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A. D. 1347,
A. D. 1353,
during ten years was vested in the guardian. Two emperors CIAP. and three empresses were seated on the Byzantine throne; LXI. and a general amnesty quieted the apprehensions, and confirmed the property, of the most guilty subjects. The festival of the coronation and nuptials was celebrated with the appearances of concord and magnificence, and both were equally fallacious. During the late troubles, the treasures of the state, and even the furniture of the palace, had been alienated or embezzled : the royal banquet was served in pewter or earthenware, and such was the proud poverty of the times, that the absence of gold and jewels was supplied by the paltry artifices of glass and gilt-leather. »
I hasten to conclude the personal history of John Cantacu-Reign of zene.34 He triumphed and reigned; but his reign and triumph tacuzene, were clouded by the discontent of his own and the adverse Jan. 8. faction. His followers might style the general amnesty, an
January act of pardon for his enemies, and of oblivion for his friends:35 in his cause their estates had been forfeited or plundered ; and as they wandered naked and hungry through the streets, they cursed the selfish generosity of a leader, who, on the throne of the empire, might relinquish without merit bis prirate inheritance. The adberents of the empress blushed to bold their lives and fortunes by the precarious favour of an usurper ; and the thirst of revenge was concealed by a tender concern for the succession, and even the safety, of her son. They were justly alarmed by a petition of the friends of Cantacuzene, that they might be released from their oath of allegiance to the Palæologi ; and intrusted with the defence of some cautionary towns; a measure supported with argument and eloquence; and which was rejected (says the Imperial historian) "by my sublime, and almost incredible virtue.” His repose was disturbed by the sound of plots and seditions ; and he trembled lest the lawful prince should be stolen away by some foreign or domestic enemy, who would inscribe his name and his wrongs in the banners of rebellion.
As the son of Andronicus advanced in tbe years of manhood, he began to feel and to act for himself; and his rising ambition was rather stimulated than checked by the imitation of his father's vices.
33 Nic. Greg. l. xv. 11. There were however some true pearls, but very thinly sprinkled. The rest of the stones had only παντοδαπην χροιαν προς το Srauge.
34 From his return to Constantinople, Cantacuzene continues his history, and that of the empire, one year beyond the abdication of his son Matthew, A. D. 1357 (1. iv. c. 1–50, p. 705–911.) Nicephorus Gregoras ends with the synod of Constantinople, in the year 1351 (1. xxii. c. 3, p. 660, the rest to the conclusion of the xxivth book, p. 717, is all controversy ;) and his fourteen last books are still MSS. in the king of France's library.
55 The emperor (Cantacuzen. I. iv. c. 1,) represents his own virtues, and Nic. Gregoras (1. xv. c. 11,) the complaints of his friends, who suffered by its effects. I bare lent them the words of our poor cavaliers after the restoration.
