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and devotion, he was heard to exclaim, “ O God ! if thou hast CHAP. decreed to humble me, grant me at least a gentle and gradual Lxll. descent from the pinnacle of greatness !" His fleet and army which already filled the seaports of Italy, were hastily recalled from the service of the Grecian war; and the situation of Mes. sina exposed that town to the first storm of his revenge. Fee. ble in themselves, and yet hopeless of foreign succour, the citizens would have repented, and submitted on the assurance of full pardon and their ancient privileges. But the pride of the monarch was already rekindled; and the most fervent entreaties of the legate could extort no more than a promise, that he would forgive the remainder, after a chosen list of eight bundred rebels had been yielded to his discretion. The despair of the Messinese renewed their courage : Peter of Arragon approached to their relief ;44 and his rival was driven back hy the failure of provision and the terrors of the equinox to the Calabrian shore. At the same moment the Catalan admiral, the famous Roger de Loria, swept the channel with an invincible squadron : the French fleet, more numerous in transports Defeat of than in galleys, was either burntor destroyed; and the same blow Oct. 2. assured the independence of Sicily and the safety of the Greek empire. A few days before his death, the emperor Michael rejoiced in the fall of an enemy whom he hated and esteemed ; and perhaps he might be content with the popular judgment, that had they not been matched with each other, Constantinople and Italy must speedily have obeyed the same master. 4 From this disastrous moment, the life of Charles was a series of misfortunes; his capital was insulted, his son was made prisoner, and he sunk into the grave without recovering the isle of Sicily, which, after a war of twenty years, was finally severed from the throne of Naples, and transferred, as an independent kingdom, to a younger branch of the house of Arragon. 46
I shall not, I trust, be accused of superstition : but I must Tho service remark, that, even in this world the natural order of events ibe Calawill sometimes afford the strong appearances of moral retribu-Green etetion. The first Palæologus had saved his empire by involving 1. 1993 the kingdoms of the West in rebellion and blood, and from -1307. these seeds of discord up rose a generation of iron men, who assaulted and endangered the empire of his son. In inodern times, our debts and taxes are the secret poison, which still cor
44 This revolt, with the subscquent victory, are related by two national writers: Bartholemy à Neocastro (in Muratori. tom. xiii,) and Nicholas Specialis (in Muratori, tom. x.) the one a contemporary, the other of the next century. The patriot Specialis disclaims the name of rebeilion, and all previous correspondence with Peter of Arragon (nullo communicato consilio,) who happened to be with a fleet and army on the African coast (1. i. c. 4. 9.)
45 Nicephorus Gregoras (l. v. c. 6,) admires the wisdom of Providence in this equal balance of states and princes. For the honour of Palæologus l bail rather this balance had been observed by an Italian writer.
* See the Chronicle of Villani, the xith volume of the Annali d'Italia of Mua rafori, and the xxth and xxlat books of tlre Istoria Civile of Giannone.
CHAP. rodes the bosom of peace; but in the weak and disorderly go
vernment of the middle ages, it was agitated by the present evil of the disbanded armies. Too idle to work, too proud to beg, the mercenaries were accustomed to a life of rapine : they could rob with more dignity and effect under a banner and a chief; and the sovereign, to whom their service was useless and their presence importunate, endeavoured to discharge the torrent on some neighbouring countries. After the peace of Sicily, many thousands of Genoese, Catalans, *? &c. who had fought, by sea and land, under the standard of Anjou or Arragon, were blended into one nation by the resemblance of their manners and interest. They heard that the Greek provinces of Asia were invaded by the Turks: they resolved to share the harvest of pay and plunder; and Frederic king of Sicily, most liberally contributed the means of their departure. In a warfare of twenty years, a ship, or a camp, was become their coun. try; arms were their sole profession and property; valour was the only virtue which they knew; their women had imbibed the fearless temper of their lovers and busbands : it was reported, that, with a stroke of their broadsword, the Catalans would cleave a horseman and a horse ; and the report itself was a powerful weapon. Roger de Flor was the most popular of their chiefs ; and his personal merit overshadowed the dignity of his prouder rivals of Arragon. The offspring of a marriage between a German gentleman of the court of Frederic the Second and a damsel of Brindisi, Roger was successively