Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Alexander

Did Tamerlane (Timor Lank) Create Empires?

There is this army commander of the 14th century who kept his army on the march longer (for over 25 years) and crossed more lands than Alexander, Genghis Khan, or Attila and conquered more Empires and was never defeated and slept in his tent, outside city-limits, even in his Capital Samarkand (in current Uzbekistan).

The Persian gave him the nickname Lank because he was slightly lame in one leg.  This is Timor Lank who was not the son of any Monarch, prince, or even a tribal leader.

Timor Lank was from the Caucasus region (probably around the region of Azerbaijan and Chechnya (I get pretty upset when history authors fail to located current geographical areas and just paste the ancient names).

He was a Moslem and veneered Imams and clerics claimed to be descendants of the Prophet Muhammad’s family, and who wore the black turban.

Otherwise, he didn’t give a hoot about Moslems when conquering lands and people. He killed mostly Moslems since the vast area of his operations were mostly Islam Land.

For example, he built pyramids of skulls: 60,000 heads in Asfahan (Iran), 3,000 in Aleppo, and many other skull pyramids in India…

First, Timor Lank chased out the Tatar “Golden Hordes” (led by a descendant of Genghis Khan) along the Volga River (current Russia) and burned and sacked all their cities and villages.  He did not resume his operations, but by the end of his war, the Golden Hordes were weakened and displaced.  It was the fate of the Russian Tsar, Ivan the Terrible, to finish off the job against the Tatars in the 16th century and expand his Empire. You may claim that Tamerlane ultimately created current Russia.

Timor Lank captured Samarkand and made it its Capital.

He descended on Persia and conquered this Empire and beheaded over 60,000 of the population in Isfahan and piled up the head in shapes of pyramids.  This city surrendered peacefully and Timor Lank had no plans to occupy it; he was just crossing!

It happened that for a few cases of rape within the city by Timor Lank’s garrison of 500 soldiers, the inhabitants slaughtered the soldiers.  Timor Lank was camping outside city limit, always in his tent. And the reaction was a nightmare on the city inhabitants.

The commander moved on toward Turkey in 1400.  The Turkish Sultan army was completely demolished and the Sultan was put in a tiny cage so that Timor Lank could use it as a stool to mount his horse. This commander could have conquered all of Turkey, but instead he headed south to enter Aleppo and Damascus in Syria.

If Timor Lank had not vanquished the Turkish army then the Byzantium Capital of Constantinople would have fallen 50 years earlier along with most of Europe.

There would be no Western Europe or the Renaissance:  at that time, the enmities between Genoa and Venice was at its zenith, the Kingdom of Poland was weak, there was no Russian Empire, and the King Henry of Portugal had not begun challenging the high seas to discover new routes to India and the Far East.

And the King of France Charles 8 would not have entered and ruined Rome and displaced the skilled artisans and thinkers, located and concentrated in Papal Rome, to all over western Europe that started the Renaissance.

In the 13th century, the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt had moved out from Egypt with his army and defeated the Mogul army of Hulagu in Palestine around 1250.  This time around, the Mameluke Sultan did not venture to come out to rescue his vassals  in Syria.

Damascus put up a serious fight, but Timor Lank tactics were always to destabilize any city before setting siege.  The skilled people in Syria and Palestine were sent to build and develop Samarkand. (That is the story of the Levant since antiquity: armies conquer The Levant to capture its skilled workers.)

The Ottoman Sultan would later defeat the Mameluke Sultan in the 16th century and conquer Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and all North African countries.

Timor Lank conquered Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

One of Timor Lank offspring would establish the Mogul Empire in India (the Punjab) that lasted over 5 centuries.  The British Empire would finally take over all of India by the end of the 19th century, but failed to retain Afghanistan after two bloody massacres of its troops.

The British had drawn the current borders among Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Kashmir.  As well as drawing many other borders in the Middle-East and Africa with colonial France

This ruthless commander Tamerlane was getting ready to march on China when he died at the age of 63.

Note:  My published novel on wordpress.com “Rainbow over the Levant” is set in that time period.

Persia/Iran civilizations: Achemenide Dynasty (Part 2, February 26, 2009)

            There are no Persian historical accounts of antiquity Achemenide Persia Empire.  Most of the stories are excerpts of biased Greek accounts, mainly of the Greek historian Herodotus, and some chapters in the Old Testament.  Archeology would like to say that tribes in Afghanistan and Central Asia moved to south east Iran around 1000 BC of what is called Fars. The Babylon and Assyrian Empires mentioned the Kingdom of Elam with Capital Suse (Khuzestan by Iraq) that bordered Fars.  Cyrus established his Kingdom “Anshan” in 557 BC that spoke the Elam language and in cuneiform writing.

            Cyrus conquers the Kingdom of Medes (North of the Zagros mountain chains) in 550 and the Kingdom of Croesus in Turkey in 546.  Babylon and the Near East Kingdoms are vanquished in 539 and pursue his military advances toward Bactrian (current Afghanistan and part of Central Asia).  Cyrus allowed the Jews in “captivity” in Babylon to return to Judea; the poorer Jews returned and Cyrus funded the reconstruction of their temple. It was during that period that the Jewish Old Testament was initiated in writing and then completed many centuries later after Christ. Cyrus’ son Cambyse conquers Egypt and Darius I expands toward the Indus River regions.  The north of Greece in Thrace and beyond the Danube River is part of the Achemenide Empire.

            The administration of this huge Empire was very structured and divided into Satraps (about 20 of them) of local elites and Kings.  The governor of Satrap (protector of the power) was administered by the central powers in Suse, Ctesiphone, Ecbatane, and later Persepolis in matter of Imperial Army, finance and taxes. The Imperial decrees were translated into the Aramaic language, the most widely local language outside Persia.  The Persian Emperor moved from one capital to another to satisfy the yearly calendar of rituals of the Ahura Mazda religion.  The Satraps were to meet the Emperor visiting their lands and the population offered what they produced such as milk, cheese, dates, and fruits of the season for sumptuous banquets that lasted 7 days and nights; about 15,000 were invited to share in the banquets.  Every year, during the anniversary of the coronation of the monarch a special banquet is thrown and the monarch offered gifts and perfumed his head.  The custom would not permit any demand or request to be denied.  This custom was adopted by the Satraps and it became a tradition in all courts; Herode could not deny Salome her request for the head of Jean the Baptist.

            When Alexander occupied Damascus after the battle of Issos they inventoried the residence of the Imperial Persian Artaxerxes III; there were 46 braiders of crowns, 14 manufacturers of perfumes, 329 female musicians or royal concubines (pallakai).  The monarchs were to create, design, and plant royal gardens called “paradeis” 

The route of the Imperial caravan was well defined from start to finish and horses were ready at every station.  The Imperial army needed 30 days to cross from Suse to Persepolis and it was a true migration of thousands of people.  When the monarch dies all the fires in Ahura Mazda temples were put out.  The new monarch was enthroned in the town of Pasargades and in the shrine of Goddess Anahista, 60 kilometers off Persepolis.  Meticulous and detailed ceremonials of all sorts are obligated on the monarch.

Alexander of Macedonia subjugated Persia in 331 but he did not change anything in the political structure of this well organized and administrated Empire; he even adopted the luxury and ceremonials of the Persian monarchs which angered the Macedonians soldiers greatly.  Seleucus, one of Alexander officers, finally inherited the Persian Kingdom after many decades of infightings but short of Greece and Egypt.  Pretty soon, the Satraps recovered their autonomies.

Persia/Iran Empires (Part 1, February 21, 2009)

Iran is strategically located within major rivers or beds of civilizations. 

On the Western borders, it enjoyed the civilizations of the Tiger and the Euphrates Rivers (current Iraq), on the eastern borders it was in contact with the Indus River civilizations (current, Afghanistan,  Pakistan and India), on the northern borders it was linked to the Amou Daria River and the Central Asian Rivers civilizations, and in the south it has the sea, facing the Arabic Peninsula.  

Depending on the period of neighboring power influences, Iran was the deep country supplying manpower, complementary skills, and soldiers. For example, Afghanistan was frequently part of the various Persian Empires that extended to the Indus, to Turkey, and even into Egypt.

The Persian language dominated the cultures of all this vast Empire. 

Currently, variants of the Persian language are spoken in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Generally, most of the Persian Empires started from south-east Iran, a mostly desert region that extended to the Indus.

Later, the Empires expanded to greener pastures:  To the west toward Iraq (Elam in antiquity or Khuzistan today), to the north (Parthia, Khorassan, and Central Asia), to the east toward Afghanistan and India, and to the north-west toward Turkey, and Armenia..

After the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires, the various Persian Empires dominated Iraq.  The Arab Moslem Empire dominated Iran militarily for less than three centuries, but the Persian civilization and customs dominated the political and cultural landscape in Iraq and Afghanistan during and after the Abbasid Dynasty. 

The newly built city of Baghdad around 765 by the Abbasid Dynasty was very close to Persia’s main Capital Ctesiphon by the Tiger River.

Three main Persian Empires lasted long enough to leave powerful imprint on the geo-cultural landscape in this area. 

The Achaemenid Dynasty (1000 to 331 BC) was vanquished by Alexander of Macedonia; the Sassanid Dynasty (240 to 650 AC) was vanquished by the Moslem Arabs; and the Safavid Dynasty (1500 to 1722 AC) before our modern times.

The Ottoman Empire checked the Safavid expansion toward Turkey, especially because the Safavid Dynasty was mainly of Turkish origin from the Caspian Sea.

The Afghan invasion put an end to its effective authority. The various Mogul Dynasties extended their influence from Iran to India before the British colonizers ruled.

Wild Goose Chase

Conclusion

The presumed impotent Artax the Monarch, who had gotten the throne by usurpation long before the usurping “Khosro the Magnificent” reigned, suddenly contracted malaria and regained partial consciousness six days later.

Artax tried to walk and visit his favorite garden in order to recover from his ill health but was carried back to bed after each outing.  His close assistants were worried to death about his health status and many army officers hurried to his side expecting some rewards in his death testament.

Artax was in no shape to think clearly about the future of his kingdom or his successors.

He stated on many previous circumstances to his close friends that succession should be for the most deserving leader who invested time, effort and good will to better his intellectual potentials, his moral values and learn to be tolerant of diversity in religion and customs.

He used to insist that the best leader of people is the one who listened carefully to the news of change and worked on finding consensus before any decision, that war was the last recourse for intelligent leaders who should reach his objectives through all diplomatic and political channels before committing to the path of destructive wars.

            Artax died within nine days without designating a successor.

Note:  This end the draft of the general structure of the fiction story. If you appreciated the story, please contribute your opinions, ideas, additions, and possible alterations to the sequence and cohesion of the novel that I would like to publish with your generous aid.  Surely, any publishing houses that are interested in finishing the novel are welcomed to come forward and contact me.

Babylon: where all start and end.

 

In order to relieve the pressure on the Northern and Easter bases within the periphery of the Empire Artax decided to open a third front westward.  Many of the navy pirates had defected to Artax for higher returns but the Persian navy was still intact.  Consequently, Artax avoided any maritime confrontation and his ships dispersed in the Indian Ocean met in Adan in Southern Yemen.  The ships navigated around the Arab Peninsula and landed in the fishing town of Akaba in southern Jordan. 

Instead of taking the long regular route to Babylon, the troops headed by Artax crossed a difficult desert to Basra.  A mutiny in the inner circle of the Imperial guards assassinated “Khosro the Magnificent”.  It was not that the Magnificent was more inept than his army commanders but the reaction of the guards was a traditional exit means to vent frustration on the leading scapegoat.  The next day, the mutineers realized that they put an end to the only symbol that held the Empire still united.  Chaos reigned in the Empire.

Artax army resumed its fast advance toward Babylon. The Persian Empire was as ripe as a rotten apple and the gates of Souze needed a light kick to disintegrate. The way to regaining the throne was open to Artax and post-war plans for reconciliation, reform, and reconstruction were being readied in Babylon.

The peripheral uprising catching fire

In the Wild Goose Chase: Uprising

(fiction, continue 34)

For two years since the disaster of the Southern Army, the bases of Artax authority in the North and East of the Kingdom were flourishing and disseminating the new spirit.

The authority of “Khosro the Magnificent” was shrinking around his two Capitals.  The Persian people were not excited of joining the army of the Eldest-Son of God.  The economy inside Persia was in trouble because the trade routes were becoming dangerous.

As the usurping King was entrenching himself in his two Capitals of Souze and Persepolis, the two main cities close to the Persian Gulf, Artax armies were gaining grounds in their advances from the North and East of the Kingdom.

Killing the Gold Goose

 

            Now that the High Priests had firm proofs that Artax is very much intent on politics and had crossed the red line in military incursions and harassment tactics, then it was time to play hard balls.  Two Persian army contingents were dispatched toward Balkh and Kandahar.  The High Priests figured that more profit could be made if they monopolized the trade business; as if a well oiled machine would continue to lay Gold Eggs if tampered with.  Afghanistan was turned into a battle field and military kind of curfew ordered in all that Estate.  Caravans stopped going into the Persian Empire, from land and from seas.

            Special spices, rare kinds of incense, and silk got scarce.  It was not unusual for properties to be sold not in gold coins but in exchange of these most precious products.  Girls’ dowries were bartered in these precious products.

            The upper strata of the Persian society could no longer suffer the humiliation to their palate, sensible noses, and fashionable attires.  They pressed upon “Khosro the Magnificent” to win the war very soon and thus more mistakes and errors in planning and logistics bogged down the progress of the war.  Consequently, the malaise within the upper and medium upper strata of society turned into serious horror of the future state of affairs.

With central authority engaged far up east then the Western Estates in Turkey and Syria were disintegrating into smaller kingdoms of warlords, loosely linked to the central authority and supplying nominal recruits who made it a point of honor to desert along the long trail.  Caravans heading west were loath taking that route because the taxes on their goods increased at each warlord principality and prices attained unprecedented height in the western Estates.

 

Tales of the riches of India gave wings to the adventurous spirits, the marginalized nobles, little merchants, and whoever could join caravans going east.  It was a period of mass exodus from Persia that emptied the Empire from its youngest and most promising elements in education and commerce. Since that period, Persia or present Iran turned eastward toward India for commerce, culture, civilization, philosophy, and religious alternatives.  The commerce with the western Estates of Turkey and Syria and their civilizations were forgotten for many centuries.

The demise of an army

 

The Southern Army had no choice but to avoid the shores and crossed their worst nightmare for 60 days toward the small fishing village of Bandar Abbass. What was to be an army was no longer; it was decimated by thirst and anyone who reached Bandar Abbass was in a state of coma and total dehydration.  There are no chronicles left on that adventure; the Greek would have done a thorough Iliad.

In order for the plan to evacuate the Southern Army to succeed it was necessary to lure the fleet of his enemy that his real intention was to land in Egypt from the Red Sea.  Actually, one of the primary strategies of Artax was to recapture Egypt and press on to Babylon and thus cut trade route supplies to the usurping Monarch; but that plan was studied for future activities and the decoy plan came much too late.

As is the case in general, military defeats are turned into victory by appropriate propaganda.  Since the small and insignificant navy of Artax was no match to the navy of the Persian Empire, and since Artax could not entice the neighboring States to join him on naval expeditions against the “legitimate” Persian Empire on account of ratified trade agreements and written documents, then Artax devised an ingenious promotion victory.  The best way was to give the illusion that his intention is to discover the African continent by touring its coast and establishing commercial colonies. As part of Artax fleet advanced around the African seashore, tales of his glorious adventures to circumnavigate the African Continent spread like wild fire amid the Persian people who were getting depressed of an authority wielded by the nobility and the cast of strict priesthood. 

Khosro the Magnificent reacts

 

The Persian Empire was pleased that Artax took to business and exported products at reasonable prices.  Trade and traffic to and from Afghanistan were heavy and very lucrative.  The fat Persian merchants, at the sold of their respective High Priests, nobles, governors, and warlords were getting fatter in return for small favors to Artax.

