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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 whom he was ambitious to reign: his own praises in Latin poetry “ or prose” 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," 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." 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." 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.” But
* 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.). * Robert Walturio published at Verona, in 1483, his xii. books de Re Militari, in which he first mentions the use of bombs. By his patron Sigismond Malatesta, prince of Rimini, it had been addressed with a Latin epistle to Mahomet II. * 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 valour." 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 muscles. * 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.
" 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 Caesar. 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.
* 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 Gibbon's.--M.
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 dishonoured 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. In the reign of Amurath he twice tasted of royalty, and twice descended from the throne: his tender age was incapable of His on.
- - - - - . 1451, opposing his father's restoration, but never could he forgive ; 9–
the vizirs 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 vigour commanded their obedience: he passed the Hellespont with a chosen guard: and at the distance of a mile from Adrianople the vizirs 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.” 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 em. peror was revived by the solemn oaths and fair assurances with which he sealed the ratification of the treaty: and a rich domain on the
* 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 Caesaribus, p. 672, 673).
* Ahmed, the son of a Greek princess, was the object of his especial jealousy. Won Hammer, p. 501.--M.
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 neighbours 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 an useless train of seven thousand falconers was either dismissed from his service or enlisted in his troops." 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.” The Mahometan, and more especially the Turkish casuists, have Hostile in 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.” Instead of labouring 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 vizir, a secret
• " See the accession of Mahomet II. in Ducas (c. 33), Phranza (l. i. c. 33; l. iii. c. 2), Chalcocondyles (l. vii. p. 199 [p. 376, ed. Bonn]), and Cantemir (p. 96). * 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 are those of Ducas (c. 34–42), Phranza (l. iii. c. 7–20), Chalcocondyles (l. viii. p. 201—214 [p.380-403, ed. Bonn]), and Leonardus Chiensis (Historia C. P. a Turco expugnatae; Norimberghae, 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 Chalcocondyl. Clausori, Basil, 1556) to Pope Nicholas W., and a tract of Theodosius Zygomala, which he addressed in the year 1581 to Martin Crusius (Turco-Graecia, l. i. p. 74–98, Basii, 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."
* The Janizaries obtained, for the first nople, and, by his general agreement, has time, a 8. on the accession of a new sove- borne an honourable testimony to the reign. Von Hammer, p. 504.—M. truth, and by his close imitation to the
* M. Von Hammer has added little new graphic spirit and boldness, of Gibbon.—M. information on the siege of Constanti
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 scrupu“lous Amurath is no more; his throne is occupied by a young con“queror 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 vizir, 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 an hostile mind; and the second orde: 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.” 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 no 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 re“duced 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
* 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. .445), and Tournefort (Voyage dans le Levant, tom. ii. lettre xv. p. 443,444); but must et the map or plan which Tournefort sent to the French minister of the unarine. e reader may turn back to chap. xvii. of this History.
“of the Bosphorus; and your strength was not equal to your male“volence. I was then a child at Adrianople ; the Moslems trembled, “ and for a while the Gabours “insulted our disgrace. But when “my father had triumphed in the field of Varna, he vowed to erect “a fort on the western shore, and that vow it is my duty to accom“plish. Have ye the right, have ye the power, to control my actions “on my own ground 2 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 reso“lutions 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,” had determined to unsheath 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 neighbourhood 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 decided the assurance of their ruin. Of a master who never forgives, the orders are seldom disobeyed. On the twenty-sixth of March the appointed spot of Aso
He builds a ‘.... maton was covered with an active swarm of Turkish arti"... ficers; and the materials by sea and land were diligently
March. transported from Europe and Asia.” The lime had been burnt in Cataphrygia, the timber was cut down in the woods of
* The opprobrious name which the Turks bestow on the infidels is expressed Katees by Ducas, and Giaour by Leunclavius and the moderns. The former term is deriv by Ducange (Gloss. Graec. tom. i. p. 530) from Kadaveer, 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, Biblioth. Orient. p. 375).
"Phranza does justice to his master's sense and courage—Calliditatem hominis non ignorans Imperator prior arma movere constituit; and stigmatises the folly of the cum sacritum profani proceres, which he had heard, amentes spe vanā pasci. Ducas was not a privy-counsellor.
* 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 lar loss valuable than the Greek historians.