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In the treaty :>f peace, it does not appear that Alp Arslan extorted any province or city from the captive emperor; and his revenge was satisfied with the trophies of his victory, and the spoils of Anatolia, from Antioch to the Black Sea. The fairest part of Asia was subject to his laws: twelve hundred princes, or the sons of princes, stood before his throne; and two hundred thousand soldiers marched under his banners. The sultan disdained to pursue the fugitive Greeks; but he meditated the more glorious conquest of Turkestan, the original seat of the house of Seljuk. He moved from Bagdad to the banks of the Oxus; a bridge was thrown over the river; and twenty days were consumed in the passage of his troops. But the progress of the great king was retarded by the governor of Berzem; and Joseph the Carizmian presumed to defend his fortress against the powers of the East. When he was produced a captive in the royal tent, the sultan, instead of praising his valor, severely reproached his obstinate folly; and the insolent replies of the rebel provoked a sentence, that he should be fastened to four stakes, and left to expire in that painful situation. At this command, the desperate Carizmian, drawing a dagger, rushed headlong towards the throne: the guards raised their battle-axes; their zeal was checked by Alp Arslan, the most skilful archer of the age: he drew his bow, but his foot slipped, the arrow glanced aside, and he received in his breast the dagger of Joseph, who was instantly cut in pieces. The wound was mortal; and the Turkish prince bequeathed a dying admonition to the pride of kings. "In my youth," said Alp Arslan, "I was advised by a sage to humble myself before God; to distrust my own strength; and never to despise the most contemptible foe. I have neglected these lessons; and my neglect has been deservedly punished. Yesterday, as from an eminence I beheld the numbers, the discipline, and the spirit, of my armies, the earth seemed to tremble under my feet; and I said in my heart, Surely thou art the king of the world, the greatest and most invincible of warriors. These armies are no longer mine; and, in the confidence of my personal strength, I now fall by the hand of an assassin."89 Alp Arslan possessed the
"This interesting death is told by D'Herbelot, (p. 103,104,) and M De Guignes, (torn, iil p. 212, 213.) from their Oriental writers; bu< aeither of thorn have transfused the spirit of Elmacin. (Hist. Sarafpn p, 844, 34.5.)
virtues of a Turk and a Mussulman; his voice and stature commanded the reverence of mankind; his face was shaded with long whiskers; and his ample turban was fashioned in the shape of a crown. The remains of the sultan were deposited in the tomb of the Seljukian dynasty; and the passenger might read and meditate this useful inscription :*c
"O YE WHO HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF ALP Arslan EXALTKO tO THE HEAVENS, REPAIR TO MARU, AND YOU WILL BEHOLD
ir Buried In The Dust." The annihilation of the inscription, and the tomb itself, more forcibly proclaims the instability of human greatness.
During the life of Alp Arslan, his eldest son had been acknowledged as the future sultan of the Turks. On his father's death the inheritance was disputed by an uncle, a cousin, and a brother: they drew their cimeters, and assembled their followers; and the triple victory of Malek Shah*1 established his own reputation and the right of primogeniture. In every age, and more especially in Asia, the thirst of power has inspired the same passions, and occasioned the same disorders; but, from the long series of, civil war, it would not be easy to extract a sentiment more pure and magnanimous than is contained in the saying of the Turkish prince. On the eve of the battle, he performed his devotions at Thous, before the tomb of the Imam Riza. As the sultan rose from the ground, he asked his vizier Nizam, who had knelt beside him, what had been the object of his secret petition: "That your arms may be crowned with victory," was the prudent, and most probably the sincere, answer of the minister. "For my part," replied the generous Malek, "I implored the Lord of Hosts that he would take from me my life and crown, if my brothei be more worthy than myself to reign over the Moslems." The favorable judgment of heaven was ratified by the caliph: and for the first time, the sacred title of Commander of the Faithful was communicated to a Barbarian. But this Barbarian, by hi?
48 A critic of high renown, (the late Dr. Johnson,) who has severely scrutinized the epitaphs of Pope, might cavil in this sublime inscrip tion at the words "repair to Maru," since the reader must already b» kt Maru before he could peruse the inscription.
41 Ti:e Bibliotheque Orientale has given the text of the reign of Malek, (p. 542, 543, 544, 654, 655;) and the Histoire Generate dei Huns (torn. iii. p. 214—224) has added the usual measure of repetition emendation, and supplement. Without those two learned Frenchmen i should h? blind indeed in the Eastern world.