The festivities having taken their regular course according to customs of the inauguration, Khosro the Magnificent had to act and show the illusion of serious activities beside perpetual fun loving behaviors.  The Magnificent Khosro wanted to play the warrior and marched to the southern desert, just the ideal place to relax and be far away from the boring multitudes.  As “Khosro the Magnificent” proceeded leisurely toward the Southern Desert his army intelligence killed his appetite: there was confirmed news that renegade soldiers of the defunct Emperor Artax were infesting the desert and that ambushes are to be expected along the way.  No problems; the Magnificent ordered his naval forces stationed in Basra and Bahrain to get moving.  The Magnificent decided to have a view of the battles from a comfortable seat on a comfortable and luxury ship.  What was simply a desert diversion for the Magnificent turned a serious hardship for the Southern Army of Artax that never contemplated any frontal assault.  Worse, the navy of the Magnificent had pirate blood and they were excited for real actions.  The pirates never wasted an occasion to land and sack and loot.

Wild Goose Chase into the Old World: Persia 4th century BC

Preface 

Ever since I have read the life story of the so-called Alexander the Great I have been restless. I keep considering alternative circumstances of how this mad and impossible incursion into the Old Eastern World could have been stopped.

I felt that writing a historical fiction novel about this period would do me good. It should be historical because people are shying away from current news: They don’t listen to news, they don’t read newspapers, they have no ideas what is happening around them and yet, they feel superior to all politicians and far more capable.

It has to be a fiction because the so-called facts are bitter pills and not so reliable:

They are the facts of the victors and petty facts after all.

I needed to delve and know more about the ancient world.  I need to imagine that a few of its leaders and scholars could have foreseen how political systems and technologies would have developed.

How they would dare change the world according to their new visions. Whether they would have been better equipped, spiritually and morally to improve their world, people and environment, at their own snail pace

Alexander’s upbringing

Alexander was brainwashed since childhood.  He was made insidiously to believe by his mother Olympia that he was the descended of the God Hercules. His mother kept telling him that the Highest Priest of Egypt was convinced that he is the expected World King for the end of the Aries period (The Belier or two horned mammal).

Alexander was actually a bastard.

His father Phillip, King of Macedonia, strongly suspected that his wife Olympia has given birth to an illegitimate son. At the time, the kingdom of Persia extended from the borders of India to Turkey to Libya in Africa.  It included the current countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and the coast of North Africa.

Background on the motives of Alexander

Alexander’s goal was to conquer Egypt and receive from its High Priest the crown reserved for the expected son of God so that he can secure legitimacy.

As one of Alexander mentors explained it to him “If you want wealth you steal it by force and if you want legitimacy then you have to snatch it by the sword”.

As the story of history goes, while in Egypt, Alexander received a letter from the King of Persia. The King was proposing to Alexander to accept the coastal land of Turkey to settle their disputes.

It seems that the King of Persia was in a chatting mood and he added a threat that if his proposal is turned down then he will keep retreating before Alexander’s troops, to the confines of his vast Empire until Alexander gives up the chase. The letter warned Alexander that this task would be impossible to carry through.

The King of Persia had just handed Alexander a sweet excuse and a new purpose.

So much for making sense to a hot headed and crazy young adversary! Alexander barely visited any city twice and intended to advance further east to China.

What old “history books” told us

For thirteen years, Alexander barely backtracked in his wild push forward. His military travel took him beyond the Persian Empire to the Southern parts of Russia, Kashmir, Pakistan and parts of India.   As matter of fact, Alexander could not have advanced that far if not for the fresh recruits coming from Greece to replace the losses.

The new recruits adored him and wanted to have a share of the glory. Alexander crossed deserts in summers, the highest mountains in winters and most of his soldiers died of hunger, thirst and diseases rather than from wars.  Alexander died in Babylon at the age of 30 something and his fiefdoms were divided among his officers after many years of a long civil war.

Lesser known stories

The officers of Alexander, battle worn, sick with disease and confused as to the purpose of this incomprehensible campaign, finally expressed bluntly their unwillingness to go any further and confronted him.  Alexander had to stop his advance and convinced his officers to navigate the Indus River and then reach Egypt by sea.

To punish his officers for foiling his dream of reaching the confines of the ancient world, Alexander made his army to cross the southern desert of Persia for 60 days where thousands of soldiers died of thirst.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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