Chapter 8. Arrival of the Great Embassy (922 AD)
Having calmed the country, Abdallah began to persuade Almysh to organize a new embassy to the Arabian Sultan. The Kan for some time refused, not hiding being insulted by the Sultanate for not sending the embassies previously, but suddenly he was stricken with paralysis.
Again everything started to whirl, and the biys began to gather for discussions about the future Khan. As the seid Sheikh Hasan, and also Byrak and Mardjan clearly supported the raising of Michael ibn Djafar and even openly called him Baltavar, the position of this prince became more preferable.
However, Almysh, scared by the illness, which Abdallah declared to be a penalty of the Almighty for the unwillingness of the Kan to send ambassadors to the Sultan, agreed to the trip of the tebir to Bagdad, and immediately felt better. The biys, obliged to the Kan and the tebir, immediately crowded again near the yurt of Almysh, and again all calmed down. Gazan, strongly scared by the possibility to lose the throne, agreed this time to write a letter to the Samanids with the request for a safe passage for the tebir Abdallah to the Bagdad through the Khurasan.
Armed with the letters of the Kan and Hasan, the tebir left to the Sultan… This time the Bek Nasyr… achieved that the Sultan agreed to send to Almysh a Great Embassy with the letter containing the text of a pray about granting by the Allmighty of the well-being to the Bulgarian state and a victory to the Bulgarian army in the sacred war with the enemies. The outcome of the matter was decided, as Abdallah was telling, by the presentation by Nasyr to the Sultan of the proofs of the struggle of the Bulgar with infidels, the Khud’s armour and the sabre of the Khakan Alan, which the tebir brought on himself. They made such an impression on the Caliph which could not be made by any precious gifts…
In 922 AD Abdallah returned to Bulgar with the Great Embassy of the Caliph. The Chief Ambassador was Razi, and the secretary, Ahmed, the descendant…
With them arrived many mullahs, craftsmen and merchants, who wanted to study at the site the opportunities for their activity.
And a guide of the ambassadorial caravan was Balus Buharay. Kan met the embassy very triumphally and was especially delighted by the green banner of Islam sent by the Caliph. It was immediately attached to a staff with a half-moon at the top, and from that time it was raised when the Kan was going on a sacred war with infidels.
All participants of the embassy received generous gifts. Many of them remained in Bulgar and initiated prominent Bulgarian clans. Among them were Djakyn, Barys, Balus and Ahmed, courtiers of Almysh. The Kan appointed Ahmed as a Seid of Bulgar under a name menly Bakir, which caused strong indignation of the former Seid, the respectable Sheikh Hasan.
The mullah tried to find support from Hasan, his pupil, but the prince already agreed secretly with the new Seid upon mutual support. The offended Sheikh Hasan switched to the camp of the Emir Michael ibn Djafar supporters, who still in 921 AD, even before the arrival of embassy, were indignant of the law, promulgated by Almysh, about removal of the hats by non-Muslim biys in front of the Kan, and who resolved for a next attempt to raise to the throne the more tolerant Michael.
Precisely at that time revolted the Khazaria Burtas and Kuman army, overthrew Arslan and installed the son of the Bek, Modjar. Modjar, whose mother was a Modjarian, already aspired for a long time to the superior power in Khazaria and directly declared that to his adherents: ”Somehow my father (Arslan) stayed for too long on the throne. I am already an old man, and he still does not wish to yield me the reign”…
Choosing a moment when Arslan sent his loyal Ugyr Lachyni with the Karachais, Kasheks and Saklans against Salahbi, Modjar started a revolt and seized the Itil-city. Ugyr captured Bashtu from Salahbi, and Salahbi fled to Djir, but Arslan lost his power and fled to the Samandar, where he appealed to the local Bulgars-Burdjans: ”Help me since I am from the clan of Urus which never had… Jews and which always protected Moslems!”
Samandarians decided to save the Bek, and when the Khazarian Kumans came to the city, they mounted a stern resistance. The Kumans nevertheless took the city and killed Arslan, after which Modjar expelled the Djurash Burdjans to the deserted location of Kumyk. From this location from that time they started to be called Kumyks…
Ugyr, becoming a lord of the Bashtu, first of all married captured Uldjai (Helga, Olga of Rus annals – Translator’s Note). Learning about the overthrow of his master and benefactor Arslan, he became strongly upset and declared himself an independent Urus Bek. When Modjar sent officials to him, he told them: ”Henceforth I, like Ak-Bulgars, shall pay to the Khazarian Beks a tribute only for the protection of our border, and no more than that”.
And Ugyr sent envoys to Bolgar with this message for Almysh: ”I’ve heard, my brother, that you are tormenting the adherents of our old Bulgarian faith, to which I belong also. Be careful, because I have already become an independent Urus Bek and I am in position to help my coreligionists!” […] And should be said that after the route of the Khazars at Sulcha, Byrak, together with Mardjan, seized the city Kan-Murdas, and our people began collecting tribute from the whole area between Djir and the river Aka. And in that area had many bees, and accordingly, it was called Kortdjak.
Tribute was collected by merchant Sain, a descendant of the Bulgarian Bek Mar. The Anchian subashes, who in Bulgar received the right to pay to the state only a strictly defined and moderate tax for the occupation in the shipping business, made for Sain a few vessels, and he sailed on them to the Kortdjak from the Bolgar.
And the head of the Bulgarian Anchians the artisan Karadjar, who, for the move to the Bulgar together with Almysh, received from the Kan an honourable nickname Karadjura and was the founder of the Bulgarian house of Karadjurs, always sailed with Sain for the lumber and other needed goods. Only once, in the spring of the 922 AD, Karadjura did not go together with Sain, and Sain was treacherously killed by the Murdases in revolt.
The daughter of Sain Gülasma set out together with Karadjar and severely punished the murderers. Kan ordered in the memory of Sain to rename the river Aka to Sain-Idel and to transfer the Kortdjak to the possession of Gülasma. Therefore the river flowing in the middle of this area began to be called Gül-Asma. The Murdases from the tribe of the murderers were resettled on the small river Nerle, which out of contempt for them began to be called Sasy-Idel.
This small river flows into the Gül-Asma, and on it the son of Karadjar, Balyk, set up his encampment which is now the city of Balyn. And Balyn married Gülasma and became the co-owner of her lands. They together began to be engaged in the shipbuilding, harvesting and sale of lumber, honey, wax, furs and made a united house of Karadjurs. Their son was Sain, so-called in honour of the grandfather, and his son was Kulbak, so-called in memory of Kulbakian origin of Karadjura.
The son of Kulbak, Balta, founded in the 1003 AD for his business affairs the encampment Balta. At the same time, he sailed together with the tebir Shahidulla to the Bek of Djir Barys with an offer for on a duty-free trade of the Bulgarian merchants in the Rus in exchange for a part of a Djir tribute. Barys warmly supported Shahidulla and himself went with him to the Bashtu to solicit the sanction of his father Bulymer to it. Bulymer willingly signed the document about the permit, for he was weighed down by the humiliating for him ” Djir tribute”…
And the senior son of Balta bought the aul Archa in the land of Ars and took am alias Archamysh. After that the aul also began to be called Archamysh…
And in the 964 AD the Murdases offered the son of Ugyr Barys to help them to seize the Kan, for which they promised to render a tribute to the Bashtu. Barys took from ours the Djir, and then sailed to the Kan and seized it. Talib Mumin, wishing to involve Barys in the Khazarian war, ceded to him the western part of Kortdjak up to the Balyn, but the eastern Kortdjak from the Lok to the Sain-Idel remained for Bulgar till 1164.
That the house of Karadjurs did not remain at a loss, Talib transferred to him in exchange, instead of the Balyn, a part of the lands on the Kara-Idel and Nukrat-su. The son of Archamysh, Djurash by the nickname Urdjum founded there the aul Urdjum on the Nukrat-su. And the son of Djurash Asladj, who gave a lot of donations for the construction of the Uchel and was himself participating in that enterprise, perished in it at the age of 41 years during the attack of the Galidjians in 1111. His son Mar-Kaves carried Abu Hamid Garnati in 1135 on his ship when the mullah went through the Kan and Kisan to the Khorysdan.
His son Tetesh by a nickname Balyk. His son Nuretdin… His son Taham… And daughter Tetesha was the wife of artisan Dajra.
I remember, that Takham had a son Toraj with whom he sailed to the Sarai to me with the lumber and slaves for the construction of the capital of the Kypchak Horde. Once I told him per his request about the past of the Manguls, and he was very surprised that Manguls call the Kypchaks and Türkmen “Tatars”.
– ”How is it so?, he asked, In fact, in their time the Tatars killed the father of the Great Khan, for which they were universally exterminated, therefore the throng of non-Mangul scroungers that Manguls used to hire were called Tatars, and now Batu orders to call the loyal to him Türks by this abusive for the Manguls word?”
I answered him that for Manguls the word “Tatar”, after the destruction of the Tatars, began to mean a “condemned man”, “victim”, and that Chingiz-Khan, while conquering China, quite naturally enjoined to call with this word the non-Mangul mercenaries doomed to death in the fight. But at the splitting of the Kaganate of the Great Khan between his descendants, there were misunderstandings, and Batu, offended for the transfer to him of the poorest lands, to spite the other khans, ordered to call his subjects by the hated by Manguls word “Tatars”. As for the Türks, for them, the word “Tatar” means only “Mangul” or the ”mercenary of Mangul” and consequently…
On this Takham responded with the greatest irritation, that for these and those ishaks (donkeys – Translator’s Note) it is all inside out, and his small son laughed and began to repeat: “Inside out” (“at bash syer ayak”). And this laughter and these words constantly sounded in my ears when I wrote my history.
And when I recollected the greatness which the Bulgarian State once had, my tears poured, and I consoled myself only that everything came to pass at the will of the Almighty and that the Creator still dealt rather mercifully with the Bulgarian people. And I especially felt it while studying the events of that time, when this greatness only arose and came about only due to the intervention of the Almighty.
Let’s say, when the message of Ugyr Lachyni reached the biys, they immediately rode to Bulyar and declared: ”Since Almysh makes us remove hats at a meeting with him, we shall not go any more to his allodial, and we will elect for us a new Kan, Michael. And if the old Kan tries to bend us with force, we will directly ask the help from Ugyr”. The Biys summoned Michael and promised to him the throne in exchange for the preservation of their liberties, but the Emir cowed and did not come, for which he received a nickname Yalkau…
Almysh immediately declared the liquidation the old Beyliks Bershud, Esegel, Mardjan, and enjoined their biys, Byrak, Askal and Mardjan come to him for the new assignments. At the same time, he appointed the son of Djulut biy Tatra the Ulugbek of the new Beylik (province) Tamta, located between the rivers Chishma and Uraltay.
And in the middle of this area flows the river Tamtazaj, which gave the name to the province ( il, vilaet). The Biys refused to submit to and began to wait for the raid on the Bulgar by the Bashkorts, hired by the Bek Modjar to raise with their help to the Bulgarian throne of the new protégé, Mardjan. In the heat of the “War of Biys” into the country drove the Great Embassy.
The pre-warned Kan Balus managed to lead the ambassadorial caravan past the strongholds and patrols of the rebels and meet the Tatra detachment sent forward to them. When the embassy reached the Bolgar, Almysh embraced Abdallah and, sobbing, informed him about his desperate situation. The tebir immediately suggested to declare the area of the Mardjan a ”province Mardjan” and to leave it for the Emir.
Kan immediately made it, and Mardjan came to him with the expression of fidelity. He informed that the Bek Modjar installed Jusuf as the Khakan, and put Alan in zindan. The unhappy with it the Burtasian biy, decided to join with his province to the possessions of Mardjan.
Kan consented to it, and the possessions of the Emir extended from Djigula (Jiguly) to Saratay. In Jiguly was built a fine city Bandja, which became, instead of Арbuga, a centre of the province, and the whole province began to be named either Mardjan, or Bellak, or the Mardjan-Bellak…
The arrival of Mardjan to the Bolgar shook the rebels. Then Salahbi sailed to the Bolgar from the Djir for the participation in the campaign against the Itil, conceived by the Kan. It strengthened the positions of Almysh, but he, as well as the tebir did not dare to resort to the weapons in the struggle against insurgents. And here Ahmed interfered in the conflict, this time as a Bulgarian seid. ”You are slow, although now you are stronger than the rebels, they can surpass you”, he told Djafar.
-”But our laws forbid the fratricidal wars”, noted Almysh
-”When the question is a struggle for the faith, it is not taken into consideration”, objected the seid and attained a firman written announcing a sacred war against the infidel rebels. Abdallah persuaded Michael and Mardjan to take firman to the Bulyar, where the insurgents already raised a bulwark and fortified. The appearance at the Bulyar of both princes completely confused Askal, and he left ostensibly to gather new forces in Sulcha.
Actually he decided come to the Kan with guilt, which he soon did. Almysh, pleased with it, on the advice of Abdallah declared a revocation of the law on caps and a pardon of the rebels who would give up without a fight, which caused unrest in the Bulyar camp. Seeing the shaking of their position, Byrak left from the Bulyar and surrendered to the Kan’s sardars, Djulut and his son Tatra. Afraid that Byrak would consider it to be humiliating for him to surrender to Tatra alone and would prefer to resist, Djulut himself came to the Bulyar.
The calculation turned out to be true: when the biy saw him and heard from him the sworn promise to spare the insurgents, he rode out from behind the rampart. The “War of Biys” has ended…
Almysh, in preparation for the war with the Khazars, forgave the rebels out of the need of their troops. But what happened then upset all plans.