Concerning the Murder of Shams ad-Din, the Master of the Diwan

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Now there was a stone of contention between ‘ARGHON and ‘AHMAD because of SHAMS AD-DIN, the Master of the Diwin, for to ‘ARGHON it had been said, ‘The Master of the Diwin killed thy father with poison’. Therefore ‘ARGHON sent and demanded him from ‘AHMAD, and AHMAD would not give him up. And thus ‘ARGHON indulged a suspicion concerning ‘AHMAD that he was gratified by the death of the King of Kings, ‘ABAKA, so that he could sit in his place, however it happened. Now ‘AHMAD being disgraced, and ‘ARGHON having triumphed, SHAMS AD-DIN fled to the mountain of MADAI, and he took refuge with the race of KURDS who are called ‘LORAYE’ (LURS). And when the head of the LURS, who was called YUSEF SHAH, saw that the kingdom of ‘ARGHON was established, he came to do submission to him and was received gladly, because he promised to seize the Master of the Diwan, and to bring him [to him]. And thereupon he went and seized him, and brought him to ‘ARGHON, although he offered many presents (i.e. bribes). One hundred myriad (one million?) of gold darics were demanded from him as the price of his blood that it might not be shed. And SHAMS AD-DIN said, ‘If ye will bring back to me my possessions I shall be able to give more than this, and if ye cannot I cannot’. And the nobles counselled him, saying, ‘Borrow this amount and offer [it], and then we will hand back to thee thy possessions’. Therefore he began to borrow from his kinsfolk, and his household, and his servants, and his friends, and he collected forty myriads [of darics], and said, ‘I am not able to produce anything more; [555] whatsoever ye wish to do that do’. And the command went forth that he was to be killed. Then the MONGOLS suspended him in the air by his hands and his feet, and three times they smote (i;e. threw him down) on the earth, and they trampled him to pieces with their shoes, and then they cut off his head on the third day [of the week], on the fifth day of the month of SHA’BAN, in the year six hundred and eighty-three of the ARABS (A.D. 1284), that is to say, the seventeenth day of the month of the FIRST TESHRIN (OCTOBER), in the year fifteen hundred and ninety-six of the GREEKS (A.D. 1285).

Such was the evil end which came to this terrified and anxious man. And the whole kingdom of the House of MAGHOGH hung on his finger, for he was very sagacious with an understanding nature; and he was well instructed in the greater number of the sciences and the various kinds of learning. Now his brother was ‘ALA AD-DIN, who was governor of BAGHDAD, and who two years earlier had well nigh died a natural death in MUGAN; and he was brought to the city of TABRIZ and buried there, Now this man was exceedingly skilled in doctrines (or, learned subjects ), and he had an adequate knowledge of the poetic art. And he composed a marvellous work in PERSIAN on the chronology of the kingdoms of the SALJUKS, and KHAWARAZMIANS, and ISHMAELITES, and MONGOLS; what we have introduced into our work on these matters we have derived from his book.

And in the year six hundred and eighty-three of the ARABS (A.D. 1284), the Sultan GHAYATH AD-DIN, the son of RUKN AD-DIN, the lord of BETH RHOMAYE, died. He set out to come to the Camp and to meet the Sultan MAS’UD, his nephew. And when he arrived in the city of ‘ARZENGAN, the nobles administered to him a deadly drug and put him to death because he was very prodigal and corrupt in his ruling. And during this winter the seven wandering stars (i.e. planets) were gathered together in the Zodiacal Sign of Capricorn, in the anabibazon (i.e. the upper part of the Zodiac), and behold, the whole world trembled and quaked at this event (1), for it was the year of the conjunction of the two supreme [stars] KRONOS and ZEUS in the Zodiacal Sign of AQUARIUS, for they make their conjunction in the summer.

And when the lord of EGYPT heard that the kingdom stood firmly, and that ‘AHMAD had departed and his peace with him, he brought out Shaikh ‘ABD AR-RAHMAN from confinement in the fortress, and made him to dwell in one [556] of the mosques of DAMASCUS, and he gave him an allowance (or, food) which was sufficient for him. Now this man ‘ABD AR-RAHMAN was the son of one of the slaves of the murdered Khalifah MUSTA’SIM, and was by race a GREEK. And when BAGHDAD was taken, he was saved from the slaughter, and he came to MAWSIL, and he dwelt in the bazar and did carpentry work, for he loved it and had learned the trade. And he went to the fortress of ‘EMADIAH and said unto ‘IZZ AD-DIN, the lord of the fortress, that he was able to make things (i.e. objects or furniture) which would be regarded with admiration, and that he had learned [to do so] in a revelation from beings of the spirit. And ‘IZZ AD-DIN took him to the King of Kings, ‘ABAKA. And whilst holding converse with the king he said, ‘Take me into the fortress of TILA where your treasury is, so that I can show you my craftsmanship’. And when they took him thither he began to measure out the ground on this side and on that, and finally he stood upon a certain spot and commanded them to dig there, while he himself stood some distance away. And when they had dug, they found a ring in which was set a marvellous and valuable seal (or, gem), and they took it and brought it to the king. And since his word proved to be true in this one instance, they believed everything he said, namely, that he was able to cast out devils, and to understand the secrets of the demons. And he enjoyed such great freedom of speech and intimacy with the princes that at length the whole government of the kingdom was committed to him, especially during the short time in which ‘AHMAD reigned. It is said that when the TATARS looted the treasury of the Khalifah they also took him prisoner, and they brought him to the fortress of TILA; and he went into the fortress carrying [his] possessions, and that that ring which he found he himself had buried in that place.

And in the month of the LATTER KANON (JANUARY) of this year, ‘ARGHON, King of Kings, sent YARLIKE out into all countries, saying, ‘Inasmuch as ‘AHMAD turned aside from the laws of our fathers, and trod the path of ISLAM, which our fathers did not know, all the princes agreed and they cast him forth from the kingdom, and sent him to a Khan, our great father, that he might judge him; and they seated me on the throne of the kingdom, from the river GIHON to FRANKISTAN. Therefore let your hearts be happy, and let every man occupy himself with his own works. And the rulers and governors who are in every place [551] shall oppress no man, and if they do, let them be afraid for themselves, so that they may not be cut to pieces.’ We have heard that in those days the lord of EGYPT sent Shaikh ‘ABD AR-RAHMAN, and those who were with him, from DAMASCUS to the fortress of SAFAD, and that he shut them up therein, where [all] hope of their coming out was cut off.

And in this year, which is the year fifteen hundred and ninety-six of the GREEKS (A.D, 1285), a hen in the village of BARTELLI laid an egg which was nearly as large as that of an ostrich. And on the Sabbath of the Passion of the Redeemer another hen laid a little egg in BARTELLI which had a neck that was as thin, and curved, and long, as a cucumber. And they brought it before us and we saw it. And on the first day of the week, on the twenty-ninth day of the month of TAMMUZ (JULY), a Syrian horde of mounted robbers, KURDS, TURKS, and desert ARABS, about six hundred strong, burst upon the country of ‘ARBIL, and they looted and killed many men who were Christians from the village of ‘AMKABAD, and from SURHAGAN and other villages. And BAHA AD- DIN, the KURD, sallied out from ‘ARBIL to meet them in battle, and he was broken before them and fled and went into the city. And those accursed robbers carried off great spoil, women and maidens, and many cattle, and departed. And in those days other marauding bands came to the country of TUR ‘ABDIN, and they made a great slaughter in the village of KESHLATH, and in BETH MAN’IM and the villages thereof, and in SBIRINA, and they carried away very much spoil from the country of BETH RISHE and departed.

And in the year fifteen hundred and ninety-seven [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1286)] (1), on the seventeenth day of the month of HAZIRAN (JUNE), about four thousand mounted robbers and brigands, KURDS, TURKMANs, and ARABS, gathered together, and some men say that three hundred chosen horsemen from the Egyptian slaves were joined to them. And they directed their gaze on the country of MAWSIL. And having spoiled the villages which were on their road, they burst upon the city at dawn on the second day [of the week], on the twenty-second day of the third month of the ARABS, of the year six hundred and eighty-five (A.D. 1285). Then king MAS’UD and the other horsemen who were found in the city [558] mounted and rode out to engage them in battle. And when they saw how great was their number, and that they themselves had no force equal to theirs, they turned back and went into the city. And they crossed the TIGRIS and went and ascended to the Monastery of MAR MATTAI, and they remained there for a few days. Then when the accursed marauders had entered the city, the ARABS who were natives thereof met them with abundant supplies of food and cool waters, And they rejoiced in them with a great joy, and they exulted, pretending that they were prepared to do harm to and spoil and kill the Christians only.

And those Christians who were in the neighbourhood of the church of the TAGRITANAYE (TAGRITANIANS) took their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, together with all their cattle, and they went and took refuge in the mansion of the uncle of the Prophet, who was called ‘NAKIB AL-‘ALAWAHIN’ (or, ‘ABD ALWAHAN; or, NAKIB AL-‘ALAWYIN), that peradventure the marauders might pay respect to that building, and that there they might be saved from the slaughter and spoliation of the city.

Then the remainder of the Christians who had no place whereto to flee, and could not take refuge in the mansion of the NAKIBA, remained terrified, and trembling, and weeping and wailing over themselves, and over their evil fate, though in reality it was through those who had gone there (i.e. to the mansion of the NAKIBA) that the evil fate came. As soon as ever the marauders had gone in they began asking about the Christians. Then the ARABS who were natives of the city cried out with one mouth (or, voice), ‘Behold, all the Christians are in the mansion of the NAKIBA’. Then they all became strong, and all the marauders went there. And they placed ladders in position and went up them and captured the mansion, and they looted and robbed the whole of the people who were therein. And one of the Christians who were there was wounded by an arrow and died. And they put to the torture not only the Christians but the ARABS also, and they made a mock of their women, and sons, and daughters in the mosques before their eyes.

And when they had made an end there they went to the quarter of the JEWS, and they looted their houses and plundered all their community. And as for the Christians who had remained in their houses, and had not gone elsewhere, no man injured them, and they did not even see the marauders with their eyes. But certain Christian merchants, and many ARABS, who were coming to the city, and had alighted at the inns (khans) which were outside the city, where none of the marauders came, because [559] of their fear, suffered the loss of a large quantity of their goods. And they brought their loads into the city and deposited them in the market-place of the bazzrs, and inasmuch as all the food and provisions of the citizens was there, they thought that they would never be neglected by [those who kept] guard over such a place as this. Therefore they struggled and wrestled with each other that they might bring in their treasures. And the natives of the city also were carrying possessions out from their houses, and were bringing gold, and silver, and bales of cloth, and apparel of various kinds to that place. And so after [all these things] had been gathered together, the marauders came, and they smashed the gates of the market-place easily, and they went in and took everything which they found there.

Now many young men from among the natives of the city were standing by the gate of the market-place, and when the marauders, who wer:e heavily laden with plunder, were going out, they snatched it from them and fled. And others took their horses which they had left at the gate of the market-place and fled. And thus during the whole of that day, from morning until evening, they went round about through the bazars of the city and carried off horses, and mules, and asses, and oxen, without number. And they took prisoners the slaves and handmaidens, nearly five hundred souls, and the greater number of them were ARABS and JEWS; there were a few Christians, but only those who were found from the mansion of the NAKIBA. But one man, a believer and a marvellous jeweller, was killed, for he wished to take away his little son out of their hands. Him they smote with the sword and after three days he died. About ten of the accursed marauders perished, because when they were going about through the city they went into streets which had no exits, and the people stoned them with stones and killed [them]. And if the ARABS who were natives of the city had known that the marauders were their fellow believers they would have, without. mercy, made a mock of them, and spoiled them, and they would have killed the greater number of them in the narrow streets of the city; and, moreover, at the beginning they were not able easily to enter therein. And having been deceived they bit their fingers without profit. Now the marauders brought the spoil from the city all day long and they remained there until it became dark. And the natives of the city thought that the robbers were ready to continue the spoliation of them on the following day. [560] But during the night they loaded up their horses, and they took goods which it is impossible to enumerate, and rode away in the night. And when the day broke not one of them was left behind; only the place where they had camped was visible.

And in the year fifteen hundred and ninety-nine [of the GREEKS [A.D. 1288)], on the twenty-eighth day of the month of NISAN (APRIL), some strife broke out between the KURDS and the MONGOLS who were near them, and the MONGOLS kept their anger against them. And during their removal six of their men were left behind, and they went and hid themselves on the MAWSIL road. And when twelve distinguished young men of the sons of BETH KUDIDATH (KUDIDA?) came along, those accursed robbers rushed out upon them and killed them all mercilessly like sheep, in the day-time, with the sun [high] in the vault.of heaven. And after a time (or, hour) others came from MAWSIL and they found those unfortunate young men drenched (or, befouled) with their own blood, and in one of them life still existed. And they lifted him up and brought him to the village, and he told the story of how they had been killed, and [gawe] the names of the heathen murderers. And after three days he also died.

After the kingdom of ‘ARGHON, the son of ‘ABAKA, was established, BOKA, the treasurer who had been the cause of the saving of ‘ARGHON from ‘AHMAD, as has been shown above, prospered exceedingly, and he became so high and mighty in the kingdom that even the princes and princesses, and the sons-in-law and the daughters-in-law, and the captains of the armies of the MONGOLS, used to come and submit to him, and stand at his gate and beg stipends from him. And all the administrative offices of the kingdom were committed to him, and the kings and the governors who ruled in all the countries which were under the dominion of the House of MAGHOGH were not accepted (i.e. acknowledged) without his Pukdana and the red sign (manual) of BOKA. And this BOKA appointed his brother ‘AROK to be the Head and Governor-General in all the countries of BABIL, and ‘ADHORBIJAN, and BETH NAHRIN. And this man who was terrible and terrifying was over all the armies of the MONGOLS, and over the kings, and the governors, and the scribes who were in all these countries.

Now these two brothers ruled the Mongol kingdom with great pomp and with magnificence [561] indescribable for a period of six years. About the affairs of the King of Kings, ‘ARGHON, they were negligent, and they occupied themselves with the collection of riches, and horses, and gold and silver, and treasure. Now ‘ARGHON appointed other Amirs for his service, the men who rode, and went in and came out, and ate and drank with him. And everything which was done in the Camp, and in the countries which were remote, as well as in those that were near, little by little they made the King of Kings to know. And that BOKA exalted himself over the nobles, and boasted of his power, and that by his determined will he brought about (or, did) everything that he did.

And thus the Amirs who were his opponents easily misrepresented and perverted to the King of Kings all the matters which BOKA confirmed and arranged. At length three of the honourable persons who were in BAGHDAD went to the Royal Camp, and they made accusations against ‘AROK, and they showed that he was working destruction and doing harm by his corrupt deeds, and gathering together great riches by extortion. Then the King of Kings commanded that these three persons should be kept under observation with honour until ‘AROK came to the Camp. [BOKA] sent a message, [saying,] ‘Arrest these persons and cut off the heads of the three of them without the questioning and investigation and knowledge of the Judges.’ Now this [display of] pridefulness was visible to the kingdom, and this act became a great occasion for the opponents of the two brethren BOKA and ‘AROK. And from that moment everything which was said about them was accepted easily, and without any doubt. And the princes were exceedingly sorry for the slain [or, murdered] men, and they were very angry. Then BOKA quieted the consciences (?) of the princes by means of bribes, and he left and departed.

And after a short time a certain JEW, whose name was SA’D AD-DAWLAH, and who was the father-in~law of the governor of BAGHDAD–now this governor had died recently–approached the Camp, and in the presence of the Amirs said, ‘If ye will stop the going down of ‘AROK to BAGHDAD, he himself (i.e. I myself) will bring the double of the revenue which is brought each year to the Camp’. And straightway the command went forth that ‘AROK was not to go down to BAGHDAD again, and he was to have no further command (or, jurisdiction) over it. [562] And [the Amirs] handed affairs over to the JEW. And behold, at the present day there is a Jewish governor and general director on the throne of the House of ‘ABBAS. Observe how ISLAM hath been brought low! And [the MUSLIMS] neither cease nor rest from their wickedness and their tyranny.

