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mountain and the River Sangarius. Five years after this ex pedition, Harun ascended the throne of his fattier and his elder brother; the most powerful and vigorous monarch of
his race, illustrious in the West, as the ally of Charlemagne, and familiar to the most childish readers, as the perpetual hero of the Arabian tales. His title to the name of Al Rashid (the Just) is sullied by the extirpation of the generous, perhaps the innocent. Barmecides; yet he could listen to the complaint of a poor widow who had been pillaged by his troops, and who dared, in a passage of the Koran, to threaten the inattentive despot with the judgment of God and posterity. His court was adorned with luxury and science; but, in a reign of three-and-twenty years, Harun repeatedly visited his provinces from Chorasan to Egypt; nine times he performed the pilgrimage of Mecca; eight times he invaded the territories of the Romans; and as often as they declined the payment of the tribute, they were taught to feel that a month of depredation was more costly than a year of submission. But when the unnatural mother of Constantine was deposed and banished, her successor, Nicephorus, resolved to obliterate this badge of servitude and disgrace. The epistle of the emperor to the caliph was pointed with an allusion to the game of chess, which had already spread from Persia to Greece. "The queen (he spoke of Irene) considered you as a rook, and herself as a pawn. That pusillanimous female submitted to pay a tribute, the double of which she ought to have exacted from the Barbarians. Restore therefore the fruits of your injustice, or abide the determination of the sword." At these words the ambassadors cast a bundle of swords before the foot of the throne. The caliph smiled at the menace, and drawing his cimeter, samsamah, a weapon of historic or fabulous renown, he cut asunder the feeble arms of the Greeks, without turning the edge, or endangering the temper, of his blade. lie then dictated an epistle of tremendous brevity: "In the name of the most merciful God, Harun al Rashid, commander of the faithful, to Nicephorus, the Roman dog. I have read thy letter, O thou son of an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not hear, thou shalt behold, my reply." It was written in characters of blood and fire on the plains of Phrygia ; and the warlike celerity of the Arabs could only be checked by the irts of deceit and the show of repentance. The triunrphanl caliph retired, after the fatigues of the campaign, to his favo»
ite palace of Racca on the Euphrates:" but the distance of five hundred miles, and the inclemency of the season, encouraged his adversary to violate the peace. Nicephorus wai astonished by the bold and rapid march of the commander of the faithful, who repassed, in the depth of winter, the snows of Mount Taurus: his stratagems of policy and war were exhausted; and the perfidious Greek escaped with three wounds from a field of battle overspread with forty thousand of his subjects. Yet the emperor was ashamed of submission, and the caliph was resolved on victory. One hundred and thirtyfive thousand regular soldiers received pay, and were inscribed m the military roll; and above three hundred thousand persons of every denomination marched under the black standard of the Abbassides. They swept the surface of Asia Minor fai beyond Tyana and Ancyra, and invested the Pontic Heraclea,1" once a flourishing state, now a paltry town; at that time capable of sustaining, in her antique walls, a month's siege against the forces of the East. The ruin was complete, the spoii was ample; but if Harun had been conversant with Grecian story, he would have regretted the statue of Hercules, whose attributes, the club, the bow, the quiver, and the lion's hide, were sculptured in massy gold. The progress of desolation by sea and land, from the Euxine to the Isle of Cyprus, compelled the emperor Nicephorus to retract his haughty defiance. In the new treaty, the ruins of Heraclea were left forever as a lesson and a trophy; and the coin of the tribute was marked with the image and superscription of Harun and his three sons.78 Yet this plurality of lords might contribute
18 For the situation of Racca, the old Nicephorium, consult D'Anville, (FEuphrate et le Tigre, p. 24—27.) The Arabian Nights represent Harun al Rashid as almost stationary in Bagdad. He respected the royal seat of the Abbassides; but the vices of the inhab itants had driven him from the city, (Abulfed. Anna!, p. 167.)
