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CHAP. obstinate defence had enraged the Sclavonians, XLII. they massacred fifteen thousand males; but they
spared the women and children; the most valuable captives were always reserved for labour or ransom; the servitude was not rigorous, and the terms of their deliverance were speedy and mode, rate. But the subject or the historian of Justinian, exhaled his just indignation in the language of complaint and reproach; and Procopius has, confidently affirmed, that in a reign of thirty-two years, each annual inroad of the Barbarians consumed two hundred thousand of the inhabitants of the Roman empire. The entire population of Turkish Europe, which nearly corresponds with the provinces of Justinian, would perhaps be incapable of supplying six millions of persons, the
result of this incredible estimate *. Origin and In the midst of these obscure calamities, Europe monarchy felt the shock of a revolution, which first re
vealed to the world the name and nation of the TURKS. Like Romulus, the founder of that martial people was suckled by a she wolf, who afterwards made him the father of a numerous progeny ; and the representation of that animal in the banners of the Turks preserved the memory, or rather suggested the idea, of a fable, which was invented, without any mutual intercourse, by the shepherds of Latium and those of Scythia. At the equal distance of two thousand miles from the Caspian, the Icy, the Chinese, and the Bengal
* According to the malevolent testimony of the Anecdotes (c. 18.), these inroads had reduced the provinces south of the Danube to the state of a Scythian wilderness.
seas, a rigde of mountains is conspicuous, the CHAP. centre, and perhaps the summit of Asia; which, in the language of different nations, has been styled Imaus, and Caf*, and Altai, and the Golden Mountains, and the Girdle of the Earth. The sides of the hills were productive of minerals ; and the iron forgest, for the purpose of war, were exercised by the Turks, the most despised portion of the slaves of the great khan of the Geougen. But their servitude could only last till a leader, bold and eloquent, should arise, to persuade his countrymen that the same arms which they forged for their masters, might become, in their own hands, the instruments of freedom and victory. They sallied from the mountain ; a sceptre was the reward of his advice; and the
* From Caf to Caf; which a more rational geopraphy would interpret, from Imaus, perhaps, to mount Atlas. According to the religious philosophy of the Mahometans, the basis of mount Caf is an emerald, whose reflection produces the azure of the sky. The mountain is endowed with a sensitive action in its roots or nerves; and their vibration, at the command of God, is the cause of earthquakes (D'Herbelot, p. 230, 231.).
The Siberian iron is the best and most plentiful in the world; and in the southern parts, above sixty mines are now worked by the industry of the Russians (Strahlenberg, Hist., of Siberia, p. 342. 387. Voyage en Siberia, par l'Abbè Chappe de Auteroche, p. 603-608. edit. in 12mo. Amsterdam, 1770.). The Turks offered iron for sale; yet the Roman ambassadors, with strange obstinacy, persisted in believing that it was all a trick, and that their country produced none (Menander in Excerpt. Leg. p. 152.).
Of Irgana-kon (Abulghazi Khan, Hist. Genealogique de Tatars, P. ii. c. 5. p. 71-77. c. 15. p. 155.). The tradition of the Moguls, of the 450 years which they passed in the mountains, agrees with the Chinese periods of the history of the Huns and Turks (De Guignes, tom. i. part ii. p. 376.), and the twenty generations, from their restoration to Zingis.
CHA P. annual ceremony, in which a piece of iron was
heated in the fire, and a smith's hammer was suco cessively handled by the prince and his nobles, recorded for ages the humble profession and rational pride of the Turkish nation. Bertezena, their first leader, signalized their valour and his own in successful combats against the neighbouring tribes ; but when he presumed to ask in marriage the daughter of the great khan, the insolent demand of a slave and a mechanic was conteniptuously rejected. The disgrace was expiated by a more noble alliance with a princess of China ; and the decisive battle which almost extirpated the nation of Geougen, established in 'Tartary the new and more powerful empire of the Turks. They reigned over the north; but they confessed the vanity of conquest, by their faithful attachment to the mountain of their fathers. The royal encampment seldom lost sight of mount Altai, from whence the river Irtish descends to water the rich pastures of the Calmucks *, which nourish the largest sheep and oxen in the world. The soil is fruitful, and the climate mild and temperate : the happy region was ignorant of earthquake and pestilence; the emperor's throne was turned towards the east, and a golden wolf, on the top of a spear seemed to guard the entrance of his tent. One of the successors of Berte
* The country of the Turks, now of the Calmucks, is well desribed in the Genealogical History, p. 521-562. The cu. rious notes of the French translator are enlarged and digested in the second volume of the English version.
zeria was tempted by the luxury and supersti- CHAP. tion of China ; but his design of building cities and temples was defeated by the simple wisdom of com a Barbarian counsellor. “ The Turks,” he said,
are not equal in number to one hundredth part " of the inhabitants of China. If we balance “ their power, and elude their armies, it is because
, “ we wander without any fixed habitations, in “ the exercise of war and hunting.
Are we strong? we advance and conquer : are we “ feeble ? we retire and are concealed. Should " the Turks confine themselves within the walls “ of cities, the loss of a battle would be the “ destruction of their empire. The Bonzes preach “ only patience, humility, and the renunciation “ of the world. Such, Ó king! is not the reli
gion of heroes.” They entertained with less reluctance, the doctrines of Zoroaster; but the greatest part of the nation acquiesced, without inquiry, in the opinions, or rather in the practice, of their ancestors. The honours of sacrifice were reserved for the supreme deity; they acknowledged, in rude hymns, their obligations to the air, the fire, the water, and the earth; and their priests derived some profit from the art of divination. Their unwritten laws were rigorous and impartial : theft was punished by a tenfold restitution : adultery, treason, and murder, with death: and no chastisement could be inflicted too severe for the rare and inexpiable guilt of cowardice. As the subject nations marched under the standard of the Turks, their cavalry, both men and horses, were
CH A P. proudly computed by millions; one of their effeca XLII. tive armies consisted of four hundred thousand
soldiers, and in less than fifty years they were connected in peace and war with the Romans, the Persians, and the Chinese. In their northern limits, some vestige may be discovered of the form and situation of Kamshatka, of a people of huntters and fishermen, whose sledges were drawn by dogs, and whose habitations were buried in the earth, The Turks were ignorant of astronomy ; but the observation taken by some learned Chinese, with a gnomon of eight feet, fixes the royal camp in the latitude of forty-nine degrees, and marks their extreme progress within three, or at least ten degrees of the polar circle *. Among their southern conquests, the most' splendid was that of the Nephtalites or white Huns, a polite and warlike people, who possessed the commercial cities of Bochara and Samarcand, who had vanquished the Persian monarch, and carried their victorious arms along the banks, and perhaps to the mouih, of the Indus. On the side of the west, the Turkish cavalry advanced to the lake Mæotis They passed that lake on the ice. The khan who dwelt at the foot of mount Altai, issued his commands for the siege of Bosphorus t, a city, the voluntary subject of Rome, and whose princes had formerly been the friends of
* Visdelou, p. 141. 131. The fact, though it strictly belongs to a subordinate and successive tribe, may be introdued here.
+ Procopius, Persic. I. i. c. 12. 1. i. c. 3. Peyssonnel (Observations sur les Peuples Barbares, p. 99, 100.) defines the distance between Caffa and the old Bosphorus at xvi long Tar. tar leagues.