The Turco-Mongol conqurerer Timur (1336 1405)
Biography of Ameer Taimoor
Timur was born at Kesh, a city located roughly 50 miles south of Samarkand, on 9 April 1336. His father was a lesser chief of the Barlas tribe, and through him, Timur claimed to be a descendant of Tumbinai Setsen, a male-line ancestor he shared in common with Genghis Khan.
Timur is described as tall and strongly built, with a big head and broad forehead. His skin was pale and ruddy, and he wore a full beard.
According to the biographer Sharaf ad-Din, Timur was injured by arrows while stealing sheep in his twenties, and this left him lame in the right leg and caused his right arm to be stiff for the rest of his life. Hence, his Persian name, Timur-i lang (Temur the Lame).
His lameness didnt seem to slow him down, and before the age of 35 he was in control of all the lands that formed the heritage of Chagatai. After being proclaimed sovereign at Balkh, he turned Samarkand into his capital.
There is no evidence of Timur ever learning to read or write, but he spoke two or three languages, including Turkic and Persian, and he arranged to have history books read to him while he had dinner.
He is described as an intelligent man and also a great lover of art, including architecture and gardening. He loved to play chess, and also invented a more elaborate form of the game where twice the standard number of pieces are used on a board consisting of 110 squares. Today, we call this game Tamerlane Chess.
TimurThe question of Timurs own religious beliefs is a controversial one among scholars.
He relied on Islamic symbols and language to bring legitimicy to his conquests, and often referred to himself as The Sword of Islam. He supported educational and religious Islamic institutions, and encouraged the Borjigin leaders to convert to Islam.
Some scholars have labeled hims a Shiite (Shia muslim) based on his veneration of the house of the Prophet and the genealogy on his tombstone where he claims to be a descendant of Ali. The presence of Shiites in Timurs army might have added fuel to these conclusions, even though his army was far from homogenous.
His official religious counselor was not a Shiite but the Hanafite scholar Abd alJabbar Khwarazmi, and Timur described himself as a disciple of Sayyid Baraka the holy man of Tirmidh. Timurs personal religious practises seem to have included Turco-MOngolian shamanistic elements blended with the Sufi tradition. Timur is also famous for ordering the construction of a marvelous building at the tomb of Ahmad Yaassawi, a missionary credited for converting many nomads of the steppe to Folk Islam.
Silk Road ambitions:
Timur had a great interest in trade and wanted to reactive and restore the Silk Road. His ambition was to keep the Silk Road under his control, even though that ment having to go to war with various nations and empires located along this enormously long route from West to East.