"M. de Tournefort, in his coasting voyage from Constantinople tr, Trebizond, passed a night at Heraclea or Eregri. His eye surveyed the present state, his reading collected the antiquities, of the city. (Voyage du Levant, torn. iii. lettre xvi. p. 23—35.) We have a sepa rate history of Heraclea in the fragments of Memnon, which are preserved by Photius.
T8 The wars of Harun al Rashid against the Roiran empire aro plated by Theophanes, (p. 384, 385, 391, 396, 407, 408.) Zontras (torn. iii."I. xv. p. 115, 124,) Cedrenus, (p. 477, 478.) Eutyc litis, (Annal. torn. ii. p. 407,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen, p. 136. IM, 162,) Abulpharagius, (Dvnast. p. 147, 151,) and Ahulfeda, (p. I5r. Ifirt188.)
to remove the dishonor of the Roman name. After the death of their father, the heirs of the caliph were invoked in civi. discord, and the, conqueror, the liberal Ahnamon, was sufficiently engaged in the restoration of domestic peace and the introduction of foreign science.
Under the reign of Ahnamon at Bagdad, of Michael the Stammerer at Constantinople, the islands of Crete 7* and Sicily were subdued by the Arabs. The former of these conquests fe disdained by their own writers, who were ignorant of the fame of Jupiter and Minos, but it has not been overlooked by the Byzantine historians, who now begin to cast a clearei light on the affairs of their own times.*0 A band of Andalusian volunteers, discontented with the climate or government of Spain, explored the adventures of the sea; but as they sailed in no more than ten or twenty galleys, their warfare must be branded with the name of piracy. As the subjects and sectaries of the white party, they might lawfully invade the dominions of the black caliphs. A rebellious faction introduced them into Alexandria;" they cut in pieces both friends and foes, pillaged the churches and the moschs, sold above six thousand Christian captives, and maintained their station in the capital of Egypt, till they were oppressed by the forces and the presence of Almamon himself. From the mouth of the Nile to the Hellespont, the islands and sea-coasts
19 The authors from whom I have learned the most of the ancient and modern state of Crete, are Belon, (Observations, <fcc., c. 3—20. Paris, 1555,) Tournefort, (Voyage du Levant, torn. i. lettre ii. et iii.,) and Meursius, (creta, in his works, torn. iii. p. 343—544.) Although Crete is styled by Homer rUipa, by Dionysius, Am-dpr; Ts nai tv/Joroc, I cannot conceive that mountainous island to surpass, or even to equal, in fertility the greater part of Spain.
80 The most authentic and circumstantial intelligence is obtained from the four books of the Continuation of Theophanes, compiled by the pen or the command of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, with the Life of his father Basil, the Macedonian, (Scriptores post Theophanem, p. 1—162, a Francisc. Combefis, Paris, 1685.) The loss of Crete and Sicily is related, 1. ii. p. 46—52. To these we may add the secondary evidence of Joseph Genesius, (1. ii. p. 21, Venet 1733,) George Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 506—508,) and John Scylitzes Curopalata, (apiul Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 827, No. 24, Ac.) But the modern Greeks are such notorious plagiaries, that I should only quote a plurality of names.
91 Renaudot (Hist Patriarch. Alex. p. 251—256, 26 8—270) ha» described the ravages of the Andalusian Arabs in Egypt, but has Ioi got to connect them with the conquest of Crete.
