Page images
PDF
EPUB

Latins might turn aside with stupid contempt99; but unless they were crushed by some accidental injury, those useless stones stood secure on their pedestals. 100 The most enlightened of the strangers, above the gross and sensual pursuits of their countrymen, more piously exercised the right of conquest in the search and seizure of the relics of the saints. 101 Immense was the supply of heads and bones, crosses and images, that were scattered by this revolution over the churches of Europe; and such was the increase of pilgrimage and oblation, that no branch, perhaps, of more lucrative plunder was imported from the East. 102 Of the writings of antiquity, many that still existed in the twelfth century are now lost. But the pilgrims were not solicitous to save or transport the volumes of an unknown tongue: the perishable substance of paper or parchment can only be preserved by the multiplicity of copies; the literature of the Greeks had almost centered in the metropolis; and, without computing the extent of our loss, we may drop a tear over the libraries that have perished in the triple fire of Constantinople. 103

99 In two passages of Nicetas (edit. Paris, p. 360. Fabric. p. 408.), the Latins are branded with the lively reproach of oι του καλού ανέραστοι βάρβαροι, and their avarice of brass is clearly expressed. Yet the Venetians had the merit of removing four bronze horses from Constantinople to the place of St. Mark (Sanuto, Vite del Dogi, in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. xxii. p. 534.).

100 Winckelman, Hist. de l'Art, tom. iii. p. 269, 270.

101 See the pious robbery of the abbot Martin, who transferred a rich cargo to his monastery of Paris, diocese of Basil (Gunther, Hist. C. P. c. 19. 23, 24.). Yet in secreting this booty, the saint incurred an excommunication, and perhaps broke his oath. (Compare Wilken, vol. v. p. 308. — M.]

102 Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. xvi. p. 139–145.

103 I shall conclude this chapter with the notice of a modern history, which illustrates the taking of Constantinople by the Latins ; but which has fallen somewhat late into my hands. Paolo Ramusio, the son of the compiler of Voyages, was directed by the senate of Venice to write the history of the conquest : and this order, which he received in his youth, he executed in a mature age, by an elegant Latin work, de Bello Constantinopolitano et Imperatoribus Comnenis per Gallos et Venetos restitutis (Venet. 1635, in folio). Ramusio, or Rhamnusus, transcribes and translates, sequitur ad unguem, a MS. of Villehardouin, which he possessed ; but he enriches his narrative with Greek and Latin materials, and we are indebted to him for a correct state of the fleet, the names of the fifty Venetian nobles who commanded the galleys of the republic, and the patriot opposition of Pantaleon Barbus to the choice of the doge for emperor.

CHAP. LXI.

Partition of the Empire by the French and Venetians. - Five Latin

Emperors of the Houses of Flanders and Courtenay. - Their Wars against the Bulgarians and Greeks. Weakness and Poverty of the Latin Empire. Recovery of Constantinople by the Greeks. - General Consequences of the Crusades.

the emperor Baldwin I.

1204

AFTER the death of the lawful princes, the French and Venetians, Election of confident of justice and victory, agreed to divide and

regulate their future possessions. It was stipulated by May, 16. treaty, that twelve electors, six of either nation, should be nominated; that a majority should choose the emperor of the East; and that, if the votes were equal, the decision of chance should ascertain the successful candidate. To him, with all the titles and prerogatives of the Byzantine throne, they assigned the two palaces of Boucoleon and Blachernæ, with a fourth part of the Greek monarchy. It was defined that the three remaining portions should be equally shared between the republic of Venice and the barons of France; that each feudatory, with an honourable exception for the doge, should acknowledge and perform the duties of homage and military service to the supreme head of the empire; that the nation which gave an emperor, should resign to their brethren the choice of a patriarch; and that the pilgrims, whatever might be their impatience to visit the Holy Land, should devote another year to the conquest and defence of the Greek provinces. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Latins, the treaty was confirmed and executed; and the first and most important step was the creation of an emperor. The six electors of the French nation were all ecclesiastics, the abbot of Loces, the archbishop elect of Acre in Palestine, and the bishops of Troyes, Soissons, Halberstadt, and Bethlehem, the last of whom exercised in the camp the office of pope's legate: their profession and knowledge were respectable; and as they could not be the objects, they were best qualified to be the authors, of the choice. The six Venetians were the prin

