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of his government.” But these cares 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 was born forty miles to the
* Shaw Allum, the present Mogul, reads, values, but cannot imitate, the institutions of his great ancestor. The English translator relies on their internal evidence; but, if any suspicions 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 Arabsiadae (Ahmed Ebn Arabshaw) Vitae et Rerum gestarum Timuri. Arabice et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger. Franequerae, 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 [Timür] signifies, 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 [Lang] or lame; and a European corruption confounds the two words in the name of Tamerlane. [Timur's lameness was due to an arrow wound in the foot, received in a battle in Sistān, when he was conquering the countries south of the Oxus, before he won Transoxiana.] 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. [M. Cahun also agrees that the claim to connexion with the family of Chingiz was justified.] * 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 to the dignity of Khan, and that the descendants of the younger should fill
south of Samarcand, in the village of 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 field of action; in the twentyfifth, he stood forth as the deliverer of his country”; and the eyes and wishes of the people were turned towards an hero
the office of their minister and general. This tradition was at least convenient to
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 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 king-tuzbegs)
**[Timur himself says he had ten left; Sheref ad-Din says seven. The name of Timur's brave wife, who was with him throughout his adventures, was Oljai.]
He ascends the throne of Zagatai [and is
dom of Transoxiana. He had 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 small defeat, Houssein was slain by some sagacious friends, who presumed, for the last time, to disobey the commands of their lord. At the age of thirty-four,” and in a general diet, or cowrowltai, he was invested with Imperial command; but he affected to revere the house of Zingis; and,
§o while the emir Timour reigned over Zagatai and the East, a
nominal khan served as a private officer in the armies of his
15 The 1st 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.
1° 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.
17 [Rather Mūsā A.D. 1336; Abū Sa'id reigned 1316-1335. See Lane-Poole, Mohammadan Dynasties, p. 220.]