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The History of Tamerlane and Crowdsourcing

A history book on the life of Tamerlane, who killed millions, has been published. It is entitled "Zafar-Nama" which translates to "Letter of Triumph" or "Book of Victory". Much of the information we have today about Tamerlane comes from this book. Portions of an English translation are online with a very long title but the short version is "The History of Timur-Bec". See the link below. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Remember that this historian was COMMISSIONED to write this book by someone with a point of view. Science and history will be financed for centuries to come either by an independently rich scientist himself or through a rich patron sponsoring the work. The modern equivalent is called "crowdsourcing." People kick in what they can afford to finance a worthy project. It can be as simple as paying for a plane ticket for a war correspondent to fly to Afghanistan to get "the REAL story". But remember that the people paying for the product (the patrons) have expectations. They aren't dictating the exact outcome but the scientist, researcher or historian will accommodate their patron where they can. That includes when the patron is the GOVERNMENT. There is nothing neutral about having a government patron. That doesn't make the practice automatically bad, but keep in mind who is paying for the work. Flavius Josephus is the primary history source for the time of Jesus, but his patron was the Roman Emperor Vespasian who founded the Flavian dynasty. That is why the Romans are usually cast in a neutral light in his histories. Thus... if the Romans did something bad you can feel sure it was much worse and if the Romans did something really good you can feel sure that it was probably just OK. [5] [6]

The Penultimate Emperor

The once great Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium [biz-ANTI-um] now extends to the city limits of Constantinople. Last year the Ottoman Turks laid siege to Thessalonica [thess-a-LAWN-ih-ka] and rather than surrender, the Empire gave the city over to the Venetians... for food. In desperation, Prince John went on a mission to Europe to ask for help but no help is coming until the Greek Church returns to the Latin Church... and Hell is freezing over right now. Prince John is a man of great vision, but what the Emperor wants is someone to manage the decline. Emperor Manuel the 2nd dons monks robes, changes his name to Matthew and dies at age 75. He will leave Emperor John the 8th to tend the dying embers of an Empire. John's brother, Constantine the 11th, will rake the ashes and die in hand-to-hand combat defending the walls of the city. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Eastern Empire's problems have been largely economic and logistic. Looking back they should have down-sized quickly, consolidating into a smaller but more defensible size. Because the Empire was spread out, it was too expensive to maintain a mercenary army large enough to cover it. They debased their coinage several times in order to make the payments, but that only made the mercenaries angry and forced their Italian suppliers to create their own coinage such as the florin and ducat. People are abandoning the city of Constantinople for the relative safety of Morea (which is the Peloponnese peninsula). The city is so empty that farming is going on within the city walls. It looks like a modern day Detroit and while Emperor John's optimism is admirable, his predecessors sold the seed corn long ago.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1425, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Zafar-Nama - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Timur - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Sharaf al-Din 'Ali Yazdi. The History of Timur-Bec: Known by the Name of Tamerlain the Great, Emperor ... - Sharaf al-Din 'Ali Yazdi - Google Books. London: J. Darby. 1425. (BOOK)
  5. Crowdsourcing - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Josephus - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Norwich, John Julius. (John J. Norwich, bio). Byzantium: Volume 3: Decline and Fall. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1995. pp. 385-390. (BOOK) Quote: "The Empire of which, on 21 July 1425, the thirty-two-year-old John Palaeologus became sole basileus was effectively bounded by the walls of Constantinople; and Constantinople now presented a dismal picture indeed."
  8. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 204. (BOOK) Quote: "John VIII, Byzantine Emperor (-1448)."
  9. Byzantium - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Manuel II Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. John VIII Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Constantine XI Palaiologos - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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