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infidèles; devant laquelle ville et cité du couste de terre et comme au meillieu des deux bandes de la marine y a une petite montaigne plate, laquelle montaigne est nommée et appellée la montaigne Saint Estienne. Et tout autour de ladicte ville
et cité de Rhodes a le plus beau lieu du monde pour mettre et pour poser siège. Car tout autour de ladicte ville y a beaucoup de jardins et tout plein de petites maisons églises et chapelles de Grecs, vieilles murailles tant de pierres et petis roches où l'on se peut mettre à couvert contre ceulx de la ville, en telle manière que se toute l'artillerie du monde estoit dedans la ville, elle ne saroit faire nul mal à ceulx qui sont dehors s'ils ne se approuchent près de la ville."
Such was Rhodes in 1480-a rose of roses, well worth the plucking. More than a century and a half earlier, the Hospitallers had spent four years in conquering the island; and since that time they have lavished all their treasures, all their skill, and all their aristocratic taste, drawn from the richest countries of Europe, in perfecting its strength and beauty. Those who have seen what the Knights of St. John effected in less than three centuries on the barren rock of Malta, now proudly called by its indigenous patriots the "fior del mondo," will be able to imagine what an exquisite gem of the sea they created in Rhodes.
Caoursin, the Vice-Chancellor, writing in the full pride of success, and possessed with an exemplary faith in the indestructability of the tenure by which the Order of St. John then held this favored island, chastises, in words which are barely represented by the following paraphrase, the presumptuous and unwarrantable insolence of the Turk in at tempting to eject them. It should be remembered that he wrote at a time when the Turkish empire was divided against itself by the quarrel between Mahomet's two sons, Bajazet and Zizim, if indeed Prince Zizim was not already a fugitive, living at Rhodes under the protection of the Order.
As the strength of the Grand Turk grew daily, so (says Caoursin) did his arrogance grow also. And whereas in the course of twenty-four years he had brought many of the neighboring nations under his own yoke, he was thereby puffed up and took it hardly, that the city of Rhodes and the domain of the Knights of Jerusalem, bordering on his own so closely, should yet be free and independent of his empire. And, moreover, at divers times he had sent four several expeditions to invade their territories and besiege their fortified places, but had reaped therefrom nothing but peril, loss, and shame. His soldiers had suffered fire and sword,
stoning, hanging, and as many other varieties of capital punishment as the early Christian martyrs. In Caoursin's own exhaustive words "multi trucidati: palo suffixi: furcis suspensi: sagittis affecti: lapidibusque cæsi: calamis perustis suffossi: gladiis objecti: membratim discerpti: perierunt.'
Amurath was succeeded by Mahomet in 1451; Constantinople taken in 1453; so that from whichever date we assume the "curriculum" of twenty-four years to run, we must suppose the great struggle to have been meditated upon by one side, and prepared for by the other, for three years at least, if not five. The varied course of experiments in practical surgery on which Caoursin dwells with such unction took place chiefly between the years 1454 and 1467. Constantinople had not fallen six months before Mahomet demanded a yearly tribute from the Order, and ravaged their coasts on receiving a refusal. Except for two years, when he had signed a truce with them, in order to devote his whole power to the attack on Trebizond, there was a constant interchange of desultory hostilities. There was also from time to time an equally desultory interchange of negotiations; for he was politic enough to wish sincerely to keep the peace with his neighbors till his own time, and upon his own terms. As long as he was obliged to employ his chief strength against the Venetians, it was of the utmost convenience to him to keep the Rhodian wasps'nest in good humor, both in respect of Cyprus and the more western possessions of the sovereign Republic. He was always ready to negotiate through his Greek agents ("greculi," Caoursin calls them, in opposi tion to the Cræci, or Greek citizens of Rhodes) a peace upon equal terms, provided only the Order