History of Mehmed the Conqueror by Kritovoulos





This includes the history of the expedition into Enos, the fight with the Triballi and their total defeat and enslavement, and the capture of the islands of Lemnos, Thasos, and Samothrace by the Italians. Time involved: four years [a.d. 1454-1457].


Repopulating of the City 93
Repair of the walls thrown down by the cannon.. 93
The Calling of Gennadius; his appointment as Patriarch 94
The Sultan crosses into Asia, and arranges affairs there 95
Arrival of the Sultan at Adrianople, and the despatch of the fleet under Yunus to the islands near Rhodes and Naxos 95
Expedition of Yunus 96
Of a terrible storm, and the danger of the ships 96
Submission of Phocaea to Yunus 97
Yunus lost 25 ships in the storm 98
Reasons why the Sultan made an expedition against the Triballi [Serbs] 98
The position of the land of the Triballi 98
Notes on the Ister 99
Remarks on the land of the Triballi, its great fruitfulness and self-sufficiency in all things 99
Relating how the country of the Triballi had formerly been captured by Sultan Murad 100
Expedition of the Sultan against the Triballi 101
As to the size of the army 101
The Sultan's invasion of the land of the Triballi; attack and capture of castles 101
Siege of Novoprodo 101
Lazarus crosses into Dacia and stays there 102
Embassy from Lazarus to the Sultan, and the Treaty of the Sultan with him 102
Surrender of Novoprodo to the Sultan 103
Return of Lazarus to his own country 104
How the Sultan took care of the City 105
Reasons why the Sultan invaded Enos 106
As to the Hebrus River 107
As to the city of Enos, and what it originally was 108
Expedition of Yunus from Gallipoli against Enos 109
Expedition of the Sultan against Enos by land 109
The Surrender of the City of Enos to the Sultan 110
How Yunus entrusted to Kritovoulos the government of Imbros, after expelling the officials of Dorieus 110
Remarks as to Dorieus 111
Preparation of the Sultan against Belgrade; his expedition 111
The Defenses of Belgrade 112
Siege of Belgrade 112
Flight of Lazarus to Dacia 112
Look! 113
The Sultan's attack on the city, heavy fighting 114
Attack of John against the Sultan's forces 114
Repulse of the Sultan's men, flight, and pursuit by the Paeonians as far as the camp 115
Later attack of the Sultan on the Paeonians.. 115
The plot against Lazarus by Michael; imprisonment of Lazarus 116
Release of Lazarus for 30,000 gold 116
Flight of Lazarus's Mother, his sister Amirisi, and his brother Gregory 117
Death of Lazarus's Mother 117
Death of Lazarus, and despatch of an army by the Sultan to invade all his territory and subdue it 118
Despatch of a fleet of thirty vessels by the Pope against the Sultan's islands in the Aegean 119
Surrender first of Lemnos to the Italians 119
Capture of Thasos by the Italians 120
Arrival of Kontos in Imbros with ten triremes and his departure having accomplished nothing 120


Repopulating of the City


§ 1. When the Sultan had captured the City of Constantine, almost his very first care was to have the City repopulated. He also undertook the further care and repairs of it. He sent an order in the form of an imperial command to every part of his realm, that as many inhabitants as possible be transferred to the City, not only Christians but also his own people and many of the Hebrews.



Repair of the walls thrown down by the cannon, as well as of the other land-walls and sea-walls; the building of the Palace, and the building of the fortress at the Golden Gate


§ 2. Next he ordered that those parts of the wall which had been destroyed by the cannon should all be strongly rebuilt, and that wherever else they had been damaged by the ravages of time, along the land or along the sea, they should be repaired. He also laid the foundations of the royal palace, choosing, as I said, the finest and best location in the City. He further ordered the construction of a strong fortress near the Golden Gate where there had formerly been an imperial castle, and he commanded that all these things should be done with all haste.


§ 3. He commanded also that the Roman prisoners should work, and should receive a daily wage of six aspers or more. This was in a way a piece of wise foresight on the part of the Sultan, for it fed the prisoners and enabled them to provide for their own ransom by earning enough to pay their masters thus. Also, when they should become free, they might dwell in the City. Not only this, but it also showed great philanthropy and beneficence, and proved the magnanimity of the Sultan.


§ 4. In fact, he dealt in this fashion with everybody, and not least with these prisoners. He took pity on them, and





every day would do some good turn with enthusiasm. Often when he left the palace and went about the City, to see the sights or for any other reason, if he ran across such persons anywhere, he would at once draw up his horse and distribute freely to all, with his own hand, silver coins and often gold ones. Such mercy he had for men.



The Calling of Gennadius; his appointment as Patriarch


§ 5. During that period he called back Gennadius, a very wise and remarkable man. He had already heard much through common report about the wisdom and prudence and virtue of this man. Therefore, immediately after the capture he sought for him, being anxious to see him and to hear some of his wisdom. And after a painstaking search he found him at Adrianople in a village, kept under guard in the home of one of the notables, but enjoying great honors. For his captor knew of his virtue, even though he himself was a military man.


§ 6. When the Sultan saw him, and had in a short time had proofs of his wisdom and prudence and virtue and also of his power as a speaker and of his religious character, he was greatly impressed with him, and held him in great honor and respect, and gave him the right to come to him at any time, and honored him with liberty and conversation. He enjoyed his various talks with him and his replies, and he loaded him with noble and costly gifts.


§ 7. In the end, he made him Patriarch and High Priest of the Christians, and gave him among many other rights and privileges the rule of the church and all its power and authority, no less than that enjoyed previously under the emperors. He also granted him the privilege of delivering before him fearlessly and freely many good disquisitions concerning the Christian faith and doctrine. And he himself went to his residence, taking with him the dignitaries and wise men of his court, and thus paid him great honor. And in many other ways he delighted the man.


§ 8. Thus the Sultan showed that he knew how to respect





the true worth of any man, not only of military men but of every class, kings, and tyrants, and emperors. Furthermore the Sultan gave back the church to the Christians, by the will of God, together with a large portion of its properties.



The Sultan crosses into Asia, and arranges affairs there


§ 9. Having thus settled affairs in the City, the Sultan crossed over into Asia. When he arrived in Bursa he paid honors to his father, holding a religious and memorial service at his tomb with all magnificence and adorning the mausoleum with costly offerings and royal gifts.


§ 10. Then he put in good order all the affairs in Asia, regulating all that had to do with local disturbances, revolts of leaders and peoples, and all else.


§11. Further, he removed men from positions in provinces and sub-provinces, and placed there new governors and subgovernors, and put in very good order everything in that region according to his best judgment, and all in the space of thirty-five days.



Arrival of the Sultan at Adrianople, and the despatch of the fleet under Yunus to the islands near Rhodes and Naxos


§ 12. He appointed Hamza as Commander in Chief of all Asia, and immediately returned to Byzantium. There he remained only a short time, just long enough to examine the buildings that had been constructed there, and give orders about further work on them and on others, stipulating that it be done as quickly as possible. And then he set out for Adrianople in the winter.


§ 13. When he arrived there, he immediately sent for Yunus, governor of Gallipoli and admiral of the fleet, and ordered him to get the fleet fitted out with all speed and to sail to Naxos and the islands near Rhodes, Paros, Rhenaea, and Cos and the others in that vicinity.


§ 14. For when all the other islanders became vassals of





the Sultan the Rhodians alone would not accept the agreements and the treaties offered by him, but refrained from alliances. And they accepted the services of the pirate ships of the lower [or western] Iberians and Alanians [12] and hired other ships too, and ravaged all the coastlands of the Sultan, so also the men of Naxos connived at the incursions of the pirates, and furnished them wheat and other needed supplies. Thus they did no little injury to the Sultan's domains.



Expedition of Yunus


§ 15. Therefore he sent his fleet against these people. Yunus equipped and armed eighty warships besides quite a few cargo ships and other ships carrying cannon. He then set sail from Gallipoli and went out through the straits of the Hellespont, right past Aegospotami, and going by Sestos and Abydos and the so-called Dog's Heads [Cynoscephalae] he reached Dardania, near the mouth of the Straits.


§ 16. Sailing by the river of Troy and the monument of Achilles, he arrived at Tenedos. There he stayed two days and took on water. He also collected all his ships, for some 3f them were delayed, having stopped along the coasts of that region to collect rowers. He then weighed anchor by night, so as not to excite suspicions by being seen—for he wanted to escape observation as far as possible—and sailed into the Aegean Sea, having the Cyanid Islands astern on the right and Lesbos at the bow on his left.



Of a terrible storm, and the danger of the ships


§ 17. Suddenly a terrible storm broke on them, a tempest with torrents of rain, and lightning and thunder and raging winds and darkness. The sea grew wild, and a great hurricane arose, as frequently happens in the Aegean. At first the ships all sailed near the signal-beacon of the commander's ship, following her even through the night and the thick darkness. But, borne along by the fierce storm and hurricane and the irregularly shifting winds, they fell foul of each other and collided, and several of them sank.



12. Spanish or Catalan corsairs.





§ 18. In this way they came very near sinking the admiral's flagship, all of them falling foul of it at once, had not the captain, seeing the danger, quickly snuffed out the signal-beacon. Thus the ships were scattered here and there over the sea and were driven all night, battling with the storm until daylight, as each succeeded in saving itself from the billows.


§ 19. Some of them were carried away and sank at a short distance from the shore, impaled on the reefs and sunken rocks. The ships carrying the cannon were borne along irregularly by the force of the current and the winds, and were some of them dashed against the rocks of the coast and the cannon sank right there, while others were saved with difficulty at a late hour.


§ 20. Yunus, with six ships left him, after being buffeted and tossed about on the sea all day, barely managed to make the harbor in the island of Chios toward evening, soaked through, and having lost overboard everything that was on the decks. Through such great danger he had passed. Then, after a three days' stay in Chios, having gathered all the remainder of the fleet and laid in such supplies as were obtainable, he set sail from there and reached the island of Cos.


§ 21. Here he landed, and devastated the land of the Cosites. He also attacked the city and besieged it three days. But as he made no progress, he burned the houses outside of the city, overran all the rest of the Island, sacked the villages and carried off much booty, which he placed in his ships, and sailed away.



Submission of Phocaea to Yunus


§ 22. Then he went against Phocaea, called the New, which belonged to the Chiotes, made a landing, and took possession of it by agreement. This he did in spite of the treaties, because he was angry with the Chiotes for not having received him well when he was driven there by the storm, and for not having honored him with suitable gifts.


§ 23. So, having arranged things in Phocaea according to his will, he left a garrison there, and took away some of





the youth and sailed back home to Gallipoli. There he dismissed the fleet.



Yunus lost 25 ships in the storm


§ 24. He lost twenty-five of his ships in the storm, including all of the cargo ships. For this reason most of all, it is said, the Sultan was angry with him. For this cause, among others, soon after that he had Yunus executed.



Reasons why the Sultan made an expedition against the Triballi [Serbs]


§ 25. While the Sultan was spending the winter at Adrianople, he prepared a large expedition against the Triballi, for he had learned that there was a plot among them against him. The leader of the Triballi wished to start a revolt, and secretly sent word to the king of the Paeonians [Hungarians] and made a pact with him, so that he might make full preparation and cross the Ister [Danube] and attack the Sultan's domains at the same time that the other should attack.


§ 26. Not only that, but he also paid the customary tribute very late, and then only in part, always inventing excuses for his unjustifiable delays. The Sultan was all the more angered by this, because he saw proof in it that the man was plotting an intrigue.



The position of the land of the Triballi


§ 27. These things were not the only incitements to him. The nature of that country also gave him a convenient point for making war on the Paeonians and the Dacians, [13] who had made expeditions against him; and he could very easily attack their country from that of the Triballi. For the latter has a favorable position in Europe, beginning from the upper part of Mysia [14] and Mount Haemon [the Balkans], and reaching to the Ister River, which separates it from the territory of the Dacians and Paeonians.



13. In modern Rumania.


14. Or Moesia, the region between the Balkan range and the Danube.





Notes on the Ister


§ 28. The Ister, largest river in Europe, rises in the Keltic Mountains and, flowing through them and through the country of the Paeonians and Dacians and that of not a few other nations, traversing a great extent of land, and always increasing in size by the addition of inflowing streams, it ends by flowing through the Getian and Scythian country into the Euxine Sea.


§ 29. It embraces in its basin many other very warlike nations, but especially the Paeonians and Dacians, to whom, as I have said, the country of the Triballi is contiguous. The land stretches alongside these for a long distance, and contains many fine cities in the interior, with strong fortresses near the banks of the river. For this reason the Sultan deemed it necessary to seize the country and to get possession of the fortresses on the river-banks so as to become master of the crossings of the river and thus be able to cross into their country whenever he wished, and to prevent them from crossing into his.



Remarks on the land of the Triballi, its great fruitfulness and self-sufficiency in all things


§ 30. Not only this, but the fertility of the land had no small influence with him, as it was remarkably productive of all sorts of good things. For the earth is very fertile, and able to bear all crops. It produces everything in abundance, all sorts of grains and plants. Also whatever is raised on the earth, that is to say, flocks of goats and sheep, swine, cattle, and fine horses in no small quantity, as well as many other edible and useful animals of various kinds, both domesticated and wild, are produced in great numbers, together with much fodder for them.


§ 31. Its greatest asset, in which it surpasses all other lands, is that it produces gold and silver as if from springs. They are mined all over this region, which has many very fine deposits of both gold and silver, better than those of India. Indeed, the country of the Triballi has in this respect been fortunate from the start, and has prided itself on its





wealth and power. It was a kingdom with many large cities in it, flourishing ones, and strong and impregnable castles. And it was rich in its supply of soldiers and armies, and of much good equipment.


§ 32. It had also inhabitants of the finest sort, and it nourished many youths of manly vigor. It was admired and renowned, nay, and envied, too, so that there were not simply many who loved it, but also those who plotted against it.



Relating how the country of the Triballi had formerly been captured by Sultan Murad


§ 33. Murad, the father of the Sultan, had previously campaigned against the country with a large powerful force which conquered the whole land and captured the cities and fortresses, both those inland and those situated on the banks of the Ister River. Some of these he took by assault, by force of arms, while others surrendered without a battle. Thus he held the whole country, having driven out into Paeonia Lazarus, the ruler of the land. [15]


§ 34. Now, when some time had passed since this conquest, the Sultan took pity on the conquered, both because of his nature and because he was begged by friends to do so, for he was as kindhearted as any man, in thought and action. Besides, the Sultan wanted this man as an ally and co-worker. The man had already become his friend, and had the highest sentiments as to the war against the Paeonians and Dacians, for he had long been their neighbor and knew their country and their customs well. Besides this, he was in every way a brave man and a warrior. So the Sultan gave him back his country and his rule, nor did he deprive him of anything which he had taken. Nay, rather, he gave him in addition many of his own things. He did not take a single hostage from him, but accepted only the customary taxes, bound him by oaths, and entrusted the rule to him.


§ 35. And Lazarus, having again undertaken to rule his country, became strong in a short time, and ruled it powerfully. He was submissive to the Sultan's father, and for a



15. George Brankovich of the Lazarevich line.





while to Sultan Mehmed himself, and paid the tribute. But after that, as I have related, he became rash and determined to revolt. Nor did he willingly pay the tribute, but also cooperated with the Paeonians [Hungarians] and Dacians, thus breaking the treaties he had made with the Sultan.



Expedition of the Sultan against the Triballi


§ 36. When the Sultan discovered that he was acting in this way, he made an expedition against him. Having made careful preparations through the winter, at the very first appearance of spring he left Adrianople with all his army, both cavalry and infantry, and marched through the interior of Thrace and Macedonia, taking with him not a few cannon and weapons of all sorts.



As to the size of the army


§ 37. He had an army, it is stated, of 50,000 horse, and of footsoldiers a much larger number. Having reached Moesia and Mount Haemon (where was the pass) in a week, he crossed this safely with all his army, and in three days' march from here he entered the territory of the Triballi.



The Sultan's invasion of the land of the Triballi; attack and capture of castles


§ 38. He invaded and pillaged a large part of it, and he captured not a few fortresses, some by force and assault, others by siege. He did this in the space of twenty-five days from his first incursion. Then he came to a town well fortified and flourishing, Novoprodo [Novobrdo] as it was called in the language of the Triballi, where most of the silver and gold are mined.



Siege of Novoprodo


§ 39. He pitched his camp before this town. First he sent a message to the inhabitants, proposing their surrender and the making of a treaty, if they were willing, and stating that





they should give over to him their city and themselves, with promises of good faith, and that they and their wives and children and all their goods should remain there safe and unhurt, in the same condition and footing as hitherto. He also required that they should pay him exactly the same taxes they had been giving to their own king, and that they should live peaceably with everybody else.


§ 40. But this attempt did not succeed as he had hoped, since the besieged were absolutely unwilling to accept. Therefore he immediately devastated the countryside, surrounded the town and besieged it with his army, and brought his cannon into action.


§ 41. Lazarus, the chief of the Triballi, when he heard of the great attack by the Sultan, of the capture of the fortresses and of the siege of Novoprodo, was astounded at what had occurred and altogether perplexed and embarrassed as to what to do.


§ 42. However, he did the best he could to put the remaining fortresses in condition, and he removed the men, women and children from the plains into the fortresses or else into mountain strongholds. The flocks he carried away, as also all the other possessions of the people, and he fortified the rest of the country.



