Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Cause which made the Mongols lay waste the countries of the Persians, and the other regions which are to the west of them

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Since the MONGOLS have no urban habitations, and have need of clothing and beds which are transported to them from the towns, CHINGIZ KHAN commanded and gave the word of peace concerning the merchants who come to them from every region, that the guards who patrol the highways and are called ‘KARAKSHAYE’ (KARAKJIYA) should do them no harm. Then three men of the city of BUKHARA prepared garments, and bales of splendid cloths, and other things which they knew would be required by the MONGOLS, and they loaded them on beasts and went to the Great Camp. And CHINGIZ KHAN commanded, [and his servants] looked at what they had with them, [414] and they asked them their prices. Then one of the merchants whose name was AHMAD, for something which one could buy for ten dinars, demanded three talents of silver, each talent of the value of seven hundred zuze. When CHINGIZ KHAN heard [this] he became angry and said, ‘Perhaps this man thinketh that we have never seen an article of this kind’. And he made a sign to the stewards and they brought out some cloths in which much gold was woven, and they showed them to those merchants. And the king commanded that that merchant should be put under restraint, and that a list of everything which was with him should be written. Then [the stewards] brought his two other companions, and they looked at their merchandise and asked their prices. They, however, did not put forward any price at all, but said, ‘We have brought these wares in the name of the Khan. If he is kind he will give us what he knoweth [to be their value].’ And their words pleased the Khan, and he commanded [his stewards] to give them a talent of gold, that is to say seven hundred mathkale, for every piece of stuff in which gold was woven, and for every two rolls of amarkuba cloth (or, brocade) one talent of silver. And he had compassion aiso on the other man their companion, and he gave to him as to the others, And the Khan commanded his queens, and his sons and daughters to give gold to their slaves and to send them with these three merchants to bring back things for themselves; and they did so. And about four hundred merchants assembled, and an ambassador was sent with them to Sultan MAHAMAD of PERSIA, who said unto him, ‘We command that from now and henceforth there shall be peace between the countries in all the earth, and merchants shall go and come without fear, and rich and poor shal live in peace and praise God’.

And when the ambassador, together with the merchants, had marched away and they arrived at ‘OTHRAR, a city of the PERSIANS, the governor of that city sent and made the matter known to the Sultan. And the Sultan coveting what they had with them, commanded that governor, whose name was ‘INASHLUK (‘INAL SHUK), to destroy them all secretly. And when he was carrying out this order, one of them by the Divine Nod escaped, and he went and informed CHINGIZ KHAN, who when he heard this report was filled with red-hot rage. And he went off by himself, and climbed to the top of a mountain, and he bared his head, and laid his face on the dust (or, the earth), and he remained there for three days neither eating nor drinking. [415] And he looked up to heaven, and said, ‘0 Lord and Creator of the Universe, Thou Thyself knowest what my object was, and that it was intended for good. And this mine enemy hath begun and he wisheth for evil. Therefore I entreat Thee to reward him according to his works.’ And from this moment he began to send bodies of soldiers in the territory of the PERSIANS, and to destroy the towns with the edge of the sword, even as we are about to show.