Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/110

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saved themselves from the wreckage of the neighbouring countries. Stephen Crnoievic, the maker of Montenegro, had spent his life in defending his country against Mohammad's father, Murad, and had fought hand in hand with Scanderbeg. He died in 1466. His son Ivan the Black continued the struggle with indomitable spirit, though the waves seemed to be closing over his head, when to south of him Albania was thrown open to the Turk by the death of Castriotes and Bosnia was conquered in the north. When the Venetians abandoned Scodra to Mohammad (1479), the very key of Montenegro seemed to have been surrendered; and so desperate appeared the outlook that Ivan burned Žabljak, the city which his father had founded, near the upper end of the lake of Scodra, and went up to lofty Cetinje, which has ever since remained the capital of the only Slavonic princes of the peninsula who never bowed the knee to Asiatic lords. Ivan the Black was more than a heroic patriot. To him belongs the distinction of having established (at Obod) the first Slavonic printing press, from which the earliest books in Cyrillic character were issued (1493).

Meanwhile Greece had been conquered, except a few forts which still remained to Venice. The Duchy of Athens, which had passed in the previous century to the Florentine merchant family of the Acciajoli, was won; the last Duke, Franco, surrendered the Acropolis to Omar son of Turakhan in 1456. When Mohammad visited the city, two years later, he was amazed at the beauty of its buildings and the handsome quays of the Piraeus, and cried: "Islam owes a debt to the son of Turakhan." Subsequently Franco was privately strangled, on account of a plot of some Athenians to restore him. But, on the whole, Athens had reason to be pleased with the change from the rule of Catholic princes to that of the unbelievers. The administration of justice and the collection of the tribute were assigned to local officers, and the only new burden was the tribute of children.

The Peloponnesus was misgoverned by the two brothers of the last Roman Emperor, Thomas and Demetrius, worthless and greedy despots, whose rule was worse than the worst Turkish tyranny. Thomas, notorious for his cruelty, resided at Patras, and oppressed the western part of the peninsula; Demetrius, distinguished by his luxury, ruled over the east, and his seat was in the rocky fortress of Mistra, at the foot of Mount Taygetus, three miles west of Sparta. The court officials, who were the ministers of their oppression, were detested throughout the land, which was further distracted by the hatred between the Greek inhabitants and the Albanian shepherds, who had come down and settled here in the previous century after the fall of the Servian empire. The invasion of the Turks in 1452 had desolated the land and given the Albanian herds a wider range; the Greek peasants overcrowded the towns, and the most thriving traders began to emigrate. The Albanians deemed that the right moment had come for making the Morea an