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The Timurids ( ), self-designated Gurkānī Note: Gurgān, Gurkhān, or Kurkhān; The meaning of Kurkhan is given in Clements Markham's publication of the reports of the contemporary witness Ruy González de Clavijo as "of the lineage of sovereign princes".( ), were a Persianate Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of originally Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Central Asia, Iranmarker, modern Afghanistanmarker, as well as large parts of Pakistanmarker, India, Mesopotamia and Caucasus. It was founded by the legendary conqueror Timur (Tamerlane) in the 14th century.

In the 16th century, Timurid prince Babur, the ruler of Ferghanamarker, invaded India and founded the Mughal Empire, which ruled most of the Indian subcontinent until its decline after Aurangzeb in the early 18th century, and was formally dissolved by the British Raj after the Indian rebellion of 1857.

Origins

The origin of the Timurid dynasty goes back to the Mongolian nomadic confederation known as Barlas, who were remnants of the original Mongol army of Genghis Khan. After the Mongol conquest of Central Asia, the Barlas settled in Turkistan (which then became also known as Moghulistan - "Land of Mongols") and intermingled to a considerable degree with the local Turkic and Turkic-speaking population, so that at the time of Timur's reign the Barlas had become thoroughly Turkicized in terms of language and habits. Additionally, by adopting Islam, the Central Asian Turks and Mongols also adopted the Persian literary and high culture which had dominated Central Asia since the early days of Islamic influence. Persian literature was instrumental in the assimilation of the Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamic courtly culture..

Founding the dynasty

Timur conquered large parts of Transoxiana (in modern day Central Asia) and Khorasan (parts of modern day Iranmarker, Afghanistanmarker, Uzbekistanmarker, Tajikistanmarker and Turkmenistanmarker) from 1363 onwards with various alliances (Samarkandmarker in 1366, and Balkhmarker in 1369), and was recognized as ruler over them in 1370. Acting officially in the name of the Mongolian Chagatai ulus, he subjugated Transoxania and Khwarazm in the years that followed and began a campaign westwards in 1380. By 1389 he had removed the Kartids from Heratmarker and advanced into mainland Persia from 1382 (capture of Isfahanmarker in 1387, removal of the Muzaffarids from Shirazmarker in 1393, and expulsion of the Jalayirids from Baghdadmarker). In 1394/95 he triumphed over the Golden Horde and enforced his sovereignty in the Caucasus, in 1398 subjugated Multanmarker and Dipalpurmarker in modern day Pakistanmarker and in modern day India left Delhimarker in such ruin that it is said for two months "not a bird moved wing in the city".In 1400/01 conquered Aleppomarker, Damascusmarker and eastern Anatoliamarker, in 1401 destroyed Baghdad and in 1402 triumphed over the Ottomans at Ankaramarker. In addition, he transformed Samarqand into the Center of the World. An estimated 17 million people may have died from his conquests.

After the end of the Timurid Empire in 1506, the Mughal Empire was later established in India by Babur in 1526, who was a descendant of Timur through his father and possibly a descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother. The dynasty he established is commonly known as the Mughal Dynasty. By the 17th century, the Mughal Empire ruled most of India, but later declined during the 18th century. The Timurid Dynasty came to an end in 1857 after the Mughal Empire was dissolved by the British Empire and Bahadur Shah II was exiled to Burmamarker.

Due to the fact that the Persian cities were desolated by previous wars, the seat of Persian culture was now in Samarkand and Herat. These cities became the center of the Timurid renaissance.

Culture

Although the Timurids hailed from the Barlas tribe which was of Turkicized Mongol origin, they had embraced Persian culture, converted to Islam and resided in Turkestan and Khorasan. Thus, the Timurid era had a dual character, which reflected both the Turco-Mongol origins and the Persian literary, artistic, and courtly high culture of the dynasty.

Language

During the Timurid era, Central Asian society was bifurcated and had divided the responsibilities of government and rule into military and civilian along ethnic lines. At least in the early stages, the military was almost exclusively Turko-Mongolian, and the civilian and administrative element was almost exclusively Persian. The spoken language shared by all the Turko-Mongolians throughout the area was Chaghatay Turkic. The political organization hearkened back to the steppe-nomadic system of patronage introduced by Genghis Khan. The major language of the period, however, was Persian, the native language of the Tājīk (Persian) component of society and the language of learning acquired by all literate and/or urban people. Already Timur was steeped in Persian culture and in most of the territories which he incorporated, Persian was the primary language of administration and literary culture. Thus the language of the settled "diwan" was Persian, and its scribes had to be thoroughly adept in Persian culture, whatever their ethnic origin. Persian became the official state language of the Timurid Empire and served as the language of administration, history, belles lettres, and poetry. The Chaghatay language was the native and "home language" of the Timurid family while Arabic served as the language par excellence of science, philosophy, theology and the religious sciences.

Literature

Timurid literature in Persian


Persian literature, especially Persian poetry occupied a central place in the process of assimilation of the Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamic courtly culture. The Timurid sultans, especially Šāhrukh Mīrzā and his son Mohammad Taragai Oloğ Beg, patronized Persian culture.B. Spuler, "Central Asia in the Mongol and Timurid periods", published in Encyclopaedia Iranica. ( pdf) Note:"... Like his father, Olōğ Beg was entirely integrated into the Persian Islamic cultural circles, and during his reign Persian predominated as the language of high culture, a status that it retained in the region of Samarqand until the Russian revolution 1917 [...] Ḥoseyn Bāyqarā encouraged the developement of Persian literature and literary talent in every way possible ..." Among the most important literary works of the Timurid era is the Persian biography of Timur, known as "Zafarnāmeh" ( ), written by Sharaf ud-Dīn Alī Yazdī, which itself is based on an older "Zafarnāmeh" by Nizām al-Dīn Shāmī, the official biographer of Timur during his lifetime. The most famous poet of the Timurid era was Nūr ud-Dīn Jāmī, the last great medieval Sufi mystic of Persia and one of the greatest in Persian poetry. In addition, some of the astronomical works of the Timurid sultan Ulugh Beg were written in Persian, although the bulk of it was published in Arabic. The Timurid ruler Baysunğur also commissioned a new edition of the Persian national epic Shāhnāmeh, known as Shāhnāmeh of Baysunğur, and wrote an introduction to it. According to T. Lenz:

Timurid literature in Chagatay
The Timurids also played a very important role in the history of Turkic literature. Based on the established Persian literary tradition, a national Turkic literature was developed in the Chagatay language. Chagatay poets such as Mīr Alī Sher Nawā'ī, Sultan Husayn Bāyqarā, and Zāher ud-Dīn Bābur encouraged other Turkic-speaking poets to write in their own vernacular in addition to Arabic and Persian. The Bāburnāma, the autobiography of Bābur (although being highly Persianized in its sentence structure, morphology, and vocabulary), as well as Mīr Alī Sher Nawā'ī's Chagatay poetry are among the best-known Turkic literary works and have influenced many others.

Art

During the reign of the Timurids, the golden age of Persian painting was ushered. During this period — and analogous to the developments in Safavid PersiaChinese art and artists had a significant influence on Persian art. Timurid artists refined the Persian art of the book, which combines paper, calligraphy, illumination, illustration and binding in a brilliant and colourful whole. It was the Mongol ethnicity of the Chaghatayid and Timurid Khans that is the source of the stylistic depiction Persian art during the Middle Ages. These same Mongols intermarried with the Persians and Turks of Central Asia, even adopting their religion and languages. Yet their simple control of the world at that time, particularly in the 13–15th centuries, reflected itself in the idealised appearance of Persians as Mongols. Though the ethnic make-up gradually blended into the Iranian and Mesopotamian local populations, the Mongol stylism continued well after, and crossed into Asia Minormarker and even North Africa.

Architecture

In the realm of architecture, the Timurids drew on and developed many Seljuq traditions. Turquoise and blue tiles forming intricate linear and geometric patterns decorated the facades of buildings. Sometimes the interior was decorated similarly, with painting and stucco relief further enriching the effect. Timurid architecture is the pinnacle of Islamic art in Central Asia. Spectacular and stately edifices erected by Timur and his successors in Samarkandmarker and Heratmarker helped to disseminate the influence of the Ilkhanid school of art in India, thus giving rise to the celebrated Mughal (or Mongol) school of architecture. Timurid architecture started with the sanctuary of Ahmed Yasawimarker in present-day Kazakhstanmarker and culminated in Timur's mausoleum Gur-e Amirmarker in Samarkandmarker. Timur’s Gur-I Mir, the 14th-century mausoleum of the conqueror is covered with ‘’turquoise Persian tiles’’ Nearby, in the center of the ancient town, a Persian style Madrassa (religious school) and a Persian style Mosque by Ulugh Beg is observed. The mausoleum of Timurid princes, with their turquoise and blue-tiled domes remain among the most refined and exquisite Persian architecture. Axial symmetry is a characteristic of all major Timurid structures, notably the Shāh-e Zendamarker in Samarkandmarker, the Musallah complex in Herat, and the mosque of Gowhar Shād in Mashhadmarker. Double domes of various shapes abound, and the outsides are perfused with brilliantly colors. Timurs dominance of the region strengthened the influence of his capital and Persian architecture upon India.

Rulers and heads of the dynasty

Rulers of the Timurid Empire

  • Timur (Tamerlane) 1370–1405 (771–807 AH) – with Suyurghitmiš Chaghtay as nominal overlord followed by Mahmūd Chaghtay as overlord and finally Muhammad Sultān as heir
  • Pir Muhammad bin Jahāngīr 1405–07 (807–08 AH)


Rulers of Herat

Herat is conquered by the Uzbeks under Muhammad Shaybani

Rulers of Samarkand

Abu Sa'id's sons divided his territories upon his death, into Samarkand, Badakhshan and Farghana

  • Sultān ibn Abu Sa’id 1469–94 (873–99 AH)
  • Sultān Mahmūd ibn Abu Sa’id 1494–95 (899–900 AH)
  • Sultān Baysunqur 1495–97 (900–02 AH)
  • Mas’ūd 1495 (900 AH)
  • Sultān Alī Mīrzā 1495–1500 (900–05 AH)
Samarkand is conquered by the Uzbeks under Muhammad Shaybani

Other rulers

  • Qaidu bin Pir Muhammad bin Jahāngīr 808–811 AH
  • Abu Bakr bin Mīrān Shāh 1405–07 (807–09 AH)
  • Pir Muhammad bin Umar Sheikh 807–12 AH
  • Rustam 812–17 AH
  • Sikandar 812–17 AH
  • Alaudaullah 851 AH
  • Abu Bakr bin Muhammad 851 AH
  • Sultān Muhammad 850–55 AH
  • Muhammad bin Hussayn 903–06 AH
  • Abul A'la Fereydūn Hussayn 911–12 AH
  • Muhammad Mohsin Khān 911–12 AH
  • Muhammad Zamān Khān 920–23 AH
  • Shāhrukh II bin Abu Sa’id 896–97 AH
  • Ulugh Beg Kābulī 873–907 AH
  • Sultān Uways 1508–22 (913–27 AH)


See also



References and notes

  1. Edward Balfour The Encyclopaedia Asiatica, Comprising Indian Subcontinent, Eastern and Southern Asia, Cosmo Publications 1976, S. 460, S. 488, S. 897
  2. Maria Subtelny, "Timurids in Transition", BRILL; illustrated edition (2007-09-30). pg 40: "Nevertheless, in the complex process of transition, members of the Timurid dynasty and their Turko-Mongolian supporters became acculturate by the surrounding Persinate millieu adopting Persian cultural models and tastes and acting as patrons of Persian culture, painting, architecture and music." pg 41: "The last members of the dynasty, notably Sultan-Abu Sa'id and Sultan-Husain, in fact came to be regarded as ideal Perso-Islamic rulers who develoted as much attention to agricultural development as they did to fostering Persianate court culture."
  3. B.F. Manz, "Tīmūr Lang", in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Online Edition, 2006
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica, " Timurid Dynasty", Online Academic Edition, 2007. (Quotation:...Turkic dynasty descended from the conqueror Timur (Tamerlane), renowned for its brilliant revival of artistic and intellectual life in Iran and Central Asia....Trading and artistic communities were brought into the capital city of Herat, where a library was founded, and the capital became the centre of a renewed and artistically brilliant Persian culture...)
  5. Encyclopaedia Britannica article: Consolidation & expansion of the Indo-Timurids, Online Edition, 2007.
  6. "Timur", The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-05 Columbia University Press, ( LINK)
  7. "Consolidation & expansion of the Indo-Timurids", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, ( LINK)
  8. B. Spuler, "Central Asia in the Mongol and Timurid periods", published in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2006/7, ( LINK): "... Like his father, Olōğ Beg was entirely integrated into the Persian Islamic cultural circles, and during his reign Persian predominated as the language of high culture, a status that it retained in the region of Samarqand until the Russian revolution 1917 [...] Ḥoseyn Bāyqarā encouraged the development of Persian literature and literary talent in every way possible ..."
  9. David J. Roxburgh. The Persian Album, 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection. Yale University Press, 2005. pg 130: "Persian literature, especially poetry, occupied a central in the process of assimilation of Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamicate courtly culture, and so it is not surprising to find Baysanghur commissioned a new edition of Firdawsi's Shanama
  10. Volume III: To the Year A.D. 1398, Chapter: XVIII. Malfúzát-i Tímúrí, or Túzak-i Tímúrí: The Autobiography of Tímúr. Page: 389 (please press next and read all pages in the online copy) ( 1. Online copy, 2. Online copy) from: Elliot, Sir H. M., Edited by Dowson, John. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; published by London Trubner Company 1867–1877. (Online Copy: The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; by Sir H. M. Elliot; Edited by John Dowson; London Trubner Company 1867–1877 - This online Copy has been posted by: The Packard Humanities Institute; Persian Texts in Translation; Also find other historical books: Author List and Title List)
  11. Selected Death Tolls: Timur Lenk (1369–1405)
  12. M.S. Asimov & C. E. Bosworth, History of Civilizations of Central Asia, UNESCO Regional Office, 1998, ISBN 9231034677, p. 320: "... One of his followers was [...] Timur of the Barlas tribe. This Mongol tribe had settled [...] in the valley of Kashka Darya, intermingling with the Turkish population, adopting their religion (Islam) and gradually giving up its own nomadic ways, like a number of other Mongol tribes in Transoxania ..."
  13. Babur, Emperor of Hindustan (2002). The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor. translated, edited and annotated by W.M. Thackston. Modern Library.
  14. Gérard Chaliand, Nomadic Empires: From Mongolia to the Danube translated by A. M. Berrett, Transaction Publishers, 2004. pg 75
  15. Beatrice Forbes Manz. The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane. Cambridge University Press, 1999. pg 109: "...In Temür's government, as in those of most nomad dynasties, it is impossible to find a clear distinction between civil and military affairs, or to identify the Persian bureaucracy solely civil, and the Turko-Mongolian solely with military government. It is in fact difficult to define the sphere of either side of the administration and we find Persians and Chaghatays sharing many tasks. (In discussiong the settled bureaucracy and the people who worked within it I use the word Persian in a cultural rather than ethnological sense. In almost all the territories which Temür incorporated into his realm Persian was the primary language of administration and literary culture. The language of the settled "diwan" was Persian, and its scribes had to be thoroughly adept in Persian culture, whatever their ethnic origin.) Temür's Chaghatay emirs were often involved in civil and provincial administration and even in financial affairs, traditionally the province of Persian bureaucracy...."
  16. David J. Roxburgh. The Persian Album, 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection. Yale University Press, 2005. pg 130: "Persian literature, especially poetry, occupied a central in the process of assimilation of Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamicate courtly culture, and so it is not surprising to find Baysanghur commissioned a new edition of Firdawsi's Shanameh
  17. B.F. Manz/W.M. Thackston/D.J. Roxburgh/L. Golombek/L. Komaroff/R.E. Darley-Doran; "Timurids", in Encyclopaedia of Islam; Brill; Online Edition (2007): "... As it had been prior to the Timurids and continued to be after them, Arabic was the language par excellence of science, philosophy, theology and the religious sciences. Much of the astronomical work of Ulugh Beg and his co-workers [...] is in Arabic, although they also wrote in Persian. Theological works [...] are generally in Arabic. ..."
  18. " Baysonghori Shahnameh" in Encyclopedia Iranica by T. Lenz
  19. Persian Paintings
  20. MSN Encarta. Islamic Art and Architecture.
  21. Art Arena. Persian art - the Safavids
  22. Stephen Frederic DaleThe Garden of the Eight Paradises: Babur and the Culture of Empire. BRILL, 2004. pg 150
  23. New Orient, By Czechoslovak Society for Eastern Studies, Czechoslovak Society for Eastern Studies, 1968. pg 139.
  24. John Onians, Atlas of World Art, Laurence King Publishing, 2004. pg 132.
  25. John Julius Norwich, Great Architecture of the World, Da Capo Press, 2001. pg 278.
  26. Hugh Kennedy, “The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In”, Da Capo Press, 2007. pg 237
  27. Banister Fletcher, Dan Cruickshan, "Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture ",Architectural Press, 1996. pg 606


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