Charles Reed Peers.

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On the day of battle, the soldiers were drawn up in
right, centre, and left columns, an arrangement which they
never violated in any engagement : as when once dissolved.
the restoration of that combined order would be impossible
w^hen' the troops had been arrayed in this manner, they
gave the enemy battle ; and in proportion to the necessity,
the bazar, or ** market ^^ of assistance followed them : even
after victory they observed the same arrangement.

On the day of triumph, when the enemy fled and the foe
dispersed, the entire army did not give themselves up to
plunder ; but the king appointed for the service a certain
detachment, accompanied by Shudahbands and Binandahs,
or inspectors and supervisors, while the rest of the army
remained prepared for battle and ready to renew the en-
gagement ; not one of them raising the dust of plunder or
departing to their homes, lest the enemy, on discovering
their dispersion in pursuit of plunder, might return and
gain the victory. When they had made themselves masters
of the spoil, the king oidered them to set apart the choicest
portion for the indigent and the erection of religious founda-
tions : he next distributed an ample share to the men pro-
portioned to their exertions ; after which he gave each of
his courtiers a portion ; and he lastly conferred a suitable
7



98 THE DABISTAN

portion on the great officers ; but no part of this division
entered into the account of the allowances settled on the
military class ; last of all, the king drew the pen of ap-
probation over whatever was worthy of the royal majesty.
Some of the ancient kings and all the princes of the re-
mote ages, far from taking any part of the spoil to their
own share, even made good every injury which happened
to the army in executing the royal orders, as the loss of
horses and such like.

After the victory, they never oppressed the helpless, the
indigent, merchants, travelers, or the generality of the in-
habitants, and the rayas. Those who were guilty of such
acts were, after conviction, punished. They divided among
them whatever the enemy had in their flight left on the
field of battle: but whatever in the difPerent realms be-
longed to the conquered prince and his near connections,
they submitted to the royal pleasure. They never slew or
offered violence to the person who threw down his arms
and asked for quarter.

This class of the obedient followers of the Azar Hushang
code were styled Farishtah, " angelic *> ; Suriish, « seraphic '' ;
Farishtah mariish, " angel-hearted ** ; Suriish manish,
« seraph-hearted » ; Sipdsi, « adorers » ; Sah'i. din, « upright
in faith ^* ; and Zanddil, " the benevolent >> ; opposed to
whom are the Ahriman, the Dlvs, and the Tunddil, or
** fierce demons.'*

The Divs are of two kinds ; the one class subject to
the king of the angels, who, through fear of that prince,
have been compelled to desist from injuring animated
beings; the second kind consists of Divs in the realms of
other kings, who break through the covenants of the law,
and slay animals : these in truth are no other than wolves,
tigers, scorpions, and serpents.

They record that in the time of Ardeskir, the son of Azdd,
the son of Babegdn, the son of Nushirvdn, there was a
Jaiyanian champion by name Farhdd, the son of Aldd,
who were both ranked among the distinguished leaders:
Aiad, when in a state of intoxication, having slain a sheep
with his sword, his son Farhiid, on ascertaining this, made
him pass under the sharp-edged scimitar ; the people held



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 99

him in detestation, and said: ^* Thou shouldst have sent thy
father to the king. *^ He replied, ^* My father had com-
mitted two criminal actions ; the first, in taking so much
wine as to lose his senses ; the second in destroying a sheep.
Although it would have been proper to send him to the
king, I could not suffer any delay to intervene in punish-
ing his crimes : at present I confess myself guilty of trans-
gressing the AbadiAn code, for not submitting the details
of this affair to the king.*^ He then ordered himself to be
put in chains, and brought in that state before the king:
but his majesty drew the pen of forgiveness over his crime,
and elevated the apex of his dignity.

