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Genghis was no mere ruthless destroyer; he was at the same time one of the greatest administrators But his administrative genius

the world has ever seen.

could not work miracles. His vast Empire, founded on conquest and composed of the most heterogeneous elements, had no principle of organic life in it, and could not possibly be long-lived. It had been created by him, and it perished with him. For some time after his death the dignity of Grand Khan was held by some one of his descendants, and the centralised administration was nominally preserved; but the local rulers rapidly emancipated themselves from the central authority, and within half a century after the death of its founder the great Mongol Empire was little more than "a geographical expression."

With the dismemberment of the Mongol Empire the danger for Eastern Europe was by no means at an end. The independent Hordes were scarcely less formidable than the Empire itself. A grandson of Genghis formed on the Russian frontier a new State, commonly known as Kiptchak or the Golden Horde, and built a capital called Seraï on one of the arms of the Lower Volga. This capital, which has since so completely disappeared that there is some doubt as to its site, is described by Ibn Batuta, who visited it in the fifteenth century, as a very great, populous, and beautiful city, possessing many mosques, fine market-places, and broad streets, in which were to be seen merchants from Babylon, Egypt, Syria, and other countries. Here lived the Khans who kept Russia in subjection for two centuries.

In conquering Russia the Tartars had no wish to take possession of the soil, or to take into their own hands the local administration. What they wanted was not land, of which they had enough and to spare, but movable property which they might enjoy without giving up their pastoral, nomadic life. They applied, therefore, to Russia the same method of extracting supplies as they had used in other countries. As soon as their authority had been formally acknowledged they sent officials into the country to number the inhabitants and to collect an amount of tribute proportionate to the population. This was a severe burden for the people, not only on account of the sum demanded, but also on account of the manner in which it was raised. The exactions and cruelty of the tax-gatherers led to local insurrections, and the insurrections were of course always severely punished. But there was never any general military occupation of the country or any wholesale confiscations of land, and the existing political organisation was left undisturbed. The modern method of dealing with annexed provinces was totally unknown to the Tartars. The Khans never for a moment dreamed of attempting to Tartarise their Russian subjects. They demanded simply an oath of allegiance from the Princes,* and a certain sum of tribute from the people. The vanquished were allowed to retain their land, their religion, their language, their courts of justice, and all their other institutions.

* During the Tartar domination Russia was composed of a large number of independent principalities.

The nature of the Tartar domination is well illustrated by the policy which the conquerors adopted towards the Russian Church. For more than half a century after the conquest the religion of the Tartars was a mixture of Buddhism and Paganism, with traces of Sabæism or fire-worship. During this period Christianity was more than simply tolerated. The Grand Khan Kuyuk caused a Christian chapel to be erected near his domicile, and one of his successors, Khubilai, was in the habit of publicly taking part in the Easter festivals. In 1261

the Khan of the Golden Horde allowed the Russians to found a bishopric in his capital, and several members of his family adopted Christianity. One of them even founded a monastery, and became a saint of the Russian Church! The Orthodox clergy were exempted from the poll-tax, and in the charters granted to them it was expressly declared that if any one committed blasphemy against the faith of the Russians he should be put to death. Some time afterwards the Golden Horde was converted to Islam, but the Khans did not on that account change their policy. They continued to favour the clergy, and their protection was long remembered. Many generations later, when the property of the Church was threatened by the autocratic power, refractory ecclesiastics contrasted the policy of the Orthodox Sovereign with that of the "godless Tartars," much to the advantage of the latter.

At first there was and could be very little mutual confidence between the conquerors and the conquered. The Princes anxiously looked for an opportunity of

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throwing off the galling yoke, and the people chafed under the exactions and cruelty of the tribute-collectors, whilst the Khans took precautions to prevent insurrection, and threatened to devastate the country if their authority was not respected. But in the course of time this mutual distrust and hostility greatly lessened. The Princes gradually perceived that all attempts at resistance would be fruitless, and became reconciled to their new position. Instead of seeking to throw off the Khan's authority, they sought to gain his favour, in the hope of thereby forwarding their personal interests. For this purpose they paid frequent visits to the Tartar chief, made rich presents to his wives and courtiers, received from him charters confirming their authority, and sometimes even married members of his family. Some of them used the favour thus acquired for extending their possessions at the expense of neighbouring Princes of their own race, and did not hesitate to call in Tartar Hordes to their assistance. The Khans, in their turn, placed greater confidence in their vassals, entrusted them with the task of collecting the tribute, recalled their own officials who were a constant eyesore to the people, and abstained from all interference in the internal affairs of the principalities so long as the tribute was regularly paid. The Princes acted, in short, as the Khan's lieutenants, and became to a certain extent Tartarised. Some of them carried this policy so far that they were reproached by the people with "loving beyond measure the Tartars and their language, and with giving them too freely land, and gold, and goods of every kind."

Had the Khans of the Golden Horde been prudent, far-seeing statesmen, they might have long retained their supremacy over Russia. In reality they showed themselves miserably deficient in political talent. Seeking merely to extract from the country as much tribute as possible, they overlooked all higher considerations, and by this culpable shortsightedness brought about their own political ruin. Instead of keeping all the Russian Princes on the same level and thereby rendering them all equally feeble, they were constantly bribed or cajoled into giving to one or more of their vassals a pre-eminence over the others. At first this pre-eminence seems to have consisted in little more than the empty title of Grand Prince; but the vassals thus favoured soon transformed the barren distinction into a genuine power, by arrogating to themselves the exclusive right of holding direct communications with the Horde, and compelling the minor Princes to deliver to them the Tartar tribute. If any of the lower Princes refused to acknowledge this intermediate authority, the Grand Prince could easily crush them by representing them at the Horde as rebels who did not pay their tribute. Such an accusation would cause the accused to be summoned before the Supreme Tribunal, where the procedure was extremely summary and the Grand Prince had always the means of obtaining a decision in his own favour.

Of all the Princes who strove in this way to increase their influence, the most successful were the Princes of Moscow. They were not a chivalrous race, or one with which the severe moralist can sympathise, but they

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