To return now to the periods of Mongol ascendancy which we have just distinguished. In the first, or purely destructive period, we have to consider two separate waves of invasion, that of Chingíz Khán (A.D. 1219-27), and that of Hulágú Khán (A.D. 1255-65). The first fell chiefly on Khurásán, and extended westwards as far as Ray, Qum, Káshán, and Hamadán. During it were performed those prodigies of valour wrought by Jalálu'd-Dín Khwárazmsháh and chronicled so fully and graphically by his secretary, Shihábu'd-Dín Muḥammad of Nasá, who accompanied him until he met his death at the hands of a Kurd on August 15, A.D. 1231. The second wave of Hulágú's invasion broke on Khurásán at the beginning of A.D. 1256, engulfed alike the heretical Isma'ílís of Alamút and Kúhistán and the orthodox Caliphate of Baghdád, and was only stemmed by the gallant Mamelukes of Egypt at the battle of 'Ayn Jálút, which was fought on Friday, September 3, A.D. 1260, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Egyptians, notable as the first victory gained by the Muslims over the Mongols since the death of Jalálú'd-Dín Khwárazmsháh thirty years before. Henceforth the spell was broken, and the Muslims, perceiving that their terrible foes were, after all, not invincible, plucked up a fresh courage which showed itself on many a blood-stained field, notably at the battle of 'Ayntáb, on April 16, 1277, when Baybars (al-Malik adh-Dháhir) utterly defeated the Mongol army, of whom 6,770 were left dead on the field. Still greater was the victory obtained at Marju'ṣ-Ṣafar, near Damascus, on April 23, 1303, by the Egyptians under al-Maliku'n-Náṣir, who brought with him on his triumphal entry into Cairo 1,600 Mongol prisoners in chains, each carrying round his neck the head of another Mongol slain in the battle, while in front marched a thousand spearmen, each carrying another Mongol head on his lance.

We have already sufficiently described the savage proceed­ings of Chingíz Khán's troops in the first invasion, and those who desire to follow in detail the miseries suffered by Utrár, Jand, Banákat, Bukhárá, Níshápúr, Samarqand, Khabúshán, Ṭús, Isfará'in, Dámghán, Simnán, Nakhshab, Urganj (also called Kúrkánj and, by the Arabs, Jurjániyya), Tirmidh, Balkh, Nuṣrat-Kúh, Nasá, Kharandar, Merv, Herát, Kar-dawán, Bámiyán, Ghazna, Ray, Qum, Marágha, Arbíl, Káshán, Baylaqán, Hamadán, and scores of other Persian towns and hamlets, can find it all set forth in the Ta'ríkh-i-fahán-gushá , the fámi‘u’t-Tawáríkh, or the works of d'Ohsson or Sir Henry Howorth, from which they may also convince themselves that the sufferings endured by Persia and Asia Minor were almost equalled by those of Central Asia and China, and almost surpassed by those of Eastern Europe. During the reign of Qubiláy Khán (A.D. 1260-94), when Marco Polo was making his memorable journeys through the Mongol Empire, that empire had attained its greatest extent, nay, perhaps a greater extent than any other empire has ever attained; for it included China, Corea, Cochin-China, Tibet, India north of the Ganges, Persia, most of Asia Minor, the Crimea, and a large part of Russia, as far west as the Dnieper. * In Persia, as we have seen, their empire practically collapsed on the death of Abú Sa'íd in A.D. 1335, and in China about fifty years later, but in Russia their dominion endured until the close of the fifteenth century. * The last remnants of the Mongol Empire, the Khánates of Khiva (i.e., Khwárazm) and Bukhárá, only lost their independent existence some thirty and odd years ago (A.D. 1868 and 1872), while the Khánate of the Crimea was extinguished in 1783, and a lineal descendant of this house, Sulṭán Qirím-Giráy Kattí Giráy, married a Scotch wife and settled in Edinburgh.*

Across the dark days of Chingíz Khán's invasion, when the Persian sky was obscured by the smoke of burning towns, and the Persian soil was soaked with the blood of her children, the personality of Jalálu'd-Dín Khwárazmsháh flashes like some brilliant but ineffectual meteor. A more dauntless prince, perhaps, never fought a more desperate fight, and he deserved a better fate than to die at last (in A.D. 1231), helpless and unarmed, at the hands of a Kurdish mountaineer. We have seen how his father, 'Alá'u'd-Dín Muḥammad Khwárazm-sháh, changed by the terror of the Mongols from the likeness of a ravening wolf into that of a timid hare, died miserably, a hunted fugitive, on an island in the Caspian Sea, in A.D. 1220; while his proud and cruel grandmother, Turkán Khátún, whose last act before abandoning Khwárazm was to murder in cold blood the helpless princes of the Houses of Seljúq, Ghúr, and other royal lines there detained as hostages, * was carried captive by Chingíz to Qaráqorum, in A.D. 1223, and by him bidden to halt and weep a last adieu to her country as she was conducted across the frontiers of Khwárazm. * For the moment Jalálu'd-Dín, girt with his father's sword and fortified by his father's blessing, could only fly before the storm towards the Indian frontier; * and here it was that one of his most celebrated achievements was performed. He and his little army were overtaken on the banks of the Indus by a Mongol host of greatly superior strength. After offering a desperate resistance, in which he displayed the most con­spicuous gallantry, from dawn till mid-day, and finally per­ceiving that the battle was irretrievably lost, he made a final and desperate charge; then, turning quickly, he stripped off his armour, and, with his horse, plunged into the river and swam across it to the other side, followed by the survivors of his army, many of whom perished by drowning or by the arrows of the Mongols. * Rallying the remnants of his army, he first repelled the attack of an Indian prince named Júdí; then, encouraged by this success and strengthened by fresh reinforcements and supplies, threatened Qarája, Prince of Sind, and Íltatmish, Prince of Dihlí, and, in spite of their alliance against him, maintained himself on their territories until the retreat of the pursuing Mongols permitted him to re-enter Persia and endeavour to regain possession of his father's Empire.

His achievements and adventures during the remaining eight years of his life may be read in detail in the monograph of his secretary, an-Nasáwí, of which not only the Arabic text but an excellent French translation has been published by M. Houdas. His hand was against every man, for he had to contend not only with the Mongols, who were ever on his tracks, but with the faithlessness of his brother, Ghiyáthu'd-Dín, and the disloyalty of Buráq Ḥájib, the ruler of Kirmán. And, as if this was not enough, he must needs attack the Caliph of Baghdád, chastise the Turkmáns and the Assassins, and invade Georgia. In A.D. 1223 we see him storming through Kirmán, Fárs, and Iṣfahán to Ray; in 1225 he defeats and slays the Caliph's general Qushtímúr, pursues his army almost to the gates of Baghdád, takes Tabríz, and successfully attacks the Georgians; in 1226, having reduced Tiflís, he has to hasten back to the south-east of Persia to punish Buráq Ḥájib for a treacherous intrigue with the Mongols; in 1227, having chastised the Turkmáns and the Assassins, he defeats the Mongols at Dámghán, and puts to death four hundred of them who fall into his hands, defends Iṣfahán against them, and again, hearing that the Georgians are forming a confederacy against him, turns back thither, kills four of the greatest champions in single combat, and inflicts on them a crushing defeat; in 1229, while striving to organise a league of Muslim princes against the Mongols, he is surprised and put to flight by an army of 30,000 Mongols under Noyán Chormághún, but succeeds in taking Ganja (now Elizavetpol). But after this his fortune seems to fail and his energy to flag; he takes to drink and grows purposeless, melancholy, and even maudlin, as shown by his exaggerated and unreasoning grief over the death of his favourite, Qilij; and, finally, fleeing from the Mongols, is, as we have seen, murdered in a Kurdish village on August 15, 1231. Much uncertainty prevailed as to his fate, which even the great historian Ibnu'l-Athír declared himself unable to ascertain; and for twenty-two years after his death rumours were constantly arising in Persia that he had reappeared, while several impostors who pretended to be he were arrested, examined, and put to death by the Mongols. * This, indeed, is no unique phenomenon in the case of a national hero who is the last hope of a lost cause; the same thing happened, for example, in the case of our English Harold, and the parallel is rendered closer by the fact that popular tradition in both cases represents the hero as with­drawing from the world, living the life of an anchorite, and dying at last, at a ripe old age, in the odour of sanctity.*