Friday, April 19, 2013

What Sort Of Person Names His Son Tamerlan?

Tamerlan is the first name of the older terrorist, now dead.  He is named for Tamerlane, remembered today for this, from Michael Prawdin's The Mongol Empire: Its Rise and Legacy (1961), pp. 442-3:
For the first time he commanded cruelty and devastation such as made people shudder even in those cruel days, and surrounded for all time the name of Tamerlane with the gloomy aureole of the butcher and exterminator.  When he stormed the rebellious city of Sabzevar, the capital of Khorassan, he had 2,000 persons walled up alive, as a tower of horror "for a warning to all who should dare to revolt and as an indication of Tamerlane's vengeance"--this being the first time that he had commanded such an act...

The mountain cities, which defended themselves valiantly, were crownded with pyramids of skulls; and in the capital city of Sistan, which also made a strenuous resistance, after the prince had surrendered to Tamerlane, the inhabitants were put to the sword by the conqueror, "even to the centenarians, and the baby in the cradle."

1 comment:

Rich Rostrom said...

What sort of parent names his child Napoleon, or Augustus, or Alexander?


(Or Hannibal? Probably the only famous loser whose name is in use. Note Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez.)

Or Attila? (A fairly common given name in Hungary.)

Timur was hardly more ruthless than William Bastard (see "the Harrowing of the North", or Richard Coeur de Lion.

Ancient and medieval conquerors were all murderous goons. The most successful have been celebrated and their names adopted.