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By G. p. Putnam's Sons 


Entered nt Stationers' Hall^ London 

By T. Fisher Unwin 

Press of 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 
New York 


The history of Turkey has yet to be written. The 
standard authority is Von Hammer's Gesdiichte des 
Osmanischen Reiches, of which there is a French trans- 
lation, and from which many books have been com- 
piled in many languages. In English, Von Hammer 
found an able condenser in Sir Edward Creasy, whose 
History of the Ottoman Turks is the best concise work 
we possess on the subject. Von Hammer, however, is 
not always accurate, despite his laborious research, 
and he is generally dull. A Turkish scholar, possessed 
of a sense of literary form, who would take the Aus- 
trian's facts, collate them with the native annalists and 
historiographers, and present them with all the advan- 
tages of skilful arrangement and charm of style, would 
render a real service to historical literature. 

The present volume, however, makes no pretensions 
to fill the gap. All that is here attempted is to draw 
the main outlines of Turkish history in bold strokes, 
and thus try to leave a connected impression on the 
reader's mind. In so small a compass it is impossible to 
be detailed. Those who desire more than can here be 



given should turn to Sir E. Creasy, or to the Vte. 
A. de la Jonquiere's Histoire de V Empire Ottoman, in 
Duruy's series ; and thence, if still ambitious, to Von 
Hammer. In these pages clearness and brevity 
have been the main considerations ; and, while 
striving to escape the charge of prolixity, I have 
carefully avoided the sin of moralizing. Many in- 
structive morals have been drawn from the past 
and present state of Turkey ; but these appear to 
depend so much for their point and application upon 
the political bias of the writer that, on the whole, they 
are best omitted. We have all heard about the " sick 
man " and the " armed camp : " but, if we are Con- 
servatives, we palliate the disease, and call the encamp- 
ment an innocent review ; if we are Radicals, we send 
for the undertaker for the one, and call for the expul- 
sion of the other, that it may no longer menace the 
peace of Europe. Between these extremes, the reader 
may take his choice. 

The naval history of Turkey, a subject of peculiar 
interest, has been barely touched upon here, because 
it is so closely interwoven with the exploits of the 
Barbary buccaneers, that it will be more satisfactorily 
traced in the Story of the Corsairs, \\h.\ch. I am writing 
for the same series. Another subject which has been 
omitted is the history of Egypt under Turkish rule : 
for this belongs to the special volume on Modern 
Egypt, now in preparation. 

I owe special thanks to Mr. E. J. W. Gibb, not only 
for the chapters on " Ottoman Literature," " Stambol," 
and " Ottoman Administration," for which he is almost 


entirely responsible, but also for many suggestions and 
additions in other parts of the book, the whole of 
which has had the advantage of his revision. Mr. 
Oilman has also contributed to a part of the subject 
which was less familiar to Mr. Gibb and myself ; and 
I am indebted for valuable assistance to Mr. H. H» 
Howorth, M.P., and to Mr. W. R. Morfill, whose 
advice has been followed in the systematic spelling 
of Russian names. 


BiRLiNG, Sussex, 

January 17, 1888. 


The King's Front. 125 0-1326 


The thirteenth century an epoch in European history, i — and 
in Asia, 2 — The Mongols, 2 — The Turks, 4 — The Seljuks, 5 
— The Mongols again, 6 — The distribution of the Turks, 6 — 
Seljuks of Iconium, 8— Battle of Angora, 8 — Establishment 
of Ertoghriil and the Turks, 9 — Sultanoni, 10 — Birth of Olh- 
man, 13— His dream, 14, and marriage, 15 — Extension of 
the Ottoman dominion, 16 — War with the Eastern Empire, 19 
■ — Conquest of Brusa, 23— Death of Othman, 23. 


Across the Hellespont. 1326-1380 


Orkhan, 25 — Conquest of Nicomedia, Nicaea, and Pergamon, 
25 — Organization of the state and army, 26— The Janissaries, 
27 — Sipahis, 31 — Causes of the success of the Ottomans, 32 — 
Relations with the Eastern Empire, 33 — The Turks land in 
Europe, 34 — Capture of Gallipoli, 34 — Murad I., 35 — The 
Slavs, 36 — War with Hungarians, Serbians, &c., 36 — Battle 
of the Marilza, 36 -Advance of the Ottoman dominion in 
Europe, 39— and in Asia, 40. 


Kosovo and Nicopolis. 1380-1402 . . . 42-59 

War with the Serbians, &c., 42— Battle of Kosovo, 43— 



Assassination of Murad I., 45 — BayezTd I., 46 — Despina, 49 
— Subjugation of Serbia and Wallachia, 49, 50 — Crusade 
against the Turks, 51 — Battle of Nicopolis, 55— Massacre of 
prisoners, 57. 


TiMtTR THE Tartar. 1402 . , . . 60-73 

Bayezid's power, 60 — Timur, 63— Siege of Slwas, 65 — Second 
battle of Angora, 66 — Captivity and death of Bayezld, 72 — 
Apparent destruction of the Ottoman power, 73, 


Mohammed the Restorer. 1402-142 i . . 74-84 

Vitality of the Turkish rule, 74 — Causes, 75 — Organization 
and education, 76 — Mohammed I., 78 — Civil war, 79 — Re- 
storation of order and authority, 80 — Mohammed the "gen- 
tleman," 83— His death, 83. 


Murad II. and Hunyady. 1421-1451 . . 85-98 

Murad XL, 85 — Siege of Constantinople, 86 — Hunyady, 87 — 
Relief of Hermannstadt, 88 — Passage of the Balkan, 89 — 
Treaty of Szegedin, 89 — Abdication of Murad, 89— Perfidy 
of the Christians, 90 — Return of Murad, 91 — Battle of 
Varna, 92 — Second battle of Kosovo, 96 — Death of Murad, 
96 — Siege of Belgrade, 97 — St. John Capistran, 97 — Death 
of Hunyady, 98. 

VII. • 

The Fall of Constantinople. 1451-1481 . 1 01-139 

Mohammed II., loi — Quarrel with Constantine Palaeologus, 
107 — Sieges of Constantinople, 108 — The final siege, 108 — 



Death of Constantine, 125 — Capture of the city, 129 — War 
in the north, 133 — Scanderbeg, 133 — War with Venice, 135 
— Negropont, Crimea, Rhodes, 136— Conquest of Otranto 
and death of Mohammed II., 139. 


Prince Jem. 1481-1512 .... 140-151 

Bayezid II., 140 — H's inaction and deposition, 140-1 — 
Prince Jem, 141 — Takes refuge with the Knights of Rhodes, 
and is made prisoner, 142 — Transferred to Nice, 145, and 
Rome, 146, and is probably poisoned by the Pope, Alexander 
Borgia, 149-150. 


The Conquest of Egypt. 1512-1520 . . 152-164 

Sellm II., •• the Grim," 152— Murder of his kindred, 152 — 
His literary talent, 153 — His policy, 153 — Persian history, 
154 — Shia?, 155 — Selim massacres the heretics, 155 — War 
with Shah Ismail, 156 — Battle of Chaldiran, 157 — The Mam- 
luk Sultans of Egypt and Syria, 158 — Their valour, 159 — 
Their mosques and palaces, 160 — Selim marches against them, 
161 — Battles of Marj Dabik, Gaza, and Reydaniya, 161 — 
Conquest of Egypt, 162 — Selim becomes Khalif, 162, and 
dies, 163. 


SULEYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT. 1 5 20-1 5 66 . 1 65-204 

A great epoch, 165 — Suleyman and his contemporaries, 166 
—His character, 169— Capture of Belgrade, 169— Conquest of 
Rhodes, 170— Ibrahim the Grand Vezir, 173— Invasion of 
Hungary, 174— Battle of Mohacs, 179— Fall of Buda, Pesth, 
Gran, Comorn, Raab, and Altenburg, 180— Advance on 
Vienna, 183— The defence, 184— The siege, 187— The re- 
treat, 190— Peace of Constantinople, 191 — Siege of Sziget- 
var, 192— Nicholas Zriny, 192— Death of Sukyman, 192 — 
Roxelana, 195— Turkish admirals, Barbarossa, Dragut, Piali, 
196 — Suleyman's Empire, 196. 



The Downward Road. 15 66- 1640 . . 205-220 

The turn of the tide, 205 — Causes of the decline, 206 — 
Selim the Sot, 208 — Sokolli Mohammed, 208 — Sinan Pasha, 
208 — Expedition to Astrakhan, 208 — Conquest of Cyprus, 
208-9 — Battle of Lepanto, 209 — Don John of Austria, 209 — 
Uluj All, 210 — Peace with Venice, 210 — Murad III. and 
Mohammed III., 213 — Safia, 213— Count Cicala, 213 — 
Battle of the Keresztes, 213 — Ahmed I., 214 — English em- 
bassy, 214— Mnrad IV., 217 — Conquest of Georgia, 217 — 
Mutiny of Sipahl>, 218 — Severity of the Sultan, 219 — Con- 
quest of Baghdad, 219 — Death of Murad IV., 220. 


The Rule of the Vezirs. 1640-1757 . 221-242 

The Koprili family, 221 — Koprili Mohammed, 221 — Koprili- 
zada Ahmed, 222— Battle of St. Gotthard, 222 — Montecuculi, 
222 — Conquest of Candia, 225 — Morosini, 225 — War with 
Poland, 225 — John Sobieski, 225 — Battles of Choczim and 
Lemberg, 225— Kara Mustafa, Grand Vezir, 226 — Invasion of 
Austria, 227^ — Second siege of Vienna, 228 — Sobieski comes 
to the relief, 231 — Defeat of the Turks, 236 — Vienna saved, 
237 — Mohammed IV., the sportsman, 237 — Treatment of am- 
bassadors, 238— Second battle of Mohacs, 239 — Buda retaken 
by the Christians, 239 — Morosini in Greece, 239 — Koprili-zada 
Mustafa, 240 — War with Austria, 240 -Battle of Slankamen, 
240 — Mustafa II., 240— Battle of Zenta, 241 — Mediation of 
Lord Paget, 241 — Peace of Carlowitz, 241— Prince F^ugene 
takes Belgrade, 241 — Peace of Passarowitz, 241 — Turkey no 
longer a menace to Christendom, 242. 

The Rise of Russia. 1696- 1812 . . . 243-259 

Traditional origin of the Russians, 243 — Novgorod, 244 — 
Rurik, 245 — Kiev, 245— Olga Ijecomes a Christian, 246 — 
Vladimir the Great, 246 — Moscow, 246 — Incursions of Tartars, 
247— Batu at Liegnitz, 247— The Golden Horde, 248— Alex- 
ander Nevski, 248— Ivan the Great, 249 — Diplomatic inter- 



course with Turkey, 248— Early attacks on the Bosphorus, 
250 — Ivan the Terrible, 251 — The Astrakhan expedition, 251 
— Peter the Great, 252 — The Sultan protects Charles II. of 
Sweden, 253 — Peter surrounded at the Pruth, 253 — Peace of 
Belgrade, 254 — Treaty of Kaynarji, 254 — Catherine the Great, 
254, vis'ts the Crimea, 255 --Siege of Ochakov, 256 — Suvo- 
rov, 256— Treaty of Yassy, 256— Tilsit, 2S7— Sir Robert 
Adair, 258 — Stratford Canning, 258 Treaty of Bucharest, 
259 — Its effect upon Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, 259. 

Stambol 260-301 

Site, 260 — Christian suburbs, 265 — Palaces of the Sultan, 266 
— The Old Seraglio, 267 — The treasury, 273 — Relics, 275 — 
The cage, 275— The harem, 276— Officers of the Seraglio, 276 
— Ladies of the harem, 291 — Abdul-Aziz's privy purse, 293 — 
A medieval embassy, 294. 


O'lTOMAN Literature 302-323 

Characteristics, 302 — Monorhyme, 303 — Ghazel, 303 — Sej, 
303 — GhazI Fazil, 304 — Sheykhl, 304 — Vaziji-oghlu's Moham- 
mediya — History of the Forty Vezirs — Mir All Shir Nevayi, 
309— Ahmed Pasha, 309— Sinan Pasha, 309 — Nejati and ZatI, 
Zeyneb, Mihri, 310 — Poetry of Selim I., 310 — Ibn-Kenial, 
311 — ^Joseph and Zuleykha, 311 — Mesihi, 311 — Fuzull, 312 — 
Baki, 314— Nef'!, 315— SabrI, 315 — NabI, 318 — Raghib Pasha 
and Sami, 318-NedIm, 318 — Prose since the conquest of 
Constantinople, 320 — Sa'd-ud-din. 320 — Na'ima, 320 — Evliya, 
321 — Haji Khalifa, 321— Sheykh Ghalib, 321— Transition 
period, 321— Wasif, 322- Modern school, 322— Akif and 
Reshid Pasha, 323 — ShinasI, Kemal, Ekrem, and Hamid 
Beys, 323. 


The Ottoman Administration . . . 324-339 

The Sultan, 324— State functionaries, 327— Companions of 
the Pen, 327— The Tughra, 329— Companions of the Sword, 



330 — Ducal government, 331 — Men of Law, 333 — The Divan, 
or Council, 335 — The Kapudan Pasha, 336 — The Grand 
Vezir, 336 — Declaration of War, 336 — State robes, 339 — 
Modern innovations, 339. 

The Sick Man. 181 2- 1880 .... 340-365 

Characteristics of the recent Turkish history, 340 — Turkish 
military strength, 340 — Changes in the present century, 341 — 
Mahmud II., 343 — The growth of local power, 343 — Mo- 
hammed AH in Egypt and All Pasha of Janina, 343 — Destruc- 
tion of the Janissaries, 344 — The Greek rebellion, 345 — 
Navarino, 346 — Russian war, 346 — Treaty of Adrianople, 349 
— War with Egypt, 349 — Hunkiar Iskelesi, 349 — Treaty of 
1841, 350 — Abd-ul-Mejid, 350 — Sit Stratford Canning, 350 — 
Reform in Turkey, 352 — The Hungarian refugees, 354 — The 
Holy Places, 355 — The Crimean war, 356 — Treaty of Paris, 
358 — Repudiation by Russia of Black Sea clause, 359 — 
Rumania, 359 — Abd-ul-AzIz, 360 — Murad V., 360 — Abd-ul- 
Hamld II., 360 — The Bulgarian atrocities, 360 — The latest 
Russo-Turkish war, 361 — Plevna, 361 — The Treaty of Berlin, 
362 — Shrunken dimensions of the Ottoman Empire, 363 — 
Conclusion, 364. 

Index 367 










NICOPOLIS o ... 53 











RHODES ' - '^yj 








PRIORY OF FRANCE, RHODES . , • • . » 177 


VIENNA (1483) 185 





SULEYMANIYA MOSQUE, 1 556. . . . • , 211 

THE GRAND VEZiR , . 223 








IN THE HAREM . . . . • . • . 337 


Some of the above are copied from a curious work of P. Coeck, Les 
Moeurs, etc., des Turcz (1553), which vSir W. vStirling Maxwell ediietl 
in 1873 under the title of The Turks in 1533. The original is in the 
British Museum. Others are reproductions of some of the cuts in the 
Recueil de cent estampes ^iiravi'cs stir Ics tableaux pdnts ifaprcs nature 
en 1707 et 1708, par les ordres de M. de ferriol^ anibassadtur du rot 
a /a Forte (1714). 


I. 'Othman I., 1299 

2. Orkhan, 1326 

3. Murad I., 1360 

4. Bayezid I., 1389 

I \ —\ 410. 

Prince Suleyman, 1403. 5. Mohammed L, 1402. Prince Musa, 1 

6. Murad II., 1421 

7. Mohammed II., 1451 

8. Bayezid II., 1481 

9. Selim I., 1512 
10. Suleyman I., 1520 

II. Selim II., 1566 


12. Murad III., 1574 

13. Mohammed III., 1595 

14. Ahmed I., 1603 15. Mustafa I., 1617. (2) 1623. 

1 J ^1 

16. 'Othman II., i6i8. 17. Murad IV., 1623. 18. Ibrahim, 1640 

I I I 

19. Mohammed IV., 1648. 20. Suleyman II., 1687 21. Ahmed II,, 1691. 

22. Mustafa II., 1695. 23. Ahmed III., 1703 

24. Mahmud I., 1730. 25. 'Othman III., 1754. 

26, Mustafa III., 1757 27. 'Abd-ul-Hamid I., 1773 

J. Selim III., 1789. 1 ~~~ I 

29. Mu§tafa IV., 1807. 30. Mahmud II., 1808. 

31. 'Abd-ul-Mejid, 1839. 32. 'Abd-ul-'Aziz, i86i. 

33 Murad V., 1876. 34. 'Abd-ul-Hamid II. (regnant), 1876. 




The thirteenth century was an eventful epoch for 
all Europe. The overshadowing power of the Empire 
was waning, separate states were springing up in 
Italy and Germany, and the growth of civil liberty 
was bringing its fruit in the enlargement of ideas and 
the founding of universities. In England, the Nor- 
man and Saxon were at last one people, and the 
business of the natior was to strengthen the bond 
which united them ; Magna Charta was signed, and 
the first Parliament was summoned. In the East the 
long struggle for the Holy City had ended in the dis- 
comfiture of the Christians, and the last of the Crusades 
was led by Saint Louis against the Mamluks of Egypt, 
where the king and his army were taken captive. 
What was lost in the East was gained in the West : 
Ferdinand of Castile was winning city after city 
from the Moors in Spain, who were now fortifying 


themselves in their last stronghold at Granada, where 
they held out for two centuries more. Sicily, which 
had once been a favourite province of the Saracens, 
was the scene of a series of tragedies : Manfred was 
killed by Count Charles of Anjou, whose tyranny led 
to the fatal " Vespers " and the foundation of the 
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. All Europe was heated 
with the strong wine of political change. 

In this same eventful century Asia was passing 
through a still more sudden and subversive revolu- 
tion. The Mongolian hordes of Chingiz Khan had 
been let loose from their plains of Central Asia, and, 
like the bursting of long pent up waters, had poured 
in a swift whirling flood over all the countries of the 
East, and carried ruin and devastation whithersoever 
they went. Chingiz himself died in the earlier part 
of the century, but his sons and grandsons proved 
themselves worthy disciples of their terrible sire. The 
famous Khalifate of Baghdad, which during half a 
millennium had been the inheritor of the most sacred 
traditions of Islam, now fell for ever before the on- 
slaught of Hulagu Khan. The fair provinces which 
had owned the victorious sway of Saladin and his 
house, and were now the appanage of those gallant 
Mamluk chiefs whose wealth and taste placed Cairo 
and Damascus on the pinnacle of renown, were 
menaced and partly overrun by the barbarian ; and 
the mountain passes of Anatolia, which for generations 
had suffered no sovereign tread save that of the Sel- 
juk Sultan of Iconium, now shook under the tramp 
of the Tartar's horse. A Mongol army even pene- 
trated Europe as far as Germany, ravaged Hungary, 


routed the Teutonic knights at Liegnitz, and then con- 
tentedly returned to their Eastern deserts, as though 
contemptuous of the attractions of Europe. 

It was fortunate that the Mongols were possessedv 
by the migratory spirit too strongly to think of] 
settling in cities and founding empires ; the wave ofl 
barbarism flowed, but happily it also ebbed. In the( 
far East its influence was more enduring ; the 
descendants of Chingiz were for many generations 
Yuen emperors of China, Khans of Turkistan, chiefs 
of the Golden Horde, of the Crimea, and of Kazan, 
whence for centuries they dominated and curbed the 
rising power of Russia. All these dynasties reigned 
in the domain of barbarism : they left no lasting im- 
press on the civilized lands of the Khalifate, where 
Arab, Persian, and Turk had each in turn put forth 
the best of his genius, and had assimilated and de- 
veloped what elements of philosophy, art, and science, 
had come within his reach. 

To trace the pedigree of the Ottoman Turks we i^^ 
must look back into remote antiquity. In the early 
history of Central and Eastern Asia everything is more 
or less conjecture, but this at least is certain, that 
among the numerous nomad tribes who roamed the 
plains of Sungaria and the great desert of Gobi, and 
from time to time broke loose in one of those great 
waves of migration which paralyzed the peoples of\ 
Europe and of Western Asia, t here were two rac es 1 
whichalternately filled the rS/e of '^ the scourges of 
God7~the Mongols anTlhe~Turks7 ' The Alongols 
first appear on the scene under the name of Hiong"^ 
Nu as dominating the nomad world in the days of 


the Chinese dynasty of the Han, and dominating 
especially tlie two great branches of the Turkish 
race known as Uighurs and Turks properly so called. 
The Uighurs eventually became free from this domi- 
nation, and under the names of Yueh chi and 
White Huns broke in pieces the Greek kingdom 
of Bactria, and founded a famous empire, with its 
capital at Balkh, which became the scourge of the 
Sassanians on the one hand, and filled a more re- 
markable place in Indian history than is generally 
suspected on the other. The power of the Hiong 
Nu was destroyed by the Chinese ; it revived again 
presently under the Jouan-Jouan, who were masters of 
all the steppes from the Volga eastwards. A revolt 
took place against the Jouan-Jouan in the beginning of 
\the sixth century when the Turks eo nomine are for 
the first time heard of in history. They founded an 
empire which stretched from the borders of Manchuria 
to the Carpathians, and commanded also Trans- 
oxiana and the country as far as the Indus Their 
power south of the Sihun or Jaxartes was sapped and 
eventually destroyed by the Arabs, who founded the 
Samani dynasty ; but the Turks remained masters of 
the steppes, and supplied the Samanis, and even the 
Khalifs, with mercenary troops whose leaders pre- 
sently supplanted their masters and founded a famous 
Turkish dynasty at Ghazni, while somewhat later 
fresh hordes under their own leaders planted them- 
selves in Khorasan and created the splendid empire 
of the Seljuks, who from the eleventh to the thirteenth 
century governed the greater part of the Khalifs' 
dominions in Asia, and advanced the Mohammedan 


rule into the mountain ranges of Anatolia, and thus 
prepared the way for the Ottomans, their successors. 
By this time the empire of the Khalifs was full of 
Turks. They were introduced first as captives, whose ^ 
fair beauty speedily commended itself to the Arab 
princes, and whose martial vigour marked them out 
as a fit body-guard for the Khalif against his unruly 
subjects in Persia. First as slaves, then as a military 
aristocracy, and theri as^eljul <iarpSultans,the Turk s 
pressed forwards and absorbed all t he power whic h 
had once belonged to Arab and Persian, from the 
river Oxus to t he borders of Egypt and the Asiati c 
frontier of the Byzantine Empi re. 

i he Seljuks of Khorasan and Persia were displaced 
by their own vassals, the Shahs of Khuwarezm 
or Khiva, who were supported by hordes of the 
Kankalis from the country north of the Sea of Aral, 
and who were the ancestors of the modern Turko- 
mans. The Shahs of Khuwarezm step by step 
succeeded to the dominion of their late masters, 
and at one time, at the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, threatened to gather under their authority 
the whole Asiatic empire of Islam. But when they 
were about to realize their utmost dreams of supre- 
macy a sudden blow crushed them, and the king- 
dom of Khuwarezm was blotted out from the list 
of principalities and powers. The resources of the 
steppes of Tartary were not yet exhausted : there were 
still whole nations of barbarians ready to emerge from 
obscurity, and swoop down upon the rich territories 
of the earlier emigrants. This time it was the Mongol 
race that Asia again poured forth to terrify the West. 



Chingiz Khan, as has been said, surrounded by a family 
of born soldiers, and followed by hordes of nomads 
like the sands of the sea without number, overran the 
dominions of the Khuwarezm Shah, and sweeping 
over the empire of the Khalifate and of the Seljuks 
appeared ready and able to make a tabula rasa of all 
existing authority. His armies even spread into 
Europe, and but for the valour of the Teutonic 
Knights might have arrested for awhile the dawning 
civilization of the West. Of this tremendous inva- 
sion the only trace which remains in Europe is to be 
found in Russia, whose history was shaped and whose 
political and moral characteristics are largely trace- 
able to the long domination of the Tartars. 

The Turks, however, remained masters of the west 
of Asia, and the Mongol tide only swept them further 
soiTflT^and west on its boisterous crest. Driven from 
Khuwarezm on the downfall of that kingdom, they 
fled south. Some of them took a prominent part in 
Persian and Syrian history in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth century under the names of Turkomans of 
the White and the Black Sheep. Others wan- 
dered further south and came into conflict with the 
Mamluk Sultans of Egypt, who were also members 
of the great Turkish family ; and when they were 
beaten back, turned north and joined their kinsmen 
of the race of Seljuk in Asia Minor. One of these 
tribes who had been set wandering by the rude shock 
of the Mongol invasion, and who eventually came to 
join the Turks of Anatolia in the curious manner we 
have related after the battle of Angora, was that of 
vErtoghrul, which afterwards became famous under 



the victorious name of the Ottomans. When they 
joined their kinsmen in Lesser Asia almost all the 
Mohammedan world was in the hands of the nomad 
tribes of the steppes. Turks ruled in Asia Minor, 
Turks governed Egypt, Turks held minor authority 
under the Mongols in Syria and Mesopotamia, while 
the descendants of Chingiz had succeeded to the 
dominion of the Khalifs in Persia, had assumed 
all the dignity of sovereignty in the wild regions of 
the Volga and the Ural Mountains, in the lands of 
the Oxus, and the deserts of Tartary, had spread 
across Central Asia and had founded an empire in 
China, and were preparing to establish the long line of 
Mongol emperors in Hindustan whom we know by 
the name of the Great Moguls.^ 

It was reserved for the Turkish race to be lord of the 
countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Turks 
were there before the Mongols, and the Turks are 
there still. The Mamluks of Egypt, mainly of Turkish 
blood, withstood the Mongol tide which was breaking 
upon their marches ; the Turkish Sultans of Iconium, 
of the lineage of Seljuk, breasted for awhile the swell- 
ing surge of barbarism ; and their successors, the 
Turks of Othman's line, drove the Mongols inch by 
inch out of the Lesser Asia, and taking to themselves 
the whole of the eastern and southern coasts of the 
Mediterranean, and turning the Black Sea into a 
Turkish lake, tamed and bitted the descendants of 
the great Chingiz himself in the Crimea. The 

^ I am indebted to our greateist authority on the history of the Mongol 
and Turkish races, Mr. H. H. Howorth, M.P., for valuable suggestions 
on the migrations of the Turkish tribes. 

8 THE king's front. 

Ottoman Turk now sits in the seat of Hulagu at 
Baghdad ; he has long owned the territories of the 
Seljuks, the empire of Saladin, and the slim river 
valley of the Mamluks. The dominion of the Sara- 
cens, which the Mongols in vain essayed to grasp, 
passed into the hands of the Turks, and the stock to 
whom this wide empire still belongs, shorn as it is of 
its ancient renown, had its origin in the throes of the 
Mongol invasion ; the struggle between the invaders 
and the old masters of Anatolia was commemorated 
by the birth of the Ottoman Turk. 

The thirteenth century had run half its course 
whetTXay-Kubad^ the Seljuk Sultaii oTTconlum, was 
one day hard beset near Angora by a Mongol 
arm3^ The enemy was rapidly gaining t he mastery, 
when suddenly the fortune of the d ay was rever sed. 
A small boHy of unknown horsemen charged upon 
the toeT^ancT Victory ^^darecifox lhe_Seljuk__The 
cavaTIers who had t hus opportun el y- come to t he 
rescue knew not whom they. had_ assisted, nor did the 
Seljuks recognize their allies. Themeetmg^jivas_one 
of those~"remafk abTe accidents which sometime s shape 
the future of nations. Ertoghrul, son of Suleyman — 
a mernber of the Oghuz family of Turks, which the 
Mongol avalanche had dislodged from its old camping 
grounds in Khorasan and had pressed in a westerly 
direction — was journeying from the Euphrates' banks, 
where he had halted awhile, to the more peaceful se- 
clusion of Anatolia, when he unexpectedly came upon 
the battlefield of Angora. With the nomad's love of a 
sc rimmage, and the warrior's sy mpat hy for the~weak er 
side, he led his four hundred riders pell-mell into the 


fray a nd won the da y. He little thought that by his 
impulsive and chivalro us act he had taken the firs t 
step towards founding an empire that was destin ed 
to endure in undiminished glory for three centuries, 
and which e ven now, when more than six hundr ed 
years have el apsed and many a fair province h as 
been wrested _or inveigled out of its grasp, still stan ds 
lord over wide lands, and holds the allegiance of ma ny 
peoples of divers r aces and tongue s. From Ertogh- 
rul to the reigning Sultan of Turkey, thirty-five 
princes in the male line have ruled the Ottoman Em- 
pire without a break in the succession. There is no 
such example of the continuous authority of a single 
family in the history of Europe. 

The Seljuk Sultan was not slow to reward his 
unexpected allies . The strangers were granted their 
wish and established themselves in the dominions of 
Kay-Kubad ; their summer camp was on the Ermeni 
mountains, which form the southern rampart of the 
Roman province of Bithynia, wh erein were the grea t 
Greek cities of Brusa and Nicaea ; and in winter they 
drove their Hocks from the southern slopes to the valley 
of the Sangarius (Sakariya), where the city of Sugut, 
which the Greeks called Thebasion, was given them 
as their capital. Behind was Angora, where they had 
made their first appearance on a great battlefield ; in 
front of them lay Brusa, near which they soon dis- 
played again their valour and generalship against a 
combined army of Greeks and Mongols. Skilfully 
manoeuvring a body of light horse in the van of the 
battle, Ertoghrul contrived so to mask the Sultan's 
main attack that after three days and nights of sore 


fighting the Seljuks triumphed over their adversaries 
and drove them headlong to the sea coast. This de- 
fence of the Pass of Ermeni brought high renown to the 
leader of the Turks, who had fought all through the 
battle in front of the Sultan's guard, and Ertoghrul 
was given in perpetuity the district of Eskishehr 
(the Dorylaeum of the ancients), which, in memory of 
' his foremost position in the engagement, received a 
new name, and was henceforth known as Sultan(5ni, 
" the King's Front," as it is in the present day. 

Sultanoni was a precious and responsible charge to 
the new-comers. It formed the barrier between the 
dominions of the Christian and those of the Moslem 
on the Bithynian marches. Hence could the soldiers 
of Islam best wage the Sacred War against the en- 
feebled outworks of the Eastern Empire. The vant- 
age ground of Sultanoni furnished the Ottomans with 
the needful ttoO (ttco whence to subdue the vast em- 
pire which long owned their sway. Pasturing their 
herds on the slopes of Ermeni and Temnos, or in the 
plains watered by the Sakariya, the strangers grew in 
number, wealth, and strength ; and though it was 
not at once nor without many a struggle that they 
imposed their authority upon the semi-independent 
chiefs of the district, yet they were already masters 
in name of a rich and fertile land and of populous 
and wealthy cities : Eskishehr, with its gardens and 
vineyards, its baths and hostelrics ; Sugut, Ertogh- 
rul's capital, where his grave is still shown ; and other 
strong places, besides hamlets, formed part of the 
district in which the cradle of the Ottoman Empire 
was first securely set. 




At Sugut in 1258 was born Othrha n/ son of Erto- 
ghrul, f rom whom, since he was the first ruler of t he 
line who ventured to assert his absolute independence, 
his descendants took the name of Othmanlls, or as we 
call them '' Ottomans." it was their special and proud 
title, and until lately they never degraded themsel ves 
by the app ellation of " Tu rk?* Othman was worthy 
to be the eponymous hero of a warlike race. Long 
years of peace, during which his father strengthened 
the hold of the clan upon the province entrusted to 
his rule, gave the son time to prepare for the epoch 
of conquest which crowned his later years. The first 
important event in Othman's life was as domestic as 
it was natural : he fell in love. At the little village 
of Itburuni, near Eskishehr, dwelt a learned doctor 
of the law, Edebali, with whom Othman loved to 
converse, not the less because the good man had a 
daughter fair to see, whom some called Mai Khatun, 
" Lady Treasure," and others Kamarlya, " Moon- 
bright," from her surpassing beauty. But the family 
of Othman was as yet new to the country, and its 
authority was not recognized by the surrounding 
chieftains of the Anatolian aristocracy. Other 
young men of higher rank might bring their court 
to the fair damsel, and her father discouraged 
the suit of the son of Ertoghrul. At last he was 
convinced by an argument which has ever been 
potent among the superstitious peoples of the East . 
a dream dispelled his doubts. One night Othman 
as he slumbered thought he saw himself and the old 
man his host stretched upon the ground, and from 

* Pronounced, in Turkish, Osman. 


Edebali's breast there seemed to rise a moon, which 
waxing to the full, approached the prostrate form of 
Othman and finally sank to rest in his bosom 
Thereat from out his loins sprang forth a tree, which 
grew taller and taller, and raised its head, and 
spread out its branches, till the boughs overshadowed 
the earth and the seas. Under the canopy of leaves 
towered four mighty mountains, Caucasus and Atlas, 
Taurus and Haemus, which held up the leafy vault 
like four great tent poles, and from their sides flowed 
royal rivers, Nile and Danube, Tigris and Euphrates. 
Ships sailed upon the waters, harvests waved upon 
the fields, the rose and the cypress, flower and fruit, 
delighted the eye, and on the boughs birds sang 
their glad music. Cities raised domes and minarets 
towards the green canopy ; temples and obelisks, 
towers and fortresses, lifted their high heads, and on 
their pinnacles shone the golden Crescent. And 
behold, as he looked, a great wind arose and dashed 
the Crescent against the Crown of Constantine, that 
imperial city which stood at the meeting of two seas 
and two continents, like a diamond between sapphires 
and emeralds, the centre jewel of the ring of empire.^ 
Othman was about to place the dazzling ring upon 
his finger, when he awoke. He told Mai Khatun's 
father what he had seen, and, convinced of the great 
future that was thus foretold for the offspring of Oth- 
man and the Moon-faced damsel, Edebali consented 
to their union. Their son Orkhan was born in 1288 
and Ertoghrul died the same year, leaving Othman 
head of the clan and lord of Eskishehr, to which the 

* Von Hammer, "Geschichte des Osmanischen Keichs," i. 66-7. 



Seljuk Sultan added in 1289 Karajahisar (Melangeia). 
Othman's first care was to build a mosque at Eski- 
shehr, and to appoint the necessary officers for the 
administration of the law and the performance of the 
ritual of Islam. Firm and impartial justice formed 
the forefront of his policy, and largely contributed 
to the spread of his authority. All these peaceful 
occupations, however, were soon set aside for the 
fascinations of war. There had been a time when 
the clansmen were content to feed their flocks on the 
hillside, to gather their honey and weave their carpets, 
and lead the simple unambitious life of the shep- 
herd ; but soon they left these familiar paths for new 
and daring ascents. One by one they reduced the 
smaller chieftains of the province to obedience ; one 
after the other they captured the outlying forts of the 
Greek Empire, till their power extended to Yenishehr, 
and they were thus almost within sight of Brusa and 
Nicaea, the two chief cities of the Greeks in Asia. 
The acquisition of so important a situation as 
Yenishehr was the result of craft outwitting craft. 
A wedding at Bilejik in 1299 was selected as a 
rendezvous for a number of Othman's rivals, who 
plotted to capture him and put an end to his power. 
Warned of the conspiracy, forty women of the Otto- 
man clan were admitted on a pretext to the castle* 
where preparations were being made for the wedding. 
When both garrison and guests were absorbed in the 
ceremonies, the forty women cast away their disguise 
and proved to be none other than forty of Othman's 
bravest warriors. They speedily possessed them- 
selves of the fort and the bride, a beautiful young 

1 6 THE king's front, 

Greek named Nenuphar ("Lotus-bloom "), afterwards 
the mother of Murad I. Before the ruse got wind, 
Othman swept like the lightning upon Yarhisar, 
and seized it, while another band of his followers took 
possession of Aynegol. Thus he extended the dominion 
of the Ottomans from the Ermeni range to Mount 
Olympus. The Turk now set his capital at Yenishehr, 
which he used as a stepping-stone to Brusa and 
thence eventually to Constantinople. Even with this 
addition, however, the Ottoman territory corresponded 
only to one of the seventeen sub-divisions of Rum, 
which was itself but one of the twenty-five provinces 
into which the great empire of Suleyman the Mag- 
nificent was in later times divided.^ 

More than half a century had passed since the 
Ottoman Turks first settled in Sultanoni, yet their 
borders were still narrow. When the wave of advance 
was once undulating, however,it proceeded with accele- 
rated speed. Like the circling ripple that springs up 
in a pool when a stone is dropped into its midst, the 
sway of the Turk spread in ever- enlarging rings. 
A powerful impulse was given to their progress 
by the extinction of the Seljuk dynasty at the end 
of the thirteenth century. Ten several states, of 
which Sultanoni was one, succeeded to the authority 
of the Seljuks and divided their territory among 
them. Henceforward there was no supreme and 
sovereign power to repress the ambitions of the 
Turks, — only rivals who could be fought and subdued 
with no disloyalty to the king who had first given 
them a hospitable welcome to his dominions. All 

* Von Hammer, i. 75. 


these states were eventually swallowed up in the 
empire of the House of Othman, but this did not 
happen till many years after its founder's death. 
The prince of Karaman was the strongest of the ten, 
and many long wars were fought with him before his 
lands were annexed to the Turkish dominions. In 
the early days of which we are writing, the Kara- 
man ian state was too powerful for the Ottoman to 
attempt an advance in this direction ; and the chief 
extension of their territory in the beginning of the 
fourteenth century was towards Europe, where the 
feeble representatives of the once mighty Emperors of 
the East offered an easy prey to the hardy warriors of 
Sultanoni. From his stronghold at Yenishehr, Oth- 
man sent out expeditions against the nearest Greek 
towns, and captured many fortresses before the armies 
of the emperor moved out against him. When at 
length he met the Byzantine army at Baphoeum, he 
put it to utter rout and ravaged the whole of Bithynia, 
so that the Greeks dared not venture outside the walls 
of Nicaea.^ Encouraged by such successes Othman 
pushed his forces nearer the sea, and emulated the 
example of the princes of Aydin and Saru-Khan, 
whose fleets had ravaged the Greek islands and thus 
inaugurated the terrible scourge of the Corsair. 
Gradually he hemmed in the second city of the 
empire, Nicaea ; slowly he brought up his armies 
against Brusa, and erected two forts over against 
the city, whence for ten years he pressed the 
siege. " The method employed by the Ottomans to 
gain possession of the large, populous, and well- 
' Finlay, ''History of Greece," iii. 387. . 


fortified cities, inhabited by the wealthy but unwarHke 
Greeks, was not unlike that employed by the Dorians 
in the early ages of Greece. Indeed it is almost the 
only way by which the courage and perseverance of a 
small force can conquer art and numbers. Instead of 
attempting to form a regular blockade of the city 
against which they directed their operations, and 
thereby compelling the inhabitants to exert all their 
unbroken power to deliver themselves from the attack, 
the Ottoman Turks established strong posts in the 
vicinity of the city, ravaged the fields, carried off 
cattle and slaves, and interrupted the commercial 
communications of the inhabitants. The devastation 
of the country and the insecurity of the roads gradu- 
ally raised the price of provisions and caused emigra- 
tion and famine. In this way Nicaea, the cradle of 
the Greek Church, and which had been for two genera- 
tions the capital of the Greek Empire, was closely block- 
aded." ^ Meanwhile Othman's flying cavalry ravaged 
the country as far as the Bosphorus and Black Sea : 
the Emperor, standing on the towers of his palace at 
Constantinople, could see the flames of the burning 
villages across the Bosphorus ; the Turk's vessels 
[harried the coast ; the whole country trembled before 
yhis unwearied and ubiquitous onslaught. He had 
laid his plans well, and the ten years leaguer of Brusa 
produced its result. The great city capitulated in 
JLS^§S Orkhan planted the Ottoman flag on its walls, 
and hastened to Sugut in time to tell the good news 
to his father. Othman lived to hear of the victory, 
and then died contented, at the age of seventy, after a 

' Finlay, iii. 423-4. 



reign of twenty-six years. His last wish w as to b e 
buried at__ Brusa, the new capital of the growi ng 
state ; and thither was he reverently borne, and there 
did his sepulchre stand to the present century. His 
sword is still preserved at Constantinople, and each 
successive Sultan of his posterity is solemnly invested 
with the founder's blade by way of coronation. 

The Turks with reason hold Othman to be the ir 
fi rst Sultan. Ertoghrul indeed established the clan i n 
Asia Minor, but he did not achieve i ndependence o r 
raise his dig nity to more than that of a petty pri nce. 
Othman was the first to dream of empire, and though he 
did not wholly realize his dream, and view the proud 
city of Constantine at his feet, he pushed his conquests 
to the very verge of the Hellespont, set his son upon the 
throne at Brusa, and prepared the way for the imme- 
diate conquest of Nicaea and Nicomedia and the firm 
establishment of the Turkish sway upon the shores of 
the Bosphorus He inaugurated the career of victory 
which his descendants completed ; his wars against 
Greeks and Mongols, and the Turkish emirs who had 
succeeded the Seljuks, set an example which his son 
and grandson knew how to follow ; and Othman's 
commanding influence was felt long after his death. 

Personally, like the first Khalifs of the Arabs, he 
was simple and primitive in his tastes and habits. 
He left neither silver nor gold behind him ; but only 
a salt-bowl — symbol of hospitality, — a spoon, a braided 
coat and white linen turban, his standards, a fine 
stud of horses, a yoke of oxen, and some flocks of 
sheep, whose descendants still browse upon the 
pastures of Brusa. Simple as was his dress, his figure 



was imposing. Like Artaxerxes " Longimanus," his 
arms reached below his knees, his thighs were those 
of a horseman, and his prominent nose, black hair 
and beard, and swarthy hue, procured him the name 
of " Black Othman," for black is a colour of honour 
in the East, and indicates strength of character as 
well as bodily vigour and energy. Black Othman 
transmitted his physical characteristics to several 
generations of his successors, and for at least three 
hundred years there sat no Sultan on the Ottoman 
throne who was not distinguished for personal courage. 
Bravery is the heritage of the Turk. 



When Orkhan came to the throne, one of the chief 
stroTigholds of the Greeks in Asia had fallen : the 
rest were not slow to succumb to the young vigour of 
the Turks. Nicomedia followed Brusa in the same 
year (1326). The Emperor Andronicus marched in 
1329 against the invaders, but was wounded, and his 
camp at Pelecanon fell into the hands of Orkhan ; 
Hicaea surrendered in 1330, and in 1336 Pergamon, 
the capital of Mysia, was taken from the prince of 
Karasi and added to the Ottoman realm. The people 
of Nicaea were permitted to emigrate and take with 
them all their goods, archives, and relics, and such 
moderation greatly strengthened the position of the 
conqueror. The little clan of shepherds, who had been 
graciously permitted to settle in the kingdom of the 
Seljuks, had now possessed themselves, in two genera- 
tions, of the whole of the north-west corner of Asia 
Minor, where they commanded the eastern shore of 
the Bosphorus. Here for the moment they were 
content to rest. The Greek emperor was glad to 
make peace, and the Turks were anxious to gain 


time to organize their new dominions and prepare 
for the great struggle which they knew was before 

For twenty years tranquility reigned undisturbed 
throughout the land of the Turks, and during these 
twenty years Orkhan and his elder brother Ala-ud- 
din, the first Turkish Vezlr,i laboured at the orga- 
nization of the State and the army. The insignia of 
sovereignty were now assumed : Orkhan issued money 
in his own name as independent Sultan. But 
the assumption of royal dignity could be but an 
empty form unless means were taken to defend it 
against the hostile forces that lay all around. To 
this end Ala-ud-dln, who was the true founder of 
the Ottoman Empire in so far as it depended 
upon military organization, began to reform the 
army. Instead of leading their mounted followers 
in the old manner of the clan, when the chief sent 
messages through the villages to summon his kindred 
and liegemen to the fight (where they rode in a serried 
wall, without infantry support), and afterwards let 
them depart to their homes, the Ottoman Sultans in 
future would have permanent regiments to trust to — 
the first standing army of modern times. Instead of 
volunteers there was now to be a paid army. This 
was the natural result of the change which had taken 
place in the Ottoman State. It was no longer aquestion 
of leading four hundred clansmen to battle ; the Otto- 
mans now included a vast number of the Seljuks and 
• other Turkish tribes, who yearly flocked from a dis- 

* Vezir means " burden bearer," he who carries the burden of State 
aflfairs : hence, Prime Minister. 


tance to their standards in hope of victorious spoil, 
or from a knowledge of the superior order and security 
of life under the Ottoman rule. The Ottomans had 
already become a very mixed race ; and the armies 
that were soon to subdue a large part of Europe 
were composed chiefly of the tribes of Asia Minor, 
though the true Ottomans retained the high com- 
mands and formed a sort of aristocracy at the 
head. To organize these miscellaneous followers, 
a corps of regular infantry, called, Piyade, was first 
embodied and well paid, and given lands on condition 
of armed service and repair of the military roads ; 
then, with a view to holding these in check, a rival 
body was formed by enrolling a thousand of the finest 
boys from among the families of the Christians con- 
quered in the campaigns against the Greeks. Every 
year for three centuries a thousand 'Christian chil- 
dren were thus devoted to the service of the Otto- 
man power ; when there were not enough prisoners 
captured during the year, the number was made up 
from the Christian subjects of the Sultan ; but after 
1648 the children of the soldiers themselves were 
drawn upon to recruit the force. 

Thus was formed the famous corps of the Janis- 
saries, or " New Troops," which for centuries con- 
stituted the flower of the Ottoman armies, and even- 
tually obtained such preponderating influence in 
the state, and abused it so wantonly, that they had 
to be summarily exterminated in the present century 
by Sultan Mahmud II. The children who were taken 
from their parents to be enrolled as Janissaries were 
generally quite young ; they were of course compelled 


to become Moslems, and their training for a life of 
arms was carefully regulated. Their discipline was 
severe, and fortitude and endurance were inculcated 
with Spartan rigour ; but zeal and aptitude were in- 
variably rewarded, and the Janissaries were sure of 
rapid promotion and royal favour. " Cut off from 
all ties of country, kith, and kin, but with high pay 
and privileges, with ample opportunities for military 
advancement, and for the gratification of the violent, 
the sensual, and the sordid, passions of their animal 
natures amid the customary atrocities of successful 
warfare, this military brotherhood grew up to be the 
strongest and fiercest instrument of imperial ambition, 
which remorseless fanaticism, prompted by the most 
subtle statecraft, ever devised upon earth." ^ 

Orkhan led his thousand boys before a saintly 
dervish, and asked him to bless them, and give them 
a name ; whereupon Hajji Bektash flung the sleeve of 
his robe over the head of the leading youth and said 
" Be the name of this new host Ye/ii Cheri. May God 
the Lord make their faces white, their arms strong, 
their swords keen, their arrows deadly, and give them 
the victory ! " This is the origin of the white woollen 
dervish's cap, with the sleeve-like pendant behind, which 
always formed part of the uniform of the Janissaries. 
. Besides the Piyade and Janissaries, the Ottoman 
army included a body of irregular light infantry, who 
were employed as skirmishers, and used to receive the 
nrst fury of the enemy, before the Janissaries were 

/ordered to advance over their bodies to the attack ; 

I and also six squadrons of Horse Guards, numbering at 

* Sir E. Creasy, " History of the Ottoman Turks," 15. 



first 2,400, but afterwards many more. One of these 
squadrons received the well-known name of Sipahis, 
which is the same word as the Indian "sepoys." 
The feudal system was extended to the cavalry ; some 
cohorts were settled on lands which they held on 
condition of military service. There was also a corps 
of irregular cavalry, called Akinji, or Raiders, who 
were unpaid, and depended for their living on plunder 
and booty. , 

At the head of an army such as this, well disci- 
plined, highly paid, and devoted to a sovereign who 
knew how to lead them where honours and rewards 
were to be won, Orkhan was now able to survey the 
kingdoms around him, and to weigh the chances of 
the coming struggle. Behind were the small but not 
yet innocuous states which had sprung up on the 
decay of the Seljuk power ; they were Turks, and 
therefore, in some sort, kinsmen ; they were good 
fighters, and, above all, they were poor. The Sultan 
was not attracted by the prospect of conquest without 
spoils, nor was it until many years later that Bayezld 
made a sweep of the petty principalities of Asia 
Minor. A much more valuable prize lay in front. The 
wealthy provinces of the Byzantine Empire, already 
falling to pieces, divided by strife among their rulers, 
were before Orkhan's eyes. As he stood on the shore 
of the Bosphorus he could see the domes and palaces 
of Constantinople. This was a quarry well worthy of 
pursuit, and the Ottoman directed his first attack 
against the effete empire of the Palaeologi. 

He had already prepared the way by moral force. 
The firm and equitable government of the Turk had 


produced a strong impression upon the Greeks of 
Asia, who found themselves better off, more Hghtly 
taxed, and far more efficiently protected, than they 
had been under the rule of the Byzantine emperor, 
whose persistent and perfidious intrigues, joined to 
the insensate jealousies of the nobles, and the demands 
of such foreign mercenaries as Roger de Flor and his 
Catalans, put any approach to good and impartial 
government out of the question. The civil wars be- 
tween the rival emperors had reduced the empire 
to a mere shadow of its former extent. " Many 
provinces were lost for ever, and the Greek race 
was expelled from many districts. The property 
of the Greeks was plundered, their landed estates 
were confiscated, and even their families were often 
reduced to slavery. . . . The landed property and the 
military power, with the social influence they con- 
ferred, passed into the hands of the Serbians, the 
Albanians, the Genoese, and the Ottoman Turks ; 
and after the middle of the fourteenth century we 
find foreign names occupying an important place in 
the history of Macedonia, Epirus, and Greece, and 
Serbian and Albanian chiefs attaining a position of 
almost entire independence. ... In Asia the empire 
retained little more than Skutari and a few forts ; in 
Thrace, it was bounded by a line drawn from the 
Gulf of Burgas carried north of Adrianople to Cavala 
on the Aegean ; in Macedonia, it retained Thessa- 
lonica and the adjoining peninsulas, but the Serbians 
completely hemmed in this fragment on the land side ; 
it also held portions of Thessaly and Epirus, and the 
Peloponnesus. The remaining fragments of the em- 


pire consisted of a few islands in "the Aegean Sea 
which had escaped the domination of the Venetians 
the Genoese, and the Knights of St. John ; and of the 
cities of Philadelphia and Phocaea, which still recog- 
nized the suzerainty of Constantinople, though sur- 
rounded by the territories of the emirs of A)^din and 
Saru-Khan. Such were the relics of the Byzantine 
Empire, which were now burdened with the main- 
tenance of two emperors, three empresses, and an 
augmented list of despots, sebastocrators, and salaried 
courtiers." ^ 

In all these twenty years of peace there had been 
a fri-endly understanding between Orkhan and the 
Emperors Andronicus and Cantacuzenus,and the latter 
had — with that curious contempt for the decencies 
of family relations which characterized the Christians 
during the whole period of Ottoman triumph — 
given his daughter Theodora in marriage to the 
sexagenarian Moslem, despite the differences of 
creed and age. Cantacuzenus and Anne the Em- 
press-Regent stopped at nothing to conciliate the 
Ottoman Sultan and win his aid in their domestic 
struggles. Their usual fee was to allow the Turk to 
ravage one of their provinces, and carry off into 
slavery as many Christians as he pleased. Ducas the 
historian says that the empress purchased Orkhan's 
assistance by allowing him to transport Christians 
to Skutari for sale in Asia, " thus rendering the 
Asiatic suburb of Constantinople the principal depot 
of the trade in Greek slaves." ^ Orkhan visited his 
father-in-law at this convenient mart, which still be- 

» Finlay, iii. 446 8. ^ Ibid., iii. 443. • 


longed to the emperor, and there seemed little prospect 
of a rupture in their amity. 

An opportunity however occurred very soon. The 
struggle which was then going on between the two 
great maritime powers of the Mediterranean, the Vene- 
tians and the Genoese, found a frequent meeting-place 
on the Bosphorus, where the latter held Galata, a 
suburb of Constantinople. The Venetians, who were 
destined for centuries to be the most determined foes 
of the Turks, had already aroused Orkhan's anger, and 
he lost no time in giving his support to their rivals. 
Out of this alliance came the first entrance of the Turk 
upon European soil. Suleyman Pasha, Orkhan's eldest 
son, who had already operated with success in the 
Balkan provinces, crossed the Hellespont on a couple 
of rafts, with eighty followers, and surprized the castle 
of Tzympe. In a few days it was garrisoned by three 
thousand Ottoman soldiers. Cantacuzenus was too busy 
with the hostility of his son-in-law, John Palaeologus, 
to resist this unprovoked invasion ; he even sought the 
assistance of the Sultan against his rival. More Turks 
were accordingly sent over to reinforce Suleyman's 
command ; Palaeologus was beaten ; but the Ottomans 
had won their foothold in Europe. In 1358 an earth- 
quake overthrew the cities of Thrace ; houses crumbled 
to the ground, and even the walls and fortifications fell 
upon the trembling earth, while the terrified inhabi- 
tants fled from their shaking homes. Among the rest, 
the walls around Gallipoli fell down, the people de- 
serted the city, and over the ruins the Turks marched 
in. The Emperor in vain protested ; Orkhan declared 
that Providence had opened the city to his troops, and 


he could not disregard so clear an instance of divine 
interposition. The civil war which still raged left 
Cantacuzenus small leisure for attending to anything 
but the attacks of Palaeologus. The shore of the 
Hellespont was quickly garrisoned with Ottoman 
soldiers, and the first fatal step had been permitted 
which led to the conquest of the empire, and the 
perpetual menace of Europe for several centuries. 

Orkhan died in 1359. He had lived to carry his 
arms to the confines of Asia Minor, and had even 
seen his horse-tails flying on the western shores of 
the Hellespont. His son Murad I.,^ who succeeded 
him (for Suleyman, the elder brother, had died before 
his father), was to lead the Ottoman armies as far as 
the Danube. 

A native satirist said of the Greeks : " They are 
formed of three parts : their tongue speaks one thing, 
their mind meditates another, and their actions accord 
with neither." Had there been but the Greek Empire 
to subdue, it is possible that the fourteenth century 
might have seen the fall of Constantinople. Adrian- 
ople (1361) and soon after, Philippopolis succumbed 
upon the onslaught of Murad, and Macedonia and 
Thrace, or the modern Rumelia, were now Ottoman 
provinces. The Republic of Ragusa concluded a com- 
mercial treaty with the Ottomans in 1365, by which it 
placed itself under their protection ; and it is said that 
Murad signed the treaty, for lack of a pen, with his 
open hand, over which he had smeared some ink, in 

' Murad is often written Amurath by Europeans. So Bayezid 
(Bajazet), Suleyman (Soliman), Mohammed (Mahomet), &c. We 
have retained the correct spelling. 


the manner of Eastern seals. This veritable sign- 
manual is believed to be the origin of the tiighra or 
Sultan's cipher, which has ever since appeared on the 
coinage and the official documents of the Turks. 

But the Sultan had other foes to reckon with 
besides worn-out imperialists and time-serving re- 
publics. To say nothing of danger from behind, in 
Asia, there was a belt of warlike peoples beyond the 
Balkan, who were made of very different stuff from 
the emasculate Greeks. Behind the empire were 
ranged the vigorous young Slavonic races of Serbia 
and Bosnia, the Bulgarians, and the Vlachs, with 
their traditions of Roman descent, the Skipitars of 
Albania, a hardy race of mountaineers, and, above 
all, the Magyars of Hungary, who, with their neigh- 
bours the Poles, formed for three centuries the chief 
bulwark of Christendom against the swelling tide of 
Mohammedan invasion. In 1364 the first encounter 
between the northern Christians and the invaders 
took place on the banks of the Maritza, near Adria- 
nople, whither Louis I., King of Hungary and Poland, 
and the princes of Bosnia, Serbia, and Wallachia, 
pushed forward to put an end once for all to the rule 
of the Ottoman in Europe. Lala Shahln, Murad's 
commander in chief, could not muster more than 
half the number of troops that the Christians brought 
against him ; but he took advantage of the state of 
drunken revelry in which the too confident enemy 
was plunged to make a sudden night attack, and 
the army of Hungary, heavy with sleep after its 
riotous festivities, was suddenly aroused by the beat- 
ing of the Turkish drums and the shrill music of their 



fifes. The Ottomans were upon them before they 
could stand to arms. "They were like wild beasts 
scared from their lair," says the Turkish historian, 
Sa'd-ud-din ; "speeding from the field of fight to the 
waste of flight, those abjects poured into the stream 
Maritza and were drowned." To this day the spot is 
called Sirf Sindughi, " Serbs' rout." 

For the present the Turks were satisfied with re- 
pelling the enemy ; but before long they resolved 
upon carrying the war into the territories of their 
foes. Thus far the Ottomans had only possessed 
themselves of less than a quarter of modern Turkey. 
Leaving Albania for the present out of the question, 
we may compare the eastern and greater part of 
Turkey in Europe to a flag bearing a St. George's 
cross. From east to west, the range of Haemus, or 
the Balkan, divides it into two well-marked divisions, 
and the arms which these mountains stretch forth 
to the north and south complete the cross. Of 
the two upper quarters, that to the west was an- 
ciently known as Upper Moesia, and had become the 
kingdoms of Serbia and Bosnia ; that to the east was 
Lower Moesia, or Bulgaria. The lower squares repre- 
sent Thrace and Macedonia, and together form what 
was known as Rumelia. Of these four portions, the 
Ottomans so far possessed only the south-eastern, or 
Thrace, the whole of which, with the exception of the 
country immediately surrounding Constantinople, now 
owned their sway. In 1373, however, by the capture of 
Cavala, Serez, and other places, they annexed most 
of Macedonia, and pushed their frontier almost up 
to the great mountain range which divides Rumelia 


from Albania. Two of the four quarters of the square 
had thus been subdued, and in 1375 the Ottoman 
armies marched north to reduce the rest Crossing 
the Balkan they took Nissa, the birthplace of Con- 
stantine the Great and one of the strongest fortresses 
of the Byzantine Empire. After a siege of twenty-five 
days the city capitulated, and the Despot of Servia, 
attacked in the heart of his kingdom, obtained peace 
on condition of his paying an annual tribute of a 
thousand pounds of silver, and furnishing a thousand 
horsemen to the Ottoman armies. The Krai of Bul- 
garia did not wait to be conquered, but humbly begged 
for mercy, which was granted on his paying, not tri- 
bute, but what he preferred — his daughter. Thus 
was the greater part of the two northern quarters 
made tributary to the Sultan. The Greek Emperor, 
who had not scrupled to become a convert to the 
Latin Church in order (as he vainly hoped) to secure 
the aid of the Pope and the Catholic Powers, finding 
the Ottomans irresistible, declared himself a vassal of 

At the same time a further addition was made, 
in a peaceful manner, to the Ottoman dominions in 
Asia. Murad seized the opportunity of a period of 
tranquility to solemnize the marriage of his son 
Bayezld with the daughter of the prince of Kermiyan, 
one of the ten states that had grown out of the 
Seljuk kingdom. The bride brought the greater part 
of her father's dominions as a dowry to the young 
Turk, and the province of Kermiyan with its chief cities 
was thus peacefully added to the Ottoman Empire. 
The wedding was celebrated at Brusa with the utmost 


pomp. Representatives came from the remainder of 
the Ten States, the lords of Aydin, of Kastamuni, of 
Mentesha, and Karaman, and the rest ; and am- 
bassadors arrived from the Sultan of Egypt. They 
brought Arab steeds, Greek slave-girls, and the won- 
derful silk stuffs of Alexandria. Gold plates filled with 
gold coins, silver dishes full of silver coins, jewelled 
cups and basins, were among the presents, all of 
which were given away by the Sultan to his guests. 
The keys of the castles of Kermiyan, however, he 
accepted from the bride, and with these he did not 
part. At the same time Murad purchased from its 
ruler the territory of Hamid, with its cities of 
Akshehr, Begshehri, and others, and thus united 
under his rule four out of the ten Seljukian states. 
Sultanoni, Karasi, Kermiyan, and Hamid now formed 
part of the Ottoman territory ; and ten years later 
BayezTd overran the whole of the remaining states 
and reduced the entire kingdom of the Seljuks. 


(1 380-1402.) 

Meanwhile the yearly drain of the Christians 
to recruit the corps of the janissaries was exciting 
the anger of the princes of the north. The Turks 
had indeed reached the Danube ; but they were not 
to remain undisturbed in their wide dominion. The 
Slavs were not yet subdued. They determined on 
another effort to expel the enemy from Europe. 
Serbia, Bosnia, and Bulgaria led the crusade ; Al- 
bania, Wallachia, Hungary joined ; Poland sent her 
contingent. The rest of Europe was too closely 
occupied with its own affairs, or too much a prey to 
ignoble rulers, to spare any interest for the struggle 
that was going on in the Balkan Peninsula. Still 
the confederates were able to muster a formidable 
array, and their first move was a success. They fell 
upon an Ottoman army in Bosnia in 1388, and 
killed three-fourths of its twenty thousand men. 
Murad was not disposed to sit still under this affront, 
and his general, All Pasha, forthwith crossed the 
Balkan by the Derbend Pass, descended upon 
Shumla, seized Tirnova, and brought Sisvan the Krai 



of Bulgaria to his knees. Besieged in Nicopolis, the 
prince surrendered, and Bulgaria was immediately 
annexed to the Ottoman Empire, of which the Danube 
now formed the northern frontier. 

Lazarus the Serbian, though deprived of his Bulgarian 
ally, was not yet daunted. He challenged Murad to 
battle, and the opposing forces met (1389) on the plain 
of Kosovo by the banks of the river Shinitza. Serbs, 
Bosnians, Skipitars, Poles, Magyars, and Vlachs were 
massed on the north side of the stream ; on the 
south were the Ottomans under Murad himself, sup- 
ported by his vassals and allies of Europe and Asia. 
The Sultan spent the night before the battle in 
prayer for the help of God and a martyr's death, 
for like all true Moslems he coveted the crowning 
glory of dying in fight with the Infidels ; and in the 
morning he saw an answer to his petitions in the 
rain which laid the clouds of dust that were driving 
blindingly in the faces of the Turkish troops. When 
the sky cleared, the two armies came forward and 
were drawn up in battle array. Lazarus commanded 
the centre of the Christian line, his nephew Vuk 
Brankovich the right, and Tvarko the king of 
Bosnia the left. On the Turkish side, Murad himself 
was in the centre, his sons BayezTd and Ya'kub com- 
manded the right and left wings, and Haydar ranged 
his artillery on the brow of the hill behind the main 
body. The battle was long and obstinately con- 
tested ; at one time the left wing of the Turks 
wavered, but its courage was restored by the charge 
of Bayezid, whose rapidity of action had earned him 
the name of Yildiriin, "Thunderbolt" He raged 


through the ranks of the enemy, brandishing a 
mighty iron mace, and felling all who came in his 
way. With such fury did he renew the fight, that the 
" Turks, which before as men discouraged fled in the 
left wing, began now to turn again upon their 
enemies ; and the Christians, having as they thought 
already got the victory, were to begin a great battle. 
In which bloody fight many thousands fell on both 
sides ; the brightness of the armour and weapons 
was as it had been the lightning ; the multitude of 
lances and other horsemen's staves shadowed the light 
of the sun ; arrows and darts fell so fast that a 
man would have thought they had poured down 
from heaven ; the noise of the instruments of war, 
with the neighing of horses and the outcries of men, 
were so terrible and great, that the wild beasts of 
the mountain stood astonied therewith ; and the 
Turkish histories, to express the terror of the day, 
vainly say that the angels in heaven, amazed with 
that hideous noise, for that time forgot the heavenly 
hymns wherewith they always glorify God. About 
noontide of the day, the fortune of the Turks prevailing, 
the Christians began to give ground, and at length 
betook themselves to plain flight : whom the Turks 
with all their force pursued and slew them down- 
right, without number or mercy." ^ The field, says 
the Turkish chronicler, was like a tulip bed, with its 
ruddy severed heads and rolling turbans. 

But the battle was not to end without an irreparable 
loss to the Turks. Milosh Kobilovich, a Serbian 
warrior, made his way to the Sultan's presence, on 

* Knolles and Rycaut, *' The Turkish History," i, 138. 


pretext of important tidings to be communicated 
to his private ear ; and, when he was brought before 
him, suddenly plunged his dagger into the Sultan's 
body. The assassin was hewn to pieces by the 
guard ; but his work had been effectual. Murad 
died in his tent, after ordering the charge of his 
reserve which completed the victory. With his 
dying voice he ordained the execution of Lazarus 
the Serbian king, who had been made a prisoner. 
Milosh Kobilovich, for this treacherous assassina- 
tion, has ever since been regarded as a Serbian hero. 
As with Harmodius and Aristogiton in ancient Greece, 
and Charlotte Corday in modern France, the igno- 
miny of betrayal has been absolved by posterity in 
consideration of the utility of the result. An assassin 
thus becomes a sort of inverted hero. 

In consequence of this misfortune, a rule has ever 
since been prescribed in Ottoman etiquette that no 
stranger shall be presented to the Sultan save led 
by two courtiers, who hold him by the arms, and 
thus prevent any treacherous attempt. The precau- 
tion is no longer insisted on ; but even in the present 
century foreign ambassadors were not permitted 
to approach the Sultan too closely. 
\ " This [Murad or] Amurath was in his superstition 
tnore zealous than any other of the Turkish kings ; a 
man of great courage, and in all his attempts fortu- 
nate ; he made greater slaughter of his enemies than 
both his father and grandfather ; his kingdom in 
Asia he greatly enlarged by the sword, marriage, and 
purchase ; and, using the discord and cowardice of 
the Grecian princes to his profit, subdued a great 


part of Thracia, called Rumania, with the territories 
thereto adjoining, leaving unto the Emperor of Con- 
stantinople little or nothing more in Thracia than 
the imperial city itself, with the bare name of an 
emperor almost without an empire ; he won a great 
part of Bulgaria and entered into Serbia, Bosnia, 
and Macedonia ; he was liberal and withal severe, 
of his subjects both beloved and feared, a n\an of 
very few words and one that could dissemble deeply. 
He was slain when he was three score and eight 
years old and had therefore reigned thirty-one, in 
the year of our Lord [1389]. His dead body was 
by Bajazet conveyed into Asia, and there royally 
buried at Brusa in a fair chapel at the west end of 
the city, near unto the baths there, where upon his 
tomb lieth his soldier's cloak, with a little Turkish 
tulipant, much differing from those great turbans 
which the Turks now wear. Near unto ^he same 
tomb are placed three lances with three horse-tails 
fastened at the upper end of them, which he used 
as guidons in his wars." ^ On the plain of Kosovo 
three stones still mark the spots where Milosh 
Kobilovich thrice freed himself from the onslaught 
of the encircling guard, and a chapel shows the place 
where Murad fell. 

On the battle-field, BayezTd, the " Bajazet " of old 
Knolles, was saluted Sultan by the army ; and in sight 
of the dead body of his father, the new ruler imme- 
diately slew his brother Ya'kub, who had fought 
gallantly throughout the day. The murder of their 
brothers was henceforward to be a principle of 

* Knolles, i. p. 139. 


Ottoman succession. Murad himself had cruelly put 
to death his son Saveji, when he rebelled against him ; 
and Bayezld was equally determined to have no rivals 
to disturb his state. " Sedition is worse than slaughter/' 
says the Koran, and acting on that adage the Sultansi 
of Turkey for centuries provided against revolution \ 
by putting out of the way every male heir who could 
possibly be a candidate for the throne. The custom 
was barbarous enough, but it at least procured the 
desired result ; and for five hundred years the Otto- 
man Empire has suffered little from civil strife among 

BayezTd soon brought the Serbian war to a close. His 
armies pushed on to Vidin, and, turning south, took 
Karatova with its valuable silver mines, and placed a 
Turkish colony in Uskub. Stephen, the son of Lazarus, 
was eager to conclude peace, and a treaty was arranged 
by which the Serbian king agreed, as vassal of the 
Ottoman, to furnish a contingent to his wars, to give 
his sister to wife to the Sultan, and to pay a yearly 
tribute from the proceeds of the silver mines. The 
Lady Despina soon came to exercise a great influence 
over her Turkish husband : " Of all his wives he held 
her dearest, and for her sake restored to her brother 
Stephen the city and castle of Semendria and Colum- 
barium in Serbia ; she allured him to drink wine, 
forbidden the Turks by their law, and caused him to 
delight in sumptuous banquets, which his predecessors 
never did." ^ 

Serbia was now no longer exposed to Ottoman 
incursions ; but there was not yet peace on the Danube, 
' Knolles, i, 143. 



In the following year, Bayezid overran Wallachia, and 
its prince, Myrche, submitted in 1 392, when his province 
became tributary to the Turks. Recalled to Asia by 
an attack from the Prince of Karaman, Bayezid swept 
like a whirlwind over the provinces of Asia Minor, and 
brought all the land to his sway. Master of the whole 
of the Seljuk kingdom of Rum, and of most of the 
country between the Bosphorus and the Danube, 
he was solemnly invested with the title of " Sul- 
tan " by the Abbaside Khalif — who was maintained in 
puppet state at the Mamluk Court at Cairo, and exer- 
cised what remained of the spiritual authority of the 
once mighty Khalifs of Damascus and Baghdad.' 
Intoxicated by success, the Sultan now gave himself 
up to the pleasures of sense ; he drank the forbidden 
wine, and indulged in the gross vices that have too 
constantly degraded the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, 
yet all his sensuality could not quench the general and 
soldier in him. Hearing that a new and formidable 
combination was forming against him in Europe, he 
shook off his sloth and luxury, and crossed the Bos- 
phorus with all the ancient energy which had procured 
him his title of " Thunderbolt." It is a singular fact> 
that however indolent and besotted a Turk may 
appear, you have but to put a sword in his hand, and 

* It is commonly stated that Bayezid was the first to adopt this title ; 
but coins still preserved in the British Museum and elsewhere, prove 
that both Orkhan and Murad I. styled themselves Sultan on their 
official currency. Of Othman there are no coins in existence, and it is 
probable that the right to coin was first assumed by Orkhan. Bayezid 's 
assumption of the title of Sultan was only so far novel that it re- 
ceived the sanction of the titular head of the Mohammedan reli- 


he will fire up and fight like a hero. The fighting 
spirit seems to be inherent in the race. 

The league that was gathering against him was 
indeed enough to dismay any sovereign. Sigismund 
of Hungary was not the man to sit still after defeat. 
He had been disgracefully routed in 1392, when 
he had invaded Bulgaria, and Kosovo and the humi- 
liation of Serbia were events too recent to be easily 
forgotten. The Hungarians were not, like some of 
the other adversaries of the Turks, members of what 
they considered the heretical, or as it styles itself the 
" Orthodox," Greek Church. So long as the Turks 
waged war upon such heretics, the Latin Church was 
content to let them alone. But Hungary was Catholic, \y' 
and at Sigismund's request the Pope took up the 
cause, and in 1394 proclaimed a crusade against the 
Moslems. All the Courts of Europe were besieged 
with demands for volunteers in the Holy War. 
France sent a body of men-at-arms under the Count 
of Nevers to the support of the King of Hungary, and 
many knights of renown came with their retainers to 
join in the crusade. They were to defeat the Turks, 
cross the Hellespont, and rescue the Holy Land from 
the infidels. Among them were the Count de la 
Marche, three cousins of the French king, Philippe 
of Artois, Count of Eu and Constable of France, and 
many more of the flower of the French chivalry. The 
Count of Hohenzollern and the Grand Master of the 
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem came with their 
followers. The Elector Palatine brought a company 
of Bavarian knights ; Myrche with his Vlachs and 
Sisman with his Bulgarians joyfully threw off the 


Turkish yoke, broke all their vows, and joined the 

y The allies marched through Serbia, whose king 
alone remained true to his treaty with BayezTd, and 
his lands were therefore plundered ; they took 
Vidin and Orsova, and, mustering sixty thousand 
men, sat down before the strong city of Nicopolis, 
which, with Vidin, Sistova, and Silistria, formed the 
four great frontier fortresses on the Danube. They 
were held by Turkish garrisons, and to re-take them 
was now the ardent desire of the Christian army. 

^ Vidin had already surrendered ; Nicopolis was the 
next to be attacked. Six days they pressed the siege 
by land and river, yet the Ottoman governor refused 
to surrender. The French knights, however, were not 
disturbed by this obstinacy, which was of the utmost 
value in detaining the invading army until the Sultan 
should come up with them ; they ridiculed the mere 
thought of Bayezid's advance, declared that he would 
not dare to cross the Hellespont, and, betaking them- 
selves to the wine and women that they had brought 
in shiploads down the Danube, they boasted in their 
cups that were the sky to fall they would hold it up 
with their spears. 

When scouts brought word that the Sultan was 
within six hours' march of Nicopolis, the jovial boon- 
fellows laughed them to scorn, and Marshal Boucicault 
threatened to have the bearers' ears cut off for raising a 
false alarm. Bayezld heard of these " brave words," and 
in return swore that he would stable his horse at the high 
altar of St. Peter's at Rome. He was upon the allies 
before they could credit their eyes. When the Turkish 




troops were seen advancing in their usual perfect disci- 
pline, the young French nobles, full of wine and conceit* 
clamoured to begin the fight, and disregarding the coun- 
sel of Sigismund, who knew that the practice of the 
Turks was to put their worst troops in the van of 
battle, the hot-headed Frenchmen charged madly upon 
the foe, after first celebrating the occasion by a mas- 
sacre of Turkish prisoners who had vainly trusted to 
their word of honour. Down they charged upon the 
Turkish front, and falling like a whirlwind upon the 
luckless skirmishers, whom Bayezld had thrown for- 
ward, cut them in pieces. Hacking right and left; the 
chivalry of France rode over their bodies, till they 
reached the Janissaries who were drawn up behind 
them ; ten thousand of the flower of the Turkish army 
fell, before the Janissaries took refuge under cover of 
the cavalry. Still unchecked, the triumphant cavaliers 
rode pell-mell at the famous squadrons of the Sipahls, 
and five thousand horsemen went down before their 
stormy charge. Right through the third line of the 
enemy they rode, exulting in their victory; and ascend- 
ing the high ground beyond, where they expected to 
see but the flying ruck of the Ottomans — they suddenly 
found themselves confronted by a forest of forty thou- 
sand lances, the main body of the Turkish army. Then 
they remembered, too late, the counsel of Sigismund ; 
and seized with panic fear, the knighthood of France 
broke up and fled for its very life, pursued by the 
horsemen of Asia. Admiral Jean de Vienne, brave 
man, bethought him of the shame as he was hurrying 
away ; and gathering his twelve knights about him he 

' See " The Story of Hungary," by Prof. Vambery, 183. 


cried, " God forbid that we should save our lives at the 
cost of our honour ; " so they plunged into the thick 
of the enemy, and died the death of the soldier. 

The Christian infantry could not witness this 
fearful flight without dismay ; the Hungarians and 
Vlachs on the right and left wings of the main 
body took to their heels. The centre alone stood 
firm, where the king's own Magyar followers, the 
Styrians under Hermann Count of Cilli, and the 
Bavarians under the Elector, covered the retreat of 
the French cavaliers, and advanced in serried ranks, 
twelve thousand strong, against the Turks. Despite 
their scanty numbers, they drove back the Janissaries 
and came to close combat with the Sipahls, whom 
they threatened to overthrow, when Stephen of Serbia, 
faithful to his oath, led his five thousand Slavs upon 
the Christians and won the day for his master the 
Sultan. The battle was at an end ; the remnant of 
the Christian army was cut down round the royal 
standard, and Sigismund was dragged away from the 
fatal field by the Count of Cilli and hurried into a 
boat by which he reached the Venetian fleet which 
was waiting to cooperate with the army at the mouth 
of the Danube. Instead of joining in attack, the 
task of the Venetians was narrowed to saving the few 
surviving leaders of a vanished host. 

BayczTd was left victorious on the hard won field. 
As he rode among the mountains of the slain he wept 
tears of rage to see how many of his bravest warriors 
had fallen before the furious onslaught of the French 
and the steady desperation of Sigismund's attack- 
He resolved to avenge their death by a fearful retri- 


bution upon the captives. Ten thousand prisoners of 
war were brought before him the next day, and, after 
summoning the Count of Nevers to witness his 
vengeance, and permitting him to select twenty-four 
knights for ransom, he gave orders that the rest 
of the captives should be slaughtered. Company 
after company, the stout knights and squires of 
France, the soldiers of Germany, of Bavaria, of Styria, 
of Hungary, were led before the Sultan, and there, in 
the sight of the Count of Nevers and his twenty- 
four companions, were pitilessly butchered. One 
Schildberger, who was himself present, saved by the 
intercession of Bayazld's son, and who lived to re- 
turn to his native Munich after thirty years of cap- 
tivity, tell us how he saw his comrades massacred in 
heaps by the Janissaries and the common executioners; 
from daybreak till four in the afternoon the Sultan 
sat watching the agonies of his enemies, till at last 
his own officers, moved perhaps by pity and disgust, 
or else by regret at the loss of so many marketable 
slaves, begged him to make an end of the butchery 
and send the remainder of the prisoners into captivity. 
Thousands however had already paid the penalty 
of death, and among them, as Froissart says— 

" ^{jen tf)e^ \^tvt all brougljt liefore ILamora-- 
baqtip naketi in tljeiu ^Ijprte^, anti Ijt beljeltie tljem 
a Iprell anti tljaix mrneti fco rljem toa^rtie, aati niatic 
a (S})^nt tljat tlje^ sJljultie lie all gdapne, aud 00 tljep 
Vnere tirouffljt tljrouglj tlje 0ara^^n0 tljat IjaD reti^ 
nalictJ 5\Dortie0 in tljeir Ijantieei, anti 00 0la^ne anti 
Ijevoen all to pecesf VDitljout mtttv. %W cruell 


iu0tpce tiiti ilamorabaqup tljat tia^e, bp t^e toljiclje 
mo t^an tljre liuntireD gentlemen of tipbet^f nacpon^ 
toere tourmenteD anti 0lapne for tbe lote of pH, on 
iD^og^e 0oule0 3]e0u Sate merc^/' 

In the following year the Count of Nevers and the 
surviving knights were ransomed. Froissart tells the 
story of their leavetaking with the Sultan. When the 
Count approached to thank him for his kindness and 
courtesy during their captivity, Bayezid said, through 
an interpreter — 

"3|oSan, 31 feno\x)e Voell tl)ou arte a peat lortie in 
tljp countre^, anti 0onne to a great lorue ; t^ou art 
^onge, anti peratiuenture 0ljaU beare 0ome blame 
anti 0bame tbat tljfs atiuenture b^tti fallen to tlje 
in tbp f^r^te clj^balrp ; anti to e;rcu0e tljp^elfe of 
tt)i0 blame anti to recouer tljpne bonour, peratiuen-. 
ture tbou Voplt a^^emble a pup00aimce of men, anti 
come anti make Voarre agapn^t me ; if 3| \xiere in 
Doute or feare tberof, or tljou tieparteti 3 0bwltie 
tm0t tlje 07 ere bj) tb? laVoe anti faptbe tbat neuer 
tjou nor none of tij? compan)^ 0b«ltie beare armure 
or make loarre agapn^t me ; but 3| \dpII notbec 
make tbe nor none of tb^ company to make anp 
0ucbe otbe or prome^^e, but 31 \^}>\l tbat \x^[)m tbou 
arte retourneti anb arte at tb? pleasure, raptfe \obttt 
pup00aunce tbou toplte, anb 0pare nat, but come 
agapn^t me •, tbou ^b^lt fpntie me alvoapetf rebp 
to rece^ue tbe anb tlj^ company in tbe felbe in 
plapne batajle ; anb tbi0 tbat J sap, 0bctoe it to 
Vobome tb? Ip^te, for 31 am able to bo tim^ of 

bayezid's defiance. 


arrne^, anti euer retip to conquere furtJier into 
crp0teationu ^^e^se ^pfflj \j)ortie0 ttie tvlt of 
iPeuer^ bntier^totie Voell, and 00 tipti !)i0 companp ; 
tjep t^ougjt on it after a0 long a^ tlje? IjueD/' 




The battle of Nicopolis had placed BayezTd at the 
summit of power. He issued boastful despatches 
to the chief potentates of the East announcing his 
triumph, and, in order to convince them of its verity 
by tangible evidence, he sent them by his mes- 
sengers presents of Christian slaves taken from the 
conquered nations. Nothing now could exceed the 
pride and arrogance of the Turkish Sultan. Lord 
of the lands of the Greek Empire as far as the 
Danube, and of Asia to the banks of the Euphrates, he 
dreamed of world-wide conquest, and even thought of 
realizing his threat of stabling his charger at the altar 
of St. Peter's at Rome. Not content while any part 
of the Eastern Empire remained unsubdued, he carried 
his arms southward through Thermopylae, which had 
no Leonidas to contest the pass, and with little 
opposition established his authority over the Pelo- 
ponnesus and set up the crescent upon the Acropolis 
of Athens. The Greek P^mperor was already his 
humble vassal, and had even consented to the building 
of a mosque in Constantinople, in order to appease the 



wrath of his imperious suzerain. Saladin the Great 
and others had extorted similar concessions ; but in 
the present instance to the mosque was added a 
Mohammedan college, and a Moslem judge or Kadi 
was appointed to administer the laws of Islam in a 
quarter specially set apart for Musulmans in the metro- 
polis of Orthodox Christianity. 

The Turks had indeed obtained a fatal hold upon 

the capital of the empire, and now Bayezld, not 

satisfied with the humiliations to which the emperor 

had submitted, demanded the surrender of the city 

itself. Manuel scoured Europe In search of allies, but 

in vain. Even when he descended so low as to beg 

the assistance of his immemorial rival the Pope, no 

aid was to be found ; and the Turkish armies, after 

\ beleaguering Constantinople for six years, seemed on 

ithe point of effecting the conquest, when a new and 

/ terrible figure appeared upon the scene, and Bayezld 

^ was forced to turn his forces elsewhere. 

Just at the moment when the Sultan seemed to ^ 
have attained the pinnacle of his ambition, when his 
authority was unquestioningly obeyed over the greater 
part of the Byzantine Empire in Europe and Asia, 
when the Christian states were regarding him with 
terror as the scourge of the world, another and a 
greater scourge came to quell him, and at one stroke 
all the vast fabric of empire which Bayezld had so 
triumphantly erected was shattered to the ground. 
This terrible conqueror was Tjmur the Tartar, or as 
we call him '* Tamerlane." 

Tlmur was of Turkish race, and was born near 
Samarkand in 1333 He was consequently an old 


man of nearly seventy when he came to encounter 
Bayezid in 1402. It had taken him many years to 
establish his authority over a portion of the numerous 
divisions into which the immense empire of Chingiz 
Khan had fallen after the death of that stupendous 
conqueror. Timur was but a petty chief among many 
others : but at last he won his way, and became ruler 
of Samarkand and the whole province of Transoxiana, 
or " Beyond the River " (Ma-wara-n-nahr), as the 
Arabs called the country north of the Oxus. Once 
fairly established in this province, Timur began to 
overrun the surrounding lands, and during thirty 
years his ruthless armies spread over the provinces of 
Asia, from Dehli to Damascus, and from the Sea of 
Aral to the Persian Gulf The sub-division of the 
Mohammedan Empire into numerous petty kingdoms 
rendered it powerless to meet the overwhelming 
hordes which Timur brought down from Central Asia. 
One and all, the kings and princes of Persia and 
Syria succumbed, and Tlmiir carried his banners 
triumphantly as far as the frontier of Egypt, where 
the brave Mamluk Sultans still dared to defy him. 
He had so far left Bayezid unmolested ; partly 
because he was too powerful to be rashly provoked, 
and partly because Timur respected the Sultan's 
valorous deeds against the Christians : for Timur, 
though a wholesale butcher, was very conscientious 
in matters of religion, and held that Bayezld's fighting 
for the Faith rightly covered a multitude of sins. 

But when two great empires march together, as did 
those of the Tartar and the Turk, and when each of 
them has been built up at the expense of a number of 


petty dynasties, every prince of which naturally sought 
an asylum at the Court of the rival emperor, the 
relations of the two Powers are apt to become 
strained. So it proved in the present case. Bayezld 
had sheltered some of the princes of Mesopotamia 
whom Timur had overthrown : Timur had welcomed 
to his Court the petty rulers of Asia Minor whom 
Bayezld had expelled. Of course the refugees on 
either side, in hope of restoration, lost no opportunity 
of exciting the jealousy and irritability of the rival 
tyrants. The result was that, after an interchange of 
embassies which only embittered the minds of both 
sovereigns, and in which the Turk displayed more 
than his wonted insolence, Timur advanced to Siwas, 
the ancient Sebaste, in Cappadocia, an important city 
which had recently acknowledged the authority of the 
Turk along with most of the towns of Asia Minor, 
and after a determined siege stormed the place and 
put the garrison to the sword. Among the rest, 
Prince Ertoghrul, a son of Bayezld was executed 

The Sultan was laying siege to Constantinople 
when he heard the news of the fall of Slwas and the 
death of his son. He hurried over to Asia, at the 
head of his veteran troops, who had for years borne 
the brunt of war against the chivalry of Serbia, 
Hungary, and France, on such fields as Kosovo and 
Nicopolis ; but when he arrived Timur was gone : he 
had marched south to menace the Mamluks of Egypt. 
It was not till the next year (1402) that the two forces 
met, and in the interval Bayezld had lost prestige with 
his soldiers. Timur's spies had been at w^ork, sowing 


disaffection among their ranks, and the Sultan's 
notorious meanness and avarice gave only too much 
colour to the insinuations of these emissaries; the 
Turkish troops became less hostile to Timur when 
they found how liberal he was to his followers. Still 
Bayezid did nothing to allay the growing murmurs of 
his men, and advanced to meet his adversary with an 
army estimated vaguely at 120,000. Timur, who is 
fabled to have commanded six times this number, 
outmanoeuvred him and secured an open field at 
Angora, where his superior force could be used to the 
best advantage. 

So far was Bayezid from manifesting even common 
caution in the presence of the enemy, that out of mere 
bravado he employed his army in a grand hunt in the 
neighbourhood of Angora. His hunting was ill chosen 
as to place as well as time, for there was no water, 
and it is said that no less than five thousand Turks 
perished from mere thirst, with never a Tartar arrow 
to speed them. When the infatuated Sultan returned 
to his camp, he found that Timur had seized it in his 
absence, and had poisoned the stream that would have 
refreshed the weary Turks. In this position the 
Ottoman led his dispirited men against the enemy. 
On the one side were men thirsty and exhausted, 
inferior in numbers, and discontented with their 
leader : on the other, a vast host, strongly posted, 
splendidly generalled, neglecting no precaution of 
war, and possessing every advantage of numbers, 
discipline, and physical condition. The result could 
not be doubtful. In the battle many of Bayezld's 
troops, among whom were forced contingents from the 


recently annexed states of Asia Minor, went over to 
the enemy, and only the Janissaries who formed the 
centre, and the Serbian auxiliaries under their king, 
Stephen Lazarevich, on the left, gave anything like a 
soldier's account of themselves on that memorable 
day. The valour of the Janissaries and the Serbs 
could avail little against Timur's numbers, and the 
end was utter rout. 

Old Knolles tells the story in his quaint and graphic 
style : " The next day the two armies drew near 
together and encamped within a league one of the 
other; where all the night long you might have heard 
such noise of horses as that it seemed the heavens 
were full of voices, the air did so resound ; and every 
man thought the night long, to come to the trial of 
his valour and the gaining of his desires. The 
Scythians talked of nothing but the spoil, the proud 
Parthians of their honour, and the poor Christians of 
their deliverance, all to be gained by the next day's 
victory: every man during the night speaking accord- 
ing to his own humour. All which Tamerlane, 
walking this night up and down in his camp, heard, 
and much rejoiced to see the hope that his soldiers 
had already in general conceived of the victory. 
Who, after the second watch, returning unto his 
pavilion, and there casting himself upon a carpet, had 
thought to have slept awhile : but his cares not 
suffering him to do so, he then, as his manner was, 
called for a book wherein was contained the lives of 
his fathers and ancestors and of other valiant worthies, 
the which he used ordinarily to read, as he then did ; 
not as therewith vainly to deceive the time, but to 


make use thereof by the imitation of that which was 
by them worthily done, and declining of such dangers 
as they by their rashness or oversight fell into. . . . 

" Now was Tamerlane by an espy advertised that 
Bajazet, having before given orders for the disposing 
of his army, was on foot in the midst of thirty 
thousand Janissaries, his principal men of war and 
greatest strength, wherein he meant that day to fight, 
and in whom he had reposed his greatest hope. . . . 
His army marching all in one front, in form of a half 
moon (but not so well knit together as was Tamerlane's 
whose squadrons directly followed one another) seemed 
almost as great as his ; and so with infinite numbers 
of most horrible outcries still advanced forward ; 
Tamerlane and his soldiers all the while standing fast 
with great silence. 

" There was not possible to be seen a more furious 
charge than was by the Turks given upon the Prince 
of Ciarcan, who had commandment not to fight before 
the enemy came up to him : neither could have been 
chosen a fairer plain, and where the skilful choice of 
the place was of less advantage for the one or the 
other ; but that Tamerlane had the river on the left 
hand of his army, serving him to some small 
advantage. Now this young Prince of Ciarcan with 
his forty thousand horse was in this first encounter 
almost wholly overthrown, yet having fought right 
valiantly and entered into them, even into the midst 
of the Janissaries (where the person of Bajazet was), 
putting them in disorder, was himself there slain. 
About which time Axalla set upon them with the 
avantguard, but not with like danger ; for having 


overthrown one of the enemy's wings, and cut it all to 
pieces, and his footmen coming to join with him as 
they had been commanded, he faced the battalion of 
the Janissaries, who right valiantly behaved themselves 
for the safety of their prince. 

" This hard fight continued one hour, and yet you 
could not have seen any scattered, but the one still 
resolutely fighting against the other. You might 
there have seen the horsemen like mountains rush 
together, and infinite numbers of men die, cry, lament, 
and threaten, all in one instant. Tamerlane had 
patience all this while, to see the event of this so 
mortal a fight ; but perceiving his men at length to 
give ground, he sent ten thousand of his horse to join 
again with the ten thousand appointed for the rearward, 
and commanded them to assist him at such time as 
he should have need of them ; and at the very same 
time charged himself and made them to give him 
room, causing the footmen to charge also, who gave a 
furious onset upon the battalion of the Janissaries. 
Now Bajazet had in his army a great number of 
mercenary Tartars [of the Seljiakian States]. . . . 
These Tartarians and other soldiers, seeing some 
their friends, and other some their natural and loving 
princes in the army of Tamerlane, stricken with the 
terror of disloyalty and abhorring the cruelty of the 
proud tyrant, in the heat of the battle revolted from 
Bajazet to their own princes, which their revolt much 
weakened Bajazet's forces. Who, nevertheless, with 
his own men of war, and especially the Janissaries, 
and the help of the Christian soldiers brought to his 
aid from Serbia and other places of Europe, with 


great courage maintained the fight : but the multitude 
and not true valour prevailed ; for as much as might 
be done by valiant and courageous men was by the 
Janissaries and the rest performed, both for the 
preservation of the person of their prince and the 
gaining of the victory. But in the end, the horsemen, 
with whom Tamerlane himself was giving a fresh 
charge, and the avantguard wholly knit again to him 
reinforcing the charge, he with much ado obtained the 
victory." ^ 

So on the field of Angora, where the Ottomans 
had won their spurs in their first combat by the side 
of the Seljukian Turks a hundred and fifty years 
before, now was their empire shattered to the ground. 
Bayezld himself, with one of his sons, was taken 
prisoner, and the unfortunate Sultan became a part 
of his victor's pageant, and was condemned in fetters, 
to follow his captor about in his pomps and cam- 
paigns. The fact that he was carried in a barred 
litter gave rise to the well-known legend that he 
was kept in an iron cage.^ He died eight months 
later, and Timur survived his humbled prisoner 
but two years. In that time, however, he had 
overrun the Turkish Empire in Asia, had occupied 
Nicaea, Brusa, and the other chief cities of the 

* Knolles, i. 152. 

' Racine, in his tragedy " Bajazet," made the story of this Sultan the 
means of familiarizing his generation with the history and habits of a 
people with whom they were little acc}iiainted ; and Bayezld appears 
also in Marlowe's " Tamburlaine the Cireat." In the latter he actually 
beats his brains out against the iron bars of his cage. The English 
Rowe and the French I'radon also based tragedies on the same fruitful 


coast, had wrested Smyrna from the valiant Knights 
of St. John, and had restored the various petty princes 
of Asia Minor to their former possessions. The 
empire of the Turks, built up with so much skill and 1 
bravery, till it had become the terror of Europe, I 
crumbled to dust before the Asiatic despot, who well/ 
earned his title of "The Wrath of God." The history! 
of the Ottomans seemed to have suddenly come to',^ 
an end. Seldom has the world seen so complete, so \ 
terrible, a catastrophe as the fall of Bayezld from the \ 
summit of power to the shame of a chained captive. 1 


The Ottoman power seemed gone for ever. At 
one blow Timur, the "Noble Tartarian," had ap- 
parently swept it out of Asia, and there were too 
many foes waiting their opportunity in Europe to 
make the hold of the Turks upon their European 
provinces anything but precarious. Hungarians, 
Poles, Bulgarians, Albanians, Vlachs, and many 
more hovered on the brink of the Turkish provinces, 
or were ready to rise in revolt within their borders. 
Their enemy was fallen they thought for ever. 

The most astonishing characteristic of the rule of 
the Turks is its vitality. Again and again its doom 
has been pronounced by wise prophets, and still it 
survives. Province after province has been cut off 
the empire, yet still the Sultan sits supreme over 
wide dominions, and is reverenced or feared by sub- 
jects of many races. Considering how little of the 
great qualities of the ruler the Turk has often 
possessed, how little trouble he has taken to con- 
ciliate the subjects whom his sword has subdued, 
it is amazing how firm has been his authority, 


how unshaken his power. At the moment when 
Timur's armies were ravaging the southern shores 
of the Bosphorus and the Greek Empire was almost 
rousing from its long sleep and retaking its lost 
provinces in Europe, the Turkish power might well 
be said to be annihilated ; yet within a dozen years 
the lost provinces were reunited under the strong and 
able rule of Mohammed I., and the Ottoman Empire, 
far from being weakened by the apparently crushing 
blow it had received in 1402, rose stronger and more 
vigorous after its fall, and, like a giant refreshed, 
prepared for new and bolder feats of conquest. 

Mr. Finlay, the gifted historian of medieval and 
modern Greece, has been to some pains to investigate 
the reason of the strange phenomenon presented by 
the progress of the Ottoman power. The same 
causes which produced their first success must account 
for their even more astonishing resurrection. "The 
establishment of the Ottoman Turks in Europe," he 
says, " is the last example of the conquest of a nu- 
merous Christian population by a small number of 
Musulman invaders, and of the colonization of 
civilized countries by a race ruder than the native 
population. The causes which produced these results 
were in some degree similar to those which had 
enabled small tribes of Goths and Germans to occupy 
and subdue the Western Roman Empire ; but three 
particular causes demand especial attention. First, the^ 
superiority of the Ottoman tribe over all contemporary ; 
nations in religious convictions and in moral and 
military conduct. Second, the number of different 
races which composed the population of the country 


between the Adriatic and the Black Sea, the Danube 
and the Aegean. Third, the depopulation of the 
Greek Empire, the degraded state of its judicial and 
civil administration, and the demoralization of the 
Hellenic race." ^ 

/ As Mr. Finlay goes on to explain, the respect with 
^ which Othman and his successors were regarded by 
the countless Mohammedan and Christian tribes, 
subjects who flocked to their standard and gladly 
submitted to their authority, is a sure proof of real 
superiority. Other barbarous races have risen to power 
and conquered rich provinces, only to succumb to the 
vices of luxury and demoralization. The Ottomans 

1 long retained their pristine vigour and morality. The 
cause of this is to be sought to a great extent in 
the extraordinary skill with which Orkhan and his 
brother Ala-ud-dln organised their new state ; the 
admirable administration of justice; and the sys- 
tematic education in the household of the Sultan, 
both for civil and military purposes, of the Christian 
tribute-children who formed the nucleus of the Otto- 
man power, and who, deprived of the natural ties 
of country and family, became devoted to the Sultan 
to whom they owed their judicious training and 
subsequent advancement : " It was by their mental 
as well as physical power that a vast variety of races 
both Mohammedan and Christian were held together 
by as firm a grasp as that by which imperial Rome 
held her provinces ; and the standard of the Sultan 
was carried victoriously into the heart of Europe and 
Asia, and far along the shores of Africa. Never was 

* *• History of Greece," iii. 475. 


SO durable a power reared up so rapidly from such 
scanty means as were possessed by Orkhan and his 
Vezir, when they conceived the bold idea of exter- 
minating Christianity by educating Christian children." 

The same sound education which was given to the 
tribute-children was shared by the Ottoman princes 
of the blood, and the result was that the early rulers 
of the Turkish Empire were men of sagacity and 
progressive views, always ready to improve the ad- 
ministration and the army, and to introduce new 
inventions and combinations. Sultans possessed of so 
wise a spirit were dangerous opponents of the shifty 
and unprincipled Greek emperors, and their ably 
organized and educated followers were infinitely the 
superiors of the disunited and corrupt subjects of the 
Palaeologi. These subjects, moreover, belonged to 
various hostile and jealous races ; they were Slavs, 
Greeks, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Albanians, and all degrees 
or*Ynixture, nor were the several races collected to- 
gether, but scattered in various quarters of the em- 
pire. And that empire itself was so degraded and 
corrupt in its government that it possessed no power 
of uniting its motley subjects or stemming the tide 
of demoralization that was swamping the whole 
population. The road was open to the Ottomans, 
and they were prepared to take it : they had served 
a worthy apprenticeship to the trade they were to 

Such causes led to the success of the Turks 
against the empire, and though the temporary over- 
throw of the Ottoman power by Timur checked their 
progress for the moment, the elements of success 


were not abolished. The Ottomans were still the 
trained, educated, disciplined force, civil and military, 
^ they had ever been. The Greek Empire was not the 
less decrepit because its antagonist was for an instant 
laid low. It needed but a wise and patient sovereign 
to retrieve the disaster and restore the Ottoman power 
to its former supremacy and renown. 

Such a ruler was Mohammed I., the son of Baye- 
zld. The Greeks described him as " persevering as 
a camel," and to his prudence and sagacity the Otto- 
man Empire owed as rniich as it did to the fighting 
qualities of his predecessors and successors. No other 
dynasty can boast such a succession of brilliant sove- 
reigns as those who conducted the Ottomans to the 
height of renown in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and six- 
teenth centuries. Orkhan, the taker of Nicaea and 
founder of the Janissaries ; Murad L, the conqueror 
at Kosovo ; BayezTd I., the victor of Nicopolis ; Mo- 
hammed I., the restorer of the shattered empire ; 
Murad II., the antagonist of Hunyady and of Skan- 
derbeg ; Mohammed II., the conqueror of Constanti- 
nople ; SelTm I., who annexed Kurdistan, Syria, and 
Egypt ; and Suleyman the Magnificent, the victor on 
the field of Mohdcs and the besieger of Vienna. 
Never did eight such sovereigns succeed one another 
(save for the feeble Bayezld II.) in unbroken succes- 
sion in any other country ; never was an empire 
founded and extended during two such splendid 
centuries by such a series of great rulers. In the 
hour of dismay, as well as in the moment of triumph, 
the Turkish Sultan was master of the situation. 

It was in the hour of dismay that Sultan Moham- 


med^I. displayed his statesmanlike qualities. He 
began without an empire, and the least encouraging 
sign of the times was the jealousy which prompted 
his brothers, aided by the crowd of jealous Seljuk 
nobles and princes, to dispute with one another for 
the throne. Mohammed was the youngest son of 
Bayezld, and his elder brothers naturally asserted 
their prior right to the crown. While he set up a little 
shadow of a principality at Amasia, Prince Suleyman 
raised his standard at Adrianople and claimed the 
homage of the Turkish subjects in Europe ; Prince 
Isa established himself at Brusa, and seized part of 
the Asiatic provinces ; while Prince Musa, after bring- 
ing his father's body to Brusa to be buried, joined in 
the race for power. Suleyman, who had made him- 
self odious to his troops by his savage cruelty and 
debauchery, was deserted by his army and killed 
(1410). Musa, who reaped the advantages of his 
brother's death and emulated his brutality, waged a 
campaign against the Serbians, in which he ravaged 
the country with all the ruthlessness that a Turkish 
army can display, and is said to have feasted his 
officers upon tables constructed of the corpses of three 
Serb garrisons. He then laid siege to Constanti- 
nople, and the emperor called Mohammed to his aid. 
After several reverses Mohammed, assisted by Ste- 
phen, king of Serbia, the old ally of Bayezid, routed 
the besieging army, and in the flight Musa was killed. 
Prince Isa had meanwhile disappeared into obscurity, 
and Mohammed I. was now (141 3) sole Sultan over 
the undivided Turkish Empire, 

His reign as absolute Sultan lasted only eight 


years, but in that brief space he worked wonders. 
He did not indeed attempt the warlike achievements 
of his father, though he was prompt to resist any 
encroachment upon his dominions. He suffered 
I more than one defeat from the Christians of his 
' northern frontier, and his fleet was severely beaten 
off Gallipoli by the Venetians under Admiral Lore- 
Idano. Mohammed had, however, clearly grasped his 
position, and had realized that his policy must be 
steady consolidation rather than extension ; and he 
did not allow a few trifling reverses to tempt him 
into dangerous campaigns. What he aimed at he 
accomplished : to maintain the boundaries of his em- ' 
pire and strengthen the ties between the sovereign 
j and his subjects, which the disaster at Angora must 
/have sorely strained. With this object his chief i 
y desire was for peace, and he made the Greek emperor 
his friend, first by supporting him against Musa, and 
then by surrendering to him certain places on the 
Black Sea and some fortresses in Thessaly. He 
received ambassadors from the rulers of Serbia, 
Wallachia, and Albania, with assurances of good- will, 
and concluded a treaty of amity with Venice. In 
Asia his authority was established with more diffi- 
culty, for the prince of Karaman, who had been 
reinstated by Timur, asserted his ancient indepen- 
dence and, not being an effete Greek, but a plucky 
Turk, seized the moment of anarchy to invade the 
chief cities of the Ottoman dominion in Asia. Mo- 
hammed defeated him, but wisely refrained, in the 
convalescent state of the empire, from endangering its 
complete recovery by any very stringent measures 


against the petty dynasties of Asia Minor. He re- 
ceived their homage, but left it to his successor to 
reduce them once again to the position of Turkish 
provinces to which Bayezld had brought them shortly 
before his fall. 

A revolt of the dervishes, and the appearance of a 
pretender to the throne, further disturbed the Sultan's 
pacific designs ; but they were suppressed, and he 
was able to devote himself again to those measures 
of consolidation and to those cultivated tastes for 
poetry and literature for which he was distinguished. 
He was called Chelebi Mohammed, " Mohammed 
the Gentleman " ; and no name could better express 
the refinement and humanity of his character. It is 
recorded to his discredit that he caused his only 
surviving brother Kasim to be blinded, and killed 
the child of Suleyman ; but it must be remembered 
that Mohammed had experienced too terribly the 
evils of rival claimants to the throne to be prone to 
suffer the empire to be again plunged into the intes- 
tinal troubles which had marked the beginning of 
his own reign. It appears to be the rule that a 
Turkish prince is never satisfied with anything short 
of the Sultanate ; and it becomes a matter of sheer 
necessity, and not a question of jealous suspicion, to 
make it impossible for him to attain his ambition. 
In the present day this is done by imprisoning him 
in the seraglio till he becomes almost idiotic. The 
old, and perhaps the more merciful, way was to kill 
him outright. 

Mohammed I. died in the spring of the year 142 1, 
and was buried near the beautiful mosque which he had 



built at Brusa, known as the Green Mosque, from the 
colour of the tiles that adorned its domes. Brusa was 
no longer the capital of the Turks. Mohammed had 
taken an ominous step : he had transferred his 
capital to Europe. Adrianople was the metropolis of 
the Ottomans. 




The new Sultan, Murad II., who succeeded in; 
142 1, possessed all the clemency and prudence that! 
characterized Mohammed the Gentleman ; but his/ 
temper was of that ambitious adventurous order 
which the state of the empire at that time demanded. 
Mohammed's conciliatory disposition, his peaceful and 
consolidating policy, had been of the utmost service 
to the State. The Turks were now ready to resume 1 
the career of conquest which had been interrupted by / 
the thunderstorm of Angora, and Murad was the very 
leader they wanted. He lost no time in giving 
abundant proofs of his mettle. The Greek emperor, 
forgetful of his old ties with Mohammed, and con- 
temptuous of the stripling of eighteen years who now 
ascended the Ottoman throne, let loose a supposititious 
son of Bayezld, Mustafa, who had claimed the throne 
some years before, and had ever since been kept in 
close custody at Constantinople. Mustafa enjoyed a 
transitory gleam of triumph, and subdued the Euro- 
pean provinces for awhile ; but he was soon found 
wanting, and Murad had him hanged " to convince 



the world that he was an impostor." Murad then 
resolved to punish the duplicity of Manuel, and laid 
siege to the imperial city. Already had Yildirim 
BayezTd sat down before the city of Constantine, 
but he had been recalled to Asia by the coming of 
Timur. In like manner Murad had made some 
progress in the siege ; he had drawn his lines from 
the "Golden to the Wooden Gate, and an assault had 
been attempted and vigorously repulsed by the 
defenders, when a revolt in Asia Minor put an 
end to the attack, and Murad hastily crossed the 
Bosphorus to put down a brother's insurrection. On 
his return he did not recommence the siege, but 
accepted a heavy tribute from the emperor, and left 
him in possession of Thessalonica (until 1436), and 
some forts in Thrace and Thessaly. To prevent 
any further opportunities for the disaffected in Asia, 
Murad finally annexed most of the various petty 
states which Timur had resuscitated, and henceforth 
we hear little of wars with the dynasties that had 
once been the rivals of the Ottomans in the suc- 
cession to the kingdom of the Seljuks. 

Murad's fighting qualities were soon to be put to 
such a test as no Asiatic prince could offer him. The 
Christian states were again in arms, and they had 
found a leader whose name is famous in the front 
rank of European generals. So long as Stephen 
Lazarevich lived, the treaty which bound Serbia to 
alliance with the Turks was faithfully observed ; 
but on his death in 1427 a new king arose, George 
Brankovich, who knew not Murad, and who began 
to collect the forces of Serbia, Bosnia, Hungary, 



Poland, Wallachia, and Albania, against the common 

Hunyady was the name the Christians conjured 
with. When King Sigismund of Hungary was flying 
from one of his unsuccessful engagements with the 
Ottoman armies, he met and loved the beautiful 
Elizabeth Morsiney, at the village of Hunyade, and 
John Hunyady was believed to be the fruit of this 
consolatory affection. " Whatsoever his parents 
were," says KnoUes, " he himself was a politic, 
valiant, fortunate, and famous captain, his victories so 
great as the like was never before by any Christian 
prince obtained against the Turks ; so that his name 
became unto them so- dreadful that they used the 
same to fear their crying children withal." Hunyady 
had won his spurs in the wars in Italy, where his 
silver armour had gained him the sobriquet by which 
De Commines styles him, " the White Knight of 
Wallachia." Returning to his own country, he- was 
chosen Ban of Szoreny and Voyvode of Transyl- 
vania, and soon displayed his prOwess. " This worthy 
captain," again to quote Knolles, " began to keep the 
Turks short by cutting them off whensoever they pre- 
sumed to enter into his country, and also by shutting 
up the passages whereby they were wont to forage the 
country of Transylvania ; and when he had put his 
own charge into good safety, he entered into Moldavia,- 
and never rested till he had won it quite out of the 
Turks' hands. And not contented with this, passed 
many times over Danubius into the Turks' dominions, 
making havoc of the Turks, and carrying away with 
him great booty, with many captives." For twenty 


years he was the terror of the Ottomans and the 
saviour of the kingdom of Hungary, of which, during 
the minority of Vladislaus V., he was chosen governor. 
The great events in his career were the battles of 
Hermannstadt and Nissa, the passage of the Balkan, 
the defeat at Varna, and the storming of Belgrade.^ 

The first of these encounters took place during 
the siege of Hermannstadt, in Transylvania, which 
Murad's general, Mezld, was pressing as some compen- 
sation for a repulse which the Ottoman troops had 
recently received at Belgrade. Hunyady came to 
the rescue of the beleaguered city with a small force 
in 1442, and aided by a sally of the garrison totally 
routed the Turkish army, killed 20,000 of the enemy, 
and having taken their general prisoner had him 
publicly hacked to pieces. Hunyady was as cruel 
and bloodthirsty as even the traditional Bashibozuk. 
It was his delight to have his banquets accompanied 
by the sight of the slaughtering of his enemies, just 
as other princes prefer to eat their dinner to the 
sound of music ; but Hunyady's music was the shriek 
of a dying prisoner. Soon after his success at Her- 
mannstadt, he heavily defeated the Turks at Vasag, 
or Vaskapu, and in 1443 commanded a magnificent 
army, composed of the flower of Hungary, Serbia, 
and Wallachia, together with a band of crusaders 
from Italy whom the Pope had excited to the holy 
war. King Vladislaus of Hungary was present, 
and Cardinal Julian brought the weight of papal 
authority. They met the Ottoman troops on the 

* For some account of tlie career of the Hungarian hero see " The 
Story of Hungary," chap. ix. 


banks of the Morava, near Nissa, and routed them 
completely. The Turks fled over the Balkan, and 
Hunyady pursued them. 

To cross the Balkan in winter from north to south 
against armed opposition is a feat rarely accom- 
plished. Diebitsch and Gourko are the only generals 
besides Hunyady who have achieved it. The Turks 
had skilfully barricaded the passes, and poured water 
down the approaches, which froze into an icy wall 
during the night. The passage seemed impracticable. 
Yet nothing daunted, and braving the weapons of the 
Turks with the same inflexibility as the rigours of 
the cold, the Hungarians forced the pass of Isladi, 
and kept Christmas on the southern slope of the 
famous range. In the plain below they once again 
inflicted a defeat upon the discomfited Ottomans. It 
seemed as though the Turkish Empire in Europe was 
at the feet of the intrepid general, and we read with 
amazement that instead of advancing upon Adrianople 
Hunyady abandoned the fruits of his triumphant cam- 
paign and returned to Buda, there to display his booty 
and his captives to his admiring countrymen. Murad 
seized the opportunity to offer terms of peace, and the 
Treaty of Szegedin, by which Serbia regained her in- 
dependence and Wallachia was annexed to Hungary, 
was solemnly sworn upon the Gospel and the Koran, 
and peace was concluded for ten years. 

Murad, like Charles V., had already tasted enough 
of the joys and the sorrows of empire, and the 
death of his eldest son so sorely afflicted him that 
he longed for the peace and retirement which he 
could never attain upon the throne. He abdicated 


in 1444, soon after the conclusion of the Treaty of 
Szegedin, and his son Mohammed II. reigned in his 
stead. Murad contentedly retired to Magnesia, where 
he intended to enjoy what remained of his life in 
cultivated leisure. 

No sooner were the Christians aware of the abdi- 
cation of the famous Sultan, whose generalship, 
despite the reverses his Pashas had received at the 
hands of Hunyady, was still an article of faith with 
his foes, than they resolved to forsake their treaty. 
The Pope and the Greek Emperor used their spiritual 
influence to induce Hunyady to break his oath, and 
Cardinal Julian employed the celebrated and in- 
famous argument which Cardinal Ximenes with equal 
success urged upon the conscience of Isabella of Castile 
— that oaths are not to be kept with infidels. Hun- 
yady was with difficulty persuaded, but the promise of 
ithe kingship of Bulgaria was too much for his honour, 
and he agreed to perjure himself. The treaty had 
hardly been sworn a month when this perfidy was afoot ; 
but the conspirators waited till the Turks had loyally 
carried out their part of the bond and had evacuated 
the forts of Serbia, before they began to disclose their 

Nothing more derogatory to the chivalry of Europe 
and the fame of a great general could be imagined 
than the manner in which this treachery was carried 
out. As soon as they had obtained the full advan- 
tages of the treaty they were about to disown, by the 
retirement of the Ottoman garrisons, Hunyady, with 
the King of Hungary, and Cardinal Julian, marched 
upon the unsuspecting Turks, and with only 20,000 


men began to invade the Ottoman dominions. They 
took many strong places, and massacred the garri- 
sons or threw them over precipices. Reaching the 
Black Sea, they turned south, and had advanced 
as far as Varna, which surrendered to their siege, 
when they learned that Murad had been roused from 
his retreat, had resumed the sceptre, and collected an 
army of 40,000 veterans, who were then being con- 
veyed across the Bosphorus for a ducat a man in 
Genoese vessels. By forced marches the Sultan 
pressed forward, and soon the news was brought that 
he was close at hand. 

Hunyady, notwithstanding the smallness of his 
force, and the awe which the Sultan's name inspired, 
was not dismayed. He was confident of victory, and, 
refusing to entrench his camp, declared he would 
fight in the open field. 

" On the eve of the feast of St. Mathurin," says 
Sir Edward Creasy, "the loth of November, 1444, 
the two armies stood arrayed for battle. The left 
wing of the Christian army consisted chiefly of 
Wallachian troops. The best part of the Hungarian 
soldiery was in the right wing, where also stood> 
the Prankish crusaders under Cardinal Julian. The 
king was in the centre, with the royal guard and 
the young nobility of his realms. The rearguard of 
Polish troops was under the Bishop of Peterwaradin. 
Hunyady acted as commander-in-chief of the whole 
army. On the Turkish side the two first lines were 
composed of cavalry and irregular infantry, the Beg- 
lerbeg of Rumelia commanding on the right, and the 
Beglerbeg of Anatolia on the left. In the centre, 


behind their h'nes, the Sultan took his post, with his 
Janissaries and the regular cavalry of his bodyguard. 
A copy of the violated treaty was placed on a lance- 
head and raised on high among the Turks as a 
standard in the battle and a visible appeal to the 
God of Truth, who punishes perjury among man- 

"At the very instant when the armies were about to 
encounter, an evil omen troubled the Christians. A 
strong and sudden blast of wind swept through their 
ranks, and blew all their banners to the ground, save 
only that of the king. Yet the commencement of 
the battle seemed to promise them a complete and 
glorious victory. Hunyady placed himself at the 
head of the right wing, and charged the Asiatic 
troops with such vigour that he broke them and 
chased them from the field. On the other wing, the 
Wallachians were equally successful against the 
cavalry and Azabs of Rumelia. King Vladislaus 
advanced boldly with the Christian centre, and Murad, 
seeing the rout of his two first lines and the disorder 
that was spreading itself in the ranks round him, des- 
paired of the fate of the day, and turned his horse for 

" Fortunately for the house of Othman, Karaja, the 
Beglerbeg of Anatolia, who had fallen back on the 
centre with the remnant of his defeated wing, was 
near the Sultan at this critical moment. He seized 
his master's bridle, and implored him to fight the 
battle out. The commandant of the Janissaries, 
indignant at such a breach of etiquette, raised his 
sword to smite the unceremonious Beglerbeg, when 



BATTLE OF VARl^^ C^)^^ 95 

he was himself cut down by a Hungarian sabre. 
Murad's presence of mind had failed him only for a 
moment, and he now encouraged his Janissaries to 
stand firm against the Christian charge. King Vladis- 
laus, on the other side, fought gallantly in the thickest 
of the strife ; but his horse was killed under him, and 
he was then surrounded and overpowered. He wished 
to yield himself a prisoner, but the Ottomans, indig- 
nant at the breach of the treaty, had sworn to give no 
quarter. An old Janissary cut off the king's head, 
and placed it, helmeted in silver, on a pike — a fearful 
companion to the lance on which the violated treaty 
was still reared on high. 

" The Hungarian nobles were appalled at the sight, 
and their centre fled in utter dismay from the field. 
Hunyady, on returning with his victorious right wing 
vainly charged the Janissaries, and strove at least to 
rescue from them the ghastly trophy of their victory. 
At last he fled in despair with the wreck of the troops 
that he had personally commanded and with the 
Wallachians who collected round him. The Hun- 
garian rearguard, abandoned by their commanders, 
was attacked by the Turks the next morning, and 
massacred almost to a man. Besides the Hungarian 
king. Cardinal Julian, the author of the breach of 
the treaty and the cause of this calamitous campaign, 
perished at Varna beneath the Turkish scimitar, 
together with Stephen Bahory, and the bishops of 
Eilau and Grosswardein." ^ 

The result of this decisive victory was the complete 
subjugation of Serbia and Bosnia, which were the more 

^ Creasy, 69-70. 


willing to re-enter the Moslem dominion as they had 
been threatened with persecution and forcible conver- 
sion to the Latin faith in the event of the triumph of 
Hunyady. Murad again retired to Magnesia; but 
his son was still too young to manage the empire, 
and a revolt of the Janissaries recalled the father to 
his responsibilities. He did not retire a third time, 
but reigned for six years in undiminished glory, and 
ionce more defeated his old enemy Hoayady at a 
'second long contested battle at Kosovo. 

Atlasthedied in 1451. "Thus lieth great Amurath," 
writes Knolles, compelled into a sort of enthusiasm as 
he contemplates the death of the mighty Sultan, " erst 
not inferior unto the greatest monarchs of that age. 
• . . Who had fought greater battles ? who had gained 
greater victories, or obtained more glorious triumphs 
than had Amurath ? who by the spoils of so many 
mighty kings and princes, and by the conquest of so 
many proud and warlike nations, again restored and 
embellished the Turks' kingdom, before by Tamerlane 
and the Tartars in a manner clean defaced ? He it 
was that burst the heart of the proud Grecians, 
establishing his empire at Hadrianople, even in the 
centre of their bowels : from whence have proceeded 
so many miseries and calamities unto the greatest 
part of Christendom as no tongue is able to express. 
He it was that subdued unto the Turks so many 
great countries and provinces in Asia ; that in plain 
field and set battle overthrew many puissant kings 
and princes, and brought them under his subjection ; 
who, having slain Vladislaus, the King of Polonia and 
Hungary, and more than once chased out of the field 


Hunyady that famous and redoubted warrior, had in 
his proud and ambitious heart promised unto himself 
the conquest of a great part of Christendom. . . . 
Where is that victorious hand that swayed so many 
sceptres ? where is the majesty of his power and 
strength that commanded over so many nations and 
kingdoms ? He Heth now dead, a ghastly carcase, a 
clod of clay unregarded, his hands closed, his eyes 
shut, his feet stretched out, which erst proudly traced 
the countries by him subdued and conquered." 

But the clod of clay was not quite unregarded : 
it was buried with great solemnity at Brusa, where 
" he now lieth in a chapel without any roof, his grave 
nothing differing from the manner of the common 
Turks : which they say he commanded to be done in 
his last will, that the mercy and blessing of God 
might come unto him with the shining of the sun and 
moon and falling of the rain and dew upon his 
grave." ^ 

Hunyady survived the Sultan whose armies he had 
so often met. Five years after Murad had gone to 
sleep with his fathers at Brusa, his son Mohammed 
laid siege to Belgrade — the Gate of Hungary. Then 
came the crowning triumph of Hunyady's career. 
He stirred up th<3 garrison to a valiant defence, at 
first by his single efforts ; but soon with the aid 
of a no less heroic spirit. John Capistran came 
to his aid, followed by a fiery band of 60,000 Cru- 
saders, whom the monk's martial ardour and zeal 
for the faith had gathered together to fight for Chris- 
tendom in this hour of its sore distress. At the 

* Knolles, i. 227. 


moment when the Janissaries had forced their way 
into the devoted city, Hunyady and the gallant old 
priest fell upon them with the fury of despair ; and so 
fierce was the charge that the Turks fell back.^ 
Then the holy man, leading his Crusaders with a 
glorious recklessness straight to the tent of the 
$ultan, and followed by Hunyady and the inspirited 
garrison, routed the Ottomans so utterly, that they 
pven abandoned their camp and artillery to the 
Christians and fled for dear life. Mohammed himself 
was wounded, and 25,000 Turks lay stretched upon 
the field. Twenty days after this, Hunyady, the hero 
of many fields, died, and two months later was fol- 
lowed to the grave by John Capistran, who had 
:^een his threescore years and ten, and had ended 
them in a flash of glory. He was canonized at Rome, 
and all Christians must agree that the noble old monk 
had well earned the veneration of all the churches of 

* See Vambery, "TheStoryof Hungary," for the Hungarian account 
of the siege. 






Murad's long reign of thirty years was soiled by 
no breath of dishonour ; his character was as noble as 
It was commanding. His son and successor Moham- 
med II., reigned also thirty years, but his rule was 
marked by violence and treachery, and the new 
Sultan, though possessed of surpassing ability and 
intelligence, had none of the high moral qualities 
that distinguished his father. Again and again he 
emulated the perfidy of the Hungarians and broke a 
solemn pledge ; again and again garrisons confided 
in his honour only to meet with ruthless slaughter. 
His first act was to murder his baby brother, 
whose powers of hostility could hardly yet be 
^langerous ; and it is difficult to imagine the state of 
mind of a sovereign who, granting the wisdom of 
removing possible pretenders to the throne, could 
consistently carry out the principle on the person of 
an infant at the breast. 

Cruel, perfidious, and sensual, the new Sultan was 
yet, as is not uncommon with Eastern tyrants, a 


very cultivated man, devoted to the making of verse 
and the society of men of learning. Thirty Otto- 
man poets received pensions from this Turkish Maece- 
nas, and he even sent handsome presents every year to 
the Indian Khoja-i-jihan and the Persian Jam!; while 
his liberality towards colleges and pious foundations 
was so great that he was given the surname " Father 
of Good Works" as well as "Sire of Victory." His 
bounty and poetic talent were emulated by his great 
officers ; and Mahmud Pasha, the conqueror of Negro- 
pont, was a founder of colleges and a writer of verse. 
It was natural that the source of all this poetic culti- 
vation should be praised in song ; and we learn from 
panegyrists that the countenance of Mohammed 11. was 
decorated with a pair of red and white cheeks, full and 
round, a hooked nose, and a resolute mouth — as we see 
in the medal (p. 104) ; his moustachios were " like leaves 
over two rosebuds, and every hair of his beard was as a 
thread of gold ! " ^ Such encomiums sound oddly in 
European ears ; but when the poets extolled Moham- 
med's military genius they were on firmer ground. As a 
general he was superior even to his father ; and his 
famous reply to one who asked him on a campaign 
what were his plans — " If a hair of my beard knew 
them I would pluck it out " — gives the key-note of his 
success : absolute secrecy and lightning rapidity ot 

Mohammed II. fought many battles and laid siege 
to many cities, but the siege which procured him the 
name of " the Conqueror " was that of Constantinople 
in 1453. It seemed as if the Greek Empire were 

' E. J. W. Gil)b, " Ott. Poems," 171-2. 




doomed to precipitate its end by signal acts of folly 
whenever a new Sultan came to the throne. The 
Christians had lost their opportunity when the Turks 
lay prostrate under the heel of Timur, and Europe 
might have expelled the invaders once and for ever. 
Europe preferred to wait till the Ottomans had re- 
covered all their pristine vigour, and then, on the 
accession of Murad II., Manuel the Emperor, com- 
mitted the folly of setting up Mustafa as a claimant 
to the throne. But for disturbances in his Asiatic 
provinces, Murad would probably have taken Con- 
stantinople then and there. As it was the Emperor 
received a lesson that should hardly have needed 
repetition. Nevertheless, after thirty years, during 
which the Turks were continually growing in power 
and military prestige, the new Emperor Constantine 
Palaeologus, last of his line, impelled by some fatal 
frenzy, seized the occasion of Murad's death to emu- 
late the insanity of Manuel. He threatened to 
establish on the throne of Adrianople a grandson-of 
that Prince Suleyman who had once reigned there so 
gaily among his wine-cups. Constantine was a brave 
man, as we shall see, but he was not a wise one, and 
in this instance he had laid too much stress upon the 
fact that, when Murad had abdicated, the lad Moham- 
med had shown himself unequal to the task of ruling 
the wide empire of the Ottomans. Six or seven years, 
however, had made a great difference in the spirit and 
resolution of the young Sultan, as Constantine was 
soon made to understand. 

The Turks had longed for the possession of the 
imperial city ever since Othman had dreamed that he 


grasped it in his hand. " Thunderbolt " BayezTd 
• had besieged it ; Musa had pressed it hard ; Murad 
II. had patiently planned its conquest There was 
^little to be won beside the city itself, for all the 
province round about had long been subdued by the 
- Ottomans ; but the wealth and beauty, the strength 
and position, of the capital itself were quite enough 
to make its capture the crowning ambition of the 
Turks. Mohammed eagerly seized the opportunity 
offered him by the hostility of the unwary emperor, 
and immediately began to build a fortress outside the 
gates of Constantinople, as the manner of the Turks 
was. Mohammed I. had already erected the fortress 
known as Anadolu Hisar, "The Castle of Anatolia," 
on the Asiatic shore, to overawe the Emperor Manuel. 
Mohammed II. set up the Rumeli Hisar, " Castle of 
Rumelia," on the opposite side, as a preparation for the 
conquest of Constantinople, and tothcgreat terr or of th e 
emperor. A thousand masons and a thousand labourers 
were devoted to the work ; altars and pillars of Chris- 
tiaTncTfiiTches 'were used for the walls, which were lliirty 
feet thick ; and the castle was finished in three months. 
O n the chief tow er heavy ordnance wa s placed in 
^^ position, which cast stone balls of six hundredweight, 
a n3"a"g arfison_of four hundred men was establish ed 
with orders to take toll from all passing vessels. The 
CasHc~orRunnielia stands to this da}-, facing its fellow 
across the l^osphorus, and lax-pini;- qiiardo\cr thestrait. 
The Turkish annalist Sa'd-ud-din describes the 
approach of the besieging army in his turgid rhymed 
prose, the effect of which is preserved in the following 
translation by Mr. Gibb : — 


" One morn, of fortune bright, when the van of the 
King of the skies ^ had appeared with the hosts of 
light, from forth the horizon tower, from behind the 
orient veil, the castle of night to assail, did the victory- 
shaded avant-guard of the high and lofty Lord ^ like- 
wise attain to the foot of the city-wall. And behind, 
like a boundless sea, like a hurrying stream, the Im- 
perial host, the victory-tended army, rolled, and did 
the city on the land-side enfold. With such sternness 
and such firmness did they that defended burgh, which 
of burghs is the mightiest, affray, that the footsteps of 
the courage of the burghers went astray, and the wit 
and understanding of the wardens passed away." 

The^greatest of English historians] has told the 
story of the conquest of Constantinople in such a 
manner, that subsequent research has succeeded in 
modifying almost nothing of his famous narrative. 
After careful and detailed preparations, the siege of 
the Eastern metropolis began on April 6, 1453. We 
quote from Gibbon;^ 

"Of the triangle which composes the figure of 
Constantinople, the two sides along the sea were 
made inaccessible to an enemy ; the Propontis by 
nature, and the harbour by art. Between the two 
waters, the basis of the triangle, the land side was 
protected by a double wall and a deep ditch of the 
depth of one hundred feet. Against this line of 
fortification, which Phranza, an eye-witness, prolongs 
to the measure of six miles, the Ottomans directed 
their principal attack ; and the emperor, after distri- 
buting the service and command of the most perilous 

* The sun. = The Sultan. 3 Milman's ed. viii. 159 ff. 


stations, undertook the defence of the external wall. 
In the first days of the siege, the Greek soldiers de- 
scended into the ditch or sallied into the field; but they 
soon discovered that in the proportion of their numbers, 
one Christian was of more value than twenty Turks ; 
and after these bold preludes, they were prudently 
content to maintain the rampart with their missile 
weapons. Nor should this prudence be accused of 
pusillanimity. The nation was indeed pusillanimous 
and base ; but the last Constantine deserves the name 
of a hero ; his noble band of volunteers was inspired 
with Roman virtue ; and the foreign auxiliaries 
supported the honour of the Western chivalry. The 
incessant volleys of lances and arrows were accom- 
panied with the smoke, the sound, and the fire of their 
musketry and cannon. Their small arms discharged 
at the same time either five or even ten balls of lead, 
of the size of a walnut ; and, according to the closeness 
of the ranks and the force of the powder, several 
breastplates and bodies were transpierced by the 
same shot. But the Turkish approaches were soon 
sunk in trenches or covered with ruins. Each day 
added to the scene of the Christians ; but their inade- 
quate stock of gunpowder was wasted in the operation 
of each day. 'Their ordnance was not powerful, 
either in size or number ; and if they possessed some 
heavy cannon, they feared to plant them on the walls, 
lesTth'e~aged stnJcfu re" should be shaken and over- 
fhrown by the explosion. The same destructive 
secreThad been revealed to the Moslems, by whom it 
was employed with the superior energy of zeal, riches, 
and despotism. The great cannon of Mahomet — an 


important and visible object in the history of the 
times — was flanked by two fellows almost of equal 
magnitude ; the long order of the Turkish artillery 
was pointed against the walls ; fourteen batteries 
thundered at once on the most accessible places. 

" The first random shots were productive of more 
sound than effect ; and it was by the advice of a 
Christian that the engineers were taught to level their 
aim against the two opposite sides of the salient 
angles of a bastion. However imperfect, the weight 
and repetition of the fire made some impression on 
the walls ; and the Turks, pushing their approaches to 
the edge of the ditch, attempted to fill the enormous 
chasm, and to build a road to the assault. Innumer- 
able fascines, and hogsheads, and trunks of trees were 
heaped on each other ; and such was the impetuosity 
of the throng, that the foremost and the weakest were 
pushed headlong down the precipice, or instantly buried 
under the accumulated mass. To fill the ditch was 
the toil of the besiegers ; to clear away the rubbish 
was the safety of the besieged ; and, after a long and 
bloody conflict, the web that had been woven iA the 
day was still unravelled in the night. The next 
resource of Mahomet was the practice of min~es :~5ut 
tlTe soil was rocky ; in every attempt he was stopped 
and undermined by the Christian engineers ; nor had 
the art been yet invented of replenishing those sub- 
terraneous passages with gunpowder, and blowing 
whole towers and cities into the air. A circumstance 
that distinguishes the siege of Constantinople is the 
reunion of the ancient and modern artillery. The 
cannon were intermingled with the mechanical engines 


for casting stones and darts ; the bullet and the 
battering-ram were directed against the walls. Nor 
had the discovery of gunpowder superseded the use 
of the liquid and unextinguishable fire. A wooden 
turret of the largest size was advanced on rollers ; 
this portable magazine of ammunition and fascines 
was protected by a threefold covering of bulls' hides ; 
incessant volleys were securely discharged from the 
loopholes ; in front, three doors were converted for 
the sally and retreat of the soldiers and workmen. 
They ascended by a staircase to the upper platform ; 
and, as high as the level of that platform, a scaling- 
ladder could be raised by pulleys to form a bridge, 
and grapple with the adverse rampart. By these 
various arts of annoyance, some as new as they were 
pernicious to the Greeks, the tower of St. Romanus 
was at length overturned ; after a severe struggle, the 
Turks were repulsed from the breach, and interrupted 
by darkness ; but they trusted that with the return 
of light, they should renew the attack with fresh 
vigour and decisive success. Of this pause of action, 
this interval of hope, each moment was improved by 
the activity of the Emperor and Justiniani, whoj>assed 
the nii;ht on the spot, and urged the labours, which 
involved the safety of the church and city. At the 
dawn of day, the impatient Sultan perceived with 
astonishment and grief, that his wooden turret liad 
been reduced to ashes ; the ditch was cleared and 
restored^; and the tower of St. Romanus was again 
srfong and entire. He deplored the failure ot his 
design, and uttered a profane exclamation, that the 
word of the thirty-seven thousand prophets should 


not have compelled him to believe that such a work 
in so short a time could have been accomplished by 
the infidels." 

At thj s point five Genoese ships forced the Turkish 
blockade, and brought provisions and relief to the 

" The introduction of this supply revived the hopes 
of the Greeks, and accused the suspicions of their 
Western allies. Amidst the deserts of Anatolia and 
tlie rocks of Palestine, the millions of the Crusades 
had buried themselves in a voluntary and inevitable 
grave ; but the situation of the imperial city was 
strong against her enemies and accessible to her 
friends ; and a rational and moderate armament of 
the maritime states might have saved the relics of the 
Roman name, and maintained a Christian fortress in 
the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Yet this was the 
sole and feeble attempt for the deliverance of Con-j 
stantinople. The more distant powers were insensible 
of its danger ; and the Ambassador of Hungary, or 
at least of Huniades, resided in the Turkish camp, 
to remove the fears, and to direct the operations of 
the Sultan. 

" The reduction of the city appeared to be hopeless, 
unless a double attack could be made from the har- 
bour as well as from the land ; but the harbour was 
inaccessible ; an impenetrable chain was now de- 
fended by eight large ships, more than twenty of 
a smaller size, with several galleys and sloops ; and 
instead of facing this barrier, the Turks might appre- 
hend a naval sally, and a second encounter in the 
open seas. In this perplexity, the genius of Mahomet 


conceived and executed a plan of a bold and marvel 
lous cast, oT transporting- by land his lighter vessels 
and military stores from the Bosphorus into the Higher 
parFonKe* harbour. The distance is about ten miles ; 
the ground is uneven, and was overspread with thickets, 
and as the road must be opened behind the suburb of 
Galata, this free passage or total destruction must de- 
pend on the option of the Genoese. But these selfish 
merchants were ambitious of the favour of being the 
last devoured ; and the deficiency of art was supplied 
by the strength of the obedient myriads. A level way 
was covered with a broad platform of strong and solid 
planks ; and to render them more slippery and smooth, 
they were anointed with the fat of sheep and oxen. 
Fourscore eight galleys and brigantines of fifty and 
thirty oars were disembarked on the Bosphorus shore, 
arranged successively on rollers, and drawn forwards 
by the power of men and pulleys. Two guides or [)ilots 
were stationed at the helm and the prow of each vessel; 
the sails were unfurled to the winds ; and theTabour 
was cheered by song and acclamation. In the course 
of a single night, this Turkish fleet painfully climbed 
the hill, steered over the plain, and was launched from 
the declivity into the shallow waters of the harbour, Tar 
above the molestations of the deeper vessels of the 
Greeks. The real importance of this operation was 
magnified by the consternation and confidence which 
it inspired ; but the notorious, unquestionable fact was 
displayed before the eyes, and is recorded by the pens, 
of two nations. A similar stratagem has been re- 
peatedly practised by the ancients. The Ottoman 
galleys (1 must again repeat) should be considered as 


large boats, and if we compare the magnitude and the 
distance, the obstacles, and the means, the boasted 
miracle has perhaps been equalled by the industry of 
our own times. As soon as Mahomet had occupied 
the upper harbour with a fleet and army, he con- 
structed, in the narrowest part, a bridge, or rather 
mole, of fifty cubits in breadth, and one hundred in 
length ; it was formed of casks and hogsheads, joined 
with rafters, linked with iron, and covered with a solid 
floor. On this floating battery he planted one of 
his largest cannon, whilst the fourscore galleys, with 
troops and scaling ladders, approached the most ac- 
cessible side, which had formerly been stormed by the 
Latin conquerors. The indolence of the Christians 
has been accused for not destroying those unfinished 
works ; but their fire, by a superior fire, was controlled 
and silenced ; nor were they wanting in an nocturnal 
attempt to burn the vessels as well as the bridge of the 
Sultan. His vigilance prevented their approach, their 
foremost galliots were sunk or taken ; forty youths, 
the bravest of Italy and Greece, were inhumanly mas- 
sacred at his command, nor could the emperor's grief 
be assuaged by the just though cruel retaliation of 
exposing from the walls the heads of 260 Musul- 
mahcaptives. After a siege of forty days the fate 
of Constantinople could no longer be averted. The 
diminutive garrison was exhausted by a double 
attacF: the fortifications, which had stood for ages 
against hostile violence, were dismantled on all 
sides by the Ottoman cannon. Many breaches were 
opened, and near the gate of St. Romanus four towers 
had been levelled with the ground. For the payment 


of his feeble ajid mutinous troops, Constantine was 
compelled to despoil the churches with the promise of 
a fourfold restitution ; and his sacrilege offereTa new 
reproach to the enemies of the union. A spirit of 
discord impaired the remnant of the Christian strength ; 
the Genoese and Venetian auxiliaries asserted the 
preeminence of their respective service, and Justiniani 
and the great duke, whose ambition was not extin- 
guished by the common danger, accused each other of 
treachery and cowardice." . . . 

Such ''was the state of the Christians, who, 
with loud and impotent complaints, deplored the 
guilt, or the punishment of their sins. The celestial 
image of the Virgin had been exposed in solemn pro- 
cession ; but their divine patroness was deaf to their 
entreaties. They accused the obstinacy of the em- 
peror for refusing a timely surrender ; anticipated the 
horrors of their fate, and sighed for the repose and 
security of Turkish servitude. The noblest of the 
Greeks and the bravest of the allies were summoned 
to the palace, to prepare them on the evening of the 
28th for the duties and dangers of the general assault. 
The last speech of Palaeologus was the funeral o^ration 
of the Roman Empire: he promised, he conjured, and 
he vainly attempted to infuse the hope which was ex- 
tinguished in his own mind. In this world all was 
comfortless and gloomy, and neither the gospel nor the 
Church have proposed any conspicuous recompense 
to the heroes who fall in the service of their country. 
But the example of their prince and the confinement 
of a siege had armed their warriors with the courage 
of despair, and the pathetic scene is described by the 


feelings of the historian Phranza, who was himself 
present at this mournful assembly. They wept, they 
embraced each other ; regardless of their families and 
fortunes they devoted their lives ; and each commander, 
departing to his station, maintained all night a vigilant 
and anxious watch on the rampart. The emperor, 
and some faithful companions, entered the dome of 
St. Sophia, which in a few hours was to be converted 
into a mosque, and devoutly received with tears and 
prayers the sacrament of the holy communion. He re- 
posed some moments in the palace, which resounded 
with cries and lamentations, solicited the pardon of all 
whom he might have injured, and mounted on horse- 
back to visit the guards and explore the motions of the 
enemy. The distress and fall of the last Constantine are 
more glorious than the long prosperity of the Byzantine 

" In the confusion of darkness an assailant may 
sometimes succeed, but in this great and general 
attack the military judgment and astrological know- 
ledge of Mahomet advised him to expect the morning, 
the memorable 29th May, in the fourteen hundred 
and fifty-third year of the Christian era. The pre- 
ceding night had been strenuously employed ; the 
troops, the cannon, and the fascines were advanced to 
the edge of the ditch, which in many parts presented 
a smooth and level passage to the breach, and his 
fourscore galleys almost touched with the prows 
and their scaling-ladders the less defensible walls of 
their harbour. Under pain of death silence was 
enjoined, but the physical laws of motion and sound 
are not obedient to discipline or fear, each individual 


might suppress his voice and measure his footsteps, 
but the march and labour of thousands must in- 
evitably produce a strange confusion of dissonant 
clamours, which reached the ears of the watchmen 
of the towers. 

"At daybreak, without the customary signal of the 
morning gun, the Turks assaulted the city by sea and 
land, and the similitude of a twined or twisted thread 
has been applied to the closeness and continuity of 
their line of attack. The foremost host consisted of 
the refuse of the ranks, a voluntary crowd who fought 
without order or command, of the feebleness of age 
or childhood, of peasants and vagrants, and of all who 
had joined the camp in the blind hope of plunder and 
martyrdom. The common impulse drove them on- 
wards to the walls. The most audacious to climb 
were instantly precipitated ; and not a dart, not a 
bullet, of the Christians was idly wasted on the accu- 
mulated throngs. But their strength and ammunition 
were exhausted in this laborious defence. The ditch 
was filled with the bodies of the slain ; they supported 
the footsteps of their companions, and of this devoted 
vanguard the death was more serviceable than the 
life. Under their respective pashas and sanjak-begs 
the troops of Anatolia and Rumelia were successively 
led to the charge : their progress was various and 
doubtful, but after a conflict of two hours the Greeks 
still maintained and improved their advantages, and 
the voice of the emperor was heard encouraging his 
soldiers to achieve, by a last effort, the deliverance of 
their country. In that fatal moment the Janissaries 
arose, fresh, vigorous, and invincible. The Sultan him- 


self on horseback, with an iron mace in his hand, was 
the spectator or judge of their valour. He was sur- 
rounded by 10,000 of his domestic troops, whom he re- 
served for the decisive occasions, and the tide of battle 
was directed and impelled by his voice and eye. His 
numerous ministers of justice were posted behind the 
line, to urge, to restrain, and to punish ; and if danger 
was in the front, shame and inevitable death were in the 
rear of the fugitives. The cries of fear and of pain were 
drowned in the martial music of drums, trumpets, and 
attaballs, and experience has proved that the mecha- 
nical operation of sounds, by quickening the circulation 
of the blood and spirits, will act on the human machine 
more forcibly than the eloquence of reason and honour. 
From the lines, the galleys, and the bridge, the Ottoman 
artillery thundered on all sides ; and the camp and city, 
the Greeks and the Turks, were involved in a cloud of 
smoke, which could only be dispelled by the final de- 
liverance or destruction of the Roman Empire. The 
signal combats of the heroes of history or fable amuse 
our fancy and engage our affections ; the skilful evo- 
lutions of war may inform the mind, and improve a 
necessary though pernicious science ; but in the uni- 
form and odious pictures of a general assault, all is 
blood, and horror, and confusion ; nor shall I strive, 
at the distance of three centuries and 1000 miles, to 
delineate a scene of which there could be no spectators, 
and of which the actors themselves were incapable of 
forming any just or adequate idea. 

"The immediate loss of Constantinople may be 
ascribed to the bullet, or arrow, which pierced the 
gaunflet'dfjohn Justiniani. The sight of his blood, 


and the exquisite pain, appalled the courage of the 
chief, whose arms and counsels were the firmest 
ramparts of the city." 

Sa'd-ud-dln glories over the overthrow of this brave 
captain in his flowery manner : — 

" When the Bicorned Lord i of the fourth throne, 
having risen from the glooms of the west, had himself 
addressed to subdue the castle of the sphere, and had 
routed the cohorts of the stars with his sabre and his 
spear, did the chief of the losel Franks, who, charged 
with the guard of that rampart rent, thought to war 
and to fight with the holy ranks, mount on the city- 
wall, meaning the holy legions to repel. Thereon did 
a youth nimble and brave, letting his ne'er oppressing 
glaive hang like the new moon in the sky, climb 
spider-wise, by the rope of emprize, the city-rampart 
high. Then he raised his remorseless brand, and 
made that awful flame the doom of yon infernal's 
fearful frame ; thus making the gates of death, before 
his hapless face, gape wide, even as the rents in the 
city's side ; and putting to flight with only one blow, 
the owl, his soul, from its nest of woe ; and cutting 
short, with his life, the thread of his thought, and 
making his unseemly visage black as his disastrous 
lot. Soon as the Prankish crew saw their chief assume 
this hue, did the fray tea:* its skirt from their clutch 
away ; and each sped along upon flight's highway, 
and turned his face to face dismay ; and they sought 

'Alexander the Great, so called on account of the two horns on his 
coins. Here the Sun is meant, as being tiie Ruler of the Fourth Sphere, 
in the old Ptolemaic astronomy. 


their ships in woe, running toward the sea, like a river 
swift of flow." 

" The number of the Ottomans," continues Gibbon, 
" was fifty, perhaps a hundred, times superior to that of 
the Christians ; the double walls were reduced by the 
cannon to a heap of ruins ; in a circuit of several miles 
some places must be found more easy of access or more 
feebly guarded ; and, if the besiegers could penetrate 
in a single point, the whole city was irrecoverably 
lost. The first who deserved the Sultan's reward was 
Hasan the Janissary, of gigantic stature and strength. 
With his scimitar in one hand and his buckler in 
the other, he ascended the outward fortifications ; of 
the thirty Janissaries who were emulous of his valour 
eighteen perished in the bold adventure. Hasan and 
his twelve companions had reached the summit ; the 
giant was precipitated from the ramparts ; he rose on 
one knee, and was again oppressed by a shower of 
darts and stones. But his success had proved that 
the achievement was possible ; the walls and towers 
were instantly covered with a swarm of Turks ; and 
the Greeks, now driven from the vantage ground 
were overwhelmed by increasing multitudes. Amidst 
these multitudes the emperor, who accomplished all 
the duties of a general, and a soldier, was long seen, 
and finally lost. The nobles who fought round his 
person sustained till their last breath the honourable 
names of Palaeologus and Cantacuzene ; his mournful 
exclamation was heard, ' Cannot there be found a 
Christran to cut off my head ? ' and his last fear was 
that of falling alive into the hands of the infidels. The 
prudent despair of Constantine cast away the purple ; 


amidst the tumult he fell by an unknown hand, and 
his body was buried under a monument of the slain. 
After his death resistance and order were no more ; 
the Greeks fled towards the city, and many were 
pressed or stifled in the narrow pass of the Gate of St. 
Romanus. The victorious Turks rushed through the 
breaches of the inner walls ; and, as they advanced 
into the streets, they were soon joined by their 
brethren, who had fought and forced the gate of 
Phenar on the side of the harbour. In the first heat 
of the pursuit about 2,000 Christians were put to the 
sword, but avarice soon prevailed over cruelty ; the 
victors acknowledged that they should immediately 
have given quarter if the valour of the emperor and 
his chosen bands had not prepared them for a similar 
opposition in every part of the capital. It was thus, 
after a siege of fifty-three days, that Constantinople, 
which had defied the power of Chosroes, the Chakan, 
and the Caliphs, was irretrievably subdued by the 
arms of Mahomet II. Her empire had been sub- 
verted by the Latins; her reflgion was trampled in 
the dust by her Moslem conquerors. . . . 

" On the assurance of this public calamity the 
houses and convents were instantly deserted, and 
the trembling inhabitants flocked together in the 
streets like a herd of timid animals, as if accumulated 
weakness could be productive of strength, or in the 
vain hope that amid the crowd each individual might 
be safe and invisible. From every part of the capital 
they flowed into the church of St. Sophia ; in the 
space of an hour the sanctuary, the choir, the nave, 
the upper and lower galleries, were filled with a mul- 


titude of fathers and husbands, of women and children, 
priests, monks, reh'gious virgins ; the doors were barred 
on the inside, and they sought protection in the sacred 

*' While they expected the descent of the tardy angel 
the doors were broken with axes, and, as the Turks 
encountered no resistance, their bloodless hands were 
employed in selecting and securing the multitude of 
their prisoners. Youth, beauty, the appearance of 
wealth, attracted their choice ; and the right of property 
was decided among them by a prior seizure, by per- 
sonal strength, and by the authority of command in 
the space of an hour. Male captives were bound with 
cords, the females with their veils and girdles ; the 
senators were linked with their slaves ; the prelates 
with the porters of the church ; and young men of a 
plebeian class with noble maids, whose faces had been 
invisible to the sun and their nearest kindred, and 
in this common captivity the ranks of society were 
confounded, the ties of nature were cut asunder, and 
the inexorable soldier was careless of the father's 
groans, the tears of the mother, and the lamentations 
of the children. The loudest in their wailings were 
the nuns, who were torn from the altar, with naked 
bosoms, outstretched hands, and dishevelled hair ; 
and we should piously believe that few could be 
tempted to prefer the vigils of the harem to those of 
the monastery. Of these unfortunate Greeks, of these 
domestic animals, whole strings were rudely driven 
through the streets ; and, as the conqueror was eager 
to return for more prey, their trembling pace was 
quickened with menaces and blows. At the same 


hour a similar rapine was exercised in all the churches 
and monasteries, in all the palaces and habitations of 
the capital ; nor could any place, however sacred or 
sequestered, protect the persons or the property of the 
Greeks. Above 60,000 of this devoted people were 
transported from the city to the camp or the fleet; 
exchanged or sold, according to the interest or caprice 
of their masters, and dispersed in remote servitude 
through the provinces of the Ottoman Empire. 

" From the first hour of the memorable 29th of May 
disorder and rapine prevailed in Constantinople till 
the eighth hour of the same day, when the Sultan 
himself passed in triumph through the gate of St. 
Romanus. He was attended by his vezTrs, pashas, 
and guards, each of whom (says a Byzantine historian) 
was robust as Hercules, dexterous as Apollo, and 
equal in battle to any ten of the race of ordinary 
mortals. The conqueror gazed with satisfaction and 
wonder on the strange though splendid appearance of 
the domes and palaces, so dissimilar from the style 
of Ottoman architecture. In the hippodrome, or 
At-Meydan, his eyes were attracted by the twisted 
column of the three serpents, and, as a trial of his 
strength, he shattered with his iron mace or battle- 
axe the under jaw of one of those monsters, which 
in the eyes of the Turks were the idols or talismans 
of the city. At the principal door of St. Sophia he 
alighted from his horse and entered the dome ; and 
such was his jealous regard for that monument of his 
glory that, on observing a zealous Moslem in the act 
of breaking the marble pavement, he admonished him 
with his scimitar that if the spoil and captives were 


granted to the soldiers, the public and private build- 
ings had been reserved for the prince. By his command 
the metropolis of the Eastern church was transformed 
into a mosque ; the rich and portable instruments of 
superstition had been removed ; the crosses were 
thrown down low ; and the walls, which were covered 
with images and mosaics, were washed and purified, 
and restored to a state of naked simplicity. On the 
same day, or on the ensuing Friday, the muezzin, or 
crier, ascended the most lofty turret, and proclaimed 
the azan or public invitation in the name of God and 
His Prophet, the Imam preached, and Mahomet II. 
performed the 7iamdz thanksgiving on the first altar, 
where the Christian mysteries had so lately been cele- 
brated before the last of the Caesars. From St. Sophia 
he proceeded to the august but desolate mansion of 
one hundred successors of the great Constantine, but 
which in a few hours had been stripped of the pomp 
of royalty. A melancholy reflection on the vicissi- 
tudes of human greatness forced itself upon his 
mind, and he repeated an elegant distich of Persian 
poetry : " — ^ 

" Now the spider draws the curtain in the Caesars' palace hall, 
And the owl proclaims the watch beneath Afrasiab's vaulted dome." 

The Turkish historian's 2 account of the fall of Con- 
stantinople has been faithfully rendered by Mr. Gibb. 
A few extracts will suffice : — 

" When by the aidance of the One beyond gainsay 

* " The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," chap. Ixviii. 
' Sa'd-ud-din, "The Capture of Constantinople," Glasgow, 1879 
(revised by the translator). 


the strength of the defenders of the burgh was passed 
away, and the happy tidings : * Verily, our hosts, the 
conquerors are they ! ' ^ were become the stock of the 
support of the victory- crowned array, the gladness- 
fraught address, * Enter ye in peace ! ' ^ sounded in 
the ear of the army of the Fay. With leave from the 
threshold of the world-conquering King to plunder 
and to spoil, did those eager after booty into the city 
sweep, where, laying hands on their families and their 
wealth, they made the worthless misbelievers weep. 
They acted by the order : ' Slaughter their elders and 
capture their youth ; ' and those profitful properties, 
which in the days of old, the years that are told, had 
been unstrick^n of the hand of profligacy, became the 
portion of the champions of the Truth. And that fair 
and fruitful site, through the advent, twin of delight, 
of the Sovereign, just of spright, became the home of 
flashing light, of the stead of the Faith of Right. . . . 
" And so that spacious land, that city strong and 
grand, from being the seat of hostility, became the 
scat of the currency ; and from being the nest of the 
owl of shame, became the threshold of glory and of 
fame. Through the fair efforts of the Moslem King, 
in the place of the ill-toned voice of the graceless 
paynim's bell, were heard the Mohammedan screed, 
and the five-fold chant of the Ahmed! creed, noble of 
rite ; and the harmony fair of the call to prayer on 
the ears of all men fell. . . . The temples of the 
paynims were made the mosques of the pious ; and 
the rays of the radiance of Islam drave the hordes of 
gloom forth from that ancient home of the heathen 

* Koran, xxxvii. 173. ' Ibid. xv. 46, and 1. ^^. 


reprobate, and the gleaming of the dawn of the Faith 
did the darkness of the tyranny of the accursed dissi- 
pate ; and the mandate, strong as fate, of the Sultan 
fortunate, was supreme in the ordinance of that new 

The conquest of Constantinople is the great event 
of Mohammed's reign. Yet it was by no means his 
sole achievement. He overthrew the Wallachian 
tyrant, Ylaj^^h e Impale r, and completed the final 
annexation of Serbia and Bosnia. The king of Bosnia 
and his sons capitulated on promise of their lives being 
spared ; but Mohammed had this promise annulled 
by the chief Mufti or Mohammedan judge ; and this 
spiritual magistrate actually hacked the king down in 
the Sultan's presence, with the treaty of capitulation 
in his hand. 

It was the violation of the Szegedin Treaty re- 
versed. Mohammed, however, did not greatly ad- 
vance the Ottoman frontier in the north. He laid 
siege to Belgrade, but was ignominiously repulsed by 
Hunyady and St. John Capistran, as has been already 
related, and after Hunyady 's death his son Matthias 
Corvinus, at the head of his famous " Black Troop,' 
was strong enough to hold the Turks at bay. In 
Albania, too, the Sultan met opposition which neither 
his father nor he was able to overcome. For in Epirus 
had risen a patriot warrior, no less famous and valiant 
than Hunyady. This was Skanderbeg, the national 
hero of the Epirots. His proper name was George 
of Castriota, and he belonged to a princely family 
of Epirus. As a boy he had been sent as a hostage 
to the court of Murad II., where his high bearing and 

134 ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ CONSTANTINOPLE, 

courage soon won him the Sultan's favour. He was 
converted to Islam, and Murad treated him like his 
own son and advanced him to high rank in the army, 
where he acquired the name of Skanderbeg (properly 
Iskender Beg), or " Prince Alexander." 

Skanderbeg, however, though petted by the Sultan, 
was not satisfied with being sent in chief command of 
an army into Asia, or with holding high posts in the 
wars with Hungary : he wished to rule his own country, 
and he ungratefully seized an opportunity to desert 
from the Sultan's forces, and to obtain by stratagem 
possession of Croia, the chief city of Epirus. He privily 
seized the Sultan's secretary, made him write in his 
master's name an order to the governor of Croia to 
surrender the place, and then ran the luckless scribe 
through the body. The governor suspected nothing 
and surrendered the keys, and Skanderbeg, once in 
command of the town, massacred the Turks, renounced 
Mohammedanism, and called the Epirots to arms. 
During the rest of the reign of Murad, and most of 
his successor's, Skanderbeg held the mountains of 
Epirus against all comers. Murad sent three Turkish 
armies against him, and all three were disgracefully 
routed. The old Sultan himself had experienced the 
like misfortune when his mortal illness seized him at 
Adrianople. Mohammed was no more successful than 
his father ; but personal admiration and perhaps old 
ties of friendship may have made the attacks of both 
Sultans somewhat half-hearted. It is certain that they 
would willingly have left Skanderbeg alone in consider- 
ation of a payment of tribute. The Epirot, however, 
declined to pay tribute ; on the contrary, he exacted a 


handsome revenue out of the terrified towns of Mace- 
donia and Thessaly. Eventually Mohammed, after 
fruitless endeavours to oust the rebel from the fast- 
nesses he knew so well how to defend, was forced to 
make a treaty by which he acknowledged Skanderbeg 
as prince of Epirus and Albania. This was in 1461 ; 
and six years later the gallant condottiere died, worA 
out with a quarter of a century of perpetual warfare 
He died game ; for his last act was to defeat an army 
which Mohammed had sent out against him with 
positive instructions to conquer the land. After 
Skanderbeg's death, the Sultan easily subdued 
Albania, though the lawless character of the people 
has made it a difficult country to rule to this present 

The work of Skanderbeg was important, not so much 
in its local influence, as in the bulwark it set up against 
Ottoman advance in the direction of Italy. Just as 
Hunyady and St. John Capistran set a northern 
limit to the Turks for a while, so Skanderbeg fixed 
their boundary on the west. No sooner was the 
barrier removed than we find them contemplating the 
invasion of Venice. The maritime Republic had long 
cringed before the Turkish Sultan, and had signed a 
humble peace in 1454 ; but the successes of Skanderbeg 
had roused its spirit, and after his death it was 
punished for its temerity. After six years' war the 
Ottoman troops in 1477 pushed so far west that they 
crossed the Tagliomento and reached the banks of the 
Piave. The smoking ruins that marked their progress 
could be seen from the palaces of the Queen of the 
Adriatic. Venice hastily concluded a treaty offensive 


and defensive with Mohammed in 1479, but he had 
already taken from her the island of Euboea or Negro- 
pont, the governor of which surrendered the citadel 
after a long and desperate siege by Mahmud Pasha in 
1470, on condition of safety to the garrison ; whereupon 
Mohammed, after his treacherous manner,had marched 
the garrison out and put them to death, sawed the 
governor in two, and murdered his daughter because 
she refused dishonour. Greece and the islands of the 
Aegean were now mainly in the power of the Turks ; 
on the Black Sea, Sinope and Trebizond had been 
Iconquered, and David Comnenus, who reigned in 
the latter city, had been treacherously executed ; 

iand in 1475 the Crimea was taken from the descend- 
ants of Chingiz Khan, by Mohammed's admiral, 
the Grand VezTr Gedik Ahmed. Rhodes was besieged 
in 1480, but the Knights were better prepared than 
they had been when Timur expelled them from 
Smyrna. After a tedious siege the Turks made 
their great assault ; but, either discouraged by the 
obstinacy of the Knights, or irritated by the pro- 
clamation that the spoils of the city were to be 
reserved for the Sultan himself, the soldiery wavered, 
and the Knights, driving them furiously back, forced 
Ithem to raise the siege. Nevertheless, the command 
lof the seas rested to a large extent with the Turks. 
They had most of the Levantine islands ; their 
castles commanded the Hellespont and the Bos- 
phorus, so that Loredano vainly sought to force a 
passage. The Sea of Marmora was closed to European 
vessels, and the Genoese ports in the Crimea and Sea 
of Azov were of little value now that their communi- 



cations were severed ; and, as Admiral Jurien de la 
Graviere observes,^ it was hardly necessary for Mo- 
hammed to send a fleet of three hundred sail to eject 
them in 1475. With such advantages, the Turks were 
able to contest the seas with the galleys of Venice and 

The day that saw the failure of the storming of 
Rhodes was rnarked by a notable event further west. 
Gedik Ahmed, on the 28th of July, 1480, landed on 
the southern coast of Italy and stormed the castle of 
Otranto, near Brindisi, a fortnight later. Most of the 
inhabitants were massacred, and the Ottoman foot was 
planted in the Western Empire. Next year Moham- 
med was preparing an immense expedition, whither 
destined no man knew but he, when he suddenly died. 
It is hard to say what might have happened had he 
lived another year. The capture of Otranto might 
have been followed by the sack of Rome. Sed Dis 
aliter visum. The death of the Conqueror saved 

* " Doria et Barberousse," 32. 




The long reign of BayezTd II. (1481-1512) which 
surpassed that of his father and grandfather, so that 
the three together nearly completed a century, was 
marked by a general lethargy and incapacity on the 
part of the Turkish Government. Bayezld himself 
possessed none of the energy and ambition of 
Mohammed, and was not only unequal to the task 
of carrying on his father's plans, but had enough 
to do to keep what he had inherited. His authority 
was weakened by the attacks of the Mamluks of 
Egypt, who for fiv^e years waged successful war upon 
the Turks in Asia ; and by insurrections in Karaman 
and other parts, where the Shia doctrines of the new 
Sufi dynasty of Persia found adherents in the dis- 
contented descendants of the Seljuk princes. BayezTd 
made no attempt to extend his boundary in the 
direction of Hungary ; and though Lepanto and 
Modon, in Greece, were added (in 1500) to the 
Turkish Empire, and two castles were built to com- 
mand the Gulf of Patras, the bold adventure that had 
planted the Turkish flag on Italian soil was rendered 


nugatory by the recall of Gedik Ahmed and the loss of 
Otranto. The Sultan's later years were disturbed by 
the rivalries and insubordination of his three sons, of 
whom the most unscrupulous managed to induce his 
incompetent old father to abdicate in his favour, and 
the victorious Sellm accordingly ascended the throne I 
in 1 5 12. Family dissensions were indeed the leading 
incidents of Bayezld's reign, and for many years he 
was kept in a state of anxious uncertainty by the 
ingenious intrigues of the Christian Powers concern- 
ing the custody of his brother, the unfortunate Prince 

The adventures of Prince Jem (the name is short 
for Jemshid, but in Europe it has been written Zizim) 
cast a very unpleasant light upon the honour of the 
Christians of his time, and especially upon the 
Knights of Rhodes. Of the two sons of Mohammed 
II. Jem was undoubtedly the one who was by nature 
fitted to be his successor. Instead of the melancholy 
dreamy mystic who was incapable of walking in the 
proud steps of his father, this other son had all 
Mohammed's energy and vigour, his grace and cul- 
ture, his ambition and imperious pride ; and but 
for the accident that Bayezld was the first to reach 
Constantinople after the death of the Conqueror, and ; 
was thus able to secure the support of the Janissaries \ 
with the customary largesse, it might have been that \ 
in the hands of Jem the Ottoman Empire would have 
continued on its triumphant course and pushed its 
conquests in Europe in the same spirit that had 
animated his ancestors. Jem, however, was not the 
first to hear of his father's death, and a year's warfare 


against his brother ended in his own defeat. The 
younger prince then sought refuge with the Knights 
of Rhodes, who promised to receive him hospitably 
and to find him a way to Europe, where he intended 
to renew his opposition to his brother's authority. 

D'Aubusson, the Grand Master of Rhodes, however, 
was too astute a diplomatist to sacrifice the solid 
gains that he perceived would accrue to his Order 
for the sake of a few paltry twinges of conscience ; 
and he had no sooner made sure of Prince Jem's 
person, and induced him to sign a treaty, by which, 
in the event of his coming to the throne, the Order 
was to reap many sterling advantages, than he ingen- 
iously opened negotiations with Sultan BayezTd, with 
a view to ascertain how much gold- that sovereign was 
'.willing to pay for the safe custody of his refractory 
brother. It is only fair to say that Bayezld, who had 
no particle of cruelty in his nature, did all he could 
to come to terms with Jem. He had indeed been 
stern and uncompromising while his brother was in 
open hostility, and to the entreaty of their grand- 
aunt that he would be gentle and accommodating 
to his own flesh and blood, he had replied that 
" there is no kinship among princes ; " yet had he 
offered to restore to his brother the profits, though 
not the power, of the province of Karaman, whi^h Jem 
had formerly governed, on condition that he should 
retire and live peaceably at Jerusalem. Jem, hcwcver, 
would have nothing less than independent authority^ 
and this the Sultan could not be expected to allow. 
" Empire," said he, " is a bride whose favours r.annot 
be shared." Ail negotiation and compromise having 



proved ineffectual, he listened to the proposals of the 
crafty Grand Master, and finally agreed to pay him 
45,000 ducats a year, so long as he kept Jem under 
his surveillance. 

The Knights of St John possessed many com- 
manderies, and the one they now selected for Jem's 
entertainment was at Nice, in the south of France. 
In 1482 he arrived there, wholly unconscious of 
the plots that were being woven about him. Here, | 
being something of a poet, he wrote his famous ode 
beginning — 

*' Quaff, O Jem, thy Jemshid beaker ; lo, the land of Frankistan ! 
This is fate j and what is written on his brow shall 'tide to man." * 

He desired to start at once for Hungary, whence 
he proposed to raise his adherents in Turkey. But/ 
he was gently restrained from his purpose. On one 
pretext or another the knights contrived to keep their 
prisoner at Nice for several months, and then trans- 
ferred him to Rousillon, thence to Puy, and next to 
Sassenage, where the monotonies of captivity were 
relieved by the delights of love, which he shared with 
the daughter of the commandant, the beautiful Phili- 
pine Helene, his lawful spouse being fortunately away 
in Egypt. The last device of the knights, when such 
friendships made captivity precarious, was to build a 
lofty tower for their valuable prey, of which the seven 

* E. J. W. Gibb, " Ottoman Poems," 175 (revised). The reader may 
be interested to see the original — 

** Jam-i-Jem nush eyle, ey Jem, bu Firankistan dir ; 
Her kulun bashina yazilan gelir, devran dir." 


Stories were entirely arranged with the object of the 
prisoner's safe custody. 

Meanwhile, Grand Master D'Aubusson was driving 
a handsome trade in his capacity of jailor. All 
the potentates of Europe were anxious to obtain 
possession of the claimant to the Ottoman throne, 
and were ready to pay large sums in hard cash to 
enjoy the privilege of using this specially dangerous 
instrument against the Sultan's peace. D'Aubusson 
was not averse to taking the money, but he did not 
wish to give up his captive ; and his knightly honour 
felt no smirch in taking 20,000 ducats from Jem's 
desolate wife (who probably had not heard of the fair 
Helene) as the price of her husband's release, while 
he held him all the tighter. Of such chivalrous 
stuff were made the famous knights of Rhodes : 
and of such men as D'Aubusson the Church made 
cardinals ! 

A new influence now appeared upon the scene of 
Jem's captivity. Charles VIII. of France considered 
that the Grand Master had made enough profit out 
of the unlucky prince, and the king resolved to work 
the oracle himself His plan was to restore Jem to a 
nominal sultanate by the aid of Matthias Corvinus^ 
Ferdinand of Naples, and the Pope. He took Jem 
out of the hands of the knights and transferred 
him to the custody of Innocent VIII., who kindly 
i consented to take care of the prince for the sum 
of 40,000 ducats a year, to be paid by his grateful 
brother at Constantinople. Bayezld was greatly im- 
pressed by the Pope's friendly feeling, and received 
his ambassador with enthusiasm. All the time these 





negotiations were proceeding the good Pope, like 
many worthy knights and holy prelates before, had 
condoled with Prince Jem on his unhappy fate, and 
had drawn him bright pictures of the future, when he 
should stand side by side with Matthias Corvinus, 
the gallant king of Hungary, in the great campaign 
that was to be made against the Turks in order to 
set the injured prince upon his father's throne at 
Constantinople. Nothing could be more consolatory 
than the promises and hopes of all the kindly Chris- 
tian kings and princes who visited Jem in his thirteen 
long years of captivity ; but none of them reaped, 
though all sought, so rich a reward as the large- 
minded and large-pocketed Grand Master of Rhodes 
and the solicitous and amiable Pope. Unfortunately 
Innocent did not live long enough to turn Jem to all 
the account he had anticipated ; but his successor, 
Alexander Borgia, was not the man to be cheated 
out of his bargain by such an accident as death. He 
began negotiations at Constantinople, whither he 
sent a special ambassador, to extract a capital sum 
in return for Prince Jem's proposed removal to a 
world more congenial to his many virtues ; he en- 
deavoured, in short, to get the lump sum of 300,000 
ducats for the assassination of his prisoner. Just at 
this point of the negotiations, Charles, the king of 
France, invaded Italy, entered Rome, and, among 
other terms, demanded the cession of Jem, who( 
was accordingly, with a very wry face, given up to 
him. But poor Jem was not destined much longer 
to be tossed about from jailor to jailor. The 
Pope, either in pursuance of an agreement with 


BayezTd, or more probably because a Borgia could 
not help it, had the unfortunate Turk poisoned be- 
fore he left the country. How it was done is not 
certain — the scratch of a poisoned razor, or a harm- 
less white powder introduced into his sherbet, are 
two of the theories ; but some there are who say 
that he died of mere misery and weariness of life — 
such weariness as he expresses in his melancholy 
verse : — 

*' Lo ! there the torrent, dashing 'gainst the rocks, cloth wildly roll ; 
See how all nature rueth on my worn and wearied soul ! 
Through bitterness of grief and woe the morn hath rent its robe ; 
liehold, in dawning's stead, the sky weeps blood beyond control ! 
Tears shedding, o'er the mountain tops the clouds of heaven pass ; 
List, deep the bursting thunder sobs and moans through stress of 
dole ! " » 

The balance of probability, however, inclines towards 
poison, and Alexander Borgia has so many crimes 
on the place where his conscience should have been, 
that it can do him no harm to bear one murder more. 
The curious conclusion one draws from the whole 
melancholy tale is that there was not apparently a 
single honest prince in Christendom to take compas- 
sion upon the captive ; nor one to reprobate the un- 
generous and venal intrigues of the Grand Master, 
the Pope, and Charles VIII. Each contended with 
the other for the prize of perfidy and shame. BayezTd 
may be excused for his desire to see his brother in 
safe keeping ; but what can be said for the head of 
the Christian Church, and the leader of an Order of 
! religious knights, who eagerly betrayed a helpless 

1 » E. J. W. Gibb, " Ott. Poems," 20 (revised). 



refugee for the sake of the infidel's gold ? When we 
come to read of the heroism of the Knights of Rhodes 
and Malta, it may be well to recall the history of 
Prince Jem, and to weigh well the chivalry that 
could fatten upon such treason. 



(1 5 1 2-1 520.} 

When Sellm I. had deposed his father BayezTd, 
who did not long survive his humiliation, he re- 
solved that the trouble and anxiety of another 
Prince Jem should not disturb his own reign. His 
father had had eight sons, of whom two, besides 
himself, were still alive, and, including grandsons, 
there were no less than eleven dangerous persons to 
be made away with. " Sellm the Grim," as the Turks 
still call him, did not shrink from the task ; he 
delighted in blood, whether it were that of animals 
slain in the chase, to which he was passionately 
addicted, or that of his enemies on the battle-field ; 
and the bloodless slaughter by the bow-string, 
which is the privilege of the progeny of Othman, 
was hardly sufficiently exciting for this sanguinary 
tyrant, whose fierce blazing eyes and choleric com- 
plexion well accorded with his violent nature. He 
watched from an adjoining room the ghastly scene, 
when the mutes strangled his five orphan nephews, 
and the resolute resistance of the eldest and the 
piteous entreaties of the little ones could not move 


him from his cruel purpose. The rest, save two, were 
soon captured and strangled. His brother, Prince 
Korkud, begged for an hour's grace, and spent it in 
composing a reproachful poem addressed to Sellm, 
which the Sultan afterwards perused with tears. It 
was no doubt the elegance of the verse that moved 
him, rather than the fate of the poet ; for Sellm, like 
so many of his race, was devoted to letters and poetry. 
He wrote a volume of Persian odes, liberally rewarded 
men of learning, and when he went on a campaign 
liked to take with him historians and bards, who 
should record the events of the war and cheer its 
progress by reciting the great deeds of yore. The 
combination of a high degree of intellectual culture 
with cruel and savage barbarity is one of the com- 
monplaces of history. 

Sellm had no intention of pursuing the inactive 
policy of his father ; but he turned his eyes in a 
different direction from his remoter predecessors. 
Murad, BayezTd, and Mohammed had pushed the 
frontier to the north and the west ; Sellm would 
conquer the east and the south. He received cour- 
teously the ambassadors who came to offer him 
congratulations on the part of the Doge of Venice, 
the King of Hungary, the Czar of Russia, and the 
Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He had no intention for 
the present of quarrelling with any of them. His 
care was first directed to the state of affairs on his 
eastern frontier, where there was imminent danger 
of a serious invasion. The Sefevi Shah Ismail, 
founder of the Sufi line, had triumphed over the 
various local dynasties that had partitioned the pro- 



vinces of Persia among themselves, ever since the 
break up of the Mongol kingdom. 

Hulagu, the conqueror of Baghdad, and grandson of 
Chingiz Khan, had in the thirteenth century exter- 
minated the Abbaside Khali fate in all but name, and 
substituted his own sway for that of the numerous 
petty dynasties who at that time held rule in Persia 
and the country round about. His dynasty, called 
the Ilkhans, lasted about one hundred and fifty years, 
and their dominions then became a prey to the feuds 
between various Tartar and Kurdish chiefs, of whom 
the Jelayirs and the Turkomans of the White and of 
the Black Sheep were the most prominent. Tlmijr had 
overrun their territory at the beginning of the fifteenth 
century; but the "noble Tartarian's" descendants 
proved unable to retain his vast dominion, and the 
Kurds and Turkomans and other tribal chiefs soon 
re-established their authority in the lands bordering 
the Euphrates. Shah Ismail, the Sefcvi, now appeared 
upon the scene, and after a long and obstinate 
struggle, succeeded in winning the Persian provinces 
from the descendants of Timur and in subduing the 
lesser houses of Turkomans and Kurds. 

The Persian dominions now marched with those of 
the Ottoman, and friction was the more certain and 
irritating because the two parties belonged to two 
hostile sects of Islam. The Turks were orthodox 
Snnfiis, or believers in the conventional doctrine of 
pe Koran and in the Traditions handed down by the 
Respectable divines of the orthodox school. The 
Persians, on the other hand, were Shias, or believers 
n a somewhat mystical variety of Islam, which per- 


sentoJ many and important differences from the 
orthodox teaching, and offered not a few temptations 
to political ni^ well as religious revolution. Wherever 
Shii'sm exists, there is always a chance of insurrection 
against the powers that be. The pernicious doctrine 
had penetrated the Ottoman dominions in Asia. A 
carefully organised system of detectives, whom Selim 
distributed throughout his Asiatic provinces revealed 
the fact that the number of the heretical sect reached 
the alarming total of seventy thousand. Sellm 
determined to crush the heresy before it came to 
even more abundant fruit. He secretly massed his 
troops at spots where the heretics chiefly congre- 
gated, and at a given signal, forty thousand ot 
them were massacred, or imprisoned. Christian 
ambassadors at the Porte, not only expressed no 
horror at the work, but endorsed the title of " The 
Just," by which Sellm was now styled in compliment 
o his severe vindication of orthodoxy.^ According 
to them, the massacre of heretics was always a proof 
pf justice. 

Having got rid of the enemy within his gates, Sellm 
rfow proceeded to attack the head of the Shias, the 
great Shah Ismail himself In such slight engage- 
ments as had already occurred, Ismail had gained a 
trifling advantage. He had also committed the un- 
pardonable sin of harbouring three of Sellm's nephews, 
who had been lucky enough to escape from the general 
slaughter of his kindred by which his accession had 
been celebrated. The Sultan sent various epistles to 
the Shah, couched in that bombastic language to 

* Von Hammer, i. 710. 


which Oriental potentates are addicted, and meanwhile 
collected a great army, with which he prepared to 
invade the territories of his rival. Ismail does not 
appear to have been adequately impressed either by 
the correspondence or the preparations for the attack. 
To Sellm's vainglorious letters, he replied that he 
had given him no provocation, and desired not war, 
and that he could only imagine that the epistles were 
the result of an extra dose of opium taken by one of 
the Sultan's secretaries, to whom he therefore presented 
a box of the favourite drug. As Selim particularly 
prided himself on his literary skill, and with reason, 
this reply only increased his rage, and the circumstance 
that he was himself rather too fond of opium did not 
make the gift of the box any the more palatable. The 
sarcasm went home, and Sellm prepared for mortal 

It was no light task that he was undertaking. 
Ismail, when the contest became inevitable, had laid 
waste the whole country that intervened between his 
capital, TebrTz, and the Ottoman headquarters ; and 
the Turks would be compelled to traverse a desert 
land. So serious was the campaign felt to be, that 
when the Sultan informed his council of Vezirs what 
his intentions were, they all kept silence, and on his 
repeating his purpose, again not one made answer, 
till the very sentry who guarded the door, catching 
the Sultan's enthusiasm, fell at his feet and cried that 
he would lay down his life for him against the Persians. 
That Janissary was made a Bey on the spot. Despite 
the warnings of his ministers, Sellm set forth with an 
army estimated at over 140,000 men, 80,000 of which 


were cavalry, and after making every possible prepara- 
tion for transport and commissariat, entered upon the 
long and arduous marches which the Persians had 
rendered doubly difficult by their previous forays 
The soldiers, afflicted with hunger and thirst, began 
to murmur ; but Ssllm harangued them, and bade such 
as were cowards to step out of the ranks and go home, 
for he would only lead brave men against the heretics. 
Then he gave the order to march, and not a man 
dared leave the ranks. At last, after weary and 
painful marching, the Ottomans forced Ismail to give 
battle at Chaldiran. The Persians had only cavalry, 
and no cannon ; but they were fresh, while the Turks 
were exhausted with their long tramp across the 
desert : the Shah had no fears for the upshot. The 
Janissaries, however, had not forgotten how to fight, 
and Selim and his chief commander, Sinan Pasha, 
knew how to marshal the battle. The Persians 
charged gallantly, but Sinan let his Azabs or light 
infantry fall back between his artillery, and when the 
Persians rashly followed the retreating squadrons, the 
guns opened upon them so deadly a fire that the day 
was practically won. It had been fatal to many on both 
sides, the Turks lost fourteen Sanjak-Begs, and the 
Persians an equal number of Khans of high rank. The 
Shah himself was wounded and thrown from his horse, 
and was only saved from capture by the devotion of 
one of his soldiers, who gallantly personated his . 
master, and took his fate. The Sultan entered Tebriz 
in triumph, massacred all his prisoners, except the j 
women and children, and sent back to Constantinople 
a trophy in the shape of a thousand of the skilful 


workmen for which Tebriz had long been famous, 
and who had supplied architects, carvers, and workers 
in metal and on the loom, to Cairo, Damascus, and 
Venice, and all places where fine workmanship was 
prized. The artisans were estabHshed at Constanti- 
nople, where they continued to ply their trades with 
success in embellishing the Turkish capital. 

The victory of Chaldiran (15 14) might have been 
follow.^d by the conquest of Persia, but the privations 
which the soldiery had undergone had rendered them 
unmanageable, and SelTm was forced to content him- 
self with the annexation of the important provinces 
of Kurdistan and Diyarbekr, which are still part of the 
Turkish Empire ; and then turned homewards, to 
prosecute other schemes of conquest. No peace, 
however, was concluded between him and the Shah, 
and a frontier war continued to be waged for many 

During the campaign against Persia, the Turks had 
been kept in anxiety by the presence on their flanks 
of the forces of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt and 
Syria, whose frontiers now marched with the territory 
of the Ottomans, and who were regarding the opera- 
tions of Sellm in Diyarbekr with no little apprehen- 
sion. They had indeed waged successful warfare with 
Bayezld II., but they recognized a very different 
leader in SelTm, and began to tremble for their old 
supremacy. The Mamluk Sultans had long borne a 
very high renown as soldiers and rulers. Mamluk 
means " owned," " a slave," and the origin of this cele- 
brated dynasty, or rather the two dynasties into which 
they were divided, is found in the bodyguard of pur- 


chased white slaves with whom the Ayyubl Sultan 
Es-Salih, grandnephew of Saladin, surrounded his 
state in the middle of the thirteenth century. Es-Salih 
found such protection necessary, not only against the 
Franks who were threatening his kingdom in one of 
their crusading manias, but also against his own kins- 
men, who were at once too numerous and too powerful 
for his peace of mind. Like most great conquerors, 
Saladin had left his empire to be fought for by a 
numerous progeny and kindred, and the result was 
that individual weakness which seeks to support itself 
on mercenary arms, and is eventually compelled to 
yield to the very power which it has called in to its 

The MamlQks of Es-Salih were a fine body of 
Turkish soldiers, recruited by capture or purchase 
from various parts of the Mohammedan territories, 
and reinforced from the same regions. They were 
loyal servants while their master lived ; their brilliant- 
charge under Beybars put the French to route at 
Mansura, and brought about the surrender of the king, 
St Louis himself In the troubles that succeeded upon 
the death of Es-Salih, when the intrigues of the beauti- 
ful Queen with the picturesque name of Shejer-ed- 
durr, or " Tree of Pearls," roused hot blood among 
the grandees, the dynasty of Saladin came to an end, 
and for two centuries and a half the throne of Egypt 
and Syria was occupied by a series of Mamliik chiefs. 
These rulers, who often bore no relationship to each 
other, but succeeded to power by force of arms and 
factious influence, were among the best that Egypt 
ever had. They valiantly repulsed the Mongols 


and Tartars in many a sanguinary field : they drove 
the Christians from the Holy Land, and they made 
Cairo and Damascus, their two capitals, homes of 
civilization, art, and literature. These apparently 
rude soldiers, " merciless to their enemies, tyrannous 
to their subjects, yet delighted in the delicate refine- 
ments which art could afford them in their home life, 
were lavish in the endowment of pious foundations, 
magnificent in their mosques and palaces, and fas- 
tidious in the smallest details of dress and furniture : 
the noblest promoters of art and literature and of 
public works that Egypt has known since the time of 
Alexander the Great." ' 

At the time at which we have arrived, the Mamluks 
had lost little, if anything, of their character as patrons 
of art and learning. The great Sultan Kait Bey was 
but lately dead, who had covered Cairo with his stately 
mosques and other buildings, and whose encourage- 
ment of men of letters was not less marked. The 
Sultan who surveyed Sellm's progress in Persia was 
an old man, Kansu El-Ghilrl, the same whose two 
mosques in the principal street of Cairo are familiar 
sights to every traveller in Egypt. He posted an 
army of observation on his Syrian frontier, to watch 
the course of the Ottoman advance. Sellm took this 
as a menace, and consulted his VczTrs as to what was 
to be done. His secretary, Mohammed, urged him to 
make war upon the Mamluks, and the Sultan was so 
delighted with this spirited proposal, that he made the 
secretary Grand Vezir on the spot, though it was found 
necessary to administer the bastinado to the excellent 

* S. Lane -Poole, "The Art of the Saracens in Egypt," 12-40. 


man before he consented to accept so dangerous a 
dignity. Sellm was famous for executing his Vezirs, 
and it was a common form of cursing at the time to 
say, " Mayest thou be SelTm's Vezir," as an equivalent 
for "Strike you dead ! " Acting upon the advice of 
the new VezIr, Sellm set out in 15 16 for Syria, and 
meeting the Mamluk army on the field of Marj Dabik 
near Aleppo, administered a terrible defeat, in which 
the aged Sultan El-Ghurl was trampled to death. 

He found a brave successor in TQman Bey, but in 
the interval the Turks had mastered Syria, and were 
advancing to Gaza. Here the Mamluks made another 
stand, but the generalship of Sinan Pasha was not to 
be resisted any more than the preponderance of his 
forces. The final battle was fought at Reydaniya, in 
the neighbourhood of Cairo, in January, 15 17. The 
tremendous charge of the Mamluks, which had been 
their strong point for three centuries, almost secured 
the person of Sellm, who was saved only by their mis- 
taking Sinan Pasha for the Sultan. The great general 
was speared, many pashas and nobles were cut down, 
and the Mamluks rode out of the mei^e almost 
unhurt ; but they had not achieved their object, and 
" the efforts of this splendid cavalry were as vain 
against the batteries of SelTm's artillery as were in 
after times the charges of their successors against the 
rolling fire of Napoleon's squares." ^ 

Twenty-five thousand Mamluks lay stark upon the 
field, and the enemy occupied Cairo. There a succes- 
sion of street fights took place ; the houses were 
defended by the Mamluks, and only step by step did 

* Sir E. Creasy, 143. 


the Turks reach the citadel. But treason was at work 
among the followers of Tuman Bey, and a traitor 
advised Sellm to offer an amnesty to all who would 
lay down their arms. Thereupon a truce was made, 
which Sellm celebrated by beheading the eight 
hundred Mamluks who had trusted to his good 
faith, and by delivering up the unfortunate city to 
massacre. One of the bravest of the chiefs, whose 
name was Kurt Bey, or " Sir Wolf," was induced to 
come before the Sultan with promises of safe con- 
duct, and after a colloquy, in which the Bey made 
spirited answer alike to the Sellm's promises and 
threats, his head was cut off before the enraged 
tyrant's eyes. Tuman Bey, after some further resis- 
tance, was captured and executed, and Egypt became 
a Turkish province. Twenty-four Mamluk Beys were 
constituted a sort of commission for the government 
of the country, and the traitor Kheyr Bey was ap- 
pointed Pasha of Egypt. 

Sultan Sellm returned to Constantinople in 1518, a 
much more dignified personage than he had set out. 
By the conquest of the Mamluk kingdom he had also 
succeeded to their authority over the sacred cities of 
Arabia, Mekka and Medina, and in recognition of this 
position, as well as of his undoubted supremacy among 
Mohammedan monarchs, he received from the last 
Abbaside Khalif, who kept a shadowy court at Cairo, 
the inheritance of the great Pontiffs of Baghdad. 
T\\Q faineant Khalif was induced to make over to the 
real sovereign the spiritual authority which he still 
affected to exercise, and with it the symbols of his 
office, the standard and cloak of the Prophet Mo- 


hammed. Selim now became not only the visible 
chief of the Mohammedan State throughout the wide 
dominions subdued to his sway, but also the revered 
head of the religion of Islam, wher^oever it was 
practised in. its orthodox form. The heretical Shias 
of Persia might reject his claim, but in India, in all 
parts of Asia and Africa, where the traditional Khali- 
fate was recognized, the Ottoman Sultan henceforth 
was the supreme head of the church, the successor 
to the spiritual prestige of the long line of the Khalifs. 
How far this new title commands the homage of 
the orthodox Moslem world is a matter of dispute ; 
but there can be no doubt that it has always added, 
and still adds, a real and important authority to the 
acts and proclamations of the Ottoman Sultan. 

The last year of his life was spent by Sellm in 
immense preparations, both naval and military. His 
object was concealed, but Rhodes was believed to be 
his intended victim. He superintended every detail 
of the arming and building of his navy with unceasing 
diligence, until his health began to give way, and he 
felt the approach of the fatal disorder which carried 
him off on the 22nd of September, 1520. He looked 
sadly upon his great muniments of war, and said, 
" For me there is no journey, save that to the Here- 

Selim the Grim was fifty-four years old when he died, 
and he had reigned less than nine years ; yet in that short 
space he had nearly doubled the extent of his empire. 
Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and large tracts in the Euphrates 
valley were the fruits of his campaigns. On land the 
Turks had shown themselves invincible. Sehm was 


preparing to prove them equally so on sea, when his 
career was arrested. Death, however, did not check 
the preparations he had made, nor diminish the stores 
of war materials he had collected. Like another 
Philip he had made ready the way for a second 
Alexander, and in his son Suleyman the Magnificent 
such an imperial conqueror was now found. 



(15 20- 1 566.) 

The long reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, who 
ascended the throne at the age of twenty-six, in 1520, 
and ruled in unequalled glory for nearly half a century, 
is fraught with significance to Europe, and teems with 
so many events of the first importance that it deserves 
a volume to itself. We can only give a bare outline 
of the great wars and sieges that signalized this re- 
markable epoch : such scenes as the terrible battle of 
Mohacs, the conquest of Rhodes, the siege of Vienna, 
and of Szigeth, and the repulse at Malta, might well 
engage each a chapter to itself; but here they must 
be depicted in outline, and the best will have been 
attained if the student is incited to read the fuller 
records which have been written of them in larger 

Suleyman lived at a wonderful epoch. All Europe, 
as well as the East, seemed to have conspired together 
to produce its greatest rulers in the sixteenth century, 
and to make its most astonishing advances in all fields 
of civilization. The age which boasted of Charles V., 
the equal of Charlemagne in empire ; of Francis I. of 


France; of our notable Henry VIII., and Elizabeth, 
queen of queens ; of Pope Leo X. ; of Vasili Ivanovich, 
the founder of the Russian power ; of Sigismund of Po- 
land ; Shah Ismail of Persia ; and of the Moghul Em- 
peror Akbar, could yet point to no greater sovereign 
than Suleyman of Turkey. The century of Columbus, of 
Cortes, of Drake and Raleigh, of Spenser and Shake- 
speare, the epoch that saw the revival of learning in 
Italy by the impulse of the refugees from Constanti- 
nople, and which greeted at once the triumph of 
Christianity over Islam in Spain and the opening of 
a new world by Spanish enterprise, was hardly more 
brilliant in the West than in the East, where the un- 
ceasing victories of Suleyman, and the successes of 
Turghud and Barbarossa, formed a worthy counter- 
part to the achievements of the great soldiers and 
admirals of the Atlantic. Even the pirates of this 
age were unique : they founded dynasties. 

But the most remarkable feat that the Turks 
achieved during this glorious century was — that they 
survived it. With such forces as were arrayed against 
them, with a Europe roused from its long sleep, and 
ready to seize arms and avenge its long disgrace upon 
the infidels, it was to be expected that the fall of the 
Ottoman power must ensue. Instead, we shall see that 
this power was not only able to meet the whole array 
of rejuvenated Europe on equal terms, but emerged 
from the conflict stronger and more triumphant than 

Suleyman ascended the throne surrounded by the 
glamour which belonged to his youth and charm of 
manner, and to the affection which his gracious rule 



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in more than one provincial government had inspired ; 
but he owed something to the detestation which 
Sellm's cruel character had evoked from all classes. 
The son differed by the whole heaven from his father. 
He was already renowned for his justice and clemency, 
and his first acts were calculated to strengthen the 
good opinion which had early been formed of his 
character. He began by punishing evildoers, and 
especially such of the officers and pashas who were 
proved to have been guilty of corruption and par- 
tiality. His greatest object was the same as that of 
the founder of the Ottoman Empire ; he desired to 
see even-handed justice administered throughout the 
length and breadth of his vast dominions. 

" Saulen seines Thron's sind Milde, Biedersinn, und Redlichkeit, 
Und von seinem Wappenschilde strahlet die Gerechtigkeit." 

The people rejoiced to see once more a Sultan 
they could love as well as fear, and welcomed Suley- ' 
man as another Murad. 

He had not been long seated on the throne when 
the occasion arrived for him to vindicate that title of 
" Lord of the Age " which his courtiers bestowed on 
him, and which was recorded on his official documents. 
The Hungarians had insulted and tortured his envoy, 
and vengeance must follow. All the materials for a 
campaign were ready ; Selim had left him a ripe fruit, 
and he had only to pluck it.^ In 1521 he took the 
old familiar road of Turkish generals, and marched 
upon Hungary. Belgrade, which had repelled Mo- 
hammed the Conqueror, yielded to his even greater 
^ Jurien de la Graviere, " Doria et Barberousse, " chap. vii. ff. 




successor. The church was turned into a mosque, the 
fortifications strengthened, and, to the days of Prince 
Eugene, "der edle Ritter," the key of the Danube 
formed a jewel in the Ottoman crown. The effect of 
the victory was immediate : Venice, in consternation, 
humbled herself as the Sultan's vassal, and paid him 
twofold tribute for Zante and Cyprus. It was only 
the first rumble of the storm, however. In the follow- 
ing year, 1522, an even more renowned place f&ll before 
Suleyman's assault. Rhodes, where Mohammed II. 
had received a second repulse, was now besieged by 
Suleyman with all the strength of his empire. A hun- 
dred thousand troops by land, and ten thousand by sek, 
encompassed the devoted island ; and all the efforts 
of the heroic Grand Master, Villiers de L'Isle Adam, 
could not avail to prevent the fall of the stronghold 
of the Knights of St. John. For close upon five 
inontlTslHey mH" mme~with countermine, and repelled 
four tremendous assaults with heavy loss ; but no 
garrison, without any prospect of a relieving force, 
could withstand for ever the skilful engineering of the 
Turks, who were the masters of Europe in the art of 
making regular approaches against a fortified position, 
and possessed the best artillery in the world. At last, 
seeing the hopelessness of the contest,Jtlie^_^Grand 
Maste'r'and his brave Knights accepted the honourable 
terms which Suleyman had offered them, but which 
they had before refused. The Sultan was no breaker 
of his word. They were allowed twelve days to leave 
the island with their property and arms ; the people 
of Rhodes were to have full privilege of the exercise 
of their religion, and to be free from tribute for five 



years. So deeply were the Turks impressed by the 
v&.lour of the Knights, that even their armorial es- 
cutcheons, which stood over their houses, were left 
undisturbed, and may be seen there to this day. 

The first year's campaign had ended in the capture V 
of Belgrade, the second had brought the surrender of N 
Rhodes ; the one had opened Hungary, the other had 
delivered up the Levantine waters to the Ottoman 
fleets. Now for two years the Sultan busied himself 
in the internal administration of his empire and in 
putting down a revolt in Egypt. He soon found out his 
mistake in intermitting the annual expeditions which 
had kept his large standing army in good temper \ 
The Janissaries began to mutiny, and though the 
Sultan at first tried the effect of boldness, and with 
his own hands slew two of the leaders of the insurrec- 
tion, he found himself forced at last to pacify them by 
a large bribe, like Sultans before and since, to the great 
damage of the imperial authority and impoverishment 
of the treasury. It became necessary to gratify the 
soldiers' love of war ~^and" 'booty, and Suleyman 
resolved on a campaign in Hungary, being the more 
encouraged to it by the advice of the ambassador sent 
to the Porte by Francis I, of France, who was anxious 
to divert his great rival Charles V. from further 
designs in the west. 

The decision was due, however, as much to another 
voice as to the machinations of the French king. 
Suleyman, great as he was, shared his greatness with/ 
a second mind, to. which his reign owed much of its 
brilliance. The Grand VezTr Ibrahim was the 
counterpart of the Grand Monarch Suleyman. He 


was the son of a sailor at Parga, and had been 
captured by corsairs, by whom he was sold to be 
the slave of a widow at Magnesia. Here he passed 
into the hands of the young prince Suleyman, then 
governor of Magnesia, and soon his extraordinary 
talents and address brought him promotion. The 
Turks have a proverb : " When God gives office, 
he gives also the ability to fill it : " and it was so 
with the young man who, from being Grand P'al- 
coner on the accession of Suleyman, rose to be first 
-minister and almost co-Sultan in 1523. He was- the 
object of the Sultan's tender regard : an emperor knows 
better than most men how solitary is life without 
friendship and love, and Suleyman loved this man 
more than a brother. Ibrahim was not only a 
friend, he was an entertaining and instructive com- 
panion. He read Persian, Greek, and Italian ; he 
knew how to open unknown worlds to the Sultan's 
mind, and Suleyman drank in his VezTr's wisdom with 
assiduity. They lived together : their meals were 
shared in common ; even their beds were in the same 
room. The Sultan gave his sister in marriage to the 
sailor's son, and Ibrahim was at the summit of power.. 
"La douce et feconde union! L'Empire en ressent 
d'heure en heure le bienfait. Elle dure depuis six 
ans : puisse-t-clle, pour le salut de la Chretiente, ne 
pas etre eternelle!"^ Ibrahim deserved his success. 
He was great in war and in peace. He alone knew 
how to appease the Janissaries ; and he counselled 
and led the expedition against Vienna. 

Accordingly in 1526 the Ottoman army, mustering 

* Jurien de la Graviere, ** Doria et Barbcroussc," 114. 





at least icx),ooo men and three hundred guns, marched 
north headed by the Sultan in person. Louis II. of 
Hungary met him on August 29th on the fatal field of 
Mohacs with a far inferior force, and the result was 
disastrous to the Christians. The king, and many of 
his nobles and bishops, and over 20,000 Hungarians 
fell on the fatal spot, where the encounter is known as 
" The Destruction of Mohdcs." ^ Buda and Pesth 
were occupied, the whole country roundabout ravaged, 
and 100,000 captives were driven back to be sold as 
slaves. The spoils of the palace of Matthias Corvinus 
and its famous library were added to those of the 
Palaeologi in the Seraglio at the Golden Horn. For 
over a century Hungary had been the rampart of 
Europe against the Turks. | The campaign of Mohacs 
made Hungary an Ottoman provmce'foF a hundred 
and forty yearsi 

The ruling influence which the Sultan exercised over 
the appointment of his deputy, the nominal king of 
Hungary took him northward again in 1529 to place 
his own candidate upon the throne — Zapolya, formerly 
Voyvode of Transylvania, who had withheld his 
help from Hungary at the battle of Mohacs. The 
Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, brother of Charles V., 
however, claimed the throne, and Suleyman had to 
interfere in the civil war. Ferdinand in vain sent 
ambassadors to arrange a truce, and make terms with 
the indignant Sultan. The messengers were dismissed, 
and Ferdinand was told that the Sultan was coming, 
and would expect to meet him at Mohacs or at Pesth, 
or should he fail to appear, he would breakfast with 

^ See " The Story of Hungary," pp. 286-336. 



him at Vienna itself. And he came with a vengeance, 
bringing a quarter of a million of men at his heels. 
In September, 1529, the army retook Ofen (Buda) 
from Ferdinand's garrison, not without treason from 
within. Zapolya was restored, and the Sultan pro- 
ceeded to execute his threat of advancing upon Vienna. 
It is worth recording that Suleyman released the 
commander of Buda on parole that he would not- fight 
against the Turks during the campaign, and this 
generous act was done in spite of the murmurs of the 
Janissaries, who were enraged at not being allowed to 
pluiriderThe Hungarian capital, and even against the 
urgent representations of the Hungarians of Zapolya's 
party, who were now ranged with the Sultan ready to 
attack their countrymen and besiege Vienna. For 
a century and a half the capital of Hungary remaiiTed 
a Turkish outpost. 

On September 21st Suleyman crossed the Raab at 
Altenburg, and let loose his terrible troops of irregular 
cavalry or " Sackmen," as they are called in contem- 
porary German records, upon the stricken land. Far 
and wide these fierce riders forayed, under their savage 
leader Mikhal Oglu, who was a descendant of Scant- 
Beard Mikhal, a close ally of the first Othman. 
They carried devastation and misery among the 
villages, destroying and burning everything, and bear- 
ing off into captivity men, v^omen, and children. Place 
after place surrendered, in terrpr of the Ottoman 
army and the scourge of the Sickmcn. Pesth fell 
without a blow. The Archbishop of Gran surrendered 
his city, and sought refuge in the Sultan's camp. Co- 
morn was abandoned : Raab was burned : Altenburg 




betrayed. Briick, however, made a stout defence, and 
the Sultan, always pleased with a show of courage, 
accorded the garrison the lenient condition that they 
should only do him homage after the fall of Viennal 

Meanwhile Austria was striving to collect some 
adequate force wherewith to meet the overwhelming 
hosts of the Turks. Every tenth man was called out 
for service, and the neighbouring states sent contribu- 
tions to the army, but it was still miserably unequal 
to the demand which was to be made upon its valour. 
Ferdinand implored aid of the empire, and the Diet 
of Spires, moved by the rumour that Suleyman had 
sworn not to stop short of the Rhine, voted a puny 
force of 12,000 foot and 4,000 horse. Even this was 
not granted without interminable discussion, and the 
choice of a commander still remained a hotly debated 
question, when the Turks were already over the Save 
and had won their way into Pesth. "There were not 
wanting men hard of belief, pedants of the true German 
stamp, who maintained that mere apprehension had 
exaggerated the danger ; and finally it was agreed at 
Ratisbon, to which city the assembly had transferred 
itself, to send a deputation of two persons to Hungary 
to investigate the state of affairs on the spot. They 
went, and having the good fortune to escape the hands 
of the Turks, returned with evidence sufficient to 
satisfy the doubts of their sagacious employers." ^ 

It soon became evident that Austria could not 
muster an army of any service, in time to check the 
Turkish advance ; and the efforts of the Christians 
were now devoted to the defence of the capital. " In 

' Schimmer, "Two Siegesof Vienna by the Turks" (Eng. trans.), 15. 


Vienna, the necessary preparations had been made 
with almost superhuman exertion, but in such haste 
and with so little material, that they could only be con- 
sidered as very inadequate to the emergency. The 
city itself occupied the same ground as at present, the 
defences were old and in great part ruinous, the walls 
scarcely six feet thick and the outer palisade so frail 
and insufficient that the name Stadtzaun,or city hedge, 
which it bears in the municipal records of the time, 
was literally as well as figuratively appropriate. The 
citadel was merely the old building which now exists 
under the name of Schweitzer Hof All the houses 
which lay too near the wall were levelled to the ground ; 
where the wall was specially weak or out of repair 
a new entrenched line of earthen defence was con- 
structed and well palisaded ; within the city itself, 
from the Stuben to the Karnthner or Carinthian gate, 
an entirely new wall twenty feet high was constructed 
with a ditch interior to the old. The bank of the 
Danube was also entrenched and palisaded, and from 
the drawbridge to the Salz gate protected with a 
rampart capable of resisting artillery. As a precau- 
tion against fire, the shingles with which the houses 
were generally roofed were throughout the city 
removed. The pavement of the streets was taken 
up to deaden the effect of the enemy's shot, and 
watchposts established to guard against conflagra- 
tion. Parties were detached to scour the neighbour- 
ing country in search of provisions, and to bring in 
cattle and forage. Finally, to provide against the 
possibility of a protracted siege, useless consumers, 
women, children, old men, and ecclesiastics, were as 


far as possible forced to withdraw from the city," ' 
too often only to fall into the ruthless hands of the 

Behind these hastily improvised defences, the veteran 
Count of Salm, who had seen half a century of 
service in the field, posted his garrison of 20,000 
foot, 2,000 horse, and 1,000 volunteer burghers, and 
manned the seventy guns which formed the artillery 
of the city. At the last moment, when the Turks, 
having taken Briick and Altenburg, were almost upon 
the capital, the order was given to destroy the suburbs, 
lest they should afford cover to the besiegers. The 
unfortunate inhabitants deprived of their homes thus 
late, had no time to escape from the harries of the 
Sackmen, who now spread over the whole country 
40,000 strong, burning and slaying wherever they 
went, murdering unborn children, and brutally de- 
stroying helpless girls, whose insulted bodies lay 
unheeded upon the roads : " God rest their souls, and 
grant vengeance upon the bloodhounds who did this 
wrong ! " as a writer of the day indignantly ex- ■ 
claims. It was stated at the time that scarcely 1 i 
third of the inhabitants of Upper Austria survived 
this calamitous invasion. 

On the 27th of September, the Sultan and his 
Grand Vezir Ibrahim brought the main army before 
the city. "The country within sight of the walls 
as far as Schwechat and Trautmannsdorf was co- 
vered with tents, the number of which was cal- 
culated at 30,000, nor could the sharpest vision from 
St Stephen's tower overlook the limit of the 

* "Tv\o Sieges of Vienna," 16-17. 


circle so occupied. The flower of the Turkish force, 
the Janissaries, took possession of the ruins of the 
suburbs, which afforded them an excellent cover 
from the fire of the besieged. They also cut loop- 
holes in the walls still standing from which they 
directed a fire of small ordnance and musketry on 
the walls of the city. The tent of Suleyman rose in 
superior splendour over all others at Simmering. 
Hangings of the richest tissue separated its numerous 
compartments from each other. Costly carpets and 
cushions and divans studded with jewels formed the 
furniture. Its numerous pinnacles were terminated 
by knobs of massive gold. Five hundred archers of 
the royal guard kept watch there night and day. 
Around it rose in great though inferior splendour 
the tents of ministers and favourites ; and 12,000 
Janissaries, the terror of their enemies, and not un- 
frequently of their masters, were encamped in a circle 
round this central sanctuary." ^ 

While this immense army of a quarter of a million, of 
which, however, probably not more than a third was 
fully armed, invested the city, the circuit was completed 
by means of the four hundred vessels, which con- 
stituted the marine part of the siege, on the Lobau. 
The work of approaching the walls now began. The 
Turks had been compelled by heavy rains to leave 
their siege guns behind them, and tlic}- had only 
field pieces and musketry. Accordingly mines were 
the chief weapon in which they trusted. For a 
fortnight they exerted all their noted skill in burrow- 
ing under the walls and towers and laying mines in 

' '* Two Sieges of Vienna," 26. 


the most propitious positions ; but all to no purpose. 
The besieged kept a watchful eye upon every approach, 
and no sooner was a mine carefully laid, than it was 
destroyed by a counter mine, or its powder was ex- 
tracted by an exploring party working from the 
cellars within the city. The Viennese were in good 
spirits and even ventured to indulge in jokes at the 
Sultan's expense. Suleyman had vowed to take his 
breakfast in Vienna on the 29th of September, and when 
the morning arrived, and the city was unsubdued, the 
inhabitants sent out prisoners to his tent, to tell him 
that his breakfast was getting cold, and they were 
afraid they had no better cheer to offer him but the 
produce of the guns on the battlements. Such 
pleasantries relieved the tedium of mines and counter- 
mines, varied by the occasional sallies which the 
besieged made from time to time without much result. 
On October 9th the Turks effected a broad breach 
by the side of the Karnthner gate, but three successive 
storming parties were repulsed, and the breach was 
repaired. On the 1 1 th another and greater breach 
was made, and for three hours the assailants fought 
hand to hand with the defenders, till at midday they 
were forced to abandon the assault. All the next 
day the walls were the scene of protracted conflicts 
between the storming parties and the besieged, who 
still manfully resisted every effort of the Turks to 
gain a footing inside the defences. The Sultan was 
enraged, and his troops afflicted by the severe weather 
and bad food, and weary of daily defeat, became 
more and more discouraged, so that they had to be 
driven to the assault by their officers' swords and 


whips. At last, on the 14th, a final attempt was 
made. Every preparation had been made by both 
sides, and at nine o'clock the Janissaries and the 
flower of the Ottoman army came on to the attack. 
The soldiers however were dispirited, and when the 
Vezir and his officers urged them on with stick and 
sabre, they cried that they would rather die by the 
hands of their own officers than face the long muskets 
of the Spaniards and the German spits, as they called 
the Lanzknechts' long swords. Still when a breach 
had been made twenty-four fathoms wide the Turks 
were forced to the assault. The efforts of such un- 
willing men were of no avail against the resolute 
defence of the Spaniards and Germans of the garrison. 
As an instance of the courage of the besieged a story 
is told of a Portuguese and a German, of whom one 
had lost his right arm and the other his left in repell- 
ing the assault : the two then stood together side close 
to side, and thus made up a whole man between them. 
When even the halves of soldiers can fight, such 
exhausted energies as were left to the Turks might 
well succumb. The last assault had f^iiled, and 
Suleyman ordered a retreat. The Janissaries set fire 
to their camp, and flung into the flames — it is to be 
hoped without the Sultan's knowledge — the old 
people and children who were prisoners, and cut to 
pieces the remainder. After this disgusting and use- 
less revenge, they set out on their retreat, to the 
music of the salvo of artillery which the delighted 
garrison now discharged from the ramparts of Vienna, 
and the ringing of all the bells which during the siege 
had been silenced. Had they been nearer they would 

RETREAT OF THE rC//?A:S.^*i«— i*"^ I9I 

have heard the solemn strains of the Te Deum which 
was being celebrated in St. Stephen's, where the 
defenders were rendering their glad thanks for the 
victory. """^ — 

Suleyman pursued his way, harassed by skirmishing 
bodies of Austrian cavalry, till he reached Pesth, and 
thence departed for Constantinople, where he made a 
triumphant entry, and proclaimed that he had par- 
doned the infidel, and that, as the city of Vienna was so 
far from his frontiers, he had not deemed it necessary 
to " clear out the fortress, or purify, improve, and put 
it into repair." Such was the view sedulously in- 
culcated into the minds of his subjects, when the 
disastrous siege of Vienna was spoken of Of the 
20,000 or 30,000 men who fell in the siege, Suleyman 
would probably not be expected to say much. 

The 14th of October which saw the abandonment of 
the siege of Vienna, and the limit set to the rush of 
Turkish advance, is a famous day in German history : 
it is the anniversary of the peace of Westphalia and 
of Vienna, the battles of Hochkirchen, Jena, and Leip- 
zig, and of the capture of Ulm. 

Thre3 years later Suleyman returned to the attack, 
followed by an even larger army ; but the Emperor 
Charles V. had now taken up the gauntlet, and his 
forces were too considerable for a rash engagement. 
Suleyman did not care to risk his long tide of success, 
already once broken by his failure at Vienn*a,~upon so 
hazardous a chance as an open battle with Charles ; 
and after again ravaging the country with the lawless 
bands of Akinji,made peace at Constantinople in 1533; 
Hungary was divided between the two claimants, 


Ferdinand and Zapolya, and the Sultan retained his 
advantages. The peace was, however, very transitory, 
for in 1 541 the Sultan led his ninth campaign, and after 
gaining many advantages over the Austrians com- 
pelled Charles V. and Ferdinand to sue for peace, so in 
1547 a truce was signed for five years. The Archduke 
Ferdinand was to pay a tribute of 30,000 ducats a 
year to his master the Sultan, and was proud to be 
addressed as the brother of his master's Vezir. Sulcy- 
man retained all Hungary and Transylvania, and 
had certainly come out of the long struggle with the 
honours of war. Many of the Hungarian cities, how- 
ever, stoutly resisted his domination, and their 
defenders performed prodigies of valour. When the 
five years were over, hostilities were punctually re- 
sumed, and continued unceasingly and unproductive!/ 
until Suleyman's death in 1566. 

He died in his tent 6th September, while superin- 
tending, the siege of Szigetvar, which was heroically 
defended by Nicholas Zrinyi. The great Sultan expired 
tranquilly of mere old age, after a reign of forty-six 
years,filled with a militaryglory which no similar period 
could show. As he lay in his tent, while his death was 
studiously concealed from his troops, Zrinyi made his 
final sally. He had vowed never to surrender, and had 
used the Sultan's summons as wadding for his musket. 
Now seeing that further defence was hopeless, he led 
the last charge. The Turks were pressing forward along 
a narrow bridge wh ichTeH t6"tHe castle when the gates 
were flung open, a mortar filled with broken iron_was 
fired into their midst, and through the smoke ancicar- 
nage" Zrinyried his men to their death. Like the 




famous Light Brigade, the number of these devoted 
horsemen was six hundred ; their leader tied the keys 
of the castle to his belt, and the banner of the empire 
was borne above his head. Zrinyi fell pierced by two 
musket shots and an arrow, and the Turks entered the 
castle of Szigctvar, only to find that a slow match 
had been applied to a mine containing 3,000 lbs. of 
gunpowder, which speedily sent as many Turks to 
paradise. The castle still remains a ruin : a monument 
of the death of a Leonidas and of an Alexander. 

Suleyman is perhaps the greatest figure in Turkish! 
history. His personal qualities were superb : his wis-j 
dom, justice, generosity, kindness, and courtesy were, 
a proverb, and his intellectual gifts were the counter-' 
part of his fine moral nature. His reign had not 
passed without its blots ; he had done more than one 
cruel deed : he had sacrificed his dear friend and 
peerless minister Ibrahim in a fit of jealousy in 1536, 
and never ceased to find cause to regret his fault ; and 
spurred on by a clever and unscrupulous Russian wife, 
who rejoiced in the name of Khurrem or Joyous, and 
whom all the nations of Europe have adopted 
under the name of Roxelana, he had killed the 
most hopeful of his sons, his first-born, Mustafa, 
who showed such promise of rivalling his father that 
Khurrem deemed the chances of her own son Sellm 
unsafe while the splendid young prince survived ; and 
other executions had stained his career. But these 
were the rare exceptions. The rule was justice, pru- 
dence, and magnanimity, and Suleyman deserves all 
the praises that have been lavished upon him by his-' 
torians of every nationality. He left his century the 


better for his generous example. He left the Turkish 
arms respected by land and sea. While the horsetails 
had waved before Vienna, the Sultan's galleys had 
swept the seas to the coasts of Spain. It was the age 
of great admirals, and Charles V/s splendid Doria 
found a rival in Kheyr-ed-din Barbarossa, the corsair 
of Tunis, and victor over Pope, Emperor, and Doge 
at the battle of Prevesa (1538) ; — in Dragut (Torghud), 
who finished his daring career at the fatal siege of 
Malta — when, despite the corsair's valour, the Knights 
wrought golden deeds of heroism, and dealt as deadly 
a blow at Turkish prestige as even the Count of Salm 
had struck from the walls of Vienna ; — and in Piali 
the conqueror of Oran and worster of Doria himself 
Most of the Turkish naval successes were the work of 
semi-independent adventurers, pirates, or buccaneers, 
whose venturesome exploits belong rather to the 
" Story of the Corsairs " than to the legitimate history 
of Turkey. 

" Sultan Suleyman left to his successors an empire 
to the extent of which few permanent additions were 
ever made, except the islands of Cyprus and Candia, 
and which under no subsequent Sultan maintained 
or recovered the wealth, power, and prosperity which 
it enjoyed under the great lawgiver of the house of 
Othman. The Turkish dominions in his time com- 
prised all the most celebrated cities of Biblical and 
classical history, except Rome, Syracuse, and Perse- 
polis. The sites of Carthage, Memphis, Tyre, 
Nineveh, Babylon, and Palmyra were Ottoman 
ground ; and the cities of Alexandria, Jerusalem, 
Smyrna, Damascus, Nice, Prusa, Athens, Philippi, and 



Adrianople, besides many of later but scarce inferior 
celebrity, such as Algiers, Cairo, Mekka, Medina, 
Basra, Baghdad, and Belgrade, obeyed the Sultan of 
Constantinople. The Nile, the Jordan, the Orontes, 
the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Tanais, the Borysthenes 
the Danube, the Hebrus, and the Ilyssus, rolled their 
waters 'within the shadow of the Horsetails.' The 
eastern recess of the Mediterranean, the Propontis, 
the Palus Maeotis, the Euxine, and the Red Sea, 
were Turkish lakes. The Ottoman crescent touched 
the Atlas and the Caucasus ; it was supreme over 
Athos, Sinai, Ararat, Mount Carmel, Mount Taurus, 
Ida, Olympus, Pelion, Haemus, the Carpathian and 
the Acroceraunian heights. An empire of more than 
forty thousand square miles, embracing many of the 
richest and most beautiful regions of the world, had 
been acquired by the descendants of Ertoghrul, in 
three centuries from the time when their forefather 
wandered a homeless adventurer at the head of less 
thg^ five hundred fighting men." ^ 

» Sir E. Creasy, 197 (ed. 1877). 



The accompanying plan shows in rough outline the growth and 
the decrease of the Ottoman Empire. Vertically it is measured by 
years, an inch to a century. Horizontally it is divided into three chief 
sections, representing Europe, Asia, and Africa, within which the prin- 
cipal provinces are indicated at the time when they became part of the 
Turkish Empire, and again when they ceased to be Ottoman. The 
shaded portion represents the dominion of the Turks, whether under 
their immediate control or under the rule of a vassal king (as Serbia in 
the earlier period). Thus we see the small beginning of the Ottoman 
power in Asia ; its spread over Bithynia in the first half of the four- 
teenth century ; its progress in Europe during the second half, through 
Rumelia and Bulgaria to Serbia and Wallachia ; its sudden extension in 
Anatolia at the close of the century, and its equally sudden repression 
i)y Timur ; and then the steady enlargement indicated by such names as 
Greece, Constantinople, Albania, Moldavia, Hungary, &.<:., on the 
European side, and Karamar^' Armenia, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Algiers, 
Tripoli, and Tunis on the Asiatic and African side, until, in the last 
quarter of the sixteenth century, the greatest extent is attained. Then, 
in the second part of the plan, we see Algiers becoming semi-indepen- 
dent l)efore the seventeenth century was half gone ; Tunis following, 
and Hungary lost by 1700 ; Russia despoiling the Porte of the Crimea ; 
Mohammed Ali virtually independent in Egypt ; various vStates rising 
in the Balkan Peninsula, — Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, Rumania ; France 
in Algiers and Tunis, and Russia encroaching in Asia Minor, after the 
last Russo-Turkish war. 

The plan is a modification of a table contributed by Mr. E. J. W. 
Gibb to my " Catalogue of Oriental Coins in the British Museum," 
vol. viii. 




The reign of Suleyman the Great forms the ch'max. 
of Turkish history. In three centuries the little clan 
of Othmanlis had spread from their narrow district 
in Asia Minor till they had the command of the 
Miediterraneaii, the Euxme, and the Red Sea. Their 
dominions now extended from Mekka to Buda, from 
Baghdad to Algiers. Both the northern and southern 
shores of the Black Sea were theirs ; a large part 
of modern Austria- Hungary owned their sway ; and 
North Africa from the Syrian frontier to the boundary 
of the Empire of Morocco had been subdued by their 

The three centuries that remain to be described 
consist of one long decline, relieved indeed now and 
then by a temporary revival of the old warlike spirit 
of the people, but nevertheless a steady and inevitable 
decline. The causes of this downward course are 
partly external and partly depend upon the gradual 
deterioration of the Turks themselves. The growth 
of Russia and the combination of a group of brilliant 
leaders in Hungary, Poland, and Austria, are the 


most important of the outward causes which led to 
the narrowing of the Turkish boundaries : but these 
by themselves would hardly have sufficed to reduce 
the Ottoman Empire to its present decrepit condition, 
had there not been internal cankers which sapped its 
ancient vigour. The very nature of the empire de- 
manded extraordinary energy and wisdom to ensure 
its continuance. A power founded upon military 
predominance and exercised upon numerous alien 
races and hostile creeds needed peculiar care, both 
in maintaining the efficiency of the army and in 
conciliating the prejudices and winning the respect, if 
not the affection, of the Christian subjects who formed 
the majority of the European population. 

The Turkish Government, however, cared for none 

of these things. When the energy and genius of a 

series of great rulers had brought the empire to the 

height of renown, the too common result ensued ; a 

line of weak and vicious Sultans succeeded to the 

vast dominions which had been won by their ancestors* 

swords and retained by their administrative skill, and 

these degenerate scions of a heroic stock, thought 

only of the enjoyments which their great possessions 

' permitted, not of the conditions which might ensure 

- their permanence. The army, deprived of the valiant 

iSultans who once led them to battle, lost all respect 

Tor the idlers who preferred the ignoble luxury of the 

harem to the fierce joys of war; and a disaffected 

soldiery, soon learning its power, set up and deposed 

j Sultans as seemed good to it, and extorted heavy 

■ bribes from each successive puppet of its choice. The 

unbounded exercise of capricious power quickly led to 


licence and corruption, and the ]anissa rig.§. by degrees 
lost their martial character and could not be trusted 
as of old in the field. A bribe was of more conse- 
quence to them than a victory. No efforts, besides, 
were made to keep pace with the improvements which 
other nations were introducing in the weapons and 
tactics of war, and even if their mettle had been as 
finely tempered as of old, the Turkish troops were 
not equipped as they should have been when they 
met the battalions of Prince Eugene, of Sobie^ki, or 
Suvorov. The worst feature of all was their ineffi- 
cient officering. Their commanders were appointed 
not for merit, but in consideration of bribes, and such 
a system naturally entailed the deterioration of every 
regiment, and its evil effects are visible to the present 
day. With effeminate Sultans, incompetent officers, 
and corrupt administrators, with a weak head and 
corrupt members, indeed, it was to be expected that 
the whole man should also become corrupt and power- 
less, — the " sick man " for whom Russia prescribed a 

To tell the various stages of decay in detail would 
only weary the reader with a catalogue of defeats, 
varied by occasional reprisals ; a series of treaties of 
peace, each involving loss or humiliation, each sworn 
for ever and broken in a few years ; an inventory of 
weak, corrupt, or misguided rulers and officers, whose 
baseness and incompetence are cast into deeper shadow 
by such rare apparitions as the family of the Koprilis, 
as Sultans like Murad IV, and Mahmud II., or 
generals like the Damad All, " the dauntless Vizier," 
the conqueror of the Morea, and the chivalrous Topal 


Othman, the antagonist of Nadir Shah. It will only 
be possible to present a brief outline of the successive 
events which marked the gradual shrinking of the 
Turkish Empire to its present limits. 
.^^ The i nroads of Russia , not at first the most im- 
portant, but growing in force and menace with each 
succeeding war, are reserved for another chapter. 
The other principal opponen ts of the Turks were 
Austria ("aided \ )y Hungary an^ P oland), Venice, and 

Venice was the first to dispute the supremacy of 
Suleyman's empire. The great Sultan had been 
succeeded by his son, who received the/too appropriate 
sobriquet of Selim the Sot.] But it was not in the 
nature of things that the splendid system organized 
by Suleyman and his able officers should fall to the 
ground in the hands of a single worthless successor. 
Many of Suleyman's agents were still alive, and 
especially the Grand Vezir Sokolli Mohammed spared 
no pains to carry on the government in the spirit of his 
master. Great mih'tary exploits were at first contem- 
plated. Sinan Pasha reduced Arabia in 1570, and 
prayers were said in the Holy City of Mekka for the 
" Sultan of Sultans, Khakan of Khakans, lord of the 
two seas and two continents, and the two sanc- 
tuaries of Islam, Sellm Khan, son of Suleyman 
Khan." ^ An expedition was sent to Astrakhan, as 
will be related further on,^ but this was not among 
the triumphs of the Porte ; only a fourth of the army 
returned alive to Constantinople. The conquest of 
Cyprus from the Venetians was the next venture. 

* Von Hammer, ii. 398. " See page 251. 


It was entrusted to a rival of Sokolli, one Lala 
Mustafa, who conducted it with equal rashness and 
cruelty. It cost him fifty thousand men, and he 
revenged himself in the hour of success by flaying 
alive the gallant commandant Bragadino. 

The rule of the sea, thus materially strengthened, 
was soon destined to receive a check. ( A great mari- 
time league was formed by the Venetians, Spaniards, 
Knights of Malta,) and others, and a fleet of two 
hundred galleys and six huge galliasses was collected 
by the confederates and placed under the command 
of Don John of Austria, a young man famous for his 
recent subjugation of the Moors in the Alpuxarras,i 
and reputed the greatest general of the time. Against 
this formidable array the Turks were able to bring 
together an even larger fleet. Two hundred and forty 
galleys, besides sixty smaller vessels, were riding in 
the Gulf of Patras under the command of Muezzin- 
zada, Uluj All, and other tried admirals, when, on 
October 7, 1571, Don John brought his fleet out 
of tTTe^ 'Gulf ot Le'panto and gave battle. He 
formed his centre into a crescent under the command 
of the celebrated Prince of Parma, and took post 
himself in the van. The galliasses were ranged 
like redoubts in front of the line. The Turks were 
the first to open fire, and pressing forward suffered 
severely from the broadsides of the tall galliasses 
which they had to pass before they could come into 
close action with Don John. The two chief admirals 
on either sides locked their vessels together, and for 
two hours a deadly fight went on from the decks. At 

* See Lane-Poole, " The Story of the Moors in Spain," p. 278. 


last the Turkish commander fell, and his flag-ship was 
boarded : the Ottoman centre was broken, and the 
right wing gave way. The left, under Uluj All, gained 
some successes over Doria, a nephew of the great ad- 
miral of that name, and took some of the enemy's ships, 
but when he saw the collapse of the centre and right 
he fought his way out of the melley, and with forty 
galleys, the remnant of a noble fleet, set sail for the 
Bosphorus. Ninety-four Turkish ships were sunk or 
burnt, at least a hundred and thirty were captured ; 
the Turks lost 30,000 men, and 15,000 Christian galley 
slaves were set free.^ 

The result of this tremendous defeat ought to have 
been the annihilation of the Turkish command of the 
seas ; but it was nothing of the kind. Its moral effect 
in showing that the terrible Ottomans were not i% 
vincible was lasting, but its immediate influence on 
the balance of maritime power in the Mediterranean 
was comparatively slight. The Christian confederates, 
perfectly satisfied with their triumph, dispersed their 
fleet, and began to give thanks for their victory and 
indulge in their favourite jealousies, but the Turks 
steadily set to work to repair their misfortunes. 
In a few months, by incredible energy and devotion, in 
which even the besotted Sultan took a share, a new fleet 
of two hundred and fifty sail was fitted out ; and so 
little did the victory of Lepanto encourage the Vene- 
tians that they threw over their allies and sued for a 
separate peace. They not only agreed that the Sultan 
was to remain in possession of Cyprus, but were so 
good as to repay him thecost of taking it! The 

* Von Hammer, ii. 423. 




CICALA. ' 213 

memory of I^e^anij^ was wiped out of the Turkish 

There was comparative peace with the Venetians 
for a quarter of a century after this, but it was as 
much due to harem influence as respect for any treaty. 
Murad III., who succeeded his father Selim in 1574, 
was a feeble creature who let the offices of State be 
sold by sycophants to the highest bidder, and himself 
be ruled by his women ; but among the latter was fortu- 
nately at least one lady of intelligence. Safla, a cap- 
tured Venetian of the family of Baffo, governed her 
imperial husband in the interests of her countrymen, 
and when he died in 1595, and was succeeded by her 
son, Mohammed III. — one of Murad's hundred and 
two children, of whom nineteen were put to death 
on their brother's accession — she found the power of 
mother in no way inferior to that of wife. Her chief 
ally was Cicala, a Genoese of noble birth who 
had been made prisoner in his youth by the Turks. 
His father. Count Cicala, had married a captive 
"Turkess," and the son followed his example by 
espousing a granddaughter of Suleyman the Great. 
The combination of personal merit and backstairs 
influence insured the young man's rise, and in due 
time he obtained important commands, iln 1596 he 
rendered a signal service to his adopted country. 
Three days the imperial troops of Austria and Tran- 
sylvania fought with the Turks on the plain of the 
Keresztes. The Christians seemed about to triumph, 
and twice the Sultan thought of flight. Then Cicala 
swooped down upon them at the head of his horse- 
men, and in half an hour archduke and prince were 


riding for dear life, followed by a panting mob of 
what had once been soldiers, and leaving fifty thou- 
sand corpses on the field. 

[One such success, however, hardly relieved a reign 
composed of military revolts, petty external wars, 
provincial tyrants, and general disaffection. It was 
a sign of the lowered status of the Turkish Empire 
that a treaty was concluded with Austria, after the 
usual campaigns, in the reign of the next Sultan, 
Ahmed I., a boy of fourteen, in which the Porte was 
treated as an ordinary equal instead of as a dreaded 
master, and the Austrian tribute was discontinued. 
Turkey was no longer the terror of Europe. Indeed, 
had Christendom been less divided and absorbed in 
, the Spanish wars at that time, it is a question whether 
I the Ottoman Empire might not then have come to 
\the end which has so often been predicted. England 
had an ambassador at the Porte from the time of 
Elizabeth (1583) who strenuously invited the Sultan 
to join his mistress against Spain, but England was 
in no condition to support the Grand Signior against 
his hiany and powerful enemies, nor had our tradi- 
tional policy in the East yet been formulated. The 
Indian Empire and the preservation of our road 
thither were in the future. Nothing seemingly but 
their own divisions kept the Powers from partitioning 
the Ottoman provinces at the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century. Indeed, Sir Thomas Roe, who wrote 
an interesting account of his mission to Turkey, looked 
with confidence to the speedy collapse of the Otto- 
man State. 

But peace reigned for some time on the northern 


MURAD IV, 217 

frontiers of Turkey. The emperor of Austria was 
fully alive to the advantage of keeping on friendly 
terms in the south when the Thirty Years' War was 
raging in the north, and the Turks had no motive for 
aggression, since they had so far retained their con- 
quests. The new Sultan, Murad IV., who ascended 
the throne in 1623, though fired with something of 
the old warlike energy of his ancestors, preferred to 
exert it in another direction, and concluded a fresh 
peace with the emperor which ensured tranquillity to 
the Turks on their northern marches during the first | 
half of the seventeenth century. '•"-^ 

Murad was the last fighting Sultan of the race ofi 
Othman. The enemy he chose for his attack was 
I^ersia^. In the time of Murad III. there had been a|/ 
successful war with the Shah, which ended in a peac^ 
in 1590, whereby the Turks secured Georgia, Tebriz, 
and some of the Persian provinces adjoining the 
southern shores of the Caspian Sea. These acquisi- . 
tions had again and again been disputed by the Persians, 
and by a peace in i6ig the Shah had recovered his 
losses and the boundary between the two kingdoms 
had been restored to the limits which had been drawn 
at the time of Sellm. Murad IV. resolved to regain 
the conquests of his namesake. He had however to 
contend with grievous obstacles. He was but a boy 
of twelve when he came to the, and never was 
an empire more in need of a strong man's hand. 
Disasters and rebellions vyere announced from all "il 
quarters. The Persians were triumphant, Asia Minor\ 
was in revolt, the provincial governors were refractory; 
the three Barbary states were practically independent; 


the treasury was empty, the people were starving, and 
the army was both turbulent and Hcentious. 
y With the help of a capable mother the young Sultan 
contrived to maintain his authority in some sort in 
the face of such difficulties, but not without many a 
painful humiliation. In the ninth year of his reign 
the Sipahis mutinied, and gathering together in the 
Hippodrome demanded the heads of some of the 
officers of state, and especially of Hafiz, the Grand 
Vezir. They pressed into the courts of the Seraglio, 
crying, " Give us the seventeen heads ! " The choice 
lay between submission and abdication. The Sultan 
vainly used every argument and entreaty. At 
last he sent for the Grand Vezlr. Hafiz did not 
shrink from the sacrifice. " I have seen my fate in a 
dream to-day," he said, " and I am not afraid to die." 
He would not however allow the guilt of his blood to 
rest on his sorrowing master's head, but resolved to 
seek death in open conflict with the mutineers. " My 
Padishah," he said, " may a thousand slaves like Hafiz 
die for thee :" and after reciting some verses from the 
Koran, he strode forth into the court, while the Sultan 
and his retinue sobbed and wept Hafiz struck down 
the first assailant, and then fell pierced by seventeen 
wounds. The Sultan did not leave the ghastly scene 
without uttering ominous words to the murderers. 
" So help me God," he said, " ye men of blood, who 
fear not God nor are ashamed before God's Prophet, 
>y a terrible vengeance shall overtake you." 

Gathering together some loyal troops the stern young 
prince kept his word. The mutineers were slain in 
every province ; the Bosphorus floated thick with the 


bodies of Sipahis and Janissaries ; while the terrible 
Sultan, who had {ew rivals in sword or bow, patrolled 
the streets himself and often carried out his sanguinary 
sentences with his own strong hand. The death of 
Hafiz was avenged tenfold, and the authority of his 
master was established on the foundation of terror. 
His severity indeed outshot the mark ; hundreds of 
innocent people were ruthlessly butchered to gratify 
the suspicions or even the caprices of the tyrant, in 
whom the taste of blood seemed to generate that 
fascinating appetite which it creates in beasts of prey. 
It is said that a hundred thousand persons paid the 
last penalty by his order. An inordinate addiction to 
wine still further hardened his fierce temper, but no 
habits of indulgence seemed to shake his iron will or 
enfeeble his martial frame. He watched over every 
department of his administration with vigilant eyes : 
law and justice, order and discipline, everywhere pre- 
vailed as they had not been known since the days of 
the Great Suleyman : tyrant he was, but he allowed no 
other man to tyrannize, and the people realized that 
the tyranny of one is liberty compared to the aimless 
tyranny of the many. 

As soon as he could safely leave the capital, Murad 
set forth to restore order and peace on his Asiatic 
frontiers. In 1635 he reconquered Erivan, and visited 
the local governors of Asia Minor with stern punish- 
ment for their disaffection. For months his only 
pillow was his saddle and his coverlet a horsecloth. 
In 1638 he marched to retake Baghdad, which the 
Persians had recovered since its first capture by Suley- 
man. The garrison made a desperate resistance. But 


Murad led his men in person, worked in the trenches 
with his own hands, and, when the Persians sent out a 
stalwart champion to defy the besiegers to single com- 
bat, it was Murad himself who took up the gauntlet and 
after a hard fight clove the giant's skull from pate 
to chin. The chain armour in which he fought, a 
.beautiful suit of interwoven steel and gold links, is still 
tQj)e seen in the Treasury at Constantinople. Bagh- 
dad fell and a fearful butchery ensued, in which only 
three hundred of the thirty thousand men of the garrison 
escaped, nor did the unarmed inhabitants fare better. 
Peace was made with Persia on the basis of Suleyman's 
treaty of 1555 ; Erivan was restored to the Shah, but 
Baghdad has remained ever since in the hands of the 
Turks. Murad made his triumphal entry into Con- 
stantinople amid the shouts of the people, while the 
Bosphorus and Golden Horn blazed with salutes. 

The following year (1640) he died at the age of 28, 
the last of the warrior Sultans of Turkey. 


(1640- 1757.) 

Henceforward, until we reach the present century 
and the person of Mahmud IL, the names of the twelve 
Sultans who succeeded Murad IV. upon the throne 
of Turkey possess little interest or individuality for 
us. Secluded in the Seraglio, and abandoned, with 
few exceptions, to most of the worst vices that can 
degrade body and soul, they left the care or neglect of 
their empire to the Vezirs, and, accordingly as the 
Prime Minister was a capable or an incapable man, the 
empire was retarded or accelerated in its downward 
course. At the beginning of the period upon which 
we are now entering, the Porte was fortunate in the 
possession of an Albanian family of remarkable 
powers, whose influence checked for a while the dis- 
astrous tendencies of the empire. Koprili Moham- 
med, the first of this stock, was chosen Grand Vezir 
(1656) at the age of seventy. His inflexible yet just 
severity restored order in all parts of the empire. For 
five years his eyes searched out treason and wrong- 
doing in every corner of the Sultan's dominions, and 
never was a strong will better obeyed than during this 
epoch. Thirty-six thousand people were executed by 


his command, and the chief executioner admitted 
that in these five years he had with his own hands 
strangled over four thousand, or nearly three a day. 
The old Vezir had previously borne the reputation of a 
mild and humane man, but he saw that only strong 
measures could restore tranquillity to the distracted 
empire, and he did not shrink from the course which his 
reason dictated. He died in 1661, and was succeeded 
in his office by his even greater son Ahmed. For 
/fifteen years Koprili-zada Ahmed was virtual Sultan, 
j and he is admittedly the greatest statesman of Turkey. 
He had as firm a will and as stern a sense of duty as 
Mohammed, but he had the advantage of a better edu- 
cation and all the added power and experience due to 
his father's example. As a civil administrator he was 
unequalled, but as a general in the field he was doomed 
to suffer heavy reverses. 

The constant intrigues which marked the changes 
of succession in Hungary and Transylvania once more 
embroiled the Porte with Austria, and it fell to Koprili- 
zada Ahmed to lead the armies of Turkey to the 
Danube. In the battle of St.Gotthard (1664) he received 
a terrible defeat at the hands of Raymond, Count of 
Montecuculi. The Christians were outnumbered in 
the proportion of four to one, and the contempt of the 
Turks was increased when they saw the French con- 
tingent come riding down with their shaved cheeks 
and powdered perukes. They ridiculed the charge of 
the "young girls ;" but the "girls" and Montecuculi 
were too strong for their tried veterans : — ten thousand 
Turks were left on the field, and the VezIr was com- 
pelled to beat an ignominious retreat. 



Some compensation for this disaster was found in 
the success which at length attended the operations of 
the Ottomans against the island of Candia, or Crete. 
The Turks were still renowned for their siege works, and 
though it took them more than twenty years to subdue 
the determined resistance of the Venetians under 
their gifted leader Morosini, at last, in 1669, the island 
was theirs. During the last three years they had 
made fifty-six desperate assaults, and the garrison had 
replied with ninety sorties ; more than thirteen hun- 
dred mines had been fired on both sides, thirty thou- 
sand Turks had fallen, and nearly half as many 
Venetians. The successful termination of this memor- 
able siege did much to restore the waning confidence 
of the Porte. 

It was, however, but a gleam of sunshine in an 
Erebus of gloom. A new and formidable enemy 
appeared in the north. The Cossacks of the Ukraine,, 
had been claimed as Polish subjects by the king of| 
Poland against their will, and the Porte proceeded t( 
defend them. The struggle was short ; the kin| 
quickly abandoned his pretensions, agreed to pay 
tribute, and even surrendered Podolia as well as the 
Ukraine to Turkey. The Polish nobles, headed by 
John Sobieski, a name which stands in the front rank 
of European generals, refused to abide by these terms,' 
and, leading their forces against the Turks, adminiJ 
stered two crushing defeats, at Choczim in 1673, and 
at Lemberg in 1675. The Turks, however, were\ 
better able to carry on a long war than the Polish 
nobles, and in spite of their victories, the latter were 
glad to come to terms, by which the Ottomans re- 


tained the advantages which they had previously- 

A defeat followed by an accession of territory was 
no very calamitous ending to Koprili's-zada Ahmed's 
life, though the Ukraine had soon afterwards to be 
ceded to Russia. But when the gifted family which 
had already supplied two eminent men to the highest 
office in the State suffered a passing eclipse, and anew 
and temerarious Vezir was appointed, disasters of a 
less chequered character poured upon the Turkish 
I arms. The policy of Austria towards Hungary had 
I lately become more and more severe and unconcili- 
'atory. The Protestant Magyars especially resented 
the proselytizing efforts of the Jesuits and the bigotry 
of the Catholic party towards its unorthodox subjects. 
Conspiracies were set on foot, and when discovered 
were punished with unsparing severity ; but Hun- 
gary remained, at least as disaffected to Austrian 
supremacy as before. Indeed, it was known that the 
nobles of Hungary preferred the rule of Mohammedans 
to that of bigoted Catholics. The Porte was fully 
informed of these matters, and a violent war party 
sprang up at Constantinople ; they eagerly pressed 
for an advance on Vienna at the moment when Hun- 
gary might be counted upon as an ally. 

Accordingly in 1682, the new Grand VezIr, Kara 
Mustafa, seized this favourable opportunity of put- 
ting an end once for all to the detested house of 
Hapsburg, and marched northwards with a vast host 
of 400,000 men, officered in part by French captains 
and engineers, lent for the service by Louis XIV., who 
was anxious to see the Imperial power humbled in 


the dust. It seemed as if there was nothing to arrest 
the advance of the Turks. The Christians, as usual, 
were wholly unprepared. When once the terrible 
horsetails had been seen retreating towards the south, 
it was the custom of the princes of Europe to disband 
their armies and neglect their fortifications, and to 
abandon themselves to all the delights of quarrelling 
among themselves. Charles of Lorraine, indeed, who 
had fought beside Montecuculi at the battle of St. 
Gotthard, was ready to take his part in the defence ; 
but he could only muster 33,000 men, and what 
were they against so many, above all, when a large 
number of them had to be told off to sundry fortresses 
for garrison duty? Disaffected Hungary sought to 
make peace with both sides by sending a miserable 
contingent of 3,009 under Esterhazy. But for one 
circumstance the triumph of the Turks might have 
been predicted with certainty : this was a treaty of 
alliance which had just been signed between the 
Emperor Leopolc| and Sobieski, who was now king of 
Poland. It is a significant fact that when these two 
sovereigns bound themselves to make common cause 
against the Turk, the memory of many past conventions 
of the kind which had been dissolved by the Pope's dis- 
pensation, recurred to their minds, and while they swore 
an oath, sanctified by the Cardinal Legate, to stand 
by one another, they appended a clause which stipu- 
lated that this oath was not subject to retractation by 
Papal dispensation. The combination of the Legate's 
sacred office, with the guarding clause against its per- 
jured misuse, is one of the curiosities of history. 

John Sobieski, however, though he had sworn to 


help, and was known to be true to his word, was still 
in Poland, and meanwhile the Grand Vezir was push- 
ing on to Vienna. Despairing of succour in time, the 
emperor and his court fled ignominiously to Bavaria. 
The city was, in truth, very ill prepared to withstand 
a siege, especially when conducted by such good 
engineers as the Turks. The fortifications were in a 
state of decay, and it will hardly be believed that the 
very tools necessary for their repair were not to be 
had in Vienna. It was a mere chance that the Grand 
Vezir loitered somewhat on his way. Had he used 
forced marches, he must infallibly have entered the 
capital of the Holy Roman Empire without so much 
as striking a blow. 

The delay, little as it was, gave the people time 
to prepare. Count Stahremberg, a true hero, was 
appointed to conduct the defence, and the whole 
population laboured incessantly at the work of repair- 
ing the fortifications. Students of the University 
and members of the trades-guilds formed themselves 
into volunteer corps and drilled with might and main. 
Out of the population of 60,000 (for half the people 
had fled) some 20,000 were under arms at the dreaded 
moment when the flames of burning villages and the 
news of treacherous butchery told of the near ap- 
proach of the invaders. At last the orders were given 
for the burning of the suburbs, that they might 
not serve as cover to the enemy ; and on the 14th 
of July the siege began. The island suburb of 
Leopoldstadt soon fell into the hands of the Turks, 
and became a smouldering p)'rc. Assault after 
assault was made and repulsed ; mine was answered 



by countermine ; but Stahremberg, as he looked down 
upon the operations from the stone seat, which is still 
to be seen in the lofty spire of St Stephen's, saw with 
sadness that inch by inch the Turks were gaining 

The assaults so far had indeed been fruitless, for the 
Turkish scimitar was no match for the German hal- 
berd, scythe, and battle-axe : but the mines were 
creeping towards the walls, and sickness was raging 
in the city. To sickness followed famine. Cats were 
so valuable, that a chase after the animal over the 
roofs became a recognized form of sport. The reliev- 
ing army was indeed known - to be on the move, but 
would it come in time, or would it succeed in driving 
away the still immense, though diminishing, hosts of 
the Turks ? 

On the 6th of September, rockets announced that 
Sobieski was indeed at hand. The people redoubled 
their efforts when they knew of the presence of the 
great captain. He had united the Polish, Saxon, 
Austrian, Bavarian, and other contingents, to the num- 
ber of some 85,000 men, and had occupied the Kahlen- 
berg, the one strategic position essential for the relief 
of the city. His men, moreover, were fresh, while the 
100,000 troops whom the Vezir had still in camp 
were exhausted by a two months' siege, and many 
privations and labours. On the lOth, the sound of 
guns was heard in the city. They proceeded from the 
Kahlenberg. The great contest was beginning. How 
the thundering of the cannon was listened to in 
Vienna may be imagined. The people, trembling 
with anxiety, were held in suspense for many 


hours. It was a supreme crisis in the history of 

Meanwhile Sobieski had taken his measures for its 

"At sunrise of the T2th of September the crest of 
the Kahlenberg was concealed by one of those 
autumnal mists which give promise of a genial, 
perhaps a sultry day, and which, clinging to the 
wooded flanks of the acclivity, grew denser as it 
descended, till it rested heavily on the shores and the 
stream itself of the river below. From that summit 
the usual fiery signals of distress had been watched 
through the night by many an eye, as they rose 
incessantly from the tower of St. Stephen, and now 
the fretted spire of that edifice, so long the target of 
the ineffectual fire of the Turkish artilleries, was 
faintly distinguished rising from the sea of mist. As 
the hour wore on, and the exhalation dispersed, a 
scene was disclosed, which must have made those 
who witnessed it from the Kahlenberg tighten their 
saddle-girths, or look to their priming. A practised 
eye glancing over the fortifications of the city could 
discern from the Burg to the Scottish gate an interrup- 
tion of their continuity, a shapeless interval of rubbish 
and of ruin, which seemed as if a battalion might 
enter it abreast. In face of this desolation a labyrinth 
of lines extended itself, differing in design from the 
rectilinear zigzag of a modern approach, and formed 
of short curves overlapping each other, to use a com- 
parison of some writers of the time, like the scales 
of a fish. In these, the Turkish lines, the miner yet 
crawled to his task, and the storming parties were 


still arrayed by order of the Vezir, ready for a 
renewal of the assault so often repeated in vain. 
The camp behind had been evacuated by the fight- 
ing men ; the horsetails had been plucked from 
before the tents of the pashas, but their harems still 
tenanted the canvas city ; masses of Christian cap- 
tives awaited there their doom in chains ; camels 
and drivers and camp followers still peopled the long 
streets of tents in all the confusion of fear and sus- 
pense. Nearer to the base of the hilly range of the 
Kahlenberg and the Leopoldsberg, the still imposing 
numbers of the Turkish army were drawn up in 
battle array, ready to dispute the egress of the 
Christian columns from the passes, and prevent de- 
ployment on the plaiUo To the westward, on the 
reverse flank of the range. Christian troops might be 
seen toiling up the ascent. As they drew up on the 
crest of the Leopoldsberg, they formed a half-circle 
round the chapel of the Margrave, and when the bell 
for matins tolled, the clang of arms and the noise of 
the march was silenced. On a space kept clear round 
the chapel a standard with a white cross on a red 
ground was unfurled, as if to bid defiance to the 
blood-red flag planted in front of the tent of Kara 
Mustafa. One shout of acclamation and defiance 
broke out from the modern Crusaders as this emblem 
of a holy war was displayed, and all again was 
hushed as the gates of the castle were flung open, 
and a procession of the princes of the empire and 
the other leaders of the Christian host moved forward 
to the chapel. It was headed by one whose tonsured 
crown and venerable beard betokened the monastic 


profession. The soldiers crossed themselves as he 
passed, and knelt to receive the blessings which he 
gave them with outstretched hands. This was the 
Capuchin Marco Aviano, friend and confessor to the 
emperor, whose acknowledged piety and exemplary 
life had earned for him the general reputation of 
prophetic inspiration. He had been the inseparable 
companion of the Christian army in its hours of diffi- 
culty and danger, and was now here to assist at the 
consummation of his prayers for its success. Among 
the stately warriors who composed his train, three 
principally attracted the gaze of the curious. The 
first in rank and station was a man somewhat past 
theprim^ of middle life, strong limbed, and of impos- 
ing stature, but quick and lively in speech and 
gesture; his head partly shaved, in the fashion of his 
semi-Eastern country ; his hair, eyes, and beard, dark, 
black coloured. His majestic bearing bespoke the 
soldier-king, the scourge and dread of the Moslems, 
the conqueror of Choczim, John Sobieski. . . . 

" On his left was his youthful son. Prince James, 
armed with a breastplate and helmet, and, in addition 
to an ordinary sword, with a short and broad-bladcd 
sabre, a national weapon of former ages ; on his right 
was the illustrious and heroic ancestor of the present 
reigning house of Austria, Charles of Lorraine. 
Behind these moved many of the principal members 
of those sovereign houses of Germany. At the side 
of Louis of Baden was a youth of slender frame and 
moderate stature, but with that intelligence in his eye, 
which pierced in after years the cloud of many a 
doubtful field, and swayed the fortunes of empires. 


This was the young Eugene of Savoy, who drew his 
maiden sword in the quarrel in which his brother had 
lately perished. The service of high mass was per- 
formed in the Chapel by Aviano, the king assisting at 
the altar, while the distant thunder of the Turkish 
batteries formed strange accompaniment to the 
Christian choir. The prince then received the sacra- 
ment, and the religious ceremony was closed by a 
general benediction of the troops by Aviano. The 
king then stepped forward, and conferred knight- 
hood on his son, with the usual ceremonies, commend- 
ing to him as an example of his future course the 
great commander then present, the Duke of Lorraine. 
He then addressed his troops in their own language 
to the following effect: 'Warriors and friends! 
Yonder in the plains are our enemies, in numbers 
greater indeed than at Choczim, where we trod them 
under foot. We have to fight them on a foreign 
soil, but we fight for our own country, and under the 
walls of Vienna we are defending those of Warsaw 
and Cracow. We have to save to-day, not a single city, 
but the whole of Christendom, of which that city of 
Vienna is the bulwark. The war is a holy one. There 
is a blessing on our arms, and a crown of glory for 
him who falls. You fight not for your earthly 
sovereign, but for the King of kings. His power has 
led you unopposed up the difficult access to these 
heights, and has thus placed half the victory in your 
hands. The infidels see you now above their heads, 
and, with hopes blasted and courage depressed, are 
creeping among valleys destined to be their graves. 
I have but one command to give — Follow me ! 


The time is come for the young to win their 
spurs.' " I 

The Grand Vezlr's preparations for the fight were 
very different from those of his Christian opponents. 
He began, it is said, by slaughtering in cold blood the 
thirty thousand captives who were confined in his camp. 
The majority were women who had already been 
subjected to the degradation of a place in the soldiers' 
harems. The butchering accomplished, he posted his 
men. Sobieski, however, had already discovered that 
Kara Mustafa was no general, and there could be 
little doubt as to the result of the contest. For many 
hours the Turks fought bravely, for with all their 
faults, cowardice in battle is unknown to them ; but 
the dash of the Polish cuirassiers, the steady per- 
sistence of the Saxons and Bavarians, above all, the 
unerring strategy of Sobieski, won the day. With a 
final rush, the Christians poured into the Turkish 
camp, and then all was panic and confusion. The 
Grand Vezlr was carried along in the flying crowd, 
cursing and weeping by turns, the army melted like a 
mist before the sun, and the luckless Janissaries who 
were still in the trenches, forgotten by their flying 
leaders, were massacred to a man. Over three 
hundred pieces of artillery fell into the victors' hands, 
besides nine thousand ammunition waggons, a hundred 
thousand oxen, twenty-five thousand tents, and a 
million pounds of gunpowder. The unlucky Vezlr 
paid for his error with his head. Like the Cartha- 
ginians, the Turks showed scant mercy to defeated 

^ Schimmer, "Two Sieges of Vienna" (Eng. trans.), 136-138. 


Thus was Vienna for a second time delivered out 
of the hands of the Ottomans ; and never again 
would the horsetails be seen from the steeple of St. 
Stephen's church ; where the preacher triumphantly- 
commented on the text, " There was a man sent from 
God, whose name was John." It is, perhaps, useless 
to speculate on the probable consequences of the 
contrary event. Had Vienna been taken, as it almost 
was, by the Turks, the course of European history 
might possibly have been changed ; but it may be 
questioned whether the Turks retained enough of 
their pristine vigour to hold such a conquest in the 
face of such powerful and brilliant leaders as the 
states of Europe could then and afterwards bring 
against it. Two centuries earlier it might have been 
otherwise : Mohammed II. might have held Vienna 
against the world. But Mohammed had slept the 
last sleep for two hundred years, and no one now sat 
in his seat at Constantinople who was worthy to wear 
his armour or wield his sword. . At the end of the 
seventeenth century, the Turks possessed no Sultan 
or general who could withstand such men as Monte- 
cuculi, Charles of Lorraine, Prince Eugene, or Marl- 

The Sultan, who had been upon the throne for thirty- 
five eventful years, was no sluggard, indeed ; but his 
energies were wholly absorbed in the chase. " The long 
reign of Mohammed IV. (1648-87) was the intermediate 
epoch between the triumphs of the hero, the codes of 
the legislator, and the pompous nullity of the caged 
puppets of the seraglio ; and while the Ottoman stan- 
dard was planting on * Troy's rival Candia,' the now 


unwarlike, but still spirited, Lord of Constantinople, 
and successor of the Orkhans, Mohammeds, Sellms, 
Murads, and Suleymans, was chasing the wild deer of 
Pelion and Olympus, and displaying his sylvan pomp 
at Larissa and Tirnova. To the remote scene of the 
Sultan's recreations. Pashas, Generals, Vezlrs, and 
Embassies, were seen hastening ; and the splendour 
of the seraglio, with its ceremonial, was transferred to 
mountain wastes and deserts ; amid untrodden forests 
arose halls of Western tapestry, and of Indian texture, 
rivalling in grandeur, and surpassing in richness, the 
regal palaces of the Bosphorus. Brusa, the Asiatic 
Olympus, the field of Troy, the sides of Ida, the banks 
of the Maeander, the plains of Sardis, were the 
favourite resorts of this equal lover of the chase and 
of nature. But the places more particularly honoured 
by his preference were Jamboli, in the Balkan, about 
fifty miles to the north of Adrianople, and Tirnova. 
Whenever he arrived or departed the inhabitants of 
fifteen districts turned out to assist him in his sport ; 
these festivities were rendered attractive to the people 
by exhibitions and processions, somewhat in the spirit 
of ancient Greece, as well as in that of Tartary, where 
all the esnafs or trades displayed in procession the 
wonders of their art, or the symbols of their calling, 
and in which exhibitions of rare objects and grotesque 
figures were combined with theatric pantomime." 
*" But at home this sporting Sultan was less amiable, 
or his ministers perhaps took too much upon them- 
selves : for it was in his reign that a French Ambas- 
sador was called a Jew by the Grand VezTr, struck in 
the face, and beaten with a stool ; that a Russian 


envoy was actually kicked out of the presence cham- 
ber ; and the Imperial dragoman repeatedly bastina- 
doed. The Ottoman ministers refused to rise on 
receiving a foreign representative ; yet the ambassa- 
dors were regarded as guests at the Porte, and were 
allowed so much a day for their keep. It was only in 
the present century that this contemptuous bearing 
towards Giaours was amended ; and as the Grand 
Vezir persisted in remaining seated when an Ambas- 
sador came for audience, a compromise was arranged, 
whereby the minister and the envoy entered the 
chamber simultaneously, by opposite doors, so that 
neither had the opportunity to seat himself.^ 

Defeated at Vienna, the Turks did not retire from 
Hungary without striking a blow at the over-confident 
King of Poland, who in his hot pursuit forgot the 
ancient valour of his foes and received a severe lesson 
at Parkany. But this check only made the Imperialists 
more careful, and the Ottomans found themselves 
driven step by step from their northern possessions. 
City after city was retaken by the enemy ; a defeat at 
Mohacs, once a name of glory to the Turks, still 
further discouraged them ; Buda was retaken after 145 
years of vassalage (1686) ; the Austrians poured through 
Hungary and took Belgrade (1688) ; Louis of Baden 
entered Bosnia ; the Venetians invaded Dalmatia, and 
their future Doge, the former defender of CandiayMoro- 
sini, subdued the Peloponnesus. The great Athenian 
temple, the Parthenon, after having served the By- 
zantines as a church and the Turks as a powder maga- 
zine, was finally shattered to ruins by the Venetians in 
» Urquhart, " Spirit of the East," i. 341-345 (ed. 1838). 


this campaign. The Russians and Poles alone had 
been kept at arm's length on the north-east frontier. 
The Turkish dominions in Europe were now reduced 
to half their former extent. 

Again the Sultan had recourse to the famous 

iamily that had already served his empire so well. 
Coprili-zada Mustafa, a brother of the more cele- 
)rated Ahmed/ was made Grand VezTr in i6<S9. He 
aw the first necessity of conciliating the Christian 
rayas, and this prudent policy prevented any rising of 
the Greeks and Slavs in Turkey Proper. He was a 
wise man, a great reader, and noted for his sincerity, 
insomuch, that when he could not say a civil thing 
honestly, he would hold silence for an entire audience. 
Like his brother, he was more at home in the bureau 
than the field, yet he led his troops valiantly against the 
Austrians, marching on foot himself like any common 
soldier. He drove back the Christians and retook 
Belgrade and other places, and pushed forward the 
Turkish frontier up to the Save. In the battle of 
Slankamen (1691), however, he was killed, and his 
army was put to the rout. Two other members of his 
family afterwards succeeded to the chief office, but 
neither of them attained the fame of Mohammed, 
Ahmed, or Mustafa. Yet they served their country 
well and loyally, and the fifty years of the rule of 
this family served, like a strong anchor, to hold the 
drifting ship of State. 

A new Sultan, Mustafa H., in 1695 suddenly 
called to mind the great deeds of his ancestors, and 

^ It is Ahmed who is called Fazil Ahmed— Ahmed the Virtuous (/zV. 


inspired by such memories, boldly led forth his armies 
against the Austrians. At first this unexpected re- 
vival of the old traditions of Turkish glory inspired 
the people with enthusiasm, and his standards were 
followed by a large and eager force. But zeal was 
not enough to secure the victory, when Prince 
Eugene commanded on the other side, and of general- 
ship the Sultan and his advisers had little to spare. 
The Battle of Zenta in 1697 was a decisive blow: 
twenty thousand Turks were slain and ten thou- 
sand more were drowned in their flight. The 
unhappy Sultan gave up his dream of military 

At this juncture, England, in the person of Lord 
Paget, her Ambassador at the Porte, offered her medi- 
ation, which was accepted. The peace of Carlowitz, 
a notable landmark in Turkish history, was the re- 
sult. Here for the first time Russian and Turkish 
envoys met in a European congress, and Turkey ad- 
mitted once for all the principle of intervention by 
disinterested Powers. By this treaty (1699; Austria 
kept Transylvania and Hungary north of the Marosch 
and west of the Theiss, with most of Slavonia ; 
Poland recovered Podolia and Kaminiec ; Venice 
retained Dalmatia and the Morea or Peloponnesus ; 
Russia made an armistice which afterwards was 
changed into a peace. Seventeen years later, after a 
fresh outbreak of hostilities. Prince Eugene took Bel- 
grade, and by the Peace of Passarowitz (17 18), in which 
England again played the part of mediator, Austria 
obtained possession of the rest of Hungary, and the 
Turkish frontier on the north v/as drawn on very 


nearly the same line which obtained until the Treaty 
of Berlin. 

Henceforward the Ottoman Empire ceased to hold 
the position of a dangerous military power : its armies 
were never again a menace to Christendom. Its 
prestige was gone ; instead of perpetually threatening 
its neighbours on the north, it had to exert its utmost 
strength and diplomatic ingenuity to restrain the 
aggrandising policy of Austria and Russia. Turkey 
was now to become important only from a diplomatic 
point of view. Other Powers would fight over her, 
and the business of the Porte would be less to fight 
itself, though she can still do it well, than to secure 
allies whose interests compelled them to do battle for 
it. In the hundred and seventy years of Turkish 
history which remain to be recorded, the chief ex- 
ternal interest centres in the aggression of Russia, and 
the efforts of English diplomacy and English arms to 
restrain her. The internal changes of the empire, the 
virtual severance of Egypt, the reforming administra- 
tion of Sir Stratford Canning, the Russian wars, and 
the growth of the Christian states, will bring the 
chronicle up to the present date. 



While the Ottoman Empire had been growing for 
centuries, there had been movements to the northward 
in the region known to the Greeks as Scythia and 
Sarn^atia, which threatened sooner or later to interfere 
with its progress. Centuries earlier, in fact before 
Krtoghrul had chivalrously interfered in favour of 
the Sultan of Iconium, the steppes and seaboards of 
the north had been under the sway of rulers whose 
kingdoms had passed through several stages of de- 
velopment, until, at the period which we have reached, 
they were approaching union and strength. 

The early history of this region is involved in the 
mystery which obscures the first ages of a country. 
In the Byzantine annals the inhabitants are represented 
as cruel and filthy, terrible in battle, using the skulls 
of their enemies as drinking-cups ; yet like the Arabs 
hospitable to strangers. Other accounts picture them 
as living in the idyllic innocence and happiness de- 
scribed by the poets of Greece, who imagined that the 
people beyond the north wind enjoyed peaceful lives 
that stretched out to a thousand years. They werQ 

244 ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ RUSSIA. 

represented to be of noble presence, bearing instru- 
ments of harmony instead of arms, and not even 
knowing that such a material as iron existed out of 
which swords might be forged. Travellers seldom 
gain correct notions of strange lands, and we may 
suppose that early visitors to the region that was 
afterwards called Russia took their impressions from 
the rhapsodies of the bards, in the one case, or, in the 
other, came into conflict with the strong men who 
wielded the battle-axe to protect the homes of wives 
and children. Doubtless these northerners were 
neither so fierce nor so mild as these conflicting 
accounts would make them. 

Through the steppes and among the mountain 
ranges commerce had been carried on from a very 
early period. The river Volga furnished the chief 
means of communication between the distant east and 
the Baltic region, in the route of which, on Lake Ilmen, 
connected with Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland 
by the rivers Volkhov and Neva, there rose an emporium 
called Novgorod^hat became the first capital of the 
future empire.i It is easy to appreciate the impor- 
tance of a river system in a country like Russia, and 
especially of such a river as the Volga. It not only 
drains a vast region, but it falls little more than^ix 
imndrfid Jeetj n a course oijU \^onty fiv^c J ;tundred miles ; 
but its length and VGtyr slight fall are not the onl; 
reasons why it was a help to commerce in early times 
as it is to steam navigation in our own day. A glance 
at the map shows that there is but a short land passage 

* The importance of this capital is shown by the early Russian pro- 
verb, " Who can resist God and the great Novgorod?" 

RURIK. 245 

from its head-waters to those of the Volkhov, as well 
as to the Dnieper, through which the trader was able 
to convey his merchandise in boats over most of the 
long distance from the Caspian to the Black Sea and 
the Mediterranean. 

About a thousand years ago the inhabitants of this 
great territory were harassed on the south by those 
terrible Khazars who a century before had crossed the 
Caucasus to fall upon the possessions of the Moslems.^ 
At the same time certain Northmen, who are said to 
have belonged to the race which afflicted so many 
lands in early times, attacked the dwellers about Lake 
Ilmen and put them under tribute. These Northmen, 
known as Variags or Varangians , were of the family 
of Rus, and their leader was Rurik. With him came 
his brothers, in the year ^62, and brought order to 
the misruled and divided people. 

For fifty years after the arrival of Rurik, Novgorod 
was the chief city and the capital, and Russia rejoiced 
in a heroic age. It came to pass in time, however,. | 
that Igor son of Rurik was set upon a throne at Kiev, ; 
which for nearly three centuries became the capital. \ 
There Christianity was first planted in the tenth \ 
century, though tradition asserts that St. Andrew the 
Apostle first set the Cross up on its heights. On 
the death of Igor, Olga his widow reigned during the 
minority of her son, and it was in her day that 
Christianity began to spread slowly throughout the 
middle of the continent. In the year 955 when there 
was peace from foreign and domestic enemies, this 
queen sailed down the Dnieper and over the Black 

* See Gilman, "The Story of the Saracens," 345, 346. 


Sea to Constantinople, and was there baptized with 
much ceremony under the supervision of Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus, and received the Christian name of 

Vladimir the Great, her grandson, received baptism 
thirty-three years later, at Kherson, close to the modern 
Sevastopol. The legend runs that when he was 
besieging the place he said that if he took it he would 
be baptized in the holy font excavated in the floor of 
the ancient church there, and he kept his word. The 
well is still to be seen. He supported the new faith 
with zeal, and founded churches and schools. Accord- 
ing to Gibbon, all who refused baptism were treated 
as enemies of God and their prince, and accordingly 
" the rivers were instantly filled with many thousands 
of obedient Russians who acquiesced in the truth and 
excellence of a doctrine which had been embraced by 
the great duke and the boyars." ^ 

The descendants of Vladimir did not dwell in peace, 
and the kingdom became in time a group of prince- 
doms, which fought innumerable campaigns with each 
other and with the barbarians. In the twelfth century 
the titular capital was the city of Vladimir, on a river 
between the Oka and the Volga ; Kiev and Nov- 
gorod were among the most wealthy and prosperous 
places on the continent ; and the new city of Moskva, 
or Moscow, had been founded (1147). 

For a century the confederated princedoms were 
at war among themselves, and then a new and startling 
danger arose in the south-east. The terrible Chingiz 
Khan sent a portion of his troops to harass the 

* " The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," chapters lii., liv. 


Turkish tribes west of the Caspian Sea. They passed 
through Georgia and over the Caucasus range yntil 
they reached the steppes of Russia. There they 
encountered forces that the Russians had raised to 
oppose them, and won a complete victory, in 1224, on 
the banks of a small river that empties itself into the 
Sea of Azov near the present town of Mariupol. The 
invaders had crossed the Don, and made considerable 
progress into the domain of their enemies. 

For a dozen years the common people were filled 
with forebodings of the return of the Tartars, and 
at the end of that time their fears were realized. 
Batu, grandson of Chingiz, poured his Mongol hordes 
upon the inhabitants, slaughtered men, women, and 
children, and burned their dwellings and cities. . Mos- 
cow and Vladimir became heaps of smoking ruins ; 
all opposing armies were crushed by the tumultuous 
Asiatics. N6vgorod saw the wild horde approaching 
and expected the fate of its sister cities, but for no 
reason that could be surmised, Batu turned back, and 
swept southward to the steppes of the Don. The 
next year he wasted Southern Russia and retreated to 
a place of safety. In 1240, he appeared in front of 
Kiev, which, though already devastated by civil war, 
beckoned him with its promise of spoils. Soon the 
bright domes became a prey to the flames, the palaces 
were rifled ; the citizens were butchered or made 
captive ; and smoking walls were all that remained 
of the splendour that once was Kiev. Batu hurried 
westward, but was defeated at Liegnitz (1241), in 
Moravia, and forced to flee to the other side of the 
Volga, where he laid the foundation of the famous 


city of Seray.^ There he pitched his golden camp, 
or ordUy from which his followers afterwards received 
the name "Golden Horde;" while the name of the 
city is preserved in the word " seraglio," a palace. 

Russia was completely cowed by these invaders, 
and for more than two hundred years was in effect a 
Tartar province. The waste places were, however, 
cultivated again, and the cities slowly recovered from 
their ruined condition ; but the hand of the Tartar 
was heavy upon the people, and ever and anon the 
fearful rumour passed from mouth to mouth that the 
invaders were again at hand, and in the imagination 
of the terrified folk the scenes of the time of Batu 
were repeated in all their frightful horrors. 

The yoke was not borne with resignation all this 
long time. Alexander Nevski, the Russian national 
hero and canonized Tsar, raised the spirits of his 
northern subjects by a mighty victory over the Swedes 
on the banks of the Neva in 1240, where St. Peters- 
burg now stands. In 1378 and 1380, Demetrius IV., 
appointed grand prince by the Mongols, brought 
against his masters a well -trained army and twice 
routed them. In one conflict on the Don he killed, 
they say, one hundred thousand Tartars; but, in 1381, 
the irrepressible horde returned and burned Vladimir 
and Moscow, slaying in the latter cit}^ alone, it is said, 
twenty-four hundred persons. Peace was purchased at 
a heavy sacrifice. 

* This city is mentioned by Chaucer in the Squire's Tale — ** the 
half-told tale of Cambuscan " — 

** At Sarry. in the land of Tartarye, 
Ther dwelte a kynge that werreyed Russye." 


Nevertheless the importance of Moscow increased 
as time passed, and in the next century Ivan III., 
the Great, taking advantage of the weakness which 
followed the internecine wars which, in the time of 
Tamerlane,! had devastated the Golden Horde, had 
strengthened himself sufficiently to throw off the yoke. 
His reign marks a new period in Russian history. 
He united Novgorod, Moscow, and other states, and 
a kingdom of Russia became for the first time a pro- 
bability. He married a princess of Constantinople, 
and expressed his share in the rights of blood-relation- 
ship by placing a double-headed eagle upon his 
escutcheon, instead of St. George and the Dragon, 
which he had formerly borne. 

Under Ivan the Great laws were improved and 
taxes regulated. The Tartars were now broken up 
into a number of small khanates — Krim, stretching 
along the Don ; Kazan, on the Volga ; Astrakhan, 
on the Lower Volga ; and others further east. In 
1502 the golden city of Seray was taken and 

The reign of Ivan first brought the Russian Court 
into peaceful relations with the Porte. Certain Turks 
had laid burdensome impositions on the Muscovite 
merchants trading among them, and when, in 1492, 
the facts came to the knowledge of Ivan the Great, 
he wrote to Bayezid II. and proposed diplomatic 
intercourse between the two empires.^ Three years 

^ Timur ravaged South-enstern Russia in 1396, and threatened 
Vladimir and Moscow, but unexpectedly retired. 

^ Diplomacy in the modern acceptation of the term, was then in its 
infancy. Though it is generally said to have become a science in the 


later the Tsar sent his first ambassador to the Golden 

Though this was the first diplomatic connexion 
between Ottoman and Russian history, it was not 
the beginning of conflict between Russia and Con- 
stantinople. As early as 864, a Russian fleet had 
appeared at the Golden Horn, and had with some 
difficulty been repulsed. In 906 the city was panic- 
stricken by the approach of land and water forces 
under Oleg, guardian of Igor, the son of Rurik. 
The inhabitants were plundered, tortured, and put 
to the sword in great numbers. Again, in 941, Igor 
himself went down with " thousands " of galleys and 
ravaged the coasts, destroying towns and crucifying 
the inhabitants. He was repulsed by the wonder- 
ful "winged fire" which had discomfited the Sara- 
cens centuries before. In 972, Svatoslav I. made 
another expedition, but was defeated by the Em- 
peror, John Zimiskes, in the Balkan, after a terrible 
struggle, and lost his life before he was able to re- 
gain his capital. Thus early began the Russians to 
cast longing eyes upon the beautiful city on the 

Moscow advanced in power. It was blessed with 
cautious princes, who made a virtue of necessity by 
bowing to the Tartars when they were too strong to 
be resisted, but were ever ready to strike in earnest 
when they had a chance. They contrived at the 

reign of Henry IV. of France, under the head of his great minister 
the Duke of Sully, it had been much cultivated by the Italian 
republics, and Machiavelli {1467-1527) was ambassador to France as 
early as 1500. 


same time to win the favour of the Greek Church, 
and they had the support of the boyars or nobility. 
The refractory Lithuanians were gradually subdued, 
and though not yet Tsars, in the modern meaning, 
the descendants of Rurik the Norseman were styled 
"Grand Princes of All Russia." In 1552 the Tartars 
of Kazan were conquered and made tributary, and 
a realm comprising some thirty-seven thousand 
square miles acknowledged the sway of Ivan IV., 
Grozni, "the Terrible." He in turn, despite his cruel 
nature, increased his patrimony to more than a 
hundred and forty thousand square miles, and during 
the half-century of his reign accomplished more for 
Russia than any previous sovereign. 

The Krim Tartars were fierce foes of this first Tsar ^ 
of Russia. They were tributary to the Sultan, but he 
did not take part in their strife with the Tsar. The 
Turkish Vezir Sokolli was at that time anxious to 
revive an enterprize often conceived and even at- 
tempted in ancient times. This was the creation of 
a water-route from Constantinople to the borders of 
Persia, in the interests alike of commerce and of war. 
It was to be accomplished by cutting a canal between 
the Don and the Volga ; ships could then sail from 
the Black Sea, through the Sea of Azov, up the Don 
and down the Volga, to the Caspian. Astrakhan^at 
the mouth of the Volga, then held by Russia, was an 
essential part of the plan. A large force was sent out 
to take it, but it was routed and obliged to return ; 
and an army of Tartars which went to its assistance, 
was also defeated by the Russians. The Tsar sent 

^ Or Czar : a contraction of Caesar. 


an ambassador to Constantinople to complain of the 
attack on Astrakhan, and a friendly alliance was 
arranged. Russia was not yet strong enough to 
display open resentment. In I57i,ayear after this 
alliance, the Krim Tartars sent an expedition against 
Moscow. The city was taken by storm and sacked ; 
thousands of the inhabitants perished in the flames. 
The Tsar, who had in the previous year been tormenting 
his subjects in the most fearful manner on suspicion 
of treason, fled ingloriously from his capital, and 
found an asylum among his long-suffering people 

As the reign of the terrible Ivan wore slowly to its 
close there was ostensibly peace between the Tsar 
and the Grand Signior, and after his death came a 
period of anarchy and rival claims which prevented 
any attempt at foreign aggrandisement. After the 
House of Romanov, however, had become fairly 
established on the throne, the natural and constant 
jealousies between the two peoples increased, and 
actual conflict became imminent. The Tartars were I 
a perpetual thorn in the side of Russia, and the 1 
Cossacks were scarcely less irritating to Turkey. \ 
There were frequent petty wars in the latter part of 
the seventeenth century. In 1696 Peter the Great 
took Azov and gained a footing on the shores of the 
Black Sea ; but the Peace of Cailowitz had dis- 
couraged the Turks too much for resistance, and in 
1700 a treaty of peace was concluded for thirty years. 
Meanwhile the Tsar went on fortifying Azov, and the 
Turks met his preparations by building the fortress 
of Yenikale. The struggle with Charles XI L of 


Sweden diverted Peter from his designs upon Tur- 
key, and when the former took refuge with the 
Sultan after the defeat at Pultowa, Ahmed III. had 
the courage to refuse to deh'ver him up to the Tsar. 
War broke out between Russia and the Porte in 
1 7 10, in spite of the thirty years' treaty, and Peter, 
the Great found himself surrounded by a superior ! 
force of Ottomans beside the river Pruth. The Grand \ 
Vezir had the founder of Russian greatness in^ 
his power ; but the quick wit and heavy bribes of 
Catherine extricated her consort and saved Russia. 
Treaties of peace were common transactions between 
the two Powers ; one followed in 1 7 1 1 , and another, 
sworn for all eternity, in 1720. The Tsar and the 
Sultan joined together in a scheme for the partition 
of Persia, a nd eventually effected an advantageous 
peace with the Shah. 

It was but few years after this that the belief gained 
ground in many parts of Europe that the Ottoman 
Empire was tottering to its fall, a belief that has 
strengthened with time. In our own century it found 
its expression in the historic words of the emperor 
Nicholas (in 1844) when, referring to the decline of 
the Ottomans, he said to Sir Hamilton Seymour, " We 
have on our hands a sick man, a very sick man." It 
was at that date generally thought that the Turks 
might be speedily driven from Europe and their 
possessions divided afnong the Christian nations. 

The humiliation of Peter the Great on the banks 
of the Pruth was not forgotten. Resentment for this 
disgrace was nursed by the sovereigns and the people 
ever after. Peter II. massed materials of war at 

234 ^^^ ^^SE OF RUSSIA. 

convenient places, and was just ready for a campaiorn 
when his death occurred in 1727. The enterprise 
was hindered by circumstances until 1736, when the 
Tsaritza Anne thought that the moment for revenge 
had arrived, and in March of that year put her troops 
in motion. In 1739 the Peace of Belgrade temporarily 
closed a struggle that had been carried on with fre- 
quent attempts at peace ; but it did not afford the 
expected gratification of revenge. The terms were 
much too honourable to the Ottomans to satisfy 

It was twenty-nine years, however, before the con- 
flict was renewed. In 1768 indignation arose at 
Constantinople against Russia on account of the 
occupation of Poland by her troops, and the fraudu- 
lent election of Poniatovski, the favourite of Queen 
Catherine II., as king, events that resulted in the 
*' dismemberment " of that unhappy state. War was 
entered upon by the Sultan before he was prepared. 
It was pursued with very indifferent generalship 
on both sides, except when Rumiantzov led the 
Russians, till 1774, and its two most interesting 
features were the appearance of a Russian fleet, 
largely officered by Englishmen, upon the coasts of 
Greece, and the able defence of Silistria in 1773 by 
the Turks. It was closed by the treaty of Kaynarji, 
dated July 21st, by design of the Russians, since that 
was the date also of the disgrace of the Pruth which 
it was hoped to obliterate. By this treaty Russia 
gained many advantages. The Crimean khanate 
and the Danubian principalities were made practically 
independent, and while resigning her conquests 


Russia retained the strong fortresses on the Euxine and 
Sea of Azov. The treaty of Kaynarji was a definite 
step towards that dissolution of the Turkish Empire 
which has long been the dream of the Slavs. One 
of the empress's grandchildren was named Constan- 
tine, and a gate at Moscow was designated " The 
Way to Constantinople," as expressive of her faith 
in Russian destiny. 

The subsequent progress of the international 
struggle is marked by the treaties of J assy, Bucharest, 
Akkerman, and Adrianople. The Tartars of the 
Crimea had by the treaty of Kaynarji been declared 
an independent nation with the internal affairs of 
which Russia had bound herself not to interfere. In 
spite of this agreement, however, the empress had 
laid her plans to take possession of the Crimea, even 
before signing the treaty in which she so solemnly 
declared that she would do nothing of the kind. Ini 
1783, the region was accordingly annexed to he^ 
dominions, and Constantinople was again agitated. 
England, however, was then dominated with the idea 
of a great northern league against France, and would 
not oppose Russia ; deprived of allies, the Sultan 
was obliged to acquiesce in the new state of affairs. 

In 1787, the empress Catherine visited her new 
dominions in company with the emperor Joseph of 
Austria, and set up a pompous inscription on a gate 
of the city of Kherson, at the mouth of the Dnieper, 
to the efi^ect that it opened towards Byzantium.' 

' For an account of this visit see " Lettres du prince de Ligne a la 
marquise de Coigny, pendant I'annee 1787, publiees avec un preface 
par M. de Lescure," pp. xxi. 69. Paris, Librairiedes Bibliophiles, i886. 


Then the Ottomans could restrain themselves no 
longer, but, though again unprepared, declared war. 
In December, 1788, occurred the siege of Ochakov, a 
strongly garrisoned place which was expected to hold 
the northerners back from Moldavia and Wallachia. 
The Russian soldiery, after an exhibition of Turkish 
butchery in a neighbouring village, were incited to 
the deepest desire for vengeance, and pressed forvvard 
against all odds until the garrison was overcome. 
Then they gave free reign to their appetite for pillage 
and murder, and for three days the slaughter was merci- 
less. Only some three hundred persons, chiefly women 
and children, were left alive out of forty thousand. 

The following year, Suvorov, the Russian general 
to whom the success at Ochakov was due, was directed 
to advance upon the still stronger fortress of Ismail 
on the delta of the Danube, some forty miles from the 
Black Sea. The place was taken by a night assault ; 
but upon entering it the Russians found that the 
severest fighting was yet before them, and the struggle 
was continued in the streets. Throughout all the 
following day butchery raged without mercy. For 
three days after they were overcome, the inhabitants 
were given up to the brutality of their conquerors, and 
thousands were slain. 

War closed with the pacification of Jassy, in January, 
1792, a treaty being solemnly signed as usual " In the 
name of the Almighty." In this document a sincere 
desire was expressed on the part of the empress and 
the Sultan to reestablish peace, friendship, and good 
understanding, which had been interrupted by "trifling 
considerations," and to make it enduring. 



In the treaty of Kaynarji (1774) the Russians 
had managed to insert an article intended to make 
Turkey acknowledge them as exercising in some sort 
the office of protectors of the Christian subjects of 
the Porte. In the treaty of Yassy (1791) an article 
was inserted bearing in the same direction, for Cathe- 
rine, like Peter the Great, saw the advantages that 
would accrue to Russia if she could fix her power in 
that quarter. She did not, of course, honestly feel 
the sentiments that she expressed through her repre- 
sentatives at Yassy, but went on with preparations 
for the most formidable campaign that had ever been 
planned against the Ottoman Empire. Death happily 
interrupted her schemes in November 1796. 

The plans of Russia were, however, simply inter- 
rupted, they were' to be resumed again at the first 
opportunity, and accordingly in 1806, we find her 
armies at Yassy, and marching into Moldavia and 
Wallachia without a declaration of war. Again there 
was consternation and indignation at Constantinople. 
War measures were adopted, but they effected nothing 
decisive. Meantime a peace was determined at Tilsit 
in June, 1807, between the Tsar and the Emperor of 
the French, who theatrically embraced on a raft in the 
middle of the river Niemen, swore eternal friendship, 
and agreed that the Ottoman Empire should be at the 
mercy of Russia.^ Such was the secret understanding : 
the public treaty however professed to provide for the 
evacuation by Russia of the Danubian principalities, 
and the Tsar made some show of preparing to retreat. 

^ The " eternal " friendship between Alexander and Napoleon lasted 
five years. 


Austria meanwhile was engaged in the disastrous war 
with Buonaparte which ended in the battle of Wagram 
and the Peace of Schonbrunn ; and, relieved from any 
fear of Austrian interference, the Tsar resolved on 
more active measures against Turkey. 

A new and important influence had however arisen 
at Constantinople. England had been formally at 
war with the Porte in consequence of our alliance 
with Russia. When the Tsar embraced Napoleon at 
Tilsit this purely diplomatic rupture was no longer 
necessary, and Sir Robert Adair negotiated the Peace 
of the Dardanelles in 1809. In the following year he 
left the Embassy, and Stratford Canning, then a young 
man of 23, became Minister Plenipotentiary. In spite 
of his youth and inexperience, and notwithstanding a 
complete want of instructions from England during 
the entire period of his mission, Canning set himself 
to defeat the intrigues of the French, and succeeded. 
Napoleon's object was to weaken Russia, upon whom 
he was already meditating his attack, by prolonging 
the war with Turkey, which had been continued in a 
desultory manner for several years, without any con- 
spicuous advantage to either belligerent. He bribed 
\ Austria by a promise of a partition of Turkey, just as 
he had bribed Russia at Tilsit. He threatened the 
Turks with his high displeasure, the displeasure of the 
one overwhelming sovereign of Europe, if they listened 
to the voice of England — the voice of the one resolute 
champion of liberty against universal despotism. He 
promised the Porte his favour and protection if it would 
prolong the war. Everything seemed in his favour, 
and it appeared inconceivable that the Porte would 
^:hrow over so powerful a patron. 


In face of these tremendous odds, Canning used 
his diplomatic genius. It was all he had, for 
military or naval support was denied him. Yet by 
mere reasoning, by exposing the treachery of Napo- 
leon, by revealing his successive schemes of partition, 
by working upon the fears and prejudices of the 
Turkish ministers with that consummate skill which 
in after years gained him the title of "the Great 
Elchi," he prevailed. He induced the Porte to make 
peace with Russia, even at the sacrifice of territory. 
A new frontier was drawn at the river Pruth by the 
Treaty of Bucharest, signed in May, 18 12. 

This treaty was wholly due to the indefatigable 
efforts of the British Minister, and Canning had been 
actuated not alone by the desire to spare the Porte the 
defeat which must eventually have come upon it, but 
by other reasons of high European policy. The one 
chance of overcoming the domineering power of 
France was to enable Russia to withstand her. There- 
fore he worked day and night to release the Russian 
army frpm its duties in Turkey, and he succeeded just 
in time. Scarcely was the treaty of Bucharest signed 
when Napoleon began his fatal march to Moscow, and 
the action of Chichakov's army of the Danube upon 
his flank was the coup de grace of the disastrous retreat. 
English diplomacy finished the work of a Russian 



Constantinople stands on the finest site in 
Europe. St. Petersburg with its noble river, Stock- 
holm on its many islands, Venice the bride of the 
sea, cannot rival the ancient city of the Eastern 
Caesars. To see Rome and die is mere gratuitous 
suicide when the other Rome, the beautiful city of 
Constantine, remains to be visited. There is hardly a 
scene in the world so replete with natural beauty, so 
rich in storied recollections, as that enclosed betwixt 
the Bosphorus and 

** the dark blue water 
That swiftly glides and gently swells 
Between the winding Dardanelles." 

We have left the Plain of Troy behind, and can 
almost fancy that we saw the mound of Patroclus ; 
there beyond is " many-fountained Ida," and opposite 
stands the rocky island of Tenedos, where the Danai 
moored their fleet during the ten weary years of the 
siege. We are entering the Hellespont, where the 
Theban maid fell from the golden ram, and perished 
in the strait that bears her name. High on the right, 


ever veiled with clouds, rises Bithynian Olympus, 
beneath which, we know, cluster the green groves and 
exquisite mosques of Brusa, the old Turkish capital, 
invisible from the sea. We are in the enchanted land 
of Byron when we look upon Abydos, and think of 
the fatal night, — 

** on Helle's wave, 
When Love, who sent, forgot to save 
The young, the beautiful, the brave ; " 

and then suddenly we are carried back to the stormy 
days of early Christian history, when an inlet in the 
southern shore of the Propontis indicates the direction 
of Nicaea, and the ruined site of Chalcedon comes into 
view. But the islands that fringe the coast take us 
once more to a new region of association, not ancient 
history, nor yet romance, but modern politics ; for 
these are the Prince's Isles, where the British fleet lay 
during the critical weeks when the death warrant of 
Turkey was being drawn up at St. Stefano exactly 

As the eye passes St. Stefano an imposing block of 
grey walls and feudal-looking battlements comes into 
the vision. This is the Castle of the Seven Towers, 
where it was the usual custom of the Porte to incar- 
cerate the minister of a foreign power upon declara- 
tion of war. These grey walls, in triple ranks, are 
part of old Byzantium ; there are stones here that 
were laid in the time of Constantine, and renewed by 
Theodosius. They enclose the whole city in a circuit 
of twelve miles, and once they were nearly impreg- 
nable. Now they are overgrown with shrubs and 


creepers ; the towers are torn with gaping rents, the 
breaches of many sieges are discernible in the crumb- 
Hng ruins, and the scene is one of melancholy decay 
and desolation. 

The old walls run out to a point, and then wind 
round to the north, bounding the harbour. The Point 
is crowned by a group of irregular ruinous buildings, 
and a few better preserved kiosques, which are all 
that remain of the Seraglio of the Grand Signior. 
Over them rise the bulbous dome and cupolas of St. 
Sophia, with its Turkish minarets, and beyond are 
other domes and minarets innumerable. Rounding 
Seraglio Point, the vessel glides into the Golden Horn 
— the wide inlet which forms the splendid harbour of 
Constantinople, and divides the city into its European 
and its Turkish quarters. On the left or west side is 
Istambol,or Stambol, the ancient Byzantium, which is 
now entirely inhabited by Mohammedans, as might be 
guessed from the long line of mosques that fringes the 
Seven Hills, from St. Sophia hard by the Seraglio to the 
shrine of the conqueror Mohammed II. at the northern 
extremity, near the picturesque village of EyyQb ; and 
also from the dilapidated and irregul-ar style of the soft- 
toned houses that crowd the slopes below and around 
the mosques. On the right of the Golden Horn is 
the European quarter, known as Galata near the 
water's edge, and as Pera on the top of the steep hill 
where the European colony has its houses and the 
Embassies their town palaces. Galata is the mer- 
cantile and shipping quarter ; Pera is the West End 
of Constantinople in all but the points of the com- 
pass. It has not many good looks to boast, how- 


THE R API A, 265 

ever. Its high street or " Grande Rue " is sloped at the 
angle of a roof, and in places is as narrow as an alley ; 
the shops are, with few exceptions, poor and dirty, and 
very few good houses are to be seen, though there are, 
in reality, some comfortable mansions secluded behind 
high walls and within dusty gardens. 

Further to the east are the country houses of both 
Turks andChristians,shelteredinthe combes that divide 
the swelling downs that bound the Bosphorus on the 
north. From the top of the hill of Pera, where the 
hideous German Embassy enjoys one of the finest 
views in the world, and where one can see the Golden 
Horn and the Propontis laid out like a beautiful map, a 
couple of miles downhill brings us to the little village 
of Ortakoy, with a pretty mosque, and the best 
caiques on the Bosphorus. Entering one of these 
delicious boats, we round the slight promontory, and 
find ourselves at Bebek, a lovely village, nestled in 
trees up the bosom of a ravine, and forming a strange 
contrast with the frowning Castle of Europe, which, 
just beyond, rears its round towers against the sky, 
as it did when Mohammed II. built it as a preliminary 
to the conquest of Constantinople. Further on are 
Therapia and Buyukdere. Therapia is the Richmond 
of Pera. When the weather becomes hot, all who can 
afford a country-house go to Therapia, where they can 
enjoy the cool breeze that blows from the Black Sea. 
The British Embassy looks straight down the Bos- 
phorus to the mouth, where Jason found the 
Wandering Rocks when he went to seek for the 
Golden Fleece. It was in the old residence here that 
the Great Elchi passed his summer after he had fought 


his famous diplomatic duel with Prince Menshikov. 
" Living close over the gates of the Bosphorus, he 
seemed to stand guard against the North, and to 
answer for the safety of his charge." 

The whole tone of the country by night or by day 
is lovely. As we see it we begin to understand 
Byron's enthusiasm when he saw 

" the land of the cedar and vine, 
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine ; 
Where the light wings o( Zephyr, oppressed with perfume, 
Wax faint in the gardens of Gul in her bloom ; 
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit. 
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute ; 
Where the tints o the earth and the hues of the sky, 
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, 
And the purple of ocean is deepest in dye ; 
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine. 
And all save the spirit of man is divine." 

No scene more perfect can be conceived than the 
Bosphorus by moonlight, with the red of the sunset 
dying away into a pale yellow sheen over the minarets 
of Stambol ; the hills, clothed with dark cypresses, 
stand out like ramparts on either hand, ever and again 
cleft with a deep ravine, where a few lights reveal the 
presence of a little village ; along the shores are ranged 
the white palaces of the Sultan and his race, many of 
them deserted and ruinous, shining like pale but stately 
ghosts in the cold beams of the climbing moon. Beg- 
lerbeg and Dolmabaghche are no longer the homes of 
the Grand Signior. He lives on the top of the hill of 
Beshiktash, in his new mansion of Yildiz Koshki, or 
" Star Kiosque," and the old palaces are left to go to 


ruin, like many another fine old Turkish house which 
overhangs the water, into which it must speedily fall, 
a type of the history of the nation. 

The Sultan, however, shows judgment in choosing 
for his residence a height whence a magnificent view 
is obtained, and where he is far removed from the bad 
odours and dirt of Stambol. The old Seraglio is 
incomparably picturesque, but when one approaches 
it through the filthy streets, and sees the squalor and 
mud and ruin that make up the Turkish quarter, one 
ceases to wonder at the removal of the Sultan from 
Eski Seray, until one finds oneself inside its enchanted 
courts, when the dirt is forgotten, and one marvels 
how any prince could wish for a nobler site wherein 
to pass his days. 

Among the groves of plane and cypress that clothe 
the apex of the triangle on which the ancient city of 
Constantinople is built, the domes and minarets of 
the Seraglio ^ stand forth conspicuously still. Here 
in the days of their glory dwelt the Othmanli Sultans, 
surrounded by all the luxury and magnificence that 
Oriental imagination could devise. This beautiful 
palace-city, with its marble and gilded kiosques, its 
gardens, flowers, and fountains, must have recalled 
the enchanted palaces and fairy cities of the 
Thousand and One Nights. But admiration must 
have been touched with horror, for many a gloomy 
oubliette and grim-looking pile awakened thoughts of 

^ Europeans frequently use the word Seraglio as a synonym for 
harem, i.e., that portion of a dwelling set apart for the use of the 
women of the household. It really means the entire imperial residence, 
being a corruption of the Eastern seray, or palace. 


the hideous tragedies that were from time to time 
enacted within those walls ; and in the end the 
ghastly recollections which these monuments called 
forth proved its ruin. Abd-ul-Mejid, gentlest of 
Sultans, unable to endure the sight of a place so 
haunted by the crimes of his ancestors, abandoned 
the old Seraglio for one of those gay and cheerful 
mansions which his father had erected on the shores 
of the Bosphorus. Since that time the old palace of 
the Sultans, deserted by its imperial masters, has fallen 
to decay ; more than one terrible fire has swept across 
the point on which it stands, and now little remains, 
save the outer courts, of what was once the favourite 
residence of some of the mightiest of monarchs. 

In the latter half of the eighteenth century this 
palace, which might perhaps be more correctly de- 
scribed as a small town, consisted of a number of 
independent buildings erected at different times on 
the gardens situated at the point of land where the 
Bosphorus enters the Sea of Marmora. On all sides 
but one it was surrounded by the sea, from which it 
was protected by a tower- flanked wall some thirty 
feet in height, while another similar wall shut it in 
from the city, the circuit of the whole being nearly 
three miles. The buildings were, for the most part, 
upon the rising ground that runs along towards the 
Seraglio Point, while the gardens stretched down to 
the sea on either side. A quay, on which were 
mounted several large pieces of artillery, ran along 
outside the whole length of the sea-wall, which, as 
well as the city-wall, was pierced with a number of 
gates, but one only was in general use. This was 


the great gate of the Seraglio, the Bab-i Humayun 
or Imperial Gate, that " Sublime Porte," from which 
the Ottoman Government derives the name by which 
it is best known. Piled up on one side, just without 
this gate, were pyramids of heads, trophies of victory 
over Greek or Serbian rebels, as ghastly as the skulls 
that once bleached upon London Bridge or over 
Temple Bar. 

Entering under the lofty arch, where fifty Kapujis 
or porters stood on guard, the visitor found himself in 
the first of the four courts of the Seraglio. This 
court, which, like the others, lay open to the sky, was 
rather mean in appearance for the vestibule of a 
palace. Several buildings stood on each side ; the 
public treasury, the orangery, the infirmary, and the 
bakery occupying the right, while the timber-yard, the 
stables, the armoury, the mint, and several other 
offices, were ranged along the left. The armoury, 
which still exists, was an old Byzantine church 
dedicated to St. Irene, but turned to its present use 
by the Turks on their capture of the city. In it are 
preserved the keys of many cities taken by the Otto- 
mans in the days of their prosperity. To enter the 
second court it was necessary to traverse a passage of 
about fifteen feet in length, closed by a gate at either 
end. This passage, which was hung with old arms, 
trophies of Ottoman valour on many a hard-fought 
field, was one of those places to which terrible 
memories clung. Here Vezirs and other great men 
who had forfeited their master's favour were arrested, 
and shown the fatal warrant that contained their 
doom ; and here they died by the bowstring. 


The outer gate of this passage, which went by the 
name of the Orta Kapu, or the Middle Gate, was 
guarded by fifty porters. In the second court, which 
none but the Sultan might enter on horseback, the 
paths alone were paved, the rest of the ground being 
laid out in grass plots surrounded by rows of cypresses, 
and watered by fountains, while all round the court 
ran a low gallery covered with lead, and supported by 
marble columns, under which, on days of ceremony, 
the Janissaries were drawn up. The whole of the 
right side of this court was occupied by the offices 
and kitchens, while on the left, among other buildings, 
stood the Record Office, the Hall of the Divan, the 
Office of the Grand Eunuch, and the Outer Treasury, 
where was kept the store of those robes of honour, 
which the Sultans used to bestow on such persons as 
found favour in their eyes. On certain days in every 
week a court of justice, presided over by the Grand 
Vezir, was held in the Hall of the Divan, which was 
open to every subject of the Sultan who had cause of 
complaint against his neighbour. Here the dis- 
putants came and personally pleaded their cause 
before the highest tribunal in the empire, with a good 
chance of a just settlement of their case ; for the 
Vezirs never knew whether the Sultan himself might 
not be watching them from the curtained gallery, 
which communicated with the inner courts of the 
Seraglio, and had been built in order that the Padishah 
might be able to come unobserved and see what 
manner of justice was administered in his name 
Not far from the Divan -Khana stood the Hall 
of the Ambassadors, where the Grand Signior 



used to receive the representatives of foreign mon- 

These two courts, the first and second, formed the 
outer portion of the Seraglio, and were almost of a 
public character. They were attended during the day 
by a vast number of officers, guards, and servants, 
collectively known as the Aghayan-i Birun, or Mas- 
ters of the Outside, not one of whom was permitted to 
pass into the third court, where the private establish- 
ment of the Sultan began. This inner division, which 
was served by the Aghayan-i Enderun, or Masters of 
the Inside, i.e., the Four Chambers of pages and the 
two corps of eunuchs, was entered by a gate called 
the Bab-i Sa'adet, or Gate of Felicity. On passing 
through this doorway an entirely new scene presented 
itself; instead of the rectangular courts which formed 
the outer portion of the palace, there appeared an 
extensive garden, studded with many buildings, large 
and small, arranged in no apparent order, but all 
glittering with gold and marble. Conspicuous among 
the kiosques and fountains, some of which were of 
extreme beauty, stood the pavilion of the Sultan, the 
Seraglio mosque and library, the immense halls of the 
pages — one for each of the Four Chambers — the apart- 
ments of the eunuchs, a magnificent suite of baths, and 
the imperial Treasury. In this last were preserved the 
priceless art treasures of the Sultans, a dazzling array 
of beautiful and costly objects, gifts of princely allies 
and vassal kings, or trophies of many a devastated 
land and plundered capital ; there, indeed, 

^ The first and second courts of the Seraglio still exist in a nearly 
complete condition. 


*' Jewels wept from bleeding crowns, 
Spoils of woful fields and towns." 

The treasury was burnt down in 1574, and most of 
its precious contents were destroyed. Whatever the 
Turks had preserved of the treasures of old Byzan- 
tium and the library of Matthias Corvinus doubtless 
perished in the flames. But the collection which has 
since been gathered together in the later building 
gives one some idea of what the Sultan's treasure house 
must have contained in the days of Suleyman 
the Magnificent. Within the badly-lighted and ill- 
arranged chambers of the modern treasury are such 
gems and precious stuffs as could not be believed in 
unless they were actually seen, as the author saw them 
in 1886. Huge emeralds as large as the palm of one's 
hand, garments positively plated with great table 
diamonds, maces and daggers whose hilts held gems 
as large as hen's eggs, jewelled aigrettes, and robes of 
state standing up stiff with gold and precious stones. 
The splendid gems which glow in every inch of the 
glass cases are almost all uncut, as is the fashion of the 
East, and their glittering brilliancy is thus concealed 
within their formless outlines ; and the workmanship 
of most of the thrones and other objects is rich and 
elaborate rather than tasteful. Even the arms are 
not so beautiful as might have been expected, though 
the coat which Murad IV. wore at the siege of Bagh- 
dad is a fine piece of chain armour. Art was never 
a strong point with the Turks, except when they 
employed others to work for them, or copied earlier 
models ; but in magnificence, in solid wealth of gold 
and precious stones, the Sultan's treasury leaves one 


in a condition of dazed stupefaction. Nothing to 
compare with its barbaric splendour exists in any 
other European capital. 

Jealously guarded in another building lay, and in- 
deed still lie, the sacred relics of the Prophet Moham- 
med. These, which passed into the possession of the 
Ottoman monarchs when the last of the Abbasides 
made over to SelTm I. the office and dignity of the 
Khalifate, consist of a few seemingly trivial objects, 
the most prominent among which are the mantle and 
banner of the great reformer — the mantle which he 
threw over the old Arab poet, Ka'b ibn Zubeyr, in 
token of his delight with an ode which the latter im- 
provised and which has ever since been famous as the 
Poem of the Mantle ; — his banner, that Sanjak-i Sherif, 
or Holy Oriflamme, under which in olden days Khalifs 
and Sultans used to lead their hosts to victory. Near 
the further end of this division of the Seraglio, in a 
place called the Chimshirlik, or Boxwood Shrubbery, 
were twelve pavilions, each containing several rooms, 
and each surrounded by a high wall enclosing a little 
garden. This was the Kafes, or Cage, the residence 
of the imperial princes, sons of the Sultan. Each 
prince, in his separate pavilion, from which he was not 
allowed to come forth without the special permission 
of his father, was attended by some ten or twelve fair 
girls and a number of young pages ; and these were 
the only companions whom he might see and converse 
with, except the black eunuchs to whom his education 
was confided. 

Beyond this third division of the Seraglio, — se- 
parated from it by a massive wall, pierced by a single 


passage which was closed by four gates, two of bronze 
and two of iron, whereat black eunuchs stood on guard 
night and day — lay the imperial harem', another large 
garden, stretching down to the sea-wall, and dotted, 
like the former, with numerous detached buildings. 
The harem was exclusively tenanted by the women of 
the imperial household ; no man save the Sultan himself 
was allowed to explore that paradise of earthly houris ; 
even the Grand Eunuch must receive his imperial mas- 
ter's permission before he ventured to pass through 
the fourfold gate. In the middle of the harem garden 
rose the Sultan's pavilion, blazing with cloth of gold 
and hangings embroidered with precious stones. Each 
of the Kadins, or wives of the Padishah, (there were 
usually four,) had a pavilion containing ten or twelve 
rooms and a suite of attendants of her own ; while 
the other women were provided with apartments suited 
to their respective positions. There were, of course, 
besides these, numerous baths, kiosques, summer- 
houses, and similar places, where the ladies of the 
Seraglio, who were forbidden to pass beyond the 
harem bounds except on certain stated occasions 
might amuse themselves as best they could. 

The palace officials consisted of the Aghayan 
Birun, or Masters of the Outside, and the Aghayan-i 
Enderun, or Masters of the Inside. The former 
whose duties lay exclusively in the two outer courts 
and who might never pass beyond the Gate of Felicity, 
were divided into eight classes : the Ulema, or 
Doctors ; the Rikab Aghalari, or Masters of the 
Stirrup ; the Umena, or Intendants ; the Shikar 
Aghalari, or Masters of the Hunt ; officers subor- 

THE sultan's household. 277 

dinated to the Grand Eunuch, officers subordinated 
to the Kilar Kyahyasi, or Comptroller of the Buttery, 
the Body-guards, and the Palace Guards. 

The class of doctors consisted of five officers : the 
Khoja, or titular Tutor of the Sultan, the First and 
Second Imams or Chaplains, the Chief Physician, 
the Chief Astrologer, the Chief Chirurgeon, and the 
Chief Oculist. The duty of the cliaplains was to 
replace the Sultan in the mosque at the Bayram 
feasts, when, as head of the religion, he was supposed 
to lead the public worship. The Chief Physician, 
who had under his orders about eiorhteen members 
of his craftj used to derive a considerable profit from 
the preparation of ma'jun. This was a sort of sweet- 
meat composed of essence of opium, aloes-wood, 
ambergris, and other aromatics, which he composed 
and sent in china vases at the Nev-ruz, or Festival 
of the Vernal Equinox, to the Sultan and the 
members of his family, to the Grand Vezir and other 
great men of the state, from all of whom he received 
handsome gifts in return. The Chief Astrologer's 
business was to consult the stars as to the prospects 
of any projected action, and to prepare an annual 
almanac in which all the lucky and unlucky days 
were indicated. The Chief Oculist was charged 
with the preparation of the surma, or collyrium, 
which the ladies of the harem rubbed upon their 

The Masters of the Stirrup, so called because they 
were supposed to attend the Sultan when he rode, 
comprised five great officers : the Lord of the Banner, 
the Chief Gardener, the First and Second Lords of 


the Stable, and the Comptroller of the Porters. 
Besides these functionaries there was a corps of 
gentlemen, about five hundred strong, called the 
Kapuji Bashis, or Chief Porters, who were all 
reckoned among the Masters of the Stirrup. None 
but the sons of Pashas or VezTrs were eligible for 
admission into this select body, the members of 
which acted as chamberlains on state occasions, when 
they wore a long robe of cloth of gold trimmed with 
sable and a curious-looking gilt head-dress sur- 
mounted by an enormous crest of white plumes, 
shaped somewhat like an umbrella. When a foreign 
ambassador was admitted into the imperial presence, 
it was by the Chief Porters that he was introduced. 
One of their number stood on guard every night at 
the Middle Gate, at the entrance to the Second 
Court of the palace. The Lord of the Banner had 
charge of the imperial standards and of the seven tughs, 
or horsetails, of the Sultan. ^ He also commanded 
the corps of Chief Porters, and was superintendent 
of the military music of the palace. 

One of the most influential officers of the court 
was the Bostanji Bashi, or Chief Gardener. This 
functionary was governor of the Seraglio and over- 
seer of all the Sultan's gardens and summer- palaces. 
The shores of the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmora, 
from the entrance to the Black Sea as far as the 
Dardanelles were all under his inspection ; and no 

* The Tugh, or ensign of the Turkish tribes, was originally the tail of 
a yak, but when the Ottomans left Central Asia, that of a horse was 
substituted. Governors of provinces received one, two, or three tughs. 
according to their rank ; the Sultan alone displayed seven. 


one might erect, or even repair, any kind of building 
on the land subject to his jurisdiction without his 
permission, which had to be paid for. He was 
ranger of the forests in the neighbourhood of Con- 
stantinople, and had charge of the royal hunt and 
fisheries. Among his duties was the steering of the 
imperial barge whenever the Sultan went on the 
waters over which he exercised control, an office 
which afforded him many opportunities of confidential 
communication. He had moreover to preside at the 
execution of great men, when that took place within 
the Seraglio precincts, and to superintend the prison 
where suspected officials were put to the torture. 
D'Ohsson tells us that the mere mention of this 
dismal place, which was situated close to the Seraglio 
bakeries and consequently called the Fur, or Oven, 
was sufficient to inspire terror. 

The First Lord of the Stable had under his orders 
upwards of a thousand equerries, six hundred grooms, 
a body of six thousand Bulgarians, known as Voy- 
nuks, who acted as grooms to the army in time of 
war, the Koru Aghas, or rangers of the parks, and 
finally, all the saddlers, camel -drivers, and muleteers 
Attached to the palace service. All the meadows and 
;Kairies belonging to the Crown, that lay between 
Adrianople and Brusa, were under his charge ; and 
he was entitled to grant private individuals, on pay- 
ment of a certain sum, the right of turning out their 
horses to graze on the same. In times of peace the 
Voynuks were usually employed in looking after the 
Sultan's horses out at grass on these vast plains. 

The Comptroller of the Porters received the written 


petitions which were, and still are, presented to the 
Padishah on his appearance in public. On p^ala days 
he, in conjunction with 'the Chawush Bashi, or Chief 
Herald, an officer belonging to the eighth class of the 
Masters of the Outside, exercised the functions of 
marshal of the court. When the Grand Vezir was 
summoned to confer with the Sultan, these two 
officials, dressed in long fur-trimmed robes and wear- 
ing the tall white cylindrical head-dress known as 
mujevveza, met him at the Seraglio gate and marched 
slowly five or six paces in front of him, striking the 
ground at regular intervals with the silver staffs which 
they carried in their hands, till they reached the Gate 
of Felicity where the minister was received by two 
of the great officers of the household. The Second 
Lord of the Stable had charge of the royal mews. 

The Intendants also comprised five functionaries: 
these were the Intendant of the City, the Intendant 
of the Mint, the Intendant of the Kitchens, the In- 
tendant of the Barley, and the Imperial Steward. 
All these officials belonged to the body of Khojagan, 
or Chancellors. 

The five Masters of the Hunt were the Av Aghasi, 
or Master of the Chase, the Chief Falconer, the Chief 
Merlin-keeper, the Chief Hawker, and the Chief 
Sparrow-hawker. These officers were latterly purely 
.titular, as the Sultans had long ceased to be sports- 

In the fifth class, or officers subordinated to the 
Grand Eunuch, we have four functionaries. The 
Chief Tent-pitcher, who had under his orders a body 
of eight hundred men whose duty it was to pitch the 


Sultan's tents wherever he might wish to pass the 
day, whether in the SeragHo gardens or in one of his 
numerous pleasaunces in the environs of Constanti- 
nople. The meanest individuals of the corps of 
tent-pitchers acted as executioners, and four or five 
of these always stood at the Middle Gate in order to 
be at hand should their services be required. (2) The 
Chief Treasurer, who had charge of the old archives 
of the finance department, and of the store of robes 
of honour which were bestowed on favoured indi- 
viduals, and of the satin covers in which the imperial 
despatches were usually wrapped up — twenty store- 
keepers obeyed his orders. (3) The Chief Merchant, who 
had to procure the cloth, muslin, &c., required for the 
imperial household. And lastly, the Chief Present- 
keeper, who had charge of all the presents offered by his 
subjects or by foreign ministers to the Grand Signior. 
The sixth class, the officers subordinated to the 
Comptroller of the Buttery, the head of the Third 
Chamber of Pages, consisted of six members. The 
Chief Assayer, or Taster, under whom were about 
fifty assayers whose only duty was to wait upon the 
Grand VezTr and other ministers when they dined in 
the Hall of the Divan, which they usually did after 
holding a court of justice. The title arose in old 
times when kings and other great men used to have 
an officer who first tasted their food to see if it was 
not poisoned. The Chief Musician, who commanded 
(under the Lord of the Banner) the military band of 
the palace, which was composed of sixteen hautboys, 
sixteen drums, eleven trumpets, eight kettle-drums, 
seven pairs of cymbals, and four great tymbals. The 


Chief Baker, who had about five hundred bakers 
under him. The Master of the Buttery, who was 
over one hundred servants. The Chief Cook, under 
whom worked likewise a hundred of his craft. And 
finally, the Chief Confectioner, who superintended 
some five hundred comfit-makers. This great array 
of cooks, confectioners, and so on, all wore the same 
uniform, a green cloth robe and a pointed cap of white 
felt, which in shape bore some resemblance to a large 
champagne bottle. 

The seventh class, the Body-guards, formed two 
corps : the Solaks or Sinistrals, and the Peyks or 
Couriers. The Solaks consisted of four companies of 
Janissaries, of one hundred men each, under the com- 
mand of a captain called the Solak Bashi or Chief 
Sinistral, and two lieutenants. These soldiers were 
richly dressed, their gilt headpieces being surmounted 
by a lofty plume ; their officers wore robes of green 
velvet trimmed with lynx fur. The Peyks or Couriers 
formed a body of one hundred and fifty men under 
the orders of an officer who bore the title of Peyk 
Bashi or Chief Courier. Their uniform was not less 
splendid than that of the Sinistrals ; they wore helmets 
of gilt bronze adorned with a black crest, and were 
armed with gilded halberds. Their costume is said to 
have been borrowed from that of the body-guards of 
the old Byzantine emperors, whose gorgeous court 
doubtless furnished the model for many of the insti- 
tutions which appeared in the Seraglio of their 
successors. When the Sultan rode in state through 
the streets, the Sinistrals and Couriers used to march 
on foot round his horse. 


The Palace Guards, who formed the last class of the 
Masters of the Outside, consisted of the following six 
corps : the Bostanjis or Gardeners, the Khassekls or 
Royals, the Baltajis or Halberdiers, the Zulfli Baltajis 
or Tressed Halberdiers, the Chawushes or Heralds^ 
and the Kapujis or Porters. The Bostanjis or Gar- 
deners, who numbered about two thousand five 
hundred men, nominally formed part of the Ojak or 
army-corps of the Janissaries. They were the real 
guards of the Seraglio ; and to members of their body 
was entrusted the protection of the various imperial 
parks and pleasure grounds. They also acted as 
gardeners, whence their name. One of their duties 
was to row the imperial barge v/hen the Sultan was 
on board. The Gardeners could be recognized by 
their high cylindrical caps of red felt with a long flap 
hanging down behind. The Bostanji Bashi or Chief 
Gardener, whom we have already seen among the 
Masters of the Stirrup, was the commander-in-chief of 
this large and important corps ; he had under him a 
number of officers whose special titles it is unnecessary 
to enumerate here. The Khassekls or Royals formed 
a body of three hundred men usually chosen from 
among the Gardeners. They wore a red uniform and 
were armed with a two-edged sword. The Baltajis or 
Halberdiers, who numbered four hundred, were nomi- 
nally the guards of the Queens and the imperial 
princes and princesses; but the only occasions on 
which they really attended those august personages 
were when the Sultan took some of the members of 
his harem to bear him company during a journey or 
on a campaign. Then the Baltajis marched beside the 


ladies' carnages and at night camped round their 
tents. On these occasions they were armed with 
halberds, whence they received their name. It was 
they who carried the bier at the funeral of a Sultan or 
a member of the imperial family. The Zulfli Baltajis 
or Tressed Halberdiers, who were so called because 
they wore two artificial tresses of hair which were 
attached to their caps and hung down, one along each 
cheek, numbered a hundred and twenty men, and were 
appointed to serve the pages of the First or Royal 
Chamber. The Chawushes or Heralds formed a corps 
of six hundred and thirty men, divided into fifteen 
companies ; they marched first in all the imperial pro- 
cessions. Whenever the Sultan made his appearance 
in state the Heralds shouted the Alkish or Acclaim, 
the Turkish equivalent to Vive le Roi ; it was : "God 
give long life to our lord the Padishah !" The Kapujis 
or Porters, who formed the last division of the Palace 
Guards, were eight hundred strong ; one of the oldest 
of the corps always followed the Sultan when he 
appeared in public, carrying a stool decorated with 
silver, on which His Majesty placed his foot when 
mounting or dismounting his horse. 

Except those actually on guard, very few of this 
army of Masters of the Outside passed the night in 
the Seraglio ; during the day they attended, when 
necessary, in the two outer courts, or played their 
part in the gorgeous ceremonies and state processions 
which were constantly occurring ; but most of them 
were married and had houses in the city to which they 
retired when the duties of the day were over. In this 
they differed widely from the Masters of the Inside, 


none of whom could leave the inner division of the 
palace without permission, or marry, or wear a beard. 
All the officers and servants of the Imperial house- 
hold, even the Sultan's sons and brothers, had to 
shave their faces all but the moustaches; the Padishah 
alone might wear a beard. Except in the case of the 
Bostanjis and the Body-guards, this rule did not hold 
with the Masters of the Outside, who were permitted 
to let the beard grow, as was till a few years ago the 
universal practice with all Turks, other than servants 
and private soldiers and sailors. 

The Aghas or Masters of the Inside, who formed 
the private household of the Sultan, consisted of two 
classes, pages and eunuchs. The pages were divided 
into four companies called Odas or Chambers. The 
first of these was the Khass Oda or Royal Chamber 
which comprised forty members, the Sultan himself 
being reckoned the fortieth. All the members of this 
company were officers of high standing and great 
influence. Their chief who commanded all the Four 
Chambers and acted as major-domo of the palace, 
bore the title of Silahdar Agha or Master Sword- 
bearer, because he always followed the Sultan, carrying 
the imperial scimitar in its scabbard over his shoulder, 
grasping it near the point, so that the hilt was behind 
his head. He wore a magnificent robe of scarlet and 
gold brocade, and a very strange head-dress adorned, 
like the cap of the Tressed Halberdiers, with two 
locks of artificial hair. No one, except perhaps the 
Grand Eunuch, was more intimate with the Sultan 
than the Sword-bearer, who often possessed immense 
influence, and was not unfrequently raised to the 


Grand Vezlrship, Grand Admiralship, or some other 
important office in the state. Sixteen of the other 
officers of this chamber had titles indicative of the 
services they performed about the Sultan's person ; 
thus there were the Master Vesturer, one of whose 
duties was to follow the Sultan in processions and cast 
handfuls of silver coins among the people ; the Master 
Stirrup-holder, who held the Sultan's stirrup when he 
mounted his horse ; the Master of the Turban, who 
had charge of the imperial turbans, one of which he 
carried in the processions, inclining it slightly to right 
and left as a salutation to the people ; the Master of 
the Napkin ; the Master Ewer-keeper, who poured the 
water on the Sultan's hands when he made the 
ablutions ; the Private Secretary ; the Chief Turban- 
winder ; the Chief Coffee-server ; the Chief Barber, and 
so on. 

The second company of pages was called the Khazlna 
Odasi or Treasury Chamber, and was intended to 
guard the jewels and art treasures of the Crown. 
Among their officers were the Comptroller of the 
Treasury, who had among other duties to keep the 
accounts of the imperial household : the Aigrette- 
keeper, who looked after the aigrettes or ornaments of 
jewels and feathers with which the royal turbans were 
decorated ; the Robe-keeper, who had charge of the 
state robes which were never presented to the Sultan 
without having first been perfumed with aloes-wood ; 
the Elder of the Plate, to whose care were entrusted 
the services of porcelain ; the Chief Nightingale-keeper 
and the Chief Parrot- keeper, who had charge of the 
Sultan's birds. 


The Third Chamber was that of the Buttery, its chief 
being called the Comptroller of the Buttery. The 
duty of this division of pages was to look after the 
bread, fruit, confections, sherbets, and other foods and 
drinks required for the Sultan and his harem. The 
Chief Assayer was one of their officers ; another was 
the Chief Minstrel, who had charge of the music of the 
interior of the palace, where stringed instruments — 
lutes, mandolines, and rebecs, enjoyed the greatest 
favour. The Sefer Odasi or Journey Chamber was 
the fourth and last. In old times its members used to 
accompany the Sultan when he went on a campaign ; 
but latterly it became a sort of school for singing, 
dancing, playing, &c. 

Not one of the members of these Four Chambers was 
a Turk. They were all sons of Christians, who had 
been taken prisoner, kidnapped by brigands, or sent 
as tribute by vassal princes. When the Turks re- 
captured a rebel Greek town, when the Tartars made 
a foray into Hungary or Poland, when the Algerines 
took a Prankish vessel or surprised a French or Italian 
village, — and such things were of very frequent occur- 
rence a century or so ago — they invariably seized 
as many little children of both sexes as they could 
lay hands on, and sent the best to Constantinople, 
sure of obtaining a high price or reward if they 
were deemed of sufficient beauty and promise to be 
received into the Seraglio. If such was their lot, the 
boys were educated as Musulmans, either in a school 
set apart for that purpose in the palace itself or in a 
special establishment which existed at Galata. The 
reason for preferring such persons to native Turks was 


the idea that they would prove more faithful to their 
master; ignorant of country and parents, brought up 
with all the pride of Musulman and Turkish nobles, 
and knowing no master or benefactor save the Sultan 
who always made a point of treating them with kind- 
ness and liberality, and frequently appointed members 
of their body who displayed the necessary ability to 
the highest offices in the state, it was thought that 
they would naturally be more single minded in their 
loyalty and devotion to his interests and person than 
any natives, however well affected, who must have had 
many ties and connections beyond the palace walls. 
All the eunuchs were foreigners, and all the women of 
the harem were foreigners, acquired as prisoners of 
war or purchased from Georgian or Circassian parents ; 
indeed there was not one Turk among all the crowd 
who dwelt in the inner Seraglio save the Sultan and 
the members of his family, and even these were always 
the children of foreign mothers. 

The Eunuchs formed two corps, the Black and the 
White. The black eunuchs, who were all Africans, 
numbered about two hundred, and were the special 
guard of the imperial harem. Their chief, whose title 
was the Kizlar Aghasi or Master of the Girls, was 
one of the greatest men in the empire. He had 
the rank of a pasha of three tails, and administered 
the Holy Cities and the imperial mosques, from which 
he derived an enormous income. He wore a white 
robe trimmed with sable and a cylindrical head-dress 
of white muslin twenty-five inches high. The white 
eunuchs, eighty strong, who looked after the young 
pages, obeyed a chief whose style was Kapu Aghasi 


or Master of the Gate. Besides these, there were In 
the inner division of the Seraglio a number of mutes 
and dwarfs ; the former guarded the door of the room 
or paviHon when the Sultan conferred with some great 
man, an idle form, as every one in the palace under- 
jtood and often made use of their peculiar language 
of signs ; the dwarfs served as buffoons to divert the 
Padishah and his household. 

Penetrating now to the innermost sanctuary of the 
Seraglio, the imperial harem itself, we find that an 
organization not less systematic than that which pre- 
vailed amongthe male inhabitants of the palace reigned 
likewise among the ladies and their attendants. The 
women of the Sultan's household were divided into 
five classes : the Kadins or Ladies, the Gediklis or 
Handmaids, the Ustas or Mistresses, the Shagirds or 
Novices, and the Jarlyas or Damsels. Of these the 
Kadins, whose number was usually four, were, so to 
speak, the consorts of the Sultan, what Europeans 
would call his Sultanas (a term unknown to the 
Turks), and each had her own suite of apartments 
and attendants. When a Kadin became the mother 
of a son she received the title of Khassekl Sultan or 
Royal Princess, when of a daughter, that of Khassekl 
Kadin or Royal Lady. On the birth of a child the 
harem was illuminated, and a number of brilliant 
ceremonies took place. The Gediklis were a company 
of girls on whom devolved the personal service of the 
Sultan when he chose to visit or reside in the harem. 
Twelve of the fairest of these, the elite of the harem, 
held offices and titles corresponding to those of the 
highest officers of the First Chamber of pages. It was 


from among their ranks that the Padishah chose his 
Ikbals or favourites. The Mistresses were girls attached 
to the service of the Sultan's mother, a very important 
personage in the harem, and to that of the Kadins 
and their children. The Novices were children who 
were educated to recruit the ranks of the Gediklis 
and Mistresses. The Damsels were the servants of 
all the others, and performed the manual work and 
menial duties of the establishment. 

The imperial harem contained as a rule about five 
or six hundred women, Europeans, Asiatics, and 
Africans, hardly one of whom knew whence she came. 
They were under the orders of a Grand Mistress whose 
title was Kyahya Kadin or Lady Comptroller, and 
who was usually chosen by the Sultan from among 
the oldest of the Gediklis. This lady vvas assisted by. 
another called the Khazinadar Usta or Mistress 
Treasurer, one of whose duties was to look after the 
expenses of the harem. 

Such, then, was the Seraglio in the old days of its 
prosperity before the reforming hand of Sultan 
Mahmud had swept away its medieval splendour. 
The household of the Ottoman monarch of to-day, if 
more in keeping with the spirit of the times, is very 
commonplace beside that of last century. Nine-tenths 
of the old offices and institutions have disappeared ; 
stiff European uniforms have driven away the flowing 
Eastern robes of silk and velvet, while all those 
marvellous caps and turbans, by which more than by 
anything else the rank of each man might have been 
known, have vanished to be replaced by the charac- 
terless and unvarying fez. Nevertheless the modern 


Seraglio is hardly an anchorite's cell. The late Sultan 
Abd-ul-AzTz employed at least six thousand servants 
and officials, and his privy purse cost two million 
pounds a year. There were 300 cooks, 400 grooms, 
400 boatmen, 400 musicians, and so forth ; while the 
harem contained 1200 odaliks. Special officers at- 
tended to the Sultan's pipe, his coffee, his wardrobe, 
and his perfumed washing-basin. Somebody must 
see to the imperial backgammon board, and another 
to the august chin. ;^ 16,000 a year was spent on sugar. 
There were 600 horses in the stables, and 1 50 coach- 
men and footmen. Abd-ul-AzIz was fond of pictures 
and jewellery, and spent a quarter of a million on 
them annually. Ever}^ year saw him at least three- 
quarters of a million deeper in debt for his private 

But, spend how he would, Abd-ul-AzTz could not at- 
tain the splendour of the olden times. The Seraglio 
system indeed, by its very nature, could not last ; all 
the races of the earth were not created simply in 
order to furnish slaves or toys to gratify the whims of 
a Grand Signior; and even if no Sultan Mahmud had 
abolished them, the Four Chambers must have passed 
away or been altogether changed from sheer lack of a 
legitimate supply of white men. The Sultans would 
have to recruit their ranks with members of their own 
race, and the moment this was done their old boasted 
isolation was at an end. 

We may gain some idea of a state ceremony in the 
old days of the Seraglio from the following description 
of a reception of imperial ambassadors by Sellm the 

* " The People of Turkey," by a Consul's Daughter, i. 247-9. 


Second. The old-fashioned language of Knolles be- 
fits the subject : 

" So accompanied in this honourable wise, the 
Embassadors enter the first gate of the Great Turk's 
Palace. This gate is built of marble in most 
sumptuous manner, and of a stately height, with 
certain words of their language in the front thereof, 
engraven and guilt in marble. So passing through the 
base court, which hath on the right side very fair 
gardens, and on the left divers buildings, serving for 
other offices, with a little Moschy, they come to the 
second gate, where all such as come in riding must 
of necessity alight ; here, so soon as they were entered 
in at this second gate, they came into a very large 
square court with buildings and galleries round about 
it, the kitchens standing on the right hand, with other 
lodgings for such as belonged to the Court, and on 
the left hand likewise rooms deputed to like services. 
There are, moreover, many halls and other rooms for 
resort where they sit in Council, handling and execut- 
ing the public affairs either of the Court or of the Em- 
pire, with other matters where the Bassaes (Pashas) 
and other officers assemble together. Entering in at 
this second gate, in one part of the court, which seemed 
rather some large street, they saw the whole company 
of the Solaches (Solaks) set in a goodly rank, which 
are the archers, keeping always near to the prison of 
the Great Turk, and serving as his footmen when he 
rideth ; they use high plumes of feathers, which are 
set bolt upright over their foreheads. In another place 
there stood the Capitzi (Kapuji) in array, with black 
staves of Indian canes in their hands; they are the 


porters and warders of the gates of the palace, not 
much differing in their attire from the Janissaries, 
who stood in rank likewise in another quarter. And 
besides all these, with many more that were out of 
order, as well of the Court as of the common people, 
those knights of the Court which accompanied the 
embassadors thither with other great ones likewise 
of same degree, were marshalled all in their several 
companies ; and among the rest the Mutarachaes 
(Matrakjis), men of all nations and of all religions 
(for their valour the only free men which live at their 
own liberty in the Turkish Empire), stood there 
apparelled in damask velvet and cloth of gold, and 
garments of silk of sundry kinds of colours ; their 
pomp was greater, for the turbants that they wore 
upon their heads being as white as whiteness itself, 
made a most brave and goodly show well worth the 
beholding. In brief, whether they were to be con- 
sidered all at once, or in particular, as well for the 
order that they kept as for their sumptuous presence, 
altogether without noise or rumour ; they made the 
Embassadors and the rest of their followers there 
present, eye-witnesses both of their obedience and of 
the great state and royalty of the Othoman Court. 
Passing through them the Embassadors were led into 
the hall where the Bassaes and other great men of 
the Court were all ready to give them entertainment, 
they of their train being at the same time brought 
into a room that stood apart under one of the afore- 
said lodgings all hung with Turke}^ carpets. Soon 
after (as their use and manner is) they brought in 
their dinner, covering the ground with table-cloths of 


a great length spread upon carpets, and afterwards 
scattering a marvellous number of wooden spoons, 
with so great store of bread, as if they had been to 
feed three hundred persons ; then they set on meat in 
order, which was served in forty two great platters 
of earth full of rice pottage of three or four kinds, 
differing one from another, some of them seasoned 
with honey and of the colour of honey ; some with 
sour milk, and white of colour ; and some with sugar; 
they had fritters also, which were made of like 
batter ; and mutton besides, or rather a dainty and 
toothsome morsel of an old sodden ewe. The table 
(if there had any such been) thus furnished, the guests 
without any ceremony of washing sat down on the 
ground (for stools there were none) and fell to their 
victual, and drank out of great earthen dishes water 
prepared with sugar, which kind of drink they call 
zerbet (sherbet). But so having made a sort of repast, 
they were no sooner risen up but certain young men 
whom they call Grainoglans (Ajem-Oghlans), with 
others that stood round about them, snatched it up 
hastily as their fees, and like greedy Harpies ravened 
it down in a moment. The embassadors in the 
meantime dined in the hall with the Bassaes. And 
after dinner certain of the Capitzies were sent for, 
and twelve of the Embassadors' followers were ap- 
pointed to do the great Sultan reverence ; by whom 
(their presents being already conveyed away) they 
were removed out of the place where they dined 
and brought on into an under room, from whence 
there was an ascent into the hall where the Bassaes 
were staying for the embassadors, who soon after came 


forth, and for their ease sat them down upon the 
benches, whilst the Bassaes went in to Se/j/mus, who 
before this time had made an end of dinner, and was 
removed in all his royalty into one of his chambers, 
expecting the coming of the Embassadors. All 
things now in readiness, and the Embassadors sent for, 
they set forward with their train, and came to the 
third gate which leadeth into the Privy-Palace of the 
Turkish Emperor, where none but himself, his eunichs, 
and the young pages his minions, being in the eunich's 
custody, have continual abiding, into which inward 
part of the palace none entereth but the Capitzi 
Bassa (Kapuji Bashi) (who hath the keeping of this 
third gate) and the Asigniers (that serve in the Turk's 
meat) with the Bassaes and some few other great 
men, and that only when they have occasion so to do 
by reason of some great business, or sent for by the 
Sultan. Being entered in at this gate, which is of a 
stately and royal building, the Capitzi, by whom 
they were conducted, suddenly caused them to stay, 
and set them one from another about five paces in a 
little room which, nevertheless, was passing delicate, 
all curiously painted over with divers colours, and 
stood between the gate and the more inner lodgings, 
on both sides of which room, when all things were 
whist and in a deep silence, certain little birds were 
only heard to warble out their sweet notes, and to 
flicker up and down the green trees of the gardens 
(which all along cast a pleasant shadow from them) 
as if they alone had obtained licence to make a noise. 
Selyinus himself was in great majesty sat in an under- 
chamber, parted only with a wall from a room wherein 


the Embassadors' followers attended, vvhereinto he 
might look through a little window, the portal of his 
said chamber, standing in counterpart with the third 
gate above mentioned. The Embassadors entering 
in, were led single, and one after another, to make 
their reverence to the Great Turk, and in the mean- 
time certain of the Capitzi, with the presents in their 
hands, fetching a compass about before the window, 
mustered them in his sight All this while not the 
least sound in the world being raised, but a sacred 
silence kept in every comer, as if men had been going 
to visit the holiest place in Jerusalem. Yet for all 
that the Embassadors' followers, placed one after 
another (as aforesaid) were not aware that the 
great Sultan was so near, looking still when they 
should have been led on forwards all together ; how- 
beit they were set in one after another, neither did 
they that were so set out return again into the room, 
but having severally done their reverence, were all 
(except the Embassadors that still staid in the cham- 
ber) by one and one sent out another way into the 
court ; neither could he that came after see his fellow 
that went before him after he was once taken in to do 
his reverence, but suddenly as the former was let out 
the next was advanced forward to the door where 
Jsman the Capitzi - Bassa and the Odda - Bassa, 
taking him by both arms and by the neck, the one at 
the right hand and the other at the left, and so leading 
him apace by the way softly left his wrists with their 
hands, lest peradventure he might have some soft 
weapon in his sleeve. Yet were they all not thus 
groped as Marc Antonio Pagasetta (the reporter of 


this negotiation) saith of himself and some others 
also. However, this hath been, and yet is the manner 
of giving of access unto the person of the Great Turk 
ever since that Amurath the First was, after the battle 
of Cassova, murdered by one of Lazarus the Despot's 
men, who admitted in his presence in revenge of the 
wrong done unto his master, with a short poniard 
that he had closely hidden about him, so stabbed him 
in the belly that he presently died. And thus like 
men rather carried to prison by sergeants than to the 
presence of so mighty a monarch, they were presented 
unto his majesty ; he, sitting upon a pallet which the 
Turks call mastal, used by them in their chambers to 
sleep and to feed on, covered with carpets of silk, as 
were the whole floor of the chamber also. The 
chambers itself, being not very great, was but dark 
altogether without windows, excepting that one 
whereof we have before spoken, and having the walls 
painted and set out in most fresh and lively colours 
by great cunning, and with a most delicate grace ; 
yet use they neither pictures nor the image of any- 
thing in their paintings. The Visier's Bassaes, before 
mentioned, were standing at the left hand as they 
entered in at the chamber door, one by another in 
one side of the chamber, and the Embassadors on the 
right hand on the other side standing likewise and 
uncovered. The Dragomans were in another part of 
the chamber near the place where the Sultan sat, 
gorgeously attired in a robe of cloth of gold all em- 
broidered with jewels, when, as the Embassador's 
followers by one and one brought before him (as is 
aforesaid) and kneeling on the ground, a Turk stand- 


ing on his right hand, with all reverence taking up 
the hem of his garment, gave it them in their hands 
to kiss. Selymus himself all this while sitting like 
an image without moving, and with a great state and 
majesty keeping his countenance, deigned not to give 
them one of his looks. This done they were led back 
again, never turning their backs towards him, but 
going still backwards until they were out of his 
presence. So after they had all thus made their rever- 
ence, and were departed out of the chamber, the Em- 
bassadors delivered unto Selymus all the Emperor's 
letters, and briefly declared unto him their message ; 
whom he, answering in four words as, 'that they 
were to confer with his Bassaes ; ' presently they were 
dismissed. And so coming out of the two inner gates 
they mounted on horseback and took the way, lead- 
ing towards their lodging, being at their return ac- 
companied by the whole order of the Janissaries, with 
their aga and other captains, among whom were 
certain of their religious men called Haagi (which 
used to follow the Janissaries) vho continually turning 
about, and in their going, singing or rather howling 
out certain psalms and prayers for the welfare of their 
great Sultan, gave the Embassadors and their followers 
occasion to wonder, that they either left not for weari- 
ness or fell not down like Noddies for giddiness. All 
these were sent, the more honourably to accompany 
the Embassadors to their lodging ; and beside these, 
many more on horseback than attended them at 
their coming forth ; in regard whereof the Embas- 

* Knolles, i, 563-4. 



sadors, when they were come to their lodging, to 
requite their greedie courtesy, frankly distributed 
amongst them above four thousand dollars, and yet 
well contented them not." ^ 



The literature of the Ottomans was, like their 
civilization, borrowed from the Persians through the 
Seljuks ; and it is natural that we should find a 
close resemblance between their writings and those of 
their Persian masters. We are not then surprized 
when we see the same tone and sentiment, the same 
figures of speech, and the same structure of verse, 
in the literatures of the two peoples. In both 
the poetry is superior to the prose. Persian and 
Ottoman poems are, when at their best, marked by 
extreme grace and finish, by great elegance of dic- 
tion, and not unfrequently by a beautiful harmony- 
But they are, on the other hand, highly artificial ; 
the sentiment is often exaggerated, the ideas either 
conventional or far-fetched, and the language dis- 
figured by a variety of verbal conceits, too often of 
a very childish description. If we except the long 
narrative poems, the range of subjects sung by the 
muses of Persia and Turkey is very limited. Love, 
with its woes and its joys, naturally and by right 
assumes the first place ; then we have the charms 
of the springtide, the sweet song of the nightingale, 
the beauty of the flowers, and other delightful things 


of Nature, generally with an undertone of religious 
mysticism audible throughout. And that is well-nigh 
all. It is remarkable that the Turks, though essen- 
tially a military people, had no war-poetry worthy of 
the name ; the Persians had none (apart from their 
epics), and so it never occurred to the Ottomans to 
write any. 

The long narrative poems already mentioned are 
written in rhyming couplets ; but the most marked 
feature in the rhyme-system of these Eastern litera- 
tures is what is known as the monorhyme. A single 
rhyme-sound, that of the first couplet, is carried 
throughout the entire poem ; this rhyme is repeated 
in the second line of each that follows, while their 
first lines do not rhyme at all. Examples of this 
system, which is very simple, will be seen in most of 
the translated poems that occur in this chapter. The 
favourite composition of the Ottoman poets is called 
iki^ghazel; this is a short monorhythmic poem, usually 
consisting of less than a dozen couplets, in the last 
of which the writer generally inserts his name, as 
though putting his signature to his little work. 

The prose in its higher flights is generally bom- 
bastic, often involved, and, like the poetry, bristles 
with equivoques and other verbal tricks, which, though 
frequently ingenious, are more or less trivial, and 
always give a forced and unnatural appearance to the 
style. A peculiarity of ambitious prose is the sej, 
an embellishment which consists in making the last 
words of the several clauses of a sentence rhyme 
together, the result being a jingle rather irritating 
than otherwise to Western ears. The extracts which 


are here translated from the old chronicler Sa'd-ud-din, 
will give the reader some idea of the effect of the sej. 
The simpler prose is more natural, and consequently- 
more pleasing ; but it is apt to err in the opposite 
direction, and become bald and uninteresting. 

Ottoman literature is very extensive, writers of 
every kind, but especially poets, having been at all 
times both numerous and prolific. We shall have to 
content ourselves here with making the acquaintance 
of a few of the most eminent of those authors who 
have won for themselves a high position in the literary 
history of their country. 

One of the earliest of Ottoman poets is GhazI 
Fazil, a Turkish noble who crossed the Hellespont on 
the raft with Prince Suleyman that night when the 
Ottomans gained their first foothold in Europe (p. 34). 
The following lines, evidently written after some 
successful fight with the Byzantines, may possibly 
refer to this expedition in which the warrior-poet 
helped to win a new empire for his race : — ' 

*' We smote the paynim once again, our God did send us grace ; 
The arrows of our holy- war were thorns in the foeman's face. 
All spirits that are in the skies came down lo lend us might, 
And from the earth arose to succour us our martyr race. 
We look to God for aidance, they of holy-war we l^e, 
And in the cause of God our lives and bodies offer we." 

Some time after this, Sheykhl of Kermiyan wrote 
a long narrative poem on the adventures of Shlrln, 

^ In this fragment, as in all the other renderings of verse in this 
chapter, besides translating almost literally and line for line, I have 
retained the rhyme-movement and, as far as |x>ssible, the metre of the 
original, hoping in this way to give the reader as accurate an idea as 
I can of the general effect of Turkish poetry. 


the favourite heroine of Persian romance ; and later 
still Yaziji-oghlu composed a versified history of the 
Prophet, which he named the Mohammediya. The 
most interesting prose work of this early perici is 
a collection of old popular tales, known as the 
" History of the Forty VezTrs," compiled by an 
author of the first half of the fifteenth century, who 
calls himself Sheykh-zada or the Sheykh's son, and 
whose personal name was probably Ahmed. The 
following story, which is that told by the twentieth 
Vezir, shows at once the character of the tales and 
the simple unaffected style in which the book is 
written : 

" Of old time there was a great king. One day, 
when returning from the chase, he saw a dervish 
sitting by the way, crying, * I have a piece of advice ; 
to him who will give me a thousand sequins, I will 
tell it' When the king heard these words of the 
dervish he drew in his horse's head and halted, and 
he said to the dervish, ' What is thy counsel ? ' The 
dervish replied, ' Bring the sequins and give me 
them that I may tell my counsel' The king ordered 
that they counted a thousand sequins into the dervish's 
lap. The dervish said, ' O king, my advice to thee 
is this : whenever thou art about to do a deed, con- 
sider the end of that deed, and then act.' The 
nobles who were present laughed together at these 
words and said, ' Any one knows that.' But the 
king rewarded that poor man. He was greatly 
pleased with the words of the dervish, and com- 
manded that they wrote them on the palace-gate 
and other places. Now that king had an enemy, a 


great king ; and this hostile king was ever watching 
his opportunity ; but he could find no way save this, 
he said in himself, ' Let me go and promise the king's 
barber some worldly good and give him a poisoned 
lancet ; some day when the king is sick he can bleed 
him with that lancet' So he disguised himself, and 
went and gave the barber a poisoned lancet and 
ten thousand sequins. And the barber was covetous 
and undertook to bleed the king with that lancet 
what time it should be needful. One day the king 
Was sick, and he sent word to the barber to come 
and bleed him. Thereupon the barber took that 
poisoned lancet with him and went. The attendants 
prepared the basin, and the barber saw written on 
the rim of the basin, ' Whenever thou art about to 
perform a deed, think on the end thereof.' When 
the barber saw this he said in himself, * I am now 
about to bleed the king with this lancet and doubtless 
he will perish, then will they not leave me alive, but 
will inevitably kill me ; after I am dead what use 
will these sequins be to me?' And he took up that 
lancet and put it in its place, and drew out another 
lancet that he might* bleed the king. When he took 
his arm a second time, the king said, * Why didst 
thou not bleed me with the first lancet } ' The 
barber answered, * O king, there was some dust on 
its point.' Then the king said, ' I saw it, it is not 
the treasury lancet ; there is some secret here, quick, 
tell it, else I will slay thee.' When the barber saw 
this importunity, he related the story from beginning 
to end, and how he had seen the writing on the 
basin and changed his intention. The king put a 


robe of honour on the barber and let him keep the 
sequins which his enemy had given him. And the 
king said, ' The dervish's counsel is worth not one 
thousand sequins, but a hundred thousand sequins.'" ^ 

But there is little work of real merit before the 
capture of Constantinople in 1453. Not very long 
after that event certain ghazels of Mir All Shir 
Nevayl, a contemporary Tartar prince and poet, 
found their way to the newly-won capital of the 
Ottomans. There ihey were copied by Ahmed Pasha, 
one of the Vezirs of Mohammed 11. Although they 
possess no originality, many of them being little 
else than translations from Nevayl, the poems 
of this minister are among the landmarks in 
Ottoman literary history. It was only after their 
appearance that poetry began to be regularly culti- 
vated, and they rendered important service in the 
work of settling and refining the language. Sinan 
Pasha, another of the Conqueror's Vezirs, was the 
first who excelled in high-flown prose ; he is author 
of a religious work entitled Tazarru'at " Supplica- 
tions," the style of which, notwithstanding a lavish 
use of the embellishments supplied by Persian 
rhetoric, is remarkable for its lucidity and directness. 
Here are one or two sentences from it : 

" Thou art a Creator, such that nonentity is the 
store for Thy creations ; Thou art an Originator, such 
that nothingness is the material for Thy formations ! 
Far-sighted understanding cannot see the horizon of 
the summit of Thy righteousness ; swift-winged en- 

' " The History of the Forty Vezirs," translated by E. J. W- Gibb, 
pp. 22CH323. (Redway, l8300 


deavour cannot reach the verge of the pavilion of Thy 
mightiness. The soaring eagle, the human mind, to 
which the existences, celestial and terrestrial, are ever 
the prey of claw and beak, cannot open the wing and 
fly for one moment in the air of Thy sublimity ; and 
the peacock, mortal thought and understanding, which 
strutteth day and night in the plain of domain and the 
mead of might, cannot move one step on the road to 
Thy divinity." 

The lyric poets Nejati and ZatT, who follow Ahmed 
Pasha, show a marked advance ; while the poetesses 
Zeyneb and Mihrl deserve mention among the more 
notable writers of the time of Mohammed II. As 
we have seen in a previous chapter, that sovereign, 
like most of his house, warmly patronized literature 
and men of letters, was himself a poet, and some tole- 
rable verses by him are preserved in the old antho- 
logies. His grandson, Selim I , surnamed Yawuz, 
" the Grim," was perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman 
Sultans ; high as were his military and administrative 
talents, they were hardly more remarkable than his 
poetic genius. Of the four and thirty monarchs who 
have occupied the throne of Osman, twenty-one have 
left verses, and of these twenty-one Selim the First is 
unquestionably the truest poet. His work is, however^ 
for the most part in the Persian language, a circum- 
stance much to be regretted, as, had he chosen to 
write in Turkish, his high talents could hardly have 
failed to render valuable service to the language and 
literature of his nation. The following is a translation 
of one of the few Turkish ghazeis which this great 
monarch wrote : 


"Down in oceans from mine eyen rail the tears for grame and teen, 
Acheth still my head for all the dolour that my feres have seen. 
That the army of my visions o'er the flood, my tears, may pass. 
Form mine eyebrows twain a bridge, one-piered, with arches two 

Clad in gold-bespangled raiment, all of deepest heavenly hue, 
Comes the ancient Sphere each night-tide, fain to play my wanton 

quean. ^ 
Lonely had I strayed a beggar through the realms of strangerhood, 
Had not pain and woe and anguish aye my close companions been. 
O thou Sphere, until the Khan Selim had nine full beakers drained. 
Ne'er did he, on all earth's surface, find a faithful friend, I ween. "3 

Kemal-Pasha-zada Ahmed, often called Ibn-Kemal 
a high legal functionary, distinguished himself during 
this reign both in verse and prose ; among his works 
are a poem on the romantic history of Joseph and 
Zuleykha (as the Easterns name Potiphar's wife), and 
a treatise called the Nig«aristan, similar in style to the 
well-known Gulistan or " Rose-garden " of the Persian 
Sa'dl. MesihT, another contemporary of Sellm I., is 
chiefly known through one poem of great beauty, 
which has gained for its author a European celebrity. 
This is an ode on spring, consisting of eleven four- 
line strophes, four of which I quote : 

' Indulging in one of those quaint conceits, of which the old poets, 
Western as well as Eastern, were so fond, the Sultan here conceives his 
nose and eyebrows as forming a bridge for the fancies that throng in his 
brain, while his tears represent the torrent that flows beneath. 

^ In Ottoman poetry the Sphere represents our "fickle Fortune." 
Here this personified Sphere is purposely confounded with the starry 

3 The " nine full beakers " refer to the nine spheres of the Ptolemaic 
astronomy. The couplet probably means that until the Sultan had 
fathomed the mystery of the universe, he had not found the one true 
Friend, i.e., God; but it is rather obscure, as a good deal of old 
Ottoman poetry is too apt to be. 


"Hark, the bulbul's* blithsome carol: * Now are come the days of 

spring ! ' 
Merry bands and shows are spread in every mead, a maze o' spring ; 
There the ahiiond-tree bescatters silvern showers, sprays o' spring. 
Drink, be gay ; for soon will vanish, biding not, the days o' spring ! 

Rose and tulip bloom as beauties bright o' blee and sweet o' show, 
Who for jewels hang the dew-drops in their ears to gleam and glow. 
Deem not thou, thyself beguiling, things will aye continue so. 

Drink, be gay ; for soon will vanish, biding not, the days o' spring ! 

While each dawn the clouds are shedding jewels o'er the rosy land, 
And the breath of morning's zephyr, fraught with Tartar musk, is bland. 
While the world's delight is present, do not thou unheeding stand ; 
Drink, be gay ; for soon will vanish, biding not, the days o' spring ! 

With the fragrance of the garden, so imbued the musky air, 
Every dew-drop, ere \t reacheth earth, is turned to attar rare ; 
O'er the garth, the heavens spread the incense-cloud's pavilion fair. 
Drink, be gay ; for soon will vanish, biding not, the days o' spring ! " 

Up to this time all Ottoman writings had been 
more or less rugged and unpolished, but in the reign 
of Sellm's son, Suleyman I. (i 520-1 566), a new era 
began. Two great poets, Fuzull and Bakl, make their 
appearance about the same time ; the one in the east, 
the other in the west, of the now far- extending 
empire. Fuzull of Baghdad, one of the four great 
poets of the old Turkish school, is the first writer of 
real eminence who arose in the Ottoman dominions. 
None of his predecessors in any way approaches him ; 
and although his work is in the Persian style and 
taste, he is no servile copier ; on the contrary, he 
struck out for himself a new path, one hitherto un- 

* The bulbul is the nightingale. 


trodden by either Turk or Persian. His chief cha- 
racteristic is an intense and passionate earnestness, 
which sometimes betrays him into extravagances; and 
although few Turkish poets are in one way more 
artificial than he, few seem to speak more directly 
from the heart. His best known works consist of 
his Divan or collection of ghazels, and a poem on the 
loves of Leyll and Mejnun ; he has besides some 
prose writings, which are hardly inferior to his verse- 
His works are in a provincial dialect, which differs 
considerably from the Turkish of Constantinople ; 
and this is perhaps the reason why no school of poets 
followed in his footsteps. The two following ghazels 
will give an idea of Fuzuh's usual style : 

*' O my loved one, though the world because of thee my foe should be, 
'Twere no sorrow, for thyself alone were friend enow for me. 
Scorning every comrade's rede, L cast me wildly midst of love ; 
Ne'er shall foe do me the anguish I have made myself to dree. 
Dule and pain shall never fail me, long as life and frame aby ; 
Life may vanish, frame turn ashes : what is life or frame to me ! 
Ah, I knew not union's value, parting's pang I ne'er had borne ; 
Now the gloom of absence lets ine many a dim thing clearly see. 
Yonder Moon ' hath bared her glance's glaive ; be not unheeding, heart; 
For decreed this day are bitter wail to me, and death to thee. 

Fuzuli, though that life should pass, from Love's way pass not I ; 
By the path where lovers wander make my grave, I pray do ye. 

Whensoe'er I call to mind the feast of union 'twixt us twain. 

Like the flute, I wail so long as my waste frame doth breath retain. 

'Tis the parting day ; rejoice thee, O thou bird, my soul, for now 

1 at length shall surely free thee from this cage of pine and pain.^ 
Lest that any, fondly hoping, cast his love on yonder Moon, 
Seeking justice 'gainst her rigour, unto all I meet I plain. 

^ " Yonder Moon " is, of course, the beautiful object of his love. 
^ He is about to be parted from his beloved, consequently he will die^ 
and thus set free his soul f 1 om the cage of the body. 


Grieve not I whate'er injustice rivals may to me display ; 

Needs must I my heart accustom Love's injustice to sustain. 

Well I know I ne'er shall win to union with thee, still do I 

Cheer at times my cheerless spirit with the hope as fond as vain. 

I have washed the name of Mejniin ' off the page of earth with tears ; 

O Fuzuli, I shall likewise fame on earth through dolour gain. " 

Baki of Constantinople, though much inferior to his 
contemporary Fuzuli, was like him far in advance 
of any of his predecessors. His most celebrated 
work, an elegy on Sultan Suleyman the First, is 
unsurpassed in its style. It consists of a number of 
monorhythmic stanzas, each closed by a rhyming 
couplet ; I quote the first two, by way of specimen. 
The reader is addressed in the opening lines : 

" O thou, foot-tangled in the mesh of fame and glory's snare I 

How long shall last the lust of earthly honour falsely fair ? 

Aye hold in mind that day when life's sweet spring shall pass away; 

Alas ! the tulip-tinted cheek to autumn leaf must wear ! 

And thy last resting-place must be, e'en like the dregs', the dust ; ' 

And mid the bowl of cheer must fall the stone Time's hand doth bear.3 

He is a man in sooth whose heart is as the mirror clear ; 

Man art thou ?— why then doth thy breast the tiger's fierceness share? 

In understanding's eye how long shall heedless slumber bide ? 

Will not war's Lion-monarch's lot suffice to make thee ware ? 

He, Prince of Fortune's cavaliers, he, to whose gallant Rakhsh,* 

' Mejnun is the Orlando Furioso of the Moslem East ; driven mad 
by his hopeless passion for the lovely LeylT, he flies into the desert, 
where he wanders about until he dies. 

'^ It was customary to throw the dregs on the ground after drinking. 

3 A pebble thrown into a beaker was a signal for a party to break 
up ; and death, as coming after life, is sometimes likened to the end of 
a banquet when the guests are gone and the lights put out. 

^ Rakhsh. ?>., Lightning, is the name of the charger of Rustem, the 
hero of the Shah-Nama, and the Hercules of all those lands where 
Persian culture prevails. When the poet here styles the Sultan's steed 
a Rakhsh, he, of course, intends the reader to infer that the rider was 
a Rustem. 

BAKI. 315 

What time he caracoled and pranced, cramped was earth's tourney- 
square — - 
He, to the lustre of whose sword the Hunnish paynim bowed — 
He, whose dread sabre's flash hath wrought the wildered Frank's 
despair ! 
Like tender rose-leaf, gently laid he in the dust his face ; 
And earth, the guardian, placed him like a jewel in his case. 

In truth he was the radiance of rank high and glory great, 

A king, Iskender-diademed, of Dara's armied state. ^ 

Before the ground beneath his feet the Sphere bent low its head; 

Earth's shrine of adoration was the dust before his gate. 

The smallest of his gifts the meanest beggar made a prince ; 

Exceeding boon, exceeding bounteous a Potentate ! 

The court of glory of his kingly majesty most high 

Was aye the centre where would hope of sage and poet wait. 

Although he yielded to eternal Destiny's command, 

A king was he in might as Doom, and masterful as Fate ! 

Weary and worn by yon vile, fickle Sphere deem not thou him ; 

Near God to be, did he his earthly glory abdicate. 

What wonder if our eyes no more liTe and the world behold. 

His beauty sheen as sun and moon did earth irradiate ! 

If folk upon the sun do gaze, their eyes are filled with tears ; 

For while they look yon moon-bright face before their mind 
appears !" 

During the reign of Ahmed I. (160 3- 1607) arose 
the second great h'ght of old Turkish poetry. This 
was Nefi of Erzerum, who is as much esteemed for 
the brilliancy of his kasidas^ or eulogies, as Fuzuli 
is for the tenderness of his ghazels. Like him, he 
elaborated a style for himself, which found many 
imitators, the most successful of whom was SabrT. 
Unfortunately for himself, Nefi was an able satirist ; 
his scathing pen drew down upon him the enmity of 
certain great men, who prevailed upon Sultan Murad 

* Iskender is Alexander the Gieat ; Dara, Darius. 


IV. to sanction his execution (1635). The following 
is the opening of one of Nefl's most celebrated 
kasldas. It is in praise of Sultan Murad IV., at 
whose command the poet is said to have improvised 
it as he stood in the royal presence, a story which 
seems a little doubtful when we consider that the 
poem is one of the most elaborate and artful in the 
language. It is a good specimen of Turkish bacchana- 
lian verse, and touches in a characteristic fashion on 
the charms of the spring season, a theme in which the 
Ottoman poets greatly delight : 

*' The early springtide breezes blow, the roses bloom at dawn of day ; 
Oh ! let our hearts rejoice ; cup-bearer, fetch the bowl of Jem, 1 

pray. ^ 
The gladsome time of May is here, the sweetly scented air is clear, 
The earth doth Eden-like appear, each nook doth Irem's bower display.' 
'Tis e'en the rose's stound o' glee, the season of hilarity. 
The feast of lovers fair and free, this joyous epoch l^right and gay. 
So let the goblet circle fair, be all the taverns emptied bare. 
To dance let ne'er a toper spare, what while the minstrels chant the 

A season this when day and night the tavern eyes the garth wi' spite ; 
Though drunk, he loved a winsome wight, excused were Mekka's 

guardian gray. 
Oh ! what shall now the hapless do, the lovelorn, the bewildered 

crew ? 
Let beauties fetch the bowl anew, to spare the which were shame to- 
Be bowl and lovesome charmer near, and so the hour will shine with 

cheer ; 
And he indeed will wise appear who maketh most of mirth and play. 
That toper's joy in truth were whole who, drunken and elate of soul. 
With one hand grasped the tulip bowl,3 with one the curling locks did 


' Jem, or Jemshld, is an ancient Persian king, celebrated for his love 
of splendour and festivity. 

° Irem, the terrestial Paradise. 

3 The wine makes the crystal bowl red like a tulip. 


Cup-bearer, lay those airs aside, give wine, the season will not bide, 

Fill up the jar and hanap wide, nor let the beakers empty stay. 

Each tender branchlet fresh and fine hath hent in hand its cup of 

Come forth, O cypress-shape,^ and shine ; O rosebud-lips, make glad 

the way. 
Of this say not 'tis joy or pain ; grieve not, but pass the bowl again ; 
Submit to Fate's eternal reign ; and hand the wine without delay. 
For wine of lovers is the test, of hearts the bane, of souls the rest, 
The Magian elder's treasure blest, 3 th' adorn o' th' idol's festal tray.'* 
'Tis wine that guides the wise in mind, that leadeth lovers joy to 

find ; 
It blows and casts to every wind, nor lets griefs dust the heart 

A molten fire, the wine doth flow ; in crystal cup, a tulip glow : 
Elsewise a fragrant rosebud blow, new-oped and sprent with dewy 

-So give us wine, cup-bearer, now, the bowl of Jem and Kay-Khusrau;5 
Fill up a brimming measure thou, let all distress from hearts away. 
Yea, we are lovers fair and free, for all that thralls of wine we be, 
Lovelorn and stricken sore are we, be kind to us nor say us nay. 
For Allah's sake a goblet spare, for yonder moon's that shineth fair. 
That I with reed and page prepare the Monarch's praises to assay. 
That Sun of empire and command, that Champion-horseman of the 

As blithe as Jem, as Hatim bland, ^ whom all the folk extol alway. 
That Dread of Rum 7 and Zanzibar, who rides Time's dappled steed in 

Who hunts the foeman's hordes afar, Behram, Ferldun-fair in fray," 

^ I.e., the buds. 

^ The cypress is the regular emblem for a graceful figure. 

3 It is said that wine used to be sold by the Magians in medieval 

-» The "idol" is the beautiful cup-bearer whom all the revellers 

5 Kay-Khusrau is Cyrus ; it is pronounced Key to rhyme with /Aey. 

^ Hatim, an old Arabian chief, famed for his hospitality. 

7 Rum is a general name for the lands that formed the Eastern Roman, 
or Byzantine, Empire. Rum and Zanzibar stand for the countries in- 
habited by the while and black races of mankind, t.e., the whole world. 

^ Behram and Feridun are kings of old Persia. 


That Monarch of the Osman race, whose noble heart and soul embrace 
Arabian Omar's saintly grace and Persian Perviz' glorious sway. ^ 
Sultan Murad, of fortune bright, who crowns doth give and kingdoms 

smite ; 
Both emperor and hero hight, the Age's Lord with Jem's display." 

The next notable poet is Nabi, in the time of Sultans 
Ibrahim (1640- 1 648) and Mohammed IV. (1648- 1687). 
About this time the Persian Saib was introducing in 
his own country a new style of ghazel-writing, marked 
by a philosophizing, or rather a moralizing, tendency. 
Nabi copied him, and consequently brought this new 
style into Turkish literature. The greater portion of 
his numerous writings are in a didactic strain ; and 
some are so closely moulded on his Persian model 
that it is difficult to tell that they are intended for 
Turkish. He had many followers, among whom 
Raghib Pasha and Sami are perhaps the most deser- 
ving of mention. 

During the reign of Ahmed III. (i 703-1 730) 
flourished Nedim, the greatest of all the poets of the 
old Ottoman school. Nedim has a style that is 
entirely his own ; it is altogether unlike that of any 
of his predecessors, whether Persian or Turkish, and 
no one has ever attempted to copy it. Through his 
ghazels, which are written with the most finished 
elegance in words of the truest harmony, sings a 
tone of sprightly gaiety and joyous lightheartedness, 
such as is not to be found in any other poet of his 
nation. His numerous kasldas, while they are more 

' Omar is the second Khalif ; Khusrau Perviz, a renowned sovereign 
of the Sassanian dynasty of Persia. 

nedim's ghazels, 319 

graceful, are hardly less brilliant than those of Nef'i, 
and are at the same time in truer taste and less 
burdened with obscure and far-fetched conceits. 
Little is known regarding his life save that he resided 
at Constantinople, where the Grand Vezir, Ibrahim 
Pasha, appointed him custodian of the librar)^ which 
he had founded, and that he was still alive in 1727. 
These two ghazels are by Nedim : 

"Love distraught, my heart and soul are gone for nought to younglings 

All my patience and endurance spent on torn and shredcfed spare. ^ 
Once I bared her lovely bosom, whereupon did calm and peace 
Forth my breast take flight, but how I wist not, nay, nor why nor 

F'aynim mole, and pcynim tresses, paynim eyes, I cry ye grac^ ; 
All her cruel beauty's kingdom forms a Heathenesse, I swear. 
Kisses on her neck and kisses on her bosom promised she ; 
Woe is me, for now the Paynim rues the troth she pledged while-ere.^ 
Such the winsome grace where vvith she showed her locks from 'neath 

her fez. 
Whatsoever wight beheld her gazed bewildered then and there. 
' Sorrowing for whom,' thou askest, * weeps Nedim so passing sore ? ' 
Ruthless, 'tis for thee that all men weep and wail in drear despair. 

O my wayward fair, who thus hath reared thee sans all fear to be ? 
Who hath tendered ihee that tlius thou humblest e'en the cypress-tree ? 
Sweeter than all perfumes, brighter than all dyes, thy dainty frame; 
One would deem some fragrant rose lad in her bosom nurtured thee. 
Thou hast donned a rose-cnwroughten rich brocade, but sore I fear 
Ltst the shadow of the bruidered rose's thorn make thee to dree. 3 

^ I use the old-fashioned word " spare " to replace the Eastern giriban, 
whiih means the opening in a garment from the neck, which enables it 
to be put off and on. In this line Nedim means to say that the only 
result of all his long-suffering is that he has been driven to tear his robe 
through despair at the conduct of his beloved. 

* He calls his beloved a Paynim because she has as little mercy as 
the infidel foe. 

3 So delicate is her skin. 


Holding in one hand a rose, in one a cup, thou earnest, sweet ; 
Ah, I knew not which of these, rose, cup, or thee, to take to me. 
Lo, there springs a jetting fountain from the Stream of Life, methought, 
"When thou madest me that lovely lissom shape o' thine to see." 

What may be called the classical period of old 
Ottoman literature closes with Nedim ; its most 
brilliant epoch is from the rise of Nefl to the death 
of NedIm, or, roughly, from the accession of Ahmed I. 
(1603) to the deposition of Ahmed III. (1730). 
- Turning now to the prose literature, which we have 
not looked at since the days of the Conqueror, we 
find the Humayun-Nama, an elegant translation of 
the Persian Anvar-i-SuheylT, made by All Chelebi for 
Suleyman I. A little later Sa'd-ud-din wrote for his 
pupil Murad III. (i 574-1 595), the Taj-ut-Tevarikh,or 
" Crown of Chronicles," a history of the reigns of the 
first nine Ottoman Sultans. This work, which forms 
the first link in an unbroken chain of national annals, 
is admired alike for its historical accuracy and for the 
elaborate grace of its style. As several extracts from 
it have been given in the chapter of this book which 
tells the story of the capture of Constantinople, it is 
unnecessary to offer any here. The work is written 
from beginning to end in sej or rhymed prose, and is 
embellished with numerous pieces of poetry, some- 
times productions of the author himself, and some- 
times quotations from the Turkish and Persian poets. 
Of the imperial historiographers, Sa'd-ud-dln's suc- 
cessors, Na'Ima calls for special mention ; his history, 
which covers the period between 1 591 and 1659, is in 
marked contrast, so far as style goes, to the " Crown 
of Chronicles," being remarkably simple and direct. 


and at the same time very vivid and picturesque. 
Evliya Efendi, the Sir John Mandeville of the Otto- 
mans, travelled far and wide through the three con- 
tinents of the old world, and then came home to 
Constantinople, where he wrote the story of his 
wanderings. The celebrated Hajl Khalifa, sometimes 
called Katib Chelebi, who died in 1685, was the 
author of a large number of valuable works on history, 
chronology, geography, and other subjects. In 1728 
appeared the first book printed in Turkey, a trans- 
lation of an Arabic dictionary. The press had been 
founded by Nedlm's patron, the Grand Vezir Ibrahim 
Pasha, and was under the direction of an Hungarian 
convert to Islam, who had assumed the name of 

The last of the four great poets of the old Turkish 
school was Sheykh Ghalib, who lived and worked in 
the time of Sultan Selim III. (1789- 1807). His 
Husn-u-Ashk, " Beauty and Love," an allegorical 
romantic poem, is one of the finest productions of 
Ottoman genius. Like FuzulT, Nefl, and Nedim, 
Sheykh Ghalib successfully originated a style for 
himself, which is distinct from that of any previous 

The reign of Mahmud II. (1808- 1839) was a tran- 
sition period in Turkish history ; old laws, old customs, 
old institutions, were all more or less modified. 
Literature did not remain unaffected by the spirit of 
the time ; it was then that appeared the first indi- 
cations of the modern or European school, destined 
eventually to reign supreme. These indications, 
however, were visible in prose earlier than in poetry. 


Among the more remarkable poets of this transition 
time are Wasif who attempted to write verses in the 
spoken language of Constantinople, Izzet MoUa, and 
the poetesses Fitnet and Leyla. 

Some thirty years ago a wonderful change began 
to come over Turkish literature, and this change has 
ever since been growing yearly more and more marked, 
altering the whole tone and spirit, as well as the 
external form of Ottoman literary work. It is not 
too much to say that a poem or an essay by a great 
author of to-day would have been barely comprehen- 
sible, certainly not appreciated, by a writer of the first 
quarter of the present century. This change is a result 
of the study of the French language and literature, 
which has become general only within the last twenty 
years. Marvellous, indeed, have been its effects ; the 
ambition of the modern Turkish aspirant after literary 
fame is, while writing gracefully, to write naturally ; 
the old se/ and the traditional conceits and tricks have 
vanished, to be replaced by direct and simple words, 
chosen for no other reason than that they best convey 
the author's meaning. The drama, a form of literature 
previously unknown in Turkey, has been introduced, 
and has met with the highest favour from contem- 
porary writers. In poetry likewise, Western forms have 
well-nigh superseded the monorhythmic ghazels and 
kasidas of the olden time. A corresponding change 
has taken place in the language ; many old words 
have been abandoned as useless, while many others 
have had their meaning more or less modified to meet 
the requirements of newly introduced conceptions 
and ideas, for which no expressions exist in the 


language as it formerly stood. Of course all these 
changes have not been effected without opposition ; 
many Turks of the old school, admirers of the Persian 
style, and haters of all things Western, opposed them 
bitterly, and some oppose them still ; but the battle 
has virtually been fought, the victory won, and for 
good or for ill Europe has conquered Asia, Paris has 
replaced Shiraz. 

Although its first distinct notes may be heard in 
the writings of Akif and Reshid Pashas, it is to 
ShinasI Efendi, who died in 1 871, more than to any 
other that the merit of accomplishing this great 
reform is due. ShinasI was ably supported by the 
talented and accomplished Kemal Bey, . one of the 
most gifted men of letters who have ev^er appeared in 
Turkey ; and the poet Ekrem Bey, who holds at present 
the position of Professor of Literature at the Ecole 
Civile of Constantinople, and Hamid Bey, the most 
illustrious of Turkish dramatists, deserve to be men- 
tioned in the same sentence with Kemal. 

The tone of the imaginative literature of modern 
Turkey is very tender and very sad. The Ottoman 
poets of to-day love chiefly to dwell upon such themes 
as a fading flower, or a girl dying of decline ; and 
though admiration of a recent French school may 
have something to do with this, the fancy forces itself 
upon us, when we read those sweet and plaintive 
verses, that a brave but gentle-hearted people, looking 
forward to its future without fear, but without hope, 
may be seeking, perhaps unconsciously, to derive 
what sad comfort it may from the thought that all 
beautiful life must end in dismal death. 



Supreme head alike of Church and State, the 
Ottoman Sultan has always been an absolute and 
irresponsible sovereign, free to act as he pleases so 
ong as he observes the commandments of the Koran. 
To aid him in the government of the Empire, he 
delegates his authority to two great officers : the 
Grand Vezir, who is his lieutenant in all that per- 
tains to the temporal administration, and the Muftl^ 
who is his representative in those matters connected 
with the religion and the law. There is little of 
interest in the Turkish Government of the present 
day, which is conducted by a cabinet of ministers 
chosen by the Sultan, and subject to his constant 
control and interference, and we shall describe 
only the old national system which existed down 
to the time of the later Europeanizing reforms. 

At first the Ottoman monarchs used to lead their 
armies to battle, and personally superintend all affairs 
of State ; but this activity gradually subsided, and, 
shutting themselves up in their Seraglio, they left 
everything in the hands of their ministers and 
favourites. Such at least was generally the case, but 


a great deal depended, and still depends, upon the 
personal character of the ruler ; Murad IV., SelTm 
III., and Mahmud IL. were anything but nonentities 
in the Government, and the present Sultan takes an 
active part in the State. 

The Ottoman order of succession to the throne 
differs from that which holds in Western Europe. 
The Sultan's heir is his oldest male relative, not 
necessarily his eldest son ; indeed it is more fre- 
quently a brother or nephew who inherits the sove- 
reignty. In old times it was customary for a Sultan 
on succeeding to the throne to have all his brothers 
put to death ; they are now usually kept in close 
seclusion in the palace. 

The functionaries of the State were divided into 
three great classes : those of the Pen, those of the 
Sword, and those of the Law. The first two of these 
were under the Grand Vezir, the third was under the 

The Ashab-ul-Kalem, or CompanJons of the Pen, 
as they were called, consisted of three classes, the 
first of which was styled the Rjjal. or Grandees, and 
formed, so to speak, the Ministry of" the Empire. 
Three great officers, the Kyahya Bey, the Rels 
Efendi, and the Chawush Bashi, along with six under- 
secretaries, made up»rj^e body of Rijal. Of ^ these, 
the Kyahya Bey combined the functions of Minister 
of War and Minister of the Interior; the Rels Efendi, 
whose title was more correctly Reis-ul-Kuttab, or 
Head of the Scribes, was at once Chief Secretary of 
State and Minister of Foreign Affairs ; while the 
Chawush Bashi was the Marshal of the Empire and 


the Minister of Police. The six under-secretaries 
were the Biyuk Tezkereji and the Kuchuk Tezkereji, 
who drew up the orders of the Grand Vezir ; the 
MektQbji, or First Secretary of the Grand VezIr ; the 
Teshrlfatji, or Grand Master of Ceremonies ; the Bey- 
Hkji, or Grand Referendary; and the Kyahya Katibi, 
or Secretary of the Kyahya Bey. Among the innu- 
merable subordinate officials who belonged to this 
class of the Companions of the Pen were two^ who 
deserve special mention : the Vak'a-nuwis, or Histo- 
riographer ; and the Terjuman-i Divan-i Humayun, 
or Interpreter of the Imperial Divan. To the histo- 
riographers we owe that long series of annals which 
forms so marked and interesting a feature in Otto- 
man literature, and presents us with so complete and 
vivid an account of the fortunes of the Empire. The 
interpreters of the Divan were at first Europeans who 
had embraced Islam ; but latterly the office became 
a sort of apanage of certain noble Greek families of 
Constantinople ; for no Turk till within the last sixty 
years ever thought of learning a European language. 

The second division of the Companions of the Pen 
was that of the Khojas, or Clerks. These officials 
were subdivided into four departments. AH matters 
connected with the finances were entrusted to them. 
Among the functionaries who formed the firs]: depart- 
ment were the Defterdar, or Minister of Finance, and 
the Nishanji Bashi, whose duty was to trace the 
Tughra or cypher of the Sultan at the head of all the" 
documents presented to him for that purpose. This 
Tughra, with the appearance of which most of us arc 
familiar from seeing it on Turkish coins and postage 

THE sultan's TUGHRA. 329 

stamps or on pieces of embroidery or inlaid mother- 
of-pearl work, contains, ornamentally written as a 
sort of monogram, the names of the reigning Sultan 
and his father, together with the title Khan and the 
epithet el-mnzaffar-ddimd, or " victor ever." The 
Tughra is said to have originated in this way : Sultan 
Murad I. entered into a treaty with the Ragusans, but 
when the document was brought for his signature, he, 


being unable to write, wetted his open hand with ink 
and pressed it on the paper. The first, second, and 
third fingers were together, but the thumb and fourth 
finger were apart. Within the mark thus formed the 
scribes wrote the names of Murad and his father, the 
title Khan, and the " victor ever." The Tughra, as 
we now have it, is the result of this ; the three long 
upright lines represent Murad's three middle fingers, 
the rounded lines at the left side are his bent thumb, 


and the straight ones at the right his little fingw. 
The third department of the Khojas consisted of tlie 
Intendants who formed the fourth class of the 
Aghayan-i Birun of the Seraglio. 

The third division of the Companions of the Pen 
was that of the Aghas, which comprised, besides the 
six Masters of the Stirrup and the Bostanji Bashi, or 
Chief Gardener, all of whom were attached to the ser- 
vice of the Seraglio, and whose duties will be found men- 
tioned in the chapter describing the Imperial Palace, 
the following officers among others : the Topji Bashi, 
or Chief Gunner, who was the Grand Master of Artil- 
lery; the Top Arabaji Bashi, who had charge of the 
material of the artillery ; the Jebeji Bashi, who was 
in command of the arsenal and armoury ; the La- 
ghimji Bashi, who was chief of the corps of sappers 
and miners ; the Khumbaraji Bashi, or Chief Bom- 
bardier ; and the Mi'mar Bashi, or Chief Builder, 
who was the Sultan's architect. 

The second great class of State functionaries, that 
of the Companions of the Sword, comprised the 
governors of the provinces and their subordinates. 
The Ottoman Empire was divided into provinces 
styled eyalets, the number of which was constantly 
varying, owing to administrative changes and the 
fortunes of war ; these again were subdivided into 
districts termed sanjak or liva, both words meaning 
a flag. I The eyalets were governed by Pashas who 

^ The Turl<ish Empire of to-day is divided into a number of province? 
termed vilayets, each of which is under a governor-general, who has the 
title of Wall ; these vilayets are sulxlivided into districts called sanjaks, 
which in their turn are parcelled out into kazas or parishes. The adminis 
trator of a sanjak is styled a Mutasarrif ; that of a kaza, a Kaimmakani. 


held the rank of Vezirs, and had three Tughs, or 
horsetails, as their standard. 

These rulers lived in almost regal splendour in their 
provincial capitals, and often shamefully oppressed 
the people who were entrusted to their charge. The 
expenses attendant on their position were very great ; 
they had to make handsome presents to the principal 
officers of the Court and Government at Constanti- 
nople, not only at the time of their appointment, but 
every now and again in order to secure the support of 
pov/erful friends against the intrigues which their 
enemies were constantly setting on foot, and the com- 
plaints of their misgovernment which might from 
time to time reach the capital. This, added to their 
private extravagance, caused them to be constantly in 
want of money, and of course their subjects had to 
pay, or else to suffer for their obstinacy. If matters 
became so bad that the people rose in revolt, an officer 
called a Mufettish, or Inquisitor, was despatched from 
Constantinople ; but he rarely did any good, for al- 
though the Pasha might be deposed or bowstrung, and 
his property confiscated, no one ever thought of re- 
turning the plundered wealth to its proper owners, and 
another Pasha was sent out as governor-general, who 
in all probability walked in the steps of his predecessor. 

The livas were under governers who bore the style 
of Mir-i Liva, or Sanjak Beyi, two titles, both of 
which mean Flag Lord. This name arose in early 
times, before the institution of eyalets, when the 
Ottoman possessions were portioned out into a num- 
ber of small governments, the ruler of each of which 
received on his appointment a Tugh or horsetail stan- 


dard as the symbol of his authority. The provincial 
governors had each a council with which he was 
bound to consult on all matters connected with his 
administration. A certain number of the members 
of this council were prominent natives of the district 
elected by the notables of the place. The object of 
this arrangement was of course to giv^e the natives 
some say in the government of their own district, and 
to place some check on the Pasha should he incline 
to act unjustly ; but these native councillors were 
usually as corrupt as the governor himself, and quite 
as ready as he was to get all they could for themselves 
out of their fellow-citizens. 

Besides these governors, and independent of them, 
save in military matters, there was in the provinces an 
ancient hereditary feudal aristocracy. These were old 
families, the ancestor of which, as a recompense for ser- 
vices against the enemy, had received a portion of the 
land which he had helped to conquer. This territory, 
in which he was practically supreme, and exercised all 
signiorial rights, was to remain in the possession of his 
representative for ever. In return he or his heir was 
required to attend with a certain number of armed 
and mounted followers whenever summoned by the 
Sultan to take part in any military expedition. For 
several centuries these feudal soldiers formed a large 
proportion of the Ottoman armies, and during me- 
dieval times they were at least a match for any 
similar troops that the Christians could bring against 
them ; but when the nations of Europe began to main- 
tain regular standing armies, the Turkish feudal militia, 
without modern arms or systematic training, was no 


longer able to meet them upon equal terms. In con- 
formity with one of the conditions on which they held 
them, these Sipahls, as the Turkish feudal nobles were 
called,! resided on their estates, where they occupied 
themselves with hunting and military sports ; they 
never left their old castles save when called upon by 
the Padishah to muster outside the capital for a march 
on Vienna, or Tebriz. They took no share in the 
government of the province where their domains lay, 
but in these domains they lorded it at their pleasure, 
and neither Pasha nor Sanjak P>cyi had any jurisdiction 
there. As we have seen, these feudal troops gradually 
became useless ; the Sipahls obstinately opposed all 
attempts at reform, so that their abolition became 
necessary. This was accomplished by Mahmud II., 
who, as they no longer rendered any effective service 
in the field, confiscated their properties and abolished 
their rights. Thus the present century has witnessed 
the close of two ancient feudal systems, which had 
come down intact and unchanged through many cen- 
turies : that of Turkey and that of Japan. 

At the head of the third great class of State func- 
tionaries, that of the Ulema, or Doctors of the 
Law, stood the Sheykh-ul-Islam- or Elder of Islam, 
the most important of whose duties was to interpret 

* European writers generally call them Timariotes, a name derived 
from the Turkish word Timar, which means a fief. Larger fiefs, as- 
sessed at a higher value, were termed Ziyamets. The number of soldiers 
which a Sipahl, or Turkish knight, was bound to bring with him to a 
campaign depended on the value at which his fief was assessed. The 
name Sipahl was also applied to an old corps of regular cavalry, which 
has frequently been mentioned in this volume in connexion with the 
Janissaries ; those Sipahis were quite distinct from the feudal knights. 


the sacred Law by declaring whether any proposed 
action was in accordance with the precepts of the 
Koran. No war could be begun, no peace could be 
concluded, no public matter of any kind could be 
gone on with until the Sheykh-ul-Islam had been 
consulted and had pronounced the projected under- 
taking lawful. Immediately under the Sheykh-ul- 
Islam, were two great legal officers called the Kazl- 
ul-'Askers of Rumelia and Anatolia. The title Kazl- 
ul-'Asker, which means Judge of the Army, was origin- 
ally conferred on a magistrate whom the Sultan used, 
in early times, to take along with him when he went 
on a campaign, in order to settle any disputes which 
might arise among the soldiers. As time went on, 
two of these magistrates were appointed, and for the 
sake of distinction the territorial titles were added ; 
but the Rumelian or European judge (who represented 
the original military magistrate) always took prece- 
dence of his Anatolian or Asiatic colleague. Next 
came the Istambol Kadisi or Judge of Constantinople; 
then the Mollas or Magistrates of the two sacred cities 
Mekka and Medina ; then the Mollas of the " Four 
Burghs," ie,, of Adrianople, Brusa, Cairo, and Damas- 
cus ; and then the Makhrej Mollalari or Mollas As- 
pirant, including the Magistrates of Galata, Scutari, 
Eyyub (all suburbs of Constantinople), Jerusalem, 
Smyrna, Aleppo, Yeni Shehr, and Salonica. This 
division embraced, besides these, some of the 'Ulema 
attached to the service of the Seraglio, and an officer 
called the Nakib-ul-Eshraf or Representative of the 
Nobles, ie.y of the Shcrifs or recognized descendants 
of the Prophet Muhammed, in the Turkish Empire. 


All these functionaries belonged to the first rank of 
legal dignitaries ; the second consisted of the Mollas 
or Magistrates of certain other of the more important 
cities ; the third of a number of officials termed 
Mufettishes or Inquisitors, whose duty was to see that 
the legacies bequeathed to mosques and other religious 
or charitable institutions were properly administered. 
The fourth rank was that of the Kadis or ordinary 
judges of the less important towns ; and the fifth and 
lowest that of the Naibs or Judge-substitutes. 

The Divan, as the Council of the Empire was called, 
consisted at first of only three VezTrs, but was gradu- 
ally increased to nine. These ministers, who were 
styled the Kubba VezTrleri or Cupola Vezirs, because 
the room in which they carried on their deliberations 
was roofed by a cupola, were superseded during the 
reign of Sultan Ahmed III., on account of the rivalry 
which had sprung up between them ; and a new Divan 
was instituted. This was composed of eight members ; 
the Grand Vezir, who was President of the Council ; 
the Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral ; the two 
KazI-ul-'Askers ; the three Defterdars or chiefs of the 
financial department ; and the Nishanji or Tracer of 
the Sultan's cypher. By the end of last century this 
Divan, which was held in the hall specially set apart 
for the purpose in the second court of the Seraglio, 
had become a mere tribunal for the redress of private 
grievances, and met only once in six weeks or so, 
while the real business of the State was transacted in 
councils called Mushavaras, which were held at the 
residence of the Grand VezIr, and at which all the 
heads of departments assisted. 


The fleet was under the command of the Kapudan 
Pasha or Grand Admiral, one of the greatest officers 
of the Empire. The islands of the Grecian Archi- 
pelago were under his jurisdiction, and every summer 
he used to go with the fleet into the Mediterranean 
on a tour of inspection, and to receive his rents from 
the officers to whom he had farmed his government. 

There was no similar officer in command of the 
army ; the Grand Vezir being, under the Sultan, the 
generalissimo of the forces. He usually took com- 
mand of an army when marching against an enemy, 
but he was always assisted and sometimes replaced 
by other Pashas of the highest rank. Each division 
of the army had its own general ; thus the Janissaries 
had their Agha, but he did not interfere with the 
cavalry or artillery or with any branch of the infantry 
except his own. 

Formerly, when the Ottoman Government declared 
war against a foreign state, it used to seize the am- 
bassador of that state at Constantinople and shut him 
up in the State prison of the Seven Towers. Its 
object in so doing was not only to emphasize its 
hostility against the enemy, but to prevent the latter 
from learning any of those particulars concerning 
the condition of the Turkish Empire which the 
minister would most probably be able to aflbrd, as 
well as to hold a hostage for the good treatment of 
any Ottoman subjects who might chance to be in the 
territories of that State against which the war was to 
be waged. 

All the great functionaries of the Empire were dis- 
tinguished by the magnificence and variety of their 




State costumes. The Grand Vezir wore a long robe 
of white satin trimmed with sable, and a curious head- 
dress, some five and twenty inches in height, called a 
kilavi, which was made of white muslin and shaped 
like a sugar-loaf with the top cut off ; a band of gold 
lace four inches wide fell across this from right to left. 
The dress of the Grand Admiral was the same, save 
that his robe was of green instead of white satin. 
This was the costume of all the Pashas of the 
first rank, those of three Tughs, the Grand VezIr 
alone wearing white satin. Similarly the Sheykh-ul- 
Islam had a robe of white cloth, while all the other 
chiefs of the Ulema wore green cloth. Their turban, 
which was termed 'urf, was egg-shaped, and was white, 
excepting in the case of the Naklb-ul-Eshraf, when it 
was green. Unless when travelling or on a campaign, 
none of these high officials carried a sword ; but they 
all (except the legal dignitaries who were unarmedj 
had a jewel-hilted dagger stuck in the girdle which 
they wore under the fur-trimmed outer robe. 

Of all this gorgeous apparel little or nothing is now 
visible at Stambol. His Majesty, Abd-ul-HamId Khan^ 
may be seen driving to mosque in a plain landau, and 
habited in a black frock-coat and trousers, with a red 
fez on his head. Save for*the fez, he and his ministers 
might be mistaken for Frenchmen of a sedate order. 
Old Turkey, with its pomp, its power, its gorgeous 
ceremony, is gone for ever ; and the time has not yet 
come for New Turkey to feel comfortable in its tight 
European clothes. 



