Was Tamerlane Merely a Soldier?
Keywords: Tamerlane, Soldier, Asia, Turk, History
As a result of his campaigns and victories Tamerlane's fame spread throughout the world, and, for centuries, it has retained its potency wherein he stands as both a figure of terror and a legendary hero. But, was he, as Barthold adjudged, merely a "chief of a gang of bandits" or a "warrior who wrecked and burned the cities he captured and erected minarets upon heaps of human skulls"? On the conclusion of Tamerlane's campaign-waging, which had created a general atmosphere of fear, law and order was secured in the country and the rule maintained by the princes in the various regions of the country facilitated reconciliation with the past. These administrators were aware that, in order to bring prosperity to the land and secure peaceful conditions, they twould have to establish the agriculture and the economy on sound foundations and install stability. Tamerlane had also come to the realization that commerce represented the single greatest source of revenue for the treasury. Within the capital of Samarkand existed a great many markets and weaving ateliers and, above all, the city formed the hub of the spice trade. According to Clavijo, it even surpassed Alexandria in this respect. This same envoy reports that Tamerlane constantly encouraged commercial activities to make the city the most perfect in the world. Once Samarkand had been selected as the capital, Tamerlane laid great stress on construction projects and had the master craftsmen, artists and men of science of the lands he conquered brought there to settle and as a result the art of miniature illumination of books and astronomy exhibited great advances. For each of the artisans now had become inspired to excell in his field. On this account, in response to the query of what good came of the campaigns and conquests of the Timurid period, one may reply that it brought about the Timurid renaissance, which, it must be conceded, made a significant contribution to Turkic culture, human history and world civilization.