Page images

CHAP. ed into Europe with the first tidings of the revoluLXV.

tion*. 3. At the time when Poggius flourished at 3. by the Rome, Ahmed Ebn Arabshah composed at DaArabs;

mascus the florid and malevolent history of Timour, for which he had collected materials in his journies over Turkey and Tartary t. Without any possible correspondence between the Latin and the Arabian writer, they agree in the fact of the iron cage ; and their agreement is a striking proof of their common veracity. Ahmed Arabshah likewise relates another outrage, which Bajazet endured, of a more domestic and tender nature. His indiscreet mention of women and divorces, was deeply resented by the jealous Tartar. In the feast of victory, the wine was served by female cup-bearers; and the Sultan beheld his own concubines and wives confounded among the slaves, and exposed, without a veil, to the eyes of intemperance. To escape a similar indignity, it is said, that his successors, except in a single instance, have abstained from legitimate nuptials; and the Ottoman prace tice and belief, at least in the sixteenth century, is attested by the observing Busbequius t, ambassador

from * The Chronicon Tarvisianum, (in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xix. p. 800.), and the Annales Estenses, (tom. xviii. p. 974.). The two authors, Andrea de Redusiis de Quero, and James de Delayto, were both contemporaries, and both Chancellors, the one of Trevigi, the other of Fer

The evidence of the former is the most positive. + See Arabshah, tom. ii. c. 28. 34. He travelled in regiones Rumæas, A. H. 839,(A. D. 1435, July 27.), tom. ii. c. 2. p. 13.

| Busbequius in Legatione Turcicâ, epist, i. p. 52. Yet his respectable authority is somewhat shaken by the subsequent marriages of Amurath II. with a Servian, and of Mahomet II. with an Asiatic princess, (Cantemir, p. 83. 93.).




from the court of Vienna to the great Soliman. CHAP. 4. Such is the separation of language, that the tes- s timony of a Greek is not less independent than 4: by the

Greeks; that of a Latin or an Arab. I suppress the names of Chalcondyles and Ducas, who fourished in a later period, and who speak in a less positive tone ; but more attention is due to George Phranza *, protovestiare of the last emperors, and who was born a year before the battle of Angora. Twentytwo years after that event, he was sent ambassador to Amurath the Second; and the historian might converse with some veteran Janizaries, who had been made prisoners with the Sultan; and had themselves seen him in his iron cage. 5. The last by the evidence, in every sense, is that of the Turkish annals, which have been consulted or transcribed by Leunclavius, Pocock, and Cantemir t. They unánimously deplore the captivity of the iron cage ; and some credit may be allowed to national historians, who cannot stigmatize the Tartar, without uncovering the shame of their king and country.

From these opposite premises, a fair and mode. Probable rate conclusion may be deduced. I am satisfied concluthat Sherefeddin Ali has faithfully described the first ostentatious interview, in which the conqueror, whose spirits were harmonized by success, affected the character of generosity. But his mind was insensibly alienated by the unseasonable arrogance

of See the testimony of George Phranza, (1. i. c. 29.), and his life in Hanckius de Script. Byzant. p. i. c. 40.). Chalcondyles and Ducas speak in general terms of Bajazet's chains.

+ Annales Leunclav. p. 321. Pocock, Prolegomen. ad Abulparag. Dynast. Cantemir, p. 55.


1403 March


CHAP. of Bajazet; the complaints of his enemies, the Ana. *LXV.

tolian princes, were just and vehement; and Timour betrayed a design of leading his royal captive in triumph to Samarcand. An attempt to facilitate his escape, by digging a mine under the tent, provoked the Mogul Emperor to impose a harsher restraint; and in his perpetual marches, an iron cage on a waggon might be invented, not as a wanton insult, but as a rigorous precaution. Ti. mour had read in some fabulous history a similar treatment of one of his predecessors, a king of Persia; and Bajazet was condemned to represent

the person, and expiate the guilt of the Roman Death of Cæsar. But the strength of his mind and body Bajazet, fainted under the trial, and his premature death

might, without injustice, be ascribed to the severity of Timour. He warred not with the dead; a tear and a sepulchre were all that he could bestow on a captive who was delivered from his power; and if Mousa, the son of Bajazet, was permitted to reign over the ruins of Boursa, the greatest part of the province of Anatolia had been restored by the con

queror to their lawful sovereigns. Term of

From the Irtish and Volga to the Persian Gulph, the con

and from the Ganges to Damascus and the Archiquests of Timour, pelago, Asia was in the hand of Timour ; his ar. A. D. mies were invincible, his ambition was boundless,

and * A Sapor, King of Persia, had been made prisoner, and inclosed in the figure of a cow's hide, by Maximian, or Galerius Cæsar. Such is the fable related by Eutychius, (Annal. tom. i. p.421. vers. Pocock). The recollection of the true history (Decline and Fall, &c. vol. ii. p. 144-156.) will teach us to appreciate the knowledge of the Orientals of the ages which precede the Hegira.


and his zeal might aspire to conquer and convert CHA P.

LXV. the Christian kingdoms of the West, which already trembled at his name. He touched the utmost verge of the land; but an insuperable, though narrow sea, rolled between the two continents of Europe

and Asia * ; and the lord of so many tomans, or myriads of horse, was not master of a single galley. The two passages of the Bosphorus and Hellespont, of Constantinople and Gallipoli, were possessed, the one by the Christians, the other by the Turks. On this great occasion, they forgot the difference of religion, to act with union and firmness in the common cause.

The double streights were guarded with ships and fortifications; and they separately with-held the transports which Timour demanded of either nation, under the pretence of attacking their enemy. At the same time, they soothed his pride with tributary gifts and suppliant embassies, and prudently tempted him to retreat with the honours of victory. Soliman, the son of Bajazet, implored his clemency for his father and himself; accepted, by a red patent, the investiture of the kingdom of Romania, which he already held by the sword; and reiterated his ardent wish, of casting himself in person at the feet of the King of the world. The Greek Empe.

D 3


* Arabshah (tom. ii. c. 25.) describes, like a curious travel. ler, the streights of Gallipoli and Constantinople. To acquire a just idea of these events, I have compared the narratives and prejudices of the Moguls, Turks, Greeks, and Arabians. The Spanish ambassador mentions this hostile union of the Chiistians and Ottomans, (Vie de Timour, p. 96.),

CHAP. ror* (either John or Manuel) submitted to pay the LXV.

same tribute which he had stipulated with the Turkish Sultan, and ratified the treaty by an oath of allegiance, from which he could absolve his conscience as soon as the Mogul arms had retired from Anatolia. But the fears and fancy of nations ascribed to the ambitious Tamerlane a new design of vast and roinantic compass; a design of subduing Egypt and Africa, marching from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean, entering Europe by the Straits of Gibraltar, and, after imposing his yoke on the kingdoms of Christendom, of returning home by the desarts of Russia and Tartary. This remote, and perhaps imaginary danger, was averted by the submission of the Sultan of Egypt; the honours of the

prayer and the coin, attested at Cairo, the su. premacy of Timour; and a rare gift of a giraffe, or camelopard, and nine ostriches, represented at Şamarcand the tribute of the African world. Our imagination is not less astonished by the postrait of a Mogul, who, in his camp before Smyrna, meditates, and almost accomplishes the invasion of the Chinese empire t: Timour was urged to this enterprise by national honour and religious zeal. The torrents which he had shed of Mussulman blood

could Since the name of Cæsar had been transferred to the Sultans of Roum, the Greek princes of Constantinople (Sherefeddin, 1. v. c. 54.) were confounded with the Christian lords of Gallipoli, Thessalon'ca, &c. under the title of Tekkur, which is derived by corruption from the genitive i sugit, (Cantemir, p: 51.).

+ See Sherefeddin, I. v. c. 4. who marks, in a just itinerary, the road to China, which Arabshah (tom. ii. c. 33.) paints in vague and rhetorical colours,

« PreviousContinue »