Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Part 6 out of 13

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

their hordes were alike disposed for the reception of a foreign
worship. After some hesitation between the Gospel and the Koran,
they conformed to the religion of Mahomet; and while they adopted
for their brethren the Arabs and Persians, they renounced all
intercourse with the ancient Moguls, the idolaters of China.

[Footnote 31: The Map of D'Anville and the Chinese Itineraries
(De Guignes, tom. i. part ii. p. 57) seem to mark the position of
Holin, or Caracorum, about six hundred miles to the north-west of
Pekin. The distance between Selinginsky and Pekin is near 2000
Russian versts, between 1300 and 1400 English miles, (Bell's
Travels, vol. ii. p. 67.)]

[Footnote 32: Rubruquis found at Caracorum his countryman
Guillaume Boucher, orfevre de Paris, who had executed for the
khan a silver tree supported by four lions, and ejecting four
different liquors. Abulghazi (part iv. p. 366) mentions the
painters of Kitay or China.]

[Footnote *: See the interesting sketch of the life of this
minister (Yelin- Thsouthsai) in the second volume of the second
series of Recherches Asiatiques, par A Remusat, p. 64. - M.]

[Footnote *: Compare Hist. des Mongols, p. 616. - M.]

[Footnote 33: The attachment of the khans, and the hatred of the
mandarins, to the bonzes and lamas (Duhalde, Hist. de la Chine,
tom. i. p. 502, 503) seems to represent them as the priests of
the same god, of the Indian Fo, whose worship prevails among the
sects of Hindostan Siam, Thibet, China, and Japan. But this
mysterious subject is still lost in a cloud, which the
researchers of our Asiatic Society may gradually dispel.]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turkds.

Part III.

In this shipwreck of nations, some surprise may be excited
by the escape of the Roman empire, whose relics, at the time of
the Mogul invasion, were dismembered by the Greeks and Latins.
Less potent than Alexander, they were pressed, like the
Macedonian, both in Europe and Asia, by the shepherds of Scythia;
and had the Tartars undertaken the siege, Constantinople must
have yielded to the fate of Pekin, Samarcand, and Bagdad. The
glorious and voluntary retreat of Batou from the Danube was
insulted by the vain triumph of the Franks and Greeks; ^34 and in
a second expedition death surprised him in full march to attack
the capital of the Caesars. His brother Borga carried the Tartar
arms into Bulgaria and Thrace; but he was diverted from the
Byzantine war by a visit to Novogorod, in the fifty-seventh
degree of latitude, where he numbered the inhabitants and
regulated the tributes of Russia. The Mogul khan formed an
alliance with the Mamalukes against his brethren of Persia: three
hundred thousand horse penetrated through the gates of Derbend;
and the Greeks might rejoice in the first example of domestic
war. After the recovery of Constantinople, Michael Palaeologus,
^35 at a distance from his court and army, was surprised and
surrounded in a Thracian castle, by twenty thousand Tartars. But
the object of their march was a private interest: they came to
the deliverance of Azzadin, the Turkish sultan; and were content
with his person and the treasure of the emperor. Their general
Noga, whose name is perpetuated in the hordes of Astracan, raised
a formidable rebellion against Mengo Timour, the third of the
khaus of Kipzak; obtained in marriage Maria, the natural daughter
of Palaeologus; and guarded the dominions of his friend and
father. The subsequent invasions of a Scythian cast were those
of outlaws and fugitives: and some thousands of Alani and Comans,
who had been driven from their native zeats, were reclaimed from
a vagrant life, and enlisted in the service of the empire. Such
was the influence in Europe of the invasion of the Moguls. The
first terror of their arms secured, rather than disturbed, the
peace of the Roman Asia. The sultan of Iconium solicited a
personal interview with John Vataces; and his artful policy
encouraged the Turks to defend their barrier against the common
enemy. ^36 That barrier indeed was soon overthrown; and the
servitude and ruin of the Seljukians exposed the nakedness of the
Greeks. The formidable Holagou threatened to march to
Constantinople at the head of four hundred thousand men; and the
groundless panic of the citizens of Nice will present an image of
the terror which he had inspired. The accident of a procession,
and the sound of a doleful litany, "From the fury of the Tartars,
good Lord, deliver us," had scattered the hasty report of an
assault and massacre. In the blind credulity of fear, the
streets of Nice were crowded with thousands of both sexes, who
knew not from what or to whom they fled; and some hours elapsed
before the firmness of the military officers could relieve the
city from this imaginary foe. But the ambition of Holagou and
his successors was fortunately diverted by the conquest of
Bagdad, and a long vicissitude of Syrian wars; their hostility to
the Moslems inclined them to unite with the Greeks and Franks;
^37 and their generosity or contempt had offered the kingdom of
Anatolia as the reward of an Armenian vassal. The fragments of
the Seljukian monarchy were disputed by the emirs who had
occupied the cities or the mountains; but they all confessed the
supremacy of the khans of Persia; and he often interposed his
authority, and sometimes his arms, to check their depredations,
and to preserve the peace and balance of his Turkish frontier.
The death of Cazan, ^38 one of the greatest and most accomplished
princes of the house of Zingis, removed this salutary control;
and the decline of the Moguls gave a free scope to the rise and
progress of the Ottoman Empire. ^39
[Footnote 34: Some repulse of the Moguls in Hungary (Matthew
Paris, p. 545, 546) might propagate and color the report of the
union and victory of the kings of the Franks on the confines of
Bulgaria. Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 310) after forty years,
beyond the Tigris, might be easily deceived.]
[Footnote 35: See Pachymer, l. iii. c. 25, and l. ix. c. 26, 27;
and the false alarm at Nice, l. iii. c. 27. Nicephorus Gregoras,
l. iv. c. 6.]
[Footnote 36: G. Acropolita, p. 36, 37. Nic. Greg. l. ii. c. 6,
l. iv. c. 5.]
[Footnote 37: Abulpharagius, who wrote in the year 1284, declares
that the Moguls, since the fabulous defeat of Batou, had not
attacked either the Franks or Greeks; and of this he is a
competent witness. Hayton likewise, the Armenian prince,
celebrates their friendship for himself and his nation.]
[Footnote 38: Pachymer gives a splendid character of Cazan Khan,
the rival of Cyrus and Alexander, (l. xii. c. 1.) In the
conclusion of his history (l. xiii. c. 36) he hopes much from the
arrival of 30,000 Tochars, or Tartars, who were ordered by the
successor of Cazan to restrain the Turks of Bithynia, A.D. 1308.]

[Footnote 39: The origin of the Ottoman dynasty is illustrated by
the critical learning of Mm. De Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iv.
p. 329 - 337) and D'Anville, (Empire Turc, p. 14 - 22,) two
inhabitants of Paris, from whom the Orientals may learn the
history and geography of their own country.
Note: They may be still more enlightened by the Geschichte
des Osman Reiches, by M. von Hammer Purgstall of Vienna. - M.]

After the retreat of Zingis, the sultan Gelaleddin of
Carizme had returned from India to the possession and defence of
his Persian kingdoms. In the space of eleven years, than hero
fought in person fourteen battles; and such was his activity,
that he led his cavalry in seventeen days from Teflia to Kerman,
a march of a thousand miles. Yet he was oppressed by the
jealousy of the Moslem princes, and the innumerable armies of the
Moguls; and after his last defeat, Gelaleddin perished ignobly in
the mountains of Curdistan. His death dissolved a veteran and
adventurous army, which included under the name of Carizmians or
Corasmins many Turkman hordes, that had attached themselves to
the sultan's fortune. The bolder and more powerful chiefs
invaded Syria, and violated the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem: the
more humble engaged in the service of Aladin, sultan of Iconium;
and among these were the obscure fathers of the Ottoman line.
They had formerly pitched their tents near the southern banks of
the Oxus, in the plains of Mahan and Nesa; and it is somewhat
remarkable, that the same spot should have produced the first
authors of the Parthian and Turkish empires. At the head, or in
the rear, of a Carizmian army, Soliman Shah was drowned in the
passage of the Euphrates: his son Orthogrul became the soldier
and subject of Aladin, and established at Surgut, on the banks of
the Sangar, a camp of four hundred families or tents, whom he
governed fifty-two years both in peace and war. He was the father
of Thaman, or Athman, whose Turkish name has been melted into the
appellation of the caliph Othman; and if we describe that
pastoral chief as a shepherd and a robber, we must separate from
those characters all idea of ignominy and baseness. Othman
possessed, and perhaps surpassed, the ordinary virtues of a
soldier; and the circumstances of time and place were propitious
to his independence and success. The Seljukian dynasty was no
more; and the distance and decline of the Mogul khans soon
enfranchised him from the control of a superior. He was situate
on the verge of the Greek empire: the Koran sanctified his gazi,
or holy war, against the infidels; and their political errors
unlocked the passes of Mount Olympus, and invited him to descend
into the plains of Bithynia. Till the reign of Palaeologus,
these passes had been vigilantly guarded by the militia of the
country, who were repaid by their own safety and an exemption
from taxes. The emperor abolished their privilege and assumed
their office; but the tribute was rigorously collected, the
custody of the passes was neglected, and the hardy mountaineers
degenerated into a trembling crowd of peasants without spirit or
discipline. It was on the twenty-seventh of July, in the year
twelve hundred and ninety-nine of the Christian aera, that Othman
first invaded the territory of Nicomedia; ^40 and the singular
accuracy of the date seems to disclose some foresight of the
rapid and destructive growth of the monster. The annals of the
twenty-seven years of his reign would exhibit a repetition of the
same inroads; and his hereditary troops were multiplied in each
campaign by the accession of captives and volunteers. Instead of
retreating to the hills, he maintained the most useful and
defensive posts; fortified the towns and castles which he had
first pillaged; and renounced the pastoral life for the baths and
palaces of his infant capitals. But it was not till Othman was
oppressed by age and infirmities, that he received the welcome
news of the conquest of Prusa, which had been surrendered by
famine or treachery to the arms of his son Orchan. The glory of
Othman is chiefly founded on that of his descendants; but the
Turks have transcribed or composed a royal testament of his last
counsels of justice and moderation. ^41

[Footnote 40: See Pachymer, l. x. c. 25, 26, l. xiii. c. 33, 34,
36; and concerning the guard of the mountains, l. i. c. 3 - 6:
Nicephorus Gregoras, l. vii. c. l., and the first book of
Laonicus Chalcondyles, the Athenian.]
[Footnote 41: I am ignorant whether the Turks have any writers
older than Mahomet II., nor can I reach beyond a meagre chronicle
(Annales Turcici ad Annum 1550) translated by John Gaudier, and
published by Leunclavius, (ad calcem Laonic. Chalcond. p. 311 -
350,) with copious pandects, or commentaries. The history of the
Growth and Decay (A.D. 1300 - 1683) of the Othman empire was
translated into English from the Latin Ms. of Demetrius Cantemir,
prince of Moldavia, (London, 1734, in folio.) The author is
guilty of strange blunders in Oriental history; but he was
conversant with the language, the annals, and institutions of the
Turks. Cantemir partly draws his materials from the Synopsis of
Saadi Effendi of Larissa, dedicated in the year 1696 to Sultan
Mustapha, and a valuable abridgment of the original historians.
In one of the Ramblers, Dr Johnson praises Knolles (a General
History of the Turks to the present Year. London, 1603) as the
first of historians, unhappy only in the choice of his subject.
Yet I much doubt whether a partial and verbose compilation from
Latin writers, thirteen hundred folio pages of speeches and
battles, can either instruct or amuse an enlightened age, which
requires from the historian some tincture of philosophy and

Note: We could have wished that M. von Hammer had given a
more clear and distinct reply to this question of Gibbon. In a
note, vol. i. p. 630. M. von Hammer shows that they had not only
sheiks (religious writers) and learned lawyers, but poets and
authors on medicine. But the inquiry of Gibbon obviously refers
to historians. The oldest of their historical works, of which V.
Hammer makes use, is the "Tarichi Aaschik Paschasade," i. e. the
History of the Great Grandson of Aaschik Pasha, who was a dervis
and celebrated ascetic poet in the reign of Murad (Amurath) I.
Ahmed, the author of the work, lived during the reign of Bajazet
II., but, he says, derived much information from the book of
Scheik Jachshi, the son of Elias, who was Imaum to Sultan Orchan,
(the second Ottoman king) and who related, from the lips of his
father, the circumstances of the earliest Ottoman history. This
book (having searched for it in vain for five-and-twenty years)
our author found at length in the Vatican. All the other Turkish
histories on his list, as indeed this, were written during the
reign of Mahomet II. It does not appear whether any of the rest
cite earlier authorities of equal value with that claimed by the
"Tarichi Aaschik Paschasade." - M. (in Quarterly Review, vol.
xlix. p. 292.)]

