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TAMBURLAINE the GREAT

Part the Second

by Christopher Marlowe

c. 1586-7

 

 

Annotations and notes © copyright ElizabethanDrama.org, 2017.
This annotated play may be freely copied and distributed.


 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

INTRODUCTION to the PLAY

Tamburlaine, King of Persia.

     Christopher Marlowe, perhaps with some foresight, did not kill Tamburlaine off in Part One, leaving the conqueror available to thrill his audiences with a Part Two. Tamburlaine picks up where he left off, blustering and violent, and always backing up his words with smashing defeats against enemies all over Asia. Alert readers will notice how many of the elements and much of the language from Part One are repeated in Part Two, including reused phrases, unusual words, imagery and even mythological allusions, suggesting that Marlowe had hurried to finish Part Two while Tamburlaine was still a hot ticket.

     Zenocrate, wife to Tamburlaine.

Tamburlaine’s sons:

Calyphas.

     Perdicas, Servant to Calyphas.

Amyras.

Celebinus.

Tamburlaine’s Kings:

Techelles, King of Fez.

Theridamas, King of Argier.

Usumcasane, King of Morocco.

OUR PLAY'S SOURCE

Other Kings:

     The text of the play is taken from the Mermaid edition of the plays of Christopher Marlowe, edited by Havelock Ellis, and cited in the footnotes below at #7.

Orcanes, King of Natolia.

King of Trebizond.

King of Soria.

King of Jerusalem.

NOTES ON THE ANNOTATIONS

King of Amasia.

Gazellus, Viceroy of Byron.

     References in the annotations to Cunningham, Dyce, Schelling and Ribner refer to the notes supplied by these editors for Tamburlaine the Great, Part Two, in their individual collections of Marlowe's work, each volume cited fully below.

     The most commonly cited sources are listed in the footnotes immediately below. The complete list of footnotes appears at the end of this play.

     The footnotes in the annotations correspond as follows:

     1. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online.

     2. Crystal, David and Ben. Shakespeare's Words. London; New York: Penguin, 2002.

     3. Cunningham, Lt. Col. Francis. The Works of Christopher Marlowe. London: Chatto and Windus, 1879.

     5. Dyce, Alexander. The Works of Christopher Marlowe. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1876.

     6. Schelling, Felix E. Christopher Marlowe. New York: American Book Company, 1912.

     7. Ellis, Havelock, ed. The Best Plays of the Old Dramatists: Christopher Marlowe. London: Viztelly & Co., 1887.

     8. The Encyclopedia Britannica. 11th edition. New York: 1911.

     9. Ribner, Irving. The Complete Plays of Christopher Marlowe. New York: The Odyssey Press, 1963.

     14. Smith, W., ed. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: John Murray, 1849.

     21. Bartlett, W.B. The Mongols, From Genghis Kahn to Tamerlane. Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2009.

     23. Davis, Robert C. Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003.

     37. MacBean, Alexander. A Dictionary of Ancient  Geography. London, 1773.

Uribassa.

Sigismund, King of Hungary.

Lords of Buda and Bohemia:

Frederick.

Baldwin.

Callapine, son to Bajazeth.

Almeda, his Keeper.

Captain of Balsera.

     Olympia, wife of the Captain of Balsera.

     His Son.

Maximus.

Physicians.

Another Captain.

Lords, Citizens, Soldiers, Turkish Concubines, &c.


 

Brief Notes on Tamburlaine, Part Two.

A. Our Maps for Part Two Are Online.

     We discussed in Part One Marlowe's use of the maps of Abraham Ortelius as a source for the geography of the Tamburlaine plays. Part Two in particular is filled with exotic place names from all over the Eastern Hemisphere; Marlowe seems to have relied primarily on five of Ortelius' maps: Europe, the Turkish Empire, Africa, Natolia, and the World.

    If you wish to follow the paths taken by the various armies of Part Two, or simply note the locations of the many place names mentioned in the play, we encourage you to view or print out the maps created specifically for Part Two which are available on the Tamburlaine, Part Two page at ElizabethanDrama.org.

     Our maps of Africa and Europe contain all the place names which are identified as appearing on Ortelius' maps of Africa and Europe, respectively. All place names which are identified as appearing on Ortelius' maps of the Turkish Empire, Natolia, or Palestina, or in Anatolia or the Levant in general, can be found on our map of Western Asia.

B. Our Story So Far: a Review of Part One.

     With a small crew of bandits, Tamburlaine, a Scythian shepherd, began his rise to power by robbing merchant travellers in the Persian Empire. After suborning a troop of Persian cavalry to join his band, Tamburlaine defeated the rival kings of Persia in battle. Having now captured the Persian crown for himself, Tamburlaine took his command west to Anatolia, where he defeated the Ottoman army, capturing the Sultan Bajazeth and his wife in the process. Tamburlaine gave the crowns of several North African territories (which were actually part of the Ottoman Empire, and which he now had title to) to his favorite subordinates.

     Tamburlaine had also previously captured Zenocrate, the daughter of the Soldan (Sultan) of Egypt, and the two had fallen in love. After sacking Damascus, Tamburlaine fought a battle with the Egyptian Soldan's army, defeating it in turn. As a favor to his beloved, Tamburlaine spared the life of her father, who in return (and no doubt in relief) blessed the marriage of Tamburlaine and Zenocrate, who was in her turn crowned Empress of Tamburlaine's empire.

C. How Much Time has Passed

Between Parts One and Two?

     In the last scene of Part Two, Tamburlaine looks at a map and recounts his travels: after defeating the Ottomans and capturing the Sultan in Part One, he had moved his army down to Egypt and Arabia, then to the Sinai Peninsula, where he and his army sit at the beginning of Part Two.

     A comment by Tamburlaine's subordinate, Usumcasane, made in the first Act of Part Two, that after leaving Tamburlaine, his army travelled for at least fifteen months (conquering North Africa during this time) before returning to the fold of the main army, suggests that about two years have passed between Part One and Part Two.

     However, after Part One, Tamburlaine married Zenocrate, and the royal couple now have three grown sons. This would require about 16 years to have passed between the two Parts.

     Should we be concerned by this lack of internal consistency in the passage of time? No, we shouldn't: matters of continuity were never to be of particular interest to any of the playwrights of the Elizabethan era!

D. Other Developments

Since the End of Part One.

     Despite their crushing defeat to Tamburlaine in Part One, the Ottomans have since recovered and reestablished control over Anatolia, perhaps some parts of the Middle East (including a portion of Syria), and resumed their wars in Europe, where they have captured lands up to the Danube River in Hungary and the Balkans.

     But now, Tamburlaine is on the Sinai Peninsula, gathering his armies and preparing to march north. He has at some point captured, and now holds prisoner, Callapine, the son and heir of the previous Ottoman Sultan, Bajazeth. The rulers of the various Ottoman territories must once again figure out how to defeat the Scythian, who only seems to get stronger with each successive victory.

E. Marlowe's Ahistoric Approach to History
in Part Two.

     There is no question that the titanic personality and supreme, even Napoleonic confidence, of Tamburlaine could easily fill the pages of two plays without embarrassment; and so it was with great fortune that Christopher Marlowe chose, perhaps with subtle forethought, to leave Tamburlaine alive at the end of Part One, in order to bring him back for a sequel.

     Luckily for civilization, the real Tamburlaine (Timur), having devastated much of Syria and crushing the Ottoman army, returned in 1403 to his homeland east of the Caspian Sea, where, while planning a new invasion, this time of China, he promptly died on February 17, 1405, at Otrar in modern Kazakhstan.

     Which is to say that Timur died very shortly after the end of Part One, and thus all the events portrayed in Part Two are fictional in so far as they are meant to represent the continuing story of Tamburlaine - not that anyone watching the play would have cared.

    After Timur's death, the empire he had taken four decades to build quickly disintegrated, as his sons fought for supreme control. A truncated version of the empire thrived for four decades under the rule of Timur's enlightened astronomer-grandson, Ulug-Beg.


 

TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT

Part the Second

By Christopher Marlowe

1587

THE PROLOGUE.

 

1

The general welcomes Tamburlaine received,

= universally positive reception.1

2

When he arrivèd last upon the stage,

Hath made our poet pen his Second Part,

4

Where death cuts off the progress of his pomp,

= ie. Tamburlaine's.

And murderous fates throw all his triumphs down.

6

But what became of fair Zenocrate,

And with how many cities' sacrifice

8

He celebrated her sad funeral,

Himself in presence shall unfold at large.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

[Southern Bank of the Danube River, Hungary.]

Scene Settings: as with Part One, settings are not included

in any of the editions of the play; all scene settings in this edition are the editor's own suggestions - as always, done with the goal of making the play easier for the reader to follow.
     The Ottoman army has for years been taking control of increasingly larger swaths of south-eastern Europe.

Enter Orcanes, King of Natolia,

Entering Characters: the named characters are all heads

Gazellus, Viceroy of Byron,

of state who rule lands or cities controlled by the Ottomans.

Uribassa, and their Train, with drums and trumpets.

However, with the last Turkish Sultan (Bajazeth) now dead, and his son a prisoner of Tamburlaine, Orcanes (the King of Natolia, ie. Anatolia, or Asia Minor), is the ranking leader of the empire, or at least the first amongst equals. Gazellus is the deputy king of Byron, a city located on the rivers just north of the Persian Gulf (and labeled Biron on Ortelius' map of the Turkish Empire); and Uribassa is the deputy king of an unnamed place.

1

Orc.  Egregious viceroys of these eastern parts,

1-3: "my distinguished (egregious)1 heads of state and deputy kings (viceroys), who were appointed to your positions by Callapine, the son (issue) of the previous Sultan Bajazeth"

2

Placed by the issue of great Bajazeth,

And sacred lord, the mighty Callapine,

3-5: Callapine is currently held prisoner by Tamburlaine.

4

Who lives in Egypt, prisoner to that slave

     His father (the Sultan Bajazeth) and mother were

Which kept his father in an iron cage; −

     captured by Tamburlaine in the climactic battle of Part
     One, and Bajazeth was kept by Tamburlaine in a cage.
     The royal Ottoman couple eventually killed themselves
     by smashing their heads against the cage.
         Callapine is being held in Egypt, just a short distance
     from Alexandria.

6

Now have we marched from fair Natolia

Two hundred leagues, and on Danubius' banks

= a league is an ancient measurement of length, believed
     to be about 3 miles (5 kilometers); Orcanes' estimate of
     his army's march of 600 miles (or 1000 kilometers) would
     place the Ottomans right at the point where the Danube
     crosses the modern border from Croatia into Hungary -
     which makes sense, as they are about to meet Sigismund,
     the King of Hungary.

8

Our warlike host, in complete armour, rest,

8: warlike host = valiant army. 
         complete armour = perhaps an allusion to the "whole
     armour of God" mentioned in the New Testament's
     Ephesians 6:13; see the note  in Part One, Act I, ii, 47.

Where Sigismund, the king of Hungary,

10

Should meet our person to conclude a truce.

= ie. "me".

What! Shall we parley with the Christiän,

= a simple call to attention.  = talk, negotiate.

12

Or cross the stream, and meet him in the field?

9-12: Orcanes wants to bring the Ottoman army out of
     Europe to fight Tamburlaine, who is once again threaten-
     ing the Ottoman Empire; a truce with the Europeans
     would free up his forces to attend to this project.
         On the other hand, the Ottomans have been so
     successful in subjugating south-eastern Europe, that he
     is not completely certain as to whether they should stay
     and meet the Christian army on the battlefield instead,
     since both sides are present and ready for war.

14

Gaz.  King of Natolia, let us treat of peace;

We are all glutted with the Christians' blood,

16

And have a greater foe to fight against, −

Proud Tamburlaine, that, now in Asiä,

18

Near Guyron's head doth set his conquering feet,

= Guiron (Marlowe's Guyron) is a city on the Euphrates
     River east of Aleppo on Ortelius' Turkish Empire map;
     head suggests Guyron may be a river, or at the head of
     a river (which it is not), but head could also mean simply
     "boundary."1 An intriguing alternate thought is that
     Marlowe meant to write Giulap instead of Guyron,
     Giulap being a river whose head is near Guiron on
     Ortelius' map.
         Either way, Gazellus is wrong about Tamburlaine's
     position: the conqueror is actually gathering an army at
     Larissa, which is located on the Mediterranean shore of
     the Levant, near Gaza.

And means to fire Turkey as he goes.

= burn; fire is disyllabic here: fi-yer.

20

'Gainst him, my lord, must you address your power.

22

Urib.  Besides, King Sigismund hath brought from
     Christendom

22f: Sigismund, the King of Hungary, has brought his own
     army of mixed European warriors to meet the Ottomans.

More than his camp of stout Hungarians −

= haughty.2

24

Sclavonians, Almain rutters, Muffes, and Danes,

24: Sclavonians = Slavonians; on Ortelius' map of Europe,
     Slavonia encompasses the eastern coast of the Adriatic
     Sea from about Rijeca in Croatia to the border between
     Montenegro and Albania.
         Almain rutters = German cavalry.1,5
         Muffes = Germans or Swiss.1
         Note also that this line is repeated exactly at line 63.
 

That with the halberd, lance, and murdering axe,

= a medieval pole weapon, with a blade and a pointed end.11

26

Will hazard that we might with surety hold.

26: hazard = imperil. 
         that = ie. "that which". Uribassa's point is that a large
     battle is always risky, and it would thus be wiser to assure
     their sovereignty over the land they already have de
     facto
control over by making a treaty with the
     Europeans, than to jeopardize said possession with
     a more unpredictable battle.

28

Orc.  Though from the shortest northern parallel,

= ie. even if.  = ie., the smallest circle of latitude, meaning
     "the farthest north".

Vast Grantland, compassed with the Frozen Sea,

= Ellis identifies this as Greenland.7   = the phrase Frozen
     Sea
was used by old English writers to describe any of
     the ocean waters north of Europe or Asia; Ribner sug-
     gests simply "Arctic ocean" (p. 114).9

30

(Inhabited with tall and sturdy men,

Giants as big as hugy Polypheme,)

31: hugy = huge.
         Polypheme = famous Cyclops (one-eyed giant), who
     imprisoned Odysseus and his men in a cave during the
     hero's voyage home from Troy. In the well-known story,
     Odysseus escaped by getting the monster drunk, then
     burning his eye out with a red-hot log.
         Schelling's comment on the line is an odd one: "On
     the contrary, the inhabitants (of Grantland) are almost
     dwarfs."6

32

Millions of soldiers cut the arctic line,

32-33: cut the…arms = "crossed the Arctic Circle to come
     south to join Sigismund's army to fight against us".

Bringing the strength of Europe to these arms,

34

Our Turkey blades shall glide through all their throats,

= Turkish.

And make this champion mead a bloody fen.

= level or unbroken meadow.  = swamp.

36

Danubius' stream, that runs to Trebizond,

36: Trebizond was a small kingdom on the south-eastern
     coast of the Black Sea, though shown as a city on
     Ortelius' map of Anatolia; needless to say, the Danube
     flows into the Black Sea at its western end.

Shall carry, wrapped within his scarlet waves,

= its.  = ie. red with blood.

38

As martial presents to our friends at home,

The slaughtered bodies of these Christiäns.

40

The Terrene Main, wherein Danubius' falls,

40: Orcanes suggests a second branch of the Danube flows into the Mediterranean Sea (Terrene Main);  Schelling notes here this "mistake of Marlowe's, whose ideas of geography seem vague." The invention of the various destinations of the Danube seem to be Marlowe's alone, as Ortelius' map of Europe has it properly flowing into the Black Sea only - unless the intent is to show the ignorance of the Turks.

Shall by this battle be the Bloody Sea.

42

The wandering sailors of proud Italy

Shall meet those Christians, fleeting with the tide,

= floating.

44

Beating in heaps against their argosies,

44: the image is of large numbers of Christian corpses
     smashing against the sides of large merchant-vessels
     (argosies).1

And make fair Europe, mounted on her bull,

= a mythological allusion: Jupiter, the king of the gods,
     famously took the form of a beautiful bull in order to
     approach the beautiful maiden Europa; having somehow
     convinced her to sit on him, Jupiter plunged into the
     ocean and swam to Crete, where he raped her; they had
     three children, including the Minotaur. The continent is
     named after her.

46

Trapped with the wealth and riches of the world,

= adorned.

Alight, and wear a woeful mourning weed.

= descend (from her bull).  = outfit.

48

Gaz.  Yet, stout Orcanes, Prorex of the world,

= brave.  = deputy king, but with of the world, recognizing

50

Since Tamburlaine hath mustered all his men,

     him as leader of the Ottomans in the absence of
     Callapine.

Marching from Cairo northward with his camp,

52

To Alexandria and the frontier towns,

52-53: the Ottoman's frontier towns are those near the border between the Ottoman Empire and Egypt, located somewhere on the Mediterranean's eastern coast.

Meaning to make a conquest of our land,

54

'Tis requisite to parley for a peace

With Sigismund, the King of Hungary,

56

And save our forces for the hot assaults

Proud Tamburlaine intends Natolia.

58

Orc.  Viceroy of Byron, wisely hast thou said.

60

My realm, the centre of our empery,

= empire.

Once lost, all Turkey would be overthrown,

62

And for that cause the Christians shall have peace.

Sclavonians, Almain rutters, Muffes, and Danes,

64

Fear not Orcanes, but great Tamburlaine;

= frighten not.3

Nor he, but Fortune, that hath made him great.

65: ie. nor does Tamburlaine frighten Orcanes, but Orcanes
     does fear Fortune, who has always been on Tamburlaine's
     side. Fortune is frequently personified in Elizabethan
     drama.

66

We have revolted Grecians, Albanese,

= rebellious.  = ie. Albanians.

Sicilians, Jews, Arabians, Turks, and Moors,

68

Natolians, Syrians, black Egyptiäns,

Illyrians, Thracians, and Bithynians,

69: Illyrians = those who live in Illyria, or Illyricum, the
     region comprising the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea.
     This region has also been called Dalmatia, and it overlaps
     with Ortelius' Sclavonia.
         Thracians = the people of Thrace, the large region
     encompassing the extreme south-eastern portion of
     Europe across from Anatolia.
         Bithynians = the dwellers of Bithynia, a small region
     and one-time kingdom at the extreme north-west of Asia
     Minor, bordering the Black Sea.

70

Enough to swallow forceless Sigismund,

70-71: Orcanes admits that though the Ottoman army has

Yet scarce enough t' encounter Tamburlaine.

     enough men to easily destroy the Western coalition, it
     is still dwarfed by Tamburlaine's army; at last count, in
     Part One, Tamburlaine was reported to have 800,000
     men at arms.

72

He brings a world of people to the field,

From Scythia to the oriental plage

73: Scythia = the extensive but vaguely defined region
     north of the Black Sea, and the birth-place of Marlowe's
     Tamburlaine.
         oriental plage
= eastern region; Ribner suggests shore
     for plage, but this borrowing of the French word for
     beach did not appear in English writing until the 19th
     century.1

74

Of India, where raging Lantchidol

= Lantchidol Mare was the sea located between Australia
     and Java in the Indian Ocean, appearing on Ortelius' map
     of the World. It is worth noting that the land we know to
     be the island of Australia is pictured by the mapmaker as
     actually part of an enormous and poorly-defined land
     mass that includes all of Antarctica, the whole of which
     is labeled Terra Australis Nondum Cognita, or "the not-
     yet known southern land".

Beats on the regions with his boisterous blows,

= its.

76

That never seaman yet discoverèd.

All Asia is in arms with Tamburlaine,

= that is, fighting on Tamburlaine's side, in his army.

78

Even from the midst of fiery Cancer's tropic,

= the Tropic of Cancer is a circle of latitude, located at about
     23.5
north of the equator, representing the northernmost 
     latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead,
     which occurs on about June 21 (the summer solstice).
     The Tropic of Cancer passes through southern Egypt,
     central Arabia and India in the Eastern Hemisphere, and
     central Mexico in the Western Hemisphere.
         Ribner suggests the midst of the Tropic of Cancer
     refers to the Canary Islands, presumably because of its
     location only 15
west of the prime meridian, the line of
     longitude at 0
which passes through Greenwich,
     England.9
 

To Amazonia under Capricorn,

79: Amazonia = the region called Amazonum appears on Ortelius' map of Africa between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, approximately where eastern Zambia is today.
     Capricorn = the Tropic of Capricorn is the Southern Hemisphere's twin of the Tropic of Cancer, passing through northern Argentina and southern Brazil in the Western Hemisphere, central Botswana in Africa, and central Australia.
     Orcanes' point of course is that Tamburlaine seems to have pulled an army together of soldiers from all over Asia and Africa.
 

80

And thence as far as Archipelago,

= from there.  = Archipelago refers to the islands of the
     Aegean Sea between Greece and modern Turkey.1

All Afric is in arms with Tamburlaine;

82

Therefore, viceroy, the Christians must have peace.

84

Enter Sigismund, Frederick, Baldwin,

Entering Characters: Sigismund is the King of Hungary,

and their Train, with drums and trumpets.

     Frederick and Baldwin Lords of Buda (the western
     half of modern Budapest, located on the western bank
     of the Danube, and a separate city before 1873), and
     Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic), presumably
     respectively.
         Train = entourages.

