- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
140

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
140
capacity for organization, inventiveness, shrewd
ness, extraordinary strength of will and self-control,
and unswerving courage, and he was a great
military leader. He had a fiery eloquence and
enthusiasm, linked with shrewd calculation. He
knew his own people, and always understood the
right thing to say and to do. A remarkable reader
of men, he knew how to make full use of their good
and of their bad side. Like most great leaders, he
was an excellent actor; and through his calmness,
his pious, prophet-like bearing, his ascetic life, his
way of keeping in the background, so that people
seldom saw him, and his long lonely wrestling
with the Prophet and Allah, he wrapped himself
in the mystical glory of Allah’s chosen one and
Mohammed’s vicar, winning an extraordinary
sway over men’s minds. Besides this he had a varied
knowledge, and had read deeply in the Koran
and the holy books, as also in the Christian Gospel,
which he applied to the revision ofhis own doctrine.
He well knew how to make use ofall this knowledge ;
his glowing proclamations to the peoples were often
true masterpieces.
But also he could be crafty and cruel, ruthlessly
severe towards his own, if they did not blindly
yield to his will ; and he made himselffeared through
his gruesome punishments and death-sentences.
Thieves he punished by cutting off their hands,
and small offences were often punished with death.
The penalties were always enjoined on him by
Allah, whose prophet he was, and in whose nåme,
as imam, the all-powerful dispenser of everything

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