Tamerlane, is known in his native Uzbekistan as Amir Timur, or Timur the Great, but in the West he is remembered from his epithet, Timurlenke (Turkish)  or in Persian  Timur-i lang (Temur the Lame). He was one of history’s greatest and cruelest conquerors.

Read more: C627 Tamerlane the Merciless

Early days of Timur

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a poem for him, but it really an early rendition of his better Annabel Lee, written for his wife, as ins his Tamerlane, the great conqueror laments his lost love. It was not successful.The real Tamerlane was born nearly 500 years earlier in Kesh, near Samarkand, Transoxania [now in Uzbekistan], one of the great stops along the Silk Road. , now largely forgotten but for Tamerlane’s mauseoleum and the latter built Sherdor Madrasah, a Moslem school of learning; both are in great disrepair.

tamerlane's conquest.png

Tamerlane’s approximate area of Conquest  — from Samarkand to the Black Sea and Bucharest to Egypt and the Nile and then to Delhi and the Tigris.

The cruelty of Tamerlane

Histories say he cemented whole populations into towers and starved them — not for capitulation but joy. He massacred as many as 100,000 civilians in a day, bombardeing the  ships with human heads shot from cannons and left pyramids of skulls to mark the cities he destroyed.

The English playwright  Christopher Marlowe c. 1610 reflected and reinforced his image in Europe as a terrifying barbarian wrote ‘‘Threatening the world with high astounding terms/And scourging kingdoms with his conquering sword.”

But now e is safely buried in Samarkand, Uzbekistan along with filled with magnificent mosques, tombs and dazzling ensembles of ceramic tiles that he ordered from the many artisans and architects he conquered. His, naturally enough, is the greatest of all. He is buried beneath a six-foot-long slab of jade that has been cleaned and renovated to attract pilgrims and tourists who get the new whitewashed version of his deeds as a great leader in the mould of Geghis Khan — though of no relation.†

The Gur-e-Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane

gur emir

Suddenly the road entered a grove of giant chimneys, whose black outlines regrouped themselves against the stars as we passed. For a second, I was dumbfounded – expecting anything on earth, but not a factory; until, dwarfed by these vast trunks, appeared the silhouette of a broken dome, curiously ribbed, like a melon. There is only one dome in the world like that, I thought, that anyone knows of: the Tomb of Tamerlane at Samarkand. The chimneys therefore must be minarets. I went to bed like a child on Christmas Eve, scarcely able to wait for the morning.

–Robert Byron, ³

Bibi Khanum Mosque

The Bibi Khanum mosque, according to legend built and eponomously named for Tamerlane’s favorite wife, a Chinese woman, who died while he was sacking northern India. It is much smaller than his mausoleum.

The Soviet autopsy

n the 1940’s when the Soviets ruled the area they dug up his grave and autopsied his remains. They discovered that the lameness was because of two arrows in his thigh, and not as had been disparaging suggested from being trampled by stolen cows;  his genetics are Iranian Persian and not Mongolian Chinese.

Local residents and Muslim clergy tried to stop the excavations, but the expedition continued its work despite everything. Tashmuhammed Kari-Niyazov was the leader of the expedition. The expedition also included the writer and historian Sadriddin Aini, the famous orientalist A. Semenov and M. Gerasimov. Also it included a young cinematographer Malik Kayumov who filmed the whole thing. These excavations examined the human remains in the tombs to prove that they belonged to Tamerlane and his closest relatives and discover his genetic heritage. Excavations began on June 16 1941.


First opened was the tombs of Ulugbek’s sons, then the tomb of Timur’s sons who fought with one another — against his dying advice: Miranshah and Shahrukh. On June 18 they discovered the remains of Ulugbek himself, the grandson of Timur, who was better than all the rest and brought some peace to his people along with art and poetry. Finally, on June 19 the heavy gravestone was taken from the Tamerlane’s tomb.

                                    The map of Tamerlane

Tamerlane's NatalChart

Tamerlane based on our rectification is a lipped bowl with a southern bent — meaning that takes from everything outside of himself i.e. all that he conquered, for his own use.  That seems to fit his historical record.  The Moon is conjunct his ascendant suggesting his appetite was large and that he was his own worst enemy:  he told his sons not to follow in his bloody footsteps, but never showed them an alternative though with Venus conjunct Uranus in the fourth he was apprised of one.

Mars in the sixth house conjunct Jupiter shows how war was his “day job” and he relished it.  Jupiter is inconjunct the ascendant it rules  highlighting his appetite for destruction.  It is opposite Saturn creating the Line of Motivation and as no t-square comes of this pairing,  it has no outlet but itself — more destruction, more war, more devestation.

Interesting is the biwheel of Tamerlane and the excavation of his grave.  Notice at the fourth house where Uranus and Mercury are interrupted by transitting Mars and then the North Node of Tamerlane’s chart meets the South Node of his transit — because of his reputation they were there to “dig” (Neptune opposing in the earth sign of Virgo) and see for themselves.  The Moon in Gemini, the travelled for his ghastly mission, is opposite his Ascendant — was he truly the descendant of the Great builder Khan?  The tenth is empty but for the transiting part of fortune — 10 Virgo “a round stone hidden in another” gives us the answer — nothing is what it seems.

An essay from the New Yorker, Baghdad and Tamerlane.


  1. Byron, Robert  Road to Oxiana, c 1937, Picador Travel Classics, pg 326.  Byron died in WWII hostilities in 1941.
  2. ibid. 237.
  3. ibid. 105
  4. Tucker, Jonathan, The Silk Road:  Art and History, London:  I. B. Taurus & Co. Ltd., 2015.
  5. Originally research said Tamerlane was born in Balkh; now Britannica says Kesh near Samarqand. The charts show Balkh, the modern Afghani town that lies on the ruins of the ancient capital of Balkh, as despite the great difference in distance, I am not sure which place to pick.

Other trivia:

  • The Boston Marathon bombers, Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are of Afghani heritage born in the Republic of Dagestan, north of Azerbaijan.  
  • Whenever spotting a city “Timur” or “Timor” in the Islamic World i.e. East Timor, the Timor Sea,  the place is named for Tamerlane in his native Arabic tongue. He is everywhere.
  • Sichaun (Szechaun) pepper is called in Arabic, “timur.”
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