Continued conquests.--Efforts of Jalaloddin.--Jalaloddin
becomes discouraged.--The governor's advice.--Renewed
exertions.--Stratagem.--Fictitious soldiers.--Quarrel about a
horse.--Disaffection.--Jalaloddin's forces divided.--Great battle
in the defile.--Orders to take Jalaloddin alive.--He takes leave
of his family.--His escape across the river.--His defiance of
gles of the horse.--Night spent in a
tree.--Jalaloddin meets with friends.--Large body of men
escaped.--Pressing wants.--Timely aid from Jamalarrazad.--Fate
of the sultan's family.--Sunken treasures.--Jalaloddin's
end.--Sieges.--Logs instead of stones for ammunition.--Modern
bombs.--Bringing stones.--Occupation of slaves.--Shields.--Protection
against fire.--Precautions.--Attempts at resistance.--Account of
Kubru.--His noble spirit.--Kubru slain.--Pusillanimity.--Sorties by
the garrisons.--Desperation of the people.--Mode of disposing of
prisoners.--Prodigious slaughter.--Atrocities.--The pearl.--Genghis
Khan's grandson killed.--His mother's revenge.--Principles of the
Mohammedan faith.--Genghis Khan's opinion.--The spirit of religious
After this Genghis Khan went on successfully for several years,
extending his conquests over all the western part of Central Asia,
while the generals whom he had left at home were extending his
dominions in the same manner in the eastern portion. He overran nearly
all of Persia, went entirely around the Caspian Sea, and even
approached the confines of India.
In this expedition toward India he was in pursuit of Jalaloddin.
Immediately after the death of his father, Jalaloddin had done all in
his power to raise an army and carry on the war against Genghis Khan.
He met with a great deal of embarrassment and difficulty at first, on
account of the plots and conspiracies which his grandmother had
organized in favor of his brother Kothboddin, and the dissensions
among his people to which they gave rise. At last, in the course of a
year, he succeeded, in some measure, in healing this breach and in
raising an army; and, though he was not strong enough to fight the
Monguls in a general battle, he hung about them in their march and
harassed them in various ways, so as to impede their operations very
essentially. Genghis Khan from time to time sent off detachments from
his army to take him. He was often defeated in the engagements which
ensued, but he always succeeded in saving himself and in keeping
together a portion of his men, and thus he maintained himself in the
field, though he was growing weaker and weaker all the time.
At last he became completely discouraged, and, after signal defeat
which he met with from a detachment which had been sent against him by
Genghis Khan, he went, with the few troops that remained together, to
a strong fortress among the mountains, and told the governor that it
seemed to him useless to continue the struggle any longer, and that he
had come to shut himself up in the fortress, and abandon the contest
The governor, however, told him that it was not right for a prince,
the descendant of ancestors so illustrious as his, and the inheritor
of so resplendent a crown, to yield to discouragement and despondency
on account of the reverses of fortune. He advised him again to take
the field, and to raise a new army, and continue the contest to the
Jalaloddin determined to follow this advice, and, after a brief period
of repose at the castle, he again took the field.
He made great exertions, and finally succeeded in getting together
about twenty thousand men. This was a small force, it is true,
compared with the numbers of the enemy; but it was sufficient, if well
managed, to enable the prince to undertake operations of considerable
importance, and Jalaloddin began to feel somewhat encouraged again.
With his twenty thousand men he gained one or two victories too, which
encouraged him still more. In one of these cases he defeated rather a
singular stratagem which the Mongul general contrived. It seems that
the Mongul detachment which was sent out in this instance against
Jalaloddin was not strong enough, and the general, in order to make
Jalaloddin believe that his force was greater than it really was,
ordered all the felt caps and cloaks that there were in the army to be
stuffed with straw, and placed on the horses and camels of the
baggage, in order to give the appearance of a second line of reserve
in the rear of the line of real soldiers. This was to induce
Jalaloddin to surrender without fighting.
But in some way or other Jalaloddin detected the deceit, and, instead
of surrendering, fought the Monguls with great vigor, and defeated
them. He gained a very decided victory, and perhaps this might have
been the beginning of a change of fortune for him if, unfortunately,
his generals had not quarreled about the division of the spoil. There
was a beautiful Arabian horse which two of his leading generals
desired to possess, and each claimed it. The dispute became, at last,
so violent that one of the generals struck the other in his face with
the lash of his whip. Upon this the feud became a deadly one. Both
parties appealed to Jalaloddin. He did not wish to make either general
an enemy by deciding in favor of the other, and so he tried to
compromise the matter. He did not succeed in doing this; and one of
the generals, mortally offended, went off in the night, taking with
him all that portion of the troops which was under his command.
Jalaloddin did every thing in his power to bring the disaffected
general back again; but, before he could accomplish this purpose,
Genghis Khan came up with a large force between the two parties, and
prevented their effecting a junction.
Jalaloddin had now no alternative but to retreat. Genghis Khan
followed him, and it was in this way that, after a time, both the
armies reached the banks of the Indus, on the borders of India.
Jalaloddin, being closely pursued, took his position in a narrow
defile near the bank of the river, and here a great battle was fought
among the rocks and precipices. Jalaloddin, it is said, had only
thirty thousand men at his command, while Genghis Khan was at the head
of an army of three hundred thousand. The numbers in both cases are
probably greatly exaggerated, but the proportion may perhaps be true.
It was only a small portion of the Mongul army that could get into the
defile where the sultan's troops had posted themselves; and so
desperately did the latter fight, that it is said they killed twenty
thousand of the Monguls before they gave in. In fact, they fought like
wild beasts, with desperate and unremitting fury, all day long. Toward
night it became evident to Jalaloddin that it was all over with him. A
large portion of his followers were killed. Some had made their escape
across the river, though many of those who sought to do so were
drowned in the attempt. The rest of his men were completely exhausted
and discouraged, and wholly unable to renew the contest on the
Jalaloddin had exposed himself very freely in the fight, in hopes,
perhaps, that he should be killed. But Genghis Khan had given positive
orders that he should be taken alive. He had even appointed two of his
generals to watch carefully, and to see that no person should, under
any circumstances, kill him. He wished to take him alive, in order to
lead him through the country a prisoner, and exhibit him to his former
subjects as a trophy of his victory, just as he had done and was still
doing with the old queen Khatun, his grandmother.
But Jalaloddin was determined that his conqueror should not enjoy this
pleasure. He resolved to attempt to save himself by swimming the
river. He accordingly went first, breathless, and covered with dust
and blood from the fight, to take a hurried leave of his mother, his
wives, and his children, who, as was customary in those countries and
times, had accompanied him in his campaign. He found them in his tent,
full of anxiety and terror. He took leave of them with much sorrow and
many tears, trying to comfort them with the hope that they should
meet again in happier times. Then he took off his armor and his arms,
in order that he might not be impeded in crossing the river,
reserving, however, his sword and bow, and a quiver full of arrows. He
then mounted a fresh horse and rode toward the river.
When he reached the bank of the river, the horse found the current so
rapid and the agitation of the water so great that he was very
unwilling to advance; but Jalaloddin spurred him in. Indeed, there was
no time to be lost; for scarcely had he reached the shore when Genghis
Khan himself, and a party of Monguls, appeared in view, advancing to
seize him. They stopped on the bank when they saw Jalaloddin ride into
the water among the rocks and whirlpools. They did not dare to follow
him, but they remained at the water-side to see how his perilous
adventure would end.
As soon as Jalaloddin found that he was out of their reach, he stopped
at a place where his horse found a foothold, and turned round toward
his pursuers with looks of hatred and defiance. He then drew his bow,
and began to shoot at them with his arrows, and he continued to shoot
until all the arrows in his quiver were exhausted. Some of the more
daring of the Monguls proposed to Genghis Khan that they should swim
out and try to take him. But Genghis Khan would not allow them to go.
He said the attempt would be useless.
"You can do nothing at all with him," said he. "A man of such cool and
determined bravery as that will defy and defeat all your attempts. Any
father might be proud to have such a son, and any son proud to be
descended from such a father."
When his arrows were all expended, Jalaloddin took to the river again;
and his horse, after a series of most desperate struggles among the
whirlpools and eddies, and the boiling surges which swept around the
rocks, succeeded at length in carrying his master over. The progress
of the horse was watched with great interest by Genghis Khan and his
party from the shore as long as they could see him.
As soon as Jalaloddin landed, and had recovered a little from the
fatigue and excitement of the passage, he began to look around him,
and to consider what was next to be done. He found himself entirely
alone, in a wild and solitary place, which he had reason to fear was
infested with tigers and other ferocious beasts of prey, such as haunt
the jungles in India. Night was coming on too, and there were no signs
of any habitations or of any shelter. So he fastened his horse at the
foot of a tree, and climbed up himself among the branches, and in this
way passed the night.
The next morning he came down and began to walk along the bank of the
river to see what he could find. He was in a state of great anxiety
and distress. Suddenly, to his great relief and joy, he came upon a
small troop of soldiers, accompanied by some officers, who had escaped
across the river from the battle as he had done. Three of these
officers were his particular friends, and he was overjoyed to see
them. They had made their way across the river in a boat which they
had found upon the bank at the beginning of the defeat of the army.
They had spent the whole night in the boat, being in great danger from
the shoals and shelving rocks, and from the impetuosity of the
current. Finally, toward morning, they had landed, not far from the
place where Jalaloddin found them.
Not long after this he came upon a troop of three hundred horsemen,
who had escaped by swimming the river at a place where the water was
more smooth, at some distance below. These men told him that about six
miles farther down the stream there was a body of about four thousand
men who had made their escape in a similar manner. On assembling
these men, Jalaloddin found himself once more at the head of a
The immediate wants of the men were, however, extremely pressing, for
they were all wholly destitute of food and of every other necessary,
and Jalaloddin would have been greatly embarrassed to provide for them
had it not been for the thoughtfulness and fidelity of one of the
officers of his household on the other side of the river. This
officer's name was Jamalarrazad. As soon as he found that his master
had crossed the river, knowing, too, that a great number of the troops
had attempted to cross besides, and that, in all probability, many of
them had succeeded in reaching the other bank, who would all be
greatly in want of provisions and stores the next morning, he went to
work at once, during the night, and loaded a very large boat with
provisions, arms, money, and stuff to make clothing for the soldiers.
He succeeded in getting off in this boat before his plan was
discovered by the Monguls, and in the course of the next morning he
reached the opposite bank with it, and thus furnished to Jalaloddin an
abundant provision for his immediate necessities.
Jalaloddin was so much pleased with the conduct of Jamalarrazad in
this affair that he appointed him at once to a very high and
responsible office in his service, and gave him a new title of honor.
In the mean time, Genghis Khan, on the other side of the river, took
possession the next morning of Jalaloddin's camp. Of course, the
family of the sultan fell into his hands. The emperor ordered all the
males to be killed, but he reserved the women for a different fate.
Among the persons killed was a boy about eight years old, Jalaloddin's
Jalaloddin had ordered his treasure to be sunk in the river,
intending, probably, to come back and recover it at some future time.
But Genghis Khan found out in some way where it was sunk, and he sent
divers down for it, and thus obtained possession of it as a part of
After this, Jalaloddin remained five or six years in India, where he
joined himself and his army with some of the princes of that country,
and fought many campaigns there. At length, when a favorable
opportunity occurred, he came back to his own country, and fought some
time longer against the Monguls there, but he never succeeded in
gaining possession of any substantial power.
Genghis Khan continued after this for two or three years in the
Mohammedan countries of the western part of Asia, and extended his
conquests there in every direction. It is not necessary to follow his
movements in detail. It would only be a repetition of the same tale of
rapine, plunder, murder, and devastation. Sometimes a city would
surrender at once, when the conqueror approached the gates, by sending
out a deputation of the magistrates and other principal inhabitants
with the keys of the city, and with magnificent presents, in hopes to
appease him. And they usually so far succeeded in this as to put the
Mongul soldiery in good-humor, so that they would content themselves
with ransacking and plundering the place, leaving the inhabitants
alive. At other times the town would attempt to resist. The Monguls
would then build engines to batter down the walls, and to hurl great
stones over among the besieged. In many instances there was great
difficulty in obtaining a sufficient supply of stones, on account of
the alluvial character of the ground on which the city stood. In such
cases, after the stones found near were exhausted, the besiegers would
cut down great trees from the avenues leading to the town, or from the
forests near, and, sawing the trunk up into short lengths, would use
the immense blocks thus formed as ammunition for the engines. These
great logs of heavy wood, when thrown over the walls, were capable of
doing almost as much execution as the stones, though, compared with a
modern bomb-shell--a monstrous ball of iron, which, after flying four
or five miles from the battery, leaving on its way a fiery train
through the air, descends into a town and bursts into a thousand
fragments, which fly like iron hail in every direction around--they
were very harmless missiles.
In sawing up the trunks of the trees into logs, and in bringing stones
for the engines, the Monguls employed the prisoners whom they had
taken in war and made slaves of. The amount of work of this kind which
was to be done at some of the sieges was very great. It is said that
at the siege of Nishabur--a town whose inhabitants greatly offended
Genghis Khan by secretly sending arms, provisions, and money to
Jalaloddin, after they had once surrendered to the Monguls and
pretended to be friendly to them--the army of the Monguls employed
twelve hundred of these engines, all of which were made at a town at
some distance from the place besieged, and were then transported, in
parts, by the slaves, and put together by them under the walls. While
the slaves were employed in works of this kind, they were sometimes
protected by wooden shields covered with raw hides, which were carried
before them by other slaves, to keep off and extinguish the fiery
darts and arrows which were shot at them from the wall.
Sometimes, too, the places where the engines were set up were
protected by wooden bulwarks, which, together with the frame-work
itself of the engines, were covered with raw hides, to prevent their
being set on fire by the enemy. The number of raw hides required for
this purpose was immense, and to obtain them the Monguls slaughtered
vast herds of horses and cattle which they plundered from the enemy.
In order to embarrass the enemy in respect to ammunition for their
engines, the people of a town, when they heard that the Monguls were
coming, used to turn out sometimes in mass, several days before, and
gather up all the stones they could find, and throw them into the
river, or otherwise put them out of the way.
In some cases, the towns that were threatened, as has already been
said, did not attempt to resist, but submitted at once, and cast
themselves on the mercy of the conqueror. In such cases the Mongul
generals usually spared the lives of the inhabitants, though they
plundered their property. It sometimes happened, too, that after
attempting to defend themselves for some time, the garrison would
become discouraged, and then would attempt to make some terms or
conditions with the conqueror before they surrendered. In these cases,
however, the terms which the Monguls insisted upon were often so hard
that, rather than yield to them, the garrison would go on fighting to
In one instance there lived in a town that was to be assailed a
certain sheikh, or prince, named Kubru, who was a man of very exalted
character, as well as of high distinction. The Mongul general whom
Genghis Khan had commissioned to take the town was his third son,
Oktay. Oktay had heard of the fame of the sheikh, and had conceived a
very high respect for him. So he sent a herald to the wall with a
passport for the sheikh, and for ten other persons such as he should
choose, giving him free permission to leave the town and go wherever
he pleased. But the sheikh declined the offer. Then Oktay sent in
another passport, with permission to the sheikh to take a thousand men
with him. But he still refused. He could not accept Oktay's bounty,
he said, unless it were extended to all the Mohammedans in the town.
He was obliged to take his lot with the rest, for he was bound to his
people by ties too strong to be easily sundered.
So the siege went on, and at the end of it, when the town was carried,
the sheikh was slain with the rest in the streets, where he stood his
ground to the last, fighting like a lion.
All the Mohammedan chieftains, however, did not possess so noble a
spirit as this. One chieftain, when he found that the Monguls were
coming, caused himself to be let down with ropes from the wall in the
night, and so made his escape, leaving the town and the garrison to
The garrisons of the towns, knowing that they had little mercy to
expect from their terrible enemies, fought often very desperately to
the last, as they would have done against beasts of prey. They would
suddenly open the gates and rush out in large bands, provided with
combustibles of all kinds and torches, with which they would set fire
to the engines of the besiegers, and then get back again within the
walls before the Monguls could recover sufficiently from the alarm and
confusion to intercept them. In this manner they destroyed a great
many of the engines, and killed vast numbers of men.
Still the Monguls would persevere, and, sooner or later, the place was
sure to fall. Then, when the inhabitants found that all hope was over,
they had become so desperate in their hatred of their foes that they
would sometimes set the town on fire with their own hands, and throw
themselves and their wives and children into the flames, rather than
fall into the hands of their infuriated enemies.
The cruelties which the Monguls perpetrated upon their unhappy victims
when, after a long resistance, they finally gained possession of a
town, were indeed dreadful. They usually ordered all the people to
come out to an open space on the plain, and there, after taking out
all the young and able-bodied men, who could be made useful in
bringing stones and setting up engines, and other such labors, and
also all the young and beautiful women, to be divided among the army
or sold as slaves, they would put the rest together in a mass, and
kill them all by shooting at them with arrows, just as if they had
been beasts surrounded in a chase, excepting that the excitement and
pleasure of shooting into such a mass of human victims, and of hearing
the shrieks and cries of their terror, was probably infinitely
greater to their brutal murderers than if it had been a herd of lions,
tigers, and wolves that they were destroying.
It is said by the historians that in one case the number of people
ordered out upon the plain was so great that it took four days for
them to pass out and assemble at the appointed place, and that, after
those who were to be spared had been separated from the rest, the
number that were left to be slain was over one hundred thousand, as
recorded by the secretaries who made an enumeration of them.
In another case the slaughter was so great that it took twelve days to
count the number of the dead.
Some of the atrocities which were perpetrated upon the prisoners were
almost too horrible to be described. In one case a woman, quite
advanced in years, begged the Monguls to spare her life, and promised
that, if they would do so, she would give them a pearl of great value.
They asked her where the pearl was, and she said she had swallowed it.
The Monguls then immediately cut her down, and ripped her body open
with their swords to find the pearl. They found it, and then,
encouraged by this success, and thinking it probable that other women
might have attempted to hide their jewels in the same way, they
proceeded to kill and cut open a great number of women to search for
pearls in their bodies, but they found no more.
At the siege of a certain city, called Bamiyan, a young grandson of
Genghis Khan, wishing to please his grandfather by his daring,
approached so near the wall that he was reached by an arrow shot by
one of the archers, and killed. Genghis Khan was deeply affected by
this event, and he showed by the bitterness of his grief that, though
he was so utterly heartless and cruel in inflicting these woes upon
others, he could feel for himself very acutely when it came to his
turn to suffer. As for the mother of the child, she was rendered
perfectly furious by his death. She thought of nothing but revenge,
and she only waited for the town to be taken in order that she might
enjoy it. When, at last, a practicable breach was made, and the
soldiers began to pour into the city, she went in with the rest, and
insisted that every man, woman, and child should be put to death. Her
special rage was directed against the children, whom she seemed to
take special pleasure in destroying, in vengeance for the death of her
own child. The hatred and rage which she manifested against children
extended even to babes unborn, and these feelings she evinced by
atrocities too shocking to be described.
The opinions which Genghis Khan entertained on religious subjects
appear from a conversation which he held at one time during the course
of his campaigns in Western Asia with some learned Mohammedan doctors
at Bokhara, which was the great seat at that time of science and
philosophy. He asked the doctors what were the principles of their
religion. They replied that these principles consisted of five
1. In believing in one God, the creator of all things, and
the supreme ruler and governor of the universe.
2. In giving one fortieth part of their yearly income or
gains to the poor.
3. In praying to God five times every day.
4. In setting apart one month in each year for fasting.
5. In making a pilgrimage to the temple in Mecca, there to
Genghis Khan told them that he believed himself in the first of these
articles, and he approved of the three succeeding ones. It was very
well, he said, to give one fortieth of one's income to the poor, and
to pray to God five times a day, and to set apart a month in the year
for a fast. But as to the last article, he could not but dissent from
it entirely, for the whole world was God's house, and it was
ridiculous, he said, to imagine that one place could really be any
more fitting than another as a place for worshiping him.
The learned doctors were much dissatisfied with this answer. They
were, in fact, more displeased with the dissent which the emperor
expressed from this last article, the only one that was purely and
wholly ritual in its character, than they were gratified with the
concurrence which he expressed in all the other four. This is not at
all surprising, for, from the times of the Pharisees down to the
present day, the spirit of sectarianism and bigotry in religion always
plants itself most strongly on the platform of externals. It is always
contending strenuously for rites, while it places comparatively in the
background all that bears directly on the vital and spiritual
interests of the soul.