bite pa

A. D.

CHA P. torture of the rack or the stake, would tremble and XLVII. fly before the face of an armed enemy.

The pufillanimous temper of the Egyptians could only hope for a change of masters; the arms of Chofroes depopulated the land, yet under his reign the Jacobites enjoyed a short and precarious respite. The victory of Heraclius renewed and aggravated

the persecution, and the patriarch again escaped Benjamin, from Alexandria to the desert. In his flight, Berithe Jaco.

jamin was encouraged by à voice, which bad him triarch,

expect, at the end of ten years, the aid of a 625—661. foreign nation, marked like the Egyptians theme

selves with the ancient right of circumcision. The character of these deliverers, and the nature of the deliverance, will be hereafter explained ; and I fhall step over the interval of eleven centuries to observe the present misery of the Jacobites of Egypt. The populous city of Cairo affords a refidence or rather a shelter for their indigent patriarch, and a remnant of ten bishops : forty monasteries have survived the inroads of the Arabs; and the progress of fervitude and apoftafy has reduced the Coptic nation to the despicable number of twenty-five or thirty thousand families 548; a race of illiterate beggars, whose only confolation is derived from the superior wretchedness of the

148 This number is taken from the curious Recherches sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois (tom. ii. p. 192, 193.), and appears more probable than the 600,000 ancient, or 15,000 modern, Copts of Gemelli Carreri. Cyril Lucar, the protestant patriarch of Constanti: nople, laments that those heretics were ten times more numerous than his orthodox Greeks, ingeniously applying the norda: xev demandes DEUTZTO 0:992050 of Homer (Iliad ii. 128.), the most perfect exprefa Gon of contempt (Fabric. Lux Evangelii, 740.).




Greek patriarch and his diminutive congrega- CHAP. tion "49

VI. The Coptic patriarch, a rebel to the Cæfars, Vi. The or a slave to the khalifs, still gloried in the filial obedience of the kings of Nubia and Æthiopia. AND NUHe repaid their homage by magnifying their greatness; and it was boldly asserted that they could bring into the field an hundred thousand horse, with an equal number of camels 150 ; that their hand could pour or restrain the waters of the Nile "s; and the peace and plenty of Egypt was obtained, even in this world, by the intercession of the patriarch. In exile at Constantinople, Theodosius recommended to his patroness the conversion of the black nations of Nubia's, from the tropic


149 The history of the Copts, their religion, manners, &c. may be found in the Abbé Renaudot’s motley work, neither a translation nor an original; the Chronicon Orientale of Peter, a Jacobite; in the two versions of Abraham Ecchellensis, Paris, 1651; and John Simon Affeman, Venet. 1729. These annals descer:d no lower than the xijith century. The more recent accounts must be searched for in the travellers into Egypt, and the Nouveaux Memoires des Missions de Levant. In the last century, Joseph Abudacnus, a native of Cairo, published at Oxford, in thirty pages, a Night Historia Jacos bitarum, 147. poft 150.

*150 About the year 737. See Renaudot, Hift. Patriarch. Alex. p. 221, 222. Elmacin, Hift. Saracen. p. 99.

151 Ludolph, Hift. Æthiopic. et Comment. 1. i.c. 8. Renaudot, Hift. Patriarch. Alex. p. 480, &c. This opinion, introduced into Egypt and Europe by the artifice of the Copts, the pride of the Abyssinians, the fear and ignorance of the Turks and Arabs, has not even the femblance of truth. The rains of Æthiopia do not, in the increase of the Nile, consult the will of the monarch. If the river approaches at Napata, within three days journey of the Red Sea (see d'Anville's Map3), a canal that should divert its course would demand, and most probably surpass, the power of the Cæfars.

152 The Abyssinians, who still preserve the features and olive complexion of the Arabs, afford a proof that two thousand years are



CHAP. of Cancer to the confines of Abyssinia. Her des ,

sign was suspected and emulated by the more orthodox emperor.

The rival missionaries, ä Melchite and a Jacobite, embarked at the same time ; but the empress, from a motive of love or fear, was more effectually obeyed; and the Ca. tholic priest was detained by the president of The bais, while the king of Nubia and his court were hastily baptised in the faith of Diofcorus. The tardy envoy of Justinian was received and dismiffed with honour ; but when he accused the heresy and treason of the Egyptians, the negro convert was inftructed to reply that he would never abandon his brethren the true believers, to the perfecuting ministers of the synod of Chalce. don 'se. During several ages, the bishops of Nubia were named and consecrated by the Ja. cobite patriarch of Alexandria : as late as the twelfth century, Christianity prevailed; and some rites, some ruins, are still visible in the savage towns of Sennaar and Dongola "54. But the Nue

not fufficient to change the colour of the human race. The Nubians, an African race, are pure negroes, as black as those of Senegal or Congo, with flat noses, thick lips, and woolly hair (Buffon, Hift. Naturelle, tom. v, p. 117. 143, 144. 166. 219. edit. in 12 mp, Paris, 1769). The ancients beheld, without much attention, the extraordinary phænomenon which has exercised the philosophers and theologians of modern times.

153 Affeman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. i. p. 329.

154 The Christianity of the Nubians, A. D. 1153, is attested by the sheriff al Edrifi, falsely described under the name of the Nubian geographer (p. 18.), who represents them as a nation of Jacobites. The

rays of historical light that twinkle in the history of Renaudot (p. 178. 220~224. 281~-286. 405. 434. 451. 464.) are all previous to this æra. See the modern state in the Lattres Edifiantes (Rę cueil, iv.) and Busching (tom. ix. p. 152-159, par Berenger.),


bians at length executed their threats of returning CHAP.

XLVII. to the worship of idols; the climate required the indulgence of polygamy, and they have finally preferred the triumph of the Koran to the abafement of the Crofs. A metaphysical religion may appear too refined for the capacity of the negro race : yet a black or a parrot might be taught to repeat the words of the Chalcedonian or Monophysite creed. Christianity was more deeply rooted in the Church of

Abyffinia, Abyssinian empire; and, although the corre- A. D. 530, spondence has been sometimes interrupted above se. seventy or an hundred years, the mother-church of Alexandria retains her colony in a state of perpetual pupillage. Seven bishops once composed the Ethiopic fynod : had their number amounted to ten, they might have elected an independent primate, and one of their kings was ambitious of promoting his brother to the ecclesiastical throne. But the event was foreseen, the increase was denied; the episcopal office has been gradually confined to the abuna'ss, the head and author of the Abyssinian priesthood; the patriarch supplies each vacancy with an Egyptian monk; and the cha. racter of a stranger appears more venerable in the eyes of the people, less dangerous in those of the

155 The abuna is improperly dignified by the Latins with the title of pa-riarch. The Abyssinians acknowledge only the four patriarchs, and their chief is no more than a metropolitan or national primate (Ludolph. Hist. Æthiopic. et Comment. I. iii. C. 7.). The seven bilhops of Renaudot. (p. 511.), who existed A. D. 1131, are un. known to the historian, VOL, VIII.




CHAP. monarch. In the fixth century, when the schism

of Egypt was confirmed, the rival chiefs, with their patrons, Justinian and Theodora, strove to outstrip each other in the conquest of a remote and independent province. The industry of the empress was again victorious, and the pious Theodora has established in that sequestered church the faith and discipline of the Jacobites 156. Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the Æthiopians flept near a thousand years, for

getful of the world, by whom they were forgotten. The Por- They were awakened by the Portuguese, who, Abyflinia, turning the southern promontory of Africa, appeared

in India and the Red Sea, as if they had descended 1550, &c. through the air from a distant planet. In the first

moments of their interview, the subjects of Rome and Alexandria observed the resemblance, rather than the difference, of their faith; and each nation expected the most important benefits from an alliance with their Christian brethren. In their lonely situation, the Æthiopians had almost relapsed into the favage life. Their vessels, which had traded to Ceylon, scarcely presumed to navigate the rivers of Africa ; the ruins of Axume were deserted, the nation was scattered in villages, and the emperor, a pompous name, was content,

A.D. 1525

[ocr errors]

156 I know not why Affemannus (Bibliot. Orient. tom.ii. p. 384.) should call in question these probable missions of Theodora into Nubia and Æthiopia. The light notices of Abyssinia till the year 1500 are supplied by Renaudot (p. 336-341. 381, 382. 405. 443, &c, 452. 456. 463. 475. 480. 511.525. 559-564.) from the Coptic writers. The mind of Ludolphus was a perfect blank,


« ForrigeFortsett »