The Timurids and the Republic of Letters

  • S. A. M. Adshead


The Timurids were the successors of Tamerlane. They maintained his empire, that amalgam of conquest, commerce and culture, from his death in 1405 to the fall of Herat to the Uzbeks in 1507. That empire had been created by force. It was maintained by diplomacy, especially cultural diplomacy. What the Timurids created was a Renaissance monarchy, one of the first and to that date the largest. Like other Renaissance monarchies, it both rested on and promoted a set of intellectual values and institutions. These, when linked to other such sets, eventually became a new world institution, the republic of letters. The Timurids — Shah Rukh, Ulugh Beg, Abu Said and Husayn Bayqara — should therefore be seen as one of its fountain heads, like their contemporaries the Hsüan-te emperor in China, the Medici in Florence, Pope Nicholas V and the Valois Dukes of Burgundy.


Sixteenth Century Party State Islamic World Political Machine Black Sheep 
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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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