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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 17 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 ardour; his three vizirs claimed the honour of finishing their respective towers; the zeal of the cadhis emulated that of the Janizaries; the meanest labour 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 St. 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
tion of Carthage. These annals (unless we are swayed by an antichristian prejudice) are far less valuable than the Greek historians.
17 In the dimensions of this fortress, the old castle of Europe, Phranza does not exactly agree with Chalcondyles, whose desoription has been verified on the spot by his editor Leunclavius. (Phrantzes (p. 234) gives the breadth of the towers as 25 feet, and this nearly agrees with Oritobulus (i. 11, 4) who says “ 12 cubits," i.e., 24 feet. Chalcondyles says 22 feet, and Ducas " 30 spans," i.e., 227 feet. Cri. tobulus alone gives the height of the wall, 100 feet, and adds that in size the fortress resembled not a fortress but a little town (worlxon). The fort was completed in August.]
ish war, June;
nations were slain in a tumultuous conflict. Mahomet listened
to exterminate the guilty village: the guilty had fled; but forty The Turk- innocent and unsuspecting reapers were massacred by the sol
diers. Till this provocation, Constantinople had been open to
zaries to levy a tribute of the ships of every nation that should (The ship pass within the reach of their cannon. Venetian vessel, re
fusing obedience to the new lords of the Bosphorus, was sunk
18 Among these were some pages of Mahomet, 60 conscious of his inexorable rigour that they begged to lose their heads in the city unless they could return before sunset.
19 Ducas, c. 35. Phranza (1. iii. o. 3), who had sailed in his vessel, commemorates the Venetian pilot as a martyr. (Cp. Niccolò rbaro, p. 2 (ed. Cornet). Other Venetian vessels were more successful.]
20 Auctum est Palæologorum genus, et Imperii successor, parvæque Romanorum scintillæ heres 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 Preparawinter: the former were kept awake by their fears, the latter the siege by their hopes; both by the preparations of defence and attack ; stantiand the two emperors, who had the most to lose or to gain, 1452, Sopwere the most deeply affected by the national sentiment. In A.D. 1453, Mahomet, that sentiment was inflamed by the ardour of his youth and temper: he amused his leisure with building at Hadrianople 21 the lofty palace of Jehan Numa (the watch-tower 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 vizir. The message, the hour, the prince, and his own situation alarmed the guilty conscience of Calil Basha, who had possessed the confi- (Halil dence, and advised the restoration, of Amurath. On the accession of the son, the vizir was confirmed in his office and the appearances of favour; 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 ; 22 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 up 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.23 “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 vizir had recovered from his
21 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 sovereign.
22 Zúvtpopos, 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 Ismael Boillaud (ad Ducam, c. 35) acknowledges and rectifies his own error.
23 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. I. i. c. 31-33.
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” 24 (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.
Among the implements of destruction, he studied with peculiar Mahomot care the recent and tremendous discovery of the Latins; and his
artillery surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world. A (Urban) founder of cannon, a Dane or Hungarian,20 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 stone or ball 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
The great cannon of
24 The Lala of the Turks (Cantemir, p. 34) and the Tata of the Greeks (DUCAS, 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 dental consonant and an open vowel (des Brosses, Méchanisme des Langues, tom. i. p. 231-247).
25 (Orban ('Oplavós) was & Hungarian; no authority says that he was a Dane. Gibbon has mistaken the phrase of Chalcondyles who pedantically describes him as & "Dacian” (Ads), p. 385, ed. Bonn. ondeßorioths is the word Chaloondyles uses for & “gunner". Strictly Orban was & indeßononobs.]
engine must be left to your engineers.” On this assurance, a foundry was established in Hadrianople: 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.26 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 the circuit of an 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 con-[The great veyance of this destructive engine, a frame or carriage of thirty starts, bewaggons was linked together and drawn along by a team of sixty February 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 (Arrival, hundred and fifty miles. A lively 28 philosopher derides, on this March) 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 of 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 act of destruction, I can discern that the modern improvements of artillery prefer the number of pieces to the weight of metal; the quick
28 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 twentyfive pounds (Ducange, ránavtov). Leonardus Chiensis measured the ball or stone of the second cannon : Lapidem, qui palmis undecim ex meis ambibat in gyro. [The palma, or span, being reckoned at 8 inches, it is calculated that the ball would have weighed 1456 lb. avoirdupois. Mordtmann, op. cit., p. 36. Critobulus, i. 29, describes another enormous cannon.]
27 [According to Zorzo Dolfin, Assedio e presa di Cpli, § 16 (Paspates, op. cit. p. 120 n.) the cannon was conveyed in pieces.]
29 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, &o. (Mordtmann (loc. cit.) says that stone balls, measuring from 72 to 88 inches round, have been found in the Arsenal, in the walls of Galata, and elsewhere.]