Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Taking of Khawarazm by the Tatars

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Then CHINGIZ KHAN, being no longer occupied with the taking of SAMARKAND, sent his two sons JAGATAI and ‘AUKHATAI against KHAWARAZM. For KHAWARAZM is the name of the Clime, and the name of the [446] great city of that Clime is GURGANIYAH. And when certain of the TATARS, [that is to say] those who were accustomed to march in front of the troops, came to the gate of the city, the citizens thought that these men, few in number, were by themselves, and a great crowd of men, both horsemen and foot-soldiers, went out from the city to engage those TATARS in battle. And when they arrived at the vineyard of a man who was called KAWRAM, which was distant one stade, the army of the MONGOLS burst forth upon them and killed them all. Now those citizens who were destroyed and fell on the ground were about one hundred thousand in number. And the TATARS came along triumphantly and they made themselves masters of the city easily and they destroyed both it and the remainder of its population.

Now Sultan MAHAMAD had already left and passed over to the country of KHORASAN, and he was taking counsel with his nobles continually, [saying], ‘What course [is open] to us? And how can we save ourselves from the hands of this mighty enemy?’ And they said, ‘[All] hope [of help from] the countries which are beyond the river GIHON is cut off. Only here in KHORASAN, [in] the places in the neighbourhood of the Citadel, is it right to make ready (i.e. drill) troops to be ready to fight with them, supposing they come.’ And the Sultan said, ‘No heart remaineth with us to fight these people. And supposing they come over to us there is nothing for us [to do] except to flee before them into INDIA.’ But the son of JELAL AD-DIN KHAWARAZM SHAH did not agree with [the suggestion] to flee, but [wanted them] all to fight until they died in the battle. Now his father rebuked him for this opinion, and like one who was prepared to die immediately, he began to eat, and to drink, and to delight himself in the pleasures of the world, after the manner of one who wished to have his fill of them. And whilst he was thus occupied he heard that the TATARS had crossed the waters of the GIHON; And he left and fled to HAMADAN, and he sent his wives and his little children to a fortress called BALAN.

And when the TATARS arrived at HAMADAN, the Sultan himself fled into the mountains opposite MAZINDARAN. And when the TATARS pursued him thither, he fled and went into one of the islands of the Sea of HYRCANIA; And there he remained until the report came to him that the TATARS had made themselves masters of the fortress in which his family were, and that they had taken prisoners his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, [447] and that they had killed the males, and sent the females to KARAKORAM. Then he was smitten with great grief, and he fell sick with a severe illness, and he departed from the world on the island and there they buried him; and some time later he was carried to the fortress which is called ‘ARDAHIN'(‘ARDAHAN). When JELAL ‘AD-DIN, the son of Sultan MAHAMAD, heard of the death of his father, he travelled in one night forty stades in the direction of the countries of the PERSIANS, viz. those which are on the frontier of INDIA. And there gathered together to him ninety thousand chosen horsemen. Now when CHINGIZ KHAN heard that JELAL AD-DIN KHAWARAZM SHAH was far more mighty than his father, he sent a numerous army of the MONGOLS against him. And JELAL AD-DIN heard [of this] and he came to meet them. And when they attacked the TATARS, he spake to the men of his bodyguard, and they all dismounted, and each man took (i.e. led) his horse in his hand, and they despised death. And many of the MONGOLS on the ground (i.e. the foot-soldiers) shot arrows until the evening. And that night each of the two parties of combatants passed the whole night in the place where it was. And on the second day, when the TATARS saw the bravery of KHAWARAZM SHAH, they turned their faces to flee. And KHAWARAZM SHAH pursued them, and they killed about five hundred of the heroes of the TATARS.

When CHINGIZ KHAN heard these things he came like a flash of lightning with an army, the soldiers in which were so many that they were beyond count. And immediately JELAL AD-DIN saw them he knew that he was no match for them in strength, and therefore he set his face to cross the river GIHON towards the east, and he sent [word] to make ready ships. But CHINGIZ KHAN heard of these things, and he sent on a numerous army before him, and it occupied the road [of JELAL AD-DIN]. And then there remained to JELAL AD-DIN no other hope except to fight to the last breath. And the battle between the two sides was set in array. And the right [wing] of KHAWARAZM SHAH [was broken], and the left wing of the MONGOLS also was broken. And JELAL AD-DIN KHAWARAZM SHAH himself remained in the midst with only seven hundred horsemen, and he leaped from one side to the other like a wolf, and hurled to the ground slain TATARS. And the MONGOLS increased more and more, and thronged in upon him from all sides. Then a certain Amir, a KHAWARAZMIAN, who was the son of JELAL AD-DIN’S uncle, laid hold on the bridle of his horse and thrust him [448] backwards. And when JELAL AD-DIN saw that no other hope remained to him, he alighted from his horse, and he kissed the members of his household and his children, and he and they wept with sobs and groans. Then he left them, and he mounted his horse, and he said unto the horsemen of his bodyguard, ‘Whosoever loveth me let him cling to me in life and in death’. And he struck his horse and rode through the host of the TATARS, and still, sitting on his horse he hurled himself into the waters.

When CHINGIZ KHAN saw these acts he ran to the bank of the river and looked and marvelled. And certain men of the MONGOLS wished to hurl themselves into the waters and to pursue him, and the King of Kings would not permit them [to do so]. But laying his hand on his mouth he said unto his sons, ‘It is meet that a son should be begotten by a father such as this’. And to his nobles he said, ‘It is meet that a man such as this should be caIled a man. For many marvellous exploits are indicated by him, and a man of understanding who was careless could never spring from him.’ Now JELAL AD-DIN having, with a sword, and a spear, and a shield, escaped from the waters, and from the flash of the sword, together with only the six horsemen who had been able to cross the river, remained there on the banks of the GIHON for about two days, until there gathered together to him about fifty other horsemen, and then they set out for INDIA. And about one hundred of his own horsemen overtook him there. And they sent a man on before them to explore. And he went and spied out the land. And he came and informed them saying, ‘There are two thousand soldiers of the Army of the INDIANS in a certain place’; and KHAWARAZM SHAH went and captured them, and they killed them all, and took their horses. And they increased in number and became about five hundred horsemen. And about five thousand INDIANS were gathered together, and they came and met them in battle, and again the INDIANS were broken. And when the rest of the KHAWARAZMIANS who had fled, and were hidden in various places, heard [of this], they wished and came to him; now they were about three thousand in number. And when the kings of the INDIANS saw that they had no force [equal to the] KHAWARAZMIANS, they made friends with KHAWARAZM SHAH, and sent to him many gifts. And when they were not able to live in that country because of the heat, and they began to suffer from disease and sickness, [449] and they heard also that the TATARS had left KHAWARAZM, and had crossed the GIHON to the east, JELAL AD-DIN took those who were with him, and they went out from INDIA and came to SHIRAZ. And the ‘ATABAG SA’D, the lord of SHIRAZ, sent him much money, and slaves, and handmaidens. And from there they came to ‘ESFAHAN. And in the year six hundred and twenty of the ARABS (A.D. 1223) Sultan ‘ALA AD-DIN took the strong fortress on the coast of the sea ‘ADRIANOS, and he called it after his name ”ALAIYAH’.