Written in 1782; revised in 1845




Introduction.—Worship, and persecution of images.—Revolt of Italy and Rome.—Temporal dominion of the popes.—Conquest of Italy by the Franks.—Establishment of images.—Character and coronation of Charlemagne.—Restoration and decay of the Roman Empire in the West.—Independence of Italy.—Constitution of the Germanic Body


In the connection of the church and state, I have considered the former as subservient only, and relative, to the latter; a salutary maxim, if in fact, as well as in narrative, it had ever been held sacred. The Oriental philosophy of the Gnostics, the dark abyss of predestination and grace, and the strange transformation of the Eucharist from the sign to the substance of Christ's body,^1 I have purposely abandoned to the curiosity of speculative divines. But I have reviewed, with diligence and pleasure, the objects of ecclesiastical history, by which the decline and fall of the Roman empire were materially affected, the propagation of Christianity, the constitution of the Catholic church, the ruin of Paganism, and the sects that arose from the mysterious controversies concerning the Trinity and incarnation. At the head of this class, we may justly rank the worship of images, so fiercely disputed in the eighth and ninth centuries; since a question of popular superstition produced the revolt of Italy, the temporal power of the popes, and the restoration of the Roman empire in the West.

[^1: The learned Selden has given the history of transubstantiation in a comprehensive and pithy sentence: "This opinion is only rhetoric turned into logic," (his Works, vol. iii. p. 2037, in his Table-Talk.)]

The primitive Christians were possessed with an unconquerable repugnance to the use and abuse of images; and this aversion may be ascribed to their descent from the Jews, and their enmity to the Greeks. The Mosaic law had severely proscribed all representations of the Deity; and that precept was firmly established in the principles and practice of the chosen people. The wit of the Christian apologists was pointed against the foolish idolaters, who bowed before the workmanship of their own hands; the images of brass and marble, which, had they been endowed with sense and motion, should have started rather from the pedestal to adore the creative powers of the artist.^2 Perhaps some recent and imperfect converts of the Gnostic tribe might crown the statues of Christ and St. Paul with the profane honors which they paid to those of Aristotle and Pythagoras;^3 but the public religion of the Catholics was uniformly simple and spiritual; and the first notice of the use of pictures is in the censure of the council of Illiberis, three hundred years after the Christian aera. Under the successors of Constantine, in the peace and luxury of the triumphant church, the more prudent bishops condescended to indulge a visible superstition, for the benefit of the multitude; and, after the ruin of Paganism, they were no longer restrained by the apprehension of an odious parallel. The first introduction of a symbolic worship was in the veneration of the cross, and of relics. The saints and martyrs, whose intercession was implored, were seated on the right hand if God; but the gracious and often supernatural favors, which, in the popular belief, were showered round their tomb, conveyed an unquestionable sanction of the devout pilgrims, who visited, and touched, and kissed these lifeless remains, the memorials of their merits and sufferings.^4 But a memorial, more interesting than the skull or the sandals of a departed worthy, is the faithful copy of his person and features, delineated by the arts of painting or sculpture. In every age, such copies, so congenial to human feelings, have been cherished by the zeal of private friendship, or public esteem: the images of the Roman emperors were adored with civil, and almost religious, honors; a reverence less ostentatious, but more sincere, was applied to the statues of sages and patriots; and these profane virtues, these splendid sins, disappeared in the presence of the holy men, who had died for their celestial and everlasting country. At first, the experiment was made with caution and scruple; and the venerable pictures were discreetly allowed to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the cold, and to gratify the prejudices of the heathen proselytes. By a slow though inevitable progression, the honors of the original were transferred to the copy: the devout Christian prayed before the image of a saint; and the Pagan rites of genuflection, luminaries, and incense, again stole into the Catholic church. The scruples of reason, or piety, were silenced by the strong evidence of visions and miracles; and the pictures which speak, and move, and bleed, must be endowed with a divine energy, and may be considered as the proper objects of religious adoration. The most audacious pencil might tremble in the rash attempt of defining, by forms and colors, the infinite Spirit, the eternal Father, who pervades and sustains the universe.^5 But the superstitious mind was more easily reconciled to paint and to worship the angels, and, above all, the Son of God, under the human shape, which, on earth, they have condescended to assume. The second person of the Trinity had been clothed with a real and mortal body; but that body had ascended into heaven: and, had not some similitude been presented to the eyes of his disciples, the spiritual worship of Christ might have been obliterated by the visible relics and representations of the saints. A similar indulgence was requisite and propitious for the Virgin Mary: the place of her burial was unknown; and the assumption of her soul and body into heaven was adopted by the credulity of the Greeks and Latins. The use, and even the worship, of images was firmly established before the end of the sixth century: they were fondly cherished by the warm imagination of the Greeks and Asiatics: the Pantheon and Vatican were adorned with the emblems of a new superstition; but this semblance of idolatry was more coldly entertained by the rude Barbarians and the Arian clergy of the West. The bolder forms of sculpture, in brass or marble, which peopled the temples of antiquity, were offensive to the fancy or conscience of the Christian Greeks: and a smooth surface of colors has ever been esteemed a more decent and harmless mode of imitation.^6

[^2: Nec intelligunt homines ineptissimi, quod si sentire simulacra et moveri possent, adoratura hominem fuissent a quo sunt expolita. (Divin. Institut. l. ii. c. 2.) Lactantius is the last, as well as the most eloquent, of the Latin apologists. Their raillery of idols attacks not only the object, but the form and matter.]

[^3: See Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Augustin, (Basnage, Hist. des Eglises Reformees, tom. ii. p. 1313.) This Gnostic practice has a singular affinity with the private worship of Alexander Severus, (Lampridius, c. 29. Lardner, Heathen Testimonies, vol. iii. p. 34.)]

[^4: See this History, vol. ii. p. 261; vol. ii. p. 434; vol. iii. p. 158—163.]

[^5: (Concilium Nicenum, ii. in Collect. Labb. tom. viii. p. 1025, edit. Venet.) Il seroit peut-etre a-propos de ne point souffrir d'images de la Trinite ou de la Divinite; les defenseurs les plus zeles des images ayant condamne celles-ci, et le concile de Trente ne parlant que des images de Jesus Christ et des Saints, (Dupin, Bibliot. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 154.)]

[^6: This general history of images is drawn from the xxiid book of the Hist. des Eglises Reformees of Basnage, tom. ii. p. 1310—1337. He was a Protestant, but of a manly spirit; and on this head the Protestants are so notoriously in the right, that they can venture to be impartial. See the perplexity of poor Friar Pagi, Critica, tom. i. p. 42.]

The merit and effect of a copy depends on its resemblance with the original; but the primitive Christians were ignorant of the genuine features of the Son of God, his mother, and his apostles: the statue of Christ at Paneas in Palestine^7 was more probably that of some temporal savior; the Gnostics and their profane monuments were reprobated; and the fancy of the Christian artists could only be guided by the clandestine imitation of some heathen model. In this distress, a bold and dexterous invention assured at once the likeness of the image and the innocence of the worship. A new super structure of fable was raised on the popular basis of a Syrian legend, on the correspondence of Christ and Abgarus, so famous in the days of Eusebius, so reluctantly deserted by our modern advocates. The bishop of Caesarea^8 records the epistle,^9 but he most strangely forgets the picture of Christ;^10 the perfect impression of his face on a linen, with which he gratified the faith of the royal stranger who had invoked his healing power, and offered the strong city of Edessa to protect him against the malice of the Jews. The ignorance of the primitive church is explained by the long imprisonment of the image in a niche of the wall, from whence, after an oblivion of five hundred years, it was released by some prudent bishop, and seasonably presented to the devotion of the times. Its first and most glorious exploit was the deliverance of the city from the arms of Chosroes Nushirvan; and it was soon revered as a pledge of the divine promise, that Edessa should never be taken by a foreign enemy. It is true, indeed, that the text of Procopius ascribes the double deliverance of Edessa to the wealth and valor of her citizens, who purchased the absence and repelled the assaults of the Persian monarch. He was ignorant, the profane historian, of the testimony which he is compelled to deliver in the ecclesiastical page of Evagrius, that the Palladium was exposed on the rampart, and that the water which had been sprinkled on the holy face, instead of quenching, added new fuel to the flames of the besieged. After this important service, the image of Edessa was preserved with respect and gratitude; and if the Armenians rejected the legend, the more credulous Greeks adored the similitude, which was not the work of any mortal pencil, but the immediate creation of the divine original. The style and sentiments of a Byzantine hymn will declare how far their worship was removed from the grossest idolatry. "How can we with mortal eyes contemplate this image, whose celestial splendor the host of heaven presumes not to behold? He who dwells in heaven, condescends this day to visit us by his venerable image; He who is seated on the cherubim, visits us this day by a picture, which the Father has delineated with his immaculate hand, which he has formed in an ineffable manner, and which we sanctify by adoring it with fear and love." Before the end of the sixth century, these images, made without hands, (in Greek it is a single word,^11) were propagated in the camps and cities of the Eastern empire:^12 they were the objects of worship, and the instruments of miracles; and in the hour of danger or tumult, their venerable presence could revive the hope, rekindle the courage, or repress the fury, of the Roman legions. Of these pictures, the far greater part, the transcripts of a human pencil, could only pretend to a secondary likeness and improper title: but there were some of higher descent, who derived their resemblance from an immediate contact with the original, endowed, for that purpose, with a miraculous and prolific virtue. The most ambitious aspired from a filial to a fraternal relation with the image of Edessa; and such is the veronica of Rome, or Spain, or Jerusalem, which Christ in his agony and bloody sweat applied to his face, and delivered to a holy matron. The fruitful precedent was speedily transferred to the Virgin Mary, and the saints and martyrs. In the church of Diospolis, in Palestine, the features of the Mother of God^13 were deeply inscribed in a marble column; the East and West have been decorated by the pencil of St. Luke; and the Evangelist, who was perhaps a physician, has been forced to exercise the occupation of a painter, so profane and odious in the eyes of the primitive Christians. The Olympian Jove, created by the muse of Homer and the chisel of Phidias, might inspire a philosophic mind with momentary devotion; but these Catholic images were faintly and flatly delineated by monkish artists in the last degeneracy of taste and genius.^14

[^7: After removing some rubbish of miracle and inconsistency, it may be allowed, that as late as the year 300, Paneas in Palestine was decorated with a bronze statue, representing a grave personage wrapped in a cloak, with a grateful or suppliant female kneeling before him, and that an inscription was perhaps inscribed on the pedestal. By the Christians, this group was foolishly explained of their founder and the poor woman whom he had cured of the bloody flux, (Euseb. vii. 18, Philostorg. vii. 3, etc.) M. de Beausobre more reasonably conjectures the philosopher Apollonius, or the emperor Vespasian: in the latter supposition, the female is a city, a province, or perhaps the queen Berenice, (Bibliotheque Germanique, tom. xiii. p. 1—92.)]

[^8: Euseb. Hist. Eccles. l. i. c. 13. The learned Assemannus has brought up the collateral aid of three Syrians, St. Ephrem, Josua Stylites, and James bishop of Sarug; but I do not find any notice of the Syriac original or the archives of Edessa, (Bibliot. Orient. tom. i. p. 318, 420, 554;) their vague belief is probably derived from the Greeks.]

[^9: The evidence for these epistles is stated and rejected by the candid Lardner, (Heathen Testimonies, vol. i. p. 297—309.) Among the herd of bigots who are forcibly driven from this convenient, but untenable, post, I am ashamed, with the Grabes, Caves, Tillemonts, etc., to discover Mr. Addison, an English gentleman, (his Works, vol. i. p. 528, Baskerville's edition;) but his superficial tract on the Christian religion owes its credit to his name, his style, and the interested applause of our clergy.]

[^10: From the silence of James of Sarug, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. p. 289, 318,) and the testimony of Evagrius, (Hist. Eccles. l. iv. c. 27,) I conclude that this fable was invented between the years 521 and 594, most probably after the siege of Edessa in 540, (Asseman. tom. i. p. 416. Procopius, de Bell. Persic. l. ii.) It is the sword and buckler of, Gregory II., (in Epist. i. ad. Leon. Isaur. Concil. tom. viii. p. 656, 657,) of John Damascenus, (Opera, tom. i. p. 281, edit. Lequien,) and of the second Nicene Council, (Actio v. p. 1030.) The most perfect edition may be found in Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 175 - 178.)]

[^11: See Ducange, in Gloss. Graec. et Lat. The subject is treated with equal learning and bigotry by the Jesuit Gretser, (Syntagma de Imaginibus non Manu factis, ad calcem Codini de Officiis, p. 289—330,) the ass, or rather the fox, of Ingoldstadt, (see the Scaligerana;) with equal reason and wit by the Protestant Beausobre, in the ironical controversy which he has spread through many volumes of the Bibliotheque Germanique, (tom. xviii. p. 1—50, xx. p. 27—68, xxv. p. 1—36, xxvii. p. 85—118, xxviii. p. 1—33, xxxi. p. 111—148, xxxii. p. 75 - 107, xxxiv. p. 67—96.)]

[^12: Theophylact Simocatta (l. ii. c. 3, p. 34, l. iii. c. 1, p. 63) celebrates it; yet it was no more than a copy, since he adds (of Edessa). See Pagi, tom. ii. A.D. 588 No. 11.]

[^13: See, in the genuine or supposed works of John Damascenus, two passages on the Virgin and St. Luke, which have not been noticed by Gretser, nor consequently by Beausobre, (Opera Joh. Damascen. tom. i. p. 618, 631.)]

[^14: "Your scandalous figures stand quite out from the canvass: they are as bad as a group of statues!" It was thus that the ignorance and bigotry of a Greek priest applauded the pictures of Titian, which he had ordered, and refused to accept.]

The worship of images had stolen into the church by insensible degrees, and each petty step was pleasing to the superstitious mind, as productive of comfort, and innocent of sin. But in the beginning of the eighth century, in the full magnitude of the abuse, the more timorous Greeks were awakened by an apprehension, that under the mask of Christianity, they had restored the religion of their fathers: they heard, with grief and impatience, the name of idolaters; the incessant charge of the Jews and Mahometans,^15 who derived from the Law and the Koran an immortal hatred to graven images and all relative worship. The servitude of the Jews might curb their zeal, and depreciate their authority; but the triumphant Mussulmans, who reigned at Damascus, and threatened Constantinople, cast into the scale of reproach the accumulated weight of truth and victory. The cities of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt had been fortified with the images of Christ, his mother, and his saints; and each city presumed on the hope or promise of miraculous defence. In a rapid conquest of ten years, the Arabs subdued those cities and these images; and, in their opinion, the Lord of Hosts pronounced a decisive judgment between the adoration and contempt of these mute and inanimate idols.^* For a while Edessa had braved the Persian assaults; but the chosen city, the spouse of Christ, was involved in the common ruin; and his divine resemblance became the slave and trophy of the infidels. After a servitude of three hundred years, the Palladium was yielded to the devotion of Constantinople, for a ransom of twelve thousand pounds of silver, the redemption of two hundred Mussulmans, and a perpetual truce for the territory of Edessa.^16 In this season of distress and dismay, the eloquence of the monks was exercised in the defence of images; and they attempted to prove, that the sin and schism of the greatest part of the Orientals had forfeited the favor, and annihilated the virtue, of these precious symbols. But they were now opposed by the murmurs of many simple or rational Christians, who appealed to the evidence of texts, of facts, and of the primitive times, and secretly desired the reformation of the church. As the worship of images had never been established by any general or positive law, its progress in the Eastern empire had been retarded, or accelerated, by the differences of men and manners, the local degrees of refinement, and the personal characters of the bishops. The splendid devotion was fondly cherished by the levity of the capital, and the inventive genius of the Byzantine clergy; while the rude and remote districts of Asia were strangers to this innovation of sacred luxury. Many large congregations of Gnostics and Arians maintained, after their conversion, the simple worship which had preceded their separation; and the Armenians, the most warlike subjects of Rome, were not reconciled, in the twelfth century, to the sight of images.^17 These various denominations of men afforded a fund of prejudice and aversion, of small account in the villages of Anatolia or Thrace, but which, in the fortune of a soldier, a prelate, or a eunuch, might be often connected with the powers of the church and state.

[^15: By Cedrenus, Zonaras, Glycas, and Manasses, the origin of the Aconoclcasts is imprinted to the caliph Yezid and two Jews, who promised the empire to Leo; and the reproaches of these hostile sectaries are turned into an absurd conspiracy for restoring the purity of the Christian worship, (see Spanheim, Hist. Imag. c. 2.)]

[^*: Yezid, ninth caliph of the race of the Ommiadae, caused all the images in Syria to be destroyed about the year 719; hence the orthodox reproaches the sectaries with following the example of the Saracens and the Jews Fragm. Mon. Johan. Jerosylym. Script. Byzant. vol. xvi. p. 235. Hist. des Repub. Ital. par M. Sismondi, vol. i. p. 126.—G.]

[^16: See Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 267,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 201,) and Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 264,), and the criticisms of Pagi, (tom. iii. A.D. 944.) The prudent Franciscan refuses to determine whether the image of Edessa now reposes at Rome or Genoa; but its repose is inglorious, and this ancient object of worship is no longer famous or fashionable.]

[^17: (Nicetas, l. ii. p. 258.) The Armenian churches are still content with the Cross, (Missions du Levant, tom. iii. p. 148;) but surely the superstitious Greek is unjust to the superstition of the Germans of the xiith century.]

Of such adventurers, the most fortunate was the emperor Leo the Third,^18 who, from the mountains of Isauria, ascended the throne of the East. He was ignorant of sacred and profane letters; but his education, his reason, perhaps his intercourse with the Jews and Arabs, had inspired the martial peasant with a hatred of images; and it was held to be the duty of a prince to impose on his subjects the dictates of his own conscience. But in the outset of an unsettled reign, during ten years of toil and danger, Leo submitted to the meanness of hypocrisy, bowed before the idols which he despised, and satisfied the Roman pontiff with the annual professions of his orthodoxy and zeal. In the reformation of religion, his first steps were moderate and cautious: he assembled a great council of senators and bishops, and enacted, with their consent, that all the images should be removed from the sanctuary and altar to a proper height in the churches where they might be visible to the eyes, and inaccessible to the superstition, of the people. But it was impossible on either side to check the rapid through adverse impulse of veneration and abhorrence: in their lofty position, the sacred images still edified their votaries, and reproached the tyrant. He was himself provoked by resistance and invective; and his own party accused him of an imperfect discharge of his duty, and urged for his imitation the example of the Jewish king, who had broken without scruple the brazen serpent of the temple. By a second edict, he proscribed the existence as well as the use of religious pictures; the churches of Constantinople and the provinces were cleansed from idolatry; the images of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints, were demolished, or a smooth surface of plaster was spread over the walls of the edifice. The sect of the Iconoclasts was supported by the zeal and despotism of six emperors, and the East and West were involved in a noisy conflict of one hundred and twenty years. It was the design of Leo the Isaurian to pronounce the condemnation of images as an article of faith, and by the authority of a general council: but the convocation of such an assembly was reserved for his son Constantine;^19 and though it is stigmatized by triumphant bigotry as a meeting of fools and atheists, their own partial and mutilated acts betray many symptoms of reason and piety. The debates and decrees of many provincial synods introduced the summons of the general council which met in the suburbs of Constantinople, and was composed of the respectable number of three hundred and thirty-eight bishops of Europe and Anatolia; for the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria were the slaves of the caliph, and the Roman pontiff had withdrawn the churches of Italy and the West from the communion of the Greeks. This Byzantine synod assumed the rank and powers of the seventh general council; yet even this title was a recognition of the six preceding assemblies, which had laboriously built the structure of the Catholic faith. After a serious deliberation of six months, the three hundred and thirty-eight bishops pronounced and subscribed a unanimous decree, that all visible symbols of Christ, except in the Eucharist, were either blasphemous or heretical; that image-worship was a corruption of Christianity and a renewal of Paganism; that all such monuments of idolatry should be broken or erased; and that those who should refuse to deliver the objects of their private superstition, were guilty of disobedience to the authority of the church and of the emperor. In their loud and loyal acclamations, they celebrated the merits of their temporal redeemer; and to his zeal and justice they intrusted the execution of their spiritual censures. At Constantinople, as in the former councils, the will of the prince was the rule of episcopal faith; but on this occasion, I am inclined to suspect that a large majority of the prelates sacrificed their secret conscience to the temptations of hope and fear. In the long night of superstition, the Christians had wandered far away from the simplicity of the gospel: nor was it easy for them to discern the clew, and tread back the mazes, of the labyrinth. The worship of images was inseparably blended, at least to a pious fancy, with the Cross, the Virgin, the Saints and their relics; the holy ground was involved in a cloud of miracles and visions; and the nerves of the mind, curiosity and scepticism, were benumbed by the habits of obedience and belief. Constantine himself is accused of indulging a royal license to doubt, or deny, or deride the mysteries of the Catholics,^20 but they were deeply inscribed in the public and private creed of his bishops; and the boldest Iconoclast might assault with a secret horror the monuments of popular devotion, which were consecrated to the honor of his celestial patrons. In the reformation of the sixteenth century, freedom and knowledge had expanded all the faculties of man: the thirst of innovation superseded the reverence of antiquity; and the vigor of Europe could disdain those phantoms which terrified the sickly and servile weakness of the Greeks.

[^18: Our original, but not impartial, monuments of the Iconoclasts must be drawn from the Acts of the Councils, tom. viii. and ix. Collect. Labbe, edit. Venet. and the historical writings of Theophanes, Nicephorus, Manasses, Cedrenus, Zonoras, etc. Of the modern Catholics, Baronius, Pagi, Natalis Alexander, (Hist. Eccles. Seculum viii. and ix.,) and Maimbourg, (Hist. des Iconoclasts,) have treated the subject with learning, passion, and credulity. The Protestant labors of Frederick Spanheim (Historia Imaginum restituta) and James Basnage (Hist. des Eglises Reformees, tom. ii. l. xxiiii. p. 1339—1385) are cast into the Iconoclast scale. With this mutual aid, and opposite tendency, it is easy for us to poise the balance with philosophic indifference.
Note: Compare Schlosser, Geschichte der Bilder-sturmender Kaiser, Frankfurt am-Main 1812 a book of research and impartiality—M.]

[^19: Some flowers of rhetoric. By Damascenus is styled (Opera, tom. i. p. 623.) Spanheim's Apology for the Synod of Constantinople (p. 171, etc.) is worked up with truth and ingenuity, from such materials as he could find in the Nicene Acts, (p. 1046, etc.) The witty John of Damascus converts it into slaves of their belly, etc. Opera, tom. i. p. 806]

[^20: He is accused of proscribing the title of saint; styling the Virgin, Mother of Christ; comparing her after her delivery to an empty purse of Arianism, Nestorianism, etc. In his defence, Spanheim (c. iv. p. 207) is somewhat embarrassed between the interest of a Protestant and the duty of an orthodox divine.]

The scandal of an abstract heresy can be only proclaimed to the people by the blast of the ecclesiastical trumpet; but the most ignorant can perceive, the most torpid must feel, the profanation and downfall of their visible deities. The first hostilities of Leo were directed against a lofty Christ on the vestibule, and above the gate, of the palace. A ladder had been planted for the assault, but it was furiously shaken by a crowd of zealots and women: they beheld, with pious transport, the ministers of sacrilege tumbling from on high and dashed against the pavement: and the honors of the ancient martyrs were prostituted to these criminals, who justly suffered for murder and rebellion.^21 The execution of the Imperial edicts was resisted by frequent tumults in Constantinople and the provinces: the person of Leo was endangered, his officers were massacred, and the popular enthusiasm was quelled by the strongest efforts of the civil and military power. Of the Archipelago, or Holy Sea, the numerous islands were filled with images and monks: their votaries abjured, without scruple, the enemy of Christ, his mother, and the saints; they armed a fleet of boats and galleys, displayed their consecrated banners, and boldly steered for the harbor of Constantinople, to place on the throne a new favorite of God and the people. They depended on the succor of a miracle: but their miracles were inefficient against the Greek fire; and, after the defeat and conflagration of the fleet, the naked islands were abandoned to the clemency or justice of the conqueror. The son of Leo, in the first year of his reign, had undertaken an expedition against the Saracens: during his absence, the capital, the palace, and the purple, were occupied by his kinsman Artavasdes, the ambitious champion of the orthodox faith. The worship of images was triumphantly restored: the patriarch renounced his dissimulation, or dissembled his sentiments and the righteous claims of the usurper was acknowledged, both in the new, and in ancient, Rome. Constantine flew for refuge to his paternal mountains; but he descended at the head of the bold and affectionate Isaurians; and his final victory confounded the arms and predictions of the fanatics. His long reign was distracted with clamor, sedition, conspiracy, and mutual hatred, and sanguinary revenge; the persecution of images was the motive or pretence, of his adversaries; and, if they missed a temporal diadem, they were rewarded by the Greeks with the crown of martyrdom. In every act of open and clandestine treason, the emperor felt the unforgiving enmity of the monks, the faithful slaves of the superstition to which they owed their riches and influence. They prayed, they preached, they absolved, they inflamed, they conspired; the solitude of Palestine poured forth a torrent of invective; and the pen of St. John Damascenus, ^22 the last of the Greek fathers, devoted the tyrant's head, both in this world and the next.^23^* I am not at leisure to examine how far the monks provoked, nor how much they have exaggerated, their real and pretended sufferings, nor how many lost their lives or limbs, their eyes or their beards, by the cruelty of the emperor.^! From the chastisement of individuals, he proceeded to the abolition of the order; and, as it was wealthy and useless, his resentment might be stimulated by avarice, and justified by patriotism. The formidable name and mission of the Dragon,^24 his visitor-general, excited the terror and abhorrence of the black nation: the religious communities were dissolved, the buildings were converted into magazines, or bar racks; the lands, movables, and cattle were confiscated; and our modern precedents will support the charge, that much wanton or malicious havoc was exercised against the relics, and even the books of the monasteries. With the habit and profession of monks, the public and private worship of images was rigorously proscribed; and it should seem, that a solemn abjuration of idolatry was exacted from the subjects, or at least from the clergy, of the Eastern empire.^25

[^21: The holy confessor Theophanes approves the principle of their rebellion, (p. 339.) Gregory II. (in Epist. i. ad Imp. Leon. Concil. tom. viii. p. 661, 664) applauds the zeal of the Byzantine women who killed the Imperial officers.]

[^22: John, or Mansur, was a noble Christian of Damascus, who held a considerable office in the service of the caliph. His zeal in the cause of images exposed him to the resentment and treachery of the Greek emperor; and on the suspicion of a treasonable correspondence, he was deprived of his right hand, which was miraculously restored by the Virgin. After this deliverance, he resigned his office, distributed his wealth, and buried himself in the monastery of St. Sabas, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The legend is famous; but his learned editor, Father Lequien, has a unluckily proved that St. John Damascenus was already a monk before the Iconoclast dispute, (Opera, tom. i. Vit. St. Joan. Damascen. p. 10—13, et Notas ad loc.)]

[^23: After sending Leo to the devil, he introduces his heir, (Opera, Damascen. tom. i. p. 625.) If the authenticity of this piece be suspicious, we are sure that in other works, no longer extant, Damascenus bestowed on Constantine the titles. (tom. i. p. 306.)]

[^*: The patriarch Anastasius, an Iconoclast under Leo, an image worshipper under Artavasdes, was scourged, led through the streets on an ass, with his face to the tail; and, reinvested in his dignity, became again the obsequious minister of Constantine in his Iconoclastic persecutions. See Schlosser p. 211.—M.]

[^!: Compare Schlosser, p. 228—234.—M.]

[^24: In the narrative of this persecution from Theophanes and Cedreves, Spanheim (p. 235—238) is happy to compare the Draco of Leo with the dragoons (Dracones) of Louis XIV.; and highly solaces himself with the controversial pun.]

[^25: (Damascen. Op. tom. i. p. 625.) This oath and subscription I do not remember to have seen in any modern compilation]

The patient East abjured, with reluctance, her sacred images; they were fondly cherished, and vigorously defended, by the independent zeal of the Italians. In ecclesiastical rank and jurisdiction, the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome were nearly equal. But the Greek prelate was a domestic slave under the eye of his master, at whose nod he alternately passed from the convent to the throne, and from the throne to the convent. A distant and dangerous station, amidst the Barbarians of the West, excited the spirit and freedom of the Latin bishops.

Their popular election endeared them to the Romans: the public and private indigence was relieved by their ample revenue; and the weakness or neglect of the emperors compelled them to consult, both in peace and war, the temporal safety of the city. In the school of adversity the priest insensibly imbibed the virtues and the ambition of a prince; the same character was assumed, the same policy was adopted, by the Italian, the Greek, or the Syrian, who ascended the chair of St. Peter; and, after the loss of her legions and provinces, the genius and fortune of the popes again restored the supremacy of Rome. It is agreed, that in the eighth century, their dominion was founded on rebellion, and that the rebellion was produced, and justified, by the heresy of the Iconoclasts; but the conduct of the second and third Gregory, in this memorable contest, is variously interpreted by the wishes of their friends and enemies. The Byzantine writers unanimously declare, that, after a fruitless admonition, they pronounced the separation of the East and West, and deprived the sacrilegious tyrant of the revenue and sovereignty of Italy. Their excommunication is still more clearly expressed by the Greeks, who beheld the accomplishment of the papal triumphs; and as they are more strongly attached to their religion than to their country, they praise, instead of blaming, the zeal and orthodoxy of these apostolical men.^26 The modern champions of Rome are eager to accept the praise and the precedent: this great and glorious example of the deposition of royal heretics is celebrated by the cardinals Baronius and Bellarmine;^27 and if they are asked, why the same thunders were not hurled against the Neros and Julians of antiquity, they reply, that the weakness of the primitive church was the sole cause of her patient loyalty.^28 On this occasion the effects of love and hatred are the same; and the zealous Protestants, who seek to kindle the indignation, and to alarm the fears, of princes and magistrates, expatiate on the insolence and treason of the two Gregories against their lawful sovereign.^29 They are defended only by the moderate Catholics, for the most part, of the Gallican church,^30 who respect the saint, without approving the sin. These common advocates of the crown and the mitre circumscribe the truth of facts by the rule of equity, Scripture, and tradition, and appeal to the evidence of the Latins,^31 and the lives^32 and epistles of the popes themselves.

[^26: Theophanes. (Chronograph. p. 343.) For this Gregory is styled by Cedrenus . (p. 450.) Zonaras specifies the thunder, (tom. ii. l. xv. p. 104, 105.) It may be observed, that the Greeks are apt to confound the times and actions of two Gregories.]

[^27: See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 730, No. 4, 5; dignum exemplum! Bellarmin. de Romano Pontifice, l. v. c. 8: mulctavit eum parte imperii. Sigonius, de Regno Italiae, l. iii. Opera, tom. ii. p. 169. Yet such is the change of Italy, that Sigonius is corrected by the editor of Milan, Philipus Argelatus, a Bolognese, and subject of the pope.]

[^28: Quod si Christiani olim non deposuerunt Neronem aut Julianum, id fuit quia deerant vires temporales Christianis, (honest Bellarmine, de Rom. Pont. l. v. c. 7.) Cardinal Perron adds a distinction more honorable to the first Christians, but not more satisfactory to modern princes—the treason of heretics and apostates, who break their oath, belie their coin, and renounce their allegiance to Christ and his vicar, (Perroniana, p. 89.)]

[^29: Take, as a specimen, the cautious Basnage (Hist. d'Eglise, p. 1350, 1351) and the vehement Spanheim, (Hist. Imaginum,) who, with a hundred more, tread in the footsteps of the centuriators of Magdeburgh.]

[^30: See Launoy, (Opera, tom. v. pars ii. epist. vii. 7, p. 456—474,) Natalis Alexander, (Hist. Nov. Testamenti, secul. viii. dissert. i. p. 92—98,) Pagi, (Critica, tom. iii. p. 215, 216,) and Giannone, (Istoria Civile Napoli, tom. i. p. 317 - 320,) a disciple of the Gallican school In the field of controversy I always pity the moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the fire of both sides.]

[^31: They appeal to Paul Warnefrid, or Diaconus, (de Gestis Langobard. l. vi. c. 49, p. 506, 507, in Script. Ital. Muratori, tom. i. pars i.,) and the nominal Anastasius, (de Vit. Pont. in Muratori, tom. iii. pars i. Gregorius II. p. 154. Gregorius III. p. 158. Zacharias, p. 161. Stephanus III. p. 165.

Paulus, p. 172. Stephanus IV. p. 174. Hadrianus, p. 179. Leo III. p. 195.) Yet I may remark, that the true Anastasius (Hist. Eccles. p. 134, edit. Reg.) and the Historia Miscella, (l. xxi. p. 151, in tom. i. Script. Ital.,) both of the ixth century, translate and approve the Greek text of Theophanes.]

[^32: With some minute difference, the most learned critics, Lucas Holstenius, Schelestrate, Ciampini, Bianchini, Muratori, (Prolegomena ad tom. iii. pars i.,) are agreed that the Liber Pontificalis was composed and continued by the apostolic librarians and notaries of the viiith and ixth centuries; and that the last and smallest part is the work of Anastasius, whose name it bears. The style is barbarous, the narrative partial, the details are trifling—yet it must be read as a curious and authentic record of the times. The epistles of the popes are dispersed in the volumes of Councils.]


Two original epistles, from Gregory the Second to the emperor Leo, are still extant;^33 and if they cannot be praised as the most perfect models of eloquence and logic, they exhibit the portrait, or at least the mask, of the founder of the papal monarchy. "During ten pure and fortunate years," says Gregory to the emperor, "we have tasted the annual comfort of your royal letters, subscribed in purple ink, with your own hand, the sacred pledges of your attachment to the orthodox creed of our fathers. How deplorable is the change! how tremendous the scandal! You now accuse the Catholics of idolatry; and, by the accusation, you betray your own impiety and ignorance. To this ignorance we are compelled to adapt the grossness of our style and arguments: the first elements of holy letters are sufficient for your confusion; and were you to enter a grammar-school, and avow yourself the enemy of our worship, the simple and pious children would be provoked to cast their horn-books at your head." After this decent salutation, the pope attempts the usual distinction between the idols of antiquity and the Christian images. The former were the fanciful representations of phantoms or daemons, at a time when the true God had not manifested his person in any visible likeness. The latter are the genuine forms of Christ, his mother, and his saints, who had approved, by a crowd of miracles, the innocence and merit of this relative worship. He must indeed have trusted to the ignorance of Leo, since he could assert the perpetual use of images, from the apostolic age, and their venerable presence in the six synods of the Catholic church. A more specious argument is drawn from present possession and recent practice the harmony of the Christian world supersedes the demand of a general council; and Gregory frankly confesses, than such assemblies can only be useful under the reign of an orthodox prince. To the impudent and inhuman Leo, more guilty than a heretic, he recommends peace, silence, and implicit obedience to his spiritual guides of Constantinople and Rome. The limits of civil and ecclesiastical powers are defined by the pontiff. To the former he appropriates the body; to the latter, the soul: the sword of justice is in the hands of the magistrate: the more formidable weapon of excommunication is intrusted to the clergy; and in the exercise of their divine commission a zealous son will not spare his offending father: the successor of St. Peter may lawfully chastise the kings of the earth. "You assault us, O tyrant! with a carnal and military hand: unarmed and naked we can only implore the Christ, the prince of the heavenly host, that he will send unto you a devil, for the destruction of your body and the salvation of your soul. You declare, with foolish arrogance, I will despatch my orders to Rome: I will break in pieces the image of St. Peter; and Gregory, like his predecessor Martin, shall be transported in chains, and in exile, to the foot of the Imperial throne. Would to God that I might be permitted to tread in the footsteps of the holy Martin! but may the fate of Constans serve as a warning to the persecutors of the church! After his just condemnation by the bishops of Sicily, the tyrant was cut off, in the fullness of his sins, by a domestic servant: the saint is still adored by the nations of Scythia, among whom he ended his banishment and his life. But it is our duty to live for the edification and support of the faithful people; nor are we reduced to risk our safety on the event of a combat. Incapable as you are of defending your Roman subjects, the maritime situation of the city may perhaps expose it to your depredation but we can remove to the distance of four-and-twenty stadia, to the first fortress of the Lombards, and then—you may pursue the winds. Are you ignorant that the popes are the bond of union, the mediators of peace, between the East and West? The eyes of the nations are fixed on our humility; and they revere, as a God upon earth, the apostle St. Peter, whose image you threaten to destroy.^35 The remote and interior kingdoms of the West present their homage to Christ and his vicegerent; and we now prepare to visit one of their most powerful monarchs, who desires to receive from our hands the sacrament of baptism.^36 The Barbarians have submitted to the yoke of the gospel, while you alone are deaf to the voice of the shepherd. These pious Barbarians are kindled into rage: they thirst to avenge the persecution of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal enterprise; reflect, tremble, and repent. If you persist, we are innocent of the blood that will be spilt in the contest; may it fall on your own head!"

[^33: The two epistles of Gregory II. have been preserved in the Acta of the Nicene Council, (tom. viii. p. 651—674.) They are without a date, which is variously fixed, by Baronius in the year 726, by Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 120) in 729, and by Pagi in 730. Such is the force of prejudice, that some papists have praised the good sense and moderation of these letters.]

[^34: (Epist. i. p. 664.) This proximity of the Lombards is hard of digestion. Camillo Pellegrini (Dissert. iv. de Ducatu Beneventi, in the Script. Ital. tom. v. p. 172, 173) forcibly reckons the xxivth stadia, not from Rome, but from the limits of the Roman duchy, to the first fortress, perhaps Sora, of the Lombards. I rather believe that Gregory, with the pedantry of the age, employs stadia for miles, without much inquiry into the genuine measure.]

[^35: {Greek}]

[^36: (p. 665.) The pope appears to have imposed on the ignorance of the Greeks: he lived and died in the Lateran; and in his time all the kingdoms of the West had embraced Christianity. May not this unknown Septetus have some reference to the chief of the Saxon Heptarchy, to Ina king of Wessex, who, in the pontificate of Gregory the Second, visited Rome for the purpose, not of baptism, but of pilgrimage! Pagi. A., 89, No. 2. A.D. 726, No. 15.)]

The first assault of Leo against the images of Constantinople had been witnessed by a crowd of strangers from Italy and the West, who related with grief and indignation the sacrilege of the emperor. But on the reception of his proscriptive edict, they trembled for their domestic deities: the images of Christ and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and saints, were abolished in all the churches of Italy; and a strong alternative was proposed to the Roman pontiff, the royal favor as the price of his compliance, degradation and exile as the penalty of his disobedience. Neither zeal nor policy allowed him to hesitate; and the haughty strain in which Gregory addressed the emperor displays his confidence in the truth of his doctrine or the powers of resistance. Without depending on prayers or miracles, he boldly armed against the public enemy, and his pastoral letters admonished the Italians of their danger and their duty.^37 At this signal, Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, adhered to the cause of religion; their military force by sea and land consisted, for the most part, of the natives; and the spirit of patriotism and zeal was transfused into the mercenary strangers. The Italians swore to live and die in the defence of the pope and the holy images; the Roman people was devoted to their father, and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit and advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, but the most obvious revenge, was the destruction of the statues of Leo himself: the most effectual and pleasing measure of rebellion, was the withholding the tribute of Italy, and depriving him of a power which he had recently abused by the imposition of a new capitation.^38 A form of administration was preserved by the election of magistrates and governors; and so high was the public indignation, that the Italians were prepared to create an orthodox emperor, and to conduct him with a fleet and army to the palace of Constantinople. In that palace, the Roman bishops, the second and third Gregory, were condemned as the authors of the revolt, and every attempt was made, either by fraud or force, to seize their persons, and to strike at their lives. The city was repeatedly visited or assaulted by captains of the guards, and dukes and exarchs of high dignity or secret trust; they landed with foreign troops, they obtained some domestic aid, and the superstition of Naples may blush that her fathers were attached to the cause of heresy. But these clandestine or open attacks were repelled by the courage and vigilance of the Romans; the Greeks were overthrown and massacred, their leaders suffered an ignominious death, and the popes, however inclined to mercy, refused to intercede for these guilty victims. At Ravenna,^39 the several quarters of the city had long exercised a bloody and hereditary feud; in religious controversy they found a new aliment of faction: but the votaries of images were superior in numbers or spirit, and the exarch, who attempted to stem the torrent, lost his life in a popular sedition. To punish this flagitious deed, and restore his dominion in Italy, the emperor sent a fleet and army into the Adriatic Gulf. After suffering from the winds and waves much loss and delay, the Greeks made their descent in the neighborhood of Ravenna: they threatened to depopulate the guilty capital, and to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Justinian the Second, who had chastised a former rebellion by the choice and execution of fifty of the principal inhabitants. The women and clergy, in sackcloth and ashes, lay prostrate in prayer: the men were in arms for the defence of their country; the common danger had united the factions, and the event of a battle was preferred to the slow miseries of a siege. In a hard-fought day, as the two armies alternately yielded and advanced, a phantom was seen, a voice was heard, and Ravenna was victorious by the assurance of victory. The strangers retreated to their ships, but the populous sea-coast poured forth a multitude of boats; the waters of the Po were so deeply infected with blood, that during six years the public prejudice abstained from the fish of the river; and the institution of an annual feast perpetuated the worship of images, and the abhorrence of the Greek tyrant. Amidst the triumph of the Catholic arms, the Roman pontiff convened a synod of ninety-three bishops against the heresy of the Iconoclasts. With their consent, he pronounced a general excommunication against all who by word or deed should attack the tradition of the fathers and the images of the saints: in this sentence the emperor was tacitly involved,^40 but the vote of a last and hopeless remonstrance may seem to imply that the anathema was yet suspended over his guilty head. No sooner had they confirmed their own safety, the worship of images, and the freedom of Rome and Italy, than the popes appear to have relaxed of their severity, and to have spared the relics of the Byzantine dominion. Their moderate councils delayed and prevented the election of a new emperor, and they exhorted the Italians not to separate from the body of the Roman monarchy. The exarch was permitted to reside within the walls of Ravenna, a captive rather than a master; and till the Imperial coronation of Charlemagne, the government of Rome and Italy was exercised in the name of the successors of Constantine.^41

[^37: I shall transcribe the important and decisive passage of the Liber Pontificalis. Respiciens ergo pius vir profanam principis jussionem, jam contra Imperatorem quasi contra hostem se armavit, renuens haeresim ejus, scribens ubique se cavere Christianos, eo quod orta fuisset impietas talis. Igitur permoti omnes Pentapolenses, atque Venetiarum exercitus contra Imperatoris jussionem restiterunt; dicentes se nunquam in ejusdem pontificis condescendere necem, sed pro ejus magis defensione viriliter decertare, (p. 156.)]

[^38: A census, or capitation, says Anastasius, (p. 156;) a most cruel tax, unknown to the Saracens themselves, exclaims the zealous Maimbourg, (Hist. des Iconoclastes, l. i.,) and Theophanes, (p. 344,) who talks of Pharaoh's numbering the male children of Israel. This mode of taxation was familiar to the Saracens; and, most unluckily for the historians, it was imposed a few years afterwards in France by his patron Louis XIV.]

[^39: See the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus, (in the Scriptores Rerum Italicarum of Muratori, tom. ii. pars i.,) whose deeper shade of barbarism marks the difference between Rome and Ravenna. Yet we are indebted to him for some curious and domestic facts—the quarters and factions of Ravenna, (p. 154,) the revenge of Justinian II, (p. 160, 161,) the defeat of the Greeks, (p. 170, 171,) etc.]

[^40: Yet Leo was undoubtedly comprised in the si quis ....imaginum sacrarum....destructor....extiterit, sit extorris a cor pore D. N. Jesu Christi vel totius ecclesiae unitate. The canonists may decide whether the guilt or the name constitutes the excommunication; and the decision is of the last importance to their safety, since, according to the oracle (Gratian, Caus. xxiii. q. 5, 47, apud Spanheim, Hist. Imag. p. 112) homicidas non esse qui excommunicatos trucidant.]

[^41: Compescuit tale consilium Pontifex, sperans conversionem principis, (Anastas. p. 156.) Sed ne desisterent ab amore et fide R. J. admonebat, (p. 157.) The popes style Leo and Constantine Copronymus, Imperatores et Domini, with the strange epithet of Piissimi. A famous Mosaic of the Lateran (A.D. 798) represents Christ, who delivers the keys to St. Peter and the banner to Constantine V. (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 337.)]

The liberty of Rome, which had been oppressed by the arms and arts of Augustus, was rescued, after seven hundred and fifty years of servitude, from the persecution of Leo the Isaurian. By the Caesars, the triumphs of the consuls had been annihilated: in the decline and fall of the empire, the god Terminus, the sacred boundary, had insensibly receded from the ocean, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates; and Rome was reduced to her ancient territory from Viterbo to Terracina, and from Narni to the mouth of the Tyber.^42 When the kings were banished, the republic reposed on the firm basis which had been founded by their wisdom and virtue. Their perpetual jurisdiction was divided between two annual magistrates: the senate continued to exercise the powers of administration and counsel; and the legislative authority was distributed in the assemblies of the people, by a well-proportioned scale of property and service. Ignorant of the arts of luxury, the primitive Romans had improved the science of government and war: the will of the community was absolute: the rights of individuals were sacred: one hundred and thirty thousand citizens were armed for defence or conquest; and a band of robbers and outlaws was moulded into a nation deserving of freedom and ambitious of glory.^43 When the sovereignty of the Greek emperors was extinguished, the ruins of Rome presented the sad image of depopulation and decay: her slavery was a habit, her liberty an accident; the effect of superstition, and the object of her own amazement and terror. The last vestige of the substance, or even the forms, of the constitution, was obliterated from the practice and memory of the Romans; and they were devoid of knowledge, or virtue, again to build the fabric of a commonwealth. Their scanty remnant, the offspring of slaves and strangers, was despicable in the eyes of the victorious Barbarians. As often as the Franks or Lombards expressed their most bitter contempt of a foe, they called him a Roman; "and in this name," says the bishop Liutprand, "we include whatever is base, whatever is cowardly, whatever is perfidious, the extremes of avarice and luxury, and every vice that can prostitute the dignity of human nature."^44^* By the necessity of their situation, the inhabitants of Rome were cast into the rough model of a republican government: they were compelled to elect some judges in peace, and some leaders in war: the nobles assembled to deliberate, and their resolves could not be executed without the union and consent of the multitude. The style of the Roman senate and people was revived,^45 but the spirit was fled; and their new independence was disgraced by the tumultuous conflict of vicentiousness and oppression. The want of laws could only be supplied by the influence of religion, and their foreign and domestic counsels were moderated by the authority of the bishop. His alms, his sermons, his correspondence with the kings and prelates of the West, his recent services, their gratitude, and oath, accustomed the Romans to consider him as the first magistrate or prince of the city. The Christian humility of the popes was not offended by the name of Dominus, or Lord; and their face and inscription are still apparent on the most ancient coins.^46 Their temporal dominion is now confirmed by the reverence of a thousand years; and their noblest title is the free choice of a people, whom they had redeemed from slavery.

[^42: I have traced the Roman duchy according to the maps, and the maps according to the excellent dissertation of father Beretti, (de Chorographia Italiae Medii Aevi, sect. xx. p. 216-232.) Yet I must nicely observe, that Viterbo is of Lombard foundation, (p. 211,) and that Terracina was usurped by the Greeks.]

[^43: On the extent, population, etc., of the Roman kingdom, the reader may peruse, with pleasure, the Discours Preliminaire to the Republique Romaine of M. de Beaufort, (tom. i.,) who will not be accused of too much credulity for the early ages of Rome.]

[^44: Quos (Romanos) nos, Longobardi scilicet, Saxones, Franci, Locharingi, Bajoarii, Suevi, Burgundiones, tanto dedignamur ut inimicos nostros commoti, nil aliud contumeliarum nisi Romane, dicamus: hoc solo, id est Romanorum nomine, quicquid ignobilitatis, quicquid timiditatis, quicquid avaritiae, quicquid luxuriae, quicquid mendacii, immo quicquid vitiorum est comprehendentes, (Liutprand, in Legat Script. Ital. tom. ii. para i. p. 481.) For the sins of Cato or Tully Minos might have imposed as a fit penance the daily perusal of this barbarous passage.]

[^*: Yet this contumelious sentence, quoted by Robertson (Charles V note 2) as well as Gibbon, was applied by the angry bishop to the Byzantine Romans, whom, indeed, he admits to be the genuine descendants of Romulus.—M.]

[^45: Pipino regi Francorum, omnis senatus, atque universa populi generalitas a Deo servatae Romanae urbis. Codex Carolin. epist. 36, in Script. Ital. tom. iii. pars ii. p. 160. The names of senatus and senator were never totally extinct, (Dissert. Chorograph. p. 216, 217;) but in the middle ages they signified little more than nobiles, optimates, etc., (Ducange, Gloss. Latin.)]

[^46: See Muratori, Antiquit. Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. ii. Dissertat xxvii. p. 548. On one of these coins we read Hadrianus Papa (A.D. 772;) on the reverse, Vict. Ddnn. with the word Conob, which the Pere Joubert (Science des Medailles, tom. ii. p. 42) explains by Constantinopoli Officina B (secunda.)]

In the quarrels of ancient Greece, the holy people of Elis enjoyed a perpetual peace, under the protection of Jupiter, and in the exercise of the Olympic games.^47 Happy would it have been for the Romans, if a similar privilege had guarded the patrimony of St. Peter from the calamities of war; if the Christians, who visited the holy threshold, would have sheathed their swords in the presence of the apostle and his successor. But this mystic circle could have been traced only by the wand of a legislator and a sage: this pacific system was incompatible with the zeal and ambition of the popes the Romans were not addicted, like the inhabitants of Elis, to the innocent and placid labors of agriculture; and the Barbarians of Italy, though softened by the climate, were far below the Grecian states in the institutions of public and private life. A memorable example of repentance and piety was exhibited by Liutprand, king of the Lombards. In arms, at the gate of the Vatican, the conqueror listened to the voice of Gregory the Second,^48 withdrew his troops, resigned his conquests, respectfully visited the church of St. Peter, and after performing his devotions, offered his sword and dagger, his cuirass and mantle, his silver cross, and his crown of gold, on the tomb of the apostle. But this religious fervor was the illusion, perhaps the artifice, of the moment; the sense of interest is strong and lasting; the love of arms and rapine was congenial to the Lombards; and both the prince and people were irresistibly tempted by the disorders of Italy, the nakedness of Rome, and the unwarlike profession of her new chief. On the first edicts of the emperor, they declared themselves the champions of the holy images: Liutprand invaded the province of Romagna, which had already assumed that distinctive appellation; the Catholics of the Exarchate yielded without reluctance to his civil and military power; and a foreign enemy was introduced for the first time into the impregnable fortress of Ravenna. That city and fortress were speedily recovered by the active diligence and maritime forces of the Venetians; and those faithful subjects obeyed the exhortation of Gregory himself, in separating the personal guilt of Leo from the general cause of the Roman empire.^49 The Greeks were less mindful of the service, than the Lombards of the injury: the two nations, hostile in their faith, were reconciled in a dangerous and unnatural alliance: the king and the exarch marched to the conquest of Spoleto and Rome: the storm evaporated without effect, but the policy of Liutprand alarmed Italy with a vexatious alternative of hostility and truce. His successor Astolphus declared himself the equal enemy of the emperor and the pope: Ravenna was subdued by force or treachery,^50 and this final conquest extinguished the series of the exarchs, who had reigned with a subordinate power since the time of Justinian and the ruin of the Gothic kingdom. Rome was summoned to acknowledge the victorious Lombard as her lawful sovereign; the annual tribute of a piece of gold was fixed as the ransom of each citizen, and the sword of destruction was unsheathed to exact the penalty of her disobedience. The Romans hesitated; they entreated; they complained; and the threatening Barbarians were checked by arms and negotiations, till the popes had engaged the friendship of an ally and avenger beyond the Alps.^51

[^47: See West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games, (Pindar. vol. ii. p. 32-36, edition in 12mo.,) and the judicious reflections of Polybius (tom. i. l. iv. p. 466, edit Gronov.)]

[^48: The speech of Gregory to the Lombard is finely composed by Sigonius, (de Regno Italiae, l. iii. Opera, tom. ii. p. 173,) who imitates the license and the spirit of Sallust or Livy.]

[^49: The Venetian historians, John Sagorninus, (Chron. Venet. p. 13,) and the doge Andrew Dandolo, (Scriptores Rer. Ital. tom. xii. p. 135,) have preserved this epistle of Gregory. The loss and recovery of Ravenna are mentioned by Paulus Diaconus, (de Gest. Langobard, l. vi. c. 42, 54, in Script. Ital. tom. i. pars i. p. 506, 508;) but our chronologists, Pagi, Muratori, etc., cannot ascertain the date or circumstances]

[^50: The option will depend on the various readings of the Mss. of Anastasius—deceperat, or decerpserat, (Script. Ital. tom. iii. pars i. p. 167.)]

[^51: The Codex Carolinus is a collection of the epistles of the popes to Charles Martel, (whom they style Subregulus,) Pepin, and Charlemagne, as far as the year 791, when it was formed by the last of these princes. His original and authentic Ms. (Bibliothecae Cubicularis) is now in the Imperial library of Vienna, and has been published by Lambecius and Muratori, (Script. Rerum Ital. tom. iii. pars ii. p. 75, etc.)]

In his distress, the first^* Gregory had implored the aid of the hero of the age, of Charles Martel, who governed the French monarchy with the humble title of mayor or duke; and who, by his signal victory over the Saracens, had saved his country, and perhaps Europe, from the Mahometan yoke. The ambassadors of the pope were received by Charles with decent reverence; but the greatness of his occupations, and the shortness of his life, prevented his interference in the affairs of Italy, except by a friendly and ineffectual mediation. His son Pepin, the heir of his power and virtues, assumed the office of champion of the Roman church; and the zeal of the French prince appears to have been prompted by the love of glory and religion. But the danger was on the banks of the Tyber, the succor on those of the Seine, and our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery. Amidst the tears of the city, Stephen the Third embraced the generous resolution of visiting in person the courts of Lombardy and France, to deprecate the injustice of his enemy, or to excite the pity and indignation of his friend. After soothing the public despair by litanies and orations, he undertook this laborious journey with the ambassadors of the French monarch and the Greek emperor. The king of the Lombards was inexorable; but his threats could not silence the complaints, nor retard the speed of the Roman pontiff, who traversed the Pennine Alps, reposed in the abbey of St. Maurice, and hastened to grasp the right hand of his protector; a hand which was never lifted in vain, either in war or friendship. Stephen was entertained as the visible successor of the apostle; at the next assembly, the field of March or of May, his injuries were exposed to a devout and warlike nation, and he repassed the Alps, not as a suppliant, but as a conqueror, at the head of a French army, which was led by the king in person. The Lombards, after a weak resistance, obtained an ignominious peace, and swore to restore the possessions, and to respect the sanctity, of the Roman church. But no sooner was Astolphus delivered from the presence of the French arms, than he forgot his promise and resented his disgrace. Rome was again encompassed by his arms; and Stephen, apprehensive of fatiguing the zeal of his Transalpine allies enforced his complaint and request by an eloquent letter in the name and person of St. Peter himself.^52 The apostle assures his adopted sons, the king, the clergy, and the nobles of France, that, dead in the flesh, he is still alive in the spirit; that they now hear, and must obey, the voice of the founder and guardian of the Roman church; that the Virgin, the angels, the saints, and the martyrs, and all the host of heaven, unanimously urge the request, and will confess the obligation; that riches, victory, and paradise, will crown their pious enterprise, and that eternal damnation will be the penalty of their neglect, if they suffer his tomb, his temple, and his people, to fall into the hands of the perfidious Lombards. The second expedition of Pepin was not less rapid and fortunate than the first: St. Peter was satisfied, Rome was again saved, and Astolphus was taught the lessons of justice and sincerity by the scourge of a foreign master. After this double chastisement, the Lombards languished about twenty years in a state of languor and decay. But their minds were not yet humbled to their condition; and instead of affecting the pacific virtues of the feeble, they peevishly harassed the Romans with a repetition of claims, evasions, and inroads, which they undertook without reflection, and terminated without glory. On either side, their expiring monarchy was pressed by the zeal and prudence of Pope Adrian the First, the genius, the fortune, and greatness of Charlemagne, the son of Pepin; these heroes of the church and state were united in public and domestic friendship, and while they trampled on the prostrate, they varnished their proceedings with the fairest colors of equity and moderation.^53 The passes of the Alps, and the walls of Pavia, were the only defence of the Lombards; the former were surprised, the latter were invested, by the son of Pepin; and after a blockade of two years,^* Desiderius, the last of their native princes, surrendered his sceptre and his capital.

Under the dominion of a foreign king, but in the possession of their national laws, the Lombards became the brethren, rather than the subjects, of the Franks; who derived their blood, and manners, and language, from the same Germanic origin.^54

[^*: Gregory I. had been dead above a century; read Gregory III.—M.]

[^52: See this most extraordinary letter in the Codex Carolinus, epist iii. p. 92. The enemies of the popes have charged them with fraud and blasphemy; yet they surely meant to persuade rather than deceive. This introduction of the dead, or of immortals, was familiar to the ancient orators, though it is executed on this occasion in the rude fashion of the age.]

[^53: Except in the divorce of the daughter of Desiderius, whom Charlemagne repudiated sine aliquo crimine. Pope Stephen IV. had most furiously opposed the alliance of a noble Frank—cum perfida, horrida nec dicenda, foetentissima natione Longobardorum—to whom he imputes the first stain of leprosy, (Cod. Carolin. epist. 45, p. 178, 179.) Another reason against the marriage was the existence of a first wife, (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 232, 233, 236, 237.) But Charlemagne indulged himself in the freedom of polygamy or concubinage.]

[^*: Of fifteen months. James, Life of Charlemagne, p. 187.—M.]

[^54: See the Annali d'Italia of Muratori, tom. vi., and the three first Dissertations of his Antiquitates Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. i.]


The mutual obligations of the popes and the Carlovingian family form the important link of ancient and modern, of civil and ecclesiastical, history. In the conquest of Italy, the champions of the Roman church obtained a favorable occasion, a specious title, the wishes of the people, the prayers and intrigues of the clergy. But the most essential gifts of the popes to the Carlovingian race were the dignities of king of France,^55 and of patrician of Rome. I. Under the sacerdotal monarchy of St. Peter, the nations began to resume the practice of seeking, on the banks of the Tyber, their kings, their laws, and the oracles of their fate. The Franks were perplexed between the name and substance of their government. All the powers of royalty were exercised by Pepin, mayor of the palace; and nothing, except the regal title, was wanting to his ambition. His enemies were crushed by his valor; his friends were multiplied by his liberality; his father had been the savior of Christendom; and the claims of personal merit were repeated and ennobled in a descent of four generations. The name and image of royalty was still preserved in the last descendant of Clovis, the feeble Childeric; but his obsolete right could only be used as an instrument of sedition: the nation was desirous of restoring the simplicity of the constitution; and Pepin, a subject and a prince, was ambitious to ascertain his own rank and the fortune of his family. The mayor and the nobles were bound, by an oath of fidelity, to the royal phantom: the blood of Clovis was pure and sacred in their eyes; and their common ambassadors addressed the Roman pontiff, to dispel their scruples, or to absolve their promise. The interest of Pope Zachary, the successor of the two Gregories, prompted him to decide, and to decide in their favor: he pronounced that the nation might lawfully unite in the same person the title and authority of king; and that the unfortunate Childeric, a victim of the public safety, should be degraded, shaved, and confined in a monastery for the remainder of his days. An answer so agreeable to their wishes was accepted by the Franks as the opinion of a casuist, the sentence of a judge, or the oracle of a prophet: the Merovingian race disappeared from the earth; and Pepin was exalted on a buckler by the suffrage of a free people, accustomed to obey his laws and to march under his standard. His coronation was twice performed, with the sanction of the popes, by their most faithful servant St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, and by the grateful hands of Stephen the Third, who, in the monastery of St. Denys placed the diadem on the head of his benefactor. The royal unction of the kings of Israel was dexterously applied:^56 the successor of St. Peter assumed the character of a divine ambassador: a German chieftain was transformed into the Lord's anointed; and this Jewish rite has been diffused and maintained by the superstition and vanity of modern Europe. The Franks were absolved from their ancient oath; but a dire anathema was thundered against them and their posterity, if they should dare to renew the same freedom of choice, or to elect a king, except in the holy and meritorious race of the Carlovingian princes. Without apprehending the future danger, these princes gloried in their present security: the secretary of Charlemagne affirms, that the French sceptre was transferred by the authority of the popes;^57 and in their boldest enterprises, they insist, with confidence, on this signal and successful act of temporal jurisdiction.

[^55: Besides the common historians, three French critics, Launoy, (Opera, tom. v. pars ii. l. vii. epist. 9, p. 477-487,) Pagi, (Critica, A.D. 751, No. 1-6, A.D. 752, No. 1-10,) and Natalis Alexander, (Hist. Novi Testamenti, dissertat, ii. p. 96-107,) have treated this subject of the deposition of Childeric with learning and attention, but with a strong bias to save the independence of the crown. Yet they are hard pressed by the texts which they produce of Eginhard, Theophanes, and the old annals, Laureshamenses, Fuldenses, Loisielani]

[^56: Not absolutely for the first time. On a less conspicuous theatre it had been used, in the vith and viith centuries, by the provincial bishops of Britain and Spain. The royal unction of Constantinople was borrowed from the Latins in the last age of the empire. Constantine Manasses mentions that of Charlemagne as a foreign, Jewish, incomprehensible ceremony. See Selden's Titles of Honor, in his Works, vol. iii. part i. p. 234-249.]

[^57: See Eginhard, in Vita Caroli Magni, c. i. p. 9, etc., c. iii. p. 24. Childeric was deposed—jussu, the Carlovingians were established—auctoritate, Pontificis Romani. Launoy, etc., pretend that these strong words are susceptible of a very soft interpretation. Be it so; yet Eginhard understood the world, the court, and the Latin language.]

II. In the change of manners and language the patricians of Rome^58 were far removed from the senate of Romulus, on the palace of Constantine, from the free nobles of the republic, or the fictitious parents of the emperor. After the recovery of Italy and Africa by the arms of Justinian, the importance and danger of those remote provinces required the presence of a supreme magistrate; he was indifferently styled the exarch or the patrician; and these governors of Ravenna, who fill their place in the chronology of princes, extended their jurisdiction over the Roman city. Since the revolt of Italy and the loss of the Exarchate, the distress of the Romans had exacted some sacrifice of their independence. Yet, even in this act, they exercised the right of disposing of themselves; and the decrees of the senate and people successively invested Charles Martel and his posterity with the honors of patrician of Rome. The leaders of a powerful nation would have disdained a servile title and subordinate office; but the reign of the Greek emperors was suspended; and, in the vacancy of the empire, they derived a more glorious commission from the pope and the republic. The Roman ambassadors presented these patricians with the keys of the shrine of St. Peter, as a pledge and symbol of sovereignty; with a holy banner which it was their right and duty to unfurl in the defence of the church and city.^59 In the time of Charles Martel and of Pepin, the interposition of the Lombard kingdom covered the freedom, while it threatened the safety, of Rome; and the patriciate represented only the title, the service, the alliance, of these distant protectors. The power and policy of Charlemagne annihilated an enemy, and imposed a master. In his first visit to the capital, he was received with all the honors which had formerly been paid to the exarch, the representative of the emperor; and these honors obtained some new decorations from the joy and gratitude of Pope Adrian the First.^60 No sooner was he informed of the sudden approach of the monarch, than he despatched the magistrates and nobles of Rome to meet him, with the banner, about thirty miles from the city. At the distance of one mile, the Flaminian way was lined with the schools, or national communities, of Greeks, Lombards, Saxons, etc.: the Roman youth were under arms; and the children of a more tender age, with palms and olive branches in their hands, chanted the praises of their great deliverer. At the aspect of the holy crosses, and ensigns of the saints, he dismounted from his horse, led the procession of his nobles to the Vatican, and, as he ascended the stairs, devoutly kissed each step of the threshold of the apostles. In the portico, Adrian expected him at the head of his clergy: they embraced, as friends and equals; but in their march to the altar, the king or patrician assumed the right hand of the pope. Nor was the Frank content with these vain and empty demonstrations of respect. In the twenty-six years that elapsed between the conquest of Lombardy and his Imperial coronation, Rome, which had been delivered by the sword, was subject, as his own, to the sceptre of Charlemagne. The people swore allegiance to his person and family: in his name money was coined, and justice was administered; and the election of the popes was examined and confirmed by his authority. Except an original and self-inherent claim of sovereignty, there was not any prerogative remaining, which the title of emperor could add to the patrician of Rome.^61

[^58: For the title and powers of patrician of Rome, see Ducange, (Gloss. Latin. tom. v. p. 149-151,) Pagi, (Critica, A.D. 740, No. 6-11,) Muratori, (Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 308-329,) and St. Marc, (Abrege Chronologique d'Italie, tom. i. p. 379-382.) Of these the Franciscan Pagi is the most disposed to make the patrician a lieutenant of the church, rather than of the empire.]

[^59: The papal advocates can soften the symbolic meaning of the banner and the keys; but the style of ad regnum dimisimus, or direximus, (Codex Carolin. epist. i. tom. iii. pars ii. p. 76,) seems to allow of no palliation or escape. In the Ms. of the Vienna library, they read, instead of regnum, rogum, prayer or request (see Ducange;) and the royalty of Charles Martel is subverted by this important correction, (Catalani, in his Critical Prefaces, Annali d'Italia, tom. xvii. p. 95-99.)]

[^60: In the authentic narrative of this reception, the Liber Pontificalis observes—obviam illi ejus sanctitas dirigens venerabiles cruces, id est signa; sicut mos est ad exarchum, aut patricium suscipiendum, sum cum ingenti honore suscipi fecit, (tom. iii. pars i. p. 185.)]

[^61: Paulus Diaconus, who wrote before the empire of Charlemagne describes Rome as his subject city—vestrae civitates (ad Pompeium Festum) suis addidit sceptris, (de Metensis Ecclesiae Episcopis.) Some Carlovingian medals, struck at Rome, have engaged Le Blanc to write an elaborate, though partial, dissertation on their authority at Rome, both as patricians and emperors, (Amsterdam, 1692, in 4to.)]

The gratitude of the Carlovingians was adequate to these obligations, and their names are consecrated, as the saviors and benefactors of the Roman church. Her ancient patrimony of farms and houses was transformed by their bounty into the temporal dominion of cities and provinces; and the donation of the Exarchate was the first-fruits of the conquests of Pepin.^62 Astolphus with a sigh relinquished his prey; the keys and the hostages of the principal cities were delivered to the French ambassador; and, in his master's name, he presented them before the tomb of St. Peter. The ample measure of the Exarchate^63 might comprise all the provinces of Italy which had obeyed the emperor and his vicegerent; but its strict and proper limits were included in the territories of Ravenna, Bologna, and Ferrara: its inseparable dependency was the Pentapolis, which stretched along the Adriatic from Rimini to Ancona, and advanced into the midland- country as far as the ridges of the Apennine. In this transaction, the ambition and avarice of the popes have been severely condemned. Perhaps the humility of a Christian priest should have rejected an earthly kingdom, which it was not easy for him to govern without renouncing the virtues of his profession. Perhaps a faithful subject, or even a generous enemy, would have been less impatient to divide the spoils of the Barbarian; and if the emperor had intrusted Stephen to solicit in his name the restitution of the Exarchate, I will not absolve the pope from the reproach of treachery and falsehood. But in the rigid interpretation of the laws, every one may accept, without injury, whatever his benefactor can bestow without injustice. The Greek emperor had abdicated, or forfeited, his right to the Exarchate; and the sword of Astolphus was broken by the stronger sword of the Carlovingian. It was not in the cause of the Iconoclast that Pepin has exposed his person and army in a double expedition beyond the Alps: he possessed, and might lawfully alienate, his conquests: and to the importunities of the Greeks he piously replied that no human consideration should tempt him to resume the gift which he had conferred on the Roman Pontiff for the remission of his sins, and the salvation of his soul. The splendid donation was granted in supreme and absolute dominion, and the world beheld for the first time a Christian bishop invested with the prerogatives of a temporal prince; the choice of magistrates, the exercise of justice, the imposition of taxes, and the wealth of the palace of Ravenna. In the dissolution of the Lombard kingdom, the inhabitants of the duchy of Spoleto^64 sought a refuge from the storm, shaved their heads after the Roman fashion, declared themselves the servants and subjects of St. Peter, and completed, by this voluntary surrender, the present circle of the ecclesiastical state. That mysterious circle was enlarged to an indefinite extent, by the verbal or written donation of Charlemagne,^65 who, in the first transports of his victory, despoiled himself and the Greek emperor of the cities and islands which had formerly been annexed to the Exarchate. But, in the cooler moments of absence and reflection, he viewed, with an eye of jealousy and envy, the recent greatness of his ecclesiastical ally. The execution of his own and his father's promises was respectfully eluded: the king of the Franks and Lombards asserted the inalienable rights of the empire; and, in his life and death, Ravenna,^66 as well as Rome, was numbered in the list of his metropolitan cities. The sovereignty of the Exarchate melted away in the hands of the popes; they found in the archbishops of Ravenna a dangerous and domestic rival:^67 the nobles and people disdained the yoke of a priest; and in the disorders of the times, they could only retain the memory of an ancient claim, which, in a more prosperous age, they have revived and realized.

[^62: Mosheim (Institution, Hist. Eccles. p. 263) weighs this donation with fair and deliberate prudence. The original act has never been produced; but the Liber Pontificalis represents, (p. 171,) and the Codex Carolinus supposes, this ample gift. Both are contemporary records and the latter is the more authentic, since it has been preserved, not in the Papal, but the Imperial, library.]

[^63: Between the exorbitant claims, and narrow concessions, of interest and prejudice, from which even Muratori (Antiquitat. tom. i. p. 63-68) is not exempt, I have been guided, in the limits of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, by the Dissertatio Chorographica Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. x. p. 160-180.]

[^64: Spoletini deprecati sunt, ut eos in servitio B. Petri receperet et more Romanorum tonsurari faceret, (Anastasius, p. 185.) Yet it may be a question whether they gave their own persons or their country.]

[^65: The policy and donations of Charlemagne are carefully examined by St. Marc, (Abrege, tom. i. p. 390-408,) who has well studied the Codex Carolinus. I believe, with him, that they were only verbal. The most ancient act of donation that pretends to be extant, is that of the emperor Lewis the Pious, (Sigonius, de Regno Italiae, l. iv. Opera, tom. ii. p. 267-270.) Its authenticity, or at least its integrity, are much questioned, (Pagi, A.D. 817, No. 7, etc. Muratori, Annali, tom. vi. p. 432, etc. Dissertat. Chorographica, p. 33, 34;) but I see no reasonable objection to these princes so freely disposing of what was not their own.]

[^66: Charlemagne solicited and obtained from the proprietor, Hadrian I., the mosaics of the palace of Ravenna, for the decoration of Aix-la-Chapelle, (Cod. Carolin. epist. 67, p. 223.)]

[^67: The popes often complain of the usurpations of Leo of Ravenna, (Codex Carolin, epist. 51, 52, 53, p. 200-205.) Sir corpus St. Andreae fratris germani St. Petri hic humasset, nequaquam nos Romani pontifices sic subjugassent, (Agnellus, Liber Pontificalis, in Scriptores Rerum Ital. tom. ii. pars. i. p. 107.)]

Fraud is the resource of weakness and cunning; and the strong, though ignorant, Barbarian was often entangled in the net of sacerdotal policy. The Vatican and Lateran were an arsenal and manufacture, which, according to the occasion, have produced or concealed a various collection of false or genuine, of corrupt or suspicious, acts, as they tended to promote the interest of the Roman church. Before the end of the eighth century, some apostolic scribe, perhaps the notorious Isidore, composed the decretals, and the donation of Constantine, the two magic pillars of the spiritual and temporal monarchy of the popes. This memorable donation was introduced to the world by an epistle of Adrian the First, who exhorts Charlemagne to imitate the liberality, and revive the name, of the great Constantine.^68 According to the legend, the first of the Christian emperors was healed of the leprosy, and purified in the waters of baptism, by St. Silvester, the Roman bishop; and never was physician more gloriously recompensed. His royal proselyte withdrew from the seat and patrimony of St. Peter; declared his resolution of founding a new capital in the East; and resigned to the popes the free and perpetual sovereignty of Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the West.^69 This fiction was productive of the most beneficial effects. The Greek princes were convicted of the guilt of usurpation; and the revolt of Gregory was the claim of his lawful inheritance. The popes were delivered from their debt of gratitude; and the nominal gifts of the Carlovingians were no more than the just and irrevocable restitution of a scanty portion of the ecclesiastical state. The sovereignty of Rome no longer depended on the choice of a fickle people; and the successors of St. Peter and Constantine were invested with the purple and prerogatives of the Caesars. So deep was the ignorance and credulity of the times, that the most absurd of fables was received, with equal reverence, in Greece and in France, and is still enrolled among the decrees of the canon law. ^70 The emperors, and the Romans, were incapable of discerning a forgery, that subverted their rights and freedom; and the only opposition proceeded from a Sabine monastery, which, in the beginning of the twelfth century, disputed the truth and validity of the donation of Constantine.^71 In the revival of letters and liberty, this fictitious deed was transpierced by the pen of Laurentius Valla, the pen of an eloquent critic and a Roman patriot.^72 His contemporaries of the fifteenth century were astonished at his sacrilegious boldness; yet such is the silent and irresistible progress of reason, that, before the end of the next age, the fable was rejected by the contempt of historians ^73 and poets,^74 and the tacit or modest censure of the advocates of the Roman church.^75 The popes themselves have indulged a smile at the credulity of the vulgar;^76 but a false and obsolete title still sanctifies their reign; and, by the same fortune which has attended the decretals and the Sibylline oracles, the edifice has subsisted after the foundations have been undermined.

[^68: Piissimo Constantino magno, per ejus largitatem S. R. Ecclesia elevata et exaltata est, et potestatem in his Hesperiae partibus largiri olignatus est....Quia ecce novus Constantinus his temporibus, etc., (Codex Carolin. epist. 49, in tom. iii. part ii. p. 195.) Pagi (Critica, A.D. 324, No. 16) ascribes them to an impostor of the viiith century, who borrowed the name of St. Isidore: his humble title of Peccator was ignorantly, but aptly, turned into Mercator: his merchandise was indeed profitable, and a few sheets of paper were sold for much wealth and power.]

[^69: Fabricius (Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 4-7) has enumerated the several editions of this Act, in Greek and Latin. The copy which Laurentius Valla recites and refutes, appears to be taken either from the spurious Acts of St. Silvester or from Gratian's Decree, to which, according to him and others, it has been surreptitiously tacked.]

[^70: In the year 1059, it was believed (was it believed?) by Pope Leo IX. Cardinal Peter Damianus, etc. Muratori places (Annali d'Italia, tom. ix. p. 23, 24) the fictitious donations of Lewis the Pious, the Othos, etc., de Donatione Constantini. See a Dissertation of Natalis Alexander, seculum iv. diss. 25, p. 335-350.]

[^71: See a large account of the controversy (A.D. 1105) which arose from a private lawsuit, in the Chronicon Farsense, (Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. ii. pars ii. p. 637, etc.,) a copious extract from the archives of that Benedictine abbey. They were formerly accessible to curious foreigners, (Le Blanc and Mabillon,) and would have enriched the first volume of the Historia Monastica Italiae of Quirini. But they are now imprisoned (Muratori, Scriptores R. I. tom. ii. pars ii. p. 269) by the timid policy of the court of Rome; and the future cardinal yielded to the voice of authority and the whispers of ambition, (Quirini, Comment. pars ii. p. 123-136.)]

[^72: I have read in the collection of Schardius (de Potestate Imperiali Ecclesiastica, p. 734-780) this animated discourse, which was composed by the author, A.D. 1440, six years after the flight of Pope Eugenius IV. It is a most vehement party pamphlet: Valla justifies and animates the revolt of the Romans, and would even approve the use of a dagger against their sacerdotal tyrant. Such a critic might expect the persecution of the clergy; yet he made his peace, and is buried in the Lateran, (Bayle, Dictionnaire Critique, Valla; Vossius, de Historicis Latinis, p. 580.)]

[^73: See Guicciardini, a servant of the popes, in that long and valuable digression, which has resumed its place in the last edition, correctly published from the author's Ms. and printed in four volumes in quarto, under the name of Friburgo, 1775, (Istoria d'Italia, tom. i. p. 385-395.)]

[^74: The Paladin Astolpho found it in the moon, among the things that were lost upon earth, (Orlando Furioso, xxxiv. 80.)

Di vari fiore ad un grand monte passa, Ch'ebbe gia buono odore, or puzza forte: Questo era il dono (se pero dir lece) Che Constantino al buon Silvestro fece.

Yet this incomparable poem has been approved by a bull of Leo X.]

[^75: See Baronius, A.D. 324, No. 117-123, A.D. 1191, No. 51, etc. The cardinal wishes to suppose that Rome was offered by Constantine, and refused by Silvester. The act of donation he considers strangely enough, as a forgery of the Greeks.]

[^76: Baronius n'en dit guerres contre; encore en a-t'il trop dit, et l'on vouloit sans moi, (Cardinal du Perron,) qui l'empechai, censurer cette partie de son histoire. J'en devisai un jour avec le Pape, et il ne me repondit autre chose "che volete? i Canonici la tengono," il le disoit en riant, (Perroniana, p. 77.)]

While the popes established in Italy their freedom and dominion, the images, the first cause of their revolt, were restored in the Eastern empire.^77 Under the reign of Constantine the Fifth, the union of civil and ecclesiastical power had overthrown the tree, without extirpating the root, of superstition. The idols (for such they were now held) were secretly cherished by the order and the sex most prone to devotion; and the fond alliance of the monks and females obtained a final victory over the reason and authority of man. Leo the Fourth maintained with less rigor the religion of his father and grandfather; but his wife, the fair and ambitious Irene, had imbibed the zeal of the Athenians, the heirs of the Idolatry, rather than the philosophy, of their ancestors. During the life of her husband, these sentiments were inflamed by danger and dissimulation, and she could only labor to protect and promote some favorite monks whom she drew from their caverns, and seated on the metropolitan thrones of the East. But as soon as she reigned in her own name and that of her son, Irene more seriously undertook the ruin of the Iconoclasts; and the first step of her future persecution was a general edict for liberty of conscience.

In the restoration of the monks, a thousand images were exposed to the public veneration; a thousand legends were inverted of their sufferings and miracles. By the opportunities of death or removal, the episcopal seats were judiciously filled the most eager competitors for earthly or celestial favor anticipated and flattered the judgment of their sovereign; and the promotion of her secretary Tarasius gave Irene the patriarch of Constantinople, and the command of the Oriental church. But the decrees of a general council could only be repealed by a similar assembly:^78 the Iconoclasts whom she convened were bold in possession, and averse to debate; and the feeble voice of the bishops was reechoed by the more formidable clamor of the soldiers and people of Constantinople. The delay and intrigues of a year, the separation of the disaffected troops, and the choice of Nice for a second orthodox synod, removed these obstacles; and the episcopal conscience was again, after the Greek fashion, in the hands of the prince. No more than eighteen days were allowed for the consummation of this important work: the Iconoclasts appeared, not as judges, but as criminals or penitents: the scene was decorated by the legates of Pope Adrian and the Eastern patriarchs,^79 the decrees were framed by the president Taracius, and ratified by the acclamations and subscriptions of three hundred and fifty bishops. They unanimously pronounced, that the worship of images is agreeable to Scripture and reason, to the fathers and councils of the church: but they hesitate whether that worship be relative or direct; whether the Godhead, and the figure of Christ, be entitled to the same mode of adoration. Of this second Nicene council the acts are still extant; a curious monument of superstition and ignorance, of falsehood and folly. I shall only notice the judgment of the bishops on the comparative merit of image-worship and morality. A monk had concluded a truce with the daemon of fornication, on condition of interrupting his daily prayers to a picture that hung in his cell. His scruples prompted him to consult the abbot. "Rather than abstain from adoring Christ and his Mother in their holy images, it would be better for you," replied the casuist, "to enter every brothel, and visit every prostitute, in the city."^80 For the honor of orthodoxy, at least the orthodoxy of the Roman church, it is somewhat unfortunate, that the two princes who convened the two councils of Nice are both stained with the blood of their sons. The second of these assemblies was approved and rigorously executed by the despotism of Irene, and she refused her adversaries the toleration which at first she had granted to her friends. During the five succeeding reigns, a period of thirty-eight years, the contest was maintained, with unabated rage and various success, between the worshippers and the breakers of the images; but I am not inclined to pursue with minute diligence the repetition of the same events. Nicephorus allowed a general liberty of speech and practice; and the only virtue of his reign is accused by the monks as the cause of his temporal and eternal perdition. Superstition and weakness formed the character of Michael the First, but the saints and images were incapable of supporting their votary on the throne. In the purple, Leo the Fifth asserted the name and religion of an Armenian; and the idols, with their seditious adherents, were condemned to a second exile. Their applause would have sanctified the murder of an impious tyrant, but his assassin and successor, the second Michael, was tainted from his birth with the Phrygian heresies: he attempted to mediate between the contending parties; and the intractable spirit of the Catholics insensibly cast him into the opposite scale. His moderation was guarded by timidity; but his son Theophilus, alike ignorant of fear and pity, was the last and most cruel of the Iconoclasts. The enthusiasm of the times ran strongly against them; and the emperors who stemmed the torrent were exasperated and punished by the public hatred. After the death of Theophilus, the final victory of the images was achieved by a second female, his widow Theodora, whom he left the guardian of the empire. Her measures were bold and decisive. The fiction of a tardy repentance absolved the fame and the soul of her deceased husband; the sentence of the Iconoclast patriarch was commuted from the loss of his eyes to a whipping of two hundred lashes: the bishops trembled, the monks shouted, and the festival of orthodoxy preserves the annual memory of the triumph of the images. A single question yet remained, whether they are endowed with any proper and inherent sanctity; it was agitated by the Greeks of the eleventh century;^81 and as this opinion has the strongest recommendation of absurdity, I am surprised that it was not more explicitly decided in the affirmative. In the West, Pope Adrian the First accepted and announced the decrees of the Nicene assembly, which is now revered by the Catholics as the seventh in rank of the general councils. Rome and Italy were docile to the voice of their father; but the greatest part of the Latin Christians were far behind in the race of superstition. The churches of France, Germany, England, and Spain, steered a middle course between the adoration and the destruction of images, which they admitted into their temples, not as objects of worship, but as lively and useful memorials of faith and history. An angry book of controversy was composed and published in the name of Charlemagne:^82 under his authority a synod of three hundred bishops was assembled at Frankfort:^83 they blamed the fury of the Iconoclasts, but they pronounced a more severe censure against the superstition of the Greeks, and the decrees of their pretended council, which was long despised by the Barbarians of the West.^84 Among them the worship of images advanced with a silent and insensible progress; but a large atonement is made for their hesitation and delay, by the gross idolatry of the ages which precede the reformation, and of the countries, both in Europe and America, which are still immersed in the gloom of superstition.

[^77: The remaining history of images, from Irene to Theodora, is collected, for the Catholics, by Baronius and Pagi, (A.D. 780-840.) Natalis Alexander, (Hist. N. T. seculum viii. Panoplia adversus Haereticos p. 118- 178,) and Dupin, (Bibliot. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 136-154;) for the Protestants, by Spanheim, (Hist. Imag. p. 305-639.) Basnage, (Hist. de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 556-572, tom. ii. p. 1362-1385,) and Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Eccles. secul. viii. et ix.) The Protestants, except Mosheim, are soured with controversy; but the Catholics, except Dupin, are inflamed by the fury and superstition of the monks; and even Le Beau, (Hist. du Bas Empire,) a gentleman and a scholar, is infected by the odious contagion.]

[^78: See the Acts, in Greek and Latin, of the second Council of Nice, with a number of relative pieces, in the viiith volume of the Councils, p. 645-1600. A faithful version, with some critical notes, would provoke, in different readers, a sigh or a smile.]

[^79: The pope's legates were casual messengers, two priests without any special commission, and who were disavowed on their return. Some vagabond monks were persuaded by the Catholics to represent the Oriental patriarchs. This curious anecdote is revealed by Theodore Studites, (epist. i. 38, in Sirmond. Opp. tom. v. p. 1319,) one of the warmest Iconoclasts of the age.]

[^80: These visits could not be innocent since the daemon of fornication, etc. Actio iv. p. 901, Actio v. p. 1081]

[^81: See an account of this controversy in the Alexius of Anna Compena, (l. v. p. 129,) and Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 371, 372.)]

[^82: The Libri Carolini, (Spanheim, p. 443—529,) composed in the palace or winter quarters of Charlemagne, at Worms, A.D. 790, and sent by Engebert to Pope Hadrian I., who answered them by a grandis et verbosa epistola, (Concil. tom. vii. p. 1553.) The Carolines propose 120 objections against the Nicene synod and such words as these are the flowers of their rhetoric—Dementiam....priscae Gentilitatis obsoletum errorem ....argumenta insanissima et absurdissima....derisione dignas naenias, etc., etc.]

[^83: The assemblies of Charlemagne were political, as well as ecclesiastical; and the three hundred members, (Nat. Alexander, sec. viii. p. 53,) who sat and voted at Frankfort, must include not only the bishops, but the abbots, and even the principal laymen.]

[^84: Qui supra sanctissima patres nostri (episcopi et sacerdotes) omnimodis servitium et adorationem imaginum renuentes contempserunt, atque consentientes condemnaverunt, (Concil. tom. ix. p. 101, Canon. ii. Franckfurd.) A polemic must be hard-hearted indeed, who does not pity the efforts of Baronius, Pagi, Alexander, Maimbourg, etc., to elude this unlucky sentence.]


It was after the Nycene synod, and under the reign of the pious Irene, that the popes consummated the separation of Rome and Italy, by the translation of the empire to the less orthodox Charlemagne. They were compelled to choose between the rival nations: religion was not the sole motive of their choice; and while they dissembled the failings of their friends, they beheld, with reluctance and suspicion, the Catholic virtues of their foes. The difference of language and manners had perpetuated the enmity of the two capitals; and they were alienated from each other by the hostile opposition of seventy years. In that schism the Romans had tasted of freedom, and the popes of sovereignty: their submission would have exposed them to the revenge of a jealous tyrant; and the revolution of Italy had betrayed the impotence, as well as the tyranny, of the Byzantine court. The Greek emperors had restored the images, but they had not restored the Calabrian estates^85 and the Illyrian diocese,^86 which the Iconociasts had torn away from the successors of St. Peter; and Pope Adrian threatens them with a sentence of excommunication unless they speedily abjure this practical heresy.^87 The Greeks were now orthodox; but their religion might be tainted by the breath of the reigning monarch: the Franks were now contumacious; but a discerning eye might discern their approaching conversion, from the use, to the adoration, of images. The name of Charlemagne was stained by the polemic acrimony of his scribes; but the conqueror himself conformed, with the temper of a statesman, to the various practice of France and Italy. In his four pilgrimages or visits to the Vatican, he embraced the popes in the communion of friendship and piety; knelt before the tomb, and consequently before the image, of the apostle; and joined, without scruple, in all the prayers and processions of the Roman liturgy. Would prudence or gratitude allow the pontiffs to renounce their benefactor? Had they a right to alienate his gift of the Exarchate? Had they power to abolish his government of Rome? The title of patrician was below the merit and greatness of Charlemagne; and it was only by reviving the Western empire that they could pay their obligations or secure their establishment. By this decisive measure they would finally eradicate the claims of the Greeks; from the debasement of a provincial town, the majesty of Rome would be restored: the Latin Christians would be united, under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of St. Peter. The Roman church would acquire a zealous and respectable advocate; and, under the shadow of the Carlovingian power, the bishop might exercise, with honor and safety, the government of the city.^88

[^85: Theophanes (p. 343) specifies those of Sicily and Calabria, which yielded an annual rent of three talents and a half of gold, (perhaps 7000l. sterling.) Liutprand more pompously enumerates the patrimonies of the Roman church in Greece, Judaea, Persia, Mesopotamia Babylonia, Egypt, and Libya, which were detained by the injustice of the Greek emperor, (Legat. ad Nicephorum, in Script. Rerum Italica rum, tom. ii. pars i. p. 481.)]

[^86: The great diocese of the Eastern Illyricum, with Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, (Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 145: ) by the confession of the Greeks, the patriarch of Constantinople had detached from Rome the metropolitans of Thessalonica, Athens Corinth, Nicopolis, and Patrae, (Luc. Holsten. Geograph. Sacra, p. 22) and his spiritual conquests extended to Naples and Amalphi (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 517-524, Pagi, A. D 780, No. 11.)]

[^87: In hoc ostenditur, quia ex uno capitulo ab errore reversis, in aliis duobus, in eodem (was it the same?) permaneant errore.... de diocessi S. R. E. seu de patrimoniis iterum increpantes commonemus, ut si ea restituere noluerit hereticum eum pro hujusmodi errore perseverantia decernemus, (Epist. Hadrian. Papae ad Carolum Magnum, in Concil. tom. viii. p. 1598;) to which he adds a reason, most directly opposite to his conduct, that he preferred the salvation of souls and rule of faith to the goods of this transitory world.]

[^88: Fontanini considers the emperors as no more than the advocates of the church, (advocatus et defensor S. R. E. See Ducange, Gloss Lat. tom. i. p. 297.) His antagonist Muratori reduces the popes to be no more than the exarchs of the emperor. In the more equitable view of Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 264, 265,) they held Rome under the empire as the most honorable species of fief or benefice—premuntur nocte caliginosa!]

Before the ruin of Paganism in Rome, the competition for a wealthy bishopric had often been productive of tumult and bloodshed. The people was less numerous, but the times were more savage, the prize more important, and the chair of St. Peter was fiercely disputed by the leading ecclesiastics who aspired to the rank of sovereign. The reign of Adrian the First^89 surpasses the measure of past or succeeding ages;^90 the walls of Rome, the sacred patrimony, the ruin of the Lombards, and the friendship of Charlemagne, were the trophies of his fame: he secretly edified the throne of his successors, and displayed in a narrow space the virtues of a great prince. His memory was revered; but in the next election, a priest of the Lateran, Leo the Third, was preferred to the nephew and the favorite of Adrian, whom he had promoted to the first dignities of the church. Their acquiescence or repentance disguised, above four years, the blackest intention of revenge, till the day of a procession, when a furious band of conspirators dispersed the unarmed multitude, and assaulted with blows and wounds the sacred person of the pope. But their enterprise on his life or liberty was disappointed, perhaps by their own confusion and remorse. Leo was left for dead on the ground: on his revival from the swoon, the effect of his loss of blood, he recovered his speech and sight; and this natural event was improved to the miraculous restoration of his eyes and tongue, of which he had been deprived, twice deprived, by the knife of the assassins.^91 From his prison he escaped to the Vatican: the duke of Spoleto hastened to his rescue, Charlemagne sympathized in his injury, and in his camp of Paderborn in Westphalia accepted, or solicited, a visit from the Roman pontiff. Leo repassed the Alps with a commission of counts and bishops, the guards of his safety and the judges of his innocence; and it was not without reluctance, that the conqueror of the Saxons delayed till the ensuing year the personal discharge of this pious office. In his fourth and last pilgrimage, he was received at Rome with the due honors of king and patrician: Leo was permitted to purge himself by oath of the crimes imputed to his charge: his enemies were silenced, and the sacrilegious attempt against his life was punished by the mild and insufficient penalty of exile. On the festival of Christmas, the last year of the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in the church of St. Peter; and, to gratify the vanity of Rome, he had exchanged the simple dress of his country for the habit of a patrician.^92 After the celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his head,^93 and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, "Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!" The head and body of Charlemagne were consecrated by the royal unction: after the example of the Caesars, he was saluted or adored by the pontiff: his coronation oath represents a promise to maintain the faith and privileges of the church; and the first-fruits were paid in his rich offerings to the shrine of his apostle. In his familiar conversation, the emperor protested the ignorance of the intentions of Leo, which he would have disappointed by his absence on that memorable day. But the preparations of the ceremony must have disclosed the secret; and the journey of Charlemagne reveals his knowledge and expectation: he had acknowledged that the Imperial title was the object of his ambition, and a Roman synod had pronounced, that it was the only adequate reward of his merit and services.^94

[^89: His merits and hopes are summed up in an epitaph of thirty-eight-verses, of which Charlemagne declares himself the author, (Concil. tom. viii. p. 520.)

Post patrem lacrymans Carolus haec carmina scripsi. Tu mihi dulcis amor, te modo plango pater...Nomina jungo simul titulis, clarissime, nostra Adrianus, Carolus, rex ego, tuque pater.

The poetry might be supplied by Alcuin; but the tears, the most glorious tribute, can only belong to Charlemagne.]

[^90: Every new pope is admonished—"Sancte Pater, non videbis annos Petri," twenty-five years. On the whole series the average is about eight years—a short hope for an ambitious cardinal.]

[^91: The assurance of Anastasius (tom. iii. pars i. p. 197, 198) is supported by the credulity of some French annalists; but Eginhard, and other writers of the same age, are more natural and sincere. "Unus ei oculus paullulum est laesus," says John the deacon of Naples, (Vit. Episcop. Napol. in Scriptores Muratori, tom. i. pars ii. p. 312.) Theodolphus, a contemporary bishop of Orleans, observes with prudence (l. iii. carm. 3.)

Reddita sunt? mirum est: mirum est auferre nequtsse.

Est tamen in dubio, hinc mirer an inde magis.]

[^92: Twice, at the request of Hadrian and Leo, he appeared at Rome,—longa tunica et chlamyde amictus, et calceamentis quoque Romano more formatis. Eginhard (c. xxiii. p. 109—113) describes, like Suetonius the simplicity of his dress, so popular in the nation, that when Charles the Bald returned to France in a foreign habit, the patriotic dogs barked at the apostate, (Gaillard, Vie de Charlemagne, tom. iv. p. 109.)]

[^93: See Anastasius (p. 199) and Eginhard, (c.xxviii. p. 124—128.) The unction is mentioned by Theophanes, (p. 399,) the oath by Sigonius, (from the Ordo Romanus,) and the Pope's adoration more antiquorum principum, by the Annales Bertiniani, (Script. Murator. tom. ii. pars ii. p. 505.)]

[^94: This great event of the translation or restoration of the empire is related and discussed by Natalis Alexander, (secul. ix. dissert. i. p. 390—397,) Pagi, (tom. iii. p. 418,) Muratori, (Annali d'Italia, tom. vi. p. 339—352,) Sigonius, (de Regno Italiae, l. iv. Opp. tom. ii. p. 247—251,) Spanheim, (de ficta Translatione Imperii,) Giannone, (tom. i. p. 395—405,) St. Marc, (Abrege Chronologique, tom. i. p. 438—450,) Gaillard, (Hist. de Charlemagne, tom. ii. p. 386—446.) Almost all these moderns have some religious or national bias.]

The appellation of great has been often bestowed, and sometimes deserved; but Charlemagne is the only prince in whose favor the title has been indissolubly blended with the name. That name, with the addition of saint, is inserted in the Roman calendar; and the saint, by a rare felicity, is crowned with the praises of the historians and philosophers of an enlightened age. ^95 His real merit is doubtless enhanced by the barbarism of the nation and the times from which he emerged: but the apparent magnitude of an object is likewise enlarged by an unequal comparison; and the ruins of Palmyra derive a casual splendor from the nakedness of the surrounding desert. Without injustice to his fame, I may discern some blemishes in the sanctity and greatness of the restorer of the Western empire. Of his moral virtues, chastity is not the most conspicuous:^96 but the public happiness could not be materially injured by his nine wives or concubines, the various indulgence of meaner or more transient amours, the multitude of his bastards whom he bestowed on the church, and the long celibacy and licentious manners of his daughters,^97 whom the father was suspected of loving with too fond a passion.^* I shall be scarcely permitted to accuse the ambition of a conqueror; but in a day of equal retribution, the sons of his brother Carloman, the Merovingian princes of Aquitain, and the four thousand five hundred Saxons who were beheaded on the same spot, would have something to allege against the justice and humanity of Charlemagne. His treatment of the vanquished Saxons^98 was an abuse of the right of conquest; his laws were not less sanguinary than his arms, and in the discussion of his motives, whatever is subtracted from bigotry must be imputed to temper. The sedentary reader is amazed by his incessant activity of mind and body; and his subjects and enemies were not less astonished at his sudden presence, at the moment when they believed him at the most distant extremity of the empire; neither peace nor war, nor summer nor winter, were a season of repose; and our fancy cannot easily reconcile the annals of his reign with the geography of his expeditions.^! But this activity was a national, rather than a personal, virtue; the vagrant life of a Frank was spent in the chase, in pilgrimage, in military adventures; and the journeys of Charlemagne were distinguished only by a more numerous train and a more important purpose. His military renown must be tried by the scrutiny of his troops, his enemies, and his actions. Alexander conquered with the arms of Philip, but the two heroes who preceded Charlemagne bequeathed him their name, their examples, and the companions of their victories. At the head of his veteran and superior armies, he oppressed the savage or degenerate nations, who were incapable of confederating for their common safety: nor did he ever encounter an equal antagonist in numbers, in discipline, or in arms The science of war has been lost and revived with the arts of peace; but his campaigns are not illustrated by any siege or battle of singular difficulty and success; and he might behold, with envy, the Saracen trophies of his grandfather. After the Spanish expedition, his rear-guard was defeated in the Pyrenaean mountains; and the soldiers, whose situation was irretrievable, and whose valor was useless, might accuse, with their last breath, the want of skill or caution of their general.^99 I touch with reverence the laws of Charlemagne, so highly applauded by a respectable judge. They compose not a system, but a series, of occasional and minute edicts, for the correction of abuses, the reformation of manners, the economy of his farms, the care of his poultry, and even the sale of his eggs. He wished to improve the laws and the character of the Franks; and his attempts, however feeble and imperfect, are deserving of praise: the inveterate evils of the times were suspended or mollified by his government;^100 but in his institutions I can seldom discover the general views and the immortal spirit of a legislator, who survives himself for the benefit of posterity. The union and stability of his empire depended on the life of a single man: he imitated the dangerous practice of dividing his kingdoms among his sons; and after his numerous diets, the whole constitution was left to fluctuate between the disorders of anarchy and despotism. His esteem for the piety and knowledge of the clergy tempted him to intrust that aspiring order with temporal dominion and civil jurisdiction; and his son Lewis, when he was stripped and degraded by the bishops, might accuse, in some measure, the imprudence of his father. His laws enforced the imposition of tithes, because the daemons had proclaimed in the air that the default of payment had been the cause of the last scarcity.^101 The literary merits of Charlemagne are attested by the foundation of schools, the introduction of arts, the works which were published in his name, and his familiar connection with the subjects and strangers whom he invited to his court to educate both the prince and people. His own studies were tardy, laborious, and imperfect; if he spoke Latin, and understood Greek, he derived the rudiments of knowledge from conversation, rather than from books; and, in his mature age, the emperor strove to acquire the practice of writing, which every peasant now learns in his infancy.^102 The grammar and logic, the music and astronomy, of the times, were only cultivated as the handmaids of superstition; but the curiosity of the human mind must ultimately tend to its improvement, and the encouragement of learning reflects the purest and most pleasing lustre on the character of Charlemagne.^103 The dignity of his person,^104 the length of his reign, the prosperity of his arms, the vigor of his government, and the reverence of distant nations, distinguish him from the royal crowd; and Europe dates a new aera from his restoration of the Western empire.

[^95: By Mably, (Observations sur l'Histoire de France,) Voltaire, (Histoire Generale,) Robertson, (History of Charles V.,) and Montesquieu, (Esprit des Loix, l. xxxi. c. 18.) In the year 1782, M. Gaillard published his Histoire de Charlemagne, (in 4 vols. in 12mo.,) which I have freely and profitably used. The author is a man of sense and humanity; and his work is labored with industry and elegance. But I have likewise examined the original monuments of the reigns of Pepin and Charlemagne, in the 5th volume of the Historians of France.]

[^96: The vision of Weltin, composed by a monk, eleven years after the death of Charlemagne, shows him in purgatory, with a vulture, who is perpetually gnawing the guilty member, while the rest of his body, the emblem of his virtues, is sound and perfect, (see Gaillard tom. ii. p. 317—360.)]

[^97: The marriage of Eginhard with Imma, daughter of Charlemagne, is, in my opinion, sufficiently refuted by the probum and suspicio that sullied these fair damsels, without excepting his own wife, (c. xix. p. 98—100, cum Notis Schmincke.) The husband must have been too strong for the historian.]

[^*: This charge of incest, as Mr. Hallam justly observes, "seems to have originated in a misinterpreted passage of Eginhard." Hallam's Middle Ages, vol.i. p. 16.—M.

[^98: Besides the massacres and transmigrations, the pain of death was pronounced against the following crimes: 1. The refusal of baptism. 2. The false pretence of baptism. 3. A relapse to idolatry. 4. The murder of a priest or bishop. 5. Human sacrifices. 6. Eating meat in Lent. But every crime might be expiated by baptism or penance, (Gaillard, tom. ii. p. 241 - 247;) and the Christian Saxons became the friends and equals of the Franks, (Struv. Corpus Hist. Germanicae, p.133.)]

[^!: M. Guizot (Cours d'Histoire Moderne, p. 270, 273) has compiled the following statement of Charlemagne's military campaigns:—

1. Against the Aquitanians.

18. " the Saxons.

5. " the Lombards.

7. " the Arabs in Spain.

1. " the Thuringians.

4. " the Avars.

2. " the Bretons.

1. " the Bavarians.

4. " the Slaves beyond the Elbe

5. " the Saracens in Italy.

3. " the Danes.

2. " the Greeks. ___

53 total.—M.]

[^99: In this action the famous Rutland, Rolando, Orlando, was slain—cum compluribus aliis. See the truth in Eginhard, (c. 9, p. 51—56,) and the fable in an ingenious Supplement of M. Gaillard, (tom. iii. p. 474.) The Spaniards are too proud of a victory, which history ascribes to the Gascons, and romance to the Saracens.
Note: In fact, it was a sudden onset of the Gascons, assisted by the Beaure mountaineers, and possibly a few Navarrese.—M.]

[^100: Yet Schmidt, from the best authorities, represents the interior disorders and oppression of his reign, (Hist. des Allemands, tom. ii. p. 45—49.)]

[^101: Omnis homo ex sua proprietate legitimam decimam ad ecclesiam conferat. Experimento enim didicimus, in anno, quo illa valida fames irrepsit, ebullire vacuas annonas a daemonibus devoratas, et voces exprobationis auditas. Such is the decree and assertion of the great Council of Frankfort, (canon xxv. tom. ix. p. 105.) Both Selden (Hist. of Tithes; Works, vol. iii. part ii. p. 1146) and Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, l. xxxi. c. 12) represent Charlemagne as the first legal author of tithes. Such obligations have country gentlemen to his memory!]

[^102: Eginhard (c. 25, p. 119) clearly affirms, tentabat et scribere...sed parum prospere successit labor praeposterus et sero inchoatus. The moderns have perverted and corrected this obvious meaning, and the title of M. Gaillard's dissertation (tom. iii. p. 247—260) betrays his partiality.
Note: This point has been contested; but Mr. Hallam and Monsieur Sismondl concur with Gibbon. See Middle Ages, iii. 330 Histoire de Francais, tom. ii. p. 318. The sensible observations of the latter are quoted in the Quarterly Review, vol. xlviii. p. 451. Fleury, I may add, quotes from Mabillon a remarkable evidence that Charlemagne "had a mark to himself like an honest, plain-dealing man." Ibid.—M.]

[^103: See Gaillard, tom. iii. p. 138—176, and Schmidt, tom. ii. p. 121—129.]

[^104: M. Gaillard (tom. iii. p. 372) fixes the true stature of Charlemagne (see a Dissertation of Marquard Freher ad calcem Eginhart, p. 220, etc.) at five feet nine inches of French, about six feet one inch and a fourth English, measure. The romance writers have increased it to eight feet, and the giant was endowed with matchless strength and appetite: at a single stroke of his good sword Joyeuse, he cut asunder a horseman and his horse; at a single repast, he devoured a goose, two fowls, a quarter of mutton, etc.]

That empire was not unworthy of its title;^105 and some of the fairest kingdoms of Europe were the patrimony or conquest of a prince, who reigned at the same time in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hungary.^106 I. The Roman province of Gaul had been transformed into the name and monarchy of France; but, in the decay of the Merovingian line, its limits were contracted by the independence of the Britons and the revolt of Aquitain. Charlemagne pursued, and confined, the Britons on the shores of the ocean; and that ferocious tribe, whose origin and language are so different from the French, was chastised by the imposition of tribute, hostages, and peace. After a long and evasive contest, the rebellion of the dukes of Aquitain was punished by the forfeiture of their province, their liberty, and their lives.

Harsh and rigorous would have been such treatment of ambitious governors, who had too faithfully copied the mayors of the palace. But a recent discovery^107 has proved that these unhappy princes were the last and lawful heirs of the blood and sceptre of Clovis, and younger branch, from the brother of Dagobert, of the Merovingian house. Their ancient kingdom was reduced to the duchy of Gascogne, to the counties of Fesenzac and Armagnac, at the foot of the Pyrenees: their race was propagated till the beginning of the sixteenth century; and after surviving their Carlovingian tyrants, they were reserved to feel the injustice, or the favors, of a third dynasty. By the reunion of Aquitain, France was enlarged to its present boundaries, with the additions of the Netherlands and Spain, as far as the Rhine. II.

The Saracens had been expelled from France by the grandfather and father of Charlemagne; but they still possessed the greatest part of Spain, from the rock of Gibraltar to the Pyrenees. Amidst their civil divisions, an Arabian emir of Saragossa implored his protection in the diet of Paderborn. Charlemagne undertook the expedition, restored the emir, and, without distinction of faith, impartially crushed the resistance of the Christians, and rewarded the obedience and services of the Mahometans. In his absence he instituted the Spanish march,^108 which extended from the Pyrenees to the River Ebro: Barcelona was the residence of the French governor: he possessed the counties of Rousillon and Catalonia; and the infant kingdoms of Navarre and Arragon were subject to his jurisdiction. III. As king of the Lombards, and patrician of Rome, he reigned over the greatest part of Italy, ^109 a tract of a thousand miles from the Alps to the borders of Calabria. The duchy of Beneventum, a Lombard fief, had spread, at the expense of the Greeks, over the modern kingdom of Naples. But Arrechis, the reigning duke, refused to be included in the slavery of his country; assumed the independent title of prince; and opposed his sword to the Carlovingian monarchy. His defence was firm, his submission was not inglorious, and the emperor was content with an easy tribute, the demolition of his fortresses, and the acknowledgement, on his coins, of a supreme lord. The artful flattery of his son Grimoald added the appellation of father, but he asserted his dignity with prudence, and Benventum insensibly escaped from the French yoke.^110 IV. Charlemagne was the first who united Germany under the same sceptre. The name of Oriental France is preserved in the circle of Franconia; and the people of Hesse and Thuringia were recently incorporated with the victors, by the conformity of religion and government. The Alemanni, so formidable to the Romans, were the faithful vassals and confederates of the Franks; and their country was inscribed within the modern limits of Alsace, Swabia, and Switzerland. The Bavarians, with a similar indulgence of their laws and manners, were less patient of a master: the repeated treasons of Tasillo justified the abolition of their hereditary dukes; and their power was shared among the counts, who judged and guarded that important frontier. But the north of Germany, from the Rhine and beyond the Elbe, was still hostile and Pagan; nor was it till after a war of thirty-three years that the Saxons bowed under the yoke of Christ and of Charlemagne. The idols and their votaries were extirpated: the foundation of eight bishoprics, of Munster, Osnaburgh, Paderborn, and Minden, of Bremen, Verden, Hildesheim, and Halberstadt, define, on either side of the Weser, the bounds of ancient Saxony these episcopal seats were the first schools and cities of that savage land; and the religion and humanity of the children atoned, in some degree, for the massacre of the parents. Beyond the Elbe, the Slavi, or Sclavonians, of similar manners and various denominations, overspread the modern dominions of Prussia, Poland, and Bohemia, and some transient marks of obedience have tempted the French historian to extend the empire to the Baltic and the Vistula. The conquest or conversion of those countries is of a more recent age; but the first union of Bohemia with the Germanic body may be justly ascribed to the arms of Charlemagne. V. He retaliated on the Avars, or Huns of Pannonia, the same calamities which they had inflicted on the nations. Their rings, the wooden fortifications which encircled their districts and villages, were broken down by the triple effort of a French army, that was poured into their country by land and water, through the Carpathian mountains and along the plain of the Danube. After a bloody conflict of eight years, the loss of some French generals was avenged by the slaughter of the most noble Huns: the relics of the nation submitted the royal residence of the chagan was left desolate and unknown; and the treasures, the rapine of two hundred and fifty years, enriched the victorious troops, or decorated the churches of Italy and Gaul.^111 After the reduction of Pannonia, the empire of Charlemagne was bounded only by the conflux of the Danube with the Teyss and the Save: the provinces of Istria, Liburnia, and Dalmatia, were an easy, though unprofitable, accession; and it was an effect of his moderation, that he left the maritime cities under the real or nominal sovereignty of the Greeks. But these distant possessions added more to the reputation than to the power of the Latin emperor; nor did he risk any ecclesiastical foundations to reclaim the Barbarians from their vagrant life and idolatrous worship. Some canals of communication between the rivers, the Saone and the Meuse, the Rhine and the Danube, were faintly attempted.^112 Their execution would have vivified the empire; and more cost and labor were often wasted in the structure of a cathedral.^*

[^105: See the concise, but correct and original, work of D'Anville, (Etats Formes en Europe apres la Chute de l'Empire Romain en Occident, Paris, 1771, in 4to.,) whose map includes the empire of Charlemagne; the different parts are illustrated, by Valesius (Notitia Galliacum) for France, Beretti (Dissertatio Chorographica) for Italy, De Marca (Marca Hispanica) for Spain. For the middle geography of Germany, I confess myself poor and destitute.]

[^106: After a brief relation of his wars and conquests, (Vit. Carol. c. 5—14,) Eginhard recapitulates, in a few words, (c. 15,) the countries subject to his empire. Struvius, (Corpus Hist. German. p. 118—149) was inserted in his Notes the texts of the old Chronicles.]

[^107: On a charter granted to the monastery of Alaon (A.D. 845) by Charles the Bald, which deduces this royal pedigree. I doubt whether some subsequent links of the ixth and xth centuries are equally firm; yet the whole is approved and defended by M. Gaillard, (tom. ii. p.60—81, 203—206,) who affirms that the family of Montesquiou (not of the President de Montesquieu) is descended, in the female line, from Clotaire and Clovis—an innocent pretension!]

[^108: The governors or counts of the Spanish march revolted from Charles the Simple about the year 900; and a poor pittance, the Rousillon, has been recovered in 1642 by the kings of France, (Longuerue, Description de la France, tom i. p. 220 - 222.) Yet the Rousillon contains 188,900 subjects, and annually pays 2,600,000 livres, (Necker, Administration des Finances, tom. i. p. 278, 279;) more people, perhaps, and doubtless more money than the march of Charlemagne.]

[^109: Schmidt, Hist. des Allemands, tom. ii. p. 200, etc.]

[^110: See Giannone, tom. i. p 374, 375, and the Annals of Muratori.]

[^111: Quot praelia in eo gesta! quantum sanguinis effusum sit! Testatur vacua omni habitatione Pannonia, et locus in quo regia Cagani fuit ita desertus, ut ne vestigium quidem humanae habitationis appareat. Tota in hoc bello Hunnorum nobilitas periit, tota gloria decidit, omnis pecunia et congesti ex longo tempore thesauri direpti sunt. Eginhard, cxiii.]

[^112: The junction of the Rhine and Danube was undertaken only for the service of the Pannonian war, (Gaillard, Vie de Charlemagne, tom. ii. p. 312-315.) The canal, which would have been only two leagues in length, and of which some traces are still extant in Swabia, was interrupted by excessive rains, military avocations, and superstitious fears, (Schaepflin, Hist. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xviii. p. 256. Molimina fluviorum, etc., jungendorum, p. 59-62.)]

[^*: I should doubt this in the time of Charlemagne, even if the term "expended" were substituted for "wasted."—M.]


If we retrace the outlines of this geographical picture, it will be seen that the empire of the Franks extended, between east and west, from the Ebro to the Elbe or Vistula; between the north and south, from the duchy of Beneventum to the River Eyder, the perpetual boundary of Germany and Denmark. The personal and political importance of Charlemagne was magnified by the distress and division of the rest of Europe. The islands of Great Britain and Ireland were disputed by a crowd of princes of Saxon or Scottish origin: and, after the loss of Spain, the Christian and Gothic kingdom of Alphonso the Chaste was confined to the narrow range of the Asturian mountains. These petty sovereigns revered the power or virtue of the Carlovingian monarch, implored the honor and support of his alliance, and styled him their common parent, the sole and supreme emperor of the West.^113 He maintained a more equal intercourse with the caliph Harun al Rashid,^114 whose dominion stretched from Africa to India, and accepted from his ambassadors a tent, a water-clock, an elephant, and the keys of the Holy Sepulchre. It is not easy to conceive the private friendship of a Frank and an Arab, who were strangers to each other's person, and language, and religion: but their public correspondence was founded on vanity, and their remote situation left no room for a competition of interest. Two thirds of the Western empire of Rome were subject to Charlemagne, and the deficiency was amply supplied by his command of the inaccessible or invincible nations of Germany. But in the choice of his enemies,^* we may be reasonably surprised that he so often preferred the poverty of the north to the riches of the south. The three-and-thirty campaigns laboriously consumed in the woods and morasses of Germany would have sufficed to assert the amplitude of his title by the expulsion of the Greeks from Italy and the Saracens from Spain. The weakness of the Greeks would have insured an easy victory; and the holy crusade against the Saracens would have been prompted by glory and revenge, and loudly justified by religion and policy. Perhaps, in his expeditions beyond the Rhine and the Elbe, he aspired to save his monarchy from the fate of the Roman empire, to disarm the enemies of civilized society, and to eradicate the seed of future emigrations. But it has been wisely observed, that, in a light of precaution, all conquest must be ineffectual, unless it could be universal, since the increasing circle must be involved in a larger sphere of hostility.^115 The subjugation of Germany withdrew the veil which had so long concealed the continent or islands of Scandinavia from the knowledge of Europe, and awakened the torpid courage of their barbarous natives. The fiercest of the Saxon idolaters escaped from the Christian tyrant to their brethren of the North; the Ocean and Mediterranean were covered with their piratical fleets; and Charlemagne beheld with a sigh the destructive progress of the Normans, who, in less than seventy years, precipitated the fall of his race and monarchy.

[^113: See Eginhard, c. 16, and Gaillard, tom. ii. p. 361 - 385, who mentions, with a loose reference, the intercourse of Charlemagne and Egbert, the emperor's gift of his own sword, and the modest answer of his Saxon disciple. The anecdote, if genuine, would have adorned our English histories.]

[^114: The correspondence is mentioned only in the French annals, and the Orientals are ignorant of the caliph's friendship for the Christian dog—a polite appellation, which Harun bestows on the emperor of the Greeks.]

[^*: Had he the choice? M. Guizot has eloquently described the position of Charlemagne towards the Saxons. Il y fit face par le conquete; la guerre defensive prit la forme offensive: il transporta la lutte sur le territoire des peuples qui voulaient envahir le sien: il travailla a asservir les races etrangeres, et extirper les croyances ennemies. De la son mode de gouvernement et la fondation de son empire: la guerre offensive et la conquete voulaient cette vaste et redoutable unite. Compare observations in the Quarterly Review, vol. xlviii., and James's Life of Charlemagne.—M.]

[^115: Gaillard, tom. ii. p. 361—365, 471—476, 492. I have borrowed his judicious remarks on Charlemagne's plan of conquest, and the judicious distinction of his enemies of the first and the second enceinte, (tom. ii. p. 184, 509, etc.)]

Had the pope and the Romans revived the primitive constitution, the titles of emperor and Augustus were conferred on Charlemagne for the term of his life; and his successors, on each vacancy, must have ascended the throne by a formal or tacit election. But the association of his son Lewis the Pious asserts the independent right of monarchy and conquest, and the emperor seems on this occasion to have foreseen and prevented the latent claims of the clergy. The royal youth was commanded to take the crown from the altar, and with his own hands to place it on his head, as a gift which he held from God, his father, and the nation.^116 The same ceremony was repeated, though with less energy, in the subsequent associations of Lothaire and Lewis the Second: the Carlovingian sceptre was transmitted from father to son in a lineal descent of four generations; and the ambition of the popes was reduced to the empty honor of crowning and anointing these hereditary princes, who were already invested with their power and dominions. The pious Lewis survived his brothers, and embraced the whole empire of Charlemagne; but the nations and the nobles, his bishops and his children, quickly discerned that this mighty mass was no longer inspired by the same soul; and the foundations were undermined to the centre, while the external surface was yet fair and entire. After a war, or battle, which consumed one hundred thousand Franks, the empire was divided by treaty between his three sons, who had violated every filial and fraternal duty. The kingdoms of Germany and France were forever separated; the provinces of Gaul, between the Rhone and the Alps, the Meuse and the Rhine, were assigned, with Italy, to the Imperial dignity of Lothaire. In the partition of his share, Lorraine and Arles, two recent and transitory kingdoms, were bestowed on the younger children; and Lewis the Second, his eldest son, was content with the realm of Italy, the proper and sufficient patrimony of a Roman emperor. On his death without any male issue, the vacant throne was disputed by his uncles and cousins, and the popes most dexterously seized the occasion of judging the claims and merits of the candidates, and of bestowing on the most obsequious, or most liberal, the Imperial office of advocate of the Roman church. The dregs of the Carlovingian race no longer exhibited any symptoms of virtue or power, and the ridiculous epithets of the bard, the stammerer, the fat, and the simple, distinguished the tame and uniform features of a crowd of kings alike deserving of oblivion. By the failure of the collateral branches, the whole inheritance devolved to Charles the Fat, the last emperor of his family: his insanity authorized the desertion of Germany, Italy, and France: he was deposed in a diet, and solicited his daily bread from the rebels by whose contempt his life and liberty had been spared. According to the measure of their force, the governors, the bishops, and the lords, usurped the fragments of the falling empire; and some preference was shown to the female or illegitimate blood of Charlemagne. Of the greater part, the title and possession were alike doubtful, and the merit was adequate to the contracted scale of their dominions. Those who could appear with an army at the gates of Rome were crowned emperors in the Vatican; but their modesty was more frequently satisfied with the appellation of kings of Italy: and the whole term of seventy-four years may be deemed a vacancy, from the abdication of Charles the Fat to the establishment of Otho the First.

[^116: Thegan, the biographer of Lewis, relates this coronation: and Baronius has honestly transcribed it, (A.D. 813, No. 13, etc. See Gaillard, tom. ii. p. 506, 507, 508,) howsoever adverse to the claims of the popes. For the series of the Carlovingians, see the historians of France, Italy, and Germany; Pfeffel, Schmidt, Velly, Muratori, and even Voltaire, whose pictures are sometimes just, and always pleasing.]

Otho^117 was of the noble race of the dukes of Saxony; and if he truly descended from Witikind, the adversary and proselyte of Charlemagne, the posterity of a vanquished people was exalted to reign over their conquerors. His father, Henry the Fowler, was elected, by the suffrage of the nation, to save and institute the kingdom of Germany. Its limits^118 were enlarged on every side by his son, the first and greatest of the Othos. A portion of Gaul, to the west of the Rhine, along the banks of the Meuse and the Moselle, was assigned to the Germans, by whose blood and language it has been tinged since the time of Caesar and Tacitus.

Between the Rhine, the Rhone, and the Alps, the successors of Otho acquired a vain supremacy over the broken kingdoms of Burgundy and Arles. In the North, Christianity was propagated by the sword of Otho, the conqueror and apostle of the Slavic nations of the Elbe and Oder: the marches of Brandenburgh and Sleswick were fortified with German colonies; and the king of Denmark, the dukes of Poland and Bohemia, confessed themselves his tributary vassals. At the head of a victorious army, he passed the Alps, subdued the kingdom of Italy, delivered the pope, and forever fixed the Imperial crown in the name and nation of Germany. From that memorable aera, two maxims of public jurisprudence were introduced by force and ratified by time. I. That the prince, who was elected in the German diet, acquired, from that instant, the subject kingdoms of Italy and Rome. II. But that he might not legally assume the titles of emperor and Augustus, till he had received the crown from the hands of the Roman pontiff.^119

[^117: He was the son of Otho, the son of Ludolph, in whose favor the Duchy of Saxony had been instituted, A.D. 858. Ruotgerus, the biographer of a St. Bruno, (Bibliot. Bunavianae Catalog. tom. iii. vol. ii. p. 679,) gives a splendid character of his family. Atavorum atavi usque ad hominum memoriam omnes nobilissimi; nullus in eorum stirpe ignotus, nullus degener facile reperitur, (apud Struvium, Corp. Hist. German. p. 216.) Yet Gundling (in Henrico Aucupe) is not satisfied of his descent from Witikind.]

[^118: See the treatise of Conringius, (de Finibus Imperii Germanici, Francofurt. 1680, in 4to.: ) he rejects the extravagant and improper scale of the Roman and Carlovingian empires, and discusses with moderation the rights of Germany, her vassals, and her neighbors.]

[^119: The power of custom forces me to number Conrad I. and Henry I., the Fowler, in the list of emperors, a title which was never assumed by those kings of Germany. The Italians, Muratori for instance, are more scrupulous and correct, and only reckon the princes who have been crowned at Rome.]

The Imperial dignity of Charlemagne was announced to the East by the alteration of his style; and instead of saluting his fathers, the Greek emperors, he presumed to adopt the more equal and familiar appellation of brother.^120 Perhaps in his connection with Irene he aspired to the name of husband: his embassy to Constantinople spoke the language of peace and friendship, and might conceal a treaty of marriage with that ambitious princess, who had renounced the most sacred duties of a mother. The nature, the duration, the probable consequences of such a union between two distant and dissonant empires, it is impossible to conjecture; but the unanimous silence of the Latins may teach us to suspect, that the report was invented by the enemies of Irene, to charge her with the guilt of betraying the church and state to the strangers of the West.^121 The French ambassadors were the spectators, and had nearly been the victims, of the conspiracy of Nicephorus, and the national hatred. Constantinople was exasperated by the treason and sacrilege of ancient Rome: a proverb, "That the Franks were good friends and bad neighbors," was in every one's mouth; but it was dangerous to provoke a neighbor who might be tempted to reiterate, in the church of St. Sophia, the ceremony of his Imperial coronation. After a tedious journey of circuit and delay, the ambassadors of Nicephorus found him in his camp, on the banks of the River Sala; and Charlemagne affected to confound their vanity by displaying, in a Franconian village, the pomp, or at least the pride, of the Byzantine palace.^122 The Greeks were successively led through four halls of audience: in the first they were ready to fall prostrate before a splendid personage in a chair of state, till he informed them that he was only a servant, the constable, or master of the horse, of the emperor. The same mistake, and the same answer, were repeated in the apartments of the count palatine, the steward, and the chamberlain; and their impatience was gradually heightened, till the doors of the presence-chamber were thrown open, and they beheld the genuine monarch, on his throne, enriched with the foreign luxury which he despised, and encircled with the love and reverence of his victorious chiefs. A treaty of peace and alliance was concluded between the two empires, and the limits of the East and West were defined by the right of present possession. But the Greeks^123 soon forgot this humiliating equality, or remembered it only to hate the Barbarians by whom it was extorted. During the short union of virtue and power, they respectfully saluted the august Charlemagne, with the acclamations of basileus, and emperor of the Romans. As soon as these qualities were separated in the person of his pious son, the Byzantine letters were inscribed, "To the king, or, as he styles himself, the emperor of the Franks and Lombards." When both power and virtue were extinct, they despoiled Lewis the Second of his hereditary title, and with the barbarous appellation of rex or rega, degraded him among the crowd of Latin princes. His reply^124 is expressive of his weakness: he proves, with some learning, that, both in sacred and profane history, the name of king is synonymous with the Greek word basileus: if, at Constantinople, it were assumed in a more exclusive and imperial sense, he claims from his ancestors, and from the popes, a just participation of the honors of the Roman purple. The same controversy was revived in the reign of the Othos; and their ambassador describes, in lively colors, the insolence of the Byzantine court.^125 The Greeks affected to despise the poverty and ignorance of the Franks and Saxons; and in their last decline refused to prostitute to the kings of Germany the title of Roman emperors.

[^120: Invidiam tamen suscepti nominis (C. P. imperatoribus super hoc indignantibus) magna tulit patientia, vicitque eorum contumaciam...mittendo ad eos crebras legationes, et in epistolis fratres eos appellando. Eginhard, c. 28, p. 128. Perhaps it was on their account that, like Augustus, he affected some reluctance to receive the empire.]

[^121: Theophanes speaks of the coronation and unction of Charles (Chronograph. p. 399,) and of his treaty of marriage with Irene, (p. 402,) which is unknown to the Latins. Gaillard relates his transactions with the Greek empire, (tom. ii. p. 446 - 468.)]

[^122: Gaillard very properly observes, that this pageant was a farce suitable to children only; but that it was indeed represented in the presence, and for the benefit, of children of a larger growth.]

[^123: Compare, in the original texts collected by Pagi, (tom. iii. A.D. 812, No. 7, A.D. 824, No. 10, etc.,) the contrast of Charlemagne and his son; to the former the ambassadors of Michael (who were indeed disavowed) more suo, id est lingua Graeca laudes dixerunt, imperatorem eum et appellantes; to the latter, Vocato imperatori Francorum, etc.]

[^124: See the epistle, in Paralipomena, of the anonymous writer of Salerno, (Script. Ital. tom. ii. pars ii. p. 243—254, c. 93—107,) whom Baronius (A.D. 871, No. 51—71) mistook for Erchempert, when he transcribed it in his Annals.]

[^125: Ipse enim vos, non imperatorem, id est sua lingua, sed ob indignationem, id est regem nostra vocabat, Liutprand, in Legat. in Script. Ital. tom. ii. pars i. p. 479. The pope had exhorted Nicephorus, emperor of the Greeks, to make peace with Otho, the august emperor of the Romans—quae inscriptio secundum Graecos peccatoria et temeraria... imperatorem inquiunt, universalem, Romanorum, Augustum, magnum, solum, Nicephorum, (p. 486.)]

These emperors, in the election of the popes, continued to exercise the powers which had been assumed by the Gothic and Grecian princes; and the importance of this prerogative increased with the temporal estate and spiritual jurisdiction of the Roman church. In the Christian aristocracy, the principal members of the clergy still formed a senate to assist the administration, and to supply the vacancy, of the bishop. Rome was divided into twenty-eight parishes, and each parish was governed by a cardinal priest, or presbyter, a title which, however common or modest in its origin, has aspired to emulate the purple of kings. Their number was enlarged by the association of the seven deacons of the most considerable hospitals, the seven palatine judges of the Lateran, and some dignitaries of the church. This ecclesiastical senate was directed by the seven cardinal-bishops of the Roman province, who were less occupied in the suburb dioceses of Ostia, Porto, Velitrae, Tusculum, Praeneste, Tibur, and the Sabines, than by their weekly service in the Lateran, and their superior share in the honors and authority of the apostolic see. On the death of the pope, these bishops recommended a successor to the suffrage of the college of cardinals,^126 and their choice was ratified or rejected by the applause or clamor of the Roman people. But the election was imperfect; nor could the pontiff be legally consecrated till the emperor, the advocate of the church, had graciously signified his approbation and consent. The royal commissioner examined, on the spot, the form and freedom of the proceedings; nor was it till after a previous scrutiny into the qualifications of the candidates, that he accepted an oath of fidelity, and confirmed the donations which had successively enriched the patrimony of St. Peter. In the frequent schisms, the rival claims were submitted to the sentence of the emperor; and in a synod of bishops he presumed to judge, to condemn, and to punish, the crimes of a guilty pontiff. Otho the First imposed a treaty on the senate and people, who engaged to prefer the candidate most acceptable to his majesty:^127 his successors anticipated or prevented their choice: they bestowed the Roman benefice, like the bishoprics of Cologne or Bamberg, on their chancellors or preceptors; and whatever might be the merit of a Frank or Saxon, his name sufficiently attests the interposition of foreign power. These acts of prerogative were most speciously excused by the vices of a popular election. The competitor who had been excluded by the cardinals appealed to the passions or avarice of the multitude; the Vatican and the Lateran were stained with blood; and the most powerful senators, the marquises of Tuscany and the counts of Tusculum, held the apostolic see in a long and disgraceful servitude. The Roman pontiffs, of the ninth and tenth centuries, were insulted, imprisoned, and murdered, by their tyrants; and such was their indigence, after the loss and usurpation of the ecclesiastical patrimonies, that they could neither support the state of a prince, nor exercise the charity of a priest.^128 The influence of two sister prostitutes, Marozia and Theodora, was founded on their wealth and beauty, their political and amorous intrigues: the most strenuous of their lovers were rewarded with the Roman mitre, and their reign^129 may have suggested to the darker ages^130 the fable^131 of a female pope.^132 The bastard son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of Marozia, a rare genealogy, were seated in the chair of St. Peter, and it was at the age of nineteen years that the second of these became the head of the Latin church.^* His youth and manhood were of a suitable complexion; and the nations of pilgrims could bear testimony to the charges that were urged against him in a Roman synod, and in the presence of Otho the Great. As John XII. had renounced the dress and decencies of his profession, the soldier may not perhaps be dishonored by the wine which he drank, the blood that he spilt, the flames that he kindled, or the licentious pursuits of gaming and hunting. His open simony might be the consequence of distress; and his blasphemous invocation of Jupiter and Venus, if it be true, could not possibly be serious. But we read, with some surprise, that the worthy grandson of Marozia lived in public adultery with the matrons of Rome; that the Lateran palace was turned into a school for prostitution, and that his rapes of virgins and widows had deterred the female pilgrims from visiting the tomb of St. Peter, lest, in the devout act, they should be violated by his successor.^133 The Protestants have dwelt with malicious pleasure on these characters of Antichrist; but to a philosophic eye, the vices of the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues. After a long series of scandal, the apostolic see was reformed and exalted by the austerity and zeal of Gregory VII. That ambitious monk devoted his life to the execution of two projects. I. To fix in the college of cardinals the freedom and independence of election, and forever to abolish the right or usurpation of the emperors and the Roman people. II. To bestow and resume the Western empire as a fief or benefice^134 of the church, and to extend his temporal dominion over the kings and kingdoms of the earth. After a contest of fifty years, the first of these designs was accomplished by the firm support of the ecclesiastical order, whose liberty was connected with that of their chief. But the second attempt, though it was crowned with some partial and apparent success, has been vigorously resisted by the secular power, and finally extinguished by the improvement of human reason.

[^126: The origin and progress of the title of cardinal may be found in Themassin, (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 1261—1298,) Muratori, (Antiquitat. Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. vi. Dissert. lxi. p. 159—182,) and Mosheim, (Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 345—347,) who accurately remarks the form and changes of the election. The cardinal-bishops so highly exalted by Peter Damianus, are sunk to a level with the rest of the sacred college.]

[^127: Firmiter jurantes, nunquam se papam electuros aut audinaturos, praeter consensum et electionem Othonis et filii sui. (Liutprand, l. vi. c. 6, p. 472.) This important concession may either supply or confirm the decree of the clergy and people of Rome, so fiercely rejected by Baronius, Pagi, and Muratori, (A.D. 964,) and so well defended and explained by St. Marc, (Abrege, tom. ii. p. 808—816, tom. iv. p. 1167—1185.) Consult the historical critic, and the Annals of Muratori, for for the election and confirmation of each pope.]

[^128: The oppression and vices of the Roman church, in the xth century, are strongly painted in the history and legation of Liutprand, (see p. 440, 450, 471—476, 479, etc.;) and it is whimsical enough to observe Muratori tempering the invectives of Baronius against the popes. But these popes had been chosen, not by the cardinals, but by lay-patrons.]

[^129: The time of Pope Joan (papissa Joanna) is placed somewhat earlier than Theodora or Marozia; and the two years of her imaginary reign are forcibly inserted between Leo IV. and Benedict III. But the contemporary Anastasius indissolubly links the death of Leo and the elevation of Benedict, (illico, mox, p. 247;) and the accurate chronology of Pagi, Muratori, and Leibnitz, fixes both events to the year 857.]

[^130: The advocates for Pope Joan produce one hundred and fifty witnesses, or rather echoes, of the xivth, xvth, and xvith centuries. They bear testimony against themselves and the legend, by multiplying the proof that so curious a story must have been repeated by writers of every description to whom it was known. On those of the ixth and xth centuries, the recent event would have flashed with a double force. Would Photius have spared such a reproach? Could Liutprand have missed such scandal? It is scarcely worth while to discuss the various readings of Martinus Polonus, Sigeber of Gamblours, or even Marianus Scotus; but a most palpable forgery is the passage of Pope Joan, which has been foisted into some Mss. and editions of the Roman Anastasius.]

[^131: As false, it deserves that name; but I would not pronounce it incredible. Suppose a famous French chevalier of our own times to have been born in Italy, and educated in the church, instead of the army: her merit or fortune might have raised her to St. Peter's chair; her amours would have been natural: her delivery in the streets unlucky, but not improbable.]

[^132: Till the reformation the tale was repeated and believed without offence: and Joan's female statue long occupied her place among the popes in the cathedral of Sienna, (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 624—626.) She has been annihilated by two learned Protestants, Blondel and Bayle, (Dictionnaire Critique, Papesse, Polonus, Blondel;) but their brethren were scandalized by this equitable and generous criticism. Spanheim and Lenfant attempt to save this poor engine of controversy, and even Mosheim condescends to cherish some doubt and suspicion, (p. 289.)]

[^*: John XI. was the son of her husband Alberic, not of her lover, Pope Sergius III., as Muratori has distinctly proved, Ann. ad ann. 911, tom. p. 268. Her grandson Octavian, otherwise called John XII., was pope; but a great-grandson cannot be discovered in any of the succeeding popes; nor does our historian himself, in his subsequent narration, (p. 202,) seem to know of one. Hobhouse, Illustrations of Childe Harold, p. 309.—M.]

[^133: Lateranense palatium...prostibulum meretricum ...Testis omnium gentium, praeterquam Romanorum, absentia mulierum, quae sanctorum apostolorum limina orandi gratia timent visere, cum nonnullas ante dies paucos, hunc audierint conjugatas, viduas, virgines vi oppressisse, (Liutprand, Hist. l. vi. c. 6, p. 471. See the whole affair of John XII., p. 471 - 476.)]

[^134: A new example of the mischief of equivocation is the beneficium (Ducange, tom. i. p. 617, etc.,) which the pope conferred on the emperor Frederic I., since the Latin word may signify either a legal fief, or a simple favor, an obligation, (we want the word bienfait.) (See Schmidt, Hist. des Allemands, tom. iii. p. 393—408. Pfeffel, Abrege Chronologique, tom. i. p. 229, 296, 317, 324, 420, 430, 500, 505, 509, etc.)]

In the revival of the empire of empire of Rome, neither the bishop nor the people could bestow on Charlemagne or Otho the provinces which were lost, as they had been won, by the chance of arms. But the Romans were free to choose a master for themselves; and the powers which had been delegated to the patrician, were irrevocably granted to the French and Saxon emperors of the West. The broken records of the times^135 preserve some remembrance of their palace, their mint, their tribunal, their edicts, and the sword of justice, which, as late as the thirteenth century, was derived from Caesar to the praefect of the city.^136 Between the arts of the popes and the violence of the people, this supremacy was crushed and annihilated. Content with the titles of emperor and Augustus, the successors of Charlemagne neglected to assert this local jurisdiction. In the hour of prosperity, their ambition was diverted by more alluring objects; and in the decay and division of the empire, they were oppressed by the defence of their hereditary provinces. Amidst the ruins of Italy, the famous Marozia invited one of the usurpers to assume the character of her third husband; and Hugh, king of Burgundy was introduced by her faction into the mole of Hadrian or Castle of St. Angelo, which commands the principal bridge and entrance of Rome. Her son by the first marriage, Alberic, was compelled to attend at the nuptial banquet; but his reluctant and ungraceful service was chastised with a blow by his new father. The blow was productive of a revolution. "Romans," exclaimed the youth, "once you were the masters of the world, and these Burgundians the most abject of your slaves. They now reign, these voracious and brutal savages, and my injury is the commencement of your servitude." ^137 The alarum bell rang to arms in every quarter of the city: the Burgundians retreated with haste and shame; Marozia was imprisoned by her victorious son, and his brother, Pope John XI., was reduced to the exercise of his spiritual functions. With the title of prince, Alberic possessed above twenty years the government of Rome; and he is said to have gratified the popular prejudice, by restoring the office, or at least the title, of consuls and tribunes. His son and heir Octavian assumed, with the pontificate, the name of John XII.: like his predecessor, he was provoked by the Lombard princes to seek a deliverer for the church and republic; and the services of Otho were rewarded with the Imperial dignity. But the Saxon was imperious, the Romans were impatient, the festival of the coronation was disturbed by the secret conflict of prerogative and freedom, and Otho commanded his sword-bearer not to stir from his person, lest he should be assaulted and murdered at the foot of the altar.^138 Before he repassed the Alps, the emperor chastised the revolt of the people and the ingratitude of John XII. The pope was degraded in a synod; the praefect was mounted on an ass, whipped through the city, and cast into a dungeon; thirteen of the most guilty were hanged, others were mutilated or banished; and this severe process was justified by the ancient laws of Theodosius and Justinian. The voice of fame has accused the second Otho of a perfidious and bloody act, the massacre of the senators, whom he had invited to his table under the fair semblance of hospitality and friendship.^139 In the minority of his son Otho the Third, Rome made a bold attempt to shake off the Saxon yoke, and the consul Crescentius was the Brutus of the republic. From the condition of a subject and an exile, he twice rose to the command of the city, oppressed, expelled, and created the popes, and formed a conspiracy for restoring the authority of the Greek emperors.^* In the fortress of St. Angelo, he maintained an obstinate siege, till the unfortunate consul was betrayed by a promise of safety: his body was suspended on a gibbet, and his head was exposed on the battlements of the castle. By a reverse of fortune, Otho, after separating his troops, was besieged three days, without food, in his palace; and a disgraceful escape saved him from the justice or fury of the Romans. The senator Ptolemy was the leader of the people, and the widow of Crescentius enjoyed the pleasure or the fame of revenging her husband, by a poison which she administered to her Imperial lover. It was the design of Otho the Third to abandon the ruder countries of the North, to erect his throne in Italy, and to revive the institutions of the Roman monarchy. But his successors only once in their lives appeared on the banks of the Tyber, to receive their crown in the Vatican.^140 Their absence was contemptible, their presence odious and formidable. They descended from the Alps, at the head of their barbarians, who were strangers and enemies to the country; and their transient visit was a scene of tumult and bloodshed.^141 A faint remembrance of their ancestors still tormented the Romans; and they beheld with pious indignation the succession of Saxons, Franks, Swabians, and Bohemians, who usurped the purple and prerogatives of the Caesars.

[^135: For the history of the emperors in Rome and Italy, see Sigonius, de Regno Italiae, Opp. tom. ii., with the Notes of Saxius, and the Annals of Muratori, who might refer more distinctly to the authors of his great collection.]

[^136: See the Dissertations of Le Blanc at the end of his treatise des Monnoyes de France, in which he produces some Roman coins of the French emperors.]

[^137: Romanorum aliquando servi, scilicet Burgundiones, Romanis imperent?....Romanae urbis dignitas ad tantam est stultitiam ducta, ut meretricum etiam imperio pareat? (Liutprand, l. iii. c. 12, p. 450.) Sigonius (l. vi. p. 400) positively affirms the renovation of the consulship; but in the old writers Albericus is more frequently styled princeps Romanorum.]

[^138: Ditmar, p. 354, apud Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 439.]

[^139: This bloody feast is described in Leonine verse in the Pantheon of Godfrey of Viterbo, (Script. Ital. tom. vii. p. 436, 437,) who flourished towards the end of the xiith century, (Fabricius Bibliot. Latin. Med. et Infimi Aevi, tom. iii. p. 69, edit. Mansi;) but his evidence, which imposed on Sigonius, is reasonably suspected by Muratori (Annali, tom. viii. p. 177.)]

[^*: The Marquis Maffei's gallery contained a medal with Imp. Caes August. P. P. Crescentius. Hence Hobhouse infers that he affected the empire. Hobhouse, Illustrations of Childe Harold, p. 252.—M.]

[^140: The coronation of the emperor, and some original ceremonies of the xth century are preserved in the Panegyric on Berengarius, (Script. Ital. tom. ii. pars i. p. 405—414,) illustrated by the Notes of Hadrian Valesius and Leibnitz. Sigonius has related the whole process of the Roman expedition, in good Latin, but with some errors of time and fact, (l. vii. p. 441—446.)]

[^141: In a quarrel at the coronation of Conrad II. Muratori takes leave to observe—doveano ben essere allora, indisciplinati, Barbari, e bestials Tedeschi. Annal. tom. viii. p. 368.]


There is nothing perhaps more adverse to nature and reason than to hold in obedience remote countries and foreign nations, in opposition to their inclination and interest. A torrent of Barbarians may pass over the earth, but an extensive empire must be supported by a refined system of policy and oppression; in the centre, an absolute power, prompt in action and rich in resources; a swift and easy communication with the extreme parts; fortifications to check the first effort of rebellion; a regular administration to protect and punish; and a well-disciplined army to inspire fear, without provoking discontent and despair. Far different was the situation of the German Caesars, who were ambitious to enslave the kingdom of Italy. Their patrimonial estates were stretched along the Rhine, or scattered in the provinces; but this ample domain was alienated by the imprudence or distress of successive princes; and their revenue, from minute and vexatious prerogative, was scarcely sufficient for the maintenance of their household. Their troops were formed by the legal or voluntary service of their feudal vassals, who passed the Alps with reluctance, assumed the license of rapine and disorder, and capriciously deserted before the end of the campaign. Whole armies were swept away by the pestilential influence of the climate: the survivors brought back the bones of their princes and nobles,^142 and the effects of their own intemperance were often imputed to the treachery and malice of the Italians, who rejoiced at least in the calamities of the Barbarians. This irregular tyranny might contend on equal terms with the petty tyrants of Italy; nor can the people, or the reader, be much interested in the event of the quarrel. But in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Lombards rekindled the flame of industry and freedom; and the generous example was at length imitated by the republics of Tuscany.^* In the Italian cities a municipal government had never been totally abolished; and their first privileges were granted by the favor and policy of the emperors, who were desirous of erecting a plebeian barrier against the independence of the nobles. But their rapid progress, the daily extension of their power and pretensions, were founded on the numbers and spirit of these rising communities.^143 Each city filled the measure of her diocese or district: the jurisdiction of the counts and bishops, of the marquises and counts, was banished from the land; and the proudest nobles were persuaded or compelled to desert their solitary castles, and to embrace the more honorable character of freemen and magistrates. The legislative authority was inherent in the general assembly; but the executive powers were intrusted to three consuls, annually chosen from the three orders of captains, valvassors,^144 and commons, into which the republic was divided. Under the protection of equal law, the labors of agriculture and commerce were gradually revived; but the martial spirit of the Lombards was nourished by the presence of danger; and as often as the bell was rung, or the standard^145 erected, the gates of the city poured forth a numerous and intrepid band, whose zeal in their own cause was soon guided by the use and discipline of arms. At the foot of these popular ramparts, the pride of the Caesars was overthrown; and the invincible genius of liberty prevailed over the two Frederics, the greatest princes of the middle age; the first, superior perhaps in military prowess; the second, who undoubtedly excelled in the softer accomplishments of peace and learning.

[^142: After boiling away the flesh. The caldrons for that purpose were a necessary piece of travelling furniture; and a German who was using it for his brother, promised it to a friend, after it should have been employed for himself, (Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 423, 424.) The same author observes that the whole Saxon line was extinguished in Italy, (tom. ii. p. 440.)]

[^*: Compare Sismondi, Histoire des Republiques Italiannes. Hallam Middle Ages. Raumer, Geschichte der Hohenstauffen. Savigny, Geschichte des Romischen Rechts, vol. iii. p. 19 with the authors quoted.—M.]

[^143: Otho, bishop of Frisingen, has left an important passage on the Italian cities, (l. ii. c. 13, in Script. Ital. tom. vi. p. 707—710: ) and the rise, progress, and government of these republics are perfectly illustrated by Muratori, (Antiquitat. Ital. Medii Aevi, tom. iv. dissert xlv.—lii. p. 1 - 675. Annal. tom. viii. ix. x.)]

[^144: For these titles, see Selden, (Titles of Honor, vol. iii. part 1 p. 488.) Ducange, (Gloss. Latin. tom. ii. p. 140, tom. vi. p. 776,) and St. Marc, (Abrege Chronologique, tom. ii. p. 719.)]

[^145: The Lombards invented and used the carocium, a standard planted on a car or wagon, drawn by a team of oxen, (Ducange, tom. ii. p. 194, 195. Muratori Antiquitat tom. ii. dis. xxvi. p. 489—493.)]

Ambitious of restoring the splendor of the purple, Frederic the First invaded the republics of Lombardy, with the arts of a statesman, the valor of a soldier, and the cruelty of a tyrant. The recent discovery of the Pandects had renewed a science most favorable to despotism; and his venal advocates proclaimed the emperor the absolute master of the lives and properties of his subjects. His royal prerogatives, in a less odious sense, were acknowledged in the diet of Roncaglia; and the revenue of Italy was fixed at thirty thousand pounds of silver,^146 which were multiplied to an indefinite demand by the rapine of the fiscal officers. The obstinate cities were reduced by the terror or the force of his arms: his captives were delivered to the executioner, or shot from his military engines; and. after the siege and surrender of Milan, the buildings of that stately capital were razed to the ground, three hundred hostages were sent into Germany, and the inhabitants were dispersed in four villages, under the yoke of the inflexible conqueror.^147 But Milan soon rose from her ashes; and the league of Lombardy was cemented by distress: their cause was espoused by Venice, Pope Alexander the Third, and the Greek emperor: the fabric of oppression was overturned in a day; and in the treaty of Constance, Frederic subscribed, with some reservations, the freedom of four-and-twenty cities. His grandson contended with their vigor and maturity; but Frederic the Second^148 was endowed with some personal and peculiar advantages. His birth and education recommended him to the Italians; and in the implacable discord of the two factions, the Ghibelins were attached to the emperor, while the Guelfs displayed the banner of liberty and the church. The court of Rome had slumbered, when his father Henry the Sixth was permitted to unite with the empire the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily; and from these hereditary realms the son derived an ample and ready supply of troops and treasure. Yet Frederic the Second was finally oppressed by the arms of the Lombards and the thunders of the Vatican: his kingdom was given to a stranger, and the last of his family was beheaded at Naples on a public scaffold. During sixty years, no emperor appeared in Italy, and the name was remembered only by the ignominious sale of the last relics of sovereignty.

[^146: Gunther Ligurinus, l. viii. 584, et seq., apud Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 399.]

[^147: Solus imperator faciem suam firmavit ut petram, (Burcard. de Excidio Mediolani, Script. Ital. tom. vi. p. 917.) This volume of Muratori contains the originals of the history of Frederic the First, which must be compared with due regard to the circumstances and prejudices of each German or Lombard writer.
Note: Von Raumer has traced the fortunes of the Swabian house in one of the ablest historical works of modern times. He may be compared with the spirited and independent Sismondi.—M.]

[^148: For the history of Frederic II. and the house of Swabia at Naples, see Giannone, Istoria Civile, tom. ii. l. xiv. - xix.]

The Barbarian conquerors of the West were pleased to decorate their chief with the title of emperor; but it was not their design to invest him with the despotism of Constantine and Justinian. The persons of the Germans were free, their conquests were their own, and their national character was animated by a spirit which scorned the servile jurisprudence of the new or the ancient Rome. It would have been a vain and dangerous attempt to impose a monarch on the armed freemen, who were impatient of a magistrate; on the bold, who refused to obey; on the powerful, who aspired to command. The empire of Charlemagne and Otho was distributed among the dukes of the nations or provinces, the counts of the smaller districts, and the margraves of the marches or frontiers, who all united the civil and military authority as it had been delegated to the lieutenants of the first Caesars. The Roman governors, who, for the most part, were soldiers of fortune, seduced their mercenary legions, assumed the Imperial purple, and either failed or succeeded in their revolt, without wounding the power and unity of government. If the dukes, margraves, and counts of Germany, were less audacious in their claims, the consequences of their success were more lasting and pernicious to the state. Instead of aiming at the supreme rank, they silently labored to establish and appropriate their provincial independence. Their ambition was seconded by the weight of their estates and vassals, their mutual example and support, the common interest of the subordinate nobility, the change of princes and families, the minorities of Otho the Third and Henry the Fourth, the ambition of the popes, and the vain pursuit of the fugitive crowns of Italy and Rome. All the attributes of regal and territorial jurisdiction were gradually usurped by the commanders of the provinces; the right of peace and war, of life and death, of coinage and taxation, of foreign alliance and domestic economy. Whatever had been seized by violence, was ratified by favor or distress, was granted as the price of a doubtful vote or a voluntary service; whatever had been granted to one could not, without injury, be denied to his successor or equal; and every act of local or temporary possession was insensibly moulded into the constitution of the Germanic kingdom. In every province, the visible presence of the duke or count was interposed between the throne and the nobles; the subjects of the law became the vassals of a private chief; and the standard which he received from his sovereign, was often raised against him in the field. The temporal power of the clergy was cherished and exalted by the superstition or policy of the Carlovingian and Saxon dynasties, who blindly depended on their moderation and fidelity; and the bishoprics of Germany were made equal in extent and privilege, superior in wealth and population, to the most ample states of the military order. As long as the emperors retained the prerogative of bestowing on every vacancy these ecclesiastic and secular benefices, their cause was maintained by the gratitude or ambition of their friends and favorites. But in the quarrel of the investitures, they were deprived of their influence over the episcopal chapters; the freedom of election was restored, and the sovereign was reduced, by a solemn mockery, to his first prayers, the recommendation, once in his reign, to a single prebend in each church. The secular governors, instead of being recalled at the will of a superior, could be degraded only by the sentence of their peers. In the first age of the monarchy, the appointment of the son to the duchy or county of his father, was solicited as a favor; it was gradually obtained as a custom, and extorted as a right: the lineal succession was often extended to the collateral or female branches; the states of the empire (their popular, and at length their legal, appellation) were divided and alienated by testament and sale; and all idea of a public trust was lost in that of a private and perpetual inheritance. The emperor could not even be enriched by the casualties of forfeiture and extinction: within the term of a year, he was obliged to dispose of the vacant fief; and, in the choice of the candidate, it was his duty to consult either the general or the provincial diet.

After the death of Frederic the Second, Germany was left a monster with a hundred heads. A crowd of princes and prelates disputed the ruins of the empire: the lords of innumerable castles were less prone to obey, than to imitate, their superiors; and, according to the measure of their strength, their incessant hostilities received the names of conquest or robbery. Such anarchy was the inevitable consequence of the laws and manners of Europe; and the kingdoms of France and Italy were shivered into fragments by the violence of the same tempest. But the Italian cities and the French vassals were divided and destroyed, while the union of the Germans has produced, under the name of an empire, a great system of a federative republic. In the frequent and at last the perpetual institution of diets, a national spirit was kept alive, and the powers of a common legislature are still exercised by the three branches or colleges of the electors, the princes, and the free and Imperial cities of Germany. I. Seven of the most powerful feudatories were permitted to assume, with a distinguished name and rank, the exclusive privilege of choosing the Roman emperor; and these electors were the king of Bohemia, the duke of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburgh, the count palatine of the Rhine, and the three archbishops of Mentz, of Treves, and of Cologne. II. The college of princes and prelates purged themselves of a promiscuous multitude: they reduced to four representative votes the long series of independent counts, and excluded the nobles or equestrian order, sixty thousand of whom, as in the Polish diets, had appeared on horseback in the field of election. III. The pride of birth and dominion, of the sword and the mitre, wisely adopted the commons as the third branch of the legislature, and, in the progress of society, they were introduced about the same aera into the national assemblies of France England, and Germany.

The Hanseatic League commanded the trade and navigation of the north: the confederates of the Rhine secured the peace and intercourse of the inland country; the influence of the cities has been adequate to their wealth and policy, and their negative still invalidates the acts of the two superior colleges of electors and princes.^149

[^149: In the immense labyrinth of the jus publicum of Germany, I must either quote one writer or a thousand; and I had rather trust to one faithful guide, than transcribe, on credit, a multitude of names and passages. That guide is M. Pfeffel, the author of the best legal and constitutional history that I know of any country, (Nouvel Abrege Chronologique de l'Histoire et du Droit public Allemagne; Paris, 1776, 2 vols. in 4to.) His learning and judgment have discerned the most interesting facts; his simple brevity comprises them in a narrow space. His chronological order distributes them under the proper dates; and an elaborate index collects them under their respective heads. To this work, in a less perfect state, Dr. Robertson was gratefully indebted for that masterly sketch which traces even the modern changes of the Germanic body. The Corpus Historiae Germanicae of Struvius has been likewise consulted, the more usefully, as that huge compilation is fortified in every page with the original texts.
Note: For the rise and progress of the Hanseatic League, consult the authoritative history by Sartorius; Geschichte des Hanseatischen Bandes & Theile, Gottingen, 1802. New and improved edition by Lappenberg Elamburg, 1830. The original Hanseatic League comprehended Cologne and many of the great cities in the Netherlands and on the Rhine.—M.]

It is in the fourteenth century that we may view in the strongest light the state and contrast of the Roman empire of Germany, which no longer held, except on the borders of the Rhine and Danube, a single province of Trajan or Constantine. Their unworthy successors were the counts of Hapsburgh, of Nassau, of Luxemburgh, and Schwartzenburgh: the emperor Henry the Seventh procured for his son the crown of Bohemia, and his grandson Charles the Fourth was born among a people strange and barbarous in the estimation of the Germans themselves.^150 After the excommunication of Lewis of Bavaria, he received the gift or promise of the vacant empire from the Roman pontiffs, who, in the exile and captivity of Avignon, affected the dominion of the earth. The death of his competitors united the electoral college, and Charles was unanimously saluted king of the Romans, and future emperor; a title which, in the same age, was prostituted to the Caesars of Germany and Greece. The German emperor was no more than the elective and impotent magistrate of an aristocracy of princes, who had not left him a village that he might call his own. His best prerogative was the right of presiding and proposing in the national senate, which was convened at his summons; and his native kingdom of Bohemia, less opulent than the adjacent city of Nuremberg, was the firmest seat of his power and the richest source of his revenue. The army with which he passed the Alps consisted of three hundred horse. In the cathedral of St. Ambrose, Charles was crowned with the iron crown, which tradition ascribed to the Lombard monarchy; but he was admitted only with a peaceful train; the gates of the city were shut upon him; and the king of Italy was held a captive by the arms of the Visconti, whom he confirmed in the sovereignty of Milan. In the Vatican he was again crowned with the golden crown of the empire; but, in obedience to a secret treaty, the Roman emperor immediately withdrew, without reposing a single night within the walls of Rome. The eloquent Petrarch,^151 whose fancy revived the visionary glories of the Capitol, deplores and upbraids the ignominious flight of the Bohemian; and even his contemporaries could observe, that the sole exercise of his authority was in the lucrative sale of privileges and titles. The gold of Italy secured the election of his son; but such was the shameful poverty of the Roman emperor, that his person was arrested by a butcher in the streets of Worms, and was detained in the public inn, as a pledge or hostage for the payment of his expenses.

[^150: Yet, personally, Charles IV. must not be considered as a Barbarian. After his education at Paris, he recovered the use of the Bohemian, his native, idiom; and the emperor conversed and wrote with equal facility in French, Latin, Italian, and German, (Struvius, p. 615, 616.) Petrarch always represents him as a polite and learned prince.]

[^151: Besides the German and Italian historians, the expedition of Charles IV. is painted in lively and original colors in the curious Memoires sur la Vie de Petrarque, tom. iii. p. 376—430, by the Abbe de Sade, whose prolixity has never been blamed by any reader of taste and curiosity.]

From this humiliating scene, let us turn to the apparent majesty of the same Charles in the diets of the empire. The golden bull, which fixes the Germanic constitution, is promulgated in the style of a sovereign and legislator. A hundred princes bowed before his throne, and exalted their own dignity by the voluntary honors which they yielded to their chief or minister. At the royal banquet, the hereditary great officers, the seven electors, who in rank and title were equal to kings, performed their solemn and domestic service of the palace. The seals of the triple kingdom were borne in state by the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Treves, the perpetual arch-chancellors of Germany, Italy, and Arles. The great marshal, on horseback, exercised his function with a silver measure of oats, which he emptied on the ground, and immediately dismounted to regulate the order of the guests The great steward, the count palatine of the Rhine, place the dishes on the table. The great chamberlain, the margrave of Brandenburgh, presented, after the repast, the golden ewer and basin, to wash. The king of Bohemia, as great cup-bearer, was represented by the emperor's brother, the duke of Luxemburgh and Brabant; and the procession was closed by the great huntsmen, who introduced a boar and a stag, with a loud chorus of horns and hounds.^152 Nor was the supremacy of the emperor confined to Germany alone: the hereditary monarchs of Europe confessed the preeminence of his rank and dignity: he was the first of the Christian princes, the temporal head of the great republic of the West:^153 to his person the title of majesty was long appropriated; and he disputed with the pope the sublime prerogative of creating kings and assembling councils. The oracle of the civil law, the learned Bartolus, was a pensioner of Charles the Fourth; and his school resounded with the doctrine, that the Roman emperor was the rightful sovereign of the earth, from the rising to the setting sun. The contrary opinion was condemned, not as an error, but as a heresy, since even the gospel had pronounced, "And there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."^154

[^152: See the whole ceremony in Struvius, p. 629]

[^153: The republic of Europe, with the pope and emperor at its head, was never represented with more dignity than in the council of Constance. See Lenfant's History of that assembly.]

[^154: Gravina, Origines Juris Civilis, p. 108.]

If we annihilate the interval of time and space between Augustus and Charles, strong and striking will be the contrast between the two Caesars; the Bohemian who concealed his weakness under the mask of ostentation, and the Roman, who disguised his strength under the semblance of modesty. At the head of his victorious legions, in his reign over the sea and land, from the Nile and Euphrates to the Atlantic Ocean, Augustus professed himself the servant of the state and the equal of his fellow-citizens. The conqueror of Rome and her provinces assumed a popular and legal form of a censor, a consul, and a tribune. His will was the law of mankind, but in the declaration of his laws he borrowed the voice of the senate and people; and from their decrees their master accepted and renewed his temporary commission to administer the republic. In his dress, his domestics,^155 his titles, in all the offices of social life, Augustus maintained the character of a private Roman; and his most artful flatterers respected the secret of his absolute and perpetual monarchy.

[^155: Six thousand urns have been discovered of the slaves and freedmen of Augustus and Livia. So minute was the division of office, that one slave was appointed to weigh the wool which was spun by the empress's maids, another for the care of her lap-dog, etc., (Camera Sepolchrale, by Bianchini. Extract of his work in the Bibliotheque Italique, tom. iv. p. 175. His Eloge, by Fontenelle, tom. vi. p. 356.) But these servants were of the same rank, and possibly not more numerous than those of Pollio or Lentulus. They only prove the general riches of the city.]



Description of Arabia and its inhabitants.—Birth, character, and doctrine of Mahomet.—He preaches at Mecca.—He flies to Medina.—Propagates his religion by the sword.—Voluntary or reluctant submission of the Arabs.—His death and successors.—The claims and fortunes of all and his descendants


After pursuing above six hundred years the fleeting Caesars of Constantinople and Germany, I now descend, in the reign of Heraclius, on the eastern borders of the Greek monarchy. While the state was exhausted by the Persian war, and the church was distracted by the Nestorian and Monophysite sects, Mahomet, with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity and of Rome. The genius of the Arabian prophet, the manners of his nation, and the spirit of his religion, involve the causes of the decline and fall of the Eastern empire; and our eyes are curiously intent on one of the most memorable revolutions, which have impressed a new and lasting character on the nations of the globe.^1

[^1: As in this and the following chapter I shall display much Arabic learning, I must profess my total ignorance of the Oriental tongues, and my gratitude to the learned interpreters, who have transfused their science into the Latin, French, and English languages. Their collections, versions, and histories, I shall occasionally notice.]

In the vacant space between Persia, Syria, Egypt, and Aethiopia, the Arabian peninsula^2 may be conceived as a triangle of spacious but irregular dimensions. From the northern point of Beles^3 on the Euphrates, a line of fifteen hundred miles is terminated by the Straits of Bebelmandel and the land of frankincense. About half this length may be allowed for the middle breadth, from east to west, from Bassora to Suez, from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea.^4 The sides of the triangle are gradually enlarged, and the southern basis presents a front of a thousand miles to the Indian Ocean. The entire surface of the peninsula exceeds in a fourfold proportion that of Germany or France; but the far greater part has been justly stigmatized with the epithets of the stony and the sandy. Even the wilds of Tartary are decked, by the hand of nature, with lofty trees and luxuriant herbage; and the lonesome traveller derives a sort of comfort and society from the presence of vegetable life. But in the dreary waste of Arabia, a boundless level of sand is intersected by sharp and naked mountains; and the face of the desert, without shade or shelter, is scorched by the direct and intense rays of a tropical sun. Instead of refreshing breezes, the winds, particularly from the south-west, diffuse a noxious and even deadly vapor; the hillocks of sand which they alternately raise and scatter, are compared to the billows of the ocean, and whole caravans, whole armies, have been lost and buried in the whirlwind. The common benefits of water are an object of desire and contest; and such is the scarcity of wood, that some art is requisite to preserve and propagate the element of fire. Arabia is destitute of navigable rivers, which fertilize the soil, and convey its produce to the adjacent regions: the torrents that fall from the hills are imbibed by the thirsty earth: the rare and hardy plants, the tamarind or the acacia, that strike their roots into the clefts of the rocks, are nourished by the dews of the night: a scanty supply of rain is collected in cisterns and aqueducts: the wells and springs are the secret treasure of the desert; and the pilgrim of Mecca,^5 after many a dry and sultry march, is disgusted by the taste of the waters which have rolled over a bed of sulphur or salt. Such is the general and genuine picture of the climate of Arabia. The experience of evil enhances the value of any local or partial enjoyments. A shady grove, a green pasture, a stream of fresh water, are sufficient to attract a colony of sedentary Arabs to the fortunate spots which can afford food and refreshment to themselves and their cattle, and which encourage their industry in the cultivation of the palmtree and the vine. The high lands that border on the Indian Ocean are distinguished by their superior plenty of wood and water; the air is more temperate, the fruits are more delicious, the animals and the human race more numerous: the fertility of the soil invites and rewards the toil of the husbandman; and the peculiar gifts of frankincense^6 and coffee have attracted in different ages the merchants of the world. If it be compared with the rest of the peninsula, this sequestered region may truly deserve the appellation of the happy; and the splendid coloring of fancy and fiction has been suggested by contrast, and countenanced by distance. It was for this earthly paradise that Nature had reserved her choicest favors and her most curious workmanship: the incompatible blessings of luxury and innocence were ascribed to the natives: the soil was impregnated with gold^7 and gems, and both the land and sea were taught to exhale the odors of aromatic sweets. This division of the sandy, the stony, and the happy, so familiar to the Greeks and Latins, is unknown to the Arabians themselves; and it is singular enough, that a country, whose language and inhabitants have ever been the same, should scarcely retain a vestige of its ancient geography. The maritime districts of Bahrein and Oman are opposite to the realm of Persia. The kingdom of Yemen displays the limits, or at least the situation, of Arabia Felix: the name of Neged is extended over the inland space; and the birth of Mahomet has illustrated the province of Hejaz along the coast of the Red Sea.^8

[^2: The geographers of Arabia may be divided into three classes: 1. The Greeks and Latins, whose progressive knowledge may be traced in Agatharcides, (de Mari Rubro, in Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. i.,) Diodorus Siculus, (tom. i. l. ii. p. 159—167, l. iii. p. 211—216, edit. Wesseling,) Strabo, (l. xvi. p. 1112—1114, from Eratosthenes, p. 1122—1132, from Artemidorus,) Dionysius, (Periegesis, 927—969,) Pliny, (Hist. Natur. v. 12, vi. 32,) and Ptolemy, (Descript. et Tabulae Urbium, in Hudson, tom. iii.) 2. The Arabic writers, who have treated the subject with the zeal of patriotism or devotion: the extracts of Pocock (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 125—128) from the Geography of the Sherif al Edrissi, render us still more dissatisfied with the version or abridgment (p. 24—27, 44—56, 108, etc., 119, etc.) which the Maronites have published under the absurd title of Geographia Nubiensis, (Paris, 1619;) but the Latin and French translators, Greaves (in Hudson, tom. iii.) and Galland, (Voyage de la Palestine par La Roque, p. 265—346,) have opened to us the Arabia of Abulfeda, the most copious and correct account of the peninsula, which may be enriched, however, from the Bibliotheque Orientale of D'Herbelot, p. 120, et alibi passim. 3. The European travellers; among whom Shaw (p. 438—455) and Niebuhr (Description, 1773; Voyages, tom. i. 1776) deserve an honorable distinction: Busching (Geographie par Berenger, tom. viii. p. 416—510) has compiled with judgment, and D'Anville's Maps (Orbis Veteribus Notus, and 1re Partie de l'Asie) should lie before the reader, with his Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 208 - 231.
Note: Of modern travellers may be mentioned the adventurer who called himself Ali Bey; but above all, the intelligent, the enterprising the accurate Burckhardt.—M.]

[^3: Abulfed. Descript. Arabiae, p. 1. D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 19, 20. It was in this place, the paradise or garden of a satrap, that Xenophon and the Greeks first passed the Euphrates, (Anabasis, l. i. c. 10, p. 29, edit. Wells.)]

[^4: Reland has proved, with much superfluous learning,

1. That our Red Sea (the Arabian Gulf) is no more than a part of the Mare Rubrum, which was extended to the indefinite space of the Indian Ocean.

2. That the synonymous words, allude to the color of the blacks or negroes, (Dissert Miscell. tom. i. p. 59—117.)]

[^5: In the thirty days, or stations, between Cairo and Mecca, there are fifteen destitute of good water. See the route of the Hadjees, in Shaw's Travels, p. 477.]

[^6: The aromatics, especially the thus, or frankincense, of Arabia, occupy the xiith book of Pliny. Our great poet (Paradise Lost, l. iv.) introduces, in a simile, the spicy odors that are blown by the north- east wind from the Sabaean coast:—

—Many a league, Pleased with the grateful scent, old Ocean smiles. (Plin. Hist. Natur. xii. 42.)]

[^7: Agatharcides affirms, that lumps of pure gold were found, from the size of an olive to that of a nut; that iron was twice, and silver ten times, the value of gold, (de Mari Rubro, p. 60.) These real or imaginary treasures are vanished; and no gold mines are at present known in Arabia, (Niebuhr, Description, p. 124.)
Note: A brilliant passage in the geographical poem of Dionysius Periegetes embodies the notions of the ancients on the wealth and fertility of Yemen. Greek mythology, and the traditions of the "gorgeous east," of India as well as Arabia, are mingled together in indiscriminate splendor. Compare on the southern coast of Arabia, the recent travels of Lieut. Wellsted —M.]

[^8: Consult, peruse, and study the Specimen Hostoriae Arabum of Pocock, (Oxon. 1650, in 4to.) The thirty pages of text and version are extracted from the Dynasties of Gregory Abulpharagius, which Pocock afterwards translated, (Oxon. 1663, in 4to.;) the three hundred and fifty- eight notes form a classic and original work on the Arabian antiquities.]

The measure of population is regulated by the means of subsistence; and the inhabitants of this vast peninsula might be outnumbered by the subjects of a fertile and industrious province. Along the shores of the Persian Gulf, of the ocean, and even of the Red Sea, the Icthyophagi,^9 or fish eaters, continued to wander in quest of their precarious food. In this primitive and abject state, which ill deserves the name of society, the human brute, without arts or laws, almost without sense or language, is poorly distinguished from the rest of the animal creation. Generations and ages might roll away in silent oblivion, and the helpless savage was restrained from multiplying his race by the wants and pursuits which confined his existence to the narrow margin of the seacoast. But in an early period of antiquity the great body of the Arabs had emerged from this scene of misery; and as the naked wilderness could not maintain a people of hunters, they rose at once to the more secure and plentiful condition of the pastoral life. The same life is uniformly pursued by the roving tribes of the desert; and in the portrait of the modern Bedoweens, we may trace the features of their ancestors,^10 who, in the age of Moses or Mahomet, dwelt under similar tents, and conducted their horses, and camels, and sheep, to the same springs and the same pastures. Our toil is lessened, and our wealth is increased, by our dominion over the useful animals; and the Arabian shepherd had acquired the absolute possession of a faithful friend and a laborious slave. ^11 Arabia, in the opinion of the naturalist, is the genuine and original country of the horse; the climate most propitious, not indeed to the size, but to the spirit and swiftness, of that generous animal. The merit of the Barb, the Spanish, and the English breed, is derived from a mixture of Arabian blood:^12 the Bedoweens preserve, with superstitious care, the honors and the memory of the purest race: the males are sold at a high price, but the females are seldom alienated; and the birth of a noble foal was esteemed among the tribes, as a subject of joy and mutual congratulation. These horses are educated in the tents, among the children of the Arabs, with a tender familiarity, which trains them in the habits of gentleness and attachment. They are accustomed only to walk and to gallop: their sensations are not blunted by the incessant abuse of the spur and the whip: their powers are reserved for the moments of flight and pursuit: but no sooner do they feel the touch of the hand or the stirrup, than they dart away with the swiftness of the wind; and if their friend be dismounted in the rapid career, they instantly stop till he has recovered his seat. In the sands of Africa and Arabia, the camel is a sacred and precious gift. That strong and patient beast of burden can perform, without eating or drinking, a journey of several days; and a reservoir of fresh water is preserved in a large bag, a fifth stomach of the animal, whose body is imprinted with the marks of servitude: the larger breed is capable of transporting a weight of a thousand pounds; and the dromedary, of a lighter and more active frame, outstrips the fleetest courser in the race. Alive or dead, almost every part of the camel is serviceable to man: her milk is plentiful and nutritious: the young and tender flesh has the taste of veal:^13 a valuable salt is extracted from the urine: the dung supplies the deficiency of fuel; and the long hair, which falls each year and is renewed, is coarsely manufactured into the garments, the furniture, and the tents of the Bedoweens. In the rainy seasons, they consume the rare and insufficient herbage of the desert: during the heats of summer and the scarcity of winter, they remove their encampments to the sea-coast, the hills of Yemen, or the neighborhood of the Euphrates, and have often extorted the dangerous license of visiting the banks of the Nile, and the villages of Syria and Palestine. The life of a wandering Arab is a life of danger and distress; and though sometimes, by rapine or exchange, he may appropriate the fruits of industry, a private citizen in Europe is in the possession of more solid and pleasing luxury than the proudest emir, who marches in the field at the head of ten thousand horse.

[^9: Arrian remarks the Icthyophagi of the coast of Hejez, (Periplus Maris Erythraei, p. 12,) and beyond Aden, (p. 15.) It seems probable that the shores of the Red Sea (in the largest sense) were occupied by these savages in the time, perhaps, of Cyrus; but I can hardly believe that any cannibals were left among the savages in the reign of Justinian. (Procop. de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 19.)]

[^10: See the Specimen Historiae Arabum of Pocock, p. 2, 5, 86, etc. The journey of M. d'Arvieux, in 1664, to the camp of the emir of Mount Carmel, (Voyage de la Palestine, Amsterdam, 1718,) exhibits a pleasing and original picture of the life of the Bedoweens, which may be illustrated from Niebuhr (Description de l'Arabie, p. 327—344) and Volney, (tom. i. p. 343—385,) the last and most judicious of our Syrian travellers.]

[^11: Read (it is no unpleasing task) the incomparable articles of the Horse and the Camel, in the Natural History of M. de Buffon.]

[^12: For the Arabian horses, see D'Arvieux (p. 159 - 173) and Niebuhr, (p. 142—144.) At the end of the xiiith century, the horses of Neged were esteemed sure-footed, those of Yemen strong and serviceable, those of Hejaz most noble. The horses of Europe, the tenth and last class, were generally despised as having too much body and too little spirit, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 339: ) their strength was requisite to bear the weight of the knight and his armor]

[^13: Qui carnibus camelorum vesci solent odii tenaces sunt, was the opinion of an Arabian physician, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 88.) Mahomet himself, who was fond of milk, prefers the cow, and does not even mention the camel; but the diet of Mecca and Medina was already more luxurious, (Gagnier Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 404.)]

Yet an essential difference may be found between the hordes of Scythia and the Arabian tribes; since many of the latter were collected into towns, and employed in the labors of trade and agriculture. A part of their time and industry was still devoted to the management of their cattle: they mingled, in peace and war, with their brethren of the desert; and the Bedoweens derived from their useful intercourse some supply of their wants, and some rudiments of art and knowledge. Among the forty-two cities of Arabia,^14 enumerated by Abulfeda, the most ancient and populous were situate in the happy Yemen: the towers of Saana, ^15 and the marvellous reservoir of Merab,^16 were constructed by the kings of the Homerites; but their profane lustre was eclipsed by the prophetic glories of Medina^17 and Mecca,^18 near the Red Sea, and at the distance from each other of two hundred and seventy miles. The last of these holy places was known to the Greeks under the name of Macoraba; and the termination of the word is expressive of its greatness, which has not, indeed, in the most flourishing period, exceeded the size and populousness of Marseilles. Some latent motive, perhaps of superstition, must have impelled the founders, in the choice of a most unpromising situation. They erected their habitations of mud or stone, in a plain about two miles long and one mile broad, at the foot of three barren mountains: the soil is a rock; the water even of the holy well of Zemzem is bitter or brackish; the pastures are remote from the city; and grapes are transported above seventy miles from the gardens of Tayef. The fame and spirit of the Koreishites, who reigned in Mecca, were conspicuous among the Arabian tribes; but their ungrateful soil refused the labors of agriculture, and their position was favorable to the enterprises of trade. By the seaport of Gedda, at the distance only of forty miles, they maintained an easy correspondence with Abyssinia; and that Christian kingdom afforded the first refuge to the disciples of Mahomet. The treasures of Africa were conveyed over the Peninsula to Gerrha or Katif, in the province of Bahrein, a city built, as it is said, of rock-salt, by the Chaldaean exiles;^19 and from thence with the native pearls of the Persian Gulf, they were floated on rafts to the mouth of the Euphrates. Mecca is placed almost at an equal distance, a month's journey, between Yemen on the right, and Syria on the left hand. The former was the winter, the latter the summer, station of her caravans; and their seasonable arrival relieved the ships of India from the tedious and troublesome navigation of the Red Sea. In the markets of Saana and Merab, in the harbors of Oman and Aden, the camels of the Koreishites were laden with a precious cargo of aromatics; a supply of corn and manufactures was purchased in the fairs of Bostra and Damascus; the lucrative exchange diffused plenty and riches in the streets of Mecca; and the noblest of her sons united the love of arms with the profession of merchandise.^20

[^14: Yet Marcian of Heraclea (in Periplo, p. 16, in tom. i. Hudson, Minor. Geograph.) reckons one hundred and sixty-four towns in Arabia Felix. The size of the towns might be small—the faith of the writer might be large.]

[^15: It is compared by Abulfeda (in Hudson, tom. ii. p. 54) to Damascus, and is still the residence of the Iman of Yemen, (Voyages de Niebuhr, tom. i. p. 331—342.) Saana is twenty-four parasangs from Dafar, (Abulfeda, p. 51,) and sixty-eight from Aden, (p. 53.)]

[^16: Pocock, Specimen, p. 57. Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 52. Meriaba, or Merab, six miles in circumference, was destroyed by the legions of Augustus, (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 32,) and had not revived in the xivth century, (Abulfed. Descript. Arab. p. 58.)
Note: See note 2 to chap. i. The destruction of Meriaba by the Romans is doubtful. The town never recovered the inundation which took place from the bursting of a large reservoir of water - an event of great importance in the Arabian annals, and discussed at considerable length by modern Orientalists.—M.]

[^17: The name of city, Medina, was appropriated, to Yatreb. (the Iatrippa of the Greeks,) the seat of the prophet. The distances from Medina are reckoned by Abulfeda in stations, or days' journey of a caravan, (p. 15: ) to Bahrein, xv.; to Bassora, xviii.; to Cufah, xx.; to Damascus or Palestine, xx.; to Cairo, xxv.; to Mecca. x.; from Mecca to Saana, (p. 52,) or Aden, xxx.; to Cairo, xxxi. days, or 412 hours, (Shaw's Travels, p. 477;) which, according to the estimate of D'Anville, (Mesures Itineraires, p. 99,) allows about twenty-five English miles for a day's journey. From the land of frankincense (Hadramaut, in Yemen, between Aden and Cape Fartasch) to Gaza in Syria, Pliny (Hist. Nat. xii. 32) computes lxv. mansions of camels. These measures may assist fancy and elucidate facts.]

[^18: Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians, (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 368—371. Pocock, Specimen, p. 125—128. Abulfeda, p. 11—40.) As no unbeliever is permitted to enter the city, our travellers are silent; and the short hints of Thevenot (Voyages du Levant, part i. p. 490) are taken from the suspicious mouth of an African renegado. Some Persians counted 6000 houses, (Chardin. tom. iv. p. 167.)
Note: Even in the time of Gibbon, Mecca had not been so inaccessible to Europeans. It had been visited by Ludovico Barthema, and by one Joseph Pitts, of Exeter, who was taken prisoner by the Moors, and forcibly converted to Mahometanism. His volume is a curious, though plain, account of his sufferings and travels. Since that time Mecca has been entered, and the ceremonies witnessed, by Dr. Seetzen, whose papers were unfortunately lost; by the Spaniard, who called himself Ali Bey; and, lastly, by Burckhardt, whose description leaves nothing wanting to satisfy the curiosity.—M.]

[^19: Strabo, l. xvi. p. 1110. See one of these salt houses near Bassora, in D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 6.]

[^20: Mirum dictu ex innumeris populis pars aequa in commerciis aut in latrociniis degit, (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 32.) See Sale's Koran, Sura. cvi. p. 503. Pocock, Specimen, p. 2. D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 361. Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 5. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 72, 120, 126, etc.]

The perpetual independence of the Arabs has been the theme of praise among strangers and natives; and the arts of controversy transform this singular event into a prophecy and a miracle, in favor of the posterity of Ismael.^21 Some exceptions, that can neither be dismissed nor eluded, render this mode of reasoning as indiscreet as it is superfluous; the kingdom of Yemen has been successively subdued by the Abyssinians, the Persians, the sultans of Egypt,^22 and the Turks;^23 the holy cities of Mecca and Medina have repeatedly bowed under a Scythian tyrant; and the Roman province of Arabia^24 embraced the peculiar wilderness in which Ismael and his sons must have pitched their tents in the face of their brethren. Yet these exceptions are temporary or local; the body of the nation has escaped the yoke of the most powerful monarchies: the arms of Sesostris and Cyrus, of Pompey and Trajan, could never achieve the conquest of Arabia; the present sovereign of the Turks^25 may exercise a shadow of jurisdiction, but his pride is reduced to solicit the friendship of a people, whom it is dangerous to provoke, and fruitless to attack. The obvious causes of their freedom are inscribed on the character and country of the Arabs. Many ages before Mahomet,^26 their intrepid valor had been severely felt by their neighbors in offensive and defensive war. The patient and active virtues of a soldier are insensibly nursed in the habits and discipline of a pastoral life. The care of the sheep and camels is abandoned to the women of the tribe; but the martial youth, under the banner of the emir, is ever on horseback, and in the field, to practise the exercise of the bow, the javelin, and the cimeter. The long memory of their independence is the firmest pledge of its perpetuity and succeeding generations are animated to prove their descent, and to maintain their inheritance. Their domestic feuds are suspended on the approach of a common enemy; and in their last hostilities against the Turks, the caravan of Mecca was attacked and pillaged by fourscore thousand of the confederates. When they advance to battle, the hope of victory is in the front; in the rear, the assurance of a retreat. Their horses and camels, who, in eight or ten days, can perform a march of four or five hundred miles, disappear before the conqueror; the secret waters of the desert elude his search, and his victorious troops are consumed with thirst, hunger, and fatigue, in the pursuit of an invisible foe, who scorns his efforts, and safely reposes in the heart of the burning solitude. The arms and deserts of the Bedoweens are not only the safeguards of their own freedom, but the barriers also of the happy Arabia, whose inhabitants, remote from war, are enervated by the luxury of the soil and climate. The legions of Augustus melted away in disease and lassitude;^27 and it is only by a naval power that the reduction of Yemen has been successfully attempted. When Mahomet erected his holy standard, ^28 that kingdom was a province of the Persian empire; yet seven princes of the Homerites still reigned in the mountains; and the vicegerent of Chosroes was tempted to forget his distant country and his unfortunate master. The historians of the age of Justinian represent the state of the independent Arabs, who were divided by interest or affection in the long quarrel of the East: the tribe of Gassan was allowed to encamp on the Syrian territory: the princes of Hira were permitted to form a city about forty miles to the southward of the ruins of Babylon. Their service in the field was speedy and vigorous; but their friendship was venal, their faith inconstant, their enmity capricious: it was an easier task to excite than to disarm these roving barbarians; and, in the familiar intercourse of war, they learned to see, and to despise, the splendid weakness both of Rome and of Persia. From Mecca to the Euphrates, the Arabian tribes^29 were confounded by the Greeks and Latins, under the general appellation of Saracens,^30 a name which every Christian mouth has been taught to pronounce with terror and abhorrence.

[^21: A nameless doctor (Universal Hist. vol. xx. octavo edition) has formally demonstrated the truth of Christianity by the independence of the Arabs. A critic, besides the exceptions of fact, might dispute the meaning of the text (Gen. xvi. 12,) the extent of the application, and the foundation of the pedigree.
Note: See note 3 to chap. xlvi. The atter point is probably the least contestable of the three.—M.]

[^22: It was subdued, A.D. 1173, by a brother of the great Saladin, who founded a dynasty of Curds or Ayoubites, (Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 425. D'Herbelot, p. 477.)]

[^23: By the lieutenant of Soliman I. (A.D. 1538) and Selim II., (1568.) See Cantemir's Hist. of the Othman Empire, p. 201, 221. The pacha, who resided at Saana, commanded twenty-one beys; but no revenue was ever remitted to the Porte, (Marsigli, Stato Militare dell' Imperio Ottomanno, p. 124,) and the Turks were expelled about the year 1630, (Niebuhr, p. 167, 168.)]

[^24: Of the Roman province, under the name of Arabia and the third Palestine, the principal cities were Bostra and Petra, which dated their aera from the year 105, when they were subdued by Palma, a lieutenant of Trajan, (Dion. Cassius, l. lxviii.) Petra was the capital of the Nabathaeans; whose name is derived from the eldest of the sons of Ismael, (Gen. xxv. 12, etc., with the Commentaries of Jerom, Le Clerc, and Calmet.) Justinian relinquished a palm country of ten days' journey to the south of Aelah, (Procop. de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 19,) and the Romans maintained a centurion and a custom-house, (Arrian in Periplo Maris Erythraei, p. 11, in Hudson, tom. i.,) at a place (Pagus Albus, Hawara) in the territory of Medina, (D'Anville, Memoire sur l'Egypte, p. 243.) These real possessions, and some naval inroads of Trajan, (Peripl. p. 14, 15,) are magnified by history and medals into the Roman conquest of Arabia.
Note: On the ruins of Petra, see the travels of Messrs. Irby and Mangles, and of Leon de Laborde.—M.]

[^25: Niebuhr (Description de l'Arabie, p. 302, 303, 329 - 331) affords the most recent and authentic intelligence of the Turkish empire in Arabia.
Note: Niebuhr's, notwithstanding the multitude of later travellers, maintains its ground, as the classical work on Arabia.—M.]

[^26: Diodorus Siculus (tom. ii. l. xix. p. 390—393, edit. Wesseling) has clearly exposed the freedom of the Nabathaean Arabs, who resisted the arms of Antigonus and his son.]

[^27: Strabo, l. xvi. p. 1127—1129. Plin. Hist. Natur. vi. 32. Aelius Gallus landed near Medina, and marched near a thousand miles into the part of Yemen between Mareb and the Ocean. The non ante devictis Sabeae regibus, (Od. i. 29,) and the intacti Arabum thesanri (Od. iii. 24) of Horace, attest the virgin purity of Arabia.]

[^28: See the imperfect history of Yemen in Pocock, Specimen, p. 55—66, of Hira, p. 66—74, of Gassan, p. 75—78, as far as it could be known or preserved in the time of ignorance.
Note: Compare the Hist. Yemanae, published by Johannsen at Bonn 1880 particularly the translator's preface.—M.]

[^29: They are described by Menander, (Excerpt. Legation p. 149,) Procopius, (de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 17, 19, l. ii. c. 10,) and, in the most lively colors, by Ammianus Marcellinus, (l. xiv. c. 4,) who had spoken of them as early as the reign of Marcus.]

[^30: The name which, used by Ptolemy and Pliny in a more confined, by Ammianus and Procopius in a larger, sense, has been derived, ridiculously, from Sarah, the wife of Abraham, obscurely from the village of Saraka, (Stephan. de Urbibus,) more plausibly from the Arabic words, which signify a thievish character, or Oriental situation, (Hottinger, Hist. Oriental. l. i. c. i. p. 7, 8. Pocock, Specimen, p. 33, 35. Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iv. p. 567.) Yet the last and most popular of these etymologies is refuted by Ptolemy, (Arabia, p. 2, 18, in Hudson, tom. iv.,) who expressly remarks the western and southern position of the Saracens, then an obscure tribe on the borders of Egypt. The appellation cannot therefore allude to any national character; and, since it was imposed by strangers, it must be found, not in the Arabic, but in a foreign language.
Note: Dr. Clarke, (Travels, vol. ii. p. 491,) after expressing contemptuous pity for Gibbon's ignorance, derives the word from Zara, Zaara, Sara, the Desert, whence Saraceni, the children of the Desert. De Marles adopts the derivation from Sarrik, a robber, (Hist. des Arabes, vol. i. p. 36, S.L. Martin from Scharkioun, or Sharkun, Eastern, vol. xi. p. 55.—M.]


The slaves of domestic tyranny may vainly exult in their national independence: but the Arab is personally free; and he enjoys, in some degree, the benefits of society, without forfeiting the prerogatives of nature. In every tribe, superstition, or gratitude, or fortune, has exalted a particular family above the heads of their equals. The dignities of sheick and emir invariably descend in this chosen race; but the order of succession is loose and precarious; and the most worthy or aged of the noble kinsmen are preferred to the simple, though important, office of composing disputes by their advice, and guiding valor by their example. Even a female of sense and spirit has been permitted to command the countrymen of Zenobia.^31 The momentary junction of several tribes produces an army: their more lasting union constitutes a nation; and the supreme chief, the emir of emirs, whose banner is displayed at their head, may deserve, in the eyes of strangers, the honors of the kingly name.

If the Arabian princes abuse their power, they are quickly punished by the desertion of their subjects, who had been accustomed to a mild and parental jurisdiction. Their spirit is free, their steps are unconfined, the desert is open, and the tribes and families are held together by a mutual and voluntary compact. The softer natives of Yemen supported the pomp and majesty of a monarch; but if he could not leave his palace without endangering his life,^32 the active powers of government must have been devolved on his nobles and magistrates. The cities of Mecca and Medina present, in the heart of Asia, the form, or rather the substance, of a commonwealth. The grandfather of Mahomet, and his lineal ancestors, appear in foreign and domestic transactions as the princes of their country; but they reigned, like Pericles at Athens, or the Medici at Florence, by the opinion of their wisdom and integrity; their influence was divided with their patrimony; and the sceptre was transferred from the uncles of the prophet to a younger branch of the tribe of Koreish. On solemn occasions they convened the assembly of the people; and, since mankind must be either compelled or persuaded to obey, the use and reputation of oratory among the ancient Arabs is the clearest evidence of public freedom.^33 But their simple freedom was of a very different cast from the nice and artificial machinery of the Greek and Roman republics, in which each member possessed an undivided share of the civil and political rights of the community. In the more simple state of the Arabs, the nation is free, because each of her sons disdains a base submission to the will of a master. His breast is fortified by the austere virtues of courage, patience, and sobriety; the love of independence prompts him to exercise the habits of self-command; and the fear of dishonor guards him from the meaner apprehension of pain, of danger, and of death. The gravity and firmness of the mind is conspicuous in his outward demeanor; his speech is low, weighty, and concise; he is seldom provoked to laughter; his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood; and the sense of his own importance teaches him to accost his equals without levity, and his superiors without awe.^34 The liberty of the Saracens survived their conquests: the first caliphs indulged the bold and familiar language of their subjects; they ascended the pulpit to persuade and edify the congregation; nor was it before the seat of empire was removed to the Tigris, that the Abbasides adopted the proud and pompous ceremonial of the Persian and Byzantine courts.

[^31: Saraceni...mulieres aiunt in eos regnare, (Expositio totius Mundi, p. 3, in Hudson, tom. iii.) The reign of Mavia is famous in ecclesiastical story Pocock, Specimen, p. 69, 83.]

[^32: The report of Agatharcides, (de Mari Rubro, p. 63, 64, in Hudson, tom. i.) Diodorus Siculus, (tom. i. l. iii. c. 47, p. 215,) and Strabo, (l. xvi. p. 1124.) But I much suspect that this is one of the popular tales, or extraordinary accidents, which the credulity of travellers so often transforms into a fact, a custom, and a law.]

[^33: Non gloriabantur antiquitus Arabes, nisi gladio, hospite, et eloquentia (Sephadius apud Pocock, Specimen, p. 161, 162.) This gift of speech they shared only with the Persians; and the sententious Arabs would probably have disdained the simple and sublime logic of Demosthenes.]

[^34: I must remind the reader that D'Arvieux, D'Herbelot, and Niebuhr, represent, in the most lively colors, the manners and government of the Arabs, which are illustrated by many incidental passages in the Life of Mahomet.
Note: See, likewise the curious romance of Antar, the most vivid and authentic picture of Arabian manners.—M.]

In the study of nations and men, we may observe the causes that render them hostile or friendly to each other, that tend to narrow or enlarge, to mollify or exasperate, the social character. The separation of the Arabs from the rest of mankind has accustomed them to confound the ideas of stranger and enemy; and the poverty of the land has introduced a maxim of jurisprudence, which they believe and practise to the present hour. They pretend, that, in the division of the earth, the rich and fertile climates were assigned to the other branches of the human family; and that the posterity of the outlaw Ismael might recover, by fraud or force, the portion of inheritance of which he had been unjustly deprived. According to the remark of Pliny, the Arabian tribes are equally addicted to theft and merchandise; the caravans that traverse the desert are ransomed or pillaged; and their neighbors, since the remote times of Job and Sesostris, ^35 have been the victims of their rapacious spirit. If a Bedoween discovers from afar a solitary traveller, he rides furiously against him, crying, with a loud voice, "Undress thyself, thy aunt (my wife) is without a garment." A ready submission entitles him to mercy; resistance will provoke the aggressor, and his own blood must expiate the blood which he presumes to shed in legitimate defence. A single robber, or a few associates, are branded with their genuine name; but the exploits of a numerous band assume the character of lawful and honorable war. The temper of a people thus armed against mankind was doubly inflamed by the domestic license of rapine, murder, and revenge. In the constitution of Europe, the right of peace and war is now confined to a small, and the actual exercise to a much smaller, list of respectable potentates; but each Arab, with impunity and renown, might point his javelin against the life of his countrymen. The union of the nation consisted only in a vague resemblance of language and manners; and in each community, the jurisdiction of the magistrate was mute and impotent. Of the time of ignorance which preceded Mahomet, seventeen hundred battles^36 are recorded by tradition: hostility was imbittered with the rancor of civil faction; and the recital, in prose or verse, of an obsolete feud, was sufficient to rekindle the same passions among the descendants of the hostile tribes. In private life every man, at least every family, was the judge and avenger of his own cause. The nice sensibility of honor, which weighs the insult rather than the injury, sheds its deadly venom on the quarrels of the Arabs: the honor of their women, and of their beards, is most easily wounded; an indecent action, a contemptuous word, can be expiated only by the blood of the offender; and such is their patient inveteracy, that they expect whole months and years the opportunity of revenge. A fine or compensation for murder is familiar to the Barbarians of every age: but in Arabia the kinsmen of the dead are at liberty to accept the atonement, or to exercise with their own hands the law of retaliation. The refined malice of the Arabs refuses even the head of the murderer, substitutes an innocent for the guilty person, and transfers the penalty to the best and most considerable of the race by whom they have been injured. If he falls by their hands, they are exposed, in their turn, to the danger of reprisals, the interest and principal of the bloody debt are accumulated: the individuals of either family lead a life of malice and suspicion, and fifty years may sometimes elapse before the account of vengeance be finally settled.^37 This sanguinary spirit, ignorant of pity or forgiveness, has been moderated, however, by the maxims of honor, which require in every private encounter some decent equality of age and strength, of numbers and weapons. An annual festival of two, perhaps of four, months, was observed by the Arabs before the time of Mahomet, during which their swords were religiously sheathed both in foreign and domestic hostility; and this partial truce is more strongly expressive of the habits of anarchy and warfare.^38

[^35: Observe the first chapter of Job, and the long wall of 1500 stadia which Sesostris built from Pelusium to Heliopolis, (Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. i. p. 67.) Under the name of Hycsos, the shepherd kings, they had formerly subdued Egypt, (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 98—163) etc.)
Note: This origin of the Hycsos, though probable, is by no means so certain here is some reason for supposing them Scythians.—M.]

[^36: Or, according to another account, 1200, (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 75: ) the two historians who wrote of the Ayam al Arab, the battles of the Arabs, lived in the 9th and 10th century. The famous war of Dahes and Gabrah was occasioned by two horses, lasted forty years, and ended in a proverb, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 48.)]

[^37: The modern theory and practice of the Arabs in the revenge of murder are described by Niebuhr, (Description, p. 26 - 31.) The harsher features of antiquity may be traced in the Koran, c. 2, p. 20, c. 17, p. 230, with Sale's Observations.]

[^38: Procopius (de Bell. Persic. l. i. c. 16) places the two holy months about the summer solstice. The Arabians consecrate four months of the year—the first, seventh, eleventh, and twelfth; and pretend, that in a long series of ages the truce was infringed only four or six times, (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 147—150, and Notes on the ixth chapter of the Koran, p. 154, etc. Casiri, Bibliot. Hispano-Arabica, tom. ii. p. 20, 21.)]

But the spirit of rapine and revenge was attempered by the milder influence of trade and literature. The solitary peninsula is encompassed by the most civilized nations of the ancient world; the merchant is the friend of mankind; and the annual caravans imported the first seeds of knowledge and politeness into the cities, and even the camps of the desert. Whatever may be the pedigree of the Arabs, their language is derived from the same original stock with the Hebrew, the Syriac, and the Chaldaean tongues; the independence of the tribes was marked by their peculiar dialects;^39 but each, after their own, allowed a just preference to the pure and perspicuous idiom of Mecca. In Arabia, as well as in Greece, the perfection of language outstripped the refinement of manners; and her speech could diversify the fourscore names of honey, the two hundred of a serpent, the five hundred of a lion, the thousand of a sword, at a time when this copious dictionary was intrusted to the memory of an illiterate people. The monuments of the Homerites were inscribed with an obsolete and mysterious character; but the Cufic letters, the groundwork of the present alphabet, were invented on the banks of the Euphrates; and the recent invention was taught at Mecca by a stranger who settled in that city after the birth of Mahomet. The arts of grammar, of metre, and of rhetoric, were unknown to the freeborn eloquence of the Arabians; but their penetration was sharp, their fancy luxuriant, their wit strong and sententious,^40 and their more elaborate compositions were addressed with energy and effect to the minds of their hearers. The genius and merit of a rising poet was celebrated by the applause of his own and the kindred tribes. A solemn banquet was prepared, and a chorus of women, striking their tymbals, and displaying the pomp of their nuptials, sung in the presence of their sons and husbands the felicity of their native tribe; that a champion had now appeared to vindicate their rights; that a herald had raised his voice to immortalize their renown. The distant or hostile tribes resorted to an annual fair, which was abolished by the fanaticism of the first Moslems; a national assembly that must have contributed to refine and harmonize the Barbarians. Thirty days were employed in the exchange, not only of corn and wine, but of eloquence and poetry. The prize was disputed by the generous emulation of the bards; the victorious performance was deposited in the archives of princes and emirs; and we may read in our own language, the seven original poems which were inscribed in letters of gold, and suspended in the temple of Mecca.^41 The Arabian poets were the historians and moralists of the age; and if they sympathized with the prejudices, they inspired and crowned the virtues, of their countrymen. The indissoluble union of generosity and valor was the darling theme of their song; and when they pointed their keenest satire against a despicable race, they affirmed, in the bitterness of reproach, that the men knew not how to give, nor the women to deny.^42 The same hospitality, which was practised by Abraham, and celebrated by Homer, is still renewed in the camps of the Arabs. The ferocious Bedoweens, the terror of the desert, embrace, without inquiry or hesitation, the stranger who dares to confide in their honor and to enter their tent. His treatment is kind and respectful: he shares the wealth, or the poverty, of his host; and, after a needful repose, he is dismissed on his way, with thanks, with blessings, and perhaps with gifts. The heart and hand are more largely expanded by the wants of a brother or a friend; but the heroic acts that could deserve the public applause, must have surpassed the narrow measure of discretion and experience. A dispute had arisen, who, among the citizens of Mecca, was entitled to the prize of generosity; and a successive application was made to the three who were deemed most worthy of the trial. Abdallah, the son of Abbas, had undertaken a distant journey, and his foot was in the stirrup when he heard the voice of a suppliant, "O son of the uncle of the apostle of God, I am a traveller, and in distress!" He instantly dismounted to present the pilgrim with his camel, her rich caparison, and a purse of four thousand pieces of gold, excepting only the sword, either for its intrinsic value, or as the gift of an honored kinsman. The servant of Kais informed the second suppliant that his master was asleep: but he immediately added, "Here is a purse of seven thousand pieces of gold, (it is all we have in the house,) and here is an order, that will entitle you to a camel and a slave;" the master, as soon as he awoke, praised and enfranchised his faithful steward, with a gentle reproof, that by respecting his slumbers he had stinted his bounty. The third of these heroes, the blind Arabah, at the hour of prayer, was supporting his steps on the shoulders of two slaves. "Alas!" he replied, "my coffers are empty! but these you may sell; if you refuse, I renounce them." At these words, pushing away the youths, he groped along the wall with his staff.

The character of Hatem is the perfect model of Arabian virtue: ^43 he was brave and liberal, an eloquent poet, and a successful robber; forty camels were roasted at his hospitable feast; and at the prayer of a suppliant enemy he restored both the captives and the spoil. The freedom of his countrymen disdained the laws of justice; they proudly indulged the spontaneous impulse of pity and benevolence.

[^39: Arrian, in the second century, remarks (in Periplo Maris Erythraei, p. 12) the partial or total difference of the dialects of the Arabs. Their language and letters are copiously treated by Pocock, (Specimen, p. 150—154,) Casiri, (Bibliot. Hispano-Arabica, tom. i. p. 1, 83, 292, tom. ii. p. 25, etc.,) and Niebuhr, (Description de l'Arabie, p. 72—36) I pass slightly; I am not fond of repeating words like a parrot.]

[^40: A familiar tale in Voltaire's Zadig (le Chien et le Cheval) is related, to prove the natural sagacity of the Arabs, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 120, 121. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 37—46: ) but D'Arvieux, or rather La Roque, (Voyage de Palestine, p. 92,) denies the boasted superiority of the Bedoweens. The one hundred and sixty-nine sentences of Ali (translated by Ockley, London, 1718) afford a just and favorable specimen of Arabian wit.
Note: Compare the Arabic proverbs translated by Burckhardt. London. 1830—M.]

[^41: Pocock (Specimen, p. 158—161) and Casiri (Bibliot. Hispano- Arabica, tom. i. p. 48, 84, etc., 119, tom. ii. p. 17, etc.) speak of the Arabian poets before Mahomet; the seven poems of the Caaba have been published in English by Sir William Jones; but his honorable mission to India has deprived us of his own notes, far more interesting than the obscure and obsolete text.]

[^42: Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 29, 30]

[^43: D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 458. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 118. Caab and Hesnus (Pocock, Specimen, p. 43, 46, 48) were likewise conspicuous for their liberality; and the latter is elegantly praised by an Arabian poet: "Videbis eum cum accesseris exultantem, ac si dares illi quod ab illo petis."
Note: See the translation of the amusing Persian romance of Hatim Tai, by Duncan Forbes, Esq., among the works published by the Oriental Translation Fund.—M.]

The religion of the Arabs,^44 as well as of the Indians, consisted in the worship of the sun, the moon, and the fixed stars; a primitive and specious mode of superstition. The bright luminaries of the sky display the visible image of a Deity: their number and distance convey to a philosophic, or even a vulgar, eye, the idea of boundless space: the character of eternity is marked on these solid globes, that seem incapable of corruption or decay: the regularity of their motions may be ascribed to a principle of reason or instinct; and their real, or imaginary, influence encourages the vain belief that the earth and its inhabitants are the object of their peculiar care. The science of astronomy was cultivated at Babylon; but the school of the Arabs was a clear firmament and a naked plain. In their nocturnal marches, they steered by the guidance of the stars: their names, and order, and daily station, were familiar to the curiosity and devotion of the Bedoween; and he was taught by experience to divide, in twenty-eight parts, the zodiac of the moon, and to bless the constellations who refreshed, with salutary rains, the thirst of the desert. The reign of the heavenly orbs could not be extended beyond the visible sphere; and some metaphysical powers were necessary to sustain the transmigration of souls and the resurrection of bodies: a camel was left to perish on the grave, that he might serve his master in another life; and the invocation of departed spirits implies that they were still endowed with consciousness and power. I am ignorant, and I am careless, of the blind mythology of the Barbarians; of the local deities, of the stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each independent warrior, created and changed the rites and the object of his fantastic worship; but the nation, in every age, has bowed to the religion, as well as to the language, of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of the Caaba ascends beyond the Christian aera; in describing the coast of the Red Sea, the Greek historian Diodorus^45 has remarked, between the Thamudites and the Sabaeans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians; the linen or silken veil, which is annually renewed by the Turkish emperor, was first offered by a pious king of the Homerites, who reigned seven hundred years before the time of Mahomet.^46 A tent, or a cavern, might suffice for the worship of the savages, but an edifice of stone and clay has been erected in its place; and the art and power of the monarchs of the East have been confined to the simplicity of the original model.^47 A spacious portico encloses the quadrangle of the Caaba; a square chapel, twenty-four cubits long, twenty-three broad, and twenty-seven high: a door and a window admit the light; the double roof is supported by three pillars of wood; a spout (now of gold) discharges the rain-water, and the well Zemzen is protected by a dome from accidental pollution. The tribe of Koreish, by fraud and force, had acquired the custody of the Caaba: the sacerdotal office devolved through four lineal descents to the grandfather of Mahomet; and the family of the Hashemites, from whence he sprung, was the most respectable and sacred in the eyes of their country.^48 The precincts of Mecca enjoyed the rights of sanctuary; and, in the last month of each year, the city and the temple were crowded with a long train of pilgrims, who presented their vows and offerings in the house of God. The same rites which are now accomplished by the faithful Mussulman, were invented and practised by the superstition of the idolaters. At an awful distance they cast away their garments: seven times, with hasty steps, they encircled the Caaba, and kissed the black stone: seven times they visited and adored the adjacent mountains; seven times they threw stones into the valley of Mina; and the pilgrimage was achieved, as at the present hour, by a sacrifice of sheep and camels, and the burial of their hair and nails in the consecrated ground. Each tribe either found or introduced in the Caaba their domestic worship: the temple was adorned, or defiled, with three hundred and sixty idols of men, eagles, lions, and antelopes; and most conspicuous was the statue of Hebal, of red agate, holding in his hand seven arrows, without heads or feathers, the instruments and symbols of profane divination. But this statue was a monument of Syrian arts: the devotion of the ruder ages was content with a pillar or a tablet; and the rocks of the desert were hewn into gods or altars, in imitation of the black stone^49 of Mecca, which is deeply tainted with the reproach of an idolatrous origin. From Japan to Peru, the use of sacrifice has universally prevailed; and the votary has expressed his gratitude, or fear, by destroying or consuming, in honor of the gods, the dearest and most precious of their gifts. The life of a man^50 is the most precious oblation to deprecate a public calamity: the altars of Phoenicia and Egypt, of Rome and Carthage, have been polluted with human gore: the cruel practice was long preserved among the Arabs; in the third century, a boy was annually sacrificed by the tribe of the Dumatians;^51 and a royal captive was piously slaughtered by the prince of the Saracens, the ally and soldier of the emperor Justinian.^52 A parent who drags his son to the altar, exhibits the most painful and sublime effort of fanaticism: the deed, or the intention, was sanctified by the example of saints and heroes; and the father of Mahomet himself was devoted by a rash vow, and hardly ransomed for the equivalent of a hundred camels. In the time of ignorance, the Arabs, like the Jews and Egyptians, abstained from the taste of swine's flesh;^53 they circumcised ^54 their children at the age of puberty: the same customs, without the censure or the precept of the Koran, have been silently transmitted to their posterity and proselytes. It has been sagaciously conjectured, that the artful legislator indulged the stubborn prejudices of his countrymen. It is more simple to believe that he adhered to the habits and opinions of his youth, without foreseeing that a practice congenial to the climate of Mecca might become useless or inconvenient on the banks of the Danube or the Volga.

[^44: Whatever can now be known of the idolatry of the ancient Arabians may be found in Pocock, (Specimen, p. 89—136, 163, 164.) His profound erudition is more clearly and concisely interpreted by Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 14—24;) and Assemanni (Bibliot. Orient tom. iv. p. 580—590) has added some valuable remarks.]

[^45: (Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. iii. p. 211.) The character and position are so correctly apposite, that I am surprised how this curious passage should have been read without notice or application. Yet this famous temple had been overlooked by Agatharcides, (de Mari Rubro, p. 58, in Hudson, tom. i.,) whom Diodorus copies in the rest of the description. Was the Sicilian more knowing than the Egyptian? Or was the Caaba built between the years of Rome 650 and 746, the dates of their respective histories? (Dodwell, in Dissert. ad tom. i. Hudson, p. 72. Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. ii. p. 770.)
Note: Mr. Forster (Geography of Arabia, vol. ii. p. 118, et seq.) has raised an objection, as I think, fatal to this hypothesis of Gibbon. The temple, situated in the country of the Banizomeneis, was not between the Thamudites and the Sabaeans, but higher up than the coast inhabited by the former. Mr. Forster would place it as far north as Moiiah. I am not quite satisfied that this will agree with the whole description of Diodorus—M. 1845.]

[^46: Pocock, Specimen, p. 60, 61. From the death of Mahomet we ascend to 68, from his birth to 129, years before the Christian aera. The veil or curtain, which is now of silk and gold, was no more than a piece of Egyptian linen, (Abulfeda, in Vit. Mohammed. c. 6, p. 14.)]

[^47: The original plan of the Caaba (which is servilely copied in Sale, the Universal History, etc.) was a Turkish draught, which Reland (de Religione Mohammedica, p. 113—123) has corrected and explained from the best authorities. For the description and legend of the Caaba, consult Pocock, (Specimen, p. 115—122,) the Bibliotheque Orientale of D'Herbelot, (Caaba, Hagir, Zemzem, etc.,) and Sale (Preliminary Discourse, p. 114 - 122.)]

[^48: Cosa, the fifth ancestor of Mahomet, must have usurped the Caaba A.D. 440; but the story is differently told by Jannabi, (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 65—69,) and by Abulfeda, (in Vit. Moham. c. 6, p. 13.)]

[^49: In the second century, Maximus of Tyre attributes to the Arabs the worship of a stone, (Dissert. viii. tom. i. p. 142, edit. Reiske;) and the reproach is furiously reechoed by the Christians, (Clemens Alex. in Protreptico, p. 40. Arnobius contra Gentes, l. vi. p. 246.) Yet these stones were no other than of Syria and Greece, so renowned in sacred and profane antiquity, (Euseb. Praep. Evangel. l. i. p. 37. Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 54—56.)]

[^50: The two horrid subjects are accurately discussed by the learned Sir John Marsham, (Canon. Chron. p. 76—78, 301 - 304.) Sanchoniatho derives the Phoenician sacrifices from the example of Chronus; but we are ignorant whether Chronus lived before, or after, Abraham, or indeed whether he lived at all.]

[^51: The reproach of Porphyry; but he likewise imputes to the Roman the same barbarous custom, which, A. U. C. 657, had been finally abolished. Dumaetha, Daumat al Gendai, is noticed by Ptolemy (Tabul. p. 37, Arabia, p. 9—29) and Abulfeda, (p. 57,) and may be found in D'Anville's maps, in the mid-desert between Chaibar and Tadmor.]

[^52: Prcoopius, (de Bell. Persico, l. i. c. 28,) Evagrius, (l. vi. c. 21,) and Pocock, (Specimen, p. 72, 86,) attest the human sacrifices of the Arabs in the vith century. The danger and escape of Abdallah is a tradition rather than a fact, (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 82—84.)]

[^53: Suillis carnibus abstinent, says Solinus, (Polyhistor. c. 33,) who copies Pliny (l. viii. c. 68) in the strange supposition, that hogs can not live in Arabia. The Egyptians were actuated by a natural and superstitious horror for that unclean beast, (Marsham, Canon. p. 205.) The old Arabians likewise practised, post coitum, the rite of ablution, (Herodot. l. i. c. 80,) which is sanctified by the Mahometan law, (Reland, p. 75, etc., Chardin, or rather the Mollah of Shah Abbas, tom. iv. p. 71, etc.)]

[^54: The Mahometan doctors are not fond of the subject; yet they hold circumcision necessary to salvation, and even pretend that Mahomet was miraculously born without a foreskin, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 319, 320. Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 106, 107.)]


Arabia was free: the adjacent kingdoms were shaken by the storms of conquest and tyranny, and the persecuted sects fled to the happy land where they might profess what they thought, and practise what they professed. The religions of the Sabians and Magians, of the Jews and Christians, were disseminated from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. In a remote period of antiquity, Sabianism was diffused over Asia by the science of the Chaldaeans ^55 and the arms of the Assyrians. From the observations of two thousand years, the priests and astronomers of Babylon^56 deduced the eternal laws of nature and providence. They adored the seven gods or angels, who directed the course of the seven planets, and shed their irresistible influence on the earth. The attributes of the seven planets, with the twelve signs of the zodiac, and the twenty-four constellations of the northern and southern hemisphere, were represented by images and talismans; the seven days of the week were dedicated to their respective deities; the Sabians prayed thrice each day; and the temple of the moon at Haran was the term of their pilgrimage.^57 But the flexible genius of their faith was always ready either to teach or to learn: in the tradition of the creation, the deluge, and the patriarchs, they held a singular agreement with their Jewish captives; they appealed to the secret books of Adam, Seth, and Enoch; and a slight infusion of the gospel has transformed the last remnant of the Polytheists into the Christians of St. John, in the territory of Bassora.^58 The altars of Babylon were overturned by the Magians; but the injuries of the Sabians were revenged by the sword of Alexander; Persia groaned above five hundred years under a foreign yoke; and the purest disciples of Zoroaster escaped from the contagion of idolatry, and breathed with their adversaries the freedom of the desert.^59 Seven hundred years before the death of Mahomet, the Jews were settled in Arabia; and a far greater multitude was expelled from the Holy Land in the wars of Titus and Hadrian. The industrious exiles aspired to liberty and power: they erected synagogues in the cities, and castles in the wilderness, and their Gentile converts were confounded with the children of Israel, whom they resembled in the outward mark of circumcision. The Christian missionaries were still more active and successful: the Catholics asserted their universal reign; the sects whom they oppressed, successively retired beyond the limits of the Roman empire; the Marcionites and Manichaeans dispersed their fantastic opinions and apocryphal gospels; the churches of Yemen, and the princes of Hira and Gassan, were instructed in a purer creed by the Jacobite and Nestorian bishops.^60 The liberty of choice was presented to the tribes: each Arab was free to elect or to compose his private religion: and the rude superstition of his house was mingled with the sublime theology of saints and philosophers. A fundamental article of faith was inculcated by the consent of the learned strangers; the existence of one supreme God who is exalted above the powers of heaven and earth, but who has often revealed himself to mankind by the ministry of his angels and prophets, and whose grace or justice has interrupted, by seasonable miracles, the order of nature. The most rational of the Arabs acknowledged his power, though they neglected his worship;^61 and it was habit rather than conviction that still attached them to the relics of idolatry. The Jews and Christians were the people of the Book; the Bible was already translated into the Arabic language,^62 and the volume of the Old Testament was accepted by the concord of these implacable enemies. In the story of the Hebrew patriarchs, the Arabs were pleased to discover the fathers of their nation. They applauded the birth and promises of Ismael; revered the faith and virtue of Abraham; traced his pedigree and their own to the creation of the first man, and imbibed, with equal credulity, the prodigies of the holy text, and the dreams and traditions of the Jewish rabbis.

[^55: Diodorus Siculus (tom. i. l. ii. p. 142—145) has cast on their religion the curious but superficial glance of a Greek. Their astronomy would be far more valuable: they had looked through the telescope of reason, since they could doubt whether the sun were in the number of the planets or of the fixed stars.]

[^56: Simplicius, (who quotes Porphyry,) de Coelo, l. ii. com. xlvi p. 123, lin. 18, apud Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 474, who doubts the fact, because it is adverse to his systems. The earliest date of the Chaldaean observations is the year 2234 before Christ. After the conquest of Babylon by Alexander, they were communicated at the request of Aristotle, to the astronomer Hipparchus. What a moment in the annals of science!]

[^57: Pocock, (Specimen, p. 138—146,) Hottinger, (Hist. Orient. p. 162—203,) Hyde, (de Religione Vet. Persarum, p. 124, 128, etc.,) D'Herbelot, (Sabi, p. 725, 726,) and Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 14, 15,) rather excite than gratify our curiosity; and the last of these writers confounds Sabianism with the primitive religion of the Arabs.]

[^58: D'Anville (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 130—137) will fix the position of these ambiguous Christians; Assemannus (Bibliot. Oriental. tom. iv. p. 607—614) may explain their tenets. But it is a slippery task to ascertain the creed of an ignorant people afraid and ashamed to disclose their secret traditions.
Note: The Codex Nasiraeus, their sacred book, has been published by Norberg whose researches contain almost all that is known of this singular people. But their origin is almost as obscure as ever: if ancient, their creed has been so corrupted with mysticism and Mahometanism, that its native lineaments are very indistinct.—M.]

[^59: The Magi were fixed in the province of B hrein, (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 114,) and mingled with the old Arabians, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 146—150.)]

[^60: The state of the Jews and Christians in Arabia is described by Pocock from Sharestani, etc., (Specimen, p. 60, 134, etc.,) Hottinger, (Hist. Orient. p. 212—238,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 474—476,) Basnage, (Hist. des Juifs, tom. vii. p. 185, tom. viii. p. 280,) and Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 22, etc., 33, etc.)]

[^61: In their offerings, it was a maxim to defraud God for the profit of the idol, not a more potent, but a more irritable, patron, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 108, 109.)]

[^62: Our versions now extant, whether Jewish or Christian, appear more recent than the Koran; but the existence of a prior translation may be fairly inferred,—1. From the perpetual practice of the synagogue of expounding the Hebrew lesson by a paraphrase in the vulgar tongue of the country; 2. From the analogy of the Armenian, Persian, Aethiopic versions, expressly quoted by the fathers of the fifth century, who assert that the Scriptures were translated into all the Barbaric languages, (Walton, Prolegomena ad Biblia Polyglot, p. 34, 93 - 97. Simon, Hist. Critique du V. et du N. Testament, tom. i. p. 180, 181, 282—286, 293, 305, 306, tom. iv. p. 206.)]

The base and plebeian origin of Mahomet is an unskilful calumny of the Christians,^63 who exalt instead of degrading the merit of their adversary. His descent from Ismael was a national privilege or fable; but if the first steps of the pedigree^64 are dark and doubtful, he could produce many generations of pure and genuine nobility: he sprung from the tribe of Koreish and the family of Hashem, the most illustrious of the Arabs, the princes of Mecca, and the hereditary guardians of the Caaba. The grandfather of Mahomet was Abdol Motalleb, the son of Hashem, a wealthy and generous citizen, who relieved the distress of famine with the supplies of commerce. Mecca, which had been fed by the liberality of the father, was saved by the courage of the son. The kingdom of Yemen was subject to the Christian princes of Abyssinia; their vassal Abrahah was provoked by an insult to avenge the honor of the cross; and the holy city was invested by a train of elephants and an army of Africans. A treaty was proposed; and, in the first audience, the grandfather of Mahomet demanded the restitution of his cattle. "And why," said Abrahah, "do you not rather implore my clemency in favor of your temple, which I have threatened to destroy?" "Because," replied the intrepid chief, "the cattle is my own; the Caaba belongs to the gods, and they will defend their house from injury and sacrilege." The want of provisions, or the valor of the Koreish, compelled the Abyssinians to a disgraceful retreat: their discomfiture has been adorned with a miraculous flight of birds, who showered down stones on the heads of the infidels; and the deliverance was long commemorated by the aera of the elephant. ^65 The glory of Abdol Motalleb was crowned with domestic happiness; his life was prolonged to the age of one hundred and ten years; and he became the father of six daughters and thirteen sons. His best beloved Abdallah was the most beautiful and modest of the Arabian youth; and in the first night, when he consummated his marriage with Amina,^! of the noble race of the Zahrites, two hundred virgins are said to have expired of jealousy and despair. Mahomet, or more properly Mohammed, the only son of Abdallah and Amina, was born at Mecca, four years after the death of Justinian, and two months after the defeat of the Abyssinians, ^66 whose victory would have introduced into the Caaba the religion of the Christians. In his early infancy, he was deprived of his father, his mother, and his grandfather; his uncles were strong and numerous; and, in the division of the inheritance, the orphan's share was reduced to five camels and an Aethiopian maid-servant. At home and abroad, in peace and war, Abu Taleb, the most respectable of his uncles, was the guide and guardian of his youth; in his twenty-fifth year, he entered into the service of Cadijah, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, who soon rewarded his fidelity with the gift of her hand and fortune. The marriage contract, in the simple style of antiquity, recites the mutual love of Mahomet and Cadijah; describes him as the most accomplished of the tribe of Koreish; and stipulates a dowry of twelve ounces of gold and twenty camels, which was supplied by the liberality of his uncle.^67 By this alliance, the son of Abdallah was restored to the station of his ancestors; and the judicious matron was content with his domestic virtues, till, in the fortieth year of his age,^68 he assumed the title of a prophet, and proclaimed the religion of the Koran.

[^63: In eo conveniunt omnes, ut plebeio vilique genere ortum, etc., (Hottinger, Hist. Orient. p. 136.) Yet Theophanes, the most ancient of the Greeks, and the father of many a lie, confesses that Mahomet was of the race of Ismael, (Chronograph. p. 277.)]

[^64: Abulfeda (in Vit. Mohammed. c. 1, 2) and Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, p. 25—97) describe the popular and approved genealogy of the prophet. At Mecca, I would not dispute its authenticity: at Lausanne, I will venture to observe, 1. That from Ismael to Mahomet, a period of 2500 years, they reckon thirty, instead of seventy five, generations: 2. That the modern Bedoweens are ignorant of their history, and careless of their pedigree, (Voyage de D'Arvieux p. 100, 103.)
Note: The most orthodox Mahometans only reckon back the ancestry of the prophet for twenty generations, to Adnan. Weil, Mohammed der Prophet, p. 1.—M. 1845.]

[^65: The seed of this history, or fable, is contained in the cvth chapter of the Koran; and Gagnier (in Praefat. ad Vit. Moham. p. 18, etc.) has translated the historical narrative of Abulfeda, which may be illustrated from D'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 12) and Pocock, (Specimen, p. 64.) Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 48) calls it a lie of the coinage of Mahomet; but Sale, (Koran, p. 501—503,) who is half a Mussulman, attacks the inconsistent faith of the Doctor for believing the miracles of the Delphic Apollo. Maracci (Alcoran, tom. i. part ii. p. 14, tom. ii. p. 823) ascribes the miracle to the devil, and extorts from the Mahometans the confession, that God would not have defended against the Christians the idols of the Caaba.
Note: Dr. Weil says that the small-pox broke out in the army of Abrahah, but he does not give his authority, p. 10.—M. 1845.]

[^!: Amina, or Emina, was of Jewish birth. V. Hammer, Geschichte der Assass. p. 10.—M.]

[^66: The safest aeras of Abulfeda, (in Vit. c. i. p. 2,) of Alexander, or the Greeks, 882, of Bocht Naser, or Nabonassar, 1316, equally lead us to the year 569. The old Arabian calendar is too dark and uncertain to support the Benedictines, (Art. de Verifer les Dates, p. 15,) who, from the day of the month and week, deduce a new mode of calculation, and remove the birth of Mahomet to the year of Christ 570, the 10th of November. Yet this date would agree with the year 882 of the Greeks, which is assigned by Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 5) and Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 101, and Errata, Pocock's version.) While we refine our chronology, it is possible that the illiterate prophet was ignorant of his own age.
Note: The date of the birth of Mahomet is not yet fixed with precision. It is only known from Oriental authors that he was born on a Monday, the 10th Reby 1st, the third month of the Mahometan year; the year 40 or 42 of Chosroes Nushirvan, king of Persia; the year 881 of the Seleucidan aera; the year 1316 of the aera of Nabonassar. This leaves the point undecided between the years 569, 570, 571, of J. C. See the Memoir of M. Silv. de Sacy, on divers events in the history of the Arabs before Mahomet, Mem. Acad. des Loscript. vol. xlvii. p. 527, 531. St. Martin, vol. xi. p. 59.—M.

Dr. Weil decides on A.D. 571. Mahomet died in 632, aged 63; but the Arabs reckoned his life by lunar years, which reduces his life nearly to 61 (p. 21.)—M. 1845]

[^67: I copy the honorable testimony of Abu Taleb to his family and nephew. Laus Dei, qui nos a stirpe Abrahami et semine Ismaelis constituit, et nobis regionem sacram dedit, et nos judices hominibus statuit. Porro Mohammed filius Abdollahi nepotis mei (nepos meus) quo cum ex aequo librabitur e Koraishidis quispiam cui non praeponderaturus est, bonitate et excellentia, et intellectu et gloria, et acumine etsi opum inops fuerit, (et certe opes umbra transiens sunt et depositum quod reddi debet,) desiderio Chadijae filiae Chowailedi tenetur, et illa vicissim ipsius, quicquid autem dotis vice petieritis, ego in me suscipiam, (Pocock, Specimen, e septima parte libri Ebn Hamduni.)]

[^68: The private life of Mahomet, from his birth to his mission, is preserved by Abulfeda, (in Vit. c. 3—7,) and the Arabian writers of genuine or apocryphal note, who are alleged by Hottinger, (Hist. Orient. p. 204—211) Maracci, (tom. i. p. 10 - 14,) and Gagnier, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 97—134.)]

According to the tradition of his companions, Mahomet^69 was distinguished by the beauty of his person, an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused. Before he spoke, the orator engaged on his side the affections of a public or private audience. They applauded his commanding presence, his majestic aspect, his piercing eye, his gracious smile, his flowing beard, his countenance that painted every sensation of the soul, and his gestures that enforced each expression of the tongue. In the familiar offices of life he scrupulously adhered to the grave and ceremonious politeness of his country: his respectful attention to the rich and powerful was dignified by his condescension and affability to the poorest citizens of Mecca: the frankness of his manner concealed the artifice of his views; and the habits of courtesy were imputed to personal friendship or universal benevolence. His memory was capacious and retentive; his wit easy and social; his imagination sublime; his judgment clear, rapid, and decisive. He possessed the courage both of thought and action; and, although his designs might gradually expand with his success, the first idea which he entertained of his divine mission bears the stamp of an original and superior genius. The son of Abdallah was educated in the bosom of the noblest race, in the use of the purest dialect of Arabia; and the fluency of his speech was corrected and enhanced by the practice of discreet and seasonable silence. With these powers of eloquence, Mahomet was an illiterate Barbarian: his youth had never been instructed in the arts of reading and writing;^70 the common ignorance exempted him from shame or reproach, but he was reduced to a narrow circle of existence, and deprived of those faithful mirrors, which reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes. Yet the book of nature and of man was open to his view; and some fancy has been indulged in the political and philosophical observations which are ascribed to the Arabian traveller.^71 He compares the nations and the regions of the earth; discovers the weakness of the Persian and Roman monarchies; beholds, with pity and indignation, the degeneracy of the times; and resolves to unite under one God and one king the invincible spirit and primitive virtues of the Arabs. Our more accurate inquiry will suggest, that, instead of visiting the courts, the camps, the temples, of the East, the two journeys of Mahomet into Syria were confined to the fairs of Bostra and Damascus; that he was only thirteen years of age when he accompanied the caravan of his uncle; and that his duty compelled him to return as soon as he had disposed of the merchandise of Cadijah. In these hasty and superficial excursions, the eye of genius might discern some objects invisible to his grosser companions; some seeds of knowledge might be cast upon a fruitful soil; but his ignorance of the Syriac language must have checked his curiosity; and I cannot perceive, in the life or writings of Mahomet, that his prospect was far extended beyond the limits of the Arabian world. From every region of that solitary world, the pilgrims of Mecca were annually assembled, by the calls of devotion and commerce: in the free concourse of multitudes, a simple citizen, in his native tongue, might study the political state and character of the tribes, the theory and practice of the Jews and Christians. Some useful strangers might be tempted, or forced, to implore the rights of hospitality; and the enemies of Mahomet have named the Jew, the Persian, and the Syrian monk, whom they accuse of lending their secret aid to the composition of the Koran.^72 Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius; and the uniformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist. From his earliest youth Mahomet was addicted to religious contemplation; each year, during the month of Ramadan, he withdrew from the world, and from the arms of Cadijah: in the cave of Hera, three miles from Mecca,^73 he consulted the spirit of fraud or enthusiasm, whose abode is not in the heavens, but in the mind of the prophet. The faith which, under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation, is compounded of an eternal truth, and a necessary fiction, That there is only one God, and that Mahomet is the apostle of God.

[^69: Abulfeda, in Vit. c. lxv. lxvi. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 272—289. The best traditions of the person and conversation of the prophet are derived from Ayesha, Ali, and Abu Horaira, (Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 267. Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 149,) surnamed the Father of a Cat, who died in the year 59 of the Hegira.
Note: Compare, likewise, the new Life of Mahomet (Mohammed der prophet) by Dr. Weil, (Stuttgart, 1843.) Dr. Weil has a new tradition, that Mahomet was at one time a shepherd. This assimilation to the life of Moses, instead of giving probability to the story, as Dr. Weil suggests, makes it more suspicious. Note, p. 34.—M. 1845.]

[^70: Those who believe that Mahomet could read or write are incapable of reading what is written with another pen, in the Suras, or chapters of the Koran, vii. xxix. xcvi. These texts, and the tradition of the Sonna, are admitted, without doubt, by Abulfeda, (in Vit. vii.,) Gagnier, (Not. ad Abulfed. p. 15,) Pocock, (Specimen, p. 151,) Reland, (de Religione Mohammedica, p. 236,) and Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 42.) Mr. White, almost alone, denies the ignorance, to accuse the imposture, of the prophet. His arguments are far from satisfactory. Two short trading journeys to the fairs of Syria were surely not sufficient to infuse a science so rare among the citizens of Mecca: it was not in the cool, deliberate act of treaty, that Mahomet would have dropped the mask; nor can any conclusion be drawn from the words of disease and delirium. The lettered youth, before he aspired to the prophetic character, must have often exercised, in private life, the arts of reading and writing; and his first converts, of his own family, would have been the first to detect and upbraid his scandalous hypocrisy, (White's Sermons, p. 203, 204, Notes, p. xxxvi.—xxxviii.)
Note: (Academ. des Inscript. I. p. 295) has observed that the text of the seveth Sura implies that Mahomet could read, the tradition alone denies it, and, according to Dr. Weil, (p. 46,) there is another reading of the tradition, that "he could not read well." Dr. Weil is not quite so successful in explaining away Sura xxix. It means, he thinks that he had not read any books, from which he could have borrowed.—M. 1845.]

[^71: The count de Boulainvilliers (Vie de Mahomet, p. 202—228) leads his Arabian pupil, like the Telemachus of Fenelon, or the Cyrus of Ramsay. His journey to the court of Persia is probably a fiction nor can I trace the origin of his exclamation, "Les Grecs sont pour tant des hommes." The two Syrian journeys are expressed by almost all the Arabian writers, both Mahometans and Christians, (Gagnier Abulfed. p. 10.)]

[^72: I am not at leisure to pursue the fables or conjectures which name the strangers accused or suspected by the infidels of Mecca, (Koran, c. 16, p. 223, c. 35, p. 297, with Sale's Remarks. Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 22—27. Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. p. 11, 74. Maracci, tom. ii. p. 400.) Even Prideaux has observed, that the transaction must have been secret, and that the scene lay in the heart of Arabia.]

[^73: Abulfeda in Vit. c. 7, p. 15. Gagnier, tom. i. p. 133, 135. The situation of Mount Hera is remarked by Abulfeda (Geograph. Arab p. 4.) Yet Mahomet had never read of the cave of Egeria, ubi nocturnae Numa constituebat amicae, of the Idaean Mount, where Minos conversed with Jove, etc.]

It is the boast of the Jewish apologists, that while the learned nations of antiquity were deluded by the fables of polytheism, their simple ancestors of Palestine preserved the knowledge and worship of the true God. The moral attributes of Jehovah may not easily be reconciled with the standard of human virtue: his metaphysical qualities are darkly expressed; but each page of the Pentateuch and the Prophets is an evidence of his power: the unity of his name is inscribed on the first table of the law; and his sanctuary was never defiled by any visible image of the invisible essence. After the ruin of the temple, the faith of the Hebrew exiles was purified, fixed, and enlightened, by the spiritual devotion of the synagogue; and the authority of Mahomet will not justify his perpetual reproach, that the Jews of Mecca or Medina adored Ezra as the son of God.^74 But the children of Israel had ceased to be a people; and the religions of the world were guilty, at least in the eyes of the prophet, of giving sons, or daughters, or companions, to the supreme God. In the rude idolatry of the Arabs, the crime is manifest and audacious: the Sabians are poorly excused by the preeminence of the first planet, or intelligence, in their celestial hierarchy; and in the Magian system the conflict of the two principles betrays the imperfection of the conqueror. The Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of Paganism: their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the East: the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration; and the Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the Virgin Mary with the name and honors of a goddess.^75 The mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation appear to contradict the principle of the divine unity. In their obvious sense, they introduce three equal deities, and transform the man Jesus into the substance of the Son of God:^76 an orthodox commentary will satisfy only a believing mind: intemperate curiosity and zeal had torn the veil of the sanctuary; and each of the Oriental sects was eager to confess that all, except themselves, deserved the reproach of idolatry and polytheism. The creed of Mahomet is free from suspicion or ambiguity; and the Koran is a glorious testimony to the unity of God. The prophet of Mecca rejected the worship of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principle that whatever rises must set, that whatever is born must die, that whatever is corruptible must decay and perish.^77 In the Author of the universe, his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an infinite and eternal being, without form or place, without issue or similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the necessity of his own nature, and deriving from himself all moral and intellectual perfection. These sublime truths, thus announced in the language of the prophet,^78 are firmly held by his disciples, and defined with metaphysical precision by the interpreters of the Koran. A philosophic theist might subscribe the popular creed of the Mahometans;^79 a creed too sublime, perhaps, for our present faculties. What object remains for the fancy, or even the understanding, when we have abstracted from the unknown substance all ideas of time and space, of motion and matter, of sensation and reflection? The first principle of reason and revolution was confirmed by the voice of Mahomet: his proselytes, from India to Morocco, are distinguished by the name of Unitarians; and the danger of idolatry has been prevented by the interdiction of images. The doctrine of eternal decrees and absolute predestination is strictly embraced by the Mahometans; and they struggle, with the common difficulties, how to reconcile the prescience of God with the freedom and responsibility of man; how to explain the permission of evil under the reign of infinite power and infinite goodness.

[^74: Koran, c. 9, p. 153. Al Beidawi, and the other commentators quoted by Sale, adhere to the charge; but I do not understand that it is colored by the most obscure or absurd tradition of the Talmud.]

[^75: Hottinger, Hist. Orient. p. 225—228. The Collyridian heresy was carried from Thrace to Arabia by some women, and the name was borrowed from the cake, which they offered to the goddess. This example, that of Beryllus bishop of Bostra, (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. l. vi. c. 33,) and several others, may excuse the reproach, Arabia haerese haersewn ferax.]

[^76: The three gods in the Koran (c. 4, p. 81, c. 5, p. 92) are obviously directed against our Catholic mystery: but the Arabic commentators understand them of the Father, the Son, and the Virgin Mary, an heretical Trinity, maintained, as it is said, by some Barbarians at the Council of Nice, (Eutych. Annal. tom. i. p. 440.) But the existence of the Marianites is denied by the candid Beausobre, (Hist. de Manicheisme, tom. i. p. 532;) and he derives the mistake from the word Roxah, the Holy Ghost, which in some Oriental tongues is of the feminine gender, and is figuratively styled the mother of Christ in the Gospel of the Nazarenes.]

[^77: This train of thought is philosophically exemplified in the character of Abraham, who opposed in Chaldaea the first introduction of idolatry, (Koran, c. 6, p. 106. D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 13.)]

[^78: See the Koran, particularly the second, (p. 30,) the fifty-seventh, (p. 437,) the fifty-eighth (p. 441) chapters, which proclaim the omnipotence of the Creator.]

[^79: The most orthodox creeds are translated by Pocock, (Specimen, p. 274, 284—292,) Ockley, (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. lxxxii.—xcv.,) Reland, (de Religion. Moham. l. i. p. 7—13,) and Chardin, (Voyages en Perse, tom. iv. p. 4—28.) The great truth, that God is without similitude, is foolishly criticized by Maracci, (Alcoran, tom. i. part iii. p. 87—94,) because he made man after his own image.]

The God of nature has written his existence on all his works, and his law in the heart of man. To restore the knowledge of the one, and the practice of the other, has been the real or pretended aim of the prophets of every age: the liberality of Mahomet allowed to his predecessors the same credit which he claimed for himself; and the chain of inspiration was prolonged from the fall of Adam to the promulgation of the Koran.^80 During that period, some rays of prophetic light had been imparted to one hundred and twenty-four thousand of the elect, discriminated by their respective measure of virtue and grace; three hundred and thirteen apostles were sent with a special commission to recall their country from idolatry and vice; one hundred and four volumes have been dictated by the Holy Spirit; and six legislators of transcendent brightness have announced to mankind the six successive revelations of various rites, but of one immutable religion. The authority and station of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, and Mahomet, rise in just gradation above each other; but whosoever hates or rejects any one of the prophets is numbered with the infidels. The writings of the patriarchs were extant only in the apocryphal copies of the Greeks and Syrians:^81 the conduct of Adam had not entitled him to the gratitude or respect of his children; the seven precepts of Noah were observed by an inferior and imperfect class of the proselytes of the synagogue;^82 and the memory of Abraham was obscurely revered by the Sabians in his native land of Chaldaea: of the myriads of prophets, Moses and Christ alone lived and reigned; and the remnant of the inspired writings was comprised in the books of the Old and the New Testament. The miraculous story of Moses is consecrated and embellished in the Koran;^83 and the captive Jews enjoy the secret revenge of imposing their own belief on the nations whose recent creeds they deride. For the author of Christianity, the Mahometans are taught by the prophet to entertain a high and mysterious reverence.^84 "Verily, Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, is the apostle of God, and his word, which he conveyed unto Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from him; honorable in this world, and in the world to come, and one of those who approach near to the presence of God." ^85 The wonders of the genuine and apocryphal gospels^86 are profusely heaped on his head; and the Latin church has not disdained to borrow from the Koran the immaculate conception^87 of his virgin mother. Yet Jesus was a mere mortal; and, at the day of judgment, his testimony will serve to condemn both the Jews, who reject him as a prophet, and the Christians, who adore him as the Son of God. The malice of his enemies aspersed his reputation, and conspired against his life; but their intention only was guilty; a phantom or a criminal was substituted on the cross; and the innocent saint was translated to the seventh heaven.^88 During six hundred years the gospel was the way of truth and salvation; but the Christians insensibly forgot both the laws and example of their founder; and Mahomet was instructed by the Gnostics to accuse the church, as well as the synagogue, of corrupting the integrity of the sacred text.^89 The piety of Moses and of Christ rejoiced in the assurance of a future prophet, more illustrious than themselves: the evangelical promise of the Paraclete, or Holy Ghost, was prefigured in the name, and accomplished in the person, of Mahomet,^90 the greatest and the last of the apostles of God.

[^80: Reland, de Relig. Moham. l. i. p. 17—47. Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 73—76. Voyage de Chardin, tom. iv. p. 28—37, and 37—47, for the Persian addition, "Ali is the vicar of God!" Yet the precise number of the prophets is not an article of faith.]

[^81: For the apocryphal books of Adam, see Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus V. T. p. 27—29; of Seth, p. 154—157; of Enoch, p. 160—219. But the book of Enoch is consecrated, in some measure, by the quotation of the apostle St. Jude; and a long legendary fragment is alleged by Syncellus and Scaliger.
Note: The whole book has since been recovered in the Ethiopic language,—and has been edited and translated by Archbishop Lawrence, Oxford, 1881—M.]

[^82: The seven precepts of Noah are explained by Marsham, (Canon Chronicus, p. 154—180,) who adopts, on this occasion, the learning and credulity of Selden.]

[^83: The articles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc., in the Bibliotheque of D'Herbelot, are gayly bedecked with the fanciful legends of the Mahometans, who have built on the groundwork of Scripture and the Talmud.]

[^84: Koran, c. 7, p. 128, etc., c. 10, p. 173, etc. D'Herbelot, p. 647, etc.]

[^85: Koran, c. 3, p. 40, c. 4. p. 80. D'Herbelot, p. 399, etc.]

[^86: See the Gospel of St. Thomas, or of the Infancy, in the Codex Apocryphus N. T. of Fabricius, who collects the various testimonies concerning it, (p. 128—158.) It was published in Greek by Cotelier, and in Arabic by Sike, who thinks our present copy more recent than Mahomet. Yet his quotations agree with the original about the speech of Christ in his cradle, his living birds of clay, etc. (Sike, c. i. p. 168, 169, c. 36, p. 198, 199, c. 46, p. 206. Cotelier, c. 2, p. 160, 161.)]

[^87: It is darkly hinted in the Koran, (c. 3, p. 39,) and more clearly explained by the tradition of the Sonnites, (Sale's Note, and Maracci, tom. ii. p. 112.) In the xiith century, the immaculate conception was condemned by St. Bernard as a presumptuous novelty, (Fra Paolo, Istoria del Concilio di Trento, l. ii.)]

[^88: See the Koran, c. 3, v. 53, and c. 4, v. 156, of Maracci's edition. Deus est praestantissimus dolose agentium (an odd praise) ...nec crucifixerunt eum, sed objecta est eis similitudo; an expression that may suit with the system of the Docetes; but the commentators believe (Maracci, tom. ii. p. 113 - 115, 173. Sale, p. 42, 43, 79) that another man, a friend or an enemy, was crucified in the likeness of Jesus; a fable which they had read in the Gospel of St. Barnabus, and which had been started as early as the time of Irenaeus, by some Ebionite heretics, (Beausobre, Hist. du Manicheisme, tom. ii. p. 25, Mosheim. de Reb. Christ. p. 353.)]

[^89: This charge is obscurely urged in the Koran, (c. 3, p. 45;) but neither Mahomet, nor his followers, are sufficiently versed in languages and criticism to give any weight or color to their suspicions. Yet the Arians and Nestorians could relate some stories, and the illiterate prophet might listen to the bold assertions of the Manichaeans. See Beausobre, tom. i. p. 291 - 305.]

[^90: Among the prophecies of the Old and New Testament, which are perverted by the fraud or ignorance of the Mussulmans, they apply to the prophet the promise of the Paraclete, or Comforter, which had been already usurped by the Montanists and Manichaeans, (Beausobre, Hist. Critique du Manicheisme, tom. i. p. 263, etc.;) and the easy change of letters affords the etymology of the name of Mohammed, (Maracci, tom. i. part i. p. 15—28.)]


The communication of ideas requires a similitude of thought and language: the discourse of a philosopher would vibrate without effect on the ear of a peasant; yet how minute is the distance of their understandings, if it be compared with the contact of an infinite and a finite mind, with the word of God expressed by the tongue or the pen of a mortal! The inspiration of the Hebrew prophets, of the apostles and evangelists of Christ, might not be incompatible with the exercise of their reason and memory; and the diversity of their genius is strongly marked in the style and composition of the books of the Old and New Testament. But Mahomet was content with a character, more humble, yet more sublime, of a simple editor; the substance of the Koran,^91 according to himself or his disciples, is uncreated and eternal; subsisting in the essence of the Deity, and inscribed with a pen of light on the table of his everlasting decrees. A paper copy, in a volume of silk and gems, was brought down to the lowest heaven by the angel Gabriel, who, under the Jewish economy, had indeed been despatched on the most important errands; and this trusty messenger successively revealed the chapters and verses to the Arabian prophet. Instead of a perpetual and perfect measure of the divine will, the fragments of the Koran were produced at the discretion of Mahomet; each revelation is suited to the emergencies of his policy or passion; and all contradiction is removed by the saving maxim, that any text of Scripture is abrogated or modified by any subsequent passage. The word of God, and of the apostle, was diligently recorded by his disciples on palm-leaves and the shoulder-bones of mutton; and the pages, without order or connection, were cast into a domestic chest, in the custody of one of his wives. Two years after the death of Mahomet, the sacred volume was collected and published by his friend and successor Abubeker: the work was revised by the caliph Othman, in the thirtieth year of the Hegira; and the various editions of the Koran assert the same miraculous privilege of a uniform and incorruptible text. In the spirit of enthusiasm or vanity, the prophet rests the truth of his mission on the merit of his book; audaciously challenges both men and angels to imitate the beauties of a single page; and presumes to assert that God alone could dictate this incomparable performance.^92 This argument is most powerfully addressed to a devout Arabian, whose mind is attuned to faith and rapture; whose ear is delighted by the music of sounds; and whose ignorance is incapable of comparing the productions of human genius.^93 The harmony and copiousness of style will not reach, in a version, the European infidel: he will peruse with impatience the endless incoherent rhapsody of fable, and precept, and declamation, which seldom excites a sentiment or an idea, which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes lost in the clouds. The divine attributes exalt the fancy of the Arabian missionary; but his loftiest strains must yield to the sublime simplicity of the book of Job, composed in a remote age, in the same country, and in the same language.^94 If the composition of the Koran exceed the faculties of a man to what superior intelligence should we ascribe the Iliad of Homer, or the Philippics of Demosthenes? In all religions, the life of the founder supplies the silence of his written revelation: the sayings of Mahomet were so many lessons of truth; his actions so many examples of virtue; and the public and private memorials were preserved by his wives and companions. At the end of two hundred years, the Sonna, or oral law, was fixed and consecrated by the labors of Al Bochari, who discriminated seven thousand two hundred and seventy-five genuine traditions, from a mass of three hundred thousand reports, of a more doubtful or spurious character. Each day the pious author prayed in the temple of Mecca, and performed his ablutions with the water of Zemzem: the pages were successively deposited on the pulpit and the sepulchre of the apostle; and the work has been approved by the four orthodox sects of the Sonnites.^95

[^91: For the Koran, see D'Herbelot, p. 85—88. Maracci, tom. i. in Vit. Mohammed. p. 32—45. Sale, Preliminary Discourse, p. 58—70.]

[^92: Koran, c. 17, v. 89. In Sale, p. 235, 236. In Maracci, p. 410.
Note: Compare Von Hammer Geschichte der Assassinen p. 11.—M.]

[^93: Yet a sect of Arabians was persuaded, that it might be equalled or surpassed by a human pen, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 221, etc.;) and Maracci (the polemic is too hard for the translator) derides the rhyming affectation of the most applauded passage, (tom. i. part ii. p. 69—75.)]

[^94: Colloquia (whether real or fabulous) in media Arabia atque ab Arabibus habita, (Lowth, de Poesi Hebraeorum. Praelect. xxxii. xxxiii. xxxiv, with his German editor, Michaelis, Epimetron iv.) Yet Michaelis (p. 671—673) has detected many Egyptian images, the elephantiasis, papyrus, Nile, crocodile, etc. The language is ambiguously styled Arabico-Hebraea. The resemblance of the sister dialects was much more visible in their childhood, than in their mature age, (Michaelis, p. 682. Schultens, in Praefat. Job.)
Note: The age of the book of Job is still and probably will still be disputed. Rosenmuller thus states his own opinion: "Certe serioribus reipublicae temporibus assignandum esse librum, suadere videtur ad Chaldaismum vergens sermo." Yet the observations of Kosegarten, which Rosenmuller has given in a note, and common reason, suggest that this Chaldaism may be the native form of a much earlier dialect; or the Chaldaic may have adopted the poetical archaisms of a dialect, differing from, but not less ancient than, the Hebrew. See Rosenmuller, Proleg. on Job, p. 41. The poetry appears to me to belong to a much earlier period.—M.]

[^95: Ali Bochari died A. H. 224. See D'Herbelot, p. 208, 416, 827. Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. c. 19, p. 33.]

The mission of the ancient prophets, of Moses and of Jesus had been confirmed by many splendid prodigies; and Mahomet was repeatedly urged, by the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina, to produce a similar evidence of his divine legation; to call down from heaven the angel or the volume of his revelation, to create a garden in the desert, or to kindle a conflagration in the unbelieving city. As often as he is pressed by the demands of the Koreish, he involves himself in the obscure boast of vision and prophecy, appeals to the internal proofs of his doctrine, and shields himself behind the providence of God, who refuses those signs and wonders that would depreciate the merit of faith, and aggravate the guilt of infidelity But the modest or angry tone of his apologies betrays his weakness and vexation; and these passages of scandal established, beyond suspicion, the integrity of the Koran.^96 The votaries of Mahomet are more assured than himself of his miraculous gifts; and their confidence and credulity increase as they are farther removed from the time and place of his spiritual exploits. They believe or affirm that trees went forth to meet him; that he was saluted by stones; that water gushed from his fingers; that he fed the hungry, cured the sick, and raised the dead; that a beam groaned to him; that a camel complained to him; that a shoulder of mutton informed him of its being poisoned; and that both animate and inanimate nature were equally subject to the apostle of God.^97 His dream of a nocturnal journey is seriously described as a real and corporeal transaction. A mysterious animal, the Borak, conveyed him from the temple of Mecca to that of Jerusalem: with his companion Gabriel he successively ascended the seven heavens, and received and repaid the salutations of the patriarchs, the prophets, and the angels, in their respective mansions. Beyond the seventh heaven, Mahomet alone was permitted to proceed; he passed the veil of unity, approached within two bow-shots of the throne, and felt a cold that pierced him to the heart, when his shoulder was touched by the hand of God. After this familiar, though important conversation, he again descended to Jerusalem, remounted the Borak, returned to Mecca, and performed in the tenth part of a night the journey of many thousand years.^98 According to another legend, the apostle confounded in a national assembly the malicious challenge of the Koreish. His resistless word split asunder the orb of the moon: the obedient planet stooped from her station in the sky, accomplished the seven revolutions round the Caaba, saluted Mahomet in the Arabian tongue, and, suddenly contracting her dimensions, entered at the collar, and issued forth through the sleeve, of his shirt.^99 The vulgar are amused with these marvellous tales; but the gravest of the Mussulman doctors imitate the modesty of their master, and indulge a latitude of faith or interpretation.^100 They might speciously allege, that in preaching the religion it was needless to violate the harmony of nature; that a creed unclouded with mystery may be excused from miracles; and that the sword of Mahomet was not less potent than the rod of Moses.

[^96: See, more remarkably, Koran, c. 2, 6, 12, 13, 17. Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 18, 19) has confounded the impostor. Maracci, with a more learned apparatus, has shown that the passages which deny his miracles are clear and positive, (Alcoran, tom. i. part ii. p. 7—12,) and those which seem to assert them are ambiguous and insufficient, (p. 12—22.)]

[^97: See the Specimen Hist. Arabum, the text of Abulpharagius, p. 17, the notes of Pocock, p. 187—190. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 76, 77. Voyages de Chardin, tom. iv. p. 200—203. Maracci (Alcoran, tom. i. p. 22 - 64) has most laboriously collected and confuted the miracles and prophecies of Mahomet, which, according to some writers, amount to three thousand.]

[^98: The nocturnal journey is circumstantially related by Abulfeda (in Vit. Mohammed, c. 19, p. 33,) who wishes to think it a vision; by Prideaux, (p. 31—40,) who aggravates the absurdities; and by Gagnier (tom. i. p. 252—343,) who declares, from the zealous Al Jannabi, that to deny this journey, is to disbelieve the Koran. Yet the Koran without naming either heaven, or Jerusalem, or Mecca, has only dropped a mysterious hint: Laus illi qui transtulit servum suum ab oratorio Haram ad oratorium remotissimum, (Koran, c. 17, v. 1; in Maracci, tom. ii. p. 407; for Sale's version is more licentious.) A slender basis for the aerial structure of tradition.]

[^99: In the prophetic style, which uses the present or past for the future, Mahomet had said, Appropinquavit hora, et scissa est luna, (Koran, c. 54, v. 1; in Maracci, tom. ii. p. 688.) This figure of rhetoric has been converted into a fact, which is said to be attested by the most respectable eye-witnesses, (Maracci, tom. ii. p. 690.) The festival is still celebrated by the Persians, (Chardin, tom. iv. p. 201;) and the legend is tediously spun out by Gagnier, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 183—234,) on the faith, as it should seem, of the credulous Al Jannabi. Yet a Mahometan doctor has arraigned the credit of the principal witness, (apud Pocock, Specimen, p. 187;) the best interpreters are content with the simple sense of the Koran. (Al Beidawi, apud Hottinger, Hist. Orient. l. ii. p. 302;) and the silence of Abulfeda is worthy of a prince and a philosopher.
Note: Compare Hamaker Notes to Inc. Auct. Lib. de Exped. Memphides, p. 62—M.]

[^100: Abulpharagius, in Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 17; and his scepticism is justified in the notes of Pocock, p. 190—194, from the purest authorities.]

The polytheist is oppressed and distracted by the variety of superstition: a thousand rites of Egyptian origin were interwoven with the essence of the Mosaic law; and the spirit of the gospel had evaporated in the pageantry of the church. The prophet of Mecca was tempted by prejudice, or policy, or patriotism, to sanctify the rites of the Arabians, and the custom of visiting the holy stone of the Caaba. But the precepts of Mahomet himself inculcates a more simple and rational piety: prayer, fasting, and alms, are the religious duties of a Mussulman; and he is encouraged to hope, that prayer will carry him half way to God, fasting will bring him to the door of his palace, and alms will gain him admittance.^101 I. According to the tradition of the nocturnal journey, the apostle, in his personal conference with the Deity, was commanded to impose on his disciples the daily obligation of fifty prayers. By the advice of Moses, he applied for an alleviation of this intolerable burden; the number was gradually reduced to five; without any dispensation of business or pleasure, or time or place: the devotion of the faithful is repeated at daybreak, at noon, in the afternoon, in the evening, and at the first watch of the night; and in the present decay of religious fervor, our travellers are edified by the profound humility and attention of the Turks and Persians. Cleanliness is the key of prayer: the frequent lustration of the hands, the face, and the body, which was practised of old by the Arabs, is solemnly enjoined by the Koran; and a permission is formally granted to supply with sand the scarcity of water. The words and attitudes of supplication, as it is performed either sitting, or standing, or prostrate on the ground, are prescribed by custom or authority; but the prayer is poured forth in short and fervent ejaculations; the measure of zeal is not exhausted by a tedious liturgy; and each Mussulman for his own person is invested with the character of a priest. Among the theists, who reject the use of images, it has been found necessary to restrain the wanderings of the fancy, by directing the eye and the thought towards a kebla, or visible point of the horizon. The prophet was at first inclined to gratify the Jews by the choice of Jerusalem; but he soon returned to a more natural partiality; and five times every day the eyes of the nations at Astracan, at Fez, at Delhi, are devoutly turned to the holy temple of Mecca. Yet every spot for the service of God is equally pure: the Mahometans indifferently pray in their chamber or in the street. As a distinction from the Jews and Christians, the Friday in each week is set apart for the useful institution of public worship: the people is assembled in the mosch; and the imam, some respectable elder, ascends the pulpit, to begin the prayer and pronounce the sermon. But the Mahometan religion is destitute of priesthood or sacrifice; and the independent spirit of fanaticism looks down with contempt on the ministers and the slaves of superstition.^* II. The voluntary^102 penance of the ascetics, the torment and glory of their lives, was odious to a prophet who censured in his companions a rash vow of abstaining from flesh, and women, and sleep; and firmly declared, that he would suffer no monks in his religion.^103 Yet he instituted, in each year, a fast of thirty days; and strenuously recommended the observance as a discipline which purifies the soul and subdues the body, as a salutary exercise of obedience to the will of God and his apostle. During the month of Ramadan, from the rising to the setting of the sun, the Mussulman abstains from eating, and drinking, and women, and baths, and perfumes; from all nourishment that can restore his strength, from all pleasure that can gratify his senses. In the revolution of the lunar year, the Ramadan coincides, by turns, with the winter cold and the summer heat; and the patient martyr, without assuaging his thirst with a drop of water, must expect the close of a tedious and sultry day. The interdiction of wine, peculiar to some orders of priests or hermits, is converted by Mahomet alone into a positive and general law;^104 and a considerable portion of the globe has abjured, at his command, the use of that salutary, though dangerous, liquor. These painful restraints are, doubtless, infringed by the libertine, and eluded by the hypocrite; but the legislator, by whom they are enacted, cannot surely be accused of alluring his proselytes by the indulgence of their sensual appetites. III. The charity of the Mahometans descends to the animal creation; and the Koran repeatedly inculcates, not as a merit, but as a strict and indispensable duty, the relief of the indigent and unfortunate. Mahomet, perhaps, is the only lawgiver who has defined the precise measure of charity: the standard may vary with the degree and nature of property, as it consists either in money, in corn or cattle, in fruits or merchandise; but the Mussulman does not accomplish the law, unless he bestows a tenth of his revenue; and if his conscience accuses him of fraud or extortion, the tenth, under the idea of restitution, is enlarged to a fifth.^105 Benevolence is the foundation of justice, since we are forbid to injure those whom we are bound to assist. A prophet may reveal the secrets of heaven and of futurity; but in his moral precepts he can only repeat the lessons of our own hearts.

[^101: The most authentic account of these precepts, pilgrimage, prayer, fasting, alms, and ablutions, is extracted from the Persian and Arabian theologians by Maracci, (Prodrom. part iv. p. 9—24,) Reland, (in his excellent treatise de Religione Mohammedica, Utrecht, 1717, p. 67—123,) and Chardin, (Voyages in Perse, tom. iv. p. 47—195.) Marace is a partial accuser; but the jeweller, Chardin, had the eyes of a philosopher; and Reland, a judicious student, had travelled over the East in his closet at Utrecht. The xivth letter of Tournefort (Voyage du Levont, tom. ii. p. 325—360, in octavo) describes what he had seen of the religion of the Turks.]

[^*: Such is Mahometanism beyond the precincts of the Holy City. But Mahomet retained, and the Koran sanctions, (Sale's Koran, c. 5, in inlt. c. 22, vol. ii. p. 171, 172,) the sacrifice of sheep and camels (probably according to the old Arabian rites) at Mecca; and the pilgrims complete their ceremonial with sacrifices, sometimes as numerous and costly as those of King Solomon. Compare note, vol. iv. c. xxiii. p. 96, and Forster's Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. i. p. 420. This author quotes the questionable authority of Benjamin of Tudela, for the sacrifice of a camel by the caliph at Bosra; but sacrifice undoubtedly forms no part of the ordinary Mahometan ritual; nor will the sanctity of the caliph, as the earthly representative of the prophet, bear any close analogy to the priesthood of the Mosaic or Gentila religions.—M.]

[^102: Mahomet (Sale's Koran, c. 9, p. 153) reproaches the Christians with taking their priests and monks for their lords, besides God. Yet Maracci (Prodromus, part iii. p. 69, 70) excuses the worship, especially of the pope, and quotes, from the Koran itself, the case of Eblis, or Satan, who was cast from heaven for refusing to adore Adam.]

[^103: Koran, c. 5, p. 94, and Sale's note, which refers to the authority of Jallaloddin and Al Beidawi. D'Herbelot declares, that Mahomet condemned la vie religieuse; and that the first swarms of fakirs, dervises, etc., did not appear till after the year 300 of the Hegira, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 292, 718.)]

[^104: See the double prohibition, (Koran, c. 2, p. 25, c. 5, p. 94;) the one in the style of a legislator, the other in that of a fanatic. The public and private motives of Mahomet are investigated by Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 62—64) and Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 124.)]

[^105: The jealousy of Maracci (Prodromus, part iv. p. 33) prompts him to enumerate the more liberal alms of the Catholics of Rome. Fifteen great hospitals are open to many thousand patients and pilgrims; fifteen hundred maidens are annually portioned; fifty-six charity schools are founded for both sexes; one hundred and twenty confraternities relieve the wants of their brethren, etc. The benevolence of London is still more extensive; but I am afraid that much more is to be ascribed to the humanity, than to the religion, of the people.]

The two articles of belief, and the four practical duties, of Islam, are guarded by rewards and punishments; and the faith of the Mussulman is devoutly fixed on the event of the judgment and the last day. The prophet has not presumed to determine the moment of that awful catastrophe, though he darkly announces the signs, both in heaven and earth, which will precede the universal dissolution, when life shall be destroyed, and the order of creation shall be confounded in the primitive chaos. At the blast of the trumpet, new worlds will start into being: angels, genii, and men will arise from the dead, and the human soul will again be united to the body. The doctrine of the resurrection was first entertained by the Egyptians;^106 and their mummies were embalmed, their pyramids were constructed, to preserve the ancient mansion of the soul, during a period of three thousand years. But the attempt is partial and unavailing; and it is with a more philosophic spirit that Mahomet relies on the omnipotence of the Creator, whose word can reanimate the breathless clay, and collect the innumerable atoms, that no longer retain their form or substance.^107 The intermediate state of the soul it is hard to decide; and those who most firmly believe her immaterial nature, are at a loss to understand how she can think or act without the agency of the organs of sense.

[^106: See Herodotus (l. ii. c. 123) and our learned countryman Sir John Marsham, (Canon. Chronicus, p. 46.) The same writer (p. 254—274) is an elaborate sketch of the infernal regions, as they were painted by the fancy of the Egyptians and Greeks, of the poets and philosophers of antiquity.]

[^107: The Koran (c. 2, p. 259, etc.; of Sale, p. 32; of Maracci, p. 97) relates an ingenious miracle, which satisfied the curiosity, and confirmed the faith, of Abraham.]

The reunion of the soul and body will be followed by the final judgment of mankind; and in his copy of the Magian picture, the prophet has too faithfully represented the forms of proceeding, and even the slow and successive operations, of an earthly tribunal. By his intolerant adversaries he is upbraided for extending, even to themselves, the hope of salvation, for asserting the blackest heresy, that every man who believes in God, and accomplishes good works, may expect in the last day a favorable sentence. Such rational indifference is ill adapted to the character of a fanatic; nor is it probable that a messenger from heaven should depreciate the value and necessity of his own revelation. In the idiom of the Koran,^108 the belief of God is inseparable from that of Mahomet: the good works are those which he has enjoined, and the two qualifications imply the profession of Islam, to which all nations and all sects are equally invited.

Their spiritual blindness, though excused by ignorance and crowned with virtue, will be scourged with everlasting torments; and the tears which Mahomet shed over the tomb of his mother for whom he was forbidden to pray, display a striking contrast of humanity and enthusiasm.^109 The doom of the infidels is common: the measure of their guilt and punishment is determined by the degree of evidence which they have rejected, by the magnitude of the errors which they have entertained: the eternal mansions of the Christians, the Jews, the Sabians, the Magians, and idolaters, are sunk below each other in the abyss; and the lowest hell is reserved for the faithless hypocrites who have assumed the mask of religion. After the greater part of mankind has been condemned for their opinions, the true believers only will be judged by their actions. The good and evil of each Mussulman will be accurately weighed in a real or allegorical balance; and a singular mode of compensation will be allowed for the payment of injuries: the aggressor will refund an equivalent of his own good actions, for the benefit of the person whom he has wronged; and if he should be destitute of any moral property, the weight of his sins will be loaded with an adequate share of the demerits of the sufferer. According as the shares of guilt or virtue shall preponderate, the sentence will be pronounced, and all, without distinction, will pass over the sharp and perilous bridge of the abyss; but the innocent, treading in the footsteps of Mahomet, will gloriously enter the gates of paradise, while the guilty will fall into the first and mildest of the seven hells. The term of expiation will vary from nine hundred to seven thousand years; but the prophet has judiciously promised, that all his disciples, whatever may be their sins, shall be saved, by their own faith and his intercession from eternal damnation. It is not surprising that superstition should act most powerfully on the fears of her votaries, since the human fancy can paint with more energy the misery than the bliss of a future life. With the two simple elements of darkness and fire, we create a sensation of pain, which may be aggravated to an infinite degree by the idea of endless duration. But the same idea operates with an opposite effect on the continuity of pleasure; and too much of our present enjoyments is obtained from the relief, or the comparison, of evil. It is natural enough that an Arabian prophet should dwell with rapture on the groves, the fountains, and the rivers of paradise; but instead of inspiring the blessed inhabitants with a liberal taste for harmony and science, conversation and friendship, he idly celebrates the pearls and diamonds, the robes of silk, palaces of marble, dishes of gold, rich wines, artificial dainties, numerous attendants, and the whole train of sensual and costly luxury, which becomes insipid to the owner, even in the short period of this mortal life. Seventy-two Houris, or black-eyed girls, of resplendent beauty, blooming youth, virgin purity, and exquisite sensibility, will be created for the use of the meanest believer; a moment of pleasure will be prolonged to a thousand years; and his faculties will be increased a hundred fold, to render him worthy of his felicity. Notwithstanding a vulgar prejudice, the gates of heaven will be open to both sexes; but Mahomet has not specified the male companions of the female elect, lest he should either alarm the jealousy of their former husbands, or disturb their felicity, by the suspicion of an everlasting marriage. This image of a carnal paradise has provoked the indignation, perhaps the envy, of the monks: they declaim against the impure religion of Mahomet; and his modest apologists are driven to the poor excuse of figures and allegories. But the sounder and more consistent party adhere without shame, to the literal interpretation of the Koran: useless would be the resurrection of the body, unless it were restored to the possession and exercise of its worthiest faculties; and the union of sensual and intellectual enjoyment is requisite to complete the happiness of the double animal, the perfect man. Yet the joys of the Mahometan paradise will not be confined to the indulgence of luxury and appetite; and the prophet has expressly declared that all meaner happiness will be forgotten and despised by the saints and martyrs, who shall be admitted to the beatitude of the divine vision.^110

[^108: The candid Reland has demonstrated, that Mahomet damns all unbelievers, (de Religion. Moham. p. 128—142;) that devils will not be finally saved, (p. 196—199;) that paradise will not solely consist of corporeal delights, (p. 199—205;) and that women's souls are immortal. (p. 205—209.)]

[^109: A Beidawi, apud Sale. Koran, c. 9, p. 164. The refusal to pray for an unbelieving kindred is justified, according to Mahomet, by the duty of a prophet, and the example of Abraham, who reprobated his own father as an enemy of God. Yet Abraham (he adds, c. 9, v. 116. Maracci, tom. ii. p. 317) fuit sane pius, mitis.]

[^110: For the day of judgment, hell, paradise, etc., consult the Koran, (c. 2, v. 25, c. 56, 78, etc.;) with Maracci's virulent, but learned, refutation, (in his notes, and in the Prodromus, part iv. p. 78, 120, 122, etc.;) D'Herbelot, (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 368, 375;) Reland, (p. 47—61;) and Sale, (p. 76—103.) The original ideas of the Magi are darkly and doubtfully explored by their apologist, Dr. Hyde, (Hist. Religionis Persarum, c. 33, p. 402—412, Oxon. 1760.) In the article of Mahomet, Bayle has shown how indifferently wit and philosophy supply the absence of genuine information.]

The first and most arduous conquests of Mahomet^111 were those of his wife, his servant, his pupil, and his friend;^112 since he presented himself as a prophet to those who were most conversant with his infirmities as a man. Yet Cadijah believed the words, and cherished the glory, of her husband; the obsequious and affectionate Zeid was tempted by the prospect of freedom; the illustrious Ali, the son of Abu Taleb, embraced the sentiments of his cousin with the spirit of a youthful hero; and the wealth, the moderation, the veracity of Abubeker confirmed the religion of the prophet whom he was destined to succeed. By his persuasion, ten of the most respectable citizens of Mecca were introduced to the private lessons of Islam; they yielded to the voice of reason and enthusiasm; they repeated the fundamental creed, "There is but one God, and Mahomet is the apostle of God;" and their faith, even in this life, was rewarded with riches and honors, with the command of armies and the government of kingdoms. Three years were silently employed in the conversion of fourteen proselytes, the first-fruits of his mission; but in the fourth year he assumed the prophetic office, and resolving to impart to his family the light of divine truth, he prepared a banquet, a lamb, as it is said, and a bowl of milk, for the entertainment of forty guests of the race of Hashem. "Friends and kinsmen," said Mahomet to the assembly, "I offer you, and I alone can offer, the most precious of gifts, the treasures of this world and of the world to come. God has commanded me to call you to his service. Who among you will support my burden? Who among you will be my companion and my vizier?"^113 No answer was returned, till the silence of astonishment, and doubt, and contempt, was at length broken by the impatient courage of Ali, a youth in the fourteenth year of his age. "O prophet, I am the man: whosoever rises against thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, break his legs, rip up his belly. O prophet, I will be thy vizier over them." Mahomet accepted his offer with transport, and Abu Taled was ironically exhorted to respect the superior dignity of his son. In a more serious tone, the father of Ali advised his nephew to relinquish his impracticable design.

"Spare your remonstrances," replied the intrepid fanatic to his uncle and benefactor; "if they should place the sun on my right hand, and the moon on my left, they should not divert me from my course." He persevered ten years in the exercise of his mission; and the religion which has overspread the East and the West advanced with a slow and painful progress within the walls of Mecca. Yet Mahomet enjoyed the satisfaction of beholding the increase of his infant congregation of Unitarians, who revered him as a prophet, and to whom he seasonably dispensed the spiritual nourishment of the Koran. The number of proselytes may be esteemed by the absence of eighty-three men and eighteen women, who retired to Aethiopia in the seventh year of his mission; and his party was fortified by the timely conversion of his uncle Hamza, and of the fierce and inflexible Omar, who signalized in the cause of Islam the same zeal, which he had exerted for its destruction. Nor was the charity of Mahomet confined to the tribe of Koreish, or the precincts of Mecca: on solemn festivals, in the days of pilgrimage, he frequented the Caaba, accosted the strangers of every tribe, and urged, both in private converse and public discourse, the belief and worship of a sole Deity. Conscious of his reason and of his weakness, he asserted the liberty of conscience, and disclaimed the use of religious violence:^114 but he called the Arabs to repentance, and conjured them to remember the ancient idolaters of Ad and Thamud, whom the divine justice had swept away from the face of the earth.^115

[^111: Before I enter on the history of the prophet, it is incumbent on me to produce my evidence. The Latin, French, and English versions of the Koran are preceded by historical discourses, and the three translators, Maracci, (tom. i. p. 10 - 32,) Savary, (tom. i. p. 1—248,) and Sale, (Preliminary Discourse, p. 33—56,) had accurately studied the language and character of their author. Two professed Lives of Mahomet have been composed by Dr. Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, seventh edition, London, 1718, in octavo) and the count de Boulainvilliers, (Vie de Mahomed, Londres, 1730, in octavo: ) but the adverse wish of finding an impostor or a hero, has too often corrupted the learning of the doctor and the ingenuity of the count. The article in D'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient. p. 598—603) is chiefly drawn from Novairi and Mirkond; but the best and most authentic of our guides is M. Gagnier, a Frenchman by birth, and professor at Oxford of the Oriental tongues. In two elaborate works, (Ismael Abulfeda de Vita et Rebus gestis Mohammedis, etc. Latine vertit, Praefatione et Notis illustravit Johannes Gagnier, Oxon. 1723, in folio. La Vie de Mahomet traduite et compilee de l'Alcoran, des Traditions Authentiques de la Sonna et des meilleurs Auteurs Arabes; Amsterdam, 1748, 3 vols. in 12mo.,) he has interpreted, illustrated, and supplied the Arabic text of Abulfeda and Al Jannabi; the first, an enlightened prince who reigned at Hamah, in Syria, A.D. 1310—1332, (see Gagnier Praefat. ad Abulfed.;) the second, a credulous doctor, who visited Mecca A.D. 1556. (D'Herbelot, p. 397. Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 209, 210.) These are my general vouchers, and the inquisitive reader may follow the order of time, and the division of chapters. Yet I must observe that both Abulfeda and Al Jannabi are modern historians, and that they cannot appeal to any writers of the first century of the Hegira.
Note: A new Life, by Dr. Weil, (Stuttgart. 1843,) has added some few traditions unknown in Europe. Of Dr. Weil's Arabic scholarship, which professes to correct many errors in Gagnier, in Maracci, and in M. von Hammer, I am no judge. But it is remarkable that he does not seem acquainted with the passage of Tabari, translated by Colonel Vans Kennedy, in the Bombay Transactions, (vol. iii.,) the earliest and most important addition made to the traditionary Life of Mahomet. I am inclined to think Colonel Vans Kennedy's appreciation of the prophet's character, which may be overlooked in a criticism on Voltaire's Mahomet, the most just which I have ever read. The work of Dr. Weil appears to me most valuable in its dissection and chronological view of the Koran.—M. 1845]

[^112: After the Greeks, Prideaux (p. 8) discloses the secret doubts of the wife of Mahomet. As if he had been a privy counsellor of the prophet, Boulainvilliers (p. 272, etc.) unfolds the sublime and patriotic views of Cadijah and the first disciples.]

[^113: Vezirus, portitor, bajulus, onus ferens; and this plebeian name was transferred by an apt metaphor to the pillars of the state, (Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. p. 19.) I endeavor to preserve the Arabian idiom, as far as I can feel it myself in a Latin or French translation.]

[^114: The passages of the Koran in behalf of toleration are strong and numerous: c. 2, v. 257, c. 16, 129, c. 17, 54, c. 45, 15, c. 50, 39, c. 88, 21, etc., with the notes of Maracci and Sale. This character alone may generally decide the doubts of the learned, whether a chapter was revealed at Mecca or Medina.]

[^115: See the Koran, (passim, and especially c. 7, p. 123, 124, etc.,) and the tradition of the Arabs, (Pocock, Specimen, p. 35—37.) The caverns of the tribe of Thamud, fit for men of the ordinary stature, were shown in the midway between Medina and Damascus. (Abulfed Arabiae Descript. p. 43, 44,) and may be probably ascribed to the Throglodytes of the primitive world, (Michaelis, ad Lowth de Poesi Hebraeor. p. 131—134. Recherches sur les Egyptiens, tom. ii. p. 48, etc.)]


The people of Mecca were hardened in their unbelief by superstition and envy. The elders of the city, the uncles of the prophet, affected to despise the presumption of an orphan, the reformer of his country: the pious orations of Mahomet in the Caaba were answered by the clamors of Abu Taleb. "Citizens and pilgrims, listen not to the tempter, hearken not to his impious novelties. Stand fast in the worship of Al Lata and Al Uzzah." Yet the son of Abdallah was ever dear to the aged chief: and he protected the fame and person of his nephew against the assaults of the Koreishites, who had long been jealous of the preeminence of the family of Hashem. Their malice was colored with the pretence of religion: in the age of Job, the crime of impiety was punished by the Arabian magistrate;^116 and Mahomet was guilty of deserting and denying the national deities. But so loose was the policy of Mecca, that the leaders of the Koreish, instead of accusing a criminal, were compelled to employ the measures of persuasion or violence. They repeatedly addressed Abu Taleb in the style of reproach and menace. "Thy nephew reviles our religion; he accuses our wise forefathers of ignorance and folly; silence him quickly, lest he kindle tumult and discord in the city. If he persevere, we shall draw our swords against him and his adherents, and thou wilt be responsible for the blood of thy fellow-citizens." The weight and moderation of Abu Taleb eluded the violence of religious faction; the most helpless or timid of the disciples retired to Aethiopia, and the prophet withdrew himself to various places of strength in the town and country. As he was still supported by his family, the rest of the tribe of Koreish engaged themselves to renounce all intercourse with the children of Hashem, neither to buy nor sell, neither to marry not to give in marriage, but to pursue them with implacable enmity, till they should deliver the person of Mahomet to the justice of the gods. The decree was suspended in the Caaba before the eyes of the nation; the messengers of the Koreish pursued the Mussulman exiles in the heart of Africa: they besieged the prophet and his most faithful followers, intercepted their water, and inflamed their mutual animosity by the retaliation of injuries and insults. A doubtful truce restored the appearances of concord till the death of Abu Taleb abandoned Mahomet to the power of his enemies, at the moment when he was deprived of his domestic comforts by the loss of his faithful and generous Cadijah. Abu Sophian, the chief of the branch of Ommiyah, succeeded to the principality of the republic of Mecca. A zealous votary of the idols, a mortal foe of the line of Hashem, he convened an assembly of the Koreishites and their allies, to decide the fate of the apostle. His imprisonment might provoke the despair of his enthusiasm; and the exile of an eloquent and popular fanatic would diffuse the mischief through the provinces of Arabia. His death was resolved; and they agreed that a sword from each tribe should be buried in his heart, to divide the guilt of his blood, and baffle the vengeance of the Hashemites. An angel or a spy revealed their conspiracy; and flight was the only resource of Mahomet.^117 At the dead of night, accompanied by his friend Abubeker, he silently escaped from his house: the assassins watched at the door; but they were deceived by the figure of Ali, who reposed on the bed, and was covered with the green vestment of the apostle. The Koreish respected the piety of the heroic youth; but some verses of Ali, which are still extant, exhibit an interesting picture of his anxiety, his tenderness, and his religious confidence. Three days Mahomet and his companion were concealed in the cave of Thor, at the distance of a league from Mecca; and in the close of each evening, they received from the son and daughter of Abubeker a secret supply of intelligence and food. The diligence of the Koreish explored every haunt in the neighborhood of the city: they arrived at the entrance of the cavern; but the providential deceit of a spider's web and a pigeon's nest is supposed to convince them that the place was solitary and inviolate. "We are only two," said the trembling Abubeker. "There is a third," replied the prophet; "it is God himself." No sooner was the pursuit abated than the two fugitives issued from the rock, and mounted their camels: on the road to Medina, they were overtaken by the emissaries of the Koreish; they redeemed themselves with prayers and promises from their hands. In this eventful moment, the lance of an Arab might have changed the history of the world. The flight of the prophet from Mecca to Medina has fixed the memorable aera of the Hegira, ^118 which, at the end of twelve centuries, still discriminates the lunar years of the Mahometan nations.^119

[^116: In the time of Job, the crime of impiety was punished by the Arabian magistrate, (c. 21, v. 26, 27, 28.) I blush for a respectable prelate (de Poesi Hebraeorum, p. 650, 651, edit. Michaelis; and letter of a late professor in the university of Oxford, p. 15—53,) who justifies and applauds this patriarchal inquisition.]

[^117: D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 445. He quotes a particular history of the flight of Mahomet.]

[^118: The Hegira was instituted by Omar, the second caliph, in imitation of the aera of the martyrs of the Christians, (D'Herbelot, p. 444;) and properly commenced sixty-eight days before the flight of Mahomet, with the first of Moharren, or first day of that Arabian year which coincides with Friday, July 16th, A.D. 622, (Abulfeda, Vit Moham, c. 22, 23, p. 45—50; and Greaves's edition of Ullug Beg's Epochae Arabum, etc., c. 1, p. 8, 10, etc.)
Note: Chronologists dispute between the 15th and 16th of July. St. Martin inclines to the 8th, ch. xi. p. 70.—M.]

[^119: Mahomet's life, from his mission to the Hegira, may be found in Abulfeda (p. 14—45) and Gagnier, (tom. i. p. 134—251, 342—383.) The legend from p. 187—234 is vouched by Al Jannabi, and disdained by Abulfeda.]

The religion of the Koran might have perished in its cradle, had not Medina embraced with faith and reverence the holy outcasts of Mecca. Medina, or the city, known under the name of Yathreb, before it was sanctified by the throne of the prophet, was divided between the tribes of the Charegites and the Awsites, whose hereditary feud was rekindled by the slightest provocations: two colonies of Jews, who boasted a sacerdotal race, were their humble allies, and without converting the Arabs, they introduced the taste of science and religion, which distinguished Medina as the city of the Book. Some of her noblest citizens, in a pilgrimage to the Canaba, were converted by the preaching of Mahomet; on their return, they diffused the belief of God and his prophet, and the new alliance was ratified by their deputies in two secret and nocturnal interviews on a hill in the suburbs of Mecca. In the first, ten Charegites and two Awsites united in faith and love, protested, in the name of their wives, their children, and their absent brethren, that they would forever profess the creed, and observe the precepts, of the Koran. The second was a political association, the first vital spark of the empire of the Saracens.^120 Seventy-three men and two women of Medina held a solemn conference with Mahomet, his kinsman, and his disciples; and pledged themselves to each other by a mutual oath of fidelity. They promised, in the name of the city, that if he should be banished, they would receive him as a confederate, obey him as a leader, and defend him to the last extremity, like their wives and children. "But if you are recalled by your country," they asked with a flattering anxiety, "will you not abandon your new allies?" "All things," replied Mahomet with a smile, "are now common between us your blood is as my blood, your ruin as my ruin. We are bound to each other by the ties of honor and interest. I am your friend, and the enemy of your foes." "But if we are killed in your service, what," exclaimed the deputies of Medina, "will be our reward?" "Paradise," replied the prophet. "Stretch forth thy hand." He stretched it forth, and they reiterated the oath of allegiance and fidelity. Their treaty was ratified by the people, who unanimously embraced the profession of Islam; they rejoiced in the exile of the apostle, but they trembled for his safety, and impatiently expected his arrival. After a perilous and rapid journey along the sea-coast, he halted at Koba, two miles from the city, and made his public entry into Medina, sixteen days after his flight from Mecca. Five hundred of the citizens advanced to meet him; he was hailed with acclamations of loyalty and devotion; Mahomet was mounted on a she-camel, an umbrella shaded his head, and a turban was unfurled before him to supply the deficiency of a standard. His bravest disciples, who had been scattered by the storm, assembled round his person; and the equal, though various, merit of the Moslems was distinguished by the names of Mohagerians and Ansars, the fugitives of Mecca, and the auxiliaries of Medina. To eradicate the seeds of jealousy, Mahomet judiciously coupled his principal followers with the rights and obligations of brethren; and when Ali found himself without a peer, the prophet tenderly declared, that he would be the companion and brother of the noble youth. The expedient was crowned with success; the holy fraternity was respected in peace and war, and the two parties vied with each other in a generous emulation of courage and fidelity. Once only the concord was slightly ruffled by an accidental quarrel: a patriot of Medina arraigned the insolence of the strangers, but the hint of their expulsion was heard with abhorrence; and his own son most eagerly offered to lay at the apostle's feet the head of his father.

[^120: The triple inauguration of Mahomet is described by Abulfeda (p. 30, 33, 40, 86) and Gagnier, (tom. i. p. 342, etc., 349, etc., tom. ii. p. 223 etc.)]

From his establishment at Medina, Mahomet assumed the exercise of the regal and sacerdotal office; and it was impious to appeal from a judge whose decrees were inspired by the divine wisdom. A small portion of ground, the patrimony of two orphans, was acquired by gift or purchase;^121 on that chosen spot he built a house and a mosch, more venerable in their rude simplicity than the palaces and temples of the Assyrian caliphs. His seal of gold, or silver, was inscribed with the apostolic title; when he prayed and preached in the weekly assembly, he leaned against the trunk of a palm-tree; and it was long before he indulged himself in the use of a chair or pulpit of rough timber.^122 After a reign of six years, fifteen hundred Moslems, in arms and in the field, renewed their oath of allegiance; and their chief repeated the assurance of protection till the death of the last member, or the final dissolution of the party. It was in the same camp that the deputy of Mecca was astonished by the attention of the faithful to the words and looks of the prophet, by the eagerness with which they collected his spittle, a hair that dropped on the ground, the refuse water of his lustrations, as if they participated in some degree of the prophetic virtue. "I have seen," said he, "the Chosroes of Persia and the Caesar of Rome, but never did I behold a king among his subjects like Mahomet among his companions." The devout fervor of enthusiasm acts with more energy and truth than the cold and formal servility of courts.

[^121: Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 44) reviles the wickedness of the impostor, who despoiled two poor orphans, the sons of a carpenter; a reproach which he drew from the Disputatio contra Saracenos, composed in Arabic before the year 1130; but the honest Gagnier (ad Abulfed. p. 53) has shown that they were deceived by the word Al Nagjar, which signifies, in this place, not an obscure trade, but a noble tribe of Arabs. The desolate state of the ground is described by Abulfeda; and his worthy interpreter has proved, from Al Bochari, the offer of a price; from Al Jannabi, the fair purchase; and from Ahmeq Ben Joseph, the payment of the money by the generous Abubeker On these grounds the prophet must be honorably acquitted.]

[^122: Al Jannabi (apud Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 246, 324) describes the seal and pulpit, as two venerable relics of the apostle of God; and the portrait of his court is taken from Abulfeda, (c. 44, p. 85.)]

In the state of nature, every man has a right to defend, by force of arms, his person and his possessions; to repel, or even to prevent, the violence of his enemies, and to extend his hostilities to a reasonable measure of satisfaction and retaliation. In the free society of the Arabs, the duties of subject and citizen imposed a feeble restraint; and Mahomet, in the exercise of a peaceful and benevolent mission, had been despoiled and banished by the injustice of his countrymen. The choice of an independent people had exalted the fugitive of Mecca to the rank of a sovereign; and he was invested with the just prerogative of forming alliances, and of waging offensive or defensive war. The imperfection of human rights was supplied and armed by the plenitude of divine power: the prophet of Medina assumed, in his new revelations, a fiercer and more sanguinary tone, which proves that his former moderation was the effect of weakness:^123 the means of persuasion had been tried, the season of forbearance was elapsed, and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanctity of days or months, to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth. The same bloody precepts, so repeatedly inculcated in the Koran, are ascribed by the author to the Pentateuch and the Gospel. But the mild tenor of the evangelic style may explain an ambiguous text, that Jesus did not bring peace on the earth, but a sword: his patient and humble virtues should not be confounded with the intolerant zeal of princes and bishops, who have disgraced the name of his disciples. In the prosecution of religious war, Mahomet might appeal with more propriety to the example of Moses, of the Judges, and the kings of Israel. The military laws of the Hebrews are still more rigid than those of the Arabian legislator.^124 The Lord of hosts marched in person before the Jews: if a city resisted their summons, the males, without distinction, were put to the sword: the seven nations of Canaan were devoted to destruction; and neither repentance nor conversion, could shield them from the inevitable doom, that no creature within their precincts should be left alive.^* The fair option of friendship, or submission, or battle, was proposed to the enemies of Mahomet. If they professed the creed of Islam, they were admitted to all the temporal and spiritual benefits of his primitive disciples, and marched under the same banner to extend the religion which they had embraced. The clemency of the prophet was decided by his interest: yet he seldom trampled on a prostrate enemy; and he seems to promise, that on the payment of a tribute, the least guilty of his unbelieving subjects might be indulged in their worship, or at least in their imperfect faith. In the first months of his reign he practised the lessons of holy warfare, and displayed his white banner before the gates of Medina: the martial apostle fought in person at nine battles or sieges;^125 and fifty enterprises of war were achieved in ten years by himself or his lieutenants. The Arab continued to unite the professions of a merchant and a robber; and his petty excursions for the defence or the attack of a caravan insensibly prepared his troops for the conquest of Arabia. The distribution of the spoil was regulated by a divine law:^126 the whole was faithfully collected in one common mass: a fifth of the gold and silver, the prisoners and cattle, the movables and immovables, was reserved by the prophet for pious and charitable uses; the remainder was shared in adequate portions by the soldiers who had obtained the victory or guarded the camp: the rewards of the slain devolved to their widows and orphans; and the increase of cavalry was encouraged by the allotment of a double share to the horse and to the man. From all sides the roving Arabs were allured to the standard of religion and plunder: the apostle sanctified the license of embracing the female captives as their wives or concubines, and the enjoyment of wealth and beauty was a feeble type of the joys of paradise prepared for the valiant martyrs of the faith. "The sword," says Mahomet, "is the key of heaven and of hell; a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting or prayer: whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven: at the day of judgment his wounds shall be resplendent as vermilion, and odoriferous as musk; and the loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of angels and cherubim." The intrepid souls of the Arabs were fired with enthusiasm: the picture of the invisible world was strongly painted on their imagination; and the death which they had always despised became an object of hope and desire. The Koran inculcates, in the most absolute sense, the tenets of fate and predestination, which would extinguish both industry and virtue, if the actions of man were governed by his speculative belief. Yet their influence in every age has exalted the courage of the Saracens and Turks. The first companions of Mahomet advanced to battle with a fearless confidence: there is no danger where there is no chance: they were ordained to perish in their beds; or they were safe and invulnerable amidst the darts of the enemy.^127

[^123: The viiith and ixth chapters of the Koran are the loudest and most vehement; and Maracci (Prodromus, part iv. p. 59 - 64) has inveighed with more justice than discretion against the double dealing of the impostor.]

[^124: The xth and xxth chapters of Deuteronomy, with the practical comments of Joshua, David, etc., are read with more awe than satisfaction by the pious Christians of the present age. But the bishops, as well as the rabbis of former times, have beat the drum-ecclesiastic with pleasure and success. (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 142, 143.)]

[^*: The editor's opinions on this subject may be read in the History of the Jews vol. i. p. 137.—M.]

[^125: Abulfeda, in Vit. Moham. p. 156. The private arsenal of the apostle consisted of nine swords, three lances, seven pikes or half-pikes, a quiver and three bows, seven cuirasses, three shields, and two helmets, (Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 328—334,) with a large white standard, a black banner, (p. 335,) twenty horses, (p. 322, etc.) Two of his martial sayings are recorded by tradition, (Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 88, 334.)]

[^126: The whole subject de jure belli Mohammedanorum is exhausted in a separate dissertation by the learned Reland, (Dissertationes Miscellaneae, tom. iii. Dissertat. x. p. 3 - 53.)]

[^127: The doctrine of absolute predestination, on which few religions can reproach each other, is sternly exposed in the Koran, (c. 3, p. 52, 53, c. 4, p. 70, etc., with the notes of Sale, and c. 17, p. 413, with those of Maracci.) Reland (de Relig. Moham. p. 61—64) and Sale (Prelim. Discourse, p. 103) represent the opinions of the doctors, and our modern travellers the confidence, the fading confidence, of the Turks]

Perhaps the Koreish would have been content with the dight of Mahomet, had they not been provoked and alarmed by the vengeance of an enemy, who could intercept their Syrian trade as it passed and repassed through the territory of Medina. Abu Sophian himself, with only thirty or forty followers, conducted a wealthy caravan of a thousand camels; the fortune or dexterity of his march escaped the vigilance of Mahomet; but the chief of the Koreish was informed that the holy robbers were placed in ambush to await his return. He despatched a messenger to his brethren of Mecca, and they were roused, by the fear of losing their merchandise and their provisions, unless they hastened to his relief with the military force of the city. The sacred band of Mahomet was formed of three hundred and thirteen Moslems, of whom seventy-seven were fugitives, and the rest auxiliaries; they mounted by turns a train of seventy camels, (the camels of Yathreb were formidable in war;) but such was the poverty of his first disciples, that only two could appear on horseback in the field.^128 In the fertile and famous vale of Beder,^129 three stations from Medina, he was informed by his scouts of the caravan that approached on one side; of the Koreish, one hundred horse, eight hundred and fifty foot, who advanced on the other. After a short debate, he sacrificed the prospect of wealth to the pursuit of glory and revenge, and a slight intrenchment was formed, to cover his troops, and a stream of fresh water, that glided through the valley. "O God," he exclaimed, as the numbers of the Koreish descended from the hills, "O God, if these are destroyed, by whom wilt thou be worshipped on the earth? - Courage, my children; close your ranks; discharge your arrows, and the day is your own." At these words he placed himself, with Abubeker, on a throne or pulpit,^130 and instantly demanded the succor of Gabriel and three thousand angels. His eye was fixed on the field of battle: the Mussulmans fainted and were pressed: in that decisive moment the prophet started from his throne, mounted his horse, and cast a handful of sand into the air: "Let their faces be covered with confusion." Both armies heard the thunder of his voice: their fancy beheld the angelic warriors: ^131 the Koreish trembled and fled: seventy of the bravest were slain; and seventy captives adorned the first victory of the faithful. The dead bodies of the Koreish were despoiled and insulted: two of the most obnoxious prisoners were punished with death; and the ransom of the others, four thousand drams of silver, compensated in some degree the escape of the caravan. But it was in vain that the camels of Abu Sophian explored a new road through the desert and along the Euphrates: they were overtaken by the diligence of the Mussulmans; and wealthy must have been the prize, if twenty thousand drams could be set apart for the fifth of the apostle. The resentment of the public and private loss stimulated Abu Sophian to collect a body of three thousand men, seven hundred of whom were armed with cuirasses, and two hundred were mounted on horseback; three thousand camels attended his march; and his wife Henda, with fifteen matrons of Mecca, incessantly sounded their timbrels to animate the troops, and to magnify the greatness of Hobal, the most popular deity of the Caaba. The standard of God and Mahomet was upheld by nine hundred and fifty believers: the disproportion of numbers was not more alarming than in the field of Beder; and their presumption of victory prevailed against the divine and human sense of the apostle. The second battle was fought on Mount Ohud, six miles to the north of Medina;^132 the Koreish advanced in the form of a crescent; and the right wing of cavalry was led by Caled, the fiercest and most successful of the Arabian warriors. The troops of Mahomet were skilfully posted on the declivity of the hill; and their rear was guarded by a detachment of fifty archers. The weight of their charge impelled and broke the centre of the idolaters: but in the pursuit they lost the advantage of their ground: the archers deserted their station: the Mussulmans were tempted by the spoil, disobeyed their general, and disordered their ranks. The intrepid Caled, wheeling his cavalry on their flank and rear, exclaimed, with a loud voice, that Mahomet was slain. He was indeed wounded in the face with a javelin: two of his teeth were shattered with a stone; yet, in the midst of tumult and dismay, he reproached the infidels with the murder of a prophet; and blessed the friendly hand that stanched his blood, and conveyed him to a place of safety Seventy martyrs died for the sins of the people; they fell, said the apostle, in pairs, each brother embracing his lifeless companion;^133 their bodies were mangled by the inhuman females of Mecca; and the wife of Abu Sophian tasted the entrails of Hamza, the uncle of Mahomet. They might applaud their superstition, and satiate their fury; but the Mussulmans soon rallied in the field, and the Koreish wanted strength or courage to undertake the siege of Medina. It was attacked the ensuing year by an army of ten thousand enemies; and this third expedition is variously named from the nations, which marched under the banner of Abu Sophian, from the ditch which was drawn before the city, and a camp of three thousand Mussulmans. The prudence of Mahomet declined a general engagement: the valor of Ali was signalized in single combat; and the war was protracted twenty days, till the final separation of the confederates. A tempest of wind, rain, and hail, overturned their tents: their private quarrels were fomented by an insidious adversary; and the Koreish, deserted by their allies, no longer hoped to subvert the throne, or to check the conquests, of their invincible exile.^134

[^128: Al Jannabi (apud Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 9) allows him seventy or eighty horse; and on two other occasions, prior to the battle of Ohud, he enlists a body of thirty (p. 10) and of 500 (p. 66) troopers. Yet the Mussulmans, in the field of Ohud, had no more than two horses, according to the better sense of Abulfeda, (in Vit. Moham. c. xxxi. p. 65.) In the Stony province, the camels were numerous; but the horse appears to have been less numerous than in the Happy or the Desert Arabia.]

[^129: Bedder Houneene, twenty miles from Medina, and forty from Mecca, is on the high road of the caravan of Egypt; and the pilgrims annually commemorate the prophet's victory by illuminations, rockets, etc. Shaw's Travels, p. 477.]

[^130: The place to which Mahomet retired during the action is styled by Gagnier (in Abulfeda, c. 27, p. 58. Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 30, 33) Umbraculum, une loge de bois avec une porte. The same Arabic word is rendered by Reiske (Annales Moslemici Abulfedae, p. 23) by Solium, Suggestus editior; and the difference is of the utmost moment for the honor both of the interpreter and of the hero. I am sorry to observe the pride and acrimony with which Reiske chastises his fellow-laborer. Saepi sic vertit, ut integrae paginae nequeant nisi una litura corrigi Arabice non satis callebat, et carebat judicio critico. J. J. Reiske, Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalisae Tabulas, p. 228, ad calcero Abulfedae Syriae Tabulae; Lipsiae, 1766, in 4to.]

[^131: The loose expressions of the Koran (c. 3, p. 124, 125, c. 8, p. 9) allow the commentators to fluctuate between the numbers of 1000, 3000, or 9000 angels; and the smallest of these might suffice for the slaughter of seventy of the Koreish, (Maracci, Alcoran, tom. ii. p. 131.) Yet the same scholiasts confess that this angelic band was not visible to any mortal eye, (Maracci, p. 297.) They refine on the words (c. 8, 16) "not thou, but God," etc. (D'Herbelot. Bibliot. Orientale p. 600, 601.)]

[^132: Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 47.]

[^133: In the iiid chapter of the Koran, (p. 50—53, with Sale's notes, the prophet alleges some poor excuses for the defeat of Ohud.
Note: Dr. Weil has added some curious circumstances, which he gives as on good traditional authority, on the rescue of Mahomet. The prophet was attacked by Ubeijj Ibn Challaf, whom he struck on the neck with a mortal wound. This was the only time, it is added, that Mahomet personally engaged in battle. (p. 128.)—M. 1845.]

[^134: For the detail of the three Koreish wars, of Beder, of Ohud, and of the ditch, peruse Abulfeda, (p. 56—61, 64—69, 73—77,) Gagnier (tom. i. p. 23—45, 70—96, 120 - 139,) with the proper articles of D'Herbelot, and the abridgments of Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 6, 7) and Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 102.)]


The choice of Jerusalem for the first kebla of prayer discovers the early propensity of Mahomet in favor of the Jews; and happy would it have been for their temporal interest, had they recognized, in the Arabian prophet, the hope of Israel and the promised Messiah. Their obstinacy converted his friendship into implacable hatred, with which he pursued that unfortunate people to the last moment of his life; and in the double character of an apostle and a conqueror, his persecution was extended to both worlds.^135 The Kainoka dwelt at Medina under the protection of the city; he seized the occasion of an accidental tumult, and summoned them to embrace his religion, or contend with him in battle. "Alas!" replied the trembling Jews, "we are ignorant of the use of arms, but we persevere in the faith and worship of our fathers; why wilt thou reduce us to the necessity of a just defence?" The unequal conflict was terminated in fifteen days; and it was with extreme reluctance that Mahomet yielded to the importunity of his allies, and consented to spare the lives of the captives. But their riches were confiscated, their arms became more effectual in the hands of the Mussulmans; and a wretched colony of seven hundred exiles was driven, with their wives and children, to implore a refuge on the confines of Syria. The Nadhirites were more guilty, since they conspired, in a friendly interview, to assassinate the prophet. He besieged their castle, three miles from Medina; but their resolute defence obtained an honorable capitulation; and the garrison, sounding their trumpets and beating their drums, was permitted to depart with the honors of war. The Jews had excited and joined the war of the Koreish: no sooner had the nations retired from the ditch, than Mahomet, without laying aside his armor, marched on the same day to extirpate the hostile race of the children of Koraidha. After a resistance of twenty-five days, they surrendered at discretion. They trusted to the intercession of their old allies of Medina; they could not be ignorant that fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity. A venerable elder, to whose judgment they appealed, pronounced the sentence of their death; seven hundred Jews were dragged in chains to the market-place of the city; they descended alive into the grave prepared for their execution and burial; and the apostle beheld with an inflexible eye the slaughter of his helpless enemies. Their sheep and camels were inherited by the Mussulmans: three hundred cuirasses, five hundred piles, a thousand lances, composed the most useful portion of the spoil. Six days' journey to the north-east of Medina, the ancient and wealthy town of Chaibar was the seat of the Jewish power in Arabia: the territory, a fertile spot in the desert, was covered with plantations and cattle, and protected by eight castles, some of which were esteemed of impregnable strength. The forces of Mahomet consisted of two hundred horse and fourteen hundred foot: in the succession of eight regular and painful sieges they were exposed to danger, and fatigue, and hunger; and the most undaunted chiefs despaired of the event. The apostle revived their faith and courage by the example of Ali, on whom he bestowed the surname of the Lion of God: perhaps we may believe that a Hebrew champion of gigantic stature was cloven to the chest by his irresistible cimeter; but we cannot praise the modesty of romance, which represents him as tearing from its hinges the gate of a fortress and wielding the ponderous buckler in his left hand.^136 After the reduction of the castles, the town of Chaibar submitted to the yoke. The chief of the tribe was tortured, in the presence of Mahomet, to force a confession of his hidden treasure: the industry of the shepherds and husbandmen was rewarded with a precarious toleration: they were permitted, so long as it should please the conqueror, to improve their patrimony, in equal shares, for his emolument and their own. Under the reign of Omar, the Jews of Chaibar were transported to Syria; and the caliph alleged the injunction of his dying master; that one and the true religion should be professed in his native land of Arabia.^137

[^135: The wars of Mahomet against the Jewish tribes of Kainoka, the Nadhirites, Koraidha, and Chaibar, are related by Abulfeda (p. 61, 71, 77, 87, etc.) and Gagnier, (tom. ii. p. 61 - 65, 107—112, 139—148, 268—294.)]

[^136: Abu Rafe, the servant of Mahomet, is said to affirm that he himself, and seven other men, afterwards tried, without success, to move the same gate from the ground, (Abulfeda, p. 90.) Abu Rafe was an eye- witness, but who will be witness for Abu Rafe?]

[^137: The banishment of the Jews is attested by Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p. 9) and the great Al Zabari, (Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 285.) Yet Niebuhr (Description de l'Arabie, (p. 324) believes that the Jewish religion, and Karaite sect, are still professed by the tribe of Chaibar; and that, in the plunder of the caravans, the disciples of Moses are the confederates of those of Mahomet.]

Five times each day the eyes of Mahomet were turned towards Mecca,^138 and he was urged by the most sacred and powerful motives to revisit, as a conqueror, the city and the temple from whence he had been driven as an exile. The Caaba was present to his waking and sleeping fancy: an idle dream was translated into vision and prophecy; he unfurled the holy banner; and a rash promise of success too hastily dropped from the lips of the apostle. His march from Medina to Mecca displayed the peaceful and solemn pomp of a pilgrimage: seventy camels, chosen and bedecked for sacrifice, preceded the van; the sacred territory was respected; and the captives were dismissed without ransom to proclaim his clemency and devotion. But no sooner did Mahomet descend into the plain, within a day's journey of the city, than he exclaimed, "They have clothed themselves with the skins of tigers: " the numbers and resolution of the Koreish opposed his progress; and the roving Arabs of the desert might desert or betray a leader whom they had followed for the hopes of spoil. The intrepid fanatic sunk into a cool and cautious politician: he waived in the treaty his title of apostle of God; concluded with the Koreish and their allies a truce of ten years; engaged to restore the fugitives of Mecca who should embrace his religion; and stipulated only, for the ensuing year, the humble privilege of entering the city as a friend, and of remaining three days to accomplish the rites of the pilgrimage. A cloud of shame and sorrow hung on the retreat of the Mussulmans, and their disappointment might justly accuse the failure of a prophet who had so often appealed to the evidence of success. The faith and hope of the pilgrims were rekindled by the prospect of Mecca: their swords were sheathed;^* seven times in the footsteps of the apostle they encompassed the Caaba: the Koreish had retired to the hills, and Mahomet, after the customary sacrifice, evacuated the city on the fourth day. The people was edified by his devotion; the hostile chiefs were awed, or divided, or seduced; and both Kaled and Amrou, the future conquerors of Syria and Egypt, most seasonably deserted the sinking cause of idolatry. The power of Mahomet was increased by the submission of the Arabian tribes; ten thousand soldiers were assembled for the conquest of Mecca; and the idolaters, the weaker party, were easily convicted of violating the truce. Enthusiasm and discipline impelled the march, and preserved the secret till the blaze of ten thousand fires proclaimed to the astonished Koreish the design, the approach, and the irresistible force of the enemy. The haughty Abu Sophian presented the keys of the city, admired the variety of arms and ensigns that passed before him in review; observed that the son of Abdallah had acquired a mighty kingdom, and confessed, under the cimeter of Omar, that he was the apostle of the true God. The return of Marius and Scylla was stained with the blood of the Romans: the revenge of Mahomet was stimulated by religious zeal, and his injured followers were eager to execute or to prevent the order of a massacre. Instead of indulging their passions and his own,^139 the victorious exile forgave the guilt, and united the factions, of Mecca. His troops, in three divisions, marched into the city: eight-and-twenty of the inhabitants were slain by the sword of Caled; eleven men and six women were proscribed by the sentence of Mahomet; but he blamed the cruelty of his lieutenant; and several of the most obnoxious victims were indebted for their lives to his clemency or contempt. The chiefs of the Koreish were prostrate at his feet. "What mercy can you expect from the man whom you have wronged?" "We confide in the generosity of our kinsman." "And you shall not confide in vain: begone! you are safe, you are free" The people of Mecca deserved their pardon by the profession of Islam; and after an exile of seven years, the fugitive missionary was enthroned as the prince and prophet of his native country.^140 But the three hundred and sixty idols of the Caaba were ignominiously broken: the house of God was purified and adorned: as an example to future times, the apostle again fulfilled the duties of a pilgrim; and a perpetual law was enacted that no unbeliever should dare to set his foot on the territory of the holy city.^141

[^138: The successive steps of the reduction of Mecca are related by Abulfeda (p. 84—87, 97—100, 102—111) and Gagnier, (tom. ii. p. 202—245, 309—322, tom. iii. p. 1—58,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 8, 9, 10,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 103.)]

[^*: This peaceful entrance into Mecca took place, according to the treaty the following year. Weil, p. 202—M. 1845.]

[^139: After the conquest of Mecca, the Mahomet of Voltaire imagines and perpetuates the most horrid crimes. The poet confesses, that he is not supported by the truth of history, and can only allege, que celui qui fait la guerre a sa patrie au nom de Dieu, est capable de tout, (Oeuvres de Voltaire, tom. xv. p. 282.) The maxim is neither charitable nor philosophic; and some reverence is surely due to the fame of heroes and the religion of nations. I am informed that a Turkish ambassador at Paris was much scandalized at the representation of this tragedy.]

[^140: The Mahometan doctors still dispute, whether Mecca was reduced by force or consent, (Abulfeda, p. 107, et Gagnier ad locum;) and this verbal controversy is of as much moment as our own about William the Conqueror.]

[^141: In excluding the Christians from the peninsula of Arabia, the province of Hejaz, or the navigation of the Red Sea, Chardin (Voyages en Perse, tom. iv. p. 166) and Reland (Dissertat. Miscell. tom. iii. p. 61) are more rigid than the Mussulmans themselves. The Christians are received without scruple into the ports of Mocha, and even of Gedda; and it is only the city and precincts of Mecca that are inaccessible to the profane, (Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 308, 309, Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 205, 248, etc.)]

The conquest of Mecca determined the faith and obedience of the Arabian tribes;^142 who, according to the vicissitudes of fortune, had obeyed, or disregarded, the eloquence or the arms of the prophet. Indifference for rites and opinions still marks the character of the Bedoweens; and they might accept, as loosely as they hold, the doctrine of the Koran. Yet an obstinate remnant still adhered to the religion and liberty of their ancestors, and the war of Honain derived a proper appellation from the idols, whom Mahomet had vowed to destroy, and whom the confederates of Tayef had sworn to defend.^143 Four thousand Pagans advanced with secrecy and speed to surprise the conqueror: they pitied and despised the supine negligence of the Koreish, but they depended on the wishes, and perhaps the aid, of a people who had so lately renounced their gods, and bowed beneath the yoke of their enemy. The banners of Medina and Mecca were displayed by the prophet; a crowd of Bedoweens increased the strength or numbers of the army, and twelve thousand Mussulmans entertained a rash and sinful presumption of their invincible strength. They descended without precaution into the valley of Honain: the heights had been occupied by the archers and slingers of the confederates; their numbers were oppressed, their discipline was confounded, their courage was appalled, and the Koreish smiled at their impending destruction. The prophet, on his white mule, was encompassed by the enemies: he attempted to rush against their spears in search of a glorious death: ten of his faithful companions interposed their weapons and their breasts; three of these fell dead at his feet: "O my brethren," he repeatedly cried, with sorrow and indignation, "I am the son of Abdallah, I am the apostle of truth! O man, stand fast in the faith! O God, send down thy succor!" His uncle Abbas, who, like the heroes of Homer, excelled in the loudness of his voice, made the valley resound with the recital of the gifts and promises of God: the flying Moslems returned from all sides to the holy standard; and Mahomet observed with pleasure that the furnace was again rekindled: his conduct and example restored the battle, and he animated his victorious troops to inflict a merciless revenge on the authors of their shame. From the field of Honain, he marched without delay to the siege of Tayef, sixty miles to the south- east of Mecca, a fortress of strength, whose fertile lands produce the fruits of Syria in the midst of the Arabian desert. A friendly tribe, instructed (I know not how) in the art of sieges, supplied him with a train of battering-rams and military engines, with a body of five hundred artificers. But it was in vain that he offered freedom to the slaves of Tayef; that he violated his own laws by the extirpation of the fruit-trees; that the ground was opened by the miners; that the breach was assaulted by the troops. After a siege of twenty-days, the prophet sounded a retreat; but he retreated with a song of devout triumph, and affected to pray for the repentance and safety of the unbelieving city. The spoils of this fortunate expedition amounted to six thousand captives, twenty-four thousand camels, forty thousand sheep, and four thousand ounces of silver: a tribe who had fought at Hoinan redeemed their prisoners by the sacrifice of their idols; but Mahomet compensated the loss, by resigning to the soldiers his fifth of the plunder, and wished, for their sake, that he possessed as many head of cattle as there were trees in the province of Tehama. Instead of chastising the disaffection of the Koreish, he endeavored to cut out their tongues, (his own expression,) and to secure their attachment by a superior measure of liberality: Abu Sophian alone was presented with three hundred camels and twenty ounces of silver; and Mecca was sincerely converted to the profitable religion of the Koran.

[^142: Abulfeda, p. 112—115. Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 67 - 88. D'Herbelot, Mohammed.]

[^143: The siege of Tayef, division of the spoil, etc., are related by Abulfeda (p. 117—123) and Gagnier, (tom. iii. p. 88—111.) It is Al Jannabi who mentions the engines and engineers of the tribe of Daws. The fertile spot of Tayef was supposed to be a piece of the land of Syria detached and dropped in the general deluge]

The fugitives and auxiliaries complained, that they who had borne the burden were neglected in the season of victory "Alas!" replied their artful leader, "suffer me to conciliate these recent enemies, these doubtful proselytes, by the gift of some perishable goods. To your guard I intrust my life and fortunes. You are the companions of my exile, of my kingdom, of my paradise." He was followed by the deputies of Tayef, who dreaded the repetition of a siege. "Grant us, O apostle of God! a truce of three years, with the toleration of our ancient worship." "Not a month, not an hour." "Excuse us at least from the obligation of prayer." "Without prayer religion is of no avail." They submitted in silence: their temples were demolished, and the same sentence of destruction was executed on all the idols of Arabia. His lieutenants, on the shores of the Red Sea, the Ocean, and the Gulf of Persia, were saluted by the acclamations of a faithful people; and the ambassadors, who knelt before the throne of Medina, were as numerous (says the Arabian proverb) as the dates that fall from the maturity of a palm-tree. The nation submitted to the God and the sceptre of Mahomet: the opprobrious name of tribute was abolished: the spontaneous or reluctant oblations of arms and tithes were applied to the service of religion; and one hundred and fourteen thousand Moslems accompanied the last pilgrimage of the apostle.^144

[^144: The last conquests and pilgrimage of Mahomet are contained in Abulfeda, (p. 121, 133,) Gagnier, (tom. iii. p. 119 - 219,) Elmacin, (p. 10, 11,) Abulpharagius, (p. 103.) The ixth of the Hegira was styled the Year of Embassies, (Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. p. 121.)]

When Heraclius returned in triumph from the Persian war, he entertained, at Emesa, one of the ambassadors of Mahomet, who invited the princes and nations of the earth to the profession of Islam. On this foundation the zeal of the Arabians has supposed the secret conversion of the Christian emperor: the vanity of the Greeks has feigned a personal visit of the prince of Medina, who accepted from the royal bounty a rich domain, and a secure retreat, in the province of Syria.^145 But the friendship of Heraclius and Mahomet was of short continuance: the new religion had inflamed rather than assuaged the rapacious spirit of the Saracens, and the murder of an envoy afforded a decent pretence for invading, with three thousand soldiers, the territory of Palestine, that extends to the eastward of the Jordan. The holy banner was intrusted to Zeid; and such was the discipline or enthusiasm of the rising sect, that the noblest chiefs served without reluctance under the slave of the prophet. On the event of his decease, Jaafar and Abdallah were successively substituted to the command; and if the three should perish in the war, the troops were authorized to elect their general. The three leaders were slain in the battle of Muta,^146 the first military action, which tried the valor of the Moslems against a foreign enemy. Zeid fell, like a soldier, in the foremost ranks: the death of Jaafar was heroic and memorable: he lost his right hand: he shifted the standard to his left: the left was severed from his body: he embraced the standard with his bleeding stumps, till he was transfixed to the ground with fifty honorable wounds.^* "Advance," cried Abdallah, who stepped into the vacant place, "advance with confidence: either victory or paradise is our own." The lance of a Roman decided the alternative; but the falling standard was rescued by Caled, the proselyte of Mecca: nine swords were broken in his hand; and his valor withstood and repulsed the superior numbers of the Christians. In the nocturnal council of the camp he was chosen to command: his skilful evolutions of the ensuing day secured either the victory or the retreat of the Saracens; and Caled is renowned among his brethren and his enemies by the glorious appellation of the Sword of God. In the pulpit, Mahomet described, with prophetic rapture, the crowns of the blessed martyrs; but in private he betrayed the feelings of human nature: he was surprised as he wept over the daughter of Zeid: "What do I see?" said the astonished votary. "You see," replied the apostle, "a friend who is deploring the loss of his most faithful friend." After the conquest of Mecca, the sovereign of Arabia affected to prevent the hostile preparations of Heraclius; and solemnly proclaimed war against the Romans, without attempting to disguise the hardships and dangers of the enterprise.^147 The Moslems were discouraged: they alleged the want of money, or horses, or provisions; the season of harvest, and the intolerable heat of the summer: "Hell is much hotter," said the indignant prophet. He disdained to compel their service: but on his return he admonished the most guilty, by an excommunication of fifty days. Their desertion enhanced the merit of Abubeker, Othman, and the faithful companions who devoted their lives and fortunes; and Mahomet displayed his banner at the head of ten thousand horse and twenty thousand foot. Painful indeed was the distress of the march: lassitude and thirst were aggravated by the scorching and pestilential winds of the desert: ten men rode by turns on one camel; and they were reduced to the shameful necessity of drinking the water from the belly of that useful animal. In the mid-way, ten days' journey from Medina and Damascus, they reposed near the grove and fountain of Tabuc. Beyond that place Mahomet declined the prosecution of the war: he declared himself satisfied with the peaceful intentions, he was more probably daunted by the martial array, of the emperor of the East. But the active and intrepid Caled spread around the terror of his name; and the prophet received the submission of the tribes and cities, from the Euphrates to Ailah, at the head of the Red Sea. To his Christian subjects, Mahomet readily granted the security of their persons, the freedom of their trade, the property of their goods, and the toleration of their worship.^148 The weakness of their Arabian brethren had restrained them from opposing his ambition; the disciples of Jesus were endeared to the enemy of the Jews; and it was the interest of a conqueror to propose a fair capitulation to the most powerful religion of the earth.

[^145: Compare the bigoted Al Jannabi (apud Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 232—255) with the no less bigoted Greeks, Theophanes, (p. 276—227,) Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 86,) and Cedrenus, (p. 421.)]

[^146: For the battle of Muta, and its consequences, see Abulfeda (p 100—102) and Gagnier, (tom. ii. p. 327—343.).]

[^*: To console the afflicted relatives of his kinsman Jauffer, he (Mahomet) represented that, in Paradise, in exchange for the arms which he had lost, he had been furnished with a pair of wings, resplendent with the blushing glories of the ruby, and with which he was become the inseparable companion of the archangal Gabriel, in his volitations through the regions of eternal bliss. Hence, in the catalogue of the martyrs, he has been denominated Jauffer teyaur, the winged Jauffer. Price, Chronological Retrospect of Mohammedan History, vol. i. p. 5. —M.]

[^147: The expedition of Tabuc is recorded by our ordinary historians Abulfeda (Vit. Moham. p. 123—127) and Gagnier, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 147—163: ) but we have the advantage of appealing to the original evidence of the Koran, (c. 9, p. 154, 165,) with Sale's learned and rational notes.]

[^148: The Diploma securitatis Ailensibus is attested by Ahmed Ben Joseph, and the author Libri Splendorum, (Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfe dam, p. 125;) but Abulfeda himself, as well as Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 11,) though he owns Mahomet's regard for the Christians, (p 13,) only mentions peace and tribute. In the year 1630, Sionita published at Paris the text and version of Mahomet's patent in favor of the Christians; which was admitted and reprobated by the opposite taste of Salmasius and Grotius, (Bayle, Mahomet, Rem. Aa.) Hottinger doubts of its authenticity, (Hist. Orient. p. 237;) Renaudot urges the consent of the Mohametans, (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 169;) but Mosheim (Hist. Eccles. p. 244) shows the futility of their opinion and inclines to believe it spurious. Yet Abulpharagius quotes the impostor's treaty with the Nestorian patriarch, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 418;) but Abulpharagius was primate of the Jacobites.]

Till the age of sixty-three years, the strength of Mahomet was equal to the temporal and spiritual fatigues of his mission. His epileptic fits, an absurd calumny of the Greeks, would be an object of pity rather than abhorrence;^149 but he seriously believed that he was poisoned at Chaibar by the revenge of a Jewish female.^150 During four years, the health of the prophet declined; his infirmities increased; but his mortal disease was a fever of fourteen days, which deprived him by intervals of the use of reason. As soon as he was conscious of his danger, he edified his brethren by the humility of his virtue or penitence. "If there be any man," said the apostle from the pulpit, "whom I have unjustly scourged, I submit my own back to the lash of retaliation. Have I aspersed the reputation of a Mussulman? let him proclaim my thoughts in the face of the congregation. Has any one been despoiled of his goods? the little that I possess shall compensate the principal and the interest of the debt." "Yes," replied a voice from the crowd, "I am entitled to three drams of silver." Mahomet heard the complaint, satisfied the demand, and thanked his creditor for accusing him in this world rather than at the day of judgment. He beheld with temperate firmness the approach of death; enfranchised his slaves (seventeen men, as they are named, and eleven women;) minutely directed the order of his funeral, and moderated the lamentations of his weeping friends, on whom he bestowed the benediction of peace. Till the third day before his death, he regularly performed the function of public prayer: the choice of Abubeker to supply his place, appeared to mark that ancient and faithful friend as his successor in the sacerdotal and regal office; but he prudently declined the risk and envy of a more explicit nomination. At a moment when his faculties were visibly impaired, he called for pen and ink to write, or, more properly, to dictate, a divine book, the sum and accomplishment of all his revelations: a dispute arose in the chamber, whether he should be allowed to supersede the authority of the Koran; and the prophet was forced to reprove the indecent vehemence of his disciples. If the slightest credit may be afforded to the traditions of his wives and companions, he maintained, in the bosom of his family, and to the last moments of his life, the dignity^* of an apostle, and the faith of an enthusiast; described the visits of Gabriel, who bade an everlasting farewell to the earth, and expressed his lively confidence, not only of the mercy, but of the favor, of the Supreme Being. In a familiar discourse he had mentioned his special prerogative, that the angel of death was not allowed to take his soul till he had respectfully asked the permission of the prophet. The request was granted; and Mahomet immediately fell into the agony of his dissolution: his head was reclined on the lap of Ayesha, the best beloved of all his wives; he fainted with the violence of pain; recovering his spirits, he raised his eyes towards the roof of the house, and, with a steady look, though a faltering voice, uttered the last broken, though articulate, words: "O God!.....pardon my sins.......Yes,......I come,......among my fellow-citizens on high;" and thus peaceably expired on a carpet spread upon the floor. An expedition for the conquest of Syria was stopped by this mournful event; the army halted at the gates of Medina; the chiefs were assembled round their dying master. The city, more especially the house, of the prophet, was a scene of clamorous sorrow of silent despair: fanaticism alone could suggest a ray of hope and consolation. "How can he be dead, our witness, our intercessor, our mediator, with God? By God he is not dead: like Moses and Jesus, he is wrapped in a holy trance, and speedily will he return to his faithful people." The evidence of sense was disregarded; and Omar, unsheathing his cimeter, threatened to strike off the heads of the infidels, who should dare to affirm that the prophet was no more. The tumult was appeased by the weight and moderation of Abubeker. "Is it Mahomet," said he to Omar and the multitude, "or the God of Mahomet, whom you worship?

The God of Mahomet liveth forever; but the apostle was a mortal like ourselves, and according to his own prediction, he has experienced the common fate of mortality." He was piously interred by the hands of his nearest kinsman, on the same spot on which he expired:^151 Medina has been sanctified by the death and burial of Mahomet; and the innumerable pilgrims of Mecca often turn aside from the way, to bow, in voluntary devotion, ^152 before the simple tomb of the prophet.^153

[^149: The epilepsy, or falling-sickness, of Mahomet is asserted by Theophanes, Zonaras, and the rest of the Greeks; and is greedily swallowed by the gross bigotry of Hottinger, (Hist. Orient. p. 10, 11,) Prideaux, (Life of Mahomet, p. 12,) and Maracci, (tom. ii. Alcoran, p. 762, 763.) The titles (the wrapped-up, the covered) of two chapters of the Koran, (73, 74) can hardly be strained to such an interpretation: the silence, the ignorance of the Mahometan commentators, is more conclusive than the most peremptory denial; and the charitable side is espoused by Ockley, (Hist. of the Saracens, tom. i. p. 301,) Gagnier, (ad Abulfedam, p. 9. Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 118,) and Sale, (Koran, p. 469—474.)
Note: Dr Weil believes in the epilepsy, and adduces strong evidence for it; and surely it may be believed, in perfect charity; and that the prophet's visions were connected, as they appear to have been, with these fits. I have little doubt that he saw and believed these visions, and visions they were. Weil, p. 43.—M. 1845.]

[^150: This poison (more ignominious since it was offered as a test of his prophetic knowledge) is frankly confessed by his zealous votaries, Abulfeda (p. 92) and Al Jannabi, (apud Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 286—288.)]

[^*: Major Price, who writes with the authority of one widely conversant with the original sources of Eastern knowledge, and in a very candid tone, takes a very different view of the prophet's death. "In tracing the circumstances of Mahommed's illness, we look in vain for any proofs of that meek and heroic firmness which might be expected to dignify and embellish the last moments of the apostle of God. On some occasions he betrayed such want of fortitude, such marks of childish impatience, as are in general to be found in men only of the most ordinary stamp; and such as extorted from his wife Ayesha, in particular, the sarcastic remark, that in herself, or any of her family, a similar demeanor would long since have incurred his severe displeasure. * * * He said that the acuteness and violence of his sufferings were necessarily in the proportion of those honors with which it had ever pleased the hand of Omnipotence to distinguish its peculiar favorites Price, vol. i. p. 13.—M.]

[^151: The Greeks and Latins have invented and propagated the vulgar and ridiculous story, that Mahomet's iron tomb is suspended in the air at Mecca, (Laonicus Chalcondyles, de Rebus Turcicis, l. iii. p. 66,) by the action of equal and potent loadstones, (Dictionnaire de Bayle, Mahomet, Rem. Ee. Ff.) Without any philosophical inquiries, it may suffice, that, 1. The prophet was not buried at Mecca; and, 2. That his tomb at Medina, which has been visited by millions, is placed on the ground, (Reland, de Relig. Moham. l. ii. c. 19, p. 209—211. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 263—268.)
Note: According to the testimony of all the Eastern authors, Mahomet died on Monday the 12th Reby 1st, in the year 11 of the Hegira, which answers in reality to the 8th June, 632, of J. C. We find in Ockley (Hist. of Saracens) that it was on Monday the 6th June, 632. This is a mistake; for the 6th June of that year was a Saturday, not a Monday; the 8th June, therefore, was a Monday. It is easy to discover that the lunar year, in this calculation has been confounded with the solar. St. Martin vol. xi. p. 186.—M.]

[^152: Al Jannabi enumerates (Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 372—391) the multifarious duties of a pilgrim who visits the tombs of the prophet and his companions; and the learned casuist decides, that this act of devotion is nearest in obligation and merit to a divine precept. The doctors are divided which, of Mecca or Medina, be the most excellent, (p. 391—394.)]

[^153: The last sickness, death, and burial of Mahomet, are described by Abulfeda and Gagnier, (Vit. Moham. p. 133—142.

Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 220—271.) The most private and interesting circumstances were originally received from Ayesha, Ali, the sons of Abbas, etc.; and as they dwelt at Medina, and survived the prophet many years, they might repeat the pious tale to a second or third generation of pilgrims.]

At the conclusion of the life of Mahomet, it may perhaps be expected, that I should balance his faults and virtues, that I should decide whether the title of enthusiast or impostor more properly belongs to that extraordinary man. Had I been intimately conversant with the son of Abdallah, the task would still be difficult, and the success uncertain: at the distance of twelve centuries, I darkly contemplate his shade through a cloud of religious incense; and could I truly delineate the portrait of an hour, the fleeting resemblance would not equally apply to the solitary of Mount Hera, to the preacher of Mecca, and to the conqueror of Arabia. The author of a mighty revolution appears to have been endowed with a pious and contemplative disposition: so soon as marriage had raised him above the pressure of want, he avoided the paths of ambition and avarice; and till the age of forty he lived with innocence, and would have died without a name. The unity of God is an idea most congenial to nature and reason; and a slight conversation with the Jews and Christians would teach him to despise and detest the idolatry of Mecca. It was the duty of a man and a citizen to impart the doctrine of salvation, to rescue his country from the dominion of sin and error. The energy of a mind incessantly bent on the same object, would convert a general obligation into a particular call; the warm suggestions of the understanding or the fancy would be felt as the inspirations of Heaven; the labor of thought would expire in rapture and vision; and the inward sensation, the invisible monitor, would be described with the form and attributes of an angel of God.^154 From enthusiasm to imposture, the step is perilous and slippery: the daemon of Socrates^155 affords a memorable instance, how a wise man may deceive himself, how a good man may deceive others, how the conscience may slumber in a mixed and middle state between self-illusion and voluntary fraud. Charity may believe that the original motives of Mahomet were those of pure and genuine benevolence; but a human missionary is incapable of cherishing the obstinate unbelievers who reject his claims despise his arguments, and persecute his life; he might forgive his personal adversaries, he may lawfully hate the enemies of God; the stern passions of pride and revenge were kindled in the bosom of Mahomet, and he sighed, like the prophet of Nineveh, for the destruction of the rebels whom he had condemned. The injustice of Mecca and the choice of Medina, transformed the citizen into a prince, the humble preacher into the leader of armies; but his sword was consecrated by the example of the saints; and the same God who afflicts a sinful world with pestilence and earthquakes, might inspire for their conversion or chastisement the valor of his servants. In the exercise of political government, he was compelled to abate of the stern rigor of fanaticism, to comply in some measure with the prejudices and passions of his followers, and to employ even the vices of mankind as the instruments of their salvation. The use of fraud and perfidy, of cruelty and injustice, were often subservient to the propagation of the faith; and Mahomet commanded or approved the assassination of the Jews and idolaters who had escaped from the field of battle. By the repetition of such acts, the character of Mahomet must have been gradually stained; and the influence of such pernicious habits would be poorly compensated by the practice of the personal and social virtues which are necessary to maintain the reputation of a prophet among his sectaries and friends. Of his last years, ambition was the ruling passion; and a politician will suspect, that he secretly smiled (the victorious impostor!) at the enthusiasm of his youth, and the credulity of his proselytes. ^156 A philosopher will observe, that their credulity and his success would tend more strongly to fortify the assurance of his divine mission, that his interest and religion were inseparably connected, and that his conscience would be soothed by the persuasion, that he alone was absolved by the Deity from the obligation of positive and moral laws. If he retained any vestige of his native innocence, the sins of Mahomet may be allowed as an evidence of his sincerity. In the support of truth, the arts of fraud and fiction may be deemed less criminal; and he would have started at the foulness of the means, had he not been satisfied of the importance and justice of the end. Even in a conqueror or a priest, I can surprise a word or action of unaffected humanity; and the decree of Mahomet, that, in the sale of captives, the mothers should never be separated from their children, may suspend, or moderate, the censure of the historian. ^157

[^154: The Christians, rashly enough, have assigned to Mahomet a tame pigeon, that seemed to descend from heaven and whisper in his ear. As this pretended miracle is urged by Grotius, (de Veritate Religionis Christianae,) his Arabic translator, the learned Pocock, inquired of him the names of his authors; and Grotius confessed, that it is unknown to the Mahometans themselves. Lest it should provoke their indignation and laughter, the pious lie is suppressed in the Arabic version; but it has maintained an edifying place in the numerous editions of the Latin text, (Pocock, Specimen, Hist. Arabum, p. 186, 187. Reland, de Religion. Moham. l. ii. c. 39, p. 259—262.)]

[^155: (Plato, in Apolog. Socrat. c. 19, p. 121, 122, edit. Fischer.) The familiar examples, which Socrates urges in his Dialogue with Theages, (Platon. Opera, tom. i. p. 128, 129, edit. Hen. Stephan.) are beyond the reach of human foresight; and the divine inspiration of the philosopher is clearly taught in the Memorabilia of Xenophon. The ideas of the most rational Platonists are expressed by Cicero, (de Divinat. i. 54,) and in the xivth and xvth Dissertations of Maximus of Tyre, (p. 153 - 172, edit. Davis.)]

[^156: In some passage of his voluminous writings, Voltaire compares the prophet, in his old age, to a fakir, "qui detache la chaine de son cou pour en donner sur les oreilles a ses confreres."]

[^157: Gagnier relates, with the same impartial pen, this humane law of the prophet, and the murders of Caab, and Sophian, which he prompted and approved, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 69, 97, 208.)]


The good sense of Mahomet^158 despised the pomp of royalty: the apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family: he kindled the fire, swept the floor, milked the ewes, and mended with his own hands his shoes and his woollen garment. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit, he observed, without effort or vanity, the abstemious diet of an Arab and a soldier. On solemn occasions he feasted his companions with rustic and hospitable plenty; but in his domestic life, many weeks would elapse without a tire being kindled on the hearth of the prophet. The interdiction of wine was confirmed by his example; his hunger was appeased with a sparing allowance of barley-bread: he delighted in the taste of milk and honey; but his ordinary food consisted of dates and water. Perfumes and women were the two sensual enjoyments which his nature required, and his religion did not forbid; and Mahomet affirmed, that the fervor of his devotion was increased by these innocent pleasures. The heat of the climate inflames the blood of the Arabs; and their libidinous complexion has been noticed by the writers of antiquity.^159 Their incontinence was regulated by the civil and religious laws of the Koran: their incestuous alliances were blamed; the boundless license of polygamy was reduced to four legitimate wives or concubines; their rights both of bed and of dowry were equitably determined; the freedom of divorce was discouraged, adultery was condemned as a capital offence; and fornication, in either sex, was punished with a hundred stripes.^160 Such were the calm and rational precepts of the legislator: but in his private conduct, Mahomet indulged the appetites of a man, and abused the claims of a prophet. A special revelation dispensed him from the laws which he had imposed on his nation: the female sex, without reserve, was abandoned to his desires; and this singular prerogative excited the envy, rather than the scandal, the veneration, rather than the envy, of the devout Mussulmans. If we remember the seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines of the wise Solomon, we shall applaud the modesty of the Arabian, who espoused no more than seventeen or fifteen wives; eleven are enumerated who occupied at Medina their separate apartments round the house of the apostle, and enjoyed in their turns the favor of his conjugal society. What is singular enough, they were all widows, excepting only Ayesha, the daughter of Abubeker. She was doubtless a virgin, since Mahomet consummated his nuptials (such is the premature ripeness of the climate) when she was only nine years of age. The youth, the beauty, the spirit of Ayesha, gave her a superior ascendant: she was beloved and trusted by the prophet; and, after his death, the daughter of Abubeker was long revered as the mother of the faithful. Her behavior had been ambiguous and indiscreet: in a nocturnal march she was accidentally left behind; and in the morning Ayesha returned to the camp with a man. The temper of Mahomet was inclined to jealousy; but a divine revelation assured him of her innocence: he chastised her accusers, and published a law of domestic peace, that no woman should be condemned unless four male witnesses had seen her in the act of adultery.^161 In his adventures with Zeineb, the wife of Zeid, and with Mary, an Egyptian captive, the amorous prophet forgot the interest of his reputation. At the house of Zeid, his freedman and adopted son, he beheld, in a loose undress, the beauty of Zeineb, and burst forth into an ejaculation of devotion and desire. The servile, or grateful, freedman understood the hint, and yielded without hesitation to the love of his benefactor. But as the filial relation had excited some doubt and scandal, the angel Gabriel descended from heaven to ratify the deed, to annul the adoption, and gently to reprove the apostle for distrusting the indulgence of his God. One of his wives, Hafna, the daughter of Omar, surprised him on her own bed, in the embraces of his Egyptian captive: she promised secrecy and forgiveness, he swore that he would renounce the possession of Mary. Both parties forgot their engagements; and Gabriel again descended with a chapter of the Koran, to absolve him from his oath, and to exhort him freely to enjoy his captives and concubines, without listening to the clamors of his wives. In a solitary retreat of thirty days, he labored, alone with Mary, to fulfil the commands of the angel. When his love and revenge were satiated, he summoned to his presence his eleven wives, reproached their disobedience and indiscretion, and threatened them with a sentence of divorce, both in this world and in the next; a dreadful sentence, since those who had ascended the bed of the prophet were forever excluded from the hope of a second marriage. Perhaps the incontinence of Mahomet may be palliated by the tradition of his natural or preternatural gifts;^162 he united the manly virtue of thirty of the children of Adam: and the apostle might rival the thirteenth labor^163 of the Grecian Hercules.^164 A more serious and decent excuse may be drawn from his fidelity to Cadijah. During the twenty-four years of their marriage, her youthful husband abstained from the right of polygamy, and the pride or tenderness of the venerable matron was never insulted by the society of a rival. After her death, he placed her in the rank of the four perfect women, with the sister of Moses, the mother of Jesus, and Fatima, the best beloved of his daughters. "Was she not old?" said Ayesha, with the insolence of a blooming beauty; "has not God given you a better in her place?" "No, by God," said Mahomet, with an effusion of honest gratitude, "there never can be a better! She believed in me when men despised me; she relieved my wants, when I was poor and persecuted by the world."^165

[^158: For the domestic life of Mahomet, consult Gagnier, and the corresponding chapters of Abulfeda; for his diet, (tom. iii. p. 285—288;) his children, (p. 189, 289;) his wives, (p. 290—303;) his marriage with Zeineb, (tom. ii. p. 152—160;) his amour with Mary, (p. 303—309;) the false accusation of Ayesha, (p. 186—199.) The most original evidence of the three last transactions is contained in the xxivth, xxxiiid, and lxvith chapters of the Koran, with Sale's Commentary. Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 80—90) and Maracci (Prodrom. Alcoran, part iv. p. 49—59) have maliciously exaggerated the frailties of Mahomet.]

[^159: Incredibile est quo ardore apud eos in Venerem uterque solvitur sexus, (Ammian. Marcellin. l. xiv. c. 4.)]

[^160: Sale (Preliminary Discourse, p. 133—137) has recapitulated the laws of marriage, divorce, etc.; and the curious reader of Selden's Uror Hebraica will recognize many Jewish ordinances.]

[^161: In a memorable case, the Caliph Omar decided that all presumptive evidence was of no avail; and that all the four witnesses must have actually seen stylum in pyxide, (Abulfedae Annales Moslemici, p. 71, vers. Reiske.)]

[^162: Sibi robur ad generationem, quantum triginta viri habent, inesse jacteret: ita ut unica hora posset undecim foeminis satisfacere, ut ex Arabum libris refert Stus. Petrus Paschasius, c. 2., (Maracci, Prodromus Alcoran, p. iv. p. 55. See likewise Observations de Belon, l. iii. c. 10, fol. 179, recto.) Al Jannabi (Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 287) records his own testimony, that he surpassed all men in conjugal vigor; and Abulfeda mentions the exclamation of Ali, who washed the body after his death, "O propheta, certe penis tuus coelum versus erectus est," in Vit. Mohammed, p. 140.]

[^163: I borrow the style of a father of the church, (Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 108.)]

[^164: The common and most glorious legend includes, in a single night the fifty victories of Hercules over the virgin daughters of Thestius, (Diodor. Sicul. tom. i. l. iv. p. 274. Pausanias, l. ix. p. 763. Statius Sylv. l. i. eleg. iii. v. 42.) But Athenaeus allows seven nights, (Deipnosophist, l. xiii. p. 556,) and Apollodorus fifty, for this arduous achievement of Hercules, who was then no more than eighteen years of age, (Bibliot. l. ii. c. 4, p. 111, cum notis Heyne, part i. p. 332.)]

[^165: Abulfeda in Vit. Moham. p. 12, 13, 16, 17, cum Notis Gagnier]

In the largest indulgence of polygamy, the founder of a religion and empire might aspire to multiply the chances of a numerous posterity and a lineal succession. The hopes of Mahomet were fatally disappointed. The virgin Ayesha, and his ten widows of mature age and approved fertility, were barren in his potent embraces. The four sons of Cadijah died in their infancy. Mary, his Egyptian concubine, was endeared to him by the birth of Ibrahim. At the end of fifteen months the prophet wept over his grave; but he sustained with firmness the raillery of his enemies, and checked the adulation or credulity of the Moslems, by the assurance that an eclipse of the sun was not occasioned by the death of the infant. Cadijah had likewise given him four daughters, who were married to the most faithful of his disciples: the three eldest died before their father; but Fatima, who possessed his confidence and love, became the wife of her cousin Ali, and the mother of an illustrious progeny. The merit and misfortunes of Ali and his descendants will lead me to anticipate, in this place, the series of the Saracen caliphs, a title which describes the commanders of the faithful as the vicars and successors of the apostle of God.^166

[^166: This outline of the Arabian history is drawn from the Bibliotheque Orientale of D'Herbelot, (under the names of Aboubecre, Omar Othman, Ali, etc.;) from the Annals of Abulfeda, Abulpharagius, and Elmacin, (under the proper years of the Hegira,) and especially from Ockley's History of the Saracens, (vol. i. p. 1—10, 115—122, 229, 249, 363—372, 378—391, and almost the whole of the second volume.) Yet we should weigh with caution the traditions of the hostile sects; a stream which becomes still more muddy as it flows farther from the source. Sir John Chardin has too faithfully copied the fables and errors of the modern Persians, (Voyages, tom. ii. p. 235—250, etc.)]

The birth, the alliance, the character of Ali, which exalted him above the rest of his countrymen, might justify his claim to the vacant throne of Arabia. The son of Abu Taleb was, in his own right, the chief of the family of Hashem, and the hereditary prince or guardian of the city and temple of Mecca. The light of prophecy was extinct; but the husband of Fatima might expect the inheritance and blessing of her father: the Arabs had sometimes been patient of a female reign; and the two grandsons of the prophet had often been fondled in his lap, and shown in his pulpit as the hope of his age, and the chief of the youth of paradise. The first of the true believers might aspire to march before them in this world and in the next; and if some were of a graver and more rigid cast, the zeal and virtue of Ali were never outstripped by any recent proselyte. He united the qualifications of a poet, a soldier, and a saint: his wisdom still breathes in a collection of moral and religious sayings; ^167 and every antagonist, in the combats of the tongue or of the sword, was subdued by his eloquence and valor. From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his funeral, the apostle was never forsaken by a generous friend, whom he delighted to name his brother, his vicegerent, and the faithful Aaron of a second Moses. The son of Abu Taleb was afterwards reproached for neglecting to secure his interest by a solemn declaration of his right, which would have silenced all competition, and sealed his succession by the decrees of Heaven. But the unsuspecting hero confided in himself: the jealousy of empire, and perhaps the fear of opposition, might suspend the resolutions of Mahomet; and the bed of sickness was besieged by the artful Ayesha, the daughter of Abubeker, and the enemy of Ali.^*

[^167: Ockley (at the end of his second volume) has given an English version of 169 sentences, which he ascribes, with some hesitation, to Ali, the son of Abu Taleb. His preface is colored by the enthusiasm of a translator; yet these sentences delineate a characteristic, though dark, picture of human life.]

[^*: Gibbon wrote chiefly from the Arabic or Sunnite account of these transactions, the only sources accessible at the time when he composed his History. Major Price, writing from Persian authorities, affords us the advantage of comparing throughout what may be fairly considered the Shiite Version. The glory of Ali is the constant burden of their strain. He was destined, and, according to some accounts, designated, for the caliphate by the prophet; but while the others were fiercely pushing their own interests, Ali was watching the remains of Mahomet with pious fidelity. His disinterested magnanimity, on each separate occasion, declined the sceptre, and gave the noble example of obedience to the appointed caliph. He is described, in retirement, on the throne, and in the field of battle, as transcendently pious, magnanimous, valiant, and humane. He lost his empire through his excess of virtue and love for the faithful his life through his confidence in God, and submission to the decrees of fate.

Compare the curious account of this apathy in Price, chapter ii. It is to be regretted, I must add, that Major Price has contented himself with quoting the names of the Persian works which he follows, without any account of their character, age, and authority.—M.]

The silence and death of the prophet restored the liberty of the people; and his companions convened an assembly to deliberate on the choice of his successor. The hereditary claim and lofty spirit of Ali were offensive to an aristocracy of elders, desirous of bestowing and resuming the sceptre by a free and frequent election: the Koreish could never be reconciled to the proud preeminence of the line of Hashem; the ancient discord of the tribes was rekindled, the fugitives of Mecca and the auxiliaries of Medina asserted their respective merits; and the rash proposal of choosing two independent caliphs would have crushed in their infancy the religion and empire of the Saracens. The tumult was appeased by the disinterested resolution of Omar, who, suddenly renouncing his own pretensions, stretched forth his hand, and declared himself the first subject of the mild and venerable Abubeker.^* The urgency of the moment, and the acquiescence of the people, might excuse this illegal and precipitate measure; but Omar himself confessed from the pulpit, that if any Mulsulman should hereafter presume to anticipate the suffrage of his brethren, both the elector and the elected would be worthy of death.^168 After the simple inauguration of Abubeker, he was obeyed in Medina, Mecca, and the provinces of Arabia: the Hashemites alone declined the oath of fidelity; and their chief, in his own house, maintained, above six months, a sullen and independent reserve; without listening to the threats of Omar, who attempted to consume with fire the habitation of the daughter of the apostle. The death of Fatima, and the decline of his party, subdued the indignant spirit of Ali: he condescended to salute the commander of the faithful, accepted his excuse of the necessity of preventing their common enemies, and wisely rejected his courteous offer of abdicating the government of the Arabians. After a reign of two years, the aged caliph was summoned by the angel of death. In his testament, with the tacit approbation of his companions, he bequeathed the sceptre to the firm and intrepid virtue of Omar. "I have no occasion," said the modest candidate, "for the place." "But the place has occasion for you," replied Abubeker; who expired with a fervent prayer, that the God of Mahomet would ratify his choice, and direct the Mussulmans in the way of concord and obedience. The prayer was not ineffectual, since Ali himself, in a life of privacy and prayer, professed to revere the superior worth and dignity of his rival; who comforted him for the loss of empire, by the most flattering marks of confidence and esteem. In the twelfth year of his reign, Omar received a mortal wound from the hand of an assassin: he rejected with equal impartiality the names of his son and of Ali, refused to load his conscience with the sins of his successor, and devolved on six of the most respectable companions the arduous task of electing a commander of the faithful. On this occasion, Ali was again blamed by his friends ^169 for submitting his right to the judgment of men, for recognizing their jurisdiction by accepting a place among the six electors. He might have obtained their suffrage, had he deigned to promise a strict and servile conformity, not only to the Koran and tradition, but likewise to the determinations of two seniors. ^170 With these limitations, Othman, the secretary of Mahomet, accepted the government; nor was it till after the third caliph, twenty-four years after the death of the prophet, that Ali was invested, by the popular choice, with the regal and sacerdotal office. The manners of the Arabians retained their primitive simplicity, and the son of Abu Taleb despised the pomp and vanity of this world. At the hour of prayer, he repaired to the mosch of Medina, clothed in a thin cotton gown, a coarse turban on his head, his slippers in one hand, and his bow in the other, instead of a walking-staff. The companions of the prophet, and the chiefs of the tribes, saluted their new sovereign, and gave him their right hands as a sign of fealty and allegiance.

[^*: Abubeker, the father of the virgin Ayesha. St. Martin, vol. XL, p. 88—M.]

[^168: Ockley, (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 5, 6,) from an Arabian Ms., represents Ayesha as adverse to the substitution of her father in the place of the apostle. This fact, so improbable in itself, is unnoticed by Abulfeda, Al Jannabi, and Al Bochari, the last of whom quotes the tradition of Ayesha herself, (Vit. Mohammed, p. 136 Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 236.)]

[^169: Particularly by his friend and cousin Abdallah, the son of Abbas, who died A.D. 687, with the title of grand doctor of the Moslems. In Abulfeda he recapitulates the important occasions in which Ali had neglected his salutary advice, (p. 76, vers. Reiske;) and concludes, (p. 85,) O princeps fidelium, absque controversia tu quidem vere fortis es, at inops boni consilii, et rerum gerendarum parum callens.]

[^170: I suspect that the two seniors (Abulpharagius, p. 115. Ockley, tom. i. p. 371,) may signify not two actual counsellors, but his two predecessors, Abubeker and Omar.]

The mischiefs that flow from the contests of ambition are usually confined to the times and countries in which they have been agitated. But the religious discord of the friends and enemies of Ali has been renewed in every age of the Hegira, and is still maintained in the immortal hatred of the Persians and Turks.^171 The former, who are branded with the appellation of Shiites or sectaries, have enriched the Mahometan creed with a new article of faith; and if Mahomet be the apostle, his companion Ali is the vicar, of God. In their private converse, in their public worship, they bitterly execrate the three usurpers who intercepted his indefeasible right to the dignity of Imam and Caliph; and the name of Omar expresses in their tongue the perfect accomplishment of wickedness and impiety.^172 The Sonnites, who are supported by the general consent and orthodox tradition of the Mussulmans, entertain a more impartial, or at least a more decent, opinion. They respect the memory of Abubeker, Omar, Othman, and Ali, the holy and legitimate successors of the prophet. But they assign the last and most humble place to the husband of Fatima, in the persuasion that the order of succession was determined by the decrees of sanctity. ^173 An historian who balances the four caliphs with a hand unshaken by superstition, will calmly pronounce that their manners were alike pure and exemplary; that their zeal was fervent, and probably sincere; and that, in the midst of riches and power, their lives were devoted to the practice of moral and religious duties. But the public virtues of Abubeker and Omar, the prudence of the first, the severity of the second, maintained the peace and prosperity of their reigns. The feeble temper and declining age of Othman were incapable of sustaining the weight of conquest and empire. He chose, and he was deceived; he trusted, and he was betrayed: the most deserving of the faithful became useless or hostile to his government, and his lavish bounty was productive only of ingratitude and discontent. The spirit of discord went forth in the provinces: their deputies assembled at Medina; and the Charegites, the desperate fanatics who disclaimed the yoke of subordination and reason, were confounded among the free-born Arabs, who demanded the redress of their wrongs and the punishment of their oppressors. From Cufa, from Bassora, from Egypt, from the tribes of the desert, they rose in arms, encamped about a league from Medina, and despatched a haughty mandate to their sovereign, requiring him to execute justice, or to descend from the throne. His repentance began to disarm and disperse the insurgents; but their fury was rekindled by the arts of his enemies; and the forgery of a perfidious secretary was contrived to blast his reputation and precipitate his fall. The caliph had lost the only guard of his predecessors, the esteem and confidence of the Moslems: during a siege of six weeks his water and provisions were intercepted, and the feeble gates of the palace were protected only by the scruples of the more timorous rebels. Forsaken by those who had abused his simplicity, the hopeless and venerable caliph expected the approach of death: the brother of Ayesha marched at the head of the assassins; and Othman, with the Koran in his lap, was pierced with a multitude of wounds.^* A tumultuous anarchy of five days was appeased by the inauguration of Ali: his refusal would have provoked a general massacre. In this painful situation he supported the becoming pride of the chief of the Hashemites; declared that he had rather serve than reign; rebuked the presumption of the strangers; and required the formal, if not the voluntary, assent of the chiefs of the nation. He has never been accused of prompting the assassin of Omar; though Persia indiscreetly celebrates the festival of that holy martyr. The quarrel between Othman and his subjects was assuaged by the early mediation of Ali; and Hassan, the eldest of his sons, was insulted and wounded in the defence of the caliph. Yet it is doubtful whether the father of Hassan was strenuous and sincere in his opposition to the rebels; and it is certain that he enjoyed the benefit of their crime. The temptation was indeed of such magnitude as might stagger and corrupt the most obdurate virtue. The ambitious candidate no longer aspired to the barren sceptre of Arabia; the Saracens had been victorious in the East and West; and the wealthy kingdoms of Persia, Syria, and Egypt were the patrimony of the commander of the faithful.

[^171: The schism of the Persians is explained by all our travellers of the last century, especially in the iid and ivth volumes of their master, Chardin. Niebuhr, though of inferior merit, has the advantage of writing so late as the year 1764, (Voyages en Arabie, etc., tom. ii. p. 208—233,) since the ineffectual attempt of Nadir Shah to change the religion of the nation, (see his Persian History translated into French by Sir William Jones, tom. ii. p. 5, 6, 47, 48, 144—155.)]

[^172: Omar is the name of the devil; his murderer is a saint. When the Persians shoot with the bow, they frequently cry, "May this arrow go to the heart of Omar!" (Voyages de Chardin, tom. ii. p 239, 240, 259, etc.)]

[^173: This gradation of merit is distinctly marked in a creed illustrated by Reland, (de Relig. Mohamm. l. i. p. 37;) and a Sonnite argument inserted by Ockley, (Hist. of the Saracens, tom. ii. p. 230.) The practice of cursing the memory of Ali was abolished, after forty years, by the Ommiades themselves, (D'Herbelot, p. 690;) and there are few among the Turks who presume to revile him as an infidel, (Voyages de Chardin, tom. iv. p. 46.)]

[^*: Compare Price, p. 180.—M.]


A life of prayer and contemplation had not chilled the martial activity of Ali; but in a mature age, after a long experience of mankind, he still betrayed in his conduct the rashness and indiscretion of youth.^* In the first days of his reign, he neglected to secure, either by gifts or fetters, the doubtful allegiance of Telha and Zobeir, two of the most powerful of the Arabian chiefs. They escaped from Medina to Mecca, and from thence to Bassora; erected the standard of revolt; and usurped the government of Irak, or Assyria, which they had vainly solicited as the reward of their services. The mask of patriotism is allowed to cover the most glaring inconsistencies; and the enemies, perhaps the assassins, of Othman now demanded vengeance for his blood. They were accompanied in their flight by Ayesha, the widow of the prophet, who cherished, to the last hour of her life, an implacable hatred against the husband and the posterity of Fatima. The most reasonable Moslems were scandalized, that the mother of the faithful should expose in a camp her person and character;^! but the superstitious crowd was confident that her presence would sanctify the justice, and assure the success, of their cause. At the head of twenty thousand of his loyal Arabs, and nine thousand valiant auxiliaries of Cufa, the caliph encountered and defeated the superior numbers of the rebels under the walls of Bassora.^!! Their leaders, Telha and Zobeir,^@ were slain in the first battle that stained with civil blood the arms of the Moslems.^@@ After passing through the ranks to animate the troops, Ayesha had chosen her post amidst the dangers of the field. In the heat of the action, seventy men, who held the bridle of her camel, were successively killed or wounded; and the cage or litter, in which she sat, was stuck with javelins and darts like the quills of a porcupine. The venerable captive sustained with firmness the reproaches of the conqueror, and was speedily dismissed to her proper station at the tomb of Mahomet, with the respect and tenderness that was still due to the widow of the apostle.^* After this victory, which was styled the Day of the Camel, Ali marched against a more formidable adversary; against Moawiyah, the son of Abu Sophian, who had assumed the title of caliph, and whose claim was supported by the forces of Syria and the interest of the house of Ommiyah. From the passage of Thapsacus, the plain of Siffin^174 extends along the western bank of the Euphrates. On this spacious and level theatre, the two competitors waged a desultory war of one hundred and ten days. In the course of ninety actions or skirmishes, the loss of Ali was estimated at twenty-five, that of Moawiyah at forty-five, thousand soldiers; and the list of the slain was dignified with the names of five-and-twenty veterans who had fought at Beder under the standard of Mahomet. In this sanguinary contest the lawful caliph displayed a superior character of valor and humanity.^!!! His troops were strictly enjoined to await the first onset of the enemy, to spare their flying brethren, and to respect the bodies of the dead, and the chastity of the female captives. He generously proposed to save the blood of the Moslems by a single combat; but his trembling rival declined the challenge as a sentence of inevitable death. The ranks of the Syrians were broken by the charge of a hero who was mounted on a piebald horse, and wielded with irresistible force his ponderous and two-edged sword. As often as he smote a rebel, he shouted the Allah Acbar, "God is victorious!" and in the tumult of a nocturnal battle, he was heard to repeat four hundred times that tremendous exclamation. The prince of Damascus already meditated his flight; but the certain victory was snatched from the grasp of Ali by the disobedience and enthusiasm of his troops. Their conscience was awed by the solemn appeal to the books of the Koran which Moawiyah exposed on the foremost lances; and Ali was compelled to yield to a disgraceful truce and an insidious compromise. He retreated with sorrow and indignation to Cufa; his party was discouraged; the distant provinces of Persia, of Yemen, and of Egypt, were subdued or seduced by his crafty rival; and the stroke of fanaticism, which was aimed against the three chiefs of the nation, was fatal only to the cousin of Mahomet. In the temple of Mecca, three Charegites or enthusiasts discoursed of the disorders of the church and state: they soon agreed, that the deaths of Ali, of Moawiyah, and of his friend Amrou, the viceroy of Egypt, would restore the peace and unity of religion. Each of the assassins chose his victim, poisoned his dagger, devoted his life, and secretly repaired to the scene of action. Their resolution was equally desperate: but the first mistook the person of Amrou, and stabbed the deputy who occupied his seat; the prince of Damascus was dangerously hurt by the second; the lawful caliph, in the mosch of Cufa, received a mortal wound from the hand of the third. He expired in the sixty-third year of his age, and mercifully recommended to his children, that they would despatch the murderer by a single stroke.^* The sepulchre of Ali^175 was concealed from the tyrants of the house of Ommiyah;^176 but in the fourth age of the Hegira, a tomb, a temple, a city, arose near the ruins of Cufa.^177 Many thousands of the Shiites repose in holy ground at the feet of the vicar of God; and the desert is vivified by the numerous and annual visits of the Persians, who esteem their devotion not less meritorious than the pilgrimage of Mecca.

[^*: Ali had determined to supersede all the lieutenants in the different provinces. Price, p. 191. Compare, on the conduct of Telha and Zobeir, p. 193—M.]

[^!: See the very curious circumstances which took place before and during her flight. Price, p. 196.—M.]

[^!!: The reluctance of Ali to shed the blood of true believers is strikingly described by Major Price's Persian historians. Price, p. 222.—M.]

[^@: See (in Price) the singular adventures of Zobeir. He was murdered after having abandoned the army of the insurgents. Telha was about to do the same, when his leg was pierced with an arrow by one of his own party The wound was mortal. Price, p. 222.—M.]

[^@@: According to Price, two hundred and eighty of the Benni Beianziel alone lost a right hand in this service, (p. 225.)—M]

[^*: She was escorted by a guard of females disguised as soldiers. When she discovered this, Ayesha was as much gratified by the delicacy of the arrangement, as she had been offended by the familiar approach of so many men. Price, p. 229.—M.]

[^174: The plain of Siffin is determined by D'Anville (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 29) to be the Campus Barbaricus of Procopius.]

[^!!!: The Shiite authors have preserved a noble instance of Ali's magnanimity. The superior generalship of Moawiyah had cut off the army of Ali from the Euphrates; his soldiers were perishing from want of water. Ali sent a message to his rival to request free access to the river, declaring that under the same circumstances he would not allow any of the faithful, though his adversaries, to perish from thirst. After some debate, Moawiyah determined to avail himself of the advantage of his situation, and to reject the demand of Ali. The soldiers of Ali became desperate; forced their way through that part of the hostile army which commanded the river, and in their turn entirely cut off the troops of Moawiyah from the water. Moawiyah was reduced to make the same supplication to Ali. The generous caliph instantly complied; and both armies, with their cattle enjoyed free and unmolested access to the river. Price, vol. i. p. 268, 272—M.]

[^*: His son Hassan was recognized as caliph in Arabia and Irak; but voluntarily abdicated the throne, after six or seven months, in favor of Moawiyah St. Martin, vol. xi. p 375. —M.]

[^175: Abulfeda, a moderate Sonnite, relates the different opinions concerning the burial of Ali, but adopts the sepulchre of Cufa, hodie fama numeroque religiose frequentantium celebratum. This number is reckoned by Niebuhr to amount annually to 2000 of the dead, and 5000 of the living, (tom. ii. p. 208, 209.)]

[^176: All the tyrants of Persia, from Adhad el Dowlat (A.D. 977, D'Herbelot, p. 58, 59, 95) to Nadir Shah, (A.D. 1743, Hist. de Nadir Shah, tom. ii. p. 155,) have enriched the tomb of Ali with the spoils of the people. The dome is copper, with a bright and massy gilding, which glitters to the sun at the distance of many a mile.]

[^177: The city of Meshed Ali, five or six miles from the ruins of Cufa, and one hundred and twenty to the south of Bagdad, is of the size and form of the modern Jerusalem. Meshed Hosein, larger and more populous, is at the distance of thirty miles.]

The persecutors of Mahomet usurped the inheritance of his children; and the champions of idolatry became the supreme heads of his religion and empire. The opposition of Abu Sophian had been fierce and obstinate; his conversion was tardy and reluctant; his new faith was fortified by necessity and interest; he served, he fought, perhaps he believed; and the sins of the time of ignorance were expiated by the recent merits of the family of Ommiyah. Moawiyah, the son of Abu Sophian, and of the cruel Henda, was dignified, in his early youth, with the office or title of secretary of the prophet: the judgment of Omar intrusted him with the government of Syria; and he administered that important province above forty years, either in a subordinate or supreme rank. Without renouncing the fame of valor and liberality, he affected the reputation of humanity and moderation: a grateful people was attached to their benefactor; and the victorious Moslems were enriched with the spoils of Cyprus and Rhodes. The sacred duty of pursuing the assassins of Othman was the engine and pretence of his ambition. The bloody shirt of the martyr was exposed in the mosch of Damascus: the emir deplored the fate of his injured kinsman; and sixty thousand Syrians were engaged in his service by an oath of fidelity and revenge. Amrou, the conqueror of Egypt, himself an army, was the first who saluted the new monarch, and divulged the dangerous secret, that the Arabian caliphs might be created elsewhere than in the city of the prophet.^178 The policy of Moawiyah eluded the valor of his rival; and, after the death of Ali, he negotiated the abdication of his son Hassan, whose mind was either above or below the government of the world, and who retired without a sigh from the palace of Cufa to an humble cell near the tomb of his grandfather. The aspiring wishes of the caliph were finally crowned by the important change of an elective to an hereditary kingdom. Some murmurs of freedom or fanaticism attested the reluctance of the Arabs, and four citizens of Medina refused the oath of fidelity; but the designs of Moawiyah were conducted with vigor and address; and his son Yezid, a feeble and dissolute youth, was proclaimed as the commander of the faithful and the successor on the apostle of God.

[^178: I borrow, on this occasion, the strong sense and expression of Tacitus, (Hist. i. 4: ) Evulgato imperii arcano posse imperatorem alni quam Romae fieri.]

A familiar story is related of the benevolence of one of the sons of Ali. In serving at table, a slave had inadvertently dropped a dish of scalding broth on his master: the heedless wretch fell prostrate, to deprecate his punishment, and repeated a verse of the Koran: "Paradise is for those who command their anger: "—"I am not angry: "—"and for those who pardon offences: "—"I pardon your offence: "—"and for those who return good for evil: "—"I give you your liberty and four hundred pieces of silver." With an equal measure of piety, Hosein, the younger brother of Hassan, inherited a remnant of his father's spirit, and served with honor against the Christians in the siege of Constantinople. The primogeniture of the line of Hashem, and the holy character of grandson of the apostle, had centred in his person, and he was at liberty to prosecute his claim against Yezid, the tyrant of Damascus, whose vices he despised, and whose title he had never deigned to acknowledge. A list was secretly transmitted from Cufa to Medina, of one hundred and forty thousand Moslems, who professed their attachment to his cause, and who were eager to draw their swords so soon as he should appear on the banks of the Euphrates. Against the advice of his wisest friends, he resolved to trust his person and family in the hands of a perfidious people. He traversed the desert of Arabia with a timorous retinue of women and children; but as he approached the confines of Irak he was alarmed by the solitary or hostile face of the country, and suspected either the defection or ruin of his party. His fears were just: Obeidollah, the governor of Cufa, had extinguished the first sparks of an insurrection; and Hosein, in the plain of Kerbela, was encompassed by a body of five thousand horse, who intercepted his communication with the city and the river. He might still have escaped to a fortress in the desert, that had defied the power of Caesar and Chosroes, and confided in the fidelity of the tribe of Tai, which would have armed ten thousand warriors in his defence.

In a conference with the chief of the enemy, he proposed the option of three honorable conditions: that he should be allowed to return to Medina, or be stationed in a frontier garrison against the Turks, or safely conducted to the presence of Yezid. But the commands of the caliph, or his lieutenant, were stern and absolute; and Hosein was informed that he must either submit as a captive and a criminal to the commander of the faithful, or expect the consequences of his rebellion. "Do you think," replied he, "to terrify me with death?" And, during the short respite of a night,^* he prepared with calm and solemn resignation to encounter his fate. He checked the lamentations of his sister Fatima, who deplored the impending ruin of his house. "Our trust," said Hosein, "is in God alone. All things, both in heaven and earth, must perish and return to their Creator. My brother, my father, my mother, were better than me, and every Mussulman has an example in the prophet." He pressed his friends to consult their safety by a timely flight: they unanimously refused to desert or survive their beloved master: and their courage was fortified by a fervent prayer and the assurance of paradise. On the morning of the fatal day, he mounted on horseback, with his sword in one hand and the Koran in the other: his generous band of martyrs consisted only of thirty-two horse and forty foot; but their flanks and rear were secured by the tent-ropes, and by a deep trench which they had filled with lighted fagots, according to the practice of the Arabs. The enemy advanced with reluctance, and one of their chiefs deserted, with thirty followers, to claim the partnership of inevitable death. In every close onset, or single combat, the despair of the Fatimites was invincible; but the surrounding multitudes galled them from a distance with a cloud of arrows, and the horses and men were successively slain; a truce was allowed on both sides for the hour of prayer; and the battle at length expired by the death of the last companions of Hosein. Alone, weary, and wounded, he seated himself at the door of his tent. As he tasted a drop of water, he was pierced in the mouth with a dart; and his son and nephew, two beautiful youths, were killed in his arms. He lifted his hands to heaven; they were full of blood; and he uttered a funeral prayer for the living and the dead. In a transport of despair his sister issued from the tent, and adjured the general of the Cufians, that he would not suffer Hosein to be murdered before his eyes: a tear trickled down his venerable beard; and the boldest of his soldiers fell back on every side as the dying hero threw himself among them. The remorseless Shamer, a name detested by the faithful, reproached their cowardice; and the grandson of Mahomet was slain with three-and-thirty strokes of lances and swords. After they had trampled on his body, they carried his head to the castle of Cufa, and the inhuman Obeidollah struck him on the mouth with a cane: "Alas," exclaimed an aged Mussulman, "on these lips have I seen the lips of the apostle of God!" In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.^179^* On the annual festival of his martyrdom, in the devout pilgrimage to his sepulchre, his Persian votaries abandon their souls to the religious frenzy of sorrow and indignation.^180

[^*: According to Major Price's authorities a much longer time elapsed (p. 198 etc.)—M.]

[^179: I have abridged the interesting narrative of Ockley, (tom. ii. p. 170—231.) It is long and minute: but the pathetic, almost always, consists in the detail of little circumstances.]

[^*: The account of Hosein's death, in the Persian Tarikh Tebry, is much longer; in some circumstances, more pathetic, than that of Ockley, followed by Gibbon. His family, after his defenders were all slain, perished in succession before his eyes.

They had been cut off from the water, and suffered all the agonies of thirst. His eldest son, Ally Akbar, after ten different assaults on the enemy, in each of which he slew two or three, complained bitterly of his sufferings from heat and thirst. "His father arose, and introducing his own tongue within the parched lips of his favorite child, thus endeavored to alleviate his sufferings by the only means of which his enemies had not yet been able to deprive him." Ally was slain and cut to pieces in his sight: this wrung from him his first and only cry; then it was that his sister Zeyneb rushed from the tent. The rest, including his nephew, fell in succession. Hosein's horse was wounded—he fell to the ground. The hour of prayer, between noon and sunset, had arrived; the Imaun began the religious duties:—as Hosein prayed, he heard the cries of his infant child Abdallah, only twelve months old. The child was, at his desire, placed on his bosom: as he wept over it, it was transfixed by an arrow. Hosein dragged himself to the Euphrates: as he slaked his burning thirst, his mouth was pierced by an arrow: he drank his own blood. Wounded in four-and-thirty places, he still gallantly resisted. A soldier named Zeraiah gave the fatal wound: his head was cut off by Ziliousheng. Price, p. 402, 410.—M.]

[^180: Niebuhr the Dane (Voyages en Arabie, etc., tom. ii. p. 208, etc.) is, perhaps, the only European traveller who has dared to visit Meshed Ali and Meshed Hosein. The two sepulchres are in the hands of the Turks, who tolerate and tax the devotion of the Persian heretics. The festival of the death of Hosein is amply described by Sir John Chardin, a traveller whom I have often praised.]

When the sisters and children of Ali were brought in chains to the throne of Damascus, the caliph was advised to extirpate the enmity of a popular and hostile race, whom he had injured beyond the hope of reconciliation. But Yezid preferred the councils of mercy; and the mourning family was honorably dismissed to mingle their tears with their kindred at Medina. The glory of martyrdom superseded the right of primogeniture; and the twelve imams,^181 or pontiffs, of the Persian creed, are Ali, Hassan, Hosein, and the lineal descendants of Hosein to the ninth generation. Without arms, or treasures, or subjects, they successively enjoyed the veneration of the people, and provoked the jealousy of the reigning caliphs: their tombs, at Mecca or Medina, on the banks of the Euphrates, or in the province of Chorasan, are still visited by the devotion of their sect. Their names were often the pretence of sedition and civil war; but these royal saints despised the pomp of the world: submitted to the will of God and the injustice of man; and devoted their innocent lives to the study and practice of religion. The twelfth and last of the Imams, conspicuous by the title of Mahadi, or the Guide, surpassed the solitude and sanctity of his predecessors. He concealed himself in a cavern near Bagdad: the time and place of his death are unknown; and his votaries pretend that he still lives, and will appear before the day of judgment to overthrow the tyranny of Dejal, or the Antichrist.^182 In the lapse of two or three centuries, the posterity of Abbas, the uncle of Mahomet, had multiplied to the number of thirty-three thousand:^183 the race of Ali might be equally prolific: the meanest individual was above the first and greatest of princes; and the most eminent were supposed to excel the perfection of angels. But their adverse fortune, and the wide extent of the Mussulman empire, allowed an ample scope for every bold and artful imposture, who claimed affinity with the holy seed: the sceptre of the Almohades, in Spain and Africa; of the Fatimites, in Egypt and Syria;^184 of the Sultans of Yemen; and of the Sophis of Persia;^185 has been consecrated by this vague and ambiguous title. Under their reigns it might be dangerous to dispute the legitimacy of their birth; and one of the Fatimite caliphs silenced an indiscreet question by drawing his cimeter: "This," said Moez, "is my pedigree; and these," casting a handful of gold to his soldiers,—"and these are my kindred and my children." In the various conditions of princes, or doctors, or nobles, or merchants, or beggars, a swarm of the genuine or fictitious descendants of Mahomet and Ali is honored with the appellation of sheiks, or sherifs, or emirs. In the Ottoman empire they are distinguished by a green turban; receive a stipend from the treasury; are judged only by their chief; and, however debased by fortune or character, still assert the proud preeminence of their birth. A family of three hundred persons, the pure and orthodox branch of the caliph Hassan, is preserved without taint or suspicion in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and still retains, after the revolutions of twelve centuries, the custody of the temple, and the sovereignty of their native land. The fame and merit of Mahomet would ennoble a plebeian race, and the ancient blood of the Koreish transcends the recent majesty of the kings of the earth.^186

[^181: The general article of Imam, in D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque, will indicate the succession; and the lives of the twelve are given under their respective names.]

[^182: The name of Antichrist may seem ridiculous, but the Mahometans have liberally borrowed the fables of every religion, (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 80, 82.) In the royal stable of Ispahan, two horses were always kept saddled, one for the Mahadi himself, the other for his lieutenant, Jesus the son of Mary.]

[^183: In the year of the Hegira 200, (A.D. 815.) See D'Herbelot, p. 146]

[^184: D'Herbelot, p. 342. The enemies of the Fatimites disgraced them by a Jewish origin. Yet they accurately deduced their genealogy from Jaafar, the sixth Imam; and the impartial Abulfeda allows (Annal. Moslem. p. 230) that they were owned by many, qui absque controversia genuini sunt Alidarum, homines propaginum suae gentis exacte callentes. He quotes some lines from the celebrated Scherif or Rahdi, Egone humilitatem induam in terris hostium? (I suspect him to be an Edrissite of Sicily,) cum in Aegypto sit Chalifa de gente Alii, quocum ego communem habeo patrem et vindicem.]

[^185: The kings of Persia in the last century are descended from Sheik Sefi, a saint of the xivth century, and through him, from Moussa Cassem, the son of Hosein, the son of Ali, (Olearius, p. 957. Chardin, tom. iii. p. 288.) But I cannot trace the intermediate degrees in any genuine or fabulous pedigree. If they were truly Fatimites, they might draw their origin from the princes of Mazanderan, who reigned in the ixth century, (D'Herbelot, p. 96.)]

[^186: The present state of the family of Mahomet and Ali is most accurately described by Demetrius Cantemir (Hist. of the Othmae Empire, p. 94) and Niebuhr, (Description de l'Arabie, p. 9 - 16, 317 etc.) It is much to be lamented, that the Danish traveller was unable to purchase the chronicles of Arabia.]

The talents of Mahomet are entitled to our applause; but his success has, perhaps, too strongly attracted our admiration. Are we surprised that a multitude of proselytes should embrace the doctrine and the passions of an eloquent fanatic? In the heresies of the church, the same seduction has been tried and repeated from the time of the apostles to that of the reformers. Does it seem incredible that a private citizen should grasp the sword and the sceptre, subdue his native country, and erect a monarchy by his victorious arms? In the moving picture of the dynasties of the East, a hundred fortunate usurpers have arisen from a baser origin, surmounted more formidable obstacles, and filled a larger scope of empire and conquest. Mahomet was alike instructed to preach and to fight; and the union of these opposite qualities, while it enhanced his merit, contributed to his success: the operation of force and persuasion, of enthusiasm and fear, continually acted on each other, till every barrier yielded to their irresistible power. His voice invited the Arabs to freedom and victory, to arms and rapine, to the indulgence of their darling passions in this world and the other: the restraints which he imposed were requisite to establish the credit of the prophet, and to exercise the obedience of the people; and the only objection to his success was his rational creed of the unity and perfections of God. It is not the propagation, but the permanency, of his religion, that deserves our wonder: the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina, is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries, by the Indian, the African, and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. If the Christian apostles, St. Peter or St. Paul, could return to the Vatican, they might possibly inquire the name of the Deity who is worshipped with such mysterious rites in that magnificent temple: at Oxford or Geneva, they would experience less surprise; but it might still be incumbent on them to peruse the catechism of the church, and to study the orthodox commentators on their own writings and the words of their Master. But the Turkish dome of St. Sophia, with an increase of splendor and size, represents the humble tabernacle erected at Medina by the hands of Mahomet. The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. "I believe in one God, and Mahomet the apostle of God," is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion. The votaries of Ali have, indeed, consecrated the memory of their hero, his wife, and his children; and some of the Persian doctors pretend that the divine essence was incarnate in the person of the Imams; but their superstition is universally condemned by the Sonnites; and their impiety has afforded a seasonable warning against the worship of saints and martyrs. The metaphysical questions on the attributes of God, and the liberty of man, have been agitated in the schools of the Mahometans, as well as in those of the Christians; but among the former they have never engaged the passions of the people, or disturbed the tranquillity of the state. The cause of this important difference may be found in the separation or union of the regal and sacerdotal characters. It was the interest of the caliphs, the successors of the prophet and commanders of the faithful, to repress and discourage all religious innovations: the order, the discipline, the temporal and spiritual ambition of the clergy, are unknown to the Moslems; and the sages of the law are the guides of their conscience and the oracles of their faith. From the Atlantic to the Ganges, the Koran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology, but of civil and criminal jurisprudence; and the laws which regulate the actions and the property of mankind are guarded by the infallible and immutable sanction of the will of God. This religious servitude is attended with some practical disadvantage; the illiterate legislator had been often misled by his own prejudices and those of his country; and the institutions of the Arabian desert may be ill adapted to the wealth and numbers of Ispahan and Constantinople. On these occasions, the Cadhi respectfully places on his head the holy volume, and substitutes a dexterous interpretation more apposite to the principles of equity, and the manners and policy of the times.

His beneficial or pernicious influence on the public happiness is the last consideration in the character of Mahomet. The most bitter or most bigoted of his Christian or Jewish foes will surely allow that he assumed a false commission to inculcate a salutary doctrine, less perfect only than their own. He piously supposed, as the basis of his religion, the truth and sanctity of their prior revolutions, the virtues and miracles of their founders. The idols of Arabia were broken before the throne of God; the blood of human victims was expiated by prayer, and fasting, and alms, the laudable or innocent arts of devotion; and his rewards and punishments of a future life were painted by the images most congenial to an ignorant and carnal generation. Mahomet was, perhaps, incapable of dictating a moral and political system for the use of his countrymen: but he breathed among the faithful a spirit of charity and friendship; recommended the practice of the social virtues; and checked, by his laws and precepts, the thirst of revenge, and the oppression of widows and orphans. The hostile tribes were united in faith and obedience, and the valor which had been idly spent in domestic quarrels was vigorously directed against a foreign enemy. Had the impulse been less powerful, Arabia, free at home and formidable abroad, might have flourished under a succession of her native monarchs. Her sovereignty was lost by the extent and rapidity of conquest. The colonies of the nation were scattered over the East and West, and their blood was mingled with the blood of their converts and captives. After the reign of three caliphs, the throne was transported from Medina to the valley of Damascus and the banks of the Tigris; the holy cities were violated by impious war; Arabia was ruled by the rod of a subject, perhaps of a stranger; and the Bedoweens of the desert, awakening from their dream of dominion, resumed their old and solitary independence.^187

[^187: The writers of the Modern Universal History (vols. i. and ii.) have compiled, in 850 folio pages, the life of Mahomet and the annals of the caliphs. They enjoyed the advantage of reading, and sometimes correcting, the Arabic text; yet, notwithstanding their high-sounding boasts, I cannot find, after the conclusion of my work, that they have afforded me much (if any) additional information. The dull mass is not quickened by a spark of philosophy or taste; and the compilers indulge the criticism of acrimonious bigotry against Boulainvilliers, Sale, Gagnier, and all who have treated Mahomet with favor, or even justice.]



The conquest of Persia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, and Spain, by the Arabs or Saracens.—Empire of the Caliphs, or successors of Mahomet.—State of the Christians, etc., under their government


The revolution of Arabia had not changed the character of the Arabs: the death of Mahomet was the signal of independence; and the hasty structure of his power and religion tottered to its foundations. A small and faithful band of his primitive disciples had listened to his eloquence, and shared his distress; had fled with the apostle from the persecution of Mecca, or had received the fugitive in the walls of Medina. The increasing myriads, who acknowledged Mahomet as their king and prophet, had been compelled by his arms, or allured by his prosperity. The polytheists were confounded by the simple idea of a solitary and invisible God; the pride of the Christians and Jews disdained the yoke of a mortal and contemporary legislator. The habits of faith and obedience were not sufficiently confirmed; and many of the new converts regretted the venerable antiquity of the law of Moses, or the rites and mysteries of the Catholic church; or the idols, the sacrifices, the joyous festivals, of their Pagan ancestors. The jarring interests and hereditary feuds of the Arabian tribes had not yet coalesced in a system of union and subordination; and the Barbarians were impatient of the mildest and most salutary laws that curbed their passions, or violated their customs. They submitted with reluctance to the religious precepts of the Koran, the abstinence from wine, the fast of the Ramadan, and the daily repetition of five prayers; and the alms and tithes, which were collected for the treasury of Medina, could be distinguished only by a name from the payment of a perpetual and ignominious tribute. The example of Mahomet had excited a spirit of fanaticism or imposture, and several of his rivals presumed to imitate the conduct, and defy the authority, of the living prophet. At the head of the fugitives and auxiliaries, the first caliph was reduced to the cities of Mecca, Medina, and Tayef; and perhaps the Koreish would have restored the idols of the Caaba, if their levity had not been checked by a seasonable reproof. "Ye men of Mecca, will ye be the last to embrace, and the first to abandon, the religion of Islam?" After exhorting the Moslems to confide in the aid of God and his apostle, Abubeker resolved, by a vigorous attack, to prevent the junction of the rebels. The women and children were safely lodged in the cavities of the mountains: the warriors, marching under eleven banners, diffused the terror of their arms; and the appearance of a military force revived and confirmed the loyalty of the faithful. The inconstant tribes accepted, with humble repentance, the duties of prayer, and fasting, and alms; and, after some examples of success and severity, the most daring apostates fell prostrate before the sword of the Lord and of Caled. In the fertile province of Yemanah,^1 between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Persia, in a city not inferior to Medina itself, a powerful chief (his name was Moseilama) had assumed the character of a prophet, and the tribe of Hanifa listened to his voice. A female prophetess^* was attracted by his reputation; the decencies of words and actions were spurned by these favorites of Heaven;^2 and they employed several days in mystic and amorous converse. An obscure sentence of his Koran, or book, is yet extant;^3 and in the pride of his mission, Moseilama condescended to offer a partition of the earth. The proposal was answered by Mahomet with contempt; but the rapid progress of the impostor awakened the fears of his successor: forty thousand Moslems were assembled under the standard of Caled; and the existence of their faith was resigned to the event of a decisive battle.^* In the first action they were repulsed by the loss of twelve hundred men; but the skill and perseverance of their general prevailed; their defeat was avenged by the slaughter of ten thousand infidels; and Moseilama himself was pierced by an Aethiopian slave with the same javelin which had mortally wounded the uncle of Mahomet. The various rebels of Arabia without a chief or a cause, were speedily suppressed by the power and discipline of the rising monarchy; and the whole nation again professed, and more steadfastly held, the religion of the Koran. The ambition of the caliphs provided an immediate exercise for the restless spirit of the Saracens: their valor was united in the prosecution of a holy war; and their enthusiasm was equally confirmed by opposition and victory.

[^1: See the description of the city and country of Al Yamanah, in Abulfeda, Descript. Arabiae, p. 60, 61. In the xiiith century, there were some ruins, and a few palms; but in the present century, the same ground is occupied by the visions and arms of a modern prophet, whose tenets are imperfectly known, (Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 296—302.)]

[^*: This extraordinary woman was a Christian; she was at the head of a numerous and flourishing sect; Moseilama professed to recognize her inspiration. In a personal interview he proposed their marriage and the union of their sects. The handsome person, the impassioned eloquence, and the arts of Moseilama, triumphed over the virtue of the prophetesa who was rejected with scorn by her lover, and by her notorious unchastity ost her influence with her own followers. Gibbon, with that propensity too common, especially in his later volumes, has selected only the grosser part of this singular adventure.—M.]

[^2: The first salutation may be transcribed, but cannot be translated. It was thus that Moseilama said or sung:—

Surge tandem itaque strenue permolenda; nam stratus tibi thorus est. Aut in propatulo tentorio si velis, aut in abditiore cubiculo si malis; Aut supinam te humi exporrectam fustigabo, si velis, Aut si malis manibus pedibusque nixam. Aut si velis ejus (Priapi) gemino triente aut si malis totus veniam. Imo, totus venito, O Apostole Dei, clamabat foemina. Id ipsum, dicebat Moseilama, mihi quoque suggessit Deus.

The prophetess Segjah, after the fall of her lover, returned to idolatry; but under the reign of Moawiyah, she became a Mussulman, and died at Bassora, (Abulfeda, Annal. vers. Reiske, p. 63.)]

[^3: See this text, which demonstrates a God from the work of generation, in Abulpharagius (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 13, and Dynast. p. 103) and Abulfeda, (Annal. p. 63.)]

[^*: Compare a long account of this battle in Price, p. 42.—M.]

From the rapid conquests of the Saracens a presumption will naturally arise, that the caliphs^! commanded in person the armies of the faithful, and sought the crown of martyrdom in the foremost ranks of the battle. The courage of Abubeker,^4 Omar, ^5 and Othman,^6 had indeed been tried in the persecution and wars of the prophet; and the personal assurance of paradise must have taught them to despise the pleasures and dangers of the present world. But they ascended the throne in a venerable or mature age; and esteemed the domestic cares of religion and justice the most important duties of a sovereign. Except the presence of Omar at the siege of Jerusalem, their longest expeditions were the frequent pilgrimage from Medina to Mecca; and they calmly received the tidings of victory as they prayed or preached before the sepulchre of the prophet. The austere and frugal measure of their lives was the effect of virtue or habit, and the pride of their simplicity insulted the vain magnificence of the kings of the earth. When Abubeker assumed the office of caliph, he enjoined his daughter Ayesha to take a strict account of his private patrimony, that it might be evident whether he were enriched or impoverished by the service of the state. He thought himself entitled to a stipend of three pieces of gold, with the sufficient maintenance of a single camel and a black slave; but on the Friday of each week he distributed the residue of his own and the public money, first to the most worthy, and then to the most indigent, of the Moslems. The remains of his wealth, a coarse garment, and five pieces of gold, were delivered to his successor, who lamented with a modest sigh his own inability to equal such an admirable model. Yet the abstinence and humility of Omar were not inferior to the virtues of Abubeker: his food consisted of barley bread or dates; his drink was water; he preached in a gown that was torn or tattered in twelve places; and the Persian satrap, who paid his homage to the conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the mosch of Medina. Oeeconomy is the source of liberality, and the increase of the revenue enabled Omar to establish a just and perpetual reward for the past and present services of the faithful. Careless of his own emolument, he assigned to Abbas, the uncle of the prophet, the first and most ample allowance of twenty-five thousand drachms or pieces of silver. Five thousand were allotted to each of the aged warriors, the relics of the field of Beder; and the last and meanest of the companions of Mahomet was distinguished by the annual reward of three thousand pieces. One thousand was the stipend of the veterans who had fought in the first battles against the Greeks and Persians; and the decreasing pay, as low as fifty pieces of silver, was adapted to the respective merit and seniority of the soldiers of Omar. Under his reign, and that of his predecessor, the conquerors of the East were the trusty servants of God and the people; the mass of the public treasure was consecrated to the expenses of peace and war; a prudent mixture of justice and bounty maintained the discipline of the Saracens, and they united, by a rare felicity, the despatch and execution of despotism with the equal and frugal maxims of a republican government. The heroic courage of Ali,^7 the consummate prudence of Moawiyah,^8 excited the emulation of their subjects; and the talents which had been exercised in the school of civil discord were more usefully applied to propagate the faith and dominion of the prophet. In the sloth and vanity of the palace of Damascus, the succeeding princes of the house of Ommiyah were alike destitute of the qualifications of statesmen and of saints.^9 Yet the spoils of unknown nations were continually laid at the foot of their throne, and the uniform ascent of the Arabian greatness must be ascribed to the spirit of the nation rather than the abilities of their chiefs. A large deduction must be allowed for the weakness of their enemies. The birth of Mahomet was fortunately placed in the most degenerate and disorderly period of the Persians, the Romans, and the Barbarians of Europe: the empires of Trajan, or even of Constantine or Charlemagne, would have repelled the assault of the naked Saracens, and the torrent of fanaticism might have been obscurely lost in the sands of Arabia.

[^!: In Arabic, "successors." V. Hammer Geschichte der Assas. p. 14—M.]

[^4: His reign in Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 251. Elmacin, p. 18. Abulpharagius, p. 108. Abulfeda, p. 60. D'Herbelot, p. 58.]

[^5: His reign in Eutychius, p. 264. Elmacin, p. 24. Abulpharagius, p. 110. Abulfeda, p. 66. D'Herbelot, p. 686.]

[^6: His reign in Eutychius, p. 323. Elmacin, p. 36. Abulpharagius, p. 115. Abulfeda, p. 75. D'Herbelot, p. 695.]

[^7: His reign in Eutychius, p. 343. Elmacin, p. 51. Abulpharagius, p. 117. Abulfeda, p. 83. D'Herbelot, p. 89.]

[^8: His reign in Eutychius, p. 344. Elmacin, p. 54. Abulpharagius, p. 123. Abulfeda, p. 101. D'Herbelot, p. 586.]

[^9: Their reigns in Eutychius, tom. ii. p. 360—395. Elmacin, p. 59—108. Abulpharagius, Dynast. ix. p. 124—139. Abulfeda, p. 111—141. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 691, and the particular articles of the Ommiades.]

In the victorious days of the Roman republic, it had been the aim of the senate to confine their councils and legions to a single war, and completely to suppress a first enemy before they provoked the hostilities of a second. These timid maxims of policy were disdained by the magnanimity or enthusiasm of the Arabian caliphs. With the same vigor and success they invaded the successors of Augustus and those of Artaxerxes; and the rival monarchies at the same instant became the prey of an enemy whom they had been so long accustomed to despise. In the ten years of the administration of Omar, the Saracens reduced to his obedience thirty-six thousand cities or castles, destroyed four thousand churches or temples of the unbelievers, and edified fourteen hundred moschs for the exercise of the religion of Mahomet. One hundred years after his flight from Mecca, the arms and the reign of his successors extended from India to the Atlantic Ocean, over the various and distant provinces, which may be comprised under the names of, I. Persia; II. Syria; III. Egypt; IV. Africa; and, V. Spain. Under this general division, I shall proceed to unfold these memorable transactions; despatching with brevity the remote and less interesting conquests of the East, and reserving a fuller narrative for those domestic countries which had been included within the pale of the Roman empire. Yet I must excuse my own defects by a just complaint of the blindness and insufficiency of my guides. The Greeks, so loquacious in controversy, have not been anxious to celebrate the triumphs of their enemies.^10 After a century of ignorance, the first annals of the Mussulmans were collected in a great measure from the voice of tradition.^11 Among the numerous productions of Arabic and Persian literature,^12 our interpreters have selected the imperfect sketches of a more recent age.^13 The art and genius of history have ever been unknown to the Asiatics;^14 they are ignorant of the laws of criticism; and our monkish chronicle of the same period may be compared to their most popular works, which are never vivified by the spirit of philosophy and freedom.

The Oriental library of a Frenchman^15 would instruct the most learned mufti of the East; and perhaps the Arabs might not find in a single historian so clear and comprehensive a narrative of their own exploits as that which will be deduced in the ensuing sheets.

[^10: For the viith and viiith century, we have scarcely any original evidence of the Byzantine historians, except the chronicles of Theophanes (Theophanis Confessoris Chronographia, Gr. et Lat. cum notis Jacobi Goar. Paris, 1665, in folio) and the Abridgment of Nicephorus, (Nicephori Patriarchae C. P. Breviarium Historicum, Gr. et Lat. Paris, 1648, in folio,) who both lived in the beginning of the ixth century, (see Hanckius de Scriptor. Byzant. p. 200—246.) Their contemporary, Photius, does not seem to be more opulent. After praising the style of Nicephorus, he adds, and only complains of his extreme brevity, (Phot. Bibliot. Cod. lxvi. p. 100.) Some additions may be gleaned from the more recent histories of Cedrenus and Zonaras of the xiith century.]

[^11: Tabari, or Al Tabari, a native of Taborestan, a famous Imam of Bagdad, and the Livy of the Arabians, finished his general history in the year of the Hegira 302, (A.D. 914.) At the request of his friends, he reduced a work of 30,000 sheets to a more reasonable size. But his Arabic original is known only by the Persian and Turkish versions. The Saracenic history of Ebn Amid, or Elmacin, is said to be an abridgment of the great Tabari, (Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. preface, p. xxxix. and list of authors, D'Herbelot, p. 866, 870, 1014.)]

[^12: Besides the list of authors framed by Prideaux, (Life of Mahomet, p. 179—189,) Ockley, (at the end of his second volume,) and Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Gengiscan, p. 525—550,) we find in the Bibliotheque Orientale Tarikh, a catalogue of two or three hundred histories or chronicles of the East, of which not more than three or four are older than Tabari.

A lively sketch of Oriental literature is given by Reiske, (in his Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalifae librum memorialem ad calcem Abulfedae Tabulae Syriae, Lipsiae, 1776;) but his project and the French version of Petit de la Croix (Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. i. preface, p. xlv.) have fallen to the ground.]

[^13: The particular historians and geographers will be occasionally introduced. The four following titles represent the Annals which have guided me in this general narrative. 1. Annales Eutychii, Patriarchoe Alexandrini, ab Edwardo Pocockio, Oxon. 1656, 2 vols. in 4to. A pompous edition of an indifferent author, translated by Pocock to gratify the Presbyterian prejudices of his friend Selden. 2. Historia Saracenica Georgii Elmacini, opera et studio Thomae Erpenii, in 4to., Lugd. Batavorum, 1625. He is said to have hastily translated a corrupt Ms., and his version is often deficient in style and sense. 3. Historia compendiosa Dynastiarum a Gregorio Abulpharagio, interprete Edwardo Pocockio, in 4to., Oxon. 1663. More useful for the literary than the civil history of the East. 4. Abulfedoe Annales Moslemici ad Ann. Hegiroe ccccvi. a Jo. Jac. Reiske, in 4to., Lipsioe, 1754. The best of our chronicles, both for the original and version, yet how far below the name of Abulfeda! We know that he wrote at Hamah in the xivth century. The three former were Christians of the xth, xiith, and xiiith centuries; the two first, natives of Egypt; a Melchite patriarch, and a Jacobite scribe.]

[^14: M. D. Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. pref. p. xix. xx.) has characterized, with truth and knowledge, the two sorts of Arabian historians—the dry annalist, and the tumid and flowery orator.]

[^15: Bibliotheque Orientale, par M. D'Herbelot, in folio, Paris, 1697. For the character of the respectable author, consult his friend Thevenot, (Voyages du Levant, part i. chap. 1.) His work is an agreeable miscellany, which must gratify every taste; but I never can digest the alphabetical order; and I find him more satisfactory in the Persian than the Arabic history. The recent supplement from the papers of Mm. Visdelou, and Galland, (in folio, La Haye, 1779,) is of a different cast, a medley of tales, proverbs, and Chinese antiquities.]

I. In the first year of the first caliph, his lieutenant Caled, the Sword of God, and the scourge of the infidels, advanced to the banks of the Euphrates, and reduced the cities of Anbar and Hira. Westward of the ruins of Babylon, a tribe of sedentary Arabs had fixed themselves on the verge of the desert; and Hira was the seat of a race of kings who had embraced the Christian religion, and reigned above six hundred years under the shadow of the throne of Persia.^16 The last of the Mondars^* was defeated and slain by Caled; his son was sent a captive to Medina; his nobles bowed before the successor of the prophet; the people was tempted by the example and success of their countrymen; and the caliph accepted as the first-fruits of foreign conquest an annual tribute of seventy thousand pieces of gold. The conquerors, and even their historians, were astonished by the dawn of their future greatness: "In the same year," says Elmacin, "Caled fought many signal battles: an immense multitude of the infidels was slaughtered; and spoils infinite and innumerable were acquired by the victorious Moslems."^17 But the invincible Caled was soon transferred to the Syrian war: the invasion of the Persian frontier was conducted by less active or less prudent commanders: the Saracens were repulsed with loss in the passage of the Euphrates; and, though they chastised the insolent pursuit of the Magians, their remaining forces still hovered in the desert of Babylon.^!

[^16: Pocock will explain the chronology, (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 66—74,) and D'Anville the geography, (l'Euphrate, et le Tigre, p. 125,) of the dynasty of the Almondars. The English scholar understood more Arabic than the mufti of Aleppo, (Ockley, vol. ii. p. 34: ) the French geographer is equally at home in every age and every climate of the world.]

[^*: Eichhorn and Silvestre de Sacy have written on the obscure history of the Mondars.—M.]

[^17: Fecit et Chaled plurima in hoc anno praelia, in quibus vicerunt Muslimi, et infidelium immensa multitudine occisa spolia infinita et innumera sunt nacti, (Hist. Saracenica, p. 20.) The Christian annalist slides into the national and compendious term of infidels, and I often adopt (I hope without scandal) this characteristic mode of expression.]

[^!: Compare throughout Malcolm, vol. ii. p. 136.—M.]

The indignation and fears of the Persians suspended for a moment their intestine divisions. By the unanimous sentence of the priests and nobles, their queen Arzema was deposed; the sixth of the transient usurpers, who had arisen and vanished in three or four years since the death of Chosroes, and the retreat of Heraclius. Her tiara was placed on the head of Yezdegerd, the grandson of Chosroes; and the same aera, which coincides with an astronomical period,^18 has recorded the fall of the Sassanian dynasty and the religion of Zoroaster.^19 The youth and inexperience of the prince (he was only fifteen years of age) declined a perilous encounter: the royal standard was delivered into the hands of his general Rustam; and a remnant of thirty thousand regular troops was swelled in truth, or in opinion, to one hundred and twenty thousand subjects, or allies, of the great king. The Moslems, whose numbers were reenforced from twelve to thirty thousand, had pitched their camp in the plains of Cadesia: ^20 and their line, though it consisted of fewer men, could produce more soldiers, than the unwieldy host of the infidels. I shall here observe, what I must often repeat, that the charge of the Arabs was not, like that of the Greeks and Romans, the effort of a firm and compact infantry: their military force was chiefly formed of cavalry and archers; and the engagement, which was often interrupted and often renewed by single combats and flying skirmishes, might be protracted without any decisive event to the continuance of several days. The periods of the battle of Cadesia were distinguished by their peculiar appellations. The first, from the well- timed appearance of six thousand of the Syrian brethren, was denominated the day of succor. The day of concussion might express the disorder of one, or perhaps of both, of the contending armies. The third, a nocturnal tumult, received the whimsical name of the night of barking, from the discordant clamors, which were compared to the inarticulate sounds of the fiercest animals. The morning of the succeeding day^* determined the fate of Persia; and a seasonable whirlwind drove a cloud of dust against the faces of the unbelievers. The clangor of arms was reechoed to the tent of Rustam, who, far unlike the ancient hero of his name, was gently reclining in a cool and tranquil shade, amidst the baggage of his camp, and the train of mules that were laden with gold and silver. On the sound of danger he started from his couch; but his flight was overtaken by a valiant Arab, who caught him by the foot, struck off his head, hoisted it on a lance, and instantly returning to the field of battle, carried slaughter and dismay among the thickest ranks of the Persians. The Saracens confess a loss of seven thousand five hundred men;^! and the battle of Cadesia is justly described by the epithets of obstinate and atrocious.^21 The standard of the monarchy was overthrown and captured in the field—a leathern apron of a blacksmith, who in ancient times had arisen the deliverer of Persia; but this badge of heroic poverty was disguised, and almost concealed, by a profusion of precious gems.^22 After this victory, the wealthy province of Irak, or Assyria, submitted to the caliph, and his conquests were firmly established by the speedy foundation of Bassora,^23 a place which ever commands the trade and navigation of the Persians. As the distance of fourscore miles from the Gulf, the Euphrates and Tigris unite in a broad and direct current, which is aptly styled the river of the Arabs. In the midway, between the junction and the mouth of these famous streams, the new settlement was planted on the western bank: the first colony was composed of eight hundred Moslems; but the influence of the situation soon reared a flourishing and populous capital. The air, though excessively hot, is pure and healthy: the meadows are filled with palm- trees and cattle; and one of the adjacent valleys has been celebrated among the four paradises or gardens of Asia. Under the first caliphs the jurisdiction of this Arabian colony extended over the southern provinces of Persia: the city has been sanctified by the tombs of the companions and martyrs; and the vessels of Europe still frequent the port of Bassora, as a convenient station and passage of the Indian trade.

[^18: A cycle of 120 years, the end of which an intercalary month of 30 days supplied the use of our Bissextile, and restored the integrity of the solar year. In a great revolution of 1440 years this intercalation was successively removed from the first to the twelfth month; but Hyde and Freret are involved in a profound controversy, whether the twelve, or only eight of these changes were accomplished before the aera of Yezdegerd, which is unanimously fixed to the 16th of June, A.D. 632. How laboriously does the curious spirit of Europe explore the darkest and most distant antiquities! (Hyde de Religione Persarum, c. 14—18, p. 181—211. Freret in the Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xvi. p. 233—267.)]

[^19: Nine days after the death of Mahomet (7th June, A.D. 632) we find the aera of Yezdegerd, (16th June, A.D. 632,) and his accession cannot be postponed beyond the end of the first year. His predecessors could not therefore resist the arms of the caliph Omar; and these unquestionable dates overthrow the thoughtless chronology of Abulpharagius. See Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 130.
Note: The Rezont Uzzuffa (Price, p. 105) has a strange account of an embassy to Yezdegerd. The Oriental historians take great delight in these embassies, which give them an opportunity of displaying their Asiatic eloquence—M.]

[^20: Cadesia, says the Nubian geographer, (p. 121,) is in margine solitudinis, 61 leagues from Bagdad, and two stations from Cufa. Otter (Voyage, tom. i. p. 163) reckons 15 leagues, and observes, that the place is supplied with dates and water.]

[^*: The day of cormorants, or according to another reading the day of reinforcements. It was the night which was called the night of snarling. Price, p. 114.—M.]

[^!: According to Malcolm's authorities, only three thousand; but he adds "This is the report of Mahomedan historians, who have a great disposition of the wonderful, in relating the first actions of the faithful" Vol. i. p. 39.—M.]

[^21: Atrox, contumax, plus semel renovatum, are the well-chosen expressions of the translator of Abulfeda, (Reiske, p. 69.)]

[^22: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 297, 348.]

[^23: The reader may satisfy himself on the subject of Bassora by consulting the following writers: Geograph, Nubiens. p. 121. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 192. D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 130, 133, 145. Raynal, Hist. Philosophique des deux Indes, tom. ii. p. 92—100. Voyages di Pietro della Valle, tom. iv. p. 370—391. De Tavernier, tom. i. p. 240—247. De Thevenot, tom. ii. p. 545—584. D Otter, tom. ii. p. 45—78. De Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 172—199.]


After the defeat of Cadesia, a country intersected by rivers and canals might have opposed an insuperable barrier to the victorious cavalry; and the walls of Ctesiphon or Madayn, which had resisted the battering-rams of the Romans, would not have yielded to the darts of the Saracens. But the flying Persians were overcome by the belief, that the last day of their religion and empire was at hand; the strongest posts were abandoned by treachery or cowardice; and the king, with a part of his family and treasures, escaped to Holwan at the foot of the Median hills.

In the third month after the battle, Said, the lieutenant of Omar, passed the Tigris without opposition; the capital was taken by assault; and the disorderly resistance of the people gave a keener edge to the sabres of the Moslems, who shouted with religious transport, "This is the white palace of Chosroes; this is the promise of the apostle of God!" The naked robbers of the desert were suddenly enriched beyond the measure of their hope or knowledge. Each chamber revealed a new treasure secreted with art, or ostentatiously displayed; the gold and silver, the various wardrobes and precious furniture, surpassed (says Abulfeda) the estimate of fancy or numbers; and another historian defines the untold and almost infinite mass, by the fabulous computation of three thousands of thousands of thousands of pieces of gold.^24 Some minute though curious facts represent the contrast of riches and ignorance. From the remote islands of the Indian Ocean a large provision of camphire^25 had been imported, which is employed with a mixture of wax to illuminate the palaces of the East. Strangers to the name and properties of that odoriferous gum, the Saracens, mistaking it for salt, mingled the camphire in their bread, and were astonished at the bitterness of the taste. One of the apartments of the palace was decorated with a carpet of silk, sixty cubits in length, and as many in breadth: a paradise or garden was depictured on the ground: the flowers, fruits, and shrubs, were imitated by the figures of the gold embroidery, and the colors of the precious stones; and the ample square was encircled by a variegated and verdant border.^! The Arabian general persuaded his soldiers to relinquish their claim, in the reasonable hope that the eyes of the caliph would be delighted with the splendid workmanship of nature and industry. Regardless of the merit of art, and the pomp of royalty, the rigid Omar divided the prize among his brethren of Medina: the picture was destroyed; but such was the intrinsic value of the materials, that the share of Ali alone was sold for twenty thousand drams. A mule that carried away the tiara and cuirass, the belt and bracelets of Chosroes, was overtaken by the pursuers; the gorgeous trophy was presented to the commander of the faithful; and the gravest of the companions condescended to smile when they beheld the white beard, the hairy arms, and uncouth figure of the veteran, who was invested with the spoils of the Great King.^26 The sack of Ctesiphon was followed by its desertion and gradual decay. The Saracens disliked the air and situation of the place, and Omar was advised by his general to remove the seat of government to the western side of the Euphrates. In every age, the foundation and ruin of the Assyrian cities has been easy and rapid: the country is destitute of stone and timber; and the most solid structures^27 are composed of bricks baked in the sun, and joined by a cement of the native bitumen. The name of Cufa^28 describes a habitation of reeds and earth; but the importance of the new capital was supported by the numbers, wealth, and spirit, of a colony of veterans; and their licentiousness was indulged by the wisest caliphs, who were apprehensive of provoking the revolt of a hundred thousand swords: "Ye men of Cufa," said Ali, who solicited their aid, "you have been always conspicuous by your valor. You conquered the Persian king, and scattered his forces, till you had taken possession of his inheritance." This mighty conquest was achieved by the battles of Jalula and Nehavend. After the loss of the former, Yezdegerd fled from Holwan, and concealed his shame and despair in the mountains of Farsistan, from whence Cyrus had descended with his equal and valiant companions. The courage of the nation survived that of the monarch: among the hills to the south of Ecbatana or Hamadan, one hundred and fifty thousand Persians made a third and final stand for their religion and country; and the decisive battle of Nehavend was styled by the Arabs the victory of victories. If it be true that the flying general of the Persians was stopped and overtaken in a crowd of mules and camels laden with honey, the incident, however slight and singular, will denote the luxurious impediments of an Oriental army.^29

[^24: Mente vix potest numerove comprehendi quanta spolia nostris cesserint. Abulfeda, p. 69. Yet I still suspect, that the extravagant numbers of Elmacin may be the error, not of the text, but of the version. The best translators from the Greek, for instance, I find to be very poor arithmeticians.
Note: Ockley (Hist. of Saracens, vol. i. p. 230) translates in the same manner three thousand million of ducats. See Forster's Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 462; who makes this innocent doubt of Gibbon, in which, is to the amount of the plunder, I venture to concur, a grave charge of inaccuracy and disrespect to the memory of Erpenius.

The Persian authorities of Price (p. 122) make the booty worth three hundred and thirty millions sterling!—M]

[^25: The camphire-tree grows in China and Japan; but many hundred weight of those meaner sorts are exchanged for a single pound of the more precious gum of Borneo and Sumatra, (Raynal, Hist. Philosoph. tom. i. p. 362—365. Dictionnaire d'Hist. Naturelle par Bomare Miller's Gardener's Dictionary.) These may be the islands of the first climate from whence the Arabians imported their camphire (Geograph. Nub. p. 34, 35. D'Herbelot, p. 232.)]

[^!: Compare Price, p. 122.—M.]

[^26: See Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. i. p. 376, 377. I may credit the fact, without believing the prophecy.]

[^27: The most considerable ruins of Assyria are the tower of Belus, at Babylon, and the hall of Chosroes, at Ctesiphon: they have been visited by that vain and curious traveller Pietro della Valle, (tom. i. p. 713—718, 731—735.)
Note: The best modern account is that of Claudius Rich Esq. Two Memoirs of Babylon. London, 1818.—M.]

[^28: Consult the article of Coufah in the Bibliotheque of D'Herbelot ( p. 277, 278,) and the second volume of Ockley's History, particularly p. 40 and 153.]

[^29: See the article of Nehavend, in D'Herbelot, p. 667, 668; and Voyages en Turquie et en Perse, par Otter, tom. i. 191.
Note: Malcolm vol. i. p. 141.—M.]

The geography of Persia is darkly delineated by the Greeks and Latins; but the most illustrious of her cities appear to be more ancient than the invasion of the Arabs. By the reduction of Hamadan and Ispahan, of Caswin, Tauris, and Rei, they gradually approached the shores of the Caspian Sea: and the orators of Mecca might applaud the success and spirit of the faithful, who had already lost sight of the northern bear, and had almost transcended the bounds of the habitable world.^30 Again, turning towards the West and the Roman empire, they repassed the Tigris over the bridge of Mosul, and, in the captive provinces of Armenia and Mesopotamia, embraced their victorious brethren of the Syrian army. From the palace of Madayn their Eastern progress was not less rapid or extensive. They advanced along the Tigris and the Gulf; penetrated through the passes of the mountains into the valley of Estachar or Persepolis, and profaned the last sanctuary of the Magian empire. The grandson of Chosroes was nearly surprised among the falling columns and mutilated figures; a sad emblem of the past and present fortune of Persia:^31 he fled with accelerated haste over the desert of Kirman, implored the aid of the warlike Segestans, and sought an humble refuge on the verge of the Turkish and Chinese power. But a victorious army is insensible of fatigue: the Arabs divided their forces in the pursuit of a timorous enemy; and the caliph Othman promised the government of Chorasan to the first general who should enter that large and populous country, the kingdom of the ancient Bactrians. The condition was accepted; the prize was deserved; the standard of Mahomet was planted on the walls of Herat, Merou, and Balch; and the successful leader neither halted nor reposed till his foaming cavalry had tasted the waters of the Oxus. In the public anarchy, the independent governors of the cities and castles obtained their separate capitulations: the terms were granted or imposed by the esteem, the prudence, or the compassion, of the victors; and a simple profession of faith established the distinction between a brother and a slave. After a noble defence, Harmozan, the prince or satrap of Ahwaz and Susa, was compelled to surrender his person and his state to the discretion of the caliph; and their interview exhibits a portrait of the Arabian manners. In the presence, and by the command, of Omar, the gay Barbarian was despoiled of his silken robes embroidered with gold, and of his tiara bedecked with rubies and emeralds: "Are you now sensible," said the conqueror to his naked captive—"are you now sensible of the judgment of God, and of the different rewards of infidelity and obedience?" "Alas!" replied Harmozan, "I feel them too deeply. In the days of our common ignorance, we fought with the weapons of the flesh, and my nation was superior. God was then neuter: since he has espoused your quarrel, you have subverted our kingdom and religion." Oppressed by this painful dialogue, the Persian complained of intolerable thirst, but discovered some apprehension lest he should be killed whilst he was drinking a cup of water. "Be of good courage," said the caliph; "your life is safe till you have drunk this water: " the crafty satrap accepted the assurance, and instantly dashed the vase against the ground. Omar would have avenged the deceit, but his companions represented the sanctity of an oath; and the speedy conversion of Harmozan entitled him not only to a free pardon, but even to a stipend of two thousand pieces of gold. The administration of Persia was regulated by an actual survey of the people, the cattle, and the fruits of the earth;^32 and this monument, which attests the vigilance of the caliphs, might have instructed the philosophers of every age.^33

[^30: It is in such a style of ignorance and wonder that the Athenian orator describes the Arctic conquests of Alexander, who never advanced beyond the shores of the Caspian. Aeschines contra Ctesiphontem, tom. iii. p. 554, edit. Graec. Orator. Reiske. This memorable cause was pleaded at Athens, Olymp. cxii. 3, (before Christ 330,) in the autumn, (Taylor, praefat. p. 370, etc.,) about a year after the battle of Arbela; and Alexander, in the pursuit of Darius, was marching towards Hyrcania and Bactriana.]

[^31: We are indebted for this curious particular to the Dynasties of Abulpharagius, p. 116; but it is needless to prove the identity of Estachar and Persepolis, (D'Herbelot, p. 327;) and still more needless to copy the drawings and descriptions of Sir John Chardin, or Corneillo le Bruyn.]

[^32: After the conquest of Persia, Theophanes adds, (Chronograph p. 283.]

[^33: Amidst our meagre relations, I must regret that D'Herbelot has not found and used a Persian translation of Tabari, enriched, as he says, with many extracts from the native historians of the Ghebers or Magi, (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 1014.)]

The flight of Yezdegerd had carried him beyond the Oxus, and as far as the Jaxartes, two rivers^34 of ancient and modern renown, which descend from the mountains of India towards the Caspian Sea. He was hospitably entertained by Takhan, prince of Fargana,^35 a fertile province on the Jaxartes: the king of Samarcand, with the Turkish tribes of Sogdiana and Scythia, were moved by the lamentations and promises of the fallen monarch; and he solicited, by a suppliant embassy, the more solid and powerful friendship of the emperor of China.^36 The virtuous Taitsong, ^37 the first of the dynasty of the Tang may be justly compared with the Antonines of Rome: his people enjoyed the blessings of prosperity and peace; and his dominion was acknowledged by forty-four hordes of the Barbarians of Tartary. His last garrisons of Cashgar and Khoten maintained a frequent intercourse with their neighbors of the Jaxartes and Oxus; a recent colony of Persians had introduced into China the astronomy of the Magi; and Taitsong might be alarmed by the rapid progress and dangerous vicinity of the Arabs. The influence, and perhaps the supplies, of China revived the hopes of Yezdegerd and the zeal of the worshippers of fire; and he returned with an army of Turks to conquer the inheritance of his fathers. The fortunate Moslems, without unsheathing their swords, were the spectators of his ruin and death. The grandson of Chosroes was betrayed by his servant, insulted by the seditious inhabitants of Merou, and oppressed, defeated, and pursued by his Barbarian allies. He reached the banks of a river, and offered his rings and bracelets for an instant passage in a miller's boat. Ignorant or insensible of royal distress, the rustic replied, that four drams of silver were the daily profit of his mill, and that he would not suspend his work unless the loss were repaid. In this moment of hesitation and delay, the last of the Sassanian kings was overtaken and slaughtered by the Turkish cavalry, in the nineteenth year of his unhappy reign.^38^* His son Firuz, an humble client of the Chinese emperor, accepted the station of captain of his guards; and the Magian worship was long preserved by a colony of loyal exiles in the province of Bucharia.^! His grandson inherited the regal name; but after a faint and fruitless enterprise, he returned to China, and ended his days in the palace of Sigan. The male line of the Sassanides was extinct; but the female captives, the daughters of Persia, were given to the conquerors in servitude, or marriage; and the race of the caliphs and imams was ennobled by the blood of their royal mothers.^39

[^34: The most authentic accounts of the two rivers, the Sihon (Jaxartes) and the Gihon, (Oxus,) may be found in Sherif al Edrisi (Geograph. Nubiens. p. 138,) Abulfeda, (Descript. Chorasan. in Hudson, tom. iii. p. 23,) Abulghazi Khan, who reigned on their banks, (Hist. Genealogique des Tatars, p. 32, 57, 766,) and the Turkish Geographer, a MS. in the king of France's library, (Examen Critique des Historiens d'Alexandre, p. 194—360.)]

[^35: The territory of Fergana is described by Abulfeda, p. 76, 77.]

[^36: Eo redegit angustiarum eundem regem exsulem, ut Turcici regis, et Sogdiani, et Sinensis, auxilia missis literis imploraret, (Abulfed. Annal. p. 74) The connection of the Persian and Chinese history is illustrated by Freret (Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xvi. p. 245—255) and De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 54—59,) and for the geography of the borders, tom. ii. p. 1 - 43.]

[^37: Hist. Sinica, p. 41—46, in the iiid part of the Relations Curieuses of Thevenot.]

[^38: I have endeavored to harmonize the various narratives of Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 37,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 116,) Abulfeda, (Annal. p. 74, 79,) and D'Herbelot, (p. 485.) The end of Yezdegerd, was not only unfortunate but obscure.]

[^*: The account of Yezdegerd's death in the Habeib 'usseyr and Rouzut uzzuffa (Price, p. 162) is much more probable.

On the demand of the few dhirems, he offered to the miller his sword, and royal girdle, of inesturable value. This awoke the cupidity of the miller, who murdered him, and threw the body into the stream.—M.]

[^!: Firouz died leaving a son called Ni-ni-cha by the Chinese, probably Narses. Yezdegerd had two sons, Firouz and Bahram St. Martin, vol. xi. p. 318.—M.]

[^39: The two daughters of Yezdegerd married Hassan, the son of Ali, and Mohammed, the son of Abubeker; and the first of these was the father of a numerous progeny. The daughter of Phirouz became the wife of the caliph Walid, and their son Yezid derived his genuine or fabulous descent from the Chosroes of Persia, the Caesars of Rome, and the Chagans of the Turks or Avars, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orientale, p. 96, 487.)]

After the fall of the Persian kingdom, the River Oxus divided the territories of the Saracens and of the Turks. This narrow boundary was soon overleaped by the spirit of the Arabs; the governors of Chorasan extended their successive inroads; and one of their triumphs was adorned with the buskin of a Turkish queen, which she dropped in her precipitate flight beyond the hills of Bochara.^40 But the final conquest of Transoxiana,^41 as well as of Spain, was reserved for the glorious reign of the inactive Walid; and the name of Catibah, the camel driver, declares the origin and merit of his successful lieutenant. While one of his colleagues displayed the first Mahometan banner on the banks of the Indus, the spacious regions between the Oxus, the Jaxartes, and the Caspian Sea, were reduced by the arms of Catibah to the obedience of the prophet and of the caliph.^42 A tribute of two millions of pieces of gold was imposed on the infidels; their idols were burnt or broken; the Mussulman chief pronounced a sermon in the new mosch of Carizme; after several battles, the Turkish hordes were driven back to the desert; and the emperors of China solicited the friendship of the victorious Arabs. To their industry, the prosperity of the province, the Sogdiana of the ancients, may in a great measure be ascribed; but the advantages of the soil and climate had been understood and cultivated since the reign of the Macedonian kings. Before the invasion of the Saracens, Carizme, Bochara, and Samarcand were rich and populous under the yoke of the shepherds of the north. ^* These cities were surrounded with a double wall; and the exterior fortification, of a larger circumference, enclosed the fields and gardens of the adjacent district. The mutual wants of India and Europe were supplied by the diligence of the Sogdian merchants; and the inestimable art of transforming linen into paper has been diffused from the manufacture of Samarcand over the western world.^43

[^40: It was valued at 2000 pieces of gold, and was the prize of Obeidollah, the son of Ziyad, a name afterwards infamous by the murder of Hosein, (Ockley's History of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 142, 143,) His brother Salem was accompanied by his wife, the first Arabian woman (A.D. 680) who passed the Oxus: she borrowed, or rather stole, the crown and jewels of the princess of the Sogdians, (p. 231, 232.)]

[^41: A part of Abulfeda's geography is translated by Greaves, inserted in Hudson's collection of the minor geographers, (tom. iii.,) and entitled Descriptio Chorasmiae et Mawaralnahroe, id est, regionum extra fluvium, Oxum, p. 80. The name of Transoxiana, softer in sound, equivalent in sense, is aptly used by Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Gengiscan, etc.,) and some modern Orientalists, but they are mistaken in ascribing it to the writers of antiquity.]

[^42: The conquests of Catibah are faintly marked by Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 84,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. Catbah, Samarcand Valid.,) and De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 58, 59.)]

[^*: The manuscripts Arabian and Persian writers in the royal library contain very circumstantial details on the contest between the Persians and Arabians. M. St. Martin declined this addition to the work of Le Beau, as extending to too great a length. St. Martin vol. xi. p. 320.—M.]

[^43: A curious description of Samarcand is inserted in the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, tom. i. p. 208, etc. The librarian Casiri (tom. ii. 9) relates, from credible testimony, that paper was first imported from China to Samarcand, A. H. 30, and invented, or rather introduced, at Mecca, A. H. 88. The Escurial library contains paper Mss. as old as the ivth or vth century of the Hegira.]

II. No sooner had Abubeker restored the unity of faith and government, than he despatched a circular letter to the Arabian tribes. "In the name of the most merciful God, to the rest of the true believers. Health and happiness, and the mercy and blessing of God, be upon you. I praise the most high God, and I pray for his prophet Mahomet. This is to acquaint you, that I intend to send the true believers into Syria^44 to take it out of the hands of the infidels. And I would have you know, that the fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God." His messengers returned with the tidings of pious and martial ardor which they had kindled in every province; and the camp of Medina was successively filled with the intrepid bands of the Saracens, who panted for action, complained of the heat of the season and the scarcity of provisions, and accused with impatient murmurs the delays of the caliph. As soon as their numbers were complete, Abubeker ascended the hill, reviewed the men, the horses, and the arms, and poured forth a fervent prayer for the success of their undertaking. In person, and on foot, he accompanied the first day's march; and when the blushing leaders attempted to dismount, the caliph removed their scruples by a declaration, that those who rode, and those who walked, in the service of religion, were equally meritorious. His instructions ^45 to the chiefs of the Syrian army were inspired by the warlike fanaticism which advances to seize, and affects to despise, the objects of earthly ambition. "Remember," said the successor of the prophet, "that you are always in the presence of God, on the verge of death, in the assurance of judgment, and the hope of paradise. Avoid injustice and oppression; consult with your brethren, and study to preserve the love and confidence of your troops. When you fight the battles of the Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your backs; but let not your victory be stained with the blood of women or children. Destroy no palm-trees, nor burn any fields of corn. Cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat. When you make any covenant or article, stand to it, and be as good as your word. As you go on, you will find some religious persons who live retired in monasteries, and propose to themselves to serve God that way: let them alone, and neither kill them nor destroy their monasteries:^46 And you will find another sort of people, that belong to the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns;^47 be sure you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn Mahometans or pay "tribute." All profane or frivolous conversation, all dangerous recollection of ancient quarrels, was severely prohibited among the Arabs: in the tumult of a camp, the exercises of religion were assiduously practised; and the intervals of action were employed in prayer, meditation, and the study of the Koran. The abuse, or even the use, of wine was chastised by fourscore strokes on the soles of the feet, and in the fervor of their primitive zeal, many secret sinners revealed their fault, and solicited their punishment. After some hesitation, the command of the Syrian army was delegated to Abu Obeidah, one of the fugitives of Mecca, and companions of Mahomet; whose zeal and devotion was assuaged, without being abated, by the singular mildness and benevolence of his temper. But in all the emergencies of war, the soldiers demanded the superior genius of Caled; and whoever might be the choice of the prince, the Sword of God was both in fact and fame the foremost leader of the Saracens. He obeyed without reluctance;^* he was consulted without jealousy; and such was the spirit of the man, or rather of the times, that Caled professed his readiness to serve under the banner of the faith, though it were in the hands of a child or an enemy. Glory, and riches, and dominion, were indeed promised to the victorious Mussulman; but he was carefully instructed, that if the goods of this life were his only incitement, they likewise would be his only reward.

[^44: A separate history of the conquest of Syria has been composed by Al Wakidi, cadi of Bagdad, who was born A.D. 748, and died A.D. 822; he likewise wrote the conquest of Egypt, of Diarbekir, etc. Above the meagre and recent chronicles of the Arabians, Al Wakidi has the double merit of antiquity and copiousness. His tales and traditions afford an artless picture of the men and the times. Yet his narrative is too often defective, trifling, and improbable. Till something better shall be found, his learned and spiritual interpreter (Ockley, in his History of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 21—342) will not deserve the petulant animadversion of Reiske, (Prodidagmata ad Magji Chalifae Tabulas, p. 236.) I am sorry to think that the labors of Ockley were consummated in a jail, (see his two prefaces to the 1st A.D. 1708, to the 2d, 1718, with the list of authors at the end.)
Note: M. Hamaker has clearly shown that neither of these works can be inscribed to Al Wakidi: they are not older than the end of the xith century or later than the middle of the xivth. Praefat. in Inc. Auct. LIb. de Expugnatione Memphidis, c. ix. x.—M.]

[^45: The instructions, etc., of the Syrian war are described by Al Wakidi and Ockley, tom. i. p. 22—27, etc. In the sequel it is necessary to contract, and needless to quote, their circumstantial narrative. My obligations to others shall be noticed.]

[^46: Notwithstanding this precept, M. Pauw (Recherches sur les Egyptiens, tom. ii. p. 192, edit. Lausanne) represents the Bedoweens as the implacable enemies of the Christian monks. For my own part, I am more inclined to suspect the avarice of the Arabian robbers, and the prejudices of the German philosopher.
Note: Several modern travellers (Mr. Fazakerley, in Walpole's Travels in the East, vol. xi. 371) give very amusing accounts of the terms on which the monks of Mount Sinai live with the neighboring Bedoweens. Such, probably, was their relative state in older times, wherever the Arab retained his Bedoween habits.—M.]

[^47: Even in the seventh century, the monks were generally laymen: 'hey wore their hair long and dishevelled, and shaved their heads when they were ordained priests. The circular tonsure was sacred and mysterious; it was the crown of thorns; but it was likewise a royal diadem, and every priest was a king, etc., (Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 721—758, especially p. 737, 738.)]

[^*: Compare Price, p. 90.—M.]


Another expedition of the conquerors of Damascus will equally display their avidity and their contempt for the riches of the present world. They were informed that the produce and manufactures of the country were annually collected in the fair of Abyla,^64 about thirty miles from the city; that the cell of a devout hermit was visited at the same time by a multitude of pilgrims; and that the festival of trade and superstition would be ennobled by the nuptials of the daughter of the governor of Tripoli. Abdallah, the son of Jaafar, a glorious and holy martyr, undertook, with a banner of five hundred horse, the pious and profitable commission of despoiling the infidels. As he approached the fair of Abyla, he was astonished by the report of this mighty concourse of Jews and Christians, Greeks, and Armenians, of natives of Syria and of strangers of Egypt, to the number of ten thousand, besides a guard of five thousand horse that attended the person of the bride. The Saracens paused: "For my own part," said Abdallah, "I dare not go back: our foes are many, our danger is great, but our reward is splendid and secure, either in this life or in the life to come. Let every man, according to his inclination, advance or retire." Not a Mussulman deserted his standard. "Lead the way," said Abdallah to his Christian guide, "and you shall see what the companions of the prophet can perform." They charged in five squadrons; but after the first advantage of the surprise, they were encompassed and almost overwhelmed by the multitude of their enemies; and their valiant band is fancifully compared to a white spot in the skin of a black camel.^65 About the hour of sunset, when their weapons dropped from their hands, when they panted on the verge of eternity, they discovered an approaching cloud of dust; they heard the welcome sound of the tecbir,^66 and they soon perceived the standard of Caled, who flew to their relief with the utmost speed of his cavalry. The Christians were broken by his attack, and slaughtered in their flight, as far as the river of Tripoli. They left behind them the various riches of the fair; the merchandises that were exposed for sale, the money that was brought for purchase, the gay decorations of the nuptials, and the governor's daughter, with forty of her female attendants.

The fruits, provisions, and furniture, the money, plate, and jewels, were diligently laden on the backs of horses, asses, and mules; and the holy robbers returned in triumph to Damascus. The hermit, after a short and angry controversy with Caled, declined the crown of martyrdom, and was left alive in the solitary scene of blood and devastation.

[^64: Dair Abil Kodos. After retrenching the last word, the epithet, holy, I discover the Abila of Lysanias between Damascus and Heliopolis: the name (Abil signifies a vineyard) concurs with the situation to justify my conjecture, (Reland, Palestin. tom. i. p 317, tom. ii. p. 526, 527.)]

[^65: I am bolder than Mr. Ockley, (vol. i. p. 164,) who dares not insert this figurative expression in the text, though he observes in a marginal note, that the Arabians often borrow their similes from that useful and familiar animal. The reindeer may be equally famous in the songs of the Laplanders.]

[^66: We hear the tecbir; so the Arabs call

Their shout of onset, when with loud appeal They challenge heaven, as if demanding conquest.

This word, so formidable in their holy wars, is a verb active, (says Ockley in his index,) of the second conjugation, from Kabbara, which signifies saying Alla Akbar, God is most mighty!]


Syria,^67 one of the countries that have been improved by the most early cultivation, is not unworthy of the preference. ^68 The heat of the climate is tempered by the vicinity of the sea and mountains, by the plenty of wood and water; and the produce of a fertile soil affords the subsistence, and encourages the propagation, of men and animals. From the age of David to that of Heraclius, the country was overspread with ancient and flourishing cities: the inhabitants were numerous and wealthy; and, after the slow ravage of despotism and superstition, after the recent calamities of the Persian war, Syria could still attract and reward the rapacious tribes of the desert. A plain, of ten days' journey, from Damascus to Aleppo and Antioch, is watered, on the western side, by the winding course of the Orontes. The hills of Libanus and Anti-Libanus are planted from north to south, between the Orontes and the Mediterranean; and the epithet of hollow (Coelesyria) was applied to a long and fruitful valley, which is confined in the same direction, by the two ridges of snowy mountains.^69 Among the cities, which are enumerated by Greek and Oriental names in the geography and conquest of Syria, we may distinguish Emesa or Hems, Heliopolis or Baalbec, the former as the metropolis of the plain, the latter as the capital of the valley. Under the last of the Caesars, they were strong and populous; the turrets glittered from afar: an ample space was covered with public and private buildings; and the citizens were illustrious by their spirit, or at least by their pride; by their riches, or at least by their luxury. In the days of Paganism, both Emesa and Heliopolis were addicted to the worship of Baal, or the sun; but the decline of their superstition and splendor has been marked by a singular variety of fortune. Not a vestige remains of the temple of Emesa, which was equalled in poetic style to the summits of Mount Libanus,^70 while the ruins of Baalbec, invisible to the writers of antiquity, excite the curiosity and wonder of the European traveller.^71 The measure of the temple is two hundred feet in length, and one hundred in breadth: the front is adorned with a double portico of eight columns; fourteen may be counted on either side; and each column, forty-five feet in height, is composed of three massy blocks of stone or marble. The proportions and ornaments of the Corinthian order express the architecture of the Greeks: but as Baalbec has never been the seat of a monarch, we are at a loss to conceive how the expense of these magnificent structures could be supplied by private or municipal liberality.^72 From the conquest of Damascus the Saracens proceeded to Heliopolis and Emesa: but I shall decline the repetition of the sallies and combats which have been already shown on a larger scale. In the prosecution of the war, their policy was not less effectual than their sword. By short and separate truces they dissolved the union of the enemy; accustomed the Syrians to compare their friendship with their enmity; familiarized the idea of their language, religion, and manners; and exhausted, by clandestine purchase, the magazines and arsenals of the cities which they returned to besiege. They aggravated the ransom of the more wealthy, or the more obstinate; and Chalcis alone was taxed at five thousand ounces of gold, five thousand ounces of silver, two thousand robes of silk, and as many figs and olives as would load five thousand asses. But the terms of truce or capitulation were faithfully observed; and the lieutenant of the caliph, who had promised not to enter the walls of the captive Baalbec, remained tranquil and immovable in his tent till the jarring factions solicited the interposition of a foreign master. The conquest of the plain and valley of Syria was achieved in less than two years. Yet the commander of the faithful reproved the slowness of their progress; and the Saracens, bewailing their fault with tears of rage and repentance, called aloud on their chiefs to lead them forth to fight the battles of the Lord. In a recent action, under the walls of Emesa, an Arabian youth, the cousin of Caled, was heard aloud to exclaim, "Methinks I see the black-eyed girls looking upon me; one of whom, should she appear in this world, all mankind would die for love of her. And I see in the hand of one of them a handkerchief of green silk, and a cap of precious stones, and she beckons me, and calls out, Come hither quickly, for I love thee." With these words, charging the Christians, he made havoc wherever he went, till, observed at length by the governor of Hems, he was struck through with a javelin.

[^67: In the Geography of Abulfeda, the description of Syria, his native country, is the most interesting and authentic portion. It was published in Arabic and Latin, Lipsiae, 1766, in quarto, with the learned notes of Kochler and Reiske, and some extracts of geography and natural history from Ibn Ol Wardii. Among the modern travels, Pocock's Description of the East (of Syria and Mesopotamia, vol. ii. p. 88—209) is a work of superior learning and dignity; but the author too often confounds what he had seen and what he had read.]

[^68: The praises of Dionysius are just and lively. Syria, (in Periegesi, v. 902, in tom. iv. Geograph. Minor. Hudson.) In another place he styles the country differently, (v. 898.)

This poetical geographer lived in the age of Augustus, and his description of the world is illustrated by the Greek commentary of Eustathius, who paid the same compliment to Homer and Dionysius, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. l. iv. c. 2, tom. iii. p. 21, etc.)]

[^69: The topography of the Libanus and Anti-Libanus is excellently described by the learning and sense of Reland, (Palestin. tom. i. p. 311—326)]

[^70:—Emesae fastigia celsa renident. Nam diffusa solo latus explicat; ac subit auras Turribus in coelum nitentibus: incola claris Cor studiis acuit...Denique flammicomo devoti pectora soli Vitam agitant. Libanus frondosa cacumina turget. Et tamen his certant celsi fastigia templi.

These verses of the Latin version of Rufus Avienus are wanting in the Greek original of Dionysius; and since they are likewise unnoticed by Eustathius, I must, with Fabricius, (Bibliot. Latin. tom. iii. p. 153, edit. Ernesti,) and against Salmasius, (ad Vopiscum, p. 366, 367, in Hist. August.,) ascribed them to the fancy, rather than the Mss., of Avienus.]

[^71: I am much better satisfied with Maundrell's slight octavo, (Journey, p. 134—139), than with the pompous folio of Dr. Pocock, (Description of the East, vol. ii. p. 106—113;) but every preceding account is eclipsed by the magnificent description and drawings of Mm. Dawkins and Wood, who have transported into England the ruins of Pamyra and Baalbec.]

[^72: The Orientals explain the prodigy by a never-failing expedient. The edifices of Baalbec were constructed by the fairies or the genii, Hist. de Timour Bec, tom. iii. l. v. c. 23, p. 311, 312. Voyage d'Otter, tom. i. p. 83.) With less absurdity, but with equal ignorance, Abulfeda and Ibn Chaukel ascribe them to the Sabaeans or Aadites Non sunt in omni Syria aedificia magnificentiora his, (Tabula Syria p. 108.)]

It was incumbent on the Saracens to exert the full powers of their valor and enthusiasm against the forces of the emperor, who was taught, by repeated losses, that the rovers of the desert had undertaken, and would speedily achieve, a regular and permanent conquest. From the provinces of Europe and Asia, fourscore thousand soldiers were transported by sea and land to Antioch and Caesarea: the light troops of the army consisted of sixty thousand Christian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. Under the banner of Jabalah, the last of their princes, they marched in the van; and it was a maxim of the Greeks, that for the purpose of cutting diamond, a diamond was the most effectual. Heraclius withheld his person from the dangers of the field; but his presumption, or perhaps his despondency, suggested a peremptory order, that the fate of the province and the war should be decided by a single battle. The Syrians were attached to the standard of Rome and of the cross: but the noble, the citizen, the peasant, were exasperated by the injustice and cruelty of a licentious host, who oppressed them as subjects, and despised them as strangers and aliens.^73 A report of these mighty preparations was conveyed to the Saracens in their camp of Emesa, and the chiefs, though resolved to fight, assembled a council: the faith of Abu Obeidah would have expected on the same spot the glory of martyrdom; the wisdom of Caled advised an honorable retreat to the skirts of Palestine and Arabia, where they might await the succors of their friends, and the attack of the unbelievers. A speedy messenger soon returned from the throne of Medina, with the blessings of Omar and Ali, the prayers of the widows of the prophet, and a reenforcement of eight thousand Moslems. In their way they overturned a detachment of Greeks, and when they joined at Yermuk the camp of their brethren, they found the pleasing intelligence, that Caled had already defeated and scattered the Christian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. In the neighborhood of Bosra, the springs of Mount Hermon descend in a torrent to the plain of Decapolis, or ten cities; and the Hieromax, a name which has been corrupted to Yermuk, is lost, after a short course, in the Lake of Tiberias.^74 The banks of this obscure stream were illustrated by a long and bloody encounter.^* On this momentous occasion, the public voice, and the modesty of Abu Obeidah, restored the command to the most deserving of the Moslems. Caled assumed his station in the front, his colleague was posted in the rear, that the disorder of the fugitive might be checked by his venerable aspect, and the sight of the yellow banner which Mahomet had displayed before the walls of Chaibar. The last line was occupied by the sister of Derar, with the Arabian women who had enlisted in this holy war, who were accustomed to wield the bow and the lance, and who in a moment of captivity had defended, against the uncircumcised ravishers, their chastity and religion.^75 The exhortation of the generals was brief and forcible: "Paradise is before you, the devil and hell-fire in your rear." Yet such was the weight of the Roman cavalry, that the right wing of the Arabs was broken and separated from the main body. Thrice did they retreat in disorder, and thrice were they driven back to the charge by the reproaches and blows of the women. In the intervals of action, Abu Obeidah visited the tents of his brethren, prolonged their repose by repeating at once the prayers of two different hours, bound up their wounds with his own hands, and administered the comfortable reflection, that the infidels partook of their sufferings without partaking of their reward. Four thousand and thirty of the Moslems were buried in the field of battle; and the skill of the Armenian archers enabled seven hundred to boast that they had lost an eye in that meritorious service. The veterans of the Syrian war acknowledged that it was the hardest and most doubtful of the days which they had seen. But it was likewise the most decisive: many thousands of the Greeks and Syrians fell by the swords of the Arabs; many were slaughtered, after the defeat, in the woods and mountains; many, by mistaking the ford, were drowned in the waters of the Yermuk; and however the loss may be magnified,^76 the Christian writers confess and bewail the bloody punishment of their sins.^77 Manuel, the Roman general, was either killed at Damascus, or took refuge in the monastery of Mount Sinai. An exile in the Byzantine court, Jabalah lamented the manners of Arabia, and his unlucky preference of the Christian cause.^78 He had once inclined to the profession of Islam; but in the pilgrimage of Mecca, Jabalah was provoked to strike one of his brethren, and fled with amazement from the stern and equal justice of the caliph These victorious Saracens enjoyed at Damascus a month of pleasure and repose: the spoil was divided by the discretion of Abu Obeidah: an equal share was allotted to a soldier and to his horse, and a double portion was reserved for the noble coursers of the Arabian breed.

[^73: I have read somewhere in Tacitus, or Grotius, Subjectos habent tanquam suos, viles tanquam alienos. Some Greek officers ravished the wife, and murdered the child, of their Syrian landlord; and Manuel smiled at his undutiful complaint.]

[^74: See Reland, Palestin. tom. i. p. 272, 283, tom. ii. p. 773, 775. This learned professor was equal to the task of describing the Holy Land, since he was alike conversant with Greek and Latin, with Hebrew and Arabian literature. The Yermuk, or Hieromax, is noticed by Cellarius (Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 392) and D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 185.) The Arabs, and even Abulfeda himself, do not seem to recognize the scene of their victory.]

[^*: Compare Price, p. 79. The army of the Romans is swoller to 400,000 men of which 70,000 perished.—M.]

[^75: These women were of the tribe of the Hamyarites, who derived their origin from the ancient Amalekites. Their females were accustomed to ride on horseback, and to fight like the Amazons of old, (Ockley, vol. i. p. 67.)]

[^76: We killed of them, says Abu Obeidah to the caliph, one hundred and fifty thousand, and made prisoners forty thousand, (Ockley vol. i. p. 241.) As I cannot doubt his veracity, nor believe his computation, I must suspect that the Arabic historians indulge themselves in the practice of comparing speeches and letters for their heroes.]

[^77: After deploring the sins of the Christians, Theophanes, adds, (Chronograph. p. 276,) does he mean Aiznadin? His account is brief and obscure, but he accuses the numbers of the enemy, the adverse wind, and the cloud of dust. (Chronograph. p. 280.)]

[^78: See Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 70, 71,) who transcribes the poetical complaint of Jabalah himself, and some panegyrical strains of an Arabian poet, to whom the chief of Gassan sent from Constantinople a gift of five hundred pieces of gold by the hands of the ambassador of Omar.]

After the battle of Yermuk, the Roman army no longer appeared in the field; and the Saracens might securely choose, among the fortified towns of Syria, the first object of their attack. They consulted the caliph whether they should march to Caesarea or Jerusalem; and the advice of Ali determined the immediate siege of the latter. To a profane eye, Jerusalem was the first or second capital of Palestine; but after Mecca and Medina, it was revered and visited by the devout Moslems, as the temple of the Holy Land which had been sanctified by the revelation of Moses, of Jesus, and of Mahomet himself. The son of Abu Sophian was sent with five thousand Arabs to try the first experiment of surprise or treaty; but on the eleventh day, the town was invested by the whole force of Abu Obeidah. He addressed the customary summons to the chief commanders and people of Aelia.^79

[^79: In the name of the city, the profane prevailed over the sacred Jerusalem was known to the devout Christians, (Euseb. de Martyr Palest. c xi.;) but the legal and popular appellation of Aelia (the colony of Aelius Hadrianus) has passed from the Romans to the Arabs. (Reland, Palestin. tom. i. p. 207, tom. ii. p. 835. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, Cods, p. 269, Ilia, p. 420.) The epithet of Al Cods, the Holy, is used as the proper name of Jerusalem.]

"Health and happiness to every one that follows the right way! We require of you to testify that there is but one God, and that Mahomet is his apostle. If you refuse this, consent to pay tribute, and be under us forthwith. Otherwise I shall bring men against you who love death better than you do the drinking of wine or eating hog's flesh. Nor will I ever stir from you, if it please God, till I have destroyed those that fight for you, and made slaves of your children." But the city was defended on every side by deep valleys and steep ascents; since the invasion of Syria, the walls and towers had been anxiously restored; the bravest of the fugitives of Yermuk had stopped in the nearest place of refuge; and in the defence of the sepulchre of Christ, the natives and strangers might feel some sparks of the enthusiasm, which so fiercely glowed in the bosoms of the Saracens. The siege of Jerusalem lasted four months; not a day was lost without some action of sally or assault; the military engines incessantly played from the ramparts; and the inclemency of the winter was still more painful and destructive to the Arabs. The Christians yielded at length to the perseverance of the besiegers. The patriarch Sophronius appeared on the walls, and by the voice of an interpreter demanded a conference.^* After a vain attempt to dissuade the lieutenant of the caliph from his impious enterprise, he proposed, in the name of the people, a fair capitulation, with this extraordinary clause, that the articles of security should be ratified by the authority and presence of Omar himself. The question was debated in the council of Medina; the sanctity of the place, and the advice of Ali, persuaded the caliph to gratify the wishes of his soldiers and enemies; and the simplicity of his journey is more illustrious than the royal pageants of vanity and oppression. The conqueror of Persia and Syria was mounted on a red camel, which carried, besides his person, a bag of corn, a bag of dates, a wooden dish, and a leathern bottle of water. Wherever he halted, the company, without distinction, was invited to partake of his homely fare, and the repast was consecrated by the prayer and exhortation of the commander of the faithful.^80 But in this expedition or pilgrimage, his power was exercised in the administration of justice: he reformed the licentious polygamy of the Arabs, relieved the tributaries from extortion and cruelty, and chastised the luxury of the Saracens, by despoiling them of their rich silks, and dragging them on their faces in the dirt. When he came within sight of Jerusalem, the caliph cried with a loud voice, "God is victorious. O Lord, give us an easy conquest!" and, pitching his tent of coarse hair, calmly seated himself on the ground. After signing the capitulation, he entered the city without fear or precaution; and courteously discoursed with the patriarch concerning its religious antiquities.^81 Sophronius bowed before his new master, and secretly muttered, in the words of Daniel, "The abomination of desolation is in the holy place." ^82 At the hour of prayer they stood together in the church of the resurrection; but the caliph refused to perform his devotions, and contented himself with praying on the steps of the church of Constantine. To the patriarch he disclosed his prudent and honorable motive. "Had I yielded," said Omar, "to your request, the Moslems of a future age would have infringed the treaty under color of imitating my example." By his command the ground of the temple of Solomon was prepared for the foundation of a mosch;^83 and, during a residence of ten days, he regulated the present and future state of his Syrian conquests. Medina might be jealous, lest the caliph should be detained by the sanctity of Jerusalem or the beauty of Damascus; her apprehensions were dispelled by his prompt and voluntary return to the tomb of the apostle.^84

[^*: See the explanation of this in Price, with the prophecy which was hereby fulfilled, p 85.—M.]

[^80: The singular journey and equipage of Omar are described (besides Ockley, vol. i. p. 250) by Murtadi, (Merveilles de l'Egypte, p. 200—202.)]

[^81: The Arabs boast of an old prophecy preserved at Jerusalem, and describing the name, the religion, and the person of Omar, the future conqueror. By such arts the Jews are said to have soothed the pride of their foreign masters, Cyrus and Alexander, (Joseph. Ant. Jud. l. xi c. 1, 8, p. 447, 579—582.)]

[^82: Theophan. Chronograph. p. 281. This prediction, which had already served for Antiochus and the Romans, was again refitted for the present occasion, by the economy of Sophronius, one of the deepest theologians of the Monothelite controversy.]

[^83: According to the accurate survey of D'Anville, (Dissertation sun l'ancienne Jerusalem, p. 42—54,) the mosch of Omar, enlarged and embellished by succeeding caliphs, covered the ground of the ancient temple, (says Phocas,) a length of 215, a breadth of 172, toises. The Nubian geographer declares, that this magnificent structure was second only in size and beauty to the great mosch of Cordova, (p. 113,) whose present state Mr. Swinburne has so elegantly represented, (Travels into Spain, p. 296—302.)]

[^84: Of the many Arabic tarikhs or chronicles of Jerusalem, (D'Herbelot, p. 867,) Ockley found one among the Pocock Mss. of Oxford, (vol. i. p. 257,) which he has used to supply the defective narrative of Al Wakidi.]

To achieve what yet remained of the Syrian war the caliph had formed two separate armies; a chosen detachment, under Amrou and Yezid, was left in the camp of Palestine; while the larger division, under the standard of Abu Obeidah and Caled, marched away to the north against Antioch and Aleppo. The latter of these, the Beraea of the Greeks, was not yet illustrious as the capital of a province or a kingdom; and the inhabitants, by anticipating their submission and pleading their poverty, obtained a moderate composition for their lives and religion. But the castle of Aleppo,^85 distinct from the city, stood erect on a lofty artificial mound the sides were sharpened to a precipice, and faced with free-stone; and the breadth of the ditch might be filled with water from the neighboring springs. After the loss of three thousand men, the garrison was still equal to the defence; and Youkinna, their valiant and hereditary chief, had murdered his brother, a holy monk, for daring to pronounce the name of peace. In a siege of four or five months, the hardest of the Syrian war, great numbers of the Saracens were killed and wounded: their removal to the distance of a mile could not seduce the vigilance of Youkinna; nor could the Christians be terrified by the execution of three hundred captives, whom they beheaded before the castle wall. The silence, and at length the complaints, of Abu Obeidah informed the caliph that their hope and patience were consumed at the foot of this impregnable fortress. "I am variously affected," replied Omar, "by the difference of your success; but I charge you by no means to raise the siege of the castle. Your retreat would diminish the reputation of our arms, and encourage the infidels to fall upon you on all sides. Remain before Aleppo till God shall determine the event, and forage with your horse round the adjacent country." The exhortation of the commander of the faithful was fortified by a supply of volunteers from all the tribes of Arabia, who arrived in the camp on horses or camels. Among these was Dames, of a servile birth, but of gigantic size and intrepid resolution. The forty-seventh day of his service he proposed, with only thirty men, to make an attempt on the castle. The experience and testimony of Caled recommended his offer; and Abu Obeidah admonished his brethren not to despise the baser origin of Dames, since he himself, could he relinquish the public care, would cheerfully serve under the banner of the slave. His design was covered by the appearance of a retreat; and the camp of the Saracens was pitched about a league from Aleppo. The thirty adventurers lay in ambush at the foot of the hill; and Dames at length succeeded in his inquiries, though he was provoked by the ignorance of his Greek captives. "God curse these dogs," said the illiterate Arab; "what a strange barbarous language they speak!" At the darkest hour of the night, he scaled the most accessible height, which he had diligently surveyed, a place where the stones were less entire, or the slope less perpendicular, or the guard less vigilant. Seven of the stoutest Saracens mounted on each other's shoulders, and the weight of the column was sustained on the broad and sinewy back of the gigantic slave. The foremost in this painful ascent could grasp and climb the lowest part of the battlements; they silently stabbed and cast down the sentinels; and the thirty brethren, repeating a pious ejaculation, "O apostle of God, help and deliver us!" were successively drawn up by the long folds of their turbans. With bold and cautious footsteps, Dames explored the palace of the governor, who celebrated, in riotous merriment, the festival of his deliverance. From thence, returning to his companions, he assaulted on the inside the entrance of the castle. They overpowered the guard, unbolted the gate, let down the drawbridge, and defended the narrow pass, till the arrival of Caled, with the dawn of day, relieved their danger and assured their conquest. Youkinna, a formidable foe, became an active and useful proselyte; and the general of the Saracens expressed his regard for the most humble merit, by detaining the army at Aleppo till Dames was cured of his honorable wounds. The capital of Syria was still covered by the castle of Aazaz and the iron bridge of the Orontes. After the loss of those important posts, and the defeat of the last of the Roman armies, the luxury of Antioch^86 trembled and obeyed. Her safety was ransomed with three hundred thousand pieces of gold; but the throne of the successors of Alexander, the seat of the Roman government of the East, which had been decorated by Caesar with the titles of free, and holy, and inviolate was degraded under the yoke of the caliphs to the secondary rank of a provincial town.^87

[^85: The Persian historian of Timur (tom. iii. l. v. c. 21, p. 300) describes the castle of Aleppo as founded on a rock one hundred cubits in height; a proof, says the French translator, that he had never visited the place. It is now in the midst of the city, of no strength with a single gate; the circuit is about 500 or 600 paces, and the ditch half full of stagnant water, (Voyages de Tavernier, tom. i. p. 149 Pocock, vol. ii. part i. p. 150.) The fortresses of the East are contemptible to a European eye.]

[^86: The date of the conquest of Antioch by the Arabs is of some importance. By comparing the years of the world in the chronography of Theophanes with the years of the Hegira in the history of Elmacin, we shall determine, that it was taken between January 23d and September 1st of the year of Christ 638, (Pagi, Critica, in Baron. Annal. tom. ii. p. 812, 813.) Al Wakidi (Ockley, vol. i. p. 314) assigns that event to Tuesday, August 21st, an inconsistent date; since Easter fell that year on April 5th, the 21st of August must have been a Friday, (see the Tables of the Art de Verifier les Dates.)]

[^87: His bounteous edict, which tempted the grateful city to assume the victory of Pharsalia for a perpetual aera, is given. John Malala, in Chron. p. 91, edit. Venet. We may distinguish his authentic information of domestic facts from his gross ignorance of general history.]

In the life of Heraclius, the glories of the Persian war are clouded on either hand by the disgrace and weakness of his more early and his later days. When the successors of Mahomet unsheathed the sword of war and religion, he was astonished at the boundless prospect of toil and danger; his nature was indolent, nor could the infirm and frigid age of the emperor be kindled to a second effort. The sense of shame, and the importunities of the Syrians, prevented the hasty departure from the scene of action; but the hero was no more; and the loss of Damascus and Jerusalem, the bloody fields of Aiznadin and Yermuk, may be imputed in some degree to the absence or misconduct of the sovereign. Instead of defending the sepulchre of Christ, he involved the church and state in a metaphysical controversy for the unity of his will; and while Heraclius crowned the offspring of his second nuptials, he was tamely stripped of the most valuable part of their inheritance. In the cathedral of Antioch, in the presence of the bishops, at the foot of the crucifix, he bewailed the sins of the prince and people; but his confession instructed the world, that it was vain, and perhaps impious, to resist the judgment of God. The Saracens were invincible in fact, since they were invincible in opinion; and the desertion of Youkinna, his false repentance and repeated perfidy, might justify the suspicion of the emperor, that he was encompassed by traitors and apostates, who conspired to betray his person and their country to the enemies of Christ. In the hour of adversity, his superstition was agitated by the omens and dreams of a falling crown; and after bidding an eternal farewell to Syria, he secretly embarked with a few attendants, and absolved the faith of his subjects.^88 Constantine, his eldest son, had been stationed with forty thousand men at Caesarea, the civil metropolis of the three provinces of Palestine. But his private interest recalled him to the Byzantine court; and, after the flight of his father, he felt himself an unequal champion to the united force of the caliph. His vanguard was boldly attacked by three hundred Arabs and a thousand black slaves, who, in the depth of winter, had climbed the snowy mountains of Libanus, and who were speedily followed by the victorious squadrons of Caled himself. From the north and south the troops of Antioch and Jerusalem advanced along the sea-shore till their banners were joined under the walls of the Phoenician cities: Tripoli and Tyre were betrayed; and a fleet of fifty transports, which entered without distrust the captive harbors, brought a seasonable supply of arms and provisions to the camp of the Saracens. Their labors were terminated by the unexpected surrender of Caesarea: the Roman prince had embarked in the night;^89 and the defenceless citizens solicited their pardon with an offering of two hundred thousand pieces of gold. The remainder of the province, Ramlah, Ptolemais or Acre, Sichem or Neapolis, Gaza, Ascalon, Berytus, Sidon, Gabala, Laodicea, Apamea, Hierapolis, no longer presumed to dispute the will of the conqueror; and Syria bowed under the sceptre of the caliphs seven hundred years after Pompey had despoiled the last of the Macedonian kings.^90

[^88: See Ockley, (vol. i. p. 308, 312,) who laughs at the credulity of his author. When Heraclius bade farewell to Syria, Vale Syria et ultimum vale, he prophesied that the Romans should never reenter the province till the birth of an inauspicious child, the future scourge of the empire. Abulfeda, p. 68. I am perfectly ignorant of the mystic sense, or nonsense, of this prediction.]

[^89: In the loose and obscure chronology of the times, I am guided by an authentic record, (in the book of ceremonies of Constantine Porphyrogenitus,) which certifies that, June 4, A.D. 638, the emperor crowned his younger son Heraclius, in the presence of his eldest, Constantine, and in the palace of Constantinople; that January 1, A.D. 639, the royal procession visited the great church, and on the 4th of the same month, the hippodrome.]

[^90: Sixty-five years before Christ, Syria Pontusque monumenta sunt Cn. Pompeii virtutis, (Vell. Patercul. ii. 38,) rather of his fortune and power: he adjudged Syria to be a Roman province, and the last of the Seleucides were incapable of drawing a sword in the defence of their patrimony (see the original texts collected by Usher, Annal. p. 420)]


The sieges and battles of six campaigns had consumed many thousands of the Moslems. They died with the reputation and the cheerfulness of martyrs; and the simplicity of their faith may be expressed in the words of an Arabian youth, when he embraced, for the last time, his sister and mother: "It is not," said he, "the delicacies of Syria, or the fading delights of this world, that have prompted me to devote my life in the cause of religion. But I seek the favor of God and his apostle; and I have heard, from one of the companions of the prophet, that the spirits of the martyrs will be lodged in the crops of green birds, who shall taste the fruits, and drink of the rivers, of paradise. Farewell, we shall meet again among the groves and fountains which God has provided for his elect." The faithful captives might exercise a passive and more arduous resolution; and a cousin of Mahomet is celebrated for refusing, after an abstinence of three days, the wine and pork, the only nourishment that was allowed by the malice of the infidels. The frailty of some weaker brethren exasperated the implacable spirit of fanaticism; and the father of Amer deplored, in pathetic strains, the apostasy and damnation of a son, who had renounced the promises of God, and the intercession of the prophet, to occupy, with the priests and deacons, the lowest mansions of hell. The more fortunate Arabs, who survived the war and persevered in the faith, were restrained by their abstemious leader from the abuse of prosperity. After a refreshment of three days, Abu Obeidah withdrew his troops from the pernicious contagion of the luxury of Antioch, and assured the caliph that their religion and virtue could only be preserved by the hard discipline of poverty and labor. But the virtue of Omar, however rigorous to himself, was kind and liberal to his brethren. After a just tribute of praise and thanksgiving, he dropped a tear of compassion; and sitting down on the ground, wrote an answer, in which he mildly censured the severity of his lieutenant: "God," said the successor of the prophet, "has not forbidden the use of the good things of this worl to faithful men, and such as have performed good works. Therefore you ought to have given them leave to rest themselves, and partake freely of those good things which the country affordeth. If any of the Saracens have no family in Arabia, they may marry in Syria; and whosoever of them wants any female slaves, he may purchase as many as he hath occasion for." The conquerors prepared to use, or to abuse, this gracious permission; but the year of their triumph was marked by a mortality of men and cattle; and twenty-five thousand Saracens were snatched away from the possession of Syria. The death of Abu Obeidah might be lamented by the Christians; but his brethren recollected that he was one of the ten elect whom the prophet had named as the heirs of paradise. ^91 Caled survived his brethren about three years: and the tomb of the Sword of God is shown in the neighborhood of Emesa. His valor, which founded in Arabia and Syria the empire of the caliphs, was fortified by the opinion of a special providence; and as long as he wore a cap, which had been blessed by Mahomet, he deemed himself invulnerable amidst the darts of the infidels. ^*

[^91: Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p. 73. Mahomet could artfully vary the praises of his disciples. Of Omar he was accustomed to say, that if a prophet could arise after himself, it would be Omar; and that in a general calamity, Omar would be accepted by the divine justice, (Ockley, vol. i. p. 221.)]

[^*: Khaled, according to the Rouzont Uzzuffa, (Price, p. 90,) after having been deprived of his ample share of the plunder of Syria by the jealousy of Omar, died, possessed only of his horse, his arms, and a single slave. Yet Omar was obliged to acknowledge to his lamenting parent. that never mother had produced a son like Khaled.—M.]

The place of the first conquerors was supplied by a new generation of their children and countrymen: Syria became the seat and support of the house of Ommiyah; and the revenue, the soldiers, the ships of that powerful kingdom were consecrated to enlarge on every side the empire of the caliphs. But the Saracens despise a superfluity of fame; and their historians scarcely condescend to mention the subordinate conquests which are lost in the splendor and rapidity of their victorious career.

To the north of Syria, they passed Mount Taurus, and reduced to their obedience the province of Cilicia, with its capital Tarsus, the ancient monument of the Assyrian kings. Beyond a second ridge of the same mountains, they spread the flame of war, rather than the light of religion, as far as the shores of the Euxine, and the neighborhood of Constantinople. To the east they advanced to the banks and sources of the Euphrates and Tigris: ^92 the long disputed barrier of Rome and Persia was forever confounded the walls of Edessa and Amida, of Dara and Nisibis, which had resisted the arms and engines of Sapor or Nushirvan, were levelled in the dust; and the holy city of Abgarus might vainly produce the epistle or the image of Christ to an unbelieving conqueror. To the west the Syrian kingdom is bounded by the sea: and the ruin of Aradus, a small island or peninsula on the coast, was postponed during ten years. But the hills of Libanus abounded in timber; the trade of Phoenicia was populous in mariners; and a fleet of seventeen hundred barks was equipped and manned by the natives of the desert. The Imperial navy of the Romans fled before them from the Pamphylian rocks to the Hellespont; but the spirit of the emperor, a grandson of Heraclius, had been subdued before the combat by a dream and a pun.^93 The Saracens rode masters of the sea; and the islands of Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades, were successively exposed to their rapacious visits. Three hundred years before the Christian aera, the memorable though fruitless siege of Rhodes^94 by Demetrius had furnished that maritime republic with the materials and the subject of a trophy. A gigantic statue of Apollo, or the sun, seventy cubits in height, was erected at the entrance of the harbor, a monument of the freedom and the arts of Greece. After standing fifty-six years, the colossus of Rhodes was overthrown by an earthquake; but the massy trunk, and huge fragments, lay scattered eight centuries on the ground, and are often described as one of the wonders of the ancient world. They were collected by the diligence of the Saracens, and sold to a Jewish merchant of Edessa, who is said to have laden nine hundred camels with the weight of the brass metal; an enormous weight, though we should include the hundred colossal figures,^95 and the three thousand statues, which adorned the prosperity of the city of the sun.

[^92: Al Wakidi had likewise written a history of the conquest of Diarbekir, or Mesopotamia, (Ockley, at the end of the iid vol.,) which our interpreters do not appear to have seen. The Chronicle of Dionysius of Telmar, the Jacobite patriarch, records the taking of Edessa A.D. 637, and of Dara A.D. 641, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 103;) and the attentive may glean some doubtful information from the Chronography of Theophanes, (p. 285—287.) Most of the towns of Mesopotamia yielded by surrender, (Abulpharag. p. 112.)
Note: It has been published in Arabic by M. Ewald St. Martin, vol. xi p 248; but its authenticity is doubted.—M.]

[^93: He dreamt that he was at Thessalonica, a harmless and unmeaning vision; but his soothsayer, or his cowardice, understood the sure omen of a defeat concealed in that inauspicious word, Give to another the victory, (Theoph. p. 286. Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 88.)]

[^94: Every passage and every fact that relates to the isle, the city, and the colossus of Rhodes, are compiled in the laborious treatise of Meursius, who has bestowed the same diligence on the two larger islands of the Crete and Cyprus. See, in the iiid vol. of his works, the Rhodus of Meursius, (l. i. c. 15, p. 715—719.) The Byzantine writers, Theophanes and Constantine, have ignorantly prolonged the term to 1360 years, and ridiculously divide the weight among 30,000 camels.]

[^95: Centum colossi alium nobilitaturi locum, says Pliny, with his usual spirit. Hist. Natur. xxxiv. 18.]

II. The conquest of Egypt may be explained by the character of the victorious Saracen, one of the first of his nation, in an age when the meanest of the brethren was exalted above his nature by the spirit of enthusiasm. The birth of Amrou was at once base and illustrious; his mother, a notorious prostitute, was unable to decide among five of the Koreish; but the proof of resemblance adjudged the child to Aasi, the oldest of her lovers.^96 The youth of Amrou was impelled by the passions and prejudices of his kindred: his poetic genius was exercised in satirical verses against the person and doctrine of Mahomet; his dexterity was employed by the reigning faction to pursue the religious exiles who had taken refuge in the court of the Aethiopian king.^97 Yet he returned from this embassy a secret proselyte; his reason or his interest determined him to renounce the worship of idols; he escaped from Mecca with his friend Caled; and the prophet of Medina enjoyed at the same moment the satisfaction of embracing the two firmest champions of his cause. The impatience of Amrou to lead the armies of the faithful was checked by the reproof of Omar, who advised him not to seek power and dominion, since he who is a subject to-day, may be a prince to-morrow. Yet his merit was not overlooked by the two first successors of Mahomet; they were indebted to his arms for the conquest of Palestine; and in all the battles and sieges of Syria, he united with the temper of a chief the valor of an adventurous soldier. In a visit to Medina, the caliph expressed a wish to survey the sword which had cut down so many Christian warriors; the son of Aasi unsheathed a short and ordinary cimeter; and as he perceived the surprise of Omar, "Alas," said the modest Saracen, "the sword itself, without the arm of its master, is neither sharper nor more weighty than the sword of Pharezdak the poet."^98 After the conquest of Egypt, he was recalled by the jealousy of the caliph Othman; but in the subsequent troubles, the ambition of a soldier, a statesman, and an orator, emerged from a private station. His powerful support, both in council and in the field, established the throne of the Ommiades; the administration and revenue of Egypt were restored by the gratitude of Moawiyah to a faithful friend who had raised himself above the rank of a subject; and Amrou ended his days in the palace and city which he had founded on the banks of the Nile. His dying speech to his children is celebrated by the Arabians as a model of eloquence and wisdom: he deplored the errors of his youth but if the penitent was still infected by the vanity of a poet, he might exaggerate the venom and mischief of his impious compositions.^99

[^96: We learn this anecdote from a spirited old woman, who reviled to their faces, the caliph and his friend. She was encouraged by the silence of Amrou and the liberality of Moawiyah, (Abulfeda, Annal Moslem. p. 111.)]

[^97: Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 46, etc., who quotes the Abyssinian history, or romance of Abdel Balcides. Yet the fact of the embassy and ambassador may be allowed.]

[^98: This saying is preserved by Pocock, (Not. ad Carmen Tograi, p 184,) and justly applauded by Mr. Harris, (Philosophical Arrangements, p. 850.)]

[^99: For the life and character of Amrou, see Ockley (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 28, 63, 94, 328, 342, 344, and to the end of the volume; vol. ii. p. 51, 55, 57, 74, 110—112, 162) and Otter, (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxi. p. 131, 132.) The readers of Tacitus may aptly compare Vespasian and Mucianus with Moawiyah and Amrou. Yet the resemblance is still more in the situation, than in the characters, of the men.]

From his camp in Palestine, Amrou had surprised or anticipated the caliph's leave for the invasion of Egypt.^100 The magnanimous Omar trusted in his God and his sword, which had shaken the thrones of Chosroes and Caesar: but when he compared the slender force of the Moslems with the greatness of the enterprise, he condemned his own rashness, and listened to his timid companions. The pride and the greatness of Pharaoh were familiar to the readers of the Koran; and a tenfold repetition of prodigies had been scarcely sufficient to effect, not the victory, but the flight, of six hundred thousand of the children of Israel: the cities of Egypt were many and populous; their architecture was strong and solid; the Nile, with its numerous branches, was alone an insuperable barrier; and the granary of the Imperial city would be obstinately defended by the Roman powers. In this perplexity, the commander of the faithful resigned himself to the decision of chance, or, in his opinion, of Providence. At the head of only four thousand Arabs, the intrepid Amrou had marched away from his station of Gaza when he was overtaken by the messenger of Omar. "If you are still in Syria," said the ambiguous mandate, "retreat without delay; but if, at the receipt of this epistle, you have already reached the frontiers of Egypt, advance with confidence, and depend on the succor of God and of your brethren." The experience, perhaps the secret intelligence, of Amrou had taught him to suspect the mutability of courts; and he continued his march till his tents were unquestionably pitched on Egyptian ground. He there assembled his officers, broke the seal, perused the epistle, gravely inquired the name and situation of the place, and declared his ready obedience to the commands of the caliph. After a siege of thirty days, he took possession of Farmah or Pelusium; and that key of Egypt, as it has been justly named, unlocked the entrance of the country as far as the ruins of Heliopolis and the neighborhood of the modern Cairo.

[^100: Al Wakidi had likewise composed a separate history of the conquest of Egypt, which Mr. Ockley could never procure; and his own inquiries (vol. i. 344—362) have added very little to the original text of Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 296—323, vers. Pocock,) the Melchite patriarch of Alexandria, who lived three hundred years after the revolution.]

On the Western side of the Nile, at a small distance to the east of the Pyramids, at a small distance to the south of the Delta, Memphis, one hundred and fifty furlongs in circumference, displayed the magnificence of ancient kings. Under the reign of the Ptolemies and Caesars, the seat of government was removed to the sea-coast; the ancient capital was eclipsed by the arts and opulence of Alexandria; the palaces, and at length the temples, were reduced to a desolate and ruinous condition: yet, in the age of Augustus, and even in that of Constantine, Memphis was still numbered among the greatest and most populous of the provincial cities.^101 The banks of the Nile, in this place of the breadth of three thousand feet, were united by two bridges of sixty and of thirty boats, connected in the middle stream by the small island of Rouda, which was covered with gardens and habitations. ^102 The eastern extremity of the bridge was terminated by the town of Babylon and the camp of a Roman legion, which protected the passage of the river and the second capital of Egypt. This important fortress, which might fairly be described as a part of Memphis or Misrah, was invested by the arms of the lieutenant of Omar: a reenforcement of four thousand Saracens soon arrived in his camp; and the military engines, which battered the walls, may be imputed to the art and labor of his Syrian allies. Yet the siege was protracted to seven months; and the rash invaders were encompassed and threatened by the inundation of the Nile.^103 Their last assault was bold and successful: they passed the ditch, which had been fortified with iron spikes, applied their scaling ladders, entered the fortress with the shout of "God is victorious!" and drove the remnant of the Greeks to their boats and the Isle of Rouda. The spot was afterwards recommended to the conqueror by the easy communication with the gulf and the peninsula of Arabia; the remains of Memphis were deserted; the tents of the Arabs were converted into permanent habitations; and the first mosch was blessed by the presence of fourscore companions of Mahomet.^104 A new city arose in their camp, on the eastward bank of the Nile; and the contiguous quarters of Babylon and Fostat are confounded in their present decay by the appellation of old Misrah, or Cairo, of which they form an extensive suburb. But the name of Cairo, the town of victory, more strictly belongs to the modern capital, which was founded in the tenth century by the Fatimite caliphs.^105 It has gradually receded from the river; but the continuity of buildings may be traced by an attentive eye from the monuments of Sesostris to those of Saladin.^106

[^101: Strabo, an accurate and attentive spectator, observes of Heliopolis, (Geograph. l. xvii. p. 1158;) but of Memphis he notices, however, the mixture of inhabitants, and the ruin of the palaces. In the proper Egypt, Ammianus enumerates Memphis among the four cities, maximis urbibus quibus provincia nitet, (xxii. 16;) and the name of Memphis appears with distinction in the Roman Itinerary and episcopal lists.]

[^102: These rare and curious facts, the breadth (2946 feet) and the bridge of the Nile, are only to be found in the Danish traveller and the Nubian geographer, (p. 98.)]

[^103: From the month of April, the Nile begins imperceptibly to rise; the swell becomes strong and visible in the moon after the summer solstice, (Plin. Hist. Nat. v. 10,) and is usually proclaimed at Cairo on St. Peter's day, (June 29.) A register of thirty successive years marks the greatest height of the waters between July 25 and August 18, (Maillet, Description de l'Egypte, lettre xi. p. 67, etc. Pocock's Description of the East, vol. i. p. 200. Shaw's Travels, p. 383.)]

[^104: Murtadi, Merveilles de l'Egypte, 243, 259. He expatiates on the subject with the zeal and minuteness of a citizen and a bigot, and his local traditions have a strong air of truth and accuracy.]

[^105: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 233.]

[^106: The position of New and of Old Cairo is well known, and has been often described. Two writers, who were intimately acquainted with ancient and modern Egypt, have fixed, after a learned inquiry, the city of Memphis at Gizeh, directly opposite the Old Cairo, (Sicard, Nouveaux Memoires des Missions du Levant, tom. vi. p. 5, 6. Shaw's Observations and Travels, p. 296—304.) Yet we may not disregard the authority or the arguments of Pocock, (vol. i. p. 25—41,) Niebuhr, (Voyage, tom. i. p. 77—106,) and above all, of D'Anville, (Description de l'Egypte, p. 111, 112, 130—149,) who have removed Memphis towards the village of Mohannah, some miles farther to the south.

In their heat, the disputants have forgot that the ample space of a metropolis covers and annihilates the far greater part of the controversy.]

Yet the Arabs, after a glorious and profitable enterprise, must have retreated to the desert, had they not found a powerful alliance in the heart of the country. The rapid conquest of Alexander was assisted by the superstition and revolt of the natives: they abhorred their Persian oppressors, the disciples of the Magi, who had burnt the temples of Egypt, and feasted with sacrilegious appetite on the flesh of the god Apis.^107 After a period of ten centuries, the same revolution was renewed by a similar cause; and in the support of an incomprehensible creed, the zeal of the Coptic Christians was equally ardent. I have already explained the origin and progress of the Monophysite controversy, and the persecution of the emperors, which converted a sect into a nation, and alienated Egypt from their religion and government. The Saracens were received as the deliverers of the Jacobite church; and a secret and effectual treaty was opened during the siege of Memphis between a victorious army and a people of slaves. A rich and noble Egyptian, of the name of Mokawkas, had dissembled his faith to obtain the administration of his province: in the disorders of the Persian war he aspired to independence: the embassy of Mahomet ranked him among princes; but he declined, with rich gifts and ambiguous compliments, the proposal of a new religion.^108 The abuse of his trust exposed him to the resentment of Heraclius: his submission was delayed by arrogance and fear; and his conscience was prompted by interest to throw himself on the favor of the nation and the support of the Saracens. In his first conference with Amrou, he heard without indignation the usual option of the Koran, the tribute, or the sword. "The Greeks," replied Mokawkas, "are determined to abide the determination of the sword; but with the Greeks I desire no communion, either in this world or in the next, and I abjure forever the Byzantine tyrant, his synod of Chalcedon, and his Melchite slaves. For myself and my brethren, we are resolved to live and die in the profession of the gospel and unity of Christ. It is impossible for us to embrace the revelations of your prophet; but we are desirous of peace, and cheerfully submit to pay tribute and obedience to his temporal successors." The tribute was ascertained at two pieces of gold for the head of every Christian; but old men, monks, women, and children, of both sexes, under sixteen years of age, were exempted from this personal assessment: the Copts above and below Memphis swore allegiance to the caliph, and promised a hospitable entertainment of three days to every Mussulman who should travel through their country. By this charter of security, the ecclesiastical and civil tyranny of the Melchites was destroyed:^109 the anathemas of St. Cyril were thundered from every pulpit; and the sacred edifices, with the patrimony of the church, were restored to the national communion of the Jacobites, who enjoyed without moderation the moment of triumph and revenge. At the pressing summons of Amrou, their patriarch Benjamin emerged from his desert; and after the first interview, the courteous Arab affected to declare that he had never conversed with a Christian priest of more innocent manners and a more venerable aspect.^110 In the march from Memphis to Alexandria, the lieutenant of Omar intrusted his safety to the zeal and gratitude of the Egyptians: the roads and bridges were diligently repaired; and in every step of his progress, he could depend on a constant supply of provisions and intelligence. The Greeks of Egypt, whose numbers could scarcely equal a tenth of the natives, were overwhelmed by the universal defection: they had ever been hated, they were no longer feared: the magistrate fled from his tribunal, the bishop from his altar; and the distant garrisons were surprised or starved by the surrounding multitudes. Had not the Nile afforded a safe and ready conveyance to the sea, not an individual could have escaped, who by birth, or language, or office, or religion, was connected with their odious name.

[^107: See Herodotus, l. iii. c. 27, 28, 29. Aelian, Hist. Var. l. iv. c. 8. Suidas in, tom. ii. p. 774. Diodor. Sicul. tom. ii. l. xvii. p. 197, edit. Wesseling. Says the last of these historians.]

[^108: Mokawkas sent the prophet two Coptic damsels, with two maids and one eunuch, an alabaster vase, an ingot of pure gold, oil, honey, and the finest white linen of Egypt, with a horse, a mule, and an ass, distinguished by their respective qualifications. The embassy of Mahomet was despatched from Medina in the seventh year of the Hegira, (A.D. 628.) See Gagnier, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 255, 256, 303,) from Al Jannabi.]

[^109: The praefecture of Egypt, and the conduct of the war, had been trusted by Heraclius to the patriarch Cyrus, (Theophan. p. 280, 281.) "In Spain," said James II., "do you not consult your priests?" "We do," replied the Catholic ambassador, "and our affairs succeed accordingly." I know not how to relate the plans of Cyrus, of paying tribute without impairing the revenue, and of converting Omar by his marriage with the Emperor's daughter, (Nicephor. Breviar. p. 17, 18.)]

[^110: See the life of Benjamin, in Renaudot, (Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 156—172,) who has enriched the conquest of Egypt with some facts from the Arabic text of Severus the Jacobite historian]

By the retreat of the Greeks from the provinces of Upper Egypt, a considerable force was collected in the Island of Delta; the natural and artificial channels of the Nile afforded a succession of strong and defensible posts; and the road to Alexandria was laboriously cleared by the victory of the Saracens in two-and-twenty days of general or partial combat. In their annals of conquest, the siege of Alexandria^111 is perhaps the most arduous and important enterprise. The first trading city in the world was abundantly replenished with the means of subsistence and defence. Her numerous inhabitants fought for the dearest of human rights, religion and property; and the enmity of the natives seemed to exclude them from the common benefit of peace and toleration. The sea was continually open; and if Heraclius had been awake to the public distress, fresh armies of Romans and Barbarians might have been poured into the harbor to save the second capital of the empire. A circumference of ten miles would have scattered the forces of the Greeks, and favored the stratagems of an active enemy; but the two sides of an oblong square were covered by the sea and the Lake Maraeotis, and each of the narrow ends exposed a front of no more than ten furlongs. The efforts of the Arabs were not inadequate to the difficulty of the attempt and the value of the prize. From the throne of Medina, the eyes of Omar were fixed on the camp and city: his voice excited to arms the Arabian tribes and the veterans of Syria; and the merit of a holy war was recommended by the peculiar fame and fertility of Egypt. Anxious for the ruin or expulsion of their tyrants, the faithful natives devoted their labors to the service of Amrou: some sparks of martial spirit were perhaps rekindled by the example of their allies; and the sanguine hopes of Mokawkas had fixed his sepulchre in the church of St. John of Alexandria. Eutychius the patriarch observes, that the Saracens fought with the courage of lions: they repulsed the frequent and almost daily sallies of the besieged, and soon assaulted in their turn the walls and towers of the city. In every attack, the sword, the banner of Amrou, glittered in the van of the Moslems. On a memorable day, he was betrayed by his imprudent valor: his followers who had entered the citadel were driven back; and the general, with a friend and slave, remained a prisoner in the hands of the Christians. When Amrou was conducted before the praefect, he remembered his dignity, and forgot his situation: a lofty demeanor, and resolute language, revealed the lieutenant of the caliph, and the battle-axe of a soldier was already raised to strike off the head of the audacious captive. His life was saved by the readiness of his slave, who instantly gave his master a blow on the face, and commanded him, with an angry tone, to be silent in the presence of his superiors. The credulous Greek was deceived: he listened to the offer of a treaty, and his prisoners were dismissed in the hope of a more respectable embassy, till the joyful acclamations of the camp announced the return of their general, and insulted the folly of the infidels. At length, after a siege of fourteen months,^112 and the loss of three-and-twenty thousand men, the Saracens prevailed: the Greeks embarked their dispirited and diminished numbers, and the standard of Mahomet was planted on the walls of the capital of Egypt. "I have taken," said Amrou to the caliph, "the great city of the West. It is impossible for me to enumerate the variety of its riches and beauty; and I shall content myself with observing, that it contains four thousand palaces, four thousand baths, four hundred theatres or places of amusement, twelve thousand shops for the sale of vegetable food, and forty thousand tributary Jews. The town has been subdued by force of arms, without treaty or capitulation, and the Moslems are impatient to seize the fruits of their victory."^113 The commander of the faithful rejected with firmness the idea of pillage, and directed his lieutenant to reserve the wealth and revenue of Alexandria for the public service and the propagation of the faith: the inhabitants were numbered; a tribute was imposed, the zeal and resentment of the Jacobites were curbed, and the Melchites who submitted to the Arabian yoke were indulged in the obscure but tranquil exercise of their worship. The intelligence of this disgraceful and calamitous event afflicted the declining health of the emperor; and Heraclius died of a dropsy about seven weeks after the loss of Alexandria.^114 Under the minority of his grandson, the clamors of a people, deprived of their daily sustenance, compelled the Byzantine court to undertake the recovery of the capital of Egypt. In the space of four years, the harbor and fortifications of Alexandria were twice occupied by a fleet and army of Romans. They were twice expelled by the valor of Amrou, who was recalled by the domestic peril from the distant wars of Tripoli and Nubia. But the facility of the attempt, the repetition of the insult, and the obstinacy of the resistance, provoked him to swear, that if a third time he drove the infidels into the sea, he would render Alexandria as accessible on all sides as the house of a prostitute. Faithful to his promise, he dismantled several parts of the walls and towers; but the people was spared in the chastisement of the city, and the mosch of Mercy was erected on the spot where the victorious general had stopped the fury of his troops.

[^111: The local description of Alexandria is perfectly ascertained by the master hand of the first of geographers, (D'Anville, Memoire sur l'Egypte, p. 52—63;) but we may borrow the eyes of the modern travellers, more especially of Thevenot, (Voyage au Levant, part i. p. 381—395,) Pocock, (vol. i. p. 2 - 13,) and Niebuhr, (Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 34—43.) Of the two modern rivals, Savary and Volmey, the one may amuse, the other will instruct.]

[^112: Both Eutychius (Annal. tom. ii. p. 319) and Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 28) concur in fixing the taking of Alexandria to Friday of the new moon of Moharram of the twentieth year of the Hegira, (December 22, A.D. 640.) In reckoning backwards fourteen months spent before Alexandria, seven months before Babylon, etc., Amrou might have invaded Egypt about the end of the year 638; but we are assured that he entered the country the 12th of Bayni, 6th of June, (Murtadi, Merveilles de l'Egypte, p. 164. Severus, apud Renaudot, p. 162.) The Saracen, and afterwards Lewis IX. of France, halted at Pelusium, or Damietta, during the season of the inundation of the Nile.]

[^113: Eutych. Annal. tom. ii. p. 316, 319.]

[^114: Notwithstanding some inconsistencies of Theophanes and Cedrenus, the accuracy of Pagi (Critica, tom. ii. p. 824) has extracted from Nicephorus and the Chronicon Orientale the true date of the death of Heraclius, February 11th, A.D. 641, fifty days after the loss of Alexandria. A fourth of that time was sufficient to convey the intelligence.]


I should deceive the expectation of the reader, if I passed in silence the fate of the Alexandrian library, as it is described by the learned Abulpharagius. The spirit of Amrou was more curious and liberal than that of his brethren, and in his leisure hours, the Arabian chief was pleased with the conversation of John, the last disciple of Ammonius, and who derived the surname of Philoponus from his laborious studies of grammar and philosophy.^115 Emboldened by this familiar intercourse, Philoponus presumed to solicit a gift, inestimable in his opinion, contemptible in that of the Barbarians—the royal library, which alone, among the spoils of Alexandria, had not been appropriated by the visit and the seal of the conqueror.

Amrou was inclined to gratify the wish of the grammarian, but his rigid integrity refused to alienate the minutest object without the consent of the caliph; and the well-known answer of Omar was inspired by the ignorance of a fanatic. "If these writings of the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are useless, and need not be preserved: if they disagree, they are pernicious, and ought to be destroyed." The sentence was executed with blind obedience: the volumes of paper or parchment were distributed to the four thousand baths of the city; and such was their incredible multitude, that six months were barely sufficient for the consumption of this precious fuel. Since the Dynasties of Abulpharagius^116 have been given to the world in a Latin version, the tale has been repeatedly transcribed; and every scholar, with pious indignation, has deplored the irreparable shipwreck of the learning, the arts, and the genius, of antiquity. For my own part, I am strongly tempted to deny both the fact and the consequences.^* The fact is indeed marvellous. "Read and wonder!" says the historian himself: and the solitary report of a stranger who wrote at the end of six hundred years on the confines of Media, is overbalanced by the silence of two annalist of a more early date, both Christians, both natives of Egypt, and the most ancient of whom, the patriarch Eutychius, has amply described the conquest of Alexandria.^117 The rigid sentence of Omar is repugnant to the sound and orthodox precept of the Mahometan casuists they expressly declare, that the religious books of the Jews and Christians, which are acquired by the right of war, should never be committed to the flames; and that the works of profane science, historians or poets, physicians or philosophers, may be lawfully applied to the use of the faithful.^118 A more destructive zeal may perhaps be attributed to the first successors of Mahomet; yet in this instance, the conflagration would have speedily expired in the deficiency of materials. I should not recapitulate the disasters of the Alexandrian library, the involuntary flame that was kindled by Caesar in his own defence,^119 or the mischievous bigotry of the Christians, who studied to destroy the monuments of idolatry.^120 But if we gradually descend from the age of the Antonines to that of Theodosius, we shall learn from a chain of contemporary witnesses, that the royal palace and the temple of Serapis no longer contained the four, or the seven, hundred thousand volumes, which had been assembled by the curiosity and magnificence of the Ptolemies.^121 Perhaps the church and seat of the patriarchs might be enriched with a repository of books; but if the ponderous mass of Arian and Monophysite controversy were indeed consumed in the public baths,^122 a philosopher may allow, with a smile, that it was ultimately devoted to the benefit of mankind. I sincerely regret the more valuable libraries which have been involved in the ruin of the Roman empire; but when I seriously compute the lapse of ages, the waste of ignorance, and the calamities of war, our treasures, rather than our losses, are the objects of my surprise. Many curious and interesting facts are buried in oblivion: the three great historians of Rome have been transmitted to our hands in a mutilated state, and we are deprived of many pleasing compositions of the lyric, iambic, and dramatic poetry of the Greeks. Yet we should gratefully remember, that the mischances of time and accident have spared the classic works to which the suffrage of antiquity^123 had adjudged the first place of genius and glory: the teachers of ancient knowledge, who are still extant, had perused and compared the writings of their predecessors;^124 nor can it fairly be presumed that any important truth, any useful discovery in art or nature, has been snatched away from the curiosity of modern ages.

[^115: Many treatises of this lover of labor are still extant, but for readers of the present age, the printed and unpublished are nearly in the same predicament. Moses and Aristotle are the chief objects of his verbose commentaries, one of which is dated as early as May 10th, A.D. 617, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. ix. p. 458—468.) A modern, (John Le Clerc,) who sometimes assumed the same name was equal to old Philoponus in diligence, and far superior in good sense and real knowledge.]

[^116: Abulpharag. Dynast. p. 114, vers. Pocock. Audi quid factum sit et mirare. It would be endless to enumerate the moderns who have wondered and believed, but I may distinguish with honor the rational scepticism of Renaudot, (Hist. Alex. Patriarch, p. 170: ) historia...habet aliquid ut Arabibus familiare est.]

[^*: Since this period several new Mahometan authorities have been adduced to support the authority of Abulpharagius. That of, I. Abdollatiph by Professor White: II. Of Makrizi; I have seen a Ms. extract from this writer: III. Of Ibn Chaledun: and after them Hadschi Chalfa. See Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 17. Reinhard, in a German Dissertation, printed at Gottingen, 1792, and St. Croix, (Magasin Encyclop. tom. iv. p. 433,) have examined the question. Among Oriental scholars, Professor White, M. St. Martin, Von Hammer. and Silv. de Sacy, consider the fact of the burning the library, by the command of Omar, beyond question. Compare St. Martin's note. vol. xi. p. 296. A Mahometan writer brings a similar charge against the Crusaders. The library of Tripoli is said to have contained the incredible number of three millions of volumes. On the capture of the city, Count Bertram of St. Giles, entering the first room, which contained nothing but the Koran, ordered the whole to be burnt, as the works of the false prophet of Arabia. See Wilken. Gesch der Kreux zuge, vol. ii. p. 211.—M.]

[^117: This curious anecdote will be vainly sought in the annals of Eutychius, and the Saracenic history of Elmacin. The silence of Abulfeda, Murtadi, and a crowd of Moslems, is less conclusive from their ignorance of Christian literature.]

[^118: See Reland, de Jure Militari Mohammedanorum, in his iiid volume of Dissertations, p. 37. The reason for not burning the religious books of the Jews or Christians, is derived from the respect that is due to the name of God.]

[^119: Consult the collections of Frensheim (Supplement. Livian, c. 12, 43) and Usher, (Anal. p. 469.) Livy himself had styled the Alexandrian library, elegantiae regum curaeque egregium opus; a liberal encomium, for which he is pertly criticized by the narrow stoicism of Seneca, (De Tranquillitate Animi, c. 9,) whose wisdom, on this occasion, deviates into nonsense.]

[^120: See this History, vol. iii. p. 146.]

[^121: Aulus Gellius, (Noctes Atticae, vi. 17,) Ammianus Marcellinua, (xxii. 16,) and Orosius, (l. vi. c. 15.) They all speak in the past tense, and the words of Ammianus are remarkably strong: fuerunt Bibliothecae innumerabiles; et loquitum monumentorum veterum concinens fides, etc.]

[^122: Renaudot answers for versions of the Bible, Hexapla, Catenoe Patrum, Commentaries, etc., (p. 170.) Our Alexandrian Ms., if it came from Egypt, and not from Constantinople or Mount Athos, (Wetstein, Prolegom. ad N. T. p. 8, etc.,) might possibly be among them.]

[^123: I have often perused with pleasure a chapter of Quintilian, (Institut. Orator. x. i.,) in which that judicious critic enumerates and appreciates the series of Greek and Latin classics.]

[^124: Such as Galen, Pliny, Aristotle, etc. On this subject Wotton (Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning, p. 85 - 95) argues, with solid sense, against the lively exotic fancies of Sir William Temple. The contempt of the Greeks for Barbaric science would scarcely admit the Indian or Aethiopic books into the library of Alexandria; nor is it proved that philosophy has sustained any real loss from their exclusion.]

In the administration of Egypt,^125 Amrou balanced the demands of justice and policy; the interest of the people of the law, who were defended by God; and of the people of the alliance, who were protected by man. In the recent tumult of conquest and deliverance, the tongue of the Copts and the sword of the Arabs were most adverse to the tranquillity of the province. To the former, Amrou declared, that faction and falsehood would be doubly chastised; by the punishment of the accusers, whom he should detest as his personal enemies, and by the promotion of their innocent brethren, whom their envy had labored to injure and supplant. He excited the latter by the motives of religion and honor to sustain the dignity of their character, to endear themselves by a modest and temperate conduct to God and the caliph, to spare and protect a people who had trusted to their faith, and to content themselves with the legitimate and splendid rewards of their victory. In the management of the revenue, he disapproved the simple but oppressive mode of a capitation, and preferred with reason a proportion of taxes deducted on every branch from the clear profits of agriculture and commerce. A third part of the tribute was appropriated to the annual repairs of the dikes and canals, so essential to the public welfare. Under his administration, the fertility of Egypt supplied the dearth of Arabia; and a string of camels, laden with corn and provisions, covered almost without an interval the long road from Memphis to Medina.^126 But the genius of Amrou soon renewed the maritime communication which had been attempted or achieved by the Pharaohs the Ptolemies, or the Caesars; and a canal, at least eighty miles in length, was opened from the Nile to the Red Sea. ^* This inland navigation, which would have joined the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, was soon discontinued as useless and dangerous: the throne was removed from Medina to Damascus, and the Grecian fleets might have explored a passage to the holy cities of Arabia.^127

[^125: This curious and authentic intelligence of Murtadi (p. 284—289) has not been discovered either by Mr. Ockley, or by the self- sufficient compilers of the Modern Universal History.]

[^126: Eutychius, Annal. tom. ii. p. 320. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 35.]

[^*: Many learned men have doubted the existence of a communication by water between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean by the Nile. Yet the fact is positively asserted by the ancients. Diodorus Siculus (l. i. p. 33) speaks of it in the most distinct manner as existing in his time. So, also, Strabo, (l. xvii. p. 805.) Pliny (vol. vi. p. 29) says that the canal which united the two seas was navigable, (alveus navigabilis.) The indications furnished by Ptolemy and by the Arabic historian, Makrisi, show that works were executed under the reign of Hadrian to repair the canal and extend the navigation; it then received the name of the River of Trajan Lucian, (in his Pseudomantis, p. 44,) says that he went by water from Alexandria to Clysma, on the Red Sea. Testimonies of the 6th and of the 8th century show that the communication was not interrupted at that time. See the French translation of Strabo, vol. v. p. 382. St. Martin vol. xi. p. 299.—M.]

[^127: On these obscure canals, the reader may try to satisfy himself from D'Anville, (Mem. sur l'Egypte, p. 108—110, 124, 132,) and a learned thesis, maintained and printed at Strasburg in the year 1770, (Jungendorum marium fluviorumque molimina, p. 39—47, 68—70.) Even the supine Turks have agitated the old project of joining the two seas. (Memoires du Baron de Tott, tom. iv.)]

Of his new conquest, the caliph Omar had an imperfect knowledge from the voice of fame and the legends of the Koran. He requested that his lieutenant would place before his eyes the realm of Pharaoh and the Amalekites; and the answer of Amrou exhibits a lively and not unfaithful picture of that singular country.^128 "O commander of the faithful, Egypt is a compound of black earth and green plants, between a pulverized mountain and a red sand. The distance from Syene to the sea is a month's journey for a horseman. Along the valley descends a river, on which the blessing of the Most High reposes both in the evening and morning, and which rises and falls with the revolutions of the sun and moon. When the annual dispensation of Providence unlocks the springs and fountains that nourish the earth, the Nile rolls his swelling and sounding waters through the realm of Egypt: the fields are overspread by the salutary flood; and the villages communicate with each other in their painted barks. The retreat of the inundation deposits a fertilizing mud for the reception of the various seeds: the crowds of husbandmen who blacken the land may be compared to a swarm of industrious ants; and their native indolence is quickened by the lash of the task-master, and the promise of the flowers and fruits of a plentiful increase. Their hope is seldom deceived; but the riches which they extract from the wheat, the barley, and the rice, the legumes, the fruit-trees, and the cattle, are unequally shared between those who labor and those who possess. According to the vicissitudes of the seasons, the face of the country is adorned with a silver wave, a verdant emerald, and the deep yellow of a golden harvest."^129 Yet this beneficial order is sometimes interrupted; and the long delay and sudden swell of the river in the first year of the conquest might afford some color to an edifying fable. It is said, that the annual sacrifice of a virgin^130 had been interdicted by the piety of Omar; and that the Nile lay sullen and inactive in his shallow bed, till the mandate of the caliph was cast into the obedient stream, which rose in a single night to the height of sixteen cubits. The admiration of the Arabs for their new conquest encouraged the license of their romantic spirit. We may read, in the gravest authors, that Egypt was crowded with twenty thousand cities or villages:^131 that, exclusive of the Greeks and Arabs, the Copts alone were found, on the assessment, six millions of tributary subjects,^132 or twenty millions of either sex, and of every age: that three hundred millions of gold or silver were annually paid to the treasury of the caliphs.^133 Our reason must be startled by these extravagant assertions; and they will become more palpable, if we assume the compass and measure the extent of habitable ground: a valley from the tropic to Memphis seldom broader than twelve miles, and the triangle of the Delta, a flat surface of two thousand one hundred square leagues, compose a twelfth part of the magnitude of France.^134 A more accurate research will justify a more reasonable estimate. The three hundred millions, created by the error of a scribe, are reduced to the decent revenue of four millions three hundred thousand pieces of gold, of which nine hundred thousand were consumed by the pay of the soldiers.^135 Two authentic lists, of the present and of the twelfth century, are circumscribed within the respectable number of two thousand seven hundred villages and towns.^136 After a long residence at Cairo, a French consul has ventured to assign about four millions of Mahometans, Christians, and Jews, for the ample, though not incredible, scope of the population of Egypt.^137

[^128: A small volume, des Merveilles, etc., de l'Egypte, composed in the xiiith century by Murtadi of Cairo, and translated from an Arabic Ms. of Cardinal Mazarin, was published by Pierre Vatier, Paris, 1666. The antiquities of Egypt are wild and legendary; but the writer deserves credit and esteem for his account of the conquest and geography of his native country, (see the correspondence of Amrou and Omar, p. 279—289.)]

[^129: In a twenty years' residence at Cairo, the consul Maillet had contemplated that varying scene, the Nile, (lettre ii. particularly p. 70, 75;) the fertility of the land, (lettre ix.) From a college at Cambridge, the poetic eye of Gray had seen the same objects with a keener glance:—

What wonder in the sultry climes that spread,

Where Nile, redundant o'er his summer bed,

From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,

And broods o'er Egypt with his watery wings:

If with adventurous oar, and ready sail,

The dusky people drive before the gale:

Or on frail floats to neighboring cities ride.

That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide.

(Mason's Works and Memoirs of Gray, p. 199, 200.)]

[^130: Murtadi, p. 164—167. The reader will not easily credit a human sacrifice under the Christian emperors, or a miracle of the successors of Mahomet.]

[^131: Maillet, Description de l'Egypte, p. 22. He mentions this number as the common opinion; and adds, that the generality of these villages contain two or three thousand persons, and that many of them are more populous than our large cities.]

[^132: Eutych. Annal. tom. ii. p. 308, 311. The twenty millions are computed from the following data: one twelfth of mankind above sixty, one third below sixteen, the proportion of men to women as seventeen or sixteen, (Recherches sur la Population de la France, p. 71, 72.) The president Goguet (Origine des Arts, etc., tom. iii. p. 26, etc.) Bestows twenty-seven millions on ancient Egypt, because the seventeen hundred companions of Sesostris were born on the same day.]

[^133: Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 218; and this gross lump is swallowed without scruple by D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 1031,) Ar. buthnot, (Tables of Ancient Coins, p. 262,) and De Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 135.) They might allege the not less extravagant liberality of Appian in favor of the Ptolemies (in praefat.) of seventy four myriads, 740,000 talents, an annual income of 185, or near 300 millions of pounds sterling, according as we reckon by the Egyptian or the Alexandrian talent, (Bernard, de Ponderibus Antiq. p. 186.)]

[^134: See the measurement of D'Anville, (Mem. sur l'Egypte, p. 23, etc.) After some peevish cavils, M. Pauw (Recherches sur les Egyptiens, tom. i. p. 118—121) can only enlarge his reckoning to 2250 square leagues.]

[^135: Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexand. p. 334, who calls the common reading or version of Elmacin, error librarii. His own emendation, of 4,300,000 pieces, in the ixth century, maintains a probable medium between the 3,000,000 which the Arabs acquired by the conquest of Egypt, idem, p. 168.) and the 2,400,000 which the sultan of Constantinople levied in the last century, (Pietro della Valle, tom. i. p. 352 Thevenot, part i. p. 824.) Pauw (Recherches, tom. ii. p. 365—373) gradually raises the revenue of the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, and the Caesars, from six to fifteen millions of German crowns.]

[^136: The list of Schultens (Index Geograph. ad calcem Vit. Saladin. p. 5) contains 2396 places; that of D'Anville, (Mem. sur l'Egypte, p. 29,) from the divan of Cairo, enumerates 2696.]

[^137: See Maillet, (Description de l'Egypte, p. 28,) who seems to argue with candor and judgment. I am much better satisfied with the observations than with the reading of the French consul. He was ignorant of Greek and Latin literature, and his fancy is too much delighted with the fictions of the Arabs. Their best knowledge is collected by Abulfeda, (Descript. Aegypt. Arab. et Lat. a Joh. David Michaelis, Gottingae, in 4to., 1776;) and in two recent voyages into Egypt, we are amused by Savary, and instructed by Volney. I wish the latter could travel over the globe.]

IV. The conquest of Africa, from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean,^138 was first attempted by the arms of the caliph Othman.

The pious design was approved by the companions of Mahomet and the chiefs of the tribes; and twenty thousand Arabs marched from Medina, with the gifts and the blessing of the commander of the faithful. They were joined in the camp of Memphis by twenty thousand of their countrymen; and the conduct of the war was intrusted to Abdallah,^139 the son of Said and the foster-brother of the caliph, who had lately supplanted the conqueror and lieutenant of Egypt. Yet the favor of the prince, and the merit of his favorite, could not obliterate the guilt of his apostasy. The early conversion of Abdallah, and his skilful pen, had recommended him to the important office of transcribing the sheets of the Koran: he betrayed his trust, corrupted the text, derided the errors which he had made, and fled to Mecca to escape the justice, and expose the ignorance, of the apostle. After the conquest of Mecca, he fell prostrate at the feet of Mahomet; his tears, and the entreaties of Othman, extorted a reluctant pardon; out the prophet declared that he had so long hesitated, to allow time for some zealous disciple to avenge his injury in the blood of the apostate. With apparent fidelity and effective merit, he served the religion which it was no longer his interest to desert: his birth and talents gave him an honorable rank among the Koreish; and, in a nation of cavalry, Abdallah was renowned as the boldest and most dexterous horseman of Arabia. At the head of forty thousand Moslems, he advanced from Egypt into the unknown countries of the West. The sands of Barca might be impervious to a Roman legion but the Arabs were attended by their faithful camels; and the natives of the desert beheld without terror the familiar aspect of the soil and climate. After a painful march, they pitched their tents before the walls of Tripoli,^140 a maritime city in which the name, the wealth, and the inhabitants of the province had gradually centred, and which now maintains the third rank among the states of Barbary. A reenforcement of Greeks was surprised and cut in pieces on the sea-shore; but the fortifications of Tripoli resisted the first assaults; and the Saracens were tempted by the approach of the praefect Gregory^141 to relinquish the labors of the siege for the perils and the hopes of a decisive action. If his standard was followed by one hundred and twenty thousand men, the regular bands of the empire must have been lost in the naked and disorderly crowd of Africans and Moors, who formed the strength, or rather the numbers, of his host. He rejected with indignation the option of the Koran or the tribute; and during several days the two armies were fiercely engaged from the dawn of light to the hour of noon, when their fatigue and the excessive heat compelled them to seek shelter and refreshment in their respective camps. The daughter of Gregory, a maid of incomparable beauty and spirit, is said to have fought by his side: from her earliest youth she was trained to mount on horseback, to draw the bow, and to wield the cimeter; and the richness of her arms and apparel were conspicuous in the foremost ranks of the battle. Her hand, with a hundred thousand pieces of gold, was offered for the head of the Arabian general, and the youths of Africa were excited by the prospect of the glorious prize. At the pressing solicitation of his brethren, Abdallah withdrew his person from the field; but the Saracens were discouraged by the retreat of their leader, and the repetition of these equal or unsuccessful conflicts.

[^138: My conquest of Africa is drawn from two French interpreters of Arabic literature, Cardonne (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous la Domination des Arabes, tom. i. p. 8—55) and Otter, (Hist. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxi. p. 111—125, and 136.) They derive their principal information from Novairi, who composed, A.D. 1331 an Encyclopaedia in more than twenty volumes. The five general parts successively treat of, 1. Physics; 2. Man; 3. Animals; 4. Plants; and, 5. History; and the African affairs are discussed in the vith chapter of the vth section of this last part, (Reiske, Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalifae Tabulas, p. 232—234.) Among the older historians who are quoted by Navairi we may distinguish the original narrative of a soldier who led the van of the Moslems.]

[^139: See the history of Abdallah, in Abulfeda (Vit. Mohammed. p. 108) and Gagnier, (Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. 45 - 48.)]

[^140: The province and city of Tripoli are described by Leo Africanus (in Navigatione et Viaggi di Ramusio, tom. i. Venetia, 1550, fol. 76, verso) and Marmol, (Description de l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 562.) The first of these writers was a Moor, a scholar, and a traveller, who composed or translated his African geography in a state of captivity at Rome, where he had assumed the name and religion of Pope Leo X. In a similar captivity among the Moors, the Spaniard Marmol, a soldier of Charles V., compiled his Description of Africa, translated by D'Ablancourt into French, (Paris, 1667, 3 vols. in 4to.) Marmol had read and seen, but he is destitute of the curious and extensive observation which abounds in the original work of Leo the African.]

[^141: Theophanes, who mentions the defeat, rather than the death, of Gregory. He brands the praefect with the name: he had probably assumed the purple, (Chronograph. p. 285.)]

A noble Arabian, who afterwards became the adversary of Ali, and the father of a caliph, had signalized his valor in Egypt, and Zobeir^142 was the first who planted the scaling-ladder against the walls of Babylon. In the African war he was detached from the standard of Abdallah. On the news of the battle, Zobeir, with twelve companions, cut his way through the camp of the Greeks, and pressed forwards, without tasting either food or repose, to partake of the dangers of his brethren. He cast his eyes round the field: "Where," said he, "is our general?" "In his tent." "Is the tent a station for the general of the Moslems?" Abdallah represented with a blush the importance of his own life, and the temptation that was held forth by the Roman praefect. "Retort," said Zobeir, "on the infidels their ungenerous attempt.

Proclaim through the ranks that the head of Gregory shall be repaid with his captive daughter, and the equal sum of one hundred thousand pieces of gold." To the courage and discretion of Zobeir the lieutenant of the caliph intrusted the execution of his own stratagem, which inclined the long-disputed balance in favor of the Saracens. Supplying by activity and artifice the deficiency of numbers, a part of their forces lay concealed in their tents, while the remainder prolonged an irregular skirmish with the enemy till the sun was high in the heavens. On both sides they retired with fainting steps: their horses were unbridled, their armor was laid aside, and the hostile nations prepared, or seemed to prepare, for the refreshment of the evening, and the encounter of the ensuing day. On a sudden the charge was sounded; the Arabian camp poured forth a swarm of fresh and intrepid warriors; and the long line of the Greeks and Africans was surprised, assaulted, overturned, by new squadrons of the faithful, who, to the eye of fanaticism, might appear as a band of angels descending from the sky. The praefect himself was slain by the hand of Zobeir: his daughter, who sought revenge and death, was surrounded and made prisoner; and the fugitives involved in their disaster the town of Sufetula, to which they escaped from the sabres and lances of the Arabs. Sufetula was built one hundred and fifty miles to the south of Carthage: a gentle declivity is watered by a running stream, and shaded by a grove of juniper-trees; and, in the ruins of a triumpha arch, a portico, and three temples of the Corinthian order, curiosity may yet admire the magnificence of the Romans.^143 After the fall of this opulent city, the provincials and Barbarians implored on all sides the mercy of the conqueror. His vanity or his zeal might be flattered by offers of tribute or professions of faith: but his losses, his fatigues, and the progress of an epidemical disease, prevented a solid establishment; and the Saracens, after a campaign of fifteen months, retreated to the confines of Egypt, with the captives and the wealth of their African expedition. The caliph's fifth was granted to a favorite, on the nominal payment of five hundred thousand pieces of gold;^144 but the state was doubly injured by this fallacious transaction, if each foot-soldier had shared one thousand, and each horseman three thousand, pieces, in the real division of the plunder. The author of the death of Gregory was expected to have claimed the most precious reward of the victory: from his silence it might be presumed that he had fallen in the battle, till the tears and exclamations of the praefect's daughter at the sight of Zobeir revealed the valor and modesty of that gallant soldier. The unfortunate virgin was offered, and almost rejected as a slave, by her father's murderer, who coolly declared that his sword was consecrated to the service of religion; and that he labored for a recompense far above the charms of mortal beauty, or the riches of this transitory life. A reward congenial to his temper was the honorable commission of announcing to the caliph Othman the success of his arms. The companions the chiefs, and the people, were assembled in the mosch of Medina, to hear the interesting narrative of Zobeir; and as the orator forgot nothing except the merit of his own counsels and actions, the name of Abdallah was joined by the Arabians with the heroic names of Caled and Amrou. ^145

[^142: See in Ockley (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 45) the death of Zobeir, which was honored with the tears of Ali, against whom he had rebelled. His valor at the siege of Babylon, if indeed it be the same person, is mentioned by Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 308)]

[^143: Shaw's Travels, p. 118, 119.]

[^144: Mimica emptio, says Abulfeda, erat haec, et mira donatio; quandoquidem Othman, ejus nomine nummos ex aerario prius ablatos aerario praestabat, (Annal. Moslem. p. 78.) Elmacin (in his cloudy version, p. 39) seems to report the same job. When the Arabs be sieged the palace of Othman, it stood high in their catalogue of grievances.`]

[^145: Theophan. Chronograph. p. 235 edit. Paris. His chronology is loose and inaccurate.]

[A. D. 665-689.] The western conquests of the Saracens were suspended near twenty years, till their dissensions were composed by the establishment of the house of Ommiyah; and the caliph Moawiyah was invited by the cries of the Africans themselves. The successors of Heraclius had been informed of the tribute which they had been compelled to stipulate with the Arabs; but instead of being moved to pity and relieve their distress, they imposed, as an equivalent or a fine, a second tribute of a similar amount. The ears of the zantine ministers were shut against the complaints of their poverty and ruin their despair was reduced to prefer the dominion of a single master; and the extortions of the patriarch of Carthage, who was invested with civil and military power, provoked the sectaries, and even the Catholics, of the Roman province to abjure the religion as well as the authority of their tyrants. The first lieutenant of Moawiyah acquired a just renown, subdued an important city, defeated an army of thirty thousand Greeks, swept away fourscore thousand captives, and enriched with their spoils the bold adventurers of Syria and Egypt.^146 But the title of conqueror of Africa is more justly due to his successor Akbah. He marched from Damascus at the head of ten thousand of the bravest Arabs; and the genuine force of the Moslems was enlarged by the doubtful aid and conversion of many thousand Barbarians. It would be difficult, nor is it necessary, to trace the accurate line of the progress of Akbah. The interior regions have been peopled by the Orientals with fictitious armies and imaginary citadels. In the warlike province of Zab or Numidia, fourscore thousand of the natives might assemble in arms; but the number of three hundred and sixty towns is incompatible with the ignorance or decay of husbandry;^147 and a circumference of three leagues will not be justified by the ruins of Erbe or Lambesa, the ancient metropolis of that inland country. As we approach the seacoast, the well-known titles of Bugia,^148 and Tangier^149 define the more certain limits of the Saracen victories. A remnant of trade still adheres to the commodious harbour of Bugia, which, in a more prosperous age, is said to have contained about twenty thousand houses; and the plenty of iron which is dug from the adjacent mountains might have supplied a braver people with the instruments of defence. The remote position and venerable antiquity of Tingi, or Tangier, have been decorated by the Greek and Arabian fables; but the figurative expressions of the latter, that the walls were constructed of brass, and that the roofs were covered with gold and silver, may be interpreted as the emblems of strength and opulence.

[^146: Theophanes (in Chronograph. p. 293.) inserts the vague rumours that might reach Constantinople, of the western conquests of the Arabs; and I learn from Paul Warnefrid, deacon of Aquileia (de Gestis Langobard. 1. v. c. 13), that at this time they sent a fleet from Alexandria into the Sicilian and African seas.]

[^147: See Novairi (apud Otter, p. 118), Leo Africanus (fol. 81, verso), who reckoned only cinque citta e infinite casal, Marmol (Description de l'Afrique, tom. iii. p. 33,) and Shaw (Travels, p. 57, 65-68)]

[^148: Leo African. fol. 58, verso, 59, recto. Marmol, tom. ii. p. 415. Shaw, p. 43]

[^149: Leo African. fol. 52. Marmol, tom. ii. p. 228.]

The province of Mauritania Tingitana,^150 which assumed the name of the capital had been imperfectly discovered and settled by the Romans; the five colonies were confined to a narrow pale, and the more southern parts were seldom explored except by the agents of luxury, who searched the forests for ivory and the citron wood,^151 and the shores of the ocean for the purple shellfish. The fearless Akbah plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fez and Morocco,^152 and at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert. The river Suz descends from the western sides of mount Atlas, fertilizes, like the Nile, the adjacent soil, and falls into the sea at a moderate distance from the Canary, or adjacent islands. Its banks were inhabited by the last of the Moors, a race of savages, without laws, or discipline, or religion: they were astonished by the strange and irresistible terrors of the Oriental arms; and as they possessed neither gold nor silver, the richest spoil was the beauty of the female captives, some of whom were afterward sold for a thousand pieces of gold. The career, though not the zeal, of Akbah was checked by the prospect of a boundless ocean. He spurred his horse into the waves, and raising his eyes to heaven, exclaimed with the tone of a fanatic: "Great God! if my course were not stopped by this sea, I would still go on, to the unknown kingdoms of the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship another gods than thee."^153 Yet this Mahometan Alexander, who sighed for new worlds, was unable to preserve his recent conquests. By the universal defection of the Greeks and Africans he was recalled from the shores of the Atlantic, and the surrounding multitudes left him only the resource of an honourable death. The last scene was dignified by an example of national virtue. An ambitious chief, who had disputed the command and failed in the attempt, was led about as a prisoner in the camp of the Arabian general. The insurgents had trusted to his discontent and revenge; he disdained their offers and revealed their designs. In the hour of danger, the grateful Akbah unlocked his fetters, and advised him to retire; he chose to die under the banner of his rival. Embracing as friends and martyrs, they unsheathed their scimeters, broke their scabbards, and maintained an obstinate combat, till they fell by each other's side on the last of their slaughtered countrymen. The third general or governor of Africa, Zuheir, avenged and encountered the fate of his predecessor. He vanquished the natives in many battles; he was overthrown by a powerful army, which Constantinople had sent to the relief of Carthage.

[^150: Regio ignobilis, et vix quicquam illustre sortita, parvis oppidis habitatur, parva flumina emittit, solo quam viris meleor et segnitie gentis obscura. Pomponius Mela, i. 5, iii. 10. Mela deserves the more credit, since his own Phoenician ancestors had migrated from Tingitana to Spain (see, in ii. 6, a passage of that geographer so cruelly tortured by Salmasius, Isaac Vossius, and the most virulent of critics, James Gronovius). He lived at the time of the final reduction of that country by the emperor Claudius: yet almost thirty years afterward, Pliny (Hist. Nat. v. i.) complains of his authors, to lazy to inquire, too proud to confess their ignorance of that wild and remote province.]

[^151: The foolish fashion of this citron wood prevailed at Rome among the men, as much as the taste for pearls among the women. A round board or table, four or five feet in diameter, sold for the price of an estate (latefundii taxatione), eight, ten, or twelve thousand pounds sterling (Plin. Hist. Natur. xiii. 29). I conceive that I must not confound the tree citrus, with that of the fruit citrum. But I am not botanist enough to define the former (it is like the wild cypress) by the vulgar or Linnaean name; nor will I decide whether the citrum be the orange or the lemon. Salmasius appears to exhaust the subject, but he too often involves himself in the web of his disorderly erudition. (Flinian. Exercitat. tom. ii. p 666, etc.)]

[^152: Leo African. fol. 16, verso. Marmol, tom. ii. p. 28. This province, the first scene of the exploits and greatness of the cherifs is often mentioned in the curious history of that dynasty at the end of the third volume of Marmol, Description de l'Afrique. The third vol. of The Recherches Historiques sur les Maures (lately published at Paris) illustrates the history and geography of the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco.]

[^153: Otter (p. 119,) has given the strong tone of fanaticism to this exclamation, which Cardonne (p. 37,) has softened to a pious wish of preaching the Koran. Yet they had both the same text of Novairi before their eyes.]

[A. D. 670-675.] It had been the frequent practice of the Moorish tribes to join the invaders, to share the plunder, to profess the faith, and to revolt in their savage state of independence and idolatry, on the first retreat or misfortune of the Moslems. The prudence of Akbah had proposed to found an Arabian colony in the heart of Africa; a citadel that might curb the levity of the Barbarians, a place of refuge to secure, against the accidents of war, the wealth and the families of the Saracens. With this view, and under the modest title of the station of a caravan, he planted this colony in the fiftieth year of the Hegira. In its present decay, Cairoan^154 still holds the second rank in the kingdom of Tunis, from which it is distant about fifty miles to the south;^155 its inland situation, twelve miles westward of the sea, has protected the city from the Greek and Sicilian fleets. When the wild beasts and serpents were extirpated, when the forest, or rather wilderness, was cleared, the vestiges of a Roman town were discovered in a sandy plain: the vegetable food of Cairoan is brought from afar; and the scarcity of springs constrains the inhabitants to collect in cisterns and reservoirs a precarious supply of rain water. These obstacles were subdued by the industry of Akbah; he traced a circumference of three thousand and six hundred paces, which he encompassed with a brick wall; in the space of five years, the governor's palace was surrounded with a sufficient number of private habitations; a spacious mosque was supported by five hundred columns of granite, porphyry, and Numidian marble; and Cairoan became the seat of learning as well as of empire. But these were the glories of a later age; the new colony was shaken by the successive defeats of Akbah and Zuheir, and the western expeditions were again interrupted by the civil discord of the Arabian monarchy. The son of the valiant Zobeir maintained a war of twelve years, a siege of seven months against the house of Ommiyah. Abdallah was said to unite the fierceness of the lion with the subtlety of the fox; but if he inherited the courage, he was devoid of the generosity, of his father.^156

[A. D. 692-698.] The return of domestic peace allowed the caliph Abdalmalek to resume the conquest of Africa; the standard was delivered to Hassan governor of Egypt, and the revenue of that kingdom, with an army of forty thousand men, was consecrated to the important service. In the vicissitudes of war, the interior provinces had been alternately won and lost by the Saracens. But the seacoast still remained in the hands of the Greeks; the predecessors of Hassan had respected the name and fortifications of Carthage; and the number of its defenders was recruited by the fugitives of Cabes and Tripoli. The arms of Hassan were bolder and more fortunate: he reduced and pillaged the metropolis of Africa; and the mention of scaling-ladders may justify the suspicion, that he anticipated, by a sudden assault, the more tedious operations of a regular siege. But the joy of the conquerors was soon disturbed by the appearance of the Christian succours. The praefect and patrician John, a general of experience and renown, embarked at Constantinople the forces of the Eastern empire;^157 they were joined by the ships and soldiers of Sicily, and a powerful reinforcement of Goths^158 was obtained from the fears and religion of the Spanish monarch.

[^154: The foundation of Cairoan is mentioned by Ockley (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 129, 130); and the situation, mosque, etc. of the city are described by Leo Africanus (fol. 75), Marmol (tom. ii. p. 532), and Shaw (p. 115).]

[^155: A portentous, though frequent mistake, has been the confounding, from a slight similitude of name, the Cyrene of the Greeks, and the Cairoan of the Arabs, two cities which are separated by an interval of a thousand miles along the seacoast. The great Thuanus has not escaped this fault, the less excusable as it is connected with a formal and elaborate description of Africa (Historiar. l. vii. c. 2, in tom. i. p. 240, edit. Buckley).]

[^156: Besides the Arabic Chronicles of Abulfeda, Elmacin, and Abulpharagius, under the lxxiiid year of the Hegira, we may consult nd'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient. p. 7,) and Ockley (Hist. of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 339-349). The latter has given the last and pathetic dialogue between Abdallah and his mother; but he has forgot a physical effect of her grief for his death, the return, at the age of ninety, and fatal consequences of her menses.]

[^157: The patriarch of Constantinople, with Theophanes (Chronograph. p. 309,) have slightly mentioned this last attempt for the relief or Africa. Pagi (Critica, tom. iii. p. 129. 141,) has nicely ascertained the chronology by a strict comparison of the Arabic and Byzantine historians, who often disagree both in time and fact. See likewise a note of Otter (p. 121).]

[^158: Dove s'erano ridotti i nobili Romani e i Gotti; and afterward, i Romani suggirono e i Gotti lasciarono Carthagine. (Leo African. for. 72, recto) I know not from what Arabic writer the African derived his Goths; but the fact, though new, is so interesting and so probable, that I will accept it on the slightest authority.]

The weight of the confederate navy broke the chain that guarded the entrance of the harbour; the Arabs retired to Cairoan, or Tripoli; the Christians landed; the citizens hailed the ensign of the cross, and the winter was idly wasted in the dream of victory or deliverance. But Africa was irrecoverably lost: the zeal and resentment of the commander of the faithful^159 prepared in the ensuing spring a more numerous armament by sea and land; and the patrician in his turn was compelled to evacuate the post and fortifications of Carthage. A second battle was fought in the neighbourhood of Utica; and the Greeks and Goths were again defeated; and their timely embarkation saved them from the sword of Hassan, who had invested the slight and insufficient rampart of their camp. Whatever yet remained of Carthage was delivered to the flames, and the colony of Dido^160 and Cesar lay desolate above two hundred years, till a part, perhaps a twentieth, of the old circumference was repeopled by the first of the Fatimite caliphs. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the second capital of the West was represented by a mosque, a college without students, twenty-five or thirty shops, and the huts of five hundred peasants, who, in their abject poverty, displayed the arrogance of the Punic senators. Even that paltry village was swept away by the Spaniards whom Charles the Fifth had stationed in the fortress of the Goletta. The ruins of Carthage have perished; and the place might be unknown if some broken arches of an aqueduct did not guide the footsteps of the inquisitive traveller.^161

[A. D. 698-709.] The Greeks were expelled, but the Arabians were not yet masters of the country. In the interior provinces the Moors or Berbers,^162 so feeble under the first Cesars, so formidable to the Byzantine princes, maintained a disorderly resistance to the religion and power of the successors of Mahomet. Under the standard of their queen Cahina, the independent tribes acquired some degree of union and discipline; and as the Moors respected in their females the character of a prophetess, they attacked the invaders with an enthusiasm similar to their own. The veteran bands of Hassan were inadequate to the defence of Africa: the conquests of an age were lost in a single day; and the Arabian chief, overwhelmed by the torrent, retired to the confines of Egypt, and expected, five years, the promised succours of the caliph. After the retreat of the Saracens, the victorious prophetess assembled the Moorish chiefs, and recommended a measure of strange and savage policy. "Our cities," said she, "and the gold and silver which they contain, perpetually attract the arms of the Arabs. These vile metals are not the objects of OUR ambition; we content ourselves with the simple productions of the earth. Let us destroy these cities; let us bury in their ruins those pernicious treasures; and when the avarice of our foes shall be destitute of temptation, perhaps they will cease to disturb the tranquillity of a warlike people." The proposal was accepted with unanimous applause. From Tangier to Tripoli the buildings, or at least the fortifications, were demolished, the fruit-trees were cut down, the means of subsistence were extirpated, a fertile and populous garden was changed into a desert, and the historians of a more recent period could discern the frequent traces of the prosperity and devastation of their ancestors.

[^159: This commander is styled by Nicephorus, ———— a vague though not improper definition of the caliph. Theophanes introduces the strange appellation of —————, which his interpreter Goar explains by Vizir Azem. They may approach the truth, in assigning the active part to the minister, rather than the prince; but they forget that the Ommiades had only a kaleb, or secretary, and that the office of Vizir was not revived or instituted till the 132d year of the Hegira (d'Herbelot, 912).]

[^160: According to Solinus (1.27, p. 36, edit. Salmas), the Carthage of Dido stood either 677 or 737 years; a various reading, which proceeds from the difference of MSS. or editions (Salmas, Plinian. Exercit tom i. p. 228) The former of these accounts, which gives 823 years before Christ, is more consistent with the well-weighed testimony of Velleius Paterculus: but the latter is preferred by our chronologists (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 398,) as more agreeable to the Hebrew and Syrian annals.]

[^161: Leo African. fo1. 71, verso; 72, recto. Marmol, tom. ii. p.445-447. Shaw, p.80.]

[^162: The history of the word Barbar may be classed under four periods, 1. In the time of Homer, when the Greeks and Asiatics might probably use a common idiom, the imitative sound of Barbar was applied to the ruder tribes, whose pronunciation was most harsh, whose grammar was most defective. 2. From the time, at least, of Herodotus, it was extended to all the nations who were strangers to the language and manners of the Greeks. 3. In the age, of Plautus, the Romans submitted to the insult (Pompeius Festus, l. ii. p. 48, edit. Dacier), and freely gave themselves the name of Barbarians. They insensibly claimed an exemption for Italy, and her subject provinces; and at length removed the disgraceful appellation to the savage or hostile nations beyond the pale of the empire. 4. In every sense, it was due to the Moors; the familiar word was borrowed from the Latin Provincials by the Arabian conquerors, and has justly settled as a local denomination (Barbary) along the northern coast of Africa.]

Such is the tale of the modern Arabians. Yet I strongly suspect that their ignorance of antiquity, the love of the marvellous, and the fashion of extolling the philosophy of Barbarians, has induced them to describe, as one voluntary act, the calamities of three hundred years since the first fury of the Donatists and Vandals. In the progress of the revolt, Cahina had most probably contributed her share of destruction; and the alarm of universal ruin might terrify and alienate the cities that had reluctantly yielded to her unworthy yoke. They no longer hoped, perhaps they no longer wished, the return of their Byzantine sovereigns: their present servitude was not alleviated by the benefits of order and justice; and the most zealous Catholic must prefer the imperfect truths of the Koran to the blind and rude idolatry of the Moors. The general of the Saracens was again received as the saviour of the province; the friends of civil society conspired against the savages of the land; and the royal prophetess was slain in the first battle which overturned the baseless fabric of her superstition and empire. The same spirit revived under the successor of Hassan; it was finally quelled by the activity of Musa and his two sons; but the number of the rebels may be presumed from that of three hundred thousand captives; sixty thousand of whom, the caliph's fifth, were sold for the profit of thee public treasury. Thirty thousand of the Barbarian youth were enlisted in the troops; and the pious labours of Musa to inculcate the knowledge and practice of the Koran, accustomed the Africans to obey the apostle of God and the commander of the faithful. In their climate and government, their diet and habitation, the wandering Moors resembled the Bedoweens of the desert. With the religion, they were proud to adopt the language, name, and origin of Arabs: the blood of the strangers and natives was insensibly mingled; and from the Euphrates to the Atlantic the same nation might seem to be diffused over the sandy plains of Asia and Africa. Yet I will not deny that fifty thousand tents of pure Arabians might be transported over the Nile, and scattered through the Lybian desert: and I am not ignorant that five of the Moorish tribes still retain their barbarous idiom, with the appellation and character of white Africans.^163

[A. D. 709.] V. In the progress of conquest from the north and south, the Goths and the Saracens encountered each other on the confines of Europe and Africa. In the opinion of the latter, the difference of religion is a reasonable ground of enmity and warfare.^164 As early as the time of Othman^165 their piratical squadrons had ravaged the coast of Andalusia;^166 nor had they forgotten the relief of Carthage by the Gothic succours. In that age, as well as in the present, the kings of Spain were possessed of the fortress of Ceuta; one of the columns of Hercules, which is divided by a narrow strait from the opposite pillar or point of Europe. A small portion of Mauritania was still wanting to the African conquest; but Musa, in the pride of victory, was repulsed from the walls of Ceuta, by the vigilance and courage of count Julian, the general of the Goths. From his disappointment and perplexity, Musa was relieved by an unexpected message of the Christian chief, who offered his place, his person, and his sword, to the successors of Mahomet, and solicited the disgraceful honour of introducing their arms into the heart of Spain.^167

[^163: The first book of Leo Africanus, and the observations of Dr. Shaw (p. 220. 223. 227. 247, etc.) will throw some light on the roving tribes of Barbary, of Arabian or Moorish descent. But Shaw had seen these savages with distant terror; and Leo, a captive in the Vatican, appears to have lost more of his Arabic, than he could acquire of Greek or Roman, learning. Many of his gross mistakes might be detected in the first period of the Mahometan history.]

[^164: In a conference with a prince of the Greeks, Amrou observed that their religion was different; upon which score it was lawful for brothers to quarrel. Ockley's History of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 328.]

[^165: Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p 78, vers. Reiske.]

[^166: The name of Andalusia is applied by the Arabs not only to the modern province, but to the whole peninsula of Spain (Geograph. Nub. p. 151, d'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 114, 115). The etymology has been most improbably deduced from Vandalusia, country of the Vandals. (d'Anville Etats de l'Europe, p. 146, 147, etc.) But the Handalusia of Casiri, which signifies, in Arabic, the region of the evening, of the West, in a word, the Hesperia of the Greeks, is perfectly apposite. (Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 327, etc.)]

[^167: The fall and resurrection of the Gothic monarchy are related by Mariana (tom. l. p. 238-260, l. vi. c. 19—26, l. vii. c. 1, 2). That historian has infused into his noble work (Historic de Rebus Hispaniae, libri xxx. Hagae Comitum 1733, in four volumes, folio, with the continuation of Miniana), the style and spirit of a Roman classic; and after the twelfth century, his knowledge and judgment may be safely trusted. But the Jesuit is not exempt from the prejudices of his order; he adopts and adorns, like his rival Buchanan, the most absurd of the national legends; he is too careless of criticism and chronology, and supplies, from a lively fancy, the chasms of historical evidence. These chasms are large and frequent; Roderic archbishop of Toledo, the father of the Spanish history, lived five hundred years after the conquest of the Arabs; and the more early accounts are comprised in some meagre lines of the blind chronicles of Isidore of Badajoz (Pacensis,) and of Alphonso III. king of Leon, which I have seen only in the Annals of Pagi.]

If we inquire into the cause of this treachery, the Spaniards will repeat the popular story of his daughter Cava;^168 of a virgin who was seduced, or ravished, by her sovereign; of a father who sacrificed his religion and country to the thirst of revenge. The passions of princes have often been licentious and destructive; but this well-known tale, romantic in itself, is indifferently supported by external evidence; and the history of Spain will suggest some motives of interest and policy more congenial to the breast of a veteran statesman.^169 After the decease or deposition of Witiza, his two sons were supplanted by the ambition of Roderic, a noble Goth, whose father, the duke or governor of a province, had fallen a victim to the preceding tyranny. The monarchy was still elective; but the sons of Witiza, educated on the steps of the throne, were impatient of a private station. Their resentment was the more dangerous, as it was varnished with the dissimulation of courts: their followers were excited by the remembrance of favours and the promise of a revolution: and their uncle Oppas, archbishop of Toledo and Seville, was the first person in the church, and the second in the state. It is probable that Julian was involved in the disgrace of the unsuccessful faction, that he had little to hope and much to fear from the new reign; and that the imprudent king could not forget or forgive the injuries which Roderic and his family had sustained. The merit and influence of the count rendered him a useful or formidable subject: his estates were ample, his followers bold and numerous, and it was too fatally shown that, by his Andalusian and Mauritanian commands, he held in his hands the keys of the Spanish monarchy. Too feeble, however, to meet his sovereign in arms, he sought the aid of a foreign power; and his rash invitation of the Moors and Arabs produced the calamities of eight hundred years. In his epistles, or in a personal interview, he revealed the wealth and nakedness of his country; the weakness of an unpopular prince; the degeneracy of an effeminate people. The Goths were no longer the victorious Barbarians, who had humbled the pride of Rome, despoiled the queen of nations, and penetrated from the Danube to the Atlantic ocean. Secluded from the world by the Pyrenean mountains, the successors of Alaric had slumbered in a long peace: the walls of the city were mouldered into dust: the youth had abandoned the exercise of arms; and the presumption of their ancient renown would expose them in a field of battle to the first assault of the invaders. The ambitious Saracen was fired by the ease and importance of the attempt; but the execution was delayed till he had consulted the commander of the faithful; and his messenger returned with the permission of Walid to annex the unknown kingdoms of the West to the religion and throne of the caliphs. In his residence of Tangier, Musa, with secrecy and caution, continued his correspondence and hastened his preparations. But the remorse of the conspirators was soothed by the fallacious assurance that he should content himself with the glory and spoil, without aspiring to establish the Moslems beyond the sea that separates Africa from Europe.^170

[^168: Le viol (says Voltaire) est aussi difficile a faire qu'a prouver. Des Eveques se seroient ils lignes pour une fille? (Hist. Generale, c. xxvi.) His argument is not logically conclusive.]

[^169: In the story of Cava, Mariana (I. vi. c. 21, p. 241, 242,) seems to vie with the Lucretia of Livy. Like the ancients, he seldom quotes; and the oldest testimony of Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 713, No. 19), that of Lucus Tudensis, a Gallician deacon of the thirteenth century, only says, Cava quam pro concubina utebatur.]

[^170: The Orientals, Elmacin, Abulpharagins, Abolfeda, pass over the conquest of Spain in silence, or with a single word. The text of Novairi, and the other Arabian writers, is represented, though with some foreign alloy, by M. de Cardonne (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous la Domination des Arabes, Paris, 1765, 3 vols. 12mo. tom. i. p. 55-114), and more concisely by M. de Guignes (Hist. des Hune. tom. i. p. 347-350). The librarian of the Escurial has not satisfied my hopes: yet he appears to have searched with diligence his broken materials; and the history of the conquest is illustrated by some valuable fragments of the genuine Razis (who wrote at. Corduba, A. H. 300), of Ben Hazil, etc. See Bibliot. Arabico- Hispana, tom. ii. p. 32. 105, 106. 182. 252. 315—332. On this occasion, the industry of Pagi has been aided by the Arabic learning of his friend the Abbe de Longuerue, and to their joint labours I am deeply indebted.]

[A. D. 710.] Before Musa would trust an army of the faithful to the traitors and infidels of a foreign land, he made a less dangerous trial of their strength and veracity. One hundred Arabs and four hundred Africans, passed over, in four vessels, from Tangier or Ceuta; the place of their descent on the opposite shore of the strait, is marked by the name of Tarif their chief; and the date of this memorable event^171 is fixed to the month of Ramandan, of the ninety-first year of the Hegira, to the month of July, seven hundred and forty-eight years from the Spanish era of Cesar,^172 seven hundred and ten after the birth of Christ. From their first station, they marched eighteen miles through a hilly country to the castle and town of Julian;^173 on which (it is still called Algezire) they bestowed the name of the Green Island, from a verdant cape that advances into the sea. Their hospitable entertainment, the Christians who joined their standard, their inroad into a fertile and unguarded province, the richness of their spoil and the safety of their return, announced to their brethren the most favourable omens of victory. In the ensuing spring, five thousand veterans and volunteers were embarked under the command of Tarik, a dauntless and skilful soldier, who surpassed the expectation of his chief; and the necessary transports were provided by the industry of their too faithful ally. The Saracens landed^174 at the pillar or point of Europe; the corrupt and familiar appellation of Gibraltar (Gebel el Tarik) describes the mountain of Tarik; and the intrenchments of his camp were the first outline of those fortifications, which, in the hands of our countrymen, have resisted the art and power of the house of Bourbon. The adjacent governors informed the court of Toledo of the descent and progress of the Arabs; and the defeat of his lieutenant Edeco, who had been commanded to seize and bind the presumptuous strangers, admonished Roderic of the magnitude of the danger. At the royal summons, the dukes and counts, the bishops and nobles of the Gothic monarchy assembled at the head of their followers; and the title of king of the Romans, which is employed by an Arabic historian, may be excused by the close affinity of language, religion, and manners, between the nations of Spain. His army consisted of ninety or a hundred thousand men: a formidable power, if their fidelity and discipline had been adequate to their numbers. The troops of Tarik had been augmented to twelve thousand Saracens; but the Christian malecontents were attracted by the influence of Julian, and a crowd of Africans most greedily tasted the temporal blessings of the Koran. In the neighbourhood of Cadiz, the town of Xeres^175 has been illustrated by the encounter which determined the fate of the kingdom; the stream of the Guadalete, which falls into the bay, divided the two camps, and marked the advancing and retreating skirmishes of three successive and bloody days.

[^171: A mistake of Roderic of Toledo, in comparing the lunar years of the Hegira with the Julian years of the Era, has determined Baronius, Mariana, and the crowd of Spanish historians, to place the first invasion in the year 713, and the battle of Xeres in November, 714. This anachronism of three years has been detected by the more correct industry of modern chronologists, above all, of Pagi (Critics, tom. iii. p. 164. 171-174), who have restored the genuine state of the revolution. At the present time, an Arabian scholar, like Cardonne, who adopts the ancient error (tom. i. p. 75), is inexcusably ignorant or careless.]

[^172: The Era of Cesar, which in Spain was in legal and popular use till the xivth century, begins thirty-eight years before the birth of Christ. I would refer the origin to the general peace by sea and land, which confirmed the power and partition of the triumvirs. (Dion. Cassius, l. xlviii. p. 547. 553. Appian de Bell. Civil. l. v. p. 1034, edit. fol.) Spain was a province of Cesar Octavian; and Tarragona, which raised the first temple to Augustus (Tacit Annal. i. 78), might borrow from the orientals this mode of flattery.]

[^173: The road, the country, the old castle of count Julian, and the superstitious belief of the Spaniards of hidden treasures, etc. are described by Pere Labat (Voyages en Espagne et en Italie, tom i. p. 207-217), with his usual pleasantry.]

[^174: The Nubian geographer (p. 154,) explains the topography of the war; but it is highly incredible that the lieutenant of Musa should execute the desperate and useless measure of burning his ships.]

[^175: Xeres (the Roman colony of Asta Regia) is only two leagues from Cadiz. In the xvith century It was a granary of corn; and the wine of Xeres is familiar to the nations of Europe (Lud. Nonii Hispania, c. 13, p. 54-56, a work of correct and concise knowledge; d'Anville, Etats de l'Europe etc. p 154).]

On the fourth day, the two armies joined a more serious and decisive issue; but Alaric would have blushed at the sight of his unworthy successor, sustaining on his head a diadem of pearls, encumbered with a flowing robe of gold and silken embroidery, and reclining on a litter, or car of ivory, drawn by two white mules. Notwithstanding the valour of the Saracens, they fainted under the weight of multitudes, and the plain of Xeres was overspread with sixteen thousand of their dead bodies. "My brethren," said Tarik to his surviving companions, "the enemy is before you, the sea is behind; whither would ye fly? Follow your general I am resolved either to lose my life, or to trample on the prostrate king of the Romans." Besides the resource of despair, he confided in the secret correspondence and nocturnal interviews of count Julian, with the sons and the brother of Witiza. The two princes and the archbishop of Toledo occupied the most important post; their well-timed defection broke the ranks of the Christians; each warrior was prompted by fear or suspicion to consult his personal safety; and the remains of the Gothic army were scattered or destroyed to the flight and pursuit of the three following days. Amidst the general disorder, Roderic started from his car, and mounted Orelia, the fleetest of his Horses; but he escaped from a soldier's death to perish more ignobly in the waters of the Boetis or Guadalquiver. His diadem, his robes, and his courser, were found on the bank; but as the body of the Gothic prince was lost in the waves, the pride and ignorance of the caliph must have been gratified with some meaner head, which was exposed in triumph before the palace of Damascus. "And such," continues a valiant historian of the Arabs, "is the fate of those kings who withdraw themselves from a field of battle."^176.

[A. D. 711.] Count Julian had plunged so deep into guilt and infamy, that his only hope was in the ruin of his country. After the battle of Xeres he recommended the most effectual measures to the victorious Saracens. "The king of the Goths is slain; their princes are fled before you, the army is routed, the nation is astonished. Secure with sufficient detachments the cities of Boetica; but in person and without delay, march to the royal city of Toledo, and allow not the distracted Christians either time or tranquillity for the election of a new monarch." Tarik listened to his advice. A Roman captive and proselyte, who had been enfranchised by the caliph himself, assaulted Cordova with seven hundred horse: he swam the river, surprised the town, and drove the Christians into the great church, where they defended themselves above three months. Another detachment reduced the seacoast of Boetica, which in the last period of the Moorish power has comprised in a narrow space the populous kingdom of Grenada. The march of Tarik from the Boetis to the Tagus,^177 was directed through the Sierra Morena, that separates Andalusia and Castille, till he appeared in arms under the walls of Toledo.^178 The most zealous of the Catholics had escaped with the relics of their saints; and if the gates were shut, it was only till the victor had subscribed a fair and reasonable capitulation. The voluntary exiles were allowed to depart with their effects; seven churches were appropriated to the Christian worship; the archbishop and his clergy were at liberty to exercise their functions, the monks to practise or neglect their penance; and the Goths and Romans were left in all civil or criminal cases to the subordinate jurisdiction of their own laws and magistrates. But if the justice of Tarik protected the Christians, his gratitude and policy rewarded the Jews, to whose secret or open aid he was indebted for his most important acquisitions. Persecuted by the kings and synods of Spain, who had often pressed the alternative of banishment or baptism, that outcast nation embraced the moment of revenge: the comparison of their past and present state was the pledge of their fidelity; and the alliance between the disciples of Moses and those of Mahomet, was maintained till the final era of their common expulsion.

[^176: Id sane infortunii regibus pedem ex acie referentibus saepe contingit. Den Hazil of Grenada, in Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana. tom. ii. p. 337. Some credulous Spaniards believe that king Roderic, or Rodrigo, escaped to a hermit's cell; and others, that he was cast alive into a tub full of serpents, from whence he exclaimed with a lamentable voice, "they devour the part with which I have so grievously sinned." (Don Quixote, part ii. l. iii. c. 1.)]

[^177: The direct road from Corduba to Toledo was measured by Mr. Swinburne's mules in 72 1/2 hours: but a larger computation must be adopted for the slow and devious marches of an army. The Arabs traversed the province of La Mancha, which the pen of Cervantes has transformed into classic ground to the reader of every nation.]

[^178: The antiquities of Toledo, Urbs Parva in the Punic wars, Urbs Regia in the sixth century, are briefly described by Nonius (Hispania, c. 59, p. 181-136). He borrows from Roderic the fatale palatium of Moorish portraits; but modestly insinuates, that it was no more than a Roman amphitheatre.]

From the royal seat of Toledo, the Arabian leader spread his conquests to the north, over the modern realms of Castille and Leon; but it is heedless to enumerate the cities that yielded on his approach, or again to describe the table of emerald,^179 transported from the East by the Romans, acquired by the Goths among the spoils of Rome, and presented by the Arabs to the throne of Damascus. Beyond the Asturian mountains, the maritime town of Gijon was the term^180 of the lieutenant of Musa, who had performed with the speed of a traveller, his victorious march of seven hundred miles, from the rock of Gibraltar to the bay of Biscay. The failure of land compelled him to retreat: and he was recalled to Toledo, to excuse his presumption of subduing a kingdom in the absence of his general. Spain, which in a more savage and disorderly state, had resisted, two hundred years, the arms of the Romans, was overrun in a few months by those of the Saracens; and such was the eagerness of submission and treaty, that the governor of Cordova is recorded as the only chief who fell, without conditions, a prisoner into their hands. The cause of the Goths had been irrevocably judged in the field of Xeres; and in the national dismay, each part of the monarchy declined a contest with the antagonist who had vanquished the united strength of the whole.^181 That strength had been wasted by two successive seasons of famine and pestilence; and the governors, who were impatient to surrender, might exaggerate the difficulty of collecting the provisions of a siege. To disarm the Christians, superstition likewise contributed her terrors: and the subtle Arab encouraged the report of dreams, omens, and prophecies, and of the portraits of the destined conquerors of Spain, that were discovered on the breaking open an apartment of the royal palace. Yet a spark of the vital flame was still alive; some invincible fugitives preferred a life of poverty and freedom in the Asturian valleys; the hardy mountaineers repulsed the slaves of the caliph; and the sword of Pelagius has been transformed into the sceptre of the Catholic kings.^182

[^179: In the Historia Arabum (c. 9, p. 17, ad calcem Elmacin), Roderic of Toledo describes the emerald tables, and inserts the name of Medinat Ahneyda in Arabic words and letters. He appears to be conversant with the Mahometan writers; but I cannot agree with M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 350) that he had read and transcribed Novairi; because he was dead a hundred years before Novairi composed his history. This mistake is founded on a still grosser error. M. de Guignes confounds the governed historian Roderic Ximines, archbishop of Toledo, in the xiiith century, with cardinal Ximines, who governed Spain in the beginning of the xvith, and was the subject, not the author, of historical compositions.]

[^180: Tarik might have inscribed on the last rock, the boast of Regnard and his companions in their Lapland journey, "Hic tandem stetimus, nobis ubi defuit orbis."]

[^181: Such was the argument of the traitor Oppas, and every chief to whom it was addressed did not answer with the spirit of Pelagius; Omnis Hispania dudum sub uno regimine Gothorum, omnis exercitus Hispaniae in uno congregatus Ismaelitarum non valuit sustinere impetum. Chron. Alphonsi Regis, apud Pagi, tom. iii. p. 177.]

[^182: The revival of tire Gothic kingdom in the Asturias is distinctly though concisely noticed by d'Anville (Etats de l'Europe, p. 159)]


On the intelligence of this rapid success, the applause of Musa degenerated into envy; and he began, not to complain, but to fear, that Tarik would leave him nothing to subdue. At the head of ten thousand Arabs and eight thousand Africans, he passed over in person from Mauritania to Spain: the first of his companions were the noblest of the Koreish; his eldest son was left in the command of Africa; the three younger brethren were of an age and spirit to second the boldest enterprises of their father. At his landing in Algezire, he was respectfully entertained by Count Julian, who stifled his inward remorse, and testified, both in words and actions, that the victory of the Arabs had not impaired his attachment to their cause. Some enemies yet remained for the sword of Musa. The tardy repentance of the Goths had compared their own numbers and those of the invaders; the cities from which the march of Tarik had declined considered themselves as impregnable; and the bravest patriots defended the fortifications of Seville and Merida. They were successively besieged and reduced by the labor of Musa, who transported his camp from the Boetis to the Anas, from the Guadalquivir to the Guadiana. When he beheld the works of Roman magnificence, the bridge, the aqueducts, the triumphal arches, and the theatre, of the ancient metropolis of Lusitania, "I should imagine," said he to his four companions, "that the human race must have united their art and power in the foundation of this city: happy is the man who shall become its master!" He aspired to that happiness, but the Emeritans sustained on this occasion the honor of their descent from the veteran legionaries of Augustus^183 Disdaining the confinement of their walls, they gave battle to the Arabs on the plain; but an ambuscade rising from the shelter of a quarry, or a ruin, chastised their indiscretion, and intercepted their return.

The wooden turrets of assault were rolled forwards to the foot of the rampart; but the defence of Merida was obstinate and long; and the castle of the martyrs was a perpetual testimony of the losses of the Moslems. The constancy of the besieged was at length subdued by famine and despair; and the prudent victor disguised his impatience under the names of clemency and esteem. The alternative of exile or tribute was allowed; the churches were divided between the two religions; and the wealth of those who had fallen in the siege, or retired to Gallicia, was confiscated as the reward of the faithful. In the midway between Merida and Toledo, the lieutenant of Musa saluted the vicegerent of the caliph, and conducted him to the palace of the Gothic kings. Their first interview was cold and formal: a rigid account was exacted of the treasures of Spain: the character of Tarik was exposed to suspicion and obloquy; and the hero was imprisoned, reviled, and ignominiously scourged by the hand, or the command, of Musa. Yet so strict was the discipline, so pure the zeal, or so tame the spirit, of the primitive Moslems, that, after this public indignity, Tarik could serve and be trusted in the reduction of the Tarragonest province. A mosch was erected at Saragossa, by the liberality of the Koreish: the port of Barcelona was opened to the vessels of Syria; and the Goths were pursued beyond the Pyrenaean mountains into their Gallic province of Septimania or Languedoc.^184 In the church of St. Mary at Carcassone, Musa found, but it is improbable that he left, seven equestrian statues of massy silver; and from his term or column of Narbonne, he returned on his footsteps to the Gallician and Lusitanian shores of the ocean. During the absence of the father, his son Abdelaziz chastised the insurgents of Seville, and reduced, from Malaga to Valentia, the sea-coast of the Mediterranean: his original treaty with the discreet and valiant Theodemir^185 will represent the manners and policy of the times. "The conditions of peace agreed and sworn between Abdelaziz, the son of Musa, the son of Nassir, and Theodemir prince of the Goths. In the name of the most merciful God, Abdelaziz makes peace on these conditions: that Theodemir shall not be disturbed in his principality; nor any injury be offered to the life or property, the wives and children, the religion and temples, of the Christians: that Theodemir shall freely deliver his seven^* cities, Orihuela, Valentola, Alicanti Mola, Vacasora, Bigerra, (now Bejar,) Ora, (or Opta,) and Lorca: that he shall not assist or entertain the enemies of the caliph, but shall faithfully communicate his knowledge of their hostile designs: that himself, and each of the Gothic nobles, shall annually pay one piece of gold, four measures of wheat, as many of barley, with a certain proportion of honey, oil, and vinegar; and that each of their vassals shall be taxed at one moiety of the said imposition. Given the fourth of Regeb, in the year of the Hegira ninety- four, and subscribed with the names of four Mussulman witnesses."^186 Theodemir and his subjects were treated with uncommon lenity; but the rate of tribute appears to have fluctuated from a tenth to a fifth, according to the submission or obstinacy of the Christians.^187 In this revolution, many partial calamities were inflicted by the carnal or religious passions of the enthusiasts: some churches were profaned by the new worship: some relics or images were confounded with idols: the rebels were put to the sword; and one town (an obscure place between Cordova and Seville) was razed to its foundations. Yet if we compare the invasion of Spain by the Goths, or its recovery by the kings of Castile and Arragon, we must applaud the moderation and discipline of the Arabian conquerors.

[^183: The honorable relics of the Cantabrian war (Dion Cassius, l. liii p. 720) were planted in this metropolis of Lusitania, perhaps of Spain, (submittit cui tota suos Hispania fasces.) Nonius (Hispania, c. 31, p. 106—110) enumerates the ancient structures, but concludes with a sigh: Urbs haec olim nobilissima ad magnam incolarum infrequentiam delapsa est, et praeter priscae claritatis ruinas nihil ostendit.]

[^184: Both the interpreters of Novairi, De Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 349) and Cardonne, (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 93, 94, 104, 135,) lead Musa into the Narbonnese Gaul. But I find no mention of this enterprise, either in Roderic of Toledo, or the Mss. of the Escurial, and the invasion of the Saracens is postponed by a French chronicle till the ixth year after the conquest of Spain, A.D. 721, (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 177, 195. Historians of France, tom. iii.) I much question whether Musa ever passed the Pyrenees.]

[^185: Four hundred years after Theodemir, his territories of Murcia and Carthagena retain in the Nubian geographer Edrisi (p, 154, 161) the name of Tadmir, (D'Anville, Etats de l'Europe, p. 156. Pagi, tom. iii. p. 174.) In the present decay of Spanish agriculture, Mr. Swinburne (Travels into Spain, p. 119) surveyed with pleasure the delicious valley from Murcia to Orihuela, four leagues and a half of the finest corn pulse, lucerne, oranges, etc.]

[^*: Gibbon has made eight cities: in Conde's translation Bigera does not appear.—M.]

[^186: See the treaty in Arabic and Latin, in the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 105, 106. It is signed the 4th of the month of Regeb, A. H. 94, the 5th of April, A.D. 713; a date which seems to prolong the resistance of Theodemir, and the government of Musa.]

[^187: From the history of Sandoval, p. 87. Fleury (Hist. Eccles. tom. ix. p. 261) has given the substance of another treaty concluded A Ae. C. 782, A.D. 734, between an Arabian chief and the Goths and Romans, of the territory of Conimbra in Portugal. The tax of the churches is fixed at twenty-five pounds of gold; of the monasteries, fifty; of the cathedrals, one hundred; the Christians are judged by their count, but in capital cases he must consult the alcaide. The church doors must be shut, and they must respect the name of Mahomet. I have not the original before me; it would confirm or destroy a dark suspicion, that the piece has been forged to introduce the immunity of a neighboring convent.]

The exploits of Musa were performed in the evening of life, though he affected to disguise his age by coloring with a red powder the whiteness of his beard. But in the love of action and glory, his breast was still fired with the ardor of youth; and the possession of Spain was considered only as the first step to the monarchy of Europe. With a powerful armament by sea and land, he was preparing to repass the Pyrenees, to extinguish in Gaul and Italy the declining kingdoms of the Franks and Lombards, and to preach the unity of God on the altar of the Vatican. From thence, subduing the Barbarians of Germany, he proposed to follow the course of the Danube from its source to the Euxine Sea, to overthrow the Greek or Roman empire of Constantinople, and returning from Europe to Asia, to unite his new acquisitions with Antioch and the provinces of Syria.^188 But his vast enterprise, perhaps of easy execution, must have seemed extravagant to vulgar minds; and the visionary conqueror was soon reminded of his dependence and servitude. The friends of Tarik had effectually stated his services and wrongs: at the court of Damascus, the proceedings of Musa were blamed, his intentions were suspected, and his delay in complying with the first invitation was chastised by a harsher and more peremptory summons. An intrepid messenger of the caliph entered his camp at Lugo in Gallicia, and in the presence of the Saracens and Christians arrested the bridle of his horse. His own loyalty, or that of his troops, inculcated the duty of obedience: and his disgrace was alleviated by the recall of his rival, and the permission of investing with his two governments his two sons, Abdallah and Abdelaziz. His long triumph from Ceuta to Damascus displayed the spoils of Africa and the treasures of Spain: four hundred Gothic nobles, with gold coronets and girdles, were distinguished in his train; and the number of male and female captives, selected for their birth or beauty, was computed at eighteen, or even at thirty, thousand persons. As soon as he reached Tiberias in Palestine, he was apprised of the sickness and danger of the caliph, by a private message from Soliman, his brother and presumptive heir; who wished to reserve for his own reign the spectacle of victory.

Had Walid recovered, the delay of Musa would have been criminal: he pursued his march, and found an enemy on the throne. In his trial before a partial judge against a popular antagonist, he was convicted of vanity and falsehood; and a fine of two hundred thousand pieces of gold either exhausted his poverty or proved his rapaciousness. The unworthy treatment of Tarik was revenged by a similar indignity; and the veteran commander, after a public whipping, stood a whole day in the sun before the palace gate, till he obtained a decent exile, under the pious name of a pilgrimage to Mecca. The resentment of the caliph might have been satiated with the ruin of Musa; but his fears demanded the extirpation of a potent and injured family. A sentence of death was intimated with secrecy and speed to the trusty servants of the throne both in Africa and Spain; and the forms, if not the substance, of justice were superseded in this bloody execution. In the mosch or palace of Cordova, Abdelaziz was slain by the swords of the conspirators; they accused their governor of claiming the honors of royalty; and his scandalous marriage with Egilona, the widow of Roderic, offended the prejudices both of the Christians and Moslems. By a refinement of cruelty, the head of the son was presented to the father, with an insulting question, whether he acknowledged the features of the rebel? "I know his features," he exclaimed with indignation: "I assert his innocence; and I imprecate the same, a juster fate, against the authors of his death." The age and despair of Musa raised him above the power of kings; and he expired at Mecca of the anguish of a broken heart. His rival was more favorably treated: his services were forgiven; and Tarik was permitted to mingle with the crowd of slaves.^189 I am ignorant whether Count Julian was rewarded with the death which he deserved indeed, though not from the hands of the Saracens; but the tale of their ingratitude to the sons of Witiza is disproved by the most unquestionable evidence. The two royal youths were reinstated in the private patrimony of their father; but on the decease of Eba, the elder, his daughter was unjustly despoiled of her portion by the violence of her uncle Sigebut. The Gothic maid pleaded her cause before the caliph Hashem, and obtained the restitution of her inheritance; but she was given in marriage to a noble Arabian, and their two sons, Isaac and Ibrahim, were received in Spain with the consideration that was due to their origin and riches.

[^188: This design, which is attested by several Arabian historians, (Cardonne, tom. i. p. 95, 96,) may be compared with that of Mithridates, to march from the Crimaea to Rome; or with that of Caesar, to conquer the East, and return home by the North; and all three are perhaps surpassed by the real and successful enterprise of Hannibal.]

[^189: I much regret our loss, or my ignorance, of two Arabic works of the viiith century, a Life of Musa, and a poem on the exploits of Tarik. Of these authentic pieces, the former was composed by a grandson of Musa, who had escaped from the massacre of his kindred; the latter, by the vizier of the first Abdalrahman, caliph of Spain, who might have conversed with some of the veterans of the conqueror, (Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 36, 139.)]

A province is assimilated to the victorious state by the introduction of strangers and the imitative spirit of the natives; and Spain, which had been successively tinctured with Punic, and Roman, and Gothic blood, imbibed, in a few generations, the name and manners of the Arabs. The first conquerors, and the twenty successive lieutenants of the caliphs, were attended by a numerous train of civil and military followers, who preferred a distant fortune to a narrow home: the private and public interest was promoted by the establishment of faithful colonies; and the cities of Spain were proud to commemorate the tribe or country of their Eastern progenitors. The victorious though motley bands of Tarik and Musa asserted, by the name of Spaniards, their original claim of conquest; yet they allowed their brethren of Egypt to share their establishments of Murcia and Lisbon. The royal legion of Damascus was planted at Cordova; that of Emesa at Seville; that of Kinnisrin or Chalcis at Jaen; that of Palestine at Algezire and Medina Sidonia. The natives of Yemen and Persia were scattered round Toledo and the inland country, and the fertile seats of Grenada were bestowed on ten thousand horsemen of Syria and Irak, the children of the purest and most noble of the Arabian tribes.^190 A spirit of emulation, sometimes beneficial, more frequently dangerous, was nourished by these hereditary factions. Ten years after the conquest, a map of the province was presented to the caliph: the seas, the rivers, and the harbors, the inhabitants and cities, the climate, the soil, and the mineral productions of the earth. ^191 In the space of two centuries, the gifts of nature were improved by the agriculture,^192 the manufactures, and the commerce, of an industrious people; and the effects of their diligence have been magnified by the idleness of their fancy. The first of the Ommiades who reigned in Spain solicited the support of the Christians; and in his edict of peace and protection, he contents himself with a modest imposition of ten thousand ounces of gold, ten thousand pounds of silver, ten thousand horses, as many mules, one thousand cuirasses, with an equal number of helmets and lances.^193 The most powerful of his successors derived from the same kingdom the annual tribute of twelve millions and forty-five thousand dinars or pieces of gold, about six millions of sterling money;^194 a sum which, in the tenth century, most probably surpassed the united revenues of the Christians monarchs. His royal seat of Cordova contained six hundred moschs, nine hundred baths, and two hundred thousand houses; he gave laws to eighty cities of the first, to three hundred of the second and third order; and the fertile banks of the Guadalquivir were adorned with twelve thousand villages and hamlets. The Arabs might exaggerate the truth, but they created and they describe the most prosperous aera of the riches, the cultivation, and the populousness of Spain.^195

[^190: Bibliot. Arab. Hispana, tom. ii. p. 32, 252. The former of these quotations is taken from a Biographia Hispanica, by an Arabian of Valentia, (see the copious Extracts of Casiri, tom. ii. p. 30—121;) and the latter from a general Chronology of the Caliphs, and of the African and Spanish Dynasties, with a particular History of the kingdom of Grenada, of which Casiri has given almost an entire version, (Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 177—319.) The author, Ebn Khateb, a native of Grenada, and a contemporary of Novairi and Abulfeda, (born A.D. 1313, died A.D. 1374,) was an historian, geographer, physician, poet, etc., (tom. ii. p. 71, 72.)]

[^191: Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 116, 117.]

[^192: A copious treatise of husbandry, by an Arabian of Seville, in the xiith century, is in the Escurial library, and Casiri had some thoughts of translating it. He gives a list of the authors quoted, Arabs as well as Greeks, Latins, etc.; but it is much if the Andalusian saw these strangers through the medium of his countryman Columella, (Casiri, Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. i. p. 323—338.)]

[^193: Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. ii. p. 104. Casiri translates the original testimony of the historian Rasis, as it is alleged in the Arabic Biographia Hispanica, pars ix. But I am most exceedingly surprised at the address, Principibus caeterisque Christianis, Hispanis suis Castellae. The name of Castellae was unknown in the viiith century; the kingdom was not erected till the year 1022, a hundred years after the time of Rasis, (Bibliot. tom. ii. p. 330,) and the appellation was always expressive, not of a tributary province, but of a line of castles independent of the Moorish yoke, (D'Anville, Etats de l'Europe, p. 166—170.) Had Casiri been a critic, he would have cleared a difficulty, perhaps of his own making.]

[^194: Cardonne, tom. i. p. 337, 338. He computes the revenue at 130,000,000 of French livres. The entire picture of peace and prosperity relieves the bloody uniformity of the Moorish annals.]

[^195: I am happy enough to possess a splendid and interesting work which has only been distributed in presents by the court of Madrid Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis, opera et studio Michaelis Casiri, Syro Maronitoe. Matriti, in folio, tomus prior, 1760, tomus posterior, 1770. The execution of this work does honor to the Spanish press; the Mss., to the number of MDCCCLI., are judiciously classed by the editor, and his copious extracts throw some light on the Mahometan literature and history of Spain. These relics are now secure, but the task has been supinely delayed, till, in the year 1671, a fire consumed the greatest part of the Escurial library, rich in the spoils of Grenada and Morocco.
Note: Compare the valuable work of Conde, Historia de la Dominacion de las Arabes en Espana. Madrid, 1820.—M.]

The wars of the Moslems were sanctified by the prophet; but among the various precepts and examples of his life, the caliphs selected the lessons of toleration that might tend to disarm the resistance of the unbelievers. Arabia was the temple and patrimony of the God of Mahomet; but he beheld with less jealousy and affection the nations of the earth. The polytheists and idolaters, who were ignorant of his name, might be lawfully extirpated by his votaries;^196 but a wise policy supplied the obligation of justice; and after some acts of intolerant zeal, the Mahometan conquerors of Hindostan have spared the pagods of that devout and populous country. The disciples of Abraham, of Moses, and of Jesus, were solemnly invited to accept the more perfect revelation of Mahomet; but if they preferred the payment of a moderate tribute, they were entitled to the freedom of conscience and religious worship.^197 In a field of battle the forfeit lives of the prisoners were redeemed by the profession of Islam; the females were bound to embrace the religion of their masters, and a race of sincere proselytes was gradually multiplied by the education of the infant captives. But the millions of African and Asiatic converts, who swelled the native band of the faithful Arabs, must have been allured, rather than constrained, to declare their belief in one God and the apostle of God. By the repetition of a sentence and the loss of a foreskin, the subject or the slave, the captive or the criminal, arose in a moment the free and equal companion of the victorious Moslems. Every sin was expiated, every engagement was dissolved: the vow of celibacy was superseded by the indulgence of nature; the active spirits who slept in the cloister were awakened by the trumpet of the Saracens; and in the convulsion of the world, every member of a new society ascended to the natural level of his capacity and courage. The minds of the multitude were tempted by the invisible as well as temporal blessings of the Arabian prophet; and charity will hope that many of his proselytes entertained a serious conviction of the truth and sanctity of his revelation. In the eyes of an inquisitive polytheist, it must appear worthy of the human and the divine nature. More pure than the system of Zoroaster, more liberal than the law of Moses, the religion of Mahomet might seem less inconsistent with reason than the creed of mystery and superstition, which, in the seventh century, disgraced the simplicity of the gospel.

[^196: The Harbii, as they are styled, qui tolerari nequeunt, are, 1. Those who, besides God, worship the sun, moon, or idols. 2. Atheists, Utrique, quamdiu princeps aliquis inter Mohammedanos superest, oppugnari debent donec religionem amplectantur, nec requies iis concedenda est, nec pretium acceptandum pro obtinenda conscientiae libertate, (Reland, Dissertat. x. de Jure Militari Mohammedan. tom. iii. p. 14;) a rigid theory!]

[^197: The distinction between a proscribed and a tolerated sect, between the Harbii and the people of the Book, the believers in some divine revelation, is correctly defined in the conversation of the caliph Al Mamum with the idolaters or Sabaeans of Charrae, (Hottinger, Hist. Orient. p. 107, 108.)]

In the extensive provinces of Persia and Africa, the national religion has been eradicated by the Mahometan faith. The ambiguous theology of the Magi stood alone among the sects of the East; but the profane writings of Zoroaster^198 might, under the reverend name of Abraham, be dexterously connected with the chain of divine revelation. Their evil principle, the daemon Ahriman, might be represented as the rival, or as the creature, of the God of light. The temples of Persia were devoid of images; but the worship of the sun and of fire might be stigmatized as a gross and criminal idolatry.^199 The milder sentiment was consecrated by the practice of Mahomet^200 and the prudence of the caliphs; the Magians or Ghebers were ranked with the Jews and Christians among the people of the written law;^201 and as late as the third century of the Hegira, the city of Herat will afford a lively contrast of private zeal and public toleration.^202 Under the payment of an annual tribute, the Mahometan law secured to the Ghebers of Herat their civil and religious liberties: but the recent and humble mosch was overshadowed by the antique splendor of the adjoining temple of fire. A fanatic Iman deplored, in his sermons, the scandalous neighborhood, and accused the weakness or indifference of the faithful. Excited by his voice, the people assembled in tumult; the two houses of prayer were consumed by the flames, but the vacant ground was immediately occupied by the foundations of a new mosch. The injured Magi appealed to the sovereign of Chorasan; he promised justice and relief; when, behold! four thousand citizens of Herat, of a grave character and mature age, unanimously swore that the idolatrous fane had never existed; the inquisition was silenced and their conscience was satisfied (says the historian Mirchond^203) with this holy and meritorious perjury.^204 But the greatest part of the temples of Persia were ruined by the insensible and general desertion of their votaries.

It was insensible, since it is not accompanied with any memorial of time or place, of persecution or resistance. It was general, since the whole realm, from Shiraz to Samarcand, imbibed the faith of the Koran; and the preservation of the native tongue reveals the descent of the Mahometans of Persia.^205 In the mountains and deserts, an obstinate race of unbelievers adhered to the superstition of their fathers; and a faint tradition of the Magian theology is kept alive in the province of Kirman, along the banks of the Indus, among the exiles of Surat, and in the colony which, in the last century, was planted by Shaw Abbas at the gates of Ispahan. The chief pontiff has retired to Mount Elbourz, eighteen leagues from the city of Yezd: the perpetual fire (if it continues to burn) is inaccessible to the profane; but his residence is the school, the oracle, and the pilgrimage of the Ghebers, whose hard and uniform features attest the unmingled purity of their blood. Under the jurisdiction of their elders, eighty thousand families maintain an innocent and industrious life: their subsistence is derived from some curious manufactures and mechanic trades; and they cultivate the earth with the fervor of a religious duty. Their ignorance withstood the despotism of Shaw Abbas, who demanded with threats and tortures the prophetic books of Zoroaster; and this obscure remnant of the Magians is spared by the moderation or contempt of their present sovereigns.^206

[^198: The Zend or Pazend, the bible of the Ghebers, is reckoned by themselves, or at least by the Mahometans, among the ten books which Abraham received from heaven; and their religion is honorably styled the religion of Abraham, (D'Herblot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 701; Hyde, de Religione veterum Persarum, c, iii. p. 27, 28, etc.) I much fear that we do not possess any pure and free description of the system of Zoroaster.^* Dr. Prideaux (Connection, vol. i. p. 300, octavo) adopts the opinion, that he had been the slave and scholar of some Jewish prophet in the captivity of Babylon. Perhaps the Persians, who have been the masters of the Jews, would assert the honor, a poor honor, of being their masters.

[^*: Whatever the real age of the Zendavesta, published by Anquetil du Perron, whether of the time of Ardeschir Babeghan, according to Mr. Erskine, or of much higher antiquity, it may be considered, I conceive, both a "pure and a free," though imperfect, description of Zoroastrianism; particularly with the illustrations of the original translator, and of the German Kleuker—M.]

[^199: The Arabian Nights, a faithful and amusing picture of the Oriental world, represent in the most odious colors of the Magians, or worshippers of fire, to whom they attribute the annual sacrifice of a Mussulman. The religion of Zoroaster has not the least affinity with that of the Hindoos, yet they are often confounded by the Mahometans; and the sword of Timour was sharpened by this mistake, (Hist. de Timour Bec, par Cherefeddin Ali Yezdi, l. v.]

[^200: Vie de Mahomet, par Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 114, 115.)]

[^201: Hae tres sectae, Judaei, Christiani, et qui inter Persas Magorum institutis addicti sunt, populi libri dicuntur, (Reland, Dissertat. tom. iii. p. 15.) The caliph Al Mamun confirms this honorable distinction in favor of the three sects, with the vague and equivocal religion of the Sabaeans, under which the ancient polytheists of Charrae were allowed to shelter their idolatrous worship, (Hottinger, Hist. Orient p. 167, 168.)]

[^202: This singular story is related by D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p 448, 449,) on the faith of Khondemir, and by Mirchond himself, (Hist priorum Regum Persarum, etc., p. 9, 10, not. p. 88, 89.)]

[^203: Mirchond, (Mohammed Emir Khoondah Shah,) a native of Herat, composed in the Persian language a general history of the East, from the creation to the year of the Hegira 875, (A.D. 1471.) In the year 904 (A.D. 1498) the historian obtained the command of a princely library, and his applauded work, in seven or twelve parts, was abbreviated in three volumes by his son Khondemir, A. H. 927, A.D. 1520. The two writers, most accurately distinguished by Petit de la Croix, (Hist. de Genghizcan, p.537, 538, 544, 545,) are loosely confounded by D'Herbelot, (p. 358, 410, 994, 995: ) but his numerous extracts, under the improper name of Khondemir, belong to the father rather than the son. The historian of Genghizcan refers to a Ms. of Mirchond, which he received from the hands of his friend D'Herbelot himself. A curious fragment (the Taherian and Soffarian Dynasties) has been lately published in Persic and Latin, (Viennae, 1782, in 4to., cum notis Bernard de Jenisch;) and the editor allows us to hope for a continuation of Mirchond.]

[^204: Quo testimonio boni se quidpiam praestitisse opinabantur. Yet Mirchond must have condemned their zeal, since he approved the legal toleration of the Magi, cui (the fire temple) peracto singulis annis censu uti sacra Mohammedis lege cautum, ab omnibus molestiis ac oneribus libero esse licuit.]

[^205: The last Magian of name and power appears to be Mardavige the Dilemite, who, in the beginning of the 10th century, reigned in the northern provinces of Persia, near the Caspian Sea, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 355.) But his soldiers and successors, the Bowides either professed or embraced the Mahometan faith; and under their dynasty (A.D. 933—1020) I should say the fall of the religion of Zoroaster.]

[^206: The present state of the Ghebers in Persia is taken from Sir John Chardin, not indeed the most learned, but the most judicious and inquisitive of our modern travellers, (Voyages en Perse, tom. ii. p. 109, 179—187, in 4to.) His brethren, Pietro della Valle, Olearius, Thevenot, Tavernier, etc., whom I have fruitlessly searched, had neither eyes nor attention for this interesting people.]

The Northern coast of Africa is the only land in which the light of the gospel, after a long and perfect establishment, has been totally extinguished. The arts, which had been taught by Carthage and Rome, were involved in a cloud of ignorance; the doctrine of Cyprian and Augustin was no longer studied. Five hundred episcopal churches were overturned by the hostile fury of the Donatists, the Vandals, and the Moors. The zeal and numbers of the clergy declined; and the people, without discipline, or knowledge, or hope, submissively sunk under the yoke of the Arabian prophet Within fifty years after the expulsion of the Greeks, a lieutenant of Africa informed the caliph that the tribute of the infidels was abolished by their conversion;^207 and, though he sought to disguise his fraud and rebellion, his specious pretence was drawn from the rapid and extensive progress of the Mahometan faith. In the next age, an extraordinary mission of five bishops was detached from Alexandria to Cairoan. They were ordained by the Jacobite patriarch to cherish and revive the dying embers of Christianity:^208 but the interposition of a foreign prelate, a stranger to the Latins, an enemy to the Catholics, supposes the decay and dissolution of the African hierarchy. It was no longer the time when the successor of St. Cyprian, at the head of a numerous synod, could maintain an equal contest with the ambition of the Roman pontiff. In the eleventh century, the unfortunate priest who was seated on the ruins of Carthage implored the arms and the protection of the Vatican; and he bitterly complains that his naked body had been scourged by the Saracens, and that his authority was disputed by the four suffragans, the tottering pillars of his throne. Two epistles of Gregory the Seventh^209 are destined to soothe the distress of the Catholics and the pride of a Moorish prince. The pope assures the sultan that they both worship the same God, and may hope to meet in the bosom of Abraham; but the complaint that three bishops could no longer be found to consecrate a brother, announces the speedy and inevitable ruin of the episcopal order. The Christians of Africa and Spain had long since submitted to the practice of circumcision and the legal abstinence from wine and pork; and the name of Mozarabes^210 (adoptive Arabs) was applied to their civil or religious conformity.^211 About the middle of the twelfth century, the worship of Christ and the succession of pastors were abolished along the coast of Barbary, and in the kingdoms of Cordova and Seville, of Valencia and Grenada.^212 The throne of the Almohades, or Unitarians, was founded on the blindest fanaticism, and their extraordinary rigor might be provoked or justified by the recent victories and intolerant zeal of the princes of Sicily and Castille, of Arragon and Portugal. The faith of the Mozarabes was occasionally revived by the papal missionaries; and, on the landing of Charles the Fifth, some families of Latin Christians were encouraged to rear their heads at Tunis and Algiers. But the seed of the gospel was quickly eradicated, and the long province from Tripoli to the Atlantic has lost all memory of the language and religion of Rome.^213

[^207: The letter of Abdoulrahman, governor or tyrant of Africa, to the caliph Aboul Abbas, the first of the Abbassides, is dated A. H. 132 Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 168.)]

[^208: Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 66. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 287, 288.]

[^209: Among the Epistles of the Popes, see Leo IX. epist. 3; Gregor. VII. l. i. epist. 22, 23, l. iii. epist. 19, 20, 21; and the criticisms of Pagi, (tom. iv. A.D. 1053, No. 14, A.D. 1073, No. 13,) who investigates the name and family of the Moorish prince, with whom the proudest of the Roman pontiffs so politely corresponds.]

[^210: Mozarabes, or Mostarabes, adscititii, as it is interpreted in Latin, (Pocock, Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 39, 40. Bibliot. Arabico- Hispana, tom. ii. p. 18.) The Mozarabic liturgy, the ancient ritual of the church of Toledo, has been attacked by the popes, and exposed to the doubtful trials of the sword and of fire, (Marian. Hist. Hispan. tom. i. l. ix. c. 18, p. 378.) It was, or rather it is, in the Latin tongue; yet in the xith century it was found necessary (A. Ae. C. 1687, A.D. 1039) to transcribe an Arabic version of the canons of the councils of Spain, (Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. i. p. 547,) for the use of the bishops and clergy in the Moorish kingdoms.]

[^211: About the middle of the xth century, the clergy of Cordova was reproached with this criminal compliance, by the intrepid envoy of the Emperor Otho I., (Vit. Johan. Gorz, in Secul. Benedict. V. No. 115, apud Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. xii. p. 91.)]

[^212: Pagi, Critica, tom. iv. A.D. 1149, No. 8, 9. He justly observes, that when Seville, etc., were retaken by Ferdinand of Castille, no Christians, except captives, were found in the place; and that the Mozarabic churches of Africa and Spain, described by James a Vitriaco, A.D. 1218, (Hist. Hierosol. c. 80, p. 1095, in Gest. Dei per Francos,) are copied from some older book. I shall add, that the date of the Hegira 677 (A.D. 1278) must apply to the copy, not the composition, of a treatise of a jurisprudence, which states the civil rights of the Christians of Cordova, (Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. i. p. 471;) and that the Jews were the only dissenters whom Abul Waled, king of Grenada, (A.D. 1313,) could either discountenance or tolerate, (tom. ii. p. 288.)]

[^213: Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 288. Leo Africanus would have flattered his Roman masters, could he have discovered any latent relics of the Christianity of Africa.]

After the revolution of eleven centuries, the Jews and Christians of the Turkish empire enjoy the liberty of conscience which was granted by the Arabian caliphs. During the first age of the conquest, they suspected the loyalty of the Catholics, whose name of Melchites betrayed their secret attachment to the Greek emperor, while the Nestorians and Jacobites, his inveterate enemies, approved themselves the sincere and voluntary friends of the Mahometan government.^214 Yet this partial jealousy was healed by time and submission; the churches of Egypt were shared with the Catholics;^215 and all the Oriental sects were included in the common benefits of toleration. The rank, the immunities, the domestic jurisdiction of the patriarchs, the bishops, and the clergy, were protected by the civil magistrate: the learning of individuals recommended them to the employments of secretaries and physicians: they were enriched by the lucrative collection of the revenue; and their merit was sometimes raised to the command of cities and provinces. A caliph of the house of Abbas was heard to declare that the Christians were most worthy of trust in the administration of Persia. "The Moslems," said he, "will abuse their present fortune; the Magians regret their fallen greatness; and the Jews are impatient for their approaching deliverance."^216 But the slaves of despotism are exposed to the alternatives of favor and disgrace. The captive churches of the East have been afflicted in every age by the avarice or bigotry of their rulers; and the ordinary and legal restraints must be offensive to the pride, or the zeal, of the Christians.^217 About two hundred years after Mahomet, they were separated from their fellow- subjects by a turban or girdle of a less honorable color; instead of horses or mules. they were condemned to ride on asses, in the attitude of women. Their public and private building were measured by a diminutive standard; in the streets or the baths it is their duty to give way or bow down before the meanest of the people; and their testimony is rejected, if it may tend to the prejudice of a true believer. The pomp of processions, the sound of bells or of psalmody, is interdicted in their worship; a decent reverence for the national faith is imposed on their sermons and conversations; and the sacrilegious attempt to enter a mosch, or to seduce a Mussulman, will not be suffered to escape with impunity. In a time, however, of tranquillity and justice, the Christians have never been compelled to renounce the Gospel, or to embrace the Koran; but the punishment of death is inflicted upon the apostates who have professed and deserted the law of Mahomet. The martyrs of Cordova provoked the sentence of the cadhi, by the public confession of their inconstancy, or their passionate invectives against the person and religion of the prophet.^218

[^214: Absit (said the Catholic to the vizier of Bagdad) ut pari loco habeas Nestorianos, quorum praeter Arabas nullus alius rex est, et Graecos quorum reges amovendo Arabibus bello non desistunt, etc. See in the Collections of Assemannus (Bibliot. Orient. tom. iv. p. 94—101) the state of the Nestorians under the caliphs. That of the Jacobites is more concisely exposed in the Preliminary Dissertation of the second volume of Assemannus.]

[^215: Eutych. Annal. tom. ii. p. 384, 387, 388. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 205, 206, 257, 332. A taint of the Monothelite heresy might render the first of these Greek patriarchs less loyal to the emperors and less obnoxious to the Arabs.]

[^216: Motadhed, who reigned from A.D. 892 to 902. The Magians still held their name and rank among the religions of the empire, (Assemanni, Bibliot. Orient. tom. iv. p. 97.)]

[^217: Reland explains the general restraints of the Mahometan policy and jurisprudence, (Dissertat. tom. iii. p. 16 - 20.) The oppressive edicts of the caliph Motawakkel, (A.D. 847 - 861,) which are still in force, are noticed by Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 448,) and D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 640.) A persecution of the caliph Omar II. is related, and most probably magnified, by the Greek Theophanes (Chron p. 334.)]

[^218: The martyrs of Cordova (A.D. 850, etc.) are commemorated and justified by St. Eulogius, who at length fell a victim himself. A synod, convened by the caliph, ambiguously censured their rashness. The moderate Fleury cannot reconcile their conduct with the discipline of antiquity, toutefois l'autorite de l'eglise, etc. (Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. x. p. 415—522, particularly p. 451, 508, 509.) Their authentic acts throw a strong, though transient, light on the Spanish church in the ixth century.]

At the end of the first century of the Hegira, the caliphs were the most potent and absolute monarchs of the globe. Their prerogative was not circumscribed, either in right or in fact, by the power of the nobles, the freedom of the commons, the privileges of the church, the votes of a senate, or the memory of a free constitution. The authority of the companions of Mahomet expired with their lives; and the chiefs or emirs of the Arabian tribes left behind, in the desert, the spirit of equality and independence. The regal and sacerdotal characters were united in the successors of Mahomet; and if the Koran was the rule of their actions, they were the supreme judges and interpreters of that divine book. They reigned by the right of conquest over the nations of the East, to whom the name of liberty was unknown, and who were accustomed to applaud in their tyrants the acts of violence and severity that were exercised at their own expense. Under the last of the Ommiades, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days' journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of Africa, the solid and compact dominion from Fargana to Aden, from Tarsus to Surat, will spread on every side to the measure of four or five months of the march of a caravan.^219 We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of the Mahometan religion diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Koran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.^220

[^219: See the article Eslamiah, (as we say Christendom,) in the Bibliotheque Orientale, (p. 325.) This chart of the Mahometan world is suited by the author, Ebn Alwardi, to the year of the Hegira 385 (A.D. 995.) Since that time, the losses in Spain have been overbalanced by the conquests in India, Tartary, and the European Turkey.]

[^220: The Arabic of the Koran is taught as a dead language in the college of Mecca. By the Danish traveller, this ancient idiom is compared to the Latin; the vulgar tongue of Hejaz and Yemen to the Italian; and the Arabian dialects of Syria, Egypt, Africa, etc., to the Provencal, Spanish, and Portuguese, (Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 74, etc.)]



The two sieges of Constantinople by the Arabs.—Their invasion of France, and defeat by Charles Martel.—Civil war of the Ommiades and Abbassides.—Learning of the Arabs.—Luxury of the Caliphs.—Naval enterprises on Crete, Sicily, and Rome.—Decay and division of the Empire of the Caliphs.—Defeats and victories of the Greek emperors


When the Arabs first issued from the desert, they must have been surprised at the ease and rapidity of their own success. But when they advanced in the career of victory to the banks of the Indus and the summit of the Pyrenees; when they had repeatedly tried the edge of their cimeters and the energy of their faith, they might be equally astonished that any nation could resist their invincible arms; that any boundary should confine the dominion of the successor of the prophet. The confidence of soldiers and fanatics may indeed be excused, since the calm historian of the present hour, who strives to follow the rapid course of the Saracens, must study to explain by what means the church and state were saved from this impending, and, as it should seem, from this inevitable, danger. The deserts of Scythia and Sarmatia might be guarded by their extent, their climate, their poverty, and the courage of the northern shepherds; China was remote and inaccessible; but the greatest part of the temperate zone was subject to the Mahometan conquerors, the Greeks were exhausted by the calamities of war and the loss of their fairest provinces, and the Barbarians of Europe might justly tremble at the precipitate fall of the Gothic monarchy. In this inquiry I shall unfold the events that rescued our ancestors of Britain, and our neighbors of Gaul, from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran; that protected the majesty of Rome, and delayed the servitude of Constantinople; that invigorated the defence of the Christians, and scattered among their enemies the seeds of division and decay.

Forty-six years after the flight of Mahomet from Mecca, his disciples appeared in arms under the walls of Constantinople.^1 They were animated by a genuine or fictitious saying of the prophet, that, to the first army which besieged the city of the Caesars, their sins were forgiven: the long series of Roman triumphs would be meritoriously transferred to the conquerors of New Rome; and the wealth of nations was deposited in this well-chosen seat of royalty and commerce. No sooner had the caliph Moawiyah suppressed his rivals and established his throne, than he aspired to expiate the guilt of civil blood, by the success and glory of this holy expedition;^2 his preparations by sea and land were adequate to the importance of the object; his standard was intrusted to Sophian, a veteran warrior, but the troops were encouraged by the example and presence of Yezid, the son and presumptive heir of the commander of the faithful. The Greeks had little to hope, nor had their enemies any reason of fear, from the courage and vigilance of the reigning emperor, who disgraced the name of Constantine, and imitated only the inglorious years of his grandfather Heraclius. Without delay or opposition, the naval forces of the Saracens passed through the unguarded channel of the Hellespont, which even now, under the feeble and disorderly government of the Turks, is maintained as the natural bulwark of the capital.^3 The Arabian fleet cast anchor, and the troops were disembarked near the palace of Hebdomon, seven miles from the city. During many days, from the dawn of light to the evening, the line of assault was extended from the golden gate to the eastern promontory and the foremost warriors were impelled by the weight and effort of the succeeding columns. But the besiegers had formed an insufficient estimate of the strength and resources of Constantinople. The solid and lofty walls were guarded by numbers and discipline: the spirit of the Romans was rekindled by the last danger of their religion and empire: the fugitives from the conquered provinces more successfully renewed the defence of Damascus and Alexandria; and the Saracens were dismayed by the strange and prodigious effects of artificial fire. This firm and effectual resistance diverted their arms to the more easy attempt of plundering the European and Asiatic coasts of the Propontis; and, after keeping the sea from the month of April to that of September, on the approach of winter they retreated fourscore miles from the capital, to the Isle of Cyzicus, in which they had established their magazine of spoil and provisions. So patient was their perseverance, or so languid were their operations, that they repeated in the six following summers the same attack and retreat, with a gradual abatement of hope and vigor, till the mischances of shipwreck and disease, of the sword and of fire, compelled them to relinquish the fruitless enterprise. They might bewail the loss, or commemorate the martyrdom, of thirty thousand Moslems, who fell in the siege of Constantinople; and the solemn funeral of Abu Ayub, or Job, excited the curiosity of the Christians themselves.

That venerable Arab, one of the last of the companions of Mahomet, was numbered among the ansars, or auxiliaries, of Medina, who sheltered the head of the flying prophet. In his youth he fought, at Beder and Ohud, under the holy standard: in his mature age he was the friend and follower of Ali; and the last remnant of his strength and life was consumed in a distant and dangerous war against the enemies of the Koran. His memory was revered; but the place of his burial was neglected and unknown, during a period of seven hundred and eighty years, till the conquest of Constantinople by Mahomet the Second. A seasonable vision (for such are the manufacture of every religion) revealed the holy spot at the foot of the walls and the bottom of the harbor; and the mosch of Ayub has been deservedly chosen for the simple and martial inauguration of the Turkish sultans.^4

[^1: Theophanes places the seven years of the siege of Constantinople in the year of our Christian aera, 673 (of the Alexandrian 665, Sept. 1,) and the peace of the Saracens, four years afterwards; a glaring inconsistency! which Petavius, Goar, and Pagi, (Critica, tom. iv. p. 63, 64,) have struggled to remove. Of the Arabians, the Hegira 52 (A.D. 672, January 8) is assigned by Elmacin, the year 48 (A.D. 688, Feb. 20) by Abulfeda, whose testimony I esteem the most convenient and credible.]

[^2: For this first siege of Constantinople, see Nicephorus, (Breviar. p. 21, 22;) Theophanes, (Chronograph. p. 294;) Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 437;) Zonaras, (Hist. tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 89;) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 56, 57;) Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 107, 108, vers. Reiske;) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. Constantinah;) Ockley's History of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 127, 128.]

[^3: The state and defence of the Dardanelles is exposed in the Memoirs of the Baron de Tott, (tom. iii. p. 39—97,) who was sent to fortify them against the Russians. From a principal actor, I should have expected more accurate details; but he seems to write for the amusement, rather than the instruction, of his reader. Perhaps, on the approach of the enemy, the minister of Constantine was occupied, like that of Mustapha, in finding two Canary birds who should sing precisely the same note.]

[^4: Demetrius Cantemir's Hist. of the Othman Empire, p. 105, 106. Rycaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, p. 10, 11. Voyages of Thevenot, part i. p. 189. The Christians, who suppose that the martyr Abu Ayub is vulgarly confounded with the patriarch Job, betray their own ignorance rather than that of the Turks.]

The event of the siege revived, both in the East and West, the reputation of the Roman arms, and cast a momentary shade over the glories of the Saracens. The Greek ambassador was favorably received at Damascus, a general council of the emirs or Koreish: a peace, or truce, of thirty years was ratified between the two empires; and the stipulation of an annual tribute, fifty horses of a noble breed, fifty slaves, and three thousand pieces of gold, degraded the majesty of the commander of the faithful.^5 The aged caliph was desirous of possessing his dominions, and ending his days in tranquillity and repose: while the Moors and Indians trembled at his name, his palace and city of Damascus was insulted by the Mardaites, or Maronites, of Mount Libanus, the firmest barrier of the empire, till they were disarmed and transplanted by the suspicious policy of the Greeks.^6 After the revolt of Arabia and Persia, the house of Ommiyah was reduced to the kingdoms of Syria and Egypt: their distress and fear enforced their compliance with the pressing demands of the Christians; and the tribute was increased to a slave, a horse, and a thousand pieces of gold, for each of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the solar year. But as soon as the empire was again united by the arms and policy of Abdalmalek, he disclaimed a badge of servitude not less injurious to his conscience than to his pride; he discontinued the payment of the tribute; and the resentment of the Greeks was disabled from action by the mad tyranny of the second Justinian, the just rebellion of his subjects, and the frequent change of his antagonists and successors. Till the reign of Abdalmalek, the Saracens had been content with the free possession of the Persian and Roman treasures, in the coins of Chosroes and Caesar. By the command of that caliph, a national mint was established, both for silver and gold, and the inscription of the Dinar, though it might be censured by some timorous casuists, proclaimed the unity of the God of Mahomet.^8 Under the reign of the caliph Walid, the Greek language and characters were excluded from the accounts of the public revenue. ^9 If this change was productive of the invention or familiar use of our present numerals, the Arabic or Indian ciphers, as they are commonly styled, a regulation of office has promoted the most important discoveries of arithmetic, algebra, and the mathematical sciences.^10

[^5: Theophanes, though a Greek, deserves credit for these tributes, (Chronograph. p. 295, 296, 300, 301,) which are confirmed, with some variation, by the Arabic History of Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 128, vers. Pocock.)]

[^6: The censure of Theophanes is just and pointed, (Chronograph. p. 302, 303.) The series of these events may be traced in the Annals of Theophanes, and in the Abridgment of the patriarch Nicephorus, p. 22, 24.]

[^7: These domestic revolutions are related in a clear and natural style, in the second volume of Ockley's History of the Saracens, p. 253—370. Besides our printed authors, he draws his materials from the Arabic Mss. of Oxford, which he would have more deeply searched had he been confined to the Bodleian library instead of the city jail a fate how unworthy of the man and of his country!]

[^8: Elmacin, who dates the first coinage A. H. 76, A.D. 695, five or six years later than the Greek historians, has compared the weight of the best or common gold dinar to the drachm or dirhem of Egypt, (p. 77,) which may be equal to two pennies (48 grains) of our Troy weight, (Hooper's Inquiry into Ancient Measures, p. 24—36,) and equivalent to eight shillings of our sterling money. From the same Elmacin and the Arabian physicians, some dinars as high as two dirhems, as low as half a dirhem, may be deduced. The piece of silver was the dirhem, both in value and weight; but an old, though fair coin, struck at Waset, A. H. 88, and preserved in the Bodleian library, wants four grains of the Cairo standard, (see the Modern Universal History, tom. i. p. 548 of the French translation.)
Note: Up to this time the Arabs had used the Roman or the Persian coins or had minted others which resembled them. Nevertheless, it has been admitted of late years, that the Arabians, before this epoch, had caused coin to be minted, on which, preserving the Roman or the Persian dies, they added Arabian names or inscriptions. Some of these exist in different collections. We learn from Makrizi, an Arabian author of great learning and judgment, that in the year 18 of the Hegira, under the caliphate of Omar, the Arabs had coined money of this description. The same author informs us that the caliph Abdalmalek caused coins to be struck representing himself with a sword by his side. These types, so contrary to the notions of the Arabs, were disapproved by the most influential persons of the time, and the caliph substituted for them, after the year 76 of the Hegira, the Mahometan coins with which we are acquainted. Consult, on the question of Arabic numismatics, the works of Adler, of Fraehn, of Castiglione, and of Marsden, who have treated at length this interesting point of historic antiquities.

See, also, in the Journal Asiatique, tom. ii. p. 257, et seq., a paper of M. Silvestre de Sacy, entitled Des Monnaies des Khalifes avant l'An 75 de l'Hegire. See, also the translation of a German paper on the Arabic medals of the Chosroes, by M. Fraehn. in the same Journal Asiatique tom. iv. p. 331—347. St. Martin, vol. xii. p. 19—M.]

[^9: Theophan. Chronograph. p. 314. This defect, if it really existed, must have stimulated the ingenuity of the Arabs to invent or borrow.]

[^10: According to a new, though probable, notion, maintained by M de Villoison, (Anecdota Graeca, tom. ii. p. 152 - 157,) our ciphers are not of Indian or Arabic invention. They were used by the Greek and Latin arithmeticians long before the age of Boethius. After the extinction of science in the West, they were adopted by the Arabic versions from the original Mss., and restored to the Latins about the xith century.
Note: Compare, on the Introduction of the Arabic numerals, Hallam's Introduction to the Literature of Europe, p. 150, note, and the authors quoted therein.—M.]

Whilst the caliph Walid sat idle on the throne of Damascus, whilst his lieutenants achieved the conquest of Transoxiana and Spain, a third army of Saracens overspread the provinces of Asia Minor, and approached the borders of the Byzantine capital. But the attempt and disgrace of the second siege was reserved for his brother Soliman, whose ambition appears to have been quickened by a more active and martial spirit. In the revolutions of the Greek empire, after the tyrant Justinian had been punished and avenged, an humble secretary, Anastasius or Artemius, was promoted by chance or merit to the vacant purple. He was alarmed by the sound of war; and his ambassador returned from Damascus with the tremendous news, that the Saracens were preparing an armament by sea and land, such as would transcend the experience of the past, or the belief of the present age. The precautions of Anastasius were not unworthy of his station, or of the impending danger. He issued a peremptory mandate, that all persons who were not provided with the means of subsistence for a three years' siege should evacuate the city: the public granaries and arsenals were abundantly replenished; the walls were restored and strengthened; and the engines for casting stones, or darts, or fire, were stationed along the ramparts, or in the brigantines of war, of which an additional number was hastily constructed. To prevent is safer, as well as more honorable, than to repel, an attack; and a design was meditated, above the usual spirit of the Greeks, of burning the naval stores of the enemy, the cypress timber that had been hewn in Mount Libanus, and was piled along the sea-shore of Phoenicia, for the service of the Egyptian fleet. This generous enterprise was defeated by the cowardice or treachery of the troops, who, in the new language of the empire, were styled of the Obsequian Theme.^11 They murdered their chief, deserted their standard in the Isle of Rhodes, dispersed themselves over the adjacent continent, and deserved pardon or reward by investing with the purple a simple officer of the revenue. The name of Theodosius might recommend him to the senate and people; but, after some months, he sunk into a cloister, and resigned, to the firmer hand of Leo the Isaurian, the urgent defence of the capital and empire. The most formidable of the Saracens, Moslemah, the brother of the caliph, was advancing at the head of one hundred and twenty thousand Arabs and Persians, the greater part mounted on horses or camels; and the successful sieges of Tyana, Amorium, and Pergamus, were of sufficient duration to exercise their skill and to elevate their hopes. At the well-known passage of Abydus, on the Hellespont, the Mahometan arms were transported, for the first time,^* from Asia to Europe. From thence, wheeling round the Thracian cities of the Propontis, Moslemah invested Constantinople on the land side, surrounded his camp with a ditch and rampart, prepared and planted his engines of assault, and declared, by words and actions, a patient resolution of expecting the return of seed-time and harvest, should the obstinacy of the besieged prove equal to his own.^! The Greeks would gladly have ransomed their religion and empire, by a fine or assessment of a piece of gold on the head of each inhabitant of the city; but the liberal offer was rejected with disdain, and the presumption of Moslemah was exalted by the speedy approach and invincible force of the natives of Egypt and Syria. They are said to have amounted to eighteen hundred ships: the number betrays their inconsiderable size; and of the twenty stout and capacious vessels, whose magnitude impeded their progress, each was manned with no more than one hundred heavy-armed soldiers. This huge armada proceeded on a smooth sea, and with a gentle gale, towards the mouth of the Bosphorus; the surface of the strait was overshadowed, in the language of the Greeks, with a moving forest, and the same fatal night had been fixed by the Saracen chief for a general assault by sea and land. To allure the confidence of the enemy, the emperor had thrown aside the chain that usually guarded the entrance of the harbor; but while they hesitated whether they should seize the opportunity, or apprehend the snare, the ministers of destruction were at hand. The fire-ships of the Greeks were launched against them; the Arabs, their arms, and vessels, were involved in the same flames; the disorderly fugitives were dashed against each other or overwhelmed in the waves; and I no longer find a vestige of the fleet, that had threatened to extirpate the Roman name. A still more fatal and irreparable loss was that of the caliph Soliman, who died of an indigestion,^12 in his camp near Kinnisrin or Chalcis in Syria, as he was preparing to lead against Constantinople the remaining forces of the East. The brother of Moslemah was succeeded by a kinsman and an enemy; and the throne of an active and able prince was degraded by the useless and pernicious virtues of a bigot.^!! While he started and satisfied the scruples of a blind conscience, the siege was continued through the winter by the neglect, rather than by the resolution of the caliph Omar.^13 The winter proved uncommonly rigorous: above a hundred days the ground was covered with deep snow, and the natives of the sultry climes of Egypt and Arabia lay torpid and almost lifeless in their frozen camp. They revived on the return of spring; a second effort had been made in their favor; and their distress was relieved by the arrival of two numerous fleets, laden with corn, and arms, and soldiers; the first from Alexandria, of four hundred transports and galleys; the second of three hundred and sixty vessels from the ports of Africa. But the Greek fires were again kindled; and if the destruction was less complete, it was owing to the experience which had taught the Moslems to remain at a safe distance, or to the perfidy of the Egyptian mariners, who deserted with their ships to the emperor of the Christians. The trade and navigation of the capital were restored; and the produce of the fisheries supplied the wants, and even the luxury, of the inhabitants. But the calamities of famine and disease were soon felt by the troops of Moslemah, and as the former was miserably assuaged, so the latter was dreadfully propagated, by the pernicious nutriment which hunger compelled them to extract from the most unclean or unnatural food. The spirit of conquest, and even of enthusiasm, was extinct: the Saracens could no longer struggle, beyond their lines, either single or in small parties, without exposing themselves to the merciless retaliation of the Thracian peasants.

An army of Bulgarians was attracted from the Danube by the gifts and promises of Leo; and these savage auxiliaries made some atonement for the evils which they had inflicted on the empire, by the defeat and slaughter of twenty-two thousand Asiatics. A report was dexterously scattered, that the Franks, the unknown nations of the Latin world, were arming by sea and land in the defence of the Christian cause, and their formidable aid was expected with far different sensations in the camp and city. At length, after a siege of thirteen months,^14 the hopeless Moslemah received from the caliph the welcome permission of retreat.^* The march of the Arabian cavalry over the Hellespont and through the provinces of Asia, was executed without delay or molestation; but an army of their brethren had been cut in pieces on the side of Bithynia, and the remains of the fleet were so repeatedly damaged by tempest and fire, that only five galleys entered the port of Alexandria to relate the tale of their various and almost incredible disasters.^15

[^11: In the division of the Themes, or provinces described by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, (de Thematibus, l. i. p. 9, 10,) the Obsequium, a Latin appellation of the army and palace, was the fourth in the public order. Nice was the metropolis, and its jurisdiction extended from the Hellespont over the adjacent parts of Bithynia and Phrygia, (see the two maps prefixed by Delisle to the Imperium Orientale of Banduri.)]

[^*: Compare page 274. It is singular that Gibbon should thus contradict himself in a few pages. By his own account this was the second time.—M.]

[^!: The account of this siege in the Tarikh Tebry is a very unfavorable specimen of Asiatic history, full of absurd fables, and written with total ignorance of the circumstances of time and place. Price, vol. i. p. 498—M.]

[^12: The caliph had emptied two baskets of eggs and of figs, which he swallowed alternately, and the repast was concluded with marrow and sugar. In one of his pilgrimages to Mecca, Soliman ate, at a single meal, seventy pomegranates, a kid, six fowls, and a huge quantity of the grapes of Tayef. If the bill of fare be correct, we must admire the appetite, rather than the luxury, of the sovereign of Asia, (Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p. 126.)
Note: The Tarikh Tebry ascribes the death of Soliman to a pleurisy. The same gross gluttony in which Soliman indulged, though not fatal to the life, interfered with the military duties, of his brother Moslemah. Price, vol. i. p. 511.—M.]

[^!!: Major Price's estimate of Omar's character is much more favorable. Among a race of sanguinary tyrants, Omar was just and humane. His virtues as well as his bigotry were active.—M.]

[^13: See the article of Omar Ben Abdalaziz, in the Bibliotheque Orientale, (p. 689, 690,) praeferens, says Elmacin, (p. 91,) religionem suam rebus suis mundanis. He was so desirous of being with God, that he would not have anointed his ear (his own saying) to obtain a perfect cure of his last malady. The caliph had only one shirt, and in an age of luxury, his annual expense was no more than two drachms, (Abulpharagius, p. 131.) Haud diu gavisus eo principe fuit urbis Muslemus, (Abulfeda, p. 127.)]

[^14: Both Nicephorus and Theophanes agree that the siege of Constantinople was raised the 15th of August, (A.D. 718;) but as the former, our best witness, affirms that it continued thirteen months, the latter must be mistaken in supposing that it began on the same day of the preceding year. I do not find that Pagi has remarked this inconsistency.]

[^*: The Tarikh Tebry embellishes the retreat of Moslemah with some extraordinary and incredible circumstances. Price, p. 514.—M.]

[^15: In the second siege of Constantinople, I have followed Nicephorus, (Brev. p. 33—36,) Theophanes, (Chronograph, p. 324—334,) Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 449—452,) Zonaras, (tom. ii. p. 98—102,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen, p. 88,) Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 126,) and Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 130,) the most satisfactory of the Arabs.]

In the two sieges, the deliverance of Constantinople may be chiefly ascribed to the novelty, the terrors, and the real efficacy of the Greek fire.^16 The important secret of compounding and directing this artificial flame was imparted by Callinicus, a native of Heliopolis in Syria, who deserted from the service of the caliph to that of the emperor.^17 The skill of a chemist and engineer was equivalent to the succor of fleets and armies; and this discovery or improvement of the military art was fortunately reserved for the distressful period, when the degenerate Romans of the East were incapable of contending with the warlike enthusiasm and youthful vigor of the Saracens. The historian who presumes to analyze this extraordinary composition should suspect his own ignorance and that of his Byzantine guides, so prone to the marvellous, so careless, and, in this instance, so jealous of the truth. From their obscure, and perhaps fallacious, hints it should seem that the principal ingredient of the Greek fire was the naphtha,^18 or liquid bitumen, a light, tenacious, and inflammable oil,^19 which springs from the earth, and catches fire as soon as it comes in contact with the air. The naphtha was mingled, I know not by what methods or in what proportions, with sulphur and with the pitch that is extracted from evergreen firs.^20 From this mixture, which produced a thick smoke and a loud explosion, proceeded a fierce and obstinate flame, which not only rose in perpendicular ascent, but likewise burnt with equal vehemence in descent or lateral progress; instead of being extinguished, it was nourished and quickened by the element of water; and sand, urine, or vinegar, were the only remedies that could damp the fury of this powerful agent, which was justly denominated by the Greeks the liquid, or the maritime, fire. For the annoyance of the enemy, it was employed with equal effect, by sea and land, in battles or in sieges. It was either poured from the rampart in large boilers, or launched in red-hot balls of stone and iron, or darted in arrows and javelins, twisted round with flax and tow, which had deeply imbibed the inflammable oil; sometimes it was deposited in fire-ships, the victims and instruments of a more ample revenge, and was most commonly blown through long tubes of copper which were planted on the prow of a galley, and fancifully shaped into the mouths of savage monsters, that seemed to vomit a stream of liquid and consuming fire. This important art was preserved at Constantinople, as the palladium of the state: the galleys and artillery might occasionally be lent to the allies of Rome; but the composition of the Greek fire was concealed with the most jealous scruple, and the terror of the enemies was increased and prolonged by their ignorance and surprise. In the treaties of the administration of the empire, the royal author ^21 suggests the answers and excuses that might best elude the indiscreet curiosity and importunate demands of the Barbarians. They should be told that the mystery of the Greek fire had been revealed by an angel to the first and greatest of the Constantines, with a sacred injunction, that this gift of Heaven, this peculiar blessing of the Romans, should never be communicated to any foreign nation; that the prince and the subject were alike bound to religious silence under the temporal and spiritual penalties of treason and sacrilege; and that the impious attempt would provoke the sudden and supernatural vengeance of the God of the Christians. By these precautions, the secret was confined, above four hundred years, to the Romans of the East; and at the end of the eleventh century, the Pisans, to whom every sea and every art were familiar, suffered the effects, without understanding the composition, of the Greek fire. It was at length either discovered or stolen by the Mahometans; and, in the holy wars of Syria and Egypt, they retorted an invention, contrived against themselves, on the heads of the Christians. A knight, who despised the swords and lances of the Saracens, relates, with heartfelt sincerity, his own fears, and those of his companions, at the sight and sound of the mischievous engine that discharged a torrent of the Greek fire, the feu Gregeois, as it is styled by the more early of the French writers. It came flying through the air, says Joinville,^22 like a winged long-tailed dragon, about the thickness of a hogshead, with the report of thunder and the velocity of lightning; and the darkness of the night was dispelled by this deadly illumination. The use of the Greek, or, as it might now be called, of the Saracen fire, was continued to the middle of the fourteenth century,^23 when the scientific or casual compound of nitre, sulphur, and charcoal, effected a new revolution in the art of war and the history of mankind.^24

[^16: Our sure and indefatigable guide in the middle ages and Byzantine history, Charles du Fresne du Cange, has treated in several places of the Greek fire, and his collections leave few gleanings behind. See particularly Glossar. Med. et Infim. Graecitat. p. 1275, sub voce. Glossar. Med. et Infim. Latinitat.

Ignis Groecus. Observations sur Villehardouin, p. 305, 306. Observations sur Joinville, p. 71, 72.]

[^17: Theophanes styles him, (p. 295.) Cedrenus (p. 437) brings this artist from (the ruins of) Heliopolis in Egypt; and chemistry was indeed the peculiar science of the Egyptians.]

[^18: The naphtha, the oleum incendiarium of the history of Jerusalem, (Gest. Dei per Francos, p. 1167,) the Oriental fountain of James de Vitry, (l. iii. c. 84,) is introduced on slight evidence and strong probability. Cinanmus (l. vi. p. 165) calls the Greek fire: and the naphtha is known to abound between the Tigris and the Caspian Sea. According to Pliny, (Hist. Natur. ii. 109,) it was subservient to the revenge of Medea, and in either etymology, (Procop. de Bell. Gothic. l. iv. c. 11,) may fairly signify this liquid bitumen.
Note: It is remarkable that the Syrian historian Michel gives the name of naphtha to the newly-invented Greek fire, which seems to indicate that this substance formed the base of the destructive compound. St. Martin, tom. xi. p. 420.—M.]

[^19: On the different sorts of oils and bitumens, see Dr. Watson's (the present bishop of Llandaff's) Chemical Essays, vol. iii. essay i., a classic book, the best adapted to infuse the taste and knowledge of chemistry. The less perfect ideas of the ancients may be found in Strabo (Geograph. l. xvi. p. 1078) and Pliny, (Hist. Natur. ii. 108, 109.) Huic (Naphthae) magna cognatio est ignium, transiliuntque protinus in eam undecunque visam. Of our travellers I am best pleased with Otter, (tom. i. p. 153, 158.)]

[^20: Anna Comnena has partly drawn aside the curtain. (Alexiad. l. xiii. p. 383.) Elsewhere (l. xi. p. 336) she mentions the property of burning. Leo, in the xixth chapter of his Tactics, (Opera Meursii, tom. vi. p. 843, edit. Lami, Florent. 1745,) speaks of the new invention. These are genuine and Imperial testimonies.]

[^21: Constantin. Porphyrogenit. de Administrat. Imperii, c. xiii. p. 64, 65.]

[^22: Histoire de St. Louis, p. 39. Paris, 1668, p. 44. Paris, de l'Imprimerie Royale, 1761. The former of these editions is precious for the observations of Ducange; the latter for the pure and original text of Joinville. We must have recourse to that text to discover, that the feu Gregeois was shot with a pile or javelin, from an engine that acted like a sling.]

[^23: The vanity, or envy, of shaking the established property of Fame, has tempted some moderns to carry gunpowder above the xivth, (see Sir William Temple, Dutens, etc.,) and the Greek fire above the viith century, (see the Saluste du President des Brosses, tom. ii. p. 381.) But their evidence, which precedes the vulgar aera of the invention, is seldom clear or satisfactory, and subsequent writers may be suspected of fraud or credulity. In the earliest sieges, some combustibles of oil and sulphur have been used, and the Greek fire has some affinities with gunpowder both in its nature and effects: for the antiquity of the first, a passage of Procopius, (de Bell. Goth. l. iv. c. 11,) for that of the second, some facts in the Arabic history of Spain, (A.D. 1249, 1312, 1332. Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. ii. p. 6, 7, 8,) are the most difficult to elude.]

[^24: That extraordinary man, Friar Bacon, reveals two of the ingredients, saltpetre and sulphur, and conceals the third in a sentence of mysterious gibberish, as if he dreaded the consequences of his own discovery, (Biog. Brit. vol. i. p. 430, new edition.)]


Constantinople and the Greek fire might exclude the Arabs from the eastern entrance of Europe; but in the West, on the side of the Pyrenees, the provinces of Gaul were threatened and invaded by the conquerors of Spain.^25 The decline of the French monarchy invited the attack of these insatiate fanatics. The descendants of Clovis had lost the inheritance of his martial and ferocious spirit; and their misfortune or demerit has affixed the epithet of lazy to the last kings of the Merovingian race.^26 They ascended the throne without power, and sunk into the grave without a name. A country palace, in the neighborhood of Compiegne^27 was allotted for their residence or prison: but each year, in the month of March or May, they were conducted in a wagon drawn by oxen to the assembly of the Franks, to give audience to foreign ambassadors, and to ratify the acts of the mayor of the palace. That domestic officer was become the minister of the nation and the master of the prince. A public employment was converted into the patrimony of a private family: the elder Pepin left a king of mature years under the guardianship of his own widow and her child; and these feeble regents were forcibly dispossessed by the most active of his bastards. A government, half savage and half corrupt, was almost dissolved; and the tributary dukes, and provincial counts, and the territorial lords, were tempted to despise the weakness of the monarch, and to imitate the ambition of the mayor. Among these independent chiefs, one of the boldest and most successful was Eudes, duke of Aquitain, who in the southern provinces of Gaul usurped the authority, and even the title of king. The Goths, the Gascons, and the Franks, assembled under the standard of this Christian hero: he repelled the first invasion of the Saracens; and Zama, lieutenant of the caliph, lost his army and his life under the walls of Thoulouse. The ambition of his successors was stimulated by revenge; they repassed the Pyrenees with the means and the resolution of conquest. The advantageous situation which had recommended Narbonne^28 as the first Roman colony, was again chosen by the Moslems: they claimed the province of Septimania or Languedoc as a just dependence of the Spanish monarchy: the vineyards of Gascony and the city of Bourdeaux were possessed by the sovereign of Damascus and Samarcand; and the south of France, from the mouth of the Garonne to that of the Rhone, assumed the manners and religion of Arabia.

[^25: For the invasion of France and the defeat of the Arabs by Charles Martel, see the Historia Arabum (c. 11, 12, 13, 14) of Roderic Ximenes, archbishop of Toledo, who had before him the Christian chronicle of Isidore Pacensis, and the Mahometan history of Novairi. The Moslems are silent or concise in the account of their losses; but M Cardonne (tom. i. p. 129, 130, 131) has given a pure and simple account of all that he could collect from Ibn Halikan, Hidjazi, and an anonymous writer. The texts of the chronicles of France, and lives of saints, are inserted in the Collection of Bouquet, (tom. iii.,) and the Annals of Pagi, who (tom. iii. under the proper years) has restored the chronology, which is anticipated six years in the Annals of Baronius. The Dictionary of Bayle (Abderame and Munuza) has more merit for lively reflection than original research.]

[^26: Eginhart, de Vita Caroli Magni, c. ii. p. 13—78, edit. Schmink, Utrecht, 1711. Some modern critics accuse the minister of Charlemagne of exaggerating the weakness of the Merovingians; but the general outline is just, and the French reader will forever repeat the beautiful lines of Boileau's Lutrin.]

[^27: Mamaccae, on the Oyse, between Compiegne and Noyon, which Eginhart calls perparvi reditus villam, (see the notes, and the map of ancient France for Dom. Bouquet's Collection.) Compendium, or Compiegne, was a palace of more dignity, (Hadrian. Valesii Notitia Galliarum, p. 152,) and that laughing philosopher, the Abbe Galliani, (Dialogues sur le Commerce des Bleds,) may truly affirm, that it was the residence of the rois tres Chretiens en tres chevelus.]

[^28: Even before that colony, A. U. C. 630, (Velleius Patercul. i. 15,) In the time of Polybius, (Hist. l. iii. p. 265, edit. Gronov.) Narbonne was a Celtic town of the first eminence, and one of the most northern places of the known world, (D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 473.)]

But these narrow limits were scorned by the spirit of Abdalraman, or Abderame, who had been restored by the caliph Hashem to the wishes of the soldiers and people of Spain. That veteran and daring commander adjudged to the obedience of the prophet whatever yet remained of France or of Europe; and prepared to execute the sentence, at the head of a formidable host, in the full confidence of surmounting all opposition either of nature or of man. His first care was to suppress a domestic rebel, who commanded the most important passes of the Pyrenees: Manuza, a Moorish chief, had accepted the alliance of the duke of Aquitain; and Eudes, from a motive of private or public interest, devoted his beauteous daughter to the embraces of the African misbeliever. But the strongest fortresses of Cerdagne were invested by a superior force; the rebel was overtaken and slain in the mountains; and his widow was sent a captive to Damascus, to gratify the desires, or more probably the vanity, of the commander of the faithful. From the Pyrenees, Abderame proceeded without delay to the passage of the Rhone and the siege of Arles.

An army of Christians attempted the relief of the city: the tombs of their leaders were yet visible in the thirteenth century; and many thousands of their dead bodies were carried down the rapid stream into the Mediterranean Sea. The arms of Abderame were not less successful on the side of the ocean. He passed without opposition the Garonne and Dordogne, which unite their waters in the Gulf of Bourdeaux; but he found, beyond those rivers, the camp of the intrepid Eudes, who had formed a second army and sustained a second defeat, so fatal to the Christians, that, according to their sad confession, God alone could reckon the number of the slain. The victorious Saracen overran the provinces of Aquitain, whose Gallic names are disguised, rather than lost, in the modern appellations of Perigord, Saintonge, and Poitou: his standards were planted on the walls, or at least before the gates, of Tours and of Sens; and his detachments overspread the kingdom of Burgundy as far as the well-known cities of Lyons and Besancon. The memory of these devastations (for Abderame did not spare the country or the people) was long preserved by tradition; and the invasion of France by the Moors or Mahometans affords the groundwork of those fables, which have been so wildly disfigured in the romances of chivalry, and so elegantly adorned by the Italian muse. In the decline of society and art, the deserted cities could supply a slender booty to the Saracens; their richest spoil was found in the churches and monasteries, which they stripped of their ornaments and delivered to the flames: and the tutelar saints, both Hilary of Poitiers and Martin of Tours, forgot their miraculous powers in the defence of their own sepulchres.^29 A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.^30

[^29: With regard to the sanctuary of St. Martin of Tours, Roderic Ximenes accuses the Saracens of the deed. Turonis civitatem, ecclesiam et palatia vastatione et incendio simili diruit et consumpsit. The continuator of Fredegarius imputes to them no more than the intention. Ad domum beatissimi Martini evertendam destinant. At Carolus, etc. The French annalist was more jealous of the honor of the saint.]

[^30: Yet I sincerely doubt whether the Oxford mosch would have produced a volume of controversy so elegant and ingenious as the sermons lately preached by Mr. White, the Arabic professor, at Mr. Bampton's lecture. His observations on the character and religion of Mahomet are always adapted to his argument, and generally founded in truth and reason. He sustains the part of a lively and eloquent advocate; and sometimes rises to the merit of an historian and philosopher.]

From such calamities was Christendom delivered by the genius and fortune of one man. Charles, the illegitimate son of the elder Pepin, was content with the titles of mayor or duke of the Franks; but he deserved to become the father of a line of kings. In a laborious administration of twenty-four years, he restored and supported the dignity of the throne, and the rebels of Germany and Gaul were successively crushed by the activity of a warrior, who, in the same campaign, could display his banner on the Elbe, the Rhone, and the shores of the ocean. In the public danger he was summoned by the voice of his country; and his rival, the duke of Aquitain, was reduced to appear among the fugitives and suppliants. "Alas!" exclaimed the Franks, "what a misfortune! what an indignity! We have long heard of the name and conquests of the Arabs: we were apprehensive of their attack from the East; they have now conquered Spain, and invade our country on the side of the West. Yet their numbers, and (since they have no buckler) their arms, are inferior to our own." "If you follow my advice," replied the prudent mayor of the palace, "you will not interrupt their march, nor precipitate your attack.

They are like a torrent, which it is dangerous to stem in its career. The thirst of riches, and the consciousness of success, redouble their valor, and valor is of more avail than arms or numbers. Be patient till they have loaded themselves with the encumbrance of wealth. The possession of wealth will divide their councils and assure your victory." This subtile policy is perhaps a refinement of the Arabian writers; and the situation of Charles will suggest a more narrow and selfish motive of procrastination—the secret desire of humbling the pride and wasting the provinces of the rebel duke of Aquitain. It is yet more probable, that the delays of Charles were inevitable and reluctant. A standing army was unknown under the first and second race; more than half the kingdom was now in the hands of the Saracens: according to their respective situation, the Franks of Neustria and Austrasia were to conscious or too careless of the impending danger; and the voluntary aids of the Gepidae and Germans were separated by a long interval from the standard of the Christian general. No sooner had he collected his forces, than he sought and found the enemy in the centre of France, between Tours and Poitiers. His well-conducted march was covered with a range of hills, and Abderame appears to have been surprised by his unexpected presence. The nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe, advanced with equal ardor to an encounter which would change the history of the world. In the six first days of desultory combat, the horsemen and archers of the East maintained their advantage: but in the closer onset of the seventh day, the Orientals were oppressed by the strength and stature of the Germans, who, with stout hearts and iron hands, ^31 asserted the civil and religious freedom of their posterity. The epithet of Martel. the Hammer, which has been added to the name of Charles, is expressive of his weighty and irresistible strokes: the valor of Eudes was excited by resentment and emulation; and their companions, in the eye of history, are the true Peers and Paladins of French chivalry. After a bloody field, in which Abderame was slain, the Saracens, in the close of the evening, retired to their camp. In the disorder and despair of the night, the various tribes of Yemen and Damascus, of Africa and Spain, were provoked to turn their arms against each other: the remains of their host were suddenly dissolved, and each emir consulted his safety by a hasty and separate retreat. At the dawn of the day, the stillness of a hostile camp was suspected by the victorious Christians: on the report of their spies, they ventured to explore the riches of the vacant tents; but if we except some celebrated relics, a small portion of the spoil was restored to the innocent and lawful owners. The joyful tidings were soon diffused over the Catholic world, and the monks of Italy could affirm and believe that three hundred and fifty, or three hundred and seventy-five, thousand of the Mahometans had been crushed by the hammer of Charles,^32 while no more than fifteen hundred Christians were slain in the field of Tours. But this incredible tale is sufficiently disproved by the caution of the French general, who apprehended the snares and accidents of a pursuit, and dismissed his German allies to their native forests.

The inactivity of a conqueror betrays the loss of strength and blood, and the most cruel execution is inflicted, not in the ranks of battle, but on the backs of a flying enemy. Yet the victory of the Franks was complete and final; Aquitain was recovered by the arms of Eudes; the Arabs never resumed the conquest of Gaul, and they were soon driven beyond the Pyrenees by Charles Martel and his valiant race.^33 It might have been expected that the savior of Christendom would have been canonized, or at least applauded, by the gratitude of the clergy, who are indebted to his sword for their present existence. But in the public distress, the mayor of the palace had been compelled to apply the riches, or at least the revenues, of the bishops and abbots, to the relief of the state and the reward of the soldiers. His merits were forgotten, his sacrilege alone was remembered, and, in an epistle to a Carlovingian prince, a Gallic synod presumes to declare that his ancestor was damned; that on the opening of his tomb, the spectators were affrighted by a smell of fire and the aspect of a horrid dragon; and that a saint of the times was indulged with a pleasant vision of the soul and body of Charles Martel, burning, to all eternity, in the abyss of hell.^34

[^31: Gens Austriae membrorum pre-eminentia valida, et gens Germana corde et corpore praestantissima, quasi in ictu oculi, manu ferrea, et pectore arduo, Arabes extinxerunt, (Roderic. Toletan. c. xiv.)]

[^32: These numbers are stated by Paul Warnefrid, the deacon of Aquileia, (de Gestis Langobard. l. vi. p. 921, edit. Grot.,) and Anastasius, the librarian of the Roman church, (in Vit. Gregorii II.,) who tells a miraculous story of three consecrated sponges, which rendered invulnerable the French soldiers, among whom they had been shared It should seem, that in his letters to the pope, Eudes usurped the honor of the victory, from which he is chastised by the French annalists, who, with equal falsehood, accuse him of inviting the Saracens.]

[^33: Narbonne, and the rest of Septimania, was recovered by Pepin the son of Charles Martel, A.D. 755, (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 300.) Thirty-seven years afterwards, it was pillaged by a sudden inroad of the Arabs, who employed the captives in the construction of the mosch of Cordova, (De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 354.)]

[^34: This pastoral letter, addressed to Lewis the Germanic, the grandson of Charlemagne, and most probably composed by the pen of the artful Hincmar, is dated in the year 858, and signed by the bishops of the provinces of Rheims and Rouen, (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 741. Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. x. p. 514—516.) Yet Baronius himself, and the French critics, reject with contempt this episcopal fiction.]

The loss of an army, or a province, in the Western world, was less painful to the court of Damascus, than the rise and progress of a domestic competitor. Except among the Syrians, the caliphs of the house of Ommiyah had never been the objects of the public favor. The life of Mahomet recorded their perseverance in idolatry and rebellion: their conversion had been reluctant, their elevation irregular and factious, and their throne was cemented with the most holy and noble blood of Arabia. The best of their race, the pious Omar, was dissatisfied with his own title: their personal virtues were insufficient to justify a departure from the order of succession; and the eyes and wishes of the faithful were turned towards the line of Hashem, and the kindred of the apostle of God. Of these the Fatimites were either rash or pusillanimous; but the descendants of Abbas cherished, with courage and discretion, the hopes of their rising fortunes. From an obscure residence in Syria, they secretly despatched their agents and missionaries, who preached in the Eastern provinces their hereditary indefeasible right; and Mohammed, the son of Ali, the son of Abdallah, the son of Abbas, the uncle of the prophet, gave audience to the deputies of Chorasan, and accepted their free gift of four hundred thousand pieces of gold. After the death of Mohammed, the oath of allegiance was administered in the name of his son Ibrahim to a numerous band of votaries, who expected only a signal and a leader; and the governor of Chorasan continued to deplore his fruitless admonitions and the deadly slumber of the caliphs of Damascus, till he himself, with all his adherents, was driven from the city and palace of Meru, by the rebellious arms of Abu Moslem.^35 That maker of kings, the author, as he is named, of the call of the Abbassides, was at length rewarded for his presumption of merit with the usual gratitude of courts. A mean, perhaps a foreign, extraction could not repress the aspiring energy of Abu Moslem. Jealous of his wives, liberal of his wealth, prodigal of his own blood and of that of others, he could boast with pleasure, and possibly with truth, that he had destroyed six hundred thousand of his enemies; and such was the intrepid gravity of his mind and countenance, that he was never seen to smile except on a day of battle. In the visible separation of parties, the green was consecrated to the Fatimites; the Ommiades were distinguished by the white; and the black, as the most adverse, was naturally adopted by the Abbassides. Their turbans and garments were stained with that gloomy color: two black standards, on pike staves nine cubits long, were borne aloft in the van of Abu Moslem; and their allegorical names of the night and the shadow obscurely represented the indissoluble union and perpetual succession of the line of Hashem. From the Indus to the Euphrates, the East was convulsed by the quarrel of the white and the black factions: the Abbassides were most frequently victorious; but their public success was clouded by the personal misfortune of their chief. The court of Damascus, awakening from a long slumber, resolved to prevent the pilgrimage of Mecca, which Ibrahim had undertaken with a splendid retinue, to recommend himself at once to the favor of the prophet and of the people. A detachment of cavalry intercepted his march and arrested his person; and the unhappy Ibrahim, snatched away from the promise of untasted royalty, expired in iron fetters in the dungeons of Haran. His two younger brothers, Saffah^* and Almansor, eluded the search of the tyrant, and lay concealed at Cufa, till the zeal of the people and the approach of his Eastern friends allowed them to expose their persons to the impatient public. On Friday, in the dress of a caliph, in the colors of the sect, Saffah proceeded with religious and military pomp to the mosch: ascending the pulpit, he prayed and preached as the lawful successor of Mahomet; and after his departure, his kinsmen bound a willing people by an oath of fidelity. But it was on the banks of the Zab, and not in the mosch of Cufa, that this important controversy was determined. Every advantage appeared to be on the side of the white faction: the authority of established government; an army of a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers, against a sixth part of that number; and the presence and merit of the caliph Mervan, the fourteenth and last of the house of Ommiyah. Before his accession to the throne, he had deserved, by his Georgian warfare, the honorable epithet of the ass of Mesopotamia;^36 and he might have been ranked amongst the greatest princes, had not, says Abulfeda, the eternal order decreed that moment for the ruin of his family; a decree against which all human fortitude and prudence must struggle in vain. The orders of Mervan were mistaken, or disobeyed: the return of his horse, from which he had dismounted on a necessary occasion, impressed the belief of his death; and the enthusiasm of the black squadrons was ably conducted by Abdallah, the uncle of his competitor. After an irretrievab defeat, the caliph escaped to Mosul; but the colors of the Abbassides were displayed from the rampart; he suddenly repassed the Tigris, cast a melancholy look on his palace of Haran, crossed the Euphrates, abandoned the fortifications of Damascus, and, without halting in Palestine, pitched his last and fatal camp at Busir, on the banks of the Nile.^37 His speed was urged by the incessant diligence of Abdallah, who in every step of the pursuit acquired strength and reputation: the remains of the white faction were finally vanquished in Egypt; and the lance, which terminated the life and anxiety of Mervan, was not less welcome perhaps to the unfortunate than to the victorious chief. The merciless inquisition of the conqueror eradicated the most distant branches of the hostile race: their bones were scattered, their memory was accursed, and the martyrdom of Hossein was abundantly revenged on the posterity of his tyrants. Fourscore of the Ommiades, who had yielded to the faith or clemency of their foes, were invited to a banquet at Damascus. The laws of hospitality were violated by a promiscuous massacre: the board was spread over their fallen bodies; and the festivity of the guests was enlivened by the music of their dying groans. By the event of the civil war, the dynasty of the Abbassides was firmly established; but the Christians only could triumph in the mutual hatred and common loss of the disciples of Mahomet.^38

[^35: The steed and the saddle which had carried any of his wives were instantly killed or burnt, lest they should afterwards be mounted by a male. Twelve hundred mules or camels were required for his kitchen furniture; and the daily consumption amounted to three thousand cakes, a hundred sheep, besides oxen, poultry, etc., (Abul pharagius, Hist. Dynast. p. 140.)]

[^*: He is called Abdullah or Abul Abbas in the Tarikh Tebry. Price vol. i. p. 600. Saffah or Saffauh (the Sanguinary) was a name which be required after his bloody reign, (vol. ii. p. 1.)—M.]

[^36: Al Hemar. He had been governor of Mesopotamia, and the Arabic proverb praises the courage of that warlike breed of asses who never fly from an enemy. The surname of Mervan may justify the comparison of Homer, (Iliad, A. 557, etc.,) and both will silence the moderns, who consider the ass as a stupid and ignoble emblem, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 558.)]

[^37: Four several places, all in Egypt, bore the name of Busir, or Busiris, so famous in Greek fable. The first, where Mervan was slain was to the west of the Nile, in the province of Fium, or Arsinoe; the second in the Delta, in the Sebennytic nome; the third near the pyramids; the fourth, which was destroyed by Dioclesian, (see above, vol. ii. p. 130,) in the Thebais. I shall here transcribe a note of the learned and orthodox Michaelis: Videntur in pluribus Aegypti superioris urbibus Busiri Coptoque arma sumpsisse Christiani, libertatemque de religione sentiendi defendisse, sed succubuisse quo in bello Coptus et Busiris diruta, et circa Esnam magna strages edita. Bellum narrant sed causam belli ignorant scriptores Byzantini, alioqui Coptum et Busirim non rebellasse dicturi, sed causam Christianorum suscepturi, (Not. 211, p. 100.) For the geography of the four Busirs, see Abulfeda, (Descript. Aegypt. p. 9, vers. Michaelis, Gottingae, 1776, in 4to.,) Michaelis, (Not. 122—127, p. 58—63,) and D'Anville, (Memoire sua l'Egypte, p. 85, 147, 205.)]

[^38: See Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 136—145,) Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 392, vers. Pocock,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 109—121,) Abulpharagius, (Hist. Dynast. p. 134—140,) Roderic of Toledo, (Hist. Arabum, c. xviii. p. 33,) Theophanes, (Chronograph. p. 356, 357, who speaks of the Abbassides) and the Bibliotheque of D'Herbelot, in the articles Ommiades, Abbassides, Moervan, Ibrahim, Saffah, Abou Moslem.]

Yet the thousands who were swept away by the sword of war might have been speedily retrieved in the succeeding generation, if the consequences of the revolution had not tended to dissolve the power and unity of the empire of the Saracens. In the proscription of the Ommiades, a royal youth of the name of Abdalrahman alone escaped the rage of his enemies, who hunted the wandering exile from the banks of the Euphrates to the valleys of Mount Atlas. His presence in the neighborhood of Spain revived the zeal of the white faction. The name and cause of the Abbassides had been first vindicated by the Persians: the West had been pure from civil arms; and the servants of the abdicated family still held, by a precarious tenure, the inheritance of their lands and the offices of government. Strongly prompted by gratitude, indignation, and fear, they invited the grandson of the caliph Hashem to ascend the throne of his ancestors; and, in his desperate condition, the extremes of rashness and prudence were almost the same. The acclamations of the people saluted his landing on the coast of Andalusia: and, after a successful struggle, Abdalrahman established the throne of Cordova, and was the father of the Ommiades of Spain, who reigned above two hundred and fifty years from the Atlantic to the Pyrenees.^39 He slew in battle a lieutenant of the Abbassides, who had invaded his dominions with a fleet and army: the head of Ala, in salt and camphire, was suspended by a daring messenger before the palace of Mecca; and the caliph Almansor rejoiced in his safety, that he was removed by seas and lands from such a formidable adversary. Their mutual designs or declarations of offensive war evaporated without effect; but instead of opening a door to the conquest of Europe, Spain was dissevered from the trunk of the monarchy, engaged in perpetual hostility with the East, and inclined to peace and friendship with the Christian sovereigns of Constantinople and France. The example of the Ommiades was imitated by the real or fictitious progeny of Ali, the Edrissites of Mauritania, and the more powerful fatimites of Africa and Egypt. In the tenth century, the chair of Mahomet was disputed by three caliphs or commanders of the faithful, who reigned at Bagdad, Cairoan, and Cordova, excommunicating each other, and agreed only in a principle of discord, that a sectary is more odious and criminal than an unbeliever.^40

[^39: For the revolution of Spain, consult Roderic of Toledo, (c. xviii. p. 34, etc.,) the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, (tom. ii. p. 30, 198,) and Cardonne, (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 180—197, 205, 272, 323, etc.)]

[^40: I shall not stop to refute the strange errors and fancies of Sir William Temple (his Works, vol. iii. p. 371—374, octavo edition) and Voltaire (Histoire Generale, c. xxviii. tom. ii. p. 124, 125, edition de Lausanne) concerning the division of the Saracen empire. The mistakes of Voltaire proceeded from the want of knowledge or reflection; but Sir William was deceived by a Spanish impostor, who has framed an apocryphal history of the conquest of Spain by the Arabs.]

Mecca was the patrimony of the line of Hashem, yet the Abbassides were never tempted to reside either in the birthplace or the city of the prophet. Damascus was disgraced by the choice, and polluted with the blood, of the Ommiades; and, after some hesitation, Almansor, the brother and successor of Saffah, laid the foundations of Bagdad,^41 the Imperial seat of his posterity during a reign of five hundred years.^42 The chosen spot is on the eastern bank of the Tigris, about fifteen miles above the ruins of Modain: the double wall was of a circular form; and such was the rapid increase of a capital, now dwindled to a provincial town, that the funeral of a popular saint might be attended by eight hundred thousand men and sixty thousand women of Bagdad and the adjacent villages. In this city of peace,^43 amidst the riches of the East, the Abbassides soon disdained the abstinence and frugality of the first caliphs, and aspired to emulate the magnificence of the Persian kings. After his wars and buildings, Almansor left behind him in gold and silver about thirty millions sterling:^44 and this treasure was exhausted in a few years by the vices or virtues of his children. His son Mahadi, in a single pilgrimage to Mecca, expended six millions of dinars of gold. A pious and charitable motive may sanctify the foundation of cisterns and caravanseras, which he distributed along a measured road of seven hundred miles; but his train of camels, laden with snow, could serve only to astonish the natives of Arabia, and to refresh the fruits and liquors of the royal banquet.^45 The courtiers would surely praise the liberality of his grandson Almamon, who gave away four fifths of the income of a province, a sum of two millions four hundred thousand gold dinars, before he drew his foot from the stirrup. At the nuptials of the same prince, a thousand pearls of the largest size were showered on the head of the bride,^46 and a lottery of lands and houses displayed the capricious bounty of fortune. The glories of the court were brightened, rather than impaired, in the decline of the empire, and a Greek ambassador might admire, or pity, the magnificence of the feeble Moctader. "The caliph's whole army," says the historian Abulfeda, "both horse and foot, was under arms, which together made a body of one hundred and sixty thousand men. His state officers, the favorite slaves, stood near him in splendid apparel, their belts glittering with gold and gems. Near them were seven thousand eunuchs, four thousand of them white, the remainder black. The porters or door-keepers were in number seven hundred. Barges and boats, with the most superb decorations, were seen swimming upon the Tigris. Nor was the palace itself less splendid, in which were hung up thirty-eight thousand pieces of tapestry, twelve thousand five hundred of which were of silk embroidered with gold. The carpets on the floor were twenty-two thousand. A hundred lions were brought out, with a keeper to each lion.^47 Among the other spectacles of rare and stupendous luxury was a tree of gold and silver spreading into eighteen large branches, on which, and on the lesser boughs, sat a variety of birds made of the same precious metals, as well as the leaves of the tree. While the machinery affected spontaneous motions, the several birds warbled their natural harmony. Through this scene of magnificence, the Greek ambassador was led by the vizier to the foot of the caliph's throne."^48 In the West, the Ommiades of Spain supported, with equal pomp, the title of commander of the faithful. Three miles from Cordova, in honor of his favorite sultana, the third and greatest of the Abdalrahmans constructed the city, palace, and gardens of Zehra. Twenty-five years, and above three millions sterling, were employed by the founder: his liberal taste invited the artists of Constantinople, the most skilful sculptors and architects of the age; and the buildings were sustained or adorned by twelve hundred columns of Spanish and African, of Greek and Italian marble. The hall of audience was incrusted with gold and pearls, and a great basin in the centre was surrounded with the curious and costly figures of birds and quadrupeds. In a lofty pavilion of the gardens, one of these basins and fountains, so delightful in a sultry climate, was replenished not with water, but with the purest quicksilver. The seraglio of Abdalrahman, his wives, concubines, and black eunuchs, amounted to six thousand three hundred persons: and he was attended to the field by a guard of twelve thousand horse, whose belts and cimeters were studded with gold.^49

[^41: The geographer D'Anville, (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 121—123,) and the Orientalist D'Herbelot, (Bibliotheque, p. 167, 168,) may suffice for the knowledge of Bagdad. Our travellers, Pietro della Valle, (tom. i. p. 688—698,) Tavernier, (tom. i. p. 230—238,) Thevenot, (part ii. p. 209 - 212,) Otter, (tom. i. p. 162—168,) and Niebuhr, (Voyage en Arabie, tom. ii. p. 239—271,) have seen only its decay; and the Nubian geographer, (p. 204,) and the travelling Jew, Benjamin of Tuleda (Itinerarium, p. 112—123, a Const. l'Empereur, apud Elzevir, 1633,) are the only writers of my acquaintance, who have known Bagdad under the reign of the Abbassides.]

[^42: The foundations of Bagdad were laid A. H. 145, A.D. 762. Mostasem, the last of the Abbassides, was taken and put to death by the Tartars, A. H. 656, A.D. 1258, the 20th of February.]

[^43: Medinat al Salem, Dar al Salem. Urbs pacis, or, as it is more neatly compounded by the Byzantine writers, (Irenopolis.) There is some dispute concerning the etymology of Bagdad, but the first syllable is allowed to signify a garden in the Persian tongue; the garden of Dad, a Christian hermit, whose cell had been the only habitation on the spot.]

[^44: Reliquit in aerario sexcenties millies mille stateres. et quater et vicies millies mille aureos aureos. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 126. I have reckoned the gold pieces at eight shillings, and the proportion to the silver as twelve to one. But I will never answer for the numbers of Erpenius; and the Latins are scarcely above the savages in the language of arithmetic.]

[^45: D'Herbelot, p. 530. Abulfeda, p. 154. Nivem Meccam apportavit, rem ibi aut nunquam aut rarissime visam.]

[^46: Abulfeda (p. 184, 189) describes the splendor and liberality of Almamon. Milton has alluded to this Oriental custom:—

Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,

Showers on her kings Barbaric pearls and gold.

I have used the modern word lottery to express the word of the Roman emperors, which entitled to some prize the person who caught them, as they were thrown among the crowd.]

[^47: When Bell of Antermony (Travels, vol. i. p. 99) accompanied the Russian ambassador to the audience of the unfortunate Shah Hussein of Persia, two lions were introduced, to denote the power of the king over the fiercest animals.]

[^48: Abulfeda, p. 237. D'Herbelot, p. 590. This embassy was received at Bagdad, A. H. 305, A.D. 917. In the passage of Abulfeda, I have used, with some variations, the English translation of the learned and amiable Mr. Harris of Salisbury, (Philological Enquiries p. 363, 364.)]

[^49: Cardonne, Histoire de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, tom. i. p. 330—336. A just idea of the taste and architecture of the Arabians of Spain may be conceived from the description and plates of the Alhambra of Grenada, (Swinburne's Travels, p. 171—188.)]


In a private condition, our desires are perpetually repressed by poverty and subordination; but the lives and labors of millions are devoted to the service of a despotic prince, whose laws are blindly obeyed, and whose wishes are instantly gratified. Our imagination is dazzled by the splendid picture; and whatever may be the cool dictates of reason, there are few among us who would obstinately refuse a trial of the comforts and the cares of royalty. It may therefore be of some use to borrow the experience of the same Abdalrahman, whose magnificence has perhaps excited our admiration and envy, and to transcribe an authentic memorial which was found in the closet of the deceased caliph. "I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to Fourteen:—O man! place not thy confidence in this present world!"^50 The luxury of the caliphs, so useless to their private happiness, relaxed the nerves, and terminated the progress, of the Arabian empire. Temporal and spiritual conquest had been the sole occupation of the first successors of Mahomet; and after supplying themselves with the necessaries of life, the whole revenue was scrupulously devoted to that salutary work. The Abbassides were impoverished by the multitude of their wants, and their contempt of oeconomy. Instead of pursuing the great object of ambition, their leisure, their affections, the powers of their mind, were diverted by pomp and pleasure: the rewards of valor were embezzled by women and eunuchs, and the royal camp was encumbered by the luxury of the palace. A similar temper was diffused among the subjects of the caliph. Their stern enthusiasm was softened by time and prosperity. they sought riches in the occupations of industry, fame in the pursuits of literature, and happiness in the tranquillity of domestic life. War was no longer the passion of the Saracens; and the increase of pay, the repetition of donatives, were insufficient to allure the posterity of those voluntary champions who had crowded to the standard of Abubeker and Omar for the hopes of spoil and of paradise.

[^50: Cardonne, tom. i. p. 329, 330. This confession, the complaints of Solomon of the vanity of this world, (read Prior's verbose but eloquent poem,) and the happy ten days of the emperor Seghed, (Rambler, No. 204, 205,) will be triumphantly quoted by the detractors of human life. Their expectations are commonly immoderate, their estimates are seldom impartial. If I may speak of myself, (the only person of whom I can speak with certainty,) my happy hours have far exceeded, and far exceed, the scanty numbers of the caliph of Spain; and I shall not scruple to add, that many of them are due to the pleasing labor of the present composition.]

Under the reign of the Ommiades, the studies of the Moslems were confined to the interpretation of the Koran, and the eloquence and poetry of their native tongue. A people continually exposed to the dangers of the field must esteem the healing powers of medicine, or rather of surgery; but the starving physicians of Arabia murmured a complaint that exercise and temperance deprived them of the greatest part of their practice.^51 After their civil and domestic wars, the subjects of the Abbassides, awakening from this mental lethargy, found leisure and felt curiosity for the acquisition of profane science. This spirit was first encouraged by the caliph Almansor, who, besides his knowledge of the Mahometan law, had applied himself with success to the study of astronomy. But when the sceptre devolved to Almamon, the seventh of the Abbassides, he completed the designs of his grandfather, and invited the muses from their ancient seats. His ambassadors at Constantinople, his agents in Armenia, Syria, and Egypt, collected the volumes of Grecian science at his command they were translated by the most skilful interpreters into the Arabic language: his subjects were exhorted assiduously to peruse these instructive writings; and the successor of Mahomet assisted with pleasure and modesty at the assemblies and disputations of the learned. "He was not ignorant," says Abulpharagius, "that they are the elect of God, his best and most useful servants, whose lives are devoted to the improvement of their rational faculties.

The mean ambition of the Chinese or the Turks may glory in the industry of their hands or the indulgence of their brutal appetites. Yet these dexterous artists must view, with hopeless emulation, the hexagons and pyramids of the cells of a beehive: ^52 these fortitudinous heroes are awed by the superior fierceness of the lions and tigers; and in their amorous enjoyments they are much inferior to the vigor of the grossest and most sordid quadrupeds. The teachers of wisdom are the true luminaries and legislators of a world, which, without their aid, would again sink in ignorance and barbarism."^53 The zeal and curiosity of Almamon were imitated by succeeding princes of the line of Abbas: their rivals, the Fatimites of Africa and the Ommiades of Spain, were the patrons of the learned, as well as the commanders of the faithful; the same royal prerogative was claimed by their independent emirs of the provinces; and their emulation diffused the taste and the rewards of science from Samarcand and Bochara to Fez and Cordova. The vizier of a sultan consecrated a sum of two hundred thousand pieces of gold to the foundation of a college at Bagdad, which he endowed with an annual revenue of fifteen thousand dinars. The fruits of instruction were communicated, perhaps at different times, to six thousand disciples of every degree, from the son of the noble to that of the mechanic: a sufficient allowance was provided for the indigent scholars; and the merit or industry of the professors was repaid with adequate stipends. In every city the productions of Arabic literature were copied and collected by the curiosity of the studious and the vanity of the rich. A private doctor refused the invitation of the sultan of Bochara, because the carriage of his books would have required four hundred camels. The royal library of the Fatimites consisted of one hundred thousand manuscripts, elegantly transcribed and splendidly bound, which were lent, without jealousy or avarice, to the students of Cairo. Yet this collection must appear moderate, if we can believe that the Ommiades of Spain had formed a library of six hundred thousand volumes, forty-four of which were employed in the mere catalogue. Their capital, Cordova, with the adjacent towns of Malaga, Almeria, and Murcia, had given birth to more than three hundred writers, and above seventy public libraries were opened in the cities of the Andalusian kingdom. The age of Arabian learning continued about five hundred years, till the great eruption of the Moguls, and was coeval with the darkest and most slothful period of European annals; but since the sun of science has arisen in the West, it should seem that the Oriental studies have languished and declined.^54

[^51: The Guliston (p. 29) relates the conversation of Mahomet and a physician, (Epistol. Renaudot. in Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. i. p. 814.) The prophet himself was skilled in the art of medicine; and Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 394—405) has given an extract of the aphorisms which are extant under his name.]

[^52: See their curious architecture in Reaumur (Hist. des Insectes, tom. v. Memoire viii.) These hexagons are closed by a pyramid; the angles of the three sides of a similar pyramid, such as would accomplish the given end with the smallest quantity possible of materials, were determined by a mathematician, at 109 degrees 26 minutes for the larger, 70 degrees 34 minutes for the smaller. The actual measure is 109 degrees 28 minutes, 70 degrees 32 minutes. Yet this perfect harmony raises the work at the expense of the artist he bees are not masters of transcendent geometry.]

[^53: Saed Ebn Ahmed, cadhi of Toledo, who died A. H. 462, A.D. 069, has furnished Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 160) with this curious passage, as well as with the text of Pocock's Specimen Historiae Arabum. A number of literary anecdotes of philosophers, physicians, etc., who have flourished under each caliph, form the principal merit of the Dynasties of Abulpharagius.]

[^54: These literary anecdotes are borrowed from the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, (tom. ii. p. 38, 71, 201, 202,) Leo Africanus, (de Arab. Medicis et Philosophis, in Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. xiii. p. 259—293, particularly p. 274,) and Renaudot, (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 274, 275, 536, 537,) besides the chronological remarks of Abulpharagius.]

In the libraries of the Arabians, as in those of Europe, the far greater part of the innumerable volumes were possessed only of local value or imaginary merit.^55 The shelves were crowded with orators and poets, whose style was adapted to the taste and manners of their countrymen; with general and partial histories, which each revolving generation supplied with a new harvest of persons and events; with codes and commentaries of jurisprudence, which derived their authority from the law of the prophet; with the interpreters of the Koran, and orthodox tradition; and with the whole theological tribe, polemics, mystics, scholastics, and moralists, the first or the last of writers, according to the different estimates of sceptics or believers. The works of speculation or science may be reduced to the four classes of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and physic. The sages of Greece were translated and illustrated in the Arabic language, and some treatises, now lost in the original, have been recovered in the versions of the East,^56 which possessed and studied the writings of Aristotle and Plato, of Euclid and Apollonius, of Ptolemy, Hippocrates, and Galen.^57 Among the ideal systems which have varied with the fashion of the times, the Arabians adopted the philosophy of the Stagirite, alike intelligible or alike obscure for the readers of every age. Plato wrote for the Athenians, and his allegorical genius is too closely blended with the language and religion of Greece. After the fall of that religion, the Peripatetics, emerging from their obscurity, prevailed in the controversies of the Oriental sects, and their founder was long afterwards restored by the Mahometans of Spain to the Latin schools.^58 The physics, both of the Academy and the Lycaeum, as they are built, not on observation, but on argument, have retarded the progress of real knowledge. The metaphysics of infinite, or finite, spirit, have too often been enlisted in the service of superstition. But the human faculties are fortified by the art and practice of dialectics; the ten predicaments of Aristotle collect and methodize our ideas,^59 and his syllogism is the keenest weapon of dispute. It was dexterously wielded in the schools of the Saracens, but as it is more effectual for the detection of error than for the investigation of truth, it is not surprising that new generations of masters and disciples should still revolve in the same circle of logical argument. The mathematics are distinguished by a peculiar privilege, that, in the course of ages, they may always advance, and can never recede. But the ancient geometry, if I am not misinformed, was resumed in the same state by the Italians of the fifteenth century; and whatever may be the origin of the name, the science of algebra is ascribed to the Grecian Diophantus by the modest testimony of the Arabs themselves.^60 They cultivated with more success the sublime science of astronomy, which elevates the mind of man to disdain his diminutive planet and momentary existence. The costly instruments of observation were supplied by the caliph Almamon, and the land of the Chaldaeans still afforded the same spacious level, the same unclouded horizon. In the plains of Sinaar, and a second time in those of Cufa, his mathematicians accurately measured a degree of the great circle of the earth, and determined at twenty-four thousand miles the entire circumference of our globe.^61 From the reign of the Abbassides to that of the grandchildren of Tamerlane, the stars, without the aid of glasses, were diligently observed; and the astronomical tables of Bagdad, Spain, and Samarcand,^62 correct some minute errors, without daring to renounce the hypothesis of Ptolemy, without advancing a step towards the discovery of the solar system. In the Eastern courts, the truths of science could be recommended only by ignorance and folly, and the astronomer would have been disregarded, had he not debased his wisdom or honesty by the vain predictions of astrology.^63 But in the science of medicine, the Arabians have been deservedly applauded. The names of Mesua and Geber, of Razis and Avicenna, are ranked with the Grecian masters; in the city of Bagdad, eight hundred and sixty physicians were licensed to exercise their lucrative profession: ^64 in Spain, the life of the Catholic princes was intrusted to the skill of the Saracens,^65 and the school of Salerno, their legitimate offspring, revived in Italy and Europe the precepts of the healing art.^66 The success of each professor must have been influenced by personal and accidental causes; but we may form a less fanciful estimate of their general knowledge of anatomy,^67 botany,^68 and chemistry,^69 the threefold basis of their theory and practice. A superstitious reverence for the dead confined both the Greeks and the Arabians to the dissection of apes and quadrupeds; the more solid and visible parts were known in the time of Galen, and the finer scrutiny of the human frame was reserved for the microscope and the injections of modern artists. Botany is an active science, and the discoveries of the torrid zone might enrich the herbal of Dioscorides with two thousand plants. Some traditionary knowledge might be secreted in the temples and monasteries of Egypt; much useful experience had been acquired in the practice of arts and manufactures; but the science of chemistry owes its origin and improvement to the industry of the Saracens. They first invented and named the alembic for the purposes of distillation, analyzed the substances of the three kingdoms of nature, tried the distinction and affinities of alcalis and acids, and converted the poisonous minerals into soft and salutary medicines. But the most eager search of Arabian chemistry was the transmutation of metals, and the elixir of immortal health: the reason and the fortunes of thousands were evaporated in the crucibles of alchemy, and the consummation of the great work was promoted by the worthy aid of mystery, fable, and superstition.

[^55: The Arabic catalogue of the Escurial will give a just idea of the proportion of the classes. In the library of Cairo, the Mss of astronomy and medicine amounted to 6500, with two fair globes, the one of brass, the other of silver, (Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. i. p. 417.)]

[^56: As, for instance, the fifth, sixth, and seventh books (the eighth is still wanting) of the Conic Sections of Apollonius Pergaeus, which were printed from the Florence Ms. 1661, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. ii. p. 559.) Yet the fifth book had been previously restored by the mathematical divination of Viviani, (see his Eloge in Fontenelle, tom. v. p. 59, etc.)]

[^57: The merit of these Arabic versions is freely discussed by Renaudot, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. i. p. 812 - 816,) and piously defended by Casiri, (Bibliot. Arab. Hispana, tom. i. p. 238—240.) Most of the versions of Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Galen, etc., are ascribed to Honain, a physician of the Nestorian sect, who flourished at Bagdad in the court of the caliphs, and died A.D. 876. He was at the head of a school or manufacture of translations, and the works of his sons and disciples were published under his name. See Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 88, 115, 171—174, and apud Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. ii. p. 438,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 456,) Asseman. (Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 164,) and Casiri, (Bibliot. Arab. Hispana, tom. i. p. 238, etc. 251, 286—290, 302, 304, etc.)]

[^58: See Mosheim, Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 181, 214, 236, 257, 315, 388, 396, 438, etc.]

[^59: The most elegant commentary on the Categories or Predicaments of Aristotle may be found in the Philosophical Arrangements of Mr. James Harris, (London, 1775, in octavo,) who labored to revive the studies of Grecian literature and philosophy.]

[^60: Abulpharagius, Dynast. p. 81, 222. Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. i. p. 370, 371. In quem (says the primate of the Jacobites) si immiserit selector, oceanum hoc in genere (algebrae) inveniet. The time of Diophantus of Alexandria is unknown; but his six books are still extant, and have been illustrated by the Greek Planudes and the Frenchman Meziriac, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. iv. p. 12—15.)]

[^61: Abulfeda (Annal. Moslem. p. 210, 211, vers. Reiske) describes this operation according to Ibn Challecan, and the best historians. This degree most accurately contains 200,000 royal or Hashemite cubits which Arabia had derived from the sacred and legal practice both of Palestine and Egypt. This ancient cubit is repeated 400 times in each basis of the great pyramid, and seems to indicate the primitive and universal measures of the East. See the Metrologie of the laborions. M. Paucton, p. 101—195.]

[^62: See the Astronomical Tables of Ulugh Begh, with the preface of Dr. Hyde in the first volume of his Syntagma Dissertationum, Oxon. 1767.]

[^63: The truth of astrology was allowed by Albumazar, and the best of the Arabian astronomers, who drew their most certain predictions, not from Venus and Mercury, but from Jupiter and the sun, (Abulpharag. Dynast. p. 161—163.) For the state and science of the Persian astronomers, see Chardin, (Voyages en Perse, tom. iii. p. 162—203.)]

[^64: Bibliot. Arabico-Hispana, tom. i. p. 438. The original relates a pleasant tale of an ignorant, but harmless, practitioner.]

[^65: In the year 956, Sancho the Fat, king of Leon, was cured by the physicians of Cordova, (Mariana, l. viii. c. 7, tom. i. p. 318.)]

[^66: The school of Salerno, and the introduction of the Arabian sciences into Italy, are discussed with learning and judgment by Muratori (Antiquitat. Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. iii. p. 932—940) and Giannone, (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. ii. p. 119—127.)]

[^67: See a good view of the progress of anatomy in Wotton, (Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning, p. 208 - 256.) His reputation has been unworthily depreciated by the wits in the controversy of Boyle and Bentley.]

[^68: Bibliot. Arab. Hispana, tom. i. p. 275. Al Beithar, of Malaga, their greatest botanist, had travelled into Africa, Persia, and India.]

[^69: Dr. Watson, (Elements of Chemistry, vol. i. p. 17, etc.) allows the original merit of the Arabians. Yet he quotes the modest confession of the famous Geber of the ixth century, (D'Herbelot, p. 387,) that he had drawn most of his science, perhaps the transmutation of metals, from the ancient sages. Whatever might be the origin or extent of their knowledge, the arts of chemistry and alchemy appear to have been known in Egypt at least three hundred years before Mahomet, (Wotton's Reflections, p. 121—133. Pauw, Recherches sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois, tom. i. p. 376—429.)
Note: Mr. Whewell (Hist. of Inductive Sciences, vol. i. p. 336) rejects the claim of the Arabians as inventors of the science of chemistry. "The formation and realization of the notions of analysis and affinity were important steps in chemical science; which, as I shall hereafter endeavor to show it remained for the chemists of Europe to make at a much later period."—M.]

But the Moslems deprived themselves of the principal benefits of a familiar intercourse with Greece and Rome, the knowledge of antiquity, the purity of taste, and the freedom of thought. Confident in the riches of their native tongue, the Arabians disdained the study of any foreign idiom. The Greek interpreters were chosen among their Christian subjects; they formed their translations, sometimes on the original text, more frequently perhaps on a Syriac version; and in the crowd of astronomers and physicians, there is no example of a poet, an orator, or even an historian, being taught to speak the language of the Saracens.^70 The mythology of Homer would have provoked the abhorrence of those stern fanatics: they possessed in lazy ignorance the colonies of the Macedonians, and the provinces of Carthage and Rome: the heroes of Plutarch and Livy were buried in oblivion; and the history of the world before Mahomet was reduced to a short legend of the patriarchs, the prophets, and the Persian kings. Our education in the Greek and Latin schools may have fixed in our minds a standard of exclusive taste; and I am not forward to condemn the literature and judgment of nations, of whose language I am ignorant. Yet I know that the classics have much to teach, and I believe that the Orientals have much to learn; the temperate dignity of style, the graceful proportions of art, the forms of visible and intellectual beauty, the just delineation of character and passion, the rhetoric of narrative and argument, the regular fabric of epic and dramatic poetry.^71 The influence of truth and reason is of a less ambiguous complexion. The philosophers of Athens and Rome enjoyed the blessings, and asserted the rights, of civil and religious freedom. Their moral and political writings might have gradually unlocked the fetters of Eastern despotism, diffused a liberal spirit of inquiry and toleration, and encouraged the Arabian sages to suspect that their caliph was a tyrant, and their prophet an impostor.^72 The instinct of superstition was alarmed by the introduction even of the abstract sciences; and the more rigid doctors of the law condemned the rash and pernicious curiosity of Almamon.^73 To the thirst of martyrdom, the vision of paradise, and the belief of predestination, we must ascribe the invincible enthusiasm of the prince and people. And the sword of the Saracens became less formidable when their youth was drawn away from the camp to the college, when the armies of the faithful presumed to read and to reflect. Yet the foolish vanity of the Greeks was jealous of their studies, and reluctantly imparted the sacred fire to the Barbarians of the East.^74

[^70: Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 26, 148) mentions a Syriac version of Homer's two poems, by Theophilus, a Christian Maronite of Mount Libanus, who professed astronomy at Roha or Edessa towards the end of the viiith century. His work would be a literary curiosity. I have read somewhere, but I do not believe, that Plutarch's Lives were translated into Turkish for the use of Mahomet the Second.]

[^71: I have perused, with much pleasure, Sir William Jones's Latin Commentary on Asiatic Poetry, (London, 1774, in octavo,) which was composed in the youth of that wonderful linguist. At present, in the maturity of his taste and judgment, he would perhaps abate of the fervent, and even partial, praise which he has bestowed on the Orientals.]

[^72: Among the Arabian philosophers, Averroes has been accused of despising the religions of the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans, (see his article in Bayle's Dictionary.) Each of these sects would agree, that in two instances out of three, his contempt was reasonable.]

[^73: D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque, Orientale, p. 546.]

[^74: Cedrenus, p. 548, who relates how manfully the emperor refused a mathematician to the instances and offers of the caliph Almamon. This absurd scruple is expressed almost in the same words by the continuator of Theophanes, (Scriptores post Theophanem, p. 118.)]

In the bloody conflict of the Ommiades and Abbassides, the Greeks had stolen the opportunity of avenging their wrongs and enlarging their limits. But a severe retribution was exacted by Mohadi, the third caliph of the new dynasty, who seized, in his turn, the favorable opportunity, while a woman and a child, Irene and Constantine, were seated on the Byzantine throne. An army of ninety-five thousand Persians and Arabs was sent from the Tigris to the Thracian Bosphorus, under the command of Harun,^75 or Aaron, the second son of the commander of the faithful. His encampment on the opposite heights of Chrysopolis, or Scutari, informed Irene, in her palace of Constantinople, of the loss of her troops and provinces. With the consent or connivance of their sovereign, her ministers subscribed an ignominious peace; and the exchange of some royal gifts could not disguise the annual tribute of seventy thousand dinars of gold, which was imposed on the Roman empire. The Saracens had too rashly advanced into the midst of a distant and hostile land: their retreat was solicited by the promise of faithful guides and plentiful markets; and not a Greek had courage to whisper, that their weary forces might be surrounded and destroyed in their necessary passage between a slippery mountain and the River Sangarius. Five years after this expedition, Harun ascended the throne of his father and his elder brother; the most powerful and vigorous monarch of his race, illustrious in the West, as the ally of Charlemagne, and familiar to the most childish readers, as the perpetual hero of the Arabian tales. His title to the name of Al Rashid (the Just) is sullied by the extirpation of the generous, perhaps the innocent, Barmecides; yet he could listen to the complaint of a poor widow who had been pillaged by his troops, and who dared, in a passage of the Koran, to threaten the inattentive despot with the judgment of God and posterity. His court was adorned with luxury and science; but, in a reign of three-and-twenty years, Harun repeatedly visited his provinces from Chorasan to Egypt; nine times he performed the pilgrimage of Mecca; eight times he invaded the territories of the Romans; and as often as they declined the payment of the tribute, they were taught to feel that a month of depredation was more costly than a year of submission. But when the unnatural mother of Constantine was deposed and banished, her successor, Nicephorus, resolved to obliterate this badge of servitude and disgrace. The epistle of the emperor to the caliph was pointed with an allusion to the game of chess, which had already spread from Persia to Greece. "The queen (he spoke of Irene) considered you as a rook, and herself as a pawn. That pusillanimous female submitted to pay a tribute, the double of which she ought to have exacted from the Barbarians. Restore therefore the fruits of your injustice, or abide the determination of the sword." At these words the ambassadors cast a bundle of swords before the foot of the throne. The caliph smiled at the menace, and drawing his cimeter, samsamah, a weapon of historic or fabulous renown, he cut asunder the feeble arms of the Greeks, without turning the edge, or endangering the temper, of his blade. He then dictated an epistle of tremendous brevity: "In the name of the most merciful God, Harun al Rashid, commander of the faithful, to Nicephorus, the Roman dog. I have read thy letter, O thou son of an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not hear, thou shalt behold, my reply." It was written in characters of blood and fire on the plains of Phrygia; and the warlike celerity of the Arabs could only be checked by the arts of deceit and the show of repentance.

The triumphant caliph retired, after the fatigues of the campaign, to his favorite palace of Racca on the Euphrates:^76 but the distance of five hundred miles, and the inclemency of the season, encouraged his adversary to violate the peace. Nicephorus was astonished by the bold and rapid march of the commander of the faithful, who repassed, in the depth of winter, the snows of Mount Taurus: his stratagems of policy and war were exhausted; and the perfidious Greek escaped with three wounds from a field of battle overspread with forty thousand of his subjects. Yet the emperor was ashamed of submission, and the caliph was resolved on victory. One hundred and thirty-five thousand regular soldiers received pay, and were inscribed in the military roll; and above three hundred thousand persons of every denomination marched under the black standard of the Abbassides. They swept the surface of Asia Minor far beyond Tyana and Ancyra, and invested the Pontic Heraclea,^77 once a flourishing state, now a paltry town; at that time capable of sustaining, in her antique walls, a month's siege against the forces of the East. The ruin was complete, the spoil was ample; but if Harun had been conversant with Grecian story, he would have regretted the statue of Hercules, whose attributes, the club, the bow, the quiver, and the lion's hide, were sculptured in massy gold. The progress of desolation by sea and land, from the Euxine to the Isle of Cyprus, compelled the emperor Nicephorus to retract his haughty defiance. In the new treaty, the ruins of Heraclea were left forever as a lesson and a trophy; and the coin of the tribute was marked with the image and superscription of Harun and his three sons.^78 Yet this plurality of lords might contribute to remove the dishonor of the Roman name. After the death of their father, the heirs of the caliph were involved in civil discord, and the conqueror, the liberal Almamon, was sufficiently engaged in the restoration of domestic peace and the introduction of foreign science.

[^75: See the reign and character of Harun Al Rashid, in the Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 431—433, under his proper title; and in the relative articles to which M. D'Herbelot refers. That learned collector has shown much taste in stripping the Oriental chronicles of their instructive and amusing anecdotes.]

[^76: For the situation of Racca, the old Nicephorium, consult D'Anville, (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 24—27.) The Arabian Nights represent Harun al Rashid as almost stationary in Bagdad. He respected the royal seat of the Abbassides: but the vices of the inhabitants had driven him from the city, (Abulfed. Annal. p. 167.)]

[^77: M. de Tournefort, in his coasting voyage from Constantinople to Trebizond, passed a night at Heraclea or Eregri. His eye surveyed the present state, his reading collected the antiquities, of the city (Voyage du Levant, tom. iii. lettre xvi. p. 23—35.) We have a separate history of Heraclea in the fragments of Memnon, which are preserved by Photius.]

[^78: The wars of Harun al Rashid against the Roman empire are related by Theophanes, (p. 384, 385, 391, 396, 407, 408.) Zonaras, (tom. iii. l. xv. p. 115, 124,) Cedrenus, (p. 477, 478,) Eutycaius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 407,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen. p. 136, 151, 152,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 147, 151,) and Abulfeda, (p. 156, 166—168.)]


Under the reign of Almamon at Bagdad, of Michael the Stammerer at Constantinople, the islands of Crete^79 and Sicily were subdued by the Arabs. The former of these conquests is disdained by their own writers, who were ignorant of the fame of Jupiter and Minos, but it has not been overlooked by the Byzantine historians, who now begin to cast a clearer light on the affairs of their own times.^80 A band of Andalusian volunteers, discontented with the climate or government of Spain, explored the adventures of the sea; but as they sailed in no more than ten or twenty galleys, their warfare must be branded with the name of piracy. As the subjects and sectaries of the white party, they might lawfully invade the dominions of the black caliphs. A rebellious faction introduced them into Alexandria; ^81 they cut in pieces both friends and foes, pillaged the churches and the moschs, sold above six thousand Christian captives, and maintained their station in the capital of Egypt, till they were oppressed by the forces and the presence of Almamon himself. From the mouth of the Nile to the Hellespont, the islands and sea-coasts both of the Greeks and Moslems were exposed to their depredations; they saw, they envied, they tasted the fertility of Crete, and soon returned with forty galleys to a more serious attack. The Andalusians wandered over the land fearless and unmolested; but when they descended with their plunder to the sea-shore, their vessels were in flames, and their chief, Abu Caab, confessed himself the author of the mischief. Their clamors accused his madness or treachery. "Of what do you complain?" replied the crafty emir. "I have brought you to a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is your true country; repose from your toils, and forget the barren place of your nativity." "And our wives and children?" "Your beauteous captives will supply the place of your wives, and in their embraces you will soon become the fathers of a new progeny." The first habitation was their camp, with a ditch and rampart, in the Bay of Suda; but an apostate monk led them to a more desirable position in the eastern parts; and the name of Candax, their fortress and colony, has been extended to the whole island, under the corrupt and modern appellation of Candia. The hundred cities of the age of Minos were diminished to thirty; and of these, only one, most probably Cydonia, had courage to retain the substance of freedom and the profession of Christianity. The Saracens of Crete soon repaired the loss of their navy; and the timbers of Mount Ida were launched into the main. During a hostile period of one hundred and thirty-eight years, the princes of Constantinople attacked these licentious corsairs with fruitless curses and ineffectual arms.

[^79: The authors from whom I have learned the most of the ancient and modern state of Crete, are Belon, (Observations, etc., c. 3—20, Paris, 1555,) Tournefort, (Voyage du Levant, tom. i. lettre ii. et iii.,) and Meursius, (Creta, in his works, tom. iii. p. 343—544.) Although Crete is styled by Homer, by Dionysius, I cannot conceive that mountainous island to surpass, or even to equal, in fertility the greater part of Spain.]

[^80: The most authentic and circumstantial intelligence is obtained from the four books of the Continuation of Theophanes, compiled by the pen or the command of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, with the Life of his father Basil, the Macedonian, (Scriptores post Theophanem, p. 1—162, a Francisc. Combefis, Paris, 1685.) The loss of Crete and Sicily is related, l. ii. p. 46—52. To these we may add the secondary evidence of Joseph Genesius, (l. ii. p. 21, Venet. 1733,) George Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 506—508,) and John Scylitzes Curopalata, (apud Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D. 827, No. 24, etc.) But the modern Greeks are such notorious plagiaries, that I should only quote a plurality of names.]

[^81: Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 251—256, 268 - 270) had described the ravages of the Andalusian Arabs in Egypt, but has forgot to connect them with the conquest of Crete.]

The loss of Sicily^82 was occasioned by an act of superstitious rigor. An amorous youth, who had stolen a nun from her cloister, was sentenced by the emperor to the amputation of his tongue. Euphemius appealed to the reason and policy of the Saracens of Africa; and soon returned with the Imperial purple, a fleet of one hundred ships, and an army of seven hundred horse and ten thousand foot. They landed at Mazara near the ruins of the ancient Selinus; but after some partial victories, Syracuse ^83 was delivered by the Greeks, the apostate was slain before her walls, and his African friends were reduced to the necessity of feeding on the flesh of their own horses. In their turn they were relieved by a powerful reenforcement of their brethren of Andalusia; the largest and western part of the island was gradually reduced, and the commodious harbor of Palermo was chosen for the seat of the naval and military power of the Saracens. Syracuse preserved about fifty years the faith which she had sworn to Christ and to Caesar. In the last and fatal siege, her citizens displayed some remnant of the spirit which had formerly resisted the powers of Athens and Carthage. They stood above twenty days against the battering-rams and catapultoe, the mines and tortoises of the besiegers; and the place might have been relieved, if the mariners of the Imperial fleet had not been detained at Constantinople in building a church to the Virgin Mary. The deacon Theodosius, with the bishop and clergy, was dragged in chains from the altar to Palermo, cast into a subterraneous dungeon, and exposed to the hourly peril of death or apostasy. His pathetic, and not inelegant, complaint may be read as the epitaph of his country.^84 From the Roman conquest to this final calamity, Syracuse, now dwindled to the primitive Isle of Ortygea, had insensibly declined. Yet the relics were still precious; the plate of the cathedral weighed five thousand pounds of silver; the entire spoil was computed at one million of pieces of gold, (about four hundred thousand pounds sterling,) and the captives must outnumber the seventeen thousand Christians, who were transported from the sack of Tauromenium into African servitude. In Sicily, the religion and language of the Greeks were eradicated; and such was the docility of the rising generation, that fifteen thousand boys were circumcised and clothed on the same day with the son of the Fatimite caliph. The Arabian squadrons issued from the harbors of Palermo, Biserta, and Tunis; a hundred and fifty towns of Calabria and Campania were attacked and pillaged; nor could the suburbs of Rome be defended by the name of the Caesars and apostles. Had the Mahometans been united, Italy must have fallen an easy and glorious accession to the empire of the prophet. But the caliphs of Bagdad had lost their authority in the West; the Aglabites and Fatimites usurped the provinces of Africa, their emirs of Sicily aspired to independence; and the design of conquest and dominion was degraded to a repetition of predatory inroads.^85

[^82: Theophanes, l. ii. p. 51. This history of the loss of Sicily is no longer extant. Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. vii. p. 719, 721, etc.) has added some circumstances from the Italian chronicles.]

[^83: The splendid and interesting tragedy of Tancrede would adapt itself much better to this epoch, than to the date (A.D. 1005) which Voltaire himself has chosen. But I must gently reproach the poet for infusing into the Greek subjects the spirit of modern knights and ancient republicans.]

[^84: The narrative or lamentation of Theodosius is transcribed and illustrated by Pagi, (Critica, tom. iii. p. 719, etc.) Constantine Porphyrogenitus (in Vit. Basil, c. 69, 70, p. 190—192) mentions the loss of Syracuse and the triumph of the demons.]

[^85: The extracts from the Arabic histories of Sicily are given in Abulfeda, (Annal' Moslem. p. 271—273,) and in the first volume of Muratori's Scriptores Rerum Italicarum. M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 363, 364) has added some important facts.]

In the sufferings of prostrate Italy, the name of Rome awakens a solemn and mournful recollection. A fleet of Saracens from the African coast presumed to enter the mouth of the Tyber, and to approach a city which even yet, in her fallen state, was revered as the metropolis of the Christian world. The gates and ramparts were guarded by a trembling people; but the tombs and temples of St. Peter and St. Paul were left exposed in the suburbs of the Vatican and of the Ostian way. Their invisible sanctity had protected them against the Goths, the Vandals, and the Lombards; but the Arabs disdained both the gospel and the legend; and their rapacious spirit was approved and animated by the precepts of the Koran. The Christian idols were stripped of their costly offerings; a silver altar was torn away from the shrine of St. Peter; and if the bodies or the buildings were left entire, their deliverance must be imputed to the haste, rather than the scruples, of the Saracens. In their course along the Appian way, they pillaged Fundi and besieged Gayeta; but they had turned aside from the walls of Rome, and by their divisions, the Capitol was saved from the yoke of the prophet of Mecca. The same danger still impended on the heads of the Roman people; and their domestic force was unequal to the assault of an African emir. They claimed the protection of their Latin sovereign; but the Carlovingian standard was overthrown by a detachment of the Barbarians: they meditated the restoration of the Greek emperors; but the attempt was treasonable, and the succor remote and precarious.^86 Their distress appeared to receive some aggravation from the death of their spiritual and temporal chief; but the pressing emergency superseded the forms and intrigues of an election; and the unanimous choice of Pope Leo the Fourth^87 was the safety of the church and city. This pontiff was born a Roman; the courage of the first ages of the republic glowed in his breast; and, amidst the ruins of his country, he stood erect, like one of the firm and lofty columns that rear their heads above the fragments of the Roman forum. The first days of his reign were consecrated to the purification and removal of relics, to prayers and processions, and to all the solemn offices of religion, which served at least to heal the imagination, and restore the hopes, of the multitude. The public defence had been long neglected, not from the presumption of peace, but from the distress and poverty of the times. As far as the scantiness of his means and the shortness of his leisure would allow, the ancient walls were repaired by the command of Leo; fifteen towers, in the most accessible stations, were built or renewed; two of these commanded on either side of the Tyber; and an iron chain was drawn across the stream to impede the ascent of a hostile navy. The Romans were assured of a short respite by the welcome news, that the siege of Gayeta had been raised, and that a part of the enemy, with their sacrilegious plunder, had perished in the waves.

[^86: One of the most eminent Romans (Gratianus, magister militum et Romani palatii superista) was accused of declaring, Quia Franci nihil nobis boni faciunt, neque adjutorium praebent, sed magis quae nostra sunt violenter tollunt. Quare non advocamus Graecos, et cum eis foedus pacis componentes, Francorum regem et gentem de nostro regno et dominatione expellimus? Anastasius in Leone IV. p. 199.]

[^87: Voltaire (Hist. Generale, tom. ii. c. 38, p. 124) appears to be remarkably struck with the character of Pope Leo IV. I have borrowed his general expression, but the sight of the forum has furnished me with a more distinct and lively image.]

But the storm, which had been delayed, soon burst upon them with redoubled violence. The Aglabite,^88 who reigned in Africa, had inherited from his father a treasure and an army: a fleet of Arabs and Moors, after a short refreshment in the harbors of Sardinia, cast anchor before the mouth of the Tyber, sixteen miles from the city: and their discipline and numbers appeared to threaten, not a transient inroad, but a serious design of conquest and dominion. But the vigilance of Leo had formed an alliance with the vassals of the Greek empire, the free and maritime states of Gayeta, Naples, and Amalfi; and in the hour of danger, their galleys appeared in the port of Ostia under the command of Caesarius, the son of the Neapolitan duke, a noble and valiant youth, who had already vanquished the fleets of the Saracens. With his principal companions, Caesarius was invited to the Lateran palace, and the dexterous pontiff affected to inquire their errand, and to accept with joy and surprise their providential succor. The city bands, in arms, attended their father to Ostia, where he reviewed and blessed his generous deliverers. They kissed his feet, received the communion with martial devotion, and listened to the prayer of Leo, that the same God who had supported St. Peter and St. Paul on the waves of the sea, would strengthen the hands of his champions against the adversaries of his holy name. After a similar prayer, and with equal resolution, the Moslems advanced to the attack of the Christian galleys, which preserved their advantageous station along the coast. The victory inclined to the side of the allies, when it was less gloriously decided in their favor by a sudden tempest, which confounded the skill and courage of the stoutest mariners. The Christians were sheltered in a friendly harbor, while the Africans were scattered and dashed in pieces among the rocks and islands of a hostile shore. Those who escaped from shipwreck and hunger neither found, nor deserved, mercy at the hands of their implacable pursuers. The sword and the gibbet reduced the dangerous multitude of captives; and the remainder was more usefully employed, to restore the sacred edifices which they had attempted to subvert. The pontiff, at the head of the citizens and allies, paid his grateful devotion at the shrines of the apostles; and, among the spoils of this naval victory, thirteen Arabian bows of pure and massy silver were suspended round the altar of the fishermen of Galilee. The reign of Leo the Fourth was employed in the defence and ornament of the Roman state. The churches were renewed and embellished: near four thousand pounds of silver were consecrated to repair the losses of St. Peter; and his sanctuary was decorated with a plate of gold of the weight of two hundred and sixteen pounds, embossed with the portraits of the pope and emperor, and encircled with a string of pearls. Yet this vain magnificence reflects less glory on the character of Leo than the paternal care with which he rebuilt the walls of Horta and Ameria; and transported the wandering inhabitants of Centumcellae to his new foundation of Leopolis, twelve miles from the sea- shore.^89 By his liberality, a colony of Corsicans, with their wives and children, was planted in the station of Porto, at the mouth of the Tyber: the falling city was restored for their use, the fields and vineyards were divided among the new settlers: their first efforts were assisted by a gift of horses and cattle; and the hardy exiles, who breathed revenge against the Saracens, swore to live and die under the standard of St. Peter. The nations of the West and North who visited the threshold of the apostles had gradually formed the large and populous suburb of the Vatican, and their various habitations were distinguished, in the language of the times, as the schools of the Greeks and Goths, of the Lombards and Saxons. But this venerable spot was still open to sacrilegious insult: the design of enclosing it with walls and towers exhausted all that authority could command, or charity would supply: and the pious labor of four years was animated in every season, and at every hour, by the presence of the indefatigable pontiff. The love of fame, a generous but worldly passion, may be detected in the name of the Leonine city, which he bestowed on the Vatican; yet the pride of the dedication was tempered with Christian penance and humility. The boundary was trod by the bishop and his clergy, barefoot, in sackcloth and ashes; the songs of triumph were modulated to psalms and litanies; the walls were besprinkled with holy water; and the ceremony was concluded with a prayer, that, under the guardian care of the apostles and the angelic host, both the old and the new Rome might ever be preserved pure, prosperous, and impregnable.^90

[^88: De Guignes, Hist. Generale des Huns, tom. i. p. 363, 364. Cardonne, Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne, sous la Domination des Arabs, tom. ii. p. 24, 25. I observe, and cannot reconcile, the difference of these writers in the succession of the Aglabites.]

[^89: Beretti (Chorographia Italiae Medii Evi, p. 106, 108) has illustrated Centumcellae, Leopolis, Civitas Leonina, and the other places of the Roman duchy.]

[^90: The Arabs and the Greeks are alike silent concerning the invasion of Rome by the Africans. The Latin chronicles do not afford much instruction, (see the Annals of Baronius and Pagi.) Our authentic and contemporary guide for the popes of the ixth century is Anastasius, librarian of the Roman church. His Life of Leo IV, contains twenty-four pages, (p. 175 - 199, edit. Paris;) and if a great part consist of superstitious trifles, we must blame or command his hero, who was much oftener in a church than in a camp.]

The emperor Theophilus, son of Michael the Stammerer, was one of the most active and high-spirited princes who reigned at Constantinople during the middle age. In offensive or defensive war, he marched in person five times against the Saracens, formidable in his attack, esteemed by the enemy in his losses and defeats. In the last of these expeditions he penetrated into Syria, and besieged the obscure town of Sozopetra; the casual birthplace of the caliph Motassem, whose father Harun was attended in peace or war by the most favored of his wives and concubines. The revolt of a Persian impostor employed at that moment the arms of the Saracen, and he could only intercede in favor of a place for which he felt and acknowledged some degree of filial affection. These solicitations determined the emperor to wound his pride in so sensible a part. Sozopetra was levelled with the ground, the Syrian prisoners were marked or mutilated with ignominious cruelty, and a thousand female captives were forced away from the adjacent territory. Among these a matron of the house of Abbas invoked, in an agony of despair, the name of Motassem; and the insults of the Greeks engaged the honor of her kinsman to avenge his indignity, and to answer her appeal. Under the reign of the two elder brothers, the inheritance of the youngest had been confined to Anatolia, Armenia, Georgia, and Circassia; this frontier station had exercised his military talents; and among his accidental claims to the name of Octonary, ^91 the most meritorious are the eight battles which he gained or fought against the enemies of the Koran. In this personal quarrel, the troops of Irak, Syria, and Egypt, were recruited from the tribes of Arabia and the Turkish hordes; his cavalry might be numerous, though we should deduct some myriads from the hundred and thirty thousand horses of the royal stables; and the expense of the armament was computed at four millions sterling, or one hundred thousand pounds of gold. From Tarsus, the place of assembly, the Saracens advanced in three divisions along the high road of Constantinople: Motassem himself commanded the centre, and the vanguard was given to his son Abbas, who, in the trial of the first adventures, might succeed with the more glory, or fail with the least reproach. In the revenge of his injury, the caliph prepared to retaliate a similar affront. The father of Theophilus was a native of Amorium^92 in Phrygia: the original seat of the Imperial house had been adorned with privileges and monuments; and, whatever might be the indifference of the people, Constantinople itself was scarcely of more value in the eyes of the sovereign and his court. The name of Amorium was inscribed on the shields of the Saracens; and their three armies were again united under the walls of the devoted city. It had been proposed by the wisest counsellors, to evacuate Amorium, to remove the inhabitants, and to abandon the empty structures to the vain resentment of the Barbarians. The emperor embraced the more generous resolution of defending, in a siege and battle, the country of his ancestors. When the armies drew near, the front of the Mahometan line appeared to a Roman eye more closely planted with spears and javelins; but the event of the action was not glorious on either side to the national troops. The Arabs were broken, but it was by the swords of thirty thousand Persians, who had obtained service and settlement in the Byzantine empire. The Greeks were repulsed and vanquished, but it was by the arrows of the Turkish cavalry; and had not their bowstrings been damped and relaxed by the evening rain, very few of the Christians could have escaped with the emperor from the field of battle. They breathed at Dorylaeum, at the distance of three days; and Theophilus, reviewing his trembling squadrons, forgave the common flight both of the prince and people. After this discovery of his weakness, he vainly hoped to deprecate the fate of Amorium: the inexorable caliph rejected with contempt his prayers and promises; and detained the Roman ambassadors to be the witnesses of his great revenge. They had nearly been the witnesses of his shame. The vigorous assaults of fifty- five days were encountered by a faithful governor, a veteran garrison, and a desperate people; and the Saracens must have raised the siege, if a domestic traitor had not pointed to the weakest part of the wall, a place which was decorated with the statues of a lion and a bull. The vow of Motassem was accomplished with unrelenting rigor: tired, rather than satiated, with destruction, he returned to his new palace of Samara, in the neighborhood of Bagdad, while the unfortunate^93 Theophilus implored the tardy and doubtful aid of his Western rival the emperor of the Franks. Yet in the siege of Amorium about seventy thousand Moslems had perished: their loss had been revenged by the slaughter of thirty thousand Christians, and the sufferings of an equal number of captives, who were treated as the most atrocious criminals. Mutual necessity could sometimes extort the exchange or ransom of prisoners:^94 but in the national and religious conflict of the two empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy. Quarter was seldom given in the field; those who escaped the edge of the sword were condemned to hopeless servitude, or exquisite torture; and a Catholic emperor relates, with visible satisfaction, the execution of the Saracens of Crete, who were flayed alive, or plunged into caldrons of boiling oil.^95 To a point of honor Motassem had sacrificed a flourishing city, two hundred thousand lives, and the property of millions. The same caliph descended from his horse, and dirtied his robe, to relieve the distress of a decrepit old man, who, with his laden ass, had tumbled into a ditch. On which of these actions did he reflect with the most pleasure, when he was summoned by the angel of death?^96

[^91: The same number was applied to the following circumstance in the life of Motassem: he was the eight of the Abbassides; he reigned eight years, eight months, and eight days; left eight sons, eight daughters, eight thousand slaves, eight millions of gold.]

[^92: Amorium is seldom mentioned by the old geographers, and to tally forgotten in the Roman Itineraries. After the vith century, it became an episcopal see, and at length the metropolis of the new Galatia, (Carol. Scto. Paulo, Geograph. Sacra, p. 234.) The city rose again from its ruins, if we should read Ammeria, not Anguria, in the text of the Nubian geographer. (p. 236.)]

[^93: In the East he was styled, (Continuator Theophan. l. iii. p. 84;) but such was the ignorance of the West, that his ambassadors, in public discourse, might boldly narrate, de victoriis, quas adversus exteras bellando gentes coelitus fuerat assecutus, (Annalist. Bertinian. apud Pagi, tom. iii. p. 720.)]

[^94: Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 167, 168) relates one of these singular transactions on the bridge of the River Lamus in Cilicia, the limit of the two empires, and one day's journey westward of Tarsus, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 91.) Four thousand four hundred and sixty Moslems, eight hundred women and children, one hundred confederates, were exchanged for an equal number of Greeks. They passed each other in the middle of the bridge, and when they reached their respective friends, they shouted Allah Acbar, and Kyrie Eleison. Many of the prisoners of Amorium were probably among them, but in the same year, (A. H. 231,) the most illustrious of them, the forty two martyrs, were beheaded by the caliph's order.]

[^95: Constantin. Porphyrogenitus, in Vit. Basil. c. 61, p. 186. These Saracens were indeed treated with peculiar severity as pirates and renegadoes.]

[^96: For Theophilus, Motassem, and the Amorian war, see the Continuator of Theophanes, (l. iii. p. 77—84,) Genesius (l. iii. p. 24—34.) Cedrenus, (p. 528—532,) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen, p. 180,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 165, 166,) Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 191,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 639, 640.)]

With Motassem, the eighth of the Abbassides, the glory of his family and nation expired. When the Arabian conquerors had spread themselves over the East, and were mingled with the servile crowds of Persia, Syria, and Egypt, they insensibly lost the freeborn and martial virtues of the desert. The courage of the South is the artificial fruit of discipline and prejudice; the active power of enthusiasm had decayed, and the mercenary forces of the caliphs were recruited in those climates of the North, of which valor is the hardy and spontaneous production. Of the Turks^97 who dwelt beyond the Oxus and Jaxartes, the robust youths, either taken in war or purchased in trade, were educated in the exercises of the field, and the profession of the Mahometan faith. The Turkish guards stood in arms round the throne of their benefactor, and their chiefs usurped the dominion of the palace and the provinces. Motassem, the first author of this dangerous example, introduced into the capital above fifty thousand Turks: their licentious conduct provoked the public indignation, and the quarrels of the soldiers and people induced the caliph to retire from Bagdad, and establish his own residence and the camp of his Barbarian favorites at Samara on the Tigris, about twelve leagues above the city of Peace.^98 His son Motawakkel was a jealous and cruel tyrant: odious to his subjects, he cast himself on the fidelity of the strangers, and these strangers, ambitious and apprehensive, were tempted by the rich promise of a revolution. At the instigation, or at least in the cause of his son, they burst into his apartment at the hour of supper, and the caliph was cut into seven pieces by the same swords which he had recently distributed among the guards of his life and throne. To this throne, yet streaming with a father's blood, Montasser was triumphantly led; but in a reign of six months, he found only the pangs of a guilty conscience. If he wept at the sight of an old tapestry which represented the crime and punishment of the son of Chosroes, if his days were abridged by grief and remorse, we may allow some pity to a parricide, who exclaimed, in the bitterness of death, that he had lost both this world and the world to come. After this act of treason, the ensigns of royalty, the garment and walking-staff of Mahomet, were given and torn away by the foreign mercenaries, who in four years created, deposed, and murdered, three commanders of the faithful. As often as the Turks were inflamed by fear, or rage, or avarice, these caliphs were dragged by the feet, exposed naked to the scorching sun, beaten with iron clubs, and compelled to purchase, by the abdication of their dignity, a short reprieve of inevitable fate.^99 At length, however, the fury of the tempest was spent or diverted: the Abbassides returned to the less turbulent residence of Bagdad; the insolence of the Turks was curbed with a firmer and more skilful hand, and their numbers were divided and destroyed in foreign warfare. But the nations of the East had been taught to trample on the successors of the prophet; and the blessings of domestic peace were obtained by the relaxation of strength and discipline. So uniform are the mischiefs of military despotism, that I seem to repeat the story of the praetorians of Rome.^100

[^97: M. de Guignes, who sometimes leaps, and sometimes stumbles, in the gulf between Chinese and Mahometan story, thinks he can see, that these Turks are the Hoei-ke, alias the Kao-tche, or high-wagons; that they were divided into fifteen hordes, from China and Siberia to the dominions of the caliphs and Samanides, etc., (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 1—33, 124—131.)]

[^98: He changed the old name of Sumera, or Samara, into the fanciful title of Sermen-rai, that which gives pleasure at first sight, (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 808. D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre p. 97, 98.)]

[^99: Take a specimen, the death of the caliph Motaz: Correptum pedibus pertrahunt, et sudibus probe permulcant, et spoliatum laceris vestibus in sole collocant, prae cujus acerrimo aestu pedes alternos attollebat et demittebat. Adstantium aliquis misero colaphos continuo ingerebat, quos ille objectis manibus avertere studebat.....Quo facto traditus tortori fuit, totoque triduo cibo potuque prohibitus..... Suffocatus, etc. (Abulfeda, p. 206.) Of the caliph Mohtadi, he says, services ipsi perpetuis ictibus contundebant, testiculosque pedibus conculcabant, (p. 208.)]

[^100: See under the reigns of Motassem, Motawakkel, Montasser, Mostain, Motaz, Mohtadi, and Motamed, in the Bibliotheque of D'Herbelot, and the now familiar Annals of Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and Abulfeda.]

While the flame of enthusiasm was damped by the business, the pleasure, and the knowledge, of the age, it burnt with concentrated heat in the breasts of the chosen few, the congenial spirits, who were ambitious of reigning either in this world or in the next. How carefully soever the book of prophecy had been sealed by the apostle of Mecca, the wishes, and (if we may profane the word) even the reason, of fanaticism might believe that, after the successive missions of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet, the same God, in the fulness of time, would reveal a still more perfect and permanent law. In the two hundred and seventy-seventh year of the Hegira, and in the neighborhood of Cufa, an Arabian preacher, of the name of Carmath, assumed the lofty and incomprehensible style of the Guide, the Director, the Demonstration, the Word, the Holy Ghost, the Camel, the Herald of the Messiah, who had conversed with him in a human shape, and the representative of Mohammed the son of Ali, of St. John the Baptist, and of the angel Gabriel. In his mystic volume, the precepts of the Koran were refined to a more spiritual sense: he relaxed the duties of ablution, fasting, and pilgrimage; allowed the indiscriminate use of wine and forbidden food; and nourished the fervor of his disciples by the daily repetition of fifty prayers. The idleness and ferment of the rustic crowd awakened the attention of the magistrates of Cufa; a timid persecution assisted the progress of the new sect; and the name of the prophet became more revered after his person had been withdrawn from the world. His twelve apostles dispersed themselves among the Bedoweens, "a race of men," says Abulfeda, "equally devoid of reason and of religion;" and the success of their preaching seemed to threaten Arabia with a new revolution. The Carmathians were ripe for rebellion, since they disclaimed the title of the house of Abbas, and abhorred the worldly pomp of the caliphs of Bagdad. They were susceptible of discipline, since they vowed a blind and absolute submission to their Imam, who was called to the prophetic office by the voice of God and the people. Instead of the legal tithes, he claimed the fifth of their substance and spoil; the most flagitious sins were no more than the type of disobedience; and the brethren were united and concealed by an oath of secrecy. After a bloody conflict, they prevailed in the province of Bahrein, along the Persian Gulf: far and wide, the tribes of the desert were subject to the sceptre, or rather to the sword of Abu Said and his son Abu Taher; and these rebellious imams could muster in the field a hundred and seven thousand fanatics. The mercenaries of the caliph were dismayed at the approach of an enemy who neither asked nor accepted quarter; and the difference between, them in fortitude and patience, is expressive of the change which three centuries of prosperity had effected in the character of the Arabians. Such troops were discomfited in every action; the cities of Racca and Baalbec, of Cufa and Bassora, were taken and pillaged; Bagdad was filled with consternation; and the caliph trembled behind the veils of his palace. In a daring inroad beyond the Tigris, Abu Taher advanced to the gates of the capital with no more than five hundred horse. By the special order of Moctader, the bridges had been broken down, and the person or head of the rebel was expected every hour by the commander of the faithful. His lieutenant, from a motive of fear or pity, apprised Abu Taher of his danger, and recommended a speedy escape. "Your master," said the intrepid Carmathian to the messenger, "is at the head of thirty thousand soldiers: three such men as these are wanting in his host: " at the same instant, turning to three of his companions, he commanded the first to plunge a dagger into his breast, the second to leap into the Tigris, and the third to cast himself headlong down a precipice. They obeyed without a murmur.

"Relate," continued the imam, "what you have seen: before the evening your general shall be chained among my dogs." Before the evening, the camp was surprised, and the menace was executed. The rapine of the Carmathians was sanctified by their aversion to the worship of Mecca: they robbed a caravan of pilgrims, and twenty thousand devout Moslems were abandoned on the burning sands to a death of hunger and thirst. Another year they suffered the pilgrims to proceed without interruption; but, in the festival of devotion, Abu Taher stormed the holy city, and trampled on the most venerable relics of the Mahometan faith. Thirty thousand citizens and strangers were put to the sword; the sacred precincts were polluted by the burial of three thousand dead bodies; the well of Zemzem overflowed with blood; the golden spout was forced from its place; the veil of the Caaba was divided among these impious sectaries; and the black stone, the first monument of the nation, was borne away in triumph to their capital. After this deed of sacrilege and cruelty, they continued to infest the confines of Irak, Syria, and Egypt: but the vital principle of enthusiasm had withered at the root. Their scruples, or their avarice, again opened the pilgrimage of Mecca, and restored the black stone of the Caaba; and it is needless to inquire into what factions they were broken, or by whose swords they were finally extirpated. The sect of the Carmathians may be considered as the second visible cause of the decline and fall of the empire of the caliphs.^101

[^101: For the sect of the Carmathians, consult Elmacin, (Hist. Sara cen, p. 219, 224, 229, 231, 238, 241, 243,) Abulpharagius, (Dynast. p. 179—182,) Abulfeda, (Annal. Moslem. p. 218, 219, etc., 245, 265, 274.) and D'Herbelot, (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 256—258, 635.) I find some inconsistencies of theology and chronology, which it would not be easy nor of much importance to reconcile.
Note: Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 44, etc.—M.]


The third and most obvious cause was the weight and magnitude of the empire itself. The caliph Almamon might proudly assert, that it was easier for him to rule the East and the West, than to manage a chess-board of two feet square:^102 yet I suspect that in both those games he was guilty of many fatal mistakes; and I perceive, that in the distant provinces the authority of the first and most powerful of the Abbassides was already impaired. The analogy of despotism invests the representative with the full majesty of the prince; the division and balance of powers might relax the habits of obedience, might encourage the passive subject to inquire into the origin and administration of civil government. He who is born in the purple is seldom worthy to reign; but the elevation of a private man, of a peasant, perhaps, or a slave, affords a strong presumption of his courage and capacity. The viceroy of a remote kingdom aspires to secure the property and inheritance of his precarious trust; the nations must rejoice in the presence of their sovereign; and the command of armies and treasures are at once the object and the instrument of his ambition. A change was scarcely visible as long as the lieutenants of the caliph were content with their vicarious title; while they solicited for themselves or their sons a renewal of the Imperial grant, and still maintained on the coin and in the public prayers the name and prerogative of the commander of the faithful. But in the long and hereditary exercise of power, they assumed the pride and attributes of royalty; the alternative of peace or war, of reward or punishment, depended solely on their will; and the revenues of their government were reserved for local services or private magnificence. Instead of a regular supply of men and money, the successors of the prophet were flattered with the ostentatious gift of an elephant, or a cast of hawks, a suit of silk hangings, or some pounds of musk and amber.^103

[^102: Hyde, Syntagma Dissertat. tom. ii. p. 57, in Hist. Shahiludii.]

[^103: The dynasties of the Arabian empire may be studied in the Annals of Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and Abulfeda, under the proper years, in the dictionary of D'Herbelot, under the proper names. The tables of M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i.) exhibit a general chronology of the East, interspersed with some historical anecdotes; but his attachment to national blood has sometimes confounded the order of time and place.]

After the revolt of Spain from the temporal and spiritual supremacy of the Abbassides, the first symptoms of disobedience broke forth in the province of Africa. Ibrahim, the son of Aglab, the lieutenant of the vigilant and rigid Harun, bequeathed to the dynasty of the Aglabites the inheritance of his name and power. The indolence or policy of the caliphs dissembled the injury and loss, and pursued only with poison the founder of the Edrisites,^104 who erected the kingdom and city of Fez on the shores of the Western ocean.^105 In the East, the first dynasty was that of the Taherites;^106 the posterity of the valiant Taher, who, in the civil wars of the sons of Harun, had served with too much zeal and success the cause of Almamon, the younger brother. He was sent into honorable exile, to command on the banks of the Oxus; and the independence of his successors, who reigned in Chorasan till the fourth generation, was palliated by their modest and respectful demeanor, the happiness of their subjects and the security of their frontier. They were supplanted by one of those adventures so frequent in the annals of the East, who left his trade of a brazier (from whence the name of Soffarides) for the profession of a robber. In a nocturnal visit to the treasure of the prince of Sistan, Jacob, the son of Leith, stumbled over a lump of salt, which he unwarily tasted with his tongue. Salt, among the Orientals, is the symbol of hospitality, and the pious robber immediately retired without spoil or damage. The discovery of this honorable behavior recommended Jacob to pardon and trust; he led an army at first for his benefactor, at last for himself, subdued Persia, and threatened the residence of the Abbassides. On his march towards Bagdad, the conqueror was arrested by a fever. He gave audience in bed to the ambassador of the caliph; and beside him on a table were exposed a naked cimeter, a crust of brown bread, and a bunch of onions. "If I die," said he, "your master is delivered from his fears. If I live, this must determine between us. If I am vanquished, I can return without reluctance to the homely fare of my youth." From the height where he stood, the descent would not have been so soft or harmless: a timely death secured his own repose and that of the caliph, who paid with the most lavish concessions the retreat of his brother Amrou to the palaces of Shiraz and Ispahan. The Abbassides were too feeble to contend, too proud to forgive: they invited the powerful dynasty of the Samanides, who passed the Oxus with ten thousand horse so poor, that their stirrups were of wood: so brave, that they vanquished the Soffarian army, eight times more numerous than their own. The captive Amrou was sent in chains, a grateful offering to the court of Bagdad; and as the victor was content with the inheritance of Transoxiana and Chorasan, the realms of Persia returned for a while to the allegiance of the caliphs. The provinces of Syria and Egypt were twice dismembered by their Turkish slaves of the race of Toulon and Ilkshid.^107 These Barbarians, in religion and manners the countrymen of Mahomet, emerged from the bloody factions of the palace to a provincial command and an independent throne: their names became famous and formidable in their time; but the founders of these two potent dynasties confessed, either in words or actions, the vanity of ambition. The first on his death-bed implored the mercy of God to a sinner, ignorant of the limits of his own power: the second, in the midst of four hundred thousand soldiers and eight thousand slaves, concealed from every human eye the chamber where he attempted to sleep. Their sons were educated in the vices of kings; and both Egypt and Syria were recovered and possessed by the Abbassides during an interval of thirty years. In the decline of their empire, Mesopotamia, with the important cities of Mosul and Aleppo, was occupied by the Arabian princes of the tribe of Hamadan. The poets of their court could repeat without a blush, that nature had formed their countenances for beauty, their tongues for eloquence, and their hands for liberality and valor: but the genuine tale of the elevation and reign of the Hamadanites exhibits a scene of treachery, murder, and parricide.

At the same fatal period, the Persian kingdom was again usurped by the dynasty of the Bowides, by the sword of three brothers, who, under various names, were styled the support and columns of the state, and who, from the Caspian Sea to the ocean, would suffer no tyrants but themselves. Under their reign, the language and genius of Persia revived, and the Arabs, three hundred and four years after the death of Mahomet, were deprived of the sceptre of the East.

[^104: The Aglabites and Edrisites are the professed subject of M. de Cardonne, (Hist. de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous la Domination des Arabes, tom. ii. p. 1—63.)]

[^105: To escape the reproach of error, I must criticize the inaccuracies of M. de Guignes (tom. i. p. 359) concerning the Edrisites. 1. The dynasty and city of Fez could not be founded in the year of the Hegira 173, since the founder was a posthumous child of a descendant of Ali, who fled from Mecca in the year 168. 2. This founder, Edris, the son of Edris, instead of living to the improbable age of 120 years, A. H. 313, died A. H. 214, in the prime of manhood. 3. The dynasty ended A. H. 307, twenty-three years sooner than it is fixed by the historian of the Huns. See the accurate Annals of Abulfeda p. 158, 159, 185, 238.]

[^106: The dynasties of the Taherites and Soffarides, with the rise of that of the Samanines, are described in the original history and Latin version of Mirchond: yet the most interesting facts had already been drained by the diligence of M. D'Herbelot.]

[^107: M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 124 - 154) has exhausted the Toulunides and Ikshidites of Egypt, and thrown some light on the Carmathians and Hamadanites.]

Rahadi, the twentieth of the Abbassides, and the thirty-ninth of the successors of Mahomet, was the last who deserved the title of commander of the faithful;^108 the last (says Abulfeda) who spoke to the people, or conversed with the learned; the last who, in the expense of his household, represented the wealth and magnificence of the ancient caliphs. After him, the lords of the Eastern world were reduced to the most abject misery, and exposed to the blows and insults of a servile condition. The revolt of the provinces circumscribed their dominions within the walls of Bagdad: but that capital still contained an innumerable multitude, vain of their past fortune, discontented with their present state, and oppressed by the demands of a treasury which had formerly been replenished by the spoil and tribute of nations. Their idleness was exercised by faction and controversy. Under the mask of piety, the rigid followers of Hanbal^109 invaded the pleasures of domestic life, burst into the houses of plebeians and princes, the wine, broke the instruments, beat the musicians, and dishonored, with infamous suspicions, the associates of every handsome youth. In each profession, which allowed room for two persons, the one was a votary, the other an antagonist, of Ali; and the Abbassides were awakened by the clamorous grief of the sectaries, who denied their title, and cursed their progenitors. A turbulent people could only be repressed by a military force; but who could satisfy the avarice or assert the discipline of the mercenaries themselves? The African and the Turkish guards drew their swords against each other, and the chief commanders, the emirs al Omra, ^110 imprisoned or deposed their sovereigns, and violated the sanctuary of the mosch and harem. If the caliphs escaped to the camp or court of any neighboring prince, their deliverance was a change of servitude, till they were prompted by despair to invite the Bowides, the sultans of Persia, who silenced the factions of Bagdad by their irresistible arms. The civil and military powers were assumed by Moezaldowlat, the second of the three brothers, and a stipend of sixty thousand pounds sterling was assigned by his generosity for the private expense of the commander of the faithful. But on the fortieth day, at the audience of the ambassadors of Chorasan, and in the presence of a trembling multitude, the caliph was dragged from his throne to a dungeon, by the command of the stranger, and the rude hands of his Dilamites. His palace was pillaged, his eyes were put out, and the mean ambition of the Abbassides aspired to the vacant station of danger and disgrace. In the school of adversity, the luxurious caliphs resumed the grave and abstemious virtues of the primitive times. Despoiled of their armor and silken robes, they fasted, they prayed, they studied the Koran and the tradition of the Sonnites: they performed, with zeal and knowledge, the functions of their ecclesiastical character. The respect of nations still waited on the successors of the apostle, the oracles of the law and conscience of the faithful; and the weakness or division of their tyrants sometimes restored the Abbassides to the sovereignty of Bagdad. But their misfortunes had been imbittered by the triumph of the Fatimites, the real or spurious progeny of Ali. Arising from the extremity of Africa, these successful rivals extinguished, in Egypt and Syria, both the spiritual and temporal authority of the Abbassides; and the monarch of the Nile insulted the humble pontiff on the banks of the Tigris.

[^108: Hic est ultimus chalifah qui multum atque saepius pro concione peroraret....Fuit etiam ultimus qui otium cum eruditis et facetis hominibus fallere hilariterque agere soleret.

Ultimus tandem chalifarum cui sumtus, stipendia, reditus, et thesauri, culinae, caeteraque omnis aulica pompa priorum chalifarum ad instar comparata fuerint. Videbimus enim paullo post quam indignis et servilibius ludibriis exagitati, quam ad humilem fortunam altimumque contemptum abjecti fuerint hi quondam potentissimi totius terrarum Orientalium orbis domini. Abulfed. Annal. Moslem. p. 261. I have given this passage as the manner and tone of Abulfeda, but the cast of Latin eloquence belongs more properly to Reiske. The Arabian historian (p. 255, 257, 261 - 269, 283, etc.) has supplied me with the most interesting facts of this paragraph.]

[^109: Their master, on a similar occasion, showed himself of a more indulgent and tolerating spirit. Ahmed Ebn Hanbal, the head of one of the four orthodox sects, was born at Bagdad A. H. 164, and died there A. H. 241. He fought and suffered in the dispute concerning the creation of the Koran.]

[^110: The office of vizier was superseded by the emir al Omra, Imperator Imperatorum, a title first instituted by Radhi, and which merged at length in the Bowides and Seljukides: vectigalibus, et tributis, et curiis per omnes regiones praefecit, jussitque in omnibus suggestis nominis ejus in concionibus mentionem fieri, (Abulpharagius, Dynart. p 199.) It is likewise mentioned by Elmacin, (p. 254, 255.)]

In the declining age of the caliphs, in the century which elapsed after the war of Theophilus and Motassem, the hostile transactions of the two nations were confined to some inroads by sea and land, the fruits of their close vicinity and indelible hatred. But when the Eastern world was convulsed and broken, the Greeks were roused from their lethargy by the hopes of conquest and revenge. The Byzantine empire, since the accession of the Basilian race, had reposed in peace and dignity; and they might encounter with their entire strength the front of some petty emir, whose rear was assaulted and threatened by his national foes of the Mahometan faith. The lofty titles of the morning star, and the death of the Saracens,^111 were applied in the public acclamations to Nicephorus Phocas, a prince as renowned in the camp, as he was unpopular in the city. In the subordinate station of great domestic, or general of the East, he reduced the Island of Crete, and extirpated the nest of pirates who had so long defied, with impunity, the majesty of the empire.^112 His military genius was displayed in the conduct and success of the enterprise, which had so often failed with loss and dishonor. The Saracens were confounded by the landing of his troops on safe and level bridges, which he cast from the vessels to the shore. Seven months were consumed in the siege of Candia; the despair of the native Cretans was stimulated by the frequent aid of their brethren of Africa and Spain; and after the massy wall and double ditch had been stormed by the Greeks a hopeless conflict was still maintained in the streets and houses of the city.^* The whole island was subdued in the capital, and a submissive people accepted, without resistance, the baptism of the conqueror.^113 Constantinople applauded the long-forgotten pomp of a triumph; but the Imperial diadem was the sole reward that could repay the services, or satisfy the ambition, of Nicephorus.

[^111: Liutprand, whose choleric temper was imbittered by his uneasy situation, suggests the names of reproach and contempt more applicable to Nicephorus than the vain titles of the Greeks, Ecce venit stella matutina, surgit Eous, reverberat obtutu solis radios, pallida Saracenorum mors, Nicephorus.]

[^112: Notwithstanding the insinuation of Zonaras, etc., (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 197,) it is an undoubted fact, that Crete was completely and finally subdued by Nicephorus Phocas, (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 873—875. Meursius, Creta, l. iii. c. 7, tom. iii. p. 464, 465.)]

[^*: The Acroases of Theodorus, de expugnatione Cretae, miserable iambics, relate the whole campaign. Whoever would fairly estimate the merit of the poetic deacon, may read the description of the slinging a jackass into the famishing city. The poet is in a transport at the wit of the general, and revels in the luxury of antithesis. Theodori Acroases, lib. iii. 172, in Niebuhr's Byzant. Hist.—M.]

[^113: A Greek Life of St. Nicon the Armenian was found in the Sforza library, and translated into Latin by the Jesuit Sirmond, for the use of Cardinal Baronius. This contemporary legend casts a ray of light on Crete and Peloponnesus in the 10th century. He found the newly-recovered island, foedis detestandae Agarenorum superstitionis vestigiis adhuc plenam ac refertam....but the victorious missionary, perhaps with some carnal aid, ad baptismum omnes veraeque fidei disciplinam pepulit. Ecclesiis per totam insulam aedificatis, etc., (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 961.)]

After the death of the younger Romanus, the fourth in lineal descent of the Basilian race, his widow Theophania successively married Nicephorus Phocas and his assassin John Zimisces, the two heroes of the age. They reigned as the guardians and colleagues of her infant sons; and the twelve years of their military command form the most splendid period of the Byzantine annals. The subjects and confederates, whom they led to war, appeared, at least in the eyes of an enemy, two hundred thousand strong; and of these about thirty thousand were armed with cuirasses:^114 a train of four thousand mules attended their march; and their evening camp was regularly fortified with an enclosure of iron spikes. A series of bloody and undecisive combats is nothing more than an anticipation of what would have been effected in a few years by the course of nature; but I shall briefly prosecute the conquests of the two emperors from the hills of Cappadocia to the desert of Bagdad. The sieges of Mopsuestia and Tarsus, in Cilicia, first exercised the skill and perseverance of their troops, on whom, at this moment, I shall not hesitate to bestow the name of Romans. In the double city of Mopsuestia, which is divided by the River Sarus, two hundred thousand Moslems were predestined to death or slavery,^115 a surprising degree of population, which must at least include the inhabitants of the dependent districts. They were surrounded and taken by assault; but Tarsus was reduced by the slow progress of famine; and no sooner had the Saracens yielded on honorable terms than they were mortified by the distant and unprofitable view of the naval succors of Egypt. They were dismissed with a safe-conduct to the confines of Syria: a part of the old Christians had quietly lived under their dominion; and the vacant habitations were replenished by a new colony. But the mosch was converted into a stable; the pulpit was delivered to the flames; many rich crosses of gold and gems, the spoils of Asiatic churches, were made a grateful offering to the piety or avarice of the emperor; and he transported the gates of Mopsuestia and Tarsus, which were fixed in the walls of Constantinople, an eternal monument of his victory. After they had forced and secured the narrow passes of Mount Amanus, the two Roman princes repeatedly carried their arms into the heart of Syria. Yet, instead of assaulting the walls of Antioch, the humanity or superstition of Nicephorus appeared to respect the ancient metropolis of the East: he contented himself with drawing round the city a line of circumvallation; left a stationary army; and instructed his lieutenant to expect, without impatience, the return of spring. But in the depth of winter, in a dark and rainy night, an adventurous subaltern, with three hundred soldiers, approached the rampart, applied his scaling-ladders, occupied two adjacent towers, stood firm against the pressure of multitudes, and bravely maintained his post till he was relieved by the tardy, though effectual, support of his reluctant chief. The first tumult of slaughter and rapine subsided; the reign of Caesar and of Christ was restored; and the efforts of a hundred thousand Saracens, of the armies of Syria and the fleets of Africa, were consumed without effect before the walls of Antioch. The royal city of Aleppo was subject to Seifeddowlat, of the dynasty of Hamadan, who clouded his past glory by the precipitate retreat which abandoned his kingdom and capital to the Roman invaders. In his stately palace, that stood without the walls of Aleppo, they joyfully seized a well-furnished magazine of arms, a stable of fourteen hundred mules, and three hundred bags of silver and gold. But the walls of the city withstood the strokes of their battering-rams: and the besiegers pitched their tents on the neighboring mountain of Jaushan. Their retreat exasperated the quarrel of the townsmen and mercenaries; the guard of the gates and ramparts was deserted; and while they furiously charged each other in the market-place, they were surprised and destroyed by the sword of a common enemy. The male sex was exterminated by the sword; ten thousand youths were led into captivity; the weight of the precious spoil exceeded the strength and number of the beasts of burden; the superfluous remainder was burnt; and, after a licentious possession of ten days, the Romans marched away from the naked and bleeding city. In their Syrian inroads they commanded the husbandmen to cultivate their lands, that they themselves, in the ensuing season, might reap the benefit; more than a hundred cities were reduced to obedience; and eighteen pulpits of the principal moschs were committed to the flames to expiate the sacrilege of the disciples of Mahomet. The classic names of Hierapolis, Apamea, and Emesa, revive for a moment in the list of conquest: the emperor Zimisces encamped in the paradise of Damascus, and accepted the ransom of a submissive people; and the torrent was only stopped by the impregnable fortress of Tripoli, on the sea-coast of Phoenicia. Since the days of Heraclius, the Euphrates, below the passage of Mount Taurus, had been impervious, and almost invisible, to the Greeks.

The river yielded a free passage to the victorious Zimisces; and the historian may imitate the speed with which he overran the once famous cities of Samosata, Edessa, Martyropolis, Amida,^116 and Nisibis, the ancient limit of the empire in the neighborhood of the Tigris. His ardor was quickened by the desire of grasping the virgin treasures of Ecbatana,^117 a well-known name, under which the Byzantine writer has concealed the capital of the Abbassides. The consternation of the fugitives had already diffused the terror of his name; but the fancied riches of Bagdad had already been dissipated by the avarice and prodigality of domestic tyrants. The prayers of the people, and the stern demands of the lieutenant of the Bowides, required the caliph to provide for the defence of the city. The helpless Mothi replied, that his arms, his revenues, and his provinces, had been torn from his hands, and that he was ready to abdicate a dignity which he was unable to support. The emir was inexorable; the furniture of the palace was sold; and the paltry price of forty thousand pieces of gold was instantly consumed in private luxury. But the apprehensions of Bagdad were relieved by the retreat of the Greeks: thirst and hunger guarded the desert of Mesopotamia; and the emperor, satiated with glory, and laden with Oriental spoils, returned to Constantinople, and displayed, in his triumph, the silk, the aromatics, and three hundred myriads of gold and silver. Yet the powers of the East had been bent, not broken, by this transient hurricane. After the departure of the Greeks, the fugitive princes returned to their capitals; the subjects disclaimed their involuntary oaths of allegiance; the Moslems again purified their temples, and overturned the idols of the saints and martyrs; the Nestorians and Jacobites preferred a Saracen to an orthodox master; and the numbers and spirit of the Melchites were inadequate to the support of the church and state.

Of these extensive conquests, Antioch, with the cities of Cilicia and the Isle of Cyprus, was alone restored, a permanent and useful accession to the Roman empire.^118

[^114: Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 278, 279. Liutprand was disposed to depreciate the Greek power, yet he owns that Nicephorus led against Assyria an army of eighty thousand men.]

[^115: Ducenta fere millia hominum numerabat urbs (Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. p. 231) of Mopsuestia, or Masifa, Mampsysta, Mansista, Mamista, as it is corruptly, or perhaps more correctly, styled in the middle ages, (Wesseling, Itinerar. p. 580.) Yet I cannot credit this extreme populousness a few years after the testimony of the emperor Leo, (Tactica, c. xviii. in Meursii Oper. tom. vi. p. 817.)]

[^116: The text of Leo the deacon, in the corrupt names of Emeta and Myctarsim, reveals the cities of Amida and Martyropolis, (Mia farekin. See Abulfeda, Geograph. p. 245, vers. Reiske.) Of the former, Leo observes, urbus munita et illustris; of the latter, clara atque conspicua opibusque et pecore, reliquis ejus provinciis urbibus atque oppidis longe praestans.]

[^117: Ut et Ecbatana pergeret Agarenorumque regiam everteret....aiunt enim urbium quae usquam sunt ac toto orbe existunt felicissimam esse auroque ditissimam, (Leo Diacon. apud Pagium, tom. iv. p. 34.) This splendid description suits only with Bagdad, and cannot possibly apply either to Hamadan, the true Ecbatana, (D'Anville, Geog. Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 237,) or Tauris, which has been commonly mistaken for that city. The name of Ecbatana, in the same indefinite sense, is transferred by a more classic authority (Cicero pro Lego Manilia, c. 4) to the royal seat of Mithridates, king of Pontus.]

[^118: See the Annals of Elmacin, Abulpharagius, and Abulfeda, from A. H. 351 to A. H. 361; and the reigns of Nicephorus Phocas and John Zimisces, in the Chronicles of Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 199—l. xvii. 215) and Cedrenus, (Compend. p. 649—684.) Their manifold defects are partly supplied by the Ms. history of Leo the deacon, which Pagi obtained from the Benedictines, and has inserted almost entire, in a Latin version, (Critica, tom. iii. p. 873, tom. iv. 37.)
Note: The whole original work of Leo the Deacon has been published by Hase, and is inserted in the new edition of the Byzantine historians. M Lassen has added to the Arabian authorities of this period some extracts from Kemaleddin's account of the treaty for the surrender of Aleppo.—M.]



Fate of the Eastern Empire in the tenth century.—Extent and division.— Wealth and revenue.—Palace of Constantinople.—Titles and offices.—Pride and power of the emperors.—Tactics of the Greeks, Arabs, and Franks.—Loss of the Latin tongue.—Studies and solitude of the Greeks


A ray of historic light seems to beam from the darkness of the tenth century. We open with curiosity and respect the royal volumes of Constantine Porphyrogenitus,^1 which he composed at a mature age for the instruction of his son, and which promise to unfold the state of the eastern empire, both in peace and war, both at home and abroad. In the first of these works he minutely describes the pompous ceremonies of the church and palace of Constantinople, according to his own practice, and that of his predecessors.^2 In the second, he attempts an accurate survey of the provinces, the themes, as they were then denominated, both of Europe and Asia.^3 The system of Roman tactics, the discipline and order of the troops, and the military operations by land and sea, are explained in the third of these didactic collections, which may be ascribed to Constantine or his father Leo.^4 In the fourth, of the administration of the empire, he reveals the secrets of the Byzantine policy, in friendly or hostile intercourse with the nations of the earth. The literary labors of the age, the practical systems of law, agriculture, and history, might redound to the benefit of the subject and the honor of the Macedonian princes. The sixty books of the Basilics,^5 the code and pandects of civil jurisprudence, were gradually framed in the three first reigns of that prosperous dynasty. The art of agriculture had amused the leisure, and exercised the pens, of the best and wisest of the ancients; and their chosen precepts are comprised in the twenty books of the Geoponics^6 of Constantine. At his command, the historical examples of vice and virtue were methodized in fifty-three books, ^7 and every citizen might apply, to his contemporaries or himself, the lesson or the warning of past times. From the august character of a legislator, the sovereign of the East descends to the more humble office of a teacher and a scribe; and if his successors and subjects were regardless of his paternal cares, we may inherit and enjoy the everlasting legacy.

[^1: The epithet of Porphyrogenitus, born in the purple, is elegantly defined by Claudian:—

Ardua privatos nescit fortuna Penates; Et regnum cum luce dedit. Cognata potestas Excepit Tyrio venerabile pignus in ostro.

And Ducange, in his Greek and Latin Glossaries, produces many passages expressive of the same idea.]

[^2: A splendid Ms. of Constantine, de Caeremoniis Aulae et Ecclesiae Byzantinae, wandered from Constantinople to Buda, Frankfort, and Leipsic, where it was published in a splendid edition by Leich and Reiske, (A.D. 1751, in folio,) with such lavish praise as editors never fail to bestow on the worthy or worthless object of their toil.]

[^3: See, in the first volume of Banduri's Imperium Orientale, Constantinus de Thematibus, p. 1—24, de Administrando Imperio, p. 45—127, edit. Venet. The text of the old edition of Meursius is corrected from a Ms. of the royal library of Paris, which Isaac Casaubon had formerly seen, (Epist. ad Polybium, p. 10,) and the sense is illustrated by two maps of William Deslisle, the prince of geographers till the appearance of the greater D'Anville.]

[^4: The Tactics of Leo and Constantine are published with the aid of some new Mss. in the great edition of the works of Meursius, by the learned John Lami, (tom. vi. p. 531—920, 1211—1417, Florent. 1745,) yet the text is still corrupt and mutilated, the version is still obscure and faulty. The Imperial library of Vienna would afford some valuable materials to a new editor, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 369, 370.)]

[^5: On the subject of the Basilics, Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. tom. xii. p. 425—514,) and Heineccius, (Hist. Juris Romani, p. 396—399,) and Giannone, (Istoria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 450—458,) as historical civilians, may be usefully consulted: xli. books of this Greek code have been published, with a Latin version, by Charles Annibal Frabrottus, (Paris, 1647,) in seven tomes in folio; iv. other books have been since discovered, and are inserted in Gerard Meerman's Novus Thesaurus Juris Civ. et Canon. tom. v. Of the whole work, the sixty books, John Leunclavius has printed, (Basil, 1575,) an eclogue or synopsis. The cxiii. novels, or new laws, of Leo, may be found in the Corpus Juris Civilis.]

[^6: I have used the last and best edition of the Geoponics, (by Nicolas Niclas, Leipsic, 1781, 2 vols. in octavo.) I read in the preface, that the same emperor restored the long-forgotten systems of rhetoric and philosophy; and his two books of Hippiatrica, or Horse-physic, were published at Paris, 1530, in folio, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 493—500.)]

[^7: Of these LIII. books, or titles, only two have been preserved and printed, de Legationibus (by Fulvius Ursinus, Antwerp, 1582, and Daniel Hoeschelius, August. Vindel. 1603) and de Virtutibus et Vitiis, (by Henry Valesius, or de Valois, Paris, 1634.)]

A closer survey will indeed reduce the value of the gift, and the gratitude of posterity: in the possession of these Imperial treasures we may still deplore our poverty and ignorance; and the fading glories of their authors will be obliterated by indifference or contempt. The Basilics will sink to a broken copy, a partial and mutilated version, in the Greek language, of the laws of Justinian; but the sense of the old civilians is often superseded by the influence of bigotry: and the absolute prohibition of divorce, concubinage, and interest for money, enslaves the freedom of trade and the happiness of private life. In the historical book, a subject of Constantine might admire the inimitable virtues of Greece and Rome: he might learn to what a pitch of energy and elevation the human character had formerly aspired. But a contrary effect must have been produced by a new edition of the lives of the saints, which the great logothete, or chancellor of the empire, was directed to prepare; and the dark fund of superstition was enriched by the fabulous and florid legends of Simon the Metaphrast.^8 The merits and miracles of the whole calendar are of less account in the eyes of a sage, than the toil of a single husbandman, who multiplies the gifts of the Creator, and supplies the food of his brethren. Yet the royal authors of the Geoponics were more seriously employed in expounding the precepts of the destroying art, which had been taught since the days of Xenophon,^9 as the art of heroes and kings. But the Tactics of Leo and Constantine are mingled with the baser alloy of the age in which they lived. It was destitute of original genius; they implicitly transcribe the rules and maxims which had been confirmed by victories. It was unskilled in the propriety of style and method; they blindly confound the most distant and discordant institutions, the phalanx of Sparta and that of Macedon, the legions of Cato and Trajan, of Augustus and Theodosius. Even the use, or at least the importance, of these military rudiments may be fairly questioned: their general theory is dictated by reason; but the merit, as well as difficulty, consists in the application. The discipline of a soldier is formed by exercise rather than by study: the talents of a commander are appropriated to those calm, though rapid, minds, which nature produces to decide the fate of armies and nations: the former is the habit of a life, the latter the glance of a moment; and the battles won by lessons of tactics may be numbered with the epic poems created from the rules of criticism. The book of ceremonies is a recital, tedious yet imperfect, of the despicable pageantry which had infected the church and state since the gradual decay of the purity of the one and the power of the other. A review of the themes or provinces might promise such authentic and useful information, as the curiosity of government only can obtain, instead of traditionary fables on the origin of the cities, and malicious epigrams on the vices of their inhabitants.^10 Such information the historian would have been pleased to record; nor should his silence be condemned if the most interesting objects, the population of the capital and provinces, the amount of the taxes and revenues, the numbers of subjects and strangers who served under the Imperial standard, have been unnoticed by Leo the philosopher, and his son Constantine. His treatise of the public administration is stained with the same blemishes; yet it is discriminated by peculiar merit; the antiquities of the nations may be doubtful or fabulous; but the geography and manners of the Barbaric world are delineated with curious accuracy. Of these nations, the Franks alone were qualified to observe in their turn, and to describe, the metropolis of the East. The ambassador of the great Otho, a bishop of Cremona, has painted the state of Constantinople about the middle of the tenth century: his style is glowing, his narrative lively, his observation keen; and even the prejudices and passions of Liutprand are stamped with an original character of freedom and genius.^11 From this scanty fund of foreign and domestic materials, I shall investigate the form and substance of the Byzantine empire; the provinces and wealth, the civil government and military force, the character and literature, of the Greeks in a period of six hundred years, from the reign of Heraclius to his successful invasion of the Franks or Latins.

[^8: The life and writings of Simon Metaphrastes are described by Hankius, (de Scriptoribus Byzant. p. 418—460.) This biographer of the saints indulged himself in a loose paraphrase of the sense or nonsense of more ancient acts. His Greek rhetoric is again paraphrased in the Latin version of Surius, and scarcely a thread can be now visible of the original texture.]

[^9: According to the first book of the Cyropaedia, professors of tactics, a small part of the science of war, were already instituted in Persia, by which Greece must be understood.

A good edition of all the Scriptores Tactici would be a task not unworthy of a scholar. His industry might discover some new Mss., and his learning might illustrate the military history of the ancients. But this scholar should be likewise a soldier; and alas! Quintus Icilius is no more.
Note: M. Guichardt, author of Memoires Militaires sur les Grecs et sur les Romains. See Gibbon's Extraits Raisonnees de mes Lectures, Misc. Works vol. v. p. 219.—M.]

[^10: After observing that the demerit of the Cappadocians rose in proportion to their rank and riches, he inserts a more pointed epigram, which is ascribed to Demodocus.

The sting is precisely the same with the French epigram against Freron: Un serpent mordit Jean Freron—Eh bien? Le serpent en mourut. But as the Paris wits are seldom read in the Anthology, I should be curious to learn, through what channel it was conveyed for their imitation, (Constantin. Porphyrogen. de Themat. c. ii. Brunck Analect. Graec. tom. ii. p. 56. Brodaei Anthologia, l. ii. p. 244.)]

[^11: The Legatio Liutprandi Episcopi Cremonensis ad Nicephorum Phocam is inserted in Muratori, Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, tom. ii. pars i.]

After the final division between the sons of Theodosius, the swarms of Barbarians from Scythia and Germany over-spread the provinces and extinguished the empire of ancient Rome. The weakness of Constantinople was concealed by extent of dominion: her limits were inviolate, or at least entire; and the kingdom of Justinian was enlarged by the splendid acquisition of Africa and Italy. But the possession of these new conquests was transient and precarious; and almost a moiety of the Eastern empire was torn away by the arms of the Saracens. Syria and Egypt were oppressed by the Arabian caliphs; and, after the reduction of Africa, their lieutenants invaded and subdued the Roman province which had been changed into the Gothic monarchy of Spain. The islands of the Mediterranean were not inaccessible to their naval powers; and it was from their extreme stations, the harbors of Crete and the fortresses of Cilicia, that the faithful or rebel emirs insulted the majesty of the throne and capital. The remaining provinces, under the obedience of the emperors, were cast into a new mould; and the jurisdiction of the presidents, the consulars, and the counts were superseded by the institution of the themes,^12 or military governments, which prevailed under the successors of Heraclius, and are described by the pen of the royal author. Of the twenty-nine themes, twelve in Europe and seventeen in Asia, the origin is obscure, the etymology doubtful or capricious: the limits were arbitrary and fluctuating; but some particular names, that sound the most strangely to our ear, were derived from the character and attributes of the troops that were maintained at the expense, and for the guard, of the respective divisions. The vanity of the Greek princes most eagerly grasped the shadow of conquest and the memory of lost dominion. A new Mesopotamia was created on the western side of the Euphrates: the appellation and praetor of Sicily were transferred to a narrow slip of Calabria; and a fragment of the duchy of Beneventum was promoted to the style and title of the theme of Lombardy. In the decline of the Arabian empire, the successors of Constantine might indulge their pride in more solid advantages. The victories of Nicephorus, John Zimisces, and Basil the Second, revived the fame, and enlarged the boundaries, of the Roman name: the province of Cilicia, the metropolis of Antioch, the islands of Crete and Cyprus, were restored to the allegiance of Christ and Caesar: one third of Italy was annexed to the throne of Constantinople: the kingdom of Bulgaria was destroyed; and the last sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty extended their sway from the sources of the Tigris to the neighborhood of Rome. In the eleventh century, the prospect was again clouded by new enemies and new misfortunes: the relics of Italy were swept away by the Norman adventures; and almost all the Asiatic branches were dissevered from the Roman trunk by the Turkish conquerors. After these losses, the emperors of the Comnenian family continued to reign from the Danube to Peloponnesus, and from Belgrade to Nice, Trebizond, and the winding stream of the Meander. The spacious provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece, were obedient to their sceptre; the possession of Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete, was accompanied by the fifty islands of the Aegean or Holy Sea;^13 and the remnant of their empire transcends the measure of the largest of the European kingdoms.

[^12: See Constantine de Thematibus, in Banduri, tom. i. p. 1—30. It is used by Maurice (Strata gem. l. ii. c. 2) for a legion, from whence the name was easily transferred to its post or province, (Ducange, Gloss. Graec. tom. i. p. 487-488.) Some etymologies are attempted for the Opiscian, Optimatian, Thracesian, themes.]

[^13: It is styled by the modern Greeks, from which the corrupt names of Archipelago, l'Archipel, and the Arches, have been transformed by geographers and seamen, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 281. Analyse de la Carte de la Greece, p. 60.) The numbers of monks or caloyers in all the islands and the adjacent mountain of Athos, (Observations de Belon, fol. 32, verso,) monte santo, might justify the epithet of holy, a slight alteration from the original, imposed by the Dorians, who, in their dialect, gave the figurative name of goats, to the bounding waves, (Vossius, apud Cellarium, Geograph. Antiq. tom. i. p. 829.)]

The same princes might assert, with dignity and truth, that of all the monarchs of Christendom they possessed the greatest city,^14 the most ample revenue, the most flourishing and populous state. With the decline and fall of the empire, the cities of the West had decayed and fallen; nor could the ruins of Rome, or the mud walls, wooden hovels, and narrow precincts of Paris and London, prepare the Latin stranger to contemplate the situation and extent of Constantinople, her stately palaces and churches, and the arts and luxury of an innumerable people. Her treasures might attract, but her virgin strength had repelled, and still promised to repel, the audacious invasion of the Persian and Bulgarian, the Arab and the Russian. The provinces were less fortunate and impregnable; and few districts, few cities, could be discovered which had not been violated by some fierce Barbarian, impatient to despoil, because he was hopeless to possess. From the age of Justinian the Eastern empire was sinking below its former level; the powers of destruction were more active than those of improvement; and the calamities of war were imbittered by the more permanent evils of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny. The captive who had escaped from the Barbarians was often stripped and imprisoned by the ministers of his sovereign: the Greek superstition relaxed the mind by prayer, and emaciated the body by fasting; and the multitude of convents and festivals diverted many hands and many days from the temporal service of mankind. Yet the subjects of the Byzantine empire were still the most dexterous and diligent of nations; their country was blessed by nature with every advantage of soil, climate, and situation; and, in the support and restoration of the arts, their patient and peaceful temper was more useful than the warlike spirit and feudal anarchy of Europe. The provinces that still adhered to the empire were repeopled and enriched by the misfortunes of those which were irrecoverably lost. From the yoke of the caliphs, the Catholics of Syria, Egypt, and Africa retired to the allegiance of their prince, to the society of their brethren: the movable wealth, which eludes the search of oppression, accompanied and alleviated their exile, and Constantinople received into her bosom the fugitive trade of Alexandria and Tyre. The chiefs of Armenia and Scythia, who fled from hostile or religious persecution, were hospitably entertained: their followers were encouraged to build new cities and to cultivate waste lands; and many spots, both in Europe and Asia, preserved the name, the manners, or at least the memory, of these national colonies. Even the tribes of Barbarians, who had seated themselves in arms on the territory of the empire, were gradually reclaimed to the laws of the church and state; and as long as they were separated from the Greeks, their posterity supplied a race of faithful and obedient soldiers. Did we possess sufficient materials to survey the twenty-nine themes of the Byzantine monarchy, our curiosity might be satisfied with a chosen example: it is fortunate enough that the clearest light should be thrown on the most interesting province, and the name of Peloponnesus will awaken the attention of the classic reader.

[^14: According to the Jewish traveller who had visited Europe and Asia, Constantinople was equalled only by Bagdad, the great city of the Ismaelites, (Voyage de Benjamin de Tudele, par Baratier, tom. l. c. v. p. 46.)]

As early as the eighth century, in the troubled reign of the Iconoclasts, Greece, and even Peloponnesus,^15 were overrun by some Sclavonian bands who outstripped the royal standard of Bulgaria. The strangers of old, Cadmus, and Danaus, and Pelops, had planted in that fruitful soil the seeds of policy and learning; but the savages of the north eradicated what yet remained of their sickly and withered roots. In this irruption, the country and the inhabitants were transformed; the Grecian blood was contaminated; and the proudest nobles of Peloponnesus were branded with the names of foreigners and slaves. By the diligence of succeeding princes, the land was in some measure purified from the Barbarians; and the humble remnant was bound by an oath of obedience, tribute, and military service, which they often renewed and often violated. The siege of Patras was formed by a singular concurrence of the Sclavonians of Peloponnesus and the Saracens of Africa. In their last distress, a pious fiction of the approach of the praetor of Corinth revived the courage of the citizens. Their sally was bold and successful; the strangers embarked, the rebels submitted, and the glory of the day was ascribed to a phantom or a stranger, who fought in the foremost ranks under the character of St. Andrew the Apostle. The shrine which contained his relics was decorated with the trophies of victory, and the captive race was forever devoted to the service and vassalage of the metropolitan church of Patras. By the revolt of two Sclavonian tribes, in the neighborhood of Helos and Lacedaemon, the peace of the peninsula was often disturbed. They sometimes insulted the weakness, and sometimes resisted the oppression, of the Byzantine government, till at length the approach of their hostile brethren extorted a golden bull to define the rites and obligations of the Ezzerites and Milengi, whose annual tribute was defined at twelve hundred pieces of gold. From these strangers the Imperial geographer has accurately distinguished a domestic, and perhaps original, race, who, in some degree, might derive their blood from the much-injured Helots. The liberality of the Romans, and especially of Augustus, had enfranchised the maritime cities from the dominion of Sparta; and the continuance of the same benefit ennobled them with the title of Eleuthero, or Free-Laconians.^16 In the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, they had acquired the name of Mainotes, under which they dishonor the claim of liberty by the inhuman pillage of all that is shipwrecked on their rocky shores. Their territory, barren of corn, but fruitful of olives, extended to the Cape of Malea: they accepted a chief or prince from the Byzantine praetor, and a light tribute of four hundred pieces of gold was the badge of their immunity, rather than of their dependence. The freemen of Laconia assumed the character of Romans, and long adhered to the religion of the Greeks. By the zeal of the emperor Basil, they were baptized in the faith of Christ: but the altars of Venus and Neptune had been crowned by these rustic votaries five hundred years after they were proscribed in the Roman world. In the theme of Peloponnesus,^17 forty cities were still numbered, and the declining state of Sparta, Argos, and Corinth, may be suspended in the tenth century, at an equal distance, perhaps, between their antique splendor and their present desolation. The duty of military service, either in person or by substitute, was imposed on the lands or benefices of the province; a sum of five pieces of gold was assessed on each of the substantial tenants; and the same capitation was shared among several heads of inferior value. On the proclamation of an Italian war, the Peloponnesians excused themselves by a voluntary oblation of one hundred pounds of gold, (four thousand pounds sterling,) and a thousand horses with their arms and trappings. The churches and monasteries furnished their contingent; a sacrilegious profit was extorted from the sale of ecclesiastical honors; and the indigent bishop of Leucadia^18 was made responsible for a pension of one hundred pieces of gold. ^19

[^15: Says Constantine, (Thematibus, l. ii. c. vi. p. 25,) in a style as barbarous as the idea, which he confirms, as usual, by a foolish epigram. The epitomizer of Strabo likewise observes, (l. vii. p. 98, edit. Hudson. edit. Casaub. 1251;) a passage which leads Dodwell a weary dance (Geograph, Minor. tom. ii. dissert. vi. p. 170—191) to enumerate the inroads of the Sclavi, and to fix the date (A.D. 980) of this petty geographer.]

[^16: Strabon. Geograph. l. viii. p. 562. Pausanius, Graec. Descriptio, l. c 21, p. 264, 265. Pliny, Hist. Natur. l. iv. c. 8.]

[^17: Constantin. de Administrando Imperio, l. ii. c. 50, 51, 52.]

[^18: The rock of Leucate was the southern promontory of his island and diocese. Had he been the exclusive guardian of the Lover's Leap so well known to the readers of Ovid (Epist. Sappho) and the Spectator, he might have been the richest prelate of the Greek church.]

[^19: Leucatensis mihi juravit episcopus, quotannis ecclesiam suam debere Nicephoro aureos centum persolvere, similiter et ceteras plus minusve secundum vires suos, (Liutprand in Legat. p. 489.)]

But the wealth of the province, and the trust of the revenue, were founded on the fair and plentiful produce of trade and manufacturers; and some symptoms of liberal policy may be traced in a law which exempts from all personal taxes the mariners of Peloponnesus, and the workmen in parchment and purple. This denomination may be fairly applied or extended to the manufacturers of linen, woollen, and more especially of silk: the two former of which had flourished in Greece since the days of Homer; and the last was introduced perhaps as early as the reign of Justinian. These arts, which were exercised at Corinth, Thebes, and Argos, afforded food and occupation to a numerous people: the men, women, and children were distributed according to their age and strength; and, if many of these were domestic slaves, their masters, who directed the work and enjoyed the profit, were of a free and honorable condition. The gifts which a rich and generous matron of Peloponnesus presented to the emperor Basil, her adopted son, were doubtless fabricated in the Grecian looms. Danielis bestowed a carpet of fine wool, of a pattern which imitated the spots of a peacock's tail, of a magnitude to overspread the floor of a new church, erected in the triple name of Christ, of Michael the archangel, and of the prophet Elijah. She gave six hundred pieces of silk and linen, of various use and denomination: the silk was painted with the Tyrian dye, and adorned by the labors of the needle; and the linen was so exquisitely fine, that an entire piece might be rolled in the hollow of a cane.^20 In his description of the Greek manufactures, an historian of Sicily discriminates their price, according to the weight and quality of the silk, the closeness of the texture, the beauty of the colors, and the taste and materials of the embroidery. A single, or even a double or treble thread was thought sufficient for ordinary sale; but the union of six threads composed a piece of stronger and more costly workmanship. Among the colors, he celebrates, with affectation of eloquence, the fiery blaze of the scarlet, and the softer lustre of the green. The embroidery was raised either in silk or gold: the more simple ornament of stripes or circles was surpassed by the nicer imitation of flowers: the vestments that were fabricated for the palace or the altar often glittered with precious stones; and the figures were delineated in strings of Oriental pearls.^21 Till the twelfth century, Greece alone, of all the countries of Christendom, was possessed of the insect who is taught by nature, and of the workmen who are instructed by art, to prepare this elegant luxury. But the secret had been stolen by the dexterity and diligence of the Arabs: the caliphs of the East and West scorned to borrow from the unbelievers their furniture and apparel; and two cities of Spain, Almeria and Lisbon, were famous for the manufacture, the use, and, perhaps, the exportation, of silk. It was first introduced into Sicily by the Normans; and this emigration of trade distinguishes the victory of Roger from the uniform and fruitless hostilities of every age. After the sack of Corinth, Athens, and Thebes, his lieutenant embarked with a captive train of weavers and artificers of both sexes, a trophy glorious to their master, and disgraceful to the Greek emperor.^22 The king of Sicily was not insensible of the value of the present; and, in the restitution of the prisoners, he excepted only the male and female manufacturers of Thebes and Corinth, who labor, says the Byzantine historian, under a barbarous lord, like the old Eretrians in the service of Darius.^23 A stately edifice, in the palace of Palermo, was erected for the use of this industrious colony;^24 and the art was propagated by their children and disciples to satisfy the increasing demand of the western world. The decay of the looms of Sicily may be ascribed to the troubles of the island, and the competition of the Italian cities. In the year thirteen hundred and fourteen, Lucca alone, among her sister republics, enjoyed the lucrative monopoly.^25 A domestic revolution dispersed the manufacturers to Florence, Bologna, Venice, Milan, and even the countries beyond the Alps; and thirteen years after this event the statutes of Modena enjoin the planting of mulberry-trees, and regulate the duties on raw silk. ^26 The northern climates are less propitious to the education of the silkworm; but the industry of France and England^27 is supplied and enriched by the productions of Italy and China.

[^20: See Constantine, (in Vit. Basil. c. 74, 75, 76, p. 195, 197, in Script. post Theophanem,) who allows himself to use many technical or barbarous words: barbarous, says he. Ducange labors on some: but he was not a weaver.]

[^21: The manufactures of Palermo, as they are described by Hugo Falcandus, (Hist. Sicula in proem. in Muratori Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. v. p. 256,) is a copy of those of Greece. Without transcribing his declamatory sentences, which I have softened in the text, I shall observe, that in this passage the strange word exarentasmata is very properly changed for exanthemata by Carisius, the first editor Falcandus lived about the year 1190.]

[^22: Inde ad interiora Graeciae progressi, Corinthum, Thebas, Athenas, antiqua nobilitate celebres, expugnant; et, maxima ibidem praeda direpta, opifices etiam, qui sericos pannos texere solent, ob ignominiam Imperatoris illius, suique principis gloriam, captivos deducunt. Quos Rogerius, in Palermo Siciliae, metropoli collocans, artem texendi suos edocere praecepit; et exhinc praedicta ars illa, prius a Graecis tantum inter Christianos habita, Romanis patere coepit ingeniis, (Otho Frisingen. de Gestis Frederici I. l. i. c. 33, in Muratori Script. Ital. tom. vi. p. 668.) This exception allows the bishop to celebrate Lisbon and Almeria in sericorum pannorum opificio praenobilissimae, (in Chron. apud Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. ix. p. 415.)]

[^23: Nicetas in Manuel, l. ii. c. 8. p. 65. He describes these Greeks as skilled.]

[^24: Hugo Falcandus styles them nobiles officinas. The Arabs had not introduced silk, though they had planted canes and made sugar in the plain of Palermo.]

[^25: See the Life of Castruccio Casticani, not by Machiavel, but by his more authentic biographer Nicholas Tegrimi.

Muratori, who has inserted it in the xith volume of his Scriptores, quotes this curious passage in his Italian Antiquities, (tom. i. dissert. xxv. p. 378.)]

[^26: From the Ms. statutes, as they are quoted by Muratori in his Italian Antiquities, (tom. ii. dissert. xxv. p. 46—48.)]

[^27: The broad silk manufacture was established in England in the year 1620, (Anderson's Chronological Deduction, vol. ii. p. 4: ) but it is to the revocation of the edict of Nantes that we owe the Spitalfields colony.]


I must repeat the complaint that the vague and scanty memorials of the times will not afford any just estimate of the taxes, the revenue, and the resources of the Greek empire. From every province of Europe and Asia the rivulets of gold and silver discharged into the Imperial reservoir a copious and perennial stream. The separation of the branches from the trunk increased the relative magnitude of Constantinople; and the maxims of despotism contracted the state to the capital, the capital to the palace, and the palace to the royal person. A Jewish traveller, who visited the East in the twelfth century, is lost in his admiration of the Byzantine riches. "It is here," says Benjamin of Tudela, "in the queen of cities, that the tributes of the Greek empire are annually deposited and the lofty towers are filled with precious magazines of silk, purple, and gold. It is said, that Constantinople pays each day to her sovereign twenty thousand pieces of gold; which are levied on the shops, taverns, and markets, on the merchants of Persia and Egypt, of Russia and Hungary, of Italy and Spain, who frequent the capital by sea and land."^28 In all pecuniary matters, the authority of a Jew is doubtless respectable; but as the three hundred and sixty-five days would produce a yearly income exceeding seven millions sterling, I am tempted to retrench at least the numerous festivals of the Greek calendar. The mass of treasure that was saved by Theodora and Basil the Second will suggest a splendid, though indefinite, idea of their supplies and resources. The mother of Michael, before she retired to a cloister, attempted to check or expose the prodigality of her ungrateful son, by a free and faithful account of the wealth which he inherited; one hundred and nine thousand pounds of gold, and three hundred thousand of silver, the fruits of her own economy and that of her deceased husband.^29 The avarice of Basil is not less renowned than his valor and fortune: his victorious armies were paid and rewarded without breaking into the mass of two hundred thousand pounds of gold, (about eight millions sterling,) which he had buried in the subterraneous vaults of the palace.^30 Such accumulation of treasure is rejected by the theory and practice of modern policy; and we are more apt to compute the national riches by the use and abuse of the public credit. Yet the maxims of antiquity are still embraced by a monarch formidable to his enemies; by a republic respectable to her allies; and both have attained their respective ends of military power and domestic tranquillity.

[^28: Voyage de Benjamin de Tudele, tom. i. c. 5, p. 44 - 52. The Hebrew text has been translated into French by that marvellous child Baratier, who has added a volume of crude learning. The errors and fictions of the Jewish rabbi are not a sufficient ground to deny the reality of his travels.
Note: I am inclined, with Buegnot (Les Juifs d'Occident, part iii. p. 101 et seqq.) and Jost (Geschichte der Israeliter, vol. vi. anhang. p. 376) to consider this work a mere compilation, and to doubt the reality of the travels.—M.]

[^29: See the continuator of Theophanes, (l. iv. p. 107,) Cedremis, (p. 544,) and Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 157.)]

[^30: Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xvii. p. 225,) instead of pounds, uses the more classic appellation of talents, which, in a literal sense and strict computation, would multiply sixty fold the treasure of Basil.]

Whatever might be consumed for the present wants, or reserved for the future use, of the state, the first and most sacred demand was for the pomp and pleasure of the emperor, and his discretion only could define the measure of his private expense. The princes of Constantinople were far removed from the simplicity of nature; yet, with the revolving seasons, they were led by taste or fashion to withdraw to a purer air, from the smoke and tumult of the capital. They enjoyed, or affected to enjoy, the rustic festival of the vintage: their leisure was amused by the exercise of the chase and the calmer occupation of fishing, and in the summer heats, they were shaded from the sun, and refreshed by the cooling breezes from the sea. The coasts and islands of Asia and Europe were covered with their magnificent villas; but, instead of the modest art which secretly strives to hide itself and to decorate the scenery of nature, the marble structure of their gardens served only to expose the riches of the lord, and the labors of the architect. The successive casualties of inheritance and forfeiture had rendered the sovereign proprietor of many stately houses in the city and suburbs, of which twelve were appropriated to the ministers of state; but the great palace,^31 the centre of the Imperial residence, was fixed during eleven centuries to the same position, between the hippodrome, the cathedral of St. Sophia, and the gardens, which descended by many a terrace to the shores of the Propontis. The primitive edifice of the first Constantine was a copy, or rival, of ancient Rome; the gradual improvements of his successors aspired to emulate the wonders of the old world,^32 and in the tenth century, the Byzantine palace excited the admiration, at least of the Latins, by an unquestionable preeminence of strength, size, and magnificence.^33 But the toil and treasure of so many ages had produced a vast and irregular pile: each separate building was marked with the character of the times and of the founder; and the want of space might excuse the reigning monarch, who demolished, perhaps with secret satisfaction, the works of his predecessors. The economy of the emperor Theophilus allowed a more free and ample scope for his domestic luxury and splendor. A favorite ambassador, who had astonished the Abbassides themselves by his pride and liberality, presented on his return the model of a palace, which the caliph of Bagdad had recently constructed on the banks of the Tigris. The model was instantly copied and surpassed: the new buildings of Theophilus^34 were accompanied with gardens, and with five churches, one of which was conspicuous for size and beauty: it was crowned with three domes, the roof of gilt brass reposed on columns of Italian marble, and the walls were incrusted with marbles of various colors. In the face of the church, a semicircular portico, of the figure and name of the Greek sigma, was supported by fifteen columns of Phrygian marble, and the subterraneous vaults were of a similar construction. The square before the sigma was decorated with a fountain, and the margin of the basin was lined and encompassed with plates of silver. In the beginning of each season, the basin, instead of water, was replenished with the most exquisite fruits, which were abandoned to the populace for the entertainment of the prince. He enjoyed this tumultuous spectacle from a throne resplendent with gold and gems, which was raised by a marble staircase to the height of a lofty terrace. Below the throne were seated the officers of his guards, the magistrates, the chiefs of the factions of the circus; the inferior steps were occupied by the people, and the place below was covered with troops of dancers, singers, and pantomimes. The square was surrounded by the hall of justice, the arsenal, and the various offices of business and pleasure; and the purple chamber was named from the annual distribution of robes of scarlet and purple by the hand of the empress herself. The long series of the apartments was adapted to the seasons, and decorated with marble and porphyry, with painting, sculpture, and mosaics, with a profusion of gold, silver, and precious stones. His fanciful magnificence employed the skill and patience of such artists as the times could afford: but the taste of Athens would have despised their frivolous and costly labors; a golden tree, with its leaves and branches, which sheltered a multitude of birds warbling their artificial notes, and two lions of massy gold, and of natural size, who looked and roared like their brethren of the forest. The successors of Theophilus, of the Basilian and Comnenian dynasties, were not less ambitious of leaving some memorial of their residence; and the portion of the palace most splendid and august was dignified with the title of the golden triclinium.^35 With becoming modesty, the rich and noble Greeks aspired to imitate their sovereign, and when they passed through the streets on horseback, in their robes of silk and embroidery, they were mistaken by the children for kings.^36 A matron of Peloponnesus,^37 who had cherished the infant fortunes of Basil the Macedonian, was excited by tenderness or vanity to visit the greatness of her adopted son. In a journey of five hundred miles from Patras to Constantinople, her age or indolence declined the fatigue of a horse or carriage: the soft litter or bed of Danielis was transported on the shoulders of ten robust slaves; and as they were relieved at easy distances, a band of three hundred were selected for the performance of this service. She was entertained in the Byzantine palace with filial reverence, and the honors of a queen; and whatever might be the origin of her wealth, her gifts were not unworthy of the regal dignity. I have already described the fine and curious manufactures of Peloponnesus, of linen, silk, and woollen; but the most acceptable of her presents consisted in three hundred beautiful youths, of whom one hundred were eunuchs;^38 "for she was not ignorant," says the historian, "that the air of the palace is more congenial to such insects, than a shepherd's dairy to the flies of the summer." During her lifetime, she bestowed the greater part of her estates in Peloponnesus, and her testament instituted Leo, the son of Basil, her universal heir. After the payment of the legacies, fourscore villas or farms were added to the Imperial domain; and three thousand slaves of Danielis were enfranchised by their new lord, and transplanted as a colony to the Italian coast. From this example of a private matron, we may estimate the wealth and magnificence of the emperors. Yet our enjoyments are confined by a narrow circle; and, whatsoever may be its value, the luxury of life is possessed with more innocence and safety by the master of his own, than by the steward of the public, fortune.

[^31: For a copious and minute description of the Imperial palace, see the Constantinop. Christiana (l. ii. c. 4, p. 113—123) of Ducange, the Tillemont of the middle ages. Never has laborious Germany produced two antiquarians more laborious and accurate than these two natives of lively France.]

[^32: The Byzantine palace surpasses the Capitol, the palace of Pergamus, the Rufinian wood, the temple of Adrian at Cyzicus, the pyramids, the Pharus, etc., according to an epigram (Antholog. Graec. l. iv. p. 488, 489. Brodaei, apud Wechel) ascribed to Julian, ex-praefect of Egypt. Seventy-one of his epigrams, some lively, are collected in Brunck, (Analect. Graec. tom. ii. p. 493—510; but this is wanting.]

[^33: Constantinopolitanum Palatium non pulchritudine solum, verum stiam fortitudine, omnibus quas unquam videram munitionibus praestat, (Liutprand, Hist. l. v. c. 9, p. 465.)]

[^34: See the anonymous continuator of Theophanes, (p. 59, 61, 86,) whom I have followed in the neat and concise abstract of Le Beau, (Hint. du Bas Empire, tom. xiv. p. 436, 438.)]

[^35: In aureo triclinio quae praestantior est pars potentissimus (the usurper Romanus) degens caeteras partes (filiis) distribuerat, (Liutprand. Hist. l. v. c. 9, p. 469.) For this last signification of Triclinium see Ducange (Gloss. Graec. et Observations sur Joinville, p. 240) and Reiske, (ad Constantinum de Ceremoniis, p. 7.)]

[^36: In equis vecti (says Benjamin of Tudela) regum filiis videntur persimiles. I prefer the Latin version of Constantine l'Empereur (p. 46) to the French of Baratier, (tom. i. p. 49.)]

[^37: See the account of her journey, munificence, and testament, in the life of Basil, by his grandson Constantine, (p. 74, 75, 76, p. 195—197.)]

[^38: Carsamatium. Graeci vocant, amputatis virilibus et virga, puerum eunuchum quos Verdunenses mercatores obinmensum lucrum facere solent et in Hispaniam ducere, (Liutprand, l. vi. c. 3, p. 470.)—The last abomination of the abominable slave-trade! Yet I am surprised to find, in the xth century, such active speculations of commerce in Lorraine.]

In an absolute government, which levels the distinctions of noble and plebeian birth, the sovereign is the sole fountain of honor; and the rank, both in the palace and the empire, depends on the titles and offices which are bestowed and resumed by his arbitrary will. Above a thousand years, from Vespasian to Alexius Comnenus,^39 the Caesar was the second person, or at least the second degree, after the supreme title of Augustus was more freely communicated to the sons and brothers of the reigning monarch. To elude without violating his promise to a powerful associate, the husband of his sister, and, without giving himself an equal, to reward the piety of his brother Isaac, the crafty Alexius interposed a new and supereminent dignity. The happy flexibility of the Greek tongue allowed him to compound the names of Augustus and Emperor (Sebastos and Autocrator,) and the union produces the sonorous title of Sebastocrator. He was exalted above the Caesar on the first step of the throne: the public acclamations repeated his name; and he was only distinguished from the sovereign by some peculiar ornaments of the head and feet. The emperor alone could assume the purple or red buskins, and the close diadem or tiara, which imitated the fashion of the Persian kings.^40 It was a high pyramidal cap of cloth or silk, almost concealed by a profusion of pearls and jewels: the crown was formed by a horizontal circle and two arches of gold: at the summit, the point of their intersection, was placed a globe or cross, and two strings or lappets of pearl depended on either cheek. Instead of red, the buskins of the Sebastocrator and Caesar were green; and on their open coronets or crowns, the precious gems were more sparingly distributed. Beside and below the Caesar the fancy of Alexius created the Panhypersebastos and the Protosebastos, whose sound and signification will satisfy a Grecian ear. They imply a superiority and a priority above the simple name of Augustus; and this sacred and primitive title of the Roman prince was degraded to the kinsmen and servants of the Byzantine court. The daughter of Alexius applauds, with fond complacency, this artful gradation of hopes and honors; but the science of words is accessible to the meanest capacity; and this vain dictionary was easily enriched by the pride of his successors. To their favorite sons or brothers, they imparted the more lofty appellation of Lord or Despot, which was illustrated with new ornaments, and prerogatives, and placed immediately after the person of the emperor himself. The five titles of, 1. Despot; 2. Sebastocrator; 3. Caesar; 4. Panhypersebastos; and, 5. Protosebastos; were usually confined to the princes of his blood: they were the emanations of his majesty; but as they exercised no regular functions, their existence was useless, and their authority precarious.

[^39: See the Alexiad (l. iii. p. 78, 79) of Anna Comnena, who, except in filial piety, may be compared to Mademoiselle de Montpensier. In her awful reverence for titles and forms, she styles her father, the inventor of this royal art.]

[^40: See Reiske, and Ceremoniale, p. 14, 15. Ducange has given a learned dissertation on the crowns of Constantinople, Rome, France, etc., (sur Joinville, xxv. p. 289—303;) but of his thirty-four models, none exactly tally with Anne's description.]

But in every monarchy the substantial powers of government must be divided and exercised by the ministers of the palace and treasury, the fleet and army. The titles alone can differ; and in the revolution of ages, the counts and praefects, the praetor and quaestor, insensibly descended, while their servants rose above their heads to the first honors of the state. 1. In a monarchy, which refers every object to the person of the prince, the care and ceremonies of the palace form the most respectable department. The Curopalata,^41 so illustrious in the age of Justinian, was supplanted by the Protovestiare, whose primitive functions were limited to the custody of the wardrobe. From thence his jurisdiction was extended over the numerous menials of pomp and luxury; and he presided with his silver wand at the public and private audience. 2. In the ancient system of Constantine, the name of Logothete, or accountant, was applied to the receivers of the finances: the principal officers were distinguished as the Logothetes of the domain, of the posts, the army, the private and public treasure; and the great Logothete, the supreme guardian of the laws and revenues, is compared with the chancellor of the Latin monarchies.^42 His discerning eye pervaded the civil administration; and he was assisted, in due subordination, by the eparch or praefect of the city, the first secretary, and the keepers of the privy seal, the archives, and the red or purple ink which was reserved for the sacred signature of the emperor alone.^43 The introductor and interpreter of foreign ambassadors were the great Chiauss^44 and the Dragoman, ^45 two names of Turkish origin, and which are still familiar to the Sublime Porte. 3. From the humble style and service of guards, the Domestics insensibly rose to the station of generals; the military themes of the East and West, the legions of Europe and Asia, were often divided, till the great Domestic was finally invested with the universal and absolute command of the land forces. The Protostrator, in his original functions, was the assistant of the emperor when he mounted on horseback: he gradually became the lieutenant of the great Domestic in the field; and his jurisdiction extended over the stables, the cavalry, and the royal train of hunting and hawking. The Stratopedarch was the great judge of the camp: the Protospathaire commanded the guards; the Constable,^46 the great Aeteriarch, and the Acolyth, were the separate chiefs of the Franks, the Barbarians, and the Varangi, or English, the mercenary strangers, who, a the decay of the national spirit, formed the nerve of the Byzantine armies. 4. The naval powers were under the command of the great Duke; in his absence they obeyed the great Drungaire of the fleet; and, in his place, the Emir, or Admiral, a name of Saracen extraction,^47 but which has been naturalized in all the modern languages of Europe. Of these officers, and of many more whom it would be useless to enumerate, the civil and military hierarchy was framed. Their honors and emoluments, their dress and titles, their mutual salutations and respective preeminence, were balanced with more exquisite labor than would have fixed the constitution of a free people; and the code was almost perfect when this baseless fabric, the monument of pride and servitude, was forever buried in the ruins of the empire.^48

[^41: Par exstans curis, solo diademate dispar, Ordine pro rerum vocitatus Cura-Palati,

says the African Corippus, (de Laudibus Justini, l. i. 136,) and in the same century (the vith) Cassiodorus represents him, who, virga aurea decoratus, inter numerosa obsequia primus ante pedes regis incederet (Variar. vii. 5.) But this great officer, (unknown,) exercising no function, was cast down by the modern Greeks to the xvth rank, (Codin. c. 5, p. 65.)]

[^42: Nicetas (in Manuel, l. vii. c. 1) defines him. Yet the epithet was added by the elder Andronicus, (Ducange, tom. i. p. 822, 823.)]

[^43: From Leo I. (A.D. 470) the Imperial ink, which is still visible on some original acts, was a mixture of vermilion and cinnabar, or purple. The emperor's guardians, who shared in this prerogative, always marked in green ink the indiction and the month. See the Dictionnaire Diplomatique, (tom. i. p. 511 - 513) a valuable abridgment.]

[^44: The sultan sent to Alexius, (Anna Comnena, l. vi. p. 170. Ducange ad loc.;) and Pachymer often speaks, (l. vii. c. 1, l. xii. c. 30, l. xiii. c. 22.) The Chiaoush basha is now at the head of 700 officers, (Rycaut's Ottoman Empire, p. 349, octavo edition.)]

[^45: Tagerman is the Arabic name of an interpreter, (D'Herbelot, p. 854, 855;), says Codinus, (c. v. No. 70, p. 67.) See Villehardouin, (No. 96,) Bus, (Epist. iv. p. 338,) and Ducange, (Observations sur Villehardouin, and Gloss. Graec. et Latin)]

[^46: A corruption from the Latin Comes stabuli, or the French Connetable. In a military sense, it was used by the Greeks in the eleventh century, at least as early as in France.]

[^47: It was directly borrowed from the Normans. In the xiith century, Giannone reckons the admiral of Sicily among the great officers.]

[^48: This sketch of honors and offices is drawn from George Cordinus Curopalata, who survived the taking of Constantinople by the Turks: his elaborate, though trifling, work (de Officiis Ecclesiae et Aulae C. P.) has been illustrated by the notes of Goar, and the three books of Gretser, a learned Jesuit.]


The most lofty titles, and the most humble postures, which devotion has applied to the Supreme Being, have been prostituted by flattery and fear to creatures of the same nature with ourselves. The mode of adoration,^49 of falling prostrate on the ground, and kissing the feet of the emperor, was borrowed by Diocletian from Persian servitude; but it was continued and aggravated till the last age of the Greek monarchy. Excepting only on Sundays, when it was waived, from a motive of religious pride, this humiliating reverence was exacted from all who entered the royal presence, from the princes invested with the diadem and purple, and from the ambassadors who represented their independent sovereigns, the caliphs of Asia, Egypt, or Spain, the kings of France and Italy, and the Latin emperors of ancient Rome. In his transactions of business, Liutprand, bishop of Cremona,^50 asserted the free spirit of a Frank and the dignity of his master Otho. Yet his sincerity cannot disguise the abasement of his first audience. When he approached the throne, the birds of the golden tree began to warble their notes, which were accompanied by the roarings of the two lions of gold. With his two companions Liutprand was compelled to bow and to fall prostrate; and thrice to touch the ground with his forehead. He arose, but in the short interval, the throne had been hoisted from the floor to the ceiling, the Imperial figure appeared in new and more gorgeous apparel, and the interview was concluded in haughty and majestic silence. In this honest and curious narrative, the Bishop of Cremona represents the ceremonies of the Byzantine court, which are still practised in the Sublime Porte, and which were preserved in the last age by the dukes of Muscovy or Russia. After a long journey by sea and land, from Venice to Constantinople, the ambassador halted at the golden gate, till he was conducted by the formal officers to the hospitable palace prepared for his reception; but this palace was a prison, and his jealous keepers prohibited all social intercourse either with strangers or natives. At his first audience, he offered the gifts of his master, slaves, and golden vases, and costly armor. The ostentatious payment of the officers and troops displayed before his eyes the riches of the empire: he was entertained at a royal banquet,^51 in which the ambassadors of the nations were marshalled by the esteem or contempt of the Greeks: from his own table, the emperor, as the most signal favor, sent the plates which he had tasted; and his favorites were dismissed with a robe of honor.^52 In the morning and evening of each day, his civil and military servants attended their duty in the palace; their labors were repaid by the sight, perhaps by the smile, of their lord; his commands were signified by a nod or a sign: but all earthly greatness stood silent and submissive in his presence. In his regular or extraordinary processions through the capital, he unveiled his person to the public view: the rites of policy were connected with those of religion, and his visits to the principal churches were regulated by the festivals of the Greek calendar. On the eve of these processions, the gracious or devout intention of the monarch was proclaimed by the heralds. The streets were cleared and purified; the pavement was strewed with flowers; the most precious furniture, the gold and silver plate, and silken hangings, were displayed from the windows and balconies, and a severe discipline restrained and silenced the tumult of the populace. The march was opened by the military officers at the head of their troops: they were followed in long order by the magistrates and ministers of the civil government: the person of the emperor was guarded by his eunuchs and domestics, and at the church door he was solemnly received by the patriarch and his clergy. The task of applause was not abandoned to the rude and spontaneous voices of the crowd. The most convenient stations were occupied by the bands of the blue and green factions of the circus; and their furious conflicts, which had shaken the capital, were insensibly sunk to an emulation of servitude. From either side they echoed in responsive melody the praises of the emperor; their poets and musicians directed the choir, and long life^53 and victory were the burden of every song. The same acclamations were performed at the audience, the banquet, and the church; and as an evidence of boundless sway, they were repeated in the Latin,^54 Gothic, Persian, French, and even English language,^55 by the mercenaries who sustained the real or fictitious character of those nations. By the pen of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, this science of form and flattery has been reduced into a pompous and trifling volume,^56 which the vanity of succeeding times might enrich with an ample supplement. Yet the calmer reflection of a prince would surely suggest that the same acclamations were applied to every character and every reign: and if he had risen from a private rank, he might remember, that his own voice had been the loudest and most eager in applause, at the very moment when he envied the fortune, or conspired against the life, of his predecessor.^57

[^49: The respectful salutation of carrying the hand to the mouth, ad os, is the root of the Latin word adoro, adorare. See our learned Selden, (vol. iii. p. 143—145, 942,) in his Titles of Honor. It seems, from the 1st book of Herodotus, to be of Persian origin.]

[^50: The two embassies of Liutprand to Constantinople, all that he saw or suffered in the Greek capital, are pleasantly described by himself (Hist. l. vi. c. 1—4, p. 469—471. Legatio ad Nicephorum Phocam, p. 479—489.)]

[^51: Among the amusements of the feast, a boy balanced, on his forehead, a pike, or pole, twenty-four feet long, with a cross bar of two cubits a little below the top. Two boys, naked, though cinctured, (campestrati,) together, and singly, climbed, stood, played, descended, etc., ita me stupidum reddidit: utrum mirabilius nescio, (p. 470.) At another repast a homily of Chrysostom on the Acts of the Apostles was read elata voce non Latine, (p. 483.)]

[^52: Gala is not improbably derived from Cala, or Caloat, in Arabic a robe of honor, (Reiske, Not. in Ceremon. p. 84.)]

[^53: It is explained, (Codin, c. 7. Ducange, Gloss. Graec. tom. i. p. 1199.)]

[^54: (Ceremon. c. 75, p. 215.) The want of the Latin 'V' obliged the Greeks to employ their 'beta'; nor do they regard quantity. Till he recollected the true language, these strange sentences might puzzle a professor.]

[^55: (Codin.p. 90.) I wish he had preserved the words, however corrupt, of their English acclamation.]

[^56: For all these ceremonies, see the professed work of Constantine Porphyrogenitus with the notes, or rather dissertations, of his German editors, Leich and Reiske. For the rank of standing courtiers, p. 80, not. 23, 62; for the adoration, except on Sundays, p. 95, 240, not. 131; the processions, p. 2, etc., not. p. 3, etc.; the acclamations passim not. 25 etc.; the factions and Hippodrome, p. 177—214, not. 9, 93, etc.; the Gothic games, p. 221, not. 111; vintage, p. 217, not 109: much more information is scattered over the work.]

[^57: Et privato Othoni et nuper eadem dicenti nota adulatio, (Tacit. Hist. 1,85.)]

The princes of the North, of the nations, says Constantine, without faith or fame, were ambitious of mingling their blood with the blood of the Caesars, by their marriage with a royal virgin, or by the nuptials of their daughters with a Roman prince.^58 The aged monarch, in his instructions to his son, reveals the secret maxims of policy and pride; and suggests the most decent reasons for refusing these insolent and unreasonable demands. Every animal, says the discreet emperor, is prompted by the distinction of language, religion, and manners. A just regard to the purity of descent preserves the harmony of public and private life; but the mixture of foreign blood is the fruitful source of disorder and discord. Such had ever been the opinion and practice of the sage Romans: their jurisprudence proscribed the marriage of a citizen and a stranger: in the days of freedom and virtue, a senator would have scorned to match his daughter with a king: the glory of Mark Antony was sullied by an Egyptian wife:^59 and the emperor Titus was compelled, by popular censure, to dismiss with reluctance the reluctant Berenice.^60 This perpetual interdict was ratified by the fabulous sanction of the great Constantine. The ambassadors of the nations, more especially of the unbelieving nations, were solemnly admonished, that such strange alliances had been condemned by the founder of the church and city. The irrevocable law was inscribed on the altar of St. Sophia; and the impious prince who should stain the majesty of the purple was excluded from the civil and ecclesiastical communion of the Romans. If the ambassadors were instructed by any false brethren in the Byzantine history, they might produce three memorable examples of the violation of this imaginary law: the marriage of Leo, or rather of his father Constantine the Fourth, with the daughter of the king of the Chozars, the nuptials of the granddaughter of Romanus with a Bulgarian prince, and the union of Bertha of France or Italy with young Romanus, the son of Constantine Porphyrogenitus himself. To these objections three answers were prepared, which solved the difficulty and established the law. I.

The deed and the guilt of Constantine Copronymus were acknowledged. The Isaurian heretic, who sullied the baptismal font, and declared war against the holy images, had indeed embraced a Barbarian wife. By this impious alliance he accomplished the measure of his crimes, and was devoted to the just censure of the church and of posterity. II. Romanus could not be alleged as a legitimate emperor; he was a plebeian usurper, ignorant of the laws, and regardless of the honor, of the monarchy. His son Christopher, the father of the bride, was the third in rank in the college of princes, at once the subject and the accomplice of a rebellious parent. The Bulgarians were sincere and devout Christians; and the safety of the empire, with the redemption of many thousand captives, depended on this preposterous alliance. Yet no consideration could dispense from the law of Constantine: the clergy, the senate, and the people, disapproved the conduct of Romanus; and he was reproached, both in his life and death, as the author of the public disgrace. III. For the marriage of his own son with the daughter of Hugo, king of Italy, a more honorable defence is contrived by the wise Porphyrogenitus. Constantine, the great and holy, esteemed the fidelity and valor of the Franks;^61 and his prophetic spirit beheld the vision of their future greatness. They alone were excepted from the general prohibition: Hugo, king of France, was the lineal descendant of Charlemagne;^62 and his daughter Bertha inherited the prerogatives of her family and nation. The voice of truth and malice insensibly betrayed the fraud or error of the Imperial court. The patrimonial estate of Hugo was reduced from the monarchy of France to the simple county of Arles; though it was not denied, that, in the confusion of the times, he had usurped the sovereignty of Provence, and invaded the kingdom of Italy. His father was a private noble; and if Bertha derived her female descent from the Carlovingian line, every step was polluted with illegitimacy or vice. The grandmother of Hugo was the famous Valdrada, the concubine, rather than the wife, of the second Lothair; whose adultery, divorce, and second nuptials, had provoked against him the thunders of the Vatican. His mother, as she was styled, the great Bertha, was successively the wife of the count of Arles and of the marquis of Tuscany: France and Italy were scandalized by her gallantries; and, till the age of threescore, her lovers, of every degree, were the zealous servants of her ambition. The example of maternal incontinence was copied by the king of Italy; and the three favorite concubines of Hugo were decorated with the classic names of Venus, Juno, and Semele.^63 The daughter of Venus was granted to the solicitations of the Byzantine court: her name of Bertha was changed to that of Eudoxia; and she was wedded, or rather betrothed, to young Romanus, the future heir of the empire of the East. The consummation of this foreign alliance was suspended by the tender age of the two parties; and, at the end of five years, the union was dissolved by the death of the virgin spouse. The second wife of the emperor Romanus was a maiden of plebeian, but of Roman, birth; and their two daughters, Theophano and Anne, were given in marriage to the princes of the earth. The eldest was bestowed, as the pledge of peace, on the eldest son of the great Otho, who had solicited this alliance with arms and embassies. It might legally be questioned how far a Saxon was entitled to the privilege of the French nation; but every scruple was silenced by the fame and piety of a hero who had restored the empire of the West. After the death of her father-in-law and husband, Theophano governed Rome, Italy, and Germany, during the minority of her son, the third Otho; and the Latins have praised the virtues of an empress, who sacrificed to a superior duty the remembrance of her country.^64 In the nuptials of her sister Anne, every prejudice was lost, and every consideration of dignity was superseded, by the stronger argument of necessity and fear. A Pagan of the North, Wolodomir, great prince of Russia, aspired to a daughter of the Roman purple; and his claim was enforced by the threats of war, the promise of conversion, and the offer of a powerful succor against a domestic rebel. A victim of her religion and country, the Grecian princess was torn from the palace of her fathers, and condemned to a savage reign, and a hopeless exile on the banks of the Borysthenes, or in the neighborhood of the Polar circle.^65 Yet the marriage of Anne was fortunate and fruitful: the daughter of her grandson Joroslaus was recommended by her Imperial descent; and the king of France, Henry I., sought a wife on the last borders of Europe and Christendom.^66

[^58: The xiiith chapter, de Administratione Imperii, may be explained and rectified by the Familiae Byzantinae of Ducange.]

[^59: Sequiturque nefas Aegyptia conjux, (Virgil, Aeneid, viii. 688.) Yet this Egyptian wife was the daughter of a long line of kings. Quid te mutavit (says Antony in a private letter to Augustus) an quod reginam ineo? Uxor mea est, (Sueton. in August. c. 69.) Yet I much question (for I cannot stay to inquire) whether the triumvir ever dared to celebrate his marriage either with Roman or Egyptian rites.]

[^60: Berenicem invitus invitam dimisit, (Suetonius in Tito, c. 7.) Have I observed elsewhere, that this Jewish beauty was at this time above fifty years of age? The judicious Racine has most discreetly suppressed both her age and her country.]

[^61: Constantine was made to praise the the Franks, with whom he claimed a private and public alliance. The French writers (Isaac Casaubon in Dedicat. Polybii) are highly delighted with these compliments.]

[^62: Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Administrat. Imp. c. 36) exhibits a pedigree and life of the illustrious King Hugo. A more correct idea may be formed from the Criticism of Pagi, the Annals of Muratori, and the Abridgment of St. Marc, A.D. 925 - 946.]

[^63: After the mention of the three goddesses, Luitprand very naturally adds, et quoniam non rex solus iis abutebatur, earum nati ex incertis patribus originera ducunt, (Hist. l. iv. c. 6: ) for the marriage of the younger Bertha, see Hist. l. v. c. 5; for the incontinence of the elder, dulcis exercipio Hymenaei, l. ii. c. 15; for the virtues and vices of Hugo, l. iii. c. 5. Yet it must not be forgot, that the bishop of Cremona was a lover of scandal.]

[^64: Licet illa Imperatrix Graeca sibi et aliis fuisset satis utilis, et optima, etc., is the preamble of an inimical writer, apud Pagi, tom. iv. A.D. 989, No. 3. Her marriage and principal actions may be found in Muratori, Pagi, and St. Marc, under the proper years.]

[^65: Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 699. Zonaras, tom. i. p. 221. Elmacin, Hist. Saracenica, l. iii. c. 6. Nestor apud Levesque, tom. ii. p. 112 Pagi, Critica, A.D. 987, No. 6: a singular concourse! Wolodomir and Anne are ranked among the saints of the Russian church. Yet we know his vices, and are ignorant of her virtues.]

[^66: Henricus primus duxit uxorem Scythicam, Russam, filiam regis Jeroslai. An embassy of bishops was sent into Russia, and the father gratanter filiam cum multis donis misit. This event happened in the year 1051. See the passages of the original chronicles in Bouquet's Historians of France, (tom. xi. p. 29, 159, 161, 319, 384, 481.) Voltaire might wonder at this alliance; but he should not have owned his ignorance of the country, religion, etc., of Jeroslaus—a name so conspicuous in the Russian annals.]

In the Byzantine palace, the emperor was the first slave of the ceremonies which he imposed, of the rigid forms which regulated each word and gesture, besieged him in the palace, and violated the leisure of his rural solitude. But the lives and fortunes of millions hung on his arbitrary will; and the firmest minds, superior to the allurements of pomp and luxury, may be seduced by the more active pleasure of commanding their equals. The legislative and executive powers were centred in the person of the monarch, and the last remains of the authority of the senate were finally eradicated by Leo the philosopher.^67 A lethargy of servitude had benumbed the minds of the Greeks: in the wildest tumults of rebellion they never aspired to the idea of a free constitution; and the private character of the prince was the only source and measure of their public happiness. Superstition rivetted their chains; in the church of St. Sophia he was solemnly crowned by the patriarch; at the foot of the altar, they pledged their passive and unconditional obedience to his government and family. On his side he engaged to abstain as much as possible from the capital punishments of death and mutilation; his orthodox creed was subscribed with his own hand, and he promised to obey the decrees of the seven synods, and the canons of the holy church.^68 But the assurance of mercy was loose and indefinite: he swore, not to his people, but to an invisible judge; and except in the inexpiable guilt of heresy, the ministers of heaven were always prepared to preach the indefeasible right, and to absolve the venial transgressions, of their sovereign. The Greek ecclesiastics were themselves the subjects of the civil magistrate: at the nod of a tyrant, the bishops were created, or transferred, or deposed, or punished with an ignominious death: whatever might be their wealth or influence, they could never succeed like the Latin clergy in the establishment of an independent republic; and the patriarch of Constantinople condemned, what he secretly envied, the temporal greatness of his Roman brother. Yet the exercise of boundless despotism is happily checked by the laws of nature and necessity. In proportion to his wisdom and virtue, the master of an empire is confined to the path of his sacred and laborious duty. In proportion to his vice and folly, he drops the sceptre too weighty for his hands; and the motions of the royal image are ruled by the imperceptible thread of some minister or favorite, who undertakes for his private interest to exercise the task of the public oppression. In some fatal moment, the most absolute monarch may dread the reason or the caprice of a nation of slaves; and experience has proved, that whatever is gained in the extent, is lost in the safety and solidity, of regal power.

[^67: A constitution of Leo the Philosopher (lxxviii.) ne senatus consulta amplius fiant, speaks the language of naked despotism.]

[^68: Codinus (de Officiis, c. xvii. p. 120, 121) gives an idea of this oath so strong to the church, so weak to the people.]

Whatever titles a despot may assume, whatever claims he may assert, it is on the sword that he must ultimately depend to guard him against his foreign and domestic enemies. From the age of Charlemagne to that of the Crusades, the world (for I overlook the remote monarchy of China) was occupied and disputed by the three great empires or nations of the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks. Their military strength may be ascertained by a comparison of their courage, their arts and riches, and their obedience to a supreme head, who might call into action all the energies of the state. The Greeks, far inferior to their rivals in the first, were superior to the Franks, and at least equal to the Saracens, in the second and third of these warlike qualifications.

The wealth of the Greeks enabled them to purchase the service of the poorer nations, and to maintain a naval power for the protection of their coasts and the annoyance of their enemies.^69 A commerce of mutual benefit exchanged the gold of Constantinople for the blood of Sclavonians and Turks, the Bulgarians and Russians: their valor contributed to the victories of Nicephorus and Zimisces; and if a hostile people pressed too closely on the frontier, they were recalled to the defence of their country, and the desire of peace, by the well-managed attack of a more distant tribe.^70 The command of the Mediterranean, from the mouth of the Tanais to the columns of Hercules, was always claimed, and often possessed, by the successors of Constantine. Their capital was filled with naval stores and dexterous artificers: the situation of Greece and Asia, the long coasts, deep gulfs, and numerous islands, accustomed their subjects to the exercise of navigation; and the trade of Venice and Amalfi supplied a nursery of seamen to the Imperial fleet.^71 Since the time of the Peloponnesian and Punic wars, the sphere of action had not been enlarged; and the science of naval architecture appears to have declined. The art of constructing those stupendous machines which displayed three, or six, or ten, ranges of oars, rising above, or falling behind, each other, was unknown to the ship-builders of Constantinople, as well as to the mechanicians of modern days.^72 The Dromones, ^73 or light galleys of the Byzantine empire, were content with two tier of oars; each tier was composed of five-and-twenty benches; and two rowers were seated on each bench, who plied their oars on either side of the vessel. To these we must add the captain or centurion, who, in time of action, stood erect with his armor-bearer on the poop, two steersmen at the helm, and two officers at the prow, the one to manage the anchor, the other to point and play against the enemy the tube of liquid fire. The whole crew, as in the infancy of the art, performed the double service of mariners and soldiers; they were provided with defensive and offensive arms, with bows and arrows, which they used from the upper deck, with long pikes, which they pushed through the portholes of the lower tier. Sometimes, indeed, the ships of war were of a larger and more solid construction; and the labors of combat and navigation were more regularly divided between seventy soldiers and two hundred and thirty mariners. But for the most part they were of the light and manageable size; and as the Cape of Malea in Peloponnesus was still clothed with its ancient terrors, an Imperial fleet was transported five miles over land across the Isthmus of Corinth.^74 The principles of maritime tactics had not undergone any change since the time of Thucydides: a squadron of galleys still advanced in a crescent, charged to the front, and strove to impel their sharp beaks against the feeble sides of their antagonists. A machine for casting stones and darts was built of strong timbers, in the midst of the deck; and the operation of boarding was effected by a crane that hoisted baskets of armed men. The language of signals, so clear and copious in the naval grammar of the moderns, was imperfectly expressed by the various positions and colors of a commanding flag. In the darkness of the night, the same orders to chase, to attack, to halt, to retreat, to break, to form, were conveyed by the lights of the leading galley. By land, the fire-signals were repeated from one mountain to another; a chain of eight stations commanded a space of five hundred miles; and Constantinople in a few hours was apprised of the hostile motions of the Saracens of Tarsus.^75 Some estimate may be formed of the power of the Greek emperors, by the curious and minute detail of the armament which was prepared for the reduction of Crete. A fleet of one hundred and twelve galleys, and seventy-five vessels of the Pamphylian style, was equipped in the capital, the islands of the Aegean Sea, and the seaports of Asia, Macedonia, and Greece. It carried thirty-four thousand mariners, seven thousand three hundred and forty soldiers, seven hundred Russians, and five thousand and eighty-seven Mardaites, whose fathers had been transplanted from the mountains of Libanus. Their pay, most probably of a month, was computed at thirty-four centenaries of gold, about one hundred and thirty-six thousand pounds sterling. Our fancy is bewildered by the endless recapitulation of arms and engines, of clothes and linen, of bread for the men and forage for the horses, and of stores and utensils of every description, inadequate to the conquest of a petty island, but amply sufficient for the establishment of a flourishing colony.^76

[^69: If we listen to the threats of Nicephorus to the ambassador of Otho, Nec est in mari domino tuo classium numerus. Navigantium fortitudo mihi soli inest, qui eum classibus aggrediar, bello maritimas ejus civitates demoliar; et quae fluminibus sunt vicina redigam in favillam. (Liutprand in Legat. ad Nicephorum Phocam, in Muratori Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, tom. ii. pars i. p. 481.) He observes in another place, qui caeteris praestant Venetici sunt et Amalphitani.]

[^70: Nec ipsa capiet eum (the emperor Otho) in qua ortus est pauper et pellicea Saxonia: pecunia qua pollemus omnes nationes super eum invitabimus: et quasi Keramicum confringemus, (Liutprand in Legat. p. 487.) The two books, de Administrando Imperio, perpetually inculcate the same policy.]

[^71: The xixth chapter of the Tactics of Leo, (Meurs. Opera, tom. vi. p. 825—848,) which is given more correct from a manuscript of Gudius, by the laborious Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 372—379,) relates to the Naumachia, or naval war.]

[^72: Even of fifteen and sixteen rows of oars, in the navy of Demetrius Poliorcetes. These were for real use: the forty rows of Ptolemy Philadelphus were applied to a floating palace, whose tonnage, according to Dr. Arbuthnot, (Tables of Ancient Coins, etc., p. 231—236,) is compared as 4 1/2 to 1 with an English 100 gun ship.]

[^73: The Dromones of Leo, etc., are so clearly described with two tier of oars, that I must censure the version of Meursius and Fabricius, who pervert the sense by a blind attachment to the classic appellation of Triremes. The Byzantine historians are sometimes guilty of the same inaccuracy.]

[^74: Constantin. Porphyrogen. in Vit. Basil. c. lxi. p. 185. He calmly praises the stratagem; but the sailing round Peloponnesus is described by his terrified fancy as a circumnavigation of a thousand miles.]

[^75: The continuator of Theophanes (l. iv. p. 122, 123) names the successive stations, the castle of Lulum near Tarsus, Mount Argaeus Isamus, Aegilus, the hill of Mamas, Cyrisus, Mocilus, the hill of Auxentius, the sun-dial of the Pharus of the great palace. He affirms that the news were transmitted in an indivisible moment of time. Miserable amplification, which, by saying too much, says nothing. How much more forcible and instructive would have been the definition of three, or six, or twelve hours!]

[^76: See the Ceremoniale of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, l. ii. c. 44, p. 176—192. A critical reader will discern some inconsistencies in different parts of this account; but they are not more obscure or more stubborn than the establishment and effectives, the present and fit for duty, the rank and file and the private, of a modern return, which retain in proper hands the knowledge of these profitable mysteries.]

The invention of the Greek fire did not, like that of gun powder, produce a total revolution in the art of war. To these liquid combustibles the city and empire of Constantine owed their deliverance; and they were employed in sieges and sea-fights with terrible effect. But they were either less improved, or less susceptible of improvement: the engines of antiquity, the catapultae, balistae, and battering-rams, were still of most frequent and powerful use in the attack and defence of fortifications; nor was the decision of battles reduced to the quick and heavy fire of a line of infantry, whom it were fruitless to protect with armor against a similar fire of their enemies. Steel and iron were still the common instruments of destruction and safety; and the helmets, cuirasses, and shields, of the tenth century did not, either in form or substance, essentially differ from those which had covered the companions of Alexander or Achilles.^77 But instead of accustoming the modern Greeks, like the legionaries of old, to the constant and easy use of this salutary weight, their armor was laid aside in light chariots, which followed the march, till, on the approach of an enemy, they resumed with haste and reluctance the unusual encumbrance. Their offensive weapons consisted of swords, battle-axes, and spears; but the Macedonian pike was shortened a fourth of its length, and reduced to the more convenient measure of twelve cubits or feet. The sharpness of the Scythian and Arabian arrows had been severely felt; and the emperors lament the decay of archery as a cause of the public misfortunes, and recommend, as an advice and a command, that the military youth, till the age of forty, should assiduously practise the exercise of the bow.^78 The bands, or regiments, were usually three hundred strong; and, as a medium between the extremes of four and sixteen, the foot soldiers of Leo and Constantine were formed eight deep; but the cavalry charged in four ranks, from the reasonable consideration, that the weight of the front could not be increased by any pressure of the hindmost horses. If the ranks of the infantry or cavalry were sometimes doubled, this cautious array betrayed a secret distrust of the courage of the troops, whose numbers might swell the appearance of the line, but of whom only a chosen band would dare to encounter the spears and swords of the Barbarians. The order of battle must have varied according to the ground, the object, and the adversary; but their ordinary disposition, in two lines and a reserve, presented a succession of hopes and resources most agreeable to the temper as well as the judgment of the Greeks.^79 In case of a repulse, the first line fell back into the intervals of the second; and the reserve, breaking into two divisions, wheeled round the flanks to improve the victory or cover the retreat. Whatever authority could enact was accomplished, at least in theory, by the camps and marches, the exercises and evolutions, the edicts and books, of the Byzantine monarch.^80 Whatever art could produce from the forge, the loom, or the laboratory, was abundantly supplied by the riches of the prince, and the industry of his numerous workmen. But neither authority nor art could frame the most important machine, the soldier himself; and if the ceremonies of Constantine always suppose the safe and triumphal return of the emperor,^81 his tactics seldom soar above the means of escaping a defeat, and procrastinating the war.^82 Notwithstanding some transient success, the Greeks were sunk in their own esteem and that of their neighbors. A cold hand and a loquacious tongue was the vulgar description of the nation: the author of the tactics was besieged in his capital; and the last of the Barbarians, who trembled at the name of the Saracens, or Franks, could proudly exhibit the medals of gold and silver which they had extorted from the feeble sovereign of Constantinople. What spirit their government and character denied, might have been inspired in some degree by the influence of religion; but the religion of the Greeks could only teach them to suffer and to yield. The emperor Nicephorus, who restored for a moment the discipline and glory of the Roman name, was desirous of bestowing the honors of martyrdom on the Christians who lost their lives in a holy war against the infidels. But this political law was defeated by the opposition of the patriarch, the bishops, and the principal senators; and they strenuously urged the canons of St. Basil, that all who were polluted by the bloody trade of a soldier should be separated, during three years, from the communion of the faithful.^83

[^77: See the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters, and, in the Tactics of Leo, with the corresponding passages in those of Constantine.]

[^78: (Leo, Tactic. p. 581 Constantin. p 1216.) Yet such were not the maxims of the Greeks and Romans, who despised the loose and distant practice of archery.]

[^79: Compare the passages of the Tactics, p. 669 and 721, and the xiith with the xviiith chapter.]

[^80: In the preface to his Tactics, Leo very freely deplores the loss of discipline and the calamities of the times, and repeats, without scruple, (Proem. p. 537,) the reproaches, nor does it appear that the same censures were less deserved in the next generation by the disciples of Constantine.]

[^81: See in the Ceremonial (l. ii. c. 19, p. 353) the form of the emperor's trampling on the necks of the captive Saracens, while the singers chanted, "Thou hast made my enemies my footstool!" and the people shouted forty times the kyrie eleison.]

[^82: Leo observes (Tactic. p. 668) that a fair open battle against any nation whatsoever: the words are strong, and the remark is true: yet if such had been the opinion of the old Romans, Leo had never reigned on the shores of the Thracian Bosphorus.]

[^83: Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 202, 203) and Cedrenus, (Compend p. 668,) who relate the design of Nicephorus, most unfortunately apply the epithet to the opposition of the patriarch.]

These scruples of the Greeks have been compared with the tears of the primitive Moslems when they were held back from battle; and this contrast of base superstition and high-spirited enthusiasm, unfolds to a philosophic eye the history of the rival nations. The subjects of the last caliphs^84 had undoubtedly degenerated from the zeal and faith of the companions of the prophet. Yet their martial creed still represented the Deity as the author of war:^85 the vital though latent spark of fanaticism still glowed in the heart of their religion, and among the Saracens, who dwelt on the Christian borders, it was frequently rekindled to a lively and active flame. Their regular force was formed of the valiant slaves who had been educated to guard the person and accompany the standard of their lord: but the Mussulman people of Syria and Cilicia, of Africa and Spain, was awakened by the trumpet which proclaimed a holy war against the infidels. The rich were ambitious of death or victory in the cause of God; the poor were allured by the hopes of plunder; and the old, the infirm, and the women, assumed their share of meritorious service by sending their substitutes, with arms and horses, into the field. These offensive and defensive arms were similar in strength and temper to those of the Romans, whom they far excelled in the management of the horse and the bow: the massy silver of their belts, their bridles, and their swords, displayed the magnificence of a prosperous nation; and except some black archers of the South, the Arabs disdained the naked bravery of their ancestors. Instead of wagons, they were attended by a long train of camels, mules, and asses: the multitude of these animals, whom they bedecked with flags and streamers, appeared to swell the pomp and magnitude of their host; and the horses of the enemy were often disordered by the uncouth figure and odious smell of the camels of the East. Invincible by their patience of thirst and heat, their spirits were frozen by a winter's cold, and the consciousness of their propensity to sleep exacted the most rigorous precautions against the surprises of the night. Their order of battle was a long square of two deep and solid lines; the first of archers, the second of cavalry. In their engagements by sea and land, they sustained with patient firmness the fury of the attack, and seldom advanced to the charge till they could discern and oppress the lassitude of their foes. But if they were repulsed and broken, they knew not how to rally or renew the combat; and their dismay was heightened by the superstitious prejudice, that God had declared himself on the side of their enemies. The decline and fall of the caliphs countenanced this fearful opinion; nor were there wanting, among the Mahometans and Christians, some obscure prophecies^86 which prognosticated their alternate defeats. The unity of the Arabian empire was dissolved, but the independent fragments were equal to populous and powerful kingdoms; and in their naval and military armaments, an emir of Aleppo or Tunis might command no despicable fund of skill, and industry, and treasure. In their transactions of peace and war with the Saracens, the princes of Constantinople too often felt that these Barbarians had nothing barbarous in their discipline; and that if they were destitute of original genius, they had been endowed with a quick spirit of curiosity and imitation. The model was indeed more perfect than the copy; their ships, and engines, and fortifications, were of a less skilful construction; and they confess, without shame, that the same God who has given a tongue to the Arabians, had more nicely fashioned the hands of the Chinese, and the heads of the Greeks.^87

[^84: The xviith chapter of the tactics of the different nations is the most historical and useful of the whole collection of Leo. The manners and arms of the Saracens (Tactic. p. 809 - 817, and a fragment from the Medicean Ms. in the preface of the vith volume of Meursius) the Roman emperor was too frequently called upon to study.]

[^85: Leon. Tactic. p. 809.]

[^86: Liutprand (p. 484, 485) relates and interprets the oracles of the Greeks and Saracens, in which, after the fashion of prophecy, the past is clear and historical, the future is dark, enigmatical, and erroneous. From this boundary of light and shade an impartial critic may commonly determine the date of the composition.]

[^87: The sense of this distinction is expressed by Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 2, 62, 101;) but I cannot recollect the passage in which it is conveyed by this lively apothegm.]


A name of some German tribes between the Rhine and the Weser had spread its victorious influence over the greatest part of Gaul, Germany, and Italy; and the common appellation of Franks ^88 was applied by the Greeks and Arabians to the Christians of the Latin church, the nations of the West, who stretched beyond their knowledge to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The vast body had been inspired and united by the soul of Charlemagne; but the division and degeneracy of his race soon annihilated the Imperial power, which would have rivalled the Caesars of Byzantium, and revenged the indignities of the Christian name. The enemies no longer feared, nor could the subjects any longer trust, the application of a public revenue, the labors of trade and manufactures in the military service, the mutual aid of provinces and armies, and the naval squadrons which were regularly stationed from the mouth of the Elbe to that of the Tyber. In the beginning of the tenth century, the family of Charlemagne had almost disappeared; his monarchy was broken into many hostile and independent states; the regal title was assumed by the most ambitious chiefs; their revolt was imitated in a long subordination of anarchy and discord, and the nobles of every province disobeyed their sovereign, oppressed their vassals, and exercised perpetual hostilities against their equals and neighbors. Their private wars, which overturned the fabric of government, fomented the martial spirit of the nation. In the system of modern Europe, the power of the sword is possessed, at least in fact, by five or six mighty potentates; their operations are conducted on a distant frontier, by an order of men who devote their lives to the study and practice of the military art: the rest of the country and community enjoys in the midst of war the tranquillity of peace, and is only made sensible of the change by the aggravation or decrease of the public taxes. In the disorders of the tenth and eleventh centuries, every peasant was a soldier, and every village a fortification; each wood or valley was a scene of murder and rapine; and the lords of each castle were compelled to assume the character of princes and warriors. To their own courage and policy they boldly trusted for the safety of their family, the protection of their lands, and the revenge of their injuries; and, like the conquerors of a larger size, they were too apt to transgress the privilege of defensive war. The powers of the mind and body were hardened by the presence of danger and necessity of resolution: the same spirit refused to desert a friend and to forgive an enemy; and, instead of sleeping under the guardian care of a magistrate, they proudly disdained the authority of the laws. In the days of feudal anarchy, the instruments of agriculture and art were converted into the weapons of bloodshed: the peaceful occupations of civil and ecclesiastical society were abolished or corrupted; and the bishop who exchanged his mitre for a helmet, was more forcibly urged by the manners of the times than by the obligation of his tenure.^89

[^88: Ex Francis, quo nomine tam Latinos quam Teutones comprehendit, ludum habuit, (Liutprand in Legat ad Imp. Nicephorum, p. 483, 484.) This extension of the name may be confirmed from Constantine (de Administrando Imperio, l. 2, c. 27, 28) and Eutychius, (Annal. tom. i. p. 55, 56,) who both lived before the Crusades. The testimonies of Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 69) and Abulfeda (Praefat. ad Geograph.) are more recent]

[^89: On this subject of ecclesiastical and beneficiary discipline, Father Thomassin, (tom. iii. l. i. c. 40, 45, 46, 47) may be usefully consulted. A general law of Charlemagne exempted the bishops from personal service; but the opposite practice, which prevailed from the ixth to the xvth century, is countenanced by the example or silence of saints and doctors....You justify your cowardice by the holy canons, says Ratherius of Verona; the canons likewise forbid you to whore, and yet—]

The love of freedom and of arms was felt, with conscious pride, by the Franks themselves, and is observed by the Greeks with some degree of amazement and terror. "The Franks," says the emperor Constantine, "are bold and valiant to the verge of temerity; and their dauntless spirit is supported by the contempt of danger and death. In the field and in close onset, they press to the front, and rush headlong against the enemy, without deigning to compute either his numbers or their own. Their ranks are formed by the firm connections of consanguinity and friendship; and their martial deeds are prompted by the desire of saving or revenging their dearest companions. In their eyes, a retreat is a shameful flight; and flight is indelible infamy." ^90 A nation endowed with such high and intrepid spirit, must have been secure of victory if these advantages had not been counter-balanced by many weighty defects. The decay of their naval power left the Greeks and Saracens in possession of the sea, for every purpose of annoyance and supply. In the age which preceded the institution of knighthood, the Franks were rude and unskilful in the service of cavalry;^91 and in all perilous emergencies, their warriors were so conscious of their ignorance, that they chose to dismount from their horses and fight on foot. Unpractised in the use of pikes, or of missile weapons, they were encumbered by the length of their swords, the weight of their armor, the magnitude of their shields, and, if I may repeat the satire of the meagre Greeks, by their unwieldy intemperance. Their independent spirit disdained the yoke of subordination, and abandoned the standard of their chief, if he attempted to keep the field beyond the term of their stipulation or service. On all sides they were open to the snares of an enemy less brave but more artful than themselves. They might be bribed, for the Barbarians were venal; or surprised in the night, for they neglected the precautions of a close encampment or vigilant sentinels. The fatigues of a summer's campaign exhausted their strength and patience, and they sunk in despair if their voracious appetite was disappointed of a plentiful supply of wine and of food. This general character of the Franks was marked with some national and local shades, which I should ascribe to accident rather than to climate, but which were visible both to natives and to foreigners. An ambassador of the great Otho declared, in the palace of Constantinople, that the Saxons could dispute with swords better than with pens, and that they preferred inevitable death to the dishonor of turning their backs to an enemy.^92 It was the glory of the nobles of France, that, in their humble dwellings, war and rapine were the only pleasure, the sole occupation, of their lives. They affected to deride the palaces, the banquets, the polished manner of the Italians, who in the estimate of the Greeks themselves had degenerated from the liberty and valor of the ancient Lombards.^93

[^90: In the xviiith chapter of his Tactics, the emperor Leo has fairly stated the military vices and virtues of the Franks (whom Meursius ridiculously translates by Galli) and the Lombards or Langobards. See likewise the xxvith Dissertation of Muratori de Antiquitatibus Italiae Medii Aevi.]

[^91: Domini tui milites (says the proud Nicephorus) equitandi ignari pedestris pugnae sunt inscii: scutorum magnitudo, loricarum gravitudo, ensium longitudo galearumque pondus neutra parte pugnare cossinit; ac subridens, impedit, inquit, et eos gastrimargia, hoc est ventris ingluvies, etc. Liutprand in Legat. p. 480 481]

[^92: In Saxonia certe scio....decentius ensibus pugnare quam calanis, et prius mortem obire quam hostibus terga dare, (Liutprand, p 482.)]

[^93: Leonis Tactica, c. 18, p. 805. The emperor Leo died A.D. 911: an historical poem, which ends in 916, and appears to have been composed in 910, by a native of Venetia, discriminates in these verses the manners of Italy and France:

—Quid inertia bello

Pectora (Ubertus ait) duris praetenditis armis,

O Itali? Potius vobis sacra pocula cordi;

Saepius et stomachum nitidis laxare saginis

Elatasque domos rutilo fulcire metallo.

Non eadem Gallos similis vel cura remordet:

Vicinas quibus est studium devincere terras,

Depressumque larem spoliis hinc inde coactis

Sustentare -

(Anonym. Carmen Panegyricum de Laudibus Berengarii Augusti, l. n. in Muratori Script. Rerum Italic. tom. ii. pars i. p. 393.)]

By the well-known edict of Caracalla, his subjects, from Britain to Egypt, were entitled to the name and privileges of Romans, and their national sovereign might fix his occasional or permanent residence in any province of their common country. In the division of the East and West, an ideal unity was scrupulously observed, and in their titles, laws, and statutes, the successors of Arcadius and Honorius announced themselves as the inseparable colleagues of the same office, as the joint sovereigns of the Roman world and city, which were bounded by the same limits. After the fall of the Western monarchy, the majesty of the purple resided solely in the princes of Constantinople; and of these, Justinian was the first who, after a divorce of sixty years, regained the dominion of ancient Rome, and asserted, by the right of conquest, the august title of Emperor of the Romans.^94 A motive of vanity or discontent solicited one of his successors, Constans the Second, to abandon the Thracian Bosphorus, and to restore the pristine honors of the Tyber: an extravagant project, (exclaims the malicious Byzantine,) as if he had despoiled a beautiful and blooming virgin, to enrich, or rather to expose, the deformity of a wrinkled and decrepit matron.^95 But the sword of the Lombards opposed his settlement in Italy: he entered Rome not as a conqueror, but as a fugitive, and, after a visit of twelve days, he pillaged, and forever deserted, the ancient capital of the world.^96 The final revolt and separation of Italy was accomplished about two centuries after the conquests of Justinian, and from his reign we may date the gradual oblivion of the Latin tongue. That legislator had composed his Institutes, his Code, and his Pandects, in a language which he celebrates as the proper and public style of the Roman government, the consecrated idiom of the palace and senate of Constantinople, of the campus and tribunals of the East.^97 But this foreign dialect was unknown to the people and soldiers of the Asiatic provinces, it was imperfectly understood by the greater part of the interpreters of the laws and the ministers of the state. After a short conflict, nature and habit prevailed over the obsolete institutions of human power: for the general benefit of his subjects, Justinian promulgated his novels in the two languages: the several parts of his voluminous jurisprudence were successively translated;^98 the original was forgotten, the version was studied, and the Greek, whose intrinsic merit deserved indeed the preference, obtained a legal, as well as popular establishment in the Byzantine monarchy. The birth and residence of succeeding princes estranged them from the Roman idiom: Tiberius by the Arabs,^99 and Maurice by the Italians,^100 are distinguished as the first of the Greek Caesars, as the founders of a new dynasty and empire: the silent revolution was accomplished before the death of Heraclius; and the ruins of the Latin speech were darkly preserved in the terms of jurisprudence and the acclamations of the palace. After the restoration of the Western empire by Charlemagne and the Othos, the names of Franks and Latins acquired an equal signification and extent; and these haughty Barbarians asserted, with some justice, their superior claim to the language and dominion of Rome. They insulted the alien of the East who had renounced the dress and idiom of Romans; and their reasonable practice will justify the frequent appellation of Greeks.^101 But this contemptuous appellation was indignantly rejected by the prince and people to whom it was applied. Whatsoever changes had been introduced by the lapse of ages, they alleged a lineal and unbroken succession from Augustus and Constantine; and, in the lowest period of degeneracy and decay, the name of Romans adhered to the last fragments of the empire of Constantinople.^102

[^94: Justinian, says the historian Agathias, (l. v. p. 157,). Yet the specific title of Emperor of the Romans was not used at Constantinople, till it had been claimed by the French and German emperors of old Rome.]

[^95: Constantine Manasses reprobates this design in his barbarous verse, and it is confirmed by Theophanes, Zonaras, Cedrenus, and the Historia Miscella: voluit in urbem Romam Imperium transferre, (l. xix. p. 157 in tom. i. pars i. of the Scriptores Rer. Ital. of Muratori.)]

[^96: Paul. Diacon. l. v. c. 11, p. 480. Anastasius in Vitis Pontificum, in Muratori's Collection, tom. iii. pars i. p. 141.]

[^97: Consult the preface of Ducange, (ad Gloss, Graec. Medii Aevi) and the Novels of Justinian, (vii. lxvi.)]

[^98: (Matth. Blastares, Hist. Juris, apud Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. xii. p. 369.) The Code and Pandects (the latter by Thalelaeus) were translated in the time of Justinian, (p. 358, 366.) Theophilus one of the original triumvirs, has left an elegant, though diffuse, paraphrase of the Institutes. On the other hand, Julian, antecessor of Constantinople, (A.D. 570,) cxx. Novellas Graecas eleganti Latinitate donavit (Heineccius, Hist. J. R. p. 396) for the use of Italy and Africa.]

[^99: Abulpharagius assigns the viith Dynasty to the Franks or Romans, the viiith to the Greeks, the ixth to the Arabs. A tempore Augusti Caesaris donec imperaret Tiberius Caesar spatio circiter annorum 600 fuerunt Imperatores C. P. Patricii, et praecipua pars exercitus Romani: extra quod, conciliarii, scribae et populus, omnes Graeci fuerunt: deinde regnum etiam Graecanicum factum est, (p. 96, vers. Pocock.) The Christian and ecclesiastical studies of Abulpharagius gave him some advantage over the more ignorant Moslems.]

[^100: Primus ex Graecorum genere in Imperio confirmatus est; or according to another Ms. of Paulus Diaconus, (l. iii. c. 15, p. 443,) in Orasorum Imperio.]

[^101: Quia linguam, mores, vestesque mutastis, putavit Sanctissimus Papa. (an audacious irony,) ita vos (vobis) displicere Romanorum nomen. His nuncios, rogabant Nicephorum Imperatorem Graecorum, ut cum Othone Imperatore Romanorum amicitiam faceret, (Liutprand in Legatione, p. 486.)
Note: Sicut et vestem. These words follow in the text of Liutprand, (apud Murat. Script. Ital. tom. ii. p. 486, to which Gibbon refers.) But with some inaccuracy or confusion, which rarely occurs in Gibbon's references, the rest of the quotation, which as it stands is unintelligible, does not appear—M.]

[^102: By Laonicus Chalcocondyles, who survived the last siege of Constantinople, the account is thus stated, (l. i. p. 3.) Constantine transplanted his Latins of Italy to a Greek city of Thrace: they adopted the language and manners of the natives, who were confounded with them under the name of Romans. The kings of Constantinople, says the historian.]

While the government of the East was transacted in Latin, the Greek was the language of literature and philosophy; nor could the masters of this rich and perfect idiom be tempted to envy the borrowed learning and imitative taste of their Roman disciples. After the fall of Paganism, the loss of Syria and Egypt, and the extinction of the schools of Alexandria and Athens, the studies of the Greeks insensibly retired to some regular monasteries, and above all, to the royal college of Constantinople, which was burnt in the reign of Leo the Isaurian. ^103 In the pompous style of the age, the president of that foundation was named the Sun of Science: his twelve associates, the professors in the different arts and faculties, were the twelve signs of the zodiac; a library of thirty-six thousand five hundred volumes was open to their inquiries; and they could show an ancient manuscript of Homer, on a roll of parchment one hundred and twenty feet in length, the intestines, as it was fabled, of a prodigious serpent.^104 But the seventh and eight centuries were a period of discord and darkness: the library was burnt, the college was abolished, the Iconoclasts are represented as the foes of antiquity; and a savage ignorance and contempt of letters has disgraced the princes of the Heraclean and Isaurian dynasties.^105

[^103: See Ducange, (C. P. Christiana, l. ii. p. 150, 151,) who collects the testimonies, not of Theophanes, but at least of Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xv. p. 104,) Cedrenus, (p. 454,) Michael Glycas, (p. 281,) Constantine Manasses, (p. 87.) After refuting the absurd charge against the emperor, Spanheim, (Hist. Imaginum, p. 99—111,) like a true advocate, proceeds to doubt or deny the reality of the fire, and almost of the library.]

[^104: According to Malchus, (apud Zonar. l. xiv. p. 53,) this Homer was burnt in the time of Basiliscus. The Ms. might be renewed—But on a serpent's skin? Most strange and incredible!]

[^105: The words of Zonaras, and of Cedrenus, are strong words, perhaps not ill suited to those reigns.]

In the ninth century we trace the first dawnings of the restoration of science.^106 After the fanaticism of the Arabs had subsided, the caliphs aspired to conquer the arts, rather than the provinces, of the empire: their liberal curiosity rekindled the emulation of the Greeks, brushed away the dust from their ancient libraries, and taught them to know and reward the philosophers, whose labors had been hitherto repaid by the pleasure of study and the pursuit of truth. The Caesar Bardas, the uncle of Michael the Third, was the generous protector of letters, a title which alone has preserved his memory and excused his ambition. A particle of the treasures of his nephew was sometimes diverted from the indulgence of vice and folly; a school was opened in the palace of Magnaura; and the presence of Bardas excited the emulation of the masters and students. At their head was the philosopher Leo, archbishop of Thessalonica: his profound skill in astronomy and the mathematics was admired by the strangers of the East; and this occult science was magnified by vulgar credulity, which modestly supposes that all knowledge superior to its own must be the effect of inspiration or magic. At the pressing entreaty of the Caesar, his friend, the celebrated Photius,^107 renounced the freedom of a secular and studious life, ascended the patriarchal throne, and was alternately excommunicated and absolved by the synods of the East and West. By the confession even of priestly hatred, no art or science, except poetry, was foreign to this universal scholar, who was deep in thought, indefatigable in reading, and eloquent in diction. Whilst he exercised the office of protospathaire or captain of the guards, Photius was sent ambassador to the caliph of Bagdad.^108 The tedious hours of exile, perhaps of confinement, were beguiled by the hasty composition of his Library, a living monument of erudition and criticism. Two hundred and fourscore writers, historians, orators, philosophers, theologians, are reviewed without any regular method: he abridges their narrative or doctrine, appreciates their style and character, and judges even the fathers of the church with a discreet freedom, which often breaks through the superstition of the times. The emperor Basil, who lamented the defects of his own education, intrusted to the care of Photius his son and successor, Leo the philosopher; and the reign of that prince and of his son Constantine Porphyrogenitus forms one of the most prosperous aeras of the Byzantine literature. By their munificence the treasures of antiquity were deposited in the Imperial library; by their pens, or those of their associates, they were imparted in such extracts and abridgments as might amuse the curiosity, without oppressing the indolence, of the public. Besides the Basilics, or code of laws, the arts of husbandry and war, of feeding or destroying the human species, were propagated with equal diligence; and the history of Greece and Rome was digested into fifty-three heads or titles, of which two only (of embassies, and of virtues and vices) have escaped the injuries of time. In every station, the reader might contemplate the image of the past world, apply the lesson or warning of each page, and learn to admire, perhaps to imitate, the examples of a brighter period. I shall not expatiate on the works of the Byzantine Greeks, who, by the assiduous study of the ancients, have deserved, in some measure, the remembrance and gratitude of the moderns. The scholars of the present age may still enjoy the benefit of the philosophical commonplace book of Stobaeus, the grammatical and historical lexicon of Suidas, the Chiliads of Tzetzes, which comprise six hundred narratives in twelve thousand verses, and the commentaries on Homer of Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica, who, from his horn of plenty, has poured the names and authorities of four hundred writers. From these originals, and from the numerous tribe of scholiasts and critics,^109 some estimate may be formed of the literary wealth of the twelfth century: Constantinople was enlightened by the genius of Homer and Demosthenes, of Aristotle and Plato: and in the enjoyment or neglect of our present riches, we must envy the generation that could still peruse the history of Theopompus, the orations of Hyperides, the comedies of Menander,^110 and the odes of Alcaeus and Sappho. The frequent labor of illustration attests not only the existence, but the popularity, of the Grecian classics: the general knowledge of the age may be deduced from the example of two learned females, the empress Eudocia, and the princess Anna Comnena, who cultivated, in the purple, the arts of rhetoric and philosophy.^111 The vulgar dialect of the city was gross and barbarous: a more correct and elaborate style distinguished the discourse, or at least the compositions, of the church and palace, which sometimes affected to copy the purity of the Attic models.

[^106: See Zonaras (l. xvi. p. 160, 161) and Cedrenus, (p. 549, 550.) Like Friar Bacon, the philosopher Leo has been transformed by ignorance into a conjurer; yet not so undeservedly, if he be the author of the oracles more commonly ascribed to the emperor of the same name. The physics of Leo in Ms. are in the library of Vienna, (Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p 366, tom. xii. p. 781.) Qui serant!]

[^107: The ecclesiastical and literary character of Photius is copiously discussed by Hanckius (de Scriptoribus Byzant. p. 269, 396) and Fabricius.]

[^108: It can only mean Bagdad, the seat of the caliphs and the relation of his embassy might have been curious and instructive. But how did he procure his books? A library so numerous could neither be found at Bagdad, nor transported with his baggage, nor preserved in his memory. Yet the last, however incredible, seems to be affirmed by Photius himself. Camusat (Hist. Critique des Journaux, p. 87—94) gives a good account of the Myriobiblon.]

[^109: Of these modern Greeks, see the respective articles in the Bibliotheca Graeca of Fabricius—a laborious work, yet susceptible of a better method and many improvements; of Eustathius, (tom. i. p. 289—292, 306—329,) of the Pselli, (a diatribe of Leo Allatius, ad calcem tom. v., of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, tom. vi. p. 486—509) of John Stobaeus, (tom. viii., 665—728,) of Suidas, (tom. ix. p. 620—827,) John Tzetzes, (tom. xii. p. 245—273.) Mr. Harris, in his Philological Arrangements, opus senile, has given a sketch of this Byzantine learning, (p. 287—300.)]

[^110: From the obscure and hearsay evidence, Gerard Vossius (de Poetis Graecis, c. 6) and Le Clerc (Bibliotheque Choisie, tom. xix. p. 285) mention a commentary of Michael Psellus on twenty-four plays of Menander, still extant in Ms. at Constantinople. Yet such classic studies seem incompatible with the gravity or dulness of a schoolman, who pored over the categories, (de Psellis, p. 42;) and Michael has probably been confounded with Homerus Sellius, who wrote arguments to the comedies of Menander. In the xth century, Suidas quotes fifty plays, but he often transcribes the old scholiast of Aristophanes.]

[^111: Anna Comnena may boast of her Greek style, and Zonaras her contemporary, but not her flatterer, may add with truth. The princess was conversant with the artful dialogues of Plato; and had studied quadrivium of astrology, geometry, arithmetic, and music, (see he preface to the Alexiad, with Ducange's notes)]

In our modern education, the painful though necessary attainment of two languages, which are no longer living, may consume the time and damp the ardor of the youthful student. The poets and orators were long imprisoned in the barbarous dialects of our Western ancestors, devoid of harmony or grace; and their genius, without precept or example, was abandoned to the rule and native powers of their judgment and fancy. But the Greeks of Constantinople, after purging away the impurities of their vulgar speech, acquired the free use of their ancient language, the most happy composition of human art, and a familiar knowledge of the sublime masters who had pleased or instructed the first of nations. But these advantages only tend to aggravate the reproach and shame of a degenerate people. They held in their lifeless hands the riches of their fathers, without inheriting the spirit which had created and improved that sacred patrimony: they read, they praised, they compiled, but their languid souls seemed alike incapable of thought and action. In the revolution of ten centuries, not a single discovery was made to exalt the dignity or promote the happiness of mankind. Not a single idea has been added to the speculative systems of antiquity, and a succession of patient disciples became in their turn the dogmatic teachers of the next servile generation. Not a single composition of history, philosophy, or literature, has been saved from oblivion by the intrinsic beauties of style or sentiment, of original fancy, or even of successful imitation. In prose, the least offensive of the Byzantine writers are absolved from censure by their naked and unpresuming simplicity: but the orators, most eloquent^112 in their own conceit, are the farthest removed from the models whom they affect to emulate. In every page our taste and reason are wounded by the choice of gigantic and obsolete words, a stiff and intricate phraseology, the discord of images, the childish play of false or unseasonable ornament, and the painful attempt to elevate themselves, to astonish the reader, and to involve a trivial meaning in the smoke of obscurity and exaggeration. Their prose is soaring to the vicious affectation of poetry: their poetry is sinking below the flatness and insipidity of prose. The tragic, epic, and lyric muses, were silent and inglorious: the bards of Constantinople seldom rose above a riddle or epigram, a panegyric or tale; they forgot even the rules of prosody; and with the melody of Homer yet sounding in their ears, they confound all measure of feet and syllables in the impotent strains which have received the name of political or city verses.^113 The minds of the Greek were bound in the fetters of a base and imperious superstition which extends her dominion round the circle of profane science. Their understandings were bewildered in metaphysical controversy: in the belief of visions and miracles, they had lost all principles of moral evidence, and their taste was vitiates by the homilies of the monks, an absurd medley of declamation and Scripture. Even these contemptible studies were no longer dignified by the abuse of superior talents: the leaders of the Greek church were humbly content to admire and copy the oracles of antiquity, nor did the schools of pulpit produce any rivals of the fame of Athanasius and Chrysostom.^114

[^112: To censure the Byzantine taste. Ducange (Praefat. Gloss. Graec. p. 17) strings the authorities of Aulus Gellius, Jerom, Petronius George Hamartolus, Longinus; who give at once the precept and the example.]

[^113: The versus politici, those common prostitutes, as, from their easiness, they are styled by Leo Allatius, usually consist of fifteen syllables. They are used by Constantine Manasses, John Tzetzes, etc. (Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. iii. p. i. p. 345, 346, edit. Basil, 1762.)]