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eoncerning con- the light of
Mount Athos, the monk Joasaph was respected as the temporal and spiritual father of the emperor; and if he issued from his retreat, it was as the minister of peace, to subdue the obstinacy, and solicit the pardon, of his rebellious son.31
Yet in the cloister, the mind of Cantacuzene was still Dispute exercised by theological war. He sharpened a troversial pen against the Jews and Mahometans 38 ; and Thabor, in every state he defended with equal zeal the divine 1341–1351. light of Mount Thabor, a memorable question which consummates the religious follies of the Greeks. The fakirs of India 39, and the monks of the Oriental church, were alike persuaded, that in total abstraction of the faculties of the mind and body, the purer spirit may ascend to the enjoyment and vision of the Deity. The opinion and practice of the monasteries of Mount Athos 40 will be best represented in the words of an abbot, who flourished in the eleventh century.
“ When thou art alone in thy cell,” says the ascetic teacher, “shut thy door, and seat thyself in a corner: “raise thy mind above all things vain and transitory; recline thy “ beard and chin on thy breast; turn thy eyes and thy thought “ towards the middle of thy belly, the region of the navel; and “ search the place of the heart, the seat of the soul. At first, all “ will be dark and comfortless; but if you persevere day and night, “ you will feel an ineffable joy; and no sooner has the soul dis" covered the place of the heart, than it is involved in a mystic “ and etherial light.” This light, the production of a distempered fancy, the creature of an empty stomach and an empty brain, was adored by the Quietists as the pure and perfect essence of God himself; and as long as the folly was confined to Mount Athos, the simple solitaries were not inquisitive how the divine essence could be a material substance, or how an immaterial substance could be perceived by the eyes of the body. But in the reign of the younger Andronicus, these monasteries were visited
5 Cantacuzene, in the year 1375, was honoured with a letter from the pope (Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 250.). His death is placed by a respectable authority on the 20th of November 1411 (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 260.). But if he were of the age of his companion Andronicus the Younger, he must bave lived 116 years; a rare instance of longevity, which in so illustrious a person would have attracted universal notice.
* His four discourses, or books, were printed at Basil 1543 (Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 473.). He composed them to satisfy a proselyte who was assaulted with letters from his friends of Ispahan. Cantacuzene had read the Koran: but I understand from Maracci, that he adopts the vulgar prejudices and fables against Mahomet and his religion.
** See the Voyages de Bernier, tom. i. p. 127.
4 Mosheim, Institut. Hist. Eccles. p. 522, 523. Fleury, Hist. Ecclés. tom. xx. p. 22. 24, 107–114, &c. The former unfolds the causes with the judgment of a philosopher, the latter transcribes and translates with the prejudices of a Catholic priest. VOL. VI.
by Barlaam “, a Calabrian monk, who was equally skilled in philosophy and theology; who possessed the languages of the Greeks and Latins; and whose versatile genius could maintain their opposite creeds, according to the interest of the moment. The indiscretion of an ascetic revealed to the curious traveller the secrets of mental prayer; and Barlaam embraced the opportunity of ridiculing the Quietists, who placed the soul in the navel; of accusing the monks of Mount Athos of heresy and blasphemy. His attack compelled the more learned to renounce or dissemble the simple devotion of their brethren; and Gregory Palamas introduced a scholastic distinction between the essence and operation of God. His inaccessible essence dwells in the midst of an uncreated and eternal light; and this beatific vision of the saints had been manifested to the disciples on Mount Thabor, in the transfiguration of Christ. Yet this distinction could not escape the reproach of polytheism; the eternity of the light of Thabor was fiercely denied; and Barlaam still charged the Palamites with holding two eternal substances, a visible and an invisible God. From the rage of the monks of Mount Athos, who threatened his life, the Calabrian retired to Constantinople, where his smooth and specious manners introduced him to the favour of the great domestic and the emperor. The court and the city were involved in this theological dispute, which flamed amidst the civil war; but the doctrine of Barlaam was disgraced by his flight and apostasy : the Palamites triumphed; and their adversary, the patriarch John of Apri, was deposed by the consent of the adverse factions of the state. In the character of emperor and theologian, Cantacuzene presided in the synod of the Greek church, which established, as an article of faith, the uncreated light of Mount Thabor; and, after so many insults, the reason of mankind was slightly wounded by the addition of a single absurdity. Many rolls of paper or parchment have been blotted: and the impenitent sectaries, who refused to subscribe the orthodox creed, were deprived of the honours of Christian burial; but in the next age the question was forgotten; nor can I learn that' theo axe or the fagot were employed for the extirpation of the Barlaamite heresy.42
" Basnage (in Canisii Antiq. Lectiones, tom. iv. p. 363_368.) has investigated the character and story of Barlaam. The duplicity of his opinions had inspired some doubts of the identity of his person. See likewise Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. tom. I. p. 427-432.).
12 See Cantacuzene (1. ii. c. 39, 40. I. iv. c. 3. 23, 24, 25.), and Nic. Gregoras (1. xi. c. 10. I. xv. 3. 7, &c.), whose last books, from the xixth to the xxivth, are almost confined to a subject so interesting to the authors. Boivin (in Vit. Nic. Gregoræ), from the unpublished books, and Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. tom. x. p. 462—473.), or rather
For the conclusion of this chapter, I have reserved the Genoese war, which shook the throne of Cantacuzene, mentor and betrayed the debility of the Greek empire. The more at Genoese, who, after the recovery of Constantinople, were seated in the suburb of Pera or Galata, received that 1261—1347. honourable fief from the bounty of the emperor. They were indulged in the use of their laws and magistrates ; but they submitted to the duties of vassals and subjects: the forcible word of liegemen *3 was borrowed from the Latin jurisprudence; and their podesta, or chief, before he entered on his office, saluted the emperor with loyal acclamations and vows of fidelity. Genoa sealed a firm alliance with the Greeks; and, in case of a defensive war, a supply of fifty empty galleys and a succour of fifty galleys, completely armed and manned, was promised by the republic to the empire. In the revival of a naval force, it was the aim of Michael Palæologus to deliver himself from a foreign aid; and his vigorous government contained the Genoese of Galata within those limits which the insolence of wealth and freedom provoked them to exceed. A sailor threatened that they should soon be masters of Constantinople, and slew the Greek who resented this national affront; and an armed vessel, after refusing to salute the palace, was guilty of some acts of piracy in the Black Sea. Their countrymen threatened to support their cause ; but the long and open village of Galata was instantly surrounded by the Imperial troops ; till, in the moment of the assault, the prostrate Genoese implored the clemency of their sovereign. The defenceless situation which secured their obedience exposed them to the attack of their Venetian rivals, who, in the reign of the elder Andronicus, presumed to violate the majesty of the throne. On the approach of their fleets, the Genoese, with their families and effects, retired into the city: their empty habitations were reduced to ashes; and the feeble prince, who had viewed the destruction of his suburb, expressed his resentment, not by arms, but by ambassadors. This misfortune, however, was advantageous to the Genoese, who obtained, arid imperceptibly abused, the dangerous of licence surrounding Galata with a strong wall; of introducing into the ditch the waters of the sea; of erecting lofty turrets; and of mounting a train of military engines on the rampart. The narrow bounds in which they had been circumscribed were insufficient for Montfaucon, from the MSS. of the Coislin library, have added some facts and docu." Pachymer (1. v. c. 10.) very properly explains nicious (ligios) by idious. The use of these words in the Greek and Latin of the feudal times may be amply understood from the Glossaries of Ducange (Græc. p: 811, 812. Latin. tom. iv. p. 109–111.).
the growing colony ; each day they acquired some addition of landed property; and the adjacent hills were covered with their villas and castles, which they joined and protected by new fortifications.44 The navigation and trade of the Euxine was the patrimony of the Greek emperors, who commanded the narrow entrance, the gates, as it were, of that inland sea. In the reign of Michael Palæologus, their prerogative was acknowledged by the sultan of Egypt, who solicited and obtained the liberty of sending an annual ship for the purchase of slaves in Circassia and the Lesser Tartary: a liberty pregnant with mischief to the Chris. tian cause; since these youths were transformed by education and discipline into the formidable Mamalukes. From the colony of Their trade Pera, the Genoese engaged with superior advantage in
the lucrative trade of the Black Sea ; and their industry supplied the Greeks with fish and corn; two articles of food almost equally important to a superstitious people. The spontaneous bounty of nature appears to have bestowed the harvests of the Ukraine, the produce of a rude and savage husbandry; and the endless exportation of salt-fish and caviar is annually renewed by the enormous sturgeons that are caught at the mouth of the Don or Tanais, in their last station of the rich mud and shallow water of the Mæotis.46 The waters of the Oxus, the Caspian, the Volga, and the Don, opened a rare and laborious passage for the gems and spices of India ; and after three months' march the caravans of Carizme met the Italian vessels in the harbours of Crimæa.47 These various branches of trade were monopolised by the diligence and power
of the Genoese. Their rivals of Venice and Pisa were forcibly expelled ; the natives were awed by the castles and cities, which arose on the foundations of their humble factories ; and their principal establishment of Caffa 48 was besieged without
44 The establishment and progress of the Genoese at Pera, or Galata, is described by Ducange (C. P. Christiana, 1. i. p. 68, 69.) from the Byzantine historians, Pachymer (1. ii. c. 35. I. v. 10. 30. 1. ix. 15. 1. xii. 6. 9.), Nicephorus Gregoras (l. v. c. 4. 1. vi. c. 11. 1. ix. c. 5. 1. xi. c. 1. 1. xv. c. 1. 6.), and Cantacuzene (1. i. c. 12. 1. ii. c. 29, &c.).
45 Both Pachymer (1. iii. c. 3, 4, 5.) and Nic. Greg. (1. iv. c. 7.) understand and deplore the effects of this dangerous indulgence. Bibars, sultan of Egypt, himself a Tartar, but a devout Musulman, obtained from the children of Zingis the permission to build a stately mosque in the capital of Crimea (De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. iii. p. 343.).
46 Chardin (Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 48.) was assured at Caffa, that these fishes were sometimes twenty-four or twenty-six feet long, weighed eight or nine hundred pounds, and yielded three or four quintals of caviar. The corn of the Bosphorus had supplied the Athenians in the time of Demosthenes.
47 De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ïü. p. 343, 344. Viaggi di Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 400. But this land or water carriage could only be practicable when Tartary was united under a wise and powerful monarch.
18 Nic. Gregoras (1. xiii. c. 12.) is judicious and well-informed on the trade and colonies of the Black Sea. Chardin describes the present ruins of Cafla, where, in
effect by the Tartar powers. Destitute of a navy, the Greeks were oppressed by these haughty merchants, who fed, or famished, Constantinople, according to their interest. They proceeded to usurp the customs, the fishery, and even the toll, of the Bosphorus ; and while they derived from these objects a revenue of two hundred thousand pieces of gold, a remnant of thirty thousand was reluctantly allowed to the emperor.49 The colony of Pera or Galata acted, in peace and war, as an independent state ; and, as it will happen in distant settlements, the Genoese podesta too often forgot that he was the servant of his own masters.
These usurpations were encouraged by the weakness of the elder Andronicus, and by the civil wars that witpetbe afflicted his age and the minority of his grandson. The Cenacutalents of Cantacuzene were employed to the ruin, rather than the restoration, of the empire; and after his domestic victory, he was condemned to an ignominious trial, whether the Greeks or the Genoese should reign in Constantinople. The merchants of Pera were offended by his refusal of some contiguous lands, some commanding heights, which they proposed to cover with new fortifications; and in the absence of the emperor, who was detained at Demotica by sickness, they ventured to brave the debility of a female reign. A Byzantine vessel, which had presumed to fish at the mouth of the harbour, was sunk by these audacious strangers; the fishermen were murdered. Instead of suing for pardon, the Genoese demanded satisfaction; required, in an haughty strain, that the Greeks should renounce the exercise of navigation; and encountered with regula rarms the first sallies of the popular indignation. They instantly occupied the debatable land; and by the labour of a whole people, of either sex and of every age, the wall was raised, and the ditch was sunk, with incredible speed. At the same time, they attacked and burnt two Byzantine galleys; while the three others, the remainder of the Imperial navy, escaped from their hands: the habitations without the gates, or along the shore, were pillaged and destroyed; and the care of the regent, of the empress Irene, was confined to the preservation of the city. The return of Cantacuzene dispelled the public consternation: the emperor inclined to peaceful counsels ; but he yielded to the obstinacy of his enemies, who rejected all reasonable terms, and to the ardour of his subjects, who threatened, in the style of Scripture, to break
forty days, he saw above 400 sail employed in the corn and fish trade (Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 46–48. ).
49 See Nic. Gregoras, l. xvii. c. 1.