Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds - A Jalayirid AAR
Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds,
A Jalayirid AAR.
A tale of conquest, war, treachery, ruthless powermongering and sand hoarding, but also of prosperity, peace, bad writing and overall baffoonery. The first posts feature gruesome attempts at humor. If you stand undeterred, you may proceed to the later updates, which are slightly more 'serious' in tone.
Table of contents
* - * The Caliphate's Rise * -
Ahmad the Mongol, 1st Jalayirid Caliph
1391 - 1425
Began the cultural adaption of the Mongol aristocracy, first conquests outside of Mesopotamia, adopter of the title of Caliph.
Caliph of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Chosen One of Allah, Sultan of Baghdad, Overlord of the Two Rivers and the Persian Gulf ,
Rightful Protector of the Holy Cities, Lord of Persia and other minor titles.
Shah Walad Ghazi, 2nd Jalayirid Caliph
1425 - 1453
Expanded the realm further, nearly annhilated the Mamluke Sultanate and the Abbasid Caliphs, Conquered the Three Holy Cities of Mecca Medina and Jerusalem.
Caliph of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Sultan of Baghdad, Overlord of the Two Rivers, the Persian Gulf and of the Caspian Sea and also its coasts, Rightful Protector of the the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, Lord of Persia, of the Levant , of Lower Egypt, of Mosul, of Basra, of Hormuz, of Isfahan, of the province of Fars, of Alexandria, of Damascus , of Aleppo , and many other powerful cities and titles.
Hasan II the Magnificient, 3rd Jalayirid Caliph
1454 - 1469
Finished the conquest and absorption of the Mamluke Sultanate, great reformer of the Caliphate's institutions, paving the way to the Golden Age - in art, science and commerce - of later rulers.
The Caliph enters the Cairo and begins his rule over an Empire on two continents.
Caliph of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Sultan of Baghdad, Egypt, Yemen and Oman, Overlord of the Three Great Rivers of Egypt (1456-) and Mesopotamia,
the Persian Gulf and of the Red (1457-) and Caspian Seas and their coasts, Rightful Protector of the the Holy Cities of Mecca,
Medina and Jerusalem, Lord of Persia, of the Levant, of Sana'a (1467-), of the Fort and City of Muscat (1465-),
of Mosul, of Basra, of Hormuz, of Isfahan, of the province of Fars, of Alexandria , of Damascus, of Aleppo, of the Cairo (1456-), and many other powerful cities and titles.
Mariam the Great, 4th Jalayirid Caliph
1470 - 1500
First woman to occupy the office of Caliph; her rule was marked by great external expansion and rebellions by the conservatice quarters of society. Through her skillful leadership, the Battle of Lepanto and the 11th Crusade were a victory for the Caliphate, establishing it as the hegemon of the Mediterranean Sea.
A shrewd and charismatic woman with, above all, tremendous willpower,
Mariam II pried open a very much male dominated office. Both her father's and her contributions were
to catapult the Caliphate to its first Golden Age. The Ulema was not pleased.
Calipha of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Sultana of Baghdad, Egypt, Yemen and Oman, Overlord of the Three Great Rivers of Egypt and Mesopotamia,Ruler of the Eastern Mediterranean and its isles Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, Crete, Sicily, among others,
and all fortresses, cities and regions of the Peloponnese, controller of the Persian Gulf and of the Red and Caspian Seas and their coasts,
Protectress of the the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem,
Lady of Persia, of Ethiopia and King Solomon's mines, of the Levant, of Sana'a, of the Fort and City of Muscat,
of Mosul, of Basra, of Hormuz, of Isfahan, of the province of Fars, of Alexandria , of Damascus, of Aleppo, of the Cairo, and many other powerful cities and titles.
Jafa'ar I the Feeble, 5th Jalyirid Caliph, and Mariam
1500 - 1517
While nominally it was Jafa'ar I who ruled, the real power resided in her sister's capable and cunning hands. She compiled the Marian Statutes, reducing the powers of both the provincial aristocrats and the palace bureaucracy. Spurred the widespread use of muskets and cannons in the Army. Moved the capital to Alexandria during the Alexandrian Period, gifting the city with most of its Neo-Mourish buildings, mostly hospitals, gardens and government facilities.
Caliph of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Sultan of Baghdad, Egypt, Yemen and Oman, Overlord of the Three Great Rivers of Egypt and Mesopotamia, Ruler of the Eastern Mediterranean and its isles Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, Crete, Sicily, among others,
and all fortresses, cities and regions of the Pelopennese, controller of the Persian Gulf and of the Red and Caspian Seas and their coasts,
Protector of the the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem,
Lord of Persia, of Ethiopia and King Solomon's mines, of the Levant, of Sana'a, of the Fort and City of Muscat,
of Mosul, of Basra, of Hormuz, of Isfahan, of the province of Fars, of Alexandria , of Damascus, of Aleppo, of the Cairo, and many other powerful cities and titles.
