Post-classical history

§ An Amazing Escape: Conspiracy at Amid

[83] Another example of an amazing escape due to the intervention of Fate and the pre-ordination of the divine will was the following:

The amir Qara Arslan (may God have mercy upon him) made a number of attempts against the city of Amid140 while I was in his service, but without achieving his goal. During the last attempt he made on the city, a Kurdish amir on the pay-roll at Amid, along with a group of his comrades, sent a message to Qara Arslan. They arranged that, on a certain night which they agreed upon, Qara Arslan’s army would arrive at his position and he would help them up by means of ropes, so that they could take possession of Amid. Qara Arslan made this important task the responsibility of a Frankish servant of his called Yaruq,141 whom the whole army loathed and despised because of his bad character. Yaruq rode forward at the head of some troops and the rest of the amirs followed behind him. Then he began to slow down during the journey, so the amirs got to Amid before him.

That Kurdish amir and his comrades appeared on a tower before them, and dangled down ropes to them, urging them, ‘Climb up!’ Not a single one of them did.

So the men on the tower came down and broke the locks of the city gate saying, ‘Come in here!’ But no one went in.

All of this happened because Qara Arslan depended upon an ignorant youth to carry out this most important of tasks, instead of relying upon the great amirs.

The amir Kamal al-Din ‘Ali ibn Nisan142 was aware of the plot, as was the local militia and the army. So they fell on the traitors, killing some, capturing others, while still others threw themselves off the wall. One of those who had thrown himself from the wall extended his hand in mid-air, as if he wanted something to grab on to. It happened that his hand fell upon one of those ropes that were hung down from the wall earlier in the evening and which no one had climbed. So he hung on to it and out of all his comrades he alone escaped, though he did strip the skin off his palms on the rope. All this took place in my presence.

[84] The next morning the lord of Amid chased down those who had moved against him and killed them. Only that one man escaped. Glory be to He who decrees one’s escape, He delivers men even from the maw of a lion! This is a true statement of fact, not a mere example.

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