The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Biography - Life of Timur Beg

Timur and Turkey

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After a brief season of repose, the conqueror was again obliged to take the field, owing to the deplorable misgovernment of his eldest son Miran Meerza, in Azerbijan {See Clavijo, p. 95 of this volume}, and having tranquillized that province, he prepared to invade the territory of the Ottoman Sultan Bayazid. The towns of Bagdad, Aleppo, and Damascus were taken, and the Turk was utterly routed at Ankara, on the 20th of July, 1402 {The story of the iron cage, in which Bayazid is said to have been confined, is not mentioned by any early historian of the life of Timur, except Ahmed ben Arabshah. The fable afterwards appeared in a modern Ottoman chronicle, translated by Leunclavius. D'Herbelot stated that it was not even mentioned by Arabshah, but Sir W. Jones has detected the error of the French orientalist, and quotes the passage in his works.-Sir W. Jones's Works, v, p. 547} {D'Herbelot has recorded an interview between Timur and some doctors of law, after the capture of Aleppo, during which the conqueror declared that he had never undertaken any war without deliberation. Bib. Or., ii, p. 517. Gibbon repeats a portion of this curious conversation, chap. lxv}. These transactions are faithfully recorded by the Spanish ambassador {See Clavijo, p. 73 et seq}; who followed the conqueror on his return march to Samarkand. The events which followed, the magnificent festivities, and grand rejoicings, at which Clavijo was present, and which are also fully described by the eastern historian Ali of Yezd, concluded the career of this extraordinary man.