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Heg: 857.

J.C. 1453. of no other use to him, than to fill up the ditches

by the number of dead bodies, and to fatigue
the arms and blunt the steel of the enemy. In
effect, they all mounted to the assault, and not
one reached the breach. All these operations,
commenced at the same time, seemed to roufe
the courage of the besieged, who precipitated
from the tops of the ladders thousands of men,
penetrated with terror, as soon as they were
gotten up. But when the janissaries, marching
on the bodies of these wretches, mounted in
their turn, with as much agility as courage, the
Greeks experienced efforts, which they were una-
ble to resist. The attack of these brave soldiers
was covered by alhower of arrows discharged at a
small distance, almost every one of which reached
its destination. The lieutenant Justiniani re-
ceived one of these arrows, which pierced his '
hand through the gauntlet with which it was
covered, and another struck him in the shoulder
for want of his cuirass; forced by extreme an-
guish, he quitted his post to seek relief. The
Greek emperor learned at another breach, where
he commanded in person, the discouragement
which Justiniani's retreat had spread along the
ramparts. In effect, the janissaries approached
in greater number towards this place; they foon
reached the top of the wall; and having re-
doubled the slaughter and enlarged the breach,
whole battalions mounted by this opening, where


they no longer saw any resistance. They ran 1.C. 1453.

Heg. 85701 along the ramparts, and distributed themselves at the different assaults where their comrades had not yet succeeded. The unfortunate Constantine, seeing himself between two fires, and knowing the enemy were spread over the city, exclaimed, Will no Christian deign, through pity, to take my life? To prevent his falling alive into the hands of the vanquisher, he laid aside his gilded arms, and precipitated himself into the middle of the janissaries, who killed him without knowing him. .: Whilst the chiefs and soldiers were braving death on the breaches, the filly people ran to St. Sophia's to await the event of a pretended prediction. Some impostor had prognosticated to them, a long time before, that the Turks should enter Constantinople one day, and would penetrate as far as the column of Conftantine, where an Angel should descend from Heaven, and put into the hands of a common man a sword and a sceptre, saying to him: “ Avenge the people of the Lord;" that the Turks would immediately fake to Aight; that the Greeks should drive them in turn, under the command of this king, chosen by God himself, and that they would pursue them as far a place called Monardera on the frontiers of Persia. The Greeks, on the faith of this absurd prophecy, almost rejoiced to see their fellow citizens Daughtered : shut up in


Heg. 857

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C. 1453. the churches, they were addressing tumultuous

prayers to God, when the shouts of victory, and the noise of the axes breaking open the doors, announced to them death or captivity. The janiffaries surrounded this unarmed multitude ; avarice softened their, barbarity ; they bound them together two and two, choosing rather to sell or employ them in their service, than to maffacre them. Almost all the soldiers had perished

by the sword of the conqueror. Conftanti. The great duke or admiral was more unforpillaged. tunate than all the others. The magnificence of has his vi- his arms discovered him; he was conducted alive med, forage to Mahomet, who treated him at first with some boreng.he humanity. The conqueror asked him, why the Grecks.

Greeks had persisted in defending Constantinople. You have, said he, lost your property and liberty, which I would have preserved you. The prisoner, who had no longer any thing to diffemble, replied: Your first officers encouraged us to hold out, averring that you would never be able to reduce us. This answer instantly recalled to Mahomet's mind, some advice, which his grand vizier, Ali, had presumed to give him, against his interest and glory. The great duke, who named no one, confirmed by this reply all the fufpicions of the emperor, and the vizier was strangled immediately. The assault had been given in the evening, and the city was pillaged in the depth of the night. The torches and


arms carried terror every where. * Notwith- 1.C. 1453standing the calamity of Constantinople, there was still that magnificence, which the ancient


Heg. 857

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The women (says Vertot in his Histoire des Chevaliers de Malte, ) detested the fecundity which had made them mothers, and bitterly lamented the fate of the young infants that they carried in their arms. An infinity of young girls, timid and faultering in their steps, who, not knowing where to go, wandered about like wretched strangers in the very bofom of their country, and, whilst they were in quest of their relations, fell into an abyss of horrors, and into the hands of barbarians, from whom they experienced a treatment, more horrible, to them, than the most cruel punila ment. Neither their tears nor cries touched the infolent conqueror, and the meanest of the Turks had an accomplished beauty for his prey, though often taken from him by another Turk, either stronger than himfelf, or of higher authority in the army. Most of these barbarians set their prisoners up to sale; but the men of quality, the princes, and officers who were taken under arms, were executed by the sultan's orders: none efcaped his cruelty but the handsomeft young perfons of both sexes, whom he referved for the abominations of his seraglio.

It was thus that a young Greek lady of noble birth, called Irene, hardly feventeen years old, fell into his hands. A bashaw had just made her his fave; but ftruck with her exquisite beauty, thought her a present worthy of the sultan. The east had never before given birth to fo charming a creature; her beauty was irrefiftable, and triumphed over the savage Mahomet; rough as he was, he was forced to yield himself entirely to this new passion ; and in order to have fewer avocations from his amorous affiduities, he passed several days without permitting his ministers and the principal officers of the army to see him. Irene followed him afterward ta Adrianople, where he fixed the residence of the young Greek. As for himself, on whatever fide he turned his arms, he would often, in the midst of the most important expeditions, leave the command to his generals, and return on the wings of love to Irene. It was soon perceived that war was Ao longer his reigning passion: the soldiers, who were inured to plunder, and accustomed to find booty in following him, murmured at the change. This dissatisfaction spread and became contagious: the officers, as well as the soldiers, complained of his effeminate life : yet his wrath was fo terrible, that no body durst undertake to speak to him on that subject. At isngth, as the discontents of the foldiery were just going to break out,


J.C. 1453. fplendor of the empire had introduced. Rich Heg. 857

clothes, magnificent furniture, gold, and precious stones, every where offered to the avidity of the soldiery. In the space of a few hours, all were bending under the weight of their booty. The


Mustapha bahaw, consulting only the fidelity which he owed his master, was the first chat gave him notice of the discourses which the janissaries held publicly to the prejudice of his glory

The fultan continued some time in a lullen and deep silence, as if he was considering in himself what resolution he should take; the only answer Mustapha received was, an order to summon the bathaws to assemble the next day, with all the guards, and the troops that were posted about the city, under pretence of a review; after which he went into Irene's apartment, and stayed with her all the night.

Never did the young princess appear fo charming in his eyes ; never too had the prince given her such tender marks of his love before : and in order, if possible, to bestow new lustre on her beauty, he desired her maids to exert all their care and skill in dressing her. When she was thus set out and adjusted to appear in public, he took her by the hand and led her into the middle of the assembly; when, tearing off the veil that covered her face, he haughtily asked the bashaws around, if they had ever seen a more perfect beauty. All the officers, like true courtiers, were lavish of their praises, and congratulated him on his felicity. Upon which, Mahomet, taking the fair Greek by the hair with one hand, and drawing his sword with the other, at one stroke, separated her head from her body; then turning about to his grandees, wlth eyes rolling and Alaihing with fire: This Sword, said he to them, wbenever I please, can cut ajunder the ties of love. The whole assembly was struck with horror, and shuddered at the fight: the dread they were all seized with, of being treated in the like manner, made the most mutinous of them tremble: every one thought he saw the fatal sword lifted over his own head; but if they escaped his fanguinary temper at that moment, it was only to have his revenge the better. Muftaphaj as a reward for his faithful advice, was first facrificed, and on a slight pretence; he caused him to be strangled in the seraglio; and in the long wars in which he was afterward engaged, arid that lasted as long as his reign, he had the cruel pleasure of dispatching most of the janissaries one after another, who, by their seditious cries, had interrupted his pleasures, and awaked his fury. Translator.

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