Timurid and Turkman Rulers (1389-1508)
|The tomb of Timur c.1910|
Tamerlane (Timur), who claimed descent from Genghis Khan's family, was the next ruler to achieve the status of emperor. He did not have the huge forces of earlier Mongol leaders, so his conquests were slower than those of Genghis Khan or Hulagu Khan. Ironically, this ruthless warrior and appalling killer was a great patron of arts and initiated a true civilization with a center in Samarqand. Timur was famed for his great interest in unorthodox religious beliefs, among them Sufism, which developed considerably in his time.
Under Timur's son Shahrokh and grandson Ulugh Beik the Iranian culture began to flourish. Their capital, Herat, was turned into the seat of splendid culture, the atelier of great miniature painters, and the home for a revival of Persian sciences and arts. The Timurid Empire, however, disintegrated rapidly after Ulugh Beiks death.
After the Timurid princes, Iran was dominated, particularly in its northern part, by the Qara-Quyunlu, the "Black Sheep" Turkman tribe. On Shahrokhs death, their leader, Iahan Shah, extended his rule deep into Iran. Their rival was another Turkman tribe of Aq-Quyunlu, the "White Sheep", who were concentrated around Diyarbakir in Turkey. The White Sheep, led by Uzun Hasan, destroyed Jahan Shah's troops by the end of 1467. Uzun Hasan established a short-lived empire but was confronted by a new power in Asia Minor - the Ottoman Turks. Minor Mongol tribes, Uzbeks, and Turkman clans ruled over [ran until the rise of the Safavid dynasty.