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40 Facts About Tamerlane: Timur the Lame

Dr. Thomas Swan has PhDs in physics and psychology and is an avid student of world history.

A reconstruction of Tamerlane's face from his skull.

A reconstruction of Tamerlane's face from his skull.

Who Was Tamerlane?

Timur was a 14th Century Turko-Mongol military leader who conquered most of the Muslim world, central Asia, and parts of India. His Timurid Empire rivaled the size and power of the Mongolian domain forged by Genghis Khan a century earlier.

Known by his nickname, Tamerlane, it is unclear why many people in the Western world have never heard of this brutal and ingenious warlord.

To rectify this neglect, the following is a list of interesting facts about Tamerlane. The list includes notable events in his life, analyzes his tempestuous personality, and remarks on current impressions of this fascinating historical figure.

40 Interesting Facts about Timur

1. Timur (meaning "iron") was born in 1336 near the city of Kesh in Transoxiania. This historic Persian city is now known as Shahrisabz in modern day Uzbekistan (see map below).

2. Tamerlane is the European derivation of Timur’s Persian nickname, Timur-e Lang, which means "Timur the Lame."

3. During his mid-twenties, Tamerlane was crippled by injuries to his right leg and right hand. Legend states that he was shot by arrows when his band of thieves was ambushed by a shepherd. It is more likely that the injuries were sustained in battle when he was a soldier for the Khan of Sistan (in north-east Iran).

The breadth of the Timurid Empire.

The breadth of the Timurid Empire.

4. In 1941, Russian archaeologists excavated Tamerlane’s tomb, confirming that he had a debilitating hip injury and two fingers missing from his right hand.

5. The excavation revealed that he was tall for the time (1.73 m) and broad-chested. He had prominent cheek bones and Mongoloid features (see reconstruction above).

6. Timur’s tomb was allegedly inscribed with the words “When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble.

7. His coffin supposedly read: “Whoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” Hitler invaded the USSR within two days of the exhumation and, when Timur was finally reburied, the Soviet victory at Stalingrad shortly followed.

Tamerlane's tomb in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Tamerlane's tomb in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

8. Tamerlane’s ambition was to rebuild the empire of Genghis Khan, who had died a century earlier.

9. His military conquests saw him conquer land that comprises the modern day countries of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, large parts of Turkey and Syria, and the north-western portion of India (see map above).

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10. It is estimated that his armies killed 17 million people, which was about 5% of the global population at the time.

11. He referred to himself as the "Sword of Islam" and converted much of his empire to the religion. This included Genghis Khan’s descendants, the Borjigin clan.

12. Tamerlane’s own religious affiliation is unclear, and he may have been using Islam as a means to consolidate and exert power. Indeed, he was a highly intelligent politician who spoke Turkish, Mongolian, and Persian.

A statue of Tamerlane in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

A statue of Tamerlane in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Tamerlane's Rise to Power

13. Tamerlane’s father was a prominent member of the Barlas tribe, which had been close with Genghis Khan’s Borjigin clan. However, the Barlas tribe had been converted to Islam and spoke Turkish.

14. Despite these religious differences, Tamerlane idolized Genghis Khan and used similar methods to build his empire. For example, he was a military mastermind who instilled great loyalty in his multi-ethnic army. He was adept at taking advantage of temporary weaknesses in the political state of his enemies. He also used spies and propaganda to sow the seeds for invasion and planned his campaigns years in advance.

15. Tamerlane was a natural leader. He spent his teenage years leading a band of petty thieves. They stole livestock from farmers, and property from travelers and merchants.

16. In his twenties, Tamerlane fought as a soldier under the rule of various Khans and Sultans. His leadership skills led to him being given command of a thousand soldiers for an invasion of Khorasan (in north-east Iran). The success of this mission led to further commands and prestige.

17. When his leader, Kurgan, died, the subsequent struggle for power was eventually halted by the invasion of Tughlugh Khan from the Mongol Chagatai Khanate. The head of the Barlas tribe fled the invasion, and Timur was chosen by the Mongols as his replacement.

18. When Tughlugh Khan died and entrusted Transoxiania (Timur's homeland) to his son, Ilyas, Timur and his brother-in-law, Amir Husayn, sensed their opportunity and took the region by force.

Timur is made king in northern Afghanistan.

Timur is made king in northern Afghanistan.

Establishing the Timurid Empire

19. Now in his mid-thirties, Timur was a tribal leader and king with a small territory to defend. He used his power wisely, showing kindness and charity to nobles, merchants, and the clergy. This gained him many allies and much power.

20. Conversely, Amir Husayn (Timur's brother-in-law who shared in his success) treated his subjects harshly and became jealous of Timur’s growing power. They quickly became rivals, forcing Timur to capture Amir. He was later assassinated, giving Timur complete control in northern Iran and Afghanistan.

