28 December 2011

Timur's Body

Some people are so evil that not even death can stop them.


Fig. 1: Amir Timur statue, Uzbekistan

Timur was the son of some middle class dude in Transoxiana (modern day Uzbekistan, home of what used to be the Aral Sea, the Sogdian Rock, magnificent architecture, and Khiva, one of the last independent kingdoms of the 20th century to be battled over between the British and Russians in the Great Game. You also can't read the Bible, use the Internet, and prisoners are frequently tortured to death). He had ambitions. Unsatisfied with his prospects, Timur became a warrior and decided to conquer the Mongol empire like his hero Chingis Khan. To achieve this goal he invented a fake geneology linking him to the great Khan and married the Khan's granddaughter.

Timur then conquered the Persian Il-Khanate ("little" Khanate), and half of the Chagatai Khanate. He punished the Golden Horde for overstepping their boundaries as tributary state, permanantly destroying their economy. His greatest passtime during this period was abducting scholars and artists and transporting them to Samarkand, which they were to make into the most magnificent city in the world. He also liked to slaughter tens of thousands of people and make towers out of their heads for no other purpose than because it looked cool.

Timur's next venture was to prove that he is "not a man of blood" and that "God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity." He looked to the Quran for advice whether to slaughter every single person in India or every single person in China for being infidels and India turned out to be closer. He went there with his army and destroyed the Delhi Sultanate because they were the wrong kind of Muslims. He proceededt o ravage India, slaughtering more than a million people and making towers out of their heads. Every time his men would slaughter 20,000 Indians in a single afternoon he would throw a massive two day long feast so they could revel in their own crapulence.

Satisfied that it would take over a century for the subcontinent to repopulate he went West to slaughter the Ottomans for being the wrong kind of Muslim. In a bloody battle, Timur killed the Ottoman sultan and threw the empire into chaos. He also depopulated nearby Christian kingdoms for being infidels as well as other Muslim kingdoms for being the wrong kind of Muslims.


Fig. 2: Timur's Empire at the time of his death in 1405.

Something was still eating away at Timur. He was getting old and he hadn't slaughtered everyone in China yet, nor had he conquered the entire Mongol empire. He saddled up his army and went to China, but the weather was bad and he died. His body was placed in a lavish tomb in Samarkand with a curse: should anyone remove his body a fate more terrible will befall them than if Timur himself would ravish their country. Like the curse of King Tut, Timur's curse had real power to it. Unlike Tut's curse, which only claimed the lives around 20 people (and a dog and a bird), Timur's curse claimed the lives of millions.

Soviet archaeologists/tomb raiders broke into Timur's tomb in June 1941. Two days later Hitler broke the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, launching Operation Barbarosa, the largest single military campaign ever. Eastern Europe would be devastated, millions would die both soldiers and civilians, and the Nazis would take control of an additional 13% of the continent, creating the largest empire in European history. One million people would die in Leningrad, another million in Stalingrad, three million Soviet soldiers would die as Nazi prisoners, and millions of Slavs and other unwanted would be sent to die in the death camps.

Realising the gravity of the situation the Soviets reintered Timur's body in November 1942. A few days later they launched Operation Uranus, the decisive counteroffensive that would push the Nazis back from Stalingrad and pave the way for the fall of the Third Reich.

Some might scoff and say that it is merely coincidence that within days of Timur's tomb being disturbed the largest military operation ever was launched and laid waste to the Soviet Union. They will say it is mere coincidence that within days of his body being put back the tide of the war turned and the Soviets were able to gain an iron grip on Eastern Europe for the next half century. I ask, "what is the measure of coincidence?" In the scientific method you make an injunction, follow it through to collect data, and check it against the results of others who have done 1 and 2. Timur's curse is the same. There's an injunction: "remove my body and your country will be devastated." Performing the injunction leads to the data: what he said would happen happened. The experiment was done in reverse with the reverse results: Timur's body was put back and the enemies of the Soviet Union were devastated and the Soviet Union grew in power undreamed of previously. The only thing missing is step three, repeating the experiment, which is a very bad idea in this case as the intended result is millions of people dying.

What we're left with is a mystery. Timur's curse did exactly what it said it would when it said it would, which is strong evidence in its favour. Unfortunately morality prevents us from testing his curse again so we can't be 100% certain. Still, for what it's worth, it's made a believer out of me.