Abbildungen der Seite

four emperors, retired from public life. He died in 1566. He wrote a history of Muscovy, which appeared at Basil in 1561, under the title of “Commentarii Rerum Moscovitarum.” He was author also of a history of his own life, and of the origin of his family. CHARLES de LANNOY, or LAUNOY, an imperial neral, who served under the emperor Charles W. He took rancis I., prisoner at the battle of Pavia, and conducted himself with great humanity towards the captive monarch. When Francis was restored to liberty, Lannoy conducted him back to his dominions, he died at Gazette, 1527. PETER BASSET, a gentleman of a good family, was chamberlain, or gentleman of the privy chamber, to Charles V., a constant attendant on that brave prince and an eye-witness of his most glorious actions at home and abroad; all which he articularly described in a work, entitled, The Acts of King H. V., which remains in MS. in the college of Heralds.

[ocr errors]

JOHN CORVIN HUNNIADES, one of the greatest captains of his time, was Hungarian waivode of Transylvania, when the crown of Poland was contended for, in 1441, between Ladislaus, king of Poland, and the partisans of the infant Ladislaus son of Albert king of Hungary. Corvin espoused the party of the former, and assisted him in a civil war which terminated in an agreement that placed Uladislaus on the throne during the minority of Ladislaus. Both parties turned their arms against the Turks, who under Amurath II. were invading the country with a formidable army. Hunniades was made general, and defeated the Turks in 1442, before Belgrade and in Transylvania. In 1443, Amurath and Uladislaus opposed each other in person; and Hunniades having a separate body of cavalry under his command, attacked the Turkish camp, which he plundered and burnt, with great slaughter of the enemy. When the Hungarians violated the treaty which had been made, at the persuasion of cardinal Julian, Hunniades accompanied Uladislaus to the battle of Varna, in 1444, in which the Christians were defeated, and their king killed. Hunniades drew off the remainder of the forces, and by his vigour soon put himself in a condition to act offensively with success against the Turks. He was declared governor of Hungary, for the minor king Ladislaus, who was then receiving his education at the court of the emperor Frederic, who refused to give him up to the ambassadors of the nation. Hunniades then invaded the emperor's dominions, but could not bring him to compliance. He then prepared for a war against

the Turks, and crossed the Danube into Servia, with a view of engaging the despot of that country to join him. Upon his refusal, he was treated as an enemy by Hunniades, who passed on into Bulgaria, expecting assistance from Scanderbeg, prince of Albania. During the delay of its arrival, the Turks invested him in such a manner, that he was compelled to fight them. A most obstinate engagement of three days ensued, October 1448, in which after prodigious exertions, the Hungarians were finally routed, and Hunniades escaping from the field, fell into the hands of the despot of Servia, who detained him till he had given his son as a hostage. After his liberation he renewed the war with the Turks, and defeated them when invading Servia. The young Ladislaus was restored to his subjects in 1452, and Hunniades was continued in the government of Hungary, notwithstanding the attempts of a rival, the count of Cilley, to render tha king suspicious of him. In 1456, the Turkish emperor, Mahomet II., flushed with the conquest of Constantinople, marched with a mighty army to besiege the bulwark of the Hungarian dominions, Belgrade. Ladislaus in alarm fled to Vienna, and the hostile torrent would have been irresistible, had not Hunniades, after defeating a Turkish fleet on the Danube, thrown himself into Belgrade. The monk Capistran, by his success in preaching a crusade, was instrumental in bringing him large reinforcements, with the help of which, Mahomet was repulsed with great slaughter in attacking the town, and obliged to raise the siege. Not long after this glorious success, Hunniades was seized with a fever which carried him off in September, 1456. He was regarded as the hero of Christendom, and not less esteemed by his enemies than regretted by his friends. He left two sons, the younger of whom, Matthias, was afterwards king of Hungary.

