Histories of


The conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object of the ambition of TIMUR. To live in the memory and esteem of future ages was the second wish of his magnanimous Tmour, or 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 wonder. fully 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 in the East this "minute and faithful narrative of an interesting and eventful period.”

* 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, vajues, but cannot imitate, the institutions

The manuscript of Major Davy has laborious task of completing the transbeen translated by Major Stewart, and lation. It is to be hoped that the Europublished by the Oriental Translation pean public will be soon enabled to judge Committee of London. It contains the of the value and authenticity of the Comlife of Timour, from his birth to his forty. mentaries of the Cæsar of the East. Major first year; but the last thirty years of Stewart's work commences with the Book western war and conquest are wanting. of Dreams and Omens—a wild, but cha. Major Stewart intimates that two manu. racteristic, chronicle of Visions and Sortes seripts exist in this country containing the Koranicæ. Strange that a Life of Timour whole work, but excuses himself, on ac should awaken à reminiscence of the count of his age, from undertaking 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 anıl 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 Arabsiadæ (Ahmed Ebn Arabshah) Vitæ et Rerumn Gestarum Timuri. Arabice et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger. Franequere, 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 significa, 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.

? 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 Satanæ (pars i. 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 bition are touched with the simplicity of named your son Timür.P. 21.-M. truth and nature. But we long to escape • He was lamed by a wound at the from the petty feuds of the pastoral chief- siege of the capital of Sistan. Shere tain to the triumphs and the legislation seddin, lib. iii. c. 17, p. 136. See Von of the conqueror of the world.-M. Hammer, vol. i. p. 260.–M.

According to the memoirs he was so In the memoirs, the title Gurgån is called by a Shaikh, who, when visited by in one place (p. 23) interpreted the sonhis mother on his birth, was reading the in-law; in another (p. 28) as Kurkan, verse of the Koran, “ Are you sure that great prince, generalissimo, and primo " he who dwelleth in heaven will not minister of Jagtai.-M. so cause the earth to swallow you up! and

was born forty miles to the 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 10

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 adventures, deliverer of his country, and the eyes and wishes of the 1361-1370 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 (Chorasmiæ, &c., Descriptio, p. 60, 61), in the irid volume of Hudson's Minor Greek Geographers.

10 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. naine 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 Timnour, since the establishment of the Uzbeks in Trangoxiana a

* Col. Stewart observes that the Per “ the signs of greatness and wisdom, and sian translator has sometimes made use of “ whoever came to visit me I received the name Uzbek by anticipation. He “ with great hauteur and dignity.” At observes, likewise, that these Jits (Getes) seventeen he undertook the management are not to be confounded with the ancient of the flocks and herds of the family Getæ: they were unconverted Turks. (p. 24). At nineteen he became religious, Col. Tod (History of Rajasthan, vol. i. and "left off playing chess," made a kind . p. 166) would identify the Jits with the of Budhist vow never to injure living ancient race.-M.

thing, and felt his foot paralysed from Le was twenty-seven before he served having accidentally trod upon an ant his first wars under the emir Houssein, (p. 30). At twenty, thoughts of rebelwho ruled over Khorasan and Mawerain- lion and greatness rose in his mind; at Debr. Von Hammer, vol. i. p. 262. twenty-one he seems to have performed Neither of these statements agrees with his first feat of arms. He was a practised the Memoirs. At twelve he was a boy. warrior when he served, in his 27th year, I fancied that I perceived in myself all 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 fina, defeat, Houssein was slain by some sagacious friends, who presumed, for the last time, to disobey the com


Compare Memoirs, page 61. The imprisonment is there stated at 53 days. “At this time I made a vow to God that

“I would never keep any person, whether

guilty or innocent, for any length of “ time, in prison or in chains." P.65 -M.

He ascenda

mands of their lord. At the age of thirty-four," and in a general diet or couroultai, he was invested with Imperial command ; but he affected to revere the house of Zingis ; and while the throne the emir Timour reigned over Zagatai and the East, a A.D. 1370,

April 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,13 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 jurisprudence of conquerors. No sooner had Timour re-united quests, to the patrimony of Zagatai the dependent countries of 1370-1400. Carizme and Candahar, than he turned his eyes towards 1. of Persia, 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

His con


13 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).

13 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 chiefs becoming proportionably more dethis message: “He who wishes to emo termined, is strikingly portrayed. Mom. “ brace the bride of royalty must kiss her p. 130.-M. " across the edge of the sharp sword:” Compare the seventh book of Von p. 83. The scene of the trial of Houssein, Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischer the resistance of Timour gradually be- Reiches.-M. coming more feeble, the vengeance of the

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