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VOL. V. 







iDitl] ^ote0 bs 










AJ). Paob A.D. 

Defects of the Byzantine His- 919. 

tory 13 

Its Connection with the Revo- 
lutions of the World 16 945. 

Flan of the last two Vol- 959. 

nmes 16 963. 

Second Maniage and Death of 969. 

lleracUus 19 

641. Constantino III 20 976. 

Heracleonas 20 

Punishment of Mariiua and 1025. 

Heracleonas 21 1028. 

Constansir 21 1034. 

668. Constantine IV. Fogonatns.... 23 

685. Justinian II 24 1041. 

695-706. His Exile 26 1042. 

705-711. His Restoration and Death 27 

711. Philippicus 29 

713. Anastasiusll 29 1054. 

716. Theodositts III 30 1056. 

718. Leo III., the Isanrian 31 1057. 

741. Constantine V. Copronvmus... 32 1059. 

775. Leo IV '. 34 1067. 

780. Constantine VI. and Irene 36 

792. Irene 38 1071. 

802. Nicephorus 1 38 

811. Stauracius 39 

Michael I., Rhangabe 39 1078. 

818. Leo v., the Armenian 40 1081. 

820. Michael II., the Stammerer.... 42 1118. 

829. Theophilns 43 1143. 

842. Michael III 46 1180. 

867. Basil I., the Macedonian 48 

886. Leo VL, tlie Philosopher 54 

911. Alexander, Constantine VII. 1183. 

Poq)hyrogenitus 55 1185. 


Romnnus I. Lecapenns 56 

Christopher, Stephen, Con- 
stantine VIII 56 

Constantine Vil 57 

Rumanus II., Junior 58 

Nicephoms II. Phocas 59 

John Zimisces, Basil II., Con- 
stantino IX 61 

Basil II. and Constantine 

IX 63 

Constantine IX 64 

Romanus III. Argrrus 64 

Michael IV., the Pnphlago- 

nian 65 

Michael V. Calaphates 66 

Zoe and Theodora 66 

Constantine X. Monoma- 

chus 67 

Theodora 67 

Michael VI. Stratioticus 67 

Isaac I. ComneniiH 68 

Constantine XI. Ducas 71 

Eudocia 71 

Romanus III. Diogenes 72 

Michael VII. Parapinaccs, 
Andronicus I., Constantine 

XII 72 

Nicephorus III. Botaniates ... 74 

Alexius I. Cumnenus 75 

John, or Calo- Johannes 77 

Manuel 79 

Alexius II 82 

Character and first Adven- 
tures of And ronicns 82 

Andronicus -I. Comnenus 90 

Isaac II. Angelus 93 



(BUT OF IMAGES. — chahacteh and CORO- 



7G8-ei4. Reign and Clivacler or 

Clitrleningne 143 

Extent of liiiEmiHra lit 

In France U8 

Spnin 148 

Irnly 149 

GennanT 149 

Hiingsn- 150 

Hia Neighbors and Eno- 
mira Ifil 

His SuccCMon liiS 

-887. Inllnl; 153 

911. Ill Germany 153 

987. InFmnce 158 

814-840. Lewii the Pioui. IS4 

84tl-85H. Lolhnirel 164 

8.-.C-87r.. T^«is n Ifi4 

888. DiviMon of ilie Empire IM 

912. Otho, King of Gennnn}', re. 
stores and appropriaies 
tlie Wraiom Empire 165 

Transactions of ihe Western 

nnd. Eastern Empire* liiG 

0-lOGO. Authority of liie Em- 
perors in the Elections of 

tlie i'opes 16S 

Disorders ICO 

1073. Rerarmation and Claima of 

iheCliurch 102 

Autliority of lile Emperors 

in Rome IG2 

333. Revolt of Alberic 163 

967. Of Pope Jolin XU 1G4 

908, Of the Consul Crescentius... 164 
T74-I250. The Kingdom of Italy. 165 

Iir.2-]1D0. Frederic 1 167 

1198-12.50. Frederic II 108 

814-1250. Independence of the 

Princes of Germany 1C9 

I 12.>0. The Germanic Constitution. 171 
1347-1878. Wenkneaa and Porerty 
of the German Emperor 

Charles IV 172 

1350. His Oslentalion 173 

Contrast of the Pouer and 
Modesty of Augustus 175 




A.D. Paok 

Description of Arabia 177 

The Soil and Climate 178 

Division of the tiandy, the 
Stony, and the Happy Ara- 
bia 179 

Mannera of the Bedouins, or 

Pastoral Arabs 180 

The Horse 181 

The Camel 182 

Cities of Arabia 182 

Mecca 184 

Her Trade J84 

National Independence of the 

Arabs 186 

Their domestic Fi*eedom and 

Character 188 

Civil Wars and private Re- 
venge 190 

Annual Truce 192 

Their social Qualifications and 

Virtues 198 

Love of Poetry 194 

Examples of Generosity 1 95 

Ancient Idolatry 196 

The Caaba, or Temple of 

Mecca 197 

Sacrifices and Kites 199 

Introduction of the Sabians... 201 

The Mogians 202 

The Jews 202 

The Christians 202 

569-609. Birth and Education of 

Mahomet 208 

Deliverance of Mecca 205 

Qualifications of the Proph- 
et 208 

One God 211 

Mahomet the Apostle of God, 
and the last of the Proph- 
ets .'. 215 

Moses 216 

Jesus 216 

The Koran 217 

Miracles 220 

Precepts of Mahomet — Pray- 
er, Fasting, Alms .*.. 223 

A.D. Paor 

Resurrection 226 

Hell nnd Paradise 227 

609. Mahomet preaches at Mec- 
ca 282 

613-622. Is opposed by the Kor- 

eish 234 

622. And driven from Mecca 236 

622. Received as Prince of Me- 
dina 287 

622-682. His regal Dignity 239 

He declares War against the 

Infidels 240 

His defensive Wara against 
the Koreish of Mecca 248 

628. Battle of Beder 244 

OfOhud 246 

625. TheNations, or the Ditch.... 247 
628-627. Mahomet subdues the 

Jews of Arabia 247 

629. Submission of Mecca 250 

629-632. Conquest of Arabia 253 

629, 680. First War of the Mahom- 
etans against the Roman 
Empire 256 

632. Death of Mahomet 259 

His Cliaracter 262 

Private Life of Mahomet 266 

His Wives 267 

And Childi-en 270 

Character of AH 271 

682. Reign of Abubeker 272 

684. Reign of Omar 273 

644. Reign of Othman 274 

Discord of the Turks and Per- 
sians 274 

655. Death of Othman 277 

655-660. Reign of Ali 277 

655, or 661-680. Reign of Moa- 

wiyah 251 

680. Death of liosein 282 

Posterity of Mahomet and 

Ali 286 

680. Success of Mahomet 287 

Permanency of his Religion. . 287 
His Merit towards his Coun- 
try 289 



itE OP THE CAUPue, or 


... 291 

Siege and Conqaesi of Alex- 

... 29* 

andria 363 

... 29fi 

The Alexandrrsn Ubrarj.... 856 

... 298 

... 299 

... 303 

047. Africa. Firei Invwion by 

... 302 

Abdallah 8G5 

... 3M 

The PnEfect Gregory and his 

... 805 

Daughter 86fl 

... 308 

Victory of ihe Arab* 867 

nft 809 

6G5-GS9. Frogress of (lie Saracens 

... 311 

in Africa 369 

... 8U 

... 816 

V92-C<J8. Conqnest of CarihRge... 374 

... 318 

008-709. Final Conquest of Afric. 876 

... 320 

Adoption of the Moors 878 

709. Spaim. First I'emptntions 

... S23 

and Designs of the Arabs. 3TS 

... 325 

Stateof the Gothic Monardiy 380 

... 827 

710. The first Deecent of the 


Ambs 383 

... 329 

711. Tlieir second Descent 383 

, 832 

And Victory . ., 383 

... 836 

Ruin oftlie Gothic Monarchy 886 


712, 713. Conquest of Spain by 

... 338 

Musa 387 

... 341 

714. DisgrnecofMiisn 891 

... 842 

Prosperity of Spain under 

a. 342 

the Ambs 398 

... 344 


Fall of the Maginns ofPer«ia 397 

... 346 

740. Decline end Fall of Chns- 

... 848 

tianily in Africa 400 


1149. And Spain 401 

... 349 

Toleration of the Christians. 402 


Their Hardships. 408 

... 351 

718. The Empire of the Caliphj.. 404 











668-075. First Siege of Constanti- 

... 40C 

nople by the Ambs 407 


A.D. Paok 

677. Peace nnd Mbwte 400 

716-718. Second Siege of Coiistun- 

tinople 411 

Failure and lieti-eat of the 

Saracens 416 

Invention and Use of the 

Greek-fire 416 

721. Invasion of France by the 

Arabs 420 

731. Expedition and Victories of 

Abderame. 421 

732. Defeat of the Saracens by 

Charles Martel 423 

They lietreat before tiie Franks 426 
746-750. Elevation of the Abbas- 
sides 427 

750. Fall of the Ommiades 429 

755. Revolt of Spain 431 

Triple Division of the Caliph- 
ate 431 

750-960. Magnificence of the Ca- 
liphs 432 

Its Consequences on private 

and public Happiness 435 

754-813. Introduction of Learning 

among the Arabians 436 

Their real Progress in the 

Sciences 430 

Want of Erudition, Taste, and 

Freedom 443 

781-805. Wars of Harun al Rashid 

against the Romans 445 

823. The Arabs subdue the Isle of 

Crete 448 

827-878. And of Siciivr.!!!!!!!!!!!!! 450 

A.D. Pasr 
846. Invasion of Rome by the Sar- 
acens 452 

840. Victory and Reign of Leo IV. 454 
852. Foundation of the Leonine City 455 
838. The Amorian War lietween 

Theopliilus and Motassem . 456 
841-870. Disorders of the Turkish 

Guards 460 

890-951. Rise end Progress of the 

Carmathians 462 

900. Their military Exploits 463 

920. Thev pillage Mecca 464 

800-936. 'Revolt of the Provinces... 465 
The Independent Dynasties... 466 

800-941. The Aglabites 466 

829-907. TheEdrisiies 466 

813-872. TheTaherites 466 

872-902. The Soffarides 466 

874-999. The Samanides 467 

868-905. The Toulunides 467 

934-968. The Ikshidites 467 

892-1001. The Htimadanites 468 

933-1055. The Bowides 468 

936. Fallen State of the Caliphs of 

Bagdad 469 

960. Enterprises of the Greeks 470 

Reduction of Crete 471 

963-975. The Eastern Conquests 
of Nicephorns Pbocas and 

John Zimisces 472 

Conquest of Cilicia 472 

Invasion of Syria 473 

Recovery of Antioch 473 

Passage of the Euphrates 474 

Danger of Bagdad 475 



Memorials of the Greek Em- 
pire 477 

Works of Constant! ne Por- 

phyrogenitus 477 

Their Imperfections 470 

Embassy of Lintprand 481 

The Themes or Provinces of 
the Empire, and its Limits 

in every Ag»' 482 

General Wealth and Popu- 
lousness 484 

State of Peloponnesus : Scla- 
vonians 486 

Freemen of Laconia 488 

Cities and Revenue of Pelo- 
ponnesus 489 

Manufactures, especially of 
Silk 489 

Manufactures transported 
from Greece to Sicily 491 

Revenue of the Greek Em- 
pire 493 



A.D. Paok 
Pomp and Luxury of the Em- 
perors 494 

The Palace of Constantinople 494 
Furniture and Attendance.... 496 
Honors and Titles of the Im- 
perial Family 498 

Officers of the Palace, the 

State, and the Army 499 

Adoration of the Emperor.... 501 
Reception of Ambassadors.... 502 
Processions and Acclamations 503 
Marriage of the Ccesars with 

foreign Nations 50.*) 

Imaginary Law of Constantine 50G 

733. The first Exception 506 

941. The second 506 

943. The third 506 

972. Otho of Germany 508 

988. Wolodomir of Russia 508 

Despotic Power 509 

A.D. Page 

Coronation Oiath 509 

Military Force of the Greeks, 
the Saracens, and the 

Franks 510 

Navy of the Greeks 511 

Tactics and Character of the 

Greeks 514 

Character and Tactics of the 

Saracens 516 

The Franks or Latins 519 

Their Character and Tactics . 520 
Oblivion of the Latin Lan- 
guage 522 

The Greek Emperors and their 
Subjects retain and assert 

the Name of Romans 525 

Period of Ignorance 525 

Revival of Greek Learning.... 526 
Decay of Taste and Genius... 529 
Want of National Emulation. 531 



Supine Superstition of the 

Greek Church 53i 

660. Origin of the Paulicians or 

Disciples of St. Paul 535 

Their Bible. 536 

The Simplicity of their Belief 
and Worship 537 

They hold the two Principles 
of the Magians and Mani- 
chieans 538 

The Establishment of the Pau- 
licians in Armenia, Pon- 
tus, etc 539 

Pei^secntion of the Greek 

Emperors 540 

845-880. Revolt of the Paulicians 542 

They fortify Tephrice 543 

And pillage Asia Minor 544 

Their Decline 545 

Their Transplantation from 

Armenia to Thrace 545 

Their Introduction into Italy 

and France 548 

1200. Persecution of the Albigeois 549 
Character and Consequences 

of the Reformation 550 



680. Emigration of the Bulgarians. 556 
900. Croats or Sclavonians of Dal- 

matin 559 

640-1017. First Kingdom of the 

Bulgarians 560 

884. Emigration of the Turks or 

Hungarians 568 

Their Fennic Origin 565 

900. Tactics and Manners of the 

Hungarians and Bulgarians 568 



A.D. Paqr 

880. Establishment flnd Inroads of 

the Hungarinns 570 

934. Victory of Henry the Fowler. 573 

955. Of Otho the Great 573 

Origin of the Russian Mon- 
archy 577 

The Varangians of Constanti- 
nople 679 

950. Geography and Trade of Rus- 
sia 580 

Naval Expeditions of the Rus- 
sians against Constantino- 
pie 584 

A.D. pAoa 

865. The first ^.. 585 

904. The second 585 

941. The third 58C 

1043. The fourth 586 

Negotiations and Prophecy. 587 

955-973. Reign of Swatoslnus 588 

970-973. His Defeat by John 

Zimisces 590 

864. Conversion of Russia 592 

955. Baptism of Olga. 592 

988. Of Wolodomir 593 

800-1100. Christianity of the 

North 594 



840-1017. Conflict of the Sara- 
cens, Latins, and Greeks 

in Italy 597 

871. Conquest of Ban 598 

890. New Province of the Greeks 

in Italv 599 

983. Defeat of Otho 111 600 

Anecdotes 601 

1016. Origin ofthe Normans in Italy 604 

1029. Foundation of Aversa 607 

1038. The Normans serve in Sicily 608 
1040-1043. Their Conquest of 

Apulia. 609 

Character ofthe Normans... 610 

1046. Oppression of Apulia 611 

1049-1054. League of the Pope 

and the two Empires 612 

1053. Expedition of Pope Leo IX. 

against the Normans 613 

His Defeat and Captivity. ... 614 
Origin of the Papal Investi- 
tures to the Normans 615 

1020-1085. Birth and Character of 

Robert Guiscard 615 

1054-1080. His Ambition and Suc- 
cess 618 

1060. Duke of Apulia 619 

His Italian Conquests 620 

School of Salerno 621 

Trade of Amalphi 622 

1060-1090. Conquest of Sicily by 

Count Roger.. 623 

1081. Robert Invades the Eastern 

Empire 626 

Siege of Durazzo 628 

The Army and March of the 

Emperor Alexius 630 

Battle of Durazzo 632 

1082. Durazzo taken 6.^ 

Return of Robert, and Ac- 
tions of Bohemond 635 

1081. The Emperor Henry III. in- 
vited by the Greeks 637 

1081-1084. Besieges Home 638 

Flies before Robert 639 

1084. Second Expedition of Robert 

into Greece 640 

1085. His Death 642 

1101-1154. Reign and Ambition 

of Roger, Great Count of 

Sicily 643 

1127. Duke of Apulia 644 

1130-1139. First King of Sieilv.... 645 
1122-1152. His Conquests in Africa 645 

1146. His Invasion of Greece 647 

His Admiral delivers Louis 

VIL of France 648 

Insults Constantinople 649 

1148, 1149. The Emperor ManueF 

repulses the Normans 649 



A.D. Paok 

1155. He reduces Apulia and Cala- 

bria 650 

1155-1174. His Design of acquir- 
ing Italj and the Western 

Empire 651 

Failure of his Designs 652 

1156. Peace with the Normans 653 

1 185. Last War of the Greeks and 

Normans. 654 

A.D, Pao« 

1154-1166. William L, the Bad, 

King of Sicilv 665 

1166-1 189. William II., the Good. 656 
Lamentation of the Historian 

Falcandns 656 

1 194. Conquest of the Kingdom of 

Sicily hy Henry VI 658 

1204. Final Extinction of the Nor. 

mans 660 



The Turkb 661 

997-1028. MahmudtheGaznevide 662 
His twelve Expeditions into 

Hindostan 668 

His Character 665 

980-1028. Manners and Emigra- 
tion of the Turks, or Turk- 

mans 667 

1038. They defeat the Gaznevides, 

and subdue Persia 669 

1038-1152. Dynasty of the Selju- 

kians 670 

1038-1C68. Keign nnd Character 

ofTogrulBeg 671 

He delivers the Caliph of 

Bagdad 672 

His Investiture 673 

And Death 675 

The Turks invade the Ro- 
man Empire 675 

1063-1072. Reign of Alp Arshin.. 676 
1065-1068. Conquest of Armenia 

nnd Georgia 676 



1068-1071. The Emperor Romanns 

Diogenes 677 

1071. Defeat of the Romans 679 

Captivity and Deliverance of 

the Emperor 680 

1072. Death of Alp Arslan 683 

1072-1092. Reign and Pi-osperity 

ofMalekShah 684 

1092. His Death 687 

Division of the Seljukian 

Empire 688 

1074-1084. Conqu^t of Asia Minor 

by the Turks 689 

The Seljukian Kingdom of 

Roum 691 

638-1099. State and Vilgiimnge 

of Jerusalem..... 693 

969-1076. Under the Fatimite 

Caliphs 696 

1009. Sacrilege of Hakem 698 

1024. Increase of Pilgrimages 699 

1076-1096. Conquest of Jerusalem 

bv the Turks 609 

Map of the Mahometan Expire Frontispiece. 

Map of Europe and Part of Asia and Africa at the 

TIME OF Charlemagne End of Volume. 







Plan of the last two [quarto] Volnmes.— Saccession and Characters of the Greek 
Emperors of Constantinople, from the Time of Heradius to the Latin Conquest. 

I HAVE now dednced from Trajan to Constantine, from 

Constantine to Hcraclias, the regular series of the Koman 

emperors ; and faithfully exposed the prosperous 

tbeByzao- and advcrse fortunes of their rei&ms. Five cen- 

tine history. , i.iji. f^iii*i • t 

tunes of the declme and fall of the empire have 
already elapsed; but a period of more than eight hundred 
years still separates me from the term of my labors, the tak- 
ing of Constantinople by the Turks. Should I persevere in 
the same course, should I observe the same measure, a prolix 
and slender thread would be spun through many a volume, 
nor would the patient reader find an adequate reward of in- 
struction or amusement. At every step, as we sink deeper in 
the decline and fall of the Eaistern empire, the annals of each 
succeeding reign would impose a more ungrateful and melan- 
choly task. These annals must continue to repeat a tedious 
and uniform tale of weakness and misery ; the natural con- 
nection of causes and events would be broken by frequent 


and hasty traDEitions, and a inJDnte accnmulatioti of circQin- 
gtances mtist destroy the light and effect of those general 
niptarpj) which compose the use and ornament of a remota 
From the time of Heraclina the Byzantine theatre 
:ted and darkened : the line of empire, which had 
led hy the laws of JuEtinian and the arms of Beli- 
edes on all sides from onr view ; the Roman name, 
r subject of our inquiries, is reduced to a narrow 
Europe, to the lonely suburbs of Constantinople; 
ite of the Greek empire has been compared to that 
ine, which loses itself in the sands before its waters 
e with the ocean. The scale of dominion is dimin- 
mr view by the distance of time and place ; nor is 
f external splendor compensated by the nobler gifts 
and genius. In the last moments of her decay Con- 
e was doubtless more opulent and populons than 
: her most flourishing era, when a scanty sum of 
nd talents, or twelve hnndred thousand pounds ster- 
possessed by twenty-one tliousand male citizens of 
ge. But each of these citizens was a freeman who 
ssert the liberty of his thoughts, words, and actions; 
■son and property were guarded by equal law ; and 
eised his independent vote in the government of 
lie. Their nnmbere seem to be multiplied by the 
d vavions discriminations of character; under the 
freedom, on the wings of emulation and vanity, 
mian aspired to the level of the national dignity ; 
commanding eminence some chosen spirits soared 
e reacli of a vulgar eye ; and the chances of superi- 
n a great and populous kingdom, as they are proved 
ence, would excuse the computation of imaginary 
The territories of Athens, Sparta, and their allies 
eecd a moderate province of France or England; 
the trophies of Salamis and Flatffia, they expand in 
to the gigantic size o( Asia, which had been tram- 
r the feet of the victorious Greeks. But the sub- 
ic Byzantine empire, who assume and dishonor the 
th of Greeks and Komane, present a dead iinifonn- 


ity of abject vices, which are neither softened by the weak- 
ness of humanity nor animated by the vigor of memorable 
crimes. The freemen of antiquity might repeat with gener- 
ous enthusiasm the sentence of Homer, ^^ that on the first day 
of his servitude the captive is deprived of one half of his 
manly virtue." But the poet had only seen the effects of 
civil or domestic slavery, nor could he foretell that the sec- 
ond moiety of manhood must be annihilated by the spiritual 
despotism, which shackles not only the actions but even tlie 
thoughts of the prostrate votary. By this double yoke the 
Greeks were oppressed under the successors of Heraclius; 
the tyrant, a law of eternal justice, was degraded by the 
vices of his subjects ; and on the throne, in the camp, in the 
schools, we search, perhaps with fruitless diligence, the names 
and characters that may deserve to be rescued from oblivion. 
Nor are the defects of the subject compensated by the skill 
and variety of the painters. Of a space of eight hundred 
years, the four first centuries are overspread with a cloud in- 
terrupted by some faint and broken rays of historic light : in 
the lives of the emperors, from Maurice to Alexius, Basil the 
Macedonian has alone been the theme of a separate work; 
and the absence, or loss, or imperfection of contemporary evi- 
dence must be poorly supplied by the doubtful authority of 
more recent compiler. The four last centuries are exempt 
from the reproach of penury : and with the Comnenian fami- 
ly the historic muse of Constantinople again revives, but her 
apparel is gaudy, her motions are without elegance or grace. 
A succession of priests, or courtiers, treads in each other's 
footsteps in the same path of servitude and superstition: 
their views are narrow, their judgment is feeble or corrupt : 
and we close the volume of copious barrenness, still ignorant 
of the causes of events, the characters of the actors, and the 
manners of the times which they celebrate or deplore. The 
observation which has been applied to a man may be extend- 
ed to a whole people, that the energy of the sword is com- 
municated to the pen; and it will be found by experience 
that the tone of history will rise or fall with the spirit of 
the age. 


From these considerations I shonld have abandoned with- 
out regret the Greek slaves and their servile historians, had I 
itsconnec- ^^^ reflected that the fate of the Byzantine mon- 
revointioi)?® archy is passively connected with the most splen- 
of the world, jjj ^^^ important revolutions which have changed 

the state of the world. The space of the lost provinces was 
immediately replenished with new colonies and rising king- 
doms : the active virtues of peace and war deserted from the 
vanquished to the victorious nations ; and it is in their origin 
and conquests, in their religion and government, that we must 
explore the causes and effects of the decline and fall of the 
Eastern empire. Nor will this scope of narrative, the riches 
and variety of these materials, be incompatible with the uni- 
ty of design and composition. As, in his daily prayers, the 
Mussulman of Fez or Delhi still turns his face towards the 
Temple of Mecca, the historian's eye shall be always fixed 
on the city of Constantinople. The excursive line may em- 
brace the wilds of Arabia and Tartary, but the circle will 
be ultimately reduced to the decreasing limit of the Koman 

On this principle I shall now establish the plan of the last 
two volumes of the present work. The first chapter will con- 
tain, in a regular series, the emperors who reigned 
last two at Constantinople during a period of six hundred 
years, from the days of Heraclius to the Latin con- 
quest : a rapid abstract, which may be supported by a general 
appeal to the order and text of the original historians. In 
this introduction I shall confine myself to the revolutions of 
the throne, the succession of families, the personal characters 
of the Greek princes, the mode of their life and death, the 
maxims and influence of their domestic government, and the 
tendency of their reign to accelerate or suspend the down- 
fall of the Eastern empire. Such a chronological review will 
serve to illustrate the various argument of the subsequent 
chapters ; and each circumstance of the eventful story of the 
barbarians will adapt itself in a proper place to the Byzantine 
annals. The internal state of the empire, and the dangerous 
heresy of the Panlicians, which shook the East and enlight- 


ened the West, will be the subject of two separate chapters ; 
bat these inquiries must be postponed till our farther prog- 
ress shall have opened the view of the world in the ninth 
and tenth centuries of the Christian era. After this founda- 
tion of Byzantine history, the following nations will pass be- 
fore our eyes, and each will occupy the space to which it may 
be entitled by greatness or merit, or the degree of connection 
with the Roman world and the present age. I. The Franks; 
a general appellation which includes all the barbarians of 
France, Italy, and Germany, who were united by the sword 
and sceptre of Charlemagne. The pei'secution of images and 
their votaries separated Home and Italy from the Byzantine 
throne, and prepared the restoration of the Roman empire in 
the West. II. The Ababs or Sabacens. Three ample chap- 
ters will be devoted to this curious and interesting object. In 
the first, after a picture of the country and its inhabitants, I 
shall investigate the character of Mahomet ; the character, re- 
ligion, and success of the prophet. In the second I shall lead 
the Arabs to the conquest of Syria, Egypt, and Africa, the 
provinces of the Roman empire ; nor can I check their vic- 
torious career till they have overthrown the monarchies of 
Persia and Spain. In the third I shall inquire how Constan- 
tinople and Europe were saved by the luxury and arts, the 
division and decay, of the empire of the caliphs. A single 
chapter will include — III. The Bulgaeians, IV.' Hungarians, 
and, V. Russians, who assaulted by sea or by land the prov- 
inces and the capital ; but the last of these, so important in 
their present greatness, will excite some curiosity in their ori- 
gin and infancy. VI. The Normans ; or rather the private 
adventures of that warlike people, who founded a powerful 
kingdom in Apulia and Sicily, shook the throne of Constanti- 
nople, displayed the trophies of chivalry, and almost realized 
the wonders of romance. VII. The Latins ; the subjects of 
the pope, the nations of the West, who enlisted under the ban- 
ner of the cross for the recovery or relief of the holy sepul- 
chre. The Greek emperors were terrified and preserved by 
the myriads of pilgrims who marched to Jerusalem with God- 
frey of Bouillon and the peers of Christendom. The second 


and third crusades trod in the footsteps of tlie first : Asia and 
Europe were mingled in a sacred war of two hundred years ; 
and the Christian powers were bravely resisted and finally 
expelled by Saladin and the Mamelukes of Egypt. In these 
memorable crusades a fleet and army of French and Vene- 
tians were diverted from Syria to the Thracian Bosphonis: 
they assaulted the capital, they subverted the Greek mon- 
archy : and a dynasty of Latin princes was seated near three- 
score years on the throne of Constantino. VIII. The Greeks 
themselves, during this period of captivity and exile, must be 
considered as a foreign nation ; the enemies, and again the 
sovereigns of Constantinople. Misfortune had rekindled a 
spark of national virtue; and the imperial series may be 
continued with some dignity from their restoration to the 
Turkish conquest. IX. The Moguls and Tartars. By the 
arms of Zingis and his descendants, the globe was shaken from 
China to Poland and Greece : the sultans were overthrown : 
the caliphs fell, and the Caesars trembled on their throne. 
The victories of Timour suspended above fifty years the final 
ruin of the Byzantine empire. X. I have already noticed the 
first appearance of the Turks ; and the names of the fathers, 
of Seljuk and Othman^ discriminate the two successive dy- 
nasties of the nation wliich emerged in the eleventh century 
from the Scythian wilderness. The former established a po- 
tent and splendid kingdom from the banks of the Oxus to 
Antioch and Nice; and the first crusade was provoked by 
the violation of Jerusalem and the danger of Constantinople. 
From an humble origin the OUomana arose the scourge and 
terror of Christendom. Constantinople was besieged and 
taken by Mahomet II., and his triumph annihilates the rem- 
nant, the image, the title, of the Eoman empire in the East. 
The schism of the Greeks will be connected with their last 
calamities and the restoration of learning in the Western 
world. I shall return from the captivity of the new to the 
ruins of ancient Rome ; and the venerable name, the interest- 
ing theme, will shed a ray of glory on the conclusion of my 



The Eujperor Heraclius had punished a tyrant and as- 
cended his throne ; and the memory of his reign is perpet- 
second mar- Elated by the transient conquest and irreparable loss 
SSSh"^ of tlie jfcastern provinces. After the death of Eu- . 
Hcrndine. docia, his first wif c, he disobeyed the patriarch and 
violated the laws by his second marriage with his niece Mar- 
tina ; and the snperstition of the Greeks beheld the judgment 
of Heaven in the diseases of the father and the deformity of 
his offspring. But the opinion of an illegitimate birth is suf- 
ficient to distract the choice and loosen the obedience of the 
people : the ambition of Martina was quickened by materaal 
love, and perhaps by the ^nvy of a step-mother; and the aged 
husband was too feeble to withstand the arts of conjugal al- 
lurements. Constantine, his eldest son, enjoyed in a mature 
age the title of Augustus ; but the weakness of his constitu- 
tion required a colleague and a guardian, and he yielded with 
A.i>.«38, secret reluctance to the partition of the empire. 
July 4. ipj^Q senate was summoned to the palace to ratify 

or attest the association of Heracleonas, the son of Martina : 
the imposition of the diadem was consecrated by the prayer 
and blessing of the patriarch; the senators and patricians 
adored the majesty of the great emperor and the partners of 
his reign ; and as soon as the doors were thrown open they 
were hailed by the tumultuary but important voice of the sol- 
A.D.689, diers. After an interval of five months, the pom- 
jannary. pQ^g ceremouics which formed the essence of the 
Byzantine State were celebrated in the cathedral and the hip- 
podrome: the concord of the royal brothers was affectedly 
displayed by the younger leaning on the arm of the elder ; 
and the name of Martina was mingled in the reluctant or ve- 
A.B.M1, ^^^ acclamations of the people. Heraclius survived 
^^•^^- this association about two years: his last testimony 
declared his two sons the equal heirs of the Eastern empire, 
and commanded them to honor his widow Martina as their 
mother and their sovereign. 

When Martina first appeared on the throne with the name 
and attributes of royalty, she was checked by a firm, though 
respectful, opposition; and the dying embers of freedom were 


kindled by the breath of superstitious prejudice. " We rever- 
coDstan- ence," exclaimed the voice of a citizen — ^'^ we rever- 
2i! Ml,'* ^^c® *^® mother of our princes ; but to those princes 
February. aloue our obedienco' is due ; and Constantine, the 
elder emperor, is of an age to sustain, in his own hands, 
the weight of the sceptre. Your sex is excluded by nature 
from the toils of government. How could you combat, how 
could you answer, the barbarians who, with hostile or friendly 
intentions, may approach the royal city ? May Heaven avert 
from the Koman republic this national disgrace, which would 
provoke the patience of the slaves of Persia !" Martina de- 
scended from the throne with indignation, and sought a ref- 
uge in the female apartment of the palace. The reign of 
Constantine the Third lasted only one hundred and three 
days : he expired in the thirtieth year of his age, and, al- 
though his life had been a long malady, a belief was enter- 
tained that poison had been the means, and his cruel step- 
mother the author, of his untimely fate. Martina reaped 

indeed the harvest of his death, and assumed the 
A.i».64i, government m the name of the survivmg emperor ; 

but the incestuous widow of Heraclius was univer- 
sally abhorred ; the jealousy of the people was awakened, and 
the two orphans whom Constantine had left became the ob- 
jects of the public care. It was in vain that the son of Mar- 
tina, who was no more than fifteen years of age, was taught 
to declare himself the guardian of his nephews, one of whom 
he had presented at the baptismal font: it was in vain that 
he swore on the wood of the true cross to defend them 
against all their enemies. On his death-bed the late emperor 
had despatched a trusty servant to arm the troops and prov- 
inces of the East in the defence of his helpless children : the 
eloquence and liberality of Valentin had been successful, and 
from his camp of Chalcedon he boldly demanded the punish- 
ment of the assassins, and the restoration of the lawful heir. 
The license of the soldiers, who devoured the grapes and 

* Constantine III. is caUed by Eckhel (vol. viii. p. 224) and other writers Hera- 
clias II. For the descendants of Heraclias I. see the genealogical table in this 
work, vol. iv. p. 597. — S. 

AJ). 641.] CONSTANS 11. 21 

drank the wine of their Asiatic vineyards, provoked the citi- 
zens of Constantinople against the domestic authors of their 
calamities, and the dome of St. Sophia reechoed, not with 
prayers and hymns, but with the clamors and imprecations 
of an enraged multitude. At their imperious command He- 
racleonas appeared in the pulpit with the eldest of the royal 
orphans; Constans alone was saluted as emperor of the Bo- 
mans, and a crown of gold, which had been taken from the 
tomb of Heraclius, was placed on his head, with the solemn 
benediction of the patriarch. But, in the tumult of joy and 
indignation, the church was pillaged, the sanctuary was pol- 
luted by a promiscuous crowd of Jews and barbarians ; and the 
Monothelite Pyrrhus, a creature of the empress, after drop- 
ping a protestation on the altar, escaped by a pnident flight 
from the zeal of the Catholics. A more serious and bloody 
task was reserved for the senate, who derived a temporary 
strength from the consent of the soldiers and people. The 
spirit of Eoman freedom revived the ancient and awful ex- 
amples of the judgment of tyrants, and the imperial culprits 
were deposed and condemned as the authors of the death of 
paoishroent Constautiue. But the severity of the conscript fa- 
aDdHerL* thcrs was staincd by the indiscriminate punishment 
A^jM ^^ *he innocent and the guilty : Martina and He- 
september. racleouas wcrc sentenced to the amputation, the for- 
mer of her tongue, the latter of his nose ; and after this cruel 
execution they consumed the remainder of their days in exile 
and oblivion. The Greeks who were capable of reflection 
might find some consolation for their servitude by observing 
the abuse of power when it was lodged for a moment in the 
hands of an aristocracy. 

We shall imagine ourselves transported five hundred years 
backward to the age of the Antonines, if we listen to the ora- 
„ tion which Constans II. pronounced, in the twelfth 
A-D.641. year of his age, before the Byzantine senate. After 
returning his thanks for the just punishment of the 
assassins who had intercepted the fairest hopes of his father's 
reign, " By the divine Providence," said the young emperor, 
" and by your righteous decree, Martina and her incestuous 


proReny have been cast headlong from the tlirone. Tonr 
ind wisdom have prevented the Boman State from 
ting into lawless tyranny. I therefore exhort and 
l-oa to stand forth as the connsellors and judges of 
ion safety." The eenators were gratified by the re- 
addreae and liberal donative of their sovereign; hot 
vile Greeks were unworthy and regardless of free- 
id in his mind tiie lesson of an hour was quickly 
' the prejudices of the age and the habits of despot- 
j retained only a jealous feat lest the senate or peo- 
Id one day invade the right of primogeniture, and 
>rother Theodosius on an eqnal throne. By the im- 
of holy orders, the grandson of Heraclius was dis- 
for the purple ; bnt this ceremony, which seemed to 
he sacraments of the Church, was insufficient to ap- 
I suspicions of the tyrant, and the death of the Dea- 
con Theodosius could alone expiate the crime of 
his royal birth.* His murder was avenged by the 
!ons of the people, and the assassin, in the fulness of 
as driven from his capital into voluntary and perpet- 
ual exile. Coustans embarked for Greece ; and, as 
if he meant to retort the abhorrence which he de- 
i is said, from the imperial galley, to have spit against 
of his native city. After parsing the winter at Atli- 
liled to Tarentum, in Italy, visited Kome,'' and eon- 
long pilgrimage of disgrace and sacrilegious rapine 
his residence at Syracuse. But if Constane could fly 
people, he could not fly from himself. The remorse 
iBcieuce created a phantom who pursued him by land 
jy day and by night ; and the visionary Theodosius, 
g to his lips a cup of blood, said, or seemed to say, 
brother, drink 1" — a sure emblem of the aggravation 
lit, since he had received from the hands of the dea- 
nystic cup of the blood of Christ. Odions to him- 

lien (according to Abulfnradji, Chron. Svr. p. 112) called bim another 
Anilm, Tol. xi. p. 8TB.— M, 

. receiTed in Borne, and pillaged the churches. He carried off tha 
f the Pnniheon lo Syracuse, or, ns Schloaeer conceik-ea, to Constant!- 
leaser, Gwchichte der bildersiUraendea Kaiaer, p. 30.— SI. 

A.D. 668.] CONSTANTINE IV. 23 

self and to mankind, Constans perished by domestic, perhaps 
by episcopal, treason in the capital of Sicily. A servant who 
waited in the bath, after pouring warm water on his head, 
struck him violently with the vase. He fell, stunned by the 
blow and suifocated by the water ; and his attendants, who 
wondered at the tedious delay, beheld with indifference the 
corpse of their lifeless emperor. The troops of Sicily invest- 
ed with the purple an obscure youth, whose inimitable beau- 
ty eluded, and it might easily elude, the declining art of the 
painters and sculptors of the age. 

Constans had left in the Byzantine palace three sons, the 
eldest of whom had been clothed in his infancy with the pur- 
ple. When the father summoned them to attend 
tin«iv.. his person in Sicily, these precious hostages were 
A.D. 6«L detained by the Greeks, and a firm refusal inform- 
ed him that they were the children of the State. 
The news of his murder was conveyed with almost supernat- 
ural speed from Syracuse to Constantinople ; and Constantine, 
the eldest of his sons, inherited his throne without being the 
heir of the public hatred. His subjects contributed with zeal 
and alacrity to chastise the guilt and presumption of a prov- 
ince which had usurped the rights of the senate and people ; 
the young emperor sailed from the Hellespont with a pow- 
erful fleet, and the legions of Bome and Carthage were assem- 
bled under his standard in the harbor of Syracuse. The de- 
feat of the Sicilian tyrant was easy, his punishment just, and 
his beauteous head was exposed in the hippodrome; but I 
cannot applaud the clemency of a prince who, among a crowd 
of victims, condemned the son of a patrician for deploring 
with some bitterness the execution of a virtuous father. The 
youth was castrated : he survived the operation, and the mem- 
ory of this indecent cruelty is preserved by the elevation of 
Germanus to the rank of a patriarch and saint. After pour- 
ing this bloody libation on his father's tomb, Constantine re- 
turned to his capital; and the growth of his young beard 
during the Sicilian voyage was announced, by the familiar 
surname of Pogonatus, to the Grecian world. But his reign, 
like that of his predecessor, was stained with fraternal discord. 

24 JUSTINIAN n. [Ch. XLVm. 

On his two brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, he had bestowed 
the title of Augustus — ^an empty title, for they continued to 
languish, without trust or power, in the solitude of the palace. 
At their secret instigation the troops of the Anatolian theme 
or province approached the city on the Asiatic side, demanded 
for the royal brothere the partition or exercise of sovereignty, 
and supported their seditious claim by a theological argument. 
They were Christians, they cried, and orthodox Catholics, the 
sincere votaries of the holy and undivided Trinity. Since 
there are three equal persons in heaven, it is reasonable there 
should be three equal persons upon earth. The emperor in- 
vited these learned divines to a friendly conference, in which 
they might propose their arguments to the senate: they 
obeyed the summons, but the prospect of their bodies hang- 
ing on the gibbet in the suburb of Galata reconciled their 
companions -to the unity of the reign of Constantino. He 
pardoned his brothers, and their names were still pronounced 
in the public acclamations ; but on the repetition or suspicion 
of a similar oflfence, the obnoxious princes were deprived of 
their titles and noses,* in the presence of the Catholic bishops 
who were assembled at Constantinople in the sixth general 
synod. In the close of his life Fogonatus was anxious only 
to establish the right of primogeniture : the heir of his two 
sons, Justinian and Heraclius, was offered on the shrine of 
St. Peter, as a symbol of their spiritual adoption by the pope ; 
but the elder Was alone exalted to the rank of Augustus and 
the assurance of the empire. 

After the decease of his father the inheritance of the Ro- 
man world devolved to Justinian II.; and the name of a 
triumphant law-giver was dishonored by the vices 
A.D.68(^ of a boy, who imitated his namesake only in the 

September. . •% r i. 'ij* -rn • 

expensive luxury of buildmg. His passions were 
strong; his understanding was feeble; and he was intoxi- 
cated with a foolish pride that his birth had given him the 

^ Schlosser (Geschichte der bildersturmenden Kaiser, p. 90} supposes that the 
joang princes were mutilated after the first insurrection; that after this the acts 
were still inscribed with their names, the princes being closely secluded in the pal- 
ace. The improbabilitj of this circumstance may be weighed against Gibbon's 
want of authority for liis statement.— M. 

A.D. 685.] JUSTINIAN IL 25 

command of millions, of whom the smallest community would 
not have chosen him for their local magistrate. His favorite 
ministers were two beings the least susceptible of human sym- 
pathy, a eunuch and a monk : to the one he abandoned the 
palace, to the other the finances ; the former corrected the 
emperor's mother with a scourge, the latter suspended the 
insolvent tributaries, with their heads downward, over a slow 
and smoky fire. Since the days of Commodus and Caracalla 
the cruelty of the Boman princes had most commonly been 
the effect of their fear ; but Justinian, who possessed some 
vigor of character, enjoyed the sufferings, and braved the re- 
venge of his subjects about ten years, till the measure was 
full of his crimes and of their patience. In a dark dungeon 
Leontius, a general of reputation, had groaned above three 
years, with some of the noblest and most deserving of the pa- 
tricians : he was suddenly drawn forth to assume the govern- 
ment of Greece ; and this promotion of an injured man was 
a mark of the contempt rather than of the confidence of his 
prince. As he was followed to the port by the kind oflSces 
of his friends, Leontius observed, with a sigh, that he was a 
victim adorned for sacrifice, and that inevitable death would 
pursue his footsteps. They ventured to reply that glory and 
empire might be the recompense of a generous resolution, 
that every order of men abhorred the reign of a monster, and 
that the hands of two hundred thousand patriots expected 
only the voice of a leader. The night was chosen for their 
deliverance; and in the first effort of the conspirators the 
praefect was slain and the prisons were forced open : the 
emissaries of Leontius proclaimed in every street, " Chris- 
tians, to St. Sophia !" and the seasonable text of the patriarch, 
" This is the day of the Lord !" was the prelude of an inflam- 
matory sernjon. From the church the people adjourned to 
the hippodrome : Justinian, in whose cause not a sword had 
been drawn, was dragged before these tumultuary judges, and 
their clamors demanded the instant death of the tyrant. But 
Leontius, who was already clothed with the purple, cast an 
eye of pity on the prostrate son of his own benefactor and of 
so many emperors. The life of Justinian was spared; the 


amputation of his nose, perhaps of his tongue, was imperfect- 
ly performed : the happy flexibility of the Greek language 
could impose the name of Khinotmetus ; and the mutilated 
tyrant was banished to Chersonse, in Crim-Tartary, a lonely 
settlement, where corn, wine, and oil were imported as foreign 

On the edge of the Scythian wilderness Justinian still cher- 
ished the pride of his birth and the hope of his restoration. 
His exile. After three years' exile, he received the pleasing 
A.D.e95-706. intelligence that his injury was avenged by a sec- 
ond revolution, and that Leontius in his turn had been de- 
throned and mutilated by the rebel Apsimar, who assumed 
the more respectable name of Tiberius. But the claim of 
lineal succession was still formidable to a Plebeian usurp- 
er; and his jealousy was stimulated by the complaints and 
charges of the Chersonites, who beheld the vices of the ty- 
rant in the spirit of the exile. With a band of followers, 
attached to his person by common hope or common despair, 
Justinian fled from the inhospitable shore to the horde of 
the Chazars, who pitched their tents between the Tanais 
and Borysthenes. The khan entertained with pity and respect 
the royal suppliant : Phanagoria, once an opulent city, on the 
Asiatic side of the lake Mseotis, was assigned for his resi- 
dence ; and every Boman prejudice was stifled in his mar- 
riage with the sister of the barbarian, who seems, however, 
from the name of Theodora, to have received the sacram.ent 
of baptism. But the faithless Chazar was soon tempted by 
the gold of Constantinople : and had not the design been re- 
vealed by the conjugal love of Theodora, her husband must 
have been assassinated or betrayed into the power of his ene- 
mies. After strangling, with his own hands, the two emissa- 
ries of the khan, Justinian sent back his wife to ^er brother, 
and embarked on the Euxine in search of new and more faith- 
ful allies. His vessel was assaulted by a violent tempest; 
and one of his pious companions advised him to deserve the 
mercy of God by a vow of general forgiveness if he should 
be restored to the throne. "Of forgiveness?" replied the 
intrepid tyrant: "may I perish this instant — may the Al- 


mighty whelm me in the waves, if I consent to spare a single 
head of my enemies!" He survived this impious menace, 
sailed into the mouth of the Danube, trusted his person in the 
royal village of the Bulgarians, and purchased the aid of Ter- 
belis, a pagan conqueror, by the promise of his daughter, and 
a fair partition of the treasures of the empire. The Bulga- 
rian kingdom extended to the confines of Thrace ; and the 
two princes besieged Constantinople at the head of fifteen 
thousand horse. Apsimar was dismayed by the sudden and 
hostile apparition of his rival, whose head had been promised 
by the Chazar, and of whose evasion he was yet ignorant. 
After an absence of ten years the crimes of Justinian were 
faintly remembered, and the birth and misfortunes of their 
hereditary sovereign excited the pity of the multitude, ever 
discontented with the ruling powers ; and by the active dili- 
gence of his adherents he was introduced into the city and 
palace of Constantine. 

In rewarding his allies, and recalling his wife, Justinian 
displayed some sense of honor and gratitude ;^ and Terbelis 
Hi8 restora- retired, after sweeping away a heap of gold coin 
dMt^^ which he measured with his Scythian whip. But 
A.i>. 705-711. ueygj. ^as vow more religiously performed than 

the sacred oath of revenge which he had sworn amidst the 
storms of the Euxine. The two usurpers, for I must reserve 
the name of tyrant for the conqueror, were dragged into the 
hippodrome, the one from his prison, the other from his pal- 
ace. Before their execution Leontius and Apsimar were cast 
prostrate in chains beneath the throne of the emperor; and 
Justinian, planting a foot on each of their necks, contemplated 
above an hour the chariot-race, while the inconstant people 
shouted, in the words of the Psalmist, ^' Thou shalt trample on 
the asp and basilisk, and on the lion and dragon shalt thou set 
thy foot I" The universal defection which he had once experi- 
enced might provoke him to repeat the wish of Caligula, that 
the Boman people had but one head. Yet I shall presume to 
observe that such a wish is unworthy of an ingenious tyrant, 

* Of fear rather than of more generous motives. Compare Le Beau, vol. xii. 
p. 64.— M. 


since his revenge and cruelty would have been extinguished 
by a single blow, instead of the slow variety of tortures which 
Justinian inflicted on the victims of his anger. His pleasures 
were inexhaustible : neither private virtue nor public service 
could expiate the guilt of active, or even passive, obedience 
to an established government; and, during the six years of 
his new reign, he considered the axe, the cord, and the rack 
as the only instruments of royalty. But his most implacable 
hatred was pointed against the Chersonites, who had insulted 
his exile and violated the laws of hospitality. Their remote 
situation afforded some means of defence, or at least of es- 
cape; and a grievous tax was imposed on Constantinople to 
supply the preparations of a fleet and army. "All are guilty, 
and all must perish," was the mandate of Justinian ; and the 
bloody execution was intrusted to his fa.vorite Stephen, who 
was recommended by the epithet of the Savage. Tet even 
the savage Stephen imperfectly accomplished the intentions 
of his sovereign. The slowness of his attack allowed the 
greater part of the inhabitants to withdraw into the country ; 
and the minister of vengeance contented hiniself with reduc- 
ing the youth of both sexes to a state of servitude, with roast- 
ing alive seven of the principal citizens, with drowning twen- 
ty in the sea, and with reserving forty-two in chains to receive 
their doom from the mouth of the emperor. In their return 
the fleet was driven on the rocky shores of Anatolia ; and 
Justinian applauded the obedience of the Euxine, which had 
involved so many thousands of his subjects and enemies in a 
common shipwreck: but the tyrant was still insatiate of blood; 
and a second expedition was commanded to extirpate the re- 
mains of the proscribed colony. In the short interval the 
Chersonites had returned to their city, and were prepared to 
die in arms; the khan of the Chazars had renounced the 
cause of his odious brother; the exiles of every province 
were assembled in Tauris ; and Bardanes, under the name 
of Philippicus, was invested with the purple. The imperial 
troops, unwilling and unable to perpetrate the revenge of 
Justinian, escaped his displeasure by abjuring his allegiance : 
the fleet, under their new sovereign, steered back a more 


auspicious course to the harbors of Sinope and Constantino- 
ple ; and every tongue was prompt to pronounce, every hand 
to execute, the death of the tyrant. Destitute of friends, he 
was deserted by his barbarian guards ; and the stroke of the 
assassin was praised as an act of patriotism and Koman virtue. 
His son Tiberius had taken ref dge in a church ; his aged grand- 
mother guarded the door ; and the innocent youth, suspending 
round his neck the most formidable relics, embraced with one 
hand the altar, with the other the wood of the true cross. But 
the popular fury that dares to trample on superstition is deaf 
to the cries of humanity ; and the race of Heraclius was ex- 
tinguished after a reign of one hundred years. 

Between the fall of the Heraclian and the rise of the Isau- 
rian dynasty, a short interval of six years is divided into three 

reigns. Bardanes, or Philippicus, was hailed at 
A.D.711, Constantinople as a hero who had delivered his 

country from a tyrant ; and he might taste some 
moments of happiness in the first transports of sincere and 
universal joy. Justinian had left behind him an ample treas- 
ure, the fruit of cruelty and rapine ; but this useful fund was 
soon and idly dissipated by his successor. On the festival of 
his birthday Philippicus entertained the multitude with the 
games of the hippodrome ; from thence he paraded through 
the streets with a thousand banners and a thousand trum- 
pets ; refreshed himself in the baths of Zenxippus, and, re- 
turning to the palace, entertained his nobles with a sumptu- 
ous banquet. At the meridian hour he withdrew to his cham- 
ber, intoxicated with flattery and wine, and forgetful that his 
example had made every subject ambitious, and that every 
ambitious subject was his secret enemy. Some bold conspira- 
tors introduced themselves in the disorder of the feast ; and 
the slumbering monarch was surprised, bound, blinded, and 
deposed, before he was sensible of his danger. Yet the trai- 
tors were deprived of their reward ; and the free voice of the 
Anutfr- senate and people promoted Artemius from the 
J^^ office of secretary to that of emperor : he assumed 
Jane 4. ^]^g ^j^jg ^f Auastasius the Second, and displayed 

in a short and troubled reign the virtues both of peace and 
war. But after the extinction of the imperial line the rule 


of obedience was violated, and every change diffused the seeds 
of new revolutions. In a mutiny of the fleet an obscure and 
reluctant officer of the revenue was forcibly invested with the 
purple ; after some months of a naval war, Anastasins resign- 
ed the sceptre ; and the conqueror, Theodosius the Third, sub- 
Theodo- mitted in his turn to the superior ascendant of Leo, 
"SIJnG, til© general and emperor of the Oriental troops. 
January. jjjg ^^^ predcccssors wcrc permitted to embrace 

the ecclesiastical profession : the restless impatience of Anas- 
tasius tempted him to risk and to lose his life in a treasonable 
enterprise ; but the last days of Theodosius were honorable 
and secure. The single sublime word, " health," which he 
inscribed on his tomb, expresses the confidence of philosophy 
or religion ; and the fame of his miracles was long preserved 
among the people of Ephesus. This convenient shelter of 
the church might sometimes impose a lesson of clemency ; but 
it may be questioned whether it is for the public interest to 
diminish the perils of unsuccessful ambition. 

I have dwelt on the fall of a tyrant ; I shall briefly repre- 
sent the founder of a new dynasty,* who is known to posterity 
by the invectives of his enemies, and whose public and private 
life is involved in the ecclesiastical story of the Iconoclasts.^ 

* With the reign of Leo III. Mr. Finlay's "History of the Byzantine Empire" 
commences — a very valuable work, from which the materials of several of the sub- 
sequent notes are derived. — S. 

^ Genealogy of the Isaurian dynasty : 

Leo III. Imp. ob. a.d. 741. 


Irene, = Constantinus V. Copbontmus, «= Eudocia. 
d. of the Khan Imp. ob. 775. 

of the Chazars. 

I i i r 

Leo IV. Niceph- Christoph- Nicetas. Eudoxns. Anthimns. 
(Chazams), orus. oms. 

Imp. ob. 780, 
m. Irene, an 


Maria = CoNSTAin'mrs VI. = Theodata. 
Imp. deposed 797, 
but his mother Irene 
leigned till 802. 

Euphrosyne, Leo. 

m. Michael II. 

A.D.717.] LEO III. 31 

Yet in spite of the clamors of superstition, a favorable prej- 
udice for the character of Leo the Isanrian may 
the i«aoriau. be reasonably drawn from the obscurity of his 
fj^TiT^-aj birth and the duration of his reign. — I. In an age 
of manly spirit the prospect of an imperial reward 
would have kindled every energy of the mind, and produced 
a crowd of competitors as deserving as they were desirous to 
reign. Even in the corruption and debility of the modern 
Greeks the elevation of a Plebeian from the last to the first 
rank of society supposes some qualifications above the level 
of the multitude. He would probably be ignorant and dis- 
dainful of speculative science ; and, in the pursuit of fortune, 
he might absolve himself from the obligations of benevolence 
and justice ; but to his character we may ascribe the useful 
virtues of prudence and fortitude, the knowledge of mankind, 
and the important art of gaining their confidence and direct- 
ing their passions. It is agreed that Leo was a native of Isau- 
ria, and that Conon was his primitive name.* The writers, 
whose awkward satire is praise, describe him as an itinerant 
peddler, who drove an ass with some paltry merchandise to 
the country fairs; and foolishly relate that he met on the 
road some Jewish fortune-tellers, who promised him the Ro- 
man empire, on condition that he should abolish the worship 
of idols. A more probable account relates the migration of 
his father from Asia Minor to Thrace, where he exercised the 
lucrative trade of a grazier ; and he must have acquired con- 
siderable wealth, since the first introduction of his son was 
procured by a supply of five hundred sheep to the imperial 
camp. His first service was in the guards of Justinian, where 
he soon attracted the notice, and by degrees the jealousy, of 
the tyrant. His valor and dexterity were conspicuous in the 
Colchian war : from Anastasius he received the command of 
the Anatolian legions, and by the suffrage of the soldiers he 

*■ Though Leo is usually called an Tsaurian, he was bom at Germanicia, a city 
of Armenia Minor, in the mountains near the borders of Cappadocia and Syria. 
The family of XiOO was a foreign one ; and Mr. Finlay (vol. i. p. 29) observes that 
he was probably called an Isaurian because the Isaurians appear to have been 
the subjects of the empire who had retained the greatest share of their original 
nationality. — S. 


was raised to the empire with the general applause of the Bo- 
man world. — II. In this dangerous elevation Leo the Third 
supported himself against the envy of his equals, the discon- 
tent of a powerful faction, and the assaults of his foreign and 
domestic enemies. The Catholics, who accuse his religious 
innovations, are obliged to confess that they were undertaken 
with temper and conducted with firmness. Their silence re- 
spects the wisdom of his administration and the purity of his 
manners. After a reign of twenty-four years he peaceably ex- 
pired in the palace of Constantinople ; and the purple which 
he had acquired was transmitted by the right of inheritance 
to the third generation.* 

In a long reign of thirty-four years the son and successor 
of Leo, Constantino the Fifth, surnamed Copronymus, attack- 
ed with less temperate zeal the images or idols of 
tinev. the Church.** Their votaries have exhausted the 

A.i>.74i, ■ bitterness of religious gall in their portrait of this 
spotted panther, this antichrist, this flying dragon 
of the serpent's seed, who surpassed the vices of Elagabalus 
and Nero. His reign was a long butchery of whatever was 
most noble, or holy, or innocent, in his empire. In person, 
the emperor assisted at the execution of his victims, survey- 
ed their agonies, listened to their groans, and indulged, with- 
out satiating, his appetite for blood : a plate of noses was ac- 
cepted as a grateful offering, and his domestics were often 
scourged or mutilated by the royal hand. His surname was 
derived from his pollution of his baptismal font. The infant 
might be excused ; but the manly pleasures of Copronymus 
degraded him below the level of a brute; his lust confounded 

* During the latter part of his reign, the hostilities of the Saracens, who in- 
vested a Pergamenian, named Tiberias, with the purple, and proclaimed him as 
the son of Justinian, and an earthquake which destroyed the walls of Constantino- 
ple, compelled Leo greatly to increase the burden of taxation upon his subjects. 
A twelfth was exacted in addition to every aureus (voftiufia) as a wall-tax. The> 
ophanes, p. 275 ; Schlosser, Greschichte der bilderstilrroenden Kaiser, p. 197. — M. 

^ Gibbon has omitted to mention that, on the death of Leo III., Artavasdns, 
who had married his daughter Anna, seized the throne, defeated Constantine, 
was proclaimed emperor, and associated with him in the empire his eldest son 
Nicephorns. But in 748 Constantinople was taken by the troops of Constantino, 
and both Artavasdns and his sons were put to death. There are coins extant 
both of Aitavasdus and Nicephoiiis (Eckhel, vol. viii. p. 233). — S. 

A.D. 741.] CONSTANTINE V. 33 

the eternal distinctions of sex and species, and he seemed to 
extract some unnatural delight from the objects most offen- 
sive to human sense. In his religion the Iconoclast was a 
heretic, a Jew, a Mahometan, a pagan, and an atheist ; and his 
belief of an invisible power could be discovered only in his 
magic rites, human victims, and nocturnal sacrifices to Yenus 
and the demons of antiquity. His life was stained with the 
most opposite vices, and the ulcers which covered his body 
anticipated before his death the sentiment of hell -tortures. 
Of these accusations, which I have so patiently copied, a part 
is refuted by its own absuixlity ; and in the private anecdotes 
of the life of princes, the lie is more easy as the detection is 
more difficult. Without adopting the pernicious maxim, that 
where much is alleged something must he tnie, I can, howev- 
er, discern that Constantine the Fifth was dissolute and cruel. 
Calumny is more prone to exaggerate than to invent; and 
her licentious tongue is checked in some measure by the ex- 
perience of the age and country to which she appeals. Of 
the bishops and monks, the generals and magistrates, who are 
said to have suffered under his reign, the numbers are re- 
corded, the names were conspicuous, the execution was public, 
the mutilation visible and permanent.^ The Catholics hated 
the person and government of Copronymus ; but even their 
hatred is a proof of their oppression. They dissembled the 
provocations which might excuse or justify his rigor, but 
even these provocations must gradually inflame his resent- 
ment and harden his temper in the use or the abuse of des- 
potism. Tet the character of the fifth Constantine was not 
devoid of merit, nor did his government always deserve the 
curses or the contempt of the Greeks. From the confession 
of his enemies I am informed of the restoration of an ancient 
aqueduct, of the redemption of two thousand five hundred 
captives, of the uncommon plenty of the times, and of the 

* He is accused of barning the library of Constantinople, fonnded by Julian, with 
its president and twelve professors. This Eastern Sorbonne had discomfited tlie 
imperial theologians on the great question of image-worship. Schlosser obsenes 
that this accidental fire took place six years after the emperor had laid the ques- 
tion of image-worship before the professors. Gesch. der bildersturmenden Kai- 
ser, p. 264 ; compare Le Beau, toI. xii. p. 156. — M. 

v.— 3 


new colonies with which he repeopled Constantinople and 
the Thracian cities. They reluctantly praise his activity and 
courage; he was on horseback in the field at the head of his 
l^ons ; and, although the fortune of his arms was various, 
he triumphed by sea and land, on the Euphrates and the 
Danube, in civil and barbarian war. Heretical praise must 
be cast into the scale to counterbalance the weight of ortho- 
dox invective. The Iconoclasts revered the virtues of the 
prince : forty years after his death they still prayed before 
the tomb of the saint. A miraculous vision was propagated 
by fanaticism or fraud : and the Christian hero appeared on 
a milk-white steed, brandishing his lance against the pagans 
of Bulgaria : ^^ An absurd fable," says the Catholic historian, 
^^ since Copronymus is chained with the demons in the abyss 
of hell." 

Leo the Fourth, the son of the fifth and the father of the 

sixth Constantino, was of a feeble constitution both of mind^ 

and body, and the principal care of his reign was 

A.D.771^ the settlement of the succession. The association 

S6pt. 14b 

of the young Constantino was urged by the offi- 
cious zeal of his subjects; and the emperor, conscious of his 
decay, complied, after a prudent hesitation, with their unan- 
imous wishes. The royal infant, at the age of five years, 
was crowned with his mother Irene ; and the national con- 
sent was ratified by every circumstance of pomp and solem- 
nity that could dazzle the eyes or bind the conscience of the 
Greeks. An oath of fidelity was administered in the palace, 
the church, and the hippodrome, to the several orders of the 
State, who adjured the holy names of the Son and mother of 
God. " Be witness, O Christ ! that we will watch over the 
safety of Constantino, the son of Leo, expose our lives in his 
service, and bear true allegiance to his person and posterity." 
They pledged their faith on the wood of the true cross, and 
the act of their engagement was deposited on the altar of St. 
Sophia. The first to swear, and the first to violate their oath, 
were the five sons of Copronymus by a second marriage ; and 

* Schlosser thinks more highly of Leo*s mind ; but his only proof of his saperi- 
ority is the successes of his generals against the Saracens. Schlosser, p. 266.— M. 

AJ>. 775.] LEO IV. 35 

the story of these princes is singnlar and tragic. The right 
of primogeniture excluded them from the throne ; the injus- 
tice of their elder brother defrauded them of a legacy of 
about two millions sterling ; some vain titles were not deem- 
ed a sufficient compensation for wealth and power ; and they 
repeatedly conspired against their nephew, before and after 
the death of his father. Their first attempt was pardoned ; 
for the second offence^ they were condemned to the ecclesi- 
astical state ; and for the third treason, Nicephorus, the eldest 
and most guilty, was deprived of his eyes ; and his four broth- 
ers — Christopher, Nicetas, Anthimus, and Eudoxus — were 
punished, as a milder sentence, by the amputation of their 
tongues. After fi^e years' confinement, they escaped to the 
Church of St. Sophia, and displayed a pathetic spectacle to 
the people. "Countrymen and Christians," cried Nicepho- 
rus for himself and his mute brethren, " behold the sons of 
your emperor, if you can still recognize our features in this 
miserable state. A life, an imperfect life, is all that the mal- 
ice of our enemies has spared. It is now threatened, and we 
now throw ourselves on your compassion." The rising mur- 
mur might have produced a revolution had it not been check- 
ed by the presence of a minister, who soothed the unhappy 
princes with fiattery and hope, and gently drew them from 
the sanctuary to the palace. They were speedily embarked 
for Greece, and Athens was allotted for the place of their 
exile. In this calm retreat, and in their helpless condition, 
Nicephorus and his brothers were tormented by the thirst of 
power, and tempted by a Sclavonian chief, who offered to 
break their prison and to lead them in arms, and in the pur- 
ple, to tlie gates of Constantinople. But the Athenian peo- 
ple, ever zealous in the cause of Irene, prevented her justice 
or cruelty ; and the five sons of Copronymus were plunged 
in eternal darkness and oblivion. 

For himself, that emperor had chosen a barbarian wife, the 
daughter of the khan of the Chazars ; but in the marriage of 
his heir he preferred an Athenian virgin, an orphan, seven- 

* The second offence was on the accession of the young Constantine. — ML 


teen years old, whose sole fortune mast hare consisted in her 
personal accomplishments. The nuptials of Leo 

ConstAn- '- ^ "1.1 1 1 

tine VI. and Irene were celebrated with royal pomp; she 
A^^Tw. soon acquired the love and confidence of a feeble 
husband, and in his testament he declared the em- 
press guardian of the Soman world, and of their son Constan- 
tine the Sixth, who was no more than ten years of age. Dur- 
ing his childhood, Irene most ably and assiduously discharged, 
in her public administration, the duties of a faithful mother ; 
and her zeal in the restoration of images has deserved the 
name and honors of a saint, which she still occupies in the 
Greek calendar. But the emperor attained the maturity of 
youth; the maternal yoke became more grievous; and he 
listened to the favorites of his own age, who shared his pleas- 
ures, and were ambitious of sharing his power. Their rea- 
sons convinced him of his right, their praises of his ability, to 
reign ; and he consented to reward the services of Irene by a 
perpetual banishment to the Isle of Sicily. But her vigilance 
and penetration easily disconcerted their rash projects: a sim- 
ilar, or more severe, punishment was retaliated on themselves 
and their advisers; and Irene inflicted on the ungrateful 
prince the chastisement of a boy. After this contest the 
mother and the son were at the head of two domestic fac- 
tions ; and instead of mild influence and voluntary obedience, 
she held in chains a captive and an enemy. The empress 
was overthrown by the abuse of victory ; the oath of fidelity, 
which she exacted to herself alone, was pronounced with re- 
luctant murmurs; and the bold refusal of the Armenian 
guards encouraged a free and general declaration that Con- 
stantino the Sixth was the lawful emperor of the Komans. 
In this character he ascended his hereditary throne, and dis- 
missed Irene to a life of solitude and repose. But her haugh- 
ty spirit condescended to the arts of dissimulation : she flat- 
tered the bishops and eunuchs, revived the filial tenderness 
of the prince, regained his confidence, and betrayed his credu- 
lity. The character of Constantine was not destitute of sense 
or spirit ; but his education had been studiously neglected ; 
and his ambitious mother exposed to the public censure the 


vices which she had nourished and the actions which she had 
secretly advised: his divorce and second marriage offended 
the prejudices of the clergy, and by his imprudent rigor he 
forfeited the attachment of the Armenian guards. A pow- 
erful conspiracy was f onned for the restoration of Irene ; and 
the secret, though widely diffused, was faithfully kept above 
eight months, till the emperor, suspicious of his danger, es- 
caped from Constantinople with the design of appealing to 
the provinces and armies. By this hasty flight the empress 
was left on the brink of thp precipice; yet before she im- 
plored the mercy of her son, Irene addressed a private epistle 
to the friends whom she had placed about his person, with a 
menace, that unless tliey accomplished, site would reveal, their 
treason. Their fear rendered them intrepid ; they seized the 
emperor on the Asiatic shore, and he was transported to the 
porphyry apartment of the palace, where he had first seen the 
light. In the mind of Irene ambition had stifled every sen- 
timent of humanity and nature ; and it was decreed in her 
bloody council that Constantino should be rendered incapable 
of the throne : her emissaries assaulted the sleeping prince, 
and stabbed their daggers with such violence and precipita- 
tion into his eyes as if they meant to execute a mortal sen- 
tence. An ambiguous passage of Thcophanes persuaded the 
annalist of the Church that death was the immediate conse- 
quence of this barbarous execution. The Catholics have been 
deceived or subdued by the authority of Baronius ; and Prot- 
estant zeal has re-echoed the words of a cardinal, desirous, as 
it should seem, to favor the patroness of images.^ Yet the 
blind son of Irene survived many years, oppressed by the 
court and foi^otten by the world : the Isaurian dynasty was 
silently extinguished; and the memory of Constantino was 
recalled only by the nuptials of his daughter Euphrosyne with 
the Emperor Michael the Second. 

The most bigoted orthodoxy has justly execrated the un- 
natural mother, who may not easily be paralleled in the his- 

* Gibbon h&s been attacked on ncconnt of this statement, bnt is saccessfully 
defended bj Schlosser, p. 827. Compare Le Bean, vol. xii. p. 872.— M. 


tory of crimes. To her bloody deed anperstition has attributed 

a sabsequent darkness of seventeen days, during which many 

vessels in mid-day were driven from their course, as 

JLD. 799 [797]. if the sun, a irlobe of fire so vast and so remote, could 

August 19. 1 . . 1 1 i. 1 . -1 

sympathize with the atoms of a revolving planet. 
On earth, the crime of Irene was left five years unpunished ; 
her reign was crowned with external splendor; and if she 
could silence the voice of conscience, she neither heard nor 
regarded the reproaches of mankind. The Homan world 
bowed to the government of a female; and as she moved 
through the streets of Constantinople, the reins of four milk- 
white steeds were held by as many Patricians, who marched 
on foot before the golden chariot of their queen. But these 
Patricians were for the most part eunuchs ; and their black 
ingratitude justified, on this occasion, the popular hatred and 
contempt. Baised, enriched, intrusted with the first dignities 
of the empire, they basely conspired against their benefac- 
tress ; the great treasurer Nicephorus was secretly invested 
with the purple ; her successor was introduced into the pal- 
ace, and crowned at St. Sophia by the venal patriarch. In 
their first interview she recapitulated with dignity the revo- 
lutions of her Hfe, gently accused the perfidy of Nicephorus, 
insinuated that he owed his life to her unsuspicious clemency, 
and, for the throne and treasures which she resigned, solicit- 
ed a decent and honorable retreat. His avarice refused this 
modest compensation ; and, in her exile of the Isle of Lesbos, 
the empress earned a scanty subsistence by the labors of her 

Many tyrants have reigned undoubtedly more criminal 
than Nicephorus, but none, perhaps, have more deeply incur- 
*,. ^ • red the universal abhorrence of their people. His 

NicephoruB I. . i . i i i t 

A.D.S08, character was stained with the three odious vices 

October 81. , , , . , . 

01 hypocnsy, ingratitude, and avance : his want of 
virtue was not redeemed by any superior talents, nor his want 
of talents by any pleasing qualifications. Unskilful and un- 
fortunate in war, Nicephorus was vanquished by the Saracens 
and slain by the Bulgarians ; and the advantage of his death 
overbalanced, in the public opinion, the destruction of a Ko- 


man army.^ His son and heir StauraciuB escaped from the 
field with a mortal wound ; yet six months of an 
A.p.8n, expinng life were sufficient to refute his indecent, 
though popular declaration, that he would in all 
things avoid the example of his father. On the near prospect 
of his decease, Michael, the great master of the palace, and the 
husband of his sister Procopia, was named by every person of 
the palace and city, except by his envious brother. Tenacious 
of a sceptre now falling from his hand, he conspired against 
the life of his successor, and cherished the idea of changing 
to a democracy the Boman empire. But these rash projects 
served only to inflame the zeal of the people and to remove 
the scruples of the candidate: Michael the First accepted 
the purple, and before he sunk into the grave the son of Ni- 
cephorus implored the clemency of his new sovereign. Had 
Michael L, Michacl in an age of peace ascended a hereditary 
2^f*^ throne, he might have reigned and died the father 
Octobers. q£ j^jg people: but his mild virtues were adapted 
to the shade of private life, nor was he capable of controlling 
the ambition of his equals, or of resisting the arms of the vic- 
torious Balgarians. While his want of ability and success 
exposed him to the contempt of the soldiers, the masculine 
spirit of his wife Procopia awakened their indignation. Even 
the Greeks of the ninth century were provoked by the inso- 
lence of a female who, in the front of the standards, pi'esumed 
to direct their discipline and animate their valor; and their 
licentious clamors advised the new Seniiramis to reverence 
the majesty of a Roman camp. After an unsuccessful cam- 
paign the emperor left, in their winter-quarters of Thrace, a 
disaffected army under the command of his enemies; and 
their artful eloquence persuaded the soldiers to break the do- 
minion of the eunuchs, to degrade the husband of Procopia, 

■ The Syrian historiiin Aboolfarndj, Chron. Sjr. p. 183, 139, speaks of him as a 
brave, prndent, and pious prince, formidable to the Arabs. St. Martin, c. xii. 
p. 402 ; compare Schlosser, p. 350. — M. 

Finlay also remarks that ''on the whole he appears to have been an able and 
humane prince. He has certainly obtained a worse reputation in history than 
many emperors who have been guilty of greater crimes." Byzantine Empire, 
ToLi. p. 110. — S, 

40 LEO V. [Ch. XLVm. 

and to assert the right of a military election. They marched 
towards the capital : yet the clergy, the senate, and the peo- 
ple of Constantinople adhered to the cause of Michael ; and 
the troops and treasures of Asia might have protracted the 
mischiefs of civil war. But his humanity (by the ambitious 
it will be termed his weakness) protested that not a drop of 
Christian blood should be shed in his quarrel, and his messen- 
gers presented the conquerors with the keys of the city and 
the palace. They were disarmed by his innocence and sub- 
mission ; his life and his eyes were spared ; and the imperial 
monk enjoyed the comforts of solitude and religion above 
thirty-two years after he had been stripped of the purple and 
separated from his wife. 

A rebel, in the time of Nicephorus, the famous and un- 
fortunate Bardanes, had once the curiosity to consult an 
Leo v., the Asiatic prophet, who, after prognosticating his fall, 
t^riis,*"* announced the fortunes of his three principal offi- 
jaiy 11. ^gpg^ Lg^ ^i^Q Armenian, Michael the Phrygian, and 

Thomas the Cappadocian, the successive reigns of the two 
former, the fruitless and fatal enterprise of the third. This 
prediction was verified, or rather was produced, by the event. 
Ten years afterwards, when the Thracian camp rejected the 
husband of Procopia, the crown was presented to the same 
Leo, the first in military rank, and the secret author of the 
mutiny. As he affected to hesitate, " With this sword," said 
his companion Michael, " I will open the gates of Constanti- 
nople to your imperial sway, or instantly plunge it into your 
bosom, if you obstinately resist the just desires of your fel- 
low-sold iere." The compliance of the Armenian was rewarded 
with the empire, and he reigned seven years and a half under 
the name of Leo the Fifth. Educated in a camp, and ig- 
norant both of laws and letters, he introduced into his civil 
government the rigor and even cruelty of military discipline ; 
but if his severity was sometimes dangerous to the innocent, 
it was always formidable to the guilty. His religious incon- 
stancy was taxed by the epithet of Chameleon, but the Cath- 
olics have acknowledged, by the voice of a saint and confess- 
ors, that the life of the Iconoclast was useful to the republic. 

AJ>.813.] LEO V. 41 

The zeal of his companion Michael was repaid with riches, 
honors, and military command ; and his subordinate talents 
were beneficially employed in the public service. Yet the 
Phrygian was dissatisfied at receiving as a favor a scanty 
portion of the imperial prize which he had bestowed on his 
equal ; and his discontent, which sometimes evaporated in 
hasty discourse, at length assumed a more threatening and 
hostile aspect against a prince whom he represented as a cruel 
tyrant. That tyrant, however, repeatedly detected, warned, 
and dismissed the old companion of his arms, till fear and re- 
sentment prevailed over gratitude ; and Michael, after a scru- 
tiny into his actions and designs, was convicted of treason, 
and sentenced to be burned alive in the furnace of the pri- 
vate baths. The devout humanity. of the Empress Theopha- 
no was fatal to her husband and family. A solemn day, the 
twenty -fifth of December, had been fixed for the execution : 
she urged that the anniversary of the Saviour's birth would be 
profaned by this inhuman spectacle, and Leo consented with 
reluctance to a decent respite. But on the vigil of the feast 
his sleepless anxiety prompted him to visit at the dead of 
night the chamber in which his enemy was confined : he be- 
held him released from his chain, and stretched on his jailer's 
bed in a profound slumber : Leo was alarmed at these signs 
of security and intelligence; but though he retired with si- 
lent steps, his entrance and departure were noticed by a slave 
who lay concealed in a comer of the prison. Under the pre- 
tence of requesting the spiritual aid of a confessor, Michael 
informed the conspirators that their lives depended on his 
discretion, and that a few hours were left to assure their own 
safety, by the deliverance of their friend and country. On 
the great festivals a chosen band of priests and chanters was 
admitted into the palace by a private gate to sing matins in 
the chapel; and Leo, who regulated with the same strictness 
the discipline of the choir and of the camp, was seldom ab- 
sent from these early devotions. In the ecclesiastical habit, 
but with swords under their robes, the conspirators mingled 
with the procession, lurked in the angles of the chapel, and 
expected, as the signal of murder, the intonation of the first 


psalm by the emperor himself. The imperfect light, and the 
uniformity of dress, might have favored his escape, while their 
assault was pointed against a harmless priest ; but they soon 
discovered their mistake, and encompassed on all sides the 
royal victim. Without a weapon and without a friend, he 
grasped a weighty cross, and stood at bay against the hunters 
of his life ; but as he asked for mercy, ^' This is the hour, not 
of mercy, but of vengeance," was the inexorable reply. The 
stroke of a well -aimed sword separated from his body the 
right arm and the cross, and Leo the Armenian was slain at 
the foot of the altar. 

A memorable reverse of fortune was displayed in Michael 
the Second, who from a defect in his speech was sumamed 
Michael ii.,the ^'^® Stammerer. He was snatched from the fiery 
aISImo*'*'* furnace to the sovereignty of an empire ; and as in 
Dec. 86. |.jjg tumult a smith could not readily be found, the 

fetters remained on his legs several hours after he was seated 
on the throne of the Csesars. The royal blood which had 
been the price of his elevation was unprofitably spent : in the 
purple he retained the ignoble vices ^ of his origin; and Mi- 
chael lost his provinces with as supine indifference as if they 
had been the inheritance of his fathers. His title was dis- 
puted by Thomas, the last of the military triumvirate, who 
transported into Europe fourscore thousand barbarians from 
the banks of the Tigris and the shores of the Caspian. He 
formed the siege of Constantinople ; but the capital was de- 
fended with spiritual and carnal weapons ; a Bulgarian king 
assaulted the camp of the Orientals, and Thomas had the mis- 
fortune or the weakness to fall alive into the power of the 
conqueror. The hands and feet of the rebel were amputated ; 
he was placed on an ass, and, amidst the insults of the peo- 
ple, was led through the streets, which he sprinkled with his 
blood. The depravation of manners, as savage as they were 
corrupt, is marked by the presence of the emperor himself. 
Deaf to the lamentations of a fellow-soldier, he incessantly 
pressed the discovery of more accomplices, till his curiosity 
was checked by the question of an honest or guilty minister : 
"Would you give credit to an enemy against the most faith- 

AJ>. 829.] THEOPHILUS. 43 

f ul of your friends ?" After the death of his first wife, the 
emperor, at the request of the senate, drew from her monas- 
tery Euphrosyne, the daughter of Constantine the Sixth. Her 
angust birth might justify a stipulation in the marriage-con- 
traet that her children should equally share the empire with 
their elder brother. But the nuptials of Michael and Eu- 
phrosyne were barren : and she was content with the title of 
mother of Theophilus, his son and successor. 

The character of Theophilus is a rare example in which re- 
ligious zeal has allowed and perhaps magnified the virtues of 
««. ^„ a heretic and a persecutor. His valor was often 

Theophllns. * , 

6?'^' 3 ^^^^ ^y ^® enemies, and his justice by the subjects, 
of the monarchy ; but the valor of Theophilus was 
rash and fruitless, and his justice arbitrary and cruel. He 
displayed the banner of the cross against the Saracens ; but 
his five expeditions were concluded by a signal overthrow : 
Amorium, the native city of his ancestors, was levelled with 
the ground, and from his military toils he derived only the 
surname of the Unfortunate. The wisdom of a sovereign is 
comprised in the institution of laws and the choice of mag- 
istrates, and, while he seems without action, his civil govern- 
ment revolves round his centre with the silence and order 
of the planetary system. But the justice of Theophilus was 
fashioned on the model of the Oriental despots, who, in per- 
sonal and irregular acts of authority, consult the reason or 
passion of the moment, without measuring the sentence by 
the law, or the penalty by the ofEence. A poor woman threw 
herself at the emperor's feet to complain of a powerful neigh- 
bor, the brother of the empress, who had raised his palace- 
wall to such an inconvenient height that her humble dwell- 
ing was excluded from light and air I On the proof of the 
fact, instead of granting, like an ordinary judge, sufficient or 
ample damages to the plaintiff, the sovereign adjudged to her 
use and benefit the palace and the ground. Nor was Theoph- 
ilus content with this extravagant satisfaction : his zeal con- 
verted a civil trespass into a criminal act ; and the unfortu- 
nate Ps^trician was stripped and scourged in the public place 
of Constantinople. For some venial offences, some defect of 


■ vigilance, the principal ministers, a preefect, a qa»B- 
3tain of the gaarde, were banished or mutilated, or 
with boiling pitch, or bnrned alive in the hippo- 
Lnd ae these dreadful examples might be the effects 
)r caprice, they most have alienated from hie service 
and wisest o£ the citizens.' But the pride of tlie 

was flattered in the exercise of power, or, as he 
of virtue ; and the people, safe in their obscurity, 
d the danger and debasement of their superiors, 
raordinary rigor was justiflcd in some measure by 
ry consequences ; since, after a scrutiny of seventeeu 

a complaint or abuse could be found in the court or 
I it might be alleged that the Greeks could be ruled 
I a rod of iron, and that the public interest is the 
nd law of the supreme judge. Yet in the crime, or 
cion, of ti-eason, that judge is of all others the most 
I and partial. Tlieophilus might inflict a tardy ven- 
a the assassins of Leo and the saviors of his father ; 
ijoyed the fruits of their crime ; and his jealous tyr- 
ificed a brother and a prince to the future safety of 
A Persian of the i-ace of the Sassanides died in pov- 
exile at Constantinople, leaving an only sod, the is- 
Plebeian marriage. At the age of twelve yeai-s the 
th of Theopliobus was revealed, and his merit was 
•rthy of his birth. He was educated in the Byzan- 
ce, a Christian and a soldier ; advanced with rapid 
;he career of fortune and glory ; received the hand 
nperor's sister; and was promoted to the command 

thousand Persians, who, like his father, had fled 

Mahometan conquerors. These troops, doubly in- 
th mercenary and fanatic vices, were desirous of re- 
^inst their benefactor, and erecting the standard of 
ve king: but the loyal Tbeophobns rejected their 
(concerted their schemes, and escaped from their 
the camp or palace of his loyal brother. A genei^ 

«jt (p. I TS) thai Gibbon has exaggernted the cruelty of tbo punish- 
ed by Theupbilus ; and Schloeser also observes (p. G24) ihat be has 
thorily to jnsliry (he raproachea of excessive tjranny. — S. 

A.D.829.] THEOPHILUS. 45 

ons coniidence might have secured a faithful and able guar- 
dian for his wife and his infant son, to whom Theophilus, in 
the flower of his age, was compelled to leave the inheritance 
of the empire. But his jealousy was . exasperated by envy 
and disease: he feared the dangerous virtues which might 
either support or oppress their infancy and weakness; and 
the dying emperor demanded the head of the Persian prince. 
With savage delight he recognized the familiar features of 
his brother: '^Thou art no longer Theophobus/' he said; 
and, sinking on his couch, he added, with a faltering voice, 
" Soon, too soon, I shall be no more Theophilus !" 

The Eussians, who have borrowed from the Greeks the 
greatest part of their civil and ecclesiastical policy, preserved, 
till the last century, a singular institution in the marriage of 
the Czar. They collected, not the virgins of every rank and 
of every province, a vain and romantic idea, but the daugh- 
ters of the principal nobles, who awaited in the palace the 
choice of their sovereign. It is affirmed that a similar meth- 
od was adopted in the nuptials of Theophilus. With a golden 
apple in his hand, he slowly walked between two lines of con- 
tending beauties ; his eye was detained by the charms of Ica- 
sia, and, in the awkwardness of a first declaration, the prince 
could only observe that, in this world, women had been the 
cause of much evil ; "And surely, sir," she pertly replied, 
" they have likewise been the occasion of much good.'' This 
affectation of unseasonable wit displeased the imperial love^ : 
he turned aside in disgust ; Icasia concealed her mortification 
in a convent; and the modest silence of Theodora was re- 
warded with the golden apple. She deserved the love, but 
did not escape the severity, of her lord. From the palace 
garden he beheld a vessel deeply laden, and steering into the 
port : on the discovery that the precious cargo of Syrian lux- 
ury was the property of his wife, he condemned the ship to 
the flames, with a sharp reproach that her avarice had de- 
graded the character of an empress into that of a merchant. 
Yet his last choice intrusted her with the guardianship of the 
empire and her son Michael, who was left an orphan in the 
fif ^ year of his age. The restoration of images, and the final 


emperor, witli his biBliops or bnffoong, rode on asses through 
the streets, encountered the true patriarch at the head of bis 
clergy, and, hy their licentiona shouts aud obscene gestnres, 
disordered the gravity of the Christian procession. The de- 
votion of Michael appeared only in some ofience to reason or 
piety : he received his tlieatrical crowns from the statue of 
the Virgin; and an imperial tomb was violated for tlie sake 
of burning the hones of Constautine the Iconoclast. By this 
extravagant conduct the son of Theophilus became ae con- 
temptible as he was odious : every citizen was impatient for 
the deliverauce of his country ; and even the favorites of the 
moment were appreheneive that a caprice might snatch away 
what a caprice had bestowed. In the thirtieth year of his 
age, and in the hour of intoxication and sleep, Michael the 
Third was mnrdered in his diamber by the founder of a new 
dynasty, whom the emperor had raised to an equality of rank 
and power. 

The genealogy of Basil the Macedonian (if it bo not the 
spnrious offspring of pride and flattery) exhibits a genuine 
Baiiii.the picture of the revolution of the most illustrioua 
JIS'mt'""''' families.' The Arsacides, the rivals of Rome, pos- 
BepLM. Bessed the sceptre of the East near four hundred 
years : a younger branch of these Parthian kings continued 
to reign iu Armenia ; and their royal descendants survived 
the partition and servitude of that ancient monarchy. Two 
of these, Artabanns and Chlienes, escaped or retired to the 
court of Leo the First : his bounty seated them in a safe and 
hospitable exile in tho province of Macedonia: Adrianople 
was their final settlement. During several generations they 
maintained the dignity of their birth; and their Koroan pa- 
triotism rejected the tempting offers of the Persian and Ara- 
bian powers, who recalled them to their native country. Bat 
their splendor was insensibly clouded by time and poverty; 
and the father of Basil was reduced to a small farm, which 

• This MteTDpC to connect Cha ramllj of Basil I. ivith the roval fumily o( Anne- 
nU milM b« entireli' rejected, and is only an inalnnca of the influence of aristocral- 
ic and Asiatic prejudices nt Constantinople. There cnn be lilile doubt that Basil 
waa a SlBvonino. See Finlar, vol. i. p. 23S, 271.— S. 

A.D. 867.] BA3IL L 49 

he cultivated with his own hands : yet he scorned to disgrace 
the blood of the Arsacides by a plebeian alliance : liis wife, a 
widow of Adrianople, was pleased to count among her ances- 
tors the great Constantine ; and their royal infant was con- 
nected by some dark affinity of lineage or country with the 
Macedonian Alexander. No sooner was he born than the 
cradle of Basil, his family, and his city, were swept away by 
an inundation of the Bulgarians : he was educated a slave in 
a foreign land ; and in this severe discipline he acquired the 
hardiness of body and flexibility of mind which promoted his 
future elevation. In the age of youth or manhood he shared 
the deliverance of the Koman captives, who generously broke 
their fetters, marched through Bulgaria to the shores of the 
Euxine, defeated two armies of barbarians, embarked in the 
ships which had been stationed for their reception, and re- 
turned to Constantinople, from whence they were distributed 
to their respective homes. But the freedom of Basil was 
naked and destitute : his farm was ruined by the calamities 
of war : after his father's death his manual labor or service 
could no longer support a family of orphans ; and he re- 
solved to seek a more conspicuous theatre, in which every 
virtue and every vice may lead to the paths of greatness. 
The first night of his arrival at Constantinople, without 
friends or money, the weary pilgrim slept on the steps of the 
church of St. Diomede : he was fed by the casual hospitality 
of a monk; and was introduced to the service of a cousin 
and namesake of the Emperor Theophilus, who, though him- 
self of a diminutive person, was always followed by a train 
of tall and handsome domestics. Basil attended his patron to 
the government of Peloponnesus ; eclipsed, by his personal 
merit, the birth and dignity of Theophilus, and formed a use- 
ful connection with a wealthy and charitable matron of Pa- 
tras. Her spiritual or carnal love embraced the young advent- 
urer, whom she adopted as her son. Danielis presented him 
with thirty slaves; and the produce of her bounty was ex- 
pended in the support of his brothers, and the purchase of 
some large estates in Macedonia. His gratitude or ambition 
still attached him to the service of Theophilus ; and a lucky 

60 BASi;- I. [Ch. XLVIU. 

accident recommended him to the notice of the court. A 
famous wrestler in the train of the Bulgarian ambassadors 
had defied, at the royal banquet, the boldest and most robust 
of the Greeks. The strength of Basil was praised ; he ac- 
cepted the challenge ; and the barbarian champion was over- 
thrown at the first onset. A beautiful but vicious horse was 
condemned to be hamstrung : it was subdued by the dexterity 
and courage of the servant of Theophilus ; and his conqueror 
was promoted to an honorable rank in the imperial stables. 
But it was impossible to obtain the confidence of Michael 
without complying with his vices ; and his new favorite, the 
great chamberlain of the palace, was raised and supported by 
a disgraceful marriage with a royal concubine, and the dis- 
honor of his sister, who succeeded to her place.* The public 
administration had been abandoned to the CsBsar Bardas, the 
brother and enemy of Theodora ; but the arts of female in- 
fluence persuaded Michael to hate and to fear his uncle : he 
was drawn from Constantinople under the pretence of a Cre- 
tan expedition, and stabbed in the tent of audience by the 
sword of the chamberlain, and in the presence of the emper- 
or. About a month after this execution, Basil was invested 
with the title of Augustus and the government of the empire. 
He supported this unequal association till his influence was 
fortified by popular esteem. His life was endangered by the 
caprice of the emperor ; and his dignity was profaned by a 
second colleague, who had rowed in the galleys. Yet the 
murder of his benefactor must be condemned as an act of in- 
gratitude and treason ; and the churches which he dedicated 
to the name of St. Michael were a poor and puerile expiation 
of his guilt. 

The different ages of Basil the First may be compared with 
those of Augustus. The situation of the Greek did not allow 
him in his earliest youth to lead an army against his country, 
or to proscribe the noblest of her sons ; but his aspiring gen- 
ius stooped to the arts of a slave ; he dissembled his ambition 
and even his virtues, and grasped, with the bloody hand of 

* Finlaj (toI. i. p. 300) controverts this statement, and shows that Thecia, the 
sister of the Emperor Michael, was the concubine of Basil. — S. 

A.D. 867.] BASIL I. &i 

an assassin, the empire which he ruled with the wisdom and 
tenderness of a parent. A private citizen may feel his inter- 
est repugnant to his duty ; but it must be from a deficiency 
of sense or courage that an absolute monarch can separate his 
happiness from his glory, or his glory from the public wel- 
fare. The life or panegyric of Basil has indeed been com- 
posed and published under the long reign of his descendants ; 
but even their stability on the throne may be justly ascribed 
to the superior merit of their ancestor. In his character, his 
grandson Constantino has attempted to delineate a perfect 
image of royalty : but that feeble prince, unless he had copied 
a real model, could not easily have soared so high above the 
level of his own conduct or conceptions. But the most solid 
praise of Basil is drawn from the comparison of a ruined and 
a flourishing monarchy, that which he wrested from the dis- 
solute Michael, and that which he bequeathed to the Macedo- 
nian dynasty. The evils which had been sanctified by time 
and example were corrected by his master-hand ; and he re- 
vived, if not the national spirit, at least the order and majes- 
ty of the Boman empire. His application was indefatigable, 
his temper cool, his understanding vigorous and decisive ; and 
in his practice he observed that rare and salutary moderation, 
which pursues each virtue, at an equal distance between the 
opposite vices. His military service had been confined to the 
palace ; nor was the emperor endowed with the spirit or the 
talents of a warrior. Yet under his reign the Boman arms 
were again formidable to the barbarians. As soon as he had 
formed a new army by discipline and exercise, he appeared in 
person on the banks of the Euphrates, curbed the pride of the 
Saracens, and suppressed the dangerous though just revolt of 
the Manichseans. His indignation against a rebel who had 
long eluded his pursuit provoked him to wish and to pray 
that, by the grace of God, he might drive three arrows into 
the head of Chrysochir. That odious head, which had been 
obtained by treason rather than by valor, was suspended from 
a tree, and thrice exposed to the dexterity of the imperial 
archer : a base revenge against the dead, more worthy of the 
times than of the character of Basil. But his principal merit 

63 ^ BASIL L [CB.XLVni. 

was in the civil adminiBtration of tlie financeB aud of tlie laws. 
To replenish an exhanated treasniy, it was proposed to resume 
the lavish and ill-placed gifts of bis predecessor : his pradence 
abated one moiety of the restitution ; and a snm of twelve 
hundred thousand pounds was instantly procured to answer 
the most pressing demands, and to allow some space for the 
mature operations of economy. Among the various schemes 
for tbo improvement of the revenue, a new mode was suggest- 
ed of capitation, or- tribute, which would have too much de- 
pended on the arbitrary discretion of the assessors. A suffi- 
cient list of honest and able agents was instantly produced by 
the minister ; but on the more careful scrutiny of Basil him- 
self, only two could be found who might be safely intrusted 
with such dangerous powers ; and they justified his esteem by 
declining his confidence. But the serious and successful dil- 
igence of the emperor established by degrees an equitable bal- 
ance of property and payment, of receipt and expenditui-e ; a 
peculiar fund was appropriated to each service ; and a public 
method secured the interest of the prince and the property 
of the people. After reforming the luxury, he assigned two 
patrimonial estates to supply the decent plenty of the impe- 
rial table : the contributions of the subject were reserved for 
his defence; and the residue was employed in the embellish- 
ment of tlie capital and provinces. A taste for building, 
however costly,may deserve some praise and much excuse: 
from thence industry is fed, art is encouraged, and some ob- 
ject is attained of public emolument or pleasure : the use of 
a road, an aqueduct, or an hospital, is obvious and solid ; and 
the hundred churches that arose by the command of Basil 
were consecrated to the devotion of the age. In the charac- 
ter of a judge he was assiduous aud impartial ; desirous to 
save, but not afraid to strike : the oppressors of the people 
were severely chastised ; but his personal foes, whom it might 
be unsafe to pardon, were condemned, after the loss of their 
eyes, to a life of solitude and repentance. The change of 
language and manners demanded a revision of the obsolete 
jurisprudence of Justinian : the voluminous body of his In- 
stitutes, Pandects, Code, and Novels was digested under forty 
titles, in the Greek idiom ; and the Basilics, which were im- 

▲.D. 867.] BASIL I. 63 

proved and completed by his son and grandson, must be re- 
ferred to the original genius of the founder of their race.* 
This glorious reign was terminated by an accident in the 
chase. A furious stag entangled his horns in the belt of 
Basil, and raised him from his horse : he was rescued by an 
attendant, who cut the belt and slew the animal; but the fall, 
or the fever, exhausted the strength of the aged monarch, and 
he expired in the palace amidst the tears of his family and 
people. If he stmck o5 the head of the faithful servant for 
presuming to draw his sword against his sovereign, the pride 
of despotism, which had lain dormant in his life, revived in 
the last moments of despair, when he no longer wanted or 
valued the opinion of mankind.^ 

* On the histoiy of the Basilica and the Byzantine law, see ch. liii. note 5, with 
editor's note. — S. 
^ Genealogy of the Basilinn dynasty : 

Maria. = Basil I. «= Eudocia. 

Imp. oh. 886. 

Coustantinus. I j I 

Leo VI. Alexander. Stephen. 
Imp. ob. 911, 
m. Zoe. 



Imp. ob. 959, 

m. Helena. 


I 1 

Rom ANUS II. Theodora. 

Imp. ob. 963, m. John Zimisces. 

m. Theophano. Imp. ob. 976. 

( \ — ' r ~i 

Basil II. Constantinb IX. Theophano, Anna, 

Imp. ob. 1025. Imp. ob. 1028. m. Otho II. m. Wolodomir, 

I emp. of the West, duke of Rassia. 

I i r~i 

Endoda. Zoe. Theodora. 

Imp. ob. 1050, Imp. ob. 1056. 


Imp. ob. 1034. 

2. Michael IV. 

Imp. ob. 1041. 


Imp. ob. 1054. 


Of the four sons of the emperor, ConBtantine died before 
his father, whose grief and credulity were amused by a flat- 
Leo vl. the tering impostor and a vain apparition. Stephen 
I*S^***'* the youngest, was content with the honors of a pa- 
March 1. triarch and a saint ; both Leo and Alexander were 
alike invested with the purple, but the powers of government 
were solely exercised by the elder brother. The name of Leo 
the Sixth has been dignified with the title of philosopher ; 
and the union of the prince and the sage, of the active and 
speculative virtues, would indeed constitute the perfection of 
human nature. But the claims of Leo are far short of this 
ideal excellence. Did he reduce his passions and appetites 
under the dominion of reason? His life was spent in the 
pomp of the palace, in the society of his wives and concu- 
bines ; and even the clemency which he showed, and the 
peace which he strove to preserve, must be imputed to the 
softness and indolence of his character. Did he subdue his 
prejudices, and those of his subjects ? His mind was tinged 
with the most puerile superstition ; the influence of the cler- 
gy and the errors of the people were consecrated by his 
laws ; and the oracles of Leo, which reveal, in prophetic style, 
the fates of the empire, are founded on the arts of astrology 
and divination. If we still inquire the reason of his sage 
appellation, it can only be replied, that the son of Basil was 
less ignorant than the greater part of his contemporaries in 
Church and State ; that his education had been directed by 
the learned Photius ; and that several books of profane and 
iBcdesiastical science were composed by the pen, or in the 
name, of the im^Qit\2X philosopher. But the reputation of his 
philosophy and religion was overthrown by a domestic vice, 
the repetition of his nuptials. The primitive ideas of the 
merit and holiness of celibacy were preached by the monks 
and entertained by the Greeks. Marriage was allowed as a 
necessary means for the propagation of mankind ; after the 
death of either party, the survivor might satisfy by a sec- 
ond union the weakness or the strength of the flesh ; but a 
third marriage was censured as a state of legal fornication ; 
and 2k fourth was a sin or scandal as yet unknown to the 


Christians of the East. Id the beginning of his reign^ Leo 
himself had abolished the state of concubines, and condem- 
ned, without annulling, third marriages : but his patriotism 
and love soon compelled him to violate his own laws, and to 
incur the penance which in a similar case he had imposed on 
his subjects. In his three first alliances his nuptial bed was 
unfruitful ; the emperor required a female companion, ajid 
the empire a legitimate heir. The beautiful Zoe was intro- 
duced into the palace as a concubine ; and after a trial of her 
fecundity, and the birth of Constantino, her lover declared 
his intention of legitimating the mother and the child by the 
celebration of his fourth nuptials. But the patriarch Nich- 
olas refused his blessing : the imperial baptism of the young 
prince was obtained by a promise of separation ; and the con- 
tumacious husband of Zoe was excluded from the communion 
of the faithful. Neither the fear of exile, nor the desertion 
of his brethren, nor the authority of the Latin Church, nor 
the danger of failure or doubt in the succession to the em- 
pire, could bend the spirit of the inflexible monk. After the 
death of Leo he was recalled from exile to the civil and ec- 
clesiastical administration ; and the edict of union which was 
promulgated in the name of Constantine condemned the fut- 
ure scandal of fourth marriages, and left a tacit imputation on 
his own birth. 

In the Greek language purple and porphyry are the same 

word : and as the colors of nature are invariable, we may 

learn that a dark deep red was the Tyrian dye 

couBtan- ' which staiued the purple of the ancients. An 

tine VII, 

Porphyn>- apartment of the Byzantine palace was lined with 
A.B. 911, porphyry : it was reserved for the use of the preg- 
nant empresses : and the royal birth of their chil- 
dren was expressed by the appellation of porphyrogenite^ or 
bom in the purple. Several of the Eoman princes had been 
blessed with an heir ; but this peculiar surname was first ap- 
plied to Constantine the Seventh. His life and titular reign 
were of equal duration : but of fifty-four years six had elapsed 
before his father's death ; and the son of Leo was ever the 
voluntary or reluctant subject of thosfe who oppressed his 


weakness or abused his confidence. His nncle Alexander, 
who had long been invested with the title of Augustus, was 
the first colleague and governor of the young prince : but in 
a rapid career of vice and folly the brother of Leo already 
emulated the reputation of Michael ; and when he was extin- 
guished by a timely death, he entertained a project of castra- 
ting his nephew and leaving the empire to a worthless favor- 
ite. The succeeding years of the minority of Constantino 
were occupied by his mother Zoe, and a succession or council 
of seven regents, who pursued their interest, gratified their 
passions, abandoned the republic, supplanted each other, and 
finally vanished in the presence of a soldier. From an ob- 
scure origin Bomanns Lecapenns had raised himself to the 
command of the naval armies ; and in the anarchy of the 
times had deserved, or at least had obtained, the national eft- 
teem. With a victorious and affectionate fleet he sailed from 
the mouth of the Danube into the hai;bor of Constantinople, 
Romannsi. *^^ ^^ hailed as the deliverer of the people and 
iS*9w"^* the guardian of the prince. His supreme office 
Dec. 24. ^^g j^j. gj.g|. defined by the new appellation of fa- 
ther of the emperor ; but Komanus soon disdained the subor- 
dinate powers of a minister, and assumed, with the titles of 
Christopher. Cffisar flud Augustus, tlie full independence of roy- 
conSan- ^^^7? which he held near five -and -twenty years, 
tiue VIII. 2i8 three sons, Christopher, Stephen, and Constan- 
tino, were successively adorned with the same honors, and the 
lawful emperor was degraded from the first to the fifth rank 
in this college of princes. Yet, in the preservation of his life 
and crown, he might still applaud his own fortune and the 
clemency of the usurper. The examples of ancient and mod- 
em history would have excused the ambition of Roman us : 
the powers and the laws of the empire were in his hand ; the 
spurious birth of Constantino would have justified his exclu- 
sion; and the grave or the monastery was open to receive 
the son of the concubine. But Lecapenns does not appear 
to have possessed either the virtues or the vices of a tyrant. 
The spirit and activity of his private life dissolved away in 
the sunshine of the throne ; and in his licentious pleasures he 

A.D. 945.] C0N8TANTINE VII. 57 

forgot the safety both of the republic and of his family. Of 
a mild and religious character, he respected the sanctity of 
oaths, the innocence of the youth, the memory of his parents, 
and the attachment of the people. The studious temper and 
retirement of Constantine disarmed the jealousy of power : 
his books and music, his pen and his pencil, were a constant 
source of amusement ; and if he could improve a scanty al- 
lowance by the sale of his pictures, if their price was not 
enhanced by the name of the artist, he was endowed with a 
personal talent which few princes could employ in the hour 
of adversity. 

The fall of Bomanus was occasioned by his own vices and 
those of his children. After the decease of Christopher, his 
consun- cldcst SOU, the two surviving brothers quarrelled 
il!JI!^ ^^^^ ®*c^ other, and conspired against their father. 
jaiL«7. ^^ ^jjQ Jiour of noon, when all strangers were reg- 

ularly excluded from the palace, they entered his apartment 
with an armed force, and conveyed him, in the habit of a 
monk, to a small island in the Propontis, which was peopled 
by a religious community. The rumor of this domestic rev- 
olution excited a tumult in the city ; but Porphyrogenitus 
alone, the true and lawful emperor, was the object of the pub- 
lic care ; and the sons of Lecapenus were taught, by tardy ex- 
perience, that they had achieved a guilty and perilous enter- 
prise for the benefit of their rival. Their sister Helena, the 
wife of Constantine, revealed, or supposed, their treacherous 
design of assassinating her husband at the royal banquet. 
His loyal adherents were alarmed, and the two usurpers were 
prevented, seized, degraded from the purple, and embarked 
for the same island and monastery where their father had 
been so lately confined. Old Bomanus met them on the 
beach with a sarcastic smile, and, after a just reproach of their 
folly and ingratitude, presented his imperial colleagues with 
an equal share of his water and vegetable diet. In the for- 
tieth year of his reign Constantine the Seventh obtained the 
possession of the Eastern world, which he ruled, or seemed to 
rule, near fifteen years. But he was devoid of that energy of 
character which could emerge into a life of action and glory; 

58 EOMANUS n. [Ch. XLVIU. 

and the studies which had amused and dignified his leisure 
were incompatible with the serious duties of a sovereign. 
The emperor neglected the practice, to instruct his son Boma- 
nus in the theory, of government : while he indulged the hab- 
its of intemperance and sloth, he dropped the reins of the ad- 
ministration into the hands of Helena hid wife ; and, in the 
shifting scene of her favor and caprice, each minister was re- 
gretted in the promotion of a more worthless successor. Yet 
the birth and misfortunes of Constantino had endeared him 
to the Greeks ; they excused his failings ; they respected his 
learning, his innocence and charity, his love of justice ; and 
the ceremony of his funeral was mourned with the unfeigned 
tears of his subjects. The body, according to ancient custom, 
lay in state in the vestibule of the palace ; and the civil and 
military officers, the patricians, the senate, and the clergy ap- 
proached in due order to adore and kiss the inanimate corpse 
of their sovereign. Before the procession moved towards the 
imperial sepulchre, a herald proclaimed this awful admoni- 
tion : " Arise, O king of the world, and obey the summons of 
the King of kings !" 

The death of Constantine was imputed to poison ; and his 
son Eomanus, who derived that name from his maternal grand- 
Romaiman. father, asccudcd the throne of Constantinople. A 
I^d/^m, prince who, at the age of twenty, could be suspect- 
Nov.18. Q^ ^f anticipating his inheritance, must have been 
already lost in the public esteem ; yet Romanus was rather 
weak than wicked; and the largest share of the guilt was 
transferred to his wife, Theophano, a woman of base origin, 
masculine spirit, and flagitious manners. The sense of per- 
sonal glory and public happiness, the true pleasures of roy- 
alty, were unknown to the son of Constantine; and, while the 
two brothers, Nicephorus and Leo, triumphed over the Sara- 
cens, the hours which the emperor owed to his people were 
consumed in strenuous idleness. In the morning he visited 
the circus ; at noon he feasted the senators ; the greater part 
of the afternoon he spent in the sphoBristeriumj or tennis- 
court, the only theatre of his victories ; from thence he pass- 
ed over to the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, hunted and kill- 


ed four wild-boars of the largest size^ and returned to the pal- 
ace, proudly content with the labors of the day. In strength 
and beauty he was conspicuous above his equals: tall and 
straight as a young cypress, his complexion was fair and 
florid, his eyes sparkling, his shoulders broad, his nose long 
and aquiline. Yet even these perfections were insuflScient to 
fix the love of Theophano ; and, after a reign of four* years, 
she mingled for her husband the same deadly draught which 
she had composed for his father. 

By his marriage with this impious woman Bomanus the 
younger left two sons, Basil the Second and Constantino the 
Niccphonis Ninth, and two daughters, Theophano and Anne. 
°^f^J^ The eldest sister was given to Otho the Second, 
Anguato. Empcror of the "West; the younger became the 
wife of Wolodomir, great duke and apostle of Bussia ; and, 
by the marriage of her granddaughter with Henry the First, 
King of France, the blood of the Macedonians, and perhaps 
of the Arsacides, still flows in the veins of the Bourbon line. 
After the death of her husband the empress aspired to reign 
in the name of her sons, the elder of whom was flve, and the 
younger only two years of age ; but she soon felt the insta- 
bility of a throne which was supported by a female who could 
not be esteemed, and two infants who could not be feared. 
Theophano looked around for a protector, and threw herself 
into the arms of the bravest soldier ; her heart was capacious; 
but the deformity of the new favorite rendered it more than 
probable that interest was the motive and excuse of her love. 
Nicephorus Phocas united, in the popular opinion, the double 
merit of a hero and a saint. In the former character his qual- 
ifications were genuine and splendid : the descendant of a race 
illustrious by their military exploits, he had displayed in ev- 
ery station and in every province the courage of a soldier and 
the conduct of a chief ; and Nicephorus was crowned with re- 
cent laurels from the important conquest of the Isle of Ci*ete. 
His religion was of a more ambiguous cast; and his hair- 
cloth, his fasts, his pious idiom, and his wish to retire from 

*■ Three years and five months. Leo Dmconus in Niebuhr, Bjz. Hist. p. 80. — M. 


the business of the world, were a convenient mask for his 
dark and dangerous ambition. Yet he imposed on a holy 
patriarch, by whose influence, and by a decree of the senate, 
he was intrusted, during the minority of the young princes, 
with the absolute and independent command of the Oriental 
armies. As soon as he had secured the leaders and the troops 
he boldly marched to Constantinople, trampled on his ene- 
mies, avowed his correspondence with the empress, and, with- 
out degrading her sons, assumed, with the title of Augustus, 
the pre-eminence of rank and the plenitude of power. But 
his marriage with Theophano was refused by the same patri- 
arch who had placed the crown on his head : by his second 
nuptials he incurred a year of canonical penance ; a bar of 
spiritual aflSnity was opposed to their celebration ;* and some 
evasion and perjury were required to silence the scruples of 
the clergy and people. The popularity of the emperor was 
lost in the purple : in a reign of six years he provoked the 
hatred of strangers and subjects, and the hypocrisy and ava- 
rice of the first Nicephorus were revived in his successor. 
Hypocrisy I shall never justify or palliate ; but I will dare 
to observe that the odious vice of avarice is of all others most 
hastily arraigned and most unmercifully condemned. In a 
private citizen our judgment seldom expects an accurate scru- 
tiny into his fortune and expense ; and in a steward of the 
public treasure frugality is always a virtue, and the increase 
of taxes too often an indispensable duty. In the use of his 
patrimony the generous temper of Nicephorus had been 
proved ; and the revenue was strictly applied to the service 
of the State : each spring the emperor marched in person 
against the Saracens; and every Eoman might compute the 
employment of his taxes in triumphs, conquests, and the se- 
curity of the Eastern bamer.^ 

Among the warriors who promoted his elevation and served 
under his standard, a noble and valiant Armenian had de- 

^ The canonical objection to the marriage was his relation of godfather to her 
sons. Leo Diac. p. 50. — M. 

^ He retook Antioch. and brought home as a trophy the sword of " the most 
unholy and impious Mahomet." Leo Diac. p. 76. — M. 

AJ>.969.] JOHN ZmiSCES. 61 

served and obtained the most eminent rewards. The stature 

of John Zimisces was below the ordinaiy stand- 

misces. ard i^ but this diminntive body was endowed with 

Basil IL 

consun- , Strength^ beantj, and the soni of a hero. By the 
A.i>. M9, jealousy of the emperor*s brother he was degraded 
from the office of General of the East to that of di- 
rector of the posts, and his mormnrs were chastised with dis- 
grace and exile, fiat 2Smisoe8 was ranked among the na- 
merous lovers of the empress: on ha intercession he was 
permitted to reside at Chalcedon, in the neighborhood of the 
capital : her bounty was repaid in his clandestine and amc^- 
rous visits to the palace ; and Theophano consented with alac- 
rity to the death of an ngly and penniioos Lufband. S.-me 
bold and trusty conspiraton were coneeal&d in her iii'>rt pri- 
vate chambers: in the darkness of a wzz^ier r'^vZhiA^e^ 
with his principal companions, emlorkec =l a sn^ l^ii&t. trar- 
ersed the Bosphoms, landed at the faI:kot su.lrE. tz, i ^liKZHlr 
ascended a ladder of ropes, which wv cas: i.-wr • j tie fe- 
male attendants. Neither his own «a*vuii:ni*u ii c •;.*: wkra- 
ings of his friends, nor the tardy aid of Li* \fr,rlier l^-,. z.jr 

the fortress which he had erected in the pouii^. 'zx it '^ect 

Nicephorus from a domestic foe, at whoee r.^tit ^r^erj iyjr 
was opened to the assassins. As he slept on a l^isc-^t 'z. en 
the ground, he was roused by their noisy intmsioo^ a.-, : i^.lnr 
daggers glittered before his eyes. It is doubtful m':^^'.Xt 
Zimisces imbrued his hands in the blood of his ^yTt^T*:'-^. : 
but he enjoyed the inhuman spectacle of reven^.* Y:,^ 
murder was protracted by insult and cruelty ; and ^, vx>t t* 
the head of Nicephorus was shown from the windfrw. ♦iit ♦. > 
mnlt was hushed, and the Armenian was Empertir of :!*: £^i*_ 
On the day of his coronation he was stopped on the •;.r*>' i 
of St. Sophia by the intrepid patriarch, who Aargt^ l'^ ^- -,! 

» Zimisces is an Armenian word, and was given to Join m teea^ -j 
stature. Leo Dine. p. 92.— S. ^"^ ^ - * •-'''^ 

^ According to Leo Diaconas, Zimisces, after ordem^ tb» «MBA«e 
be dragged to his feet, and heaping him with insolt. to wW* ^^ ll ^ '^^^ ''" 
only replied by invoking the name of the *' mother of Gad.* vr- ZT^ "* '^'" 
plucked his beard, while his accomplices beat oot hk teak vsi i. . ''' V * '" 
swords, and then trampling him to the groand, dfotc ^ g-^- * *■/—.• 
Leo. Diac. in Niebuhr, Byz. Hist. 1. vii. c. 8, p. 88.-11 ^^ ^" *-^ •• — 


science with the deed of treason and blood, and required, as a 
eign of repentance, that he shonld Beparate himself from his 
more criminal associate. This sally of apostolic zeal was not 
ofEeneive to the prince, since he coald neither love nor trnst 
a woman who had repeatedly violated the most sacred obli- 
gations ; and Theophano, instead of sharing his imperial fort- 
une, was dismissed with ignominy from his bed and palace. 
In their last interview she displayed a frantic and impotent 
rage, accused the ingratitude of her lover, assaulted, with 
words and blows, her son Basil, as he stood silent and sub- 
missive in the presence of a superior colleague, and avowed 
her own prostitution in proclaiming the illegitimacy of his 
birth.* The public indignation was appeased by her exile and 
the punishment of the meaner accomplices : Uie death of an 
unpopular prince was forgiven ; and the guilt of Zimiscea was 
forgotten in the splendor of his virtues. Perhaps his profu- 
sion was less useful to the State than the avarice of !Nicepho- 
rns ; but his gentle and generous behavior delighted all who 
approached his person ; and it was only in the paths of vic- 
tory that he trod in the footsteps of his predecessor. The 
greatest part of his reign was employed in the camp and the 
field : bis personal valor and activity were signalized on the 
Danube and the Tigris, the ancient boundaries of the Roman 
world ; and by his double triumph over the Kussians and the 
Saracens, he deserved the titles of savior of the empire and 
conqueror of tlie East. In his last return from Syria he ob- 
served that the most fruitful lands of his new provinces were 
possessed by the eunuchs. " And is it for them," he exclaim-- 
ed, with honest indignation, " that we have fought and con- 
quered ? Is it for them that we shed our blood and exhaust 
the treasures of our people ! The complaint was re-echoed to 
the palace, and the death of Zimisces is strongly marked with 
the suspicion of poison. 

• This U a miBtuks ; it was the ch&mberlain Basil, the aon of a Scvtliian worn. 
itQ, and not her onn son, whom Theophano asMulMd upon hearing tier eenlenco 
(Lsa Diac. p. 99 ; Cedren. p. 664). Moreover, there is notliinf; in the authorities 
about her proclaiming the ille#:itimacy of her son, nor 'ndeed any reason to snp- 
poie he was present, ifrom the acconnta of Leo Diaconns, Cedrenua, and Zonarss. 
Finlay.p. 398.-S. 

A.D. 976.] BASIL 11. 63 

Under this uBnrpation, or regency, of twelve years, the two 
lawful emperors, Basil and Constantino, had sUently grown to 

Basil n *^® ^® ^^ manhood. Their tender years had been 
»nd Con- incapable of dominion : the respectful modesty of 
A.B.976, ' their attendance and salutation was due to the a^^e 

Jurnary lOi ^ 

and merit of their guardians : the childless ambi- 
tion of those guardians had no temptation to violate their 
right of succession : their patrimony was ably and faithfully 
administered; and the premature death of Zimisccs was a loss 
rather than a benefit to the sons of Bomanus. Their ^ant 
of experience detained them twelve years longer the obscure 
and voluntary pupils of a minister who extended his reign by 
persuading them to indulge the pleasures of youth, and to dis- 
dain the labors of government. In this silken web the weak- 
ness of Constantino was forever entangled; but his elder 
brother felt the impulse of genius and the desire of action ; 
he frowned, and the minister was no moi^. Basil was the 
acknowledged sovereign of Constantinople and the provinces 
of Europe ; but Asia was oppressed by two veteran generals, 
Phocas and Sclerus, who, alternately fi'iends and enemies, sub- 
jects and rebels, maintained their independence, and labored 
to emulate the example of successful usurpation. Against 
these domestic enemies the son of Komanus first drew his 
sword, and they trembled in the presence of a lawful and 
high-spirited prince. The first, in the front of battle, was 
thrown from his horse by the stroke of poison or an arrow ; 
the second, who had been twice loaded with chains,^ and 
twice invested with the purple, was desirous of ending in 
peace the small remainder of his days. As the aged suppli- 
ant approached the throne, with dim eyes and faltering steps, 
leaning on his two attendants, the emperor exclaimed, in the 
insolence of youth and power, ^^ And is this the man who has 
so long been the object of our terror?" After he had con- 
firmed his own authority and the peace of the empire, the 
trophies of Nicephorus and Zimisces would not suffer their 
royal pupil to sleep in the palace. His long and frequent ex- 

* Once by the caliph, once by his rival Phocas. Compare Le Beau, vol. xiv. 
p. 76.— M. 


peditions against the Saracens were mtlier glorious than use- 
ful to the empire; but the final destruction of the kingdom 
of Bulgaria appears, since the time of Belisarius,the most im- 
portant triumph of the Koman arms. Yet, instead of ap- 
plauding their victorious prince, his subjects detested the ra- 
pacious and rigid avarice of Basil : and, in the imperfect nar- 
rative of his exploits, we can only discern the courage, pa- 
tience, and ferociousness of a soldier. A vicious education, 
which could not subdue his spirit, had clouded his mind ; he 
was ignorant of every science ; and the remembrance of his 
learned and feeble grandsire might encourage his real or af- 
fected contempt of laws and lawyers, of artists and arts. Of 
such a character, in such an age, superstition took a firm and 
lasting possession : after the first license of his youth, Basil 
the Second devoted his life, in the palace and the camp, to 
the penance of a hermit, wore the monastic habit under his 
robes and armor, observed a vow of continence, and imposed 
on his appetites a perpetual abstinence from wine and flesh. 
In the sixty-eighth year of his age his martial spirit urged 
him to embark in person for a holy war against the Saracens 
of Sicily : he was prevented by death, and Basil, surnamed 
the Slayer of the Bulgarians, was dismissed from the world 
with the blessings of the clergy and the curees of the people, 
constan- After his decease, his brother Constantino enjoyed 
A.D!iwi$. about three years the power or rather the pleasures 
December, ^f royalty ; and his only care was the settlement 
of the succession. He had enjoyed sixty-six years the title of 
Augustus ; and the reign of the two brothers is the longest 
and most obscure of the Byzantine history. 

A lineal succession of five emperors, in a period of one 
hundred and sixty years, had attached the loyalty of the 
Romanusiii. Greeks to the Macedonian dynasty, which had been 
A.i5!^i^', thrice respected by the usurpers of their power. 
No;, la. ' j^f^QY the death of Constantino the Ninth, the last 
male of the royal race, a new and broken scene presents it- 
self, and the accumulated years of twelve emperore do not 
equal the space of his single reign. His elder brother had 
preferred his private chastity to the public interest, and Con- 

A.D.1034.] ROMANUS III.--MICHAEL lY. 65 

stantine himself had only three daughters — Endocia, who took 
the veil, and Zee and Theodora, who were preserved till a 
mature age in a state of ignorance and virginity. When their 
marriage was discussed in the. council of their dying father, 
the cold or pious Theodora refused to give an heir to the em- 
pire, but her sister 2iOe presented herself a willing victim at 
the altar. Komanus Argyrns, a patrician of a graceful per- 
son and fair reputation, was chosen for her husband, and, 
on his declining that honor, was informed that blindness or 
death was the second alternative. The motive of his reluc- 
tance was conjugal affection, but his faithful wife sacrificed 
her own happiness to his safety and greatness, and her en- 
trance into a monastery removed the only bar to the imperial 
nuptials. After the decease of Constantino the sceptre de- 
volved to Romanus the Third ; but his labors at home and 
abroad were equally feeble and fruitless; and the mature age, 
the forty-eight years of Zoe, were less favorable to the hopes 
of pregnancy than to the indulgence of pleasure. Her favor- 
ite chamberlain was a handsome Paphlagonian of the name of 
Michael, whose first trade had been that of a money-changer ; 
and Bomanus, either from gratitude or equity, connived at 
their criminal intercourse, or accepted a slight assurance of 
their innocence. But Zoe soon justified the Roman maxim, 
that every adulteress is capable of poisoning her husband; 
and the death of Romanus was instantly followed by the 

scandalous marrias^e and elevation of Michael the 
thePaphift- Jourth. The expectations of Zoe were,- however, 
A.D.i<iM, disappointed: instead of a vigorous and grateful 

lover, she had placed in her bed a miserable wretch, 
whose health and reason were impaired by epileptic fits, and 
whose conscience was tormented by despair and remorse. 
The most skilful physicians of the mind and body were sum- 
moned to his aid ; and his hopes were amused by frequent 
pilgrimages to the baths and to the tombs of the most pop- 
ular saints ; the monks applauded his penance, and, except 
restitution (but to whom should he have restored ?), Michael 
sought every method of expiating his guilt. While he groan- 
ed and prayed in sackcloth and ashes, his brother, the eunuch 
v.— 5 


Jobs, smiled at his remorse, and enjoyed the harvest of a 
crime of which himself was the secret and most guilty au- 
thor. His administration was only the art of satiating his 
avarice, and Zoe became a captive in the palace of her fathers 
and in the hands of her slaves. When he perceived the ir- 
retrievable decline of his brother's health, he introduced his 
nephew, another Michael, who derived his surname of Ca- 
laphates from his father's occupation in the careening of yes- 
sels : at the command of the eunuch, Zoe adopted for her son 
the son of a mechanic; and this fictitious heir was invested 
with the title and purple of the Csasars in the presence of the 
senate and clergy. So feeble was the character of Zoe, that 
she was oppressed by the liberty and power which she recov- 
Michael v. ^^^ ^7 ^^^ death of the Faphlagonian ; and at the 
inffw^!^*' ^^^ ^^ ^^^** d*ys she placed the crown on the head 
Dec. 14. ^f Michael the Fifth, who had protested with tears 
and oaths that he should ever reign the first and most obedi- 
ent of her subjects. The only act of his short reign was his 
base ingratitude to his benefactors, the eunuch and the em- 
press. The disgrace of the former was pleasing to the pub- 
lic ; but the murmurs, and at length the clamors, of Constan- 
tinople deplored the exile of 2Soe, the daughter of so many 
emperors ; her vices were forgotten, and Michael was taught 
that there is a period in which the patience of the tamest 
slaves rises into fury and revenge. The citizens of every 
degree assembled in a formidable tumult which lasted three 
days; th&y besieged the palace, forced the gates, recalled their 
Zoe and mothers, Zoe from her prison, Theodora from her 

Iii^iSJi,** monastery, and condemned the son of Calaphates 
April 21. ^^ |.jjQ j^gg ^£ jjjg gygg Qj. ^f jjjg |jfg^ j^QT the first 

time the Greeks beheld with surprise the two royal sisters 
seated on the same throne, presiding in the senate, and giving 
audience to the ambassador of the nations. But this singu^* 
lar union subsisted no more than two months ; the two sov- 
ereigns, their tempers, interests, and adherents, were secret- 
ly hostile to each other ; and as Theodora was still averse to 
marriage, the indefatigable Zoe, at the age of sixty, consented, 
for the public good, to sustain the embraces of a third bus- 

A.l>. 1042-105a] C0N8TANTINE X.— THEODORA.— MICHAEL VL 67 

band, and the censures of the Greek Church. His name and 
consun- number were Constantine the Tenth, and the epi- 
Mon^ ^^^^ ^^ MtmoTnaohv^j the single combatant, must 
jS/iiie, ^*^® ^^^'^ expressive of his valor and yictory in 
June 11. eome public or private quarrel.* But his health 
was broken by the tortures of the gout, and his dissolute 
reign was spent in the alternative of sickness and pleasure. 
A fair and noble widow had accompanied Constantine in his 
exile to the Isle of Lesbos, and Sclerena gloried in the appel- 
lation of his mistress. After his marriage and elevation she 
was invested with the title and pom]> of Auguetdy and occu- 
pied a contiguous apartment in the palace. The lawful con- 
sort (such was the delicacy or corruption of Zoe) consented to 
this sti'ange and scandalous paitition; and the emperor ap- 
peared in public between his wife and his concubine. He 
survived them both ; but the last measures of Constantine to 
change the order of succession were prevented by the more 
^ ^ viffilant friends of Theodora; and after his de- 

Theodon. ° . t • i t t • 

▲.U10S4, cease she resumed, with the general consent, the 
possession of her inheritance. In her name, and by 
the influence of four eunuchs, the Eastern world was peace- 
ably governed about nineteen months ; and as they wished to 
prolong their dominion, they persuaded the aged princess to 
nominate for her successor Michael the Sixth. The surname 
of iStrcUiotious declares his military profession ; but the crazy 
and decrepit veteran could only see with the eyes and exe- 
MfchMt VI. ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ hands of his .ministers. Whilst he 
SSliw^"*" asceuded the throne, Theodora sunk into the grave 
Aog. 22. — ^jjQ ]jjg|. ^£ ^Ijq Macedonian or Basilian dynasty. 

I have hastily reviewed and gladly dismiss this shameful and 
destructive period of twenty-eight years, in which the Greeks, 
degraded below the common level of servitude, were transfer- 
red like a herd of cattle by the choice or caprice of two im- 
potent females. 

From this night of slavery, a ray of freedom, or at least of 
spirit, begins to emerge : the Greeks either preserved or re- 

* Monomachas was a hereditniy name in the family of Constantine, and there- 
fore had no reference to the qtinlities of the individaal. Finlay, vol. i. p. 500.— S. 


vived the use of snmames, which perpetuate the fame of 
Isaac I. hereditary virtae : and we now discern the rise, suc- 
^mr!^ cession, and alliances of the last dynasties of Con- stantinople and Trebizond. The Camneniy who up- 
held for awhile the fate of the sinking empire, assumed the 
honor of a Koman origin : but the family had been long since 
transported from Italy to Asia. Their patrimonial estate was 
situate in the district of Castamona, in the neighborhood of 
the Eaxine ; and one of their chiefs, who had already entered 
the paths of ambition, revisited with affection, perhaps with 
regret, the modest though honorable dwelling of his fathers. 
The first of their line was the illustrious Manuel, who, in the 
reign of the second Basil, contributed by war and treaty to 
appease the troubles of the Sast : he left in a tender age two 
sons, Isaac and John, whom, with the consciousness of desert, 
he bequeathed to the gratitude and favor of his sovereign.^ 
The noble youths were carefully trained in the learning of 
the monastery, the arts of the palace, and the exercises of the 
camp : and, from the domestic service of the guards, they 
were rapidly promoted to the command of provinces and 
armies. Their fraternal union doubled the force and reputa- 
tion of the Comneni, and their ancient nobility was illustrated 
by the marriage of the two brothers, with a captive princess 
of Bulgaria, and the daughter of a Patrician who had obtain- 
ed the name of Charon from the number of enemies whom 
he had sent to the infernal shades. The soldiers had served 
with reluctant loyalty a series of effeminate masters; the ele- 
vation of Michael the Sixth was a personal insult to the more 
deserving generals ; and their discontent was inflamed by the 
parsimony of the emperor and the insolence of the eunuchs. 
They secretly assembled in the sanctuary of St. Sophia, and 
the votes of the military synod would have been unanimous 
in favor of the old and valiant Catacalon, if the patriotism or 
modesty of the veteran had not suggested the importance of 
birth as well as merit in the choice of a sovereign. Isaac 
Comnenus was approved by general consent, and the associ- 

^ See note a on opposite page. 

▲.D. 1057.] 





3 CO 

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SB"' * 

Hi^ 00 ~ 













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3 separated -without delay to meet in the plains of Plirygia 
the head of their respective aqnadrons and detachments. 
B caase of Michael was defended in a single battle hy 
mercenaries of the Imperial Guard, who were aliens 
the public interest, and animated onlj by a principle of 
)or and gratitude. After their defeat the fears of the 
peror solicited a treaty, which was almost accepted by 

moderation of tho Comnenian. But the fonner was be- 
yei by his ambassadors, and the latter was prevented by 

friends. The solitary Michael submitted to the voice of 

people ; the patriarch annulled their oath of allegiance ; 
I, as he shaved the head of the royal monk, congratulated 

beneficial exchange of temporal royalty for the kingdom 
heaven ; an exchange, however, which the priest, on his 
a account, wonld probably have decUned. By the hands 
the same patriarch, Isaac Comnenus was solemnly crown- 
; the sword which he inscribed on his coins might be an 
;nsive symbol if it implied his title by conquest ; but this 
)rd would have been drawn against the foreign and domes- 
enemies of the State. The decline of his health and vigor 
pendcd tho operation of active virtue; and the prospect 
approaching death determined him to interpose some mo- 
ots between life and eternity. But instead of leaving the 
pire as the marriage portion of his danghter, his reason 
1 inclination concurred in the preference of his brother 
m, a soldier, a patriot, and the father of five sons, the f ut- 
I pillars of a hereditary succeasion. His first modest re- 
tance might be the natural dictates of discretion and ten- 
ness, bat his obstinate and anccessfnl perseverance, how- 
r it may dazzle with the show of virtue, must be censured 
I criminal desertion of his duty, and a rare offence against 

family and country,' The purple which he had refused 
I accepted by Conatantine Ducas, a friend of the Comne- 
n house, and whose noble birth was adorned with the expe- 

Gibbon'« gt&tement that John refuwd the Imperial cronn is taken ttom Ni- 
lorns Bijenniut ; but Mr. Kinla^ remark* (vol. ii. p. Ifi) that this appeort (o be 
tW a flourish of family pride, since Scyliiiei expressij' decUrea that Isaac set 

Bliisbrother,— S. 

A.i>. 1059, 1067.] CONSTAJSTINB XI.— EUDOCIA. 71 

rience and reputation of civil policy. In the monastic habit 
Isaac recovered his health, and survived two years his volun- 
tary abdication. At the command of his abbot, he observed 
the rule of St. Basil, and executed the most servile offices of 
the convent : but his latent vanity was gratified by the fre- 
quent and respectful visits of the reigning monarch, who re- 
vered in his person the character of a benefactor and a saint. 

If Constantino the Eleventh were indeed tiie subject most 
worthy of empire, we must pity the debasement of the age 
cnnstantine ^^^ uation in which he was chosen. In the labor 
A.i>.?o»^' of puerile declamations he sought, without obtain- 
^^^^ ing, the crown of eloquence, more precious in his 
opinion than that of Eome ; and in the subordinate functions 
of a judge he forgot the duties of a sovereign and a warrior. 
Far from imitating the patriotic indifference of the authors 
of his greatness, Daeas was anxious only to secure, at the ex* 
pense of the republic, the power and prosperity of his chil- 
dren. His three sons, Michael the Seventh, Andronicus the 
First, and Constantino the Twelfth, were invested in a tender 
age with the equal title of Augustus ; and the succession was 
speedily opened by their father's death. His wid- 
A.1K io^» ow, Eudocia, was intrusted with the administration ; 

^* but experience had taught the jealousy of the dy- 

ing monarch to protect his sons from the danger of her sec- 
ond nuptials ; and her solemn engagement, attested by the 
principal senators, was deposited in the hands of the patri- 
arch. Before the end of seven months, the wants of Eudocia 
or those of the State called aloud for the male virtues of a 
soldier; and her heart had already chosen Romanus Diog- 
enes, whom she raised from the scaffold to the throne. The 
discovery of a treasonable attempt had exposed him to the se- 
verity of the laws : his beauty and valor absolved him in the 
eyes of the empress ; and Romanus, from a mild exile, was re- 
called on the second day to the command of the Oriental ar- 
mies. Her royal choice was yet unknown to the public ; and 
the promise which would have betrayed her falsehood and 
levity was stolen by a dexterous emissary from the ambition 
of tlie patriarch. Xiphilin at first alleged the sanctity of 


oaths and the sacred nature of a trast ; but a whisper that 
liis brother was the future emperor relaxed his scruples, and 
forced him to confess that the public safety was the supreme 
law. He resigned the important paper ; and when his hopes 
Bomanusm. ^^^^ coufouuded by the nomination of Eomanus, 
i^^SSr 'i® could no longer regain his security, retract his 
August. declarations, nor oppose the second nuptials of the 
empress. Yet a murmur was heard in the palace; and the 
barbarian guards had raised their battle-axes in the cause of 
the House of Ducas, till the young princes were soothed by 
the tears of their mother and the solemn assurances of the 
fidelity of their guardian, who filled the imperial station with 
dignity and honor. Hereafter I shall relate his valiant but 
unsuccessful efforts to resist the progress of .the Turks. His 
defeat and captivity inflicted a deadly wound on the Byzan- 
tine monarchy of the East ; and after he was released from 
the chains of the sultan, he vainly sought his wife and liis 
subjects. His wife had been thrust into a monastery, and 
the subjects of Eomanus had embraced the rigid maxim of 
the civil law, that a prisoner in the hands of the enemy is de- 
prived, as by the stroke of death, of all the public and private 
rifi^hts of a citizen. In the general consternation 

MirhsAl VII 

Parapinac;??', the Csesar Johu asserted the indefeasible right of 
i.,constan- his three nephews: Constantinople listened to his 
a.d!ioti". voice: and the Turkish captive was proclaimed iu 
"^°* the capital, and received on the frontier, as an en- 

emy of the republic. Bomanus was not more fortunate in do- 
mestic than in foreign war : the loss of two battles compelled 
him to yield, on the assurance of fair and honorable treat- 
ment; but his enemies were devoid of faith or humanity; 
and, after the cruel extinction of his sight, his wounds were 
left to bleed and corrupt, till in a few days he was relieved 
from a state of misery. Under the triple reign of the House 
of Ducas, the two younger brothers were reduced to the vain 
honors of the purple ; but the eldest, the pusillanimous Mi- 
chael, was incapable of sustaining the Roman sceptre ; and 
his surname of Parapmctcea denotes the reproach which he 
shared with an avaricious favorite, who enhanced the price 

A.D. 1078.] NICEPHORUS III. 73 

and diminished the measnre of wheat. In the school of Pael- 
las, and after the example of his mother, the son of Eudocia 
made some proficiency in philosophy and rhetoric; bnt his 
character was degraded rather than ennobled by the virtues 
of a monk and the learning of a sophist. Strong in the con- 
tempt of their sovereign and their own esteem, two generals, 
at the head of the European and Asiatic legions, assumed the 
purple at Adrianople and Nice. Their revolt was in the same 
month; they bore the same name of Nicephorus; but the 
two candidates were distinguished by the surnames of Bryen- 
nius and Botaniatcs: the former in the maturity of wisdom 
and courage, the latter conspicuous only by the mempry of 
bis past exploits. While Botaniates advanced with cautious 
and dilatory steps, his active competitor stood in arms before 
the gates of Constantinople. The name of Bryennius was 
illustrious ; his cause was popular ; but his licentious troops 
could not be restrained from burning and pillaging a suburb ; 
and the people, who would have hailed the rebel, rejected and 
repulsed the incendiary of his country. This change of the 
public opinion was favorable to Botaniates, who at length, 
with an army of Turks, approached the shores of Chalcedon. 
A formal invitation, in the name of the patriarch, the synod, 
and the senate, was circulated through the streets of Constan- 
tinople ; and the general assembly, in the dome of St. Sopliia, 
debated, with order and calmness, on the choice of their sov- 
ereign. The guards of Michael would have dispersed this un- 
armed multitude; but the feeble emperor, applauding his own 
moderation and clemency, resigned the ensigns of royalty, and 
was rewarded with the monastic habit, and the title of Arch- 
bishop of Ephesus. He left a son, a Constantino, bom and 
educated in the purple ; and a daughter of the House of Du- 
cas illustrated the blood and confirmed the succession of the 
Comnenian dynasty. 

John Comnenus, the brother of the Emperor Isaac, survived 
in peace and dignity his generous refusal of the sceptre. By 
his wife Anne, a woman of masculine spirit and policy, he left 
eight children: the three daughters multiplied the Comnenian 
alliances with the noblest of the Greeks: of the five sons, 

74 NICEPHORUS in. [Ch. XLVm. 

Manuel was stopped by a premature death ; Isaac and Alex- 
ins restored the imperial greatness of their house, 
rns ni. which was enjoyed without toil or danger by the 
A.D.1078, two younger brethren, Adrian and Nicephorus. 
Alexius, the third and most illustrious of the 
brothers, was endowed by nature with the choicest gifts both 
of mind and body : they were cultivated by a liberal educa- 
tion, and exercised in the school of obedience and adversity. 
The youth was dismissed from tho perils of the Turkish war 
by the paternal care of the Emperor Bomanus ; but the moth- 
er of the Comneni,with her aspiring race, was accused of trea- 
son, and banished, by the sons of Ducas, to an island in the 
Propontis. The two brothers soon emerged into favor and 
action, fought by each other's side against the rebels and bar- 
barians, and adhered to the Emperor Michael, till he was de- 
serted by the world and by himself. In his first interview 
with Botaniates, '^ Prince," said Alexius, with a noble frank- 
ness, " my duty rendered me your enemy ; the decrees of God 
and of the people have made me your subject. Judge of my 
future loyalty by my past opposition." The successor of Mi- 
chael entertained him with esteem and confidence : his valor 
was employed against three rebels, who disturbed the peace 
of the empire, or at least of tlie emperors. Ursel, Bryennius, 
and Basilacius were formidable by their numerous forces and 
military fame : they were successively vanquished in the field, 
and led in chains to the foot of the throne ; and whatever 
treatment they might receive from a timid and cruel court, 
they applauded the clemency as well as the courage of their 
conqueror. But the loyalty of the Comneni was soon taint- 
ed by fear and suspicion ; nor is it easy to settle between a 
subject and a despot the debt of gratitude which the former 
is tempted to claim by a revolt, and the latter to discharge by 
an executioner. The refusal of Alexius to march against a 
fourth rebel, the husband of his sister, destroyed the merit or 
memory of his past services : the favorites of Botaniates pro- 
voked the ambition which they apprehended and accused ; 
and the retreat of the two brothers might be justified by the 
defence of their life or liberty. The women of the family 

AJ>. 1061.] ALEXIUS I. 75 

were deposited in a sanctnary, respected by tyrants : the men, 
inonnted on horseback, sallied from the city, and erected the 
standard of civil war. The soldiers who had been gradually 
assembled in the capital and the neighborhood were devoted 
to the cause of a victorious and injured leader: the ties of 
common interest and domestic alliance secured the attach- 
ment of the House of Dncas ; and the generous dispute of 
the Comneni was terminated by the decisive resolution of 
Isaac, who was the first to invest his younger brother with the 
name and ensigns of royalty. They returned to Constantino- 
ple, to threaten rather than besiege that impregnable fortress ; 
but the fidelity of the guards was corrupted ; a gate was sur- 
prised, and the fiect was occupied by the active courage of 
George Palseologus, who fought against his father, without 
foreseeing that he labored for his posterity. Alexius ascend- 
ed the throne ; and his aged competitor disappeared in a mon- 
astery. An army of various nations was gratified with the 
pillage of the city ; but the public disorders were expiated by 
the tears and fasts of the Comneni, who submitted to every 
penance compatible with the possession of the empire. 

The life of the Emperor Alexius has been delineated by a 
favorite daughter, who was inspired by a tender regard for 
Alexias L ^^^ pcrsou and a laudable zeal to perpetuate his 
?"iSi?*' virtues. Conscious of the just suspicion of her 
April 1. readers, the Princess Anna Comnena repeatedly 
protests that, besides her personal knowledge, she had search- 
ed the discourse and writings of the most respectable veter^ 
ans : that, after an interval of thirty years, forgotten by and 
forgetful of the world, her mournful solitude was inaccessible 
to hope and fear; and that truth, the naked, perfect truth, 
was more dear and sacred than the memory of her parent. 
Yet, instead of the simplicity of style and narrative which 
wins our belief, an elaborate aflEectation of rhetoric and science 
betrays in every page the vanity of a female author. The 
genuine character of Alexius is lost in a vague constellation 
of virtues ; and the perpetual strain of panegyric and apolo- 
gy awakens our jealousy, to question the veracity of the his- 
torian and the merit of the hero. We cannot, however, refuse 

76 ALEXIUS I. [Ch. XLVm. 

her judicious and important remark, that the disorders of the 
times were the misfortune and the glory of Alexius ; and that 
every calamity which can afflict a declining empire was ac- 
cumulated on his reign by the justice of Heaven and the vices 
of his predecessors. In the East, the victorious Turks had 
spread, from Persia to the Hellespont, the reign of the Koran 
and the Crescent : the West was invaded by the adventurous 
valor of the Normans; and, in the moments of peace, the 
Danube poured forth new swarms, who had gained in the 
science of war, what they had lost in the ferociousness of 
manners. The sea was not less hostile than the land ; and 
while the frontiers were assaulted by an open enemy, the pal- 
ace was distracted with secret treason and conspiracy. On a 
sudden the banner of the Cross was displayed by the Latins ; 
Europe was precipitated on Asia; and Constantinople had 
almost been swept away by tliis impetuous deluge. In the 
tempest, Alexius steered the imperial vessel with dexterity 
and courage. At the head of his armies he was bold in ac- 
tion, skilful in stratagem, patient of fatigue, ready to improve 
his advantages, and rising from his defeats with inexhaustible 
vigor. The disciph'ne of the camp was revived, and a new 
generation of men and soldiers was created by the example 
and the precepts of their leader. In his intercourse with the 
Latins, Alexius was patient and artful : his discerning eye 
pervaded the new system of an unknown world ; and I shall 
hereafter describe the superior policy with which he balanced 
the interests and passions of the champions of the first cru- 
sade. In a long reign of thirty-seven years he subdued and 
pardoned the envy of his equals : the laws of public and pri- 
vate order were restored : the arts of wealth and science were 
cultivated : the limits of the empire were enlarged in Europe 
and Asia ; and the Comnenian sceptre was transmitted to his 
children of the third and fourth generation. Yet the diffi- 
culties of the times betrayed some defects in his character, 
and have exposed his memory to some just or ungenerous re- 
proach. The reader may possibly smile at the lavish praise 
which his daughter so often bestows on a flying hero : the 
weakness or prudence of his situation might be mistaken for 

A.D. 1118.] JOHN. 77 

a want of personal courage ; and his political arts are brand- 
ed by the Latins with the names of deceit and dissimnlation. 
The" increase of the male and female branches of his family 
adorned the throne and secured the succession ; but their 
princely luxury and pride offended the Patricians, exhausted 
the revenue, and insulted the misery of the people. Anna is 
a faithful witness that his happiness was destroyed, and his 
health was broken, by the cares of a public life : the patience 
of Constantinople was fatigued by the length and severity of 
his reign ; and before Alexius expired, he had lost the love 
and reverence of his subjects. The clergy could not forgive 
his application of the sacred riches to the defence of the 
State; but they applauded his theological learning and ar- 
dent zeal for the orthodox faith, which he defended with his 
tongue, his pen, and his sword. His character was degraded 
by the supei'stition of the Greeks ; and the same inconsistent 
principle of human nature enjoined the emperor to found a 
hospital for the poor and infirm, and to direct the execution 
of a heretic, who was burned alive in the Square of St. Sophia. 
Even the sincerity of his moral and religious virtues was sus- 
pected by the persons who had passed their lives in his famil- 
iar confidence. In his last hours, when he was pressed by 
his wife Irene to alter the succession, he raised his head, and 
breathed a pious ejaculation on the vanity of this world. The 
indignant reply of the empress may be inscribed as an epitaph 
on his tomb, " You die, as you have lived — a HYPocRriE I" 

It was the wish of Irene to supplant the eldest of her sur- 
viving sons in favor of her daughter the Princess Anna, 
whose philosophy would not have refused the 
caio4ro- weight of a diadem. But the order of male suc- 
A.D.1U8, cession was asserted by the friends of their coun- 
try; the lawful heir drew the royal signet from 
the finger of his insensible or conscious father, and the empire 
obeyed the master of the palace. Anna Comnena was stimu- 
lated by ambition and revenge to conspire against the life of 
her brother, and, when the design was prevented by the fears 
or scruples of her husband, she passionately exclaimed that 
nature had mistaken the two sexes, and had endowed Bryen- 

78 JOHN. [Ch. xlvdl 

nius with the soul of a woman. The two sons of Alexins, 
John and Isaac, maintained the f i*atemal concord, the heredi- 
tary virtue of their race, and the younger brother was con- 
tent with the title of Sehastocrator^ which approached the dig- 
nity without sharing the power of the emperor. In the same 
person the claims of primogeniture and merit were fortunate- 
ly united ; his swarthy complexion, harsh features, and dimin- 
utive stature had suggested the ironical surname of Calo-Jo- 
hannes, or John the Handsome, which his grateful subjects 
more seriously applied to the beauties of his mind. After 
the discovery of her treason, the life and fortune of Anna 
were justly forfeited to the laws. Her life was spared by the 
clemency of the emperor ; but he visited the pomp and treas- 
ures of her palace, and bestowed the rich confiscation on the 
most deserving of his friends. That respectable friend, Ax- 
uch, a slave of Turkish extraction, presumed to decline the 
gift and to intercede for the criminal : his generous master 
applauded and imitated the virtue of his favorite, and the re- 
proach or complaint of an injured brother was the only chas- 
tisement of the guilty princess. After this example of clem- 
ency, the remainder of his I'eign was never disturbed by con- 
spiracy or rebellion : feared by his nobles, beloved by his peo- 
ple, John was never reduced to the painful necessity of pun- 
ishing, or even of pardoning, his personal enemies. During 
his government of twenty-five yeare, the penalty of death was 
abolished in the Roman empire, a law of mercy most delight- 
ful to the humane theorist, but of which the practice, in a 
large and vicious community, is seldom consistent with the 
public safety. Severe to himself, indulgent to others, chaste, 
frugal, abstemious, the philosophic Marcus would not have 
disdained the artless virtues of his successor, derived from his 
heart, and not borrowed from the schools. He despised and 
moderated the stately magnificence of the Byzantine court, so 
oppressive to the people, so contemptible to the eye of reason. 
Under such a prince innocence had nothing to fear; and merit 
had everything to hope ; and, without assuming the tyrannic 
office of a censor, he introduced a gradual though visible ref- 
ormation in the public and private manners of Constantino- 

a;i>. 1143.] MANUEL. 79 

pie. The only defect of this accomplished character was the 
frailty of noble minds — the love of arms and military glory. 
Yet the frequent expeditions of John the Handsome may be 
justified) at least in their principle, by the necessity of repel- 
ling the Turks from the Hellespont and the Bosphonis. The 
Sultan of Iconium was confined to his capital, the barbarians 
were driven to the mountains, and the maritime provinces of 
Asia enjoyed the transient blessings of their deliverance. 
From Constantinople to Antioch and Aleppo, he repeatedly 
inarched at the head of a victorious army ; and in the sieges 
and battles of this holy war, his Latin allies were astonished 
by the superior spirit and prowess of a Greek. As he began 
to indulge the ambitious hope of restoring the ancient limits 
of the empire, as he revolved in his mind the Euphrates and 
Tigris, the dominion of Syria, and the conquest of Jerusalem, 
the thread of his life and of the public felicity was broken by 
a singular accident. He hunted the wild -boar in the valley 
of Anazarbns, and had fixed his javelin in the body of the 
furious animal ; but in the struggle a poisoned arrow dropped 
from his quiver, and a slight wound in his hand, which pro- 
duced a mortification, was fatal to the best and greatest of the 
Comnenian princes. 

A premature death had swept away the two eldest sons of 
John the Handsome ; of the two survivors, Isaac and Manuel, 
his judgment or aflfection preferred the younger ; 
A.n. no, and the choice of their dying prince was ratified 
^ by the soldiers, who had applauded the valor of his 

favorite in the Turkish war. The faithful Axuch hastened 
to the capital, secured the person of Isaac in honorable con- 
finement, and purchased, with a gift of two hundred pounds 
of silver, the leading ecclesiastics of St. Sophia, who possessed 
a decisive voice in the consecration of an emperor. With his 
veteran and affectionate troops, Manuel soon visited Constan- 
tinople ; his brother acquiesced in the title of Sebastocrator ; 
his subjects admired the lofty stature and martial graces of 
their new sovereign, and listened with credulity to the flatter- 
ing promise that he blended the wisdom of age with the ac- 
tivity and vigor of youth. By the experience of his govern- 


nient they were taught that he emulated the spirit aud shared 
the talents of his father, whose social virtues were buried in 
the grave. A' reign of thirty-seven years is filled by a per- 
petual though various warfare against the Turks, the Chris- 
tians, and the hordes of the wilderness beyond the Danube. 
The arms of Manuel were exercised on Mount Taurus, in the 
plains of Hungary, on the coast of Italy and Egypt, and on 
the seas of Sicily and Greece : the influence of his negotia- 
tions extended from Jerusalem to Rome and Russia ; and the 
Byzantine monarchy for awhile became an object of respect 
or terror to the powers of Asia and Europe. Educated in the 
silk and purple of the East, Manuel possessed the iron tem- 
per of a soldier, which cannot easily be paralleled, except in 
the lives of Richard the First of England, and of Charles the 
Twelfth of Sweden. Such was his sti-ength and exercise in 
arms, that Raymond, surnamed the Hercules of Antioch, was 
incapable of wielding the lance and buckler of the Greek 
emperor. In a famous tournament he entered the lists on a 
fiery courser, and overturned in his first career two of the 
stoutest of the Italian knights. The first in the charge, the 
last in the retreat, his friends and his enemies alike trem- 
bled, the former for his safety, and the latter for their own. 
After posting an ambuscade in a wood, he rode forward in 
search of some perilous adventure, accompanied only by his 
brother and the faithful Axuch, who refused to desert their 
sovereign. Eighteen horsemen, after a short combat, fled be- 
fore them : but the numbers of the enemy increased ; the 
march of the reinforcement was tardy and fearful, and Man- 
uel, without receiving a wound, cut his way through a squad- 
ron of five hundred Turks. In a battle against the Hunga- 
rians, impatient of the slowness of his troops, he snatched a 
standard from the head of the column, and was the first, al- 
most alone, who passed a bridge that separated him from the 
enemy. In the same country, after transporting his army 
beyond the Save, he sent back the boats with an order, under 
pain of death, to their commander, that he should leave him 
to conquer or die on that hostile land. In the siege of Corfu, 
towing after hiin a captive galley, the emperor stood aloft on 

A.D.1143.] MANUEL. 81 

the poop, opposing against the volleys of darts and stones a 
large bnckler and a flowing sail ; nor could he have escaped 
inevitable death, had not the Sicilian admiral enjoined his 
archers to respect the person of a hero. In one day he is 
said to have slain above forty of the barbarians with his own 
hand ; he retnmed to the camp, dragging along four Turkish 
prisoners, whom he had tied to the rings of his saddle: he 
was ever the foremost to provoke or to accept a single com- 
bat; and the gigantic champions who encountered his arm 
were transpierced by the lance, or cut asunder by the sword, 
of the invincible Manuel. The story of his exploits, which 
appear as a model or a copy of the romances of chivalry, may 
induce a reasonable suspicion of the veracity of the Greeks : 
I will not, to vindicate their credit, endanger my own ; yet I 
may obsei've that, in the long series of their annals, Manuel is 
the only prince who has been the subject of similar exaggera- 
tion. With the valor of a soldier he did not unite the skill 
or prudence of a general : his victories were not productive 
of any permanent or useful conquest ; and his Turkish lau- 
rels were blasted in his last unfortunate campaign, in which 
he lost his army in the mountains of Pisidia, and owed his de- 
liverance to the generosity of the sultan. But the most sin- 
gular feature in the character of Manuel is the contrast and 
vicissitude of labor and sloth, of hardiness and effeminacy. 
In war he seemed ignorant of peace, in peace he appeared 
incapable of war. In the field he slept in the sun or in the 
snow, tired in the longest marches the strength of his men 
and horses, and shared with a smile the abstinence or diet of 
the camp. Ko sooner did he return to Constantinople, than 
he resigned himself to the arts and pleasures of a life of lux- 
ury: the expense of his dress, his table, and his palace sur- 
passed the measure of his predecessors, and whole summer 
days were idly wasted in the delicious isles of the Propontis, 
in the incestuous love of his niece Theodora. The double 
cost of a warlike and dissolute prince exhausted the revenue 
and mnltiplied the taxes ; and Manuel, in the distress of his 
last Turkish camp, endured a bitter reproach from the mouth 
of a desperate soldier. As he quenched his thirst, he com- 
V.— 6 


plained that the water of a fountain was mingled with Chris- 
tian blood. "It is not the first time," exclaimed a voice from 
the crowd, " that you have drank, O emperor, the blood of 
your Christian subjects." Manuel Comnenus was twice mar- 
ried — to the virtuous Bertha or Irene of Germany, and to the 
beauteous Maria, a French or Latin princess of Antioch. The 
only daughter of his first wife was destined for Bela, a Hun- 
garian prince, who was educated at Constantinople under the 
name of Alexius; and the consummation of their nuptials 
might have transferred the Eoman sceptre to a race of free 
and warlike barbarians. But as soon as Maria of Antioch 
had given a son and heir to the empire, the presumptive 
rights of Bela were abolished, and he was deprived of his 
promised bride ; but the Hungarian prince resumed his name 
and the kingdom of his fathers, and displayed such virtues as 
might excite the regret and envy of the Greeks. The son 
of Maria was named Alexius ; and at the age of ten years he 
ascended the Byzantine throne, after his father's decease had 
closed the glories of the Comnenian line. 

The fraternal concord of the two sons of the great Alexius 
had been sometimes clouded by an opposition of interest and 
passion. By ambition, Isaac the Sebastocrator was excited 
to flight and rebellion, from whence he was reclaimed by the 
firmness and clemency of John the Handsome. The errors 
of Isaac, the father of the emperors of Trebizond, 
A.n. 1180. ' were short and venial : but John, the elder of his 
Character SOUS, rcuounced forcvcr his religion. Provoked by 

and first nd- , . . • i^ i? i . i i i 

ventarea of a real or imaginary insult of his nncle, he escaped 
from the Koman to the Turkish camp : his apos- 
tasy was rewarded with the sultan's daughter, the title of 
Chelebi, or noble, and the inheritance of a princely estate ; 
and, in the fifteenth century, Mahomet the Second boasted of 
his imperial descent from the Comnenian family. Androni- 
cus, yonnger brother of John, son of I&ac, and grandson of 
Alexius Comnenus, is one of the most conspicuous characters 
of the age ; and his genuine adventures might form the sub- 
ject of a very singular romance. To justify the choice of 
three ladies of royal birth, it is incumbent on me to observe 


that their fortunate lover was cast in the best proportions of 
strength and beauty ; and that the want of the softer graces 
was supplied by a manly countenance, a lofty stature, athletic 
muscles, and the air and deportment of a soldier. The pres- 
ervation, in his old age, of health and vigor, was the reward 
of temperance and exercise. A piece of bread and a draught 
of water was often his sole and evening repast; and if he 
tasted of a wild-boar or a stag, which he had roasted with his 
own hands, it was the well-earned fruit of a laborious chase. 
Dexterous in arms, he was ignorant of fear : his persuasive 
eloquence could bend to eveiy situation and character of life : 
his style, though not his practice, was fashioned by the exam- 
ple of St. Paut ; and, in every deed of mischief, he had a heart 
to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute. In his 
youth, after the death of the Emperor John, he followed the 
retreat of the Roman army ; but, in the march through Asia 
Minor, design or accident tempted him to wander in the 
mountains: the hunter was encompassed by the Turkish 
huntsmen, and he remained some time a reluctant or will- 
ing captive in the power of the sultan. His virtues and vices 
recommended him to the favor of his cousin ; he shared the 
perils and the pleasures of Manuel ; and while the emperor 
lived in public incest with his niece Theodora, the affections 
of her sister Eudocia were seduced and enjoyed by Androni- 
cus. Above the decencies of her sex and rank, she gloried in 
the name of his concubine ; and both the palace and the camp 
could witness that she slept, or watched, in the arms of her 
lover. She accompanied him to his military command of Ci- 
licia, the first scene of his valor and imprudence. He pressed, 
with active ardor, the siege of Mopsuestia : the day was em- 
ployed in the boldest attacks ; but the night was wasted in 
song and dance ; and a band of Greek comedians formed the 
choicest part of his retinue. Andronicus was surprised by 
the sally of a vigilant foe ; but while his troops fled in disor- 
der, his invincible lance transpierced the thickest ranks of the 
Armenians. On his return to the imperial camp in Macedo- 
nia, he was received by Manuel with public smiles and a pri- 
vate reproof ; but the duchies of Naissus, Braniseba, and Cas- 


toria were the reward or consolation of the unsuccessful gen- 
eral. Eudocia still attended his motions : at midnight their 
tent was suddenly attacked by her angry brothers, impatient 
to expiate her infamy in his blood : his daring spirit refused 
her advice, and the disguise of a female habit ; and, boldly 
starting from his couch, he drew his sword, and cut his way 
through the numerous assassins. It was here that he first be- 
trayed his ingratitude and treachery : he engaged in a trea- 
sonable correspondence with the King of Hungary and the 
German emperor ; approached the royal tent at a suspicious 
hour with a drawn sword, and, under the mask of a Latin 
soldier, avowed an intention of revenge against a mortal foe ; 
and impimdently praised the fleetness of his horse as an in- 
strument of flight and safety. The monarch dissembled his 
suspicions ; but, after the close of the campaign, Andronicus 
was arrested and strictly confined in a tower of the palace of 

In this prison he was left above twelve years; the most 
painful restraint, from which the thirst of action and pleas- 
ure perpetually urged him to escape. Alone and pensive, he 
perceived some broken bricks in a corner of the chamber, and 
gradually widened the passage till he had explored a dark and 
forgotten recess. Into this hole he conveyed himself and the 
remains of his provisions, replacing the bricks in their former 
position, and erasing with care the footsteps of his retreat. 
At the hour of the customary visit, his guards were amazed 
by the silence and solitude of the prison, and reported, with 
shame and fear, his incomprehensible fiight. The gates of 
the palace and city were instantly shut : the strictest orders 
were despatched into the provinces for the recovery of the 
fugitive; and his wife, on the suspicion of a pious act, was 
basely imprisoned in the same tower. At the dead of night 
she beheld a spectre: she recognized her husband; they 
shared their provisions, and a son was the fruit of these sto- 
len interviews, which alleviated the tediousness of their con- 
finement. In the custody of a woman the vigilance of the 
keepers was insensibly relaxed, and the captive had accom- 
plished his real escape, when he was discovered, brought back 


to ConBtantinople, and loaded with a double chain. At length 
he found the moment and the means of his deliverance. A 
boy, his domestic servant, intoxicated the guards, and obtained 
in wax the impression of the keys. By the diligence of his 
friends a similar key, with a bundle of ropes, was introduced 
into the prison in the bottom of a hogshead. Andronicus em- 
ployed, with industry and courage, the instruments of his safe- 
ty, unlocked the doors, descended from the tower, concealed 
himself all day among the bushes, and scaled in the night the 
garden wall of the palace. A boat was stationed for his re- 
ception ; he visited his own house, embraced his children, cast 
away his chain, mounted a fleet horse, and directed his rapid 
course towards the banks of the Danube. At Anchialus, in 
Thrace, an intrepid friend supplied him with horses and mon- 
ey : he passed the river, traversed with speed the desert of 
Moldavia and the Carpathian hills, and had almost reached the 
town of Halicz, in the Polish Bussia, when he was intercept- 
ed by a party of Wallachians, who resolved to convey their 
important captive to Constantinople. His presence of mind 
again extricated him from this danger. Under the pretence 
of sickness he dismounted in the night, and was allowed to 
step aside from the troop : he planted in the ground his long 
staff, clothed it with his cap and upper garment, and, steal- 
ing into the wood, left a phantom to amuse for some time 
the eyes of the Wallachians. From Halicz he was honorably 
conducted to Kiow, the residence of the great duke : the sub- 
tle Greek soon obtained the esteem and confidence of lero- 
slaus ; his character could assume the manners of every cli- 
mate, and the barbarians applauded his strength and conrage 
in the chase of the elks and bears of the forest. In this north- 
em region he deserved the forgiveness of Manuel, who solic- 
ited the Eussian prince to join his arms in the invasion of 
Hungary. The influence of Andronicus achieved this im- 
portant service : his private treaty was signed with a promise 
of fidelity on one side and of oblivion on the other, and he 
marched, at the head of the Eussian cavalry, from the Borys- 
thenes to the Danube. In his resentment Manuel had ever 
sympathized with the martial and dissolute character of his 


pardon was sealed in the aseanlt of Zem- 
second, and second only, to the valor of 

I exile restored to freedom and his conn- 
L revired,at first to his own, and at length 
^nne. A danghter of Manuel was a fee- 
sioD of the more deserring males of the 
ler future marriage with the Prince of 
nant to the hopes or prejudices of the 

But when an oath of allegiance was re- 
ptive heir, Andronicos alone asserted the 
a name, declined the unlawful engage- 
tested against the adoption of a stranger. 
Qffeneive to the emperor; but he spoke 
3 people, and was removed from the roy- 
morable banishment, a second command 
er, with the absolute disposal of the rev- 
1 this station the Armenians again excr- 
d exposed his negligence ; and tlie same 

his operations, was unhorsed, and almost 

his lance. But Andronicus soon discor- 
1 pleasing conquest, the beautiful Philip- 
ress Maria, and dangliter of Hajmond of 
Dce of Antioch. For her sake he desert- 
casted the summer in balls and touma- 
he sacrificed her innocence, her reputa- 

an advantageous marriage. But the re- 
fer ttiis domestic affront interrupted his 
ae left the indiscreet princess to weep 
pith a band of desperate adventurers, un- 
^0 of Jerusalem. His birth, his martial 
one of zeal announced him as the cham- 
ie soon captivated both the clergy and 
jek prince was invested with the lordship 
oast of Phoenicia. In his neighborhood 
handsome queen, of his own nation and 
ughter of the Emperor Alexis, and wid- 
Ihird, King of Jerusalem. She visited 


and loved her kinsman. Theodora was the third victim of 
his amorous seduction, and her shame was more public and 
scandalous than that of her predecessors. The emperor still 
thirsted for revenge, and his subjects and allies of the Syrian 
frontier were repeatedly pressed to seize the person and put 
ont the eyes of the fugitive. In Palestine he was no longer 
safe ; but the tender Theodora revealed his danger, and ac- 
companied his flight. The Queen of Jerusalem was exposed 
to the East, his obsequious concnbine, and two illegitimate 
children were the living monuments of her weakness. Da- 
mascus was his first refuge, and, in the characters of the great 
Koureddin and his servant Saladiu, the superstitious Greek 
might learn to i*evere the virtues of the Mussulmans. As the 
friend of Noureddin he visited, most probably, Bagdad and 
the courts of Persia, and, after a long circuit round the Cas- 
pian Sea and the mountains of Georgia, he finally settled 
among the Turks of Asia Minor, the hereditary enemies of 
his country. The Sultan of Colonia afforded an hospitable 
retreat to Andronicus, his mistress, and his band of outlaws : 
the debt of gratitude was paid by frequent inroads in the Ro- 
man province of Trebizond, and he seldom returned without 
an ample harvest of spoil and of Christian captives. In the 
story of his adventures he was fond of comparing himself to 
David, who escaped, by a long exile, the snares of the wicked. 
But the royal prophet (he presumed to add) was content to 
lurk on the borders of Judsea, to slay an Amalekite, and to 
threaten, in his miserable state, the life of the avaricious Na- 
bal. The excursions of the Comneuian prince had a wider 
range, and he had spread over the Eastern world the glory of 
his name and religion. By a sentence of the Greek Church, 
the licentious rover had been separated from the faithful ; 
but even this excommunication may prove that he never ab- 
jured the profession of Christianity. 

His vigilance had eluded or repelled the open and secret 
persecution of the emperor ; but he was at length ensnared 
by the captivity of his female companion. The Governor of 
Trebizond succeeded in his attempt to surprise the person of 
Theodora: the Queen of Jerusalem and her two children 


tantinople, and their loss embittered the 

banieliment. The fugitive implored and 
rdon, with leave to throw himself at the 
;n, who was satisfied with the Bubmissioa 
■it. Prostrate on the ground, he deplored 
lans the guilt of his past rebellion ; nor 
:o arise, unless some faithful subject would 
: of the throne by an iron chain with which 
ircled his neck. This extraordinary pen- 
onder and pity of the assembly: his sins 
the Church and State ; but the just bus- 
ixed his residence at a distance from the 
3wn of PontuB, surrounded with rich vine- 
<n the coast of the Euxine. The death of 
Borders of the minority soon opened the 

ambition. The emperor was a boy of 
years of age, without vigor, or wisdom, or 
ather, the Empress Mary, abandoned her 
lent to a favorite of the Comneniau name ; 
her Mary, whose husband, an Italian, was 

title of Csesar, excited a conspiracy, and 
-rectioD, against her odious step-mother. 
i forgotten, the capital was in flames, and 
and order was overthrown in the vice and 
months. A civil war was kindled in Con- 
ro factions fought a bloody battle in the 
e, and the rebels sustained a regular siege 
f St. Sophia. The patriarch labored with 

the wounds of the republic, the most re- 
3allcd alond for a guardian and avenger, 
epeated the praise of the talents and even 
ronicns. In his retirement he affected to 

duties of his oath : " If the safety or honor 
lily bo threatened, I will reveal and oppose 
) utmost of my power." His correspond- 
riarch and Patricians was seasoned with 
1 the Psalms of David and the Epistles of 
aticntly waited till he was called to her de- 


liverance by the voice of his country. In his march from 
Oenoe to Constantinople, his slender train insensibly swelled 
to a crowd and an army ; his professions of religion and loy- 
alty were mistaken for the language of his heart; and the 
simplicity of a foreign dress, which showed to advantage his 
majestic stature, displayed a lively image of his poverty and 
exile. All opposition sunk before him ; he reached the straits 
of the Thracian Bosphorus ; the Byzantine navy sailed from 
the harbor to receive and transport the savior of the empire : 
the torrent was loud and irresistible, and the insects who had 
basked in the sunshine of royal favor disappeared at the blast 
of the storm. It was the first care of Andronicus to occupy 
the palace, to salute the emperor, to confine his mother, to 
punish her minister, and to restore the public order and tran- 
quillity. He then visited the sepulchre of Manuel : the spec- 
tators were ordered to stand aloof, but, as he bowed in the 
attitude of prayer, they heard, or thought they heard, a mur- 
mur of triumph and revenge : " I no longer fear thee, my 
old enemy, who hast driven me a vagabond to every climate 
of the earth. Thou art safely deposited under a sevenfold 
dome, from whence thou canst never arise till the signal of 
the last trumpet. It is now my turn, and speedily will I 
trample on thy ashes and thy posterity." From his subse- 
quent tyranny we may impute such feelings to the man and 
the moment ; but it is not extremely probable that he gave an 
articulate sound to his secret thoughts. In the first months 
of his administration his designs were veiled by a fair sem- 
blance of hypocrisy, which could delude only the eyes of the 
multitude : the coronation of Alexius was performed with due 
solemnity, and his perfidious guardian, holding in his hands 
the body and blood of Christ, most fervently declared that he 
lived, and was ready to die, for the service of his beloved pu- 
pil. But his numerous adherents were instnicted to maintain 
that the sinking empire must perish in the hands of a child ; 
that the Bomans could only be saved by a veteran prince, 
bold in arms, skilful in policy, and tkught to reign by the long 
experience of fortune and mankind ; and that it was tlie duty 
of every citizen to force the reluctant modesty of Andronicus 


of the pnblic care. The yonng em- 
ained to join liia voice to the general 
it the association of a colIeAgue, who 
from the supreme rank, secluded his 
'ash declaration of the patriarch, that 
ered as dead so soon as he ^vas com- 
if his guardian. Bat bis death was 
nment and execution of his mother. 
intation and inflaming against her the 
t, the tyrant sccused and tried the em- 
)rre8pondenc6 with the King of Hun- 
oiith of honor and humanity, avowed 
igitious act, and three of the judges 
ing their conscience to their safety ; 
in al, without requiring any proof or 
ademned the widow of Manuel, and 
bacribed the sentence of her death, 
r corpse was buried in the sea, and 
Bd by the insult moat offensive to fe- 

ugly representation of her beauteous 

son was not long deferred ; ho was 
ng, and the tyrant, insensible to pity 
ing the body of the innocent youth, 

foot. " Thy father," he cried, " waa 
hore, and thyself &fod, /" 
lie reward of his crimes, was held by 

years and a half as the guardian or 
;he empire. His government exliib- 
r contrast of vice and virtue. When 
) liis passions, he was the scourge; 
reason, the father of his people. In 
istice he was eqnitable and rigorous ; 
.0U8 venality was abolished, and the 
the most deserving candidates by a 
I choose and severity to punish. He 

practice of pillaging the goods and 
mariners ; the provinces, so long the 
r neglect, revived in prosperity and 

A.D. 1183.] ANDRONICUS I. 91 

plenty ; and millions applauded the distant blessings of his 
reign, while he was cursed by the witnesses of his daily cruel- 
ties. The ancient proverb, that blood-thirsty is the man who 
returns from banishment to power, had been applied, with too 
much truth, to Marius and Tiberius, and was now verified for 
the third time in the life of Andronicus. His memory was 
stored with a black list of the enemies and rivals who had 
traduced his merit, opposed his greatness, or insulted his mis* 
fortunes ; and the only comfort of his exile was the sacred 
hope and promise of revenge. The necessary extinction of 
the young emperor and his mother imposed the fatal obliga- 
tion of extirpating the friends who hated, and might punish, 
the assassin ; and the repetition of murder rendered him less 
willing and less able to forgive.* A horrid narrative of the 
victims whom he sacrificed by poison or the sword, by the 
sea or the flames, would be less expressive of his cruelty than 
the appellation of the Halcyon-days, which was applied to a 
rare and bloodless week of repose : the tyrant strove to trans- 
fer on the laws and the judges some portion of his guilt ; but 
the mask was fallen, and his subjects could no longer mis- 
take the true author of their calamities. The noblest of the 
Greeks, more especially those who, by descent or alliance, 
might dispute the Comnenian inheritance, escaped from the 
monster's den : Nice or Prusa, Sicily or Cyprus, were their 
places of refuge; and as their flight was already criminal, 
they aggravated their oflfence by an open revolt and the im- 
perial title. Yet Andronicus resisted the daggers and swords 
of his most formidable enemies : Nice and Prusa were re- 
duced and chastised ; the Sicilians were content with the sack 
of Thessalonica ; and the distance of Cyprus was not more 
propitious to the rebel than to the tyrant. His throne was 

* Fallmerayer (Geschichte des Kaiserthums von Trapezant, p. 20, 33) has high- 
ly drawn the character of Andronicus. In his view the extermination of the By- 
zantine factions and dissolute nobility was part of a deep-laid and splendid plan 
for the regeneration of the empire. It was necessary for the wise and benevolent 
schemes of the father of his people to lop off those limbs which were infected with 
irremediable pestilence — 

" and with necessity. 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds ! T'— 

Still the &U of Andronicus was a fatal blow to the Byzantine empire. — M. 


ted by a rival withoat merit, and a people without 
Isaac Aiigelua, a deBcendaot in the female line from 
»t Alexius, was marked as a victim by the prudence or 
jtion of the emperor.' In a moment of despair Ange- 
Fended his life and libertj, slew the executioner, and 
the Church of St. Sophia. The sanctuary was insensi- 
ed with a curious and mournful crowd, who, in his fate, 
sticated their own. But their lamentations were soon 
to curses, and their curses to threats : they dared to 
iVhy do we fear S why do we obey i We are many, 
is one ; our patience ia the only bond of our slavery." 
he dawn of day the city burst into a general sedition, 
[sons were thrown open, the coldest and most servile 
oused to the defence of their country, and Isaac, the 
of the name, was raised from the sanctuary to the 
Unconscious of his danger, the tyrant was absent — 
iwu from the toils of state, in the delicious islands of 
)pontie. Ue had contracted an indecent maiTiagc with 
jr Agnes, daughter of Lewis the Seventh of France, 
iet of the unfortunate Alexius ; and his society, more 
i to his temper than to his age, was composed of a 
wife and a favorite concubine. On the first alarm 
leii to Constantinople, impatient for the blood of the 
but he was astonished by the silence of tlie palace, 
lult of the city, and the general desertion of mankind, 
liens proclaimed a free pardon to his subjects ; they 
desired nor would grant forgiveness : he offered to re- 
e crown to his son Manuel ; but the virtues of the son 
ot expiate hia father's crimes. The sea was still open 
retreat ; but the news of the revolution had flown 
:he coast; when fear had ceased, obedience was no 
the imperial galley was pursued and taken by an armed 
ine, and the tyrant was dragged to the presence of 
.ngelus, loaded with fetters, and a long chain round his 
His eloquence and the tears of his female companions 

rdioff to Nicetas (p. 444), Andronicus despised the imiwcile leaac too 
ear him: he waa arrested bj (he officions zealorSlephen, the inBtniment 
psror'a crnellies, — M. 

A.D. 1185, 1204.] ISAAC II. 93 

pleaded in yain for his life ; but, instead of the decencies of a 
legal execution, the new monarch abandoned the criminal to 
the numerous sufferers whom he had deprived of a father, a 
husband, or a friend. His teeth and hair, an eye and a hand, 
were torn from him, as a poor compensation for their loss ; 
and a short respite was allowed, that he might feel tlie bitter- 
ness of death. Astride on a camel, without any danger of a 
rescue, he was carried through the city, and the basest of the 
populace rejoiced to trample on the fallen majesty of their 
prince. After a thousand blows and outrages, Andronicus 
was hung by the feet between two pillars that suppoi'ted the 
statues of a wolf and a sow ; and every hand that could reach 
the public enemy inflicted on his body some mark of ingen- 
ious or brutal cruelty, till two friendly or furious Italians, 
plunging their swords into his body, released him from all 
human punishment. In this long and painful agony, " Lord 
have mercy upon me !" and " Why will you bruise a broken 
reed?" were the only words that escaped from his mouth. 
Our hatred for the tyrant is lost in pity for the man ; nor can 
we blame his pusillanimous resignation, since a Greek Chris- 
tian was no longer master of his life. 

