. p.
185, l. viii. p. 229.]

[Footnote 37: His circumcision, education, &c., are marked by Marinus
with brevity and reluctance, (l. i. p. 6, 7.)]

[Footnote 38: Since Scanderbeg died A.D. 1466, in the lxiiid year of his
age, (Marinus, l. xiii. p. 370,) he was born in 1403; since he was torn
from his parents by the Turks, when he was _novennis_, (Marinus, l. i.
p. 1, 6,) that event must have happened in 1412, nine years before the
accession of Amurath II., who must have inherited, not acquired the
Albanian slave. Spondanus has remarked this inconsistency, A.D. 1431,
No. 31, 1443, No. 14.]

[Footnote 39: His revenue and forces are luckily given by Marinus, (l.
ii. p. 44.)]

[Footnote 40: There were two Dibras, the upper and lower, the Bulgarian
and Albanian: the former, 70 miles from Croya, (l. i. p. 17,) was
contiguous to the fortress of Sfetigrade, whose inhabitants refused to
drink from a well into which a dead dog had traitorously been cast, (l.
v. p. 139, 140.) We want a good map of Epirus.]

[Footnote 41: Compare the Turkish narrative of Cantemir (p. 92) with the
pompous and prolix declamation in the ivth, vth, and vith books of
the Albanian priest, who has been copied by the tribe of strangers and

[Footnote 42: In honor of his hero, Barletius (l. vi. p. 188--192)
kills the sultan by disease indeed, under the walls of Croya. But this
audacious fiction is disproved by the Greeks and Turks, who agree in the
time and manner of Amurath's death at Adrianople.]

[Footnote 43: See the marvels of his Calabrian expedition in the ixth
and xth books of Marinus Barletius, which may be rectified by the
testimony or silence of Muratori, (Annali d'Italia, tom. xiii. p. 291,)
and his original authors, (Joh. Simonetta de Rebus Francisci Sfortiæ, in
Muratori, Script. Rerum Ital. tom. xxi. p. 728, et alios.) The Albanian
cavalry, under the name of _Stradiots_, soon became famous in the wars
of Italy, (Mémoires de Comines, l. viii. c. 5.)]

[Footnote 44: Spondanus, from the best evidence, and the most rational
criticism, has reduced the giant Scanderbeg to the human size, (A.D.
1461, No. 20, 1463, No. 9, 1465, No. 12, 13, 1467, No. 1.) His own
letter to the pope, and the testimony of Phranza, (l. iii. c. 28,) a
refugee in the neighboring isle of Corfu, demonstrate his last distress,
which is awkwardly concealed by Marinus Barletius, (l. x.)]

[Footnote 45: See the family of the Castriots, in Ducange, (Fam.
Dalmaticæ, &c, xviii. p. 348--350.)]

[Footnote 46: This colony of Albanese is mentioned by Mr. Swinburne,
(Travels into the Two Sicilies, vol. i. p. 350--354.)]

In the long career of the decline and fall of the Roman empire, I have
reached at length the last reign of the princes of Constantinople, who
so feebly sustained the name and majesty of the Cæsars. On the decease
of John Palæologus, who survived about four years the Hungarian crusade,
[47] the royal family, by the death of Andronicus and the monastic
profession of Isidore, was reduced to three princes, Constantine,
Demetrius, and Thomas, the surviving sons of the emperor Manuel.
Of these the first and the last were far distant in the Morea; but
Demetrius, who possessed the domain of Selybria, was in the suburbs,
at the head of a party: his ambition was not chilled by the public
distress; and his conspiracy with the Turks and the schismatics had
already disturbed the peace of his country. The funeral of the late
emperor was accelerated with singular and even suspicious haste: the
claim of Demetrius to the vacant throne was justified by a trite and
flimsy sophism, that he was born in the purple, the eldest son of his
father's reign. But the empress-mother, the senate and soldiers, the
clergy and people, were unanimous in the cause of the lawful successor:
and the despot Thomas, who, ignorant of the change, accidentally
returned to the capital, asserted with becoming zeal the interest of his
absent brother. An ambassador, the historian Phranza, was immediately
despatched to the court of Adrianople. Amurath received him with honor
and dismissed him with gifts; but the gracious approbation of the
Turkish sultan announced his supremacy, and the approaching downfall
of the Eastern empire. By the hands of two illustrious deputies, the
Imperial crown was placed at Sparta on the head of Constantine. In the
spring he sailed from the Morea, escaped the encounter of a Turkish
squadron, enjoyed the acclamations of his subjects, celebrated the
festival of a new reign, and exhausted by his donatives the treasure, or
rather the indigence, of the state. The emperor immediately resigned to
his brothers the possession of the Morea; and the brittle friendship of
the two princes, Demetrius and Thomas, was confirmed in their mother's
presence by the frail security of oaths and embraces. His next
occupation was the choice of a consort. A daughter of the doge of
Venice had been proposed; but the Byzantine nobles objected the distance
between an hereditary monarch and an elective magistrate; and in
their subsequent distress, the chief of that powerful republic was not
unmindful of the affront. Constantine afterwards hesitated between the
royal families of Trebizond and Georgia; and the embassy of Phranza
represents in his public and private life the last days of the Byzantine
empire. [48]

[Footnote 47: The Chronology of Phranza is clear and authentic; but
instead of four years and seven months, Spondanus (A.D. 1445, No. 7,)
assigns seven or eight years to the reign of the last Constantine
which he deduces from a spurious epistle of Eugenius IV. to the king of

[Footnote 48: Phranza (l. iii. c. 1--6) deserves credit and esteem.]

The _protovestiare_, or great chamberlain, Phranza sailed from
Constantinople as the minister of a bridegroom; and the relics of wealth
and luxury were applied to his pompous appearance. His numerous retinue
consisted of nobles and guards, of physicians and monks: he was attended
by a band of music; and the term of his costly embassy was protracted
above two years. On his arrival in Georgia or Iberia, the natives from
the towns and villages flocked around the strangers; and such was
their simplicity, that they were delighted with the effects, without
understanding the cause, of musical harmony. Among the crowd was an old
man, above a hundred years of age, who had formerly been carried away a
captive by the Barbarians, [49] and who amused his hearers with a tale of
the wonders of India, [50] from whence he had returned to Portugal by
an unknown sea. [51] From this hospitable land, Phranza proceeded to the
court of Trebizond, where he was informed by the Greek prince of the
recent decease of Amurath. Instead of rejoicing in the deliverance,
the experienced statesman expressed his apprehension, that an ambitious
youth would not long adhere to the sage and pacific system of his
father. After the sultan's decease, his Christian wife, Maria, [52]
the daughter of the Servian despot, had been honorably restored to her
parents; on the fame of her beauty and merit, she was recommended by the
ambassador as the most worthy object of the royal choice; and Phranza
recapitulates and refutes the specious objections that might be raised
against the proposal. The majesty of the purple would ennoble an unequal
alliance; the bar of affinity might be removed by liberal alms and the
dispensation of the church; the disgrace of Turkish nuptials had been
repeatedly overlooked; and, though the fair Maria was nearly fifty years
of age, she might yet hope to give an heir to the empire. Constantine
listened to the advice, which was transmitted in the first ship that
sailed from Trebizond; but the factions of the court opposed his
marriage; and it was finally prevented by the pious vow of the sultana,
who ended her days in the monastic profession. Reduced to the first
alternative, the choice of Phranza was decided in favor of a Georgian
princess; and the vanity of her father was dazzled by the glorious
alliance. Instead of demanding, according to the primitive and national
custom, a price for his daughter, [53] he offered a portion of fifty-six
thousand, with an annual pension of five thousand, ducats; and the
services of the ambassador were repaid by an assurance, that, as his
son had been adopted in baptism by the emperor, the establishment of his
daughter should be the peculiar care of the empress of Constantinople.
On the return of Phranza, the treaty was ratified by the Greek monarch,
who with his own hand impressed three vermilion crosses on the golden
bull, and assured the Georgian envoy that in the spring his galleys
should conduct the bride to her Imperial palace. But Constantine
embraced his faithful servant, not with the cold approbation of a
sovereign, but with the warm confidence of a friend, who, after a long
absence, is impatient to pour his secrets into the bosom of his friend.
"Since the death of my mother and of Cantacuzene, who alone advised me
without interest or passion, [54] I am surrounded," said the emperor,
"by men whom I can neither love nor trust, nor esteem. You are not a
stranger to Lucas Notaras, the great admiral; obstinately attached to
his own sentiments, he declares, both in private and public, that his
sentiments are the absolute measure of my thoughts and actions. The rest
of the courtiers are swayed by their personal or factious views; and how
can I consult the monks on questions of policy and marriage? I have yet
much employment for your diligence and fidelity. In the spring you shall
engage one of my brothers to solicit the succor of the Western powers;
from the Morea you shall sail to Cyprus on a particular commission;
and from thence proceed to Georgia to receive and conduct the future
empress."--"Your commands," replied Phranza, "are irresistible; but
deign, great sir," he added, with a serious smile, "to consider, that
if I am thus perpetually absent from my family, my wife may be tempted
either to seek another husband, or to throw herself into a monastery."
After laughing at his apprehensions, the emperor more gravely consoled
him by the pleasing assurance that _this_ should be his last service
abroad, and that he destined for his son a wealthy and noble heiress;
for himself, the important office of great logothete, or principal
minister of state. The marriage was immediately stipulated: but the
office, however incompatible with his own, had been usurped by the
ambition of the admiral. Some delay was requisite to negotiate a consent
and an equivalent; and the nomination of Phranza was half declared,
and half suppressed, lest it might be displeasing to an insolent and
powerful favorite. The winter was spent in the preparations of his
embassy; and Phranza had resolved, that the youth his son should embrace
this opportunity of foreign travel, and be left, on the appearance of
danger, with his maternal kindred of the Morea. Such were the private
and public designs, which were interrupted by a Turkish war, and finally
buried in the ruins of the empire.

[Footnote 49: Suppose him to have been captured in 1394, in Timour's
first war in Georgia, (Sherefeddin, l. iii. c. 50;) he might follow his
Tartar master into Hindostan in 1398, and from thence sail to the spice

[Footnote 50: The happy and pious Indians lived a hundred and fifty
years, and enjoyed the most perfect productions of the vegetable and
mineral kingdoms. The animals were on a large scale: dragons seventy
cubits, ants (the _formica Indica_) nine inches long, sheep like
elephants, elephants like sheep. Quidlibet audendi, &c.]

[Footnote 51: He sailed in a country vessel from the spice islands
to one of the ports of the exterior India; invenitque navem grandem
_Ibericam_ quâ in _Portugalliam_ est delatus. This passage, composed in
1477, (Phranza, l. iii. c. 30,) twenty years before the discovery of the
Cape of Good Hope, is spurious or wonderful. But this new geography is
sullied by the old and incompatible error which places the source of the
Nile in India.]

[Footnote 52: Cantemir, (p. 83,) who styles her the daughter of Lazarus
Ogli, and the Helen of the Servians, places her marriage with Amurath
in the year 1424. It will not easily be believed, that in six-and-twenty
years' cohabitation, the sultan corpus ejus non tetigit. After the
taking of Constantinople, she fled to Mahomet II., (Phranza, l. iii. c.

[Footnote 53: The classical reader will recollect the offers of
Agamemnon, (Iliad, c. v. 144,) and the general practice of antiquity.]

[Footnote 54: Cantacuzene (I am ignorant of his relation to the emperor
of that name) was great domestic, a firm assertor of the Greek creed,
and a brother of the queen of Servia, whom he visited with the character
of ambassador, (Syropulus, p. 37, 38, 45.)]

Chapter LXVIII: Reign Of Mahomet The Second, Extinction Of Eastern
Empire.--Part I.

     Reign And Character Of Mahomet The Second.--Siege, Assault,
     And Final Conquest, Of Constantinople By The Turks.--Death
     Of Constantine Palæologus.--Servitude Of The Greeks.--
     Extinction Of The Roman Empire In The East.--Consternation
     Of Europe.--Conquests And Death Of Mahomet The Second.

The siege of Constantinople by the Turks attracts our first attention to
the person and character of the great destroyer. Mahomet the Second
[1] was the son of the second Amurath; and though his mother has been
decorated with the titles of Christian and princess, she is more
probably confounded with the numerous concubines who peopled from every
climate the harem of the sultan. His first education and sentiments
were those of a devout Mussulman; and as often as he conversed with an
infidel, he purified his hands and face by the legal rites of ablution.
Age and empire appear to have relaxed this narrow bigotry: his aspiring
genius disdained to acknowledge a power above his own; and in his looser
hours he presumed (it is said) to brand the prophet of Mecca as a robber
and impostor. Yet the sultan persevered in a decent reverence for the
doctrine and discipline of the Koran: [2] his private indiscretion
must have been sacred from the vulgar ear; and we should suspect the
credulity of strangers and sectaries, so prone to believe that a mind
which is hardened against truth must be armed with superior contempt
for absurdity and error. Under the tuition of the most skilful masters,
Mahomet advanced with an early and rapid progress in the paths of
knowledge; and besides his native tongue it is affirmed that he spoke or
understood five languages, [3] the Arabic, the Persian, the Chaldæan or
Hebrew, the Latin, and the Greek. The Persian might indeed contribute to
his amusement, and the Arabic to his edification; and such studies are
familiar to the Oriental youth. In the intercourse of the Greeks and
Turks, a conqueror might wish to converse with the people over which he
was ambitious to reign: his own praises in Latin poetry [4] or prose
[5] might find a passage to the royal ear; but what use or merit could
recommend to the statesman or the scholar the uncouth dialect of his
Hebrew slaves? The history and geography of the world were familiar to
his memory: the lives of the heroes of the East, perhaps of the West, [6]
excited his emulation: his skill in astrology is excused by the folly
of the times, and supposes some rudiments of mathematical science; and
a profane taste for the arts is betrayed in his liberal invitation and
reward of the painters of Italy. [7] But the influence of religion and
learning were employed without effect on his savage and licentious
nature. I will not transcribe, nor do I firmly believe, the stories of
his fourteen pages, whose bellies were ripped open in search of a stolen
melon; or of the beauteous slave, whose head he severed from her body,
to convince the Janizaries that their master was not the votary of love.
[701] His sobriety is attested by the silence of the Turkish annals,
which accuse three, and three only, of the Ottoman line of the vice of
drunkenness. [8] But it cannot be denied that his passions were at once
furious and inexorable; that in the palace, as in the field, a torrent
of blood was spilt on the slightest provocation; and that the noblest
of the captive youth were often dishonored by his unnatural lust. In the
Albanian war he studied the lessons, and soon surpassed the example, of
his father; and the conquest of two empires, twelve kingdoms, and
two hundred cities, a vain and flattering account, is ascribed to his
invincible sword. He was doubtless a soldier, and possibly a general;
Constantinople has sealed his glory; but if we compare the means,
the obstacles, and the achievements, Mahomet the Second must blush to
sustain a parallel with Alexander or Timour. Under his command, the
Ottoman forces were always more numerous than their enemies; yet their
progress was bounded by the Euphrates and the Adriatic; and his arms
were checked by Huniades and Scanderbeg, by the Rhodian knights and by
the Persian king.

[Footnote 1: For the character of Mahomet II. it is dangerous to trust
either the Turks or the Christians. The most moderate picture appears to
be drawn by Phranza, (l. i. c. 33,) whose resentment had cooled in
age and solitude; see likewise Spondanus, (A.D. 1451, No. 11,) and
the continuator of Fleury, (tom. xxii. p. 552,) the _Elogia_ of Paulus
Jovius, (l. iii. p. 164--166,) and the Dictionnaire de Bayle, (tom. iii.
p. 273--279.)]

[Footnote 2: Cantemir, (p. 115.) and the mosques which he founded,
attest his public regard for religion. Mahomet freely disputed with the
Gennadius on the two religions, (Spond. A.D. 1453, No. 22.)]

[Footnote 3: Quinque linguas præter suam noverat, Græcam, Latinam,
Chaldaicam, Persicam. The Latin translator of Phranza has dropped the
Arabic, which the Koran must recommend to every Mussulman. *
Note: It appears in the original Greek text, p. 95, edit. Bonn.--M.]

[Footnote 4: Philelphus, by a Latin ode, requested and obtained
the liberty of his wife's mother and sisters from the conqueror of
Constantinople. It was delivered into the sultan's hands by the envoys
of the duke of Milan. Philelphus himself was suspected of a design of
retiring to Constantinople; yet the orator often sounded the trumpet of
holy war, (see his Life by M. Lancelot, in the Mémoires de l'Académie
des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 718, 724, &c.)]

[Footnote 5: Robert Valturio published at Verona, in 1483, his xii.
books de Re Militari, in which he first mentions the use of bombs. By
his patron Sigismund Malatesta, prince of Rimini, it had been addressed
with a Latin epistle to Mahomet II.]

[Footnote 6: According to Phranza, he assiduously studied the lives and
actions of Alexander, Augustus, Constantine, and Theodosius. I have read
somewhere, that Plutarch's Lives were translated by his orders into the
Turkish language. If the sultan himself understood Greek, it must have
been for the benefit of his subjects. Yet these lives are a school of
freedom as well as of valor. *
Note: Von Hammer disdainfully rejects this fable of Mahomet's knowledge
of languages. Knolles adds, that he delighted in reading the history of
Alexander the Great, and of Julius Cæsar. The former, no doubt, was the
Persian legend, which, it is remarkable, came back to Europe, and was
popular throughout the middle ages as the "Romaunt of Alexander." The
founder of the Imperial dynasty of Rome, according to M. Von Hammer, is
altogether unknown in the East. Mahomet was a great patron of Turkish
literature: the romantic poems of Persia were translated, or imitated,
under his patronage. Von Hammer vol ii. p. 268.--M.]

[Footnote 7: The famous Gentile Bellino, whom he had invited from
Venice, was dismissed with a chain and collar of gold, and a purse
of 3000 ducats. With Voltaire I laugh at the foolish story of a
slave purposely beheaded to instruct the painter in the action of the

[Footnote 701: This story, the subject of Johnson's Irene, is rejected by
M. Von Hammer, vol. ii. p. 208. The German historian's general
estimate of Mahomet's character agrees in its more marked features with

[Footnote 8: These Imperial drunkards were Soliman I., Selim II., and
Amurath IV., (Cantemir, p. 61.) The sophis of Persia can produce a more
regular succession; and in the last age, our European travellers were
the witnesses and companions of their revels.]

In the reign of Amurath, he twice tasted of royalty, and twice descended
from the throne: his tender age was incapable of opposing his father's
restoration, but never could he forgive the viziers who had recommended
that salutary measure. His nuptials were celebrated with the daughter
of a Turkman emir; and, after a festival of two months, he departed
from Adrianople with his bride, to reside in the government of Magnesia.
Before the end of six weeks, he was recalled by a sudden message from
the divan, which announced the decease of Amurath, and the mutinous
spirit of the Janizaries. His speed and vigor commanded their obedience:
he passed the Hellespont with a chosen guard: and at the distance of a
mile from Adrianople, the viziers and emirs, the imams and cadhis, the
soldiers and the people, fell prostrate before the new sultan. They
affected to weep, they affected to rejoice: he ascended the throne at
the age of twenty-one years, and removed the cause of sedition by
the death, the inevitable death, of his infant brothers. [9] [901] The
ambassadors of Europe and Asia soon appeared to congratulate his
accession and solicit his friendship; and to all he spoke the language
of moderation and peace. The confidence of the Greek emperor was
revived by the solemn oaths and fair assurances with which he sealed
the ratification of the treaty: and a rich domain on the banks of the
Strymon was assigned for the annual payment of three hundred thousand
aspers, the pension of an Ottoman prince, who was detained at his
request in the Byzantine court. Yet the neighbors of Mahomet might
tremble at the severity with which a youthful monarch reformed the pomp
of his father's household: the expenses of luxury were applied to those
of ambition, and a useless train of seven thousand falconers was either
dismissed from his service, or enlisted in his troops. [902] In the first
summer of his reign, he visited with an army the Asiatic provinces;
but after humbling the pride, Mahomet accepted the submission, of the
Caramanian, that he might not be diverted by the smallest obstacle from
the execution of his great design. [10]

[Footnote 9: Calapin, one of these royal infants, was saved from
his cruel brother, and baptized at Rome under the name of Callistus
Othomannus. The emperor Frederic III. presented him with an estate
in Austria, where he ended his life; and Cuspinian, who in his youth
conversed with the aged prince at Vienna, applauds his piety and wisdom,
(de Cæsaribus, p. 672, 673.)]

[Footnote 901: Ahmed, the son of a Greek princess, was the object of his
especial jealousy. Von Hammer, p. 501.--M.]

[Footnote 902: The Janizaries obtained, for the first time, a gift on the
accession of a new sovereign, p. 504.--M.]

[Footnote 10: See the accession of Mahomet II. in Ducas, (c. 33,)
Phranza, (l. i. c. 33, l. iii. c. 2,) Chalcondyles, (l. vii. p. 199,)
and Cantemir, (p. 96.)]

The Mahometan, and more especially the Turkish casuists, have pronounced
that no promise can bind the faithful against the interest and duty of
their religion; and that the sultan may abrogate his own treaties and
those of his predecessors. The justice and magnanimity of Amurath had
scorned this immoral privilege; but his son, though the proudest of
men, could stoop from ambition to the basest arts of dissimulation
and deceit. Peace was on his lips, while war was in his heart: he
incessantly sighed for the possession of Constantinople; and the Greeks,
by their own indiscretion, afforded the first pretence of the fatal
rupture. [11] Instead of laboring to be forgotten, their ambassadors
pursued his camp, to demand the payment, and even the increase, of their
annual stipend: the divan was importuned by their complaints, and the
vizier, a secret friend of the Christians, was constrained to deliver
the sense of his brethren. "Ye foolish and miserable Romans," said
Calil, "we know your devices, and ye are ignorant of your own danger!
The scrupulous Amurath is no more; his throne is occupied by a young
conqueror, whom no laws can bind, and no obstacles can resist: and if
you escape from his hands, give praise to the divine clemency, which yet
delays the chastisement of your sins. Why do ye seek to affright us by
vain and indirect menaces? Release the fugitive Orchan, crown him sultan
of Romania; call the Hungarians from beyond the Danube; arm against us
the nations of the West; and be assured, that you will only provoke and
precipitate your ruin." But if the fears of the ambassadors were alarmed
by the stern language of the vizier, they were soothed by the courteous
audience and friendly speeches of the Ottoman prince; and Mahomet
assured them that on his return to Adrianople he would redress the
grievances, and consult the true interests, of the Greeks. No sooner had
he repassed the Hellespont, than he issued a mandate to suppress their
pension, and to expel their officers from the banks of the Strymon: in
this measure he betrayed a hostile mind; and the second order announced,
and in some degree commenced, the siege of Constantinople. In the narrow
pass of the Bosphorus, an Asiatic fortress had formerly been raised by
his grandfather; in the opposite situation, on the European side, he
resolved to erect a more formidable castle; and a thousand masons were
commanded to assemble in the spring on a spot named Asomaton, about five
miles from the Greek metropolis. [12] Persuasion is the resource of
the feeble; and the feeble can seldom persuade: the ambassadors of the
emperor attempted, without success, to divert Mahomet from the execution
of his design. They represented, that his grandfather had solicited the
permission of Manuel to build a castle on his own territories; but that
this double fortification, which would command the strait, could only
tend to violate the alliance of the nations; to intercept the Latins who
traded in the Black Sea, and perhaps to annihilate the subsistence
of the city. "I form the enterprise," replied the perfidious sultan,
"against the city; but the empire of Constantinople is measured by her
walls. Have you forgot the distress to which my father was reduced when
you formed a league with the Hungarians; when they invaded our country
by land, and the Hellespont was occupied by the French galleys? Amurath
was compelled to force the passage of the Bosphorus; and your strength
was not equal to your malevolence. I was then a child at Adrianople;
the Moslems trembled; and, for a while, the _Gabours_ [13] insulted our
disgrace. But when my father had triumphed in the field of Warna, he
vowed to erect a fort on the western shore, and that vow it is my duty
to accomplish. Have ye the right, have ye the power, to control my
actions on my own ground? For that ground is my own: as far as the
shores of the Bosphorus, Asia is inhabited by the Turks, and Europe is
deserted by the Romans. Return, and inform your king, that the present
Ottoman is far different from his predecessors; that _his_ resolutions
surpass _their_ wishes; and that _he_ performs more _than_ they could
resolve. Return in safety--but the next who delivers a similar message
may expect to be flayed alive." After this declaration, Constantine,
the first of the Greeks in spirit as in rank, [14] had determined to
unsheathe the sword, and to resist the approach and establishment of the
Turks on the Bosphorus. He was disarmed by the advice of his civil and
ecclesiastical ministers, who recommended a system less generous,
and even less prudent, than his own, to approve their patience and
long-suffering, to brand the Ottoman with the name and guilt of an
aggressor, and to depend on chance and time for their own safety, and
the destruction of a fort which could not long be maintained in the
neighborhood of a great and populous city. Amidst hope and fear, the
fears of the wise, and the hopes of the credulous, the winter rolled
away; the proper business of each man, and each hour, was postponed;
and the Greeks shut their eyes against the impending danger, till the
arrival of the spring and the sultan decide the assurance of their ruin.

[Footnote 11: Before I enter on the siege of Constantinople, I shall
observe, that except the short hints of Cantemir and Leunclavius, I have
not been able to obtain any Turkish account of this conquest; such an
account as we possess of the siege of Rhodes by Soliman II., (Mémoires
de l'Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xxvi. p. 723--769.) I must
therefore depend on the Greeks, whose prejudices, in some degree, are
subdued by their distress. Our standard texts ar those of Ducas,
(c. 34--42,) Phranza, (l. iii. c. 7--20,) Chalcondyles, (l. viii. p.
201--214,) and Leonardus Chiensis, (Historia C. P. a Turco expugnatæ.
Norimberghæ, 1544, in 4to., 20 leaves.) The last of these narratives is
the earliest in date, since it was composed in the Isle of Chios, the
16th of August, 1453, only seventy-nine days after the loss of the city,
and in the first confusion of ideas and passions. Some hints may
be added from an epistle of Cardinal Isidore (in Farragine Rerum
Turcicarum, ad calcem Chalcondyl. Clauseri, Basil, 1556) to Pope
Nicholas V., and a tract of Theodosius Zygomala, which he addressed in
the year 1581 to Martin Crucius, (Turco-Græcia, l. i. p. 74--98, Basil,
1584.) The various facts and materials are briefly, though critically,
reviewed by Spondanus, (A.D. 1453, No. 1--27.) The hearsay relations of
Monstrelet and the distant Latins I shall take leave to disregard. *
Note: M. Von Hammer has added little new information on the siege of
Constantinople, and, by his general agreement, has borne an honorable
testimony to the truth, and by his close imitation to the graphic spirit
and boldness, of Gibbon.--M.]

[Footnote 12: The situation of the fortress, and the topography of the
Bosphorus, are best learned from Peter Gyllius, (de Bosphoro Thracio, l.
ii. c. 13,) Leunclavius, (Pandect. p. 445,) and Tournefort, (Voyage dans
le Levant, tom. ii. lettre xv. p. 443, 444;) but I must regret the map
or plan which Tournefort sent to the French minister of the marine. The
reader may turn back to chap. xvii. of this History.]

[Footnote 13: The opprobrious name which the Turks bestow on the
infidels, is expressed Kabour by Ducas, and _Giaour_ by Leunclavius and
the moderns. The former term is derived by Ducange (Gloss. Græc tom.
i. p. 530) from Kabouron, in vulgar Greek, a tortoise, as denoting a
retrograde motion from the faith. But alas! _Gabour_ is no more
than _Gheber_, which was transferred from the Persian to the Turkish
language, from the worshippers of fire to those of the crucifix,
(D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 375.)]

[Footnote 14: Phranza does justice to his master's sense and courage.
Calliditatem hominis non ignorans Imperator prior arma movere
constituit, and stigmatizes the folly of the cum sacri tum profani
proceres, which he had heard, amentes spe vanâ pasci. Ducas was not a

Of a master who never forgives, the orders are seldom disobeyed. On the
twenty-sixth of March, the appointed spot of Asomaton was covered with
an active swarm of Turkish artificers; and the materials by sea and land
were diligently transported from Europe and Asia. [15] The lime had been
burnt in Cataphrygia; the timber was cut down in the woods of Heraclea
and Nicomedia; and the stones were dug from the Anatolian quarries. Each
of the thousand masons was assisted by two workmen; and a measure of two
cubits was marked for their daily task. The fortress [16] was built in a
triangular form; each angle was flanked by a strong and massy tower; one
on the declivity of the hill, two along the sea-shore: a thickness of
twenty-two feet was assigned for the walls, thirty for the towers; and
the whole building was covered with a solid platform of lead. Mahomet
himself pressed and directed the work with indefatigable ardor: his
three viziers claimed the honor of finishing their respective towers;
the zeal of the cadhis emulated that of the Janizaries; the meanest
labor was ennobled by the service of God and the sultan; and the
diligence of the multitude was quickened by the eye of a despot, whose
smile was the hope of fortune, and whose frown was the messenger of
death. The Greek emperor beheld with terror the irresistible progress
of the work; and vainly strove, by flattery and gifts, to assuage
an implacable foe, who sought, and secretly fomented, the slightest
occasion of a quarrel. Such occasions must soon and inevitably be found.
The ruins of stately churches, and even the marble columns which had
been consecrated to Saint Michael the archangel, were employed without
scruple by the profane and rapacious Moslems; and some Christians, who
presumed to oppose the removal, received from their hands the crown
of martyrdom. Constantine had solicited a Turkish guard to protect the
fields and harvests of his subjects: the guard was fixed; but their
first order was to allow free pasture to the mules and horses of the
camp, and to defend their brethren if they should be molested by the
natives. The retinue of an Ottoman chief had left their horses to pass
the night among the ripe corn; the damage was felt; the insult was
resented; and several of both nations were slain in a tumultuous
conflict. Mahomet listened with joy to the complaint; and a detachment
was commanded to exterminate the guilty village: the guilty had fled;
but forty innocent and unsuspecting reapers were massacred by the
soldiers. Till this provocation, Constantinople had been opened to the
visits of commerce and curiosity: on the first alarm, the gates were
shut; but the emperor, still anxious for peace, released on the third
day his Turkish captives; [17] and expressed, in a last message, the
firm resignation of a Christian and a soldier. "Since neither oaths, nor
treaty, nor submission, can secure peace, pursue," said he to Mahomet,
"your impious warfare. My trust is in God alone; if it should please
him to mollify your heart, I shall rejoice in the happy change; if he
delivers the city into your hands, I submit without a murmur to his holy
will. But until the Judge of the earth shall pronounce between us, it
is my duty to live and die in the defence of my people." The sultan's
answer was hostile and decisive: his fortifications were completed; and
before his departure for Adrianople, he stationed a vigilant Aga and
four hundred Janizaries, to levy a tribute on the ships of every nation
that should pass within the reach of their cannon. A Venetian vessel,
refusing obedience to the new lords of the Bosphorus, was sunk with a
single bullet. [171] The master and thirty sailors escaped in the boat; but
they were dragged in chains to the _Porte_: the chief was impaled;
his companions were beheaded; and the historian Ducas [18] beheld,
at Demotica, their bodies exposed to the wild beasts. The siege of
Constantinople was deferred till the ensuing spring; but an Ottoman
army marched into the Morea to divert the force of the brothers of
Constantine. At this æra of calamity, one of these princes, the despot
Thomas, was blessed or afflicted with the birth of a son; "the last
heir," says the plaintive Phranza, "of the last spark of the Roman
empire." [19]

[Footnote 15: Instead of this clear and consistent account, the Turkish
Annals (Cantemir, p. 97) revived the foolish tale of the ox's hide, and
Dido's stratagem in the foundation of Carthage. These annals (unless we
are swayed by an anti-Christian prejudice) are far less valuable than
the Greek historians.]

[Footnote 16: In the dimensions of this fortress, the old castle
of Europe, Phranza does not exactly agree with Chalcondyles, whose
description has been verified on the spot by his editor Leunclavius.]

[Footnote 17: Among these were some pages of Mahomet, so conscious of
his inexorable rigor, that they begged to lose their heads in the city
unless they could return before sunset.]

[Footnote 171: This was from a model cannon cast by Urban the Hungarian.
See p. 291. Von Hammer. p. 510.--M.]

[Footnote 18: Ducas, c. 35. Phranza, (l. iii. c. 3,) who had sailed in
his vessel, commemorates the Venetian pilot as a martyr.]

[Footnote 19: Auctum est Palæologorum genus, et Imperii successor,
parvæque Romanorum scintillæ hæres natus, Andreas, &c., (Phranza, l.
iii. c. 7.) The strong expression was inspired by his feelings.]

The Greeks and the Turks passed an anxious and sleepless winter: the
former were kept awake by their fears, the latter by their hopes; both
by the preparations of defence and attack; and the two emperors, who
had the most to lose or to gain, were the most deeply affected by the
national sentiment. In Mahomet, that sentiment was inflamed by the
ardor of his youth and temper: he amused his leisure with building at
Adrianople [20] the lofty palace of Jehan Numa, (the watchtower of the
world;) but his serious thoughts were irrevocably bent on the conquest
of the city of Cæsar. At the dead of night, about the second watch, he
started from his bed, and commanded the instant attendance of his
prime vizier. The message, the hour, the prince, and his own situation,
alarmed the guilty conscience of Calil Basha; who had possessed the
confidence, and advised the restoration, of Amurath. On the accession of
the son, the vizier was confirmed in his office and the appearances of
favor; but the veteran statesman was not insensible that he trod on a
thin and slippery ice, which might break under his footsteps, and plunge
him in the abyss. His friendship for the Christians, which might be
innocent under the late reign, had stigmatized him with the name of
Gabour Ortachi, or foster-brother of the infidels; [21] and his avarice
entertained a venal and treasonable correspondence, which was detected
and punished after the conclusion of the war. On receiving the royal
mandate, he embraced, perhaps for the last time, his wife and children;
filled a cup with pieces of gold, hastened to the palace, adored the
sultan, and offered, according to the Oriental custom, the slight
tribute of his duty and gratitude. [22] "It is not my wish," said
Mahomet, "to resume my gifts, but rather to heap and multiply them
on thy head. In my turn, I ask a present far more valuable and
important;--Constantinople." As soon as the vizier had recovered from
his surprise, "The same God," said he, "who has already given thee so
large a portion of the Roman empire, will not deny the remnant, and the
capital. His providence, and thy power, assure thy success; and myself,
with the rest of thy faithful slaves, will sacrifice our lives and
fortunes."--"Lala," [23] (or preceptor,) continued the sultan, "do you
see this pillow? All the night, in my agitation, I have pulled it on one
side and the other; I have risen from my bed, again have I lain down;
yet sleep has not visited these weary eyes. Beware of the gold and
silver of the Romans: in arms we are superior; and with the aid of God,
and the prayers of the prophet, we shall speedily become masters of
Constantinople." To sound the disposition of his soldiers, he often
wandered through the streets alone, and in disguise; and it was fatal to
discover the sultan, when he wished to escape from the vulgar eye.
His hours were spent in delineating the plan of the hostile city; in
debating with his generals and engineers, on what spot he should erect
his batteries; on which side he should assault the walls; where
he should spring his mines; to what place he should apply his
scaling-ladders: and the exercises of the day repeated and proved the
lucubrations of the night.

[Footnote 20: Cantemir, p. 97, 98. The sultan was either doubtful of his
conquest, or ignorant of the superior merits of Constantinople. A city
or a kingdom may sometimes be ruined by the Imperial fortune of their

[Footnote 21: SuntrojoV, by the president Cousin, is translated _père_
nourricier, most correctly indeed from the Latin version; but in his
haste he has overlooked the note by which Ishmael Boillaud (ad Ducam, c.
35) acknowledges and rectifies his own error.]

[Footnote 22: The Oriental custom of never appearing without gifts
before a sovereign or a superior is of high antiquity, and seems
analogous with the idea of sacrifice, still more ancient and universal.
See the examples of such Persian gifts, Ælian, Hist. Var. l. i. c. 31,
32, 33.]

[Footnote 23: The _Lala_ of the Turks (Cantemir, p. 34) and the _Tata_
of the Greeks (Ducas, c. 35) are derived from the natural language of
children; and it may be observed, that all such primitive words which
denote their parents, are the simple repetition of one syllable,
composed of a labial or a dental consonant and an open vowel, (Des
Brosses, Méchanisme des Langues, tom. i. p. 231--247.)]

Chapter LXVIII: Reign Of Mahomet The Second, Extinction Of Eastern Empire.--Part II.

Among the implements of destruction, he studied with peculiar care
the recent and tremendous discovery of the Latins; and his artillery
surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world. A founder of cannon, a
Dane [231] or Hungarian, who had been almost starved in the Greek service,
deserted to the Moslems, and was liberally entertained by the Turkish
sultan. Mahomet was satisfied with the answer to his first question,
which he eagerly pressed on the artist. "Am I able to cast a cannon
capable of throwing a ball or stone of sufficient size to batter the
walls of Constantinople? I am not ignorant of their strength; but were
they more solid than those of Babylon, I could oppose an engine of
superior power: the position and management of that engine must be left
to your engineers." On this assurance, a foundry was established at
Adrianople: the metal was prepared; and at the end of three months,
Urban produced a piece of brass ordnance of stupendous, and almost
incredible magnitude; a measure of twelve palms is assigned to the bore;
and the stone bullet weighed above six hundred pounds. [24] [241] A vacant
place before the new palace was chosen for the first experiment; but to
prevent the sudden and mischievous effects of astonishment and fear, a
proclamation was issued, that the cannon would be discharged the ensuing
day. The explosion was felt or heard in a circuit of a hundred furlongs:
the ball, by the force of gunpowder, was driven above a mile; and on the
spot where it fell, it buried itself a fathom deep in the ground. For
the conveyance of this destructive engine, a frame or carriage of thirty
wagons was linked together and drawn along by a team of sixty oxen:
two hundred men on both sides were stationed, to poise and support the
rolling weight; two hundred and fifty workmen marched before to smooth
the way and repair the bridges; and near two months were employed in a
laborious journey of one hundred and fifty miles. A lively philosopher
[25] derides on this occasion the credulity of the Greeks, and observes,
with much reason, that we should always distrust the exaggerations of
a vanquished people. He calculates, that a ball, even o two hundred
pounds, would require a charge of one hundred and fifty pounds of
powder; and that the stroke would be feeble and impotent, since not
a fifteenth part of the mass could be inflamed at the same moment.
A stranger as I am to the art of destruction, I can discern that the
modern improvements of artillery prefer the number of pieces to the
weight of metal; the quickness of the fire to the sound, or even the
consequence, of a single explosion. Yet I dare not reject the positive
and unanimous evidence of contemporary writers; nor can it seem
improbable, that the first artists, in their rude and ambitious efforts,
should have transgressed the standard of moderation. A Turkish cannon,
more enormous than that of Mahomet, still guards the entrance of the
Dardanelles; and if the use be inconvenient, it has been found on a
late trial that the effect was far from contemptible. A stone bullet of
_eleven_ hundred pounds' weight was once discharged with three hundred
and thirty pounds of powder: at the distance of six hundred yards it
shivered into three rocky fragments; traversed the strait; and leaving
the waters in a foam, again rose and bounded against the opposite hill.

[Footnote 231: Gibbon has written Dane by mistake for Dace, or Dacian. Lax
ti kinoV?. Chalcondyles, Von Hammer, p. 510.--M.]

[Footnote 24: The Attic talent weighed about sixty minæ, or avoirdupois
pounds (see Hooper on Ancient Weights, Measures, &c.;) but among the
modern Greeks, that classic appellation was extended to a weight of one
hundred, or one hundred and twenty-five pounds, (Ducange, talanton.)
Leonardus Chiensis measured the ball or stone of the _second_ cannon
Lapidem, qui palmis undecim ex meis ambibat in gyro.]

[Footnote 241: 1200, according to Leonardus Chiensis. Von Hammer states
that he had himself seen the great cannon of the Dardanelles, in which
a tailor who had run away from his creditors, had concealed himself
several days Von Hammer had measured balls twelve spans round. Note. p.

[Footnote 25: See Voltaire, (Hist. Générale, c. xci. p. 294, 295.) He
was ambitious of universal monarchy; and the poet frequently aspires to
the name and style of an astronomer, a chemist, &c.]

[Footnote 26: The Baron de Tott, (tom. iii. p. 85--89,) who fortified
the Dardanelles against the Russians, describes in a lively, and even
comic, strain his own prowess, and the consternation of the Turks.
But that adventurous traveller does not possess the art of gaining our

While Mahomet threatened the capital of the East, the Greek emperor
implored with fervent prayers the assistance of earth and heaven. But
the invisible powers were deaf to his supplications; and Christendom
beheld with indifference the fall of Constantinople, while she derived
at least some promise of supply from the jealous and temporal policy of
the sultan of Egypt. Some states were too weak, and others too remote;
by some the danger was considered as imaginary by others as inevitable:
the Western princes were involved in their endless and domestic
quarrels; and the Roman pontiff was exasperated by the falsehood or
obstinacy of the Greeks. Instead of employing in their favor the
arms and treasures of Italy, Nicholas the Fifth had foretold their
approaching ruin; and his honor was engaged in the accomplishment of
his prophecy. [261] Perhaps he was softened by the last extremity o their
distress; but his compassion was tardy; his efforts were faint and
unavailing; and Constantinople had fallen, before the squadrons of Genoa
and Venice could sail from their harbors. [27] Even the princes of the
Morea and of the Greek islands affected a cold neutrality: the Genoese
colony of Galata negotiated a private treaty; and the sultan indulged
them in the delusive hope, that by his clemency they might survive the
ruin of the empire. A plebeian crowd, and some Byzantine nobles basely
withdrew from the danger of their country; and the avarice of the rich
denied the emperor, and reserved for the Turks, the secret treasures
which might have raised in their defence whole armies of mercenaries.
[28] The indigent and solitary prince prepared, however, to sustain his
formidable adversary; but if his courage were equal to the peril, his
strength was inadequate to the contest. In the beginning of the spring,
the Turkish vanguard swept the towns and villages as far as the gates of
Constantinople: submission was spared and protected; whatever presumed
to resist was exterminated with fire and sword. The Greek places on
the Black Sea, Mesembria, Acheloum, and Bizon, surrendered on the first
summons; Selybria alone deserved the honors of a siege or blockade; and
the bold inhabitants, while they were invested by land, launched their
boats, pillaged the opposite coast of Cyzicus, and sold their captives
in the public market. But on the approach of Mahomet himself all was
silent and prostrate: he first halted at the distance of five miles; and
from thence advancing in battle array, planted before the gates of St.
Romanus the Imperial standard; and on the sixth day of April formed the
memorable siege of Constantinople.

[Footnote 261: See the curious Christian and Mahometan predictions of the
fall of Constantinople, Von Hammer, p. 518.--M.]

[Footnote 27: Non audivit, indignum ducens, says the honest Antoninus;
but as the Roman court was afterwards grieved and ashamed, we find the
more courtly expression of Platina, in animo fuisse pontifici juvare
Græcos, and the positive assertion of Æneas Sylvius, structam classem
&c. (Spond. A.D. 1453, No. 3.)]

[Footnote 28: Antonin. in Proem.--Epist. Cardinal. Isidor. apud
Spondanum and Dr. Johnson, in the tragedy of Irene, has happily seized
this characteristic circumstance:--
     The groaning Greeks dig up the golden caverns.
     The accumulated wealth of hoarding ages;
     That wealth which, granted to their weeping prince,
     Had ranged embattled nations at their gates.]

The troops of Asia and Europe extended on the right and left from the
Propontis to the harbor; the Janizaries in the front were stationed
before the sultan's tent; the Ottoman line was covered by a deep
intrenchment; and a subordinate army enclosed the suburb of Galata, and
watched the doubtful faith of the Genoese. The inquisitive Philelphus,
who resided in Greece about thirty years before the siege, is confident,
that all the Turkish forces of any name or value could not exceed the
number of sixty thousand horse and twenty thousand foot; and he upbraids
the pusillanimity of the nations, who had tamely yielded to a handful
of Barbarians. Such indeed might be the regular establishment of the
_Capiculi_, [29] the troops of the Porte who marched with the prince, and
were paid from his royal treasury. But the bashaws, in their respective
governments, maintained or levied a provincial militia; many lands were
held by a military tenure; many volunteers were attracted by the hope
of spoil and the sound of the holy trumpet invited a swarm of hungry
and fearless fanatics, who might contribute at least to multiply the
terrors, and in a first attack to blunt the swords, of the Christians.
The whole mass of the Turkish powers is magnified by Ducas,
Chalcondyles, and Leonard of Chios, to the amount of three or four
hundred thousand men; but Phranza was a less remote and more accurate
judge; and his precise definition of two hundred and fifty-eight
thousand does not exceed the measure of experience and probability.
[30] The navy of the besiegers was less formidable: the Propontis was
overspread with three hundred and twenty sail; but of these no more than
eighteen could be rated as galleys of war; and the far greater part must
be degraded to the condition of store-ships and transports, which poured
into the camp fresh supplies of men, ammunition, and provisions. In her
last decay, Constantinople was still peopled with more than a hundred
thousand inhabitants; but these numbers are found in the accounts, not
of war, but of captivity; and they mostly consisted of mechanics, of
priests, of women, and of men devoid of that spirit which even women
have sometimes exerted for the common safety. I can suppose, I could
almost excuse, the reluctance of subjects to serve on a distant
frontier, at the will of a tyrant; but the man who dares not expose
his life in the defence of his children and his property, has lost in
society the first and most active energies of nature. By the emperor's
command, a particular inquiry had been made through the streets and
houses, how many of the citizens, or even of the monks, were able and
willing to bear arms for their country. The lists were intrusted to
Phranza; [31] and, after a diligent addition, he informed his master,
with grief and surprise, that the national defence was reduced to four
thousand nine hundred and seventy _Romans_. Between Constantine and
his faithful minister this comfortless secret was preserved; and
a sufficient proportion of shields, cross-bows, and muskets, were
distributed from the arsenal to the city bands. They derived some
accession from a body of two thousand strangers, under the command of
John Justiniani, a noble Genoese; a liberal donative was advanced to
these auxiliaries; and a princely recompense, the Isle of Lemnos, was
promised to the valor and victory of their chief. A strong chain was
drawn across the mouth of the harbor: it was supported by some Greek and
Italian vessels of war and merchandise; and the ships of every Christian
nation, that successively arrived from Candia and the Black Sea, were
detained for the public service. Against the powers of the Ottoman
empire, a city of the extent of thirteen, perhaps of sixteen, miles
was defended by a scanty garrison of seven or eight thousand soldiers.
Europe and Asia were open to the besiegers; but the strength and
provisions of the Greeks must sustain a daily decrease; nor could they
indulge the expectation of any foreign succor or supply.

[Footnote 29: The palatine troops are styled _Capiculi_, the
provincials, _Seratculi_; and most of the names and institutions of the
Turkish militia existed before the _Canon Nameh_ of Soliman II, from
which, and his own experience, Count Marsigli has composed his military
state of the Ottoman empire.]

[Footnote 30: The observation of Philelphus is approved by Cuspinian in
the year 1508, (de Cæsaribus, in Epilog. de Militiâ Turcicâ, p. 697.)
Marsigli proves, that the effective armies of the Turks are much less
numerous than they appear. In the army that besieged Constantinople
Leonardus Chiensis reckons no more than 15,000 Janizaries.]

[Footnote 31: Ego, eidem (Imp.) tabellas extribui non absque dolore et
mstitia, mansitque apud nos duos aliis occultus numerus, (Phranza, l.
iii. c. 8.) With some indulgence for national prejudices, we cannot
desire a more authentic witness, not only of public facts, but of
private counsels.]

The primitive Romans would have drawn their swords in the resolution
of death or conquest. The primitive Christians might have embraced each
other, and awaited in patience and charity the stroke of martyrdom.
But the Greeks of Constantinople were animated only by the spirit of
religion, and that spirit was productive only of animosity and discord.
Before his death, the emperor John Palæologus had renounced the
unpopular measure of a union with the Latins; nor was the idea revived,
till the distress of his brother Constantine imposed a last trial of
flattery and dissimulation. [32] With the demand of temporal aid,
his ambassadors were instructed to mingle the assurance of spiritual
obedience: his neglect of the church was excused by the urgent cares
of the state; and his orthodox wishes solicited the presence of a
Roman legate. The Vatican had been too often deluded; yet the signs of
repentance could not decently be overlooked; a legate was more easily
granted than an army; and about six months before the final destruction,
the cardinal Isidore of Russia appeared in that character with a retinue
of priests and soldiers. The emperor saluted him as a friend and father;
respectfully listened to his public and private sermons; and with the
most obsequious of the clergy and laymen subscribed the act of union,
as it had been ratified in the council of Florence. On the twelfth of
December, the two nations, in the church of St. Sophia, joined in the
communion of sacrifice and prayer; and the names of the two pontiffs
were solemnly commemorated; the names of Nicholas the Fifth, the vicar
of Christ, and of the patriarch Gregory, who had been driven into exile
by a rebellious people.

[Footnote 32: In Spondanus, the narrative of the union is not only
partial, but imperfect. The bishop of Pamiers died in 1642, and the
history of Ducas, which represents these scenes (c. 36, 37) with such
truth and spirit, was not printed till the year 1649.]

But the dress and language of the Latin priest who officiated at the
altar were an object of scandal; and it was observed with horror, that
he consecrated a cake or wafer of _unleavened_ bread, and poured cold
water into the cup of the sacrament. A national historian acknowledges
with a blush, that none of his countrymen, not the emperor himself, were
sincere in this occasional conformity. [33] Their hasty and unconditional
submission was palliated by a promise of future revisal; but the best,
or the worst, of their excuses was the confession of their own perjury.
When they were pressed by the reproaches of their honest brethren, "Have
patience," they whispered, "have patience till God shall have delivered
the city from the great dragon who seeks to devour us. You shall
then perceive whether we are truly reconciled with the Azymites." But
patience is not the attribute of zeal; nor can the arts of a court be
adapted to the freedom and violence of popular enthusiasm. From the dome
of St. Sophia the inhabitants of either sex, and of every degree, rushed
in crowds to the cell of the monk Gennadius, [34] to consult the oracle
of the church. The holy man was invisible; entranced, as it should seem,
in deep meditation, or divine rapture: but he had exposed on the door
of his cell a speaking tablet; and they successively withdrew, after
reading those tremendous words: "O miserable Romans, why will ye abandon
the truth? and why, instead of confiding in God, will ye put your trust
in the Italians? In losing your faith you will lose your city. Have
mercy on me, O Lord! I protest in thy presence that I am innocent of
the crime. O miserable Romans, consider, pause, and repent. At the same
moment that you renounce the religion of your fathers, by embracing
impiety, you submit to a foreign servitude." According to the advice
of Gennadius, the religious virgins, as pure as angels, and as proud as
dæmons, rejected the act of union, and abjured all communion with the
present and future associates of the Latins; and their example was
applauded and imitated by the greatest part of the clergy and people.
From the monastery, the devout Greeks dispersed themselves in the
taverns; drank confusion to the slaves of the pope; emptied their
glasses in honor of the image of the holy Virgin; and besought her
to defend against Mahomet the city which she had formerly saved from
Chosroes and the Chagan. In the double intoxication of zeal and wine,
they valiantly exclaimed, "What occasion have we for succor, or union,
or Latins? Far from us be the worship of the Azymites!" During the
winter that preceded the Turkish conquest, the nation was distracted by
this epidemical frenzy; and the season of Lent, the approach of Easter,
instead of breathing charity and love, served only to fortify the
obstinacy and influence of the zealots. The confessors scrutinized and
alarmed the conscience of their votaries, and a rigorous penance was
imposed on those who had received the communion from a priest who had
given an express or tacit consent to the union. His service at the
altar propagated the infection to the mute and simple spectators of the
ceremony: they forfeited, by the impure spectacle, the virtue of the
sacerdotal character; nor was it lawful, even in danger of sudden death,
to invoke the assistance of their prayers or absolution. No sooner had
the church of St. Sophia been polluted by the Latin sacrifice, than it
was deserted as a Jewish synagogue, or a heathen temple, by the clergy
and people; and a vast and gloomy silence prevailed in that venerable
dome, which had so often smoked with a cloud of incense, blazed
with innumerable lights, and resounded with the voice of prayer and
thanksgiving. The Latins were the most odious of heretics and infidels;
and the first minister of the empire, the great duke, was heard to
declare, that he had rather behold in Constantinople the turban of
Mahomet, than the pope's tiara or a cardinal's hat. [35] A sentiment
so unworthy of Christians and patriots was familiar and fatal to the
Greeks: the emperor was deprived of the affection and support of his
subjects; and their native cowardice was sanctified by resignation to
the divine decree, or the visionary hope of a miraculous deliverance.

[Footnote 33: Phranza, one of the conforming Greeks, acknowledges that
the measure was adopted only propter spem auxilii; he affirms with
pleasure, that those who refused to perform their devotions in St.
Sophia, extra culpam et in pace essent, (l. iii. c. 20.)]

[Footnote 34: His primitive and secular name was George Scholarius,
which he changed for that of Gennadius, either when he became a monk or
a patriarch. His defence, at Florence, of the same union, which he so
furiously attacked at Constantinople, has tempted Leo Allatius (Diatrib.
de Georgiis, in Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 760--786) to divide
him into two men; but Renaudot (p. 343--383) has restored the identity
of his person and the duplicity of his character.]

[Footnote 35: Fakiolion, kaluptra, may be fairly translated a cardinal's
hat. The difference of the Greek and Latin habits imbittered the

Of the triangle which composes the figure of Constantinople, the two
sides along the sea were made inaccessible to an enemy; the Propontis by
nature, and the harbor by art. Between the two waters, the basis of the
triangle, the land side was protected by a double wall, and a deep ditch
of the depth of one hundred feet. Against this line of fortification,
which Phranza, an eye-witness, prolongs to the measure of six miles,
[36] the Ottomans directed their principal attack; and the emperor, after
distributing the service and command of the most perilous stations,
undertook the defence of the external wall. In the first days of the
siege the Greek soldiers descended into the ditch, or sallied into
the field; but they soon discovered, that, in the proportion of their
numbers, one Christian was of more value than twenty Turks: and, after
these bold preludes, they were prudently content to maintain the rampart
with their missile weapons. Nor should this prudence be accused of
pusillanimity. The nation was indeed pusillanimous and base; but
the last Constantine deserves the name of a hero: his noble band of
volunteers was inspired with Roman virtue; and the foreign auxiliaries
supported the honor of the Western chivalry. The incessant volleys of
lances and arrows were accompanied with the smoke, the sound, and the
fire, of their musketry and cannon. Their small arms discharged at the
same time either five, or even ten, balls of lead, of the size of a
walnut; and, according to the closeness of the ranks and the force of
the powder, several breastplates and bodies were transpierced by the
same shot. But the Turkish approaches were soon sunk in trenches, or
covered with ruins. Each day added to the science of the Christians; but
their inadequate stock of gunpowder was wasted in the operations of each
day. Their ordnance was not powerful, either in size or number; and
if they possessed some heavy cannon, they feared to plant them on the
walls, lest the aged structure should be shaken and overthrown by the
explosion. [37] The same destructive secret had been revealed to the
Moslems; by whom it was employed with the superior energy of zeal,
riches, and despotism. The great cannon of Mahomet has been separately
noticed; an important and visible object in the history of the times:
but that enormous engine was flanked by two fellows almost of equal
magnitude: [38] the long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed
against the walls; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most
accessible places; and of one of these it is ambiguously expressed, that
it was mounted with one hundred and thirty guns, or that it discharged
one hundred and thirty bullets. Yet in the power and activity of the
sultan, we may discern the infancy of the new science. Under a master
who counted the moments, the great cannon could be loaded and fired no
more than seven times in one day. [39] The heated metal unfortunately
burst; several workmen were destroyed; and the skill of an artist [391] was
admired who bethought himself of preventing the danger and the accident,
by pouring oil, after each explosion, into the mouth of the cannon.

[Footnote 36: We are obliged to reduce the Greek miles to the smallest
measure which is preserved in the wersts of Russia, of 547 French
_toises_, and of 104 2/5 to a degree. The six miles of Phranza do not
exceed four English miles, (D'Anville, Mesures Itineraires, p. 61, 123,

[Footnote 37: At indies doctiores nostri facti paravere contra hostes
machinamenta, quæ tamen avare dabantur. Pulvis erat nitri modica exigua;
tela modica; bombardæ, si aderant incommoditate loci primum hostes
offendere, maceriebus alveisque tectos, non poterant. Nam si quæ magnæ
erant, ne murus concuteretur noster, quiescebant. This passage of
Leonardus Chiensis is curious and important.]

[Footnote 38: According to Chalcondyles and Phranza, the great cannon
burst; an incident which, according to Ducas, was prevented by the
artist's skill. It is evident that they do not speak of the same gun. *
Note: They speak, one of a Byzantine, one of a Turkish, gun. Von
Hammer note, p. 669.]

[Footnote 39: Near a hundred years after the siege of Constantinople,
the French and English fleets in the Channel were proud of firing 300
shot in an engagement of two hours, (Mémoires de Martin du Bellay, l.
x., in the Collection Générale, tom. xxi. p. 239.)]

[Footnote 391: The founder of the gun. Von Hammer, p. 526.]

The first random shots were productive of more sound than effect; and
it was by the advice of a Christian, that the engineers were taught to
level their aim against the two opposite sides of the salient angles of
a bastion. However imperfect, the weight and repetition of the fire made
some impression on the walls; and the Turks, pushing their approaches
to the edge of the ditch, attempted to fill the enormous chasm, and to
build a road to the assault. [40] Innumerable fascines, and hogsheads,
and trunks of trees, were heaped on each other; and such was the
impetuosity of the throng, that the foremost and the weakest were pushed
headlong down the precipice, and instantly buried under the accumulated
mass. To fill the ditch was the toil of the besiegers; to clear away
the rubbish was the safety of the besieged; and after a long and bloody
conflict, the web that had been woven in the day was still unravelled in
the night. The next resource of Mahomet was the practice of mines; but
the soil was rocky; in every attempt he was stopped and undermined
by the Christian engineers; nor had the art been yet invented of
replenishing those subterraneous passages with gunpowder, and
blowing whole towers and cities into the air. [41] A circumstance that
distinguishes the siege of Constantinople is the reunion of the ancient
and modern artillery. The cannon were intermingled with the mechanical
engines for casting stones and darts; the bullet and the battering-ram
[411] were directed against the same walls: nor had the discovery of
gunpowder superseded the use of the liquid and unextinguishable fire. A
wooden turret of the largest size was advanced on rollers this portable
magazine of ammunition and fascines was protected by a threefold
covering of bulls' hides: incessant volleys were securely discharged
from the loop-holes; in the front, three doors were contrived for the
alternate sally and retreat of the soldiers and workmen. They ascended
by a staircase to the upper platform, and, as high as the level of that
platform, a scaling-ladder could be raised by pulleys to form a
bridge, and grapple with the adverse rampart. By these various arts of
annoyance, some as new as they were pernicious to the Greeks, the tower
of St. Romanus was at length overturned: after a severe struggle, the
Turks were repulsed from the breach, and interrupted by darkness; but
they trusted that with the return of light they should renew the attack
with fresh vigor and decisive success. Of this pause of action, this
interval of hope, each moment was improved, by the activity of the
emperor and Justiniani, who passed the night on the spot, and urged the
labors which involved the safety of the church and city. At the dawn of
day, the impatient sultan perceived, with astonishment and grief, that
his wooden turret had been reduced to ashes: the ditch was cleared and
restored; and the tower of St. Romanus was again strong and entire. He
deplored the failure of his design; and uttered a profane exclamation,
that the word of the thirty-seven thousand prophets should not have
compelled him to believe that such a work, in so short a time, could
have been accomplished by the infidels.

[Footnote 40: I have selected some curious facts, without striving to
emulate the bloody and obstinate eloquence of the abbé de Vertot, in
his prolix descriptions of the sieges of Rhodes, Malta, &c. But that
agreeable historian had a turn for romance; and as he wrote to please
the order he had adopted the same spirit of enthusiasm and chivalry.]

[Footnote 41: The first theory of mines with gunpowder appears in 1480
in a MS. of George of Sienna, (Tiraboschi, tom. vi. P. i. p. 324.)
They were first practised by Sarzanella, in 1487; but the honor and
improvement in 1503 is ascribed to Peter of Navarre, who used them with
success in the wars of Italy, (Hist. de la Ligue de Cambray, tom. ii. p.

[Footnote 411: The battering-ram according to Von Hammer, (p. 670,) was
not used.--M.]

Chapter LXVIII: Reign Of Mahomet The Second, Extinction Of Eastern Empire.--Part III.

The generosity of the Christian princes was cold and tardy; but in the
first apprehension of a siege, Constantine had negotiated, in the
isles of the Archipelago, the Morea, and Sicily, the most indispensable
supplies. As early as the beginning of April, five [42] great ships,
equipped for merchandise and war, would have sailed from the harbor of
Chios, had not the wind blown obstinately from the north. [43] One of
these ships bore the Imperial flag; the remaining four belonged to the
Genoese; and they were laden with wheat and barley, with wine, oil, and
vegetables, and, above all, with soldiers and mariners for the service
of the capital. After a tedious delay, a gentle breeze, and, on the
second day, a strong gale from the south, carried them through the
Hellespont and the Propontis: but the city was already invested by sea
and land; and the Turkish fleet, at the entrance of the Bosphorus, was
stretched from shore to shore, in the form of a crescent, to intercept,
or at least to repel, these bold auxiliaries. The reader who has present
to his mind the geographical picture of Constantinople, will conceive
and admire the greatness of the spectacle. The five Christian ships
continued to advance with joyful shouts, and a full press both of sails
and oars, against a hostile fleet of three hundred vessels; and the
rampart, the camp, the coasts of Europe and Asia, were lined with
innumerable spectators, who anxiously awaited the event of this
momentous succor. At the first view that event could not appear
doubtful; the superiority of the Moslems was beyond all measure or
account: and, in a calm, their numbers and valor must inevitably have
prevailed. But their hasty and imperfect navy had been created, not by
the genius of the people, but by the will of the sultan: in the height
of their prosperity, the Turks have acknowledged, that if God had given
them the earth, he had left the sea to the infidels; [44] and a series of
defeats, a rapid progress of decay, has established the truth of their
modest confession. Except eighteen galleys of some force, the rest of
their fleet consisted of open boats, rudely constructed and awkwardly
managed, crowded with troops, and destitute of cannon; and since courage
arises in a great measure from the consciousness of strength, the
bravest of the Janizaries might tremble on a new element. In the
Christian squadron, five stout and lofty ships were guided by skilful
pilots, and manned with the veterans of Italy and Greece, long practised
in the arts and perils of the sea. Their weight was directed to sink or
scatter the weak obstacles that impeded their passage: their artillery
swept the waters: their liquid fire was poured on the heads of the
adversaries, who, with the design of boarding, presumed to approach
them; and the winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest
navigators. In this conflict, the Imperial vessel, which had been almost
overpowered, was rescued by the Genoese; but the Turks, in a distant
and closer attack, were twice repulsed with considerable loss. Mahomet
himself sat on horseback on the beach to encourage their valor by his
voice and presence, by the promise of reward, and by fear more potent
than the fear of the enemy. The passions of his soul, and even
the gestures of his body, [45] seemed to imitate the actions of the
combatants; and, as if he had been the lord of nature, he spurred
his horse with a fearless and impotent effort into the sea. His loud
reproaches, and the clamors of the camp, urged the Ottomans to a third
attack, more fatal and bloody than the two former; and I must repeat,
though I cannot credit, the evidence of Phranza, who affirms, from their
own mouth, that they lost above twelve thousand men in the slaughter of
the day. They fled in disorder to the shores of Europe and Asia,
while the Christian squadron, triumphant and unhurt, steered along the
Bosphorus, and securely anchored within the chain of the harbor. In the
confidence of victory, they boasted that the whole Turkish power must
have yielded to their arms; but the admiral, or captain bashaw, found
some consolation for a painful wound in his eye, by representing that
accident as the cause of his defeat. Balthi Ogli was a renegade of the
race of the Bulgarian princes: his military character was tainted with
the unpopular vice of avarice; and under the despotism of the prince or
people, misfortune is a sufficient evidence of guilt. [451] His rank and
services were annihilated by the displeasure of Mahomet. In the royal
presence, the captain bashaw was extended on the ground by four slaves,
and received one hundred strokes with a golden rod: [46] his death had
been pronounced; and he adored the clemency of the sultan, who was
satisfied with the milder punishment of confiscation and exile. The
introduction of this supply revived the hopes of the Greeks, and accused
the supineness of their Western allies. Amidst the deserts of Anatolia
and the rocks of Palestine, the millions of the crusades had buried
themselves in a voluntary and inevitable grave; but the situation of
the Imperial city was strong against her enemies, and accessible to her
friends; and a rational and moderate armament of the marine states might
have saved the relics of the Roman name, and maintained a Christian
fortress in the heart of the Ottoman empire. Yet this was the sole and
feeble attempt for the deliverance of Constantinople: the more distant
powers were insensible of its danger; and the ambassador of Hungary, or
at least of Huniades, resided in the Turkish camp, to remove the fears,
and to direct the operations, of the sultan. [47]

[Footnote 42: It is singular that the Greeks should not agree in the
number of these illustrious vessels; the _five_ of Ducas, the _four_of
Phranza and Leonardus, and the _two_ of Chalcondyles, must be extended
to the smaller, or confined to the larger, size. Voltaire, in giving one
of these ships to Frederic III., confounds the emperors of the East and

[Footnote 43: In bold defiance, or rather in gross ignorance, of
language and geography, the president Cousin detains them in Chios with
a south, and wafts them to Constantinople with a north, wind.]

[Footnote 44: The perpetual decay and weakness of the Turkish navy
may be observed in Ricaut, (State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 372--378,)
Thevenot, (Voyages, P. i. p. 229--242, and Tott), (Mémoires, tom. iii;)
the last of whom is always solicitous to amuse and amaze his reader.]

[Footnote 45: I must confess that I have before my eyes the living
picture which Thucydides (l. vii. c. 71) has drawn of the passions and
gestures of the Athenians in a naval engagement in the great harbor of

[Footnote 451: According to Ducas, one of the Afabi beat out his eye with
a stone Compare Von Hammer.--M.]

[Footnote 46: According to the exaggeration or corrupt text of Ducas,
(c. 38,) this golden bar was of the enormous or incredible weight of 500
libræ, or pounds. Bouillaud's reading of 500 drachms, or five pounds,
is sufficient to exercise the arm of Mahomet, and bruise the back of his

[Footnote 47: Ducas, who confesses himself ill informed of the affairs
of Hungary assigns a motive of superstition, a fatal belief that
Constantinople would be the term of the Turkish conquests. See Phranza
(l. iii. c. 20) and Spondanus.]

It was difficult for the Greeks to penetrate the secret of the divan;
yet the Greeks are persuaded, that a resistance so obstinate and
surprising, had fatigued the perseverance of Mahomet. He began to
meditate a retreat; and the siege would have been speedily raised,
if the ambition and jealousy of the second vizier had not opposed
the perfidious advice of Calil Bashaw, who still maintained a secret
correspondence with the Byzantine court. The reduction of the city
appeared to be hopeless, unless a double attack could be made from the
harbor as well as from the land; but the harbor was inaccessible: an
impenetrable chain was now defended by eight large ships, more than
twenty of a smaller size, with several galleys and sloops; and, instead
of forcing this barrier, the Turks might apprehend a naval sally, and
a second encounter in the open sea. In this perplexity, the genius of
Mahomet conceived and executed a plan of a bold and marvellous cast, of
transporting by land his lighter vessels and military stores from the
Bosphorus into the higher part of the harbor. The distance is about ten
[471] miles; the g