Ex-Classics Home Page



Hitherto thou halt heard, Christian reader, the lamentable persecutions of these latter days, wrought by the Turks against the people and servants of Christ. In the reading whereof such as sit quietly at home, and be far from jeopardy, may see what misery there is abroad: the knowledge and reading whereof shall not be unprofitable for all Christians earnestly to weigh and consider, for that many there be which, falsely deceiving themselves, imagine that Christianity is a quiet and restful state of life, full of pleasure and solace in this present world; when indeed it is nothing less, testified by the mouth of our Saviour himself, who rightly defining his kingdom, teacheth us that his kingdom is not of this world, premonishing us also before, that in this world we must look for affliction, but in him we shall have peace. Examples hereof in all parts of this history through all ages are plenteous and evident to be seen, whether we turn our eyes to the first ten persecutions in the primitive church, during the first three hundred years after Christ; or whether we consider the latter three hundred years in this last age of the church, wherein the poor flock of Christ hath been so afflicted, oppressed, and devoured, that it is hard to say whether have been more cruel against the Christians, the infidel emperors of Rome in the primitive age of the church, or else these barbarous Turks in these our latter times of the church now present.

Thus from time to time the church of Christ almost hath had little or no rest in this earth, what for the heathen emperors on the one side, what for the proud pope on the other side, on the third side what for the barbarous Turk; for these are and have been from the beginning the three principal and capital enemies of the church of Christ, signified in the Apocalypse by the beast, the false lamb, and the false prophet, from whom went out three foul spirits like frogs, to gather together all the kings of the earth to the battle of the day of the Lord God Almighty, Apoc. xvi. The cruelty and malice of these enemies against Christ's people hath been such, that to judge which of them did most exceed in cruelty of persecution it is hard to say; but that it may be thought that the bloody and beastly tyranny of the Turks especially above the rest, incomparably surmounteth all the afflictions and cruel slaughters that ever were seen in any age, or read of in any story. Insomuch that there is neither history so perfect, nor writer so diligent, who writing of the miserable tyranny of the Turks, is able to express or comprehend the horrible examples of their unspeakable cruelty and slaughter, exercised by these twelve Turkish tyrants upon poor Christian men's bodies, within the compass of these latter three hundred years. Whereof although no sufficient relation can be made, nor number expressed; yet to give to the reader some general guess or view thereof, let us first perpend and consider what dominions and empires, how many countries, kingdoms, provinces, cities, towns, strong holds, and forts, these Turks have surprised and won from the Christians. In all which victories, being so many, this is secondly to be noted, that there is almost no place which the Turks ever came to and subdued, where they did not either slay all the inhabitants thereof, or led away the most part thereof into such captivity and slavery, that they continued not long after alive, or else so lived, that death almost had been to them more tolerable.

Like as in the time of the first persecutions of the Roman emperors, the saying was, that no man could step with his feet in all Rome, but should tread upon a martyr; so here may be said, that almost there is not a town, city, or village in all Asia, Grecia, also in a great part of Europe and Africa, whose streets have not flowed with the blood of the Christians, whom the cruel Turks have murdered. Of whom are to be seen in histories, heaps of soldiers slain, of men and women cut in pieces, of children stuck upon poles and stakes, whom these detestable Turks most spitefully (and that in the sight of their parents) used to gore to death; some they drag at their horses' tails, and famish to death; some they tear in pieces, tying their arms and legs to four horses; other some they make marks to shoot at; upon some they try their swords, how deep they can cut and slash, as before ye have read. The aged and feeble they tread under their horses; women with child they spare not, but rip their bodies, and cast the infants into the fire, or otherwise destroy them. Whether the Christians yield to them, or yield not, is no matter. As in their promises there is no truth, so in their victories there is no sense of manhood or mercy in them, but they make havoc of all.

So the citizens of Croja, after they had yielded and were all promised their lives, were all destroyed, and that horribly. In Mysia, after the king had given himself to the Turk's hand, having promise of life, Mahomet the Turk slew him with his own hands. The princes of Rasia had both their eyes put out with basins red hot set before them. Theodosia, otherwise called Capha, was also surrendered to the Turk, having the like assurance of life and safety; and yet, contrary to the league, the citizens were put to the sword and slain. At the winning and yielding of Lesbos, what a number of young men and children were put upon sharp stakes and poles, and so thrust through! At the winning of the city of Buda, what tyranny was showed and exercised against the poor Christians, which had yielded themselves, and against the two dukes, Christopher Bisserer and Johannes Tranbinger, contrary to the promise and hand-writing of the Turk, is to be seen in the story of Melchior Soiterus, De Bello Pannonico.

The like also is to be read in the story of Bernardus de Breydenbach, who, writing of the taking of Hydruntum, a city in Apulia, testifieth of the miserable slaughter of the young men there slain, of old men trodden under the horses' feet, of matrons and virgins ravished, of women with child cut and rent in pieces, of the priests in the churches slain, and of the archbishop of that city, who, being an aged man and holding the cross in his hands, was cut asunder with a wooden saw, &c. The same Bernardus also, writing of the overthrow of Negropont, otherwise called Chalcides, A. D. 1471, describeth the like terrible slaughter which there was exercised; where the Turk, after his promise given to the contrary, most cruelly caused all the youth of Italy to be pricked upon sharp stakes; some to be dashed against the hard stones, other some to be cut in sunder in the midst, and other more with other kinds of torments to be put to death; insomuch that all the streets and ways of Chalcides did flow with the blood of them which were there slain. In which history the aforesaid writer recordeth one memorable example of maidenly chastity, worthy of all Christians to be noted and commended. The story is told of the prætor's daughter of that city, who being the only daughter of her father, and noted to be of an exceeding singular beauty, was saved out of the slaughter, and brought to Mahomet the Turk, to be his concubine. But she denying to consent to his Turkish appetite and filthiness, was commanded therewith to be slain and murdered, and so died she a martyr, keeping both her faith and her body undefiled unto Christ her spouse.

The like cruelty also was showed upon them which kept the castle, and afterward yielding themselves upon hope of the Turk's promise, were slain every one. What should I speak of the miserable slaughter of Methone, and the citizens thereof dwelling in Peloponnesus; who, seeing no other remedy but needs to come into the Turk's hands, set the barn on fire where they were gathered together, men, women, and children? some women also with child voluntarily cast themselves into the sea, rather than they would sustain the Turk's captivity.

Miserable it is to behold, long to recite, incredible to believe, all the cruel parts and horrible slaughters wrought by these miscreants against the Christians through all places almost of the world, both in Asia, in Africa, but especially in Europe. Who is able to recite the innumerable societies and companies of the Grecians martyred by the Turk's sword in Achaia, Attica, Thessalia, Macedonia, Epirus, and all Peloponnesus; besides the island of Rhodes and other islands and Cyclades adjacent to the sea about, numbered to two and fifty; of the which also Patmos was one, where St. John being banished wrote his Revelation? Where did ever the Turks set any foot, but the blood of Christians there, without pity or measure, went to wreck? and what place or province is there almost through the world, where the Turks either have not pierced, or are not likely shortly to enter? In Thrace, and through all the coasts of the Danube, in Bulgaria, Dalmatia, in Servia, Transylvania, Bosnia, in Hungaria, also in Austria, what havoc hath been made by them of Christian men's bodies, it will rue any Christian heart to remember. At the siege of Moldavia, at the winning of Buda, of Pesta, of Alba, of Walpo, Strigonium, Soclosia, Tath, Wizigradum, Novum Castellum in Dalmatia, Belgrade, Varadinum, Quinque Ecclesia; also at the battle of Verna, where Ladislaus, king of Poland, with all his army almost, through the rashness of the pope's cardinal, were slain; at the winning moreover of Xabiacchus, Lyssus, Dynastrum; at the siege of Gunza, and of the faithful town Scorad, where the number of the shot against their walls, at the siege thereof, were reckoned to two thousand five hundred and thirty-nine. Likewise at the siege of Vienna, where all the Christian captives were brought before the whole army and slain, and divers drawn in pieces with horses; but especially at the winning of Constantinople, above-mentioned, also at Croja and Methone, what beastly cruelty was showed, it is unspeakable. For as in Constantinople Mahomet the drunken Turk never rose from dinner, but he caused every day, for his disport, three hundred Christian captives of the nobles of that city to be slain before his face; so in Methone, after that his captain Osmares had sent unto him at Constantinople five hundred prisoners of the Christians, the cruel tyrant commanded them all to be cut and divided in sunder by the middle, and so being slain, to be thrown out into the fields.

Leonicus Chalcondyla, writing of the same story, addeth moreover a prodigious narration (if it be true) of a brute ox, which being in the fields, and seeing the carcasses of the dead bodies so cut in two, made there a loud noise after the lowing of his kind and nature; and afterwards, coming to the quarters of one of the dead bodies lying in the field, first took up the one half, and then coming again took up likewise the other half, and so (as he could) joined them both together. Which being espied of them which saw the doing of the brute ox, and marvelling thereat, and word being brought thereof to Mahomet, he commanded the quarters again to be brought where they were before, to prove whether the beast will come again; who failed not, (as the author recordeth,) but in like sort as before, taking the fragments of the dead corpse, laid them again together. It followeth more in the author, how that Mahomet, being astonied at the strange wonder of the ox, commanded the quarters of the Christian man's body to be interred, and the ox to be brought to his house, and much made of. Some said it to be the body of a Venetian; some affirmed, that he was an Illyrian; but whatsoever he was, certain it is, that the Turk himself was much more bestial than was the brute ox; which being a beast, showed more sense of humanity to a dead man, than one man did to another.

To this cruelty add moreover, that beside these five hundred Methonians thus destroyed at Constantinople, in the said city of Methone all the townsmen also were slain by the aforesaid captain Omares, and among them their bishop likewise was put to death.

