« ForrigeFortsett »
45-1 THE AVAES FIT BEFOEE THE TUEKS [CH. XLU.
mouth, of the Indus. On the side of the west, the Turkish cavalry advanced to the lake Maeotis. They passed that lake on the ice. The khan, who dwelt at the foot of mount Altai, issued his commands for the siege of Bosphorus,* a city, the voluntary subject of Eome, and whose princes had formerly been the friends of Athens.f To the east, the Turks invaded China, as often as the vigour of the government was relaxed: and I am taught to read in the history of the times, that they mowed down their patient enemies like hemp or grass; and that the mandarins applauded the wisdom of an emperor who repulsed these barbarians with golden lances. This extent of savage empire compelled the Turkish monarch to establish three subordinate princes of his own blood, who soon forgot their gratitude and allegiance. The conquerors were enervated by luxury, which is always fatal, except to an industrious people; the policy of China solicited the vanquished nations to resume their independence; and the power of the Turks was limited to a period of two hundred years. The revival of their name and dominion in the southern countries of Asia, are the events of a later age; and the dynasties which succeeded to their native realms may sleep in oblivion, since their history bears no relation to the decline and fall of the Eoman empire.J
In the rapid career of conquest, the Turks attacked and subdued the nation of the Ogors or Varchonites on the banks of the river Til, which derived the epithet of black from its dark water or gloomy forests.§ The khan of the
cessive tribe, may be introduced here. * Procopius, Persic .
(1 . 1, c . 12; 1. 2, c. 3). Peyesonnel (Observations sur les Peuples Barbares, p. 99,100) defines the distance between Caffa and the old Bosphorus at sizteen long Tartar leagues. + See, in a Memoir of M. de Boze, (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. vi, p. 649— 565,) the ancient kings and medals of the Cimmerian Bosphorus; and the gratitude of Athens, in the oration of Demosthenes against Leptines. (In Reiske, Orator. Grsec. tom. i, p. 466, 467).
X For the origin and revolutions of the first Turkish empire, the Chinese details are borrowed from De Guignes (Hist, des Huns, tom. i, part 2, p. 367—462), and Visdelou (Supplement a la Bibliotheque Orient. d'Herbelot, p. 82—114). The Greek or Roman hints are gathered in Menander (p. 108—164,) and Theophylact Simocatta. (1 . 7, c. 7, 8.) § The river Til, or Tula, according to the geo
graphyof De Guignes, (tom.i, part 2, p. 58, and 352,) is a small, though grateful, stream of the desert, that falls into the Orhon, Selinga, &c .
Ogors was slain with three hundred thousand of his subjects, and their bodies were scattered over the space of four days' journey; their surviving countrymen acknowledged the strength and mercy of the Turks; and a small portion, about twenty thousand warriors, preferred exile to servitude. They followed the well-known road of the Volga, cherished the error of the nations who confounded them with the Avaes, and spread the terror of that false though famous appellation, which had not, however, saved its lawful proprietors from the yoke of the Turks.* After a long and
See Bell, Journey from Petersburg to Pekin (vol. ii, p. 124); yet his own description of the Keat, down which he sailed into the Oby, represents the name and attributes of the black river (p. 139).
* Theophylact, 1. 7, c. 7, 8. And yet his true Avars are invisible even to the eyes of M. de Guignes; and what can be more illustrious than the false? The right of the fugitive Ogors to that national appellation is confessed by the Turks themselves (Menander, p. 108). [The writer of a learned article in Ersch and Gruber's Allg. Encyc. (6. 509) makes the Avars descendants of a people, known to the ancients by the name of Aorsi. Strabo (1. 11, p. 753) placed them on the shore of the Caspian sea, to the east of the Eha or Wolga, and (p. 773) extended them, probably a migrating colony, westward to the Tanais. Within the century before he wrote, their king Spadines had assisted Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates. But they preferred the pursuits of commerce to that of war. Their camels were sent to Bactriana, and brought the wares of India and Babylon, to supply the wants of Europe. In Pliny's time, while they still retained their original territory on the Caspian (Hist. Nat. 6. 18) their offshoots had reached the neighbourhood of the Danube (4. 18 and 25) and were bordering on the Daci, Moesi, and Geta3. They are supposed also to be the Adorsi, whom Tacitus (Ann. 12, c. 15, 16 and 19) makes allies of the Romans, in their eastern wars, during the reign of Claudius. At last, they performed, as Avars, the conspicuous part recorded of them in history, till in the year 803, they were subdued by Charlemagne, and their name, if not extinguished in Europe, at least merged in that of Hungarians. During the season of their power and prosperity, they still indulged the ancient habits of their race, and were the medium of carrying on an active trade between Constantinople and Germany. Modern travellers have however discovered, that a remnant of this people still occupies their early location. Guldenstadt and Klaproth describe, in the eastern Caucasus, on the Koisu, a river of Leoghistan, a numerous tribe, called Aor or Awar, distinct from other Tartars, by peculiar manners and language. Their district has the name of Awar, as well as their principal town, which contains 4000 houses. Their chief has the title of Awarkhan, and in 1807, his friendship was cultivated by tho emperor of Russia. The same
victorious march, the new Avars arrived at the foot of mount Caucasus, in the country of the Alani * and Circassians, where they first heard of the splendour and weakness of the Roman empire. They humbly requested their confederate, the prince of the Alani, to lead them to this source of riches; and their ambassador, with the permission of the governor of Lazica, was transported by the Euxine sea to Constantinople. The whole city was poured forth to behold with curiosity and terror the aspect of a strange people; their long hair, which hung in tresses down their backs, was gracefully bound with ribbons, but the rest of their habit appeared to imitate the fashion of the Huns. When they were admitted to the audience of Justinian, Candish, the first of the ambassadors, addressed the Roman emperor in these terms,—" You see before you, O mighty prince, the representatives of the strongest and most populous of nations, the invincible, the irresistible Avars. We are willing to devote ourselves to your service: we are able to vanquish and destroy all the enemies who now disturb your repose. But we expect, as the price of our alliance, as the reward of our valour, precious gifts, annual subsidies, and fruitful possessions." At the time of this embassy, Justinian had reigned above thirty, he had lived above seventy-five years; his mind, as well as his body, was feeble and languid; and the conqueror of Africa and Italy, careless of the permanent interest of his people, aspired only to end his days in the bosom even of inglorious peace. In a studied oration, he imparted to the senate his resolution to dissemble the insult, and to purchase the friendship, of the Avars; and the whole senate, like the mandarins of China, applauded the incomparable wisdom and foresight of their sovereign. The instruments of luxury were immediately prepared to captivate the barbarians: silken garments, soft and splendid beds, and chains and collars incrusted with gold. The ambassadors, content with such liberal reception, demodern tribe are noticed, but not so fully, by Sehlozer. (Nordischa Geschichte. 1.523).—Ed.]
* The Alani are still found in the Genealogical History of that Tartars (p. 617,) and in D'Anville's maps. They opposed the march of the generals of Zingis round the Caspian sea, and were overthrown in a great battle. (Hist. de GengiscaD, 1 . 4, c. 9, p. 447.)
