Imagens das páginas
PDF

CHAPTER IV. In The Reign Of James I.—A.d. 1603 To A.d. 1625.

The largest English prose work published in the first year of the reign of James the First, was a folio of more than 1,300 pages, Richard Knolles's "General Historie of the Turkes." Appended to it was "A briefe discourse of the greatnesse of the Turkish Empire." Richard Knolles's great book was in high repute in James's reign, and has in after years been saved from neglect by the praises of more than one man of genius.l Its author, who was of the family of his name living at Cold Ashby, in Northamptonshire, graduated at Oxford in 1564, and then obtained a Fellowship at Lincoln College. At Oxford he was aspiring to serve God and his country with some large work of the pen, when he was invited to Sandwich by Sir Roger Manwood. Sandwich, in ancient days the most famous English port, though now the sea is two miles distant from it, had ceased to be a port, and then decayed so rapidly that in Edward the Sixth's time there were but two hundred houses where there had been nine hundred. But in Elizabeth's reign four hundred Protestant Walloons, driven from their own country by religious persecution, settled in Sandwich, bringing with them their industries as workers in serge baize and flannel, and turning waste ground into market gardens, that became famous especially for celery. In this reviving town Roger Manwood was born in 1525, a draper's son who made law his profession. He was a Serjeant in 1567, a Justice of Common Pleas in 1672, a knight and Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1578. He grew rich, and was liberal. He began to raise in his native town, as early as 1563, a high gabled building to be used as a school for the education of the children of townspeople, who were to be " freely taught without anything taken but of benevolence, at the end of every quarter, towards buying books for the common use of the scholars."

1 Samuel Johnson in a paper of hia Rambler (No. 122) on the writing of History, gave the lirst place among Englishmen as an historian to Richard Knolle*. "None of our writers," he said, *' can, in my opinion, justly contest the superiority of Knolles, who in his History of the Turks has displayed all the excellencies that narrative can admit. His style, though somewhat obscured by time, and sometimes vitiated by false wit, is pure, nervous, elevated and clear, Ac, Ac. . . . Nothing could have sunk this author in obscurity but the remoteness and barbarity of the people whose story he relates. It seldom happens that all circumstances concur to happiness or fame. The nation which produced this great historian, has the grief of seeing his genius employed upon a foreign and uninteresting subject; and that writer, who might have secured perpetuity to his name by a history of his own country, has exposed himself to the danger of oblivion, by recounting enterprizes and revolutions of which none desire to be informed." Lord Byron had read Knolles, when hewrote"The Giaour," and a few weeks before his death, he said at Missolonghi, "Old Knolles was one of the first books that gave me pleasure when a child; and I believe it had much influence on my future wishes to visit the Levant, and gave, perhaps, the Oriental colouring which is observed in my poetry." He gave his old friend a corner in the fifth canto of "Don Juan," where it is said of a Sultan :

"He was as good a sovereign of the sort
As any mentioned in the histories
Of Cantemir or Knolles, where few shine
Save Solymau, the glory of their line."

The foundation of the Free School was completed in 1566, and Roger Manwood himself drew up its rules. The books to be used were "the Dialogs of Castilio, the Exercises of Apthomius, Virgill's Eglog's, or some chaste poet, Tully, Caesar, and Livie." To the head-mastership of this school, Richard Knolles was invited. He was the third who occupied that office, and the first who abided in it long. He spent the rest of his life among his boys and his books, with the hearty friendship and encouragement of Sir Roger Manwood, whose chief house was at St. Stephen's, near Canterbury, and to whose munificence it is probable that the greatest of our dramatists before Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, son of a Canterbury shoemaker, owed his Cambridge education. After Sir Roger's death in 1592, his son Peter, who was knighted at the coronation of James L, remained Knolles's friend, and encouraged him to work at his great History. Richard Knolles was in repute as a schoolmaster who sent many well-trained youths to the University; he wrote a Compendium of Latin, Greek an^ Hebrew Grammar, in which attention was paid to the roots of words, and died in 1610, the year of the issue of the second edition of his "General Historie of the Turkes," first published in 1603.

When Knolles chose the subject for the main work of his life outside the schoolroom, there was danger to Christendom from the power of the Turk; the danger now is from his weakness, and the day has come to which Knolles looked forward for reading again, at least, his " Brief Discourse of the greatness of the Turkish Empire " written, as he said, for this among other reasons, "that they which come hereafter, may, by comparing of that which is here written with the state that then shall be, see how much this great Empire in the meantime increaseth or diminisheth." I will leave here the old spelling.

A BRIEFE DISCOURSE OF THE GREATNESSE OF THE TURKISH EMPIRE: As also wherein the greatest strength thereof consisteth, and of what power the bordering Princes, as well Mahometanes at Christians, are in comparison of it.

The Historie of the Turks (being indeed nothing else but the true record of the wofull ruines of the greater part of the Christian commonweale) thus as before passed through, and at length brought to an end; and their empire (of all others now vpon earth farre the greatest) as a proud champion still standing vp as it were in defiance of the whole world: I thought it good for the conclusion of this my labour, to propose vnto the view of the zealous Christian, the greatnesse thereof ; and so neere as I could to set down the bounds and limits within the which it is (by the goodnesse of God) as yet contained, together with the strength and power thereof, as also in what regard it hath the neighbor princes bordering or confining vpon it, with some other particularities tending vnto the same purpose. All or most part whereof, although it be by tho considerat well to bo gathered out of the whole courso of the Historie before going, yet shall it more plainely here together in the full thereof appeare, than by the long and particular consideration of the rising and encrease thereof be perceiued: not much vnlike the ouergrowno tree, at the greatnesse whereof euerie man wondereth, no man in the menne time either perceiuing or marking how by little and little in tract of time it grew vp to that bignesse, as now to onertop all the rest of the wood. The imperiall seat of this so great and dreadftill an empire, is the most famous citie of Constantinople, sometime the glorie of the Greek empire, but now the place where Achmat the first of that name, and fourteenth of the Othoman emperours, acknowledging no man like vnto himselfe, triumpheth ouer many nations: a citie fatally founded to commaund, and by the great conquerour Tamerlan of all others thought to be the best seated for the empire of the world. In which citie (taken from the Christians by Mahomet the second, by the Turkcs surnamed the Great, and the Greeke empire by him subuerted) as the Othoman emperours haue euer since seated themselues, so haue they wonderfully euen to the astonishment of the world, out of the mines of that so glorious a State encreased both their strength and empire, almost altogether fixed euen in the selfesame kingdomes, countries, and regions, as was sometimes that; though not as yet (God be thanked) able to attaine to the vttermost bounds that that empire sometimes had, especially in Evrope; albeit that it haue oftentimes in pride thereof most mightily swolne, and in some few places thereof somewhat also exceeded the same. Amongst the rest of the Othoman emperours, this great Monarch of whom we speake (namely Achmat the first, which now raigneth in that most stately and imperiall citie) hath at this present vnder his commaund and empire, the chiefe and most fruitfull parts of the three first knowne parts of the world: onely America ^remaining free from him, not more happie with the rich mines thereof, than in that it is so farre from out of his reach. For in Evbope he hath all the sea coast from the confines of Efidayrvs (the vttermost bound of his empire in Evkopk Westward) vnto the mouth of the riuer Tanais, now called Don, with, whatsoeuer lieth betwixt Btda in Hvnoarie, and the imperial citie of Constantinople: in which space is comprehended the better part of Hvnoarie, all Bosna, Seryia, Btloaria, with a great part of Dalmatia, Epirvb, MaceDonia, Gr.ecia, Peloponests, Thracia, the Archipelago, with the rich islands contained therein. In Africa he possesseth all the sea coast from Velez (or as some call it Belis) De Gokera, or more truely to say, from the riuer Mtltia (the bounder of the kingdome of Fez) euen vnto the Arabian gulfe or red sea Eastward, except some few places vpon the riuage of the sea, holden by the king of Spaine, tit. Mersalcahir, Melilla, Oran, and Pennon : and from Alexandria Northward vnto the citie of Asna, called of old Siene, Southward: in which space are contained tho famous kingdomes of Tremizen, Algiers, Tvnes, and JEgypt, with diuers other great cities and prouinces. In Asia all is his from the straits of Hellespontvs Westward, vnto the great citie of Tavris Eastward: and from Dkrbent neere vnto the Caspian sea Northward, vnto Adena vpon the Gulfe of Arabia Southward. The greatnesse of this his empire may the better be concerned by the greutneBse of some parts thereof: the meere of Meotis, which is all at the Turkish emperours commaund, being in compasse a thousand miles; and the Euxine or Blacke sea in circuit two thousand and scucn hundred; and the Mediterranean coast which is subject vnto him, containing in compasse about eight thousand miles. But to speake of his whole territorie together, he goeth in his owne dominion from Tavris to Bvda, about three thousand two hundred miles. The like distance is from Derbent vnto Adena. From Balsera vpon the Persian gulfe vnto

Tremisena in Barbarie, are accounted little lease than four thousand miles. He hath also in the sea, the most noble islands of Cyprvs, Evbcea, Rhodvs, Samos, Chios, Lesbos, and others of the Archipelago. In this so large and spacious an empire are contained many great and large countries, sometime most famous kingdomes, abounding with all manner of worldly blessings and natures store: for what kingdome or countrey is more fruitfull than .35qypt, Syria, and a great part of Asia f What countrey more wealthie or more plentiful! of all good things than was sometime Hvnoarie, Gr-kcia, and Thracia? In which countries he hath also many rich and famous cities, but especially foure, which be of greatest wealth and trade: namely Constantinople, Caire, Aleppo, and Tavris. Constantinople for multitude of people exceedeth all the cities of Evrope; wherein are deemed to be aboue seuen hundred thousand men: which if it be so, is almost equall to two such cities as Paris in France. Aleppo is the greatest citie of Syria, and as it were the centre whereunto all the merchandise of Asia repaire. Tavris of late the roiall seat of the Persian kings, and ono of the greatest cities of that kingdome, from whom it was in this our age taken by Amurath the third, hath in it aboue two hundred thousand men. Caire amongst all the cities of Africa is the chiefe, leaning all others farre behind it (although that some make the citie Cano equall vnto it in greatnesse) being as it were the storehouse not of ./egypt onely, and of a great part of Africa, but of India also ; the riches whereof being brought by the red sea to Sves, and from thence vpon cammels to Caire, and so down the riuer Nilvs to Alexandria, are thence dispersed into all these Wcsterne parts: albeit that this rich trade hath of late time been much impaired, and so like more to be, the Christians (especially tho Portugals) trafficking into the East Indies, and by the vast Ocean transporting the rich commodities of those Easterne countries into the West, to the great hindrance of the Grand Seignior his customes in Caire.

The Othoman gouernment in this his so great an empire, is altogether like the gouernment of the master ouer his slaue, and indeed meere tyrannical: for the great Sultan is so absolute a lord of all things within the compasse of his empire, that all his subjects and people, be they neuer so great, do call themselues his slaues, and not his subjects: neither hath any man power ouer himselfe, much lesse is he lord of the house wherein ho dwelleth, or of the land which he tilleth, except some few families in Constantinople, vnto whom some few such things were by way of reward and vpon speciall fauour giucn by Mahomet the second, at such time as he woon the same. Neither is any man in that empire so great or yet so far in favour with the great Sultan, as that he can assure himselfe of his life, much lesse of his present fortune or state, longer than it pleaseth the grand seignior. In which so absolute a soueraignty (by any free born people not to be endured) the tyrant preseructh himselfe by two most especial means: first, by taking of all amies from his naturall subjects; and then by putting the same and all things else concerning the state and the gouernment therof into the hands of the Apostata or renegate Christians, whom for most part euery third, fourth, or fift yerc (or oftener if his need so require) he taketh in their childhood from their miserable parents, ae his tenthes or tribute children. Whereby he gaincth two great commodities: first, for that in so doing he spoyleth the prouinces he most feareth, of the flower, sinewes, and strength of the people, choice being still made of the strongest youthes, and fittest for warre: then, for that with these as with his own creatures he armeth himselfe, and by them assureth his state: for they in their childhood taken from their parents laps, and deliuered in charge to one or other appointed to that purpose, quickly and before they be aware become Mahometans; and so, no more acknowledging father or mother, depend wholly of the great Sultan, who to make vse of them, both feeds them and fosters them, at whose hands onely they looke for all things, and whom alone they thanke for all. Of which frie so taken from their Christian parents (the onely seminarie of his warres) Bome become horsemen, some footmen, and so in time the greatest commaunders of his state and empire next vnto himselfe, the naturall Turkes in the meane time giuing themselues wholly vnto the trade of merchandise and other their mechanicall occupations: or else vnto the feeding of cattell, their most auntient and naturall vocation, not intermedling at all with matters of gouernment or state. So that if vnto these his souldiours, all of the Christian race, you joyne also his fleet and money, you hauc as it were the whole strength of his empire: for in these foure, his horsemen, footmen, his fleet, and money, especially consisteth his great force and power: whereof to speake moro particularly, and first concerning his money, it is commonly thought, that his ordinario reuenew exceedeth not eight millions of gold. And albeit that it might seeme, that he might of so large an empire rcceiue a far greater reuenew, yet doth he not, for that both he and his men of warre (in whose power all things are) haue their greatest and almost onely care vpon arms, fitter by nature to wast and destroy countries, than to prcserue and enrich them: insomuch, that for the presentation of their armies, and furtherance of thenexpeditions (cuerie yeare to doe) they moBt greuiously spoyle euen their owne people and prouinces whereby they passe, scarce leauing them necessaries wherewith to liuc; so that the subjects despairing to enjoy the fruits of the earth, much lesse the riches which by their industrie and labour they might get vnto themselues, doe now no further endeauour themselues either to husbandrie or traffique than they must needs, yea than verie necessitie it selfe enforceth them: For to what end auailoth it to sow that another man must reap P or to reape that which another man is readie to deuour? Whereupon it commeth that in the territories of the Othoman empire, yea euen in the most fruitfull countries of Macedonia and Greece arc seeno great forests, all cuerie whero wast, few cities well peopled, and the greatest part of those countries lying desolate and desart; so that husbandrie (in all well ordered commonweales tho princes greatest store) decaying, tho earth neither yeeldeth her encrease vnto the painfull husbandman, neither he matter vnto the artificer, neither tho artificer wares to furnish the merchant with, all together with the plough running into ruine & decay. As for the trade of merchandise, it is almost all in the hands of tho lows, or tho Christians of Evrope, viz. the Ragusians, Venetians, Genowaies, French, or English; the naturall Turkes hauing therein the least to doe, holding in that their so large an empire no other famous cities for trade, more than the foure aboue named, viz. Constantinople, Tavkis, Aleffo, and Caire: whereunto may be added Caff A and Thessalonica in Evrope, Damascvs, Tripolis, and Aden, in Asia: Alexandria and Algiers in Africke. In our countries hore in this West part of Evrope, of the abundance of people oftentimes ariseth dearth ; but in many parts of the Turks dominions, for want of men to manure the ground: most part of the poore countrey people drawne from their owno dwellings, being enforced with victuals and other necessaries to follow their great armies in their long expeditions, of whom scarcely one of ten euer returne home to their dwellings againe, there by the way perishing, if not by the enemies sword, yet by the wants, the intemperatenesse of tho aire, or immoderat paines taking. But to come neerer vnto our purpose, although the great Turks ordinary reucnewesbe

no greater than is aforesaid, yet are his extraordinarie escheats to be greatly accounted of, especially his confiscations, forfeitures, fines, amerciaments (which are right many his tributes, customes, tithes and tenthes of all preyes taken by sea or land, with diuers other such like, far exceeding his standing and certaine reuenew: his Bassaes and other his great officers, like rauening Harpies as it were sucking out the bloud of his poore subjects, & heaping vp inestimable treasures, which for the most part fall againe into the grand Seignior his coffers. Ibrahim the Visier Bassa (who lined not long sinco) is supposed to haue brought with him from Cure to the value of six millions: & Mahomet another of the Visiers was thought to haue had a far greater summe. His presents also amount vnto a great matter: for no ombassadour can come before him without gifts, no man is to hope for any commodious office or preferment without money, no man may with emptie hands come vnto the presence of him so great a prince, either from the prouencc he had tho charge of, or from any great expedition he was sent vpon; neither vnto so great and mighty a prince are trifles presented. The Vayuods of Moldavia, Valachia, and Transylvania (before their late reuolt) by gifts preserved themselues in their principalities, being almost daily changed, especially in Vaj^achia and Moldavia: for those honours were by the grand Seigniour still giuen to them that would giuo most; who to porforme what they had offered, miserably oppressed the people, and brought their prouinces into great pouortie. In briefe, an < .isic- thing it is for the great tyrant to find occasion for him at his pleasure to take away any mans life, together with his wealth, be it neuer so great: so that he cannot well be said to lacke money, so long as any of his subjects hath it. Neuerthelesse, the late Persian warre so emptied the most couctous Sultan Amurath his coffers, and exhausted his treasures, that all ouer his empire the value of his gold was beyond all credit enhaunscd, insomuch, that a Chcccine was twice so much worth as before: beside that, the mettall whereof his gold and siluer was made, was so embased, that it gaue occasion vnto the Ianizaries to set fire vpon the citio of Constantinople, to the great terrour not of the vulgar sort onely, but of the grand Seignior himselfe also. And in the citie of Aleppo onely were in the name of the great Sultan 60000 Checcines taken vp in prost of the merchants there, which how well they were repaied, wo leaue for them to report.

Now albeit that the Turks reuenews be not so great as the largenesse of his empire and the fruitfulnesse of his countries might seeme to affoord, all tho soile being his owne; yet hath he in his dominion a commoditie of greater value and vse than are the reuenewos themselues: which is tho multitude of the Timariots, or pentioners, which are all horsemen, so called of Timaro, that is a stipend which they haue of the great Sultan, viz. tho possession of certain villages and townes, which they hold during their life, and for which they stand bound for euery threescore duckats they haue of ycarely reuenew to maintain one horseman, either with bow and arrowes, or els with targuet and launce ; and that as well in time of peace as warre: for the Othoman omperours take vnto themselues all such lands as they by the sword win from their enemies, as well Mahometanes as Christians, all which they diuido into Timars, or as we may call them Commendams, which they giue vnto their souldiors of good desert for tearme of life, vpon condition, that they shall (as is aforesaid) according to tho proportion thereof keepe certaine men and horses fit for scruico alwaies readie whensoeuer they shall be called vpon. Wherein consisteth the greatest policio of the Turks, and the surest meane for the preseruation of their empire. For if by this meanos the care of manuring the ground were not committed vnto the souldiors, for the profit they hope thereof, but left in the hand of the plaine painefull husbandman, all would in that Bo warlike an empire lie wast and desolate; the Turks themselues commonly saying, That wheresoeuer the Grand Seignior his horse setteth his foot, the grasse will there no more grow: meaning, the destruction that their great armies bring in all places where they come. The institution of these Timariots, and the taking vp of the Azamoglans (for so they call those children which arc taken vp from their Christian parents to be brought vp for Ianizaries) are the two chiefe pillars of the Turks empire, and the strength of their warres: both which Beeme to be deuised vnto the imitation of the Romanes, as arc diuers things moe in the Turkish gouernment; for the Romano emperours vsed their owne subjects in their warres, and of them consisted the Pretorian armie, which neuer departed from the emperours side, but were still to guard his person, as doe the Ianizaries the great Turke. And in the Romane empire lands were giuen vnto souldiors of good desert for them to take the profit of during their lines, in reward of their good seruice and valour, which were called Bmeficia, and they which had them, Beneficiary, or as we tearme them, Benefices, and Beneficed men. Alexander Senerut graunted vnto such souldiors heires that they might enjoy those lands and commendams, vpon condition also, that they themselues should serue as had their fathers, otherwise not. Conttantine also the great gaue vnto his captaines that had well deserued of him, certainc lands for them to liue vpon during the tearme of their life. The like fees in Fhavnce, which they called Feuda, were of temporaries made perpetuities by these their late kings. These Timariot horsemen in the Turkish empire, serue to two great and most notable purposes: whereof the first is, that by them the Grand Seigniour, as with a bridle, kcepeth the rest of his subjects in euerie part of his great empire in awe, so that they cannot so soone moue, but that they shall haue these his Timariots as faulcons in their neckes; for to that purpose they are dispersed all ouer his dominions and empire: The other vse of them (and no lesse profitable than the former) is, for that out of them he is alwaies able at his pleasure to draw into the field an hundred and fiftie thousand horsemen well furnished, readie to go whither soeuer he shall command them ; with all whom he is not at one farthing charge. Which so great a power of horsemen cannot be continually maintained for lease than 14 millions of duckats yearely. Wherefore it is to be mamelled, that some comparing the Turks reuenewes with the Christians, make no mention of this so great a part of the Othoman emperours wealth and strength, seniing him first for the suppressing of all such tumults as might arise in his empire, and then as a most principall strength of his continual wars, alwaies readie to seme him in his greatest expeditions. The number of these Timariot horsemen is now growne verie great, taking encrease together with the Turks empire. It is reported, that Amnrath the third, grandfather to Arkmat that now raigneth, in his late warres against the Persian, subdued vnto himselfe so much territorie, as serued him to erect therein fortie thousand Timariots : and appointed at Tavris a new rexeit, which was yearely worth vnto him a million of gold. These Timariots are in all accounted to be seuen hundred and nineteen thousand fighting men: of whom 2S7000 haue their abode and dwelling in Evhope; and 462000 in Asia and Afrioke. Beside these Timariots, the Grand Seignior hath a great number of other horsemen also, vnto whom he giueth pay, which are his Spahi, Vlnfagi, and Carapici of his Court, being indeed the nurseries and seminaries of the great officers and gnuernours of his empire: for from among them are ordinarily chosen the Sanzaeks, which afterwards through their good deserts, or the SultanB great fauour, become Visiers, Begler

begs, and Bassacs, the chief rulers of that so mightie a Monarchic. Hee hath also still in his armies a great multitude of other horsemen called Acanzij, being indeed but rurall clownes, yet for certaine priuiledges which they haue are bound to goe vnto the wars, being euen of the Turks themselues accounted of small worth or value in comparison of the Timariots. Hee reeeiueth great aid also from the Tartars in his warres, as also from the Valachians and Moldauians (vntill that now of late by the example of the Transyluanians, they haue, to the great benefit of the rest of the Christian commonweale, reuolted from him :) all which are to be accounted as the Romanes Auxiliarij, that is to say, such as come to aid and assist him. And thus much for his horsemen.

[graphic]

Achmvt, Empkror Of The Turks.
From KnoUes' "General Historic of the Turke*."

Another great part of his strength consisteth in his footmen, and especially in his Ianizaries: in whom two things are to be considered, their Nation, and Dextcritie in armes. Concerning their Nation, such of the Azamoglans as are borne in Asia, are not ordinarily enrolled in the number of the Ianizaries, but such as are borne in Evrope: for they of Asia are accounted more effeminate, as they haue beene alwayes more readie to flie than to fight: wheras the people of Evhope haue euen in the East beene accounted for better and more valiant souldiours, having there, to their immortall glorie, set vp the notable trophies of their most glorious victories. The souldiours of Asia be called Turkes, after the name of their nation, and not of their countrey (no countrey being indeed so properly called) and they of Evhope Rumi, that is to say, Romani, or Romans, as the country, especially about Constantinople, is called by the name of Rvm-ili, that is to say, the Romane country, as it was in antient time, of the notable Romane Colonies therein, knowne by the name of Romania. Now as concerning their TVxteritio, such male children are culled out from the Christians, as in whom appeareth the greatest signes of strength, actiuitie and courage: for these three qualities are in a souldiour especially required. This choice is made euerio third yeare, except necessitie enforce it to be made sooner, as it happened in the late Persian warre: wherein not only oftner choice was made, but they were glad to vse the Azamoglans also, a thing neuer before by them done. For those youths, the children of Christian parents, being by them that haue taken them vp brought to Constantinople, are taken view of by the Agaof the Ianizaries, who causeth to be registred the name of the youth, with the name of his father and countrey wherein he was borne : which done, part of them are sent into the lesser Asia (now called Natolia) and other prouinces, where learning the Turkish language and law, they are also infected with the vices and manners of them with whom they liue, and so in short timo become right Mahometanes. Another part of them, and those of the most towardliest, is diuided into cloisters which the Grand Seigniour hath at ConstanTinople and Peba, of whom the fairest and most handsome arc appointed for the Seraglio of the great Sultan himselfe. All the time that those youths, thus sent abroad, liue in tho lesser Asia, or other the Turkes prouinces, they are not appointed to any certaine exercises, but still kept busied, some at husbandrie, some in gardening, somo in building, some in other domesticall seruices, neuer suffered to be idle, but alwayes occupied in painfull labour; where after certaine y eares they haue boene thus enured to labour and paines taking, they are called thence into tho cloisters of the Azamoglans (for so they are called all the time vntil they be enrolled into tho number of the Ianizaries) and are there deliuered vnto certaine speciall gouernours appointed to take charge of them: who keepc them still exercised in painef ull worke and labour, entreating them euill ynough, as well in their diet, as in their apparell and lodging: they sleepe together in large roomes, like vnto the religious Dormitories, wherein are lampes still burning, and tutors attending, without whoso leaue they may not stirre out of their places. There they learne to shoot both in the Bow and Peece,1 the use of the Scimitar, with many feats of actiuitie: and being well trained in those exercises, are enrolled amongst tho Ianizaries or Spahi: of whom the Ianizaries receiue not lesse than fiue aspers, nor more than eight for their daily pay, and the Spahi ten. Being recorded among the Ianizaries, they are either sent away into tho warres, or into somo garrison, or else attend at the Court. These last haue for their dwelling three great places like vnto throe monasteries in the citie of Constantinople: there they liue vndre their gouernours, to whom they are deputed, tho younger with great obedience and silence scruing the elder in buying of things for them, in dressing of their moat,and such like services. Theythat be of one seat or calling liue together at one table, and sleepe in long walkes. If any of them vpon occasion chance to lye all night abroad without leaue, the next euening heo is notably beaten, with such nurture and discipline, that after his beating he like an Ape kisseth his Gouernours hands that so corrected him. These Ianizaries haue many large priuiledges, are honoured, although they be most insolent, and are feared of all men, yea even of the great Sultan himselfe, who is still glad to make faire weather with them. In their expeditions or trauell they rob tho poore Christians cottages and houses, who must not say one word to the contrarie. When they buy any thing, they giue for it but what they list themselues. They can bee judged by none but by their Aga: neither can they be executed without danger of an insurrection, and therfore such execution is scldome done, and that verie secretly. They

1 Peece, gun, as in " fowling-pieco."

haue a thousand royalties : some of them are appointed to the keeping of embassadours sent from forrein princes: othersome of them are assigned to accompanie strangers, traueUers, especially them that be men of the better sort, to the intent they may safely passe in the Turkes dominions, for which seruice they are commonly well rewarded. They haue made choice of their prince, namely of Selymiu the first, his father Baiazet yet liuing; neither can any the Turkes Sultans account themselues fully inuested in their imperiall dignitie, or assured of their estate, vntil they be by them approoued and proclaimed. Euerie one of their Sultans at his first comming to the empire, doth giue them some great largesse; and sometime the better to please them, encreascth also their pay. In euerie great expedition some of them goeth forth with their Aga, or his lieutenant, and are the last of all that fight. There is no office among tho Turkes, that moe enuie at, than at the offiro of the Aga of the Ianizaries, for the greatnesse of his authoritie and commaund: onely he and the Beglerbeg of Gh.iscia chuse not their owne lieutenant, but haue them nominated vnto them by the Grand Seignior. Vnto this great man the Aga of the Ianizaries, nothing' can portend a more certaine destruction, than to be of them beloued, for then is he of the great Sultan straightway feared or mistrusted, and so occasion sought for to take him out of the way. The number of the Ianizaries of the Court is betwixt ten and foureteene thousand. This warlike order of souldiouxs is in these our dayes much embased: for now naturall Turks are taken in for Ianizaries, as are also the people of Asia; whereas in former times none were admitted into that order, but the Christians of Evrope only; beside that, they marrie wiues also contrarie to their antient custome, which is not now forbidden them. And because of their long lying still at Constantinople (a citie abounding with all manner of pleasure) they are become much more effeminate and slothful, but withall most insolent, or more truly to say iritollernble. It is commonly reported the strength of the Turkish empire to consist in this order of the Ianizaries, which is not altogether so, for albeit that they be indeed the Turkes best footmen and surest gard of the great Sultans person, yet vndoubtedly the greatest strength of his state and empire resteth nothing so much in them, as in the great multitude of his horsemen, especially his Timariots. Beside these Ianizaries, the Turkish emperour hath a wonderful number of base footmen, whom the Turks call Asapi, better acquainted with the spade than with the sword, seruing rather to the wearying of their enemies with their multitude, than the vanquishing of them with their valour: with whose dead bodies the Ianizaries vse to fill vp the ditches of towncs besieged, or to serue them for ladders to clime ouer the enemies wals vpon. But as the Romans had both their old Legionarie, and other vntraincd souldiors, which they called Tirones; of whom the first were the chiefe strength of their warres, and the other but as it were an aid or supplie; euen so the Turke accounteth his Timariot horsemen the strength of his armie, and the Acanzij (which is another sort of base and common horsemen) but as an accessorie: and so amongst his footmen he esteemeth of his Ianizaries, as did the Romans of their Pretorian legions, but of his Asapi as of shadowcB. The Ianizaries are by none to be commanded, more than by the great Sultan himselfe, and their Aga; as for the Bassaos, they much regard them not, but in their rage oftentimes foule entreat euen the greatest of them. The Asapi as they are but base and common souldiours, so haue they also their ordinarie captaines and commannders, men of no great place or marko.

The whole state of tho great empire of the' Turkes is commaunded by the great Sultan, by the graue advice and counsell of his Visicr Bassaes, which were not wont to bo in

« AnteriorContinuar »