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The Loss of the S. S. Titanic: Its Story and Its Lessons By Lawrence Beesley Characters: 33603

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


Bayezid succeeded his father, Murad, at the age of thirty-four. He reigned as Sultan for only fourteen years, the last of which was spent in captivity. No one of the Othman race passed through such vicissitudes, with such a brilliant career of victory during nearly the whole of his reign, but ending with overwhelming and crushing defeat. He had all the courage and military capacity of his three predecessors. He excelled them greatly in cruelty and brutality. In his private life he descended to depths of sensuality and unmentionable and degrading vice which were unknown to them.

Early in his reign he adopted a much bolder attitude toward the Christian Powers of Europe than Murad had thought prudent. To a deputation from Italy asking for a renewal of commercial privileges, he replied that when he had conquered Hungary he intended to ride to Rome, and there give feed to his horse with oats on the altar of St. Peter's. His treatment of his Christian subjects was much harsher than that of his predecessors.

Bayezid followed up his father's great victory at Kossova over the Serbians, and compelled Stephen, the successor of Lazar, to sue for peace. The terms of the treaty then agreed to were very moderate. Instead of being incorporated in the Ottoman Empire as Bulgaria had been, Serbia was to be an autonomous State, under vassalage to the Ottoman Empire, paying tribute in money, and bound to provide and maintain a contingent of five thousand soldiers at the disposal of the Sultan. Stephen, its prince, also gave his sister, Despina, to the Sultan as an additional wife. He most loyally carried out his promises to Bayezid. In the great battles of Nicopolis against the Hungarians and the crusaders from Western Europe, and of Angora against Timur, the Serbian contingent fought with the utmost bravery, and there were no more loyal soldiers in the Ottoman ranks.

Having come to terms with Serbia, Bayezid marched southwards with his army, and took up a menacing position near to Constantinople, where the aged and feeble John Pal?ologus still reigned, supported by his son Manuel as co-Emperor. By threatening to promote the cause of Andronicus, whose eyesight had not been quite extinguished, after his mad rebellion against the Emperor, the Sultan compelled the two Emperors to sign a treaty, under which the remnant of the Greek Empire became an abject vassal State to that of the Ottomans. The Emperors promised to pay an annual tribute of thirty thousand pieces of gold and to supply a contingent of twelve thousand men to the Ottoman army to be at the disposal of the Sultan for any purpose he might design. They also undertook to surrender to the Ottomans the stronghold of Philadelphia, the only remaining possession of the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor. When the officer in command of that city refused to surrender it, Bayezid insisted on the Greek Emperor employing his contingent in capturing his own city, and on his leading the assault on it, with the aid of his son Manuel, for the purpose of handing it over to himself, their nominal ally, but crafty and designing foe. It would be difficult to imagine a lower depth of humiliation and cowardice than that to which the Emperor and his son thus descended. These public humiliations were aggravated by a domestic one. Bayezid, having captured at sea a vessel bringing a foreign princess as a bride for Manuel, took a great fancy for the lady, and insisted on her entering his own harem.

Bayezid next turned his attention to Asia Minor, where he was mainly ambitious to add to his Empire. His first effort there was directed against Aidin. After defeating its Emir and annexing the State, he dealt in the same way with the Emirs of Sarukhan and Mentsche. He then made an attack on the city of Smyrna, at that time in possession of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The Knights made a vigorous resistance, and Bayezid, not having command of the sea, was compelled, after six weeks, to withdraw from the siege. He next, in 1391, attacked the Emir of Tekke, and took from him what had been left under his rule by Murad, including the important city of Adalia. The Ottoman frontier was now conterminous with that of Karamania, whose Emir, Alaeddin, was brother-in-law to the Sultan. This family connection was no protection to him. Bayezid invaded and laid siege to Konia. He withdrew on Alaeddin agreeing to give up a slice of his Emirate, including the city of Ak-Sheir.

