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II


Bajazet (baj-a-zet'), sultan of Turkey , now determined to stop Tamerlane's eastward march.


News of this reached the conqueror's ears. Leaving India , he marched to meet the sultan. Bajazet was a famous warrior. He was so rapid in his movements in war that he was called "the lightning."


Tamerlane entered the sultan's dominions and devastated them. He stormed Bagdad , and after capturing the place killed thousands of the inhabitants.


At length the rivals and their armies faced each other. A great battle followed. It raged four or five hours and then the Turks were totally defeated. Bajazet was captured.


Tamerlane then ordered a great iron cage to be made and forced the sultan to enter it. The prisoner was chained to the iron bars of the cage and was thus exhibited to the Mongol soldiers, who taunted him as he was carried along the lines.


As the army marched from place to place the sultan in his cage was shown to the people. How long the fallen monarch had to bear this humiliating punishment is not known.


Tamerlane's dominions now embraced a large part of Asia . He retired to his palace at Samarcand and for several weeks indulged in festivities.


He could not, however, long be content away from the field of battle. So he made up his mind to invade the Empire of China. At the head of a great army of two hundred thousand soldiers he marched from the city of Samarcand towards China . He had gone about three hundred miles on the way when, in February, 1405, he was taken sick and died. His army was disbanded and all thought of invading China was given up.


Thus passed away one of the greatest conquerors of the Middle Ages. He was a soldier of genius but he cannot be called a truly great man. His vast empire speedily fell to pieces after his death. Since his day there has been no leader like him in that part of Asia .


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