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Asia have been continually subverted by a crafty vizir in the CHAP. palace, or a victorious general in the camp, the Ottoman suc- lxv. cession has been confirmed by the practice of five centuries, and is now incorporated with the vital principle of the Turkish nation.
To the spirit and constitution of that nation, a strong and Education singular influence may, however, be ascribed. The primitive pline of the subjects of Othman were the four hundred families of wander- Turks. ing Turkmans, who had followed his ancestors from the Oxus to the Sangar; and the plains of Anatolia are still covered with the white and black tents of their rustic brethren. But this original drop was dissolved in the mass of voluntary and vanquished subjects, who, under the name of Turks, are united by the common ties of religion, language, and manners. In the cities, from Erzeroum to Belgrade, that national appellation is common to all the Moslems, the first and most honour. able inhabitants; but they have abandoned, at least in Romania, the villages, and the cultivation of the land, to the Christian peasants. In the vigorous age of the Ottoman government, the Turks were themselves excluded from all civil and military honours ; and a servile class, an artificial people, was raised by the discipline of education to obey, and to conquer, and to command.87 From the time of Orchan and the first Amurath, the sultans were persuaded that a government of the sword must be renewed in each generation with new soldiers ; and that such soldiers must be sought, not in effemiuate Asia, but among the hardy and warlike natives of Europe. The provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Servia, became the perpetual seminary of the Turkish army; and when the royal fisth of the captives was diminished by conquest, an inhuman tax, of the fifth child, or of every fifth year, was rigorously levied on the Christian families. At the age of twelve or fourteen years, the most robust youths were torn from their parents ; their names were enrolled in a book; and from that moment they were clothed, taught, and maintained, for the public service. According to the promise of their appearance, they were selected for the royal schools of Boursa, Pera, and Adrianople, intrusted to the care of the Bashaws, or dispersed in the houses of the Anatolian peasantry. It was the first care of their masters to instruct them in the Turkish language: their bodies were exercised by every labour that could fortify their strength : they learned to wrestle, to leap, to run, to shoot with the bow, and afterward with the musket, till
race (Marsigli Stato Militare, &c. p. 28.). This political heretic was a good shig, and justified against the French ambassador the revolution of England (Mignot, Hist. Ottomans, tom. iii. p. 434.) His presumption condemns the singular exception of continuing offices in the same family,
87 Chalcondyles (l. v.) and Ducas (c. 23,) exhibit the rude lineaments of the Ottoman policy, and the transmutation of Christian children into Turkish toldiers.
CHAP. they were drafted into the chambers and companies of the LXV. Janizaries, and severely trained in the military or monastic
discipline of the order. The youths most conspicuous for birth, talents, and beauty,lwere admitted into the inferior class of Agiamoglans, or the more liberal rank of Ichoglans, of whom the former were attached to the palace, and the latter to the person of the prince. In four successive schools, under the rod of the white eunuchs, the arts of horsemanship and of darting the jave. Jin were their daily exercise, while those of a more studious cast applied themselves to the study of the Koran, and the knowledge of the Arabic and Persian tongues. As they advanced in seniority and merit, they were gradually dismissed to military, civil, and even ecclesiastical employments : the longer their stay, the higher was their expectation, till at a mature period, they were admitted into the number of the forty agas, who stood before the sultan, and were promoted by his choice to the government of provinces and the first honours of the em
Such a miode of institution was admirably adapted to the form and spirit of a despotic monarchy. The ministers and generals were, in the strictest sense, the slaves of the emperor, to whose bounty they were indebted for their instruction and support. When they left the seraglio, and suffered their beards to grow as the symbol of enfranchisement, they found themselves in an important office, without faction or friendship, without parents and without heiss, dependent on the hand which had raised them from the dust, and which, on the slightest displeasure, could break in pieces these statues of glass, as they are aptly terined by the Turkish proverb.69 In the slow and painful steps of education, their character and talents were udfolded to a discerning eye : the man, naked and alone, was reduced to the standard of his personal merit; and, if the sovereign had wisdom to choose, he possessed a pure and boundless liberty of choice. The Ottoman candidates were trained by the virtues of abstinence to those of action ; by the habits of submission to those of command. A similar spirit was diffused among the troops ; and their silence and sobriety, their patience and modesty, have extorted the reluctant praise of their Christian enemies.90 Nor can the victory appear doubtful, if we compare the discipline and exercise of the Janizaries with the pride of birth, the independence of chivalry, the ignorance of the new levies, the mutinous temper of the veterans, and the vices of intemperance and disorder, which so long contaminated the armies of Europe.
88 This sketch of the Turkish education and discipline, is chiefly borrowed from Rycaut's State of the Ottoman empire, the Stato Militare del imperio Ot. tomano of Count Marsigli (in Haya, 1732, jin folio,) and a description of the Seraglio, approved by Mr. Greaves himself, a curious traveller, and inserted in the second volume of his works.
89 From the series of 115 vizirs till the siege of Vienna (Marsigli, p. 13,) their place may be valued at three years and a half purchase.
90 See the entertaining and judicious letters of Busbequius.
The only hope of salvation for the Greek empire and the CHAP, adjacent kingdoms, would have been some more powerful wea- lxv. pon, some discovery in the art of war, that should give them a mo decisive superiority over their Turkish foes. Such a weapon Invention was in their hands; such a discovery had been made in the gunpowder. critical moment of their fate. The chemists of China or Eu. rope had found, by casual or elaborate experiments, that a mixture of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal, produces, with a spark of fire, a tremendous explosion. It was soon observed, that if the expansive force were compressed in a strong tube, a ball of stone or iron might be expelled with irresistible and destructive velocity. The precise era of the invention and application ol gunpowder91 is involved in doubtful traditions and equivocal language; yet we may clearly discern, that it was known before the middle of the fourteenth century; and that before the end of the same, the use of artillery in battles and sieges, by sea and land, was familiar to the states of Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and England.92 The priority of nations is of small account; none could derive any exclusive benefit from their previous or superior knowledge; and in the common improvement they stood on the same level of relative power and military science. Nor was it possible to circumscribe the secret within the pale of the church : it was disclosed to the Turks by the treachery of apostates and the selfish policy of rivals ; and the sultans, had sense to adopt, and wealth to reward, the talents of a Christian engineer. The Genoese, bo transported Amurath into Europe, must be accused as his preceptors; and it was probably by their hands that his cannon was cast and directed at the siege of Constantinople.93 The first attempt was indeed unsuccessful; but in the general warfare of the age, the advantage was on their side, who were most commonly the assailants; for a while the proportion of the attack and defence was suspended ; and this thundering artillery was pointed against the walls and towers which had been erected only to resist the less potent engines of antiquity. By the Venetians, the use of gunpowder was communicated without reproach to the sultans of Egypt
91 The first and second volumes of Dr. Watson's Chemical Essays, contain two valuable discourses on the discovery and composition of gunpowder.
92 On this subject, modern testimonies cannot be trusted. The original pas. sages are collected by Ducange (Gloss. Latin. tom. i. p. 675 Bombarda.) But in the early doubtful twilight, the name, sound, fire, and effect, that seem to express our artillery, may be fairly interpreted of the old engines and the Greek fire, For the English cannon at Crecy, the authority of John Villani (Chron. l. xii. c. 65,) must be weighed against the silence of Froissard. Yet Muratori (Antiqyit. Italiæ medii Ævi, tom. ii. Dissert. xxvi. p. 514, 515,) has produced a decisive passage from Petrarch (de Remediis utriusque Fortunæ Dialog.) who, beføre the year 1344, execrates this terrestrial thunder, nuper rara, nune communis.
93 The Turkish cannon, which Ducas (c. 30,) first introduces before Belgrade (A. D. 1436) is mentionců by Chalcondylés (1. v. p. 123,9 in 1422, at the siege of Constantinople.
and Persia, their allies against the Ottoman power; the secret was soon propagated to the extremities of Asia ; and the ad. vantage of the European was confined to his easy victories over the savages of the new world. If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.
Ipplications of the Eastern Emperors to the Popes—Visits to the
West, of John the First, Manuel, and John the Second, Palæologus-Union of the Greek and Latin Churches, promoted by the Council of Basil, and concluded at Ferrara and Florence-State of Literature at Constantinople— Its revival in Italy by the Greek Fugitives—Curiosity and Emulation of the Latins.
the younger „Andronicus
IN the four last centuries of the Greek emperors, their
friendly or hostile aspect toward the pope and the Latins, Embassy of may be observed as the thermometer of their prosperity or
distress; as the scale of the rise and fall of the barbarian dy,
« Most LXVI.
the Twelfth ; and his artful instructions appear to have been chap. drawn by the master-hand of the great domestic.' holy father," was he commissioned to say, “the emperor is not on less desirous than yourself of an union between the two The arguchurches : but in this delicate transaction, he is obliged to crusade and respect his own dignity and the prejudices of his subjects. The ways of union are twofold; force, and persuasion. Or force, the inefficacy has been already tried ; since the Latins have subdued the empire, without subduing the minds, of the Greeks. The method of persuasion, though slow, is sure and permanent. A deputation of thirty or forty of our doctors would probably agree with those of the Vatican, in the love of truth and the unity of belief : but on their return, what would be the use, the recompense of such agreement ? the scorn of their brethren, and the reproaches of a blind and obstinate nation. Yet that nation is accustomed to reverence the general councils, which have fixed the articles of our faith ; and if they reprobate the decrees of Lyons, it is because the Eastern churches were neither heard nor represented in that arbitrary meeting. For this salutary end, it will be expedient, and even necessary, that a well-chosen legate should be sent into Greece, to convene the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; and, with their aid, to prepare a free and universal synod. But at this moment,” continued the subtle agent, “the empire is assaulted and endangered by the Turks, who have occupied four of the greatest cities of Anatolia.-The Christian inhabitants have expressed a wish of returning to their allegiance and religion; but the forces and revenues of the emperor are insufficient for their deliverance; and the Roman legate must be accompanied, or preceded, by an army of Frauks, to expel the infidels, and open a way to the holy sepulchre.” If the suspicious Latins should require some pledge, some previous effect of the sincerity of the Greeks, the answers of Barlaam were perspicuous and rational. “1. A general synod can alone consummate the union of the churches; nor can such a synod be held till the three Oriental patriarcbs, and a great number of bishops, are enfranchised from the Mahometan yoke. 2. The Greeks are alienated by a long series of oppression and injury : they must be reconciled by some act of brotherly love, some effectual succour, which may fortify the authority and arguments of the emperor, and the friends of the union. 3. If some difference of faith or cere. monies should be found incurable, the Greeks however are the disciples of Christ ; and the Turks are the common enemies of the Christian name. The Armenians, Cyprians, and Rhodians, are equally attacked; and it will become the piety of
This curious instruction was transcribed (I believe) from the Vatican archives, by Odoricus Raynaldus, in his continuation of the Annals of Baronius (Romæ, 1646–1677, in 10 volumes in folio.) I have contented myself with the abbé Fleury (Hist. Ecclesiastique, tom. xx. p. 1-8,) whose abstracts I have always found to be clear, accurate, and impartial.