Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/107

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permanent peace; and the Sultan acknowledged Scanderbeg as the absolute sovereign of Albania (April, 1463).

But the peace was broken before the year was out. It was the Albanian who violated the contract, under the importunate pressure of the Pope and the Venetian Republic. He reopened hostilities by a raid into Macedonia; and in 1464 he won a crushing victory over a Turkish army under Balaban (an Albanian renegade). His successes decided Mohammad to take the field himself at the head of a mighty host and lay siege to Kroja, the Albanian capital (1465). The last exploit of the hero was to render this expedition fruitless. Failing to storm the place, Mohammad retreated, leaving Balaban to starve it out; but before he left the country he massacred some thousands of Albanian families, whom he discovered in their refuge in the valley of Chidna. Having no forces sufficient to relieve Kroja, Scanderbeg visited Rome, hoping to obtain effectual help from Pope Paul II. He obtained a little money and much good will. On his return to Albania he found that some Venetian troops had come to his aid, and he was now able to act. But fortune relieved Kroja. A chance blow wounded Balaban mortally, and the blockading army immediately retreated, leaving Albania in a state of terrible devastation. The "athlete of Christendom," as Scanderbeg was called, died a year later at Alessio, recommending his son and his country to the protection of Venice (January, 1467). For Venice his death was a serious event, as he was the "buffer" between the Ottoman power and her possessions on the lower Adriatic, such as Scodra and Durazzo. Henceforward she would have to do her own work here.

Bosnia, which had borne its part in the fatal battle of Kosovo field (1389), was inevitably drawn into the vortex. The catastrophe of this land received a peculiar character from its religious condition. The mass of the people, high and low, was firmly devoted to the Patarine or Bogomilian tenets, which Catholics and Greeks branded as Manichaeanism. It is one of that series of religions which range from Armenia to Aquitaine, including Albigensians at one extremity and Paulicians at the other, all apparently descended from the ancient "heresies" of Adoptianism. But the Catholics were eager to crush the heresy; Franciscan missionaries worked with all their might in the land; and some of the kings embraced Catholicism. In 1412 the Bogomils threatened to Turcise, and in 1415 they executed the threat, fighting at Usora against Hungary. When King Stephen Thomas embraced Catholicism (1446), the Pope and the King of Hungary hoped that the false doctrines would be extirpated. In the south of the Bosnian kingdom was the large vassal state, practically independent, which had grown up out of the lordship of Chlum. The voivod of this country was Stephen Vukcic, and in 1448 he received from the Emperor the title of "Duke (Herzog) of St Sabas"; whence the complex of his lands derived the name of Herzegovina, the Duchy. His daughter married Stephen