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CHAP, nor could he foretell that the second moiety of XLVIII.
manhood must be annihilated by the spiritual despotism, which shackles, not only the actions, but even the thoughts, of the prostrate votary. By this double yoke, the Greeks were oppressed under the successors of Heraclius, the tyrant: a law of eternal justice, was de
graded by the vices of his subjects; and on the throne, in the camp, in the schools, we search, perhaps with fruitless diligence, the names and characters that may deserve to be rescued from oblivion. Nor are the defects of the subject compensated by the skill and variety of the painters. Of a space of eight hundred years, the four first centuries are overspread with a cloud interrupted by some faint and broken rays of historic light; in the lives of the emperors, from Maurice to Alexius, Basil the Macedonian has alone been the theme of a separate work, and the absence, or loss, or imperfection, of contemporary evidence, must be poorly supplied by the doubtful authority of more recent compilers. The four last centuries are exempt from the reproach of penury: and with the Comnenian family, the historic muse of Constantinople again revives, but her apparel is gaudy, her motions are without elegance or grace. A succession of priests, or courtiers, treads in each other's footsteps in the same path of servitude and superstition : their views are narrow, their judgment is feeble or corrupt; and we close the volume of copious barrenness, still ignorant of the causes and events, the characters of the actors and manners of the times,
which they celebrate or deplore. The obser- CHAP. vation which has been applied to a man, may be extended to a whole people, that the energy of the sword is communicated to the
pen; and it will be found by experience that the toue of history will rise or fall with the spirit of the age.
From these considerations, I should have abandoned without regret the Greek slaves and tion with
the revolu. their servile historians, had I not reflected that tious of the fate of the Byzantine monarchy is passively connected with the most splendid and important revolutions which have changed the state of the world. The space of the lost provinces was immediately replenished with new colonies and rising kingdoms : the active virtues of peace and war deserted from the vanquished to the victorious nations; and it is in their origin and conquests, in their religion and government, that we must explore the causes and effects of the decline and fall of the eastern empire. Nor will this scope of narrative, the riches and variety of these materials, be incompatible with the unity of design and composition. As, in his daily prayers, the Mussulman of Fez or Delhi still turns his face towards the temple of Mecca, the historian's eye shall be always fixed on the city of Constantinople. The excursive line may embrace the wilds of Arabia and Tartary, but the circle will be ultimately reduced to the decreasing limit of the Roman monarchy.
On this principle I shall now establish the Plan of the plan of the four last volumes of the present volumen:
CHAP. work. The first chapter will contain, in a re
gular series, the emperors who reigned at Con. stantinople during a period of six hundred years, from the days of Heraclius to the Latin conquest: a rapid abstract, which may be supported by a general appeal to the order and text of the original historians. In this introduction I shall confine myself to the revolutions of the throne, the succession of families, the personal characters of the Greek princes, the mode of their life and death, the maxims and influence of their domestic government, and the tendency of their reign to accelerate or suspend the downfall of the eastern empire. Such a chronological review will serve to illustrate the various argument of the subsequent chapters ; and each circumstance of the eventful story of the barbarians will adapt itself in' a proper place to the Byzantine annals. The internal state of the empire, and the dangerous heresy of the Paulicians, which shook the East and enlightened the West, will be the subject of two separate chapters ; but these inquiries must be postponed till our farther progress shall have opened the view of the world in the ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian era. After this foundation of Byzantine history, the following nations will pass before our eyes, and each will occupy the space to which it may be entitled by greatness or merit, or the degree of connection with the Roman world in the present age. I. The FRANKS; a general appellation which includes all the barbarians of France, Italy, and Germany, who were united by the sword
and sceptre of Charlemagne. The persecution CHAP. of images and votaries, separated Rome and Italy from the Byzantine throne, and prepared the restoration of the Roman empire in the West. II. The ARABS or SARACENS. Three ample chapters will be devoted to this curious and interesting object. In the first, after a picture of the country and its inhabitants, I shall investigate the character of Mahomet ; the character, religion, and success of the prophet. In the second, I shall lead the Arabs to the conquest of Syria, Egypt, and Africa, the provinces of the Roman empire; nor can I check their victorious career till they have overthrown the monarchies of Persia and Spain. In the third, I shall inquire how Constantinople and Europe were saved by the luxury and arts, the division and decay, of the empire of the caliphs. A single chapter will include, III. The BulGARIANS, IV. HUNGARIANS and V. RussiaNS who assaulted by sea or by land the provinces and the capital ; but the last of these, so important in their present greatness, will excite some curiosity in their origin and infancy. VI. The NORMANS; or rather the private adventures of that warlike people, who founded a powerful kingdom in Apulia and Sicily, shook the throne of Constantinople, displayed the trophies of chivalry, and almost realized the wonders of romance. VII. The Latins; the'subjects of the pope, the nations of the West, who inlisted under the banner of the cross for the recovery or relief of the holy sepulchre. The Greek emperors were terrified and preserved
CHAP, by the myriads of pilgrims who marched to JeXLVIII, rusalem with Godfrey of Bouillon and the peers
of Christendom. The second and third crusades trode in the footsteps of the first : Asia and Europe were mingled in a sacred war of two hundred years, and the Christian powers were bravely resisted, and finally expelled, by Saladin and the Mamalukes of Egypt. In these memorable crusades, a fleet and army of French and Venetians were diverted from Syria to the Thracian Bosphorus: they assaulted the capital, they subverted the Greek monarchy: and a dynasty of Latin princes were seated near threescore years on the throne of Constantine. VIII. The Greeks themselves, during this period of captivity and exile, must be considered as a foreign nation; the enemies, and again the sovereigns, of Constantinople. Misfortune had rekindled a spark of national virtue; and the imperial series may be continued with some dig. nity from their restoration to the Turkish-conquest. IX. The Moguls and TARTARS. By the arms of Zingis and his descendants, the globe was shaken from China to Poland and Greece; the sultans were overthrown; the caliphs fell, and the Cæsars trembled on their throne. The victories of Timour suspended above fifty years the final ruin of the Byzantine empire. X. I have already noticed the first appearance of the Turks, and the names of the fathers, of Seljuk and Othman, discriminate the two successive dynasties of the nation, which emerged in the eleventh century from the Scythian wilderness. The former established a po