Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/134

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garrison of Vienna in the meanwhile made suitable arrangements for encountering the storm. The houses outside the walls were levelled, the streets within torn up, buildings unroofed. The city was surrounded on September 26 and the operations began with mining. But the difficulty of procuring provisions and the approach of winter rendered the army impatient; and, when successive attempts at storming had been repelled with grave loss (October 9-12), it was decided to retreat after one more effort—especially as help was approaching, about 60,000 men from Bohemia, Moravia, and Germany. A half-hearted attack closed the episode of the first siege of Vienna, and at midnight the signal was given for a retreat which was marked by every horror. On December 16 Solyman records, he returned "fortunately" to Stambul. He had failed in Austria, but Hungary lay at his feet, and John Zapolya, though not a tributary, was absolutely dependent on his support.

The Ottoman State is marked off from the rest of Europe by a legal and political system which is based entirely on religious foundations. In Christian countries religion has frequently modified the principles of secular law; but in Turkey the problem of legislators has been to relax or adjust the interpretation of the canons of Islam, so as to permit it to take its place among European States, and to establish a modus vivendi with neighbouring unbelievers. Under Mohammad II a general code of law called "the Pearl" was drawn up by the Molla Khusrev in 1470; but this was superseded by Ibrahim Haleby of Aleppo, who in the reign of Solyman compiled a code which he named "the Confluence of the Seas" (Multeka-ul-ubhar). The sources from which these codes were compiled are four: the Koran; the Sunnas (the sayings of the Prophet which depend on early tradition, and inferences from his actions and his silences); the "apostolic laws" (explanations and decisions given by the Prophet's apostles and chief disciples in theological and moral matters); and the Kiyas (canonical decisions of "the four great Imams," who lived in the eighth and ninth centuries).

One of the universal duties of Islam on which the code of Ibrahim does not fail to insist was the conquest of the unbelievers; they must be converted to Islam, subjected to tribute, or destroyed by the sword. The fulfilment of this religious duty was the end and purpose of the Ottoman power, to which its institutions were designed and excellently adapted. Under the autocratic will of one man, possessing religious as well as secular supremacy, and holding a sovereignty which the Sacred Book forbade to be divided, the whole forces of the State could be directed to the execution of his policy. And these forces were organised in such a way that they could move swiftly and promptly at his command. The two features of this organisation were a feudal system of a peculiar kind, and the slave tribute.

The main part of the Turkish army was the feudal levy of cavalry (