sian dominions, but the oppressive government of the order provoked insurrections, of which the Poles took advantage, not only to regain their former provinces, but also to acquire a considerable portion of Prussia, which was ceded to them by the peace of Thorn (A. D. 1466). A great revolution in the Polish form of government roused the martial enthusiasm, but proved fatal to the tranquillity of the Poles. Casimir he Great, having no male issue, wished to secure the succession for his nephew, Louis, king of Hungary, and convoked a general assembly of the states (A. D. 1339). The nobles, to whom an appeal was thus made, took advantage of the circumstance to render the throne elective, and to place great restrictions on the royal authority. When Louis of Hungary became king of Poland (A. D. 1370), he was obliged to swear fealty to a constitution which changed the monarchy into a republican aristocracy. On his death, the crown of Poland was given to Jage.lon, duke of Lithuania (A. D. 1382), who renounced paganism on his election, and established the Christian religion in his hereditary estates. Though the crown continued elective, the Polish kings were always chosen from the Jagellon family, until its extinction in the sixteenth century.

SECTION VI.--Rise and Progress of the Ottoman Empire. UNDER the administration of the Palæologi, the Byzantine empire sunk into hopeless decay; its history presents an unvaried picture of vice and folly; the weakness of the sovereigns, the exorbitant power of the patriarchs and monks, the fury of theological controversy, the multiplication of schisms and sects, would have ruined the state, but for the external pressure of the Mohammedan dynasties; while, on the other hand, the triumph of these enemies was delayed by the revolutions in the sultanies of Anatolia, and the difficulties that the siege of a maritime capital presents to hordes ignorant of navigation. But when the

power of the Ottoman Turks became consolidated, it was manifest that the fate of Constantinople could not be averted, though its fall was long delayed.

The power of the Ottoman Turks commenced in Asia Minor ; when the Mongolian hordes overthrew the Seljúkian dynasties, a small wandering tribe of Turks sought refuge in Armenia, but after seven years of exile, seized what they deemed a favorable opportunity of returning to their ancient possessions. While fording the Euphrates, the leader of the Turks was drowned, and the tribe was divided into four, by his

Ertogrul, the warlike leader of one division, resolved to return into Asia Minor : the sultanies into which the Seljúkian empire had been divided, were harassing each other with mutual wars, and could not be persuaded to combine against either the Mongols or the crusaders, and consequently a band of adventurous warriors might reasonably hope to obtain fame and fortune in such a distracted country. During Ertogrul's retrograde march, he met two armies engaged in mortal combat, and without giving himself the trouble of investigating the cause, he took the chivalrous resolution of joining the weaker party. His unexpected aid changed the fortunes of the day, and he was rewarded by the conqueror, who proved to be a chief of the Seljúkians, with the gift of a mountainous district, forming the frontiers of ancient Bithynia and Phrygia.


Othman, or Ottoman, usually regarded as the founder of the Turkish empire (born A. D. 1258), succeeded his father Ertogrul at an early age. He was fortunate in winning the friendship of a young Greek, who embraced Islamism to please his patron, and instructed the Turkish prince in the art of government. From this renegade descended the family of Mikal-ogli,* which so often appears conspicuous in Turkish history. To the information obtained from this Greek, Othman owed the supremacy which he speedily acquired over his Si júkian rivals ; aided by the surrounding emirs, he wrested several important places from the Byzantine empire, particularly Prusa, the ancient capital of Bithynia, which under the slightly altered name of Brúsa, became his metropolis (A. D. 1327). The new kingdom, thus formed at the expense of the sultans of Iconium and the Greek emperors, increased rapidly, and soon became one of the most flourishing states in the east.

Orkhan, the son and successor of Othman, instituted the military force of the Janissaries, to which the Turks owe the chief part of their success. Having greatly enlarged his dominions, he took the title of sultan and began to expel the Greeks from Anatolia. While Orkhan pursued his victorious career in Asia, his son Soliman crossed the Hel. lespont (A. D. 1358), captured Gallipoli, and thus laid the first foundation of the Turkish power in Europe.

Amurath, or Morad I., steadily pursued the policy of his father and brother. He captured Adrianople (A. D. 1360), which he made his capital. He subdued Thrace, Macedon, and Servia, but fell at the battle of Cossova, one of the most sanguinary ever fought between Turks and Christians.

Bayezíd, surnamed Ilderín, or the Thunderer, put an end to all the petty Turkish sovereignties in Asia Minor; he subdued Bulgaria, and maintained his conquest by the decisive victory that he gained at Nicopolis over Sigismond, king of Hungary. The pride, the cruelty, and the bravery of Bayezíd have been celebrated in history and romance. Southern Greece, the countries along the Danube, and the western districts of Thrace, submitted to his arms; the empire of Constantinople was bounded by the walls of the city ; even this was held blockaded for ten years, and must eventually have fallen, had not Bayezid's attention been directed to Asia, by the rapid successes of a conqueror, more savage than himself.

Timúr Lenk, that is to say, “ Lame Timur," a name commonly corrupted into Tamerlane, was the son of a Jagatay Turk, who ruled a horde, nominally subject to the descendants of Jenghiz Khan. His amazing strength, exhibited even in early infancy, procured him the name Timúr, which signifies “iron.” While yet a youth, he resolved to deliver his country from the Mongolian yoke, but at the same time, aware of the high value placed upon illustrious birth, he pretended to be descended from Jenghiz, and on this account he is frequently called Timur the Tartar; and this error was perpetuated in India, where his descendants, the emperors of Delhi, have been denominated the Great Moguls. His empire was rapidly extended from the wall of China to the Medit erranean sea; India in the south, and Russia in the north, acknowledged his sway, and his determination to wrest Syria and Anatolia from the Turks, compelled Bayezíd to abandon the siege of Constantinople, and hasten to the defence of his Asiatic dominions (A. D. 1403). Before he could reach the scene of action, Sivas (the ancient Sebaste) had fallen, and the bravest warriors of the garrison had been buried alive by the ferocious victor. Damascus soon aster shared the same fate ; it was laid waste by fire and sword, and a solitary tower alone remained to mark the spot that had once been a city.

* Sons of Michael.

Bayezid encountered Timúr in the plains of Angora ; he was defeated with great loss, and taken prisoner. The Turkish historians assert that Bayezid was confined by the conqueror in an iron cage, but Timur's own companion and historian asserts that the conqueror treated his captive with great lenity; all that can be determined with certainty is that the sultan died in the enemy's camp. Timúr himself fell a victim to disease, while preparing to invade China (A. D. 1405). His empire was dismembered after his death, but Baber, one of his descendants, established an empire at Delhi, in northern India (A. D. 1526), which, sadly shorn of its ancient glories, subsisted almost to our own tiines, under the name of the empire of the Great Moguls.

After a long fratricidal war, Mohammed I., the youngest of Bayezid's sons, succeeded to his father's dominions. The greater part of his reign was spent in restoring the Ottoman power in western Asia, and thus the Byzantines obtained a respite, by which they knew not how to profit. Morad, or Amurath II., raised the glory of the Ottomans to a height greater than it had yet attained. He deprived the Greeks of all their cities and castles on the Euxine sea, and along the coasts of Thrace, Macedon, and Thessaly; he even stormed the fortifications that had been constructed across the Corinthian isthmus, and carried his victorious arms into the midst of the Peloponnesus. "The Grecian emperors acknowledged him as their superior lord, and he, in turn, accorded them protection. Two Christian heroes arrested the progress of the sultan-John Hunniades, and George Castriot, better known by the name of Scanderbeg. Hunniades was a celebrated Hungarian general; he drove the Turks from Servia, whose possession they eagerly coveted, and long impeded their progress westward. Scanderbeg was an Albanian prince, possessing a small district in the Epirote mountains, of which Croia was the capital. At the head of a small but faithful band of followers, he long resisted the mighty armies of the Ottomans, and compelled Amurath himself to raise the siege of Croia.

