Tamburlaine the Great

Tamburlaine the Great Glossary


a ​continuous ​loud ​noise


to ​destroy something by ​twisting it with ​force or ​tearing it into ​pieces so that ​its ​original ​form is ​completely ​changed


of little ​quality or ​value


the ​feeling of not ​liking someone or something and ​thinking that they do not ​deserve ​one's ​interest or ​respect


to ​defeat an ​enemy ​completely and ​force them to ​run away


(​especially of ​older ​people) ​fat and solid-looking, ​especially around the ​waist


expressing ​contempt


an ​unpleasant ​condition, ​especially a ​serious, ​sad, or ​difficult one


the ​area that ​surrounds a ​building or ​place


a very ​strong ​feeling of no ​respect for someone or something that you ​think is ​stupid or has no ​value


to ​talk in a ​silly way or like a ​child for a ​long ​time about things that are not ​important or without saying anything ​important


a ​discussion between two ​groups of ​people, ​especially one that is ​intended to end an ​argument


praised often in a way that is ​considered to be more than ​acceptable or ​reasonable


a ​flag on a ​ship that ​shows which ​country the ​ship ​belongs to


(​especially of ​middle-aged or ​old men) ​fat and round


mighty; potent; powerful; strong


the ​responsibilities of an ​important ​position or ​job, ​especially as given from the ​person who had the ​job to the ​person who ​replaces them




(of a person's ​face) more ​pale than ​usual; tired-looking


the ​feeling of not ​liking someone or something, and ​thinking that they do not ​deserve ​your ​interest or ​respect


Archaic spelling of the modern-day capital city of Algeria, Algiers. The city is located on the northern cost of Algeria, on the Mediterranean. In actuality it is quite far from where the majority of the action of Tamburlaine the Great takes place—too far for some of the action to be feasible in terms of travel time—but this mistake is more attributable to Renaissance cartography than to Marlowe himself.


An archaic spelling of Anatolia, which is part of modern-day Turkey. It’s unclear exactly what Marlowe had in mind when he dubbed Orcanes “King of Natolia,” since if taken literally that would mean that his kingdom overlaps with several of the other rulers in the play. One can safely assume that Marlowe meant Orcanes as the ruler of some particular subset of what is today western Turkey.


Scythia was a name for the huge region to the north and north-east of modern-day Turkey. It wasn’t exactly an empire or nation, but rather the region of the Eurasian steppes inhabited by the nomadic tribes known as Scythians. Though considered illiterate barbarians by their more civilized neighbors, the Scythians developed a historical reputation as fierce warriors, and were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare.


A city that still exists today on the northeastern coast of Turkey along the Black Sea. It was an important city for trade: trade routes passed through it that connected Persia and the Caucasus region to the northeast.


Archaic spelling of what we call Syria. Not precisely the same as the modern-day country, but close geographically.


The former capital city of modern Morocco—a country in northwestern Africa, just south of Spain—located several hundred miles south of the Mediterranean Coast. Morocco is just west of Algeria, and thus even further from the main action of much of the play. Marlowe or his sources also evidently had some confusion as to the location of Fez, as he identifies one character as the King of Morocco and another as the King of Fez.


derived from Jupiter, the Roman or Latin name for Zeus, the Greek lord of the heavens and god of thunder


Archaic spelling of Muhammad, the central figure of Islam. In Tamburlaine, believers in Islam are referred to as Mahometans.


Roman deity related to the Greek Rhea, she is the primal earth goddess and wife to Saturn—Cronus in Greek—who are the parents of Jove. In Roman mythology, Jupiter succeeds Saturn as ruler in a peaceful manner, while in the Greek legend the younger god overthrows his father—by whom he narrowly escapes being eaten at birth—violently. Marlowe therefore seems to mix these traditions together in his reference to Ops in 2.7.


rule of government over a person or country


clothed or covered with a garment, especially one related to a particular status or position


an insulting term of address for a man or a boy, implying lower status than the speaker


the result or outcome of something; of a person, their child