Muhammad II the Wise, 6th Jalayirid Caliph
1517 - 1541
Ruled the Empire as it reached its utter zenith. Conquered Anatolia, burned Moscow, made the Bosporan Republic a protectorate, annihilated the Timurid Empire once and for all, returning Samarkand to the Caliphate, battled against the Chagatai Khans and fought the Portuguese excursions to the Indian Ocean and their oriental empire. Despite these bellicose actions, his reign was one of peace, a continuation from his uncle's rule. Trade bloomed even further across the new roads snaking though the Caliphate, and the wars were directed by a High Council of the senior generals, establishing a clear segregation of civil and military offices. Revised the tax code several time, and left a full treasury when he died. A fan of legislation, he created several rather inane laws, concerning certain specific social customs, whose influence are still felt today in Arab culture.
The titles of his predecessors, as well as
Overlord of Anatolia, Samarkand, the Syr Darya and Amur Darya, Protector and friend of the cities of the Bospurus, Keeper of the strait of Propontis and the sea of Marmara.
Isma'il the Conqueror, 7th Jalayirid Caliph
1541 - 1554
A warrior and a poet, Isma'il I had, quite contrary to his father, a taste for war and a desire to expand the faith. He retook Al-Andalus for Islam, conquered the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, assumed the title of Emperor of the Romans, and subjugated the Nubian tribes, sheiks and statelets. Defeated the combined Holy Roman Empire during the Roman Crusade, and nearly doubled the Caliphate's lands in the Balkans. Patronized many public works projects in Greece and in Constantinople. Died during the Battle of Vienna
The titles of his predecessors, as well as
Emperor of the Romans, Lord of the Blue and White Nile, and their Valleys, from Ethiopia and Nubia to Egypt, Prince of Constantinople, Bringer of the House of Peace to the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Huns and Romans, Restorer of Al-Andalus
Caliph Hasan III the Just, 8th Jalayirid Caliph
An ingenious ruler with a penchant for deceit and scheming, Hasan III ruffled many feathers with his affluent lifestyle. A controversial figure, he is seen by some as a power-hungry tyrant; by others, an enlightened despot who supported the arts and vastly expanded the Caliphate's commerce, through the adoption of European innovations in ship-making and in market practices - such as commercial companies and banks. He retook southern Italy for Islam, destroying the Hapsburgs' last bastion. It is also in his reign that opposition between the burghers and the entrenched nobility began to boil over, leading to the Tailors' War after his death.
Full (somewhat) style of the most recent Jalayirid Caliph
Caliph of all Muslims and Defender of the Faith, Chosen One of Allah, Sultan of Baghdad, Egypt, Yemen and Oman, Emperor of the Romans, Lord of the Blue and White Nile, and their Valleys, from Ethiopia and Nubia to Egypt, Bringe of Peace, Prince of Constantinople and Emperor of the Romans, Overlord of the Two Great Rivers of Mesopotamia, Vanquisher of the Spaniards, Bringer of the House of Peace to the Spaniards, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Huns and Romans, Overlord of Anatolia, Samarkand, the Syr Darya and Amur Darya, Protector and friend of the cities of the Cimmerian Bosporus, Keeper of the strait of Propontis, of Hercules's Pillars and the sea of Marmara, Restorer of Al-Andalus, Ruler of the Eastern Mediterranean and its isles Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, Crete, Sicily, among others, and all fortresses, cities and provinces of the Peloponnese, Lord of Commerce in the Persian Gulf, the Red and Caspian Seas and their coasts, Protector of the the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, Lord of Persia, of Ethiopia and King Solomon's mines, of the Levant, of Sana'a, of the Fort and City of Muscat, of Mosul, of the city of Pantikopaion, of Basra, of Hormuz, of Isfahan, of the province of Fars, of Alexandria , of Damascus, of Aleppo, of Oran, Tangier, Tunis and other strongholds of the Maghreb, of the Cairo, of Isbiliya, of Madrid and many other powerful cities and titles.
Everything about that first post tells me that I'll love this AAR. Sign me up!
Recipient of the 6th ever Irish Shamrock Cookie and a birthday cookie! ● ● Thank you King_Richard_XI!
Sir dinofs of Gowin-Fártherr, Duke of Insanity, Lord of Tomfoolery, Spirit of Change, Upsetter of the Status Quo, Reverser of Historical Trends, Defeater of Ming, and All-Around Meddler.
Fan of the week, 1-08-2010!WRITAAR OF THE WEEK 23-05-2010!
The siege of Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan
Baghdad. A city founded by the Abbasid Caliphs, on the rich floodplains of Mesopotamia. The Tigris and the Euphrates irrigate the land, creating a lush and fertile plain that cuts through the scorched Arabian desert, the Zagros mountains in Persia and, beyond, the dry lands of Khorasan and its cities – Balkh, Herat and Merv. It was in these lands that the Sumerians – with their hundreds of city-states - and Babylonians flourished, that Cyrus campaigned as he laid the foundations for the Achaemenid Empire, and where Alexander the Great died after conquering the near-entirety of the known world. This land stood at a crossroads throughout all of its existence: between Ur and Elam, Persians and Hellenes, Romans and Parthians, Muslims and Sassanids. Its fertile floodplains yielded bountiful harvests, and the wealth of its kingdoms attracted many a conqueror to this strange and mysterious land on the verge of the desert. However, integral to our story is perhaps the most savage and successful warrior to ever grace the Old World: Genghis Khan, or, more accurately, his grandson, Hulagu Khan. Genghis Khan, or Temujin, who conquered the entire Eurasian steppe during his lifetime, left behind a formidable military machine that would leave no land untouched in Asia and Europe alike. His successors expanded his empire – one of the largest ever to exist - and this leads us to Hulagu Khan’s campaign in the Middle East.
