This, however, is only to be understood of what
may be termed the
pretorian or royal horde, in a time of profound peace, travelling in
their usual and perpetual round in quest of forage; the almost
boundless space of the desert must have been interspersed with
numerous subordinate hordes, and though the usual guard of Baatu might
not have exceeded 500 heads of families, the military force of his
dominions, though subordinate to Mangu-khan, certainly exceeded
200,000 fighting men.—E.
Of the River Jaic or Ural, and of sundry Regions and Nations.
At the end of twelve days journey from the Etilia or Volga, we came to a great river named the Jagag (Jaic or Ural); which, issuing from the land of Pascatir (of Zibier or of the Baschirs, now Siberia), falls into the Caspian. The language of the Baschirs and of the Hungarians is the same, and they are all shepherds, having no cities; and their land is bounded on the west by the Greater Bulgaria; from which country eastwards, in these northern parts, there are no cities whatsoever, so that the Greater Bulgaria is the last country which possesses towns and cities. From this country of Pascatir the Huns went, who were afterwards called Hungarians. Isidore writes, that with swift horses they passed the walls of Alexander, and the rocks of Caucasus, which opposed the barbarians, and even exacted tribute from Egypt, and laid waste the whole of Europe as far as France, being even more warlike in their day than the Tartars are now. With them the Blacians or Walachians, the Bulgarians, and the Vandals united. These Bulgarians came from the Greater Bulgaria, The people named Ilac or Vlac, who inhabit beyond the Danube from Constantinople, not far from Pascatir, are the same people, being properly named Blac or Blacians, but as the Tartars cannot pronounce the letter B, they are called Ilac, Vlac, or Wallachians. From them, likewise, the inhabitants of the land of the Assani are descended, both having the same name in the Russian, Polish, and Bohemian languages. The Sclavonians and the Vandals speak the same language; and all of these joined themselves formerly with the Huns, as they now do with the Tartars. All this that I have written concerning the land of Pascatir, I was informed by certain friars predicants, who had travelled there before the irruption of the Tartars; and as they had been subdued by their neighbours the Bulgarians, who were Mahometans, many of them adopted that faith. Other matters respecting these people may be known from various chronicles. But it is obvious, that those provinces beyond Constantinople, which are now called Bulgaria, Wallachia, and Sclavonia , formerly belonged to the Greek empire; and Hungary was formerly named Pannonia.