Bar Hebraeus’Chronography Concerning the beginning of the Kingdom of the Mughlaye, who are the Tataraye (Tartars)

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Now the first country of the TATARS, before they spread abroad in these exterior countries, was a certain valley (sic), that is to say a great plain in the north-eastern [quarter] of the world, the length and width of which was a journey of eight months. On the east side their territory extended to the country of the KATHAYE SINAYE, that is KATA; and on the west to the country of the IGHURAYE TURKS; and on the north to the country which is called SALAPGAY (SEBER, SIBERIA); and on the south to HENDO (INDIA). Before SHINGIZ (CHINGIZ) KHAN, their first king, rose up they were without a head, and they used to give tribute to the KATHAYE, that is to say SINAYE (CHINESE). They dressed themselves in the skins of dogs and wolves, [409] and they lived upon mice (or, rats), and other unclean beasts, and animals that had died, and they drank the milk of mares. And the sign of a great Amir among them was that when riding he had feet-cases (i.e. stirrups) made of iron, whilst for every one else they were made of wood.

In the year which is the year fifteen hundred and fourteen of the GREEKS (A.D. 1203), and the year five hundred and ninety-nine of the ARABS (A. D. 1202), when ‘UNK KHAN, that is JOHN, king of the Christians, was reigning over a certain tribe of the HUNAYE Barbarians (i.e. HUNS) who were called KRIT, CHINGIZ KHAN was going about continually in his service. And when ‘UNK KHAN saw his superior intelligence, and that he progressed from day to day, he became jealous of him, and he wished to seize him by deceit and put him to death. Then two of the young men of ‘UNK KHAN, becoming acquainted with the treachery, informed CHINGIZ, and straightway CHINGIZ made it known to his own men, and they removed themselves by night from their tents and hid themselves in ambush. And at daybreak when ‘UNK KHAN attacked the tents of the TATARS he found no one in them. And then the followers of CHINGIZ leaped out upon him, and they met each other in battle by the side of a wall which was called BALSHUYAH. And the party of CHINGIZ triumphed, and the party of ‘UNK KHAN was broken. And the two parties met together in battle on many occasions, and at length the party of ‘UNK KHAN perished entirely, and he himself was killed, and his wives, and his sons, and his daughters were made captives. And CHINGIZ KHAN magnified those two young men, and he passed a law of freedom for them, so that in every capture of prisoners in which they were present, no portion should be taken for the king (or, kings) from them and their sons for ever. And they were to enter the presence of the kings without a summons to do so. And however much they might offend (or, act foolishly) no one was to be set over them. And he promoted the other men who had been with him in that war, and made them nobles. And because there were with him men of the Mongol race, who were called ”AWIRATHAYE’, and they exhibited more skill than the others in athletic exercises, and fought more strenuously, CHINGIZ KHAN paid them honour. And he passed a law concerning them that brides for the sons of kings were to be selected from among their daughters, [410] so that children of the seed of CHINGIZ might be propagated. And also that wives from among the daughters of the sons of kings should be given to their sons. And this law remaineth among them to this day.

And it is right to know that this king JOHN of the KRITH was not rejected for nothing, but only after he had turned aside his heart from the fear of Christ His Lord, who had magnified him, and had taken a wife from a tribe of one of the Chinese peoples which was called ‘KARAKETA’. He forsook the Fear (i.e. Religion) of his fathers and worshipped strange gods, and therefore God took away the kingdom and gave it to one who was better than he; and his heart became right before God. And at that time a certain man of the TATARS rose up, who in the depth of winter, in all the frost and cold which exist in that country, went about naked, and he walked through the mountains and hills for many days. And he used to come and say, ‘I have gone forth from God, and He said unto me, I have given the whole earth to TEMURSHIN (TEMURGIN) and his sons. And I have called him by the name of “CHINGIZ KHAN”,’ now his original name was TEMURKHIN, and the TATARS call this man ‘TUBUTH TANGRI’.