A Mongol cavalryman,
Entrusted by his brother Mongke – the Khagan of the Mongols – to annihilate or submit the realms of southwestern Asia – Hulagu lead perhaps the largest Mongol army ever, quickly submitted Persia and set siege to Baghdad on January 1258. He faced limited resistance, and the city fell the next month. The city that had once been the capital of the Muslim world (and now of the much-diminished Abbasid Caliphate) was ruthlessly pillaged. Many buildings were razed, the Grand Library of Baghdad was destroyed along with its books – Arab accounts go to the point of saying the Tigris ran black with the ink of the books thrown into its waters – and the number of civilians slaughtered was gigantic, ranging from 100,000 - by the mildest account - to one million deaths - though this number is said to be an exaggeration partaken in by Arab scholars to emphasize the barbarity of the much-scorned Mongols. With most of the city in ruins, the rest of Mesopotamia too fell to the invader's sword.
´ The Abbasid Caliph is imprisioned among his riches and left to die as his city is torn apart by the Mongols and their allies.
Hulagu Khan was to face the Mamluke Sultanate in Syria, but soon departed after Mongke’s death to observe the election of the next Khagan in Karakorum during the Khuriltai. While the state he created, the Ilkhanate – whose rulers were later to convert to Islam - was to remain an important power in the region until its disintegration in the mid-14th Century - at its height the state encompassed large swathes of territory (Eastern and Central Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Persia and Greater Khorasan) - its Mongol successor states occupied a fraction of this, mostly centered in Mesopotamia and western Persia. Of these, the most prominent was the Jalayirid State, formed by members of the Mongol Jalayir tribe, which controlled Baghdad, and most of the Euphrates and Tigris floodplains.
As the 7th century since the Hijra – the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina – ends, the region is yet again at a crossroads. The Jalayirid state has consolidated its position somewhat, and now stretches from Mosul to Basra. However, it retains its old tribal cultural and governmental structures. Ethnic (Sunni) Mongols still form the land-owning aristocracy and the Arab (mostly Shi’ite) population lives under their thumb. Beside this precarious hold in its own land, Persia and the lands to the east are under the control of the fledgling Timurid Empire, under Timur Leng.
Caliph Ahmad, founder of the Jalayirid Caliphate.
However, this poor state was to be elevated into an empire that spanned continents in just a hundred year’s time. It all began with then-Khan Ahmad, who was soon to become the 1st Jalayirid Caliph. Having recognized Timur as his overlord, he sought to strengthen his state at the cost of the fragmented and conflict-prone (Mongol) nobility. This involved, just as the later Caliphs – who sought to circumvent the rigid palace bureaucracy and other high officials – were to discover, relying on the middle classes and the wealthy merchants of the cities. From 1398 AD to 1401, Ahmad issued a series of edicts curtailing the nobility’s privileges, some Mongol customs as well as allowing non-Mongols access to the higher echelons of government and public administration. Together with the attempted arabization of the high classes, he enforced the Jizya tax and increased penalties on Shi’ites so as to force their conversion. Trading rights were granted to merchant families and the army was changed to a more disciplined and organized force – with limited success – in lieu of the sporadic feudal levies of old.
Despite the relative well-being that followed these measures – thanks in no small part to Ahmad’s skill in maintaining an organized net of supporters and spies – Ahmad still had to contend with two major quarters of society: the Shi’ites, angered by attempts at proselytization, and the old Mongol intelligentsia. This was solved in two ways: the harshening of measures against Shi’ites and campaigns against the sheiks of Najd and Al Haasa. These two desert-dwelling realms, of little to no value in terms of wealth and manpower, provided, however, an easy way to legitimize Ahmad’s rule in the eyes of the warrior nobility and to increase his prestige and standing among other Muslim states who viewed him with distrust and were accustomed to play off the Jalayirid state's factions against each other, keeping the realm as a whole from presenting a threat.
 Khan of Khans, the supreme ruler of the Mongols. Temujin's title was, for most of his rule, that of Khagan, however he is nearly universally refered to - a notable exception being in the Mongol language itself - as Genghis Khan or a variant thereof.
 The council that chose the next Khagan after his predecessor's death. Important figures from all of the Mongol Empire flocked to Karakorum, the capital, to take part in the plots and bribery that would determine the next - at least nominally - ruler of over half of Asia.
 Thanks to his successor's policies - the Shi'ites did not recognized the Jalayirids as rightful Caliphs - the vast majority of Shi'ite communities in the Middle East were converted to Sunni Islam or dispersed among distant lands.
Okay, first rewritten update. These first 3 or 4 updates were in an earlier, more comically oriented manner. Under the advice of other readers, namely Calipah, I have begun to rewrite them, so that they fit in with the later updates, there isn’t such a break of pace and style between the 4th and 5th update and, mostly, because I feel new readers may be turned off by the initial style, or like it and feel disappointed when it abruptly ends.
I stopped writing in the original manner in the AAR because History Book comes more easily to me, and because, even if it doesn’t seem so, is very hard to write regularly and maintain ‘funniness’ throughout. So, major props to both all Comedy AAR writers for their efforts, and to my readers, who have inspired me to continue with this. Thank you all.
The original update is available below as a ‘spoiler’. I will continue ‘updating’ these first chapters, and then we shall see what happens during the siege of Vienna by Isma’il…
See what I just did there? I’m enticing you
Chapter One - Here Comes the Pun
Splendid, mighty, rich Baghdad, the city of the 1001 nights. Once the great capital of the Muslim world under the Abbasid Caliphate, it was now a shadow of its former self. Sacked more than a century ago by the Mongols, the Tigris ran black from the ink of the thousands of books thrown into the river, in a true act of ignorance perpetrated by the unwashed steppe barbarians of Hulagu Khan. An atrocity which, sadly, could only be expected from the likes of them.
As the 7th century since the revelations of the prophet Muhammad dawns on the world, Baghdad is a shadow of her former self. The same mongrels who destroyed her sacred knowledge now rule the city, carving up pieces of Mesopotamia to their fancy in an eternal succession of tribal squabbles. Not that the land is worth much, as the periods of frenzied pillage destroyed the majestic irrigation works of ages past. The work of countless Summerian and Babylonian peasants destroyed with the slash of a sword by a stinky drunk on a camel.
Moreover, these degenerate Mongols have also seen the light of Allah and converted to the most holy faith. While the more naïve of you may see this as a turn for the best, do not be fooled. The faith of these Tartars, based on ‘some’ god named Wallaw and his prophet Mu-Ham only served to complicate the religious tapestry that his Mesopotamia, divided in Sunnis and Shi’ites.
What Mesopotamia needed was a strong, capable, enlightened ruler. One that could brave the storm of nomads surrounding the magnificent land between rivers. One that would unite the squabbling tribes and reinstate Baghdad as the native and most righteous center of Islam.
Ahmad Jalayirid was not that man. He was one of the mongrels discussed earlier. He was more than happy to live in his camel and argue about camel races over distilled camel milk, wearing a stingy camel sweater. However, on the 2nd of October, 1399, something happened. Ahmad left his squalid tent and entered Baghdad’s gates. He saw the rich silk dresses worn by the merchants, the fantastic mosaics in the regenerated city. Most happily, he proceeded to relieve a wealthy merchant of his palace.
This ‘power near you’ attitude was not received all that well by the populace, but bit by bit, the barbarians began adopting the ways of the city. He began surrounding himself with gold, jewels and all manner of precious and fine things.
This caused heavy resentment towards him in the Tartar quarters, but this was quickly annihilated through the use of 'befriending techniques', as he termed them.
The camel-based troops of the land were quickly substituted with better drilled foot soldiers and horse-riding knights. These forces would lead the kingdom into bountiful freedom through the oppression of other peoples.
Well, so much for the first chapter. This one was a little light on the comedic attempts because I just wanted to set the stage for the coming updates! Leave a comment below about anything! Don't be shy!
The Middle East in 1400. Of note is the diminished state of the Byzantine Empire and Ethiopia's expansion under the Solomonid Dynasty. Bear in mind that 'Najd', located in the center of the Arabian Peninsula, is not representative of a unified state, being merely an umbrella term for the panoply of tribes, sheikhdoms and small towns in this extremely arid land
So as to legitimize his reign and appease the restless Mongol nobles, Ahmad knew he had to grant them land, at least on paper, to rule. While it may seem odd that his choice was to conquer the oasis towns and submit the nomadic Bedouin sheikhs, the reader must understand that all other avenues of expansion were impossible to pursue. To the northeast and to the west stood Timur Leng’s Empire and the Mamluke Sultanate, respectively. Each – undoubtedly – a power on their own right, would surely defeat the changing Jalayirid state, who could not withstand the many soldiers of Egypt nor Persia. Therefore, Ahmad’s only hope relied on forcing the weak, but elusive, nomadic tribes – and the occasional town – to acknowledge him as their ruler, and to send the more troublesome nobles as ‘aides’ to these ‘subjects’.
Much to Ahmad’s satisfaction, a state of war soon engulfed the Arabian deserts. Attempts by the Sultanate of Yemen to stop banditry and to assert its authority on the Bedouin close to its borders lead to a coalition of southern tribesmen to rise against the Yemenis. With many of the northern tribes’ allies away, Ahmad began his campaign, which met with significant success. Most towns didn’t have the manpower to resist his harassment, and capitulated quickly.
A Bedouin family and their tent.
A few sheikhs readily joined him, mostly to avenge feuds with enemy tribes. While no historical records have been found of the success of this expedition at this time are known to exist undamaged, reports by Ahmad’s household staff– whose structure would eventually form the core of the later palace ministries – suggest that, several years later, these same sheikhs were refusing to pay their tributes – indicating that they had at a previous point been under some form of vassalage or submission to the Sultan. Harder however, was the acquisition of Al Haasa’s lands. Located along the western Persian Gulf, the local ruler posed an organized and effective resistance; fortunately, his little populated lands were later forced to be added to Ahmad’s personal demesne. Their position along the sea was expected to facilitate the curbing of piratical activities in the Gulf, which the sheikh of Al Haasa had used to enrich himself, to little avail.
While the nobility was less than amused with their new ‘estates’, the war kept them busy long enough for Ahmad to curry support among the merchants, and even for some Mongols to readily accept most forms of Arabic dress and customs. With considerable recognition earned from his campaigns, Ahmad was later to announce his most ambitious plan: that of becoming Caliph. This dream was to take two more generations to be recognized to any substantial degree, but it is here, in an attempt by a resourceful ruler to unite his country behind him religiously as well as politically, that the Jalayirid Caliphate knows its inception.
 Ahmad adopted the title of Sultan in 1402, as a logical continuation of the process of Arabization of the state machinery and the elite’s customs, as well as affirming rule as that of an autocrat, not dependent on the ‘feudal’ – the term can likely be applied, since the Mongols controlled a large part of arable land through hereditary estates, with populations of born serfs (serfdom was to be later abolished, as a way to reduce the nobility’s power) – aristocracy. His successors would later delegate more and more power to their household ministers, and soon a working bureaucracy formed along a refined palace court, in a system adapted to ruling a sprawling empire.
Kinda short but I don't wanna override the old update's topics too much; I pondered merging it with the next one, but if I changed their numbered order, I would to change all of the subsequent ones!
Despite his all-around idiocy, Ahmad Jalayirid was aware of one thing, that the Kingdom was surrounded on all sides by enemies: the menacing Timurids to the north and east, the fickle Arabian tribes and kingdoms to the south, and the powerful Mamluks to the west. And if there was one thing he could do, it was to swing a sword around like a clown on meth.
As such, the political disunity which plagued the kingdom needed to be somehow destroyed, with a strong, autocratic state rising in its stead. This disunity was primarily of two types: religious, driven by the large Shi'ite population, and tribal, a condition which Ahmad had no intention of reforming. As such, the Shi'ites had to go. Scholars were invited from all across the land, given two rolls of paper each day (one for hygiene, and another for their writings) and booted off the palace so they'd go along, trying to convert the population to the righteous Sunni faith.
With a ratio of 2 scholars per inhabitant, the cities of Mosul and Basra quickly capitulated and dropped their heretical beliefs just to ward off the plague of proselytizing locusts. Baghdad itself was a much tougher nut to crack, and it would take many years and many rolls of paper for it to renounce the religion of Ali.
Meanwhile, the sands of Arabia grew restless as the kingdom's 'allies', the Najdi tribes, went to war with the sultanate of Oman - yet another ally of the kingdom - over, of all things, the possession of the nail of a man who's aunt's sister's cat had once purred within a radius of 30 meters of the most serene prophet Muhammad, blessed be his beard.
Seeing an opportunity to extend his power along his southern border, the Malik took it upon himself to bring the joys of sedentary life upon these Bedouins. Declaring war on the tiny sheikdom of Al-Haasa, he managed to draw the Najdis into a war without making the people blink even once over this betrayal of an erstwhile ally.
The tribes, facing a losing struggle against the Omanis, and somehow incapable of maneuvering their troops across the Rub Al-Khali , as their forefathers had while tending to their livestock, were easily defeated as the Jalayirid soldiers merely walked along the desert, shouting to the passing camel that the land was now under their occupation. Rather quickly, these lands were annexed into the Kingdom, with the gulf territories of the tribes being taken over by Oman.
The tribes were quickly exiled to Bahrain, an island which could not be taken due the difficulty of ramming two cogs against each other in battle; allowing the Najdis to blockade all entry on their island with a coconut shell's worth of a ship.
NTS Hovercamel reporting for duty.
In the end, the kingdom of Baghdad came out larger, although the newly conquered populations were 2/3 Shi'ite, causing yet another swarm of minimum-wage scholars. Ahmad was happy with the armies' performance, having utterly annihilated a grand total of 1,000 troops - peasants would be a better term - with a much smaller, yet better equipped force of 5,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 knights, under his leadership. Thus, the kingdom came out moderately stronger of its first war, while also maintaining the status quo in Arabia, since every major power wanted a dune in the Najd.
The expanded Jalayirid kingdom, now with 70% more sand!
The Jalayirid Empire in 1402. Lightly colored territory was under nominal control, maintained by the submission of the nomadic sheiks
As was said previously, it is important, as it is in all events in History, to situate events – in this case Ahmad the Mongol’s self-proclaimed Caliphate - in the circumstances of his rule:
The Jalayirid Empire’s lands were sharply divided in social, political and religious matters. Politically, in the south, near Baghdad and further down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the autocratic order was slowly overtaking the feudal estates of the Mongol nobility, with magistrates and Ahmad or his inner circle – mostly the latter – acting on behalf of the state’s – Ahmad’s - interests, and enforcing decrees on the disgruntled nobility. To the north, due both to their distance to Baghdad and the government’s focus southward, the aristocracy entrenched itself in the areas surrounding Mosul, determined to keep their old rights, instead of conforming to Ahmad’s mandates. With a modest state machinery appearing among Ahmad’s household, by the time of his death he was in direct or indirect control of most of the country, either through lands directly administered by Ahmad or appointed officials loyal to him and drawn from amongst the bureaucracy.
A 17th Century representation of Ahmad and his court, who were at the apex of the social ladder. Below them were the clergy and the rest of the nobility, the merchants, and the common people.
Society was still sharply divided between Mongols and Arabs. With most of the nobility unwilling to shed their old ways and integrate themselves within the state, Ahmad was forced to use Arab ministers and generals in his administration from the very start. To complicate matters further, his more loyal followers – some of them largely arabicized, but still reluctant to be on equal foot with Arabs they strove to imitate - then clashed with these ‘new men’ over petty disputes, accentuating the nearly medieval character of Ahmad’s rudimentary court. The people - except for the merchants, who saw a stake of their own in the continued existence of Ahmad’s friendly attitude towards them – were mostly apathetic, seeing him as just another Mongol ruler to contend with. Slowly however, intermarriage and acculturation occurred between the Jalayir Mongols and the Arabs, and by Hasan II’s reign, the former Mongols were fully integrated into the culture of their mostly Arab subjects.
In terms of religion, the divide observed at this time was to last far longer. The large Shi’a population suffered continuous repression at the hand of the authorities, both Ahmad’s and the nobility’s. They were seen as mere heretics, and their population would quickly diminish, and their presence in Mesopotamia grew faint as decades passed. Despite this, the Shi’ites were not amused at a ruler proclaiming himself their rightful religious leader and yet still forcing them to renounce their faith.
The religious divisions of the Middle East and the Maghreb*: Green - The Jalayirid Caliphate; Light Green - States that supported Ahmad's Caliphate; Orange - The Mamluk Sultanate, supporter of the Abbasids; Yellow - States that supported the Abbasid caliph; Red - Muslim states that did not voice support for either candidate; Blue - Christians; Cyan - Ibadhi.
While his new position as Caliph granted him considerably greater support among his Sunni subjects - who were eager to support what seemed like the beginning of stable governance –the neighboring realms - most notably the Mamluke Sultanate, who maintained the old Abbasid Caliphate quartered in the Cairo as a way of legitimizing their rule - were hostile towards this attempt by Ahmad to elevate himself to a status above them. Not only were they distrustful of a foreigner claiming the highest earthly title in Islam, but they feared that this new state would use its new found – yet limited – religious authority to interfere in their internal affairs. For a moment, it seemed as if war would engulf the Middle East, and all of Ahmad’s considerable reforms annihilated in the turmoil.
This did not come to be. Knowing he couldn’t fight the Mamlukes head on, Ahmad began a diplomatic offense during the following 20 years, in which the nascent Caliphate would know one of its longer periods of peace; Ahmad would also use this time to considerably strengthen his position. Any aristocratic opposition was ruthlessly crushed, Ahmad spread the custom of cultural patronage to his court and the more telling aspects of the Jalayirid state’s Mongol heritage were suppressed. Ahmad managed to curry at least nominal support among outlaying states, mostly those disaffected or resentful of Mamluke dominance. He began a policy of marriage alliances with Yemen, Oman, the Ottoman Devleti and the states of the Maghreb. In particular, the support of the Ottomans – who wished to secure their expansion into Europe by ridding themselves of a threat positioned to strike at their rear, through southern Anatolia – would be invaluable in future conflicts. The Caliph himself took on a Yemeni wife, guaranteeing Arab blood in his children.
The Al-Mustansereyya school, built during Abbasid rule, was to be renovated during this period, as would many public buildings.
This period of internal consolidation, in which Ahmad the Mongol’s autocratic government was to triumph over the feudal estates, would know its end in 1421, when the Timurid Empire’s continued decay was to cause the appearance of a number of native Iranian dynasties – much like those that appeared after Abbasid rule in the area declined – who were weak enough to be absorbed by Ahmad in his Persian Campaign (1421-25), during which Ahmad was to meet his death during the storming of Teheran.
The current situation could be compared to the ongoing Schism in Catholic Europe between the supporters of the Popes of Avignon and Rome, but would meet a far bloodier end during Shah Walad and Hasan II's reigns.
 Historians are to this day uncertain as to why Ahmad expressed such distaste in his native culture. Some have proposed that it was only a front in a larger battle to combat the old tribal structures; others that he was heavily influenced by Arab tutors during his upbringing. Due to this 'arabization's importance, viewpoints range the gamut. Some more extremist Pan-Arabists even went so far to claim that he saw the inherent superiority of Arab customs and was compelled to shed his own, but this point of view is close to non-existent today.
 Ahmad was to have 5 children. Thankfully, all but one were women, and as such, there was to be little infighting when Shah Walad was to become Caliph. Mongol features were to become unnoticeable in time, with the Jalayirid line being ethnically undistinguished from that of the subjects they ruled.
