The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Mecer palace garden

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The father of Timur Beg was a man of good family, but small estate, with not more than three or four mounted attendants {Timur was the son of Teragay Nevian. He gives the following account of his lineage, in his memoirs:-'My father told me that we were descendants from Abu-al-Atrak (father of the Turks) the son of Japhet. His fifth son, Aljeh Khan, had twin sons, Tatar and Mogul, who placed their feet on the paths of infidelity. Tumene Khan had a son Kabul, whose son, Munga Bahadur, was the father of Temugin, called Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan abandoned the duty of a conqueror by slaughtering the people, and plundering the dominions of God, and he put many thousands of Muslims to death. He bestowed Mawur-ulnaher on his son Chagatai, and appointed my ancestor, Karachar Nevian, to be his minister. 'Karacher appointed the plain of Kesh (Shakrisabz) for the residence of the tribe of Berlas (his own tribe), and he subdued the countries of Kashgar, Badakshan, and Andijan. He was succeeded by his son Ayettekuz as Sepah Salar (general). Then followed my grandfather, the Amir Burkul, who retired from office, and contented himself with the government of his own tribe of Berlas. He possessed an incalculable number of sheep and goats, cattle and servants. On his death my father succeeded, but he also preferred seclusion, and the society of learned men.' -Timur's Memoirs}. He lived in a village, near this city of Kesh (Shakrisabz), for the men of this land prefer living in the villages, and in the plains, to living in cities. His son, also, had not more than four or five horses. I will now tell you, what was told to the ambassadors, as certain truth in this city, and in other parts. It is said that Timur, having four or five servants, went out one day to steal a sheep, and on another day a cow, by force, from the people of the country. When he had got them, he ate them with his followers; and some because of the plunder, others because he was a brave and good hearted man, joined him, until he had a force of three hundred mounted followers. From that time he traversed the country, to rob and steal all he could lay hands on, for himself and his companions, and he also frequented the roads, and plundered the merchants {In the year 1355, when he was twenty years of age, Timur's father made over to him a number of tents, sheep, camels, and servants. In 1356 he wished to unite the tribe of Berlas and rebel, and the death of his mother made him very melancholy, and induced him to give up ambitious projects for a short time; but in the following year he was engaged in a fight with some invaders. From this time he was constantly engaged in war, and soon became famous for his enterprise and daring, amongst the Chatagaian chiefs.-Timur's Memoirs}. News of these doings reached the emperor of Samarkand, who was lord of that land, and he ordered the robber to be killed, wherever he could be found. But there were Chatagai knights at the court of the emperor, of Timur's lineage, who obtained his pardon, and brought him to live at court. Of these knights, who obtained his pardon, two still live with Timur; and the one is called Omar Tobar, and the other Caladay Sheikh. They say that, when Timur lived with the emperor of Samarkand, he became so enraged against him, that he ordered him to be killed; but Timur was informed of it, and fled with his followers, returning to his life of robbery. One day, when he had plundered a caravan of merchants, he obtained great wealth, and went to a land called Seistan, where he stole sheep and horses, for that land is very rich in flocks: and he had as many as five hundred followers. When the people of Seistan knew this, they assembled together; and, one night, when he had fallen upon a great flock of sheep, they attacked him, killed many of his men, knocked him off his horse, and wounded him in the right leg, which lamed him. They also wounded him in the right hand, and cut off two of the fingers, leaving him for dead {Timur's own account is that the Wali of Seistan, named Jelal-udDeen Mohammed, asked for his assistance; but that in a battle he was wounded in the arm and the foot, but, he adds, 'I did not feel it at the time.'}. As soon as he was able, he got up, and went to the tents of some people who were encamped in a plain, whence he returned to collect his followers again. The emperor of Samarkand was not liked by his subjects, especially by the common people, and some of the nobles also wished him ill. They proposed to Timur to kill the emperor, and declared that they would raise him to power in his place. The conspiracy went so far that the emperor, being in a city near Samarkand, was attacked and defeated by Timur. He fled to the mountains, and called to a man to bide and protect him, promising to make him rich, and giving him some valuable jewels. This man, instead of hiding him, betrayed him to Timur, who presently came and killed him, and took the city of Samarkand. Timur married the wife of the late emperor, named Cano {Mulk Khanum, the daughter of Kazan, Sultan of Samarkand, and mother of Shah Rokh. Khanum means 'lady.'}, which means 'great empress,' and she is still his chief wife. Afterwards he conquered the land of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) , taking advantage of a quarrel between two brothers, lords of that land. Thus it was that he gained these two empires of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) and Samarkand, and such was his origin. One of those who was a companion of Timur Beg from the first, was a Chatagai of his own lineage, and was amongst those whom he trusted most. He married one of his sisters, and was made a great lord, over many people. He had a son named Janza Meerza, who is now the most confidential friend of the lord, and is captain and constable of the army, so that, besides the lord, no one commands in the army but him, and all the army and people are content with him {Janza Meerza's death is described in the last chapter}. The reason why the Tartars came to this land, and took this name of Chatagais, was as follows:-a long time ago there was an emperor of Tartary, who was native of a city called Dorgancho, which is as much as to say 'the treasure of the world.' This emperor ruled over a vast territory, which he had conquered, and, when he died, he left four sons named Gabuy, Chatagai, Esbeque, and Charcas, all sons of one mother {The sons of Genghis Khan were Jojy Khan, Tuli Khan, Octai Khan, and Chagatai Khan. Authors differ as to the proper way of spelling their names. Jojy Khan's name is spelt in five different ways. (See Asiatic Miscellany)}. When the father died, he divided the land amongst his sons, and Chatagai received this land of Samarkand, with other territory. The father told his four sons to be as one, for that on the day in which discord arose amongst them, they would be lost. This Chatagai was a man of great bravery and generosity; but there rose up envy amongst the brothers, and they made war upon each other. When the people of Samarkand saw this, they rose against Chatagai, killed him, with many of his followers, and made one of their own countrymen, emperor {This is a mistake. Chagatai was his father's chief justice; and on the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, he became ruler of Samarkand. His descendants ruled in Samarkand until Timur was crowned in 1363; and, indeed, during the whole reign of Timur, a puppet descendant of Chagatai was treated with outward reverence}. Many followers of Chatagai remained in the land, in possession of property on which to live; and, when their master was killed, all the people of the country called them Chatagais, and that is the origin of the name. Timur Beg, and the other Chatagais who follow him, are descended from these Chatagai Tartars; and many people of the land of Samarkand have now taken this name of Chatagai, that they may share in the great name which the Chatagais have now attained.