Volume 1, Chapter 8, Sections 11-15 -- The Travels of John de Plano Carpini and other Friars, sent about the year 1246, as ambassadors from Pope Innocent IV, to the great Khan of the Moguls or Tartars: *section index*


Volume 1, Chapter 8, Section 11 -- Of Monstrous Men like Dogs, and of the Conquest of Burithabeth.

In returning through the desert, we were told by some Russian priests at the emperor's court, that the Mongals found certain women, who, being asked where their men were, said that all the women of that country had human shapes, but that the males had the shape of great dogs. After some time, they met the dogs on the other side of a river. It being in winter, the dogs plunged into the water, and then rolled themselves in the dust on the land, till the dust and water was frozen on their backs; and having done this repeatedly till the ice was thick and strong, they attacked the Mongals with great fury; but when the Mongals threw their darts, or shot their arrows at them, they rebounded as if they had fallen on stones, neither could their weapons in any way hurt them. But the dogs killed some of the Tartars, and wounded many with their teeth, and finally drove them out of the country.[1]

On their return home, the Mongals came into the country of Burithabeth, of which the inhabitants are pagans, and conquered the people in battle. These people have a strange custom of eating their kindred when they die. They have no beard, for we saw some of them going about with certain iron instruments in their hands, with which they pluck out any hairs they find on their faces.[2]

[1] It is surely unnecessary to remark on this ridiculous story of the canine men, which no commentary could reduce to sense.--E.
[2] These people may possibly have been the Burats. The same practice of eradicating the beard is still followed by the native tribes of America.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 8, Section 12 -- How the Mongals were repulsed at the Caspian Mountains, by Men dwelling in Caves.

When Zingis sent the before-mentioned armies into the east, he marched personally into the land of the Kergis,[1] which, however, he did not now conquer. In this expedition the Mongals are said to have penetrated to the Caspian mountains, which being of adamant, attracted their arrows and other weapons of iron.[2]

[1] The Kirguses, inhabiting Western Turkestan, between Lake Balkash and the Caspian.--E.
[2] The remainder of this short section is so ridiculously fabulous as not to merit translation, and is therefore omitted.--E.



Volume 1, Chapter 8, Section 13 -- Of the death of Zingis, and concerning his Sons, and the Tartar Dukes or Princes.

Zingis is said to have been killed by lightning. He had four sons, the first was called Occoday, or Oktai, the second Thosut, Tuzi, or Tuschi, the third Thiaday, or Zagathai, and the name of the fourth I could not learn. From these four all the dukes of the Mongals are descended.[1] Cuyne, or Kajuk, the eldest son of Occoday, or Oktai, is now emperor; and he has two brothers Cocten, and Chyrinen. Bathy, or Baatu, Ordu, Siba, and Boru are the sons of Thosut-khan. Baatu is richer and mightier than all the rest, being next in power to the emperor; but Ordu is the superior of all the dukes. The sons of Thiaday are Hurin and Cadan. The sons of the son of Zingis whose name I could not learn, are Mengu, Bithat, and several others. The mother of Mengu was Seroctan, the greatest lady among the Tartars, and the most honoured except the emperor's mother, and more powerful than any subject except Bathy. The following is a list of their dukes: Ordu, Bathy, Huryn, Cadan, Syban, and Ouygat, who were all in Hungary; Cyrpodan, who remains beyond the sea,[2] making war against certain soldans of the Saracens, and other transmarine nations. Mengu, Chyrinen, Hubilai, Sinocur, Cara, Gay, Sybedey, Bora, Berca, and Corensa, all remain in Tartary. But there are many other dukes whose names I could not learn.

[1] Other authors give a different account of the family of Zingis. According to Harris, I. 556, Zuzi, or Tuschi, was his eldest son, who died six months before his father, and his son Baatu got a great part of Tartary for his share. Zagathai, a son of Zingis, got Transoxiana, or the country of the Kirguses. Tuli, another son, had Chorassan, Persia, and western India. Octai had Mongalia and Cathay, or Northern China. Carpini, or rather Vincentius, has sadly confounded all authentic history, by his rambling colloquial collections from ignorant relators, and has miserably corrupted the orthography of names of nations, places, and persons.--E.
[2] Probably meaning in Persia, beyond the Caspian Sea.--E



Volume 1, Chapter 8, Section 14 -- Of the Power of the Emperors, and of his Dukes.

The Tartar emperor enjoys incontrollable power over all his subjects, insomuch, that no man dare abide in any other place than he has assigned; and he even appoints the residences of all the dukes. The dukes appoint the residence of the millenaries, or commanders of a thousand men; the millenaries do the same with the centurions, or captains of hundreds; and the centurions direct in what place the decurions or commanders of tens are to dwell. Whatsoever order any of these officers receive from their immediate superiors must be instantly and implicitly obeyed. If the emperor demands the virgin daughter or sister of any one, she is instantly delivered up; nay, he often collects the virgins from all the Tartar dominions, and retains such as he pleases for himself, giving away others among his followers. All his messengers must be everywhere provided with horses and necessaries without delay: and all messengers coming to him with tribute or otherwise, must be provided on their way with horses, carriages, and all necessaries; yet messengers from strange countries, suffer great distresses and much want of provisions and clothing, especially when sent to any of the princes, and when they have to make any stay; as they often allot for ten men, what would hardly suffice for two, and if they suffer any injury it is even dangerous to complain. Many gifts are demanded of them, both by the princes and others, and if these are refused they are contemned. Owing to this, we were constrained to expend in presents, a large portion of what had been bestowed upon us by well disposed persons to defray our expences. In fine, every thing whatever belongs to the emperor, so that no one dare to say that any thing is his own; and the dukes and princes exercise an equally incontrollable dominion upon all below them.



Volume 1, Chapter 8, Section 15 -- Of the Election of the Emperor Occoday, and of the Expedition of Duke Bathy.

On the death of Zingis-chan, the dukes assembled and elected his son Occoday, Ugadai, or Oktai-khan, emperor in his place; who immediately, in a council of the nobles, divided the army, and sent Bathy, or Baatu-khan, who was next in authority, against the land of Altissodan and the country of the Bissermini[1], who were Saracens, though they spoke the language of the Comanians. Bathy defeated these people in battle; but the city of Barchin, which was surrounded with strong walls, resisted for a long while, until the Tartars filled up the ditches and won the place, which they destroyed. Sargat surrendered without resistance, for which the city was not destroyed, but many of the citizens were slain and made captives, and much spoil was taken, and the city was filled with new inhabitants. The Tartars marched next against the rich and populous city of Orna, in which were many Christian Gassarians, Russians, and Alanians, and many Saracens, the lord of the city being of that nation. This town stands on a large river, and is a kind of port, exercising great trade. Being unable to reduce this place by force, the Tartars dammed up the river, and drowned the whole city, with the inhabitants and their goods. Hence they invaded Russia, and besieged Kiow a long while, which they at length took, and massacred the inhabitants. This was a large and populous city, but is now reduced to nothing, and scarcely has two hundred houses: and when we passed through Russia, we found immense numbers of human skulls and bones scattered about. From Russia and Comania they proceeded against the Hungarians and Polonians, where many of them were slain: and had the Hungarians withstood them manfully, the Tartars had been utterly defeated. In their return from
thence, they invaded and defeated the pagan Morduans: whence they marched against the Byleri of greater Bulgaria, which they almost entirely destroyed. Thence they proceeded to the north against the Bastarci of greater Hungary, whom they conquered; and going farther north, they came to the Parossitae, and thence to the Samogetae, reaching even to the ocean; and from thence returned into Comania.

[1] The Busurmen, Musurmen, or Mahometan inhabitants of Turkestan.--E.


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