21. Tamerlane dominated over the Chagatai chieftains to the north-east and eventually claimed the Mongol territory by marrying Saray Mulk Khanum, a Chagatai princess and descendant of Genghis Khan.

22. Tamerlane was unable to become the Mongol emperor because he was not a descendent of Genghis Khan. Similarly, he could not claim legitimacy in the Muslim world because he was not a descendent of Muhammad. Instead he ruled the Chagatai Khanate via a puppet ruler and attributed his military successes in Persia to the will of Allah.

23. Timur led his armies in all directions over the next three decades. In the south and west, Persia was completely conquered. To the north-west, Georgia and Azerbaijan were taken. To the north, the Mongol “Golden Horde” was decisively defeated, although he avoided threatening the Mongol homeland to the north-east.

24. In 1398, and at the age of 62, Timur was now a legendary conqueror with a vast territory. He turned his army toward India in the south-east. Unlike some of his other conquests, Timur slaughtered the Pakistani and Indian people, justifying the barbarism as a holy war against the Hindu religion.

Timur defeats the Sultan of Delhi.

Timur defeats the Sultan of Delhi.

25. During Timur's campaign in India, the Sultan of Delhi used war elephants covered with chain mail to terrify Timur’s troops. In a stroke of cruel genius, Timur placed hay on the backs of camels, set the hay on fire, and prodded them until they painfully charged at the elephants. The elephants turned and stampeded their own troops, granting Timur an easy victory. The population of Delhi were massacred.

26. Much like Genghis Khan, Tamerlane was opportunistic. His campaigns of Persia and Delhi took advantage of power struggles that had weakened their defenses.

27. Timur’s cruelty grew in his later years. After destroying Delhi, he turned west. Legend states that his invasion of Baghdad (Iraq) in 1399 required each of his soldiers to show him two severed heads from the largely Christian population.

28. Next, and in revenge for insulting letters sent by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid (Turkey), Timur conquered the Ottoman Empire in 1402 and placed the Sultan in a cage. Bayezid eventually died in captivity.

Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.

Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.

29. The victory over the Ottomans began a civil war in Turkey in which Timur’s candidate, Mehmed I, secured power. Mehmed belonged to a tribe that the Mongols had previously allowed to rule the region.

30. Tamerlane had friendly relations with some European states, namely France and Spain. Both he and the Europeans saw themselves as reluctant allies against the Ottomans.

31. Right up until his death, Timur continued to expand his empire. The leader of the new Chinese Ming Dynasty had insulted Timur, provoking his wrath. However, after three months of successful battles, the campaign ended when Timur succumbed to fever and died.

32. Despite preferring spring assaults, Timur had prematurely attacked the Chinese during the harsh winter of 1404. This suggests that his anger at the Chinese contributed to his demise.

33. Tamerlane died on the 17th of February 1405 at the age of 68. His body was embalmed and buried in an ebony coffin in Samarkand (in Uzbekistan), fifty miles north of his birthplace in Kesh.

Tamerlane's Legacy

34. Timur had four sons. The eldest two, Jahangir and Umar Shaykh, died before him, while Miran Shah died soon after. Timur was succeeded by his youngest son, Shah Rukh.

35. The Black Sheep Turkmen destroyed the western half of his empire when they sacked Baghdad in 1410, although Shah Rukh continued the Timurid dynasty by retaining control of the eastern half. He set up his capital in Herat, Afghanistan.

Some beautiful Timurid architecture.

Some beautiful Timurid architecture.

36. Tamerlane’s descendents included Babur, founder of the Indian Mughal Empire, and the scientifically adept Timurid ruler, Ulugh Beg.

37. The Timurid Empire lasted until 1507. The Persian Safavid dynasty took most of Iran in 1501, while a contingent of Uzbek tribes invaded from the north to take Herat in 1507.

38. Like many other formidable leaders, Tamerlane’s legacy is unclear. He is regarded as a hero in central Asian states such as Uzbekistan.

39. In much of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and India, he is vilified as a monster for massacring the populations. Nevertheless, some Muslim scholars applaud him for uniting the Muslim world.

40. Despite forcing Christians out of much of the Muslim world, Timur was highly regarded in Europe for defeating the Ottomans, although that impression has become less favorable in recent times.

A Short Lecture about the Timurids

Timur the Forgotten Emperor?

It is unclear why Tamerlane and the Timurid Empire are under-represented in popular historical discourse. Perhaps it is because his achievements were very similar but slightly less notable than those of Genghis Khan. Why speak of the second greatest Asian ruler when you can speak of the first?

It is also possible that Timur's empire was too short-lived to be given much attention (137 years). The Persian, Ottoman, Mongol, and Mughal Empires survived far longer. His cruelty may also have been a factor if it discouraged the civilizations who could have popularized his story. Finally, Timur's physical lameness or his lack of birthright may have caused fewer writers to glorify his achievements.

While other warlords have succeeded in immortalizing themselves with their barbarism, we may never know why Tamerlane escaped a similar degree of notoriety.


  • Manz, B. (1999). The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane. Cambridge University Press.
  • Marozzi, J. (2004). Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, conqueror of the world. HarperCollins.
  • Sela, Ron (2011). The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia. Cambridge University Press.
  • Woods, J. (1991). The Timurid dynasty. Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies.

© 2013 Thomas Swan


Karimov Jamshid on June 09, 2020:

I am Uzbek and I know that Timur is a great person whose greatness is much more than you think.I am very happy that you wrote an article about him but I am still angry that most European and world's people underestimate him don't honor like Alexander and Chingizkhan.

Also I can't understand why you wrote that Timur's religion was not clear???Because if you know Timur had learned the Quran when he was only 15.

Still,thank you very much for this article .

From the birthplace of Timur

Toryalai Mangal on February 03, 2020:

interesting story about timur Lang I have ever heard

Raza on December 29, 2019:

When we read about any cruel & tyrant ruler, obviously there are some leadership qualities in that person, but decriminalization, ethnic cleansing, deceit, tyranny, women sex slave in harem, killing of children of other beliefs, harrassment of royt, etc. is common format in Islamic rulers,

They never care about peoples in their province, contrary they loot & enslave them, only few enjoy ruling position & public has no rights.

There is no place for humanity against conquering the world..

Only aim to rule the world by hook or by Crook, or as said "by sword"

This psychology is also a root cause for problem of today's violence through terrorism worldwide for killing kafirs.

Humanity is great than religion (groupism)

yaqub on October 28, 2019:

taimur ,is seen as a hero in Pakistan.many people are named after him.

a Pakistan navy ship is called taimur.a nuclear missile is taimur.

Sehzade Mujtaba Hän on September 08, 2019:

Thanks for the information of My Greatest Grandfather!

1Beak1 on May 13, 2019:

To Robert Francis.

I am now reading Frank McLynn , Ghengis Khan. Cheers.

His real name is Amir Temir on April 23, 2019:

Hi, my name is Jahongir, I am from Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I found this article interesting and broad. I am linguist, and I have some opinions about Amir Temir, his nickname is Temur lang, lang in Persian-Tajik language means lame. His language is Persian-Tajik, even his sons’ names sound Persian-Tajik, for example, Jahongir, means Jahon- the world, gir- take( a conqueror), what I mean here, Temur lang is not related to Mongols. I don’t see any link to Turko-Mongol, I see him speaking only in Persian- Tajik language. Linguistic Anthropology says , Amir Temur is not Mongol name.

Robert Francis on April 20, 2019:

I am reading a book written by Frank McLynn, named Genghis Khan. It is interesting. Tamerlane caused the death of 17million people. I know not how many deaths Genghis was responsible for but these were terrible times

فریدون رنجبر عیان from Taloqan, Afghanistan on January 11, 2019:

Very nice Thomas!

I am from Afghanistan I have read his own hand written book from childhood until end the book is prepared by a French author Name Marsal Beryoon and translated into Persian by Zabehullah Mansoori.

It's like a novel very very interesting to read I wish you could find English version and send it to me to rereading.

I wish I could send you the cover book pic to see the own hand written of my ancestors I am living in northern Afghanistan and I am an Uzbek whom we might come from his country on that time under his empire here...


Lina on December 24, 2018:

Firstly he was perfectly educated and wise. He could establish diplomatically relationships with Europian countries and was a respectful person for them. His quotes about military services still being learned in developed countries. During his period the science was developed and prosperous. And he was recognised as Alexsandr the Great...

Aj on October 11, 2018:

He was a murderer , he killed innocent men and women ,and fools are praising him for his hatred ,cruelty and barbarism ,he was a bane for the inhumanity

mobrien on September 26, 2018:

this was super helpful for a procrastinating high schooler

Gulnoz on August 03, 2018:

Temur was very intelligent, around him was famous scientists like Murzo Ulughbek, Alisher Navoi, Abu Rayhon Beruni, Abu Ali Ibn Sino and many more scientists, poets. His grandson Zahuriddin Mohammed Bobur who started to rule at his 12 years old age, as his father died falling from the hill, - was educated in the fields of physics chemistry mathematics, literature astrology. He wrote gorgeous ghazals and rubais, wrote magnificent verses that are still sung and are classics.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on July 18, 2018:

Hi Vusal. The origins of the Safavids are disputed, with some saying they are Turkic. This may be true. Regardless, they were also a Persian Empire.

Vusal on July 09, 2018:

There is a mistake. Safavid wasn't Persian at all, it was Turkic.

Sandeep on June 27, 2018:

Sir! There was no Amritsar during the times of Tamur the lame.

tamera laine on April 21, 2018:

I loved this u can see my named has been taken from tamerlane...although my parents took it from a movie and feminized dad later told me abt a cruel ruler by this name. Ive always been curious to know more abt this person but its hard to find unbiased info abt him. This article was perfect. Thanks again!

Turkborn on March 02, 2018:

Timur was the wrath of Turkic. When there was no one else to face him, he marched to the west and defeated their Turkish cousins.

Avlad on December 19, 2017:

Timur was a great man, he was n he is hero, who has doubt that has no hero like Timur.

Santosh Sharma on September 28, 2017:

Instead of debate we can make our current world more peaceful and forget the past.

anjum faraz on September 27, 2017:

Taimur the lane was an oppurtunist in the real sense he killed more muslims than non muslims every where he went to expand his empire but when he fought with non muslims he called himself a ghazi or sword of islam and pretended waging holy crusades against infidels. obviously he did this to get the support of muslims and to flatter himself. he was butcher and such men are a curse of God on mankind.

Leonardo Assaf on August 21, 2017:

In the remarkable book "The Decline of the West" O. Spengler relates the case of Baghdad in 1401; A very rich city of 100,000 cosmopolitan citizens who benefit from trade with all of Asia and China, Russia and Egypt. They had no army of his own but a body of mercenaries guarded the city. Music, science and poetry enjoyed a great level, but the hedonism of the wormwood. When Tamerlane appeared to the gates of the city, the Baghdads decided to be peaceful and tolerant and welcome the conqueror without exercising violence always useless and condemnable. Without throwing an arrow, Tamerlane entered to Baghdad. Shortly afterwards, his soldiers erected a pyramid, a memorial of the conquest in the center of the metropolis with the skulls of its hundred thousand inhabitants.

G.G. on August 16, 2017:

Timur has never got control over Georgia.

He has 8 times invided in Georgia, but at and had made piece with georgians and recognized king Georg as a Christian monarch of Georgia.

Muhammad Abdullah on August 10, 2017:

Timur's main genius was in uniting different nations and sects under his leadership, as you have mentioned that he was tolerant to the scholars and traders, the soft power element was too great for the time.

Further, the nomadic people were seasoned fighters since hundreds of years, all they needed was a good leader to conquer the weaker nations around them.

MK on July 26, 2017:

I see bizarre reasoning to justify a mass murderer who reduced world population by 5% at that time.. a thief and a killer.. how he can be a national hero? .. If he was hero then by that logic Hitler was also a super hero.. pathetic.

Danny Yatim on July 08, 2017:

Thanks for this great article. Although not in great details about his character, I did learn about Tamerlane at school in Indonesia in the 1970s in our world history class. I only remember both Tamerlane (Timur-lenk) and Genghis Khan (Jengiskhan) were fierce conquerers in Asia. For some reason his name stayed in my mind, as Timur to me sounded so exotic for a name (Timur means East in Indonesian). Many years later I met someone from Uzbekistan whose name was Timur and he was surprised that I knew about this historical figure with a similar name. Anyway, thanks for the article.

Neelakantan R. on February 24, 2017:

Timur was a dangerous ruler since he arranged the killing of men and dishonour of women in India and other regions which he conquered.Such a man should never be born on earth.

Sam Kent on January 25, 2017:

Interesting! While Tamerlane could not claim Islam as his heritage, he is referred to as the Sword of Islam. How fitting!

Jayhind on January 20, 2017:

Vry nice n informative article, in fact I didn't got a better write-up,article on Tamerlane before this.Highly informative.Thank u so much.

Siegfried velasco on January 13, 2017:

Very controversial history, one side his military genius, which unfortunately historias, scholars, politicians give these men of war, often undeserved glorification. The great sacrifice and destruction of millions is a very high cost for their deeds. And why remember them with respect?, because, they also were men with vision. They built great monuments for posterity, and also brought along great scholars and architects, and men of science and philosophers to build from all over the empire to build anew, and often creat new styles.

Snowflake on January 10, 2017:

And it is false info about the absence of examples of architectural monuments during his time. In Samarkand, there is an amazing complex of ancient buildings built by him and called Registan. Every year, a musical festival is held there and musicians from all around the world take part in it.

Snowflake on January 10, 2017:

Hi Thomas, I think it would be really interesting for you to read the book which was translated by Marcel Brion, and the book is considered to be written by Amir Timur himself. From that book, I found out that he had incredible memory, that he was ambidexter, had more sons than 4, and I think he built that skeleton pyramid, because one of Indian commanders took out his son Sa'd Vakkas's heart while he was alive. In that book it is said he never hurt craftsmen, poets and scholars, even if they were the representatives of other religions. In addition, if the gates of cities were open to him without confrontations, he never killed even a single person. And if the rulers of those cities treated him with respect, he treated them in the same manner, no matter what religion they followed.

NiallMatellus on January 05, 2017:

can't even talk about a historical conquerer anymore without the intolerable SJWs whining all over the thread about why we should shame people who manuvered a tough world, defeated rivals, prospered and found success throughout...His victories tell you what the man was made of - extraordinary qualities....We remember these figures simply because they had the guts to put it all on the line to be remembered...

P.C. on December 24, 2016:

Indeed very informative article! Never knew many things!

Avinash Rana on December 21, 2016:

Hi Thomas,

Now you are going to see a tremendous boost for your article as one of the famous Bollywood (Indian film industry) couple has given their son name as Timur Ali khan which created a ridiculously great controversy. Now in India everyone is searching for Timur on google. After going through your article i find that he was neither a great person nor a great leader as he massacred innocent people. He may be a great leader for some guys (Muslim extremists) as he portrayed himself as "Sword of Islam" & some Europeans as he invaded against ottomans but not for guys like me. In Indian history there was Akbar "the great" who always worked to tie all religions together and successfully did so. India in last 1000 years, never invaded a single country but suffered 1000 invasions. But nevertheless i enjoyed reading your article especially the line "he is vilified as a monster for massacring the populations" in Indian sub-continent.

Manoor Elahi on December 21, 2016:

Very interesting and informative. In India, people believe him as a devil but no one can ignore his achievement.

syed naim on December 21, 2016:

good to know saif and Kareena named their first child as taimur he will change the face of industry one fine day .iron man with iron will can make the world iron ally .

Gurais on December 20, 2016:

It is amusing to see Pakistanis being proud of Timur. As with their generals, they are tactically brilliant but strategically stupid. The main reason they are proud of this barbarian (with no accomplishment except killing millions of people) is that he killed, raped, enslaved and converted many Hindus on his way to capture Delhi. Pakistani history and text books celebrate invaders of erstwhile Hindustan / India.

A look at the map of Timurid empire shown above reveals that only a small part of modern day India was invaded by Timur. However, almost the entire modern day Pakistan was under Timur's control. The HinduKush mountain ranges from central Afghanistan to north Pakistan. The Hindukush was the gateway to India through which most central Asian invaders came to India. Their first point of contact with India would be modern day Pakistan. Historically, the region of modern day Pakistan faced the wrath of the invaders. These were the Hindus who were forced to convert or be killed. This is borne out by the fact that the DNA of Pakistanis has its origins in India as well as central asia to some extent. In other words, the Hindus who faced the worst atrocities at the hands of Invaders resided in modern day Pakistan. If anything, instead of being proud of barbaric invaders and naming everything after them, Pakistanis should recognize where their roots are and see how they can turn into a modern nation. It is high time we stop making heroes out of barbarians. There are enough people in the world who have contributed to the upliftment of human spirit. Let us celebrate their achievement. It speaks volumes of the collective mentality of a nation when Barbarians are celebrated. This is evidenced by the fact that most such nations are considered basket cases. The truly advanced nations celebrate real heroes since they are aware of the effort it takes to create / invent something.

Gurais on December 20, 2016:

I think given enough time and information, the general perception about a person would be more or less accurate. That is why generally you do not see a Timur or a Hitler or a Pol Pot glorified. Yes, there are people who are proud but generally, they are probably viewed as a curious case to study. I do not understand why the Uzbek people feel so proud of him. What was his accomplishment? Conquering others by force, is that an human accomplishment? Undoubtedly, if a ruler has conquered as vast a swath of land as Timur has done, he must possess great military skill. That is a given. What I am unable to understand is that in this modern era, people try to project military skill as the greatest form of human achievement. War is destruction, not creation. Creating something takes a great deal of effort, destroying is very easy. He did not just conquer territory. He killed a *lot* of innocent people simply because their world view was not matching his. A lot here runs into millions. I have read accounts of soldiers coming back from battlefield being affected psychologically for life and we are speaking of modern warfare which is waged from a distance. During Timur's time, it would have been hand to hand combat and killing millions is not easy. Even though he would not have killed these millions himself, being responsible for it should weigh on a persons conscience. To glorify such barbarism and cold bloodedness as courage is stretching it too far I feel.

Sit back, close your eyes and imagine you are in that era you & your family are experiencing the atrocity meted out by him. I do not think many of us have even seen a thousand dead people. Here we are talking of hundreds of thousands. What suffering, what a tragedy and for what? His kingdom disintegrated soon after his death.

Asif Baig on November 28, 2016:

This is an very good article.I must congratulate the author.Being from same MUGAL BARLAS tribe of great timur, i pay my highest tribute to the greatest conqueror in world history.He was the last figure in world history after Alexander the great & GREAT CHENGIS KHAN who glorify to conquror the world on horse back and did so to a greater extent after genghis khan.and one last point GREAT TIMUR is considered to be the greatest military general in world history because he lead his forces in all battles himself.We are proud of TIMUR the great.

Rusydiana on November 05, 2016:

Thanks Thomas for your analysis of Timurlane. Honestly, it is very helpful to understand about him. Despite i must read more literatures from ather perspectives. I hope you write another analyzes for historical figures more.

Abdusattor on September 21, 2016:

HI Tomas Swan, i have read your article, i agree with you about Timur's succesfulity. He won all battles after becoming ruler of mawaraunahr in 1370, in his account hasn't any defeats. I think it's notable fact. And who was he been, his name TIMUR is very popular in Uzbekistan (my country) , Turkey (in form Demir or Timur), Kazakhstan,Kyrgystan, in Russia too. I would be happy if you add this facts your next articles. Great thanks to U.

Another point of view on August 18, 2016:

Firstly, I would like to thank Mr. Swan for a very informative compilation of facts.

Now to the discussion of the credibility of said facts.

When considering such historical information, one should always be skeptical and analyze other surrounding circumstances to draw conclusions. Therefore, I would like to add this perspective in regards to the numbers of victims reported in different sources. Considering the fact that Timur used networks of spies and propaganda tactics in his conquests, it is possible that his brutality was purposely disseminated among other unconquered populations to instill fear and encourage submission without struggle.

In terms of punishment used under his leadership for rebellions or submissions, we should consider the fact that Timur would probably forced to crush all dissent brutally to remain as an effective ruler.

One last thing that I would like to mention is that Central Asia was a weak region suspect to raids from neighboring rulers at the time. Being based in the Central Asia, he had to subdue his neighboring rulers to ensure stability within his own region. This could explain his quickness to be upset with insults by other rulers, namely Bayazid, in order to have an excuse for his campaigns. After all, an unprovoked assault would harm his troops' morale and make regions more resistant to his invasions.

Just my two cents.

Not important on July 18, 2016:

Man, those Persians and Georgians really spoiled the name of Timur. And by contrast, he did not care much about restoring his image even-though he was more than capable to do so.

Most of those "massacre" come from only one or two sources and whose are persian and georgian, a defeated states who has only bad things to say about Timur. Unless we get other sources to confirm the numbers (like 5% of world population were supposedly killed during his invasions) I think people, including the author, should really stop rolling the statements from unreliable sources. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying he was all good. He was a ruthless invader just like any other but he doesn't deserve this much of hate.

And come on! Who believes he was a thief? His father was a head of a prominent Mongolian tribe and head of city. You really think his son would be a thief of sheep? This has to be the clue for all those misinformation about the identity of Timur.

Dildora on February 28, 2016:

Himanshu Tiwari, could you please tell me, which king or the head of the great empire didn't kill any person? It is Tamerlane who was written in great number of books and historical sources. There is no an exact number of people, were killed by Tamerlane. And you can never be aware of the fact of victims and sacrifices made by other conquerors. I am, from Uzbekistan, as one of the young generation of Tamerlane, proud of my ancestor no matter what others think about him. I do know who he was from our history.

Himanshu Tiwari on February 22, 2016:

You forgot to add that he is responsible for death of 20 million people. He and his army has killed/murdered 100 thousand captives near delhi in one day.He is one the biggest mass murderer competing with adolf. He is more of a looter and murderer rather than any hero. read his biography looks like sordid tale of a mental psychopath.

Dildora on February 16, 2016:

Tamerlane was surely great person who unified more than 10 small provinces at its time just in Mawaranahr and many other countries. Dears, please, give an attention that Taimoor had very good characteristics and didn't force occupied regions. He had many beautiful buildings built not only in Samarkand, but in Shiraz, Baghdad, Yassi, Darband and many others. He had very good friendly relationships with Henry III of Castile, Henry IV of England and Charles VI of France and he sent precious presents them. I mean he spent not only flourishing of his motherland, but tried to balance. It's not easy to manage the great empire with such big territory with kind character, that's why he managed to choose the usage of military force

PatrickT on December 22, 2015:

Tamerlane was worse even by conquerors of his time. He destroyed not only so many (17 million +) innocent lives but the heartbeat of civilisations around Bagdad, Esfahan, Damascus and Delhi to name only a few. He added nothing except enriching his city of Samakand. He was the scourge/sword of Islam. Interesting to consider how Chinese history would have been changed if his planned assault on the Ming achieved fruition.

Jaees on December 16, 2015:

I am still confused.. is timur directly decend from mongols or not ??

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on August 13, 2015:

Intersting. Somehow Tamerlane doesn't get the same fame as Gengis Kahn. I guess the number 7 fact about him shows that people should leave well enough alone.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 13, 2015:

Thank you bodylevive and Lee Cloak. I'm happy to have written something you find interesting.

Lee Cloak on August 13, 2015:

Great hub, congrats on making hub of the day, i have heard of this guy many times but knew little about him until know, thanks for sharing, Lee

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on August 13, 2015:

He was an awful man and that's why no one remembers him in history. He did get you HOTD, so congrats on that.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 13, 2015:

Taimar, thank you for your comment. Yes, he was a very cruel man. The tower of heads may have been after taking Baghdad, though I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it after other invasions too. There always seems to be positives and negatives with these legendary rulers, but I think Timur was a bit too monstrous for a balance to be struck.

Rumasa, thank you very much. I expect there are parts of Pakistan (mainly west of the Indus River) that like Timur more than other parts (east of the Indus). Timur’s massacre of entire villages east of the Indus also focused on Hindu populations, which may make him a positive symbol for current nationalistic struggles against India.

Thank you Anne Harrison. That’s an unusual choice of name for an Australian winery!

Cheers Kristen. I’m very pleased to have gotten HOTD for this!

Thanks Chantelle. I’m glad you found it interesting and informative.

Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on August 13, 2015:

Fascinating article. i have heard of Tamerlane but knew nothing about him. Great read.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 13, 2015:

Thomas, congrats on HOTD! This was a real interesting hub to read about him. Voted up!

Anne Harrison from Australia on August 13, 2015:

I have heard of Tamerlane (in fact, a winery near us is named after him) yet I knew little of the man. Thank you for sharing

Rumasa on July 05, 2015:

Great article, although there is one little thing that I would like to dispute. Being from Pakistan I can almost surely say that Timur is celebrated there. In fact, Taimoor is a very common name there. I had never heard anything bad about him, in other words, I wasn't aware of his atrocities until I came to US.

Taimur on July 04, 2015:

Hi Thomas.. I'm from Pakistan.. My is after Timur.. Sometimes I think he is very cruel and sometimes I think he did what should be done.. I have read books on him.. He used to bring Beautiful building design or statues from the cities or countries he invade.. Timur was a great Leader yes you can call him a great leader.. but killing millions of people you can't call him great..

On one occasion he build a tower of head Skeletons... I'm not his dynasty or something .. I think i like him because of my name :P

great great great work man.. Very appreciable... Keep going..

(sorry for english :/)

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 23, 2015:

Thank you for your comment Gulmira. I'm always very happy to hear the opinions of Uzbeks here, and I'm glad this has reached you and been well received. It's great that the removal of the Soviets has led to a rich cultural resurgence.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 23, 2015:

Thanks for commenting aesta1. Sorry I missed your comment before. I know what you mean about Genghis Khan. He could be seen as a tolerant reformer as much as the vicious conqueror depicted by Western historians. I think that, usually, it's somewhere in between.

Gulmira on June 14, 2015:

Thank you for the article! Thank you for your interest! Being Uzbek, we are proud of our great ancestor, he is a symbol of courage, bravery. After gaining the independence, Uzbekistan became able to restore the rich heritage of the nation, to revive the names of great ancestors including Amir Temur.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 12, 2015:

I haven't read much about Tamerlane but I have about Genghis Khan. My idea of Genghis has changed and I am sure that when I listen to the people of Uzbekistan Tamerlane, I will also have a much more balanced view than just reading from Western historians. I have been corrected many times on my views of events in history.

Aziza on January 11, 2015:

Thanks ever so much :)

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on December 24, 2014:

Thank you for the kind words about the article Aziza. It was my pleasure to write it. I'm glad it came across as fair and balanced to you in Uzbekistan.

Aziza on December 24, 2014:

Hello, I'm from Uzbekistan. I'd like to thank you for providing so much fascinating information about our hero. He was a great person, no matter what people think about him in other countries but here he is considered to be our grandfather. And his monument is situated in the heart of the city. Thanks a lot, I'm really on cloud nine to see this page.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on November 21, 2014:

Glad you liked it Faliq. I also find tales of ascension from poor beginnings to astronomical heights fascinating. That's an interesting adage you've ended with too.

faliq khudadost on November 18, 2014:

enjoyed reading this epic legendary adventure :) from being the thief he become the conqueror :) reminded me the dialogue when you kill one person you are called murderer when you kill million people call you conquerer :(

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on October 26, 2014:

Thank you for commenting Jakhangir Mirzo. I'm happy you liked it.

Jakhangir Mirzo on October 13, 2014:

Hi Thomas my name is Jakhangir Mirzo From Uzbekistan.I read your theme very perfect.I'm too Barlos.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 04, 2013:

No worries Suhail. I understand and agree with what you said.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 04, 2013:

Thanks Ausseye. Yes, I've done a bit of research into narcissism myself. At the root of their problem is a deep level of insecurity, so that would fit with Tamerlane.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on August 04, 2013:

You are most welcome Thomas.

I have noted that there were some glaring errors in my following paragraph (now corrected):

Timur was what was then considered as a 'New Muslim' as opposed to having some credentials, like you have mentioned. Pakistani historians believe that he was a man in terrible inferiority complex, who waged wars just to teach other Muslims a lesson.

I apologise if I mis-communicated earler

Ausseye on August 04, 2013:

Hi ThomasI HopeASwanWho Seeks Answers :

You describe a person with enormous egos, inflated self-esteem and an unbelievable sense of entitlement. They are smooth talkers, and prolific liars. They are aggressive, impulsive, reckless, and when caught behaving badly, defiant. Does this sound familiar?

What you are reading is a profile of a particular type of person who through history have been very, very successful ……stand out and make history but alas they are now known as low on love, emotion and humanity. We are talking about Sociopaths, if you’re like most people, you may think that a sociopath is a serial killer. This is occasionally true, but in reality, most sociopaths never kill anyone. They get others to do their dirty work and sit back and claim the glory.

Modern research shows their brains are responsible, being cold to love, empathy and humanity.. Their frontal lob is oh so cold compared to the majority… they represent approximately 5% of the population full blown and another 8% partially blown…so have quite an influence in the lives of those on our planet.

My reason for replying is that being informed makes us less of a victim if we choose to observe, and the world a slightly better place to be. All those you mentioned shared those traits.

History also makes a point…success at all levels has some cold reality….I hope global warming has some effect on brains….just kidding.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 04, 2013:

Cheers Wesman. I'm glad you found it interesting and informative!

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 04, 2013:

Thank you suhail. I wasn't sure about Timur's temperament before your comment, so it's nice to hear that many Pakistani historians agree with what I've said about him. I suppose his injury could have easily contributed to the inferiority complex.

I like your point about Timur not leaving much behind. That would be a good explanation for his absence from history.

Also, thank you for your vote and share! It's much appreciated.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on August 04, 2013:

Thanks for commenting and raising that point Ausseye. I do have a kind of sick fascination for these types. I have written about Hitler, Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin, Ivan The Terrible and Rasputin too! It's more from a psychological perspective though. I enjoy trying to understand their personalities. For example, Tamerlane seemed to be a prickly and reactive individual who took offense easily and always sought revenge. Unfortunately, I didn't find much information on his childhood though.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on August 03, 2013:

This is a terrific page, and thanks very much for providing this information.

I confess I knew the name, but couldn't recall what or who Tamerlane was until I started reading.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on August 03, 2013:

Hi Thomas,

I read your article with great interest. When I was growing up in Pakistan, they used to tell us about Tamerlane (or Amir Timur or Timur-e-lung) in our school textbooks.

Timur is considered a national hero of Uzbekistan. In Pakistan, the reaction is mixed. Many people carry his name, but that may be a Mughal name rather than coming straight from Timur-e-Lung.

Timur was what is was then considered as a 'New Muslim' as opposed to having some credentials, lie you have mentioned. Pakistani historians believe he was a man in terrible inferiority complex, who waged wars just to teach other Muslims a lesson.

Also, why he may not be remembered is that he didn't leave any influence on the world after his death. He didn't build any libraries, roads, buildings, educational institutions, mosques, gardens, etc. and didn't introduce anything that could be continued as something positive for others.

Compare him with a later Indo-Pakistani hero - Sher Shah Suri (1486 – 22 May 1545). Although he ruled for only 5 years, he gave the Asian subcontinent its first main highway known as G.T. Road, concept of roadside restaurants, and express delivery of mail.

Voted up, awesome and shared!

Ausseye on August 02, 2013:

Hi your work but not your subject

The history of a tyrant is well forgotten and easy to throw into the dark hole in the universe

both he and Hitler are worthy partners to share a forgotten space in time. Unfortunately many more should share his historical fate, including Genghis. Love your research and written work, hate the character you chose to enrich us with, hope you chose someone kind next time as you write well.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on July 30, 2013:

Cheers Mel. I think it's mainly because they were expert horsemen. When the Greeks and Persians became city-dwellers, they may have fallen behind the Eastern nomadic peoples in terms of cavalry skills. Also, with many small tribes (rather than a couple of vast cities), it was easier for skilled individuals to rise to the top of society. Khan and Tamarlane appeared to promote people based on merit rather than birth-right, giving them superior generals and tactics.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 29, 2013:

I read about Tamerlane when I was a young man, and this refreshed my memory. This was a fascinating era of history. It is incredible that these simple, pastoral people of the Asian steppes could conquer the known world. Great stuff, I enjoyed reading it.

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