81 Facts About Timur


Timur was the last of the great nomadic conquerors of the Eurasian Steppe, and his empire set the stage for the rise of the more structured and lasting Islamic gunpowder empires in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Timur clearly sought to invoke the legacy of Genghis Khan's conquests during his lifetime.


Timur envisioned the restoration of the Mongol Empire and according to Gerard Chaliand, saw himself as Genghis Khan's heir.


Timur justified his Iranian, Mamluk, and Ottoman campaigns as a re-imposition of legitimate Mongol control over lands taken by usurpers.


Timur converted nearly all the Borjigin leaders to Islam during his lifetime.


Timur decisively defeated the Christian Knights Hospitaller at the Siege of Smyrna, styling himself a ghazi.


Timur's armies were inclusively multi-ethnic and were feared throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, sizable parts of which his campaigns laid waste.


Ibn Khaldun recounted that Timur himself described to him his mother's descent from the legendary Persian hero Manuchehr.


Timur was born in Transoxiana near the city of Kesh, some 80 kilometres south of Samarkand, part of what was then the Chagatai Khanate.


Timur was a member of the Barlas, a Mongolian tribe that had been turkified in many aspects.


Around 1363, it is believed that Timur tried to steal a sheep from a shepherd but was shot by two arrows, one in his right leg and another in his right hand, where he lost two fingers.


Timur took part in campaigns in Transoxiana with the Khan of the Chagatai Khanate.


Timur was sent to negotiate with the invader but joined with him instead and was rewarded with Transoxania.


At about this time, his father died and Timur became chief of the Barlas.


Tughlugh then attempted to set his son Ilyas Khoja over Transoxania, but Timur repelled this invasion with a smaller force.


Timur gained followers in Balkh, consisting of merchants, fellow tribesmen, Muslim clergy, aristocracy and agricultural workers, because of his kindness in sharing his belongings with them.


Around 1370, Husayn surrendered to Timur and was later assassinated, which allowed Timur to be formally proclaimed sovereign at Balkh.


Timur married Husayn's wife Saray Mulk Khanum, a descendant of Genghis Khan, allowing him to become imperial ruler of the Chaghatay tribe.


Therefore, Timur set up a puppet Chaghatayid Khan, Suyurghatmish, as the nominal ruler of Balkh as he pretended to act as a "protector of the member of a Chinggisid line, that of Genghis Khan's eldest son, Jochi".


Timur instead used the title of Amir meaning general, and acting in the name of the Chagatai ruler of Transoxania.


Therefore, Timur reacted to the challenge by creating a myth and image of himself as a "supernatural personal power" ordained by God.


Timur spent the next 35 years in various wars and expeditions.


One of the most formidable of Timur's opponents was another Mongol ruler, a descendant of Genghis Khan named Tokhtamysh.


However, Timur still supported him against the Russians and in 1382 Tokhtamysh invaded the Muscovite dominion and burned Moscow.


Orthodox tradition states that later, in 1395 Timur, having reached the frontier of the Principality of Ryazan, had taken Elets and started advancing towards Moscow.


In 1383, Timur started his lengthy military conquest of Persia, though he already ruled over much of Persian Khorasan by 1381, after Khwaja Mas'ud, of the Sarbadar dynasty surrendered.


Timur began his Persian campaign with Herat, capital of the Kartid dynasty.


Timur then headed west to capture the Zagros Mountains, passing through Mazandaran.


Khorasan revolted one year later, so Timur destroyed Isfizar, and the prisoners were cemented into the walls alive.


Timur then returned to his capital of Samarkand, where he began planning for his Georgian campaign and Golden Horde invasion.


In 1386, Timur passed through Mazandaran as he had when trying to capture the Zagros.


Timur went near the city of Soltaniyeh, which he had previously captured but instead turned north and captured Tabriz with little resistance, along with Maragha.


Timur ordered heavy taxation of the people, which was collected by Adil Aqa, who was given control over Soltaniyeh.


Adil was later executed because Timur suspected him of corruption.


Timur then went north to begin his Georgian and Golden Horde campaigns, pausing his full-scale invasion of Persia.


Timur's massacres were selective and he spared the artistic and educated.


Timur then began a five-year campaign to the west in 1392, attacking Persian Kurdistan.


Timur left the Sarbadar prince Khwaja Mas'ud to govern Baghdad, but he was driven out when Ahmad Jalayir returned.


Timur was pulled away before reaching the Oka River by Tokhtamysh's renewed campaign in the south.


Timur then rode west about 1,000 miles advancing in a front more than 10 miles wide.


In 1395, Timur defeated Tokhtamysh in the Battle of the Terek River, concluding the struggle between the two monarchs.


Undeterred, Timur's soldiers flooded the tunnels by cutting into a channel overhead.


In 1398, Timur invaded northern India, attacking the Delhi Sultanate ruled by Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq of the Tughlaq dynasty.


Timur's invasion was unopposed as most of the Indian nobility surrendered without a fight, however he did encounter resistance from the united army of Rajputs and Muslims at Bhatner under the command of the Rajput king Dulachand, Dulachand initially opposed Timur but when hard-pressed he considered surrender.


Timur was locked outside the walls of Bhatner by his brother and was later killed by Timur.


Timur then loaded his camels with as much wood and hay as they could carry.


Timur capitalized on the subsequent disruption in the forces of Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq, securing an easy victory.


Timur ordered that every soldier should return with at least two severed human heads to show him.


Timur's stated motivation for attacking Bayezid and the Ottoman Empire was the restoration of Seljuq authority.


Timur saw the Seljuks as the rightful rulers of Anatolia as they had been granted rule by Mongol conquerors, illustrating again Timur's interest with Genghizid legitimacy.


Unlike other princes, Mehmed minted coins that had Timur's name stamped as "Demur han Gurgan", alongside his own as "Mehmed bin Bayezid han".


Timur returned to Persia and sent his grandson Abu Bakr ibn Miran Shah to reconquer Baghdad, which he proceeded to do.


Timur then spent some time in Ardabil, where he gave Ali Safavi, leader of the Safaviyya, a number of captives.


Timur had the ambassadors Fu An, Guo Ji, and Liu Wei detained.


Geographer Clements Markham, in his introduction to the narrative of Clavijo's embassy, states that, after Timur died, his body "was embalmed with musk and rose water, wrapped in linen, laid in an ebony coffin and sent to Samarkand, where it was buried".


Timur had twice previously appointed an heir apparent to succeed him, both of whom he had outlived.


Timur had forty-three wives and concubines, all of these women were his consorts.


Timur made dozens of women his wives and concubines as he conquered their fathers' or erstwhile husbands' lands.


Timur was a practising Sunni Muslim, possibly belonging to the Naqshbandi school, which was influential in Transoxiana.


Timur was known to hold Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt in high regard and has been noted by various scholars for his "pro-Shia" stance.


Timur was noted for attacking the Shia with Sunni apologism, while at other times he attacked Sunnis on religious grounds as well.


In contrast, Timur held the Seljuk Sultan Ahmad Sanjar in high regard for attacking the Ismailis at Alamut, and Timur's own attack on Ismailis at Anjudan was equally brutal.


Timur is regarded as a military genius and as a brilliant tactician with an uncanny ability to work within a highly fluid political structure to win and maintain a loyal following of nomads during his rule in Central Asia.


Timur was a learned king, and enjoyed the company of scholars; he was tolerant and generous to them.


Timur was a contemporary of the Persian poet Hafez, and a story of their meeting explains that Timur summoned Hafiz, who had written a ghazal with the following verse:.


Timur used Persian expressions in his conversations often, and his motto was the Persian phrase rasti rusti.


Timur had numerous epistolary and diplomatic exchanges with various European states, especially Spain and France.


Relations between the court of Henry III of Castile and that of Timur played an important part in medieval Castilian diplomacy.


Later, Timur sent to the court of the Kingdom of Leon and Castile a Chagatai ambassador named Hajji Muhammad al-Qazi with letters and gifts.


However, Ibn Khaldun praises Timur for having unified much of the Muslim world when other conquerors of the time could not.


Timur is officially recognized as a national hero in Uzbekistan.


Timur gives important details on the then incumbent Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.


Timur arguably had a significant impact on the Renaissance culture and early modern Europe.


European views of Timur were mixed throughout the fifteenth century, with some European countries calling him an ally and others seeing him as a threat to Europe because of his rapid expansion and brutality.


When Timur captured the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid at Ankara, he was often praised and seen as a trusted ally by European rulers, such as Charles VI of France and Henry IV of England, because they believed he was saving Christianity from the Turkic Empire in the Middle East.


Timur was praised because it was believed that he helped restore the right of passage for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.


Timur's rise to power moved many leaders, such as Henry III of Castile, to send embassies to Samarkand to scout out Timur, learn about his people, make alliances with him, and try to convince him to convert to Christianity in order to avoid war.


Timur's body was exhumed from his tomb on 19 June 1941 and his remains examined by the Soviet anthropologists Mikhail M Gerasimov, Lev V Oshanin and V Ia.


The examinations confirmed that Timur was lame and had a withered right arm due to his injuries.


Timur appears to have been broad-chested and his hair and beard were red.


Timur was re-buried with full Islamic ritual in November 1942 just before the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad.