Page images
PDF
EPUB

for their general; but the example of the hermit Peter was CHAP. before his eyes; and while he assured the crusaders of the di- Lix. vine favour, he prudently declined a military command, in which failure and victory would have been almost equally disgraceful to his character.33 Yet, after the calamitous event, the abbot of Clairvaux was loudly accused as a false prophet, the author of the public and private mourning ; his enemies exulted, his friends blushed, and his apology was slow and unsatisfactory. He justifies his obedience to the commands of the pope ; expatiates on the mysterious ways of providence ; imputes the misfortunes of the pilgrims to their own sins ; and modestly insinuates, that his mission had been approved by signs and wonders. Had the fact been certain, the argument would be decisive, and his faithful disciples, who enumerate twenty or thirty miracles in a day, appeal to the public assemblies of France and Germany, in which they were performed. At the present hour, such prodigies will not obtain credit beyond the precincts of Clairvaux ; but in the preternatural cures of the blind, the lame, and the sick, who were presented to the man of God, it is impossible for us to ascertain the separate shares of accident, of fancy, of imposture, and of fiction.

Omnipotence itself cannot escape the murmurs of its discordant votaries ; since the same dispensation which was applauded as a deliverance in Europe, was deplored, and perhaps arraigned, as a calamity in Asia. After the loss of Jerusalem, the Syrian fugitives diffused their consternation and sorrow; Bagdad mourned in the dust ; the cadi Zeineddin of Damascus tore his beard in the caliph's presence; and the whole divan shed tears at his melancholy tale.s But the commanders of the faithful could only weep; they were themselves captives in the hands of the Turks; some temporal power was restored to the last age of the Abbassides ; but their humble ambition was confined to Bagdad and the adjacent province. Their tyrants, the Seljukian sultans, had followed the common law of the Asiatic dynasties, the unceasing round of valour, greatness, discord, degeneracy, and decay; their spirit and power were unequal to the defence of religion; and, in his

Progress of the Maho metaus.

[ocr errors]

eres unum virum ; adeo ubique viduæ vivis remanent viris. Bernard, Epist. p. 2 17. We must be careful not to construe pene as a substantive.

83 Quis ego sum ut disponam acies, ut egrediar ante facius armatorum, aut quid tam remotum a professione meà, si vires, si peritia, &c. epist. 256, tom. i. p. 259. He speaks with contempt of the hermit Peter, ver quidam, epist. 363.

84 Sic dicunt forsitan iste, unde scimus quò:/ a Domino sermo egressus sit ? Quæ signa tu facis ut credamus tibi ? Non est quod ad ista ipse respondeamn; percendum verecundiæ meæ, responde tu pro me, et pro te ipso, secundum quæ vidisti et audisti, et secundum quod te inspiraverit Deus. Consolat. ). ii. c. 1. Opp. tom. ii. p. 421-423.

35 See the testimonies in Vita 1. l. iv. c. 5, 6. Opp. tom. vi. p. 1258—1261, I. vi. c. 1–17, p. 1236—1314.

S6 Abulmahasen apud de Guignes, llist. des Huns, tom. ii. P. ii. p. 99.

LIX.

The Atabeks of

Chap. distant realm of Persia, the Christians were strangers to the

name and the arms of Sangiar, the last hero of his race.37 While the sultans were involved in the silken web of the ha

ram, the pious task was undertaken by their slaves, the AtaSyria. beks ; 'a Turkish name, which, like the Byzantine patricians,

may be translated by Father of the Prince. Ascansar, a valiant Turk, had been the favourite of Malek Shaw, from whom he received the privileges of standing on the right hand of the throne ; but, in the civil wars that ensued on the

monarch's death, he lost his head and the government of Zenghi, Aleppo. His domestic emirs persevered in their attachment to 1:101127 his son Zenghi, who proved his first arms against the Franks

in the defeat of Antioch; thirty campaigns in the service of the caliph and sultan established his military fame ; and he was invested with the command of Mosul, as the only champion that could avenge the cause of the prophet. The public hope was not disappointed : after a siege of twenty-five days he stormed the city of Edessa, and recovered from the Franks their conquests beyond the Euphrates : ** the martial tribes of Curdistan were subdued by the independent sovereign of Mosul and Aleppo : his soldiers were taught to behold the camp as their only country; they trusted to his liberality for their rewards; and their absent families were protected by the vigi

lance of Zenghi. At the head of these veterans, his son A: 14.145 Noureddin gradually united the Mahometan powers ; added

the kingdom of Damascus to that of Aleppo, and waged a long and successful war against the Christians of Syria ; he spread his ample reign from the Tigris to the Nile, and the Abbassides rewarded their faithful servant with all the titles and prerogatives of royality. The Latins themselves were compelled to own the wisdom and courage, and even the justice and piety of this implacable adversary. 40 In his life and government,

Noureddin,

S7 See his article in the Bibliotheque Orientale of D'Herbelot, and de Guignes, tom. ii. P. i. p. 230-261. Such was his valour, that he was styled the second Alexander; and such the extravagant love of his subjects, that they prayed for the sultan a year after his decease. Yet Sangiar might have been made prisoner by the Franks, as well as by the Uzes. He reignod near fifty years, (A. D. 1103 ---1152,) and was a munificent patron of Persian poetry.

$8 See the Chronology of the Atabeks of Irak and Sýria, in de Guignes, tom. i. p. 264; and the reigns of Zenghi and Noureddin in the same writer, tom. ii. P. ii. p. 147-221,) who uses the Arabic text of Benelathir, Ben Schounah, and Abulfeda ; the Bibliotheque Orientale, under the articles Atabeks and Noureddin, and the Dynasties of Abulpharagius, p. 250-267, vers. Pocock.

59 William of Tyre (1. xvi. c. 4, 5. 7,) describes the loss of Edessa and the death of Zenghi. The corruption of his name into Sanguin, afforded the Latins a comfortable allusion to his sanguinary character and end, fit sanguine sanguinolentus.

40 Noradinus (says William of Tyre, l. xx. 33,) maximus nominis et fidei Christianæ persecutor ; princeps tamen justus, vafer, providus, et secundum gentis suæ traditiones religiosus. To this catholic witness, we may add the primate of the Jacobites (Abulpharag. p. 267,) quo non alter erat inter reges vitæ ratione magis laudabili, aut quæ pluribus justitiæ experimentis abundaret. The true praise of kings is after their death, and from the mouth of their enemies,

A. D. 1163 -1109.

the holy warrior revived the zeal and simplicity of the first CHAP. caliphs. Gold and silk were banished from his palace; the Lix. use of wine from his dominions; the public revenue was scrupulously applied to the public service; and the frugal household of Noureddin was maintained from his legitimate share of the spoil which he vested in the purchase of a private estate. His favourite Sultana sighed for some female object of expense. “Alas,” replied the king, “I fear God, and am no more than the treasurer of the Moslems. Their property I cannot alienate; but I still possess three shops in the city of Hems: these you may take; and these alone can I bestow." His chamber of justice was the terror of the great and the refuge of the poor. Some years after the sultan's death, an oppressed subject called aloud in the streets of Damascus, “O Noureddin, Noureddin, where art thou now? Arise, arise, to pity and protect us!” A tumult was apprehended, and a living tyrant blushed or trembled at the name of a departed monarch.

By the arms of the Turks and Franks, the Fatimites had Conquest of been deprived of Syria. In Egypt, the decay of their charac- the Turks, ter and influence was still more essential. Yet they were still revered as the descendants and successors of the prophet; they maintained their invisible state in the palace of Cairo ; and their person was seldom violated by the prof ne eyes of subjects or strangers. The Latin ambassadors have described their own introduction through a series of gloomy passages, and glittering porticos : the scene was enlivened by the warbling of birds and the murmur of fountains : it was enriched by a display of rich furniture, and rare animals ; of the imperial treasures, something was shown, and much was supposed; and the long order of unfolding doors was guarded by black soldiers and domestic eunuchs. The sanctuary of the ber was veiled with a curtain ; and the vizier who conducted the ambassadors, laid aside his scimitar, and prostrated himself three times on the ground; the veil was then removed ; and they beheld the commander of the faithful, who signified his pleasure to the first slave of the throne. But this slave was his master: the vizirs or sultans had usurped the supreme administration of Egypt; the claims of the rival candidates were decided by arms; and the name of the most worthy, of the strongest, was inserted in the royal patent of command. The factions of Dargham and Shawer alternately expelled each other from the capital and country; and the weaker side implored the dangerous protection of the sultan of Damascus or the king of Jerusalem, the perpetual enemies of the sect and

41 From the ambassador, William of Tyre (l. xix. c. 17, 19,) describes the palace of Cairo. In the caliph's treasures were found a pearl as large as a pigeon's egg, a ruby weighing seventeen Egyptian drachms, an emerald a palm and a ball in length, and many vases of crystal and porcelain of China (Renaudot, p. 336.)

LIX.

