Page images




persecution of


But they found a country without a friend, a nation in which LXII. the names of Rome and Union were pronounced with abhor.

The patriarch Joseph was indeed removed ; his place

filled by Veccus, an ecclesiastic of learning and modera. the Greeks, tion; and the emperor was still urged by the same motives, to

persevere in the same professions. But in his private language, Palæologus affected to deplore the pride, and to blame the innovations, of the Latins; and while he debased his character by this double hypocrisy, he justified and punished the opposition of his subjects. By the joint suffrage of the new and the ancient Rome, a sentence of excommunication was pronounced against the obstinate schismatics: the censures of the church were executed by the sword of Michael; on the failure of persuasion, he tried the arguments of prison and exile, of whipping and mutilation; those touch stones, says a historian, of cowards and the brave. Two Greeks still reigned in Ætolia, Epirus, and Thessaly, with the appellation of despots; they had yielded to the sovereign of Constantino. ple, but they rejected the chains of the Roman pontiff, and supported their retusal by successful arms. Under their protection, the fugitive monks and bishops assembled in hostile synods ; and retorted the name of heretic with the galling addition of apostate : the prince of Trebizond was tempted to assume the forfeit title of emperor; and even the Latins of Negropont, Thebes, Athens, and the Morea, forgot the merits of the convert, to join, with open, or clandestine aid, the enemies of Palæologus. His favourite generals, of his own blood and family, successively deserted, or betrayed the sacrilegious trust. His sister Eulogia, a niece, and two female cousins ; conspired against him; another niece, Mary queen of Bul. garia, negotiated his ruin with the sultan of Egypt: and in the public eye their treason was consecrated as the most sublime virtue.54 To the pope's nuncios, who urged the consummation of the work, Palæologus exposed a naked recital of all that he had done and suffered for their sake. They were assured that the guilty sectaries, of both sexes and every rank, had been deprived of their honours, their fortunes, and their liberty; a spreading list of confiscation and punishment, which involved many persons, the dearest to the emperor, or the best deserving of his favour. They were conducted to the prison to behold four princes of the royal blood chained in the four corners, and shaking their fetters in an agony of grief and rage. Two of these captives were afterward released; the


by Wading and Leo Allatius from the archives of the Vatican, is given in an abstract or version by Fleury (toin. xviii. p. 252---258.)

34 This frank and authentic confession of Michael's distress, is exhibited in barbarous Laiin by Ogerius, who signs himself Protonotarjus Interpretum, and transcribed by Wading from the MSS. of the Vatican (A. D. 1278, No. 3.) His Annals of the Franciscan order, the Fratres Minores, in xvii volumes in folio, (Rome 1741,) I have accidentally seen among the waste paper of a bookseller,

The union dissolved, A. D. 1233

one by submission, the other by death ; but the obstinacy of CHAP. their two companions was chastised by the loss of their eyes; lxu. and the Greeks, the least adverse to the union, deplore that cruel and inauspicious tragedy. 36 Persecutors must expect the hatred of those whom they oppress; but they commonly find some consolation in the testimony of their conscience, the applause of their party, and, perhaps, the success of their undertaking. But the hypocrisy of Michael, which was prompted only by political motives, must have forced him to hate himself, to despise his followers, and to esteem and envy the rebel champions by whom he was detested and despised. While his violence was abhorred at Constantinople, at Rome bis slowness was arraigned and his sincerity suspected ; till at length pope Martin te Fourth excluded the Greek emperor from the pale of a church, into which he was striving to reduce a schismatic people. No sooner had the tyrant expired, than the union was dissolved, and abjured by unanimous consent; the churches were purified; the penitents were reconciled ; and his son Andronicus, after weeping the sins and errors of his youth, most piously denied his father the burial of a prince and a Christian.31

II. In the distress of the Latins, the walls and towers of Charins or Constantinople had fallen to decay: they were restored and dues Na fortified by the policy of Michael, who deposited a plenteous Sheiland store of corn and salt provisions, to sustain the siege which he A.D. 1966, might hourly expect from the resentment of the Western powers. Of these, the sovereign of the two Sicilies was the most formidable neighbour; but as long as they were possessed by Mainfroy, the bastard of Frederic the Second, his monarcby was the bulwark rather than the annoyance of the Eastern empire. The usurper, though a brave and active prince, was sufficiently employed in the defence of his throne: his proscription by successive popes had separated Mainfroy from the common cause of the Latins; and the forces that might bave besieged Constantinople, were detained in a crusade against the domestic enemy of Rome. The prize of her avenger, the crown of the two Sicilies, was won and worn by the brother of St. Louis, by Charles count of Anjou and Provence, who led the chivalry of France on this holy expedition.s7 The disaffection of his Christian subjects compelled

Feb. 26.

than sorrow.

85 See the vith book of Pachymer, particularly the chapters, 1. 11. 16. 18. 24 -27. He is the more credible, as he speaks of this persecution with less anger

36 Pachymer, I. vii. c. 1-11. 17. The speech of Andronicus the elder (lib. xii

. c 2,) is a curious record, which proves, that if the Greeks were the slaves of the emperor, the emperor was not less the slave of superstition and the clergy.

37 The best accounts, the nearest the time, the most full and entertaining, of the conquest of Naples by Charles of Anjon, may be found in the Florentine Chronicles of Ricordano Malespina (c. 175–193,) and Giovanni Villani (l. vii. el-10.25-30,) which are published by Muratori, in the vilith and xiiith volumes

CHAP. Mainfroy to enlist a colony of Saracens whom his father had LXII. planted in Apulia : and this odious succour will explain the

defiance of the Catholic hero, who rejected all terms of accommodation. “Bear this message," said Charles, “ to the sultan of Nocera, that God and the sword are umpire between us; and that he shall either send me to paradise, or I will send him to the pit of hell.” The armies met, and though I am ignorant of Mainfroy's doom in the other world, in this he lost his friends, his kingdom, and his life, in the bloody battle of Benevento. Naples and Sicily were immediately peopled with a warlike race of French nobles; and their aspiring leader embraced the future conquest of Africa, Greece, and Palestine. The most specious reasons might point his first arms against the Byzantine Empire; and Palæologus, diffident of his own strength, repeatedly appealed from the ambition of Charles to the humanity of St. Louis, who still preserved a just ascendant over the mind of his ferocious brother. For a while the attention of that brother was confined at home by the invasion of Conradin, the last heir of the Imperial house of Swabia ; but the hapless boy sunk in the unequal conflict; and his execution on a public scaffold taught the rivals of Charles to tremble for their heads as well as their doininions. A second respite was obtained by the last crusade of St. Louis to the African coast; and the double motive of interest and duty urged the king of Naples to assist with his powers and his presence, the holy enterprise. The death of St. Louis released bim from the importunity of a virtuous censor; the

king of Tunis confessed himselt the tributary and vassal of the Threatens crown of Sicily; and the boldest of the French knights were the Greek free to enlist under his banner against the Greek empire. A

ca. De treaty and a marriage united his interest with the house of 5-70, &c.

Courtenay; his daughter Beatrice was promised to Philip, son and heir of the emperor Baldwin; a pension of six hundred ounces of gold was allowed for his maintenance; and his generous father distributed among his allies the kingdoms and provinces of the East, reserving only Constantinople, and one day's journey round the city, for the imperial doinain.8. In this perilous moment Palæologus was the most eager to subscribe the creed and implore the protection of the Roman pontiff

, who assumed, with propriety and weight, the character of an angel of peace, the common father of the Christians. By his voice, the sword of Charles was chained in the scabbard; and the Greek ambassadors beheld him, in the pope's antichamber, biting his ivory sceptre in a transport of fury, and

of the historians of Italy. In bis Annals, (tom. xi. p. 56–72, he has abridged these great events, which are likewise described in the Istoria Civile of Gian. none, tom. ii. l. xix. tom. iii. l. xx.

88 Ducange, Hist. de C. P. I. v. c. 49—56, 1. vi. c. 1–13. See Pachymer, l. iv. c. 29, l. v. c. 7--10. 25, l. vi. c. 30, 32, 33, and Nicephorus Gregoras, 1. jr: 5 I. v. 1. 6.

deeply resenting the refusal to enfranchise and consecrate his CHAP. arms. He appears to have respected the disinterested medic lxu. ation of Gregory the Tenth; but Charles was insensibly digust- un ed by the pride and partiality of Nicholas the Third ; and his attachment to his kindred, the Ursini family, alienated the most strenuous champion from the service of the church. The hostile league against the Greeks, of Philip the Latin emperor, the king of the two Sicilies, and the republic of Venice, was ripened into execution ; and the election of Martin the Fourth, a French pope, gave a sanction to the cause. Of the allies, Philip supplied his name; Martin a bull of excommunication, the Venetians, a squadron of forty galleys; and the formidable powers of Charles consisted of forty counts, ten thousand men at arms, a numerous body of infantry, and a fleet of more than three hundred ships and transports. A distant day was appointed for assembling this mighty force in the harbour of Brindisi : and a previous attempt was risked with a detachment of three hundred knights, who invaded Albania, and besieged the fortress of Belgrade. Their defeat might amuse with a triumph the vanity of Constantinople; but the more sagacious Michael, despairing of his arms, depended on the efforts of a conspiracy; on the secret work. ings of a rat, who gnawed the bow-string of the Sicilian tyrant.

