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Old November 5th, 2017, 04:04 PM   #1

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Timur the Lame: Your thoughts


Recently I had the opportunity to read Christopher Marlowe's play Tamburlaine, based on the life of the Timur the Lame, and it got me to researching the man himself. He seems to have a very mixed legacy - being both a noted patron of the arts and responsible for many conversions to Islam among his conquered lands, and also seen as a destroyer, who sacked Baghdad and was in general far more comfortable with war than peace.

What do you make of him? Are the terrible stories about his conquests exaggerated, or was he really as bad as his enemies said?
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Old November 6th, 2017, 07:35 AM   #2

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They probably are exaggerated but they were very brutal, even for the time. His savagery is also reverse-associated with Genghis Khans, making Genghis seem far worse than he was.
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Old November 6th, 2017, 07:45 AM   #3

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Been a while since I read about him, but he was a very bad dude. Wouldn't surprise me to read that he'd done whatever terrible thing.
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Old November 6th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #4
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Tamerlane is fascinating figure. He challenged and defeated the greatest powers of his times: Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Sultanate of Delhi. In the last months of his life, Tamerlane decided to conquer China and even began campaign them, however old age and winter overcame him, he caught illness and died before reaching Chinese border. Let's assume, that Tamerlane live some years longer. What would happen?



Of course, he was cruel, but also all great conquerors of Eurasian Steppe were. Was Tamerlane really significantly more cruel than for example Nader Shah or Genghis Khan?

Tamerlane was also very successful in dynastic terms - long after dissolution of Tamerlane empire, his grand-grand-grand-grandson Babur established Mughal Empire in India. Descendants of Tamerlane through Babur's granch ruled in India, untill 1857.



Tamerlane is also a one of few great conquerors, who have dinosaur, called after them: Timurlengia euotica. It can't be excluded, that Tirmurlengia was one of ancestors of famous Tyrannosaurus rex:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timurlengia
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Old November 6th, 2017, 02:13 PM   #5

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This notion that historical brutality is somehow relevant and should be taken into account when making some assessment is annoying. What is more annoying is that this stupid notion is provided (not saying you did OP) as an element of morality.

Anyway, I couldn't care less if he was brutal. He's one of the finest commanders of all times.
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Old November 6th, 2017, 02:48 PM   #6

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I have been interested in Timurlane since long years and AFAIK:

1/ I think he was, maybe, the best military genius of all time, he makes me think a lot to Napoleon in regard with his military campaigns and tactics as well as the variety of his powerful ennemies.
He defeated all of them, no "Waterloo for Timur", no coalitions too. He defeated his ennemies one by one, he was an excellent and foxy diplomat.

2/ Doubtless he was one of the most bloodthirsty and most ruthless leader too.
The human cost of his campaigns is estimated by some historians to 17 millions deaths, if my memory serves.
On this aspect he makes me think to Temudjin in a more modern version.

About what claim Turing.
Indeed the notion of brutality is also a matter of culture,( I.e roughly the "Mongols warfare spirit") , but under some limits. Despite he was muslim he's considered as a calamity by many Muslims chronics.

Last edited by phil1904; November 6th, 2017 at 03:08 PM.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 02:58 PM   #7
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Western Asia has not yet recovered from timur's brutality. timur almost exterminated the Oriental Christian population of Iraq and the Oriental Christians together with the Iranians are the intellectual and cultural backbone of the region.

Last edited by MiddleEast; November 7th, 2017 at 03:01 PM.
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Old November 7th, 2017, 03:50 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by turing View Post
This notion that historical brutality is somehow relevant and should be taken into account when making some assessment is annoying. What is more annoying is that this stupid notion is provided (not saying you did OP) as an element of morality.

Anyway, I couldn't care less if he was brutal. He's one of the finest commanders of all times.
And why shouldn't being taking in account? - I'm not saying that you said that, but what you made me want to ask that -

I my vision one of the function of history is for us to know the cruelties that happen and the world and try to not reproduce then, and carrying for the lives of those you command, avoid causalities etc are also characteristics of a great commander

For more this thing annoy you they should be present in biography of people marked in history or about kingdoms, eras and related. For Churchil to also be remembered by his command in Gallipoli or to prevent things like the Armenian Genocide to be forgotten or third reich to be seeing as shinny armor great conqueror.
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Old November 8th, 2017, 01:00 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wound View Post
And why shouldn't being taking in account? - I'm not saying that you said that, but what you made me want to ask that -
Because it was a time where war is considered normal, and slaughter was considered okay. Most people claim he was more brutal, which is a fact. However, is there a fine threshold for brutality that is considered okay? If so, please enlighten me as well. If not, I will consider all commanders the same. One killing more than the other is irrelevant to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wound View Post
I my vision one of the function of history is for us to know the cruelties that happen and the world and try to not reproduce then, and carrying for the lives of those you command, avoid causalities etc are also characteristics of a great commander
If history is an indicator, humans hardly ever take lessons from history. Moving on, no fine commander in history never aimed to avoid dealing casualties to enemy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wound View Post
For more this thing annoy you they should be present in biography of people marked in history or about kingdoms, eras and related. For Churchil to also be remembered by his command in Gallipoli or to prevent things like the Armenian Genocide to be forgotten or third reich to be seeing as shinny armor great conqueror.
History remembers such people anyway.

Last edited by turing; November 8th, 2017 at 01:07 AM.
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Old November 8th, 2017, 03:30 PM   #10

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Chroniclers of the time noted his brutality in several instances but most were also associated with the losing side. If Timur was brutal what about Caesar, Constantine, Charlemagne, etc? No conqueror is nice, some are less brutal than others but it is hard to argue with success- if one empire conquers three neighboring kingdoms in a brutal campaign and then peace reigns for 50 years is that more or less human suffering than if those 3 kingdoms fought with each other over 50 years every year doing raid, sieges, pillaging and so on.
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