I have been tempted to expiate on the extraordinary char- 
acter and adventures of Andronicus ; but I shall here termi- 
jgucTL ^**® ^he series of the Greek emperors since the 
f.^ii6j time of Heraclius. The branches that sprang from 
Sept- ^«- the Comnenian trunk had insensibly withered, and 
the male line was continued only in the posterity of Andron- 
icus himself, who, in the public confusion, usurped the sov- 
ereignty of Trebizond, so obscure in history, and so famous 
in romance. A private citizen o^ Philadelphia, Constantino 
Angelns, had emerged to wealth and honors by his marriage 
with the daughter of the Emperor Alexius. IIis son An- 
dronicus is conspicuous only by his cowardice. His grand- 
son Isaac punished and succeeded the tyrant ; but he was de- 
A. IK 1804, throned by his own vices and the ambition of his 
April i«. brother; and their discord introduced the Latins to 
the conquest of Constantinople, the first great period in the 
fall of the Eastern empire. 


number and dnration of the reigns, it 
>eriod of Bix hundred years is filled by 
ing in the AiiguBtan list some female 
Sing some ueurpers who were npver ae- 
3ital, and some princes who did not lire 
tance. The average proportion will al- 
i emperor — far below the chronological 
ton, who, from the experience of more 
anarchies, has defined about eigliteen or 
irm of an ordinary reign. The Byzan- 
tranqutl and prosperous when it conld 
y BDCceseioD : five dynasties, the Herae- 
1, Basilian, and Comnenian families, en- 
t the royal patrimony daring their re- 
, four, three, six, and four generations; 
sr the years of their reign with those 
Constantine the Seventh and his two 
space of an entire centnry. Bat in the 
ntine dynasties the succession is rapid 
nme of a successful candidate is speedi- 
fortnnate competitor. Many were the 
summit of royalty : the fabric of rebel- 
by the stroke of conspiracy, or nnder- 
ts of intrigue : the favorites of the sol- 
senate or clergy, of the women and en- 
y clothed with the purple : the means 
re base, and their end was often con- 
A being of the nature of man, endowed 
es, bat with a longer measure of exist- 
1 a mnile of pity and contempt on the 
hnman ambition, so eager, in a narrow 
Marions and sliort-lived enjoyment. It 
ience of history exalts and enlai^es the 
ctual view. In a composition of some 
ome hours, sis hundred years have roU- 
tion of a life or reign is contracted to a 
grave is beside the throne ; the 
is almost instantlv followed by the loss 


of his prize ; and our immortal reason survives and disdains 
the sixty phantoms of kings who have passed before our eyes, 
and faintly dwell on our remembrance. The observation, 
that in every age and climate ambition has prevailed with 
the same commanding energy, may abate the surprise of a 
philosopher; but while he condemns the vanity, he may 
search the motive of this universal desire to obtain and hold 
the sceptre of dominion. To the greater part of the Byzan- 
tine series we cannot reasonably ascribe the love of fame and 
of mankind. The virtue alone of John Comnenus was be- 
neficent and pure: the most illustrious of the princes who 
precede or follow that respectable name have trod with some 
dexterity and vigor the crooked and bloody paths of a selfish 
policy: in scrutinizing the imperfect characters of Leo the 
Isanrian, Basil the First, and Alexius Comnenus, of Theoph- 
ilus, the second Basil, and Manuel Comnenus, our esteem and 
censure are almost equally balanced; and the remainder of 
the imperial crowd could only desire and expect to be forgot- 
ten by posterity. Was pereonal happiness the aim and object 
of their ambition ? I shall not descant on the vulgar topics 
of the misery of kings ; but I may surely observe that their 
condition, of all othei's, is the most pregnant with fear, and 
the least susceptible of hope. For these opposite passions a 
larger scope was allowed in the revolutions of antiquity than 
in the smooth and solid temper of the modem .world, which 
cannot easily repeat either the triumph of Alexander or the 
fall of Darius. But the peculiar infelicity of the Byzantine 
princes exposed them to domestic perils, without affording 
any lively promise of foreign conquest. From the pinnacle 
of greatness Andronicus was precipitated by a death more 
cruel and shameful than that of the vilest malefactor; but 
the most glorious of his predecessors had much more to dread 
from their subjects than to hope from their enemies. The 
army was licentious without spirit, the nation turbulent with- 
out freedom : the barbarians of the East and West pressed on 
the monarchy, and the loss of the provinces was terminated 
by the final servitude of the capital. 

The entire series of Roman emperors, from the firet of the 

itines, e: 
ire of tl 



Introduction, Worship, and Penecntion of Images. — RevoU of Italy and Rome. 
— ^Temporal Dominion of the Popes. — Conquest of Italy by the Franks. — Es- 
tablishment of Images. — Character and Coronation of Charlemagne. — Restora- 
tion 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 consid- 
ered the former as subservient only, and relative, to the lat- 
ter ; a salutary maxim, if in fact as well as in nar- 
of images rativc it had ever been held sacred. The oriental 
Christian philosophj of the Guostics, the dark abyss of pre- 
destination and grace, and the strange transforma- 
tion of the Eucharist from the sign to the substance of Christ's 
body,* I have purposely abandoned to the curiosity of specu- 
lative divines. But I have reviewed with diligence and pleas- 
ure the objects of ecclesiastical history by which the decline 
and fall of the 'Boman 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 in- 
carnation. 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 pro- 
duced the revolt of Italy, the temporal power of the popes, 
and the restoration of the Boman empire in the West. 

The primitive Christians were possessed with an uncon- 
querable 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 severe- 

' The learned Selden has given the history of transnbstantiation in a compre- 
hensiye and pithy sentence: '*This opinion is only rhetoric turned into logic'* 
(UU Works, vol. iii. p. 2078, in his TableTalk.) 

v.— 7 


lentations of the Deity ; and that pre- 
shed in the principlea and practice of 
le wit of the Christian apologiBtB was 
olifih idolaters who bowed before the 
own hands ; the images of brass and 
y been endowed with acnse and mo- 
ed rather from the pedestal to adore 
the artist.' Perhaps some recent and 
he Gnostic tribe might crown the stat- 
Paul with the profane honors which 
Tistotle and Pythagoras ;' but the pub- 
lolics was Tiniformly simple and spirit- 
le of the nee of pictures is in the cen- 
Illiberis, three hundred years after the 
the snccesBors of Constantine, in the 
lie triumphant Church, the more prn- 
aded to indulge a visible superstition 
inltitude ; and after the ruin of pagan- 
r restrained by the appreliension of an 
irst introduction of a symbolic worship 
of the cross and of relics. The saints 
erccBsion was implored, were seated on 
; bat the gracious and often snpemat- 
le popular belief, wore showered ronnd 
an unquestionable sanction of the de- 
ted, and tonched, and kissed these life- 
orials of their merits and sufferings.' 
nteresting than the skull or the sandals 
is the faithful copy of his person and 

I ineptissimi, qu6d «i sentirs simnlaera et moveri 
ninem ruiuent k qao >ant expolita" (Divin. Insli- 
the lut, u well ai the most eloquent, o( the Latin 
idols atUcks not only the object, bat the form anJ 

.nd AnKDBline (Dasnago, Eiit. dee Eglises lUfbnnees, 
Jc practice has ft singular afflnii; nith the private 
[Laropridiiu, c. 29 ; Lardaor, Heathen TeEtimonies, 

188,633; iU.!6Sieq. 


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 es- 
teem : the images of the Boman emperors were adored with 
civil and almost religious honors: a reverence less ostenta- 
tious, but more sincere, was applied to tlie statues of sages 
and patriots ; and these profane virtues, these splendid sins, 
disappeared in the presence of the holy men who had died 
.pi^^ir for their celestial and everlasting country. At first 

worship. ^jj^ 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 pro- 
gression, 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 genuflexion, luminaries, and in- 
cense again stole into the Catholic Church. The scruples of 
reason or piety were silenced by the strong evidence of vi- 
sions and miracles ; and the pictures which speak, and move, 
and bleed mnst 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.* But the su- 
perstitious 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 as- 
sume. 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 

' 0{f ydp rb Btiov airXovv ^apxov koI ShiTirov fiop^ais run Kal irx^fuunv ami' 
taZofuy, ovT€ aiptf kcu. I^vKoiq Trpf vmpownov koa wpoavctpxov owriav rifijiv ^fing 
iteYvtmafiOf. (Condlinm Nioennm, ii in Collect. Labb. torn. Tiii. p. 1025, edit. 
Tenet.) ''II eeroit peat-£tre k-propo« de ne point soafTrir damages de la Tri- 
nity on de la Divinity ; les d^fenseara lea pins zdl^s des images ajant condamn^ 
celles-ci, et !e Concile de Trente ne parlant que dea images de J^us-Christ et des 
Saints " (Dnpin, Biblioth. Ecclds. torn. vi. p. 154). 


literated by the visible relics and representations 
. A Bimilar indulgence was requisite and pro- 
le Virgin Mary : the place of her burial was on- 
tbe aseumptioD of her soul and body into heaveu 
by the crednlitj of the Greeks and Latins. The 
1 the worship, of images was firmly established 
id of the sixth century : they were fondly cher- 

warm imagination of the Greeks and Asiatics : 
1 and Vatican ^erc adorned with the emblems of 
itition ; but this semblance of idolatry was more 
ained by the mde barbarians and the Arian cler- 
est. The bolder forms of scnlptnre, in brass or 
h peopled the temples-of antiquity, were offen- 
mcy or conscience of the Christian Greeks ; and 
face of colors Las ever been esteemed a more de- 
[nless mode of imitation.* 

and effect of a copy depends on its resemblance 
;inal ; but the primitive Christians were ignorant 
the genuine features of the son of God, bis moth- 
, and bis apostles : the statue of Christ at Faneae, 
' was more probably that of some temporal sav- 
istics and their profane monnments were repro- 
le fancy of the Christian artists could only be 
e clandestine imitation of some heathen model. 
ess 8 bold and dexterous invention assnred at 

higtoTj of imagea is drawn from th« Iwentj-second book of the 
B^Carm^ of BasnaEe, Urn. iL p. 1310- 133T. He was a Frol- 
lanlj spirit ; and on thij head the Protestants are so notoriously 
; they can Tanwro lo be impartial. See the perplexity of poor 
ca,tom. i. p. 42. 

iig gome nibbbh of miracle and inconsistency, it may be allowed 
heyenr 300, Faneas in Falestins was decorated with a bronie 
Dj; a grave personage irmpped in a cloak, with a grateful or sup- 
leliog before him, and that an inscription — r^ ^inipi, nf tvipjirf 
scribed on the pedestal. By the Christians this gronp was fool- 
f their founder and the poor woman whom he had cured of the 
sb. Tii. ISi Fhilostorg. Tii.3, etc.). M. de Beaasobre more rea- 
res the philosopher Apollonios, or ibe Emperor Vespnsinn ; in 
ition the female is a city, a prorince, or perhaps the Qaaen Bere- 
le Genuanique, torn. xiiL p. 1-92). 


once the likeness of the image and the innocence of the wor- 
ship. A new superstructure of fable was raised on the popu- 
lar 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 Csesarea" 
records the epistle/ but he most strangely forgets the picture 
of Christ" — the perfect impression of his face on a linen, with 
which he gratified tlie faith of the royal stranger who had in- 
voked his healing power, and offered the strong city of Edes- 
8a to protect him against the malice of the Jews. The igno- 
rance of the primitive Church is explained by the long im- 
prisonment 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 devo- 
tion 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 deliv- 
erance of Edessa to the wealth and valor of her citizens, who 

^ Euseb. Hist Eccles. 1. i. c. 13. The learned Assemannas has broaght op the 
coUateral aid of three Syrians, St. Ephrem, Josua Styiites, and James, Bishop of 
Samg ; but I do not find any notice of the Syriac original or the archives of Edes- 
sa (Biblioth. Orient, torn. L p. 818, 420, 554) ; their ?ague belief is probably de- 
rived from the Greeks. 

* The evidence for these epistles is stated and rejected by the candid Lardner 
(Heathen Testimonies, vol t p. 297-809). Among the herd of bigots who are 
forcibly driven from this convenient but untenable post, I am ashamed — with the 
Grabes, Caves, Ttllemonts, etc., to discover Mr. Addison, an English gentleman 
(his Works, vol. i. p. 528, BaskerviUe^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. 

'^ From the silence of James of Samg (Asseman. Biblioth. Orient, p. 289, 818), 
and the testimony of Evagrius (Hist. Eccles. 1. iv. c. 27), I conclude that this fa- 
ble was invented between the years 521 and 594 — most probably after the siege 
of Edessa in 540 (Asseman. torn. i. p. 416 ; Procopius, De Bell. Persic. 1. ii. [c. 
12, torn. i. p. 208 seq., edit. Bonn]). It is the sword and buckler of Gregory II. 
(in Epist. L ad Leon. Isaur. Concil. tom. viil p. 656, 657), of John Damascenus 
(Opera, tom. i. p. 281, edit Lequien [De Fide Orthod. 1. iv. e. 16]), and of the 
second Nicene Council (Actio v. p. 1030). The most perfect edition may be found 
in Cedrenus (Compend. p. 175-178 [edit. Par. ; tom. i. p. 808-814, edit. Bonn]). 


the absence and repelled the assanltB of the Persian 
He was ignorant, the profane historian, of the tes- 
licb he is compelled to deliver in the eccleEiastical 
Ivagrius, that the Palladinm was exposed on the 
ad that the water which had been sprinkled on the 
Instead of quenching, added new fuel to the flames 
i^ed. After this important service the image of 
i preserved with respect and gratitude ; and if the 
J rejected the legend, the more credulous Greeks 
1 similitQde, which was not the work of any mortal 
', the immediate creation of the divine original, 
and sentiments of a Byzantine hymn will declare 
leir worship was removed from the grossest idola- 
iw can we with mortal eyes contemplate this image, 
»tial splendor the host of heaven presumes not to 
He who dwells in heaven condescends this day to 
f his venerable image; He who is seated on the 
visits ns this day by a picture, which the Father 
ited with his immaculate hand, which he has form- 
ne&ble manner, and which we sanctify by adoring 
ir and love." Before the end of the sixth century 
fes, made without hands (in Greek it is a single 
word"), were propagated in the camps and cities 
of the Eastern empire ;" they were the objects of 
ud the instruments of miracles ; and in the hoar of 
tamult their venerable presence could revive the 
adle the courage, or repress the fury of the Koman 

gfirrvc. Sea Dacangie, in Glosg. Graic. et Lat. The Babject ia trut- 
I leHmins snd bigotry by tlie Jesuit GreMer (Sfnlagma da Imagint- 
& fnctis, ad calcem Codini de Officiis, p. 239-S30), the nu, or raiher 
igoldstadt (see the Scaligerana) ; with equal remon and wit by the 
uuBobre, in the ironical controTeray ithich he haa apread Ihroagh 
B of the Bibliothbque Gemanique (torn. XTiii. p. 1-60; XX. p. 27^ 
-86; xxvii. p. 85-118 i ixviii. p. 1-33; xxxi. p. 111-148; ixxii. 
xxiv. p. 67-96). 

lacL Simocatta (1. iL c. 3, p. 84 [edit. Far. ; p. TO, ediL Bonn] ; I. iii. 
114, edit. Bonn]) celebrate* the iiavtpaiv ('mir/ta, nhich he atylee 
'; yet it iras no more than a copy, unce he adds, Ap^Tmrov yip 
SHa) Upriimiavm 'Pvfuuoi n a^Tov. See Pagi, torn. iL a.d. 686, 


legions. Of these pictures the far greater part, the tran- 
Bcripts 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 Bome, 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" 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 Ho- 
mer 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.'^ 

The worship of images had stolen into the Church by in-r 
sensible degrees, and each petty step was pleasing to the su- 
^^^ perstitious mind, as productive of comfort and in- 

to^Le nocent 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 impa- 
tience, the name of idolaters — the incessant charge of the 

^' See, in the gennine or supposed works of John Damasconus, two passages on 
the Virgin and St. Luke, which have not been noticed by Gretser, nor consequent- 
ly by Beausobre (Opera Job. Damascen. torn. i. p. 618, 631 [Adv. Constantlnnm 
Cabal, c. 6 ; Epist ad Theophilum Imp. c. 4]). 

'^ **Tour scandalous figures stand quite out from the canvas : 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 


Jews aiid Mahornetana," who derived from the Law and the 
Koran an immoi'tal hatred to graven images and all relative 
worship. The servitude of the Jews might carb their zeal 
and depreciate their authority ; but the triumphant Mnseul- 
mans, who reigned at Damaficus, and tlireatened Constantino- 
ple, cast into the scale of reproach the aecnmnlated weight of 
truth and victory. The cities of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt 
had been fortified with the images of Christ, his mother, and 
hie 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 inan- 
imate idols.' For awhile Edessa had braved the Persian as- 
saults ; but the chosen city, the sponse of Christ, was involved 
in the common ruin ; and Ms 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 Mussnlmans, and a 
perpetual tnice for the territory of Edesea." In this season 
of distress and dismay the eloquence of the monks was exer- 
cised in the defence of images ; and they attempted to prove 
that the sin and schism of the greatest part of the Orientals 
had foi-feited the favor and anniliilated the virtue of these 
precious symbols. But they were now opposed by the mur- 

" By C«drenas, Zonaras, Gljcns, and Manasses ihe origin of the IconoclaBIs ig 
imputed CO lbs Calipli Tezid and two Jews, who proraiscd the empire to Leo ; and 
the reproaches oF these hostile sectariea are turned into an absard conspiracy for 
restoring the parity of Ihe ChriBtian worship (see Spanheim, Hist. Iniag, c. 2). 

" See Elmacin (Hiil. Saracen, p. 2G7), Abulpharagius (Djnasl. p. 201), and 
Abalfeda (Annal. Moslem, p. 264), and tbe criticisnis of P«gi (totn. iii. i.e. 944). 
The prudent Fntociscan refifses to determine whether the image of Edessa now 
reposes at Home or Genoa ; but its repose is inglorious, and this ancient object of 
worship is no longer famoiu or fashionabts. 

■ Yezid, ninth caliph of the race of the OmmiadK, cansed all the images in 
Syria to he destroyed about the year 719 ; hence the orthodox reproached the sec- 
tarians with following the example of tbe Saracens and the Jews. Fragm. Mon. 
Johnn. Jerosyiym, Script. Byzani. rol. xvL p. 235 ; Hitt. dei R^b. Ital. par M. 
SUmondi, lol i. p. 126.-0. 

ch. xux.] opposition to image worship. 105 

mors 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 wor- 
ship of images had never been established by any general or 
positive law, its progress in the Eastern empire had been re- 
tarded, or accelerated, by the diflferences 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 By- 
zantine 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 
Bome, were not reconciled, in the twelfth century, to the 
sight of images." These various denominations of men af- 
forded 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. 

Of such adventurers the most fortunate was the Emperor 
Leo the Third," who, from the mountains of Isauria, ascend- 
ed the throne of the East. He was ignorant of sacred and 

^'' 'Apfuviotg KM 'AXa/iavoXt ix* itniQ 4 ^^ ayiuv iUovwp wpotnevvritnc StmiyoptvTtu 
(Nicetas, 1. ii. p. 258 [edit. Par. ; p. 527, edit. Bonn]). The Armenian churches 
are still content with the Cross (Missions da Levant, torn. iii. p. 148) ; but sarely 
the superstitious Greek is unjust to the superstition of the Germans of the twelfth 

" Our original but not impartial monuments of the Iconoclasts must be drawn 
from the Acts of the Councils, torn. viii. and ix. Collect. Labb^, edit Venet., and 
the historical writings of Theophanes, Kicephorus, Manasses, Cedrenus, Zonaras, 
etc Of the modem Catholics, Baronius, Pagi, Natalis Alexander (Hist. Kccles. 
Seculum viii. and ix.), and Matmbourg (Hist des Iconoclastes), have treated the 
subject with learning, passion, and credulity. The Protestant labors of Frederick 
Spanheim (Historia Imaginum restituta) and James Basnage (Hist des Eglises 
R^form^es, torn. ii. L xxiii. p. 1339-1885) are cast into the Iconoclast scale. With 
this mutual aid and opposite tendency it is easy for tu to poise the balance with 
philosophic indifference.* 

* Compare Schlosser, Geschichte der bilderstfirmender Kaiser, Frankfurt-nm- 
Main, 1812 — ^a book of research and impartiality. — M. 


profane letters; but his education, bis reason, perbaps bis 
intercourse witli the Jews and Arabs, bad inspired 
ic<mocia8t, the martial peasant with a hatred of images ; and 
saccessors. 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 
Boman 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 sen- 
ators 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 though 
adverse impulse of veneration and abhorrence : in their lofty 
position the sacred images still edified their votaries and re- 
proached the tyrant. He was himself provoked by resistance 
and invective ; and his own party accused him of an imper- 
fect discharge of his duty, and urged for his imitation the 
example of the Jewish king, who had broken without scru- 
ple the brazen serpent of the Temple. By a second edict he 
proscribed the existence as well as the use of religious pict- 
ures ; 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 Icono- 
clasts was supported by the zeal and despotism of six emper- 
ors, and the East and West were involved in a noisy confiict 
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 ;" and though it is stigmatized by triumphant 

^* Some flowers of rhetoric are ^vvoSov wapavofiov xai &9eov, and the bishops 
rote fiaTow^aiv, By Damascenas it is styled &mpoc Kai aSeKTOQ (Opera, torn. L 
p. 623 [Ady. Constant. Cabal c. 16]). Spanheim's Apology for the Synod of Con- 


bigotry as a meeting of fools and atheists, their own partial 
and mutilated acts betray many symptoms of reason and piety. 
Their synod '^^^ debates and decrees of many provincial syn- 
SnS?i**"" ^^s introduced the summons of the general council 
▲.D.754. 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 Boman 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 delibera- 
tion of six months, the three hundred and thirty-eight bish- 
ops 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 corrup- 
tion 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 ac- 
clamations they celebrated the merits of their temporal re- 
deemer; and to his zeal and justice they intrusted the execu- 
tion of their spiritual censures. At Constantinople, as in the 
former councils, the will of the prince was the rule of episco- 
pal 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 loncc 

Their creed • 

night of superstition the Christians had wandered 
far away from the simplicity of the Gospel : nor was it easy 
for them to discern the clue, and tread back the mazes of the 
labyrinth. The worship of images was inseparably blended, 

stantinople (p. 171, etc.) is worked up with truth and ingenuity, from such materi- 
als as he could find in the Nicene Acts (p. 1046, etc.). The witty John of Da- 
mascus converts iwuKoirovQ into imffKorovg ; makes them coiXio^ovXovc, slaves of 
their belly, etc. Opera, torn. I p. 306. 


a piouB fancy, with the Cross, tbe Vii^n, tbe sflints 
• relicB ; the holy ground was inx-olved in a cloud of 
and visioiiB ; aad the nerves of the mind, curiosity 
>ticisiQ, were hennmbed by the habits of obedience 
ii. Comtantiue himself is accused of indulging a 
tnse to doubt, or deny, or deride the mysteries of the 
I," but they were deeply inscribed in the public and 
reed of his bishops ; and tlie boldest Iconoclast might 
ith a secret horror the monuments of popular devo- 
ch were consecrated to the honor of his celestial pa- 
n the reformation of the sixteenth century freedom 
[fledge had expanded all the faculties of man : the 
innovation superseded the reverence of antiquity ; 
rigor of Europe could disdain those phantoms which 
the sickly and servile weakness of the Greeks, 
sandal of an abstract heresy can be only proclaimed 
K>ple by the blast of the ecclesiastical tmmpet ; bnt 
tlie 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 
3 gate, of the palace. A ladder bad been planted for 
It, but it was furiously shaken by a crowd of zealots 
len : they beheld, witli pious transport, the ministers 
ige tumbling from on high and dashed against the 
t; and the honors of the ancient martyrs were pros- 
> these criminals, who justly suffered for murder and 
," The execution of the imperial edicts was resisted 
lent tumults in Constantinople and the provinces; 
m of Leo was endangered, his officers were massacred, 
popular enthusiasm was quelled by the strongest ef- 

icca9eil of proscribing the title of saint; elf ling the Virgin, Mother of 
sparine her after her delivery to an emplT puree; of AriHnism, Nes- 
tc. In his defence, Spanheim (c. iv. p. 207) is somewhat embarrasKd 

interest of n Proleslant and tbe duty of an onhodox divine. 
ily confessor Theapbanes approves the principle of (heir rebellion, Stiy 
qXfi (p. 339). Gi^orj II. (in Episl. i. ad Imp. Leon. Concii. com. viii. 

appUtuds the leal of the Byinntine women who killed the imperial 


forts of the civil and military power. Of the Archipelago, or 
Holy Sea, the numeroas islauds 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 banneins, and boldly 
8teei*ed for the harbor of Constantinople, to place on the 
throne a new favorite of God and the people. They depend- 
ed on the succor of a miracle : but their miracles were inef- 
ficient against the Greek jhre; and after the defeat and con- 
flagration of their fleet, the naked islands were abandoned to 
the clemency or justice of the conqueror. The son of Leo, 
in the fii'st year of liis reign, had undertaken an expedition 
against the Saracens : during his absence the capital, the pal- 
ace, 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 right- 
eous claim of the usurper was acknowledged, both in the new 
and in ancient Home. Constantine flew for refuge to his pa- 
ternal 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 ha- 
tred 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 clandes- 
tine 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 preach- 
ed, they absolved, they inflamed, they conspired ; the solitude 
of Palestine poured forth a torrent of invective ; and the pen 
of St. John Damascenus," the last of the Greek fathers, de- 

^ John, or Mansur, was a noble Christian of Damascus, who held a considera- 
ble 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 
miraculonslj restored by the Virgin. After this deliverance he resigned his office, 


voted the tyrant's head, both in this world and the next."' I 
am not at leisure to examine how far the monks provoked, 
. nor how much they have exaggerated, their real and pretend- 
ed sufferings, nor how many lost their lives or limbs, their 
eyes or their beards, by the emelty of the emperor.'' From 
the chaetisenieDt of individuals he proceeded to the abolition 
of tlie order ; and, as it was wealthy and uselese, his resent- 
ment might be stimulated by avarice, and justified by patriot- 
ism. The formidable name and mission of the Dragon^' his 
visitor-general, excited the terror and abhorrence of the Mack 
nation : the religions communities were dissolved, the build- 
ings were converted into magazines or barracks ; the lands, 
movables, and cattle were confiscated ; and onr modem prec- 
edents will support the charge, that much wanton or mali- 
cious havoc was exercised against the relics, and even the 
books, of the monasteries. With the habit and profession of 
monks, the public and privats worship of images was rigor- 
ously proscribed ; and it should seem that a solemn abjura- 
tion of idolatry was exacted from the subjects, or at least from 
the clei^y, of the Eastern empire." 

dUlribateil bia wealth, and buried himself in th« monasiei? of Sl Sabu, belneen 
Jenualem and the Dead Sen. The legend is fiiintHu ; bat hU leitrned editor. Fa- 
ther Lequien, hai nnlnckilj proTSd that St. John DamaacenuB woa alreadjra mook 
before the Iconoclast dispute (Opers, torn. i. Vit. St. Joan. Damascen. p. 10-18, 
et Notaa ad loc. ). 

'* After lending Leo to the devil, he introduces his hdr — rA iiuiphv ahrov yir- 
vtiiiO, Eai TTC mriac n^roii Aifpavifinf iv iTiirXfi yivoiurot (Opera Damascen. ton. 
I p. 625 [Adv. Consun. Cabal, c. 20]). If the authenticitf of this piece be loa- 
[ncioua, we are aura that in other works, no longer extant, Damascenus beatowed 
on ConstBUtine the title« of viov Muafiit), Xpiirraiiaxov, piaayiov (tom. i. p. 306X 

" In the Darrative of this persecution ^m Theophaneg and Cedreniu, Span- 
heita (p. 235-2S8) is happ; to compare the Draeo of Leo with the dragoong {Dra- 
coiia) of Louis XIV., and highly loUcei hinuelf with this coatroienial pun. 

" Tip&ypttupa yip i(«ri;ij^ icara 'rSiimv iiopxiav r^v iiri J^c J^V^S aimv, 
w&VTas iroypaif/<u Jtai ipvivm' too aBiTijaai ri^v *poiiKvvtimv riy mwruv a^ytrv , 
(Damasceo, Op. tom. i. p. 625 [Adr. ConsCanE. Cabal, c. 21]). This oath and sub- 
scription I do not remember to hare seen in an; modem compilation. 

■ The patriarch AnasCauui, an Iconoclait under Leo, an image-worshipper un- 
der Artavaades, wBi ecoarged,Ied through the streets on an aM,with bis face to 
the tail j and, reinTCBled in hia dignilj, became again the obseqnioua minister of 
ConMantine in his Iconoclastic persecDtions. See Schlosser, p. 211, — H. 

■> Compare Scbloaaer, p. 228-234.— U. 

A.D. 72&-775.] STATE OF ITALY. Ill 

The patient East abjured with reluctance her sacred im- 
ages ; they were fondly cherished, and vigorously defended, 
by the independent zeal of the Italians. In eccle- 
siastical rank and jurisdiction the Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople 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 dis- 
tant 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 Eomans: 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 
Eome. It is agreed that in the eighth century their domin- 
ion was founded on rebellion, and that the rebellion was pro- 
duced, and justified, by the heresy of the Iconoclasts; but the 
conduct of tlie 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 sepa- 
ration of the East and West, and deprived the sacrilegious 
tyrant of the revenue and sovereignty of Italy. Their excom- 
munication 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 ortho- 
doxy of these apostolical men.** The modern champions of 

** Kac r^ *Pitf/ci|v ovv va<ry [rf] 'IraXi'fc r^c /BacrtXciac airov dfrftrnifftj says 
Theophanes (Chronograph, p. 843 [torn. i. p. 630, edit. Bonn]). For this Gregory 
is styled by Cedrenas ivrjp iwoarokiKos (p. 450). Zonaras specifies the thander, 


^r to accept the praise and the precedent : this 
irioas example of Uie depoBition of rojal heretics 
by the cardinals Baronius and Bellarmine;" and 
!isked why the same thunders were BOt burled 
:4'eroe and JuUans of antiquity ? they reply, that 
I of the primitive Church was the sole cause of 
)yalty." On this occasion the efEects of lore and 
lie same ; and the zealous Proteetants, who seek 
3 indignation and to alarm the fears of princes 
tea, expatiate on the insolence and treason of the 
ts against their lawful sovereign." They are de- 
by the moderate Catholics, for the most part of 
Church,*" who respect the saint without approv- 
These common advocates of the crown and the 
iscribe the truth of facts by the rule of equity, 
id tradition, and appeal to tlie evidence of the 
the Hves** and epistles of the popes themselves. 

ap (wm, ii. I. XI. [c *] p. 104, 105). It maj ba obsan'sd tliat 
pt to confound che liraea and actions of tno Gregoriea. 
a,AnnaI. Ecdes, i.D.730,Nos. 4,5: "Dignumexemplinn!" BeJ- 
no Poncilice, 1. r. c. 8 1 "Mulctavit enm parte imperii." Sigc- 
Iwlio, t. iii. Opera, torn. ii. p. IG9. Yet such is the change of 
lUB is correclcd by the editor of Milan, Fhilippus Argelatus, a Do- 
ect of the pope. 

[^ristiini olim non depoauerunt Neronem ant Julianam, id fuit 
ea temporalea Chrjatiania " (honest Beitanaine, Ds Rom. Pont, 
nal Perron adds a distinction more hooombte to the first Cbri»- 
ore salisbctoiy to modem princee — tlie treaum of heretics and 
reak thdr oaih, belie their coiti, and renounce their all^iance to 
ear (Perroniana, p. 89). 

■pedmen, the cautious Batnage (Hist, de I'Eglise, p. IS.'iO, I3S1) 
It Spanhdm (Hist. Imaginum), vho, with a bundred mora, trend 
if tlie centariaton of Magdeburg. 

(Opera, tom. t. para ii. (Epist. vii. 7, p. 46R-474), NaUlis Alexan- 
Testamenti, secuL liii. diasert. i. p. 92-96), Faj[i (Critics, tom. iii. 
. Giunnone (Isltiria Civile di Napoli, tom. i. p. 317-320), a disci- 
ui school. In the field of controversj I always pilj the moder- 
and on the open middle-ground exposed to the lire of both sides. 
1 to Paul Wamefrid, or Diaconai (De Gestis Langobard. I. ri. c. 
n Script. Itol. Muratori.tom. i. pars i.), and the nominal Anasla- 
M, Id Mnratori, Com. iii. pars i. ; Gregorius II., p. 161 \ Gregoriua 

See itole on fbUoiring page. 


Two original epistles, from Gregory the Second to the Em- 
peror Leo, are still extant ;'* and if they cannot be praised as 
K toti *^® ^^^ perfect models of eloquence and logic, 

GrwjryiL they exhibit the portrait, or at least the mask, of 
peror. the foiindcr of the papal monarchy. " During ten 

pure and fortunate years,'' says Gregory to the em- 
peror, " we have tasted the annual comfort of your royal let- 
ters, subscribed in purple ink with your own hand, the sacred 
pledges of your attachment to the orthodox creed of our fa- 
thers. How deplorable is the change I 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 bo provoked to cast their 
hornbooks at your head." After this decent salutation the 
pope attempts the usual distinction between the idols of an- 
tiquity and the Christian images. The former were the fan- 
ciful representations of phantoms or demons, 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 

III., p. 158; Zaclinrias, p. 161 ; Stephanus IIL^p. 165; Paulus, p. 172; Stepha- 
nas IV., p. 174 ; Hadrianus, p. 179 ; Leo III., p. 195). Yet I may remark that 
the true Anastasias (Hist. Eccles. p. 134, edit. Reg.) and the Historia Miscella 
(1. xxi. p. 151, in torn. i. Script. Ital.), both of the ninth century, translate and ap- 
prove the Greek text of Theophanes. 

^ With some minute diflfei'ence, 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 apostolical 
librarians and notaries of the eigblh and ninth centuries, and that the last and 
smallest part is the work of Anastasius, whose name it bears. The style is barbar- 
ous, the narrative partial, the details are trifling; yet it must be I'ead as a curious 
and authentic record of the times. The epistles of the popes are dispersed in the 
volumes of Councils. 

** The two epistles of Gregory II. have been preserved in the Acts of the Ki- 
cene Council (tom. viii. p. 651-674). They are without a date, which is various- 
ly fixed — by Baronius in the year 726, by Muratori (Annali dltalia, tom. vi. 
p. 120) in 729, and by Pagi in 730. Such is the fbrce of prejudice, that some 
PapiUs have praised the good sense and moderation of these letters. 

v.— 8 

t' OBEQOST n. [Ch. XLIX. 

id approved, by s crowd of mir- 
it of this relative worship. He 

the ignorance of Leo, since he 
» of images from the apoetolic 
sence in the six synods of the 
pecions argument is drawn from 
t practice : the harmony of the 
le demand of a general coancil ; 
!s that snch assemblies can only 
in orthodox prince. To the im- 
)re gnilty than a heretic, he rec- 
implicit obedience to his spirit- 

and Borne. The limits of civil 
defined by the pontiff. To the 
ody; to the' latter, the sont: the 
ids of the magistrate : the more 
amunication is intrusted to the 
f their divine commiBsion a zeal- 
lending father : the saccessor of 
« the kings of the earth. " You 

carnal and military hand: un- 
y implore the Christ, the prince 
\ will send nnto ypn a devil for 

and the salvation of yoar sool. 
-ogance, * I will despatch my or- 
Q pieces the image of St. Peter ; 
essor Martin, shall be transport- 
the foot of the imperial throne.' 
le permitted to tread in the foot- 
t may the fate of Constans serve 
tors of the Church ! After his 
ishops of Sicily, the tyrant was 
sins, by a domestic servant : the 
ations of Scythia, among whom 
I his life. Bat it is our duty to 
support of the faitliful people; 
ir safety on the event of a com- 
of defending your Boman sub- 

A.D. 727.] TO THE EMPEROR LEO. 115 

jects, the maritime Bituation of the city may perhaps expose 
it to your depredation ; but we can remove to the distance of 
f our-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." 
The remote and interior kingdoms of the West present their 
bondage to Christ and his vicegerent ; and we now prepare to 
visit one of their most powerful monarehs who desires to re- 
ceive from our hands the sacrament of baptism." The bar- 
barians have submitted to the yoke of the Gospel, while you 
alone are deaf to the voice of the shepherd. These pious bar- 
barians are kindled into rage : they thirst to avenge the per- 
secution of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal enter- 
prise ; reflect, tremble, and repent. If you persist, we are in- 
nocent of the blood that will be spilled in the contest ; may 
it fall on your own head !" 

The first assault of Leo against the images of Constanti- 
nople had been witnessed by a crowd of strangers from Italy 
and the West, who related with grief and indignation the sac- 
rilege of the emperor. But on the reception of his prescrip- 
tive edict they trembled for their domestic deities ; the im- 

'* "EuoKn rhffopa ordSia virox^p*l<Tti 6 *Apx'^P^^C *Pwfttii lig rrjv x&pav Kafi- 
irayiaCf Koi vjrayi diuKov ro^c dvifiovQ (Epist. L p. 664). This proximity of the 
Lombards is hard of digestion. Camillo Pellegrini (Dissert, ir. De Dacatill Bene- 
Tcnti, in the Script. ItaL torn. y. p. 172, 178) forcibly reckons the twenty-foarth 
stadia, not from Borne, bnt from the limits of the Roman duchy, to the first for- 
ti^ess, perhaps Sora, of the Lombards. I rather believe that Gregory, with the 
pedantry of the age, employs stadia for miles, without mnch inquiry into the gen- 
nine measure. 

^ "Ov al vcurai PofftXiiai rrJQ Bwntat utg Gcov iwlyBtov ix^vffu 

*• 'Air6 r^c hr^rkpov dv<ntoc tov Xeyofiivov Scirreroi; (p. 665). The pope ap- 
pears 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 Christian- 
ity. May not this unknown Septetua have some reference to the chief of the 
Saxon heptarchy^ to Ina, King of Wessex, who, in the pontificate of Gregory the 
Second, visited Kome for the purpose, not of baptism, but of pilgrimage (Pagi, 
A.D. 689, No. 2 ; a,d. 726, No. 16) ? 


and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and 
, were abolished in all the churches of Italy ; 

strong alternative was proposed to the Roman 
ff, the royal favor as the price of his compli- 
a and exile as the penalty of his disobedience, 
>r policy allowed him to hesitate; and the 
in which Gregory addressed the emperor dis- 
ance in the truth of his doctrine or the pow- 
e. Without depending on prayers or mira- 
,rmed against the public enemy, and his pas- 
lonished the Italians of their danger and their 

signal, Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the 
Pentapolis adhered to the canse of religion; 
>rce by sea and land consbted, for the most 
(■es ; and the spiiit of patriotism and zeal was 
the mercenary strangere. The Italians swore 
in the defence of the pope and the holy im- 
»n people were devoted to their father, and 
rds were ambitions to share the merit and ad- 
holy war. The most treasonable act, bnt the 
ivenge, was the destmction of the statues of 
e most effectual and pleasing measure of re- 
withholding the tribute of Italy, and depriv- 
wer -which he had recently abused by the im- 
w capitation," A form of administration was 
e election of magistrates nn(3 governors ; and 
public indignation, that the Italians were pre- 

9 Ihe importnnt and decislTs passage of the Liber I'ontilicn- 
[o plug Tir profanaiB principia jassionem, jam contra Impern- 
Di(em go nraiRvit, renuetiB huresim ejns, scribens nbique se 
fl quod orta Fuiasel impialns InlU. Ii/itur pennoti omnea 
Veneliarum exercltus conim Impemtoris jusBJonem reslilo- 
inqanm in ejiisdcm pontificig condescendera necem, Md pro 
I virililer decertare " (p. 15<!j. 

.pitalion," SBva Anastasius (p. 15G): "A most cnie] tax, nn- 
ni tbemselves," exclaims (he zealous Maimboui^ (Hist, des 
d Theophanes (p. 34i [lom. i. p, G.1I, edit. Bonn]), wbo tolkg 
ng the male children of Israel. This mode of taxntion \ra> 
!na; and, most unluckily for the historian, it wm imposed t, 
in Prance by his patron Louis XIV. 

A.D.728.] REVOLT OF ITALY. 117 

pared 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 Greg- 
ory, were condenmed as the authors of the revolt, and every 
attempt was made, either by fraud or force, to seize their per- 
sons 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 for- 
eign troops, they obtained some domestic aid, and the super- 
stition 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 leadere suf- 
fered an ignominious death, and the popes, however inclined 
to mercy, refused to intercede for these guilty victims. At 
Ravenna,** 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 at- 
tempted 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 neighbor- 
hood of Ravenna : they threatened to depopulate the guilty 
capital, and to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Jus- 
tinian 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 

^ See the Liber Pontiflcalis of Agiiellus(in the Scriptores Rerum Italicarum of 
Manitori, torn, it pars i.), whose deeper shade of barbarism marks the diiference 
between Rome and Bavenna. Yet we are indebted to him for some curious and 
domestic fiicts — the quarters and factions of Ravenna (p. 154), the revenge of Jus- 
tinian II. (p. 160, 161), the defeat of the Greeks (p. 170, 171), etc. 


dvanced, a phantom wae seen, a voice was beard, 
was victorious by the assurance of victory. The 
reated to their ships, bnt the populoas eearcoast 
a maltitado of boats j the waters of the Fo were 
ected with blood, that during six years the pub- 
abstained from the fish of the river; and the 
an annual feast perpetuated the worship of im- 
I abhorrence of the Grreek tyrant. Amidst the 
lie Catholic arms, the Roman pontiff convened a 
ety-three bishops against the heresy of the Icon- 
;h their consent, he pronounced a general ezcom- 
gaiust all who by word or deed should attack the 
ho fathers and the images of the saints : in this 
emperor was tacitly involved," but the voto of 
pel^ remonstrance may seem to imply that the 
B yet suspended over his guilty head. No soon- 
confinued their own safety, the worehip of im- 
freedom of !Rome and Italy, than the popes ap- 
relaxed of their severity, and to have spared the 
Byzautine dominion. Their moderate counsels 
prevented the election of a new emperor, and 
d the Italians not to separate from the body of 
nonarchy. The exarch was permitted to reside 
alls of Kavenna, a captive rather than a master ; 
mperial coronation of Charlemagne, the govem- 
ne and Italy was exercised in the name of the 

s BDiloablfillv rompristd in tbe " u quU ■ • ■ imagiDnm sacra- 
clor " • • ctiiieric, sii exiorris a TOrpore D. Jf, Jesn Cbnsd vel 
itais.' TtM canoouii maj d«ct<k wbetbor the gnUl or tbe nanM 
KConmankattoB : and ibe dfci^on U of ib« lut impoctwoM to 
>. acconliDB to tbo onrle i,Graluui, Cutt. ssiii. q. 5. c 47, apod 
lna(. p. I l'S\ " Homicidal dod ess« qni exromniDiiicaloa unci- 

it tale (vnsiliaiD Podtifex. ^perans roanraooaa priacipk " (An. 

Sed aa d«»i:>iHmi ab uaore et fiiie tL J. adaooAu" (p. 157). 
Leo aad ronstaniiofi C<f>rnn_vnuB " Imperatona el DaBiDi," 
epithet of AubW. A Cudoib moeiir of the Lalenn<A.l>. T98) 

vbo detiran the kevs to St PEter and ibo banMr to PiaiMaii 
•ci. AnnaU dltali*. turn, ri p. 337.) 

A.D. 728.] REPUBLIC OF ROME. 119 

The liberty of Eorae, which had been oppressed by the 
arms and arts of Augustus, was rescued, after seven hundred 
Repobiie ^^^ ^^^7 ycars of Servitude, from the persecution 
of Rome. ^£ j^^^ ^j^^ Isauriau. 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 Ehine, the Danube, 
and the Euphrates; and Home was reduced to her ancient 
territory from Viterbo to Terracina, and from Nami to the 
mouth of the Tiber." 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 contin- 
ued 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 Eo- 
mans had improved the science of government and war : the 
will of the community was absolute : the rights of individ- 
uals 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 free- 
dom and ambitious of glory.*' When the sovereignty of the 
Greek emperors was extinguished, the ruins of Rome present- 
ed 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 consti- 
tution, was obliterated from the practice and memory of the 
Komans; and they were devoid of knowledge, or virtue, 
again to build the fabric of a commonwealth. Their scanty 

*^ I have traced the Roman dachy according to the maps, and the maps accord- 
ing to the excellent dissertation of Father Beretti (De Chorographia Italiie Medii 
JEvi, sect. XX. p. 216-282). Yet I must nicely observe that Viterbo is of Lom- 
bard foundation (p. 211), and that Terracina was usurped by the Greeks. 

^ On tbe extent, population, etc., of the Roman kingdom, the reader may peruse 
with pleasure the Discourt Pr€liminaire to the R^publique Romaine of M. de 
Beaufort (torn, i.), who will not be accused of too much credulity for the early \ 

ages of Rome. 


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 hu- 
man nature.""* By the necessity of their situation, the in- 
habitants of Home were cast into the rough model of a re- 
publican government: they were compelled to elect some 
judges in peace and some leaders in war : the nobles assem- 
bled 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,** but the spirit 
was fled ; and their new independence was disgraced by the 
tumultuous conflict of licentiousness and oppression. The 
want of laws could only be supplied by the influence of re- 
ligion, and their foreign and domestic counsels were moder- 
ated 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 flrst magistrate or prince of 
the city. The Christian humility of the popes was not of- 
fended by the name of Dominvs, or Lord ; and their face 

^ " Qnos (Ronumos) nos, Longobardi scilicet, Saxones, Franci, Lotharingi, Bn- 
joarii, Suevi, Burgundiones, tanto dedignamur nt inimicos nostros oommoti, nil 
aliud contumeliarum nisi Romane, dlcamus : hoc solo, id est Romanorum nomine, 
quicqaid ignobilitatis, quicquid timiditatis, quicquid avnritiie, quicquid luxurias, 
quicquid mendacii, immo quicquid ritiorum est comprehendentes " (Liutprand, in 
Legat. Script. Ital. torn. ii. pars i. p. 481). For the sins of Cato or Tully, Minos 
might have imposed as a tit penance the daily perusal of this barbarous passage. 

*^ '* Pipino regi Francorura [et Patricio Romanorum] omnis senatus atque uni- 
versa populi generalitos a Deo ser>'atsB Romansa urbis " (Codex Carolin. epist. 36 
in Script. Ital. torn. 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.). 

* 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. 


and inscription are still apparent on the most ancient coins/* 
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. 

In the quarrels of ancient Greece, the holy people of Elis 
enjoyed a perpetual peace, under the protection of Jupiter, 
Rome at- ^^^ ^^ *^® excrcisc of the Olympic games." Hap- 
Lombli^.^^* py would it have been for the Romans if a similar 
A.D. 730-752. 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 pres- 
ence 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 institu- 
tions 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 con- 
queror listened to the voice of Gregory the Second," with- 

*^ See Muratori, Antiquit. Italic Medii ^vi, torn. ii. Dissertat. xxvii. p. 548. 
On one of these coins we read Hadrian as Papa (a.d. 772) ; on the reverse, Vict. 
DDNN. with the word CONOB, which the P^re Jonbert (Science des M^dailles, 
torn. ii. p. 42) explains by COiVistantinopoli Officina B (secunda).*^ 

*"* See West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games (Pindar, vol. ii. p. 32-36, 
edition in 12mo) and the judicious reflections of Poljbius (tom. i. 1. iv. [c. 78] 
p. 466, edit. Gronov.). 

*^ The speech of Gregory to the Lombard is finely composed by Sigonius (De 

* The letters CONOB, which frequently appear on the Byzantine coins, and 
which have given rise to much dispute, have been satisfactorily explained by Pin- 
der and Fnedlander, **Die Mtinzen Justinians, mit sechs Kupfertafein," Berlin, 
1843. That the letters con should be separated from ob, and that they signify 
Constantinople, seems clear from the epigraphs aquob, tesob, and tbob, which 
indicate respectively the towns of Aquileia, Thessalonica, and Treves. The above- 
mentioned writers suppose that ob ai'e the Greek numerals, and that they conse- 
quently indicate the number 72. In the time of Augustus 40 gold coins (aurei or 
solidi) were equal to a pound ; but as these coins were gradually stiiick lighter 
and lighter, it was at length enacted by Valentinian I., in a.d. 867, that thence- 
forth 72 solidi should be coined out of a pound of gold ; and accordingly we find 
coNOB for the first time on the coins of this emperor.— S. 


lops, resigned his conquests, respectfully vieited 
if St. Peter, and, after performing his devotions, 
TOrd and dagger, his cuirass and mantle, hie silver 

crown of gold, on the tomb of the apostle. Bat 
I fervor was the illusion, perhaps the artifice, of 
; the sense of interest is strong and lasting ; the 

and rapine was congenial to the Lombards ; and 
ice and people were irresistibly tempted by the 
Italy, the nakedness of Botne, and the unwarlike 
[ her new chief. On the first edicts of the em- 
leclared themselves the champions of the holy 
tprand invaded the province of Komagna, which 
issumed that distinctive appellation ; the Catbo- 
Isarchate yielded without reluctance to his civil 

power; and a foreign enemy was introduced 
time into the impregnable fortress of Kavenna. 
d fortress were speedily recovered by the active 
1 maritime forces of the Venetians ; and those 
ects obeyed the exhortation of Gregory himself, 

the personal guilt of Leo from the general cause 
in empire." The Greets were less mindful of 
lan the Lombards of the injury ; the two nations, 
itr faith, were reconciled in a dangerous and nn- 
ice : the king and the exarch marched to the con- 
•leto and Borne; the storm evaporated without 
e policy of Liutprand alarmed Italy with a vexa- 
:ive of hostility and truce. His snccessor Astol- 
i himself the equal enemy of the emperor and 
avenna was subdued by force or treachery,** and 

it Opera, torn. iL p. 173), who imiutes tbe lJc«iUB and the spirit 

ID histonsfiB, John SagonuDos (Chron. Tenet, p. 13) and the 
ndolo (Scriplores Rer. lul. torn. xii. p. iSii), hare preserved this 
'. The low and recoveij of BaTenna ate mentioned by Paulas 
Ml. LaoRDbard. L vj. c. 49, 54, in Script. lud. loro. L para L 
oar cbronok^ts, Pagi, Muratori, etc., cannot ascertain the date 

till depend on (he various readings of the MSS. of AoMtasiDi— 
Tpaerat (.Script. ItaL lorn. iii. pare i. p. IGT). 


thifi fiual conquest extingnifihed the series of the exarchs, who 
had reigned with a subordinate power since the time of Jus- 
tinian and the rain of the Gothic kingdom. Eome was sum- 
moned 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 
Somans hesitated ; they entreated ; they complained ; and the 
threatening barbarians were checked by arms and negotia- 
tions, till the popes had engaged the friendship of an ally and 
avenger beyond the Alps." 

In his distress the first^ Gregory had implored the aid of 
the hero of the age, of Charles Martel, who governed the 
HerdeiiT- Frouch mouarchy with the humble title of mayor 
F?pi^ ^^ <>r ^^^^ ; and who, by his signal victory over tlie 
A.0.7M. Saracens, had saved his country, and perhaps Eu- 
rope, 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 Eoman 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 Tiber, the succor on those 
of the Seine ; and our sympathy is cold to the relation of dis- 
tant 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. 

** The Codex Carolinns is a collection of the epistles of the popes to Charles 
Martel (whom they style Subreffulus), Pepin, and Charlemagne, as far as the year 
791, when it was formed hy the last of these princes. His original and authentic 
MS. (Bihliothecie Cubicnlaris) is now in the imperial library of Vienna, and has 
been published by Lambecius and Moratori (Script. Renim Ital. tom. iii. pars ii. 
p. 75, etc.). 

^ Gregory the First had been dead above a century ; read Gregory the Third. 
— M. 


' : public despftir by litanies and orationB, lie 
orious journey with the ambaeeadore of the 
.nd the Greek emperor. The king of the 
xorable; but his threats could not silence 
ir retard the speed, of the Roman poutiS, 
) Pennine Alps, reposed in the Abbey of 
astened to grasp the right hand of his pro- 
lich was never lifted iu vain, either in war 
;ephen was entertained as the visible suc- 
le ; at the next ageembly, the field of March 
iries were exposed to a devout and warlike 
assed the Alps, uot as a suppliant, but as a 
head of a French army, which was led by 
1. Tlie Lombards, after a weak resistance, 
linious peace, and swore to restore the pos- 
spect the sanctity, of the Roman Chnrch. 
1 Astolphna delivered from the presence of 
baa he forgot his promise and resented his 
ifoe again encompassed by his arms; and 
sive of fatiguing the zeal of his Transalpine 
complaint and reqnest by an eloquent let- 
d person of St. Peter himself." The apos- 
[)tive sons, tlie king, the clergy, and the do- 
it, dead in the fiesh, he is still alive in the 
low hear, and must obey, the voice of the 
ian of the Roman Church ; that the Virgin, 
ts, and the martyrs, and all the host of heav- 
rge the reqnest, and will confess the obliga- 
^ictory,and paradise will crown their pions 
t eternal damnation will be the penalty of 
iy suffer his tomb, his temple, and his peo- 
3 hands of the perfidious Lombards. The 
of Pepin was not less rapid and fortunate 

HordinsTj letter in the Codex Carolinus, episl. lii. p. 92. 
* hnve charged them wiih fraad and UtuphemT ; yelthej 
le rather than deceive. This introduclion of the dead, 
jllsr to the ancient oratora, thoagh it ii esecnted on tbia 
lion of the nge. 


thau the first : St. Peter was satisfied, Eome was again saved, 
and Astolphus was taught the lessons of jastice and sincerity 
by the scourge of a foreign master. After this double chas- 
tisement, 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 pa- 
cific virtues of the feeble, they peevishly harassed the Ro- 
mans 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 gen- 
ius, the fortune, and greatness of Charlemagne, the son of Pe- 
pin ; 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.^' The passes of the Alps 
and the walls of Pavia were the only defence of the Lom- 
bards ; the former were surprised, the latter were invested, by 
the son of Pepin ; and after a blockade of two years,* Deside- 
rius, the last of their native princes, surrendered his 
Lomtmrdy sccptre and his capital. Under the dominion of a 
nuigne. foreign king, but in the possession of their nation, 
sal laws, the Lombards became the brethren, rather 
than the subjects, of the Franks ; who derived their blood, 
and mannera, and language from the same Germanic origin.^ 
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 

** Except in the divorce of the daughter of Desiderius, whom Charlemagne re- 
pudiated **8ine aliquo crimine." Pope Stephen IV. had most furiously opposed 
the alliance of a noble Frank — '' cum perfid&, horridd, nee dicend&, fcetentissimft 
natione Longobardomm " — to whom he imputes the first stain of leprosy (Cod. Car- 
olin. epist. 45, p. 178, 179). Another reason against the marriage was the exist- 
ence of a first wife (Muratori, Annali dltalia, tom. vi. p. 232, 233, 23G, 237). But 
Charlemagne indnlged himself in the freedom of polygamy or concabinnge. 

^ See the Annali d'ltalia of Muratori, tom. vi., and the three first Dissertations 
of his Antiqaitates ItaUie Medii ^vi, tom. i. 

* Of fifteen months. James, Life of Charlemngne, p. 187. — M. 


ions of the Boman Church obtained a favorable occa- 
1 Bion, a epeciona title, the wishes of the people, the 
ngi pmyers and intrigaee of the clergy. Bnt the 
^ most eeeential gifts of the popes to the CarloTin- 
gian race were the dignities of King of France** and 
rician of Home. I. Under the sacerdotal monarchy of 
er, the nations began to reanme the practice of seeking, 
banks of the Tiber, their kings, their laws, and the or- 
f their fate. The Franks were perplexed between the 
md substance of their goTcrnment. All the powers of 
' were exercised by Pepin, mayor of the palace ; and 
g, except the regal title, was wanting to his ambition, 
emies were crushed by his valor ; his friends were mul- 
by his liberality ; his father had been the savior of 
^ndom ; and the claims of personal merit were repeat- 
ennobled in a descent of four generations. The name 
lage of royalty was still preserved in the last descend- 
Clovis, the feeble Childeric ; but his obsolete right conld 
3 used as an instrument of sedition : the nation was de- 
of restoring the simplicity of the constitution ; and Pe- 
mbject and a prince, was ambitions to ascertain his own 
nd the fortune of his family. The mayor and the no- 
ere bound, by an oath of fidelity, to the royal phantom : 
jod of Clovis was pure and sacred in their eyes ; and 
common ambassadors addressed the Koman pontiff to 
their scrnples or to absolve their promise. The in- 
of Pope ^ichary, the sncceesor of the two Gregoriea, 
ted him to decide, and to decide in their favor: he pro- 
id that the nation might lawfully unite, iu the same 
, the title and authority of king ; and that the unfort- 
Childeric, a victim of the public safety, shonld be de- 

iiet the commoa hiatorians, three French criiics, lAnno; (Opera, torn. 
i.l. vii. epiat.O, p. 477-487), Pngi (Crilica, a.d. 761, No. 1-6, a. d. 7fi2, 
I), and NaUlis Alexander (HUC. Nov! TesUimenCi, dissertat il. p. 96- 
fe treaEed Ihii subject of the deposition of Childeric with teaming and at- 
lat with a strong bias to aare the independence of the crown. Yet thej 
pressed by the texts which thef prodace of Bginhard, Theophaoes, and 
nnols, LauresbameoKS, Faldense), LoisieJani. 

A.D. 751-768.] PEPIN AND CHARLEMAGNE. 127 

graded, shaved, and confined in a monastery for the remain- 
der of his days. An answer so agreeable to their wishes was 
accepted by the Franks, as the opinion of a casuist, the sen- 
tence 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 :" 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 van- 
ity 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 aflSrms 
that the French sceptre was transferred by the authority 
of the popes ;" and, in their boldest enterprises, they insist, 
with confidence, on this signal and successful act of temporal 

II. In the change of manners and language the patricians 

^ Not absolutely for the first time. On a less conspicuous theatre it had been 
used, in the sixth and seventh 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. Constantino 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. 284-249. 

" See Eginhard, in VitA Caroli Magni, c. i. p. 9, etc. ; c. iii. p. 24 [edit. 
Schminck]. Childeric was deposed— -yuMu, 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. 


ire far removed from the Benate of liomnluB, or 
J palace of ConstantiQe — from the free nobles of 
J republic, or the fictitioTia parents of the empcr- 
le recovery of Italy and Africa by the arms of 
B importance and danger of those remote prov- 
d the presence of a supreme magistrate ; he was 
styled the exarch or the patrician ; and these 
Kavenna, who fill their place in the chronology 
[tended their jurisdiction over the Eoman city, 
volt of Italy and the loss of the Exarchate, the 
IfomanB had exacted some sacrifice of their in- 
Yet, even in this act, they exercised the right 
of themselves ; and the decrees of the senate and 
isively invested Charles Martel and bis posterity 
ors of Patrician of Rome. The leaders of a pow- 
woald have disdained a servile title and subor- 
; but the reign of the Greek emperors was sns- 
, in the vacancy of the empire, they derived a 
s commission from the pope and the republic, 
ambassadors presented these patricians with the 
brine of St. Peter, as a pledge and symbol of sov- 
th ft holy banner, which it was their right And 
rl in the defence of the Church and city." In 
Charles Martel and of Pepin, the interposittoo of 
, kingdom covered the freedom, while it threat- 
ty, of Rome ; and the patriciate represented only 
service, the alliance, of these distant protectors, 
nd policy of Charlemagne annihilated an enemy 

: aad powers of pattkiao of Rome, sm I>icanee (Gkias. Lmib. 
i\ V^ (Criik*. ».n. 740, Ko. 6-11), Muniori (AnoaU d'ltalia, 
» V utd St. Man (Abng^ CbrooologiiiDa de I'ltaKt, tom. I p. 379- 
be FnntbcAa Ptgi ii iha most diipoMd lo nuke Ibe patrician a 
Cbardii. miher than of ibe enpira. 

itTOMUB can Mn«o tb« CTinbolie meanins of ibe ^nner and the 
le of ad rryMn diinMiaBS,oTdin:iioMu(CodeiCvoIin.ep>M.L 
^ Tti), seenu to allow of no pallUlKui or escape. In Ibe 3£S. of 
[T, iber read, iiulead of rrymi^ niy»a, pnnr or reqoest {tee 
:be roTaliT uf ChaHes Manel i$ mhTcned br thia imputtaat cor- 
ia hi» Criiical Preface*, Aonali d'ltalia. Ion. xiiL p. 9j-99>. 


A.D. 751-768.] PATRICIANS OP ROME. 129 

and imposed a master. In his first visit to the capital he lyas 
received with all the honors which had formerly been paid to 
the exarch, the representative of the emperor ; and these hon- 
ors obtained some new decorations from the joy and gratitade 
of Pope Adrian the First.'* No sooner was he informed of 
the sadden approach of the monarch, than he despatched the 
magistrates and nobles of Home to meet him, with the ban- 
ner, about thirty miles from the city. At the distance of 
one mile the Flaminian Way. was lined with the schooUy or 
national communities, of Greeks, Lombards, Saxons, etc. : the 
Roman youth was 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 Vati- 
can, and, as he ascended the stairs, devoutly kissed each step 
of the threshold of the apostles. In the portico, Adrian ex- 
pected 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 Frauk 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 al- 
legiance 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." 

^ In the authentic narratiYe of this reception, the Liber Pontificalia observes — 
'* ObTiam illi ejns sanctitas dirigens Tenerabiles [renerandas] cruces, id est signa ; 
Bicttt mo8 est ad exarcham, ant patriciom snscipiendam, earn cum ingenti honore 
soscipi fecit " (torn. iii. pars i. p. 185). 

*' Panlns Diaconus, who wrote before the empire of Charlemagne, describes 
Rome as his subject citj—^'VestrsB civitates" (ad Pompeium FestnmX '^snis 
addidit sceptris " (De Metensis Ecclesiie Episcopis). Some Carlovingian medals, 
struck at Rome, have engaged Le Blanc to write an elaborate, though partial, dis- 

V.— 9 


itade of the CarloviDgians was adequate to these 
and their Damee are consecrated as the savion 
□d benefactors of the Kornan Church. Her ao- 
ient patrimony of farms and honses was traoe- 
ormed by their bounty into the temporal domin- 
s and prorinces ; and the donation of the Ezar- 
he first-fruits of the conquests of Pepin." Astol- 
a sigh, relinqaished his prey ; the keys and the 
the priocipal cities were delivered to the French 
; and, in his master'a name, he presented them be- 
ub of St. Peter. The ample measure of the Ez- 
Ight comprise all the provinces of Italy wliich had 
emperor and hia vicegerent; but its strict and 
ts were included in the territories of Eavenna, 60- 
Fcrrara : its inseparable dependency was the Pen- 
ch stretched along the Adriatic from Kimini to 
i advanced into the midland country aa f ar as the 
he Apennioe. In this transaction the ambition 
o£ the popes has been severely condemned. Per- 
imility of a Chnstiaa priest should have rejected 
iingdom, which it was not easy for him to govern 
louncing the virtues of hie profession. Perhaps a 
>]ect> or even a gencrons enemy, would have been 
;Qt to divide the spoils of the barbarian ; and if 
r had intrusted Stephen to solicit in his name the 
3f the Exarchate, I will not absolve the pope from 
■h of treachery and falsehood. But in the rigid 
on of the laws, every one may accept, without in- 

air suthmitj ml Room, both u pairicum and empenm (AmHer- 

llutitnlion Uisl. Eccln. p. ?G3) weigbs this donation irith hir and 
•ac«. Tb« otiginal acl hai dstv been produced ; bat tbe Libcr 
nMna(p.ITl),aild Ibe Codex Carolinna nppoMS, this ample gift 
mporarr records; and the laUec is tbe nkore »itbeDtic, liue ii haa 
not in tbe rnpal, bdt the Imperial, libniy. 

be exorbiiani claims, and motot anceasoBs, of intoot and pr^ 
lidi ena Maratori (Antii)Dit«t. torn. L p. 63-68) is >ot tsempt, I 
ed, in the iimiis of ibe ExaicbaM and Pcnt^ntia, bf tbe Diaserta- 
tcn ItaliK M«dii JExi. lun. x. p. 160-160. 


jurj, 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 had exposed his person and 
army in a double expedition beyond the Alps : he possessed, 
and might lawfully alienate, his conquests : and to the impor- 
tunities of the Greeks he piously replied that no human con- 
sideration 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 be- 
held for the first time a Ohristian 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 Bavenna. In the dissolution of the Lombard 
kingdom the inhabitants of the duchy of Spoleto** 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 pres- 
ent circle of the ecclesiastical state. That mysterious circle 
was enlarged to an indefinite extent by the verbal or written 
donation of Charlemagne,** who, in the first transports of his 
victory, despoiled himself and the Greek emperor of the cit- 
ies and islands which had formerly been annexed to the Ex- 
archate. But in the cooler moments of absence and reflec- 
tion he viewed with an eye of jealousy and envy the recent 
greatness of his ecclesiastical ally. The execution of his own 

** ''Spoktini depreeati snnt, nt eos in servitio B. Petri reeiperet et more Ro- 
manomni tonsnrari faceret" (Anastasius, p. 185). Yet it may be a question wheth- 
er they gave their own persons or their country. 

^ The pdicy and donations of Charlemagne are carefully examined by St 
Marc (Abr^gtf, torn, t p. 890-408), who has weU studied the Codex Carolinus. 
I believe, with him, that they were only verbal. The most ancient act of dona^ 
iion that pretends to be extant is that of the Emperor Lewis the Pious (Sigonius, 
De B^n'io ItaliflB, 1. iv. Opera, tom. ii. p. 267-270). Its authenticity, or at least 
its integrity, are much questioned (Pagi, a.d. 817, No. 7, etc. ; Muratort, Annali, 
tom. Ti. p. 432, etc. ; Dissertat Chorographica, p. 88, 84) ; but I see no reasona- 
ble objection to these princes so freely disposing of what was not their own. 


and his father's promisea was respectfully elnded : the king 
of the Franks and LombardB asserted the inalienable rights 
of the empire; and, in Lis life and death, Kavenna," aa well 
ae Borne, was nambered in the list of his metropolitan cities. 
The Bovereigntj of the Exarchate melted away in the hands 
of the popes ; they found in the archbishops of Eavenna a 
dangerous and domestic rival:" the nobles and people dis- 
dained 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. 

Fraud is the resource of weakness and cunning ; and the 
strong, though ignorant, barbarian was often entangled in the 
ForgBTjoi "s'' of sacerdotal policy. The Vatican and Lateran 
Moa of'coi]- were an arsenal and manufacture which, according 
iioniine. (^^^ ^jjg occasiou, havc produced or concealed a va- 
rious collection of false or genuine, of corrupt or suspicions 
acts, as they tended to promote the interest of the Goman 
Church, before the end of the eighth century some apostol- 
ical scribe, perhaps the notorious Isidore, composed the decre- 
tals 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 bj an epis- 
tle of Adrian the First, who exhorts Charlemagne to imitate 
the liberality and revive the name of the great Constantine." 
According to the legend, the first of the Christian emper- 
ors was healed of the leprosy, and purified in the waters of 

<* Charlemngne solicited and obtained from the prpplietor, Adrian I., the mo- 
B1LC9 of the palace of Itnrenns, for the decoration of Aix-Ia-Chnpelle (Cod. Caro> 
lin. epist. 67, p. 223). 

*' Th« pDpei often complain of the oBurpations of Leo of RaTenns (Codes. 
CBrolin.epiM.51,52, E3,p. 200-205). v g) (»rpui St Andrem gertnani Sl Petri 
hie humanet, neqanquain noa Romani pontifices lic sahJagaMent " (AgneUns, Li- 
ber Ponlificalis, in Scriplores Benim Itai. torn. ii. para. i. p, 107). 

" " Fiisximo Constantino magno, per ejaa Inrgitalem S. R. Ecclaau eleratn et 
exaltata e*l,etpotaitatein in his Heaperin partibuslarfciridignatas est. * * * Quia 
ecce novni Conalanliniu his temporibas," etc. (Codes Carolin. episl. 49, in torn, 
iii. part ii. p. 196). Pagi (Critic*, a.d. 324, No. 16) aicribes them to an impoitor 
of the eighth centarj, who borrowed the name of St. Iiidore : hii humble title of 
PrccoforwaB ignoratitlj, bnt aptly, lurtied into Mtrcalor; his mercbandiie naa in- 
deed profitable, and a few sbeets of paper ivere sold for mach wealth and power. 


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 re- 
signed to the popes the free and perpetual sovereignty of 
Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the West.** 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 de^ 
pended on the choice of a fickle people; and the successors 
of St. Peter and Constantino were invested with the purple 
and prerogatives of the Ceesars. 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.'* The em- 
perors and the Romans were incapable of discerning a forg- 
ery 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 va- 
lidity of the donation of Constantine." In the revival of let- 

^ Fabricias (Bibliotb. Grac. torn. vi. p. 4-7) has enumerated the several editions 
of this Act, in Greek and Latin. The copy which LanrentiuB Valla recites and ' 
refates 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 suiTeptitious- 
ly tacked. 

^^ In the jear 1059 it was believed (was it believed ?) by Pope Leo IX., Cardi- 
nal Peter Damianus, etc. Muratori places (Annali d'ltalia, torn. ix. p. 23, 24) the 
fictitious donations of Lewis the Pious, the Othos, etc., De Donatione Constantini. 
See a Dissertation of Natalis Alexander, secnlum iv. diss. 25, p. 385-850. 

^' See a large account of the controversy (a.d. 1105), which arose from a pri- 
vate lawsuit, in the Chronicon Farsense (Script. Berum Italicarum, torn. 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 Italise of Quirini. But 
they are now imprisoned (Muratori, Scriptores R. I. torn. ii. pars ii. p. 269) by the 
timid policy of the court of Rome ; and the future cardinal yielded to the voice of 
anthority and tlie whispers of ambition (Quii-ini, Comment, pars ii. p. 128-136). 


ters aud liberty tliis fictitious deed was traoBpierced by the 
pen of Laurentius Yalla, the pen of an eloquent critic and a 
Soman patriot." His contemporaries of the fifteenth centu- 
ry 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" and poets," and the tacit or modest censure of 
the advocates of the Koman Church." The popes themselves 
have indulged a smile at the credulity of the vulgar ;" 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 founda- 
tions have been undermined. 

While the popes established in Italy their freedom and 
dominion, the images, the first cause of their revolt, were re- 
stored in the Eastern empire," Under the reign of Constan- 

'" I haTB read in the collection of Scbarditu (De Poteatate Imperial! EccIbsi- 
atdcA, p. T81-T80) this auimaled discODisti, which waa composed bj the antbor 
A.P. 1140, six jears after the flight oT Pope Eagenios IV. It is a most Tebement 
part; pamphlet ; Vulla juatifiea and animates the revolt of the Boduuu, and would 
area approte the dbc of a dauer against (hur sacerdotal tjrant. Snch a critic 
might expect the persecatton of the clergy ; jet he made his peace, and is bniied 
in the Letenin (Bajle, Dictionnoire Critique, Valia; Voeaiiu, De Historicis La- 
tinie, p. 680). 

" See Gaicciardini, o senant of the popes, in that long and Taloable digresaon, 
wliich has rteumed iu place in the last edition, correctlj pnblished from the aa- 
thor's MS., and printed in foar Tolames in qnano, nnder the name of Friborgo, 
] 775 (Isloria d'ltalia, torn, i, p. 386-396). 

" The Paladin Aatolpho found it in the moon, among the things that were lott 
upon earth (Orlando Furioso, xxxiv. flO). 

"Di Tan Hon ad an grsn monle paue, 
Ch'ebbe gi& baono odore, or poiza forte; 
Questo era il dona (se peril dir lece) 
Che CoBtantino al boon Silvestro fece." 
Tet thii incomparable poen has been approTed by ■ boll of Leo X. 

" See Baroniua, t.n. 321, No. llT-123 ; i.d, IISI, No. 61, etc The ordinal 
wishes to snppoee that Borne was offered bj Conitantine, and n/iutd bj SilTeater. 
The act of donation he consider*, strangely enough, as a forgery of the Greeki. 

'" "Baronias n'en die gu^ras conire; encore en a-t-il trop dit, et Ton Tonloit 
•ana moi (^Cardinal du Ptrron), qui I'emp^chai, cenaurer cette partie de sm hia- 
toire. J'en devisai an joar avec le Pape, et il na me r^poodit autre chose 'che 
volete? iCnnonici la tengono,'i] le disoit «nriaaf ''(PerToniana,p. 77). 

" The remaining hisEory of images, from Irene to Theodora, is collected for 


tine the Fifth, the union of civil and ecclesiastical power had 
Bestontion Overthrown the tree, without extirpating the root, 
^e bSi by" of superstition. The idols, for such they were now 
geanpreas j^^j^j^ y^^^e sccrctly cherished by the order and the 
A.i>.78o,etc. ggjj .most prone to devotion ; and the fond alliance 
of the monks and females obtained a final victory over the rea- 
son 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 phi- 
losophy, 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 favor- 
ite 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 se- 
riously undertook the ruin of the Iconoclasts ; and the first 
step of her future persecution was a general edict for lib- 
erty of conscience. In the restoration of the monks a thou- 
sand images were exposed to the public veneration ; a thou- 
sand legends were invented of their sufferings and miracles. 
By the opportunities of death or removal the episcopal seats 
were judiciously filled ; the most eager competitors for earth- 
ly or celestial favor anticipated and flattered the judgment 
of their sovereign ; and the- promotion of her secretary Tara- 
sius gave Irene the Patriarch of Constantinople and the com- 
mand of the Oriental Church. But the decrees of a general 
council could only be repealed by a similar assembly :" the 

the Catholics by Baronias and Pagi (a.d. 780-840), Natalia Alexander (Hist. 
N. T. secnlum riii. ; PanopUa adversas Hiereticos, p. 118-178), and Dupin (Bi> 
bliotb. EccWa. torn. ▼!. p. 186-164) ; for the Protestants, by Spanbeim (Hist. Imag. 
p. 305-639), Basnage (Hist, de Tfiglise, torn. i. p. 556-572 ; torn. ii. p. 1362-1385), 
and Mosheim (Institut. Hist. Eccles. secul. viii. et ix.). The Protestants, except 
Mosheim, are soured with controTeray ; bat the Catholics, except Dnpin, are in- 
flamed by the fary and soperstition of the monks ; and even Le Bean (Hist da 
Bos Empire), a gentleman and a scholar, is infected by the odious contagion. 

"^ See the Acts, in Greek and Latin, of the second Council of Nice, with a nom- 
ber of relative pieces, in tbe eighth volume of the Councils, p. 645-1600. A faith- 
ful version, with some critical notes, would provoke, in different readers, a sigh or 
a smile. 


Iconoclafits whom sho convened were bold in possession, and 
averse to debate ; and the feeble voice of the bishops was re- 
echoed by the more formidable clamor of the soldiers and 
people of Constantinople. The delay and intrigues of a 
Seventh gen- 7^^) ^^® Separation of the disaffected troops, and 
sSconTof"* the choice of Nice for a second orthodox synod, 
215*787, Sept removed these obstacles ; and the episcopal con- 
M-oct. 23. science was again, after the Greek fashion, in the 
hands of the prince. No more than eighteen days were al- 
lowed for the consummation of this important work: the 
Iconoclasts appeared, not as judges, but as criminals or peni- 
tents : the scene was decorated by the legates of Pope Adrian 
and the Eastern patriarchs ;** the decrees were framed by the 
President Tarasius, and ratified by the acclamations and sub- 
scriptions of three hundred and fifty bishops. They unani- 
mously 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 Ni- 
cene 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 con- 
cluded a truce with the demon 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. 
<' Bather 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."** For the honor of orthodoxy, at least the ortho- 

^* The pope*s legates were casaal messengers, two priests without any special 
commission, and who were disavowed on their retam. Some vagabond monks 
were persoaded by the Catholics to represent the Oriental patriarchs. This enri- 
008 anecdote is revealed by Theodore Stadites (Epist. i. 38, in Sirmond. 0pp. torn. 
▼. p. 1S19), one of the warmest Iconoclasts of the age. 

80 ^vfi^ptt it ffoi /iff raraXiTTccv Iv rf woXh Tavnjf iropt«ioy e/c 6 fc^ ctVAOpc* 
fl iVa &pvnvg rb irpomtvvHV rbv kv(hov riftw rot Btbv 'If^vovv Xpiffrbv furd r^ 
idiaQ airov ftrirpo^ Iv € eiffovi. These visits could not be innocent, since the Aai- 


doxy of the Boman Church, it is somewhat unfortunate that 
Final estab- ^® ^^^ princcs who couvened the two councils of 
&b;' Nice are both stained with the blood of their sons. 
tS'^mu" The second of these assemblies was approved and 
A.D.842. 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 main- 
tained 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. 
Superetition and weakness formed the character of Michael 
the First, but the saints and images were incapable of sup- 
porting 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 mur- 
der 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 guard- 
ed 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 Theophi- 
lus 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 fic- 
tion of a tardy repentance absolved the fame and the soul of 
her deceased husband ; the sentence of the Iconoclast patri- 
arch was commuted from the loss of his eyes to a whipping 

liwv wopvtiae (the demon of fornication) liro\(fiu Si avrbv * * * kv fju^ ovp (tf( 
iniKupo aifTtp ff^dpa, etc. Actio iv. p. 901 ; Actio v. p. 1031 . 


of two hondred lashes: the bishops trembled, the monks 
shonted, 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 elev- 
enth century ;" and as this opinion has the strongest recom- 
mendation 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. Borne 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 the Franks of supcrstitiou. The churchcs of France, Grer- 

andofCharle- *_ __ i^^. i .111 

magne. many, England, and Spam steered a middle course 
between the adoration and the destruction of im- 
ages, which they admitted into their temples, not as objects of 
worship, but as lively and useful memoriab of faith and his- 
tory. An angry book of controversy was composed and pub- 
lished in the name of Charlemagne :"* under his authority a 
synod of three hundred bishops was assembled at Frankfort ;** 
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."* Among them the 

^1 See an aocoant of this controversy in the Alexias of Anna Comnena (1. t. 
p. 129 [ediL Par. ; c. 2, p. 229, edit. Bonn]) and Mosheim (Institut. Hist Eocles. 
p. 371. 372). 

" The Libri Carolini (Spanhetm, p. 443-529), composed in the palace or winter- 
qnarters of Charlemagne, at Worms, a.d. 790, and sent by Engebert to Pope 
Adrian I., who answered them by a ''grandis et verbosa epistola" (ConciL torn. 
Tiii. p. 1553). The Carolines propose 120 objections against the Nicene synod, 
and such words as these are the flowers of their rhetoric : ** Dementiam * * * prises 
Gentilitatis obsoletam errorem * * * argnmenta insanissima et absurdissima * * * 
derisione dignas nsnias," etc., etc. 

^ The assemblies of Charlemagne were political as well as ecclesiastical ; and 
the three hundred members (Kat. Alexander, sect. riii. p. 53) who sat and voted 
at Frankfort most include not only the bishops, but the abbots, and even the prin- 
cipal laymen. 

^ '' Qui supra sanctissima patres nostri (episcopi et sacerdotes) ommmodis serri- 


worship of ima^ advanced with a silent and insensible prog- 
ress ; 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 Amer- 
ica, which are still immersed in the gloom of superstition. 

It was after the Nicene synod, and under the reign of the 
pious Irene, that the popes consummated the separation of 
Final tepan- ^^^ ^^^ Italy, by the translation of the empire 
^i^'f^m ^^ ^^^ ^^^ orthodox Charlemagne. They were 
empSw.^" compelled to choose between the rival nations : re- 
A.D.IT4-800. ]igiQjj -^ag not the sole motive of their choice ; and 

while they dissembled the failings of their friends, they be- 
held, with reluctance and suspicion, the Catholic virtues of 
their foes. The difference of language and manners had per- 
petuated the enmity of the two capitals ; and they were alien- 
ated from each other by the hostile opposition of seventy 
years. In that schism the Komans 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 Calabrialh 
estates"' and the Illyrian diocese,"' which the Iconoclasts had 
torn away from the successors of St. Peter ; and Pope Adrian 

Uam et adorationem imaginum ranaentes cootempBerunt, atqae oonsentientes con- 
demnareniot " (ConciL torn. ix. p. 101 ; Canon u. Franckfard). A polemic must 
be hard-hearted indeed who does not pity the efforts of Baronius, Fagi, Alexander, 
Maimboarg, etc., to elade this unlucky sentence. 

^ Theophanes (p. 843 [torn. i. p. 631, edit. Bonn]) specifies those of Sicily and 
Calabria, which yielded an annual rent of three talents and a half of gold (perhaps 
X7000 sterling). Liutprand more pompously enumerates the patrimonies of the 
Bonoan Church in Greece, Judssa, Persia, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Egypt, and 
libja, which were detained by the injustice of the Greek emperor (Legat. ad Ni- 
oephorum, in Script Bemm Italicarum, torn. ii. pars i p. 481). 

^ The great diocese of the Eastern lUyricum, with Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily 
(Thomassin, Discipline de TEglise, torn. 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 Patne (Luc. Holsten. Geograph. 
Sacra, p. 22) ; and his spiritual conquests extended to Naples and Amalfi (Gian- 
none, Istoria Qrile di Napoli, tonL i. p. 517-524 ; Pagi, a.d. 730, No. 11). 


threatens them with a sentence of excommunication unless 
they speedily abjure this practical heresy." 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 ap- 
proaching conversion, from the use, to the adoration, of im- 
ages. The name of Charlemagne was stained by the polemic 
acrimony of his scribes ; but the conqueror himseK conform- 
ed, 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 friend- 
ship and piety ; knelt before the tomb, and consequently be- 
fore the image, of the apostle ; and joined, without scruple, in 
all the prayers and processions of the Eoman liturgy. Would 
prudence or gratitude allow the pontiffs to renounce their 
benefactor ? Had they a right to alienate his gift of the Ex- 
archate? Had they power to abolish his government of 
Home ? The title of patrician was below the merit and great- 
ness of Charlemagne ; and it was only by reviving the West- 
ern 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 debase- 
ment of a provincial town, the majesty of Eome would be re- 
stored ; 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 Boman Church would acquire a zealous and re- 
spectable advocate ; and, under the shadow of the Carlovin- 
gian power, the bishop might exercise, with honor and safe- 
ty, the government of the city." 

^ " In hoc ostenditur, quia ex uno capitnlo ab errore reversis, in aliis duobns, 
in eodem " (was it the same ?) *' pennaneant errore * * * de diocesi S. R £. sea de 
patrimoniis iteram increpantes commonemus, at si ea restitaere nolaerit hereticom 
earn pro hojusmodi errore perseverantiA decememus " (Epist. Hadrian. Pap» ad 
Carolnin Magnnm, in Concil. torn. viiL p. 1598) ; to which he adds a reason most 
directly opposite to his conduct, that he preferred the salvation of souls and rule 
of fiaith to the goods of this transitory world. 

^ Fontanini considers the emperors as no more than the advocates of the 
Church (advocatus et defensor S. R. £. See Dncange, Gloss. Lat. tom. i p. 97). 


Before the ruin of paganism in Borne the competition for 
a wealthy bishopric had often been productive of tumult and 
coronaUon bloodshcd. The people were less numerous, but 
ma^S^iSr ^te times were more savage, the prize more impor- 
SSmS^d of taut, and the chair of St. Peter was fiercely disputed 
l^D. M?'* by ^^6 leading ecclesiastics who aspired to the rank 
^^^^ of sovereign. The reign of Adrian the First* sur- 
passes the measure of past or succeeding ages ;** the walls of 
Kome, 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 re- 
covered his speech and sight ; and this natural event was im- 
proved to the miraculous restoration of his eyes and tongue, 

HU antagonist Mnratori rednces the popes to be no more than the exarchs of the 
emperor. In the more eqaitable view of Moeheim (Institat. Hist. Ecdes. p. 264, 
265), they held Rome under the empire as the most honorable species of fief or 
benefice — ^'Premuntar nocte caliginosA T' 

^ 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 lacrrmans Carolns base carmina scripn. 
Tn mihi dnlcis amor,'te modo plango pater * * * 
Nomina jungo simul titulis, darissime, 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. 

^ 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. 


of which he had been deprived, twice deprived, by the knife 
of the assassins.'* From his prison he escaped to the Vati- 
can : the Duke of Spoleto hastened to his rescue, Charlemagne 
sympathized in his injury, and in his camp of Paderbom in 
Westphalia, accepted, or solicited, a visit from the Boman pon- 
tiff/ Leo repassed the Alps with a commission of counts and 
bishops, the guards of his safety and the judges of his inno- 
cence ; and it was not without reluctance that the conqueror 
of the Saxons delayed till the ensuing year the personal dis- 
charge 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 Iiimself 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 van- 
ity of Home, he had exchanged the simple dress of his coun- 
try for the habit of a Patrician." After the celebration of 
the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on 
his head," 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 assurance of Anastasius (torn. iii. para i. p. 197, 198) is supported by 

the credulity of some French annalists ; bat Eginhard, and other writera of the 

same age, are more natural and sincere. '* Unus ei oculus paululum est lassus," 

says John, the Deacon of Naples (Vit. Episcop. Napol. in Scriptores Muratori, 

tom. i. pan ii. p. 812). Theodolphns, a contemporary bishop of Orleans, obfierves 

with prudence (L iii. carm. 8) : 

*' Reddita sunt ? minim est: mirum est auferre nequisse. 
Est tamen in dubio, hinc mirer an inde magis." 

** Twice, at the request of Adrian and Leo, he appeared at Rome: *'LongA 
tnnicA et chlamyde amictus, et calceamentis quoque Romano more formatis.** 
Eginhard (c xxiii. p. 109-118) describes, like Snetonios, the simplicity of his 
dress, so popular in the nation, that, when Cliarles the Bald returned to France 
in a foreign habit, the patriotic dogs barked at the apostate (Gaillard, Vie de 
Charlemagne, tom. iv. p. 109). 

*' See Anastasius (p. 199) and Eginhard (c. xxviii. p. 124-128). The unction 
is mentioned by Theophanes (p. 899 [tom. i. p. 788, edit. Bonn]), the oath by 
Sigonius (from the Ordo Romanus), and the pope's adoration, ''More antiqnorum 
principum," by the Annales Bertinlani (Script. Murator. tom. ii. pars ii. p. 505). 


the Romans !" The head and body of Charlemagne were 
consecrated by the royal nnction : after the example of the 
Caesars, he was saluted or adored by the pontiff : his corona- 
tion oath represents a promise to maintain the faith and priv- 
ileges of the Chareh; and the first-fruits were paid in his 
rich offerings to the shrine of the apostle. In his familiar 
conversation the emperor protested his ignorance of the in- 
tentions of Leo, which he would have disappointed by his ab- 
sence on that memorable day. But the preparations of the 
ceremony must have disclosed the seci*et ; 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 Boman synod had pronounced that it was 
the only adequate reward of his merit and services.** 

The appellation of great has been often bestog^ed, and 
sometimes deserved, but Chablemaoke is the only prince in 

whose favor the title has been indissolubly blended 
character with the name. That name, with the addition of 
magne. soAut^ is inserted in the Eoman calendar ; and the 

saint, by a rare felicity, is crowned with the praises 
of the historians and philosophers of an enlightened age."* 
His real merit is doubtless enhanced by the barbarism of the 
nation and the times from which he emerged : but the a{p- 
parent magnitude of an object is likewise enlarged by an 
unequal comparison ; and the ruins of Palmyra derive a cas- 
ual splendor from the nakedness of the surrounding desert. 

** This great event of the translation or restoration of the empire is related and 
discussed by Natalis Alexander (secal. ix. dissert L p. 890-897), Fagi (torn. iii. 
p. 418), Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, torn. vi. p. 389-352), Sigonias (De Regno Ita- 
liie, 1. iv. 0pp. torn. ii. p. 247-251), Spanheim (De fictA Translatione Imperii), Gi- 
annone (tom. i. p. 895-405), St. Marc ( Abreg^ Chronologiqne, tom. i. p. 488-450), 
Gaillard (Hist de Charlemagne, tom. ii. p. 886-446). Almost all these modems 
have some religious or national bias. 

** By Mably (Observations sur THistoire de France), Voltaire (Histoire G^- 
n^rale), Robertson (Histoiy of Charles V.), and Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 
1. xxxi. o. 18). In the year 1782 M. Gailkird published his Histoire de Charle- 
magne (in 4 vols, in 12mo), which I have freely and profitably used. The au- 
thor 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 Fepin and Charlemogne, in the fifth volume of the Historians of France. 


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 con- 
spicuous :*" but the public happiness could not be materially 
injured by his nine wives or concubines, the various indul- 
gence of meaner or more transient amours, the multitude of 
his bastards vrhom he bestowed on the Church, and the long 
celibacy and licentious manners of his daughters,** whom the 
father was suspected of loving with too fond a passion.* I 
shall be scarcely permitted to accuse the ambition of a con- 
queror; 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*" 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 

** The vision of Weltin, composed by a monk eleven years after the death of 
Charlemagne, shows him in purgatory, with a vultare, 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. 817-860). 

*^ The marriage of Eginhard with Imma, daughter of Charlemagne, is, in my 
opinion, suflSciently refuted by the probrum andm^icto that sullied these fair dam- 
sels, without excepting his own wife (c. xix. p. 98-100, cum Notis Scbmiucke). 
The husband must have been too strong for the historian. 

^ Besides the massacres and transmigrations, the pain of death was pronounced 
against the following ciimes : 1. The refusal of baptism. 2. The false pretence 
of baptism. 8. A relapse to idolatry. 4. The murder of a priest or bishop. 5. 
Human sacrifices. 6. Eating meat in Lent. But eveiy 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. Germanicas, 
p. 188). 

' This charge of incest, as Mr. Hallam justly observes, ** seems to have origi- 
nated in a misinterpreted passage of Eginhard." Hallam's Middle Ages, toL i. 
p. 16.— M, 

A. D. 768-814. ] OF CHARLEMAGNE. 145 

nor winter, were a season of repose ; and our fancy cannot 
easily reconcile the annals of his reign with the geography 
of his expeditions.* Bat 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 ene- 
mies, and his actions. Alexander conquered with the arms 
of Philip, but the two heroes who preceded Charlemagne be- 
queathed 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 il- 
lustrated by any siege or battle of singular difficulty and suc- 
cess ; and he might behold with envy the Saracen trophies of 
his grandfather. After his Spanish expedition his rear-guard 
was defeated in the Pyrenean mountains ; and the soldiers, 
whose situation was irretrievable, and whose valor was use- 
less, might accuse, with their last breath, the want of skill or 
caution of their general," I touch with reverence the laws 
of Charlemagne, so highly applauded by a respectable judge. 

^ In this action the fHmous Rutland, Rolando, Orlando, was slain : '* Cum Com* 
pluribus aliis." See the troth in Eginhard (c. 9, p. 51-56), and the fable in an 
ingeoioQS Supplement of M. Gaillard (torn. iii. p. 474). The Spaniands are too 
prond of a victory which history ascribes to the Gascons,^ and romance to the 

* M. Guizot (Conrs d'Histoire Modeme, p. 270, 273) has compiled the follow- 
ing statement of Charlemagne's military campaigns : 

1 against the Aquitanians. 1 against the Bavarians. 

18 ** the Saxons. 4 '* the Slaves beyond the Elbe. 

'* the Lombards. ft <* the Saracens in Italy. 
7 '* the Arabs in Spain. 8 <* the Danes. 

1 '* the Thuringians. 2 ** the Greeks. 
4 " the Avars. — 

2 *' the Bretons. 58 total.— M. 

^ In fact, it was a sadden onset of the Gascons, assisted by the Basqae moun- 
taineers, and possibly a few Navarrese. — M. 

v.— 10 


ompose not a sjBtem, bnt a series, of oocaBional aod 
edicts, for the correction of abuses, tbe reformation of 
s, the economy of his farms, the care of bis poaltry, 
in the Bale of his eggs. He wished to improve the 
d the character of the Franks ; and his attempts, bow- 
eble and imperfect, are deserving of praise: the invet- 
vils of the times were suspended or mollified by his 
ment j'" bnt in his institations I can seldom discover 
leral views and the immortal spirit of a legislator, who 
3 himself for the benefit of posterity. Tbe union and 
f of bia empire depended on the life of a single man : 
ated tbe dangerons practice of dividing bis kingdoms 
his sons ; and, after his nnmeroiis diets, the whole 
ition was left to fluctuate between the disorders of an- 
,nd despotism. His esteem for the piety and knowl- 
: the clergy tempted him to intrast that aspiring order 
mporal dominion and civil jurisdiction; and his son 
when he was stripped and degraded by the bishops, 
iccuse, in some measure, the imprudence of his father. 
vs enforced the imposition of tithes, because the de- 
lad proclaimed in tbe air that the default of payment 
jn the cause of the last scarcity.'" The literary merits 
rlemagne are attested by the foundation of schools, the 
iction of arts, the works which were published in his 
,nd his familiar connection with the subjects and strao- 
lom be invited to his conrt to educate both the prince 
ople. His own studies were tardy, laborions, and im- 
; if ho spoke Latin and understood Grreek, be derived 
liments of knowledge from conversation, rather than 
ooks ; and, in bis mature age, the cmporor strove to ac- 

Schmidl, from ihe best aathorities, reprasenta Ihe inlerior disorders and 
D of his reign (HisL dea Allemands, tom. ii. p. 15-49). 
iDiut bomo ex auft proprieiue l^limnm decimam ad ecdenan) conferot. 
mio enim didicimos, in anno, quo ilia nlida famea irrepdi, eballire va- 
)nai k dnmonibus devoratas, et rocea exprobntinnis aadicaa." Such is 
e and assertion of the sreat Council of Frankfort (Canon xxr. tom. ix. 

Both S«Uen ([list, of Titbea; Work*, vol iii. pan ii. p. 1U6) and 
lien (Esprit dei Ltuz, 1. xxxL ch. 12) r^ rexu t Charlemagne as the firat 
lor of (irhea. Snch obUgaijons hare counti; gentlemen to hii meiaorr 1 

A.D. 768-814.] OF CHARLEMAGNE. 14,7 

qnire the practice of writing, which every peasant now learns 
in his infancy."' The grammar and logic, the music and as- 
tronomy, 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."' The dignity of his person,"* the 
length of his reign, the prosperity of his arms, the vigor of 
his government, and the reverence of distant nations, distin- 
guish him from the royal crowd ; and Europe dates a new era 
from his restoration of the Western empire. 

That empire was not unworthy of its title,"' and some of 
tlie fairest kingdoms of Europe were the patrimony or con- 
quest of a prince who reigned at the same time in France, 
Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hungary."' I. The Eoman prov- 

'« Eginhard (c. 25, p. 119) clearly affirms, "Tenubat et scribere ♦ ♦ ♦ eed pa- 
rum prospere successit labor prssposterus et sero inchoatus.'* The moderas have 
perrerted and corrected this obvious meaning, and the title of M. Gaillard's Dis- 
sertation (torn, ill p. 247-260) betrays his partiality.* 

^^ See Gaillard, torn. iii. p. 188-176, and Schmidt, torn. ii. p. 121-129. 

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

'^ See the concise, but correct and original, work of D'Anville (Etats foim^s 
en Europe apr^s la Chute de I'Empire Bomain en Occident, Paris, 1771, in 4to), 
whose map includes the empire of Charlemagne ; the different parts are illustrated 
— ^by Yalesius (Notitia GaUiarum) 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. 

^^ After a brief relation of his wars and conquests (YiL Carol, c. 5-14), Egin- 
hard recapitulates, in a few words (c. 15), the countries subject to his empire. 
Stmvius (Corpus Hist. German, p. 118-149) has inserted in his Notes the texts 
of the old Chronicles. 

* This point has been contested ; but Mr. Hallam and Monsieur Sismondi con- 
car with Gibbon. See Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 287, 10th edit. ; Histoire des Fran- 
9ais, tom. ii. p. 318. The sensible observations of the latter are quoted in the 
Qaarteriy 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 
l>laio-dealing roan. " Ibid. — M. 


ince of Ganl had been transfonned into the name and mon- 
archy of France : bnt, in the decay of the Mero- 
hia empire vlngian line, its limits were contracted by the inde- 
pendence of the Britons and the revolt of AquUain. 
Charlemagne pursued and confined the Britons on the shores 
of the ocean ; and that ferocious tribe, whose origin and lan- 
guage 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 treat- 
ment of ambitious governors, who had too faithfully copied 
the mayors of the palace. But a recent discovery"* has 
proved that these unhappy princes were the last and lawful 
heirs of the blood and sceptre of Clovis, a younger branch, 
from the brother of Dagobert, of the Merovingian house. 
Their ancient kingdom was reduced to the duchy of Gas- 
cogne, 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 Carlovin- 
gian 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 addi- 
tions of the Netherlands and Spain, as far as the 
Khine. 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 

'^^ or* charter granted to the monasterr of Alaon (a.d. 845) bj Charles the 
Bald, which deduces this royal pedigree. I doobt whether some sahseqaent links 
bf the ninth and tenth centuries are equally firm ; yet the whole is approved and 
defended by M. GaiUard (torn. u. p. 60^1, SOS-S06), who affirms that the fiimily 
of Montesquieu (not of the President de Montesquieu) is descended, in the fe- 
male line, fh>m Clolaire and Cloris — an innocent pretensioii \ 

A.D. 766-814.] E3IPIRE OF CHABLEMAGNE. 149 

obedience and service of the Mahometans. In his absence 
he instituted the Spanish march^''^ which extended from the 
Pyrenees to the river Ebro : Barcelona was the residence of 
the French governor ; he possessed the counties of RousiUon 
and Catalonia^ and the infant kingdoms of Na/oarre and Ar- 
ragon were subject to his jurisdiction. III. As king of the 
Lombards and patrician of Some, he reigned over the great- 
est part of Italy,"" a tract of a thousand miles from 
the Alps to the borders of Calabria. The duchy 
of BeneverUwn^ a Lombard fief, had spread, at the expense of 
the Greeks, over the modern kingdom of Naples. But Arre- 
chis, the reigning duke, refused to be included in the slavery 
of his country, assumed the independent title of ])rince, and 
opposed his sword to the Carlovingian monarchy. His de- 
fence was firm, his submission was not inglorious, and the em- 
peror was content with an easy tribute, the demolition of his 
fortresses, and the acknowledgment, on his coins, of a supreme 
lord. The artful flattery of his son Grimoald added the ap- 
pellation of father, but he asserted his dignity with prudence, 
and Beneventum insensibly escaped from the French "yoke."* 
IV. Charlemagne was the first who united Ger- 
many under the same sceptre. The name of Ori- 
ental France is pi-eserved in the circle of Franconia; and 
the people of Hesse and Thurmgia were recently incorpo- 
rated with the victors by the conformity of religion and gov- 
ernment. The Alemanniy so formidable to the Bomans, were 
the faithful vassals and confederates of the Franks, and their 
country was inscribed within the modem limits of Alsace^ 
SwcMa^ and Syntzerland. The JSa/varianSj with a similar in- 
dulgence of their laws and manners, were less patient of a 
master: the repeated treasons of Tasillo justified the aboli- 

^^ The gOTernors or coants of the Spanish march revolted from Charles the 
Simple about the year 900 ; and a poor pittance, the RousiUon, has been recov- 
ered in 1642 by the kings of France (Longnerue, Description de la France, torn. i. 
p. 220-222). Tet the Bousillon 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. 

^^ Schmidt, Hist, des AUemands, tom. ii. p. 200, etc. 

"^ See Giannone, tom. i. p. 874, 375, and the Annals of MuratorL 


tion 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 Ehine 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, Osnaburg, 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 fii'st schools and cities of that savage land, and 
the religion and humanity of the children atoned, in some de- 
gree, for the massacre of the parents. Beyond the Elbe, the 
SlavijOT Sclavonians, of similar mannera and various denomi- 
nations, 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 treas- 
ures, the rapine of two hundred and fifty years, enriched the 
victorious troops, or decorated the churclies, of Italy and 
Gaul."' After the reduction of Pannonia, the empire of 

111 « Quot prielia in eo gesta ! quantum sanguinis eflTusum sit ! Testatur vacaa 
omni liabitatione Pannonia, et locus in quo regia Cagani fuit ita desertus, ut ne 
vestigium quidem hnmanie habitationis nppareat. Tota in hoc bello Hnnnornm 


Charlemagne was bounded only by the conflux of the Dan- 
ube with the Theiss and the Save : the provinces of Istria, 
Liburnia^ and Dalmatia were an easy though unprofitable ac- 
cession ; 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 barba- 
rians from their vagrant life and idolatrous worship. Some 
canals of communication between the rivers, the Saone and 
the Mouse, the Shine and the Danube, were faintly attempt- 
ed.*" Their execution would have vivified the empire ; and 
more cost and labor were often wasted in the structure of a 

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 Vistu- 
bon and la ; botwecn the north and south, from the duchy 

enemies. f ti 

of Beneventum to the river Eyder, the perpetual 
boundary of Germany and Denmark. The personal and po- 
litical importance of Charlemagne was magnified by the dis- 
tress 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 

nobilitas periit, tota gloria decidit, omnU pecania et coDgesti ex loiigo tempore 
theaanri direpti saot." Eginhard, c. 18. 

"' The junction of the Rhine and Danube was undertaken only for the service 
of the Pannonian war (Gaillard, Vie de Charlemagne, torn. 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 intemipted by excessive rains, militai7 avocations, 
and superstitious fears (Schaepflin, Hist, de TAcnddmie des Inscriptions, torn, xviii. 
p. 256 ; Molimina fluviomro, etc., jungendoruro, p. 59-62). 

*■ I should doubt this in the time of Charlemagne, even if the term *' expended ' 
were substituted for ** wasted.** — M. 


id Btjled him their commoa parent, the sole and 
5mperor of the West,'" He maiDtaioed a more 
rcoars© with the Caliph Harun al Rashid,"* whose 
stretched from Africa to India, and accepted from 
iadors a tent, a water-clock, an elephant, and the 
B Holy Sepulchre. It is not easy to conceive the 
endship of a Frank and an Arab, who were etrsn- 
ch other's person, and langua^, and religion: but 
c correspondence was fonnded on vanity, and their 
nation left no room for a competition of interest 
e of the Western einpire of Rome were subject to 
;ne, and the deficiency was amply supplied by liis 

of the inaccessible or invincible nations of Ger- 
ut in the choice of his enemies' we may be reasoii- 
ised that he so often preferred the poverty of the 
be riches of the soutli. Tlie three-and-thirty cam- 
oriously consumed in the woods and morasses of 
(vould have sufficed to assert the amplitude of his 
e expulsion of the Greeks from Italy and the Sar- 
i Spain. The weakness of the Greeks would have 
I easy victory: and the holy crnsade against the 
rould have been prompted by glory and revenge, 

justided by religion and policy. Perhaps, in his 
s beyond the Rhine and the Elbe, he aspired to 
onarchy from the fate of the Roman empire, to dis- 

nhard, c. 16 ; &Dd GflillBnl, torn. U. p. SGl-SSil, who n 

nee, the intercoune of CharleEnagne stiit Egbert, the emperor's gifl 

ord, and the modest ansnar of his S&xoa disciple. The anecdote, 

uld have adorned our English histories. 

recpondence is mentioned only in the French annals, and the Ori- 

lorant of the caliph's friendship far the CArislian dog — a polite ap- 

:b Haran bestows on Ihe emperor of the Greeks. 

the choice? M. Guizot hns eloqaentlj described the position of 
towards the Saxons: "II j- fit face par la conquSle; iagoeired^ 
, forme offensive : il transporta la lutce sur le cerricoire des peuples 
envahir le sien : il traToilla k asservir les races ^trang^res, et eitirper 
ennemim. De li sa mode ile gonTemement et la fondation de son 
lerre offensive et la conqudte voulaient celte vaste cc redontable 
pare observations in the Qoarterif Rerie^T, vol. xiriii., and James's 
imngne. — M. 


arm 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, un- 
less it could be universal, since the increasing circle must be 
involved in a larger sphere of hostility."' The subjugation 
of Grermany 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 barbar- 
ous 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, pre- 
cipitated the fall of his race and monarchy. 

Had the pope and the Bomans revived the primitive con- 
stitution, the titles of emperor and Augustus were conferred 
Hi8 8ao- ^^ Charlemagne for the term of his life ; and his 
5j;j^5_837 successors, on each vacancy, must have ascended 
wi^ta'' the throne by a formal or tacit election. But the 
^many ; associatiou 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 pre- 
vented 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."* 
The same ceremony was repeated, though with less energy, in 
the subsequent associations of Lothaire and Lewis the Second : 
the Carlovingian sceptro was transmitted from father to son 
in a lineal descent of four generations ; and the ambition of 

"< GaiUard, torn. ii. p. 361-865, 471-476, 492. I have borrowed his Jadicious 
remarks on Charlemagne's plan of conquest, and the judicious distinction of his 
enemies of the first and the second enceinte (torn. ii. p. 184, 509, etc.). 

"' Thegan, the biographer of Lewis, relates this coronation ; and Baronius has 
honestly transcribed it (a.d. 813, Ko. 13, etc.; see Gaillard, torn. ii. p. 506, 507, 
508), howsoever adverse to the claims of the popes. For the seiies of the Carlo- 
Tingians, see the historians of France, Italy, and Germany ; Pfeffel, Schmidt, Vel- 
]y, Muratori, and even Voltaire, whose pictures are sometimes just, and always 


was reduced to the empty honor of crowning and 
these hereditary princes, wlio were already invested 
with their power and dominionB. The pions Lewis 
survived his brothers, and embraced the whole em- 
pire of Charlemagne ; but the nations and the no- 
shops and his children, quickly discerned that this 
1S8 was no longer inspired by the same sonl ; and 
itions were undermined to the centre, while the ex- 
ace was yet fair and entire. After a. war, or battle, 
iBumed one hundred thousand Franks, the empire 
id by treaty between his three sous, who had vio- 
lated every filial and fraternal duty. The king- 
doms of Germany and France were forever sepa- 
) provinces of Gaul, between the Khone and the 
Meuse and the Rhine, were assigned, with Italy, to 
ial dignity of Lothaire. In the partition of his 
share, Lorraine and Aries, two recent and transitory 
kingdoms, were bestowed on the younger children; 
the Second, his eldest son, was content with the 
taly, the proper and sullicient pati'imony of a Ko- 
iror. On his death, withont any male issue, the 
one was disputed by hia uncles and cousins, and 
most desteronsly seized the occasion of judging the 
1 merits of the candidates, and of bestowing on the 
quious, or most liberal, the imperial office of advo- 
3 Boman Church. The dregs of the Carlovingian 
mger exhibited any symptoms of virtne or power, 
Jiculous epithets of the b^, the stammerer, theyat, 
itipfc, distinguished the tame and uniform features 
1 of kings alike deserving of oblivion. By the fail- 
collateral branches the whole inheritance devolved 
the Fat, tlio last emperor of his family : his iosan- 
ized 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 
if their force, the governors, the bishops, and the 
;>cd 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 con- 
tracted scale of their dominions. Those who could appear 
with an army at the gates of Borne were crowned emperora 
in the Vatican ; but their modesty was more frequently sat- 
isfied 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. 

Otho*" was of the noble race of the dukes of Saxony ; and 
if he truly descended from Witikind, the adversary and pros- 
elyte of Charlema&nie) the posterity of a vanquish- 
of Germany, ed pcople was cxaltcd to reiffu over their conquer- 

Rfltores and 

appropriates OTS. His father, Hcury the Fowler, was elected, 

tbeWestero , , ^^ \ ^ > , . . 

empire. by the sulirage of the nation, to save and institute 
the kingdom of Germany. Its limits"* were en- 
larged 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 Mouse 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 
Aries. In the North, Christianity was propagated by the 
sword of Otho, the conqueror and apostle of the Slavic na- 
tions of the Elbe and Oder : the marches of Brandenburg and 
Sleswick were fortified with German colonies ; and the King 

"^ He was the son of Otho, the son of Ludolph, in whose favor the duchy of 
Saxony had been inRtitnted, a.d. 858. Rnotgerus, the biographer of a St. Bnino 
(Biblioth. Bnnarianffi Catalog, torn. iii. vol. ii. p. 679), gives a splendid character 
of his family: '^Atavornm atavi nsqne ad hominum memoriam omnes nobilissi- 
mi ; nnllos in eorum stirpe ignotas, nullus degener facile roperitur " (apad Stravi- 
uiD, Corp. Hist. German, p. 216). Yet Candling (in Henrico Aucupe) is not sat- 
isfied of his descent from Witikind. 

"^ See the treatise of Conringins (De Finibos 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 
rassals, and her neighbors. 



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, de- 
livered the pope, and forever fixed the imperial crown in the 
name and nation of Germany. From that memorable era 
I two maxims of public jurisprudence were introduced by force 

; and ratified by time. I. Tha;t the prince, who was elected in 

the German diet, acquired from that instant the subject king- 
doms of Italy and Bome. II. But that he might not legally 
/ assume the titles of emperor and Augustus till he had re- 

i ceived the crown from the hands of the Soman pontiff."' 

' The imperial dignity of Charlemagne was announced to the 

East by the alteration of his style ; and instead of saluting 
Transactions ^^^^ fathers, the Greek emperors, he presumed to 
Sro'aldEMt- adopt the more equal and familiar appellation of 
eru empires, brother."* Perhaps in his connection with Irene 
he aspired to the name of husband : his embassy to Constan- 
tinople 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 nat- 
ure, 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 ene- 
mies of Irene, to charge her with the guilt of betraying the 
Church and State to the strangers of the West.*" The 
French ambassadors were the spectators, and had nearly been 

'^' The power of custom forces me to number Conrad I. and Henry I., the Fowl- 
er, in the list of emperors, a title which was never assumed by those kings of 
Germany. The Italians, Muratori, for instance, are more scnipuloas and correct, 
and only reckon the princes who hare been crowned at Kome. 

ISO ** Invidiam tamen suscepti nominis (C. P. imperatoribus super hoc indignan- 
tibus) magnft tulit patienti&, 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. 

"* Theophanes speaks of the coronation and unction of Charles, KapovXog 
(Chronograph, p. 899 [tom. i. p. 733, edit. Bonn]), and of his treaty of marriage 
with Irene (p. 402 [p. 737, edit Bonn]), which is unknown to the Latins. Gail- 
lard relates his transactions with the Greek empire (tom. ii. p. 446-468). 


the victims, of the conspiracy of Nicephorns, and the national 
hatred. Constantinople was exasperated by the treason and 
sacrilege of ancient Borne : a proverb, '^ That the Franks 
were good friends and bad neighbors," was in every one's 
month; bnt 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 tedions 
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."* 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 al- 
liance 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"' 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 arigttst Charlemagne with 
the acclamations of hadleus^ and emperor of the Bomans. As 
soon as these qualities were separated in the person of his 

^^ Gaillard very properly observes that this pageant was a farce suitable to 
children only ; but that it was indeed represented in the pi*esence, and for the 
benefit, of children of a hirger growth. 

'*' Compare, in the original texts collected by Fagi (torn. 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 lin- 
ga& Grsecft laades dixerunt, imperatorem enm et BcnriXea appellantes;" to the lat- 
ter, ^^-Vocato imperatori Francontm,** etc. 


, the ByzaDtino letters were inscribed, " To the king, 
styles himself, the emperor, of the Franks and iMva- 
When both power and virtue were extinct, thejr de- 
awis the Second of hie hereditary title, and, with the 
I appellation of rex or re^a, degraded him among 
i of Latin princes. His reply™ ia expressive of hia 
: he proves, with aome learning, that both in sacred 
ine history the name of king is synonymoua with 
k word basUeui: if, at Constantinople, it were as- 
a more exclusire and imperial sense, he claims from 
tors, and from the pope, a just participation of the 
: the Komau purple. The same controversy was re- 
the reign of the Otlios; and their ambasBador de- 
lively colors the insolence of the Byzantine conrt.'" 
}ks ^ected to despise the poverty and ignorance 
anks and Saxons ; and in their last decline refused 
;ate to the kings of Germany the title of Itoman 

smperors, in the election of the popes, continned to 
he 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 
y still formed a senate to assist the administration, 
pply the vacancy, of the bishop. Borne was divided 
'ty-eight parishes, and each parish was governed by 
I-priest,or presbyter — a title which, however corn- 
modest in its origin, has aspired to emulate the pnr- 
ngs. Their nnmber was enlarged by the aasocia- 

I epi»Cle, in Paralipomena, of the anonjiDoos Kritsr of Salerno (Script 
paraii. p.213-2s4,c. 98-^107), vliam Baroniiu (a.d. 871, No. Sl-71) 
Erchempert, when he CranscriLed it in his Annala. 
enim vos, non imperalortm, id eit BaaiXia Buft lingnft, sed ob indigns- 
■.id est regtm noslrft vocabat" (I'iulprnnd, in L«gat. in Script. luL 
i. p.4T9;. Tbs pope had exhorted Nicephorui, emperor of ilie Greel*, 
ice with Otho, the august emperor oF iMeBomami: "Qua inacriptio 
necoi pecotoria [peccatrix] et temeraria * * * imperat«rem inqaiunt, 
Ri>i>uaionini,Aiigiatiini, majrniim, (u/wm, Nicepboruin " (ib. p. 466). 


tion of the seven deacons of the most considerable hospitals, 
the seven palatine judges of the Lateran, and some dignita- 
ries 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, VelitrsB, 
Tusculum, Prseneste, 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 suf- 
frage of the College of Cardinals,"* and their choice was rati- 
fied or rejected by the applause or clamor of the Roman peo- 
ple. 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 ac- 
cepted an oath of fidelity, and confirmed the donations which 
had successively enriched the patrimony of St. Peter. In the 
f i-equent schisms the rival claims were submitted to the sen- 
tence 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 :*" his successors anticipated or prevented their 
choice : they bestowed the Roman benefice, like the bishoprics 
of Cologne or Bamberg, on their chancellors or preceptors ; 

'*' The origin and progress of the title of cardinal may be found in Thomasain 
(Discipline de TEglise, torn. i. p. 1261-1298), Muratori (Antiquitat. ItalisB Medii 
jEvi, torn. vi. Dissert. Ixi. p. 159-182), and Moshdm (Institat. Hist Eccles. p. 845- 
347), who accnrately remarks the forms and changes of the election. The cardi- 
nal-bishops, so highly exalted by Peter Damianus, are sunk to a level with the rest 
of the sacred college. 

^*^ " Firmiter juranles, nunqnam se papam electaros aut ordinaturos, praeter 
consensnm et electionem Othonis et filii sui " (Lintprand, 1. vi. c. 6, p. 472). This 
important concession may either supply or confiim 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 (Abr^ge, tom. ii. p. 808-816 ; torn, 
iv. p. 1167-1185). Consult that historical critic, and the Annals of Muratori, for 
the election and confirmation of each pope. 


and whatever might bo the merit of a Frank or Saxon, his 
name suflSciently 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 mar- 
quises of Tuscany and the counts of Tusculum, held the apos- 
tolic see in a long and disgraceful servitude. The 
Eoman pontiffs of the ninth and tenth centariee 
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 sup- 
port the state of a prince, nor exercise the charity of a 
priest."' The influence of two sister prostitutes, Marozia and 
Theodora, was founded on their wealth and beauty, their po- 
litical and amorous intrigues: the most strenuous of their 
lovers were rewarded with the Roman mitre, and their reign*" 
may have suggested to the darker ages"* the fable*" of a fe- 

i>8 fiiQ oppression and vices of the Roman Church in the tenth centary 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 Mnratori tempering the in- 
vectives of Baronins against the popes. But these popes had been chosen, not 
by the cardinals, but by lay-patrons. 

12* The time of Pope Joan {papisaa Joanna) is placed somewhat earlier than 
Theodora or Marozia ; and the two years of her imaginary reign are forcibly in- 
serted between Leo IV. and Benedict III. But the contemporary Anastasios in- 
dissolubly 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 867. 

'^ The advocates for Pope Joan produce one hundred and fifty witnesses, or 
rather echoes, of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. They boar 
testimony against themselves and the legend, by multiplying the proof that so cu- 
rious a story must have been repeated by writers of every description to whom it 
was known. On those of the ninth and tenth 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 discaas 
the various readings of Martinus Polonus, Sigebert of Gemblours, or even Man- 
anus Scotus ; but a most palpable forgery is the passage of Pope Joan which has 
been foisted into some MSS. and editions of the Koman Annstasius. 

^'* As /a/se, it dcsen'es that name ; but I would not pronounce it incredible. 

A.D. 800-1060.] DISORDEBS. 161 

male pope.'*" The bastard son, the grandson, and the gi^eat- 
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 
yonth 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 Boman 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 
spilled, the flames that he kindled, or the licentious pursuits 
of gaming and hunting. His open simony might be the con- 
sequence of distress ; and his blasphemous invocation of Ju- 
piter and Yenus, 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 prostitu- 
tion ; and that his rapes of vii^ius 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.'** 

Sappose a famoas French chevalier of oar own times to hare been bom in Italy, 
and educated in the Chnrch, instead of the army : her merit or fortune might have 
imised her to St. Peter*8 chair ; her amours would have been natunil ; her delivery 
in the streets unlucky, but not improbable. 

*** 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 Cathe- 
dral of Sienna (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 624-626). She has been annihilated by 
two learned Protestants, Blondel and Beyle (Dictionnairo Critique, Papesse, Po- 
LOKU8, Blokdel) : but their brethren were scandalized by this equitable and gen- 
erous criticism. Spanheim and Lenfant attempt to save this poor engine of con- 
troversy ; and even Mosheim condescends to cherish some doubt and suspicion 
(p. 289). 

*" ** Lateranense palatinm ■*■*■* prostibnlum meretricum *** Testis omnium 
gentium, pneterquam Bomanorum, absentia mulierum, quie sanctorum apo8tolo«> 
rum limina orandi gratiA tament visere, cum nonnnllas ante dies paucos, hunc 

* John XI. was the son of her husband Alberic, not of her lover, Pope Sergins 
III., as Muratori has distinctly proved, Ann. ad ann. 911, tom. v. 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 him- 
self, in his subsequent narration, seem to know of one. Hobhouse, Illustrations 
of ChUde Harold, p.809.— M. 



The Protestants have dwelt with malicioiis pleasare on these 
characters of antichrist ; bat to a philosophic eye the vices of 
the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues. After a 
Refonnauon ^^^g Bcries of scaudal the apostolic see was reform- 
tiSe Church!*' ^ ^^^ exalted by the austerity and zeal of Gr^ory 
A.i>.ioi8,euj. Yii rfjjat ambitious monk devoted his life to the 

execution of two projects. I. To fix in the College of Cardi- 
nals the freedom and independence of election, and forever 
to abolish the right or usurpation of the emperors and the 
Eoman people. II. To bestow and resume the Western em- 
pire as a fief or benefice*" 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 sec- 
ular power, and finally extinguished by the improvement of 
human reason. 

In the revival of the empire of Bome neither the bishop 
nor the people could bestow on Charlemagne or Otho the 

provinces which were lost, as they had been won 
the emperors by the chauce 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*" preserve some remembrance of 
their palace, their mint, their tribunal, their edicts, and the 

andierint conjugatas, viduas, virgines vi oppressisse " (Liatprand, Hist. I. vi. c. 6, 
p. 471. See the Tvhole affair of John XII. p. 471-476). 

^^ A new example of the mischief of eqairocation is the ben^/ieittm (Dacange, 
torn. 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 bien/ait). (See Schmidt, Hist, des Allemands, torn. iii. p. 893-40S. 
Pfeffel, Abr^g^ Chronologiqae, torn. i. p. 229, 296, 817, 824, 420, 480, 500, 605, 
509, etc.) 

^^ For the history of the emperors in Rome and Italy, see Sigonios, Be Regno 
Italiffi, 0pp. torn, ii., with the Notes of Saxias, and the Annals of Muratori, who 
might refer more distinctly to the authors of his great collection. 

AJ>. 932.] REVOLT OF ALBERIC. 163 

8word of justice, which, as late as the thirteenth century, was 
derived from Ccesar to the prsefect of the city."' Between 
the arts of the popes and the violence of the people this su- 
premacy was crushed and annihilated. Content with the ti- 
tles 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 ob- 
jects; 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 com- 
mands the principal bridge and entrance of Rome. Her son 

by the first marriage, Alberic, was compelled to at- 
Aiberic. tend 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. 
^' Komans," 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."'" 
The alarm-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 Borne ; 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 prede- 

^^ See the Diflsortation of Le Blanc at the end of his treatise Des Monnoyes de 
France, in which he prodaces some Roman coins of the French emperors. 

1ST «*Bomanorum aliquando serri, scilicet Bargundiones, Romanis imperent? 
* **" * Bomanffi nrbis dignitas ad tantam est stultitiam dacta, at meretricam etiam 
imperio pareat?" (Liutprand, 1. iii. c. 12, p. 450.) Sigonius (1. vi. p. 400) posi- 
tively affirms the renovation of the consnlship ; but in the old writers Albericus is 
more frequently styled princeps Boroanomm. 


cessor, 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 festi- 
val of the coronation was disturbed by the secret conj9ict 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.'** Before he repassed 
the Alps, the emperor chastised the revolt of the people and 

the ingratitude of John XII. The pope was de- 
jofanm. graded in a synod; the prsefect 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 jus- 
tified 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 f riend- 
ship.*** In the minority of his son Otho the Third, Rome 
, made a bold attempt to shake off the Saxon yoke, 

Oftheconsal ._ i^ . i-r^ <»i 

creaceniins. aud the cousul Cresceutms was the Brutus of the 

A n 908 

republic. From the condition of a subject and an 
exile he twice rose to the command of the city, oppressed, ex- 
pelled, and created the popes, and formed a conspiracy for re- 
storing the authority of the Greek emperors.* In the fortress 
of St. Angelo he maintained an obstinate siege, till the unfort- 
unate consul was betrayed by a promise of safety : his body 
%va8 suspended on a gibbet, and his head was exposed on the 
battlements of the castle. By a reverse of fortune, Otho, after 

i** Bitmar, p. 854, apnd Schmidt, torn. iii. p. 489. 

1** This bloody feast is described in Leonine verse in the Pantheon of Godfrey 
of Yiterbo (Script. Ital. torn. vii. p. 486, 487), who flourished towards the end of 
the twelfth centniy (Fabricias, BiUioth. Latin, rocd. et infimi ^vi, torn. ili. p. 69, 
edit. Mansi) ; but his eTidence, which imposed on Sigonius, is reasonably suspect- 
ed by Muratori (Annali, torn. viii. p. 177). 

■ The Marquis Maffei's gallery contained a medal with Imp. Csbs. August. P. P. 
Crescentins. Hence Hobhouse mfers thnt he affected the empire. Hobhouse, 11- 
lustrations of Childe Harold, p. 2.'>2.^-M. 

a.d.774-12J:0.] the kingdom of ITALY. 166 

separating iiis troops, was besieged three days, without food, 
in his palace, and a disgraceful escape saved him from the jus- 
tice or fury of the Bomans. 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 poi- 
son 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 in- 
stitutions of the Boman monarchy. But his successors only 
once in their lives appeared on the banks of the Tiber to re- 
ceive their crown in the Vatican."' Their absence was con- 
temptible, their presence odious and formidable. They de- 
scended from the Alps at the head of their barbarians, who 
were strangers and enemies to the country ; and their tran- 
sient visit was a scene of tumult and bloodshed."^ A faint 
remembrance of their ancestors still tormented the Bomans ; 
and they beheld with pious indignation the succession of Sax- 
ons, Franks, Swabians, and Bohemians who usurped the pur- 
ple and prerogatives of the CsBsars. 

. There is nothing, perhaps, more adverse to nature and rea- 
son than to hold in obedience remote countries and foreign na- 
-^ , . . tions in opposition to their inclination and interest. 

Thekingdom . ,1.11. 1 , 

ofiuiy. 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 ab- 
solute 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 differ- 
ent was the situation of the German Csesars, who were ambi- 

1^ The coronation of the emperor, and some original ceremonies of tlie tenth 
centniT, are preserved in the Panegyric on Berengarius (Script Ital. torn. ii. pars i. 
p. 405-414), illustrated by the Notes of Hadrian Valesins and Leibnitz. Sigonius 
has related the whole process of the Roman expedition, in good Latin, but with 
some errors of time and fact (I. viL p. 441-446). 

^^^ In a quarrel at the coronation of Conrad II. Maratori takes leave to observe: 
*' Doreano ben essere allora indisdplinati, barbari, e besiiali i Tedeschi." Annal. 
tom. viii. p. 868. 1 


tious to enslave the kingdom of Italy. Their patrimonial 
estates were stretched along the Bhine, or scattered in the 
provinces; but this ample domain was alienated by the im- 
prudence or distress of successive princes; and their revenne, 
from minute and vexatious prerogative, was scarcely suffi- 
cient for the maintenance of their household. Their troops 
were formed by the legal or voluntary service of their feu- 
dal vassals, who passed the Alps with reluctance, assumed the 
license of rapine and disorder, and capriciously deserted be- 
fore the end of the campaign. Whole armies were swept 
away by the pestilential influence of the climate : the surviv- 
ors brought back the bones of their princes and nobles ;'^ 
and the effects of their own intemperance were often im- 
puted to the treachery and malice of the Italians, who re- 
joiced at least in the calamities of the barbarians. This ir- 
regular 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 municipsd government had never been totally abol- 
ished; 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.'** Each city filled the measure of 

*^ After boiling away the flesh. The caldrons for that purpose were a nec- 
essary piece of trarelling fumitnre ; and a German, who was using it for his 
brother, promised it to a friend, after it should have been employed for himself 
(Schmidt, torn. iii. p. 428, 424). The same author observes that the whole Saxon 
line was extinguished in Italy (torn. ii. p. 440). 

^^ Otho, Bishop of Frisingen, has left an important passage on the Italian 
cities (L ii c 13, in Script. Ital. torn. vi. p. 707-710) : and the rise, progress, and 

^ Compare Sismondi, Histoire des IMpubliques Italiennes. Hallam^s Middle 
Ages. Raumer, Geschichte der Hohenstauffen. Savigny, Geschichte des Rd. 
mischen Rechts, vol. iii. p. 19, with the authors quoted. ~M. 

A.D. 1152-1190.] FKBDEBIC I. 167 

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 deseit their solitary castles, and to embrace the more hon- 
orable 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 captainSj vahassorSf^** and 
commons, into which the republic was divided. Under the 
protection of equal law the labors of agriculture and com- 
merce 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 staifdard^** 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 ram- 
parts the pride of the Caesars was overthrown ; and the invin- 
cible genius of liberty prevailed over the two Frederics, the 
greatest princes of the Middle Age : the first, superior, per- 
haps, in military prowess ; the second, who undoubtedly ex- 
celled in the softer accomplishments of peace and learning. 

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 

Frederic ^ mi .t i.i-r^i 

tbe First. 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 

government of these repabfics are perfectly illnstrated by Mnratori (Antiqnitat. 
ItaL Medii Mn^ torn. ir. dissert. zlv.-UL p. 1-675 ; Anna!, torn. vlii. ix. x.). 

1^ For these titles, see Selden (Titles of Honor, vol. iii. part i. p. 488), Dacange 
(Gloss. Latin, torn. iL p. 140 ; torn. Ti. p. 776), and St. Marc (Abr^g^ Chronolo- 
giqne, torn. ii. p. 719). 

*^ Tlie Lombards invented and nsed the carociunif a standard planted on a 
car or wagon, drawn by a team of oxen (Ducange, torn. ii. p. 194, 195 ; Maratori| 
Antiqaitat. torn. iL diss, xxvi p. 489-493). 


thirty thousand pouuds of silver,"* 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 surren- 
der 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.'" But Milan soon rose 
from her ashes ; and the league of Lombardy was cemented 
by distress : their cause was espoused by Venice, Pope Alex- 
ander the Third, and the Greek emperor : the fabric of op- 
pression was overturned in a day ; and in the treaty of Con- 
stance, Frederic subscribed, with some reservations, the free- 
dom of four-and-twenty cities. His grandson contended with 
Fred ri th ^^^^^ vigor and maturity ; but Frederic the Seo- 
second. oud"' was cudowcd with some personal and pecul- 
' iar advantages. His birth and education recom- 
mended him to the Italians ; and in the implacable discord of 
the two factions the Ghibellines were attached to the emper- 
or, while the Guelphs displayed the banner of liberty and the 
Church. The court of liome 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 Vati- 
can : his kingdom was given to a stranger, and the last of his 
family was beheaded at Naples on a public scaffold. During 

'^ Gunther Ligurinns, I. viii. 684 et seq. apod Schmidt, torn. iii. p. 899. 

^*^ *' Solas imperator faciem saam firmavit ut petram" (Burcard. de Ezcidio 
Mediolani, Script. Ital. torn. vi. p. 917). This volame of Maratori 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.* 

^^ For the history of Frederic II. and the House of Swabia at Naples, see 
Giannone, Istoria Civile, torn. ii. 1. ziv.-xix. 

* Von Raumer has traced the fortunes of the Swabian house in one of the 
ablest historical works of modem times. He may be compared with the spirited 
and independent Sismondi. — M. 


sixty years no emperor appeared in Italy, and the name was 
remembered only by the ignominious sale of the last relics of 

The barbarian conquerors of the West were pleased to dec- 
orate their chief with the title of emperor ; but it was not 
indepeo- ^^^^^ design to iuvest him with the despotism of 
prinwtof'** Constantino and Justinian, The persons of the 
&ermany. Gcrmaus woro froc, their conquests were their 
iatso,etc own, and their national character was animated by 
a spirit which scorned the servile jurisprudence of the new or 
the ancient Some. 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 em- 
pire 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 del- 
egated to the lieutenants of the first Ceesars. The Eoman 
governors, who for the most part were soldiers of fortune, se- 
duced their mercenary legions, assumed the imperial purple, 
and either failed or succeeded in their revolt, without wound- 
ing the power and unity of government. If the dukes, mar- 
graves, 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 su- 
preme 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 exam- 
ple and support, the common interest of the subordinate no- 
bility, 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 Eome. All the attributes of regal and territorial juris- 
diction 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 econ- 
omy. 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 depend- 
ed 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 mil- 
itary order. As long as the emperors retained the preroga- 
tive of bestowing on every vacancy these ecclesiastic and sec- 
ular 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 sin- 
gle 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 obtain- 
ed 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 cflJe; 
and all idea of a pubUc trust was lost in that of a private and 
perpetual inheritance. The emperor could not even be en- 
riched 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, Oerinany was left 
a monster with a hundred heads. A crowd of princes and 
The Ger- prelates disputed the ruins of the empire : the lords 
Suatio^"" ^^ innumerahle castles were less prone to obey than 
A.D.iafia ^Q 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 in- 
evitable consequence of the laws and manners of Europe ; and 
the kingdoms of France and Italy were shivered into frag- 
ments 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 na- 
tional spirit was kept alive, and the powers of a common leg- 
islature 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 Boman emperor; and these 
electors were the King of Bohemia, the Duke of Saxony, the 
Margrave of Brandenburg, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, 
and the three archbishops of Mentz, of Treves, and of Co- 
logne. II. The college of princes and prelates purged them- 
selves of a promiscuous multitude : they reduced to four rep- 
resentative 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 so- 
ciety, they were introduced about the same era into the na- 
tional assemblies of France, England, and Germany. The 
Hanseatic League commanded the trade and navigation of the 
north : the confederates of the Bhine secured the peace and 
intercourse of the inland country ; the influence of the cities 
has been adequate to their wealth and policy, and their nega- 


tive still invalidates the acts of the two superior colleges of 
electors and princes."* 

It is in the fourteenth century that we may view in the 
strongest light the state and contrast of the Roman empire of 
weaknew Germany, which no longer held, except on the bor- 
In^oS^ ders of the Rhine and Danube, a single province of 
ch?rfe"Sv.^'' Trajan or Constantino. Their unworthy successors 
A.D.i847-i3Ta y^QYe the counts of Hapsburg, of Nassau, of Lux- 
emburg, and of Schwartzenburg : 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 them- 
selves.*** 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 com- 
petitors united the electoral college, and Charles was unani- 
mously saluted King of the Romans, and future emperor ; a 
title which in the same age was prostituted to the Csesars of 

^^ In the immense labyrinth of the jtu 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. Pfef- 
fel, the author of the best legal and constitutional history that I know of any coun- 
try (Nouvel Abr^g^ Chronologique de THistoire et du Droit Public d^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 chron- 
ological 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 modem changes of the Germanic body. The Corpus Histoiisd Grermanicse of 
Struvius has been likewise consulted, the more usefully, as that huge compilation 
is fortified in eveiy page with the original texts.* 

^^ Tet, penonally, Charles lY. 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 convei'sed and wrote with equal facility in French, Latin, Italian, 
and German (Struvius, p. G15, 616). Petrarch always represents him as a poUte 
and learned prince. 

* For the rise and progress of the Hanseatic League, consult the authoritative 
history by Sartorius, Geschichte des Hanseatischen Bundes, 3 Theile, Gottingen, 
1802. New and improved edition by Lappenberg, Hamburg, 1830. The original 
Hanseatic League comprehended Cologne, and many of the great cities in the 
Netherlands and on the Rhine. — M. 

▲.D. 1355, 1356.] HIS OSTENTATION. 173 

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 ^N^uremberg, 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 as- 
cribed 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 Mi- 
lan. In the Vatican he was again crowned with the golden 
crown of the empire; but, in obedience to a secret treaty, 
the Boman emperor immediately withdrew, without reposing 
^a single night within the walls of Home. The eloquent 
Petrarch,"* 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. 

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 constitu- 
tation. * tion, 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 hon- 

'" Besides the German and Italian historians, the expedition of Charles lY. is 
painted in Kvely and original colors in the carious M^moires sur la Vie de Pe- 
tnirqne, torn, iil p. 376-430, by the Abbe de Sade, whose prolixity has never been 
Uamed by any reader of taste and curiosity. 


ors which thej yielded to their chief or minister. At the 
royal banquet the hereditary great officers, the seven electors, 
who in rank and title were eqoal 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 archchancellors of 
Germany, Italy, and Aries. The great marshal, on horseback, 
exercised his function with a silver measure of oats, which he 
emptied on the ground, and immediately dismounted to regu- 
late the order of the guests. The great steward, the Count 
Palatine of the Bhine, placed the dishes on the table. The 
great chamberlain, the Margrave of Brandenburg, 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 Luxemburg and Brabant ; and 
the procession was closed by the great huntsmen, who intro- 
duced a boar and a stag, with a loud choms of horns and 
hounds.*" Nor was the supremacy of the emperor confined 
to Germany alone : the hereditary monarchs of Europe con-f 
f essed the pre-eminence of his rank and dignity : he was the 
first of the Christian princes, the temporal head of the great 
republic of the West :*" to his person the title of majesty was 
long appropriated ; and he disputed with the pope the sub- 
lime prerogative of creating kings and assembling councils. 
The oracle of the civil law, the learned Bartolus, was a pen- 
sioner of Charles the Fourth ; and his school resounded with 
the doctrine that the Boman emperor was the rightful sov- 
ereign 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 CsBsar Augustus, that aU the world 
should be taxed."*" 
If we annihilate the interval of time and space between 

"' See the whole ceremony in Stravias, p. 629. 

*** The republic of Earope, with the pope and emperor at its head, was nerer 
represented with more dignity than in the Cooncil of Constance. See Lenfant's 
history of that assembly. 

^^ Gravina, Origines Jnris Civilis, p. 108. 


Angnstas and Charles, strong and striking will be the contrast 
Contrast of between the two CsBsars : the Bohemian, who con- 
u!d modeBty cealed his weakness under the mask of ostentation, 
oTAQgostiia. ^jj^ ^jjQ Roman, who disguised his strength under 

the semblance of modesty. At the head of his victorious le- 
gions, in his reign over the sea and land, from the Kile 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 the pop- 
ular 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,"* 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. 

>^ Six thousand nrns have heen dificoyered of the slaves and freedmen of An- 
gnstas and Livia. So minnte was the division of office, that one slave was appoint- 
ed to weigh the wool which was spnn by the empress's maids, another for the care 
of her lapdog, etc (Camere Sepolch rale, etc. , hj Bianchini. Extract of his work, 
in the Biblioth^ne Italiqne, torn. iv. p. 175. His £loge,by Fontenelle, torn. vL 
p. 356.) Bat these servants were of the same rank, and possibly not more nnmer- 
oos than those of FoUio or Lentnlus. They only prove the general riches of the 



Description of Arabia and iu Inhabitants. — Birth, Character, and Doctrine of 
Mahomet. — He Preaches at Mecca. — Flies to Medina. — Propagates his Relig- 
ion by the Sword. — Voluntary or reluctant Submission of the Arabs. — His 
Death and Successors. — The Claims and Fortunes of Ali and his Descendants. 

After pursuing above six hundred years the fleeting Cae- 
sars of Constantinople and Germany, I now descend, in the 
reign of Heraelius, on the eastern borders of the Greek mon- 
archy. While the State was exhausted by the Persian war, 
and the Church was distracted by the ]N^estorian and Monoph- 
ysite sects, Mahomet, with the sword in one hand and the 
Koran in the other, erected his throne on the i*uins of Chris- 
tianity and of Eome. The genius of the Arabian prophet, 
the manners of his nation, and the spirit of his religion, in- 
volve the causes of the decline and fall of the Eastern em- 
pire ; and our eyes are curiously intent on one of the most 
memorable revolutions which have impi-essed a new and last- 
ing character on the nations of the globe.' 

In the vacant space between Persia, Syria, Egypt, and -Ethi- 
opia, the Arabian peninsula* may be conceived as a triangle of 

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

' The geographers of Arabia may be divided into three classes: 1. The Grtekt 
and Latins, whose progressive knowledge may be traced in Agatharchides (De 
Blari ftubro, in Hudson, Geograph. Elinor, tom. i.),Diodonis Siculns (torn. i. 1. il 
[c. 48-54] p. 159-167; 1. iii. [c. 14 seq.] p. 211-216, edit. Wessding), Strabo 
(1. xvi. p. 1112-1114 [p. 767-769, edit. Casaub.], from Eratosthenes, p. 1122-1132 
[776-785, edit. Casaub.], from Artemidorus), Dionysins (Periegesis, t. 927-968), 
Pliny (Hist. Natur. v. 12 ; vi. 32), and Ptolemy (Descript. et TabulsB Urbiam, in 
Hudson, tom. iii.). 2. The ^ra6tc writers, who have treated the sabject with the 


spacious but irregular dimensions. From the northern point 
DeMriptioQ ^^ Beles,' on the Euphrates, a line of fifteen hundred 
of Arabu. milcs Is terminated by the Straits of Babelman* 
deb 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 Bed Sea.* 
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 

Kta\ of patriofctsm or devotion : the extracts of Pocock (Specimen Hist. ArAbom, 
p. 125-128) from the Geography of the Sherif al Edrissi, render us still more ^is^ 
satisfied with the version or abridgment (p. 24 -27, 44-56, 108, etc., 119, etc.) 
which the Maronites have published nnder the absurd title of Geographia Nubien- 
sia (Paris, 1619) ; but the Latin and French translators, Greaves (in Hudson, 
torn, iii.) and Galland (Voyage de la Palestine par La Boqne, p. 265-346), have 
opened to us the Arabia of Abulfeda, the most copious and correct account of the 
peninsula, wliich may be enriched, however, from the Bibliotheque Orientale of 
D'Herbelot, p. 120, et alibi passim. 3. The European travellers, among whom 
Shaw (p. 433-455) and Niebahr (Description, 1773; Voyages, tom. i. 1776) de- 
serve an honorable distinction : Bnsching (G^ographie par Berenger, tom. viti. 
p. 416-510) has compiled with judgment ; and D'Anville's Maps (Orbis Veteribus 
Notns, and 1^ Partie de FAsie) should lie before the reader, with his Geographic 
Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 208-231. ■ 

' Abnlfed. Descript. ArabisB, p. 1 ; D*AnvilIe, TEnphrate 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 l c. 10 [o. 4, § 10] p. 29, edit. 

^ Beland has proved, with much superfluous learning: 1. That our Red Sea (the 
Arabian GuU) is no more than a part of the Mare Rubrtmiy the 'l^vOpd ^dK&vfni 
of the ancients, which was extended to the indefinite space of the Indian Ocean. 
2. That the synonymous words tpvOpoQ, a/9foi|/, allude to the color of the blacks 
or negroes (Dissert. Miscell. tom. i. p. 59-117). 

* Of modem travellers may be mentioned the adventurer who called himself 
All Bey ; but, above all, the intelligent, the enterprising, the accurate Burckhardt. 
— M. 

The best works on the ancient geography and ante-Mahometan history of Ara- 
bia are **The Historical Geography of Arabia," bv the Rev. Charles Forster, 2 
vols. 8vo, London, 1844, and '^Essai sur THistoire des Arabes avant Tlslamisme, 
pendant T^poque de Mahomet, et jusqu*k la r<^uction de toutes Ics tribus sous la 
loi Musulmane," by A. P. Caussin de Perceval, Professenr d'Arabe au Coll<^ge 
Royal de France, 8 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1847-1848. Of the latter work there is an 
able account in the Calcutta Review, No. xU. — S. 

v.— 12 


of the stony and the sandy. Even the wilds of Tartary are 
decked, by the hand of natnre, with lofty trees and laxuri- 
The soli and ^^^ herbage ; and the lonesome traveller derives a 
climate. g^^ ^f comfort and society from the presence of 
vegetable life. But in the dreary waste of Arabia a bound- 
less level of sand is intersected by sharp and naked moun- 
tains ; and the face of the desert, without shade or shelter, is 
scorched by the direct and intense rays of a tropical sun. In- 
stead of refreshing breezes, the winds, particularly from the 
southwest, diffuse a noxious and even deadly vapor ; the hil- 
locks of sand which they alternately raise and scatter are com- 
pared 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 desti- 
tute 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 aq- 
ueducts : the wells and springs are the secret treasure of the 
desert ; and the pilgrim of Mecca,* after many a dry and sul- 
try 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 suf- 
ficient 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 palm-tree 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 temper- 

* In the thirty days, or atationa, between Cairo and Mecca, there are fifteen des- 
titute of good water. See the route of the Hadjees, in Shaw*8 Travels, p. 477. 


ate, the frnits are more deliciouB, the animals and the human 
race more nnmerouB : the fertility of the soil invites and re* 
wards the toil of the hnsbandman ; and the peculiar gifts of 
frankincense' 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 work- 
manship : the incompatible blessings of luxury and innocence 
were ascribed to the natives : the soil was impregnated with 
gold* and gems, and both the land and sea were taught to ex- 
hale the odors of aromatic sweets. This division 
the Bandy, of the Mfidy^ the stony y and the happy ^ so familiar 
aiid'b°(ap- to the Grccks and Latins, is unknown to the Ara- 
^^ ^ bians 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 geogra- 
phy. The maritime districts of Bahrein and Omcm are op- 
posite to the realm of Persia. The kingdom of Yemen dis- 
plays the limits, or at least the situation, of Arabia Felix : the 
name of Neged is extended over the inland space ; and the 

* The aromatics, especiallj the thut^ or fmnkinoense, of Arabia, occapy the 
twelfth book of Pliny. Oar great poet (Paradise Jjost, I. ir.) introduces, in a 
simile, the spicy odors that are blown by the northeast wind from the SabsBaa 

coast : 

Many a league, 

Pleased with the grateful scent, old Ocean smiles. 

(Plin. Hist Natur. xii. 42.) 

^ Agatharchides affirms that lumps of pure gold were found from the size of an 
oliTe to that of a nut; that iron was twice, and silver ten times, the Talne of gold 
(De Man Rubro, p. 60 [Hudson, Geogr. M., tom. i.]). These rtol or imaginary 
treasures are vanished ; and no gold-mines are at present known in Arabia (Nie- 
bohr, Description, p. 124).* 

* A brilliant passage in the geographical poem of Dionysius Periegetes embod- 
ies the notions of the ancients on the wealth and fertility of Yemen. Greek my- 
thology, 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. 


birth of Mcthomet baa iUustrated tbe province of H^a^ along 
the coast of the Bed Sea." 

The measure of population is regulated by the means of 
subsistence ; and the inhabitants of this vast peninsuhi might 
Manners of ^e Outnumbered by the subjects of a fertile and in- 
or^iSJuMSi""* dustrious province. Along the shores of the Per- 
^^^ sian Gulf, of the ocean, and even of the Eed Sea, 

the Jckthyopliagiy 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, with- 
out arts or laws, almost without sense or language, is poorly 
distinguished from the rest of the animal creation. Gen- 
erations 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 sea-coast. 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 main- 
tain 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 modem Bedouins we may trace the feat- 
ures of their ancestors," who, in the age of Moses or Mahomet, 

' Consult, pernw, and stady the Specimen Historiie Arabum of Foeock (Oxon. 
1650, in 4to). The thirty pnges of text and Tersion are extracted from tbe Dy- 
nasties of Gregory Abulpbaragius, which Pocock afterwards translated (Oxon. 
1663, in 4to) : the three handred and fifty-eight notes form a ckssic and original 
work on the Arabian antiqaities. 

' Arrian remarks the Ichthyophagi of the coast of Hejax (Periplos Bfaris £ry- 
thraei, p. 12) and beyond Aden (p. 15 [Hudson, Geogr. M., t. i.]). It seems proba- 
ble that the shores of the Red Sea (in the largest sense) were occnpied by these 
sarages in the time, perhaps, of Cyms ; but I can hardly believe that any cannibals 
were left among the savages in the reign of Jnstinian (Procop. de Bell. Persic. 1. i. 
c. 19 [t i. p. 100, edit Bonn]). 

1^ See the Specimen Uistoria Arabum of Pocock, p. 2, 5, S6, etc The jonmey 

* Htjaz means the " barrier ** or '* frontier," as lying between the southern and 
northern mercbantSi or, in other words, between Arabia Felix and Arabia Petraea. 
It is a mounlainoos district, and includes Medina as well as Mecca. It occnpies 
the space between Neg^d (^Najd) and the lied Sea. Sprenger, Life of Moham- 
med, p. 14 ; C. de Perceval, Essai, etc., vol. i. p. 8. — S. 

ch. l.] the horse— the camel. 181 

dwelt Tinder 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 do- 
minion over the useful animals; and the Arabian shepherd 
had acquired the absolute possession of a faithful friend and 
a laborious slave." 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 de- 
rived from a mixture of Arabian blood :" the Bedouins pre- 
serve 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 camd is a sacred and precious gift. 

of M. d*Ameax, ia 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 Bedooins, which maj be illustrated from Ntebnhr (Description de I'Arabie, 
p. 327-844) and Yolney (torn. L p. 848-885), the last and most judicious of our 
STTiaa tiBTeUers. 

" Bead (it is no nnpleasing task) the incomparable articles of the Horts and 
the Camel, yi the Natural Histoiy of M. de Buffi>n. 

" For the Arabian horses, see D'Arvieux (p. 159-178) and Niebuhr (p. 142- 
144). At the end of the thirteenth centuiy the horses of Neged were esteemed 
sure-footed, those of Yemen strong and serriceable, those of Hejas mest noble. 
The horses of Europe, the tenth and last class, were generally despised as having 
too mueh body and too little spirit (D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient p. 889) : their 
strength was requisite to bear the weight of the knight and his armor. 


That strong and patient beast of burden can perform, with- 
out 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 im- 
printed with the marks of servitude : the larger breed is ca- 
pable 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 :'* 
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 gar- 
ments, the furniture, and the tents of the Bedouins. In the 
rainy seasons they consume the rare and insufScient 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 appro- 
priate 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. 

Yet an essential difference may be found between the 
hordes of Scythia and the Arabian tribes; since many of 
citie«of the latter were collected into towns, and employed 
Arabia. jj^ ^^^ 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 Bedouins derived from their 

" ^'Qni carnibas camelorom vesci solent odii tenaces sunt, *' was the opinion 
of an Arabian physician (Pocock, Specimen, p. 88). Mahomet himsel!^ who was 
fond of milk, prefers the cow, and does not even mention the camel ; bat the diet 
of Mecca and Medina was already more luzarions (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. 
Ui. p. 404). 

ch. l.] cities of arabu. 183 

useful intercourse some supply of their wauts, and some rudi- 
ments of art and knowledge. Among the forty-two cities of 
Arabia/^ enumerated by Abulfeda, the most ancient and pop- 
ulous were situate in the happy Yemen : the towers of Saa- 
na," and the marvellous reservoir of Merab," were construct- 
ed by the kings of the Homerites ; but their profane lustre 
was eclipsed by the prophetic glories of Medina" and Mecca/* 

^^ Tet Mardan of Heraclea (in Feriplo, p. 16, in torn. i. Hudson, Minor Geo- 
graph.) reckons one hundred and sixty-four towns in Arabia Felix. The sise of 
the towns might be small, the faith of the writer might be large. 

** It is compared by Abulfeda (in Hudson, tom. iii. p. 54} to Damascus, and 
18 still the residence of the Imam of Yemen (Voyages de Niebuhr, tom. i. p. 881- 
342). Saana is twenty-fonr pai^asangs from Dafar (Abulfeda, p. 51) and sixty- 
eight from Aden (p. 58). 

1* Focock, Specimen, p. 57 ; Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 52. Mariabn, or Merab, 
aix miles in circumference, was destroyed by the legions of Augustus (Plin. Hist. 
Nat Ti. 32), and had not rerived in the fourteenth century (Abulfed. Descript 
Arab. p. 58).* 

" The name of ctfy, Medina^ was appropriated, xar Uox^v, to Tatreb (the 
latrippa 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 Bah- 
rein, fifteen ; to Bassora, eighteen ; to Cufah, twenty ; to Damascus or Pales- 
tine, twenty ; to Cairo, twenty-five ; to Mecca, ten ; from Mecca to Saana (p. 52) 
or Aden, thirty ; to Cairo, thir^-one days, or 412 hours (Shaw's Travels, p. 477) ; 
which, according to the estimate of D'AnviUe (Mesures Itin^raires, p. 99), allows 
about twenty-fire English miles for a day's journey. From the land of frankin- 
cense (Hadramant, in Yemen, between Aden and Cape Fartasch) to Gaza, in 
Syria, Fliny (Hist. Nat xii. 82) computes sixty-five mansions of cameb. These 
measures may assist fancy and elucidate facts. 

" Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians (D'Herbelot, Biblio- 
th^que Orientale, p. 868-871 ; Focock, 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 Levanti part i. p. 490) are taken fh>m 
the suspicious mouth of an African renegade. Some Persians counted 6000 houses 
(Chardin, tom. iv. p. 167).** 

* It is doubtful whether the Romans ever reached Mariaba. See editor's note, 
vol. i. p. 217.— S. 

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 modem Orientalists. — M. 

^ Even in the time of Gibbon, Mecca had not been so inaccessible to Europeans. 
It had been visited by Lndovico 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 pUin account of his sufferings and travels. Since 
that time Mecca has been entered, and the ceremonies witnessed, by Dr. Seetzen, 

184 MECCA. [Ch. L. 

near the Bed 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 Maeo- 
raba; and the termination of the word is expres- 
sive of its greatness, which has not indeed, in the most flour- 
ishing period, exceeded the size and populousness of Mar- 
seilles.^ Some latent motive, perhaps of superstition, must 
have impelled the founders in the choice of a most unprom- 
ising 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 trans- 
ported 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 un- 
grateful soil refused the labors of agriculture, and their posi- 
tion was favorable to the enterprises of trade. By the sea- 
port of Gedda, at the distance only of forty miles, 
they maintained an easy correspondence witih Abys- 
sinia ; 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 prov- 
ince of Bahrein, a city built, as it is said, of rock-salt, by the 
ChaldsBan exiles ;" and from thence, with the native pearls of 
the Persia^ Gulf, they were floated on rafts to the mouth of 
the Euphrates. Mecca is placed almost at an equal distance, 

" Strabo, L xvi. p. 1110 [p. f 66, edit. Casaab.]. See one of these salt^hooses 
near Bassora, in D'Herbelot, Bibliotb. Orient p. 6. 

whose papers were unfortunately lost ; by the Spaniard who called himself Ali 
Bey ; and, lastly, by Burckhardt, whose description leaves nothing wanting to sat- 
isfy the curiosity. — M. 

■ Mr. Forster identifies the Greek name with the Arabic Meeharab, '*the war- 
like city," or '* the city of the Harb." Geogr. of Arabia, vol. i. p. 265.— S. 

^ Bnrckhardt, however, observes : *'The water is heavy in its taste, and some- 
times in its color resembles milk, but it is perfectly sweety and differs very mach 
from that of the brackish wells dispersed over the town." (Travels in Arabia, 
p. 144.) Elsewhere he says : '*It seems probable that the town of Mecca owed 
its origin to this well ; for many miles roond no sweet water is foand, nor is there 
in any part of the oonntiy so copious a supply " (Ibid. p. 145).— S. 

ch. l.] independence of the ababs. 185 

a month's journey, between Yemen on the right and Syria on 
the left band. 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 Bed Sea. In the markets of Saana and 
Merab, in the harbors of Oman and Aden, the camels of the 
Eoreisbites were laden with a precious cargo of aromatics; a 
supply of corn and manufactures was purchased in the faira 
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 mer* 

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 
dependence prophocy and a miracle in favor of the posterity of 

Ismael." Some exceptions, that can neither be dis- 
sembled nor eluded, render this mode of reasoning as indis- 
creet as it is superfluous ; the kingdom of Yemen has been 
successively subdued by the Abyssinians, the Persians, the 
sultans of Egypt,** and the Turks :** the holy cities of Mecca 
and Medina have repeatedly bowed under a Scythian ty- 

^ ''Minim dictd ex innumeris popaUs pars lequa ia commereiw ant in latro- 
ciniifl degit '* (Plin. Hist. Nat vi. 32). . See Salens Koran, Siinu cvi. p. 508; Po- 
cock. Specimen, p. 2 ; D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient p. 861 ; Prideaax's Life of 
Mahomet, p. 5 ; Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. p. 72, 120, 126, etc. 

'^ A namdess doctor (Universal Hist toI. xx. octaTo edition) has fomuUly dem- 
onstrated the troth 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 foondation of the pedigree.* 

** It tvas subdaed, jld. 1178, by a brother of the great Saladin, who foanded a 
dynasty of Curds or Ayoubites (Guignes, Hist des Huns, tom. i. p. 425 ; D*Herbe- 
lot, p. 477). 

** By the lieutenant of Soliman I. (a.d. 1588) andSelim II. (1568). See Cante- 
mir*s Hist of the Othman Empire, p. 201 , 221. The pasha, who resided at Saana, 
commanded twenty-one beys ; but no revenue was ever remitted to the Porte 
(Marsig^ State Militare dell* Imperio Ottomanno, p. 124), and the Turks were ex- 
pelled about the year 1680 (Niebuhr, p. 167, 168). 

■ See note 8 to chap, xlvi The last point is probably the least contestable of 
the three. — M. 

186 THE ABABS : [Ch. L. 

rant ; and the Eoman province of Arabia'* embraced the pe- 
culiar 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'* 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,** 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 aban- 
doned to the women of the tribe ; but the martial youth, nn- 
der the banner of the emir, is ever on horseback, and in the 
field, to practise the exercise of the bow, the javelin, and the 

'^ Of the Roman province, under the name of Ambia and the third Palestine, 
the principal cities were Bosti-a and Petro, which dated their era from the year 
105, when they were subdued by Palma, a lieutenant of Trajan (Dion Cassias, 
1. Ixviii. [c. 14]).* Petra was the capital of the Nabathieans, whose name is de- 
rived from the eldest of the sons of Ismael (Gen. xxv. 12, etc., with the Commen- 
taries of Jerom, Le Clerc, and Calmet).** Justinian relinquished a palm country 
of ten davs' journey to the south of M\ah (Procop. de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c 19 [t. i. 
p. 101, edit. Bonn]), and the Romans maintained a centurion and a custom-house 
(Arrian in Periplo Maris Erjrthitei, p. 11, in Hudson, torn, i.) at a place {Xivai 
KMfiti, Pagus Albus, Hawara) in the territory of Medina (D'Anville, M^moire sur 
TEgypte, p. 248). These real possessions, and some naval inroads of Trajan (Pe- 
ripl. p. 14, 15), are ma|n^ified by history and medab into the Roman conquest of 

** Niebubr (Description de TArabie, p. 302, 803, 829-881) affords the most re- 
cent and authentic intelligence of the Turkish empire in Arabia.® 

'* Diodorus Siculus (tom. ii. 1. xix. [c. 94] p. 390-893, edit. Wesseling) has 
clearly exposed the freedom of the Nabathaean Arabs, who resisted the arms of 
Antigonus and his son. 

• See note, vol. i. p. 228.—^. 

^ On the ruins of Petra, see the Travels of Messrs. Irby and Mangles, and of 
Laborde. — M. 

* Kiebuhr's, notwithstanding the multitude of later travellers, maintains its 
ground as the classical work on Arabia. — M. 

ch. l.] their national independence. 1 87 

scimeter. 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 in- 
heritance. Their domestic feuds are suspended on the ap- 
proach 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 deseit 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 Bedouins 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 f and it is only by a naval power 
that the reduction of Yemen has been successfully attempted. 
When Mahomet erected his holy standard," that kingdom 
was a province of the Persian empire ; yet seven princes of 
the Homerites still reigned in the mountains ; and the vice- 
gerent of Chosroes was tempted to forget his distant country 
and his unfortunate master. The historians of the ago 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 Gossan was allowed to encamp on the 

" Strabo,!. xvi. p. 1127-1129 [p. 781 seq. edit. Casanb.] ; Plin. HistNatur. vi. 
82. JE,\\u» GalluB landed near Medina, and marched near a thousand miles into 
the part of Yemen between Mareb and the ocean. The ''Non ante devictis Sa- 
bffiffi regibos" (Od. i. 29) and the **Intacti Arabnm thesauri" (Od. iii. 24) of 
Horace attest the \irg;in parity of Arabia. 

*^ See the imperfect history of Yemen in Pocock, Specimen, p. 55-66; of Hint, 
p. 66-77 ; of Gassan, p. 75-78 ; as far as it could be known or preserved in the 
time of ignorance.* 

* Compare the Hist Yemanao, published by Johannsen at Bonn, 1828, partica* 
lariy the translator's preface. — M. 

188 THE ARABS: [Ch.L 

Syrian territory : the princes of Hira were permitted to form 
a city about forty miles to the southward of the ruins of Baby- 
lon. Their service in the field was speedy and vigorous ; bat 
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 Kome and of Persia. From Mecca to the Euphrates, the 
Arabian tribes'* were confounded by the Greeks and Latins 
under the general appellation of SAJRACEirs,'^ a name which 
every Christian mouth has been taught to pronounce with 
terror and abhorrence. 

The slaves of domestic tyranny may vainly exult in their 
national independence : but the Arab is personally free ; and 
Their do- ^^ ^^^ joj^ ^ somo degree, the benefits of society, 
SSfand^ without forfeiting the prerogatives of nature. In 
character. every tribe, superstition, or gratiCude, or fortune has 
exalted a particular family above the heads of their equals. 
The dignities of sheik and emir invariably descend in this 
chosen race ; bnt the order of succession is loose and preoa- 

** The Zapfuniviicd ^DXa, fivptadt^ ravm^ coi ro xXcIffrov ailrrwv tf^^ftovofioi koI 
AifwoToij are described by MenaDder (Excerpt Legation, p. 149 [edit Par. ; 
p. 375, edit Bonn.]}, Procopins (De Bell. Persic L i. c. 17, 19 ; 1. ii. e. 10), and 
in the most lively colors by Ammianus MaroeUinas (1. sit. c. 4), who had spokfla 
of them as early as the reign of Aiarcos. 

^ The name which, uaed by Ptolemy and Pliny in a more confined, by Ammi- 
anus and Procopins in a larger, sense, has been derived, ridiculously, from SartUk, 
tha wife of Abraham, obscurely from the Tillage of Saraka {furd to^ NaCamt- 
ovct Stephan. de Urbibus [s. y. SofHicaJX more phuisibly from the Arabic woida, 
which signify a tkieviak character, or Oriental situation (Hottinger, Hist Orient^ 
al. L i. c. i. p. 7, 8 ; Pocock, Specimen, p. 33-35 ; Asseman. Biblioth. Orient torn, 
iv. p. 567). Tet the last and most popular of these etymologies is refuted by 
Ptolemy (Arabia, p. 2, 18, in Hudson, tom. iii.), who expressly remarks the west- 
em and southern position of the Saracens, then an obscure tribe on the borders of 
Egypt The appellation cannot, therefore, allude to any matiomal character ; and, 
since it was imposed by strangers, it must be found, not in the Arabic, bnt in n 
foreign language.^ 

* Dr. Clarke (Travels, toL it p. 491), after expressing contemptoous pity for 
Gibbon*s ignorance, derives the word from Zara, Zaara, Sara, the Desert, whence 
Saraceni, the children of the Desert. De Marias adopts the derivation from Sar- 
rik, a robber, Hist des Arabea, vol. i. p. 86 ; St Biartin from Scharkioon, or Shar- 
kiin, Eastern, vol. xL p. 55. — M. 


rionfi ; and the moat worthy or aged of the noble kinsinen are 
preferred to the simple thongh important office of composing 
diapntes by their advice, and guiding valor by their example. 
Even a female of sense and spirit has been permitted to com- 
mand the countrymen of Zenobia." The momentary juno- 
tion of several tribes prodnoes an army : their more lasting 
anion constitutes a nation : and the supreme chief, the emir 
of emirs, whose banner is displayed at their head, may de- 
serve, 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 ac- 
customed 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 volun- 
tary 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,** 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 com- 
monwealth. The grandfather of Mahomet, and his lineal an- 
cestors, 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 Eoreish. 
On solemn occasions they convened the assembly of the peo- 
ple ; and, since mankind must be either compelled or per- 
suaded to obey, the use and reputation of oratory among the 

*' **Saraoeni * * * roulieres aiant in eo6 regnare" (Expositio totius Mundi, 
p. 3, in Hudson, torn. iii.)« The reign of Mavia is famous in ecclesiastical storj. 
Pocock, Specimen, p. 69, 83. 

^ 'Bk rwy /3a^iX£iwy /u) i^Oiiv is the report of Agatharchldes (De Man Rn- 
bro, p. 63, 64, in Hudson, torn. i.X Diodorus Siculus (torn. 1. 1, iii. c. 47, p. 215), 
and Strabo 0* ^^^ p. 1124 [p. 778, edit Casaub.]). But I much suspect that 
this is one of the popular tales, or extraordinary accidents, which the credulity of 
trareUers so often transforms into a fact, a custom, and a law. 

190 THE ARABS : [Ch. L. 

ancient Arabs is the clearest evidence of public freedom." 
But their simple freedom was of a very different cast from 
the nice and artificial machinery of the Greek and Boman re- 
publics, 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 i^ free, because 
each of her sons disdains a base submission to the will of a 
master. His breast is fortified with 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 slow, 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.** 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 
Abbassides adopted the proud and pompous ceremonial of 
the Persian and Byzantine courts. 
In the study of nations and men we may observe the 
causes that render them hostile or friendly to each 
and private other, that tcud to narrow or enlarfi:e, to mollify 

raveuge. o » •/ 

or exasperate, the social character. The separa- 
tion of the Arabs from the rest of mankind has accustomed 

^ '^ Non gloriabantur antiqnitas Arabes, nisi gladio, hospite, et eloqwenUd** (Se- 
phadiQS apod Focock, Specimen, p. 161, 162). This gift of speech they shared 
only with the Persians ; and the sententious Arabs would probably have disdain- 
ed the simple and sublime logic of Demosthenes. 

^ I must remind the reader that D*Arvienx, D'Herbelot, and Niebuhr repre- 
sent in the most lively colors the manners and government of the Arabs, which 
are illustrated by many incidental passages in the Life of Mahomet.* 

■ See likewise the curious romance of Antar, the most vivid and authentic 
picture of Arabian manners. ^-M. 

ch, l.] their civil wabs and private revenge. 191 

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 ran- 
somed or pillaged ; and their neighbors, since the remote 
times of Job and Sesostris,'* have been the victims of their 
rapacious spirit. If a Bedouin discovers from afar a soli- 
tary 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 ; re- 
sistance 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 ex- 
ercise to a much smaller, list of respectable potentates; but 
each Arab, with impunity and renown, might point his jav- 
elin against the life of his countryman. 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 igno- 

^ Observe the first chapter of Job, and the long wall of 1500 stadia which Se- 
sostris built from Felusium to Heliopolis (Diodor. Sicul. torn. i. 1. i. [c. 57] p. G7). 
Under the name of BycsoSf the shepherd kings, they had formerly subdued Kgjpt 
(Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 98-168, etc.).' 

*■ This origin of the Hycsos, though probable, is by no means so certain ; there 
is some reason for supposing them Scythians. — M. 

192 THE ARABS : [Ch. L. 

ranee which preceded Mahoinet, seyenteen hundred battles^ 
are recorded by tradition: hostility wae embittered with the 
rancor of civil faction ; and the recital, in prose or verse, of 
an obsolete feud was sufficient to rekindle the same pafisions 
among the descendants of the hostile tribes. In private life 
every man, at least every family, was the judge and avenger 
of its 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 ex- 
pect 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 Ar* 
abs refuses even the head of the murderer, substitutes an in- 
nocent to 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 princi- 
pal 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." This sanguinary spirit, ignorant of pity 
or forgiveness, has been moderated, however, by the maxims 
of honor, which require in every private encounter some de- 
Anonai ^^^ 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 

^ Or, according to another account, 1200 (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheqne Orientale, 
p. 75) : the two historians who wrote of the Ayam al Arab, the battles of the Ar- 
abs, lived in the ninth and tenth century. The famous war of Dahes and Gabrah 
was occasioned by two horses, lasted forty years, and ended in a proverb (Pococfc, 
Specimen, p. 48). 

''^ The modem theory and practice of the Arabs in the revenge of murder are 
described by Niebuhr (Description, p. 26-81). The harsher features of antiquity 
may be traced in the Koran, c. 2, p. 20, c. 17, p. 280, with Salens Obsenratioiis. 

ch.l.] theie social qualifications and virtues. 193 

Mahomet, during which their swords were religiously sheath- 
ed both in foreign and domestic hostility; and this partial 
truce is more strongly expressive of the habits of anarchy and 

But the spirit of rapine aud revenge was attempered by 

the milder influence of trade and literature. The solitary 

peninsula is encompassed by the most civilized na- 

quaiifleatiooB tions of the aucicut world; the merchant is the 

and TiitQes. , 

friend of mankind; and the annual caravans im- 
ported 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 Chaldsean tongues; the independence of the tribes was 
marked by their peculiar dialects ;~ 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 ground- 
work of the present alphabet, were invented on the banks of 
the Euphrates ; and the recent invention was taught at Mec- 
ca by a stranger who settled in that city after the bii*th of 

^ Procopius (De Bell. Persic. L i. c. 16) places the two holj months about the 
sammer solstice. The Arabians consecrate four months of the year — the first, 
serentb, eleventh, and twdfth ; and pretend that, in a long series of ages, the trace 
was infringed only foar or six times (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 147-150, and 
Notes on the ninth chapter of the Koran, p. 154, etc. ; Casiri, Biblioth. Hispano- 
Arabica, torn. ii. p. 20, 21). 

" Arrian, in the second century, remarks (in Periplo Maris Erythrsei, p. 12 
[Hadson, Geog. M., t. i]) the partial or total difference of the dialects of the 
Arabs. Their langnage and letters are copiously treated by Pocock (Specimen, 
p. 150-154), Casiri (Biblioth. Hispano-Arabica, torn. i. p. 1, 88, 292 ; tom. ii. p. 25, 
etc.), and Niebnhr (Description de I'Arabie, p. 72-86). I pass slightly ; I am not 
fond of repeating ifords like a parrot. 

v.— 13 

194 THE ARABS : [Ch. I^ 

Mahomet. The arts of grammar^ of metre, and of rhetoric 
were unknown to the freebom eloquence of the Arabians; 
but their penetration was sharp, their fancy luxuriant, their 
wit strong and sententious,*' and their more elaborate compo- 
sitions were addressed with energy and effect to the minds of 
their hearers. The genius and merit of a rising poet was eel- 
Love or ebrated by the applause of his own and the kindred 
P*^""^- 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 abolish- 
ed by the fanaticism of the first Moslems — a national assem- 
bly 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 emii*s ; 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.*' The Arabian poets 
were the historians and moralists of the age ; and if they sym- 
pathized with the prejudices, they inspired and crowned the 
virtues, of their countrymen. The indissoluble union of gen- 
erosity and valor was the darling theme of their song ; and 

^^ A familiar tale in Voltaire's 2^dig (le Chien et le Cheval) is related to prove 
the natural sagacity of the Arabs (D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient, p. 120, 121; 
Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. p. 87-46) ; but D*Ar\ ieox, or rather La Boqae 
(Voyage de Palestine, p. 92), denies the boasted soperioritj of the Bedouins, llie 
one hundred and sixty-nine sentences of Ali (translated by Ockley, London, 1718) 
afford a just and favorable specimen of Arabian wit.* 

^} Pocock (Specimen, p. 158-161) and Cosiri (Biblioth. Hispano-Arabica, tom.i. 
p. 48, 84, etc., IID ; torn. ii. p. 17, etc.) speak of the Arabian poets before Ma- 
homet : the seven poems of the Caaba have been published in English by Sir Wil- 
liam Jones ; but his honorable mission to India has deprived as of his own notes, 
far more interesting than the obscure and obsolete text 

* Compare the Arabic Proverbs translated by Burckhardt. Ix>ndon, ISSO.—M. 


wheu tbey pointed their keenest satire against a despicable 
race, they affirmed, in the bitterness of reproach, that the men 
Examples of ^new not how to give, nor the women to deny." 
generoriiy. •pj^^ same hospitality which was practised by Abra- 
ham, and celebrated by Homer, is still renewed in the camps 
of the Arabs. The ferocious Bedouins, the terror of the des- 
ert, 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 dismiss- 
ed 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 I^d 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 suppli- 
ant, " O son of the uncle of the apostle of God, I am a trav- 
eller, and in distress !" He instantly dismounted to present 
the pilgrim with his camel, her rich caparison, and a pui*se of 
four thousand pieces of gold, excepting only the sword, either 
for its intrinsic value, or as the gift of an honoi'ed kins- 
man. 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 1" he replied, " my coflEers are empty ! but 
these you may sell ; if you refuse, I renounce them." At 

^ SiUe*8 Prdimiiuiry Discourse, p. 29, 30. 

196 THE AEABS : [Ch. L. 

these words, pushing away the youths, he groped along the 
wall with his 8ta£E. The character of Hatem is the perfect 
model of Arabian virtue :** he was brave and liberal, an elo- 
quent poet, and a successful robber : forty camels were roast- 
ed at his hospitable feasts ; and at the prayer of a suppliant 
enemy he restored both the captives and the spoil. The free- 
dom of his countrymen disdained the laws of justice ; they 
proudly indulged the spontaneous impulse of pity and be- 

The religion of the Arabs,** as well as of the Indians, con- 
sisted in the worship of the sun, the moon, and the fixed stars; 
Ancient * primitive and specious mode of superstition. The 
idolatry. bright himinarics of the sky display the visible im- 
age of a Deity : their number and distance convey to a philo- 
sophic, 01^ 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 mo- 
tions 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 pe- 
culiar care. The science of astronomy was cultivated at Baby- 
lon ; 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 
Be<louin ; and he was taught by experience to divide in twen- 

^ D'Herbclot, Biblioth. Orient, p. 458 ; Gngnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. iii. 
p. 1 18 ; Caab and Hesnus (Pocock, Specimen, p. 43, 46, 48) were likewise con- 
spicnoas for their liberality ; and the latter is elegantly praised by an Arabian 
poet: "Videbis enm cam accesscris exaltantem, ac si dares illi quod ab illo 

^ Whatever can now be known of the idolatry of the ancient Arabians may 
be foand in Pocock (Specimen, p. 89-136, 163, 164). His profound erudition is 
more clearly and concisely interpreted by Sale (Preliminary Discoarse, p. 14-24); 
and Assemanni (Biblioth. Orient, tom. iv. p. 580-590) has added some valuable 

^ See the translation of the amusing Persian romance of Hatim Tai, by Dan- 
can Forbes, Esq., among the works published by the Oriental Translation Fund. 
— M. 

ch. l.] their beligion. 197 

tj-eight parts the zodiac of the moon, and to bless the constel- 
lations who refreshed with salutary rains the thirst of the des* 
ert. The reign of the heavenly orbs could not be extended 
beyond the visible sphere; and some metaphysical powei*s 
wei*e 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, tlie 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 na- 
tion, in every age, has bowed to the religion as well as to the 
language of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of the 
or Temple Caaba asccuds bevoud the Christian era: in de- 

of Mecca. 

scribing the coast of the Red Sea the Greek histo- 
rian Diodorus^* has remarked, between the Thamudites and 
the Sabseans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was 
revered by all the Ambians ; 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 hun- 
dred years before the time of Mahomet.*' A tent or a cavern 

^ 'Itpov ayiwrarov Idpvrai rtiMfuvov vtto irdtrnov 'Apatunf irtpiTTonpov (Dio- 
dor. SicuL torn. 1 1. iii. [c. 43] p. 211). The character and position are so correctly 
apposite, that I am surprised how this curious passn^ should have been read with- 
out notice or application. Yet this famous temple had been overlooked by Aga- 
tharchides (De Man Rnbro, p. 58, in Hudson, torn. 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 torn. i. Hudson, p. 72; Fabricius, 
Biblioth. Graic. torn. ii. p. 770).* 

^ Pocock, Specimen, p. 60, 61. From the death of Mahomet we ascend to 68, 

*■ Mr. Forster (Geography of Arabia, vol. ii. p. 118 et seq.) has raised an objec- 
tion, 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 Sabsans, 
bat higher up than the coast inhabited by the former. Mr. Forster woald place 
H as far north as Moilah. I am not quite satisfied that this will agree with the 
whole description of Diodorus. — M. 1845. 

198 THE ARABS : [Ch. L. 

might suflSce 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 inonarchs of the East have been confined to the 
simplicity of the original model." A spacious portico en- 
closes the quadrangle of the Caaba — a square chapel twenty- 
four cubits long, twenty-three broad, anci twenty-seven high: 
a door and a window admit the light ; the double roof is sup- 
ported by three pillars of wood; a spout (now of gold) dis- 
charges the rain-water, and the well Zemzem is protected by 
a dome from accidental pollution. The tribe of Koreish, by 
fraud or 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." The precincts of Mecca en- 
joyed 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 pilgrim- 
age was achieved, as at the pi'esent hour, by a sacrifice of 

fi-om his birth to 1 29, years before the Christian era. The veil or curtain, which 
is now of silk and gold, was no more than a piece of Egyptian linen (Abnlfeda, in 
Yit. Mohammed, c. G, p. 14 [edit. Gagnier, Oxon. 1723}). 

^^ The original plan of the Caaba (which is senilely copied in Sale, tlie Unirer- 
sal History, etc.) was a Turkish draught, which Keland (De Beligione Mohamme- 
dicft, p. lld-123) has cori-ected and explained from the best authorities. For the 
description and legend of the Caaba, consult Pocock (Specimen, p. 115-122), the 
Biblioth^que Orientale of D'Uerbelot {Caaha^ Hagiar^ Zemzem^ etc.), and Sale 
(Preliminary Discourse, p. 114-122). 

^ Cosa [Kussai], the fifth ancestor of Mahomet, must bare usurped the Caaba 
A.D. 440; but the story is differently told by Jannabi (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, 
torn. i. p. 65-69) and by Abnlfeda (in YiL Moham. c. 6, p. 13).^ 

• See note, p. 204.— S. 


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 div- 
ination. But this statue was a monument of Syrian arts : the 
devotion of the ruder ages was content with a pillar or a tab- 
let ; and the rocks of the desert were hewn into gods or al- 
tars in imitation of the black stone*' of Mecca, which is deeply 
tainted with the reproach of an idolatrous origin. From Ja- 
sacrifion P^^ ^^ Pcru the use of sacrifice has universally pre- 
aud rites. vailed ; 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^ 
is the most precious oblation to deprecate a public calamity : 
the altars of Phoenicia and Egypt, of Bome and Carthage, 
have been polluted with human gore : the cniel practice was 
long preserved among the Arabs ; in the third century a boy 
was annually sacrificed by the tribe of the Dumatians ;*' and 
a royal captive was piously slaughtered by the prince of the 

^ In the second century, Maximus of Tj^re attributes to the Arabs the worship 
of a stone — 'ApaCioi citovm /icv, ovriva dk ovk dlda, ro Si dyoKfia [9] lUov \i9oQ 
qy Ttrpdyuwoc (Dissert, riii. torn. i. p. 142, edit. Reiske); and the reproach is furi- 
onsly re-echoed by the Christians (Clemens Alex, in Protreptico, p. 40 [edit. Oxon. 
1715] ; Arnobius contra Gentes, I vi. p. 246 [t. i. p. 196, edit. Lugd. B. 1651]). 
Yet these stones were no other than the ficdrvka of Syria and Greece, so renowned 
in sacred and profane antiquity (Euseb. Prscp. Evangel. 1. i. p. 37 ; Marsham, Ca- 
non. Chron. p. 54-56). 

^ The two horrid subjects of 'AvSpoBvaia and UcuSoOvaia are accurately dis- 
cussed by the learned Sir John Marsham (Canon. Chron. p. 76-78, 801-304). 
Stinchoniatho derives the Fhcenicinn sacrifices from tlie example of Chron us ; but 
we are ignorant whether Chronus lived before or aft^r Abraham, or, indeed, wheth* 
er he lived at all. 

** Kar irbc fsaorov tcaiSa iOvov, is the reproach of Porphyry ; but he likewise 
imputes to the Romans the same barbarous custom, which, A.n.c. 657, had been 
finally abolished. Dnmsetha, I^umat al Gendal, is noticed by Ptolemy (Tabul. 
p. 37, Arabia, p. 9-29) and Abulfcda (p. 57); and may be found in D'Anville*s 
maps, in the mid- desert between Cboibar and Tudmor. 


SaraceDs^tho ally and soldier of the Emperor Jostiniaji.'* A 
parent who drags his son to the altar exhibits the most pain- 
ful and sublime effort of fanaticism : the deed or the inten- 
tion 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 Egyp- 
tians, abstained from the taste of swine's flesh ;** they circum- 
cised** their children at the age of puberty: the same cus- 
toms, 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 con- 
genial to the climate of Mecca might become useless or in- 
convenient on the banks of the Danube or the Volga. 

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 

** Frocopius (De BeU. Persico, 1. ii. c. 28), Evngrius (I. ti. c. 21), and Pocock 
(Specimen, p. 72, 86) attest the haman sacrifices of the Arabs in the sixth centaiy. 
The danger and escape of Abdallah is a tradition rather than a fiict (Gagnier,Yje 
de Mahomet, torn. i. p. 82-84).^ 

" *'SuilUs carnibns abstinent,** sa^rs Solinns (Poljhistor. c. S3), who copies 
Pliny (1* v"i* c- 7^) iQ ^^0 strange supposition that hogs cannot live in Arabia. 
The Egyptians were actuated by a natural and superstitions horror for that un- 
clean beast (Marsham, Canon, p. 205). The old Arabians likewise practised, 
post coitum^ the rite of ablution (Herodot. 1. i. c. 189), which is sanctified by the 
Mahometan law (Reland, p. 75, etc. ; Chardin, or rather the Mollak of Shah Ab- 
bas, torn. ir. p. 71, etc.). 

*^ The Mahometan doctors are not fond of the subject ; yet they hold circam- 
ciston necessary to salvation, and even pretend that Mahomet was miracnlonsly 
bom without a foreskin (Pocock, Specimen, p. 319, 320; Sale*s Preliminary Dis- 
course, p. 106, 107). 

^ A writer in the Calcutta Review (No. xliii. p. 15) maintains that the sacri- 
fice of human beings in Arabia was only incidental, and in the case of violent and 
cruel tyrants ; where it is alleged to have been done uniformly and on principle, 
the authority seems doubtful. — S. 

ch. l.] the sabians in arabu. 201 

the Sabians and Magians, of the Jews and Christians, were 
disseminated from the Persian Gulf to the Bed 
uonofthe Sea. In a remote period of antiquity Sabianism 
was diffused over Asia by the science of the Chal- 
daeans" and the arms of the Assyrians. From the observa- 
tions of two thousand years the priests and astronomers of 
Babylon^ deduced the eternal laws of nature and providence. 
They adored the seven gods, or angels, who directed the coui*se 
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.^^ 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.** The altars of Babylon were over* 

^ Diodoros Sicalus (torn. 1. 1. ii. [c. 29 seq.] p. 142-145) has cast on their re- 
ligioa the cnrioas bat saperficial 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 

^ Simplicius (who quotes Porphyry), de Ccelo, 1. ii com. xhi. p. 123, lin. 18, 
apod Mnrshnm, Canon. Chron. p. 474, who doubts the fiftct, because it is adverse 
to his systems. The earliest date of the Chaldsean observations is the year 22S4 
before Christ. After the conquest of Babylon by Alexander, they were oommu* 
nicated, at the request of Aristotle, to the astronomer llipparchus. What a mo- 
ment in the annals of science ! 

" Focock (Specimen, p. 138-146), Hottinger (Hist. Orient p. 162-203), Hyde 
(De Religione Vet. Persarum, p. 124, 128, etc.), D'Herbelot (5a6t, p. 725, 726), 
and Sale (Preliroinaiy Discourse, p. 14, 15), rather excite than gratify our curios- 
ity ; and the last of these writers confounds Sabianism with the primitive religion 
of the Aralis. 

M D'Anville (i'Euphrote et le Tigre, p. 130-147) will fix the position of these 


turned by the Magians ; but the injuries of the Sabians were 
revenged by the sword of Alexander ; Persia groan- 
ed above five hundred years under a foreign yoke ; 
and the purest disciples of Zoroaster escaped from the conta- 
gion of idolatry, and breathed with their adversaries the free- 
dom of the desert.** 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 ex- 
iles aspired to libei*ty and power : they erected synagogues in 
the cities, and castles in the wilderness ; and their Gentile con- 
verts were confounded with the childrcn of Israel, whom they 
resembled in the outward mark of circumcision. The Chris- 
The chrie- ^^^^ missionaries were still more active and success- 
tiauB. fj^]. |.jjg Catholics asserted their universal reign; 

the sects whom they oppressed successively retired beyond 
the limits of the Koman empire ; the Marcionites and Man- 
ichseans 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." The liberty of choice was presented to 
the tribes : each Arab was free to elect or to compose his pri- 
vate religion ; and the rude superstition of his house was min- 
gled with the sublime theology of saints and philosophers. A 
fundamental article of faith was inculcated by the consent of 

nmbiguous Christians ; Assemnnnus (Biblioth. Oriental, torn. It. p. 607-614) may 
explain their tenets. Bat it is a slippery task to ascertain the creed of an igno- 
rant people, afraid and ashamed to disclose their secret traditions.^ 

** The Magi were fixed in the province of Bahrein (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, 
torn. iiL p. 114), and mingled with the old Arabians (Focock, Specimen, p. 146- 

^ I1ie state of the Jews and Christians in Arabia is described by Focock from 
Sharestani, etc. (Specimen, p. 60, 134, etc.), Hottinger (Hist. Orient p. 212-238), 
Dllerbelot (Biblioth. Orient, p. 474-47G), Basnnge (Hist, des Jniis, torn. riL 
p. 185 ; torn. viii. p. 280), and Sale (Freliminarj Discourse, p. 22, etc., 33, etc.). 

^ The Codex Namraos, 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 mvsticism and Mahometanism, that its native lineaments are very indis- 
tinct. — Nf. 


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 an- 
gels and prophets, and whose grace or jnstice has interrupted, 
by seasonable miracles, the order of nature. The most ration- 
al of the Arabs acknowledged his power, though they neglect- 
ed his worship ;" 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 al- 
ready translated into the Arabic language," 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 rabbies. 

The base and plebeian origin of Mahomet is an unskilful 
Birihand calumuy of the Christians," who exalt instead of 
Sf MihSmct degrading the merit of their adversary. His de- 
^TK {m-609. g(»ent from Ismael was a national privilege or fable; 
but if the first steps of the pedigree** are dark and doubtful, 

*> In their ofTeriogs it was a maxim to defraud God for tlie profit of the idol — 
not a more potent, bat a more instable, patron (Pocock, Specimen, p. 108, 109). 

^ Our versions now extant, whether Jewish or Christian, appear more recent 
than the Koran ; but the existence of a piior translation may be fuirly inferred — 
1. From the perpetual practice of the synagogue, of expounding the Hebrew les- 
son by a paraphrase in the vulgar tongue of the country. 2. From the analogy 
of the Armenian, Persian, ^thiopic versions, expressly quoted by the fathers of 
the fifth century, who assert that the Scriptures were translated into all the bar- 
baric languages (Walton, Prolegomena ad Biblia Polyglot, p. 34, 93-97 ; Simon, 
Hist. Critique du V. et du N. Testament, tom. i. p. 180, 181, 282-280, 293, 305, 
306 ; tom. iv. p. 206). 

" *' 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 
fiither of many a lie, confesses that Mahomet was of the race of Ismael, Ik fudQ 
ytvuMrarrii 0vX^c (Chronograph, p. 277 [edit. Par; tom. i. p. 512, edit. Bonn]). 

^ Abnlfeda (in Vit. Mohammed, c. 1, 2) and Gagiiier (Vie de Mahomet, p. 25- 
97) describe the popular and approved genealogy of the prophet. At Mecca, I 


ho could produce many generations of pure and genuine no- 
bility : he sprung from the tribe of Koreish* and the family 
of Hashem, the most illustrious of the Arabs, the princGB of 
Mecca, and the hereditary guardians of the Caaba.»> The 
grandfather of Mahomet was Abdol Motalleb, the son of Ha- 
shem, a wealthy and generous citizen, who relieved the dis- 
tress 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 restitu- 
tion 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 intrep- 
id chief, " the cattle is my own : the Caaba belongs to the 
gods, and tJvey will defend their house from injury and sacri- 

woald not dispute its authenticity: at Lausanne, I will venture to obserre — 1. 
That^ from Ismael to Mahomet, a period of 2500 years, they reckon thirty, instead 
of seventy-five, generations. 2. That the modern Bedouins are ignorant of their 
history, and careless of their pedigree (Voyage de D'Arvieux, p. 100, 103).' 

^ According to the usually received tradition, Koreish was originally an epithet 
conferred upon Fihr (born about a.d. 200), who was the ancestor, at the distance 
of eight generations, of the famous Kussai mentioned in the next note. Sprenger, 
however, maintains that the tribe of Koreish was first formed by Kussai, and that 
the members of the new tribe called themselves the children of Fihr as a symbol 
of unity. He regards Fihr as a mythical pei'sonage. See Caussin de Perceval, 
vol. i. p. 42 ; Calcutta Review, No. xli. p. 42 ; Sprenger, Life of Mohammed, p. 42. 

^ Kussai (bom about a.d. 400), gi^eat-grnndfather of Abdol Motalleb, and con* 
sequently fifth in the ascending line from Mahomet, obtained supreme power at 
Mecca. His office and privileges were — to supply the numerous pilgrims with 
food and fresh water, the latter a rare article at Mecca ; to conduct the business 
of the temple ; and to preside in the senate or council. His revenues were a 
tenth of all merchandise brought to Mecca. After the death of Kussai these of- 
fices became divided among his descendants ; and, though the branch from which 
Mahomet sprang belonged to the reigning line, yet his family, especially after the 
death of his grandfather, had but little to do with the actual government of Mec« 
ca. Weil, Mohammed, p. 4, 12. — S. 

^ The most orthodox Mahometans only reckon back the nncestiy of the prophet, 
for twenty generations, to Adnan. Weil, Mohammed der Prophet, p. 1.— M. 

AJ>. 569-609.] DELIVERANCE OF MECCA. 205 

lege." The want of provisions, or the valor of the Koreish, 
compelled the Abyssinians to a disgraceful retreat : their di&- 
comliture 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 era of the ele- 
Deiwenincc phant." The glory of Abdol Motalleb was crown- 
of Mecca. ^^ ^^j^j^ domcstic happincss ; 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 
yoath ; and in the first night, when he consummated his mar- 
riage with Amina,^ of the noble race of the Zahrites, two hun- 
.dred virgins are said to have expired of jealousy and despair. 
Mahomet, or more properly Mohammed,^ the only son of Ab- 
dallah and Amina, was bom at Mecca, four years after the 
death of Justinian, and two months after the defeat of the 

** The seed of this historj, or fable, is contained in the one hundred and fifth 
chapter of the Koran ; and Gagnier (in Prsefat. ad Vit. Moham. p. 18, etc.) has 
translated the historical narratiTe of Abulfeda, which may be illostratod from 
D*Herbelot (Biblioth. Orientale, p. 12) and Focock (Specimen, p. 64). Prideaux 
(Life of Mahomet, p. 48) calls it a lie of the coinage of Mahomet ; but Sale (Ko- 
ran, p. 501-503), who is half a Mussulman, attacks the inconsistent faith of the 
Doctor for believing the miracles of the Delphic Apollo. Marncci (Alcoran, torn. 
L part ii. p. 14 ; torn. 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.** 

*■ Weil sets him down at about eighty-two at his death. Mohammed, p. 28. — 8. 

'' Amina was of Jewish birth. Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assass. p. 10. — 
M. Von Hammer gives no authority for this important fitct, which seems hardly 
to agree with Sprenger*s account that she was a Koreishite, and the daughter of 
Wahb, an elder of the Zohrah family. — S. 

* Mohammed means * Upraised," the name given to him by his grandfather on 
account of the favorable omen attending his birth. When Amina had given birth 
to the prophet, she sent for his grandfather, and related to him that she had seen 
in a dream a light proceeding from her body, which illuminated the palaces of 
Bostra. Sprenger, p. 76. We learn from Burckhardt that among the Arabs a 
name is given to the infiint immediately on its birth. The name is derived from 
some trifling accident, or from some object which had struck the fancy of the 
mother or any of the women present at the child's birtli. Notes on the Bedouins, 
vol. i. p. 97. —S. 

^ The apparent miracle was nothing else but the smalKpox, which broke out in 
the army of Abrahah. Sprenger, Life of Mohammed, p. 85, who quotes Wakidi ; 
Weil, Mohammed, p. 10. This seems to have been the first appearance of the 
smalUpox in Arabia. Reiske, Opnscula Medica ex monumentis Arabum, Hals, 
1776, p. 8.— S. 

206 MAUOM£T. [Ch. L. 

Abyssinians," whose victory would have introduced into the 
Caaba the reh'gion of the Chrifitians. In his eariy 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 Ethiopian ii^aid- servant.^ At home and abroad, in 

** The safest eras of Abnlfeda (in Vit. c. i. p. 2), of Alexander, or the Greeks, 
882, of Bocht Naser, or Nabonassar, 1816, equally lead us to the year 569. The 
old Arabian calendar is too dark and uncertain to support the Benedictines (Art 
de verifier 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 chronol- 
ogy, it is possible that the illiterate prophet was ignorant of his oivn age.' 

^ The father of Mahomet died two months before his birth ; and to the ill state 
of health which the shock of this premature bereavement entailed on his widow, 
Sprenger attributes the sickly and ner\'ous temperament of MahomeL His moth- 
er died in his seventh year (p. 79) ; his grandfather two years later. — S. 

^ Sprenger, however (p. 81), ascribes his poverty not to the injustice of his uncles, 
who, on the contrary, were anxious to bring him forward, but to his own inactivi- 
ty and unfitness for the ordinary duties of life. He had the same patrimony with 
which his father began life, viz., a house, five camels, a flock of sheep, and a female 
slave ; yet he was reduced to the necessity of pasturing sheep, an occupation con- 
sidered by the Arabs as |iecnliarly humiliating. Compare Weil, p. 33. The latter 
author adds that Mahomet afterwaixls entered into the linen trade in partnership 
with a man named Sa'ib. — S. 

^ **A11 authorities agi^ee that Mohammed was bom on a Monday, in the first 
half of Raby* I. ; but they differ on the year and on the date of the month. Most 
traditions say that he died at an age of sixty -three years. If this is correct, he 
was born in 571.* There are, however, good traditions in Bokhari, Moslim, and 
Tirmidzy, according to which he attained an age of sixty-five years, which would 
place his birth in 569. With reference to the date, his birthday is celebrated on 
the 1 2th of Raby' I. by the Mussulmans, and for this day are almost all traditions. 
This was a Thursday in 571, and a Tuesday in 569 ; and, supposing the new moon 
of Kaby' I. was seen one day sooner than expected, it was a Monday in 569. A 
tradition of Abii Ma*shar is for the 2d of Kaby* I., which was a Monday in 571 ; 
but Abii Ma'sliar was a mathematician, and his account may possibly be a calcu- 
lation, and not a tradition. There are also traditions for the first Monday, and for 
the tenth day of the month.** (Sprenger, p. 75.) 

In reference, however, to this subject, it is important to observe that Canssin de 
Perceval has brought forward reasons for believing that the Meccan year was orig- 
inally a lunar one, and continued so till the beginning of the fifth century, when, 
in imitation of the Jews, it was turned, by the intercalation of a month at the close 
of every third year, into a luni-solar period. (C. de Perceval, E^ssai, etc., vol. i. 
p. 49; Journal Asiatique, April, 1843, p. 342.) Hence it follows that all calcula- 
tions up to the end of Mahomet*s life must be made in luni-solar years, and not 
in lunar years, involving^ a yeariy difference of ten days. Uenoe, aiw, we can ex- 

* This la the year which Weil decides upon. 

▲J>. 56^-609.] HIS MAHUUGE. 207 

peace and war, Aba Taleb, the most respectable of his nnclcs, 
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 sim- 
ple style of antiquity, recites the mutual love of Mahomet and 
Cadijah ; describes him aa 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.*' 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,*' he assumed the title of a prophet, and proclaimed 
the religion of the Koran. 

According to the tradition of his companions, Mahomet** 
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 

" I copy the honorable testimony of Abu Taleb to his family nnd nephew. 
** Laus Deo, qui nos a stirpe Abrahami et semiiie Ismaelis constituit, et nobis re- 
gionem sacram dedit, et nos judices hominibus statuit. Porro Mohammed filius 
Abdollahi nepotis mei (nepoM mevs) quo cum [non] ex equo librabitur e Koraishi- 
dts quispiam cui non prteponderaturus est bonitate, et excellentift, et intellectO, et 
glorift, et acumine, etsi opam inops fuerit (et certe opes umbra transiens sunt et 
depositum quod reddi debet), desiderio Chadijie iiliffi Chowailedi tenetur, et ilia 
vicissim ipsius, quicquid antem dotis Tice petieritis, ego in me suscipiam " (Pocock, 
Specimen, e septimft parte libri Ebn Ilamdnni [p. 171]). 

*" The private life of Mahomet, from his birth to his mission, is preserved by 
Abnlfeda (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. 97-184). 

** Abulfeda, in Vit. c. 65, 66 ; Gngnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 272-289 ; 
the best traditions of the person and conversation of the prophet are derived from 
Ayesha, All, and Abu Horaira (Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 267; Ockley's Hist, of the Sar- 
acens, vol. ii. p. 149), sumamed the Father of a Cat, who died in the year 59 of 
the Hegira. 

plain certain discrepancies in Mahomet's life, some historians calculating by the 
luni-solar year in force in the period under narration, others adjusting such peri- 
ods by the application of the lunar year subsequently adopted. Thus some make 
their prophet to have lived sixty-three or sixty-three and a half years, othei*s sixty- 
five — the one possibly being Inni-solar, the other lunar years. See Calcutta Ke- 
view, No. xli. p. 49. — S. 


his side the affections of a public or private audience. They 
applauded bis commanding presence, bis majes- 
tfouBof the tic aspect, bis piercing eye, bis gracious smile, bis 
flowing beard, bis countenance tbat painted every 
sensation of tbe soul, and bis gestures tbat enforced each ex- 
pression of tbe tongue.* In tbe familiar offices of life be scru- 
pulously adhered to tbe grave and ceremonious politeness of 
bis country : bis respectful attention to tbe rich and powerful 
was dignified by bis condescension and affability to the poor- 
est citizens of Mecca : tGe frankness of bis manner concealed 
the artifice of bis views ; and tbe habits of courtesy were im- 
puted to personal friendship or universal benevolence. His 
memory was capacious and retentive ; bis wit easy and social; 
bis imagination sublime; bis judgment clear, rapid, and de- 
cisive. He possessed tbe courage both of thought and ac- 
tion ; and, although his designs might gradually expand with 
bis success, tbe first idea which be entertained of bis divine 
mission bears tbe stamp of an original and superior genius. 

* To the general characteristics of Mahomet's person here recorded bj Gibbon, 
it may not be uninteresting to add the more particular traits derived from the re- 
searches of modem orientalists. ''Mohammed," says Dr. Sprenger, ''was of 
middling size, had broad shoulders, a wide chest, and large bones, and he was 
fleshy but not stout. The immoderate size of his head was4>artly disgaised by 
the long locks of hair, which in slight curls came nearly down to the lobes of his 
ears. His oval face, though tawny, was rather fair for an Arab, but neither pale 
nor high colored. The forehead was broad, and his fine and long, hut narrow, 
eyebrows were separated by a vein, which vou could see throbbing if he wfta an- 
gry. Under long eyelashes sparkled bloodshot black eyes through wide-slit eye- 
lids. His nose was large, prominent, and slightly hooked, and the tip of it seem- 
ed to be turned up, but was not so in reality. Tlie mouth was wide, and he had 
a good set of teeth, and the fore-teeth were asunder. His beard rose from the 
cheek-bones and came down to the collar-bone ; he clipped his mustaclies, but did 
not shave them. He stooped, and was slightly humpbacked. His gait was care- 
less, and he walked fast but heavily, as if he were ascending a hill ;* and if he 
looked back, he turned his whole body. The mildness of his countenance gained 
him the confidehce of every one ; but he could not look straight into a man's 
face ; he turned his eyes usually outwards. On his back he had a round, fleshy 
tumor of the size of a pigeon's egg; its furrowed surface was covered with hair, 
and its base was surrounded by black moles. This was considered as the seal of 
his prophetic mission, at least during the latter part of his career, by his followers, 
who were so devout that they found a cure for their ailings in drinking the water 
in which he had bathed ; and it must have been very refreshing, for he perspired 
profusely, and his skin exhaled a strong smell." Life of Mohammed, p. 84. 

* Weirs description, which agrees In other particulars, differs in this: "His hands and 
feet," Bays that writer, " were very large, yet his step was so light tbat his foot left no 
mark behind in the sand."— P. 841. 


The son of Abdallah was educated in the bosom of the no- 
blest 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 pow- 
ers of eloquence, Mahomet was an illiterate barbarian : his 
youth had never been instructed in the arts of reading and 
writing ;^'' the common ignorance exempted him from shame 
or reproach, but he was reduced to a narrow circle of exist- 
ence, and deprived of those faithful mirrors which reflect to 

''^ Those who believe that Mahomet coold read or write are incapable of read- 
ing what is written, with another pen, in the Suras, or chapters of the Koran, Tii. 
xxix. xcvi. These texts, and the tradition of the Sonna, are admitted, without 
doubt, by Abulfeda (in Vit. c. 7), Gagnier (Not. ad Abulfed. p. 15), Pocock (Speci- 
men, p. 151), Reland (De Religione Moharomedicl^ p. 236), and Sale (Prelimina- 
ry Discourse, p. 42). Mr. White, almost alone, denies the ignorance, to accuse 
the imposture, of the prophet. His arguments are fur from satisfactory. Two 
short trading journeys to the fairs of Syria were surely not sufficient to infuse a 
acience so rare among the citizens of Mecca : it was not in the cool, deliberate 
act of a treaty that Mahomet would have dropped the mask ; nor can any con- 
elusion 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, 
irould have been the firat to detect and upbraid his scandalous hypocrisy (White's 
Sermons, p. 203, 204, Kotes, p. xxxvi.-xxxviii.).** 

* Namely, both as being a Koreishite, and as having been suckled fire years in 
the desert by his foster-mother Halymah, of the tribe of Banu Sad, which spoke 
the purest dialect. Sprenger, p. 77. — S. 

^ Modem orientalists are inclined to answer the question whether Mahomet 
could read and write in the affirmative. The point hinges upon the critical inter- 
pretation of certain passages of the Koitin, and upon the authority of traditions. 
The ninety-sixth Sura, adduced by Gibbon in support of his view, is interpreted by 
Silvestre de Sacy as an argument on the opposite side (Mdm. de TAcad. des In- 
8cr. L. p. 95), and his opinion is supported by Weil (p. 46, note 50). Moslem au- 
thors are at variance on the subject. Almost all the modern writers, and many 
of the old, deny the ability of their prophet to read and write ; but good authors, 
especially of the Shiite sect, admit that he could read, though tliey describe him 
as an unskilful penman. The former class of writers support their opinion by 
perverting the texts of the Koran which bear upon the subject. ** Several in- 
stances," says Dr. Sprenger, ** in which Mohammed did read and write, are re- 
corded by dokhilri, Nasay, and others. It is, however, certain that he wished 
to appear ignorant in order to raise the elegance of the composition of the Koran 
into a miracle '* (p. 102). The same wish would doubtless influence the views of 
the more orthodox Mussulman commentators. It may be further remarked that 
reading and writing were far from being so rare among the citizens of Mecca in 
the time of Mahomet as Gibbon reprosents (Sprenger, p. 37). Nor on a general 
Tiew does it appear probable that a work like the Koran, containing frequent rof- 
erences to the Scriptures and other books, should have been composed by ** an il- 
literate barbarian." — S. 

v.— 14 


our miDd 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.''^ He compares 
the nations and the religions of the earth ; discovers the weak- 
ness of the Persian and Eoman monarchies ; beholds with pitj 
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 inquijy 
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 car- 
avan 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 compan- 
ions ; 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 be- 
yond the limits of the Arabian world. From every region of 
that solitary world the pilgrims of Mecca were annually as- 
sembled 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." 

^1 The Coont de BoiilainTilliera (Vie de Mahomet, p. 202-22S) leads his Ara- 
bian popil, like the Teleroachus of Pension, or the Cyrus of Kamsay. His jour- 
ney to the court of Persia is probably a fiction, nor can I trace the origin of bis 
exclamation, '*Les Grecs sont pourtant des hommes." The two Syrian joui-neys 
are expressed by almost nil the Arabian writers, both Mahometans and Christians 
(Gagnier, ad Abulfed. p. 10). 

^ I am not at leisure to pursue the fables or conjectures which name the stran- 
gers accused or suspected by the infidels of Mecca (Koran, ch. 16, p. 228, ch. 35, 

A.D. 56^-609.] THE DOCTRINE OF ONE GOD. 211 

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 Cadi jah : in the cave of Hera, three miles 
from Mecca," 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 Idam^ he 
preached to his family and nation, is compounded of an eter- 
nal truth and a necessary fiction, That thebe is only onb 
God, AijD THAT Mahoket is the apostle of God. 

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 pre- 
served 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 quali- 
ties 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 invis- 
ible essence. After the ruin of the temple, the faith of the 
Hebrew exiles w^ purified, fixed, and enlightened by the 

p. 297, with Sale's Remarks ; Prideanx's Life of Mahomet, p. 22-27 ; Gagnier, 
Not. ad Abalfed. p. 11, 74 ; Marecci, torn. iL p. 400. Even Prideaux has observed 
that the transaction must have been secret, and that the scene lay in the heart of 

^' Abnlfeda in Vit. c 7, p. 15 ; Gagnier, torn. i. p. 138, 185. The situation of 
Mount Hera is remarked by Abulfeda (Geograph. Arab. p. 4). Yet Mahomet had 
never read of the cave of Egeria, ** Ubi noctumie Numa constituebat amicie," of 
the Idaean mount, where Minos conversed with Jove, etc. 

■ Itldm is the verbal noun, or infinitive, and Motlim, which has been corrupted 
into Mtaalman or MusutmaUy is the participle of the causative form of aalm^ which 
means immunity, peace. The signification of Mdm is, therefore, to make peace, 
or to obtain tmnitun'/y, either by compact, or by doing homage to the stronger, ac- 
knowledging his superiority and surrendering to him the object of the dispute. It 
also means simply to surrender. In the Koran it signifies in most instances to do 
homage to God, to acknowledge him as our absolute Lord, to the exclusion of 
idols. Sometimes, however, it occurs in that book in its technical meaning, as the 
name of a religion. Sprenger, p. 168. — S. 


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.'* 
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 pre-eminence .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 aYid images that disgraced the 
temples of the East : the throne of the Almighty was dark- 
ened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the ob- 
jects of popular veneration ; and the CoUyridian heretics, who 
flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the Virgin 
Mary with the name and honors of a goddess." The myste- 
ries 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 f • an orthodox commen- 
tary will satisfy only a believing mind : intemperate curiosity 

^^ Koran, c. 9, p. 153. Al Beidawi, and the other commentators qaoted by 
Sale, adhere to the charge ; but I do not understand that it is colored by the roost 
obscnre or absurd tradition of the Talmndists. 

^' Hottinger, Hist. Orient, p. 225-228. The CoUyridian heresy was carried 
from Thrace to Arabia by some women, and the name was borrowed from the 
KoXXvpic, or cake, which they offered to the goddess. This example, that of Be- 
ryllus. Bishop of Bostra (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. c. 33), and several others, may 
excuse the reproach, '* Arabia hieresewn ferax." 

''* 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, a 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 
Manichdisme, tom. i. p. 532) ; and he derives the mistake from the woi-d Rouah, 
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. 

A.D. 569-609.] tHE DOCTRINE OF ONE GOD. 213 

and zeal bad 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 bom must die, that whatever is cor- 
ruptible must decay and perish." In the Author of the uni- 
verse his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an infinite 
and eternal being, without form or place, without issue or si- 
militude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the 
necessity of his own nature, and deriving from himself all 
moral and intellectual perf ectibn. These sublime truths, thus 
announced in the language of the prophet,^' 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 :'* a creed too 
sublime, perhaps, for our present faculties. What object re- 
mains 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 revelation was confii*med 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 difliculties, how to reconcile the prescience 

^ This train of tbonght is philosophically exemplifled in the character of A bra* 
ham, who opposed in Chaldiea the first introdaction of idolatry (Koran, eh. 6, 
p. 106 ; D^Herbelot, Biblioth. Orient p. 18). 

^^ See the Koran, partiealarly the second (p. 80), the fifty-seventh (p. 437), the 
flfty-eighth (p. 441) chapters, which proclaim the omnipotence of the Ci^eator. 

** The most orthodox creeds are translated by Pocock (Specimen, p. 274, 284- 
292), Ockley (Hist, of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. Ixxxii.-xcv.), Reland (De Religion 
Moham. 1. L p. 7-18), and Chardin (Voyages en Perse, torn. iv. p. 4-28). The 
great truth, that God is without similitude, is foolishly criticised by Maracci (AU 
conm, torn. i. part iii. p. 87-94), because he made roan after his own image. 


of God with the freedom and respoDsibility of man; how 
to explain the permission of evil under the reign of infinite 
power and infinite goodness.* 

* This sketch of the Arabian prophet and his doctrines is drawn with too miich 
partiality, and requires to be modified by the researches and opinions of later in- 
qairers. Gibbon was probably led by his notion that Mahomet was a '* philosophic 
theist " to regard him with such evident favor. Nothing, however, can be more 
at variance with the prophet's enthusiastic temperament than snch a character. 
His apparently deistical opinions arose merely from his belief in the Mosaic reve- 
lation, and his rejection of that of Christ. He was thus a deist in the sense that 
any Jew may be called a deist. On this point Sprenger well remarks, ** He never 
could reconcile his notions of God with the doctrine of the Trinity and with the 
divinity of Christ ; and he was disgusted with the monkish institutions and sec- 
tarian disputes of the Christians. His creed was : * He is God alone, the eternal 
Grod ; he has not begotten, and is not begotten ; and none is his equal.* Nothing, 
however, can be moro erroneous than to suppose that Mohammed was, at any 
period of his early career, a deist. Faith, when once extinct, cannot be revived ; 
and it was his enthusiastic faith in inspiration that made him a prophet " (p. 104). 
And that Mahomet's ideas of God were far from being of that abstract nature 
which might suit a *' philosophic theist," is evident from his ascribing to the Om- 
nipotent ninety-nine attributes, thus regarding him as a being of the most con- 
crete kind (ib. p. 90). 

With regard, again, to the originality of Mahomet's doctrines, there is reason to 
think that it was not so complete as 6ibbon would lead us to believe by charac- 
terizing the Koran as the work **of a single artist,'* and by representing Mahomet 
as cut off from all subsidiary sources in consequence of his inability to read. The 
latter point has been already examined ; and it now remains to show that Ma- 
homet was not without predecessors, who had not only held the same tenets, but 
even openly preached them. Gibboa admits, indeed, that before Mahomet's time, 
'*the most rational of the Arabs acknowledged God's power, though they neg- 
lected his worship ;" and that it was habit rather than conviction that still at- 
tached them to the relics of idolatry (supra, p. 203). ^ut the new creed had 
made still more active advances. The Koreisliites charged Mahomet with taking 
his whole doctrine from a book called the **Asatyr of the Ancients, '* which is sev- 
eral times quoted in the Koran, and appears to have contained the doctrine of the 
resurrection (Sprenger, p. 100). At the fair of Okatz, Qoss had preached the unity 
of God before Mahomet assumed the prophetic office ; and contemporary with him 
was Omayah of Tayef, to whose teaching Mahomet allowed that his own bore a 
great similarity (ib. p. 5, 38, 39). Zayd, the sceptic, was another forerunner of 
Mahomet, and his followers were among the prophet's first converts (p. 167). 
Sprenger concludes his account of the Pras- Mahometans — or Reformers before the 
Reformation — as follows : ** From the preceding account of early converts, and it 
embraces nearly all those who joined Mohamm^ during the first six years, it ap- 
peal's that the leading men among them held the tenets which form the basis of 
the religion of the Arabic prophet long before he preached them. They were not 
his tools, but his constituents. He clothed the sentiments which he had in com- 
mon with them in poetical language ; and his malady gave divine sanction to his 
oracles. Even when he was acknowledged as the messenger of God, Omar had as 
much or more influence on the development of the Islam as Mohammed himself. 
He sometimes attempted to overrule the convictions of these men, but he suc- 
ceeded in very few instances. The Islam is not the work of Mohammed ; it is 
not the doctrine of the impostor ; it embodies the faith and sentiments of men 
who for their talents and virtues must be considered as the most distinguished of 
their nation, and who acted under all circnmstiinces so faithful to the spirit of the 
Arabs', that tiiey must be regarded as their representatives. The Islam is, there- 

A.i>. 569-609.] MAHOMET THE APOSTLE OF GOD. 215 

The God of nature has written his existence on all his 
works, and his law in the heart of man. • To restore the 
Mahom t th l^^owledge of the one, and the practice of the 
apoeueof other, has been the real or pretended aim of the 

God, and the ' * 

last of the prophcts of Q\Gry 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." During tliat period some rays of prophetic light 
had been imparted to one hundred and twentyrfour thousand 
of the elect, discriminated by their respective measure of virt- 
ue and grace ; three hundred and thirteen apostles were sent 
with a special commission to recall tlieir country from idola- 
try and vice; one hundred and four volumes have been dic- 
tated by the Holy Spirit ; and six legislators of transcendent 
brightness have announced to mankind the six successive rev- 
elations 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 num- 
bered with the infidels. The writings of the patriarchs were 
extant only in the apocryphal copies of the Greeks and Syr- 
ians :" the conduct of Adam had not entitled him to the grat- 
itude or respect of his children ; the seven precepts of Noah 
were observed by an inferior and imperfect class of the pros- 

^ Reland, De Relig. Moham. 1. i. p. 17-47 ; Sale's Preliminary Discoaree, p. 73- 
76 ; Voyage de Cliardin, torn. iv. p. 2S-^7 and 87-17, for the Persian addition, 
'*AIi 18 the Vicar of God !*' Yet the precise number of prophets is not an article 
of faith. 

^' For the apocryphal books of Adam, see Fabricins, Codex Pseadepigraphas V. 
T. p. 27-29 ; of Seth, p. 164-157 ; 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.* 

fore, the offspring of the spirit of the time, and the voice of the Arabic nation. 
And it is this which made it victorious, particularly among notions whose habits 
resemble those of the Arabs, like the Berbers and Tatara. There is, however, 
no doubt that the impostor has defiled it by his immorality and pervei-seness of 
mind, and that most of the objectionable doctrines are his" (p. 174). — S. 

*■ The whole book has since been recovered in the Ethiopic language, and has 
been edited and translated by Archbishop Lawrence, Oxford, 1821. — M. 

216 M0SEa-^£8US. [CH.L. 

elytes of the synagogue ;" and the memory of Abrahanoi was 
obscurely revered by the Sabians in his native land of Chal- 
dtea: 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 ;" and the cap- 
tive 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."* 
'* Verily, Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, is the apos- 
tle 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 ap- 
proach near to the pi^esence of God."" The wonders of the 
genuine and apocryphal gospels" are profusely heaped on his 
head ; and the Latin Church has not disdained to borrow 
from the Koran the immaculate conception" 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 

^ The seven precepts of Noah are explained by Marsham (Canon. Chronicas, 
p. 154-180), who adopts, on this occasion, the learning and credulity of Selden. 

" The articles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moaes, etc., in the Biblioth^ae of 
D'Herbelot, are gayly bedecked with the fanciful legends of the Mahometans, who 
have built on the groundwork of Scripture and the Talmud. 

^ Koran, c. 7, p. 128, etc., c. 10, p. 173, etc. ; D'Herbelot, p. 647, etc. 

^ Koran, c. 3, p. 40, c 4, p. 80; D'Herbelot, p. 399, etc. 

^ See the Gospel of St. Thomas, or of the Infancy, in the Codex Apocrypbos 
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 pres- 
ent copy more recent than Mahomet. Yet his quotations agree with the original 
about the speech of Christ in his cradle, his living birds of day, etc. (Sike, c i. 
p. 168, 169, c. 36, p. 198, 199, c. 46, p. 206; Cotelier, c 2, p. 160, 161.) 

" It is darkly hinted in the Koran (c. 3, p. 39), and more clearly explained by 
the tradition of the Sonnites (Stile*s Note, and Maracci, tom. ii. p. 112). In the 
twelfth century, the immaculate conception was condemned by St. Bernard as a 
pi-esumptuous novelty (Fra Paolo, Istoria del Concilio di Trento, 1. ii.). 

AJ>. 569-609.] THE KORAN. 217 

his reputation, and conspired against bis life ; bnt their inten- 
tion only was guilty; a phantom or a criminal was substi- 
tuted on the cross ; and the innocent saint was translated to 
the seventh heaven/' During six hundred years the Gospel 
was the way of truth and salvation ; but the Christians insen- 
sibly forgot both the laws and the example of their founder; 
and Mahomet was instructed by the Gnostics to accuse the 
church, as well as the synagogue, of con*upting the integrity 
of the sacred text."* The piety of Moses and of Christ re- 
joiced in the assurance of a future prophet, more illustrious 
than themselves : -the evangelic promise of the Paraclete^ or 
Holy Ghost, was prefigured in the name, and accomplished in 
the person of Mahomet,*' the greatest and the last of the apos- 
tles of God. 

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 

■ H I I-- ■■ ™ ■ -■ ■■■ - ■---■■ .1 ■■ ■■■ ■ ■» ■■ ■^■■■l■l^ll ■»■■ w^ 

^ See the Koran, ch. 8, v. 53, and ch. 4 , v. 15G, of Maracci's edition. " Deus est 
pnestantissimas dolose agentium " (an odd praise) << « « « nee crucifixerunt earn, 
sed objecta est eis similitudo :" an expression that may suit with the system of the 
Docetse; bat the commentators believe (Maracci, torn. ii. p. 118-115, 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. Barnabas, and which 
had been started as early as the time of Irenosus, by some Ebionite heretics (Beau- 
sobre. Hist, du Manich^tsme, tom. ii. p. 25 ; Mosheim de Reb. Christ, p. 353). 

^ This charge is obscurely urged in the Koran (ch. 8, p. 45) ; but neither Ma- 
homet 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 re- 
late some stories, and the illiterate prophet might listen tc the bold assertions of 
the Manichieans. See Beausobre, tom. i. p. 129-305. 

^ Among the prophecies of the Old and New Testament, which are perveiied 
by the fraud or ignorance of the Mussulmans, they apply to the prophet the prom- 
ise of the Paraclete^ or Comforter, which had been already usurped by the Mon- 
tanists and Manichaeans (Beausobre, Hist Critique du Manicheisme, tom. i. p. 263, 
etc.) ; and the easy change of letters, mpixkurb^ for ^apacXiiroc, affords the ety- 
mology of the name of Mohammed (Maracci, tom. i. part i. p. 15-28). 

218 THE KORAN. [Ch. L. 

with the exercise of their reason aud memory ; and the di- 
versity 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 Ko- 
ran," 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 im- 
portant errands ; and this trusty messenger successively re- 
vealed the chapters and verses to the Arabian prophet. In- 
stead 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 mod- 
ified 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, with- 
out 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 

** For the Koran, see D'Herbelot, p. 85-S8 ; Maracci, torn. i. in Yit. Moham- 
med, p. 32-45 ; Sale, Preliminary Discourse, p. 66-70. 

*■ Abubeker, at the suggestion of Omar, gave orders for its collection and pub- 
lication ; but the editorial labor was actually performed by Zeid ibn Th&bit, who 
had been one of Mahomet's secretaries. He is related to have gathered the text 
— '*from date-leaves, and tablets of white stone, and from the breasts of men." 
Weil, p. 348 ; Calcutta Rev. No. xxxvii. p. 9. — S. 

I* The recension of Othman has been handed down to us unaltered. So care- 
fully, indeed, has it been preserved, that there are no variations of importance — 
we might almost say no variations at all — amongst the innumerable copies of the 
Koran scattered throughout the vast bounds of the empire of Islam. Contending 
and embittered factions, originating in the murder of Othman himself, within a 
quarter of a century from the death of Mahomet, have ever since rent the Ma- 
hometan world. Yet but one Koran has always been current amongst them ; and 
the consentaneous use of it by all, up to the present day, is an irrefragable proof 

AJ>. 56e-e09.] THE KOBAN. 219 

the various editions of the Koran assert the same miracnloas 
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 incom- 
parable performance.*' 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.'' The harmony and copious- 
ness of style will not reach, in a version, the European infi- 
del: he will peruse with impatience the endless incoherent 
rhapsody of fable, and precept, and declamation, which sel- 
dom 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.*^ If the composition of the Koran 

« Koran, ch. 17, v. 89. In Sale, p. 235, 286. In Maracoi, p. 410.* 
" Tet a sect of Arabians was persuaded that it might be equalled or surpassed 
by a homan pen (Pocock, Specimen, p. 221, etc.); and Maniccl (the polemic is 
too hard for the translator) derides the rhyming affectation of the most opplauded 
passage (torn. i. part ii. p. 69-75). 

^ Colloquia (whether real or fabulous) in *' Medift Arabi& atque ab Arabibus 
habita ** (Lowth, De Poesi Hebrsorum Prslect. xxxii. xxxiii. xxxiv. with his Ger- 
man editor Michaelis, Epimetron iv.). Yet Michaelis (p. 671-678) has detected 
many Egyptian images, the elephantiasis, papyrus, Nile, crocodile, etc. The lan- 
guage is ambiguously styled Arabica-Hebrcea. The resemblance of the sister dia- 
lects was much more visible in their childhood than in their mature age (Michaelis, 
p. 682 ; Schultens, in Pnefat. Job).!" 

that we have now before us the self-same text pi-epared by the commands of that 
unfortunate caliph. There is probably no other work which has remained twelve 
centuries with so pure a text. The various readings are wonderfully few in num- 
ber, and are chiefly confined to differences in tiie vowel points and diacritical 
signs ; but as these marks were invented at a later date, and did not exist at all 
in the early copies, they can hardly be said to aifect the text of Othman. Cal- 
cutta Review, No. xxxvii. p. 11. — S. 

* Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 11. — M. 

■* The age of the Book of Job is still, and probably will still, be disputed. Ro- 
•enmiiller thus states his own opinion: **Certc serioribus reipublicie temporibus 

220 MIRACLES. ICh. L. 

exceed the facnlties 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 sup- 
plies the silence of his written revelation : the sayings of Ma- 
homet were so many lessons of truth ; his actions so many ex- 
amples 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 conse- 
crated 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 de- 
posited on the pulpit and the sepulchre of the apostle ; and 
the work has been approved by the four orthodox sects of 
the Sonnites." 

The mission of the ancient prophets, of Moses and of Jesas, 
had been confirmed by many splendid prodigies; and Ma- 
homet 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 des- 
ert, or to kindle a conflagration in the unbelieving city. As 
often as he is pressed by the demands of the Koreish, he in- 
volves himself in the obscure boast of vision and prophecy, 
appeals to the internal proofs of his doctrine, and shieldjs him- 
self behind the providence of God, who refuses those signs 
and wonders that would depreciate the merit of faith and ag- 

>« Al Bochari died a.h. 224. See D'Herbelot, p. 208, 416, 827; Gagnier, Not. 
ad Abulfed. c. 19, p. 83. 

assignandum esse Hbrum, suadere videtnr ad Chaldaismum yergens sermo." Tet 
the observations of Kosegarten, which Kosenmiiller has given in a note, and com- 
mon reason suggest that this Chaldaism may be the native form of a much, earlier 
dialect ; or the Chaldnic may have adopted the poetical archaisms of a dialect dif- 
fering from but not less ancient than the Hebrew. See Rosen mliller, Proleg. on 
Job, p. 41. The poetry appeai-s to me to belong to a much earlier period. — M. 

*■ The numbers were much more disproportionate than these. Out of 600,000 
traditions, Bokh&ri found only 4000 to be genuine. Weil, Gesch. der Chalifen, 
vol. i. p. 291.— S. 

A.D. 569-^09.] MIRACLES. 221 

gravate the guilt of infidelity. Bat the modest or angry tone 
of his apologies betrays his weakness and vexation ; and these 
passages of scandal established beyond suspicion the integrity 
of tlie Koran/' 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 af- 
firm 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.'^ 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 famil- 
iar though important conversation, he again descended to Je- 
rusalem, remounted the Borak, returned to Mecca, and per- 
formed in the tenth part of a night the journey of many 
thousand years.** According to another legend, the apostle 

** See, more remarkably, Koran, ch. 2, 6, 12, 18, 17. Prideaux (Life of Mahom- 
el, p. 18, 19) has cotifoanded the impostor. Maracci, with a more learned appa- 
ratus, has shown that the passages which deny his miracles are clear and positive 
(Alcoran, torn. i. part ii. p. 7-12), and those which seem to assert them are ambig- 
uoQS and insufficient (p. 12-22). 

^ See the Specimen Hist. Araburo, the text of Abulpharagios, p. 17 ; the notes 
of Focock, p. 187-190 : D'Herbelot, Biblioth^qoe Orientale, p. 76, 77 ; Voyages 
de Chardin, tom. W. p. 200-203 ; Maracci (Alcoran, torn. i. p. 22-64) has most la- 
boriously collected and confuted the miracles and prophecies of Mahomet, which, 
according to some writers, amount to three thousand. 

^ The nocturnal journey is cii-cumstantially related by Abulfeda (in Vit. Mo- 

222 MIRACLES. [Ch. L. 

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 con- 
tracting her dimensions, entered at the collar, and issued forth 
through the sleeve, of his shirt.** The vulgar are amused 
with these marvellous tales ; but the gravest of the Mussul- 
man doctors imitate the modesty of their master, and indulge 
a latitude of faith or interpretation.'** They might specious- 
ly allege, that in preaching the religion it was needless to vio- 
late 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. 

The polytheist is oppressed and distracted by the variety 
of superetition : a thousand rites of Egyptian origin were in- 
terwoven with the essence of the Mosaic law; and the spirit 
of the Gospel had evaporated in the pageantry of the Church. 

hammed, c. 19, p. 83), who wishes to think it a Tision ; bj Prideaax (p. 31-40), 
who aggravates the absurdities ; and by Gagnier (torn. 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: *'Lau8 iUi qui transtulit servum suum ab oratorio 
Haram ad oratorium remotissimnm ** (Koran, ch. 17, ▼. 1 ; in Maracci, torn. ii. 
p. 407 ; for Sale's version is more licentious). A slender basis for the aerial 
structure of tradition. 

** In the prophetic style, which uses the present or past for the future, Mahom- 
et had said, *' Appropinqnavit horn et scissa est luna*' (Koran, ch. 54, v. 1 ; in Ma- 
racci, torn. 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, torn. 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- 
284), on the faith, as it should seem, of the credulous Al Jannabi. Yet a Mahom- 
etan doctor has arraigned the credit of the principal witness (apnd Pocock, Speci- 
men, p. 187) ; the best interpreters are content with the simple sense of the Koran 
(Al Beidawi, apnd Hottinger, Hist Orient. 1. ii. p. 302), and the silence of Abulfe- 
da is worthy of a prince and a philosopher.* 

'^ Abulpharagius, in Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 17 ; and his scepticism is justified 
in the notes of Pocock, p. 190-194, from the purest authorities. 

■ Compare Hamaker, Notes to Inc. Auct. Lib. do Ezped. Mempliidos, p. 62. 
— M. 

A.D. 569-^09.] PRECEPTS OF MAHOMET. 223 

The prophet of Mecca was tempted by prejudice, or policy, 
rrvceptoof ^^ patriotism, to sanctify the rites of the Ara- 
mre!?fMt- bians, and the custom of visiting the holy stone of 
log, alms. ^jjQ Caaba. But the precepts of Mahomet himself 
inculcate 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.*" 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 num- 
ber 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 religions fervor, our travellers are edified by 
the profound humility and attention of the Turks and Per- 
sians. Cleanliness is the key of prayer : the frequent lustra- 
tion 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 scar- 
city 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 Mus- 
sulman, for his own person, is invested with the character of 
a priest. Among the theists, who reject the use of images, it 

101 The most authentic account of these precepts, pilgrimnge, prayer, fasting, 
alms, and ablutions, is extracted from the Persian and Arabian theologians by 
Maracci (Prodrom. part W. p. 9-24), Reland (in his excellent treatise De Religione 
Mohammedicft, Utrecht, 1717, p. 67-123), and Chardin (Voyages en Perse, tom. 
iv. p. 47-195). Maracci 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 fourteenth letter of Tonmefurt (Voyage du 
Levant, torn. ii. p. 825-360, in octavo) describes what he had seen of the religion 
of the Turks. 


has been f oand necessary to restrain the wanderings of the 
fancy, by directing the eye and the thought towards a Jcebla 
or visible point of the horizon. The prophet was at first in- 
clined 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 Astrachan, 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 are assembled in the mosque ; 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 inde- 
pendent spirit of fanaticism looks down with contempt on the 
ministers and the slaves of superstition. II. The voluntary*" 
penance of the ascetics, the torment and glory of their lives, 

'^ Mahomet (Sale's Koran, ch. 9, p. 153) reproaches the Christians with taking 
their priests and monks for their lords, besides God. Yet Maracci (Prodromns, 
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. 

■ Mahomet nt first granted the Jews many privileges in observing their ancient 
customs, and especially their Sabbath ; and he himself kept the fast of ten days 
with which the Jewish year begins. JSut, when he found himself deceived in his 
expectations of converting them, tiiese privileges were witiidrawn. Mecca was 
substituted for Jerusalem as the kehloy or quarter to which the face is directed 
during prayer ; and, in place of the Jewish fast, that of Ramadan was instituted. 
Weil, Mohammed, p. 90. — S. 

^ Mr. Forster (Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. i. p. 416) has severely rebuked Gib- 
bon for his inaccuracy in saying that ^'the Mahometan religion is destitute of 
priesthood or sacrifice ;" but this expression must be understood of the general 
practice of the Mahometans. The occasion of the pilgrimage to Mecca fonned 
an exception ; and Gibbon has himself observed (supra, p. 198) that ** the pilgrim* 
age was achieved, cu at the present hour^ by a sacrifice of sheep and camels." The 
Koran sanctions sacrifice on this occasion ; and Mahomet himself, in his last pil- 
grimage to Mecca, set the example by offering up with his own hand the sixty- 
three camels which he had brought with him from Medina, ordering Ali to do the 
like with the thirty-seven which he had brought from Yemen. Weil, Mohammed, 
p. 294, 317. This ordinance was probably a sort of political compromise with the 
ancient idolatrous rites of Mecca. It may be further remarked that there were 
two kinds of pilgrimage, viz., Hadj and Zlmra. The rites accompanying them, 
however, were exactly similar — the only distinction being that the former took 
place only on the appointed festivals, whilst the latter might be performed ail the 
year round. lb. p. 290. — S. 

AJ). 569-609.] . PRECEPTS OF MAHOMET. 225 

was odious to a prophet vfho 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."' Yet he instituted, in each year, a fast of thirty 
days; and strenuously recommended the observance as a dis- 
cipline which purifies the soul and subdues the body, as a sal- 
utary exercise of obedience to the will of God and his apos- 
tle. During the month of Kamadan, from the rising to the 
setting of the sun, the Mussulman abstains from eating, and 
drinking, and women, and baths, and perfumes ; from all nour- 
ishment that can restore his strength, from all pleasure that 
can gratify his senses. In the revolution of the lunar year, 
the Eamadan 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 ;*^ and a considerable 
portion of the globe has abjured, at his command, the use of 
that salutary, though dangerous, liquor. These painful re- 
straints are, doubtless, infringed by the libertine and eluded 
by the hypocrite ; but the legislator, by whom they are enact- 
ed, 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 unfort- 

*^ Koran, ch. 5, p. 94, and Sale's note, which refers to the authority of Jalla- 
loddin and Al Betdawi. D'Herbelot declares that Mahomet condemned la vie 
religieute, and that the first swarms of fakirs, dervishes, etc., did not appear till 
after the jear 800 of the Hegira (Biblioth. Orient. p« 292, 718). 

'^ See the doable prohibition (Koran, ch. 2, p. 25 ; ch. 5, p. 94) ; the one in the 
style of a legislator, the other in that of a fanatic. The public and private mo- 
tives of Mahomet are investigated bj Frideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 62-64) and 
Sale (PreUminary Discourse, p. 124). 

* Forster points out the inconsistency of this passage with the one on p. 287 : 
**His voice invited the Arabs to freedom and victory, to arms and rapine, to the 
indnlgenoe of their darling passions in this world and the next. " Mahometanism 
Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 49S.-— S. 

v.— 15 


nnate. Mahomet, perhaps, is the only law-giver who has de- 
fined 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 jifth}^* Benevolence is the foundation of jus- 
tice, 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. 

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 dissolu- 
tion, 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 resur- 
rection was first entertained by the Egyptians;"* and their 

^^ The jealousy of Maracci (Frodromns, part iv. p. S3) prompts him to enu- 
merate the more liberal alms of the Catholics of Rome. Fifteen great hospitals are 
open to manj thousand patients and pilgrims ; fifteen hundred maidens are aDDual- 
ly portioned; fifty-six chanty-schools are founded for both sexes; one hundred 
and twenty confraternities relieve the wants of their brethren, etc. The benevo- 
lence 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. 

*^ See Herodotus (1. ii. c. 123) and our learned countryman Sir John Marsham 
(Canon. Chronicus, p. 46). The"A^ijc of the same >vriter (p. 254-274) is an eUib- 
orate sketch of the infernal regions, as they were painted by the fancy of the 
Egyptians and Greeks, of the poets and philosophers of antiquity. 

■ The four practical duties are prayer, fasting, alms, and pilgrimage. Weil, 
Mohammed, p. 2S8, note. It is here obvious that Gibbon bad not overlooked the 
last, though he has omitted it in the preceding enumeration of the ortb'iuxry and 
conztani duties of a Mussulman. — S. 

AJ>. 569-609.] HELL AND PABADISE. 227 

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 un- 
availing ; and it is with a more philosophic spirit that Ma- 
homet relies on the omnipotence of the Creator, whose word 
can reanimate the breathless clay, and collect the innumera- 
ble atoms that no longer retain their form or substance.'*^ 
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. 

The reunion of the soul and body will be followed by the 
final judgment of mankind ; and in his copy of the Magian 
HeiiAod picture, the prophet has too faithfully represented 
P******^ the forms of proceeding, and even tfae slow and 
successive operations, of an earthly tribunal. By his intoler- 
ant adversaries he is upbraided for extending, even to them- 
selves, the hope of salvation ; for asserting the blackest her- 
esy, 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 revela- 
tion. In the idiom of the Koran,*** the belief of God is in- 
separable 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 enthu- 

^^ The Koran (ch. 2, p. 259, etc. ; of Sale, p. 82 ; of Maracci, p. 97) relates an 
ingenious miracle, which satisfied the curiosity and confirmed the faith of Abraham. 

^^ The candid Beland has demonstrated that Mahomet damns all unbelievers 
(De Religione Moham. p. 12S-142) ; that devils will not be finally saved (p. 196- 
199) ; that paradise will not tolely consist of corporeal delights (p. 199-205) ; and 
that women's soals are immortal (p. 205-209). 


siasm/^ The doom of the infidels is common : the measure 
of their gailt 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 the 
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 be- 
lievera 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 tl^e 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 suf- 
ferer. According as the shares of guilt or virtue shall pre- 
ponderate, 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 Ma- 
homet, 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 aU 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 aggra- 
vated to an infinite degree by the idea of endless duration. 
Eut the same idea operates with an opposite effect on the con- 

'^ Al Beidawi, apud Sale, Koran, ch. 9, p. 164. The refusal to pray for an un- 
believing kindred is justified, according to Mahomet, by the duty of a prophet, and 
the example of Abraham, who reprobated his oxm &ther as an enemy of dod. Yet 
Abraham (he adds, ch. 9, v. 116 ; Maracci, torn. iL p. 317) ** Fuit sane pins, mitis.** 

A.D. 569-600.] PABADISE Al^D HELL. 229 

tinnity 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 para- 
dise ; but instead of inspiring the blessed inhabitants with a 
liberal taste for harmony and science, conversation and friend- 
ship, 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, whidi 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 in- 
creased 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, pr disturb their 
felicity by the suspicion of an everlasting marriage. This 
image of a carnal paradise has provoked the indignation, per- 
haps the envy, of the monks : they declaim against the im- 
pair 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, vrithout shame, to 
the literal interpretation of the Koran : useless would be the 
resurrection of the body, unless it were restored to the pos- 
session 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 forgot- 
ten and despised by the saints and martyrs, who shall be ad- 
mitted to the beatitude of the divine vision."* 

i» For the day of jadgment, bell, paradise, etc., consnlt the Koran (ch. 2, y. 2o, 


Tbe fii*8t and most arduous conquests of Mahomet"' were 

» — 

c. 56, 78, etc.)) with Maraeci's virulent but learned refutation (in his notes, and in 
the Frodromus, part iv. p. 78, 120, 122, etc.) ; D'Herbelot (Biblioth^uo Orientale, 
p. 368, 875); Reland (p. 47-61); and Sale (p. 76-109). The original ideas of 
the Magi are darkly and doubtfully explored by their apologist Dr. Hyde (Hist. 
Beligionis Persamm, c. 8S, p. 402-412, Oxon. 1760). In the article of Mahomet, 
Bayle has shown how indifferently wit and philosophy supply the absence of gen- 
nine information. 

Ill Before I enter on the history of the prophet, it is incumbent on me to pro- 
duce my evidence. The Latin, French, and English versions of the Koran are 
preceded by historical discourses, and the three trailslators, Maraoci (torn. L p. 10- 
82), Savary (torn. i. p. 1-248), and Sale (Preliminary Discourse, p. 83-56), had ac- 
curately studied the language and character of their author. Two professed Lives 
of Mahomet have been composed by Dr. Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, seventh edi- 
tion, London, 1718, in octavo) and the Count de Boulainvillier8(Vte de Mahomed, 
Londres, 1 730, 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 coanL 
The article in D'Herbelot (Biblioth. Orient, p. 598-603) is chiefly drawn from 
Novairi and Mirkond ; but the best and most authentic of our guides is M. Ga- 
gnier, a Frenchman by birth, and professor at Oxford of the Oriental tongues. In 
two elaborate works (Ismael Abulfeda de Vita et Rebus gestis Moham media, etc.. 
Latino vertit, Prsefutione et Notis illnstravit Johannes Gngnier, Oxon. 1723, in fo- 
lio ; La Vie de Mahomet traduite et compiltSe de I'Alcoran, des Traditions Aa- 
thentiques de la Sonna et des meilleurs Auteurs Arabes, Amsterdam, 1748, 3 vols, 
in 12mo) he has interpreted, illustrated, and supplied the Arabic text of AbuMeda 
and Al Jannabi ; the first an enlightened prince, who reigned at Hamah, in Syria, 
A.D. 1310-1332 (see Gagnier, Priefat. ad Abulfed.); the second a credulous doc- 
tor, who visited Mecca a.d. 1556. (D'Herbelot, p. 397; Gagnier, tom. iii. p. 209, 
210.) These are my general vouchers, and the inqubitive reader vay follow the 
oiHler of time and the division of chapters. Yet I must obsen'e that both Abulfeda 
and Al Jannabi are modem historians, and that they cannot appeal to any writera 
of the first century of the Hegiro.* 

* The original materials for a Life of Mahomet are — L The Koran. IL The 
traditions of Mahomet's followers. III. Some poetical works. IV. The eariiesK 
Arabian biographies of the prophet. 

L The Koran, respecting the general integrity and authenticity of which Orien- 
tal scholars are agreed, is the great storehouse for the opinions and character of 
Mahomet ; but the events of his outward life, and their connection, are derived al- 
most entirely from tradition. 

II. After Mahomet's death, such of his followera as had been much about his 
person (Ashdb, ''companions") were surrounded by pupils who had not seen and 
conversed with him, but who were desirous of acquiring information from those 
who had enjoyed that advantage. This second generation, who were called Tabiys 
(Tafrtun, *' successors"), transmitted in turn to others the information thus ac- 
quired. Great care was employed in comparing and sifting these traditions, which 
were derived from various and often distant sources ; and, as a guarantee of au- 
thenticity, the name of the person on whose authority they i^ested was transmitted 
along with them. It is possible that some of them may have been committed to 


those of his wife, his servant, his pupil, and his friend ;"' since 

"' After the Greeks, Frideanx (p. 8) discloses the secret doubts of the wife 

writing in Mnhomet's lifetime; but the first formal collection of them was made 
about A century after his death, by commnnd of the Caliph Omar II. They mul- 
tiplied rapidly ; and it is said that the books of the historian BokhAri — who died 
only about two centuries after Mahomet — which consisted chiefly of these tradi* 
tions, filled six hundred boxes, each a load for two men. The most important 
among these collections are the six canonical ones of the Sunnies and four of the 
Shiabs. The former wera compiled under the influence of the Abassido caliphs, 
and were begun in the reign of Al Mftmftn. The Shiahs were somewhat later, 
and are far less trustworthy than the Sunnies, being composed with the party view 
of supporting the claims of AH and his descendants to supreme power. 

III. Some extant Arabic poems were probably composed by Mahomet*s contem- 
poraries. They are of much value, as adding confirmation to the coii'esponding tra- 
ditions ; but there are no facts in the prophet's life the proof of which depends upon 
these historical remains. Although, thei^fore, they are valuable because confirm- 
atory of tradition, their practical bearing upon the biographical elements of the 
prophet's life is not of so much interest as might have been expected. They de- 
sen-e, indeed, deep attention, as the earliest literary remains of a period which con- 
tained the germ of such mighty events, but they give us little new insight into the 
history or character of Mahomet. (Calcutta Review, No. xxxvii. p. C6.) 

IV. It seems that regular biographies of Mahomet began to be composed to- 
wards the end of the first or early in the second century of the Hegira; but the 
earliest biographical writers, whose works are extant more or less in their original 
state, are — 1. Ibn IshAc; 2. Ibn Hisb4m; 8. W&ckidi and his secretary; 4, Ta- 
bari — 1. Ibn IsliAc, a Tabiy, died a.h. 151 Ca.d. 768). His work, which was 
composed for the Caliph Al Mansftr, enjoys a high reputation among the Moslems ; 
and its statements have been incorporated into most of the subsequent biographies 
of the prophet. Dr. Sprenger, however (p. 69), though hardly, perhaps, on suffi- 
cient grounds, regards him as little trustworthy, and doubts whether his book has 
come down to us in its original form. — 2. Ibn IshAc was succeeded by Ibn Ui^h&m 
(died A.H. 213 — ^a.d. 828), whose work, still extant, is founded on that of his pred- 
ecessor, but bean the reputation of being still less trustworthy. — 8. WAckidi, born 
at Medina about a.h. 129, compiled several books relating to Mahomet, but no work 
of his has come down to us in its original form. The fmits of his researches were, 
however, collected into fifteen large quarto volumes by bis secretary Mohammed 
Ibn Saad. The first of these, containing the Sirat^ or biography of Mahomet, in- 
cluding accounts of his companions, has been preserved in its genuine form, and is 
one of the best sources of information respecting the prophet. This valuable work 
was discovered by Dr. Sprenger at Cawnpore. Dr. Sprenger observes that *^ this 
is by far the best biography of the Arabic prophet, but, being rare, it has never 
been used by a European scholar. The veracity and knowledge of the author have 
never been impugned by his contemporaries, nor by good early writers." It is 
generally quoted under the name of ** W&ckidi," probably for the sake of brevity. 
The carefully collected traditions of Wftckidi must not be confounded with the ro- 
mances of the eighth century which bear the same name, and which form the basis 
of Ockley's work. — 4. Tabari,the most celebrated of all the Arabic historians, died 
A.H. 310 (a. D. 929). A short account of this writer is given by Gibbon himself 
(ch. li. note 11). Tabari wrote an account both of Mahomet's life and of the prog- 
ress of Islam. The latter has long been known ; and a portion of it, in the origi- 
nal Arabic, was published, with a Latin translation, by Kosegarten in 1881. But 
the earlier part, relating to Mahomet, could be read only in an untrustworthy Per- 
sian translation even so late as 1851, when Dr. Sprenger published his Life of 
Mahomet. It has, however, been subsequently discovered in the original language 


he presented himself as a prophet to those who were most 
Mahomet conversaiit with his infirmities as a man. Yet Cadi- 
atMecS. ]*l^ believed the words and cherished the glory of 
A.D.609. ]^gj. 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 mod- 
eration, the veracity of Abubeker,' confirmed the religion of 
the prophet whom he was destined to succeed. By his per- 
suasion 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 fun- 
damental creed, ^^ There is but one God, and Mahomet is the 
apostle of God ;" and their faith, even in this life, was re- 
wai*ded with riches and honors, with the command of armies 

of Mahomet. As if he had been a privy coaneillor. of the prophet, Boalainril- 
Hers (p. 272, etc.) unfolds the sablime and patriotic views of Cadtjah and the first 

by that gentleman during his mission by the Indian Gorernment to search the na- 
tive libraries of Lucknow. To Dr. Sprenger, tiierefore, belongs the honor of hav- 
ing discovered two of the most valuable works respecting the history of Mahomet. 

But even the most authentic traditions respecting Mahomet have been corrupted 
by superstition, faction, and other causes ; and it is hardly necessary to say that a 
European writer must exercise the most careful and discriminating criticism in 
the use of them. Inattention to this point is the defect of Gagiiier's otherwise ex- 
cellent work. 

The later Arabic biographers of Mahomet are entitled to no credit as indepen- 
dent authorities. They could add no true information, but they often add many 
spurious traditions and fabricated stories of later days. Hence such a writer as 
Abulfeda, whom Gibbon frequently quotes, is of no value as an authority. 

The best recent biographies of Mahomet by Europeans are Dr. Sprenger's Life 
of Mohammed from original sources, Allahabad, 1851, and Dr. Weil's Mohammed 
der Pi-ophet, Stuttgart, 1843. Dr. Sprenger^s Life (part i.) only goes down to the 
flight from Mecca, but it is a very valuable contribution to Oriental literature, and 
has been of great service to the editor of this work. — S. 

* Abubeker, or, more properly, Abu Bakr, literally, ^*the father of the virgin"* 
— so called because his daughter Ayesha was the only maiden whom Mahomet 
married — was a wealthy merchant of the Taym family, much respected for his 
benevolence and straightforward dealing. He was one of the first to accept the 
mission of the prophet, and is said to have believed in the unity of God before 
that event. ^' The faith of Abu Bakr," says Dr. Sprenger, ** is, in my opinion, the 
greatest guarantee of the sincerity of Mohammed at the banning of his career; 
and he did more for the success of Islam than the prophet himsdf. His having 
joined Mohammed lent respectability to his cause; he spent seven-eighths of his 
property, which amounted to 40,000 dirhams, or a thousand pounds, when he em- 
braced the new faith, towards its promotion at Mecca, and he continued the same 
course of liberality nt Medina'* (p. 171). — S. 


and the government of kingdoms. Three years were silent- 
ly 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 Ma^ 
hornet to the assembly, "I offer you, and I alone can offer, tlie 
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?""' 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 bis 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." Ma- 
homet accepted his offer with transport, and Abu Taleb 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 remon- 
strances," replied the intrepid fanatic to his uncle and bene- 
factor ; ^^ 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 mis- 
sion ; 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 Unitari- 
ans, who revered him as a prophet, and to whom he season- 
ably 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 ^thi- 
ns '^VeziraB, portttor, bajuluB, onus ferens:" and this Plebeian name was trans- 
ferred by an apt metaphor to the pillars of the State (Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. 
p. 19). I endearor to pceserve the Arabian idiom, as far as I can feel it myself in 
a Latin or French translation. 


opia in the seveutli 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 
Eoreish 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 vio- 
lence :"* 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 

The people of Mecca were hardened in their unbelief by su- 
perstition and envy. The elders of the city, the uncles of the 
prophet, affected to despise the presumption of an 
thefiorSsh, orphan, the reformer of his country : the pious ora- 
tions 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 

"^ The passages of the Koran in behalf of toleration are strong and numerous: 
ch. 2, V. 257, ch. 16, 129, ch. 17, 54, ch, 46, 16, ch. 60, 89, cb. 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. 

1^' See the Koran (passim, and especially ch. 7, p. 123, 124, etc), and the tra- 
dition of the Arabs (Pocock, Specimen, p. 36-37). The caverns of the tribe of 
Thamud, fit for men of the ordinary stature, were shown in the midway between 
Medina and Damascus (Abulfed. Arabiie Descript. p. 43, 44), and may be probably 
ascribed to the Troglodytes of the primitive world (Michaelis, ad Lowth de Poesi 
Uebraeor. p. 181-184 ; Recherches sur les Egyptiens, tom. ii. p. 48, etc.). 

' There were two emigrations to Abyssinia. The first was in the fifth year of 
the prophet's mission, when twelve men and four women emigrated. They re- 
turned to Mecca in the course of the .same year, upon hearing that a reconcilia- 
tion had taken place between the prophet and his enemies. The second emigra- 
tion was in the seventh year of the mission, and is the one mentioned in the text. 
Omar had been converted in the preceding year, the sixth of the mission ; and 
after his conversion the number of the faithful was almost immediately doubled. 
Sprenger,p. 182-189.— S. 


of Abdallah was ever dear to the aged chief : and he protect- 
ed the fame and person of his nephew against the assaults of 
the KoreishiteSy who had long been jealous of the pre-emi- 
nence of the family of Ilashem/ Their malice was colored 
with the pretence of religion : in the age of Job the crime 
of impiety was punished by the Arabian magistrate ;"* and 
Mahomet was guilty oj^ deserting and denying the national 
deities. But so loose was the policy of Mecca, that the lead- 
ers of the Koreish, instead of accusing a criminal, were com- 
pelled 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 quick- 
ly, lest he kindle tumult and discord in the city. If he perse- 
vere, we shall draw our swords against him and his adherents, 
and thou wilt be responsible for the blood of thy fellow-citi- 
zens." The weight and moderation of Abu Taleb eluded the 
violence of religious faction ; the most helpless or timid of 
the disciples retired to Ethiopia, and the prophet withdrew 
himself to various places of strength in the town and coun- 
try.^ As he was still supported by his family, the rest of the 
tribe of Koreish engaged themselves to renounce all inter- 
course with the children of Hashem — neither to buy nor sell, 
neither to marry nor 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 suspend- 
ed in the Caaba before the eyes of the nation : the messengers 
of the Koreish pursued the Mussulman exiles in the heart of 

"* In the tim« of Job the crime of impiety was punished by the Arabian mag- 
istrate (ch. 31, y. 26, S7, 28). I blush for a respectable prelate (De Poesi Hebr»- 
omm, p. 650, 651, edit. Micbaelis; and letter of a late professor in the university 
of Oxford, p. 15-58), who justifies and applauds this patriarchal inquisition. 

* On one occasion Mahomet narrowly escaped being strangled in the Caaba ; 
and Aba Bekr, who came to bis aid, was beaten with sandals till his nose was 
flattened. Weil, p. 56.— S. 

^ Especially to a fortress or castle in a defile near Mecca, in which he seems to 
have spent nearly three years, often in want of the necessaries of life, and obliged 
to change bis bed every night for fear of being surprised by assassins. Weil, p. 63. 
— S. 


Africa ; they besieged the prophet and his most faithful f ol- 
lowerSy intercepted their water, and inflamed their mutnal ani- 
mosity by the retaliation of injuries and insults. A doubt- 
ful trace restored the appearances of concord, till the death 
of Abu Taleb abandoned Mahomet to the power of his ene- 
mies, 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, succeed- 
ed 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 pro- 
voke the despair of his enthusiasm ; and the exile of an elo- 
quent 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 anirel or a spy revealed 
from Mecca, their Conspiracy, and flight was the only resource 
of Mahomet.*" 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 re- 
spected 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 daugh- 
ter 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 

>i^ Dllerbelot, Biblioth. Orient, p. 445. He quotes a particular hUtoiy of the 
flight of Mahomet. 


solitary and inviolate,* " We are only two," Baid the trem- 
bling Abubeker. " There is a third," replied the prophet ; " it 
is God himself." No sooner was the parsait abated than the 
two fugitives issued from the rock and mounted their camels : 
on the road to Medina they were overtaken by the emissa- 
ries 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 era of the Hegira^^^. which, at the end 
of twelve centuries, still discriminates the lunar years of the 
Mahometan nations.''* 

The religion of the Koran might have perished in its cra- 
dle bad not Medina embraced with faith and reverence the 
Beceired as ^^^J outcasts of Mccca. Medina, or the city^ known 
Smidil' under the name of Yathreb before it was sanctified 
A.D.«M. jjy ^jjg throne of the prophet, was divided between 
the tribes of the Charegites^ and the Awsites, whose heredi- 
tary 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 intro- 
duced the taste of science and religion, which distinguished 
Medina as the City of the Book. Some of her noblest citi- 
zens, in a pilgrimage to the Caaba, were convei*ted by the 

"^ The Hegira was iDstitnted by Omar, the second caliph, in imitation of the 
era of the martyrs of the Christians (D'Herbelot, p. 444} ; and properly com- 
menced rixty-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 
(Abolfedfl, Vit. Moham. c. 22, 23, p. 45-60 ; and Greares's edition of Ullug Beg*s 
EpocbsB Arabnro, etc., c. 1, p. S, 10, etc.)* 

"* Mahomet*s life, from his mission to the Hegira, may be found in Abnlfeda 
(p. 14-45) and Gagnier (torn. i. p. 134-251, 342-383). The legend from p. 187- 
234 is YOQched by AI Jannabi, and disdained by Abulfeda. 

■ According to another legend, which is less known, a tree grew np before the 
entrance of the cavern, at the command of the prophet. Weil, p. 79, note 96. — S. 

^ It was at first called Medinatalnabi, ^^ the city of the prophet;" and after- 
wards simply ** the city." Conde, Hist, de la Domination des Arabes, i. 44, note. 
— S. 

^ More properly Cka*raj%tt$^ of the tribe Chazraj. Sprenger, p. 203 ; Weil, 
p. 71.— S. 


preaching of Mahomet ; on their i*etnrn they diffused the be- 
lief of God and liis 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."' Seventy- 
three men and two women of Medina held a solemn con- 
ference with Mahomet, his kinsmen, and his disciples, and 
pledged tliemselves 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 coun- 
try," they asked, with a fiattering anxiety, " will you not aban- 
don 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 en- 
emy of your foes." " But if we are killed in your service, 
what," exclaimed the deputies of Medina, " will be our re- 
ward ?" " 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 Is- 
lam ; they rejoiced in the exile of the apostle, but they trem- 
bled for his safety, and impatiently expected his arrival. Af- 
ter 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 hail- 

. - ■■■■■■■iiii 

^^ The triple inaagurntion of Mahomet is described by Abulfeda (p. 30, 33, 40, 
S6), and Gngnier (torn. i. p. 342, 349, etc. ; torn. ii. p. 223, etc.). 

■ This first alliance was called '* the aj^reement of women," because it did not 
contain the duty of fighting for the Islam. Sprenger, p. 203. — S. 

A.D. 022-632.] HIS BEGAL DIGNITY. 239 

ed 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 
Tarious, merit of the Moslems was distinguished by the names 
of Mohagerian% 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 obh'gations of brethren ; and when Ali found him* 
self without a peer, the prophet tenderly declared that lie 
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 rufiied 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. 

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 
dignity. by the divine wisdom. A small portion of ground, 

the patrimony of two orphans, was acquired by gift 
or purchase ;"' on that chosen spot he built a house and a 
mosque, more venerable in their rude simplicity than the pal- 
aces and temples of the Assyrian caliphs. His seal of gold, 
or silver, was inscribed with the apostolic title ; when he pray- 

i>i Frideaux (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 Saraccnos, composed in Arabic before the year 
1130: but the honest Gagnier (ad Abulfcd. p. 53) has shown that thejr were de- 
ceived 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 gix)und is described by 
Abnlfeda ; and his worthy interpreter has proved, from AI Bochari, the offer of a 
price ; from Al Jannabi, the fair purchase ; and from Ahmed Ben Joseph, the 
payment of the money by the generous Abubeker. On these grounds the proph- 
et must be honorably acquitted. 


ed aod preached in the weekly assembly, be leaned against 
the trunk of a palm-tree ; and it was long before he indulged 
himself in the use of a chair or palpit of rough timber.'" Af- 
ter 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 proph- 
et, by the eagerness with which they collected his spittle, a 
hair that dropped on the ground, the refuse water of his lus- 
trations, as if they participated in some degree of the pro- 
phetic virtue. " I have seen," said he, " the Chosroes of Per- 
sia and the Csesar of Bome, 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. 

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 ex- 
waraniiDst tend his hostilities to a reasonable measure of satis- 
faction and retaliation. In the free society of the 
Arabs, the duties of subject and citizen imposed a feeble re- 
straint ; and Mahomet, in the exercise of a peaceful and be- 
nevolent 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 as- 
sumed, in his new revelations, a fiercer and more sanguinary 
tone, which proves that his former moderation was the effect 
of weakness :"' the means of persuasion had been tried, the 

^** A] Jannabi (apad Gagnier, torn. il. p. 246, 324) describes the seal and pul- 
pit as two venerable relics of the apostle of God ; and the portrait of his court is 
taken from Abulfeda (c. 44, p. 85). 

"* The eighth and ninth chapters of the Koran are the loudest and most vehe- 

AJ). 622-632.] AGAINST THE INFIDELS. 241 

season of forbearance was elapsed, and he was now com- 
manded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy 
the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanc- 
tity of days or months, to pursue the unbeHeying nations of 
the earth. The same bloody precepts, so repeatedly incul- 
cated in the Koran, are ascribed by the author to the Penta- 
teuch and the Gospel. But the mild tenor of the evangelic 
style may explain an ambiguous text, that Jesus did not bnng 
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 oi his dis- 
ciples. 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 legis- 
lator."* 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 Ca- 
naan 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 un- 
der 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 

ment ; and Maracci (Prodromtis, part \r. p. 59--64) has inveighed with more jus- 
tice than discretion against the dooble dealing of the impostor. 

iM q^Q t^Qth ,11,4 twentieth chapters of Deateronomjr, with the practical com- 
ments of Joshua, David, etc., are read with more awe than satisfaction by the pi- 
ons Christians of the present age. Bat the .bishops, as well as the nibbles of for- 
mer times, have beat the drum-ecclesiastic with pleasure and success (Salens Pre- 
liminarj Discourse, p. 142, 143). 

* The editor's opinions on this subject maj be read in the History of the Jews, 
Tol. i.p. 137. — ^M. 

v.— 16 


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;*** 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 in- 
sensibly prepared his troops for the conquest of Arabia. The 
distribution of the spoil was regulated by a divine law :"• 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 por- 
tions by the soldiers who had obtained the victory or guarded 
the camp : the rewards of the slain devolved to their v^idows 
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 fast- 

''^ Abalfeda, in Vit. Mobam. p. 156. The private arsenal of the apostle con- 
sisted of nine swords, three lances, seven pikes or half-pikes, a qniver and three 
bows, seven cuirasses, three shields, and two helmets (Gagnier, torn. iii. p. 328- 
334), with A large white standard, a black banner (p. 835), twenty horses (p. 322), 
etc. Two of his martial sayings are recorded by tradition (Gagnier, torn. ii. 
p. 88, 837). 

"* The whole subject, **De jure belli Mohnmmedanornm," is exhausted in a 
separate dissertation by the learned Reland (Dissertationes Miscelhineas, torn. iiL 
Dissertat x. p. 8-53). 

• See note, p. 244.— S. 

^ Before tlie time of Mahomet it was customary for the head of the tribe, or 
general, to retain one fourth of the booty; so that this new regulation must have 
been regarded with favor by the army. Weil, p. 1 11. — S. 

AJ). 622-632.] HIS DEFENSIVE WARS. 243 

ing or prayer : whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven : 
at the day of judgment his wounds shall bo 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 de- 
spised became an object of hope and desire. The Koran in- 
culcates, in the most absolute sense, the tenets of fate and pre- 
destination, 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 per- 
ish in their beds ; or they were safe and invulnerable amidst 
the darts of the enemy."' 

Perhaps the Koreish would have been content with the 
flight of Mahomet, had they not been provoked and alarmed 
His defensive ^7 *^® veugcance of an enemy who could inter- 
Je'KwStoh^ cept their Syrian trade as it passed and repassed 
of Mecca. through the territory of Medina. Abu Sophian 
Iiimself, with only thirty or forty followers, conducted a 
wealthy caravan of a thousand camels ; the fortune or dex- 
terity 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 retnm. 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 

^^'' The doctrine of absolate predestination, on which few religions can reproach 
each other, is sternly exposed in the Koran (ch. 3, p. 52, 53, ch. 4, p. 70, etc., with 
the notes of Sale, and ch. 17, p. 413, with those of Maracci). Keland (De Relig. 
Moham. p. 61-64) and Sale (Prelim. Discoarse, p. 103) represent the opinions of 
the doctors, and oar modem travellers the confidence, the fading confidence, of 
the Turks. 


fugitives, and the rest auxiliaries : they mounted by turns a 
train of seventy camels (the camels of Yathreb were formida- 
ble in war) ; but such was the poverty of his first disciples, 
that only two could appear on horseback in the field."* In 
the fertile and famous vale of Beder/** 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 
Beder.° hiUs — " O God ! if these are destroyed, by whom 
*^^' ' wilt thou be worshipped on the earth? — ^Courage, 
mj children ; dose your ranks ; discharge your arrows, and 
the day is your own." At these words he placed himself, 
with Abubeker, on a throne or pulpit,*~ and instantly de- 

*^^ Al Jannabi (apnd Gagnier, torn. 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 Mussnlmans, in the field of Ohud, 
had no more than two horses, according to the better sense of Abulfeda (in Vit. 
Mohamm. c« 31, p. 65). In the Stony province the camels were numerous ; bat 
the horse appears to have been less common than in the Sappy, or the Desert 

>'* 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 
tlie prophet*s victory by illuminations, rockets, etc Shaw*s Travels, p. 477. 

1^ The place to which Mahomet retired during the action is styled by Gagnier 
(in Abulfeda, c. 27, p. 68 ; Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 30, 33) Umbrandum^ une 
loge de bate avec nne parte. The same Arabic word is rendered by Keiske (An- 
nales Moslemici Abulfed®, p. 23) by Solium, Sugpesttts editior; and the difference 
is of the utmost moment for the honor both of the intei-preter and of the hero.** 

• Of these, however, 800 of the tribe of Zohra returned to Mecca before the en- 
gagement, and were joined by many others. The battle began with a fight, like 
that of the Horatii and Curiatii, of three on each side. Weil, p. 105-111.— S. 

^ Weil (p. 108) calls it a hut (Hutte) which his followers had erected for him 
on a gentle eminence near the field of battle. Gibbon is solicitous for the repu- 
tation of Mahomet, whom he has before characterized (supra, p. 208) as possessing 



companied with the greatest valor; yet not only is this aissertion destitute of all 

Aa>.e23.] BATTLE OF BEDEB. 245 

inanded 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 :"* the Koreish 
trembled and fied: 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 drachms 
of silver, compensated in some degree the escape of the cara- 
van. But it was in vain that the camels of Abu Sophian ex- 
plored a new road through the desert and along the Euphra- 
tes: they were overtaken by the diligence of the Mussul- 
mans ; and wealthy must have been the prize, if twenty thou- 
sand drachms could be set apart for the fifth of the apostle. 

I am sorry to observe the pride and Rcrimonj with which Beiske chastises his fel- 
low-laborer. *' Ssepe sic vertit, ut integrie pagiiue neqaeant nisi unft litur& cor- 
rigi : Arabice non satis callebat, et carebat judicio critico." J. J. Reiske, Prodi- 
dagmata ad Hagji Chalisie Tabalas, p. 228, ad calcem Abulfedfe Syriie Tabalse ; 
LipeiiB, 1766, in 4to. 

Ki The loose expressions of the Koran (ch. 3, p. 124, 125 ; ch. 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, torn, it p. 131). Yet the same scholiasts confess that this an- 
gelic band was not visible to any mortal eye (Maracci, p. 297). They refine on 
the words (ch. 8, 16), '* Not thou, bnt God, '* etc. (D'Herbelot, fiiblioth. Orientale, 
p. 600, 601.) 

proof, but his behavior in his different campaigns, as well as in the first yeara of 
his appearance as a prophet, and also towards the close of his life, when he was 
become very powerful, compel us, despite his endurance and perseverance, to char- 
acterize him as very timorous. It was not till after the conversion of Omar and 
Hamza that he ventured openly to appear in the mosque along with the professors 
of his faith, as a Moslem. He not only took no part in the fight in the battle of 
Bedr, but kept at some distance from the field, and had some dromedaries ready 
before his tent, in order to fiy in case of a reverse." — S. 

^ According to others, forty-four. Weil, p. 109. Among the captives was Ab- 
bas, the rich uncle of Mahomet, who was obliged to pay ransom, although he al- 
leged that inwardly he was a believer, and had been forced to take part in the 
expedition. He returned to Mecca, where, it is said, he served Mahomet as a spy. 
— lb. p. 109-114.— S. 


The resentment of the public and private loss stimulated Aba 
Sophian to collect a body of three thousand men, seven hun- 
dred 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 Mec- 
ca, incessantly sounded their timbrels to animate the troops, 
and to magnify the greatness of Hobal, the most popular 
Of ohud. deity of the Caaba. The standard of God and Ma- 
A.D. 628. homet was upheld by nine hundred and fifty be- 
lievers : 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 :"* 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 decliv- 
ity 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 wound- 
ed in the face with a javelin : two of his teeth were shattered 
with a stone '^ yet, in the midst of tumult and dismay, he re- 
proached the infidels with the murder of a prophet, and bless- 
ed the friendly hand that stanched his blood and conveyed 
him to a place of safety.*^ Seventy martyrs died for the sins 


Geograph, Nubiensis, p. 47. 

* But on this occasion Abd Allah, with 200 men, abandoned Mahomet; so 
that the disproportion of forces was vastly greater than at Bedr. See note a on 
page 244. Weil, p. 124.— S. 

^ Two of Mahomet's teeth are (or were) preserved at Constantinople ; but as, 
according to the best authorities, he only lost one on this occasion, one half at 
least of these relics must be regarded with the same suspicion that attaches to 
most other articles of the same description. See Weil, p. 127. — S. 

^ The person of the prophet was protected by a helmet and double coat of mail. 

A.D. 62a-e27.] WAR OF THE DITCa 247 

of the people : they fell, eaid the apostle, iu pairs, each broth- 
er embracing his lifeless companion ;"" their bodies were man- 
gled by the inhuman females of Mecca ; and the wife of Abu 
Sophian tasted the entrails of IIamza,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 
or the ditch, 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 march- 
ed 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 com- 
bat ; and the war was protracted twenty days, till the final 
separation of the confederates. A tempest of wind, rnin, and 
hail overturned their tents: their private quarrels were fo- 
mented 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."* 

The choice of Jerusalem for the first kebla of prayer dis- 
covers the early propensity of Mahomet in favor of the Jews; 

and happy would it have been for their temporal 
rabdaes the interest had they recognized in the Arabian proph- 
Arabin. et the hope of Israel and the promised Messiah. 

Their obstinacy converted his friendship into im- 
placable hatred, with which he pursued that unfortunate peo- 

'^ In the third chapter of the Koran (p. 50-53, with Sale's notes) the prophet 
alleges some poor excases for the defeat of Ohud. 

iM For the detail of the three Koreish wars, of Beder, of Ohud, and of the ditch, 
peruse Abolfeda (p. 56-61, 64-69, 73-77), Gagnier (torn. ii. 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 (Djrnast. p. 102). 

He was recognized among the wounded by Caab, the son of Malek ; by whom, 
Abu Bakr, Omar, and ten or twelve others, he was carried to a cave upon an em- 
inence. Here he was pursued by Ubejj Ibn Challaf, who had been long keeping 
a horse in extraordinary condition for the purpose of surprising and killing Ma- 
homet ; but the latter dealt him a blow of which he died. This was the only 
lime that Mahomet took any personal share in an action. Weil, p. 128. — S. 


pie 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."* 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 con- 
tend 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 reluc- 
tance 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 sev- 
en 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 trump- 
ets 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 ditchy 
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 sur- 
rendered 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 sen- 
tence 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 wara of Mahomet against the Jewish tribes of Kainoka, the Nadhirites, 
Koraidhn, and Chaibar, are related by Abalfeda (p. 61, 71, 77, S7, etc.) and Ga- 
gnier (torn. ii. p. 61-65, 107-112, 139-148, 268-294). 


the MnssDlmans : tbreo hnndred cuirasses, five hundred pikes, 
a thonsand lances, composed the most useful portion of the 
spoil. Six days' journey to the northeast of Medina, the an- 
cient and wealtliy 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 hnndred 
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 despair- 
ed 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 wo may believe that a Hebrew 
champion of gigantic stature was cloven to the chest by his 
irresistible scimetar ; but we cannot praise the modesty of ro- 
mance, which represents him as tearing from its hinges the 
gate of a fortress and wielding the ponderous buckler in his 
left hand.*" After the reduction of the castles, the town of 
Chaibar submitted to the yoke. The chief of the tribe was 
tortnred, in the presence of Maliomet, to force a confession of 
his hidden treasure : the industry of the shepherds and hus- 
bandmen was rewarded with a precarious toleration: they 
wore 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 Chai- 
bar were transplanted 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."' 

Five times each day the eyes of Mahomet were turned 

1^ Aba Rafe, the servant of Mahomet, is said to affiim that he himself and 
seven other men afterwards tried, without success, to move the same gate from the 
groond (Abulfeda, p. 90). Aba Bafe was an eye-witness, but who will be witness 
for Abn Rafe? 

1*^ Tlie banishment of the Jews is attested by Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p. 9) 
and the great Al Zabari (Gagnier, torn. ii. p. 285). Yet Niebnhr (Description de 
rArabie, p. 324) believes that the Jewish religion and Karaite sect are still pro- 
fessed by the tribe of Chaibar ; and that, in the plunder of the caravans, the disci- 
ples of Moses are the confederates of those of Mahomet. 



towards Mecca/" and lie was urged by the most sacred and 
Submission powerf ul motivcs to revisit, as a conqueror, the citj 
I'^eSf" ^^^ ^^® temple from whence he had been driven 
[A.D.030.-S.] ^ ^^ 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 sa* 
cred 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 reso- 
lution of the Eoreish 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 fa- 
natic 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 re- 
store the fugitives of Mecca who should embrace his religion ; 
and stipulated only, for the ensuing year, the humble privi- 
lege 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 

^^ The successive steps of the reduction of Mecca are related bjr Abnlfeda 
(p. 84-87, 97-100, 102-111) and Gagnier (torn. ii. p. 209-245, 309-322; torn, iil 
p. 1-58), Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p. 8, 9, 10), Abulpbaragius (Dynast, p. 103). 

• He struck out the title with his own hand, as AH had refused to do it. Weil, 
p. 178.— S. 


customary sacrifice, evacuated the city on the fourth day. 
The people were edified by his devotion ; the hostile chiefs 
were awed, or divided, or seduced ; and both Caled and Am- 
rou, the future conquerors of Syria and Egypt, most season- 
ably 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 ti*uce. Enthusiasm and discipline 
impelled the inarch 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 enem3\ 
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 ac- 
quired a mighty kingdom ; and confessed, under the scimetar 
of Omar, that he was the apostle of the true God. The re- 
turn of Marins and Sylla was stained with the blood of the 
Komans : the revenge of Mahomet was stimulated by relig- 
ious 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,"* 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 in- 
habitants were slain by the sword of Caled ;^ eleven men and 

1^ Aftei* the conquest of Mecca, the Mahomet of Voltaire imagines and perpe- 
trates 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 k sa patrie au 
nom de Diea est capable de tout '' (CEnvres de Voltaire, torn. xt. 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 am- 
bassador at Paris was much scandalized at the representation of this tragedy. 

* The expedition of Mahomet against Mecca took place in the tenth Ramadan 
of the eighth Hegira (1 Jan. 630). Weil, p. 212.— S. 

^ These men — their numbers are variously given at less and more — were slain on 
the hill called Chandama, be/ore the entrance of Chnled into the city, which they 
had opposed. It was on a different occasion that Chaled incurred the censure of 
Mahomet. The prophet had sent him on an expedition to the province of Te- 
hama, and, on passing through the tenitory of the Beni Djasima, Chaled caused 
tt considerable number of them to be put to death, although they were already 


six women were proscribed by the sentence of Mahoinct ;• 
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 gener- 
osity 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."" But the 
three hundred and sixty idols of the Caaba were ignomini- 
ously 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."* 

The conquest of Mecca determined the faith and obedience 
of the Arabian tribes ;"' who, according to the vicissitudes 

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

1^1 In excluding the Christians from the peninsula of Arabia, the province of 
Hejaz, or the navigation of the Hed Sea, Chardin (Voyages en Perse, torn. iv. 
p. 166) and Reland (Disscrtat. MiscelL tom. iiL p. 51) are more rigid than the 
Mussulmans themselves. The Chiistians are received without scruple into the 
ports of Mocha, and even of Gedda; and it is only the citj and pi-ecincts of Mecca 
that are inaccessible to the profane (Niebuhr, Description de FArabie, p. 308, S09 ; 
Voyage en Arabie, tom. L p. 205, 248, etc.). 

i«9 Abulfeda, p. 112-115 ; Gagnier, torn. iii. p. 67-88; D*Herbelot, Mohammed. 

Mussulmans. Unfortunately, when required to confess their faith, they had, from 
ancient custom, used the word Sabana (converts or renegades) instead of the usual 
Moslem expression Atlamna. On hearing of the act, Mahomet raised his hands 
to heaven, and exclaimed, ** O God, I am pure before thee, and have taken no part 
in Chaled's deed." Mahomet compensated the Beni Bjasima for the slaughter 
of their kinsmen ; but the services of Chaled obliged him to overlook his offence. 
Weil, p. 230.— S. 

* Eleven men and Jour women ; but the sentence was executed only on three 
of the former and one of the latter. Weil, p. 220. Mahomet remained two or 
three weeks in Mecca, during which he sent his captains to destroy the idols in 
the surrounding country, and to summon the Arabians to submission and belief. 
Weil, p. 228.— S. 

AJ). e29-.€32,] CONQUEST OF ARABIA. 258 

of fortune, had obeyed, or disregarded, the eloqnence or the 
arms of the prophet. IndiSereDce for rites and 
of^Arabu. opinions still marks the character of the Bedouins : 
and they might accept, as loosely as they hold, the 
doctrine of the Koran. Yet an obstinate remnant still ad- 
hered to the religion and liberty of their ancestors, and the 
war of Honain derived a proper appellation from the idoh^ 
whom Mahomet had vowed to destroy, and whom the confed- 
erates of Tayef had sworn to defend.'^' Four thousand pa- 
gans advanced with secrecy and speed to surprise the conquer- 
or : they pitied and despised the supine negligence of the Ko- 
reisli, but they depended on the wishes, and perhaps the aid, 
of a people who had so lately renounced their gods, and bow- 
ed beneath the yoke of their enemy. The banners of Medina 
and Mecca were displayed by the prophet ; a crowd of Bed- 
ouins 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 confed- 
erates ; their numbers were oppressed, their discipline was 
confounded, their courage was appalled, and the Koreish 
smiled at their impending destniction. The prophet, on his 
^hite 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 breth- 
ren," he repeatedly cried, with sorrow and indignation, " I am 
the son of Abdallah, I am the apostle of truth t O jnan, stand 
fast in the faith 1 O God, send down thy succor !" His un- 
cle 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 return- 

'^ The siege of Tayef, division of the spoil, etc., are related bj Abulfeda 
(p. 117-123) and Gagnier (torn. 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 
sopposed to be a piece of the land of Syria detached and dropped in the general 


ed from all sides to the holy standard ; and Mahomet observed 
with pleasure that the furnace was again rekindled : his con- 
duct and example restored the battle, and he animated his vie- 
torious 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 southeast of 
Mecca, a fortress of strength, whose fertile lands produce the 
fruits of Syria in the midst of the Arabian desert. A friend- 
ly tribe, instructed (I know not how) in the art of sieges, sup- 
plied 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 vio- 
lated 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 spoil 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 Honain redeem- 
ed their prisoners by the sacrifice of their idols : but Mahom- 
et 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 

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 king- 

AJ>. 629-632.] CONQUEST OF ABABIA. 255 

dom, of my paradise."* Ho was followed by the deputies of 
Tayef , who dreaded the repetition of a siege.** " Grant us, O 
apostle of God t a truce of three yeare with the toleration of 
our ancient worship." "Not a month, not an hour." "Ex- 
cuse 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 de- 
struction was executed on all the idols of Arabia. His lieu- 
tenants, on the shores of the Bed Sea, the ocean, and the Gulf 
of Persia, were saluted by the acclamations of a faithful peo- 
ple ; and the ambassadors who knelt before the throne of Me- 
dina were as numerous (says the Arabian proverb) as the dates 
that fall from the maturity of a palm-tree. The nation sub- 
mitted to the God and the scepti'e of Mahomet : the oppro- 
brious name of tribute was abolished : the spontaneous or re- 
luctant oblations of alms and tithes were applied to the ser- 
vice of religion; and one hundred and fourteen thousand 
Moslems accompanied the last pilgrimage of the apostle."* *^ 

^** The last conquests and pilgrimage of Mahomet are contained in Abulfedii 
(p. 121-133), Gagnier (tom. iii. p. 119-219), Elmocin (p. 10, 11 [4lo edit., Lugd. 
Bat. 1625]), Abulpbaragius (p. 103). The ninth of the Hegira was styled the 
Year of Embassies (Gagnier, Not. ad Abulfed. p. 121). 

* Weil gires this address of Mahomet's differently (from the Insan Al Ujun, 
and Sirat Arrasnl), observing that it has not before been presented to the Eu- 
ropean reader. His version is as follows : " Wei-e ye not wandering in the patlis 
of error when I came unto you, and was it not througli me that you obtained tlio 
guidance of God ? were ye hot poor, and are ye not now rich ? were ye not at va- 
riance, and are ve not now united ?" Tliey answered, *' Surely, O Prophet of God, 
thou hast overloaded us with benefits." Mahomet proceeded: *'Lo! ye auxil- 
iaries, if ye would, ye might with all truth object to me. Thou camest to us 
branded for a liar, yet we believed in thee ; as a persecutor, and we protected thee ; 
as a fugitive, and we harbored thee ; as one in need of assistance, and we support- 
ed thee. Yet such are not your thoughts ; how, then, can ye find fault with me 
because I have given a few worldly toys to some persons in order to win tlieir 
hearts ? Are ye not content, ye auxiliaries, if these people return home with 
sheep and camels, whilst ye return with the prophet of God in the midst of you ? 
By Him in whose hand is Mohammed's soul, were it not the reward of the fugi- 
tives, I should wish to belong to you ; and when all the world went one way and 
Tou another, I would choose yours. God be merciful unto you, and to your chil- 
dren, and your children's children !" At these words the auxiliaries sobbed 
aloud, and exclaimed, **We are content with our lot." Weil, p. 241. — S. 

^ The deputation from Tu'if, as well as from innumerable other tribes, for the 
most part to tender their submission, took place in the following year, which, on 
this account, has been called * ' the yeor of deputations." See Weil, p. 243 seq.— S. 

^ The more probable traditions mention 40,000. This, the Inst pilgrimage of 
Mahomet, took place in the tenth year of the Hegira. Weil, ch. 8. — S. 


When Heraclins returned in triumph from the Persiaa war, 
he entertained, at Emesa, one of the ambassadors of Mahomet, 
First war of ^^^ invited the princes and nations of the earth to 
toSa^afSr t^® profession of Islam. On this foundation the 
imphS"*'^ zeal of the Arabians has supposed the secret con- 
A.i>. G89»68o. vergiQn 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 se- 
cure retreat, in the province of Syria.*" But the friendship 
of Ileraclius and Mahomet was of short continuance: the 
new religion had inflamed rather than assuaged the rapacious 
spirit of tlie 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 Ab- 
dallah 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 bat- 
tle of Muta,"* the firet military action which tried the valor 
of the Moslems against a foreign enemy. Zeid fell, like a sol- 
dier, in the foremost ranks : the death of Jaafar was heroic 
and memorable : lie lost his right hand : he shifted the stand- 
ard to his left : the left was severed from his body : he em- 
braced the standard with his bleeding stumps, till he was 
transfixed to the ground with fifty honorable wounds. "Ad- 
vance," cried Abdallah, who stepped into the vacant place — 
" advance with confidence : either victory or paradise is our 
own.'' The lance of a Boman decided the alternative; but 

***' Compare the bigoted Al Jannabi (apud Gagnier, torn. ii. p. ^32-255) with the 
no less bigoted Greeks, Theophaoes (p. 276-278 [torn. i.p. 511-514, edit. Bonn]), 
Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiv. [c. 16] p. 86), and Cedrenus (p. 421 [torn. i. p. 737, edit. 

>M For tbe battle of Mata and its consequences, see Abulfeda (p. 100-102) and 
Gagnier (torn. ii. p. 327-343). XaXtio^ (says Tbeophanes) ov Xiyovm /iaxatpav 
rov Ocov [t. L p. 515, edit. Bonn]. 

AJ>. 689, 630.] AGAINST THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 257 

the falling standai*d 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 Chris- 
tians. In the nocturnal council of the camp he was chosen 
to command : his skilful evolutions of the ensuing day se- 
cured 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 hu- 
man nature : he was surprised as he wept over the daughter 
of 2ieid : '* 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 prep- 
arations of Heraclius; and solemnly proclaimed war against 
the Eomans, without attempting to disguise the hardships and 
dangers of the enterprise.*" 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 dis- 
dained to compel their service ; but on his return he admon- 
ished 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 in- 
deed 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 the same camel ; and they 

'''^ The expedition of Tabuc is recorded by oar ordinary historians, Abalfedti 
(Vit. Moham. p. 129-127) and Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, torn, iil p. 147-168); 
bat we hare the advantage of appealing to the original evidence of the Koran (ch. 
9, p. 154, 165), with Sale's learned and rational notes. 

* The battle of Mata took place htfore the conquest of Mecca, as Gibbon here 
rightly assumes, though Yon Hammer places it after that event (Weil, p. 206, 
note 318). Weil supposes that the defeat of the Mussulmans on that occasion en- 
conniged the Meccans to violate the truce. lb. p. 207. — S. 

v.— 17 


were reduced to the shameful necessity of drinking the water 
from the belly of that nsef ul animal. In the midway, ten 
days' journey from Medina and Damascus, they reposed near 
the grove and fountain of Tabnc. Beyond that place Ma- 
homet declined the prosecution of the war : he declared him- 
self satisfied with the peaceful intentions — ^he was more proba- 
bly daunted by the martial array — of the Emperor of the East/ 
But the active and inti*epid 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 Bed 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."* The weakness of their Arabian brethren had re- 
strained them from opposing his ambition ; the disciples of 
Jesus were endeared to the enemy of the Jews ; and it was 

*^ The Diploma aecuntati$' AUensibMS is attested by Ahmed Ben Joseph, and 
the author Libri Splendorum (Ga^pnier, Not. ad Abulfedam, p. 125) ; bat Abolfeda 
himself, as well as Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p. 11), though he owns Mahomet's 
regard for the Christians (p. 18), only inention peace and tribnte. In the year 
1630 Sionita published at Paris the text and version of Mahomet's patent in fiiror 
of the Christians ; >vhich was admitted and reprobated by the opposite taste of 
Snlmasius and Grotias (Bayle, Mahomet, Bern. AA). Hettinger doubts of its 
authenticity (Hist. Orient, p. 287) ; Benaudot urges the consent of the Mahome- 
tans (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 169) ; but Mosheim (Hist. Ecdes. p. 244) shows 
the futility of their opinion, and inclines to believe it spurious. Yet Abolphara- 
gius quotes the impostor's treaty with the Nestorian patriarch (Asseman. Biblioth. 
Orient, tom. it. p. 418) ; but Abulpharagius was primate of the Jacobites. 

* The expedition of Tabuc was undertaken in the month Badjab of the ninth 
year of the Hegira (a.d. 631). Mahomet's more devoted friends gave a great 
part of their substance towards defraying its expenses. Abu Bekr gave the 
whole of his property, consisting of 4000 drachms ; and when Mahomet inquired, 
*^ What then hast thou left for thy family ?" he answered, *' God and his prophet." 
The traditions vary exceedingly respecting the number of the army assembled on 
this occasion. Thirty thousand is the lowest number assigned ; but even this is 
probably exaggerated, and a large part deserted at the commencement of the 
march (Weil, Mahom. p. 260). When Mahomet, at Tabuc, consulted hia com- 
panions as to the further prosecution of the enterprise, Omar said, **If vou are 
commanded by God to go fartlier, do it." Mahomet answered, ** If I had the com- 
mand of God, I should not ask your advice." Omar replied, ** O prophet of God! 
the Greeks are a numerous people, and there is not a single Mussulman among 
them. Moreover, we have already nearly approached them, and your neighbor- 
hood has struck them with terror. This year, therefore, let us return, till you find 
it convenient to undertake another campaign against them, or till God offers some 
opportunity." Weil, note 406. — S. 

. 632.] LAST DAYS OF ilAHOMET. 259 

the interest of a conqueror to propose a fair capitulation to 
the most powerful religion of the earth. 

Till the age of sixty-three years the strength of Mahomet 
was equal to the temporal and spiritual fatigues of his mis- 
Death of 3^^^* S^^ epileptic fits, an absurd calumny of the 
^SS*** Greeks, would be an object of pity rather than ab- 
jim« 7. horrence ;"• but he seriously believed that he was 
poisoned at Chaibar by the revenge of a Jewish female.*** 
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 edi- 
fied 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 faults 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 in- 
terest of the debt." " Yes," replied a voice from the crowd, 
" I am entitled to three drachms of silver." Mahomet heard 

''^ 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 big- 
otry of Hottinger (Hist. Orient p. 10, 11), Prideaax (Life of Mahomet, p. 12), and 
Maracd (torn. ii. Alcoran, p. 762, 763). The titles {the wrappecUup^ the covered) 
of two chapters of the Koran (73, 74) can hardly be strained to such an interpre- 
tation : the silence, the ignorance of the Mahometan commentators, is more con- 
clnsive than the most peremptory denial ; and the charitable side is espoused by 
Ockley (Hist of the Saracens, torn. i. p. 801), Gagnter (ad Abnlfedam, p. 9 ; Vie 
do Mahomet, tom. L p. 118), and Sale (Koran, p. 469-474).* 

*^ This poison (more ignominious since it was offered as a test of his prophetic 
knowledge) is frankly confessed by his zealous votaries, Abnlfeda (p. 92) and Al 
Jannabi (apad Gagnier, tom. ii. p. 286-288). 

* The opinion, however, of modem Oriental scholars tends the other way. Dr. 
Sprenger (p. 77) shows, on the authority of Ibn IshAc, that Mahomet, whilst still 
an in&nt under the care of his foster-mother, had an attack which at all events 
▼ery mnch resembled epilepsy. Three other fits are recorded (lb. p. 78, note 4). 
Dr. Weil (Mohammed, p. 26, note 11) remarks that the word Umha^ which Abnl- 
feda uses with regard to Mahomet, is particularly used of epileptic attacks. The 
eame author has collected several instances of these fits (lb. p. 42, note 48, and in 
the Journal Asiatiqne, Juillet, 1842), and is of opinion that his visions were, for 
the most part, connected with them. — S. 


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 pru- 
dently declined the risk and envy of a more explicit nomina- 
tion. At a moment when his faculties were visibly impaired, 
he called for pen and ink to write,* or, more properly, to dic- 
tate, a divine book, the sum and accomplishment of all his rev- 
elations : 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 tra- 
ditions 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; de- 
scribed the visits of Gabriel, who bid 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 fa- 
miliar 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 ; ho faint- 

* The tradition seems to be donbtfol ; bat, if true, it proyes, as Dr. Weil re- 
Tuarks, Mahomet's ability' to write. There is no authority for Gibbon's addition, 
'*or, more properly, to dictate," which seems to be a salvo for his own theory. 
According to one version, he said, ** Bring me parchment, or a table; 7 will write 
something for Abu Bekr, in order that nobody maj oppose him." — Weil, p. 330, 
and note 526. 

Gagnier, whom Gibbon follows, has erroneously translated **book." It was only 
a short paper that Mahomet wished to write, probably to name his successor. — Ii>. 
note 627.— S. 

A.D. 632.] HIS DEATH. 261 

ed with the violeDce 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 1 * * * 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 or silent despair: fanaticism alone could 
^^gg^st; A ray of hope and consolation. ''How can he be 
dead, our witness, our intercessor, our mediator, with God i 
By God he is not dead : like Moses and Jesus, he is rapt in 
a holy trance, and speedily will he return to his faithful peo- 
ple." The evidence of sense was disregarded ; and Omai*, 
unsheathing his scimetar, 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 mod- 
eration of Abubeker. "Is it Mahomet," said he to Omar 
and the multitude, " or the God of Mahomet, whom you wor- 
ship? The God of Mahomet liveth forever; but the apostle 
was a mortal like ourselves, and, according to his own pre- 
diction, 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 :*" ^ Medina has been 

'^' The Greeks and Latins have inyented and propagated the vulgar and ridica- 
Ions story that Mahomet's iron tomh is suspended in the air at Mecca (vrifia funw- 
ptZoftepov, Laonicos Chalcocondjies de Behus Tardcis, 1. iii. p. 66 [edit. Par. ; 

* After this address Abu Bekr read the following verse from the Koran : '* Mo- 
hammed is only a prophet ; many prophets have departed before him ; will ye 
then, when he has been slain, or died a natural death, turn upon your heels ?" (t. e., 
forsake his oreed^. '* He who does this cannot haitn Grod, but God rewards thoso 
who are thankful " (Sura iii. v. 144). The people seemed never to have heard of 
this verse, yet they accepted it from Abu Bekr, and it ran from mouth to mouth. 
Omar himself was so struck when he heard it that he fell to the ground, and per- 
ceived that Mahomet was dead. Weil (p. 838) observes that this anecdote, which 
is important to a critical view of the Koran, is entirely new to Europeans. --S. 

^ That is, in the house of his wife Ayesha ; but after the enlargement of the 
mosque by the Caliph Walid, his grave was comprehended within its walls. Weil, 
p. 839.— S. 


sanctified by the death and bnrial of Mahomet ; and the in- 
numerable pilgrims of Mecca often torn aside from the waj, 
to bow, in voluntary devotion/" before the simple tomb of 
the prophet.*** 

At the conclusion of the life of Mahomet it may, perhaps, 
be expected that I should balance his faults and virtues, that 
Hii char- ^ should decide whether the title of enthusiast or 
acter. impostor morc properly belongs to that extraordi- 

nary 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 con- 
template his shade through a cloud of religious incense ; and 
could I truly delineate the portrait of an hour, the fleeting re- 
semblance would not equally apply to the solitary of Mount 
Hera, to the preacher of Mecca, and to the conqueror of Ara- 
bia. 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 with- 

p. 126, edit. Bonn]), bj the action of equal and potent loadstones (Dictionnaiie 
de Bayle, Mahomet, Rem. ££. FF.). Without anj philosophical inquiries, it 
maj suffice, that— 1. The prophet was not buried at Mecca; and, 2. That his tomb 
at Medina, which has been Tisited bj millions, is placed on the g^^oand (Beland, 
De Belig. Moham. L ii. c. 19, p. 209-211 ; Gagnier.Yie de Mahomet, torn. iii. 
p. 26a-268).' 

*^^ Al Jannabi enumerates (Vie de Mahomet, tom. iii. p. 872-^91) the multi- 
farious duties of a pilgrim who visits the tombs of the prophet and his compan- 
ions ; and the learned casuist decides that this act of devotion is nearest in obli- 
gation and merit to a divine precept. The doctors are divided which, of Mecca 
or Medina, be the most excellent (p. 391-894). 

*" The last sickness, death, and burial of Mahomet are described by Abulfeda 
and Gagnier (Vit. Moham. p. 183-142 ; 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 surrired 
the prophet many years, they might repeat the pious tale to a second or third gen- 
eration of pilgrims. 

* Most of the biographers of Mahomet state that he died on Mondav, the 12th 
Rabia-1-Awwl, in the year 11 of the Hegira, which answers to the 7tL of June, 
A.D. 632. This, however, fell on a Sunday, but, as a contemporary poem mentions 
Monday as the day of his death, it is probable that a mistake has been made in 
the day of the month, and that he died on the 8th of June. Weil, p. 831.— S. 

A.i>. 633.] CHARACTER OF MAHOM£T. 263 

out 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, 
wonld be described with the form and attributes of an angel 
of God.*^^ From enthusiasm to imposture the step is peril- 
ous and slippery ; the demon of Socrates'** affords a memora- 
ble instance how a wise man may deceive himself, how a good 
man may deceive ethers, 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 Ma- 
homet 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. 

^^ The Christians, rashly enough, have assigned to Mahomet a tame pigeon, 
that seemed to descend fcpm heaven and whisper in his ear. As this pretend- 
ed miracle is arged hy Grotias (De Yeritate Beligionis Christianss), 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 ; Beland, De Re- 
ligion. Moham. 1. ii. c. 89, p. 259-262). 

"* 'Efioi dk rovT6 iffnv Ik iraiSb^ dp^a/icvov, ^uvfi rts yifvofikvii ' i) orav ytvfj- 
rtu aci &7roTpkntt fii rovrov d dv fiiWut irpdmiVy vporpiirH dk ovKori (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 inspi- 
ration (the ^euftdviov) 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 fourteenth and fifteenth Dissertations of Maximus 
of Tyre (p. 153-172, edit. Davis). 


he may lawfully hate the enemies of God ; the stem passions 
of pride and revenge were kindled in the bosom of Mahomet, 
and he sighed, like the prophet of Nineveh, for the destruc- 
tion 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 ainnies ; 
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 chas- 
tisement the valor of his servants. In the exercise of politi- 
cal 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 subser- 
vient to the propagation of the faith ; and Mahomet com- 
manded or approved the assassination of the Jews and idola- 
ters who had escaped from the field of battle. By the repe- 
tition of such acts the character of Mahomet must have been 
gradually stained ; and the influence of such pernicious hab- 
its would be poorly compensated by the practice of the per- 
sonal 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 politi- 
cian will suspect that he secretly smiled (the victorious impos- 
tor!) at the enthusiasm of his youth and the credulity of his 
proselytes.*** A philosopher will observe that l^r credulity 
and his success would tend more strongly to fortify the as- 
surance of his divine Aiission, that his interest and religion 
were inseparably connected, and that his conscience would be 
soothed by the pei'suasion that he alone was absolved by the 
Deity from the obh'gation of positive and moral laws. If he 
retained any vestige of his native innocence, the sins of Ma- 
homet may be allowed as an evidence of his sincerity. In 
the support of truth, the arts of fraud and fiction may be 

*** In some passage of his voluininous writings, Voltaire compares the prophet, 
in his old age, to a fakir, " Qai d<?tache U chalne de son coa pour en donner sar 
Ics oreilles k ses confreres.** 


deemed less criminal ; and he would have started at the fonl- 
1)688 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.'*^* 

'^^ Gagnier relates, with the same impartial pen, this humane law of the proph* 
et, and the murders of Caab and Sophian, which he prompted and approved (Vitf 
de Mahomet, torn. ii. p. 69, 97, 208). 

* It may be remarked that, in estimating Mahoraet^s character. Gibbon entirely 
leaves out of sight his physical temperament. Thus he indignantly rejects the 
accounts of his epileptic seizures, and everywhere directs his attention to the mor- 
al qualities of the prophet, either as a philosophical and contemplative enthusiast, 
or, as he seems to consider him in the latter part of his career, as a political im> 
postor. Yet the physical constitution of Mahomet was of so peculiar a kind, that 
it can hardly be passed over in a complete and accurate sketch of bis character, 
upon which it must have undoubtedly exercised a wonderful influence ; and we 
have, therefore, inserted the following interesting details from the pages of Dr. 
Sprenger : 

" The temperament of Mohammed was melancholic and in the highest degree 
nenrons. He was generally low-spirited, thinking, and restless ; and he spoke lit- 
tle, and never without necessity. His eyes were mostly cast on the ground, and 
he seldom raised them towards heaven. The excitement under which he com- 
posed the more poetical Suras of the Koran was so great, that he said that they 
had caused him gray hair ; bis lips were quivering and his hands shaking whilst 
he received the inspirations. An offensive smell made him so uncomfortable, 
that he forbade persons who bad eaten garlic or onions to come into his place of 
worship. In a man of semi-barbarous habits this is remarkable. He had a wool- 
len garment, and was obliged to throw it away when it began to smell of perspi- 
ration, on account of his delicate constitution. When he was taken ill he sobfa«d 
like a woman in hysterics — or, as Ayesha says, he roared like a camel ; and his 
friends reproached him for his unmanly bearing. During the battle of Bedr his 
nervous excitement seems to have bordered on frenzy. The faculties of his mind 
were very unequally developed ; he was unfit for the common duties of life, and, 
even after his mission, he was led in all practical questions by his friends. But 
he bad a vivid imagination, the greatest elevation of mind, refined sentiments, and 
a taste for the sublime. Much as he disliked the name, he was a poet ; and a 
harmonious language and sublime lyric constitute the principal merits of the Ko- 
ran. His mind dwelt constantly on the contemplation of God ; he saw his finger 
in the rising sun, in the falling rain, in the growing crop ; he heard his voice in 
the thunder, in the murmuring of the waters, and in \he hymns which the birds 
sing to his praise ; and in the lonely deserts and ruins of ancient cities he saw the 
traces of his anger." — Life.of Mohammed, p. 89. **The mental excitement of 
the prophet was much increased during the fatrah (intermission of revelations) ; 
and, like the ardent scholar in one of Schiller s poems, who dared to lift the veil 
of truth, he was nearly annihilated by the light which broke in upon him. He « 
usually wandered about in the hills near Mecca, and was so absent, that on one 
occasion his wife, being afraid that he was lost, sent men in search of him. He 
suffered from hallucinations of his senses ; and, to finish his sufferings, he sev- 
eral times contemplated sitidde, by throwing himself down from a precipice. His 


The good sense of Mahomet'*' despised the pomp of royal- 
ty ; the apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the 
Private life family ; he kindled the fire, swept the floor, milked 
ofMahomttL ^j^^ 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 yanity, the abste- 
mious 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 
fire being kindled on the hearth of the prophet. The inter- 

"8 por the domestic life of Mahomet, consaU Gagnier, and the corresponding 
chapters of Abnlfeda; for his diet (torn. iii. p. 285-288); his children (p. 189, 
289); his wires (p. 290-303); his marriage with Zeineb (torn. ii. p. 152-160); 
his amour with Marj (p. 303-309) ; the false accusation of Ajesha (p. 186-199). 
The most original evidence of the three last transactions is contained in the twen- 
ty-fourth, thirty-third, and sixty-sixth chapters of the Koran, with Salens Com- 
mentary. Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 80-90) and Manicci (Prodrom. Alco- 
ran, part ir. p. 49-59) have maliciously exaggerated the frailties of Mahomet. 

friends were alarmed at his state of mind. Some considered it as the eccentrici- 
ties of a poetical genius ; others thought that he was a iboAta, or soothsayer ; but 
the majority took a less charitable view, and declared that he was insane ; and as 
madness and mehincholy are ascribed to supernatural influence in the East, thejr 
said that he was in the power of Satan and his agents the jinn." — lb. p. 105. 
" One day, whilst he was wandering about in the hills near Mecca, with the inten- 
tion of destroying himself, he heard a voice, and on raising his head he beheld 
Gabriel between heai'en and earth ; and the angel assured him that he was the 
prophet of Gk>d. Frightened by this apparition, he returned home, and, feeling 
unwell, he called for covering. He had a fit, and they poured cold water upon 
him, and when he was recovering from it he received the revelation : *0 thou cov- 
ered, arise and preach, and magnify thy Lord, and cleanse thy garment, and fly 
every abomination ;' and henceforth, we are told, he received revelations without 
intermission ; that is to say, the fatrah was at an end, and he assumed his oflice" — 
p. 109. ** Some authors consider the fits of the prophet as the principal evidence 
of his mission, and it is, therefore, necessary to say a few words on them. They 
were preceded by great depression of spirits, and his face was clouded ; and they 
were ushered in by coldness of the extremities and shivering. He shook as if he 
were suffering from ague, and called out for covering. His mind was in a most 
painfully excited state. He heard a tinkling in his ears as if bells were ringing, or 
a humming as if bees were swarming round his head, and his lips quivered, but 
this motion was under the control of volition. If the attack proceeded beyond this 
stage, his eyes became fixed and staring, and the motions of his head convulsive 
and automatic. At length perspiration broke out, which covered his face in laige 
drops ; and with this ended the attack. Sometimes, however, if he had a violent 
fit, he fell comatose to the ground, like a person who is intoxicated ; and (at least 
at a later period of his life) his face was flushed, and his respiration stertorous, and 
he remained in that state for some time. The by-standers sprinkled water in his 
face ; but he himself fancied that he would derive a great benefit from being cup- 
ped on the head." lb. p. 111. — S. 

A.D. 632.] HIS WIVES. 267 

diction of wine was confirmed by his example ; his hunger 
was appeased with a sparing allowance of barley-btead : he 
delighted in the taste of milk and honey ; bat bis ordinary 
food consisted of dates and water. Perfnmes 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.*** 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 con- 
demned as a capital offence ; and fornication, in either sex, 
was punished with a hundred stripes.''* Such were the calm 
and rational precepts of the legislator ; but in his private con- 
duct 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 fe- 
male 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 Sol- 
omon, we shall applaud the modesty of the Arabian, who es- 
poused no more than seventeen or fifteen wives; eleven are 
enumerated who occupied at Medina their separate apart- 
ments 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 

»• *< Incredibile est qao ardore apad eos in Venerem uterqae sol vi tar sexus " 
(Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xiv. c. 4). 

^^ Sale (Preliminary Disconrse, p. 133>187) has recapitulated the laws of mar- 
riage, divorce, etc. ; and the curions reader of Selden*8 Uxor Hebraica will rec- 
ognise many Jewish ordinances. 


Mahomet cousnmmated his nuptials (snch 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 supe- 
rior ascendant: she was beloved and trusted by the prophet; 
and, after his death, the daughter of Abubeker was long re- 
vered as the mother of the faithful. Her behavior had been 
ambiguous and indiscreet: in a nocturnal march she was acci- 
dentally 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 in- 
nocence : 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.'"* 
In his adventures with Zeineb, the wife of 2ieid, and with 
Mary, an Egyptian captive, the amorous prophet forgot the 
interest of his reputation. At the house of 2ieid, his freed- 
man and adopted son, he beheld, in a loose undress, the beau- 
ty of Zeineb, and bui*st forth into an ejaculation of devotion 
and desire. The servile, or grateful, f reedmau understood the 
hint, and yielded without hesitation to the love of his bene- 
factor. 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 prom- 
ised secrecy and forgiveness: he swore that he would re- 
nounce 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 

**^ In a memorable case, the Caliph Omar decided that nil presnmptirc evidence 
was of no avail ; and that all the fonr witnesses mast have actaally seen stjlam in 
pjTxide (Abolfedse Annales Moslemici, p. 71, vers. Beiske [Lips. 1754]). 

* This law, however, related only to accusations by strangers. By a sobse- 

Snent law (Sura 24, ▼. 6-10) a husband who suspected his wife might procure a 
ivorce by taking four oaths to the truth of his charge, and a fifth invoking God's 
curse upon himself if he had sworn falsely. The woman escaped punishment if 
she took an oath of the same description. Weil, p. 27d. — S. 

AJ>. 632.] MAHOMET'S WIVES. 269 

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 sam- 
moned to his presence his eleven wives, reproached their dis- 
obedience and indiscretion, and threatened them with a sen- 
tence of divorce, both in this world and in the next — a dread- 
ful 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 pal- 
liated by the tradition of his natural or preternatural gifts :'** 
he united the manly virtue of thirty of the children of Adam ; 
and the apostle might rival the thirteenth labor*'* of the Gre- 
cian Hercules.'^ 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 Fa- 
tima, 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 

^*' ''Sibi robnr ad generationem, quantom triginta viri habent, inesse jactaret : 
ita Dt unicft hor& posset nndecim foBminiB sati$facere^ at ex Arabum libris refert 
S'**. Petrns Paschasias, c. 2 " (Maracci, Prodromns Alcoran, p. iv. p. 55. See 
likewise Obsenrations de Belon, L iii. c. 10, fol. 179, recto). Al Jannabi (Ga- 
gnier, torn. iii. p. 287) records bis own testimony, that he surpassed all men in con- 
jugal vigor ; and Abnlfeda mentions the exclamation of Ali, who washed his bodj- 
after his death, *'0 propheta, certe penis tnos coelam versus erectus est," in Vit. 
Mohammed, p. 140. 

f I borrow the style of a father of the Church, IvaQXiviav 'HparX^c TptaKatSi- 
corov affKov (Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 108 [edit. Far. 1609]). 

'** The common and most glorious legend includes, in a single night, the fifty 
victories of Hercules over the virgin daughters of Thestius (Diodor. Sicul. torn. i. 
1. iv. [c. 29] p. 274 ; Pausanias, 1. ix. [c. 27, § 6] p. 768 ; Statius Silv. 1. i. eleg. iii. 
T. 42). But Athenseus allows seven nights (Deipnosophist, 1. xiii. [c. 4] p. 556), 
and Apollodoms fifty, for this arduous achievement of Hercules, who was then 
no more than eighteen years of ag^ (Biblioth. 1. ii. c. 4 [§ 10] p. Ill, cum notis 
Heyne, part i. p. 332). 


never can be a better ! She believed in me when men de- 
spised me ; she relieved my wants when I was poor and per- 
secuted by the world."*" 

In the largest indalgence of polygamy, the founder of a re- 
ligion and empire might aspire to multiply the chances of a 
numerous posterity and a lineal succession. The 
ren. j^^p^ ^^ Mahomet were fatally disappointed. The 
virgin Ayesha, and his ten widows of mature age and ap- 
proved fertility, were barren in his potent embraces. The 
four sons of Cadijah died in their infancy ; Mary, his Egyp- 
tian concubine, was endeared to him by the birth of Ibra- 
him. At the end of fifteen mouths the prophet wept over 
his grave ; but he sustained with firmness the raillery of his 
enemies, and checked the adulation or credulity of the Mos- 
lems by the assurance that an eclipse of the sun was Tiot oc- 
casioned 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 fa- 
ther ; but Fatima, who possessed his confidence and love, be- 
came the wife of her cousin Ali, and the mother of an illus- 
trious 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 command- 
ers of the faithful as the vicars and successors of the apostle 
of God."* 

The birth, the alliance, the character of Ali, which exalted 

itt Abulfeda in Vit. Moham. p. 12, 18, 16, 17, '*Cam notis Gugoier." 
>** This outline of the Arabian histoiy is drawn from the Biblioth^que Orieotale 
of D*Herbelot (under the names otAboubecre^ Omar, Othman, Alt, etc.), from the 
Annals of Abnlfeda, Abalpharagius, and Elmacin (under the proper years of the 
Hegira), and especially from Ockley's History of the Saracens (vol. L p. 1-10, 115- 
122, 229, 249, 868-372, 87S-391, and almost the whole of the second Tolnmo). 
Tet we should weigh with cantioo 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 modem Persians 
(Voyages, tom. il p. 235-250, elc).» 

* The most valuable work since Gibbon's time upon the history of the Caliphs 
is Weil's **Geschichteder Chalifen," Mannheim 3 vols. 8vo, 1846 seq., founded 
upon original sources. This work is referred to in subsequent notes under the 
name of Weil. — S. 

AJ>. 632.] CHABACTEB OF ALl. 271 

him above the rest of his coantrymen, might justify his claim 
Character ^^ ^^^ vacaiit throne of Arabia. The son of Aba 
of All. 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 ; 
bnt 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 ;^" 
and every antagonist, in the combats of the tougue or of the 
sword, was subdued by bis 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 after- 
wards reproached for neglecting to secure his interest by a 
solemn declaration of his right, which would have silenced 
all competition, and sea ed 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 
saspend the resolutions of Mahomet ; and the bed of sickness 
was besieged by the artful Ayesha, the daughter of Abube- 
ker, and the enemy of Ali.* 

**^ Ockley (at the end of liis second yolume) 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 sen- 
tences delineate a characteristic, thoagh dark, picture of haman life. 

* Gibbon wrote chiefly from the Arabic or Snnnite account of these transac- 
tions, the only sources accessible at the time when he composed his history. Ma- 
jor 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 silence and death of the prophet restored the liberty 
of the people ; and his companions convened an assembly to 
Reign of deliberate on the choice of his successor. The he- 
f.Sfb«"' reditary claim and lofty spirit of Ali were offen- 
jaueT; gjy^ ^ ^jj aristocracy of elders, desirous of bestow- 
ing and resuming the sceptre by a free and frequent elec- 
tion : the Koreish could never be reconciled to the proud pre- 
eminence of the line of Hashem : the ancient discord of the 
tribes was rekindled ; the fugitives of Mecca and the auxil- 
iaries 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 res- 
olution of Omar, who, suddenly renouncing his own preten- 
sions, 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 ex- 
cuse this illegal and precipitate measure; but Omar himself 
confessed from the pulpit, that, if any Mussulman should 
hereafter presume to anticipate the suffrage of his brethren, 
both the elector and the elected would be worthy of death.** 

*^ Ockley (Uist of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 5, 6) from an Arabian MS. represents 
Ajesha as adverae to the substitution of her father in the place of the apostJe.* 
This fact, so improbable in itself, is unnoticed by Abulfeda, Al Jannabi, and Al 
Bocbari, the last of whom quotes the tradition of Ayesha herself ( Vit. Moham- 
med, p. 186 ; Vie de Mahomet, torn. iii. p. 286). 

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 n'ere 
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 bis confi- 
dence in God, and submission to the decrees of fate. 

Compare the curious account of this apathy in Price, chap. ii. It is to be re- 
gretted, I must add, that Major Price bus contented himself with quoting the 
names of the Persian works which he follows, without any account of their char- 
acter, age, and authority. — M. 

*• The anecdote here 'mentioned seems to be an allusion to the following scene, 
which took place before the death of Mahomet Finding that he had not strength 
to offer up the evening prayer, the prophet ordered that Abu Bekr should pray in 
his place ; Ayeslia, however, several times requested that Omar should perform 

A.D.634.] KEIGK OF OMAR. 273 

After the simple inauguration of Abubeker, he was obeyed 
in Medina, Mecca, and the provinces of Arabia : the Hashem- 
ites alone declined the oath of fidelity ; and their chief, in his 
own house, maintained above six months a sullen and inde- 
pendent i*eserve, 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 tlie de- 
cline of his party, subdued the indignant spirit of Ali : he 
condescended to salute the commander of the faithful, accept- 
ed 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 the 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 
A.D.e84,> 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 supe- 
rior worth and dignity of his rival, who comforted him for 
the loss of empire by the most flattering marks of confi- 
dence 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 suc- 
cessor, and devolved on six of the most respectable compan- 
ions the arduous task of electing a commander of the faithful. 

the service, since her fAther was so touched that he coold not pray aloud. But 
Mahomet ans^vered, '* Tboa art a second Potiphar's wife " — that is, as great a 
hypocrite as she ; since he well knew that she must wish her fnther, and nobody 
else, by offering up the prayers, to appear in a certain degree as his representative. 
Weil, Mohammed, p. 827. — S. 

* Caliph in Arabic means "successor." — S. 

^ Aba Bekr died on the 22d August, 634, after a reign of two years three 
months and a few days. Weil, vol. i. p. 46, 53. — S. 

* Eleventh, Gibbon's computation is wrong on his own showing. Omar's 
reign lasted ten lunar years six months and four days. He died on the 3d Nor., 
644. Weil, vol. i. p. 1 30 seq.— S. 

v.— 18 


On this occasion All was again blamed by his friends**" 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 senr 
iors"'^ With these limitations, Othman, the secretary of Ma- 
homet, accepted the government ; nor was it till after the 

third caliph, twenty-four years after the death of 
▲.p. 644, ' 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 mosque 
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. 
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 Turks the f ricuds 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.'" The 

*** Particularly by liis friend and cousin Abdallah, the son of Abbas, who died 
A.D. 687, with the title of grand doctor of the Moslems. In Abulfeda [Ann. Mos- 
lem.] he recapitnlates the important occasions in which Ali had neglected his sal- 
ntary advice (p. 76, yers. Beiske); and concludes (p. 85), **0 princeps fideliom, 
absque controrersia tu quidem vere [vir] fortis es, at inops boni consilii, et remm 
gerendarum parum callens." 

"® I suspect that the two seniors (Abn^>haragins, p. 115 ; Ockley, torn. L p. 371) 
may signify not two actual counselloTS, but his two predecessors, Abubeker and 

^^* The schism of the Persians is explained by all our travellers of the last cen- 

* This conjecture of Gibbon^s is confirmed by Dr. Weil's narratiTe of the elec- 
tion from Arabian authorities (vol. i. p. 153). The nomination was finally intrust- 
ed to Abd £rrahman,who had been appointed one of the six electors, but who de- 
clined for himself all pretensions to the CAliphate. He did not, however, discharge 
his oflBce without first consulting the people, lb. p. 180, 131, and 150-155. — S. 


former, who are branded with the appellation of ShiiteSy or 
sectaries, have enriched the Mahometan creed with a new ar- 
ticle 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 nsnrpers 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."** The 
JSonniiedy who are supported by the general consent and ortho- 
dox 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 degrees 
of sanctity."' 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 

tary, especially in the second and fourth Tolames of their master, Chardin. Nie- 
bahr, though of inferior merit, has the advantage of writing so late as the year 
1764 (Voyages en Arabie, etc., torn. ii. p. 208-233), since the ineffectual attempt 
of Nadir Shah to change the religion of the nation (see his Persian History trans- 
lated into French by Sir William Jones, torn. ii. p. 5, 6, 47, 48, 144-155). 

"' Omar is tlie name of the devil ; his murderer is a saint. When the Persians 
shoot with the boiv, they frequently ciy, " May this arrow go to the heart of 
Omar!" (Voyages de Chardin, torn. ii. p. 239, 240, 259, etc.). * 

^^ This gradation of merit is distinctly marked in a creed illustrated by Reland 
(De Relig. Mohamn. L i. p. 87) ; and a Sonnito argument inserted hy Ockley 
(Hist, of the Saracens, tom. ii. p. 230). The practice of cursing the memoiy of 
Ali was abolished, after forty years, by the Ommiades themselves (D'llerbelot, 
p. 690) ; and there are few among the Turks who presume to revile him as an in- 
fidel (Voyages de Chardin, tom. iv. p. 46). 

*■ The first sect that arose among the Moslems was a political one, and had for 
its object the detlironeroent of Othman. It was founded in Egypt by Abdullah 
Ibn Saba, a native of Yemen, and of Jewish descent, whom Othman had banish- 
ed from Medina for finding fault with his government. Abdallah maintained that 
Ali had been Mahomet's assistant, or vizier, and as such was entitled to the ca- 
liphate, out of which he had been cheated by Abd Errahman. The chief article of 
bis speculative belief was that Mahomet would return to life, whence his sect was 
named that of ** the return." Weil, voL i. p. 1 73 seq. — S. 


practice of moral and religions duties. But the pablic virtaes 
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 em- 
pire. 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 pro- 
ductive 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 con- 
founded among the freeborn Arabs, who demanded the re- 
dress 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 Me- 
dina, 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 con- 
trived 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 helpless 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 

* The principal complaints of the rebels were that Oihman, on the occasion of | 

his new edition of the Koran — which probably contained some alterations — had 
caused all the previous copies to be burned ; that he had enclosed and appropri- 
ated the best pasturages ; that he had recalled Hakam, who had been banished 
by Mahomet; that he had ill-treated some of the companions of the prophet; and i 

that he had named several young persons as govemon merely because they were | 

his relations. He was likewise accused of neglecting to tread in the footsteps of 
his predecessors, as he had promised to do at his election ; and on this point 
Abd Errahman himself, who had nominated him, was his accuser. Weil, voL I 
p. 178.— S. 

A.D. 655.] DEATH OF OTHMAN. 277 

pierced with a mnltitude of wounds. A tamultaoas anarchy 
Death of o^ ^^^ ^^7^ ^^ appeased by the inauguration 
^.^'SS' ^^ ^^* • ^^^ refusal would have provoked a general 
jTaneis.* massacrc. 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 presump- 
tion of the strangers ; and required the fonnal if not the vol- 
untary 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 strenu- 
ous and sincere in his opposition to the rebels ; and it is cer- 
tain that he enjoyed the benefit of their crime* The tempta- 
tion was indeed of such magnitude as might stagger and cor- 
rupt 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. 

A life* of prayer and contemplation had not chilled the 
martial activity of Ali ; but in a mature age, after a long ex- 
perience of mankind, he still betrayed in his con- 
A.nfSiMw/ duct 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 solic- 
ited 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 

* Bather Jnne 17, 656. Othman was upwards of eighty years of age at the 
time of his death. Weil, vol. i. p. 1 85. — S. 

278 BEIGN OF ALL [Ch.L. 

vengeance for his blood. They were accompanied in their 
flight by Ayesha, the widow of the prophet, who cherished to 
the last hoar of her life an implacable hatred against the hus- 
band 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 jave- 
lins and darts like the quills of a porcupine. The venerable 
captive sustained with firmness the reproaches of the con- 
queror, 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 vic- 
tory, which was styled the Day of the Camel,' All marched 
against a more formidable adversary ; against Moawiyah, the 
son of Abu Sophian, who had assumed the title of caliph, and 

* All 18 said to hare incurred her hatred by remarking to Mahomet, at the time 
when he was dejected by his suspicions of her faithfulness: ''Why do you take 
it so much to heart? There are plenty more women in the world. Weil, toI. i. 
p. 196.— S. 

^ The reluctance of Ali to shed the blood of true believers is sti-ikingly 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 Beianziat alone lost 
a iTght hand in this service, p. 225. — M. 

* She was escorted by a guard of females disguised as soldiei's. When she dis- 
covered this, Ayesha was as much gratified by the delicacy of the arrangement as 
slie had been offended by the familiar approach of so many men. Price^ p. 229. — M. 

' From the camel which Ayesha rode. Weil, vol. i. p. 210. — S. 

AJ>. 656-^1.] BEION OF ALL 279 

whose claim was supported by the forces of Syria and the in- 
terest of the Hoase of Ominiyah. From the passage of Thap- 
sacos the plain of Siffin^*^ extends along the western bank of 
the Euphrates. On this spacioas and level theatre the two 
competitors waged a desnltory war of one hundred and ten 
days. In the coui*se 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 sangui- 
nary 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 breth- 
ren, 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 irre- 
sistible force his ponderous and two-edged sword. As often 
as he smote a rebel, he shouted the Allah Acbar, ^' God is vic- 
torious :" 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 Ah 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 insidi- 
ous compromise. He i*etreated with sorrow and indignation 
to Cufa; his party was discouraged; the distant provinces 

"« The plain of SiflSn is determined by D'Anville (rEuphrate et le Tigre, p. 2U) 
to be the Campus Barbaricus of Procopiut. 

* Weil remarks 'that it mast not be forgotten that the history of the first caliphs 
was collected or forged under the reign of the Abassides, with whom it was a life- 
and-death point to depress Afoawiyah and the Ommijahds, and to elevate Ali. If 
all is true that is related in Ali*s praise, it is incomprehensible how he shonld have 
been set aside by Abu Bekr, Omar, and Othman, and should not even have been 
able to maintain'his ground when named caliph. Vol. i. p. 254 seq. — S. 

280 REIGN OF ALL [Ch. L. 

of Peraia,* 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 Chare- 
gites,^ or enthusiasts, discoursed of the disorders of the Church 
and State : they soon agreed that the deaths of Ali, of Moa- 
wiyah, 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 se- 
cretly 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 mosque 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"* was concealed from the tyrants of the 
House of Ommiyah ;"* but in the fourth age of the Hegira, a 
tomb, a temple, a city, arose near the ruins of Cufa."' Many 

*^' Abolfeda, a moderate Sonnito, relates the different opinions concerning the 
burial of Ali, but adopts the sepulchre of Cufa, ** Hodie famft numeroqae religiose 
frequentantium celebratum." This number is reckoned by I^iebuhr to amount an- 
nually to 2000 of the dead and 5000 of the living (torn. ii. p. 208, 209). 

1^* AU 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, torn. ii. p. 155), 
hare enriched the tonob 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. 

"^ 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 site and form of the modem 

• According to Weil, Ali retained Persia. Vol. i. p. 247. — S. 

^ Chawarij, or Charijites (deserters, rebeb), was the name given to all those ivfao 
revolted from the lawful Imam. Gibbon seems here to confound them with the 
Chaxrajites, one of the two tribes of Medina. (See above, p. 237.) They were 
divided into six principal sects ; but they all agreed in rejecting the authority both 
of Othman and Ali, and the damnation of those caliphs formed their chief teneL 
Weil, vol. i. p. 231. They were very numerous, and had risen in open rebellion 
against Ali, who was obliged to resort to force to reduce them to obedience. IK 
p. 287.— S. 

^ On the 21 St of January, 661, two days after the mortal blow. Weil, voL I 
p. 250.— S. 

A.r, 661-680.] REIGN OF MOAWIYAH. 281 

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. 

The persecutors of Mahomet usurped the inheritance of 
his children ; and the champions of idolatry became the su- 
Reign of preme heads of his religion and empire. The op- 
JlSTSwS?' position of Abu Sophian had been fierce and obsti- 
6C1-09O. jjj^^g . ijjg 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 
tlie cruel Henda, was dignified in his early youth with the 
ofiice 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, ei- 
ther 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 Bhodes. The sacred duty of 
pursuing the assassins of Othman was the engine and pre- 
tence of his ambition. The bloody shirt of the martyr was 
exposed in the mosque 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 re- 
venge. 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."* 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 

Jernsalein. Meshed Hosein, larger and more popalous, is at the distance of thirty 

'''^ I borrow, on this occasion, the strong sense and expression of Tacitus (Hist. 
i. 4): '^Evulgato imperii arcano, posse imperatorem [principem] alibi qiiam Roms 


mind was either above or below the government of the world, 
and who retired without a sigh from the palace of Cufa to a 
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 mar- 
murs of freedom or fanaticism attested the reluctance of the 
Arabs, and four citizens of Medina refused the oath of fideli- 
ty ;* but the designs of Moawiyah were conducted with vig- 
or and address ; and his son Yezid, a feeble and dissolute 
youth, was proclaimed as the commander of the faithful and 
the successor of the apostle of God. 

A familiar story is related of the benevolence of one of the 
sons of AH. In serving at table, a slave had inadvertently 
Death of dropped a dish of scalding broth on his master: 
?.il!1k^*. *^® heedless wretch fell prostrate, to deprecate his 
ocL 10. 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 oflEences:" — "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 young- 
er brother of Hassan, inherited a remnant of his father's spir- 
it, and served with honor against the Christians in the siege 
of Constantinople. The primogeniture of the line of Ha- 
shem, and the holy chai*acter 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 acknowl- 
edge. A list was secretly transmitted from Cufa to Medina, 

* These were, Hosein, All's son ; Abd Allah, the son of Znbeir ; Abd Ermb- 
mnn, son of Abu Bekr ; and Abd Allah, son of Omar. Moawiyah, having failed 
in his attempts to gain them over, caused them to be seized and led into the 
mosque, each accompanied by two soldiers with drawn swords, who were ordered 
to stab them if they attempted to speak. Moawiyah then mounted the pulpit, 
and, addressing the assembly, said that he had seen the necessity of having his son's 
title recognized before his death, but that he had not taken this step without con- 
sulting the four principal men in Mecca, who were then present, and who had en- 
tirely agreed with his views. He then called upon the assembly to do homage to 
his son ; and as the four prisoners did not venture to contradict his assertion, 
Yezid was acknowledged by those preseot as Moawivah's successor. Weil, vol. i. 
p. 280 seq.— S. 

▲.D.680.] DEATH OF HOSEIN. 283 

of one hundred and forty thousand Hoslems, 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 re- 
'Solved to trust his person and family in the hands of a perfid- 
ious people. He traversed the desert of Arabia with a timor- 
ous retinu^ 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 : ObeidoUah, the gov- 
ernor of Cufa, had extinguished the first sparks of an insur- 
rection ; and Hosein, in the plain of Kerbela, was encom- 
passed 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 war- 
riors 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 crim- 
inal to the commander of the faithful, or expect the conse- 
qnences 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 en- 
counter 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 theif Creator. 
My brgther, 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 titnely 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 band 
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 reluc- 
tance, and one of their chiefs deserted, with thirty followers, 
to claim the partnership of inevitable death. In every close 
onsets or single combat, the despair of the Fatimites was in- 
vincible ; 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 of the 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 month 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 is- 
sued 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 bold- 
est 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," ex- 
claimed 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 sympa- 
thy of the coldest reader."* On the annual festival of his 
martyrdom, in the devout pilgrimage to his sepulchre, his 

"• I have abridged the interesting narrative of Ockley (torn. ii. p. 170-281). It 
18 long and minute ; bat the pathetic, almost always, consists in the detail of little 


FerBian votaries abandon their Bonis to the religions frenzy 
of sorrow and indignation.'"* 

When the sisters and children of Ali were bronght in 
chains to tlie throne of Damascus, the caliph was advised to 
extirpate the enmity of a popular and hostile race, 
Mahomet whom he had injured beyond the hope of recon- 
ciliation. But Yezid preferred the counsels of 
mercy ; and the mom*ning 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/" 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 ji^ousy 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 prac- 
tice of religion. The twelfth and last of the Imams, conspic- 
uous by the title of Mdhadi^ or the Guide, surpassed the soli- 
tude 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.*" In the lapse of two or 

'^ Niebiihr the Dane (Voyages en Arable, etc., torn. li. p. 208, etc.) is, perhaps, 
the only European traveller who has dared to Tisit Meshed Ali and Meshed Ho- 
sein. 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 am- 
ply described by Sir John Chardin, a traveller whom I have often praised. 

'B' The isenerol article of Imam^ in D'Herbelot's Biblioth^qae, will indicate the 
succession, and the lives of the twelve are given under their respective names. 

'^ The name of Antichriet may seem ridiculous, but the Mahometans have lib- 
erally 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 fur 
the Mahadi himself, the other for hb lieutenant, Jesus the son of Maiy. 


three centuries, the posterity of Abbas, the uncle of Mahom- 
et, had multiplied to the number of thirty-three thousand :*■• 
the race of Ali might be equally prolific : tlie meanest indi- 
vidual was above the first and greatest of princes ; and the 
most eminent were supposed to excel the perfection of an- 
gels. But their adverse fortune, and the wide extent of the 
Mussulman empire, allowed an ample scope for every bold 
and artful impostor who claimed affinity with the holy seed : 
the sceptre of the Almohades, in Spain and Afric; of the 
Fatimites, in Egypt and Syria ;*** of the Sultans of Yemen ; 
and of the Sophis of Persia ;^"* 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 scimetar: "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 con- 
ditions of princes, or doctors, or nobles, or merchants, or beg- 
gars, a swarm of the genuine or fictitious descendants of Ma- 
homet and Ali is honored with the appellation of sheiks, or 
sherifs, or emirs. In the Ottoman empire they are distin- 
guished by a green turban ; receive a stipend from the treas- 
ury ; are judged only by their chief ; and, however debased 
by fortune or character, still assert the proud pre-eminence 
of their birth. A family of three hundred persons, the pure 

1^ In tlie year of the Hegira 200 (a.d. S15). See D*Herbelot, p. 546. 

1^ D'Herbelot, p. 842. The enemies of the Fatimites disgraced them by a 
Jewish origin. Yet they accurately deduced their genealogy from Jaa&r, the 
sixth Imam ; and the impartial Abnlfeda allows (Annal. Moslem, p. 230) that 
they were owned by many, *' Qui absque controvei%i& genuini sunt Alidamm, 
homines propaginum sofB gentis exacte callentcs." He qnotee some lines from 
the celebrated Scherif or Radhi : " Egone humilitatem indmim in tern's hos- 
tiam ?"([ suspect him to be an Edrissite of Sicily) *'cum in JEgypto sit Chalifii 
de gente Alii, quocum ego commnnem habeo patrem et vindicem.** 

*^ The kings of Persia of the last dynasty are descended from Sheik Sefi, a 
saint of the fourteenth century, and, through him, from Moussa Cassem, the son 
of Hoscin, the son of Ali (Olearius, p. 957; Chardin, tom. iii. p. 2S8). 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 Ma- 
zanderan, who reigned in the ninth century (D'Herbelot, p. 96). 


and orthodox branch of the Caliph Hassan, is preserved with- 
oat 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 Maliomet would ennoble a Ple- 
beian race, and the ancient blood of the Koreish transcends 
the recent majesty of the kings of the earth.'** 

The talents of Mahomet are entitled to our applause ; but 
his success has, perhaps, too strongly attracted our admira- 
saccesfl of ^^^^' ^^^ ^^ surprisod that a multitude of prose- 
MahomeL ijtes 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 incredi- 
ble 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 tlie 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 enthusi- 
asm and fear, continually acted on each other, till every bar- 
rier yielded to their irresistible power. His voice invited the 
Arabs to freedom and victory, to arms and rapine, to the in- 
dulgence of their darling passions in this world and the oth- 
er : the restraints which he imposed were requisite to estab- 
lish 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. 

Permanen- _ , , .11 <• 

cyofbis 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 

'^ The present state of the fumily of Mnhomet and AH is most accurately de- 
scribed by Demetrius Cantemir (Hist, of the Othman Empire, p. 94) and Nie- 
bnhr (Description de TArabie, p. 9-16, 817, etc.). It is much to be lamented that 
the Danish traTeller was unable to purchase the chroDicles of Arabia. 


and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve cen- 
turies, by the Indian, the African, and the Turkish proselytes 
of the Koran. If the Christian apostles, St. Peter or St. Panl, 
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 incum> 
bent on them to peruse the catechism of the Church, and 
to study the oi*thodox 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 be- 
lieve 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 re- 
strained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of 
reason and religion, f The votaries of Ali have, indeed, conse- 
crated the memory of their hero, his wife, and his children ; 
and some of the Persian doctors pretend that the divine es- 
sence 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 en- 
gaged the passions of the people or disturbed the tranquil- 
lity of the State. The cause of this important difference may 
be found in the separation or union of the regal and sacerdo- 
tal characters. It was the interest of the caliphs, the succes- 
sors of the prophet and commanders of the faithful, to repress 
and discourage all religious innovations : the order, the dis- 
cipline, the temporal and spiritual ambition of the clergy, are 


unknown to the Moslems ; and the sages of the law are the 
gaides of their conscienoe 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 whicl; regulate the ac- 
tions and the property of mankind are guarded by the infal- 
lible and immutable sanction of the will of God. This relig- 
ious servitude is attended with some practical disadvantage ; 
the illiterate legislator had been often misled by his own prej- 
udices and those of his country ; and the institutions of the 
Arabian desert may be ill adapted to the wealth and num- 
bers 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 inflnence on the pablic happi- 
ness is the last consideration in the character of Mahomet. 
The most bitter or most bigoted of his Christian or 
towardnbte Jewisli focs wiU surclv 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 
revelations, 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 ai^ts 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 po- 
litical system for the use of his countrymen : but he breathed 
among the faithful a spirit of charity and friendship ; recom- 
mended 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 

v.— 19 


snccession 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 Bedouins of the desert, awakening from their dream of 
dominion, resumed their old and solitaiy independence/"^ 

*^ The writen of the Modern Universal Hi8toi7 (rob. i. and ii.) hare compiled 
in 850 folio pages the life of Mahomet and the annab of the caliphs. Thej en> 
jojed the advantage of reading, and sometimes correcting, the Arabic text; yet, 
notwithstanding their high-sounding boasts, I cannot find, after the condusion of 
my work, that they have afforded me mach (if any) additional information. The 
doll mass is not quickened by a spark of philosophy or taste ; and the compilen 
indulge the criticism of acrimonious bigotry against Boulainvilliers, Sale, Gagnier, 
and all who have treated Mahomet with favor or even justice. 

▲J>. 632.1 UNION OF THE ARABS. 291 


The Conquest of Penio, Sjria, Egrpfe, Africa, and Spain by the Arabs or Sara. 
cens. — Empire of the Caliphs, or Successors of Mahomet.— State of the Chris- 
tians, etc., ander their Government. 

The rerolntion of Arabia had not changed the character 
of the Arabs : the death of Mahomet was the signal of inde- 
pendence; and the hasty stmcture of his power 
tbe ArabiL 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 re- 
ceived 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 pros- 
perity. 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. Their habits of faith and obedience were not suffi- 
ciently 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 fends 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 salu- 
tary 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 Bama- 
dan, 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 Ma- 


bomet 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 aban- 
don, the religion of Islam ?" After exhorting the Moslems 
to confide in the aid of Ood and his apostle, Abubeker re- 
solved, 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 elev- 
en banners, diffused the terror of their arms ; and the appear- 
ance of a military force revived and confirmed the loyalty of 
the faithful. The inconstant tribes accepted, with humble re- 
pentance, the duties of prayer, and fasting, and alms ; and, af- 
ter 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,^ between the 
Ked Sea and the Gulf of Persia, in a city not inferior to Me- 
dina 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 ;* and they employed 

* See the description of the city and country of Al Yamanah, in Abulfeda, De- 
script. ArabisB, p. 60, 61. In the thirteenth 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 (Niebnhr, De- 
scription de I'Arabie, p. 296-302). 

* Their 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 thorns est 
Aut in propatulo tentorio si velis, aut in abditiore cubiculo si malis ; 
Aut supinam te humi exporrectam fustigabo, si velis, aut si malis roanibus pedi- 

busquo nixam. 
Ant si Yelis ejus (Priapi) gemino triente, aut si malis totns 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 

A.D. 633.] UNION OF THE ARABa 293 

several days in mystic and amorous converse/ An obscure 
sentence of his Koran, or book, is yet extant ;' and, in the 
pride of his mission, Moseilaraa condescended to offer a parti- 
tion of the earth. The proposal was answered by Mahomet 
with contempt ; but the rapid prog^ress of the impostor awa- 
kened the fears of Iiis successor: forty thousand Moslems 
were assembled under the standard of Caled ; and the exist- 
ence of their faith was resigned to the event of a decisive 
battle. In the first action they were repulsed with 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 Ethiopian 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 prose- 
cution of a holy war ; and their enthusiasm was equally con- 
firmed by opposition and victory. 

From the rapid conquests of the Saracens a presumption 
will naturally arise, that the first caliphs commanded in per- 

the reign of Moawijah, she became a MossoImaD, and died at Bassora (Abalfeda, 
AnnaL vers. Beiske, p. 68). 

' See this text, which demonstrates a God from the work of generation, in 
Abolpharagias (Specimen Hist. Arabnm, p. 13 ; and D/iiast. p. 108) and Abulfeda 
(Annal. p. 68). 

* Weil remarks (vol. i. p. 22, note) that the indecent account of Museilama's in- 
terview with Sedjnh, given in Gibbon's note, is a mere invention of the Moslems, 
as Moseilama was at that time mere than a hundred — nay, according to Snjuti, a 
hundred and fifty — years old. Yet it is diflScnlt to reconcile this advanced age 
with the activity which he most have possessed to take the field in person, where 
he was slain (lb. p. 26). It most be added that Sedjah was not an idolatress, as 
Gibbon states, bat a Christian, and the head of the mighty tribe of Beno Taghlib, 
which was in possession of a great part of Mesopotamia. She was also strength- 
ened by the alliance of several other powerful races. lb. p. 20. — S. 

^ The great loss sustained by the Moslems in this campaign was the occasion 
of Abu l^kr's ordering the Koran to be collected, being fearful that much of it 
might perish by the death of those in whose memory it was deposited. Weil, 
vol. i. p. 26.— S. 


8on the armies of the faithful, and sought the crown of mar- 
tyrdom in the foremost ranks of the battle. The 

Character •' 

of their courage of Abubeker,* Omar,* and Othman* had in- 
deed 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 pres- 
ent 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 Abu- 
beker 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 impoverish- 
ed by the service of the State. He thought himself entitled 
to a stipend of three pieces of gold, with the sufficient main- 
tenance of a single camel and a black slave ; but on the Fri- 
day 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 
coairse 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 Abube- 
ker; 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 a Persian satrap, who paid his homage 

^ His reign in Eutychias, torn. ii. p. 251 ; Elmacin, p. 18 ; Abnlpharagius ; p. 108; 
Abulfeda, p. 60 ; D'Herbelot, p. 58. 

' His r^ign in Euty chins, p. 264; Elmacin, p. 24; AboIpharagioB, p. 110; 
Abulfeda, p. 66 ; D'Herbelot, p. 686. 

* His reign in Eatychius, p. 323 ; Elmacin, p. 86 ; Abulpharagios, p. 115 ; 
Abulfeda, p. 75 ; D'Herbelot, p. 695. 


to the conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the 
steps of the mosque of Medina. Economy 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 distinguish- 
ed by the annual reward of three thousand pieces. One thou- 
sand was the stipend of the veterans who had fought in the 
first battles against the Greeks and Persians ; and the decreas- 
ing pay, as low as fifty pieces of silver, was adapted to the re- 
spective 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,' the consummate prudence of Mo- 
awiyah/ excited the emulation of their subjects ; and the tal- 
ents which had been exercised in the school of civil discord 
were more usefully applied to propagate the faith and domin- 
ion 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.* Yet the spoils of unknown nations were continually 
laid at the foot of their throne, and the uniform ascent of the 

* His reign in Eutjchius, p. 843 ; Elmacin, p. 51 ; Abalpharagias, p. 117; 
Abnlfeda, p. 83 ; D'Herbelot, p. 89. 

^ His reign in Eotychius, p. 344 ; Elmacin, p. 54 ; Abolpharagius, p. 128 ; 
Abnlfeda, p. 101 ; D'Herbelot, p. 586. 

* Their reigns in Eutychins, torn. ii. p. 860-395 ; Elmacin, p. 59-10 ; Abolpba- 
ragins, Djnast. ix. p. 124-139 ; Abnlfeda, p. 11 1-141 ; D'Herbelot, Biblioth^ae 
Orientale, p. 691. and the particular articles of the Ommiades. 


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 de- 
generate and disorderly period of the Persians, the Homans, 
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 fanati- 
cism might have been obscurely lost in the sands of Arabia. 

In the victorious days of the Boman republic it had been 
the aim of the senate to confine their councils and legions to 
TbetrcoQ- ^ single war, and completely to suppress a first en- 
qa«8u. gjjjy before they provoked the hostilities of a sec- 

ond. 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 obe- 
dience thirty -six thousand cities or castles, destroyed four 
thousand churches or temples of the unbelievers, and edified 
fourteen hundred mosques 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 in- 
teresting conquests of the East, and reserving a fuller narra- 
tive for those domestic countries which had been included 
within the pale of the Koman empire. Yet I must excuse 
my own defects by a jast complaint of the blindness and in- 
sufficiency of my guides. The Greeks, so loquacious in con- 
troversy, have not been anxious to celebrate the triumphs of 
their enemies.^" After a century of ignorance, the first annals 

'^ For the soYenth and eighth oentury, we have scarcely any original evidence 


of the Mnssulmans were collected in a great measure from 
the voice of tradition." Among the numerous productions 
of Arabic and Persian literature," our interpreters have se- 
lected the imperfect sketches of a more recent age." The 

of the Byzantine historians, excq>t the chronicles of Theophanes(Theophanit Con- 
fessoris Chronographia, Gr. et Lat com notis Jacobi Goar. Paris, 1655, in folio), 
and the Abridgment ofNicephorus (Nicephori Patriarcbe C. P. Breviarinm His- 
toricum, Gr. et Lat. Paris, 1648, in folio), who both lived in the beginning of the 
ninth century (see Hanckius de Scriptor. Byzant. p. 200-246). Their contemporary, 
Photios, does not seem to bo more opulent After praising the style of Nicepho- 
rns, he adds, Kai oXwc toWovc c<m rwv irpb aurov diroKpyirrofttvoc ryit r^c iffro- 
plac rj wyypafjy and only complains of his extreme brevity (Phot. Biblioth. 
Ck>d. Ixvi. p. 100 [p. 83, edit. Bekk.]). Some additions may be gleaned from the 
more recent histories of Cedrenus and Zonaras of the twelfth century. 

'' 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 
802 (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. il. 
preface, p. xxxix. ; and, list of authors, D'Herbelot, p. 866, 870, 1014).* 

'* Besides the lists of authors framed by Prideanx (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 Biblioth^ue Orientale Tarikh, a catalogue 
of two or three hundred histories or chronicles of the East, of which not more than 
throe or four are older than Tabari. A lively sketch of Oriental literature is given 
by Reiske (in his Prodidagmata ad Hagji ChalifsB librum memorialem ad calcem 
AbulfedA TabuliB Syrie, Lipsise, 1766) ; but his project and the Fi*ench version 
of Petit de hi Croix (Hist, de Timur Bee, tom. i. preface, p. xlv.) have fallen to 
the ground. 

'' The particular historians and geographers will be occasionally introduced. 
The four following titles represent the Annals which have guided me in this gen- 
eral narrative : 1. Aniuilea Eutychii^ Patriarchs Alexandrinif ab Edwardo Po- 
ccckioy 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. HiBtoria Saracenica Georgii Elmacini, operd et studio Thmna Erpenii, in 4to, 
lAtgd. 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 Dy- 
nastiarum a Gregorio Abulpharagioy interprete Edwardo PocockiOj in 4to, Oxon, 
1663. More useful for the literary than the civil history of the East. 4. Ab*U- 
/edos Annales MosUmid ad Ann, HegircB ccccvi. a Jo. Jac, Reiskey in 4to, LipncBj 
1754. The best of our chronicles, both for the original and version, yet how far 
below the name of Abulfeda ! We know that be wrote at Hamah in the fourteenth 

* On the writings of Tabari, see editor's note, p. 231. — S. 


art and genias of history have ever been unknown to the 
Asiatics;^* thej are ignorant of the laws of criticism ; and our 
monkish chronicles of the same period may be compared to 
their most popular works, whidi are never vivified by the 
spirit of philosophy and freedom. The OriefUal library of 
a Frenchman" would instruct the most learned mufti of the 
East; and perhaps the Arabs might not find in a single his- 
torian so clear and comprehensive a narrative of their own 
exploits as that which will be deduced in the ensuing sheets. 
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 An- 
bar and Hira. Westward of the ruins of Babylon, a tribe of 
sedentary Arabs had fixed themselves on the vers^e 


ofPEwiA. 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."* The last of the Mondars^ was defeated 

century. ' The three former were Christians of the tenth, twelfth, and thirteenth cen- 
turies ; the two first, natives of ££}'pt — a Melchite patriarch, and a Jacobite scribe. 

^* M. de Gttignes (Hist, des Huns, torn. i. pref. p. xix. xx.) has characterized, 
with truth and knowledge, the two sorts of Arabian historians — the diy annalist, 
and the tumid and flowery orator. 

1* Bibliothique Orientale, par M. D'Herbelot, iu folio, Paris, 1697. For the 
character of the respectable author consult his friend Therenot (Voyages dn Le- 
vant, 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 
satisfactoiy in the Persian than the Arabic history. The recent supplement from 
the papers of MM. Yisdelon and Galland (in folio. La Haye, 1779) is of a differ- 
ent cast — a medley of tales, proverbs, and Chinese antiquities. 

i< Pocock will explain the chronology (Specimen Hist. Arabum, p. 66-74), and 
D'Anville the geography (I'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 125), of the dynasty of the Al- 
mondars. 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. 

* Hira was situated a few miles northwest of the more modem Cufa. It was 
founded by the Arabs about a.d. 190, and therefore could not hare existed aix 
centuries, as represented in the text. Anbftr, which was not far from Hira, wa« 
either founded about the same time, or, having been previously in existence^ was 
taken possession of by the Arabs. See Calcutta Review, No. xli. p. 19. — S. 

I' Eichhom and Silrestre de Sacy have written on the obscure history of 
the Mondars. — M. See also the work of Caussin de Perceval referred to on 
p. 177.— S. "" On the authority of Abnlfeda, see note, p. 232.— S. 

A^.636.] BATTLE OF CADESU. 299 

and slain by Caled ; his son was sent a captive to Medina ; 
his nobles bowed before the successor of the prophet; the 
people were tempted by the example and success of their 
countrymen ; and the caliph accepted as the first-fruits of for- 
eign conquest an annual tribute of seventy thousand pieces of 
gold. The conquerors, and even their historians, were aston- 
ished 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 Mos- 
lems."" But the invincible Caled was soon transferred to the 
Syrian war: the invasion of the Persian frontier was con- 
ducted by less active or less prudent commanders : the Sara- 
cens were repulsed with loss in the passage of the Euphra- 
tes ; and, though they chastised the insolent pursuit of the 
Magians, their remaining forces still hovered in the desert of 

The indignation and fears of the Persians suspended for 
a moment their intestine divisions. By the unanimous sen- 
tence of the priests and nobles, their queen Arze* 
cadesia. uia^ was dcposcd ; the sixth of the transient usurp- 
^^ ers who had arisen and vanished in three or four 

years since the death of Chosroes and the retreat of Hera- 
clius. Her tiara was placed on the head of Yezdegerd, the 
grandson of Chosroes ; and the same era, which coincides 
with an astronomical period," has recorded the fall of the 

" " Fecit et Chaled plurima in hoc anno praelia, in quibns yicernnt Mnslimi, 
et infidelium immensft multitodina occisft spolia infinite et innomera sunt nacti" 
(Hist. Saracenica, p. 20). The Christian annalist slides into the national and 
compendious term of infidels, and I often adopt (I hope vrithoat scandal) this 
characteristic mode of expression. 

'^ A cjcle of one hundred and twenty years, at the end of which an intercalary 
month of thirty 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 suc- 
cessiTely removed from the first to the twelfth month ; but Hyde and Freret are 

* Compare throughout Malcolm, vol. ii. p. 136. — M. 

** According to Weil, the battle of Cadesia was fought soon after the taking of 
I>amascus, and therefore early in 685. Vol. i. p. 71. See below, p. 828, note. — S. 

^ She is called Buran (or Turen) by Weil, but there is great confusion in the 
names and chronology of these Persian princes. Vol L p. 63. — S. 


Sassanian dynasty and the religion of 2k)roa8ter/'^ The yoatli 
and inexperience of the prince — he was only fifteen years of 
age** — declined a perilous encoanter ; the royal standard was 
delivered into the hands of his general Enstam ; and a rem- 
nant 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 reinforced from twelve to thirty thousand, had pitched 
their camp in the plains of Cadesia :** and their line, though 
it consisted of fewer meuj 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 Bomans, 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 

invoked in a profoand controversj, whether the twdve or only eight of these 
changes were accomplished before the era of Yezdegerd, which is unanimooslj 
fixed to the IGth of Jane, jld. 632. How laborionslj does the canons spirit of 
Europe explore the darkest and most distant antiquities (Hyde, De Religione Fer- 
samm, ch. 14-18, p. 181-211 ; Freret in the M^m. de TAcadiSmie des InscriptioDS, 
torn. xyi. p. 283-267)! 

** Nine days after the death of Mahomet (7th June, a.d. 632) we find the en 
of Yezdegerd (16th June, a.d. 632), and his accession cannot be postponed be- 
yond the end of the first year. His predecessors could not, therefore, resist the 
arms of the Caliph Omar ; and these unqnestionable dates overthrow the thought- 
less chronology of Abulpharagius. See Ockley's Hist, of the Saracens, toI. i. 
p. 130. 

^ Cadesia, says the Nubian geographer (p. 121), is, in "margine solitudinis," 
sixty-one leagues from Bagdad, and two stations from Cufa. Otter (Voyage, 
torn. L p. 163) reckons fifteen leagues, and observes that the place is supplied with 
dates and water.' 

* The era of Yezdegerd (16th of June, 632) is improperly regarded by many 
writers as that of his defeat and death, instead of that of his succession ; but 
though it is evident from note 19 that Gibbon did not fall into this mistake, the 
expression in the text might mislead. See Clinton, Fast Kom. voL ii. p. 172.—^ 

^ Weil makes him twenty-one. Vol. i. p. 65. — S. 

* The ruins of Cadesia may be seen on both sides of the Tigris. Sailing down 
the Tigris the traveller perceives ^* huge masses of brickwork jutting out from the 
falling banks, or overhanging the precipice of earth which hems in the stream. 
Here and there are more periect mins of buildings, walls of solid masonry of the 
Sassanian period, and cupolas firetted with the elegant tracery of eariy Arab ar- 
chitecture. These are the remains of the palaces and castles of the lost Feraan 
kings, and of the first caliphs." Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 471. — S. 

AJ>. 636.] BATTLE OF CADESIA. 301 

BkirmisheBy 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 firet, from the well-timed appeffhtnce 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 harkingy from the discordant clamora, 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 Kustam, who, far unlike the an- 
cient 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 sUver.^ 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 o£E 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 ob- 
stinate and atrocious.*^ 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 

'* "Atrox, contumax, plus seroel renovatum," are the well-chosen expressions 
of the translator of Abulfeda (Keiske, p. 69). 

* Other accounts make this succor arrive on the second day, and attribute to it 
the favorable turn of the battle on the third, which seems more probable. Hence 
the first daj was called that of the oonetftstoii, the second the day of wccor, the 
third the day of embittered war. The stmggle, however, lasted through the whole 
of the third night, which was called the night of howling (or barking), Weil, vol. 
i. p. 67, 68.— S. 

^ The day of cormorants, or, according to another reading, the day of reinforce- 
ments. It was the night which was called the night of snarling. Price, p. 114. 
— M. 

' This bardly agrees with the account of the storm. According to other au- 
thorities this had overturned all the tents, and Bnstam was discovered crouching 
under a camel. Weil, vol. i. p. 70. — S. 


Persia ; but this badge of heroic poverty was disguised and 
almost concealed by a profusion of precious gems.** After 
this victory the wealthy province of Irak, or Assyria, sub- 
mitted to the caliph, and his conquests were firmly establish- 
ed by the speedy foundation of Bassora,** a place which ever 
commands the trade and navigation of the Persians. At 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 capi- 
tal. 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 
Fonodation paradiscs or gardens of Asia. Under the first ca- 
ofBiBAora. liphg the jurisdiction of this Arabian colony ex- 
tended 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.* 

After the defeat of Cadesia, a country intersected by rivers 
and canals might have opposed an insuperable barrier to the 
Sack of victorious cavalry; and the walls of Ctesiphon or 
^!^U?,' Madayn, which had resisted the battering-rams of 
March. ^hc Homaus, 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 

*< D'Herbelot, Biblioth^ue Orientalo, p. 297, 848. 

** The reader may satUfy himself on the subject of Bassora bj consolting the 
following writers : Geograph. Nubiens. p. 121 ; D'Herbelot, Biblioth^que Orien- 
tale, p. 192; D*An7ilIe, L*Enphrate et !e Tigre, p. 180, 188, 145; Raynal, Hist 
Philosophiqae des deux Indes, torn, it p. 92-100; Voyages di PietTX) della Valle, 
torn. IT. p. 870-^91; De Tavemier, torn. i. p. 240-247; De Therenot, torn. ii. 
p. 645-i>84 ; D^Otter, torn. iL p. 45-78; De Niebuhr, torn. u.p. 172-199 

* The modem Bnssora, however, lies eight miles to the northeast of the ancient 
city. The latter stood opon a canal, and was probably deserted in consequence 
of this canal being neglected. Ritter*s Erdkunde, vol. x. p. 58.^^ 

A.D.637.] SACK OF M ADA YN. 303 

at baud ; the etrongeflt postB were abandoned by treachery or 
cowardice ; and the king, with a part of his family and treas- 
ureS) 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 shout- 
ed with religious transport, ^^This is the white palace of 
Chosroes ; this is the promise of the apostle of God 1" The 
naked robbers of the desert were suddenly enriched beyond 
the measure of their hope or knowledge. Each chamber re- 
vealed a new treasure secreted with art, or ostentatiously dis- 
played ; the gold and silver, the various wardrobes and pre- 
cious furniture, surpassed (says Abulfeda) the estimate of fan- 
cy 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.*^ 
Some minute though curious facts represent the contrast of 
riches and ignorance. From the remote islands of the In- 
dian Ocean a large provision of camphor** had been import- 
ed, which is employed with a mixture of wax to illuminate 

** '*Ment6 7ix potwt nomeroTe comprehendi quanta spolia * * * nostris ces- 
serint.** Abulfeda, p. 69. Tet I still suspect that the extravagant namben of 
Clmacin may be the error, not of the text, bot of the version. The best trans- 
lators from the Greek, for instance, I find to be very poor arithmeticians.^ 

<* The camphor-tree grows in China and Japan, bot many handred-weight of 
those meaner sorts are exchanged for a single pound of the more precious gum 
of Borneo and Sumatra (Raynal, Hist. Fhilosoph. tom. i. p. 362-865 ; Diction- 
naire d'Hist Katnrelle par Bomare ; Miller's Gardener*s Dictionary). These may 
be the islands of the first climate from whence the Arabians imported their cam- 
phor (Geograph. Nub. p. 84, 85 ; D'Herbelot, p. 282). 

* According to WeiKs chronology, who places the fall of Madayn towards the 
end of 686, and the battle of Cadesia early in 685, nearly two years must have 
elapsed between these events. Vol. i. p. 78. — S. 

<* Mr. Forster remarks that the translation of Erpenius is quite correct, and that 
it is rendered in the same way by Ockley (vol. i. p. 280). In another passage 
(ch. IH. note 44) Gibbon says that **he will never answer for the numbers of Erpe- 
nius," and in a preceding note (ch. H. note 18) he remarks that Erpenius ^Ms said 
to have hastily translat«l a corrupt MS., and that his version is often deficient 
in style and sense." Mr. Forster indignantly repels these insinuations upon the 
literaiy character of Erpenius, and adds several testimonies to his high merit as 
an Arabic scholar. Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 462. — M. 


the palaces of the East. Strangers to the name and proper- 
ties of that odoriferous gum, the Saracens, mistaking it for 
salt, mingled the camphor 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 de- 
pictured 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 rea- 
sonable hope that the eyes of the caliph would be delighted 
with the splendid workmanship of nature and industry. Re- 
gardless 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 drachms. 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 com- 
mander of the faithful ; and the gravest of the companions 
condescended to smile when they beheld the white beard, 
hairy arms, and uncouth figure of the veteran who was in- 
vested with the spoils of the Great King." The sack of Ctes- 
iphon was followed by its desertion and gradual decay. The 
Saracens disliked the air and situation of the place, and Omar 
Foundation ^^ adviscd by his general to remove the seat of 
of cofa. 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" are composed of 

'* See Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. p. 876| 377. I may credit the &ct with- 
out believing the prophecy. 

'^ 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 Uiat vain and 
curious traveller Pietro dellaValle (torn. i. p. 713-718, 731-735).' 

' The best modem account is that of Claudius Rich, Esq. Two Memoirs on 
Babylon. London, 1818.— M. 

AJ>. 637-651] CONQUEST OP PEB8IA. 305 

bricks baked in the eun, and joined by a cement of the native 
bitumen. The name of Cufc^^ describeB a habitation of reeds 
and earth ;^ but the importance of the new capital was sup- 
ported by the nnmbers, wealth, and spirit of a colony of vet- 
erans; 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 thou- 
sand 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 or singular, will denote the luxurious impedi- 
ments of an Oriental army.*' 

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. 


of Pereia. By the reduction of Hamadan and Ispahan, of Cas- 

win, Tauris, and Eei, 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 

*^ Consult the article otCaufak in the Bibliothdque of Dllerbelot (p. 277, 278), 
and the second volume of Ockley's History, particularly p. 40 and 153. 

** See the article of NehavemL, in D'Hcrbelot, p. 667, 668 ,* and Voyages en 
Tnrquie et en Perse, par Otter, torn. i. p. 191. 

* There are varions etymologies of Cu/b, hut the most probahle is that, hefore 
the foandatioo of the town, a small hill upon that spot bore this name. Weil, vol. 
i. p. 76, note. — S. 

v.— 20 


lost sight of the northern bear, and had almost transcended 
the bounds of the habitable world.** Again taming towards 
the West and the Roman empire, they repassed the Tigris 
over the bridge of Mosal, and, in the captive provinces of 
Armenia and Mesopotamia, embraced their victorious breth- 
ren of the Syrian army. From the palace of Madayn their 
Eastern progress was not less rapid or extensive. They ad- 
vanced along the Tigris and the Gulf, peftetrated through the 
passes of the mountains into the valley of Estach^r or Per- 
sepolis, 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 :" he fled with accelerated 
haste over the desert of Kirman, implored the aid of the war- 
like Segestans, and sought a 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 prom- 
ised 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 Ox us. In the public anarchy the in- 
dependent governor of the cities and castles obtained their 
separate capitulations ; the terms were granted or imposed by 

^ It is in stich a style of ignorance and wonder that the Athenian orator de- 
scribes the Arctic conquests of Alexander, who never advanced beyond the shores 
of the Caspian. *A\iiavipoc llui r^c apnrov cat r^c oicovfif vi|Ct ^^iyov itiv, iramK 
fuQiurrfiKti. ^schines contra Ctesiphontem, torn. iii. p. 554, edit. Grsec. Orator. 
Reiske. This memorable cnase was pleaded at Atliens, Olymp. cxii. 3 (b.c. 330), 
in the autnmn (Tnylor, prssfat. p. 870, etc.)* about a year after the battle of Ar- 
bela ; and Alexander, in the pursuit of Darius, was marching towards Hyrcania 
and Bactriana. 

'* We are indebted for this curious particular to the Dynasties of Abulphani' 
giuB, p. 116; but it is needless to prove the identity of Estachnr and Persepolis 
(Dllerbelot, p. 327), and still more needless to copy the drawings and descrip 
tions of Sir John Chardin, or Corneille le Bruyn. 

A.l>. 637-651.] CONQUEST OF PERSIA. 307 

the eeteetn, tlie prudeDce, 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, Har- 
mozan, the prince or satrap of Ahwaz and Sasa, was compel- 
led to surrender his person and his state to the discretion of 
the caliph ; and their interview exhibits a portrait of the Ara- 
bian manners. In the presence, and by the command, of 
Omar the gay barbarian was despoiled of his silken robes em- 
broidered with gold, and of his tiara bedecked with rabies and 
emeralds : ^^ Are yon 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 fleshy and my nation was superior. God was then neu- 
ter : since he has espoused your quarrel, you have subverted 
onr kingdom and religion." Oppressed by this painful dia- 
logue, the Persian complained of intolerable thirst, but dis- 
covered 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 ;** and this monument, which attests the vigilance of the 
caliphs, might have instructed the philosophers of every age.*' 
The flight of Yezdegerd had carried him beyond the Oxus, 

** After the conquest of Persia, Tlieophsnes adds, airrff ^k rip xP^*'^ Uiktvatv 
O^fUMpo^ avaypafiivai leauav r^v vir' aijrbv otKovfiivritr iytviro St i| Avaypa^ 
Koi dvBpvirwy xai KTfivCnf jrai fvruv (Chronograpli. p. 283 [torn. i. p. 522, edit 

** Amidst our meag^re relations, I must regret that D'Herbelot has not found 
and used a Persian translation of Tabari, enriclied, as he says, with many extracts 
from the natiye historians of the Ghebers or Magi (Bibliotli^ue Orientale, p. 1014). 

808 DEATH OF THE [Ch. U. 

and 3s far as the Jaxartes, two rivers'^ of ancient and modern 
renown, which descend from the mountains of In- 
lastking. dia towards the Caspian Sea. He was hospitably 
entertained by Tarkhan, Prince of Fargana," a fer- 
tile province on the Jaxartes : the King of Samarcand, with 
the Turkish tribes of Sogdiana and Scjthia, were moved by 
the lamentations and promises of the fallen monarch ; and he 
solicited, by a suppliant embassy, the more solid and power- 
ful friendship of the Emperor of China," The virtuous Tait- 
Boug" the first of the dynasty of the Tang, may be justly 
compared with the Antonines of Borne : his people enjoyed 
the blessings of prosperity and peace; and his 4ominLon was 
acknowledged by forty-four hordes of the barbarians of Tar- 
tary. His last garrisons of Cashgar and Khoten maintained 
a frequent intercourse with their neighbors of the Jasartes 
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 
Ai*abs. The influence, and perhaps the supplies, of China re- 
vived the hopes of Yezdegerd and the zeal of the worshippers 
of fire ; and he returned w4th an army of Turks to conquer 
the inheritance of his fathers. The fortunate Moslems, with- 
out unsheathing their swords, were the spectator 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 o£Eered his rings and braee- 

^ The most authentic accounts of the two rivers, the Sihon (Joxaites) and the 
Gihon (Oxns), may be found in Sherif al Edrisi (Geograph. Nubiens. p. 1S8); 
Abalfeda (Descript. Chorasan. in Hudson, torn. iii. p. 23) ; Abnlghaxi Khan, who 
reigned on their banks (Hist. G^ntfulogique des Tatars, p. 82, 57, 766) ; and the 
Turkish Geographer, a MS. in the King of France's library (Examen Critique des 
Historiens d'AIexandre, p. 194-860). 

** The territory of Fargana is described by Abnlfeda, p. 76, 77. 

M t( £o redegit angastiarum eundem regem exsulem, at Tnreici regis, et Sogdi- 
ani, et Sinensis, auxilia missis literis imploraret " (Abulfed. Annal. p. 74). The 
connection of the Persian and Chinese history is illustrated by Freret (Mem. de 
r Academic, torn. xvi. p. 24.J-255), and De Guignes (Hist, des Huns, torn. i. p. 54- 
59; and for the geography of the borders, torn. ii. p. 1-43). 

" Hist. Sinica, p. 41-46, in the third part of the Relations Cnrieuses of Thevenot 

A.D. 710.] LAST KING OF PER8U. 809 

lets for an instant passage in a miller's boat. Ignoranf or in- 
sensible of royal distress, the rustic replied that four drachms 
of silver were the daily profit of his mill, and that he would 
not suspend his work unless the loss were repaid. In this mo- 
ment of hesitation and delay the last of the Sassanian kings 
was overtaken and slaughtered by the Turkish cavaliy, in the 
nineteenth year of his unhappy reign."* His son Firuz, a 
humble client of the Chinese emperor, accepted the station of 
captain of his guards ; and the Magian worship was long pre- 
served by a colony of loyal exiles in the province of Bucha- 
ria.^ 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 8igan. The male line of the Sas- 
sanides was extinct ; but the female captives, the daughters 
of Persia, were given to the conquerors in servitude or mar- 
riage ; and the race of the caliphs and imams was ennobled 
by the blood of their royal mothers." 

After the fall of the Persian kingdom, the river Oxus di- 
vided the territories of the Saracens and of the Turks. This 
The con- narrow boundary was soon overleaped by the spirit 
^'miTOxiana. ^* ^'^^ Arabs ; the governors of Chorasan extended 
A.D.I10. their successive inroads; and one of their triumphs 
was adorned with the buskin of a Turkish queen, which she 

" I have endeavored to harmonize the vaiious narratives of Elmacin (Hist. 
Saracen, p. 37), Abulpharagtus (Dynast, p. 1]6), Abulfeda (Annal. p. 74, 79), and 
D^Herbelot (p. 485). The end of Yezdegerd was not only unfortunate, but obscure. 

** The two daughters of Yezdegerd married Hassan, the son of Ali, and Mo- 
hammed, the son of Abubeker ; and the first of these was the father of a numer- 
ous 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 Per- 
sia, the Cassars of Rome, and the Chagans of the Turks or Avars (Dllerbelot, 
Biblioth. Orientale, p. 96, 487). 

* 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 of- 
fered to the miller his sword and royal girdle, of inestimable value. This awoke 
the cupidity of the miller, who murdered him, and threw the body into the stream. 
— M.» 

<* Fironz died, leaving a son called Ninicha by the Chinese, probably Narses. 
Yezdegerd had two sons, Firouz and Bahram. St. Martin, vol. xi. p. 818. — M. 

* This account agrees with WeH's (voL L p. 802), who observes, however, that the tradl- 
tloBS respecting hl« death vary very macb.-^ 


dropped iu her precipitate flight beyond the hills of Bocha- 
ra/" But the final conquest of Transoxiana/^ 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." A tribute of two millions of pieces of gold was im- 
posed on the infidels ; their idols were burned or broken ; the 
Mussulman chief pronounced a sermon in the new mosque 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 

^ It was vnloed at two thousand 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. G80) who passed the Oxus : she borrow- 
ed, or rather stole, the crown and jewels of the princess of the Sogdians (p. 231, 
232). • 

^* A part of xVbulfeda's geography is translated by Greaves, inserted in Hudson*8 
collection of the minor geographers (torn. iii.)» and entitled, Descriptio Chorasmi« 
et Mawaralnahra, id est, regionum extra fluvium, Oxum, p. 80. The name of 
Traruoxianaj softer in sound, equivalent in sense, is aptly used by Petit de la 
Croix (Hist de Gengiscan, etc.) and some modem Orientalists, but they ara mis- 
taken in ascribing it to the writers of antiquity. 

** The conquests of Catibah are faintly marked by £lmacin (Hist Saracen, p. 84^ 
D*Herbe]ot (Biblioth. Orient Catbah, Samarcand Valid,), and De Guignes (Hist 
des Huns, tom. i. p. 58, 69). 

* The manuscript 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 
length. St Martin, vol. xi. p. 320. — M. 

A.D. 632.] INVASION OF SYRIA. 311 

exterior fortification, of a larger cirenrnference, enclosed the 
fields and gardens of the adjacent distnct. The mutual 
wants of India and Europe were supplied by the dih'gence 
of the Sogdian merchants ; and the inestimable art of trans- 
forming linen into paper has been diffused from the manu- 
facture of Saraarcand over the Western world." 

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 merci- 


ofSTBiA. ful 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 
fiend the true believers into Syria** to take it out of the hands 
of the infidels. And I would have you know that the fight- 
ing for religion is an act of obedience to God." His messen- 
gers i*eturned with the tidings of pious and martial ardor 

^ A curious description of Samarcand is inserted in the Bibliotheca Arabico- 
Ilispana, torn. i. p. 208, etc. ^he librarian Cnsiri (torn. ii. 9) relates from credible 
testimony that paper was first imported from China to Samarcand, a.h. 80, and 
invented, or rather introduced, at Mecca, a.h. 88. The Escurial library contains 
paper MSS. as old as the fourth or fifth century of the Hegiro. 

** A separate history of the conquest of Syria has been composed by Al Wukidi, 
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 chron- 
icles of the Arabians, Al Wakidi has the double merit of antiquity and copious- 
ness. His tales and traditions afford an artless picture of the men and the times. 
Yet his nan-ative is too often defective, trifling, and improbable. Till something 
better shall be found, his learned and spirited interpreter (Ockley, in his History 
of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 21-342) will not desen'e the petulant animadversion of 
Keiske (Prodidagmnta ad Hagji Chalifse Tabulos, p. 286). I am sorry to think 
that the labors of Ockley were consummated in a jail (see his two prefaces to the 
first ToL A.D. 1708, to the second 1718, with the list of authors at the end). 

* It has been olisenred in a previous note thnt the cai-efiilly collected traditions 
of Wftckidi must not be confounded with the romances of the eighth century which 
bear the same name, and which form the basis of Ockley's work. They are here 
described by Gibbon with more praise than they deserve. See Calcutta Re- 
view, No. xxxvii. p. 75. Kespecting the genuine work of W&ckidi, see above, 
p. 231.— S. 

** M. Hnmaker has clearly shown that neither of these works can be ascribed 
to WAckidi : they are not older than the end of the eleventh century, or later than 
the middle of the fourteenth. Prsefnt. in Inc. Auct. Lib. do Expugnatione Mem- 
phidis, c. ix. x. — M. 


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, re- 
viewed the men, the horses, and the arms, and poured forth a 
fervent prayer for the success of their undertaking. In per- 
son 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" 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 in- 
justice 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 wlio live retired in monasteries, and 
propose to themselves to serve God that way : let them alone, 
and neither kill them nor destroy their monasteries:" and 

^ The instnictions, etc., of the Syrian war are described by Al Wakidi and Ock- 
ley, toni. 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. 

^ Notwithstanding this precept, M. Pauw (Recherches sur les Egyptiens, torn, 
ii. p. 192, edit. Lausanne) represents the Bedouins as the implacftble enemies of 
the Christian monks. For my own part, I am more inclined to suspect the ava- 
rice of the Arabian robbera and the prejudiceii of the German philosopher.* 

' Several modem travellers (Mr. Fazakerley, in Walpole*s Travels in the East, 


you will find another sort of people, that belong to the syna- 
gogne of Satan, who have shaven crowns f be snre yon cleave 
their skulls, and give them no quarter till they either turn 
Mahometans or pay tribute."* All profane or frivolous con- 
versation, 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, medita- 
tion, 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 sin- 
ners revealed their fault and solicited their punishment. Af- 
ter some hesitation, the command of the Syrian army was del- 
egated to Abu Obeidah, one of the fugitives of Mecca, and 
companions of Mahomet ; whose zeal and devotion were as- 
suaged, 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 Sara- 
cens. He obeyed without reluctance ; he was consulted with- 
out 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. Olory 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 incite- 
ment, they likewise would ,be his only reward. 

^^ Even in the seventh century tlie monks were generally laymen : they wore 
tlieir 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 TEglise, torn. i. p. 721-758, especially p. 737, 788.) 

ToL ii. p. 371) give veiy amusing accounts of the terms on which the monks of 
Mount Sinai live with the neighboring Bedouins. Such, probably, was their rela- 
tive state in older times, wherever the Arab retained his Bedouin habits. — M. 

* This sanguinary order is not contained in Weil's version of Abu Bekr's ad- 
dress. He merely says, ** If ye meet men who have shaven crowns, and wear the 
rest of their hair in long tresses, touch them only with the flat of the sabre, and so 
go your ways in the name of God." Vol. i. p. 10. — S. 

814 SIEGE OF B08RA. [Cii. LI. 

One of the fifteen provinces of Syria, the cultivated lands 
to the eastward of the Jordan, had been decorated by Ttoman 
siege of vanity with the name of Arabia ;^^ and the first 
®***'** anus of the Saracens were justified by the sem- 

blance of a national right. The country was enriched by the 
various benefits of trade ; by the vigilance of the emperors it 
was covered with a line of forts ; and the populous cities of 
Gerasa, Philadelphia, and Bosra*' were secure, at least from a 
surprise, by the solid structure of their walls. The last of 
these cities was the eighteenth station from Medina: the road 
was familiar to the caravans of Hejaz and Irak, who annually 
visited this plenteous market of the province and the desert : 
the perpetual jealousy of the Arabs had trained the inhabi- 
tants to arms ; and twelve thousand horse could sally from 
the gates of Bosra, an appellation which signifies, in the Syr- 
iac language, a strong tower of defence. Encouraged by their 
firet success against the open towns and fiying parties of the 
borders, a detachment of four thousand Moslems presumed 
to summon and attack the fortress of Bosra. They were op- 
pressed by the nnmbers of the Syrians; they were saved by 
the presence of Caled, with fifteen hundred horse :^ he blamed 
the enterprise, restored the battle, and rescued his friend, the 
venerable Serjabil, who had vainly invoked the unity of God 
and the promises of the apostle. After a short repose the 
Moslems performed their ablutions with sand instead of wa- 
ter;** and the morning prayer was recited by Caled before 

48 ti Huic Arabia est conserta, ex alio latere Nabatliseis contlgiia; opima vane- 
tate cominerciorum, castrisque oppleta valid is et castellis, quse ad repellendos gen- 
tium vicinaiiim excursus, solicitudo pcrvigil veterum per opportunos saltas erexit 
et cautos." Axnmian. Marcellln. xiv. 8 ; Keland, Palestin. torn. i. p. 85, 86. 

4* With Gerasa and Philadelphia, Ammianus praises the fortifications of Bosra, 
[murornm] "firmitate cautissimas. " Tliey deserved the same praise in the time 
of Abulfeda (Tabul. Syriis, p. 99), who describes this city, the metropolis of Haw- 
ran (Auranitis), four days* journey from Damascus. The Hebrew etymology I 
learn from Reland, Palestin. torn. ii. p. 666. 

^ The apostle of a desert and an army was obliged to allow this ready succeda- 

* According to Weil, the contingent brought by Chaled to the assistance of 
Abu Obeidah was nine thousand men. The same author is of opinion that Bos- 
ra had been taken, and the battle of Aiznadin won, btfort the arrival of dialed. 
Vol. i. p. 40.-^. 

A.D. 632.] SIEGE OF BOSHA. 315 

they inoQuted on horseback. Confident in their strength, the 
people of Bosra threw open their gates, drew their forces into 
the plain, and swore to die in the defence of their religion. 
But a religion of peace was incapable of withstanding the 
fanatic cry of " Fight, fight ! Paradise, paradise I" that re- 
echoed in the ranks of the Saracens ; and the uproar of the 
town, the ringing of bells,'' and the exclamations of the priests 
and monks, increased the dismay and disorder of the Chris- 
tians. With the loss of two hundred and thirty men, the 
Arabs remained masters of the field; and the ramparts of 
Bosra, in expectation of human or divine aid, were crowded 
with holy crosses and consecrated banners. The Governor 
Bomanus had recommended an early submission: despised 
by the people, and degraded from his ofSce, he still retained 
the desire and opportunity of revenge. In a nocturnal inter- 
view he informed the enemy of a subterraneous passage from 
his house under the wall of the city ; the son of the caliph, 
with a hundred volunteers, were committed to the faith of 
this new ally, and their successful intrepidity gave an easy 
entrance to their companions. After Caled had imposed the 
terms of servitude and tribute, the apostate or convert avow- 
ed in the assembly of the people his meritorious treason : '^ I 
renounce your society," said Bomanus, " both in this world 
and the world to come. And I deny him that was crucified, 
and whosoever worships him. And I choose God for my 
Lord, Islam for my faith, Mecca for my temple, the Moslems 

neum for water (Koran, ch. lii. p. 66 ; cli. v. p. 83) ; but the Arabian and Persian 
casuists have embarrassed his fi-ee permission with many niceties and distinctions 
( Reland, De lielig. Mohammed. I. i. p. 82, 83 ; Chardin, Voyages en Perse, torn. iv.). 
^1 The bells rung! Ockley, vol. i. p. 38. Yet I much doubt whether this ex- 
pression can be justified by the text of AI Wakidi,' or the practice of the times. 
'* Ad GraBCos,"says the learned Ducange (Glossar. med. et infim. Grsecitat. tom. i. 
p. 774) "campanarum usus serins transit et etiamnum rarissimus est." The old- 
est example which he can find in the Byzantine writers is of the year 1040; but 
the Venetians pretend that they introduced bells at Constantinople in the ninth 

* Mr. Forster remarks that Al W&ckidi*s mention of bells in the churches of 
Bosra is confirmed by the articles of Jerusalem, which Mr. Forster calls a con. 
temporary document, one of which expressly stipulates that ** the Christians should 
not ring, but only toll, their bells." Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 461. — S. 


for my brethren, and Mahomet for my prophet, who was 
Bent to lead us into the right way, and to exalt the true relig- 
ion in spite of those who join partners with God." 

The conquest of Bosra, four days' journey from Damas- 
cus,^ encouraged the Arabs to besiege the ancient capital of 
Syria."* At some distance from the walls they en- 
DttDUbKiiB. camped among the groves and fountains of that de- 
licious territory,^ and the usual option, of the Ma- 
hometan faith, of tribute, or of war, was proposed to the res- 
olute citizens, who had been lately strengthened by a rein- 
forcement of five thousand Greeks. In the decline as in the 
infancy of the military art, a hostile defiance was frequently 
offered and accepted by the generals themselves:^ many a 
lance was shivered in the plain of Damascus, and the personal 
prowess of Caled was signalized in the first sally of the be- 
sieged. After an obstinate combat he had overthrown and 
made prisoner one of the Christian leaders, a stout and worthy 
antagonist. He instantly mounted a fresh horse, the gift of 
the Governor of Palmyra, and pushed forward to the front of 
the battle. ^' Bepose yourself for a moment," said his friend 

'* Dftmascos is Amply described by the Sbeiif nl Edrisi (Geograph. Nnb. p. 116, 
117), and his translator, Sionita (Appendix, ch. 4); Abolfeda (TabaU Syriae, 
p. 100); Schultens (Index Geograph. ad Vit. Saladin.); D'Herbelot (Biblioth. 
Orient, p. 291); Tbevenot (Voyage da Levant, part i. p. 688-698); Maandrdl 
(Joamey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 122-130) ; and Pocock (Description of 
the East, vol. ii. p. 117-127). 

u " Nobilissima ci vitas," says Justin. According to the Oriental traditions, it 
was older than Abraham or Seniiramis. Joseph. Antiq. Jud. I. L c. 6 [$ 4], 7 
[§ 2]* P' 24, 29, edit. Havercamp. Justin, xxxvi. 2. 

** 'E^et ydpf olfuUf r^v AtbQ irdXiv dkrf^Q, icai t6v r^c *E4^C <iva9i|C i^Bdkfuv, 
rf)v lepAv cm fuyitmiv AdfioffKOP Xcyai, ro7f n SKKoiq evfiramv, olov Itp&v niXXa, 
Kol vtHfV fuyiOii, Kol itpCiv eicoi/oc^, cat rniy&v AyXat^ cm irorofi&v TrXtfiUf Km y^c 
ehfopi^ vuciovaVf etc. Julian. Epist xxiv. p. 892. These splendid epithets are oc- 
casioned by the figs of Damascus, of which the author sends a hundred to his friend 
Serapion, and this rhetorical theme is inserted by Petavius, Spanheim, etc. (p. 390- 
896), among the genuine epistles of Julian. How could they overiook that the 
writer is an inhabitant of Damascus (he thrice affirms that this peculiar fig grows 
only irap* i}/uv), a city which Julian never entered or approached? 

^ Voltaire, who casts a keen and lively glance over the surface of history, has 
been struck with the resemblance of the first Moslems and the heroes of the IKad 
—the siege of Troy and that of Damascus (Hist. G^n^rale, torn. i. p. 848). 

A.D. 633.] SIEGE OF DAMASCUS. 817 

Derar, " and permit me to supply your place : yow are fatigued 
with fighting with this dog." " O Derar," replied the inde- 
fatigable Saracen, ^' we shall rest in the world to come. He 
that labors to-day shall rest to-morrow." With the same un- 
abated ardor Caled answered, encountered, and vanquished a 
second champion ; and the heads of his two captives, who re- 
fused to abandon their religion, were indignantly hurled into 
the midst of the city. The event of some general and partial 
actions reduced the Damascenes to a closer defence; but a 
messenger, whom they dropped from the walls, returned with 
the promise of speedy and powerful succor, and their tumult- 
uous joy conveyed the intelligence to the camp of the Arabs. 
After some debate, it was resolved by the generals to raise, or 
rather to suspend, die siege of Damascus till they had given 
battle to the forces of the emperor. In the retreat Caled 
would have chosen the more perilous station of the rear- 
guard ; he modestly yielded to tlie wishes of Abu Obeidah. 
But in the hour of danger he flew to the rescue of his com- 
panion, who was rudely pressed by a sally of six thousand 
horse and ten thousand foot, and few among the Christians 
could relate at Damascus the circumstances of their defeat. 
The importance of the contest required the junction of the 
Saracens, who were dispersed on the frontiers of Syria and 
Palestine; and I shall transcribe one of the circular man- 
dates which was addressed to Amrou, the future conqueror 
of Egypt : " In the name of the most merciful God : from 
Caled to Amrou, health and happiness. Know that thy breth- 
ren the Moslems design to march to Aiznadin, where there is 
an army of seventy thousand Greeks, who purpose to come 
against us, that they may eoetinguish the light of Ood with their 
mouths / hut God preserveth his light in spite of the infidels^* 
As soon, therefore, as this letter of mine shall be delivered to 
thy hands, come with those that are with thee to Aiznadin, 
where thou shalt find us if it please the most high God." The 

^ These words are a text of the Koran, ch. ix. 32, Ixi. 8. Like our fanatics 
of the last century, the Moslems, on every familiar or important occasion, spoke 
the language of their Scriptures — a style more natural in their mouths than the 
Hebrew idiom, transplanted into the climate and dialect of Britain. 


summons was cheerfully obeyed, and the forty-fire thousand 
Moslems, who met on the same day, on the same spot, ascribed 
to the blessing of Providence the effects of their activity and 

About four years after the triumphs of the Persian war the 
repose of Ileraclius and the empire was again disturbed by a 
Battle of "6W enemy, the power of whose religion was more 
A.n.°^"" strongly felt than it was clearly understood by the 
jQiyis.* Christians of the East. In his palace of Constan- 
tinople or Antioch he was awakened by the invasion of Syria, 
the loss of Bosra, and the danger of Damascus. An army of 
seventy thousand veterans, or new levies, was assembled at 
Hems or Emesa, under the command of his general Werdan :*' 
and these troops, consisting chiefly of cavalry, might be in- 
differently styled either Syrians, or Greeks, or Komans: Syr- 
ians^ from the place of their birth or warfare ; Greeks, from 
the religion and language of their sovereign ; and RomanSy 
from the proud appellation which was still profaned by the 
successors of Constantine. On the plain of Aiznadin,^ as 
Werdan rode on a white mule decorated with gold chains, 
and surrounded with ensigns and standards, he was surprised 
by the near approach of a fierce and naked warrior, who had 
undertaken to view the state of the enemy. The adventurous 
valor of Derar was inspired, and has perhaps been adorned, 

*' The name of Werdan is unknown to Tbeophanes ; and thongli it might be- 
long to an Armenian chief, has very little of a Greek aspect or sound. If the By- 
zantine historians have mangled the Orientiil names, the Arabs, in this instance, 
likewise have tak^n ample revenge on their enemies. In transposing tlie Greek 
character from right to left, might they not produce, from the familiar appellation 
of Andrew^ something like the anagram Werdan f^ 

' On the date of this battle, see below, p. 822, note. — S. 

^ Mr. Forster calls attention to Gibbon s strange proceeding in substituting the 
English woi'd Andrew fur the Grtek 'Av^piac, and he affirms that the name Wer- 
dan was common among the Gi-eeks of that period. Ocklev, Hist, of the Sara- 
cens, i. p. 306-7, mentions another Werdan, a Greek, and tKe slave of Amron, 
the conqueror of Egypt ; and a third is mentioned in Elmacin, Hist. Sarac p. 29. 
Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 462. The name is probably of Armenian or- 
igin.— S. 

* The exact site of Aiznadin is uncertain, but it probably lay between Bamla 
and Beit Djibrin, the ancient Beto-Gabra, in the south of Palestine. Weil, 
vol. i. p. 40, note. — S. 


by the enthnsiasm of hie age and country. The hatred of 
the CliristianS) the love of spoil, and the contempt of danger, 
were the rub'ng passions of the audacious Saracen ; and the 
prospect of instant death could never shake his religious con- 
fidence, or ruffle the calmness of his resolution, or even sus- 
pend the f i-ank and martial pleasantry of his humor. In the 
most hopeless enterprises he was bold, and prudent, and fort- 
unate : after innumerable hazards, after being thrice a prison- 
er in the hands of the infidels, he still survived to relate the 
achievements, and to enjoy the rewards, of the Syrian con- 
quest. On this occasion his single lance maintained a flying 
fight against thirty Romans, who were detached by Wcrdan ; 
and, after killing or unhorsing seventeen of their number, 
Derar returned in safety to his applauding brethren. When 
his rashness was mildly censured by the general, he excused 
himself with the simplicity of a soldier. "Nay," said Derar, 
^^ I did not begin first : but they came out to take me, and I 
was afraid that God should see me turn my back : and indeed 
I fought in good earnest, and without doubt God assisted me 
against them ; and had I not been appi*ehensive of disobeying 
your orders, I should not have come away as I did ; and I 
perceive already that they will fall into our hands." In the 
presence of both armies a venerable Greek advanced from the 
ranks with a liberal offer of peace ; and the departure of the 
Saracens would have been purchased by a gift to each soldier 
of a turban, a robe, and a piece of gold ; ten robes and a hun- 
dred pieces to their leader ; one hundred robes and a thou- 
sand pieces to the caliph. A smile of indignation expressed 
the refusal of Caled. " Ye Christian dogs, you know your 
option ; the Koran, the tribute, or the sword. We are a peo- 
ple whose delight is in war rather than in peace : and we de- 
spise your pitiful alms, since we shall be speedily masters of 
your wealth, your families, and your persons." Notwithstand- 
ing this apparent disdain, he was deeply conscious of the pub- 
lic danger : those who had been in Persia, and had seen the 
armies of Chosroes, confessed that they never beheld a more 
formidable array. From the superiority of the enemy the 
artful Saracen derived a fresh incentive of courage: "You 


see before you," said he, " the united force of the Bomaus ; 
you cannot hope to escape, but you may conquer Syria in a 
single day. The event depends on your discipline and pa- 
tience. Reserve yourselves till the evening. It was in the 
evening that the Prophet was accustomed to vanquish." Dur- 
ing two successive engagements, his temperate firmness sus- 
tained the darts of the enemy and the murmurs of his troops. 
At length, when the spirits and quivers of the adverse line 
were almost exhausted, Caled gave the signal of onset and 
victory. The remains of the imperial army fled to Antioch, 
or Csesarea, or Damascus ; and the death of four hundred and 
seventy Moslems was compensated by the opinion that they 
had sent to hell above fifty thousand of the infidels. The 
spoil was inestimable ; many banners and crosses of gold and 
silver, precious stones, silver and gold chains, and innumerable 
suits of the richest armor and apparel. The general distri- 
bution was postponed till Damascus should be taken ; but the 
seasonable supply of arms became the instrument of new 
victories. The glorious intelligence was transmitted to the 
throne of the caliph ; and the Arabian tribes, the coldest or 
most hostile to the prophet's mission, were eager and import- 
unate to share the harvest of Syria. 

The sad tidings were carried to Damascus by the speed of 
grief and terror; and the inhabitants beheld from their walls 

the return of the heroes of Aiznadin. Amrou led 
retoni to the vau at the head of nine thousand horse : the 

bands of the Saracens succeeded each other in for- 
midable review ; and the rear was closed by Caled in person, 
with the standard of the black eagle. To the activity of De- 
rar he intrusted the commission of patrolling round the city 
with two thousand horse, of scouring the plain, and of inter- 
cepting all succor or intelligence. The rest of the Arabian 
chiefs were fixed in their respective stations before the seven 
gates of Damascus ; and the siege was renewed with fresh 
vigor and confidence. The art, the labor, the military en- 
gines of the Greeks and Komans, are seldom to be found in 
the simple, though successful, operations of the Saracens : it 
was sufficient for them to invest a city with arms rather than 


with trencheB ; to repel the sallies of the besieged ; to attempt 
a stratagem or an assault ; or to expect the progress of fam- 
ine and discontent. Damascus would have acquiesced in the 
trial of Aiznadin, as a final and peremptory sentence between 
the emperor and the caliph: her courage was rekindled by 
the example and authority of Thomas, a noble Greek, illustri- 
ous in a private condition by the alliance of Heraclius/* The 
tumult and illumination of the night proclaimed the design 
of -the morning sally ; and the Ohristian hero, who affected to 
despise the enthusiasm of the Arabs, employed the resource 
of a similar superstition. At the principal gate, in the sight 
of both armies, a lofty crucifix was erected ; the bishop, with 
his clergy, accompanied the march, and laid the volume of 
the Kew Testament before the image of Jesus ; and the con- 
tending parties were scandalized or edified by a prayer that 
the Son of God would defend his servants and vindicate his 
truth. The battle raged with incessant fury; and the dex- 
terity of Thomas,^ an incomparable archer, was fatal to the 
boldest Saracens, till their death was revenged by a female 
heroine. The wife of Aban, who had followed him to the 
holy war, embraced her expiring husband. " Happy," said 
she — " happy art thou, my dear : thou art gone to thy Lord, 
who first joined us together, and then parted us asunder. I 
will revenge thy death, and endeavor to the utmost of my 
power to come to the place where thou art, because I love 
thee. Henceforth shall no man ever touch me more, for I 
have dedicated myself to the service of God." Without a 
groan, without a tear, she washed the corpse of her husband, 
and buried him with the usual rites. Then grasping the man- 
ly weapons, which in her native land she was accustomed to 
Avield, the intrepid widow of Aban sought the place where 

^ Vanity prompted the Arabs to believe that Thomas was the son-in-law of the 
emperor. We know the children of Heraclius bj his two wires ; and his august 
dangfater would not have married in exile at Damascus (see Ducange, Fam. By- 
zantin. p. 118, 119). Had he been less religions, I might only suspect the legiti- 
macy of the damsel. 

^' Al Wakidi (Ockley, p. 101) says, ''with poisoned arrows;" but this savage 
invention is so repugnant to the practice of the Greeks and Romans, that I must 
suspect on this occasion the malevolent credulity of the Saracens. 

v.— 21 


his murderer fought in the thickest of the battle. Her first 
arrow pierced the hand of his standard-bearer; her second 
wounded Thomas in the eye ; and the fainting Christians no 
longer beheld their ensign or their leader. Yet the generous 
champion of Damascus refused to withdraw to his palace: 
his wound was dressed on the rampart ; the fight was con- 
tinued till the evening ; and the Syrians rested on their arms. 
In the silence of the night, the signal was given by a stroke 
on the great bell ; the gates were thrown open, and each gate 
discharged an impetuous column on the sleeping camp of the 
Saracens. Caled was the first in arms : at the head of four 
hundred horse he flew to the post of danger, and the tears 
trickled down his iron cheeks as he uttered a fervent ejacula- 
tion : ^^ O God, who never sleepest, look upon thy servants, 
and do not deliver them into the hands of their enemies." 
The valor and victory of Thomas were arrested by the pres- 
ence of the Sword of God; with the knowledge of the peril, 
the Moslems recovered their ranks, and chifrged the assailants 
in the flank and rear. After the loss of thousands, the Chris- 
tian general retreated with a sigh of despair, and the pursuit 
of the Saracens was checked by the military engines of the 
After a siege of seventy days,** the patience, and perhaps 

^ Abulfeda aUows only seventy dayi for the siege of Damascas (Anna!. Mos- 
lem, p. 67, vers. Reiske) ; bat Elmacin, who mentions this opinion, prolongs the 
term to six months, and notices the use of bcUisice by the Saracens (Hist. Saracen, 
p. 25, 82). £?en this longer period is insufficient to fill the interval between the 
battle of Aisnadin (July, a.i>. 683) and the accession of Omar (24th July, a.d. 634), 
to whose reign the conquest of Damascus is unanimously ascribed (Al Wakidi, 
apud Ockley, vol. i. p. 115 ; Abulpharagius, Dynast, p. 112, vers. Pocock).* Per- 
haps, as in the Trojan war, the operations were interrupted by excursions and de- 
tachments till the last seventy days of the siege. 

* According to Dr. Weil, the chronology of these events is as fdlows : The 
battle of Aiznadin was fought on the 80th July, 634 (not 633, as mentioned by 
Qibbon). This was followed by the battle of the Yennuk, which was about coin- 
cident with Abu Bekr^s death—the latter event having taken place on the 22d Au- 
gust, 634 (not the 23d, as hitherto recorded by all European writers), and the 
battle on the following day. Damascus was captured in January, 635. Clinton 
(Fast. Rom. vol ii. p. 173), following Ockley, places the capture of Damascus on 
the same day as Abu Bekr died. 

It will be observed that Gibbon plaoes the battle of the Yermok two yean a/Ur 


the provibioDSy of the Damascenes were exhausted ; and the 
_^ . . bravest of their chiefs submitted to the hard die- 

The city ia i. .. t t i. i 

taken by tates of Decessitv. In the occurrences of peace and 

storm ftDcl - ~rt 

capitaiation. war, thcj had been taught to dread the fierceness 
of Caled and to revere the mild virtues of Abu 
Obeidah. At the hour of midnight one hundred chosen dep- 
uties of the clergy and people were introduced to the tent of 
that venerable commander. Ho received and dismissed them 
with courtesy. They returned with a written agreement, on 
the faith of a companion of Mahomet, that all hostilities should 
cease ; that the voluntary emigrants might depart in safety, 
with as much as they could carry away of their effects ; and 
that the tributary subjects of the caliph should enjoy their 
lainds and houses, with the use and possession of seven church- 
es. On these terms, the most respectable hostages, and the 
gate nearest to his camp, were delivered into his hands : his 
soldiers imitated the moderation of their chief ; and he en- 
joyed the submisAve gratitude of a people whom he had res- 
cned f ix>m destruction. But the success of the treaty had re- 
laxed their vigilance, and in the same moment the opposite 
quarter of the city was betrayed and taken by assault A 
party of a hundred Arabs had opened the eastern gate to a 
more inexorable foe. '^ No quarter," cried the rapacious and 
sanguinary Caled — " no quarter to the enemies of the Lord :" 
his trumpets sounded, and a torrent of Christian blood was 
poured down the streets of Damascus. When he i*eaehed the 

the fall of Damnscus, vis., in Norember, 686 (infra, p. 882). In this he seems to 
have followed Theophanes, who placed that event two years too late. That an- 
ther himself, however, mentions (voL i. p. 518) that the siege of Damascas was a 
consequence of the battle of the Yermuk, which latter event he places on Tuesday, 
the 28d of July or Angnst, the MSS. varying between lovXiov and Aovq. But we 
know from Mussulman writers that the battle in question about coincided with 
Abu Bekfs death ; and the 28d of August, 634, was really a Tuesday, whilst the 
23U of July was a Saturday; and in 685 and 686 neither the 28d July nor 28d 
August fell on a Tuesday. The error of Theophanes arose as follows : he rightly 
places Mahomet's death In tlie fourth Indtction, which commences with September, 
631 ; but he begins the reign of Abu Bekr with the following year, assigns to it a 
period of two years an<j^a half, and places Omar's accession in the year 6126, in- 
stead of 6125, which begins with September, 634. To complete his error, following 
apparently other Arabian traditions which place the battle of the Yermuk in the 
fifteenth year of the Hegira, he places that event at the end of Omar's reign, in- 
stead of the beginning. Weil, vol. i. p. 40, note ; and p. 45-48, and notes. — S. 


;. Mary, he was astonislied and provoked b; the 
ct of hie companions ; their swords were in the 
they were surronnded by a maltitnde of priests 
Abu Obeidah saluted the general : " God," Bald 
ivered the city into my hands by way of sur- 
as saved the believers the trouble of fighting." 
not," replied the indignant Caled — "am 7" not 
t of the commander of the faithful? Have I 
) city by storm ? The nnbelievers shall perish 
Fall on." The hungry and cruel Arabs would 
the welcome command ; and Damascas was lost, 
ilence of Abu Obeidah had not been snpported 
and dignified firmness. Throwing himself be- 
)mbling citizens and the most eager of the bai- 
jured them, by the holy name of God, to respect 
to suspend their fury, and to wait the detenni- 
ir chiefs. The chiefs retired into the Church of 
d after a vehement debate, Caled submitted in 
b to the reason and authority of his colleague, 
16 sanctity of a covenant, the advantage as well 
' which the Moslems would derive from the 
formance of their word, and the obstinate resist- 
hey must encounter from the distrust and de- 
est of the Syrian cities. It was agreed that the 
be sheathed, that the part of Damascus which 
red to Abu Obeidah should be immediately en- 
benefit of his capitulation, aod that the final de- 
be referred to the justice and wisdom of the 
at^e majority of the people accepted the tenoE 
and tribute ; and Damascus is still peopled by 
and Christians. Bnt the valiant Thomas, and 
patriots who had fonght under his banner, em- 
«mativo of poverty and exile. In the adjacent 
merous encampment was formed of priests and 

om Abalreda (p. 1 25) and Elmadn (p, S2) tbkt this disttpctian 
( Damascu waa long remembered, thong^ not alnaji respected, 
See likenUe Eatrcliiui (Aoaal. torn. ii. p. sn, 


laymen, of soldiers and citizens, of women and children : they 
collected, with haste and terror, their most precious mova- 
bles ; and abandoned, with loud lamentations or silent an- 
guish, their native homes and the pleasant banks of the Fhar- 
par. The inflexible soul of Caled was not touched by the 
spectacle of their distress : he disputed with the Damascenes 
the property of a magazine of corn ; endeavored to exclude 
the garrison from the benefit of the treaty ; consented, with 
reluctance, that each of the fugitives should arm himself with 
a sword, or a lance, or a bow ; and sternly declared that, after 
a respite of three days, they might be puraued and treated as 
the enemies of the Moslems. 

The passion of a Syrian youth completed the ruin of the 
exiles of Damascus. A nobleman of the city, of the name of 
Parraitofthe Jouas," was betrothed to a wealthy maiden; but 
Dafflascenes. j^^,. parents delayed the consummation of his nup- 
tials, and their daughter was persuaded to escape with the 
man whom she had chosen. They corrupted the nightly 
watchmen of the gate Keisan ; the lover, who led the way, 
was encompassed by a squadron of Arabs ; but his exclama- 
tion in the Greek tongue, ^^ The bird is taken I" admonished 
his mistress to hasten her return. In the presence of Caled 
and of death, the unfortunate Jonas professed his belief in 
one God and his apostle Mahomet ; and continued, till the 
season of his martyrdom, to discharge the duties of a brave 
and sincere Mussulman. When the city was taken, he flew 
to the monastery where Eudocia had taken refuge ; but the 
lover was forgotten ; the apostate was scorned ; she preferred 
her religion to her country ; and the justice of Caled, though 

^ On the fata of these lovers, whom he names Phocjas and Eudocia, Mr. 
Hoghes has bailt the Siege of Damascas, one of oar most popular tragedies, and 
which possesses the rare merit of blending nature and history, the manners of the 
times and the feelings of the heart. The foolish delicacy of the players compel- 
led him to soflen the guilt of the hero and the despair of the heroine. Instead 
of a base renegado, Phocyas serves the Arabs as an honorable ally ; instead of 
prompting their pursuit, he flies to the succor of his countrymen, and, after kill- 
ing Caled and Derar, is himself mortally wounded, and expires in the presence 
of Eadoda, who professes her resolution to take the veil at Constantinople. A 
frigid catastrophe ! 


deaf to mercy, refused to detain by force a male or female 
inhabitant of Damascus. Four days was the general con- 
fined to the city by the obligation of the treaty and the ur- 
gent cares of his new conquest. His appetite for blood and 
rapine would have been extinguished by the hopeless com- 
putation of time and distance ; but he listened to the impor- 
tunities of Jonas, who assured him that the weary fugitives 
might yet be overtaken. At the head of four thousand 
horse, in the disguise of Christian Arabs, Caled undertook 
the pursuit. They halted only for the moments of prayer; 
and their guide had a perfect knowledge of the country. 
For a long way the footsteps of the Damascenes were plaiu 
and conspicuous : they vanished on a sudden ; but the Sara- 
cens were comforted by the assurance that the caravan had 
turned aside into the mountains, and must speedily fall into 
their hands. In traversing the ridges of the Libanus they 
endured intolerable hardships, and the sinking spirits of the 
veteran fanatics were supported and cheered by the uncon- 
querable ardor of a lover. From a peasant of the countiy 
they were informed that the emperor had sent orders to the 
colony of exiles to pursue without delay the road of the sea- 
coast and of Constantinople, apprehensive, perhaps, that the 
soldiers and people of Antioch might be discouraged by the 
sight and the story of their sufferings. The Saracens were 
conducted through the territories of Gabala" and Laodicea, 
at a cautious distance from the walls of the cities ; the rain 
was incessant, the night was dark, a single mountain sepa- 
rated them from the Koman army ; and Caled, ever anxious 
for the safety of his brethren, whispered an ominous dream 
in the ear of his companion. With the dawn of day the 
prospect again cleared, and they saw before them, in a pleas- 
ant valley, the tents of Damascus. After a short interval of 

** The towns of Gabala and Laodicea, which the Arahs {Missed, still exist in a 
state of decay (Maundi-ell, p. 1 1, 12 ; Pocock, vol. ii. p. 13). Had not the Chris- 
tians been OYertaken, they mast hare crossed the Orontes on some bridge in the 
sixteen miles between Antioch and the sea, and might have rejoined the high- 
road of Constantinople at Alexandria. The Itineraries will represent the direc- 
tions and distances (p. 146, 148, 581, 582, edit. Wcsseling). 

A.D. 634.] FAIR OF AfiYLA. 327 

repose and prayer Caled divided his cavalry into four squad- 
rons, committing the first to his faithful Derar, and reserving 
the last for himself. They successively rushed on the pro- 
miscuous multitude, insuflSciently provided with arms, and al- 
ready vanquished by sorrow and fatigue. Except a captive, 
who was pardoned and dismissed, the Arabs enjoyed the sat- 
isfaction of believing that not a Christian of either sex es- 
caped the edge of their scimetars. The gold and silver of 
Damascus was scattered over the camp, and a royal wardrobe 
of three hundred load of silk might clothe an army of naked 
barbarians. In the tumult of the battle Jonas sought and 
found the object of his pursuit : but her resentment was in- 
flamed by the last act of his perfidy; and as Eudocia strug- 
gled in his hateful, embraces, she struck a dagger to her heart. 
Another female, the widow of Thomas, and the real or -sup- 
posed daughter of Heraclius, was spared and released without 
a ransom : but the generosity of Caled was the effect of his 
contempt; and the haughty Saracen insulted, by a message 
of defiance, the throne of the CsBsars. Caled had penetrated 
above a hundred and fifty miles into the heart of the Boman 
province: he returned to Damascus with the same secrecy 
and speed. On the accession of Omar, the Sword of Ood was 
removed from the command ; but the caliph, who blamed the 
rashness, was compelled to applaud the vigor and conduct of 
the enterprise.* 

Another expedition of the conquerors of Damascus will 
equally display their avidity and their contempt for the 
Fair of richcs of the present world. They were informed 
-^^i'*- that the produce and manufactures of the country 

were annually collected in the fair of Abyla,** about thirty 

** Dair Ahil Kodo$. After retreDchiog the last word, the epithet holy, I dis- 
coTer the Abila of Ljsanias between Damascns and Heliopolis : the name (AbU 
signifies a Yineyard) concars with the sitaation to justify my conjectore (Beland, 
Falestin. torn. i« p. 817 ; torn. ii. p. 525, 527). 

*■ This story of the pnrsait of the Damascenes, which rests only on the anthority 
of WAckidi, and is not mentioned by Tabari, is regarded by Weil as the romance 
of history, for which the former author had a particahir partiality. Vol. L p. 48, 
note. — S. 

328 FAIK OF ABYLA. [Ch. LI. 

miles from the city ; that the cell of a devout hermit was vis- 
ited at the game 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 Tripoh'. 
Abdallah, the son of Jaafar, a glorious and holy martyr, un- 
dertook, with a banner of live hundred horse, the pious and 
profitable commission of despoiling the infidels. As he ap- 
proached the fair of Abyla, he was astonished by the report 
of the 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 advan- 
tage of the sui*prise they were encompassed and almost over- 
whelmed by the multitude of th^ir enemies ; and their val- 
iant band is fancifully compared to a white spot in the skin 
of a black camel.** 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 teeliry* and they 
soon perceived the standard of Caled, who flew to their relief 
with the utmost speed of his cavalry. The Cliristians were 

** I am bolder than Mr. Ockley (vol. i. p. 164), who dares not insert this figani- 
tive expression in the text, though he observes in a marginal note that the Ara- 
bians often borrow their similes from that useful and familiar animal. The rein- 
deer may be equally famous in the songs of the Laplanders. 

** We heard the techir; 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 Kahhora^ which signifies saying AUa Ac- 
bar^ God is most mighty 1 


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 deco- 
rations of the nuptials, and the governor's daughter, with for- 
ty of her female attendants. The fruits, provisions, and fur- 
niture, 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. 

Syria,*' one of the countries that have been improved by 
the most early cultivation, is not unworthy of the prefer- 
sieges of ence.** The heat of the climate is tempered by the 
SdSS^ vicinity of the sea and mountains, by the plenty of 
A.D.63S. 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 Her- 
aclius, the country was overspread with ancient and flourish- 
ing cities : the inhabitants were numerous and wealthy ; and, 

^ In the Geography of Abalfeda, the description of Syria, his native country, is 
the most interesting and authentic portion. It was published in Arabic and Latin, 
Lipsise, 1766, in quarto, with the learned notes of Kochler and Reiske, and some 
extracts of geography and natural history from Ibn 01 Wardii. Among the mod- 
em traYcls, Pocock*s Description of the East (of Syria and Mesopotamia, vol. ii. 
p. 8S-209) is a work of superior learning and dignity ; but the author too often 
confounds what he had seen and what he had read. 

^ The praises of Dionysius are just and lively. Kai rijv fikv (Syria) iroXXoi re 
ecu oXCtoc dvdptQ ixowiv (in Periegesi, v. 902, in torn. iv. Geograph. Minor. Hud- 
son). In another place he styles the country woXvirroXiv cdav (v. 898). He pro- 
ceeds to say, 

Uaaa Si rot Xinapfi re cai tiftoroc lirXiro x^pny 

TAfJiKd re i^epiifiivai cat Sivopim Koprrbv de^etv. v. 921, 922. 

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. Biblioth. Griec. 1. iv. c. 2, 
torn. iii. p. 21, etc.). 

* This is by no means certain. Bernhnrdy, the latest editor of Dionysius, has 
brought forward strong reasons for believing that he lived in the latter part of the 
third or the beginning of the fourth century of our era. — S. 



after the slow ravage of despotism and saperstition, 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 Mediterra- 
nean ; and the epithet of hoUow (Coelesyria) was applied to a 
long and fruitful valley, which is confined in the same direc- 
tion by the two ridges of snowy mountains.** Among tlie 
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 me- 
tropolis of the plain, the latter as the capital of the valley. 
Under the last of the Csesars they were strong and populous; 
the turrets glittered from afar : an ample space was covered 
with public and private buildings ; and the citizens were il- 
lustrious 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. 
Kot a vestige remains of the Temple of Emesa, which wafi 
equalled in poetic style to the summits of Mount Libanus," 
while the ruins of Baalbec, invisible to the writers of antiq- 
uity, excite the curiosity and wonder of the European travel- 

*' The topography of the Libanus and Anti-Libanns is excellently described bj 
the learning and sense of Reland (Palestin. torn. i. p. 811-326). 

^'^ *' Emesft fastigia celsa rentdent 

Nam diffasa solo latus explicat, ac sabit auras 

Turribus in caelum nitentibas : incola clans 

Cor studiis acuit * * * 

Denique flammicomo devoti pectora soli 

Vitam agitant. Libanas frondosa cacumina target, 

£t tamen his celsi certant fastigia templi." 

These verses of the Latin version of Rafas Avienos [w. 1085 seq.] are wanting in 
the Greek original of Dionysins ; and since they are likewise unnoticed by Emtt- 
thius, I must, with Fabricias (Biblioth. Latin, torn. iii. p. 158, edit. Eme8ti)i aod 
against Salmasias (ad Vopiscnm, p. 866, 867, in Hist. Aagnst), ascribe them to 
the fancy, rather than the MSS., of Avienus. 


ler." 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, fortj-five feet in 
height, is composed of three massy blocks of stone or marble. 
The proportions and ornaments of the Corinthian order ex- 
press 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/' 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 mannere ; and exhausted, by clandes- 
tine purchase, the magazines and arsenals of the cities which 
they returaed 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 immova- 
ble in his tent till the jarring factions solicited the interposi- 
tion of a foreign master. The conquest of the plain and val- 

^^ I am mach better satisfied with Maondreirs slight octavo (Journey, p. 184- 
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 descrip- 
tion and drawings of MM. Dawkins and Wood, who have transported into Eng- 
land the ruins of Palmyra and Baalbec. 

^ The Orientals expUin the prodigy by a never-failing expedient. The edifices of 
Baalbec were constructed by the fairies or the genii (Hist, de Timour Bee, tom. iii. I. 
V. c. 28, p. 811, 812 ; Voyage d*Otter, tom. i. p. 88). With less absurdity, but with 
equal ignorance, Abnifeda and Ibn Chaukel ascribe them to the Sabeans or Aadites. 
**Non sunt in omni Syria sedificia magnificentiora his" (Tabula Syrise, p. 103). 



ley 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 ac- 
tion, under the walls of Emesa, an Arabian youth, the cousin 
of Calcd, 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. 

It was incumbent on the Saracens to exert the full powers 
of their valor and enthusiasm against the forces of the em- 
Battle of peror, who was taught, by repeated losses, that the 
itHftS^ rovers of the desert had undertaken, and would 
November.* gpeedily acliicve, a regular and permanent conquest. 
From the provinces of Europe and Asia, fourscore thousand 
soldiers were transported by sea and land to Antioch and Cse- 
sarea : the light troops of the army consisted of sixty thou- 
sand Christian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. Under the ban- 
ner of Jabalah, the last of their princes, they marched in the 
van ; and it was a maxim of the Greeks, that, for the pur- 
pose 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 at- 
tached to the standard of Bome and of the cross ; but the no- 
ble, the citizen, the peasant, were exasperated by the injustice 
and cruelty of a licentious host, who oppressed them as sub- 
jects and despised them as strangers and aliens.^' A report 

*' I have read somewhere in Tacitas, or Grotias, " Sabjectos habent taDquam 

* For the tme date of this battle see abore, p. 823, note. — S. 

A.D. 636.] BATTLE OF TEfiMUK. 833 

of these mighty preparations was conveyed to the Saracens 
in their camp of Emesa ; and the chiefs, though resolved to 
fight, assembled a coancil : the faith of Aba 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 reinforcement 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 Cliristian Arabs of the tribe of Gassan. In the 
neighborhood of Sosra, 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 coiTupted to Yermuk, is 
lost, after a short course, in the lake of Tiberias.^^ 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 dis- 
order of the fugitives might be checked by his venerable as- 
pect, and the sight of the yellow banner which Mahomet had 
displayed before the walls of Chaibar. The last line was oc- 
cupied 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 uncircnmcised ravishers, their chastity 

saos. Tiles tanqnam alienos." Some Greek officers ravished the wife, and mur- 
dered the child, of their Sjrian landlord ; and Manoel smiled at his undutiful 

''* See Beland, Palestin. tom. i. p. 272, 283 ; tom. ii. p. 778, 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 Cellarios (Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 892) 
and D^Anville (G^ographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 185). The Ariabs, and eren 
Abulfeda himself, do not seem to recognize the scene of their victory. 


and religion." The exhortation of the generals was brief and 
forcible : " Paradise is before yon, the devil and hell-fire in 
your rear." Yet such was the weight of the Koman 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 re- 
proaches and blows of the women. In the intervals of ac- 
tion, Abu Obeidah visited the tents of his brethren, prolonged 
their repose by repeating at once the prayers of two differ- 
ent hours ; bound up their wounds with his own hands, and 
^ . administered the comfortable reflection that the infidels par- 

y \ took 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 mer- 

^ itorious service. The veterans of the Syrian war acknowl- 

edged 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," the Christian writers confess and bewail 
the bloody punishment of their sins.^' Manuel, the Koman 

^'^ These women were of the tribe of the Hamyarites, who derived their origin 
from the ancient Aroalekites. Their females were accustomed to ride on horse- 
back, and to fight like the Amazons of old (Ockleyi toI. L p. 67). 

^' 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 can- 
not doubt his veracity nor believe his computation, I must suspect that the Arabic 
historians indulged themselves in the practice of composing speeches and letten 
for their heroes. 

^^ After deploring the sins of the Christians, Theophanes adds (Chronograph, 
p. 276 [tom. i. p. 510, edit. Bonn]), avkoni h iptifiucbc [^/lunoraroc] 'A/uiXj|C 
Tvirrwv ^ft&e rbv \abv rov Xpc<rroO, cat yivtTai wputry fop^ irruMnc t'ov 'Pt^fMuaw 
ffTparov 1} Kard rb VattBdv [FaStOa] \iy<a (does he mean Aiznadin ?) xai ^Isp/tov- 
xdy, Kal r^v SBi9/iov aifiaroxuiriav. His account is brief and obscure, but be ac- 
cuses the numbera of the enemy, the adverse wind, and the cloud of dust : fii| 
ivvriOivng (the Romans) dpriTrpoounrtiaat [dvraiir^ac] lyBfiolQ did rdy Kowofxrbif 
i^rrwvrai' koI latfroi^c jSdXXovrcc c^ rdc anv6iovQ tov ^Upfwyfiov irortiftov UH 
dvwKovTo dp^nv (Chronograph, p. 280 [t i. p. 518, edit Bonn]). 

▲.D. 637.] SIEGE OF JERUSALEM. 835 

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/' He had once inclined to 
the profession of Islam ; but in the pilgrimage of Mecca, Ja- 
balah was provoked to strike one of his brethren, and fled 
with amazement from the stern and equal justice of the ca- 
liph. '^^ victorious Saracens enjoyed at Damascus a month 
of pleasure and repose : the spoil was divided by the discre- 
tion of Abu Obeidah : an equal share was allotted to a sol- 
dier and to his horse, and a double portion was reserved for 
the noble coursers of the Arabian breed. 

After the battle of Yermuk the Boman army no longer 

appeared in the field ; and the Saracens might securely choose 

^ , amonff the fortified towns of Syria the first obiect 

CoDqaest of ° j j 

jerosaiem. of their attack. They consulted the caliph wheth- 
er they should march to Csesarea or Jerusalem ; and 
the advice of Ali determined the immediate siege of the lat- 
ter. To a profane eye Jerusalem was the first or second cap- 
ital 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 Jesns, 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 ^lia,^ " Health and happiness to every one that follows 

^^ See Abolfeda (Annal. Moslem, p. 70, 71), who transcribes the poetical com- 
plaint of Jabalah himself, and some panegyrical strains of an Arabian poet, to 
whom the chief of Gassan sent from Ck>nstantinople a gift of five hundred pieces 
of gold bj the hands of the ambassador of Omar. 

**' In the name of the city, the profane prevailed over the sacred : Jerusalem 
was known to the devoat Christians (Euseb. de Martyr. Palest, c. xi.) ; but the 
l^gal and popular appellation of ^lia (the colony of ^lius Hadrianus) has 
passed from the Romans to the Arabs. (Reland, Falestin. tom. i. p. 207, tom. ii. 

* There are great variations' in the authorities as to the date of the capture of 
Jerusalem. See Weil, vol i. p. 80, 82. — S. 



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 tow- 
ers 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 stran- 
gers might feel some sparks of the enthusiasm which so fierce- 
ly glowed in the bosoms of the Saracens. The siege of Jerusa- 
lem lasted four months ; not a day was lost without some ac- 
tion of sally or assault; the military engines incessantly played 
from the ramparts ; and the inclemency of the winter was still 
more painful and destiiictive 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 at- 
tempt to dissuade the lieutenant of the caliph from his impi- 
ous 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 con- 
queror 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 par- 
take of his homely fare, and the repast was consecrated by the 

p. 835; D*Herbelot, Biblioth^ue Orientale, Cods, p. 269; Ilia, p. 420.) Tbe 
epithet of ^/ Cods, the Holj, is ased as the proper name of Jerusalem. 


prayer and exhortation of the commander of the faithful."* 
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 extor- 
tion 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 Je- 
rusalem, the caliph cried with a loud voice, " God is victori- 
ous ! O Lord, give ns an easy conquest I" and, pitching his 
tent of coarse hair, calmly seated himself on the ground. Af- 
ter signing the capitulation, he entered the city without fear 
or precaution, and courteously discoursed with the patriarch 
concerning its religious antiquities.'' Sophronius bowed be- 
fore his new master, and secretly muttered, in the words of 
Daniel, "The abomination of desolation is in the holy place."" 
At the hour of prayer they stood together in the Church of 
the Eesurrection ; but the caliph refused to perform his de- 
votions, and contented himself with praying on the steps of 
the Church of Constantino. 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 mosque f* and, during a res- 

^ The singalar journey and equipage of Omar are described (besides Ockley, 
vol. i. p. 250} by Murtadi (Merreilles de Tfigypte, p. 200-202). 

*' The Arabs boast of an old prophecy preser\'ed 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. 1. xi. c. 1 [§ 1, 2], 8 [§ 5], p. 547, 579-582). 

^ Tb pSiXvyfia r^c IfnutMfTtioQ rbfnfikv iid AapiifHK tov Trpw^tiTw i^riuc it^ rSinfi 
ayi«p. Theophan. Chronograph, p. 281 [torn. i. p. 520, edit. Bonn]. This predic- 
tion, which had already served for Antiochns and the Romans, was again refitted 
for the present occasion, by the economy of Sophronius, one of the deepest tlieolo- 
gians of the Monothelite controversy. 

^ According to the accurate survey of D'Anville (Dissertation sur Tancienne 
Jerusalem, p. 42-54), the Mosque of Omar, enlarged and embellished by succeed- 
ing caliphs, covered the ground of the ancient temple (vdXaiov tov fuydXov vdov 
idmSopf says Phocas), a length of 215, a breadth of 172 toises. The Nubian ge- 
ographer declares that this magnificent structure was second only in size and 

v.— 22 


idence of ten days, he regulated the present and future state 
of his Syrian conqaests. 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.** 
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 Pales- 
aud Antioch. tluc ; 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 
Beroea of the Greeks, w^as not yet illustrious as the capital 
of a province or a kingdom ; and the inhabitants, by antici- 
pating their submission and pleading their poverty, obtained 
a moderate composition for their lives and religion. But the 
Castle of Aleppo," distinct from the city, stood erect on a lofty 
artificial mound : the sides were sharpened to a precipice, and 
faced with freestone ; 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 sedace the vigilance of Youkinna ; nor could 
the Cliristians be terrified by the execution of three hundred 

beaaty to the great Moeqoe of Cordova (p. 113), whose present state Mr. Siriii< 
barne has so elegantlj represented (Travels into Spain, p. 296-802). 
^ Of the many Arabic tarikhs or chronicles of Jerusalem (D*Herbelot, p. 867), 
Ockley found one among the Focock MSS. of Oxford (voL i. p. 257), which he has 
used to supply the defective narrative of Al WakidL 

^ The Peraian historian of Timur (torn. iii. 1. v. c. 21, p. 800) 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 600 or 
600 paces, and the ditch half full of stagnant water (Voyages de Tavemier, torn. 
i. p. 149 ; Pocock, vol. ii. part i. p. 150). The fortresses of the East are contemp- 
tible to a European eye^ 

A.D.6380 AND ANTIOCH. 339 

captives, whom they beheaded before the castle wall. The 
sileooe, and at length the complaints, of Aba Obeidah in- 
formed the caliph that their hope and patience wei*e con- 
sumed at the foot of this impregnable fortress. ^^I am vari- 
ously affected," replied Omar, " by the difference of your suc- 
cess ; 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. 
Bemain 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 forti- 
fied 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 intrep- 
id resolution. The forty-seventh day of his service he pro- 
posed, with only thirty men, to make an attempt on the cas- 
tle. 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 appear- 
ance of a retreat ; and the camp of the Saracens was pitdied 
about a league from Aleppo. The thirty adventurers lay in 
ambush at the foot of the hill; and Dames at length suc- 
ceeded in his inquiries, though he was provoked by the igno- 
rance 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 perpendic- 
ular, or the guard less vigilant. Seven of the stoutest Sara^ 
cens 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 si- 
lently 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 cautions foot- 
steps Dames explored the palace of the governor, who cele- 
brated, 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 de- 
fended the narrow pass, till the arrival of Caled, with the 
dawn of day, relieved their danger and assured their con- 
quest. 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 Aa2saz 
and the iron bridge of tlie Orontes. After the loss of those 
important posts, and the defeat of the last of the Boman 
armies, the luxury of Antioch** trembled and obeyed. Her 
safety was nnsomed with three hundred thousand pieces of 
gold ; but the throne of the successors of Alexander, the seat 
of the Boman government in the East, which had been deco- 
rated by CflBsar 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.'' 

In the life of Heraclius the glories of the Persian war are 
clouded on either hand by the disgrace and weakness of his 

• ^ The date of the conquest of Antioch by the Arabs is of some importance. 
By comparing the years of the world in the Chronogrnphy of Theophanes with 
the years of the Hegira in the history of Elmacin, we shall determine that it was 
taken between January 23 and September 1 of the year of Christ 63S (Pagi, 
Critica, it Baron. Annal. tom. ii. p. 812, 813). Al Wakidi (Ockley, toI. i. p. 314) 
assigns that event to Tuesday, August 21, an inconsistent date ; since Easter fell 
th^t.year on April 6, the 21st of August must have been a Friday (see the Ta- 
bles of the Art de Verifier les Dates).' 

^^ His bounteous edict, which tempted the gmteful city to assume the victory 
of Phai'^lia for a perpetual era, is given Iv *Avnoxfi^ ry /iiyrporoXM, itpf mi 
ilffvX^'caJ avTovofUfi, Koi apxov<Ty cat irpoKaBtfJUvy r^c dvctroXfic, John Malala, 
in Chron. p. 91, edit^Venet [p. 216, edit. Bonn]. We may distinguish his an- 
thentic information of domestic facts from his gross ignorance of general history. 

* Clinton conjectures that the true date of the capture was Tuesday, July 21. 
F. R. vol. ii. p. 176.— 8. 


more earlj and hia later days. When the enccessors of Ma- 
homet unsheathed the sword of war and reh'gion, 
HeniciiQB. 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 sec- 
ond effort. The sense of shame, and the importunities of the 
Syrians, prevented his hasty departure from the scene of ac- 
tion ; but the hero was no more ; and the loss of Damascus 
and Jerusalem, the bloody fields of Aiznadin and Termuk, 
may be imputed in some degree to the absence or miscon- 
duct of the sovereign. Instead of defending the sepulchi^e 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 crncifix, 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 invinci- 
ble in opinion ; and the desertion of Toukinna, his false re- 
pentance and repeated perfidy, might justify the suspicion of 
the emperor that he was encompassed by traitors and apos- 
tates who conspired to betray his person and their country 
to the enemies of Christ. In the hour of adversity his su- 
perstition was agitated by the omens and dreams of a falling 
crown ; and after bidding an eternal farewell to Syria, he se- 
cretly embarked with a few attendants, and absolved the faith 
of his subjects.*" Constantine, his eldest son, had been sta- 
tioned with forty thousand men at Csesarea, the civil me- 
tropolis 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 

<* See Ockley (vol. i. p. 808, 812), who laughs at the credality of his aathor. 
When Heraclius bade farewell to Syria, ** Vale Syria et ultimum vale," he prophe- 
sied that the Romans shoald never re-enter the province till the birth of an inaa- 
spicioos child, the future sconrge of the empire. Abulfeda, p. 68. I am perfect* 
Ij Ignorant of the mystic sense, or nonsense, of this prediction. 


the united force of the caliph. His vangnard was boldly at- 
tacked by three hundred Arabs and a thousand black slaves, 
who, in the depth of winter, had climbed the snowy monn- 
tains 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 
End of the ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^7 trausports, which entered withont 
Syrian war. (Jigtrust 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 CsBsarea : the Roman prince had embarked in the night ;* 
and the defenceless citizens solicited their pardon with an of- 
fering of two hundred thousand pieces of gold. The remain- 
der of the province, Ramlah, Ptolemais or Acre, Sichem or 
Neapolis, Gaza, Ascalon, Berytns, 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.*^ 

The sieges and battles of six campaigns had consumed 
many thousands of the Moslems. They died with the repu- 
tation and the cheerfulness of martyrs: and the 

Theconqner> , , , , ^ ^ 

orao^yria. simplicity of their faith may be expi^essed 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, 

^ In the loose and obscure chronology of the times, I am gnided bjr an authen- 
tic record (in the book of ceremonies of Constantine Porpbyrogenitas), which cer- 
tifies that June 4, a.d. 6dS, the emperor crowned his younger son HemcUas, 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 
fourth of the same month, the hippodrome. 

^ Sixty-five years before Christ, *'*' Syria Pontusque Cn. Pompeii virtutis monn- 
menta sunt " (Yell. Patercnl. ii. 88X rather of his fortune and power; be 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, Anna!, p. 420). 

A.D. 633-639.] THE CONQUERORS OF SYRIA. 343 

that have prompted me to devote my life in the cause of re- 
ligion. Bat 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 
i-esolution ; and a cousin of Mahomet is celebrated for refus- 
ing, after an abstinence of three days, the wine and pork, the 
only nourishment that was allowed by the malice of the infi- 
dels. The frailty of some weaker brethren exasperated the 
implacable spirit of fanaticism ; and the father of Amer de- 
plored, in pathetic strains, the apostasy and damnation of a 
son, who had renounced the promises of God and the inter- 
cession of the prophet, to occupy, with the priests and dea- 
cons, the lowest mansions of hell. The more foi*tunate Arabs 
who survived the war and persevered in the faith were re- 
strained by their abstemious leader from the abuse of pros- 
perity. 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 rigor- 
ous 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 an- 
swer in which he mildly censured the severity of his lieuten- 
ant : " God," said the successor of the prophet, " has not for- 
bidden the use of the good things of this world 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 afford- 
eth. If any of the Saracens have no family in Arabia, they 
may marry in Syria ; and whosoever of them wants any fe- 
male slaves, he may purchase as many as he iiath occasion 
for." The conquerors prepared to use, or to abuse, this gra- 
cious 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 Aba Obeidah might be lamented by the Chris- 
tians; but his brethren recollected that he was one of the ten 
elect whom the prophet had named as the heirs of paradise.*' 
Caled survived his brethren about three years ; and the tomb 
of the Sword of Ood 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 provi- 
dence ; and as long as he wore a cap which had been blessed 
by Mahomet, he deemed himself invulnerable amidst the 
darts of- the infidels.* 

The place of the first conquerors was supplied by a new 
generation of their children and countrymen: Syria became 
Process of ^^^ ^** ^^^ support of the House of Ommiyah ; 
Snqnerore. *^^ *h® rcvenuc, the soldicrs, the ships of that pow- 
A.]>.63M»fi. QYixxi kingdom, were consecrated to enlarge on ev- 
ery side the empire of the caliphs. Sut the Saracens de- 
spise a superfluity of fame ; and their historians scarcely con- 
descend 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 Taunis, and reduced to 
their obedience the province of Cilicia, with its capital Tar- 
sus, 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;** the long-disputed barrier of Rome and Persia 

*^ Abnlfeda, Annal. Moslem, p. 73. Mahomet could artfully vary- the praises 
of his disciples. Of Omar lie 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 dirine justice (Ocklej, vol. i. p. 221). 

*^ Al Wakidi had likewise written a history of the conquest of Diarbekir, or 

* Khaled, according to the Rouzont Uzzuffa (Price, p. 90), after having been 
deprived of his ample share t)f the plunder of Syria by the jealousy of Omar, died, 
]iosse8sed 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. 

A.D. 639-655.] THEIB PBOGRESS. 845 

was forever confounded ; the walls of Edessa and Atnida, of 
Dara and Kisibis, which had resisted the arms and engines of 
Sapor or Niishirvan, were levelled in the dust ; and the holy 
city of Abgarus might vainly produce the epistle or the im- 
age of Christ to an unbelieving conqueror. To the loest the 
Syrian kingdom is bounded by the sea : and the ruin of Ara- 
due, a small island or peninsula on the coast, was postponed 
during ten years. But the hills of Libanus abounded in tim- 
ber ; 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 Ro- 
mans fled before them from the Pamphylian rocks to the 
Hellespont; but the spirit of the emperor, a grandson of Her- 
aclius, had been subdued before the combat by a dream and 
a pun.*' ' The Saracens rode masters of the sea ; and the isl- 
ands of Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades were successively 
exposed to their rapacious visits. Three hundred years be- 
fore the Christian era, the memorable though fruitless siege 
of Rhodes,'* by Demetrius, had furnished that maritime re- 
public with the materials and the subject of a trophy. A gi- 
gantic statue of Apollo, or the sun, seventy cubits in height, 

Mesopotamia (Ockley, nt the end of the second volame), which our inteipretera do 
not appear to have seen.* The Chronicle of Dionysius of Telmar, the Jacobite 
patriarch, records the taking of Eklessa a.d. 637, and of Dara a.d. 641 (Asseman. 
Biblioth. Orient, torn. ii. p. 103) ; and the attentive may glean some doubtful in- 
formation from the chronograph j of Theophanes (p. 285-287 [t. i. p. 626 seq., edit. 
Bonn]). Most of the towns of Mesopotamia yielded by surrender (Abulpharag. 
p. 1 12). 

^ He dreamed that he was at Thessalonica, a harmless and unmeaning vision ; 
but his soothsayer, or his cowardice, understood the sure omen of a defeat conceal- 
ed in that inauspicious word Site dXXtji vimtv, Give to another the victory (Theoph. 
p. 287 [vol. i. p. 529, edit. Bonn] ; Zonaras, tom. ii. 1. xiv. [c. 19] p. 88). 

** 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, wlio has bestowed 
the same diligence on the two larger islands of Crete and Cyprus. See, in the third 
volume of his works, the RhoduB of Meursius (I. i. c. 15, p. 715-719). The Byzan- 
tine writers, Theophanes and Constantino, have ignorantly prolonged the term to 
1360 years, and ridiculously divide the weight among 30,000 camels. 

» It has been published in Arabic by M. Ewald, St. Martin, voL zi. p. 268 ; but 
its authenticity is doubted. — M. 


was erected at the entrance of the harbor, a monument of 
the f i*eedom and the arts of Greece. After standing fifty-six 
years, the Colossos of Khodes was overthrown by an earth- 
quake ; but the massy trunk and huge fragments lay scatter- 
ed eight centuries on the ground, and are often described as 
one of the wonders of the ancient world. They were collect- 
ed 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 fig- 
ures,** and the three thousand statues, which adoi-ned the pros- 
perity of the city of the sun. 

II. The conquest of Egypt may be explained by the char- 
acter of the victorious Saracen, one of the first of his nation, 
2«rpT. in an age when the meanest of the brethren was 

and ufe^of exaltcd abovo his nature by the spirit of enthusi- 
Amrou. ^^^ ij»|^g birth of Amrou was at once base and 
illustrious ; his mother, a notorious prostitute, was unable to 
decide among five of the Eoreish ; but the proof of resem- 
blance adjudged the child to Aasi, the oldest of her lovers.** 
The youth of Amrou was impelled by the passions and preju- 
dices of his kindred : his poetic genius was exercised in satir- 
ical 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 
Ethiopian king.*^ Yet he returned from this embassy a se- 
cret proselyte ; his reason or his interest determined him to 
renounce the worship of idols ; he escaped from Mecca with 

*" *' Centum colossi alium nobilitaturi locum/* says Pliny, with liis usual spirit 
Hist. Natur. xxxiv. 18.* 

** 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). 

^ Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 46, etc., who quotes the Abyssinian his- 
tory, or romance, of Abdel Balcides. Yet the fact of the embassy and ambassa- 
dor may be allowed. 

■ The words of Pliny are, '* Sunt alii minores hoc in eadem nrbe colossi centum 
numero, sed ubicunque nnguli fuissent, nobilitaturi locum;" so that Gibbon has 
taken off something of Pliny's spirit, — S. 


Lis 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. 
Tet his merit was not overlooked by the two first successors 
of Mahomet ; they were indebted to his arms for the con- I 

quest of Palestine ; and in all the battles and sieges of Syrifi 
he united with the temper of a chief the valor of an advent- 
urous soldier. In a visit to Medina the caliph expressed a ^ i 
wish to survey the sword which had cut down so many Chris- ! 
tian warriors : the son of Aasi unsheathed a short and ordi- 
nary scimetar; and as he perceived the surprise of Omar, 
"Alas," said the modest Saracen, "the sword itself, without i 
the arm of its master, is neither sharper nor more weighty 
than the sword of Pharezdak the poet."*' After the conquest | 
of Egypt he was recalled by the jealousy of the Caliph 0th- 
man ; but in the subsequent troubles, the ambition of a sol- 
dier, a statesman, and an orator emerged from a private sta- 
tion. His powerful support, both in council and in the field, 
established the throne of the Ommiades ; the administration I 
and revenue of Egypt were restored by the gratitude of Moa- 
wiyah 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 Arabi- 
ans as a model of eloquence and wisdom : he deplored the er- 
rors of his yonth ; but if the penitent was still infected by the 
vanity of a poet, he might exaggerate the venom and mischief 
of his impious compositions." 

*^ This saying is preserred by Focock (Not. ad Carmen Tograi, p. 184), and | 

justly applauded by Mr. Harris (Philosophical Arrangements, p. 850). 

** For the life and character of Amroo, 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 (M^m. de TAcad^mie des Inscnptions, torn. xxi. 
p. 181, 132). The readers of Tacitus may aptly compare Vespasian and Muci- \ 

anas with Moamyah and Amron. Yet the resemblance is still more in the situa- 
tion than in the characters of the men. 



From his camp in Palestine Amroa had surprised or antici- 
pated the caliph's leave for the invasion of Egypt.*** The 
Invasion magnanimous Omar trusted in his God and his 
Af^S?/ sword, which had shaken the thrones of Chosroes 
^""^ and Csesar: 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 com- 
panions. The pride and the greatness of Pharaoh were fa- 
miliar to the readers of the Koran ; and a tenfold repetition 
of prodigies had been scarcely sufficient to effect, not the vic- 
tory, 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 numer- 
ous branches, was alone an insuperable barrier ; and the gran- 
ary of the imperial city would be obstinately defended by the 
Boman powera. 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 
Ambs, the intrepid Amrou had marched away from his sta- 
tion of Gaza when he was overtaken by the messenger of 
Omar. ^^ If you are still in Syria," said the ambiguous man- 
date, " retreat without delay ; but if, at the receipt of this 
epistle, you have already reached the frontiers of Egypt, ad- 
vance with confidence, and depend on the succor of God and 
of your brethren." The experience, perhaps the secret intel- 
ligence, of Amrou had taught him to suspect the mutability 
of courts ; and he continued his march till his tents were un- 
questionably pitched on Egyptian ground. He there assem- 
bled his officers, broke the seal, perused the epistle, gravely 
inquired the name and situation of the place, and declared 

'^ Al Wakidi had likewise composed a separate history of the conqaest of Egjpt, 
which Mr. Ockley coald never procure ; and his own inquiries (vol. i. p. 844-362) 
have added very little to the original text of Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. p. 296-33S, 
vers. Focock), the Melcfaite patriarch of Alexandria, who lived three hundred years 
after the revolution. 

* This is certainly a year too early. The invasion of Egypt took place either 
in the eighteenth or nineteenth year of the Hegira ; that is, either in a.d. 689 or 
640. Weil, vol i. p. 106 ; Clinton, F. B. vol. ii. p. 176.— S. 


Lis ready obedience to the commands of the caliph. After a 
siege of thirty days he took possession of Farniah or Pelnsi- 
nm ; and that key of Egypt, as it has been jastly named, 
unlocked the entrance of the country as far as the ruins of 
Heliopolis and the neighborhood of the modem Cairo. 

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 
The cities Delta, Memphis, one hundred and fifty furlongs in 
Bftb/ion.'*^ circumference, displayed the magnificence of an- 
aodceira cieut kings. Under the reign of the Ptolemies and 
Cs&sars, 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 re- 
duced 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 pro- 
vincial cities."* 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 Bouda, which was covered with gar- 
dens and habitations."' The eastern extremity of the bridge 
was terminated by the town of Babylon and the camp of a 
Soman 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 Murahy 
was invested by the arms of the lieutenant of Omar : a re- 
inforcement of four thousand Saracens soon arrived in his 
camp ; and the military engines, which battered the walls. 

>^' StrabOy an accorate and attentive spectator, observes of Heliopolis wvl fikv 
oiv itrri travipriiioQ ri woKiq (Geograph. 1. xvii. p. 1158 [p. 805, edit. Casaub.]) ; but 
of Memphis he declares ifoKiq ^ iurl fuyaXfi re Kai ivavSpoc, dtvripa fier' 'AXe^ai/- 
dpttav (p. 1161 [p. 807, edit. Casaab.]): be notices, however, the mixtare of in- 
habitants and the ruin of the palaces. In the proper Egypt, Aromianus enumer- 
ates Memphis among the four cities, '* Maximis nrbibus qiiibas provincia nitet " 
(xxii. 16) ; and the name of Memphis appears with distinction in the Roman Itin- 
erary and episcopal lists. 

'^ These rare and carioas fucts, the breadth (2946 feet) and the bridge of the 
Tfile, are only to be found in the Danish traveller and the Nubian geographer 
(p. 98). 



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 innndation 
of the Nile/^* 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 t" and drove the remnant of 
the Greeks to their boats and the isle of Bouda. 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 mosque was blessed by the presence of fourscore com- 
panions of Mahomet/*^ 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 Caii'o, the town of 
victory, more strictly belongs to the modern capital, which 
was founded in the tenth century by the Fatimite caliphs. *•* 
It has gradually receded from the river ; but the continuity 
of buildings may be traced by an attentive eye from the mon- 
uments of Sesostris to those of Saladin/** 

^°* From the month of April the Nile begins imperceptibly to rise ; Uie sweD 
becomes strong and visible in the moon after the summer solstice (Flin. Hist. Nat. 
V. 10), and is osuallj proclaimed at Cairo on St. Peter's Day (Jane 29). A regis- 
ter of thirty saccessive years marks the greatest height of the waters between Jaly 
25 and Aognst 18 (Maillet, Description de TEgypte, lettre xi. p. 67, etc. ; Fooock's 
Description of the East, vol. i. p. 200 ; Shaw's Travels, p. 888). 

*<^ Murtadi, Merveilies de TEgypte, p. 248-259. He expatiates on the subject 
with the seal and minuteness of a citizen and a bigot, and his local traditions have 
a strong air of truth and accuracy. 

lOft D'Herbelot, Biblioth^que Orientale, p. 238. 

^^ The position of New and of Old Cairo is well known, and has been often de- 
scribed. T^TO writers who were intimately acquainted with ancient and modem 
Egypt hare fixed, after a learned inquiry, the city of Memphis at Gizekt directly 
opposite the Old Cairo (Sicard, Nouveaux M^moires des Missions du Levant, 
tom. vi. p. 5, 6 ; Shaw's Observations and Travels, p. 296-804). Yet we may not 

* Tradition varies : some say only one month. Weil, vol. i. p. 109, 110. 


Yet the Arabs, after a glorious and profitable enterprise, 
must have retreated to the desert, had they not found a pow- 
^ erful alliance in the heart of the country. The 

■nbmiMion rapid couqucst of Alexander was assisted by the 
orJ«TObite8. superstition and revolt of the natives: they abhor- 
red their Persian oppressors, the disciples of the 
Magi, who had burned the temples of Egypt, and feasted with 
sacrilegious appetite on the flesh of the god Apis/*' 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 Mo- 
nophysite 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 re- 
ceived 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 dissem- 
bled his faith to obtain the administration of his province : 
in the disorders of the Persian war he aspired to indepen- 
dence: the embassy of Mahomet ranked him among princes; 
but he declined, with rich gifts and ambiguous compliments, 
the proposal of a new religion."' The abuse of his trust ex- 
posed him to the resentment of Heraclius: his submission 

disregard the aothority or the ai^guments of Focock (vol. i. p. 25-41), Niebuhr 
(Voyage, torn. i. p. 77-106), and, above all, of D'Anville (Description de Tfigypte,- 
p. Ill, 112, 130-149), who hare removed Memphis towards the village of Mohan- 
nafa, some miles farther to the south. In their bent the dispatnnts have forgot 
that tbe ample space of a metropolis covers and annihilates the far greater part of 
the controversT. 

1^ See Herodotas, 1. iii. c. 27, 28, 29; ^lian. Hist. Var. 1. iv. c. 8; Saidas in 
Oxoc, tom. ii. p. 774 ; Diodor. Sicul. tom. ii. 1. xvii. [c. 49] p. 197, edit Wesseling. 
Tttfv Ufpcbip i^fttiKoTuv ci'c rd Upa, says the last of these historians. 

'^ Mokawkas sent the prophet two Coptic damsels, with two maids and one 
ennach, an alabaster vase, an ingot of pare gold, oil, honey, and the finest white 
linen of Egypt, with a horse, a male, and an ass, distingaished by their respective 
qnalifications. 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. 


was delayed by arrogance aod fear; and liis conscience was 
prompted by interest to throw himself on the favor of the 
nation and the support of the Saracens. In his first confer- 
ence with Amrou he heard without indignation the usual op- 
tion, of the Koran, the tribute, or the sword. " The Greeks," 
replied Mokawkas, ^^ are determined to abide the determina- 
tion of the sword ; but with the Greeks I desire no commun- 
ion, either in this world or in the next, and I abjure forever 
the Byzantine tyrant, his Synod of Chalcedon, and his Mel* 
chite 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 succes- 
sors." 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 
an hospitable entertainment of three days to every Mussul- 
man who should travel through their country. By this char- 
ter of security the ecclesiastical and civil tyranny of the Mel- 
chites was destroyed r**" the anathemas of St. Cyril were thun- 
dered from every pulpit ; and the sacred edifices, with the 
patrimony of the Church, were restored to the national com- 
munion of the Jacobites, who enjoyed without moderation 
the moment of triumph and revenge. At the pressing sum- 
mons of Amrou, their patriarch Benjamin emerged from his 
desert ; and, after the first interview, the courteous Arab af- 
fected to declare that ho had never conversed with a Cliris- 
tian priest of more innocent manners and a more venerable 

'^ The prscfecture of Egypt, and the condact of the war, had been trasted by 
Heraclius to the patriarch Cyrus (Theophan. p. 280, 281 [t. i. p. 518, 519, edit 
Bonn]). " In Spain," said James II., ** do yon not consalt 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 [edit. Par. 1648]). 


aspect."" In the march from Memphis to Alexandna the 
lieutenant of Omar intinisted his safety to the zeal and grati- 
tude 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 religiou, was 
connected with their odious name. 

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 

Ijt— — gi Anil 

G«>nqoe8tof 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 con- 
quest the siege of Alexandria'" 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 dear- 
est 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 Bomans and barbarians might have been 

"<^ See the Life of Benjamin, in Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alexandrin. p. 15G- 
172), who has enriched the conquest of Egypt with some facts from the Arabic 
text of Severus, the Jacobite historian. 

"' The local description of Alexandria is perfectly ascertained by the master- 
hand of the first of geographers (D'Anville, Memoire sar TEgypte, p. 52-63) ; but 
we may borrow the eyes of the modem travellers, more especially of Thevenot 
(Voyage aa Levant, part i. p.* 381-395), Focock (vol. i. p. 2-13), and Niebuhr 
(Voyage en Arabic, tom. i. p. 34-43). Of the two modem rivals, Savary and 
Volney, the one may amuse, the other will instract. 

v.— 23 


poured into the harbor to save the secood capital of the em- 
pire. 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 oblotig square were covered 
by the sea and the lake Marasotis, and each of the narrow ends 
exposed a front of no more than ten furlongs. The effoi-ts 
of the Arabs were not inadequate to the difficulty of the at- 
tempt and the value of the prize. From the throne of Me- 
dina 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. Entychius, the pa- 
triarch, 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 memora- 
ble day he was betrayed by his imprudent valor : his follow- 
ers who had entered the citadel were driven back ; and the 
general, with a friend and a slave, remained a prisoner in the 
hands of the Christians. When Amrou was conducted be- 
fore 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 cap- 
tive. 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 acclama- 
tions of the camp announced the return of their geneml, and 
insulted the folly of the infidels. At length, after a siege oi 

A J>. 638.] OF ALEXANDRIA. 355 

fourteen months/" and the loss of three-and-twenty thousand 
men, the Saracens prevailed : the Greeks embarked their dis- 
pirited 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 thousaod baths, four 
hundred theatres or places of amusement, twelve thousand 
shops for the sale of vegetable food, and forty thousand trib- 
utary 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."* The commander of the 
faithful rejected with firmness the idea of pillage, and direct- 
ed his lieutenant to reserve the wealth and revenue of Alex- 
andria 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 Mel- 
chites who submitted to the Arabian yoke were indulged in 
the obscure but tranquil exercise of their worship. The intel- 
ligence of this disgraceful and calamitous event afflicted the 
declining health of the emperor; and Heradius died of a 
dropsy about seven weeks after the loss of Alexandria."* Un- 

"^ Both Eutychias (Annal. torn. it. p. 819} and Elmacin (Hist Saracen, p. 28) 
concur in fixing the taking of Alexandiia to Friday of the new moon of Mohar- 
rnm of the twentieth year of the Hegira (Decemher 22, a.d. 640).* In reclion- 
ing backwards foarteen months spent before Alexandria, seven months before 
Babylon, etc., Amrou might have invaded Egypt about the end of the year 688 : 
but we are assured that he entered the country the 12th of Bayni, 6th of June 
(Mnrtadi, Merveilles de TEgypte, 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. 

"' Eutych. Annai. torn. ii. p. 816, 819. 

1*^ Notwithsti^nding some inconsistencies of Theophanes and Cedrenus, the ac- 
curacy of Pagi (Critica, torn. 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 Alexandiia. A fourth of that time was suflScient 
to convey the intelligence. 

*■ Weil places the captnre of Alexandria in the twenly-finit year of the Hegira, 
consequently a.d. 641. Vol. i. p. 114. — S. 


der the rainoritj of his grandson the clamors of a people de- 
prived of their daily sustenance compelled the Byzantine conrt 
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 Bomans. 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 I'ender Alexandria as accessible on all sides as the 
honse of a prostitute. Faithful to his promise, he dismantled 
several parts of the walls and towers ; bat the people were 
spared in the chastisement of the city, and the Mosque of 
Mercy was erected on the spot where the victorious general 
had stopped the fury of his troops.^ 

I should deceive the expectation of the reader if I passed 
in silence the fate of the Alexandrian library, as it is de- 

scribed by the learned Abulpharagius. The spirit 
andrian u- of Amrou was moro curious and liberal than that 

of his brethren, and in his leisure hours the Ara- 
bian chief was pleased with the conversation of John, the last 
disciple of Ammonius,and who derived the surname of Phi- 
Iqponus from his laborious studies of grammar and philoso- 
phy."' Emboldened by this familiar intercourse, Philoponos 
presumed to solicit a gift, inestimable in his opinion, con- 
temptible in that of the barbarians — the royal library, which 
alone, among the spoils of Alexandria, had not been appropri- 
ated by the visit and the seal of the conqueror. Amrou was 
^.^____^_____ ' 

"* Many treatises of this lorer of labor (^^rovoc) are still extant ; bnt 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 commenta- 
ries, one df which is dated as early as May 10, a-d. 617 (Fabric. Biblioth. GrEcc. 
torn. ix. p. 458-468). A modem (John Ije Clerc), who sometimes assumed the 
same name, was equal to old Pbiloponus in diligence, and far superior in good 
sense and real knowledge. 

* The recapture of Alexandria occurred in the second year of the Caliph Otb- 
man (a..d. 646). Weil, vol. i p. 157 seq.— S. 


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 writ- 
ings of the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are use- 
less and need not be preserved : if they disagree, they are per- 
nicious and ought to be destroyed." The sentence was exe- 
cuted with blind obedience : the volumes of paper or parch- 
ment 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"* 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 
liistorian himself : and the solitary report of a stranger who 
wrote at the end of six hundred years on the confines of Me- 
dia is overbalanced by the silence of two annalists 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.*" The rigid sentence 
of Omar is repugnant to the sound and orthodox precept of 
the Mahometan casuists : they expressly declare that the re- 
ligious 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 

"' Abalpharng. Dynast, p. 114, vers. Focock. *' Audi qnid factum sit et mi- 
rare.** It would be endless to enumerate the moderns who hare wondered and 
beliered, but I may distinguish with honor the rational scepticism of Renaudot 
(Hist. Alex. Patriarch, p. 170) : ** Historia * * * habet aliquid amtrrov at Arabibus 
familiare est." 

'" 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 Moslem!!, is less conclusive, from their ignorance of Christian literature. 


use of the faithful."" A more destructive zeal may perhaps 
be attributed to the lirst successors of Mahomet ; yet in this 
instance the conflagration would have speedily expired in the 
deficiency of materials. I shall not recapitulate the disasters 
of the Alexandrian library, the involuntary flame that was 
kindled by Caesar in his own defence,"' or the mischievous 
bigotry of the Christians, who studied to destroy the monu- 
ments of idolatry."" 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 assem- 
bled by the curiosity and magnificence of the Ptolemies."* 
Perhaps the Church and seat of the patriarchs might be en- 
riched with a repository of books ; but if the ponderous mass 
of Arian and Monophysite controversy were indeed consumed 
in the public baths,"' a philosopher may allow, with a smile, 
that it. was ultimately devoted to the benefit of mankind.^ I 

"^ See Reland, De Jaro Militari Mohammedanonim, in his third Tolume of Dis- 
sertations, p. 87. The reason for not burning the religious books of the Jews or 
Chribtians is derived from the respect that is due to the name of God. 

^>* Consult the collections of Frensheim (Supplement. Lilian, c. 12, 43) and 
Usher (Annal. p. 469). Livy himself had stvled the Alexandrian library "Ele- 
gantisB regum curasque egregium opus*' — a liberal encomium, for which he is 
pertly criticised by the narrow stoicism of Seneca (De Tranquillitate Animi, c. 9), 
whose wisdom on this occasion deviates into nonsense. 

"<» See this History, vol. iii. p. 257. 

*** Aulus Gellius (Noctes Atticse, vi. 17), Ammianus Marcellinus (xxil 16), and 
Orosius (1. vi. c. 15 [p. 421]). They all speak in the peut tense, andnhe words 
of Ammianus are remarkably strong: ^'Fuerunt Bibliothec® innumerabiles [in- 
testimabiles] : et loquitur monumentorum veterum concinens fides," etc.* 

*'' Benandot answers for versions of the Bible, Hexapla, Ca/eM(E Patrumy Com- 
mentaries, 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 pos8i6/y t>e among them. 

* It has, however, been shown, in a previous note (vol. iii. p. 257), that the libra- 
ry of the Serapeum was not destroyed along with the temple. — S. 

^ Since the time of Gibbon several new Mahometan authorities have been ad- 
duced to support the authority of Abulpharagins respecting the bnining of the 
Alexandrian library. That of— I. Abdollatiph, by Professor White. IL Of Ma- 
krizi : I have seen a MS. extract from this writer. III. Of Ibn Chaledun ; and, 
after them, Hadschi Chalfu. See Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassioen, p. 17. 


sincerely regret the more valuable libraries which have been 
involved in the ruin of the Boman empire ; but when I seri- 
ously compute the lapse of ages, the waste of ignorance, and 
the calamities of war, our treasures, rather than our losses, 
are the object of my surprise. Many curious and interest- 
ing 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"' had adjudged the first place of genius and 
glory : the teachers of ancient knowledge, who are still ex- 
tant, had perused and compared the writings of their prede- 
cessors y** 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 modem ages. 

In the administration of Egypt,"' Amrou balanced the de- 
mands of justice and policy; the interest of the people of 

"' I have often perused with pleosnre a chapter of Quintilian (Institut. Orator. 
X. 1), in which that judicious critic enumerates and appreciates the series of Greek 
and Latin classics. 

1^ Such as Galen, Pliny, Aristotle, etc. On this subject Wotton (Reflections 
on Ancient and Modem 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 ^thiopic books into the 
library of Alexandria ; nor is it proved that philosophy has sustained any I'eal less 
from their exclusion. 

"' 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 Modem 
Universal History. 

Reinhard, in a German Dissertation, printed at Gottingen, 1792, and St. Croix 
(Magasin Encyclop. tom. iv. p. 433), have examined the question. Among Ori- 
ental scholars. Professor White, M. St. Martin, Von Hammer, and Silv. de Sacy 
consider the fact of the burning the librarr, 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 df Tripoli is said to 
have contained tlie incredible number of three millions of volumes. On the capt- 
ure of the city, Count Bertram of St. Gilles, entering the first room, which con- 
tained nothing but the Koran, ordered the whole to be burned, as the works of 
the false prophet of Arabia. See Wilken, Gesch. der Kreuzziigo, vol. ii. p. 211. 
— M. Matter also argues in favor of the received account respecting the burning 
of the Alexandrian library. Histoire de TEcoIe d'Alexandrie, vol. i. p. 342.— S. 


the law, who were defended by God; and of the people of the 
alliance, who were protected by man. In the re- 
tration of ccnt tumult of conquest and deliverance, the tongue 
of the Copts and the sword of the Arabs were 
roost 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 promo- 
tion 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 charac- 
ter, 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 le- 
gitimate and splendid rewards of their victory. In the man- 
agement of the revenue he disapproved the simple but op- 
pressive 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 ad- 
ministration the fertility of Egypt supplied the dearth of 
Arabia ; and a string of camels, laden with corn and provi- 
sions, covered almost without an interval the long road from 
Memphis to Medina."' But the genius of Ararou soon re- 
newed the maritime communication which had been attempt- 
ed or achieved by the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, or the Cae- 
sars ; 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 

^^ Eutychias, Annal. torn. ii. p. 820. Elroacin, Hist Saracen, p. 85. 

^^ On these obscure canaU the render may try to satisfy himself from D'Anville 
(M^m. sur I'Egypte, p. 108-110, 124, 182), and a learned thesis, maintained and 
printed at Strasburg in the year 1770 (** Jungendoruoi mariam fluTiorumqae mo- 


Of his new conquest the Caliph Omar had an impei*fect 
knowledge from the voice of fame and the legends of the 
, Koran. He requested that his lieutenant would 

Riches and . ,.* , 1.-1^1 1 <■ 

popaioas- place before his eyes the realm of rharaoh and 
the Amalckites ; and the answer of Amrou exhib- 
its a lively and not unfaithful picture of that singular coun- 
try."' " O commander of the faithful, Egypt is a compound 
of black earth and green plants, between a pulverized moun- 
tain and a red sand. The distance from Syene to the sea is 
a month^s journey for a horseman. Along the valley de- 
scends a river, on which the blessing of the Most High re- 
poses 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 

HminA,*' p. 89-47, 68-70). Even the snpine Turks have agitated the old pi-oj- 
ect of joining the two seas (Memoires du Baron de Tott, torn. iv.)>^ 

138 A small volume, Des Merveilles, etc., de TEgjpte, composed in the thirteenth 
century by Murtadi of Cairo, and translated from an Arabic MS. of Cai*dinal Maz- 
arin, was published by Pierre Vatier, Paris, 1666. The antiquities of Egypt are 
wild and legendaiy ; 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). 

* Both classical authority and Arabian tradition unite in testifying the exist- 
ence of a canal between the Nile and the Red Sea, the most probable history of 
which seems to be as follows * It was begun by Ncchos, the son of Psammetichus, 
but left unfinished till completed by Darius, the son of Hystaspes. This line be- 
gan a little above Bubastis, on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. (Herod, ii. 158.) 
Having become choked with sand, it was restored by Ptolemy Philadelphus, who, 
however, placed its head farther north, in the neighborhood of Phacnsa. Another 
line, derived from the Nile above the Delta, seems to have been subsequently add- 
ed. The canal was evidently navigable in the time of Augustus (Strabo, lib. xvii. 
p. 805, Casaub. ; Diod. Sic. i. c. 33), but it seems to have become useless in the 
time of Pliny the elder (H. N. vi. 83). It was, however, repaired by Trajan ; and 
Ave know that it was navigable in the second century, in the time of Lucian (Pseu- 
dom. § 44). Between this period, however, and the taking of Alexandria by Am- 
rou, it must have become again choked with sand. The line, as restored by Am- 
rou, began at Babylon (or Fostat), ran northward to Bilbeis, then eastward, 
through the valley of Tomlat, to the ruins of Heroopolis, whence it took a south- 
erly direction, and entered the Ked Sea at Kolzum, near the spot where Suez sub- 
sequently rose. It must thus have traversed the same line as in the time of Tra- 
jan; and as Amrou succeeded in a year or two in rendering it again navigable, 
we may conclude that the ancient works remained in a tolerable state of preser- 
vation. See Weil, vol. i. p. 119 seq. ; Letronne, Revue des deux Mondes, voL 
mtvii. p. 216. — S. 


362 EGYPT : [Ch. LI. 

and sounding waters through the realm of Egypt : the fields 
are overspread bj the salutary flood; and the villages com- 
municate with each other in their painted barks. The re- 
treat of the inundation deposits a fertilizing mud for the re- 
ception 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. Ac- 
cording to the vicissitudes of the seasons, the face of the coun- 
try is adorned with a sil^^er wave, a verdant emerald^ and the 
deep yellow of a golden harvest.""* Yet this beneficial or- 
der is sometimes interrupted ; and the long delay and sudden 
swell of the river in the first year of the conquest might af- 
ford some color to an edifying fable. It is said that the an- 
nual sacrifice of a virgin*** 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 

'^ In a t^venty years' residence at Cairo, the Consnl 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 bad 
wen 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 wat'ry wings, 
If with advent'rous oar, and ready sail. 
The dusky people drive before the gale, 
Or on frail floats to neighboring cities ride, 
Tiiat rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide. 

(Mason 8 Works and Memoirs of Gray, p. 199, 200.) 

*^ 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 


with twenty thousand cities or villages :*" that^ exclusive of 
the Greeks and Arabs, the Copts alone were found, on the as- 
sessment, six millions of tributary subjects,'" or twenty mill- 
ions of either sex and of every age \^ that three hundred mill- 
ions of gold or silver were annually paid to the treasury of 
the caliph."* Our reason must be startled by these extrava- 
gant 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 broad- 
er than twelve miles, and the triangle of the Delta, a flat sur- 
face of two thousand one hundred square leagues, compose a 
twelfth part of the magnitude of France."* 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 thou- 

"* Maillet, Description de TEgypte, 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 

'^ Eatych. Annal. torn. ii. p. 808, 311. The twenty millions ara computed 
from the following data: one twelfth of mankind above sixty, one third below 
sixteen, the proportion of men to women as seventeen to sixteen (Recherches sur 
la Population de la France, p. 71, 72). The president Goguet (Origine des Arts, 
etc., torn. iii. p. 26, etc.) bestows twenty-seven millions on ancient Egypt, because 
the seventeen hundred companions of Sesostris were bom on the same day. 

"* Elmacin, Hist. Saracen, p. 218 ; and this gross lump is swallowed without 
scrapie by D'Herbelot (Biblioth. Orient, p. 1031), Arbuthnot (Tables of Ancient 
Coins, p. 262), and De Guignes (Hist, des Huns, tom. iii. p. 185). They might 
allege the not less extravagant liberality of Appian in favor of the Ptolemies (in 
prsefat) of seventy-four myriads, 740,000 talents, an annual income of one hun- 
dred and eighty-five, or near three hundred millions of pounds sterling, according 
as we reckon by the Egyptian or the Alexandrian talent (Bemard de Ponderibus 
Antiq. p. 186). 

^ .1** See the measurement of D*AnvilIe (M^m. Sur I'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. 

' Mr. Clinton observes that the number of six millions of Copts is credible, if 
we understand it of the total Coptic population, and not (with Eutychius) of the 
male adults alone. In the reign of Nero, a.d. 66, Egypt, exclusive of Alexan- 
dria, contained 7,500,000 inhabitants. Joseph. Bell. Jud. lib. ii. c. 16, § 4. In 
the amount of tribute in Eutychius thera must be exaggeration or error. Fast. 
Bom. vd. ii. p. 177. — S. 


sand pieces of gold, of which nine hundred thousand were 
consumed by the pay of the soldiers."^ Two authentic lists, 
of the present and of the twelfth century, are circumscribed 
within the respectable number of two thousand seven hun* 
dred villages and towns/'^ 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.'" 

IV. The conquest of Africa, from the Nile to the Atlantic 
Ocean,"' was firet attempted by the arms of the Caliph Oth- 
man.* The pious tiesign was approved by the companions 

*" Renaodot, Hist. Patriarch. Alexand. p. 334, who caUs the common roading 
or version of Elmacin trror librorii. His own emendation, of 4,300,000 pieces, 
in the ninth century, maintiuns a prohahle medium between the 8,000,000 which 
the Arabs acquired by the conquest of Egypt (idexh, p. 168), and the 2,400,000 
which the Sultan of Constantinople levied in the last century (Pietro della Yalle, 
torn. i. p. 852 ; Thevenot, part i. p. 824). Pauw (Recherches, tom. ii. p. 865- 
873) gradually raises the revenue of the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies, and the Caesan, 
from six to fifteen millions of German crowns. 

*^ The list of Schultens (Index Geogitiph. ad calcem Viu Saladin. p. 5) con- 
tains 2396 pUices ; that of D'Anville (M^m. sur r£g}'pte, p. 29), from the divan 
of Cairo, enumerates 2696. 

^^ See Maillet (Description de r£g}'pte, p. 28), who seems to argue with can- 
dor 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 litem- 
ture, and his fancy is too much delighted with the fictions of the Arabs. Their 
best knowledge is collected by Abulfeda (Descript ^gypt. Arab, et Lat. k Job. 
David Michaelis, Gottingas, in 4to, 1776) ; and in two recent voyages into Egypt, 
we are amnsed by Savary, and instructed by Yolney. I wish the latter coold 
travel over the globe. 

188 ^y conqnest of Africa is drawn from two French interpreters of Arabic lit- 
erature, Cardonne (Hist, de TAfrique et de TEspagne sous la Domination des 
Arabes, tom. i. p. 8-55) and Otter (Hist, de TAcad^mie des Inscriptions, torn. xxi. 
p. 111-125 and 136). They derive their principal information from Novairi, who 
composed, A. D. 1381, an Encyclopaedia in more than twenty volumes. The five 
general parts successively ti-eatof: 1. Physics; 2. Man; 8. Animals; 4. Plants; 
and, 5. History ; and the African affairs are discussed in the sixth chapter of the 
fifth section of this last part (Reiske, Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalifas Tabuhs, 
p. 232-234). Among the older historians who are quoted by Novairi we msy dis- 
tinguish the original narrative of a soldier who led the van of the Moslems. 

*■ According to Weil, the first invasion of Africa and capture of Tripoli was 
conducted by Amrou in the reign of the Caliph Omar, a.d. 648-44. The expedi^ 
tion of Abdnllah was subsequent. He was appointed to the command in ^gypt 

AJ>. 647.] FIRST INVASION OF AFfilCA. 865 

of Mahomet and the chiefs of the tribes ; and twenty thou- 
AruoA. ^^^ Arabs marched from Medina, with the gifts 
bJlMlnS* *"d *^h® blessing of the commander of the faith- 
"*-^**^' ful. They were joined in the camp of Memphis 
by twenty thousand of their countrymen ; and the conduct of 
the war was intrusted to Abdallah,'** 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 0th- 
man, extorted a reluctant pardon ; but the prophet declared 
that he had so long hesitated, to allow time for some zealous 
disciple to avenge kis injury in the blood of the apostate. 
With apparent fidelity and effective merit he served the re- 
ligion 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 

'" See the history of Abdallah, in Abulfeda (Vit. Mohammed, p. 109) and 
Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, torn. iii. p. 45-48). 

in the second year of the Caliph Othman. Weil, vol. i. p. 123 seq., and p. 1/59. 
It may be further remarked that Gibbon's narrative is not consistent with itself. 
At p. 3.56 he represents Amroa as recalled ** from the distant wan of Tripoli and 
Nabia " by the attempt of the Greeks to retake Alexandria ; and as that event 
happened ''within the space of four years" from its first capture, the date of it 
mast, according to his chronology, have been before the end of a.d. 644. Conse- 
quently, the conqnest of Africa must, on his own showing, have been ''first at- 
tempted " three years before the date here assigned. 

The Caliph Othman wished Amrou, who had just reconquered Alexandria, to 
content himself with the command of the army of Egypt, whilst Abdallah should 
preside over the finances. But Amrou refused this ofier, remarking that in such 
case "he should resemble a man who held a cow by the horns whilst another 
milked her." Weil, vol. i. p. 169.— S. 


might be impervious to a Koman legion ; but the Arabs were 
attended by their faithful camels ; and the natives of the des- 
ert beheld without terror the familiar aspect of the soil and 
climate. After a painful march they pitched their tents be- 
fore the walls of Tripoli,"' 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 reinforcement 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 Prsefect Gregory"* to relin- 
quish the labors of the sie^e for the perils and the 

The Pmfect o & 

oreffory and hopcs of a dccisive actiou. If his standard was fol- 
aag ter. |^^^j ^yy 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 trib- 
ute ; and during several days the two armies were fiercely en- 
gaged 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 horeeback, to draw the bow, and to wield 
the scimetar ; and the richness of her arms and apparel were 
conspicuous in the foremost ranks of the battle. Her hand, 

'^ The province and city of Tripoli are described by Leo Africftnus (in Navi- 
fi^atione et Viaggi di Ramusio, torn. i. Venetia, 1550, fol. 76 veno) and Marmol 
(Description de I'Afriqiie, torn. ii. p. 562). The first of these writers was a Moor, 
a scholar, and a trayeller, 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, bat he is desti- 
tute of the curious and extensive observation which abounds in the original work 
of Leo the African. 

*^' Theophanes, who mentions the defeat, rather than the death, of Gregoir. 
He brands the prsefect with the name of Tvpawoc : he had probably assumed the 
purple (Chronograph, p. 285 [tom. i. p. 525, edit. Bonn]). 


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 press- 
ing solicitation of his brethren, Abdallah withdrew his per- 
son from the field ; but the Saracens were discouraged by the 
retreat of their leader, and the repetition of these equal or un- 
successful conflicts. 

A noble Arabian, who afterwards became the adversary of 
Ali, and the father of a caliph, had signalized his valor in 
victory of Egypt, and Zobeir"' was the first who planted the 
the Arabs, scaling - ladder against the walls of Babylon. In 
the African war he was detached from the standard of Abdal- 
lah. On the news of the battle, Zobeir, with twelve compan- 
ions, cut his way through the camp of the Greeks, and pressed 
forward, without tasting either food or repose, to partake of 
tlic 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 Boman pnefect. 
" Ketort," said Zobeir, " on the infidels their ungenerous at- 
tempt. Proclaim through the ranks that the head of Greg- 
ory shall be repaid with his captive daughter, and the equal 
sum of one hundred thousand pieces of gold." To the cour- 
age and discretion of Zobeir the lieutenant of the caliph in- 
trusted the execution of his own stratagem, which inclined 
the long-disputed balance in favor of the Saracens. Supply- 
ing by activity and artifice the deficiency of numbers, a part 
of their forces lay concealed in their tents, while the remain- 
der 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 encoun- 

"' 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 Eutychias 
(Annal. tom. ii. p. 308). 


ter of the ensuing day. On a sudden the charge was sound- 
ed ; the Arabian camp poured forth a swarm of fresh and 
intrepid warriors ; and the long line of the Oreeks and Afri- 
cans 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 prison- 
er ; and the fugitives involved in their disaster the town of 
Sufetula, to which they escaped from the sabres and lances of 
the Arabs. Snfetula 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 triumphal arch, a portico, and three temples 
of the Corinthian order, curiosity may yet admire the magnif- 
icence of the Bomans.^** After the fall of this opulent city, 
the provincials and barbarians implored on all sides the mer- 
cy of the conqueror. His vanity or his zeal might be flatter- 
ed by offers of tribute or professions of faith : but his losses, 
his fatigues, and the progress of an epidemical disease pre- 
vented a solid establishment ; and the Saracens, after a cam- 
paign 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 ;"* 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 prsefect's daughter at 

>« Sliaw's Travels, p. 118, 119. 

*^ **Mimica emptio," says Abulfeda, **erat hssc, et mira donatio; qaando- 
qaidem Othman, ejus nomine nnmmos ex nrario prius ablatos fererio priestabtt" 
(Annal. Moslem, p. 78). Elmacin (in his cloudy rersion, p. 89) seems to report 
the same job. When the Arabs besieged the pokce of Othman, it stood high in 
their catalogue of grievances. 


the Bight of Zobeir revealed the valor and modesty of that 
gallant soldier. The unfortunate virgin was offered, and al- 
most rejected, as a slave, by her father's murderer, who coolly 
declared that his sword was consecrated to the service of re- 
ligion ; and that he ]aboi*ed 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 honomble commis* 
sion of announcing to the Caliph Othman the success of his 
arms. The companions, the chiefs, and the people were as- 
sembled in the Mosque 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 Ab- 
dallah was joined by the Arabians with the heroic names of 
Caled and Amrou.*"* 

The Western conquests of the Saracens were suspended 
near twenty years, till their dissensions were composed by 
Progress of the establishment of the House of Ommiyah ; and 
iS*i^"a*"' the Caliph Moawiyah was invited by the cries of 
A.D.6«-^9. ^Yie Africans themselves. The successors of Hera- 
clius 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 Byzantine ministers were shut against the 
complaints of their poverty and ruin ; their despair was re- 
duced to prefer the dominion of a single master ; and the ex- 
tortions of the Patriarch of Carthage, who was invested with 
civil and militaiy power, provoked the sectaries, and even the 

^"^ 'EiTfffTpdnvffav Sapajci}yoi rijv 'A^ptic^v, Kai ovfitdKovrtQ T(f rvpawtft rpri- 
yopitf TOVTOv Tptvovai, xai tovc aitv aimf Knivovm, xai trroixh^avnc ^povg furd 
rmv 'A^pwv vniarps^tav. Theophan. Chronograph, p. 285, edit. Paris [vol i. 
p. 525, edit. Bonn]. His chronology is loose and inaccnrate. 

*■ The romantic incidents of this narrative, especially with regard to the daugh- 
ter of Gregorios, appear to be destitute of historical foundation. Gregorius was 
sarprised and slain in a tent at some distance from the troops ; and the latter be- 
came disheartened by the death of their leader. In the division of tlie booty, his 
dnnghter fell to the lot of a native of Medina ; and in order to escape the horrors 
of slavery, sought death by throwing herself from a camel on her road to that citv. 
Weil,vol.i.p. 161.— S. 

v.— 24 


Catholics, of the Roman province, to abjnre the religion as 
well as the authority of their tyrants. The first lieatenant 
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."* 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 Ak- 
bah. The interior regions have been peopled by the Orient- 
als with fictitious armies and imaginary citadels. In the war- 
like 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 ;"' and a circumference of three leagues 
will not be justified by the ruins of £rbe or Lambesa, the an- 
cient metropolis of that inland country. As we approach the 
sea-coast, the well-known cities of Bugia"" and Tangier*** de- 
fine the more certain limits of the Saracen victories. A rem- 
nant of trade still adheres to the commodious harbor of Bu- 
gia, 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 

^*^ Theopbanes (in Chronograph, p. 293 [vol. i. p. 539]) inserts the ragne rumors 
that might reach Constantinople of the Western conquests of the Arabs ; and I 
learn from Fanl Wamefrid, Deacon of Aquileia (De Gestis Langobard. L t. c. IS), 
that at this time they sent a fleet from Alexandria into the Sicilian and African 

*^' See Novairi (apod Otter, p. 118), Leo Africanus (fol. 81, verso), who reckons 
onlj '^ Cinque cittk e infinite casale," Marmol (Description de TAfrique, torn. lii. 
p. 83), and Shaw (Travels, p. 67, 66-68). 

"® Leo African, fol. 58, veno 69, redo; Marmol, tom. ii. p. 415 ; Shaw, p. 48, 

**• Leo African, fol. 62 ; Marmol, tom. ii. p. 228. 

A.D. 665-689.] IN AFRICA. 371 

figurative expressions of the latter, that the walls were eon- 
etractcd of brass, and that the roofs wei*e covered with gold 
and silver, may be interpreted as the emblems of strength and 
opulence. The province of Mauritania Tingitana,*" which as- 
sumed the name of the capital, had been imperfectly discov- 
ered and settled by the Komans ; the five colonies were con- 
fined to a narrow pale, and the more southern parts were sel- 
dom explored except by the agents of luxury, who searched 
the forests for ivory and the citron-wood,"* and the shores 
of the ocean for the purple shell-fish. The fearless Akbah 
plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilder- 
ness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of 
Fez and Morocco,'^ and at length penetrated to the verge of 
the Atlantic and the great desert. The river Sus descends 
from the western sides of Mount Atlas, feiiiilizes, like the 
Nile, the adjacent soil, and falls into the sea at a moderate 
distance from the Canary, or Fortunate, islands. Its banks 

'^ '*Regio ignobilis, et yix quicqaam illustre soitita, parvis oppidis habitatnr, 
parva flamina emittit, solo qnam viris melior, et segnitie gentis obscara." Pom- 
ponius Mela, i. 5 ; iii. 10. Mela deserves the more credit, since his own Phoeni- 
cian ancestors had migrated from Tingitana to Spain (see, in ii. 6, a passage of 
that geographer so cmelly tortured by Snlmasios, Isaac Vossias, and the most 
viralent of critics, James Gronoyins). He lived at the time of the final reduction 
of that coantry bj the Emperor Claudius; yet, almost thirty years afterwards, 
Fliny (Hist Nat. v. i.) complains of his authors, too lazy to inquire, too proud to 
confess their ignorance of that wild and remote province. 

'^* The foolish fashion of this citron-wood prevailed at Rome among the men, as 
mnch 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 (** latifundii 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 Linnsean name ; nor will I decide whether the citrum be the orange or the lem- 
on. Salmasius appears to exhaust the subject, but he too often involves himself 
in the web of his disorderly erudition (Plinian. Exercitat. tom. ii. p. 666, etc.). 

"* Leo African, fol. 16, verto, Marmol, tom. ii. p. 28. This province, the first 
scene of the exploits and greatness of the cheri/s, is often mentioned in the curious 
history of that dynasty at the end of the third volume of Marmol, Description de 
TAfrique. The third volume of the Rechercbes Historiques sur les Maures (late- 
ly published at Paris) illustrates the history and geography of the kingdoms of 
Fez and Morocco. 

* Citrum was not the fruit, but the wood of the tree. — S. 


were inhabited by the last of the Moors, a race of fiairages, 
withont 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 beanty of the female captives, some of whom were 
afterwards 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 any other gods 
than thee.""* * 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 honorable death. 
The last scene was dignified by an example of national virtue. 
An ambitious chief, who had disputed the command and fail- 
ed in the attenipt, was led about as a prisoner in the camp of 
the Arabian general. The insurgents had trusted to his dis- 
content and revenge ; he disdained their offers and revealed 
their designs. In the hour of danger the grateful Akbah un- 
locked his fetters and advised him to retire; he chose to die 
under the banner of his rival. Embracing as friends and mar- 
tyrs, they unsheathed their scimetars, 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 en- 

'^ Otter (p. 119) has giren the strong tone of fanaticism to this exclamation, 
which Cardonne (p. 37) has softened to a pioas wish of preaching the Koran. Yet 
they had both the same text of Novairi before their eyes. 

* Weil rejects this story about Akbah and the extent of his conquests, and con- 
tends that his expedition has been confounded with the subsequent one of Musa. 
Akbnh never penetrated so far as Tangier, which was first taken by Musa in the 
cnliphnte of Welid ; and tlie Sus has probably been confounded with the province 
of the same name, which was entered by him. Vol. i. p. 288 seq., and 514.— S. 

A.D. 670-675.] FOUNDATION OF CAIROAN. 373 

countered the fate of his predecessor. He vanquislied the 
natives in many battles ; he was overthrown by a powerful 
army which Constantinople had sent to the relief of Car- 

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 to their savage state of independence 

Fonndation ^ ^ ^ 

ofciiiroan. and idolatry on the first retreat or misfortune of 
the 'Mosleins. The prudence of Akbah had pro- 
posed 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 de- 
cay, Cairoan*^ still holds the second rank in the kingdom of 
Tunis, from which it is distant about fifty miles to the south :"* 
its inland situation, twelve miles westward of the sea, has pro- 
tected 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 Eoman town 
were discovered in a sandy plain : the vegetable food of Cai- 
roan is brought from afar ; and the scarcity of springs con- 
strains the inhabitants to collect in cisterns and reservoirs a 
precarious supply of rain-water. These obstacles were sub- 
dued by tlie industry of Akbah ; he traced a circumference 
of three thousand and six hundred paces, which he encom- 

*^ The foandation of Cairoan is mentioned bj Ockley (Hist, of the Saracens, 
vol. ii. p. 129, 130); and the sitaation, mosqae, etc., of the city are described by 
lieo. Africanas (fol. 75), Marmol (torn. ii. p. 532), and Shaw (p. 115).* 

''* A portentoas, though frequent, mistake has been the confounding, from a 
slight similitnde of name, the Q/rena of the Greeks and the Cairoan of the Arabs, 
two cities which are separated by an interval of a thousand miles along the sea- 
coast. The great Thuanus has not escaped this fault, the less excusable as it is 
connected with a formal and elaborate description of Africa (Historiar. 1. vii. c. 2, 
in tom. i. p. 240, edit. Buckley). 

*■ Cairoan had been founded by Moawiyah Ibn Hudeidj, Akbah's predecessor. 
But Akbah, not liking the situation, removed the colony to the wooded plain in 
which it now lies. Weil, vol. i. p. 286.— S. 


passed with a brick wall ; in the space of five years the gov- 
ernor's palace was surrounded with a suflScient number of pri- 
vate 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.*** 

The return of domestic peace allowed the Caliph Abdal- 
malek to resume the conquest of Africa ; the standard was 

delivered to Hassan, Governor of Egypt, and the 
ofcarthiige. rcveuue 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 
sea-coast still remained in the hands of the Greeks ; the pred- 
ecessors 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 succors. The prsBfect and patrician John, a 
general of experience and renown, embarked at Constantino- 
• — ■ . 

^^ Besides the Arabic chronicles of Abulfeda, Elmaein, and Abulpharagitis, 
under the seventy-third year of the Hegira, we may consult D'Herbelot (Biblioth. 
Orient, p. 7) and Ockley (Hist of the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 339-^49). 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 bis death, the return, at the age of 
ninety, and fatal consequences, of her menses. 

AJ[>. 69*^-698.] CONQUEST OF CARTHAGE. 375 

pie the forces of the Eastern empire ;'" they were joined by 
the ships and soldiers of Sicily, and a powerful reinforcement 
of Goths"* was obtained from the fears and religion of the 
Spanish monarch. The weiglit of the confederate navy broke 
the chain that guarded the entrance of the harbor ; the Arabs 
retired to Cairoan, or Tripoli ; the Christians landed ; the citi* 
zens 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 com- 
mander of the faithful*** prepared in the ensuing spring a 
more numerous armament by sea and land ; and the Patri- 
trician in his turn was compelled to evacuate the post and for- 
tifications of Carthage. A second battle was fought in the 
neighborhood of Utica : the Greeks and Goths were again de- 
feated ; and their timely embarkation saved them from the 
sword of Hassan,^ who had invested the slight and insu£Scient 
rampart of their camp. Whatever yet remained of Carthage 
was delivered to the flames, and the colony of Dido*** and 

^^^ AiSvTioc Hiravra rd 'Pw/iaVcd iliOTrXtas irX^i/ia, (TTpartiyov re irr' avroic 

'liaawfiv TtfV lioTpiiuov ifiirttpov ruv iroXe/«ia»v irpoxitpiadfitvog ir/Do( Ka/s^^dva 
KOTik Twv ^pcuaiv&v i^iTrtftyj/tv, Nicephori Constantinopolitani Breviar. p. 26. 
The Patriarch of Constantinople, with Theophanes (Chronograph, p. 809 [vol. i. 
]>. 566 aeq., edit. Bonn]), have slightly mentioned this last attempt for the relief of 
Africa. Fagi (Critica, torn, iil p. 129, 141) has nicely ascertained the chronology 
bj 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). 

lu **Dove s'erano ridotti i nobili Bomani e i Gotti;** and afterwards, *'i Bo- 
mani suggirono e i ChtH lasciarono Carthagine " (Leo African, fol. 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 slight- 
est authority. 

*** This commander is styled by Nicephorus BacriXa^c 2apac^va»v, a vague though 
not improper definition of the caliph. Theophanes introduces the strange appella- 
tion of npwriNrvfi^oXof, which his interpreter Goar explains by Vixier Azem, They 
niny approach the truth, in assigning the active part to the minister rather than 
the prince ; but they forget that the Ommiades had only a kateby or secretary, and 
that the office of vizier was not revived or instituted till the one hundred and thir- 
ty-second year of the Hegira (D*Herbelot, p. 912). 

»» According to Solinus (c. 27 [§ 11], p. 36, edit Salmas.), the Carthage of 

^ This campaign was conducted, not by Hassan, but by Musa. Weil, vol. i. 
p. 477 seq. — S. ... 


Csesar lay desolate above two hundred years, till a part, per- 
haps a twentieth, of the old circnmference was repeopled by 
the first of the Fatimite caliphs. In the beginning of the 
sixteenth century the second capital of the West was repre- 
sented 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 sen- 
ators. Even that paltry village was swept away by the Span- 
iards 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 aque- 
duct did not guide the footsteps of the inquisitive traveller.*" 
The Greeks were expelled, but the Arabians were not yet 
masters of the country. In the interior provinces the Moors 
pinni con- ^^ Berhei^B^^ so feeble under the first Csesars, so 
Imu!^' formidable to the Byzantine princes, maintained a 
A.i>.e9s-T(». 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 

Dido stood either 677 or 787 years — a varioas reading, which proceeds from the 
difference of MSS. or editions (Salmas. Plin. ExerciL torn. i. p. 22S). The for- 
mer of these accounts, which gives 823 years before Christ, is more consistent 
with the well-weighed testimony of Velleins Paterculos ; bnt the latter is prefer- 
red by our chronologist (Marsharo, Canon. Chron. p. 898) as more agreeable to 
the Hebrew and Tyrian annals. 

**' Leo African, ful. 71, rerso; 72, recto, Marmol, torn. ii. p. 445-447. Shaw, 
p. 80. 

1** The history of the word Barbar may be classed ander foar periods. 1. In 
the time of Homer, when the Greeks and Asiatics might probably use a common 
idiom, the imitative sound of Bar- bar was applied to the ruder tribes, whose pro- 
nunciation was most harsh, whose grammar was most defective. Kapcc BopCopo- 
^a»voc (Iliad, ii. 867, with the Oxford Scholiast Clarke's Annotation, and Henry 
Stephens's Greek Thesaurus, tom. i. p. 720). 2. From the time, at least, of Herod- 
otnSf it was extended to all the nations who were strangers to the language and 
manners of the Greeks. 8. In the age of Plautus, the Romans submitted to the 
insult (Pompeius Festns, 1. 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 sav- 
age 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 Ambian conquerors, and has justly settled as a local denomination (Barbaiy) 
along the northern const of Africa, 


of union and discipline ; and as the Moors respected in their 
females the character of a prophetess, they attacked the invad- 
ers 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 suc- 
cors of the caliph. After the retreat of the Saracens, the vic- 
torious prophetess assembled the Moorish chiefs, and recom- 
mended a measure of strange and savage policy. " Our cit- 
ies," said she, '^ and the gold and silver which they contain, 
perpetually attract the arms of the Arabs. Thiese vile met- 
als are not the objects of out ambition ; we content ourselves 
with the simple productions of the earth. Let us destroy 
these cities ; let us bury in their ruins those pernicious treas- 
ures; 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 unani- 
mous 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 his- 
torians of a more recent period could discern the frequent 
traces of the prosperity and devastation of their ancestors. 
Such is the tale of the modem Arabians. Yet I strongly 
suspect that their ignorance of antiquity, the love of the mar- 
vellous, and the fashion of extolling the philosophy of barba- 
rians, has induced them to describe, as one voluntary act, the 
calamities of three hundred years since the first fury of the 
Donatists and Yandals. In the progress of the revolt Cabina 
had most probably contributed her share of destruction ; and 
the alarm of universal ruin might terrify and alienate the cit- 
ies 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 waa 
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 gen- 


«ral of the Saracens was again received as the savior 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 overtorned the baseless fabric of her sa- 
perstition and empire. The same spirit revived under the 
saccessor 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 the public treasury. Thirty thousand of the barba- 
rian youth were enlisted in the troops ; and the pious labors 
of Musa, to inculcate the knowledge and practice of the Ko- 
ran, accustomed the Africans to obey the apostle of God and 
the commander of the faithful. In their climate and goveni- 
ment, their diet and habitation, the wandering Moors resem- 
bled the Bedouins of the desert. With the religion they 
Adoption of w®"^ proud to adopt the language, name, and origin 
the Moore, ^f Arabs : the blood of the strangers and natives 
was insensibly mingled ; and from the Euphrates to the At- 
lantic 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 Libyan desert ; and 
I am not ignorant that five of the Moorish tribes still retain 
their barbaroii8 idiom, with the appellation and character of 
white Africans.*" 

Y. In the progress of conquest from the north and south, 

the Goths and the Saracens encountered each other 
temptationB on the coufiucs of Europc and Africa. In the 
oftheArabii. opiuiou of the latter, the difference of religion is 

a reasonable ground of enmity and warfare.*** 

'** Tlio fii-st book of Leo Africnnus, and the observations of Dr. Shaw (p. 220, 
223, 227, 247, etc.)> will throw some light on the roving tribes of Barbary, of Ara- 
bian or Moorish descent. Bat Shaw had s^n 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. 

^** In a conference with a ppnce of the Greeks, Amrou observed that their re« 


As early a& the time of Othman,"* their piratical squadrons 
had ravaged the coast of Andalusia/'* nor had they forgotten 
the relief of Carthage by the Gothic succoi*s. 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 Mnsa, in the pride of victory, 
was repulsed from the walls of Ceuta by the vigilance and 
courage of Count Julian, the general of the Ooths. 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 honor of introducing their arms 
into the heart of Spain.*" If we inquire into the cause of 
his treachery, the Spaniards will repeat the popular story of 
his daughter Cava ;"* of a virgin who was seduced, or ravish- 

ligion was diflbrent; upon which score it was lawful for brothers to quarrol. 
Ockley's History of the Saracens, yoL i. p. 828. 

^^ Abalfeda, Annol. Moslem, p. 78, vers. Reiske. 

^*^ The name of Andalusia is applied by the Arabs not only to the modeiii 
province, bat to the whole peninsula of Spain (Gcograph. Nub. p. 151 ; D'Herbe- 
lot, Biblioth. Orient, p. 114, 115). The etymology has been most improbably d^ 
duccd from Vandalusia, country of the Vandals (D'Anville, Etats .de TEurope, 
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 Gi'eeks, is per- 
fectly apposite (Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, torn. ii. p. 327, etc.). 

**^ The fall and resurrection of the Gothic monarchy are related by Mariana 
(torn. i. p. 238-260 ; 1. vi. c. 19-26 ; 1. rii. c. 1, 2). That historian has infused 
into his noble work (Historifie de Rebus Hispaniae, libri xxx. ; Hags Comitum 
1733, in four volumes in 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 preju- 
dices of his order ; he adopts and adorns, like his rival Buchanan, the most ab- 
sard of the national legends ; he is too careless of criticism and chronology, and 
supplies, from a lively &ncy, the chasms of historical evidence. These chasms 
are large and frequent ; Roderic, Archbishop of Toledo, the father of the Spanish 
hiatory, lii-cd 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 Isi- 
dore of Badajoz (Pacensis) and of Alphonso III., King of Leon, which I have seen 
only in the annals of Pagi. 

i*s **Le viol" (snrs Voltaire) ''est aussi difficile k faire quli prouver. Des 


ed, by her sovereign ; of a father who sacrificed his religion 
and country to the tliirst of revenge. The passions of princes 
have often been licentioos 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 /~ After the decease or depo- 
sition of Witiza, his two sons were supplanted by 
the Gothic the ambition of Koderic, a noble Goth, whose fa- 
moniir y. iI^qt^^ the duke or governor of a province, had fallen 
a victim to the preceding tyranny. The monai'chy was still 
elective ; but the sons of Witiza, educated on the steps of the 
throne, were impatient of a private station. Their resent- 
ment was the more dangerous, as it was varnished with the 
dissimulation of courts ; their followers were excited by the 
remembrance of favors and the promise of a revolution ; and 
their uncle Oppas, Archbishop of Toledo and Seville, was the 
firat person in the Church and the second in the State. It is 
probable that Julian was involved in the disgrace of the un- 
successful 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 fam- 
ily had sustained. The merit and influence of the count ren- 
dered him a useful or formidable subject; his estates were 
ample, his followers bold and numerous ; and it was too fa- 
tally shown that, by his Andalusian and Mauritanian com- 
mands, he held in his hand 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 

Evdqnes se seroient-ils ligu^s pour ane fille?*' (Hist. G^n^rale, c. xxvi.) His ar- 
gument is not logically conclusive. 

>** In the story of Cava, Mariana (1. vi. c. 21,- p. 241, 242) seems to vie with the 
Lncretia of Livy. Like the ancients, he seldom quotes : and the oldest tesUmony 
of Baronins (AnnaL Ecclcs. a.d. 713, No. 19), that of Lucas Tndensis, a Gallician 
deacon of the thirteenth centniy, only says, '* Cava quam pro concnbin& utebatnr." 

' Respecting this story, see Mr. HalUtm's remarks, '* Hist, of the Middle Ages," 
vol. ii. p. 61, 10th edit,— S. 


years. In bis epistles, or in a personal interview, he reveal- 
ed 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 barbari- 
ans 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 Pyreniean moun- 
tains, the successors of Alaric had slumbered in a long peace : 
the walls of the cities 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 com- 
mander 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 resi- 
dence 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 as- 
surance that he should content himself with the glory and 
spoil, without aspiring to establish the Moslems beyond the 
Bea that separates Africa from Europe." 


^^^ The Orientab, Elinacin, Abulpharngius, Abulfeda, pass over the conquest of 
Spain in silence, or with a single word. The text of Novairi, and the other Ara- 
bian writers, is represented, tliough with some foreign alloy, by M. de Cardonne 
(Hist, de TAfrique et de TKspagne sous la Domination des Arabes, Paris, 1765, 
8 vols, in 12mo, torn. i. p. 55-114), and more com^isely by M. de Guignes (Hist. 
des Hnns, torn. i. p. 847-350). The librarian of the Escnrial 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 gen- 
tunc Razis (who wrote at Corduba, a.h. 800), of Ben Ilazil, etc. See Biblioth. 
Arabico-Hispana, torn. ii. p. 32, 105, 106, 182, 252, 819-332. On this occasion 
tlie indostry of Pagi has been aided by the Arabic learning of his friend the Abbd 
de Longuerue, and to their joint labors I am deeply indebted.* 

* On the conquest of Spain by the Arabs the reader mny consult Conde, His- 
toriade la Dominacion de los Arabes en Espafia, Madrid, 1820, 1821, of which an 
abridgment in French has been published by Maries, Paris, 1825. Some valua- 
ble information will also be found in the translation of the Arabic work of Al- 
Makkari, by Pascnal de Gayangos, published by the Oriental Trnnslation Fund, 
under the title of *^The History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain," Lon- 




Before Miisa wonld trust an army of the faithful to the 
traitors and infidels of a foreign land, he ;nade a less dan- 
gerous trial of their strength and veracity. One 
dcMcnt of hundred Arabs, and four hundred Africans, passed 
A.P.710, ■ over, in four vessels, from Tangier or C^ta: 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"* is fixed to the month of 
Bamadan, of the ninety-first year of the Hegira, to the month 
of July, seven hundred and forty-eight years from the Span- 
ish era of Cjesar,"* 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 Juli- 
an ;"• 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 un- 
guarded province, the richness of their spoil, and the safety 
of their return, announced to their brethren the most favor- 
able omens of victory. In the ensuing spring five thousand 

"* A mistake of Roderic of Toledo, in comparing the lunar years of the He- 
gira with the Julian years of the era, has determined Baronius, Mariana, and the 
crowd of Spanish historians to place the first invasion in tlie year 713, and the 
battle of Xeres in November, 714. This anachronism of three years has been 
detected by the more correct industry of modem chronologists, above all, of Fagi 
(Critica, tom. iii. p. 169, 171-174), who have restored the genuine date of the rev- 
olution. At the present time an Arabian scholar, like Cardonne, who adopts the 
ancient en'or (tom. i. p. 75), is inexcusably ignorant or careless. 

*^' The Era of Caesar, which in Spain was in legal and popular use till the four- 
teenth century, b^ns thirty-eight years before the birth of Christ. I would re- 
fer the origin to the general peace by sea and land, which confirmed the power 
and partition of the Triumvirs (Dion Cassius, 1. xlviii. p. 547, 553 [c. 28 and 36]. 
Appian de Bell. Civil. 1. v. [c. 72] p. 1034, edit. fol.). Spain was a province of 
Caesar Octavian ; and Tarragona, which raised the first temple to Augustus (TaciL 
Annal. i. 78), might borrow from the Orientals this mode of flattery. 

"' The rond, the country, the old castle of Count Julian, and the superstitions 
belief of the Spaniards of hidden ti-easures, etc., are described by P^ Labat 
(Voyages en Kspagne et en Italic, tom. i. p. 207-217) with liis usual pleasantly. 

don, 1840. Gaynngos remarks that Conde's work is far from fulfilling the expec- 
tations of the learnt. — S. 


veterans and volunteers were embarked under the command 
of Tank, a dauntless and skilful soldier, who surpassed the 
expectation of his chief; and the necessary transports were 
Their eecond provided bj the industry of their too faithful ally. 
A^?!; The Saracens landed"* at the pillar or point of 
April; Europe; the corrupt and familiar appellation of 

Gibraltar {Oebd aL TariJc) 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 lieu- 
tenant Edeco, who had been commanded to seize and bind 
the presumptuous strangers, admonished Boderic of the mag- 
nitude of the danger. At the royal summons, the dukes and 
counts, the bishops and nobles of the Gothic monarchy, as- 
sembled at the head of their followers ; and the title of King 
of the Eomans, which is employed by an Arabic bistorian, 
may be excused by the close aflSnity of language, religion, 
and manners, between the nations of Spain. His army con- 
sisted 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 malcontents 
were attracted by the influence of Julian, and a crowd of 
Africans most greedily tasted the temporal blessings of the 
and Tictory. Korau. In the neighborhood of Cadiz, the town 
jaiyi9-««. ^f Xeres"* has been illustrated by the encounter 
which determined the fate of the kingdom; the stream of 

'^^ The Nabian 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. 

'^* Xeres (the Roroan colony of Asta Begia) is only two leagues from Cadiz. 
In the sixteenth century it was a granary of com ; and the wine of Xeres is fa- 
miliar to the nations of Europe (Lud. Nonii Ilispania, c. 13, p. 54-56, a work of 
correct and concise knowledge ; D'Anville, Etats de TEurope, etc., p. 154). 

■ The Arabian traditions that give the highest number mention 90,000, whilst 
others mention only 70,000, or even 40,000. The Christian army may be safely 
estimated at doable the Mahometan. Weil, vol. i. p. 520. — S. 



the Guadalete, which falls into the bay, divided the t\ro 
camps, and marked the advancing and i*etreating skirmishes 
of three successive and bloody days. On the fourth day the 
two armies joined a more serious and decisive issue; bat 
Alaric would have blushed at the sight of his unworthy suc- 
cessor, sustaining on his head a diadem of pearls, encumbered 
with a flowing robe of gold and silken embroidery, and re- 
clining on a litter or car of ivory drawn by two white mules. 
Notwithstanding the valor of the Saracens, they fainted un- 
der the weight of multitudes, and the plain of Xeres was 
overspread with sixteen tl^ousand of their dead bodies. "My 
brethren," said Tarik to his surviving companions, " the ene- 
my 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 Somans." Besides 
the resource of despair, he confided in the secret correspond- 
ence and nocturnal interviews of Count Julian with the sons 
and the brother of Witiza. The two princes and the Arch- 
bishop 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 per- 
sonal safety ; and the remains of the Oothic army were scat- 
tered or destroyed in the flight and pursuit of the .three fol- 
lowing days. Amidst the general disorder Boderic 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 Bsetis or Guadalquivir. 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 histo- 
rian of the Arabs, " is the fate of those kings who withdraw 
themselves from a field of battle.""* 

*^* ** Id sane infortnnii regibas pedem ex acie referentibas siepe contingtt." Ben 
Hazil of Granada, in Biblioth. Arabioo-Hispana, torn. ii. p. 827. Some creduloos 
Spaniards believe that King Roderic, or Rodrigo, escaped to a herroit*s cell ; and 
others, that he \vas cast alive into a tub fiiU of serpents, from whence he exclaim- 


Count Julian had plunged bo deep into guilt and infamy, 
that his only hope was in the ruin of his country. After the 
Bnin of battle of Xeres he recommended the most effectual 
SJi2?ch^ measures to the victorious Saracen, "The king of 
^^ ^"- the Goths is slain ; their princes have fled before 
you, the army is routed, the nation is astonished. Secure 
-with suiBcient detachments the cities of Beetica ; but in per- 
son, and without delay, march to the royal city of Toledo, 
and allow not the distracted Christians either time or tran- 
quillity 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 de- 
tachment reduced the sea-coast of Bsetica, which in the last 
period of the Moorish power has comprised in a narrow 
space the populous kingdom of Granada. The march of 
Tarik from the Bsetis to the Tagus"' was directed through 
the Sierra Morena, that separates Andalusia and Castile, till 
he appeared in arms under the walls of Toledo."* 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 vol- 
untary 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; 

ed, with a lamentable voice, " They devour the part with which I have so griev- 
ously sinned." (Don Quixote, part ii. 1. iii. c. i.) 

'''^ The direct road from Corduba to Toledo was measured by Mr. Swinbume*8 
mules in 72} hours ; but a larger computation must be adopted for the slow and 
devious marches of an army. The Arabs traversed the province of La Mnncho, 
which the pen of Cervantes has transformed into classic ground to the readers of 
every nation. 

"* The antiquities of Toledo, Urbs Parva in the Punic wars, Urbs Regia in the 
rixth centuTT, are briefly described by Nonius (Hispania, c. 59, p. 181-186). He 
borrows from Roderic the fatale palatium of Moorish portraits, but modestly in- 
siniiates that it •was no more than a Roman amphitheatre, 

v.— 25 


and the Goths and Eomans were left in all ciril and criminal 
cases to the subordinate jurisdiction of their own laws and 
magistrates. But if the justice of Tank protected the Chris- 
tiansy his gratitude aud 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 bap- 
tism, 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 of Mahomet was maintained till the final era of 
their common expulsion. From the royal seat of Toledo, the 
Arabian leader spread his conquests to the north, over the 
modern realms of Castile and Leon : but it is needless to enu- 
merate the cities that yielded on his approach, or again to de- 
scribe the table of emerald,'^* transported from the East by 
the Bomans, acquired by the Goths among the spoils of Rome, 
and presented by the Arabs to the throne of Damascus. Be- 
yond the Asturian mountains, the maritime town of Gijon 
was the term**^ 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 Bis- 
cay. The failure of land compelled him to retreat ; and he 
was recalled to Toledo, to excuse his presumption of subdu- 
ing a kingdom in the absence of his general. Spain, which, 
in a more savage and disorderly state, had resisted, two hun- 

"* In tho Historia Araham (c. 9, p. 17, ad calcem Elmacin), Roderic of Toledo 
describes the emerald tables, and inserts the name of Medinat Almejda, in Arabic 
words and letters. He appears to be cooTersant with the Mahometan writers; 
but I cannot agree with M. de Gaignes (Hist, des Hans, torn. i. p. 850X that he 
had read and transcribed Novairi ; becaase he was dead a hundred years before 
Novairi composed his histoiy. This mistake is founded on a stlU grosser error. 
M. de Gnignes confounds the historian Roderic Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo 
in the thirteenth centnrj, with Cardinal Ximenes, who governed Spain in the be- 
ginning of the sixteenth, and was the subject, not the author, of historical com- 

^^ Tank might have inscribed on the last rock the boast of Begnard and hn 
companions in their Lapland journey : 

** Hie tandem stetimos, nobis abi defuit orbiSb** 


dred jeai-s, the arms of the RomanB, was oveiTua in a few 
months by those of the Saracens ; and sach was the eagerness 
of submission and treaty, that the Governor of Cordova is re- 
corded as the only chief who fell, without conditions, a pris- 
oner into their hands. The cause of the Goths had been ir- 
revocably 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/*^ That strength had been wasted by two suc- 
cessive seasons of famine and pestilence ; and the governors, 
who were impatient to surrender, might exaggerate the diffi- 
calty 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 bi'eaking 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 mountain- 
eers repulsed the slaves of the caliph ; and the sword of Pe- 
lagius has been transformed into the sceptre of the Catholic 

On the intelligence of this rapid success, the applause of 
Jliusa degenerated into envy, and he began, not to complain, 
conqnest ^^* *^ ^^^h ^^^^ Tank would leave him nothing to 
by Mom. subduc. At the head of ten thousand Arabs and 
A.p.7ii,Ti8. eigijt 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 fa- 

'*' Sach was the argnment of the traitor Oppas, and every chief to whom it was 
addressed did not answer with the spirit of Pelagius: **Omnis Hispania dudum 
sab ano regimine Gothoram, omnis exercitas HispanisB in uno congregatas Isma- 
elitamm non Taliut sustinere impetam." Chron. Alphonsi Regis, apnd Pagi, 
torn. iii. p. 177. 

'" The reviral of the Gothic kingdom in the Asturias is distinctly though con^ 
cisdy noticed by D^Aiiville (Etats de I'Earope, p. 159). 


thor. At his landing in Algezire he was respectfallj enter- 
tained 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 re- 
pentance 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 Bsetis 
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 an- 
cient 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 I" He aspired to that 
happiness, but the Emeritans sustained on this occasion the 
honor of their descent from the veteran legionaries of Aa- 
gustus/" Disdaining the confinement of their walls, they 
gave battle to the Arabs on the plain ; but an ambuscade ris- 
ing from the shelter of a quarry, or a ruin, chastised their in- 
discretion, and intercepted their return. The wooden turrets 
of assault were rolled forward to the foot of the rampart; 
but the defence of Merida was obstinate and long ; and the 
caaUe of ths rnartyra 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 dis- 
guised his impatience under the names of clemency and es- 
teem. The alternative of exile or tribute was allowed ; the 
churches were divided between the two religions; and the 

'" The honorable relics of the CantabrUn war (Dion Cassias, 1. liu. [c. 26] 
p. 720) were planted in this metropolis of Lusitania, perhaps of Spain (^' sabmittit 
cui tota suos Hispania fasces'"). Nonius (Hispania, c. 81, p. 106>110) enameratei 
the ancient structures, but concludes with a sigh : ** Urbs hssc olim nobilissima ad 
magnam incolarum infreqnentiam delapsa est, et piwter priscn claritatis ruinas 
nihil OBtendit." 


wealth of those who had fallen in the siege, or retired to 6al- 
licia, 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 igno- 
miniously 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 in- 
dignity Tarik could serve and be trusted in the reduction of 
the Tarragonese province. A mosque was erected at Sara- 
gossa by the liberality of the Koreish : the port of Barcelona 
was opened to the vessels of Syria ; and the Goths were pur- 
sued beyond the Pyrenean mountains into their Gallic prov- 
ince of Septimania or Languedoc.'** In the Church of St. 
Mary, at Carcassonne, 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 insur- 
gents of Seville, and reduced, from Malaga to Valencia, the 
sea-coast of the Mediterranean : his original treaty with the 

■"* Both the interpreters of Noyairi, De Gaignes (Hist, des Hnna, torn. i. p. 349) 
and Cardonne (Hist, de I'Afriqne et de TEspagne, torn. i. p. 93, 94, 104, 105), 
lead Mnsa into the Narbonnese Gaul. Bat 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 ninth year after the conqaest 
of Spain, a.d. 721 (Pagi, Critica, torn. iiL p. 177, 195 ; Historians of France, torn. 
Hi.). I much question whether Musa erer passed the Pyrenees.* 

* The story of Masa*s having penetrated into France probably arose from the 
circumstance that in those times Catalonia, from its frequent subjugation by the 
Franks, was called by the Arabs Ardh-Alfarandj^ **the land of the Franks." 
That he may have penetrated at far as Catalonia, but no farther, appears from 
the testimony of Abd Allah Ibn Mnghirah, who accompanied him : ** I was in the 
number of those who accompanied Musa in the conquest of Andalus, and I was 
with him when he arrived in sight of Saragossa, which was, with the exception 
of tome light incursiont into the district beyond it, the farthest limit of our con- 
guests under him,** Weil, vol. i. p. 637. — S. 


discreet and valiant Theodemir*^ will represent the manners 
and policy of the times. '^The conditions cf peace agreed 
and swam between Abdelaziz, the son of MusOj the son of Nas- 
sir J and Theodemir^ prince of the Goths. In the name of the 
most merciful God, Abdelaziz makes peace on these condi- 
tions : thai Theodemir shall not be disturbed in his principal- 
ity; nor any injury be oflPered to the life or property, the wives 
and children, the religion and temples, of the Christians ; ihai 
Theodemir shall freely deliver his seven* cities, Orihuela, Vap 
lentola, Alicant, 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 ; thai 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 propor- 
tion 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 Begeb, in the year of the Hegira ninety-four, 
and subscribed with the names of four Mussulman witness- 
es."*** Theodemir and his subjects were treated with uncom- 
mon lenity ; but the rate of tribute appears to have fluctuated 
from a tenth to a fifth, according to the submission or ob- 
stinacy of the Christians.*^^ In this revolution many partial 

'** Four handred years after Theodemir, his territories of Mnrcia and Carthagena 
retain in the Nubian geographer Edrisi (p. 154, 161) the name of Tadmir (D*An- 
TiUe, Etats de l*Ean>pe, p.* 156 ; Pagi, torn. iii. p. 174). In the present decay of 
Spanish agriculture Mr. Swinburne (Travels into Spain, p. 119) sunrejed with 
pleasure the delicious yalley from Murcia to Orihuela, four leagues and a half of 
the finest com, pulse, luoem, oranges, etc. 

'^ See the treaty in Arabic and Latin, in the Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana, 
torn, it p. 105, 106. It is signed the fourth of the month of Rq^eb, a.h. 94, the 
5th of April, A.D. 718; a date which seems to prolong the resistance of Theode- 
mir, and the govemment of Musa. 

i» From the history of Sandoval, p. 87. Fleary (Hist. Eod^ torn. ix. p. 261) 
has given the substance of another treaty concluded A.iB.G. 782, a.d. 734, between 
an Arabian chief and the Goths and Romans, of the territoiy of Coimbra, in Port- 
ngaL 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 jndged by 

^ Gibbon has made eight cities : in Conde*8 translation [roL i. p. 108] Bigerra 
does not appear. — M. 

A.D. 714.] DISGRACE OF MUSA. 391 

calamities were inflicted by the carnal or religions 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 swoi*d, and one town (an obscure 
place between Cordova and Seville) was i*azed to its founda- 
tions. 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 con- 

The exploits of Musa were performed in the evening of 
life, though ho affected to disguise his age by coloring with a 

red powder the whiteness of his beai*d. But in the 
ofHtMuu love of action and fflory his breast was still fired 

with the ardor of youth; and the possession of 
Spain was considered only as the first step to the monaixshy 
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 Lom- 
bards, and to preach the unity of God on the altar of the Vat- 
ican. 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 Boman empire 
of Constantinople, and, returning from Europe to Asia, to 
unite his new acquisitions with Antioch and the provinces of 
Syria.*" But his vast enterprise, perhaps of easy execution^ 
must have seemed extravagant to vulgar minds ; and the vi- 
sionary 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 proceed- 
ings of Musa were blamed, his intentions were suspected, and 

their count, bat in capital casea he most consalt the alcalde. The church doors 
tnust be shut, and they must respect the name of Mahomet. I have not the orig- 
inal before me ; it would confirm or destroy a dark suspicion that the piece has 
been forged to introduce the immunity of a neighboring convent. 

*^ This design, which is attested by uvercU Arabian historians (Cardonne, 
tom. i. p. 95. 96), may be compared with that of Mithridates, to march from the 
Crimea to Rome ; or with that of Ciesar, to conquer the Efist, and return home 
by the North ; and all three are perhaps surpassed by the real and successful en- 
terpiise of Hannibal 


h]8 delaj 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 alle- 
viated by the recall of his rival, and the permission of invest- 
ing with his two governments his two sons, Abdallah and 
Abdelaziz. His long triumph from Ceuta to Damascus dis- 
played 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 fe- 
male captives, selected for their birth or beauty, was com- 
puted 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 crim- 
inal: 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 treat- 
ment 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 de- 
cent 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 inti- 
mated 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 execu- 
tion. In the mosque 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 scandal- 
ous marriage with Egilona, the widow of lioderic, offended 


the prejudices both of the Christians and Moslems. By a re- 
finement of craeltj, 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 ex- 
claimed 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 ser- 
vices were forgiven ; and Tarik was permitted to mingle with 
the crowd of slaves.*"* I am ignorant whether Count Ju- 
lian was rewarded with the death which he deserved indeed, 
thongh 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 de- 
spoiled of her portion by the violence of her nncle Sigebut. 
The Gothic maid pleaded her cause before the Caliph Ha- 
6hen),and obtained the restitution of her inheritance; but she 
Tvas given in marriage to a noble Arabian, and their two sons, 
Isaac and Ibrahim, were received in Spain with the considera- 
tion that was due to their origin and riches. 

A province is assimilated to the victorious state by the 
introduction of strangers and the imitative spirit of the na- 
tives; and Spain, which had been successively tinct- 
Spain nnder urcd with Puuic, and Koman, and Oothic blood, im- 
bibed, in a few generations, the name and manners 
of the Arabs. The first conquerors, and the twenty succes- 
sive 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 

'^ I mnch regret oar loss, or roj ignorance, of two Arabic works of the eighth 
centnrj, -a Life of Maso, and a Poem on the exploits of Tarik. Of these authen- 
tic pieces, the former was composed by a grandson of Mum, who had escaped 
from the massacre of his kindred ; the hitter by the Vizier of the first Abdalrah- 
man, Caliph of Spain, who might have conversed with some of the veterans of the 
conqaeror (Biblioth. Arabico-Uispano, torn. ii. p. 36| 139). 


was promoted by tlie 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 Mur- 
cia and Lisbon. The royal legion of Damascus was planted 
at Cordova ; that of Emesa at Seville ; that of Einnisrin or 
Chalcis at Jaen; that of Palestine at Algezire and Medina 
Sidonia. The natives of Yemen and Persia were scattei'ed 
round Toledo and the inland country, and the fertile seats of 
Gi*anada wei'e bestowed on ten thousand horsemen of Syria 

I and Irak, the children of the purest and most noble of the 

Arabian tribes.'*^ 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 har- 
bors, the inhabitants and cities, the climate, the soil, and the 
mineral productions of the earth.'*' In the space of two cen- 
turies the gifts of nature were improved by the agriculture,'" 
the manufactures, and the commerce of an industrious peo- 
ple ; 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 

iM Biblioth. Arab.-Hispann, torn. ii. p. 32, 2n2. The former of these qaou- 
tions U taken from a Biographia Hupanica^ by an Arabian of Valcntia (see the 
copious Extracts of Casiri, torn. ii. p. 80-121); and the latter from a general 
Chronology of the Caliphs, and of the African and Spanish Dynasties, with a par- 
ticitlar History of the kingdom of Granada, of which Casiri has given almost an 
entire version (Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, torn. ii. p. 177-^19). The anther, Ebn 
Khateb, a native of Granada, and a contemporary of Novairi and Abolfeda (bom 
A.D. 1813, died a.d. 1374), was a liistomn, geographer, physician, poet, etc. (torn. 
« ii. p. 71, 72). 

'*^ Cardonne, Hist, de TAfiique et de I'Espagne, torn. L p. 116, 117. 

*** A copioas treatise of husbandry, by an Arabian of Senile, in the twelfth 
century, is in the Escurial library, and Casiri had some thonghts 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 conn^ 
trrmnn Coluroella (Casiri, Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, torn. i. p. 823-338). 


a modeet imposition of ten thousand oances of gold, ten thou- 
sand pounds of silver, ten thousand horses, as many mules, 
one thousand cuirasses, with an equal number of helmets and 
lances."* 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 mill- 
ions of sterling money ;*•* a sum which, in the tenth century, 
most probably surpassed the united revenues of the Christian 
monarchs. His royal seat of Cordova contained six hun- 
dred mosques, nine hundred baths, and two hundi*ed thou- 
sand houses ; he gave laws to eighty cities of the first, tothree 
hundred of the second and third order ; and the fertile banks 
of the Guadalquivir were adorned with twelve thousand vil- 
lages and hamlets. The Arabs might exaggerate the truth, 
but they created, and they describe, the most prosperous era of 
the riches, the cultivation, and the populousness of Spain."* 

The wars of the Moslems were sanctified by the prophet ; 
Reiigioos ^^^ among the various precepts and examples of 
toleration, jjjg |jf ^^ ^j^^ caliphs Selected the lessons of toleration 

that might tend to disarm the resistance of the unbelievers. 

^^ Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, torn. ii. p. lOi. Casiri translates the original tes- 
timony of the historian Basis, as it is alleised in the Arabic Biographia Hispanica, 
pars ix. But I am most exceedingly surprised at the address, " Principibus ciete- 
risque Christianis Hispanis snis Ccutellie," The name of Castelln was unknown 
in the eighth century ; the kingdom was not erected tiU the year 1022, a hundred 
years after the time of Basis (Biblioth. torn. ii. p. 330), and the appellation was 
always expressive, not of a tributary province, but of a line of castUi independent 
of the Moorish yoke (D*Anville, Etats de TEurope, p. 166-170). Had Casiri been 
A critic, he would have cleared a difficulty, perhaps of his own making. 

>^ Cardonne, torn. 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 uni- 
formity of the Moorish annals. 

**^ I am happy enough to possess a splendid and interesting work, which has 
only been distributed in presents by the court of Madrid : " Bibliotheca Arabicor 
Hispana Escurialensis, operft et studio Michaelis Casiri, Syro MaronitsD. Matriti, 
in folio, tomns prior, 1760; tomns posterior, 1770." The execution of this work 
does honor to the Spanish press ; the MSS., to the numbei' of hdgccli, are judi* 
cionsly classed by the editor, and his copious extracts throw aome light on the Ma- 
hometan literature and history of Spain. These relics are now secure, but the 
mak has been supinely delayed, till, in the year 1671, a fire consumed the greatest 
part of the Escurial library, rich in the spoils of Granada and Morocco. 




Arabia was the temple and patrimony of the God of Ma- 
homet; 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 vo- 
taries ;"* but a wise policy supplied the obligation of justice ; 
and after some acts of intolerant zeal, the Mahometan con- 
querors 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 morepeTfect 
revelation of Mahomet ; but if they preferred the payment of 
a moderate tribute, they were entitled to the freedom of con- 
science and religious worship."' In a field of bat- 
of itahomet. tie, the forfeit lives of the prisoners were redeem- 
ed 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 
AjBiatic converts, who swelled the native band of the faithful 
Arabs, must have been allured, rather than constrained, to de- 
clare 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 multi- 

*** The Harbii, as they ai-e styled, '^qai tolemri nequeant," are, 1. Those who, 
betides God, worship the san, moon, or idols ; 2. Athdsts. ^'Utriqae, qaamdiu 
prinoeps aliquis inter Mohammedanos superest, oppognari debent donee reltgio- 
nem amplectantur, nee requies iis concedenda est, nee pretium aoceptandtim pro- 
obtinend& conscientis libertate " (Reland, Dissertat. x. de Jure MiUtari Moham- 
medan, torn. iii. p. 14) : a rigid theorjr ! 

**'' Tlie distinction between a proscribed and a tolerated sect, between the Hot' 
bit and the people of the Book, the believers in some divine revelation, is oorreet^ 
ly defined in the conversation of tlie Cnliph Al Mamum with the idolaters or Sa- 
bsans of Charne. Hettinger, Hist. Orient p. 107, 108. 


tnde were tempted by the invisible as well as tempoittl bless- 
ings 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 most appear worthy of the human and the di- 
vine 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. 

In the extensive provinces of Persia and Africa, the na- 
tional religion has been eradicated by the Mahometan faith. 
The ambiguous theology of the Magi stood alone 
M agians ^ amoui? the sects of the East : but the profane writ- 

of Perela. 

ings of Zoroaster"' might, under the reverend name 
of Abraham, be dexterously connected with the chain of di- 
vine revelation. Their evil principle, the demon 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 iire might be stigmatized 
as a gross and criminal idolatry."* The milder sentiment was 

>** The Zend or Pazend^ the Bible of the Ghebera, is reckoned by themselyes, 
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*Herbe- 
lot, Biblioth. Oiient p. 701 ; Hyde, l>e Beligione vetemm Persarum, c. iii. p. 27, 
2S, etc.)- I much fear that we do not possess any pare and^rss description of 
the system of Zoroaster.* Dr. Prideanx (Connection, vol. i. p. 800, 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, wonld assert the honor — a poor honor — of being their masters. 

'** The Arabian Nights, a faithful and amusing picture of the Oriental world, 
represent in the most odious colors 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 tliis mistake 
(Hist, de Timour Bee, par Cherefeddin AH Yezdi, 1. v.). 

*■ Whatever the real age of the Zendavesta, published by Anqnetil 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 
imperfiect, description of Zoroastrianism ; particularly with the illustrations of the 
original translator, and of the German Kleuker. — M. 



consecrated by the practice of Mahomet'** and the pradenoe 
of the caliphs : the Magians or Ghebers were ranked with the 
Jews and Christians among the people of the written law ;**' 
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.'** Under the payment of an annual tribute, the 
Mahometan law secured to the Ghebers of Herat their civil 
and religions liberties : but the recent and humble mosque was 
overshadowed by the antique splendor of the adjoining tem- 
ple of fire. A fanatic Imam deplored, in his sermons, the 
scandalous neighborhood, and accused the weakness or indif- 
ference of the faithful. Excited by his voice, the people as- 
sembled in tumult ; the two houses of prayer were consumed 
by the flames, but the vacant ground was immediately occu- 
pied by the foundations of a new mosque. 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'**) with this holy and meritorious perja- 

*^ Vie de Mahomet, par Gagnier, torn. iii. p. 114, 115. 

*^' *' He tres sects, Jadfei, Christian!, et qui inter Persas Magornm institntis 
addicti sunt tear Uox^v,po/»«/t Ulni dicuntur " (Reland, DissertaL torn. iii. p. 15). 
The Caliph Al Mamun confirms this honorable distinction in lavor of the three 
sects, with the vague and equivocal religion of the Saboeans, under which the an- 
cient polytheists of Chame were allowed to shelter their idolatrous worship (Hot- 
tinger, Hist. Orient p. 167, 168). 

*^ This singnkr story is related by D*Herbelot (Biblioth. Orient, p. 448, 449) on 
the faith of Khondemir, and by Mirchond himself (Hist Priorum Regum Persa- 
rum, etc., p. 9, 10, note, p. 88, 89). 

*<^ 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. 587, 588, 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 Genghis- 
can refers to a MS. of Mirchond, which he received from the hands of bis friend 


ly.*^ But the greatest part of the temples of Persia were 
rained by the insensible and general desertion of their votaries. 
It was inseTmbley since it is not accompanied with any memo- 
rial of time or place, of persecntiou or resistance. It was gener- 
aly 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.*** 
In the mountains and deserts an obstinate race of unbelievers 
adhered to the superstition of their fathers; and a faint tra- 
dition of the Magian theology is kept alive in the province 
of Eirman, along the banks of the Indus, among the exiles of 
Surat, and in the colony which, in the last century, was plant- 
ed by Shaw Abbas at the gates of Ispahan. The chief pon- 
tiff has retired to Mount Elbourz, eighteen leagues from the 
city of Yezd : the perpetual fire (if it continue to burn) is in- 
accessible 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 fami- 
lies maintain an innocent and industrious life ; their subsist- 
ence is derived from some curious manufactures and me- 
chanic 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 

D'Herbelot himself. A carious fragment (the Taherian and Soffarian Dynasties) 
has been lately published in Persic and Latin (Viennae, 1782, in 4to, Cam notis 
Bernard de Jenisch); and the editor allows as to hope for a continuation of 

<04 «« Qqq testimonio boni se qnidpiam pnestttisse opinabantur." Yet Mirchond 
. must have condemned their zeal, since he approved the legal toleration of the 
Magi : '* Cui " (the fire temple) '^peracto singulis annis censii, uti sacra Mohamme- 
dis lege cautum, ab omnibos molestiis ac oneribus libero esse licuit/' 

*^ The last Magian of name and power appears to be Mardavige the Dileroite, 
trho, in the beginning of the tenth century, reigned in the noithem provinces of 
Persia, near the Caspian Sea (D*Herbelot, Bihlioth. Orient p. d55). But his sol- 
diers and successors, the BowideSy either professed or embraced the Mahometan 
faith ; and under their dynasty (a.d. 988-1020) I should place the full of the re- 
ligion of Zoroaster. 


the Magianfi is spared by the moderation or contempt of their 
present sovereigns.*** 

The northern coast of Africa is the only land in which the 
light of the Gospel, after a long and perfect establishmenty 
Decline and ^^^ heen totally extinguished. The arts, which 
Saliity^S*^*" had been taught by Carthage and Rome, were in- 
Africa; volvcd in a cloud of ignorance; the doctrine of 

Cyprian and Augustine was no longer studied. Five hun- 
dred episcopal churches were overturned by the hostile fnry 
of the Donatists, the Vandals, and the Moors. The zeal and 
numbers of the clergy declined ; and the people, without dis- 
cipline, or knowledge, or hope, submissively sank 
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 ;*" and, though he sought 
to disguise his fraud and rebellion, his specious pretence was 
drawn from the rapid and extensive progress of the Mahom- 
^^ ^^ etan faith. In the next age an extraordinary mis- 
sion 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 i*^ 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 Syn- 
od, could maintain an equal contest with the ambition of the 
A.1K1068-. Roman pontiff. In the eleventh century the nn- 
^®^*' fortunate priest who was seated on the ruins of 

Carthage implored the arms and the protection of the Yati- 

*^ The present state of the Ghebers iD Persia is taken from Sir John CHardin, 
not indeed the most learned, but the most jadtcioas and inquisitive, of our modem 
travellers (Voyages en Perse, torn. ii. p. 109, 179-187, in 4to). His brethren, 
Pietro della Yalle, Olearius, Tlievenot, Tavemier, etc., whom I have frtiitlesslr 
searched, had neither eyes nor attention for this iuterestinfc people. 

*^^ The letter of Abdoulrahman, governor or tyrant of Africa, to the Caliph 
Aboul Abbas, the first of the Abbassides, is dated a.h. 182 (Cardonne, Hist, dd 
TAfrique et de TEspagne, torn. i. p. 168). 

^ Biblioth^ue Oi ientale, p. G6 : Benaudot, Hist Patriarch. Alex. p. 287, 28& 


can ; and he bitterly complaioB that his naked body had been 
ecoarged 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*'' 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 Ood, and may hope to meet in the bosom of Abra- 
ham ; 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 
mod Spain. Africa and Spain had long since submitted to the 
A.ixii»,etc. practice of circumcision and the legal abstinence 
from wine and pork ; and the name of Moza/rdbei^^ (adoptive 
Arabs) was applied to their civil or religious conformity.*" 
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 Granada.*" The throne of the Almohades, or 

*^ Among the Epistles of the Popes, see Leo IX. Epist. 8 ; Gregor. YII. 1. i. 
Epist. 22, 23; L ill Epist 19, 20, 21 , and the criticisms of Piigi (torn. iv. a.d. 
1053, No. 14, A.D. 1073, No. 18), who investigates the name and family of the 
Moorish prince with whom the proudest of the Roman pontiffs so politely corre- 
sponds. • 

''^ Mozarahes, or Mostarabes, acbdtiiii, as it is interpreted in Latin (Pocock, 
Specimen Hist Arabum, p. 89, 40; Biblioth. Arabico-Hispana, torn. ii. p. 18), 
The Mozarabic litnrgy, the ancient ritual of the Church of Toledo, has been at- 
tacked by the popes, and exposed to the doubtful trials of the sword and of fire 
(Marian. Hist Hispan. torn. i. 1. ix. c. 18, p. 878). It was, or rather it is, in the 
liadn tongue, yet in the eleventh century it was ibnnd necessary (a.jb.o. 1087- 
A.D. 1089) to transcribe an Arabic version of the canons of the councils of Spain 
(Biblioth. Arab. Hisp. torn. i. p. 547), for the use of the bishops and clergy in the 
Moorish kingdoms. 

'" About the middle of the tenth century the clergy of Cordova were reproach- 
ed with this criminal compliance by the intrepid envoy of the Emperor Otho I. 
(Vit Johan. Gorz, in Seoul. Benedict V. No. 115, apud Fleury, Hist. Eccles tom. 
xii. p. 91). 

"• Pagi, Criticfl, tom. iv. a.d. 1149, Nos. 8, 9. He justly observes that, when 
Seville, etc., were retaken by Ferdinand of Castile, no Christians, except captives, 
were found in the place ; and that the Mozarabic churches of Africa and Spain, 
described by James k 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 (▲.d. 1278) must apply to the copy, not the composition, of a 

v.— 26 


Unitarians, was founded on the blindest fanaticism, aod their 
extraordinary rigor might be provoked or justified by the re- 
cent victories and intolerant zeal of the princes of Sicily and 
Castile, of Arragon and Portugal The faith of the Mozara- 
bes 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 Grospel was 
quickly eradicated, and the long province from Tripoli to the 
Atlantic has lost all memory of the language and religion of 

After the revolution of eleven centuries the Jews and 
Christians of the Turkish empire enjoy the liberty of .con- 
science which was granted by the Arabian caliphs. 
otth? ^^ During the first age of the conquest they suspected 
the loyalty of the Catholics, whose name of Mel- 
chites betrayed their secret attachment to the Greek emperor, 
while the Kestorians and Jacobites, his inveterate enemies, 
approved themselves the sincere and voluntary friends of 
the Mahometan government.*" Yet this partial jealousy was 
healed by time and submission ; the churches of Egypt were 
shared. with the Catholics;'" and all the Oriental sects were 
included in the common benefits of toleration. The rank, the 
immunities, the domestic jurisdiction of the patriarchs, the 

treatiae of jurupradenco, which states the cifil rights of the Christians of Cordova 
(Biblioth. Arab. Hisp. torn. i. p. 471), and that the Jews were the onlj diseeoters 
whom Abnl Waled, King of Granada (a.d. 1818)^ could either discoantenanoe or 
tolerate (torn. ii. p. 288). 

'*' Benaadot, Hist Patriarch. Alex. p. 288. Leo Africanns would have flat- 
tered his Roman masters, could he have discovered anj latent relics of the Chris- 
tianity of Africa. 

"« ''Abut" (said the Catholic to the Vizier of Bagdad) **nt pari loco habeas 
Nestorianos, qnomm prseter Arabas nuUus alius rex est, et Grseoos quomm reges 
amorendo Arabibus bello non desistunt,** etc. See in the Collections of Asseman- 
nas (Biblioth. Orient, tom. iv. p. 94-101) the state of the Nestorians under the 
caliphs. That of the Jacobites is more concisely exposed in the FreUminaty Dis- 
sertation of the second volume of Assemannus. 

*** Entjch. AnnaL tom. ii. p. 884, 887, 888. Benaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex, 
p. 205, 206, 257, 882. A taint of the Monothelite heresy might render the first of 
these Gi-eek patriarchs less loyal to the emperors and less obnoxious to the Arabs. 

AJ>. 749.] THEIR HARDSHIPS. 403 

biBhops, and the clergy, were protected by the civil magis- 
trate : the learning of individuals recommended them to the 
employments of secretaries and physicians: they were en- 
riched 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 de- 
clare that the Christians were most worthy of trust in the ad- 
ministration of Persia. " The Moslems," said he, " will abuse 
their present fortune ; the Magians regret their fallen great- 
ness ; and the Jews are impatient for their approaching de- 
liverance.'"'' But the slaves of despotism are exposed to the 
j^^ alternatives of favor and disgrace. The captive 

hardships, churchcs of the East have been . afflicted in every 
age by the avarice or bigotry of their rulers ; and the ordi- 
nary and legal restraints must be offensive to the pride, or 
the zeal, of the Christians.'" About two hundred yeara 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 atti- 
tude of women. Their public and p