Mapping medieval space in the Embajada a Tamorlán
The Embajada a Tamorlán (Embassy to Tamerlane) recounts the journey of an embassy sent by the Castilian king, Enrique III, to the court of the Mongol ruler Timur (Tamerlane). The purported author of this early fifteenth-century travel narrative, Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, was the king's chamberlain and the leader of the expedition. The journey took three years, from 1403-1406, and details the trials and tribulations of the Castilian envoys during their travels by water across the Mediterranean and Black Seas and overland to Samarkand, located in present-day Uzbekistan. In the Embajada, Clavijo provides a remarkable description of Timur's court that even today is a key source for historians writing about this great Mongol ruler: Peter Jackson, the preeminent Mongol historian, describes the Embajada as "the most important single Western source on Temur and his empire" (2005: 242).