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a very large proportion of the works rescued from the darkness of oblivion have been given to the world by our own countrymen. We hope that the consideration of the honour which may be gained for England, if she still continues in the van of this honourable rivalry, and the disgrace, which must be her portion, if, with the advantages of such a collection as this in her metropolis, she lags behind other nations, may give a new impulse to the study of a language, which is probably the nearest representative of the dialect of Palestine in the time of our Saviour. When the importance of these studies in a Biblical point of view is better known, there may be a little more encouragement given to them in high quarters. A great deal remains to be done for Syriac. There are many works still awaiting an editor in this collection.* The laws of construction have to be more fully ascertained, and a Lexicon, adequate to the present wants of scholars, must be supplied. With regard to the translations of Greek authors, which are found in Syriac, we are inclined to believe that the mode of translation of the Syriac writers was loose and inaccurate, and that in many instances they abridged and curtailed the text of the authors on whom they operated. But every fresh publication gives us a better hope of judging of their general character, and we must be content to suspend our judgment for a tine. There is also another desideratum, which is a critical edition of the Peshito version of the Bible. At present the text is in a most unsatisfactory state, and it is difficult to find materials for a true judgment on the point.f Here, again, we must be content to wait; but as England led the way to a critical edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, we will hope that she may still keep her place in this honourable struggle. Germany is alive to its importance; we will hope that the
possessors of the rich stores from the Desert of Scete will not be behind the scholars of that country. The researches which have already been made have thrown considerable light upon the reign of Justin II. and Tiberius ; they have revealed circumstances hitherto unknown regarding the most important Council ever held, the Council of Nicæa; they have restored to us one lost treatise of Eusebius; a series of Epistles from Athanasius, hitherto known only in minute fragments; and they have given to us the greatest work of Titus of Bostra in its full proportions; not to mention a vast variety of smaller treatises by the great men of old, and many translations of the great works of antiquity. Where results so great as these have been achieved in twenty years, we will earnestly hope that the next few years will put the finishing touches to this large redemption of literary treasures from the neglect and oblivion of their former abode.
* Dr. Wright is printing in the · Journal of Sacred Literature' the “Transitus Beatæ Virginis ;' and intends to publish all the Apocryphal Books of the N.T.
# There is a very valuable brochure by an Hungarian Jew on this subject. * Meletemata Peschitthoniana,' &c., auctor Josephus Perles. Vratislaviæ, 1859.
ART. VII.-1. Servia and the Servians. By the Rev. W.
Denton, M.A. London, 1863. 2. Treaties and Hatti-Sheriffs relating to Servia. Presented to
both Houses of Parliament. 3. Treaty of Paris, 1856. 4. The Condition of Turkey and her Dependencies. Speech in the House of Commons, May 29, 1863. By A. H. Layard, Esq., M.P. F the mixed elements of which the population of Turkey
numerous and the most important. The origin and early history of this people is involved in much obscurity, but there is no doubt that they made their first appearance on the borders of the Roman empire about the year 527, when they invaded the Greek provinces, defeated the imperial legions, and devastated the country extending from the Ionian Sea to the walls of Constantinople." They besieged the capital itself; and Belisarius succeeded, rather by presents than by force, in removing them to a distance from the seat of empire. We find them shortly afterwards extensively settled on the banks of the Danube, sometimes enlisting in the Roman armies, but more frequently ravaging the provinces and alarming by their inroads even the Byzantine court. seventh century, having entered into an alliance with the Emperors of Constantinople, they entered Illyria and founded the colonies of Slavonia, Croatia, Servia, Bosnia, and Dalmatia; and, by the end of the eighth century, large numbers had become established in Thrace and in Mosia. Meanwhile, many remained in the North. The nationality of the Slavonians has not been destroyed either by dispersion, subjection, or by time. The various dialects still preserve so strong an affinity that it has been said a Slavonian residing on the shores of the Frozen Sea can understand the language of one living on the coasts of the Adriatic; but on the borders of the Baltic and on the banks of the Elbe the Slavonian language has been long superseded by the German. At some remote period the whole Slavonic race doubtless spoke the same language, which separated into different dialects after the nation had split into tribes and commenced that migratory process by which their
territories became so greatly enlarged. The language is supposed to have had an Indian origin from the great number of Sanscrit words which it contains. It is considered by Niebuhr almost perfect in its grammatical structure, but it has been considerably modified in the south of Europe by an admixture with Italian, Turkish, and Greek.
About the middle of the seventh century a Slavonic tribe settled in the Roman province of Mesia and gave its name to the country which afterwards became the kingdom of Servia. The boundaries were gradually extended until a kingdom grew into an empire ; for, in the middle of the fourteenth century, the sovereignty of the Servian kings was acknowledged from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Slavonia Proper, Bulgaria, and Dalmatia were all subject to their rule. The empire had been even more extensive, for in the tenth century the Magyars drove the Servians from Hungary and erected there a kingdom of their own.
