committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

SECTION XXIII.

OVERTURES TO THE SULTAN.—THE SURRENDER OF BOSNIA TO MOHAMMED II. UNDER STIPULATIONS.—His BASE TREACHERY.—THE DESTRUCTION AND ENSLAVEMENT OF THE BOGOMILS OF BOSNIA, AND THE DUCHY OF HERZEGOVINA.

THE sultan crossed the Dwina in June, 1463, and on the 15th of that month the fortress of Bobovac, the strongest in Bosnia, and the ancient seat of Bonian bans and kings, surrendered to him, its governor being a Bogomil. The treacherous and cowardly king fled to Jaycze, another strong fortress, but on the approach of the Turkish pasha escaped to Clissa, where, after forty days' siege, he surrendered on condition of his life being spared, giving up his treasures, amounting to a million of ducats. In eight days seventy strong cities, nearly all of them commanded by Bogomils, opened their gates to the sultan's officers.

But Mohammed II. was a base and infamously treacherous prince. He used the wretched Stephen Tomasevic to the utmost, gaining possession through him of all those towns which had not already surrendered, and then caused him to be executed, with the most barbarous tortures, on the field of Bielaj, where he had assassinated his father. We have no tears to shed over this retributive justice upon the parricide, but the fate reserved for the Bosnians, and particularly for the Bogomils, was such as to cause the sultan's name to be handed down to after-ages as the synonym of infamous perfidy. The most eminent of the Bosnian nobles who had not escaped to Dalmatia were transported to Asia; thirty; thousand of the picked youth of Bosnia, sons of the best families, were placed as cadets among the Janissaries, to be converted to the Mohammedan faith and recruit the Moslem armies; two hundred thousand of the inhabitants, including the young and beautiful, were sold as slaves; the cities and lordly residences were plundered, and the whole land given over to desolation.

This blow did not fall at this time on the Herzegovina, as its inhabitants stood by their duke, Stephen Cosaccia, who, though profligate in life, had protected the Bogomils, who formed by far the larger part of his people. They fought bravely for their country and drove away the Turks, but were compelled to pay tribute. Twenty years later, under the rule of Cosaccia's sons, the Turkish armies again invaded the duchy, and enacted much the same scenes as they had done in 1463 in Bosnia.

The results of this conquest were disastrous for Bosnia, and almost annihilated the Bogomils. The noble youth who were placed in the hands of the Janissaries came back in due season Mohammedans in faith, and inherited their old estates; and there is to this day in Bosnia a large population (more than four hundred thousand) Sclavonians by birth, but Mohammedans in religion. This fact greatly complicated the religious question in the recent war.

 
 
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