From the conquest of Prusa, we may date the true aera of the
Ottoman empire. The lives and possessions of the Christian
subjects were redeemed by a tribute or ransom of thirty thousand
crowns of gold; and the city, by the labors of Orchan, assumed
the aspect of a Mahometan capital; Prusa was decorated with a
mosque, a college, and a hospital, of royal foundation; the
Seljukian coin was changed for the name and impression of the new
dynasty: and the most skilful professors, of human and divine
knowledge, attracted the Persian and Arabian students from the
ancient schools of Oriental learning. The office of vizier was
instituted for Aladin, the brother of Orchan; ^* and a different
habit distinguished the citizens from the peasants, the Moslems
from the infidels. All the troops of Othman had consisted of
loose squadrons of Turkman cavalry; who served without pay and
fought without discipline: but a regular body of infantry was
first established and trained by the prudence of his son. A
great number of volunteers was enrolled with a small stipend, but
with the permission of living at home, unless they were summoned
to the field: their rude manners, and seditious temper, disposed
Orchan to educate his young captives as his soldiers and those of
the prophet; but the Turkish peasants were still allowed to mount
on horseback, and follow his standard, with the appellation and
the hopes of freebooters. ^! By these arts he formed an army of
twenty-five thousand Moslems: a train of battering engines was
framed for the use of sieges; and the first successful experiment
was made on the cities of Nice and Nicomedia. Orchan granted a
safe-conduct to all who were desirous of departing with their
families and effects; but the widows of the slain were given in
marriage to the conquerors; and the sacrilegious plunder, the
books, the vases, and the images, were sold or ransomed at
Constantinople. The emperor Andronicus the Younger was
vanquished and wounded by the son of Othman: ^42 ^!! he subdued
the whole province or kingdom of Bithynia, as far as the shores
of the Bosphorus and Hellespont; and the Christians confessed the
justice and clemency of a reign which claimed the voluntary
attachment of the Turks of Asia. Yet Orchan was content with the
modest title of emir; and in the list of his compeers, the
princes of Roum or Anatolia, ^43 his military forces were
surpassed by the emirs of Ghermian and Caramania, each of whom
could bring into the field an army of forty thousand men. Their
domains were situate in the heart of the Seljukian kingdom; but
the holy warriors, though of inferior note, who formed new
principalities on the Greek empire, are more conspicuous in the
light of history. The maritime country from the Propontis to the
Maeander and the Isle of Rhodes, so long threatened and so often
pillaged, was finally lost about the thirteenth year of
Andronicus the Elder. ^44 Two Turkish chieftains, Sarukhan and
Aidin, left their names to their conquests, and their conquests
to their posterity. The captivity or ruin of the seven churches
of Asia was consummated; and the barbarous lords of Ionia and
Lydia still trample on the monuments of classic and Christian
antiquity. In the loss of Ephesus, the Christians deplored the
fall of the first angel, the extinction of the first candlestick,
of the Revelations; ^45 the desolation is complete; and the
temple of Diana, or the church of Mary, will equally elude the
search of the curious traveller. The circus and three stately
theatres of Laodicea are now peopled with wolves and foxes;
Sardes is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Mahomet,
without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira
and Pergamus; and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the
foreign trade of the Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has
been saved by prophecy, or courage. At a distance from the sea,
forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks,
her valiant citizens defended their religion and freedom above
fourscore years; and at length capitulated with the proudest of
the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia,
Philadelphia is still erect; a column in a scene of ruins; a
pleasing example, that the paths of honor and safety may
sometimes be the same. The servitude of Rhodes was delayed about
two centuries by the establishment of the knights of St. John of
Jerusalem: ^46 under the discipline of the order, that island
emerged into fame and opulence; the noble and warlike monks were
renowned by land and sea: and the bulwark of Christendom
provoked, and repelled, the arms of the Turks and Saracens.

[Footnote *: Von Hammer, Osm. Geschichte, vol. i. p. 82. - M.]
[Footnote !: Ibid. p. 91. - M.]

[Footnote 42: Cantacuzene, though he relates the battle and
heroic flight of the younger Androcinus, (l. ii. c. 6, 7, 8,)
dissembles by his silence the loss of Prusa, Nice, and Nicomedia,
which are fairly confessed by Nicephorus Gregoras, (l. viii. 15,
ix. 9, 13, xi. 6.) It appears that Nice was taken by Orchan in
1330, and Nicomedia in 1339, which are somewhat different from
the Turkish dates.]

[Footnote !!: For the conquests of Orchan over the ten pachaliks,
or kingdoms of the Seljukians, in Asia Minor. see V. Hammer, vol.
i. p. 112. - M.]
[Footnote 43: The partition of the Turkish emirs is extracted
from two contemporaries, the Greek Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vii.
1) and the Arabian Marakeschi, (De Guignes, tom. ii. P. ii. p.
76, 77.) See likewise the first book of Laonicus Chalcondyles.]

[Footnote 44: Pachymer, l. xiii. c. 13.]

[Footnote 45: See the Travels of Wheeler and Spon, of Pocock and
Chandler, and more particularly Smith's Survey of the Seven
Churches of Asia, p. 205 - 276. The more pious antiquaries labor
to reconcile the promises and threats of the author of the
Revelations with the present state of the seven cities. Perhaps
it would be more prudent to confine his predictions to the
characters and events of his own times.]

[Footnote 46: Consult the ivth book of the Histoire de 'Ordre de
Malthe, par l'Abbe de Vertot. That pleasing writer betrays his
ignorance, in supposing that Othman, a freebooter of the
Bithynian hills, could besiege Rhodes by sea and land.]

The Greeks, by their intestine divisions, were the authors
of their final ruin. During the civil wars of the elder and
younger Andronicus, the son of Othman achieved, almost without
resistance, the conquest of Bithynia; and the same disorders
encouraged the Turkish emirs of Lydia and Ionia to build a fleet,
and to pillage the adjacent islands and the sea-coast of Europe.
In the defence of his life and honor, Cantacuzene was tempted to
prevent, or imitate, his adversaries, by calling to his aid the
public enemies of his religion and country. Amir, the son of
Aidin, concealed under a Turkish garb the humanity and politeness
of a Greek; he was united with the great domestic by mutual
esteem and reciprocal services; and their friendship is compared,
in the vain rhetoric of the times, to the perfect union of
Orestes and Pylades. ^47 On the report of the danger of his
friend, who was persecuted by an ungrateful court, the prince of
Ionia assembled at Smyrna a fleet of three hundred vessels, with
an army of twenty-nine thousand men; sailed in the depth of
winter, and cast anchor at the mouth of the Hebrus. From thence,
with a chosen band of two thousand Turks, he marched along the
banks of the river, and rescued the empress, who was besieged in
Demotica by the wild Bulgarians. At that disastrous moment, the
life or death of his beloved Cantacuzene was concealed by his
flight into Servia: but the grateful Irene, impatient to behold
her deliverer, invited him to enter the city, and accompanied her
message with a present of rich apparel and a hundred horses. By a
peculiar strain of delicacy, the Gentle Barbarian refused, in the
absence of an unfortunate friend, to visit his wife, or to taste
the luxuries of the palace; sustained in his tent the rigor of
the winter; and rejected the hospitable gift, that he might share
the hardships of two thousand companions, all as deserving as
himself of that honor and distinction. Necessity and revenge
might justify his predatory excursions by sea and land: he left
nine thousand five hundred men for the guard of his fleet; and
persevered in the fruitless search of Cantacuzene, till his
embarkation was hastened by a fictitious letter, the severity of
the season, the clamors of his independent troops, and the weight
of his spoil and captives. In the prosecution of the civil war,
the prince of Ionia twice returned to Europe; joined his arms
with those of the emperor; besieged Thessalonica, and threatened
Constantinople. Calumny might affix some reproach on his
imperfect aid, his hasty departure, and a bribe of ten thousand
crowns, which he accepted from the Byzantine court; but his
friend was satisfied; and the conduct of Amir is excused by the
more sacred duty of defending against the Latins his hereditary
dominions. The maritime power of the Turks had united the pope,
the king of Cyprus, the republic of Venice, and the order of St.
John, in a laudable crusade; their galleys invaded the coast of
Ionia; and Amir was slain with an arrow, in the attempt to wrest
from the Rhodian knights the citadel of Smyrna. ^48 Before his
death, he generously recommended another ally of his own nation;
not more sincere or zealous than himself, but more able to afford
a prompt and powerful succor, by his situation along the
Propontis and in the front of Constantinople. By the prospect of
a more advantageous treaty, the Turkish prince of Bithynia was
detached from his engagements with Anne of Savoy; and the pride
of Orchan dictated the most solemn protestations, that if he
could obtain the daughter of Cantacuzene, he would invariably
fulfil the duties of a subject and a son. Parental tenderness was
silenced by the voice of ambition: the Greek clergy connived at
the marriage of a Christian princess with a sectary of Mahomet;
and the father of Theodora describes, with shameful satisfaction,
the dishonor of the purple. ^49 A body of Turkish cavalry
attended the ambassadors, who disembarked from thirty vessels,
before his camp of Selybria. A stately pavilion was erected, in
which the empress Irene passed the night with her daughters. In
the morning, Theodora ascended a throne, which was surrounded
with curtains of silk and gold: the troops were under arms; but
the emperor alone was on horseback. At a signal the curtains
were suddenly withdrawn to disclose the bride, or the victim,
encircled by kneeling eunuchs and hymeneal torches: the sound of
flutes and trumpets proclaimed the joyful event; and her
pretended happiness was the theme of the nuptial song, which was
chanted by such poets as the age could produce. Without the rites
of the church, Theodora was delivered to her barbarous lord: but
it had been stipulated, that she should preserve her religion in
the harem of Bursa; and her father celebrates her charity and
devotion in this ambiguous situation. After his peaceful
establishment on the throne of Constantinople, the Greek emperor
visited his Turkish ally, who with four sons, by various wives,
expected him at Scutari, on the Asiatic shore. The two princes
partook, with seeming cordiality, of the pleasures of the banquet
and the chase; and Theodora was permitted to repass the
Bosphorus, and to enjoy some days in the society of her mother.
But the friendship of Orchan was subservient to his religion and
interest; and in the Genoese war he joined without a blush the
enemies of Cantacuzene.

[Footnote 47: Nicephorus Gregoras has expatiated with pleasure on
this amiable character, (l. xii. 7, xiii. 4, 10, xiv. 1, 9, xvi.
6.) Cantacuzene speaks with honor and esteem of his ally, (l.
iii. c. 56, 57, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 86, 89, 95, 96;) but he seems
ignorant of his own sentimental passion for the Turks, and
indirectly denies the possibility of such unnatural friendship,
(l. iv. c. 40.)]

[Footnote 48: After the conquest of Smyrna by the Latins, the
defence of this fortress was imposed by Pope Gregory XI. on the
knights of Rhodes, (see Vertot, l. v.)]

[Footnote 49: See Cantacuzenus, l. iii. c. 95. Nicephorus
Gregoras, who, for the light of Mount Thabor, brands the emperor
with the names of tyrant and Herod, excuses, rather than blames,
this Turkish marriage, and alleges the passion and power of
Orchan, Turkish, (l. xv. 5.) He afterwards celebrates his kingdom
and armies. See his reign in Cantemir, p. 24 - 30.]
In the treaty with the empress Anne, the Ottoman prince had
inserted a singular condition, that it should be lawful for him
to sell his prisoners at Constantinople, or transport them into
Asia. A naked crowd of Christians of both sexes and every age,
of priests and monks, of matrons and virgins, was exposed in the
public market; the whip was frequently used to quicken the
charity of redemption; and the indigent Greeks deplored the fate
of their brethren, who were led away to the worst evils of
temporal and spiritual bondage ^50 Cantacuzene was reduced to
subscribe the same terms; and their execution must have been
still more pernicious to the empire: a body of ten thousand Turks
had been detached to the assistance of the empress Anne; but the
entire forces of Orchan were exerted in the service of his
father. Yet these calamities were of a transient nature; as soon
as the storm had passed away, the fugitives might return to their
habitations; and at the conclusion of the civil and foreign wars,
Europe was completely evacuated by the Moslems of Asia. It was
in his last quarrel with his pupil that Cantacuzene inflicted the
deep and deadly wound, which could never be healed by his
successors, and which is poorly expiated by his theological
dialogues against the prophet Mahomet. Ignorant of their own
history, the modern Turks confound their first and their final
passage of the Hellespont, ^51 and describe the son of Orchan as
a nocturnal robber, who, with eighty companions, explores by
stratagem a hostile and unknown shore. Soliman, at the head of
ten thousand horse, was transported in the vessels, and
entertained as the friend, of the Greek emperor. In the civil
wars of Romania, he performed some service and perpetrated more
mischief; but the Chersonesus was insensibly filled with a
Turkish colony; and the Byzantine court solicited in vain the
restitution of the fortresses of Thrace. After some artful
delays between the Ottoman prince and his son, their ransom was
valued at sixty thousand crowns, and the first payment had been
made when an earthquake shook the walls and cities of the
provinces; the dismantled places were occupied by the Turks; and
Gallipoli, the key of the Hellespont, was rebuilt and repeopled
by the policy of Soliman. The abdication of Cantacuzene dissolved
the feeble bands of domestic alliance; and his last advice
admonished his countrymen to decline a rash contest, and to
compare their own weakness with the numbers and valor, the
discipline and enthusiasm, of the Moslems. His prudent counsels
were despised by the headstrong vanity of youth, and soon
justified by the victories of the Ottomans. But as he practised
in the field the exercise of the jerid, Soliman was killed by a
fall from his horse; and the aged Orchan wept and expired on the
tomb of his valiant son. ^*

[Footnote 50: The most lively and concise picture of this
captivity may be found in the history of Ducas, (c. 8,) who
fairly describes what Cantacuzene confesses with a guilty blush!]

