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date: 21 September 2019

Timurid familylocked

  • Sheila S. Blair,
  • Jonathan M. Bloom
  •  and Basil Gray


Islamic dynasty of rulers and patrons in Iran and western Central Asia that reigned from 1370 to 1506.

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

The Timurids were the last great Islamic dynasty of steppe origin. Their eponym, (1) Timur, rose to power in Transoxiana when the region was under the nominal control of Tughluq Temür (reg 1359–63), last of the Chaghatayid Mongols. In an accelerating succession of conquests, Timur established control of Transoxiana and Iran. Unlike earlier nomad conquerors, he did not aspire to rule the steppe but only the sown lands of the region, where he established governorships and permanent garrisons. He then undertook a series of quick and brilliant campaigns against the Tughluqs in India (1398–9), the Mamluks in Syria (1400–01) and the Ottomans in Anatolia (1402). These campaigns were not designed for annexation but to demonstrate his superior power and to bring booty to his capital. After his death more distant parts of the empire broke away: northern India came under the control of the Lodi and Sayyid dynasties; Syria reverted to the Mamluks and Anatolia to the Ottomans. His descendants ruled only in western Central Asia and on the Iranian plateau, where they struggled to maintain ever-diminishing portions of the realm. Princes of the royal house were sent to provincial centres as governors, a practice that contributed to the amorphous nature of Timurid power....

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E. Yar Shater, ed.: Encyclopedia Iranica (London, 1986)