HISTORICAL SKETCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE. Xlll
removed," that the village of Aysiluk (its modern name) now consists of a few cottages
among its ruins, and contains a Christian population of only three individuals. Philadelphia was the only city that made an effectual resistance: though remote from the sea,
and abandoned by the feeble Greek emperors, it maintained its Christian independence
for eighty years, against the Moslem invaders. From the fame of this first conqueror,
his race adopted the patronymic as their civil designation, and called themselves, ever
after, Osmanli, or " the children of Othman."
The first passage of the Turks into Europe was attended with a romantic adventure.
Soliman, the son of Orchan, was engaged in a hunting excursion, and was led by the
chase to the shores of the Hellespont. An insatiable curiosity induced him to wish
to cross to the other side, and visit, for the first time, this new quarter of the globe.
But the terror of the Turkish name had so alarmed the Greeks, that strict orders were
issued, under the severest penalties, to remove every conveyance by which they could
pass from the opposite shore into Europe. Under these circumstances, Soliman formed
a raft of inflated ox-bladders, and, availing himself of a moonlight night, he floated over
with some of his companions. When they landed, they seized on a passing peasant,
who happened to be acquainted with a subterranean entrance into the town of Sestos.
He was induced, by threats and bribes, to point it out, and so a few energetic Turks
seized by surprise on this first European city. By this exploit a communication was at
once established with their companions in Asia. Fresh succours crossed over and seized
on Gallipoli, and thus the Turk first planted his foot in Europe.
Amurath availed himself of all the benefits of his brother's adventurous enterprise.
He appointed a singular custom at Gallipoli. The marauding Turks, now established on
the European side of the Bosphorus, made slaves of all the Christians they could seize
on, and sent them over to Asia by this passage. Amurath claimed for his share a certain
portion as toll. Of the young males so obtained, he formed that tremendous militia that
were afterwards to terrify and control their own country. He caused them to undergo
the rite, and be instructed in the doctrines and discipline, of his own prophet. A Dervish
named Hadgee Bectash, of great sanctity and influence, was then called in, to give this
corps his benediction. Laying his hand on the head of the foremost, the sleeve of his
coat fell over his back, and he blessed them by the name of yeni cheri, or " new soldiers."
Both circumstances afterwards distinguished them—the sleeve of the dervish was adopted
as part of their uniform, and the name of janissary, corrupted from yeni cheri, was the
terror of Europe for more than five centuries. With these young and vigorous apostates
to Islamism, he subdued all the country to the base of the Balkan mountains, and having
obtained possession of Roumeli, the " country of the Romans," as the territory of the
modern Greeks was called, he finally established himself at Adrianople, which now
became the Turkish capital of Europe.
This prince was succeeded by Bajazet, called, from his impetuosity, and the awful
destructiveness of his career, Ilderim, or " the thunder-bolt." He extended his conquests
into the heart of Europe, penetrated into the centre of Hungary, and threatened to proceed
from thence to Rome, to feed his horses with oats on the altar of St. Peter; but first he