The Garden Guide

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

To Trebizond - Trabzon

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On Friday evening, the ambassadors being ready to depart, the Darogah came, with officers and scribes, and many people armed with maces and staves; and said that they must bring out all the property they had, as he wished to see their things. This was said with much noise and insolence, and he took certain satin cloths of China, and a scarlet robe, and other things, which he said the lord had ordered him to take, as he had none in that land of such good quality, but they were paid for, and when this was done, they departed. The ambassadors then consulted with those of Turkey, who had been released, and they agreed to set out next day, for they said that if they remained these robberies might be repeated. On Saturday, the 22nd of August, before dawn, the ambassadors, in company with those of Turkey, departed from Tabriz, after having been in that city for five months and twenty-two days; and the Chatagai guide went with them. They soon overtook a caravan of two hundred horses, laden with merchandize, which was going to the city of Boursa, in Turkey, and they travelled together, for fear of robbers. On Monday, at dawn, they arrived at the city of Khoi, and here the land of Persia ends, and Armenia commences. While they were at Khoi, they received news that a Turkman knight, named Kara Toman, had rebelled, and was in the field with ten thousand cavalry, robbing and plundering the people. He was formerly a vassal of Timur Beg {Kara Yusuf, a Turkish chief of the tribe of Kara Koyunlu (black sheep), afterwards defeated Miran Meerza, and his son Abubeker, establishing a dynasty in Azerbijan in 1408. In 1420 Shah Rokh marched from Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) to avenge the death of his brother Miran; and in November of the same year Kara Yusuf died at Tabriz. In 1421 Shah Rokh captured Tabriz and Erivan, and defeated the sons of Kara Yusuf near Lake Van. In 1429 he again invaded Azerbijan, and defeated Iskander, the son of Kara Yusuf, with great slaughter. The historian, Ali of Yezd, was present at this battle. In 1477 Jehan Shah, another son of Kara Yusuf, invaded Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) , and actually besieged Herat; but in 1488 the dynasty of the black sheep was destroyed by Uzun Hassan, chief of the Ak Koyunlu (white sheep)}. He had marched against the city of Erzingan , and for this reason the ambassadors left the direct road, and took one on the left hand side. On Tuesday, at the hour of vespers, they left Khoi, and travelled all night, and all Wednesday. At noon they gave some barley to the horses, and went on, day and night. On Thursday, at the hour of vespers, they reached a village inhabited by Armenians, with a small castle, which was subject to Omar Meerza. Near this place there is a race of Moors, called Turks, who rule the land, and live amongst the Armenians. The country abounded in bread and wine. While they were here, news came that Kara Toman had left Erzingan , and was on their road, so they sent a man ahead to find out if he was really there. On Friday, in the afternoon, the man returned, and said that the road was safe; so they departed, and slept in a meadow, near a village; and they passed many well peopled villages, with handsome churches and cemeteries, with large stone crosses over the tombs. These crosses were as high as a man, and well made. They were again told that Kara Toman was in the road before them, so they left it at noon, and took another more to the left; but the more they went to the left hand, the more they went out of their way. They went on until Sunday, without coming to any habitation; and it is to be remembered that the Christians lost Armenia, on account of the quarrels of three brothers. On Tuesday, the 1st of September, they reached a great city nearly uninhabited, and with the wall in ruins, which had once been very broad and high. At one corner there was a castle, breached in many places, with people living in it. This city was called Alesquinar, and there were many great edifices, and streets of houses built of stone. The ambassadors dined here, and they were informed of the reason why this city was in ruins. In this land of Armenia, there was once a great and powerful Armenian king, and he died, leaving three sons, who divided the land in this manner:-the eldest took this city of Alesquiner, the second had the city of Aumian {Erivan ?}, and the third had the city of Asseron {Erzeroum ?}, and these are the three chief cities of Armenia. The eldest, seeing that he was master of the city of Alesquiner, which was very strong, wished to take the other cities from his brothers, and they rose against each other, and made war. After the war had continued some time, they brought in strangers to assist. The lord of Asseron brought a race of Moors called Turkmans, and the lord of Aumian did the same, and they marched against their eldest brother. When he knew that his brothers were going to attack him with strange troops, he also sent for strangers to help him, and brought in a race of Moors, who were his neighbours, called Turks. These made a parley with the Turkmans, who were with the younger brothers, and who gave up the city, murdering the elder brother. They then killed the other brothers, and took the cities of Aumian and Asseron, and their territories. Thus these cities, and all Armenia, felt into the power of the Moors. When they destroyed this city they killed so many Armenian Christians, that they have never inhabited it since. While they were here, the ambassadors had certain news that Kara Toman, with his army, was on the road before them, so they determined to take the road of Aumian. This counsel was fortunate, and they presently departed, and travelled for four days and nights through a desert country. On Saturday, the 5th of September, they reached the city of Aumian {Erivan ?}; and on Monday they went to a castle, to see the son of a great knight, who held that land for his father. He was a Chatagai, named Toladay Beg, and the lord Timur Beg had given him that land when he conquered it. They gave him a robe, for such is the custom, and he told them that Kara Toman was in the land of Erzingan , through which they would have to pass, and that he was robbing the people; but he added, that for the honour of the king their lord, and for the service of Timur Beg, whom they had come to visit, he would guide them into a safe road, and he sent the ambassadors from Turkey by another road. This castle of Aumian was very strong, built on a high rock, and inside it was supplied with water from a fountain, and it was well provisioned. On Tuesday, the 8th of September, they departed in company with a Chatagai, who went with them by order of this lord of Aumian; and they left the road to Erzingan on the left hand side, and passed the night at a village belonging to the lord of Aumian. Next day they rose early, and travelled over a very high mountain, and when they were on the other side, they found a castle called Tarcon, on a high rock. It had been taken by Timur Beg, and paid him tribute, and it is in the land of Georgia. They slept in a village about a league further on, and travelled through these mountains for two more days.