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Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom

The trefoil of the Mouse-Hole

Lev Gumilev


13. An Attempt to Overcome Self-deception

A Spoken Thought

For a start let us return to the problem of what the writings of ancient authors signify for us and for our time. Apart from an elementary antiquarianism, the aim of which is aesthetic appreciation or admiration, two cognitive approaches are possible, both equally scholarly: the study of sources and that of history.

In the first approach, the work is regarded as a source of information, in other words we seek to extract a fragment of information from it and with that fill the void of our ignorance. As a rule this succeeds, but the result, as we have seen, is always less than expected, because any information is incomplete, or we ourselves perceive it inadequately. Yet it is impossible to avoid this approach, for only in this way can we obtain the primary information which is then processed by means of historical criticism.

In the second approach, used extremely rarely, we regard the literary work as a historical fact or event. How, for instance, does the publication of Luther's theses, nailed to the doors of Wittenburg Cathedral on 31 October 1517, differ from the battle of Marignan which had taken place two years earlier?

If we judge by the consequences, one poor monk had done more than the whole French army headed by Francis I. But even if we refrain from evaluation, both are facts for the historian, i.e. measures of the coming into being of history. It is from this angle that we shall try to approach the Lay of Igor's Host, a work of ancient Russian literature, without at all intending to compete with the language and literature specialists who work with other methods and set themselves other aims. We shall look at the subject concerned in a way which no one has yet done; with the eyes of a historian of the nomads, from the depths of the Asian steppes.

From the moment it appeared out of the mists of oblivion, the Lay {286} of Igor's Host (hereafter, the Lay) began to evoke arguments. Three points of view have been formed. The first, now dominant in literary studies: the Lay is a twelfth-century text composed by a contemporary, possibly even by a participant in the events described. [+1] The second: the Lay is a forgery dating from the eighteenth century, when the passion for exotic antiquity started. This conception has not died even now and is represented by the works of the French Slavist A. Mazon [+2] and the Soviet historian A.A. Zimin, [+3] whose book has not yet been published and therefore cannot be considered. Third: the Lay is a text of ancient Russian literature, but was composed after the twelfth century, an opinion put forward by Sventsitskii and A. Vaillant [+4] who have proposed the fifteenth century as a probable date, and D. N. Al'shits who relates it to the first half of the thirteenth century.

The history of the question is so extensive [+5] that there is no sense in reviewing it here; it is enough to note the upper limit of its possible date. D.S. Likhachev has shown that the Zadonshchina [The Tale of the Battle beyond the Don, which took place at Kulikovo in 1380 - tr.] contains elements of borrowing from the Lay, so the Lay is older than the battle of Kulikovo. [+6] Thus, all later dates fall away, but the very fact of the discussion shows that the date, 1187 [accepted by Likhachev - tr.], gives rise to doubt. Therefore, we propose new, additiona, material and a new approach.

In order not to duplicate what our predecessors have achieved, we take as a basis the exhaustive commentary by D.S. Likhachev, [+7] except for those instances when he leaves the question open. But as distinct from a language-and-literature approach to the subject, we regard the content of the text from the point of view of the likelihood of the events described in it. In other words, we place the description of Igor's campaign on the canvas of world history, {287} taking account of the existing situation in the steppes of Mongolia and Desht-i-Kipchak. Finally, we start from the fact that any literary work is written at a particular moment, for a definite reason and is addressed to readers whom it should convince of something. If we can understand for whom and for what the work we are concerned with was written, then by a reverse thought process we shall find that single moment which answers to the content and tendency of the work. And in this context it is immaterial whether we are dealing with an invention, or a real event which has passed through the prism of an author's creative thought. The very creation of a literary work of genius and its influence on contemporary readers is a fact within the competence of the historian.



It is usually considered that the Lay of Igor's Host is a patriotic work written in 1187 (p. 249), summoning the Russian princes to unity (p. 252) and struggle against the Polovtsy, representatives of the steppe culture foreign of Rus`. It is also supposed that this summons "reached ... those for whom it was intended", i.e. the apanage princes who organised an anti-Polovtsy coalition in 1197 (pp. 267-8). This conception actually follows from a literal understanding of the Lay and, therefore, at first glance seems the only correct one. But we have only to compare the Lay not merely with one set of facts, but to look at the text "from the side", taking into account a whole complex of events both in Rus` and in the contiguous lands, for an exceedingly distressing perplexity immediately to arise.

First, the choice of the subject is strange. Igor` Svyatoslavich's campaign was not caused by political necessity. Even in 1180 Igor was in close alliance with the Polovtsy; in 1184 he refused to take part in a campaign against them, despite it being led by his Ol'govich cousin, Svyatoslav Vsevolodovich, whom he had just put on the Kiev throne. And suddenly, for no reason at all, he flings himself with his puny force into battle to gain the whole steppe to the Black and Caspian Seas (pp. 243-4). It is also noted that Igor did not agree about coordinating his actions even with the Kiev prince. Naturally, the unprepared war ended in catastrophe, but, when the man responsible for the calamity saves himself and goes to Kiev to pray to the Pirogoshcha Virgin (p. 31), the whole country, instead {288} of being justly indignant, rejoices and is gay, forgetting those killed in battle and those left in captivity. Why ever?

It is quite obvious that the author of the Lay intended to convey something important to his readers, not simply a tale of an unsuccessful clash without any military or political significance. So the point of the Lay is didactic, and the historical event is simply an excuse for the author to display the ideas he wishes. D.S. Likhachev has noted (p. 240) the historicism of ancient Russian literature which did not recognise invented subjects, so we should not be surprised that a fact underlies the edification. It means that the main point in the narrative is not the event described, but the conclusion drawn from it, i.e. a hint about something completely clear to the "brethren" to whom the author appealed and such as would prove it - otherwise why write such a well thought out work? This hint is quite unclear to us as twentieth-century readers, because the summons to war against the Polovtsy had been made by Vladimir Monomakh in 1113 extremely simply, had been understood by people and princes, also without difficulty, and in the early twelfth century had become a generally recognised truth not evoking any doubts. But by the end of the twelfth century this summons was not topical, because the predominance of Rus` over the Polovtsy steppe had become self-evident. At that time the Polovtsy had to a great extent been baptised [+8] and took part in internecine strife no more than the Rurikid princes themselves, and always in alliance with one of the Russian princes. To summon the people to mobilise at such a time is simply stupid. But this is not all, the "summons" itself in retrospect evokes no less doubt.

From the position that has been described, the author of the Lay would have had a negative attitude to the princes who had brought the men of foreign tribes against Rus`. The author does not spare his {289} condemnation of Oleg Svyatoslavich, ascribing all the woes of the Russian land to him. Yet, was he right? Oleg should have inherited the golden throne of Kiev, but he was declared an outlaw, deprived of his position in the succession or, as it was then called, the ladder, treacherously seized and with the agreement of the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus III (the usurper) and Vsevolod I, prince of Kiev, sent into captivity on the island of Rhodes (1079). One may think that the negative attitude to Oleg is explained by the fact that a year before this he had gained his native Chernigov with the help of the Polovtsy and then provoked the bloody clash at Nezhatina Niva on 3 October 1078 in which another outlaw, Boris Vyacheslavich, and Isyaslav I, prince of Kiev, perished. All right, but Oleg's antagonist, Vladimir Monomakh, had a year before this been the first to bring the Polovtsy into Rus` in order to devastate the principality of Polotsk. Why such disfavour towards Oleg?

Perhaps Oleg was not the first to turn for help to the Polovtsy, but applied this help on a larger scale? Let us check. In the period from 1128 to 1161 the descendants of Oleg brought the Polovtsy into Rus` fifteen times, [+9] but Vladimir Monomakh alone had done this nineteen times. [+10] It seems the question here is not a matter of historical fact, but rather of the very adverse attitude of the author of the Lay towards Oleg. But why this attitude?

The enmity between Monomakh and Oleg over Chernigov had the features usual in princely strife and did not call forth the bitter condemnation of Russian society. Such an attitude, and a sharply negative one, towards Oleg only appeared after 1095. Then Vladimir Monomakh lured the Polovtsy khan Itlar for negotiations, treacherously killed him, butchered his suite and demanded that Oleg Syatoslavich hand over War's son, a guest in Chernigov, to be killed. Even in the twelfth century treachery was not regarded as a virtue in Rus`. Oleg refused! Summoned to the Metropolitan's court, Oleg declared: "I shall not go for judgement to bishops, abbots and peasants" [smerd]. [+11] It was after this, and only then, that Oleg was declared an enemy of the Russian land and this became extended to his children as well.

This bad attitude to Oleg's descendants was not universal. Rather, this was the platform of a group supporting prince Izyaslav {290} Mstislavich and his son; but it is important for us that the author of the Lay holds precisely this point of view. [+12] And it is not a question of the nomads here. Both sides brought in as their allies Polovtsy and Torks and Berendei, and even Muslim Bolgars. For example, in 1107 Vladimir Monomakh, Oleg and David Svatoslavich simultaneously married their sons to Polovtsy women. Nevertheless, there was a difference: Oleg and his children were friends with the Polovtsy khans, but Monomakh and his descendants utilised them. The nuance is very important for the time and it is impossible that the viewpoint of the authors of the Hypatian Chronicle and of the Lay, who condemn Oleg, were the only ones in Rus`. Evidently, there must have existed a Chernigov tradition whitewashing Oleg. The Chernigov chronicle version has not come down to us, but has been revealed by M. D. Priselkov as the "third source of the Kievan Grand Princely collation of 1200, used in extracts". [+13] Yet the author of the Lay, in Priselkov's opinion, prefers the Kiev tradition, hostile to Oleg, and his sympathies coincide with the Chernigov chronicle only in relation to Igor` Svyatoslavich who in the Chernigov variant is called a "faithful prince". The contrast between Igor and his grandfather Oleg is striking. It proceeds along two main lines: the attitude to the steppe and the attitude to the Kiev Metropolitanate!

In fact, the enmity between the two princely groupings is not only connected with Oleg Svyatoslavich's outlawry. After all, the town population of the Seversk land took part in this enmity and without their support the princely descendants of Oleg would not have been able to fight for long. And here we approach the question, or more accurately the formulation of a hypothesis which, if it is correct, will allow us to solve the question. The key to the solution is contained in certain words in the text of the Lay of Igor's Host and in the mutual relationship between Rus` and the steppe in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.


An Unknown Land

There is an opinion, widespread and even found in schoolbooks, that the wild, nomad steppe was always opposed to the sedentary culture of Rus` and struggled with it almost till the nineteenth century. Such an over-generalisation is of itself strained, but the narrow-minded view derived from it, that the steppe is a "political" and ethnic unity, is completely inadmissible. Not for nothing did our twelfth-century ancestors name the steppe the "unknown land". This definition was applicable in later ages, too.

First of all, even as regards physical geography the steppe is more varied than the forest zone of Eurasia. The grassy steppes between the Dnepr and the Don are unlike the dry Black Earths of the Caspian area or the Ryn sands of the Volga-Ural interfluve. The river valleys and delta of the Volga are in general azonal and do not fall within the general features of the arid zone, neither do the foothills of the Caucasus and the shores of the Black Sea. Different peoples lived in these different geographic conditions and were quite unlike one another. This is how the ethnographic map of the "unknown land" looked in the mid eleventh century.

The descendants of the Orthodox Khazars lived in the valleys of the Don and the Terek, while their Muslim fellow-tribesmen inhabited the delta and flood meadows of the Volga. The Yasy (Osetians) and Kasog (Cherkes) dwelt in the Kuban area, not yet forced into the Caucasus mountains. The Goths-Tetraxites kept the shores of the Black Sea. The Kama Bolgars controlled the left, the steppe bank of the Volga, while the Mordva and Burtas held the right, high bank. All these people were sedentary. Nomads occupied only the watersheds of the steppes, but even they were not a single group. Torks, Berendei and Black Cowls (Kara-Kalpak) pressed towards the Russian frontier, frightened of the genuine steppe dwellers, the Polovtsy.

Russian-Polovtsy relations underwent a long evolution. In 1054 the Polovtsy appeared on the borders of Rus` as a conqueror people, drunk from their victories over the Guz and Pechenegs. In 1068 they defeated the Russian princes at the Al'ta and, it seemed, were close to conquering Eastern Europe. The walls of the Russian fortresses, however, halted their onslaught and until 1115 a stubborn war continued in which the Polovtsy tribal union made use of the dissension among the Russian apanage princes. But the {292} Polovtsy successes were ephemeral. As soon as Vladimir Monomakh established internal peace, he transferred the war to the steppe and routed the Polovtsy union. This was in essence the conquest of the steppe, though by no means its subjugation, which in those times could not be achieved. The Polovtsy entered into the system of the Kiev Principality just as, for example, the land of Polotsk or Novgorod did, without losing its autonomy. They no longer took part in the strife between the descendants of Oleg and Monomakh as an independent force, but as auxiliary troops. They did not dare to stand out against Rus` as a whole, so it is more correct to speak of a unified Russian-Polovtsy system which replaced the former opposition. That is why the Russian princes took the part of the Polovtsy in 1223, which led to Mongol perplexity and Batu's campaign which followed in 1236. Igor's campaign in 1186 is not in the general style of Russian-Polovtsy twelfth-century relations and so, evidently, it was given particular attention by the authors of the Hypatian Chronicle and the Lay. [+14] We shall speak about the causes of this heightened interest in another connection.

So, from the fall of the Khazar kaganate in 965 to the founding of the Golden Horde in 1241 no steppe unity existed and there was no danger to the Russian land from the steppe. Yet the Lay of Igor's Host is imbued with quite another mood and this leads to the thought that the author of our source had something in mind about which he preferred not to speak directly. This suspicion makes us return again to the text and focus on certain orientalisms which have not had adequate explanation. In this we abandon in advance all preconceived opinions so as to stand firmly on undoubted fact.


The mysterious name khin is mentioned three times in the Lay. D.S. Likhachev judged this as "some unknown eastern peoples, rumours of whom could reach Byzantium even from the most eastern peoples by word of mouth and through oral literature" (p. 429). But there was no people with this name! [+15] Moreover, the {293} Khin are mentioned as neighbours of Rus`. Igor's defeat "gave boldness to the Khin" (p. 20). The warriors of the two west Russian princes, Roman of Volyn` and Mstislav of Gorodno, are a threat for the "Khin" and the Lithuanian tribes (p. 23). And finally, the "Khin arrows" in Yaroslavna's lament is an image completely clear to the readers of the Lay. So, this term was well known in Rus`. The only word corresponding to these three quotations is the name of the Jurchen empire, the Kin (present day reading Jin, "Golden') (1115-1234). [+16] The replacing of k by kh shows that this word was brought to Rus` by the Mongols who have no k sound in their language. [+17] But then the information is not from the twelfth century, but the thirteenth, no earlier than the battle on the Kalka in 1223, and probably later than 1234; and this is why.

The Kin Empire claimed dominance over the eastern half of the Great Steppe up to the Altai and regarded the tribal powers existing there as their vassals. This suzerainty was by no means real, but juridical, and the Kerait, Mongol and Tatar tribes were considered political subjects of the empire, i.e. as Kin, though not as Jurchen. Such a conventional designation was exceedingly widespread in Asia. Thus, the Mongols prior to Chinggiskhan were called Tatars since the Tatar tribe was the leader in the steppe. Then the tribes conquered by Chinggiskhan began to be called Mongols or, according to the old memory, Tatars, and this name was attached to the group of Volga Turks.

In the fourteenth century the name Khin was attached to the {294} Golden Horde Tatars. In the Zadonshchina it is explained that "on the east, the lot of Shem, son of Noah, from him are descended the Khin, the pagan Tatars, the Busurman. At the river Kayala they overcame the clan of Japhet. And since then the Russian land is sad ..." Mamai's officer is called a Khin and, finally, it is said that: "the steel swords rang against the Khin helmets on the field of Kulikovo". [+18]

To understand the history of Asia we have to fully assimilate that nationalities and national names did not exist there until the twentieth century. Therefore, after the Jurchen empire had been conquered by the Mongols, the latter continued to be called Khin in the political, but not the ethnic sense of the word. However, this name was replaced by new political names: Mongol and Yuan. It could continue alongside them as applied to the Mongols only in the middle of the thirteenth century. But then it means that by the Khin we should understand the Mongol Tatars of the Golden Horde and, consequently, the subject of the Lay is itself no more than a code. Yes: such is our guess and the otherwise inexplicable Russian name of the Blue [Sinyaya] Horde- the Golden Horde - speaks for it. This is a literal translation of the Chinese word Kin (now, Jin). [+19] And this name evidently arose because Batu's troops were made up to strength with Jurchen who had surrendered just as Kubilai's forces were supplemented with Russians and Polovtsy. Based on this consideration, we may guess what the reference in the text of the Lay to "Khin arrows" means.


Khin Arrows

In the middle ages arrows were in short supply. It is not easy to make a good arrow and they were rapidly expended. Therefore, it is clear that after seizing the Jurchen arsenals the Mongols had ensured a supply of arrows for a certain time. For the author of the Lay, just as for his readers, Khin, i.e. Mongol, arrows were a quite specific concept. What is the secret?

The arrows of the Far Eastern peoples were distinguished by the fact that they were sometimes poisoned. This was never noted by contemporary chroniclers because the Mongols kept their military secrets. An analysis of fragments from the Concealed Tale, though, shows that those wounded by arrows were given milk to drink after the wound had first been sucked clean. It seems that a snake poison was used which was not absorbed by the gut walls, so it could be swallowed without harm. Sucking the wound in good time and giving a few drops of milk were considered life-saving.

In preparing for the campaign against the Merkit, Jamuqa says: "I have made ready my notched arrows". [+20] Why should an arrow have notches? They complicate their preparation very much but do not increase their military advantage. There could only be one use for the notches: the arrow can be held longer in the wound and this is particularly important if the arrow is poisoned.

Somewhat later our source confirms this guess. "In battle Chinggiskhan was wounded in an artery in the neck. It was impossible to stop the blood and he was in the grip of fever [a symptom of poisoning - L.G.]. At sunset they disposed themselves for the night in sight of the enemy, on the battlefield. Jelme was all the time sucking out the coagulating blood (the first and main cure for snake poison - L.G.). With bloodied mouth he sat by the sick man, trusting no one to replace him. Gathering a mouthful, now he swallowed it, now he spat it out. After midnight Chinggiskhan regained consciousness and said: "I am thirsty, my blood has quite dried up." Then Jelme threw off everything, both cap and shoes and outer clothing, remaining only in his underclothes; almost bare, he set off at a run straight into the enemy camp opposite. In a vain search for kumis [milk, an antidote - L.G.], he clambers onto the Tayichi'ut waggons surrounding the camp. Hurriedly running away they had {296} left their mares unmilked. Finding no kumis he took an enormous horn of sour milk from some waggon and brought it..."

Bringing the horn of sour milk, Jelme himself runs for water, brings it, dilutes the sour milk and gives it to the khan to drink [so, water was close by, but he had to get milk, though at risk to his life - L.G.]. "Thrice taking breath, he drank and said: "My inner eye has cleared" [It helped! - L.G.]. Meanwhile, it grew light and, looking around, Chinggiskhan noticed the dirty phlegm resulting from Jelme hawking up the blood he had sucked out ["my italics" - L.G.] to all sides. "What is this? Could you not have gone and spat a bit further off?" he said. Then Jelme said to him: "You were very chilled and I was frightened of leaving you, fearing you might become worse. Everything occurred hurriedly: if you swallow, you swallow; if you spit, you spit. From worry a fair amount went in my belly" [Jelme hints that he swallowed the filth for the khan's sake - L.G.].

"But why", continued Chinggiskhan, "did you run naked to the enemy when I lay in such a state?" "What I thought", said Jelme, "what I thought was to run naked to the enemy. If they seized me, I would say to them: I thought of fleeing to you, but our people guessing that, seized me and intended to kill me. They undressed me and had already started to pull off my last trousers when I managed to run away to you. That is what I would have told them. I am sure they would have believed me, given me clothes and accepted me. But would I not have returned to you on the first horse I found? Only so could I assuage the thirst of my sovereign, I thought, and in the twinkling of an eye I decided" [again, it is not a question of thirst, but of an antidote, since thirst is better quenched by water, not milk - L.G.]. Then Chinggiskhan said to him: "What shall I say to you? Once, when the Merkit descended on us, you saved my life for the first time. Now, you have again saved my life, sucking out the drying [more exactly, the gushing or dying - L.G.] blood, and again when I was chilled and parched, disregarding the danger to your life, in the twinkling of an eye you went into the enemy camp and, quenching my thirst, restored me to life [sucking out the blood and the few drops of milk are considered life-saving and on a par with the unparalleled heroic defence of Burkhan mountain - L.G.]. May these services of yours remain in my memory" Thus he was pleased to speak". [+21]

{297} Another episode is no less characteristic. After a fight with the Kerait "... Boroqul and Ogedei. They rode up. Blood was streaming from the corners of Boroqul's mouth. It turns out that Ogedei was wounded by an arrow in a neck vertebra, and Boroqul was all the time sucking the blood out and so the blood he had taken flowed from the corners of his mouth ... Chinggiskhan immediately ordered a fire to be lit, the wound to be cauterised and Ogedei given drink." [+22] Later the description of Boroqul's feat is repeated and it is stressed that the timely sucking of the blood had saved Ogedei's life.

I imagine that in both cases the picture of poisoning is undoubted, and one can even determine what poison was used. It is known that vegetable alkaloid poisons operate very quickly, but here we have a slow acting poison against which sucking and cauterising is effective. Such is snake poison. It could be supplied from vipers which are abundant in the Trans-Baikal area. The method of obtaining this poison is very simple, it is squeezed out of the viper's fangs onto a plate. The dried venom can be kept as long as required and put to use after being dissolved in water. As snake poison is not absorbed by the stomach, it is not dangerous to suck out the blood. It seems only arrows were poisoned, since Quyuldar the Mangqut, wounded with a spear, only died when hunting because his wound opened from his galloping. The source gives no indication of poison.

In earlier periods among the Turks and Uighurs, weapons were not poisoned, since the Chinese chroniclers, well informed until the ninth century, and exceedingly attentive to their competitors` war technology, give only one completely specific case. The Turkic kagan Silibi Li-Simo, favourite of the [Tang] emperor Taizon [626-49] (Li Shi-min), was accidentally wounded by an arrow while on campaign in Korea and the emperor personally sucked his blood out. [+23]

This last case gives us the chance to trace where the steppe nomads borrowed the use of poisoned arrows from. The Mokhe or Ugi, their northern neighbours, living along the shores of the Sungari, fought on the side of the Koreans. These were descendants of the ancient Sushen and ancestors of the Jurchen. The Bei shi says of them: "they use a bow 3 feet long and arrows 1.2 feet. Usually in the seventh and eighth month they make poison and rub it on {298} their arrows to shoot animals and birds. Wounded they quickly die." [+24] It is characteristic that the bow is small and cannot have been powerful and that the arrow is not long and not heavy so that its penetration was insignificant. The poison alone gives the whole effect. [+25] Another detail is no less important: the poison was prepared in autumn. The strength of snake venom varies according to the time of year; it is most dangerous in autumn.

A Few More Words

A comparable example to the word Khin is the frequently encountered word kharlug which the commentator explains as sword-steel (bulat) (p. 406). The Mongolisation of Turkic words we noted above gives us the right to see here the word karaluk, the k (Turkic) being replaced by kh (Mongol), i.e. blue steel. [+26] The interpretation proposed does not contradict the established one, but the suffix lug instead of hk deserves attention. Such a pronunciation is a feature of archaic Turkic dialects of the pre-Mongol period and for the thirteenth century; for example, Kuchlug "strong", the name of the Naiman prince. [+27] The suffix lug occurs in the Orkhon inscriptions [+28] and in an eighth-century Tibetan geographic treatise. [+29]

The regular occurrence of the phonetic transcription we have noted allows us to make one more deduction showing the Lay to be older than the Zadonshchina. In the Zadonshchina the word katun ("lady", metaphorically "mistress') is adduced with a Turkic sound, [+30] {299} in Mongolian it would be qatun. In the fourteenth century Turkic replaced Mongol in the Volga area and the Russian author wrote the word as he heard it. But the author of the Lay heard analogous words from the Mongols: that means he wrote no later and no earlier than the thirteenth century.

The meaning of the mysterious word Deremela, according to D.S. Likhachev, is unclear (p. 446). A.S. Solov'ev's proposed explanation is that "Deremela is probably the Yatvag region and the Yatvag tribe Dernen, Derme" [+31] is too strained, especially since the Yatvag are mentioned alongside. But there is the Mongol personal name Darmala, frequent in Chinggiskhan's period. In Persian notation this will be <iL╩>f which with eastern pronunciation reads as tarmala, and with western as teremele which corresponds to the one we are seeking. If we imagine that among those defeated by Roman and Mstislav there was the detachment of a Mongol baskak called Darmala, in charge of a region between the Yatvag country and the Polovtsy steppe, no contradiction between phonetics and text arises. Among nomads an ethnic name is often replaced by the name of a leader; for example the Seljuks were the partisans of and subordinates to Seljuk. Therefore, we can suppose that it is not a people that figures here, but simply the men and district subordinate to Darmala. But this again takes us to the thirteenth century and, as we have no full explanation yet for what we have observed, let us refrain from conclusions and continue the search.

Troyan and Div

The mysterious personage Troyan is mentioned four times in the