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khan of the Tartars, worthy of a place in this Dictionary, as well

, 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.”

ion Marco was born. On their return through the deserts they arrived at the city where Kublai, grand khan of the Tartars, resided. This prince was highly entertained

, a celebrated traveller, was the son of Nicholas Paulo, a Venetian, who went with his brother Matthew, about 1225, to Constantinople, in the reign of Baudoin. While they were on this expedition Marco was born. On their return through the deserts they arrived at the city where Kublai, grand khan of the Tartars, resided. This prince was highly entertained with the account which they gave him of the European manners and customs, and appointed them his ambassadors to the pope, in order to demand of his holiness a hundred missionaries. They accordingly came to Italy, obtained from the Roman pontiff two Dominicans, the one an Italian, and the other an Asiatic, and carried with them young Marco, for whom the Tartar prince expressed a singular affection. This youth was at an early period taught the different dialects of Tartary, and was afterwards employed in embassies which gave him the opportunity of traversing Tartary, China, and other eastern countries. After a residence of seventeen years at the court of the great khan, the three Venetians came back to their own country in 1295, with immense wealth. A short time after his return, Marco served his country at sea against the Genoese, his galley in a naval engagement was sunk, and himself taken prisoner and carried to Genoa. He remained there many years in confinement; and, as well to amuse his melancholy, as to gratify those who desired it of him, sent for his notes from Venice, and composed the history of his own and his father’s voyages in Italian, under this title, “Delle maraviglie del mondo da lui vidute,” &c. of which the first edition appeared at Venice in 1496, 8vo. This work has been translated into several foreign languages, and has been inserted in various collections. The best editions are one in Latin, published by Andrew Miiller at Cologne in 1671, and one in French, to be found in the collection of voyages published by Bergeron, at the Hague in 1735, in two vols. In the narrative there are many things not easily believed, but the greater part of his accounts has been verified by succeeding travellers. He not only gave better accounts of China than had been before received; but likewise furnished a description of Japan, of several islands of the East Indies, of Madagascar, and the coasts of Africa, so that from his work it might be easily collected that a direct passage by sea to the East Indies was not only possible, but practicable.