Timur the Lame (that's Tamerlane to the Westerners) conquered areas from Persia to Russia throughout the late 1300s. His last great battle was in Ankara against Sultan Bayezid I. But how exactly did he gain the upper hand? Tune in to find out.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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welcome to stuff. You missed in history class from has two weeks to come hello and workers in the past to blame it on providing an answer, and we ve only really enjoy the topics that we ve been covering lately that there's one thing has been saying and we really been testing at, and that is a proper acclamation and that's why I really when listener will suggested a podcast on Tamar Lane, which offers us only an exclamation and occurs, but as he describes a person who is a patron of the arts, Harry Genius and a blood thirsty conquer, all wrapped up in one add up our alley. It does, and it was funny because, when will suggested this, he mentioned that he found it because you just two new city and you didn't know anybody. So he was researching bloody com,
the little ominous. Well, it does. I can't say well that that's going to make you a lot of friends, definitely gets us on your side, but back to Tamar. Lane he's also known as Timor, and he was your average ruthless warrior. He conquered and empire that stretch from the alien to the Ganges and he's been called the last great Mad predator one of histories, most notorious psychopaths and the scourge of God he's even claimed assent from Genghis Khan, which is gonna, make sense when we get his life a little later, though, with that kind of he cried its clear that there are a lot of stories that we could tell about this guy. But to keep things simple, we're going to focus on his last. major battle, which was the battle of on car, in which he went up against another great force, the Ottoman Empire, and you really get to see the tactics that made him who he was one. When you look at this battle closely and the battle itself is pretty famous that makes an appear
in our old friend, Christopher Marlins play timberland the great, and even though, in that case you know, it's been dramatize. Surrounding our protagonist in this player fictional eyes, so we're going to start with some something with some real historical truth to it. The early days of Timor is life Yes, he was born with the name Seymour, which, which means iron and Turkic on April, eight thirteen, thirty six in cash, which south of I'm a in what is now who and There was a minor chief of the Varlet tribe and settled in that area at the heart of the crumbling Mongol Empire, which was breaking up, into warring factions, ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan, and these were the three actions, the chalk, attire, khanate, the ill conceived dynasty and the so called golden horde, so, the borderless were part of the targeted khanate which had its own trouble with tensions between nomadic tribes and those who wanted to set
life. So there is a lot of tribal infighting beer as well as these grander model in fighting yet attention. So a lot going on, but tumor came up in this environment and started out as a kind of a banned. It really probably participating in these intertribal disputes that off those doing just some plain old criminal staff, it during a raid, while he was still a young man. Some say he was stealing sheep that he was injured in her right arm and leg, and his right arm was just left completely useless and because of the injuries in his right leg, he walked with a limp. So this is what actually led to that western name Timberline with originally Timor, each link or two more the lame which, with We not a flattering title: it was something used by his enemies to to mock him yeah, but even after those injuries it's interesting. He was still a force to be reckoned where he was a big strong guy with a large
and a long beard of a reddish. Here, that's what side of him anyway and he became a skilled horse and superior soldier any quickly built at the following and then in third sixty one team or took charge of the area around Samarkand when he swore allegiance to, took look who had taken over the target. khanate and when took died not long after Timor actually formed an alliance with another tribal chief named Hussein and they split up the area. As a kind of put down the other warring tribes and took over in this area, but eventually Timor even turned on his thin and defeated him. The working his way up, all the while and by thirteen seventy Eustace in his early thirties. He was point the ruler of the China Tie Khanate, which had its capital at summer conned. So he had gone from just being the son of one of these local tribes to ruling the whole Conny. Yeah misses the point.
that also he starts claiming to be a descendant of Genghis Khan, though Morse most sources indicate that this is probably unlikely and he's seen his goal of re establishing the Mongol empire, so he's dabble she in the strategy of war broad and peace are a more subtle life at home which satisfies kind of everyone. It satisfies those who want new conquest, as well as those who wanted the more stable settled life. He restart there's a monopolize the silk road and spends the thirteen Eightys and ninetys invading conquering many areas, including persia you raw, Armenia, Georgia and at all Syria, all of central Asia. Northern dear, and the approaches to China and much of southern Russia, too ITALY has long. Struggle, though, was that against the golden hoard, one of those original warring factions that we talked about, and he finally defeated them and thirteen ninety one.
We gotta talk about how he did all of this I mean that's a pretty impressive list. You just rattled off their de Billina, first of all He was really scary. I mean that was his prime way of conquering all of these territories. He served up his invasions, whither heaping helping of violence. You could say He would basically come in destroy entire cities. Math occur their entire populations, and then build towers or pyramids out of their severed has seriously that was kind of a trade mark in its behind. Central Asia, for example. He demanded that each of his soldiers take a severed head. It amounted to seventy thousand total were built into towers and city. Two thousand people were cemented together to make a living tower, so I mean you hear numbers like this all the time. Seventy thousand ninety thousand twenty thousand. These are the numbers that were involved in these massacres and it's sort of
amazing mine, it make fury, consider what he was actually out there doing to Richard Cavendish in history. Today called these quote moron. Nature of large scale, looting expeditions than empire building in it. It does theme that way, and it's really no wonder that people were so afraid of him, because he used fear as a compelling weapon as much as any of his other tactics, which also include things like lightning advances and faint retreats and ambitious though he was in a military fence. But it was this fear, tactic that really accomplish things. In the end, he would even send secret agents of troops to spread rumours about atrocity those cities would get scared, insert a lay down their arms, not that that would really help them very much in the air didn't and a lot of cases that Timor was also somewhat contradictory and that he was just a killing machine. He was also a fine chess player he actually did the game of tourmaline chess
and he enjoyed a good theological discussion. Now and again he engaged scholars and debate. He also did a lot to beautify, has capital summer kind. He encouraged art there literature, science and public works, and it feel like the one group of people that he consistently spared he did leave these towns where the first cities artisans they're, fine craftsman. He would bring back to to his camp all and have them beautified until new buildings than and just make it a better place. That's ironic, though, when you consider that she modern himself then very little time and his cap No. He usually only stay there for a few days. At a time he was truly and no mad. He personally lead all of his campaigns and he was constantly campaigning. He was in some account for about two years at the end of the thirteen nine bees, but then in India and thirteen ninety eight
officially, because the Sultan of Daily wasn't persecuting the Hindus enough, but it kind of just seemed like an excuse is ready to get out of the half exactly and he ended up drawing Delhi and he killed a hundred thousand civilians and, according to my sources, this took more than a century for the city to recover from. So even after that bloody indian campaign, he still had a couple empires left polish off one the Mameluk empire in Syria and Egypt and he sacked Damascus and fourteen a wine classic fear, tactic kind of stuff, went on there and then the only place left standing was the Ottoman Empire in Turkey which, at the time was led by Thornton by the first by the who is also known. As the thunderbolt wasn't really a guy to be Master s I mean. If anybody was gonna, go up against tourmaline, it seemed like the Sultan would be the gotta. Do it definitely. He was also
in general. He had defeated the Serbs in Kosovo in thirteen eighty nine and then killed his own either to solidify his position at the head of the empire, so absolutely like someone who could go Toto with tee more and that closer after he had also launched a european crusade against him which, by as it also put down so like Timor, he had a very disciplined army, though many of them were christian, drawn from Kurt lands in Europe, the most famous part of this army of his though, was probably has led Jannissaries infantry were taken from their families at an early age. An educated and war and an Islam and are single mission in life would be to fight for their faith. They had a Calvin two and a more significant infantry, even in Timor, had so a lot to go out again so it was clear that defeating busied wasn't gonna, be simple: that Timor couldn't ignore
either by his eat, head and tiger nice to him by giving refuge to Timor as enemies and attacking areas that were under his control, Pierre, to be to put down a centrally and negotiations have been going on between the two men for some time. But by this point, the situation devolved into centrally in exchange of involve war had said, had to finally follow that, so Where's forces invaded the Ottoman domain in the spring of fourteen or too, and they felt pretty because they had already laid waste to all for the region's surrounding Empire, so they didn't have to. About anybody immediately. Rushing in to the aid of by ASEAN and to add to that tumors Army had also called up some fresh reserves from firmer conned. So were really ready to go out and and fight the January than and fight by, these army yeah. They started out by trying to use that fear thing with the last autumn and delegation that had come to negotiate with them. They kind of show their reserves, do you know
their elephants and everything that I had with them and any kind of work Seeds army. There are probably pretty impressed by the supervisory it at the time had his forces concentrated and Ankara, which was the city that commanded the approaches to Constantinople and the Ottoman capital of Bruce. So at this point here really at a crossroads, he has a decision to make. Do I stay here or do I go and meet Timor's army had on, and he decides to march eastward for tee. More acting on the information that team forces are marching, northwest took heart, so he thinks he knows he's going any thinks he has the advantage over Timor at this point, but that's not humorous plan. After all, maybe it was because that proposed approach was to mountain ass may be has she more that by expected him to go North West Timor instead moved southwest and made this loop. Nor then further Wes, again all the way back around to Ankara, where he laid siege to the city,
and Timor actually sit up for the three sixty six years old, but he's not to miss any campaign. After this long military career, yeah ass, he had figured out the location of teamwork forces through a couple of skirmishes and Russia's back to currer and here's where I see, MRS, are really key opportunity. Instead of care in Timor off guard and attacking immediately. He chooses to give the following day to give his forces the chance to rest seems to make sense right, but this takes away the surprise advantage and also gives them plenty of time to dehydrate in the heat of July, because Seymour has actually diverted the only available water supply he's been really busy. He has, while waiting for Buys Eads Army Timor's forces had built a diversion, Damn up street uncool book Creek, with a breach in it. That would let the cat
continue flowing downstream until they decided to close it. Does he look a lot a quite rightly flowing yeah? Exactly then, they made a reservoir on a western tributary downstream and a canal was dug diversion down to the reservoir to funnel off the strange remaining water when the dam was sealed off, and this was made possible- I mean it may seem just complete unbelievable, but it was possible because of thousands of men that were available and teamwork trained elephants, which were trophies of his victory in India that he'd brought along with them. So when Is it arrived? He saw the cabuc creek falling, but downstream actually dry and there was no other source of water available to the Ottoman Army.
Thousands of soldiers and horses were involved here, so you definitely needed water to keep going exactly for this day of resting on turns out to be a day of trying out in the July heat and in giving Timor at the advantage to knowing that you're there. The actual battle finally took place on July, twenty eight fourteen or two and according to an article by Simon, Craig and military history, one of our favorite sources for battle information. There are between two hundred thousand four hundred thousand troops field altogether, and the numerical advantage probably was with tee more thought organised his forces into a different detachment and he himself controlled the centre detachment, one of his sons, commanded the left wing and another sign, commanded, the right wing and really fresh reserve from back home with place at the rear between the main body of the army and the still defiant city of Ankara, though
but imagine all of that set up, and then in those elephants, fresh room, all of these canal projects, apparently they are wearing armor of painted leather and the men on top of the elephants or who are all in front by the way, had flame, Three and elephants themselves had these curve, the blades attached to their tusks and were trained actually advance with plunging and to just create. Much havoc is passed. As if an elephant charging towards you wasn't scared exactly I mean it's assume that these were mostly their fur. Intimidation over must therefore show, but I mean a belated elephant. It sounds really scary. They could really do some damage, so the ottoman forced set up across for them on some low hills near Mount, Mirror and busy. Commanded, centre, with the army of Remedial supported by tatars to his left and that of on Aetolia, backed by Serbs to his right. The first clash with
when the Ottoman left and Timor is Right- the ottomans were repulsed at this point. Seymour side was winning on that and the ten t more launched his left wing against the Serbs on the ottoman right and that go so well for Timor. His forces were driven back at first and it really seems, like the Ottoman forces, had the advantage at that point. But then there was a West by Eads Tatar forces on the left, turned against him and joined up with tee. More and most people think that tumors agent head Then there for a little bit another another problem that waiting for a day, timorous agents had had time to sneak in start talking to people and in turn, some Trentham opinions. Regardless, though this allowed team are twofold. on by the centre as by these left, just completely crumbled. So some of the soldier on by these right ended up switching teams as well, and by that point it was
much decided with so much betray on the Ottoman forces side with clearly timorese battle, yeah just a note about the role of betrayal here, because obviously it pay. It played a really big role in his article Craig says that the root of this treachery was probably low. Morale and unbiased Eads troops as cold hearted ass more seemed. In fact, he placed a big importance on the morale of his troops, so, for example, if they need a little boost morale. He would bring in some astrologers who would predict victorious outcome, a lot of their future, but exactly enemy come to think of it that happened right, so I mean it seem to work for them, but by his Eads true, once so lucky vice he tried to hold his ground for a while that he eventually tried to flee and was captured himself. He was transported to some
and after that and imprisoned where he died a year later, some say from despair, although I am not sure how much I really by in providing tumors prisoner, I mean I imagine that would be different. it's kind of amazing that he was even kept as a prisoner in the first place yeah. I dont know what the reasoning behind that was. You would think that someone is ruthless as Timor we just sort of have him killed off right away that not so hammer lane. At this point now approaching. Seventy he's not taking it even though his finally defeated has biggest fell at the time. He is at that point haven't years, old planning has next campaign in China that he died. route to China February eighteen, fourteen o five Luckily, for the people there, with headed, though after tumors death, his empire, pretty much became engulfed in civil war in disintegrated, Timor himself never
bothered with administration. So there was no social, economic or political cohesion. Just this fear of Timor, apparently, and as Craig puts it, the battle with sort of the end in itself for tumor and he's quote, perhaps best understood as a sort of career criminal, a gangster on a grand scale It makes sense that without that compelling figure behind it all the empire is not gonna. Last buddy better corrections. Please, let me know if you visit, I give you visited because apparently still called one of the greatest treasures of his luck architecture and that model and a Muslim known as glory a mirror, I think that's the closest. I can get to a good pronunciation of that. If anyone has any better corrections, please let me know if you visit it. If you visited because apparently still called one of the greatest treasures of illegal is alarming, architecture, and that mostly in the still shrouded in mystery legend, has it that the disaster or of his tomb would be cursed and no one really tempted.
There are no one really tried to disturb his tomb for more than five hundred years. Still in June nineteen forty one, the Soviet Archaeological Commission, opened the tomb and examined the skeleton within and the remains included hairs, including a few bristles of chestnut moustache and fragments of skin and full tissue and the measurements of the skeleton revealed that it around hundred. Seventy centimetres Timor was actually tall for the time and very powerful and the injuries on his right side were confirmed. Then he was in fact lame because. languish worth and laughed and his whole frame, those kind of twisted and one scientists involved, actually used the skull to make a facial reconstruction. So we can see what his features look like a lot about the correct. What about the curse? That's a good question! Well some say it came true. It was soviet scientists involved in days after the two was opened, Hitler attacked Soviet Russia, that's a pretty serious curse,
it's a pretty serious curse, but he was a pretty scary guy Timor was so. I think that totally appropriate now that we move on to a less serious listener. Now, just let her come to us from aerial in Washington DC and she says I fear into Billina. I just listen to your focused on that Kelly the other day, and I wanted to let you know about something funny that happened to me. I was waiting in line at a baseball game to get a snack when I notice that there were two australian guys in front of me in line. They ordered the biggest bucket of french rise on the menu, and one of them remark to the other that the bucket was as big as NED Kelly's helmet. I knew what they were about. Had I not heard your podcast, I would have been confused by the conversation I use dropped on thanks for the awesome casting keep them coming through You're standing, obscure australian units of measure
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