Nicholas Rowe's Tamerlane of 1701 marks an important step in the development of literary representations of military heroes. Rowe draws on and adapts seventeenth-century accounts of Timur and other soldiers to create a conqueror more virtuous and peace-loving than those portrayed by earlier playwrights. Yet in spite of his pacific temper, Rowe's hero must go to war, and such necessity becomes an argument for William III's contemporary war with France. In fashioning a warrior who both hates and wages war, Rowe anticipated a number of eighteenth-century heroic figures. Tamerlane's lasting popularity suggests that he provided the century with one of its best-known and most resonant versions of the martial ideal.
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John Richardson; Nicholas Rowe's Tamerlane and the Martial Ideal. Modern Language Quarterly 1 June 2008; 69 (2): 269–289. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-2007-035
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