Account of Shar Abú-Nasr-Muhammad-’bn-Asad and his Son, the Shár Abú-Muhammad.

They call the king who guides the affairs of the people of Garjístan (Georgia) the Shár, as the Turks, Hindus, and Greeks call their respective princes the Khán, the Rai, and the Czar. The Shár of Garjistán was Abú-Nasr, until his son Muham­mad arrived at manhood, and he, by the power of youth, and the favour and consent of his comrades, became ruler of the kingdom, which his father, going into retirement, resigned to him. This Prince, by reading books and conversing with the worthy, became highly accomplished, and enjoying the sweetness of learning, was not content with the pleasures of royalty, or the luxuries of earth. The honourable of the world, and the industrious of the age, regarded his Court as the object of their hopes, and the true Kaaba of petitions and requests. They resorted to him from all portions and districts of the world, as the direction of the thought of success, and the brisk market of petitions. And Abú-Alí-Símjúr, when he began to rebel against King Núr, wished to take Garjístan under his own direction, and to bring the Shár under obedience to himself. But both the Shárs placed the hand of repulsion in the face of his desire, and declined all idea of submitting to any other individual’s sway, in the room of that suzerainty of the family of Sámán; obedience to whom had been their per­fume and livery, and under the protection of whose sway so long a time had passed. Relying therefore upon the defence of their castles, and the rugged­ness of their country, they sent a reply to Abú-Alí. And Simjúr sent Abúl-Kásim, the priest, with a body of the lords of the fief and nabobs of the state, to oppose them. And this army, in traversing the space between the two regions, cut through several mountains on a level with the heavens, and parallel to the horizon, and passed some defiles narrower than the eye of a needle, or than the pressure point of a swaddling band, and stood against them in several stations, engaging them in battle, and many heads were scattered like leaves from the trees, and blood flowed like a stream upon the surface of the earth. And they turned the two Shárs from difficulty to difficulty, until they com­pelled them to take refuge in a castle at the extremity of their kingdom, so lofty that the ropes of the clouds would be broken in reaching it, and the eagle’s wing fractured in rising to it. And Abúl-Kásim took this country, and laid hand upon their treasure, their magazines, and their goods, and took all into his grasp, until the Amír Nasr-Addin came to the defence. Then Abú-Alí became occupied in heart, and summoned back Abúl-Kásim. And the two Shárs joined the body of the Chiefs of Nasr-Addín in supporting the sovereignty of Núh. So they revenged themselves on Abú-Alí, and saw him subject to their wish, and came to the head (posses­sion) of their kingdom and territory, and there, in short, passed their time in peace and quietness, until the time of the Sultán Yamín-Addoulah.

Utbi relates: When the lords of the provinces bound themselves to allegiance to the Sultán, and at the coronation hurrah reached forth their hands in expressing obedience to him, and decorated the pulpits by the commemoration of his titles, they sent me to the Shárs as an envoy to receive their homage. And when I arrived there they met me with perfect honour, and with sincere eagerness and true zeal, proclaimed him on the top of the roof, and placed on the edge of their coined money the august name of the Sultán, in the year 389. And during my presence (at the Court) letters arrived from the parties who had been defeated at Merú (?) in which a request was made for reinforcements and succour in the war. And the two Shárs being summoned to the war, the Shár Abú-Nasr wrote letters to me, and sent a note to me, supplicating that I would send his kind respects to the Sultán, and assure him of his firm and dutiful attachment to His Majesty, and his opposition to all the adver­saries of the empire I in reply wrote this extract to him, “I hoped that God would prolong the continuance of the Shár,” &c., &c. “And praise to God who hath caused the swords of our lord the Sultán to be proclaimed in the pulpits of the God-fearing.”*

This affair indeed fell out according to the settled conclusion of my discernment, and in the end the news arrived that Ilek-Khán had come to Bukhárá, and was made king, and had taken cap­tive the greater part of the army, and put them in chains, and the rest of the people were scattered and dispersed. And I, on account of the request of the two Shárs, sent letters to the Sultán, and their condition was in the end safely settled in the most satisfactory manner, and their affairs fell out happily, and their rank became well grounded, and their (welfare) was bound up by the Sultán with the absolute necessity of things. And the son of this King Shár came to pay his respects at the Sultan’s throne, and found the most perfect accessi­bility and freedom. He was for some time attached to the Court, great and honoured; but he moved plans of wickedness and folly inconsistent (with this treatment), and unbecoming words of deceit and treachery towards the kingdom appeared to be uttered by him, that in kings’ courts are the cause of punishment and reproof. By this crime he be­came like a dissevered branch to His Highness the Sultán, who however looked with an eye of pardon and connivance upon his error, until he requested his dismissal, when the Sultán presented him with suitable gifts and a valuable dress of honour, and thus he found who was the supporter of his honour and the strengthener of his glory. Thus he de­parted, and affairs for some time remained in the same state, until he conceived the design of further conquest, and wished to collect a numerous army from all quarters, and to be reinforced with great numbers and strength. He therefore dispatched an edict to the Shár, and expected great benefits from him, in requital of the solid and generous favours which the Sultán had granted to him. But the hand of factiousness had seized his skirt, so that he interposed senseless excuses, and weak pretexts, and took the path of delay and torpidity, until his rebellion became plain. And the Sultán, passing by his immediate business, addressed him­self to this affair, and giving a reply to Shams, departed for that expedition upon the horse of victory. And mutual letters passed between him and the Shár, and the Sultán summoned him to trial, and in the midst of the royal order which had appointed the cause to be tried, he commenced some overtures towards reconciliation and approxi­mation; recommending the Shár to institute humanity for harshness, and to surcease from such a display of suspicion and alienation; “that he wished not, that the conduct which he had dis­played towards him should become ineffectual through a single error, and that the plant of kind­ness which he had fixed in his behalf should through one slip be rooted up by him.” The Shár became still more alarmed at this gentleness, and by Heavenly decree bound the garland of destruc­tion upon his brow, until he appeared in open rebellion against the Sultán. The Sultán sent to engage with him the Lord Chamberlain Altontásh, and Anslán-Jazib. They directed their course towards his territory, and they carried with them Abúl-Hasan, who was Prince (literally, bailiff) of Merúrúd, on account of the familiarity possessed by him of the windings of those narrow paths, and the clefts of those rocks. And thus they entered into those confines with an army, excellent for their experience in important actions, and for their eagle vision in war, who cut like Egyptian iron, and dived into rivers like crocodiles, and found their way into the passes and ravines of earth like snakes. They took therefore possession of the country. And the father Shár, through the expe­rience of life, well knowing the end of such actions and the practical consequences of meddling in serious times, sought protection in entreating quar­ter, and requested to capitulate, and fled to the patronage of the guidance and aid of the Chamber­lain Altontash, and sought help against the dis­obedience and rebellion of his son, and declared that he had no part either in his active or passive misconduct, and requested not to be connected with his rebellious and infidel measures, and asked the General’s conciliatory intercession with the Sultán, representing his sincere fidelity to his the suzerain empire, and the brightness of his walk and throne, as respects obedience to the Sultán. They conveyed him with the utmost honour and respect to Herát, and they sent a royal missive from the Sultán accepting his apology, and com­mending his obedience. Thus they took him unto the pledge of peace. But his son fortified himself in a castle, which had been their place of refuge during the time of the family of Símjúr, and which has been previously mentioned. To this place he transported his treasure, slaves, and furniture. The Chamberlain Altontash, and Arslán-Jazib came down and encompassed this fortress (Verse)

“All around this castle were iron-clothed men,
“On all sides of the fortress was an iron-cutting circle.”

The Sultán’s army levelled great and small slinging machines and batteries towards the side of the castle, and brought one side of the wall to the ground. And the men of the army ran up to those walls like deer, laying their hands to dart and sword, and drew abundance of red (blood) upon the traitor castle. But the Shár perceiving that he was losing hold, sought to escape and requested terms, in order that by supplication and submission, the intoxicated retribution of that terrible (army) might cease, and that he might throw water upon the fire of the anger of those troops. But he discovered, that the enraged lion, when in the extremity of fury he has reached his prey with his claws, relinquishes not his sought object, and that the deadly snake, when in the ut­most rancour he determines to sting, withdraws not his irremediably (wounding) teeth. Therefore this devastation went on, until they seized him, and expelled him from the castle, and made booty of his treasure and property. They also took his Vizier, who was the depository of news, and the bag of secrets to him, and placed him upon the square torture instrument (i. e. possibly an instru­ment that tortures the four limbs) until he gave up his most valuable jewels and precious treasures, and presented the account book of the remaining sums due from the collectors and revenue officers, to obtain it from whom they deputed responsible persons. They appointed Abúl-Hasam to the con­solidated charge of attending to the affairs of the country, the throne, and the imposts of those lands, and directed him to arrange the expenses of those regions, and entrusted the fortress to him as con­fidential Kutwál; and an order came from the Sultán to convey the Shár to the presence, and a strict charge arrived to use him favourably, and to supply him; and in delivering him up to the Sultán, they conveyed him towards Ghazna in a closed litter which he had (Takhti band). They say, that one of his confidential guards wished to write a letter home, and to make known the de­scription of the circumstances of that journey He called the Shár in the litter, and pressed him to compose that letter, the Shár in his distress was vexed with the importunity and impertinence of his inconsiderate Ghulám, and taking the pen, be­gan the letter, writing thus to his wife— “Oh thou bad old woman, perhaps you think that I care not for your extravagance and wickedness in spending my property upon your own will and pleasure, or that I know not how you are passing your time continually in wickedness, in drinking and in squandering money by expending it in every way of iniquity and perverseness; how you are occupied every day in abundance, and every night in splen­dour, with merriment, luxury, and art, giving my house to the wind, and casting away my honour. If I return I will give you your due, and place your just recompense in your bosom.” He wrote the letter with this playfully high flown language, and fastened it up, and gave it to his guard, and when it reached his wife, she was astounded, and doubted not but that some enemy had made this frightful picture (of her conduct), or that some ill-willer had made it the means of spite. She left her house, and in alarm and disquietude fled to some corner, and when the Ghulám came to his home, he found his residence as empty as a reaped field, and saw no trace of his lady and servants, he remained in confusion, and sought from his neigh­bours the explanation of this matter. They an­nounced to him the fact of the letter, and recited his abusive and odious words. He cried out for help, and occupied himself in soothing his wife’s heart, and in appeasing her, and removing her terror and alarm, and brought his wife home again quiet and confiding. They told this story of the Shár’s calumnies to the Sultán, who smiled at his teazing moroseness, and ordered that whosoever he appointed to serve the Shár, who did not serve him with patience and readiness should receive such a retribution.

And when the Shár arrived at the Durbár of the Sultán, he ordered them to throw him down, and to give him a rubbing with the whip, in order to correct and punish him, and they imprisoned him; and the Sultán gave a charge to provide duly for the times of his eating food, but so that the consent of the Sultán in that respect should be concealed, that it might not be a cause of boldness, audacity, and impurity. And he made a request that they would send to him one of his favourite guards, and that out of his property, household utensils and furniture, they would restore to him what was necessary for him, to which request the Sultán acceded. And they brought the father from Heràt to the Sultán’s presence, who ordered that they should observe carefully all respect unto him, and the Sultán commanded that they should free their possessions and farms from the brand of disgrace, and the mark of suspicion whereby they had been annexed to the other royal estates (con­fiscated). And he relinquished the splendour of their wealth to their own disposal, to be expended upon their comfort or their necessities, and the Shaikh Khalil was appointed to attend to Shár Abú-Nasr, who retained him under the protection of his encompassing care, until he departed to the neigh­bourhood of the mercy of Him who is Truth.