Abdallah, encouraged by his superior numbers, left the entrenchments with which he had covered his army, and attacked the Persians on the plains of Baghavund, near Erivan.
Continuing Nadir Shah Captures Delhi,
our selection from History of Persia by Sir John Malcolm published in 1815. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in eleven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Nadir Shah Captures Delhi.
His brave antagonist, Topal Osman, had jealous rivals at the court of Constantinople; and these, alarmed at the great fame he had acquired, not only prevented, by their intrigues, his being reinforced with men, but, by withholding the supplies of money that were necessary to pay his troops, compelled him to separate his force. He, nevertheless, made the greatest efforts to oppose this second invasion of Nadir. He sent a corps of cavalry to arrest the progress of the Persians; but the latter, eager for revenge, made such a sudden and furious attack on this body that they completely routed it. On hearing this intelligence, the Turkish general advanced with all the troops he had been able to draw together to his support; but his own army partook of the panic of their flying comrades. Topal Osman endeavored in vain to rally them. He was himself so infirm that he always rode in a litter. His attendants, in the hope that he might escape, lifted him, when the flight became general, upon a horse; but his rich dress attracted the eye of a Persian soldier, who pierced him with his lance, and then, separating his head from his body, carried it to his commander. We are pleased to find that Nadir respected the remains of his former conqueror. His head and corpse were sent by an officer of rank to the Turkish army, that they might receive those honorable rites of sepulture which in all nations are considered due to a great and valiant soldier.
After the death of Topal Osman and the defeat of his army Nadir proceeded to invest Bagdad; but being alarmed at the account of a serious revolt in the province of Fars, he readily listened to the terms which the ruler of the city proposed, which were that the governments of Turkey and Persia should repossess the countries that belonged to them in the reign of Sultan Hasan before the Afghan invasion. The rebellion which had compelled him to retire from the Turkish territories had hardly been suppressed before he learned that the Emperor of Constantinople had refused to ratify the engagements made by the Pacha of Bagdad, and had sent a general, named Abdallah, at the head of a large force, with orders either to conclude peace or to continue the war, as circumstances should render it expedient. Nadir hastened to occupy Armenia and Georgia, which were the principal of the disputed provinces. He threw a bridge over the rapid Araxes; and at once invested the cities of Tiflis, Gunjah, and Erivan, in the hope that the danger with which they were threatened would lead the Turkish general to hazard an action. Nor was he deceived.
Abdallah, encouraged by his superior numbers, left the entrenchments with which he had covered his army, and attacked the Persians on the plains of Baghavund, near Erivan. The Persian leader, when he saw him advancing, addressed his troops in the most animated language. “Their enemies,” he said, “outnumbered them eight to one; but that was only an incitement to glorious exertion. He had dreamt on the past night,” he told them, “that a furious animal had rushed into his tent, which, after a long struggle, he had slain. With such an omen,” he exclaimed, “success is certain to those who fight under the protection of his great arm, who raiseth the weak to glory, and casteth down the proudest oppressors.” If his troops were encouraged by this speech, they were still more so by his example. After his skill had made the most able disposition of his army, he rushed upon the enemy at the head of his bravest men; and wherever he led, the Persians were irresistible. In one of these charges Abdallah Pacha was slain by a soldier, who brought his head to Nadir; and as the battle still raged, he directed it to be fixed upon a spear and to be displayed where it would be best seen by the enemy. The effect was as he anticipated. The Turks, perceiving their general was slain, fled in every direction and left the plain covered with their dead. This victory was followed by the submission of the cities of Gunjah and Tiflis; and those of Kars and Erivan, with all the former possessions of the Persians in that quarter, were soon afterward ceded to him by the policy of the Ottoman court, who, taught by misfortune, were glad to conclude a peace on the basis which had been before settled by the Pacha of Bagdad.
The period was now arrived when Nadir thought he might lay aside the veil which he had hitherto used. An account was brought that the infant sovereign of Persia had died at Ispahan, and consequently that the throne was vacant. It has always been the usage of the kings of Persia to observe the Nuroze, or vernal equinox, as a great festival; and on it all the chief officers, civil and military, of the government appear at court. Nadir issued an order that not only these, but every person of rank and consideration in the kingdom, should meet him on the day of that festival, on the plains of Chowal Mogam, where he ordered a number of temporary buildings to be erected and made every preparation to receive them with splendor and magnificence. We are informed that upward of one hundred thousand persons attended this celebrated meeting; and if this includes the troops, the amount is probably not exaggerated.
Nadir, his historian informs us, assembled the principal nobles and officers on the morning of the festival, and addressed them in the following terms: “Shah Tamasp and Shah Abbas were your kings, and the princes of their blood are the heirs to the throne. Choose one of them for your sovereign, or some other person whom you know to be great and virtuous. It is enough for me that I have restored the throne to its glory and delivered my country from the Afghans, the Turks, and the Russians.”
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