Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/139

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religious party. He saw that the Greek Church under a Patriarch appointed by the Sultan would be a valuable engine of government, placing in the Sultan's hands a considerable indirect influence over the laity. It was, further, his policy to favour the Greek Church, in view of the crusading plans of the Latin powers; for, though the Roman pontiffs of this period showed themselves able to rise to the higher conception of the unity of Christendom, the bigoted hatred existing between the Latin and Greek Churches went far towards paralysing the sympathies of the Catholic countries. Mohammad aimed at fostering this ill-feeling, and he was thoroughly successful; the supremacy of the infidel Sultan seemed more tolerable than the supremacy of the heretical Pope. Naturally Mohammad chose for the Patriarchate one of those who were opposed to the union of the Greek and Latin Churches: George Scholarios, a man of learning and bigotry, who had thrown whatsoever obstacles he could in the way of the Emperor Constantine's forlorn defence of Constantinople. On his election George took the name of Gennadios. A church in the city was assigned to him, and the Sultan guaranteed that he and his bishops should be exempt from tribute and enjoy their former revenues. But the internal dissensions and intrigues of the Greek clergy and laity rendered the position of the Patriarch so difficult, that in a few years Gennadios resigned. His successors were equally helpless; and after the fall of Trebizond (1461) the struggle between the Trapezuntine and the Constantinopolitan Greeks, each anxious to secure the Patriarchate for a man of their own, made matters worse. A wealthy Trapezuntine, named Simeon, compassed his own election by paying a thousand ducats to the Sultan; and this was the beginning of a system of unveiled simony which has lasted in the Greek Church to our own times. This payment was increased at subsequent elections; afterwards a yearly contribution to the treasury was promised; but it is important to observe that these tributes were not originally imposed by the Sultans, but were voluntarily offered by the intriguing Greeks. The policy of Mohammad, who was solicitous to repeople Constantinople, had the effect of gathering thither a multitude of Greek families of the better class, who might otherwise have sought refuge in foreign lands. Settled in the quarter of the Phanar, in the north of the city, they were known as Phanariots, and came to be reputed a class of clever, unprincipled intriguers.

We have followed the expansion of Turkey up to the eve of its greatest splendour and widest extent. Subsequent pages will tell how the Ottomans advanced westwards by sea, and how the Austro-Spanish monarchy set limits to their expansion both in the north and in the south.