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his Christian subjects compelled Mainfroy to enlist a colony of Saracens whom his father had planted in Apulia ; and this odious succour will explain the defiance of the Catholic hero, who rejected all terms of accomodation. “ Bear this message,” said Charles, “ to the sultan of Nocera, that God and the sword are “ umpire between us; and that he shall either send me to paradise, “ or I will send him to the pit of hell.” The. armies met: and though I am ignorant of Mainfroy's doom in the other world, in this he lost his friends, his kingdom, and his life, in the bloody battle of Benevento. Naples and Sicily were immediately peopled with a warlike race of French nobles ; and their aspiring leader embraced the future conquest of Africa, Greece, and Palestine. The most specious reasons might point his first arms against the Byzantine empire; and Palæologus, diffident of his own strength, repeatedly appealed from the ambition of Charles to the humanity of St. Louis, who still preserved a just ascendant over the mind of his ferocious brother. For a while the attention of that brother was confined at home by the invasion of Conradin, the last heir of the Imperial house of Swabia: but the hapless boy sunk in the unequal conflict; and his execution on a public scaffold taught the rivals of Charles to tremble for their heads as well as their dominions. A second respite was obtained by the last crusade of St. Louis to the African coast; and the double motive of interest and duty urged the king of Naples to assist, with his powers and his presence, the holy enterprise. The death of St. Louis released him from the importunity of a virtuous censor : the king of Tunis confessed himself the tributary and vassal of the crown of Sicily; and the boldest of the French knights were free to enlist under his banner against the Threatens Greek empire. A treaty and a marriage united his in- empire, terest with the house of Courtenay; his daughter Beatrice &c. was promised to Philip, son and heir of the emperor Baldwin ; a pension of six hundred ounces of gold was allowed for his maintenance; and his generous father distributed among his allies the kingdoms and provinces of the East, reserving only Constantinople, and one day's journey round the city, for the Imperial domain.38 In this perilous moment Palæologus was the most eager to subscribe the creed, and implore the protection, of the Roman pontiff, who assumed, with propriety and weight, the character of an angel of peace, the common father of the Christians. By his voice, the sword of Charles was chained in the scabbard ; and the Greek ambassadors beheld him, in the pope's antechamber, biting his ivory sceptre in a transport of fury, and deeply resenting the refusal to enfranchise and consecrate his arms. He appears to have respected the disinterested mediation of Gregory the Tenth : but Charles was insensibly disgusted by the pride and partiality of Nicholas the Third ; and his attachment to his kindred, the Ursini family, alienated the most strenuous champion from the service of the church. The hostile league against the Greeks, of Philip the Latin emperor, the king of the Two Sicilies, and the republic of Venice, was ripened into execution; and the election of Martin the Fourth, a French pope, gave a sanction to the cause. Of the allies, Philip supplied his name, Martin; a bull of excommunication; the Venetians, a squadron of forty galleys; and the formidable powers of Charles consisted of forty counts, ten thousand men at arms, a numerous body of infantry, and a fleet of more than three hundred ships and transports. A distant day was appointed for assembling this mighty force in the harbour of Brindisi ; and a previous attempt was risked with a detachment of three hundred knights, who invaded Albania, and besieged the fortress of Belgrade. Their defeat might amuse with a triumph the vanity of Constantinople ; but the more sagacious Michael, despairing of his arms, depended on the effects of a conspiracy ; on the secret workings of a rat, who gnawed the bow-string 39 of the Sicilian tyrant.
A. D. 1270,
35 Ducange, Hist. de C. P. I. v. c. 49–56. 1. vi. c. 1–13. See Pachymer, I. iv. C. 29. I. v. c. 7–10. 25. I. vi, c. 30. 32, 33. and Nicephorus Gregoras, I. iv. 5. I. v. 1. 6.
Among the proscribed adherents of the house of Swabia,
John of Procida forfeited a small island of that name in A. D. 1280. the bay of Naples. His birth was noble, but his education was learned; and in the poverty of exile, he was relieved by the practice of physic, which he had studied in the school of Salerno. Fortune had left him nothing to lose, except life; and to despise life is the first qualification of a rebel. Procida was endowed with the art of negotiation, to enforce his reasons and disguise his motives; and in his various transactions with nations and men, he could persuade each party that he laboured solely for their interest. The new kingdoms of Charles were afflicted by every species of fiscal and military oppression 40; and the lives and fortunes of his
39 The reader of Herodotus will recollect how miraculously the Assyrian host of Sennacherib was disarmed and destroyed (l. ii. c. 141.).