would consent to pay him a trifle by way of tribute-"dummodo quidpiam tributi titulo concederetur." The chivalrous Hospitallers had indeed at earlier periods of their history not held it incompatible with their knightly profession to pay something in the nature of a toll for the right of way to the Holy Sepulchre; but this was no precedent for the present demand, which was summarily refused as often as made. As it suited their master's plan to wait, the "greculi" did not take umbrage at "trifling modifications." The offensive expression of tribute is struck out from the note of the Sultan's ambassador. Mahomet will conclude peace if presents and homage are promised in its place:-"si tacitâ tributi conditione orator Hierosolimorum cum munusculis tri
bunal suum adeat." This concession is re- | Rhodes, and carried away an accurate and fused by the Order with equal peremptori- scientific plan of the fortifications as they ness; much, no doubt, to the personal grati- were at that time. He was a clever fellow, fication of Caoursin, if he was public orator "vir vafro subtilique ingenio," says Caourat the time. He would not have relished sin; "fort excellant homme en fait dartillegoing on a tribute-bearing errand to the rie," says Mary Dupuis; and a tall fellow Court of the Grand Seignior. The last of of his hands-"ung homme grant, bien formé these negotiations appears to have been about de tous ses membres et de belle stature, beau the year 1476; and on its failure, says our langagier, de grant entretenement, et homme Vice-Chancellor, the rage of Mahomet was fort malicieux à la veoir et oyr parler." For beyond bounds-" rabidus hostis odium con- his various useful qualities he was well tra Rhodios inexorabile concepit." There known to the Sultan himself; and, as may was a feeling on both sides that the struggle be imagined, was in high favor. Men who, must come; it was only a question of time. like Mahomet the Second, are destined to conquer two empires, twelve kingdoms, and three hundred cities within thirty years, must needs have a keen eye for such merits as those of Master George.
If the Grand Turk had his spies and informants, the Knights had theirs in like manner. They probably kept pace with all that was growing into form at Constantinople as accurately as he did with the statistics of Rhodes; and they girded themselves up with silent energy to meet the Ottomite pre
There were to be found at Constantinople many renegades more or less acquainted with the city of Rhodes, and ready enough to give or sell their information to the Grand Turk and his officers. Among those whose infamy is immortalized by the indignant Christian historians, was one Antonio Meligala (milk and honey), a ruined spendthrift of Rhodes, who hoped to retrieve his fortunes by conveying to Constantinople a plan of the fortifications of his native town, and entered into an intrigue with a certain "Bas-paration whenever it should make for their sia greculus" of the ex-imperial family of the island. The warning of Proximus ardet Palæologi, now in the Sultan's service. Me- Ucalegon had been repeated too often and ligala reaped no great harvest either of good too loudly in the fate of Constantinople, or evil from his baseness, as he died before Trebizond, the Negropont, and Greece, to the expedition actually took place. Another allow any excuse for negligence, or any flatof these convenient traitors was a "greculus" tering hope that the struggle would be less of Euboea, Demetrius Sophiano by name, than desperate. And if ever the Order had who had deserted to the Turkish faith and a Head equal to such a situation, it possessfortunes on the capture of that island by ed one now, in Peter D'Aubusson, the thirtyMahomet. His religion and himself were ninth Grand Master. adscripti gleba, and went with the land. These men represented the conquest of Rhodes as a simple and easy matter. The fortifications, they said, were old and crumbling; the defenders so few in number as to be unequal to manning the walls; the city badly victualled and ill-provided in all respects; and if once invested, there was no hope of either succor or reinforcements being conveyed to the garrison, except from a long and almost impossible distance. Tempted by these alleged facilities, Palæologus Basha eagerly intrigued for, and thought himself fortunate to obtain, the command of the expedition against Rhodes.
