Page:Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol 7 (1897).djvu/34

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18
THE DECLINE AND FALL

the monstrous fables, of men with dogs' heads and cloven feet, we shall find that, fifteen years after the death of Zingis, the Moguls were informed of the name and manners of the Samoyedes in the neighbourhood of the polar circle, who dwelt in subterraneous huts, and derived their furs and their food from the sole occupation of hunting.[1]

The successors of Zingis, A.D. 1227-1259. While China, Syria, and Poland were invaded at the same time by the Moguls and Tartars, the authors of the mighty mischief were content with the knowledge and declaration that their word was the sword of death. Like the first caliphs, the first successors of Zingis seldom appeared in person at the head of their victorious armies. On the banks of the Onon and Selinga, the royal or golden horde exhibited the contrast of simplicity and greatness; of the roasted sheep and mare's milk which composed their banquets; and of a distribution in one day of five hundred waggons of gold and silver. The ambassadors and princes of Europe and Asia were compelled to undertake this distant and laborious pilgrimage; and the life and reign of the great dukes of Russia, the kings of Gregoria and Armenia, the sultans of Iconium, and the emirs of Persia, were decided by the frown or smile of the Great Khan. The sons and grandsons of Zingis had been accustomed to the pastoral life; but the village of Caracorum[2] was gradually ennobled by their election and residence. A change of manners is implied in the removal of Octai and Mangou from a tent to an house; and their example was imitated by the princes of their family and the great officers of the empire. Instead of the boundless forest, the inclosure of a park afforded the more indolent pleasures of the chase; their new habitations were decorated with painting and sculpture; their superfluous treasures were cast in fountains, and basons, and statues of massy silver; and the artists of China and Paris vied with each other in the service of the Great

  1. See Carpin's relation in Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 30. The pedigree of the khans of Siberia is given by Abulghazi (part viii. p. 485-495). Have the Russians found no Tartar chronicles at Tobolskoi?
  2. The Map of d'Anville and the Chinese Itineraries (de Guignes, tom. i. p. 57) seem to mark the position of Holin, or Caracorum, about six hundred miles to the north-west of Pekin. The distance between Selinginsky and Pekin is near 2000 Russian versts, between 1300 and 1400 English miles (Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 67). [For the situation of Caracorum, at a place still called Kara-Kharam, on the north bank of the Orchon, see Geographical Magazine for July 1874. p. 137; Yule's Marco Polo, vol. i. p. 228-229.]