Monday, November 21, 2005

Mongolia | Bush and Hulegu

George W. "The Hulegu of This Age" Bush is in town.
Reaching out across the Ages, Bush shakes hands with previous incarnation Hulegu. They agreed on Baghdad: “Git-R-Done!” Hulegu leveled Baghdad in the year 1258. Bush is working on it. Read what the Persian historian Ata-Malik Juvaini has to say about Hulegu:

Juvaini had this to say about Hulegu’s mother, Sorkhakhtani, the niece of the Keriat khan Tooril who had been seized as war booty after the defeat of the Keraits by Chingis and given to Hulegu’s father Tolui, Chingis's fourth son, as a wife:
And her hand was ever open in munificence and benefaction, and although she was a follower and devotee of the religion of Jesus she would bestow alms and presents upon imams and shaikhs and strove to revive the sacred observances of the faith of Mohammed (may God bless him and give him peace!) . . . And always she would sent alms to all parts to be distributed among the poor and needy Moslems, and so she continued until [February or March of 1252], when the Destroyer of Delights sounded the note of departure.
Be advised that Juvaini, who was Hulegu's hired pen-slinger, wisely ends his narrative in 1257, before the destruction of Baghdad. As a Sunni Moslem himself he would have had a problem dealing with that. He does, however, provide an interesting description of Hulegu's defeat of the so-called Assassins and the destruction of their fortress castle at Alamut in 1256, which he witnessed. The Assassins were Shiites, Ismailis at that, on whom Juvaini could not pour enough scorn. Some things never change. Read about the Assassins here:

Excerpt from The Secret Order of Assassins:
In the power of Alamut was thought to be all the wild malice and destruction a soul could dream of: at a word a dagger was ready, at a word kings and lords laid low. No fear of earthly punishment or divine displeasure: only a total immersion in the power of death, as in the delight of sense. Of the atheistic devotion the ordinary citizen must hardly think: yet he was permitted a glimpse in the stories of the secret master of such men. A god to all about him, he owned no god beyond. At his command, the company would assemble at night in forbidden orgies, celebrating the rites of sex with any to hand in the covering darkness, to the nearest and most forbidden; or at a glance, fifty men would leap from the turrets about him to a far death below. So splendid a luxuriance had as arresting a fascination as it had impossibility in real life; and it became a favored possession of the Muslim, and then too of the Western, imagination.
For an explanation of how legends about the Assassins, most of them untrue, became embedded in the Western consciousness see:

I would go with Secret Order of the Assassins first.