Tamerlane and the Global Arsenal 1370–1405

  • S. A. M. Adshead


Tamerlane was the greatest political Central Asian. His reign from 1370 to 1405, initiated the most active period of Central Asian history. This period, thanks to the impetus imparted by him, was to last to the beginning of the sixteenth century. The name Tamerlane is the sixteenth century European form of the Turkish Timur or Temür-i-link, Temür the lame, a name given him because of a slight limp, variously explained by injury in an early battle or a tubercular infection. Tamerlane was a politician turned soldier. Inside Central Asia, he created a new kind of composite army, his impact on the surrounding homelands was that of an enemy, and his contribution to world history was to what may be called the global arsenal: a new pool of military technology on which all states increasingly drew. This pool remained in much the form left by Tamerlane till the transformations produced by the industrialized warfare of the nineteenth century. Tamerlane and Napoleon were essentially contemporaries.


Fourteenth Century Silk Road Military Technology Grand Design Tubercular Infection 
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Copyright information

© S. A. M. Adshead 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. M. Adshead
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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