Тамерлан. Правитель и полководец Harold Lamb


Published: 2009


288 pages


Тамерлан. Правитель и полководец  by  Harold Lamb

Тамерлан. Правитель и полководец by Harold Lamb
2009 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 288 pages | ISBN: | 9.30 Mb

On a list of the worst men to have ever walked the face of the Earth, Tamerlane would fall in about the ninth or tenth slot (depending on whether youd like to count the Emperor Hongwu for the Fall of the Yuan Dynasty), just after Stalin. From 1370 through 1405, across a gyre of slaughter stretching from Delhi to the Mongolian border, to Moscow and the Mediterranean, he pillaged, raped, buried alive, beheaded and wrought general havoc to the tune of some 15 to 20 million dead.

This is his biography.Amir Timur Gurigan – Lord Timur the Splendid – rose to power in the fourteenth century, the son of a monk and cattle farmer, in what is today Uzbekistan, and what was then the last dying vestiges of the Chagatai Khanate of the fractured Mongol Empire. “Out there in the limbo of things he built a Rome of his own in the desert.” Wounded by an arrow, he became Timur the Lame – Tamerlane, as we know him today.This is an excellent history of the fourteenth century conqueror. Its a little hard to follow in the beginning, because theres so many names to become associated with and (given that I knew little of Tamerlane before this) wasnt sure which ones to pay attention to, but once the story gets going, it becomes riveting.

This covers nearly every aspect of his life, from the towers of human heads and the absolute razing of Baghdad, to the dome he stole from Syria and the pleasure palace her had built in twenty days, all poetically written in that early twentieth century melodious prose, and it reads like a novel.There were a few things I found slightly lacking. First, the whole India episode is told in passing, largely in snippets of news received by the princesses back in Samarkand. The relevant details are there, I suppose, but I think India was a significant enough campaign (Lamb himself denotes about 200,000 dead) that it deserves a chapter of its own.

Next, Witold of Lithuania and the Poles, whom get a mere page or so in the Notes section at the end. Granted, the note informs us that it was Timur Kutluk, not Tamerlane, that chased the Mad Witold all the way into Poland.This brings me to my next point. If you look up the Timurid Dynasty on Wikipedia (most of the rest of the internets follow Wikipedia), youll find borders covering Central Asia and Persia, about a million square miles less in area than Alexanders.

However, even a cursory reading of Wikipedias own articles shows his conquests greater than their map details, from India to Asia Minor to the Golden Horde. I naturally came to the conclusion that hed attacked these locations, but hadnt annexed them for whatever reason.

This is not the case, as Lamb demonstrates. Timurs own heir was ruling in Delhi as governor when Timur died. He had multiple governors in Turkey, and loyal Tartar followers settled in the steppes of Russia. The Mamluks of Egypt promptly surrendered and offered submission (paying tribute and reading his name in the public prayers) when Bayezid fell in Turkey. (One should remember, Egypt was also surrendered to Alexander without a fight, and its included on his map.) Lamb includes his own map, without borders, merely giving a general description based upon the cities at the fringes – Delhi, Zaisan (Kazakh-Mongol border), Moscow, Constantinople.Lamb wrote this in 1928.

That means it was written prior to one of the more interesting elements of Tamerlanes story unfolding – Timurs Curse. Inscribed in his tomb was the message “Who ever opens my tomb, shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” No one touched the mausoleum until June of 1941, when a Soviet archeologist finally cracked the lid, just two days before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

He was reburied with full Islamic rites in November of 1942, just days before the Soviet victory at Stalingrad.One question Im left with that I felt Lamb didnt address as thoroughly as he could have was the role of Timurs faith throughout his life. Certainly his faith played a role – he seemed almost fatalist with the news of his son, Omar Skaikhs death – and yet Lamb notes that he never much cared for the imams and their schemes.

When he devastated Baghdad, he left the mosques standing, yet never seemed to act on any tenents of Islam. I would have liked this question to have been addressed directly, but unfortunately were left to gleam it from inference.This is an excellent biography of the Lame conqueror, but alas is written almost as a novel and thus is not as comprehensive as it could be.

Nonetheless, I learned a tremendous amount and consider this a great resource.

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