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and the exquisite pain, appalled the courage of the c H A P. chief, whose arms and counsel were the firmest toAto rampart of the city. As he withdrew from his station in quest of a surgeon, his flight was perceived and stopped by the indefatigable Emperor. “Your wound,” exclaimed Palaeologus, “is slight; “the danger is pressing ; your presence is neces“sary; and whither will you retire * “I will “retire,” said the trembling Genoese, “by the “ same road which God has opened to the Turks;” and at these words he hastily passed through one of the breaches of the inner wall. By this pusillanimous act, he stained the honours of a military life; and the few days which he survived in Galata, or the isle of Chios, were embittered by his own and the public reproach *. His example was imitated by the greatest part of the Latin auxiliaries, and the defence began to slacken when the attack was pressed with redoubled vigour. The number of the Ottomans was fifty, perhaps an hundred times superior to that of the Christians; the double walls were reduced by the cannon to an heap of ruins; in a circuit of several miles, some places must be found more easy of access, or more feebly guarded; and if the besiegers could penetrate in a single point, the whole city was irrecoverably lost. The first who deserved the Sultan's Q 3 reward,
* In the severe censure of the flight of Justiniani, Phranza expresses his own feelings and those of the public. For some private reasons, he is treated with more lenity and respect by Ducas; but the words of Leonardus Chiensis express his strong and recent indignation, gloriae salutis fuique oblitus. In the whole series of their Eastern policy, his countrymen, the Genoese, were always suspected, and often guilty.
reward, was Hassan, the Janizary, of gigantic stature and strength. With his scymetar in one hand, and his buckler in the other, he ascended
the outward fortification; of the thirty Janizaries,
who were emulous of his valour, eighteen perished in the bold adventure. Hassan and his twelve companions had reached the summit; the giant was precipitated from the rampart; he rose on one knee, and was again oppressed by a shower of darts and stones. But his success had proved that the atchievement was possible; the walls and towers were instantly covered with a swarm of Turks; and the Greeks, now driven from the vantage ground, were overwhelmed by increasing multitudes. Amidst these multitudes, the Emperor", who accomplished all the duties of a general and a soldier, was long seen, and finally lost. The nobles who fought round his person, sustained, till their last breath, the honourable names of Palaeologus and Cantacuzene: his mournful exclamation was heard, “ Cannot there be found a Christian to cut “off my head Î " and his last fear was that of failing * Ducas kills him with two blows of Turkish soldiers; Chalcondyles wounds him in the shoulder, and ticon 11amples him in the gate. The grief of Phranza callying him an ong
thc enemy, escapes from the precise image of his death ; lut wc may, without flattery, apply those noble lines of Dryden:
As to Sebastian, let them search the ficla ;
+ Spondanus, (A. D. 1453, No. 1 c.), who has hopes of his salvation, wishes to absolve this demand from the guilt of suicide.
falling alive into the hands of the infidels". The prudent despair of Constantine cast away the purple; amidst the tumult, he fell by an unknown hand, and his body was buried under a mountain of the slain. After his death, resistance and order was no more; the Greeks fled towards the city; and many were pressed and stiffled in the narrow pass of the gate of St Romanus. The victorious Turks rushed through the breaches of the inner wall; and as they advanced into the streets, they were soon joined by their brethren, who had forced the gate Phenar, on the side of the harbour f. In the first heat of the pursuit, about two thousand Christians were put to the sword; but avarice soon prevailed over cruelty; and the victors acknowledged, that they should immediately have given quarter, if the valour of the Emperor and his chosen bands had not prepared them for a similar opposition in every part of the capital. It was thus, after a siege of fifty-three days, that Constantinople, which had defied the power of Chosroes, the Chagan, and the caliphs, was irretrievably subdued by the arms of Mahomet the Second. Her empire only had been subverted by the Latins; her religion was trampled in the dust by the Moslem conquerors i.
Q 4 The
* Leonardus Chiensis very properly observes, that the Turks, had they known the Emperor, would have laboured to save and secure a captive so acceptable to the Sultan.
+ Cantemir, p. 96. The Christian ships in the mouth of the harbour had flanked and retarded this naval attack.
f Chalcondyles most absurdly supposes, that Constantinople was sacked by the Asiatics in revenge for the ancient calamities of Troy; and the grammarians of the 15th century are happy to melt down the uncouth appellation of Turks, into the more classical name of Teucri.
The tidings of misfortune fly with a rapid wing;
to "... yet such was the extent of Constantinople, that
The Turks enter and pillage Constantinople.
the more distant quarters might prolong some moments the happy ignorance of their ruin *. But in the general consternation, in the feelings of selfish or social anxiety, in the tumult and thunder of the assault, a sleepless night and morning must have elapsed; not can I believe that many Gre
'cian ladies were awakened by the Janizaries from
a sound and tranquil slumber. On the assurance of the public calamity, the houses and convents were instantly deserted; and the trembling inhabitants flocked together in the streets, like an herd of timid animals, as if accumulated weakness could be productive of strength, or in the vain hope, that amid the crowd each individual might be safe and invisible. From every part of the capital, they flowed into the church of St Sophia; in the space of an hour, the sanctuary, the choir, the nave, the upper and lower galleries, were filled with the multitude of fathers and husbands, of women and children, of priests, monks, and religious virgins; the doors were barred on the inside, and they sought protection from the sacred dome, which they had so lately abhorred as a profane and polluted edifice. Their confidence was founded on the prophecy of an enthusiast or inpostor; that one day the Turks would enter Con- - - stantinople,
* When Cyrus surprised Babylon during the celebration of a festival, so vast was the city, and so careless were the inhabitants, that much time clapsed before the distant quarters knew that they were captives (Herodotus, l. i. c. 191-), and
Ushcr (Annal. p. 78.), who has quoted from the prophet
stantinople, and pursue the Romans as far as the
column of Constantine in the square before St So* phia; but that this would be the term of their calamities; that an angel would descend from heaven, with a sword in his hand, and would deliver the empire, with that celestial weapon, to a poor man seated at the foot of the column. “Take this “sword,” would he say, “ and avenge the people “ of the Lord.” At these ‘animating words, the Turks would instantly fly, and the victorious Romans would drive them from the West, and from all Anatolia, as far as the frontiers of Persia. It is on this occasion, that Ducas, with some fancy and much truth, upbraids the discord and obstinacy of the Greeks. “Had that angel appeared,” exclaims the historian, “had he offered to exter“minate your foes if you would consent to the “union of the church, even then, in that fatal mo“ment, you would have rejected your safety, or
“ have deceived your God *.” While they expected the descent of the tardy angel, the doors were broken with axes; and as the Turks encountered no resistance, their bloodless hands were employed in selecting and securing the multitude of their prisoners. Youth, beauty, and the appearance of wealth, attracted their choice; and the right of property was decided - among
* This lively description is extracted from Ducas, (c. 39.), who two years afterwards was sent ambassador from the Prince of Lesbos to the Sultan, (c. 44.). Till Lesbos was subdued * in 1463. (Phranza, l. iii. c. 27.), that island must have been full of the fugitives of Constantinople, who delighted to repeat, ferhaps to adorn, the tale of their misery.