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ment jf an independent republic; and the patriarch af Constantinople condemned, what he secretly envied, the temporal greatness of his Roman brother. Yet the exeicise of boundless despotism is happily checked by the laws of nature and necessity. In proportion to his wisdom and virtue, the master of an empire is confined to the path of his sacred and laborious duty. In proportion to his vice and folly, he drops the sceptre too weighty for his hands; and the motions of the royal image are ruled by the imperceptible thread of soma minister or favorite, who undertakes for his private interest to exercise the task of the public oppression. In some fatal moment, the most absolute monarch may dread the reason or the caprice of a nation of slaves; and experience has proved, that whatever is gained in the extent, is lost in the safety and solidity, of regal power.
Whatever titles a despot may assume, whatever claims he may assert, it is on the sword that he must ultimately depend to guard hitii against his foreign and domestic enemies. From the acfe of Charlemagne to that of the Crusades, the world (for I overlook the remote monarchy of China) was occupied and disputed by the three great empires or nations of the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks. Their military strength may be ascertained by a comparison of their courage, their arts and riches, and their obedience to a supreme head, who might call into action all the energies of the state. The Greeks, far inferior to their rivals in the first, were superior to the Franks, and at least equal to the Saracens, in the second and third of these warlike qualifications.
The wealth of the Greeks enabled them to purchase the service of the poorer nations, and to maintain a naval power for the protection of their coasts and the annoyance of their enemies." A commerce of mutual benefit exchanged the gold of Constantinople for the blood of Sclavonians and Turks, the Bulgarians and Russians: their valor contributed to the victories of Nicephorus and Zimisces; and if a hostile people pressed too closely on the frontier, they were
"If we listen to the threats of Nicephorus to the ambassador of Otho, Nee est in mari domino tuo classium numerus. Navigantiurc fortitudo mihi soli inest, qui eum classibus aggrediar, bello maritimas ejus civitates demoliar; et quae fluminibus sunt vicina redigam ic favillam. (Liutprand in Legat. ad Nicephorum Phocam, in Muratori Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, torn. ii. pars i. p 481.) He observes it another place, qui csnteris praestant Venetici sunt et AmalDhitani
recalled to tbe defence of their country, and the desire of peace, by the well-managed attack of a more distant tribe." The command of the Mediterranean, from the mouth of the Tanais to the columns of Hercules, was always claimed, and often possessed, by the successors of Constantine. Their capital was rilled with naval stores and dexterous artificers: the situation of Greece and Asia, the long coasts, deep gulfs, nd numerous islands, accustomed their subjects to the exerise of navigation; and the trade of Venice and Amalfi supplied a nursery of seamen to the Imperial fleet." Since the time of the Peloponnesiar1 and Punic wars, the sphere of action had not been enlarged; and the science of naval architecture appears to have declined. The art of constructing those stupendous machines which displayed three, or six, or ten, ranges of oars, rising above, or falling behind, each other, < as unknown to the ship-builders of Constantinople, as-well Hs to the mechanicians of modern days." The Dromones" or light galleys of the Byzantine empire, were content with two tier of oars; each tier was composed of five-and-twenty benches; and two rowers were seated on each bench, who plied their oars on either side of the vessel. To these we must add the captain or centurion, who, in time of action, stood "irect with his armor-bearer on the poop, two steersmen at the helm, and two officers at the prow, the one to manage the anchor, the other to point and play against the enemy the tube of liquid fire. Tbe whole crew, as in the infancy of
10 Nee ipsa capiet eura (the emperor Otho) in qua ortus est pauper et pellicea Saxonia: pecunia qua pollemus onines nationes super eum invitabimus: et quasi Keramicum confringemus, (Liutprand in Legat. p. 487.) The two books, do Administrando Imperio, perpetually in culcate the same policy.
71 The sixth chapter of the Tactics of Leo, (Meurs. Opera, torn. vi.
S. 825—848,) which is given more correct from a manuscript of Guius, by the laborious Fabricius, (Bibliot. Gra?c. torn. vi. p. 372—379,\ relates to the Naumachia, or naval war.
T" Even of fifteen and sixteen rows of oars, in the navy of Deme trius Poliorcetes. These were for real use: the forty rows of Ptolemy Philadelphus were applied to a floating palace, whose tonnage, according to Dr. Arbuthnot, (Tables of Ancient Coins. <fcc, p. 231—236,) 18 compared as 4-£ to 1 with an English 100 gun ship.
13 The Dromones of Leo, <tc, are so cleaily described with two tier of oars, that I must censure the version of Meursius and Fabricius, wko pervert the sense by a blind attachment to the classic appellation of Trireme*. The Byzantir e historians are sometimes guilty of the <am» inaccuracy.
the art, performed the double service of mariners and soldiers; they were provided with defensive and offensive arms, with bows and arrows, which they used from the '.ipper deck, with long pikes, which they pushed through the portholes of the lower tier. Sometimes, indeed, the ships of war were of a larger and more solid construction; and the labors of combat and navigation were more regularly divided be tween seventy soldiers and two hundred and thirty mariners But for the most part they were of the light and manageable size; and as the Cape of Malea in Peloponnesus was still clothed with its ancient terrors, an Imperial fleet was transported five miles over land across the Isthmus of Corinth/* The principles of maritime tactics had not undergone any change since the time of Thucydides: a squadron of galleys still advanced in a crescent, charged to the front, and strove to impel their sharp beaks against the feeble sides of their antagonists. A machine for casting stones and darts was built of strong timbers, in the midst of the deck; and the operation of boarding was effected by a crane that hoisted baskets of armed men. The language of signals, so clear and copious in the naval grammar of the moderns, was imperfectly ex pressed by the various positions and colors of a commanding flag. In the darkness of the night, the same orders to chase, to attack, to halt, to retreat, to break, to form, were conveyed by the lights of the leading galley. By land, the fire-signals were repeated from one mountain to another; a chain of eight stations commanded a space of five hundred miles; and Constantinople in a few hours was apprised of the hostile •notions of the Saracens of Tarsus." Some estimate may be formed of the power of the Greek emperors, by the curious and minute detail of the armament which was prepared foi the reduction of Crete. A fleet of one hundred and twelve
74 Constantin. Porphyrogen. in Vit. Basil, c. lxi. p. 185. He calmlj praises the stratagem as a dou\i)v awcriiv Ko\ ao</>t>; but the sailing round Peloponnesus is described by his terrified fancy as a circumnavigation of a thousand miles.
16 The continuator of Theophanes (1. iv. p. 122, 123) names the sue cossive stations, the castle of Lulum near Tarsus, Mount Argaeus Isamus, J5gilus, the hill of Mamas, Cyrisus, Mocilus, the hill of .Vuxentius, the sun-dial of the Pharus of the great palace. He affirms that the news were transmitted Iv ihdoa, in an indivisible moment of time. Miserable amplification, which, by saying too much, says noth ing. How much more forcible and instructive vmld have been th« definition 01 three, or six, or twelve hours!
gjallej's, and seventy-6ve vessels of the Pamphylian style, was equipped in the capital, the islands of the ^Egean Sea, and the seaports of Asia, Macedonia, a/id Greece. It carried thiity-four thousand mariners, seven thousand three hundred and forty soldiers, seven hundred Russians, and live thousand and eighty-seven Mardaites, whose fathers had beer, transplanted from the mountains of Libanus. Their pay most probably of a month, was computed at thirty-four centenaries of gold, about one hundred and thirty-six thou sand pounds sterling. Our fancy is bewildered by the endless recapitulation of arms and engines, of clothes and linen, of bread for the men and forage for the horses, and of stores and utensils of every description, inadequate to the conquest of a petty island, but amply sufficient for the establishment of a flourishing colony.TM
The invention of the Greek fire did not, like that of gun powder, produce a total revolution in the art of war. To these liquid combustibles the city and empire of Constantine owed their deliverance; and they were employed in sieges and sea-fights with terrible eftect. But they were either less improved, or less susceptible of improvement: the engines of antiquity, the catapultae, balistse, and battering-rams, were still of most frequent and powerful use in the attack and defence of fortifications; nor was the decision of battles reduced to the quick and heavy fire of a line of infantry, whom it were fruitless to protect with armor against a similar fire of their enemies. Steel and iron were still the common instruments of destruction and safety; and the helmets, cuirasses, and shields, of the tenth century did not, either in form or substance, essentially differ from those which had covered the companions of Alexander or Achilles.77 But instead of accustoming the modern Greeks, like the legionaries of old, to the constant and easy use of this salutary weight, their armor
*• See the Ceremoniale of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 1. ii. c. 14. p. 176—192. A critical reader will discern some inconsistencies in different parts of this account; but they are not more obscure or more stubborn than the establishment and effectives, the present and fit for duty, the rank and file and the private, of a modern return, which retain in proper hands the knowledge of these profitable mysteries.
"See the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters, xepl oirW, rtpi toXimuf, and nspi ytyriininf, iii the Tactics of Leo, with the correspood mg passages io those of Constantine.
was laid aside in light chariots, which followed the march, till, on the approach of an enemy, they resumed with haste and reluctance the unusual encumbrance. Their offensiw.weapons consisted of swords, battle-axes, and spears; but the Macedonian pike was shortened a fourth of its length, and reduced to the more convenient measure of twelve cubits or feet. The sharpness of the Scythian and Arabian arrows bad >een severely felt; and the emperors lament the decay ol rchery as a cause of the public misfortunes, and recommend, a* n advice and a command, that the military youth, till the age of forty, should assiduously practise the exercise of the bow." The bands, or regiments, were usually three hundred strong; and, as a medium between the extremes of four and sixteen, the foot soldiers of Leo and Constantine were formed eight deep; but the cavalry charged in four ranks, from the reasonable consideration, that the weight of the front could not be increased by any pressure of the hindmost horses. If the ranks of the infantry or cavalry were sometimes doubled, this cautious array betrayed a secret distrust of the courage of the troops, whose numbers might swell the appearance of the line, but of whom only a chosen band would dare to encounter the spears and swords of the Barbarians. The order of battle must have varied according to the ground, the object, and the adversary; but their ordinary disposition, in two lines and a reserve, presented a succession of hopes and resources most agreeable to the temper as well as the judgment of the Greeks.TM In case of a repulse, the first line fell back into the intervals of the second; and the reserve, breaking into two divisions, wheeled round the Hanks to improve the victory or cover the retreat. Whatever authority could enact was accomplished, at least in theory, by the camps and marches, the exercises and evolutions, the edicts and books, of the Byzantine monarch.80 Whatever art could produce from the forge, the loom, or the laboratory, was abundantly supplied by the
Tf They observe Ttjs yap ro^cins iravTt'S.Mi d/itXriOiirTris.. . . iv roil 'Piouainf ro 7ro)Aii vvi> tltaQs a^iaX^«Ta yivecrdm. (Leo, Tactic, p. 581 Constantia p 1216.) Yet such were not the maxims of the Greeks and Romans, Who despised the loose and distant practice of archery.
n Compare the passages of the Tactics, p. 669 and 721, and the Xiith with the xviiith chapter.
%0 In the preface to his Tactics, Leo very freely deplores the loss of discipline and the calamities of the times, and repeats, without scn> Qle, (Proem, p. 537,) the reproaches of dtu\tta, ataxia, dyvuvaai*