« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
fack of Conftantinople was perhaps the least J.C. 1453. bloody of any related in hiftory. The soldiers a killed, only fome young persons of both sexes, on whom they could not agree as to the division, and who were massacred, through debauchery and rage, by those who would not give them up to the strongest. The churches, which were richer than in any other part of Christendom, were pillaged still more than the palaces of the grandees. The Turks committed every profánation with which the excess of victory could inspire ferocious men, who thought to honor their religion by insulting that of the vanquished. They dragged about the streets the images of Jesus Christ, the virgin Mary, and the Saints, though the Alcoran acknowledges the former for a prophet, and his mother for a virgin after her delivery: they drank out of the sacred vases, and employed fome of them for infamous uses; they covered their horses with the ornaments of the priests and prelates, whom they were pleased to load, all enchained as they were, with the gold and filver plundered from their churches. Cardinal Isidore, the pope's legate, was taken pri. soner and sold like the rest, but was so fortų, nate as to conceal his name and dignity. The Turks, who detested the Latin Christians still more than the Greeks, knew that a cardinal resided at that time at Constantinople, and vainly endeavoured to discover him. The cardinal ! T
1.C. 1453. legate deceived them, by taking the clothes from Heg. 857.
a dead body, and leaving it the marks of his dignity, in the moment that he saw the city on the point of being taken. No one betrayed him, undoubtedly because no one knew him again. In this disguise he was sold for a trifle to a merchant, who valued him but little on account of his age and weakness. In the sequel, he found means to escape from his captivity and return to Rome, where he ended his days.* Constan. tinople was taken by the Turks on the 20th of the month which they call Gimaasel-euvel, in the year of the hegira 857, the 28th of our May, in the year of J. C. 1453,7 two thousand two hundred and five years after the foundation of Rome, and eleven hundred and twenty-three after Constantine had removed the seat of the empire to Byzantium, and had given his name to that celebrated city, designed to become the capital of another great empire. Thus ended the last shadow of Roman greatness, that had spread itself over half the world, and which had decayed nearly in the same space of time, that it had taken to raise itself.s
* If we may believe this cardinal, is contradi&tion to every historian, Mahomet violated the empress in the church of St. Sophia. Translator. + This was in the 31st year of the reign of Henry VI. of England. .
, Translator. i $ It is at the taking of Constantinople, that the epoch of the revival of letters in Europe is fixed. Several learned perfons passed from Greece into
Mahomet made his entrance into Constanti- 1.C. 1453. nople about the eighth hour, that is, about two ar in the afternoon. The streets resounded with the acclamations of the soldiers ; not a single Greek remained. The emperor's 'retinue displayed a warlike magnificence; he alighted at St. Sophia's. This church had been pillaged like all the other temples.. Mahomet stopped some soldiers, who, under pretext of religion, were going to pull down the very marble with which the inside was decorated : " Be contented with the booty which I have « abandoned to you,” said he, “the city and all « its edifices belong to me.” He ordered an • T2
Italy, from whence they spread themselves all over the West. They brought with them a more perfect knowledge of their language, valuable manuscripts of their best authors, and the precepts of that eloquence which received its birth in their climes, and that the Romans had formerly borrowed when they subjugated them. It seems the new conquerors have disdained to owe this advantage to the vanquished. The Turks are never educated in the School of the Greek orators. For a long time the study of Homer and Demosthenes had been neglected in the universities of the West; but it soon recovered itself after the fall of the eastern empire, Gregory of Tiferne was the first who publicly taught Greek and Rhetoric at Paris. The fociety of arts ordered him a hundred crowns a year. Before this professor of eloquence, the students passed from Grammar to Logic. The art of Oratory came to embellish this part of philofophy, and lent it new force. They reckon among the mof celebrated of these illustrious Greeks who enriched France, with the treasures of their country, Bassarion, who was honored with the Roman purple, Argyropile, George of Trebizond, Philelphe, Hermonyme of Sparta, and Andronicus of Thessalonica. About the com. mencement of this century, the learned Emmanuel Chrysolore restored the taste for Greek literature in Italy. He taught Leonard Arettin and Le Pogge of Florence, Translator.
J.C. 1453. iman to ascend into the patriarchial pulpit and
chant the aizan, which is a canticle of actions of grace, containing the Mahometan faith: after which, he went and took possession of the imperial palace. It is said, that on entering it, he made an extemporary diftich on his victory.
After having eaten in the palace, ornamented, notwithstanding the pillage, with furniture repurchased from the janissaries, he went to contemplate the magnificence of the port and some edifices, most of which he changed into mosques. He then went and visited the wife of the great duke, who was sick; he consoled her, and promised that she should have her liberty, as likewise her husband and children. The same day Mahomet redeemed several Greek families from the hands of their ravishers; he intended them to repeople Constantinople. Policy prevailed. on him to leave these people the free exercise of their religion, as authorised by the Alcoran: Some churches were set apart for the Christian worship. The fate of the last emperor of Constantinople was not yet known; the conqueror had him fought with great care. Two, soldiers brought him a head, which they averred was Conftantine’s. Mahomet sent for the great duke, who instantly knew it. Phranzes, a cotem. porary author, and a witness of the siege, reports, that the sultan, after shewing it to the,
grandees, had it honorably interred. The other C. 1453 Greek writers say, that it was exposed, by order of the emperor, on the top of a column; that precautions were afterward taken to prevent its corruption; and that it was sent into Asia to intimidate the tributary princes.
Be that as it may, Mahomet foon gave more He has the odious marks of his cruelty. He was particularly and his
children given to wine; this vice had introduced every put to other into his heart. The day after his entry into Constantinople, having drunk to access, he fent orders to Notaras, the great duke, to send him his second son, a young man, whose beauty had struck the emperor. Notaras, who 'till then had received from Mahomet, only marks of clemency and even favors, (for the prince had given a thousand aspers to him, his wife, and each of his children,) was overcome with astonishment, grief, and shame; after having caused this odious order to be repeated to him several times, he declared, that he would sooner lose his life, than part with his son, and he prepared to make refiltance. As soon as Mahomet had received these news, he ordered Notaras to be put to death, as likewise his two sons. The unfortunate father blessed God, that the tyrant's rage had ftified his abominable passion. When he was told that his two children should be put to death before him, he subscribed to the decree with a sort of joy; he bathed them with tears, exhort