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executed by low persons. Whatever intelligence was com-
municated by spies was submitted to a careful examination,
in which they took great pains ; and that unless reports
made by two or more spies coincided, they carried nothing
into execution. The princes and young nobles, like all
others, began by personal attendance on the king : for
example, the routine of Hash-o-bash^ or *^ presence and
absence" at court, was enjoined them in rotation, that they
might better understand the state of humbler individuals :
they even attended on foot, that they might more easily
conceive the toils of the foot-soldier.

Bahzad the Yasanian, in one of his marches having pro-
ceeded a short distance, alighted from his horse, on which
a distinguished noble, named A'cw^^ar, thus remarked: ** On
a march it is not proper to remain satisfied with so short
a journey.*' On this Bahzad Shah, leaving the army in
that place, said to the commander Naubar: " Let us two
make a short excursion.** He himself mounted on horse-

♦Jenghis Khan, "the king of kings, >> was the name assumed bj
Temuz Khin, a Moghul, when he had succeeded in uniting under
his own and sole domination the various tribes of the Turks. He was
born in the year 1162, and died in 1228 of our era.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 87

back, and obliged the other to advance on foot. They
thus traversed mountain and plain, until Naubar became
overpowered by fatigue, on w^hich Bahzad said : ** Exert
thyself, for our halting place is near ; " but he having re-
plied, ** I am no longer able to move," the king rejoined;
*^ O oppressor ! as thou art no longer able to proceed, dost
thou not perceive that those who are on foot experience
similar distress from performing too long a march r **

Thou, who feelest not for the distress of others,
Meritest not to be called by the name of man.

The military, in proportion to their respective ranks, had
assigned to them costly dresses, vigorous steeds with trap-
pings and saddles inlaid with precious stones, equipments,
some of solid gold and silver, and others plated with gold
or silver, and helmets. The distinguished men were equally
remote from parsimony and profuseness. The nobles of
Ajem wore a crown worth a hundred thousand dinars of
gold : the regal diadem being appropriated to the king.
All the great Amirs wore helmets and zones of gold ; they
also had trappings and sandals of the same. When the
soldiers set out on an expedition, they took with them
arms of every description, a flag and a poignard; they
were habituated to privations, and entered on long expe-
ditions with scanty supplies : they were never confined
within the inclosure of tents and pavilions, but braved
alike the extremes of heat and cold. In the day of battle,
as long as the king or his lieutenant stood at his post, if
any one turned his back on the foe, no person would join
him in eating or drinking, or contract alliance with him,
except those who like himself had consigned their persons
to infamy and degradation. Lunatics, buffoons, and de-
praved characters found no access to the king or chieftains.

On thfc death of a person who had been raised to dignity,
his post was conferred on his son, or some one of his legit-
imate connections adequate to its duties ; thus no innocent
person was ever deprived of office, so that their noble
families continued from the time of Shdx Kilxv to that of
Shd% Mahbul. When King Khusrd, the son of Farid'iin,
the son of Abtin, the son of Forzad^ the son of Shdi Kiliv,



88 THE DABISTAN

had sent Gurgin, the son of Lds to a certain post, that
dignity remained in his family more than a thousand years;
and when, in the reign of the resplendent sovereign, King
Ardeshir, Madhur the descendant of Gurgin had become a
lunatic, the king confined him to his house, and promoted
his son jSIdbzdd to the government ; and similar to this was
the system of Shah Ismail Safavi. But if an Amir's son
were unfit for governing, he was dismissed from office, and
had a suitable pension assigned him. Nay, animals, such
as the cow^, ass, and horse, which were made to labor when
young, were maintained by their masters in a state of ease
when they grew old; the quantity of burden which each
animal was to carry w^as defined, and whoever exceeded
that limit received due chastisement. In like manner, when
any of the infantry or cavalry grew feeble, infirm, or old,
although he might not have performed effective service,
they appointed his son to succeed him ; and if the latter
was not yet of mature age, they settled on him a daily al-
lowance from the royal treasury. But if he had no son,
they assigned him during his life such an allowance as
would keep him from distress, which allowance was con-
tinued after his decease to his wife, daughter, or other
survivors. Whatever constitutes the duty of a parent was
all performed by the king ; if, in the day of battle, a sol-
dier's horse fell, they bestowed on him a better and finer
one. It has already been said that most of the cavalry
horses were supplied by the king, and the military were at
no expense, save that of forage. If a soldier fell in battle,
they appointed the son with great distinction to his father's
post, and also conferred many favors on his surviving fam-
ily ; they also greatly exerted themselves in teaching them
the duties of their class, and in guarding their domestic
honor inviolate : as, in reality, the king is the fa^^her, and
the kingdom the common mother. In like mannei, when a
soldier was wounded, he received the greatest attentions.
Similar notice was taken of workers in gold and of mer-
chants who had failed and become impoverished, their
children being adopted by the government : so that, within
the circuit of their dominions, there was not found a single
destitute person.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 89



City Government

The Sardiir of each city took cognizance of every stranger
who entered it: in the same way, all friendless travelers
were received into the royal hospital, where physicians gave
themselves up to the curing of the sick: in these there
were also Shudahbands to take care that none of those em-
ployed should be backward in their respective offices. The
blind, the paralytic, the feeble, and destitute were admitted
into the royal hospital, where they passed their time free
from anxiety. Now the royal Btmdrastdn^ or hospital was
a place in w^hich they gave a daily allowance to the feeble
and indigent : thus there were no religious mendicants or
beggars in their dominions ; whoever wished, embraced a
Durvesh's life and practiced religious austerities in a monas-
tery, a place adapted for every description of pious morti-
fications : a slothful person, or one of ill repute, was not
permitted to become a Durvesh, lest he might do it for the
purpose of indulging in food and sleep : to such a character
they enjoined the religious exercises suitable to a Durvesh,
which, if he performed with zeal, it was all well ; but,
otherwise, he was obliged to follow his inclinations in
some other place.

The king had also confidential courtiers, well skilled in
the histories of the righteous men of olden time, which
they recited to his majesty. There was also an abundance
of astrologers and physicians, so that, both in the capital
and in the provinces, one of each, agreeably to the royal
order, should attend on every governor ; and their number
was such in every city, that men might consult them on
the favorable and unfavorable moments for every under-
taking.

In every city was a royal hospital, in which were stationed
physicians appointed by the king ; there were separate
hospitals for women, where they were attended by skillful
female physicians, so that the hospitals for men and women
were quite distinct. In addition to all this, the king stands
in need of wise Farhangs, ** judges,'^ well versed in the



90 THE DABISTAN

decisions of law and the articles of faith, so that, aided by
the royal influence and power, they may restrain men from
evil deeds, and deliver the institutes of Farhang, " the true
faith, *^ to them. The king also requires writers to be always
in his presence. A great Mobed must be acquainted with
all sciences ; a confidential courtier, conversant with the
narratives and histories of kings; a physician, profound in
medical science; an astrologer in his calculations of the stars;
an accountant, accurate in his accounts ; and a Farhangi, or
lawyer, well versed in points of law : moreover, the study
of that portion of the code contained in the Pdimati-i-Far-
hang^ or in the ^'covenant of the Farhang,'^ is incumbent
on all, both soldiers, Rayas, and those who practice the me-
chanic arts, and on other people. In like manner, persons
of one rank v^^ere not wont to intermeddle with the pursuits
of another: for example, that a soldier should engage in
commerce, or a merchant in the military profession : on the
contrary the two employments should not be confounded,
so that one should at the same time be a military man and
a servant, or in any employment ; and having become a
commander, should again take up the trade.

They also permitted in every city such a number of
artificers, conductors of amusements, merchants, and soldiers
as was strictly necessary ; to the remainder, or surplus, they
assigned agricultural occupations ; so that, although many
people may know these arts, yet no more than is required
may be occupied with them, but apply themselves wholly
to the cultivation of the soil. If any officer made even a
trifling addition to the import on any business which brought
in a revenue to the king, so far from its being acceptable,
they, on the contrary, ordered that ill-disposed person to be
severely punished.

