Ibn Battuta’s group was able to keep on track on Kipchak Khan Ozbeg’s caravan, the King of the Golden Horde. The ruler’s caravan was similar to a big city traveling with its people, with mosques and markets. You can even spot a kitchen smoke since they cook while traveling.
On this side of the world, traveling means being in wagons pulled by groups of horses, ox or camels. Turkish and Mongol travelers went along their herds in carriage build with a round felt yurt tent over a wooden frame.
Although there are only a few men in it, a rich Mongol’s usual caravan looks like a big town where a single girl leads 20-30 carts, tying one camel carts after the other while one girl sits on the front maneuvering the animal.
To Ibn Battuta’s surprise, the Turks loosen up their camels, horses, and oxen during stops and send them out to fields without shepherds. The owners do this with confidence because according to the law on theft if a person is found in possession of a stolen horse, he should restore it with nine more horse. If he fails to deliver, his sons will be taken in replacement, if he doesn’t have a son, he will be slaughtered like a sheep.
The following morning, he saw Ozbeg, sitting on top of a silver throne at the center of a large tent where the exterior is enclosed with a layer of gold tiles. 4 wives sit next to him, while underneath the throne is the family of Khan. Ibn Battuta describes how the Khan greets his wives:
The ruler proceeds to the entrance to meet her, salutes her, gets her hand and after the wife mounted takes her seat, the sultan also sits. This is being done in front of those that are present, without using any veils. The horses from each of the wife’s wagon are embellished with silk. In front of it are 10-15 young boy servants, Indians, and Greeks dressed in silk robes covered in jewels and each one hold in his hands a gold or silver rod. At the back of the wagon are hundreds of other wagons, each carrying 4 slave girls. Behind these wagons are 300 more, drawn by oxen or camels that carry that wife’s furnishings, money, chests, robes, and food.
As per Ibn Battuta, describing the food Turks consume includes “dugi” or a millet porridge. They pour curdled mares’ milk over the dugi. The kind of meat they usually eat is horse and sheep flesh which were either roasted or boiled. The Turks, he said, don’t consume any meat except if the bones are mixed with it. Also, their meat is dipped into a salt-water sauce. Adding to the observation of food consumption, the Turks do not want sweets and eating them are a disgrace. They drink mares milk and millet beer for which he could not consume since he was a Muslim.
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