The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 29, 2011 - History
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Timur (or Tamerlane) is famous as the fourteenth-century conqueror of much of Central Eurasia and the founder of the Timurid dynasty. His reputation lived on in his native lands and reappeared some three centuries after his death in the form of fictional biographies, authored anonymously in Persian and Turkic. These biographies have become part of popular culture. Despite a direct continuity in their production from the eighteenth century to the present, they remain virtually unknown to people outside the region. This remarkable and rigorous scholarly appraisal of the legendary biographies of Tamerlane is the first of its kind in any language. The book sheds light not only on the character of Tamerlane and how he was remembered and championed by many generations after his demise, but also on the era in which the biographies were written and how they were conceived and received by the local populace during an age of crisis in their own history.
 

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Contents

The Origins and Usages of Tīmūrs Heroic Apocrypha
22
Tīmūrs Birth and Childhood
54
Youth
76
Inauguration and Kingship
92
Premonitions
104
Central Asia in Turmoil 17001750
117
Conclusion
141
Index
157
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About the author (2011)

Ron Sela is Assistant Professor of Central Asian History at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Ritual and Authority in Central Asia: The Khan's Inauguration Ceremony (2003) and co-author, with Scott C. Levi, of Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources (2009).

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