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

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Articles, Library | Comments Off on Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography Concerning the Taking of Samarkand by the Tatars


And in this year, which is the year six hundred and eighteen of the ARABS (A.D. 1221), after the TATARS had taken the city of BUKHARA, they came and encamped against the great city of SAMARKAND, [445] in which many large villages flourished, and it was surrounded with splendid paradises (or, gardens). And Sultan MAHAMAD had left in it to protect it one hundred and ten thousand mighty warriors and fighting men. Now when CHINGIZ KHAN heard that the city was so strong in respect of fighting men, he went in person to attack it. And the MONGOLS surrounded it, and they counted the towers thereof, and a destroying fire was lighted on the wall between those who were inside and those who were out. And on the following day the troops which were inside went forth on foot to the TATARS, and fought very fierce fights [with them]. And they killed many TATARS,and others they captured alive and took into the city, where they tortured them horribly and put them to death in a cruel fashion.

When the citizens saw this they were greatly afraid, and they said one to another, ‘If we do not take great care vengeance assuredly will be taken for these [TATARS]’. And they took counsel together and then sent men secretly to CHINGIZ KHAN, and they promised to open the gates in the night and surrender the city. And CHINGIZ KHAN rejoiced at this, and gave them a pledge of security for their lives.

And when the evening had come, the Judge of the city, and one other official who was called ‘SHAIKH ‘ESLAM’, [and] a great crowd of people [assembled), they opened the gates of the city and the MONGOLS went in. And the fighting men of the city fled and hid in the fortress, or Citadel. And the TATARS began to take the people captives and to loot. And they took the men and women of the city outside the city, hundred by hundred, and they made them to sit down in groups all except the fifty thousand who had escaped with the Judge and the SHAIKH ‘ESLAM, and they did not go out. And when it was night the TATARS went out and killed all those whom they had taken outside the city, and they left [alive] only sons and daughters who were under twenty years of age. Then one of the chiefs who was in the fortress performed an act of great bravery. He took about one thousand men, and cut through the troops of the TATARS, and passed through them, and they fled without being able to harm any of them. And [this] chief went to KHORASAN, to Sultan MAHAMAD.