Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Death of Chingiz Khan

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Articles, Library | Comments Off on Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Death of Chingiz Khan


In the year six hundred and twenty-four of the ARABS (A.D. 1226), when CHINGIZ KHAN returned to the east from the countries of KHORASAN, he set his mind on going to conquer the country of the TANKURTAYE who were on the frontier of INDIA. And whilst he was on his journey thither a severe sickness attacked him, and it was due to the excessive (moisture) of the atmosphere. And having despaired of obtaining help from the physicians, he sent and called his sons to him: JAGHATAI, and ‘AUKHATAI, and TULI, and KHALKAN, and JURKHATAI, and ‘AURDJAR, and he said unto them, ‘I am near to depart, and from every point of view it is right that [I] should see a man (or, some one) who is able to keep my kingdom unshaken. This is what I wish: as I have told you many times, ‘AUKHATAI shall sit upon the royal throne in my place, because I have confidence in his understanding and his power of organization. Now, as for you, my sons, what is your opinion?’ Then they all kneeling down upon their knees said, ‘Our father, and lord, and king. we are all thy slaves, and we will hearken to and obey every command wherewith thou commandest us, and directest (us]’. And after this his illness grew more severe, and he departed from the world on the fourth day of the ninth month of the Arab fast of that year (twenty-fourth of ‘AB, A.D. 1227).

Then the sons who were present [456] sent ambassadors to each other, and they summoned all the children and the kinsmen from the plains of the rocks (or, mountains?) of the KAPSHAKAYE, viz. TUSHI, the eldest son, and also HARDU (HARRU), and BATHU, and SIBAKAN, and TANGUT, and BARAKA, and BARKASHAUR, and BOKA TIMUR, and ‘AKNAS, and JAGHATAI. And from the south they summoned ‘AUKHATAI,unto whom the kingdom had been committed. And from the east they summoned their uncle ‘AUTKIN, and BULKHATAI NAWIN, and ‘ALJATAI NAWIN, and TULI, and the rest of the younger brothers who were in the camp of CHINGIZ KHAN. And they remained [as they were] for about two years, within a very little, until the assembly was complete, and they seated ‘AUKHATAI upon the royal throne as has been shown forth.

And in this year died MALIK MU’ATAM, the son of ‘ADIL, the lord of DAMASCUS and JERUSALEM. This man was truculent, and terrifying, and he had the feeling that he ought to reign over all countries, And he appointed the MA’DAYE, who pillaged the countries of the others, especially the country of EMESA and HAMATH. And MALIK NASIR SALAH AD-DIN DAWUD rose up after him, and his two uncles MALIK ‘AZIZ and MALIK SALIH carried the saddle-cloth before him.

And in the year six hundred and twenty-five [of the ARABS] (A-D. 1227) MALIK KAMIL sallied out from EGYPT to come and take DAMASCUS from his brother’s son. And when he came to SHAMRIN, the ‘Anpror (i.e. Emperor) the great king of the ‘ARMNAYE (i.e. ‘ALIMANAYE) [the Emperor was FREDERICK II of GERMANY] went forth to JOPPA, and KAMIL was prevented (or, restrained) in the matter of DAMASCUS. And his brother ‘ASHRAF came to him, and MALIK MUJAHID, the lord of EMESA, and they went and encamped against TELLA DHE-‘EGHLE; and they sent ambassadors to the Emperor and they learned the reason of his coming forth. And the Emperor replied that he had gone forth through zeal for the house of the Lord, JERUSALEM. And the ARABS surrendered JERUSALEM to the FRANKS, but only the city, without the surrounding country , and there was peace.

In this year died HASNON, the physician, a native of EDESSA. This man went to [457] BETH RHOMAYE, and treated SAIFAD-DIN AMIR ‘AKHUR, and ‘EKHTYAR AD-DIN HASAN. And from there he went forth to DYAR BAKR. And he treated the sons of SHAHARMAN and HAZARDINARi who rose up after these, and then the sons of ‘ADIL who reigned there, and finally he returned to EDESSA. And when he heard that TUGHREL the eunuch (who was his friend from the time when he attended ‘EKHTYAR AD-DIN) had become the father and counsellor of the kingdom of ALEPPO, he rose up and came to him. But the eunuch, who was a man lacking in discernment, did not receive him with the degree of honour which was meet for him. And when he was rebuked for this behaviour he said, ‘It was on account of his Christianity that I was negligent about him’.

And HASNON the physician remained in ALEPPO, and it was grievous to him and he was greatly distressed. And when he wished to return to EDESSA a violent fever attacked him, and together with the fever there came colic and bleeding of the bowels (dysentery), and he died in ALEPPO, and he was buried in the church of MART BARBARA, which is therein. He was a handsome and corpulent old man, and he was fully learned in the art of healing, and in the details of philosophy. And it is said concerning him that he was always reading (or, studying) the Book of LUKARI (LUBARI). His conversation was very pleasant, and he kept [in mind] many stories of ancient kings and sages and of those whom he used to see in his own days. And in his time GABRIEL, an eminent physician, was also well known in EDESSA. He wrote many books on the art of healing and philosophy in SYRIAC.

And in the year six hundred and twenty-six of the ARABS (A.D. 1227), when MALIK KAMIL and ‘ASHRAF, his brother, were encamped together on TELLA DHE-‘EGHLE, they agreed that they would take DAMASCUS and its surrounding country from MALIK NASIR DAWUD, the son of MU’ATAM, their brother, and that the city of DAMASCUS as far as the hill of PAIK should belong to ‘ASHRAF, and from PAIK as far as GAZA to KAMIL; and ‘ASHRAF was to give to MALIK NASIR certain places (or, towns)in the east instead of DAMASCUS. And MALIK NASIR agreed with them. And when he went to DAMASCUS to take away his treasure and his household, and go forth again, he repented and did not wish to surrender [the city]. And ‘ASHRAF took his troops, and some of the troops of KAMIL also, and he went and encamped against DAMASCUS [458] and besieged it. And when he was unable to capture it, he sent and called KAMIL, his brother. And KAMIL came, and he began to make strenuous war on DAMASCUS, and he took it at the beginning of the eighth month and handed it over to ‘ASHRAF. And ‘ASHRAF gave to KAMIL his brother, instead of DAMASCUS, EDESSA, and HARRAN, and CALONICUS, and SERUGH, and RAS ‘AIN, and MUAZAR and JAMLIN. And he left to NASIR, the son bf MU’ATAM, the lord of DAMASCUS, the fortress of KARAK, and BALKA, and the country of JERUSALEM and SHAMRIN (SAMARIA).

And KAMIL sent troops with MALIK MUTAFAR TAKI AD-DIN against HAMATH, so that he might take it from his brother MALIK NASIR KELEJ ‘ARSLAN. Now this man came down secretly from the fortress and went to KAMIL, and he promised [to give him] gold so that he might not expel him from HAMATH. And KAMIL would not accept [it], And NASIR said unto KAMIL, ‘If thou must perforce take HAMATH from me, swear to me that thou wilt take it for thyself and wilt not give it to my brother TAKI AD-DIN’. And KAMIL swore, and he sent his men to take over the city. Then the inhabitants of the city and of the fortress objected, and said, ‘None but our own king shall reign over us’; and they began to fight strenuously. Then KAMIL sent to them, saying, ‘Behold ye have your king TAKI AD-DIN with you; deliver ye him up’. And the citizens rejoiced with a great joy and they delivered up TAKI AD-DIN, and he went in and ascended to the fortress. And after some days be went to HARRAN to KAMIL, who had gone there to inspect the countries which had been given to him; and he honoured him greatly and showed him affection; and he gave him his daughter to wife. And he arrayed him and those who were with him [in robes of honour], and be sent him down again to HAMATH. For certain calumniators had told him that TAKI AD-DIN will never go down again from the fortress of HAMATH, and thou wilt not see him [going down], and since he walked simply he honoured him greatly. And in the year Sultan ‘ALA AD-DIN became master of the cities of ‘ARZENJAN and KAMAK.