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IN the fourteenth century the Turks

were proceeding by degrees to encroach on the frontiers of the Greek empire. The sultan Othman had fixed the seat of his government at

Byasa, in Bithynia, and his son Orchan extended his sovereignty to the Propontis, and obtained in marriage the daughter of the emperor John Cantacuzenos. About the middle of the century, the Turks, encouraged by dissensions in the Grecian court, crossed over into Europe, and took Adrianople. The emperor John Palæologus, after meanly soliciting aid from the pope, concluded a humiliating treaty with Sultan Amurat, the successor of Orchan; and having put out the eyes of his eldest son, gave his second as a hostage to serve in the Turkish army.

Bajazet, the son and successor of Amurat, compelled the emperor to destroy his fort of Galata, and to admit a Turkish judge into the city. He prepared now to besiege Constantinople in force, when he was forced to change his purpose, and defend himself against the victorious Tamerlane.

Timur-bek or Tamerlane, a prince of the Usbek Tartars, and descended from Genghis Khan, after the conquest of Persia, and a great part of India and Syria, was invited by the Asiatic princes, enemies of Bajazet, to protect them against the Ottoman power, which threatened to overwhelm them. Tamerlane, flattered by this request, imperiously summoned the Turk to renounce his conquests; a message answered with a proud defiance. The armies met near Angoria (Ancyra), in Phrygia, and Bajazet was totally defeated, and made prisoner by Tamerlane, 1402. The conqueror made Samarcand the capital of his empire, and there received the homage

of all the princes of the East, from Manuel, the Greek emperor, and from Henry III. of Castile, who sent ambassadors to him. Illiterate himself, he was solicitous for the cultivation of literature and science in his dominions; and Samarcand became for a while the seat of learning, politeness, and the arts, but was destined to relapse, after a short period, into its ancient barbarism.

The Turks, after the death of Tamerlane, in 1406, at a very advanced age, resumed their purpose of destroying the empire of the East. Amurat II., grandson of Bajazet, a prince of a singular character, had, on the faith of a solemn treaty with the king of Poland, devoted his days to retirement and study. A violation of the treaty, by an attack from the Poles on his dominions, made him quit his solitude. He engaged and cut to pieces the Polish army, with their perfidious sovereign, and then calmly returned to his retreat, till a similar crisis of pụblic expediency once more brought him into active life. He resigned his dominions to his son Mahomet II., surnamed the Great, who resumed the project for the destruction of Constantinople; but its fall was a second time retarded by the necessity in which the Turks were unexpectedly placed, of defending their own dominions against a powerful invader.

Scanderbeg (John Castriot), prince of Albania, whose territories had been seized by Amurat II., was educated by the sultan as his own child, and when of age, intrusted with the command of an army, which he employed in wresting from Amurat this paternal kingdom, 1443. By great talents and military skill, he maintained his independent sovereignty against the whole force of the Turkish empire.

Mahomet II., son of the philosophic Amurat,

GOVERNMENT AND POLICY OF THE TURKS. whom he succeeded, 1451, a youth of twenty-one years of age, and rare endowments, though traduced The government established by the Turks, havby monkish writers, resumed the plan of extinguish- ing for its centre the old capital of the Eastern ing the empire of the Greeks, and making Constan- empire, was an absolute monarchy, the whole legistinople the capital of the Ottoman power. Its in- lative and executive authority of the state centering dolent inhabitants made but feeble preparation for in the sultan, whose power was subject to no constidefence, and the powers of Europe looked on with tutional control. It was, however, limited in some the most supine indifference. The Turks assailed the degree by religious opinions; the precepts of the city both on the land side and on that of the sea; and, Koran inculcating certain duties in the sovereign, battering down its walls with their cannon, entered which it might have been dangerous to transgress. sword in hand, and massacred all who opposed them. It was yet more strongly limited by the fear of deThe emperor Constantine was slain; the city, after thronement and assassination. The spirit of the a siege of forty-nine days, surrendered; and thus people was fitted for a subjection bordering on slavwas finally extinguished the Eastern empire of the

ery. Concubinage being agreeable to the law of Romans, 1453, which, from the building of its cap- Mahomet, the grand seignior, the viziers, have been ital by Constantine the Great, had subsisted 1,123 the children of female slaves; and it may be said years. The imperial edifices were preserved from that there has scarcely been a subject of the emdestruction, the churches converted into mosques; pire of ingenuous blood 'by both parents. It has but the exercise of their religion was allowed to all been a fundamental maxim of the Turkish policy, the Christians. From that time the Greek Chris- that all the officers of the state should be such as tians have chosen their own patriarch, who has been the sultan could entirely command, and at any time installed by the sultan. Mahomet the Great, lib- destroy, without danger to himself. The grand erally patronized the arts and sciences; and to com- vizier was intrusted with the whole functions of the pensate for the migration of those learned Greeks, government, and of course subjected to the sole rewho, on the fall of the empire, spread themselves sponsibility for all public measures. Subordinate to over the countries of Europe, invited both artists him were six viziers of the bench, who were his and men of letters to his capital from other king- council and assessors in cases of law, of which he doms.

was supreme judge. The power of the grand vizier The taking of Constantinople was followed by the was absolute over all the subjects of the empire; but conquest of Greece and Epirus; and Italy might he could not put to death a baglerbeg or a bashaw probably have met with a similar fate, but for the without the imperial signature; nor punish a janifleet of the Venetians, who opposed the arms of zary, unless through the medium of his military Mahomet with considerable success, and even at- commander. The baglerbegs were the governors of tacked him in Greece; but the contending powers several provinces, the bashaws of a single province. soon after put an end to hostilities by a treaty. All dignities in the Turkish empire were personal, Mahomet the Great died at the age of fifty-one, in and dependant on the sovereign's pleasure. 1481, leaving his newly acquired empire to the sway The revenues of the grand seignior have arisen of his son Bajazet II., a mild and comparatively from the taxes and customs laid on the subject, anpacific prince, but who yet began that contest with nual tributes paid by the Tartars, stated gifts from the sovereign of Egypt, which in the reign of Se- the governors of the provinces, and, above all, the lim, his successor, terminated in the subjugation of confiscation of estates, from the viziers and bashaws that country, 1517.

down to the lowest subjects of the empire.

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Northern Italy the two republics of Venice and Genoa, especially during the crusades, attained a prosperity rivalling that of ancient Greece. The Venetians made conquests in

the islands of Candia, Cyprus, etc., and in the coast countries, that they might obtain convenient marts, harbors, and emporiums; and in Dalmatia, Greece, the Archipelago, and Constantinople.

The trade of the Levant brought wealth and power to the splendid city of waters, which had arisen from the union of several islands connected by bridges and artificial banks. Splendid churches, palaces, and bridges made Venice a wonder of the world. The original democratic constitution was transformed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries into an hereditary aristocratic government, from which a despotic oligarchy was finally developed. At the head of the state was the Doge, and with him six senators, but the whole power rested in the hands of the great council, which consisted entirely of the representatives of certain noble families. The attempt of the Doge Marino Faliero to overthrow the arrogant aristocracy by a conspiracy with the common people ended in his own fall and condemnation to death. After the restoration of the Byzantine throne, 1261, Venice was coerced to give up part of her Levantine trade to the rival state of Genoa, and after a century's struggle for supremacy in the Black Seas, Venice asserted her mastership. Venice, however, had a redoubtable rival in Genoa. Her superb palaces, trading-ships, and fleets of war bore witness to the wealth of the town, and the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants.

In 1339 a Doge superseded the Podesta, and twelve counsellors were elected to assist and sustain him.

The republican constitution of Milan ended when the family of Visconti obtained the sovereignty of Lombardy. Party conflicts led to the murder of Filippo Maria, the last of the Visconti race, when the Milanese made over the dukedom to the brave soldier Francis Sforza, 1450. The disputes in

. the Sforza family paved the way for conquest of the country by Louis XII. of France. He made prisoner of the duke, and for ten years confined him in an underground prison. In 1512, however, the French succumbed to the united forces of the Italians and Swiss, Milan was wrested from them, and Maximilian Sforza, son of the incarcerated Louis, was installed in the dukedom.

At the battle of Novara, 1513, the French forces were defeated, but after the demise of Louis XII. his successor, Francis I., crossed the Alps with a magnificent army, and defeated the Swiss, 1515, at the battle of Marignano. The outcome of this success was the recognition of the supremacy of the French king by both Milan and Genoa. The dukes of Savoy, who owned the northwestern states of Northern Italy, gradually extended their territory over the southern part of Switzerland as far as the Jura, and also held in their possession Piedmont, with Turin, the dukedom of Nice, and other territories. Amadeus added to the renown of his house by warlike exploits in France and Italy. His grandson, also Amadeus, ended his career as a hermit, after having been declared pope by the Council of Basle. The possessions of Savoy in course of time gradually melted away; Waadtland went in the Burgundian war; Geneva found libera

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tion in the wars of the Reformation, and Duke Charles III. paid forfeit with the greatest portion of his hereditary estates.

Medicis soon returned after this event; but it was not till 1530 that republicanism was completely set aside, and the cruel Alexander of Medicis was appointed duke of the humiliated republic of Tuscany, and henceforward the family of Medicis retained possession of the government.


THE STATE OF THE CHURCH. The feuds between the Guelphs (Orsini) and Ghibellines (Colonna) at last roused the ardent and enthusiastic Cola di Rienzi, who resolved upon attempting the restriction of the republican constitution. Thoroughly aflame the Romans established a Republic of Rome, 1347, and created Rienzi Tribune. Later on he lost the favor of the people and was compelled to fly, and he was eventually put to death. Rienzi was the last of the tribunes, and the close friend of the famous poet Petrarch. The former disturbances having been renewed, were continued with, if possible, increased acrimony and vigor, and culminated during the pontificate of Alexander VI., 1492–1503, of the Spanish house of Borgia, which has earned a ghastly record for its crimes and its wickedness, two members standing forth in lurid distinction, Cæsar Borgia, and his sister, the beauteous Lucrezia.

