Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

PAGE

(3) Angelus.- A prayer to the Virgin used by Roman Catholice. Here the word signifies the bell which calls the nuns to their

Angelus prayer. 102. (1) The Emperor's vision. The story went that Constantine,

while engaged in war with Maxentius, the prize of victory being the empire of the West, saw a bright cross in the heavens, just above the sun, with the inscription, ‘By this conquer.' This phenomenon appeared shortly after noon, and was witnessed by Constantine himself and by the whole of his army. Shortly afterwards Christ appeared to the emperor in his sleep, and enjoined him to make a banner in the sign of the cross, under which his arms would be for ever crowned with victory. Constantine had long meditated earnestly on the claims of the rival religions, and this supernatural vision biassed his mind in favour of Christianity.

(2) The devout Helena. – The Empress Helena, wife of Constantius Chlorus and mother of Constantine the Great, became a Christian while her son Constantine was still young, and showed great zeal for the advancement of the Christian faith, causing splendid churches to be built over the places of our Lord's birth, burial, and ascension. The true Cross (i.e. the cross on which our Lord had been crucified) was said to have been miraculously discovered about this time, and a magnificent church, called afterwards the church of the Holy Sepulchre, rose on the

spot hallowed by this discovery. 103. (1) Gregory the Great. -- Pope of Rome from 590 to 604 A.1). He

sent forth the expedition under Augustine which began the work of evangelizing England, and ruled both the Christian Church and the city of Rome with extraordinary energy, wisdom, and large-mindedness.

(2) Chosroes the Persian. --There were several Persian kings of this name. The one alluded to in this passage invaded the Roman Empire (which had long been centred in Constan. tinople) in the early part of the seventh century A.D., conquered Syria in 611, Palestine in 614, and Egypt and Asia Minor in 616. Heraclius, the Roman emperor, conceived the bold design of invading Persia in the absence of its king, and carried this into effect with signal success, 622-627. Constanti. nople, which had long been threatened, was delivered from the Persians, the conquered provinces were recovered, the army of Chosroes was utterly defeated at Nineveh, and the king himself was deposed by his people and murdered by his son, Jerusalem had been stormed and sacked and its holy places desecrated when

PAGE

Palestine was conquered (614), but the true Cross was recovered

by Heraclius and restored to the holy sepulchre in 628. 104. (1) Kebla (Keblah or Kiblah). – An Arabic word signifying

the point towards which Mohammedans turn their faces in prayer.

(2) The Caliph Omar.-Omar, the second of the Caliphs or successors of Mohammed (581-644), conquered, within the space of six years, Palestine, Syria, Persia, Egypt, Barca, Tripoli, and Armenia.

(3) The Fall of the Caliphate.-The name Caliphate or Califate was given by the historians of the Middle Ages to the great Arab empire founded by the successors of Mohammed. The Caliphs gradually degenerated into worthless voluptuaries, and their empire fell into decay. Towards the end of the tenth century there were three claimants to the title of Caliph, the first at Bagdad, the second at Cairo, and the third at Cordova. In the eleventh century the Caliphs of Bagdad were still acknowledged as the spiritual heads of Islam, but their temporal power scarcely

extended beyond the walls of the city. 105. (1) Hakim. — A frantic youth, who was delivered by his impiety

and despotism from the fear either of God or man, and whose reign was a wild mixture of vice and folly' (Gibbon).

(2) Robert of Normandy. — The father of William the Conqueror.

(3) The Seljukians. — The Seljukians or Seljuks were a collection of Turkish tribes who in the tenth and eleventh centuries made extensive conquests in Central and Eastern Asia. Melek Shah (1073–1093), the most powerful monarch of the Seljukian dynasty, added Arabia, Asia Minor, Armenia, Syria, and Palestine to his empire. The Seljuks were zealous Mohammedans. Under Melek Shah civilisation made rapid progress, but after his death the empire was divided into independent principalities and gradually declined in power. The Seljukians of Asia Minor, aided by those of Aleppo, Damascus, and Mosul, were engaged for nearly two centuries in almost ceaseless warfare with the Crusaders and Byzantines, but in the thirteenth century A.D. the whole of this once extensive empire was conquered by the Mongols under

Genghis Khan. 107. The Pope, Urban. -Urban II., Pope of Rome from 1088 to 1099.

The celebrated Council of Clermont was held in 1096. 111. While they were slaughtering the Amalekites. See Exodus

xvii. 8-13. 115. (1) Bourges. -A city in central France, famous for its great

PAGE

cathedral, which has a magnificent portal, and an interior of unsurpassable grandeur.

(2) The Romanesque edifices. - Romanesque is a general term for all the debased styles of architecture which sprang from attempts to imitate the Roman, and which flourished in Europe from the period of the destruction of the Roman power till the

introduction of Gothic architecture’ (J. H. Parker). 116. The celestial hierarchy of the Areopagite.

Dionysius, the Areopagite, is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as having been one of the few persons who 'clave unto' Paul when he preached at Athens. A fabulous history has been invented for him by the Church, and certain writings of a mystical character are falsely current under his name, treating of such topics as the

heavenly hierarchy, the ecclesiastical hierarchy, etc. 119. (1) The fall of Constantinople. For centuries before its actual

fall, the Eastern Empire had been in a state of hopeless decrepitude. One by one its provinces had been wrested from it by the victorious Turks. The great defeat of the Turkish Sultan Bajazet by Timour, the Mongul conqueror, gave it a respite for fifty years ; but as soon as the Turks had recovered from their disaster, they made themselves masters of Greece and Macedonia, and reduced the Eastern Empire to the single city of Constantinople. Mahomet II. (or, as the word is now usually spelt, Mohammed) ascended the Turkish throne in 1450, invested Constantinople on the 6th of April 1453, and stormed it on the 29th of the following month.

(2) Gabour (same as the more modern Giaour). -An expression of reproach applied by Mohammedans to Christians and other 'Infidels. The conquest of the Guebres or Fire-worshippers of Persia was one of the earliest exploits of Mohammedanism, and so the word Guebre (of which Gabour and Giaour are corruptions) came to be applied to all who were outside the pale of Islam, and in particular to the chief opponents of Moham. medanism—the Christians.

(3) Palæologus. -The name of an illustrious Byzantine family which sat for nearly 200 years (1260-1453) on the throne of the Eastern Empire. Constantine XIII. (1449–1453) was the last of the Imperial Palæologi and the last of the Eastern Emperors.

(4) Moslem (an Arabic word meaning a true believer). -A

Mussulman or Mohammedan. 120. Galata.—A suburb of Constantinople. It was founded by the

Genoese as a republic under the Byzantine Empire, and is now the chief residence of the European merchants and the principal place of trade.

PAGE

121. The dome of St. Sophia. - The Church of St. Sophia (now a

mosque) is a magnificent and richly-decorated edifice, in the form of a Greek cross and crowned by a beautiful dome.

It was built by the Emperor Justinian in the early part of the sixth

century. 122. (1) Anatolia.-The modern name of Asia Minor.

(2) Romania.—The country south of the Balkans, now known as Roumelia and anciently as Thrace.

(3) The Janizaries. A Turkish military force originally formed (1330) of young Christian prisoners who had been compelled to embrace Mohammedanism. They were for some time recruited from Christian prisoners, but young Turks were subsequently admitted into their body. They formed the Sultan's bodyguard and the reserve of the Turkish army; but having become so turbulent and unruly as to be a standing menace to the authority and even to the personal safety of the Sultan, they were put down with much bloodshed in 1826, and the

Janizary force for ever dissolved. 123. (1) John Justiniani. --A noble Genoese, who, with a gallant band

of 2000 strangers, had materially aided the Greeks in their defence against the Turks.

(2) The Isle of Chios.-An island near the west coast of Asia.

Minor. See note (4) to p. 70. 124. Cantacuzene.—The noble race of Cantacuzeni (illustrious from

the eleventh century in the Byzantine annals) was drawn from the Paladins of France. The most remarkable member of the family was John Cantacuzene, the historian, who assumed the purple in 1341 (John Palæologus being the true emperor), but abdicated

in 1355. 125. (1) Chosroes. --See note (2) to p. 103.

(2) The Chagan.-Chagan or Khan is a Tartar word signifying a prince or chief. The Chagan here referred to was king of the Avars, a people of the Turkish race who, in the sixth century A.D., established themselves in the south-east, and even penetrated into the centre of Europe. In the early part of the seventh century Constantinople was attacked by the Avars on one side and the Persians on the other, but the Avars were repulsed in 626, and the Persians were conquered by Heraclius. (See note (2) to p. 103.)

(3) The Caliphs. — Constantinople was twice unsuccessfully besieged by the Caliphs—(1) 668-675 ; (2) 716-718.

(4) Her empire only had been subverted by the Latins. — The Greek empire was overthrown by the Crusaders in the beginning of the thirteenth century. Constantinople was taken and

PAGE

pillaged by the French and Venetians in 1204, and a line of emperors belonging to the houses of Flanders and Courtenay sat on the throne from that year to 1261, when the city was recovered by the Greeks.

(5) Boadicea. —Queen of the Iceni, a tribe on the east coast of Britain. Having been insulted by the Romans, and her territory having been plundered, she took up arms in revenge, gathered round her a large army, captured several important Roman colonies, and massacred many thousands of Romans. She was, however, eventually defeated by Suetonius (A.D. 62), and in despair committed suicide. The Druid in this poem looks forward to a time when Britain shall be a mighty empire, and Italy

shall be more renowned for skill in the fine arts than in war. 127. (1) Henry Beauclerc. —Henry I. of England.

(2) Hugh Capet.-Founder of the Capetian or third Frankish dynasty, reigned from 987 to 996. First made Paris the capital

of France. 129. The Cinque Ports.—The five maritime ports of England lying

opposite to the coast of France Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Romney, and Hastings—were formed by William the Conqueror into a sort of County Palatine, entirely separate from the counties of Kent and Sussex, and placed under the jurisdiction of a Warden, whose headquarters were at Dover Castle. The Cinque Ports were bound to furnish such shipping as was required by the State : in the time of Edward I., for example, they were bound to provide 57 ships, fully equipped and manned, at their own cost. Most of the Cinque Port towns had subordinate ports and towns attached to them, which were called members. At a later date, Cinque Port privileges were extended to the

towns of Winchelsea and Rye. 130. Drops of balm to sanctify thy head.—The allusion here is to

the oil with which kings were anointed. 131 (1) Shall double gild his treble guilt.—This play on the words gild and guilt occurs again in Macbeth :

'I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal ;

And it shall seem their guilt.' The process of gilding has the effect of making an inferior article seem as if it were of great value.

(2) Civil blows.—Blows of internal strife. The word civil has

the same meaning in the phrase 'civil war.' 132. (1) Less fine in carat.-Less pure. Gold is always hardened

by being alloyed with baser metals. The proportion in which gold

« ZurückWeiter »