Revolt of Herat, 1383

The revolt of Herat of 1383 was a short-lived rebellion against Tamerlane that ended with a massacre and the increasingly familiar site of towers of skulls outside the city.

After Tamerlane's original conquest of Herat in 1381 two junior members of the ruling Kart dynasty had successfully convinced Tamerlane to give them positions of authority. The older of the two, Malik Mehemed, was appointed governor of a province. Tamerlane's generosity was misplaced. In 1383 Mehemed raised an army and took it to Herat. Tamerlane's garrison were forced to retreat into the fortress, the city walls having been destroyed in 1381. The rebels attacked the fortress, burning down the gate and massacring the defenders.

The response to this revolt was led by Tamerlane's youngest son, Miranshah, governor of Khorasan. He sent two of his Emirs with an advance guard towards Herat, and followed on with the main army. When the Emirs arrived outside Herat the rebels attacked them, but were defeated and fled back into the city.

Miranshah arrived just after this fight. His combined army was ordered into the city, which was brutally sacked. In the aftermath of the fighting a high tower was built from the skulls of the dead, something that would become one of Tamerlane's gruesome trademarks.

The fall of Herat didn't end the revolt in Khorasan. Just to the south the city of Isfizar had also rebelled. This time Tamerlane arrived to take part in the final part of the siege in person, and the atrocities that followed were even more gruesome than at Herat.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 September 2010), Revolt of Herat, 1383 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/revolt_herat_1383.html

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