Colligation in Fighting.

The extraordinary custom alluded to in the Beg Lár-náma, of a devoted band tying themselves together by their waistbands, before fighting à tout outrance, is mentioned in the same terms in the Tárikh-i Sind (MS. p. 173).

“When they saw the army of the Moghals, they dismounted from their horses, took their turbans from off their heads, and binding the corners of their mantles, or outer garments, to one another, they en­gaged in battle; for it is the custom of the people of Hind and Sind, whenever they devote themselves to death, to descend from their horses, to make bare their heads and feet, and to bind themselves to each other by their mantles and waistbands.”

These people appear most of them to have been Sammas; and it is among their descendants in Kachh that we find this curious custom again alluded to (Táríkh-i Sind, MS. p. 194), when Mirzá Sháh Husain attacked Ráí Khangár. Here we have a new feature added, of serrying shields together like a compact phalanx.

“The men under Khangár, having set themselves in battle array, dismounted from their horses, locked their shields together, seized their spears in their hands, and bound the corners of their waistbands.”

The Tarkhán-náma omits all mention of the proceedings between Ráí Khangár* and Mirzá Sháh Husain, but they are noticed in the Tuhfatu-l Kirám (MS. p. 194); and the observance of this strange practice is also there alluded to, in words similar to those quoted from the Táríkh-i Sind.

The dismounting from horseback, prior to actual contact in the field of battle, is mentioned in a previous note of this Appendix, and appears to have been a more common occurrence; but the colli­gation evidently implies desperation, even unto death.

Some barbarous nations of antiquity seem to have adopted the same practice, but more with the object, apparently, of keeping their ranks unbroken, than symbolizing any vow of self-destruction. So, at the battle of Campi Raudii, we read of the Cimbri binding them­selves together by long chains run through their belts, avowedly for the purpose of maintaining an unbroken line.* There is good reason to suppose that the Soldurii of Gaul and the Comites of Germany showed their devotion occasionally in a similar fashion.*

Even as late as the days of chivalry, we find a resort to the same singular mode of showing a desperate resolve to die in the field. See what the heroic king of Bohemia, together with his faithful and devoted companions did at the glorious battle of Creçy:—

“The valyant kynge of Behaygne (Bohemia), called Charles of Luzenbourge, sonne to the noble Emperour Henry of Luzenbourge, for all that he was nyghe blynde, whan he vnderstode the order of the batayle, he sayde to them about hym, “Where is the lorde Charles, my sonne.” His men sayde, “Sir, we can nat tell; we thynke he be fightynge.” Than he sayde, “Sirs, ye ar my men, my companyons, and frendes in this iourney; I requyre you bring me so farre forwarde, that I may stryke one stroke with my swerde.” They sayde they wolde do his commaundement; and to the intent that they shulde not lese hym in the prease, they tyed all their raynes of their bridelles eche to other, and sette the kynge before to accom-plysshe his desyre, and so they went on their ennemyes. The lord Charles of Behaygne, his sonne, who wrote hymselfe Kynge of Be-haygne, and bare the armes, he cam in good order to the batayle; but whan he sawe that the matter went awrie on their partie, he de­parted, I can nat tell you whiche waye. The kynge, his father, was so farre forewarde, that he strake a stroke with his swerde, ye and mo than foure, and fought valyantly, and so dyde his company; and they adventured themselfe so forewarde, that they were ther all slayne; and the next day they were founde in the place about the kynge, and all their horses tyed eche to other.”*

A curious instance occurred even lately, when Muhammad 'Ali gained his victory over the Wahábís at Bissel. Several bodies of the Azir Arabs, who had sworn by the oath of divorce, not to turn their backs on the Turks, were found by the victors tied together by the legs, with the intent of preventing each other from running away, and in that unbroken and desperate line of battle were literally cut to pieces.*