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1028 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

retired to his residence in Magnesia and left

the government to his son Mohammed II. In

1444, a rebellious crusade broke out in Hungary, and the general voice demanded that

Amurath should return to the throne and take

command of the armies. Mohammed himself

seconded the popular demand, and the aged

sultan again wore the crown. As soon, however, as the Hungarians were reduced to submission, Amurath a second time abdicated,

and in 1451 Mohammed resumed his seat and scepter. The time has at last arrived when the throne of the Eastern Caesars is to be subverted. The Empire no longer has a territorial dominion. The vast area of the Theodosian estate is reduced to the ramparts of a

single city. John Palaeologus died in 1448,

and was succeeded by his brother, Constantine XIII. This prince during the last three

years of the reign of Amurath II. occupied

himself with the ignoble cares of a municipal

empire, and was then brought face to face

with the rival by whom he was destined to

destruction. In 1451 Mohammed II, as

already narrated, succeeded to the Ottoman

throne, and immediately began that bloody career for which a strange mixture of savagery

and scholarship had so admirably fitted his

character. He was capable of deeds great

and small, honorable and perfidious. In the

year of his accession he solemnly engaged to

maintain the peace with the Emperor of Constantinople, but at the same time plotted for his

destruction. While swearing to refrain from

war, he ordered his engineers to cross to the

European side of the Bosphorus and construct

a fortress within sight of the towers of the

Eastern capital. Vain were the solemn protests of Constantine. Recriminations followed and then preparations for the impending war.

In the early spring of 1453 a large

Turkish army was conveyed across the

strait, and the villages and towns in the

neighborhood of Constantinople were destroyed. Every thing beyond the gates

was swept away by the vengeful Ottomans. In the beginning of April the siege

of the city began. The investing army

numbered more than two hundred and

fifty thousand men; the inhabitants of

the city, about one hundred thousand.

But most of the people within the walls were non-combatants-mechanics, priests, scholars, scions of an attenuated nobility, women.

The entire force of soldiers that the

Emperor was able to muster against the

host outside did not exceed eight thousand men; and of these two thousand

were Genoese. With this scanty force a

rampart of nearly sixteen miles in extent

was to be defended against the assaults of

a quarter of a million of the followers of the

Prophet. The moving legions of Belisarius

had dwindled to the masquerade of a handful

of quarreling puppets. For the Greeks of

Constantinople, in the day of her destruction,

still found time to dispute over the iota in the

word homoiousios!

Constantine in his despair made a last appeal to Rome for an army, promising in return

the faithful obedience of his people to the

mother church. Rome sent him a legate and

a company of priests! This valuable acquisition, with a like company of valuables from