According to Sabas Malaspina (Hist. Sicula, I. iii. c. 16. in Muratori, tom. viii. p 882.), a zealous Guelph, the subjects of Charles, who had reviled Mainfroy as a wolf began to regret him as a lamb; and he justifies their discontent by the oppressions of the French government (1. vi. c. 2. 7.). See the Sicilian manifesto iu Nicholas Speci. alis (l. i. c. 11, in Muratori, tom x. p. 930.).
Palæologus instigates the revolt of Sicily.
Italian subjects were sacrificed to the greatness of their master and the licentiousness of his followers. The hatred of Naples was repressed by his presence; but the looser government of his vicegerents excited the contempt, as well as the aversion, of the Sicilians: the island was roused to a sense of freedom by the eloquence of Procida ; and he displayed to every baron his private interest in the common cause. In the confidence of foreign aid, he successively visited the courts of the Greek emperor, and of Peter king of Arragon“, who possessed the maritime countries of Valentia and Catalonia. To the ambitious Peter a crown was presented, which he might justly claim by his marriage with the sister * of Mainfroy, and by the dying voice of Conradin, who from the scaffold had cast a ring to his heir and avenger. Palæologus was easily persuaded to divert his enemy from a foreign war by a rebellion at home; and a Greek subsidy of twenty-five thousand ounces of gold was most profitably applied to arm a Catalan fleet, which sailed under an holy banner to the specious attack of the Saracens of Africa. In the disguise of a monk or beggar, the indefatigable missionary of revolt flew from Constantinople to Rome, and from Sicily to Saragossa : the treaty was sealed with the signet of pope Nicholas himself, the enemy of Charles; and his deed of gift transferred the fiefs of St. Peter from the house of Anjou to that of Arragon. So widely diffused and so freely circulated, the secret was preserved above two years with impenetrable discretion; and each of the conspirators imbibed the maxim of Peter, who declared that he would cut off his left hand if it were conscious of the intentions of his right. The mine was prepared with deep and dangerous artifice; but it may be questioned, whether the instant explosion of Palermo were the effect of accident or design.
On the vigil of Easter, a procession of the disarmed citizens visited a church without the walls; and a noble Vespers: damsel was rudely insulted by a French soldier. 42 The ravisher was instantly punished with death; and if the people was at first scattered by a military force, their numbers and fury prevailed: the conspirators seized the opportunity; the flame spread over the island; and eight thousand French were exterminated in a promiscuous massacre, which has obtained the name of the SICILIAN VESPERS.43 From every city the banners of freedom and the church were displayed: the revolt was inspired by the presence or the soul of Procida ; and Peter of Arragon, who sailed from the African coast to Palermo, was saluted as the king and saviour of the isle. By the rebellion of a people on whom he had so long trampled with impunity, Charles was astonished and confounded; and in the first agony of grief and devotion, he was heard to exclaim, “0 God! if thou hast decreed to humble me, “ grant me at least a gentle and gradual descent from the pinnacle “ of greatness!” His fleet and army, which already filled the seaports of Italy, were hastily recalled from the service of the Grecian war; and the situation of Messina exposed that town to the first storm of his revenge. Feeble in themselves, and yet hopeless of foreign succour, the citizens would have repented, and submitted on the assurance of full pardon and their ancient privileges. But the pride of the monarch was already rekindled; and the most fervent entreaties of the legate could extort no more than a promise, that he would forgive the remainder, after a chosen list of eight hundred rebels had been yielded to his discretion. The despair of the Messinese renewed their courage: Peter of Arragon approached to their relief 44; and his rival was driven back by the failure of provision and the terrors of the equinox to the Calabrian shore. At the same moment, the Catalan admiral, the famous Roger de Loria, swept the channel with an invincible squadron: the French
4) See the character and counsels of Peter king of Arragon, in Mariana (Hist. Hispan. l. xiv. c. 6. tom. ii. p. 133.). The reader forgives the Jesuit's defects, in favour, always of his style, and often of his sense,
12 After enumerating the sufferings of his country, Nicholas Specialis adds, in the true spirit of Italian jealousy, Quæ omnia et graviora quidem, ut arbitror, patienti animo Siculi tolerassent, nisi (quod primum cunctis dominantibus cavendum est) alienas fæminas invasissent (I. i. c. 2. p. 924.).