[Footnote 51: In this passage, and the first conquests in Europe,
Cantemir (p. 27, &c.) gives a miserable idea of his Turkish
guides; nor am I much better satisfied with Chalcondyles, (l. i.
p. 12, &c.) They forget to consult the most authentic record, the
ivth book of Cantacuzene. I likewise regret the last books,
which are still manuscript, of Nicephorus Gregoras.
Note: Von Hammer excuses the silence with which the Turkish
historians pass over the earlier intercourse of the Ottomans with
the European continent, of which he enumerates sixteen different
occasions, as if they disdained those peaceful incursions by
which they gained no conquest, and established no permanent
footing on the Byzantine territory. Of the romantic account of
Soliman's first expedition, he says, "As yet the prose of history
had not asserted its right over the poetry of tradition." This
defence would scarcely be accepted as satisfactory by the
historian of the Decline and Fall. - M. (in Quarterly Review,
vol. xlix. p. 293.)

Note: In the 75th year of his age, the 35th of his reign.
V. Hammer. M.]

Chapter LXIV: Moguls, Ottoman Turkds.

Part IV.

But the Greeks had not time to rejoice in the death of their
enemies; and the Turkish cimeter was wielded with the same spirit
by Amurath the First, the son of Orchan, and the brother of
Soliman. By the pale and fainting light of the Byzantine annals,
^52 we can discern, that he subdued without resistance the whole
province of Romania or Thrace, from the Hellespont to Mount
Haemus, and the verge of the capital; and that Adrianople was
chosen for the royal seat of his government and religion in
Europe. Constantinople, whose decline is almost coeval with her
foundation, had often, in the lapse of a thousand years, been
assaulted by the Barbarians of the East and West; but never till
this fatal hour had the Greeks been surrounded, both in Asia and
Europe, by the arms of the same hostile monarchy. Yet the
prudence or generosity of Amurath postponed for a while this easy
conquest; and his pride was satisfied with the frequent and
humble attendance of the emperor John Palaeologus and his four
sons, who followed at his summons the court and camp of the
Ottoman prince. He marched against the Sclavonian nations
between the Danube and the Adriatic, the Bulgarians, Servians,
Bosnians, and Albanians; and these warlike tribes, who had so
often insulted the majesty of the empire, were repeatedly broken
by his destructive inroads. Their countries did not abound
either in gold or silver; nor were their rustic hamlets and
townships enriched by commerce or decorated by the arts of
luxury. But the natives of the soil have been distinguished in
every age by their hardiness of mind and body; and they were
converted by a prudent institution into the firmest and most
faithful supporters of the Ottoman greatness. ^53 The vizier of
Amurath reminded his sovereign that, according to the Mahometan
law, he was entitled to a fifth part of the spoil and captives;
and that the duty might easily be levied, if vigilant officers
were stationed in Gallipoli, to watch the passage, and to select
for his use the stoutest and most beautiful of the Christian
youth. The advice was followed: the edict was proclaimed; many
thousands of the European captives were educated in religion and
arms; and the new militia was consecrated and named by a
celebrated dervis. Standing in the front of their ranks, he
stretched the sleeve of his gown over the head of the foremost
soldier, and his blessing was delivered in these words: "Let them
be called Janizaries, (Yengi cheri, or new soldiers;) may their
countenance be ever bright! their hand victorious! their sword
keen! may their spear always hang over the heads of their
enemies! and wheresoever they go, may they return with a white
face!" ^54 ^* Such was the origin of these haughty troops, the
terror of the nations, and sometimes of the sultans themselves.
Their valor has declined, their discipline is relaxed, and their
tumultuary array is incapable of contending with the order and
weapons of modern tactics; but at the time of their institution,
they possessed a decisive superiority in war; since a regular
body of infantry, in constant exercise and pay, was not
maintained by any of the princes of Christendom. The Janizaries
fought with the zeal of proselytes against their idolatrous
countrymen; and in the battle of Cossova, the league and
independence of the Sclavonian tribes was finally crushed. As
the conqueror walked over the field, he observed that the
greatest part of the slain consisted of beardless youths; and
listened to the flattering reply of his vizier, that age and
wisdom would have taught them not to oppose his irresistible
arms. But the sword of his Janizaries could not defend him from
the dagger of despair; a Servian soldier started from the crowd
of dead bodies, and Amurath was pierced in the belly with a
mortal wound. ^* The grandson of Othman was mild in his temper,
modest in his apparel, and a lover of learning and virtue; but
the Moslems were scandalized at his absence from public worship;
and he was corrected by the firmness of the mufti, who dared to
reject his testimony in a civil cause: a mixture of servitude and
freedom not unfrequent in Oriental history. ^55
[Footnote 52: After the conclusion of Cantacuzene and Gregoras,
there follows a dark interval of a hundred years. George
Phranza, Michael Ducas, and Laonicus Chalcondyles, all three
wrote after the taking of Constantinople.]
[Footnote 53: See Cantemir, p. 37 - 41, with his own large and
curious annotations.]

[Footnote 54: White and black face are common and proverbial
expressions of praise and reproach in the Turkish language. Hic
niger est, hunc tu Romane caveto, was likewise a Latin sentence.]

[Footnote *: According to Von Hammer. vol. i. p. 90, Gibbon and
the European writers assign too late a date to this enrolment of
the Janizaries. It took place not in the reign of Amurath, but
in that of his predecessor Orchan. - M.]

[Footnote *: Ducas has related this as a deliberate act of
self-devotion on the part of a Servian noble who pretended to
desert, and stabbed Amurath during a conference which he had
requested. The Italian translator of Ducas, published by Bekker
in the new edition of the Byzantines, has still further
heightened the romance. See likewise in Von Hammer (Osmanische
Geschichte, vol. i. p. 138) the popular Servian account, which
resembles that of Ducas, and may have been the source of that of
his Italian translator. The Turkish account agrees more nearly
with Gibbon; but the Servian, (Milosch Kohilovisch) while he lay
among the heap of the dead, pretended to have some secret to
impart to Amurath, and stabbed him while he leaned over to
listen. - M.]
[Footnote 55: See the life and death of Morad, or Amurath I., in
Cantemir, (p 33 - 45,) the first book of Chalcondyles, and the
Annales Turcici of Leunclavius. According to another story, the
sultan was stabbed by a Croat in his tent; and this accident was
alleged to Busbequius (Epist i. p. 98) as an excuse for the
unworthy precaution of pinioning, as if were, between two
attendants, an ambassador's arms, when he is introduced to the
royal presence.]

The character of Bajazet, the son and successor of Amurath,
is strongly expressed in his surname of Ilderim, or the
lightning; and he might glory in an epithet, which was drawn from
the fiery energy of his soul and the rapidity of his destructive
march. In the fourteen years of his reign, ^56 he incessantly
moved at the head of his armies, from Boursa to Adrianople, from
the Danube to the Euphrates; and, though he strenuously labored
for the propagation of the law, he invaded, with impartial
ambition, the Christian and Mahometan princes of Europe and Asia.

From Angora to Amasia and Erzeroum, the northern regions of
Anatolia were reduced to his obedience: he stripped of their
hereditary possessions his brother emirs of Ghermian and
Caramania, of Aidin and Sarukhan; and after the conquest of
Iconium the ancient kingdom of the Seljukians again revived in
the Ottoman dynasty. Nor were the conquests of Bajazet less
rapid or important in Europe. No sooner had he imposed a regular
form of servitude on the Servians and Bulgarians, than he passed
the Danube to seek new enemies and new subjects in the heart of
Moldavia. ^57 Whatever yet adhered to the Greek empire in Thrace,
Macedonia, and Thessaly, acknowledged a Turkish master: an
obsequious bishop led him through the gates of Thermopylae into
Greece; and we may observe, as a singular fact, that the widow of
a Spanish chief, who possessed the ancient seat of the oracle of
Delphi, deserved his favor by the sacrifice of a beauteous
daughter. The Turkish communication between Europe and Asia had
been dangerous and doubtful, till he stationed at Gallipoli a
fleet of galleys, to command the Hellespont and intercept the
Latin succors of Constantinople. While the monarch indulged his
passions in a boundless range of injustice and cruelty, he
imposed on his soldiers the most rigid laws of modesty and
abstinence; and the harvest was peaceably reaped and sold within
the precincts of his camp. Provoked by the loose and corrupt
administration of justice, he collected in a house the judges and
lawyers of his dominions, who expected that in a few moments the
fire would be kindled to reduce them to ashes. His ministers
trembled in silence: but an Aethiopian buffoon presumed to
insinuate the true cause of the evil; and future venality was
left without excuse, by annexing an adequate salary to the office
of cadhi. ^58 The humble title of emir was no longer suitable to
the Ottoman greatness; and Bajazet condescended to accept a
patent of sultan from the caliphs who served in Egypt under the
yoke of the Mamalukes: ^59 a last and frivolous homage that was
yielded by force to opinion; by the Turkish conquerors to the
house of Abbas and the successors of the Arabian prophet. The
ambition of the sultan was inflamed by the obligation of
deserving this august title; and he turned his arms against the
kingdom of Hungary, the perpetual theatre of the Turkish
victories and defeats. Sigismond, the Hungarian king, was the
son and brother of the emperors of the West: his cause was that
of Europe and the church; and, on the report of his danger, the
bravest knights of France and Germany were eager to march under
his standard and that of the cross. In the battle of Nicopolis,
Bajazet defeated a confederate army of a hundred thousand
Christians, who had proudly boasted, that if the sky should fall,
they could uphold it on their lances. The far greater part were
slain or driven into the Danube; and Sigismond, escaping to
Constantinople by the river and the Black Sea, returned after a
long circuit to his exhausted kingdom. ^60 In the pride of
victory, Bajazet threatened that he would besiege Buda; that he
would subdue the adjacent countries of Germany and Italy, and
that he would feed his horse with a bushel of oats on the altar
of St. Peter at Rome. His progress was checked, not by the
miraculous interposition of the apostle, not by a crusade of the
Christian powers, but by a long and painful fit of the gout. The
disorders of the moral, are sometimes corrected by those of the
physical, world; and an acrimonious humor falling on a single
fibre of one man, may prevent or suspend the misery of nations.

[Footnote 56: The reign of Bajazet I., or Ilderim Bayazid, is
contained in Cantemir, (p. 46,) the iid book of Chalcondyles, and
the Annales Turcici. The surname of Ilderim, or lightning, is an
example, that the conquerors and poets of every age have felt the
truth of a system which derives the sublime from the principle of

[Footnote 57: Cantemir, who celebrates the victories of the great
Stephen over the Turks, (p. 47,) had composed the ancient and
modern state of his principality of Moldavia, which has been long
promised, and is still unpublished.]

[Footnote 58: Leunclav. Annal. Turcici, p. 318, 319. The
venality of the cadhis has long been an object of scandal and
satire; and if we distrust the observations of our travellers, we
may consult the feeling of the Turks themselves, (D'Herbelot,
Bibliot. Orientale, p. 216, 217, 229, 230.)]
[Footnote 59: The fact, which is attested by the Arabic history
of Ben Schounah, a contemporary Syrian, (De Guignes Hist. des
Huns. tom. iv. p. 336.) destroys the testimony of Saad Effendi
and Cantemir, (p. 14, 15,) of the election of Othman to the
dignity of sultan.]

[Footnote 60: See the Decades Rerum Hungaricarum (Dec. iii. l.
ii. p. 379) of Bonfinius, an Italian, who, in the xvth century,
was invited into Hungary to compose an eloquent history of that
kingdom. Yet, if it be extant and accessible, I should give the
preference to some homely chronicle of the time and country.]

Such is the general idea of the Hungarian war; but the
disastrous adventure of the French has procured us some memorials
which illustrate the victory and character of Bajazet. ^61 The
duke of Burgundy, sovereign of Flanders, and uncle of Charles the
Sixth, yielded to the ardor of his son, John count of Nevers; and
the fearless youth was accompanied by four princes, his cousins,
and those of the French monarch. Their inexperience was guided
by the Sire de Coucy, one of the best and oldest captain of
Christendom; ^62 but the constable, admiral, and marshal of
France ^63 commanded an army which did not exceed the number of a
thousand knights and squires. ^* These splendid names were the
source of presumption and the bane of discipline. So many might
aspire to command, that none were willing to obey; their national
spirit despised both their enemies and their allies; and in the
persuasion that Bajazet would fly, or must fall, they began to
compute how soon they should visit Constantinople and deliver the
holy sepulchre. When their scouts announced the approach of the
Turks, the gay and thoughtless youths were at table, already
heated with wine; they instantly clasped their armor, mounted
their horses, rode full speed to the vanguard, and resented as an
affront the advice of Sigismond, which would have deprived them
of the right and honor of the foremost attack. The battle of
Nicopolis would not have been lost, if the French would have
obeyed the prudence of the Hungarians; but it might have been
gloriously won, had the Hungarians imitated the valor of the
French. They dispersed the first line, consisting of the troops
of Asia; forced a rampart of stakes, which had been planted
against the cavalry; broke, after a bloody conflict, the
Janizaries themselves; and were at length overwhelmed by the
numerous squadrons that issued from the woods, and charged on all
sides this handful of intrepid warriors. In the speed and
secrecy of his march, in the order and evolutions of the battle,
his enemies felt and admired the military talents of Bajazet.
They accuse his cruelty in the use of victory. After reserving
the count of Nevers, and four-and-twenty lords, ^* whose birth
and riches were attested by his Latin interpreters, the remainder
of the French captives, who had survived the slaughter of the
day, were led before his throne; and, as they refused to abjure
their faith, were successively beheaded in his presence. The
sultan was exasperated by the loss of his bravest Janizaries; and
if it be true, that, on the eve of the engagement, the French had
massacred their Turkish prisoners, ^64 they might impute to
themselves the consequences of a just retaliation. ^! A knight,
whose life had been spared, was permitted to return to Paris,
that he might relate the deplorable tale, and solicit the ransom
of the noble captives. In the mean while, the count of Nevers,
with the princes and barons of France, were dragged along in the
marches of the Turkish camp, exposed as a grateful trophy to the
Moslems of Europe and Asia, and strictly confined at Boursa, as
often as Bajazet resided in his capital. The sultan was pressed
each day to expiate with their blood the blood of his martyrs;
but he had pronounced that they should live, and either for mercy
or destruction his word was irrevocable. He was assured of their
value and importance by the return of the messenger, and the
gifts and intercessions of the kings of France and of Cyprus.
Lusignan presented him with a gold saltcellar of curious
workmanship, and of the price of ten thousand ducats; and Charles
the Sixth despatched by the way of Hungary a cast of Norwegian
hawks, and six horse-loads of scarlet cloth, of fine linen of
Rheims, and of Arras tapestry, representing the battles of the
great Alexander. After much delay, the effect of distance rather
than of art, Bajazet agreed to accept a ransom of two hundred
thousand ducats for the count of Nevers and the surviving princes
and barons: the marshal Boucicault, a famous warrior, was of the
number of the fortunate; but the admiral of France had been slain
in battle; and the constable, with the Sire de Coucy, died in the
prison of Boursa. This heavy demand, which was doubled by
incidental costs, fell chiefly on the duke of Burgundy, or rather
on his Flemish subjects, who were bound by the feudal laws to
contribute for the knighthood and captivity of the eldest son of
their lord. For the faithful discharge of the debt, some
merchants of Genoa gave security to the amount of five times the
sum; a lesson to those warlike times, that commerce and credit
are the links of the society of nations. It had been stipulated
in the treaty, that the French captives should swear never to
bear arms against the person of their conqueror; but the
ungenerous restraint was abolished by Bajazet himself. "I
despise," said he to the heir of Burgundy, "thy oaths and thy
arms. Thou art young, and mayest be ambitious of effacing the
disgrace or misfortune of thy first chivalry. Assemble thy
powers, proclaim thy design, and be assured that Bajazet will
rejoice to meet thee a second time in a field of battle." Before
their departure, they were indulged in the freedom and
hospitality of the court of Boursa. The French princes admired
the magnificence of the Ottoman, whose hunting and hawking
equipage was composed of seven thousand huntsmen and seven
thousand falconers. ^65 In their presence, and at his command,
the belly of one of his chamberlains was cut open, on a complaint
against him for drinking the goat's milk of a poor woman. The
strangers were astonished by this act of justice; but it was the
justice of a sultan who disdains to balance the weight of
evidence, or to measure the degrees of guilt.

[Footnote 61: I should not complain of the labor of this work, if
my materials were always derived from such books as the chronicle
of honest Froissard, (vol. iv. c. 67, 72, 74, 79-83, 85, 87, 89,)
who read little, inquired much, and believed all. The original
Memoires of the Marechal de Boucicault (Partie i. c. 22-28) add
some facts, but they are dry and deficient, if compared with the
pleasant garrulity of Froissard.]

[Footnote 62: An accurate Memoir on the Life of Enguerrand VII.,
Sire de Coucy, has been given by the Baron de Zurlauben, (Hist.
de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxv.) His rank and
possessions were equally considerable in France and England; and,
in 1375, he led an army of adventurers into Switzerland, to
recover a large patrimony which he claimed in right of his
grandmother, the daughter of the emperor Albert I. of Austria,
(Sinner, Voyage dans la Suisse Occidentale, tom. i. p. 118-124.)]

[Footnote 63: That military office, so respectable at present,
was still more conspicuous when it was divided between two
persons, (Daniel, Hist. de la Milice Francoise, tom. ii. p. 5.)
One of these, the marshal of the crusade, was the famous
Boucicault, who afterwards defended Constantinople, governed
Genoa, invaded the coast of Asia, and died in the field of
[Footnote *: Daru, Hist. de Venice, vol. ii. p. 104, makes the
whole French army amount to 10,000 men, of whom 1000 were
knights. The curious volume of Schiltberger, a German of Munich,
who was taken prisoner in the battle, (edit. Munich, 1813,) and
which V. Hammer receives as authentic, gives the whole number at
6000. See Schiltberger. Reise in dem Orient. and V. Hammer,
note, p. 610. - M.]

[Footnote *: According to Shiltberger there were only twelve
French lords granted to the prayer of the "duke of Burgundy," and
"Herr Stephan Synther, and Johann von Bodem." Schiltberger, p.
13. - M.]

[Footnote 64: For this odious fact, the Abbe de Vertot quotes the
Hist. Anonyme de St. Denys, l. xvi. c. 10, 11. (Ordre de Malthe,
tom. ii. p. 310.]
[Footnote !: See Schiltberger's very graphic account of the
massacre. He was led out to be slaughtered in cold blood with the
rest f the Christian prisoners, amounting to 10,000. He was
spared at the intercession of the son of Bajazet, with a few
others, on account of their extreme youth. No one under 20 years
of age was put to death. The "duke of Burgundy" was obliged to
be a spectator of this butchery which lasted from early in the
morning till four o'clock, P. M. It ceased only at the
supplication of the leaders of Bajazet's army. Schiltberger, p.
14. - M.]

[Footnote 65: Sherefeddin Ali (Hist. de Timour Bec, l. v. c. 13)
allows Bajazet a round number of 12,000 officers and servants of
the chase. A part of his spoils was afterwards displayed in a
hunting-match of Timour, l. hounds with satin housings; 2.
leopards with collars set with jewels; 3. Grecian greyhounds; and
4, dogs from Europe, as strong as African lions, (idem, l. vi. c.
15.) Bajazet was particularly fond of flying his hawks at cranes,
(Chalcondyles, l. ii. p. 85.)]

After his enfranchisement from an oppressive guardian, John
Palaeologus remained thirty-six years, the helpless, and, as it
should seem, the careless spectator of the public ruin. ^66 Love,
or rather lust, was his only vigorous passion; and in the
embraces of the wives and virgins of the city, the Turkish slave
forgot the dishonor of the emperor of the Romans Andronicus, his
eldest son, had formed, at Adrianople, an intimate and guilty
friendship with Sauzes, the son of Amurath; and the two youths
conspired against the authority and lives of their parents. The
presence of Amurath in Europe soon discovered and dissipated
their rash counsels; and, after depriving Sauzes of his sight,
the Ottoman threatened his vassal with the treatment of an
accomplice and an enemy, unless he inflicted a similar punishment
on his own son. Palaeologus trembled and obeyed; and a cruel
precaution involved in the same sentence the childhood and
innocence of John, the son of the criminal. But the operation was
so mildly, or so unskilfully, performed, that the one retained
the sight of an eye, and the other was afflicted only with the
infirmity of squinting. Thus excluded from the succession, the
two princes were confined in the tower of Anema; and the piety of
Manuel, the second son of the reigning monarch, was rewarded with
the gift of the Imperial crown. But at the end of two years, the
turbulence of the Latins and the levity of the Greeks, produced a
revolution; ^* and the two emperors were buried in the tower from
whence the two prisoners were exalted to the throne. Another
period of two years afforded Palaeologus and Manuel the means of
escape: it was contrived by the magic or subtlety of a monk, who
was alternately named the angel or the devil: they fled to
Scutari; their adherents armed in their cause; and the two
Byzantine factions displayed the ambition and animosity with
which Caesar and Pompey had disputed the empire of the world.
The Roman world was now contracted to a corner of Thrace, between
the Propontis and the Black Sea, about fifty miles in length and
thirty in breadth; a space of ground not more extensive than the
lesser principalities of Germany or Italy, if the remains of
Constantinople had not still represented the wealth and
populousness of a kingdom. To restore the public peace, it was
found necessary to divide this fragment of the empire; and while
Palaeologus and Manuel were left in possession of the capital,
almost all that lay without the walls was ceded to the blind
princes, who fixed their residence at Rhodosto and Selybria. In
the tranquil slumber of royalty, the passions of John Palaeologus
survived his reason and his strength: he deprived his favorite
and heir of a blooming princess of Trebizond; and while the
feeble emperor labored to consummate his nuptials, Manuel, with a
hundred of the noblest Greeks, was sent on a peremptory summons
to the Ottoman porte. They served with honor in the wars of
Bajazet; but a plan of fortifying Constantinople excited his
jealousy: he threatened their lives; the new works were instantly
demolished; and we shall bestow a praise, perhaps above the merit
of Palaeologus, if we impute this last humiliation as the cause
of his death.

[Footnote 66: For the reigns of John Palaeologus and his son
Manuel, from 1354 to 1402, see Ducas, c. 9 - 15, Phranza, l. i.
c. 16 - 21, and the ist and iid books of Chalcondyles, whose
proper subject is drowned in a sea of episode.]
[Footnote *: According to Von Hammer it was the power of Bajazet,
vol. i. p. 218.]

The earliest intelligence of that event was communicated to
Manuel, who escaped with speed and secrecy from the palace of
Boursa to the Byzantine throne. Bajazet affected a proud
indifference at the loss of this valuable pledge; and while he
pursued his conquests in Europe and Asia, he left the emperor to
struggle with his blind cousin John of Selybria, who, in eight
years of civil war, asserted his right of primogeniture. At
length, the ambition of the victorious sultan pointed to the
conquest of Constantinople; but he listened to the advice of his
vizier, who represented that such an enterprise might unite the
powers of Christendom in a second and more formidable crusade.
His epistle to the emperor was conceived in these words: "By the
divine clemency, our invincible cimeter has reduced to our
obedience almost all Asia, with many and large countries in
Europe, excepting only the city of Constantinople; for beyond the
walls thou hast nothing left. Resign that city; stipulate thy
reward; or tremble, for thyself and thy unhappy people, at the
consequences of a rash refusal." But his ambassadors were
instructed to soften their tone, and to propose a treaty, which
was subscribed with submission and gratitude. A truce of ten
years was purchased by an annual tribute of thirty thousand
crowns of gold; the Greeks deplored the public toleration of the
law of Mahomet, and Bajazet enjoyed the glory of establishing a
Turkish cadhi, and founding a royal mosque in the metropolis of
the Eastern church. ^67 Yet this truce was soon violated by the
restless sultan: in the cause of the prince of Selybria, the
lawful emperor, an army of Ottomans again threatened
Constantinople; and the distress of Manuel implored the
protection of the king of France. His plaintive embassy obtained
much pity and some relief; and the conduct of the succor was
intrusted to the marshal Boucicault, ^68 whose religious chivalry
was inflamed by the desire of revenging his captivity on the
infidels. He sailed with four ships of war, from Aiguesmortes to
the Hellespont; forced the passage, which was guarded by
seventeen Turkish galleys; landed at Constantinople a supply of
six hundred men-at-arms and sixteen hundred archers; and reviewed
them in the adjacent plain, without condescending to number or
array the multitude of Greeks. By his presence, the blockade was
raised both by sea and land; the flying squadrons of Bajazet were
driven to a more respectful distance; and several castles in
Europe and Asia were stormed by the emperor and the marshal, who
fought with equal valor by each other's side. But the Ottomans
soon returned with an increase of numbers; and the intrepid
Boucicault, after a year's struggle, resolved to evacuate a
country which could no longer afford either pay or provisions for
his soldiers. The marshal offered to conduct Manuel to the
French court, where he might solicit in person a supply of men
and money; and advised, in the mean while, that, to extinguish
all domestic discord, he should leave his blind competitor on the
throne. The proposal was embraced: the prince of Selybria was
introduced to the capital; and such was the public misery, that
the lot of the exile seemed more fortunate than that of the
sovereign. Instead of applauding the success of his vassal, the
Turkish sultan claimed the city as his own; and on the refusal of
the emperor John, Constantinople was more closely pressed by the
calamities of war and famine. Against such an enemy prayers and
resistance were alike unavailing; and the savage would have
devoured his prey, if, in the fatal moment, he had not been
overthrown by another savage stronger than himself. By the
victory of Timour or Tamerlane, the fall of Constantinople was
delayed about fifty years; and this important, though accidental,
service may justly introduce the life and character of the Mogul

[Footnote 67: Cantemir, p. 50 - 53. Of the Greeks, Ducas alone
(c. 13, 15) acknowledges the Turkish cadhi at Constantinople.
Yet even Ducas dissembles the mosque.]

[Footnote 68: Memoires du bon Messire Jean le Maingre, dit
Boucicault, Marechal de France, partie c. 30, 35.]

Chapter LXV: Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane, And His Death

Part I.

Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane To The Throne Of Samarcand.
- His Conquests In Persia, Georgia, Tartary Russia, India, Syria,
And Anatolia. - His Turkish War. - Defeat And Captivity Of
Bajazet. - Death Of Timour. - Civil War Of The Sons Of Bajazet. -
Restoration Of The Turkish Monarchy By Mahomet The First. - Siege
Of Constantinople By Amurath The Second.

The conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object
of the ambition of Timour. To live in the memory and esteem of
future ages was the second wish of his magnanimous spirit. All
the civil and military transactions of his reign were diligently
recorded in the journals of his secretaries: ^1 the authentic
narrative was revised by the persons best informed of each
particular transaction; and it is believed in the empire and
family of Timour, that the monarch himself composed the
commentaries ^2 of his life, and the institutions ^3 of his
government. ^4 But these cares were ineffectual for the
preservation of his fame, and these precious memorials in the
Mogul or Persian language were concealed from the world, or, at
least, from the knowledge of Europe. The nations which he
vanquished exercised a base and impotent revenge; and ignorance
has long repeated the tale of calumny, ^5 which had disfigured
the birth and character, the person, and even the name, of
Tamerlane. ^6 Yet his real merit would be enhanced, rather than
debased, by the elevation of a peasant to the throne of Asia; nor
can his lameness be a theme of reproach, unless he had the
weakness to blush at a natural, or perhaps an honorable,
infirmity. ^*

[Footnote 1: These journals were communicated to Sherefeddin, or
Cherefeddin Ali, a native of Yezd, who composed in the Persian
language a history of Timour Beg, which has been translated into
French by M. Petit de la Croix, (Paris, 1722, in 4 vols. 12 mo.,)
and has always been my faithful guide. His geography and
chronology are wonderfully accurate; and he may be trusted for
public facts, though he servilely praises the virtue and fortune
of the hero. Timour's attention to procure intelligence from his
own and foreign countries may be seen in the Institutions, p.
215, 217, 349, 351.]

[Footnote 2: These Commentaries are yet unknown in Europe: but
Mr. White gives some hope that they may be imported and
translated by his friend Major Davy, who had read in the East
this "minute and faithful narrative of an interesting and
eventful period."

Note: The manuscript of Major Davy has been translated by
Major Stewart, and published by the Oriental Translation
Committee of London. It contains the life of Timour, from his
birth to his forty-first year; but the last thirty years of
western war and conquest are wanting. Major Stewart intimates
that two manuscripts exist in this country containing the whole
work, but excuses himself, on account of his age, from
undertaking the laborious task of completing the translation. It
is to be hoped that the European public will be soon enabled to
judge of the value and authenticity of the Commentaries of the
Caesar of the East. Major Stewart's work commences with the Book
of Dreams and Omens - a wild, but characteristic, chronicle of
Visions and Sortes Koranicae. Strange that a life of Timour
should awaken a reminiscence of the diary of Archbishop Laud!
The early dawn and the gradual expression of his not less
splendid but more real visions of ambition are touched with the
simplicity of truth and nature. But we long to escape from the
petty feuds of the pastoral chieftain, to the triumphs and the
legislation of the conqueror of the world - M.]

[Footnote 3: I am ignorant whether the original institution, in
the Turki or Mogul language, be still extant. The Persic
version, with an English translation, and most valuable index,
was published (Oxford, 1783, in 4to.) by the joint labors of
Major Davy and Mr. White, the Arabic professor. This work has
been since translated from the Persic into French, (Paris, 1787,)
by M. Langles, a learned Orientalist, who has added the life of
Timour, and many curious notes.]

[Footnote 4: Shaw Allum, the present Mogul, reads, values, but
cannot imitate, the institutions of his great ancestor. The
English translator relies on their internal evidence; but if any
suspicions should arise of fraud and fiction, they will not be
dispelled by Major Davy's letter. The Orientals have never
cultivated the art of criticism; the patronage of a prince, less
honorable, perhaps, is not less lucrative than that of a
bookseller; nor can it be deemed incredible that a Persian, the
real author, should renounce the credit, to raise the value and
price, of the work.]

[Footnote 5: The original of the tale is found in the following
work, which is much esteemed for its florid elegance of style:
Ahmedis Arabsiadae (Ahmed Ebn Arabshah) Vitae et Rerum gestarum
Timuri. Arabice et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger.
Franequerae, 1767, 2 tom. in 4to. This Syrian author is ever a
malicious, and often an ignorant enemy: the very titles of his
chapters are injurious; as how the wicked, as how the impious, as
how the viper, &c. The copious article of Timur, in Bibliotheque
Orientale, is of a mixed nature, as D'Herbelot indifferently
draws his materials (p. 877 - 888) from Khondemir Ebn Schounah,
and the Lebtarikh.]

[Footnote 6: Demir or Timour signifies in the Turkish language,
Iron; and it is the appellation of a lord or prince. By the
change of a letter or accent, it is changed into Lenc, or Lame;
and a European corruption confounds the two words in the name of

Note: According to the memoirs he was so called by a Shaikh,
who, when visited by his mother on his birth, was reading the
verse of the Koran, 'Are you sure that he who dwelleth in heaven
will not cause the earth to swallow you up, and behold it shall
shake, Tamurn." The Shaikh then stopped and said, "We have named
your son Timur," p. 21. - M.]

[Footnote *: He was lamed by a wound at the siege of the capital
of Sistan. Sherefeddin, lib. iii. c. 17. p. 136. See Von Hammer,
vol. i. p. 260. - M.]
In the eyes of the Moguls, who held the indefeasible
succession of the house of Zingis, he was doubtless a rebel
subject; yet he sprang from the noble tribe of Berlass: his fifth
ancestor, Carashar Nevian, had been the vizier ^! of Zagatai, in
his new realm of Transoxiana; and in the ascent of some
generations, the branch of Timour is confounded, at least by the
females, ^7 with the Imperial stem. ^8 He was born forty miles to
the south of Samarcand in the village of Sebzar, in the fruitful
territory of Cash, of which his fathers were the hereditary
chiefs, as well as of a toman of ten thousand horse. ^9 His birth
^10 was cast on one of those periods of anarchy, which announce
the fall of the Asiatic dynasties, and open a new field to
adventurous ambition. The khans of Zagatai were extinct; the
emirs aspired to independence; and their domestic feuds could
only be suspended by the conquest and tyranny of the khans of
Kashgar, who, with an army of Getes or Calmucks, ^11 invaded the
Transoxian kingdom. From the twelfth year of his age, Timour had
entered the field of action; in the twenty-fifth ^!! he stood
forth as the deliverer of his country; and the eyes and wishes of
the people were turned towards a hero who suffered in their
cause. The chiefs of the law and of the army had pledged their
salvation to support him with their lives and fortunes; but in
the hour of danger they were silent and afraid; and, after
waiting seven days on the hills of Samarcand, he retreated to the
desert with only sixty horsemen. The fugitives were overtaken by
a thousand Getes, whom he repulsed with incredible slaughter, and
his enemies were forced to exclaim, "Timour is a wonderful man:
fortune and the divine favor are with him." But in this bloody
action his own followers were reduced to ten, a number which was
soon diminished by the desertion of three Carizmians. ^!!! He
wandered in the desert with his wife, seven companions, and four
horses; and sixty-two days was he plunged in a loathsome dungeon,
from whence he escaped by his own courage and the remorse of the
oppressor. After swimming the broad and rapid steam of the
Jihoon, or Oxus, he led, during some months, the life of a
vagrant and outlaw, on the borders of the adjacent states. But
his fame shone brighter in adversity; he learned to distinguish
the friends of his person, the associates of his fortune, and to
apply the various characters of men for their advantage, and,
above all, for his own. On his return to his native country,
Timour was successively joined by the parties of his
confederates, who anxiously sought him in the desert; nor can I
refuse to describe, in his pathetic simplicity, one of their
fortunate encounters. He presented himself as a guide to three
chiefs, who were at the head of seventy horse. "When their eyes
fell upon me," says Timour, "they were overwhelmed with joy; and
they alighted from their horses; and they came and kneeled; and
they kissed my stirrup. I also came down from my horse, and took
each of them in my arms. And I put my turban on the head of the
first chief; and my girdle, rich in jewels and wrought with gold,
I bound on the loins of the second; and the third I clothed in my
own coat. And they wept, and I wept also; and the hour of prayer
was arrived, and we prayed. And we mounted our horses, and came
to my dwelling; and I collected my people, and made a feast." His
trusty bands were soon increased by the bravest of the tribes; he
led them against a superior foe; and, after some vicissitudes of
war the Getes were finally driven from the kingdom of
Transoxiana. He had done much for his own glory; but much
remained to be done, much art to be exerted, and some blood to be
spilt, before he could teach his equals to obey him as their
master. The birth and power of emir Houssein compelled him to
accept a vicious and unworthy colleague, whose sister was the
best beloved of his wives. Their union was short and jealous;
but the policy of Timour, in their frequent quarrels, exposed his
rival to the reproach of injustice and perfidy; and, after a
final defeat, Houssein was slain by some sagacious friends, who
presumed, for the last time, to disobey the commands of their
lord. ^* At the age of thirty-four, ^12 and in a general diet or
couroultai, he was invested with Imperial command, but he
affected to revere the house of Zingis; and while the emir Timour
reigned over Zagatai and the East, a nominal khan served as a
private officer in the armies of his servant. A fertile kingdom,
five hundred miles in length and in breadth, might have satisfied
the ambition of a subject; but Timour aspired to the dominion of
the world; and before his death, the crown of Zagatai was one of
the twenty- seven crowns which he had placed on his head.
Without expatiating on the victories of thirty-five campaigns;
without describing the lines of march, which he repeatedly traced
over the continent of Asia; I shall briefly represent his
conquests in, I. Persia, II. Tartary, and, III. India, ^13 and
from thence proceed to the more interesting narrative of his
Ottoman war.

[Footnote !: In the memoirs, the title Gurgan is in one place (p.
23) interpreted the son-in-law; in another (p. 28) as Kurkan,
great prince, generalissimo, and prime minister of Jagtai. - M.]

[Footnote 7: After relating some false and foolish tales of
Timour Lenc, Arabshah is compelled to speak truth, and to own him
for a kinsman of Zingis, per mulieres, (as he peevishly adds,)
laqueos Satanae, (pars i. c. i. p. 25.) The testimony of
Abulghazi Khan (P. ii. c. 5, P. v. c. 4) is clear,
unquestionable, and decisive.]

[Footnote 8: According to one of the pedigrees, the fourth
ancestor of Zingis, and the ninth of timour, were brothers; and
they agreed, that the posterity of the elder should succeed to
the dignity of khan, and that the descendants of the younger
should fill the office of their minister and general. This
tradition was at least convenient to justify the first steps of
Timour's ambition, (Institutions, p. 24, 25, from the MS.
fragments of Timour's History.)]

[Footnote 9: See the preface of Sherefeddin, and Abulfeda's
Geography, (Chorasmiae, &c., Descriptio, p. 60, 61,) in the iiid
volume of Hudson's Minor Greek Geographers.]

[Footnote 10: See his nativity in Dr. Hyde, (Syntagma Dissertat.
tom. ii. p. 466,) as it was cast by the astrologers of his
grandson Ulugh Beg. He was born, A.D. 1336, April 9, 11 degrees
57 minutes. P. M., lat. 36. I know not whether they can prove
the great conjunction of the planets from whence, like other
conquerors and prophets, Timour derived the surname of Saheb
Keran, or master of the conjunctions, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 878.)]

[Footnote 11: In the Institutions of Timour, these subjects of
the khan of Kashgar are most improperly styled Ouzbegs, or
Usbeks, a name which belongs to another branch and country of
Tartars, (Abulghazi, P. v. c. v. P. vii. c. 5.) Could I be sure
that this word is in the Turkish original, I would boldly
pronounce, that the Institutions were framed a century after the
death of Timour, since the establishment of the Usbeks in
Note: Col. Stewart observes, that the Persian translator has
sometimes made use of the name Uzbek by anticipation. He
observes, likewise, that these Jits (Getes) are not to be
confounded with the ancient Getae: they were unconverted Turks.
Col. Tod (History of Rajasthan, vol. i. p. 166) would identify
the Jits with the ancient race. - M.]

[Footnote !!: He was twenty-seven before he served his first wars
under the emir Houssein, who ruled over Khorasan and
Mawerainnehr. Von Hammer, vol. i. p. 262. Neither of these
statements agrees with the Memoirs. At twelve he was a boy. "I
fancied that I perceived in myself all the signs of greatness and
wisdom, and whoever came to visit me, I received with great
hauteur and dignity." At seventeen he undertook the management of
the flocks and herds of the family, (p. 24.) At nineteen he
became religious, and "left off playing chess," made a kind of
Budhist vow never to injure living thing and felt his foot
paralyzed from having accidentally trod upon an ant, (p. 30.) At
twenty, thoughts of rebellion and greatness rose in his mind; at
twenty-one, he seems to have performed his first feat of arms.
He was a practised warrior when he served, in his twenty-seventh
year, under Emir Houssein.]

[Footnote !!!: Compare Memoirs, page 61. The imprisonment is
there stated at fifty-three days. "At this time I made a vow to
God that I would never keep any person, whether guilty or
innocent, for any length of time, in prison or in chains." p. 63.
- M.]

[Footnote *: Timour, on one occasion, sent him this message: "He
who wishes to embrace the bride of royalty must kiss her across
the edge of the sharp sword," p. 83. The scene of the trial of
Houssein, the resistance of Timour gradually becoming more
feeble, the vengeance of the chiefs becoming proportionably more
determined, is strikingly portrayed. Mem. p 130 - M.]
[Footnote 12: The ist book of Sherefeddin is employed on the
private life of the hero: and he himself, or his secretary,
(Institutions, p. 3 - 77,) enlarges with pleasure on the thirteen
designs and enterprises which most truly constitute his personal
merit. It even shines through the dark coloring of Arabshah, (P.
i. c. 1 - 12.)]

[Footnote 13: The conquests of Persia, Tartary, and India, are
represented in the iid and iiid books of Sherefeddin, and by
Arabshah, (c. 13 - 55.) Consult the excellent Indexes to the

Note: Compare the seventh book of Von Hammer, Geschichte des
Osman ischen Reiches. - M.]

I. For every war, a motive of safety or revenge, of honor
or zeal, of right or convenience, may be readily found in the
jurisprudence of conquerors. No sooner had Timour reunited to the
patrimony of Zagatai the dependent countries of Carizme and
Candahar, than he turned his eyes towards the kingdoms of Iran or
Persia. From the Oxus to the Tigris, that extensive country was
left without a lawful sovereign since the death of Abousaid, the
last of the descendants of the great Holacou. Peace and justice
had been banished from the land above forty years; and the Mogul
invader might seem to listen to the cries of an oppressed people.

Their petty tyrants might have opposed him with confederate arms:
they separately stood, and successively fell; and the difference
of their fate was only marked by the promptitude of submission or
the obstinacy of resistance. Ibrahim, prince of Shirwan, or
Albania, kissed the footstool of the Imperial throne. His
peace-offerings of silks, horses, and jewels, were composed,
according to the Tartar fashion, each article of nine pieces; but
a critical spectator observed, that there were only eight slaves.

"I myself am the ninth," replied Ibrahim, who was prepared for
the remark; and his flattery was rewarded by the smile of Timour.
^14 Shah Mansour, prince of Fars, or the proper Persia, was one
of the least powerful, but most dangerous, of his enemies. In a
battle under the walls of Shiraz, he broke, with three or four
thousand soldiers, the coul or main body of thirty thousand
horse, where the emperor fought in person. No more than fourteen
or fifteen guards remained near the standard of Timour: he stood
firm as a rock, and received on his helmet two weighty strokes of
a cimeter: ^15 the Moguls rallied; the head of Mansour was thrown
at his feet; and he declared his esteem of the valor of a foe, by
extirpating all the males of so intrepid a race. From Shiraz,
his troops advanced to the Persian Gulf; and the richness and
weakness of Ormuz ^16 were displayed in an annual tribute of six
hundred thousand dinars of gold. Bagdad was no longer the city
of peace, the seat of the caliphs; but the noblest conquest of
Holacou could not be overlooked by his ambitious successor. The
whole course of the Tigris and Euphrates, from the mouth to the
sources of those rivers, was reduced to his obedience: he entered
Edessa; and the Turkmans of the black sheep were chastised for
the sacrilegious pillage of a caravan of Mecca. In the mountains
of Georgia, the native Christians still braved the law and the
sword of Mahomet, by three expeditions he obtained the merit of
the gazie, or holy war; and the prince of Teflis became his
proselyte and friend.
[Footnote 14: The reverence of the Tartars for the mysterious
number of nine is declared by Abulghazi Khan, who, for that
reason, divides his Genealogical History into nine parts.]

[Footnote 15: According to Arabshah, (P. i. c. 28, p. 183,) the
coward Timour ran away to his tent, and hid himself from the
pursuit of Shah Mansour under the women's garments. Perhaps
Sherefeddin (l. iii. c. 25) has magnified his courage.]

[Footnote 16: The history of Ormuz is not unlike that of Tyre.
The old city, on the continent, was destroyed by the Tartars, and
renewed in a neighboring island, without fresh water or
vegetation. The kings of Ormuz, rich in the Indian trade and the
pearl fishery, possessed large territories both in Persia and
Arabia; but they were at first the tributaries of the sultans of
Kerman, and at last were delivered (A.D. 1505) by the Portuguese
tyrants from the tyranny of their own viziers, (Marco Polo, l. i.
c. 15, 16, fol. 7, 8. Abulfeda, Geograph. tabul. xi. p. 261, 262,
an original Chronicle of Ormuz, in Texeira, or Stevens's History
of Persia, p. 376 - 416, and the Itineraries inserted in the ist
volume of Ramusio, of Ludovico Barthema, (1503,) fol. 167, of
Andrea Corsali, (1517) fol. 202, 203, and of Odoardo Barbessa,
(in 1516,) fol 313 - 318.)]

II. A just retaliation might be urged for the invasion of
Turkestan, or the Eastern Tartary. The dignity of Timour could
not endure the impunity of the Getes: he passed the Sihoon,
subdued the kingdom of Kashgar, and marched seven times into the
heart of their country. His most distant camp was two months'
journey, or four hundred and eighty leagues to the north-east of
Samarcand; and his emirs, who traversed the River Irtish,
engraved in the forests of Siberia a rude memorial of their
exploits. The conquest of Kipzak, or the Western Tartary, ^17
was founded on the double motive of aiding the distressed, and
chastising the ungrateful. Toctamish, a fugitive prince, was
entertained and protected in his court: the ambassadors of Auruss
Khan were dismissed with a haughty denial, and followed on the
same day by the armies of Zagatai; and their success established
Toctamish in the Mogul empire of the North. But, after a reign
of ten years, the new khan forgot the merits and the strength of
his benefactor; the base usurper, as he deemed him, of the sacred
rights of the house of Zingis. Through the gates of Derbend, he
entered Persia at the head of ninety thousand horse: with the
innumerable forces of Kipzak, Bulgaria, Circassia, and Russia, he
passed the Sihoon, burnt the palaces of Timour, and compelled
him, amidst the winter snows, to contend for Samarcand and his
life. After a mild expostulation, and a glorious victory, the
emperor resolved on revenge; and by the east, and the west, of
the Caspian, and the Volga, he twice invaded Kipzak with such
mighty powers, that thirteen miles were measured from his right
to his left wing. In a march of five months, they rarely beheld
the footsteps of man; and their daily subsistence was often
trusted to the fortune of the chase. At length the armies
encountered each other; but the treachery of the standard-bearer,
who, in the heat of action, reversed the Imperial standard of
Kipzak, determined the victory of the Zagatais; and Toctamish (I
peak the language of the Institutions) gave the tribe of Toushi
to the wind of desolation. ^18 He fled to the Christian duke of
Lithuania; again returned to the banks of the Volga; and, after
fifteen battles with a domestic rival, at last perished in the
wilds of Siberia. The pursuit of a flying enemy carried Timour
into the tributary provinces of Russia: a duke of the reigning
family was made prisoner amidst the ruins of his capital; and
Yeletz, by the pride and ignorance of the Orientals, might easily
be confounded with the genuine metropolis of the nation. Moscow
trembled at the approach of the Tartar, and the resistance would
have been feeble, since the hopes of the Russians were placed in
a miraculous image of the Virgin, to whose protection they
ascribed the casual and voluntary retreat of the conqueror.
Ambition and prudence recalled him to the South, the desolate
country was exhausted, and the Mogul soldiers were enriched with
an immense spoil of precious furs, of linen of Antioch, ^19 and
of ingots of gold and silver. ^20 On the banks of the Don, or
Tanais, he received an humble deputation from the consuls and
merchants of Egypt, ^21 Venice, Genoa, Catalonia, and Biscay, who
occupied the commerce and city of Tana, or Azoph, at the mouth of
the river. They offered their gifts, admired his magnificence,
and trusted his royal word. But the peaceful visit of an emir,
who explored the state of the magazines and harbor, was speedily
followed by the destructive presence of the Tartars. The city was
reduced to ashes; the Moslems were pillaged and dismissed; but
all the Christians, who had not fled to their ships, were
condemned either to death or slavery. ^22 Revenge prompted him to
burn the cities of Serai and Astrachan, the monuments of rising
civilization; and his vanity proclaimed, that he had penetrated
to the region of perpetual daylight, a strange phenomenon, which
authorized his Mahometan doctors to dispense with the obligation
of evening prayer. ^23
[Footnote 17: Arabshah had travelled into Kipzak, and acquired a
singular knowledge of the geography, cities, and revolutions, of
that northern region, (P. i. c. 45 - 49.)]

[Footnote 18: Institutions of Timour, p. 123, 125. Mr. White,
the editor, bestows some animadversion on the superficial account
of Sherefeddin, (l. iii. c. 12, 13, 14,) who was ignorant of the
designs of Timour, and the true springs of action.]

[Footnote 19: The furs of Russia are more credible than the
ingots. But the linen of Antioch has never been famous: and
Antioch was in ruins. I suspect that it was some manufacture of
Europe, which the Hanse merchants had imported by the way of

[Footnote 20: M. Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. ii. p. 247. Vie
de Timour, p. 64 - 67, before the French version of the
Institutes) has corrected the error of Sherefeddin, and marked
the true limit of Timour's conquests. His arguments are
superfluous; and a simple appeal to the Russian annals is
sufficient to prove that Moscow, which six years before had been
taken by Toctamish, escaped the arms of a more formidable
[Footnote 21: An Egyptian consul from Grand Cairo is mentioned in
Barbaro's voyage to Tana in 1436, after the city had been
rebuilt, (Ramusio, tom. ii. fol. 92.)]

[Footnote 22: The sack of Azoph is described by Sherefeddin, (l.
iii. c. 55,) and much more particularly by the author of an
Italian chronicle, (Andreas de Redusiis de Quero, in Chron.
Tarvisiano, in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xix. p.
802 - 805.) He had conversed with the Mianis, two Venetian
brothers, one of whom had been sent a deputy to the camp of
Timour, and the other had lost at Azoph three sons and 12,000
[Footnote 23: Sherefeddin only says (l. iii. c. 13) that the rays
of the setting, and those of the rising sun, were scarcely
separated by any interval; a problem which may be solved in the
latitude of Moscow, (the 56th degree,) with the aid of the Aurora
Borealis, and a long summer twilight. But a day of forty days
(Khondemir apud D'Herbelot, p. 880) would rigorously confine us
within the polar circle.]

III. When Timour first proposed to his princes and emirs
the invasion of India or Hindostan, ^24 he was answered by a
murmur of discontent: "The rivers! and the mountains and
deserts! and the soldiers clad in armor! and the elephants,
destroyers of men!" But the displeasure of the emperor was more
dreadful than all these terrors; and his superior reason was
convinced, that an enterprise of such tremendous aspect was safe
and easy in the execution. He was informed by his spies of the
weakness and anarchy of Hindostan: the soubahs of the provinces
had erected the standard of rebellion; and the perpetual infancy
of Sultan Mahmoud was despised even in the harem of Delhi. The
Mogul army moved in three great divisions; and Timour observes
with pleasure, that the ninety-two squadrons of a thousand horse
most fortunately corresponded with the ninety-two names or
epithets of the prophet Mahomet. ^* Between the Jihoon and the
Indus they crossed one of the ridges of mountains, which are
styled by the Arabian geographers The Stony Girdles of the Earth.
The highland robbers were subdued or extirpated; but great
numbers of men and horses perished in the snow; the emperor
himself was let down a precipice on a portable scaffold - the
ropes were one hundred and fifty cubits in length; and before he
could reach the bottom, this dangerous operation was five times
repeated. Timour crossed the Indus at the ordinary passage of
Attok; and successively traversed, in the footsteps of Alexander,
the Punjab, or five rivers, ^25 that fall into the master stream.
From Attok to Delhi, the high road measures no more than six
hundred miles; but the two conquerors deviated to the south-east;
and the motive of Timour was to join his grandson, who had
achieved by his command the conquest of Moultan. On the eastern
bank of the Hyphasis, on the edge of the desert, the Macedonian
hero halted and wept: the Mogul entered the desert, reduced the
fortress of Batmir, and stood in arms before the gates of Delhi,
a great and flourishing city, which had subsisted three centuries
under the dominion of the Mahometan kings. ^! The siege, more
especially of the castle, might have been a work of time; but he
tempted, by the appearance of weakness, the sultan Mahmoud and
his vizier to descend into the plain, with ten thousand
cuirassiers, forty thousand of his foot-guards, and one hundred
and twenty elephants, whose tusks are said to have been armed
with sharp and poisoned daggers. Against these monsters, or
rather against the imagination of his troops, he condescended to
use some extraordinary precautions of fire and a ditch, of iron
spikes and a rampart of bucklers; but the event taught the Moguls
to smile at their own fears; and as soon as these unwieldy
animals were routed, the inferior species (the men of India)
disappeared from the field. Timour made his triumphal entry into
the capital of Hindostan; and admired, with a view to imitate,
the architecture of the stately mosque; but the order or license
of a general pillage and massacre polluted the festival of his
victory. He resolved to purify his soldiers in the blood of the
idolaters, or Gentoos, who still surpass, in the proportion of
ten to one, the numbers of the Moslems. ^* In this pious design,
he advanced one hundred miles to the north-east of Delhi, passed
the Ganges, fought several battles by land and water, and
penetrated to the famous rock of Coupele, the statue of the cow,
^!! that seems to discharge the mighty river, whose source is far
distant among the mountains of Thibet. ^26 His return was along
the skirts of the northern hills; nor could this rapid campaign
of one year justify the strange foresight of his emirs, that
their children in a warm climate would degenerate into a race of

[Footnote 24: For the Indian war, see the Institutions, (p. 129 -
139,) the fourth book of Sherefeddin, and the history of
Ferishta, (in Dow, vol. ii. p. 1 - 20,) which throws a general
light on the affairs of Hindostan.]
[Footnote *: Gibbon (observes M. von Hammer) is mistaken in the
correspondence of the ninety-two squadrons of his army with the
ninety-two names of God: the names of God are ninety-nine. and
Allah is the hundredth, p. 286, note. But Gibbon speaks of the
names or epithets of Mahomet, not of God. - M]
[Footnote 25: The rivers of the Punjab, the five eastern branches
of the Indus, have been laid down for the first time with truth
and accuracy in Major Rennel's incomparable map of Hindostan. In
this Critical Memoir he illustrates with judgment and learning
the marches of Alexander and Timour.
Note *: See vol. i. ch. ii. note 1. - M.]

[Footnote !: They took, on their march, 100,000 slaves, Guebers
they were all murdered. V. Hammer, vol. i. p. 286. They are
called idolaters. Briggs's Ferishta, vol. i. p. 491. - M]

[Footnote *: See a curious passage on the destruction of the
Hindoo idols, Memoirs, p. 15. - M.]

[Footnote !!: Consult the very striking description of the Cow's
Mouth by Captain Hodgson, Asiat. Res. vol. xiv. p. 117. "A most
wonderful scene. The B'hagiratha or Ganges issues from under a
very low arch at the foot of the grand snow bed. My guide, an
illiterate mountaineer compared the pendent icicles to Mahodeva's
hair." (Compare Poems, Quarterly Rev. vol. xiv. p. 37, and at the
end of my translation of Nala.) "Hindoos of research may formerly
have been here; and f so. I cannot think of any place to which
they might more aptly give the name of a cow's mouth than to this
extraordinary debouche - M.]
[Footnote 26: The two great rivers, the Ganges and Burrampooter,
rise in Thibet, from the opposite ridges of the same hills,
separate from each other to the distance of 1200 miles, and,
after a winding course of 2000 miles, again meet in one point
near the Gulf of Bengal. Yet so capricious is Fame, that the
Burrampooter is a late discovery, while his brother Ganges has
been the theme of ancient and modern story Coupele, the scene of
Timour's last victory, must be situate near Loldong, 1100 miles
from Calcutta; and in 1774, a British camp! (Rennel's Memoir, p.
7, 59, 90, 91, 99.)]
It was on the banks of the Ganges that Timour was informed,
by his speedy messengers, of the disturbances which had arisen on
the confines of Georgia and Anatolia, of the revolt of the
Christians, and the ambitious designs of the sultan Bajazet. His
vigor of mind and body was not impaired by sixty-three years, and
innumerable fatigues; and, after enjoying some tranquil months in
the palace of Samarcand, he proclaimed a new expedition of seven
years into the western countries of Asia. ^27 To the soldiers who
had served in the Indian war he granted the choice of remaining
at home, or following their prince; but the troops of all the
provinces and kingdoms of Persia were commanded to assemble at
Ispahan, and wait the arrival of the Imperial standard. It was
first directed against the Christians of Georgia, who were strong
only in their rocks, their castles, and the winter season; but
these obstacles were overcome by the zeal and perseverance of
Timour: the rebels submitted to the tribute or the Koran; and if
both religions boasted of their martyrs, that name is more justly
due to the Christian prisoners, who were offered the choice of
abjuration or death. On his descent from the hills, the emperor
gave audience to the first ambassadors of Bajazet, and opened the
hostile correspondence of complaints and menaces, which fermented
two years before the final explosion. Between two jealous and
haughty neighbors, the motives of quarrel will seldom be wanting.

The Mogul and Ottoman conquests now touched each other in the
neighborhood of Erzerum, and the Euphrates; nor had the doubtful
limit been ascertained by time and treaty. Each of these
ambitious monarchs might accuse his rival of violating his
territory, of threatening his vassals, and protecting his rebels;
and, by the name of rebels, each understood the fugitive princes,
whose kingdoms he had usurped, and whose life or liberty he
implacably pursued. The resemblance of character was still more
dangerous than the opposition of interest; and in their
victorious career, Timour was impatient of an equal, and Bajazet
was ignorant of a superior. The first epistle ^28 of the Mogul
emperor must have provoked, instead of reconciling, the Turkish
sultan, whose family and nation he affected to despise. ^29 "Dost
thou not know, that the greatest part of Asia is subject to our
arms and our laws? that our invincible forces extend from one
sea to the other? that the potentates of the earth form a line
before our gate? and that we have compelled Fortune herself to
watch over the prosperity of our empire. What is the foundation
of thy insolence and folly? Thou hast fought some battles in the
woods of Anatolia; contemptible trophies! Thou hast obtained
some victories over the Christians of Europe; thy sword was
blessed by the apostle of God; and thy obedience to the precept
of the Koran, in waging war against the infidels, is the sole
consideration that prevents us from destroying thy country, the
frontier and bulwark of the Moslem world. Be wise in time;
reflect; repent; and avert the thunder of our vengeance, which is
yet suspended over thy head. Thou art no more than a pismire; why
wilt thou seek to provoke the elephants? Alas! they will trample
thee under their feet." In his replies, Bajazet poured forth the
indignation of a soul which was deeply stung by such unusual
contempt. After retorting the basest reproaches on the thief and
rebel of the desert, the Ottoman recapitulates his boasted
victories in Iran, Touran, and the Indies; and labors to prove,
that Timour had never triumphed unless by his own perfidy and the
vices of his foes. "Thy armies are innumerable: be they so; but
what are the arrows of the flying Tartar against the cimeters and
battle-axes of my firm and invincible Janizaries? I will guard
the princes who have implored my protection: seek them in my
tents. The cities of Arzingan and Erzeroum are mine; and unless
the tribute be duly paid, I will demand the arrears under the
walls of Tauris and Sultania." The ungovernable rage of the
sultan at length betrayed him to an insult of a more domestic
kind. "If I fly from thy arms," said he, "may my wives be thrice
divorced from my bed: but if thou hast not courage to meet me in
the field, mayest thou again receive thy wives after they have
thrice endured the embraces of a stranger." ^30 Any violation by
word or deed of the secrecy of the harem is an unpardonable
offence among the Turkish nations; ^31 and the political quarrel
of the two monarchs was imbittered by private and personal
resentment. Yet in his first expedition, Timour was satisfied
with the siege and destruction of Siwas or Sebaste, a strong city
on the borders of Anatolia; and he revenged the indiscretion of
the Ottoman, on a garrison of four thousand Armenians, who were
buried alive for the brave and faithful discharge of their duty.
^! As a Mussulman, he seemed to respect the pious occupation of
Bajazet, who was still engaged in the blockade of Constantinople;
and after this salutary lesson, the Mogul conqueror checked his
pursuit, and turned aside to the invasion of Syria and Egypt. In
these transactions, the Ottoman prince, by the Orientals, and
even by Timour, is styled the Kaissar of Roum, the Caesar of the
Romans; a title which, by a small anticipation, might be given to
a monarch who possessed the provinces, and threatened the city,
of the successors of Constantine. ^32
[Footnote 27: See the Institutions, p. 141, to the end of the 1st
book, and Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 1 - 16,) to the entrance of
Timour into Syria.]
[Footnote 28: We have three copies of these hostile epistles in
the Institutions, (p. 147,) in Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 14,) and in
Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 19 p. 183 - 201;) which agree with each
other in the spirit and substance rather than in the style. It
is probable, that they have been translated, with various
latitude, from the Turkish original into the Arabic and Persian

Note: Von Hammer considers the letter which Gibbon inserted
in the text to be spurious. On the various copies of these
letters, see his note, p 11 - 16. - M.]

[Footnote 29: The Mogul emir distinguishes himself and his
countrymen by the name of Turks, and stigmatizes the race and
nation of Bajazet with the less honorable epithet of Turkmans.
Yet I do not understand how the Ottomans could be descended from
a Turkman sailor; those inland shepherds were so remote from the
sea, and all maritime affairs.

Note: Price translated the word pilot or boatman. - M.]
[Footnote 30: According to the Koran, (c. ii. p. 27, and Sale's
Discourses, p. 134,) Mussulman who had thrice divorced his wife,
(who had thrice repeated the words of a divorce,) could not take
her again, till after she had been married to, and repudiated by,
another husband; an ignominious transaction, which it is needless
to aggravate, by supposing that the first husband must see her
enjoyed by a second before his face, (Rycaut's State of the
Ottoman Empire, l. ii. c. 21.)]

[Footnote 31: The common delicacy of the Orientals, in never
speaking of their women, is ascribed in a much higher degree by
Arabshah to the Turkish nations; and it is remarkable enough,
that Chalcondyles (l. ii. p. 55) had some knowledge of the
prejudice and the insult.

Note: See Von Hammer, p. 308, and note, p. 621. - M.]
[Footnote !: Still worse barbarities were perpetrated on these
brave men. Von Hammer, vol. i. p. 295. - M.]

[Footnote 32: For the style of the Moguls, see the Institutions,
(p. 131, 147,) and for the Persians, the Bibliotheque Orientale,
(p. 882;) but I do not find that the title of Caesar has been
applied by the Arabians, or assumed by the Ottomans themselves.]

Chapter LXV: Elevation Of Timour Or Tamerlane, And His Death

Part II.

