Chapter 13. Reign of Kan Mohammed (943-976)
After the death of Baltavar Yalkau Michael, who also liked to call himself Arslan, his son Mohammed was raised to the throne. The new Kan hated the ruling affairs, and preferred various joys, hunting, harem pleasures, and feasts. He turned djiens into pleasure trips, during which he was taking to bed most beautiful women and girls. Because the Bakir’s son Nasyr, who became a Seid and Vizier, opposed displays of the Kan’s lust in the Muslim settlements, Mohammed preferred visits to the heathen settlements.
Kazanchis encouraged self-gratification of the Kan, and very soon constitutes his entire surrounding. In gratitude for their support, Mohammed removed their taxes, and re-assigned them to Subashes and Ars. But the treasury was not replenishing, for its means were devoured by the Kan’s initiatives and his surrounding, inexhaustible in the invention of new amusements, and a whole army of officials. The state affairs quickly declined, for the Kan did not engage in them at all, and Nasyr, who received the reins of the government, was only anxious about supporting his allies and the Kan’s court. Insatiable officials spread excesses all over the country, and there was nobody to resist their extortions going beyond already high taxes and tributes, for honest managers fled anywhere they could to, and the others also began ravaging.
Meanwhile, soon after Khum campaign, Yusuf with a help of the Mal’s Kara-Bulgar army seized the Khazar throne, and Khakan Alan with his Moslem son Daud fled to Bulgar. With a Kan’s sanction, they selected Bandja (“Murom Fortress“ in Russian archaeological lingo, on Samara Bend – Translator’s Note) for residence, there lived many Khazar refugees and even was a Khazar balik. And there also were baliks Kura, Burtas, Arbuga, Badjanak, Samar, Yar, Saban, Khut… and the towers that adjoined them had their names. And it was a huge city where already during Baluk’s time were up to 80 thousands inhabitants. And Hadji-Omar in his book ”Bulgar tarihi” wrote that Bandja, along with Bolgar and Bulyar, belonged to the three most famous cities in the Bulgarian state (Ак Bulgar Yorty).
And he (Hadji-Omar – Translator’s Note) added that in the Bandja dominates the Bulgarian dialect with a strong admixture of the Turkmen (Oguz – Translator’s Note) words, typical for the Badjinaks and Khazars. And Allah knows that I did everything to save the inhabitants of that city. The most part of those saved now lives safely in Kinel (near modern Samara – Translator’s Note), in the cities of the Yana Samar (modern Samara – Translator’s Note) and Kamysh (modern Kamyshin – Translator’s Note), and are tirelessly finding any opportunity to express to me their gratitude…
Now, there are people who blame me for cowardice, for a dislike of the motherland, for cruelty, and they assert that all my acts were accomplished to save my own life or to grab power. But I shall answer these accusations in the other, in the everlasting world, at the court of the Almighty; for in fact only I of all the Bulgarian rulers went by the Hon yuly to the encampments of Batu and Ugyatai to stop the war that was pernicious for the Menkhols and for the our State. Yes, the termination of the war ended up costing life for 400 thousand innocent Bulyars and for 100 thousand Mardans, but they were lost by a fault of the people who desired full destruction of both states in a senseless war with each other.
Yes, I transferred to our Menkhol ally Saksin, completely devastated by the war, and Tubdjak or Seber, but in return, the Great Kan transferred to our State Kortdjak with Kan, Bulymer, Djune-Kala, Balyn and Djir, and also Shud with its lakes, Djuketun, and the roads, due to which we became owners of the best half of Balyn and eastern provinces of the Galidj…
In the Almanian campaign with Baydar and Urda (apparently Mongol generals in the Hungarian campaign – Translator’s Note) through Bailak, Almania, and Maruba to the Modjar, at my own risk, I saved from the anger of these khans several Kyrgyzes, by changing their dresses to the clothing of the fallen soldiers. In the campaign, being up in front almost all the time, in skirmishes with adversaries, I tried not to have hand-to hand-to-hand combats and pursuit, limiting ourselves only to barraging the enemy that was advancing toward me and ceased that immediately if they retreated.
I warned inhabitants of the Bailak’s capital Misha-Koryk, through one of the captives, about tomorrow’s attack, and allowed them to leave the city at night, before the approach of Baydar and Urda Menkhols. It was not my fault that the khans still found out and mowed down 35 thousand fugitives who recklessly stayed too long near Misha-Koryk, and the same night the city burned down from a fire left by someone…
I also fairly warned the inhabitants of Almanian city Ber-Aslap about our compelled attack to get the needed supplies for the later campaign. The majority of inhabitants went to the citadel, and my soldiers took everything without a much bloodletting, with the loss of only 11 people, and only in two or three places, they fired at the resisting guards with 10 sheredjirs and accidentally ignited their rabat…
In the fight with Misha-Koryk Malik at a small town Iglan I was in the second line of my detachment when Menkhols fled and left my 5 thousand Bulgars and 6 thousand Kara-Bulgars to face 50 thousand infidel Frants, Almans, Bailaks, and Marubays. 1,500 infidels, almost exclusively Almans and Frants, had arms of eastern Maliks, 5 thousand Beks, 10 thousand ulans, and the others were djuras. When my archers found out that at usual shooting distance arrows do not injure the enemy, I ordered ulans to retreat behind our camp, which was protected by several lines of wagons, and after only one successful volley by archers at close range, I ordered into a spear strike my line of medium-armed Bashkorts, Baytübas, Kara-Bulgars.
The strike slowed the infidels, but in the following, after that hand-to-hand combat, we began a step-by-step retreat. I was in the thick of the fight, and Ablas-Khin with Naryk at the last moment snatched me, already wounded, out from under the swords of seven Bailak knights, and brought me to the camp. Seeing that containing infidels with the middle line would not be possible, I withdrew it behind the camp and sent fresh ulans and Turkmen and Kyrgyzes to both sides of Menkhols coming to our help. Clumsily, in the very heavy armour, the infidels stumbled at our wagons, and we began to shoot them easily at close range by common bows from the second and third lines of the wagons, and the ”iron archers” prevented any attempts of the enemy to bypass the camp.
When the corpses of the enemies piled above the wagons, I ordered ulans to strike with spears, and this strike of the gazis, at last, overturned the infidels. I observed with delight how, from the impact of the attached to the horses heavy Bulgarian lances, their horses overrun infidels. I also heard shouts of the enemies, split in two by the bakhadir axes… My people took in that fight, where no prisoners were taken from both sides, 820 Khan’s armours, 3 thousand Bek’s armours, and 6 thousand ulan armours, not even counting djur armours. Only when infidels fled, Baydar with Urda returned to the battlefield to rob and finish the fleeting enemies…
When Menkhols in need of supplies stopped near one of Maruba cities, as always, I remained separate from them at a decent distance from the city and saved my whole army from destruction. In a night sortie, Marubays and Almans finished off with 10 thousand Menkhols and Baydar, Urda with 5 thousand of escaped Menkhols was shivering from fear for his mistake, and I stripped them of their armour and put them in the centre of my army for his own safety.
I moved Turkmen and Kyrgyzes to join my bakhadirs. When two Maruba sardars, Yusuf and Yakub, the murderers of Bajdar, thought of pursuing us, they fell into my ambush near the city taken by me without a fight… and parted with their heads, together with 12 thousand of their soldiers. After that, gazis had only to show the heads of infidel sardars to the inhabitants of the Maruba cities, and without many words they would drive to us all supplies necessary for our advance.
Only on the right bank of Sula 7 thousand Almans waited for us in ambush, but I had a premonition about that, and ordered Ablas-Khin to organize a false crossing, and crossed with my whole army at a different place. Ablas-Khin and 200 of his Hins perished, but he knew that that may happen, and went himself for it. I revenged his death, taking by surprise and annihilating all those Almans. Into the Batu headquarter at the lake Balatun all my soldiers drove with spears drawn, each with an impaled head of an infidel. I returned to Bulgar with half of my soldiers, and Batu returned with a tenth of his troops.
And how could it be craving for power if in 1242 I voluntary turned over the throne to my son (Khisam, 1242-1262 – Translator’s Note), and went to build Sarai (palace, royal residence – Translator’s Note) for the Kypchak Khan Batu? I was appointed an ambassador of the Great Kan in Kypchak and did everything so that that area would become in due course a part of the State, like the Khazaria. Still at the time of my return from the Alman campaign, under my suggestion, in Kypchak was initiated a launch of Cossack armies, composed of Anchians and Kara-Bulgars, and it was me who gave them their name, for they refused to take the name “Tatars“, which the Menkhols liked for their mercenaries. In the future, they had become our base.
I resettled in the Djalda the Turkmen and Kyrgyzes who surrendered to me at Bashtu and went with me for the Alman campaign and created from them and from the Djalda Bulgars, who left the Rum service, a Korym army, also loyal to me.
I was resettling our people in the Saksinian cities, and in every possible way obstructed resettlement there of the Khwarezmians, so that that part of the Kypchak would also remain ours. In all important posts within the Kypchak, I tried to install our people, including Saksins and Tubdjaks… In 1240 I saved Bolgar from destruction by the Menkhols, who came to my aid and pardoned the rebels. Why all this is slighted by my accusers? And only those who do not want to see all that can not see it…
The Alan’s family in Bandja was in complete safety, which can’t be said about those who were remaining in Khazaria. The Cumans of Yusuf were ransacking across Khazaria and were killing on the spot any all possible pretender to the (Khazarian) Khakan throne.
Then, among the others, was killed in his (i.e. to the Khazarian Khakan) subject city the Moslem Mukhtasar, a son of Modjar and a blood brother (a sworn brother; Blutsbruder, hermano carnal, fratello di sangue, frère de sang etc., all these terms ascend to the brotherhood rutual ingrained in the Türkic history and literature, an oath of brotherhood between two individuals that make them allied bothers – in contrast with first brothers who may be bitter enemies – the oath ritual includes drinking a mix of their own blood and exchange of names. Unlike the regular Türkic names, which are temporary and change in time and status, the blood brotherhood names remain permanent names – Translator’s Note) of Alan.
This evil deed raised the indignation of the Khazarian Burtases and Burdjans. Then the Samanids, afraid that Khazaria would be joined to Bulgar, installed as Khakan their protégé Ugez-Bek, or Uzbek, a son of Modjar. A mother of Uzbek was a daughter of the Turkmen Khan Kuruk, who served for the Samanids. A son of this Kuruk, Gali, having received an order from the Khurasan to install Uzbek in the Itil (Khazar capital), first of all lured Alpamysh, a loyal servant of the Bulgar state, from the banks of the river Djam or Umbet. Alpamysh gave in to the Gali persuasions to serve for a time for the Samanids, for because of the increase in the number of Turkmens, his possession could not support all of them any more.
With half of his people and with his senior son Yunus Bahta he went to Khoresm, leaving with his son Michael another half of the people. Once in the Khurasan, Gali deceitfully seized Alpamysh and did not free from him of the chains till his very death. And he ordered Yunus, together with Michael, to fight with Bulgar. And in the Bulgar Yunus and Michael accepted Islam. It was soon after the enthronement of Yalkau near the river Vakhta, as the Kan ordered to call the river Shepshe because of the abundance of wild fruit trees there. Therefore, Yunus adopted a nickname Bakhta. Being a zealous Moslem, in response to the Gali offer Yunus tried to hit him with a club, but the Khan’s servants stymied him.
Gali did not dare to kill Yunus, for the Samanid Emir decided to save him his life to counteract the excessive power of Gali. But in exchange for his life and the life of his father, both Yunus and Michael were forced to agree to participate in a Khazaria campaign under a command of Kubar, a son of Gali. In 944 AD they seized Itil and installed Uzbek as a (Khazarian) Khakan, and Kubar became his Bek.
Yusuf with Mal fled to the Kara-Bulgar, but the sly Kubar decided to finish with them with the help of Ugyr Lachyni. His ambassadors relayed to Ugyr, that the Khakan would not counteract a seizure of the Kara-Bulgar by Ugyr, if the Urus Ulubiy decides to do it. And the Kara-Bulgar then had many cities: Khorysdan, Khursa, Seber, Kharka, Saltay, Chally, and others, and Ugyr was quite delighted with an opportunity to seize a rich territory.
To provoke a war with Khorysdan, he demanded payments of a tribute from Mal. Mal agreed and gave the required. Then Ugyr again demanded from him a tribute, this time for his wife Uldjai. Mal delivered that also. But Ugyr with the Balynian army of Shamlyns came to the Khorysdan in the third time and demanded a tribute, this rime for his son Barys, whom he installed in the Galidj. This time Mal refused. Started a war, in which Ugyr was taken a captive. A Mal’s wife, who was earlier a wife of Ugyr, and who fled from him because of Uldjai intrigues, ordered to tear the Ulubuy into pieces, and hang them up on a tree.
The widowed Uldjai went to the Khorysdan with a new Balynian army of Galidjians, for the Anchis refused to fight with Bulgars. The Kara-Bulgars split up: the Baryns decided to continue the war with the Balynians, but unhappy with the reign of Mal Kaubuys, headed by the Ryshtau clan, on that occasion switched to the side of Uldjai after she promised to retain the Kaubuyian reign in case if they recognize the supremacy of the Bashtu. With the help of the Kaubuys, the Balynians seized Khorysdan and captured Mal and Yusuf. When Balynians put them in chains, Mal bitterly complained to Yusuf: ”Really, Almighty can change everything in one day! Several months ago I was preparing to occupy the Bulgar throne, and now I have lost the Kara-Bulgarian koshma (rug, in this case princely rug, simbolizing the princely power – Translator’s Note) and I am in Ulak captivity!”
Uldjai, having installed in the Khorysdan (which she ordered to only call it “Batavyl“) the Ryshtau clan, returned to Bashtu with captured Beks and Baryns. Yusuf was put in a dungeon, Mal with Baryns was placed in the Almysh Court, and Emir (Mal) was ordered to be a stoker in the Uldjai bath. When the Bika (Helga, Slav. Olga) came to the bathhouse together with a servant, Emir kicked out the girl, and like a wild stallion raped Uldjai. After that, Uldjai made Mal a first Urus Bek and held him, together with his Baryns, near herself, and with the greatest honor. Later our folks were derisively saying that the Emir from the very beginning should battle with Uldjai using, instead of a saber.
Soon, Batysh ambassadors came to Uldjai from Khaddad, a son of Mardan, and asked her to marry their Bek. Mal, feeling a threat to his position, interrupted ambassadors and persuaded Uldjai to begin a war with the Batyshes using the troops of Galidjians and Shamlyns whom he hated. The Galidjians and Shamlynians with much difficulty took from Khaddad one of his cities and refused a further fight. Then Mal, with his Baryns, defeated the rebels and settled those who gave up in a captured city which he named Ulak.
But an unexpected event led to a Mal’s fall. Uldjai, afraid that her connection with the Emir would become known and cause indignation, ordered Mal to kill the maid, a witness to her sin. Mal, however, despoiled the girl and let her off. Meanwhile, she was a daughter of an Ulchi biy, to whom she told it all. The biy raised in a mutiny, demanding that Mal married his daughter.
And Uldjai decided to take advantage of that, and remove Emir from the Bashtu, for his and her own passion, coupled with the behaviour of the Mal’s Baryns and Anchis, soon began to torment her. On the one hand, she had to frequently interrupt even the boyar councils and ambassadorial receptions to copulate with her lover right on the throne, on the other hand, Baryns and Anchis started almost daily fights with the Balyns, and plundered Galidj and Shamlyn merchants.
Therefore, Uldjai ordered Mal to become a Bek of that area, and he, easily defeating the ( Ulchi) biy, took his throne. The ( Ulchi) biy, however, was pleased, for Mal had preferred to marry his daughter. In the place of the ( Ulchi) biy’s court, Emir built a city he named Khorysdan and established a custom whereas his Baryns and Anchians could take for wifes any Ulchian girl they liked. Nevertheless, Mal remained a favorite (of Kyiv rulers). The son of Ugyr, Barys, married his daughter, and the son of Mal, the Emir Diu-Baryn became the first Urus boyar.
The capture of the Khorysdan for the Bek Kubar was a signal for the beginning of the advance on the Bulgar, which the Samanids also wished to control. Still, Khurasan also achieved another purpose, distancing from their borders the most restless khans of these proliferating people. But Kubar himself also was not a flop: he conceived to subordinate the Bulgars of the Khazaria using the sabers of the Samanid Turkmen, and then to climb the Itil throne.
The war started with the Kubar two brothers, Arslan and Shonkar, setting a siege of the Bellakian fortress Samar on the river Samar. Long unaccustomed to such impudence, the Mardanians, sure in an easy victory, quickly moved to Samar, under leadership of Balus. At the fortress, they joined a severe fight but were suddenly attacked from the rear and defeated. It should be noted that among the reasons for the defeat were also a large number of the enemy and the timidness and infirmness of the Kyr-Badjinaks.
Balus fell in the fight, and his surviving soldiers either dissipated or retreated in great disorder and returned to Bandja in the pettiest state. After that followed a siege, which ended with the exhausted Samarians, all to the last men, including the men, women, old men, and children, mounted the horses and went to the Kinel, where they founded a new city Samar. They left before dawn when the Turkmens collapsed into a deep sleep, and almost all broke through. But the loss of this fortress opened a gate for Oguzes to start intrusions into the Bulgar.
The aksakals, suvarchis and biys raised to the Mardanian throne the son of Balus Bulan. The new Bellakian Emir asked the Nasyr to resend the Kan’s decree about the double increase in the size of the tribute from the Mardan, to re-direct the means for the increase of the salaries of the servient bakhadirs and to lift their fighting spirit. But the Vizier, in the name of the Kan, refused, and then Bulan told the seid with the greatest irritation: ”If the tribute for the Kan’s whores is more important for you than the security of the State, then take the money and do not ask anything more from me”. After that, he ordered Badjanaks to open not populated roads through the Mardan to the Inner Bulgaria, and the Turkmens surge in it, like a locust. This began the ”Turkmen flood” which lasted for 15 years.
Most tough it was for the subashes of the Baytüba province, and they had to take to the arms. However the Vizier did not give them any break in taxes, and then the Bulyars began to meet the officials as they meet Turkmens. The officials, having lost the opportunity to plunder the boundary areas, turned with triple energy to the other areas, despite of the desperate cries of the unfortunate igenchis. A lot of subashes fled from the Bulyar, led by Bul, who arbitrarily left his post and occupied by force the house of the Kashanian governor.
The former Ulugbek (governor), the old Djakyn-Michael, quietly abided there, gave the province to the plunder of the officials and listened with utter indifference to the moaning of the igenchis. Certainly, the subashes, chirmyshes and kara-chirmyshes met Bul with pleasure and wanted to cleave all of the Djakyn’s family, but the new Ulugbek mercifully allowed them to leave. Nasyr settled them in the Bulyar, where his sons, Abdallah first, and then Vakhta were the governors.
At the same time the third son of Djakyn, Balak was a vali in the Tukhchi. Abdallah in 947 AD successfully beat off the raid of the Turkmens on the Baytüba, and Mohammed, afraid of being seized by the enemies in his own capital, made him the Ulugbek of the Bolgar and gave him a personal title of Emir. It was against the will of Nasyr, but the seid kept mum. But the Ulugbek of the Nur-Suvar was his favorite, the son of Hasan and adopted son of Mohammed, Talib. When Gabdulla, as the ruler of the capital and an Emir, began to mint coins with his name, the jealous seid immediately ordered his pupil to also mint coins. And the coins.
And the state sign and the seal on the goods was called djogen.
The Vizier ordered Bel to get out, but he brazenly refused and offered to Nasyr a double tribute from the Kashan in exchange for his approval. To this Nuretdin added that otherwise, he will chop down everyone who dares to cross to his side of the Agidel. The seid, not finding anyone who would risk going to the Kashan after the Nuretdin’s threats, reluctantly agreed. Bel coped easily with the payment as the population of Kashan tripled due to the arrival of the Bulyars, and he was left alone. More than that.
In the end, Nasyr also gave the Bek a right to appoint envoy-deputies in the northern Bulgarian provinces Biysu, Ur and Baygul, watch for the trustworthiness of the local Ulugbeks-Tarkhans and the collection of the tribute. The brother of Nuretdin, Djilki, so called because he was born in the year of the Horse, himself went on the rounds in these provinces to check the work of the Kashanian tudjuns. And the northern Tarkhans, per their requests and different from the southern, or the Innner, were called Ügur-Tarkhans. Ügur-Tarkhans explained it that they so called since the times of the old Bulyar Kaganate of Hons.
Under the Nuretdin’s order were built the main fortresses of the province.:. Kankura and Kargadan, which was the centre of the Ur were and where the northern biys gathered for the reception of the appointments, the reporting and delivery of the “Gift Tribute”. And the biysfrom the Moskha and Undja gathered in the Gusman-Katau on the river Djuk-su…
As for the Sadimians, who were coming to Bulgar through the Chulman dingeze for the sanction to trade, Nuretdin was receiving them in the Kashan. And they called Bulgars in Ar and Modjar languages “Berme“, which in their languages means “Bulgarian Land”. And Sadimians got used to this because after their arrival to the Bulgar, before the Bulgars themselves, they met our northerners and acquired their acronym for the State.
There were good people among them, but also happened dishonest, therefore before the return of ours and the Sadumian merchants from the trips, both Sadimians and us were leaving hostages with each other. However, it never came to the punishment of the hostages. But the assaults on ours Sadums- Galidjians and the Balynian Sadimians were happening. So, once an Arian biy, whose district was north from the Moskha-su, betrayed the State and called for Galidjians. At the same time the son of Khalmi-Dulo, suspecting nothing was moving to the lake Koba-kül that belonged to the Bulgar.
It was still Nuretdin who gave Khalmi the permit to trade in the Biysu, and all his descendants were engaged in it and distinguished with honesty and fearlessness. We called Khalmi “Tash“, for the khalmi in the Sadumian meant “tash“ (“hill“), and eventually, he began to be called himself Khalmi-Tash. When Dulo already approached the river Koba-su, running into the lake, he was attacked from behind by the Galidjians and their Sadimians numbered up to 300 people. We had about 50 people, but they completely smashed the attackers, laying down 150 enemies and losing only two. And were captured 20 Galidjians with two boyars.
Dulo was received by the Kan Timar himself, and the Kan told him: ”I want that such brave men as you were alvays tied to our land, and consequently I give you and your descendants a parcel of land”. In this allodial near the confluence of the Kara-Idel to Agidel, Dulo built a small fortress and called it, in honor of the father, Khalmi-Kerman. We called fortress Tash-Kerman. In addition to it, Dulo received from the Kan an honorable name Baluan. As to the biy-traitor, the Kan said: ”Do not hold the local Ars by force, for our State is strong only by the kind consent and trust, and the use of force in relation to some will undermine this trust and cause fear and a desire for betrayal in the others”.
Therefore we began to call the area above the Moskha-su “Not Held“, from which came its Ar’s name Totma. But then the Ars themselves expelled the biy-traitor and as a token of the fidelity to the State first built the fortresses Shud (Khan’s), and then, during the Kan Baluk time, Balukta. In 1111 AD the Galidjians with the help of another biy-traitor captured these two our fortresses and began to christen the local Ars, and when those began to protest, simply slaughtered them together with the family of the biy. Such was the award to the traitor…
After the transfer of Abdallah to the Bolgar city, it became really grave in the Bulyar. Nasyr was hiding the loss of the control over the Baytüba in every possible way, while Vakhta had no real power and did not get out of the Bulyar citadel, the Martuan or Nardugan. This citadel, as some tell, was called so in memory of being finished in a nardugan… The second part of the city was called Men Bulyar or Undurt Kala because it was surrounded by a wall with 14 big towers. The third part of was called Bulyar carried a name Hinuba (Hynuba). Here the continuous wall built only after the Syb-Bulat sugyshy, and it was called so in memory of the first settlers from the city of Khin.
To compensate for the loss of taxes from Baytüba or Chirmyshan, as sometimes was called this il, Nasyr allowed the descendant of Burdjan-Mar the merchant Mar to head the province created of the western lands of the Bulgarian Il, since this trader promised to collect a double tribute from this territory. Therefore the new province began to be called Martüba. Mar settled in the built by Bul fortress Züya-Deber and organized the tax collection.
The Bulgars of the Modjar area, or the Mishars, and also the old and new coming subashes he left as chirmyshes and subashes, and all the non-Moslems he turned into kara-chirmyshes and began to take from them a threefold a kara-chirmysh tax. The unfortunate heathens, especially Ars and Serbiys, tried to flee, sometimes with the whole families, but the Batlik, Kukdjak and Modjar chirmyshes were ruthlessly catching them and turning over to the Ulugbek. Some people were returned back, but the most defiant were sold to kazanchis and merchants.
In the east the situation was catastrophic. Tamta was half devastated, and in the Baytüba only a fourth part of the land escaped the devastation. The raids of the Turkmens and the unreasonable and unlawful seizures impoverished subashes, chirmyshes, medium and small merchants and artisans. The Vizier barely supported the luxury life of the Kan’s court and their people by the introduction of still newer taxes and levies. So, was introduced the ”Payout Tax” for the non-attendance of the districts by the Kan.
And in addition, Mohammed, famous for his whimsical character, frequently did not listen to the advice of Nasyr and would set out to the already paid-off district. And who there could refuse to the Kan or complain about a robbery? The petitioners were simply disappearing… The people were saying that the only thing that people ate in Mohammed’s reign were the jokes about the adventures of the Kan. Here is one of such stories.
Sometime Mohammed, travelling in Martüba with a bunch of two-thousand kazanchis, sensed ill and wanted to return. The kazanchis, however, got lost and, going by the deserted military road from the Archamysh to the Khazarian border, came to the Khazarian city Mukhtasar. To be mistaken was no wonder: on both sides of the border lived related groups, there were identical customs and even the rulers were called the same: ”Khakan”. In charge of the accommodations for the Kan’s caravan were Aksak-Ahmed, a fighter and a brawler about whom went around even more jokes than about the Kan.
It was told that he, learning about the appointment to Kashan of Bul, his personal offender, came with a complaint to the Kan. But Mohammed, pleased with the tribute received by the Bek from the northern provinces, hollered at him, that if the kazanchi can extract the same, he would immediately send him to the Kashan. The frightened aristocrat, for whom even the governorship in the Kashan would be an arduous exile in comparison with his luxurious life in the Nur-Suvar allodial, melted away unhurriedly.
Right after the entrance to Mukhtasar, this Ahmed broke to the Türe of the city with an announcement of the arrival of “Khakan Mohammed“ and the request to prepare everything necessary. ”What, we already have a new Khakan?” silently wondered the commander, but immediately, without superfluous talk, rushed to execute the order about the delivery from city to the tent camp of Khan of the food, drinks and the best girls and women, including his own wife. Having feasted, the Kan ordered to show women to him. Seeing them, he came to full fury. ”Whom did you bring to me?” shouted he at the commander, generously whipping him and pointing at the Türe’s wife, “Are these women?.”
-Why did not you bring your daughter who I saw at your place?- Ahmed bellowed at the commander also, alternating his words with blows of his fist.
-Take from me what you want, only do not touch her!, begged Türe, falling to his knees and kissing the boots of the Khan.
But the Kan, hearing about an extraordinary beautiful grey-eyed dark-skinned girl, was relentless. The daughter of the commander was brought in, Mohammed was introduced to her as the ”faithful Khakan”, and the Khan, shocked by her charms, asked her:
-“Where from you, such a beauty, appeared in this garbage dump (Mohammed called so Mukhtasar)?”
-“I am not at all from here”, grinned the dark-skinned girl. “I am the daughter of the Khazarian Khakan, Aisylu!
-“What! You are Jewish?!”, exclaimed the shocked Mohammed, recollecting the Bakir’s ban on affairs with Jewesses.
-“No, I am a Moslem”, the beauty calmed the Khan. “My Muslim father Khakan Mukhtasar brought me up as a zealous Moslem. The malicious Yusuf killed my father in this city, took in his harem my mother by force and began to solicit me also, telling that his adopting me as a daughter does not mean anything, for for the Khakan all women of the country, even his wives are like his daughters.
When I repelled his harassments, I was thrown into a tower and began to be tormented by hunger and thirst… And then I fled to here with the help of a guard, to whom gave my golden belt. I ordered Türe, entirely obliged to my father, to present me as the daughter, and decided to better die in the boondocks and obscurity, than to be a concubine of Yusuf and a Jewess!”…
The Khan… decided to celebrate a wedding immediately, afraid of chicaning by Nasyr in the capital .”Where nearby here lives an imam?”, he asked the beauty. ”Our mullah is far, in Itil, since we are in Khazaria”, answered Aisylu. The shocked Mohammed whacked Ahmed with a whip again, for his foolishness and immediately rode to the nearest Bellakian city of Burtas, where the imam of the mosque “Mardan“ made no…
But history did not end there. Yusuf, learning about the theft of Aisylu, began threatening Mohammed with a war. And the Khan did not have an effective army. Only Ahmed still could somehow hold a sword in his hand, but, then in Mukhtasar, the Kan battered his this hand with the whip, and after that, all he could do was only to bring a shar (bowl) with bal to his mouth. Khan summoned Nasyr and asked him: ”What shall we do?”
-“What?”, the seid was amazed, learning about the threat of Yusuf. “Is it that Yusuf and not Alan rules in the Khazaria for the last year? And all this time I was sending the gifts to Alan and wished him a long life on the throne!”
His hands drooped, he began to shake and became absolutely puzzled. He wanted to send to the campaign his officials, but their bashchy in a panic fell from a horse, and they themselves, as it turned out, grossly engorged three days ago and suffered from diarrhea since then.
-“This night I had a dream that pigs burrrrowed the support of the Kan’s tent, and it fell”, uttered Nasyr at last. “Apparently, the dream was prophetic, the end came to all of us for our sins!”
But here Aisylu came to the help of the Kan: ”Yusuf likes to play chess more than his live. Propose to him to play chess and make me a prize!”
-“But I shall lose, since I, except for the nardy (backgammon – Translator’s Note), do not play anything!”, noted Mohammed with an alarm.
-“Never mind!”, Khanum said confidently. Your adopted son Talib will quickly teach you, he plays best of all!”
And that was done. They sat to play in a small Bellakian tavern Suz-Uryny, for Yusuf trusted only the Mardanian word of honor, and because the Bellakians refused to give players a larger city out of fear of the lootings by the Kan’s retinue.
The Khakan waged the city of Mukhtasar against the daughter of Mukhtasar and lost, for Talib gave to the Kan a right plan for the game. So Aisylu remained in the Bulgar, and Talib, the younger son of Gazan, became a Vizier.