At length Mohammed II. ascended the Ottoman throne (A. D. 1451), and from the moment of his accession, directed all his efforts to the capture of Constantinople. At the head of an army of three hundred thousand men, supported by a fleet of three hundred sail, he laid siege to this celebrated metropolis, and encouraged his men by spreading reports of prophecies and prodigies, that portended the triumph of Islamism. Constantine, the last of the Greek emperors, met the storm with becoming resolution ; supported by the Genoese, and a scanty band of followers from western Europe, he maintained the city for fifty-three days, though the fanaticism of his enemies was raised to the highest


pitch by their confident reliance on the favor of Heaven, while prophecies of impending wo and desolation proportionably depressed the inhabitants of Constantinople. At length, on the 29th of May, A. D. 1453, the Turks stormed the walls, the last Constantine fell as he boldly disputed every inch of ground, multitudes of his subjects were massacred in the first burst of Turkish fury, the rest were dragged into slavery, and when Mohammed made his triumphal entry, he found the city a vast solitude.

The conquest of Constantinople was followed by that of Servia, Bosnia, Albania, Greece, including the Peloponnesus, several islands of the Archipelago, and the Greek empire of Trebizond. All Christendom was filled with alarm; Pope Pius II. convened a council at Mantua, for the purpose of organizing a general association to resist the progress of the Turks (A. D. 1459). A crusade was preached by his order, and he was about to undertake the command of the expedition in person, when death cut short his projects at Ancona (A. D. 1464). The Christian league was dissolved by his death, the Turks were permitted to establish their empire in Europe, and this received a great increase, both of security and strength, by the voluntary tender of allegiance which the khans of the Crimea made to Mohammed II. (A. D. 1478). After the first burst of fanaticism was over, Mohammed granted protection to his Christian subjects, and, by his wise measures, Constantinople was restored to its former prosperity.




SECTION I.-Progress of Maritime Discovery.

The scene of the earliest-known navigation was the Medierranean sea, which naturally seemed to the ancients to be situated in the middle of the earth; as is implied by its name. As navigation advanced only at a creeping pace, and as but a small amount of fresh experience was laid up by one generation for the benefit of the next, it took very many ages to explore the Mediterranean, Tyrrhene, Hadriatic, and Ægean


The great natural relief, given to ancient navigation, was the discova ery of the trade-winds which prevail in the Indian ocean.

These periodical changes of winds, if noticed by the Arabians, were not made to serve their maritime trade, until the keener enterprise of the West, in the person of Hippalus (about A. D. 50), first ventured to steer off from the Arabian and Persian shores, and to be impelled eastward, in the direction of the wind. A voyage which had consumed years, now took up but as many months, by a conformity on the part of the mariner with this invariable law of nature. The means of profit and information were now less monopolized, and the west became better acquainted with the inhabitants and produce of the east.

The navigation to the Indies was continued, when the Romans became masters of Egypt, by sailing down the Arabian gulf, and thence to the mouth of the river Indus, along the southern coasts of Arabia and Persia. But under the emperor Claudius this route was so far changed, that after emerging from the Arabian gulf, they cut across the Indian ocean directly to the mouth of the Indus, by noticing, and taking advantage of, the time when the southwest trade-wind blew.

When the Arabians, in their rapid career of conquest, had reached the Euphrates, they immediately perceived the advantages to be de. rived from an emporium situated upon a river which opened on the one hand a shorter route to India than they had hitherto had, and on the other an extensive inland navigation through a wealthy country ; and Bassora, which they built on the west bank of the river (A. D. 636), soon became a great commercial city, and entirely cut off the independent part of Persia from the oriental trade. The Arabian merchants of Bassora extended their discoveries eastward, far beyond the tracks of all preceding navigators, and imported directly from the place of their

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