Having achieved these annexations, for which there was no justification other than mere greed for the extension of his Empire, Bayezid returned to Adrianople, leaving his general, Timurtash, in command of the conquered provinces. The Greek Emperor John, meanwhile, had been engaged in putting his capital into a state of defence, and for this purpose had demolished three of the most beautiful churches of Constantinople, intending to use their masonry for the erection of new forts. The Sultan, when he heard of this, sent word to the Emperors ordering them to desist from any such work, and threatening to deprive Manuel of his eyesight. The Emperor had no alternative but to obey. But this humiliation was the last he had to endure. He died very shortly afterwards, under the weight of his cares and anxieties, as some historians say, but according to others of gout and debauchery. His son, Manuel, who was detained at the Court of the Sultan, acting as a kind of Groom of the Chamber, on hearing of his father's death, secretly fled and reached Constantinople, where he was installed as the successor to his father. Bayezid by way of reprisal for this directed a blockade by land of Constantinople. There commenced what was virtually a siege by land of the city, which lasted for seven years, till the invasion of Asia Minor by Timur caused a diversion and brought it to an end.

Leaving a part of his forces to conduct this blockade, and with instructions to harass the Greek garrison by day and night, Bayezid, with the larger part of his army, marched through Bulgaria, and compelled the Prince of Wallachia to submit as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. A part of his army then penetrated into Syrmia and engaged in war with the Hungarians. It was defeated and driven back, and Sigismund, the Hungarian King, was able to make a counter-attack, and to capture the important stronghold of Nicopolis. He, in turn, was forced to abandon the city, mainly by the assistance given to Bayezid by the Wallachians. It was during his retreat through the Duchy of Hunyadi that Sigismund met and became enamoured with Elizabeth Moronay. The offspring of this liaison was the celebrated Hungarian hero Hunyadi the Great, who later took such an active part against the Turks.

In 1393, Bayezid sent an army, under command of his eldest son, Solyman, to invade the northern part of Bulgaria, which still enjoyed an autonomous existence. Tirnova, its capital, was taken by storm after a siege of three weeks. Its inhabitants were sent into Asia Minor as slaves. He then decided to incorporate the northern part of Bulgaria in the Ottoman Empire in the same manner as the southern part had already been treated. This completed the servitude of the Bulgarian people. Sisman, their prince, disappeared from the scene, and the ruling family became extinct. The land was confiscated, except in a few cases where the owners were allowed to become Moslems. It was parcelled out to Turks under a feudal system involving military service, while the cultivators of the soil were reduced to serfdom.

About this time the fortresses of Nicopolis, Widdin, and Silistria fell into the hands of the Ottomans and opened the way into Hungary. Bayezid commenced a system of raids into that country, not for the purpose, at that time, of acquiring its territory, but for plunder. His Turkish 'akinjis,' or irregulars, spread terror over wide districts, burning and destroying villages and carrying off their inhabitants for sale as slaves. He fitted out ships also with the same object in the newly acquired ports in Asia Minor, and ravaged the islands of Chios and Negropont and districts on the coast of Greece.

Bayezid was now compelled by an outbreak in his recent acquisitions in Asia Minor, fomented by the Emir of Karamania, to suspend operations on his northern frontier in Europe and to transfer his army to Asia. He received at Brusa an envoy from his brother-in-law, Alaeddin of Karamania, suing for peace. Bayezid replied that the sword alone could determine the issue between them. He sent an army at once, under Timurtash, against the Karamanians. It encountered Alaeddin on the plain of Ak-Tchai. The Turkish army was completely successful. Alaeddin and his two sons were captured, and without waiting for authority from Bayezid, Timurtash had them hanged. When Bayezid heard of this treatment of his brother-in-law, he affected to be greatly distressed and incensed, but he soon consoled himself by a text from the Koran, "The death of a prince is less regrettable than the loss of a province," and he gave practical application of the verse by orders to his army to occupy and annex the whole of Karamania. There was no resistance. Konia and other cities in the eastern part of the State were taken. In spite of this, however, Karamania was not at this time finally incorporated in the Ottoman Empire. After the invasion of Asia Minor by Timur it recovered its independence, and it was not till seventy years later that it was finally subjected and incorporated.

About the same time, 1393-4, Bayezid made further important conquests in Asia Minor-namely, Samsun, C?sarea, and Sivas, the last of the most important fortresses on the frontier of Armenia. These great successes both in Europe and Asia were followed by a period of repose, during which Bayezid gave himself up to a life of gross debauchery. He was recalled from this by threats of war on the part of Sigismund, King of Hungary, and he soon showed that he had lost none of his vigour and dash.

Sigismund had fretted under the constant raids on his kingdom, above referred to, and had for some time past been contemplating war against the Ottomans for the recovery of the fortresses on the Danube, which were so great a menace to him. For this purpose he appealed, in 1395, to the Christian Powers of Europe for assistance. He was backed up by Pope Boniface IX, who preached another crusade against the infidels. Through the efforts of the King of France, Charles VI, a large number of leading nobles of France were induced to band together, under the Comte de Nevers, son of the Duke of Burgundy, a young man of twenty-two years, without any military experience. A thousand horsemen, chevaliers of good birth and position, and six thousand attendants and mercenaries were enrolled in France for this adventure. Others came from England and Scotland, and from Flanders, Lombardy, and Savoy. On their march through Germany to Hungary they were joined by great numbers of German knights, under Count Frederick of Hohenzollern, the Grand Prior of the Teutonic Order, and by a large force of Bavarians, under the Elector Palatine. Later they were reinforced by a number of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, under the command of de Naillac, their Grand Master. When joined by the Hungarian army, under Sigismund, and by the contingents from Wallachia and Bosnia, they made up a total force of about sixty thousand men. The expedition was in the nature of a crusade, but was more secular than religious in its aims and methods, and was regarded, it seems, by most of those engaged in it rather as a kind of picnic than as a serious campaign. The composite force collected together at Buda, in Hungary, in the summer of 1396, and thence marched down the Danube to Nicopolis, capturing Widdin and Sistova on the way. When passing through Serbia they ravaged wide districts inhabited by innocent Christians, and emulated, if they did not exceed, the Ottomans in cruel devastation, as though they were in an enemy's country. They established their camp before Nicopolis in September, but for sixteen days they refrained from assaulting the fortress, which was bravely defended by an Ottoman garrison, thus giving time to Bayezid to collect his army and to advance against the allied forces.

The Christian camp was the scene of riotous living and gambling. Large numbers of courtesans had accompanied the crusaders. The whole army was in a state of indiscipline and disorder. The French knights were boastful. They spoke with contempt of the Turkish troops, and could not believe that there was any danger from them. Bayezid, whose army was full of confidence in its superiority, was allowed to approach within striking distance, without any attempt to harass his advance. Even then the Christians did not believe there was danger. The Turks suddenly came into contact with them. The knights were compelled to abandon their gaming tables and their women, and to face the enemy whom they had so much despised.

The Ottoman army was preceded by large numbers of scouts and irregulars. The leaders of the chevaliers, knowing nothing of the numbers of the Ottomans or of their methods in war, and utterly despising them, most rashly proposed an immediate attack by the whole force of their splendid cavalry. The King of Hungary, who had had experience of the Ottomans and who knew their method of masking the main body of their army by irregulars, was more cautious, and advised that the foot soldiers of Hungary and Wallachia should be first employed to meet the attack of the Turkish irregulars, and that the cavalry should be reserved to meet the main body of the Ottomans. The chevaliers were furious at this suggestion. They suspected Sigismund of playing for his own hand, and of wishing to rob them of the glory of a great victory. They insisted on an immediate attack. Sigismund, on hearing of this decision, said, "We shall lose the day through the great pride and folly of these French." And so it turned out.