John Faber, in his oration made before King Henry the Eighth, at the appointment of King Ferdinand, and declaring therein the miserable cruelty of the Turks toward all Christians, as also toward the bishops and ministers of the church, testifieth, how that in Mitylene, in Constantinople, and Trapezunda, what bishops and archbishops or other ecclesiastical and religious persons the Turks could find, they brought them out of the city into the fields, there to be slain like oxen and calves. The same Faber also writing of the battle of Solyman in Hungary, where Ludovicus the king of Hungary was overthrown, declareth, that eight bishops in the same field were slain. And moreover, when the archbishop of Strigon, and Paulus the archbishop of Colossensis, were found dead, Solyman caused them to be taken up, and to be beheaded and chopped in small pieces, A. D. 1526.

What Christian heart will not pity the incredible slaughter done by the Turks in Eubœa, where the said Faber testifieth that innumerable people were sticked and gored upon stakes, divers were thrust through with a hot iron, children and infants not yet weaned from the mother were dashed against the stones, and many cut asunder in the midst?

But never did country taste and feel more the bitter and deadly tyranny of the Turks, then did Rasia, called Mysia inferior, and now Servia. Where (as writeth Wolfgangus Drechslerus) the prince of the same country being sent for, under fair pretence of words and promises, to come and speak with the Turk, after he was come of his own gentleness, thinking no harm, was apprehended, and wretchedly and falsely put to death, and his skin flayed off, his brother and sister brought to Constantinople for a triumph, and all the nobles of his country (as Faber addeth) had their eyes put out, &c.

Briefly to conclude, by the vehement and furious rage of these cursed caitiffs it may seem that Satan the old dragon, for the great hatred he beareth to Christ, hath stirred them up to be the butchers of all Christian people, inflaming their beastly hearts with such malice and cruelty against the name and religion of Christ, that they, degenerating from the nature of men to devils, neither by reason will be ruled, nor by any blood or slaughter satisfied. Like as in the primitive age of the church, and in time of Dioclesian and Maximilian; when the devil saw that he could not prevail against the person of Christ which was risen again, he turned all his fury upon his silly servants, thinking by the Roman emperors utterly to extinguish the name and profession of Christ out from the earth; so in this latter age of the world Satan, being let loose again, rageth by the Turks, thinking to make no end of murdering and killing, till he have brought, as he intendeth, the whole church of Christ, with all the professors thereof, under foot. But the Lord, I trust, will send a Constantine to vanquish proud Marentius; Moses, to drown indurate Pharaoh; Cyrus, to subdue the stout Babylonian.

And thus much hitherto touching our Christian brethren which were slain and destroyed by these blasphemous Turks. Now forasmuch as, besides these aforesaid, many other were plucked away violently from their country, from their wives and children. from liberty, and from all their possessions, into wretched captivity and extreme penury, it remaineth likewise to treat somewhat also concerning the cruel manner of the Turks handling of the said Christian cap,ives. And first here is to be noted, that the Turk never cometh into Europe to war against the Christians, but there followeth after his army a great number of brokers or merchants, such as buy men and children to sell again, bringing with them long chains in hope of great escheats. In the which chains they link them by fifty and sixty together, such as remain undestroyed with the sword, whom they buy of the spoils of them that rob and spoil the Christian countries; which is lawful for any of the Turk's army to do, so that the tenth of their spoil or prey, whatsoever it be, be reserved to the head Turk, that is, to the great master thief.

Of such as remain for tithe, if they be aged, of whom very few be reserved alive, because little profit cometh of that age, they be sold to the use of husbandry or keeping of beasts. If they be young men or women, they be sent to certain places, there to be instructed in their language and arts, as shall be most profitable for their advantage, and such are called in their tongue Sarai: and the first care of the Turks is this, to make them deny the Christian religion, and to be circumcised: and after that they are appointed, every one as he seemeth most apt, either to the learning of their laws, or else to learn the feats of war. Their first rudiment of war is to handle the bow, first beginning with a weak bow, and so as they grow in strength coming to a stronger bow, and if they miss the mark, they are sharply beaten; and their allowance is twopence or threepence a day, till they come and take wages to serve in war. Some are brought up for the purpose to be placed in the number of the wicked Janizaries, that is, the order of the Turk's champions, which is the most abominable condition of all other. Of these Janizaries, see before. And if any of the aforesaid young men or children shall appear to excel in any beauty, him they so cut, that no part of that which nature giveth to man remaineth to be seen in all his body, whereby, while the freshness of age continueth, he is compelled to serve their abominable abomination; and when age cometh, then they serve instead of eunuchs to wait upon matrons, or to keep horses and mules, or else to be scullions and drudges in their kitchens.

Such as be young maidens and beautiful, are deputed for concubines. They which be of mean beauty serve for matrons to their drudgery work in their houses and chambers, or else are put to spinning and such other labours; but so, that it is not lawful for them either to profess their Christian religion, or ever to hope for any liberty. And thus much of them which fall to the Turk by tithe.

The other which are bought and sold amongst private subjects, first are allured with fair words and promises to take circumcision. Which if they will do, they are more favourably treated; but all hope is taken from them of returning again into their country, which if they attempt, the pain thereof is burning. And if such coming at length to liberty will marry, they may; but then their children remain bond to the lord, for him to sell at his pleasure; and therefore such as are wise amongst them will not marry. They which refuse to be circumcised are miserably handled; for example whereof, the author, which giveth testimony hereof, doth infer his own experience. Such captives as be expert in any manual art or occupation can better shift for themselves; but contrariwise, they which have no handicraft to live upon are in worse case. And therefore such as have been brought up in learning, or be priests or noblemen, and such other whose tender education can abide no hardness, are the least reputed, and most of all other neglected of him that hath the sale or keeping of them, for that he seeth less profit to rise of them than of the other; and therefore no cost of raiment is bestowed upon them, but they are carried about barehead and barefoot, both summer and winter, in frost and snow. And if any faint and be sick in the way, there is no resting for him in any inn, but first he is driven forward with whips, and if that will not serve, he is set, peradventure, upon some horse; or if his weakness be such that he cannot sit, then is he laid athwart the horse upon his belly like a calf; and if he chance to die, they take off his garment such as he hath, and throw him in a ditch.

In the way, moreover, beside the common chain which doth enclose them all, the hands also of every one are manacled, which is because they should not harm their leaders, for many times it happened that ten persons had the leading of fifty captives; and when night came their feet also were fettered, so that they lodged in no house, but lay upon the ground all night.

The young women had a little more gentleness showed, being carried in panniers in the day time. But when night came, pity it was to hear the miserable crying out of such as were enclosed within, by reason of the filthy injuries which they suffered by their carriers; insomuch that the young tender age of seven or eight years, as well of the one sex as of the other, could not save them from the most filthy villany of the bestial Turks.

When the morning cometh, they are brought forth to the market to sale, where the buyer, if he be disposed, plucking off their garments vieweth all the bones and joints of their body; and if he like them he giveth his price, and carrieth them away into miserable servitude, either to tilling of their ground, or to pasture their cattle, or some other strange kind of misery incredible to speak of; insomuch that the author reporteth, that he hath seen himself certain of such Christian captives yoked together like horses and oxen, and to draw the plough. The maid servants likewise are kept in perpetual toil and work in close places, where neither they come in sight of any man, neither be they permitted to have any talk with their fellow servants, &c. Such as are committed to keep beasts, lie abroad day and night in the wild fields, without house and harbour, and so, changing their pasture, go from mountain to mountain; of whom also, beside the office of keeping the beasts, other handy labour is exacted at spare hours, such as pleaseth their masters to put unto them.

Out of this misery there is no way for them to fly, especially for them that are carried into Asia beyond the seas; or if any do attempt so to do, he taketh his time chiefly about harvest, when he may hide himself all the day time in the corn, or in woods or marshes, and find food; and in the night only he flieth, and had rather be devoured of wolves and other wild beasts, than to return again to his master. In their flying they use to take with them a hatchet and cords, that when they come to the sea-side they may cut down trees, and bind together the ends of them, and so where the sea of Hellespont is narrowest, about Sestos and Abydos, they take the sea, sitting upon trees, where, if the wind and tide do serve luckily, they may cut over in four or five hours. But the most part either perish in the floods, or are driven back again upon the coasts of Asia, or else be devoured of wild beasts in woods, or perish with hunger and famine. If any escape over the sea alive into Europe, by the way they enter into no town, but wander upon the mountains, following only the north star for their guide.

As touching such towns and provinces which are won by the Turk, and wherein the Christians are suffered to live under tribute; First, all the nobility there they kill and make away, the churchmen and clergy hardly they spare. The churches, with the bells and all the furniture thereof, either they cast down, or else they convert to the use of their own blasphemous religion, leaving to the Christians certain old and blind chapels, which when they decay, it is permitted to our men to repair them again for a great sum of money given to the Turk. Neither be they permitted to use any open preaching or ministration, but only in silence and by stealth to frequent together. Neither is it lawful for any Christian to bear office within the city or province, nor to bear weapon; nor to wear any garment like to the Turks. And if any contumely or blasphemy, be it never so great, be spoken against them, or against Christ, yet must thou bear it, and hold thy peace. Or if thou speak one word against their religion, thou shalt be compelled (whether thou wilt or no) to be circumeised; and then if thou speak one word against Mahomet, thy punishment is fire and burning. And if it chance a Christian being on horseback to meet or pass by a Mussulman, that is, a Turkish priest, he must light from his horse, and with a lowly look devoutly reverence and adore the Mussulman; or if he do not, he is beaten down from his horse with clubs and staves.

Furthermore, for their tribute they pay the fourth part of their substance and gain to the Turk; beside the ordinary tribute of the Christians, which is to pay for every poll within his family a ducat unto the Turk; which if the parents cannot do, they are compelled to sell their children into bondage. Other being not able to pay, go chained in fetters from door to door begging, to make up their payment, or else must lie in perpetual prison.

And yet, notwithstanding, when the Christians have discharged all duties, it remaineth free for the Turks to take up among the Christians' children whom they best like, and them to circumcise, and to take them away, being young, from the sight of their parents to far places, to be brought up for the Turk's wars, so that they may not return to them again; but first are taught to forget Christ, and then their parents; so that if they come again amongst them, yet are they not able to know their kinsfolks and parents.

This misery, passing all other miseries, no man is able with tongue to utter, or with words to express. What weeping and tears, with sorrow and lamentation, what groaning, sighs, and deep dolour, doth tear and rend asunder the woeful hearts of the silly parents at the plucking away of their babes and children! To see their sons and their own children, whom they have borne and bred up to the service of Christ Jesus the Son of God, now to be drawn away violently from them to the warfare of Satan, and to fight against Christ! to see their babes, born of Christian blood, of Christians to be made Turks, and so to be plucked out of their arms, and out of their sight, without hope ever to return to them again! to live perpetually with aliens, barbarous and blasphemous Turks, and so become of the number of them which are called fatherless and motherless!

Albeit the same children afterward do greatly degenerate from the faith of Christ, yet very many of them have privily about them the Gospel written of St. John, In principio erat Verbum, &c.; which for a token or remembrance of their Christian faith they carry under their arm-hole, written in Greek and Arabic; who greatly desire, and long look for the revenging sword of the Christians to come, and deliver them out of their dolorous thraldom and captivity, according as the Turks themselves have a prophecy, and greatly stand in fear of the same. Whereof more shall be said (Christ willing) in the chapter following.

And thus have ye heard the lamentable afflictions of our Christian brethren under the cruel tyranny and captivity of the Turks, passing all other captivities that ever have been to God's people, either under Pharaoh in Egypt, or under Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, or under Antiochus in the time of the Maccabees. Under the which captivity, if it so please the Lord to have his spouse, the church, to be nurtured, his good will be done and obeyed. But if this misery come by the negligence and discord of our Christian guides and leaders, then have we to pray and cry to our Lord God, either to give better hearts to our guides and rulers, or else better guides and rulers to his flock.

And these troubles and afflictions of our Christian brethren suffered by the Turks, I thought good and profitable for our country people here of England to know, forasmuch as by the ignorance of these and such-like histories worthy of consideration, I see much inconvenience doth follow. Whereby it cometh to pass, that because we Englishmen being far off from these countries, and little knowing what misery is abroad, are the less moved with zeal and compassion to tender their grievances, and to pray for them whose troubles we know not. Whereupon also it followeth, that we, not considering the miserable state of other, are the less grateful to God, when any tranquillity by him to us is granted. And if any little cloud of perturbation arise upon us, be it never so little, as poverty, loss of living, or a little banishment out of our country for the Lord's cause, we make a great matter thereof, and all because we go no further than our own country, and only feeling our own cross, do not compare that which we feel with the great crosses whereunto the churches of Christ commonly, in other places abroad, are subject. Which if we did rightly understand, and earnestly consider, and ponder in our minds, neither would we so excessively forget ourselves in time of our prosperity given us of God, nor yet so impatiently be troubled as we are in time of our adversity, and all because either we hear not, or else we ponder not, the terrible crosses which the Lord layeth upon our other brethren abroad in other nations, as by this present story here prefixed may appear.

The world being divided commonly into three parts, Asia, Africa, and Europe, Asia is counted to be the greatest in compass, containing as much as both the other, and is divided into two portions, the one called Asia Major, the other called Asia Minor. And although the empire of the Turk extendeth unto them both; yet especially his dominion standeth in the other Asia, which is called Asia Minor, which reacheth from the coasts of Europe unto Armenia Major, beyond the river Euphrates.

Æneas Sylvius, otherwise Pope Pius the Second, in describing Asia Minor, chap. lxxiv., reciteth a certain fact of a worthy virgin, who, at what time the Turks were besieging a certain town in Lesbos, and had cast down a great part of the walls, so that all the townsmen had given over, putting on man's harness, stepped forth into the breach, where not only she kept the Turks from entering in, but also slew of them a great sort. The citizens seeing the rare courage and good success of the maiden, took to them again their hearts and harness, and so lustily laid about them, that an incredible number of the Turks were slain. The rest being repulsed from the land recoiled into their ships; who being then pursued by a navy of Calisa were worthily discomfited likewise upon the sea. And thus was the isle of Lesbos at that time, by a poor virgin, that is, by the strong hand of the Lord working in a weak creature, preserved from the Turks.

Beside these regions and countries of Asia Minor, above described, Sebastian Munster, in the fifth book of his Cosmography, declareth moreover, that the Turks and sultans have under their subjection, both Arabia, Persia, and also India exterior, wherein is Calcutta. The which Persia, although it be under the Sophi, which is an enemy to the Turk, yet it is to be thought that he is a sultan, one of Turkish and Mahometan religion. This Persia and India were once seasoned with Christ's gospel, as may appear by the primitive church. And thus have you the parts of Asia described, which in times past being almost all Christened, do now serve under the Turk.

After the description of Asia, let us next consider the parts and countries of Africa. Where, although the greatest part either consisteth in deserts desolate, or is possessed with Prester John, which professeth Christ and his gospel; yet the Turk hath there also no little portion under his dominion.

As I was writing hereof, a certain sound of lamentable news was brought unto us, how the Turk, whom we had hoped before to have been repulsed by the Emperor Maximilian out of Christendom, hath now of late, this present year, 1566, got the town of Gyula about Transylvania, after they had sustained sixteen of his most forcible assaults, destroying in the same most cruelly many thousand of our Christian brethren, men, women, and children; but because we have no full eertainty, we will refer the story thereof to further information.

A table describing the times and years of the Saracens, Turks, and Tartarians, for the better explaining of the story above prefixed.



A. D. 632. Began the kingdom of the Saracens or Arabians, after the death of Mahomet the first ring-leader of the mischief, which Saracens, reigning in Babylon over Persia and Asia, continued about


A. D. 667. Jerusalem was taken of the Saracens. These Saracens, after they had subdued Ormisda, king of Persia, set up to themselves a new kingdom, calling their chief prince, caliph, which signifieth a general lord; and under him,seriphes, that is, an under prince; and again under him their soldan, which is, a ruler or captain; under the which soldans all the provinces were divided. And thus ruled they the space abovesaid of


A. D. 703. The Egyptians, being weary of their subjection under the Romans, called for help of the Saracen caliph; and so casting off the Romans, submitted themselves to the law of the Saracens, and had also their caliph and their Babylon, called Cairo, where their caliph continued unto Saraco, or Syracinus,


A. D. 810. Mauginetus, or Muchumetus, the chief sultan of Persia, being at variance with Imbrael, the sultan of Babylon, sent for the aid of the Turks out of Scythia; by whom, when he had got the victory against the Babylonians, the said Turks shortly after conquered the Persians, and subdued their country, within the space of


A. D. 830. The Saracens being expulsed out of Asia by the Turks, wandered about Africa, Spain, and Italy, and were in divers places dispersed, and so remain.

A. D. 830. The Turks, after they had ex-pulsed the Saracens out of Asia, began to reign in Asia, in Persia, and in Arabia, and there reigned without interruption, till the coming of the Tartars, the space of


A. D. 1009. The Turks won the city of Jerusalem from the Saracens; which city the sultan of Egypt won again from the Turks shortly after, and possessed the same till the coming of Gotfridus.

A. D. 1051. Began the first king of the Turks, called Zaduke, to reign in Asia, and joined league with the caliph of Egypt, and there reigned till the conquest of Gotfridus and the Christians, the space of


A. D. 1078. Solyman, nephew to Aspasalem the Turkish king in Asia, otherwise called Turquinia, subdued Cappadocia, which had continued now the space of


A. D. 1099. Gotfridus Bulion, duke of Lotharing, a Christian prince, taking his voyage into Asia with seven hundred thousand Christian soldiers, first got the city of Nicea against the sultan of the Turks; then Lycaonia, Silicia, Syria; afterward Mesopotamia, and Comagena; then Antiochia, A. D. 1098, and the next year recovered Jerusalem, being then in the hands of the Saracens, which they a little before had won from the Turks, as is aforesaid. After this Gotfridus succeeded eight Christian kings, which kept the kingdom of Jerusalem and Asia, both from the Turks and Saracens, the space of


A. D. 1100. The Georgians, which be a people of Armenia the Greater, vanquished the Turks out of the kingdom of Persia, after they had cut their king in pieces. Whereby the Turks flying to Cappadocia, there remained under Salomon, and joined themselves to the soldan of Egypt, and waxed then strong in Asia Minor, called now Turquinia.

A. D. 1170. When Almericus, the seventh king of Jerusalem after Gotfridus, had overcome the caliph or sultan of Egypt, the sultan being overcome, called for the help of Saracon the sultan of Syria. This Saracon, after he had expulsed the Christians out of Egypt, turned his power against the sultan of Egypt, and vanquished him, took to himself the kingdom of Egypt; which kingdom he with his posterity did hold till the coming of the Tartarians, and the Mamalukes, about the space of


A. D. 1187. Saladin, the nephew of Saracon the sultan of Egypt, perceiving the dissension among the Christian states of Palestine, got Antioch, where he slew Raymund the prince with his own hands; then got Tiberias: from thence he went to Acre, where he took Guido, king of Jerusalem, and master of the Templars, prisoners; for whose ransom the Turk had Ascalon yielded up to him of the Christians. That done, he subdued Jerusalem, which had been in the hands of the Christians before, the space of


A. D. 1189. Frederic the emperor, Philip French king, Richard king of England, made their voyage into Asia, where Frederic washing in a river at Cilicia, died. In this voyage, at the siege of Acre, Saladin won the field of our men, of whom two thousand were slain in the chase. Acre at length was got of the Christians. King Richard got Epirus. The two kings fell at strife. Philip retired home without any good doing. King Richard laid siege to Jerusalem, but in vain, and so returning homeward, was taken near to Vienna in Austria, after he had taken truce before with the soldan, upon such condition as pleased him. And this good speed had the popes, sending out against the Turks.

A. D. 1215. There was another council holden at Rome by Pope Innocent the Third, where was enacted a new article of our faith for transubstantiation of bread and wine, to be turned into the body and blood of our Saviour. In this council also great excitation was made by the pope, and great preparation was through all Christendom to set forward for recovery of the Holy Land. A mighty army was collected of dukes, lords, knights, bishops, and prelates, that if God's blessing had gone with them, they might have gone throughout all Asia and India.


A. D. 1219. The Christians after eighteen months' siege got a certain town in Egypt, called Damietta or Elipolis, with much ado, but not much to the purpose. For afterward as the Christian army of the pope's sending went about to besiege the city Cairo or Babylon, the sultan, through his subtle train, so entrapped and enclosed them within the danger of the Nile, that they were constrained to render again the city of Damietta with their prisoners, and all the furniture thereof as they found it, into the soldan's hand, and glad so with their lives to pass forward to Tyrus, A. D. 1221.

In the mean time the Egyptian Turk caused the city of Jerusalem to be razed, that it should serve to no use to the Christians. What great thing else was done in that voyage, it doth not greatly appear in stories. Albeit Frederic the Second, emperor, was not unfruitfully there occupied, and much more might have done, had it not been for the violence and persecution of the bishop of Rome against him; whereby he was enforced to take truce with the sultan for ten years, and so returned. After which things done, not many years after, at length the last city of all belonging to the Christians, which was Ptolomais or Acre, was also taken from them by the sultan, so that now the Christians had not one foot left in all Asia.

A. D. 1230. Thus the Christians being driven out of Asia by the sultans and Turks, yet the said Turks and sultans did not long enjoy their victory. For eftsoons the Lord stirred up against them the Tartarians, who breaking into Asia by the ports of Caspius, subdued divers parts of Asia, namely about Comana, Colchis, Iberia, Albania, &c. These Tartarians, as they had got many captives in their wars, so for gain they used to ship them over customably to Alexandria in Egypt to be sold; which servants and captives Melechsala the great sultan was glad to buy to serve him in his wars. Which captains and servants after they had continued a certain space in Egypt, and through their valiant service grew in favour and estimation with the said Melechsala, and began more to increase in number and strength; at length they slew him, and took to themselves the name and kingdom of the sultan. And thus ceased the stock of Saracon and Saladin aforementioned, which continued in Egypt about the space as is said of


A. D. 1240. After the death of Melechsala, the army of these aforesaid rascals and captives set up to themselves a king of their own company, whom they called Turquemenius. Who, to fill up the number of their company that it should not diminish, devised this order, to get or to buy Christian men's children, taken young from their parents, and the mother's lap; whom they used so to bring up, to make them to deny Christ, and to be circumcised, and instructed in Mahomet's law, and afterward to be trained in the feats of war; and these were called Mamalukes. Among whom this was their order, that none might be advanced to be king but out of their own number, or else chosen by them; neither that any should be made knights or horsemen, but only the children of Christians which should deny Christ before, called Mamalukes. Also it was among them provided, that to this dignity neither Saracens nor Jews should be admitted. Item, That the succession thereof should not descend to the children and offspring of these Mamalukes. Also that the succession of the crown should not descend to the children of the aforesaid sultan, but should go by voice and election. The Tartarians, with Turquemenius their king, about this time obtained Turquia, that is Asia Minor, from the Turks, and within two years after, prevailing against the Turks, expelled them from their kingdom; and so continued these Mamalukes reigning over Egypt, and a great part of Asia, till the time of Tomumbeius their last king, which was destroyed and hanged at the gates of Memphis, by Selim the Turk, father to this Solyman, as in his history is declared. These Mamalukes continued the space of


A. D. 1245. These Tartarians ranging through the countries of the Georgians, and all Armenia, came as far as Iconium, which was then the imperial city of the Turks.

A. D. 1289. The soldan of Egypt and Babylon got from the Christians, Tripolis, Tyrus, Sidon, and Berithus in Syria.

A. D. 1291. Lastly, Ptolomais, which also is called Acre, was surprised by the said soldan, razed and cast down to the ground, and all the Christians therein (which were not many left) were slain. And this was the last city which the Christians had in Asia. So that now the Christians have not one foot (as is said before) left in all Asia. Thus the Egyptian soldans and the Tartarians reigned and ranged over the most part of Asia above the Turks, till the reign of Ottoman the great Turk, about the space of


And thus have ye the whole discourse of the Turkish story, with their names, countries, towns, dominions, also with their times, continuance, interruptions, and alterations, in order described, and in years distinguished; which, otherwise, in most authors and writers be so confused, that it is hard to know distinctly, what difference is between the Saracens, Turks, Tartarians, the sultans or soldans,. Mamalukes, or Janizaries; what is their caliph, their seriphes, their sultan or bashaw, in what times they began, and how long, and in what order of years they reigned. All which in this present table manifestly to thine eye may appear.

Wherein this thou hast moreover, gentle reader, to consider, which is worthy the noting, how the bishop of Rome all this season, from the first beginning of the Turk's reign, hath not ceased, from time to time continually, calling upon Christian princes and subjects, to take the cross, and to war against the Turks; whereupon so many great voyages have been made to the Holy Land, and so many battles fought against the Turk and soldan for winning the holy cross; and yet no lucky success hath followed thereof hitherto, nor ever came it prosperously forward, whatsoever through the exciting of that bishop hath been attempted against that great enemy of the Lord; insomuch that the Christians have lost not only all that they had in Asia, but also are scarce able to defend that little they have in Europe against his violence. What the cause is of this hard luck of the bishop's doings, it is hard for man to define. Let men muse as their mind leadeth, and, as the gospel saith, He that hath eyes to see, let him see. This is certain, that as there hath lacked no care nor diligence in the bishop of Rome, to stir men up to that business, so on the princes' behalf there hath lacked no courage nor strength of men, no contribution of expenses, no supportation of charges, no furniture or habiliment of war, only the blessing of God seemeth to have lacked. The reason and cause whereof I would it were so easy to be reformed, as it may be quickly construed. For what man, beholding the life of us Christians, will greatly marvel why the Lord goeth not with our army to fight against the Turks? And if my verdict might here have place, for me to add my censure, there appeareth to me another cause in this matter, yet greater than this aforesaid; which to make plain and evident in full discourse of words, leisure now doth not permit. Briefly to touch what I conceive, my opinion is this, that if the sincere doctrine of Christian faith delivered and left unto us in the word of God, had not been so corrupted in the Church of Rome, or if the bishop of Rome would yet reclaim his impure idolatry and profanations, and admit Christ the Lamb of God to stand alone, without our impure additions, to be our only justification, according to the free promise of God's grace; I nothing doubt, but the power of this faith, grounding only upon Christ the Son of God, had both framed our lives into a better disposition; and also soon would, or yet will, bring down the pride of that proud Holofernes. But otherwise, if the bishop of Rome will not gently give place to the mild voice of God's word, I think not contrary, but he shall be compelled at last to give place and room to the Turk, whether he will or not. And yet, notwithstanding, when both the Turk and the pope shall do against it what they can, the truth and grace of God's testament shall fructify and increase by such means as the Lord shall work, which beginneth already, praise to the Lord, to come graciously and luckily forward in most places.

A prayer against the Turks.

O eternal Lord God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator and disposer of all things, just, gracious, and wise only; in the name and reverence of thy Son Jesus, we prostrate ourselves, desiring thine omnipotent Majesty to look down upon these afflicted times of thy poor creatures and servants; relieve thy church, increase our faith, and confound our enemies: and as thou hast given thine only begotten Son unto us, promising with him life to all that shall believe upon his name; so incline the obedience of our faith to thy promises in him, that our hearts may be far off from all other sinful additions and profane inventions, which are besides him, and not in him, grounded upon thy will and promise. And grant, we beseech thee, to thy church, more and more to see how terrible a thing it is, to set up any other means or help of salvation, but only in him whom thou only hast sent and sealed. Reform thy church with perfect doctrine and faithful teachers, that we, seeing our own weakness, may put off ourselves, and put on him without whom we can do nothing. So shall we stand strong, when nothing standeth in us, but thy Son alone, in whom thou art only pleased. Renew in this thy church again the decayed faith of thy Son Jesus, which may plentifully bring forth in us, not leaves only, but fruits of Christian life. And forgive our wretched idolatry and blind fantasies past, wherewith we have provoked, manifold ways, thy deserved indignation against us. For our hearts have been full of idols, our temples full of images, our ways full of hypocrisy; thy sacraments profaned, and thy religion turned to superstition; because the lantern of thy word went not before us, therefore we have stumbled. Miserably we have walked hitherto, like sons, not of Sarah, but of Hagar, and therefore these Turkish Hagarenes have risen up against us. Many hard and strait ways we have passed, but the ways of the Lord we have not found. Much cost we have bestowed on bread that assuageth no hunger, but that bread which only feedeth and cometh freely we have not tasted. We have sailed far and near in barks of our own building, but have not kept within the ark only of thy promise, and therefore these floods have taken us. We have prayed much, but not in thine appointed temple, and therefore have not been heard. We have ploughed and tilled, but without thy heifer, and therefore this untidy ground of ours bringeth forth so many weeds. We do fish apace, and that all night, but because we fish not on the right side of the boat, in our fishing we catch never a fin. Our buildings be full of good intentions and great devotions, but because the ground-work is not surely laid upon the rock of thy promise, the east wind riseth and shaketh them all to shivers. We walk and have walked long after the precepts and doctrines of men, having a show of wisdom, but not a holding the Head, where lieth all our strength, and therefore these Philistine Turks have hitherto so prevailed against us. Briefly, all the parts and bones of the body be shaken out of place. Wherefore we beseech thee, O Lord, put to thy holy hand, and set them in the right joint again. And finally, reduce this same thy mystical body again to his perfect and natural Head, which is thine only Son Jesus Christ, and none other; for him only hast thou anointed and appointed. Neither is there any other head that can minister strength and nutriment to this body, but he alone; forasmuch as all other heads be sinful, and are not able to stand in thy sight, but make this body rather worse than better. Only this thy well-beloved and perfect Son is he, in whom only dwelleth all our strength and fulness; him only we confess and acknowledge. For whom and with whom, we beseech thee, O Lord God of hosts, grant to thy church strength and victory against the malicious fury of these Turks, Saracens, Tartarians, against Gog and Magog, and all the malignant rabble of antichrist, enemies to thy Son Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Prevent their devices, overthrow their power, and dissolve their kingdom, that the kingdom of thy Son, so long oppressed, may recover and flourish over all; and that they which wretchedly be fallen from thee, may happily be reduced again into the fold of thy salvation, through Jesus Christ our only Mediator and most merciful Advocate. Amen.

Previous Next