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Beschreibung des Verlags
A powerful account of the life of Tamerlane the Great (1336-1405), the last master nomadic power, one of history’s most extreme tyrants, and the subject of Marlowe’s famous play. Marozzi travelled in the footsteps of the great Mogul Emperor of Samarkland to write this wonderful combination of history and travelogue.
The name of the last great warlord conjures up images of mystery and romance: medieval warfare on desert plains; the clash of swords on snow-clad mountains; the charge of elephants across the steppes of Asia; the legendary opulence and cruelty of the illiterate, chess-playing nemesis of Asia. He ranks alongside Alexander as one of the world’s great conquerors, yet the details of his life are scarcely known in the West.
He was not born to a distinguished family, nor did he find his apprenticeship easy – at one point his mobile army consisted only of himself, his wife, seven companions and four horses – but his dominion grew with astonishing rapidity. In the last two decades of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth, he blazed through Asia. Cities were razed to the ground, inhabitants tortured without mercy, sometimes enemies were buried alive – more commonly they were decapitated. On the ruins of Baghdad, Tamerlane had his princes erect a pyramid of 90,000 heads.
During his lifetime he sought to foster a personal myth, exaggerating the difficulties of his youth, laying claim to supernatural powers and a connection to Genghis Khan. This myth was maintained after his death in legend, folklore, poetry, drama and even opera, nowhere more powerfully than in Marlowe’s play – he is now as much a literary construct as a historical figure. Justin Marozzi follows in his path and evokes his legacy in telling the tale of this fabulously cruel, magnificent and romantic warrior.
‘Using many contemporary sources, Marozzi creates a convincing portrait of a complex man…An engaging mixture of history, travelogue and contemporary reportage. Well written and skilfully put together.’ Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year
‘He has brought the mighty warrior in from the cold and allowed him to stalk these pages with bloody magnificence.’ Sunday Times
‘Walking…about the dazzling buildings that are Tamur’s legacy, [Marozzi] brilliantly conveys how everything goes in cycles, both in nature and in human affairs.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Excellent…Provides a superbly rounded and vivid portrait of one of history’s most fascinating personalities.’ Evening Standard
‘As well researched in libraries as with boots on the ground in some of the world’s more impenetrable places, this is a fine study of a neglected but linchpin historical figure.’ Daily Mail
‘Robust, enthusiastic and richly detailed…full of fascinating, if often gruesome, anecdotes.’ Literary Review
About the author
Justin Marozzi is contributing editor of the Spectator. He used to sell tobacco to Libya and was the Financial Times’s correspondent in the Philippines for two years. He writes regularly for the Financial Times and has also written for The Times and The Economist and broadcast for the BBC World Service and Radio Four. He is the author of South from Barbary, an account of a journey along the old slave routes of the Libyan Sahara.
By the time of his death in 1405, the Mongol conqueror Tamerlane-a pejorative derivative of the nickname "Temur the Lame"-commanded as much land and fear as any ruler in history. Literally following in the footsteps of Ghengis Khan, he built his empire with one invasion after the next, eventually amassing a kingdom that stretched "from Moscow to the Mediterranean, from Delhi to Damascus." Nonetheless, Tamerlane remains relatively unknown in the Western world, taking a historical backseat to Ghengis despite a reign and ruthlessness every bit as remarkable. Faced with such a complex and underreported subject, Marozzi delivers an exceptional account of the emperor's life, revealing him to be both an extravagantly merciless tyrant and tireless proponent for the cultural and architectural progress in his beloved Samarkand (in modern day Uzbekistan). One peculiar choice, however, is the book's subtitle, as Tamerlane killed tens of thousands of his fellow Muslims along his so-called "pilgrimage of destruction," including a particularly bloody massacre of Baghdad that left 90,000 dead, "their heads cemented into 120 towers." The subtitle certainly wasn't chosen for a lack of nicknames, as Tamerlane's life produced plenty: "Lord of the Fortunate Conjunction." "Emperor of the Age." "Unconquered Lord of the Seven Climes." "Scourge of God." The list goes on, too, leading one to wonder how it is that such a large part of the world hardly recognizes name.