The enmity which for some time existed between the Greeks of the lower empire and the Servian people, although they professed a common Christianity, greatly facilitated the progress of the Turks in Europe. So commanding was the power of Stephen Dushan, the greatest of the Servian monarchs, whose banners bore the Imperial double eagle, that he even entertained the design of putting himself at the head of an army of eighty thousand men and of marching on Constantinople to put an end to the effete Byzantine Empire. Political jealousies and theological animosities undoubtedly prevented that alliance between the Greek and Servian empires which might have presented an invincible barrier to the progress of the Ottoman armies, and perhaps have eventually compelled them to recross the Hellespont. Although the great Servian emperor once meditated giving the deathblow to the palsied Greek empire, and extending his vigorous sway over the whole of Eastern Europe, his successors had to look to their own kingdom, and to protect it against an enemy which had been heedlessly overlooked. A Greek emperor, harassed by provincial insurrections and distracted by religious and political strife, invited a Mahomedan caliph encamped on the slopes of the Caucasus to come to the support of his tottering throne, but only to find that instead of to an ally he had opened the gates of his distracted dominions to a conqueror.
The Slavonian countries which were subject to the ancient emperors of Servia are now somewhat unequally divided between Austria and Turkey. Aspirations for a revival of Slavonian nationality have frequently manifested themselves with more or
less intensity in Austria, in Bosnia, and in Bulgaria ; but it is in Servia that this ambition has excited the greatest attention and has achieved its greatest success. The principality of Servia may now be said to possess a recognised status in the European system. Its free institutions cannot but have a very important influence on the prospects of a race which may be destined perhaps yet to play a great part in the future history of mankind.
The country which possesses many moral and political claims on our support is, politically, the youngest member of the European family. The resistance of the Servian people to their Turkish rulers commenced in 1804; but the practical independence of the country was not secured until 1826, when after a protracted and heroic struggle the whole of Servia was freed from Turkish government. But as a country containing little more than a million of inhabitants, and surrounded by powerful States, could not be expected to maintain the independence which it had achieved, it was the opinion of the great European Powers, to which Russia, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, assented, that in the interest of Servia itself its connexion with the Porte should be maintained, while its complete administrative independence should be guaranteed. Negotiations having been entered into accordingly with the Porte with that object, the result was an Imperial decree dated November, 1830. By that instrument the whole internal administration of Servia was confided to native authorities, subject only to the suzerainty of the Sultan, by whom it was stipulated that certain fortified places should still be garrisoned by Turkish troops. So little is generally known in England of the history, institutions, and peculiar political position of Servia, that we are induced to avail ourselves of the recent enquiries of some English travellers to bring before our readers a few of the prominent events in the career of this new State, together with the commercial prospects of a country which possesses many elements of future wealth.
The principality of Servia is situate on the northern extremity of the great Alpine range which separates the Adriatic from the plains of Hungary. It is protected to the south by that portion of the almost insurmountable barrier of the Balkan Mountains which constituted the ancient Rhodope; while lateral ridges extending from the principal chain cover both its flanks. The Danube and the Save form its northern boundary; the Drina separates it from Bosnia ; and the Morava, which runs through the Principality, almost divides it in two. The surface of the country is extremely hilly, but it possesses only one considerable valley,--that of the Morava. The heights are almost uniformly covered with forests of gigantic oak, which not only constitute
one of its most important natural defences, but form one of its principal sources of wealth. Servia has a general inclination to the north, rising gradually towards the great Balkan chain, of which the Servian passes are extremely difficult to surmount. The numerous small valleys formed by the spurs
of the mountains rarely expand into plains. As a military position, Servia is surpassed by few countries in Europe, and its success in resisting the Ottoman armies was in no small degree owing to that happy configuration of its surface, which is often so influential in shaping not merely the political destiny but the character of States.
There are three distinct periods in Servian history,—that of the Old Feudal Monarchy, the Turkish conquest, and the formation of the modern Principality. The political state of the Servian Empire previously to its subjugation by the Turks resembled that of the other great feudal monarchies of Europe. The revenue of the Sovereign was derived chiefly from the demesnes of the Crown; and a numerous territorial nobility held their extensive estates by military service. Society, as in other parts of Europe, was composed of ecclesiastics, nobles, knights, gentlemen, and villains, the last held in the same predial bondage which prevailed wherever the feudal system was completely established. There was no citizen or burgher class; and whatever trade the country possessed was monopolised by Byzantines, Ragusans, or Jews. Gold and silver mines were farmed and profitably worked by Venetians. Castles, afterwards converted into Turkish strongholds, were planted on every commanding eminence, and defended every mountain gorge. These remains of the middle ages can now nowhere be seen to such perfection as in Servia. They are almost in the state in which they were left by their builders, they have been carefully preserved, and are garrisoned, fortified, and held as strongholds to the present day. In other parts of Europe,
Where battlement and moated gate
Of hoary Time to decorate,' these relics of the past have been either modernised or are in ruins; in Servia and in Bosnia they carry us back to the thirteenth century, and the lofty keep or battlemented tower still frowns in undecayed strength, and threatens the surrounding country
In 1389 an alliance was concluded between the Servians and the Hungarians with the object of making a determined effort to arrest the progress of the Turkish arms. The destiny of Servia was