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A.I). 1510. In the year 916 of the Hejira, an event occurred, which Baber had no influence in Quarrd of producing, but which promised the most favourable change on his fortunes. Sheibani Khan and Khan, after the defeat of Badia-ez-zeman and the sons of Sultan Hussain Mirza, had mLi. s overrun Khorasan with a large army. Some parties of his troops, in the course of their incursions, had entered and committed devastations on territories claimed by Shah Ismael, who at that time filled the Persian throne ; and he had even sent an army to invade Kerman.1 Shah Ismael, having subdued the Turkomans in Azerbaijan, had reduced under one government the various provinces of Persia to the west of the desert, which for so long a series of years had been divided into petty principalities. On receiving information of these aggressions, he immediately sent to Sheibani Khan Their cor. ambassadors, who carried letters, remonstrating, but with great courtesy, against the ence. aggressions which had occurred within the boundaries of his dominions. The Uzbek
prince, rendered haughty by long success, returned for answer, that he did not comprehend Shah Ismael's meaning; that, for his own part, he was a prince who held dominions by hereditary descent; but that, as for Shah Ismael, if he had suffered any diminution of his paternal possessions, it was a very easy matter to restore them entire to him; and he at the same time sent him the staff and wooden begging-dish2 of a mendicant. He added, however, that it was his intention one day to go the pilgrimage of Mekka, and that he would make a point of seeing him by the way. Shah Ismael, who was descended of a celebrated Dervish, and who prided himself on his descent from the holy Syed, affected to receive the taunt with patient humility. He returned for answer, that if glory or shame, here or hereafter, was to be estimated by the worth or demerit of ancestors, he would never think of degrading his forefathers by any comparison with those of Sheibani Khan; that if the right of succession to a throne was decided by hereditary descent only, it was to him incomprehensible how the empire had descended through the various dynasties of Peshdadians, Kaianians, and the family of Chengis,3 to Sheibani himself. That he too intended making a pilgrimage, but it was to the tomb of the holy Imam Reza4 at Meshhid, which might afford him an opportunity of meeting Sheibani Khan. He sent him a spindle and reel, with some cotton, giving him to understand that words were a woman's weapons; that it would become him either to sit quietly in his corner, busied in some occupation that befitted him, or to come boldly into the field to meet his enemy in arms, and listen to a few words from the two-tongued Zulfikar.5 "Let us then fairly try," concluded Shah Ismael, "to which of the two the superiority belongs. You will at least learn that you have not now to deal with an inexperienced boy." 6
1 See the Tarikh Alira-Arai Abassi of Mirza Sekander, vol. I. MS.
* The kachkuli is a sort of dish or ladle which mendicants hold out for receiving alms.
3 These were different dynasties that had governed Persia and Khorasan.
4 It is the duty of all Muhammedans to visit Mekka. The Shias alone visit the shrine of Imam Reza, which is at Meshhid, in Khorasan, in the territory then belonging to Sheibani Khan.
5 Zulfikar was the celebrated two-bladed sword of Ali, from whom Shah Ismael boasted his descent.
6 In the account of this correspondence I follow Khafi Khan, corrected by Mirza Sekander, the author of the Alim-arai Abassi. Khafi Khan and Ferishta mention the presents, which are not alluded to by the Persian writer, who probably did not choose to record incidents, the remembrance of which the reigning family, having shaken off the Dervish, were not proud to recall. He mentions the pilgrimages of Mekka and Meshhid, a subject more agreeable to the prevailing prejudices.
Without losing a moment, or giving the enemy time to prepare for meeting him, Ismiel Shah Ismael put his army in motion, and advanced through Khorasan as far as Mesh- ^j»»Kho. hid. The detachments of the Uzbek army all fell back and retired to Herat. Shei- TM»n. bani Khan, who had just returned from an expedition into the country' of the Hazaras, retires to on hearing of Shah Ismael's arrival at Meshhid, perceiving that he was too weak to meet alerv* his enemy in the field, left Jan Vafa Mirza in Herat, and set off with such of his troops as he could collect, to Merv Shahjehan, a station where he could receive reinforcements from his northern dominions; or from which, if necessary, he could retire across the Amu. Jan Vafa was not long able to maintain himself in Herat. He found it necessary, very speedily, to follow Sheibani Khan. Shah Ismael himself now advanced towards Merv, and sent on Daneh Muhammed with a large force to clear the way. That officer was met by Jan Vafa Mirza near Takerabad of Merv : a desperate action ensued, in which the Persian general fell, but Jan Vafa was defeated. Sheibani Khan, unable to oppose the Persians in the field, retired into the fort of Merv. He sent messengers in which to call all his generals and chieftans from beyond the Amu, most of them having re- sieged. tired with their troops to their various governments, after the conquest of Khorasan. Many desperate actions took place under the walls of Merv Shahjehan. Shah Ismael, seeing that the siege was likely to extend to great length, which would have exposed him to an attack from the whole force of Turkistan and Maweralnaher, pretended to be under the necessity of raising it. He sent to tell Sheibani Khan that he had been rather more punctual to his engagements than that prince had been; that he had performed the pilgrimage of Meshhid as he had promised, while Sheibani Khan had failed to keep his appointment: that he was now under the necessity of returning home to his own dominions, but would still be extremely happy to meet him on the road, whenever he set out on his intended pilgrimage to Mekka. He then retired with all his forces ftom before Merv, and appeared to be measuring back his way to Irak. The feint succeeded. Sheibani Khan followed him with twenty-five thousand1 men, but Decisive had scarcely passed a river about ten miles from Merv, when Shah Ismael, who threw a body of horse into his rear, broke down the bridge, and fell upon him with seventeen thousand cavalry. The regulated valour of the Kezzelbashes, or red-bonnets, the name given to the Persian soldiers, speedily prevailed. Sheibani Khan was defeated, Sheibani and his retreat cut off. He was forced to fly, attended by about five hundred men, e"' chiefly the sons of Sultans, the heads of tribes, and men of rank, into an inclosure which had been erected for accommodating the cattle of travellers, and of the neighbouring peasants. They were closely pursued, and hard pressed. The inclosure had only one issue, which was that attacked by the pursuers. The Khan leaped his horse over the wall of the inclosure, towards the river, but fell, and was soon overlaid, and and skin. smothered by the numbers who followed him. After the battle his dead body was sought for, and was disentangled from the heap of slain by which it was covered. His head was cut off, and presented to Shah Ismael, who ordered his body to be dismembered, and his limbs to be sent to different kingdoms. The skin of the head was strip
1 The author of the Alim-arai Abassi, says thirty thousand.
ped off, stuffed with hay, and sent to Sultan Bayezid,1 the son of Sultan Muhammed Ghazi, the Turkish Emperor of Constantinople. His skull, set in gold, the king used as a drinking-cup, and was proud of displaying it at great entertainments. An anecdote illustrative of the barbarous manners of the Persians, is recorded by Mirza Sekander. The Prince of Mazenderan, who still held out against Shah Ismael, had been accustomed often to repeat, that he was wholly in the interests of Sheibani Khan, and, using an idiomatic expression, that his hand was on the skirts of the Khan's garment; meaning, that he clung to him for assistance and protection. A messenger from Shah Ismael, advancing into the presence of the prince while sitting in state in his court, addressed him, and said, that he never had been so fortunate as literally to have placed his hand on the hem of Sheibani Khan's garment, but that now Sbeibani's hand was indeed on his; and, with these words, dashed the rigid hand of Sheibani Khan on the hem of the prince's robe, and rushing through the midst of the astonished courtiers, mounted and escaped uninjured. About a thousand- Uzbeks, with a number of women of rank, and children, fell into the bands of the Persians. shah Is- Shah Ismael, immediately after the battle, marched to Herat, the gates of which
pies Kho-" were opened to him. He commanded the divine service in the Mosques to be celerasin. brated according to the Shia rites, which he had introduced into Persia, but met with great opposition from the principal men of the place. Enraged at this, he put to death the chief preacher of the Great Mosque, the Sheikh-ul-Islam, who was the chief Musulman doctor and judge, with several of the most eminent divines, as a punishment for the obstinacy and contumacy with which they adhered to the old doctrines and ceremonies; and in the end found, that it was a far easier matter to conquer a kingdom, than to change the most insignificant religious opinions or usages of its inhabitants. Subsequent The transactions of the Uzbeks for some time after the death of Sheibani Khan, arc not very distinctly detailed. Jani Beg appears to have succeeded to the immediate command of the Uzbek army, and, with him, Shah Ismael soon after concluded an agreement, by which it was stipulated, that the Uzbeks should all retire beyond the Amu, which was to form the boundary between them and the Persians. Abdalla Khan appears to have held Bokhara, while Taimur Khan,3 the son of Sheibani Khan, reigned in Samarkand. Baber The defeat and death of Baber's most inveterate foe, from whom all his misfortunes
against* na^ originated, and by whom he had been driven from the dominions of his forefathers, Hiss". now opened to him the fairest hopes of recovering the kingdoms of his father and uncles. Khan Mirza, his cousin, immediately on hearing of the death of Sheibani Khan, wrote to congratulate him on the event, and invited him into Badakhshan ; and
1 Called Bajazet by European writers.
2 In the account of the transactions of Sheibani Khan, and Shah Ismael, in Khorasan, and of the subsequent battle, I follow Mirza Sekander as the most intelligent guide. Some circumstances are borrowed from Khan Khan, who follows Mirza Haider, the author of the Turikh-c-Kesbidi, a contemporary and well-informed historian. Ferisbta, whose information is here very defective, gives Sheibani Khan an army of a hundred thousand men in the battle.
3 See the Alim-arai Abassi. Khan Khan speaks of him as descended of the great Taimur Beg.
Baber having, without delay, crossed the mountains from Kabul, united his forces Shawal,
with those of the Mirza. He was In hopes that he might have carried the important Ja'n.A. D.
fort of Hissar by a sudden attack, and for that purpose, advanced across the Amu up 15lt
to the walls of the place. But the Uzbeks had already had leisure to recover from the
first effects of the consternation into which they had been thrown by their defeat; and
the Governor of Hissar, aware that it was likely to be one of the first objects of attack,
had collected a body of men, and put the town in a posture of defence. Though the
loss of the Uzbeks in the battle had been great, their power was by no means broken.
There was no force left in Maweralnaher from which they had anything to apprehend.
It is probable that they were speedily joined by numbers of volunteers, and by some
wandering tribes1 from the deserts beyond the Sirr. The provinces between that river
and the Amu were too rich a prey to be easily abandoned by brave and needy Tartars; But fails
so that Baber, after advancing into the vicinity of Hissar, finding that his strength was terprize."
not adequate to the attempt, was compelled to abandon the enterprize, to re-cross the
Amu, and retire towards Kundez.
About this time Shah Ismael, who appears to have been disposed to cultivate the Shah I»friendship of Baber, sent back, with an honourable retinue, that prince's sister, Khan- back Ba. zadeh Begum, who had fallen into his hands along with the other prisoners, after the ber'3 81",erdefeat of Sheibani Khan at Merv. The Begum had been left behind in Samarkand, when Baber, about ten years before, had been forced to abandon the town, after defending it for five months. She had been conveyed into the Haram2 of Sheibani Khan, who had by her one son, to whom he gave the kingdom of Badakhshan, but who died young, two years after this time. Sheibani Khan afterwards gave her in marriage to a man of no family, and much below her station. She was now sent back by Shah Ismael with a conciliatory message, and Baber, who had been preparing to send an embassy of congratulation to that prince, embraced this opportunity of dispatching Khan Mirza with rich presents, to thank him for this proof of his friendship, to congratulate him on his victory, and, at the same time, to dispose him to lend him some support in recovering his former dominions.3
Baber soon after made a second march towards Hissar,4 but, on hearing that the Baber Uzbeks had collected a large army, he prudently retreated, his force not being ade- J^ yj,. quatc to meet them in the field, or to attempt the siege of Hissar. For some time he tSrwithdrew with his force into the rugged and mountainous parts of the surrounding country, whence, having watched the favourable moment of attack, he at length issued forth, defeated a body of the enemy with great slaughter, and released Sultan Mirza, and Mehdi Mirza Sultan, his maternal cousins,5 who had fallen into their hands.
1 The Khanship of Kipchak had terminated, the country falling under the power of Russia in 1506, only four years before, and several of the tribes had probably shifted their ground in consequence of the change.
* He is not said by Baber to have married her; but Khafl Khan affirms, on the authority of the Tarikh-e-Reahidi, that he did, and that he afterwards divorced her.
3 Ferishta, KhaH Khan, and Baber himself, in his Memoirs.
4 Ferishta says towards Khozar, but that he retired on finding the Uzbeks strongly posted at Nakhsheb or Karshi.
5 Tarikh-e-Khafi Khan; but the transactions of this period are very uncertain; and, from Baber's Memoirs, it is rather probable that he defeated Mehdi Sultan.
Babcr re- The embassy of Khan Mirza to Shah Ismael had been so successful, that he now resfst^cc* turned accompanied by a detachment of Persian auxiliaries, sent by the King to the from Shah assistance of Baber, under the command of Ahmed Sultan Sufi, a relation of the Persian monarch, of Ali Khan Istiljo, and of Shahrokh Sultan, his sealbearer, an Afshar,1 by whose co-operation Baber defeated and slew Jemshid Sultan, and Mah mud Sultan, who had the chief authority in the country of Hissar, and gained possession of Reduces Hissar as well as of Kundez, Khutlan, and Khozar; and so rapidly did his situation KhuUin improve, that, if we may believe Ferishta, whose authority is supported by that of Khoiar,&c . Khan Khan, he now saw himself at the head of an army of sixty thousand horse.
Encouraged by this prosperous state of his affairs, he resolved to attempt the conBokhara quest of Bokhara, which, since the death of Sheibani Khan, had been held by Abdalla •nd s*niar- Khan and his Uzbeks. On his approach, they abandoned the country and retired to Turkistan.* Baber advanced up the river from Bokhara, and was soon in possession Middle of of Samarkand, as well as of the districts dependent on it; he entered it about the beA*JH%17. £inrung of October 1511, as a conqueror, and the Khutheh3 or prayer for the sovereign was read, and the coin struck in his name.
Having thus, for the third time, taken possession of Samarkand, he committed the government of Kabul to Nasir Mirza, and dismissed the generals of Shah Ismael, after having amply rewarded them for their services. Bokhara in. Baber had now spent eight months of the succeeding winter and spring in all the the I'rbeks. enjoyments of Samarkand, when he was alarmed by the unwelcome news that an army ^fam'' °^ Uzbeks, more in number, says the historian,4 than ants or locusts, had collected, October and were on their march for Bokhara, under the command of Muhammed Taimur winning Saltan, the 6on of Sheibani Khan, who, as has been already mentioned, after his faof June titer's death, had been raised by the Uzbeks to the rank of Sultan of Samarkand. Baber, without delay, and with very inferior force, sought them out, and falling in with them near Bokhara, engaged them in a bloody battle, in which, from the inferiority of Baber de- his numbers, he met with a complete defeat, and was obliged to fly hack to Samarf£fa\ H kand. He soon discovered, however, that he had no chance of being able to defend 918. April himself in that capital. He therefore withdrew to Hissar, whither.he was followed by I5l»*y the Uzbek chiefs and closely blockaded. In this exigency be retired into the town and Abandons suburbs, blocked up the entrance of the streets, and threw up strong defences. He at the same time dispatched messengers to Balkh, to Biram Khan Karamanlu, who was then in that neighhourhood with an army of Persians. Biram Khan instantly sent a ., „ detachment to his relief, and at their approach the Uzbeks raised the siege and reSiegenised. treated.
1 The Afshars are a Turki tribe ceit-brated in the History of Persia.
* Turkistan, in its exte&are sense, it applied v> the vhole country inhabited by the Turki tribes. It is, in a more limited sense, applied to the countries north of the Sirr below Tashkent!, where there is alto a town of the name of Torlristan. In the details of the errata of this period, the author of the Aliroarai Abassi is more consistent than Ferishta or Khafi Khan.
3 See Ferishta and Khafi Khan, the Iixlian authorities. Mirza Sekaader, the Persian amthoritj, says, that the Khutbeh was read in the name of Sbah Ismael; and some circumstances render this not improbable, but it is difficult to disertangle the truths of histonr from the maze of Persian and Indian flattery.
• Khafi Khan.