LADISLAUS V., king of Hungary, the posthumous son of Albert of Austria, and Elizabeth of Hungary, was born in 1440, and succeeded to the crown in 1444, when he was only in the fifth year of his age. He was, at this time, at the court of the emperor Frederic III.; and it was not till 1452 that he was restored to his country. It was agreed that, during his minority, Hungary should be governed by John Corvinus Hunniades; Bohemia by George Podzebraski ; and Austria by Ulric count of Cilley, the king's uncle, who was appointed guardian of his person. The count endeavoured to supplant John Corvin, but in vain; and he obtained great honour by the defeat of the Turks before Belgrade. At the death of John, the government was transferred to his son Ladislaus, to the great mortification of the count of Cilley, who endeavoured to proeure his assassination; but he was himself killed at Belgrade by the friends of that family. In 1457, Ladislaus went to Prague, in order to celebrate his nuptials with Magdalen of France, daughter to Charles VII.; but in the midst of the festivities, he was taken suddenly ill, and died, not without suspicion of poison.

MATTHIAS CORVINUS, king of Hungary, son of the great Hunniades, was a prisoner at the death of his father, together with his elder brother, Ladislaus, on account of the share which the latter had in the assassination of the count de Cilley, for which he was afterwards executed. Matthias was kept a prisoner at Vienna, whence he was removed to Bohemia, through the contrivance of George Podzebraski, governor of that country. He was still kept in confinement at Prague, when upon the death of Ladislaus the Posthumous, in 1458, he was elected king of Hungary, being then eighteen years of age. He could not obtain his liberation from the hands of Podzebraski, till he had paid a ransom and married his daughter. The emperor Frederic had got possession of the ancient crown of Hungary, superstitiously regarded as conveying a right to. the kingdom, Matthias however recovered it by a treaty. He then marched into Bosni, and recovered Jayeza the capital from the Turks, which sultan Mahomet afterwards vainly attempted to reconquer. For some consequent years he was engaged in suppressing some insurrections in Transylvania and Moldavia, which had been excited by the Turks. At Bania in the latter province, while he was reposing after his fatigues, he was attacked in the night by the waivode, who set fire to the place, and having received three wounds, he escaped with difficulty. In 1468 he made a truce with the Turks; and being now at peace in his own dominions, he was induced to accept the crown of Bohemia, offered him by the pope, on condition of extirpating the heresy of the Hussites in that country, He carried on a sanguinary war against those harmless people, and George Podzebraski, his father-inlaw, the elected king of Bohemia, which was terminated by a treaty securing him the crown, after the death of George. When that event took place, however, two years afterwards, in 1470, the Bohemians elected IJ ladislaus son of the king of Poland. Incensed at this proceeding, Matthias marched an army into the country, in order to compel them to acknowledge him as sovereign, but he was soon recalled by a rebellion in Hungary. Some prelates and nobles of that country, discontented with the arbitrary government of Matthias, offered the crown to Casimir, second son of the king of Poland, who marched into Hungary with a Polish army, which was joined by a number of revolters. Matthias soon stopped his progress, and besieged him in Nitria, whence he escaped without an engagement, and returned to Poland. In resentment for this hostility, Matthias marched into Silesia, and took Breslaw. He was there invested by a great army of Poles, Lithuanians, Tartars, and Hussites, but he defeated them, and took a great number of prisoners. These he dismissed after mutilation, by which barbarity he sullied the glory he had acquired. At last, by a treaty in 1475, the king of Poland kept Lusatia and the part of Silesia bordering on Bohemia, and Matthias retained the rest of Silesia and Moravia.

While he was engaged in these wars, the Turks were making great progress on the frontiers of Christendom. Matthias turned his arms against them, and blockaded Semenaria; but his martial ardour was slackened by the celebration of his second marriage with Beatrice, daughter of Ferdinand, king of Sicily. The Turks being then chiefly directed against the Venetians, he engaged against an enemy, from whom he was more likely to obtain spoils. This was the emperor Frederic III., with whom he quarrelled in 1478, when after ravaging Austria, and besieging Vienna, he consented to withdraw his troops on being paid the expences of the war, and receiving the investiture of Bohemia from the emperor, who was to renounce the kingdom of Hungary. The payment being refused, and the title still retained, Matthias invaded Lower Austria, of which he made himself master, together with Vienna, in 1487. He died in that city in 1490, about the fiftieth y$ar of his age, and thirty-third of his reign, leaving no issue but a natural son. Matthias was one of the most splendid monarchs of his time; of great enterprise and military talents, liberal and magnificent. His chief defects were ambition, and violence of temper, which made him sometimes forgetful of justice and humanity, though they did not exclude generosity of sentiment and magnanimity. He was both a lover and guardian of literature. He purchased innumerable volumes of Greek and Hebrew writers at Constantinople, and other Grecian cities, when they were sacked by the Turks; and as the operations of typography were then imperfect, he employed at Florence many learned librarians to multiply copies of classics, both Greek and Latin, which he could not procure in Greece. These, to the number of 50,000, he placed in a tower, which he had .erected in the metropolis of Buda; and in his library, he established thirty amanuenses, skilled in painting, illuminating, and writing, who, under the conduct of Felix Ragusinas, a Dalmatian, consummately learned in the Greek, Chaldaic, and Arabic languages, and an elegant designer and painter of ornaments on vellum, attended incessantly to the business of transcription and decoration. The librarian was Bartholomew Fontius, a learned Florentine, the writer of many philosophical works, and a professor of Greek and oratory at Florence. When Buda was taken by the Turks, in the year 1526, cardinal Bozzmanni offered for the redemption of this inestimable collection, 200,000 pieces of the impe

rial money, but without effect; for the barbarous besiegers defaced or destroyed most of the books, in the violence of seizing the splendid covers, and the silver bosses and clasps with which they were enriched.

LADISLAUS VI., king of Hungary son of Casimir IV., of Poland, was chosen king of Bohemia in 1470, and was soon involved in a war with Matthias king of Hungary, which was terminated by a peace in 1475. At the death of Matthias in 1490, Ladislaus was elected to succeed him. He had, however, to make his way to the throne against the hostile opposition of his competitors, one of whom was his own brother. At length he was quietly seated; but being of an indolent and pacific dis

Eosition, he was ill fitted to contend with the disorders which arassed his kingdom; and from his great bulk and inactivity, he acquired from his subjects the appellation of an ox. The Turks having threatened Hungary, Ladislaus wished to avert the danger by a treaty, but was prevented by the fanatic archbishop of Strigonia, who preached up a crusade, and collected a large body of peasants. These turned their arms against their own nobles, and committed enormous excesses, which were quelled by the count of Scepus, with equal cruelty. Ladislaus, though not warlike, was attentive to the duties of his high station, and employed much time in collecting all the Hungarian laws, and the decrees of the monarchy, into one body, which has ever since formed the base of the constitution and jurisprudence of the country. He died in 1516.

SCHASTIAN SCHERTLIN, of Wirtemburg, first served in Hungary, and was at the defence of Savia. He displayed such valour at the taking of Rome and Narni, and in the defence of Naples in 1528, that several potentates solicited him to enter into their service. He espoused the cause of the league of Smalcald against the emperor, and afterwards accompanied Henry II., of France, in his expedition to the Rhine and the Low Countries. Charles V. restored him his property, which had been confiscated at Augsburg. He died in 1577, aged 82.


CHARLES VII., king of France, surnamed the Victorious, son of the unfortunate Charles VI., was born at Paris, in 1402. He had been tutored in the school of adversity, but did not acquire those valuable qualities which it tends to inculcate. He shared in the assassination of the duke of Burgundy, and though that prince was a bad character, the act was not honourable to Charles. In his disposition Charles was habitually indolent and voluptuous. He acted, however, at the head of the true patriot party in France; and at the

« ZurückWeiter »