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Ruy González De Clavijo’s Narrative Of Courtly Life And Ceremony In Timur’s Samarqand, 1404

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Chapter Summary

As ambassador of King Henry III of Castile, Ruy González de Clavijo enjoyed generous access to the life and ceremony of the Timurid royal court and left one of the most detailed and lengthy accounts of their settings. The extent of Clavijo's descriptive detail has been noted by modern readers of the Embajada a Tamorlán. This feature of the prose, its 'realism,' is regarded as characteristic of the embassy report genre generally-ambassadors, like spies, were charged with recording what they saw as accurately as possible-and in Clavijo's case this detail has been described as "extreme". Clavijo's narrative of his visits to the "orchards and houses" of Timur in Samarqand's vicinity and to the many tents and enclosures at the Kan-i Gil meadow for the quriltāy in 1404 offer some of the most vivid descriptions of settings for Timurid courtly life and ceremony.

Keywords: Clavijo's narrative; King Henry; Ruy González de Clavijo; Samarqand; Timur



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