« PreviousContinue »
- The -
Rom AN EMPIRE,
Elevation of Timour, or Tamerlane, to the Throne of Samarcand.—His Conquests in Persia, Georgia, Tartary, Russia, India, Syria, and Anatolia.— His Turkish War.—Defeat and Captivity of Bajazet—Death of Timour.—Civil War of the Sons of Bajazet—Restoration of the Turkish Monarchy by Mahomet the First.—Siege of Constantinople by Amurath the Scrond.
HE conquest and monarchy of the world was the first object of the ambition of TIMoUR. To live in the memory and esteem of future ages, was the second wish of his magnanimous spirit. All the civil and military transactions of his reign were diligently recorded in the journals of his secretaries *; the authentic narrative was revised by
Wol. XII. B the
* These journals were communicated to Shereseddin, or Cherefeddin
the persons best informed of each particular trans. action; and it is believed in the empire and family of Timour, that the monarch himself composed the commentaries " of his life, and the institutions f of his government i. But these eares were ineffectual for the preservation of his fame, and these precious memorials in the Mogul or Persian language were concealed from the world, or at least from the knowledge of Europe. The nations which he vanquished
Cherefeddin Ali, a native of Yezd, who composed in the Per. sian language a history of Timour Beg, which has been translated into French by M. Petis de la Croix, (Paris, 1722, in 4 vols, 12mo), and has always been my faithful guide. His geography and chronology are wonderfully accurate; and he may be trusted for public facts, though he servilely praises the virtue and fortune of the hero. Timour's attention to procure intelligence from his own and foreign countries, may be seen in the Institutions, p. 215. 217. 349. 351.
* These Commentaries are yet unknown in Europe; but Mr White gives some hope that they may be imported and translated by his friend Major Davy, who had read in the East this “minute and faithful narrative of an interesting and eventful period.”
+ I am ignorant whether the original institution, in the Turkish or Mogul language, be still extant. The Persic version, with an English translation and most valuable index, was published (Oxford, 1783, in 4to) by the joint labours of Major Davy, and Mr White, the Arabic professor. This work has been since translated from the Persic into French (Paris, 1787) by M. Langles, a learned Orientalist, who has added the life of Timour, and many curious notes.
f Shaw Allum, the present Mogul, reads, values, but can. not imitate, the institutions of his great ancestor. The English translator relies on their internal evidence; but, if any suspicions should arise of fraud and fiction, they will not be dispelled by Major Davy's letter. The Orientals have never cultivated the art of criticism ; the patronage of a prince, less honourable perhaps, is not less lucrative than that of a bookseller ; nor can it be deemed incredible, that a Persian, the real author, should rencunce the credit, to raise the value and price, of the work.
o vanquished exercised a base and impotent revenge; C.H.A. P.
and ignorance has long repeated the tale of calum- --~~
ny", which had disfigured the birth and character,
natural, or perhaps an honourable, infirmity.
* The original of the tale is found in the following work, which is much esteemed for its flotid elegance of style: Ahme. dis Araleiade (Ahmed Ebn Arabshaw) Pita et Rerum gettarum Timuri. Aralize et Latine. Edidit Samuel Henricus Manger. Francquere, 1767, 2 ton, in 4to. This Syrian author is ever a malicious, and often an ignorant enemy ; the very titles of his chapters are injurious ; as how the wicked, as how the impious, as how the viper, &c. The copious article of TIMts, in Bibliotheque Orientale, is of a mixed nature, as d’Herbelot indifferently draws his materials (p. 877–888.) from Khondemir, Ebn Schounah, and the Lebtarikh.
+ Demir, or Timeur, signifies, in the Turkish language, iron; and Beg is the appellation of a lord or prince. By the change of a letter or accent, it is changed into Lenz, or lame : and a European corruption confounds the two words in the name of Tamerlane.
I After relating some false and foolish tales of Timour Lane, Arabshah is compelled to speak truth, and to own him for a kinsman of Zingis, per mulieres (as he peevishly adds) laqueos Santana, (pars i. c. i. p. 25.). The testimony of Abulghazi Khan (p. ii. c. 5. p. v. c. 4.) is clear, unquestion able, and decisive.