The man on whom the Basha built the most absolute trust, and who promised to be most useful to him in more ways than one, was one George Trapant, otherwise called Master George, a German by birth, an engineer by profession, and by profession a renegade also, with a family at Constantinople. Twenty years earlier he had visited
The family of D'Aubusson, a noble house of Auvergne, had not been unknown to French history since the ninth century, during which the first Viscount of the name was created. Some of its representatives were remarkable as zealous Crusaders, others as magnificent patrons of the gentle Troubadours; some destroyed monasteries, others rebuilt and newly endowed them. One of them was the object of the Church's wrath even after his death; for being unfortunately killed in the act of pillaging ecclesiastical property, he died ipso facto excommunicated insomuch that a lenient abbot, who gave him Christian burial within his monastery, was reprimanded in due form by the Bishop of Limoges, his indignant superior. Peter D'Aubusson himself had rendered his Order important services both in a civil and a military capacity, and achieved an European reputation, long before he was called to the supreme authority. We hear of him in 1856 as ambassador from the Order to the Court
of France and Burgundy, from which he succeeded in obtaining large sums of money in aid of the defences of Rhodes. The importance of these subsidies was testified by the engraving of the arms of Burgundy on the tower of St. Nicholas, which was built with the gold of Duke Philip. Most of the repairs and extensions of the fortifications in Rhodes itself, and the other islands of the Order, were executed under the advice and immediate superintendence of D'Aubusson as surveyor-general. On the invasion of the Negropont by Mahomet, in 1470, D'Aubusson commanded in person the forces sent to the aid of the Venetians; and though he could not enable them to maintain that island, he did them better service in the way of reprisals than the generals and admirals of the Republic were able or willing to carry out for themselves. He was Grand Prior of the Language of Auvergne, and de facto the first man of the Order, for some years during the mastership of Ursini, on whose death in 1476 he was unanimously elected Grand Master, at the age of fifty-three.
were strictly shut, lest any word of the approach or of the actual power of his armament should reach Rhodes before him.
On attaining this rank, he carried on his fortifications more vigorously than ever; stored his magaz nes with provisions and ammunitions; summoned all the knights who were absent in the various countries of Europe to repair to the head quarters of their Order; and while temporizing with the Sultan, concluded treaties with the Soldan of Egypt and the King of Tunis, so as to have only one Mahometan enemy to face. The Order placed the most perfect trust in his ability, and followed his orders with enthusiasm, as if he were divino instinctu edoctus." A similiar spirit was awakened outside of the Order; besides the knights, and the free lances paid by them, many noble gentlemen flocked to Rhodes with their retainers to take part in so stirring and illustrious a game. Before the storm burst, every thing, says Caoursin,—“ nutu Dei et magistri opera"-was made ready for resisting it.
In the winter of 1479 80, Palæologus Basha executed with a few ships a reconnoissance on the coasts of Rhodes, ravaged the island of Tilo (Telos), and even attempted to take by a coup de main the fortress of that name. Thence he sailed to Physco (Marmorice), a port of Lycia, twenty miles distant from Rhodes, which he had appointed as the rendezvous of his expedition. The bulk of the army marched across Asia Minor, while the heavy artillery was sent round from Constantinople by sea. All the Turkish ports
VOL. XXXIV.—NO. IV.
Towards the end of April the main fleet, of a hundred sail or more, was descried by the watchman on the western tower of St. Stephen's hill, passing eastward between Rhodes and the mainland. Notice was sent to all the detached garrisons; and the inhabitants of the country were collected within the towns, after doing the last towards provisioning themselves by reaping the barley, and carrying in the still unripe wheat, which they pulled up by hand, roots and all.
On the 23d of May (the tenth before the calends of June of the year of the Incarnation of the Word of the Lord 1480, as Caoursin majestically hath it), the Turkish Armada sailed across from Physco to Rhodes. Spreading their enormous line round all parts of the coast, they overcame all possible opposition to their landing. They concentrated on St. Stephen's hill (north-west of the city), and while part of their transports returned to Physco to bring across the remainder of the land forces, disembarked their artillery where the streams run down to the sea from the hill, which covered them from the sight of the town. A party, advancing too boldly to reconnoitre the fortifications, was cut off by a sally of the besieged, under the command of the Grand Master's brother, Viscount de Monteil, and routed with great slaughter. One of the knights was killed, and his head carried off on a lance. This day saw the last of the second renegade, Dimitri Sophiano. Meligala had died without even a distant view of the land of promise, which he left as a ruined man, and hoped to re-enter in the triumph of a successful traitor. Sophiano was ridden down and trampled to death in this first encounter, being unable to rise, when once fallen, from the weight of his armor. Sic vos non vobis is often as applicable to the industry of traitors as to that of the silly sheep or the busy bee.
The actual siege commenced on the following day by an attack on the Tower of St. Nicholas, which stands at the extremity of a mole about 400 yards long, to the north of the great harbor, of which it commands and protects the entrance. Tradition varies in assigning a site to the celebrated Colossus, between the positions of the towers of St. Nicholas, St. John, and St. Michael; and some authorities are disposed to place it farther inland, on the line of the innermost
mole, or even on the quay of the city. As a prominent and useful landmark, it would appear most appropriately fixed on the site of St. Nicholas, where the present lighthouse stands, and where the sailor from the Levant, steering by the stars for the port of Rhodes or the passage between the island and the coast of Asia, would soonest catch through the sea-haze of the morning the sunbeams reflected back towards the East from the placid face of the "gigantic King of Day." Three great bombards were placed by the Turks in the gardens of St. Anthony's Church, to play on the mole and tower. Other batteries were erected in the same gardens, fronting the boulevard of the Grand Master's palace. The Knights lost no time in planting a battery on the gardens of Auvergne, inside the walls, which flanked the Turkish position, and did them "grant mal et vexation" before they could complete their mantelets and earthworks, and bring their own cannon into play.
spoke especially of sixteen enormous bombards, twenty-two feet in length, and with sixteen inches thickness of metal, which threw stone balls of nine to eleven palms in circumference; six mortars of even greater calibre; besides a large quantity of smaller artillery-" plus petis batons à feu."
Although Master George was welcomed with such joy as should be felt over a repentant sinner, he was not regarded with implicit confidence. Some were prepossessed by his honest German bearing, and inclined to put full trust in his statements. Others mistrusted his looks; and there were those who went so far as to say that they knew him of old as an unprincipled adventurer, and had since heard of his renouncing the Christian religion. It was not long before the besieged were affected with mysterious warnings in the shape of letters tied, as the fashion of those days was, to arrows, and shot into the town, bidding them "beware of Master George." Whether these missives came from real friends serving perforce in the enemy's camp; whether they were a supersubtle device of the Basha's to recommend his emissary by affecting to discredit him; or whether George was a bonâ fule deserter, and these warnings were simply to prevent his being received as such; were questions which puzzled not a little the Council of the Order. In return for his frankness he was permitted to go at large, but under a bodyguard of six soldiers, charged, on pain of death, not to let him out from their sight either day or night.
On the last day of May began the bombardment of the town itself. Enormous stone balls came flying through the air in all directions; without, however, effecting so great actual harm as they excited fear. Whatever they fell upon they ground to powder; but being of good solid stone, not stuffed with villanous saltpetre or other explosive compounds, they lay harmless where they had fallen, instead of carrying death in all directions, like the more murderous shrapnels of later days. D'Aubusson's despatch does indeed mention balls of fire and burning arrows as shot into the town; but not in such a tone as to induce the belief of their being very formidable. One of the huge stone bullets was afterwards shown to Mary Dupuis, which had fallen through the vaulted roof of the refectory in the Grand Master's Palace, shivered two marble pillars by which the roof was supported of greater thickness than two men could embrace, plunged through the stone floor into the cel
When the bombardment of the tower had commenced in real earnest, one morning very early the sentinels on the boulevard of the palace of Mon Seigneur le Maistre" see a single figure in a suppliant posture on the other side of the ditch, anxious to enter into a parley. It is a deserter from the enemy, who would fain be taken into the town. He is drawn up by a rope, brought before D'Aubusson, and strictly questioned. His name is Master George. The perfidious German, without changing color, and with that air of sincerity which peculiarly distinguishes his nation," says Monsieur L'Abbé Vertot (with a graceful glance at the solid bieder Deutsch temperament), said he had deserted for the true love and zeal he bore towards the Christian faith, and from the remorse he felt for ever having erred against it. On the faith of these assertions he was amiably received and made welcome. When questioned concerning the strength of the enemy, he made answer (says Mary Dupuis), "moult prudemment et moult saigement, ainsi comment ung homme lequel est bien conduit et moult bien introduit et advise, et qui bien savoit parler." He did not follow the fashion of good Captain Parolles under somewhat similar circumstances, and seek to curry favor by depreciating the strength or bravery of the besieging forces; nor again, as far as we know, did he exaggerate their power. He reported them as amounting to a hundred and seventy thousand, or thereabouts, of all manners and conditions. He enlarged on the weight of their ordnance, and
lar, where, after ingloriously spilling a hogshead of wine ("et le vin perdu," says, with simple regret, the genial soldier of Auvergne), it half buried itself in the ground.
"en criant, et en invocant leur Mahon," beating cymbals and ghitterns, yelling all at once, and firing cannons and bombards-"qu'il sembloit que le ciel deust venir abas :" so that it was a wonderful and a fearful thing to hear them come on. They attacked with fury both the breach and the mole, besides attempting to scale the seaward face of the tower; but they were received with equal fury by the defenders, foremost among whom was the Grand Master in person. Hand to hand, and foot to food, stood the Cross and the Crescent upon the site of the Pagan
All this time the bombardment of St. Nicholas was steadily carried on. For fifteen days the three great cannons near the Church of St. Anthony played upon it across the water; not indeed as rapidly as modern artillery, but with sure effect, if slow. The cumulative Caoursin describes, with an appropriate volume of eloquence, the process of attack. "Arcem aggreditur, quatit, oppugnat, jactuque trecentorum lapidum speri-image, the day of whose worship had gone corum diruit.' Seven shots a day (if jactus by: heavy ordnance and smaller artillery refer, as it should, to the number of balls raining upon both alike in the mêlée; battleshot at the target, and not only to those axe meeting cimeter, lances splintering, arwhich hit it) seem to have been the full al- rows snapping; stones crashing down upon lowance of discharges practicable with the breaking ladders; hostile gallies entangling artillery of the period. At the end of this their tackle and oars; fire-ships flaring, and time the western or landward face of the sheets flopping in the wind; bloody corpses tower was all in ruins, and the masonry lying floating; wounded men swimming or sinking: in a confused heap at its base; while the till at last the Crescent gave way, and, not eastern or seaward face bore no marks of the without a loss of 700, "les mauldis Turcs et bombardment. The post appeared scarcely Infideles sen alerent et retournerent pour tenable; but such was its importance, as ceste fois tout camus et esbahis." Dupuis' commanding the harbor, that the Grand words, implying the absolute disgust and beMaster was resolved to defend it to the last. wilderment of the besiegers at their first exHe threw into the tower a strong reinforce-perience of the desperate nature of the resistment of picked men, cast up defences along ance which would be offered to them, are the mole of stone, timber, barrels of earth, perhaps less elegant than descriptive. with small batteries at convenient points, and covered as well as might be the approach to the mole itself. In the small harbor westward of the mole he sank beams stuffed with spikenails, to prevent the enemy from wading across where the water was shallow, and moored alongside the tower a large number of boats laden with combustibles, to set fire to any ships that might attempt to land a storming party from the deeper sea. The garrison of the little fort kept a good guard both day and night, as they had need, in anxious and unremitting expectation of the assault; or, as their public orator expresses it," Fiunt vigiliæ, postulaturque hostium invasio."
After repelling this attack, the Grand Master rede in triumphant procession to render thanks to Our Blessed Lady of Mount Philerme, whose miraculous image had been brought for safety within the walls before the siege, and was enshrined for the nonce within a little Greek chapel near the Castle. It would seem that the rights and duties of the Greek and Latin Churches were not the subjects of such strict definition, or such jealous separation, in the fifteenth century, as they have been since; if the graven image of the Virgin (the Palladium of Rhodes) was placed by D'Aubusson (already the pillar of the Catholic Faith in the East, and subsequently a cardinal of the Church of Rome, within a
They had not long to wait for the accept-"petite eglise des Grecs," and received by ance of their challenge. As the morning them with due observance and gratitude. star rose upon the 9th of June, and the breeze from the west rose gently with it, a large squadron of ships, gallies, and smaller vessels weighed from under St. Stephen's Hill, rounded the extreme northern headland and the point (saburra promontorium) where the vessels of the port of Rhodes took in or discharged ballast, and made straight for the tower on the mole. On coming within a certain distance, they set up a horrible noise,
The Basha, greatly disappointed at the failure of this attack on St. Nicholas, battered the fortifications from all sides, with the view of harassing the besieged by drawing their attention to all points at once, and discovering the weakest and most assailable part of the walls. The bastions of Auvergne, on which his chief batteries had hitherto been playing, proved so thick and so sound, that the balls, either rebounded from the surface,