« ForrigeFortsett »
ft happy ignoranc3, if reason and virtue were the guaidiana of their peace!M
It is the observation of the Imperial author of the Tactics,*' that all ohe Scythian hordes resembled each othei in their pastora' and military life, that they all practised the same means of subsistence, and employed the same instruments of destruction. But he adds, that the two nations of Bulgarians and Hungarians were superior to their brethren, and similar to each other in the improvements, however rude, of their discipline and government: their visible likeness determines Leo to confound his friends and enemies in one common description; and the picture may be heightened by some strokes from their contemporaries of the tenth century. Except the merit and fame of military prowess, all that is valued by mankind appeared vile and contemptible to these Barbarians, whose native fierceness was stimulated by the consciousness of numbers and freedom. The tents of the Hungarians were )f leather, their garments of fur; they shaved their hair, and scarified their faces: in speech they were slow, in action prompt, in treaty perfidious; and they shared the common reproach of Barbarians, too ignorant to conceive the importance of truth, too proud to deny or palliate the breach of their most solemn engagements. Their simplicity has been praised; yet they abstained only from the luxury they had never known; whatever they saw they coveted; their desires were insatiate, and their sole industry was the hand of violence and rapine. By the definition of a pastoral nation, I have recalled a long description of the economy, the warfare, and the government that prevail in that state of society; I
88 Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, torn. v. p. 6, in 12mo. Gustavus Adolphus attempted, without success, to form a regiment of Laplanders. Grotius says of these arctic tribes, arma arcus et pharetra, sed adversus feras, (Annal. 1. iv. p. 236;) and attempts, after the manner of Tacitus, to varnish with philosophy their brutal ignorance.
atf Leo has observed, that the government of the Turks was monarchical, and that their punishments were rigorous, (Tactic, p. 896, dvcivus Kal Haptiai.) Rhegino (in Chron. A. D. 889) mentions theft as a capital crime, and his jurisprudence is confirmed by the original code of St. Stephen, (A. D. 1016.) If a slave were guilty, he was chastised, for the first time, with the loss of his nose, or a fine of five heifers; for the second, with the loss of his ears, or a similar fine; for the third, with death; which the freeman did not incur till the fourth offence, ai Us first penalty was the loss of liberty, (Katona, Hist. Reguiu Hung&r torn. L p. 231, 232.)
may add, that to fishing, as well as to the chase, the Hung* nans were indebted for a part of their subsistence; and sine* they seldom cultivated the ground, they must, at least in theii new settlements, have sometimes practised a slight and unskilful husbandry. In their emigrations, perhaps in their expeditions, the host was accompanied by thousands of sheep and oxen which increased the cloud of formidable dust, and afforded a constant and wholesale supply of milk and animal food. A plentiful command of forage was the first care of the general, and if the flocks and herds were secure of their pastures, the hardy warrior was alike insensible of danger and fatigue. The confusion of men and cattle that overspread the country exposed their camp to a nocturnal surprise, had not a still wider circuit been occupied by their light cavalry, perpetually in motion to discover and delay the approach of the enemy. After some experience of the Roman tactics, they adopted the use of the sword and spear, the helmet of the soldier, and the iron breastplate of his steed: but their native and deadly weapon was the Tartar bow: from the earliest infancy their children and servants were exercised in the double science of archery and horsemanship; their arm was strong; their aim was sure; and in the most rapid career, they were taught to throw themselves backwards, and to shoot a volley of arrows into the air. In open combat, in secret ambush, in flight, or pursuit, they were equally formidable; an appearance of order was maintained in the foremost ranks, but their charge was driven forwards by the impatient pressure of succeeding crowds. They pursued, headlong and rash, with loosened reins and horrific outcries; but, if they fled, with real or dissembled fear, the ardor of a pursuing foe was checked and chastised by the same habits of irregular speed and sudden evolution. In the abuse of /ictory, they astonished Europe, yet smarting from the rounds of the Saracen and the Dane: mercy they rarely eked, and more rarety bestowed: both sexes were accused *s equally inaccessible to pity, and their appetite for raw desh might countenance the popular tale, that they drank the blood, and lasted on the hearts of the slain. Yet the Hungarians weiv not devoid of those principles of justice and numanity, which nature has implanted in every bosom. The license of public and private injuries was restrained by laws and punishments; and in the security of an open ciunp, theft W the most tempting and most dangerous offence. Arr.ong the Barbarians there were many, whose spontaneous virtue supplied their laws and corrected their manners, who performed the duties, and sympathized with the affections, of social life.
