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FROM the West I have now to return to the East, and to describe the pressure made by Mohammedanism on that side. It is illustrated by many great events, but, above all, by the loss of Constantinople. The Greek Church, so long out of sight that it is perhaps almost forgotten by the reader, comes for a moment before us like a spectre from the dead.
THE INVASION OF EUROPE BY THE TURKS. 403.
A wandering tribe of Turks had found its way into Asia Minor, and, under its leader Ertogrul and his son Othman, consolidated its Appearance power and commenced extending its influence by possessions taken from the sultans of Iconium and the Byzantine empire. The third prince of the race instituted the Janissaries, a remarkable military force, and commenced driving the Greeks out of Asia Minor. His son Soliman crossed the Hellespont and captured Gallipoli, thus securing a foothold in Europe, A.D. 1358. This accomplished, the Turkish influence began to extend rapidly. Thrace, Macedon, and Servia were subdued. Sigismund, the King of Hungary, was overthrown at the battle of Nicopolis by Bajazet. Southern Greece, the countries along the Danube, submitted, and Constantinople would have fallen had it not been for the unexpected irruption of Tamerlane, who defeated Bajazet and took him prisoner. The reign of Mohammed I., who succeeded, was occupied in the restoration of Turkish affairs. Under Amurath II., possession of the Euxine shore was obtained, the fortifications across the Isthmus of Corinth was stormed, and the Peloponnesus entered. Mohammed II. became the Sultan of the Turks A.D. 1451. From the moment of his accession, he turned all his powers to the capture of Constantinople. Its sovereigns had long foreseen the inevitable event, and had made repeated attempts to secure military aid from the West. They were ready to surrender their religious belief. On this principle, the monk Barlaam was dispatched on an embassy to Benedict XII. to propose the reunion of the Greek and Latin churches, as it was delicately termed, and to obtain, as an equivalent for the concession, an army of Franks. As the danger became more urgent, John Palaeologus I. sought an interview with Urban V., and, having been purified from his heresies respecting the supremacy of the pope and the double procession of the Holy Ghost, was presented before the pontiff in the Church of St. Peter. The Greek monarch, after three genufiexions, was permitted to kiss the feet of the holy father and to lead by its bridle his mule. But, though they might have the will, the popes had lost the power, and these great submissions were productive of no good. Thirty years subsequently, Manuel, the son and successor of Palaeologus, took what might have seemed a more certain course. He traveled to Paris and to London to lay his distress before the kings of France and England, but he received only pity, not aid. At the Council of Constance Byzantine embassadors appeared. It was, however, reserved for the synods of Ferrara and of Florence to mature, as far as might be, the negotiation. The second John Palaeologus journeyed again into Italy, A.D. 1438; and while Eugenius was being deposed in the chamber at Basle, he was consummating the union of the East and the West in the Cathedral of Florence. In the pulpit of that edifice, on the sixth of July of.
404 THE SIEGE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
that year, a Roman cardinal and a Greek archbishop embraced each other before the people; Te Deum was chanted in Greek, mass was celebrated in Latin, and the Creed was read with the ” Filioque.” The successor of Constantine the Great had given up his religion, but he had received no equivalent-no aid. The state of the Church, its disorders and schisms, rendered any community of action in the West impossible. The last, the inevitable hour at length struck. Mohammed II is said to have been a learned man, able to express himself in five different languages; skillful in mathematics, especially in their practical application to engineering; an admirer of the fine arts; prodigal in his liberality to Italian painters. In Asia Minor, as in Spain, there was free thinking among the disciples of the Prophet. It was affirmed that the sultan, in his moments of relaxation, was often heard to deride the religion of his country as an imposture. His doubts in that particular were, however, compensated for by his determination to carry out the intention of so many of his Mohammedan predecessors-the seizure of Constantinople. At this time the venerable city had so greatly declined that it contained only 100,000 inhabitants-out of them only 4970 able or willing to bear arms. The besieging force was more than a quarter of a million of men. As Mohammed pressed on his works, the despairing emperor in vain looked for the long-promised effectual Western aid. In its extremity, the devoted metropolis was divided by religious feuds; and when a Latin priest officiated in St. Sophia, there were many who exclaimed that they would rather see the turban of the sultan than the tiara of the pope. In several particulars the siege of Constantinople marked out the end of old ages and the beginning of new. Its walls were shaken by the battering-rams of the past, and overthrown by cannon, just then coming into general use. Upon a plank road, shipping were passed through the open country, in the darkness of a single night, a distance of ten miles. The works were pushed forward toward the walls, on the top of which the pacing sentinel at length could hear the shouts of the Turks by their nocturnal fires. They were sounds such as Constantinople might well listen to. She had taught something different for many a long year. ” God is God; there is but one God.” In the streets an image of the Virgin was carried in solemn procession. Never or now she must come to the help of those who had done so much for her, who had made her a queen in heaven and a goddess upon earth. The cry of her worshipers was in vain. On May 29th, 1453, the assault was delivered. Constantine Palseologus, the last of the Roman emperors, putting off his purple, that no man might recognize and insult his corpse when the catastrophe was over, fell, as became a Roman emperor, in the breach. After his death resist.

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