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DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN
Conquests of Zingis Khan and the Moguls from China to Poland
-Escape of Constantinople and the Greeks--Origin of the Ottoman Turks in Bithynia— Reigns and Victories of Othman, Orchan, Amurath the First, and Bajazet the First—Foundation and Progress of the Turkish Monarchy in Asia and Europe—Danger of Constantinople and the Greek Empire
ROM the petty quarrels of a city and her suburbs, from
the cowardice and discord of the falling Greeks, I shall
now ascend to the victorious Turks, whose domestic slavery was ennobled by martial discipline, religious enthusiasm, and the energy of the national character. The rise and progress of the Ottomans, the present sovereigns of Constantinople, are connected with the most important scenes of modern history; but they are founded on a previous knowledge of the great eruption of the Moguls and Tartars, whose rapid conquests may be compared with the primitive convulsions of pature, which have agitated and altered the surface of the globe. I have long since asserted my claim to introduce the nations,
the immediate or remote authors of the fall of the Roman empire; nor can I refuse myself to those events which, from their uncommon magnitude, will interest a philosophic mind in the history of blood.
1 The reader is invited to review the chapters of the third and fourth volumes ; the manners of pastoral nations, the conquests of Attila and the Huns, which were composed at a time when I entertained the wish, rather than the hope, of concluding my history.
From the spacious highlands between China, Siberia, and Khan, first the Caspian Sea, the tide of emigration and war has repeatedly tho Moguls been poured. These ancient seats of the Huns and Turks were tars, A.D. occupied in the twelfth century by many pastoral tribes of the
same descent and similar manners, which were united and led
to conquest by the formidable Zingis. In his ascent to great(Temajin) ness, that barbarian (whose private appellation was Temugin)
had trampled on the necks of his equals. His birth was noble;
deduced his seventh ancestor from the immaculate conception [Yissngay) of a virgin. His father had reigned over thirteen hordes, which
composed about thirty or forty thousand families; above two
thirds refused to pay tithes or obedience to his infant son ; (A.D. 1176) and, at the age of thirteen, Temugin fought a battle against
his rebellious subjects. The future conqueror of Asia was re-
? [The miraculous origin of the race of Chingiz Khan appears in Turkish and Chinese as well as in Mongol legend. The family to which he belonged was called the Borjigen; it seems to have been of Turkish origin on the female side, but Mongol on the male (Cahun, Intr. à l'histoire de l'Asie, p. 203). It possessed lands and high prestige among the Mongol tribes to the north of China between the rivers Selinga and Orchon. It is important to realise that the Mongols were not very numerous. In the Mongol empire, as it is called, which Chingiz Khan created, the Mongolian element was small." What he did was to create a great Turkish empire under Mongol domination.]
Keraites, who under the name of Prester John had corresponded with the Roman pontiff and the princes of Europe. The ambition of Temugin condescended to employ the arts of superstition; and it was from a naked prophet, who could ascend to heaven on a white horse, that he accepted the title of Zingis, the Most Great; and a divine right to the conquest and dominion of the earth. In a general couroultai, or diet, he was seated on a felt, which was long afterwards revered as a relic, and solemnly proclaimed Great Khan or emperor of the Moguls and Tartars. Of these kindred though rival names, the former had given birth to the Imperial race; and the latter has been extended, by accident or error, over the spacious wilderness of the north.
The code of laws which Zingis dictated to his subjects was His laws adapted to the preservation of domestic peace and the exercise of foreign hostility. The punishment of death was inflicted on
3 The Khans of the Keraites [Baraits] were most probably incapable of reading the pompous epistles composed in their name by the Nestorian missionaries, who endowed them with the fabulous wonders of an Indian kingdom. Perhaps these Tartars (the Presbyter or Priest John) had submitted to the rites of baptism and ordination (Assemann. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. ii. p. 487-503). [Sir H. Howorth has shown very clearly (Hist. of the Mongols, i. p. 696 sqq.) that the Karaits were Turks, not Mongols. Their territory was near the Upper Orcbon, between the rivers Selinga and Kernlen. They were Christians. Their chief Tugbril received the title of Wang ("king") from the (Manchu) Emperor of Northern China for his services in 1193 against the Naiman Turks of the regions of the Altai and Upper Irtish. Chingiz also took part in this war, and his services were recognised by the title of Dai Ming, “high Brightness For an account of Prester John-the name by which the Karait khans were known in the west and the legends attached to him, see Howorth, i. cap. x. p. 534 sqq.)
* Since the history and tragedy of Voltaire, Gengis, at least in French, seems to be the more fashionable spelling ; but Abulghazi Khan must have known the true name of his ancestor. His etymology appears jubt; Zin, in the Mogul tongue, signifies great, and gis is the superlative termination (Hist. Généalogique des Tartars, part iii. p. 194, 195). From the same idea of magnitude the appellation of Zingis is bestowed on the ocean. [Chingiz (= very great, or autocrat) represents the true spelling. He also bore the title Sutu Bodgo, “son of Heaven".]
5 The name of Moguls has prevailed among the Orientals, and still adheres to the titular sovereign, the Great Mogul of Hindostan. [Mongol, Mogul and (Arabic) Mughal are all attempts to represent a name which among the true Mongols is pronounced something between Moghol (or Mool) and Mongol, but never with the u sound. See Tarikh-i-Rashidi, tr. Elias and Ross, p. 73 note.)
6 The Tartars (more properly Tatars) were descended from Tatar Khan, the brother of Mogul Khan (see Abulghazi, part i. and ii.), and once formed a horde of 70,000 families on the borders of Kitay (p. 103-112). In the great invasion of Europe (A.D. 1238), they seem to have led the vanguard; and the similitude of the name of Tartarei recommended that of Tartars to the Latins (Matth. Paris, p. 398, &c.). [The Tatars seem to have been a mixture of Manchus and Turks. In one of the old Turkish inscriptions of A.D. 733 (cp. above, vol. iv. p. 575) Tatars are mentioned.]
the crimes of adultery, murder, perjury, and the capital thefts of an horse or ox; and the fiercest of men were mild and just in their intercourse with each other. The future election of the great khan was vested in the princes of his family and the heads of the tribes; and the regulations of the chase were essential to the pleasures and plenty of a Tartar camp. The victorious nation was held sacred from all servile labours, which were abandoned to slaves and strangers; and every labour was servile except the profession of arms. The service and discipline of the troops, who were armed with bows, scymetars and iron maces, and divided by hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands, were the institutions of a veteran commander. Each officer and soldier was made responsible, under pain of death, for the safety and honour of his companions; and the spirit of conquest breathed in the law that peace should never be granted unless to a vanquished and suppliant enemy. But it is the religion of Zingis that best deserves our wonder and applause. The Catholic inquisitors of Europe, who defended nonsense by cruelty, might have been confounded by the example of a barbarian, who anticipated the lessons of philosophy 8 and established by his laws a system of pure theism and perfect toleration. His first and only article of faith was the existence of one God, the author of all good, who fills, by his presence, the heavens and earth, which he has created by his power. The Tartars and Moguls were addicted to the idols of their peculiar tribes; and many of them had been converted by the foreign missionaries to the religions of Moses, of Mahomet, and of Christ. These various systems in freedom and concord were taught and practised within the precincts of the same camp; and the Bonze, the Imam, the Rabbi, the Nestorian, and the Latin priest enjoyed the same honourable exemption from service and tribute. In the mosque of Bochara, the insolent victor might trample the Koran under his horse's feet, but the calm legislator respected the prophets and pontiffs of the most hostile sects. The reason of Zingis was not informed by book;
?[The code drawn up by Chingiz was called Yāsāk or Law._(On it, see Sir H. Howorth's paper in the Indian Antiquary, July, 1882.) The cruelties of Chingiz were always the simple execution of the laws: he was never capricious.]
8 A singular conformity may be found between the religious laws of Zingis Khan and of Mr. Locke (Constitutions of Carolina, in his works, vol. iv. p. 535, 4to edition, 1777).