Florence, when Pisa became weakened by internal dissension consequent upon her rivalry with Genoa, reduced the city of the leaning tower to subjection.

After the establishment of a democratic government, which continued in spite of popular disturbances for many years, the family of Medicis, who were distinguished for their wealth and talents, succeeded in winning general popularity; and Cosmo, son of Giovanni de Medicis, obtained in 1428 the chief government of the Florentine State. His grandson, Lorenzo the Magnificent, assumed the reins of power in 1472, and having escaped the snares of a conspiracy of the Pazzi, obtained such influence with the citizens, that the government was placed entirely in the hands of the adherents of his house, who controlled the public business according to his pleasure. He raised the power and influence of his family to such an extent that the government of Florence was secured to his descendant. The most illustrious popes were members of his family, and two French kings, Henry II. and Henry IV., married daughters of the house.

After Lorenzo's death, in 1492, the eloquent preaching of the Dominican Girolamo Savonarola, who insisted on the restoration of republican liberty, and the purification of the church, produced such a tumult that the Florentines expelled the Medicis, and re-established a moderate democracy. They celebrated the carnival by burning every object of art and luxury, and an immense pyramid was formed of immoral books, images, and poems, which was set on fire. Savonarola was now supreme in the Florentine State, which had formerly been the centre of culture and sensual pleasure. Pope Alexander VI., however, pronounced the sentence of excommunication against him; and with the assistance of the clergy, succeeded in bringing about his overthrow. Savonarola's prophecies were declared to be deceptions; the monastery of St. Mark was stormed, and he was flung into prison with two of his most devoted followers. After a trial in which recourse was had to torture, the monk was condemned to death, and was crucified with his two companions; their bodies were then cast into the flames. The


Naples, up to the middle of the fourteenth century, was governed by Charles of Anjou. During the reign of Johanna I., 1343-1382, the kingdom was in a condition of utter lawlessness. Andrew of Hungary, her husband, having been murdered, his brother Louis the Great of Hungary, suspecting the widow of complicity for several years, waged a fierce war of revenge. The queen, with her second hus. band, Louis of Tarentum, were, later on, taken prisoner by Charles III. and executed. Ladislaus, the son of Charles III., succeeded to the throne after the assassination of his father in Hungary, and acquired by conquest much of Tuscany, and the states of the church. His sister Johanna II. succeeded him in 1414. She first adopted Alphonso of Aragon, and then Louis III. of Anjou was her co-regent, which led to violent struggles between the French and Aragonians for the possession of Naples. Charles VIII. of France resolved to profit by the occasion, and attempted the conquest of the country. An alliance, however, formed between

Louis the Moor and the Venetians drove back the France and Spain now came to war, on account French. The Duke de Montpensier had been ap- of the contentions between Ferdinand and Louis. pointed viceroy of Naples by the French king; but he Cordova commanded the Spanish, the Duke de Nefound himself compelled to submit to King Ferdi- mours the French, forces. At the battle of Cerignand of Aragon and his brave general Gonzalvo of nola (1503) 3,000 French soldiers were left dead Cordova, and finally surrendered the conquered upon the field, and the star of France waned. kingdom. Ferdinand, however, died soon after ob- With the exception of Gaeta and Venesa the whole taining possession of the crown of Naples, and was kingdom recognized the supremacy of Aragon. succeeded by his uncle Federigo, in 1496. Not France resolved upon a fresh attempt at reconquerlong afterwards King Charles VIII. also passed ing the lost, possessions. It was in this campaign that away, and as he left no issue, the crown of France the celebrated Chevalier Bayard, "sans peur et sans passed to his nearest kinsman, the Duke of Orleans, reproche" (without fear, and without reproach), who was proclaimed King Louis XII. Scarcely performed prodigies of valor, especially by his hehad King Louis made himself master of Milan, roic defence of the bridge over the Garigliano. An when he began preparations for the conquest of energetic attack upon the French forces, December Naples. He formed an alliance for this purpose 1503, drove them back into the fortress of Gaeta. with Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, but their A capitulation followed, and soon afterwards the contentions soon resulted in a dissolution of the capital of Naples rendered homage to King Ferditreaty. The French army, under the command of nand. In connection with Sicily, the kingdom the Marshal d'Aubigné, spread universal terror and formed one of the most beautiful possessions of the dismay. Federigo surrendered, and was taken in Spanish-Austrian house. It was ruled by viceroys, 1501 to France. With him ended the dominion of and for two hundred years remained subject to the the Aragon branch of the royal line in Naples. crown of Spain.

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