Page images

J.C. 1456. France ; but experience and reason had already
han cured the French of their madness for crusades.

The kings of France began to open their eyes,
and see how bad it was for their people, to sacri.
fice so many men and so much money in foreign
wars, and to forget the interests of their own
nation, in order to be occupied only with those
of the popes. Charles VII. was. deaf to the
repeated solicitations of the pontiff, who with
grief saw the decline of that authority, which his
predecessors had usurped over all Christendom.
* Whilst the preparations for this crusade were
advancing rather slowly, Mahomet resolved to
attack, without hesitation, those who as yet only
menaced him. He marched towards Belgrade
at the head of a hundred and fifty thousand men:
two hundred brigantines were intended to block,
up the town on the side of the Danube. This
strong place is situated on a peninsula, forined by
the Danube on the north, and by the river Save
on the west. On this large space of water, he
formed a chain of brigantines, which blocked up
the town. He fattered himself with stopping
up, on that fide, every passage by which a
fuccour might be introduced is but Hunniade,
who had heard at Buda of the expedition of
Mahomet, and the means which he was enıploy-
ing to make it succeed, came down the Danube
with a hundred and fixty brigantines, better
built and mounted, and faster failers than those


of the Turks. The Hungarian vessels were 1.C. 1456.

Heg. 860. loaded with ammunition and soldiers. Hunniade en briskly attacked this chain; the combat was hardly any thing more than a boarding. The Hungarian general killed the Turkish admiral with his own hand; at length the Hungarians having funk two brigantines, they united all their efforts to that end. The Turkish vessels, the workings of which were neither fo quick nor fo certain as thofe of the Hungarians, were presently dispersed. Hunniade took sixteen of them, and arrived in the port of Belgrade, dragging them after him; he did not lose a single vessel. His arrival communicated inexpressible courage to the garrison, townsmen, clergy, and even women; he assured them, that Mahomet would raise the siege, as his father had done; every one contributed to the defence of the place. Whilst the fighting-men fallied out to repel the workmen and fill up the trenches, the townsmen were busy in repairing the breaches and building up the bastions that had been beaten down.

Mahomet, seeing the works repaired as foon as Mahomet destroyed, fancied that men would vanquish with more certainty than cannon. He multiplied the to raite the affaults, and consequently augmented the naugh- Hunniade, ter. All the ditches were filled with dead bodies, fends Beland the janiffaries marched to be killed, on the of his

wounds. bodies of their expiring companions. The grand vizier, the beglerbegs, the bashaws, the aga of


[ocr errors]

& obliged

who des

grade, dies Heg, 860

C. 1456. the janissaries, in short, all the chiefs, gave the un example in these assaults, and all perished in

them. Mahomet was no longer surrounded but
by subalterns, whose bravery had gained them
his favor; he was wounded himself in the thigh
in a sally, and fell motionless. It was with dif-
ficulty that the janiffaries of his guard wrested
him from the Hungarians, who were cut in pieces
in defending their prey. Huhniade, who had ,
exposed himself as much as the sultan, was
wounded in the same engagement. Mahomet's
wound would no longer permit him to attend
himself to the operations of the fiege. The loss
of all his generals in whom he had confidence,
added to the number of killed and wounded,
obliged him to raise it. It is said that he shed
tears with rage, on seeing his troops file off, par-
ticularly when he turned his eyes on the heaps of
dead bodies which he left around the ramparts.
Hunniade died of his wounds the same day the

siege was raised. The death of this great man · was a triumph; he saw, as he expired, his ene

mies flee before him. Heg. 962. The sultan having retired to Constantinople, Mahomet thought of establishing the seat of his empire edifice, there. This great city, from the advantage of the old te- its situation, could not fail of being soon reHis gene- peopled. Constraint was made use of but a very plete the short time: Mahomet's subjects flocked thither, the Morea, particularly after he had undertaken a magnifie


raises the

fince called


cent edifice, which he designed for the residence 1.C. 1458. of the Turkish emperors. At present, this palace, called the old seraglio, is the residence of the widows of the deceased or deposed sultans, and in general of the wives the monarch no longer chooses to retain in the palace in which he resides. Whilft Mahomet's generals were completing the reduction of the Morea, or rather receiving the tribute of the different towns which had expected the troops to come and demand it of them: the sultan, who considered the present war beneath his attention, went to see a new conquest, which his vizier Omar had made for him at a still less expence than that of the Morea.

This was the principality of Athens. This J.C. 1459. celebrated city, though greatly fallen from its the pronta ancient splendor, was always considerable by its vince of

Athens u. port and commerce. In the thirteenth century, nited to th

wasOttoman when the Latins were in possession of the throne empire. of Conftantinople, Athens, Megara, Thebes, and Delphos, had formed a petty sovereignty, which, by succession of time and different revolutions, was fallen from the house of Villehardouin, to the house of Acciaioli, a Florentine. Maurice Acciaioli, the last prince of Athens, had, at his death, left an only son, quite an infant, under the care of his wife, and a son of his brother, called Franco. This last mentioned prince, who had no kind of pretension, either to the sceptre


X 2.

1.C.1459. of Athens, or the guardianship of his cousin, w law with jealousy all the authority in the hands

of a woman,' The princess regent governed
with apparent sagacity; she had the address to
make herself respected by her subjects, 'till a
noble Venetian, called Palmerio, the son of the
podestate of Napoli, was sent by his father to
Athens on some commercial treaty. He fell in
love with the regent, and found means to gain
her affections. An obstacle, apparently insur-
mountable, opposed their union. Palmerio was
already married at Venice ; his passion blinded
him so far, that he went into his own country in
order to get rid of his wife by poison. He re-
turned precipitately to Athens, polluted with
a crime, of which he soon received the recom- ,
penfe. The princess regent made herself his
accomplice, by giving him her hand and all the
authority intrusted to her. This double crime,
which had irritated the Athenians, furnished the
ambitious Franco with a very favorable pretext
for seizing the orphan's inheritance. He easily
made himself a party among the people, and
obtained ftill more easily the investicure from
Mahomet, who saw with pleasure the distracted
ftate of this province. The culpable regent was
arrested, with her son, and conducted to Megara,
where, a few months after, the usurper had them
both put to death. Palmerio, the princess's hufa
band, having taken refuge in Constantinople,


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »