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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5 by Edward Gibbon

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year of submission. But when the unnatural mother of Constantine
was deposed and banished, her successor, Nicephorus, resolved to
obliterate this badge of servitude and disgrace. The epistle of
the emperor to the caliph was pointed with an allusion to the
game of chess, which had already spread from Persia to Greece.
"The queen (he spoke of Irene) considered you as a rook, and
herself as a pawn. That pusillanimous female submitted to pay a
tribute, the double of which she ought to have exacted from the
Barbarians. Restore therefore the fruits of your injustice, or
abide the determination of the sword." At these words the
ambassadors cast a bundle of swords before the foot of the
throne. The caliph smiled at the menace, and drawing his
cimeter, samsamah, a weapon of historic or fabulous renown, he
cut asunder the feeble arms of the Greeks, without turning the
edge, or endangering the temper, of his blade. He then dictated
an epistle of tremendous brevity: "In the name of the most
merciful God, Harun al Rashid, commander of the faithful, to
Nicephorus, the Roman dog. I have read thy letter, O thou son of
an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not hear, thou shalt behold,
my reply." It was written in characters of blood and fire on the
plains of Phrygia; and the warlike celerity of the Arabs could
only be checked by the arts of deceit and the show of repentance.

The triumphant caliph retired, after the fatigues of the
campaign, to his favorite palace of Racca on the Euphrates: ^76
but the distance of five hundred miles, and the inclemency of the
season, encouraged his adversary to violate the peace. Nicephorus
was astonished by the bold and rapid march of the commander of
the faithful, who repassed, in the depth of winter, the snows of
Mount Taurus: his stratagems of policy and war were exhausted;
and the perfidious Greek escaped with three wounds from a field
of battle overspread with forty thousand of his subjects. Yet
the emperor was ashamed of submission, and the caliph was
resolved on victory. One hundred and thirty-five thousand
regular soldiers received pay, and were inscribed in the military
roll; and above three hundred thousand persons of every
denomination marched under the black standard of the Abbassides.
They swept the surface of Asia Minor far beyond Tyana and Ancyra,
and invested the Pontic Heraclea, ^77 once a flourishing state,
now a paltry town; at that time capable of sustaining, in her
antique walls, a month's siege against the forces of the East.
The ruin was complete, the spoil was ample; but if Harun had been
conversant with Grecian story, he would have regretted the statue
of Hercules, whose attributes, the club, the bow, the quiver, and
the lion's hide, were sculptured in massy gold. The progress of
desolation by sea and land, from the Euxine to the Isle of
Cyprus, compelled the emperor Nicephorus to retract his haughty
defiance. In the new treaty, the ruins of Heraclea were left
forever as a lesson and a trophy; and the coin of the tribute was
marked with the image and superscription of Harun and his three
sons. ^78 Yet this plurality of lords might contribute to remove
the dishonor of the Roman name. After the death of their father,
the heirs of the caliph were involved in civil discord, and the
conqueror, the liberal Almamon, was sufficiently engaged in the
restoration of domestic peace and the introduction of foreign

[Footnote 75: See the reign and character of Harun Al Rashid, in
the Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 431 - 433, under his proper title;
and in the relative articles to which M. D'Herbelot refers. That
learned collector has shown much taste in stripping the Oriental
chronicles of their instructive and amusing anecdotes.]

[Footnote 76: For the situation of Racca, the old Nicephorium,
consult D'Anville, (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 24 - 27.) The
Arabian Nights represent Harun al Rashid as almost stationary in
Bagdad. He respected the royal seat of the Abbassides: but the
vices of the inhabitants had driven him from the city, (Abulfed.
Annal. p. 167.)]

[Footnote 77: M. de Tournefort, in his coasting voyage from
Constantinople to Trebizond, passed a night at Heraclea or
Eregri. His eye surveyed the present state, his reading
collected the antiquities, of the city (Voyage du Levant, tom.
iii. lettre xvi. p. 23 - 35.) We have a separate history of
Heraclea in the fragments of Memnon, which are preserved by

[Footnote 78: The wars of Harun al Rashid against the Roman
empire are related by Theophanes, (p. 384, 385, 391, 396, 407,
408.) Zonaras, (tom. iii. l. xv. p. 115, 124,) Cedrenus, (p. 477,
478,) Eutycaius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 407,) Elmacin, (Hist.
Saracen. p. 136, 151, 152,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 147, 151,)
and Abulfeda, (p. 156, 166 - 168.)]

Chapter LII: More Conquests By The Arabs.

Part IV.

Under the reign of Almamon at Bagdad, of Michael the
Stammerer at Constantinople, the islands of Crete ^79 and Sicily
were subdued by the Arabs. The former of these conquests is
disdained by their own writers, who were ignorant of the fame of
Jupiter and Minos, but it has not been overlooked by the
Byzantine historians, who now begin to cast a clearer light on
the affairs of their own times. ^80 A band of Andalusian
volunteers, discontented with the climate or government of Spain,
explored the adventures of the sea; but as they sailed in no more
than ten or twenty galleys, their warfare must be branded with
the name of piracy. As the subjects and sectaries of the white
party, they might lawfully invade the dominions of the black
caliphs. A rebellious faction introduced them into Alexandria;
^81 they cut in pieces both friends and foes, pillaged the
churches and the moschs, sold above six thousand Christian
captives, and maintained their station in the capital of Egypt,
till they were oppressed by the forces and the presence of
Almamon himself. From the mouth of the Nile to the Hellespont,
the islands and sea-coasts both of the Greeks and Moslems were
exposed to their depredations; they saw, they envied, they tasted
the fertility of Crete, and soon returned with forty galleys to a
more serious attack. The Andalusians wandered over the land
fearless and unmolested; but when they descended with their
plunder to the sea-shore, their vessels were in flames, and their
chief, Abu Caab, confessed himself the author of the mischief.
Their clamors accused his madness or treachery. "Of what do you
complain?" replied the crafty emir. "I have brought you to a
land flowing with milk and honey. Here is your true country;
repose from your toils, and forget the barren place of your
nativity." "And our wives and children?" "Your beauteous captives
will supply the place of your wives, and in their embraces you
will soon become the fathers of a new progeny." The first
habitation was their camp, with a ditch and rampart, in the Bay
of Suda; but an apostate monk led them to a more desirable
position in the eastern parts; and the name of Candax, their
fortress and colony, has been extended to the whole island, under
the corrupt and modern appellation of Candia. The hundred cities
of the age of Minos were diminished to thirty; and of these, only
one, most probably Cydonia, had courage to retain the substance
of freedom and the profession of Christianity. The Saracens of
Crete soon repaired the loss of their navy; and the timbers of
Mount Ida were launched into the main. During a hostile period
of one hundred and thirty-eight years, the princes of
Constantinople attacked these licentious corsairs with fruitless
curses and ineffectual arms.

[Footnote 79: The authors from whom I have learned the most of
the ancient and modern state of Crete, are Belon, (Observations,
&c., c. 3 - 20, Paris, 1555,) Tournefort, (Voyage du Levant, tom.
i. lettre ii. et iii.,) and Meursius, (Creta, in his works, tom.
iii. p. 343 - 544.) Although Crete is styled by Homer, by
Dionysius, I cannot conceive that mountainous island to surpass,
or even to equal, in fertility the greater part of Spain.]

[Footnote 80: The most authentic and circumstantial intelligence
is obtained from the four books of the Continuation of
Theophanes, compiled by the pen or the command of Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, with the Life of his father Basil, the
Macedonian, (Scriptores post Theophanem, p. 1 - 162, a Francisc.
Combefis, Paris, 1685.) The loss of Crete and Sicily is related,
l. ii. p. 46 - 52. To these we may add the secondary evidence of
Joseph Genesius, (l. ii. p. 21, Venet. 1733,) George Cedrenus,
(Compend. p. 506 - 508,) and John Scylitzes Curopalata, (apud
Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D. 827, No. 24, &c.) But the modern
Greeks are such notorious plagiaries, that I should only quote a
plurality of names.]

[Footnote 81: Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 251 - 256, 268
- 270) had described the ravages of the Andalusian Arabs in
Egypt, but has forgot to connect them with the conquest of

The loss of Sicily ^82 was occasioned by an act of
superstitious rigor. An amorous youth, who had stolen a nun from
her cloister, was sentenced by the emperor to the amputation of
his tongue. Euphemius appealed to the reason and policy of the
Saracens of Africa; and soon returned with the Imperial purple, a
fleet of one hundred ships, and an army of seven hundred horse
and ten thousand foot. They landed at Mazara near the ruins of
the ancient Selinus; but after some partial victories, Syracuse
^83 was delivered by the Greeks, the apostate was slain before
her walls, and his African friends were reduced to the necessity
of feeding on the flesh of their own horses. In their turn they
were relieved by a powerful reenforcement of their brethren of
Andalusia; the largest and western part of the island was
gradually reduced, and the commodious harbor of Palermo was
chosen for the seat of the naval and military power of the
Saracens. Syracuse preserved about fifty years the faith which
she had sworn to Christ and to Caesar. In the last and fatal
siege, her citizens displayed some remnant of the spirit which
had formerly resisted the powers of Athens and Carthage. They
stood above twenty days against the battering-rams and
catapultoe, the mines and tortoises of the besiegers; and the
place might have been relieved, if the mariners of the Imperial
fleet had not been detained at Constantinople in building a
church to the Virgin Mary. The deacon Theodosius, with the bishop
and clergy, was dragged in chains from the altar to Palermo, cast
into a subterraneous dungeon, and exposed to the hourly peril of
death or apostasy. His pathetic, and not inelegant, complaint
may be read as the epitaph of his country. ^84 From the Roman
conquest to this final calamity, Syracuse, now dwindled to the
primitive Isle of Ortygea, had insensibly declined. Yet the
relics were still precious; the plate of the cathedral weighed
five thousand pounds of silver; the entire spoil was computed at
one million of pieces of gold, (about four hundred thousand
pounds sterling,) and the captives must outnumber the seventeen
thousand Christians, who were transported from the sack of
Tauromenium into African servitude. In Sicily, the religion and
language of the Greeks were eradicated; and such was the docility
of the rising generation, that fifteen thousand boys were
circumcised and clothed on the same day with the son of the
Fatimite caliph. The Arabian squadrons issued from the harbors of
Palermo, Biserta, and Tunis; a hundred and fifty towns of
Calabria and Campania were attacked and pillaged; nor could the
suburbs of Rome be defended by the name of the Caesars and
apostles. Had the Mahometans been united, Italy must have fallen
an easy and glorious accession to the empire of the prophet. But
the caliphs of Bagdad had lost their authority in the West; the
Aglabites and Fatimites usurped the provinces of Africa, their
emirs of Sicily aspired to independence; and the design of
conquest and dominion was degraded to a repetition of predatory
inroads. ^85

[Footnote 82: Theophanes, l. ii. p. 51. This history of the loss
of Sicily is no longer extant. Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom.
vii. p. 719, 721, &c.) has added some circumstances from the
Italian chronicles.]

[Footnote 83: The splendid and interesting tragedy of Tancrede
would adapt itself much better to this epoch, than to the date
(A.D. 1005) which Voltaire himself has chosen. But I must gently
reproach the poet for infusing into the Greek subjects the spirit
of modern knights and ancient republicans.]

[Footnote 84: The narrative or lamentation of Theodosius is
transcribed and illustrated by Pagi, (Critica, tom. iii. p. 719,
&c.) Constantine Porphyrogenitus (in Vit. Basil, c. 69, 70, p.
190 - 192) mentions the loss of Syracuse and the triumph of the

[Footnote 85: The extracts from the Arabic histories of Sicily
are given in Abulfeda, (Annal' Moslem. p. 271 - 273,) and in the
first volume of Muratori's Scriptores Rerum Italicarum. M. de
Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 363, 364) has added some
important facts.]

In the sufferings of prostrate Italy, the name of Rome
awakens a solemn and mournful recollection. A fleet of Saracens
from the African coast presumed to enter the mouth of the Tyber,
and to approach a city which even yet, in her fallen state, was
revered as the metropolis of the Christian world. The gates and
ramparts were guarded by a trembling people; but the tombs and
temples of St. Peter and St. Paul were left exposed in the
suburbs of the Vatican and of the Ostian way. Their invisible
sanctity had protected them against the Goths, the Vandals, and
the Lombards; but the Arabs disdained both the gospel and the
legend; and their rapacious spirit was approved and animated by
the precepts of the Koran. The Christian idols were stripped of
their costly offerings; a silver altar was torn away from the
shrine of St. Peter; and if the bodies or the buildings were left
entire, their deliverance must be imputed to the haste, rather
than the scruples, of the Saracens. In their course along the
Appian way, they pillaged Fundi and besieged Gayeta; but they had
turned aside from the walls of Rome, and by their divisions, the
Capitol was saved from the yoke of the prophet of Mecca. The
same danger still impended on the heads of the Roman people; and
their domestic force was unequal to the assault of an African
emir. They claimed the protection of their Latin sovereign; but
the Carlovingian standard was overthrown by a detachment of the
Barbarians: they meditated the restoration of the Greek emperors;
but the attempt was treasonable, and the succor remote and
precarious. ^86 Their distress appeared to receive some
aggravation from the death of their spiritual and temporal chief;
but the pressing emergency superseded the forms and intrigues of
an election; and the unanimous choice of Pope Leo the Fourth ^87
was the safety of the church and city. This pontiff was born a
Roman; the courage of the first ages of the republic glowed in
his breast; and, amidst the ruins of his country, he stood erect,
like one of the firm and lofty columns that rear their heads
above the fragments of the Roman forum. The first days of his
reign were consecrated to the purification and removal of relics,
to prayers and processions, and to all the solemn offices of
religion, which served at least to heal the imagination, and
restore the hopes, of the multitude. The public defence had been
long neglected, not from the presumption of peace, but from the
distress and poverty of the times. As far as the scantiness of
his means and the shortness of his leisure would allow, the
ancient walls were repaired by the command of Leo; fifteen
towers, in the most accessible stations, were built or renewed;
two of these commanded on either side of the Tyber; and an iron
chain was drawn across the stream to impede the ascent of a
hostile navy. The Romans were assured of a short respite by the
welcome news, that the siege of Gayeta had been raised, and that
a part of the enemy, with their sacrilegious plunder, had
perished in the waves.

[Footnote 86: One of the most eminent Romans (Gratianus, magister
militum et Romani palatii superista) was accused of declaring,
Quia Franci nihil nobis boni faciunt, neque adjutorium praebent,
sed magis quae nostra sunt violenter tollunt. Quare non
advocamus Graecos, et cum eis foedus pacis componentes, Francorum
regem et gentem de nostro regno et dominatione expellimus?
Anastasius in Leone IV. p. 199.]

[Footnote 87: Voltaire (Hist. Generale, tom. ii. c. 38, p. 124)
appears to be remarkably struck with the character of Pope Leo
IV. I have borrowed his general expression, but the sight of the
forum has furnished me with a more distinct and lively image.]

But the storm, which had been delayed, soon burst upon them
with redoubled violence. The Aglabite, ^88 who reigned in
Africa, had inherited from his father a treasure and an army: a
fleet of Arabs and Moors, after a short refreshment in the
harbors of Sardinia, cast anchor before the mouth of the Tyber,
sixteen miles from the city: and their discipline and numbers
appeared to threaten, not a transient inroad, but a serious
design of conquest and dominion. But the vigilance of Leo had
formed an alliance with the vassals of the Greek empire, the free
and maritime states of Gayeta, Naples, and Amalfi; and in the
hour of danger, their galleys appeared in the port of Ostia under
the command of Caesarius, the son of the Neapolitan duke, a noble
and valiant youth, who had already vanquished the fleets of the
Saracens. With his principal companions, Caesarius was invited to
the Lateran palace, and the dexterous pontiff affected to inquire
their errand, and to accept with joy and surprise their
providential succor. The city bands, in arms, attended their
father to Ostia, where he reviewed and blessed his generous
deliverers. They kissed his feet, received the communion with
martial devotion, and listened to the prayer of Leo, that the
same God who had supported St. Peter and St. Paul on the waves of
the sea, would strengthen the hands of his champions against the
adversaries of his holy name. After a similar prayer, and with
equal resolution, the Moslems advanced to the attack of the
Christian galleys, which preserved their advantageous station
along the coast. The victory inclined to the side of the allies,
when it was less gloriously decided in their favor by a sudden
tempest, which confounded the skill and courage of the stoutest
mariners. The Christians were sheltered in a friendly harbor,
while the Africans were scattered and dashed in pieces among the
rocks and islands of a hostile shore. Those who escaped from
shipwreck and hunger neither found, nor deserved, mercy at the
hands of their implacable pursuers. The sword and the gibbet
reduced the dangerous multitude of captives; and the remainder
was more usefully employed, to restore the sacred edifices which
they had attempted to subvert. The pontiff, at the head of the
citizens and allies, paid his grateful devotion at the shrines of
the apostles; and, among the spoils of this naval victory,
thirteen Arabian bows of pure and massy silver were suspended
round the altar of the fishermen of Galilee. The reign of Leo
the Fourth was employed in the defence and ornament of the Roman
state. The churches were renewed and embellished: near four
thousand pounds of silver were consecrated to repair the losses
of St. Peter; and his sanctuary was decorated with a plate of
gold of the weight of two hundred and sixteen pounds, embossed
with the portraits of the pope and emperor, and encircled with a
string of pearls. Yet this vain magnificence reflects less glory
on the character of Leo than the paternal care with which he
rebuilt the walls of Horta and Ameria; and transported the
wandering inhabitants of Centumcellae to his new foundation of
Leopolis, twelve miles from the sea- shore. ^89 By his
liberality, a colony of Corsicans, with their wives and children,
was planted in the station of Porto, at the mouth of the Tyber:
the falling city was restored for their use, the fields and
vineyards were divided among the new settlers: their first
efforts were assisted by a gift of horses and cattle; and the
hardy exiles, who breathed revenge against the Saracens, swore to
live and die under the standard of St. Peter. The nations of the
West and North who visited the threshold of the apostles had
gradually formed the large and populous suburb of the Vatican,
and their various habitations were distinguished, in the language
of the times, as the schools of the Greeks and Goths, of the
Lombards and Saxons. But this venerable spot was still open to
sacrilegious insult: the design of enclosing it with walls and
towers exhausted all that authority could command, or charity
would supply: and the pious labor of four years was animated in
every season, and at every hour, by the presence of the
indefatigable pontiff. The love of fame, a generous but worldly
passion, may be detected in the name of the Leonine city, which
he bestowed on the Vatican; yet the pride of the dedication was
tempered with Christian penance and humility. The boundary was
trod by the bishop and his clergy, barefoot, in sackcloth and
ashes; the songs of triumph were modulated to psalms and
litanies; the walls were besprinkled with holy water; and the
ceremony was concluded with a prayer, that, under the guardian
care of the apostles and the angelic host, both the old and the
new Rome might ever be preserved pure, prosperous, and
impregnable. ^90

[Footnote 88: De Guignes, Hist. Generale des Huns, tom. i. p.
363, 364. Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, sous la
Domination des Arabs, tom. ii. p. 24, 25. I observe, and cannot
reconcile, the difference of these writers in the succession of
the Aglabites.]

[Footnote 89: Beretti (Chorographia Italiae Medii Evi, p. 106,
108) has illustrated Centumcellae, Leopolis, Civitas Leonina, and
the other places of the Roman duchy.]

[Footnote 90: The Arabs and the Greeks are alike silent
concerning the invasion of Rome by the Africans. The Latin
chronicles do not afford much instruction, (see the Annals of
Baronius and Pagi.) Our authentic and contemporary guide for the
popes of the ixth century is Anastasius, librarian of the Roman
church. His Life of Leo IV, contains twenty-four pages, (p. 175
- 199, edit. Paris;) and if a great part consist of superstitious
trifles, we must blame or command his hero, who was much oftener
in a church than in a camp.]

The emperor Theophilus, son of Michael the Stammerer, was
one of the most active and high-spirited princes who reigned at
Constantinople during the middle age. In offensive or defensive
war, he marched in person five times against the Saracens,
formidable in his attack, esteemed by the enemy in his losses and
defeats. In the last of these expeditions he penetrated into
Syria, and besieged the obscure town of Sozopetra; the casual
birthplace of the caliph Motassem, whose father Harun was
attended in peace or war by the most favored of his wives and
concubines. The revolt of a Persian impostor employed at that
moment the arms of the Saracen, and he could only intercede in
favor of a place for which he felt and acknowledged some degree
of filial affection. These solicitations determined the emperor
to wound his pride in so sensible a part. Sozopetra was levelled
with the ground, the Syrian prisoners were marked or mutilated
with ignominious cruelty, and a thousand female captives were
forced away from the adjacent territory. Among these a matron of
the house of Abbas invoked, in an agony of despair, the name of
Motassem; and the insults of the Greeks engaged the honor of her
kinsman to avenge his indignity, and to answer her appeal. Under
the reign of the two elder brothers, the inheritance of the
youngest had been confined to Anatolia, Armenia, Georgia, and
Circassia; this frontier station had exercised his military
talents; and among his accidental claims to the name of Octonary,
^91 the most meritorious are the eight battles which he gained or
fought against the enemies of the Koran. In this personal
quarrel, the troops of Irak, Syria, and Egypt, were recruited
from the tribes of Arabia and the Turkish hordes; his cavalry
might be numerous, though we should deduct some myriads from the
hundred and thirty thousand horses of the royal stables; and the
expense of the armament was computed at four millions sterling,
or one hundred thousand pounds of gold. From Tarsus, the place
of assembly, the Saracens advanced in three divisions along the
high road of Constantinople: Motassem himself commanded the
centre, and the vanguard was given to his son Abbas, who, in the
trial of the first adventures, might succeed with the more glory,
or fail with the least reproach. In the revenge of his injury,
the caliph prepared to retaliate a similar affront. The father
of Theophilus was a native of Amorium ^92 in Phrygia: the
original seat of the Imperial house had been adorned with
privileges and monuments; and, whatever might be the indifference
of the people, Constantinople itself was scarcely of more value
in the eyes of the sovereign and his court. The name of Amorium
was inscribed on the shields of the Saracens; and their three
armies were again united under the walls of the devoted city. It
had been proposed by the wisest counsellors, to evacuate Amorium,
to remove the inhabitants, and to abandon the empty structures to
the vain resentment of the Barbarians. The emperor embraced the
more generous resolution of defending, in a siege and battle, the
country of his ancestors. When the armies drew near, the front
of the Mahometan line appeared to a Roman eye more closely
planted with spears and javelins; but the event of the action was
not glorious on either side to the national troops. The Arabs
were broken, but it was by the swords of thirty thousand
Persians, who had obtained service and settlement in the
Byzantine empire. The Greeks were repulsed and vanquished, but
it was by the arrows of the Turkish cavalry; and had not their
bowstrings been damped and relaxed by the evening rain, very few
of the Christians could have escaped with the emperor from the
field of battle. They breathed at Dorylaeum, at the distance of
three days; and Theophilus, reviewing his trembling squadrons,
forgave the common flight both of the prince and people. After
this discovery of his weakness, he vainly hoped to deprecate the
fate of Amorium: the inexorable caliph rejected with contempt his
prayers and promises; and detained the Roman ambassadors to be
the witnesses of his great revenge. They had nearly been the
witnesses of his shame. The vigorous assaults of fifty- five
days were encountered by a faithful governor, a veteran garrison,
and a desperate people; and the Saracens must have raised the
siege, if a domestic traitor had not pointed to the weakest part
of the wall, a place which was decorated with the statues of a
lion and a bull. The vow of Motassem was accomplished with
unrelenting rigor: tired, rather than satiated, with destruction,
he returned to his new palace of Samara, in the neighborhood of
Bagdad, while the unfortunate ^93 Theophilus implored the tardy
and doubtful aid of his Western rival the emperor of the Franks.
Yet in the siege of Amorium about seventy thousand Moslems had
perished: their loss had been revenged by the slaughter of thirty
thousand Christians, and the sufferings of an equal number of
captives, who were treated as the most atrocious criminals.
Mutual necessity could sometimes extort the exchange or ransom of
prisoners: ^94 but in the national and religious conflict of the
two empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy.
Quarter was seldom given in the field; those who escaped the edge
of the sword were condemned to hopeless servitude, or exquisite
torture; and a Catholic emperor relates, with visible
satisfaction, the execution of the Saracens of Crete, who were
flayed alive, or plunged into caldrons of boiling oil. ^95 To a
point of honor Motassem had sacrificed a flourishing city, two
hundred thousand lives, and the property of millions. The same
caliph descended from his horse, and dirtied his robe, to relieve
the distress of a decrepit old man, who, with his laden ass, had
tumbled into a ditch. On which of these actions did he reflect
with the most pleasure, when he was summoned by the angel of
death? ^96

[Footnote 91: The same number was applied to the following
circumstance in the life of Motassem: he was the eight of the
Abbassides; he reigned eight years, eight months, and eight days;
left eight sons, eight daughters, eight thousand slaves, eight
millions of gold.]

[Footnote 92: Amorium is seldom mentioned by the old geographers,
and to tally forgotten in the Roman Itineraries. After the vith
century, it became an episcopal see, and at length the metropolis
of the new Galatia, (Carol. Scto. Paulo, Geograph. Sacra, p.
234.) The city rose again from its ruins, if we should read
Ammeria, not Anguria, in the text of the Nubian geographer. (p.

[Footnote 93: In the East he was styled, (Continuator Theophan.
l. iii. p. 84;) but such was the ignorance of the West, that his
ambassadors, in public discourse, might boldly narrate, de
victoriis, quas adversus exteras bellando gentes coelitus fuerat
assecutus, (Annalist. Bertinian. apud Pagi, tom. iii. p. 720.)]

[Footnote 94: Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 167, 168) relates one of
these singular transactions on the bridge of the River Lamus in
Cilicia, the limit of the two empires, and one day's journey
westward of Tarsus, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p.
91.) Four thousand four hundred and sixty Moslems, eight hundred
women and children, one hundred confederates, were exchanged for
an equal number of Greeks. They passed each other in the middle
of the bridge, and when they reached their respective friends,
they shouted Allah Acbar, and Kyrie Eleison. Many of the
prisoners of Amorium were probably among them, but in the same
year, (A. H. 231,) the most illustrious of them, the forty two
martyrs, were beheaded by the caliph's order.]

[Footnote 95: Constantin. Porphyrogenitus, in Vit. Basil. c. 61,
p. 186. These Saracens were indeed treated with peculiar severity
as pirates and renegadoes.]

[Footnote 96: For Theophilus, Motassem, and the Amorian war, see
the Continuator of Theophanes, (l. iii. p. 77 - 84,) Genesius (l.
iii. p. 24 - 34.) Cedrenus, (p. 528 - 532,) Elmacin, (Hist.
Saracen, p. 180,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 165, 166,) Abulfeda,
(Annal. Moslem. p. 191,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 639,

With Motassem, the eighth of the Abbassides, the glory of
his family and nation expired. When the Arabian conquerors had
spread themselves over the East, and were mingled with the
servile crowds of Persia, Syria, and Egypt, they insensibly lost
the freeborn and martial virtues of the desert. The courage of
the South is the artificial fruit of discipline and prejudice;
the active power of enthusiasm had decayed, and the mercenary
forces of the caliphs were recruited in those climates of the
North, of which valor is the hardy and spontaneous production.
Of the Turks ^97 who dwelt beyond the Oxus and Jaxartes, the
robust youths, either taken in war or purchased in trade, were
educated in the exercises of the field, and the profession of the
Mahometan faith. The Turkish guards stood in arms round the
throne of their benefactor, and their chiefs usurped the dominion
of the palace and the provinces. Motassem, the first author of
this dangerous example, introduced into the capital above fifty
thousand Turks: their licentious conduct provoked the public
indignation, and the quarrels of the soldiers and people induced
the caliph to retire from Bagdad, and establish his own residence
and the camp of his Barbarian favorites at Samara on the Tigris,
about twelve leagues above the city of Peace. ^98 His son
Motawakkel was a jealous and cruel tyrant: odious to his
subjects, he cast himself on the fidelity of the strangers, and
these strangers, ambitious and apprehensive, were tempted by the
rich promise of a revolution. At the instigation, or at least in
the cause of his son, they burst into his apartment at the hour
of supper, and the caliph was cut into seven pieces by the same
swords which he had recently distributed among the guards of his
life and throne. To this throne, yet streaming with a father's
blood, Montasser was triumphantly led; but in a reign of six
months, he found only the pangs of a guilty conscience. If he
wept at the sight of an old tapestry which represented the crime
and punishment of the son of Chosroes, if his days were abridged
by grief and remorse, we may allow some pity to a parricide, who
exclaimed, in the bitterness of death, that he had lost both this
world and the world to come. After this act of treason, the
ensigns of royalty, the garment and walking-staff of Mahomet,
were given and torn away by the foreign mercenaries, who in four
years created, deposed, and murdered, three commanders of the
faithful. As often as the Turks were inflamed by fear, or rage,
or avarice, these caliphs were dragged by the feet, exposed naked
to the scorching sun, beaten with iron clubs, and compelled to
purchase, by the abdication of their dignity, a short reprieve of
inevitable fate. ^99 At length, however, the fury of the tempest
was spent or diverted: the Abbassides returned to the less
turbulent residence of Bagdad; the insolence of the Turks was
curbed with a firmer and more skilful hand, and their numbers
were divided and destroyed in foreign warfare. But the nations
of the East had been taught to trample on the successors of the
prophet; and the blessings of domestic peace were obtained by the
relaxation of strength and discipline. So uniform are the
mischiefs of military despotism, that I seem to repeat the story
of the praetorians of Rome. ^100

[Footnote 97: M. de Guignes, who sometimes leaps, and sometimes
stumbles, in the gulf between Chinese and Mahometan story, thinks
he can see, that these Turks are the Hoei-ke, alias the Kao-tche,
or high-wagons; that they were divided into fifteen hordes, from
China and Siberia to the dominions of the caliphs and Samanides,
&c., (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 1 - 33, 124 - 131.)]

[Footnote 98: He changed the old name of Sumera, or Samara, into
the fanciful title of Sermen-rai, that which gives pleasure at
first sight, (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 808.
D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre p. 97, 98.)]

[Footnote 99: Take a specimen, the death of the caliph Motaz:
Correptum pedibus pertrahunt, et sudibus probe permulcant, et
spoliatum laceris vestibus in sole collocant, prae cujus acerrimo
aestu pedes alternos attollebat et demittebat. Adstantium
aliquis misero colaphos continuo ingerebat, quos ille objectis
manibus avertere studebat ..... Quo facto traditus tortori fuit,
totoque triduo cibo potuque prohibitus ..... Suffocatus, &c.
(Abulfeda, p. 206.) Of the caliph Mohtadi, he says, services ipsi
perpetuis ictibus contundebant, testiculosque pedibus
conculcabant, (p. 208.)]

[Footnote 100: See under the reigns of Motassem, Motawakkel,
Montasser, Mostain, Motaz, Mohtadi, and Motamed, in the
Bibliotheque of D'Herbelot, and the now familiar Annals of
Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and Abulfeda.]

While the flame of enthusiasm was damped by the business,
the pleasure, and the knowledge, of the age, it burnt with
concentrated heat in the breasts of the chosen few, the congenial
spirits, who were ambitious of reigning either in this world or
in the next. How carefully soever the book of prophecy had been
sealed by the apostle of Mecca, the wishes, and (if we may
profane the word) even the reason, of fanaticism might believe
that, after the successive missions of Adam, Noah, Abraham,
Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet, the same God, in the fulness of time,
would reveal a still more perfect and permanent law. In the two
hundred and seventy-seventh year of the Hegira, and in the
neighborhood of Cufa, an Arabian preacher, of the name of
Carmath, assumed the lofty and incomprehensible style of the
Guide, the Director, the Demonstration, the Word, the Holy Ghost,
the Camel, the Herald of the Messiah, who had conversed with him
in a human shape, and the representative of Mohammed the son of
Ali, of St. John the Baptist, and of the angel Gabriel. In his
mystic volume, the precepts of the Koran were refined to a more
spiritual sense: he relaxed the duties of ablution, fasting, and
pilgrimage; allowed the indiscriminate use of wine and forbidden
food; and nourished the fervor of his disciples by the daily
repetition of fifty prayers. The idleness and ferment of the
rustic crowd awakened the attention of the magistrates of Cufa; a
timid persecution assisted the progress of the new sect; and the
name of the prophet became more revered after his person had been
withdrawn from the world. His twelve apostles dispersed
themselves among the Bedoweens, "a race of men," says Abulfeda,
"equally devoid of reason and of religion;" and the success of
their preaching seemed to threaten Arabia with a new revolution.
The Carmathians were ripe for rebellion, since they disclaimed
the title of the house of Abbas, and abhorred the worldly pomp of
the caliphs of Bagdad. They were susceptible of discipline, since
they vowed a blind and absolute submission to their Imam, who was
called to the prophetic office by the voice of God and the
people. Instead of the legal tithes, he claimed the fifth of
their substance and spoil; the most flagitious sins were no more
than the type of disobedience; and the brethren were united and
concealed by an oath of secrecy. After a bloody conflict, they
prevailed in the province of Bahrein, along the Persian Gulf: far
and wide, the tribes of the desert were subject to the sceptre,
or rather to the sword of Abu Said and his son Abu Taher; and
these rebellious imams could muster in the field a hundred and
seven thousand fanatics. The mercenaries of the caliph were
dismayed at the approach of an enemy who neither asked nor
accepted quarter; and the difference between, them in fortitude
and patience, is expressive of the change which three centuries
of prosperity had effected in the character of the Arabians.
Such troops were discomfited in every action; the cities of Racca
and Baalbec, of Cufa and Bassora, were taken and pillaged; Bagdad
was filled with consternation; and the caliph trembled behind the
veils of his palace. In a daring inroad beyond the Tigris, Abu
Taher advanced to the gates of the capital with no more than five
hundred horse. By the special order of Moctader, the bridges had
been broken down, and the person or head of the rebel was
expected every hour by the commander of the faithful. His
lieutenant, from a motive of fear or pity, apprised Abu Taher of
his danger, and recommended a speedy escape. "Your master," said
the intrepid Carmathian to the messenger, "is at the head of
thirty thousand soldiers: three such men as these are wanting in
his host: " at the same instant, turning to three of his
companions, he commanded the first to plunge a dagger into his
breast, the second to leap into the Tigris, and the third to cast
himself headlong down a precipice. They obeyed without a murmur.

"Relate," continued the imam, "what you have seen: before the
evening your general shall be chained among my dogs." Before the
evening, the camp was surprised, and the menace was executed. The
rapine of the Carmathians was sanctified by their aversion to the
worship of Mecca: they robbed a caravan of pilgrims, and twenty
thousand devout Moslems were abandoned on the burning sands to a
death of hunger and thirst. Another year they suffered the
pilgrims to proceed without interruption; but, in the festival of
devotion, Abu Taher stormed the holy city, and trampled on the
most venerable relics of the Mahometan faith. Thirty thousand
citizens and strangers were put to the sword; the sacred
precincts were polluted by the burial of three thousand dead
bodies; the well of Zemzem overflowed with blood; the golden
spout was forced from its place; the veil of the Caaba was
divided among these impious sectaries; and the black stone, the
first monument of the nation, was borne away in triumph to their
capital. After this deed of sacrilege and cruelty, they continued
to infest the confines of Irak, Syria, and Egypt: but the vital
principle of enthusiasm had withered at the root. Their
scruples, or their avarice, again opened the pilgrimage of Mecca,
and restored the black stone of the Caaba; and it is needless to
inquire into what factions they were broken, or by whose swords
they were finally extirpated. The sect of the Carmathians may be
considered as the second visible cause of the decline and fall of
the empire of the caliphs. ^101

[Footnote 101: For the sect of the Carmathians, consult Elmacin,
(Hist. Sara cen, p. 219, 224, 229, 231, 238, 241, 243,)
Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 179 - 182,) Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem.
p. 218, 219, &c., 245, 265, 274.) and D'Herbelot, (Bibliotheque
Orientale, p. 256 - 258, 635.) I find some inconsistencies of
theology and chronology, which it would not be easy nor of much
importance to reconcile.

Note: Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 44, &c.
- M.]

Chapter LII: More Conquests By The Arabs.

Part V.

The third and most obvious cause was the weight and
magnitude of the empire itself. The caliph Almamon might proudly
assert, that it was easier for him to rule the East and the West,
than to manage a chess-board of two feet square: ^102 yet I
suspect that in both those games he was guilty of many fatal
mistakes; and I perceive, that in the distant provinces the
authority of the first and most powerful of the Abbassides was
already impaired. The analogy of despotism invests the
representative with the full majesty of the prince; the division
and balance of powers might relax the habits of obedience, might
encourage the passive subject to inquire into the origin and
administration of civil government. He who is born in the purple
is seldom worthy to reign; but the elevation of a private man, of
a peasant, perhaps, or a slave, affords a strong presumption of
his courage and capacity. The viceroy of a remote kingdom
aspires to secure the property and inheritance of his precarious
trust; the nations must rejoice in the presence of their
sovereign; and the command of armies and treasures are at once
the object and the instrument of his ambition. A change was
scarcely visible as long as the lieutenants of the caliph were
content with their vicarious title; while they solicited for
themselves or their sons a renewal of the Imperial grant, and
still maintained on the coin and in the public prayers the name
and prerogative of the commander of the faithful. But in the
long and hereditary exercise of power, they assumed the pride and
attributes of royalty; the alternative of peace or war, of reward
or punishment, depended solely on their will; and the revenues of
their government were reserved for local services or private
magnificence. Instead of a regular supply of men and money, the
successors of the prophet were flattered with the ostentatious
gift of an elephant, or a cast of hawks, a suit of silk hangings,
or some pounds of musk and amber. ^103

[Footnote 102: Hyde, Syntagma Dissertat. tom. ii. p. 57, in Hist.

[Footnote 103: The dynasties of the Arabian empire may be studied
in the Annals of Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and Abulfeda, under the
proper years, in the dictionary of D'Herbelot, under the proper
names. The tables of M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i.)
exhibit a general chronology of the East, interspersed with some
historical anecdotes; but his attachment to national blood has
sometimes confounded the order of time and place.]

After the revolt of Spain from the temporal and spiritual
supremacy of the Abbassides, the first symptoms of disobedience
broke forth in the province of Africa. Ibrahim, the son of
Aglab, the lieutenant of the vigilant and rigid Harun, bequeathed
to the dynasty of the Aglabites the inheritance of his name and
power. The indolence or policy of the caliphs dissembled the
injury and loss, and pursued only with poison the founder of the
Edrisites, ^104 who erected the kingdom and city of Fez on the
shores of the Western ocean. ^105 In the East, the first dynasty
was that of the Taherites; ^106 the posterity of the valiant
Taher, who, in the civil wars of the sons of Harun, had served
with too much zeal and success the cause of Almamon, the younger
brother. He was sent into honorable exile, to command on the
banks of the Oxus; and the independence of his successors, who
reigned in Chorasan till the fourth generation, was palliated by
their modest and respectful demeanor, the happiness of their
subjects and the security of their frontier. They were
supplanted by one of those adventures so frequent in the annals
of the East, who left his trade of a brazier (from whence the
name of Soffarides) for the profession of a robber. In a
nocturnal visit to the treasure of the prince of Sistan, Jacob,
the son of Leith, stumbled over a lump of salt, which he unwarily
tasted with his tongue. Salt, among the Orientals, is the symbol
of hospitality, and the pious robber immediately retired without
spoil or damage. The discovery of this honorable behavior
recommended Jacob to pardon and trust; he led an army at first
for his benefactor, at last for himself, subdued Persia, and
threatened the residence of the Abbassides. On his march towards
Bagdad, the conqueror was arrested by a fever. He gave audience
in bed to the ambassador of the caliph; and beside him on a table
were exposed a naked cimeter, a crust of brown bread, and a bunch
of onions. "If I die," said he, "your master is delivered from
his fears. If I live, this must determine between us. If I am
vanquished, I can return without reluctance to the homely fare of
my youth." From the height where he stood, the descent would not
have been so soft or harmless: a timely death secured his own
repose and that of the caliph, who paid with the most lavish
concessions the retreat of his brother Amrou to the palaces of
Shiraz and Ispahan. The Abbassides were too feeble to contend,
too proud to forgive: they invited the powerful dynasty of the
Samanides, who passed the Oxus with ten thousand horse so poor,
that their stirrups were of wood: so brave, that they vanquished
the Soffarian army, eight times more numerous than their own.
The captive Amrou was sent in chains, a grateful offering to the
court of Bagdad; and as the victor was content with the
inheritance of Transoxiana and Chorasan, the realms of Persia
returned for a while to the allegiance of the caliphs. The
provinces of Syria and Egypt were twice dismembered by their
Turkish slaves of the race of Toulon and Ilkshid. ^107 These
Barbarians, in religion and manners the countrymen of Mahomet,
emerged from the bloody factions of the palace to a provincial
command and an independent throne: their names became famous and
formidable in their time; but the founders of these two potent
dynasties confessed, either in words or actions, the vanity of
ambition. The first on his death-bed implored the mercy of God
to a sinner, ignorant of the limits of his own power: the second,
in the midst of four hundred thousand soldiers and eight thousand
slaves, concealed from every human eye the chamber where he
attempted to sleep. Their sons were educated in the vices of
kings; and both Egypt and Syria were recovered and possessed by
the Abbassides during an interval of thirty years. In the
decline of their empire, Mesopotamia, with the important cities
of Mosul and Aleppo, was occupied by the Arabian princes of the
tribe of Hamadan. The poets of their court could repeat without
a blush, that nature had formed their countenances for beauty,
their tongues for eloquence, and their hands for liberality and
valor: but the genuine tale of the elevation and reign of the
Hamadanites exhibits a scene of treachery, murder, and parricide.

At the same fatal period, the Persian kingdom was again usurped
by the dynasty of the Bowides, by the sword of three brothers,
who, under various names, were styled the support and columns of
the state, and who, from the Caspian Sea to the ocean, would
suffer no tyrants but themselves. Under their reign, the
language and genius of Persia revived, and the Arabs, three
hundred and four years after the death of Mahomet, were deprived
of the sceptre of the East.

[Footnote 104: The Aglabites and Edrisites are the professed
subject of M. de Cardonne, (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne
sous la Domination des Arabes, tom. ii. p. 1 - 63.)]

[Footnote 105: To escape the reproach of error, I must criticize
the inaccuracies of M. de Guignes (tom. i. p. 359) concerning the
Edrisites. 1. The dynasty and city of Fez could not be founded in
the year of the Hegira 173, since the founder was a posthumous
child of a descendant of Ali, who fled from Mecca in the year
168. 2. This founder, Edris, the son of Edris, instead of living
to the improbable age of 120 years, A. H. 313, died A. H. 214, in
the prime of manhood. 3. The dynasty ended A. H. 307,
twenty-three years sooner than it is fixed by the historian of
the Huns. See the accurate Annals of Abulfeda p. 158, 159, 185,

[Footnote 106: The dynasties of the Taherites and Soffarides,
with the rise of that of the Samanines, are described in the
original history and Latin version of Mirchond: yet the most
interesting facts had already been drained by the diligence of M.

[Footnote 107: M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 124 -
154) has exhausted the Toulunides and Ikshidites of Egypt, and
thrown some light on the Carmathians and Hamadanites.]

Rahadi, the twentieth of the Abbassides, and the
thirty-ninth of the successors of Mahomet, was the last who
deserved the title of commander of the faithful; ^108 the last
(says Abulfeda) who spoke to the people, or conversed with the
learned; the last who, in the expense of his household,
represented the wealth and magnificence of the ancient caliphs.
After him, the lords of the Eastern world were reduced to the
most abject misery, and exposed to the blows and insults of a
servile condition. The revolt of the provinces circumscribed
their dominions within the walls of Bagdad: but that capital
still contained an innumerable multitude, vain of their past
fortune, discontented with their present state, and oppressed by
the demands of a treasury which had formerly been replenished by
the spoil and tribute of nations. Their idleness was exercised
by faction and controversy. Under the mask of piety, the rigid
followers of Hanbal ^109 invaded the pleasures of domestic life,
burst into the houses of plebeians and princes, the wine, broke
the instruments, beat the musicians, and dishonored, with
infamous suspicions, the associates of every handsome youth. In
each profession, which allowed room for two persons, the one was
a votary, the other an antagonist, of Ali; and the Abbassides
were awakened by the clamorous grief of the sectaries, who denied
their title, and cursed their progenitors. A turbulent people
could only be repressed by a military force; but who could
satisfy the avarice or assert the discipline of the mercenaries
themselves? The African and the Turkish guards drew their swords
against each other, and the chief commanders, the emirs al Omra,
^110 imprisoned or deposed their sovereigns, and violated the
sanctuary of the mosch and harem. If the caliphs escaped to the
camp or court of any neighboring prince, their deliverance was a
change of servitude, till they were prompted by despair to invite
the Bowides, the sultans of Persia, who silenced the factions of
Bagdad by their irresistible arms. The civil and military powers
were assumed by Moezaldowlat, the second of the three brothers,
and a stipend of sixty thousand pounds sterling was assigned by
his generosity for the private expense of the commander of the
faithful. But on the fortieth day, at the audience of the
ambassadors of Chorasan, and in the presence of a trembling
multitude, the caliph was dragged from his throne to a dungeon,
by the command of the stranger, and the rude hands of his
Dilamites. His palace was pillaged, his eyes were put out, and
the mean ambition of the Abbassides aspired to the vacant station
of danger and disgrace. In the school of adversity, the
luxurious caliphs resumed the grave and abstemious virtues of the
primitive times. Despoiled of their armor and silken robes, they
fasted, they prayed, they studied the Koran and the tradition of
the Sonnites: they performed, with zeal and knowledge, the
functions of their ecclesiastical character. The respect of
nations still waited on the successors of the apostle, the
oracles of the law and conscience of the faithful; and the
weakness or division of their tyrants sometimes restored the
Abbassides to the sovereignty of Bagdad. But their misfortunes
had been imbittered by the triumph of the Fatimites, the real or
spurious progeny of Ali. Arising from the extremity of Africa,
these successful rivals extinguished, in Egypt and Syria, both
the spiritual and temporal authority of the Abbassides; and the
monarch of the Nile insulted the humble pontiff on the banks of
the Tigris.

[Footnote 108: Hic est ultimus chalifah qui multum atque saepius
pro concione peroraret .... Fuit etiam ultimus qui otium cum
eruditis et facetis hominibus fallere hilariterque agere soleret.

Ultimus tandem chalifarum cui sumtus, stipendia, reditus, et
thesauri, culinae, caeteraque omnis aulica pompa priorum
chalifarum ad instar comparata fuerint. Videbimus enim paullo
post quam indignis et servilibius ludibriis exagitati, quam ad
humilem fortunam altimumque contemptum abjecti fuerint hi quondam
potentissimi totius terrarum Orientalium orbis domini. Abulfed.
Annal. Moslem. p. 261. I have given this passage as the manner
and tone of Abulfeda, but the cast of Latin eloquence belongs
more properly to Reiske. The Arabian historian (p. 255, 257, 261
- 269, 283, &c.) has supplied me with the most interesting facts
of this paragraph.]

[Footnote 109: Their master, on a similar occasion, showed
himself of a more indulgent and tolerating spirit. Ahmed Ebn
Hanbal, the head of one of the four orthodox sects, was born at
Bagdad A. H. 164, and died there A. H. 241. He fought and
suffered in the dispute concerning the creation of the Koran.]

[Footnote 110: The office of vizier was superseded by the emir al
Omra, Imperator Imperatorum, a title first instituted by Radhi,
and which merged at length in the Bowides and Seljukides:
vectigalibus, et tributis, et curiis per omnes regiones
praefecit, jussitque in omnibus suggestis nominis ejus in
concionibus mentionem fieri, (Abulpharagius, Dynart. p 199.) It
is likewise mentioned by Elmacin, (p. 254, 255.)]

In the declining age of the caliphs, in the century which
elapsed after the war of Theophilus and Motassem, the hostile
transactions of the two nations were confined to some inroads by
sea and land, the fruits of their close vicinity and indelible
hatred. But when the Eastern world was convulsed and broken, the
Greeks were roused from their lethargy by the hopes of conquest
and revenge. The Byzantine empire, since the accession of the
Basilian race, had reposed in peace and dignity; and they might
encounter with their entire strength the front of some petty
emir, whose rear was assaulted and threatened by his national
foes of the Mahometan faith. The lofty titles of the morning
star, and the death of the Saracens, ^111 were applied in the
public acclamations to Nicephorus Phocas, a prince as renowned in
the camp, as he was unpopular in the city. In the subordinate
station of great domestic, or general of the East, he reduced the
Island of Crete, and extirpated the nest of pirates who had so
long defied, with impunity, the majesty of the empire. ^112 His
military genius was displayed in the conduct and success of the
enterprise, which had so often failed with loss and dishonor.
The Saracens were confounded by the landing of his troops on safe
and level bridges, which he cast from the vessels to the shore.
Seven months were consumed in the siege of Candia; the despair of
the native Cretans was stimulated by the frequent aid of their
brethren of Africa and Spain; and after the massy wall and double
ditch had been stormed by the Greeks a hopeless conflict was
still maintained in the streets and houses of the city. ^* The
whole island was subdued in the capital, and a submissive people
accepted, without resistance, the baptism of the conqueror. ^113
Constantinople applauded the long-forgotten pomp of a triumph;
but the Imperial diadem was the sole reward that could repay the
services, or satisfy the ambition, of Nicephorus.

[Footnote 111: Liutprand, whose choleric temper was imbittered by
his uneasy situation, suggests the names of reproach and contempt
more applicable to Nicephorus than the vain titles of the Greeks,
Ecce venit stella matutina, surgit Eous, reverberat obtutu solis
radios, pallida Saracenorum mors, Nicephorus.]

[Footnote 112: Notwithstanding the insinuation of Zonaras, &c.,
(tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 197,) it is an undoubted fact, that Crete
was completely and finally subdued by Nicephorus Phocas, (Pagi,
Critica, tom. iii. p. 873 - 875. Meursius, Creta, l. iii. c. 7,
tom. iii. p. 464, 465.)]

[Footnote *: The Acroases of Theodorus, de expugnatione Cretae,
miserable iambics, relate the whole campaign. Whoever would
fairly estimate the merit of the poetic deacon, may read the
description of the slinging a jackass into the famishing city.
The poet is in a transport at the wit of the general, and revels
in the luxury of antithesis. Theodori Acroases, lib. iii. 172,
in Niebuhr's Byzant. Hist. - M.]

[Footnote 113: A Greek Life of St. Nicon the Armenian was found
in the Sforza library, and translated into Latin by the Jesuit
Sirmond, for the use of Cardinal Baronius. This contemporary
legend casts a ray of light on Crete and Peloponnesus in the 10th
century. He found the newly-recovered island, foedis detestandae
Agarenorum superstitionis vestigiis adhuc plenam ac refertam ....
but the victorious missionary, perhaps with some carnal aid, ad
baptismum omnes veraeque fidei disciplinam pepulit. Ecclesiis
per totam insulam aedificatis, &c., (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 961.)]

After the death of the younger Romanus, the fourth in lineal
descent of the Basilian race, his widow Theophania successively
married Nicephorus Phocas and his assassin John Zimisces, the two
heroes of the age. They reigned as the guardians and colleagues
of her infant sons; and the twelve years of their military
command form the most splendid period of the Byzantine annals.
The subjects and confederates, whom they led to war, appeared, at
least in the eyes of an enemy, two hundred thousand strong; and
of these about thirty thousand were armed with cuirasses: ^114 a
train of four thousand mules attended their march; and their
evening camp was regularly fortified with an enclosure of iron
spikes. A series of bloody and undecisive combats is nothing
more than an anticipation of what would have been effected in a
few years by the course of nature; but I shall briefly prosecute
the conquests of the two emperors from the hills of Cappadocia to
the desert of Bagdad. The sieges of Mopsuestia and Tarsus, in
Cilicia, first exercised the skill and perseverance of their
troops, on whom, at this moment, I shall not hesitate to bestow
the name of Romans. In the double city of Mopsuestia, which is
divided by the River Sarus, two hundred thousand Moslems were
predestined to death or slavery, ^115 a surprising degree of
population, which must at least include the inhabitants of the
dependent districts. They were surrounded and taken by assault;
but Tarsus was reduced by the slow progress of famine; and no
sooner had the Saracens yielded on honorable terms than they were
mortified by the distant and unprofitable view of the naval
succors of Egypt. They were dismissed with a safe-conduct to the
confines of Syria: a part of the old Christians had quietly lived
under their dominion; and the vacant habitations were replenished
by a new colony. But the mosch was converted into a stable; the
pulpit was delivered to the flames; many rich crosses of gold and
gems, the spoils of Asiatic churches, were made a grateful
offering to the piety or avarice of the emperor; and he
transported the gates of Mopsuestia and Tarsus, which were fixed
in the walls of Constantinople, an eternal monument of his
victory. After they had forced and secured the narrow passes of
Mount Amanus, the two Roman princes repeatedly carried their arms
into the heart of Syria. Yet, instead of assaulting the walls of
Antioch, the humanity or superstition of Nicephorus appeared to
respect the ancient metropolis of the East: he contented himself
with drawing round the city a line of circumvallation; left a
stationary army; and instructed his lieutenant to expect, without
impatience, the return of spring. But in the depth of winter, in
a dark and rainy night, an adventurous subaltern, with three
hundred soldiers, approached the rampart, applied his
scaling-ladders, occupied two adjacent towers, stood firm against
the pressure of multitudes, and bravely maintained his post till
he was relieved by the tardy, though effectual, support of his
reluctant chief. The first tumult of slaughter and rapine
subsided; the reign of Caesar and of Christ was restored; and the
efforts of a hundred thousand Saracens, of the armies of Syria
and the fleets of Africa, were consumed without effect before the
walls of Antioch. The royal city of Aleppo was subject to
Seifeddowlat, of the dynasty of Hamadan, who clouded his past
glory by the precipitate retreat which abandoned his kingdom and
capital to the Roman invaders. In his stately palace, that stood
without the walls of Aleppo, they joyfully seized a
well-furnished magazine of arms, a stable of fourteen hundred
mules, and three hundred bags of silver and gold. But the walls
of the city withstood the strokes of their battering-rams: and
the besiegers pitched their tents on the neighboring mountain of
Jaushan. Their retreat exasperated the quarrel of the townsmen
and mercenaries; the guard of the gates and ramparts was
deserted; and while they furiously charged each other in the
market-place, they were surprised and destroyed by the sword of a
common enemy. The male sex was exterminated by the sword; ten
thousand youths were led into captivity; the weight of the
precious spoil exceeded the strength and number of the beasts of
burden; the superfluous remainder was burnt; and, after a
licentious possession of ten days, the Romans marched away from
the naked and bleeding city. In their Syrian inroads they
commanded the husbandmen to cultivate their lands, that they
themselves, in the ensuing season, might reap the benefit; more
than a hundred cities were reduced to obedience; and eighteen
pulpits of the principal moschs were committed to the flames to
expiate the sacrilege of the disciples of Mahomet. The classic
names of Hierapolis, Apamea, and Emesa, revive for a moment in
the list of conquest: the emperor Zimisces encamped in the
paradise of Damascus, and accepted the ransom of a submissive
people; and the torrent was only stopped by the impregnable
fortress of Tripoli, on the sea-coast of Phoenicia. Since the
days of Heraclius, the Euphrates, below the passage of Mount
Taurus, had been impervious, and almost invisible, to the Greeks.

The river yielded a free passage to the victorious Zimisces; and
the historian may imitate the speed with which he overran the
once famous cities of Samosata, Edessa, Martyropolis, Amida, ^116
and Nisibis, the ancient limit of the empire in the neighborhood
of the Tigris. His ardor was quickened by the desire of grasping
the virgin treasures of Ecbatana, ^117 a well-known name, under
which the Byzantine writer has concealed the capital of the
Abbassides. The consternation of the fugitives had already
diffused the terror of his name; but the fancied riches of Bagdad
had already been dissipated by the avarice and prodigality of
domestic tyrants. The prayers of the people, and the stern
demands of the lieutenant of the Bowides, required the caliph to
provide for the defence of the city. The helpless Mothi replied,
that his arms, his revenues, and his provinces, had been torn
from his hands, and that he was ready to abdicate a dignity which
he was unable to support. The emir was inexorable; the furniture
of the palace was sold; and the paltry price of forty thousand
pieces of gold was instantly consumed in private luxury. But the
apprehensions of Bagdad were relieved by the retreat of the
Greeks: thirst and hunger guarded the desert of Mesopotamia; and
the emperor, satiated with glory, and laden with Oriental spoils,
returned to Constantinople, and displayed, in his triumph, the
silk, the aromatics, and three hundred myriads of gold and
silver. Yet the powers of the East had been bent, not broken, by
this transient hurricane. After the departure of the Greeks, the
fugitive princes returned to their capitals; the subjects
disclaimed their involuntary oaths of allegiance; the Moslems
again purified their temples, and overturned the idols of the
saints and martyrs; the Nestorians and Jacobites preferred a
Saracen to an orthodox master; and the numbers and spirit of the
Melchites were inadequate to the support of the church and state.

Of these extensive conquests, Antioch, with the cities of Cilicia
and the Isle of Cyprus, was alone restored, a permanent and
useful accession to the Roman empire. ^118

[Footnote 114: Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 278, 279. Liutprand
was disposed to depreciate the Greek power, yet he owns that
Nicephorus led against Assyria an army of eighty thousand men.]

[Footnote 115: Ducenta fere millia hominum numerabat urbs
(Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p. 231) of Mopsuestia, or Masifa,
Mampsysta, Mansista, Mamista, as it is corruptly, or perhaps more
correctly, styled in the middle ages, (Wesseling, Itinerar. p.
580.) Yet I cannot credit this extreme populousness a few years
after the testimony of the emperor Leo, (Tactica, c. xviii. in
Meursii Oper. tom. vi. p. 817.)]

[Footnote 116: The text of Leo the deacon, in the corrupt names
of Emeta and Myctarsim, reveals the cities of Amida and
Martyropolis, (Mia farekin. See Abulfeda, Geograph. p. 245, vers.
Reiske.) Of the former, Leo observes, urbus munita et illustris;
of the latter, clara atque conspicua opibusque et pecore,
reliquis ejus provinciis urbibus atque oppidis longe praestans.]

[Footnote 117: Ut et Ecbatana pergeret Agarenorumque regiam
everteret .... aiunt enim urbium quae usquam sunt ac toto orbe
existunt felicissimam esse auroque ditissimam, (Leo Diacon. apud
Pagium, tom. iv. p. 34.) This splendid description suits only
with Bagdad, and cannot possibly apply either to Hamadan, the
true Ecbatana, (D'Anville, Geog. Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 237,) or
Tauris, which has been commonly mistaken for that city. The name
of Ecbatana, in the same indefinite sense, is transferred by a
more classic authority (Cicero pro Lego Manilia, c. 4) to the
royal seat of Mithridates, king of Pontus.]

[Footnote 118: See the Annals of Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and
Abulfeda, from A. H. 351 to A. H. 361; and the reigns of
Nicephorus Phocas and John Zimisces, in the Chronicles of Zonaras
(tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 199 - l. xvii. 215) and Cedrenus, (Compend.
p. 649 - 684.) Their manifold defects are partly supplied by the
Ms. history of Leo the deacon, which Pagi obtained from the
Benedictines, and has inserted almost entire, in a Latin version,
(Critica, tom. iii. p. 873, tom. iv. 37.)

Note: The whole original work of Leo the Deacon has been
published by Hase, and is inserted in the new edition of the
Byzantine historians. M Lassen has added to the Arabian
authorities of this period some extracts from Kemaleddin's
account of the treaty for the surrender of Aleppo. - M.]

Chapter LIII: Fate Of The Eastern Empire.

Part I.

Fate Of The Eastern Empire In The Tenth Century. - Extent
And Division. - Wealth And Revenue. - Palace Of Constantinople. -
Titles And Offices. - Pride And Power Of The Emperors. - Tactics
Of The Greeks, Arabs, And Franks. - Loss Of The Latin Tongue. -
Studies And Solitude Of The Greeks.

A ray of historic light seems to beam from the darkness of
the tenth century. We open with curiosity and respect the royal
volumes of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, ^1 which he composed at a
mature age for the instruction of his son, and which promise to
unfold the state of the eastern empire, both in peace and war,
both at home and abroad. In the first of these works he minutely
describes the pompous ceremonies of the church and palace of
Constantinople, according to his own practice, and that of his
predecessors. ^2 In the second, he attempts an accurate survey of
the provinces, the themes, as they were then denominated, both of
Europe and Asia. ^3 The system of Roman tactics, the discipline
and order of the troops, and the military operations by land and
sea, are explained in the third of these didactic collections,
which may be ascribed to Constantine or his father Leo. ^4 In the
fourth, of the administration of the empire, he reveals the
secrets of the Byzantine policy, in friendly or hostile
intercourse with the nations of the earth. The literary labors
of the age, the practical systems of law, agriculture, and
history, might redound to the benefit of the subject and the
honor of the Macedonian princes. The sixty books of the
Basilics, ^5 the code and pandects of civil jurisprudence, were
gradually framed in the three first reigns of that prosperous
dynasty. The art of agriculture had amused the leisure, and
exercised the pens, of the best and wisest of the ancients; and
their chosen precepts are comprised in the twenty books of the
Geoponics ^6 of Constantine. At his command, the historical
examples of vice and virtue were methodized in fifty-three books,
^7 and every citizen might apply, to his contemporaries or
himself, the lesson or the warning of past times. From the august
character of a legislator, the sovereign of the East descends to
the more humble office of a teacher and a scribe; and if his
successors and subjects were regardless of his paternal cares, we
may inherit and enjoy the everlasting legacy.

[Footnote 1: The epithet of Porphyrogenitus, born in the purple,
is elegantly defined by Claudian: -

Ardua privatos nescit fortuna Penates;
Et regnum cum luce dedit. Cognata potestas
Excepit Tyrio venerabile pignus in ostro.

And Ducange, in his Greek and Latin Glossaries, produces many
passages expressive of the same idea.]

[Footnote 2: A splendid Ms. of Constantine, de Caeremoniis Aulae
et Ecclesiae Byzantinae, wandered from Constantinople to Buda,
Frankfort, and Leipsic, where it was published in a splendid
edition by Leich and Reiske, (A.D. 1751, in folio,) with such
lavish praise as editors never fail to bestow on the worthy or
worthless object of their toil.]

[Footnote 3: See, in the first volume of Banduri's Imperium
Orientale, Constantinus de Thematibus, p. 1 - 24, de
Administrando Imperio, p. 45 - 127, edit. Venet. The text of the
old edition of Meursius is corrected from a Ms. of the royal
library of Paris, which Isaac Casaubon had formerly seen, (Epist.
ad Polybium, p. 10,) and the sense is illustrated by two maps of
William Deslisle, the prince of geographers till the appearance
of the greater D'Anville.]

[Footnote 4: The Tactics of Leo and Constantine are published
with the aid of some new Mss. in the great edition of the works
of Meursius, by the learned John Lami, (tom. vi. p. 531 - 920,
1211 - 1417, Florent. 1745,) yet the text is still corrupt and
mutilated, the version is still obscure and faulty. The Imperial
library of Vienna would afford some valuable materials to a new
editor, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 369, 370.)]

[Footnote 5: On the subject of the Basilics, Fabricius, (Bibliot.
Graec. tom. xii. p. 425 - 514,) and Heineccius, (Hist. Juris
Romani, p. 396 - 399,) and Giannone, (Istoria Civile di Napoli,
tom. i. p. 450 - 458,) as historical civilians, may be usefully
consulted: xli. books of this Greek code have been published,
with a Latin version, by Charles Annibal Frabrottus, (Paris,
1647,) in seven tomes in folio; iv. other books have been since
discovered, and are inserted in Gerard Meerman's Novus Thesaurus
Juris Civ. et Canon. tom. v. Of the whole work, the sixty books,
John Leunclavius has printed, (Basil, 1575,) an eclogue or
synopsis. The cxiii. novels, or new laws, of Leo, may be found
in the Corpus Juris Civilis.]

[Footnote 6: I have used the last and best edition of the
Geoponics, (by Nicolas Niclas, Leipsic, 1781, 2 vols. in octavo.)
I read in the preface, that the same emperor restored the
long-forgotten systems of rhetoric and philosophy; and his two
books of Hippiatrica, or Horse-physic, were published at Paris,
1530, in folio, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 493 - 500.)]

[Footnote 7: Of these LIII. books, or titles, only two have been
preserved and printed, de Legationibus (by Fulvius Ursinus,
Antwerp, 1582, and Daniel Hoeschelius, August. Vindel. 1603) and
de Virtutibus et Vitiis, (by Henry Valesius, or de Valois, Paris,

A closer survey will indeed reduce the value of the gift,
and the gratitude of posterity: in the possession of these
Imperial treasures we may still deplore our poverty and
ignorance; and the fading glories of their authors will be
obliterated by indifference or contempt. The Basilics will sink
to a broken copy, a partial and mutilated version, in the Greek
language, of the laws of Justinian; but the sense of the old
civilians is often superseded by the influence of bigotry: and
the absolute prohibition of divorce, concubinage, and interest
for money, enslaves the freedom of trade and the happiness of
private life. In the historical book, a subject of Constantine
might admire the inimitable virtues of Greece and Rome: he might
learn to what a pitch of energy and elevation the human character
had formerly aspired. But a contrary effect must have been
produced by a new edition of the lives of the saints, which the
great logothete, or chancellor of the empire, was directed to
prepare; and the dark fund of superstition was enriched by the
fabulous and florid legends of Simon the Metaphrast. ^8 The
merits and miracles of the whole calendar are of less account in
the eyes of a sage, than the toil of a single husbandman, who
multiplies the gifts of the Creator, and supplies the food of his
brethren. Yet the royal authors of the Geoponics were more
seriously employed in expounding the precepts of the destroying
art, which had been taught since the days of Xenophon, ^9 as the
art of heroes and kings. But the Tactics of Leo and Constantine
are mingled with the baser alloy of the age in which they lived.
It was destitute of original genius; they implicitly transcribe
the rules and maxims which had been confirmed by victories. It
was unskilled in the propriety of style and method; they blindly
confound the most distant and discordant institutions, the
phalanx of Sparta and that of Macedon, the legions of Cato and
Trajan, of Augustus and Theodosius. Even the use, or at least
the importance, of these military rudiments may be fairly
questioned: their general theory is dictated by reason; but the
merit, as well as difficulty, consists in the application. The
discipline of a soldier is formed by exercise rather than by
study: the talents of a commander are appropriated to those calm,
though rapid, minds, which nature produces to decide the fate of
armies and nations: the former is the habit of a life, the latter
the glance of a moment; and the battles won by lessons of tactics
may be numbered with the epic poems created from the rules of
criticism. The book of ceremonies is a recital, tedious yet
imperfect, of the despicable pageantry which had infected the
church and state since the gradual decay of the purity of the one
and the power of the other. A review of the themes or provinces
might promise such authentic and useful information, as the
curiosity of government only can obtain, instead of traditionary
fables on the origin of the cities, and malicious epigrams on the
vices of their inhabitants. ^10 Such information the historian
would have been pleased to record; nor should his silence be
condemned if the most interesting objects, the population of the
capital and provinces, the amount of the taxes and revenues, the
numbers of subjects and strangers who served under the Imperial
standard, have been unnoticed by Leo the philosopher, and his son
Constantine. His treatise of the public administration is
stained with the same blemishes; yet it is discriminated by
peculiar merit; the antiquities of the nations may be doubtful or
fabulous; but the geography and manners of the Barbaric world are
delineated with curious accuracy. Of these nations, the Franks
alone were qualified to observe in their turn, and to describe,
the metropolis of the East. The ambassador of the great Otho, a
bishop of Cremona, has painted the state of Constantinople about
the middle of the tenth century: his style is glowing, his
narrative lively, his observation keen; and even the prejudices
and passions of Liutprand are stamped with an original character
of freedom and genius. ^11 From this scanty fund of foreign and
domestic materials, I shall investigate the form and substance of
the Byzantine empire; the provinces and wealth, the civil
government and military force, the character and literature, of
the Greeks in a period of six hundred years, from the reign of
Heraclius to his successful invasion of the Franks or Latins.

[Footnote 8: The life and writings of Simon Metaphrastes are
described by Hankius, (de Scriptoribus Byzant. p. 418 - 460.)
This biographer of the saints indulged himself in a loose
paraphrase of the sense or nonsense of more ancient acts. His
Greek rhetoric is again paraphrased in the Latin version of
Surius, and scarcely a thread can be now visible of the original

[Footnote 9: According to the first book of the Cyropaedia,
professors of tactics, a small part of the science of war, were
already instituted in Persia, by which Greece must be understood.

A good edition of all the Scriptores Tactici would be a task not
unworthy of a scholar. His industry might discover some new
Mss., and his learning might illustrate the military history of
the ancients. But this scholar should be likewise a soldier; and
alas! Quintus Icilius is no more.

Note: M. Guichardt, author of Memoires Militaires sur les
Grecs et sur les Romains. See Gibbon's Extraits Raisonnees de
mes Lectures, Misc. Works vol. v. p. 219. - M]

[Footnote 10: After observing that the demerit of the
Cappadocians rose in proportion to their rank and riches, he
inserts a more pointed epigram, which is ascribed to Demodocus.

The sting is precisely the same with the French epigram
against Freron: Un serpent mordit Jean Freron - Eh bien? Le
serpent en mourut. But as the Paris wits are seldom read in the
Anthology, I should be curious to learn, through what channel it
was conveyed for their imitation, (Constantin. Porphyrogen. de
Themat. c. ii. Brunck Analect. Graec. tom. ii. p. 56. Brodaei
Anthologia, l. ii. p. 244.)]

[Footnote 11: The Legatio Liutprandi Episcopi Cremonensis ad
Nicephorum Phocam is inserted in Muratori, Scriptores Rerum
Italicarum, tom. ii. pars i.]

After the final division between the sons of Theodosius, the
swarms of Barbarians from Scythia and Germany over-spread the
provinces and extinguished the empire of ancient Rome. The
weakness of Constantinople was concealed by extent of dominion:
her limits were inviolate, or at least entire; and the kingdom of
Justinian was enlarged by the splendid acquisition of Africa and
Italy. But the possession of these new conquests was transient
and precarious; and almost a moiety of the Eastern empire was
torn away by the arms of the Saracens. Syria and Egypt were
oppressed by the Arabian caliphs; and, after the reduction of
Africa, their lieutenants invaded and subdued the Roman province
which had been changed into the Gothic monarchy of Spain. The
islands of the Mediterranean were not inaccessible to their naval
powers; and it was from their extreme stations, the harbors of
Crete and the fortresses of Cilicia, that the faithful or rebel
emirs insulted the majesty of the throne and capital. The
remaining provinces, under the obedience of the emperors, were
cast into a new mould; and the jurisdiction of the presidents,
the consulars, and the counts were superseded by the institution
of the themes, ^12 or military governments, which prevailed under
the successors of Heraclius, and are described by the pen of the
royal author. Of the twenty-nine themes, twelve in Europe and
seventeen in Asia, the origin is obscure, the etymology doubtful
or capricious: the limits were arbitrary and fluctuating; but
some particular names, that sound the most strangely to our ear,
were derived from the character and attributes of the troops that
were maintained at the expense, and for the guard, of the
respective divisions. The vanity of the Greek princes most
eagerly grasped the shadow of conquest and the memory of lost
dominion. A new Mesopotamia was created on the western side of
the Euphrates: the appellation and praetor of Sicily were
transferred to a narrow slip of Calabria; and a fragment of the
duchy of Beneventum was promoted to the style and title of the
theme of Lombardy. In the decline of the Arabian empire, the
successors of Constantine might indulge their pride in more solid
advantages. The victories of Nicephorus, John Zimisces, and
Basil the Second, revived the fame, and enlarged the boundaries,
of the Roman name: the province of Cilicia, the metropolis of
Antioch, the islands of Crete and Cyprus, were restored to the
allegiance of Christ and Caesar: one third of Italy was annexed
to the throne of Constantinople: the kingdom of Bulgaria was
destroyed; and the last sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty
extended their sway from the sources of the Tigris to the
neighborhood of Rome. In the eleventh century, the prospect was
again clouded by new enemies and new misfortunes: the relics of
Italy were swept away by the Norman adventures; and almost all
the Asiatic branches were dissevered from the Roman trunk by the
Turkish conquerors. After these losses, the emperors of the
Comnenian family continued to reign from the Danube to
Peloponnesus, and from Belgrade to Nice, Trebizond, and the
winding stream of the Meander. The spacious provinces of Thrace,
Macedonia, and Greece, were obedient to their sceptre; the
possession of Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete, was accompanied by the
fifty islands of the Aegean or Holy Sea; ^13 and the remnant of
their empire transcends the measure of the largest of the
European kingdoms.

[Footnote 12: See Constantine de Thematibus, in Banduri, tom. i.
p. 1 - 30. It is used by Maurice (Strata gem. l. ii. c. 2) for a
legion, from whence the name was easily transferred to its post
or province, (Ducange, Gloss. Graec. tom. i. p. 487-488.) Some
etymologies are attempted for the Opiscian, Optimatian,
Thracesian, themes.]

[Footnote 13: It is styled by the modern Greeks, from which the
corrupt names of Archipelago, l'Archipel, and the Arches, have
been transformed by geographers and seamen, (D'Anville,
Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 281. Analyse de la Carte de la
Greece, p. 60.) The numbers of monks or caloyers in all the
islands and the adjacent mountain of Athos, (Observations de
Belon, fol. 32, verso,) monte santo, might justify the epithet of
holy, a slight alteration from the original, imposed by the
Dorians, who, in their dialect, gave the figurative name of
goats, to the bounding waves, (Vossius, apud Cellarium, Geograph.
Antiq. tom. i. p. 829.)]

The same princes might assert, with dignity and truth, that
of all the monarchs of Christendom they possessed the greatest
city, ^14 the most ample revenue, the most flourishing and
populous state. With the decline and fall of the empire, the
cities of the West had decayed and fallen; nor could the ruins of
Rome, or the mud walls, wooden hovels, and narrow precincts of
Paris and London, prepare the Latin stranger to contemplate the
situation and extent of Constantinople, her stately palaces and
churches, and the arts and luxury of an innumerable people. Her
treasures might attract, but her virgin strength had repelled,
and still promised to repel, the audacious invasion of the
Persian and Bulgarian, the Arab and the Russian. The provinces
were less fortunate and impregnable; and few districts, few
cities, could be discovered which had not been violated by some
fierce Barbarian, impatient to despoil, because he was hopeless
to possess. From the age of Justinian the Eastern empire was
sinking below its former level; the powers of destruction were
more active than those of improvement; and the calamities of war
were imbittered by the more permanent evils of civil and
ecclesiastical tyranny. The captive who had escaped from the
Barbarians was often stripped and imprisoned by the ministers of
his sovereign: the Greek superstition relaxed the mind by prayer,
and emaciated the body by fasting; and the multitude of convents
and festivals diverted many hands and many days from the temporal
service of mankind. Yet the subjects of the Byzantine empire
were still the most dexterous and diligent of nations; their
country was blessed by nature with every advantage of soil,
climate, and situation; and, in the support and restoration of
the arts, their patient and peaceful temper was more useful than
the warlike spirit and feudal anarchy of Europe. The provinces
that still adhered to the empire were repeopled and enriched by
the misfortunes of those which were irrecoverably lost. From the
yoke of the caliphs, the Catholics of Syria, Egypt, and Africa
retired to the allegiance of their prince, to the society of
their brethren: the movable wealth, which eludes the search of
oppression, accompanied and alleviated their exile, and
Constantinople received into her bosom the fugitive trade of
Alexandria and Tyre. The chiefs of Armenia and Scythia, who fled
from hostile or religious persecution, were hospitably
entertained: their followers were encouraged to build new cities
and to cultivate waste lands; and many spots, both in Europe and
Asia, preserved the name, the manners, or at least the memory, of
these national colonies. Even the tribes of Barbarians, who had
seated themselves in arms on the territory of the empire, were
gradually reclaimed to the laws of the church and state; and as
long as they were separated from the Greeks, their posterity
supplied a race of faithful and obedient soldiers. Did we
possess sufficient materials to survey the twenty-nine themes of
the Byzantine monarchy, our curiosity might be satisfied with a
chosen example: it is fortunate enough that the clearest light
should be thrown on the most interesting province, and the name
of Peloponnesus will awaken the attention of the classic reader.

[Footnote 14: According to the Jewish traveller who had visited
Europe and Asia, Constantinople was equalled only by Bagdad, the
great city of the Ismaelites, (Voyage de Benjamin de Tudele, par
Baratier, tom. l. c. v. p. 46.)]

As early as the eighth century, in the troubled reign of the
Iconoclasts, Greece, and even Peloponnesus, ^15 were overrun by
some Sclavonian bands who outstripped the royal standard of
Bulgaria. The strangers of old, Cadmus, and Danaus, and Pelops,
had planted in that fruitful soil the seeds of policy and
learning; but the savages of the north eradicated what yet
remained of their sickly and withered roots. In this irruption,
the country and the inhabitants were transformed; the Grecian
blood was contaminated; and the proudest nobles of Peloponnesus
were branded with the names of foreigners and slaves. By the
diligence of succeeding princes, the land was in some measure
purified from the Barbarians; and the humble remnant was bound by
an oath of obedience, tribute, and military service, which they
often renewed and often violated. The siege of Patras was formed
by a singular concurrence of the Sclavonians of Peloponnesus and
the Saracens of Africa. In their last distress, a pious fiction
of the approach of the praetor of Corinth revived the courage of
the citizens. Their sally was bold and successful; the strangers
embarked, the rebels submitted, and the glory of the day was
ascribed to a phantom or a stranger, who fought in the foremost
ranks under the character of St. Andrew the Apostle. The shrine
which contained his relics was decorated with the trophies of
victory, and the captive race was forever devoted to the service
and vassalage of the metropolitan church of Patras. By the revolt
of two Sclavonian tribes, in the neighborhood of Helos and
Lacedaemon, the peace of the peninsula was often disturbed. They
sometimes insulted the weakness, and sometimes resisted the
oppression, of the Byzantine government, till at length the
approach of their hostile brethren extorted a golden bull to
define the rites and obligations of the Ezzerites and Milengi,
whose annual tribute was defined at twelve hundred pieces of
gold. From these strangers the Imperial geographer has
accurately distinguished a domestic, and perhaps original, race,
who, in some degree, might derive their blood from the
much-injured Helots. The liberality of the Romans, and
especially of Augustus, had enfranchised the maritime cities from
the dominion of Sparta; and the continuance of the same benefit
ennobled them with the title of Eleuthero, or Free-Laconians. ^16
In the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, they had acquired the
name of Mainotes, under which they dishonor the claim of liberty
by the inhuman pillage of all that is shipwrecked on their rocky
shores. Their territory, barren of corn, but fruitful of olives,
extended to the Cape of Malea: they accepted a chief or prince
from the Byzantine praetor, and a light tribute of four hundred
pieces of gold was the badge of their immunity, rather than of
their dependence. The freemen of Laconia assumed the character
of Romans, and long adhered to the religion of the Greeks. By
the zeal of the emperor Basil, they were baptized in the faith of
Christ: but the altars of Venus and Neptune had been crowned by
these rustic votaries five hundred years after they were
proscribed in the Roman world. In the theme of Peloponnesus, ^17
forty cities were still numbered, and the declining state of
Sparta, Argos, and Corinth, may be suspended in the tenth
century, at an equal distance, perhaps, between their antique
splendor and their present desolation. The duty of military
service, either in person or by substitute, was imposed on the
lands or benefices of the province; a sum of five pieces of gold
was assessed on each of the substantial tenants; and the same
capitation was shared among several heads of inferior value. On
the proclamation of an Italian war, the Peloponnesians excused
themselves by a voluntary oblation of one hundred pounds of gold,
(four thousand pounds sterling,) and a thousand horses with their
arms and trappings. The churches and monasteries furnished their
contingent; a sacrilegious profit was extorted from the sale of
ecclesiastical honors; and the indigent bishop of Leucadia ^18
was made responsible for a pension of one hundred pieces of gold.

[Footnote 15: Says Constantine, (Thematibus, l. ii. c. vi. p.
25,) in a style as barbarous as the idea, which he confirms, as
usual, by a foolish epigram. The epitomizer of Strabo likewise
observes, (l. vii. p. 98, edit. Hudson. edit. Casaub. 1251;) a
passage which leads Dodwell a weary dance (Geograph, Minor. tom.
ii. dissert. vi. p. 170 - 191) to enumerate the inroads of the
Sclavi, and to fix the date (A.D. 980) of this petty geographer.]

[Footnote 16: Strabon. Geograph. l. viii. p. 562. Pausanius,
Graec. Descriptio, l. c 21, p. 264, 265. Pliny, Hist. Natur. l.
iv. c. 8.]

[Footnote 17: Constantin. de Administrando Imperio, l. ii. c. 50,
51, 52.]

[Footnote 18: The rock of Leucate was the southern promontory of
his island and diocese. Had he been the exclusive guardian of
the Lover's Leap so well known to the readers of Ovid (Epist.
Sappho) and the Spectator, he might have been the richest prelate
of the Greek church.]

[Footnote 19: Leucatensis mihi juravit episcopus, quotannis
ecclesiam suam debere Nicephoro aureos centum persolvere,
similiter et ceteras plus minusve secundum vires suos, (Liutprand
in Legat. p. 489.)]

But the wealth of the province, and the trust of the
revenue, were founded on the fair and plentiful produce of trade
and manufacturers; and some symptoms of liberal policy may be
traced in a law which exempts from all personal taxes the
mariners of Peloponnesus, and the workmen in parchment and
purple. This denomination may be fairly applied or extended to
the manufacturers of linen, woollen, and more especially of silk:
the two former of which had flourished in Greece since the days
of Homer; and the last was introduced perhaps as early as the
reign of Justinian. These arts, which were exercised at Corinth,
Thebes, and Argos, afforded food and occupation to a numerous
people: the men, women, and children were distributed according
to their age and strength; and, if many of these were domestic
slaves, their masters, who directed the work and enjoyed the
profit, were of a free and honorable condition. The gifts which
a rich and generous matron of Peloponnesus presented to the
emperor Basil, her adopted son, were doubtless fabricated in the
Grecian looms. Danielis bestowed a carpet of fine wool, of a
pattern which imitated the spots of a peacock's tail, of a
magnitude to overspread the floor of a new church, erected in the
triple name of Christ, of Michael the archangel, and of the
prophet Elijah. She gave six hundred pieces of silk and linen,
of various use and denomination: the silk was painted with the
Tyrian dye, and adorned by the labors of the needle; and the
linen was so exquisitely fine, that an entire piece might be
rolled in the hollow of a cane. ^20 In his description of the
Greek manufactures, an historian of Sicily discriminates their
price, according to the weight and quality of the silk, the
closeness of the texture, the beauty of the colors, and the taste
and materials of the embroidery. A single, or even a double or
treble thread was thought sufficient for ordinary sale; but the
union of six threads composed a piece of stronger and more costly
workmanship. Among the colors, he celebrates, with affectation
of eloquence, the fiery blaze of the scarlet, and the softer
lustre of the green. The embroidery was raised either in silk or
gold: the more simple ornament of stripes or circles was
surpassed by the nicer imitation of flowers: the vestments that
were fabricated for the palace or the altar often glittered with
precious stones; and the figures were delineated in strings of
Oriental pearls. ^21 Till the twelfth century, Greece alone, of
all the countries of Christendom, was possessed of the insect who
is taught by nature, and of the workmen who are instructed by
art, to prepare this elegant luxury. But the secret had been
stolen by the dexterity and diligence of the Arabs: the caliphs
of the East and West scorned to borrow from the unbelievers their
furniture and apparel; and two cities of Spain, Almeria and
Lisbon, were famous for the manufacture, the use, and, perhaps,
the exportation, of silk. It was first introduced into Sicily by
the Normans; and this emigration of trade distinguishes the
victory of Roger from the uniform and fruitless hostilities of
every age. After the sack of Corinth, Athens, and Thebes, his
lieutenant embarked with a captive train of weavers and
artificers of both sexes, a trophy glorious to their master, and
disgraceful to the Greek emperor. ^22 The king of Sicily was not
insensible of the value of the present; and, in the restitution
of the prisoners, he excepted only the male and female
manufacturers of Thebes and Corinth, who labor, says the
Byzantine historian, under a barbarous lord, like the old
Eretrians in the service of Darius. ^23 A stately edifice, in the
palace of Palermo, was erected for the use of this industrious
colony; ^24 and the art was propagated by their children and
disciples to satisfy the increasing demand of the western world.
The decay of the looms of Sicily may be ascribed to the troubles
of the island, and the competition of the Italian cities. In the
year thirteen hundred and fourteen, Lucca alone, among her sister
republics, enjoyed the lucrative monopoly. ^25 A domestic
revolution dispersed the manufacturers to Florence, Bologna,
Venice, Milan, and even the countries beyond the Alps; and
thirteen years after this event the statutes of Modena enjoin the
planting of mulberry-trees, and regulate the duties on raw silk.
^26 The northern climates are less propitious to the education of
the silkworm; but the industry of France and England ^27 is
supplied and enriched by the productions of Italy and China.

[Footnote 20: See Constantine, (in Vit. Basil. c. 74, 75, 76, p.
195, 197, in Script. post Theophanem,) who allows himself to use
many technical or barbarous words: barbarous, says he. Ducange
labors on some: but he was not a weaver.]

[Footnote 21: The manufactures of Palermo, as they are described
by Hugo Falcandus, (Hist. Sicula in proem. in Muratori Script.
Rerum Italicarum, tom. v. p. 256,) is a copy of those of Greece.
Without transcribing his declamatory sentences, which I have
softened in the text, I shall observe, that in this passage the
strange word exarentasmata is very properly changed for
exanthemata by Carisius, the first editor Falcandus lived about
the year 1190.]

[Footnote 22: Inde ad interiora Graeciae progressi, Corinthum,
Thebas, Athenas, antiqua nobilitate celebres, expugnant; et,
maxima ibidem praeda direpta, opifices etiam, qui sericos pannos
texere solent, ob ignominiam Imperatoris illius, suique principis
gloriam, captivos deducunt. Quos Rogerius, in Palermo Siciliae,
metropoli collocans, artem texendi suos edocere praecepit; et
exhinc praedicta ars illa, prius a Graecis tantum inter
Christianos habita, Romanis patere coepit ingeniis, (Otho
Frisingen. de Gestis Frederici I. l. i. c. 33, in Muratori
Script. Ital. tom. vi. p. 668.) This exception allows the bishop
to celebrate Lisbon and Almeria in sericorum pannorum opificio
praenobilissimae, (in Chron. apud Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom.
ix. p. 415.)]

[Footnote 23: Nicetas in Manuel, l. ii. c. 8. p. 65. He
describes these Greeks as skilled.]

[Footnote 24: Hugo Falcandus styles them nobiles officinas. The
Arabs had not introduced silk, though they had planted canes and
made sugar in the plain of Palermo.]

[Footnote 25: See the Life of Castruccio Casticani, not by
Machiavel, but by his more authentic biographer Nicholas Tegrimi.

Muratori, who has inserted it in the xith volume of his
Scriptores, quotes this curious passage in his Italian
Antiquities, (tom. i. dissert. xxv. p. 378.)]

[Footnote 26: From the Ms. statutes, as they are quoted by
Muratori in his Italian Antiquities, (tom. ii. dissert. xxv. p.
46 - 48.)]

[Footnote 27: The broad silk manufacture was established in
England in the year 1620, (Anderson's Chronological Deduction,
vol. ii. p. 4: ) but it is to the revocation of the edict of
Nantes that we owe the Spitalfields colony.]

Chapter LIII: Fate Of The Eastern Empire.

Part II.

I must repeat the complaint that the vague and scanty
memorials of the times will not afford any just estimate of the
taxes, the revenue, and the resources of the Greek empire. From
every province of Europe and Asia the rivulets of gold and silver
discharged into the Imperial reservoir a copious and perennial
stream. The separation of the branches from the trunk increased
the relative magnitude of Constantinople; and the maxims of
despotism contracted the state to the capital, the capital to the
palace, and the palace to the royal person. A Jewish traveller,
who visited the East in the twelfth century, is lost in his
admiration of the Byzantine riches. "It is here," says Benjamin
of Tudela, "in the queen of cities, that the tributes of the
Greek empire are annually deposited and the lofty towers are
filled with precious magazines of silk, purple, and gold. It is
said, that Constantinople pays each day to her sovereign twenty
thousand pieces of gold; which are levied on the shops, taverns,
and markets, on the merchants of Persia and Egypt, of Russia and
Hungary, of Italy and Spain, who frequent the capital by sea and
land." ^28 In all pecuniary matters, the authority of a Jew is
doubtless respectable; but as the three hundred and sixty-five
days would produce a yearly income exceeding seven millions
sterling, I am tempted to retrench at least the numerous
festivals of the Greek calendar. The mass of treasure that was
saved by Theodora and Basil the Second will suggest a splendid,
though indefinite, idea of their supplies and resources. The
mother of Michael, before she retired to a cloister, attempted to
check or expose the prodigality of her ungrateful son, by a free
and faithful account of the wealth which he inherited; one
hundred and nine thousand pounds of gold, and three hundred
thousand of silver, the fruits of her own economy and that of her
deceased husband. ^29 The avarice of Basil is not less renowned
than his valor and fortune: his victorious armies were paid and
rewarded without breaking into the mass of two hundred thousand
pounds of gold, (about eight millions sterling,) which he had
buried in the subterraneous vaults of the palace. ^30 Such
accumulation of treasure is rejected by the theory and practice
of modern policy; and we are more apt to compute the national
riches by the use and abuse of the public credit. Yet the maxims
of antiquity are still embraced by a monarch formidable to his
enemies; by a republic respectable to her allies; and both have
attained their respective ends of military power and domestic

[Footnote 28: Voyage de Benjamin de Tudele, tom. i. c. 5, p. 44 -
52. The Hebrew text has been translated into French by that
marvellous child Baratier, who has added a volume of crude
learning. The errors and fictions of the Jewish rabbi are not a
sufficient ground to deny the reality of his travels.

Note: I am inclined, with Buegnot (Les Juifs d'Occident,
part iii. p. 101 et seqq.) and Jost (Geschichte der Israeliter,
vol. vi. anhang. p. 376) to consider this work a mere
compilation, and to doubt the reality of the travels. - M.]

[Footnote 29: See the continuator of Theophanes, (l. iv. p. 107,)
Cedremis, (p. 544,) and Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 157.)]

[Footnote 30: Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xvii. p. 225,) instead of
pounds, uses the more classic appellation of talents, which, in a
literal sense and strict computation, would multiply sixty fold
the treasure of Basil.]

Whatever might be consumed for the present wants, or
reserved for the future use, of the state, the first and most
sacred demand was for the pomp and pleasure of the emperor, and
his discretion only could define the measure of his private
expense. The princes of Constantinople were far removed from the
simplicity of nature; yet, with the revolving seasons, they were
led by taste or fashion to withdraw to a purer air, from the
smoke and tumult of the capital. They enjoyed, or affected to
enjoy, the rustic festival of the vintage: their leisure was
amused by the exercise of the chase and the calmer occupation of
fishing, and in the summer heats, they were shaded from the sun,
and refreshed by the cooling breezes from the sea. The coasts
and islands of Asia and Europe were covered with their
magnificent villas; but, instead of the modest art which secretly
strives to hide itself and to decorate the scenery of nature, the
marble structure of their gardens served only to expose the
riches of the lord, and the labors of the architect. The
successive casualties of inheritance and forfeiture had rendered
the sovereign proprietor of many stately houses in the city and
suburbs, of which twelve were appropriated to the ministers of
state; but the great palace, ^31 the centre of the Imperial
residence, was fixed during eleven centuries to the same
position, between the hippodrome, the cathedral of St. Sophia,
and the gardens, which descended by many a terrace to the shores
of the Propontis. The primitive edifice of the first Constantine
was a copy, or rival, of ancient Rome; the gradual improvements
of his successors aspired to emulate the wonders of the old
world, ^32 and in the tenth century, the Byzantine palace excited
the admiration, at least of the Latins, by an unquestionable
preeminence of strength, size, and magnificence. ^33 But the toil
and treasure of so many ages had produced a vast and irregular
pile: each separate building was marked with the character of the
times and of the founder; and the want of space might excuse the
reigning monarch, who demolished, perhaps with secret
satisfaction, the works of his predecessors. The economy of the
emperor Theophilus allowed a more free and ample scope for his
domestic luxury and splendor. A favorite ambassador, who had
astonished the Abbassides themselves by his pride and liberality,
presented on his return the model of a palace, which the caliph
of Bagdad had recently constructed on the banks of the Tigris.
The model was instantly copied and surpassed: the new buildings
of Theophilus ^34 were accompanied with gardens, and with five
churches, one of which was conspicuous for size and beauty: it
was crowned with three domes, the roof of gilt brass reposed on
columns of Italian marble, and the walls were incrusted with
marbles of various colors. In the face of the church, a
semicircular portico, of the figure and name of the Greek sigma,
was supported by fifteen columns of Phrygian marble, and the
subterraneous vaults were of a similar construction. The square
before the sigma was decorated with a fountain, and the margin of
the basin was lined and encompassed with plates of silver. In
the beginning of each season, the basin, instead of water, was
replenished with the most exquisite fruits, which were abandoned
to the populace for the entertainment of the prince. He enjoyed
this tumultuous spectacle from a throne resplendent with gold and
gems, which was raised by a marble staircase to the height of a
lofty terrace. Below the throne were seated the officers of his
guards, the magistrates, the chiefs of the factions of the
circus; the inferior steps were occupied by the people, and the
place below was covered with troops of dancers, singers, and
pantomimes. The square was surrounded by the hall of justice,
the arsenal, and the various offices of business and pleasure;
and the purple chamber was named from the annual distribution of
robes of scarlet and purple by the hand of the empress herself.
The long series of the apartments was adapted to the seasons, and
decorated with marble and porphyry, with painting, sculpture, and
mosaics, with a profusion of gold, silver, and precious stones.
His fanciful magnificence employed the skill and patience of such
artists as the times could afford: but the taste of Athens would
have despised their frivolous and costly labors; a golden tree,
with its leaves and branches, which sheltered a multitude of
birds warbling their artificial notes, and two lions of massy
gold, and of natural size, who looked and roared like their
brethren of the forest. The successors of Theophilus, of the
Basilian and Comnenian dynasties, were not less ambitious of
leaving some memorial of their residence; and the portion of the
palace most splendid and august was dignified with the title of
the golden triclinium. ^35 With becoming modesty, the rich and
noble Greeks aspired to imitate their sovereign, and when they
passed through the streets on horseback, in their robes of silk
and embroidery, they were mistaken by the children for kings. ^36
A matron of Peloponnesus, ^37 who had cherished the infant
fortunes of Basil the Macedonian, was excited by tenderness or
vanity to visit the greatness of her adopted son. In a journey
of five hundred miles from Patras to Constantinople, her age or
indolence declined the fatigue of a horse or carriage: the soft
litter or bed of Danielis was transported on the shoulders of ten
robust slaves; and as they were relieved at easy distances, a
band of three hundred were selected for the performance of this
service. She was entertained in the Byzantine palace with filial
reverence, and the honors of a queen; and whatever might be the
origin of her wealth, her gifts were not unworthy of the regal
dignity. I have already described the fine and curious
manufactures of Peloponnesus, of linen, silk, and woollen; but
the most acceptable of her presents consisted in three hundred
beautiful youths, of whom one hundred were eunuchs; ^38 "for she
was not ignorant," says the historian, "that the air of the
palace is more congenial to such insects, than a shepherd's dairy
to the flies of the summer." During her lifetime, she bestowed
the greater part of her estates in Peloponnesus, and her
testament instituted Leo, the son of Basil, her universal heir.
After the payment of the legacies, fourscore villas or farms were
added to the Imperial domain; and three thousand slaves of
Danielis were enfranchised by their new lord, and transplanted as
a colony to the Italian coast. From this example of a private
matron, we may estimate the wealth and magnificence of the
emperors. Yet our enjoyments are confined by a narrow circle;
and, whatsoever may be its value, the luxury of life is possessed
with more innocence and safety by the master of his own, than by
the steward of the public, fortune.

[Footnote 31: For a copious and minute description of the
Imperial palace, see the Constantinop. Christiana (l. ii. c. 4,
p. 113 - 123) of Ducange, the Tillemont of the middle ages.
Never has laborious Germany produced two antiquarians more
laborious and accurate than these two natives of lively France.]

[Footnote 32: The Byzantine palace surpasses the Capitol, the
palace of Pergamus, the Rufinian wood, the temple of Adrian at
Cyzicus, the pyramids, the Pharus, &c., according to an epigram
(Antholog. Graec. l. iv. p. 488, 489. Brodaei, apud Wechel)
ascribed to Julian, ex-praefect of Egypt. Seventy-one of his
epigrams, some lively, are collected in Brunck, (Analect. Graec.
tom. ii. p. 493 - 510; but this is wanting.]

[Footnote 33: Constantinopolitanum Palatium non pulchritudine
solum, verum stiam fortitudine, omnibus quas unquam videram
munitionibus praestat, (Liutprand, Hist. l. v. c. 9, p. 465.)]

[Footnote 34: See the anonymous continuator of Theophanes, (p.
59, 61, 86,) whom I have followed in the neat and concise
abstract of Le Beau, (Hint. du Bas Empire, tom. xiv. p. 436,

[Footnote 35: In aureo triclinio quae praestantior est pars
potentissimus (the usurper Romanus) degens caeteras partes
(filiis) distribuerat, (Liutprand. Hist. l. v. c. 9, p. 469.) For
this last signification of Triclinium see Ducange (Gloss. Graec.
et Observations sur Joinville, p. 240) and Reiske, (ad
Constantinum de Ceremoniis, p. 7.)]

[Footnote 36: In equis vecti (says Benjamin of Tudela) regum
filiis videntur persimiles. I prefer the Latin version of
Constantine l'Empereur (p. 46) to the French of Baratier, (tom.
i. p. 49.)]

[Footnote 37: See the account of her journey, munificence, and
testament, in the life of Basil, by his grandson Constantine, (p.
74, 75, 76, p. 195 - 197.)]

[Footnote 38: Carsamatium. Graeci vocant, amputatis virilibus et
virga, puerum eunuchum quos Verdunenses mercatores obinmensum
lucrum facere solent et in Hispaniam ducere, (Liutprand, l. vi.
c. 3, p. 470.) - The last abomination of the abominable
slave-trade! Yet I am surprised to find, in the xth century,
such active speculations of commerce in Lorraine.]

In an absolute government, which levels the distinctions of
noble and plebeian birth, the sovereign is the sole fountain of
honor; and the rank, both in the palace and the empire, depends
on the titles and offices which are bestowed and resumed by his
arbitrary will. Above a thousand years, from Vespasian to
Alexius Comnenus, ^39 the Caesar was the second person, or at
least the second degree, after the supreme title of Augustus was
more freely communicated to the sons and brothers of the reigning
monarch. To elude without violating his promise to a powerful
associate, the husband of his sister, and, without giving himself
an equal, to reward the piety of his brother Isaac, the crafty
Alexius interposed a new and supereminent dignity. The happy
flexibility of the Greek tongue allowed him to compound the names
of Augustus and Emperor (Sebastos and Autocrator,) and the union

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