Archaeologists working in Samarkand, Uzbekistan have discovered something surprising: the powerful 14th century warlord of Central Asia Timur the Lame, also known as Tamerlane or Timur-e Lang, would apparently allow groups of local children to paint the pyramids of skulls erected by his troops. These massive mounds of recently harvested human skulls would have served as a warning to those who may dare oppose the rule of Timur, though they apparently would have also looked quite striking, being a multitude of different bright colours.
According to Professor Jalil Khashimov “Timur was a very complicated man. On the surface, he was a brutal tyrant who killed some 17 million people in his conquests to reclaim the glory of his Borjigin ancestors. On the other hand, we now believe he may have been a big softy underneath it all. For one, we know he would let surviving children of sacked cities paint the skull pyramids however they wanted, which was likely a lot of fun for them. We also believe he would waive the execution of soldiers who failed to present him the heads of three slain foes if they were feeling under the weather.”
The Turco-Mongol conqueror’s empire spanned from Central Asia to Anatolia, and his forces, like many other warlords from the Steppe, were notorious for their brutality. “Fear was a weapon used masterfully by many of the Khans of the time. For what it’s worth, we also believe Timur was afraid of the dark. It’s very likely if he were born in a different time he would have been a pretty nice guy. Also, we know that when the Soviet Union desecrated his tomb and unleashed his curse leading to Operation Barbarossa, the booming voice announcing this had difficulties pronouncing l’s and r’s, and after his remains were reburied did that same voice say ‘I’m sowwy’.”