Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

of the Turks. He defeated the sultan's army; took Amurath's secretary prisoner, obliged him to sign and seal an order to the governor of Croia, the capital of Albania, to deliver up the citadel and the city to the bearer of that order, in the name of the sultan. With this forced order, he repaired to Croia, and thus recovered the throne of his ancestors, and maintained the independency of his country against the numerous armies of Amurath and his successor, Mahomet II., who was obliged to make peace with this hero in 1461. He then went to the assistance of Ferdinand of Arragon, at the request of pope Pius II. ; and by his assistance Ferdinand gained a complete victory over his enemy, the count of Anjou. Scanderbeg died in 1467. Scanderbeg was one of the greatest warriors of his time. Possessed of uncommon strength and dexterity, his prowess in the field resembled that of a hero of romance; whilst his enterprise and military skill placed him amongst the ablest and most successful of generals. His Jesuit historian, Poncet, has painted him as a genuine Christian hero; but there was too great a mixture of perfidy and cruelty in his character, to render this title applicable in any other view than as the perpetual antagonist o the Christian name. His morals in private life, are, however, said to be pure, and he inculcated sobriety and continence to his soldiers. The Turks gave a singular proof of their admiration of his valour; for when they took Lissa, they dug up his bones with great respect, and made use of them as relics, set in gold and silver, to be worn about their persons, as an amulet. t MAHOMET II., surnamed the Great, emperor of the Turks, was born at Adrianople, the 24th of March, 1430, and succeeded his father Amurath II., in 1451. He took Constantinople in 1453, and thereby drove many learned Greeks into the West, which was a great cause of the restoration of learning in Europe, as the Greek literature was then introduced here. He was one of the greatest men upon record, considered merely as a conqueror; for he conquered two empires, twelve kingdoms, and 200 considerable cities. He was very ambitious of the title of Great, which both Turks and Christians have given him. He was the first of the Ottoman emperors whom the western nations dignified with the title of Grand Seignior, or Great Turk, which posterity has preserved to his descendants, Italy had suffered greater calamities, but had never felt a terror equal to that which this sultan's victories imprinted. The inhabitants seemed already condemned to wear the turban; and the pope, Sixtus IV., dreading the fate of Constantinople, thought of escaping into Provence, and transferring the holy see to Avignon. Hence, the news of Mahomet's death, which happened on the 3d of 3

May, 1481, was received at Rome with the greatest demonstrations of joy. Vigour of mind and body, and the loftiness of enterprise, raise him above those possessors of an hereditary throne, who merely give a date to the great actions performed by their ministers and generals. The evils he brought upon Christendom, have caused his moral qualities to be painted in the darkest colours by its writers. To the ordinary vices of conquerors, injustice and cruelty, it must be acknowledged he joined an elevation of soul, a prudence and knowledge, worthy of commendation. Sanguinary as Mahomet was, the manner in which he treated the vanquished did him honour. He left them in possession of several churches, performed in person the ceremony of installing a patriarch, restrained the fury of his soldiers, gave the emperor a magnificent funeral, and rendered Constantinople happy and flourishing. In a word, whatever reproaches he may deserve on some accounts, we see the great man through all his vices. Mahomet appears to have been the first sultan who was a lover of the arts and sciences; and who cultivated polite letters. He often read the history of Augustus and the other Caesar's ; and he perused those of Alexander, Constantine, and Theodosius, with more than ordinary pleasure, because these had reigned in the same country with himself. He was fond of painting, music, sculpture, and agriculture. He was much addicted to astrology; and used to encourage his troops by giving out, that the influence of the heavenly bodies promised him the empire of the world. Contrary to the genius of his country, he delighted so much in foreign languages, that he not only spoke the Arabian, but also the Persian, Greek, and French, or corrupted Italian. Landin, a knight of Rhodes, collected several of his letters, written in Syriac, Greek, and Turkish, and translated them into Latin. Where the originals are is unknown, but the translation has been published at Lyons, 1520, 4to ; at Basil 1554, 12mo; in a collection by Oporinus, at Marpurg, 1604, in 8vo; and at Leipsic, in 1690, 12mo; Prof. Melchior Junius, published at Montbeliard, 1595, a collection of letters, in which there are three written by Mahomet II. to Scanderbeg. These letters have nothing of Turkish ferocity in them; they are written in as civil terms, and as obliging a manner, as the most polite prince in Christendom could have written. BAJAZET II., sultan of the Turks, succeeded his father Mahomet II., in 1481, at thirty years of age. He was governor of Amasia, when he received the news of his father's death, and was meditating a prilgrimage to Mecca, in which design he persisted, notwithstanding the danger to which his throne was exposed from the ambitious designs of his brother Zizem,

