Of the Age and Demeanour of Cuyne, and of his Seal.
When exalted to the imperial dignity, Cuyne seemed to be about forty or forty-five years old. He was of middle stature, exceedingly prudent, politic, serious, and grave in his demeanour, and was hardly ever seen to laugh or to behave lightly in any respect, as was reported to us by certain Christians who were continually about him. These Christians of his family assured us likewise, that he would certainly become a Christian, because he always kept some Christian priests about his person, and had at all times a chapel of Christians established near his great tent, in which the clergy sang their devotions publickly and openly, and struck the regular hours on bells, according to the custom of the Greek church, whatever number of Tartars or others might be in the presence; while no other of the Tartar dukes did any thing like this.
It is the custom of this emperor never to converse himself with any stranger, however high his rank, but always to hear, as it were, and to answer through an intermediate person: Whoever proposes any matter to his consideration, or listens to his reply, however great his quality, must remain on his knees the whole time; and no one must presume to speak on any subject after the determination of the emperor is expressed. For the dispatch of affairs, both public and private, he has agents, secretaries, scribes, and officers of all kinds, excepting pleaders; as every thing is concluded according to his will and pleasure, without strife or judicial noise: and the other princes of the Tartars act exactly in the same manner.
While we remained at his court, the emperor and all his princes erected a standard of defiance against the church of God, the Roman empire, and all the Christian kingdoms and nations of the west, unless they should become obedient to his commands. Their avowed intention is to subdue the whole earth under their authority, as they were commanded by Zingis-khan, and they have only abstained from this intention of late, on account of the death of Occaday-khan, the emperor’s father, who was poisoned. Of all the nations under heaven, they are in some fear of the Christians only, and on this account they are now preparing to make war on us. In all his letters their emperor styles himself the Power of God and the Emperor of Mankind; and the seal of the present emperor is thus inscribed: