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A.D. 527-565.] THEIE INVASIONS OF GBEECE.
commanded the passage of the Upper Danube.* The hopes or fears of the barbarians; their intestine union or discord; the accident of a frozen or shallow stream; the prospect of harvest or vintage; the prosperity or distress of the Bomans; were the causes which produced the uniform repetition of annual visits,f tedious in the narrative, and destructive in the event. The same year, and possibly the same month, in which Ravenna surrendered, was marked by an invasion of the Huns or Bulgarians, so dreadful, that it almost effaced the memory of their past inroads. They spread from the suburbs of Constantinople to the Ionian Gulf, destroyed thirty-two cities or castles, erased Potidsea, which Athens had built and Philip had besieged, and repassed the Danube, dragging at their horses' heels one hundred and twenty thousand of the subjects of Justinian. In a subsequent inroad they pierced the wall of the Thracian Chersonesus, extirpated the habitations and the inhabitants, boldly traversed the Hellespont, and returned to their companions, laden with the spoils of Asia. Another party, which seemed a multitude in the eyes of the Bomans, penetrated, without opposition, from the straits of Thermopyla? to the isthmus of Corinth-; and the last ruin of Greece has appeared an object too minute for the attention of history. The works which the emperor raised for the protection, but at the expense, of his subjects served only to disclose the weakness of some neglected part; and the walls, which by flattery had been deemed impregnable, were either deserted by the garrison, or scaled by the barbarians. Three thousand Sclavonians, who insolently divided themselves into two bands, discovered the weakness and misery of a triumphant reign. They passed the Danube and the Hebrus, vanquished the Roman generals who dared to oppose their progress, and plundered with impunity the cities of Illyricum and Thrace, each of which had arms and numbers to overwhelm their contemptible assailants. Whatever praise the boldness of the Sclavonians may deserve, it is sullied by the wanton and deliberate cruelty which they are accused of exercising on their prisoners. Without distinction of rank,
Ludewig (in Vit. Justinian, p. 515). It had strangely puzzled the civilians of the middle age. * Procopius, Goth. 1. 4, c. 25.
+ An inroad of the Huns is connected, by Procopius, with a comet; perhaps that of 531. (Persic. 1. 2, c. 4.) Agathias (1. 5, p. 154, 155) borrows from his predecessor some early facts. VOL. IV. 2 G
CEUELTIES OF THE SCLATONIAXS. [CH. TT.n.
or age, or sex, the captives were impaled or flayed alive, or suspended between four posts, and beaten with clubs till they expired, or enclosed in some spacious building, and left to perish in the flames with the spoil and cattle which might impede the march of these savage victors.* Perhaps a more impartial narrative would reduce the number, and qualify the nature, of these horrid acts; and they might sometimes be excused by the cruel laws of retaliation. In the siege of Topirus,f whose obstinate defence had enraged the Sclavonians, they massacred fifteen thousand males; but they spared the women and children; the most valuable captives were always reserved for labour or ransom; the servitude was not rigorous, and the terms of their deliverance were speedy and moderate. But the subject, or the historian of Justinian, exhaled his just indignation in the language of complaint and reproach; and Procopius has confidently affirmed, that in a reign of thirty-two years, each annual inroad of the barbarians consumed two hundred thousand of the inhabitants of the Roman empire. The entire population of Turkish Europe, which nearly corresponds with the provinces of Justinian, would perhaps be incapable of supplying six millions of persons, the result of this incredible estimate. J
* The cruelties of the Sclavonians are related or magnified by Procopius. (Goth. 1 . 3, c. 29. 38.) For their mild and liberal behaviour to their prisoners, we may appeal to the authority, somewhat more recent, of the emperor Maurice. (Stratagem. 1 . 2, c. 5). [Is not human nature itself a still better authority? Wanton destruction of its own property was never its characteristic. The slave was more valuable to his owner than the horse or the ox, which he fed and tended with care. Like them, the rational chattel was also preserved, if not from kind, at least from selfish, motives.—Ed.]
+ Topirus was situate near Philippi in Thrace, or Macedonia, opposite to the isle of Thasos, twelve days' journey from Constantinople. (Cellarius, tom, i, p. 676. 840.) [Procopius was probably attending Belisarius in the East or the West, when these transactions took place. Such slaughter as he asserts to have been committed at Topirus, bespeaks a population totally incompatible with a town scarcely named in history or marked on a map. So obscure was it, that Ptolemy assigned to it an inland, instead of a maritime, situation, and it has been confounded with Doberus, now Dibra, on the coast of Epirus. Cellarius (1. 1057). The small Turkish town of Eusio in Eomania is the modem descendant of the ancient Topirus.—Ed.]
X According to the malevolent testimony of the Anecdotes (c. 18) these inroads had reduced the provinces south of the Danube to the
In the midst of these obscure calamities, Europe felt the shock of a revolution, which first revealed to the world the name and nation of the Tures. Like Romulus, the founder of that martial people was suckled by a she-wolf, who afterwards made him the father of a numerous progeny; and the representation of that animal in the banners of the Turks preserved the memory, or rather suggested the idea, of a fable, which was invented, without any mutual intercourse, by the shepherds of Latium and those of Scythia. At the equal distance of two thousand miles from the Caspian, the Icy, the Chinese, and the Bengal seas, a ridge of mountains is conspicuous, the centre and perhaps the summit, of Asia; which, in the language of different nations, has been styled Imaus, and Caf,* and Altai, and the Golden Mountains, and the Girdle of the Earth. The sides of the hills were productive of minerals; and the iron forges,t for the purpose of war, were exercised by the Turks, the
state of a Scythian wilderness. * From Caf to Caf; which a
more rational geography would interpret, from Imaus, perhaps, to mount Atlas. According to the religious philosophy of the Mahometans, the basis of mount Caf is an emerald, whose reflection produces the azure of the sky. The mountain is endowed with a sensitive action in its roots or nerves; and their vibration, at the command of God, is the cause of earthquakes. (D'Herbelot, p. 230, 231.) [Imaus was called by the Tartars Mathega and Belgium, and by the Mongols, Delanguer and De Nangracut. One of these names may be traced in the Delaghir of Tiefenthalen and the Dhawalagiri of Humboldt. (Views of Nature. p. 70, edit. Bohn.) Its long chain divides the land to which the ancients gave the indefinite appellation of Scythia, into two parts, the Intra, and the Extra, Imaum; and one of its wide spread branches formed the northern boundary of India, now the Himalaya mountains. This, rather than Scandinavia, appears to have been the nursery of nations, for hence the course of emigration may be largely traced. The workers in the mines of Imaus were called Turks, because the term, in their language, denotes a rough, unmannerly boor, a common labourer. After they had raised themselves to be an independent people, it became so odious to them, that they cast it off, and styled themselves Moslem or Mussulmen.—Ed.]
f The Siberian iron is the best and most plentiful in the world; and in the southern parts, above sixty mines are now worked by the industry of the Russians. (Strahlenberg, Hist. of Siberia, p. 342. 387. Voyage en Siberie, par l'Abb^ Chappe d'Auteroche, p. 603—608, edit . in 12mo. Amsterdam, 1770.) The Turks offered iron for sale; yet the Roman ambassadors, with strange obstinacy, persisted in believing that it was all a trick, and that their country produced none. (Me
most despised portion of the slaves of the great khan of the Geougen. But their servitude could only last till a leader, bold and eloquent, should arise, to persuade his countrymen that the same arms which they forged for their masters might become, in their own hands, the instruments of freedom and victory. They sallied from the mountain ;* a sceptre was the reward of his advice; and the annual ceremony, in which a piece of iron was heated in the fire and a smith's hammer was successively handled by the prince and his nobles, recorded for ages the humble profession and rational pride of the Turkish nation. Bertezena, their first leader, signalized their valour and his own in successful combats against the neighbouring tribes; but when he presumed to ask in marriage the daughter of the great khan, the insolent demand of a slave and a mechanic was contemptuously rejected. The disgrace was expiated by a more noble alliance with a princess of China; and the decisive battle, which almost extirpated the nation of the Geougen, established Vp Tartary the new and more powerful empire of the Turks. They reigned over the north; but they confessed the vanity of conquest, by their faithful attachment to the mountain of their fathers. The royal encampment seldom lost sight of mount Altai, from whence the river Irtish descends to water the rich pastures of the Calmucks,t which nourish the largest sheep and oxen in the world. The soil is fruitful, and the climate mild and temperate: the happy region was ignorant of earthquake and pestilence; the emperor's throne was turned towards the east, and a golden wolf on the top of a spear, seemed to guard the entrance of his tent. One of the successors of Bertezena was tempted by the luxury and superstition of China; but his design of building cities and temples was defeated by the simple wisdom of a barbarian counsellor. "The Turks," he said, "are not equal in number
nander, in Excerpt. Leg. p. 152.) * Of Irgana-kon
(Abulghazi Khan, Hist. Genealogique des Tatars, p. 2, c. 5; p. 71—77, c. 15; p. 155). The tradition of the Moguls, of the four hundred and fifty years which they passed in the mountains, agrees with the Chinese periods of the history of the Huns and Turks, (De Guignes, tom. i, part 2, p. 376,) and the twenty generations, from the restoration to Zingis. + The country of the Turks, now of the Calmucks,
is well described in the Genealogical History, p. 521—562. The curious notes of the French translator are enlarged and digested in the
to one hundredth part of the inhabitants of China. If we balance their power, and elude their armies, it is because we wander without any fixed habitations, in the exercise of war and hunting. Are we strong? we advance and conquer: are we feeble? we retire and are concealed. Should the Turks confine themselves within the walls of cities, the loss of a battle would be the destruction of their empire. The Bonzes preach only patience, humility, and the renunciation of the world. Such, O king! is not the religion of heroes." They entertained with less reluctance the doctrines of Zoroaster; but the greatest part of the nation acquiesced, without inquiry, in the opinions, or rather in the practice, of their ancestors. The honours of sacrifice were reserved for the supreme Deity; they acknowledged, in rude hymns, their obligations to the air, the fire, the water, and the earth; and their priests derived some profit from the art of divination. Their unwritten laws were rigorous and impartial: theft was punished by a tenfold restitution: adultery, treason, and murder, with death: and no chastisement could be inflicted too severe for the rare and inexpiable guilt of cowardice. As the subject nations marched under the standard of the Turks, their cavalry, both men and horses, were proudly computed by millions; one of their effective armies consisted of four hundred thousand soldiers, and in less than fifty years they were connected in peace and war with the Romans, the Persians, and the Chinese. In their northern limits, some vestige may be discovered of the form and situation of Kamtschatka, of a people of hunters and fishermen, whose sledges were drawn by dogs, and whose habitations were buried in the earth. The Turks were ignorant of astronomy; but the observation taken by some learned Chinese, with a gnomon of eight feet, fixes the royal camp in the latitude of fortynine degrees, and marks their extreme progress within three, or at least ten degrees, of the polar circle.* Among their southern conquests, the most splendid was that of the Nepthalites or White Huns, a polite and warlike people, who possessed the commercial cities of Bochara and Samarcand, who had vanquished the Persian monarch, and carried their victorious arms along the banks, and perhaps to the
second volume of the English version. * Visdelou, p. 141.
151. The fact, though it strictly belongs to a subordinate and sue