Lazarus crosses into Dacia and stays there


§ 43. When he had placed a considerable garrison in Semendria with a commander who was one of those most trusted by him, and when he had brought to that place abundant supplies which he considered sufficient for a long siege, he himself crossed the Ister with his wife and children and all his goods, and with some of his suite.



Embassy from Lazarus to the Sultan, and the Treaty of the Sultan with him


§ 44. Reaching the country of the Dacians and Paeonians, he remained there. After a short time he thought it wise to send an embassy to the Sultan and to try, if possible, to secure in some way a treaty of peace. So he chose men of the





highest rank around him, men of wisdom and education, and gave them many costly presents of gold and silver as well as the customary taxes which he owed, and sent them off.


§ 45. When they arrived, they brought the presents to the Sultan, and also the taxes, and gave him the message they had from their chief. The Sultan received them graciously and dealt kindly with them. He spoke peaceably to them, and made a treaty and gave and received pledges by which he was to keep only the fortresses he had captured and the territory he had taken by force of arms, while over all the remainder their chief was to rule, paying a yearly tribute somewhat less than formerly. The latter was also to furnish a stipulated number of soldiers for the expeditions of the Sultan.



Surrender of Novoprodo to the Sultan


§ 46. Now the besieged town of Novoprodo, unable to resist any longer the siege which had lasted a long time—for some forty days of siege had dragged on, and the walls had been demolished by the cannon—had already surrendered of its own accord to the Sultan, with the stipulation that all the inhabitants should be spared, and should stay as they were, with their wives and children and all their belongings, living in the town and tilling the land.


§ 47. Hence the Sultan, having made the treaty and exchanged pledges, honored the ambassadors with friendly and suitable gifts, saluted them with gracious and affable words, and sent them back. On their return they told their chief Lazarus what they had done.


§ 48. He had indeed succeeded beyond his expectations in getting the treaty (which he never could have hoped for), for he had not imagined it possible for the Sultan to make a treaty with him after he had raised such an army and made such great and expensive preparations for war. Therefore he was greatly pleased at the outcome, and did not care about anything he had lost, so happy was he at what remained. He had, indeed, expected to lose everything at once.





Return of Lazarus to his own country


§ 49. Therefore Lazarus immediately took his wife and children and all his other belongings, and crossed the Ister and went to his own domain.


§ 50. As for the Sultan, when he had put the fortresses which he had captured in very safe condition, and when he had placed a sufficient garrison in the country, he left as governor Ali, a warrior and a nobleman. With a very large quantity of booty for himself and his army, Sultan Mehmed then went back to Adrianople.


§ 51. The summer was now ending. He stayed in Adrianople a short time. Then, leaving a member of his own suite in charge there, he went to Byzantium in the middle of the autumn, to spend the winter there. So closed the year 6963 [1455] from the beginning, the fifth of the reign of the Sultan.



How the Sultan took care of the City


§ 52. On reaching the City, he found the palace brilliantly completed, and the castle at the Golden Gate and all the walls of the City well built. He was pleased at what had been done, and rewarded the overseers of the work with money and robes of ceremony and many other things. He also ordered them to repair as soon as possible the bridges over the gulfs of Athyras and Rhegium, which had been damaged in recent storms and had fallen. In addition, they were to repair and level the other roads that led to the City, wherever they were dangerous or difficult to pass, by paving them with slabs and stones so that travel on them should be easy and safe.


§ 53. Not only this, but he ordered them to build caravansaries and halting-places along the roads so that any travelers coming by land toward the city might pass the night there and rest.


§ 54. And he commanded them to construct a very large and very fine marketplace, in the center of the City, somewhere near the palace, protected by very strong walls on the outside, and divided on the inside into very beautiful and





spacious colonnades. It was to have a roof of fired tile and to be ornamented with dressed stone.


§ 55. He also ordered them to construct splendid and costly baths, and through aqueducts to bring into the City from the countryside an abundance of water. Many other such things he also ordered to be done for the building up and beautifying of the City, and for the benefit and needs and comfort of the inhabitants.


§ 56. Above all he was solicitous to work for the repeopling of the City and to fill it with inhabitants as it had previously been. He gathered them there from all parts of Asia and Europe, and he transferred them with all possible care and speed, people of all nations, but more especially of Christians. So profound was the passion that came into his soul for the City and its peopling, and for bringing it back to its former prosperity.



Reasons why the Sultan invaded Enos


§ 57. While he was busy with these things, in the middle of winter, news came that Dorieus, [16] ruler of Enos and of the islands Imbros and Samothrace, wanted a change of government and was planning a revolution. This man's father, Palamedes, who had died a short time before, had named in his will Dorieus himself and the widow of the latter's elder brother and her children as co-heirs of all his belongings and as his successors in the rule. In his will he further appointed the larger part to the widow and her children, since the rule belonged of right to his eldest son.


§ 58. Indeed, while the elder son was yet alive, the father had given him entire authority and had designated Dorieus as simply the lord of his possessions in Mitylene. But Dorieus, despising justice and the will of his father, and even his own security—for he would have been safe had he respected the rights of his brother's children and of their mother—unjustly drove off the woman and her children, and seized all their private means and the entire authority, ceding nothing of all this to the children or their mother.



16. Dorino II Gattilusio.





§ 59. She, for her part, took this action very badly, and could not bear the tyranny. At first she tried by arguments to turn him from his greediness, partly in person and partly through able and wise men of the region, and especially through relatives of theirs to whom any dispute over the rule could not but be a great danger.


§ 60. In a kindly spirit they went and counseled him not to change in any way his father's will, nor to wish to domineer over the wife and children of his brother, but to fear the divine Nemesis which travels everywhere and judges the acts of men, sees who are unjustly treated and who are oppressors and what is the inclination of those who have power in such matters. And they advised him to realize that some things are terribly irrevocable and unchangeable.


§ 61. For, said they, it is impossible for those who are wronged to remain silent. They will certainly look after their own rights in every possible way, and will complain of you to the Sultan and traduce you to him, rightly or wrongly. You see where the thing will end. If you are at all solicitous for yourself, or for us, or for the whole realm, be persuaded by those who give you the advice which is best for us all. Share the inheritance and the realm with the children and the widow of your brother, giving them what is just. Thus you will decide on and carry out what is beneficial and best, not only for yourself but for all of us. While for the future you will secure peace and safety to the realm which has fallen to your lot.


§ 62. Although they said all this and much more of this sort to him very often, yet they could not persuade him. The widow, abandoning once for all the hope of persuading him, fled to the supreme authority. She also had sent her maternal uncle as ambassador and spokesman.


§ 63. This man on his arrival, in his sorrow and righteous indignation, and with the desire to punish the perpetrator of the injustice even at the risk of all of them losing their authority—which indeed was what happened—brought before the Sultan many accusations against Dorieus, saying that he was hostile to the Sultan and sought to plot against him, that he was in communication with the Italians, was collecting





arms, hiring mercenaries, and planning to place garrisons in Enos and the islands. In sum, said, he, he is aiming at nothing less than a revolt, and if he is not stopped immediately, he may even put into action what he is plotting.


§ 64. With these words and many more like them, he put the Sultan into such a rage and passion that he could no longer restrain himself. The Sultan decided he should wait no longer, that he should not fail to notice what was going on at Enos or altogether neglect a town that had such a reputation in many ways for its great productivity, its favorable situation, its rich soil, and many other things.


§ 65. Enos was of old the largest city of the Aeolians. It was very proud of its glory and wealth and power, and it held sway over all the coasts of the region and also over many islands. It is situated in the best part of the coasts of Thrace and Macedonia, having to the south the Aegean sea and the nearby islands of Imbros and Lemnos and others, and it profits abundantly from commerce with them.



As to the Hebrus River


§ 66. On the north it has the Hebrus River which flows from upper Moesia and has its sources in the Haemon Mountain. It flows through the interior of Thrace and Macedonia southwards, and near Adrianople it becomes large and navigable, receiving the waters of other rivers flowing into it, the Contaezdos, the Agrianes, and the Tearos.


§ 67. Now this Tearos has its sources in the neighboring mountain between Heraeon and Apollonia on the Euxine Sea. The sources flow out of the rock and it is very good for drinking and most beneficial in many ways, as is witnessed both by those who live at its source and also by all who live along its course. The Hebrus flows down and comes near Doriscus, and running past it then empties into the Aegean Sea before one reaches the harbor of Enos.


§ 68. It furnishes many fish of every sort, large and small and fat. And it enables the merchant vessels in that city to carry on by its means commerce with the inland and with some of the cities in its neighborhood.





§ 69. In front of the city there are also some lakes, and still others are near by. These almost make the location a peninsula. In particular there is another lake, a large one, that empties into these. It is situated behind the hill in front of the city toward the north, called Stentoris in ancient times. These lakes contain many kinds of fish and also flocks of geese and of other edible fowl which feed in the lakes and rivers. This city has always had and now has abundance of all these, ind all of them good.


§ 70. But the greatest resource and the one in which it overwhelmingly excels nearly all its neighbors both in wealth and in revenue is the salt that is produced there, more and better than anywhere else. By distributing and selling it through all Thrace and Macedonia, the city amasses an immense quantity of gold and silver, as it were in a steady stream.



As to the city of Enos, and what it originally was


§ 71. Thus, then, this city in old times was flourishing and had unbounded wealth and very great power, and was renowned in glory and had many other good things. But in course of time, like the other Greek cities, it fell and was ruined, and remained uninhabited for a long time.


§ 72. But a long while afterward, owing to the productiveness of the region, a part of it was rebuilt by the Roman kings, so that the part near the harbor, where the acropolis formerly was, was again inhabited. In a short time it flourished and became again one of the most renowned and wealthy of cities, with the finest inhabitants and endowed with all sorts of good things.


§ 73. It had as its ruler, about 150 years ago, an Italian nobleman of good family and very powerful, named Gateliouzes. The emperor of the Romans had given him his sister to wife and, as a dowry, Enos and Mitylene.


§ 74. This man brought the city into better condition as time went on, and improved it in every way. And the succession stayed in his family to this fourth generation, till Palamedes and his son Dorieus, from whom now at last the Sultan took away this city.





§ 75. These men and the rulers before them were all accustomed to pay to the ancestors of the Sultan from the time when they first crossed into Europe and took possession of all Thrace and Macedonia, and also to the present Sultan a yearly tax including two tenth parts of the produce of salt plus the other annual taxes. They themselves then enjoyed the rest, according to the permission of the Sultans, and they governed the city. It was possible for the Sultans to have taken it whenever they wished, as indeed they have now taken it.



Expedition of Yunus from Gallipoli against Enos


§ 76. At the Sultan's command, Yunus fitted out ten triremes and set sail from Gallipoli, reaching Eleus the first day. Rounding the peninsula he passed by night through the Gulf of Melas [Saros] and anchored at the cape called Pacheia Beach, a short distance from Enos. It is related that here Xerxes, while conducting his expedition against the Greeks, beached his leaky ships and repaired them, and that he reviewed all his forces at Doriscus. On the very next day, Yunus sailed into the harbor of Enos.



Expedition of the Sultan against Enos by land


§ 77. Sultan Mehmed, with all the royal guard and two squadrons of cavalry, went overland in a fierce storm—for this took place in the very depth of winter. So much were they troubled on their way by fogs and the precipices, and the bitter north winds that many of the footsoldiers were buried in the snow and died, even when they had scarcely left Adrianople behind. On the rest of the road many had their extremities frozen, and lost noses or ears or other members of the body which had to be amputated.


§ 78. Still, in spite of so severe a winter with its cold and snowstorms, the Sultan set but from the city and on the fourth day reached Kypsella [Ipsala], now a large village, but one of the famous cities of older days, about a hundred stadia distant from Enos Bay.


