Sidebilder
PDF

vows were not less extravagant than the general sanction of their oath. But the performance was made to depend on some future and foreign contingency; and during twelve years, till the last hour of his life, the duke of Burgundy might be scrupulously, and perhaps sincerely, on the eve of his departure. Had every breast glowed with the same ardour; had the union of the Christians corresponded with their bravery; had every country from Sweden” to Naples supplied a just proportion of cavalry and infantry, of men and money. it is indeed probable that Constantinople would have been delivered, and that the Turks might have been chased beyond the Hellespont or the Euphrates. But the secretary of the emperor, who composed every epistle, and attended every meeting, Æneas Sylvius,” a statesman and orator, describes from his own experience the repugnant state and spirit of Christendom. “It is a body,” says he, “without “a head; a republic without laws or magistrates. The pope and “the emperor may shine as lofty titles, as splendid images; but they “are unable to command, and none are willing to obey: every state “has a separate prince, and every prince has a separate interest. “What eloquence could unite so many discordant and hostile powers “under the same standard? Could they be assembled in arms, who “would dare to assume the office of general? What order could be “maintained?—what military discipline? Who would undertake to “feed such an enormous multitude? Who would understand their “various languages, or direct their stranger and incompatible man“ners? What mortal could reconcile the English with the French, “Genoa with Arragon, the Germans with the natives of Hungary “and Bohemia? If a small number enlisted in the holy war, they “must be overthrown by the infidels: if many, by their own weight “ and confusion.” Yet the same AEneas, when he was raised to the papal throne, under the name of Pius the Second, devoted his life to the prosecution of the Turkish war. In the council of Mantua he excited some sparks of a false or feeble enthusiasm; but when the pontiff appeared at Ancona, to embark in person with the troops, engagements vanished in excuses; a precise day was adjourned to an indefinite term; and his effective army consisted of some German pilgrims, whom he was obliged to disband with indulgences and alms. Regardless of futurity, his successors and the powers of Italy

* It was found, by an actual enumeration, that Sweden, Gothland, and Finland contained 1,800,000 fighting men, and consequently were far more populous than at resent. * In the year 1454 Spondanus has given, from AEneas Sylvius, a view of the state of Europe, enriched with his own observations. That valuable annalist, and the Italian Muratori, will continue the series of events from the year 1453 to 1481, the end of Mahomet's life and of this chapter.

were involved in the scnemes of present and domestic ambition; and the distance or proximity of each object determined in their eyes its apparent magnitude. A more enlarged view of their interest would have taught them to maintain a defensive and naval war against the common enemy; and the support of Scanderbeg and his brave Albanians might have prevented the subsequent invasion of the kingdom of Naples. The siege and sack of Otranto by the Turks diffused a general consternation; and Pope Sixtus was preparing to fly beyond the Alps, when the storm was instantly dispelled on..., by the death of Mahomet the Second, in the fifty-first year oil. of his age.” His lofty genius aspired to the conquest of ; 3, or Italy: he was possessed of a strong city and a capacious "? harbour, and the same reign might have been decorated with the trophies of the New and the ANCIENT Roxie.”

* Besides the two annalists, the reader may consult Giannone (Istoria Civile, tom. iii. p. 449-455) for the Turkish invasion of the kingdom of Naples. For the reign and conquests of Mahomet II. I have occasionally used the Memorie Istoriche de' Monarchi Ottomanni di Giovanni Sagredo (Venezia, 1677, in 4to.). In peace and war the Turks have ever engaged the attention of the republic of Venice. All her despatches and archives were open to a procurator of St. Mark, and Sagredo is not contemptible either in sense or style. Yet he too bitterly hates the infidels: he is ignorant of their language and manners; and his narrative, which allows only seventy pages to Mahomet II. (p. 69-140), becomes more copious and authentic as he approaches the years 1640 and 1644, the term of the historic labours of John Sagredo.

