This future Emperor was named Cunius; he received the envoys in a most friendly manner, a letter from Prince Bathy having explained to him the object of their visit; not being yet Emperor he could not entertain them nor take any part in public affairs, but from the time of Ojadaï's death, his widow, the mother of Prince Cunius had been Regent; she received the travellers in a purple and white tent capable of holding 2000 persons. Carpini gives the following account of the interview: "When we arrived we saw a large assembly of dukes and princes who had come from all parts with their attendants, who were on horseback in the neighbouring fields and on the hills. The first day they were all dressed in white and purple, on the second when Cunius appeared in the tent, in red, on the third day they wore violet, and on the fourth, scarlet, or crimson. Outside the tent, in the surrounding palisade were two great gates, by one of which the Emperor alone might enter; it was unguarded, but none dared to enter or leave by it; while the other, which was the general entrance, was guarded by soldiers with swords, and bows and arrows; if any one approached within the prescribed limits he was beaten, or else shot to death with arrows. We noticed several horsemen there, on whose harness cannot have been less than twenty marks' worth of silver."

The Tartars
The Tartars.

A whole month passed away before Cunius was proclaimed Emperor, and the envoys were obliged to wait patiently for this before they could be received by him. Carpini turned this leisure time to account by studying the habits of the people; he has given much interesting information on the subject in his account of his travels.

The country seemed to him to be principally very hilly and the soil sandy, with but little vegetation. There is scarce any wood; but all classes are content with dung for fuel. Though the country is so bare, sheep seem to do well. The climate is very changeable; in summer, storms are very frequent, many fall victims to the vivid lightning, and the wind is often so strong as even to blow over men on horseback: during the winter there is no rain, which all falls in the summer, and then scarcely enough to lay the dust, while the storms of hail are terrible; during Carpini's residence in the country they were so severe that once 140 persons were drowned by the melting of the enormous mass of hail-stones that had fallen. It is a very extensive country, but miserable beyond expression.

Carpini who seems to have been a man of great discernment took a very just idea of the Tartars themselves. He says, "Their eyes are set very far apart; they have very high cheek-bones, their noses are small and flat; their eyes small, and their eye-lashes and eyebrows seem to meet; they are of middle height with slender waists, they have small beards, some wear moustaches, and what are now called imperials. On the top of the head the hair is shaved off like monks, and to the width of three fingers between their ears they also shave off the hair, letting what is between the tonsure and the back of the head grow to some length; in fact it is as long as a woman's in many cases, and plaited and tied in two tails behind the ear. They have small feet. He says there is but little difference perceptible in the dress of the men and women, all alike wearing long robes trimmed with fur, and high buckram caps enlarged towards the upper part. Their houses are built like tents of rods and stakes, so that they can be easily taken down and packed on the beasts of burden. Other larger dwellings are sometimes carried whole as they stand, on carts, and thus follow their owner about the country.

"The Tartars believe in God as the Creator of the universe and as the Rewarder and Avenger of all, but they also worship the sun, moon, fire, earth, and water, and idols made in felt, like human beings. They have little toleration, and put Michael of Turnigoo and Féodor to death for not worshipping the sun at midday at the command of Prince Bathy. They are a superstitious people, believing in enchantment and sorcery, and looking upon fire as the purifier of all things. When one of their chiefs dies he is buried with a horse saddled and bridled, a table, a dish of meat, a cup of mare's milk, and a mare and foal.

"The Tartars are most obedient to their chiefs, and are truthful and not quarrelsome; murders and deeds of violence are rare, there is very little robbery, and articles of value are never guarded. They bear great fatigue and hunger without complaint, as well as heat and cold, singing and dancing under the most adverse circumstances. They are much prone to drink to excess; they are very proud and disdainful to strangers, and have no respect for the lives of human beings."