Baidu was executed by Ghazan’s order on the very day of the latter’s triumphant entry into Tabriz. He had been Il-khan for only six months. Ghazan was formally enthroned two weeks later. It was the beginning of November in the year 1295 by the Western calendar.
That same winter, Marco Polo, his father and his uncle, having left China in 1291 with a fleet of ships supplied by Kublai Khan, returned home to Venice. Their family had given up hope of ever seeing them again.
After a disastrous sea voyage by way of Sumatra and Ceylon, during which most of the ships were lost and six hundred of their passengers and crew perished, they docked at Hormuz. In their charge was a Chinese princess, Kokha-Chin, destined as a bride for Il-khan Arghun. They passed through Kerman, where they learned that both Arghun and Kublai were dead, and travelled on to Tabriz for an audience with Ghazan. There the princess was handed over into the new Il-khan’s care.
Emir Osman, the son of Ertugrul, was to take revenge on Christian Byzantium for the crimes, real or imagined, against his people. Having declared his independence from the Seljuks, Osman began to extend his territory westwards. In 1326, he captured Bursa. Within a century and a half, his heirs had taken Constantinople, and ruled the whole of Turkey, the Balkans and beyond. The Ottoman Empire lasted until 1922.
Rashid continued writing, and eventually published, his History, but he was initially thwarted in his political ambitions. Sadr Zanjani was appointed as Ghazan’s Grand Wazir.
Hassan and Doquz fade, for the time being, from the pages of history. Nothing more was heard in Tabriz of the Shir-Farzin.
The Premise and Background to The Tiger and the Cauldron
My intention in this novel was to tell an interesting story with the time-honoured ingredients – a little mystery, a little sex and a little religion. I hope I have achieved that objective.
The plot of The Tiger and the Cauldron grew out of an earlier novel, originally published as a paperback in 2002, and reissued earlier this year in a new edition entitled The Gammadion. The latter tells the earlier history of Assano/Hassan, his mother Nadia and his stepfather Giovanni, and their adventure and romance in Persia. Interested readers can find it as an ebook on Apple Books.
Although the chief protagonists in the novels are fictional, many of the others, including the main antagonists, are not.
Between 1257 and 1291, Persia was ruled by four Mongol princes, direct descendants of Temuchin (Genghis Khan) – Hulegu, his grandson, Abaqa, son of the latter, Teguder Ahmed, Abaqa’s younger brother and Arghun, Abaqa’s son. Arghun embarked on a campaign to woo Europe into an alliance. Although initial responses were positive, nothing came of the proposal. Arghun was murdered in mysterious circumstances in 1291, when the throne passed to his brother Gaikatu. This is the point in history when The Tiger and the Cauldron begins.
Mahmoud Ghazan, Argun’s eldest son, denied what he thought was his birthright fought a war to reclaim it, much as I have told in the Rashid chapters. Having quarreled with his general Nauruz, he patched up the quarrel, converted to Islam and eventually became Il-khan.
Rashid ad-Din Fadl Hamadani (1247-1318), after Zanjani’s downfall Ghazan’s physician and chief minister was author of the major historical work Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh, a history of the Il-khans of Persia. He was executed for poisoning Oljeitu, possibly as a Jewish scapegoat.
Qutb ad-Din Shirazi (1236-1311) was a Persian polymath who made significant contributions to mathematics and the sciences. His work on trigonometry and the effect of light on prisms is well-known. He did indeed serve the regime at the Observatory of Maragha. However, in placing him at there from 1292 to 1295, I have cheated, because he was possibly working in Tabriz at the time, or more probably teaching in Syria. However, it suited my story to give him a role in it (as I did in the prequel).
Although an invention, Doquz is based (her name at any rate) on a real princess. Doquz Khatun (d. 1295), the Christian wife of Hulegu Khan, had considerable influence during the latter’s conquest of the Assassins of Alamut and of the downfall of the Caliphs. It is supposed that her moderating influence saved the Christians of Baghdad when the city was sacked. The daughter of Toghrul Khan of the Keraits of Mongolia, a candidate for the legendary Prester John, she was one of the ‘prizes’ when Temuchin conquered her people.
I hope you have enjoyed my story.
Andrew G Lockhart
November 1st, 2022