* As I am now taking an everlasting farewell of the Greek empire, I shall briefly mention the great collection of Byzantine writers whose names and testimonies have been successively repeated in this work. The Greek presses of Aldus and the Italians were confined to the classics of a better age; and the first rude editions of Procopius, Agathias, Cedrenus, Zonaras, &c., were published by the learned diligence of the Germans. The whole Byzantine series (xxxvi volumes in folio) has gradually issued (A.D. 1648, &c.) from the royal press of the Louvre, with some collateral aid from Rome and Leipsic; but the Venetian edition (A.D. 1729), though cheaper and more copious, is not less inferior in correctness than in magnificence to that of Paris. The merits of the French editors are various; but the value of Anna Comnena, Cinnamus, Villehardouin, &c., is enhanced by the historical notes of Charles du Fresne du Cange. His supplemental works, the Greek Glossary, the Constantinopolis Chris#. the Familiae Byzantinae, diffuse a steady light over the darkness of the Lower

mpire."

"The new edition of the Byzantines, projected by Niebuhr, and continued under the patronage of the Prussian government, is the most convenient in size, and contains some authors (Leo Diaconus, Johannes Lydus, Corippus, the new fragments of Dexippus, Eunapius, &c., discovered by Mai) which could not be comprised in the former collections;

but the names of such editors as Bekker, the Dindorfs, &c., raised hopes of something more than the mere republication of the text, and the notes of former editors. Little, I regret to say, has been added of annotation, and, in some cases, the old incorrect versions have been retained,—M.

[ocr errors]

STATE of Romo FROM THE Twelfth CENTURY. — TEMPORAL DOMINION of THE Popes. – SEDITIONs of THE CITY. — PoliticAL, HERESY OF ARNOLD of BREscIA. — RESTORATION of THE REPUB?.ic. — The SENATors. — PRILE of THE Rox(ANs. – THEIR WARs. – THEY ARE DEPRIVED of The ELECTION AND PRESENCE of THE Popes, who RETIRE To Avignon. — THE JUBILEF. — Nobile FAMILIES of RoME. — FEUD of out E Col.oxNA AND URSINI.

IN the first ages of the decline and fall of the Roman empire our eye s..... is invariably fixed on the royal city, which had given laws ons to the fairest portion of the globe. We contemplate her of Rome, - - - - now. fortunes, at first with admiration, at length with pity, always with attention; and when that attention is diverted from the Capitol to the provinces, they are considered as so many branches which have been successively severed from the Imperial trunk. The foundation of a second Rome, on the shores of the Bosphorus, has compelled the historian to follow the successors of Constantine; and our curiosity has been tempted to visit the most remote countries of Europe and Asia, to explore the causes and the authors of the long decay of the Byzantine monarchy. By the conquests of Justinian we have been recalled to the banks of the Tiber, to the deliverance of the ancient metropolis; but that deliverance was a change, or perhaps an aggravation, of servitude. Rome had been already stripped of her trophies, her gods, and her Caesars; nor was the Gothic dominion more inglorious and oppressive than the tyranny of the Greeks. In the eighth century of the Christian aera a religious quarrel, the worship of images, provoked the Romans to assert their independence: their bishop became the temporal, as well as the spiritual, father of a free people; and of the Western empire, which was restored by Charlemagne, the title and image still decorate the singular constitution of modern Germany. The name of Rome must yet command our involuntary respect: the climate (whatsoever may be its influence) was no longer the same: the

* The abbé Dubos, who, with less genius than his successor Montesquieu, has asserted and magnified the influence of climate, objects to himself the degeneracy of the Romans and Batavians. To the first of these examples he replies, 1. That the change is less real than apparent, and that the modern Romans prudently conceal in themselves the virtues of their ancestors. 2. That the air, the soil, and the climats

purity of blood had been contaminated through a thousand channels, but the venerable aspect of her ruins, and the memory of past greatness, rekindled a spark of the national character. The darkness of the middle ages exhibits some scenes not unworthy of our notice. Nor shall I dismiss the present work till I have reviewed the state and revolutions of the ROMAN CITY, which acquiesced under the absolute dominion of the popes about the same time that Constantinople was enslaved by the Turkish arms. In the beginning of the twelfth century,” the aera of the first crusade, Rome was revered by the Latins as the metropolis the French of the world, as the throne of the pope and the emperor, ...; who, from the eternal city, derived their title, their honours, "... and the right or exercise of temporal dominion. After so * long an interruption it may not be useless to repeat that the successors of Charlemagne and the Othos were chosen beyond the Rhine in a national diet; but that these princes were content with the humble names of kings of Germany and Italy till they had passed the Alps and the Apennine, to seek their Imperial crown on the banks of the Tiber.” At some distance from the city their approach was saluted by a long procession of the clergy and people with palms and crosses; and the terrific emblems of wolves and lions, of dragons and eagles, that floated in the military banners, represented the departed legions and cohorts of the republic. The royal oath to maintain the liberties of Rome was thrice reiterated, at the bridge, the gate, and on the stairs of the Vatican; and the distribution of a customary donative feebly imitated the magnificence of the first Caesars. In the church of St. Peter the coronation was performed by his successor: the voice of God was confounded with that of the people; and the public consent was declared in the acclamations of “Long life and victory to our lord the pope' long life and victory “ to our lord the emperor' long life and victory to the Roman and “Teutonic armies!” “ The names of Caesar and Augustus, the laws

of Rome have suffered a great and visible alteration (Réflexions sur la Poésie et sur la Peinture, part ii. sect. 16)." * The reader has been so long absent from Rome that I would advise him to recollect or review the xlixth chapter of this History. * The coronation of the German emperors at Rome, more especially in the xith century, is best represented from the original monuments by Muratori (Antiquitat. Italiae medii AEvi, tom. i. dissertat. ii. p. 99, &c.) and Cenni (Monument. Domin. Pontif. tom. ii. diss. vi. p. 261), the latter of whom I only know from the copious extract of Schmidt (Hist, des Allemands, tom. iii. p. 255-266). • Exercitui Romano et Teutonico! The latter was both seen and felt; but the former was no more than magni nominis umbra.

* This question is discussed at con- Dissertation on the Aria Cattiva. Roms siderable length in Dr. Arnold's History Beschreibung, p. 82, 108.--Al. of Riate, ch. xxiii. See likewise Bunsen's

of Constantine and Justinian, the example of Charlemagne and Otho, established the supreme dominion of the emperors: their title and image was engraved on the papal coins; * and their jurisdiction was marked by the sword of justice, which they delivered to the praefect of the city. But every Roman prejudice was awakened by the name, the language, and the manners of a barbarian lord. The Caesars of Saxony or Franconia were the chiefs of a feudal aristocracy; nor could they exercise the discipline of civil and military power, which alone secures the obedience of a distant people, impatient of servitude, though perhaps incapable of freedom. Once, and once only, in his life, each emperor, with an army of Teutonic vassals, descended from the Alps. I have described the peaceful order of his entry and coronation; but that order was commonly disturbed by the clamour and sedition of the Romans, who encountered their sovereign as a foreign invader: his departure was always speedy, and often shameful; and, in the absence of a long reign, his authority was insulted and his name was forgotten. The progress of independence in Germany and Italy undermined the foundations of the Imperial sovereignty, and the triumph of the popes was the deliverance of Rome. Of her two sovereigns, the emperor had precariously reigned by ,, ... the right of conquest; but the authority of the pope was uthority - - - jo founded on the soft though more solid basis of opinion and ' habit. The removal of a foreign influence restored and endeared the shepherd to his flock. Instead of the arbitrary or venal nomination of a German court, the vicar of Christ was freely chosen from by the college of cardinals, most of whom were either natives ** or inhabitants of the city. The applause of the magistrates and people confirmed his election; and the ecclesiastical power that was obeyed in Sweden and Britain had been ultimately derived from the suffrage of the Romans. The same suffrage gave a prince, as well as a pontiff, to the capital. It was universally believed that Constantine had invested the popes with the temporal dominion of Rome; and the boldest civilians, the most profane sceptics, were satisfied with disputing the right of the emperor and the validity of his gift. The truth of the fact, the authenticity of his donation, was deeply rooted in the ignorance and tradition of four centuries; and the fabulous origin was lost in the real and permanent effects. The name of Dominus, or Lord, was inscribed on the coin of the bishops:

* Muratori has given the series of the papal coins (Antiquitat. tom. ii. diss. xxvii. p. 548-554). He finds only two more early than the year 800: fifty are still extant from Leo III. to Leo IX. with the addition of the reigning emperor; none remain of Gregory VII. or Urban II.; but in those of Paschal II, he seems to have renounced

this badge of dependence.

« ForrigeFortsett »