Page images

“be they so; but what are the arrows of the flying chA p. “Tartar against the scymetars and battle-axes of Jo , “my firm and invincible Janizaries? I will guard “the princes who have implored my protection; “seek them in my tents. The cities of Arzingan ** and Erzeroum are mine; and unless the tribute “be duly paid, I will demand the arrears under “ the walls of Tauris and Sultania.” The ungovernable rage of the Sultan at length betrayed him to an insult of a more domestic kind: “If “I fly from my arms,” said he, “may my wives “be thrice divorced from my bed; but if thou hast “not courage to meet me in the field, mayest thou “ again receive thy wives after they have thrice “ endured the embraces of a stranger".” Any violation, by word or deed, of the secrecy of the Haram, is an unpardonable offence among the Turkish nations f ; and the political quarrel of the two monarchs was embittered by private and personal resentment. Yet in his first expedition, Timour was satisfied with the siege and destruction of Swias, or Sebaste, a strong city on the borders of Anatolia; and he revenged the indiscretion of C 2 the * According to the Koran, (c. ii. p. 27. and Sale's Discourses, p. 134.), a Mussulman who had thrice divorced his wife, (who had thrice repeated the words of a divorce), could not take her again, till after she had been married to, and repudiated by another husband; an ignominious transaction, which it is needless to aggravate by supposing, that the first

husband must see her enjoyed by a second before his face, (Rycaut's state of the Ottoman Empire, l. ii. c. 21.)

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


CHAP. . the Ottoman, on a garrison of four thousand Ar

[ocr errors]

J menians, who were buried alive for the brave and

[merged small][ocr errors]

faithful discharge of their duty. As a Mussulman,
he seemed to respect the pious occupation of Ba-
jazet, who was still engaged in the blockade of
Constantinople; and after this salutary lesson, the
Mogul conqueror checked his pursuit, and turned
aside to the invasion of Syria and Egypt. In these
transactions, the Ottoman prince, by the Orientals,
and even by Timour, is styled the Kaissar of Roum,
the Caesar of the Romans; a title which, by a small
anticipation, might be given to a monarch who
possessed the provinces, and threatened the city of

the successors of Constantine *.
The military republic of the Mamalukes still
reigned in Egypt and Syria; but the dynasty of
the Turks was overthrown by that of the Circas-
sians f; and their favourite Barkok, from a slave
and a prisoner, was raised and restored to the
throne. In the midst of rebellion and discord, he
braved the menaces, corresponded with the enemies,
and detained the ambassadors of the Mogul, who
patiently expected his decease, to revenge the
crimes of the father on the feeble reign of his son
Farage. The Syrian emirst were assembled at

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

+ See the reigns of Barkok and Pharadge, in M. de Guigmes, (tom. iv. l. xxii.), who from the Arabic texts of Aboulmahasen, Ebn Schounah, and Aintabi, has added some facts to our common stock of materials.

1. For these recent and domestic transactions, Arabshah, - though

Aleppo to repel the invasion; they confided in the co, P.

fame and discipline of the Mamalukes, in the temper of their swords and lances, of the purest steel of Damascus, in the strength of their walled cities, and in the populousness of sixty thousand villages; and instead of sustaining a siege, they threw open their gates, and arrayed their forces in the plain. But these forces were not cemented by virtue and union; and some powerful emirs had been seduced to desert or betray their more loyal companions. Timour's front was covered with a line of Indian elephants, whose turrets were filled with archers and Greek fire; the rapid evolutions of his cavalry completed the dismay and disorder; the Syrian crowds fell back on each other; many thousands were stifled or slaughtered in the entrance of the great street; the Moguls entered with the fugitives; and, after a short defence, the citadel, the impregnable citadel of Alleppo, was surrendered by cowardice or treachery. Among the suppliants and captives, Timour distinguished the doctors of the law, whom he invited to the dangerous honour of a personal conference". The Mogul prince was a zealous Mussulman; but his Persian schools had

C 3 taught

though a partial, is a creditable witness, (tom. i. c. 64–68. tom. ii. c. 1–14.). Timour must have been odious to a Syrian; but the notoriety of facts would have obliged him, in some measure, to respect his enemy and himself. His bitters may correct the luscious sweets of Sherefeddin, (l. v.c.17–29.).

* These interesting conversations appear to have been copied by Arabshah (tom. i. c. 68. p. 625–645.) from the cadhi and historian Ebn Schounah, a principal actor. Yet how could he be alive seventy-five years afterwards, (d'Here belot, p. 792.) *

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

taught him to reverethe memory of Ali and Hosain; and he had imbibed a deep prejudice against the Syrians, as the enemies of the son of the daughter of the apostle of God. To these doctors he proposed a captious question, which the casuists of Bochara, Samarcand, and Herat, were incapable of resolving. “Who are the true martyrs, of those “who are slain on my side, or on that of my ene“mies f" But he was silenced, or satisfied, by the dexterity of one of the cadhis of Aleppo, who replied, in the words of Mahomet himself, that the motive, not the ensign, constitutes the martyr; and that the Moslems of either party, who fight only for the glory of God, may deserve that sacred appellation. The true succession of the caliphs was a controversy of a still more delicate nature, and the frankness of a doctor, too honest for his situation, provoked the Emperor to exclaim, “Ye are as false “ as those of Damascus: Moawiyah was an usurp“er, Yezid a tyrant, and Ali alone is the lawful “ successor of the prophet.” A prudent explanation restored his tranquility ; and he passed to a more familiar topic of conversation, “What is “ your age * said he to the cadhi. “Fifty years.” —“It would be the age of my eldest son. You “ see me here (continued Timour) a poor, lame, “decrepit mortal. Yet by my arm has the Al“mighty been pleased to subdue the kingdoms of “ Iran, Touran, and the Indies. I am not a man “ of blood; and God is my witness, that in all my “wars I have never been the aggressor, and that “enemies have always been the authors of their “own calamity.” During this peaceful conversa

- - tion,

tion, the streets of Aleppo streamed with blood, and re-echoed with the cries of mothers and children, with the shrieks of violated virgins. The rich plunder that was abandoned to his soldiers might stimulate their avarice; but their cruelty was enforced by the peremptory command of producing an adequate number of heads, which, according to his custom, were curiously piled in columns and Pyramids; the Moguls celebrated the feast of victory, while the surviving Moslems passed the night in tears and in chains. I shall not dwell on the march of the destroyer from Aleppo to Damascus, where he was rudely encountered, and almost overthrown, by the armies of Egypt. A retrogade motion was imputed to his distress and despair; one of his nephews deserted to the enemy; and Syria rejoiced in the tale of his defeat, when the Sultan was driven, by the revolt of the Mamalukes, to escape with precipitation and shame to his palace of Cairo. Abandoned by their prince, the inhabitants of Damascus still defended their walls; and Timour consented to raise the siege, if they would adorn his retreat with a gift or ransom; each article of nine pieces. But no sooner had he introduced himself into the city, under colour of a truce, than he perfidiously violated the treaty ; imposed a contribution of ten millions of gold; and animated his troops to chastise the posterity of those Syrians who had executed, or approved the murder of the grandson of Mahomet. A family which had given honourable burial to the head of Hosain, and a colony of artificers whom he sent to labour at Sa

C 4 - marcand,

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »