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A. D. 1355,
moderation of Cantacuzene has not escaped the reproach of timidity and indolence. He successively recovered the provinces and cities; and the realm of his pupil was measured by the walls of Constantinople; but the metropolis alone counterbalanced the rest of the empire; nor could he attempt that important conquest till he had secured in his favour the public voice and a private corHe re-en- respondence. An Italian, of the name of Facciolati 32, had succeeded to the office of great duke: the ships, the D. 1347, guards, and the golden gate, were subject to his command; January 8. but his humble ambition was bribed to become the instrument of treachery; and the revolution was accomplished without danger or bloodshed. Destitute of the powers of resistance, or the hope of relief, the inflexible Anne would have still defended the palace, and have smiled to behold the capital in flames, rather than in the possession of a rival. She yielded to the prayers of her friends and enemies; and the treaty was dictated by the conqueror, who professed a loyal and zealous attachment to the son of his benefactor. The marriage of his daughter with John Palæologus was at length consummated: the hereditary right of the pupil was acknowledged; but the sole administration during ten years was vested in the guardian. Two emperors and three empresses were seated on the Byzantine throne; and a general amnesty quieted the apprehensions, and confirmed the property, of the most guilty subjects. The festival of the coronation and nuptials was celebrated with the appearances of concord and magnificence, and both were equally fallacious. During the late troubles, the treasures of the state, and even the furniture of the palace, had been alienated or embezzled; the royal banquet was served in pewter or earthenware; and such was the proud poverty of the times, that the absence of gold and jewels was supplied by the paltry artifices of glass and giltleather.33
I hasten to conclude the personal history of John Cantacuzene.34 He triumphed and reigned; but his reign and triumph were clouded by the discontent of his own and the adverse faction. His followers might style the
The traitor and treason are revealed by Nic. Gregoras (l. xv. c. 8.): but the name is more discreetly suppressed by his great accomplice (Cantacuzen. 1. iii. c. 99.).
33 Nic. Greg. 1. xv. 11. There were however some true pearls, but very thinly sprinkled. The rest of the stones had only παντοδαπὴν χροιὰν πρὸς τὸ διαυγές.
34 From his return to Constantinople, Cantacuzene continues his history and that of the empire, one year beyond the abdication of his son Matthew, A. D. 1357 (l. iv. c. 1-50. p. 705-911.). Nicephorus Gregoras ends with the synod of Constantinople, in the year 1351 (1. xxii. c. 3. p. 660.; the rest, to the conclusion of the xxivth book, p. 717. is all controversy); and his fourteen last books are still MSS. in the king of France's library.
general amnesty an act of pardon for his enemies, and of oblivion for his friends 35: in his cause their estates had been forfeited or plundered; and as they wandered naked and hungry through the streets, they cursed the selfish generosity of a leader, who, on the throne of the empire, might relinquish without merit his private inheritance. The adherents of the empress blushed to hold their lives and fortunes by the precarious favour of an usurper; and the thirst of revenge was concealed by a tender concern for the succession, and even the safety, of her son. They were justly alarmed by a petition of the friends of Cantacuzene, that they might be released from their oath of allegiance to the Palæologi; and entrusted with the defence of some cautionary towns; a measure supported with argument and eloquence; and which was rejected (says the Imperial historian)" by my sublime, and almost incredible virtue." His repose was disturbed by the sound of plots and seditions; and he trembled lest the lawful prince should be stolen away by some foreign or domestic enemy, who would inscribe his name and his wrongs in the banners of rebellion. As the son of Andronicus advanced in the years of manhood, he began to feel and to act for himself; and his rising ambition was rather stimulated than checked by the imitation of his father's vices. If we may trust his own professions, Cantacuzene laboured with honest industry to correct these sordid and sensual appetites, and to raise the mind of the young prince to a level with his fortune. In the Servian expedition, the two emperors showed themselves in cordial harmony to the troops and provinces; and the younger colleague was initiated by the elder in the mysteries of war and government. After the conclusion of the peace, Palæologus was left at Thessalonica, a royal residence, and a frontier station, to secure by his absence the peace of Constantinople, and to withdraw his youth from the temptations of a luxurious capital. But the distance weakened the powers of control, and the son of Andronicus was surrounded with artful or unthinking companions, who taught him to hate his guardian, to deplore his exile, and to vindicate his rights. A private treaty with the cral or despot of Servia was soon followed by an open revolt; and Cantacuzene, on the throne of the elder Andronicus, defended the cause of age and prerogative, which in his youth he had so vigorously attacked. At his request the empress-mother undertook the voyage of Thessalonica, and the office of mediation: she returned without success; and unless Anne of Savoy was in
The emperor (Cantacuzen. 1. iv. c. 1.) represents his own virtues, and Nic. Gregoras (1. xv. c. 11.) the complaints of his friends, who suffered by its effects. I have lent them the words of our poor cavaliers after the Restoration.
moderation of Cantacuzene has not escaped the reproach
Europe, ad been
ne isle of victor to a ..nd the asso
the purple, acuzeni. But of her ancient ation of the righte of Palæologus, the revolution with iliaries. Under the the lesser port; a gate ife and victory to the
1 by a general rising y yet adhered to the : his history (does he rajected the assurance voice of religion and and embraced with So soon as he ceased - unwilling that he his life was devoted Constantinople and
milates, with visible more honest, . 268.)
of India 39, and
ersuaded, that in
was honoured with a letter from the pope (Fleury, is death is placed by a respectable authority on the Fam. Byzant. p. 260.). But if he were of the age e Younger, he must have lived 116 years; a rare o illustrious a person would have attracted universal
oks, were printed at Basil 1543 (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. ed them to satisfy a proselyte who was assaulted with ahan. Cantacuzene had read the Koran: but I underadopts the vulgar prejudices and fables against Mahomet
rnier, tom. i. p. 127.
Hist. Eccles. p. 522, 523. Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom
John Palæologus takes up arms
structed by adversity, we may doubt the sincerity, or at least the fervour, of her zeal. While the regent grasped the sceptre with a firm and vigorous hand, she had been instructed to declare, that the ten years of his legal administration would soon elapse; and that, after a full trial of the vanity of the world, the emperor Cantacuzene sighed for the repose of a cloister, and was ambitious only of a heavenly crown. Had these sentiments been genuine, his voluntary abdication would have restored the peace of the empire, and his conscience would have been relieved by an act of justice. Palæologus alone was responsible for his future government; and whatever might be his vices, they were surely less formidable than the calamities of a civil war, in which the Barbarians and infidels were again invited to assist the A. D. 1353. Greeks in their mutual destruction. By the arms of the Turks, who now struck a deep and everlasting root in Europe, Cantacuzene prevailed in the third contest in which he had been involved; and the young emperor, driven from the sea and land, was compelled to take shelter among the Latins of the isle of Tenedos. His insolence and obstinacy provoked the victor to a step which must render the quarrel irreconcilable; and the association of his son Matthew, whom he invested with the purple, established the succession in the family of the Cantacuzeni. But Constantinople was still attached to the blood of her ancient princes; and this last injury accelerated the restoration of the rightful heir. A noble Genoese espoused the cause of Palæologus, obtained a promise of his sister, and achieved the revolution with two galleys and two thousand five hundred auxiliaries. Under the pretence of distress, they were admitted into the lesser port; a gate was opened, and the Latin shout of, "Long life and victory to the "emperor, John Palæologus!" was answered by a general rising in his favour. A numerous and loyal party yet adhered to the standard of Cantacuzene: but he asserts in his history (does he hope for belief?) that his tender conscience rejected the assurance of conquest; that, in free obedience to the voice of religion and philosophy, he descended from the throne, and embraced with pleasure the monastic habit and profession." So soon as he ceased Abdication to be a prince, his successor was not unwilling that he should be a saint: the remainder of his life was devoted January. to piety and learning; in the cells of Constantinople and
36 The awkward apology of Cantacuzene (1. iv. c. 39–42.), who relates, with visible confusion, his own downfall, may be supplied by the less accurate, but more honest, narratives of Matthew Villani (1. iv. c. 46. in the Script. Rerum Ital. tom. xiv. p. 268.) and Ducas (c. 10, 11.).