The Corner

The one and only.

Tamburlaine the Great


“Tamerlan” is not a name you hear much these days, but for those with a history bent, Tamerlane (also known as Timur or Tamburlaine) was Turkic Muslim ruler of an area reaching from eastern Anatolia in Turkey, through all of Central Asia, modern Iran, and the western half of Pakistan. Known as the “Sword of Islam,” he was born in 1336 and died in 1405. Seeking to recreate Genghis Khan’s empire, and begetting descendants who ruled Central and South Asia for centuries, he attacked western outposts of the Ming Empire in China and had contacts with European rulers. 

Tamerlane fired the imagination of Western writers, including Christopher Marlow and Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, Tamerlane, can be found here. Wikipedia’s page has a good list of resources on Tamerlane’s life and empire. It will take some time to find out more about the Tsarnaev family, and names don’t necessarily reveal much, but Tamerlan is among the more evocative that a parent can choose for a child growing up in Kyrgyzstan or the Russian Caucasus. 


Sign up for free NR e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review