The Garden Guide

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

Timurid Empire

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On the death of Timur his vast empire soon fell to pieces; yet the greatest and best princes that ever reigned in Mohammedan countries, are to be found amongst his descendants. His son, the good and virtuous Shah Rokh, during a reign of more than forty years in Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) , preserved peace and order in that unhappy country {�Shah Rokh is not more celebrated for his piety and liberality, than for his courage and military virtues. He died in 1446, having reigned over Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) since 1397.��D'Herbelot}. Ibrahim Meerza encouraged literature at Shiraz, and caused Ali of Yezd to write the life of the mighty conqueror {Ibrahim Meerza, the son of Shah Rokh, reigned at Shiraz for twenty years, and died in 1435. He built a famous medrassa or college there, and encouraged literature}. Ulugh Beg, who reigned at Samarkand, was the greatest astronomer of his age {The astronomical tables of this prince, called Zig Ulugh Beg, are divided into four parts. The first treats of the �ras and epochs; the second of the knowledge of the times; the third of the course of the planets; and the fourth of the fixed stars, in two hundred sections, A.D. 1437. They are considered the most correct of all those which have been given us by the Mohammedans, and they agree very well with those of Tycho Brahe. John Greaves, the great English mathematician, translated the tables of fixed stars, given by Ulugh Beg, in 1650. Ulugh Beg had an observatory at Samarkand, and, amongst other instruments, he used a quadrant, the radius of which equalled in length the height of the dome of St. Sophia.� D' Herbelot; Life of Greaves, two vols., 1737; Insignorum aliquot stellarum loca ab Ulugh Beg observata, A.H. 841}. Hosein Meerza, who reigned at Herat from 1487 to 1506, was a patron of learned men; and his court was frequented by such poets and historians as Jami and Hatifi, Mirkhond and Khondemir.