Creating an image of Tamerlane
Sunday 26 September 2021, 2.30pm to 3.20pm BST
By all accounts, the Chagahtay Mongol warlord Timur or Tamerlane was fearsome, brutal and violent. He sacked cities, massacred populations, built towers of the skulls of his victims and left a swathe of devastation across western Asia, from Delhi to Damascus. The chronicles of his life of conquest do not flinch from recording his atrocities, but couch them in terms of his empire building and personal heroics. His military triumphs made him a model for later conquerors establishing new dynasties (and he is now idolised as the hero of modern Uzbekistan) – but how was all this depicted? The illustrated Persian chronicles of his history-turned-legend seize on certain actions that seemed to define or encapsulate his career and go some way to softening the image of the conqueror. This illustrated talk will explore the evolution of the image of Tamerlane from the 14th to the 17th century in Persian manuscripts.
Emeritus Professor Charles Melville (Pembroke 1969 and Fellow of Pembroke)
Charles Melville is Emeritus Professor of Persian History at the University of Cambridge and author of numerous articles on the period from the Mongols to the Safavids. He has toured widely in Iran and Central Asia with Distant Horizons and other travel companies.
Booking for this event is now closed.