Sunday, March 4, 2007

Hülegü Moves West: High Living and Heartbreak on the Road to Baghdad

Hülegü Moves West: High Living and Heartbreak on the Road to Baghdad

John Masson Smith, Jr.

University of California, Berkeley

Hülegü traveled to the Middle East at the command of his elder brother, Möngke, the newly-elected Qan of the Mongol empire, who decided, in 1253, to take care of unfinished business there. Mongol armies had established pastoral bases in Azerbaijan starting in 1229, on the orders of Ögedei, and subjugated many smaller potentates of northern Iran as well as the Cilician Armenians and Rum (Anatolian) Seljuks. But they had failed to overawe or defeat the Caliphal state in Iraq, or the Ismaili "Assassins" in their strongholds scattered across northern Iran. The Caliphate, although no longer the Islamic empire it had once been, still possessed fertile Mesopotamia, a strong army and a great, fortified capital city at Baghdad. The Mongols attacked Baghdad in the 1230s and ca. 1242, but were repulsed.1 The Assassins relied, and had for over a century, on their inaccessible mountain castles and the suicidal murderers whom they dispatched against enemy leaders.2 Möngke, wanting to deal with persistent "rebels" against his empire, now sent Hülegü to the Middle East, and their brother Qubilai ("Kubla Khan") against Song China, the other great hold-out against Mongol supremacy.

Möngke authorized both Hülegü and Qubilai to form an army by taking two men in every ten of the imperial forces, which, by this time, were extremely numerous. They included the current descendants of Chinggis' original army--call this the "Army of Mongolia"--which numbered 145,000 at the time of Chinggis' death. Chinggis' will apportioned this force among his close relatives. 101 regiments (hazaras, Thousands) were based in Mongolia (and to some extent in North China), and commanded at first by Tolui, Chinggis' youngest son by his first wife, Börte. An additional 28,000 men went other members of the imperial Family; each of Tolui's older brothers, Jochi, Chaghadai and Ögedei received four regiments. During Chinggis' lifetime, these brothers had been assigned territories as well, west of Mongolia: Jochi's west from roughly Lake Balkash to the Volga (this came to include not only most of Kazakhstan, but Russia, Ukraine, etc.: the realm of the so-called Golden Horde); Ögedei's ulus (realm) centered on the valleys of the Emil and Qobaq rivers, east of the Ala Kul (Lake) and included the area beyond (north of) the Tarbagatai range; and Chaghadai held the Ili valley, Almalyk and Transoxiana.3 Thus, some 133,000 troops of the Army of Mongolia were stationed in Mongolia or to its east and south and only 12,000 from Mongolia west to Anatolia and Ukraine.

These westerly realms, like Mongolia, supported large nomad populations, predominantly Turkic but otherwise quite like the Mongols; many of them were conscripted into the imperial army, complementing the brothers' four original regiments. Rashiduddin says that in his own time (early fourteenth century) the army of the Ulus Jochi (the Golden Horde) consisted of descendants of these four thousand Mongols, plus Russians, Qipchaq Turks, Circassians and Magyars. It probably numbered some fifteen (nomad) tümens (divisions of Ten Thousands); each region seems to have been limited to a regular nomad army of fifteen tümens, even if more manpower were available, so as not to outnumber the forces of Mongolia proper.4 Ögedei and Chaghadai surely enlarged their followings in the same way.

Hülegü also had to raise most of his army outside Mongolia. Few Mongolian troops could be spared him because Möngke intended to use most of them against China, in a campaign engaging 90 tümens--a nominal 900,000 men. Of these, some considerable part was non-Mongolian: "Jauqut"--Chinese, Tangqut, Manchurian Jurchens, and Koreans. Since 24 Mongol commanders are named (including Möngke and Qubilai), I assume that the 90 tümens included 24 Mongol (cavalry) units and 66 of Jauqut (mostly infantry).5 This suggests a doubling--or more: some forces remained in Mongolia--of the Mongolian population in about 50 years, an increase not implausible in light of Fredrik Barth's study of a nomad tribe that grew by a factor of three per generation.6 Rashiduddin says that the 101,000 men bequeathed by Chinggis to Tolui, and those assigned his other children "have multiplied and become many times the number they were originally."7 Population increase could more than account for the Mongol force used in China. But with so many from the Army of Mongolia involved in this campaign, it seems unlikely that it could have spared a fifth ("two in ten") for Hülegü.

The Journey

Möngke sent Hülegü back to his own ordu in February of 1253, the Ox Year, to prepare for the campaign. In autumn of 1254, the Leopard Year, Hülegü led out his army on a journey that was to cover about 5000 miles.8 He left his a’urughs behind (more on these below).

The long journey took what might seem a very long time. The army reached Baghdad only on 22 January 1258, about 3 years and 3 months (some 1200 days) after it had set out, thus moving at an average pace of only about 4 miles per day (mpd). Compare the progress of the Mongol army sent against West Inner Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe starting in 1236. That army reached Bulghar on the Volga from Mongolia by autumn, 1236, about 3000 miles** in 6 months (assuming a start in spring) at 16.7 mpd. This would have been about top speed for a Mongol force: ponies should only travel for about 4 hours a day to leave time for grazing, and should walk (4 mph) to avoid overexertion.9 Chinggis required his cavalry to travel with their cruppers (which help secure the saddle) and bridles removed, so that they could not “horse around” and exhaust their mounts.10 Let us examine the route and timetable, and discuss factors that slowed Hülegü’s march.

Assuming that Hülegü started in autumn, probably October as in Juvaini (despite Juvaini's mistake about the year11), I suggest that his army made its way from somewhere near Qaraqorum, across (Outer) Mongolia, through passes of the Altai and along river valleys leading to Lake Zaysan. These suggestions, and others below, are based on some guesswork, often guided by convenience. The sources seldom specify or clearly indicate the route taken, but do name significant way-stations: Almalyk, Samarqand, the Oxus river, Shiburgan, etc. I have connected these points by routes that are more or less measurable: more when detailed in guide books, and less when measured by me on a map. This procedure shows about 824 miles (1327 km) from Qaraqorum (I assume Hülegü 's ordu was in central Mongolia) to the western Mongolian border at the Bulgan Nature Preserve.12 From there, a plausible route, with pasture and water, of some 224 miles (approx. 360 km), leads to Lake Zaysan.13 Next, on to the modern town of Ayagoz, about 202 miles (ca. 325 km) from Zaysan; thereafter to Aktogay, roughly another 75 miles (ca. 120 km); then, Ayagoz to Alma-Ata/Almaty, 350 miles (565 km).14 Almaty is fairly near ancient Almalyk, where Hülegü and his force arrived in 255, presumably in spring, since he spent that summer in the mountain pastures of the region.15 This estimate yields a journey of about six months, October to “spring”—say April. The total distance is around 1675 miles (ca. 2697 km). The pace of march, on these data and assumptions, was 9.3 miles per day (mpd).

This part of the journey took place in winter, as often on Mongol campaigns. The steppe climate is fairly dry, and snow accumulations usually slight, so that the larger animals, like ponies, can dig through to grass. Winter even aided the armies, as in Russia, where the cold froze rivers that otherwise would have presented obstacles, or in the Middle East, where the winter temperatures are safer for horses, and the rains provide them better pasture and more water. And the army could keep warm, even on the frigid steppes: each soldier had several ponies, and the animals and men, traveling together in close formation, generated heat enough for comfort.16

Hülegü and the army summered in 1255 on the mountain pastures around Almalyk where the expedition’s ponies could fattened up; the Mongols took great care of their mounts, indeed of all their livestock.17 In late summer, Hülegü left his a'urughs (again, see below) at Almalyk and proceeded on to Samarqand, 772 miles (1243 km), arriving in Sha'ban 653/1255 (5 September- 4 October).18 The rate of march cannot be ascertained; there is no clear start date. They should have left by the end of July to reach Samarqand in Sha'ban at a likely pace.

Hülegü, after spending "nearly forty days," moved on from Samarqand, sometime after 3 November 1255.19 He stopped briefly at Kish (now Shahrisabz, the birthplace, later, of Tamerlane), then proceeded to the Oxus/Amu Darya river and crossed into what is now Afghanistan on 1 January 1256.20 The distance covered is about 200 miles (322 km); the pace 2.4-3.8 mpd, depending on the start date. The army then proceeded to Shiburghan (perhaps 70 mi in 10 days), where heavy snow- and hail-storms shortly set in and compelled it, contrary to plan, to camp for the winter.21

Leaving this involuntary qishlaq in spring, Hülegü led his force to Tun in the region of eastern Iran called Quhistan, where followers of the Assassins held many strongholds. He besieged Tun on 4 May 1256, and took it on 16 May.22 Ket Buqa had left Mongolia before Hülegü to pacify Quhistan in advance of Hülegü 's passage, but had not finished the job.23 Quhistan later became a favorite Mongol qishlaq.24 From Shiburghan to Tun is ca. 530 miles (some 853 km); no date is given for the departure from Shiburghan.

From Tun, the army travelled via Tus (near Mashhad), Radkan, and Khabushan (modern Quchan) to reach Bistam on 2 September 1256. The distance covered was about 697 miles (1123 km), as measured along modern highways and railroads.25 If the army left Tun on 20 May, the average pace was 6.6 mpd.26 Along the way, the army lingered at Tus for a few days, and at Radkan for "some time," to obtain supplies, and fodder for the animals, among other things, from Merv, Yazir and Dihistan, districts north of the mountains separating Iran from Turkmenistan.27 Then they spent a month at Ustuva beyond Khabushan, until the grazing was exhausted.28 Discounting the time at Ustuva, the army moved at 9.3 mpd.

From Bistam, the army, now dividing into several corps traveling separately but to a fixed timetable, approached the Assassins, setting out on 2 September 1256. Hülegü reached Maymun Diz, the Assassin Master's castle, on 7 November 1256.29 The march from Bistam had taken 67 days, covering about 400 miles (ca. 644 km) at a pace of about 6 mpd. The other corps arrived almost simultaneously; the routes taken by the Right and Left were about the same length as those of the Center; forces from the Golden Horde coming via the Caucasus joined too, probably by prearrangement at the kuriltai of 1253.30 The army surrounded the castle; the Master was summoned to yield, and refused (his officers claimed he was not there). On 13 November the Mongol attack began, and on 19 November the Assassin Master, weakened by Mongol cajolery and catapults, finally surrendered.31 He and all his people came to a bad end. The Assassins were finished in Iran, and in history, although some survived in Syria, tolerated and used for a while by the Mamluks, and later restrained by them after an agreement with the Mongols.32 After his victory, Hülegü camped for the winter of 1256—57 near Qazvin and Lammassar.33

Hülegü started for Baghdad from Qazvin in March 1257.34 The direct distance is 511 miles (823 km).35 The journey was complicated, however, by diversions. Hülegü reached Dinavar on 26 April—and then decided to go to Tabriz. He came back to Hamadan on 26 July—and returned to Tabriz. He next reached Hamadan on 21 September, and finally set out for Baghdad.36 Subtracting the time spent traveling back and forth to Tabriz, Hülegü’s 603-mile journey from Qazvin to Baghdad may be divided into two parts, an estimate for the Qazvin-Dinavar part—say 254 miles (409 km) covered between sometime in March and 26 April; if in 30 days, then 8.5 mpd (but adjust to please)—and a fairly precise measure for Hamadan-Baghdad: 349 miles (563 km) in 73 days (10 November-22 January) at 4.8 mpd.37

The distance covered between central Mongolia and Baghdad, adding up the figures given above, was 4947 miles (7966 km). The parts of the journey for which reasonable estimates of the pace may be estimated are: Qaraqorum-Almalyk, 7-8 mpd; Samarqand-Oxus, 2.4-3.8 mpd; Tun-Bistam, 7.2 mpd; Bistam-Maymun Diz, 6 mpd; Hamadan-Baghdad, about 5 mpd. (Low) average mpd: 5.5.

This time-and-motion study shows that, while the journey from Mongolia to Baghdad proceeded at an average speed of about 4 mpd, the movement involved was not continuous, but interrupted by a number of halts of some duration. When in motion, the army proceeded at a pace that averaged 5-6 mpd, where this can be calculated. This was far slower than usual for campaigning Mongols, who could, as noted at the beginning, average 15-16 mpd. At the other extreme, an ordinary Inner Asian nomadic migration, with its full panoply of livestock, sheep, goats, cattle, horses (ponies) and camels, averages only 2-3 mpd.38 Why did Hülegü move at the pace he did?


Sieges were awkward for the Mongol cavalry. They required positional warfare instead of the campaigns of movement most congenial to cavalry, especially nomad cavalry operating on steppe with grazing at the end of each march. Möngke had reserved pastures for Hülegü, but during the siege of Maymun Diz, some generals complained that "the horses are lean. Fodder has to be transported from [the regions] from Armenia to Kirman."39 Accessible grazing had clearly been used up. One might speculate that, to reduce reliance on pasture, Hülegü took fewer mounts than the five per soldier usual for a Mongol army; the Crimean Tatars (descendants of the Golden Horde), for instance, took only three.40 Fewer mounts meant more work for each, and care had to be taken not to overwork them.41 Steppe-raised, grazing-dependent equines do not grow very large; the average Mongol pony weighs around 600 lbs (cf. modern, fodder-fed riding horses at 1000-1500 lbs) and cannot therefore bear heavy burdens for long. An appropriate burden for a 600-lb pony is 102 lbs, 17% of body-weight; Mongol riders overburden their ponies, but only for a day at a time, and then give them several days off and ride others (hence the five ponies per soldier).42 If a day's march for troops with five ponies each was 16 miles (at 4 mph; then eight hours of grazing and eight of sleeping), then the length of march appropriate with three each might be around nine, reducing the work-load and burden on pasture, while increasing grazing time. This might help explain the slowness of the journey.

Another explanation involves the pace of ox-wagons. Hülegü expected to conduct sieges, and brought along Chinese artillerists--1000 "families" of them--probably by wagon. They might have walked, given the army's pace, but if their "families" were in fact whole "military households" with three adult males (one a soldier, the others supporting him) and their wives and children, they would have needed wagons.43 Two oxen could draw a cart carrying seven persons, who, if mounted would have needed three to five ponies per person. Cavalry needed ponies to function, artillerists did not. 44

The artillerists did need equipment requiring wagons. They used large engines to project a variety of heavy missiles over considerable distances. Although they constructed some of these weapons on the spot, using trees growing around Maymun Diz to build catapults, they had to bring along, for instance, saws, adzes, hammers, pulleys, ropes, javelins and even some of the major weapon-components: naphtha for incendiaries, and the oversized bow component of the "oxbow" engine would have required manufacture involving special woods given special treatment long in advance to give them the 'Cupid's bow' shape their name suggests.45 All this artillery gear required transportation by wagon. It could, in theory, have been broken down into camel-loads, but, at 300 lbs per camel-load, as against 1000-1500 lbs on a two-ox cart, or 3000 lbs on a three-camel wagon, wheeled vehicles were the obvious choice to reduce the numbers of animals.46 And ox-wagons would have slowed the army: without relays of oxen, they would have made <10 mpd.47

Because the army was possibly not taking the usual complement of ponies for riding and if so probably none for eating, and since (as we shall see) it did not bring along the sheep, goats and cattle that provide subsistence in normal nomadism, Möngke made other arrangements. "In advance of the army envoys were sent to reserve all the meadows and grasslands from Qaraqorum to the banks of the Oxus that had been calculated as lying in the path of [Hülegü 's] army and to build strong bridges across deep canals and rivers ..... From all lands for every individual one taghar of flour and one skin of wine as troop provisions were to be made ready."48 This was not to be a conventional, self-sufficient nomad campaign.

Business and Pleasure

The army made many stops on its way west that afforded opportunities, among other things, for lavish partying, which the Mongols loved.49 While the army rested at Almalyk, Orqina Qatun, the regent of the Ulus Chaghatay, treated Hülegü and his establishment to a series of banquets.50 At Samarqand, Hülegü and his entourage enjoyed some proper high living. The local administrator of “Turkestan and Transoxiana” for the Mongols, Mas‛ud Beg, had summoned all the commanders (amirs) of those regions, and erected a tent of gold brocade with a white felt exterior, in which Hülegü received them. The assembly engaged in "constant merrymaking and revelry" (Juvaini) and "constant drinking" (Rashid) for the nearly forty days they stayed there.51 Möngke had admonished Hülegü, as they parted, to "be awake and sober in all situations," but no source indicates that he departed from Mongol norms either by abstemiousness or excessive drunkenness.52

Somewhat later, after crossing the Oxus river, Hülegü and some of his men enjoyed a different entertainment. While out for a ride by the river, Hülegü noticed tigers (or lions: shir can mean either) in the woods nearby, and sent his guards to encircle them in the usual Mongol fashion (the circle was called nerge and was used in battle as well as hunting). Their ponies sensibly refused to face the tigers, so the soldiers mounted camels and managed to kill ten.53

While snowbound at Shiburghan, Hülegü and his entourage "constantly engaged in pleasure and enjoyment."54 In spring, Arghun Aqa produced an enormous tent, made of embroidered “gold-on-gold” linen cloth, and held up by a thousand tent-pegs. All the princes, officers , administrators, grandees, and regional rulers gathered in it to perform rituals and banquet on food and drink served on and in gold and silver plates and cups embellished with gems.55

Near Tus, Arghun Aqa pitched yet another fine tent for Hülegü. "For a few days they feasted and revelled " there.56 Then they moved on to Radkan, stopping "for a while in order to enjoy the scenery,"--and wine imported from Merv, Yazir and Dihistan (along with fodder for the animals).57 Further on, at Ustuva by Khabushan, the army's animals received their feast, spending a month grazing until "mountain and plain had been denuded of grass" and the army moved on.58

The army now had no rest until Maymun Diz had surrendered. Then, on the way to Alamut, which, like several other Assassin castles, still held out, Hülegü halted at Shahrak nine days for a victory feast.59 After that, having visited Alamut, which shortly yielded, and Lammasar, which did not, Hülegü camped for the winter of 1256—57 near Lammasar and then, from 13 January 1257, near Qazvin, where he celebrated the (Mongolian) New Year with a week of banqueting.60

In March of 1257, Hülegü started for Baghdad.61 No more banquets are reported for the rest of the campaign. Hülegü fell sick on the way back from Baghdad to Hamadan, and had earlier been ill while proceeding to Tun; he may have felt disinclined to engage in the copious drinking obligatory at such events.62

But banquets were not just for hard drinking and heavy eating. Some were also business meetings. Samarqand saw working parties. Amir Mas'ud Beg, "the [Mongol-appointed]lord of Turkistan and Transoxiana," and the region's amirs (commanders) had joined Hülegü. Möngke had ordered them--and all authorities along Hülegü 's intended route--to prepare supplies for the army, and to get ready to accompany Hülegü to Iran with their forces.63 Hülegü had come to collect.

Samarqand lay in the Ulus Chaghatai. To get there, as we have seen, Hülegü had proceeded through the Zaysan region, belonging to the (former) Ulus Ögedei, and along the way, in both uluses, he would have encountered in their winter-quarters (qishlaqs), and with their families, so that they could not escape, the nomads who lived in those regions (and summered in the adjacent highlands). Hülegü conscripted large numbers of them (more on this below).

At Kish, Hülegü stopped for a month and did more business. Arghun Aqa, the Mongols' administrator for Iran, joined Hülegü, along with "the grandees and nobles of Khurasan."64 They ordered the Mongols’ vassal "monarchs and sultans" in Iran to mobilize soldiers and supply weaponry and provisions for the campaign against the Assassins. Local rulers from Anatolia, Fars, Persia, Khurasan, Azerbaijan, Arran, Shirvan and Georgia obeyed.65 Many of them joined Hülegü and his entourage at Shiburghan, to banquet and perform rituals in Arghun Aqa's thousand-peg tent.66 They also must have taken care of business, as the next stages of the journey would bring the army into Iran, where the men and supplies summoned up from Kish would be awaiting further orders, which they would receive at Bistam.

We can see the growth of Hülegü's forces in the increasing number of commanders named as the army proceeds west. For example, Ket Buqa, with Köke Ilgei, started off from Mongolia ahead of Hülegü with 12,000 men; Ket Buqa was in charge, probably commanding a tümen, while Köke Ilgei led two hazaras which were to serve as cadre for future conscripts filling out a tümen.67 Hülegü followed with, presumably, a tümen (it is mentioned later). Thus, the army apparently consisted of two tümens and two hazaras at the outset. By the time the army arrived at Bistam in Iran, it had five tümens, with two more unit commanders named: Tegüder Oghul and Buqa Timur.68 And more were coming.

After taking Maymun Diz, and wintering near Qazvin, Hülegü proceeded to Hamadan in March 1257, and "began outfitting the army," which was apparently completed by mid-April, as he had moved on to Dinawar by 26 April on his way to Baghdad.69

Besides the play-and-work stops, some delays were forced by bad weather: by the blizzard at Shiburghan, and by the dangerous (especially for ponies) summer heat at Baghdad, which Hülegü apparently discovered as he neared Iraq and which caused him to meander during the summer, 26 April (hot weather arrives early in Mesopotamia)-21 September, 1257, between Dinavar, Tabriz, Hamadan, Tabriz and Hamadan, before resuming his march on Baghdad.

Finally, all these play-and-work stops helped the diverse elements of the army become familiar with one another, and their leaders to learn to work together, as they did so well when the time came.

Weaponry, Strategy and Tactics

Military operations also slowed Hülegü 's march. Since his mission targeted mountain strongholds (the Assassins' lairs) and a fortress-city (Baghdad); he had prepared for siege warfare. By this time, the Mongols had conducted many sieges during their campaigns in northern China, Central Asia, Russia and Hungary. Their Mongol (and Turkic) soldiery, all archers, could outshoot the cities' defenders, few of them skilled in archery, while Chinese, Manchurian and other conscripts provided engineers and artillerists; laborers; and "arrow-fodder" for storming fortifications--and, in the worst case, for besieging them until the defenders yielded.70 Hülegü started off with only a few of these troops, about two tümens of Mongols and the 1000 "families" of Chinese soldiers discussed above. He found more manpower en route.

The Chinese soldiers with Hülegü employed state-of-the-art siege engines. One was a catapult of the sort called trebuchet or mangonel in Europe, manjaniq or ‛arradah by the Muslims, pao in China, and orbu’ur by the Mongols.71 By the beginning of the thirteenth century, two types of these had been developed in China. Both had a long pole pivoting on an axle set on a scaffold; the axle divided the pole into a short and a long section; the long section terminated with a sling holding a missile, the short attached to a power-source that turned the pole on its axle and impelled the sling and its shot. The first, older "traction" type was powered by teams of men pulling on ropes tied to the short end. It was labor-intensive, none too powerful, and dangerous to use. A team of 250 men could propel a stone of only 90 lbs for only 33 yards; the enemy's archers could shoot accurately and pierce armor at 50 yards. The other type, the "counterweighted" catapult, resembled the traction variety, except that a weight replaced the ropes at the short end of the pole, and gravity, not muscle, impelled the missile. A crew of only 10 to 15 men could shoot such a catapult 167 yards; others ranged to180 and 233 yards, at the limit or beyond of useful archery.72 No crew sizes are given for these latter; and although no missile weights are given,* later Chinese records, contemporary illustrations, and modern replicas, show that they could reach 250 lbs.73 These weapons could thus operate in safety and hurl an irresistible missile.

The Mongols probably acquired this Chinese counterweighted catapult during their conquest of North China.74 The defenders of Lo-Yang had used them against the Mongols in 1232.75 Earlier, Chinggis had taken a whole tümen of artillerists to Central Asia in 1219-23--and they had failed to take Ashiyar castle in Gharchistan,76 probably because they still used the old-style high-manpower, short-ranged and light-missile traction catapults, no more than 40 of them if 250-man teams were drawn from the 10,000-man unit. Hülegü's siege train included only a thousand families, but they produced better results at Maymun Diz and Baghdad, probably because they could man some 65 of the low-manpower, long-ranged, heavy-missile counterweighted catapults.

Besides catapults, Chinese artillery also included over-sized crossbows, mounted on a stand or cart (that the Romans called arcuballista).77 Hülegü had some: "a kaman-i-gav ["ox's bow"], which had been constructed by Khitayan craftsmen and had a range of 2,500 [gâm], was brought to bear on those fools [the Assassins in Maymun Diz] ... and ... many soldiers were burnt by those meteoric shafts." 78 Boyle, Juvaini's translator, gives "pace" for "gâm," which can also mean foot, cubit, step or pace.79 But the only remotely plausible of these measures is the foot; a gâm of 12 inches would make the range of the "oxbow" 833 yards, about a half-mile (0.47).

No such performance is recorded. Franke documents a Chinese arcuballista with an effective range of 300 pu/paces, which he converts at 2 feet to the pu/pace into "something like 200 yards."80 Needham lists a "large winch-armed" crossbow (which he appears to think was an arcuballista) as shooting 1160 yards, a distance he acknowledges "seems credible only with difficulty."81 More likely, incredible. Compare a European winched crossbow with a 1200 lb-draw and range of (only) 460 yards.82 And consider Needham's "arm-drawn" crossbow with a range of 500 yards (300 pu) in light of the difficulty of drawing (i.e. cocking) by hand a crossbow drawing more than 150 lbs.83 The discrepancies arise from different conversions of the Chinese measure pu. Franke has it as a pace of two feet, and Needham as a "double-pace" of five feet. Using a two-foot pu, Needham's arm-drawn crossbow had a range of 200 yards, and (getting back to the main matter) his large, winch-armed weapon's range was about 460 yards. But with the double-pace dismissed and the gâm reduced from pace to foot, the oxbow still shoots nearly twice as far as any recorded arcuballista.

Juvaini's 2,500 gâm shot may have been powered by hyperbole, but rocket-assistance should also be considered. The thirteenth century saw the development of weapons using the propulsive effect of low-grade gunpowder: "ground-rats," a bamboo tube containing powder which escaped through an aperture on combustion and propelled the tube along or about on or above the ground, originally as an entertainment, eventually to frighten or injure men and horses; and "fire-lances," flame-throwers best visualized as reversed rockets attached to a lance and projecting flaming gas toward the enemy.84

The next step, according to Needham, was taken between 1150 and 1350 when this explosive force was applied to propel arrows and javelins independently of bows or crossbows.85 I imagine an intermediate step, the addition of rockets to the conventional fire-missiles shot from arcuballistas (not from hand-held bows or crossbows because of the rockets' fiery blowback). Winch-cocked siege crossbows and arcuballistae shot about 460 yards, and wholly rocket-powered Chinese missiles by the late sixteenth century flew for 400-467 yards.86 These combined powers should account for the 833-yard range of the missiles of Hülegü's oxbow. After Maymun Diz, no more is heard of the oxbow, perhaps because pre-modern rocketry performed unreliably, and any inconsistency would have produced inaccuracy in the long shots at Maymun Diz. At Baghdad, on level terrain, the range of the unassisted missiles of the arcuballistae sufficed.

As for strategy, Hülegü 's plan for the defeat of the Assassins--and of the Caliph-- was a standard Mongol method: surround the target, immobilize (and demoralize) the enemy, and employ all weapons and as much manpower as possible.87

At Bistam, Hülegü arranged the attack on Maymun Diz, the Assassins' headquarters, arraying the army in the conventional Mongol order of battle: Left Wing, Center and Right Wing. Hülegü’s tümen (here explicitly mentioned) constituted the Center; the Left included forces—probably tümens, as also in the Right—under Ket Buqa and Tegüder Oghul, a Chaghadaid prince, who presumably brought his force from that realm; the Right was made up of the units of Buqa Timur, who had come "with an army of Oyirats," and Köke Ilgei, his original two hazaras now apparently fleshed out into a tümen (Buqa Timur's force may also have needed bulking up).88 In addition to these units that were more or less directly under Hülegü’s management, three more tümens were on their way from the Golden Horde. Assuming that each named commander led a tümen, Hülegü now commanded eight tümens.

Hülegü marched via Firuzkuh, Demavend and Rayy toward the Assassins’ castle of Maymun Diz, where their Master was resident, arriving on 7 November 1256.89 The Left traveled toward the same objective via Khwar and Semnan. The Right proceeded to “Mazandaran,” 90 a region including the extensive pastoral zone where the Gurgan and Atrek rivers approach the Caspian—later a favorite and ample Mongol qishlaq91--and also the narrow zone between the Elburz mountains and the Caspian sea. Hülegü’s Right moved west by this shore route, to cross the mountains and attack Maymun Diz if possible, and at least to block the road, lest the Assassin Master obtain support or shelter from the Assassins' castle at Girdkuh. The Golden Horde units also appeared, a tümen under Quli b. Orda arrived via Khwarezm and Dihistan, and two more, led by the Batuid princes Balaghai and Tutar approached the Assassin strongholds from the east after entering the Middle East through the “Qipchaq Strait” past Darband. The enemy was encircled.92

After the Mongol troops "formed seven coils around" the castle, a circuit "nearly six leagues around," Hülegü surveyed its defenses.93 Some commanders suggested postponing the siege because of the daunting prospect (on which the Assassins were banking94) of becoming snowbound (again). It was already late fall, fodder could not be found, and grazing was apparently inadequate, as the animals were losing weight; preparations were being made to requisition flour for the troops and fodder for the animals, and to seize all animals for transportation and as rations, from all over northern Iran.95 But Maymun Diz, although well-fortified and difficult of access, appeared vulnerable.96 The Mongols' catapults could be placed within range of the defenses, probably within about 200 yards, and if the shots could reach the defenses, they could break them. Hülegü, supported by several of his generals, decided to persist, and the following day fighting began. On the second day of combat, 13 November, the "oxbows" went into action, picking off the defending Assassins as they exposed themselves.97 The catapults needed more time, as they were built (at least in part) from local trees, but with 1000 Chinese artillery specialists on the job, work went quickly; the weapons went into action only six days after the start of construction (12-17 November).98 Once the parts were ready, teams of haulers stationed at about 300-yard intervals moved them "to the top of the hill."99 From there, the catapults began to smash the Assassins' artillery and walls. Two days later, on 19 November 1256, the Assassin Master surrendered.100

Hülegü led a still larger army to Baghdad. Fifteen commanders are named, including Hülegü himself. Two generals, Chormaqan and Baiju, led tümens (presumably) from Anatolia, where they had long been stationed. Hülegü 's Right Wing included Sönitei, Balagha, Tutar, Quli, Buqa Timur, and Su'unchaq. The Left had Ket Buqa, Qudusun and Ilgei. The Center comprised Hülegü himself, Köke Ilgei, Uruqtu and Arghun Aqa; some administrators are also named: Qaraqai, Sayfuddin, Nasiruddin Tusi and ‛Alauddin ‛Ata-Malik (Juvaini, our historian), although it is doubtful whether they led troops. Hülegü 's entourage also included "all the sultans, maliks and atabegs of Iran," who probably were commanders--of "arrow-fodder."101 These forces encircled the city. The two tümens coming from Anatolia via Irbil, crossed the Tigris and approached West Baghdad; they fought, inconclusively at first, with the Caliph's field army, but finally swamped it by opening dams of a lake. Six tümens, Hülegü’s Right wing, came to the left bank of the Tigris above Baghdad, where four of them proceeded down that bank toward the city, and two crossed to join the Anatolian corps. Three tümens, forming Hülegü’s Left wing, moved up the Tigris from Khuzistan. And Hülegü, leading four tümens and the "sultans, maliks," et al., proceeded from Hamadan to Dinavar (where he left his a'urughs), Kirmanshah, Khanaqin and Ctesiphon. They reached Baghdad on 22 January 1258. 102 The attack began on the 29th, the artillery broke down the walls and towers of the city, and the Caliph surrendered on 7 February 1258.103 A massacre followed.

The Mongols relied in their siege warfare on their catapults, on overwhelming manpower--and, if necessary, on large expenditures of it.104 Because heavy losses could be expected in taking a city or fortress, the Mongols would take no chances of needing a second siege, when adequate manpower might no longer be available; the enemy soldiery and militias that had resisted their attack were therefore killed at the end.105 The Caliph too was killed.

This effectively ended the Caliphate. Members of the house of ‛Abbas served the Mamluks as puppet-Caliphs, and the Ottomans later claimed the title, but the perpetuation was only notional.


These time-and-motion studies show that Hülegü’s army did not take with them their sheep and goats--and families. Nomad wives, helped by their children, manage their families’ subsistence animals. Each family needs about 100 sheep or equivalents to supply its food, so a tümen (10,000 men) with their 10,000 families would have, in addition to its 50,000 ponies, at least a million sheep (the equivalent of 200,000 more ponies). Hülegü did not want to take them. One tümen with ponies, sheep and goats would require as much pasture, or fodder, as five tümens with ponies only. Moreover, sheep and goats cannot travel more than about 2-3 mpd and still obtain adequate nourishment; short sprints may be manageable, but not long distances for a long time. With the sheep and goats, Hülegü might have taken twice as long to get to Baghdad. And if the sheep and goats were left behind, the women and children had to stay to take care of them—and obtain their own support.

The sources say nothing directly about the familial circumstances of the ordinary soldiers, but Hülegü himself had to leave some of his wives behind in Mongolia. He had four principal wives living when the expedition departed; two came with him: Öljei Qatun, and Doquz Qatun (his widowed step-mother), “influential, and extremely domineering”—Möngke ordered Hülegü to heed her advice. The two others, Yesunjin and Qutui, stayed in Mongolia with Möngke.106

Families and flocks left behind as Mongol armies marched to war were called a’urughs. The practice was traditional in Inner Asia, and the Mongolian term frequently appears in our story. Hülegü, setting out from Mongolia in 1254, left his a’ughruqs, including Yesunjin and Qutui, behind with Möngke. Ket Buqa, who had already gone, had doubtless done likewise. More a'ughruqs, presumably those of soldiers newly-recruited in Central Asia, stayed at Almalyk. Others stopped at Hamadan and Khanaqin on the approach to Baghdad, probably those of the troops from Iran that Hülegü had impressed into the Mongol Center, as well as the establishments of his own wives, Dokuz and Öljei, who had traveled with the army.107

Whatever plans Yesunjin and Qutui, and the families of the ordinary soldiery may have made to rejoin Hülegü in Iran were spoiled by the succession-struggle following the death of Möngke in 1259 that stranded them in Mongolia. Not until 1263 was Hülegü able to summon his wives. They started, travelling with Hülegü’s son, Jumqur, who had also been left behind, and reached Samarqand, only to be further delayed when Jumqur died. They eventually reached Iran in 1268, where “Qutui Qatun was told of Hülegü Qan’s death [4 years before], and she cried her eyes out.”108

If reunion was problematic for Mongol rulers, it was still harder for many ordinary soldiers. The troops raised in Iran would have had no difficulty rejoining their families. Of the families left in Mongolia by the (nominally) 22,000 men who departed with Ket Buqa and Hülegü --say 22,000 wives and 66,000 children at the time of separation--some wives and younger children might have been able to leave for Iran when Yesunjin and Qutui did. They could have left their subsistence animals with their older children, some of which would have formed families of their own by that time; this would have speeded the journey and reduced its logistical difficulty. However, other troops in Hülegü 's army had no such possibility.

Missing Persons

When the Ögedeid prince, Qaidu, began his effort to reconstitute the Ulus Ögedei in the late 1260s, he could scarcely scrape up two or three thousand men from its former territories. Its nomads had originally constituted the army of the Ulus, but the army had been disbanded after the attempted Ögedeid coup against Möngke in 1251, seventy-seven of its top officers had been executed--probably the top officers of seven tümens (seven tümen commanders and seventy hazara commanders of a nominal 70,000 men) and their soldiers "distributed" in such a way as left almost none for Qaidu.109 Hülegü, who shortly came through the region, moving from western Mongolia to the Lake Zaysan area to Almalyk, charged to assemble an army for occupation of the Middle East, very likely assisted in the "distribution" by taking with him perhaps 50,000, re-forming and rearming them at Hamadan under five new commanders, adding them to his forces, and leading them against Baghdad.110

Heartbreak II?

Although Hülegü 's wives, and perhaps those of his Mongolian soldiers, eventually reached Iran, those of the ex-Ögedeid soldiers probably did not. They had been left in the a'urughs around Almalyk, and probably remained there. Their husbands were now part of Hülegü 's army, and part of his program, as ordered by Möngke, to occupy Iran, establish themselves in suitable pastures, and stay.111 They could not go home, and it was Mongol policy, probably for the logistical reasons discussed above, not to send their wives to soldiers permanently based abroad. For example, Möngke assigned Sali Noyan (Tatar) to Hülegü and gave him command of two tümens previously stationed in the Qunduz-Baghlan-Badakhshan region to hold the Indian frontier. Sali asked how long he would be there, and Möngke replied, "You will be there forever."112 And his men stayed there without their (original) wives: Sali's troops, and others stationed in eastern Khurasan and even western Iran came to be known as qaraunas , and, according to Marco Polo, "They are called Karaunas, that is mongrels, because they are the offspring of Indian mothers and Tartar fathers."113 The soldiers had had to find new wives.

1 Usman Juzjani, Tabaqat-i Nasiri, H.G. Raverty trans. (London: Gilbert & Rivington, 1881), two vols., II, 1117-8; Rashiduddin Fazlullah, Jami‛u’t-Tawarikh: Compendium of Chronicles [hereinafter RaD], W. M. Thackston trans. (Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1998-99), three vols., II, 397.

2 Since 1090, according to ‛Ala al-Din ‛Ata-Malik Juvaini, The History of the World-Conqueror, J. A. Boyle trans. (Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1958), two vols., II, 670.

3 Juvaini, I, 42-3.

4 When Möngke assigned "two men in ten" from the imperial armies to Hulegu, the Golden Horde sent him three tümens (3 x 5 = 15): Juvaini, II, 607-8.

5 RaD, II, 414-15 mentions that Taghachar, commander of the Left Wing for a time during this campaign, led "100,000 horsemen"; these would be the soldiery commanded by the eleven Mongols named by Rashid as commanders in the Left Wing.

6 F. Barth, Nomads of South Persia: The Basseri Tribe of the Khamseh Confederacy (Oslo UP, 1964), 115.

7 RaD, II, 282; see also, 279-80: the hazara (nominally a Thousand) of Müge Noyan had 4000 even in Chinggis' time, and had further "multiplied and increased" by Rashid's day.

8 The date usually given for the start of Hülegü’s march is 1253. This is consistent both with Juvaini’s information (II, 611): 19 October 1253, and Rashid’s statement ( II, 413: Ox Year). But as Rashid returns to the story ( II, 479) when taking up Hülegü’s history, the departure is restated as autumn of the Leopard (Bars) Year, that is, 1254.

** The direct (airline) mileage Ulaanbaatar-Moscow is 2,889 miles.

9 The campaign of Samuqa in northern China (1216-17) covered 14 mpd; and Ghazan's in Syria (1299-1300) moved at 15.1 mpd: H. Desmond Martin, The Rise of Chingis Khan and his Conquest of North China (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1950), 191 and map of "Chingis Khan's Campaigns in China, 1209-1227"; J. M. Smith, Jr., "‛Ayn Jalut: Mamluk Success or Mongol Failure?" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 44:2 (1984), 307-45, esp. 335-7.

10 The Secret History of the Mongols, section 199.

11 Juvaini, II, 611 has 24 Sha'ban, which, for 1254 instead of 1253, would have been 10 October.

12 Lonely Planet: Mongolia (Hawthorn, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet, 1997), 108, 174, 237.

13 I considered sending Hülegü to the upper Irtysh region, where Chinggis Qan assembled his army in preparation for the Khwarezmian campaign, but my sources give no distances for this route, and I have tried to rely as little as possible on map-and-ruler estimates (which I qualify as "approximately," "about," or label ca.).

14 Lonely Planet: Central Asia (Hawthorn, Vi., Australia: Lonely Planet, 1996), 216.

15 RaD II, 480 (the date should be 653); Juvaini, II, 612 (he is also mistaken about the date, which should be 653/1255).

16 L.J.D. Collins, "The Military Organization and Tactics of the Crimean Tatars during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," in War, Technology and Society in the Middle East, V.J. Parry and M.E. Yapp eds. (London: Oxford UP, 1975), 265.

17 RaD, II, 480; Juvaini, II, 612. According to the Armenian prince Haithon, who had campaigned with the Mongols, "The Tartars have much more consideration for their horses than for themselves." See É. Dulaurier, "Les Mongoles d'après les historiens Arméniens," Journal Asiatique, 5th ser., 11 (1858), 172.

18 Juvaini, II, 612. D. Streatfield-James, Silk Road by Rail (Hindhead, Surrey, UK: Trailblazer, 1993), 279, 281.

19 Juvaini, II, 612; RaD, II, 480.

20 RaD, II, 480.

21 RaD, II, 480.

22 RaD, II, 482. Juvaini, II, 615, has Hülegü take Tun "at the beginning of Rabi' I," which was 29 March.

23 RaD, II, 481.

24 Smith, "Mongol Nomadism and Middle Eastern Geography: Qishlaqs and Tümens," in The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy, R. Amitai-Preiss and D.O. Morgan eds. (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 39-56, esp. 53-54.

25 Les Guides Bleus: Moyen-Orient (Paris: Hachette, 1956), 774 (Gurgan-Bistam), 871-2 (Tun-Mashhad), 896 (Mashhad-Gurgan).

26 For the likely date, see RaD, II, 482.

27 Juvaini, II, 616-7;RaD, II, 482.

28 Juvaini, II, 616-18.

29 Juvaini, II, 717.

30 The commanders who led these forces through the Caucasus, Balagai and Tutar, had been with Hülegü in Mongolia, and had set out, presumably for home and with instructions from Hülegü, at the time of Hülegü's departure. See Juvaini, II, 612.

31 Juvaini, II, 630-4.

32 The low-keyed survival of what might be called "post-Assassin" Nizari Ismailism in the regions around Alamut and in Quhistan after Hülegü's campaign is treated by Shafique N. Virani in "The Eagle Returns: Evidence of Continued Ismaili Activity at Alamut and in the South Caspian Region following the Mongol Conquests," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 123:2 (April-June 2003), 351-70.

33 Juvaini, II, 721-2.

34 RaD, II, 486.

35 Les Guides Bleus: Moyen-Orient, 711.

36 RaD,II, 488.

37 RaD, II, 493 and n. 4; Guides Bleus: Moyen-Orient, 705 (Dinavar), 706 (Hamadan).

38 For example, 200 km. in one and a half months: 2.8 mpd, for the modern Yoruk in southern Turkey. D. G. Bates, Nomads and Farmers: A Study of the Yoruk of Southeastern Turkey (Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 1973), 5, 7.

39 RaD, II, 484.

40 Collins, "Crimean Tatars," 261; but cf. p. 267: some Tatars changed horses five times a day, and one Tatar force moved at 20 mpd: both items imply five horses per soldier, the Mongol standard.

41 A pony measures less than 14 "hands" (56 inches) at the withers--the high point of the back.

42 John of Plano Carpini, History of the Mongols, in Christopher Dawson ed., The Mongol Mission (London: Sheed and Ward, 1955; rpt as Mission to Asia), 47 on rotation; on loads: H. Epstein, Domestic Animals of China (Farnham Royal, UK, 1969): 100; D.W. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 128. Also, Smith, "Mongol Society and Military in the Middle East: Antecedents and Adaptations," in War & Society in the Eastern Mediterranean, 7th-15th Centuries, Y. Lev ed. (Brill: Leiden, 1997), 249-66, esp. 250-1.

43 Ch'i-ch'ing Hsiao, The Military Establishment of the Yuan Dynasty (Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1978), 18-19. The Mongols counted on one soldier per nomad family, but knowing sedentary families tended to be more than nuclear, and needed more subsistence labor, conscripted only one man from Chinese three-man families. Since Hülegü's forces were intended as a permanent garrison for the Middle East, the 1000 "families" of Chinese artillerists, et al., might have been whole extended families.

44 The artillerists included "catapult men, naphtha throwers, and crossbow men": RaD, II, 478. The naphtha throwers, I believe, would have prepared incendiary missiles for use with the catapults and crossbows, which latter would have been the large "ox's bows" mentioned by Juvaini, II, 631, rather than weapons for individual soldiers, since the Mongols' conventional archery was more than sufficient: faster shooting and accurate to greater range.

45 Juvaini, II, 631.

46 Engels, 14 and 14 n.11 for oxen and pack-camels. Pegolotti's fourteenth century commercial manual states that three-camel wagons traveled between Urgench and Otrar (ca, 650 miles) in 35-40 days (16-18 mpd; probably with relays of camels) drawing 3000 lbs; his text on Silk Road trade in the Mongol period in Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, La Pratica della Mercatura, Allan Evans ed. (Cambridge MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1936) is translated in R. S. Lopez and I. W. Raymond, Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World (New York, 1955), 355-58.

47 Draught oxen move at 2 mph and work a 5-hour day, according to Engels, 15 (but cf. Epstein, 3: 30 km per day). Using relays of animals, ox-wagons delivering supplies to Outer Mongolia under a program initiated by Ögedei averaged 12.5 mpd,; Western traders traveling to China in the fourteenth century averaged 17 mpd, using horses and camels for the most part instead of oxen. See Smith, "Dietary Decadence and Dynastic Decline in the Mongol Empire," Journal of Asian History, 34/1 (2000), 35-52, and Hsiao, 59-60.

48 RaD II, 478. See also Juvaini, II, 609-10. Ibn Battuta, traveled with the entourage of Bayalun Qatun, the Byzantine wife of Özbek, the Golden Horde ruler, as she journeyed to Constantinople, and "At every halting-place in this land there was brought to the khatun a hospitality-gift of horses, sheep, cattle, dugi, qumizz, and cows' and sheep's milk." See The Travels of Ibn Battuta, H.A.R. Gibb trans. (Cambridge UP, 1962), II, 498-9.

49 Smith, "Dietary Decadence," 35-52.

50 RaD, II, 480; Juvaini, II, 612.

51 RaD, II, 480; Juvaini, II, 612.

52 RaD, II, 479.

53 RaD, II, 480; Juvaini, II, 613-4.

54 RaD, II, 480; see also Juvaini, II, 614.

55 RaD, II, 480-1.

56 Juvaini, II, 616.

57 RaD, II, 482. Juvaini, II, 616-7.

58 Juvaini, II, 617.

59 Juvaini, II, 718.

60 RaD, II, 485; Juvaini, II, 718-9.

61 RaD, II, 486.

62 RaD, II, (Tun): 482; (Hamadan): 500.

63 RaD, II, 479

64 RaD, II, 480. Mongol Khurasan included not only the modern province, but parts of Turkmenistan and much of Afghanistan. See Smith, "Qishlaqs," 53, map 3.

65 RaD, II, 480.

66 RaD, II, 480-1.

67 RaD, II, 481.

68 RaD, II, 483; Juvaini, II, 618

69 RaD, II, 487-8.

70 On Mongol archery, Smith, "'Ayn Jalut," 315-6. Worst case: after the fall of Maymun Diz, the Mongols besieged Assassins in Girdkuh for fifteen years (RaD, III, 535-6). Mongols were also prepared to participate in sieges: every Mongol soldier's equipment included " ropes for hauling [shooting] engines of war": Plano Carpini, 33.

71 Thomas T. Allsen, "The Circulation of Military Technology in the Mongolian Empire," Warfare in Inner Asian History (500-1800) (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 265-93, esp pp. 267-9.

72 Herbert Franke, "Siege and Defense of Towns in Medieval China," in Chinese Ways in Warfare, F.A Kierman, Jr. and J.K. Fairbank eds. (Cambridge MA: Harvard UP, 1974), 167-69.

73 J. Needham, Science and Civilization in China, section 30, vol. 5, part 6: Military Technology: Missiles and Sieges (Cambridge UP, 1994), 217. Also "Secrets of Lost Empires: Medieval Siege" (Nova video, available from WGBH Boston). Modern craftsmen using medieval techniques built two large catapults, one very like the Mongol catapult depicted in Rashid al-Din (D. Talbot Rice and B. Gray, The Illustrations to the 'World History' of Rashid al-Din [Edinburgh UP, 1976], ), 52-3, 146-7, 156-7; also The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353, L. Komaroff and Stefano Carboni eds. [New York: Metropolitan Museum; New Haven: Yale UP, 2002], p. 36, fig 33, cat. no. 24), both of which, from 200 yards, hit and broke a wall copied from a Welsh fortress of Edward I. The counterweights, one fixed and one--the Mongol type--pivoting, weighed 6 and 6.5 tons. Construction took forty craftsmen about two weeks (Hülegü's larger work force worked much faster) after obtaining the materials, including poles fashioned from single tree-trunks (weighing one ton on the fixed-counterweight engine). The poles of the Mongol catapults depicted in RaD/ Rice & Gray, 52-3 and Legacy, fig. 33, unlike the replicas', were composites of several shafts bound together, simplifying procurement and fabrication.

* [Additional, post-publication note] Douglas S. Benson, The Mongol Campaigns in Asia [and Europe] (Chicago: Bookmasters, 1991)], 338 provides this information from the Russian Patriarchal Chronicle, Year 6748 and 10 Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei 115-17: At the battle of Chernigov, 1240, "they [the Mongols] hurled [catapulted] at [the defenses] with stones of one and a half shotweight: stones requiring four strong men to lift." [stones of ca 200 lbs?]

74 The common impression that the Mongols adopted the counterweighted catapult in the Middle East (see Thomas T. Allsen, "The Circulation of Military Technology in the Mongolian Empire," Warfare in Inner Asian History (500-1800) (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 265-93, esp pp. 267-9; also Needham (1994), 218-20), derives from Qubilai's importation in the 1270s of Arab engineers to design catapults for his Sung China campaigns (Marco Polo falsely claimed the credit). The Arabs' contribution was most likely the metal bushings and axles used in Iranian Mongol catapults: see Rice and Gray, loc. cit. In Chinese catapults, wooden axles turned in sockets or notches in the supporting wooden scaffold. The bearings of the Iranian catapults would have turned more smoothly and suffered less wear from the tremendous forces exerted upon them (by a counterweight of perhaps 6.5 tons to swing a beam of perhaps a ton) and would therefore have shot more reliably, more consistently, more accurately, and farther than their Chinese counterparts.

75 Needham (1994), 218. Clearly a counterweighted catapult from its small crew, but still short ranged.

76 Juzjani, II, 1074-77. Ashiyar eventually fell to starvation.

77 Franke, 166-67. Their effective range, according to Franke, was about 200 yards, similar to that of the counterweighted catapult, and about twice that of a hand-drawn war-bow.

78 Juvaini/Boyle, II, 631. Boyle translates gâm as "pace." For the name "oxbow," compare the limbs of a multiple "composite crossbow" illustrated in Franke, p. 162, with the bows of ox-harness depicted in the fourteenth century paintings of Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute: The Story of Lady Wen-Chi (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974), scenes 16-18.The working of the "composite crossbow" is explained in Needham (1994), 194-95, figs. 63- 64.

79 F. Steingass, Persian-English dictionary (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957), 1072.

80 Op. cit, 166.

81 Needham (1994), 176, 177.

82 W. F. Paterson, A Guide to the Crossbow (Society of Archer-Antiquaries, 1990), 31.

83 Needham (1994), 176, 217. Paterson, 40. Increasing draw-weight does not translate directly into greater range: much of the added power goes into moving the heavier limbs of the bow rather than the impulsion of the projectile.

84 J. Needham, Science and Civilization in China, section 30, vol. 5, part 7, Military Technology; The Gunpowder Epic (Cambridge UP, 1986): ground rats, 135; fire-lance, 222-23 and figs. 44-45 (pp. 224-25).

85 Needham (1986), 477.

86 Needham (1994), 176-77, Table 3 for a European siege-crossbow and a large Chinese winch-armed crossbow; (1986), 484, note e for Chinese rockets. I have use the two-foot pu to correct Needham's Chinese ranges.

87 Plano Carpini, 36-8.

88 RaD, II, 483; Juvaini, II, 607-8, 618. Supplemental troops could have been impressed as Tainal Noyan had done during Chinggis' Khwarezmian campaign; he conscripted ten thousand Türkmen to enlarge his army as he passed through these same regions ( they deserted at the first opportunity, only to be caught by Tainal and slaughtered): Juvaini, I, 90.

89 Juvaini, II, 717.

90 RaD, II, 483.

91 Smith, "Qishlaqs," 52-4.

92 RaD, II, 361; Juvaini, I, 626-27; II, 716-7.

93 RaD, II, 484: Juvaini, II, 628.

94 Juvaini, II, 619.

95 Juvaini, II, 621-2; RaD, II, 484.

96 The description, in P.Willey, The Castles of the Assassins (London: Harrap, 1963 rpt Fresno CA: Linden 2001), of other Assassin castles, Alamut (214-24) and the fortress on Mt. Nevisar Shah (238), in the vicinity of Maymun Diz, shows they were much stronger--essentially inaccessible. The Mongols were fortunate that the Master had not holed up in one of these.

97 Juvaini, II, 631.

98 Juvaini, II, 629-32.

99 Juvaini, II, 630. The map in Willey, 171 shows trails ascending the SE side of Maymun Diz to what must have been meant by "the top of the hill." Peter Willey agrees with my view that the Mongol catapults bombarded the NE corner of the fortress (personal communication).

100 Juvaini, II, 634.

101 RaD, II, 493. The nominal strength of the putative fifteen tümens was 150,000 men--plus the "arrow-fodder."

102 RaD, II, 493-495.

103 RaD, II, 495-97.

104 For instance, eight tümens out of ten were lost by Qubilai during his siege of Yauju during Möngke's war against Sung China in 1256-7. See RaD, II, 415.

105 Smith, "Demographic Considerations in Mongol Siege Warfare," Archivum Ottomanicum, XIII (1993-1994).

106 RaD, II, 471-2, 479-80.

107 RaD, II, 473, 479-80, 493, 495, 500. The forces sent by the Golden Horde must have left their a'ughruqs at home too; this might help explain their reluctance to remain subordinate to Hülegü.

108 RaD, III, 519-20.

109 "Distributed" is the word used by J. A. Boyle in his (partial) translation of Rashiduddin, The Successors of Genghis Khan (New York: Columbia UP, 1971), 23. "Dispersed," is Thackston's translation: RaD, II, 306. For the 77 executed officers, see RaD, II, 407

110 Rearming: RaD, II, 487: " Hülegü ...camped in the plains of Hamadan... [and] began outfitting the army." New Commanders: RaD, II, 493: Sönitei, Su'unchaq, Qudusun, Uruqtu, Arghun Aqa; except for Arghun Aqa, these generals had not been mentioned previously in Rashid's account of Hülegü's expedition.

111 RaD, II 479:"From the River Oxus to the farthest reaches of the land of Egypt [said Möngke to Hülegü] .... Conquer the realm of the rebellious through the might of the great god so that your summer and winter pastures may be many ..... [Möngke] imagined that Hülegü would always remain in the realm of Iran ...."

112 RaD, I, 49.

113 Marco Polo, The Travels (Harmondsworth UK: Penguin, rpt 1980), 64-5 [N.B. Pagination varies in these reprints].

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