The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Iv Trebizond and The Journey Through Armenia

Arrival in Erzincan

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Next day the lord of the city sent them a certain sum of money, to maintain them while they were there; and at noon he sent horses to convey them to visit him, and men to guard them, to a plain outside the city. They found him seated in a saloon, under the shade of a silken canopy, supported by two poles, with cords to draw it out, and there were many people with him. When the ambassadors arrived, some cavaliers came forward to receive them; and when they came to the lord, he rose up, and gave them his hand, making them sit down near him, and treating them very well. He was dressed in a robe of blue silk, embroidered with gold, and he had a tall hat on his head, with precious stones in it, and on the top of the hat he had a crest of gold, from which descended two tresses of red hair, reaching to the shoulders, and this hair, thus worn, is the device of Timur Beg. The lord seemed about forty years of age, and he was a well made man, with a black beard. After he had asked the ambassadors concerning the state of the king our lord, the first honour he did them was to take a silver cup full of wine, and give it, with his own hands, to the ambassadors, to drink, and afterwards to all their followers. He who thus drinks, must take the cup in both hands, it being disrespectful to take it in one; for they say that a man ought to take a cup in one hand, from his equal, and not from a lord; and when he has taken the cup from the hand of his lord, he raises it, and walks a little backwards, and does not turn his back to the lord. When he has drunk, he raises his finger in the air three times; and it is the custom to drink all that is in the cup. After he had given them to drink, with his own hand, they brought some mules, on which were wooden boxes, containing plenty of copper pots for cooking, and many chopping knives, of hard iron, and a hundred small iron porringers; and all the utensils were round and deep, like a trooper's head piece. They then put meat into these pots, and pickled mutton, and balls of forced meat into the porringers, with rice and other victuals; and over each pot and each porringer they placed a thin cake. Before the lord and the ambassadors they placed a silken cloth, on the ground; and on it they placed the pots and porringers of meat; and every one began to eat. Each person had his knife to cut, and his wooden spoon to eat with. But a man cut up the food, before the lord, and two cavaliers sat and ate with him; and when they had to eat the rice, and other dishes, they ate out of one porringer, with one spoon; when one had done with it, the other took it up, and so they went on eating. While they were at this meal, a Turkish boy, about seven years old, arrived with about ten mounted attendants; and the lord received him, and made him sit down by his side. This boy was a nephew of Espandiar, the lord of Sinopoli, who was a great lord in Turkey; and he came from Timur Beg, with an order to Espandiar, to give the half of his land to this boy, because he was the son of his sister. Presently two other cavaliers arrived, who came from Timur Beg, and they were natives of this city of Erzingan . They said that Timur Beg had detained them for some time, but that now he had released them, and the reason he had imprisoned them was this:- Zaratan, a great noble, was lord of this city of Erzingan , and of its land, which is a great territory; and when he died, he did not leave children by his wife, who was daughter of the emperor of Trebizond. Some time before he died, he declared that he who is now lord of Erzingan was his son, but when he died, they did not wish to receive this man as lord. A cavalier, who was the son of a sister of Zaratan, named Xevali, seized the land, saying that Zaratan died without children, and that he ought to inherit, as his nephew; and the two cavaliers who arrived at the meal, assisted him. When Timur Beg conquered the Turk, he came to this city, and seized the said Xevali, and the two cavaliers, making him, who is now in possession, and whom Zaratan had said was his son, lord of Erzingan , Timur Beg had now released these two cavaliers, but had taken Xevali to Samarkand. The reason why Timur Beg and the Turk made war upon each other, was owing to Zaratan, the lord of this land, as will be related to you presently; it was a beautiful reason. When they had finished eating, the ambassadors returned to their lodging, and the lord remained with his cavaliers; and at night the lord sent the ambassadors many things, such as pots of boiled meat, with the cooks who dressed it, and attendants to serve it up: and he gave them money for their expenses, as much as they required. On Wednesday, after dinner, he sent for the ambassadors, and they went to him, and found him at his lodging. He was in a porch, before a fountain, with many cavaliers, attendants, and also buffoons, who were performing before him. As the ambassadors entered, he bowed to them, and made them sit near him, and gave them many pieces of sugar. He said that he and the knight who did not drink wine (which was Ruy Gonzalez) should that day be drinking companions, and they brought a great crystal vase, full of water with sugar. He drank first, and then gave it to Ruy Gonzalez, with his own hand, but they gave wine to all the others. Afterwards they brought much meat, and rice, and various other dishes, and they ate in the same way as they did the day before. When the meat was eaten, they brought porringers of honey, and peaches cut in vinegar, and grapes, and capers; and they ate very dirtily. All this time the wine did not stop, and when this had lasted some time, they brought a cup, which the lord took, and gave it to certain of his knights, who drank all the wine, so that none was left, for this is their unseemly custom. These cavaliers then took the great cup, and gave it to each other, to drink, until most of them were drunk; but on that day the lord did not drink wine, to keep company with Ruy Gonzalez, and the lord's name was Pitalibet. At night the ambassadors returned to their lodging.