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in Attica; nor has the honey of Mount Hymettus lost any part of its exquisite flavour 57: but the languid trade is monopolised by strangers, and the agriculture of a barren land is abandoned to the vagrant Walachians. The Athenians are still distinguished by the subtlety and acuteness of their understandings; but these qualities, unless ennobled by freedom, and enlightened by study, will degenerate into a low and selfish cunning: and it is a proverbial saying of the country, “ From the Jews of Thessalonica, the Turks of Negropont, and the Greeks of Athens, good Lord “ deliver us !” This artful people has eluded the tyranny of the Turkish bashaws, by an expedient which alleviates their servitude and aggravates their shame. About the middle of the last century, the Athenians chose for their protector the Kislar Aga, or chief black eunuch of the seraglio. This Æthiopan slave, who possesses the sultan's ear, condescends to accept the tribute of thirty thousand crowns: his lieutenant, the Waywode, whom he annually confirms, may reserve for his own about five or six thousand more ; and such is the policy of the citizens, that they seldom fail to remove and punish an oppressive governor.

Their private differences are decided by the archbishop, one of the richest prelates of the Greek church, since he possesses a revenue of one thousand pounds sterling; and by a tribunal of the eight geronti or elders, chosen in the eight quarters of the city: the noble families cannot trace their pedigree above three hundred years; but their principal members are distinguished by a grave demeanour, a fur-cap, and the lofty appellation of archon. By some, who delight in the contrast, the modern language of Athens is represented as the most corrupt and barbarous of the seventy dialects of the vulgar Greek 58 : this picture is too darkly coloured: but it would not be easy, in the country of Plato and Demosthenes, to find a reader, or a copy of their works. The Athenians walk with supine indifference among the glorious ruins of antiquity ; and such is the debasement of their character, that they are incapable of admiring the genius of their predecessors.59

37 The ancients, or at least the Athenians, believed that all the bees in the world had been propagated from Mount Hymettus. They taught, that health might be preserved, and life prolonged, by the external use of oil, and the internal use of honey (Geoponica, 1. xv. c. 7. p. 1089—1094. edit. Niclas.).

58 Ducange, Glossar. Græc. Præfat. p. 8., who quotes for his author Theodosius Zygomalas, a modern grammarian. Yet Spon (tom. ii. p. 194.) and Wheeler (p. 355.), no incompetent judges, entertain a more favourable opinion of ihe Attic dialect.

Sa Yet we must not accuse them of corrupting the name of Athens, which they still call Athini. From the els Thv AOnvnv, we have formed our own barbarism of Setines.*

Gibbon did not foresee a Bavarian prince on the throne of Greece, with Athens as his capital. — M.

CHAP. LXIII.

Civil Wars, and Ruin of the Greek Empire. - Reigns of Andronicus,

the Elder and Younger, and John Palæologus. - Regency, Rerolt, Reign, and Abdication of John Cantacuzene. Establishment of a Genoese Colony at Pera or Galata. - Their Wars with the Empire and City of Constantinople.

Supersti-
tion of An-
dronicus
and the
times,
A. D. 1282

IS20

The long reign of Andronicus? the elder is chiefly memorable

by the disputes of the Greek church, the invasion of the Catalans, and the rise of the Ottoman power. He is celebrated as the most learned and virtuous prince of the age;

but such virtue, and such learning, contributed neither to the perfection of the individual, nor to the happiness of society. A slave of the most abject superstition, he was surrounded on all sides by visible and invisible enemies; nor were the flames of hell less dreadful to his fancy, than those of a Catalan or Turkish

Under the reign of the Palæologi, the choice of the patriarch was the most important business of the state; the heads of the Greek church were ambitious and fanatic monks; and their vices or virtues, their learning or ignorance, were equally mischievous or contemptible. By his intemperate discipline, the patriarch Athanasius 2 excited the hatred of the clergy and people: he was heard to declare, that the sinner should swallow the last dregs of the cup of penance; and the foolish tale was propagated of his punishing a sacrilegious ass that had tasted the lettuce of a convent garden. Driven from the throne by the universal clamour, Athanasius composed before his retreat two papers of a very opposite cast. IIis public testament was in the tone of charity and resignation; the private codicil breathed the direst anathemas against the authors of his disgrace, whom he excluded for ever from the communion of the holy trinity, the angels, and the saints. This last paper he enclosed in an earthen pot, which was placed, by his order, on the top of one of the pillars, in the dome of St Sophia,

war,

1 Andronicus himself will justify our freedom in the invective (Nicephorus Gregoras, 1. i. c. i.) which he pronounced against historic falsehood. It is true, that his ce is more pointedly urged against calumny than against adulation.

? For the anathema in the pigeon's nest, see Pachymer (I. ix. c. 24.), who relates the general history of Athanasius (1. viii. c. 13—16. 20. 24. 1. x. c. 27–29. 31-36. I. xi. c. 1-3, 5, 6. 1. xiii. c. 8. 10. 23. 35.), and is followed by Nicephorus Gregoras (l. vi. c. 5. 7. I. vii. c. 1. 9.), who includes the second retreat of this second Chrysostom.

in the distant hope of discovery and revenge. At the end of four years, some youths, climbing by a ladder in search of pigeons' nests, detected the fatal secret; and, as Andronicus felt himself touched and bound by the excommunication, he trembled on the brink of the abyss which had been so treacherously dug under his feet. A synod of bishops was instantly convened to debate this important question: the rashness of these clandestine anathemas was generally condemned; but as the knot could be untied only by the same hand, as that hand was now deprived of the crosier, it appeared that this posthumous decree was irrevocable by any earthly power. · Some faint testimonies of repentance and pardon were extorted from the author of the mischief; but the conscience of the emperor was still wounded, and he desired, with no less ardour than Athanasius himself, the restoration of a patriarch, by whom alone he could be healed. At the dead of night, a monk rudely knocked at the door of the royal bed-chamber, announcing a revelation of plague and famine, of inundations and earthquakes. Andronicus started from his bed, and spent the night in prayer, till he felt, or thought that he felt, a slight motion of the earth. The emperor on foot led the bishops and monks to the cell of Athanasius; and, after a proper resistance, the saint, from whom this message had been sent, consented to absolve the prince, and govern the church of Constantinople. Untamed by disgrace, and hardened by solitude, the shepherd was again odious to the flock, and his enemies contrived a singular, and, as it proved, a successful, mode of revenge. In the night they stole away the foot-stool or foot-cloth of his throne, which they secretly replaced with the decoration of a satirical picture. The emperor was painted with a bridle in his mouth, and Athanasius leading the tractable beast to the feet of Christ. The authors of the libel were detected and punished; but as their lives had been spared, the Christian priest in sullen indignation retired to his cell; and the eyes of Andronicus, which had been opened for a moment, were again closed by his successor.

If this transaction be one of the most curious and important of a reign of fifty years, I cannot at least accuse the brevity of my materials, since I reduce into some few pages the enormous folios of Pachymer, Cantacuzenet, and Nicephorus Gregoras", who have

* Pachymer, in seven books, 377 folio pages, describes the first twenty-six years of Andronicus the Elder; and marks the date of his composition by the current news or

the day (A. D. 1308). Either death or disgust prevented him from resuming * After an interval of twelve years, from the conclusion of Pachymer, Cantacuzenus takes up the pen; and his first book (c. 1–59. p. 9—150.) relates the civil war, and the eight last years of the elder Andronicus. The ingenious comparison with Moses and Cæsar is fancied by his French translator, the president Cousin. * Nicephorus Gregoras more briefly includes the entire life and reign of Andronicus VOL. VI.

I

lie

the pen.

First disputes between the elder and younger Andronicus,

composed the prolix and languid story of the times. The name and situation of the emperor John Cantacuzene might inspire the most lively curiosity. His memorials of forty years extend from the revolt of the younger Andronicus to his own abdication of the empire ; and it is observed, that, like Moses and Cæsar, he was the principal actor in the scenes which he describes. But in this eloquent work we should vainly seek the sincerity of a hero or a penitent. Retired in a cloister from the vices and passions of the world, he presents not a confession, but an apology, of the life of an ambitious statesman. Instead of unfolding the true counsels and characters of men, he displays the smooth and specious surface of events, highly varnished with his own praises and those of his friends. Their motives are always pure; their ends always legitimate: they conspire and rebel without any views of interest ; and the violence which they inflict or suffer is celebrated as the spontaneous effect of reason and virtue.

After the example of the first of the Palæologi, the elder Andronicus associated his son Michael to the

honours of the purple; and from the age of eighteen to A. D. 1320. his premature death, that prince was acknowledged, above twenty-five years, as the second emperor of the Greeks. At the head of an army, he excited neither the fears of the enemy, nor the jealousy of the court ; his modesty and patience were never tempted to compute the years of his father; nor was that father compelled to repent of his liberality either by the virtues or vices of his son. The son of Michael was named Andronicus from his grandfather, to whose early favour he was introduced by that nominal resemblance. The blossoms of wit and beauty increased the fondness of the elder Andronicus; and, with the common vanity of age, he expected to realise in the second, the hope which had been disappointed in the first, generation. The boy was educated in the palace as an heir and a favourite; and in the oaths and acclamations of the people, the august triad was formed by the names of the father, the son, and the grandson. But the younger Andronicus was speedily corrupted by his infant greatness, while he beheld with puerile impatience the double obstacle that hung, and might long hang, over his rising ambition. It was not to the Elder (1. vi. c. 1. p. 96—291.). This is the part of which Cantacuzene complains as a false and malicious representation of his conduct.

6 He was crowned May 21st, 1295, and died October 12th, 1320 (Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 239.). His brother Theodore, by a second marriage, inherited the marquisate of Montferrat, apostatised to the religion and manners of the Latins (Sti Kal gráuy xal πίστει και σχήματι, και γενείων κουρα και πάσιν έθεσιν Λατίνος ήν ακραιφνής. Νic. Greg. 1. ix. c. 1.), and founded a dynasty of Italian princes, which was extinguished A. D. 1533 (Ducange, Fam. Byz. p. 249--253.).

acquire fame, or to diffuse happiness, that he so eagerly aspired : wealth and impunity were in his eyes the most precious attributes of a monarch ; and his first indiscreet demand was the sovereignty of some rich and fertile island, where he might lead a life of independence and pleasure. The emperor was offended by the loud and frequent intemperance which disturbed his capital; the sums which his parsimony denied were supplied by the Genoese usurers of Pera; and the oppressive debt, which consolidated the interest of a faction, could be discharged only by a revolution.' A beautiful female, à matron in rank, a prostitute in manners, had instructed the younger Andronicus in the rudiments of love; but he had reason to suspect the nocturnal visits of a rival; and a stranger passing through the street was pierced by the arrows of his guards, who were placed in ambush at her door. That stranger was his brother, prince Manuel, who languished and died of his wound; and the emperor Michael, their common father, whose health was in a declining state, expired on the eighth day, lamenting the loss of both his children. However guiltless in his intention, the younger Andronicus might impute a brother's and a father's death to the consequence of his own vices; and deep was the sigh of thinking and feeling men, when they perceived, instead of sorrow and repentance, his ill-dissembled joy on the removal of two odious competitors. By these melancholy events, and the increase of his disorders, the mind of the elder emperor was gradually alienated; and, after many fruitless reproofs, he transferred on another grandson® his hopes and affection. The change was announced by the new oath of allegiance to the reigning sovereign, and the person whom he should appoint for his successor ; and the acknowledged heir, after a repetition of insults and complaints, was exposed to the indignity of a public trial. Before the sentence, which would probably have condemned him to a dungeon or a cell, the emperor was informed that the palace courts were filled with the armed followers of his grandson; the judgment was softened to a treaty of reconciliation; and the triumphant escape of the prince encouraged the ardour of the younger faction.

Yet the capital, the clergy, and the senate, adhered to Three civil the

person, or at least to the government, of the old tween the emperor; and it was only in the provinces, by flight, perors,

? We are indebted to Nicephorus Gregoras (1. viii. c. 1.) for the knowledge of this tragic adventure ; while Cantacuzene more discreetly conceals the vices of Andronicus the Younger, of which he was the witness, and perhaps the associate (I. i. c. 1, &c.).

& His destined heir was Michael Catharus, the bastard of Constantine his second son. In this project of excluding his grandson Andronicus, Nicephorus Gregoras (1. viii. c. 3.) agrees with Cantacuzene (1. i. c. 1, 2.).

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