Among the proscribed adherents of the house of Swabia, Paleologia John of Procida forfeited a small island of that name in the the revolt bay of Naples. His birth was noble, but his education was A.D. 1930. learned ; and in the poverty of exile, he was relieved by the practice of physic, which he had studied in the school of Salerno. Fortune had left him nothing to lose, except lise ; and to despise life is the first qualification of a rebel. Procida was endowed with the art of negotiation, to enforce his reasons, and disguise his motives : and in his various transactions with nations and men, he could persuade each party that he laboured solely for their interest. The new kingdoms of Charles were afflicted by every species of fiscal and military oppression ;40 and the lives and fortunes of his Italian subjects were sacrificed to the greatness of their master and the licentiousness of his followers. The hatred of Naples was repressed by his presence ; but the looser government of his vicegerents excited the contempt, as well as the aversion, of the Sicilians; the island was roused to a sense of freedom by the eloquence of Procida; and he displayed to every baron his private in

$9 The reader of Herodotus will recollect how miraculously the Assyrian host of Sennacherib was disarmed and destroyed (1. ii. c. 141.)

40 According to Sabas Malaspina (Hist. Sicula, I. ili. C. 16, in Muratori, tom. riti. p. 832,) a zealous Guelph, the subjects of Charles, who sad reviled Main. frog as a wolf, began to regret him as a lamb; and he justifies their discontent by the oppressions of the French government (1. vi. c. 2. 7.) See the Sicilian manifesto in Nicholas Specialis, (l. j. c. 11, in Muratori, tom. 1. p. 930.

CHAP. terest in the common cause. In the confidence of foreign aid, LXII. he successively visited the courts of the Greek emperor, and

of Peter king of Arragon, 41 who possessed the maritime coun. tries of Valencia and Catalonia. To the ambitious Peter a crown was presented, which he might justly claim by his marriage with the sister of Mainfroy, and by the dying voice of Conradin, who from the scaffold had cast a ring to his heir and avenger. Palæologus was easily persuaded to divert his enemy from a foreign war by a rebellion at home; and a Greek subsidy of twenty-five thousand ounces of gold was most profitably applied to arm a Catalan fleet, which sailed under a holy banner to the specious attack of the Saracens of Africa. In the disguise of a monk or a beggar, the indefatigable missionary of revolt flew from Constantinople to Rome, and from Sicily to Saragossa : the treaty was sealed with the signet of pope Nicholas himself, the enemy of Charles ; and bis deed of gift transferred the fiefs of St. Peter from the house of Anjou to that of Arragon. So widely diffused and so freely circulated, the secret was preserved above two years with impenetrable discretion ; and each of the conspirators imbibed the maxiin of Peter who declared that he would cut off his left hand if it were conscious of the intentions of his right. The mine was prepared with deep and dangerous artifice; but it may be questioned, whether the instant explosion of Palermo were the effect of accident or design.

On the vigil of Easter, a procession of the disarmed citizens "Bespers visited a church without the walls ; and a noble damsel was Perch 30. rudely insulted by a French soldier. The ravisher was in

stantly punished with death ; and if the people at first were scattered by a military force, their numbers and fury prevailed : the conspirators seized the opportunity; the flame spread over the Island; and eight thousand French were exterminated in a promiscuous massacre, which has obtained the name of the Sicilian VespeRS. 43 From every city the banners of freedom and the church were displayed; the revolt was inspired by the presence of the soul of Procida ; and Peter of Arragon, who sailed from the African coast to Palermo, was saluted as the king and saviour of the isle. By the rebellion of a people on whom he had so long trampled with impunity, Charles was astonished and confounded ; and in the first agony of grief

The Sicili.

A D.

41 See the character and counsels of Peter king of Arragon, in Mariana (Hist. Hispan. l. xiv. c. 6, tom. ii. p. 133.) The reader forgives the Jesuit's defects, in savour, always of his style, and often of his sense.

42 After enumerating the sufferings of his country, Nicholas Specialis adds, in the true spirit of Italian jealousy, Quæ omnia et graviora quidem, ut arbitror, patienti animo Siculi tolerassent, nisi (quod primum cunctis dominantibus ca. vendum est,) elienas fæminas invassissent (1. i. c. 2, p. 924.)

43 The French were long taught to remember this bloody lesson: "If I am provoked (said Henry the Fourth,) I will breakfast at Milan and dine at Naples.** * Your mjesty (replica the Spanish ambassador) may perhaps arrive in Sicily for vespers."

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »