Kirakos Ganjakets'i's

History of the Armenians



58. Concerning the trip of the pious king of the Armenians, Het'um, to Batu and Mongke-Khan.

[Translator's note: For a scholarly commentary on this chapter see J. A.Boyle, "The Journey of Het'um I, King of Little Armenia, to the Court of the Great Khan Mongke," Central Asiatic Journal 9(1964) pp. 175-89.]


[301] The devout, Christ-loving king of the Armenians in the Cilicia area had his seat in the city of Sis. Previously he had sent his brother Smbat, who was his general, to Guyuk-Khan with presents and gifts and [Smbat] returned thence with honor and edicts of acceptance. Now when Mongke-Khan ruled, Batu the great "king's father" and general sent to King Het'um so that he would come to see him and Mongke-Khan. [Batu] dwelled in the northern regions with an incalculable multitude [of troops] under him by the shore of the great, fathomless river Et'il [Volga] which runs into the Caspian Sea. [Het'um] who feared the sultan of Rum whose name was 'Izz al-Din [Kaykaus II (Azadin), 1246-59] travelled [through Rum] secretly and in disguise since he feared the Turks who were his neighbors. Now [the Turks] had an inveterate hatred [for Het'um] for allying with the T'at'ars. [Het'um] speedily traversed ['Izz al-Din's] territory in twelve days and arrived at the city of Kars. He visited Baiju-noyin, the commander of the T'at'ar army in the East, as well as other grandees, and he was honored by them. Then he stayed in the village of Vardenis at the foot of mount Aragats, opposite [g364] [302] Aray mountain, in the home of a prince of Armenian nationality named K'urd. [This prince] was a Christian [and lived in the village with] his sons Vach'e and Hasan, and his wife Xorishah. [Xorishah] was of the Mamikonean line, a daughter of Marzban, and sister to Aslan-bek and Grigor. [Het'um] stayed there until goods from his house, useful presents and gifts were brought to him from his father, the prince of princes Kostand. At this time [Kostand] was old and had left his sons, Lewon and T'oros, as his substitute. His own pious queen [Zapel] already had passed to Christ. Zapel translates Elisabeth, the "seventh day of God," and her name suited her, for she was at rest in the will of God: benevolent, merciful and a lover of the poor. [Zapel] was the daughter of the great King Lewon, the first to wear the crown [in Cilician Armenia].

As soon as the great kat'oghikos Kostand learned that [Het'um] had travelled safely and now had stopped in Greater Armenia, he sent to him the great vardapet Yakob, a wise and learned man. [The kat'oghikos] previously had sent this same man to the Byzantine emperor John (who was ruling in Asia and who had grown strong) and to their patriarch to achieve friendship and unity. [Yakob] went there armed with the prudent words of Scripture and, in the Greek council of inquiry, repudiated the Byzantines who accused us of being Eutychians for saying [303] that there is one nature in Christ. [Yakob] [g365] rationally demonstrated through Scripture that the two [natures] are united in Christ, completely divine and completely human, two [natures] in ineffable unity, not losing divinity, not confusing the humanity, glorified in one nature working divinely and humanly. Similarly concerning [the hymn] Holy God (Surb Astuats) there are words which we say about the Son, according to the witness of the evangelist John. [Yakob] refuted theologically and on the testimony of Scripture other similar slanders which [the Greeks] had regarding our doctrine. He turned their minds toward friendship and unity with our people, and departed from them in honor. Lord Step'anos the bishop came [to Het'um]; vardapet Mxit'ar who was at Skewrha where he had travelled from the Eastern areas came as did the priest Barsegh who was an emissary to Batu. With him came the celibate priest T'oros as well as Karapet who was the king's court priest, a man of mild and scholarly manner; and many princes also came.

The king took all these men with him to the land of the Aghbanians/Aghuans and through the Darband gate (which is the Chora pass) [g366] to Batu and his son Sartakh who was a Christian. [Het'um] was honored by them with many privileges. Then they sent him to Mongke-Khan on a long journey on the other side of the [304] Caspian Sea.

Those who departed [from Batu] left on the sixth of the month of Marer, and on the thirteenth of May crossed the Ayex [Ural] river and came to Or which is midway between Batu and Mongke-Khan. Then crossing the Ert'ich [Irtysh] river they entered the Nayiman [Naiman] country. They came to Xaraxeta [Khara-Khita] and crossed into T'at'arstan on the fourth of the month of Horhi, the thirteenth of September on the celebration of the feast of the Cross, and they saw Mongke-Khan seated in venerable glory. [Het'um] gave the Khan gifts and was honored by him according to his dignity. He remained at the urdo for fifty days and [Mongke-Khan] gave him a noteworthy edict that no one dare harass him or his country. He also gave him a document proclaiming freedom for the Church everywhere.

[Het'um] left [Mongke-Khan] on the fiftieth day, on the twenty-third of the month of Sahmi, on November first. In thirty days [the party] reached Ghumsghur. And they came to Perpalex and Peshpalex and to the sandy country where [g367] there are naked wild men with hair on their heads only. The women there have very large and long breasts and the people are mute. In that land are found wild horses of black and yellow colors, and mules of white and black colors, larger than horses or [305] asses, as well as wild camels with two humps.

From there they came to Arhlex, to K'ulluk and Enkax, to Chanpalex, Xut'ap'ay and Ankipalex.

They then entered T'urk'astan. Thence to Ekop'ruk, Dinkapalex and P'ulat. They crossed Sut-k'oln and K'atntsov (Milk Sea) and came to Alualex and Ilanpalex. Then they crossed the Ilansu river and over a branch of the Taurus mountains to Dalas and came to Hulegu, who was Mongke-Khan's brother, and who had taken the Eastern regions as his portion.

[The party] then turned from a westerly direction northward and reached Xut'uxch'i, Perk'ant', Sughulghan, Urosoghan [g368], K'ayik'ant', Xuzax (K'amots'), to Xndaxoyr and to Sghnax (Xarchux mountain) where the Saljuqs (Salch'uk'ik') are from; [Xarch'ux] begins at the Taurus mountain and goes as far as P'arch'in where it ends.

They travelled from there to Sartakh, the son of Batu, who was travelling to Mongke-Khan. Then [they went] to Sghnax and Sawran (which is extremely large) to Xarach'ux, Ason, Sawri, Ot'rar, Zurhnux, and Dizak and then after thirty days [came] to Samarqand, Sarhip'ul, K'rman and Bukhara. Then they crossed the great Jehun river [Amu-Darya; Oxus], and [306] arrived at Mrmen, Saraxs, and Tus which is opposite Khurasan (which is called Rhoghastan). They entered Mazandaran and [travelled] thence to Pstan, then to the land of Iraq which is in the borders of the Assassins (mulhed). Then [they travelled] to Tamgha and the great city of Ray (Rhe) and to Qazvin (Xzuin) to Awahr, to Zangian, to Miana, thence to Tabriz after twelve days. After twenty-six days they crossed the Erasx river to Sisian to the chief of the [g369] T'at'ar army, Baiju-noyin. Now [Baiju] sent [Het'um] to Xocha-noyin, a man he had left as his substitute as head of the forces. Meanwhile he himself took the chiefs of the army and went before Mongke-Khan's brother Hulegu, who was coming to the East.

The pious King Het'um came to the home of prince K'urd in Vardenis village where he had left his goods and baggage, and awaited the return of the priest Barsegh whom he had sent to Batu once more to show him the documents and orders of Mongke-Khan so that [Batu] also would write orders of the same sort.

Then there came to Het'um his vardapets: Yakob whom he had left [in Greater Armenia] for church work, and Mxit'ar (who had returned from Batu before [the latter] travelled to Mongke-Khan); and other bishops and vardapets and priests and Christian princes. [Het'um] received them all with affection for he was an agreeable man, wise and literate. He gave gifts [307] as he could and sent them all off happy. He gave priestly garments to adorn the Church, for [Het'um] greatly loved mass and the Church. He received all the Christian peoples and [g370] beseeched them to deal with one another affectionately as brothers and members of Christ, as the Lord commanded: "By this you shall be recognized as my pupils, that you love one another [John 13, 35]."

[King Het'um] told us many marvellous and unknown things about the barbarian peoples, things he had seen and heard about. He said: "There is a land beyond Ghatayik' [Cathay, China] where women have the forms of natural women, while the men have the forms of dogs. They are mute, large, and hairy. The dogs let no one enter their land and the dogs hunt from which prey they and the women eat. From the comingling of dogs and women, the males are born in the shape of dogs, the females in the shape of women.

"There is, too, a sandy island where a type of bone (which is prized) grows like a tree. It is called Dzknatam (Fish Tooth) and when one is cut, another grows in its place, like horns.

"There is, too, a land of many idol-worshippers who [308] worship extremely large clay idols named Shakmonia [Shakiamuni] and say that he is god for 3040 years. Then another thirty-five duman years [elapse] (one duman being 10,000) after which [g371] [Shakiamuni] is removed from godship. Then there is another one named Madri [Matreya] of whom they also made a clay image of unbelievable size in a beautiful temple.

"An entire people, women and children included, are priests. They are called Toyink', and have their heads and beards shaven. They wear cloaks like Christian [priests] but [fastened] at the breast, not at the shoulder. They are moderate in eating and marriage. [Men] marry at twenty years of age and until age thirty approach their wives three times a week. From age thirty to age forty they approach them three times a month; from forty to fifty, three times a year; and after fifty, not at all."

The wise king related much else about the barbarian peoples which we omit, lest it seem extraneous to anyone.

Eight months after leaving Mongke-Khan, Het'um reached Armenia. This was in 704 A.E. [1255].

[309]


59. The destruction of the land of the Romans [Rum].


Now at the beginning of the year 705 of the Armenian Era [1256], Batu, the commander of the north, died while [g372] his son Sartakh was enroute to Mongke-Khan. [Sartakh] did not return home to bury his father but instead continued on his journey. Mongke-Khan was exceedingly happy at this and came before [Sartakh] honoring him with very great gifts and giving him his father's authority, to rule over all the troops as well as over all the subjects of his realm. [Mongke-Khan gave Sartakh the right] to be called his second, and [the right] to issue orders absolutely. Then he sent him home.

With [Sartakh] was the pious prince of Xach'en, Jalal, who had gone to reveal to his supreme lord the disasters he had endured from ostikan Arghun, from whom he had barely escaped death because of the provocation of the Tachiks, He gave him a document [entitling him] to rule his principality independently and to fear no one. For Sartakh liked [Jalal] on account of his Christianity, since he too was a Christian.

Sartakh arrived in his principality with venerable glory. But his Muslim relatives, Barak'a and Barkach'ay, gave [310] [Sartakh] poison and killed him. Then there was great sorrow among all the Christians. Even Mongke-Khan mourned as did his brother Hulegu who ruled over all parts of the East.

However, before these events had occurred, the great general, the khan-like Hulegu, gave an order to all the T'at'ar troops in the East whose chief was Baiju-noyin that [g373] they leave the land of their residence and dominion, Mughan, and the lands of the Aghbanians/Aghuans, Armenians, and Georgians and go with all their bags and baggage to the land of the Romans [Rum] so that he [Hulegu] occupy their place in the good land. [Hulegu] had come with such a vast multitude that it was said one month was scarcely sufficient time for his troops to ford the great Jehun river [Amu-Darya]. Now some of his relatives from the area of Batu and Sartakh had crossed through the Darband Gate to this side with many, countless troops, great men, chiefs with authority, whose names were Balaxa, Tuthar, and Ghuli whom we even saw, grandsons of Chingiz-Khan whom they call the sons of God. They levelled and made easy [for travel] all the passes on the route they travelled, for they were coming by cart.

They brought many misfortunes to all lands through tax-collecting [311] and plundering, eating and drinking insatiably and bringing everyone to death's door. In addition to the numerous [taxes], the mal and qubchur (xap'ch'ur) [Translators's note: mal is believed to have been a tax on large animals with horns; qubchur was a tax on sheep.] which Arghun had levied, Hulegu commanded that the tax called t'aghar be collected from each individual listed in the royal register. From such they demanded one hundred litrs of grain, fifty litrs of wine, two litrs of rice and husks three sacks one spitak [silver coin], one arrow [g374], to say nothing of the bribes; and of twenty animals they demanded one, plus twenty spitaks. From those who could not pay they took their sons and daughters [as payment]. And thus they harassed and overturned the entire country.

Now the T'at'ar army, though it was angry at having to leave the land of its dominion, nevertheless did depart, reluctantly, out of dread [of Hulegu], for they feared him exceedingly, as though he were Khan. So they went to the land of the Romans. The sultan of Rum offered war against them, but was unable to resist. Instead he fled to the island of Alayia. [The Mongols] put to the sword districts of the sultan's realm to [312] the Ocean and Pontus, killing and ravishing. They destroyed the cities of Karin [Erzerum], Eznka [Erzinjan] Sewast [Sebastia], Caesarea and Konya and the surrounding districts. Then, sending their goods back to their lodgings at Hulegu's order, they spread out, raiding in various directions.

The king of the Armenians, Het'um, went along with them. He had come from Mongke-Khan, Batu, Sartakh and Hulegu and was with Baiju-noyin who sent [Het'um] with many soldiers to his country, Cilicia, to the city of Sis. [Het'um] had [g375] attended Baiju-noyin and the troops with him with numerous gifts and performed military service, so much so that a letter expressing satisfaction and praising him was written to Hulegu. Now the great Hulegu, since he was a military man, assembled the entire multitude of troops and went to the country of the Assassins (Mulheds), Alamut, and seized it. For royal troops had besieged it for many months, since the sons of 'Ala-al-Din [(Aladin) of Alamut] had slain their father and gone over to Hulegu. [Hulegu] commanded that all the secure fortresses in Alamut be pulled down. Then he ordered all his soldiers and everyone subject to them to assemble against the great city of the Tachik realm called Baghdad, which is located between Iran and Syria. For they had not yet taken it.

[313] The caliph who sat in Baghdad was of the line of Mahmet (for caliph means descendant), and all the Muslim sultans obeyed him, be they Turks, Kurds, Iranians, Elamites or other nationalities. [The caliph] was the chief commander of their dominions, and they submited to him by treaty and honored him as a descendant and relative of their lawgiver, their first deceiver. To this fortress [g376] (ghalan) went the very greatest chiefs of Batu's [northern] region: Qul (Ghul), Balagha, Tuthar, Ghataghan, for everyone honored Hulegu like a khan; they obeyed him and they feared him.


60. The destruction of Baghdad.


In the year 707 of the Armenian Era [1258], Mongke-Khan, the great king of the kings of the earth, conqueror of the world, mustered a countless host and went to a distant land in the southeast against a people called the Nayngas. For this people had rebelled from him and did not pay him taxes like the other lands. The Nayngas were warlike men, fortified by their land; and they were idol-worshippers. Furthermore they devoured their old men and women. The whole clan of sons, grandsons and great grandsons would assemble [314] and would skin their aged parents through the mouth. They would remove the flesh and bones, cooking and eating them, leaving no leftovers. Out of the skin they make a bag which they fill with wine and from which all of them drink using the [deceased's] male member. However, only relatives do this, and none other, since they alone were sired [g377] by the deceased and it is theirs alone to eat and drink of him. The skull they encase in gold and drink from it for an entire year.

Mongke-Khan went against them in battle, crushed and forcibly subjugated them. But on the way home, death pangs gripped him and he died. His brother Arigh Boke (Arik' Bugha) seized the throne.

Now Hulegu (who was his brother and had been appointed head of the troops in the East by him) commanded all those subject to him to go against the Tachik capital, Baghdad, which was the seat of the Tachik dominion.

The king who sat in Baghdad was not called sultan or melik as the Turkish, Iranian or Kurdish autocrats customarily are, but caliph, that is, a descendant of Mahmet. The great Hulegu went against the caliph with a countless multitude [composed] of all the peoples subject to him. This [315] was done in the autumn and winter seasons because of the severe heat of that country [in the summer]. Prior to his departure [g378] he ordered Baiju-noyin and the troops with him in the land of [the sultan of] Rum to go and surround the great Tigris River on which the city of Baghdad was built, so that no one flee by boat from the city to Ctesiphon or to the more secure Basra. They immediately obeyed the command, tying pontoon bridges across the great river and sinking between [the surface of the] river and its bed sturdy fences with iron hooks and pipes so that no one depart the city swimming without them knowing about it.

Now Caliph Must'asar [translator's note: in fact, the last caliph was al-Musta'sim], who resided in the city proudly and presumptuously sent many troops against those guarding the river. [The caliph's men] were under the command of a chief named Dawdar [davat-dar, "vice-chancellor"], ostikan of his house. Dawdar went and first triumphed, killing some three thousand T'at'ars. When evening fell he sat eating and drinking without a care. And he sent messengers to Caliph Must'asar saying: "I defeated all of them, and tomorrow I will do away with the few survivors."

Now the crafty and ingenious T'at'ar army spent the entire [g379] night arming and organizing. They surrounded the Tachik army. [316] Among the T'at'ars was prince Zak'are, son of Shahnshah. At daybreak they put their swords to work, destroying the entire group and throwing them into the river. Only a few men escaped.

That same morning the great Hulegu surrounded the city of Baghdad, stationing everyone an arm's length from the wall [and telling them] to demolish it and guard well that none escape. He sent the valiant Prhosh [Xaghbakean] and others as emissaries to the caliph, so that he would come out obediently and pay taxes to the Khan. [The caliph] gave a stern reply full of insults, claiming to be lord of sea and land, and boasting about the [magical] banner of Mahmet, saying: "It is here and, if I touch it, you and the entire world will be destroyed. You are a dog, a Turk. Why should I pay taxes to you or obey you?"

However, Hulegu did not become aggrevated because of the insults nor did he write any boasts. He merely said: "God knows what He does." Then he ordered the wall demolished; and they demolished it. He said to rebuild it again and guard it carefully. And they did so [g380].

[317] The city was full of soldiers and people. For seven days they stood on the walls but no one shot arrows at them nor were swords used, either by the citizens or by the T'at'ar soldiers. But after seven days the citizens began to request peace and to come [to Hulegu] with affection and submission.

And Hulegu ordered that this be done [that peace be made]. Then countless multitudes came through the city gates, climbing over each other to see who would reach him first. [Hulegu] divided up among the soldiers those who came out and ordered [the soldiers] to take them far from the city and to kill them secretly so that the others would not know. They killed all of them.

Four days later Caliph Must'asar [i.e., al-Musta'sim] also emerged with his two sons, with all the grandees and much gold, silver, and precious stones as fitting gifts for Hulegu and his nobles. At first [Hulegu] honored him, reproaching him for dallying and not coming to him quickly. But then he asked the caliph: "What are you, God or man?" And the caliph responded: "I am a man, and the servant of God." Hulegu asked: "Well, did God tell you to insult me and to call me a dog and not to give food and drink to God's dog? Now in hunger the dog of God shall devour you." And he [318] killed him with his own hands. "That," he said, "is an honor for you, because I killed you myself and did not give you to another for killing." He ordered his own son [g381] to slay one of the caliph's sons while he gave the other son as a sacrifice to the Tigris River, saying: "It did not harm us but was our collaborator in killing the senseless ones." And he said: "This man caused much blood to flow through pride. Let him go and answer to God and may we be innocent." He also killed other grandees.

[Hulegu] then ordered the troops guarding the walls to descend and kill the inhabitants of the city, great and small. [The Mongols] organized as though harvesting a field, and cut down countless, innumerable multitudes of men, women, and children. For forty days they did not stop. Then they grew weary and stopped killing. Their hands grew tired; they took the others for sale. They destroyed mercilessly.

However, Hulegu's wife, the senior Khatun, named Doquz Khatun (Toghuz xat'un) was a Christian. She spared the Christians of Baghdad, Nestorians and other denominations and beseeched her husband not to kill them. And he spared them with their goods and property.

[319] [Hulegu] ordered all his soldiers to take the goods and property of the city. They all loaded up with gold [g382], silver, precious stones, pearls, and costly garments, for it was an extremely rich city, unequalled on earth.

[Hulegu] himself took as his share the caliph's treasures—three thousand camel loads; and there was no counting the horses, mules and asses. Other houses, full of treasure, he sealed with his ring and left guards. For he was unable to take everything, since there was so much. Five hundred fifteen years had elapsed since that city was built by the Ishmaelite Jap'r in 194 A.E. [A.D. 745] on the Tigris River above Ctesiphon (Katisbon), about five day's journey above Babylon, and it had taken everything into its kingdom like an insatiable blood-sucker, swallowing up the entire world. It was destroyed in 707 A.E. [1258] paying the blood price for the blood it had caused to flow and for the evil it had wrought. When its measure of sin was filled up before Omniscient God, He repaid it justly, strictly, and truthfully. And the [g383] arrogant and fanatical kingdom of the Tachiks ended after a duration of six hundred and forty seven years. Baghdad was taken on the first day of Lent, on Monday of the month of Nawasard, the twentieth of the month by the moveable [calendrical system].

[320] All this was narrated to us by prince Hasan called Prosh, son of the pious Vasak, son of Haghbak, brother of Papak' and Mkdem, father of Mkdem, Papak', Hasan and Vasak who was an eyewitness to the events and also heard about events with his own ears, [a man] enjoying great honor in the Khan's eyes.


61. The destruction of the city of Martyropolis.


Upon the arrival of spring in the same year that Baghdad was destroyed, the great Hulegu mustered troops and entrusted them to his younger son named Jiasmut' and he sent the great overseer of his house, Iligia-noyin, along with him to the area around the Euphrates River for diversion, to loot, and to subjugate those regions [g384]. While they were passing the city of Martyropolis, called Mufarghin, they summoned the people to submission, to provide troops, pay taxes and live free from care. But the sultan in the city who was of the line of the Edleants' [note: the Ayyubids] did not accept this. Instead he assembled soldiers, pursued them, killed some of them, returned to the city and fortified himself against the T'at'ar army. [Jiasmut' and Iligia-noyin] left troops around the city and [321] went as far as the great Euphrates River and to the area of Mesopotamia, took whatever they found as booty and returned again to the troops besieging Martyropolis. Then they went to Hulegu and told him what they had done and about the city's rebelliousness.

[Hulegu] sent many soldiers against the city, appointing as their head a certain Chaghatai, a general from the T'at'ar army, and from the Christians, prince Prhosh called Hasan, brave and distinguished men. They went and besieged the city on all sides preventing entrance or exit.

[Chaghatai and Prhosh] went and battled forcefully, installing ballistas and catapults. They also cut off the water which entered the city. The citizens likewise fought them forcefully, killing many T'at'ars and many of the Christians with them.

Thus the city withstood the siege for more than two years while hunger grew more acute within. They ate clean and unclean animals and then started to eat people [g385] when there was no more food. The strong ate the weak. When the [supply of] poor people was exhausted they turned against one another. Fathers ate sons, and women ate their daughters; and they [322] did not spare the fruit of their wombs. Lovers renounced their loved ones and friends, their acquaintances. And the food supply had so diminished that one litr of human flesh sold for seventy dahekans. Men and food were entirely exhausted, and not just there [in the city], but danger threatened many other districts for those who were besieging the city harassed the land already subjugated by the T'at'ars with tax collecting and with conveying food and drink for them. Many people died from the extreme cold of the snow which covered the mountains in wintertime.

Then the secure land of Sasun came out in service to the T'at'ars, placing their hopes on prince Sadun, son of Sherbarok' and grandson of Sadun [Artsruni/Mahkanaberdeli], a Christian who was greatly esteemed by Hulegu. For he was a personable man and a valiant fighter whom Hulegu appointed among the foremost champions. The district of Sasun was given to him, but later they broke the oath and killed many of them.

Now when the city was emptied of people because of [g386] severe hunger, [the Mongols] took it and killed those survivors they found, faint from hunger. However they sent to Hulegu the sultan and his brother. [Hulegu] [323] ordered them killed by the sword as beings undeserving of life and guilty of the bloodshed of the entire multitude killed on their account.

But they did not pull down the churches or [disturb] the countless relics of the saints which Saint Marut'a had gathered from all peoples and deposited there. For the Christians in the army told the T'at'ars about their venerability. And they themselves even related many visions of saints, bright light rising over the walls, and luminous men appearing.

The city was taken in 709 A.E. [1260] during the great forty day feast of Lent.


62. Concerning what was done in Mesopotamia and Lower Syria.


Once again the great Hulegu assembled the multitude of his forces and went to Syria, to Aleppo, Damascus and Harran, to Edessa, Amida and other districts, raiding in various directions. He himself besieged Aleppo, to fight with the city. The sultan in Aleppo, Yusuf (who was of the line of Saladin, who destroyed Jerusalem) resisted [Hulegu] [324] and did not submit; rather he closed the city's gates [g387] against him and battled forcefully. The great Hulegu besieged the city on all sides, captured it after many days, and then commenced destroying it.

Then the sultan and his grandees who had secured themselves in the fortress began to plead with him and come out in submission. [Hulegu] accepted this and ordered the destruction of the city halted, that they submit to him and pay taxes.

He went also to Damascus where [the citizens] came before him with many gifts and great sums of money. He received them affectionately and then captured in his name Hems, Hama, and many other cities. He sent many troops against the secure city of Mardin which they were barely able to capture after many days. He also killed many brigands, who were a danger to all peoples and travelers. [Such were the brigands] called Ghacharik' [who were] of Turkish nationality [and lived] fortified in dense forests and in fastnesses difficult of access. They were a countless multitude, not subject to anyone, an assemblage gathered from all regions, rascals and corrupters especially of Christians. He killed many of them and enslaved even more, [325] and, leaving some twenty thousand soldiers as guards, [Hulegu] returned to the plain of Hemian to winter.

Now the sultan of Egypt gathered many troops and came against the guards of the T'at'ar army whose chief was a man named Ket-Bugha (K'it'bugha), a Christian and a Naiman by nationality [g388], a man of great respect who warred valiantly against the sultan. But he was killed with his entire army because the Egyptians were very numerous. They battled in the plain of Mt. T'aborakan. Among Ket-Bugha's warriors were many Armenians and Georgians who were killed with him. This took place in 709 A.E. [1260].


63. The death of pious prince Jalal.


Now the king of the Georgians, Dawit' son of Lasha, who was subject to the T'at'ars was placed into straits and [326] he had mortgaged cities and districts but was still unable to satiate the evil, leech-like appetite [of the Mongols]. So fraught, [Dawit'] fled, but was unable to take along his wife, Queen Gonts'a [Kaxiberidze-Awagean] and [g389] his newborn son, Demetre. He took along only his firstborn son, Giorgi.

Now the great ostikan Arghun mustered numerous troops and went after the fugitive King Dawit', to catch him. Unable to reach him, [Arghun] destroyed and enslaved many Georgian districts. Furthermore, he fiercely destroyed and demolished the mausoleums of the Georgian kings at Gelat'i. Similarly, he pitilessly destroyed the kat'oghikosate at Atsghor.

But suddenly a detachment of Georgian cavalry appeared and exhibited great valor, for they killed many of Arghun's soldiers—like fire burning through reeds—and then departed safe and sound. There were about four hundred of them.

Arghun became frightened and did not dare to enter and search places so brazenly. He returned to Hulegu planning wickedness in his heart. He seized the Georgian queen Gonts'a, her daughter Xoshak', the great prince Shahnshah, [327] Hasan Jalal, the lord of Xachen, and many others because of debts and taxes [owed]. [These people] gave much treasure and barely saved their lives.

But the pious and virtuous prince Jalal was harassed by impossible tortures, as they demanded more taxes from him than he could pay [g390]. They put wood on his neck and irons on his feet. They dealt with him in this manner because of his strong Christianity, for all the Muslims were inimical to him and urged Arghun to kill him, saying: "He more [than others] is hostile to our religion and laws." For Arghun also was Muslim. He took [Jalal] to Qazvin. Meanwhile [Jalal] bore everything contentedly, for he was extremely well versed in Scripture, fasting and praying, modest in food and drink, and desirous of a martyr's death.

Now Jalal's daughter Rhuzuk'an, wife of Bora-noyin (Charmaghun's son, foremost leader of the T'at'ars) went to Hulegu's wife Doquz Khatun (Toghuz xat'un) to free her father from Arghun's clutches. When the impious ostikan leared this he immediately sent executioners and had the blessed and just man killed during the night. The impious executioners went and tore [Jalal's] body into pieces like the blessed martyr Yakovk in whose torments [Jalal] shared. May he [328] achieve his crown in Christ, our God. So perished the unblemished and pious man, ending his life, keeping the [g391] faith, in 710 A.E. [1261]. His son, At'abek, sent trusted men to go and steal his father's remains for they had been thrown into a dry well. The Iranian in whose home [Jalal] had been fettered had observed divine signs over him, since as soon as they killed [Jalal] a dazzling light descended protecting his remains (which were thrown into the well), so that afterwards he be buried in honor. The Iranian showed the body to those searching for it, and related to them the wondrous apparition.

They joyously gathered the relics and took [Jalal] to his home, burying him in his ancestral cemetary at Gandzasar monastery. Furthermore, those bringing the relics back also saw that same luminous vision above the relics as they travelled.

[Jalal's] son, At'abek, occupied his father's principality on the order of Hulegu and Arghun. [At'abek] was a man raised in piety, modest, prudent, and prayerful, like a holy hermit, for his parents had brought him up that way. Hulegu killed prince Zak'are (son of Shahnshah), falsely accusing him.

[329] In this year [1261], lord Nerses the meek kat'oghikos of Aghbania/Aghuania passed to Christ, having occupied the kat'oghikosate for twenty-seven years. He was succeeded by lord Step'anos, a youth [g392].


64. The death of prince Shahnshah and his son Zak'are.


The great prince Shahnshah, son of Zak'are, gave his authority/principality to his senior son, Zak'are, for he had many sons: Zak'are, Awag, Sargis, Artashir and Iwane. He himself looked after his home. Zak'are went to war among the T'at'ar troops and displayed such brave manliness that he was honored by the great Hulegu and by ostikan Arghun.

Now it happened that Zak'are was with Arghun and his many troops in Georgia. Unbeknownst to Arghun and the other soldiers, Zak'are went to see his wife, who was with her father, Sargis, prince of Uxtik', one of the rebels with the Georgian king, Dawit'. When Arghun learned about this he notified Hulegu who himself ordered that [Zak'are] be taken shackled. He heaped other false accusations upon him, ordered [330] him killed, dismembered and thrown to the dogs.

When [Zak'are's] father, Shahnshah, heard the bad news in the village of Odzun, he became heart-broken and died of sorrow. They took him and buried him in K'obayr, which his wife had bought from the Armenians [g393].


65. Concerning the great war which occurred between Hulegu and Berke.


The conquerors and great generals in the East and the North were relations of Mongke-Khan, who had died after the Nengrana war. His two brothers contested with each other concerning the kingdom; they were named Ar'igh Boke (Arik' Bugha) and Qubilai (Ghopila). Qubilai triumphed, killing and threatening the forces of Ar'igh Boke, and causing him to flee the land, while he himself ruled.

Hulegu, who was their brother and Mongke-Khan's brother, aided Qubilai, while Berke, who was in the north, aided Ar'igh Boke. There was yet another relation, a commander named Alghu, who was the son of Chaghatai-Khan (eldest son of [331] Chingiz-Khan). Alghu fought with Berke, for at their urging, Mongke-Khan had killed his family. [Alghu] sent to Hulegu saying that he would aid him on this side of the Darband Gates. Now great Hulegu arose, taking the grandee and most glorious princes like himself who were with him from Batu's and Berke's area: Qul (Ghul), Balaghai (Balaxa), Tutar [g394] (Tut'ar), Meghan, the son of Ghul, Chaghatai (Ghataghan) and many others with their troops, and mercilessly cut them down, old and young and eliminated them with the sword, since they were with him and meddled in the authority with one another. A few of them escaped by a hairsbreadth (without their women, children or goods) and went as fugitives to Berke and other relatives.

When Berke heard about this, he assembled countless troops and came to exact blood-vengeance from Hulegu for his relations. Now the great Hulegu similarly assembled a powerful army, dividing it into three fronts. One was entrusted to the son of Abaqa-Khan. He gathered with him ostikan Arghun and sent them through Khurasan to help Alghu from that direction. He assembled one detachment at the Alan Gate [Darial Pass], and he took the other with him and entered south of the Darband Gate; for these are the two entrances—the Alan and the Darband Gates. He destroyed part of Berke's area, reaching as far as [332] the great and fathomless river called T'erk'n Et'il [Volga River], a reservoir of many rivers which courses like a sea and enters the Caspian Sea.

Berke came against him with a mighty force and they joined battle by the great river. Many fell on both sides but more on Hulegu's side, since they chilled from the coldness of the snow, and froze to death. Many fell into the river [g395].

Then Hulegu departed, passing through the Darband Gate. One of Hulegu's commanders, a brave and warlike man named Siraman (son of Chormaghun, the first T'at'ar general) remained after the retreat with his troops and battled Berke's forces. The fugitives took refuge with him and survived. Resisting mildly, [Siraman] too went out through the Darband Gate. They left guards at Darband and went to their winter quarters in the Mughan plain.

Thus they warred against each other for five years, from 710-715 of the Armenian Era [1261-1266], mustering troops each year and clashing, but only in the wintertime, since they were unable to fight in the summer due to the [333] heat and the flooding of the river.

In these days the great Hulegu commenced building an extensive and populous city in the Darhni plain. And he levied taxes on all his subjects to bring wood from all parts for building the homes and mansions of this city, which he constructed in a cool place as his summer residence.

Men and animals were oppressed by the severe and harsh [g396] overseers, who were harsher yet than Pharaoh over the sons of Israel. For they would yoke one hundred oxen on all sides of a log and still were unable to move it because of its size and thickness. Men and animals died from being mercilessly forced over long and difficult roads, over rivers and mountains.

He also built huge homes for the idols, assembling there all craftsmen of stone, wood, and pictures. For there is a people called toyink' who are sorcerers and witches who, by magical means, make horses, camels, the dead and felt pictures speak. They are all priests with shaven heads and beards and wear yellow cloaks on the breast. They worship everything, especially Shakmonia and Madri.

They deceived [Hulegu] and said that they would make [334] him immortal; and he lived, moved, and mounted [his horse] according to their words and thoroughly gave himself over to their will. Many times during the day he bowed to the ground to their leader, and ate from the dedicatory altar in the house of idols and esteemed it more than any of them. Therefore he especially adorned their temple of idols [g397].

Now [Hulegu's] senior wife, Doquz Khatun, was a Christian and although she frequently reproached him, she was unable to free him from the sorcerers. However, she herself lived piously, aiding and supporting the Christians.

In 714 A.E. [1265] a great sign appeared in the sky, a star moving from the north to the east and south. Long column-like rays of light appeared in front of it, but the star was dim and moved rapidly. It appeared for one full month, and then no more, like a comet which appears from time to time moving west to north. But this star had very long rays which grew daily until the star was lost.

In the same year Hulegu and his wife, Doquz Khatun, died. [Hulegu's] son Abaqa-Khan took his place in 714 A.E. [1265] and married the daughter of the Byzantine emperor [Michael Palaeologus] [g398]. Her name was Despoina (Tespina) Khatun, and she [335] went [to Abaqa] in venerable magnificence; the patriarch of Antioch and other bishops travelled with her. The bishop of Erznka, lord Sargis, and vardapet Bener brought [the groups]. Having baptised Abaqa-Khan, they gave the girl to him as a wife.

[Abaqa] mustered an extremely large force and went to fight the army of Berke which had crossed through the Darband Gate and encamped by the shore of the Kur River. They were positioned on one bank and the others were on the other bank, fortifying the shore of the river with barricades and very deep ditches [g399].

[Gandzakets'i's History ends here. The reason for the abrupt termination is not known.]



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