The chevaliers advanced in splendid array and had no difficulty in dispersing and slaughtering the mob of Turkish irregulars. But this impetuous charge spent their energy and tired their horses. When they were confronted by the main body of the Ottomans, sixty thousand in number, they were powerless to resist. They were surrounded and were compelled to surrender. The main body of Hungarian foot soldiers, when they came in contact with the Ottomans, were not more fortunate. The Wallachians, who formed one of the wings of the army, when they saw how the battle was going, retired from the field without a fight. The centre of the Hungarian army, under Sigismund, supported by the Bavarians, made a most gallant fight, and might have been successful if it had not been that the Serbian army, under Prince Stephen, came at a critical time, in support of the Ottomans, and turned the scale in their favour. After a battle of only three hours the Christian allies were completely defeated with great slaughter on both sides. Ten thousand of the Christians, including most of the surviving chevaliers, were taken prisoners. Those who escaped across the Danube suffered terribly in their retreat through Wallachia. They were beaten and maltreated by the peasantry, for whom they had shown no consideration in their advance.

Sigismund and the Grand Prior of Rhodes, at a late stage of the battle, abandoned the army to its fate. They escaped in a small boat down the Danube, and were taken on board by a Venetian vessel, which conveyed them to Germany through the Black Sea, the Dardanelles, and the Adriatic. On passing the Straits the Turks paraded before their eyes the knights made captives at Nicopolis. One of these prisoners thus described what took place:-

The Osmanlis took us out of the towers of Gallipoli and led us to the sea, and one after the other they abused the King of Hungary as he passed, and mocked him and called to him to come out of the boat and deliver his people; and this they did to make fun of him, and skirmished a long time with each other on the sea. But they did not do him any harm, and so he went away.8

On the morning of the battle of Nicopolis, Bayezid, when told of the heavy losses of his own army, and that in the early part of the battle the chevaliers had massacred a number of Turks who had surrendered on promise of life, was greatly incensed. He gave orders that all the Christian prisoners to the number of ten thousand were to be put to death in his presence. He made an exception only in favour of twenty-four of the knights, including de Nevers, their leader, for whose release a heavy ransom might be expected. But they were compelled to witness the execution of their comrades in arms.

On ta

king leave of them a year later at Brusa, Bayezid addressed de Nevers in these proud and insolent terms:-

John, I know thee well, and am informed that you are in your own country a great lord. You are young, and in the future I hope you will be able to recover with your courage from the shame of the misfortune which has come to you in your foul knightly enterprise, and that in the desire of getting rid of the reproach and recovering your honour you will assemble your power to come against me and give me battle. If I were afraid of that and wanted to, before your release, I would make you swear upon your oath and religion that you would never bear arms against me, nor those who are in your company here. But no; neither upon you nor any other of those here will I impose this oath, because I desire, when you have returned to your home, and will have leisure, that you assemble your power and come against me. You will find me always ready to meet you and your people on the field of battle. And what I say to you, you can say in like manner to those to whom you will have the pleasure of speaking about it, because for this purpose was I born, to carry arms and always to conquer what is ahead of me.9

Before their final departure, Bayezid treated these knights to a day's sport on a regal scale; seven thousand falconers were employed on the occasion, and five thousand men led dogs to pick up the game. The historian does not state what was the bag resulting from this great battle.

Of the twenty-four knights only one, Marshal Boucicaut, took up the parting challenge of Bayezid and returned to the East to make war against him. The others showed no desire to wipe out the disgrace of their defeat.10

After this great battle at Nicopolis the Ottoman army made irruptions into Wallachia, Styria, and Hungary. The city of Peterwardein was captured and eighteen thousand of its inhabitants were sold into slavery. Another division invaded Syrmia, and devastated the country between the Drave and the Danube. The fortresses on the river taken by the crusaders were recaptured. The raid into Wallachia was a failure. The Turks engaged in it were defeated and driven back. Bayezid himself threatened Buda, in Hungary, but his progress was checked by a long and painful fit of gout. Gibbon moralizes on this in the following sentence: "The disorders of the moral are sometimes corrected by those of the physical world; and an acrimonious humour falling on a single fibre of one man may prevent or suspend the misery of nations."11 The invasion of Hungary on this occasion was a failure.

After this campaign Bayezid returned to Adrianople, and there occupied himself by inflicting further humiliations on the Greek Empire. He forced Manuel to resign and imposed John, the son of Andronicus, as its Emperor. He then issued forth again with his army, in 1397, and fell like a thunderbolt on Greece, without any warning or cause of complaint. He marched with his army through Thessaly, capturing on the way Larissa and Pharsalia. He passed through Thermopyl?. The mere passage of his army sufficed to subdue Doris and Locris. His two generals, Yacoub and Evrenos, then invaded the Peloponnesus. The latter captured and pillaged Argos. Its inhabitants, to the number of thirty thousand, were sold as slaves and deported to Asia. Colonies of Turks were planted in the Morea. Theodore Pal?ologus, who acted as despot there on behalf of the Greek Empire, agreed to become tributary of the Sultan.

Returning to Adrianople, Bayezid determined to obtain immediate possession of Constantinople. The Greek Empire had been already deprived of nearly all territory outside the walls of its capital. The Sultan opened proceedings against it by sending an envoy to the Emperor with this insulting message:-

When I dethroned your predecessor, Manuel, it was not in your interest but in mine. If, then, you want to remain my friend, you must surrender your crown. I will give you any other government you may wish for. If you do not consent, I swear by God and the Prophet I will not spare a soul in your city; I will exterminate all of them.

The citizens of Constantinople, rather than experience the terrible fate which they knew would befall them in the event of a successful assault by the Ottoman army, were willing to come to terms. But the Emperor, who was buoyed up by hope of assistance from the Christian Powers, refused to acquiesce in a pusillanimous surrender. He replied to the ambassador in dignified terms: "Tell your master that, feeble as we are, we know no other power to whom to address ourselves if it be not God, Who protects the feeble and humbles the powerful. Let the Sultan do what he pleases."

At this stage, and before he could give effect to his threats, Bayezid was compelled by great events in Asia to raise the siege of Constantinople. Hitherto, in twelve years of incessant war, Bayezid had been uniformly successful. He had annexed the greater part of Asia Minor, Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, and Thessaly. He had reduced to vassalage the Greek Empire itself and Serbia, Wallachia, Bosnia, and a great part of Greece. He had defeated the feudal chivalry of Europe in the great battle of Nicopolis. He had not met with a single reverse. The next two years, the last of his reign, were to result in disastrous and overwhelming defeat to him, in his capture and death, and in the temporary crumpling up of the Turkish Empire. He came into conflict for the first time with Timur, a general and a conqueror more resolute, crafty, able, and cruel than himself.

Timur the Tartar, better known to us as Timurlane -Timur the lame, for he had met in early life with an accident which lamed him-was the greatest, the most ruthless, and the most devastating of warriors recorded in all history. Born in 1333, a descendant through his mother of the great Gengis Khan, he began life as a petty chief of a Tartar tribe in the neighbourhood of Samarkand. It was not till he had reached the age of thirty-five that he achieved eminence over other neighbouring Tartar States. He then conceived the ambition of universal conquest. "As there was only one God in heaven," he said, "so there should be only one ruler on earth"-that one was to be himself. He went a long way towards gaining this object of his ambition, for he embarked on a career which, in rather less than thirty-five years, resulted in an empire extending from the Great Wall of China to the frontier of Asia Minor, and from the Sea of Aral to the River Ganges and the Persian Gulf. He had, by this time, conquered twenty-seven separate States and extinguished nine dynasties. He effected his purpose, not only by force of arms, but by a deliberate policy of terrorism. After victory he was of settled purpose ruthless in cruelties on the greatest scale.

It was obvious that, sooner or later, he would come into conflict with what was, at that time, the only other growing military Power in the world-the Ottoman Empire. The two potentates had already become neighbours, and causes of dispute and antagonism were often arising between them. Each had sheltered refugee princes, whose territories had been absorbed by the other, and who were engaged in intrigues to stir up war between the two rivals, in the hope of regaining their possessions. Insolent messages passed between the two potentates.

