Timur

Timur

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Timur historically known as Tamerlane in English (from , , "Timur the Lame"), was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 (1370–1405) in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 in India until 1857.

Timur was in his lifetime a controversial figure, and remains so today. He sought to restore the Mongol Empire, yet his heaviest blow was against the Islamized Tatar Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. He was more at home in an urban environment than on the steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

. He styled himself a ghazi while conducting wars that severely affected some Muslim states, in particular the Sultanate of Delhi. A great patron of the arts, his campaigns also caused vast destruction.

Name


Temür means "iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

" in the Chagatai language
Chagatai language
The Chagatai language is an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia, and remained the shared literary language there until the early twentieth century...

. According to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland
Royal Asiatic Society
The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was established, according to its Royal Charter of 11 August 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia." From its incorporation the Society...

 (1972) the term temür is possibly derived from a Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit
Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is a modern linguistic category applied to the language used in a class of Indian Buddhist texts, such as the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. BHS is classified as a Middle Indic language...

 word *čimara ("iron"). As an adult he was better known as Timūr Gurkānī , Gurkān being the Persianized
Persianization
Persianization or Persianisation is a sociological process of cultural change in which something non-Persian becomes Persianate. It is a specific form of cultural assimilation that often includes linguistic assimilation...

 form of the original Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

 word kürügän, "son-in-law". One of Timur's ancestors who was known by the name "kara-sharnoban" converted to Islam and married the daughter of Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

 (son of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

). Timur was thus referred to as the son-in-law of Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

. Various Persian sources use a byname, Tīmūr-e Lang which translates to "Timur the Lame", as he was lame after sustaining an injury to his foot in battle. During his lifetime his enemies taunted him with this name, much to Timur's discomfort. In the West, he is commonly known as Tamerlane or Timur Lenk, which derives from his Persian byname. In most of the Asian, especially Muslim literature, he is regarded as Amir Temur meaning Sultan-the leader.

Early history


Timur was born in Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

, in the City of Kesh (an area now better known as Shahrisabz
Shahrisabz
Shakhrisabz , is a city in Uzbekistan located approximately 80 km south of Samarkand with the population of 53,000 . It is located at the altitude of 622 m. Once a major city of Central Asia, it is primarily known today as the birthplace of 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur...

, "the green city"), some 50 miles south of Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 in modern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, then part of the Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

. His father, Taraqai, was a small-scale landowner and belonged to the Barlas
Barlas
The Barlas were a Mongol - later Turkicized - nomadic confederation in Central Asia and the chief tribe of the Timurids who ruled much of Central Asia, Iran, and South Asia in the Middle Ages.- Origins :According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan, the...

 tribe. The Barlas was a Turko-Mongol tribe which was originally a Mongol
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 tribe and was Turkified
Turkification
Turkification is a term used to describe a process of cultural or political change in which something or someone who is not a Turk becomes one, voluntarily or involuntarily...

 and/or became Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

-speaking or intermingling with the Turkic peoples. According to Gérard Chaliand
Gérard Chaliand
Gérard Chaliand is a French-Armenian expert in armed-conflict studies and in international and strategic relations, especially asymmetric conflicts . He is one of the most prolific international theoricians on these subjects...

, Timur was a Muslim Turk but he saw himself as Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

's heir. Though not a Chinggisid
Descent from Genghis Khan
Descent from Genghis Khan is traceable primarily in Central Asia. His four sons and other immediate descendants are famous by names and by deeds. Later Asian potentates attempted to claim descent from the House of Borjigin even on flimsy grounds. In the 14th century, valid sources all but dried...

, he clearly sought to evoke the legacy of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

's conquests during his lifetime.

Timur was a Muslim, but while his chief official religious counsellor & advisor was the Hanafite scholar 'Abdu 'l-Jabbar Khwarazmi, his particular persuasion is not known. In Tirmidh, he had come under the influence of his spiritual mentor Sayyid Barakah, a Shiite leader from Balkh
Balkh
Balkh , was an ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some south of the Amu Darya. It was one of the major cities of Khorasan...

 who is buried alongside Timur in Gur-e Amir
Gur-e Amir
The Gūr-e Amīr or Guri Amir is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It occupies an important place in the history of Persian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in...

. Despite his Hanafi background, Timur was known to hold Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 and the Shia Imams
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

 in high regard and has been noted by various scholars for his "pro-Alid" stance. Despite this, Timur was noted for attacking Shi’is on Sunni grounds and therefore his own religious inclinations remain unclear.

Military leader



In about 1360 Timur gained prominence as a military leader whose troops were mostly Turkic tribesmen of the region. He took part in campaigns in Transoxiana with the Khan
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

 of Chagatai
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

, a fellow descendant of Genghis Khan. His career for the next ten or eleven years may be thus briefly summarized from the Memoirs. Allying himself both in cause and by family connection with Kurgan, the dethroner and destroyer of Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

, he was to invade Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

 at the head of a thousand horsemen. This was the second military expedition which he led, and its success led to further operations, among them the subjugation of Khorezm and Urganj
Urgench
Urgench is a city in western Uzbekistan. It is the capital of the Khorezm Province, on the Amu Darya River and the Shavat canal. The city is situated 450 km west of Bukhara across the Kyzyl Kum Desert. It is located at latitude 41° 32' 60N longitude 60° 37' 60E, at an altitude of 91 meters.The...

.

After the murder of Kurgan the disputes which arose among the many claimants to sovereign
Sovereign
A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority within its jurisdiction.Sovereign may also refer to:*Monarch, the sovereign of a monarchy*Sovereign Bank, banking institution in the United States*Sovereign...

 power were halted by the invasion of the energetic Jagataite Tughlugh Temur of Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

, another descendant of Genghis Khan. Timur was dispatched on a mission to the invader's camp, the result of which was his own appointment to the head of his own tribe, the Barlas
Barlas
The Barlas were a Mongol - later Turkicized - nomadic confederation in Central Asia and the chief tribe of the Timurids who ruled much of Central Asia, Iran, and South Asia in the Middle Ages.- Origins :According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan, the...

, in place of its former leader, Hajji Beg
Hajji Beg
Hajji Beg Barlas was a leader of the Barlas tribe.Hajji Beg is first mentioned in 1358 or 1359, when he participated in the overthrow of the Qara'unas ‘Abdullah, who was effectively in control of the southern Chagatai Khanate...

.

The exigencies of Timur's quasi-sovereign position compelled him to have recourse to his formidable patron, whose reappearance on the banks of the Syr Darya
Syr Darya
The Syr Darya , also transliterated Syrdarya or Sirdaryo, is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name . The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta , a reference to the color of the river's water...

 created a consternation not easily allayed. The Barlas were taken from Timur and entrusted to a son of Tughluk, along with the rest of Mawarannahr; but he was defeated in battle by the bold warrior he had replaced at the head of a numerically far inferior force.

Rise to power



Tughlugh's death facilitated the work of reconquest, and a few years of perseverance and energy sufficed for its accomplishment, as well as for the addition of a vast extent of territory. It was in this period that Timur reduced the Chagatai khans
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

 to the position of figureheads, who were deferred to in theory but in reality ignored, while Timur ruled in their name. During this period Timur and his brother-in-law Husayn, at first fellow fugitives and wanderers in joint adventures full of interest and romance, became rivals and antagonists. At the close of 1369 Husayn was assassinated and Timur, having been formally proclaimed sovereign at Balkh
Balkh
Balkh , was an ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some south of the Amu Darya. It was one of the major cities of Khorasan...

, mounted the throne at Samarkand, the capital of his dominions. This event was recorded by Marlowe in his famous work Tamburlaine the Great:

A legendary account of Timur's rise to leadership, recorded among the Tatar descendants of the Qıpchaq Khanate
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 in Tobol
Tobolsk
Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. It is a historic capital of Siberia. Population: -History:...

, goes as follows:

One day Aksak Temür spoke thusly:

It is notable that Timur never claimed for himself the title of khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

, styling himself amir and acting in the name of the Chagatai
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

 ruler of Transoxania. Timur was a military genius, but was sometimes lacking in political sense. He tended not to leave a government apparatus behind in lands he conquered and was often faced with the need to reconquer such lands after inevitable rebellions had taken place.

Period of expansion


Timur spent the next 35 years in various wars and expeditions. He not only consolidated his rule at home by the subjugation of his foes, but sought extension of territory by encroachments upon the lands of foreign potentates. His conquests to the west and northwest led him to the lands near the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and to the banks of the Ural
Ural River
The Ural or Jayıq/Zhayyq , known as Yaik before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan. It arises in the southern Ural Mountains and ends at the Caspian Sea. Its total length is 1,511 mi making it the third longest river in Europe after the Volga and the Danube...

 and the Volga. Conquests in the south and south-West encompassed almost every province in Persia, including Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Karbala
Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

 and Northern Iraq.

One of the most formidable of Timur's opponents was another Mongol ruler, a descendant of Genghis Khan named Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

. After having been a refugee in Timur's court, Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

 became ruler both of the eastern Kipchak and the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. After his accession, he then quarrelled with Timur over the possession of Khwarizm
Khiva
Khiva is a city of approximately 50,000 people located in Xorazm Province, Uzbekistan. It is the former capital of Khwarezmia and the Khanate of Khiva...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. However, Timur still supported him against the Russians and in 1382 Tokhtamysh invaded the Muscovite dominion and burned Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

.

After the death of Abu Sa'id
Abu Sa'id (Ilkhanid dynasty)
Abu Sa'id also Abusaid Bahador Khan, Abu Sayed Behauder , was the ninth ruler of the Ilkhanate state in Iran ....

, ruler of the Ilkhanid Dynasty, in 1335, there was a power vacuum in Persia. In 1383 Timur started the military conquest of Persia. He captured Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

, Khorasan and all eastern Persia by 1385 and captured almost all of Persia by 1387. These conquests were characterised by exceptional brutality. For example, when Isfahan surrendered to Timur in 1387, he initially treated it with relative mercy as he commonly did with cities that surrendered without resistance. However, after the city revolted against Timur's punitive taxes by killing the tax collectors and some of Timur's soldiers, Timur ordered the complete massacre of the city, killing a reported 70,000 citizens. An eye-witness counted more than 28 towers, each constructed of about 1,500 heads.

In the meantime, Tokhtamysh, now khan of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, turned against his patron and invaded Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 in 1385. This action would cause a counter by Timur that would become the Tokhtamysh–Timur war. In the initial stage of the war, Timur won a victory at the Battle of the Kondurcha River
Battle of the Kondurcha River
The Battle of the Kondurcha River was the first major battle of the Tokhtamysh-Timur War. It took place at the Kondurcha River, in the Bulgar Ulus of the Golden Horde, in what today is Samara Oblast in Russia....

, however Tokhtamysh and some of his army were allowed to escape. After Tokhtamysh's initial defeat, Timur then invaded Muscovy to the north of Tokhtamysh's holdings. Timur's army burned Raizan and advanced upon Moscow, only to be pulled away before reaching the Oka River by Tokhtamysh's renewed campaign in the south.

In the first phase of the conflict with Tokhtamysh, Timur led an army of over 100,000 men north for more than 700 miles into the uninhabited steppe, then west about 1,000 miles, advancing in a front more than 10 miles wide. The Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 army almost starved, and Timur organized a great hunt where the army encircled vast areas of steppe to get food. It was then that Tokhtamysh's army was boxed in against the east bank of the Volga River in the Orenburg
Orenburg
Orenburg is a city on the Ural River and the administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, Russia. It lies southeast of Moscow, very close to the border with Kazakhstan. Population: 546,987 ; 549,361 ; Highest point: 154.4 m...

 region and destroyed at the previously mentioned Battle of the Kondurcha River
Battle of the Kondurcha River
The Battle of the Kondurcha River was the first major battle of the Tokhtamysh-Timur War. It took place at the Kondurcha River, in the Bulgar Ulus of the Golden Horde, in what today is Samara Oblast in Russia....