The king gave audience every day : but on one day of the
week in particular, he acted as Dddsiidn, or ** Mufti, '^ when
every person who was wronged had access to the sovereign ;
also, once a year, he gave a general audience, when every
one who pleased came into his presence ; on this occasion,
the king sat down at table with the RayAs, who represented
to him, without the intervention of another, whatever they
thought proper.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 91

The sovereign had two places of audience ; one the
Rdzisidn, or "day station,** in which he was seated on an
elevated seat ; which place they also called the Tdhsdr, or
*' place of splendor ; *^ around which the nobles and cham-
pions stood in their respective ranks ; the other was the
Shabistdn, or "night station,'* which had also an elevation,
on which the king took his seat. Men of distinction stood
on the outside; those of royal dignity were at the door; and
next the king was a company standing with weapons of
war in their hands. Every one, indiscriminately, had not the
privilege of laying his hand on the royal feet ; some only
kissed the slipper and walked around it; others, the sleeve
of the royal mantle which fell on the throne : that person
must be in high favor at court who was permitted to kiss
the king's feet, or the throne, or perform a circuit around it.



The Harem

As a brief account has been given of the exterior place
of reception, and of the RSzistdn, or "day station,** we
now proceed to write a few particulars concerning the in-
terior place of reception, or the secret night station, or the
Harem, which is also called the " golden musk-perfumed
pavilion.** In the code of Azar H^shang, or Mdhdbdd, it
has been thus laid down: whatever be the number of the
king's women, there must be one superior in dignity to all
the rest : her they style " the Great Lady ** ; but she pos-
sessed not such absolute power that the right of loosing or
binding, inflicting the bastinado, or putting to death within
the night station should be conferred on her : or that she
could put to death whomsoever she pleased without the
king's consent, a power quite opposed to law.

The Shudahbands also report to the royal presence all
the transactions of the Great Princess and of the night
station, just as they transmit accounts of those persons who
live out of its precincts. If the king's mother be alive,
the supremacy is of course vested in her, and not in the
Great Princess, Saldrbdrs, or " ushers with silver maces,**



92 THE DABISTAN

ydddrs, or *^ superintendents of police,'^ Gdhnumds or
Shudahbands , astrologers and such like professions, were
also met with in the interior residence.

Of these women and princesses not one had the smallest
degree of authority over the rest of their sex who lived
outside of the precincts, nor did they possess the power of
issuing any order whatever; nay they seldom made mention
of them in the royal Rozistdn; neither were they called
by any fixed title ; nor, without urgent necessity, did they
ride out in public.

The king also, on visiting the interior apartment, is not
wont to remain long with the women ; nor do they ever
entertain any wishes which have not reference to them-
selves ; such as the mode of speaking when enjoining an
officer to perform some service, or increasing the dignity of
the great warriors. The same system was followed by every
Amir in his own house ; but in the dwelling of every Amir,
whether near or remote, there was an aged matron or
Atuni^ deputed on the king's part, with the office of
Shudahband, to report the exact state of affairs to the
Great Princess, or to send from a distance a w^ritten report
for being brought before the king.

To the king's Harem, or to that of an Amir, no males
had access, except boys not come to maturity, or eunuchs ;
but criminals only were qualified for the latter class, who
were never after admitted to any confidential intimacy;
and no individual in their empire was allowed from motives
of gain to have recourse to that operation.*

Every year, on certain occasions, on some great festivals,
the wives of the Amirs waited on the Great Princess, and
the women of the city came to the general levee ; but the

*It cannot be denied that the Persians, in very remote times, prac-
ticed castration, and especially upon youths distinguished by their
beauty (Herod, lib. VI). They are even accused of having been the
first among whom this infamous practice and the name of eunuchs
originated (Steph. de urbibus. Donat. in Eunuchum, act. I, seen. 2).
Aminian. Marcell. (lib. XIV) attributes it, however, to Scmiramis. (See
upon this subject Brissonius, de Regio Persarum principatu, pp. 294,
295). The passage in the text permits us to believe that this cruel
operation was a dishonoring punishment, generally abhorred, and par-
ticularly restricted by severe laws among the Persians.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 93

king never saw these women, as on such days he did not
enter the musk-perfumed pavilion, but departed to some
other place, so that his eyes might not fall on a strange fe-
male. The motive of the ladies' visit to the king was this :
that if any were oppressed by their husbands, it might be
reported to the king, who after proper investigation was to
enjoin the punishment awarded by the court of justice.

The great king partook not of reason-subduing strong
drinks, as he was a guardian, and as such should not be in
a state of helplessness ; on which account not one of those
kings who were styled guardians ever polluted his lips with
wine or other intoxicating beverage before the Gilshaiyan
dynasty. The cup-bearers of the king's sons and other nobles
were always females, and these were called Bddeks: * no
beardless males were admitted to the feast : even eunuchs
were excluded from the banquets of the Gilshaiyan princes,
and they were w^aited on by beardless youths under ten
years of age ; and at the time of taking wine even they
were not allowed to be present. The ancients, or those
previous to the Gilshaiyan dynasty, had appointed seasons
for drinking wine, which occurred when the physicians pre-
scribed it for the removal of some infirmity, on which oc
casions they conformed to the above-mentioned rules. If
any one, and the king in particular, labored under a malady
the cure of which could only be effected by wine, and the
invalid should be altogether reluctant to the drinking of it,
in that case, as the cure was confined to the use of wine,
the patient v/as obliged to comply with the prescription :
for things forbidden under other circumstances, become law-
ful when taken for medicinal purposes : but with this res-
ervation, that no injury should accrue to any innoxious animal.

Along the roads frequented by travelers in this realm,
there w^ere many caravansaries, between every two of which
were posted sentinels, so that the voice of a person reached
from one to the next. In every halting place was a Shud-
akband, a physician, and a Timdri; and the inns were also
constructed near each other. Now a limdrt is one ap-
pointed by the king to protect the helpless, such as persons

*The interior service in the palace of an Indian king was of old
always performed by females.



94 THE DABISTAN

of tender years and the infirm. Aged women brought out
from the Harem all the requisite supplies (for these estab-
lishments), which they transferred to aged men, by whom
they were conveyed to the attendants.

The soldiers' wives were not without employment, such
as spinning, sewing, and in various works, the making of
house-furniture, riding, and in the management of the bow
they were as able as men ; they were all formed by disci-
pline and inured to toil.

It is evident to all the world that, notwithstanding the
extent of their realms was so exceedingly great and spacious,
yet in consequence of these arrangements, the kings w^ere
necessarily informed of every event which occurred : in ad-
dition to what has been stated, pursuant to decrees influ-
ential as those of Heaven, villages were erected at every
stage and halting place, at each of which the king's horses
were picketted, and men appointed whom they called Ra-
vand, or "couriers.** When the Shtidahband day by day
delivered the report of w^hatever had occurred into the hand of
a courier, the one near the city delivered it into the custody
of another, and so on, from the couriers of the stage to
those of the villages, until the report reached the capital.
The king observed the same system in corresponding with
the Umras ; at one time appointing an individual who was
with great caution to communicate the royal despatches
without entrusting them into the hands of another ; a courier
of this description mounted at every stage the king's post-
horses which were picketted at the different halting places
until he completed his object : this description of courier
they call N^u-wand; the Umras also despatched Nuwands
to the king's court ; but the couriers belonging to royalty
or the nobility were not empowered to seize any individ-
ual's horse, or practice oppression, as they would in that
case meet with due retaliation : there were besides, at the
different villages, persons stationed as guards, who were
liable to be called to account if a traveler suffered oppres-
sive treatment from any quarter. Shadahbands also were
there. Azar Hiishdng, that is, Mdhdbdd^ thus enjoined :
" Let there be no exactions practiced toward the Rayas :
let him afford what he well can, and nothing more;*' they



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 95

therefore only took such an amount as maintainad both sol-
diers and rayas in tranquillity.

All the king's devoted servants entertained this belief,
that the performance of whatever w^as agreeable to the king
was attended with advantage in both worlds ; also that the
royal command was the interpretation of the word of God,
and that it was highly praiseworthy to meet death in the
path of obedience to the Great King : nay, they accounted
death, with the prospect of royal approbation, which is the
bestower of paradise, as far superior to life ; but he must
be a king who acts in conformity with the Paiman-i- Far-
hang^ or "excellent code.*^ In short, the system of inquiry
was such, that the inspectors used to question the soldiers,
whether they were satisfied or not with their chief.

With respect to keeping guard, it was thus settled ; that
out of the four persons acting in concert with each other,
two went to sleep and the other two stood up armed ;
again, when the sleepers arose the others went to rest;
and on the expiration of the night, other troops came to
keep watch : the night sentinels, however did not depart
but by order of their officer. These inspected the men three
times during the night. In that manner each person had,
every week, one day's watch : and when they retired from
keeping guard, proclamation was made to this purport by
the king's command: "If any have cause of complaint
against their inspector or chief, let them not keep it con-
cealed.*^

In like manner every month the inspectors whether near
or remote, looked into the state of the military ; if they
found any individual, without sufficient cause, deficient in
the requisites for service, they ordered him to be punished,
unless he adduced a satisfactory excuse and testimony ; in
which case they accepted his reasons: and if they proceeded
from overpowering necessity, they had regard to it.

To whomsoever they had assigned land, yaghir or Mukdsd,
they gave daily or monthly pay with the greatest punctuality,
never permitting any deficiency to occur.

If any were deficient in the performance of duty, for
example, being absent one watch without sufficient cause,
besides inflicting the due punishment, they deducted the pay



96 THE DABISTAN

of that watch, but not of the whole day. When, for some
good reason, he applied for a furlough, he obtained it.

The prime minister was obliged to institute an inquiry
into any affair of which he got the necessary information.
The Rais sufid, « chieftain,** must produce a Khushnijdl
namah, or «a certificate,** purporting that he had given the
due to his people, and that they were satisfied with him ;
also that whatever revenue had been received was delivered
over to the inspector, in the presence of the Anim and
Shudahband : the inspectors also produced, in the royal
presence, certificates stating that they had practiced no op-
pression toward the military : and although the spies made
a report of all particulars every week, still the king inquired
besides of the soldiers, as to the truth of this approba-
tion.



Sports and Battles

The Yazdanlans never attempted a thing mentioned with
abhorrence in the Farhang code, in which every fault had
its fixed punishment. When any one was convicted of a
crime, the king's near attendants never made intercession
for him : for example, pursuant to this code, and by the
king's command, the son inflicted punishment on the father,
and the father on his son, so that even princes of the blood
had not the power of breaking this law ; if they were
guilty of injustice, the kings themselves inflicted the allotted
punishment : for example, Jai Aldd had a son called
Hudak, whom he himself beheaded for having put to death
the son of a villager. The king's devoted servants raised
themselves to distinction by their ejccellence and exertions
to obtain praise and titles: whoever swore falsely by the
royal family was expelled from all intercourse with them.

There were peculiar places assigned for the combat of
elephants, lions, and other wild beasts, the backs and sides
of which places were so elevated, that people might behold
from every part, without the possibility of sustaining in-
jury from the elephants and other wild animals : the king
being all the while seated on a lofty throne. They never



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 97

created embarrassments in bazars or populous places with
furious elephants or fierce lions, but kept them in remote
situations and secure places such as before mentioned, from
whence they could easily remove them. It is recorded that,
in the time of Shirzad Shah, the Yassanian, an elephant hav-
ing broken out of the place where he was tied up, killed some
one ; on which the king, in retaliation for the deed, put the
elephant to death, and also inflicted capital punishment on
the elephant-keepers and the door-keepers of the elephant-
stables, who had left the door open. The king never lis-
lened to tales of fiction, but solely to true statements : the
military and the rayas also never averted their necks from
executing the king's commands: and if a traveler invoked
the king's name and entered into any house, the inmates
not only washed his feet, but even drank the water in
which they performed the operation, as a sovereign remedy,
and sedulously showed all due attentions to their guest.



Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 9 of 37)