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0097 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 97 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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and even extended his conquests across the Dolor to Kashgar, brought the two powers into dangerous collision ;1 and the Emperor of China seems to have saved himself from. an Arab invasion, only by the very favourable reception which he gave to an embassy from Kutaiba, composed of twelve Mahomedans, whom he sent back loaded with presents for the Arab general.2

This was no doubt the embassy to the Emperor Hiwen Thsung (circa 713), of which the Chinese annals relate that the envoys demanded exemption from the Kotow, and in consequence were put upon their trial and pronounced worthy of death. The emperor, however, graciously pardoned them 13

The emperors seemed to have entertained a correcter apprehension of the character of the new enemy than their successors have exhibited in later days when coming in contact with European nations, and consequently they were very cautious in their answers to the many applications that were made to them for aid against the irresistible Arabs. Yet collisions were not entirely avoided. Indeed according to one Mahomedan historian' the end of the year 87 of Hejira (A.D. 709) had already witnessed the glorious defeat of two hundred thousand Tartars who had broken into the Mahomedan conquests under the command of Taçhabun, the Chinese Emperor's nephew. And at a later date, about 751, we find the Chinese troops under their general Kaosienchi engaging those of the Khalif near Taraz or Talas and entirely routed.' A few years afterwards (757-8), when the Emperor Sutsung was hard pressed by a powerful rebel, he received an

1 Haj âj, the Viceroy of Irak, sent messages to Kutaiba and to Mahomed Ibn Kassim in Sind, urging both to press forward to the conquest of China, and promising that the first to reach it should be invested with the government. This induced Kutaiba to advance to Kashgar, and Mahomed to press towards Kanauj. But the death of their patron and of the Khalif put an end to their schemes and brought destruction upon both (Reinaud in Mcm. de l'Acad., xvii, 186).

2 De Sacy in Not. et Extraits, ii, 374-5.

3 .Remusat, Melanges Asiat., i, 441-2. So in turn ten Chinese envoys are said to have been murdered at the Burmese court in 1286, because they insisted on appearing in the royal presence with their boots on (Mission to Ava, p. 79).

4 Tabari, quoted in Ch. Anc., p. 310. lb., 311; Deguignes, i, 58.