. During this march, Timur's army got far enough north to be in a region of very long summer days
Midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous...

, causing complaints by his Muslim soldiers about keeping a long schedule of prayers
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

 in such northern regions.

It was in the second phase of the conflict that Timur took an easier route against the enemy, invading the realm of Tokhtamysh via the Caucasus region. The year 1395, saw the Battle of the Terek River
Battle of the Terek River
The Battle of the Terek River was the second major battle of Tokhtamysh-Timur War. It took place at the Terek River, North Caucasus.Tokhtamysh cavalry attacked the right flank and the center of Timur's army. However, some Golden Horde emirs went over to Timur's side. This helped Timur defeat the...

, when Tokhtamysh's power was finally broken, concluding the titanic struggle between the two monarchs.

Tokhtamysh was not able to restore his power or prestige. He was killed about a decade after the Terek River battle in the area of present day Tyumen
Tyumen
Tyumen is the largest city and the administrative center of Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located on the Tura River east of Moscow. Population: Tyumen is the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia. Founded in 16th century to support Russia's eastward expansion, the city has remained one of the most...

, by agents of an emir named Edigu
Edigu
Edigu was a Mongol emir of the White Horde who founded the new political entity, which came to be known as the Nogai Horde....

.

Timur during the course of his campaigns destroyed Sarai
Sarai (city)
Sarai was the name of two cities, which were successively capital cities of the Golden Horde, the Mongol kingdom which ruled Russia and much of central Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries...

, the capital of the Golden Horde, and Astrakhan
Astrakhan
Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of below the sea level. Population:...

, subsequently wrecking the Golden Horde's economy based on Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 trade. The Golden Horde saw political disintegration after such losses, with Mongol unity in the region shattered permanently.

In May 1393 Timur invaded the Anjudan
Anjudan
Anjudan is a village situated near the major Shi'i centres of Qumm and Kashan in Iran, to which the Nizari Ismaili Imamate was transferred during the late 14th century CE...

, crippling the Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

 village only one year after his assault on the Ismailis in Mazandaran. The village appears to have been prepared for attack, as it contained a fortress and an intricate system of underground tunnels. These devices were, however, unsuccessful in thwarting Timur’s soldiers, who flooded the tunnels by cutting into a channel overhead. Timur’s reasons for attacking this village are not yet well-understood, however it has been suggested that his religious persuasions and view of himself as an executor of divine will may have contributed to his motivations. The Persian historian Khwandamir explains that an Ismaili presence was growing more politically powerful in Persian Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. A group among the locals in this region was dissatisfied with this. Khwandamir writes that some of these locals assembled and brought up their complaint with Timur, possibly provoking his attack on the Ismailis there.

Indian campaign


In 1398 Timur invaded northern India, attacking the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 ruled by Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Nasir-u Din Mehmud of the Tughlaq Dynasty
Tughlaq dynasty
The Tughlaq dynasty of north India started in 1321 in Delhi when Ghazi Malik assumed the throne under the title of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq. The Tughluqs were a Muslim family of Turkic origin...

. The cambridge history says that he was opposed by Ahirs
Ahirs
Ahir is an Indian caste. The term can be used synonymously with Yadav, as the latter term refers to Ahirs who have identified as Yadavs. The major divisions of Ahirs are: Yaduvanshi, Nandvanshi, and Gwalvanshi.-Etymology:...

 and Jats but Delhi Government did nothing to stop him. After crossing the Indus river
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 on September 30, 1398, he sacked Tulamba
Tulamba
Tulamba or Tulambah is a small city in Punjab, Pakistan. A native of Tulamba is referred to as a Tulmabvi. It's situated on the eastern edge of the Ravi River, between the cities of Abdul Hakeem and Mian Channu. Earlier it belonged to the district of Multan, but in 1985 Tulamba was included in the...

 and massacred its inhabitants. Then he advanced and captured Multan
Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

 by October.

His campaign was officially justified by claims that the Muslim Delhi Sultanate was too tolerant toward its Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 subjects, but was motivated greatly by the considerable wealth to be gained. By all accounts, Timur's campaigns in India were marked by systematic slaughter and other atrocities on a truly massive scale inflicted mainly on the subcontinent's Hindu population.

Timur crossed the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 at Attock
Attock
Attock is a city located in the northern border of the Punjab province of Pakistan and the headquarters of Attock District...

 (now Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

) on September 24, 1398, but Timur's invasion
Invasion
An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

 did not go unopposed and he did meet some resistance during his march to Delhi, by the Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of Meerut. Timur was able to continue his relentless approach to Delhi, arriving in 1398 to combat the armies of Sultan Mehmud, already weakened by a succession struggle within the royal family.

The Sultan's army was easily defeated on December 17, 1398. On this day the army of Sultan Mahmud Khan had prepared 120 war elephants armored with chain mail. He had put poison on the tusks, which put fright into the Tatar lines. Timur took action and the Tatars dug out a trench in front of their positions. Timur then took his camels and placed all the wood and hay he could on their backs. When the war elephants charged he lit the camels on fire and then prodded them with iron sticks. They charged at the elephants howling in pain: Timur had understood that elephants were easily panicked. Faced with the strange spectacle of the burning camels flying straight at them with flames leaping from their backs, the elephants turned around and stampeded back toward their own lines. Timur entered Delhi and the city was sacked, destroyed, and left in ruins. Before the battle for Delhi, Timur executed 100,000 captives:

"At this Court Amír Jahán Sháh and Amír Sulaimán Sháh, and other amírs of experience, brought to my notice that, from the time of entering Hindustán up to the present time, we had taken more than 100,000 infidels and prisoners, and that they were all in my camp. On the previous day, when the enemy's forces made the attack upon us, the prisoners made signs of rejoicing, uttered imprecations against us, and were ready, as soon as they heard of the enemy's success, to form themselves into a body, break their bonds, plunder our tents, and then to go and join the enemy, and so increase his numbers and strength. I asked their advice about the prisoners, and they said that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolaters and foes of Islám at liberty. In fact, no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword. When I heard these words I found them in accordance with the rules of war, and I directly gave my command for the Tawáchís to proclaim throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the gházís of Islám, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. 100,000 infidels, impious idolaters, were on that day slain. Mauláná Násiru-d dín 'Umar, a counsellor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives."

The alleged "Memoirs" of Timur, or Tuzk-e-Taimuri, relate the sack of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

:

"On the 16th of the month some incidents occurred which led to the sack of the city of Delhí, and to the slaughter of many of the infidel inhabitants. One was this. A party of fierce Turk soldiers had assembled at one of the gates of the city to look about them and enjoy themselves, and some of them laid violent hands upon the goods of the inhabitants. When I heard of this violence, I sent some amírs, who were present in the city, to restrain the Turks. A party of soldiers accompanied these amírs into the city. Another reason was that some of the ladies of my harem expressed a wish to go into the city and see the palace of Hazár-sutún (thousand columns) which Malik Jauná built in the fort called Jahán-panáh. I granted this request, and I sent a party of soldiers to escort the litters of the ladies. Another reason was that Jalál Islám and other díwáns had gone into the city with a party of soldiers to collect the contribution laid upon the city. Another reason was that some thousand troopers with orders for grain, oil, sugar, and flour, had gone into the city to collect these supplies. Another reason was that it had come to my knowledge that great numbers of gabrs, with their wives and children, and goods, and valuables, had come into the city from all the country round, and consequently I had sent some amírs with their regiments (kushún) into the city and directed them to pay no attention to the remonstrances of the inhabitants, but to seize and bring out these fugitives. For these several reasons a great number of fierce Turkí soldiers were in the city. When the soldiers proceeded to apprehend the Hindus and gabrs who had fled to the city, many of them drew their swords and offered resistance. The flames of strife were thus lighted and spread through the whole city from Jahán-panáh and Sírí to Old Dehlí, burning up all it reached. The savage Turks fell to killing and plundering. The amírs who were in charge of the gates prevented any more soldiers from going into the place, but the flames of war had risen too high for this precaution to be of any avail in extinguishing them. On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering, and destroying. When morning broke on the Friday, all my army, no longer under control, went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering, and making prisoners. All that day the sack was general. The following day, Saturday, the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems; jewels of gold and silver; ashrafís, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated 'Aláí coinage; vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of the Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the saiyids, the 'ulamá, and the other Musulmáns, the whole city was sacked. The pen of fate had written down this destiny for the people of this city. Although I was desirous of sparing them I could not succeed, for it was the will of Allah that this calamity should fall upon the city."

Timur left Delhi in December 1398 and marched on Meerut. Then he rode up to Haridwar
Haridwar
Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India...

 and sacked the holy city on January 23, 1399. Before he crossed the Ganges, he faced stiff resistance from natives at Bhokarhedi
Bhokarhedi
Bhokarhedi is a town and a nagar panchayat in Muzaffarnagar district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.-Demographics: India census, Bhokarhedi had a population of 15,973. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Bhokarhedi has an average literacy rate of 51%, lower than the...

. In April he had returned to his own capital beyond the Oxus (Amu Darya). Immense quantities of spoils and slaves were taken from India. According to Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo
Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo
Ruy González de Clavijo was a Castilian traveller and writer. In 1403-05 Clavijo was the ambassador of Henry III of Castile to the court of Timur, founder and ruler of the Timurid Empire...

, 90 captured elephants were employed merely to carry precious stones looted from his conquest, so as to erect a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 at Samarkand what historians today believe is the enormous Bibi-Khanym Mosque
Bibi-Khanym Mosque
Bibi-Khanym Mosque is a famous historical Friday mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, whose name comes from the wife of 14th-century ruler, Amir Timur.-Features:...

.

Last campaigns and death



Before the end of 1399, Timur started a war with Bayezid I
Bayezid I
Bayezid I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1389 to 1402. He was the son of Murad I and Valide Sultan Gülçiçek Hatun.-Biography:Bayezid was born in Edirne and spent his youth in Bursa, where he received a high-level education...

, sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and the Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 sultan of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 Nasir-ad-Din Faraj. Bayezid began annexing the territory of Turkmen and Muslim rulers in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. As Timur claimed sovereignty over the Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 rulers, they took refuge behind him. Timur invaded Syria, sacked Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 and captured Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 after defeating the Mamluk army. The city's inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans, who were deported to Samarkand. This led to Timur's being publicly declared an enemy of Islam, as he was no longer killing only non-Muslims. However, Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun was an Arab Tunisian historiographer and historian who is often viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics...

 praises Timur for having unified much of the Muslim world when other conquerors of the time could not.

In a form of rectification, in 1400 Timur invaded Christian Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 (see also Timur's invasions of Georgia
Timur's invasions of Georgia
Georgia, a Christian kingdom in the Caucasus, was subjected, between 1386 and 1404, to several disastrous invasions by the Islamic armies of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur, whose vast empire stretched, at its greatest extent, from Central Asia into Anatolia.These conflicts were intimately linked with...

). Of the surviving population, more than 60,000 of the local people were captured as slaves, and many districts were depopulated.

He invaded Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 in June 1401. After the capture of the city, 20,000 of its citizens - Muslims - were massacred. Timur ordered that every soldier should return with at least two severed human heads to show him. (Many warrior
Warrior
A warrior is a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.-Warrior classes in tribal culture:...

s were so scared they killed prisoners captured earlier in the campaign just to ensure they had heads to present to Timur.)

In the meantime, years of insulting letters had passed between Timur and Bayezid. Finally, Timur invaded Anatolia and defeated Bayezid in the Battle of Ankara
Battle of Ankara
The Battle of Ankara or Battle of Angora, fought on July 20, 1402, took place at the field of Çubuk between the forces of the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I and the Turko-Mongol forces of Timur, ruler of the Timurid Empire. The battle was a major victory for Timur, and it led to a period of crisis for...

 on July 20, 1402. Bayezid was captured in battle and subsequently died in captivity, initiating the 12-year Ottoman Interregnum
Ottoman Interregnum
The Ottoman Interregnum began in 20 July 1402, when chaos reigned in the Ottoman Empire following the defeat of Sultan Bayezid I by the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur...

 period. Timur's stated motivation for attacking Bayezid and the Ottoman Empire was the restoration of Seljuq
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

 authority. Timur saw the Seljuks as the rightful rulers of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 as they had been granted rule by Mongol conquerors, illustrating again Timur's interest with Genghizid legitimacy.

After the Ankara victory, Timur's army ravaged Western Anatolia, with Muslim writers complaining that the Timurid army acted more like a horde of savages than that of a civilized conqueror. But Timur did take the city of Smyrna, a stronghold of the Christian Knights Hospitalers, thus he referred to himself as ghazi or "Warrior of Islam".

Timur was furious at the Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 and Venetians
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 whose ships ferried the Ottoman army to safety in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. As Lord Kinross reported in The Ottoman Centuries, the Italians preferred the enemy they could handle to the one they could not.


By 1368, the new Chinese Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 had driven the Mongols
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 out of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The first Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 Emperor Hongwu
Hongwu Emperor
The Hongwu Emperor , known variably by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang and by his temple name Taizu of Ming , was the founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China...

, and his successor Yongle
Yongle Emperor
The Yongle Emperor , born Zhu Di , was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. His Chinese era name Yongle means "Perpetual Happiness".He was the Prince of Yan , possessing a heavy military base in Beiping...

 demanded, and received, homage from many Central Asian states as the political heirs to the former House of Kublai. The Ming emperor's attempts to treat Timur as a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 did not go well: when in 1394 Hongwu's ambassadors presented Timur with a letter addressing him in this way, he had the ambassadors Fu An
Fu An
Fu An was a Supervising Censor, who was dispatched in 1385 with two other Censors and a eunuch named Liu Wei, to open communications with the nations of Central Asia. They traversed the desert of Gobi and reached Hami; thence on to Karakhodjo and Ilbalik, the ancient capital of Kuldja...

, Guo Ji, and Liu Wei detained, and their 1,500 guards executed.
Neither Hongwu's next ambassador, Chen Dewen (1397) nor the delegation announcing the accession of the Yongle Emperor fared any better.

Timur eventually planned to conquer China. To this end, Timur made an alliance with the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 of the Northern Yuan Dynasty and prepared all the way to Bukhara. The Mongol leader Enkhe Khan
Engke Khan, Emperor Xingyuan of Northern Yuan
Engke , was a Mongol Khan of the Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia. There is very little information that has existed for Engke Khan and there are questions about the identity of Engke Khan: some scholars believed that Jorightu was Yesüder and Engke Khan was Yesüder's son succeeding him, while...

 sent his grandson Öljei Temür
Öljei Temür Khan
Öljei Temür Khan was the Mongol khan of the Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia. He was a son of Elbeg Nigülesügchi Khan and younger brother of Gün Temür Khan...

, also known as Buyanshir Khan. In December 1404, Timur started military campaigns against the Ming Dynasty and detained the Ming envoy, but he was attacked by fever and plague when encamped on the farther side of the Sihon (Syr-Daria) and died at Atrar (Otrar
Otrar
Otrar or Utrar is a Central Asian ghost town that was a city located along the Silk Road near the current town of Karatau in Kazakhstan. Otrar was an important town in the history of Central Asia, situated on the borders of settled and agricultural civilizations...

) on February 17, 1405, without ever reaching the Chinese border. Only after that were the Ming envoys released.

Timur's scouts explored Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 before his death, and the writing they carved on trees in Mongolia's mountains could still be seen even in the twentieth century.

Although he preferred to fight his battles in the spring, Timur died enroute during an uncharacteristic winter campaign against the ruling Chinese Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

. It was one of the bitterest winters on record; his troops are recorded as having to dig through five feet of ice to reach drinking water. Records indicate though, that for part of his life at least, he was a surreptitious Ming vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 and that his son Shah Rukh
Shah Rukh (Timurid dynasty)
Shāhrukh Mīrzā was the ruler of the eastern portion of the empire established by the Central Asian warlord Timur - the founder of the Timurid dynasty - governing most of Persia and Transoxiana between 1405 and 1447...

 visited China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1420. He ruled over an empire that, in modern times, extends from southeastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, through Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 encompassing part of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and even approaches Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

 in China. The conquests of Timur are claimed to have caused the deaths of up to 17 million people; an opinion impossible to verify. Timur's campaigns sometimes caused large and permanent demographic changes, northern Iraq remained predominantly Assyrian Christian
East Syrian Rite
The East Syrian Rite is a Christian liturgy, also known as the Assyro-Chaldean Rite, Assyrian or Chaldean Rite, and the Persian Rite although it originated in Edessa, Mesopotamia...

 until attacked, looted, plundered and destroyed by Timur leaving its population decimated by systematic mass slaughter.

Of Timur's four sons, two (Jahangir and Umar Shaykh) predeceased him. His third son, Miran Shah
Miran Shah
Miran Shah was a son of Timur, and a Timurid governor during his father's lifetime.Miran Shah's first charge was a vast region centered around Qandahar, which he was granted in 1383. That same year, he destroyed a rebellion against Timurid authority by the Kartids, then vassals of Timur in...

, died soon after Timur, leaving the youngest son, Shah Rukh. Although his designated successor was his grandson Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad
Pir Muhammad was a grandson and appointed successor of Timur. He was the son of Jahangir.In 1392 he received the governorship of Qandahar. His territory extended from the lands west of the Hindu Kush to the Indus River...

 b. Jahangir, Timur was ultimately succeeded in power by his son Shah Rukh. His most illustrious descendant Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

 founded the Islamic Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 and ruled over most of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

. Babur's descendants Humayun
Humayun
Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early, but with Persian aid, he eventually regained an even larger one...

, Akbar, Jahangir
Jahangir
Jahangir was the ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1605 until his death. The name Jahangir is from Persian جهانگیر,meaning "Conqueror of the World"...

, Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) Shah Jahan (also spelled Shah Jehan, Shahjehan, , Persian: شاه جهان) (January 5, 1592 – January 22, 1666) (Full title: His Imperial Majesty Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan...

 and Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

, expanded the Mughal Empire to most of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

.

Markham, in his introduction to the narrative of Clavijo's embassy, states that his body "was embalmed with musk and rose water, wrapped in linen, laid in an ebony coffin and sent to Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

, where it was buried." His tomb, the Gur-e Amir
Gur-e Amir
The Gūr-e Amīr or Guri Amir is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It occupies an important place in the history of Persian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in...

, still stands in Samarkand, though it has been heavily restored in recent years.

Contributions to the arts


Timur became widely known as a patron to the arts. Much of the architecture he commissioned still stands in Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

, now in present-day Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. He was known to bring the most talented artisans from the lands he conquered back to Samarkand, and is credited with often giving them a wide latitude of artistic freedom to express themselves. He also constructed one of his finest buildings at the tomb of Ahmed Yesevi
Ahmed Yesevi
Khoja Ahmat Yssawi , was a Turkic poet and Sufi , an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world. Yasavi is currently the earliest known Turkic poet who composed poetry in a Turkic dialect...

, an influential Turkic Sufi saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

 who spread Sufi Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 among the nomads.

According to legend, Omar Aqta, Timur's court calligrapher, transcribed the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 using letters so small that the entire text of the book fit on a signet ring. Omar also is said to have created a Qur'an so large that a wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrow
A wheelbarrow is a small hand-propelled vehicle, usually with just one wheel, designed to be pushed and guided by a single person using two handles to the rear, or by a sail to push the ancient wheelbarrow by wind. The term "wheelbarrow" is made of two words: "wheel" and "barrow." "Barrow" is a...

 was required to transport it. Folios
Bookbinding
Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.-Origins of the book:...

 of what is probably this larger Qur'an have been found, written in gold lettering on huge pages.

Timur was also said to have created Tamerlane Chess
Tamerlane Chess
Tamerlane chess is a strategic board game related to chess and derived from shatranj. It was developed in Persia during the reign of Timur, also called Tamerlane . Some sources attribute the game's invention to Timur, but this is by no means certain...

, a variant of shatranj
Shatranj
Shatranj is an old form of chess, which came to the Western world from India. Modern chess has gradually developed from this game.-Etymology and origins:...

 (also known as medieval chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

) played on a larger board with several additional pieces and an original method of pawn promotion. These pieces included the camel, siege-weapon, giraffe, and several others as well as boasting a complicated system involving the ability to exchange pawns for certain pieces should they reach the other side of the board.

Timur's mandating of Kurash
Kurash
Kurash is a form of upright jacket wrestling native to Uzbeks, practiced since ancient times. It is an event in the Asian Games and there is an effort to include Kurash in the Olympic games.-Rules:...

 wrestling for his soldiers ensured for it a lasting and legendary legacy. Kurash is now a popular international sport and part of the Asian Games
Asian Games
The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organised by the...

.

Exchanges with Europe


Timur had numerous epistolary and diplomatic exchanges with Western, especially Spanish and French, rulers. There was the possibility of an alliance between Timur and the European states, against the Ottoman Turks that were attacking Europe. Therefore, there was a clear motive for Timur, who wanted to surround his Ottoman and Mamluk enemies in this offensive alliance.

The relations between the courts of Henry III of Castile
Henry III of Castile
Henry III KG , sometimes known as Henry the Sufferer or Henry the Infirm , was the son of John I and Eleanor of Aragon, and succeeded him as King of the Castilian Crown in 1390....

 and that of Timur constituted the most important episode of the medieval Spanish Castilian
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 diplomacy. In 1402, the time of the Battle of Ankara, two Spanish ambassadors were already with Timur: Pelayo de Sotomayor and Fernando de Palazuelos. Later, Timur sent to the court of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 and León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

 a Chagatay
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

 ambassador named Hajji Muhammad al-Qazi with letters and gifts.

In return, the King Henry III of Castile sent a famous embassy to Timur's court in Samarqand in 1403-06, led by Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo
Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo
Ruy González de Clavijo was a Castilian traveller and writer. In 1403-05 Clavijo was the ambassador of Henry III of Castile to the court of Timur, founder and ruler of the Timurid Empire...

, with two other ambassadors, Alfonso Paez and Gomez de Salazar. On their return, Timur affirmed that he regarded the king of Castile "as his very own son".

According to Clavijo, Timur's good treatment of the Spanish delegation contrasted with the disdain shown by his host toward the envoys of the "lord of Cathay
Cathay
Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English. It originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Dynasty which ruled much of Northern China from 907 to 1125, and who had a state of their own centered around today's...

" (i.e., the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
The Yongle Emperor , born Zhu Di , was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. His Chinese era name Yongle means "Perpetual Happiness".He was the Prince of Yan , possessing a heavy military base in Beiping...

), the Chinese ruler. Clavijo's visit to Samarkand allowed him to report to the European audience on the news from Cathay
Cathay
Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English. It originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Dynasty which ruled much of Northern China from 907 to 1125, and who had a state of their own centered around today's...

 (China), which few Europeans had been able to visit directly in the century that had passed since the travels of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

.

The French archives preserve:
  • A July 30, 1402, letter from Timur to Charles VI
    Charles VI of France
    Charles VI , called the Beloved and the Mad , was the King of France from 1380 to 1422, as a member of the House of Valois. His bouts with madness, which seem to have begun in 1392, led to quarrels among the French royal family, which were exploited by the neighbouring powers of England and Burgundy...

    , king of France, suggesting that he send traders to the Orient. It was written in Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    .
  • A May 1403 letter. This is a Latin transcription of a letter from Timur to Charles VI, and another from Amiza Miranchah, his son, to the Christian princes, announcing their victory over Bayezid
    Bayezid I
    Bayezid I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1389 to 1402. He was the son of Murad I and Valide Sultan Gülçiçek Hatun.-Biography:Bayezid was born in Edirne and spent his youth in Bursa, where he received a high-level education...

    , in Smyrna
    Smyrna
    Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

    .

A copy has been kept of the answer of Charles VI to Timur, dated June 15, 1403.

Legacy




Timur's legacy is a mixed one. While Central Asia blossomed under his reign, other places such as Baghdad, Damascus, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 and other Arab, Georgian
Timur's invasions of Georgia
Georgia, a Christian kingdom in the Caucasus, was subjected, between 1386 and 1404, to several disastrous invasions by the Islamic armies of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur, whose vast empire stretched, at its greatest extent, from Central Asia into Anatolia.These conflicts were intimately linked with...

, Persian and Indian cities were sacked and destroyed and their populations massacred. He was responsible for the effective destruction of the Christian Church in much of Asia. Thus, while Timur still retains a positive image in Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, Persia, and Arab countries, he is vilified by many in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, where some of his greatest atrocities were carried out. In the Islamic world at the time, he was variously considered both as a ghazi (or "Warrior for Islam") by some, and as an enemy of Islam by others.

Timur's military talents were unique. He planned all his campaigns years in advance, even planting barley for horse feed two-years ahead of his campaigns. He used propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

, in what is now called information warfare
Information warfare
The term Information Warfare is primarily an American concept involving the use and management of information technology in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent...

, as part of his tactics. His campaigns were preceded by the deployment of spies whose tasks included collecting information and spreading horrifying reports about the cruelty, size, and might of Timur’s armies. Such psychological warfare eventually weakened the morale of threatened populations and caused panic in the regions that he intended to invade.

Although Timur's uncharacteristic (for the time) concern for his troops inspired fierce loyalty, he did not pay them. Their only incentives were from looting captured territory — a bounty that included horses, women, precious metals and stones; in other words whatever they, or their newly captured slaves, could carry away from the conquered lands.

Timur's short-lived empire also melded the Turko-Persian tradition
Turko-Persian tradition
The composite Turko-Persian tradition was a variant of Islamic culture. It was Persianate in that it was centered on a lettered tradition of Iranian origin; it was Turkic insofar as it was for many generations patronized by rulers of Turkic background; it was Islamic in that Islamic notions of...

 in Transoxiania, and in most of the territories which he incorporated into his fiefdom
Fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 became the primary language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 of administration and literary culture (diwan
Divan
A divan was a high governmental body in a number of Islamic states, or its chief official .-Etymology:...

), regardless of ethnicity. In addition, during his reign, some contributions to Turkic literature were penned, with Turkic cultural influence expanding and flourishing as a result. A literary form of Chagatai Turkic came into use alongside Persian as both a cultural and an official language.

Timur became a relatively popular figure in Europe for centuries after his death, mainly because of his victory over the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid. The Ottoman armies were at the time invading Eastern Europe and Timur was ironically seen as a sort of ally.

Timur has now been officially recognized as a national hero of newly independent Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. His monument in Tashkent now occupies the place where Marx's statue once stood.

Biographies


Timur's generally recognized biographers are Ali Yazdi, commonly called Sharaf ud-Din
Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi
Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi was a 15th-century Persian historian.Little about his early life is known. As a young man he was a teacher in his native Yazd and a close companion of the Timurid ruler Shah Rukh and his son Mirza Ibrahim Sultan...

, author of the Zafarnāmeh
Zafar-Nameh
Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, (Persian ظفرنامه, Zafar-nāmé, the Book of Victory is an epic poem written by the Persian poet Hamdollah Mostowfi (d. 1334). The epic history, compiled in 75,000 couplets, explores Iranian history from the Arab conquest to the Mongols....

, translated by Petis de la Croix in 1722, and from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 into English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 by J. Darby in the following year; and Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdallah, al-Dimashiqi, al-Ajami (commonly called Ahmad Ibn Arabshah
Ahmad ibn Arabshah
Abu Muhammad Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibn Ibrahim or known as Muhammad ibn Arabshah ,, was a writer and traveller who lived under the reign of Timur ....

) translated by the Dutch Orientalist Colitis in 1636. In the work of the former, as Sir William Jones
William Jones (philologist)
Sir William Jones was an English philologist and scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages...

 remarks, "the Tatarian conqueror is represented as a liberal, benevolent and illustrious prince", in that of the latter he is "deformed and impious, of a low birth and detestable principles." But the favourable account was written under the personal supervision of Timur's grandson, Ibrahim, while the other was the production of his direst enemy.

Among less reputed biographies or materials for biography may be mentioned a second Zafarnāmeh
Zafar-Nameh
Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, (Persian ظفرنامه, Zafar-nāmé, the Book of Victory is an epic poem written by the Persian poet Hamdollah Mostowfi (d. 1334). The epic history, compiled in 75,000 couplets, explores Iranian history from the Arab conquest to the Mongols....

, by Nizam al-Din Shami, stated to be the earliest known history of Timur, and the only one written in his lifetime. Timur's purported autobiography, the Tuzk-e-Taimuri ("Memoirs of Temur") is a later fabrication, although most of the historical facts are accurate.

More recent biographies include Justin Marozzi
Justin Marozzi
Justin Marozzi is an English journalist, historian and travel writer. He studied at Cambridge University where he gained a Starred Double First in History in 1993. He has also earned degrees in broadcast journalism from Cardiff University and in international relations from the University of...

's Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World (2006) and Roy Stier's Tamerlane: The Ultimate Warrior (1998).

Exhumation


Timur's body was exhumed from his tomb in 1941 by the Soviet anthropologist
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 Mikhail M. Gerasimov. From his bones it was clear that Timur was a tall and broad chested man with strong cheek bones. Gerasimov reconstructed the likeness of Timur from his skull
Human skull
The human skull is a bony structure, skeleton, that is in the human head and which supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain.In humans, the adult skull is normally made up of 22 bones...

. His height was 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 meters), very tall for his era. He also confirmed Timur's lameness due to a hip injury.

It is alleged that Timur's tomb was inscribed with the words, "When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble." It is also said that when Gerasimov exhumed the body, an additional inscription inside the casket was found reading, "Who ever opens my tomb, shall unleash an invader more terrible than I." In any case, two days after Gerasimov had begun the exhumation, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, its invasion of the U.S.S.R. Timur was re-buried with full Islamic ritual in November 1942 just before the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 (ref Marozzi 2004).

In the arts

  • Tamburlaine the Great, Parts I and II
    Tamburlaine (play)
    Tamburlaine the Great is the name of a play in two parts by Christopher Marlowe. It is loosely based on the life of the Central Asian emperor, Timur 'the lame'...

    (English, 1563–1594) - play by Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe
    Christopher Marlowe was an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to William Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.A warrant was issued for Marlowe's arrest on 18 May...

  • Tamerlano
    Tamerlano
    Tamerlano is an opera in three acts written for the Royal Academy of Music , with music by George Frideric Handel to an Italian text by Nicola Francesco Haym, adapted from Agostin Piovene's Tamerlano together with another libretto entitled Bajazet after Nicolas Pradon's Tamerlan, ou La Mort de...

    (1724) - opera
    Opera
    Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

     by George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

    , in Italian
    Italian language
    Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

    , based on the 1675 play Tamerlan ou la mort de Bajazet by Jacques Pradon
    Jacques Pradon
    Jacques Pradon, often called Nicolas Pradon, was a French playwright. Early in his career he was helped by Pierre Corneille and was introduced to the salons at the Hôtel de Nevers and the Hôtel de Bouillon by Madame Deshoulières....

    .
  • Bajazet
    Bajazet (opera)
    Bajazet is an Italian opera composed by Antonio Vivaldi in 1735. Its libretto was written by Agostino Piovene. It was premiered in Verona, during the Carnival season of that year. This opera is presented in 3 acts, with a three-movement sinfonia as an introduction...

    (1735) - opera by Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

    , portrays the capture of Bayezid I by Timur
  • Il gran Tamerlano
    Il gran Tamerlano
    Il gran Tamerlano is an opera in three acts by the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček. Its libretto was written by Agostino Piovene. All of Mysliveček's operas are of the serious type in Italian referred to as opera seria...

    (1772) - opera by Josef Mysliveček
    Josef Myslivecek
    Josef Mysliveček was a Czech composer who contributed to the formation of late eighteenth-century classicism in music...

     that also portrays the capture of Bayezid I by Timur
  • Tamerlane
    Tamerlane (poem)
    "Tamerlane" is an epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the 1827 collection Tamerlane and Other Poems. That collection, with only 50 copies printed, was not credited with the author's real name but by "A Bostonian." The poem's original version was 403 lines but trimmed down to 223 lines...

    - first published poem of Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

     (American, 1809–1849).
  • Timur is the deposed, blind former King of Tartary and father of the protagonist Calaf in the opera Turandot
    Turandot
    Turandot is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, set to a libretto in Italian by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni.Though Puccini's first interest in the subject was based on his reading of Friedrich Schiller's adaptation of the play, his work is most nearly based on the earlier text Turandot...

    (1924) by Giacomo Puccini
    Giacomo Puccini
    Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini was an Italian composer whose operas, including La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire...

    , libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni.
  • Timour appears in the story Lord of Samarkand by Robert E. Howard
    Robert E. Howard
    Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. Best known for his character Conan the Barbarian, he is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre....

    .
  • Tamerlan - novel by Colombian writer Enrique Serrano
    Enrique Serrano
    Enrique Serrano was an Argentine actor and comedian in the 1940s and 1950s.He appeared in many films of the 1940s and 1950s including Muchachas que estudian, Asi es la vida .He starred in some 40 films between 1935 and 1964....

     (ISBN 978-958-42-0540-7) in Spanish http://www.amazon.com/dp/9584205404
  • Timur Lang is also the name of the warlord that shall be defeated in the game Might and Magic IX
    Might and Magic IX
    Might and Magic IX is a computer role-playing game, the last developed by New World Computing for Microsoft Windows and released in 2002 by the 3DO Company. It is the sequel to Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer...

    , a sort of joke using the names of Timur Leng and this game's designer's one, Timothy Lang.
  • Tamerlan appears in the Russian movie Dnevnoy Dozor (Day Watch), in which he steals the chalk of fate.
  • Tamerlane is the name of the corporation which is taking over Central Asia in the 2008 satire War, Inc.
    War, Inc.
    War, Inc. is a 2008 American political satire film starring John Cusack and directed by Joshua Seftel. Cusack also co-wrote and produced the film.- Plot :...

    .

See also


  • Tokhtamysh-Timur war
    Tokhtamysh-Timur war
    The Tokhtamysh–Timur war was fought in the 1380s and early 1390s between Tokhtamysh, khan of the Golden Horde and the Mongol warlord and conqueror Timur, in the areas of the Caucasus mountains, Turkistan and Eastern Europe...

  • List of wars and disasters by death toll
  • List of the Muslim Empires
  • Nomadic people
    Nomad
    Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

  • Global Empire
  • Genghis Khan
    Genghis Khan
    Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

  • Ahmad (Jalayirids)
    Ahmad (Jalayirids)
    Sultan Ahmad was a Jalayirid ruler . He was the son of Shaikh Uvais.-Struggle With His Brothers:Ahmad came to power as a result of a plot against his brother Husain. In 1382 he departed from Ardabil, which he had been given control of, and took Tabriz; Husain was captured and executed...

  • Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
    Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
    Muslim conquest in South Asia mainly took place from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into the region, beginning during the period of the ascendancy of the Rajput Kingdoms in North India, from the 7th century onwards.However, the Himalayan...


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