a templar, an apostate, a pirate, and at length the richest and most powerful adiniral of the Mediterranean. He sailed from Messina to Constantinople, with eighteen galleys, four great ships, and eight thousand adventurers : and his previous treaty was faithfully accomplished by Andronicus the elder, who accepted with joy and terror this formidable succour. A palace was allotted for his reception, and a niece of the emperor was given in marriage to the valiant stranger, who was immediately cre. ated great duke or admiral of Romania. After a decent repose, he transported his troops over the Propontis, and boldly led them against the Turks : in two bloody battles thirty thousand of the Moslems were slain : he raised the siege of Philadelphia, and deserved the name of the deliverer of Asia. Bat after a short season of prosperity, the cloud of slavery and ruin again burst on that unhappy province. The inhabitants escaped (says a Greek historian) from the smoke into the flames; and the hostility of the Turks was less pernicious than the friendship of the Catalans. The lives and fortunes which they had rescued, they considered as their own : the willing or
47 In this motley multitude, the Catalans and Spaniards, the bravest of the soldiery, were styled, by themselves and the Greeks, Amogavares. Moncada derives their origin from the Goths, and Pachymer (l. xi. c. 22,) from the Arabs; and in spite of national and religious pride, I am afraid the latter is in the right,
reluctant maid was saved from the race of circumcision for the CHAP. embraces of a Christian soldier: the exaction of fines and
LXII. supplies was enforced by licentious rapine and arbitrary executions; and, on the resistance of Magnesia, the great duke besieged a city of the Roman empire. 48 These disorders he excused by the wrongs and passions of a victorious army ; nor would his own authority or person have been safe, had he dared to punish his faithful followers, who were defrauded of the just and covenanted price of their services. The threats and complaints of Andronicus disclosed the nakedness of the empire. His golden bull had invited no more than five hundred horse and a thousand foot soldiers ; yet the crowds of volunteers, who migrated to the East, had been enlisted and fed by his spontaneous bounty. While his bravest allies were content with three byzants, or pieces of gold, for their monthly pay, an ounce, or even two ounces, of gold were assigned to the Catalans, whose annual pension would thus ainount to near an bundred pounds sterling : one of their chiefs bad modestly rated at three hundred thousand crowns the value of bis future merits; and above a million bad been issued from the treasury for the maintenance of these costly mercenaries. A cruel tax had been imposed on the corn of the husbandman : one-third was retrenched from the salaries of the public officers; and the standard of the coin was so shamefully debased, that of the four and twenty parts only five were of pure gold. At the summons of the emperor, Roger evacuated a province which no longer supplied the materials of rapine ; but he refused to disperse his troops; and while his style was respectful, his conduct was independent and hostile. He protested, that if the emperor should march against him, he would advance forty paces to kiss the ground before him, but in rising from this prostrate attitude Roger had a life and sword at the service of his friends. The great duke of Romanio condescended to accept the title and ornaments of Cesar : but he rejected the new proposal of the government of Asia with a subsidy of corn and money, on condition that he should reduce his troops to the harmless number of three thousand men. Assissination is the last resource of cowards. The Cesar was tempted to visit the royal residence of Adrianople : in the apartment, and
48 Some idea may be formed of the population of these cities, from the 36,000 inhabitants of Tralles, which, in the preceding reign, was rebuilt by the emperor, and ruined by the Turks. (Pachymer, l. vi. c. 20, 21.)
49 I bave collected these pecuniary circumstances from Pachymer (l. xi. c. 21, l. xii. c. 4, 5. 8. 14, 19,) who describes the progressive degradation of the gold coin. Even in the prosperous times of John Ducas Vataces, the byzants were composed in equal proportions of the pure and the baser metal. The poFerty of Michael Palæologus compelled bim to strike a new coin, with nine parts, or carats, of gold, and fifteen of copper alloy. After his death, the standard rose to ten carats, till in the public distress it was reduced to the moiety. The prince was relieved for a moment, while credit and commerce were for ever blasted. In France, the gold coin is of twenty-two carats (one-twelfth alloy,) and the standard of England and Holland is still higher,
CHAP. before the eyes, of the empress, he was stabbed by the Alani LXII. guards; and though the deed was imputed to their private re.
venge, his countrymen, who dwelt at Constantinople in the se. curity of peace, were involved in the same proscription by the prince or people. The loss of their leader intimidated the crowd of adventurers, who hoisted the sails of flight, and were soon scattered round the coasts of the Mediterranean. But a veteran band of fifteen hundred Catalans or French stood firm in the strong fortress of Gallipoli on the Hellespont, displayed the banners of Arragon, and offered to revenge and justify their chief by an equal combat of ten or an hundred warriors. Instead of accepting this bold defiance, the emperor Michael, the son and colleague of Andronicus, resolved to oppress them with the weight of multitudes : every nerve was strained to form an army of thirteen thousand horse and thirty thousand foot; and the Propontis was covered with the ships of the Greeks and Genoese. In two battles by sea and land, these mighty forces were encountered and overthrown by the despair and discipline of the Catalans; the young emperor fled to the palace; and an insufficient guard of light horse was left for the protection of the open country. Victory renewed the hopes and numbers of the adventurers : every nation was blended under the name and standard of the great company ; and three thousand Turkish proselytes deserted from the Im. perial service to join this military association. In the possession of Gallipoli, the Catalans intercepted the trade of Constantinople and the Black Sea, while they spread their devas, tations on either side of the Hellespont over the confines of Europe and Asia. To prevent their approach, the greatest part of the Byzantine territory was laid waste by the Greeks themselves : the peasants and their cattle retired into the city; and myriads of sheep and oxen, for which neither place nor food could be procured, were unprofitably slaughtered on the same day. Four times the emperor Andronicus sued for peace, and four times he was inflexibly repulsed, till the want of provisions, and the discord of the chiefs, compelled the Catalans to evacuate the banks of the Hellespont and the neighbourhood of the capital. After their separation from the Turks, the remains of the great company pursued their march through Macedonia and Thessaly, to seek a new establishment in the heart of Greece.50
r 50 The Catalan war is most copiously related by Pachymer, in the with, xiith, and xiiith books, till he breaks off in the year 1308. Nicephoras Gregoras, (1. vij. 3—6,) is more concise snd complete. Ducange, who adopts these adventurers as French, has bunted their footsteps with his usual diligence, (Hist. de C. P. I. vi. c. 22—46.) He quotes an Arragonese history, which I have read with pleasure, and which the Spanlards extol as a model of style and composition (Expedicion de los Catalanes y Arragoneses contra Turcos y Griegos ; Barcelona, 1623, in quarto ; Madrid, 1777, in octavo.) Don Francisco de Moncada, Conde de Osona, may imitate Cesar or Sallust; he may transcribe the Greek
After some ages of oblivion, Greece was awakened to new CHAP. misfortunes by the arms of the Latins. In the two hundred LXII. and fifty years between the first and the last conquests of Constantinople, that venerable land was disputed by a multitude of Resolutions petty tyrants ; without the comforts of freedom and genius, her A. 1), 1234 ancient cities were again plunged in foreign and intestine war; and if servitude be preferable to anarchy, they might repose with joy under the Turkish yoke. I shall not pursue the obscure and various dynasties, that rose and fell on the continent or in the isles; but our silence on the fate of Athens,51 would argue a strange ingratitude to the first and purest school of liberal science and amusement. In the partition of the empire, the principality of Athens and Thebes was assigned to Otho de la Roche, a noble warrior of Burgundy,' with the title of great duke, 53 which the Latins understood in their own sense, and the Greeks more foolishly derived from the age of Constantine.4 Otho followed the standard of the marquis of Montferrat; the ample state which he acquired by a miracle of conduct or fortune, so was peaceably inherited by his son and two grandsons, till the family, though not the nation, was changed, by the marriage of an heiress, into the elder branch of the house of Brienne. The son of that marriage, Walter de Brienne, succeeded to the dutchy of Athens; and with the aid of some Catalan mercenaries, whom he invested with fiefs, reduced above thirty castles of the vassal or neighbouring lords. But when he was informed of the approach and ambition of the great company, he collected a force of seven hundred knights, six thousand four hundred horse, and eight thousand foot, and boldly met them on the banks of the river Cephisus in Beotia. The Catalans amounted to no more than three thousand five hundred horse, and four thousand foot : but the deficiency of numbers was compensated by stratagem and order. They formed round their camp an artificial
or Italian contemporaries ; but he never quotes his authorities, and I cannot discern any national records of the exploits of his countrymen.
51 See the laborious bistory of Ducange, whose accurate table of the French dynasties, recapitulates the thirty-five passages in which he mentions the dukes of Athens.
52 He is twice mentioned by Villehardouin with honour (No. 151. 235;) and under the first passage, Ducange observes all that can be known of his person and family.
53 From these Latin princes of the xivth century, Boccace, Chaucer, and Shakspeare, have borrowed their Theseus duke of Athens. An ignorant age transfers its own language and manners to the most distant times.
54. The same Constantine gave to Sicily a king, to Russia the magnus dapifer of the empire, to Tbebes the primicerius : and these absurd fables are properly lashed by Ducange, (ad Nicephor. Greg. I. vii. c. 5.) By the Latins, the Lord of Thebes was styled by corruption the Megas Kurios, or Grand Sire !
u Quodain miracidlo, says Alberic. He was probably received by Michael Choniates, the Archbishop wbo had defended Athens against the tyrant Leo Sgurus (Nicetas in Baldwino.) Micbael was the brother of the historian Nicetas; and his encomiun of Athens is still extant in MS. in the Bodleian library (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 405.)