HULAGU'S LETTER TO THE CALIPH 1258
At the time of the conquest of the castles of the Heretics, we sent envoys to you seeking for reinforcements. You replied that you were our subordinate, yet you did not send troops. The sign of subordination and concord is that you send troops when we campaign against the enemy, but you did not do so and sent only excuses.
Even though your family is august and venerable and your house has experienced rule and fortune, yet Could the moon have shone so brightly That it eclipsed the blazing sun.
Surely you have heard from both high and low what has befallen the world and its inhabitants from the time of Genghis Khan up to now, and what humiliation was visited upon great houses such as the Khvarazmshahs, the Saljuqs, the kings of Daylam, the Atabaks, and others through the power of the Everlasting Eternal God. The gates of Baghdad were never closed to any one of those groups, and they all had seats of power there. With all our strength and might, how can they be closed to us? Previously we have advised you, and we do so again now: refrain from rancor and obstinacy, do not attempt what you cannot do nor ignore what is manifest, for you will be sorry. In any case, let bygones be bygones. Now, destroy your ramparts and fill in your moats; entrust the rule to your son, and come to us in person. Should you not wish to come yourself, send the Minister, Sulayman Shah, and the Marshal—all three—so that they might deliver our message to you verbatim. Indeed, when our order is obeyed, it will not be necessary to exact retribution and your shall retain your land, army, and subjects.
If you do not heed our advice and intend to oppose and resist us, ready your army and choose the battlefield, for we are prepared and girded for battle. When I lead my army against Baghdad in fury, whether you hide in the heavens or on earth I will bring you down from the spinning spheres; I will toss you in the air like a lion. I will leave no one alive in your realm; I will burn your city and your lands.
If you wish to spare yourself and your venerable family, listen to my advice with the ear of intelligence. If you do not, you will see what God has willed.
“Young man, you have just come of age and have expectations of living forever. You have … passed prosperously and auspiciously in dominating the whole world. You think your command is absolute…. Since you are not going to get anything from me, why do you seek? You come with strategy, troops, and lasso, but how are you going to capture a star? Does the prince not know that from the east to the west, from king to beggar, from old to young, all who are God-fearing and God worshipping are servants of this court and soldiers in my army? When I motion for all those who are dispersed to come together, I will deal first with Iran and then turn my attention to Turan, and I will put everyone in his proper place. Of course, the face of the earth will be full of tumult, but I do not seek vengeance or to harm anyone. I do not desire that the tongues of my subjects should either congratulate or curse me because of the movement of armies, espcially since I am of one heart and one tongue with the Qa’an (Mongke) and Hulegu. If, like me, you were to sow seeds of friendship, do you think you would have to deal with my moats and ramparts and those of my servants? Adopt the path of friendship and go back to Khurasan (Central Asia).”
After hearing the Caliph’s response, Hulegu sent back a wrathful reply, stating, “God the eternal elevated Genghis Khan and his progeny and gave us all the face of the earth, from east to west. Anyone whose heart and tongue are straight with us in submission retains his kingdom, property, women, children, and life…. He who contemplates otherwise will not live to enjoy them.”