TAMERLANE WINS BATTLE OF ANKARA 1402 (H4)
xxxxxAs we have seen, as part of his massive campaign of conquest, the Mongol warrior Tamerlane invaded Persia in 1383 (R2), and spent the next twenty years carving out an empire which stretched from India to the Mediterranean. Among his victims was the once-
xxxxxAs we have seen, in 1383 (R2) the Turkoman Mongol leader Tamerlane had attacked Persia as part of a massive campaign of conquest. By the beginning of this reign (1399) he had conquered a vast area of the Middle East and southern Asia, plundering, destroying and slaughtering as he went. Among his victims had been the once-
xxxxxIn 1399 he set out to settle an old score with the Mamluk sultan of Egypt, who had earlier encroached on his territory. He swept into Syria, defeated the Mamluk army, and then occupied Aleppo and Damascus, killing many, but also deporting thousands of artisans to work on his ambitious building projects in Samarkand. In 1401 he stormed and sacked Baghdad, killing some 20,000 inhabitants and reducing the city to ruins.
xxxxxTamerlane was now anxious to resume his conquest of India -
xxxxxThis defeat was a set-
xxxxxHaving received submission from both the Sultan of Egypt and the Byzantine Emperors, Tamerlane returned to Samarkand in 1404 and in December of that year set out on an expedition to China. He never reached there. He was taken ill near Shymkent (in present day Kazakhstan) and died in the February. His lands were divided among his sons and grandsons and this led to the inevitable internal feuds. His dynasty, the Timurids, ruled Transoxania and parts of Iran as late as the early sixteenth century and became noted for their patronage of Persian and Turkish literature. As we shall see, Babur, one of its descendants, founded the Mogul dynasty of India in 1526 (H8).
xxxxxTamerlane’s body was embalmed and conveyed to Samarkand in an ebony coffin. Here it was buried in the sumptuous tomb of Gur-
xxxxxIncidentally, the melodrama Tamburlaine the Great by the Elizabethan poet Christopher Marlowe, produced in 1587, is based on the life of Tamerlane and the legends which surround his brutal campaigns. A work inspiring both pity and awe, it was this play, in fact, which brought Marlowe recognition as a major playwright.
xxxxxThe Tunisian Ibn Khaldun (1332-
xxxxxDespite his unbelievable cruelty, we are told that Tamerlane had a love of scholarship and the arts. We certainly know that, when he discovered that the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun (1332-
xxxxxIbn Khaldun was one of the greatest of medieval Arab historians. He was born in Tunis in 1332 and after a good education he became a court official-
xxxxxThe six volumes of the Kitab al-
xxxxxAfter his stay with Tamerlane, he made his way back to Cairo -
Tamerlane: figure in bronze by the Russian sculptor Michail Mikhaylovich (1907-