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Henry was the prelude of disgrace; his disgrace was the signal of death ; and of the victims of the jealous tyrant, the marquis of Exeter is one of the most noble and guiltless. · His son Édward lived a prisoner in the Tower, and died an exile at Padua; and the secret love of queen Mary, whom he slighted, perhaps for the princess Elizabeth, has shed a romantic colour on the story of this beautiful youth. The relics of his patrimony were conveyed into strange families by the marriages of his four aunts; and his personal honours, as if they had been legally extinct, were revived by the patents of succeeding princes. But there still survived a lineal descendant of Hugh the First earlof Devon, a younger branch of the Courtenays, who have been seated at Powderham castle above four hundred years from the reign of Edward the Third to the present hour. Their estates have been increased by the grant and improvement of land in Ireland, and they have been recently restored to the honours of the peerage. Yet the Courtenays still retain the plaintive motto, which asserts the innocence, and deplores the fall, of their ancient house. While they sigh for past greatness, they are doubtless sensible of present blessings : in the long series of the Courtenay annals, the most splendid era is likewise the most unfortunate ; nor can an opulent peer of Britain be inclined to envy the emperors of Constantinople, who wandered over Europe to solicit alms for the support of their dignity and the defence of their capital.
The Greek Emperors of Nice and Constantinople-Elevation and
Reign of Michael Palæologus—His false Union with the Pope
THE loss of Constantinople restored a momentary vigour chap. to the Greeks. From their palaces, the princes and nobles LXII. were driven into the field; and the fragments of the falling monarchy were grasped by the hands of the most vigorous or Restoration the most skilful candidates. In the long and barren pages Greek of the Byzantine annals,' it would not be an easy task to equal empire.
8 Ubi lapsus ! Quid feci ? a motto which was probably adopted by the Powderham branch, after the loss of the earldom of Devonshire, &c. The primitive arms of the Courtenays were, or, three torteaux, gules, which seem to denote their affinity with Godfrey of Bouillon, and the ancient counts of Boulogne.
1 For the reigns of the Nicene emperors, more especially of John Vataces and his son, their minister, George Acropolita, is the only genuine contemporary : but George Pachymer returned to Constantinople with the Greeks, at the age of nineteen (Hanckius. de Script. Byzant. c. 33, 34, p. 564-578, Fabrica
CHAP. the two characters of Theodore Lascaris and John Ducas VaLXII. taces,who replanted and upheld the Roman standard at Nice
in Bithynia. The difference of their virtues was happily suited Eheodore to the diversity of their situation. In his first efforts, the fugiA. D: 1204 tive Lascaris commanded only three cities and two thousand
soldiers : his reign was the season of generous and active despair: in every military operation he staked his life and crown; and bis enemies, of the Hellespont and the Mæander, were surprised by his celerity and subdued by his boldness. A victo
rious reign of eighteen years expanded the principality of Nice John Ducas to the magnitude of an empire. The throne of his successor A. D. 129 and son-in-law Vataces was founded on a more solid basis, a Oct. 36. larger scope, and more plentiful resources ; and it was the
temper as well as the interest, of Vataces to calculate the risk, to expect the moment, and to ensure the success, of his ambitious designs. In the decline of the Latins, I have briefly exposed the progress of the Greeks; the prudent and gradual advances of a conqueror, who, in a reign of thirty-three years, rescued the provinces from national and foreign usurpers, till he pressed on all sides the Imperial city, a leafless and sapless trunk which must fall at the first stroke of the axe. But his interior and peaceful administration is still more deserving of notice and praise. The calamities of the times had wasted the numbers and the substance of the Greeks; the motives and the means of agriculture were extirpated ; and the most fertile lands were left without cultivation or inbabitants. A portion of this vacant property was occupied and improved by the command, and for the benefit of the einperor; a powerful hand and a vigilant eye supplied and surpassed, by a skilful management, the minute diligence of a private farmer; the royal domain became the garden and granary of Asia ; and without impoverishing the people, the sovereign acquired a fund of innocent and productive wealth. According to the nature of the soil, his lands were sown with corn or planted with vines ; the pastures were filled with horses and oxen, with sheep and hogs; and when Vataces presented to the empress a crown of diamonds and pearls, he informed her with a smile that this precious ornament arose from the sale of the eggs of his innumerable poultry. The produce of his domain was applied to the maintenance of his palace and hospitals, the calls of dignity and benevolence; the lesson was still more useful than the revenue; the plough was restored to its ancient security and honour; and the nobles were taught to seek a sure and independent revenue from their Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 448–490.) Yet the history of Nicephorus Gregoras, though of the xivth century, is a valuable narrative from the taking of Constantinople by the Latins.
2 Nicephorus Gregoras (1. ii. c. 1,) distinguishes between the orice opun of Lascaris, and the cusubur of Vataces. The two portraits are in a very good style.
3 Pachymer, l. i. c. 23, 24. Nic. Greg. I. ii. c. 6. The reader of ibe Byzan. tines must observe how rarely we are indulged with such precious details.
estates, instead of adorning their splendid beggary by the op- CHAP. pression of the people, or (what is almost the same) by the la- LXI. vours of the court. The superfluous stock of corn and cattle was eagerly purchased by the Turks, with whom Vataces preserved a strict and sincere alliance; but he discouraged the importation of foreign manufactures, the costly silks of the East, and the curious labours of the Italian looms. « The demands of nature and necessity," was he accustomed to say, " are indispensable; but the influence of fashion may rise and sink at the breath of a monarch ;” and both his precept and example recommended simplicity of manners and the use of domestic industry. The education of youth and the revival of learning were the most serious objects of his care; and without deciding the precedency, he pronounced with truth, that a prince and a philosophert are the two most eminent characters of human society. His first wife was Irene, the daughter of Theodore Lascaris, a woman more illustrious by her personal merit, the milder virtues of her sex, than by the blood of the Angeli and Comneni, that flowed in her veins, and transmitted the inheritance of the empire. After her death he was contracted to Anne or Constance, a natural daughter of the emperor Frede. ric the Second ; but as the bride had not attained the years of puberty, Vataces placed in his solitary bed an Italian damsel of her train ; and his amorous weakness bestowed on the concubine the honours, though not the title, of lawful empress. His frailty was censured as a flagitious and damnable sin by the monks; and their rude invectives exercised and displayed the patience of the royal lover. A philosophic age may excuse a single vice, which was redeemed by a crowd of virtues; and in the review of his faults, and the more intemperate passions of Lascaris, the judgment of their contemporaries was softened by gratitude to the second founders of the empire. The slaves of the Latins, without law or peace, applauded the happiness of their brethren who had resumed their national freedom; and Vataces employed the laudable policy of convincing the Greeks of every dominion that it was their interest to be enrolled in the number of his subjects.
A strong shade of degeneracy is visible between John Vataces Theodor and his son Theodore; between the founder who sustained the weight, and the heir who enjoyed the splendour, of the Imperial 01.30. crown. Yet the character of Theodore was not devoid of
4 M970 gag afzyta arbizon1y cyu15TITI B25!2.50; 241 01265005s (Greg. Acropol. c. 32.) The emperor, in a familiar conversation, examined and encouraged the studies of his future logothete.
& Compare Acropolita (c. 18. 52,) and the two first books of Nicephorus Gregoras.
A Persian saying, that Cyrus was the filther, and Darius the master, of his subjects, was applied to Vataces and his son. But Pachymer (l. i. c. 23,) has mistaken the mild Darius for the cruel Cambyses, despot or tyrant of his people. VOL, VI.
CHAP. energy; he had been educated in the school of his father, in the LXII. exercise of war and hunting: Constantinople was yet spared ;
but in the three years of a short reign, he thrice led his armies 4. D. 1289, into the heart of Bulgaria. His virtues were sullied by a choAugust.
leric and suspicious temper: the first of these may be ascribed to the ignorance of control ; and the second might naturally arise from a dark and imperfect view of the corruption of mankind. On a march in Bulgaria, he consulted on a question of policy his principal ministers; and the Greek logothete, George Acropolita, presumed to offend him by the declaration of a free and honest opinion. The emperor half unsheathed his scimitar; but his more deliberate rage reserved Acropolita for a baser punishment. One of the first officers of the empire was ordered to dismount, stripped of his robes, and extended on the ground in the presence of the prince and army. In this posture he was chastised with so many and such heavy blows from the clubs of two guards or executioners, that when Theodore commanded them to cease, the great logothete was scareely able to arise and crawl away to his tent. After a seclusion of some days, he was recalled by a peremptory mandate to his seat in council ; and so dead were the Greeks to the sense of honour and shame, that it is from the narrative of the sufferer himself that we acquire the knowledge of his disgrace.? The cruelty of the emperor was exasperated by the pangs of sickness, the approach of a premature end, and the suspicion of poison and magic. The lives and fortunes, the eyes and limbs, of his kinsmen and nobles, were sacrificed to each sally of passion; and before he died, the son of Vataces might deserve from the people, or at least from the court, the appellation of tyrant. A matron of the family of the Palæologi had provoked his anger by refusing to bestow her beauteous daughter on the vile plebeian who was recommended by his caprice. Without regard to her birth orage, her body, as high as the neck, was enclosed in a sack, with several cats, who were prickel with pins to irritate their fury against their unfortunate felloiy captive. In his last hours the emperor testified a wish to forgive and be forgiven, a just anxiety for the fate of John his son
and successor, who, at the age of eight years, was condemned Minority or to the dangers of a long minority. His last choice intrusted
the office of guardian to the sanctity of the patriarch Arsenius, A.D. 129, and to the courage of George Muzalon, the great domestic, who
was equally distinguished by the royal favour and the public hatred. Since their connexion with the Latins, the names and privileges of hereditary rank had insinuated themselves into ly the institution of taxes, Darius had incurred the less odious, but more contemptible name of K2=X0s, merchant or broker (Herodotus, iii. 89.)
Acropolita (c. 63,) scems to admire liis own firmness in sustaining a beating, and not returning to council thc was called. Ilc relates the exploits of Tbeodore, and his own services, from c. 53, to c. 74, of his history. See the ibird book of Nicephorus Gregoras.
In Las cans,
the Greek monarchy; and the noble families were provoked chap, by the elevation of a worthless favourite, to whose influence LXII. they imputed the errors and calamities of the late reign. In the first council, after the emperor's death, Muzalon, from a lofty throne, pronounced a laboured apology of his conduct and intentions : his modesty was subdued by an unanimous assurance of esteem and fidelity; and his most inveterate enemies were the loudest to salute him as the guardian and saviour of the Romans. Eight days were sufficient to prepare the execution of the conspiracy. On the ninth, the obsequies of the deceased monarch were solemnized in the cathedral of Magnesia,' an Asiatic city, where he expired, on the banks of the Hermus and at the foot of mount Sipylus. The holy rites were interrupted by a sedition of the guards : Muzalon, his brothers, and his adherents, were massacred at the foot of the altar; and the absent patriarch was associated with a new colleague, with Michael Palæologus, the most illustrious, in birth and merit, of the Greek nobles."
Of those who are proud of their ancestors, the far greater Family and part must be content with local or domestic renown; and few there are who dare trust the memorials of their family to the public annals of their country. As early as the middle of the eleventh century, the noble race of the Palæologi" stands high and conspicuous in the Byzantine history; it was the valiant George Palæologus who placed the father of the Comneni on the throne ; and his kinsmen or descendants continue, in each generation, to lead the armies and councils of the state. The purple was not dishonoured by their alliance; and had the law of succession, and female succession, been strictly observed, the wife of Theodore Lascaris must have yielded to her elder sister, the mother of Michael Palæologus, who afterward raised his family to the throne. In his person the splendour of birth was dignified by the merits of the soldier and statesman: in bis early youth he was promoted to the office of constable or commander of the French mercenaries; the private expense of a day never exceeded three pieces of gold; but his ambition
character of Michael Palacologus.
8 Pachymer (l. i. c. 21,) names and discriminates fifteen or twenty Greek families, και οσοι άλλοι, οις και μεγάλογενης σειρα και χρυση συγκεκροτητο. Does he mcan by this decoration, a figurative, or a real golden chain ? Perhaps both.
9 The old geographers, with Cellarius and d’Anville, and our travellers, particularly Pocock and Chandler, will teach us to distinguish the two Magnesias of Asia Minor, of the Mæander and of Sipylus. The latter, our present object, is still flourishing for a Turkish city, and lies eight hours, or leagues, to the northeast of Smyrna (Tournefort, Voyage du Levant, tom. iii. lettre xxii. p. 365–370. Chandler's Travels into Asia Minor, p. 267.)
10 See Acropolita (c. 75, 76, &c.) who lived too near the times; Pachymer (1. i. c. 13--25,) Gregoras (!. iii. c. 3, 4, 5.)
11 The pedigree of Palæologus is explained by Ducange (Famil. Byzant. p. 230, &c. :) the events of his private life are related by Pachymer (1. i. c. 7-12.) and Gregoras (l. ii. 8, 1. iii. 2. 4, I. iv. I,) with visible favour to the father of the reigning dynasty.