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Bagdad by their irresistible arms. The civil and military powers were assumed by Moezaldowlat, the second of the three (Muizz albrothers, and a stipend of sixty thousand pounds sterling was assigned by his generosity for the private expense of the commander of the faithful. But on the fortieth day, at the audience of the ambassadors of Chorasan, and in the presence of a trembling multitude, the caliph was dragged from his throne to a dungeon, by the command of the stranger, and the rude hands of his Dilemites. His palace was pillaged, his eyes were put out, and the mean ambition of the Abbassides aspired to the vacant station of danger and disgrace. In the school of adversity, the luxurious caliphs resumed the grave and abstemious virtues of the primitive times. Despoiled of their armour and silken robes, they fasted, they prayed, they studied the Koran and the tradition of the Sonnites; they performed with zeal and knowledge the functions of their ecclesiastical character. The respect of nations still waited on the successors of the apostle, the oracles of the law and conscience of the faithful; and the weakness or division of their tyrants sometimes restored the Abbassides to the sovereignty of Bagdad. But their misfortunes had been embittered by the triumph of the Fatimites, the real or spurious progeny of Ali. Arising from the extremity of (Fatimids. Africa, these successful rivals extinguished in Egypt and Syria 1171) both the spiritual and temporal authority of the Abbassides ; and the monarch of the Nile insulted the humble pontiff on the banks of the Tigris.

In the declining age of the caliphs, in the century which Enterelapsed after the war of Theophilus and Motassem, the hostile the Greeks. transactions of the two nations were confined to some inroads by sea and land, the fruits of their close vicinity and indelible hatred. But, when the Eastern world was convulsed and broken, the Greeks were roused from their lethargy by the hopes of conquest and revenge. The Byzantine empire, since the accession of the Basilian race, had reposed in peace and dignity; and they might encounter with their entire strength the front of some petty emir, whose rear was assaulted and threatened by his national foes of the Mahometan faith. The lofty titles of the morning star, and the death of the Saracens,134 were applied in the public


134 Listprand, whose choleric temper was em bittered by his uneasy situation, suggests the names of reproach and contempt more applicable to Nicephorus than

prises of

A.D. 960

acclamations to Nicephorus Phocas, a prince as renowned in the Reduction camp as he was unpopular in the city. In the subordinate station of Crete. (A.D. 960] of great domestic, or general of the East, he reduced the island

of Crete, and extirpated the nest of pirates who had so long defied, with impunity, the majesty of the empire.135 His military genius was displayed in the conduct and success of the enterprise, which had so often failed with loss and dishonour. The Saracens were confounded by the landing of his troops on safe and level bridges, which he cast from the vessels to the shore. Seven months were consumed in the siege of Candia ; the despair of the native Cretans was stimulated by the frequent aid of their brethren of Africa and Spain; and, after the massy wall and double ditch had been stormed by the Greeks, an hopeless conflict was still maintained in the streets and houses of the city. The whole island was subdued in the capital, and a submissive people accepted, without resistance, the baptism of the conqueror."

136 Constantinople applauded the long-forgotten pomp of a triumph; but the imperial diadem was the sole reward that

could repay the services, or satisfy the ambition, of Nicephorus. The

After the death of the younger Romanus, the fourth in lineal Eastern conquests descent of the Basilian race, his widow Theophania 136 succesof Nicephorus sively married Phocas and his assassin John Zimisces, the two Phocas, and John Zimisces. the vain titles of the Greeks : Ecce venit stella matutina, surgit Eous, reverberat A.D. 963-975 obtutû solis radios, pallida Saracenorum mors, Nicephorus uédwv.. [Legatio, c. 10.)

135 Notwithstanding the insinuations of Zonaras, kal ei un, &c. (tom. ii. 1. xvi. p. 197 [c. 23]) it is an undoubted fact that Crete was completely and finally subdued by Nicephorus Phocas (Pagi, Critica, tom. iii. p. 873-875. Meursius, Creta, 1. iii. c. 7, tom. iii. p. 464, 465). (The best account of the recovery of Crete will be found in Schlumberger's Nicéphore Phocas, chap. 2. There håd been two ineffectual expeditions against Crete in the sa ne century; in 902 (general Himerius), and in 949 (general Gongylus). We are fortunate enough to possess many details of the organisation of these expeditions in official accounts which are included in the socalled Second Book of the de Caerimoniis (chap. 44 and 45 ; p. 651 sqq. ed. Bonn) : and these have been utilised by M. Schlumberger for his constructive description of the expedition of 960. The conquest of Crete was celebrated in an iambic poem of 5 cantos by the Deacon Theodosius, a contemporary (publ. by F. Cornelius in Creta Sacra (Venice, 1755); printed in the Bonn ed. of Leo Diaconus, p. 263 899.); but it gives us little historical information. Cp. Schlumberger, p. 84.)

136 A Greek life of St. Nicon [Metanoites), the Armenian, was found in the Sforza library, and translated into Latin by the Jesuit Sirmond for the use of cardinal Baronius. This contemporary legend cast a ray of light on Crete and Peloponnesus in the tenth century. He found the newly recovered island, fædis detestandæ Agarenorum superstitionis vestigiis adhuc plenam ac refertam but the victorious missionary, perhaps with some carnal aid, ad baptismum omnes veræque fidei disciplinam pepulit. Ecclesiis per totam insulam æditicatis, &c. (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 961). [The Latin version in Migne, P. G. vol. 113, p. 975 sqq. Also in the Vet. Scr. ampl. Coll. of Martène and Durand, 6, 837 sqq.]

136 [Leg. Theophano.]

of Cilicia

beroes of the age. They reigned as the guardians and colleagues of her infant sons; and the twelve years of their military command form the most splendid period of the Byzantine annals. The subjects and confederates, whom they led to war, appeared, at least in the eyes of an enemy, two hundred thousand strong; and of these about thirty thousand were armed with cuirasses. 137 A train of four thousand mules attended their march; and their evening camp was regularly fortified with an enclosure of iron spikes. A series of bloody and undecisive combats is nothing more than an anticipation of what would have been effected in a few years by the course of nature; but I shall briefly prosecute the conquests of the two emperors from the hills of Cappadocia to the desert of Bagdad.138 The sieges of Mopsuestia and Tarsus in Cilicia first expressed the skill and perseverance of their Conquest troops, on whom, at this moment, I shall not hesitate to bestow the name of Romans. In the double city of Mopsuestia, which (Mopsuesis divided by the river Sarus, two hundred thousand Moslems were A.D. 964) predestined to death or slavery,139 a surprising degree of population, which must at least include the inhabitants of the dependent districts. They were surrounded and taken by assault; but Tarsus was reduced by the slow progress of famine; and no (Tarsus. sooner had the Saracens yielded on honourable terms than they were mortified by the distant and unprofitable view of the naval succours of Egypt. They were dismissed with a safe-conduct to the confines of Syria; a part of the Christians had quietly lived under their dominion ; and the vacant habitations were replenished by a new colony. But the mosque was converted into a stable; the pulpit was delivered to the flames; many rich crosses of gold and gems, the spoils of Asiatic churches, were made a grateful offering to the piety or avarice of the emperor; and he transported the gates of Mopsuestia and Tarsus,

tia taken.

A.D. 965)

:37 Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. p. 278, 279. Liutprand was disposed to depreciate the Greek power, yet he owns that Nicephorus led against Assyria an army of Eighty thousand men.

is" (For the Asiatic campaigns of Nicephorus and Tzimisces, see Schlumberger, m. est., and L'épopée byzantine ; and K. Leonhardt, Kaiser Nicephorus II. Phokas and die Hamdaniden, 960-969.]

*** Duoenta fere millia hominum numera bat urbs (Abulfeda, Annal. Moslem. 231) of Mopsuestia, or Masisa, Mampsysta, Mansista, Mamista, as it is corruptly, ** perba pe more correctly, styled in the middle ages (Wesseling, Itinerar. p. 580). Te I cannot credit this extreme populousness a few years after the testimony of the emperor Leo, ου γαρ πολυπληθία στρατου τους κίλιξι βαρβάροις εστίν (Tactica, c. xviii. in Meursii Oper. tom. vi. p. 817 (p. 980, ap. Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. 107)).

of Syria

(A.D. 968)


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of Antioch.

which were fixed in the wall of Constantinople, an eternal monuInvasion ment of his victory. After they had forced and secured the

narrow passes of mount Amanus, the two Roman princes repeatedly carried their arms into the heart of Syria. Yet, instead of assaulting the walls of Antioch, the humanity or superstition of Nicephorus appeared to respect the ancient metropolis of the East: he contented himself with drawing round the city a line of circumvallation ; left a stationary army; and instructed his lieutenant to expect, without impatience, the return of spring. But in the depth of winter, in a dark and rainy night, an adventurous subaltern, with three hundred soldiers, approached the rampart, applied his scaling-ladders, occupied two adjacent towers, stood firm against the pressure of multitudes, and bravely main

tained his post till he was relieved by the tardy, though effectual, Recovery support of his reluctant chief. The first tumult of slaughter and (A.D. 969] rapine subsided; the reign of Cæsar and of Christ was restored ;

and the efforts of an hundred thousand Saracens, of the armies of Syria and the fleets of Afric, were consumed without effect

before the walls of Antioch, The royal city of Aleppo was sub(Sayłuad- ject to Seifeddowlat, of the dynasty of Hamadan, who clouded A.D. 941-67] his past glory by the precipitate retreat which abandoned his kingdom and capital to the Roman invaders.

In his stately palace, that stood without the walls of Aleppo, they joyfully seized a well-furnished magazine of arms, a stable of fourteen hundred mules, and three hundred bags of silver and gold. But the walls of the city withstood the strokes of their batteringrams; and the besiegers pitched their tents on the neighbouring mountain of Jaushan. Their retreat exasperated the quarrel of the townsmen and mercenaries; the guard of the gates and ramparts was deserted; and, while they furiously charged each other in the market-place, they were surprised and destroyed by the sword of a common enemy. The male sex was exterminated by the sword; ten thousand youths were led into captivity; the weight of the precious spoil exceeded the strength and number of the beasts of burthen; the superfluous remainder was burnt; and, after a licentious possession of ten days, the Romans marched away from the naked and bleeding city. In their Syrian inroads they commanded the husbandmen to cultivate their lands, that they themselves, in the ensuing season, might reap the benefit: more than an hundred cities were reduced to obedience ; and


eighteen pulpits of the principal mosques were committed to the flames, to expiate the sacrilege of the disciples of Mahomet. The classic names of Hierapolis, Apamea, and Emesa, revive for a moment in the list of conquest : the emperor Zimisces encamped in the Paradise of Damascus, and accepted the ransom of a submissive people ; and the torrent was only stopped by the impregnable fortress of Tripoli, on the sea-coast of Phænicia. Since the days of Heraclius, the Euphrates, below the passage Passage of of mount Taurus, had been impervious, and almost invisible, to rates. the Greeks. The river yielded a free passage to the victorious Zimisces; and the historian may imitate the speed with which he overran the once famous cities of Samosata, Edessa, Martyropolis, Amida,140 and Nisibis, the ancient limit of the empire in the neighbourhood of the Tigris. His ardour was quickened by the desire of grasping the virgin treasures of Ecbatana, 141 a well-known name, under which the Byzantine writer has concealed the capital of the Abbassides. The consternation of the fugitives had already diffused the terror of his name; but the fancied riches of Bagdad had already been dissipated by the avarice and prodigality of domestic tyrants. The prayers of the Danger of people, and the stern commands of the lieutenant of the Bowides, required the caliph to provide for the defence of the city. The helpless Mothi replied that his arms, his revenues, and his provinces had been torn from his hands, and that he was ready to abdicate a dignity which he was unable to support. The emir was inexorable ; the furniture of the palace was sold ; and the paltry price of forty thousand pieces of gold was instantly consumed in private luxury. But the apprehensions of Bagdad were relieved by the retreat of the Greeks ; thirst and hunger guarded the desert of Mesopotamia ; and the emperor, satiated

the Euph

(A.D. 974)


140 The text of Leo the deacon, in the corrupt names of Emeta ("Evet, p. 161, 1. 19, ed. Bonn) and Myctarsim, reveals the cities of Amida and Martyropolis (Miaharekin (Miep apkly, ib. I. 21]. See Abulfeda, Geograph. p. 245, vers. Reiske). of the former, Leo observes, urbs munita et illustris ; of the latter, clara atque Donspicna opi busque et pecore, reliquis ejus provinciis (leg. provinciæ urbibus atque oppidis longe præstans.

iu Ut et Ecbatana pergeret Agarenorumque regiam everteret ... aiunt enim orbium quæ usquam sunt ac toto orbe existunt felicissimam esse auroque ditissimm (Leo Diacon. apud Pagium, tom. iv. p. 34 [p. 162, ed. Bonn)). This splendid description suits only with Bagdad, and cannot possibly apply either to Hamada, the true Ecbatana (d'Anville, Geog. Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 237), or Tauris, which has been commonly mistaken for that city. The name of Ecbatana, in the isme indefinite sense, is transferred by a more classic authority (Cicero pro Lege Manilia, c. 4) to the royal seat of Mithridates, king of Pontus.

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