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ELEvATION of TIMOUR OR TAMERLANE TO THE THRONE OF SAMARCAND.— His CoNQUESTs IN PERSIA, GEORGIA, TARTARY, RUSSIA, INDIA, SYRIA, AND ANATOLIA. — His TURKISH WAR. — DEFEAT AND CAPTIVITY OF BAJAzer. — DEATH of TIMoUR.—CIVIL WAR OF THE SoNs of BAJAzET. — RESTORATION of THE TURKISH MonARCHY BY MAHOMET THE FIRST. – SIEGE of CoNSTANTINoPLE By AMURATH THE SEcond.
THE conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object of the ambition of TIMOUR. To live in the memory and esteem - - - Histories of of future ages was the second wish of his magnanimous foot.or - - - - --- - - - Tamerlane. spirit. All the civil and military transactions of his reign were diligently recorded in the journals of his secretaries: the authentic narrative was revised by the persons best informed of each particular transaction; and it is believed in the empire and family of Timour that the monarch himself composed the commentaries” of his life and the institutions” of his government." But these cares
* These journals were communicated to Sherefeddin, or Cherefeddin, Ali, a native of Yezd, who composed in the Persian language a history of Timour Beg, which has been translated into French by M. Petit de la Croix (Paris, 1722, in 4 vols. 12mo.), and has always been my faithful guide. His geography and chronology are wonderfully accurate; and he may be trusted for public facts, though he servilely praises the virtue and fortune of the hero. Timour's attention to procure intelligence from his own and foreign countries may be seen in the Institutions, p. 215, 217, 349, 351. * These Commentaries are yet unknown in Europe: but Mr. White gives some hope that they may be imported and translated by his friend Major Davy, who had read o the East this “minute and faithful narrative of an interesting and eventful riod.” pe; I am ignorant whether the original institution, in the Turki or Mogul language, be still extant. The Persic version, with an English translation, and most valuable index, was published (Oxford, 1783, in 4to.) by the joint labours of Major Davy and Mr. White the Arabic professor. This work has been since translated from the Persic into French (Paris, 1787) by M. Langlès, a learned Orientalist, who has added the Life of Timour and many curious notes. * Shaw Allum, the present Mogul, reads, values, but cannot imitate, the institutions
* The manuscript of Major Davy has laborious task of completing the trans
been translated by Major Stewart, and published by the Oriental Translation Committee of London. It contains the life of Timour, from his birth to his fortyfirst year; but the last thirty years of western war and conquest are wanting. Major Stewart intimates that two manuscripts exist in this country containing the whole work, but excuses himself, on account of his age, from undertaking the
It is to be hoped that the European public will be soon enabled to judge of the value and authenticity of the Commentaries of the Caesar of the East. Major Stewart's work commences with the Book of Dreams and Omens—a wild, but characteristic, chronicle of Visions and Sortes Koranicae. Strange that a Life of Timour should awaken a reminiscence of the diary of Archbishop Laud! The early
were ineffectual for the preservation of his fame, and these precious *memorials in the Mogul or Persian language were concealed from the world, or, at least, from the knowledge of Europe. The nations which he vanquished exercised a base and impotent revenge; and ignorance has long repeated the tale of calumny" which had disfigured the birth and character, the person, and even the name, of Tamerlane." Yet his real merit would be enhanced rather than debased by the elevation of a peasant to the throne of Asia; nor can his lameness be a theme of reproach, unless he had the weakness to blush at a natural, or perhaps an honourable, infirmity." In the eyes of the Moguls, who held the indefeasible succession of the house of Zingis, he was doubtless a rebel subject; yet he sprang from the noble tribe of Berlass: his fifth ancestor, Carashar Nevian, had been the vizir" of Zagatai, in his new realm of Transoxiana; and in the ascent of some generations, the branch of Timour is confounded, at least by the females," with the Imperial stem.” He
of his great ancestor. The English translator relies on their internal evidence; but if any suspicion should arise of fraud and fiction, they will not be dispelled by Major Davy's letter. The Orientals have never cultivated the art of criticism; the patronage of a prince, less honourable perhaps, is not less lucrative than that of a bookseller; nor can it be deemed incredible that a Persian, the real author, should renounce the credit, to raise the value and price, of the work. * The original of the tale is found in the following work, which is much esteemed for its florid elegance of style: Ahmedis Arabsiade (Ahmed Ebn Arabshah) Vitae et Rerum Gestarum Timuri. Arabice et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger. Franequera, 1767, 2 tom. in 4to. This Syrian author is ever a malicious, and often an ignorant, enemy: the very titles of his chapters are injurious; as how the wicked, as how the impious, as how the viper, &c. The copious article of TIMUR, in Bibliothèque Orientale, is of a mixed nature, as D'Herbelot indifferently draws his materials (p. 877-888) from Khondemir, Ebn Schounah, and the Lebtarikh. * Demir or Timour signified, in the Turkish language, Iron; and Beg is the appellation of a lord or prince. By the change of a letter or accent it is changed into Lenc or Lame; and a European corruption confounds the two words in the name of Tamerlane." 7 After relating some false and foolish tales of Timour Lenc, Arabshah is compelled to speak truth, and to own him for a kinsman of Zingis, per mulieres (as he peevishly adds) laqueos Satanae (parsi. c. i. p. 25). The testimony of Abulghazi Khan (P. ii. c. 5, P. v. c. 4) is clear, unquestionable, and decisive. * According to one of the pedigrees, the fourth ancestor of Zingis, and the ninth of Timour, were brothers; and they agreed that the posterity of the elder should succeed
dawn and the gradual expansion of his not “behold, it shall shake, Tamurū.” The
less splendid but more real visions of am-
Shaikh then stopped and said, “We have
was born forty miles to the south of Samarcand, in the village cf Sebzar, in the fruitful territory of Cash, of which his fathers were the hereditary chiefs, as well as of a toman of ten thousand horse.” His birth" was cast on one of those periods of anarchy which announce the fall of the Asiatic dynasties, and open a new field to adventurous ambition. The khans of Zagatai were extinct; the emirs aspired to independence, and their domestic feuds could only be suspended by the conquest and tyranny of the khans of Kashgar, who, with an army of Getes or Calmucks,” invaded the Transoxian kingdom. From the twelfth year of his age Timour had entered the His first field of action; in the twenty-fifth" he stood forth as the *.* deliverer of his country, and the eyes and wishes of the * people were turned towards an hero who suffered in their cause. The chiefs of the law and of the army had pledged their salvation to support him with their lives and fortunes, but in the hour of danger they were silent and afraid; and, after waiting seven days on the hills of Samarcand, he retreated to the desert with only sixty horsemen. The fugitives were overtaken by a thousand Getes, whom he repulsed with incredible slaughter; and his enemies were forced to
to the dignity of khan, and that the descendants of the younger should fill the office of their minister and general. This tradition was at least convenient to justify the first steps of Timour's ambition (Institutions, p. 24, 25, from the MS. fragments of Timour's History).
* See the preface of Sherefeddin, and Abulfeda's Geography (Chorasmiae, &c., Descriptio, p. 60, 61), in the iiid volume of Hudson's Minor Greek Geographers.
* See his nativity in Dr. Hyde (Syntagma Dissertat. tom. ii. p. 466) as it was cast by the astrologers of his grandson Ulugh Beg. He was born A.D. 1336, April 9, 11° 57 P.M. lat. 36. I know not whether they can prove the great conjunction of the planets from whence, like other conquerors and prophets, Timour derived the sur. name of Saheb Keran, or master of the conjunctions (Biblioth. Orient. p. 878).
" In the Institutions of Timour, these subjects of the khan of Kashgar are most improperly styled Ouzbegs or Uzbeks, a name which belongs to another branch and country of Tartars (Abulghazi, P. v. c. 5; P. vii. c. 5). Could I be sure that this word is in the Turkish original, I would boldly pronounce that the Institutions were framed a century after the death of Tiunour, since the establishment of the Uzbeks in Transoxiana. "
* Col. Stewart observes that the Persian translator has sometimes made use of the name Uzbek by anticipation. He observes, likewise, that these Jits (Getes) are not to be confounded with the ancient Getae: they were unconverted Turks. Col. Tod (History of Rajasthan, vol. i. p. 166) would identify the Jits with the ancient race.—M.
* He was twenty-seven before he served his first wars under the emir Houssein, who ruled over Khorasan and Mawerainnehr. Von Hammer, vol. i. p. 262. Neither of these statements agrees with the Memoirs. At twelve he was a boy. “I fancied that I perceived in myself all
“the signs of greatness and wisdom, and “whoever came to visit me I received “with great hauteur and dignity.” At seventeen he undertook the management of the flocks and herds of the family (p. 24). At nineteen he became religious, and “left off playing chess,” made a kind. of Budhist vow never to injure living thing, and felt his foot paralysed from having accidentally trod upon an ant (p. 30). At twenty, thoughts of rebellion and greatness rose in his mind; at twenty-one he seems to have performed his first feat of arms. He was a practised warrior when he served, in his 27th year, under emir Houssein.
exclaim, “Timour is a wonderful man: fortune and the divine “favour are with him.” But in this bloody action his own followers were reduced to ten, a number which was soon diminished by the desertion of three Carizmians." He wandered in the desert with his wife, seven companions, and four horses; and sixty-two days was he plunged in a loathsome dungeon, from whence he escaped by his own courage and the remorse of the oppressor. After swimming the broad and rapid stream of the Jihoon or Oxus, he led, during some months, the life of a vagrant and outlaw on the borders of the adjacent states. But his fame shone brighter in adversity; he learned to distinguish the friends of his person, the associates of his fortune, and to apply the various characters of men for their advantage, and, above all, for his own. On his return to his native country Timour was successively joined by the parties of his confederates, who anxiously sought him in the desert; nor can I refuse to describe, in his pathetic simplicity, one of their fortunate encounters. He presented himself as a guide to three chiefs, who were at the head of seventy horse. “When their eyes fell upon me,” says Timour, “they “were overwhelmed with joy, and they alighted from their horses, “and they came and kneeled, and they kissed my stirrup. I also “came down from my horse, and took each of them in my arms. “And I put my turban on the head of the first chief; and my “girdle, rich in jewels and wrought with gold, I bound on the loins “of the second ; and the third I clothed in my own coat. And “they wept, and I wept also ; and the hour of prayer was arrived, “and we prayed. And we mounted our horses, and came to my “ dwelling; and I collected my people, and made a feast.” His trusty bands were soon increased by the bravest of the tribes; he led them against a superior foe, and, after some vicissitudes of war, the Getes were finally driven from the kingdom of Transoxiana. He nad done much for his own glory; but much remained to be done, much art to be exerted, and some blood to be spilt, before he could teach his equals to obey him as their master. The birth and power of emir Houssein compelled him to accept a vicious and unworthy colleague, whose sister was the best beloved of his wives. Their union was short and jealous, but the policy of Timour, in their frequent quarrels, exposed his rival to the reproach of injustice and perfidy, and, after a final defeat, Houssein was slain by some sagaclous friends, who presumed, for the last time, to disobey the com
* Compare Memoirs, page 61. The “I would never keep any person, whether imprisonment is there stated at 53 days. “guilty or innocent, for any length of “At this time I made a vow to God that “time, in prison or in chains.” P. G3 —M.
mands of their lord." At the age of thirty-four,” and in a general diet or couroultai, he was invested with Imperial command;
- - J’ He ascends
but he affected to revere the house of Zingis; and while o: - - - - o Zaga
the emir Timour reigned over Zagatai and the East, a .
nominal khan served as a private officer in the armies of * his servant. A fertile kingdom, five hundred miles in length and in breadth, might have satisfied the ambition of a subject; but Timour aspired to the dominion of the world, and before his death the crown of Zagatai was one of the twenty-seven crowns which he had placed on his head. Without expatiating on the victories of thirty-five campaigns; without describing the lines of march which he repeatedly traced over the continent of Asia; I shall briefly represent his conquests in, I. Persia, II. Tartary, and III. India,” and from thence proceed to the more interesting narrative of his Ottoman war. I. For every war a motive of safety or revenge, of honour or zeal, of right or convenience, may be readily found in the juris- m. prudence of conquerors. No sooner had Timour re-united “o. to the patrimony of Zagatai the dependent countries of , ision. Carizme and Candahar, than he turned his eyes towards "**.* the kingdoms of Iran or Persia. From the Oxus to the ** Tigris that extensive country was left without a lawful sovereign since the death of Abousaid, the last of the descendants of the great Holacou. Peace and justice had been banished from the land above forty years, and the Mogul invader might seem to listen to the cries of an oppressed people. Their petty tyrants might have opposed him with confederate arms: they separately stood, and successively fell; and the difference of their fate was only marked by the promptitude of submission or the obstinacy of resistance. Ibrahim, prince of Shirwan or Albania, kissed the footstool of the Imperial throne. His peace-offerings of silks, horses, and jewels, were composed, according to the Tartar fashion, each article of nine pieces; but a critical
* The ist book of Sherefeddin is employed on the private life of the hero; and he himself, or his secretary (Institutions, p. 3–77), enlarges with pleasure on the thirteen designs and enterprises which most truly constitute his personal merit. It even shines through the dark colouring of Arabshah (P. i. c. 1-12).
* The conquests of Persia, Tartary, and India are represented in the iid and iiid books of Sherefeddin, and by Arabshah (c. 13-55). Consult the excellent Indexes to the Institutions.”
* Timour, on one occasion, sent him this message: “He who wishes to em“brace the bride of royalty must kiss her “ across the edge of the sharp sword:” p. 83. The scene of the trial of Houssein, the resistance of Timour gradually becoming more feeble, the vengeance of the
chiefs becoming proportionably more determined, is strikingly portrayed. Mem. p. 130.-M.
b Com the seventh book of Won Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischer Reiches.—M.