The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Viii Ambassadors Return

Armenia to Turkey

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On Tuesday, the 29th of April, being the day of St. Peter Martyr, the ambassadors being in their lodging, an officer of the city came to them, with a scribe and many other followers, and said that the lord had ordered that they should give up everything they possessed. The ambassadors answered that they were in the lord's power, but that the king their lord had sent them to visit Timur Beg as friends, and that as that great lord was dead, they could do as they pleased. The officer replied that the lord did not wish to do them any harm. He did not, however, intend to act as he spoke, but in quite an opposite way. He took away everything they had, as well money as horses, clothes, and saddles, leaving them only the clothes which they had on; and placed them in another house, under a guard. The same was done to the other ambassadors, who were robbed of all their property. After twenty days, Omar Meerza sent to say that they must not be annoyed at what had been done, as he should be delighted to please them, and that they must come to a place near Tabriz, called Assarec, where he would be encamped, and that he would dismiss them. But this was not the truth, as he had not caught his father yet, and the Chatagais could not ascertain where his army was; for these people are deceitful, and never tell the truth. Thus the ambassadors had to wait until the lord Omar Meerza should arrive at Assarac. At this time the king of Georgia rebelled, and entered the land of Aumian and of Asseron {Erzeroum}, in Armenia, marching towards the city of Tabriz, and burning the villages, causing great terror amongst the people. The lord sent one of his knights, named Omar Toban, with six thousand cavalry, to this frontier, and ordered the people of Tabriz to join him, who made up a body of fifteen thousand cavalry. They marched out of Tabriz, and took up a position on the plains of Alatoa. The king, when he knew this, attacked them in the night, and defeated them with great slaughter, and those who escaped, fled to Tabriz. The noise and terror amongst the Moors of that city were great, and they were ashamed that the Kafirs should have conquered the Mussulmans, for they call the Christians by the name of Kafirs, meaning a people without laws; and Mussulman means those of the chosen and good law. Others said that this would not have happened if their lord had any luck, but that the fortunate Timur Beg was now dead. When Omar Meerza was unable to capture his father, he returned to the city of Sultanieh, where he kept his brother in prison, and ordered him to be poisoned; and he then started for Assarec, to collect his army, and dismiss the ambassadors. While he was on the road, the news arrived that his brother Abubeker had escaped from prison, killed the guards, and robbed the treasury; so he returned towards Sultanieh, and sent a troop in chase of his brother, which could not overtake him. Omar Meerza had left orders that his brother should be poisoned; but some of his men knew of it, and told Abubeker Meerza, and arranged to assist him in escaping. They settled that his horses and arms should be got ready, and that they should give him a sword, so that when his gaolor entered, he might kill him, when they would come quickly to aid in his escape from his prison; and this was done: for the next day in the morning, the knight who guarded him entered his prison, with three other men, and said: 'Sire, your brother has sent me to say that he wishes us to take you from this place, and give you plenty of money, and other things which may please you; and, on account of this news, I beg you will drink wine with me.' He brought this wine with him, and in it there was the poison which was to kill Abubeker, and their custom is to drink wine before they eat. The knight went down on his knees, and, offering the cup of wine, asked Abubeker to drink; but he excused himself, and then seized the sword, and gave the knight a cut on the head, which killed him. The three others who were with him ran out, and alarmed the people in the castle, but Abubeker's followers came in and cut his fetters, which were of silver; so he mounted his horse, and rode away with his followers to a place where the dues were collected, killing a treasurer whom they found there. At this noise a number of people came to him, and demanded good horses, which they took from the merchants and other people, and as many as five hundred horsemen were collected. So he returned to the castle, and divided the treasure amongst them, giving to each as much as he could carry. He loaded a hundred camels with what remained, and went in search of his father. When he found his father, he told him that his brother, Shah Rokh, would not let him pass, on his way to Samarkand; but he marched on that night, with his own followers, and those of his father, and went to the place where his father's brother was, seizing him, and bringing him before his father; and many people joined him. Every day, also, the followers of Omar Meerza came over to him; so Omar made friends with his father, and Abubeker and his father took the road towards Samarkand {In July, 1406, Sultan Ahmed, the Eelkhanee of Iraq, and Kara Yusuf, a Turkish chief, retook Bagdad, and also occupied Tabriz, Omar Meerza retreating before them. Abubeker Meerza marched rapidly from Sultanieh and retook Tabriz, Ahmed retreating to Bagdad; but in 1407 Abubekar was several times defeated on the Araxes, by the Turkmans. He finally fled to Sultanieh, and collected a fresh army. In 1408 he marched, with his father Miran Meerza, towards Tabriz, and attacked Kara Yusuf on the 22nd of April; but Miran was killed in the battle, Abubeker's wives were captured, and he himself fled. Kara Yusuf was completely victorious, his conquests including Azerbijan and Iraq. Abubeker fled to Kerman, and thence into Seistan; but was killed in a petty skirmish with the governor of Kerman, in December, 1408}. Omar Meerza marched with his host to the plains of Vian, six leagues from Tabriz. He then sent to the cities of Tabriz and Sultanieh, to say that he wished to make a feast in memory of his grandfather, for which purpose they must send sheep, bread, wine, and horses, and three thousand robes, which he wished to give to his followers. He also ordered that all the property of the ambassadors should be returned to them. On Thursday the 13th of August, Omar Meerza sent two Chatagais to the ambassadors, with a letter ordering them to come and see him. On Friday they started, and slept in the open air, and early next morning they came to the encampment of the lord at Vian, and pitched their tents near a little brook. On Saturday the lord came out of his tent, and went to a great pavilion, where he received the ambassadors well, and afterwards they were ordered to sit under an awning and eat. On Sunday, the ambassadors were conducted to the pavilion and men preached before the lord, in praise of Timur Beg. The ambassadors gave him a present of cloth and silk, and a handsome sword, which he valued much. The custom is that he refuses to see those who bring him no present, and the first thing that the ambassadors were asked, was whether they brought any present for the lord. On Tuesday, the 7th of August, he gave the ambassadors some robes, and a guide to point out the road, but he ordered the ambassadors from the Sultan of Babylon, and from Turkey, to be thrown into prison. On Wednesday, they returned to Tabriz, and prepared for their journey.