And from this moment complaints against ‘AROK became frequent, and among them were those of a certain Persian scribe whose name was ‘ABD AL-MUMIN, and who also went to the Camp and showed that ‘AROK, and his Amirs, and [his] officers and [his] scribes had destroyed the countries and all the cities which are under the dominion of ‘AROK, and if we were to overcome him and seize him by his hands he would drop out of them one hundred myriads of gold dinars’. Then the Amirs were pleased with such tales as these, and they agreed to the wish of the informer (or, accuser), [saying,] ‘Certainly wait ye for him a little’, Now when BOKA saw that the complaints against him and his brother were received joyfully, he was offended and withdrew himself. And he made himself sick (i.e. feigned sickness), and he took to his bed in his house. And when the nobles went in ostensibly to visit him in his sickness, he groaned before them and uttered regrets conceming the good deeds which he had performed for ‘ARGHON in the time of ‘AHMAD, and said that ‘ARGHON had not repaid him with adequate interest. And he began to concoct a deceitful and rebellious secret against ‘ARGHON, and he revealed his secret to some of the nobles. And they received this with simplicity, for they knew that he was a crafty man, and that ‘AHMAD had been brought low by his astuteness and that ‘ARGHON has triumphed thereby. Then ‘ARGHON, because he himself had experience of work of this kind, kept a strict guard over himself. For the Amirs who were in the service of ‘ARGHON continually understood the evil intention which BOKA had.

Then when BOKA recognized that his deceit was discovered, terror, and fear, and trembling fell upon him, and he was distracted and did not know what to do. And he rose up and mounted his horse, and fled to the Camp of the Great Khatun ‘ALJI, ostensibly to take refuge with her. And when ‘ARGHON and the rest of the Amirs heard that BOKA had ridden away, they also mounted their horses and rode after him and overtook him; and they seized him and brought him [back]. And when they questioned him, he confessed the deceit. ‘Verily,’ he said, ‘I had no wish at all to injure the King of Kings, but only those [563] Amirs who malign me continually, and who abuse me and make me contemptible in the eyes of the King of Kings. ‘And his word was not accepted, but they killed him and hacked him limb from limb, on Friday the fourteenth day of the month of the LATTER KANON (JANUARY), in the year sixteen hundred [of the GREEKS (A.D. 1289)]. And they looted his house, and his possessions, and his furniture, and they killed his sons and those who were participators in his secret. And on that day was killed also SHEM’UN, the priest, and physician and lawyer, who was a Christian and a native of ‘ARBIL (now he was named ”ABU AL-KARAM’), and many of the MONGOLS who are unknown to us.

And because ‘AROK was wintering in the country of MAWSIL he sent hurriedly from the Royal Camp an Amir, a man of courage whose name was ‘BAITMISH’, a strong and strenuous man, who a few days before had come from MUGHAN to the neighbourhood of ‘AMID. And he made all the troops of the MONGOLS to mount their horses, and he came and surrounded ‘AROK who had no knowledge of the affair of his brother, but was dwclling [quietly], eating and drinking, for those were the days of the MONGOL festival of the ‘White’. And when he saw that the troops of the MONGOLS and the bulls of BAISHAN had encircled him, he was stupefied and did not know what to do. But he mounted his horse, and he took his wife and his sons, and he sought asylum in the little fortress of KHASHAF until the day broke. And straightway BAITMISH sent to him, saying, ‘It is unseemly for thee to resist’. Then ‘AROK sent and said, ‘I have not come up here as a rebel and one who resists, but because I do not know what hath happened, or for what reason these crowds of soldiers have gathered together against me; therefore inform me so that I may understand’.

Then BATMISH himself drew nigh to the gate of the forttess and said, ‘Thy brother BOKA acted treacherously against the king, and the command went forth and he is killed. And we have come to arrest thee, and to carry thee to the service of the King of Kings. Whether we are to keep thee alive or whether we are to kill thee he will know.’ Then straightway ‘AROK opened the gate of the fortress and came down with his household, and he said, ‘The command of the king is on [my] head and eyes’. Then they bound him with chains, and they set guards over him, and sent him to the Camp and there he was killed. ‘AROK was taken on the second day [of the week] of the Fast of Nineveh, that is to say on the last day of the LATTER KANON (JANUARY) [564] of the year, and after seven days he was killed.

Now the word of that Persian lawyer (who had already calumniated (i.e. informed against) ‘AROK, saying that the hundred myriad darics which he was about to bring out [had come] from the kings, and governors, and scribes, whom ‘AROK had appointed in the various countries, and who had behaved corruptly and taken [them] unjustly, and had laid waste the countries) was accepted because of the [universal] hatred of ‘AROK, and an evil judgement went forth against them (i.e. the kings, governors, and scribes). And the dealing with them was handed over to the Amir BAITMISH, so that when ‘ABD AL-MUMIN had made the reckoning of their [liabilities], everything which went out (i.e. was charged) against them, BAITMISH by means of beatings and tortures was to take back from them, and was to put to death him that was guilty of death without mercy.

And because MAS’UD BAR-KAWTI, and his brethren, and his kinsfolk, knew no one besides BOKA in the Royal Camp, and they considered the service of the other Amirs as of no account, they were unwilling to make a meaningless salutation to those others. And because the command of BOKA over all the Amirs was superior and sublime, they neglected them all. And they accepted BOKA only, although through this [behaviour] they were condemned and blamed by every man. And to them they gave this advice, saying, ‘It is not right to neglect the service, and submission, and obedience to those Amirs who are permanently in the Royal Service. And for us to accept one and to offend many is a foolish act; because it is possible that [a period of] trial may come upon that one Amir in whom ye put your trust, and ye will not be helped by the other Amirs.’

Then MAS’UD, because he was childish in mind, and unwise in his actions, said boastingly, ‘I do not wish for life without BOKA, and if BOKA dieth I should esteem death better for me than life’. And this took place, and his word was actually fulfilled. For on the day when ‘AROK was arrested they set guards over MAS’UD, and kept watch over him very carefully until ‘ABD AL-MOMIN the Persian lawyer arrived. Then was stirred up the persecution and wrath against the hated Christians, and, though I ought not to say it, abandonment by God. And they (i.e. the MONGOLS) began to torture them without mercy, and they tortured excessively TAJ AD-DIN, the son of MUKHATAS, [565] who was governor of ‘ARBIL. They hung this man up by his feet (i.e. head downwards) to the height of a cubit above the ground. And they beat his feet until he collapsed. Then forthwith they let him down and beat him on his chest and back, until he fell down as one dead. Then they put fire in a brazier which they suspended over his breast. And in this wise they made him to suffer excruciating tortures until they had taken from him nearly fifty thousand dinars. And when he could no longer endure tortures, they cast him [several] times into the river TIGRIS. Perhaps he was drowned and escaped [further] wrath, and tortures, and beatings.

And because MAS’UD, the son of BAR KAWTI, was sick, they did not inflict blows upon him. They feared lest he should die and his money perish with him. And verily they employed empty promises in dealing with him, saying that if he would give them ten myriads of gold [dinars], he should remain in his honourable office, and that no man should harm him. Now MAS’UD himself thought that since he had not been beaten by them they would confer some honour upon him, and he was exceedingly avaricious, and he used severe words in converse with them. Nevertheless, they, in their artfulness, partly by means of stripes and blows, and partly by threats and curses, took that amount of money from him. And they carried him off with them to ‘ARBIL, and there they killed him on the second day of Passion Week, on the fourth day of the month of NISAN (APRIL) of that year. And they placed wooden fetters on his son, and shut him up.

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(1) Bedjan’s note reads: What happeneth in the world doth not take place through the Course of the luminaries, neither doth it happen through their conjunction, but by tile will of the Lord, without Whom not one spauow falleth to the ground.-Matthew x. 29.

(2) Bedjan’s note reads: In this year 1597 of the GREEKS, which is the year 1286 of our Lord, on the 30th day of TAMMUZ, MAR GREGORY BAR HEBRAEUS departed from this world in the city of MARAGHA. Another writer, perhaps his brother BAR SAWMA SAFI, wrote what took place in the following years.