Page images
PDF
EPUB

*

ESSAY ON THE TRADE AND COM-
MUNICATION OF THE ARABIANS
AND PERSIANS WITH RUSSIA AND

DLE AGES.

tem, but should any thing happen to send for any of them, as they were all him now, all would go in a minority of his staff, to perfect ruin and barbarism.

By the time you have got this far, On my taking leave, I said I had I think you will be as tired of reading only one think to regret, not seeing as my fingers are of writing. I send Sans-Souci and Citadel d'Henry: he this through Mr

And bea said, when you come back you shall lieve me, very truly, yours, come out to me at Sans-Souci, and I will go with you myself to the Citadel, P. S. Did I mention that the king but I have been putting down a great is determined to change the language deal, and making alterations and en- from bad French to English? In con largements, and I dont like to show sequence of the schools, those who do things in an unfinished state.

speak English speak it most correctly. Sans-Souci, which, in my last visit, They wish to annihilate every trace of was merely his country palace, is now a Frenchman. become, I am told, a handsome town, with a larger population than Cape Henry. The palace, they say, has undergone great alterations and im AN HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL provements, and you may guess his magnificence when I tell you that the furniture for his grand hall of audience and state is expected daily from SCANDINAVIA, DURING THE MIDParis, agreed for at one million of francs, and a German (for he will not allow a Frenchman to come) is to have

Introduction. 5000 dollars to fit it up.

The Citadel is hardly to be describ- Among the great monarchies which ed. It appears from the sea at the conquerors have founded in the world, distance of 15 miles, when clear of scarcely any was more remarkable in clouds, like one of those enchanted its origin, or more extensive in its castles in old romances. It is built comprehension, than that empire which on the rocky pinnacle of the highest hill, said to be 1,500 feet above the

* The following essay, translated from level of the sea. He is now enlarging the Danish of J. L. Rasmussen, prælector it, and I was told, but I do not be- of the oriental languages in the University of lieve it, that it will contain 20,000 Copenhagen (Copenh. 1815), will, it is pre

I should guess 8000. He has sumed, be considered as affording a great deal a very handsome palace in it. Here are

of information, hitherto but very little all his treasures." He is is now build- known, respecting the state of Russia, and ing strong martello towers on the ad- the northern countries of Europe, during

the middle ages, drawn from sources which joining hills, which will give him a

have hitherto been in a great measure inacgreat command of hill country for cessible. The learned author has been at raising food for his army. Except by the trouble of collecting most that is to be treachery, I think it impregnable. found in the best Arabian geographers, reThere is no want of water, for it is al- lating to those countries. Their accounts ways in the clouds.

are indeed, on the whole, very unsatisfacThe governor of Cape Henry, the tory, inaccurate, and sometimes entirely fa. Duke of Marmalade, a regular old bulous; yet they,

at the same time, contain black fellow, but an excellent and up- and frequently surprise us by indications of

a great deal of truth and curious matter, right man, gave the officers and me a

a much more extensive acquaintance with grand dinner. I took 12 of them, the north of Europe than we could have exand we sat down 36. We had two pected in a people so far to the south. The Dukes, three Counts, and four Barons, principal argument by which it is proved and all the strangers who had asked that a commercial communication must have me to dinner. He gave us a most existed between the Arabians and Persians gentlemanlike dinner, with an elegant and the Scandinavians, through the medium desert and good wine, and we drank of the Russians, during the middle ages, is

the circumstance, that Cufic, or ancient Ara. all our toasts standing with three bic coins, from the countries lying near the times three. They were very mode. Caspian Sea, have frequently been found in rate, but this is not natural; they like a various parts of Rassia, and on the shores glass of wine. But the king might of the Baltic Sea, and appear to have found Vol. IV.

S

men.

was established by the successors of before; and the same effect must have Mahommed, and called the Chalifat. been continued even after some of the The Arabians, who had long before conquered countries had delivered been celebrated for their bravery and themselves from the yoke of the Chainvincible spirit, but lived mutually lifs, and had become independent kingseparated, and without any regular doms, since their mutual intercourse connexion between the different tribes, was very seldom entirely interrupted. wanted only a man, who could, by re It need not, therefore, be matter of ligion and political ambition, unite astonishment, that we owe almost entheir separate races into one people, tirely to the Arabians our more accurouse their latent power, and commu rate acquaintance with these countries nicate to them a high character, pro- during the middle ages. But the Araportionable to the vivid imagination of bians did not continue to be conquerthe nation. Such a man was Mahom ors alone; greater power and wealth, med. The noble inspiration, the firm and the natural consequences of these, conviction of the truth and divine ori a change of life, the desire and want gin of the new religion, the consequent of more numerous and refined enjoyextraordinary courage and immoveable ments, created of course a great many firmness in all undertakings which a wants, which were unknown to them nimated the Prophet, and his succes

in a Nomadic state, and rendered comsors the Chalifs, the deficiency of good merce nécessary, of which the different governments among unwarlike neigh- conquered nations, that were for the bours, the native propensity of the most part civilized, presented them Arabians to war and adventurous un with examples, and which the Prophet dertakings; to which may be added, himself promoted by the injunction of the command to propagate religion by the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Medithe sword, enjoined by the koran, that terranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the highest ideal of poetry and eloquence: Indian Ocean (for they seldom or all these circumstances are sufficient to never ventured upon the Atlantic, but shew us how it was possible, that the sailed along the coasts only), gave empire of the Arabians, together with their maritime commerce a considertheir religion and language, was, in able compass, although that was never less than a century after the death of any thing more than of a secondary the Prophet, extended from the Atlan- consequence compared with the usual tic Ocean to India, and from the de- trade, which was carried on from their serts of Africa and the Indian Ocean own country, by means of caravans, a to France, the Mediterranean Sea, method rendered necessary in conseAsia Minor, Georgia and the Caspian quence of the immense plains of their Sea. Under the Abbassidæ the sci- country. This trade was divided into ences began to fourish among the Ara- three great branches, not to mention bians, especially from the zeal of Ha- the innumerable inferior channels, and run Alrashid and his son Almamun, the great pilgrimage to Mecca. One and their zealous exertions for their of these passed, and is still continued, advancement. The learned were now

towards the south from Barbary (the no longer satisfied, like their forefa- country of the Berbers), the country thers, with cultivating poetry and lan- of Dates and Egypt, through the deguage, but devoted themselves to the sert of Sahara, which abounds in salt, mathematical, philosophical, historical, to Nigritia, whence they fetched gold, and geographical sciences. Their im- slaves, and ivory. The other was dimense conquests, which comprehended rected to the east from Persia, through the largest and best part of the inha- Cashmere to India and China, or, from bited world, must have greatly contri- the northern provinces of Persia, buted to extend their knowledge of the through the wastes of Tartary to Chiearth, which was certainly but limited The direction of the third; of

which alone we shall treat, was to the their way thither in such vast quantities, north from Armenia, Derbend (Babthat they are hardly ever found any where el-abwab), and the northern provinces else ; which can only be explained by the of Persia over the Caspian Sea to Chazsupposition, that commerce was the channel aria (now Astracan), and thence farby which they were brought. Almost all

ther to the countries of the Bulgarians, the notes given by the author have been 0mitted by the translator, having been judg. Russians and Slavi, and our northern ed to be here unnecessary.

regions.

na.

[ocr errors]

Although the Byzantine historians Deguignes has given a short description have given us considerable information, in the Notices et Extraits des MSS. de especially concerning a part of southern la Bibliotheque du Roi, tona i. The Russia, the accounts of the Arabian geography of Edrisi, the Nubian geogeographers, derived from more or less grapher, called “ The Recreation of a credible authorities, respecting these curious Mind.” He wrote in the immense regions, are nevertheless of twelfth century in Sicily, under the no inconsiderable importance. From government of Roger I. This work these we shall see, that the acquaint- was printed in Rome in Arabic only, ance which the Arabians had with the and a Latin version by two Maronites countries to the north of the Caspian at Paris in 1619. Abdallah Yacuti Sea, reached, if not so far as the Baltic wrote a geographical dictionary in alSea (which we have no sufficient proofs phabetical order, called “ Mojamel for believing they knew by name), at Boldan.” Nothing is said of this auleast very near it, and was therefore thor in D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orivery extensive, and much greater than entale, but it appears from the begincould have been expected from a peo- ning of his work, which he says he ple, who, as inhabiting the south, commenced on the 11th night of the could have no very favourable ideas of month of Moharram, in the year (of the north, and besides, as true believe the Hegira) 625, that he is to be reers, must have considered all those of ferred to the 13th century. Nasirida different religion, and particularly di Tables of Latitude and Longiheathens and idolaters, as an abomina- tude. He lived in the thirteenth cention. It will finally also be seen, that tury, Ulug Beg', the son-in-law of Scandinavia was not altogether un- Tamerlane, and lord of Samarcand, known to the Arabians in the middle wrote his Tables, A. H. 841, A. D. ages, although their knowledge of it 1437. Zechuria Ben Mohammed, sure was, in consequence of the distance, named Cazwini (from Cazwin, á city, but very imperfect; that the accounts of Persian Irak), a writer of the thira they received of it, as they passed teenth century, has written, besidesthrough several reporters, and as no several other works, one, called “ The Arabians ever proceeded so far north, Wonders of Countries.” This work, must have been extremely falsified and being the best of all, has been chiefly mixed up with fables; and lastly, that here made use of. Serajiddin Abu the names of places and countries, on Giafar Omar ben Modhaffer Ibn Moaccount of the vast difference between hammed ben Omar Ibn Alvardi, an authe language and pronunciation of the thor of the thirteenth century, wrote a ancient Danes and those of the Arabi- work, entitled “ The Unperforated ans, and the great number of interme- Pearl of Wonders and the Precious diate peoples, each of which pronounced Stone of Rarities.” The time in which the words in their own manner, are to he lived is not exactly known, but he us, at present, in a great degree unina appears to have been contemporary telligible.

with Cazwini, who, according to the The printed and manuscript Arabic' testimony of Deguignes, speaks of him geographers which have been made use, frequently. This being the case, Caz.. of in this inquiry stand thus in chro- wini must have copied from Ibn Alnological order. Alfraganii elementa vardi, for their respective works reastronomica, ed. Golius. Alfragani semble one another so much, that he wrote about the year of the Hegira who has read that of the former will 230, A. D. 800, under the Chalifat of find it scarcely necessary to read that Almamun. What he says on these of the latter. Deguignes has given an countries, however, as well as the extract of this in the Notices et Exwhole of his description of the world, traits des MSS., &c. tom ii. Abderrais very short. Ibn Haucal wrote, in shid ben Saleh ben Nuri, surnamed the tenth century, a geographical work, Yacuti, or Bakui, who lived in the fifwhich, according to a Persian version, teenth century, is the author of a geohas been translated and published in graphical work, called “ An ExplanaEnglish by Ouseley. Abulhasan Ali, tion of what is most remarkable asurnamed Masudi, a writer of the mong the Wonderful Works of the tenth century, wrote an universal his. Almighty King.". According to Detory, called," Golden Pastures and guignes, he lived about A. H. 806, Mines rich in Pearls.” Of this work A. D. 1403, and followed Cazwini.

Deguignes has given an extract of his side of the Oxus, and soon after be, work in the Notices et Extraits, &c. came the independent sovereigns of tom ii. which has here been made use Persia and Transoxiana, but in the of.

year 999

their power was annihilated by the Turks in Turkestan, in con

junction with the rebellious generals The northern provinces of the Per. and Mahmoud, son of Seboktigin, a sian kingdom, which lie to the south Turk, the founder of the Gaznevide of the Caspian sea, fell very soon under dynasty. The Gaznevides, so called the dominion of the Chalifs. As early from Gazna, a city on the borders of as the time of the Chalif Omar, Arme- Chorasan, ruled over Chorasan and nia, which has on the north Georgia Transoxiana from the year 999 until and Mount Caucasus, Aderbijan, and 1183, but were obliged to give place other Persian provinces, had been to the Ghourides, who, with the deseized upon,

and before the conclusion crease of their power, had become of his Chalifat, the conquest of the powerful in Hindostan. These in their whole kingdom was accomplished, and turn were overthrown by the Sultans the last king Yezdijird was killed in of Chowaresm in the year 1208. These his flight, by the treachery of a miller Sultans had raised themselves by at Merv, in the year 651. In the means of the Seljucidæ, from whom year 714, the Chalif Soliman, of the they received Chowaresm by tenure, family of the Ommiadze, conquered after which they rendered themselves Georgia ; so that, while the power of independent, subjugated their counthe Chalifs was at its height, under try, and would undoubtedly have at, the first of the Abbassidæ, they pos- tained a high degree of power, if they sessed, in the neighbourhood of the bad not been utterly reduced by JenCaspian sea, the whole of Georgia, Cir- gizchan. cassia, Armenia, Persia, Chorasan, Za Besides these dynasties, which ruled blestan, and the country between the particularly the countries in the east rivers Jihoon 'and Sihoon (the Oxus or and south east side of the Caspian sea, Iaxartes of the ancients), which the two other distinguished families de Arabians called Mawaralnahr, i. e. the serve to be mentioned, of which one country beyond the river.

especially bore rule in the country But no long time elapsed after the lying to the south west of that sea, death of Harun Alrashid (in the year namely the Dilemites and the Boui808), before these countries success des. The first governed, from the ively cast off the yoke of the Chalifs, year 927 to 1012, Dilem, Ghilan, who, in consequence of theological Georgia, Thabarstan, and the country contentions, and of internal and exter- lying

along the Caspian sea, but they nal enemies, daily became weaker, so were repressed on one side by the that new dynasties were raised, which Gaznevides, and on the other by the changed and fell as quickly as they Bouides, to whom they had themselves arose. The first of these that appeare given assistance. The latter first beed in the dominions of the Chalifat came known about the year 933; they was that of the Thaheridæ, which was made themselves master of many founded in Chorasan by Thaher, in countries; and their princes enjoyed the year 820 of the chrisian era, dure the title of Emir-al-omra, until Togrul ing the reign of Chalif Almamun. It Beg, the founder of the Seljucidan dystood only 55 years, and was destroyed nasty succeeded in their place in the by the Soffaridæ. This dynasty was year 1055. founded by Laith, surnamed Jacob, Although all these countries' to the the son of Soffar, in Sejestan, in the south of the Caspian sea, which formyear 872. His successor ruled over ed the nearest points of union with Chorasan, Sejestan, Thabarestan, Fars, the northern countries, were exposed and Jebal; but after a period of 30 to constant political revolutions, and years, this family was extinguished were continually changing their masby the Samanida. The founder of ters, yet all these internal revolutions these, Saman, was at first a camel-dri- appear to have had no very

consideraver, and afterwards the leader of a ble prejudicial influence upon comband of robbers, but his posterity merce, as such events were of very were afterwards, in the year 819, go- ordinary occurrence in the east, and vernors of the countries on the other ended as suddenly as they were instan

taneous in their commencement; espe- A. D. 579), in order to separate his cially as the new rulers, none of whom dominions from the Chazarians of the were mere barbarians, were obliged, north. There he built a wall of exa, by necessity and for their own advan- traordinary length, on which he plactage, to attend to the progress of com- ed watchmen, that he might prevent merce, as much as the old ones. It is, the incursions of the Chazarians, the however, not improbable that there Turks, and other infidels. were sometimes some cessation and in Besides the city Sabran, as Edrisi terruption of that commerce, which informs us, Chosru built on the Caswas carried on by caravans, partly pian sea also the city Karkara, created with China through Tartary, for å many towns on the mountain Alkabk, length of a hundred days' journey to to the number of three hundred at the lihoon or Oxus, and partly with least, and besides the city Bab, on the India, by way of Cashmere to the side of the Chazarians, he built Balansame river, and over the Caspian sea, giar, Samandar, and Albaida. On and thence farther by the river Rion Derbend, Cazwini speaks thus: “ Bab (Phasis) and the Black sea to Constan- and Alabwab lie in the north of Pertinople, by which difficult way the sia. Bab, which was built by AnuGreeks, or rather the Venetians, and shirwan upon the sea of Alcahzr (the Genoese received their Chinese and Caspian sea), abounds in gardens and Indian commodities. On the contrary, fruits. There is the haven of the commerce was seldom carried on by Chazarians and other nations (when land between the southern part of they land with their merchandize), Asia and the countries lying to the which is closed by a chain from one north of the Caspian sea, but for the side to the other, by which they can greater part by sea, from the commer, prevent an entrance or egress whencial towns situated on its southern and ever they please. Alabwab is the narsouth western shore, and was conse row pass in Mount Caucasus, which quently subjected in no inconsiderable is called, in ancient chronicles, the degree to the dispositions and interest- mountain of Alfatach (the mountain ed views of the constantly changing of the opening, probably because the rulers.

only passage to the northern countries Among these commercial towns, lay through it), where there are many that which is most spoken of is the ce- fortresses, such as Bab-Sul, Bab-Al. lebrated and still flourishing city of lan (the gate of the Alani), Bab-AssbaDerbend, which the Arabians call ran, Bab-Alarfah, Bab-Sejesi, BabBab (door, gate) in the province of Sahib Assarir (the gate of the lord of Daghestan, close to Shirwan. It re- the throne), Bab-Filan Shah, &c. It ceived its name from the narrow pass is said, that when the Persians subdued formed by a branch of Caucasus and this country, they built the cities of the sea, near which it lies. Its situa- Bilkan, Bosdah, and Sad-albar, to keep tion for commerce could hardly be them in subordination. Anushirwan more favourable; being surrounded built the cities Sabran, Karkarah, Bab by the fertile countries of Dagestan and Alwabwab, in order to command and particularly Shirwan, which pro- the mountain Alkabk, which is likeduces all kinds of grain and fruit, it wise called Alfatach, and besides three is, as it were, the point of uniou between hundred and sixty fortresses on the the countries to the south and north side of the Chazarians." Anushirwan of Mount Caucasus. Abulfeda con- also appointed a governor, one of his own firms this in the following words: people, to protect the boundaries and “ Bab-al-abwab is the place of meet- the passes of the mountains, whose reing and staple city for all traders from sidence, which was in Shirwan, was Thabarestan, Georgia, Dailem (Ghi- called Assarir (the throne), while the lan), as also for those from Assaris chief himself was called the lord of (Shirwan), Chazaria, and other infidel the throne. This name was given to countries. No linen cloths are manu- him, according to Cazwini, “because factured in the three first mentioned he had a golden throne adorned with provinces, but only in this city. There precious stones, on which the labour is likewise Safran, to which slaves are of ten years had been expended; brought from the northern people.” which throne, when the Greeks (AlDerbend was built by the great Persian roum) took possession of the country, king Chosru Anushirwan (who died remained in its place, and has continu

« PreviousContinue »