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Ligabue Magazine n° 76
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Prehistoric Footprints in the Land of Ulugh Beg

Text by:
Antonio De Vivo

Antonio De Vivo - Tullio Bernabei


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* Digital versions from no. 1 to no. 57 are obtained from a scan of the magazine. May therefore present the imperfections in the display of text and images.

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Muhammad Taragay (Ulugh Beg, the Great Prince) was born in 1394 at Sultaniyya. Son of Shah Rukh, a Muslim sovereign in the Timurid dynasty (Persia) and grandson of Tamerlane (Timur), Ulugh Beg was governor of Samarkand and one of the greatest astronomers of all time.
A friend of poets and artists, this great enlightened scholar was passionately interested in all sciences. In 1420 he founded an international secular university. This was followed in 1428 by the construction of the most important astronomical observatory created before the advent of optical instruments. In a few years Muhammad Taragay and his group became legendary, and Samarkand flourished as one of the most famous fifteenth-century artistic and scientific centres.
But the open-minded secular world of the observatory soon invited fundamentalist jealousy. In 1449 Ulugh Beg was killed, after being betrayed by his son, who took power along with his fellow conspirators.

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This article is contained in
Ligabue Magazine 28

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