The present century has witnessed many stirring 
events in and around the Ottoman Empire, but they 
have nearly all been marked by a novel characteristic. 
In former ages Turkey fought for herself, to win lands or 
to repel invaders. In the present day other nations 
fight for Turkey, not for her sake, but for their own. 
The City on the Bosphorus has become a bone of 
contention to the Powers of Europe : one of them is 
determined to possess it, and the others, afraid to 
claim it for themselves, have resolved that no one 
shall touch it. All fears of the ancient military pres- 
tige of the Ottomans have passed away, and what 
anxiety there is depends, not upon their strength, but 
their weakness. Turkey is a weight in the European 
equilibrium, and the danger is that she may slip off 
the scale and overturn the balance. How far this 
estimate of the feebleness of the Sultan's resources is 
true may perhaps be questioned. The Turks have never 
been honestly beaten in the present century. In the 
Russian war of 1809-12 they were but slightly 
worsted ; in the Greek war of 1822-8 they were at 


a disadvantage on account of a military revolution, 
but would never have given in without the pressure of 
three Great Powers ; in the war of 1828-9, Russia won 
by a coup de theatre, and Mahmud was surprised into 
surrender on false information ; in the Crimean war 
the Turks drove the Russians from before Silistria 
and over the Danube before the Allies came up, and 
afterwards were never given a chance ; in the latest war 
it has been boldly asserted that the Russians won by 
roubles, more than by powder and shot, and that the 
Turks would have been fully their match had their 
officers been superior to bribes. Be this as it may, it 
is well to be cautious in prejudging the issue as be- 
tween Russia and Turkey. With good officers and 
subsidies for arms, the splendid material of which the 
Ottoman rank and file is composed might possibly 
be backed against the multitudinous hordes of 
Russia. Asia Minor is the recruiting-ground of the 
Turk, and is still almost untouched by the invader. 
What Turkey might be able to accomplish in the 
event of another Russian war, with voluntary aid from 
abroad, and fair play, must remain a problem ; but so 
long as Russia remains what she is, the odds are not 
perhaps so very heavy on the Tsar. 

Nevertheless it has become almost an axiom in 
politics to regard Turkey as a more or less defenceless 
State, and most of the wars and negotiations which 
have centred in the Bosphorus have been conducted 
on the assumption that she is a necessary evil, 
necessary to be kept where she is, but perfectly hope- 
less in herself, and incapable of development or reform. 
Certainly she is not what is called a progressive 


nation, though the changes which have taken place 
in her social, intellectual, and administrative ideas 
within the last sixty years are, for a Mohamme- 
dan country, almost revolutionary. Christians and 
foreigners who now visit Constantinople can hardly 
believe the condition of society when the Russian 
ambassador was thrown into the castle of the Seven 
Towers; when no Turkish minister would deign 
to rise to a foreign representative ; and when the 
Sultan would as soon think of visiting a kennel as 
touching the hand or entering the house of a Giaour. 
Now a Turk of rank or position is very much like 
any one else, often cultivated, generally well-bred, 
and, whatever he may feel as a Moslem, scrupulously 
tolerant and polite to " infidels " of every description. 
This change, however, applies to the minority : the 
mass of the people remain much what they were. Ex- 
perience and frequent intercourse has perhaps made 
them more tolerant or indifferent, but they are still 
Moslems, and, as such, practically stationary. The ad- 
ministration remains corrupt, and will remain so until 
Turkey is permitted to enjoy a long period of immunity 
from external dangers, and to devote the energies of 
her best sons, not to playing off several jealous Powers 
against one another, but to developing her own re- 
sources and thoroughly revising her executive system. 
That period, however, is a very uncertain speculation. 
No one, perhaps, not even Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, 
has ever believed that Turkey could be saved entirely 
from within ; and the Powers have always acted on 
the principle that somebody must serve as a dyke be- 
tween Russia and the Bosphorus, and that Turkey, 


being there, had better be maintained in her position. 
The " Sick Man " of the morbid mind of Nicholas 
must be galvanized into sufficient vitality to sit up 
and pretend to be well. The policy of the European 
Powers towards the Porte has been uniformly selfish ; 
and the policy has reacted upon themselves : for the 
Turks are keen-witted, and will do nothing for those 
who will do nothing for them. We can hardly expect 
Turkey to don every European habit we cut for her, 
when we never couch a lance beside her except for 
our own benefit. 

The nineteenth century has seen a process of 
gradual dismemberment which bids fair to deprive 
the Sultan of his last foothold in Europe. When 
Mahmud II. ascended the throne in 1808, a mere 
child, he was at first the puppet of the mutinous 
Janissaries, who had slaughtered his predecessors, and 
only spared him because for awhile he was actually 
the last survivor of the august race of Othman. He 
began his reign in a war with Russia, and the open 
hostilities of the Tsar were overshadowed by even more 
menacing intrigues and plots of partition put forward 
by Napoleon. The Treaty of Bucharest (18 12) termi- 
nated the first, and helped to put an end to the second 
danger. External enemies now gave place to the foes 
of his own household. Great pashas consolidated their 
power in distant provinces, and ruled as kings in 
defiance of the Sultan's authority ; local squires or 
Derebeys held a sort of feudal state in their districts, 
and set the Sultan's officers at naught. Two men 
especially threatened the empire with division : one 
was Mohammed All (Mehemet Ali),who made Egypt 

344 " ^^^ ^^^^ MAN.'* 

virtually independent in the second decade of the 
century, and so firmly established his power that he 
was able to transmit it to his descendants, one of 
whom still reigns in name in the capital of the 
Mamliiks ; the other was All Pasha of Janina, who 
held his own in Albania, with barbaric splendour 
and barbarous cruelty, until he was slain by the Sultan's 
troops in 1820. To make head against such oppo- 
nents required a strong and disciplined army, and the 
support of the people. But the people liked their 
local lords, and hated the corrupt government of the 
Sultan's officers ; and the army was at once untrust- 
worthy in the field and mutinous in quarters. Mah- 
mud, who was possessed of an iron will, considerable 
political sagacity, and invincible patience, quietly set 
to work to remedy these evils. It took him twenty 
years to mature his plans, but in 1826 he dealt the 
blow. People living in Pera, looking across the 
Golden Horn, one June morning perceived two 
columns of smoke ascending to the skies over the 
minarets of Stambol. The Janissaries had mutinied, 
but the Sultan was ready for them ; and the smoke 
announced that their barracks had been blown up. 
The famous corps, which had long survived only to 
tarnish its ancient renown by deeds of cowardice, 
venality, and turbulency, was exterminated. The 
sword, the bowstring, and the exile's galley finished the 
work, and MahmQd was free to form a new army, dis- 
ciplined after the manner of European troops, and fit 
to be trusted with the honour of the old Ottoman 
name. The Sultan himself studied French books of 
tactics, drilled his men in person, mounted like any 


dragoon, with long English stirrups and a trooper's 
saddle. He worked hard, but fate was against him. 
He deprived himself of his old army, and had not 
yet collected a new one, just at the moment when any 
sort of army would have been serviceable. 

The danger that menaced him sprang from Homer. 
But for the associations with great deeds and noble 
words which the very name of Hellas awakens, no 
sane man assuredly would have meddled in the Greek 
" War of Independence." The impulse which stirred 
up the insurrection was not so much the sublime pas- 
sion of freedom as the suggestion of Russian agents 
and that delight in noisy excitement which is 
the heritage of the Greek. Whatever the cause, 
philanthropists, scholars, and enthusiasts, in England 
and France, fancied that in the revolutionary 
movement, which was partly the effect of the ground- 
swell raised in France a quarter of a century before, 
they could trace the echoes of Thermopylae and Mara- 
thon ; the songs of the klephts were sung in the same 
tongue — somewhat degraded — that Sophocles and 
Aeschylus had spoken ; and a general, natural, and 
very creditable feeling spread over Western Europe 
in favour of the oppressed Greeks. Poets like Byron 
flung themselves into the fray in a spirit of patriotic 
antiquarianism ; soldiers like Church, who loved adven- 
ture, and habitually espoused the cause of the weak 
against the strong, cast away the scabbard ; and a 
crowd of knights-errant of various ranks, nations, and 
motives, joined in the " War of Independence." Wise 
heads as well as brave hearts took up the cause of the 
Greeks. France would have been pleased to see a 

346 " THE SICK MAN J' 

prince of her royal race on the throne of Athens ; and 
England, as represented by George Canning the 
Foreign Secretary, had adopted the policy of giving 
struggling nationalities fair play. The Continental 
doctrine, rigorously upheld by Prince Metternich, con- 
sisted in a jealous police to be exercised by the Great 
Powers in the maintenance of the established order of 
things as formulated in the Treaty of 181 5, and in the 
stern repression of all "Jacobinical" movements. Mr. 
Canning detested the policy of the Holy Alliance, and 
saw in the Greek rebellion no Jacobinical tendency, but 
simply the desire of an oppressed Christian people to 
cast off the Turkish yoke. He strove to effect a reason- 
able compromise between the belligerents, and suc- 
ceeded in inducing Russia, and afterwards France, to 
join England in forcing terms upon the Sultan (Treaty 
of London, 1827). Mahmud remained obdurate, how- 
ever ; he naturally saw no reason why, when on the 
whole he was winning, he should voluntarily deprive 
himself of his Greek provinces. An accidental en- 
counter between the Turkish fleet and the Allies in the 
harbour of Navarino (Oct. 1827) ended in the destruc- 
tion of the former ; and the peaceful, if somewhat 
domineering, mediation of the Three Powers was ex- 
changed for a naval blockade, the landing of a French 
force in the Morea, whence they speedily expelled Mah- 
mud's Egyptian contingent, and, finally, a Russo- 
Turkish war (1828-9). This was what Russia had been 
wanting all along. The rupture had been staved off at 
a heavy sacrifice by the Treaty of Akkerman in 1826, 
because the Sultan's army was then in no state for a 
great war. The alliance of the Three Powers in 1827 


Battle Plan 


O sfAfcif rfffCATes 
C|l> coRvcrre 


► emi: BRIGS 


1 /J«<I 

2 Genoa 

3 Albion 

4 Dartmouth 

5 Cambrian 

6 Glasgow 

8 i?^J<? 

9 Musquito 
lo Brisk 

It Philomel 
12 Hind 

( Tender) 

A rmide 
A ley one 

6-7 Schooners. 


1 Asoff 

2 Ezekiel 

3 Hanhoudd 

4 Alexander 

5 Provounoy 

6 Helena 

7 Const antine 

8 Castor 

1-4 ^a/f//^ ^>47>f 
5-y Frigates 

THE RUSSIAN WAR OF 1 828-9. 349 

seemed to forbid separate action. But Mr. Canning 
was now dead, and Lord Aberdeen's presence at 
the Foreign Office gave Russia free scope for action. 
The result was Diebitsch's daring march over the 
Balkan, and the humiliation of Mahmud in the Treaty 
of Adrianople (1829), in presence of a Russian army 
which could hardly have exceeded 15,000 men. At 
the point of the sword the Sultan was forced to con- 
cede what all the arguments of ambassadors, and even 
the fatal catastrophe at Navarino, had failed to extort. 
Greece was made free, and in 1832 her boundaries 
were extended to very nearly their present limits. 
Prince Leopold refused the crown, and the Bavarian 
Otho, as King of the Hellenes, taught the people that 
a constitutional government by Christian foreigners 
may be almost as corrupt and exasperating as even 
the rule of a Turkish pasha. 

The severance of Greece was a sore blow to 
Mahmud's hopes ; yet, even now, had he been allowed 
ten years of tranquillity he might have been able 
to carry out the reforming policy upon which his 
heart was set. Such however was not to be his 
fortune. Shorn of his fleet by the Allies, weakened 
in arms and prestige by the Russian war, he became 
the natural prey of his powerful vassal the Viceroy 
of Egypt. Mohammed All pushed his forces across 
Syria and even threatened the Bosphorus ; the timely 
interposition of Russia (duly recompensed in the 
Treaty of Hunkiar Iskelesi, 1833) saved Constanti- 
nople. This treaty was a rude surprise to the 
Western Powers, for it gave Russia the exclusive 
right of way through the Dardanelles : but they took 


time before they ventured to assert themselves. 
France was on the side of Mohammed All ; and 
England, under the Whig administrations of Grey 
and Melbourne, was too much harassed at home to 
retain a free hand for foreign affairs. Palmerston 
admitted that he had delayed too long before sup- 
porting the Sultan, but at length the English fleet 
sailed for the Levant, Acre was taken, and Moham- 
med All, by the Treaty of 1841, was confined 
to his Egyptian possessions, under the suzerainty 
of the Sultan, the integrity and independence of 
whose empire were now placed formally under the 
guarantee of the Great Powers. The Treaty of 1841 
was a new and vital departure : Turkey was for the 
first time placed in a state of tutelage, but how far 
the protection of the Great Powers has benefited her 
must be considered in the light of more recent events- 

Meanwhile Mahmud had died in 1839, when his 
empire seemed doomed to fall into the hands of his 
dangerous vassal. Had he lived, the fourteen years 
of peace which followed might have been turned to 
immense account ; his masterful will might have 
reformed the whole system of administration. But 
his son and successor, Abd-ul-Mejid, while possessed 
of many amiable and loveable qualities, was timorous 
and infirm of purpose. Whatever good was done 
in the interval of tranquillity which filled the fifth 
decade of the century was principally the work of 
th? great statesman who then held the post of British 
Ambassador at the Porte. 

Sir Stratford Canning began his diplomatic career 
in 1807, when he was secretary to a mission sent to 


Copenhagen to effect a reconciliation with the Danes 
after the impounding of their fleet. At the age of 
twenty-three he was Minister Plenipotentiary at Con- 
stantinople, and in 18 12, without aid or advice from 
his Government, but wholly of his own motion and by 
his own diplomatic skill, he brought about the Treaty 
of Bucharest, which, as we have seen, released the 
Russian army of the Danube just in time to attack 
Napoleon on his disastrous retreat from Moscow. 
He subsequently served in Switzerland, was present 
at the Congress of Vienna, held the post of Minister 
to the United States, and returning to Turkey in 
1826 took a principal part in effecting the freedom 
of Greece, and especially in securing her an adequate 
and defensible boundary. At the beginning of 1842 
he resumed his former post at Constantinople, 
and began that series of reforms which nothing 
could have carried but the supreme influence which 
gained him the name of t/ie Great ElcJii, or Am- 
bassador par excellence. Long experience of the 
Turks, personal friendship with the Sultan, and the 
support of the young Turkish party, who had learnt 
something of Western civilization, were among the 
causes of his success ; but the mainspring lay in his 
personal character. Truthful and straightforward in 
all his ways, he never condescended to the tricks of 
diplomacy, and the Turks soon began to perceive 
that what Canning spoke was the truth. Gifted 
moreover with a sedate gravity which gave dignity 
and importance to the smallest negotiations,— and 
which was the more valuable because men knew 
that beneath the calm and polished surface lay an 


impetuous passionate spirit, impatient of restraint, — 
the manner of the Great Elchi was full of charm and 
persuasion. His refined and intellectual countenance 
was the index to his courteous and chivalrous 
nature. When circumstances so required, none 
could be more urbane ; but when he scented de- 
ception or trickery, the man's fiery nature blazed up, 
and in his anger he was terrible — few dared to 
withstand him. The Turkish ministers and the 
Sultan himself bowed themselves down before his 
righteous indignation. By force of character, by a 
certain admirable violence, necessary in dealing with 
dilatory and prevaricating people, by a kingly grace 
and courtesy which stamped him a gentleman of the 
true sort, but above all by a manly unswerving 
honesty and straightforwardness, Stratford Canning 
acquired that extraordinary influence which no 
Christian has exercised before or since over the 
princes and statesmen of the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1842 he began his long struggle with Turkish 
corruption. Reshid Pasha, the most enlightened of 
the statesmen of the Porte, had in 1839 induced the 
Sultan to promulgate a sort of Turkish Magna 
Charta, called the Hatti-Sherlf of Gidhane, (or the 
Tanzimat,) whereby many of the anomalies, cor- 
ruptions, and disabilities of the administrative and 
judicial system, especially in regard to the Christian 
rayas, were abolished — on paper. The reform was 
premature and was followed by the fall of Reshid 
and a strong reaction in favour of the old Turkish 
system. It was Canning's design to overturn the 
reactionaries and restore Reshid, and in this, after 


three or four years, he succeeded. Step by step he 
obtained the dismissal of fanatical and ignorant 
officials, and replaced them by men of Reshid's way 
of thinking. With the aid of the liberal party 
in the Divan, he carried reform after reform — none 
very sweeping, for the time had not yet come, and 
there was no Mahmud to enforce a complete change, 
— but each essential to the well-being of the Sultan's 
Christian subjects. His object was to reform 
Turkey from within, by removing those glaring in- 
justices which marked so many branches of the execu- 
tive Government. He did not work for the Christians 
merely because they were Christians, but because 
they had the least measure of justice, and so required 
more support to bring them up to the level of their 
Moslem neighbours. Equal citizenship for all was 
his policy. With this view he wrung from the 
Sultan, after a herculean struggle, in 1844, the 
promise that thenceforward no one who apostatized 
from Islam and became a Christian should, as here- 
tofore, be executed ; and that the Christian religion 
should suffer no molestation in the Ottoman do- 
minions. The concession was the more noteworthy 
since it repealed what was believed to be a part of 
the sacred law of the Koran. This was followed up 
by a formal abolition of torture, by the repeal of 
obnoxious taxes, notably the poll-tax on non-Musul- 
mans which belonged to the ancient constitution 
of Islam, by the admission of Christian evidence 
in Moslem law courts, and by various other im. 
provements, which were all eventually summarized 
and completed in the famous edict— the Hatti- 


Humayun of 1856, which forms part of the Treaty of 
Paris. An immense deal remained to be done, but 
it was impossible to drive the Turks at a fast pace, 
and Canning had to be content with what he could 
get. So long as he was at his post reforms accumu- 
lated, and his vigilant eye watched every quarter 
of the Ottoman Empire to see where offences were 
and from whence they came, and to bring condign 
punishment on the offender. No pasha was safe, 
even so far off as Baghdad, if a complaint against him 
reached the ear of the Great Elchi. His power was 
unique, and he used it for no selfish or ambitious 
end : his arm was stretched forth in the cause of 
right and justice alone.^ 

Then, in the midst of this stage of gradual reforma- 
tion, came two shocks from without. The first passed 
off without more than a temporary interruption of 
progress. It happened in 1849 that sundry refugees 
from Hungary and Poland, where the mid-century 
revolutions were in course of sanguinary suppression 
by Austria and Russia, sought asylum in the dominions 
of the Sultan. Among them were Kossuth, Bern, 
Dembinski, and other well-known leaders. The two 
emperors demanded their extradition, which was 
another word for their slaughter; but the Turks 
declared that it was contrary to the Mohammedan 
principle of hospitality to give up strangers to their 
pursuers, and Sir Stratford Canning supported them 
in their honourable resistance. Austria and Russia 
broke off relations with Turkey, and matters looked 

» "Life of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe," by S. Lane-Poole, vol. ii., 
ch. xvii. 



serious ; but the appearance of the English and 
French fleets at the entrance of the Hellespont showed 
that there were more Powers to be reckoned with 
than Turkey ; the crisis passed, and the refugees 
were saved. The fame of the Great Elchi and the 
honour of the Sultan never stood higher than when 
they thus upheld the sacred right of asylum. 

The second interruption was more serious. It 
began in a mere trifle. There were monks of different 
sorts at Jerusalem, — Latin Church, Greek Church, and 
Armenian Church, — and the two former were per- 
petually quarrelling over ridiculous details of ritual 
at the Holy Places where their common Master 
suffered and was buried. France protected the Latin 
variety of monk, Russia the Greek ; and whether, as 
has been asserted, the Emperor Louis Napoleon 
thought it necessary to distract his subjects with a 
warlike diversion, or whether it merely happened that 
the quarrels of the monks came to a crisis just then, 
it is certain that in 1852 the French grew exceedingly 
imperious in their demands, and Turkey was at her 
wits' ends to satisfy both complainants. With the help 
of Stratford Canning, who had now been raised to 
the peerage as Viscount Stratford de Redclifle, the dis- 
pute was happily arranged in April 1853 : but Russia 
then insisted on an additional Convention which would 
have given her a protectorate over all the 12,000,000 
subjects of the Sultan who professed the Greek or 
" Orthodox " religion. This could not be admitted, 
and though for many months the statesmen of 
Europe vied with one another in evolving schemes 
of pacification, it was evident from the first that the 


half-crazy Tsar would not be satisfied with less than 
war. The Russians marched into Wallachia, without 
a tittle of excuse, in June 1853 : but the Turks, guided 
by Lord Stratford, contented themselves with a pro- 
test, and negotiations were continued at Vienna and 
elsewhere. England and France sent their fleets 
through the Dardanelles in October ; but still it was 
not precisely war. But when, after distinct warning 
from the Western Powers, Russia entered the Turkish 
harbour of Sinope, and sent a Turkish fleet to the 
bottom, and massacred the helpless drowning crews 
almost under the eyes of the English and French 
Admirals, who were then stationed in the Bos- 
phorus, the fighting spirit of John Bull fired up, 
and the Crimean War ensued (March 28, 1854). 

The war was made with the object of compelling 
Russia to withdraw her army from the Principalities. 
But the allied forces of France and England, under 
Marshal St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan, had not arrived 
at the scene of operations when the menaces of 
Austria and the magnificent pluck displayed by the 
Turks, under the leadership of Butler and Nasmyth, 
in the defence of Silistria, forced the Russians to fall , 
back. They crossed the Danube in June pursued by 
the Turks, and the object of the war was practically 

But there was a general feeling that Russia would 
not be reduced to her proper position until the frown- 
ing forts of Sevastopol in the Crimea had been razed. 
Accordingly in September the Allies embarked on 
one of the craziest expeditions that any army ever 
attempted. Ignorant of the country, the fortifications. 


and the strength of the enemy, they landed on a deso- 
late peninsula with a comparatively small force, no 
base, and scanty means of provisioning. They found 
the enemy ready for them in superior numbers and 
in a strong position on the heights behind the Alma 
river, and (the French having missed their part of 
the manoeuvre) the English fought their way up the 
hill in face of a tremendous cannonade, and sent the 
Russians flying (20 Sept.). Had the Allies been 
strong enough to push on in pursuit, Sevastopol might 
have been taken by assault the next day ; but inade- 
quate numbers, the care of the wounded, the caution of 
some, and the jealousy of others, obliged Lord Raglan 
to pause ; and, feeling the paramount need of a 
harbour for commissariat, the Allies made a flank 
march, seized the port of Balaklava, and prepared to 
lay siege to Sevastopol from the south side. The 
Russians made several diversions. One was an 
attack on the right flank of the British force on 
18 October, which provoked the splendid and effec- 
tual onslaught of the Heavies under General Scar- 
lett, and the equally brilliant but mistaken charge of 
the Light Brigade, which has been the theme of poets 
and patriots for a generation. Those who, like the 
writer, have seen with their own eyes the fatal " Valley 
of Death " can alone realize in any degree the 
" mouth of hell " into which, in perfect calm and with 
well-dressed ranks, rode " the noble Six Hundred." 
The terrible loss suffered on that famous day left the 
English less able to meet fresh emergencies : but on 
5 November, surprised in a fog, 8,000 Englishmen, con- 
sisting of the Guards and the 20th Regiment, kept a 

358 " THE SICK MAN J' 

Russian army of 40,000 men at bay for several hours 
at one spot on the slopes of Inkerman, until the 
French came up and helped them to drive the enemy 
back in confusion. 

Meanwhile the siege of Sevastopol progressed 
slowly. The defence, conducted by Todleben, was 
alike skilful and indefatigable. The attack was over- 
deliberate, and, on the part of the French at least, 
hampered by interference from home. Several as- 
saults in the spring and summer of 1855 failed to over- 
come the resistance of the enemy. One French 
general had died ; the second resigned ; Lord Raglan- 
borne down with anxiety, and a victim to popular 
indignation, which in Carthaginian fashion seldom 
spares unsuccessful generals, succumbed to care and 
overstrain in June 1855. It was not till September 
that the Malakov earthwork fell to the vigorous 
assault of the French, and the city of Sevastopol was 
at length occupied by the Allies. 

Instead- of taking advantage of this success, and 
pushing Russia back to her ancient limits at the 
Caucasus and the Dniester, and reviving the kingdom 
of Poland as a watchtower to the west, the Allies 
made peace, and the Treaty of Paris was signed in 
March 1856. A trifling rectification of the frontier 
was made, but the main provisions of the Treaty were 
the guarantee of the independence and integrity of 
the Ottoman Empire by the contracting Powers, the 
abolition of the Russian protectorate over the Danubian 
principalities and Serbia, the neutralization and opening 
of the Black Sea to ships of commerce of all nations, 
and the closing of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles to 


foreign ships of war while the Porte should be at 
peace. The Powers pledged themselves not to meddle 
in the internal affairs of Turkey, and the Sultan 
promised reforms in his administration and better 
treatment of his Christian subjects. The principles 
of this reformation were enunciated in the celebrated 
Haiti- Humayun^ which had been promulgated in the 
previous February : " brave words " and little more. 
The vital part of the Treaty, concerning the neutrality 
of the Black Sea, was repudiated by the Tsar in 1870, 
when the Franco-German war had deprived England 
of the only ally who would have joined her in opposing 
him ; and in January 187 1 Mr. Gladstone's govern- 
ment consented to this shameful breach of good faith. 
The Black Sea is once more a Russian lake, and 
Sevastopol was taken in vain. 

The Treaty of Paris left Turkey practically intact. 
It did not restore her stolen provinces, but it caused 
her no fresh losses. The time, however, was not far 
off when dismemberment would become inevitable. 
Lord Stratford had long seen that nothing but honest 
and sweeping reforms could save the Ottoman Empire : 
but he left the Porte in 1858, and no one who suc- 
ceeded him was strong enough to enforce those 
changes which were essential to its preservation. 
One by one the provinces approached independence. 
Moldavia and Wallachia, united in 1858, became 
thenceforward practically an independent state : and 
the acquisition of a HohenzoUern as hereditary prince 
in 1866 gave Rumania (as the provinces are now 
called) a place in European combinations. Troubles 
broke out in the Lebanon in i860, a French 

360 " THE SICK MAN.'* 

army was dispatched to restore order, and in the 
adjustment of rival claims an opportunity was afforded 
to Lord Dufferin for displaying those diplomatic 
talents for which he is renowned. In 1861 the Sultan 
Abd-ul-MejId died, and with him passed away the 
hope of regenerating Turkey. His brother and 
successor Abd-ul-AzTz was an ignorant bigot, whose 
extravagance brought his country to avowed insol- 
vency (1875), and thus deprived her of that sympathy 
which is seldom given to the impecunious. The only 
remarkable thing he did was to travel. No Ottoman 
Sultan had ever before left his own dominions, except 
on the war path, but Abd-ul-Aziz ventured even as far 
as London, without, however, awakening any enthu- 
siasm on the part of his Allies. In 1876 he was 
deposed, and — found dead. How he came by his 
death is a matter of doubt, but his end is said to have 
turned the brain of his successor Murad V., a son of 
Abd-ul-MejTd, who after three months was removed 
as an imbecile, and succeeded by his brother the 
reigning Sultan Abd-ul-Hamld. 

This unfortunate prince, who is believed to be 
endowed with some sagacity, has been compelled 
to witness the most serious encroachments upon 
his empire which have yet taken place. Before 
his accession there had been a revolt among 
the Christians of the north. Herzegovina rose in 
1874-5, and the massacres and brutalities which too 
often characterize Turkish police-measures ensued. 
Prompted by Russia, Bulgaria attempted to shake off 
the yoke in 1876, and some terrible deeds were 
perpetrated by the Turkish soldiery in suppressing the 

THE RUSSIAN WAR OF 1877-8. 361 

revolt. Exaggerated as they were by the newspapers, 
the " Bulgarian Atrocities " at Batak were nevertheless 
bad enough to rouse a tempest of righteous indignation 
in England, even without the adroit aid of an inflamma- 
tory pamphlet written by Mr. Gladstone. Serbia and 
Montenegro now joined the rebellion, and the Porte 
had to exert her strength to meet her numerous foes. 
The Great Powers used their efforts at mediation in 
vain. A Conference at Constantinople (Jan. 1877) 
was met by a rejection of its proposals, and by a 
melodramatic promulgation of an Ottoman Constitu- 
tion, of which little more has been heard ; and Russia, 
separating from the European concert, took the law 
into her own hands and declared war. (April 1877.) 
Whether the collective action of the Powers might 
have attained the desired end without hostilities, and 
whether the Tsar was really driven onward by the 
uncontrollable Slav sympathies of his subjects, or was 
actuated by mere motives of aggrandisement, are 
questions which must be left unsolved. The war 
began, and the Turks at first held their own, especi- 
ally in Asia, where they won the battle of Kizil-tepe, 
and drove the Russians back from Kars. In Europe, 
no attempt was made to oppose the passage of the 
Danube, and the Russians occupied Tirnova and Nico- 
polis, and even sent a flying detachment under General 
Gurko over the Balkan. But the great feature of the 
war was the defence of Plevna by Othman Pasha. For 
five months the Russians and Rumanians vainly 
laid siege to the fortress ; twice they were totally 
defeated in the field ; till at last in December starva- 
tion, aided it is said by bribing the commanders of 


the reinforcements who were bringing stores, did the 
work which no artillery could accomplish, and Othman 
Pasha, with his army of 32,000 heroes, made a despe- 
rate attempt to break through the investing lines, and 
was compelled to surrender. The taking of Plevna 
cost Russia 50,000 men. 

The end was not far off. After Plevna had fallen, 
and Mukhtar had been driven back in Armenia with 
the loss of Kars, General Gurko again crossed the 
Balkan in January, 1878. He cut his upward steps in 
the ice, and literally slid down the other side. Sofia 
was occupied, and, after some gallant fighting in the 
Shipka Pass, Radetski forced his way through, and 
preliminaries of peace were signed (as in 1829) at the 
point of the bayonet at Adrianople. A Treaty was 
then concluded at San Stefano, 3 March, in the pre- 
sence of the Russian army, which was actually en- 
camped on the shore of the Sea of Marmora ; but the 
conditions were so damaging to Turkey, that Lord 
Beaconsfield interposed, and the Treaty of San Stefano 
was abrogated by that of Berlin, June 1878. By this 
Treaty, which records the partial dismemberment of 
Turkey with the consent of Europe, in spite of all the 
pledges of 1856, Servia, Montenegro, and Rumania 
were declared independent ; the State of Bulgaria was 
created, in two divisions, one of which was to be 
autonomous, the other governed by the Porte ; and 
Thessaly was apportioned to Greece. Russia regained 
the strip of Bessarabia which had been taken from 
her in 1856, and retained her conquests in Asia — Kars, 
Batum, and Ardahan. In return for her easy compli- 
ance in these arrangements, England accepted a 


peculiar position in relation to Turkey : she an- 
nounced a protectorate over the Asiatic dominions of 
the Sultan (though to this day no one appears to under- 
stand what are the duties and rights involved in the 
compact), and, in order to have a convenient station 
whence to observe events in the East, she took posses- 
sion of the island of Cyprus, which she still holds in 
fee of the Sultan, to whom she pays tribute. Lord 
Beaconsfield (at least ostensibly) took credit for these 
acquisitions, and considered that the Treaty of Berlin 
with its accessory conventions formed a satisfactory 
embodiment of " Peace with Honour." 

Thus was Turkey gradually reduced to its present 
restricted dimensions. In its old extent, when the 
Porte ruled not merely the narrow territory now 
called Turkey in Europe, but Greece, Bulgaria and 
Eastern Rumelia, Rumania, Serbia, Bosnia, and Her- 
zegovina, with the Crimea and a portion of Southern 
Russia ; Asia Minor to the borders of Persia; Egypt, 
Syria, Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and numerous islands 
in the Mediterranean, — not counting the vast but 
mainly desert tract of Arabia — the total population 
(at the present time) would be over fifty millions, 
and the square mileage over two millions, or nearly 
twice Europe without Russia. One by one her 
provinces have been taken away. Algiers and Tunis 
have been incorporated with France, and thus 175,000 
square miles and five millions of inhabitants have 
transferred their allegiance. Egypt is practically inde- 
pendent, and this means a loss of 500,000 miles and 
over six millions of inhabitants. Asiatic Turkey 
alone has suffered comparatively little diminution. 


This forms the bulk of her present dominions, and 
comprises about 680,000 square miles, and over six- 
teen millions of population. In Europe her losses 
have been almost as severe as in Africa, where Tripoli 
alone remains to her. Serbia and Bosnia are "ad- 
ministered" by Austria, and thereby nearly 40,000 
miles and three and a half millions of people have 
become Austrian subjects. Wallachia and Moldavia 
are united in the independent kingdom of Rumania, 
diminishing the extent of Turkey by 46,000 miles and 
over five millions of inhabitants. Bulgaria is a depen- 
dent state, over which the Porte has no real control, 
and Eastern Rumelia has lately de facto become part 
of Bulgaria, and the two contain nearly 40,000 square 
miles, and three millions of inhabitants. The king- 
dom of Greece with its 25,000 miles and two millions 
of population has long been separated from its parent 
In Europe where the Turkish territory once extended 
to 230,000 square miles, with a population of nearly 
twenty millions, it now reaches only the total of 
&6,ooo miles and four and a half millions : it has lost 
nearly three-fourths of its land, and about the same 
proportion of its people. 

Whether what has happened since the famous 
Congress sat upon the state of Turkey in solemn 
conclave at Berlin in 1878 can be held to justify the 
motto of " Peace with Honour " may be decided 
by the reader on the evidence of facts or the 
strength of political conviction. One thing seems 
clear, that, rightly or wrongly, in supporting the 
Christian provinces against their sovereign, the 
Powers at Berlin sounded the knell of Turkish 


domination in Europe. Asiatic Turkey, under the 
aegis of England's mysterious " protectorate," may 
still enjoy its ancient barbaric existence, menaced 
perhaps by Russians in the north-east, by canals in 
the south, and by advancing civilization everywhere : 
but in Europe, the Turk will mount guard over the 
Bosphorus, and sit in the seat of the Caesars only so 
long as Europe requires him there. Another Power 
is quite ready to take his place, and even in England 
the impossibility of permitting a Tsar to reign at 
Constantinople is no longer quite an undisputed axiom. 
But whether, with all our prejudice against the " un- 
speakable " Turk, the Moslem is a worse ruler than 
the Russian, and ought necessarily to give way to the 
advancing tide of Slavonic " civilization," is a question 
too large for this little book. At the best it is a 
choice of evils. 

There are some who believe in a great Moham- 
medan revival, with the Sultan- Khalifat the head, — a 
second epoch of Saracen prowess, and a return to the 
good days when Turks were simple, sober, honest men, 
who fought like lions. There is plenty of such stuff 
in the people still : but where are their leaders ? Till 
Carlyle's great man comes, the hero who can lead a 
nation back to paths of valour and righteousness, 
to dream of the regeneration of Turkey is but a boot- 
less speculation. 



Abd-ul-Aziz, 293, 360 

Abd-ul-Hamid, 337, 360 

Abd-ul-MejId, 268, 350, 360 

Acre, 350 

Adair, Sir R., 258 

Adam, Villiers de L'Isle, 170 

Adrianople, 35, 79, 84, 107, 349 

Ahmed I., 214 

Ahmed III., 253 

Ahmed Gedik, 136, 139 

Ahmed Pasha, 309 

Akif Pasha, 323 

Akinji, 31 

Akkerman, 346 

Akshehr, 41 

Ala-ud-dln, 26, 76 

Alexander Nevski, 248 

Ah' Chelebi, 320 

All Pasha, 42 

All of Janina, 344 

Alma, 357 

Altenburg, 180 

Amasia, 79 

Amurath [Murad] 

Anadolu Hisar, 108 

Andronicus, 25, 33 

Angora, 8, 66-72 

Anne, 33 

Anne Tsaritza, 254 

Apostasy, 353 

Arabia, 163 

Army organization, 26, 76, 344 

Ashab-ul-Kalem, 327 ff. 

Astrakhan, 249, 251 

At-Meydani, 130 

Aubusson, D', 142, 150 
Aviano, 234-5 
Aydin, 19, 33 
Aynegol, 16 
Azov, 251-2, 255 

Bab-i-Humayun, 269 

Baghdad, 219-20 

Bahory, Stephen, 25 

Bajazet [BdyezJd] 

Baki, 312, 314-5 

Balaklava, 357 

Balkan, passage of, 89 

Baltaji, 283-4 

Baphoeum, 19 

Barbarossa, 196 

Batak, 360 

Batu, 247 

Bayezid I., 31, 40, 43, 46-73 

BayezTd II., 140-150 

Bebek, 265 

Beglerbeg, 92 

Beglerbeg palace, 266 

Bektash, Hajji, 28 

Belgrade, 88, 97-8, 169-170, 2^9, 

241, 254 
Bem, 354 

Berlin, Treaty of, 362 
Beshiktash, 266 
Bey bars, 159 
Bilejik, 15 
Bithynia, 9, 19 
Borgia, Alexander, 149-50 
Bostanji Bashi, 278, 283 



Boucicault, 52 
Briick, 183 

Brusa, 9, 22, 23, 84, 97 
Bucharest, Treaty, 259, 343 
Buda, 179, 180 
Bulgaria, 360, 362, 364 
Buyukdere, 265 
Byron, 260-1, 266, 345 


Candia, 225 

Canning, George, 346 

Canning, Stratford, 258-9, 265, 

350-356, 359 
Cantacuzenus, 33-5 
Capistran, St. John, 97 
Carlowitz, 241, 252 
Castles of Anatolia and Rumelia, 

Castriota, George of, 133-5 
Catherine, 253 
Chaldiran, 157 
Charles v., 191 
Charles VIII., 146-50 
Charles XII., 252 
Chawush, 283-4, 327 
Chelebi, 83 
Chichakov, 259 
Chingiz, 2, 3, 247 
Choczim, 225 
Church, Sir R., 345 
Cicila, 213 
Comines, De, 87 
Comnenus, David, 136 
Constantine Palaeologus, 107-126 
Constantinople, sieges of, 63, 65, 

79, 86, 108-133 
Cossacks, 225 

Creasy, Sir E., 28, 91-5, 161, 199 
Crete, 225 

Crimea [Arm] y 

Crimean War, 356-8 / 
Croia, 134 
Cyprus, 363 


Dardanelles, 356, 359 
Defterdar, 328 
Demetrius IV., 248 

Derebeys, 343 
Despina, 49 
Diebitsch, 349 
Divan, 335 
Diyarbekr, 158 
Dolmabaghche, 266 
Doria, 196, 210 
Dragut, 196 
Ducas, 33 
Dufferin, Lord, 359 


Edebali, 13-15 

Egypt, 161 

Ekrem Bey, 323 

Elchi, the Great [Canning^ 

Empire, Eastern, 32 

Erivan, 219-20 

Ermeni, 9, 10, 16 

Ertoghrul, 8-15 

Ertoghrul, son of BayezTd, 65 

Eskishehr, 10, 15 

Esterhazy, 227 

Euboea, 136 

Eugene, Prince, 241 

Eunuchs, 288 

Evliya Efendi, 321 

Eyalet, 330 

Eyyub, 262 


Fazil, GhazI, 302 

Ferdinand, Archduke, 179, 192 

Finlay, 20, 33, 75 

Fitnet, 322 

Flor, Roger de, 32 

Francis I., 173 

Froissart, 57-59 

Fuzidl, 312-4 

Galata, 34, 262 
Gallipoli, 34, 80 
Gaza, 161 
Gediklij 291 
Genoese, 32-4, 9^ "7 
George Brankovich, 86 
Georgia, 217 
Ghazel, 303 



Gh&rT, El, 160, 161 

Gibb, E. J. W., 108-11, 124, 

131-3, 145, 150, 309 
Gibbon, 111-131 
Giustiniani \Justiniani\ 
Golden Horn, 262 
Gotthard, St., 222 
Gran, 180 
Graviere, Jurien de la, 139, 169, 

Greek War, 345-9 
Guards, 28 
Gulhane, 352 
Gurko, 361 


Hafiz, 218 
Ilajji Khalifa, 321 
Hamid, 8, 41 
Hammer, Von, 16, 208 
Hatti-SherTf, 352 
Hatti-IIumayun, 359 
Haydar, 43 
Hermannstadt, 88 
Herzegovina, 360 
Hiong Nu, 3 
Hippodrome, 130 
Hulagu, 154 
Hungary, 179 
Hunkiar Iskelesi, 349 
Hunyady, 87-98 

Tbn-Kemal, 311 
Ibrahim, 173, 187, 319 
Iconium, 8 
Igor, 245, 250 
Ikbal, 292 
Inkerman, 357 
Innocent VIII., 146-9 
Irene, St., 269 
Isa, 79 
Isladi, 89 

Ismail, Shah, 153-8 
Istambol, 262 
Itburuni, 13 
Ivan the Great, 249 
Ivan the Terrible, 251 
Izzet Molla, 322 

Jami, 102 

Janissary, 27, 76, 344 

Jariya, 291 

J assy [ Yassy\ 

Jean de Vienne, 55 

Jelayirs, 154 

Jem, Prince, 141 -1 50 

John of Austria, Don, 209 

Joseph of Austria, 255 

Jouan-Jouan, 4 

Julian, Card., 88, 90, 91, 95 

Justiniani, 1 14-123 


Kadi, 335 

Kadin, 291 

Kafes, 275 

Kaimmakam, 330 

Kait Bey, 160 

Kansu El-Ghurl, 160 

Kapudan Pasha, 335-6 

Kapuji, 269 

Karaja, 92 

Karaja Hisar, 15 

Karaman, 19, 50, 80, 142 

Kara Mustafa, 226, 236 

Karasi, 25 

Karatova, 49 

Kasida, 315 

Kasim, 83 

Kay-Kubad, 8 

Kaynarji, 254 

Kazan, 249, 251 

KazI-ul-Asker, 334 

Kemal Bey, 323 

Kemal-Pasha-Zada Ahmed, 31 1 

Keresztes, 213 

Kermiyan, 40 

Khalifate, 162-3 

Khasseki, 283-4 

Khasseki Sultan, 291 

Khazar, 245 

Kherson, 255 

Khey Bey, 162 

Kheyr-ed-din [Barbarossd] 

Khiva or Khuwarezm, Shahs of, 

Khoja-i-jihan, 102 
Khojas, 328 



Khurrcm, 195 

Kiev, 245 ff. 

Kizlar Aghasi, 288 

Knolles, 44, 46, 49, 69-72, 87, 

96-7, 294 flf. 
Koprilis, 221-240 
Korkud, 153 
Kosovo, 43, 96 
Kossuth, 354 
Krim (Crimea), 136, 249, 251, 

Kurdistan, 158 
Kurt Bay, 162 
Kyahya Bey, 327 


Lala Mustafa, 209 

Lala Shahin, 36 

Lazarus of Serbia, 43 

Lebanon, 359 

Lemberg, 225 

Lepanto, 140, 209 

Leyla, 322 

Liegnitz, 247 

Liva, 330-1 

Loredano, 80, 136 

Lorraine, Charles of, 227, 234 

Louis L of Hungary, 36 

Louis n. of Hungary, 179 

Louis XIV., 226 

Louis Napoleon, 355 

Louis, St., 159 


Magnesia, 96, 174 

Mahmud H., 27, 292-3, 321, 333, 

Mahmud Pasha, 102 
Mahomet [Afo/iummed] 
Mai Khatun, 13-15 
Malakov, 358 
Malta, 196 

Mamluks, 2, 6, 64, 65, 1 58-162 
Mansura, 159 

Manuel Palaeologus, 63, 86 
Maritza, 36 
Mariupol, 247 
Marj Dabik, 161 
Matthias Corvinus, 133, 146 

Mekka, 208 

Meslhi, 311 

Mihri, 310 

Mikhal Oglu, 180 

Milosh Kobilovich, 44, 46 

Modon, 140 

Mohacs, 179, 239 

Mohammed I., 74-84, 108 

Mohammed IL, 90, loi, 139, 

262, 310 
Mohammed IH., 213 
Mohammed IV., 237 
Mohammed All, 343-350 
Mohammed the Prophet, 37$ 
Mongols, 2-10 
Montecuculi, 222 
Moors in Spain, 209 
Morosini 225, 239 
Morsiney, Elizabeth, 87 
Moscow, 246 ff. 
Muezzin-zada, 209 
Mufettish, 335 
Mukhtar, 362 
Murad I., 16, 35-46, 329 
Murad II., 85-97 
Murad HI., 213 
Murad IV., 217-20 
Murad V., 360 
Musa, 79 
Mushavaras, 335 
Mustafa, 85, 195 
Mustafa II., 240 
Mustafa, Lala, 209 
Mutasarrif, 330 
Myrche of Wallachia, 50-I 
Mysia, 25 


NabT, 318 

Na'Ima, 320 

Nasmyth, 356 

Navarino, 346 

Nedlm, 318-20 

Nefi, 315-18 

Negropont, 136 

NejatI, 310 

Nenuphar, 16 

Neva, 244, 248 

Nevayi, Mir All Shir, 309 

Nevers, Count of, 51, 57 



Nicaea, 9, 19, 20, 25 

Nice, 145 

Nicholas, 253 

Nicomedia, 23, 25 
i Nicopolis, 43, 52 flf. 

i Nishanji Pashi, 328 

'< Nissa, 40 
I Northmen, 245 
^ Novgorod, 244 ff. 

I ° 

i Ochakov, 256 
I Ofen, 180 

I Oleg, 250 

tOlga, 245 
Orkhan, 15, 23, 25, 35 
Orsova, 52 
I Orta Kapu, 270 

I Ortakoy, 265 

Othman I., 13-24 
Othmanli, 13 
Othman Pasha, 361 
I Otho, 349 

I Otranto, 139 

I Ottomans, 7, 13 

Paget, Lord, 241 
Palaeologus, John, 34 
Paris, Treaty of, 358 
Parkany, 239 
Parma, Prince of, 209 
Parthenon, 239 
Passarowitz, 241 
Patras, 140 
Pelekanon, 25 
Peloponnesus, 60 
Pera, 262, 265 
Pergamon, 25 
Persia, 217 
Pesth, 179, 180 
Peter 11. , 253 
Peter the Great, 252-3 
Philippopolis, 35 
Piali, 196 
Piave, 135 
Piyade, 27 
Plevna, 361 
Podolia, 225 

Poniatovski, 254 
Porte, Sublime, 269 
Princes Isles, 261 
Pruth, 253 
Pultowa, 253 


Raab, 180 

Raghib P., 318 

Raglan, Lord, 356-8 

Ragusa, 35 

Reforms, 342, 352 

Reis Efendi, 327 

Reshid Pasha, 323, 352 

Reydaniya, i6i 

Rhodes, 136, 170 

Rhodes, Knights of, 141 ff., 170 

Roe, Sir T., 214 

Romanus, Tower of St., 114 

Roxelana, 195 

Rumania, 359, 364 

Rumiantzov, 254 

Rumili Hisar, 108 

Rurik, 245 

Rus, 245 

Sabri, 315 

Sackmen, 180 

Sa'di, 311 

Sa'd-ud-din, 108-II, 124, 131-3, 

304, 320 
Safia, 213 
Saib, 318 

St. Sophia, 126-131 
Sakariya, 9, 10 
Saladin, 159 
Salih, Es-, 159 
Salm, Count of, 187 
Sami, 318 
Sangarius, 9 
Sanjak, 330 
Sanjak-i-Sherif, 275 
Saru-Khan, 19, 33 
Sassenage, 145 
Saveji, 49 
Schiklberger, 57 
Schimmer, 183, 187, 188 
Schonbrunn, 258 



Sebaste, 65 

Sefevis, 154 

Sej, 303 

Sellm I., 152-164, 310-II 

Sellm II., 208, 210, 213 

Seljuk, 2, 8, 16, 50, 86 

Semendria, 49 

Sepoy, 31 

Seraglio, 268-301 

Seraglio Point, 262, 268 

Seray, 248, 249, 267 

Serbs' rout, 39 

Sevastopol, 356-8 

Seymour, Sir G. H., 253 

Shagirds, 291 

Shejer-ed-durr, 159 

Sherif, 334 

Sheykh Ghalib, 321 

Sheykhl, 304 

Sheykh-ul- Islam, 333-4 

Sheykh-zada, 305 

Shinasi, 323 

Shinitza, 43 

Shipka Pass, 362 

Shi as, 154 

Sigismund, 51, 55, 56, 2^7 

Silahdar Agha, 285 

Silistria, 254, 356 . 

Sinan, 208 

Sinan Pasha, 157, 161, 309 

Sinope, 136, 356 

Sipahis, 31, 218, ZiZ 

Sisvan, 42, 51 

Siwas, 65 

Skanderbeg, 133-5 

Skutari, 32, 33 

Slankamen, 240 

Slaves, 33 

Sobieski, 225, 227 

SokoUi, 208, 251 

Soliman {Suleymari] 

Spires, Diet of, 183 

Stahremberg, 228-236 

Stambol, 260 ff. 

Stefano, 261, 362 

Stephen of Serbia, 49, 56, 69, 

Stratford de Redcliffe, Lord, 355 

Sugut, 9, 13 
Suleyman Pasha, 34, 35 

Suleyman, Prince, 79, 83 
Suleyman the Magnificent, 165- 

Sultanoni, 10, 16 
Sultans, table of, xix. 
Suvorov, 256 
Svatoslav, 250 
Syria, 161 

Szegedin, Treaty of, 89, 90 
Szigetvar, 192 

Tamerlane [Tinmr\ 
Tartars, 247 ff. 
Tebriz, 156, 157, 217 
Terjuman, 328 
Theodora, 33 
Therapia, 265 
Thessalonica, 86 
Tilsit, 257-8 
Timariote, 333 
Timur, 63-73 
Tirnova, 42, 238 
Topji Bashi, 330 
Torghud, 196 
Towers, Seven, 261, 336 
Treasury, 274 
Trebizond, 136 
Tugh, 331-2, 337 
Tughra, 36, 328-30 
Tuman Bey, 16 1-2 
Turk, 3-8 
Turkoman, 6, 154 
Tvark, 43 
Tzympe, 34 


Uighur, 4 
Ukraine, 225 
Ulema, 333 
Uluj Ali, 209-210 
Urquhart, 239 
Uskub, 49 
Usta, 291 

Vambery, 88, 98, 179 
Varangian, 245 



Varna, 91-5 

Vasag, 88 

Vascapu, 88 

Venetian, 210, 225, 239 

Venice, 33, 34, 80, 135, 170, 208 

Vezir, 26, 336 

Vidin, 49, 52 

Vienna, 184, 228-237 

Vilayet, 330 

Vlad, 133 

Vladimir, 246 ff. 

Vladislaus V., 88, 92, 95, 96 

Volga, 244 

Volkhov, 244, 245 

Vuk Brankovich, 43 


Wagram, 258 

Wall, 330 

Wallachia, White Knight of, 87 

Wasif, 322 

Ya'kub, 43, 46 
Ya-iiboli, 238 
Yassy, 256 
Yazigi-oghlu, 305 
Yenikale, 252 
Yenishehr, 15, 19 
Yildiz Koshki, 266 
Yildirim, 43 

Zapolya, 179 
Zati, 31Q 
Zenta, 241 
Zeyneb, 310 
Zimiskes, 250 
Ziyamet, 333 
Zizim [yem] 
Zrinyi, 192, 195 


[80, 192 

Ubc Stori^ of the IRationa 

Messrs. G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS take pleasure in 
announcing that they Jiave in course of publication, in 
co-operation with Mr. T. Fisher Unwin, of London, a 
series of historical studies, intended to present in a 
graphic manner the stories of the different nations that 
have attained prominence in history. 

In the story form the current of each national life is 
distinctly indicated, and its picturesque and noteworthy 
periods and episodes are presented for the reader in their 
philosophical relation to each other as well as to universal 

It is the plan of the writers of the different volumes to 
enter into the real life of the peoples, and to bring them 
before the reader as they actually lived, labored, and 
struggled — as they studied and wrote, and as they amused 
themselves. In carrying out this plan, the myths, with 
which the history of all lands begins, will not be over- 
looked, though these will be carefully distinguished from 
the actual history, so far as the labors of the accepted 
historical authorities have resulted in definite conclusions. 

The subjects of the different volumes have been planned 
to cover connecting and, as far as possible, consecutive 
epochs or periods, so that the set when completed will 
present in a comprehensive narrative the chief events in 

the great STORY OF THE NATIONS ; but it is, of course, 
not always practicable to issue the several volumes in 
their chronological order. 

The *'Sto*-ies" are printed in good readable type, and 
in handsome i2mo form. They are adequately illustrated 
and furnished with maps and indexes. Price, per vol., 
cloth, $1.50. Half morocco, gilt top, $1.75. 

The following are now ready (Feb., 1897) : 

GREECE. Prof. Jas. A. Harri- 

ROME. ArthurCilman. 

THE JEWS. Prof. James K.Hos- 

CHALDEA. Z.A. Ragozin. 

GERMANY. S. Baring-Gould. 

NORWAY. Hjalmar H. Boye- 

SPAIN. Rev. E. E. and Susan 

HUNGARY. Prof. A. Vambery. 

CARTHAGE. Prof. Alfred J. 

THE SARACENS. Arthur Gil- 

ley Lane-Poole. 

THE NORMANS. Sarah Orne 

PERSIA. S. G. W. Benjamin. 


J. P. Mahaffy. 

ASSYRIA. Z. A. Ragozin. 

THE GOTHS. Henry Bradley. 

IRELAND. Hon. Emily Lawless. 

TURKEY. Stanley Lane-Poole. 

SIA. Z. Ai Ragozin. 

Gustave Masson. 

HOLLAND. Prof. J. Thorold 

MEXICO. Susan Hale. 

PHSNICIA. Geo. Rawlinson 


EARLY BRITAIN. Prof. Alfred 

J. Church. 

Stanley Lane-Poole. 
RUSSIA. W. R. Morfill. 

D. Morrison. 
SCOTLAND. John Mackintosh. 
SWITZERLAND. R. Stead and 

Mrs. A. Hug. 
PORTUGAL. H. Morse Stevens. 

W. C. Oman. 
SICILY. E. A. Freeman. 

Bella Duffy. 
POLAND. W. R. 'Morfill. 
PARTHIA. Geo. Rawlinson. 
JAPAN. David Murray. 

OF SPAIN. H.E. Watts. 
AUSTRALASIA. Greville Tre- 


VENICE. AletheaWiel. 

and C. L. Kingsford. 
VEDIC INDIA. Z. A. Ragozin. 
BOHEMIA. C.E.Maurice. 
CANADA. J.G. Bourinot. 
liam Miller. 





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on the date to which renewed. 

Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 





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University of California