Moreover it was necessary to drink wine in a secret
place, as they inflicted due punishment on whoever was found
intoxicated in the public bazar. In truth, permission to
drink wine was only given in cases of malady, as from the
time of the very ancient sovereigns of the Mahabad dynasty,
until that of Tdssdn Ajam, no person partook of wine or
strong drinks, except the invalids who were ordered by^^the
physicians to have recourse to them ; and even they partook
of them according to the established rules : but among the
ancient kings, /. e. from Kaiomars to Yezdagird, they at
first indulged secretly in wine for the purpose of sensual
enjoyment, under color of conforming to medical ordi-
nances. At last matters terminated in this, that wine was
openly produced at the banquets, and the champions in at-
tendance on the king partook of it ; but it was not per-
mitted to be drunk openly in the bazars or streets.

The king gave audience every day, being seated on an
elevation, that is a tdbsdr, or elevated window: in the same
manner he took his seat in the Roz-Gdh, which is a place
where, on his rising from the tdbsdr, he seated himself on
a throne : on which occasion the nobles in attendance
were drawn out in their proper gradations: note, that by
giving audience is meant, turning his attention to the con-
cerns of mankind. Every decree issued by the king from
the rSzistdn or shabistdn of the interior or exterior, was
transcribed by the Shudahband and again submitted to the
royal presence, and when its promulgation was ratified, it
was laid before his majesty a second time.



loo THE DABISTAN

Whenever a traveler entered a caravanserai or city, the
secretaries of the place, in the presence of witnesses and
notaries, made out a statement of his wealth and effects,
which they gave him ; and the same at the time of sale ;
so that if he should afterward declare that his stock
had been diminished or some part had been abstracted,
they could ascertain its value and quantity ; there was
also a fixed price assigned to every commodity and ar-
ticle, and also a certain rate of profit prescribed to each
vendor.

The following was their mode of hunting : the army be-
ing dra^vn out in array, in right, centre, and left columns,
the nobles and eminent warriors took their several posts ac-
cording to rank, and during a period of forty or fifty days
formed a circle around both mountains and plains. If the
country abounded in wood, they formed the whole of it
into w^ell secured piles : the king then directed his steps to-
ward that quarter, and his train by degrees drove in the
game, keeping up a strict watch that no beast of prey
should escape out of the circle; on this the king, his sons,
and relations dispatched with arrows as many as they
could ; after this the king, surrounded by the most distin-
guished courtiers, sat on a throne placed on an eminence,
formed of strong timbers so fastened together that no ani-
mal could get up there : the generals, and then the whole
of the soldiery charged into the centre, so that not a trace
remained of ferocious animals, that is, of lions and such
noxious creatures: they next counted the numbers of the
slain, and having piled them in one place, formed a hillock
of their carcasses. If they discovered a harmless animal
among the slain, they ordered vengeance to be inflicted on
its destroyer, and cast his body among those of the fero-
cious animals.

They record that in the reign of Yassan, the son of Shah
Mahbi'il, an elk had been slain by some tyrannically-
inclined person, on beholding which the father of the insane
criminal, with the ruthless sword, immediately dissevered
his son's head from his shoulders. Also in the reign of
Nfishirvan, the fortunate descendant from the Shd'iydn dy-
nasty, at one time while in the pursuit of game, an arrow



SCHOOL OF MANNERS loi

shot intentionally from the bow of a noble champion named
jFartush, wounded a deer so that it fell dead; his son, Ayin
TAsh^ was perfectly horror-struck, and in retaliation with
an arrow pinned his father's body to that of the slaugh-
tered deer; so that, in future, there should be no infringe-
ment of the Farhang law.

As soon as a lofty mound had been formed of slaughtered
noxious creatures, which either walk, fly, or graze, then by
the king's command a Mobid ascended the eminence and
said : " Such is the recompense of all who slay harmless
creatures ; such the retribution which awaits the destroyers
of animals free from crimes.'^ He then said to the harmless
creatures: "The equitable king of kings, in order to destroy
the noxious animals which cause you so many calamities,
has come forward in his own precious person, and taken
vengeance for the misdeeds of these wicked creatures: now
depart in peace ; behold the vengeance inflicted on your san-
guinary foes ; and commit no sin before the protector of
your species.** They then left a road open for the innoxious
animals to escape and hasten to their mountains and deserts.
This kind of hunting they called Shikdr-i-ddd or Ddd-shikdr ;
i. e., *^the hunt of equity,** or "the equity-hunt.** The royal
governors also in their respective provinces adopted a chase
of the like description. Whenever the sovereign was of such
a character as not to deviate from the Farhang code, if any
person declined rendering allegiance to the prince chosen by
him for his successor, that person was immediately destroyed
by the people.

In the reign of Shah Giliv, a champion having beheld in
a vision, that the king had raised to the throne one of the
princes who met not his approbation, immediately on awak-
ing put himself to death. Shah Giliv, on hearing this, said
to the son of the deceased: "When a person is awake,
rebellion is to be abhorred ; but not in a state of sleep, as
it is then involuntary.**

Also in the reign of Bahman, the son of Isfendiar, the
son of Ardashir, the son of Azad Shai, one of the generals,
Bahrufn by name, governor of Khorasan, having made
arrangements for revolt and rebellion, the soldiers on learn-
ing his designs put him to death, and, offering up his flesh



I02 THE DABISTAN

after the manner of the Moslem sacrifice, divided it and ate
of it, saying ^* He is a noxious animal.'^

In the same reign, a champion, by name Gilshdsp, saw
in a trance that he had rebelled against Bahman: on relat-
ing the dream to his soldiers, they for answer drew forth
their swords and shed his blood, saying: ^* Although there is
no blame to be attached to the vision, yet he is the genius
of evil for publishing it abroad,^*

Ayln Skaklb, a Mobed, who saw in a vision that he was
uttering imprecations against Ard'isMr, the son of Babagdn^
the son of Azdd the Jaiyanian, immediately on awaking cut
out his tongue : such was their devotedness to their kings.

They moreover say, in the case of every prince who was
adorned with sound doctrine, good works, and noble de-
scent ; who promoted the interests of the military and the
happiness of the Rayas, and who never deviated from the
covenant of the law ; that when any one proved refractory to
his commands, that person's life and property were confis-
cated with justice. The kings made trials of their sons' ca-
pacities, and conferred the royal dignity on whichever was
found the most deserving ; not making the one king whom
they regarded with the greatest natural affection. They
also said : ** Sovereign power becomes not the monarch
w^ho transgresses this blessed law ; neither should any
prince give way to the disposition to deviate in the slight-
est degree from any of its covenants, lest from their
esteeming one branch of the law as of no importance, they
might regard the whole as of trifling obligation.** The
adorable and almighty God so gave Ilis aid to these praise-
worthy sovereigns that they decked the bride of dominion
with the ornaments of equity, benevolence, and impartial
justice. Merchants, travelers, and scholars moved about in
perfect security ; during their reigns there existed no an-
noyance from the payment of tolls, customs, and other ex-
actions ; and in the caravanserais was neither rent nor hire.



Law and Justice

The kings had the covenants of the law transcribed,
which they always kept near them, and had read over to



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 103

them daily by some confidential courtier : on great festivals
they were communicated to the military and the rayas, with
strong injunctions to store them up in their recollection.
The Umras also pursued the same system, and recited the
law to their dependants. In like manner, the princesses of
the Shabistdn, ^* night-apartment,^^ observed the same rule.

They moreover say that every prince who, through the
suggestions of his own mind or of his minister's, adopted
any measures except in conformity to this law, bitterly re-
pented of it. — jfai Alad has said : ikdr, one
of the ascetics of this sect, who lived in the reign of Sul-
tan Mah)7iud of Gliizftah, composed a poetical treatise, and
compiled narratives, proofs, and revelations conformable to
his tenets ; assigning to his faith a superiority over all other
systems, after this manner : that, whatever devout persons
have recorded in their respective creeds concerning the ex-
istence of God, the greatness of the empyreal sphere, the
extent of the angelic world, or concerning paradise, hell,
the bridge of judgment, the resurrection of the dead, the
interrogatory and reply, the appearing before God, the re-
jection of tradition, eternity, and the creation of the world,
is all correct in this creed ; as all becomes evident to the
idea of their professor through the existence of idea ; with
respect to which they thus express themselves : ^* By means



Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 10 of 37)