Vacation Reading


In addition to Levinas´ Totality and Infinity (which is some tough sledding let me tell you) I happened upon a travelogue-biography of Temur (known in the West as Tamerlane).

The book is by a man named Justin Marzotti, entitled Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World.

Temur (or Timur) was from modern day Uzbekistan.  He conquered India, Afghanistan, the other Central Asian istan countries (Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, etc.) even into Mongolia, also the Persian Empire of Iran-Iraq, the Middle East, down into Egypt, through Turkey, and up into southern Russian.

Wow in other words. Brilliant tactician as well as incredibly cruel dude.  Lover of arts and warfare.

But it is amazing to read of his conquests and troubles in Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Baghdad, and the like.  Recalliing the never start a land war in Asia advice.  Unless I guess you´re an Asian monarch. 

Tamerlane deftly combined Islamic Imperial myth and vision with Mongolian (Genghis Khan-like) law and military ethos and practice.  It also is an amazing reminder that well into the 17th century, this part of the world (as well as China, which he died trying to invade) was the real power and Europe was still fairly much the backwater. 


Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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