astronomer, ruler (B. 22 March 1394, Sultaniyeh /
At the young ages, Ulugh Beg visited the ruins of Merağa Observatory that was
established by Nasirüddin Tûsî (Tûs
1201-Baghdad 1274) in 1259. Remaining observatory ruins that he saw there aroused
his curiosity for astronomy profoundly. In this case, it may suggest that the
interest that he showed to astronomy may have been originated from his
childhood. Bursalı Kadızâde was at
Beg is noted for his studies
in the fields of science and culture rather than combat and politics, and had beautiful
madrasahs built in
The basis of astronomical studies is formed by trigonometry basics, which are one of the fundamentals of the mathematics. For this reason, Ulugh Beg also made extensive studies on trigonometry: such studies begun with calculating the value of sine of 1 degree arch. These studies were started by leaving the previous conjectural and approximate studies of Eastern and Western world scholars’. He made an attempt to mark a new research era in the trigonometry and showed his ability in this area by determining calculation bases based on algebra and geometry. Ulugh Beg, who is considered as a 15th century astronomer in the science world, also gave importance to artistic values like his grandfather Timur and his father M. Şahruh Mirza and showed respect to artists.
After his grandfather
Timur’s death on 14 February 1405, there were many changes in administrative
system. Ulugh Beg governed Transoxiana, where he was appointed as governor
general, as a ruler. However, he faced uprisings of the members of the dynasty.
He succeeded to get his nephews Ebubekir and Alaüddevle out of the way but failed
to prevent one of his nephews Sultan Muhammed from taking over the
Upon death of Muinittin
Şahruh Bahadır Mirza on 13 March 1448, Ulugh Beg succeeded him as his eldest
son alive. Thus, as he became the ruler of Eastern Turkish Khanate, there were
continuous fights for the throne and ambition in Khorasan and Transoxiana again.
Upon news informing the rebellion in
Ulugh Beg was a kind, good-natured person that always researched and learnt new knowledge. It is understood from examination of his works that this characteristic of him played a big role in development of his scientific mentality. His modesty and courtesy are indications of his honesty and seriousness. He was always interested in serious matters and tried to create scientific background and environment. Belligerencies related to warfare and invasion that were inherited from his grandfather Timur reveal themselves in his siblings more. Ulugh Beg always preferred to avoid such aims unless there were serious necessities.
Among other valuable scientists that he gathered by scientific establishments such as Samarkand Madrasah and Samarkand Observatory that he established, Ulugh Beg is known as a genuine scientist rather than statesman. He held meetings related to scientific matters with this scientist group very often. He listened to advanced level lectures in those meetings and also he gave lectures when needed. Subject of the lecture was based on mathematics and astronomy in general. Astronomical tables known as “Zeyç Kürkânî” or “Zeyç Cedit Sultani” have an important part in the history of science both in the East and West.
One of the master copies
of Zeyç Kürkani was brought to
REFERENCE: W. Barthold / Uluğ Bey ve Zamanı (çev. Nimet Akdes Tahiroğlu, (s.96, 1930), İbrahim Aledddin Gövsa / Türk Meşhurları (1946), H. Ziya Ülken / İslâm Felsefesi Tarihi (s. 301, 1957), Kemal Zülfü Taneri / Türk Matematikçileri (s.43, 1958), Aydın Sayılı / Uluğ Bey ve Semerkant’daki İlim Faaliyeti Hakkında Gıyasüddin-i Kâşî'nin Mektubu (s. 77, 1969), A. Süheyli Ünver / Bursalı Kadızâde Rûmî ve Devrinin Öteki Bilimcileri (s.7, 1970), Sigrid Hunke / İslâmın Güneşi Avrupa'nın Üzerinde (1975, s. 113), Büyük Larousse (s. 11934, 1986), Uluğ Bey (1995), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).