[ocr errors]

or Jem. He was absent nine months, during which time Zizem had raised a rebellion, and had been proclaimed at Bursa. Bajazet, on his return, marched against him, and gave him a complete overthrow ; in consequence of which, Zizem escaped to Rhodes, where he was entertained by the grand master, and at length sent to Italy. In that country he met with his death, either in consequence of poison, or from the razor of a rene

ade barber, whom his brother had employed for that purpose. #. thus freed from his competitor, engaged in war with his neighbours, like his predecessors, and made conquests in Moldavia and Caramania. He showed the treacherous ferocity of his character in putting to death, at an entertainment in his palace, his famous general Achmet, an act which he had before attempted, but was intimidated by the Janizaries revolting. His resentment against this powerful body for their interference, caused him to form a design of cutting them all off, but he was dissuaded from so hazardous a purpose by his counsellors. His war with the sultan of Egypt was a commencement of hostilities, which at first proved unfavourable to Bajazet, but finally terminated in the ruin of the sultan of Egypt. With a view of cutting off the sources of the Mameluke soldiery of Egypt, he afterwards overran Circassia, and carried a multitude of its inhabitants into captivity. On the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, Bajazet was solicited to revenge their cause; and he sent a fleet into the Mediterranean which defeated the fleet of the Christians, and ravaged the coasts. Afterwards, he sent an army into Croatia and Bosnia, which reduced those countries. He was solicited by Sforza duke of Milan, to declare war against the Venetians, and he invaded and plundered Friuli. At the same time he marched in person into the Morea, attended by a powerful fleet along the coast, and captured Lepanto, Modon, and Durazzo; the Venetians on the other hand, took Cephalonia. However a peace was concluded in 1503. Besides these foreign wars, Bajazet had various civil commotions to sustain, of which, that which most nearly affected him was occasioned by the rebellion of his son Selim. The prince was at first defeated, and his father, hoping to reclaim him, would not suffer his men to pursue him. However, Selim accepted the invitation of the Janizaries to come to Constantinople. He repaired thither, and was so warmly supported, that Bajazet thought it best to resign the crown to his son without a farther contest. He only desired to live in peace and privacy at Demotica; and having given Selim his blessing, he set out on his journey thither, attended by a few friends. He proceeded so slowly, that his son suspected he was waiting for some turn of affairs in his favour; and his death, when he had got only forty miles from Constantinople, was ascribed to poison, administered by a Jewish physician. He died in 1342, aged 62, after a busy reign of thirty-two years. He was active and vigorous in body and mind, a patron of the learned, himself a proficient in literature, and well versed in the philosophy of Averroës, and a punctual observer of the rites of his religion. At the same time he had the fierceness common to all the Ottoman princes, and shed blood without remorse. He is commended for his attention to the improvement and decoration of his dominions by many edifices of grandeur and utility. GED NO or ACOMET, ACHMET, a celebrated Ottoman general, who assisted Bajazet II., in obtaining the throne in 1482, by whom he was afterwards assassinated. ZIZEM or JEM, son of Mahomet II., and brother of Bajazet, was governor of Lycaonia. On his father's death, he disputed the throne with his brother Bajazet, but was defeated; he fled to Egypt, and afterwards to France, where he was protected by Charles VIII. He was afterwards delivered to the pope by the French king; but though demanded by Bajazet, who wished to put him to death, he was kept a prisoner at Rome, where he died in 1497. SELIM I., emperor of the Turks, was the second son of Bajazet II. He made war upon his father, and though defeated in 1511, he at last dethroned him, took him prisoner, and poisoned him, with his elder brother Achmet, and his younger, Horkud, an amiable and enlightened prince. He next marched against Campson Gaury, sovereign of Egypt, gained a great victory at Aleppo, and slew their general. But though the sultan perished in that battle, the Mamelukes determined to oppose the emperor. Selim entering their country at the head of his army, defeated the Egyptians in two battles, and ordered Tumanbey, the new elected sultan, who had fallen into his hands to be hanged. He then took Cairo and Alexandria, and soon reduced all Egypt. Thus ended the dominion of the Mamelukes in Egypt, which had continued for more than 260 years. He confirmed the ancient privileges of the Venetians in Egypt and Syria, by which they carried on their commerce with India, and formed a league with them to destroy the power of the Portuguese in that country. Selim had before this #. a great victory over the Persians, and stripped them of auris and Keman. He was preparing to attack Christendom, when he was seized with an ulcerous sore in the back. Thinking that the air of Adrianople would restore his health, he ordered himself to be conducted thither; but he died at Clari in Thrace, on his road to that city, in 1520, on the very spot where his father was poisoned by his orders. He reigned 8 years, and lived 54. He was a prince of great courage, sobriety, and liberality; he was fond of history, and wrote some verses. But these good qualities were obscured by the most abominable crimes that ever disgraced human nature. He made his way to the throne by the murder of his father, and secured it by murdering his brothers, and eight nephews, and every bashaw who had been faithful to his duty. SOLIMAN II., emperor of the Turks, surnamed the Magmificent, was the only son of Selim I., whom he succeeded in 1520. He was educated in a manner very different from the Ottoman princes in general; for he was instructed in the maxims of politics and the secrets of government. He began his reign by restoring to those persons their possessions, whom his father had unjustly plundered. He re-established the authority of the tribunals, and bestowed the government of provinces upon mone but persons of wealth and probity. “I would have my viceroys, he said, resemble those rivers that fertilize the fields through which they pass, not those torrents which sweep every thing before them.” After concluding a truce with Ismael, sophy of Persia, and subduing Gazeli Bey, who had raised a rebellion in Syria, he turned his arms against Europe. Belgrade was taken in 1521, and Rhodes surrendered in 1522, after an obstinate and enthusiastic defence. In 1526 he defeated and slew the king of Hungary in the famous battle of Mohatz. Three years after, he conquered Buda, and immediately laid siege to Vienna itself. But after continuing 20 days before that city, and assaulting it 20 times, he was obliged to retreat with the loss of 80,000 men. Some time after he was defeated by the Persians, and disappointed in his hopes of taking Malta. He succeeded, however, in dispossessing the Genoese of Chio, an island which had belonged to that republic for about 200 years. He died while he was besieging Sigeth, in Hungary, on the 30th of August, 1566, aged 76. He was a prince of the strictest probity, a lover of justice, and vigorous in the execution of it; but he tarnished all his glory by cruelty. After the battle of Mohatz he ordered 1500 prisoners, most of them gentlemen, to be ranged in a circle, and beheaded in the presence of his whole army. Soliman thought nothing impossible which he commanded. A general havin received orders to throw a bridge over the Drave, j him that it was impossible. The sultan sent him a long band of linen with a renewed order written on it; concluding, that “if that bridge were not finished upon his arrival, he would hang him with the very linen which informed him of his will !!” BACHA ACHMET, a general of Solyman, who, when apo'. governor of Egypt revolted from his sovereign, 1524. e was soon after defeated by Ibrahim the favorite of Solyman, and his head sent to Constantinople. SALANDIN, a famous sultan of Egypt, equally renowned as a warrior and legislator. He supported himself by his valour, and the influence of his amiable character, against the united efforts of the chief Christian potentates of Europe, who carried on the most unjust war against him under the false appellation of Holy wars.

« ZurückWeiter »