« ForrigeFortsett »
ing the life of my husband," said the artful regent, " I was ever apprehensive of your ambition: he was a prince and a soldier worthy of your arms. He is now no more his sceptre has passed to a woman and a child, and you dare not attack their infancy and weakness. How inglorious would be your conquest, how shameful your defeat! and yet the event of war is in the hand of the Almighty." Avarice was the only defect that tarnished the illustrious character of Mahmud; and nevei has that passion been more richly satiated.* The Orientals exceed the measure of credibility in the account of millions of gold and silver, such as the avidity of man has never accumulated; in the magnitude of pearls, diamonds, and rubies, such as have never been produced by the workmanship of nature.* Yet the soil of Hindostan is impregnated with precious minerals: her trade, in every age, has attracted the gold and silver of the world; and her virgin spoils were rifled by the first of the Mahometan conquerors. His behavior, in the last days of his life, evinces the vanity of these possessions, so laboriously won, so dangerously held, and so inevitably lost. He surveyed the vast and various chambers of the treasury of Gazna, burst into tears, and again closed the doors, without bestowing any portion of the wealth which he could no longer hope to preserve. The following day he reviewed the state of his military force; one hundred thousand foot, fifty-five thousand horse, and thirteen hundred elephants of battle.10 He again wept the instability of human greatness; and his grief was imbittered by the hostile progress of the Turkmans, whom he had introduced into the heart of his Persian kingdom.
apothegms, &c, are rarely the language of the heart, or the motives of public action.
9 For instance, a ruby of four hundred and fifty miskals, (Dciv, rot i. p. 53,) or six pounds three ounces: the largest in the treasury s( Delhi weighed seventeen miskals, (Voyages de Tavernier, partie ii p. 280.) It is true, that in the East all colored stones are calied rubies, (p. 355,) and that Tavernier saw three larger and more precious among the jewels de notre grand roi, le plus puissant et plus mag nifique de tons les rois de la terre, (p. 376.)
•' Dow, v >1. i. p. 65. The sovereign of Kinoge is said to ha*c possessed 2500 elephants, (Abulfed. Geograph. tab. xv. p. 274.) From these Indian stories, the reader may correct a note in my first rriun* (p. 945;) or from that note he may correct these stories.
Comuare Price, vol. ii. p. 295.—M
K the modern depopulation of Asia, the regular operation of government and agriculture is confined to the neighborhood of cities; and the distant country is abandoned to the pastoral tribes of Arabs, Curds, and Turkmans.11 Of the last-mentioned people, two considerable branches extend on either side of the Caspian Sea: the western colony can muster forty thousand soldiers; the eastern, less obvious to the traveller, but more strong and populous, has increased to the number of one hundred thousand families. In the midst of civilized nations, they preserve the manners of the Scythian desert, remove their encampments with a change of seasons, and feed their cattle among the ruins of palaces and temples. Their flocks and herds are their otdy riches; their tents, either black or white, according to the color of the banner, are covered with felt, and of a circular form; their winter apparel is a sheep-skin; a robe of cloth or cotton their summer garment: the features of the men are harsh and ferocious; the countenance of their women is soft and pleasing. Their wandering life maintains the spirit and exercise of arms; they fight on horseback; and their courage is displayed in frequent contests with each other and with their neighbors. For the license of pasture they pay a slight tribute to the sovereign of the land; but the domestic jurisdiction is in the hands of the chiefs and elders. The first emigration of the Eastern Turkmans, the most ancient of the race, may be ascribed to the tenth century of the Christian aera.1' In the decline of the caliphs, and the weakness of their lieutenants, the barrier of the Jaxartes was often violated; in each invasion, after the victory or retreat of their countrymen, some wandering tribe, embracing the Mahometan faith, obtained a free encampment in the spacious plains and pleasant climate of Transoxiana and Carizme. The Turkish slaves who aspired
11 See a just and natural picture of these pastoral manners, in the history of William archbishop of Tyre, (1. i. c. vii. in the Gesta Dei per francos, p. 633, 634,) and a valuable note by the editor of the Histoire (lenealogique des Tatars, p. 535—538.
13 The first emigration of the Turkmans, and doubtful origin of the Seljukians, may be traced in the laborious History of the Huns, by ML De Guignes, (torn. i. Tables Chronologiques, 1. v. torn. iii. 1. vii. ix. x., and the Bibliotheque Orientale, of D'Herbelot, (p. 799—802, 897— *)],) Elmacin, (Hist. Saracen, p. 8PI—333,) and Abulpharagius. (Dy oast. v>. 221 222.)
to the throne encouraged these emigratiois which recruited their armies, awed their subjects and rivals, and protected the frontier against the wilder natives of Turkestan; and this policy was abused by Mahrnud the Gaznevide beyond the example of former times. He was admonished of his error by the chief of the race of Seljuk, who dwelt in the territory of Bochara. The sultan had inquired what supply of mer. he could furuish for military service. "If you send," replied Uioael, "one of these arrows into our camp, fifty thousand of your servants will mount on horseback."—" And if that number," continued Mahmud, "should not be sufficient ?"— "Send this second arrow to the horde of Balik, and you will find fifty thousand more."—" But," said the Gaznevide, dissembling his anxiety, "if I should stand in need of the whole force of your kindred tribes ?"—" Despatch my bow," was the last reply of Ismael, "and as it is circulated around, the summons will be obeyed by two hundred thousand horse." The apprehension of such formidable friendship induced Mahmud to transport the most obnoxious tribes into the heart of Chorasan, where they would be separated from their brethren of the River Oxus, and enclosed on all sides by the walls of obedient cities. But the face of the country was an object of temptation rather than terror; and the vigor of government was relaxed by the absence and death of the sultan of Gazna The shepherds were converted into robbers; the bands of robbers were collected into an army of conquerors: as far as Ispahan and the Tigris, Persia was afflicted by their predatory inroads: and the Turkmans were not ashamed or afraid to measure their courage and numbers with the proudest sovereigns of Asia. Massoud, the son and successor of Mahmud. had too long neglected the advice of his wisest Omrahs. •* Your enemies," they repeatedly urged, "were in their origin a swarm of ants; they are now little snakes; and, unless they be instantly crushed, they will acquire the venom and magnitude of serpents." After some alternatives of truce and hostility, after the repulse or partial success of his lieutenants, the sultan marched in person against the Turkmans, who attacked him on all sides with barbarous shouts and irregular onset. "Massoud," says the Persian historian." "plunged
"Dow, Hist of Hindostan, voL i. p. 89, 95—98. 1 have o>pied this passage as a snecimen of the Persian mannei ; but I suspect that, s'ngly to oppose the torrent of gleaming arms, exhibiting suet nets of gigantic force and valor as never king had before displayed. A few of his friends, roused by his words and actions, and that innate honor which inspires the brave, seconded their lord so well, that wheresoever he turned his fatal word, the enemies were mowed down, or retreated before him. But now, when victory seemed to blow on his standard, misfortune was active behind it; for when he looked round, he beheld almost his whole army, excepting that body he commanded in person, devouring the paths of flight." The Gaznevide was abandoned by the cowardice or treachery of some generals of Turkish race; and this memorable day of Zendecan 14 founded in Persia the dynasty of the shepherd kings."
The victorious Turkmans immediately proceeded to the election of a king; and, if the probable tale of a Latin historian w deserves any credit, they determined by lot the choice of their new master. A number of arrows were successively inscribed with the name of a tribe, a family, and a candidate; they were drawn from the bundle by the hand of a child; and the important prize was obtained by Togrul Beg, the son of Michael the son of Seljuk, whose surname was immortalized in the greatness of his posterity. The sultan Mahmud, who valued himself on his skill in national genealogy, professed his ignorance of the family of Seljuk; yet the father of that race appears to have been a chief of power and re
by some odd fatality, the style of Ferishta has been improved by that of Ossian.*
14 The Zendekan of D'Herbelot, (p. 1028,) the Dindaka of Dow (vol. i. p. 97,) is probably the Dandanekan of Abulfeda, (Geograph. p. 345, Reiske,) a small town of Chorasan, two days' journey from Marii. and renowned through the East for the production and manu facture of cotton.
15 The Byzantine historians (Cedrenus, torn. ii. p. 766, 766, Zonaras torn. ii. p. 255, Nicephorus Bryennius, p. 21) have confounded, in thi» revolution, the truth of time and place, of names and persons, of causes and events. The ignorance and errors of these Greeks (which I shall not stop to unravel) may inspire some distrust of the story of Cyaxa res and Cyrus, as it is told by their most eloquent predecessor.
16 Willerm. Tyr. 1. i. c. 7, p. 633. The divination by arrows is aa tient and famous in the East
* Gibbon's conjecture was well fou ided Compare the more sober ami genuine version of Col. Briggs, vol. i. p 110.—M
nown." For a daring intrusion into the harem of his pnnc*. Seljuk was banished from Turkestan: with a numerous tribe of his friends and vassals, he passed the Jaxartes, encamped in the neighborhood of Samarcand, embraced the religion of Mahomet, and acquired the crown of martyrdom in a war against the infidels. His age, of a hundred and seven years, surpassed the life of his son, and Seljuk adopted the care of his two grandsons, Togrul and Jaafar; the eldest of whom, at the age of forty-five, was invested with the title of Sultan, in the royal city of Nishabur. The blind determination of chance was justified by the virtues of the successful candidate. It would be superfluous to praise the valor of a Turk; and the ambition of Togrul18 was equal to his valor. By his arms, the Gasnevides were expelled from the eastern kingdoms of Persia, and gradually driven to the banks of the Indus, in 6earch of a softer and more wealthy conquest. In the West he annihilated the dynasty of the Bowides; and the sceptre of Irak passed from the Persian to the Turkish nation. The princes who had felt, or who feared, the Seljukian arrows, bowed their heads in the dust; by the conquest of Aderbijan, or Media, he approached the Roman confines; and the shepherd presumed to despatch an ambassador, or herald, to demand the tribute and obedience of the emperor of Constantinople." In his own dominions, Togrul was the father of his soldiers and people ; by a firm and equal administration, Persia was relieved from the evils of anarchy; and the same hands which had been imbrued in blood became the guardians of justice and the public peace. The more rustic, perhaps the
11 D'Herbelot, p. 801. Yet after the fortune of his posterity, Sel juk became the thirty-fourth in lineal descent from the great Afrasiab, emperor of Touran, (p. 800.) The Tartar pedigree of the house of Zingis gave a different cast to flattery and fable; and the historian Mirkhond derives the Seljukides from Alankavah, the virgin mother, (p. 801, col. 2.) If they be the same as the Zalzuts of Abulghazi Bahadur Kahn, (Hist. Genealogique, p. 148,) we quote in their favor the most weighty evidence of a Tartar prince himself, the descendant «tf Zingis, Alankavah, or Alancu, and Oguz Khan.
18 By a slight corruption, Togrul Beg is the Tangroli-pix of the Greeks. His reign and character are faithfully exhibited by D'Herbelot (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 1027, 1028) and De Guignes, (Hist ies Huns, torn ni. p. 189—201.)
11 Cedrenus, torn. ii. p. 774, 775. Zonaras, torn. ii. p. 257. With *heif usual knowledge of Oriental affairs, they describe the ambassador is a sherif, who, like the syncellus of the patriarch, -vas the »icai nod ii^ccessor of the caliph.