The military republic of the Mamalukes still reigned in
Egypt and Syria: but the dynasty of the Turks was overthrown by
that of the Circassians; ^33 and their favorite Barkok, from a
slave and a prisoner, was raised and restored to the throne. In
the midst of rebellion and discord, he braved the menaces,
corresponded with the enemies, and detained the ambassadors, of
the Mogul, who patiently expected his decease, to revenge the
crimes of the father on the feeble reign of his son Farage. The
Syrian emirs ^34 were assembled at Aleppo to repel the invasion:
they confided in the fame and discipline of the Mamalukes, in the
temper of their swords and lances of the purest steel of
Damascus, in the strength of their walled cities, and in the
populousness of sixty thousand villages; and instead of
sustaining a siege, they threw open their gates, and arrayed
their forces in the plain. But these forces were not cemented by
virtue and union; and some powerful emirs had been seduced to
desert or betray their more loyal companions. Timour's front was
covered with a line of Indian elephants, whose turrets were
filled with archers and Greek fire: the rapid evolutions of his
cavalry completed the dismay and disorder; the Syrian crowds fell
back on each other: many thousands were stifled or slaughtered in
the entrance of the great street; the Moguls entered with the
fugitives; and after a short defence, the citadel, the
impregnable citadel of Aleppo, was surrendered by cowardice or
treachery. Among the suppliants and captives, Timour
distinguished the doctors of the law, whom he invited to the
dangerous honor of a personal conference. ^35 The Mogul prince
was a zealous Mussulman; but his Persian schools had taught him
to revere the memory of Ali and Hosein; and he had imbibed a deep
prejudice against the Syrians, as the enemies of the son of the
daughter of the apostle of God. To these doctors he proposed a
captious question, which the casuists of Bochara, Samarcand, and
Herat, were incapable of resolving. "Who are the true martyrs,
of those who are slain on my side, or on that of my enemies?" But
he was silenced, or satisfied, by the dexterity of one of the
cadhis of Aleppo, who replied in the words of Mahomet himself,
that the motive, not the ensign, constitutes the martyr; and that
the Moslems of either party, who fight only for the glory of God,
may deserve that sacred appellation. The true succession of the
caliphs was a controversy of a still more delicate nature; and
the frankness of a doctor, too honest for his situation, provoked
the emperor to exclaim, "Ye are as false as those of Damascus:
Moawiyah was a usurper, Yezid a tyrant, and Ali alone is the
lawful successor of the prophet." A prudent explanation restored
his tranquillity; and he passed to a more familiar topic of
conversation. "What is your age?" said he to the cadhi. "Fifty
years." - "It would be the age of my eldest son: you see me here
(continued Timour) a poor lame, decrepit mortal. Yet by my arm
has the Almighty been pleased to subdue the kingdoms of Iran,
Touran, and the Indies. I am not a man of blood; and God is my
witness, that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and
that my enemies have always been the authors of their own
calamity." During this peaceful conversation the streets of
Aleppo streamed with blood, and reechoed with the cries of
mothers and children, with the shrieks of violated virgins. The
rich plunder that was abandoned to his soldiers might stimulate
their avarice; but their cruelty was enforced by the peremptory
command of producing an adequate number of heads, which,
according to his custom, were curiously piled in columns and
pyramids: the Moguls celebrated the feast of victory, while the
surviving Moslems passed the night in tears and in chains. I
shall not dwell on the march of the destroyer from Aleppo to
Damascus, where he was rudely encountered, and almost overthrown,
by the armies of Egypt. A retrograde motion was imputed to his
distress and despair: one of his nephews deserted to the enemy;
and Syria rejoiced in the tale of his defeat, when the sultan was
driven by the revolt of the Mamalukes to escape with
precipitation and shame to his palace of Cairo. Abandoned by
their prince, the inhabitants of Damascus still defended their
walls; and Timour consented to raise the siege, if they would
adorn his retreat with a gift or ransom; each article of nine
pieces. But no sooner had he introduced himself into the city,
under color of a truce, than he perfidiously violated the treaty;
imposed a contribution of ten millions of gold; and animated his
troops to chastise the posterity of those Syrians who had
executed, or approved, the murder of the grandson of Mahomet. A
family which had given honorable burial to the head of Hosein,
and a colony of artificers, whom he sent to labor at Samarcand,
were alone reserved in the general massacre, and after a period
of seven centuries, Damascus was reduced to ashes, because a
Tartar was moved by religious zeal to avenge the blood of an
Arab. The losses and fatigues of the campaign obliged Timour to
renounce the conquest of Palestine and Egypt; but in his return
to the Euphrates he delivered Aleppo to the flames; and justified
his pious motive by the pardon and reward of two thousand
sectaries of Ali, who were desirous to visit the tomb of his son.

I have expatiated on the personal anecdotes which mark the
character of the Mogul hero; but I shall briefly mention, ^36
that he erected on the ruins of Bagdad a pyramid of ninety
thousand heads; again visited Georgia; encamped on the banks of
Araxes; and proclaimed his resolution of marching against the
Ottoman emperor. Conscious of the importance of the war, he
collected his forces from every province: eight hundred thousand
men were enrolled on his military list; ^37 but the splendid
commands of five, and ten, thousand horse, may be rather
expressive of the rank and pension of the chiefs, than of the
genuine number of effective soldiers. ^38 In the pillage of
Syria, the Moguls had acquired immense riches: but the delivery
of their pay and arrears for seven years more firmly attached
them to the Imperial standard.

[Footnote 33: See the reigns of Barkok and Pharadge, in M. De
Guignes, (tom. iv. l. xxii.,) who, from the Arabic texts of
Aboulmahasen, Ebn (Schounah, and Aintabi, has added some facts to
our common stock of materials.]
[Footnote 34: For these recent and domestic transactions,
Arabshah, though a partial, is a credible, witness, (tom. i. c.
64 - 68, tom. ii. c. 1 - 14.) Timour must have been odious to a
Syrian; but the notoriety of facts would have obliged him, in
some measure, to respect his enemy and himself. His bitters may
correct the luscious sweets of Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 17 - 29)]
[Footnote 35: These interesting conversations appear to have been
copied by Arabshah (tom. i. c. 68, p. 625 - 645) from the cadhi
and historian Ebn Schounah, a principal actor. Yet how could he
be alive seventy-five years afterwards? (D'Herbelot, p. 792.)]

[Footnote 36: The marches and occupations of Timour between the
Syrian and Ottoman wars are represented by Sherefeddin (l. v. c.
29 - 43) and Arabshah, (tom. ii. c. 15 - 18.)]

[Footnote 37: This number of 800,000 was extracted by Arabshah,
or rather by Ebn Schounah, ex rationario Timuri, on the faith of
a Carizmian officer, (tom. i. c. 68, p. 617;) and it is
remarkable enough, that a Greek historian (Phranza, l. i. c. 29)
adds no more than 20,000 men. Poggius reckons 1,000,000; another
Latin contemporary (Chron. Tarvisianum, apud Muratori, tom. xix.
p. 800) 1,100,000; and the enormous sum of 1,600,000 is attested
by a German soldier, who was present at the battle of Angora,
(Leunclay. ad Chalcondyl. l. iii. p. 82.) Timour, in his
Institutions, has not deigned to calculate his troops, his
subjects, or his revenues.]

[Footnote 38: A wide latitude of non-effectives was allowed by
the Great Mogul for his own pride and the benefit of his
officers. Bernier's patron was Penge-Hazari, commander of 5000
horse; of which he maintained no more than 500, (Voyages, tom. i.
p. 288, 289.)]

During this diversion of the Mogul arms, Bajazet had two
years to collect his forces for a more serious encounter. They
consisted of four hundred thousand horse and foot, ^39 whose
merit and fidelity were of an unequal complexion. We may
discriminate the Janizaries, who have been gradually raised to an
establishment of forty thousand men; a national cavalry, the
Spahis of modern times; twenty thousand cuirassiers of Europe,
clad in black and impenetrable armor; the troops of Anatolia,
whose princes had taken refuge in the camp of Timour, and a
colony of Tartars, whom he had driven from Kipzak, and to whom
Bajazet had assigned a settlement in the plains of Adrianople.
The fearless confidence of the sultan urged him to meet his
antagonist; and, as if he had chosen that spot for revenge, he
displayed his banner near the ruins of the unfortunate Suvas. In
the mean while, Timour moved from the Araxes through the
countries of Armenia and Anatolia: his boldness was secured by
the wisest precautions; his speed was guided by order and
discipline; and the woods, the mountains, and the rivers, were
diligently explored by the flying squadrons, who marked his road
and preceded his standard. Firm in his plan of fighting in the
heart of the Ottoman kingdom, he avoided their camp; dexterously
inclined to the left; occupied Caesarea; traversed the salt
desert and the River Halys; and invested Angora: while the
sultan, immovable and ignorant in his post, compared the Tartar
swiftness to the crawling of a snail; ^40 he returned on the
wings of indignation to the relief of Angora: and as both
generals were alike impatient for action, the plains round that
city were the scene of a memorable battle, which has immortalized
the glory of Timour and the shame of Bajazet. For this signal
victory the Mogul emperor was indebted to himself, to the genius
of the moment, and the discipline of thirty years. He had
improved the tactics, without violating the manners, of his
nation, ^41 whose force still consisted in the missile weapons,
and rapid evolutions, of a numerous cavalry. From a single troop
to a great army, the mode of attack was the same: a foremost line
first advanced to the charge, and was supported in a just order
by the squadrons of the great vanguard. The general's eye
watched over the field, and at his command the front and rear of
the right and left wings successively moved forwards in their
several divisions, and in a direct or oblique line: the enemy was
pressed by eighteen or twenty attacks; and each attack afforded a
chance of victory. If they all proved fruitless or unsuccessful,
the occasion was worthy of the emperor himself, who gave the
signal of advancing to the standard and main body, which he led
in person. ^42 But in the battle of Angora, the main body itself
was supported, on the flanks and in the rear, by the bravest
squadrons of the reserve, commanded by the sons and grandsons of
Timour. The conqueror of Hindostan ostentatiously showed a line
of elephants, the trophies, rather than the instruments, of
victory; the use of the Greek fire was familiar to the Moguls and
Ottomans; but had they borrowed from Europe the recent invention
of gunpowder and cannon, the artificial thunder, in the hands of
either nation, must have turned the fortune of the day. ^43 In
that day Bajazet displayed the qualities of a soldier and a
chief: but his genius sunk under a stronger ascendant; and, from
various motives, the greatest part of his troops failed him in
the decisive moment. His rigor and avarice ^* had provoked a
mutiny among the Turks; and even his son Soliman too hastily
withdrew from the field. The forces of Anatolia, loyal in their
revolt, were drawn away to the banners of their lawful princes.
His Tartar allies had been tempted by the letters and emissaries
of Timour; ^44 who reproached their ignoble servitude under the
slaves of their fathers; and offered to their hopes the dominion
of their new, or the liberty of their ancient, country. In the
right wing of Bajazet the cuirassiers of Europe charged, with
faithful hearts and irresistible arms: but these men of iron were
soon broken by an artful flight and headlong pursuit; and the
Janizaries, alone, without cavalry or missile weapons, were
encompassed by the circle of the Mogul hunters. Their valor was
at length oppressed by heat, thirst, and the weight of numbers;
and the unfortunate sultan, afflicted with the gout in his hands
and feet, was transported from the field on the fleetest of his
horses. He was pursued and taken by the titular khan of Zagatai;
and, after his capture, and the defeat of the Ottoman powers, the
kingdom of Anatolia submitted to the conqueror, who planted his
standard at Kiotahia, and dispersed on all sides the ministers of
rapine and destruction. Mirza Mehemmed Sultan, the eldest and
best beloved of his grandsons, was despatched to Boursa, with
thirty thousand horse; and such was his youthful ardor, that he
arrived with only four thousand at the gates of the capital,
after performing in five days a march of two hundred and thirty
miles. Yet fear is still more rapid in its course; and Soliman,
the son of Bajazet, had already passed over to Europe with the
royal treasure. The spoil, however, of the palace and city was
immense: the inhabitants had escaped; but the buildings, for the
most part of wood, were reduced to ashes From Boursa, the
grandson of Timour advanced to Nice, ever yet a fair and
flourishing city; and the Mogul squadrons were only stopped by
the waves of the Propontis. The same success attended the other
mirzas and emirs in their excursions; and Smyrna, defended by the
zeal and courage of the Rhodian knights, alone deserved the
presence of the emperor himself. After an obstinate defence, the
place was taken by storm: all that breathed was put to the sword;
and the heads of the Christian heroes were launched from the
engines, on board of two carracks, or great ships of Europe, that
rode at anchor in the harbor. The Moslems of Asia rejoiced in
their deliverance from a dangerous and domestic foe; and a
parallel was drawn between the two rivals, by observing that
Timour, in fourteen days, had reduced a fortress which had
sustained seven years the siege, or at least the blockade, of
Bajazet. ^45

[Footnote 39: Timour himself fixes at 400,000 men the Ottoman
army, (Institutions, p. 153,) which is reduced to 150,000 by
Phranza, (l. i. c. 29,) and swelled by the German soldier to
1,400,000. It is evident that the Moguls were the more

[Footnote 40: It may not be useless to mark the distances between
Angora and the neighboring cities, by the journeys of the
caravans, each of twenty or twenty-five miles; to Smyrna xx., to
Kiotahia x., to Boursa x., to Caesarea, viii., to Sinope x., to
Nicomed a ix., to Constantinople xii. or xiii., (see Tournefort,
Voyage au Levant, tom. ii. lettre xxi.)]

[Footnote 41: See the Systems of Tactics in the Institutions,
which the English editors have illustrated with elaborate plans,
(p. 373 - 407.)]
[Footnote 42: The sultan himself (says Timour) must then put the
foot of courage into the stirrup of patience. A Tartar metaphor,
which is lost in the English, but preserved in the French,
version of the Institutes, (p. 156, 157.)]

[Footnote 43: The Greek fire, on Timour's side, is attested by
Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 47;) but Voltaire's strange suspicion,
that some cannon, inscribed with strange characters, must have

Book of the day: