Page images
PDF
EPUB

finest manna of all Asia is gathered. 4. OSRUSNAH, surrounded by a district, that has four hundred strong castles in it. 5. FARGANA, the birth-place of a great aftronomer, usually called Alfargáni, who flourished in the ninth century. The mountains near Fargána abound in turkis-stones, as well as in rich mines of gold and silver.

The vast Empire, which lies beyond the Täxartes, between the dominions of the Czar and the Emperor of China, is called by the Afiaticks, who speak correctly, TURKESTAN*, or, The country of the Oriental Turks, an ancient and martial people, who, under the names of Getes, Moguls, and Tartars, have, at different times, poured in great numbers into the more western and southern kingdoms. The principal cities of Turkestán are, 1. BALAS AGUN, which was once its Capital. 2. SHASH, which gives its name to a river that flows from the Sibún, and joins another called Faráb. 3. SHAHROKHIA, built by Tamerlane

upon

the birth of his son, whom he called Shahrokh, or, Check with the rook, because he was playing at chess, and had juft beaten his adversary by that stroke, when he received news of the prince's birth.

ترکستان

*.

This city stands on the banks of the lärartes, over which there is a large and elegant bridge in this part. 4. FARAB, or FARIAB, otherwise called Otrár, the birth-place of two very learned men, the great philosopher and musician Al Fariabi, and an able grammarian, known to us by the name of Al Foúheri, or, The Jeweller, who compiled a voluminous dictionary of the Arabick language, entitled Seháh, in which the principal words are illustrated by chosen passages from the old Arabian

poets There is nothing very remarkable in the other cities of Turkestán, as Ilák, Toncát, and the rest : they stand between the ninety-ninth and hundred and first degrees of longitude, and are between forty-one and forty-three from the Equator. The province of KHOTOLAN deferves, indeed, to be more particularly mentioned; it lies between Tartary, Badakhshan, and the ter

* This laborious fcholar loft his fenses through an ex. cess of learning, and was killed by a fall in a mad attempt to fly with a pair of waxen wings. The title of his work Sebab o fignifics purity, and also health; which gave occasion to a ridiculous miftake of a French Orientalist, who translated the life of Tamerlane, from the Arabick: the historian, speaking of the death of a certain Arab, fay be died like the author of Scháh, that is, ly a full from the to of his house, which the Frenchman, not knowing the allufion, translates, he died in perfict health.

[ocr errors]

ritory of Balkh; its chief city, which has also a considerable district around it, is named V AKESH; and the whole country is represented as fruitful, pleasant, watered by feveral rivulets, and even rich in golden ore, which the streams often bring down the mountains mingled with their fand.

At the extremity of Turkestún, are the countries of KHATA and KIIOTEN, which border on China, and, in this century, were governed by an independent King, who sent an ambassador to Nader Shah. The city of Khoten has a large territory round it of the same name, which is famous for producing very fine musk, equal to that of Tibet. A Perhan poet, quoted by Golius in one of his manuscripts *, alludes to the musk of this country in the following passage: When 'thy charming letter was brought to me, I • said; “ Is it the zephyr that breathes from “ the gardens, or is the sky burning wood of “ aloes on the censer of the sun? or is a ca

ravan of musk coming from Khoten.p.?To

* See the Bibliothéque Orientale, p. 999. where, by some accident, the original of the third verse is omitted. + In Persian,

(

مکتوب جانغراي تو آمد بسوي من گفتم مگر صبا از چین رسید

VOL. X.

CC

understand these verses, we must know, that the Asiaticks have a custom of perfuming their letters, which they tie up in little bags of fattin or damask. The city of CASHGAR also, with its territory, belongs, according to some writers, to Khatá; as well as KHANBALEK, which the Eastern Geographers place actually in the Chinese Empire; this is not the Cambalu of our travellers, which is properly called Cabalig, and stands forty-four degrees from the Line, and an hundred and three from the Canaries. CAR ACUM is likewise a city of Khatá, and is situated in a large plain covered with black sand, from which it derives its name.

All this extensive Empire was conquered in the thirteenth century by Tamugin or Genghiz, who penetrated even into China, which his successor O&t äï almost wholly subdued, and took the city of Nám Kim, or Nang King, where the Chinese prince Altún burned himself and all his family, that he might not fall into the hands of the Moguls.

یا آسمان بجر خورشید عول دوخت با کاروان مرشك زراه ختن رسید

CHAP. III.

The Indian Empire.

The celebrated Empire of India is called by the Persians Hind, or HINDUSTAN*, The Country of the Hindús: it is bounded on the west and south by the Ocean, on the north by Candahár and Turán, on the east by Chỉn or China; for so the Asiaticks call the Peninsula beyond the Ganges, which comprises the kingdoms of Tipra, Afám, Aracan, and Siam. The country of Hind is divided into three parts; 1. Guzerat, or DECAN, including most of the southern provinces, and, among them, the city and territory of SUMENAT, where Sadi, as he tells us in his Bostán, had an adventure with the worshippers of an ivory image, whose artful contrivance he detected at the hazard of his life. 2. MALABAR, or, The country of the Malais, which includes what the Arabians call Beladelfulful, or, The land of Pepper t, and is terminated on the south by the cape of Comron, famous for pro

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »