What saved Russia from destruction by Tamerlane

History 15/02/20 That saved Russia from destruction by Tamerlane

After the devastating campaigns of the Golden Horde khans, Russian lands were drained of blood. They would not have survived the impending invasion of Tamerlane. However, it did not take place. Try to imagine what could be the results of the campaign of the Iron Lame to Russia.

Until the 6th climate

Tamerlan (in the Arabic version of Timur) was born for conquest. Take a look at his banner, inside of which were placed three oval. Say, they symbolized the part of the world, conquer the conqueror – Europe, Asia and Africa. Of course, says loudly (to Africa, he never made it to), but the ambition and arrogance of Tamerlane not refuse.

He defeated the strong army of Turkish Sultan Bayezid and Horde Khan Tokhtamysh fought on the territories of China, Persia, India, and Asia Minor, expanding the boundaries of his Empire from the Caspian to the Arabian sea. The court chronicler of Tamerlane Giyasaddin Ali even claimed that his master came to the land of the Franks.

Other subjects of Tamerlane, flattered him more, assuring future readers of Chronicles that trip to the North their leader reached the “limits of the sixth climate.” According to the views of Islamic scholars, the world was divided into seven climate zones: the first was the equator, and the seventh pole. Sixth by this logic had to comply with the Arctic.

the Real picture of the conquests of Tamerlane was probably not as extensive. However, historians suggest that in conditions of war with Tokhtamysh of the Central Asian military leader could conduct military operations in the lands of ancient kingdoms. Intending to destroy the Golden Horde, Tamerlane probably expected damage and its tributary – Rus.


Mamai, defeated Dmitry Donskoy, was not the last, not the worst enemy of Russia. In 1382 Moscow burnt another Horde Khan Tokhtamysh, once again leaning on the Prince of Moscow to pay tribute. However, there is nand political arena came the Iron Lame, whose plans were not part of the revival of the power of the Golden Horde.

In 1388, Tamerlane massacred the rebellious Khorezm, Urgench city, and two years later sent their army against Tokhtamysh. Five years lasted confrontation between rulers of the two empires, which framed the battle, 1390 and 1395, and both Timur crushed Tokhtamysh.

During the war with the Golden Horde Tamerlane moved up the Volga and, according to historians, reached the current Saratov. All the way to the Horde of land was subjected to devastation and ruin. But if there was a Central Asian warrior’s intention to move further into the heart of the Russian lands?

the Arab Chronicles say that Tamerlan went ahead and invaded Moscow Principality. And not just invaded but sacked Moscow. “Whole packs glistening beaver, black Sables are also a myriad, ermines so many ligaments that are not considered”, – the chronicler describes pickings. Especially, the author was struck by the Russian women, whom he compared to roses.

After the Moscow pogrom, according to Arab sources, the conqueror turned to the South, plundering on his way the cities and killing infidels. The final destination of this hike was the Horde capital of Sarai, assures the chronicler.

the words of the Arab writer historians cast great doubt, as there are other sources confirming the capture by Tamerlane in Moscow. The commander had indeed intended to reach the Russian capital, however, so it is not reached, historians believe.

God’s will

Russian chroniclers have their own point of view on these events. They report that formidable conqueror stopped the Vladimir icon of the mother of God, which before the emerging campaign a huge Turkish army with a procession brought to Moscow. The chronicle States that Tamerlane had a dream in which the virgin urged him to leave the Russian land. According to another version Tamerlan went to Vladimir, however, this vision forced him to turn back.

There is alsoe Arabic legend where they say that Tamerlan was an Islamic preacher khizr and told me not to fight, but only to demonstrate its strength. According to legend, Tamerlane was thrown into the wall of the city two year old stallion, and when the wall fell, the commander shouted, so that “the warrior was speechless from fear, and the terrible pallor of the whole face was covered”.

However, perhaps the Arab sources say about the siege of another Russian town of Elets, who at the time was the outskirts of Ryazan land. Thousands of Tamerlane’s army easily captured the lightly defended fortress, and then left to stand still under the cold autumn rain. Only in the coming two weeks, Tamerlan decided to return the army to Samarkand.

Not war for the sake of

Historians still cannot find a definite explanation for the action of Tamerlane, but they are pretty sure that if he had to fix to go to Russia, the consequences for our country could be catastrophic. Given the scope and power of Tamerlane’s Empire little inferior to the Golden Horde in its heyday, “the great Emir” could raise an army numbering at least 200 thousand people. So much, in the words of Tamerlan, participated in the campaign against the Golden Horde.

the Russian state is still recovering from the Mongol invasion and mired in infighting, had virtually no forces to oppose the Armada of the Iron Lame. Hike on Moscow Tokhtamysh in August 1382, during which Khan was able to destroy the Central region of the great reign without colliding with his United forces, and then to seek renewal of its dependence on the Golden Horde, confirmed the inability of the Russian state to resist a large-scale attack.

the Russian principalities did not threaten the Empire of Tamerlane, and therefore the commander was not required to make punitive expeditions. The only thing he needed was funds for the maintenance of an army of thousands. The Arab chronicler Sharaf ad-DIN Yazdi describes large prey taken by Tamerlane, in Russian lands, but not reported on military operations against the local population, although the meaning of “the Book of victories” (“Zafar-name”) – description of the exploits of Tamerlane, and the prowess of his warriors.

it Can be assumed that a further trip to Russia Tamerlan would have been caused not by the desire to prove their military superiority, and the intent is to loot. In case if the besieged city did not surrender, the conqueror probably would have done him like the conquered Urgench – razed to the ground, and desolate the place was planted with barley. Citizens likely would have waited for the sad fate of the inhabitants of the Iranian Isfahan, some of which the soldiers of Tamerlane beheaded, the other part ran over the horses.

the brunt of the army of Tamerlane came to the rich Moscow and the Vladimir region, however, the fat jackpot in the form of Pskov and Novgorod hardly have got to the conqueror. The harsh climate, natural obstacles such as forests and wetlands would block the road of the army of the Iron Lame as half a century ago, they stalled the advancing Mongol hordes. The result of the city North-West Russia, given the weakened Muscovy, probably quite quickly integrated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Bound military campaign in China, Persia, India and Asia Minor Tamerlan probably would not have started to keep a considerable force in the Russian lands. Sooner or later United the princes would resist the conqueror. Tamerlan was interested in the Great silk road, held in the southern territories of his Empire. It is for the convenience of the control of the rich caravan, he destroyed the Northern branch of the silk road and rerouted it through their land. The greatness and wealth of Samarkand is the best evidence of the success of a commercial venture “the great Emir”.

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