ooth of the Greeks and Moslems were exposed to their depredations; they saw, they envied, they tasted the fertility of Crete, and soon returned with forty galleys to a more serious attack. The Andalusians wandered over the land fearless and unmolested; but wli3n they descended with their plunder to the sea-shore, their vessels were in flames, and their chief, Abu Caab, confessed himself the author of the mischief Their clamors accused his madness or treachery. "Of wha do you complain?" replied the crafty emir. "I have brough you to a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is your true country; repose from your toils, and forget the barren place of your nativity." "And our wives and children?" "Your beauteous captives will supply the place of your wives, and in their embraces you will soon become the fathers of a new •progeny." The first habitation was their camp, with a ditch and rampart, in the Bay of Suda; but an apostate monk led them to a more desirable position in the eastern parts; and die name of Candax, their fortress and colony, has been exjended to the whole island, under the corrupt and modern appellation of Candia. The hundred cities of the age of Minos were diminished to thirty; and of these, only one, most probably Cydonia, had courage to retain the substance of freedom and the profession of Christianity. The Saracens of Crete soon repaired the loss of their navy; and the timbers of Mount Ida were launched into the main. During a hostile period of one hundred and thirty-eight years, the princes of Constantinople attacked these licentious corsairs with fruitless curses and ineffectual arms.
The loss of Sicily M was occasioned by an act of superstitious rigor. An amorous youth, who had stolen a nun from her cloister, was sentenced by the emperor to the amputation of his tongue. Euphemius appealed to the reason and policy of the Saracens of Africa; and soon returned with the Imperial purple, a fleet of one hundred ships, and an army rf Beven hundred horse and ten thousand foot. They landed at Mazara near the ruins of the ancient Selinus; but after some partial victories, Syracuse83 was delivered by the Greeks, the
n ArjAor (says the continuator of Theophanes, 1. ii. p. 51) it ravra
»liitorara uai vXariKtirtpov v\ rare ypatpuna QeoyvcovTG) Ko'i tit %£tpas cXdovau
kn&v. This history of the loss of Sicily is no longer extant. Muratori (Annah d' Italia, torn. vii. p. 719, 721, <fce.) has added some rircumitances from the Italian chronicles. •* The splendid and interesting tragedy of Tancrede would adapt apostate was slain before her walls, and his African friends were reducer to the necessity of feeding on the flesh of their own horses. In their turn they were relieved by a powerful reinforcement of their brethren of Andalusia; the largest and western part of the island was gradually reduced, and the commodious harbor of Palermo was chosen for the seat of the naval and military power of the Saracens. Syracuse preserved about tif y years the faith which she had sworn to Christ and to Caosar. In the last and fatal siege, her citizens displayed some remnant of the spirit which had formerly resisted the Dower* of Athens and Carthage. They stood above twenty daya against the battering-rams and catapultce, the mines and tortoises of the besiegers; and the place might have been re lieved, if the mariners of the Imperial fleet had not been detamed at Constantinople in building a church to the Virgin Mary. The deacon Theodosius, with the bishop and clergy, was dragged in chains from the altar to Palermo, cast into a subterraneous dungeon, and exposed to the hourly peril of death or apostasy. His pathetic, and not inelegant, complaint may be read as the epitaph of his country.84 From the Roman conquest to this final calamity, Syracuse, now dwindled to the primitive Isle of Ortygea, had insensibly declined. Yet the relics were still precious; the plate, of the cathedral weighed five thousand pounds of silver; the entire spoil was computed at one million of pieces of gold, (about four hundred thousand pounds sterling,) and the captives must outnumber the seventeen thousand Christians, who were transported from the sack of Tauromenium into African servitude. In Sicily, the religion and language of the Greeks were eradicated; and such was the docility of the rising generation, that fifteen thousand boys were circumcised and clothed on the same day with the son of the Fatimite caliph. The Arabian squadrons issued from the harbors of Palermo, Biserta, and Tunis; a hundred and fifty towns of Calabria and Campania were attacked and pillaged; nor could the suburbs of
itself much better to this epoch, than to the date (A. D. 1005) which Voltaire himself has chosen. But I must gently reproach the poet foi infusing into the Greek subjects the spirit of modern knights and aa cient republicans.
84 The narrative or lamentation of Theodosius is transcribed and illustrated by Pagi, (Critica, torn. iii. p. 719, <fec) Constantine J'or phyrogenitus (in Vit. Basil, c. 69, 70, p. 190—192 mentions the lose of Syracuse and the triumph of the demons.