86

Sigis.  Orcanes, (as our legates promised thee,)

= ambassadors or messengers.1

88

We, with our peers, have crossed Danubius' stream

= ie. "I"; Sigismund uses the "royal we".

To treat of friendly peace or deadly war.

90

Take which thou wilt, for as the Romans used,

= ie. "used to do".

I here present thee with a naked sword;

92

Wilt thou have war, then shake this blade at me;

= ie. "if you choose war".

If peace, restore it to my hands again,

94

And I will sheathe it to confirm the same.

87-94: note that Sigismund has addressed Orcanes by his name, not his title; and, in addressing him with the pronoun "thou" instead of "you", he further signals his belief in his own superior status to his fellow king, and may even intend for it to be somewhat insulting.
     Orcanes, not surprisingly, will respond in kind, and the kings briefly bicker.

96

Orc.  Stay, Sigismund. Forget'st thou I am he

= "hold on a moment".

That with the cannon shook Vienna walls,

97f: the chronologically-challenged (or perhaps clairvoyant)
     Orcanes should be the one "holding on" here: the
     Ottomans did not reach, and then besiege, Vienna until
     1529, and then again in 1685; our play takes place in the
     early 15th century.

98

And made it dance upon the continent,

= land (as opposed to water).1

As when the massy substance of the earth

99-100: ie. "like an earthquake". 
     massy substance =  massive foundation.1
 

100

Quiver about the axle-tree of Heaven?

= the axis around which the earth rotates and the spheres
     of the universe revolve. The phrase reflects the ancient
     Ptolemaic view of the universe, in which the sun, moon,
     planets and stars, each incased in its own titanic sphere,
     revolve around the earth, which of course lies at the
     universe's center.

Forget'st thou that I sent a shower of darts,

= spears or arrows.

102

Mingled with powdered shot and feathered steel,

= reference to arrows with steel heads, which might
     penetrate armour.
 

So thick upon the blink-eyed burghers' heads,

103: blink-eyed = a condition causing excessive blinking,
     suggesting the blinker is stunned.1
         burghers = citizens or inhabitants of a town.1

104

That thou thyself, then county palatine,

= "who at the time was only a county palatine"; a palatine
     was a noble who exercised somewhat independent
     control of a territory, including "the right of exclusive
     civil and criminal jurisdiction" (OED, palatine, adj.1
     and n.1).1

The King of Boheme, and the Austric Duke,

= Bohemia.  = Austrian.

106

Sent heralds out, which basely on their knees,

= servilely.

In all your names, desired a truce of me?

108

Forget'st thou that to have me raise my siege,

Wagons of gold were set before my tents,

110

Stamped with the princely fowl, that in her wings

110-1: coins portraying eagles (princely fowl) holding
     thunderbolts were common in the ancient world.

Carries the fearful thunderbolts of Jove?

112

How canst thou think of this, and offer war?

104-112: Orcanes reminds Sigismund that the terrified westerners had, at the time Orcanes and the Ottomans were besieging Vienna, tried to beg or bribe a truce out of him.

114

Sigis.  Vienna was besieged, and I was there,

Then county palatine, but now a king,

116

And what we did was in extremity.

= ie. was done only because it was absolutely necessary.

But now, Orcanes, view my royal host

= army.

118

That hides these plains, and seems as vast and wide,

As doth the desert of Arabia

= does.

120

To those that stand on Bagdet's lofty tower;

= Baghdad's.  = Ribner says this refers to Baghdad's highest
     minaret (p. 117).9

Or as the ocean to the traveller

122

That rests upon the snowy Apennines;

= the mountain ranges that make up the spine of Italy.

And tell me whether I should stoop so low,

124

Or treat of peace with the Natolian king.

126

Gaz.  Kings of Natolia and of Hungary,

We came from Turkey to confirm a league,

= alliance.

128

And not to dare each other to the field.

A friendly parley might become ye both.

= befit.  = plural form of "you".

130

Fred.   And we from Europe, to the same intent,

132

Which if your general refuse or scorn,

Our tents are pitched, our men stand in array,

134

Ready to charge you ere you stir your feet.

= before.

136

Orc.  So prest are we: but yet, if Sigismund

= ready.3

Speak as a friend, and stand not upon terms,

= ie. "stubbornly insist on certain terms that would preclude
     our reaching a settlement", ie. negotiate in bad faith.

138

Here is his sword, − let peace be ratified

On these conditions, specified before,

140

Drawn with advice of our ambassadors.

142

Sigis.  Then here I sheathe it, and give thee my hand,

Never to draw it out, or manage arms

= conduct war.

144

Against thyself or thy confederates,

But whilst I live will be a truce with thee.

146

Orc.  But, Sigismund, confirm it with an oath,

148

And swear in sight of Heaven and by thy Christ.

= Heaven, like many common words containing a medial
     v
(such as even and given) should be pronounced as
     a one-syllable word, with the v elided over - that is,
     essentially omitted.

150

Sigis.  By him that made the world and saved my soul,

The son of God and issue of a Maid,

= virgin.

152

Sweet Jesus Christ, I solemnly protest

= profess.

And vow to keep this peace inviolable.

154

Orc.  By sacred Mahomet, the friend of God,

= Mahomet will always be pronounced with the stress on
     the first syllable.

156

Whose holy Alcoran remains with us,

= Koran.

Whose glorious body, when he left the world,

157-9: a tradition seems to have arisen in Europe that the
     Prophet's coffin was suspended in the air by a magnet.16

158

Closed in a coffin mounted up the air,

And hung on stately Mecca's temple roof,

= Muhammad's tomb is actually in Medina, not Mecca.

160

I swear to keep this truce inviolable;

Of whose conditions and our solemn oaths,

162

Signed with our hands, each shall retain a scroll

= ie. a copy of the treaty.

As memorable witness of our league.

164

Now, Sigismund, if any Christian king

164-9: the treaty acts not only as a truce, but also as a
     promise by each side to come to the defense of the
     other, should one of them be attacked by a third party.

Encroach upon the confines of thy realm,

    

166

Send word, Orcanes of Natolia

= "let him know".

Confirmed this league beyond Danubius' stream,

168

And they will, trembling, sound a quick retreat;

So am I feared among all nations.

170

Sigis.  If any heathen potentate or king

= ie. pagan, or one who is not Christian or Muslim.

172

Invade Natolia, Sigismund will send

A hundred thousand horse trained to the war,

174

And backed by stout lanciers of Germany,

= brave.  = lancers, cavalryman carrying a lance.1

The strength and sinews of the Imperial seat.

= means of support, strength behind the throne.1
          Sigismund refers in lines 174-5 to the soldiers of the
     Holy Roman Empire, which at the time encompassed
     much of Europe, stretching from modern Germany south
     to northern Italy; the kingdom of Hungary, however, was
     still independent at this time, encompassing much of
     Slovakia, Romania and the Balkans.

176

Orc.  I thank thee, Sigismund; but, when I war,

178

All Asia Minor, Africa, and Greece,

Follow my standard and my thundering drums.

180

Come, let us go and banquet in our tents.

I will dispatch chief of my army hence

= from here.

182

To fair Natolia and to Trebizond,

To stay my coming 'gainst proud Tamburlaine.

= wait for.

184

Friend Sigismund and peers of Hungary,

Come, banquet and carouse with us a while,

186

And then depart we to our territories.

188

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE II.

[Egypt, just south of Alexandria.]

Enter Callapine with Almeda, his Keeper.

Entering Characters: Callapine is the son of the now deceased Bajazeth, Sultan of the Ottomans, and hence heir to the throne; Almeda is employed by Tamburlaine as Callapine's warden.
     Interestingly, Marlowe used a very similar name, Capolin, in Part One, for an Egyptian captain.

1

Call.  Sweet Almeda, pity the ruthful plight

1: Almeda = Almeda is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable.
     ruthful = pitiful.

2

Of Callapine, the son of Bajazeth,

Born to be monarch of the western world,

4

Yet here detained by cruèl Tamburlaine.

6

Alm.  My lord, I pity it, and with my heart

Wish your release; but he whose wrath is death,

8

My sovereign lord, renownèd Tamburlaine,

Forbids you further liberty than this.

10

Call.  Ah, were I now but half so eloquent

12

To paint in words what I'll perform in deeds,

I know thou wouldst depart from hence with me.

= a technically redundant, but commonly used, phrase:
     hence by itself means "from here".

14

Alm.  Not for all Afric; therefore move me not.

= provoke.2

16

Call.  Yet hear me speak, my gentle Almeda.

18

Alm.  No speech to that end, by your favour, sir.

20

Call.  By Cairo runs −

21-27: as often happens in the Tamburlaine plays, single
     lines of dialogue can be short, and sometimes are in
     prose.

22

Alm.  No talk of running, I tell you, sir.

24

Call.  A little further, gentle Almeda.

26

Alm.  Well, sir, what of this?

28

Call.  By Cairo runs to Alexandria bay

30

Darote’s stream, wherein at anchor lies

= On Ortelius' map of Africa, Darote is a city in Egypt,
     north of Cairo; Darote's stream refers to a branch of the
     Nile river on the Delta, which the map shows flowing to
     Alexandria.

A Turkish galley of my royal fleet,

=  a single-decked sailing vessel, usually rowed by slaves.1

32

Waiting my coming to the river side,

Hoping by some means I shall be released,

34

Which, when I come aboard, will hoist up sail,

And soon put forth into the Terrene Sea,

= Mediterranean Sea.

36

Where, 'twixt the isles of Cyprus and of Crete,

36: ie. off the southern coast of Anatolia.

We quickly may in Turkish seas arrive.

38

Then shalt thou see a hundred kings and more,

Upon their knees, all bid me welcome home,

40

Amongst so many crowns of burnished gold,

Choose which thou wilt, all are at thy command;

42

A thousand galleys, manned with Christian slaves,

I freely give thee, which shall cut the Straits,

44

And bring armados from the coasts of Spain

= armadas, fleets of naval ships; the defeat of the Spanish
     armada at the hands of the English in 1588 was still fresh
     in the minds of Marlowe's audience!

Fraughted with gold of rich America;

45: yikes, another glaring anachronism! The Spanish would
     not even "discover" America for almost another century.

46

The Grecian virgins shall attend on thee,

Skilful in music and in amorous lays,

= despite the suggestive possibilities of this word, lays
     simply means "songs" or "singing".

48

As fair as was Pygmalion's ivory girl

= Ovid tells the tale of the Cyprian citizen Pygmalion, who
     shunned women because of their shameful behavior. He
     carved a statue of a woman that was so beautiful he fell
     in love with it. Hearing Pygmalion's prayer for a wife like
     his statue, Venus caused the statue to come to life, and
     Pygmalion and his new bride lived happily forever.

Or lovely metamorphosèd.

= the maiden was beloved by Jupiter, but his jealous
     wife Juno changed her into a white cow.

50

With naked negroes shall thy coach be drawn,

And, as thou rid'st in triumph through the streets,

52

The pavement underneath thy chariot wheels

With Turkey carpets shall be coverèd,

= the tradition of Turkish carpet making is an ancient one,
     dating back to very early nomadic tribes.20

54

And cloth of arras hung about the walls,

= tapestry for hanging.

Fit objects for thy princely eye to pierce.

= sights.  = penetrate with the intellect.1

56

A hundred bassoes, clothed in crimson silk,

= Bashaws, or Pashas, Turkish governors or military
     commanders.3

Shall ride before thee on Barbarian steeds;

= from North Africa, ie. Barbary.

58

And when thou goest, a golden canopy

Enchased with precious stones, which shine as bright

= inlaid.

60

As that fair veil that covers all the world,

60: a poetic image of the night sky filled with stars.

When Phoebus, leaping from his hemisphere,

61-2: a poetic image of twilight.
         Phoebus = ie. the sun: Phoebus is the name of Apollo
     in his guise as the god of the sun.
         hemisphere = half of the globe.1

62

Descendeth downward to th' Antipodes,

= those who live on the opposite side of the earth.1,37

And more than this − for all I cannot tell.

64

Alm.  How far hence lies the galley, say you?

66

Call.  Sweet Almeda, scarce half a league from hence.

= since a league is about 3 miles (5 kilometers), the prince is
     actually quite close to his rescue ship.

68

Alm.  But need we not be spied going aboard?

= ie. "is it not likely we will be".

70

Call.  Betwixt the hollow hanging of a hill,

71: Marlowe indulges his taste for alliteration.

72

And crookèd bending of a craggy rock,

The sails wrapt up, the mast and tacklings down,

= rigging.

74

She lies so close that none can find her out.

= hidden.

76

Alm.  I like that well. But tell me, my lord, if I should

76-78: Almeda briefly switches to prose.

let you go, would you be as good as your word? Shall

78

I be made a king for my labour?

80

Call.  As I am Callapine the Emperor,

And by the hand of Mahomet I swear

81: it was common in Elizabethan drama for characters to
     swear on body parts.

82

Thou shalt be crowned a king, and be my mate.

= equal.1

84

Alm.  Then here I swear, as I am Almeda,

Your keeper under Tamburlaine the Great,

86

(For that's the style and title I have yet,)

= the two words are essentially synonyms.

Although he sent a thousand armèd men

88

To intercept this haughty enterprise,

= aspiring.2

Yet would I venture to conduct your grace,

= risk.

90

And die before I brought you back again.

92

Call.  Thanks, gentle Almeda; Then let us haste,

Lest time be past, and lingering let us both.

= hinder.

94

Alm.  When you will, my lord, I am ready.

96

Call.  Even straight; and farewell, cursèd Tamburlaine.

98

Now go I to revenge my father's death.

100

[Exeunt.]

ACT I, SCENE III.

[Larissa on the Sinai Peninsula.]

Enter Tamburlaine , Zenocrate, and their three sons,

Entering Characters: between Part One and Part Two,

Calyphas, Amyras, and Celebinus,

     Tamburlaine and Zenocrate got married, and now have

with drums and trumpets.

     three mostly grown sons.

1

Tamb.  Now, bright Zenocrate, the world's fair eye,

= common poetic description of the sun.1

2

Whose beams illuminate the lamps of Heaven,

Whose cheerful looks do clear the cloudy air,

4

And clothe it in a crystal livery;

= uniform or outfit.

Now rest thee here on fair Larissa plains,

= on a couple of Ortelius' maps, Larissa is a city on
     the north-east corner of the Sinai Peninsula on its
     Mediterranean coast. Ribner rightly identifies Larissa
     as the modern city of El Arish on the northern coast
     of the Sinai Peninsula.9

6

Where Egypt and the Turkish empire part,

6: in Part One, the Egyptian Empire actually included
     Syria, so that any border between the Ottoman and
     Egyptian Empires lay somewhat further north than
     Larissa; Tamburlaine suggests here that the border now
     is much further south.

Between thy sons, that shall be emperors,

8

And every one commander of a world.

10

Zeno.  Sweet Tamburlaine, when wilt thou leave these arms,

And save thy sacred person free from scathe,

12

And dangerous chances of the wrathful war?

14

Tamb.  When Heaven shall cease to move on both the poles,

And when the ground, whereon my soldiers march,

16

Shall rise aloft and touch the hornèd moon,

= a reference, of course, to the moon in its crescent shape.

And not before, my sweet Zenocrate.

18

Sit up, and rest thee like a lovely queen;

So, now she sits in pomp and majesty,

20

When these, my sons, more precious in mine eyes

Than all the wealthy kingdoms I subdued,

= subjected.

22

Placed by her side, look on their mother's face

But yet methinks their looks are amorous,

24

Not martial as the sons of Tamburlaine:

24: ie. their thoughts are not warlike as they should be.
   

Water and air, being symbolized in one,

25-26: Tamburlaine engages in some medieval physiology

26

Argue their want of courage and of wit;

and temperament analysis: the ancients believed the human body contained four fundamental fluids, which Hippocrates equated with the four elements, and the Roman physician Galen equated with certain temperaments: (1) black bile (earth, melancholic), (2) phlegm (water, phlegmatic), (3) blood (air, sanguine), and (4) yellow bile (fire, choleric); if the fluids were out of balance, disorders arose.
     Tamburlaine is saying that since his sons suffer from an excess of phlegm and blood (water and air), their temperaments are correspondingly phlegmatic (sluggish) and sanguine (hopeful and amorous); he would have preferred them to have more black bile and yellow bile, which would make them more warlike, by causing them to be more melancholic (excitable or easily angered) and choleric (irascible).38
     symbolized = united, mixed.1
     want = lack.

Their hair, as white as milk, and soft as down,

28

(which should be like the quills of porcupines,

As black as jet, and hard as iron or steel)

= a form of coal, frequently used in Elizabethan drama in
     similes for blackness.

30

Bewrays they are too dainty for the wars;

= betrays the fact that.

Their fingers made to quaver on a lute,

= play a lute (an early guitar) in a trilly fashion (quaver).

32

Their arms to hang about a lady's neck,

Their legs to dance and caper in the air,

= leap.

34

Would make me think them bastards, not my sons,

But that I know they issued from thy womb,

36

That never looked on man but Tamburlaine.

= ie. any other man.

38

Zeno.  My gracious lord, they have their mother's looks,

But when they list, their conquering father's heart.

= wish.

40

This lovely boy, the youngest of the three,

40: here Zenocrate indicates Celebinus, her youngest son.

Not long ago bestrid a Scythian steed,

= rode.  = horse of Scythia, the widely-spread but vaguely
     defined region north of the Black and Caspian Seas from
     which Marlowe's fictional Tamburlaine came.

42

Trotting the ring, and tilting at a glove,

42-44: Zenocrate describes Celebinus skillfully putting his
     horse through his paces.
         tilting at a glove = an equestrian game of skill in
     which a rider would attempt to pick up an object, such
     as the glove or scarf of a favoured lady, with the tip of
     his lance.
         (Many thanks to Mr. Arne Koets, of www.facebook.
     com/ Arne Koets Medieval Combat Seminars
for
     providing this information, and Ms. Zhi Zhu of
     thejoustinglife.com for procuring his help.)

Which when he tainted with his slender rod,

= "and when his horse he touched or struck lightly"; taint
     in this sense is a term from jousting.3

44

He reined him straight, and made him so curvet,

= leap.

As I cried out for fear he should have fall'n.

46

Tamb.  Well done, my boy, thou shalt have shield and
     lance,

48

Armour of proof, horse, helm, and curtle-axe,

= ie. impentrable.1  = sword.

And I will teach thee how to charge thy foe,

50

And harmless run among the deadly pikes.

If thou wilt love the wars and follow me,

52

Thou shalt be made a king and reign with me,

Keeping in iron cages emperors.

53: another reference to Tamburlaine's keeping the captured
     Ottoman Sultan Bajazeth in a cage in Part One.

54

If thou exceed thy elder brothers' worth,

   

And shine in cómplete virtue more than they,

= perfect.1

56

Thou shalt be king before them, and thy seed

= ie. children.

Shall issue crownèd from their mother's womb.

58

Celeb.  Yes, father: you shall see me, if I live,

60

Have under me as many kings as you,

And march with such a multitude of men,

62

As all the world shall tremble at their view.

64

Tamb.  These words assure me, boy, thou art my son.

When I am old and cannot manage arms,

66

Be thou the scourge and terror of the world.

66: Tamburlaine frequently refers to himself by these
     epithets.

68

Amyr.  Why may not I, my lord, as well as he,

Be termed the scourge and terror to the world?

70

Tamb.  Be all a scourge and terror to the world,

72

Or else you are not sons of Tamburlaine.

74

Caly.  But while my brothers follow arms, my lord,

74ff: Calyphas, the eldest son, will demonstrate, to the

Let me accompany my gracious mother;

     horror of his father, a strong disinclination to play

76

They are enough to conquer all the world,

     soldier.

And you have won enough for me to keep.

78

Tamb.  Bastardly boy, sprung from some coward's loins,

80

And not the issue of great Tamburlaine!

Of all the provinces I have subdued,

82

Thou shalt not have a foot, unless thou bear

A mind courageous and invincible;

84

For he shall wear the crown of Persiä

Whose head hath deepest scars, whose breast most wounds,

86

Which being wroth sends lightning from his eyes,

= who.  = stirred to a state of fury.1

And in the furrows of his frowning brows

88

Harbours revenge, war, death, and cruèlty;

For in a field, whose superficiës

= ie. battlefield.  = originally a geometric term, meaning
     surface or extent; the word could be singular or plural.1

90

Is covered with a liquid purple veil

= ie. blood, of course.

And sprinkled with the brains of slaughtered men,

92

My royal chair of state shall be advanced;

= ie. throne.

And he that means to place himself therein,

= ie. thereon.

94

Must armèd wade up to the chin in blood.

96

Zeno.  My lord, such speeches to our princely sons

Dismay their minds before they come to prove

= the sense is "experience for (or prove to) themselves".

98

The wounding troubles angry war affords.

100

Celeb.  No, madam, these are speeches fit for us,

For if his chair were in a sea of blood,

102

I would prepare a ship and sail to it,

Ere I would lose the title of a king.

= before.

104

Amyr.  And I would strive to swim through pools of blood,

106

Or make a bridge of murdered carcasses,

Whose arches should be framed with bones of Turks,

108

Ere I would lose the title of a king.

110

Tamb.  Well, lovely boys, you shall be emperors both,

Stretching your conquering arms from East to West;

112

And, sirrah, if you mean to wear a crown,

= common form of address of a father to a son; Tamburlaine
     appears to be addressing Calyphas here.

When we shall meet the Turkish deputy

= ie. Orcanes, a deputy king of the Sultan.

114

And all his viceroys, snatch it from his head,

And cleave his pericranium with thy sword.

= a humourous term for the skull.1

116

Caly.  If any man will hold him, I will strike

117-8: an unexpected response from Calyphas, given his
     pacifistic nature.

118

And cleave him to the channel with my sword.

= collar bone.3

120

Tamb.  Hold him, and cleave him too, or I'll cleave thee,

For we will march against them presently.

= shortly or soon.

122

Theridamas, Techelles, and Casane

Promised to meet me on Larissa plains

123-5: in expectation of war with the Ottoman army, Tamburlaine has called his own deputy kings to bring their armies to join his.

124

With hosts apiece against this Turkish crew;

For I have sworn by sacred Mahomet

= though Tamburlaine's own religion was left unclear in
     Part One
, here he proves himself to be - at least for the
     moment - unambiguously Muslim; while officially a
     follower of Islam, the real Tamburlaine, with his many
     wives and fondness for alcohol, was only as devout as
     it suited his present needs.21

126

To make it parcel of my empery;

= "part of my empire".

The trumpets sound, Zenocrate; they come.

128

Enter Theridamas and his Train,

= Theridamas is one of Tamburlaine's main commanders,

130

with drums and trumpets.

and now also the King of Argier, a position appointed him by Tamburlaine. Originally serving the Persian king, and assigned in Part One to capture Tamburlaine when he was still a small-time bandit, Theridamas was convinced by Tamburlaine to bring his cavalry over to Tamburlaine's side and fight alongside him against his former masters.

132

Tamb.  Welcome Theridamas, King of Argier.

134

Ther.  My lord, the great and mighty Tamburlaine, −

Arch-monarch of the world, I offer here

136

My crown, myself, and all the power I have,

In all affection at thy kingly feet.

138

Tamb.  Thanks, good Theridamas.

140

Ther.  Under my colours march ten thousand Greeks;

141-9: during this speech, Theridamas ceremoniously gives his crown to Tamburlaine, who will return it to him, confirming his position as deputy king.

142

And of Argier and Afric's frontier towns

Twice twenty thousand valiant men-at-arms,

144

All which have sworn to sack Natolia.

Five hundred brigandines are under sail,

= small, light ships.22

146

Meet for your service on the sea, my lord,

= suitable.1

That, launching from Argier to Tripoli,

= not the well-known Libyan city, but a city on the
     Mediterranean coast of the northern Levant.

148

Will quickly ride before Natolia,

And batter down the castles on the shore.

150

Tamb.  Well said, Argier; receive thy crown again.

152

Enter Techelles and Usumcasane together.

Entering Characters: the two named persons are Tamburlaine's other two closest subordinates, and fellow Scythians; Techelles is the King of Fez, and Usumcasane (usually called Casane for short) the King of Morocco. Both Fez and Moroco (Ortelius’ spelling) are cities (see Ortelius' map of Africa) located in north-west Africa in the region of Morocco.

154

Tamb.  Kings of Morocco and of Fez, welcome.

156

Usum.  Magnificent and peerless Tamburlaine!

158

I and my neighbour king of Fez have brought

To aid thee in this Turkish expedition,

160

A hundred thousand expert soldiërs:

From Azamor to Tunis near the sea

= ie. Azemmour, a coastal city of Morocco; Ortelius' map
     places it about 150 miles further north along the Atlantic
     coast than where it really is.

162

Is Barbary unpeopled for thy sake,

= "I have stripped North Africa of its men"; Barbary is the
     name of North Africa west of Egypt.

And all the men in armour under me,

164

Which with my crown I gladly offer thee.

166

Tamb.  Thanks, king of Morocco, take your crown again.

168

Tech.  And, mighty Tamburlaine, our earthly god,

Whose looks make this inferior world to quake,

170

I here present thee with the crown of Fez,

And with an host of Moors trained to the war,

172

Whose coal-black faces make their foes retire,

172: Robert Davis, in Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters (2003), describes how the number of European slaves captured by North African pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries was so staggering, and the breeding of the African men with their female slaves so widespread, that the skin tone of North African society actually shaded towards white over the two-and-a-half centuries during which the Barbary pirates were most active (Davis, pp. 25-26).23

And quake for fear, as if infernal Jove,

174

Meaning to aid thee in these Turkish arms,

Should pierce the black circumference of hell

= circumference here has four syllables.

176

With ugly Furies bearing fiery flags,

= the Furies were mythological creatures with the
     appearance of monsters, whose job it was to punish
     those who committed certain crimes, such as murder or
     disobedience to one's parents, by perpetually tormenting
     them.

And millions of his strong tormenting spirits.

= Dyce believes the insertion of the word strong in this
     line is a mistake, an accidental copying caused by its
     presence in the next line.

178

From strong Tesella unto Bilèdull,

178: Tesella = Tisala, a city shown on Ortelius' map of
     Africa lying on the extreme north-west coast of Morocco.
         Biledull = a region on Ortelius' map corresponding
     approximately to the southern half of Algeria.

All Barbary is unpeopled for thy sake.

180

Tamb.  Thanks, king of Fez; take here thy crown again.

182

Your presence, loving friends and fellow kings,

Makes me to surfeit in conceiving joy.

= common verb meaning "overindulge in".

184

If all the crystal gates of Jove's high court

Were opened wide, and I might enter in

186

To see the state and majesty of Heaven,

It could not more delight me than your sight.

188

Now will we banquet on these plains a while,

And after march to Turkey with our camp,

190

In number more than are the drops that fall

When Boreas rents a thousand swelling clouds;

= god of the fierce north wind.  = rends, pulls apart.3

192

And proud Orcanes of Natolia

With all his viceroys shall be so afraid,

194

That though the stones, as at Deucalion's flood,

194-5: "that even if all the stones were turned into soldiers

Were turned to men, he should be overcome.

     which would fight against us, we would still prevail."
         The reference is to a well-known myth: after Zeus sent 
     a flood to destroy the race of degenerate men which had
     come to occupy the earth, Deucalion built a boat, saving
     the lives of he and his wife; after the flood subsided,
     Deucalion and his wife prayed to Zeus for the restoration
     of mankind; on the advice of the gods, the couple threw
     stones behind their backs, and from these stones arose
     the modern race of mankind.14
  

196

Such lavish will I make of Turkish blood,

= profusion; this interesting use of lavish as a noun did not
     survive the 16th century.1

That Jove shall send his wingèd messenger

= Mercury, the messenger god, frequently portrayed wearing
     a travelling hat bearing a pair of small wings.14

198

To bid me sheath my sword and leave the field;

The sun, unable to sustain the sight,

199-201: a hodge-podge of mythological allusions: the sun
     is often imagined to be pulled across the sky by a pair of
     horses (steeds), led by the sun god Apollo; Thetis was a
     water nymph, who lived in the depths of the sea (she was
     also the mother of Achilles); and Boötes is a large
     constellation known as "the herdsman" - hence his
     watching over the sun's steeds.

200

Shall hide his head in Thetis' watery lap,

200: the sun will fail to rise, from shame or horror.

And leave his steeds to fair Boötes' charge;

202

For half the world shall perish in this fight.

But now, my friends, let me examine ye;

204

How have ye spent your absent time from me?

206

Usum.  My lord, our men of Barbary have marched

206ff: the rest of the scene is made up primarily of descriptions by each of Tamburlaine's subordinates of their armies' travels and the lands they have conquered, or at least pillaged, a genuine geographical tour-de-force. One can imagine Marlowe sitting with Abraham Ortelius' maps of Africa and Europe in front of him, his eyes pouring over the foreign locations, and selecting the most exotic and poetically fitting names to insert into the mouths of his characters, hoping they would excite the fancies of his audience as much as they did his own.
     All place names in this speech can be found on the Ortelius' map of Africa.
     206-216: from Egypt, Usumcasane marched his troops west, and conquered all of Barbary, or north-west Africa.

Four hundred miles with armour on their backs,

208

And lain in leaguer fifteen months and more;

208: in leaguer = in camp, ie. mobilized.3
     fifteen months or more = if we assume there was a short period of rest following the nuptials of Tamburlaine and Zenocrate immediately after Part One, then it would be further reasonable to assume that Tamburlaine's subordinates would have afterwards then gone on to conquer their assigned provinces; Usumcasane describes this project as having taken more than fifteen months, and then begs Tamburlaine in line 216 below to give his army a chance to rest. This strongly implies that the setting of Part Two is about two years after Part One; of course this directly conflicts with Tamburlaine and his wife having had a chance to raise three sons - an irresolvable problem of chronology, but one that no theater-goer would notice.
 

For, since we left you at the Soldan's court,

= the Soldan (Sultan) is the Egyptian head of state; the
     present Soldan is the father of Tamburlaine's wife
     Zenocrate; his life was spared by Tamburlaine at the
     concluding battle of Part One, and lived in the
     conqueror's favour thanks to his relationship to him
     as his father-in-law.

210

We have subdued the southern Guallatia

= Gualata is a small region in north-west Africa, roughly
     near the point where modern Mauritania, Mali and
     Algeria meet.
  

And all the land unto the coast of Spain;

211: after having defeated the Ottomans in Anatolia in the
     climactic battle of Part One, Tamburlaine took technical
     possession of all the Sultan's lands, which included
     much of North Africa west of Egypt; Tamburlaine
     subsequently gave the crowns of several of these
     African states to his key subordinates; their sovereignty
     was only nominal, of course, until Tamburlaine's armies
     physically took possession of them.
  

212

We kept the narrow Strait of Jubaltèr,

= controlled, or took control of.1  = Gibraltar.

And made Canaria call us kings and lords;

= the Canary Islands, off the extreme southern coast of
     Morocco.

214

Yet never did they recreate themselves,

214: "yet the army rested not once".

Or cease one day from war and hot alarms,

= calls to arms.

216

And therefore let them rest awhile, my lord.

218

Tamb.  They shall, Casane, and 'tis time, i' faith.

220

Tech.  And I have marched along the river Nile

220-239: Techelles, the King of Fez, took his army south
     through the heart of Africa, almost to its southern end,
     then followed a path north along Africa's south-west
     coast, turned west at the elbow of the continent for a
     short bit, before cutting straight through Africa's north-
     center back to Egypt.
         All the place names in this speech appear on Ortelius'
     map of Africa.

To Machda, where the mighty Christian priest,

= Macada, a city along the Nile, sitting in modern Sudan.

222

Called John the Great, sits in a milk-white robe,

= the legendary Prester John was believed by many in
     medieval Europe to be a genuine Christian king, priest
     and conqueror who ruled over large areas of the Far East.
     At some point in the literature his domain was transferred
     to Ethiopia.

Whose triple mitre I did take by force,

= the high dome-shaped head-dress (usually understood
     to be worn by the pope) encircled by three crowns, one
     above the other.1

224

And made him swear obedience to my crown.

From thence unto Cazates did I march,

= Ortelius' map of Africa traces the source of the Nile all the way back to two large, unnamed lakes, presumably meant to represent modern lakes Victoria and Nyasa; in reality, the first is a true source of the Nile, the second is not. Ortelius' map places the larger of the two lakes in deep south-central Africa (in modern Zambia), much further south and west than where the Nile actually flows from; Techelles' army followed the Nile south all the way to this lake. Next to this imaginary lake is a region identified as Cafates, and within Cafates is the city of Cazates.
 

226

Where Amazonians met me in the field,

226-7: Ortelius' Amazonum Region sits east of Cazates,
     in modern eastern Zambia. While the Amazons - the
     members of the famed race of female warriors - were
     traditionally most often situated in Asia Minor or some
     similar classical location, in later periods they might be
     placed elsewhere, including in Africa.

With whom (being women), I vouchsafed a league,

= granted or made an alliance.

228

And with my power did march to Zanzibar,

= a region in the extreme south-west of Africa,
     corresponding with modern Namibia. From Zanzibar
     Techelles marched up the Atlantic coast of Africa.

The western part of Afric, where I viewed

230

The Ethiopian sea, rivers and lakes,

= an ancient name for the South Atlantic, labeled on
     Ortelius' map as Oceanus Aethio.

But neither man nor child in all the land;

232

Therefore I took my course to Manico,

= Marlowe's poetic corruption of the region of Manicongo,
     north of Zanzibar, located in modern Angola.

Where, unresisted, I removed my camp;

234

And, by the coast of Byather, at last

= likely Ortelius' Biafar, at the inner elbow-joint of Africa,
     modern Cameroon.

I came to Cubar, where the negroes dwell,

= ie. the region of Guber, located roughly where modern
     Burkina Faso sits.

236

And conquering that, made haste to Nubia.

= Ortelius' Nubia is a large region comprising modern Chad.
     Techelles is now cutting across north-central Africa.

There, having sacked Borno, the kingly seat,

= a city shown a little east of Ortelius' Borno lacus, or
     modern Lake Chad.

238

I took the king and led him bound in chains

Unto Damascus, where I stayed before.

239: having finished his journey to Africa, Techelles actually took his army north of Tamburlaine's current location, where he rested (stayed), until called by Tamburlaine to join him. One would think Techelles might have concluded his travels by taking up residency in his kingdom of Fez in Barbary.

240

Tamb.  Well done, Techelles. What saith Theridamas?

242

Ther.  I left the confines and the bounds of Afric,

243-253: Theridamas, the king of Argier, brought his army
     to Europe, conquering regions just north-west of the
     Black Sea; all the place names in this speech appear on
     Ortelius' map of Europe.

244

And made a voyage into Europe,

244: Dyce suggests a word dropped out of this short line.

Where by the river Tyrosa I subdued

= Ortelius' Tyros River is the ancient name for today's
     Dniester, which flows through Ukraine and Moldova
     and into the north-west Black Sea.

246

Stoka, Padalia, and Codemia;