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without confidence, and war without mercy. Quarter was seldom given in the field; those who escaped the edge of the sword were condemned to hopeless servitude, or cruel torture; and a Catholic emperor relates, with visible satisfaction, the execution of the Saracens of Crete, who were flayed alive, or plunged into caldrons of boiling oil. Vathek negotiated with Michael III. for an exchange of captives. The Christians and the Moslems were drawn up on the banks of the Lamus, near Tarsus. the Arabs 4460 men, 800 women and children, and 100 confederates, were exchanged for an equal number of Greeks; and more might have been redeemed, had not the caliph excluded from the benefit of the cartel all heretics who refused to assert the creation of the Koran. The two bands passed each other on the middle of the bridge, and the shouts of Allah akbar! on the one side, and Kyrie eleison! on the other, announced the grateful tidings that they had joined the respective camps of their countrymen.

Under the feeble successors of Moktader and Rhadi, irruptions were occasionally made into the Grecian territories, both by sea and land; but, in proportion as the Eastern World was convulsed and broken, the Byzantine empire had recovered its prosperity, especially after the accession of the Basilian race, whose wisdom and talents infused a new strength into the government. The lofty titles of the Morning Star and the Death of the Saracens were applied in the public acclamations to Nicephorus Phocas, a sovereign as renowned in the camp as he was unpopular in the city. The twelve years' reign (A. D. 963-975) or military command of this prince,

and of his assassin and successor John Zimisces, the two heroes of the age, form the most splendid period of the Byzantine annals. In a series of bloody combats, they extended their victories from the mountainous defiles of Cappadocia to the deserts of Bagdad. The conquest of Cilicia may be said to have been achieved by the surrender of Masifiya or Mopsuestia, and Tarsus. In the siege of the former city, which was taken by assault, 200,000 Moslems, including probably the inhabitants of the dependent districts, were predestined to death or slavery. Tarsus was reduced by the slow progress of famine. The besieged held out in the hope of succour from Egypt; and no sooner had the Saracens yielded on honourable terms, than they were mortified by the distant view of their supplies, the arrival of which by sea was too late to avail them. The Mohammedan population were dismissed in safety to the confines of Syria, and their places replenished with a colony of Christians.

Having forced and secured the narrow passes of Mount Amanus, the Greeks repeatedly carried their arms into the heart of Syria. Antioch and Aleppo were once more restored to the faith of Christ and the dominion of the Cæsars. Nicephorus, with a strong army, invested the latter place, and having applied his military engines to the walls, he made his attack with great fury. After a fruitless assault of three days, a dissension of the inhabitants left the gates unguarded, and afforded the Greeks an opportunity of entering the town. Vast multitudes of men and women were put to the sword. In the palace the victors seized a well-furnished magazine of arms, a stable of 1400 mules, and 300 bags of silver and

gold. Ten thousand youths of both sexes were led into captivity; the weight of the precious spoil exceeded the strength and number of the beasts of burden; the remainder was consumed with fire, and after a licentious possession of ten days, the Romans abandoned the scene of desolation. In their Syrian inroads, the Greeks reduced more than 100 cities; eighteen pulpits of the principal mosques were committed to the flames, to expiate the sacrilege of the disciples of Mohammed. On the shifting scene of conquest, the names of Hierapolis, Apamea, Emesa, Acre, and Baalbec, again appear. The Emperor Zimisces encamped in the Paradise of Damascus, where he accepted the ransom of a submissive people; and the torrent was only stopt at the impregnable fortress of Tripoli, on the Phoenician coast.

From the passage of Mount Taurus to the Persian Gulf, the Euphrates had been impervious to the Greeks since the days of Heraclius. It was crossed by the victorious Zimisces; and the historian may imitate the speed with which he overran the once famous cities of Samosata, Edessa, Martyropolis, Amida, and Nisibis, the ancient limit of the Roman empire in the neighbourhood of the Tigris. His ardour was quickened by the desire of grasping the imaginary wealth of the Abbassides in their own capital. But Bagdad was relieved of its apprehensions by his sudden retreat. Satiated with glory and laden with plunder, Zimisces returned to Constantinople, where he displayed in his triumph the silks and aromatics of Asia, with 300 myriads of gold and silver. The Saracen states recovered from the effects of this transient hurricane. On the departure of the Greeks the fugitive princes return

ed to their capitals; the Nestorian and Jacobite Christians broke their involuntary oaths and exchanged their allegiance; while the Moslems again purified their temples, and overturned the images of the saints and martyrs. Antioch, with the towns of Cilicia and the isle of Cyprus, were the only permanent and useful accessions to the Byzantine territories of all the imperial conquests in the East.

But the recovery of so many cities and provinces added nothing to the exhausted power of the Abbassides; and, in contemplating the falling fabric of their greatness, it is easy to discover the principal causes which hastened that catastrophe. When the Arabian conquerors had spread themselves over distant countries, and were mingled with the servile crowds of Persia, Syria, and Egypt, they insensibly lost the hardy and martial virtues of the desert. The Turks and Tartars, who dwelt northward of the Oxus and the Jaxartes, possessed the daring enterprise peculiar to their climate; and from their hordes the mercenary forces of the caliphs were frequently recruited. Those robust youths, either taken in war or purchased in trade, were educated in the exercises of the field and the profession of the Mohammedan faith. From being slaves they were embodied into household troops, and placed in arms round the throne of their benefactor. Motassem was the first that introduced the dangerous expedient of Turkish guards, of whom he received above 50,000 into his capital. If his own troops had been factious, the foreign militia to whom he had intrusted his person proved still more refractory. From protectors they soon became lords over the Commander of the Faithful, usurping dominion both in the palace and in the

provinces. Their licentious conduct provoked the public indignation, and may be regarded as one leading cause of detaching the Moslems from the allegiance which was due to their lawful sovereigns, and ultimately of subverting the throne.

Another formidable enemy to the stability of the Abbassides was the religious sect of the Karmathians, who sprang up in the vicinity of Cufa about the 277th year of the Hejira. Their founder was an Arabian fanatic of the name of Karmath, who assumed to himself many lofty and incomprehensible titles, The Guide, The Demonstration, The Word, The Holy Ghost, The Camel. He affected great sanctity and strictness of life; claimed to be the herald of the Messiah, the representative of John the Baptist, Gabriel, and the imams descended from Ali. He altered the established forms of worship; relaxed the duties of ablution and fasting; permitted the use of wine and forbidden foods; preached against the utility of the pilgrimage; and enjoined his disciples to pray fifty times daily. He chose twelve apostles to govern his flock and propagate his doctrines; and such was the success of these missionaries among the Bedouins as to threaten Arabia with a new revolution. From Bahrein and the shores of the Persian Gulf, these zealots spread their conquests far and wide, over Chaldea, Syria, and Mesopotamia. As they disowned the title and abhorred the worldly pomp of the caliphs, they persecuted their subjects with the bitterest hostility.

Many a bloody conflict ensued; but the mercenaries of Bagdad were terrified to face an enemy 107,000 strong, who neither asked nor accepted quar


The cities of Racca, Baalbec, Cufa, and Bus

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