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THE WARS AND SPORTS
Utongoto anU itrnttane:
ELEPHANTS And WILD BEASTS
WERE EMPLOYED OR SLAIN.
REMARKABLE LOCAL AGREEMENT OF HISTORY WITH THE REMAINS OF SUCH ANIMALS
EUROPE AND SIBERIA.
Life of Genghis Khan, his unparalleled Conquests.—Life of the Grand Khan Kublai: Life of Ta-
WITH A MAP AND TEN PLATES.
BY JOHN RANKING,
RESIDENT UPWARDS OF TWENTY YEARS IN HINDOOSTAN AND RUSSIA.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR
In the endeavour to trace historical proofs, that the fossil bones of elephants and wild beasts, which have been found in Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Siberia, and other countries, are the remains of those animals which have been employed in the wars, religious ceremonies, and amphitheatrical sports, of the Romans and the Mongols, (or Moguls): the author has been led on by the extensive scenes of conquest, the extraordinary grandeur of the Mogul Khans, the magnificence of their hunting expeditions and court parades, which so far exceed any thing ever witnessed in Europe; to make a quarto volume of what he imagined might have been comprised in a small compass.
In the progress of these researches, there was such a conviction in the writer's mind of his success in the main object of his work, in consequence of some extraordinary discoveries which he has made; that he has been induced to write an epitome of the life of the Siberian Genghis Khan, the most famous conqueror that ever existed; and whose grandson Kublai, on his completion of the conquest of China, governed and controlled an empire much more extensive and populous iv PREFACE.
than was ever swayed by the Romans, when their greatness was at its utmost height *.
It will be seen what efforts, during this Grand Khan's life, were made to subdue Hindoostan; but they were repelled by the vigour of the Afghan Emperors. Eastern Bengal, or Bangalla, was the only part of that country which submitted to Kublai. A description of the very ancient capital (now submerged) of this Bengal, has, fortunately, been met with.
Siberia, a name which conveys to most readers the idea but of frost and exile, will be found in summer, (which season only is here described), a most magnificent region in many parts; the cradle of the greatest conquerors recorded in history; a country unknown to Russia till the sixteenth century; of greater extent than Europe; and so rich in zoology and botany, that the discovery of America, says Pennant, has scarcely imparted a greater number of objects to the naturalist. The reader will find that country connected with China and India, from the earliest ages: and in the thirteenth century vast invading armies, composed of Mongols, Persians, Chinese, and Arabs, commanded by Timur Kaan, governor of Yunnan, Eastern Bengal, and other elephant provinces, stationed in Siberia for many years; to contest, upon the banks of the Irtish and higher in the north, the possession of the most powerful monarchy that has ever been known. No notice of these invasions has been met with in any history of Russia or Siberia.
About a century afterwards, Tamerlane, who as a conqueror is
* In the year 1280 the family of Genghis Khan possessed, in longitude, from Behring's Straits to the Don; and all Russia was tributary:—In latitude, from the south of China to the Arctic Ocean, (Hindoostan and Arabia excepted).
second only to Genghis Khan, will be found in Siberia and Russia so high in the north, that the morning rays appeared in the east before the sun was entirely set, (the Mahomedan doctors from this phenomenon omitted the evening prayers), with armies that astonish us at their numbers and discipline; and in opposition to monarchs as powerful as himself, but never so fortunate. The splendour of the court, and of the "big wars *, which seemed to make ambition virtue," of this destroying prince, surpass every thing but the fictions of poetry and romance; and it will be seen how extremely probable it is, that he has, in several instances, been adopted as the prototype of the infernal hero of that great effort of the human intellect, the Paradise Lost.
The vanity and folly of ambition were never more forcibly exemplified than in the instant dissipation, by Tamerlane's successor, of the countless and inestimable gold and jewels, the plunder of Delhi, Bagdat, Damascus, and Bursa; and all to indulge the capricious humour of one of the concubines of the Emir Hadji Seifeddin, whom he had privately married, and whose fatal charms destroyed an empire, which was inferior to none on the earth.
The history of Britain will be found to exhibit that province, while under the power of the Romans, as deemed of the greatest importance to those conquerors; and which is evinced by the many Emperors who visited and resided in the island, some of them with their families. The obstinate wars with the unsubdued Caledonians lasted to the term of the Roman domination, and attracted the whole Court of
* The army, from the extremity of one wing to that of the other, extended between three and four leagues. On the approach to Damascus the elephants, in a great rank, marched in front.—See Ch. IV.