parted from Constantinople, and Valentin, one of the emperor's guards, was sent with a similar character to their camp at the foot of mount Caucasus. As their destruction or their success must be alike advantageous to the empire, he persuaded them to invade the enemies of Rome; and they were easily tempted, by gifts and promises, to gratify their ruling inclinations. These fugitives, who fled before the Turkish arms, passed the Tanais and Borysthenes, and boldly advanced into the heart of Poland and Germany, violating the law of nations, and abusing the rights of victory. Before ten years had elapsed, their camps were seated on the Danube and the Elbe, many Bulgarian and Sclavonian names were obliterated from the earth, and the remainder of their* tribes are found, as tributaries and vassals, under the standard of the Avars. The chagan, the peculiar title of their king, still affected to cultivate the friendship of the emperor; and Justinian entertained some thoughts of fixing them in Pannonia, to balance the prevailing power of the Lombards. But the virtue or treachery of an Avar betrayed the secret enmity and ambitious designs of their countrymen: and they loudly complained of the timid, though jealous, policy of detaining their ambassadors, and denying the arms which they had been allowed to purchase in the capital of the empire.*
Perhaps the apparent change in the dispositions of the emperors may be ascribed to the embassy which was received from the conquerors of the Avars.f The immense distance, which eluded their arms, could not extinguish their resentment: the Turkish ambassadors pursued the footsteps of the vanquished to the Jaik, the Volga, mount Caucasus, the Euxine, and Constantinople, and at length appeared before the successor of Constantine, to request
* The embassies and first conquests of the Avars may be read in Menander (Excerpt . Legat. p. 99—101. 154, 155), Theophanes (p. 196), the Historia Miscella (1. 16, p. 109), and Gregory of Tours (1. 4, c. 23. 29; in the Historians of France, tom. ii, p. 214. 217).
+ Theophanes (Chron. p. 204) and the Hist. Miscella (1. 16, p. 110), as understood by De Guignes (tom, i, part 2, p. 354), appear to speak of a Turkish embassy to Justinian himself; but that of Maniach, in the fourth year of his successor Justin, is positively the first that reached Constantinople. (Menander, p. 108.)
that he would not espouse the cause of rebels and fugitives. Even commerce had some share in this remarkable negotiation: and the Sogdoites, who were now the tributaries of the Turks, embraced the fair occasion of opening, by the north of the Caspian, a new road for the importation of Chinese silk into the Roman empire. The Persian, who preferred the navigation of Ceylon, had stopped the caravans of Bochara and Samarcand: their silk was contemptuously burnt: some Turkish ambassadors died in Persia, with a suspicion of poison; and the great khan permitted his faithful vassal Maniach, the prince of the Sogdoites, to propose, at the Byzantine court, a treaty of alliance against their common enemies. Their splendid apparel and rich presents, the fruit of Oriental luxury, distinguished Maniach and his colleagues from the rude savages of the north: their letters, in the Scythian character and language, announced a people who had attained the rudiments of science; * they enumerated the conquests, they offered the friendship and military aid, of the Turks; and their sincerity was attested by direful imprecations (if they were guilty of falsehood) against their own head, and the head of Disabul their master. The Creek prince entertained with hospitable regard the ambassadors of a remote and powerful monarch:
* The Russians have found characters, rude hieroglyphics, on the Irtish and Yenisei, on medals, tombs, idols, rocks, obelisks, &c. (Strahlenberg, Hist, of Siberia, p. 324. 346. 406. 429.) Dr. Hyde (de Religione Veterum Persarum, p. 521, &c.) has given two alphabets of Thibet and of the Eygours. I have long harboured a suspicion that all the Scythian, and some, perhaps much, of the Indian science, was derived from the Greeks of Bactriana. [These Greeks were planted there by Alexander, in the cities built by him when the country, after the fall of Persia, became subject to him. (Strabo. 11, p. 786. Q. Curtius, 1. 7. 3; 1. 9. 8. Arrian. 1. 3. 28; 1. 5. 27.) He probably designed his Alexandria of the Oxus to be for the East, what that of the Nile was for the South; but it wanted the same facilities for extensive commerce; and still more it wanted the talents and energy of a Ptolemy. The land was watered by many fertilizing streams, the soil rich, and the climate genial. (Arrian, 7.4.) Gibbon's conjecture in this note is very probably correct. The real Scythians were advanced too far westward to profit by such instruction; nor can any traces of it be found among them. But it is most likely that the Slavonians derived from this source some rudiments of art and science.—Ed.]