Bar Hebraeus’Chronography Concerning the Beginning of the Kingdom of the Saljuks in Persia

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[217] In this year, which is the year thirteen hundred and forty-seven of the GREEKS (A.D. 1036), a people went forth from the HUNAYE (HUNS) who were called ‘GHUZZAYE’, with Amirs of the SALJUKS from HYRCANIA, which is the land of the KHAZARS (KAZARAYE, or KARZAYE) in the north. Concerning them, he who is [one] of the saints, MAR MICHAEL, the holy Patriarch, wrote at great length, and he saith, ‘These are the children of MAGHOGH, the son JAPHET, the son of NOAH. And EZEKIEL prophesied about them, saying: ‘Thus saith the Lord of Lords, Behold I am against thee, [O] governor and prince of MUSHAK (MASHAK?) and of TUBIL. And I will gather thee together, and I will cast a hook in thy cheek, and I will bring thee out from thy land, and all the PERSIANS, and KUSHITES, and POTITES with thee, GAMAR and all his army, and BETH TOGERMA, and the skirts of the north. From the early days thou hast been commanded, and at the end of years thou shalt come’ (Ezek. xxxi. 3). Now I, the feeble one, have seen that the writer thereof saith in a certain Persian book, which is called ‘MULK-NAMAH’: I have heard from a great Amir, and an old man, very far advanced in days, INAIG (INANAG?) BAG, who saith: When the KHAKAN of the KHAZARS burst forth, he had with him in his service a certain warrior whose name was TUKAK, who, because of his strength, was called TEMURYALIG, that is to say ‘IRON BOW’. There was a son born to this man and he was called by the name of SALJUK. And after a short time [218] the Amir TUKAK died, and KHAKAN took SALJUK, and he was reared in the palace and he loved him greatly. And one day when he went into the presence of KHAKAN according to his custom, the queen was scandalized and made a sign to the king, saying, ‘If this [young man], though still a child, possesseth such freedom of speech (or, behaviour) towards us now; when he groweth up how will he behave [towards us]?’ Then the Amir SALJUK, having been secretly informed of this, went out and took with him fellow tribesmen secretly, and they marched away with horses, and camels, and sheep, and oxen in large numbers. And he went forth from the land of TURAN, that is to say of the TURKAYE (TURKS) to the land of IRAN, that is to say of the PERSIANS, under the pretence that they were shepherds. And when they saw that PERSIA was flourishing with Islam, they took counsel together and said, ‘If we do not enter the Faith of the people of the country in which we desire [to live] and make a pact with them (or conform to their customs), no man will cleave to us, and we shall be a small and solitary people’. And they all agreed and they sent to the city of ZANDAK, which is in the country of KHAWARAZM, and was in the neighbourhood of the desert in which they were pasturing [their flocks], and they asked the governor there for a scribe (or, learned man) who would teach them how to worship God. And the governor with great gladness sent to them a scribe, an old man, together with gifts and presents, and he taught them. And they remained there [for] years, and they prospered exceedingly and increased greatly in number.

And there were born to the Amir SALJUK four sons, MICHAEL, and YABAGU (BIGHU), and MUSA and ARLSAN. And MICHAEL had two sons, MAHAMMAD, who is TUGHREL BAG, and DAWUD, who is JAGHRI BAG. And JAGHRI BAG gathered together a numerous army of TURKOMANS, and he came and looted places (i.e. towns) of ARMENIA and KHORASAN. And he went back to TUGHREL BAG, his brother, and said unto him, ‘Here there are two great governors, viz. KHAWARAZM SHAH HARON, and SULTAN MAS’UD, the son of MAHMUD, the son of SABUKTAKIN, and we are unable to go up with (i.e. dispose of) them finally. But let us cross over into KHORASAN and ARMENIA, which I have spied out, and I did not see in them any one who could stand. up against us.’ And his brother approved of his words, and they rose up and crossed GIHON, the river of PERSIA. And they came against the city of DAMGHAN and they destroyed it utterly. And from there they came to the city of SEMNAN, and they also conquered [219] the army of the ARABS and PERSIANS. And they invaded the city of RAI (RHAGES) and destroyed it utterly. And from there they came to KAWIN and could not conquer it, but they laid tribute upon it and departed. Now the story of the dog which the blessed old man said directed (or, led) them when they went forth from their country we have not found anywhere. It is possible that he wrote it down from hearsay, or from some book which we have not read, for we have not met with it in any book.

And in the year four hundred and twenty-seven of the ARABS (A.D. 1035), TAHIR, the Khalifah of EGYPT, died of the disease of dropsy (or, retention of urine). From his youth up gangrene (?) attacked him, i.e. for a period of twenty years. And his son MUSTANSER rose up after him. And in this year there was a reconciliation between MUSTANSER, the Khalifah of EGYPT, and MICHAEL, king of the RHOMAYE. And the Khalifah MUSTANSER released fifty thousand Christians who were imprisoned in EGYPT, and he permitted the king of the RHOMAYE to build again the Temple of the Resurrection which was in JERUSALEM. And that king sent certain nobles of the RHOMAYE with a vast quantity of silver and gold, and he restored the Temple to its former condition.

And in this year the very distinguished old man ‘ABU’ ALI HUSAIN, BAR SINA (AVICENNA), died. Now this man having received the one talent of ARISTOTLE added thereto not only five, but more than fifty talents. His father came from the city of BALKH. Then he departed to the city of BUKHARA and dwelt therein. And when BAR SINA (IBN SINA) was five years old, he handed him over to the scribes, and when he was ten years old he had learned the Book of the Faith of the ARABS, and the grammar and the eloquence of speech of the ARABS. And he began to frequent a certain man in a khan (or, market) who sold vegetables, and he learned from him the Indian system of arithmetic. And a certain man, a philosopher, whose name was NABALI, having come to BUKHARA, he began to make AVICENNA read in the Book of ISAGOGI. And when he came to the definition of GENSA (i.e. genus, sex), which treateth of ‘how there are many that are different in species because of what the substance is’, he said to his teacher, ‘Is the genus assigned to each and every species because of what [substance] it is?’ [220] And the teacher replied ‘Yes’. The young man then made answer.’ Suppose now some one asketh me, What is a man? Is it correct for me to say to him an animal?’ And the teacher replied, ‘Yes’. The young man disputed [this] and said, ‘I do not agree to regard the matter thus. Moreover, I am not without intelligence concerning all this. For if a man asketh me concerning what is a rational being, for me to reply to him an animal, [is only] half an answer.’ From that moment he left the teacher, and he read by himself all the sciences and understood them.

And when he was sixteen years old he was fully trained in medicine, for many aged physicians used to come to him and read with him. And he also began to visit the sick, and he became expert in clinical work. And when he was eighteen years old he wrote this great and famous work of the CANON. And then he wrote the great BOOK OF HEALING in the four doctrines of philosophy; and he completed the sections on natural and divine matters within twenty days. Now the Books of his which are extant and are read are ninety-two, and most of them he composed in the house of the captives (or, prison). A marvellous book of his which is called ‘Hints and Monitions’, I, the feeble one, have translated from Arabic into Syriac. He was captured at the breaking which came upon the governor whom he used to treat by another governor, who was his enemy, and he was shut up in one of the fortresses. And when he was going in he said, ‘As to my entrance herein there is no manner of doubt whatsoever, but to my exit there cleaveth in truth every possible anxiety’. Now he remained there forty days, when his own governor came and took the fort by fighting, and he brought him out. Besides imprisonment on this occasion he was shut up [many] other times. And together with all the excellence which this princely old man possessed, the lustful power of marriage vanquished him. And the end of this enfeebled his strength, and his consorting was ineffectual, and there came to him at the end of his days a disease of the colon. One day he applied to himself a clyster eight times. And having told them (i.e. his servants) to put two danke (i.e. one-third of a disham) of parsley seed into the clyster, one of his servants put in five, [221] and an ulcer appeared in his bowels. And he also suffered from the falling sickness, which cleaveth to disease of the colon. And he commanded them to mix up for him the antidote of MITHRIDATES (methroditus), and one of his servants put in an overdose of opium. And having taken this several times, his natural warmth languished, and from this time he became careless about his own healing. And he said, ‘That governor which governed my body hath failed and is exhausted, and is no longer able to govern’; and he remained in this state for a few days, and he died and was buried in the city of HAMADAN, aged fifty-eight years.

And in the year four hundred and twenty-nine of the ARABS (A.D.1037), the GHUZZAYE came again to ARMENIA, and they made a great slaughter of the KURDS and the ARABS who were there, and they took much spoil. And from there they came to URMIAH (URMI), a city of ‘ADHORBIJAN, and they laid waste the country, and killed many of the KURDS in that mountain who came down and engaged in fighting with them. And when the Amir BAR WATAB, who ruled over SYRIA and ARMENIA, saw that he was unable to fight two enemies, the RHOMAYE and the TURKS, he made peace with the RHOMAYE. And EDESSA remained to the RHOMAYE, and they ruled and flourished therein. And during the year the GHUZZAYE captured the city of MARAGHA, and they burnt the mosque which was therein, and they killed and took prisoners many of its inhabitants. Then the tribes (or, clans) of the KURDS of the mountains gathered together, and they prevailed over the GHUZZAYE and expelled them from ‘ADHORBIJAN. And they went back again to KHORASAN, and captured the city of TUS, and they killed therein about one hundred thousand souls, and outside [the city], on the roads and in the villages, they killed about twenty thousand, and took about one hundred and fifty thousand prisoners. And SUBASHI, the governor of KHORASAN, attacked them with thirty thousand horsemen. And they broke him and put him to flight. And they came to the city of NISABHOR, and though they wished to loot the city, TUGHREL BAG prevented them from doing so, because the fast of the ARABS was at hand.

And KAIM the Khalifah also sent an envoy to them and reprimanded them, and [asked them] how it was, seeing that they were ARABS, that they were doing such things to the sons of their Faith. And because, after the fast, they were still ready to lay waste NISABHOR, TUGHREL BAG said [222] to JAGHRI BAG, his brother, ‘It is not right, because a writ of authority which is far greater, namely from the Khalifah, hath come’. And when JAGHRI BAG insisted, TUGHREL BAG took a knife and said, ‘I shall kill myself if thou doest this’. And then he was quiet after he had taken from the citizens five hundred thousand zuze.

And TUGHREL BAG wrote an answer to the Khalifah thus: From his slave and subject TUGHREL BAG, the son of MICHAEL. And KEZEL, their kinsman, that is to say the husband of their sister, also wrote: From his slave and minister KEZEL, the son of YAHYAH. But JAGHRI BAG wrote nothing. And TUGHREL BAG went to NISABHOR, and he sat on the throne of the SULTAN MAS’UD, and JAGHRI BAG sat down in the city of SARKHAS and KEZEL in the city of RAI.

And in the year of the ARABS four hundred and thirty (A.D. 1038), snow fell in BAGHDAD, and it stood about a span (i.e. was a span deep ), and it remained for days in the bazars. And after this, in the month of KANON (DECEMBER), there came intense cold, and the waters froze for six days. And in this year SULTAN MAS’UD collected multitudes of troops from INNER PERSIA and from OUTER INDIA, and he attacked the GHUZZAYE, and conquered them by the side of MARU-RUD. And about three thousand five hundred of their men were killed, and the remainder of them, together with their leaders TUGHREL BAG and JAGHRI BAG, fled into the and desert. And SULTAN MAS’UD sat down in the country of KHORASAN for about two years, and then he left the troops in the country, and he himself returned to GAZNAHI, a city of KHAWARAZM. And when the GHUZZAYE heard [this] they came again to KHORASAN in the year four hundred and thirty-two of the ARABS (A.D. 1040), and those who were there were unable to stand up before them, and they reigned in ‘ADHORBIJAN. And during the year the RHOMAYE went forth to SYRIA, and the Amir ‘ANUSHTAKIN engaged them in battle by the side of HAMATH and conquered them. And he made prisoner the son of the king’s uncle, and killed one great eunuch.

And in this year when SULTAN MAS’UD left [he went] to the country of INDIA, in the winter season, according to [his] custom, because of the intensity of the cold of the country of KHAWARAZM. And his wives, and the children who had been born in his house, were with him, also his blind brother MAHAMMAD, both of whose eyes SULTAN MAS’UD had himself dug out. When they encamped on [223] the river which is called HALAM, ‘ANUSHTAKIN, the eunuch, leaped upon MAS’UD with one thousand other slaves, and they bound him and brought him before his blind brother, whom they wished to reign over them. And his brother MAHAMMAD said unto him, ‘I will not do unto thee as thou hast done unto me, but seek for thyself some place whither thou shalt be sent, together with those of thy retinue whom thou shalt select’. And MAS’UD asked that he might be sent to the Citadel which is called KASA, and he was conveyed there most carefully and with honour. Then the nobles took counsel together, and by a mistake (or, by a pretence) they took from MAHAMMAD his ring, and sent it with certain men to the governor of that Citadel, and [those who were inside it] opened [the gates] to them, and they went in and killed SULTAN MAS’UD.

Then MAWDUD, the son of MAS’UD, who was in KHAWARAZM, hearing what had happened to his father, collected five thousand [men], and he attacked the twenty thousand [men] who were with his uncle, and he conquered them and killed his uncle. And he bored holes in the ankle bones of the murderers of his father, and tied them together with cords, and [his slaves] dragged them along the ground until they were reduced to dust. And he went back to GAZNAH and his father’s kingdom was established for him, with the exception of KHORASANand ‘ADHORBIJAN, in which the TURKS were rulers.

And in the year thirteen hundred and fifty-three of the GREEKS (A.D. 1042), which is the year four hundred and thirty-three of the ARABS (A.D. 1041), MICHAEL, the king of the RHOMAYE, died without sons; and his daughters ZAI (ZOAI) and THEODORA ruled the kingdom for three months. Then the nobles of the RHOMAYE took counsel together, and they chose from among their sons (?) three persons who were suitable for rulers. And they wrote their names on pieces of paper, and these they put in coverings of wax. And they brought a little boy and he stretched out his hand and pulled out one of the papers, and the name of MONOMACHUS came forth. And they gave him THEODORA, the daughter of King MICHAEL, to wife, and they made him king and called his name ‘CONSTANTINE’. And THEODORA gave to ZAI (ZOAI) her sister nine centenarii of gold instead of [her share in] the kingdom. Now this King CONSTANTINE was magnanimous, and lavish in [his] gifts, but he suffered from the disease of the gout.

And in the year four hundred and thirty-four of tile ARABS (A.D. 1042) there was a severe earthquake in the city of TABRiz [224], and its Citadel, and wall and many palaces and baths were overwhelmed; and about fifty thousand souls died under the ruins. Its lord, however, escaped, because he was outside [the city] in the plantations, and he put on sackcloth and sat upon ashes because of the great disaster which had taken place. And he left [the place] and went and shut himself up in one of his fortresses through fear of the GHUZZAYE, who had also made themselves master of KHAWARAZM.

And IBRAHIM, the son of JOSEPH, rose up as governor of KHORASAN; he was the brother of TUGHREL BAG through his mother. This man wrote a letter and sent [it], with an envoy, to BAGHDAD, and in it he spake thus : ‘The great SHAH-IN-SHAH, that is to say “king of kings”, TUGHREL BAG, the SALJUK, is king over KHORASAN and KHAWARAZM. And he is prepared to send an army to BAGHDAD, because he hath heard what the nomads (MA’DAYE) are doing on the road of the HAJJ, and how they are seizing and plundering those who are going to worship in the house of God. Therefore, see ye how ye can meet his troops with honours and gifts, and how [we] can make peace to reign over the whole world.’ And at the top of his letter were [drawn] figures of a bow and an arrow.

And in this year hailstones fell [weighing] between one and two litres, according to the measure of BAGHDAD, and they destroyed more than thirty villages in the province of BAGHDAD.

And in the year thirteen hundred and fifty-four of the GREEKS (A.D. 1043) there went forth a certain rebel from the RHOMAYE whose name was MINAKOS (MANYAKOS ?), and about twenty thousand people cleaved to him. Then king CONSTANTINE sent against him CHRISTOPHER, the eunuch, with forty thousand [men], and he conquered the rebel and killed him, and set his head on a reed. And he mounted on asses two hundred men of the army of the rebel, tied [to the beasts], with their faces turned towards the tails of the asses. And he hung between the eyes (i.e. on the forehead) of each one of them four testicles taken from the slain, and a portion of the lungs, and a liver, and heralds made a proclamation before them in the bazars of the royal city, saying, ‘These are the just reward of every one who rebelleth against the king’. And though he made them a laughing-stock, the king had mercy on them, and he did not kill them, but sent them away and said, ‘Get ye gone wheresoever ye please’. And the king gave gifts to the soldiers of his army, to some seventy dinars and to some thirty-five dinars, according to their merit.

And in the year four hundred and thirty-five of the ARABS (A.D. 1043) [225] TUGHREL BAG sent an envoy to the Khalifah KAIM, and he said, ‘I am a minister (or, servant) of the Head of the Kingdom of the ARABS, and in all the countries over which I reign I have made to triumph the proclamation of the Khalifah, and I have made men to rest from the oppression of the governors MAHMUD and MAS”UD, who were my predecessors. And it is evident that I am not inferior in any way to them. Now they were slaves of the Khalifah who enjoyed dominion (i.e. they ruled), but I am the son of free men, and am of the royal stock of the HUNS. And besides these things, although I am honoured even as they were honoured, I think that service to me, and the manner in which I am distinguished, should be greater than theirs.’

It is said that TUGHREL BAG used to sit on a high throne, and behind him were shields and spears, and before him a very magnificent bow, and in his hand were two arrows, with which he used to play. He wore the white apparel [made] of cotton. On the second and fifth days [of the week] he used to fast. And he never at any time omitted [to say] his five prayers. And concerning his astuteness the chief of the judges of BAGHDAD relates the following story: When I was sent on an embassy to him I wrote a private letter to BAGHDAD in which I described his rule, and his mercilessness, and how he prayed his prayers as a matter of form (or, routine) and not through fear of God, and various other matters. And I gave the letter to one of the members of my house, and it fell from him, and it was found and taken to TUGHREL BAG. And though he understood everything which was in the letter, he never turned his face away from me, nor did he in any way lessen the honour which he paid me. As for me, I could not understand what had become of the letter, until a certain scribe, a friend of mine, when [we were] on the road [back], informed me; and he, who was also a notary said to me that he had lost the letter on the road.