ABSTRACT

Qaidu fell ill and died shortly after the battle against the Qa'an in 1301.1 The sources diverge somewhat on the date of his death. Qarshi sets the date in early 701/late 1301.2 According to Qashani, Qaidu returned from the battle with the Qa'an in Rajab 702/February-March 1303, and then contracted the illness of which he died.3 Mirkhwand, perhaps following Qashani, also states that Qaidu died in Rajab 702/ February-March 1303.4 Rashid al-Din notes that the news of Qaidu's death reached Ghazan on the sixth of Shacban 702/March 26th, 1303, precisely at the moment when the latter left the fortress of Ral:_lba in Syria.5 Elsewhere Rashid al-Din indicates that Qaidu died about a month after the battle with the Qa'an.6 The Yuan shi notes only that Qaidu died a short time after the battle with the Yuan forces in the autumn of 1301.7 I tend to agree with Barthold in accepting Qarshi's dates: it is more probable that the news of Qaidu's death was delayed over a year on its way to Ghazan, than that it reached Syria from Mongolia in less than a month, and there is no reason to suppose the battle with the Qa'an lasted a year. It is also likely that Qarshi would give a precise date for an event that occurred such a short time before his writing. Moreover, a comparison of Qashani's dates for the events in Central Asia and China with those appearing in the Yuan shi shows that Qashani is often imprecise (see below).8