After a long pilgrimage of flight or victory, the Turkish hordes approached the common limits of the French and Byzantine empires. Their first conquests and final settlements extended on either side of the Danube above Vienna, below Belgrade, and beyond the measure of the Roman province of Pannonia, or the modern kingdom of Hungary.30 That ample and fertile land was loosely occupied by the Moravians, a Sclavonian name and tribe, which were driven by the invaders into the compass of a narrow province. Charlemagne had stretched a vague and nominal empire as far as the edge of Transylvania; but, after the failure of his legitimate line, the dukes of Moravia forgot their obedience and tribute to the monarchs of Oriental France. The bastard Arnulph was provoked to invite the arms of the Turks: they rushed through the real or figurative wall, which his indiscretion had thrown open; and the king of Germany has been justly reproached as a traitor to the civil and ecclesiastical society of the Christians. During the life of Arnulph, the Hungarians were checked by gratitude or fear; but in the infancy of his son Lewis they discovered and invaded Bavaria; and such was their Scythian speed, that in a single day a circuit of fifty miles was stripped and consumed. In the battle of Augsburgh the Christians maintained their advantage till the seventh hour of the day . they were deceived and vanquished by the flying stratagem!) of the Turkish cavalry. The conflagration spread over the provinces of Bavaria, Swabia, and Franconia; and the Hungarians" promoted the reign of anarchy, by forcing the stoutest barons to discipline their vassals and fortify theii castles. The origin of walled towns is ascribed to this calamitous period; nor could any distance be secure against an enemy, who, almost at the same instant, laid in ashes the Helvetian monastery of St. Gall, and the city of Bremen, )n the shores of the northern ocean. Above thirty years the Ger
,0 See Katona, Hist. Ducum Hungar. p. 321—352.
11 Hungarorum gens, cujus omnes fere nationes expertae sjevitmm Ac, is the preface of Liutpran 1, (1. i. c. 2,) who frequently expatiatei on the calamities of his own times. See 1. i. c. 5, 1. ii. c. 1, 2, 1, 5, 6 ■ 7; L iii. c. 1, <fec, 1. v. c. 8, 15, in Legat. p. 485. His colors are glaring but his chronology must be rectified by Pagi and Muratori.
manic empire, or kingdom, was subject to the igncminy of tribute; and resistance was disarmed by the menace, the serious and effectual menace of dragging the women and children into captivity, and of slaughtering the males above the age often yeais. I have neither power nor inclination to follow the Hungarians beyond the Rhine; but I must observe with surprise, that the southern provinces of France were blasted by the tempest, and that Spain, behind her Pyrenees, was astonished at the approach of these formidable stran gjers." The vicinity of Italy had tempted their early inroads; but from their camp on the Brenta, they beheld with some terror the apparent strength and populousness of the new discovered country. They requested leave to retire; their request was proudly rejected by the Italian king; and the lives of twenty thousand Christians paid the forfeit of his obstinacy and rashness. Among the cities of the West, the royal Pavia was conspicuous in fame and splendor; and the preeminence of Rome itself was only derived from the relics of the apostles. The Hungarians appeared; Pavia was in flames; forty-three churches were consumed; and, after the massacre of the people, they spared about two hundred wretches who had gathered some bushels of gold and silver (a vague exaggeration) from the smoking ruins of their conn try. In these annual excursions from the Alps to the neigh borhood of Rome and Capua, the churches, that yet escaped, resounded with a fearful litany: "0, save and deliver us from the arrows of the Hungarians!" But the saints were deaf or inexorable; and the torrent rolled forwards, till it was stopped by the extreme land of Calabria.33 A composition
82 The three bloody reigns of Arpad, Zoltan. and Toxus, are critically illustrated by Katona, (Hist. Ducum, <fec. p. 107—499.) His diligence has searched both natives and foreigners; yet to the deeds of mischief, or glory, I have been able to add the destruction of Bremec [Adam Bremensis, i. 43.)
ss Muratori has considered with patriotic care the danger and re sources of Modena. The citizens besought St.. (xcminianus, their pa tron to avert, by his intercession, the rabies, flagellmn, &c.
Nunc te rogamus, licet servi pessimi,
Tfca bishop erected walls for the public defence, not contra dominoa serenos, (Antiquitat. Ital. Med. JEvi, torn, i dissertat. i. p. 21, 22,) and the song of the nightly watch is not without elegance or u=e, (torn, iii 3is xl. p. 709.'• The Italian annalist has accurately traced die seriea oi their inroad*, (Annali d' Italia, torn. vii. p. 365, 367, 39-S, 10». 487 44«"', torn. viii. p. 19, 41, 52, <fec.)
wa9 offered and accepted for the head of eacli Italian subject; and ten bushels of silver were poured forth in the Turkish samp. But falsehood is the natural antagonist of violence: and the robbers were defrauded both in the numbers of the assessment and the standard of the metal. On the side of the East, the Hungarians were opposed in doubtful conflict by the squal arms of the Bulgarians, whose faith forbade an alliance with the Pagans, and whose situation formed the barrier of the Byzantine empire. The barrier was overturned; the emperor of Constantinople beheld the waving banners of the Turks; and one of their boldest warriors presumed to strike a battle-axe into the golden gate. The arts and treasures of the Greeks diverted the assault; but the Hungarians might boast, in their retreat, that they had imposed a tribute on the spirit of Bulgaria and the majesty of the Caesars.34 The remote and rapid operations of the same campaign appear to magnify the power «nd numbers of the Turks; but their courage is most deserving of praise, since a light troop of three or four hundred horse would often attempt and execute the most daring inroads to the gates of Thessalonica and Constantinople. At this disastrous aera of the ninth and tenth centuries, Europe was afflicted by a triple scourge from the North, the East, and the South: the Norman, the Hungarian, and the Saracen, sometimes trod the same ground of desolation; and these savage foes might have been compared by Homer to the two lions growling over the carcass of a mangled stag."
The deliverance of Germany and Christendom was achieved by the Saxon princes, Henry the Fowler and Otho the Great, who, in two memorable battles, forever broke the power of the Hungarians.86 The valiant Henry was roused from a
'* Both the Hungarian and Russian annals suppose, that they besieged, or attacked, or insulted Constantinople, (Pray, dissertat. x. p 239. Katona, Hist. Ducum, p. 354—360;) and the fact is almost confessed by the Byzantine historians, (Leo Grammaticua, p. 506. CeJrenus. torn. ii. p. 629 :) yet, however glorious to the nation, it is denied 31 doubted bv the critical historian, and even by the notary of Beta. Their scepticism is meritorious; they could not safely transcribe or believe the rusticorum fabulas: but Katona might have given due attention to the evidence of Liutprand, Bulgarorum gentem atque 9-xtorum tributariam fecerant, (Hist. 1. ii. c. 4, p. 435.)
*• Aif.vO' o)f, fir)pivBr\TifV,
'Jlr' Speos Knpvpijat ncp'i Krauivrii tAd^oio,
*ApQiL> TTtivai > re, }tlyi fyoviuvrz pajpoBav. Iliad, xvi. 75ft,
m They are amply and critically discussed by Katona, (Hist D»