§ 79. The people of Enos, when they saw the fleet come in from the sea into the harbor and heard of the sudden descent





of the Sultan on Kypsella, were astounded at what had happened and could not understand the reason for it. They were in the depths of despair and in terrible uncertainty and fear, not knowing what to do. They supposed that they and their women and children would be carried off immediately, for the Sultan was attacking them by land and sea.


§ 80. Now Doreius, their chief, was not there at the time, as he happened to have gone a short while before to Samothrace Island to spend the winter. However, as the most feasible step, they chose the most prominent men among them, and sent them to the Sultan, surrendering themselves and their city to him with the stipulation that they should not suffer harm.



The Surrender of the City of Enos to the Sultan


§ 81. The Sultan received these men who came mildly, and spoke peaceably with them. He granted some of the things they asked for, and sent them back. He also sent with them Mahmud Pasha to take over the city. The next day he himself arrived, and entering the palace of Dorieus, took away all the riches that he found there, gold and silver and other things. And he plundered the houses of the powerful men who had left with Dorieus.


§ 82. After staying three days in the city, having arranged its affairs as he desired, he chose out 150 boys of the highest families. Then he made Murad governor over it, a wise man and kindly in his ways, and returned to Adrianople.



How Yunus entrusted to Kritovoulos the government of Imbros, after expelling the officials of Dorieus


§ 83. Yunus sent a fifty-oared ship to Samothrace to fetch Dorieus, and himself set sail to Imbros in order to arrange affairs there and to expel the officials of Dorieus. But as he encountered a storm, he could not enter the harbor and so proceeded to Kephalos, a cape on the south of Imbros, which was less exposed to the waves and calmer. He then sent a





messenger, summoned Kritovoulos, and gave over to him the entire island and its fortresses to rule and to guard.


§ 84. He himself seized the officials of Dorieus, and then set sail for his home in Gallipoli.


§ 85. But Dorieus did not embark from Samothrace in the fifty-oared ship, nor go to Yunus. The reason, as I believe, was that he feared him. Embarking in his own coasting vessel, he instead sailed to Enos from which he went on to Adrianople. When he came into the royal presence, he was received affably by the Sultan, and was the object of philanthropy and kindness. And he was again given the islands of Imbros, Lemnos, and Samothrace as his own domain.


§ 86. Yunus, however, was angry at Dorieus for not coming to him, which had showed that he feared Yunus would bring him before the Sultan. Therefore, as he thought this act showed arrogance against him, Yunus wished to take vengeance on Dorieus. He secretly sent word to the Sultan while Dorieus was still at Adrianople, saying that he ought not to hand over the islands to Dorieus, since the islanders would not accept him because the man was of malevolent disposition. He added that there was great likelihood of a revolt in the islands, but that Dorieus might be given a place at some interior point for his livelihood.



Remarks as to Dorieus


§ 87. The Sultan was persuaded by these arguments and took back the islands, granting to Dorieus some villages in the Zichna region for a living. Dorieus went there and spent a short time there, but a little later he fled to Mitylene, crossed over from there to Naxos, married in the island of Tenos a daughter of a noble family, and stayed at her home.



Preparation of the Sultan against Belgrade; his expedition


§ 88. The Sultan remained through the winter at Adrianople, collecting a large army and constructing cannon in addition to those he already had. The new ones were more powerful. He also gathered arms and all sorts of other war





materials. But he did not disclose his plan, nor did anyone know where he was to make his attack. After careful preparations according to the plan he had in mind, at the very opening of spring he set out from Adrianople and marched through the midst of Thrace and Macedonia to Upper Moesia and to the pass of the Haemon Mountains which is now known as the Sophia Pass.



The Defenses of Belgrade


§ 89. Crossing through it, he invaded the land of the Triballi and, marching rapidly through it and ravaging most of it, reached the city of the Paeonians that lies on the banks of the Ister. This city is called Belgrade. It is very well fortified on all sides and very safe, almost impregnable, partly because of the way it was built, but especially because it is shut off on two sides by the two rivers, the Ister on the north, and the Save on the south which here flows into the former. The city is protected by its lofty and steep banks, and by its very rapid currents.


§ 90. On the landward side, where it was much more vulnerable and could be captured with the aid of cannon, it was defended by a very lofty double wall and a deep and marshy moat, full of water. It also contained a fairly large garrison of Paeonian warriors, all well armed. It was thus impregnable.



Siege of Belgrade


§ 91. The Sultan pitched his camp there, surrounded the city, placed his cannon against it, and besieged it.



Flight of Lazarus to Dacia


§ 92. Lazarus, chief of the Triballi, who had known from the beginning about this attack of the Sultan against his own, immediately crossed the Ister with his wife and children and all his goods, and fled into Dacia. There he remained, waiting for the war to cease.







§ 93. The Sultan in his siege of the city partly shattered and partly destroyed the wall with his cannon. Then he divided his army into sections and filled up the moat so that it would be easier for the heavy infantry to get to the wall. This work was quickly done because there were so many hands.


§ 94. Those inside the city fought bravely, bringing up stockades and all sorts of defense materials, stones, wood, and other things to the wrecked part of the wall, digging a deep ditch on the inner side, heaping up the earth high, and using every other device for defense. But they never had a chance to complete the work, for the stones shot by the cannon scattered and demolished the materials they had gathered, and broke down the wall.


§ 95. John [Hunyadi], the commander of the Paeonians and Dacians, was encamped beyond the Ister, opposite the city, with four thousand heavy infantry, watching events. When he saw that the wall had been broken down and the moat already completely filled and that the grand battle and the assault by the Sultan and his whole army were very shortly to be expected, he feared lest the city should be captured by force of arms in the attack. Therefore he secretly crossed the river with his soldiers and entered the city and halted, without anybody outside knowing of his crossing,


§ 96. Since all was going in his favor—for the wall had been broken down to the ground, and the moat filled up, and everything else now awaited the assault on the inner wall— the Sultan thought he should no longer delay or put it off at all, but should swiftly attack the city with all the power of his army.


§ 97. Hence, after carefully arranging all his forces, he harangued and exhorted them much in advance, encouraging them to fight, giving orders as to what should be done, and urging them to show themselves heroes. He then led the assault on the inner wall.





The Sultan's attack on the city, heavy fighting


§ 98. The soldiers with a loud and fearful battle-cry rushed shouting against the demolished part of the wall, ahead of the Sultan. Climbing over this they fought valiantly, trying to get inside.


§ 99. But the Paeonians met them bravely, withstanding the assault and fighting valiantly. There was a fierce struggle there and many were killed in a hand-to-hand fight just in front of the Sultan, his men trying to get inside the walls and capture the city, while the Paeonians tried to repulse them and guard it.


§ 100. At last the Sultan's men prevailed, forced back the Paeonians, and gallantly scaled the wall. In desperate fighting they beat them back, drove them into the city, and poured in themselves. They drove them back in disorder and confusion, and killed mercilessly.



Attack of John against the Sultan's forces


§ 101. Just then John suddenly appeared there, rushing up with his men. With a great shout he quickly frightened and greatly perplexed the Ottomans, repelling the advance. There was a sharp fight, with anger and wrath and great slaughter, both of the heavy infantry and of the Paeonians. Both sides fought well, and excelled each other in determination, acting heroically, the attackers believing they nearly had the city and that its loss would be a disgrace, while the Paeonians were ashamed to be beaten or to lose such a city out of their hands.


§ 102. But the Sultan's troops at this point suffered heavily. They were hit in front and from above from the battlements, and from the houses on the wall they were attacked on the flank. Indeed, on every side the Paeonians attacked them. So, unable to hold out any longer, they gave way, and the Paeonians fell on them immediately with fresh courage and more vigorously drove them back foot by foot, taking some of them prisoner.





Repulse of the Sultan's men, flight, and pursuit by the Paeonians as far as the camp


§ 103. Driving them back from the wall, they followed them clear to the camp and killed some. And when they reached the cannon, they threw some of these into the river and others into the moat, while most of the men turned to looting the camp.



Later attack of the Sultan on the Paeonians; severe battle, their flight and pursuit, and their being again besieged in the city


§ 104. They would have wrought great havoc and looted most of the camp had not the Sultan attacked them in the center with his guard and stopped their onslaught. Fighting desperately, he drove them back brilliantly and pursued them to the walls, pitilessly killing and slaughtering them. Then with vigorous blows he drove them inside, and again besieged them in the city.


§ 105. After that, he left off pursuing them and went back to the camp. Not much had been removed from the camp, since, as I have said, the Sultan fell upon them so suddenly and put them to flight and chased them.


§ 106. A large number of other soldiers had been killed as well as several from the Sultan's guard, brave men. The Governor of Europe, Karaja, also fell, struck by a stone cannon-ball. He was a fine man, one of the most powerful of the Sultan's entourage, renowned for his courage and military skill and valor. It is also said that the Sultan himself was hit in the thigh by a javelin as he fought, but the wound was not severe, merely superficial.


§ 107. The Sultan gave up all hope of storming the citadel. It had already been very strongly garrisoned, and now many more had got in. Therefore he withdrew his army from there. After overrunning a part of Triballia [Serbia], he plundered it and captured forts and devastated villages, carrying off great quantities of booty for himself and giving much to the army. Then, having reinstated Ali there as governor, he returned





to Adrianople, for the harvest season was now over.


§ 108. After spending all the autumn there, in the beginning of winter he came to Byzantium. So the 6964th year [a.d. 1456] from the beginning drew to its close, being the sixth year of the reign of the Sultan.



The plot against Lazarus by Michael; imprisonment of Lazarus


§ 109. Lazarus, chief of the Triballi, when he learned of the Sultan's departure, crossed the Ister again, came back into his territory, and remained in Semendria. But Michael, brother of John's wife, who had been left by him as subgovernor of Belgrade, was very furious against Lazarus and in many ways laid ambush against him, wanting to capture him unawares, though no complaint was lodged against him. He did trap him shortly afterwards in one of his fortresses, treacherously arrested him, and put him in prison in Belgrade under a strong guard.



Release of Lazarus for 30,000 gold


§110. Lazarus, finding no other way of escape from there, gave Michael gold, begging him to release him. At first Michael refused, and demanded that territory and fortresses be given him—or perhaps he wanted a larger payment. After considerable time had elapsed, and after much entreaty, he gave in and released Lazarus on receipt of 30,000 pieces of gold.


§ 111. So Lazarus got safely away to his own domains. But before he could do more than catch his breath a little, being utterly worn out by his grief, and attacked by a severe disease, he died, leaving as heirs of his domain his wife and Lazarus [17] his son.


§ 112. The latter showed a bad spirit toward his parents. He had grieved his father in many other ways as long as he was alive, but especially when his father was being held as a prisoner in the fortress by Michael, for he was unwilling to get him released by paying the ransom and had done so only



17. Lazar III.





grudgingly and under force, and after being urgently besought by his mother. Now, after the death of his father, he refused to his mother herself any share in the government, but injured her in many ways and was a daily burden to her, demanding his inheritance from his father and the riches which she had accumulated and had concealed.



Flight of Lazarus's Mother, his sister Amirisi, and his brother Gregory


§ 113. The mother, unable to endure his daily insults and various attacks, fled secretly with her daughter Amirisi and her maimed son Gregory, taking along also much wealth. On learning this, her son Lazarus pursued hotly, and caught them in one of the fortresses he owned, for they had not succeeded in escaping into the Sultan's territories, where the Sultan had urged her to come.



Death of Lazarus's Mother


§ 114. Gregory and his sister, however, by hiding or else by getting far ahead of him (for both stories are told), did escape, and fled to one of the Sultan's fortresses. Later they reached the presence of the Sultan, who graciously received them and gave them suitable honors and care.


§ 115. But the mother was captured, through her being old and weak. In a short time, worn out by grief, she died after a brief illness and was buried there.


§ 116. Lazarus her son performed the canonical rites over her. Then, taking all the things she had been carrying with her, he went back to Semendria and had undisputed rule over the Triballi, or whatever remained of them, without any relatives to share it. For his brothers were crippled, and Gregory, as we said, had run away secretly with his sister, while Stephen stayed there but was quiet.


§ 117. So Lazarus, who was young and inexperienced in governing and had no very trustworthy or wise men in his employ—or, if he had, did not show any eagerness to follow their advice—did not rule the country well. Therefore, the





affairs of the Triballi suffered and were in disorder and great confusion. In addition to many other mistakes, and by no means least important of all, he did not pay the customary taxes to the Sultan. For this reason the Sultan was very angry with him, and prepared to invade the country as soon as spring came. However this Lazarus lived only a short time after coming to power, and then became ill and died, leaving as his heirs in the government his wife and a female child in her minority.



Death of Lazarus, and despatch of an army by the Sultan to invade all his territory and subdue it


§ 118. When the Sultan learned of the death of Lazarus, he immediately sent an army to Ali, governor of the region, ordering him quickly to invade the country of Lazarus and overrun it all and subdue it. Therefore Ali, when he received this army, levied another, no less in size, from his own province, and overran all that was left of the country of the Triballi. He subdued it and took under his own command the cities and fortresses and all the rest of the country.


§ 119. Advancing to Semendria, he first made proposals for an agreement to the queen and the chiefs, on the basis of the surrender of that city to the Sultan and their enjoyment of the rest of the region by permission of the Sultan, with pledges to be given them. These conditions they refused to accept, but closed the gates and remained inside. So Ali surrounded them with his army, walled them in and shut them up tight, not allowing anyone inside to get out, or anyone outside to go in.


§ 120. The Sultan remained in Constantinople, brought new inhabitants into it, and took every means of caring for those in the City. He erected baths of appropriate beauty, usefulness, and size. He built also splendid residences, inns, and markets all over the City, and caravansaries, and he planted public gardens. He brought in plenty of water, and did all he knew how, to give the City ornamentation and beauty as well as what was necessary for practical life. And he furnished





everything needed for the diversion of the inhabitants.


§ 121. Not only this, but he also peopled the suburbs and the country around, transporting many of the Triballi and Paeonians and Moesians from their homes, bringing some of them by force and settling them in this way. He did this because he believed it wise to people all the outlying region near the City, both because of the fertility of the soil—which is good for sowing and planting, and fertile for all sorts of vegetables and fruits—and more particularly because he wanted to provide for the needs of the City and to settle the country which had become to a great extent uninhabited and without houses, and dangerous to travelers. Thus he was busy with this undertaking.



Despatch of a fleet of thirty vessels by the Pope against the Sultan's islands in the Aegean


§ 122. At this time Nicholas, the High Priest of Rome, [18] mustered an army in Italy and fitted out a fleet to cross the sea against the Aegean islands of the Sultan, Imbros and Lemnos and the rest. He fitted out thirty triremes and two large galleons, armed them well, and embarked trained troops in them with arms of all sorts, including cannon. He "-hose as high admiral his nephew Louis, whom he also appointed as Patriarch of the eastern regions. And he sent them off in the early spring.



Surrender first of Lemnos to the Italians


§ 123. Sailing from Italy he arrived at Rhodes and, after a brief stay there, set sail and went to the islands of the Sultan. He reached Lemnos first, made a landing, and took possession of it by agreement, for the people of Lemnos surrendered immediately, as did also the Sultan's garrison which he had placed on the island. It was a guard of one hundred trained warriors from the Janissaries of his personal bodyguard, with their commander, Murad by name, who was in command of the entire island.



18. The Pope in 1457 was actually Callixtus III. Possibly preparations had been begun by Nicholas.





Capture of Thasos by the Italians


§ 124,. After a stay of eight days in Lemnos, during which he made suitable arrangements there and left a sufficient garrison under Loizos as its commander, Louis sailed away and went to Thasos. Here he landed, and began negotiating first fo!r a voluntary surrender of the island and of the garrison in the fortress at the harbor. But as he could not persuade them to this, he surrounded the fortress with his army and attacked furiously on all sides. And bringing up ladders against the wall, and cannon, he captured it by force, at the first assault. Some of the guards he killed; others he captured alive. There were in the fortress sixty of the Sultan's soldiers.


§ 125. He so frightened the people in the other towns by this that he received these by surrender, for they gave up themselves and their fortresses without a battle. So, having gained control of the whole island and thoroughly subdued it in fifteen days, he put matters in good order there, left a garrison, and sailed away for Lemnos with all his fleet, taking with him the men he had captured alive in the fortifications.



Arrival of Kontos in Imbros with ten triremes and his departure having accomplished nothing


§ 126. When he reached Lemnos, he sent ten triremes to Imbros, with a certain Kontos as commander. Louis himself stayed only four days in Lemnos. On the following day he took the Sultan's soldiers whom he had captured in Lemnos and Thasos, as many as had not died, and sailed away with the rest of the fleet to Rhodes.


§ 127. Kontos reached Imbros with his ten triremes and made proposals to Kritovoulos, the lieutenant of this island, as to the surrender of the island, handing him also letters from Louis on this subject.


§ 128. Kritovoulos received him in a friendly manner, gave him many presents, greeted him with mild and affable words, used every other possible means of mollifying him,





and sent him away in peace satisfied with the words he had heard and making no further demands. Neither did Kontos meddle at all in affairs, or carry out the purpose of his coming.


§ 129. Kritovoulos entrusted to him letters to Louis regarding the situation. They were written in a friendly spirit. So the man sailed away to Rhodes.


§ 130. Just at this time the autumn ended, and the 6965th year [a.d. 1457] from the beginning came to its close, which was the seventh year of the reign of the Sultan.


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