What is the foundation of thy insolence and folly? [wrote Timur to Bayezid]. Thou hast fought some battles in the woods of Anatolia; contemptible trophies! Thou hast obtained some victories over the Christians of Europe; thy sword was blessed by the Apostle of God; and thy obedience to the precepts of the Koran in waging war against the infidel is the sole consideration that prevents us from destroying thy country, the frontier and bulwark of the Moslem world. Be wise in time; reflect; repent; and avert the thunder of our vengeance which is yet suspended over thy head. Thou art no more than an ant; why wilt thou seek to provoke the elephants? Alas, they will trample thee under their feet.

Bayezid replied in terms of the greatest indignation. He protested that Timur had never triumphed unless by his own perfidy and the vices of his foes.

Thy armies are innumerable: be they so; but what are the arrows of the flying Tartars against the scimitars and battle-axes of my firm and invincible Janissaries? I will guard the princes who have implored my protection; seek them in my tents. The cities of Arzingan and Erzerum are mine; and unless the tribute be paid I will demand the arrears under the walls of Tauris and Sultania.

And he added an insult of a yet grosser kind which, by its allusion to the harem, was the worst that could be devised by a Moslem:-

If I fly from thy arms may my wives be thrice divorced from my bed; but if thou hast not courage to meet me in the field, mayest thou again receive thy wives after they have thrice endured the embrace of a stranger.

After this interchange of abuse Timur determined, in 1400, to attack and invade Asia Minor from Armenia, at the head of a horde of armed men, estimated by historians at not less than eight hundred thousand. He laid siege to Sivas, in Cappadocia, on the Armenian frontier, which had only been captured by Bayezid about three years previously. It was now defended by a garrison of Turks, under command of Ertoghrul, the eldest son of Bayezid. The fortifications were immensely strong, but Timur was ready to sacrifice any number of men in assaulting and capturing the city. He employed six thousand miners in undermining its defences with galleries and propping up the walls temporarily with timber smeared with pitch. When the mines were completed, fire was applied to the timber, and the walls gradually sank into the cavities laid open to them, and afforded entrance to the assaulting columns. The city was captured. Four thousand of its defenders were buried alive by order of Timur, and Ertoghrul was executed.

Bayezid, thus challenged, advanced, in 1401, with an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men to avenge the disaster at Sivas. Timur, however, after the capture of that city, refrained from advancing farther into Asia Minor. He passed into Syria and captured Damascus, and thence into Mesopotamia for the capture of Bagdad. It was not till the next year, 1402, that he determined to return to Asia Minor and to humble Bayezid. He retraced his steps to Sivas, and thence, after a further exchange of insolent messages with the Ottoman Sultan, he went in search of him towards Angora, taking the route of C?sarea and Kir Sheir.

Bayezid had also collected a great army in the east of Asia Minor, and had finally concentrated it in the neighbourhood of Angora. He showed none of his previous skill as a general, though all of his insolence and bravado. His army was discontented by his avarice, and by his neglect to pay them out of the well-filled treasury. He refused to follow the advice of his best generals, who warned him against meeting Timur's vast hosts on a field where they could deploy their whole strength. The two armies met at last on the plain of Angora, the site of many previous famous battles. It is almost inconceivable that Bayezid, in arrogant contempt of his foe, employed his army, in the face of the enemy, in a great hunt for game, which led them into a district devoid of water, where his soldiers suffered terribly, and five thousand are said to have died of thirst.

On return to their camp they found that Timur had diverted the stream which supplied it with water. Bayezid was forced to fight at a disadvantage. The Tartars, who formed a fourth part of the Ottoman army, were not to be relied on in this battle. Their sympathies were with their fellow-Tartars under Timur. Bayezid had committed the fatal error of placing them in the front line, after his usual tactics of meeting the first encounter of the enemy with inferior troops. But in this case the Tartars deserted on the field of battle. The Serbian contingent, under Prince Stephen, and other Christian vassal troops fought with the utmost gallantry and loyalty. But it was in vain. The whole Ottoman army was outnumbered, overwhelmed, and routed with great slaughter. Bayezid with his bodyguard made a last stand. "The Thunderbolt," says the Turkish historian, "continued to wield a heavy battle-axe. As a starving wolf scattering a flock of sheep he scattered the enemy. Each blow of his redoubtable axe struck in such a way that there was no need of a second blow." But in the end he was overpowered and taken prisoner.

Bayezid for some time after his capture was treated with unwonted generosity by Timur, who was impressed by his dignified bearing, in spite of his overwhelming defeat and humiliation. But after an attempt to escape he was more rigidly guarded, and was put into fetters at night. The treatment of him became more cruel and contemptuous. He was carried by day in the train of Timur, when on the march, in a litter, which was in effect a cage12 with open bars, exposed to the derision and contempt of the Tartars. His wife, Despina, the Serbian princess, was compelled to serve Timur with drink at his meals in a state of nudity, and with other women of Bayezid's harem was taken into that of the conqueror. Timur is also said to have made a footstool of his conquered foe.

Bayezid died of a broken heart after eight months of humiliation, at the age of forty-eight. During that time Timur overran the greater part of Asia Minor, capturing Nic?a and Brusa and many other strongholds from the Ottomans, and Smyrna from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The walls of Smyrna were undermined in the same way as those of Sivas. In two weeks Timur effected a capture which Bayezid had failed to do in three times that length of time. The Knights, when they found that the city was no longer tenable, fought their way down to their galleys against the crowd of despairing inhabitants. Most of them escaped to Rhodes and effected there another settlement. Those who failed to escape were put to death by Timur, who built a pyramid of their heads. Everywhere there was ruthless cruelty. When approaching the city of Ephesus, children came out to meet him singing songs to appease his wrath. "What is this noise?" he asked. When told, he ordered his horsemen to ride over the children. They were trampled to death.

Timur reinstated in their former territories, as tributaries to his own Empire, most of the petty princes who had been dispossessed by the Turks, including the Emir of Karamania. He eventually returned to Samarkand, where he made preparations for the invasion of China, but before this could be realized he died, at the age of seventy-one, two years after the death of Bayezid. As a result of his raid into Asia Minor the Ottoman Empire there, for the time being, completely collapsed. But the Tartars disappeared without leaving any trace behind them.

If Bayezid's physical downfall was overwhelming and humiliating, his moral decadence was even worse, and, as it turned out, was more permanently injurious to the people of his Empire by the evil example it set. In the brief periods of peace, spent at Brusa and Adrianople, he gave way to self-indulgence and vice of a deplorable kind. He was the first of his race to break the laws of the Prophet and to drink too freely of wine. In company with his Grand Vizier, Ali, he was addicted to drunken orgies. Still worse, he was tempted by that boon companion to give way to vice of unmentionable depravity, condemned by all the world. The Empire was ransacked for good-looking boys, the sons of Christian parents, who were compelled to embrace Islamism and to enter the service of the Court, nominally as pages, but really to pander to the degrading desire of the Sultan. In adopting such practices, Bayezid set the fashion to others of his entourage. The moral infection then spread widely among the upper classes of society, especially among the judges and ulemas. There can be little doubt that immorality infected the upper society of the Empire and was one of the causes which ultimately led to decadence and ruin.

It is to be noted of Bayezid that in his short but strenuous career of conquest he did not show any falling off of vigour and courage as a result of his excesses. But in his final campaign against Timur his conduct was so fatuous as to give rise to the belief that his gross debauchery had resulted in softening of the brain. However that may have been, he met in Timur a greater man than himself who, even at the age of seventy, had lost none of his vigour of mind and body, and who, as master also of bigger battalions, was practically invincible.

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