Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/120

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forest glade which is called the Place of Battles (Rasboieni). But he rallied, and Mohammad retired without subduing the country. Eight years after this the Turks seized the two fortress-keys of Moldavia—Kilia and Tschetatea Alba (1484). Before his death, Stephen made a vain attempt to form an East-European league against the infidel—embracing Moscow and Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. But his experience convinced him that the struggle was hopeless, and on his death-bed (1504) the advice which he gave to his son Bogdan was to submit to the Turkish power. On the accession of the Sultan Selim (1512) Moldavia submitted, paying a yearly sum to the Porte, but keeping the right of freely electing her own princes.

The war with Venice and the struggle with Uzun Hasan had hindered Mohammad from concentrating his forces upon the subjugation of Rhodes, where the Knights of St John maintained an outpost of Christendom. On the conclusion of the Venetian peace he began preparations for a serious attack on Rhodes, and in 1480 Masih Pasha sailed with a considerable fleet and laid siege to the town. The whole of Europe had been aware that the blow was coming, and much had been done to meet it. The defence devolved upon the Grand-Master of the Order, Peter d'Aubusson, a man "endued with a martial soul," who had learned "the mappes, the mathematicks," as well as the art of war, "but history was his principal study." The Turks were aided by the local knowledge of a German renegade, and their guns, of immense size for that age, created a sensation. They had sixteen bombards, 64 inches long, throwing stone shot 9 and 11 inches in diameter. But the siege lasted two months, before they forced an entry into the outer parts of the city. In the terrible mellay which ensued the valour of the knights pressed the Turks backward, and at this moment, when the chance of success depended on heartening the troops to recover their lost ground, Masih Pasha, in foolish confidence that the day was won, issued an order that no soldier should touch the booty, since the treasures belonged to the Sultan. Thus deprived of a motive for fighting, the Turks fled to their camp, and their general raised the leaguer. But, after this shame dealt to his arms, Mohammad could not let the island continue to defy him. He equipped another armament and resolved to lead it in person. But even as he started he fell sick and death overtook him (May 3, 1481): an event which, as it proved, meant a respite of forty years to the Latin lords of Rhodes. The deeds of Mohammad show best what manner of man he was: a conqueror who saw in conquest the highest statesmanship, but who also knew how to consolidate and organise, and how to adapt the principles of Islam to political dealings with Christian States. We have portraits of him painted both by pen and brush. Contrary to the precepts of his religion, he had his picture painted by Gentile Bellini, and is