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tent and splendid kingdom from the banks of CHÁP. the Oxus to Antioch and Nice; and the first crusade was provoked by the violation of Jerusalem and the danger of Constantinople. From an humble origin, the Ottomans arose, the scourge and terror of Christendom. Constantinople was besieged and taken by Mahomet II, and his triumph annihilates the remnant, the image, the title of the Roman empire in the East. The schism of the Greeks will be connected with their last calamities, and the restoration of learning in the western world. I shall return from the captivity of the new, to the ruins of ancient ROME: and the venerable name, the interesting theme, will shed a ray of glory on the conclusion of my labours.
The emperor Heraclius had punished a ty- Second
inarriage rant and ascended his throne; and the memory and deatb of his reign is perpetuated by the transient clius. conquest, and irreparable loss, of the easterii provinces. After the death of Eudocia, his first wife, he disobeyed the patriarch, and violated the laws, by his second marriage with his niece Martina; and his superstition of the Greeks beheld the judgment of heaven in the diseases of the father and the deformity of his offspring. But the opinion of an illegitimate birth is sufficient to distract the choice and loosen the obedience, of the people: the ambition of Martina was quickened by maternal love, and perhaps by the envy of a step-mother; and the aged hus
CHAP. band was too feeble to withstand the arts of conXLVIII.
jugal allurements. Constantine, his eldest son, enjoyed in a matureagethe title of Augustus; but the weakness of his constitution required a colleague and a guardian, and he yielded with
secret reluctance to the partition of the empire. 1. D. 638, The senate was summoned to the palace to raJuly 4.
tify or attest the association of Heracleonas, the son of Martina: the imposition of the diadem was consecrated by the prayer and blessing of the patriarch; the senators and patricians adored the majesty of the great emperor and the partners of his reign; and as soon as the doors were thrown
open, they were hailed by the tumultuary but A. D. 309, important voice of the soldiers. After an interJanuary, val of five months, the pompous ceremonies
which formed the essence of the Byzantine state were celebrated in the cathedral and the hippodrome: the concord of the royal brothers was affectedly displayed by the younger leaning
on the arm of the elder; and the name of MarA. D. 641, tina was mingled in the reluctant or venal accla
mations of the people. Heraclius survived this association about two years: his last testimony declared his two sons the equal heirs of the eastern empire, and commanded them to honour his widow Martina as their mother and their sovereign.
When Martina first appeared on the throne tine III, with the name and attributes of royalty, she was February.' checked by a firm, though respectful, opposi
tion; and the dying embers of freedom were kin-
we reverence the mother of our princes; CHAP. but to those princes alone our obedience is “ due; and Constantine the elder en peror, is of
an age to sustain, in his own hands, the weight “ of the sceptre. Your sex is excluded by na“ ture from the toils of government. How could
you combat, how could you answer, the bar“barians, who, with hostile or friendly inten
tions, may approach the royal city? May “ heaven avert from the Roman republic this “ national disgrace, which would provoke the “ patience of the slaves of Persia.” Martina descended from the throne with indignation, and sought a refuge in the female apartment of the palace. The reign of Constantine III. lasted only one hundred and three days: he expired in the thirtieth year of his age, and although his life had been a long malady, a belief was entertained that poison had been the means, and his cruel step-mother the author, of his untimely fate. Martina reaped indeed the harvest of his Heracledeath, and assumed the government in the name 2018: of the surviving emperor; but the incestuous wi- May 25. dow of Heraclius was universally abhorred; the jealousy of the people was awakened, and the two orphans whom Constantine had left, became the objects of the public care. It was in vain that the son of Martina, who was no more than fifteen years of age, was taught to declare himselfthe guardian of his nephews, one of whom he had presented at the baptismal font: it was in vain that he swore on the wood of the true cross, to defend them against all their enemies. On his death-bed, the late emperor despatched a
A. D. 644.
CHAP. trusty servant to arm the troops and provinces
of the East in the defence of his helpless chil. dren: the eloquence and liberality of Valentin had been successful, and, from his camp of Chalcedon, he boldly demanded the punishment of the assassins, and the restoration of the lawful heir. The license of the soldiers, who devoured the grapes and drank the wine of their Asiatic vineyards, provoked the citizens of Constantinople against the domestic authors of their calamities, and the dome of St. Sophia re-echoed, not with prayers and hymns, but with the clamours and imprecations of an enraged multitude. At their imperious command, Heracleonas appeared in the pulpit with the eldest of the royal orphans; Constans alone was saluted as emperor of the Romans, and a crown of gold, which had been taken from the tomb of Heraclius, was placed on his head, with the solemn benediction of the patriarch. But in the tumult of joy and indignation, the church was pillaged, the sanctuary was polluted by a promiscuous crowd of Jews and barbarians; and the Monothelite Pyrrhus, a creature of the empress, after dropping a protestation on the altar, escaped by a prudent flight from the zeal of the catholics. A more se: rious and bloody task was reserved for the senate, who derived a temporary strength from the consent of the soldiers and people. The spirit of Roman freedom revived the ancient and awful examples of the judgment of tyrants, and the imperial culprits were deposed and condemned as the authors of the death of Constantine. But the severity of the conscript fathers
A. D. 641,
was stained with the indiscriminate punishment CHAP: of the innocent and the guilty: Martina and Heracleon as were sentenced to the amputation, the penis be former of her tongue, the latter of his nose; and Martina after this cruel execution, they consumed the cleonas, remainder of their days in exile and oblivion.
September The Greeks who were capable of reflection might find some consolation for their servitude, by observing the abuse of power when it was lodged for a moment in the hands of an aristocracy.
We shall imagine ourselves transported five Coustana hundred years backwards to the age of the An- ja sen tonines, if we listen to the oration which Con-tember. stans II. pronounced in the twelfth year of his age before the Byzantine senate. After returning his thanks for the just punishment of the assassíns who had intercepted the fairest hopesof his father's reign, -"By the divine providence,” said the young emperor, “and by your righteous de
cree, Martina and her incestuous progeny have “ been cast headlong from the throne. Your
majesty and wisdom have prevented the Ro“ man state from degenerating into lawless ty
ranny. I therefore exhort and beseech you
to stand forth as the counsellors and judges “ of the common safety.”
ľ The senators were gratified by the respectful address and liberal donative of their sovereign; but these servile Greeks were unworthy and regardless of freedom; and in his mind, the lesson of an hour was quickly erazed by the prejudices of the age and the habits of despotism. He retained only a jealous fear lest the senate or people should one