The Biographical Account of Timur


Kulliyat-e Farsi Taymurnamah (literally, The biographical account of Timur) is a biography of Timur or Tamerlane (1336−1405), the Turkic-Mongolian founder of the Timurid dynasty and lineage. It chronicles in detail his personal, political, and military life, including campaigns and conquests, and events in the regions of present-day Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran. Many biographies of Timur were produced during his lifetime and after. This lithographed version was published in Tashkent by Matba-e Ghulam Hasan in 1912. The last page of the introduction (pages 2−7) states that this book was written in 1792 during the reign of Shah Murad, founder of the emirate of Bukhara. The full name of the author, Mirza Muhamamd Qasim Ibn Abdul Khaliq Bukhari, appears on the cover, but no other information about him is provided. The introduction to this copy is a typical Persian historiographical trope praising God’s supremacy and linking the rise of a ruler, Timur, to divine sanction. The author emphasizes that this connection also held true with the prophets, from Abraham to Muhammad, and for the first four caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, and Ali. On page four the author states that “humanity” is of two types, firstly the prophets, then the kings, as protectors of religion, makers and keepers of peace, and defenders of justice with courage and bravery. (He says nothing about people who do not fit either of these categories.) Timur (Amir Timur Gorgan) is seen as the latter type, “unquestionably brave, and conqueror of the world from Bulgaria to China, and the ruler of Iran and Turan.” The author refers to other biographers of Timur, including Qazi Abdul Wakil and Abdul Razzaq Samarqandi. He covers Timur’s family background, coronation as a ruler in Balkh in 1369−70, and his military campaigns. The work also expands beyond the life of Timur to cover events relating to the lives of his descendants, including the coronation of Mirza Shahrukh as a dynast in Herat, the rise of Babur as emperor in Khorasan and India, and the emergence of the Uzbeks and Safavids as new political lineages in Mawaranahr, Khorasan, and Iran. Particular historical events, individual figures, and narratives are marked with bold subheadings within the text and above. The first dastan (narrative) on pages eight to 15 concerns the birth of Timur. The last dastan is on his death and briefly discusses his descendants, notably his 34 sons and his many grandchildren. Notes and the signatures of anonymous readers, or perhaps of the author, appear in the margins of the text, as well as seals and stamps of many other readers on the last page of the book. The work is about 440 pages, paginated with Indo-Arabic numerals.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Matba-e Ghulam Hasan, Tashkent


Title in Original Language

کلیات فارسی تیمور نامه

Type of Item

Physical Description

441 pages ; 32 centimeters


  1. Ron Sela, The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Last updated: September 30, 2016