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Zemarchus

Zemarchus (Greek:Ζήμαρχος, fl. c. 569) was a Byzantine official, diplomat and traveller in the reign of Justin II.

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In the middle of the 6th century, the Göktürks conquered the Sogdiana and thus gained control of the silk trade, which then passed through Central Asia into Sassanid Persia. The Persian king, Chosroes I, dreading the intrusion of Turkic influence, refused to allow the old commerce to continue. The Turks, after many rebuffs, consented to a suggestion made by their mercantile subjects of the Soghd, and in 568 sent an embassy to Constantinople to form an alliance with the Byzantines and commence the silk trade directly with them, bypassing the Persian middlemen. The offer was accepted by Justin II, and in August 569, Zemarchus the Cilician left Byzantium for Sogdiana.

The embassy, whose description is preserved by Menander Protector, was under the guidance of Maniakh, "chief of the people of Sogdiana", who had first, according to Menander, suggested to Dizabul Istämi (Sizaboulos in Greek sources), the great khan of the Turks, this "Roman" alliance, and had himself come to Byzantium to negotiate it. On reaching the Sogdian territories the travellers were offered iron for sale, and solemnly exorcised; Zemarchus was made to "pass through the fire" (i.e. between two fires), and ceremonies were performed over the baggage of the expedition, a bell being rung and a drum beaten over it, while flaming incense-leaves were carried round it, and incantations muttered in "Scythian".

After these precautions the envoys proceeded to the camp of Dizabul in a "hollow encompassed by the Golden Mountain", which was apparently in some locality of the Altay Mountains or Tian Shan. They found the khan surrounded by astonishing barbaric pomp: gilded thrones, golden peacocks, gold and silver plate and silver animals, hangings and clothing of figured silk. They accompanied him some way on his march against Persia, passing through Talas or Hazrat-e Turkestan in the Syr Daria valley, where Xuanzang, on his way from China to India sixty years later, met with another of Dizabul's successors.

Zemarchus was present at a banquet in Talas where the Turkic Khagan and the Persian envoy exchanged abuse; but does not seem to have witnessed actual fighting. Near the river Oēkh (possibly Syr Darya) he was sent back to Constantinople with a Turkic embassy and with envoys from various tribes subject to the Turks. Halting by the "vast, wide lagoon" (possibly of the Aral Sea), Zemarchus sent off an express messenger, one George, to announce his return to the emperor. George hurried on by the shortest route, "desert and waterless", apparently the steppes north of the Black Sea, while his superior, moving more slowly, marched twelve days by the sandy shores of the lagoon. He crossed the Emba, Ural, Volga, and Kuban (where 4000 Persians vainly lay in ambush to stop him), and passing round the western end of the Caucasus, arrived safely at Trebizond and Constantinople.

For several years this Turkic alliance subsisted, while close trade was maintained between Central Asia and Byzantium (when another Roman envoy, one Valentinos, went on his embassy in 575 he took back with him 106 Turks who had been visiting Byzantine lands) but from 579 this friendship rapidly began to cool. It is curious that all this travel between the Bosporus and Transoxiana seems not to have done anything to correct, at least in literature, the widespread misapprehension of the Caspian Sea as a gulf of the Arctic Ocean.

  1. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Beazley, Charles Raymond (1911). "Zemarchus". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 966–967. This cites:

Zemarchus
Zemarchus Language Watch Edit Zemarchus Greek Zhmarxos fl c 569 was a Byzantine official diplomat and traveller in the reign of Justin II Contents 1 Biography 2 See also 3 Notes 4 Further readingBiography EditIn the middle of the 6th century the Gokturks conquered the Sogdiana and thus gained control of the silk trade which then passed through Central Asia into Sassanid Persia The Persian king Chosroes I dreading the intrusion of Turkic influence refused to allow the old commerce to continue The Turks after many rebuffs consented to a suggestion made by their mercantile subjects of the Soghd and in 568 sent an embassy to Constantinople to form an alliance with the Byzantines and commence the silk trade directly with them bypassing the Persian middlemen The offer was accepted by Justin II and in August 569 Zemarchus the Cilician left Byzantium for Sogdiana 1 The embassy whose description is preserved by Menander Protector was under the guidance of Maniakh chief of the people of Sogdiana who had first according to Menander suggested to Dizabul Istami Sizaboulos in Greek sources the great khan of the Turks this Roman alliance and had himself come to Byzantium to negotiate it On reaching the Sogdian territories the travellers were offered iron for sale and solemnly exorcised Zemarchus was made to pass through the fire i e between two fires and ceremonies were performed over the baggage of the expedition a bell being rung and a drum beaten over it while flaming incense leaves were carried round it and incantations muttered in Scythian 1 After these precautions the envoys proceeded to the camp of Dizabul in a hollow encompassed by the Golden Mountain which was apparently in some locality of the Altay Mountains or Tian Shan They found the khan surrounded by astonishing barbaric pomp gilded thrones golden peacocks gold and silver plate and silver animals hangings and clothing of figured silk They accompanied him some way on his march against Persia passing through Talas or Hazrat e Turkestan in the Syr Daria valley where Xuanzang on his way from China to India sixty years later met with another of Dizabul s successors 1 Zemarchus was present at a banquet in Talas where the Turkic Khagan and the Persian envoy exchanged abuse but does not seem to have witnessed actual fighting Near the river Oekh possibly Syr Darya he was sent back to Constantinople with a Turkic embassy and with envoys from various tribes subject to the Turks Halting by the vast wide lagoon possibly of the Aral Sea Zemarchus sent off an express messenger one George to announce his return to the emperor George hurried on by the shortest route desert and waterless apparently the steppes north of the Black Sea while his superior moving more slowly marched twelve days by the sandy shores of the lagoon He crossed the Emba Ural Volga and Kuban where 4000 Persians vainly lay in ambush to stop him and passing round the western end of the Caucasus arrived safely at Trebizond and Constantinople 1 For several years this Turkic alliance subsisted while close trade was maintained between Central Asia and Byzantium when another Roman envoy one Valentinos went on his embassy in 575 he took back with him 106 Turks who had been visiting Byzantine lands but from 579 this friendship rapidly began to cool It is curious that all this travel between the Bosporus and Transoxiana seems not to have done anything to correct at least in literature the widespread misapprehension of the Caspian Sea as a gulf of the Arctic Ocean 1 See also EditChronology of European exploration of AsiaNotes Edit a b c d e One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain Beazley Charles Raymond 1911 Zemarchus In Chisholm Hugh ed Encyclopaedia Britannica 28 11th ed Cambridge University Press pp 966 967 This cites Menander Protector De Legationibus Romanorum ad Gentes pp 295 302 380 85 397 404 Bonn edition xix 1828 pp 806 11 883 87 899 907 in Migne Patrolog Graec vol cxiii Paris 1864 Henry Yule Cathay clx clxvi London Hakluyt Society 1866 Leon Cahun Introduction a l histoire de l Asie pp 108 18 Paris 1896 C R Beazley Dawn of Modern Geography i 186 89 London 1897 Further reading EditGolden Peter 1992 An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples Ethnogenesis and State Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East Wiesbaden Otto Harrassowitz ISBN 9783447032742 pp 128 131 Kazhdan Alexander ed 1991 The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium Oxford and New York Oxford University Press ISBN 0 19 504652 8 Luttwak Edward N 2009 The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire Harvard University Press ISBN 978 0 674 03519 5 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Zemarchus amp oldid 1012592288, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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