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case of some of them the number of favorites not wives, with whom cohabitation is lawful as it was in the tents of the Patriarchs, affects in no wise the religious privileges or the domestic authority of the legitimate wives of the sultans or the princesses of the imperial household. These wives or these princesses occupy in the enclosures, always immense, of the winter palace, in the capital, or the summer palace in the country, isolated palaces in the middle of the garden-palaces in which they are each served by a court of attendants, of eunuchs, of slaves attached to the household. Their luxury equals that of the Sultan, their master, who visits by turns, according to duty or affection, these different colonies of his family. The occupations, the rivalries, the intrigues, the manners and the amusements of these princesses may be divulged by them with entire freedom within the precincts of the family circle.

XLV. It may be conceived how naturally this cloister life of the East, which concentrates loose thoughts, pleasures, passions and rivalries in the narrow precincts of a seraglio, must tend to give fertility, but at the same time intensity and ferocity, to the jealousies, the ambitions, the intrigues of a seraglio inhabited by princesses, the wives of the same husband, mothers of rival children, of whom the fortune or the failure will bring them one day glory or grief.

It is to satisfy by turns the passions of the three princesses of Sinope, of Servia and of Transylvania, his consorts, partaking from the depths of their seraglio in the ambitions of their three families, and jealous of humbling each other reciprocally by the arms- of the Sultan, that Amurath II. had gained or lost so many battles on the Danube and the Black Sea. He had the heart, but also the weaknesses of heroes. It is thought that repentance of these foibles for the three princesses, and more especially for Mara, the youngest and most seductive of them, and the desire of guarding himself against omnipotence placed at the service of love, were among the secret causes of his abdication. Age had not yet deadened in him either his vices or his virtues. He was but forty when he descended from the throne.

Before quitting his palace of Adrianople, he formed Vol. II.-3

round his son, Mahomet II., a council of government composed of jurists and of warriors, who had given him, during his conquests and his reverses, the most unequivocal evidences of attachment, of talents and of virtue. His grand vizier Khalil-Pasha remained the eye and arm of this divan. The Molla Kesrew, an old man consummate in jurisprudence, was made grand judge of the army, a living discipline of which the authority allowed no weakness nor partiality.

After thus providing calmly for the destiny of the empire, he turned attention to his own, and to guard himself against the ingratitude of his son and his ministers, he reserved to himself for life the sovereignty and revenues of three of the finest pastoral provinces of his empire in Asia : the province of Mentescha, that of Saroukhan, that of Aiden, on which depended Caria, Meonia, Ionia, the valleys, the coasts, the gulfs of Smyrna, and, in fine, the Asiatic Tempé, the incomparable valley of Magnesia, whose edifices, gardens, mosques, fountains, cypresses, detaching at this day their cupolas, their aqueducts, their foliage, upon a sky of sapphire, reminds the traveller or the historian of this other Salona of another Diocletian.



SCARCE had Amurath II. retired into his glory and his repose beneath the cypresses of the ruined palace of Magnesia, with his wives, his harem, his pages, and some high officials of his court more attached to the man than to the monarch, than the Pope, the Hungarians, the Poles, the Transylvanians, the Servians, the Germans of Sigismund, seeing the throne occupied by a child and the empire at the mercy of chance, bestirred themselves at the call of the implacable Huniad, and renewed the league of the Christian princes so ably dissolved by the generous policy of Amurath.

It must be said to the glory of the Ottomans and to the shame of the Italian and German policy of this epoch, it was honorable to Amurath to have believed in the good faith of Christendom, it was infamous in Christendom to have deceived the good faith of the Turks. All historians, without exception, who have had to treat of this page of history, even those who have the most avowed partiality for Huniad and the policy of the Court of Rome, such as the Abbé Mignot and M. de Salabery, stigmatize the disloyalty and condemn the perjury of the confederates absolved from the violation of their plighted faith and concluded truce by a brief of the Pope.

"Pope Eugenius IV.," says the Abbé Mignot in his annals, “sent Cardinal Julian Cæsarini legate to Hungary, to quiet the scruples of King Ladislas, and to explain to him that an oath, however sacred it might be, does not bind towards infidels, and that it would be doing a work agreeable to God to perjure one's self with a view to exterminate those who offend him. In fine, a brief of absolution of Eugenius IV., the sophisms of his legate ambassador Cæsarini, the love of vainglory, false zeal, superstition, stifled in the heart of Ladislas the cry of conscience and the sentiment of equity."


To sanction this sacred Machiavelism of the Court of Rome, the legate Cæsarini, the Venetian sub-legate, and an envoy of the Duke of Burgundy promised to Huniad the Kingdom of Bulgaria for his part of the spoils. The conscience of the Hungarian hero, a moment shocked, gave way before ambition.

He carried with him the young King Ladislas, his ward, with a Hungarian army, as if to shelter his own perjury behind that of his king. The chief of the Wallachians, Drakul, after long hesitation, joined the confederates. The allied

army, commanded by Huniad, rallied and fortified by the Wallachians, crossed the Danube upon two raft bridges, which seemed to transport the whole population from one bank of the river to the other. Ten thousand chariots followed the army. “It seemed,” relates Chalcondyle, " as if each combatant was carrying his house, his family, and his flocks in his train.”

The junction of this army and of the Wallachians of Drakul was effected in the plain of Nicopolis. The predictions of a Bulgarian prophetess, and an earthquake that shook the banks of the Danube beneath the feet of this host, astonished and suspended for a moment the army. Drakul, impressed with a sinister presentiment, beheld in it a declaration of Heaven against the perjury of the confederates. A violent quarrel arose in the council of war between him and Huniad, who wished to brave, in order to gratify his hatred, at once justice and the elements. Drakul drew his sabre and challenged to single combat the chief of the confederates. He was disarmed, and the two warriors were forced to swear oblivion of this offence.

The army following slowly the right bank of the river, for fear of missing its way in the narrow defiles of Servia, rounded the Balkans, fired indifferently, on the way, the Greek and Ottoman villages, considering as the Pope's enemies as well the heretic Christians of Bulgaria as the Mussulmans. Huniad, who went before them at the head of three thousand Hungarian cavalry, the flower of this crusade, debouched at last on the border of the Black Sea at Varna. He encamped the entire army at the bottom of this gulf formed by two capes advanced into the sea, of which the one bears Varna, the other Gallata or Kalliacré. A broad and deep marsh separates in the basin of the gulf these two Greek towns. Huniad, after having reposed his army at that extremity of the Balkans which dips and disappears into the sea, hoped to follow still the coast along to the mouth of the Bosphorus, to leave Constantinople on the left, to penetrate into Thrace by the Greek defiles of Belgrade, to fall upon Adrianople, to efface it from the map of Europe, to sweep the Turks from Gallipoli, from Salonica, from Epirus, and return victor and King of Bulgaria, his sway confounded with Hungary and Poland. The absence of Amurath II. had given him this audacity; the unexpected presence of the Ottoman hero dispelled it.


Amurath II., informed by his vizier, Khalil, of the league formed against the empire by the Pope and by Huniad, of the passage of the Danube, and of the peril of his son, had not hesitated to resume, not the empire, but the command of the army which was to carry the empire in its ranks. As prompt as Ilderim his ancestor, and also more fortunate, he had assembled in a few days in the plains of Nicomedia, by forced marches, all the troops disseminated throughout Asia, and all the garrisons of Salonica, of Thrace, and of Adrianople. One hundred thousand combatants, well disciplined, and devoted to death to save the empire, were assembled round his tents at Nicomedia. Having small confidence in the honesty of the Greeks of Constantinople, he preferred trusting himself to the Genoese of the Euxine to transport his army across the Bosphorus, which separated him from Huniad.

The Genoese, happy to serve the Turks against their 'enemies the Venetians leagued with Huniad, sent all their vessels and all their boats to the extremity of the Asiatic Bosphorus, and transported in a few days across this narrow sea the one hundred thousand men of the Sultan to the side of Europe. Amurath II., once landed upon the beach which Huniad must follow to avoid the inaccessible steeps of the Balkans, marched to meet the crusaders in order to

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