The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ruy Gonzalez De Clavijo

Clavijo departure

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1 THE VOYAGE FROM CADIZ TO CONSTANTINOPLE THE great Lord Timur Beg, having killed the Emperor of Samarkand and seized upon his empire, where his own dominion commenced, as you will presently hear; and having conquered all the land of Mongolia, which is contained in the said empire, and the land of India the less; also having conquered all the empire of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) , which is a great lordship, and having conquered and reduced to obedience the land of Tagiguinia {Kharism ?}, with the territory and lordship of a land called Rei; and also having conquered and reduced all Persia and Media, with the empire of Tabreez and of Sultanieh; and also having conquered the lordship of Gheelan, with the land of Derbent; and also having conquered the land of Armenia the less, and the land of Arsinga {Arzingan}, and of Aseron {Erzerum}, and of Aunique, and reduced to obedience the empire of Merdi, and the land of Kurdistan, which is in the said Armenia; also having conquered in battle the lord of India the less, and taken a great part of his territory; also having destroyed the city of Damascus, and reduced to submission the cities of Aleppo, of Babylonia, and of Baldas; and having overrun many other lands and lordships, and won many other battles, and achieved many conquests, he came against the Turk Ilderim Bayazid (who was one of the greatest and most powerful lords in the world) in his land of Turkey, and gave him battle near his castle, which was called Ankara, conquering him and taking him prisoner, together with one of his sons. In this battle there happened to be present Payo de Sotomayor and Hernan Sanchez de Palazuelos, ambassadors whom the high and puissant Lord Don Henry, by the grace of God, king of Castille and Leon, whom God preserve, had sent to ascertain the power which the said Timur Beg and Turk Ilderim possessed in the world, that they might behold their magnificence, and the number of the hosts which they had brought against each other. It happened that in the battle, the great Lord Timur Beg had notice of the presence of the said Payo and Hernan Sanchez, and, for love of the said high lord the king of Castille, he treated them, honorably, took them with him, entertained them, and gave them certain gifts; and received news of the high and famous king of Castille, and of the great consideration and power he had amongst the Christian kings; and, to obtain his friendship, after having conquered in the battle, he ordered an ambassador, with letters and a present, to be sent to secure an alliance with him. With the ambassadors there went a certain Chatagaian knight named Mohamed Alcagi, with whom Timur sent his gifts and letters. The said ambassador went to the said king of Castille, and presented the letters which the Lord Timur Beg had sent, and his presents, and the women which he also sent according to his custom. His highness the king, having received the said letters and presents, and having heard the good words which the said Timur Beg sent by his letters and ambassador, ordered that another present and ambassadors should be sent to the said Timur Beg, to increase the friendship which he had shown. He ordered that Fray Alonzo Paez de Santa Maria, master of theology, Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, and Gomez de Salazar, should convey the present and letters; and because the said mission is very arduous, and the journey very long, it is necessary to put in writing an account of all the places and countries through which the said ambassadors passed, and of the things which happened to them, that they may not be forgotten, and that there may be a complete knowledge concerning them. To this end, in the name of God, in whose power are all things, and for the honour of the holy Virgin Mary his mother, I began to write from the day that the ambassadors reached the port of St. Mary, near Cadiz, to embark in a carrack, in which they had to cross the sea; and with them the ambassador, whom the said Timur Beg had sent to the said lord the king.