Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER LVII - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
CHAPTER LVII - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 10.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Turks of the House of Seljuk — Their Revolt against Mahmud, Conqueror of Hindostan — Togrul subdues Persia, and protects the Caliphs — Defeat and Captivity of the Emperor Romanus Diogenes by Alp Arslan — Power and Magnificence of Malek Shah — Conquest of Asia Minor and Syria — State and Oppression of Jerusalem — Pilgrimages to the Holy Sepulchre
From the isle of Sicily the reader must transport himself beyond the Caspian Sea, to the original seat of the Turks or Turkmans, against whom the first crusade was principally directed. Their Scythian empire of the sixth century was long since dissolved; but the name was still famous among the Greeks and Orientals; and the fragments of the nation, each a powerful and independent people, were scattered over the desert from China to the Oxus and the Danube: the colony of Hungarians was admitted into the republic of Europe, and the thrones of Asia were occupied by slaves and soldiers of Turkish extraction. While Apulia and Sicily were subdued by the Norman lance, a swarm of these Northern shepherds overspread the kingdoms of Persia: their princes of the race of Seljuk erected a splendid and solid empire from Samarcand to the confines of Greece and Egypt; and the Turks have maintained their dominion in Asia Minor till the victorious crescent has been planted on the dome of St. Sophia.
One of the greatest of the Turkish princes was Mamood or Mahmud,1 the Gaznevide, who reigned in the eastern provinces of Persia one thousand years after the birth of Christ. His father Sebectagi was the slave of the slave of the slave of the commander of the faithful. But in this descent of servitude, the first degree was merely titular, since it was filled by the sovereign of Transoxiana and Chorasan, who still paid a nominal allegiance to the caliph of Bagdad. The second rank was that of a minister of state, a lieutenant of the Samanides,2 who broke, by his revolt, the bonds of political slavery. But the third step was a state of real and domestic servitude in the family of that rebel; from which Sebectagi, by his courage and dexterity, ascended to the supreme command of the city and province of Gazna,3 as the son-in-law and successor of his grateful master. The falling dynasty of the Samanides was at first protected, and at last overthrown, by their servants; and, in the public disorders, the fortune of Mahmud continually increased. For him, the title of sultan4 was first invented; and his kingdom was enlarged from Transoxiana to the neighbourhood of Ispahan, from the shores of the Caspian to the mouth of the Indus. But the principal source of his fame and riches was the holy war which he waged against the Gentoos of Hindostan. In this foreign narrative I may not consume a page; and a volume would scarcely suffice to recapitulate the battles and sieges of his twelve expeditions. Never was the Musulman hero dismayed by the inclemency of the seasons, the height of the mountains, the breadth of the rivers, the barrenness of the desert, the multitudes of the enemy, or the formidable array of their elephants of war.5 The sultan of Gazna surpassed the limits of the conquests of Alexander; after a march of three months, over the hills of Cashmir and Thibet, he reached the famous city of Kinnoge,6 on the Upper Ganges; and, in a naval combat on one of the branches of the Indus, he fought and vanquished four thousand boats of the natives. Delhi, Lahor, and Multan were compelled to open their gates; the fertile kingdom of Guzarat attracted his ambition and tempted his stay; and his avarice indulged the fruitless project of discovering the golden and aromatic isles of the Southern ocean. On the payment of a tribute, the rajahs preserved their dominions; the people, their lives and fortunes; but to the religion of Hindostan the zealous Musulman was cruel and inexorable; many hundred temples, or pagodas, were levelled with the ground; many thousand idols were demolished; and the servants of the prophet were stimulated and rewarded by the precious materials of which they were composed. The pagoda of Sumnat was situated on the promontory of Guzarat, in the neighbourhood of Diu, one of the last remaining possessions of the Portuguese.7 It was endowed with the revenue of two thousand villages; two thousand Brahmins were consecrated to the service of the deity, whom they washed each morning and evening in water from the distant Ganges: the subordinate ministers consisted of three hundred musicians, three hundred barbers, and five hundred dancing girls, conspicuous for their birth and beauty. Three sides of the temple were protected by the ocean, the narrow isthmus was fortified by a natural or artificial precipice; and the city and adjacent country were peopled by a nation of fanatics. They confessed the sins and the punishment of Kinnoge and Delhi; but, if the impious stranger should presume to approach their holy precincts, he would surely be overwhelmed by a blast of the divine vengeance. By this challenge the faith of Mahmud was animated to a personal trial of the strength of this Indian deity. Fifty thousand of his worshippers were pierced by the spear of the Moslems: the walls were scaled; the sanctuary was profaned; and the conqueror aimed a blow of his iron mace at the head of the idol. The trembling Brahmins are said to have offered ten millions sterling8 for his ransom; and it was urged by the wisest counsellors that the destruction of a stone image would not change the hearts of the Gentoos, and that such a sum might be dedicated to the relief of the true believers. “Your reasons,” replied the sultan, “are specious and strong; but never in the eyes of posterity shall Mahmud appear as a merchant of idols.” He repeated his blows, and a treasure of pearls and rubies, concealed in the belly of the statue, explained in some degree the devout prodigality of the Brahmins. The fragments of the idol were distributed to Gazna, Mecca, and Medina. Bagdad listened to the edifying tale; and Mahmud was saluted by the caliph with the title of guardian of the fortune and faith of Mahomet.
From the paths of blood, and such is the history of nations, I cannot refuse to turn aside to gather some flowers of science or virtue. The name of Mahmud the Gaznevide is still venerable in the East: his subjects enjoyed the blessings of prosperity and peace; his vices were concealed by the veil of religion; and two familiar examples will testify his justice and magnanimity. I. As he sat in the Divan, an unhappy subject bowed before the throne to accuse the insolence of a Turkish soldier who had driven him from his house and bed. “Suspend your clamours,” said Mahmud, “inform me of his next visit, and ourself in person will judge and punish the offender.” The sultan followed his guide, invested the house with his guards, and, extinguishing the torches, pronounced the death of the criminal, who had been seized in the act of rapine and adultery. After the execution of his sentence, the lights were rekindled, Mahmud fell prostrate in prayer, and, rising from the ground, demanded some homely fare, which he devoured with the voraciousness of hunger. The poor man, whose injury he had avenged, was unable to suppress his astonishment and curiosity; and the courteous monarch condescended to explain the motives of this singular behaviour. “I had reason to suspect that none except one of my sons could dare to perpetrate such an outrage; and I extinguished the lights, that my justice might be blind and inexorable. My prayer was a thanksgiving on the discovery of the offender; and so painful was my anxiety that I had passed three days without food since the first moment of your complaint.” II. The sultan of Gazna had declared war against the dynasty of the Bowides, the sovereigns of the western Persia; he was disarmed by an epistle of the sultana mother, and delayed his invasion till the manhood of her son.9 “During the life of my husband,” said the artful regent, “I was ever apprehensive of your ambition; he was a prince and a soldier worthy of your arms. He is now no more; his sceptre has passed to a woman and a child, and you dare not attack their infancy and weakness. How inglorious would be your conquest, how shameful your defeat! and yet the event of war is in the hand of the Almighty.” Avarice was the only defect that tarnished the illustrious character of Mahmud; and never has that passion been more richly satisfied. The Orientals exceed the measure of credibility in the account of millions of gold and silver, such as the avidity of man has never accumulated; in the magnitude of pearls, diamonds, and rubies, such as have never been produced by the workmanship of nature.10 Yet the soil of Hindostan is impregnated with precious minerals; her trade, in every age, has attracted the gold and silver of the world; and her virgin spoils were rifled by the first of the Mahometan conquerors. His behaviour, in the last days of his life, evinces the vanity of these possessions, so laboriously won, so dangerously held, and so inevitably lost. He surveyed the vast and various chambers of the treasury of Gazna; burst into tears; and again closed the doors, without bestowing any portion of the wealth which he could no longer hope to preserve. The following day he reviewed the state of his military force: one hundred thousand foot, fifty-five thousand horse, and thirteen hundred elephants of battle.11 He again wept the instability of human greatness; and his grief was embittered by the hostile progress of the Turkmans, whom he had introduced into the heart of his Persian kingdom.
In the modern depopulation of Asia, the regular operation of government and agriculture is confined to the neighbourhood of cities; and the distant country is abandoned to the pastoral tribes of Arabs, Curds, and Turkmans.12 Of the last-mentioned people, two considerable branches extend on either side of the Caspian Sea: the western colony can muster forty thousand soldiers; the eastern, less obvious to the traveller, but more strong and populous, has increased to the number of one hundred thousand families. In the midst of civilised nations, they preserve the manners of the Scythian desert, remove their encampments with the change of seasons, and feed their cattle among the ruins of palaces and temples. Their flocks and herds are their only riches; their tents, either black or white, according to the colour of the banner, are covered with felt, and of a circular form; their winter apparel is a sheep-skin; a robe of cloth or cotton their summer garment: the features of the men are harsh and ferocious; the countenance of their women is soft and pleasing. Their wandering life maintains the spirit and exercise of arms; they fight on horseback; and their courage is displayed in frequent contests with each other and with their neighbours. For the licence of pasture they pay a slight tribute to the sovereign of the land; but the domestic jurisdiction is in the hands of the chiefs and elders. The first emigration of the eastern Turkmans, the most ancient of their race, may be ascribed to the tenth century of the Christian era.13 In the decline of the caliphs, and the weakness of their lieutenants, the barrier of the Jaxartes was often violated: in each invasion, after the victory or retreat of their countrymen, some wandering tribe, embracing the Mahometan faith, obtained a free encampment in the spacious plains and pleasant climate of Transoxiana and Carizme. The Turkish slaves who aspired to the throne encouraged these emigrations, which recruited their armies, awed their subjects and rivals, and protected the frontier against the wilder natives of Turkestan; and this policy was abused by Mahmud the Gaznevide beyond the example of former times. He was admonished of his error by a chief of the race of Seljuk, who dwelt in the territory of Bochara. The sultan had inquired what supply of men he could furnish for military service. “If you send,” replied Ismael, “one of these arrows into our camp, fifty thousand of your servants will mount on horseback.” “And if that number,” continued Mahmud, “should not be sufficient?” “Send this second arrow to the horde of Balik, and you will find fifty thousand more.” “But,” said the Gaznevide, dissembling his anxiety, “if I should stand in need of the whole force of your kindred tribes?” “Despatch my bow,” was the last reply of Ismael, “and, as it is circulated around, the summons will be obeyed by two hundred thousand horse.” The apprehension of such formidable friendship induced Mahmud to transport the most obnoxious tribes into the heart of Chorasan, where they would be separated from their brethren by the river Oxus, and enclosed on all sides by the walls of obedient cities. But the face of the country was an object of temptation rather than terror; and the vigour of government was relaxed by the absence and death of the sultan of Gazna. The shepherds were converted into robbers; the bands of robbers were collected into an army of conquerors; as far as Ispahan and the Tigris, Persia was afflicted by their predatory inroads; and the Turkmans were not ashamed or afraid to measure their courage and numbers with the proudest sovereigns of Asia. Massoud, the son and successor of Mahmud, had too long neglected the advice of his wisest Omrahs. “Your enemies,” they repeatedly urged, “were in their origin a swarm of ants; they are now little snakes; and, unless they be instantly crushed, they will acquire the venom and magnitude of serpents.” After some alternatives of truce and hostility, after the repulse or partial success of his lieutenants, the sultan marched in person against the Turkmans, who attacked him on all sides with Barbarous shouts and irregular onset. “Massoud,” says the Persian historian,14 “plunged singly to oppose the torrent of gleaming arms, exhibiting such acts of gigantic force and valour as never king had before displayed. A few of his friends, roused by his words and actions, and that innate honour which inspires the brave, seconded their lord so well that, wheresoever he turned his fatal sword, the enemies were mowed down or retreated before him. But now, when victory seemed to blow on his standard, misfortune was active behind it; for, when he looked round, he beheld almost his whole army, excepting that body he commanded in person, devouring the paths of flight.” The Gaznevide was abandoned by the cowardice or treachery of some generals of Turkish race; and this memorable day of Zendecan15 founded in Persia the dynasty of the shepherd kings.16
The victorious Turkmans immediately proceeded to the election of a king; and, if the probable tale of a Latin historian17 deserves any credit, they determined by lot the choice of their new master. A number of arrows were successively inscribed with the name of a tribe, a family, and a candidate; they were drawn from the bundle by the hand of a child; and the important prize was obtained by Togrul Beg, the son of Michael, the son of Seljuk, whose surname was immortalised in the greatness of his posterity. The sultan Mahmud, who valued himself on his skill in national genealogy, professed his ignorance of the family of Seljuk; yet the father of that race appears to have been a chief of power and renown.18 For a daring intrusion into the harem of his prince, Seljuk was banished from Turkestan; with a numerous tribe of his friends and vassals, he passed the Jaxartes, encamped in the neighbourhood of Samarcand, embraced the religion of Mahomet,19 and acquired the crown of martyrdom in a war against the infidels. His age, of an hundred and seven years, surpassed the life of his son, and Seljuk adopted the care of his two grandsons, Togrul and Jaafar; the eldest of whom, at the age of forty-five, was invested with the title of sultan, in the royal city of Nishabur. The blind determination of chance was justified by the virtues of the successful candidate. It would be superfluous to praise the valour of a Turk; and the ambition of Togrul20 was equal to his valour. By his arms, the Gaznevides were expelled from the eastern kingdoms of Persia, and gradually driven to the banks of the Indus, in search of a softer and more wealthy conquest. In the West he annihilated the dynasty of the Bowides; and the sceptre of Irak passed from the Persian to the Turkish nation. The princes who had felt, or who feared, the Seljukian arrows, bowed their heads in the dust; by the conquest of Aderbijan, or Media, he approached the Roman confines; and the shepherd presumed to despatch an ambassador, or herald, to demand the tribute and obedience of the emperor of Constantinople.21 In his own dominions, Togrul was the father of his soldiers and people; by a firm and equal administration Persia was relieved from the evils of anarchy; and the same hands which had been imbrued in blood became the guardians of justice and the public peace. The more rustic, perhaps the wisest, portion of the Turkmans22 continued to dwell in the tents of their ancestors; and, from the Oxus to the Euphrates, these military colonies were protected and propagated by their native princes. But the Turks of the court and city were refined by business and softened by pleasure; they imitated the dress, language, and manners of Persia; and the royal palaces of Nishabur and Rei displayed the order and magnificence of a great monarchy. The most deserving of the Arabians and Persians were promoted to the honours of the state; and the whole body of the Turkish nation embraced with fervour and sincerity the religion of Mahomet. The Northern swarms of Barbarians, who overspread both Europe and Asia, have been irreconcileably separated by the consequences of a similar conduct. Among the Moslems, as among the Christians, their vague and local traditions have yielded to the reason and authority of the prevailing system, to the fame of antiquity, and the consent of nations. But the triumph of the Koran is more pure and meritorious, as it was not assisted by any visible splendour of worship which might allure the Pagans by some resemblance of idolatry. The first of the Seljukian sultans was conspicuous by his zeal and faith: each day he repeated the five prayers which are enjoined to the true believers; of each week, the two first days were consecrated by an extraordinary fast; and in every city a mosch was completed, before Togrul presumed to lay the foundations of a palace.23
With the belief of the Koran, the son of Seljuk imbibed a lively reverence for the successor of the prophet. But that sublime character was still disputed by the caliphs of Bagdad and Egypt, and each of the rivals was solicitous to prove his title in the judgment of the strong, though illiterate, Barbarians. Mahmud the Gaznevide had declared himself in favour of the line of Abbas; and had treated with indignity the robe of honour which was presented to the Fatimite ambassador. Yet the ungrateful Hashemite had changed with the change of fortune; he applauded the victory of Zendecan, and named the Seljukian sultan his temporal vicegerent over the Moslem world. As Togrul executed and enlarged this important trust, he was called to the deliverance of the caliph Cayem, and obeyed the holy summons, which gave a new kingdom to his arms.24 In the palace of Bagdad, the commander of the faithful still slumbered, a venerable phantom. His servant or master, the prince of the Bowides, could no longer protect him from the insolence of meaner tyrants; and the Euphrates and Tigris were oppressed by the revolt of the Turkish and Arabian emirs. The presence of a conqueror was implored as a blessing; and the transient mischiefs of fire and sword were excused as the sharp but salutary remedies which alone could restore the health of the republic. At the head of an irresistible force, the sultan of Persia marched from Hamadan: the proud were crushed, the prostrate were spared; the prince of the Bowides disappeared; the heads of the most obstinate rebels were laid at the feet of Togrul; and he inflicted a lesson of obedience on the people of Mosul and Bagdad. After the chastisement of the guilty and the restoration of peace, the royal shepherd accepted the reward of his labours; and a solemn comedy represented the triumph of religious prejudice over Barbarian power.25 The Turkish sultan embarked on the Tigris, landed at the gate of Racca, and made his public entry on horseback. At the palace-gate he respectfully dismounted, and walked on foot, preceded by his emirs without arms. The caliph was seated behind his black veil; the black garment of the Abbassides was cast over his shoulders, and he held in his hand the staff of the apostle of God. The conqueror of the East kissed the ground, stood some time in a modest posture, and was led towards the throne by the vizir and an interpreter. After Togrul had seated himself on another throne, his commission was publicly read, which declared him the temporal lieutenant of the vicar of the prophet. He was successively invested with seven robes of honour, and presented with seven slaves, the natives of the seven climates of the Arabian empire. His mystic veil was perfumed with musk; two crowns were placed on his head; two scymetars were girded on his side, as the symbols of a double reign over the East and West. After this inauguration, the sultan was prevented from prostrating himself a second time; but he twice kissed the hand of the commander of the faithful, and his titles were proclaimed by the voice of heralds and the applause of the Moslems.26 In a second visit to Bagdad, the Seljukian prince again rescued the caliph from his enemies; and devoutly, on foot, led the bridle of his mule from the prison to the palace. Their alliance was cemented by the marriage of Togrul’s sister with the successor of the prophet. Without reluctance he had introduced a Turkish virgin into his harem; but Cayem proudly refused his daughter to the sultan, disdained to mingle the blood of the Hashemites with the blood of a Scythian shepherd; and protracted the negotiation many months, till the gradual diminution of his revenue admonished him that he was still in the hands of a master. The royal nuptials were followed by the death of Togrul himself;27 as he left no children, his nephew Alp Arslan succeeded to the title and prerogatives of sultan; and his name, after that of the caliph, was pronounced in the public prayers of the Moslems. Yet in this revolution the Abbassides acquired a larger measure of liberty and power. On the throne of Asia, the Turkish monarchs were less jealous of the domestic administration of Bagdad; and the commanders of the faithful were relieved from the ignominious vexations to which they had been exposed by the presence and poverty of the Persian dynasty.
Since the fall of the caliphs, the discord and degeneracy of the Saracens respected the Asiatic provinces of Rome; which, by the victories of Nicephorus, Zimisces, and Basil, had been extended as far as Antioch and the eastern boundaries of Armenia. Twenty-five years after the death of Basil, his successors were suddenly assaulted by an unknown race of Barbarians, who united the Scythian valour with the fanaticism of new proselytes and the art and riches of a powerful monarchy.28 The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Taurus to Arzeroum, and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet. Yet the arms of Togrul did not make any deep or lasting impression on the Greek empire. The torrent rolled away from the open country; the sultan retired without glory or success from the siege of an Armenian city; the obscure hostilities were continued or suspended with a vicissitude of events; and the bravery of the Macedonian legions renewed the fame of the conqueror of Asia.29 The name of Alp Arslan, the valiant lion, is expressive of the popular idea of the perfection of man; and the successor of Togrul displayed the fierceness and generosity of the royal animal. He passed the Euphrates at the head of the Turkish cavalry, and entered Cæsarea, the metropolis of Cappadocia, to which he had been attracted by the fame and wealth of the temple of St. Basil. The solid structure resisted the destroyer; but he carried away the doors of the shrine incrusted with gold and pearls, and profaned the relics of the tutelar saint, whose mortal frailties were now covered by the venerable rust of antiquity. The final conquest of Armenia and Georgia was achieved by Alp Arslan. In Armenia, the title of a kingdom and the spirit of a nation30 were annihilated; the artificial fortifications were yielded by the mercenaries of Constantinople; by strangers without faith, veterans without pay or arms, and recruits without experience or discipline. The loss of this important frontier was the news of a day; and the Catholics were neither surprised nor displeased that a people so deeply infected with the Nestorian and Eutychian errors had been delivered by Christ and his mother into the hands of the infidels.31 The woods and valleys of Mount Caucasus were more strenuously defended by the native Georgians32 or Iberians: but the Turkish sultan and his son Malek were indefatigable in this holy war; their captives were compelled to promise a spiritual as well as temporal obedience; and, instead of their collars and bracelets, an iron horse-shoe, a badge of ignominy, was imposed on the infidels who still adhered to the worship of their fathers. The change, however, was not sincere or universal; and, through ages of servitude, the Georgians have maintained the succession of their princes and bishops. But a race of men, whom Nature has cast in her most perfect mould, is degraded by poverty, ignorance, and vice; their profession, and still more their practice, of Christianity is an empty name; and, if they have emerged from heresy, it is only because they are too illiterate to remember a metaphysical creed.33
The false or genuine magnanimity of Mahmud the Gaznevide was not imitated by Alp Arslan; and he attacked, without scruple, the Greek empress Eudocia and her children. His alarming progress compelled her to give herself and her sceptre to the hand of a soldier; and Romanus Diogenes was invested with the Imperial purple. His patriotism, and perhaps his pride, urged him from Constantinople within two months after his accession; and the next campaign he most scandalously took the field during the holy festival of Easter. In the palace, Diogenes was no more than the husband of Eudocia; in the camp, he was the emperor of the Romans, and he sustained that character with feeble resources and invincible courage. By his spirit and success, the soldiers were taught to act, the subjects to hope, and the enemies to fear. The Turks had penetrated into the heart of Phrygia; but the sultan himself had resigned to his emirs the prosecution of the war; and their numerous detachments were scattered over Asia in the security of conquest. Laden with spoil and careless of discipline, they were separately surprised and defeated by the Greeks; the activity of the emperor seemed to multiply his presence; and, while they heard of his expedition to Antioch, the enemy felt his sword on the hills of Trebizond. In three laborious campaigns, the Turks were driven beyond the Euphrates;34 in the fourth and last, Romanus undertook the deliverance of Armenia. The desolation of the land obliged him to transport a supply of two months’ provisions; and he marched forwards to the siege of Malazkerd,35 an important fortress in the midway between the modern cities of Arzeroum and Van. His army amounted, at the least, to one hundred thousand men. The troops of Constantinople were reinforced by the disorderly multitudes of Phrygia and Cappadocia; but the real strength was composed of the subjects and allies of Europe, the legions of Macedonia, and the squadrons of Bulgaria; the Uzi, a Moldavian horde, who were themselves of the Turkish race;36 and, above all, the mercenary and adventurous bands of French and Normans. Their lances were commanded by the valiant Ursel of Baliol, the kinsman or father of the Scottish kings,37 and were allowed to excel in the exercise of arms, or, according to the Greek style, in the practice of the Pyrrhic dance.
On the report of this bold invasion, which threatened his hereditary dominions, Alp Arslan flew to the scene of action at the head of forty thousand horse.38 His rapid and skilful evolutions distressed and dismayed the superior numbers of the Greeks; and in the defeat of Basilacius, one of their principal generals, he displayed the first example of his valour and clemency. The imprudence of the emperor had separated his forces after the reduction of Malazkerd. It was in vain that he attempted to recall the mercenary Franks: they refused to obey his summons; he disdained to await their return; the desertion of the Uzi filled his mind with anxiety and suspicion; and against the most salutary advice he rushed forward to speedy and decisive action. Had he listened to the fair proposals of the sultan, Romanus might have secured a retreat, perhaps a peace; but in these overtures he supposed the fear or weakness of the enemy, and his answer was conceived in the tone of insult and defiance. “If the Barbarian wishes for peace, let him evacuate the ground which he occupies for the encampment of the Romans, and surrender his city and palace of Rei as a pledge of his sincerity.” Alp Arslan smiled at the vanity of the demand, but he wept the death of so many faithful Moslems; and, after a devout prayer, proclaimed a free permission to all who were desirous of retiring from the field. With his own hands he tied up his horse’s tail, exchanged his bow and arrow for a mace and scymetar, clothed himself in a white garment, perfumed his body with musk, and declared that, if he were vanquished, that spot should be the place of his burial.39 The sultan himself had affected to cast away his missile weapons; but his hopes of victory were placed in the arrows of the Turkish cavalry, whose squadrons were loosely distributed in the form of a crescent. Instead of the successive lines and reserves of the Grecian tactics, Romanus led his army in a single and solid phalanx, and pressed with vigour and impatience the artful and yielding resistance of the Barbarians. In this desultory and fruitless combat, he wasted the greater part of a summer’s day, till prudence and fatigue compelled him to return to his camp. But a retreat is always perilous in the face of an active foe; and no sooner had the standard been turned to the rear than the phalanx was broken by the base cowardice, or the baser jealousy, of Andronicus, a rival prince, who disgraced his birth and the purple of the Cæsars.40 The Turkish squadrons poured a cloud of arrows on this moment of confusion and lassitude; and the horns of their formidable crescent were closed in the rear of the Greeks. In the destruction of the army and pillage of the camp, it would be needless to mention the number of the slain or captives. The Byzantine writers deplore the loss of an inestimable pearl: they forget to mention that, in this fatal day, the Asiatic provinces of Rome were irretrievably sacrificed.
As long as a hope survived, Romanus attempted to rally and save the relics of his army. When the centre, the Imperial station, was left naked on all sides, and encompassed by the victorious Turks, he still, with desperate courage, maintained the fight till the close of day, at the head of the brave and faithful subjects who adhered to his standard. They fell around him; his horse was slain; the emperor was wounded; yet he stood alone and intrepid, till he was oppressed and bound by the strength of multitudes. The glory of this illustrious prize was disputed by a slave and a soldier: a slave who had seen him on the throne of Constantinople, and a soldier whose extreme deformity had been excused on the promise of some signal service. Despoiled of his arms, his jewels, and his purple, Romanus spent a dreary and perilous night on the field of battle, amidst a disorderly crowd of the meaner Barbarians. In the morning the royal captive was presented to Alp Arslan, who doubted of his fortune, till the identity of the person was ascertained by the report of his ambassadors, and by the more pathetic evidence of Basilacius, who embraced with tears the feet of his unhappy sovereign. The successor of Constantine, in a plebeian habit, was led into the Turkish divan, and commanded to kiss the ground before the lord of Asia. He reluctantly obeyed; and Alp Arslan, starting from his throne, is said to have planted his foot on the neck of the Roman emperor.41 But the fact is doubtful; and, if, in this moment of insolence, the sultan complied with a national custom, the rest of his conduct has extorted the praise of his bigoted foes, and may afford a lesson to the most civilised ages. He instantly raised the royal captive from the ground; and, thrice clasping his hand with tender sympathy, assured him that his life and dignity should be inviolate in the hands of a prince who had learned to respect the majesty of his equals and the vicissitudes of fortune. From the divan Romanus was conducted to an adjacent tent, where he was served with pomp and reverence by the officers of the sultan, who, twice each day, seated him in the place of honour at his own table. In a free and familiar conversation of eight days, not a word, not a look, of insult escaped from the conqueror; but he severely censured the unworthy subjects who had deserted their valiant prince in the hour of danger, and gently admonished his antagonist of some errors which he had committed in the management of the war. In the preliminaries of negotiation, Alp Arslan asked him what treatment he expected to receive, and the calm indifference of the emperor displays the freedom of his mind. “If you are cruel,” said he, “you will take my life; if you listen to pride, you will drag me at your chariot wheels; if you consult your interest, you will accept a ransom, and restore me to my country.” — “And what,” continued the sultan, “would have been your own behaviour, had fortune smiled on your arms?” The reply of the Greek betrays a sentiment, which prudence, and even gratitude, should have taught him to suppress. “Had I vanquished,” he fiercely said, “I would have inflicted on thy body many a stripe.” The Turkish conqueror smiled at the insolence of his captive; observed that the Christian law inculcated the love of enemies and forgiveness of injuries; and nobly declared that he would not imitate an example which he condemned. After mature deliberation, Alp Arslan dictated the terms of liberty and peace, a ransom of a million, an annual tribute of three hundred and sixty thousand pieces of gold,42 the marriage of the royal children, and the deliverance of all the Moslems who were in the power of the Greeks. Romanus, with a sigh, subscribed this treaty, so disgraceful to the majesty of the empire; he was immediately invested with a Turkish robe of honour; his nobles and patricians were restored to their sovereign; and the sultan, after a courteous embrace, dismissed him with rich presents and a military guard. No sooner did he reach the confines of the empire than he was informed that the palace and provinces had disclaimed their allegiance to a captive: a sum of two hundred thousand pieces was painfully collected; and the fallen monarch transmitted this part of his ransom, with a sad confession of his impotence and disgrace. The generosity, or perhaps the ambition, of the sultan prepared to espouse the cause of his ally; but his designs were prevented by the defeat, imprisonment, and death of Romanus Diogenes.43
In the treaty of peace it does not appear that Alp Arslan extorted any province or city from the captive emperor; and his revenge was satisfied with the trophies of his victory, and the spoils of Anatolia from Antioch to the Black Sea. The fairest part of Asia was subject to his laws; twelve hundred princes, or the sons of princes, stood before his throne; and two hundred thousand soldiers marched under his banners. The sultan disdained to pursue the fugitive Greeks; but he meditated the more glorious conquest of Turkestan, the original seat of the house of Seljuk. He moved from Bagdad to the banks of the Oxus; a bridge was thrown over the river; and twenty days were consumed in the passage of his troops. But the progress of the great king was retarded by the governor of Berzem; and Joseph the Carizmian presumed to defend his fortress against the powers of the East. When he was produced a captive in the royal tent, the sultan, instead of praising his valour, severely reproached his obstinate folly; and the insolent replies of the rebel provoked a sentence, that he should be fastened to four stakes and left to expire in that painful situation. At this command the desperate Carizmian, drawing a dagger, rushed headlong towards the throne: the guards raised their battle-axes; their zeal was checked by Alp Arslan, the most skilful archer of the age; he drew his bow, but his foot slipped, the arrow glanced aside, and he received in his breast the dagger of Joseph, who was instantly cut in pieces. The wound was mortal; and the Turkish prince bequeathed a dying admonition to the pride of kings. “In my youth,” said Alp Arslan, “I was advised by a sage to humble myself before God; to distrust my own strength; and never to despise the most contemptible foe. I have neglected these lessons; and my neglect has been deservedly punished. Yesterday, as from an eminence I beheld the numbers, the discipline, and the spirit of my armies, the earth seemed to tremble under my feet; and I said in my heart, surely thou art the king of the world, the greatest and most invincible of warriors. These armies are no longer mine; and, in the confidence of my personal strength, I now fall by the hand of an assassin.”44 Alp Arslan possessed the virtues of a Turk and a Musulman; his voice and stature commanded the reverence of mankind; his face was shaded with long whiskers; and his ample turban was fashioned in the shape of a crown. The remains of the sultan were deposited in the tomb of the Seljukian dynasty; and the passenger might read and meditate this useful inscription:45 “O ye who have seen the glory of Alp Arslan exalted to the heavens, repair to Maru, and you will behold it buried in the dust!” The annihilation of the inscription, and the tomb itself, more forcibly proclaims the instability of human greatness.
During the life of Alp Arslan, his eldest son had been acknowledged as the future sultan of the Turks. On his father’s death, the inheritance was disputed by an uncle, a cousin, and a brother: they drew their scymetars, and assembled their followers; and the triple victory of Malek Shah46 established his own reputation and the right of primogeniture. In every age, and more especially in Asia, the thirst of power has inspired the same passions and occasioned the same disorders; but, from the long series of civil war, it would not be easy to extract a sentiment more pure and magnanimous than is contained in a saying of the Turkish prince. On the eve of the battle, he performed his devotions at Thous, before the tomb of the Imam Riza. As the sultan rose from the ground, he asked his vizir Nizam, who had knelt beside him, what had been the object of his secret petition: “That your arms may be crowned with victory,” was the prudent and most probably the sincere answer of the minister. “For my part,” replied the generous Malek, “I implored the Lord of Hosts that he would take from me my life and crown, if my brother be more worthy than myself to reign over the Moslems.” The favourable judgment of heaven was ratified by the caliph; and for the first time the sacred title of Commander of the Faithful was communicated to a Barbarian.46a But this Barbarian, by his personal merit and the extent of his empire, was the greatest prince of his age. After the settlement of Persia and Syria, he marched at the head of innumerable armies to achieve the conquest of Turkestan, which had been undertaken by his father. In his passage of the Oxus, the boatmen, who had been employed in transporting some troops, complained that their payment was assigned on the revenues of Antioch. The sultan frowned at this preposterous choice, but he smiled at the artful flattery of his vizir. “It was not to postpone their reward that I selected those remote places, but to leave a memorial to posterity that under your reign Antioch and the Oxus were subject to the same sovereign.” But this description of his limits was unjust and parsimonious: beyond the Oxus, he reduced to his obedience the cities of Bochara, Carizme, and Samarcand, and crushed each rebellious slave, or independent savage, who dared to resist. Malek passed the Sihon or Jaxartes, the last boundary of Persian civilisation: the lords of Turkestan yielded to his supremacy; his name was inserted on the coins, and in the prayers, of Cashgar, a Tartar kingdom on the extreme borders of China. From the Chinese frontier, he stretched his immediate jurisdiction or feudatory sway to the west and south, as far as the mountains of Georgia, the neighbourhood of Constantinople, the holy city of Jerusalem, and the spicy groves of Arabia Felix. Instead of resigning himself to the luxury of his harem, the shepherd king, both in peace and war, was in action and in the field. By the perpetual motion of the royal camp, each province was successively blessed with his presence; and he is said to have perambulated twelve times the wide extent of his dominions, which surpassed the Asiatic reign of Cyrus and the caliphs. Of these expeditions, the most pious and splendid was the pilgrimage of Mecca; the freedom and safety of the caravans were protected by his arms; the citizens and pilgrims were enriched by the profusion of his alms; and the desert was cheered by the places of relief and refreshment, which he instituted for the use of his brethren. Hunting was the pleasure, and even the passion, of the sultan, and his train consisted of forty-seven thousand horses; but, after the massacre of a Turkish chase, for each piece of game, he bestowed a piece of gold on the poor, a slight atonement, at the expense of the people, for the cost and mischief of the amusement of kings. In the peaceful prosperity of his reign, the cities of Asia were adorned with palaces and hospitals, with moschs and colleges; few departed from his divan without reward, and none without justice. The language and literature of Persia revived under the house of Seljuk;47 and, if Malek emulated the liberality of a Turk less potent than himself,48 his palace might resound with the songs of an hundred poets. The sultan bestowed a more serious and learned care on the reformation of the calendar, which was effected by a general assembly of the astronomers of the East. By a law of the prophet, the Moslems are confined to the irregular course of the lunar months; in Persia, since the age of Zoroaster, the revolution of the sun has been known and celebrated as an annual festival;49 but, after the fall of the Magian empire, the intercalation had been neglected; the fractions of minutes and hours were multiplied into days; and the date of the Spring was removed from the sign of Aries to that of Pisces. The reign of Malek was illustrated by the Gelalæan era; and all errors, either past or future, were corrected by a computation of time, which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the accuracy of the Gregorian, style.50
In a period when Europe was plunged in the deepest barbarism, the light and splendour of Asia may be ascribed to the docility rather than the knowledge of the Turkish conquerors. An ample share of their wisdom and virtue is due to a Persian vizir, who ruled the empire under the reign of Alp Arslan and his son. Nizam, one of the most illustrious ministers of the East, was honoured by the caliph as an oracle of religion and science;51 he was trusted by the sultan as the faithful vicegerent of his power and justice. After an administration of thirty years, the fame of the vizir, his wealth, and even his services were transformed into crimes. He was overthrown by the insidious arts of a woman and a rival; and his fall was hastened by a rash declaration that his cap and ink-horn, the badges of his office, were connected by the divine decree with the throne and diadem of the sultan. At the age of ninety-three years, the venerable statesman was dismissed by his master, accused by his enemies, and murdered by a fanatic: the last words of Nizam attested his innocence, and the remainder of Malek’s life was short and inglorious. From Ispahan, the scene of this disgraceful transaction, the sultan moved to Bagdad, with the design of transplanting the caliph, and of fixing his own residence in the capital of the Moslem world. The feeble successor of Mahomet obtained a respite of ten days; and, before the expiration of the term, the Barbarian was summoned by the angel of death. His ambassadors at Constantinople had asked in marriage a Roman princess; but the proposal was decently eluded; and the daughter of Alexius, who might herself have been the victim, expresses her abhorrence of this unnatural conjunction.52 The daughter of the sultan was bestowed on the caliph Moctadi, with the imperious condition that, renouncing the society of his wives and concubines, he should for ever confine himself to this honourable alliance.
The greatness and unity of the Turkish empire expired in the person of Malek Shah. His vacant throne was disputed by his brother and his four sons; and, after a series of civil wars, the treaty which reconciled the surviving candidates confirmed a lasting separation in the Persian dynasty, the eldest and principal branch of the house of Seljuk. The three younger dynasties were those of Kerman, of Syria, and of Roum: the first of these commanded an extensive, though obscure,53 dominion on the shores of the Indian Ocean;54 the second expelled the Arabian princes of Aleppo and Damascus; and the third, our peculiar care, invaded the Roman provinces of Asia Minor. The generous policy of Malek contributed to their elevation; he allowed the princes of his blood, even those whom he had vanquished in the field, to seek new kingdoms worthy of their ambition; nor was he displeased that they should draw away the more ardent spirits who might have disturbed the tranquillity of his reign. As the supreme head of his family and nation, the great sultan of Persia commanded the obedience and tribute of his royal brethren; the throne of Kerman and Nice, of Aleppo and Damascus; the Atabeks, and emirs of Syria and Mesopotamia, erected their standards under the shadow of his sceptre;55 and the hordes of Turkmans overspread the plains of the western Asia. After the death of Malek, the bands of union and subordination were relaxed and finally dissolved; the indulgence of the house of Seljuk invested their slaves with the inheritance of kingdoms; and, in the Oriental style, a crowd of princes arose from the dust of their feet.56
A prince of the royal line, Cutulmish, the son of Izrail, the son of Seljuk, had fallen in a battle against Alp Arslan; and the humane victor had dropped a tear over his grave. His five sons, strong in arms, ambitious of power, and eager for revenge, unsheathed their scymetars against the son of Alp Arslan. The two armies expected the signal, when the caliph, forgetful of the majesty which secluded him from vulgar eyes, interposed his venerable mediation. “Instead of shedding the blood of your brethren, your brethren both in descent and faith, unite your forces in an holy war against the Greeks, the enemies of God and his apostle.” They listened to his voice; the sultan embraced his rebellious kinsmen; and the eldest, the valiant Soliman, accepted the royal standdard, which gave him the free conquest and hereditary command of the provinces of the Roman empire, from Arzeroum to Constantinople and the unknown regions of the West.57 Accompanied by his four brothers, he passed the Euphrates: the Turkish camp was soon seated in the neighbourhood of Kutaieh, in Phrygia; and his flying cavalry laid waste the country as far as the Hellespont and the Black Sea. Since the decline of the empire, the peninsula of Asia Minor had been exposed to the transient though destructive inroads of the Persians and Saracens; but the fruits of a lasting conquest were reserved for the Turkish sultan; and his arms were introduced by the Greeks, who aspired to reign on the ruins of their country. Since the captivity of Romanus, six years the feeble son of Eudocia had trembled under the weight of the Imperial crown, till the provinces of the East and West were lost in the same month by a double rebellion: of either chief Nicephorus was the common name; but the surnames of Bryennius and Botoniates distinguish the European and Asiatic candidates. Their reasons, or rather their promises, were weighed in the divan; and, after some hesitation, Soliman declared himself in favour of Botoniates, opened a free passage to his troops in their march from Antioch to Nice, and joined the banner of the crescent to that of the cross. After his ally had ascended the throne of Constantinople, the sultan was hospitably entertained in the suburb of Chrysopolis or Scutari; and a body of two thousand Turks was transported into Europe, to whose dexterity and courage the new emperor was indebted for the defeat and captivity of his rival Bryennius. But the conquest of Europe was dearly purchased by the sacrifice of Asia: Constantinople was deprived of the obedience and revenue of the provinces beyond the Bosphorus and Hellespont; and the regular progress of the Turks, who fortified the passes of the rivers and mountains, left not a hope of their retreat or expulsion. Another candidate implored the aid of the sultan:58 Melissenus, in his purple robes and red buskins, attended the motions of the Turkish camp; and the desponding cities were tempted by the summons of a Roman prince, who immediately surrendered them into the hands of the Barbarians. These acquisitions were confirmed by a treaty of peace with the emperor Alexius; his fear of Robert compelled him to seek the friendship of Soliman; and it was not till after the sultan’s death that he extended as far as Nicomedia, about sixty miles from Constantinople, the eastern boundary of the Roman world. Trebizond alone, defended on either side by the sea and mountains, preserved at the extremity of the Euxine the ancient character of a Greek colony, and the future destiny of a Christian empire.
Since the first conquests of the caliphs, the establishment of the Turks in Anatolia, or Asia Minor, was the most deplorable loss which the church and empire had sustained. By the propagation of the Moslem faith, Soliman deserved the name of Gazi, a holy champion; and his new kingdom of the Romans, or of Roum, was added to the tables of Oriental geography. It is described as extending from the Euphrates to Constantinople, from the Black Sea to the confines of Syria; pregnant with mines of silver and iron, of alum and copper, fruitful in corn and wine, and productive of cattle and excellent horses.59 The wealth of Lydia, the arts of the Greeks, the splendour of the Augustan age, existed only in books and ruins, which were equally obscure in the eyes of the Scythian conquerors. Yet, in the present decay, Anatolia still contains some wealthy and populous cities; and, under the Byzantine empire, they were far more flourishing in numbers, size, and opulence. By the choice of the sultan, Nice, the metropolis of Bithynia, was preferred for his palace and fortress: the seat of the Seljukian dynasty of Roum was planted one hundred miles from Constantinople; and the divinity of Christ was denied and derided in the same temple in which it had been pronounced by the first general synod of the Catholics. The unity of God and the mission of Mahomet were preached in the moschs; the Arabian learning was taught in the schools; the Cadhis judged according to the law of the Koran; the Turkish manners and language prevailed in the cities; and Turkman camps were scattered over the plains and mountains of Anatolia. On the hard conditions of tribute and servitude, the Greek Christians might enjoy the exercise of their religion; but their most holy churches were profaned; their priests and bishops were insulted;60 they were compelled to suffer the triumph of the Pagans and the apostacy of their brethren; many thousand children were marked by the knife of circumcision; and many thousand captives were devoted to the service or the pleasures of their masters.61 After the loss of Asia, Antioch still maintained her primitive allegiance to Christ and Cæsar; but the solitary province was separated from all Roman aid, and surrounded on all sides by the Mahometan powers. The despair of Philaretus the governor prepared the sacrifice of his religion and loyalty, had not his guilt been prevented by his son, who hastened to the Nicene palace, and offered to deliver this valuable prize into the hands of Soliman. The ambitious sultan mounted on horseback, and in twelve nights (for he reposed in the day) performed a march of six hundred miles. Antioch was oppressed by the speed and secrecy of his enterprise; and the dependent cities, as far as Laodicea and the confines of Aleppo,62 obeyed the example of the metropolis. From Laodicea to the Thracian Bosphorus, or arm of St. George, the conquests and reign of Soliman extended thirty days’ journey in length, and in breadth about ten or fifteen, between the rocks of Lycia and the Black Sea.63 The Turkish ignorance of navigation protected, for a while, the inglorious safety of the emperor; but no sooner had a fleet of two hundred ships been constructed by the hands of the captive Greeks, than Alexius trembled behind the walls of his capital. His plaintive epistles were dispersed over Europe, to excite the compassion of the Latins, and to paint the danger, the weakness, and the riches of the city of Constantine.64
But the most interesting conquest of the Seljukian Turks was that of Jerusalem,65 which soon became the theatre of nations. In their capitulation with Omar, the inhabitants had stipulated the assurance of their religion and property; but the articles were interpreted by a master against whom it was dangerous to dispute; and in the four hundred years of the reign of the caliphs, the political climate of Jerusalem was exposed to the vicissitudes of storms and sunshine.66 By the increase of proselytes and population, the Mahometans might excuse their usurpation of three fourths of the city; but a peculiar quarter was reserved for the patriarch with his clergy and people; a tribute of two pieces of gold was the price of protection; and the sepulchre of Christ, with the church of the Resurrection, was still left in the hands of his votaries. Of these votaries, the most numerous and respectable portion were strangers to Jerusalem: the pilgrimages to the Holy Land had been stimulated, rather than suppressed, by the conquest of the Arabs; and the enthusiasm which had always prompted these perilous journeys was nourished by the congenial passions of grief and indignation. A crowd of pilgrims from the East and West continued to visit the holy sepulchre and the adjacent sanctuaries, more especially at the festival at Easter; and the Greeks and Latins, the Nestorians and Jacobites, the Copts and Abyssinians, the Armenians and Georgians, maintained the chapels, the clergy, and the poor of their respective communions. The harmony of prayer in so many various tongues, the worship of so many nations in the common temple of their religion, might have afforded a spectacle of edification and peace; but the zeal of the Christian sects was embittered by hatred and revenge; and in the kingdom of a suffering Messiah, who had pardoned his enemies, they aspired to command and persecute their spiritual brethren. The pre-eminence was asserted by the spirit and numbers of the Franks; and the greatness of Charlemagne67 protected both the Latin pilgrims, and the Catholics of the East. The poverty of Carthage, Alexandria, and Jerusalem was relieved by the alms of that pious emperor; and many monasteries of Palestine were founded or restored by his liberal devotion. Harun Alrashid, the greatest of the Abbassides, esteemed in his Christian brother a similar supremacy of genius and power; their friendship was cemented by a frequent intercourse of gifts and embassies; and the caliph, without resigning the substantial dominion, presented the emperor with the keys of the holy sepulchre, and perhaps of the city of Jerusalem. In the decline of the Carlovingian monarchy, the republic of Amalphi promoted the interest of trade and religion in the East. Her vessels transported the Latin pilgrims to the coasts of Egypt and Palestine, and deserved, by their useful imports, the favour and alliance of the Fatimite caliphs:68 an annual fair was instituted on Mount Calvary; and the Italian merchants founded the convent and hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, the cradle of the monastic and military order, which has since reigned in the isles of Rhodes and of Malta. Had the Christian pilgrims been content to revere the tomb of a prophet, the disciples of Mahomet, instead of blaming, would have imitated, their piety; but these rigid Unitarians were scandalised by a worship which represents the birth, death, and resurrection of a God; the Catholic images were branded with the name of idols; and the Moslems smiled with indignation69 at the miraculous flame, which was kindled on the eve of Easter in the holy sepulchre.70 This pious fraud, first devised in the ninth century,71 was devoutly cherished by the Latin crusaders, and is annually repeated by the clergy of the Greek, Armenian, and Coptic sects,72 who impose on the credulous spectators73 for their own benefit and that of their tyrants. In every age, a principle of toleration has been fortified by a sense of interest; and the revenue of the prince and his emir was increased each year by the expense and tribute of so many thousand strangers.
The revolution which transferred the sceptre from the Abbassides to the Fatimites was a benefit, rather than an injury, to the Holy Land. A sovereign resident in Egypt was more sensible of the importance of Christian trade; and the emirs of Palestine were less remote from the justice and power of the throne. But the third of these Fatimite caliphs was the famous Hakem,74 a frantic youth, who was delivered by his impiety and despotism from the fear either of God or man; and whose reign was a wild mixture of vice and folly. Regardless of the most ancient customs of Egypt, he imposed on the women an absolute confinement: the restraint excited the clamours of both sexes; their clamours provoked his fury; a part of Old Cairo was delivered to the flames; and the guards and citizens were engaged many days in a bloody conflict. At first the caliph declared himself a zealous Musulman, the founder or benefactor of moschs and colleges; twelve hundred and ninety copies of the Koran were transcribed at his expense in letters of gold; and his edict extirpated the vineyards of the Upper Egypt. But his vanity was soon flattered by the hope of introducing a new religion; he aspired above the fame of a prophet, and styled himself the visible image of the Most High God, who, after nine apparitions on earth, was at length manifest in his royal person. At the name of Hakem, the lord of the living and the dead, every knee was bent in religious adoration: his mysteries were performed on a mountain near Cairo; sixteen thousand converts had signed his profession of faith; and at the present hour, a free and warlike people, the Druses of Mount Libanus, are persuaded of the life and divinity of a madman and tyrant.75 In his divine character, Hakem hated the Jews and Christians, as the servants of his rivals; while some remains of prejudice or prudence still pleaded in favour of the law of Mahomet.76 Both in Egypt and Palestine, his cruel and wanton persecution made some martyrs and many apostates: the common rights and special privileges of the sectaries were equally disregarded; and a general interdict was laid on the devotion of strangers and natives. The temple of the Christian world, the church of the Resurrection, was demolished to its foundations; the luminous prodigy of Easter was interrupted, and much profane labour was exhausted to destroy the cave in the rock, which properly constitutes the holy sepulchre. At the report of this sacrilege, the nations of Europe were astonished and afflicted; but, instead of arming in the defence of the Holy Land, they contented themselves with burning or banishing the Jews, as the secret advisers of the impious Barbarian.77 Yet the calamities of Jerusalem were in some measure alleviated by the inconstancy or repentance of Hakem himself; and the royal mandate was sealed for the restitution of the churches, when the tyrant was assassinated by the emissaries of his sister. The succeeding caliphs resumed the maxims of religion and policy; a free toleration was again granted; with the pious aid of the emperor of Constantinople the holy sepulchre arose from its ruins; and, after a short abstinence, the pilgrims returned with an increase of appetite to the spiritual feast.78 In the sea-voyage of Palestine, the dangers were frequent and the opportunities rare: but the conversion of Hungary opened a safe communication between Germany and Greece. The charity of St. Stephen, the apostle of his kingdom, relieved and conducted his itinerant brethren;79 and from Belgrade to Antioch they traversed fifteen hundred miles of a Christian empire. Among the Franks, the zeal of pilgrimage prevailed beyond the example of former times; and the roads were covered with multitudes of either sex and of every rank, who professed their contempt of life, so soon as they should have kissed the tomb of their Redeemer. Princes and prelates abandoned the care of their dominions; and the numbers of these pious caravans were a prelude to the armies which marched in the ensuing age under the banner of the cross. About thirty years before the first crusade, the archbishop of Mentz, with the bishops of Utrecht, Bamberg, and Ratisbon, undertook this laborious journey from the Rhine to the Jordan; and the multitude of their followers amounted to seven thousand persons. At Constantinople, they were hospitably entertained by the emperor; but the ostentation of their wealth provoked the assault of the wild Arabs; they drew their swords with scrupulous reluctance, and sustained a siege in the village of Capernaum, till they were rescued by the venal protection of the Fatimite emir. After visiting the holy places, they embarked for Italy, but only a remnant of two thousand arrived in safety in their native land. Ingulphus, a secretary of William the Conqueror, was a companion of this pilgrimage; he observes that they sallied from Normandy, thirty stout and well-appointed horsemen; but that they repassed the Alps, twenty miserable palmers, with the staff in their hand, and the wallet at their back.80
After the defeat of the Romans, the tranquillity of the Fatimite caliphs was invaded by the Turks.81 One of the lieutenants of Malek Shah, Atsiz the Carizmian, marched into Syria at the head of a powerful army, and reduced Damascus by famine and the sword. Hems, and the other cities of the province, acknowledged the caliph of Bagdad and the sultan of Persia; and the victorious emir advanced without resistance to the banks of the Nile; the Fatimite was preparing to fly into the heart of Africa; but the negroes of his guard and the inhabitants of Cairo made a desperate sally, and repulsed the Turk from the confines of Egypt. In his retreat, he indulged the licence of slaughter and rapine; the judge and notaries of Jerusalem were invited to his camp; and their execution was followed by the massacre of three thousand citizens. The cruelty or the defeat of Atsiz was soon punished by the sultan Toucush, the brother of Malek Shah, who, with a higher title and more formidable powers, asserted the dominion of Syria and Palestine. The house of Seljuk reigned about twenty years in Jerusalem;82 but the hereditary command of the holy city and territory was entrusted or abandoned to the emir Ortok, the chief of a tribe82a of Turkmans, whose children, after their expulsion from Palestine, formed two dynasties on the borders of Armenia and Assyria.83 The Oriental Christians and the Latin pilgrims deplored a revolution, which, instead of the regular government and old alliance of the caliphs, imposed on their necks the iron yoke of the strangers of the North.84 In his court and camp the great sultan had adopted in some degree the arts and manners of Persia; but the body of the Turkish nation, and more especially the pastoral tribes, still breathed the fierceness of the desert. From Nice to Jerusalem, the western countries of Asia were a scene of foreign and domestic hostility; and the shepherds of Palestine, who held a precarious sway on a doubtful frontier, had neither leisure nor capacity to await the slow profits of commercial and religious freedom. The pilgrims, who, through innumerable perils, had reached the gates of Jerusalem, were the victims of private rapine or public oppression, and often sunk under the pressure of famine and disease, before they were permitted to salute the holy sepulchre. A spirit of native barbarism, or recent zeal, prompted the Turkmans to insult the clergy of every sect; the patriarch was dragged by the hair along the pavement and cast into a dungeon, to extort a ransom from the sympathy of his flock; and the divine worship in the church of the Resurrection was often disturbed by the savage rudeness of its masters. The pathetic tale excited the millions of the West to march under the standard of the Cross to the relief of the Holy Land; and yet how trifling is the sum of these accumulated evils, if compared with the single act of the sacrilege of Hakem, which had been so patiently endured by the Latin Christians! A slighter provocation inflamed the more irascible temper of their descendants: a new spirit had arisen of religious chivalry and papal dominion; a nerve was touched of exquisite feeling; and the sensation vibrated to the heart of Europe.
[1 ]I am indebted for his character and history to d’Herbelot (Bibliothèque Orientale, Mahmud, p. 533-537), M. de Guignes (Histoire des Huns, tom. iii. p. 155-173), and our countryman, Colonel Alexander Dow (vol. i. p. 23-83). In the two first volumes of his History of Hindostan, he styles himself the translator of the Persian Ferishta; but in his florid text it is not easy to distinguish the version and the original. [Thiswork of Dow has been superseded by the translation of Colonel Briggs: “History of the Mahomedan Power in India till the year 1612, translated from the original Persian of Mohamed Kasim Ferishta,” in 4 vols., 1829. Cp. his remarks on Dow’s work in the Preface, vol. i. p. vi. vii.]
[2 ]The dynasty of the Samanides continued 125 years, 874-999, under ten princes. See their succession and ruin, in the Tables of M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 404-406). They were followed [south of the Oxus] by the Gaznevides, 999-1183. (See tom. i. p. 239, 240.) His division of nations often disturbs the series of time and place.
[3 ]Gaznah hortos non habet; est emporium et domicilium mercaturæ Indicæ. Abulfedæ Geograph. Reiske, tab. xxiii. p. 349; d’Herbelot, p. 364. It has not been visited by any modern traveller. [Subuktigin conquered Būst and Kusdār in 978. For the story of his rise, cp. Nizām al-Mulk, Siasset Nameh, tr. Schefer, p. 140 sqq.]
[4 ]By the ambassador of the caliph of Bagdad, who employed an Arabian or Chaldaic word that signifies lord and master (d’Herbelot, p. 825). It is interpreted Αὐτοκράτωρ, Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων, by the Byzantine writers of the eleventh century; and the name (Σουλτανός, Soldanus) is familiarly employed in the Greek and Latin languages, after it had passed from the Gaznevides to the Seljukides, and other emirs of Asia and Egypt. Ducange (Dissertation xvi. sur Joinville, p. 238-240, Gloss. Græc. et Latin.) labours to find the title of sultan in the ancient kingdom of Persia; but his proofs are mere shadows; a proper name in the Themes of Constantine (ii. 11), an anticipation of Zonaras, &c. and a medal of Kai Khosrou, not (as he believes) the Sassanide of the vith, but the Seljukide of Iconium of the xiiith, century (de Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 246). [The title sultan, for the captain of the bodyguard, was introduced at least as early as the reign of Mutawakkil, in the middle of the 9th century. It has been conjectured (by Vámbéry) that the name of one of the sons of the Hungarian chief Arpad, Ζάλτας, is really sultan. The old Vienna chronicle gives his name as Zoltan, and the scribe of King Béla, as Zulta.]
[5 ]Ferishta (apud Dow, Hist. of Hindostan, vol. i. p. 49) mentions the report of a gun in the Indian army. But, as I am slow in believing this premature ( 1008) use of artillery, I must desire to scrutinise first the text and then the authority of Ferishta, who lived in the Mogul court in the last century. [Briggs (op. cit. vol. i. p. 47) translates, in the passage to which Gibbon refers, “naphtha-balls” and “arrows”; the original words being nupth and khudung. But in other MSS. the variants are formed: tope (a gun) and toofung (a musket). These readings must be due to interpolators. Probably Bābar first introduced guns into Upper India in 1526. Cp. the note of Briggs.]
[6 ]Kinnoge or Canouge (the old Palimbothra) is marked in latitude 27° 3′, longitude 80° 13′. See d’Anville (Antiquité de l’Inde, p. 60-62), corrected by the local knowledge of Major Rennell (in his excellent Memoir on his map of Hindostan, p. 37-43), 300 jewellers, 30,000 shops for the areca nut, 60,000 bands of musicians, &c. (Abulfed. Geograph. tab. xv. p. 274; Dow, vol. i. p. 16) will allow an ample deduction. [Palimbothra is supposed to be Patna.]
[7 ]The idolaters of Europe, says Ferishta (Dow, vol. i. p. 66). Consult Abulfeda (p. 272) and Rennell’s map of Hindostan.
[8 ][Not ten millions sterling, but “crores of gold.” Briggs, p. 72, translates “a quantity of gold.”]
[9 ]D’Herbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale, p. 527. Yet these letters, apophthegms, &c. are rarely the language of the heart, or the motives of public action.
[10 ]For instance, a ruby of four hundred and fifty miskals (Dow, vol. i. p. 53) or six pounds three ounces: the largest in the treasury of Delhi weighed seventeen miskals (Voyages de Tavernier, partie ii. p. 280). It is true that in the East all coloured stones are called rubies (p. 355), and that Tavernier saw three larger and more precious among the jewels de notre grand roi, le plus puissant et plus magnifique de tous les Rois de la terre (p. 376).
[11 ]Dow, vol. i. p. 65. The sovereign of Kinnoge is said to have possessed 2500 elephants (Abulfed. Geograph. tab. xv. p. 274). From these Indian stories the reader may correct a note in my first volume (p. 268); or from that note he may correct these stories.
[12 ]See a just and natural picture of these pastoral manners, in the history of William, archbishop of Tyre (l. i. c. vii. in the Gesta Dei per Francos, p. 633, 634), and a valuable note by the editor of the Histoire Généalogique des Tatars, p. 535-538.
[13 ]The first emigrations of the Turkmans, and doubtful origin of the Seljukians, may be traced in the laborious history of the Huns, by M. de Guignes (tom. i. Tables Chronologiques, l. v. tom. iii. l. vii. ix. x.), and the Bibliothèque Orientale of d’Herbelot (p. 799-802, 897-901), Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 331-333), and Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 221, 222).
[14 ]Dow, Hist. of Hindostan, vol. i. p. 89, 95-98. I have copied this passage as a specimen of the Persian manner; but I suspect that by some odd fatality the style of Ferishta has been improved by that of Ossian. [The translation of Briggs, i. 110, is as follows: “The king undismayed even by the defection of his officers gallantly rode his horse to the spot where he perceived the conflict most bloody, performing prodigies of valour, unequalled perhaps by any sovereign; but his efforts were vain; for, when he looked round, he beheld nearly the whole of his army, excepting the body which he commanded in person, in full flight.”]
[15 ]The Zendekan of d’Herbelot (p. 1028), the Dindaka of Dow (vol. i. p. 97), is probably the Dandanekan of Abulfeda (Geograph. p. 345, Reiske), a small town of Chorasan, two days’ journey from Marû [Persian, Merv], and renowned through the East for the production and manufacture of cotton.
[16 ]The Byzantine historians (Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 766, 767 [ii. p. 566, ed. Bonn]; Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 255 [xvii. 25]; Nicephorus Bryennius, p. 21 [p. 26, ed. B.]), have confounded, in this revolution, the truth of time and place, of names and persons, of causes and events. The ignorance and errors of these Greeks (which I shall not stop to unravel) may inspire some distrust of the story of Cyaxares and Cyrus, as it is told by their most eloquent predecessors.
[17 ]Willerm. Tyr. l. i. c. 7, p. 633 [ed. Bongars.]. The divination by arrows is ancient and famous in the East.
[18 ]D’Herbelot, p. 801. Yet, after the fortune of his posterity, Seljuk became the thirty-fourth in lineal descent from the great Afrasiab, emperor of Touran (p. 800). The Tartar pedigree of the house of Zingis gave a different cast to flattery and fable; and the historian Mirkhond derives the Seljukides from Alankavah, the virgin mother (p. 801, col. 2). If they be the same as the Zalzuts of Abulghazi Bahader Khan (Hist. Généalogique, p. 148), we quote in their favour the most weighty evidence of a Tartar prince himself, the descendant of Zingis, Alankavah, or Alancu, and Oguz Khan.
[19 ][The Seljūks were possibly Christians, before they were converted to Islamism; the names Michael, Jonas, Moses, which some of them bore, may point to this. Cp. Cahun, Intr. à l’histoire de l’Asie, p. 170.]
[20 ]By a slight corruption, Togrul Beg is the Tangroli-pix of the Greeks. His reign and character are faithfully exhibited by d’Herbelot (Bibliothèque Orientale, p. 1027, 1028) and de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 189-201).
[21 ]Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 774, 775 [ii. p. 580, ed. B.]. Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 257 [xvii. 25]. With their usual knowledge of Oriental affairs, they describe the ambassador as a sherif, who, like the syncellus of the patriarch, was the vicar and successor of the caliph.
[22 ]From William of Tyre, I have borrowed this distinction of Turks and Turkmans, which at least is popular and convenient. The names are the same, and the addition of man is of the same import in the Persic and Teutonic idioms. Few critics will adopt the etymology of James de Vitry (Hist. Hierosol. l. i. c. 11, p. 1061), of Turcomani, quasi Turci et Comoni, a mixed people.
[23 ]Hist. Générale des Huns. tom. iii. p. 165, 166, 167. M. del Guignes quotes Abulmahasen, an historian of Egypt.
[24 ]Consult the Bibliothèque Orientale, in the articles of the Abbassides, Caher, and Caism, and the Annals of Elmacin and Abulpharagius.
[25 ]For this curious ceremony, I am indebted to M. de Guignes (tom. iii. p. 197, 198), and that learned author is obliged to Bondari, who composed in Arabic the history of the Seljukides (tom. v. p. 365). I am ignorant of his age, country, and character.
[26 ][Weil, Gesch. der Chalifen, iii. p. 99.]
[27 ]Eodem anno (a.h. 455) obiit princeps Togrulbecus . . . rex fuit clemens, prudens, et peritus regnandi, cujus terror corda mortalium invaserat, ita ut obedirent ei reges atque ad ipsum scriberent. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 342, vers. Erpenii.
[28 ]For these wars of the Turks and Romans, see in general the Byzantine histories of Zonaras and Cedrenus, Scylitzes the continuator of Cedrenus, and Nicephorus Bryennius Cæsar. The two first of these were monks, the two latter statesmen; yet such were the Greeks that the difference of style and character is scarcely discernible. For the Orientals, I draw as usual on the wealth of d’Herbelot (see titles of the first Seljukides) and the accuracy of de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. l. x.).
[29 ]Ἐϕέρετο γὰρ ἐν Τούρκοις λόγος, ὡς ε[Editor: Illegible Latin character]η πεπρωμένον καταστραϕη̑ναι τὸ Τούρκων γένος ἀπὸ τη̑ς τοιαύτης δυνάμεως, ὁποίαν ὁ Μακεδὼν Ἀλέξανδρος ἔχων κατεστρέψατο Πέρσας. Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 791 [ii. p. 611, ed. B.]. The credulity of the vulgar is always probable; and the Turks had learned from the Arabs the history or legend of Escander Dulcarnein (d’Herbelot, p. 317, &c.).
[30 ][And the culture. Ani which had passed under the dominion of the Empire in 1046 was captured by Alp Arslan in 1064 (July 6). Kars was then ceded by its trembling prince to the Empire in exchange for Camendav in the mountains of Cilicia; but it had hardly been occupied by the Imperialists before it was taken by the Turks.]
[31 ]ΟOf καὶ [leg. τὴν] Ἰβηρίαν καὶ Μεσοποταμίαν καὶ Ἀρμενίαν οἱκου̑σιν· [leg. καὶ Μεσοποταμίαν μέχρι Λυκανδου̑ καὶ Μελιτηνη̑ς καὶ τὴν παρακειμένην οἰκου̑σιν Ἀρμενίαν] καὶ οἳ τὴν Ἰουδαικὴν του̑ Νεστορίου καὶ τω̑ν Ἀκεϕάλων θρησκεύουσιν αἵρεσιν (Scylitzes, ad calcem Cedreni, tom. ii. p. 834 [ii. p. 687, ed. B.], whose ambiguous construction shall not tempt me to suspect that he confounded the Nestorian and Monophysite heresies). He familiarly talks of the μη̑νις, χόλος, ὀργή, Θεου̑, qualities, as I should apprehend, very foreign to the perfect Being; but his bigotry is forced to confess that they were soon afterwards discharged on the orthodox Romans.
[32 ]Had the name of Georgians been known to the Greeks (Stritter, Memoriæ Byzant. tom. iv. Iberica), I should derive it from their agriculture, as the Σκύθαι γεωργοί of Herodotus (l. iv. c. 18, p. 289, edit. Wesseling). But it appears only since the crusades, among the Latins (Jac. a Vitriaco, Hist. Hierosol. c. 79, p. 1095) and Orientals (d’Herbelot, p. 407), and was devoutly borrowed from St. George of Cappadocia.
[33 ]Mosheim, Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 632. See in Chardin’s Travels (tom. i. p. 171-175) the manners and religion of this handsome but worthless nation. See the pedigree of their princes from Adam to the present century, in the Tables of M. de Guignes (tom. i. p. 433-438).
[34 ][In the first two campaigns Romanus led the army himself. For the geography of these military operations see Mr. J. G. C. Anderson’s paper in Journal of Hellenic Studies, xvii. p. 36-39 (1897). In the third campaign ( 1070) Manuel Comnenus was entrusted with the command.]
[35 ]This city is mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Administrat. Imperii. l. ii. c. 44, p. 119) and the Byzantines of the xith century, under the name of Mantzikierte, and by some is confounded with Theodosiopolis; but Delisle, in his notes and maps, has very properly fixed the situation. Abulfeda (Geograph. tab. xviii. p. 310) describes Malasgerd as a small town, built with black stone, supplied with water, without trees, &c. [Manzikert is on the Murad Tchai, north of Lake Van.]
[36 ]The Uzi of the Greeks (Stritter, Memor. Byzant. tom. iii. p. 923-948) are the Gozz of the Orientals (Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 522, tom. iii. p. 133, &c.). They appear on the Danube and the Volga, in Armenia, Syria. and Chorasan, and the name seems to have been extended to the whole Turkman race. [The Uzi were a Turkish horde akin to the Patzinaks. They are mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogennetos (in the De Adm. Imp.) as living in his time beyond the Patzinaks and the Khazars. They are the same as the Cumani (Komanoi in Anna Comnena, &c.); and are called Polovtsi in the old Russian Chronicle. The Hungarians call them Kúnok. They first appeared in Russia in 1055 (Nestor, c. 59). Then they drove the Patzinaks out of Atelkuzu, the land of which they had formerly dispossessed the Hungarians into Walachia. Sixty thousand of them crossed the Danube in 1065, but were for the most part cut to pieces, with the help of the Patzinaks; some of the remnant were settled in Macedonia. A glossary of the Cumanian language has been accidentally preserved in a MS. which Petrarch presented to the Library of St. Mark. It was published by Klaproth in Mémoires relatifs à l’Asia, iii. (title: Alphabetum Persicum Comanicum et Latinum) and has been edited by Count Géza Kuun, Codex Cumanicus, 1880. It establishes the Turkish character of the Uzes.]
[37 ]Urselius (the Russelius of Zonaras) is distinguished by Jeffrey Malaterra (l. i. c. 33) among the Norman conquerors of Sicily, and with the surname of Baliol; and our own historians will tell how the Baliols came from Normandy to Durham, built Bernard’s Castle on the Tees, married an heiress of Scotland, &c. Ducange (Not. ad Nicephor. Bryennium, l. ii. No. 4) has laboured the subject in honour of the president de Bailleul, whose father had exchanged the sword for the gown. [For the history of Ursel and his Norman realm in Asia Minor see Nicephorus Bryennius, p. 73 sqq., and Attaleiates, p. 184 sqq. Cp. Hirsch, Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, 8, p. 332 sqq.]
[38 ]Elmacin (p. 343, 344) assigns this probable number, which is reduced by Abulpharagius to 15,000 (p. 227) and by d’Herbelot (p. 102) to 12,000 horse. But the same Elmacin gives 300,000 men to the emperor, of whom Abulpharagius says, cum centum hominum millibus, multisque equis et magnâ pompâ instructus. The Greeks abstain from any definition of numbers. [The Byzantine army was not prepared to cope with the extraordinarily rapid motions of the Turks; Gibbon brings this point out. But it should be added that the army in any case was inclined to be insubordinate, and Romanus had difficulty in handling it. Moreover there was treachery in his camp. There seems no doubt however that he fought the battle rashly. Cp. Finlay, iii. 33; and C. W. Oman, Hist. of the Art of War, vol. 2, p. 217-19.]
[39 ]The Byzantine writers do not speak so distinctly of the presence of the sultan; he committed his forces to an eunuch, had retired to a distance, &c. Is it ignorance, or jealousy, or truth?
[40 ]He was the son of the Cæsar John Ducas, brother of the emperor Constantine (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 165). Nicephorus Bryennius applauds his virtues, and extenuates his faults (l. i. p. 30, 38, l. ii. p. 53 [p. 41, 54, 76, ed. B.]). Yet he owns his enmity to Romanus, οὐ πάνυ δὲ ϕιλίως ἔχων πρὸς βασιλέα. Scylitzes speaks more explicitly of his treason.
[41 ]This circumstance, which we read and doubt in Scylitzes and Constantine Manasses, is more prudently omitted by Nicephorus and Zonaras. [The reader may remember how the emperor Justinian II. placed his feet on the necks of his rivals Leontius and Apsimar. Finlay (iii. 34) rebukes Gibbon for his scepticism here.]
[42 ]The ransom and tribute are attested by reason and the Orientals. The other Greeks are modestly silent; but Nicephorus Bryennius dares to affirm that the terms were οὐκ ἀναξίας Ῥωμαίων ἀρχη̑ς, and that the emperor would have preferred death to a shameful treaty.
[43 ]The defeat and captivity of Romanus Diogenes may be found in John Scylitzes ad calcem Cedreni, tom. ii. p. 835-843 [ii. p. 689 sqq. ed. B.]. Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 281-284 [xvii. 13, 14, 15]. Nicephorus Bryennius, l. i. p. 25-32 [p. 33 sqq. ed. B.]. Glycas, p. 325-327 [p. 607 sqq. ed. B.]. Constantine Manasses, p. 134 [p. 280, ed. B.]. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 343, 344. Abulpharag. Dynast. p. 227. D’Herbelot, p. 102, 103. De Guignes, tom. iii. p. 207-211. Besides my old acquaintance, Elmacin and Abulpharagius, the historian of the Huns has consulted Abulfeda, and his epitomiser, Benschounah, a Chronicle of the Caliphs, by Soyouthi, Abulmahasen of Egypt, and Novairi of Africa. [See also the Chronicle of Michael Attaleiates, p. 152 sqq. ed. Bonn. On the battle Finlay, vol. iii. p. 32-4, and Gfrörer, Byzantinische Geschichten, vol. iii. chap. 28; Oman, cited above, note 38; cp. too Seger, Nikephoros Bryennios, p. 41 sqq. Gfrörer insists (p. 785) on the statement of Elmacin that the battle was fought at Zahra (Zareshad? east of Manzikert).]
[44 ]This interesting death is told by d’Herbelot (p. 103, 104) and M. de Guignes (tom. iii. p. 212, 213) from their Oriental writers; but neither of them have transfused the spirit of Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 344, 345).
[45 ]A critique of high renown (the late Dr. Johnson), who has severely scrutinised the epitaphs of Pope, might cavil in this sublime inscription at the words, “repair to Maru,” since the reader must already be at Maru before he could peruse the inscription.
[46 ]The Bibliothèque Orientale has given the text of the reign of Malek (p. 542, 543, 544, 654, 655), and the Histoire Générale des Huns (tom. iii. p. 214-224) has added the usual measure of repetition, emendation, and supplement. Without these two learned Frenchmen, I should be blind indeed in the Eastern world.
[46a ][Not Commander of the Faithful (title reserved for Caliphs); but “Partner of the Commander of the Faithful.”]
[47 ]See an excellent discourse at the end of Sir William Jones’s History of Nadir Shah, and the articles of the poets, Amak, Anvari, Raschadi, &c. in the Bibliothèque Orientale.
[48 ]His name was Kheder Khan. Four bags were placed round his sopha, and, as he listened to the song, he cast handfuls of gold and silver to the poets (d’Herbelot, p. 107). All this may be true; but I do not understand how he could reign in Transoxiana in the time of Malek Shah, and much less how Kheder could surpass him in power and pomp. I suspect that the beginning, not the end, of the xith century is the true era of his reign. [Kadr Khān (one of the Turki Ilak Khāns) ruled at Kāshghar and Yarkand at beginning of xith cent.; his coins exist.]
[49 ]See Chardin, Voyages en Perse, tom. ii. p. 235.
[50 ]The Gelalæan era (Gelaleddin, Glory of the Faith, was one of the names or titles of Malek Shah) is fixed to the 15th of March, a.h. 471, 1079. Dr. Hyde has produced the original testimonies of the Persians and Arabians (de Religione veterum Persarum, c. 16, p. 200-211). [The reform of the calendar was the work of Malik’s minister, Nizām al-Mulk.]
[51 ][Nizām has left a memorial of himself in the Siasset Nameh or “book of government,” which has been published with a translation by Schefer. It throws great light on the history of the time and shows us how the Seljūks were already changing under the influence of Iranian civilisation and Islamism. In this respect it is very interesting to compare it with the Kudatker Bilik or Art of Government, a contemporary work (written c. 1069 at Kashgar) which shows the pure Turk spirit of central Asia. The comparison is drawn by Cahun (op. cit. p. 182 sqq.). Among the Turks, for instance, women had great influence; but in the Siasset Nameh “religion is much, woman is nothing.” For a sketch of the vizierate of Nizām, see Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole’s Saladin (1898), chap. i.]
[52 ]She speaks of this Persian royalty as ἁπάσης κακοδαιμονέστερον πενίας. Anna Comnena was only nine years old at the end of the reign of Malek Shah ( 1092), and, when she speaks of his assassination, she confounds the sultan with the vizir (Alexias, l. vi. p. 177, 178 [c. 12]).
[53 ]So obscure that the industry of M. de Guignes could only copy (tom. i. p. 244, tom. iii. part i. p. 269, &c.) the history, or rather list, of the Seljukides of Kerman, in Bibliothèque Orientale. They were extinguished before the end of the xiith century. [For the succession of the Seljūks of Kirmān, 1041-1187, see S. Lane-Poole, Mohammadan Dynasties, p. 153. The main line of the Seljūks, with a nominal overlordship over the younger branches, continued to rule in Irāk Ajam and Khurāsān and expired with Sinjar in 1157.]
[54 ]Tavernier, perhaps the only traveller who has visited Kerman, describes the capital as a great ruinous village, twenty-five days’ journey from Ispahan, and twenty-seven from Ormus, in the midst of a fertile country (Voyages en Turquie et en Perse, p. 107, 110).
[55 ]It appears from Anna Comnena that the Turks of Asia Minor obeyed the signet and chiauss of the great sultan (Alexias, l. vi. p. 170 [c. 9]) and that the two sons of Soliman were detained in his court (p. 180 [c. 12]).
[56 ]This expression is quoted by Petit de la Croix (Vie de Gengiscan, p. 161) from some poet, most probably a Persian. [The slaves who were to conduct the affairs of the Seljūk princes generally became the governors or regents, atàbegs, for their sons or heirs, and thus got the supreme power into their hands.]
[57 ]On the conquest of Asia Minor, M. de Guignes has derived no assistance from the Turkish or Arabian writers, who produce a naked list of the Seljukides of Roum. The Greeks are unwilling to expose their shame, and we must extort some hints from Scylitzes (p. 860, 863 [p. 731, 736, ed. B.]), Nicephorus Bryennius (p. 88, 91, 92, &c. 103, 104 [p. 130, p. 136, 137, p. 158 sqq. ed. B.]), and Anna Comnena (Alexias, p. 91, 92, &c. [iii. c. 9], 168, &c. [vi. c. 9]) [and the History of Michael Attaleiates].
[58 ][It was Melissenus who yielded Nicæa to Sulaiman.]
[59 ]Such is the description of Roum by Haiton the Armenian, whose Tartar history may be found in the collections of Ramusio and Bergeron [and in L. de Backer’s L’extrême orient au moyen âge, p. 125 sqq. 1877] (see Abulfeda, Geograph. climat. xvii. p. 301-305 [and P. Paris, in Hist. littéraire de France, t. 25, p. 479 sqq. 1869]).
[60 ]Dicit eos quendam abusione Sodomiticâ intervertisse episcopum (Guibert. Abbat. Hist. Hierosol. l. i. p. 468). It is odd enough that we should find a parallel passage of the same people in the present age. “Il n’est point d’horreur que ces Turcs n’ayent commis, et semblables aux soldats effrenés, qui dans la sac d’une ville non contens de disposer de tout à leur gré pretendent encore aux succès les moins désirables, quelques Sipahis ont porté leurs attentats sur la personne du vieux rabbi de la synagogue, et celle de l’Archévêque Grec” (Mémoires du Baron de Tott, tom. ii. p. 193).
[61 ]The emperor, or abbot, describe the scenes of a Turkish camp as if they had been present. Matres correptæ in conspectu filiarum multipliciter repetitis diversorum coitibus vexabantur (is that the true reading?), cum filiæ assistentes carmina præcinere saltando cogerentur. Mox eadem passio ad filias, &c.
[62 ]See Antioch, and the death of Soliman, in Anna Comnena (Alexias, l. vi. p. 168, 169 [c. 9]), with the notes of Ducange.
[63 ]William of Tyre (l. i. c. 9, 10, p. 635) gives the most authentic and deplorable account of these Turkish conquests.
[64 ]In his epistle to the count of Flanders, Alexius seems to fall too low beneath his character and dignity; yet it is approved by Ducange (Not. ad Alexiad. p. 335, &c.) and paraphrased by the abbot Guibert, a contemporary historian. The Greek text no longer exists; and each translator and scribe might say with Guibert (p. 475), verbis vestita meis, a privilege of most indefinite latitude. [Guibert incorporates the substance of this letter, Recueil, H. Occ. iv. p. 131 sqq. The best edition of the text (preserved only in Latin) is that of the Count de Riant (1877 and again 1879). A controversy has raged over the genuineness of the document. Riant rejects it as spurious (like Wilken, Raumer, and others). But it was accepted as genuine by Sybel, and has been defended more recently by Vasilievski (Zhurn. Min. Nar. Prosv. 164, p. 325 sqq. 1872) and Hagenmeyer (Byz. Ztsch. vi. 1 sqq. 1897). It is doubtless genuine. The objections brought against it are not weighty; and the critics who condemn it have offered no theory of its origin that is in the least probable. It is perfectly incredible that it was composed as a deliberate forgery in the year 1098-9 in the camp of the Crusaders, as Riant tries to establish. Its contents are absolutely inconsistent with this theory. It was probably written long before the First Crusade; and Hagenmeyer is probably right in assigning it to 1088, when the Empire was in danger from the Patzinaks, and some months after the personal interview of Alexius with Robert of Flanders at Berrœa. The letter, of course, has suffered seriously in the process of its translation into Latin.]
[65 ]Our best fund for the history of Jerusalem from Heraclius to the crusades is contained in two large and original passages of William, archbishop of Tyre (l. i. c. 1-10, l. xviii. c. 5, 6), the principal author of the Gesta Dei per Francos. M. de Guignes has composed a very learned Mémoire sur le Commerce des François dans le Levant avant les Croisades, &c. (Mém. de l’Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xxxvii. p. 467-500).
[66 ]Secundum Dominorum dispositionem plerumque lucida plerumque nubila recepit intervalla, et ægrotantis more temporum præsentium gravabatur aut respira bat qualitate (l. i. c. 3, p. 630). The Latinity of William of Tyre is by no means contemptible; but in his account of 490 years, from the loss to the recovery of Jerusalem, he exceeds the true account by thirty years.
[67 ]For the transactions of Charlemagne with the Holy Land, see Eginhard (de Vitâ Caroli Magni, c. 16, p. 79-82), Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Administratione Imperii, l. ii. c. 26, p. 80), and Pagi (Critica, tom. iii. 800, No. 13, 14, 15).
[68 ]The caliph granted his privileges, Amalphitanis viris amicis et utilium introductoribus (Gesta Dei, p. 934). The trade of Venice to Egypt and Palestine cannot produce so old a title, unless we adopt the laughable translation of a Frenchman who mistook the two factions of the circus (Veneti et Prasini) for the Venetians and Parisians.
[69 ]An Arabic chronicle of Jerusalem (apud Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. i. p. 628, tom. iv. p. 368) attests the unbelief of the caliph and the historian; yet Cantacuzene presumes to appeal to the Mahometans themselves for the truth of this perpetual miracle.
[70 ]In his Dissertations on Ecclesiastical History, the learned Mosheim has separately discussed this pretended miracle (tom. ii. p. 214-306), de lumine sancti sepulchri.
[71 ]William of Malmesbury (l. iv. c. ii. p. 209) quotes the Itinerary of the monk Bernard, an eye-witness, who visited Jerusalem 870. The miracle is confirmed by another pilgrim some years older; and Mosheim ascribes the invention to the Franks soon after the decease of Charlemagne.
[72 ]Our travellers, Sandys (p. 134), Thévenot (p. 621-627), Maundrell (p. 94, 95), &c. describe this extravagant farce. The Catholics are puzzled to decide when the miracle ended and the trick began.
[73 ]The Orientals themselves confess the fraud, and plead necessity and edification (Mémoires du Chevalier d’Arvieux, tom. ii. p. 140; Joseph Abudacni, Hist. Copt. c. 20); but I will not attempt, with Mosheim, to explain the mode. Our travellers have failed with the blood of St. Januarius at Naples.
[74 ]See d’Herbelot (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 411), Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. p. 390, 397, 400, 401), Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 321-323), and Marei (p. 384-386), an historian of Egypt, translated by Reiske from Arabic into German, and verbally interpreted to me by a friend. [Al-Hākim Abū-Alī al-Mansūr reigned in Egypt from 996 to 1020.]
[75 ]The religion of the Druses is concealed by their ignorance and hypocrisy. Their secret doctrines are confined to the elect who profess a contemplative life; and the vulgar Druses, the most indifferent of men, occasionally conform to the worship of the Mahometans and Christians in their neighbourhood. The little that is, or deserves to be, known may be seen in the industrious Niebuhr (Voyages, tom. ii. p. 354-357) and the second volume of the recent and instructive Travels of M. de Volney. [The religion of the Druses has been thoroughly investigated by Silvestre de Sacy in his Exposé de la religion des Druses, in two volumes, 1838.]
[76 ][“It was not in his ‘divine character’ that Hakem ‘hated the Jews and Christians,’ but in that of a Mahometan bigot, which he displayed in the earlier years of his reign. His barbarous persecutions and the burning of the church of the Resurrection at Jerusalem belong entirely to that period; and his assumption of divinity was followed by an edict of toleration to Jews and Christians. The Mahometans, whose religion he then treated with hostility and contempt, being far the most numerous, were his most dangerous enemies, and therefore the objects of his most inveterate hatred” (Milman, note to this passage).]
[77 ]See Glaber, l. iii. c. 7, and the Annals of Baronius and Pagi, 1009.
[78 ]Per idem tempus ex universo orbe tam innumerabilis multitudo cœpit confluere ad sepulchrum Salvatoris Hierosolymis, quantum nullus hominum prius sperare poterat. Ordo inferioris plebis . . . mediocres . . . reges et comites . . . præsules . . . mulieres multæ nobiles cum pauperioribus . . . Pluribus enim erat mentis desiderium mori priusquam ad propria reverterentur (Glaber, l. iv. c. 6; Bouquet, Historians of France, tom. x. p. 50).
[79 ]Glaber, l. iii. c. 1. Katona (Hist. Critic. Regum Hungariæ, tom. i. p. 304-311) examines whether St. Stephen founded a monastery at Jerusalem.
[80 ]Baronius ( 1064, No. 43-56) has transcribed the greater part of the original narratives of Ingulphus, Marianus, and Lambertus. [Descriptions of the Holy Land by pilgrims of the 12th century, translated into English, will be found in vols. iv. and v. of the Libraryof the Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society.]
[81 ]See Elmacin (Hist. Saraœn. p. 349, 350) and Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 237, vers. Pocock). M. de Guignes (Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. part i. p. 215, 216) adds the testimonies, or rather the names, of Abulfeda and Novairi.
[82 ]From the expedition of Isar Atsiz (a.h. 469, 1076) to the expulsion of the Ortokides ( 1096). Yet William of Tyre (l. i. c. 6, p. 633) asserts that Jerusalem was thirty-eight years in the hands of the Turks; and an Arabic chronicle, quoted by Pagi (tom. iv. p. 202), supposes that the city was reduced by a Carizmian general to the obedience of the caliph of Bagdad, a.h. 463, 1070. These early dates are not very compatible with the general history of Asia; and I am sure that, as late as 1064, the regnum Babylonicum (of Cairo) still prevailed in Palestine (Baronius, 1064, No. 56). [See Mujīr ad-Dīn, Hist. de Jérusalem, transl. Sauvaire (1876), p. 69-70; who states that Atsīz ibn Auk (the Khwarizmian governor of Damascus) took Jerusalem in 1070-1 and the Abbásid caliph was proclaimed there two years later, and the Ortokids expelled in 1096.]
[83 ]De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 249-252.
[84 ]Willerm. Tyr. l. i. c. 8, p. 634, who strives hard to magnify the Christian grievances. The Turks exacted an oureus from each pilgrim! The caphar of the Franks is now fourteen dollars; and Europe does not complain of this voluntary tax.