Abulgasi, Bayatur

, khan of the Tartars, worthy of a place in this Dictionary, as well on account of his literary talents as from the circumstance of his being the only Tartar historian with whom the nations of Europe are acquainted. He was born in the city of Urgens, capital of the country of Kharasm, in the year of the hegira 1014, answering to the year 1605 of the Christian sera. He was the fourth, in order of birth, of seven brothers, and descended in a direct line, both on nis father’s and his mother’s side, though By different branches, from Zingis khan. His youth was marked by misfortunes, which contributed not a little to form his character, and to fit him for the government. of his states when he came to the sovereignty of the country of Kharasm, which happened in the year of the hegira 1054. He reigned 20 years; and, by his conduct and courage, rendered himself formidable to all his neighbours, A short time before his death, he resigned the throne to his son Anuscha Mohammed Bayatur khan, in order to devote the remainder of his life to the service of God. It was in his retreat that he wrote the famous “Genealogical History of the Tartar’s;” but, being attacked by the mortal disease that put an end to his life in the year 1074 of the hegira, corresponding to 1663 of our sera, before he could complete it, when dying he charged his son and successor to give it the finishing hand, which he did accordingly two years afterwards. As a specimen of the style and manner of this historian, the reader will not be displeased to see the preface to that work, which, in English, is as follows; ``There is but one God; and before him none other did ever exist, as after him no other will be. He formed seven heavens, seven worlds, and eighteen creations. By him, Mohammed, the friend of God, was sent, in quality of his prophet, to all mankind. It is under his auspices that I, Abulgasi Bayatur khan, have taken in hand to write this book. My father, Ariep Mohammed khan, descended in a direct line from Zingis khan, and was, before me, sovereign prince of the country of Kharasm. I shall treat in this book of the house of Zingis khan, and | of its origin; of the places where it was established, of the kingdoms and provinces it conquered, and to what it arrived at last. It is true that, before me, many writers, both Turks and Persians, have employed their pens on this subject; and! have in my own possession 18 books of these several authors, some of which are tolerably well composed. But, perceiving that there was much to correct in many places of these books, and, in other places, a number of things to be added, I thought it necessary to have a more accurate history: and, especially as our countries are very barren in learned writers, I find myself obliged to undertake this work myself; and, notwithstanding that, before me, no khan has thought proper to take this trouble upon him, the reader will do me the justice to be persuaded that it is not from a principle of vanity that I set up for an author, but that it is necessity alone that prompts me to meddle in this matter that, if I were desirous of glorying in any thing, it could, at most, be only in that conduct and wisdom which I hold as the gift of God, and not from myself. For, on one hand, I understand the art of war as well as any prince in the world, knowing how to give battle equally well with few troops as with numerous armies, and to range both my cavalry and my infantry to the best advantage. On the other hand, I have a particular talent at writing books in all sorts of languages, and I know not whether any one could easily be found of greater ability than myself in this species of literature, except, indeed, in the cities of Persia and India; but, in all the neighbouring provinces of which we have any knowledge, I may venture to flatter myself that there is nobody that surpasses me either in the art of war or in the science of good writing; and as to the countries that are unknown to me, I care nothing about them. Since the flight of our holy prophet, till the day that I began to write this book, there have elapsed 1074 years [1663 of the Christian aera]. I call it A Genealogical History of the Tartars; and I have divided it into nine parts, in conformity with other writers, who universally hold this number in particular regard.‘’

The original manuscript of this history was purchased by some Swedish officers, who happened to be prisoners in Siberia, from a merchant, and had it translated into the Russian language. Count Strahlenberg translated it | into German; and a French translation was published at Leyden, 1726, 12mo. Martiniere has copied it almost entirely in his Geographical Dictionary. 1