, March 30.
Daughter. See Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 517. - M.
fleet, more numerous in transports than in galleys, was
either burnt or destroyed; and the same blow assured the independence of Sicily and the safety of the Greek empire. A few days before his death, the emperor Michael rejoiced in the fall of an enemy whom he hated and esteemed; and perhaps he might be content with the popular judgment, that had they not been matched with each other, Constantinople and Italy must speedily have obeyed the same master. 45 From this disastrous moment, the life
13 The French were long taught to remember this bloody lesson : “ If I am pro“ voked (said Henry the Fourth), I will breakfast at Milan, and dine at Naples."; “ Your majesty (replied the Spanish ambassador) may perhaps arrive in Sicily for vespers."
41 This revolt, with the subsequent victory, are related by two national writers, Bartholemy à Neocastro (in Muratori, tom. xiii.) and Nicholas Specialis (in Muratori, tom. x.), the one a contemporary, the other of the next century. The patriot Specialis disclaims the name of rebellion, and all previous correspondence with Peter of Arragon (nullo cominunicato consilio), who happened to be with a fleet and army on the African coast (1. i. c. 4. 9.).
45 Nicephorus Gregoras (1. v. c. 6.) admires the wisdom of Providence in this equal balance of states and princes. For the honour of Palæologus, I had rather this balance had been observed by an Italian writer.
in the Greek empire, A.D. 1303.
of Charles was a series of misfortunes: his capital was insulted, his son was made prisoner, and he sunk into the
without recovering the isle of Sicily, which, after a war of twenty years, was finally severed from the throne of Naples, and transferred, as an independent kingdom, to a younger branch of the house of Arragon.46
I shall not, I trust, be accused of superstition; but I The service must remark, that, even in this world, the natural order the Catalans of events will sometimes afford the strong appearances
of moral retribution. The first Palæologus had saved his -1307. empire by involving the kingdoms of the West in rebellion and blood; and from these scenes of discord uprose a generation of iron men, who assaulted and endangered the empire of his son. In modern times, our debts and taxes are the secret poison which still corrodes the bosom of peace: but in the weak and disorderly government of the middle ages, it was agitated by the present evil of the disbanded armies. Too idle to work, too proud to beg, the mercenaries were accustomed to a life of rapine : they could rob with more dignity and effect under a banner and a chief; and the sovereign, to whom their service was useless, and their presence importunate, endeavoured to discharge the torrent on some neighbouring countries. After the peace of Sicily, many thousands of Genoese, Catalans 47, &c., who had fought, by sea and land, under the standard of Anjou or Arragon, were blended into one nation by the resemblance of their manners and interest. They heard that the Greek provinces of Asia were invaded by the Turks: they resolved to share the harvest of pay and plunder; and Frederic king of Sicily most liberally contributed the means of their departure. In a warfare of twenty years, a ship, or a camp, was become their country; arms were their sole profession and property; valour was the only virtue which they knew; their women had imbibed the fearless temper of their lovers and husbands: it was reported, that, with a stroke of their broad-sword, the Catalans could cleave a horseman and a horse ; and the report itself was a powerful weapon. Roger de Flor * was the most popular of their
46 See the Chronicle of Villani, the xith volume of the Annali d'Italia of Muratori, and the xxth and xxist books of the Istoria Civile of Giannone.
47 In this motley multitude, the Catalans and Spaniards, the bravest of the soldiery, were styled by themselves and the Greeks, Amogavares. Moncada derives their origin from the Goths, and Pachymer (l. xi. c. 22.) from the Arabs; and in spite of national and religious pride, I am afraid the latter is in the right.
On Roger de Flor and his compa- lated from the German, vol. ii. p. 167. nions, see an historical fragment, detailed This narrative enables us to detect some and interesting, entitled “ The Spaniards slight errors which have crept into that of " of the Fourteenth Century," and inserted Gibbon. --G in “L'Espagne en 1808," a work trans