* This map was from the earlier updates, so it is less polished and shows a slightly different Jalayirid realm. Sorry for that.
Gah, he's the Caliph! That makes me want to increase the stability costs by 0.5 ducats so much!
Caliph Ahmad used the prestige he had earned in annexing what amounted to a gigantic pile of sand to crown himself Caliph, expelling the old Abbasids from the city and cementing his power over Arabia and the Muslim world. The only thing that was missing for him to hold the pillars of Islam in his hands was to take the cities of Medina and Mecca. however, this was not to be, since the Mamluks acted fast. Fearing that the new Caliph would interfere in its political matters for personal gain (gee wilikers, Ahmad couldn't have thought of that!), they quickly sheltered the deposed Abbasids and set out to take the Holy cities, eventually being able to claim they had the three holiest cities of Islam in their control.
Ahmad was powerless to intervene, and was branded what could be called an Anti-Pope. Still however, the Mamluks did not seek to enforce their claim on the so-called Caliphate itself, lest their armies be swallowed by the sands of the Syrian deserts.
The religious divisions of the Middle East and the Maghreb: Green - The Jalayirid Caliphate; Light Green - States that supported Ahmad's Caliphate; Orange - The Mamluk Sultanate, supporter of the Abbasids; Yellow - States that supported the Abbasid caliph; Red - Muslim states that did not voice support for either candidate; Blue - Christians; Cyan - Shi'ites.
This series of actions and reactions led to a cooling of relations between the Caliphate and most of the Muslim world. It should be noted that the states who supported Ahmad were those who had the most to gain from the fall of the Mamluks, while those who supported the Abbasids were either under Egypt's influence, or felt threatened by any religious interference and preferred the absent Abbasids. The Timurid Empired was often approached by either side to support one candidate, although their ruler denied any commitment and preferred to raid indiscriminately. Who would control the Ummah?
However, the neighbouring rulers were more than happy to send their pure-hearted princesses to live a life of, ahem, chastity (at least that was what it said in the brochure) in the company of the Caliphate's princes.
Meanwhile, as the time for war ended and Ahmad took it upon himself to manage (read 'bludgeon') the kingdom into peace and prosperity, he began a work of propaganda to work alongside his spies in the undermining of the Mamluk's authority.
Some works were particularly effective:
It was also in this time that calligraphy knew a great advance and renewed interest, since, just as the baroque churches in two centuries' time would seek to lure people into worship, so did luxurious new scripts which sought streghten the enlightened legitimacy of the one true Caliph.
However, some had to be forcefully brought into the flock by the Caliph, a task which Ahmad took much pleasure in doing, such was the sod's bloodlust. Some few thousands had to be massacred in the city of Basra after professing belief the Abbasid caliph.
Such was the success of Ahmad's peaceful rule, that the people of Badiyat Ash Sham managed to plow and sustain crops in the desert out of sheer force of will. This attack on the country's sand resources would soon be amended by Ahmad sticking some heads on pikes.
It was also during these 20 years of 'peace' that Jalayirid art and culture reached its zenith...
...the bucket of fried chicken:
And so it is with these great cultural, artistic and technological achievements, not to speak of religious unity, that the Jalayirid Caliphate begins, in November of 1421, a new time of expansion!
Awesome! Now time to crush the Mamelukian Schism once and for all After all, they have an awesome desert down the Nile, and if they attempt to usurp the title of caliph they could try to usurp your monopoly on sand as well!
A forensic reconstruction of Timur Leng’s head and torso, housed at the Baghdad Historical Institute.
Timur Leng, also known as Tamerlane – and variations thereof - in several European languages, could be said to have been a second coming of Genghis Khan. A gifted military leader, he was, as many peoples after the Mongol conquest of the area, of mixed Mongolian and Turkic stock. Emerging as the leader of a group of tribesmen, Timur served the Chagatai Khans, protecting their realm from foreign encroachment; eventually, he was to rule in their place maintaining them as mere figureheads – he was never to take the title of ‘Khan’.
Rampaging through Central Asia, Persia and India, he created a vast, sprawling empire. Much like Mongol rulers before him, he brought skilled artisans, philosophers, theologians and artists to his capital in Samarkand, and both his city and court were places of great splendor and wealth. However, while he was a military genius, he often neglected to set up effective administration in his newly-acquired provinces, and they inevitably rebelled. Like other steppe conquerors before – and after – him, his empire was doomed to totter once it lost its charismatic and powerful leader. Besides, his rule by force and continued invasions of outlying lands left him little friends, and his old enemies were keen to exploit any weakness he might have.
The Timurid Empire just before Timur's death.
Since Timur had left nearly nothing in the way of a central bureaucracy, relying on marriage and land as a reward for loyalty and good service, and had even neglected to designate a formal heir until shortly before his death, the Timurid Empire soon fell into bloody civil war and many provinces seceded – those in India did so as soon as news of Timur’s death arrived, and those in Persia followed them shortly after. As the provincial governors had no reason to be loyal to Pir Muhammad, Tamerlane’s successor, they rebelled and soon installed a new ruler. Timur’s throne soon became as destitute as that of the Chagatai Khans before him, as the Timurid rulers sought to curry favor with regional warlords, succeeding only in emptying their coffers.
With Timur’s legacy on the brink of collapse, the neighboring powers were soon to help themselves to their nemesis’s territory. The Black Sheep Turks moved into Northern Persia, along the Caspian Sea, and into Armenia and Lake Van. Native Persian dynasties soon sprung up in Iran, the most influential of which were the Banaids, centered on the coastline of the Persian Gulf, from Hormuz to Fars. With his authority firmly established in Mesopotamia, Ahmad sought to bring these territories under his control, while they were still disorganized. The Mamluke’s distraction with wars in the Maghreb also proved a valuable reason, as they would be unable to capitalize on the Jalayirids’ focus on their eastern border.
Hormuz (at a later date), in De Indiis (On the Indies), by the Lisboeta scholar João Castro.
At this time it was the capital of the short-lived Banaid Dynasty, and later served as the headquarters for most of the the Caliphate's Indian Ocean fleet.
Ahmad began by submitting the Amirs of Khuzestan, and defeated the combined forces of Timurid princes in the area at the Battle of Pol-e Dokhtar, south of that city. Ahmad spent the following year pacifying the territory, and in 1423-24 expanded into central and northern Persia. To the south was the Banaid realm, whose ruler – whose name has been lost to history - was locked in a state of war against the Timurids and agents acting on their behalf since the state’s inception. The Caliph took advantage of this by launching a surprise attack on Fars, and encountering little resistance on the road west, since most of the kingdom’s troops were engaged in fierce fighting in Khorasan. The regency appointed by the Banaid ruler was forced to accept to cede large swathes of their territory, facing the threat of execution.
The Jalayirid Empire after the Persian Campaigns.
With his dominions nearly doubled over the course of four years, Caliph Ahmad was to return to Baghdad when word reached him of a rebellion in Teheran. He personally lead his forces there, and set up camp outside the city, waiting for the garrison to sally forth. He got his wish. As the rebel garrison moved to engage the Jalayirid troops at dawn, Ahmad personally rallied the troops and flanked the main enemy corps with his cavalry. However, his sternum was pierced by an arrow, and the resultant bleeding would cause his death. He left his state, one far different from the one he inherited, to his only male child, Shah Walad. It is in his successor’s reign that the tensions that arose over Ahmad’s seizing of the title of Caliphate would boil over, during the 1st and 2nd Schismatic Wars.
The fu** you lookin' at?
- Timur the Lame, looking into your soul.
Tamerlane, as he was known in the West, was a descendant of Genghis Khan - known for his extremely kind and gentle attitude, one which Timur would undoubtedly follow - living on some forgotten steppe, smack in the middle of Asia. However, he chose not to stay a petty herder of the Syr Darya deserts. No, he had grander ambitions. Rampaging through Persia, India and their, ahem, 'surroundings' (an army of his, composed by some 100,000 men, ended up as far north as the friggin' Polar Circle) he brought untold destruction in his wake. His sheer badassery caused the death of sugar, spice and everything nice within a 3 kilometer radius of his person.
The Timurid Empire at its height, circa 1415.
However, maiming, killing and quartering are hardly good - permanent, mind you - tools for governance, and when there starts to be very little people worth sacking order starts to break down.
And so it was that 20 years after Timur's death we find a very much declining Timurid Empire, whose dominions were slowly breaking away. One which would only know new prosperity in the 60's, as a result of the - bloodthirsty - hippie movement.
It is from this sickly empire that Persia arose from, like a phoenix from the ashes. Problem is, the Jalayirid Caliph had a fire hose. And lots of sand.
With the systematic change from an army consisting of foot soldier levies into a mounted force, which was both more mobile and cheaper to maintain - since Ahmad had decreed that the soldiers would only eat sand, to favour the sand extraction industry, one of the staples of the caliphate's economy - the Jalayirid army was at an advantage in the plains and deserts of the Middle East. The same, however, could not be said of the Iranian plateau.
The hungry soldiers got creative at times. And so sand castles were born; they were to be used as defensive fortifications since then.
However, the Jalayirid expedition had an advantage: the Persian armies and militias were fighting a three-prong war - against the Jalayirids, the Black Sheep Turks and the their former Timurid overlords. As such, their 12,000 man army chose to wander off into the deserts of Khorasan instead of fighting the real threat.
The Jalayirid Caliphate, through shock tactics and surprise assaults, managed to capture the western portion of the country, signing a humiliating treaty - to the Persians - which granted them all Persian territories, except for the capital, Hormuz. The regency council, appointed to rule the country in the Shah's absence - he was off campaigning in the aforementioned desert - could only agree and retire to a corner of land thinking of ways to tell the Shah that they had sold 4/5's of the country to a foreign power while he was off on vacation.
And so it is with this inglorious campaign that the Caliphate breaks off the shackles of its 20 year-long period of isolationism and realizes that all the world will tremble before its might!
Oh and Ahmad died from repeatedly bashing his head into a wall in Ajam. That might have something to do with it.