CHAP. If we may trust his own professions, Cantacuzene laboured LX111. with honest industry to correct these sordid and sensual wappetites, and to raise the mind of the young prince to a
level with his fortune. In the Servian expedition, the two emperors showed themselves in cordial harmony to the troops and provinces; and the younger colleague was initiated by the elder in the mysteries of war and government. After the conclusion of the peace, Palæologus was left at Thessalonica, a royal residence, and a frontier station, to secure by his absence the peace of Constantinople, and to withdraw his youth from the temptations of a luxurious capital But the distance weakened the powers of control, and the son of Andronicus was surrounded with artful or unthinking companions, who taught him to hate his guardian, to deplore his exile, and to vindicate his rights. A private treaty with the cral or despot of Servia, was soon followed by an open revolt; and Cantacuzene, on the throne of the elder Andronicus, defended the cause of age and prerogative, which in his youth he had so vigorously attacked. At his request, the empress mother undertook the voyage of Thessalonica, and the office of mediation : she returned without success; and unless Anne of Savoy was instructed by adversity, we may doubt the sincerity, or at least the fervour of her zeal. While the regent grasped the sceptre with a firm and vigorous hand, she had been instructed to declare, that the ten years of his legal administration would soon elapse ; and that after a full trial of the vanity of the world, the emperor Cantacuzene sighed for the repose of a cloister, and was ambitious only of a heavenly crown. Had these senti. ments been genuine, his voluntary abdication would have re
stored the peace of the empire, and his conscience would have Job Po been relieved by an act of justice. Palæologus alone was cakes up responsible for his future government; and whatever might be
his vices, they were surely less formidable than the calamities A. Þ. 1352. of a civil war, in which the barbarians and infidels were again
invited to assist the Greeks in their mutual destruction. By the arms of the Turks, who now struck a deep and everlasting root in Europe, Cantacuzene prevailed in the third contest in which he had been involved ; and the young emperor, driven from the sea and land, was compelled to take shelter among the Latins of the isle of Tenedos. His insolence and obstinacy provoked the victor to a step wbich must render the quarrel irreconcileable; and the association of his son Matthew, whom he invested with the purple, established the succession in the family of the Cantacuzeni
. But Constantinople was still attached to the blood of her ancient princes; and this last injury accelerated the restoration of the rightful heir. A noble Genoese espoused the cause of Palæologus, obtained a promise of his sister, and achieved the revolution with two galleys and tivo thousand five hundred auxiliaries. Under the pretence of
distress, they were admitted into the lesser port; a gate was chaP. opened, and the Latin shout of, “ long life and victory to the lxii. emperor, John Palæologus !" was answered by a general rising in his favour. A numerous loyal party yet adhered to the standard of Cantacuzene; but he asserts in his history (does he hope for belief?) that his tender conscience rejected the assurance of conquest ; that, in free obedience to the voice of religion and philosophy, he descended from the throne, and embraced with pleasure the monastic habit and profession.36 So soon as he ceased to be a prince, his successor was not unwilling that he should be a saint: the remainder of his life was devoted to piety and learning; in the cells of Constantinople Abdication and mount Athos, the monk Joasaph was respected as the tem-zene, poral and spiritual father of the emperor; and if he issued A.D. 1,355,
January from his retreat, it was as the minister of peace, to subdue the obstipacy, and solicit the pardon, of his rebellious son.57
Yet in the cloister, the mind of Cantacuzene was still exer- Disputo cised by a theological war. He sharpened a controversial pen the light of against the Jews and Mahometans ; 38 and in every state he defended with equal zeal the divine light of Mount Thabor, a 4.,134 memorable question which consummates the religious follies of the Greeks. The fakirs of India, 39 and the monks of the Oriental church, were alike persuaded, that in total abstraction of the faculties of the mind and body, the purer spirit may ascend to the enjoyment and vision of the Deity. The opinion and practice of the monasteries of mount Athos 40 will be best represented in the words of an abbot, who flourished in the eleventh century. “When thou art alone in thy cell," says the ascetic teacher, “shut thy door, and seat thyself in a corner; raise thy mind above all things vain and transitory; recline thy beard and chin on thy breast; turn thy eyes and thy thought toward the middle of thy belly, the region of the naval; and search the place of the heart, the seat of the sou).
S6 The awkward apology of Cantacuzene (1. iv. c. 39—42,) who relates, with visible confusion, his own downfal, may be supplied by the less accurate, but more honest narratives of Mathew Villani (l. iv. c. 46, in the Script. Rerum Ital. tom. xiv. p. 268,) and Ducas (c. 10, 11.)
37 Cantacuzeue, in the year 1375, was honoured with a letter from the pope (Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom, xx. p. 250.) His death is placed by respectable authority on the 20th of November, 1411 (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 260.) But if he were of the age of his companion Andronicus the younger, he must have lived 116 years ; a rare instance of longevity, which in so illustrious a person would have attracted universal notice.
S& His four discourses, or books, were printed at Basil, 1543 (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 473.) He composed them to satisfy a proselyte who was assaulted with letters from his friends of Ispahan. Cantacuzene had read the Koran; but I understand from Maracci, that he adopts the vulgar prejudices and fables against Mahomet and his religion.
39 See the Voyages de Bernier, tom. i. p. 127.
40 Mosheim, Înstitut. Hist. Eccles. p. 522, 523. Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. IX. p. 22, 24. 107–114, &c. The former unfolds the causes with the judgment of a philosopher, the latter transcribes and translates with the prejudices of a
CHAP. At first, all will be dark and comfortless; but if you persevere exili. day and night, you will feel an ineffable joy; and no sooner
has the soul discovered the place of the heart, than it is involved
!! Basnate (in Canisii Antiq. Lectiones, tom. ir. p. 363-363,) has investirated the character and story of Barlaam. The duplicity of his opinions has inspired some doubts of the identity of his person. See likewise Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. tom. X. p. 427--432.)
who refused to subscribe the orthodox creed, were deprived of CHAP.
the honours of Christian burial : but in the next age the ques. LXIII. i tion was forgotten; nor can I learn that the axe or the faggot was employed for the extirpation of the Barlaamite heresy. 42
For the conclusion of this chapter, I have reserved the Ge-Eetaklorhibe noese war, which shook the throne of Cantacuzene, and be- Genoese at trayed the debility of the Greek empire. The Genoese, who Galata, after the recovery of Constantinople, were seated in the suburb - 1347. of Pera or Galata, received that honourable fief from the bounty of the emperor. They were indulged in the use of their laws and magistrates; but they submitted to the duties of vassals and subjects; the forcible word of liegemen43 was borrowed from the Latin jurisprudence; and their podesta, or chief, before he entered on his office, saluted the emperor with loyal acclamations and vows of fidelity. Genoa sealed a firm alliance with the Greeks; and, in case of a defensive war, a supply of fifty empty galleys, and a succour of fifty galleys completely armed and manned, was promised by the republic to the empire. In the revival of a naval force, it was the aim of Michael Palæologus to deliver himself from a foreign aid, and his vigorous government contained the Genoese of Galata within those limits which the insolence of wealth and freedom provoked them to exceed. A sailor threatened that they should soon be masters of Constantinople, and slew the Greek who resented this national affront; and an armed vessel, after refusing to salute the palace, was guilty of some acts of piracy in the Black Sea. Their countrymen threatened to support their cause ; but the long and open village of Galata, was instantly surrounded by the imperial troops, till, in the moment of the assault, the prostrate Genoese implored the clemency of their sovereign. The defenceless situation which secured their obedience, exposed them to the attack of their Venetian rivals, who, in the reign of the elder Andronicus, presumed to violate the majesty of the throne. On the approach of their feets, the Genoese, with their families and ef. fects, retired into the city: their empty habitations were reduced to ashes ; and the feeble prince, who had viewed the destruction of his suburb, expressed his resentment, not by arms, but by ambassadors. This misfortune, however, was advantageous to the Genoese, who obtained, and imperceptibly
42 See Cantacuzene (l. ii. c. 39, 40. l. iv. c. 3. 23, 24, 25,) and Nic. Gregoras (!. xi. c. 10, 1. xv. 3. 7, &c.) whose last books, from the sixth to the xxivth, are almost confined to a subject so interesting to the authors. Boivin (in Vit. Nic. Gregoræ,) from the unpublished books, and Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 462--473,) or rather Montfaucon, from the MSS. of the Coislin library, have added some facts and documents.
43 Pachymer (!. v. c. 10,) very properly explains 21?ers (ligios) by 18185. The use of these words in the Greek and Latin of the feudal times, may be amply understood from the Glossaries of Ducange (Græc. p. 811, 812. Latin. tom. iv, p. 109-111.)