personal merit, and the extent of his empire, was the greatest prince of his age. After the settlement of Persia arid Syria, he marched at the head of innumerable armies to achieve the conquest of Turkestan, which had been undertaken by liia father. In his passage of the Oxus, the boatmen, who had been employed in transporting some troops, complained, that their payment was assigned on the revenues of Antioch. The sultan frowned at this preposterous choice; but he mik d at the artful flattery of his vizier. "It was not to postpone tteir reward, that I selected those remote places, but to leave a memorial to posterity, that, under your reign, Antioch and the Oxus were subject to the same sovereign." But this description of his limits was unjust and parsimonious: beyond the Oxus, he reduced to his obedience the cities of Bochara, Carizme, and Samarcand, and crushed each rebellious slave, or independent savage, who dared to resist. Malek passed the Sihon or Jaxartes, the last boundary of Persian civilization: the hordes of Turkestan yielded to his supremacy: his name was inserted on the coins, and in the prayers of Cashgar, a Tartar kingdom on the extreme borders of China. From the Chinese frontier, he stretched his immediate jurisdiction or feudatory sway to the west and south, as far as the mountains of Georgia, the neighborhood of Constantinople, the holy city of Jerusalem, and the spicy groves of Arabia Felix. Instead of resigning himself to the luxury of his harem, the shepherd king, both in peace and war, was in action and in the field. By the perpetual motion of the royal camp, each province was successively blessed with his presence; and he is said to have perambulated twelve times the wide extent of his dominions, which surpassed the Asiatic reign of Cyrus and the caliphs. Of these expeditions, the most pious and splendid was the pilgrimage of Mecca: the freedom and safety of the caravans were protected by his arms; the citizens and pilgrims were enriched by the profusion of his alms; and the desert was cheered by the places of relief and refreshment, which he instituted for the use of his brethren. Hunting was the pleasure, and even the passion, of the sultan, and his train consisted of forty-seven thousand horses; but after the Massacre of a Turkish chase, for each piece of game, he bestowed a piece of gold on the poor, a s)ight atonement, at the expense of the people, for the cost and mischief of the unusemont of kings. In the peaceful prosperity of his reign, «h« cities of Asia werA adorned with palaces and hospital' with moschs and colleges; few departed from his Divan without reward, and none without justice. The language and literature of Persia revived under the house of Seljuk;4* and if Malek emulated the liberality of a Turk less potent than himself,4' his palace might resound with the songs of a hundred poets. The sultan bestowed a more serious and learned 3are on the reformation of the calendar, which was effected by a general assembly of the astronomers of the East. By i law of the prophet, the Moslems are confined to the irregular course of the lunar months; in Persia, since the age of Zoroaster, the revolution of the sun lira been known and celebrated as an annual festival ;** but after the fall of the Magian empire, the intercalation had been neglected; the fractions of minutes and hours were multiplied into days; and the date of the springs was removed from the sign of Aries to that of Pisces. The reign of Malek was illustrated by the Gelaloean ar;ra; and all errors, either past or future, were corrected by a computation of time, which surpasses the Julian, and approaches the accuracy of the Gregorian, style."
In a period when Europe was plunged in the deepest barbarism, the light and splendor of Asia may be ascribed to the docility rather than the knowledge of the Turkish conquerors. An ample share of their wisdom and virtue is due to a Persian vizier, who ruled the empire under the reigns of Alp Arslan and his son. Nizam, one of the most illustrious ministers of the East, was honored by the caliph as an oracle of religion and science; he was trusted by the sultan as the faithful vicegerent of his power and justice. After an admin
411 See an excellent discourse at the end of Sir William Jones's History of Nadir Shah, and the articles of the poets, Amak, Anvari, Raschidi, &c, in the Bibliotheque Orientate.
43 His name was Kheder Khan. Four bags were placed round hi* sopha, and as he listened to the song, he cast handfuls of gold and silver to the poets, (D'Herbelot, p. 107.) All this may be true; but I do not understand how he could reign in Transoxiana in the time of Malek Shah, and much less how Kheder could surpass him in powei and pomp. I suspect that the beginning, not the end, of the xith century is the true sera of his reign.
4 See Chardin, Voyages en Perse, torn. ii. p. 235.
** The Grelalaean sera (Gelaleddin, Glory of the Faith, was one af he name or titles of Malek Shah) is fixed to the xvth of March, A. II 171, A. D. 1079. Dr. Hyde has produced the original testimonies of ihe Persians and Arabians, (de Religions veterum Persarum, ft If ?. 200—2U.)
fetration of thirty years, the fame of the vizier, his wealth, and even his services, were transformed into crimes. He was overthrown by the insidious arts of a woman and a rival; and his fall w;is hastened by a rash declaration, that his cap and ink-horn, the badges of his office, were connected by the divine decree with the throne and diadem of the sultan. At the age of ninety-three years, the venerable statesman vnm dismissed by his master, accused by his enemies, and murdered by a fanatic: * the last words of Nizam attested his innocence, and the remainder of Malek's life was short and inglorious. From Ispahan, the scene of this disgraceful transaction, the sultan moved to Bagdad, with the design of transplanting the caliph, and of fixing his own residence in the capital of the Moslem world. The feeble successor of Mahomet obtained a respite of ten days; and before the expiration of the term, the Barbarian was summoned by the angel of death. His ambassadors at Constantinople had asked in marriage a Roman princess; but the proposal was decently eluded; and the daughter of Alexius, who might herself have been the victim, expresses her abhorrence of this unnatural conjunction.48 The daughter of the sultan was bestowed on the caliph Moctadi, with the imperious condition, that, renouncing the society of his wives and concubines,-he should forever confine himself to this honorable alliance.
The greatness and unity of the Turkish empire expired in the person of Malek Shah. His vacant throne was disputed by his brother and his four sons; f and, after a series of civil wars, the treaty which reconciled the surviving candidates confirmed a lasting separation in the Persian dynasty, the eldest and principal branch of the house of Seljuk. The three younger dynasties were those of Kerman, of Syria, and of Roum: the first of these commanded an extensive, though
48 She speaks of tins Persian royalty as cnri'mris KaKoSatjioviarcpov To ■j.k. Anna Coranena was only nine years old at the end of the reign of Malek Shah, (A. D. 1092,) and when she speaks of his assassination, she confounds the sultan with the vizier, (Alexias, 1. vi. p. 177, 178.]
* He was the first great victim of his enemy, Hassan Sabek, frundet of 0e Assassins. Vou Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. 95.—M.
t See Von Hammer. Osmanische Geschichte, vol. i. p. 16. The Seljukiaa dominions were for a time reunited in the person of Sandjar, one of the sona of Malek Shah, who ruled "from Kashgar to Antioch, from the Caspian t* the Straits of Babelmandel."—M.