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CHAP. inundation : the duke and his knights advanced without fear LXII. or precaution on the verdant meadow : their horses plunged
into the hog; and he was cut in pieces, with the greatest part of the French cavalry. His family and nation were expelled and his son Walter de Brienne, the titular duke of Albens, the tyrant of Florence, and the constable of France, lost his life in the field of Poitiers. Attica and Bæotia were the rewards of the victorious Catalans ; they married the widows and daughters of the slain ; and during fourteen years, the great company was the terror of the Grecian states. Their factions drove them to acknowledge the sovereignty of the house of Arragon : and during the remainder of the fourteenth century, Athens, as a government or an appanage, was successively bestowed by the kings of Sicily. After the French and Catalans, the third dynasty was that of the Accaioli, a family, plebeian at Florence, potent at Naples, and sovereign in Greece. Athens, which they embellished with new buildings, became the capital of a state, that extended over Thebes, Argos, Co. rinth, Delphi, and a part of Thessaly; and their reign was finally determined by Mahomet the Second, who strangled the last duke, and educated his sons in the discipline and religion of the seraglio.
Athens, though no more than the shadow of her former self, still contains about eight or ten thousand inhabitants : of these, three-fourths are Greeks in religion and language; and the Turks, who compose the remainder, have relaxed, in their intercourse with the citizens, somewhat of the pride and gravity of their national character. The olive tree, the gift of Minerva, flourishes in Attica; nor has the honey of mount Hymettus lost any part of its exquisite flavour :57 but the languid trade is monopolized by strangers; and the agriculture of a barren land is abandoned to the vagrant Walachians. The Athenians are still distinguished by the subtlety and acuteness of their understandings : but these qualities, unless ennobled by freedom and enlightened by study, will degenerate into a low and selfish cunning; and it is a proverbial saying of the country, “ From the Jews of Thessalonica, the Turks of Negropont, and the Greeks of Athens, good Lord deliver us!” This artful people has eluded the tyranny of the Turkish bashaws, by an expedient which alleviates their servitude, and
Present state of Athens.
The modern account of Athens, and the Athenians, is extracted from Spon (Voyage en Grece, tom. ii. p. 79—199,) and Wheeler (Travels into Greece, p. 337--414,) Stuart (Antiquities of Athens, passim) and Chandler (Travels into Greece, p. 23—172.) The first of these travellers visited Greece in the year 1676, the last 1765; and ninety years had not produced much difference in the tranquil scene.
37° Tbe ancients, or at least the Athenians, believed that all the bees in the world had been propagated from mount Hymettus. They taught, that bealth might be preserved, and life prolonged, by the external use of oil, and the internal use of Honey (Geoponica, l. xv. c. 7, p. 1089--1094, edit. Niclas.)
aggravates their shame. About the middle of the last century, the Athenians chose for their protector the Kislar Aga, or chief black eunuch of the seraglio. This Æthiopian slave, who possesses the sultan's ear, condescends to accept the tribute of thirty thousand crowns : his lieutenant, the Waywode, whom he annually confirms, may reserve for his own about five or six thousand more; and such is the policy of the citizens, that they seldom fail to remove and punish an oppressive governor. Their private differences are decided by the archbishop, one of the richest prelates of the Greek church, since he possesses a revenue of one thousand pounds sterling; and by a tribunal of the eight geronti or elders, chosen in the eight quarters of the city: the noble families cannot trace their pedigree above three hundred years; but their principal members are distinguished by a grave demeanor, a fur cap, and the lofty appella-tion of archon. By some, who delight in the contrast, the modern language of Athens is represented as the most corrupt and barbarous of the seventy dialects of the vulgar Greek.58 This picture is too darkly coloured; but it would not be easy, in the country of Plato and Demosthenes, to find a reader, or a copy, of their works. The Athenians walk with supine indifference among the glorious ruins of antiquity; and such is the debasement of their character, that they are incapable of admiring the genius of their predecessors.59
Civil Wars, and Ruin of the Greek Empire Reigns of Andro
nicus, the Elder and Younger, and John Paleologus--Regency, Revolt, Reign, and Abdication of John Cantacuzene Establishment of a Genoese Colony at Pera or GalataTheir Wars with the Empire and City of Constantinople.
THE long reign of Andronicus' the elder is chiefly memo- char.
. rable by the disputes of the Greek church, the invasion of the
LXIII. Catalans, and the rise of the Ottoman power. He is celebrated as the most learned and virtuous prince of the age ; but Supeisii: such virtue, and such learning, contributed neither to the per-dronicus
times, 58 Ducange, Glossar. Græc. Præfat. p. 8, who quotes for his author Theodo- A. D. 1989 sius Zygomalas, a modern grammarian. Yet Spon (tom. p. ii. 194,) and Wheeler -13.20. (p. 355,) no incompetent judges, entertain a more favourable opinion of the Attic dialect.
59 Yet we must not accuse them of corrupting the name of Athens, which they still call Athini. From the as the A Orvy, we have formed our own barbarisma of Setines.
i Andronicus himself will justify our freedom in the invective (Nicephorus Gregoras, l. i. c. 1,) which he pronounced against historic falsehood. It is true, that his censure is more pointedly urged against calumny than against adulation. VOL. VI.
CHAP. fection of the individual, nor to the happiness of society. A LXI. slave of the most abject superstition, he was surrounded on all
sides by visible and invisible enemies; nor were the flames of hell less dreadful to his fancy, than those of a Catalan or Turkish war.
Under the reign of the Palæologi, the choice of the patriarch was the most important business of the state ; the heads of the Greek church were ambitious and fanatic monks; and their vices or virtues, their learning or ignorance, were equally mischievous or contemptible. By his intemperate discipline, the patriarch Athanasius, excited the hatred of the clergy and people; he was heard to declare that the sinner should swallow the last dregs of the cup of penance ; and the foolish tale was propagated, of his punishing a sacrilegious ass that had tasted the lettuce of a convent garden. Driven from the throne by the universal clamour, Athanasius composed before his retreat two papers of a very opposite cast. His public testament was in the tone of charity and resignation : the pri. vate codicil breathed the direst anathemas against the authors of his disgrace, whom he excluded for ever from the communion of the holy trinity, the angels, and the saints. This last paper he enclosed in an earthen pot, which was placed, by his order, on the top of one of the pillars in the dome of St. So. phia, in the distant hope of discovery and revenge. At the end of four years, some youths, climbing by a ladder in search of pigeons' nests, detected the fatal secret ; and as Andronicus felt himself touched and bound by the excommunication, he trembled on the brink of the abyss which had been so treacherously dug under his feet. A synod of bishops was instantly convened to debate this important question, the rashness of these clandestine anathemas was generally condemned; but as the knot could be untied only by the same hand, as that hand was now deprived of the crosier, it appeared that this posthumous decree was irrevocable by any earthly power. Some faint testimonies of repentance and pardon were extorted from the author of the mischief; but the conscience of the emperor was still wounded, and he desired, with no less ardour than Athanasius himself, the restoration of a patriarch, by whom alone he could be healed. At the dead of night, a monk rudely knocked at the door of the royal bedchamber, announcing a revelation of plague and famine, of inundations and earthquakes. Andronicus started from his bed, and spent the night in prayer, till he felt, or thought that he felt, a slight motion of the earth. The emperor on foot led the bishops and monks to the cell of Athanasius; and, after a proper resist
2 For the anathema in the pigeon's nest, see Pachymer (l. ix. c. 24,) who relates the general history of Athanasius (1. viii. c. 13-16. 20—24, 1. x. c. 2729. 31-36, 1. xi. c. 1-3. 5, 6, 1, xiji. c. 8. 10. 23. 35,) and is followed by Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vi. c. 5. l. 7. I. vii. c. 1. 9,) who includes the second; retreat of this second Chrysostom.
ance, the saint, from whom this message had been sent, con- chap. sented to absolve the prince, and govern the church, of Con- txur. stantinople. Untamed by disgrace, and hardened by solitude, the shepherd was again odious to the flock; and his enemies contrived a singular, and as it proved, a successful, mode of revenge. In the night, they stole away the footstool or footcloth of his throne, which they secretly replaced with the decoration of a satirical picture. The emperor was painted with a bridle in his mouth, and Athanasius leading the tractable beast to the feet of Christ. The authors of the libel were detected and punished; but as their lives had been spared, the Christian priest in sullen indignation retired to his cell; and the eyes of Andronicus, which had been opened for a moment, were again closed by his successor.
If this transaction be one of the most curious and important of a reign of fifty years, I cannot at least accuse the brevity of my materials, since I reduce into some few pages the enormous folios of Pachymer," Cantacuzene,4 and Nicephorus Gregoras, who have composed the prolix and lanquid story of the times. The name and situation of the emperor John Cantacuzene might inspire the most lively curiosity. His memorials of forty years extend from the revolt of the younger Andronicus to his own abdication of the empire ; and it is observed, that, like Moses and Cesar, he was the principal actor in the scenes which he describes. But in this eloquent work, we should vainly seek the sincerity of a hero or a penitent. Retired in a cloister from the vices and passions of the world, he presents not a confession, but an apology, of the life of an ambitious statesman. Instead of unfolding the true counsels and characters of men, he displays the smooth and specious surface of events, highly varnished with his own praises and those of his friends. Their motives are always pure ; their ends always legitimate : they conspire and rebel without any views of interest; and the violence which they inflict or suffer is celebrated as the spontaneous effect of reason and virtue.
After the example of the first of the Palæologi, the elder First die Andronicus associated his son Michael to the honours of the tween tho purple ; and from the age of eighteen to his premature death, younger that prince was acknowledged, above twenty-five years, as the A. D. 132)
3 Pachymer, in seven books, 377 folio pages, describes the first twenty-six years of Andronicus the elder; and marks the date of his composition by the current news or lie of the day (A. D. 1308.) Either death or disgust prevented him from resurning the pen.
4 Aster an interyal of twelve years, from the conclusion of Pachymer, Cantacuzenus takes up the pen ; and bis first book (c. 1–59, p. 9–150,) relates the civil war, and the eight last years of the elder Andronicus. The ingenious comparison with Moses and Cesar, is fancied by his French translator, the president Cousin.
6 Nicephorus Gregoras more briefly includes the entire life and reign of Andronicus the elder (1. vi. c. 1, p. 96–291.) This is the part of which Cantacu: zene complains as a false and malicious representation of his conduct..
CHAP. second emperor of the Greeks. At the head of an army, he LXII. excited neither the fears of the enemy nor the jealousy of the
court; his modesty and patience were never tempted to compute the years of his father; nor was that father compelled to repent of his liberality either by the virtues or vices of his son. The son of Michael was named Andronicus from his grandfather, to whose early favour he was introduced by that nominal resemblance. The blossoms of wit and beauty increased the fondness of the elder Andronicus; and with the common vanity of the age, he expected to realize in the second, the hope which had been disappointed in the first, generation. The boy was educated in the palace as an heir and a favourite ; and in the oaths and acclamations of the people, the august triad was formed by the names of the father, the son, and the grandson. But the younger Andronicus was speedily corrupted by his infant greatness, while he beheld with puerile impatience the double obstacle that hung, and might long bang, over his rising ambition. It was not to acquire fame, or to diffuse happiness, that he so eagerly aspired : wealth and impunity were in his eyes the most precious attributes of a monarch ; and his first indiscreet demand was the sovereignty of some rich and fertile island, where he might lead a life of independence and pleasure. The emperor was offended by the loud and frequent intemperance which disturbed his capital ; the sums which his parsimony denied were supplied by the Genoese usurers of Pera ; and the oppressive debt, which consolidated the interest of a faction, could be discharged only by a revolution. A beautiful female, a matron in rank, a prostitute in manners, had instructed the younger Andronicus in the rudiments of love ; but he had reason to suspect the nocturnal visits of a rival; and a stranger passing through the street was pierced by the arrows of his guards, who were placed in ambush at her door. That stranger was his brother, prince Manuel, who languished and died of his wound; and the emperor Michael, their common father, whose health was in a declining state, expired on the eighth day, lamenting the loss of both his children. However guiltless in his intention, the younger Andronicus might impute a brother's and a father's death to the consequence of his own vices; and deep was the sigh of thinking and feeling men, when they perceived, instead of
6 He was crowned May 21st, 1295, and died October 12th, 1320, (Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 239.) His brother Theodore, by a second marriage, inherited the marquisate of Montserrat, apostatized to the religion and manners of the Latins (οτι και γναμη και τις και σχηματι, και γενεμων κερα και πασιν εθεσιν Λατινος και ακραι
Nic. Greg. I. ix. c. i.) and founded a dynasty of Italian princes, which was extinguished D. 1593. (Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 249–253.) ? We are indebted to Nicephorus Gregoras (1. viii
. c. 1,) for the knowledge of this tragic adventure ; while Cantacuzene more discreetly conceals the vices of Andronicus the younger, of which he was the witness, and perhaps the associate (l. i. c. 1, &c.)