See the original treaty of partition, in the Venetian Chronicle of Andrew Dandolo, p. 326–330, and the subsequent election in Villehardouin, No. 136–140, with Ducange in his Observations, and the 1st book of his Histoire de Constantinople sous l'Empire des François.

cipal servants of the state, and in this list the noble families of Querini and Contarini are still proud to discover their ancestors. The twelve assembled in the chapel of the palace; and after the solemn invocation of the Holy Ghost, they proceeded to deliberate and vote. A just impulse of respect and gratitude prompted them to crown the virtues of the doge; his wisdom had inspired their enterprise; and the most youthful knights might envy and applaud the exploits of blindness and age. But the patriot Dandolo was devoid of all personal ambition, and fully satisfied that he had been judged worthy to reign. His nomination was over-ruled by the Venetians themselves: his countrymen, and perhaps his friends ?, represented, with the eloquence of truth, the mischiefs that might arise to national freedom and the common cause, from the union of two incompatible characters, of the first magistrate of a republic and the emperor of the East. The exclusion of the doge left room for the more equal merits of Boniface and Baldwin; and at their names all meaner candidates respectfully withdrew. The marquis of Montferrat was recommended by his mature age and fair reputation, by the choice of the adventurers, and the wishes of the Greeks ; nor can I believe that Venice, the mistress of the sea, could be seriously apprehensive of a petty lord at the foot of the Alps. But the count of Flanders was the chief of a wealthy and warlike people: he was valiant, pious, and chaste; in the prime of life, since he was only thirty-two years of age; a descendant of Charlemagne, a cousin of the king of France, and a compeer of the prelates and barons who had yielded with reluctance to the command of a foreigner. Without the chapel, these barons, with the doge and marquis at their head, expected the decision of the twelve electors. It was announced by the bishop of Soissons, in the name of his colleagues; “Ye have sworn to obey the prince whom we “should choose: by our unanimous suffrage, Baldwin count of “ Flanders and Hainault is now your sovereign, and the emperor “ of the East.” He was saluted with loud applause, and the proclamation was re-echoed through the city by the joy of the Latins, and the trembling adulation of the Greeks. Boniface was the first to kiss the hand of his rival, and to raise him on the buckler; and Baldwin was transported to the cathedral, and solemnly invested with the purple buskins. At the end of three weeks he was crowned by the legate, in the vacancy of the patriarch; but the Venetian clergy soon filled the chapter of St. Sophia, seated Thomas Morasini on the ecclesiastical throne, and employed every art to perpetuate in their own nation the honours and benefices of the Greek church.4 Without delay the successor of Constantine instructed Palestine, France, and Rome, of this memorable revolution. To Palestine he sent, as a trophy, the gates of Constantinople, and the chain of the harbour'; and adopted, from the Assise of Jerusalem, the laws or customs best adapted to a French colony and conquest in the East. In his epistles, the natives of France are encouraged to swell that colony, and to secure that conquest, to people a magnificent city and a fertile land, which will reward the labours both of the priest and the soldier. He congratulates the Roman pontiff on the restoration of his authority in the East; invites him to extinguish the Greek schism by his presence in a general council; and implores his blessing and forgiveness for the disobedient pilgrims. Prudence and dignity are blended in the answer of Innocent. In the subversion of the Byzantine empire, he arraigns the vices of man, and adores the providence of God: the conquerors will be absolved or condemned by their future conduct; the validity of their treaty depends on the judgment of St. Peter; but he inculcates their most sacred duty of establishing a just subordination of obedience and tribute, from the Greeks to the Latins, from the magistrate to the clergy, and from the clergy to the pope.

• After mentioning the nomination of the doge by a French elector, his kinsman Andrew Dandolo approves his exclusion, quidam Venetorum fidelis et nobilis senex, usus oratione satis probabili, &c. which has been embroidered by modern writers from Blondus to Le Beau.

3 Nicetas (p. 384.), with the vain ignorance of a Greek, describes the marquis of Montferrat as a maritime power. Λαμπαρδίαν δε οικείσθαι παράλιον. Was he deceived by the Byzantine theme of Lombardy, which extended along the coast of Calabria ?

In the division of the Greek provinces ?, the share of

the Venetians was more ample than that of the Latin emperor. No more than one fourth was appropriated to his domain ; a clear moiety of the remainder was reserved for Venice; and the other moiety was distributed among the adventurers of France and Lombardy. The venerable Dandolo was proclaimed despot of Romania, and invested after the Greek fashion with the

Division of the Greek empire.

* They exacted an oath from Thomas Morosini to appoint no canons of St. Sophia the lawful electors, except Venetians who had lived ten years at Venice, &c. But the foreign clergy was envious, the pope disapproved this national monopoly, and of the six Latin patriarchs of Constantinople, only the first and the last were Venetians.

$ Nicetas, p. 983.

6 The Epistles of Innocent III. are a rich fund for the ecclesiastical and civil institution of the Latin empire of Constantinople; and the most important of these epistles (of which the collection in 2 vols. in folio is published by Stephen Baluze) are inserted in bis Gesta, in Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. iii. p. 1. c. 94-105.

? In the treaty of partition, most of the names are corrupted by the scribes : they might be restored, and a good map, suited to the last age of the Byzantine empire, would be an improvement of geography. But, alas ! D'Anville is no more !

purple buskins. He ended at Constantinople his long and glorious life; and if the prerogative was personal, the title was used by his successors till the middle of the fourteenth century, with the singular, though true, addition of lords of one fourth and a half of the Roman empire. 8 The doge, a slave of state, was seldom permitted to depart from the helm of the republic; but his place was supplied by the bail, or regent, who exercised a supreme jurisdiction over the colony of Venetians: they possessed three of the eight quarters of the city; and his independent tribunal was composed of six judges, four counsellors, two chamberlains, two fiscal advocates, and a constable. Their long experience of the Eastern trade enabled them to select their portion with discernment: they had rashly accepted the dominion and defence of Adrianople; but it was the more reasonable aim of their policy to form a chain of factories, and cities, and islands, along the maritime coast, from the neighbourhood of Ragusa to the Hellespont and the Bosphorus. The labour and cost of such extensive conquests exhausted their treasury: they abandoned their maxims of government, adopted a feudal system, and contented themselves with the homage of their nobles', for the possessions which these private vassals undertook to reduce and maintain. And thus it was, that the family of Sanut acquired the duchy of Naxos, which involved the greatest part of the archipelago. For the price of ten thousand marks, the republic purchased of the marquis of Montferrat the fertile island of Crete or Candia with the ruins of an hundred cities 10; but its improvement was stinted by the proud and narrow spirit of an aristocracy ll; and the wisest senators would confess that the sea, not the land, was the treasury of St. Mark. In the moiety of the adventurers, the marquis Boniface might claim the most liberal reward; and, besides the isle of Crete, his exclusion from the throne was compensated by the royal title and the provinces beyond the Hellespont. But he prudently exchanged that distant and difficult conquest for the kingdom of Thessalonica

& Their style was dominus quartæ partis et dimidiæ imperii Romani, till Giovanni Dolfino, who was elected doge in the year 1356 (Sanuto, p. 530. 641.). For the government of Constantinople, see Ducange, Histoire de C. P. i. 37.

9 Ducange (Hist. de C. P. ii. 6.) has marked the conquests made by the state or nobles of Venice of the islands of Candia, Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante, Naxos, Paros, Melos, Andros, Mycone, Scyro, Cea, and Lemnos.

10 Boniface sold the isle of Candia, August 12. A. D. 1204. See the act in Sanuto, p. 539. : but I cannot understand how it could be his mother's portion, or how she could be the daughter of an emperor Alexius.

11 In the year 1212, the doge Peter Zani sent a colony to Candia, drawn from every quarter of Venice. But in their savage manners and frequent rebellions, the Candiots may be compared to the Corsicans under the yoke of Genoa; and when I compare the accounts of Belon and Tournefort, I cannot discern much difference between the Venetian and the Turkish island.

« PreviousContinue »