CHAP. monarchy of the Fatimites. By his arms and religion, the Turk

was most formidable ; but the Frank, in an easy direct march, could advance from Gaza to the Nile; while the intermediate situation of his realm compelled the troops of Noureddin to wheel round the skirts of Arabia, a long and painful circuit, which exposed them to thirst, fatigue, and the burning winds of the desert. The secret zeal and ambition of the Turkish prince aspired to reign in Egypt under the name of the Abbassides ; but the restoration of the suppliant Shawer was the ostensible motive of the first expedition; and the success was intrusted to the emir Shiracouh, a valiant and veteran commander. Dargham was oppressed and slain ; but the ingratitude, the jealousy, the just apprehensions, of his more fortunate rival, soon provoked him to invite the king of Jerusalem to deliver Egypt from his insolent benefactors. To this union, the forces of Shiracouh were unequal ; he relinquished the premature conquest ; and the evacuation of Belbeis or Pelusium was the condition of his safe retreat. As the Turks defiled before the enemy, and their general closed the rear, with a vigilant eye, and the battle-axe in his hand, a Frank presumed to ask him if he were not afraid of an attack ? “ It is doubtless in your power to begin the attack," replied the intrepid emir; “ but rest assured, that not one of my soldiers will go to paradise till he has sent an infidel to hell.” His report of the riches of the land, the effeminacy of the natives, and the disorders of the government, revived the hopes of Noureddin ; the caliph of Bagdad applauded the pious design; and Shiracouh descended into Egypt a second time with twelve thousand Turks and eleven thousand Arabs. Yet his forces were still inferior to the confederate armies of the Franks and Sa. racens; and I can discern an unusual degree of military art, in his passage of the Nile, bis retreat into Thebais, his masterly evolutions in the battle of Babain, the surprise of Alexandria, and his marches and counter-marches in the flats and valley of Egypt, from the tropic to the sea. His conduct was seconded by the courage of his troops, and on the eve of action a Mamaluke exclaimed, “If we cannot wrest Egypt from the Christian dogs, why do we not renounce the honours and rewards of the sultan, and retire to labour with the peasants, or to spin with the females of the haram ?” Yet, after all his efforts in the field, 43 after the obstinate defence of Alexan

42 Mamluc, plur. Mamalic, is defined by Pocock (Prolegom. ad Abulpbarag. p. 7,) and D'Herbelot (p. 545,) servum emptitium, seu qui pretio numerato in domini possessionem cedit

. They frequently occur in the wars of Saladin (Bobadin, p. 236, &c. ;) and it was only the Bahartie Mamalukes that were first introduced into Egypt by his descendants.

43 Jacobus à Vitriaco (p. 1116,) gives the king of Jerusalem no more than 374 knights. Both the Franks and the Moslems report the superior numbers of the enemy; a difference wbich may be solved by counting or omitting the unwarlike Egyptians.

dria" by his nephew Saladin, an honourable capitulation and Chap. retreat concluded the second enterprise of Shiracouh, and xxv. Noureddin reserved his abilities for a third and more propitious occasion. It was soon offered by the ambition and avarice of Amalric or Amaury, king of Jerusalem, who had imbibed the pernicious maxim, that no faith should be kept with the enemies of God. A religious warrior, the great master of the hospital, encouraged him to proceed : the emperor of Constantinople, either gave, or promised, a fleet to act with the armies of Syria ; and the perfidious Christian, unsatisfied with spoil and subsidy, aspired to the conquest of Egypt. In this emergency, the Moslems turned their eyes toward the sultan of Dasmascus; the vizir, whom danger encompassed on all sides, yielded to their unanimous wishes, and Noureddin seemed to be tempted by the fair offer of one-third of the revenue of the kingdom. The Franks were already at the gates of Cairo; but the suburbs, the old city, were burnt on their approach : they were deceived by an insidious negotiation; and their vessels were unable to surmount the barriers of the Nile. They prudently declined a contest with the Turks, in the midst of a hostile country; and Amaury retired into Palestine, with the shame and reproach that always adhere to unsuccessful injustice. After this deliverance, Shiracouh was invested with a robe of honour, which he soon stained with the blood of the unfortunate Shawer. For a while, the Turkish emirs condescended to hold the office of vizir; but this foreign conquest precipitated the fall of the Fatimites themselves; and the bloodless change was accomplished by a message and a word. The caliphs had been degraded by their own weakness and the tyranny of the vizirs : their subjects blushed, when the descendant and successor of the prophet presented his naked hand to the rude gripe of a Latin ambassador; they wept when he sent the hair of his women, a sad emblem of their grief and terror, to excite the pity of the sultan of Damascus. By the com- End of the mand of Noureddin, and the sentence of the doctors, the holy caliphs, names of Abubeker, Omar, and Othman, were solemnly restored : the caliph Mostadi, of Bagdad, was acknowledged in public prayers as the true commander of the faithful; and the green livery of the sons of Ali was exchanged for the black colour of the Abbassides. The last of his race, the caliph Adhed, who survived only ten days, expired in happy ignorance of his fate; his treasures secured the loyalty of the soldiers and silenced the murmurs of the sectaries; and in all subsequent revolutions, Egypt has never departed from the orthodox tradition of the Moslems.45

5. b. 1171.

44 It was the Alexandria of the Arabs, a middle term in extent and riches between the period of the Greeks and Romans, and that of the Turks (Savary, Lettres sur l’Egypte, tom. I. p. 25, 26.)

45 For this great revolution of Egypt, see William of Tyre (l. xis. 5, 6, 7. 12

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »