Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter LXXXII
Nargum, Persian Envoy in Muscovy, to Usbek, at Paris
 
OF all the nations of the world, my dear Usbek, none has excelled that of the Tartars in the splendor and magnitude of its conquests. This people is the veritable ruler of the earth: all the others seem to be intended for its service; it is alike that founder and the destroyer of empires; in all times, it has afforded the world signs of its prowess; in every age it has been the scourge of the nations.  1
  Twice the Tartars conquered China, and they still keep it in subjection.  2
  They rule over those vast territories which form the Mogul’s empire.  3
  Masters of Persia, they sit upon the throne of Cyrus and Hystaspes. They have subdued Muscovy. Under the name of Turks, they have made immense conquests in Europe, Asia, and Africa; and they are the dominant power in these three quarters of the earth.  4
  In more remote times, from them issued forth some of those races who overthrew the Roman Empire. 1  5
  What are the conquests of Alexander compared with those of Zenghis Khan?  6
  Nothing is wanting to this victorious nation except historians to celebrate its achievements.  7
  What immortal deeds have been buried in oblivion! Of how many empires founded by them is the origin unknown to us! This warlike nation, occupied exclusively with its immediate glory, and certain of conquest in every age, gave no thought to the commemoration of its fame.

  MOSCOW, the 4th of the first moon of Rebiab, 1715.
  8
 
Note 1. The Huns. [back]
 
 
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