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Thread: Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds - A Jalayirid AAR

  1. #181
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Chapter 23
    Murad’s Rule, The Habanerian Flight
    and Hasan’s Accession



    Murad Bey as regent.


    Murad Bey - named as regent and acclaimed by his troops – entered Baghdad. At the head of a long procession, followed closely by his soldiers and officers, he observed the city quietly. Its many domes, palaces and shops contrasted fiercely with the people’s mourning for the late Caliph Isma’il. Buried in Constantinople, he left his vast empire to his nine year old son. Both due to the immense prestige he had acquired for his actions during the Battle of Vienna and the loyal army that he lead, Murad was declared regent until Hasan was old enough to rule. While Hasan, much like his grandfather, Muhammad II, pursued his studies with great zeal - devouring astronomical and military treatises from Europe and elsewhere with equal appetite – Murad Bey soon grew bored. He was a man of action, a warrior. He felt trapped, forced to solve every petty quarrel between the courtiers and the bureaucracy. He found his refuge in women, and his affairs were soon notorious, all while neglecting the administration of the sprawling empire he once desired. Soon, this distraction too grew faint, and Murad Bey felt trapped. Of the city, he knew only the corridors and rooms of the palace, since his duties barely allowed him to explore the city. He began to delegate his powers, once so jealously guarded. A council was set up, consisting of Murad himself, the Grand Vizier Karim Nagi, the head of the diplomatic service, Quasim Sultan, several minor courtiers and Hasan himself, as the nominal head.

    With his burden lessened, Murad was to petition it to allow him to lead a campaign in Al-Andalus, so as to punish the perpetrators of recent raids – ‘correrias’ - on the Muslim border. Seeing this as an easy way to remove Murad and his troops – who, if not the will, had the power to enforce their wishes on the council – they acceded, since the general’s proposal did not invoke a state of war with Spain nor the Western Leagues.

    Arriving several months later at the head of a small army to Isbiliya (formerly Seville), Murad was soon to make his purpose clear. Seizing control of the governorate of Al-Andalus, he conscripted much of the newly-settled Arabic population – which constituted an increasingly larger part of the population as the Christians assimilated or fled north (or to the new Spanish colonies) – into the army and imposed new taxes to finance this venture. His opposition was quelled by force of arms, and he soon marched to Madrid, the capital of the Spanish Empire. Catching the Spanish by surprise – Murad was fighting an undeclared war - he managed to accomplish most of his goals, capitalizing on the enemy armies’ disorganization and the many troops at his disposal, who, despite his methods, saw him as the Caliphate’s savior, having rescued victory from the jaws of defeat at Vienna. Still, as news of his transgressions began to trickle through diplomatic channels, the government in Baghdad found itself caught in crossfire. Blamed at the same time for their dishonorable – even for ‘infidels’ – and undeclared war (this being exacerbated by the supposed truce that was still in effect with the Spanish Monarchy) the Foreign Office – under Quasim Sultan, who had become a sworn enemy of Murad’s – had little option but to accept the brunt of their Generalissimo’s actions, lest they admit that Murad Bey’s actions were dissentious and give out an image of weakness. While the Council was incensed at his actions, they could do little until the dust settled, and for now, that meant allowing Murad to end his campaign.


    The newly-implemented Spanish Tercio, a pike and shot formation, though very effective, could not make up for the Spanish Army's disorganization and low morale.


    Even with the initial offensive ground to a halt, the Spanish lacked their former tenaciousness; Murad remarked in his journal that they – at least the higher ranks - did not seem like men fighting a desperate battle to defend their homeland. Courtly records indicate that shortly before the Murad’s campaign, the idea of relocating the monarchy to its fledgling American colonies seemed to gain some popularity, although not among the royal family itself and a large circle of supporters, who were still determined to retake the lost southern lands. Continued failures in this venture, together with the Caliphate’s expressed desire to control the entire peninsula and Murad Bey’s lightning invasion were to change their opinion.


    The Iberian Peninsula after Murad Bey's campaign.


    General Murad came down with a fever some time during May 1556. Bedridden and with less and less support for his invasion as time went on, he dictated peace terms to the Spanish King, Carlos I. The – Portuguese – Western Leagues of Lisbon, Oporto and Beira (whose internecine wars kept them from presenting any real opposition to the Muslim invasion) were integrated into the Caliphate, and Spain was left with a narrow corridor of land in the Peninsula’s northern reaches, much like the Astorian Kingdom after the first Arab invasions. With much of their territories lost, Carlos I took perhaps the most important step in his nation’s history: the Habanerian Flight.

    *********************

    The Habanerian Flight and the New Order in the Spanish Colonies


    The Spanish Court flees to New Spain, followed by many.


    Thought originally as a stop-gap by most of Carlos’s entourage, the court’s move to Havana - then the most advanced of the Spanish colonies and seat of the Viceroy of New Spain – is an event of seminal importance in the Americas’ history. The influx of a large number of wealthy, knowledgeable individuals – nobles, bureaucrats, clergymen – turned what was a relatively backwater settlement into a thriving European capital in a few decades’ time. It is also notable for being a movement not only of the aristocracy and the learned sectors of society, but also of the common people. Faced with oppression as ‘dhimmi’[1] under the Caliphate’s rule and forced to accommodate the many Arabic settlers that trickled every day from the Maghreb and beyond, many – even from the independent lands to the north, still in Spanish hands - took the perilous voyage to the Caribbean on their king’s tracks. They were soon to be joined by other Catholics fleeing France and the Holy Roman Empire during the Forty Years’ War.

    Nonetheless, even then, the Spaniards were at a serious numerical disadvantage to the natives of the lands they now peopled – even after these had been decimated by an onslaught of European diseases they had no immunity against. Intermarriage between the Europeans and the locals – even if somewhat discouraged by the higher circles, who valued ‘pure’ blood – was to, over the centuries, create a new people. Catholic and Spanish-speaking, they were nonetheless different from their forefathers, whether in skin color or customs. These 'mestizos', descended from both natives and Europeans, were to gain – at least de iure – rights on par with the pure-blooded Europeans through the Edicts of 1623 and 1630, even if only due to constituting the majority of the population.

    The backbreaking labor necessary to harvest and process the cash crops – coffee, tobacco, sugar, cotton – so desired by Europe soon introduced yet another factor to this new society – slaves. Brought from Africa – especially the so-called ‘Slave Coast’ - in inhumane conditions on slave-ships, filled to the prim with their cargo and toiling endlessly under the plantation system, these were at the very bottom of society, yet were collectively responsible for its affluence.


    The 'Slave Coast' and the surrounding region, a focal point of the slave trade, 1729.


    With the region’s tropical climate granting bountiful harvests, food was plentiful and New Spain – as it began to be called – had a favorable economic balance, selling mainly precious minerals from its mines – gold, gemstones and silver – to a Europe hungry for bullion and cash crops for an increasingly wealthy one, able to afford wealth and luxury. Efforts were undertaken during the 17th century to encourage manufacturing, but at this stage New Spain's domains exported essentially raw materials that were transformed in Europe, much like the American colonies of France and England.


    Slaves working in a Spanish plantation, circa 1600.


    This migration was concomitant with the settling of parts of South Africa by European – mainly Portuguese – settlers, who prospered in the mild – compared to the Caribbean’s frequent tropical storms and heat – regions surrounding Cape Town. Mostly cut off from the world’s trade network after the collapse of the Lisboeta Empire (until the Cape route was re-opened at the close of the 16th century) the region lacked the prosperity of Havana but was far more palatable due to its climate and security. The local natives traded extensively with the Capuenses[2], and were mostly friendly and open to conversion. Isolated for half a century, the former Portuguese colony was to develop its own dialect, extensively influenced by local native languages. This originated the Capuense Falas (‘dialects’), who are the only surviving descendent of the Portuguese language with a substantial number of speakers, with estimates pointing to a figure around forty two million speakers total.

    *********************

    Caliph Hasan's Accession


    After recovering, and with support for him dwindling in the provinces, Murad left for Baghdad at the urging of Caliph Hasan III himself[3]. Once there, he was, unsurprisingly, placed on trial for treason. His abuse of power during the previous campaign, his continued indifference to the Council’s orders and the Army’s loyalty to him had earned him many enemies inside and outside the palace. With the army leaders pressuring the Caliph to release him, Hasan – facing the threat of being deposed - shortly before the end of the regency, was to order for the death of Murad Bey, who died from poisoning by scorpion venom. While having rid himself of a dangerous enemy quickly, he also managed to turn the Army, a ferocious enemy when provoked, against him.


    Caliph Hasan III.


    His father’s permanent absence to coordinate his campaigns[4] and his attendance of the Council’s meetings had caused Hasan’s upbringing to have been made at court, where he soon acquired a taste for intrigue and deceit. One of his nannies wrote often of his worrying behavior, saying that he ‘expressed supreme relish in pitting his brothers against each other for his amusement and benefit’. A born manipulator – he was later referred by his detractors as ‘the Snake’ – he preferred to enforce his rule by dividing his opponents, to the point where he funded both sides during the Forty Years’ War in the Holy Roman Empire and the Wars of Religion in France in order to escalate these conflicts and to be able to focus on Russia, his staunchest external enemy.

    He worked tirelessly to remove the army leaders who opposed his rule, and while his draconian tactics nearly drove the entire Army to mutiny and rebellion, he managed to resolve these delicate matters ensuring his rule. The Caliph and Karim Nagi, his Vizier, spent the following years ‘healing’, so to speak, the country from his father and Murad’s military spending. He repaired and enhanced roads along major arteries of commerce and his records even indicate vaguely that an idea akin to the Suez Canal was proposed, but later scraped due to being too costly. He instructed Admiral Suleiman, a prominent Turkish seaman, to clamp down on piracy, especially in the Indian Ocean, where the vacuum left by the Lisboetas had enabled so-called ‘Sea Lords’ – half traders, half pirates - to arise in their stead. Seeing their success in Europe, he authorized the creation of several trading companies – which allowed more secure investments in larger enterprises - to promote large-scale commerce and encouraged the nobility to participate in these new ventures.


    The prosperity that characterized his reign guaranteed the loyalty of nearly every sector of society to their Caliph.


    From this period onwards a greater influx of goods, aided by vessels – modeled on the Spanish galleons and other European ships - that possessed a far higher tonnage and allowed greater quantities of cargo to be transported at relatively small prices, was to revitalize trade and enrich the Caliphate. Caliph Hasan III also endeavored to better the military sciences, establishing several new military schools and state armories.


    Hasan's measures resulted in an increase in the Army's effectiveness and discipline.


    While he was enormously successful in ruling and bettering his domains, Hasan entertained himself with wanton intrigue and lavish ceremonies; he is said to have consumed profuse quantities of wine and to have engaged in matters - not of this work’s scope - with several women. He did all of this in plain sight, until the Ulema’s anger boiled over and several key clergymen began condemning his actions. Knowing he shouldn’t tamper with the clergy through his usual methods, he issued a fatwa to expiate his sins: he was to bring the House of Peace, Allah’s words, to Italy.



    Muslim rule in Italy would not be something new. Although entirely absent from the consciousness of its inhabitants, who saw Rome - and by extension the Peninsula – as the center of Christendom, Muslim emirates and sultanates had once flourished in Sicily and Naples before being driven out by the Normans under Roger I; even then, the Caliphate’s incursions in Italy were notorious, with the sacking of Rome in 1500 during the 11th Crusade. With the Mediterranean under his control, as well as the isle of Sicily, Hasan had an easy springboard for his ambitions. His target was the Kingdom of Naples, to where the Habsburgs had been exiled after Friedrich von Drasche became king in Austria.


    Naples, the new Habsburg capital.


    Soon he began to prepare the invasion. He enlisted the help of the Bosporan Republic, with several galleasses and 3,000 men, and persuaded Florence, the Caliphate’s old Italian ally, to participate in the war as well. Florence had reached its apogee a few decades before, encompassing all of Tuscany, Romagna, the river Po’s estuary, as well as Venice’s subservience. This power came at a price. The Pazzi Kings of Tuscany made many enemies in Italy, and were driven out during the War of the Mantovan League. Florence was reduced to the central, inland regions of Tuscany, with the Pisan League and the Duchy of Ferrara being reestablished and Romagna given back to the Pope. Hasan offered to return Florence’s central Italian holdings in exchange for its help.

    Thus, the plans were set, and the Muslim troops disembarked in Reggio di Calabria, Italy's southernmost tip, on July 25th, 1567.

    *********************

    Notes

    [1] ‘People of the Book’. Jews and Christians under Muslim rule were tolerated, but given an inferior status to Muslims and being forced to pay the Jizya tax. Just as zeal waxed and waned, they were at times more or less pressured to convert to Islam.

    [2] The name the inhabitants of Cidade do Cabo, and by extension, the European settlers of South Africa gave themselves. It draws an intentional allusion to the ancient Roman city of Capua, famed for its wealth, which shares the same demonym in the Falas.

    [3] Murad Bey, already an old man, acceded to being taken to Baghdad – to face a certain trial – since, much like to Isma’il, he retained a great deal of loyalty to Hasan, as his successor. Still, if he had refused, he would have put himself in a very delicate situation, being branded a traitor and having his name tarnished forever.

    [4] Isma’il returned to Baghdad only twice during his reign, entrusting the central government to a multitude of ministers while he coordinated military and civil efforts closer to the front. Isma’il was to occupy the newly-created positions of Governor of Al-Andalus and of Rumelia after their conquest, only surrendering them to appointed governors once he prepared for a new invasion.

    *********************


    Go procrastination!*
    *Sorry for the delay
    Last edited by mayorqw; 20-03-2012 at 01:36.
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  2. #182
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    some wonderful stuff in there, Murad's freelance conquest of Spain, planning to conquer Italy because Hasan has managed to transgress a bit too enthusiastically (a technique adopted by other imperial powers at later times) and the Spanish ruling class opting for the New World
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  3. #183
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    Yaaay, an update! Can't wait to see the Italian campaign. I always thought it'd be cool to regain all the old Muslim Europe (and then some!) in the EU3 timeline.

    And I don't think a Suez Canal would be implausible! Panama was a monumental engineering feat even with industrial tools, but Suez would just need a massive pool of dispensable labor (which I'm sure the mighty Caliphate has ). The modern canal is over flat land and thus needs no locks. No nasty jungle diseases or mandatory landscaping either. A canal from the Red Sea to the Med had existed in the past as well... I think either the Egyptians or Persians had dug one (and a canal connecting the Red Sea to the Nile!)
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  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananafishtoday View Post
    Yaaay, an update! Can't wait to see the Italian campaign. I always thought it'd be cool to regain all the old Muslim Europe (and then some!) in the EU3 timeline.

    And I don't think a Suez Canal would be implausible! Panama was a monumental engineering feat even with industrial tools, but Suez would just need a massive pool of dispensable labor (which I'm sure the mighty Caliphate has ). The modern canal is over flat land and thus needs no locks. No nasty jungle diseases or mandatory landscaping either. A canal from the Red Sea to the Med had existed in the past as well... I think either the Egyptians or Persians had dug one (and a canal connecting the Red Sea to the Nile!)
    The Ottomans actually started a project (both there and another big canal project, can't remember quite where though) OTL, it was abondoned due to some crisis or other though.
    "Man is free; but his freedom does not look like the glorious liberty of the Enlightenment; it is no longer the gift of God. Once again, man stands alone in the universe, responsible for his condition, likely to remain in a lowly state, but free to reach above the stars.."
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  5. #185
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    Good luck in Italy!

    Also, its interesting to note that the situation in Iberia mirrors the previous time Muslims had a dominant hold over the region. I wonder if the Spaniards can take it back?

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    Excellent updates. I loved the description of the battle of Vienna, especially the last stand of the Caliph, that candlestick nearly did the trick! Then with it the rise of Murad Bey I feared he may seize power himself but thankfully despite his many errors and abuses of power he stopped short of actually taking the throne for himself. Instead it is Hasan who has proven himself a skilled ruler, or at least a rather cunning one. I feel his reign is certainly going to be eventful (cue a century of prosperous peace my having typed that), I'm certainly looking forward to finding out anyway!
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  7. #187
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    some wonderful stuff in there, Murad's freelance conquest of Spain, planning to conquer Italy because Hasan has managed to transgress a bit too enthusiastically (a technique adopted by other imperial powers at later times) and the Spanish ruling class opting for the New World
    Thank you! And is there any better conquest than debauchery-fueled conquest?
    Quote Originally Posted by Arilou View Post
    The Ottomans actually started a project (both there and another big canal project, can't remember quite where though) OTL, it was abondoned due to some crisis or other though.
    Quote Originally Posted by bananafishtoday View Post
    And I don't think a Suez Canal would be implausible! Panama was a monumental engineering feat even with industrial tools, but Suez would just need a massive pool of dispensable labor (which I'm sure the mighty Caliphate has ). The modern canal is over flat land and thus needs no locks. No nasty jungle diseases or mandatory landscaping either. A canal from the Red Sea to the Med had existed in the past as well... I think either the Egyptians or Persians had dug one (and a canal connecting the Red Sea to the Nile!)
    I have read on the Egyptian and Persian canals, but I think Hasan might have to ponder it a bit more... Although he does have a new-found distraction
    Quote Originally Posted by scholar View Post
    Good luck in Italy!
    Also, its interesting to note that the situation in Iberia mirrors the previous time Muslims had a dominant hold over the region. I wonder if the Spaniards can take it back?
    I think the Spanish have given up most hope on their old homeland, but who knows? And I think the Muslims are itching to take the rest of the Asturian mountains, their Achilles heel
    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    Excellent updates. I loved the description of the battle of Vienna, especially the last stand of the Caliph, that candlestick nearly did the trick! Then with it the rise of Murad Bey I feared he may seize power himself but thankfully despite his many errors and abuses of power he stopped short of actually taking the throne for himself. Instead it is Hasan who has proven himself a skilled ruler, or at least a rather cunning one. I feel his reign is certainly going to be eventful (cue a century of prosperous peace my having typed that), I'm certainly looking forward to finding out anyway!
    Murad was too much of a warrior; he just wanted someone to tell him where to shoot. Although he was a great general, I think his name will be somewhat tarnished for some time due to his transgressions. Hasan III can't have such insubordination rewarded
    ___________________

    Chapter 24
    The Habsburg Eclipse



    The Poggio Reale, where Albrecht IV took residence.


    The exiled Austrian King could scarcely be said to have been well-received. Faced with constant Barbary pirate raids and exclusion from the Muslim-dominated shipping, the trade that had fueled southern Italy – from the times of Magna Graecia to the Norman Kingdom – was shut down, reduced to a trickle. This region, a former centerpiece in the Mediterranean trade, experienced a process that has been termed ‘Refeudalization’[1]. While in most of Europe, as the Middle Ages faded away, the more brutal parts of the feudal system were softened – though not destroyed – in the face of an increasingly mercantile, urban society – and of a centralized government, bent on subduing the aristocracy to the state - the constant threat of raids – either by Muslim pirates or the raiders that preyed on northward overland trade - and the administrative neglect of the royal government in Vienna encouraged the people of Naples to seek the protection of the provincial land-owning nobility. These provided security for their new-found serfs – many of whom fled the coast into the interior, where the provincial lords’ influence was stronger – but they took advantage of the insecurity afoot in the region to construct vast agricultural estates, similar to the old Roman latifundia.

    The Austrian representatives watched these developments cautiously, but could do little. Deprived of funding, just as the Roman Crusade began and Austrian troops flooded into Greece, their power slowly eroded, as the rural magnates amassed more and more land, ostensibly from smaller, independent landowners. After the Austrian vanguard’s defeat and surrender in Attica, most nobles threw off all pretense of Habsburg suzerainty. While initially intending to place a candidate of their own on the Sicilian throne, their unified front soon collapsed, and the various factions that arose began to clash over issues of land usurpation. Mostly civil at first, these conflicts began to take a markedly military character in the later months of 1554. Soon, the entire region was plunged into war, as the region fragmented into several potentates and duchies.

    This state of affairs was to remain unchallenged until King Albrecht IV and family were exiled following Baron von Drasche’s usurpation. Arriving in Naples, he was to maintain tense relations with his ‘subjects’, and was largely unable to reverse the situation and repress the nobles’ independence, although some did accept him as their nominal liege, so as to legitimize their position.

    Thus, we can comprehend the fragile state of the Habsburg monarchy on the eve of Caliph Hasan III’s invasion of Italy. Cut off from their main source of income in Austria, Albrecht had to cope with an invasion by his sworn enemies; his base of support was fragmented, as was formal government in Naples outside of the provincial manors. He did, however, manage to convince most of the nobility of the need for a coordinated struggle against the Muslims.


    Jalayirid soldiers, accompanying an officer.


    Even then, he still had to face the Caliphate’s armies: career soldiers, drilled to exhaustion, provided with the latest in military technology and lead by capable officers – a growing number of which were trained in the military schools scattered through the Caliphate. They faced a force composed, at its core, by an elite of cavalrymen, who resembled the medieval knights of days gone by. These were aided by the lesser nobles of their households, who fought on foot, primarily as musketeers and pikemen, and by a substantial number of condottieri, veterans of the wars in northern and central Italy. Finally, comprising the crushing majority of the army was peonage. The thinning of the ‘middle classes’ – artisans, bureaucrats, traders – due to society’s ruralization resulted in far less men capable of affording quality weaponry and armor. Instead, the infantry was composed mainly of conscripted serfs, who brandished pikes – in dense formations that took advantage of their great numbers - and crossbows. The less fortunate ones used improvised weaponry, such as pitchforks, untipped spears, clubs, axes, scythes and so on.

    As the Muslim armies scoured Calabria, the King assembled his forces. The concentration of troops in one point did, however, ease the Muslims’ task of subduing the individual domains. The campaign planned against the encroaching Jalayirid forces was delayed as Albrecht IV, with his nobles congregated in one location, sought to limit their powers. His efforts were to bear no fruit, as the Muslim advance forced the negotiations to be called off. A series of skirmishes followed between the Neapolitan forces and the invading armies. The results were inconclusive to both sides, allowing the defenders to organize themselves further and taxing the Caliphate’s logistics – which had to follow a series of convoluted paths so as to not be liable to raiding by the Christians.

    The Muslim encroachment on Italy, if nothing else, deeply alarmed the Italian peninsula’s powers. While they had been lethargic and uncooperative with other Christian powers ever since the defeat at Lepanto, they now saw their very lands threatened by their nemesis. Pope Paul VI raised an army of condottieri and rallied the Duchy of Ferrara against Florence. Diplomatically isolated as a result of her alliance with the Caliphate, the City fought a desperate conflict in the Tuscan countryside, beset on both sides. Muslim coin secured the Republic some breathing room, providing for armament as well as bribery; the mercenaries employed in most of Italy at this time cared little for the creed and allegiance of their employers, and, among the financially troubled Italian States – whose treasuries were exhausted from years of wars - coin was the greatest – sometimes the only - factor that determined one’s loyalties. The Pisan Confederacy employed its marines, the Kingdom of Genoa an army, but there were few other meaningful actors in this war.


    Duke Giovanni de' Pazzi, who restored his city's alliance with the Caliphate.


    Meanwhile, the fighting continued. The Muslims were pushed back, as the compromise of their supply lines forced them to withdraw and abandon several defensive positions. Establishing permanent garrisons at several key points and demolishing the strongest of the provincial fortresses, the troops under Anwar Damad were able to tighten their control behind the front lines, and soon the Italians were forced to retreat northwards again. With the war having lacked any decisive battles thus far, the Christian position began to shaken. King Albrecht had planned for a rendezvous of his forces, followed by a swift victory against the Muslims. The drawn-out nature of the war, combined with the great amounts of supplies – that were growingly scarce in Naples - needed to maintain, not only the many knights and condottieri, but the huge masses of conscripted peasants - whose state, by definition, kept them off the fields and reduced the food supply even further – were draining Albrecht von Habsburg’s treasury and patience. Knowing that stalling would only weaken his position in the long run, he began to entice the opposing forces into pitched battle.

    Faced with increasingly stronger raids, Anwar Damad, having been given control of general military operations, chose to satisfy Albrecht’s wishes. Following his enemy’s main column, he was soon to find himself trapped on the outskirts of Potenza; the result would be the Battle of St. John, after the saint to which the Christian leaders deposited their prayers, on the advice of several Hospitaller knights [2]. After several bitter losses, the Neapolitans were unwilling to commit their melee forces in full-on attacks, which often resulted in their decimation by the enemy’s superior firepower. Having prepared the terrain they would be fighting on, they were able to pellet the Muslims with all manner of missiles – javelins, crossbow bolts, arrows, bullets – with impunity, thanks to their weapons’ superior range and their position atop a hill. At the same time, the Jalayirid troops were weary of advancing, lest they be flanked by the Christian cavalry.


    The Christian forces are surrounded and slaughtered.


    With his force gradually dwindling, Damad was to order their advance. His scouts then reported that further enemy forces were advancing from the North and East. Unable to fight the combined Christian forces, he ordered all units to attack the force under Marco Filangieri [3], to the South. Seemingly withdrawing from the field, he induced the enemy army to abandon their positions. Their vantage point removed, and moving through several patches of forest, his concealed forces were able to strike at them. Their lines fell into disarray under the musket fire’s deafening sounds and smoke, with his lighter cavalry catching up with the European armored knights , he cut off their escape, resulting in the butchering of the entire army and its leader. He then seized their fortified positions, together with several cannon lent by the Pope.

    As the two remaining armies converged on the field, the Muslim musketmen deployed concentrated fire on several positions. Coupled with their high rate of fire, this demoralized the Christians, who attempted to flanks his positions but found their efforts foiled by enemy scouts, who were quick to relay their movements to Anwar. Faced with an inconclusive battle, the Christian forces retreated. They were followed by the Muslim army, who left behind their stolen artillery.

    The arrival of several more Muslim armies, who disembarked in the vicinity of Napoli, was to seal the kingdom’s fate. Although most of their armies lay undefeated, the sheer numbers of the Muslim forces soon forced Albrecht to capitulate. His dreams of a Christian bulwark on the Muslim front were dashed, and he was once again exiled. A man embittered by his defeats, he was to die several years later, as he moved from court to court, seeking support for a new venture against the Muslim threat. With him perished the last of the Habsburgs' power; a family who once controlled vast estates, second only in the Holy Roman Empire to the Emperor himself, was now but a shadow of themselves, devoid of land, after their meteoric rise to power.


    The former King Albrecht IV, shortly before his death.


    Swift action against the Papacy’s seat at Rome convinced the Pope to agree to peace. Florence was rewarded for its loyalty in distracting the other Italian States, and its territories were again increased. It gained once again access to the Tyrrhenian Sea, as well as the region of Umbria. Florence, under the Pazzi, was to remain under the Caliphate’s influence, as a fierce ally, now that no reputable Christian lord wanted to be associated with the ‘betrayers of the faith’.

    With the region under his control, Hasan ordered the expropriation of most nobles, whose provincial realms were potential hotspots of rebellion and unrest. The lands were awarded to Arab settlers, much like in Al-Andalus and Sicily proper. With his fatwa accomplished and the clergy somewhat placated, Caliph Hasan III sought now to continue his reforms and administrative duties; it seemed like little had come from this war except what he wanted in the first place: the Naples region would be unprofitable for several years, until the populace could be pacified. However, a new factor was to be introduced in his life, and soon, the Caliphate’s: Anna Norcia. A slave [4] brought over after the conquest of Naples, she was sold to the Palace in Baghdad as a concubine, and was soon to gain Hasan’s affections. Becoming his favorite among the harem, she took advantage of his taste for debauchery and intrigue to increasingly insinuate herself with Hasan’s decision making, both in promoting causes she thought just, as well as eliminating her fiercest competitors.


    Anna Norcia, depicted here in dance.


    As her influence over the monarch grew, one could only speculate on its consequences…

    ___________________

    Notes

    [1] Although the term itself is disputed, it is undeniable that there was flight from the cities to the countryside during this period. Most farmland in the region was dedicated to the growth of mediterranean cash crops, and, with the closure of most trade routes, food became scarce and prices scaled upwards. Together with the insecurity felt in most cities, as a result of Barbary Pirate raids, this caused a migratory pattern, where the urban population fled to the provinces, to work on the fields. Their destitute situation enabled the nobility to reduce them to serfdom, as workers tied to the land. Amid the disorder and Austrian negligence, they were able to annex Crown lands, and, with the King’s powers debilitated after the loss of the Roman Crusade, secede, precipitating a return to the bloody feudal conflicts of old.

    [2] After their expulsion from Rhodes, the Knights of Saint John were to establish their headquarters all around the Mediterranean, but, forced out by the Muslim advance, they were to settle in Rome. The Order was to remain engaged in fierce conflict with the Caliphate, both in actual wars as well as in piracy, although its capabilities were limited, thanks to the Caliphate’s Navy being extremely powerful, and capable of defending major shipping lanes, as well as to retaliate Christian piracy.

    [3] A noble from Campania, he arises from obscurity as a powerful landowner shortly before the end of the Roman Crusade. One of the few nobles that readily aligned himself with Albrecht, he was to die during the Battle of St. John due to extreme blood loss, after having suffered several traumatisms following a cavalry charge, at the age of thirty two.

    [4] Her occupation and social position before her abduction is disputed, from a lowly peasant to a noblewoman of high status. Her – many – detractors insisted on less than honorable occupations, on account of her bewitchment of Hasan. It is, still, thought that her affection for the Caliph were real, and her ‘purges’, to be merely jealousy, combined with having to deal with a deceitful court.
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    again, great stuff, like the way you meld actual social history into the storyline, and a well rendered picture of a slow moving inconclusive campaign where simple power in the end proved decisive. And now Hasan has found an ally in debauchery - this has to lead to either more conquests as penance for his enthusiatic sins or a mass of domestic intrigue.
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    Very good stuff. The description of the campaign in Italy against the Albrecht led coalition makes for a great read. Especially the Battle of St. John. At first I rather thought the Jalayirid's on the brink of defeat as their position was so bad, this until Damad made his attack to the south which foolishly prompted Albrecht to abandon his position in a bid to pursue the Jalayirid forces.m As I said, very well written. Thus the Hapsburgs are a broken power and Hasan has a new favourite seemingly as cunning as himself. This should be good.
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    Great update! Although it remains to be seen what effect this Anna has on the Caliphate's fortunes...

    Btw, any chance of a map of the glorious Caliphate? I'm not sure how far you've advanced into Italy/Austria. And curious, how are you doing on tech vs. the European heathens?
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  11. #191
    El Presidente of Tropico & etc Ivir Baggins's Avatar
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    Although this joke has probably been made, it's nice to see you behaving Baghdadly.
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    Looks like the Habsburgs are gone, I'm almost sad that they're gone.

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    Really good series of posts. I particularly liked the Spanish exodus to Cuba.

    Quote Originally Posted by scholar View Post
    Looks like the Habsburgs are gone, I'm almost sad that they're gone.
    I know what you mean. Never my favourite dynasty, but still a feature of the landscape.

    It would be interested to know more about the reaction to the conquest of Naples in the courts of France and Russia. Don't they both now share an unwelcome neighbour?
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  14. #194
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    again, great stuff, like the way you meld actual social history into the storyline, and a well rendered picture of a slow moving inconclusive campaign where simple power in the end proved decisive. And now Hasan has found an ally in debauchery - this has to lead to either more conquests as penance for his enthusiatic sins or a mass of domestic intrigue.
    I like to make it so the events I portray have some real tangible affect on the peoples they affect. It seems I've been successful And I think Anna is tending towards the latter; I suppose she wants to have a monopoly on his debauchery
    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    Very good stuff. The description of the campaign in Italy against the Albrecht led coalition makes for a great read. Especially the Battle of St. John. At first I rather thought the Jalayirid's on the brink of defeat as their position was so bad, this until Damad made his attack to the south which foolishly prompted Albrecht to abandon his position in a bid to pursue the Jalayirid forces.m As I said, very well written. Thus the Hapsburgs are a broken power and Hasan has a new favourite seemingly as cunning as himself. This should be good.
    Thank you! I'm sure Anna Norcia (the name has a nice ring to it) will be an asset to Hasan...
    Quote Originally Posted by bananafishtoday View Post
    Great update! Although it remains to be seen what effect this Anna has on the Caliphate's fortunes...
    Btw, any chance of a map of the glorious Caliphate? I'm not sure how far you've advanced into Italy/Austria. And curious, how are you doing on tech vs. the European heathens?
    We shall have to see I'll make a map then, showing the breathtaking expanse of the mighty Jalayirid Caliphate!
    I'm doing good, some 2-4 lag behind them, but nothing serious. Superior - ehm - Muslim weaponry!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivir Baggins View Post
    Although this joke has probably been made, it's nice to see you behaving Baghdadly.

    Quote Originally Posted by scholar View Post
    Looks like the Habsburgs are gone, I'm almost sad that they're gone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alfredian View Post
    Really good series of posts. I particularly liked the Spanish exodus to Cuba.
    I know what you mean. Never my favourite dynasty, but still a feature of the landscape.
    It would be interested to know more about the reaction to the conquest of Naples in the courts of France and Russia. Don't they both now share an unwelcome neighbour?
    Thank you! The Spanish really were forced out by necessity, but I'm sure they're enjoying the Caribbean (minus the occasional hurricane). The Hasbsburgs were only useful to the von Luxemburgs of Bohemia as long as they held power; as staunch defenders of Catholicism as the HRE (especially its princes) grows increasingly fond of de Toledo's ideas (this timeline's Luther, he preaches a slightly more militant form of Protestantism, since it was the Battle of Lepanto's failure that leads him to fully renounce Catholicism) the Habsburgs repressed their Protestant subjects, and tried to ride coattails on the Bohemian Emperors' attempts at centralization and reform. Surprisingly, this did not endear them to most other princes; neither did their aggressive expansion at the Emperor's bequest. Thus, they found themselves with few friends once they were definitely ousted from Naples and southern Italy. This is not to say their line went extinct; they still kept smaller titles, and attempted to continue their marriage policies, with limited success. Their time in the limelight, however, was over.

    Russia and France ('safe' behind the Pyrenees) have their own problems; the French Wars of Religion will flare up soon, and Russia will deal with unrest of her own soon enough. Perhaps I should do some more world-ish updates soon, once I reach 1600? Japan needs some love, and so does the soon-to-be Forty Years War.

    ___________________

    Chapter 25
    The Snake and the Rose


    A timid light descended from the room’s oculus at the top of its domed ceiling. That summer afternoon’s sun rays tinged the entire city with a bronze color. The terraced houses that dotted the landscape bathed in the warm breeze that swept through the city.

    Of the two huge studded doors, made of hard, dark mahogany, one stood half open, showing a peek of the gardens’ lush greenery. Near it, a few bolts of silk and gold brocade did little to disguise the room’s luxury. The walls were decorated with blue and white mosaics, which formed a continuous arabesque, and the floor’s modest stone tiles covered with lavish carpets, from Persia or beyond. All of it was richly furnished, with several lowboys, chairs – in sandalwood - and roman-style sofas, all signaling the extreme wealth of its occupiers. At the center was a large bed. All in all it was rather reminiscent of a general’s tent, and a successful one.


    A panel of mosaics at the Warda (Rose) Palace.


    Hasan sighed. Standing on the bed, looking outwards, he sipped a bit of wine from a chalice. How paradoxical was it, he mused, that, as the Caliph, he enjoyed the same foods that his faith prohibited? Still, the occasional drink would hardly affect him, and, if he maintained its secrecy, the Ulema – that band of self-righteous old men – would be none the wiser. After a few more sips, he hid the cup and the forbidden liquid away in a small cupboard.

    Soon after, the heavy doors that led to the pavilion creaked. It took one or two takes to open the massive wooden behemoth. As more and more light penetrated the chamber, a whiff of perfume found its way to his nostrils. A floral scent; rose petals… or maybe lavender? Bah, his nose was never the most accurate of the lot, and the girls switched between fragrances at will. With the door again closed, a number of figures approached. They seemed as if shadows, their faces obscured by colored veils. Their earrings and necklaces clanked as they moved rhythmically, much to the Caliph’s pleasure… Being proficient at organizing the tax code and engineering public works did not mean it was often tedious, and soon after the beginning of his rule, Hasan found he needed more than just wine to cool off.

    Suddenly, just as Hasan was growing mesmerized, the doors slammed open again. A new burst of light dawned on the Caliph’s face. As he prepared to address this new arrival, he saw a white-skinned woman, her black eyes fiercely lit up in anger. Her long dark hair followed her through her rapid movements like a comet’s tail; and her shouting provoked such unease in the women that they looked to their master, eagerly awaiting his permission to leave the hurricane’s path. He acquiesced.

    Anna Norcia was her name. Brought over from some campaign, she seemed able to command Hasan as she pleased. Maybe it was her bearing, the command she made of her voice, that made the ruler of a massive empire, commander of over a quarter million men under arms, to tolerate what he would have deemed insolent from any other, to bend to her wishes. As the other women cowered - retreating beyond the door, into the courtyards - Anna moved towards her liege.


    Life in the Harem, the part of the Muslim household where women resided, but the term loosened and came to describe the Caliph's (and his family's) residential quarters. As the utmost center of power in the Caliphate, this place, of great luxury, was also home to palatial intrigue.

    ___________________



    Anna Norcia, as a simple harem girl.


    There isn’t much that chronicles Anna’s rise from a lowly harem slave to becoming Hasan’s consort. She seems to have arrived in either July or September 1568, according to a log detailing the Warda Palace’s transactions, which miraculously survived to present day. Her power in influence grew steadily. Nearly as ruthless as her liege, she was not above accusing – and framing - her adversaries of partaking in all forms of crime, from embezzlement to conspiracy. Even if, at first, he took these accusations seriously, Caliph Hasan soon began to appreciate both her company and talent for intrigue. Soon, he began to discard the attentions of his other courtesans, and to focus on Anna Norcia. Arranging for her liberation from slavery, they were to marry.

    Still, this came at a cost. Not exceptionally popular among the higher echelons of society for his liberal circumvention of Islamic law when necessary - or desirable – Hasan worsened his position by marrying Anna. Her constant scheming and forceful personality had made her many enemies – much like Hasan – at court. However, Hasan enjoyed some safety due to his position, whereas his bride was a far easier target of personal attacks. Feared by some as a reborn Mariam – though to assume their likeness as full is to abstract both persons, doing neither good justice – and as a potential usurper, she suffered much scorn.

    Anna knew well not to attempt to prosecute her enemies now – for she would have to imprison half of the empire. Instead, she took to her duties as a wife, producing four children for her husband – Fudail, Uwais and Ali (twins) and Fahima, the youngest child and only girl – and serving as his advisor when prompted. As the years passed, Hasan managed to recover the treasury completely, while avoiding most unrest – in his inner circle - though espionage and assassination. His and Anna’s excesses proved far more moderate – or palatable – to the court, unlike what their more vocal critics predicted, speaking of debauchery on Caligula’s level.

    However, the seeds of rebellion and conspiracy were to be sowed, not in the hallowed halls of the palace, but in the provinces. The rural magnates were aggravated by the Caliph’s ‘liberal’ policies – his distaste for war, his baroque lifestyle and his base of support among the wealthy merchants – and his micromanagement regarding regional affairs, favoring imperial envoys over the local aristocrats. Nearly all of these were radical turns from his father and predecessor, Isma’il. Whereas Isma’il had conquered vast swathes of Christian land, granting dispossessed nobles and loyal commanders alike new estates, fiercely defended the Ulema and represented the ideal ghazi[1] – zealous, cultured and warlike – Hasan only took land to soothe the clergy’s anger; his pragmatic mind saw them more as nuisances than as preachers and advocates of God’s will. He championed the large urban centers, headed by the burghers, increasing their privileges.


    Many arts knew a great advance during Hasan's reign, thanks to the prosperity after Caliph Isma'il's costly wars. One of these was cartography, as demonstrated on this map, which elegantly depicts the Mediterranean world and parts of Northern Europe with stunning detail.


    This discontent was mainly manifested among the regional nobility, removed from the great centers of power – and thus mostly outside Hasan’s spy network - whose fortunes had not been improved in the least by the Caliphate’s peaceful economic expansion. The continued peace had kept these families from acquiring new territories to increase their power, and their attempts at advance into bureaucratic and administrative posts were stymied by the city-dwelling bourgeoisie’s primacy. While the Caliphate’s territory at large witnessed this form of dissent, its focal points were in central and eastern Anatolia, as well as in parts of Persia. Facing increased taxes on agricultural produce – meant to finance the upkeep of a highway that would link Baghdad to Bursa, following in the footsteps of the ancient Persian Royal Road, as part of road system[2] that would link the so-called ‘Three Capitals’ (Alexandria, Constantinople and Baghdad[3]) – they grew ever increasingly incensed.


    Arising in the lower nobility - which contributed to the war effort generally as cavalry - the rebellion was nonetheless crushed by the Caliphate's armies.


    Gaining the adhesion of several army leaders, the rather disorganized (due to the need for secrecy, and the various participants’ goals[4]) revolt began in the 27th of May 1575, with the fielding of several hosts by disaffected nobles and the defection of various units. While they achieved limited success elsewhere, they progressed rapidly in Persia and Anatolia. They were unable to cultivate support in the central court, and this is generally pointed as the reason for their downfall. Lacking a broad base of support or the sympathy of the courtiers and bureaucrats, they were, after several battles, disbanded.

    Effects


    The ringleaders were brought back to Baghdad and executed; most of their surviving followers were banished and had their assets seized. Their lands were handed to loyal noblemen and their families, resulting in an influx of Arabs to Persian and Turkish lands. This, coupled with Hasan’s desire for simplified administration, spurred the use of Arabic dialects – first at the regional courts, but gradually, due to its use as lingua franca, it began to be adopted by the common people; by the mid-17th century, a majority of inhabitants were proficient in both languages[5] - in Anatolia (Levantine dialects) and Persia (Mesopotamian/Iraqi dialects).

    While unsuccessful and poorly-led, as the first true armed opposition to his rule, this rebellion was to have a major effect on Hasan. After 21 years of rule – including six under the council’s regency – always preparing against rivals, the fierceness – to the point that many burned their own farms - of the rebels surprised him and shook his feelings of invulnerability. To prevent further uprisings from gaining tract among the provincial bureaucracy, he reinstated and zealously enforced terms of at most 4 years for governors, as well as increasing the powers of the yearly magistrates sent to evaluate the governors’ performance, so as to cut down on corruption.


    A governor. The task of administrating the huge Jalayirid Caliphate proved to be difficult, as governors used their nearly untouchable positions to amass fortunes, pryed from state funds. Constant measures were taken by nearly every Caliph since Mariam's reign, as the central governments control on corruption waxed and waned.


    Shortly after, his first-born son and heir apparent, Fudail, aged twelve, was to suffer from a bout of acute fever, and soon died. Hasan –as aware of his subterfuge as he was afraid of others’ – suspected that he had been poisoned. The increased administrative burden he placed among himself, together with the death of his son, was to lead to his slow withdrawal. Facing a nervous breakdown and growing slowly paranoid, he began to relay most of his decisions to Anna. While serving as a steward to her recovering husband, she seized the opportunity to eliminate her former rivals. Moved by anger against those who mocked her origins and opposed her at every turn, she was to cull her critics through force. A number were outright killed, others imprisoned.[6] With her husband (in a reduced state and still suffering the gripes of mental illness) unfit to rule, she appointed Uwais as heir apparent. While this was later to lead to problems regarding succession (since Ali had, theoretically, as much right to inherit the throne as his brother), the two children, six years old, were ‘far too young to be exposed to games of power’, as their mother put it.

    Caliph Hasan was to recover little over a year later, and resumed governance. However, he maintained her wife’s new positions and power – although he chastised Anna for her purge; the two were to rule henceforth on mostly equal grounds.


    The Caliphate's lands under Hasan III.
    ___________________


    Notes

    [1] Muslim title meaning ‘conqueror’ or ‘victor’. Usually applied to those who successfully fought against infidels and expanded Islam. Several Jalayirid Caliphs were referred to using this title, although only Caliph Isma’il Ghazi took it as his cognomen.

    [2]’Centralized rule is the victim of time and distance’, as said by Robin L. Fox, a prominent English historian. Hasan sought both to stimulate commerce and facilitate communication with all parts of his empire. This lead to – again in resemblance to the Persian Royal Road, and most other such projects – the creation of a reliable post service, first only for speedy governmental communication, but expanded in the 18th Century to include independent civilian mail. Fresh horses were available approximately every 25 kilometers to ensure that messengers arrived as swiftly as possible to their destination.

    [3]The ‘ABC Cities’ were a common way, primarily by Westerners to describe the three ancient cities, which were, and continue to be, the capitals of major powers in the region.

    [4]Indeed, several other groups took the opportunity to rise up in arms, such as the Druze and what remained of the Shi'ites, who were being forced into conversion.

    [5]The lack of schooling outside the elites meant that the ‘native’ language remained in widespread use in the vernacular. They enjoyed new-found popularity after the Jalayirid Caliphate’s disaggregation, as the new dynasties sought a means to curry favor with the people they ruled over, even if most times they were governors sent from Baghdad. Efforts at school reform – creating one standardized curriculum taught at schools available for the general populace – from the early 19th century onwards in these regions – after the toppling of Sultan Mehdi Sadir following the August Revolution of 1803 – were to cause the permanent decline of these languages, with Mesopotamian Standardized Arabic taking their place.

    [6]Surprisingly, her purge didn’t have much of an effect outside the Warda Palace’s walls. The reason for this lack of response may well have been due to fear of a similar crackdown.
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  15. #195
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    All very plausible and a strong echo of the early Ummayad (sp?) caliphs. Like the way a rebellion that was really based on a shift of power from country to city became entwined with a revolt against the Caliph's morals. And Anna has a very definite approach to these things.
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  16. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    All very plausible and a strong echo of the early Ummayad (sp?) caliphs. Like the way a rebellion that was really based on a shift of power from country to city became entwined with a revolt against the Caliph's morals. And Anna has a very definite approach to these things.
    Really? I dont get that vibe. The early Ummayeds were pretty provincial and partisan. Yes, they concentrated on the urban centers and drew a great deal of support from them, but heres the pitch - it was mostly confined to Syria proper as opposed to the general urban centers of the Empire.

    Anyway, wonderful update sir. I like a clean and tidy empire. Whats happening in India in the meantime?
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    Anna is proving to be as cunning and manipulative as promised! I can't help but feel slightly bad for Hasan, he seemed competent enough until things got on top of him. It seems clear there will be nothing but a mess left when he passes away, especially with regards to his succession. Oh well, bad for him good but for me the reader!
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  18. #198
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    And Anna has a very definite approach to these things.
    The Caliphate needs a strong-willed woman to keep its gears running
    Quote Originally Posted by Calipah View Post
    Really? I dont get that vibe. The early Ummayeds were pretty provincial and partisan. Yes, they concentrated on the urban centers and drew a great deal of support from them, but heres the pitch - it was mostly confined to Syria proper as opposed to the general urban centers of the Empire.
    I can't really talk for either of you... My post-Rashidun Caliphate Islamic history is somewhat fuzzy. I need to correct that soon, if not just for the AAR itself
    Anyway, wonderful update sir. I like a clean and tidy empire. Whats happening in India in the meantime?
    Thanks! India is mostly divided after the fall of Vijayanagar empire... the largest state currently is Rajputana, although it can't project its power efficiently due to tribal feuds. To the South (in Ceylon and Tamil regions, but also up the coast, as far as Bombain, due to missionary activities in the area, during the Lisboeta empire's heyday), there are great numbers of Christians, but they're mostly integrated in the Hindu kingdoms that sprung after Vijayanagar's deluge. This situation will likely not last...
    Quote Originally Posted by morningSIDEr View Post
    Anna is proving to be as cunning and manipulative as promised! I can't help but feel slightly bad for Hasan, he seemed competent enough until things got on top of him. It seems clear there will be nothing but a mess left when he passes away, especially with regards to his succession. Oh well, bad for him good but for me the reader!
    Indeed, the question of succession (it rhymes!) when dealing with twins is very hard... I've heard that one twin was at some point killed off, but can't vouch for the story's truth. Regardless, Anna would fight like a lioness if her cubs were endangered

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  19. #199
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Christianity in the Orient
    Part I



    A map of pre-modern Christian influences in Asia.


    Christianity’s presence in the areas often designated as the ‘Orient’[1] by Westerners was not altogether a new phenomenon. Religious and cultural exchanges along the Silk Road were common, beginning with the diffusion of Buddhism to the steppe peoples and China from its original core region in India. Syriac – who under St. Thomas also created a Christian community in Kerala - and Nestorian missions, whose proselytization was recorded in Mongolia and northern China, were to create vibrant congregations after the Han dynasty’s fall. These efforts were to be largely undone from the ninth century onwards; concomitant with the persecution of Buddhist monasticism and several sects under the Tang and later dynasties, most ‘foreign’ religions were also suppressed, among them Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism. Brief attempts at missions by the Catholic Church during the Yuan Dynasty were to be mostly fruitless. The ‘rebirth’ of Christianity in the East involved a new avenue of European contact; by sea, replacing the long and dangerous land journeys through Transoxiana, the Tarim basin and Mongolia.

    Faced with expulsion from Northern Africa after Calipha Mariam’s campaigns and with all dreams of controlling the Asian land trade squashed, whose terminus was situated in the Middle East, the Portuguese attempted to reach India by sea, contradicting Ptolemy’s theory of the Indian Sea being enclosed. Instead, they managed to reach India by Sea, through the Cape of Good Hope. This was analogous with the Spanish attempts at exploring the Atlantic Ocean, eventually stumbling onto the Americas, making landfall in the Isle of Hispaniola in 1522, under Cabeza de Vaca.


    Álvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca's landfall in Hispaniola.


    The lightning quick expansion of the Lisboeta Empire in Asia after Paulo da Gama’s ocean voyage to India was invariably followed by – as has been previously referenced on this work – missionary work, nearly always by Jesuits. They came hand in hand with European merchants, goods and embassies, and were often intermediaries between their compatriots and the peoples among which they dwelled. Jesuit priests took to great lengths to learn the local languages and dialects, and unlike their brothers in Europe, preached in the vernacular to ease conversion.


    The emblem of the Society of Jesus (Societas Iesu), whose members had a tremendous influence in missionary activities in Asia


    Hundreds of missionaries travelled along East Asia, as far inland – European influence as mostly limited to coastal areas - as Tibet (by Father Andrade Mendes); even so, Catholicism was only to enjoy greater popularity in the lands most travelled by St. Francis Xavier, the Patron of the Orient: Japan – especially in Kyushu, where most of Portuguese trade was centered – southern India and Ceylon. In all of these regions Christian teachings filled a social, political or cultural niche that justified its widespread adoption.

    In Japan, the internecine conflicts that lead to the weakening of the Bakufu during the Onin Wars continued during the Sengoku Jidai. The loosening of the central authority’s power and its usurpation by the provincial land-owning bushi removed the last obstacles to total war. With the peasantry’s increasing role[2] in armies – in the form of ashigaru – lead by their feudal masters, the struggles between clans increased in scope and in destructive power. The daimyo were soon to make use of European support and weaponry, attempting to gain the upper hand against their adversaries.


    A Nagasaki musket. Modeled after Portuguese arquebuses, large manufactories and arsenals were created to produce and store large amounts of these firearms. They were easy to use and relatively cheap, prompting their widespread adoption on the battlefield.


    To the nobility, conversion meant privileged access to European cannons and arquebuses, as well as favorable trade treaties. Given East Asia’s long history of religious syncretism, their conversion could perhaps be said to not be as radical, say, a Christian prince’s adoption of Islam. Still, it meant the severing of important ties and incurring the wrath of non-Christian rulers; even then, the need for political expediency often justified shedding their previous beliefs in favor of the new religion. The merchants enjoyed better bargaining terms with the foreigners and the lower orders were attracted to the faith’s message of universal love. Communication between Japan and Europe was great enough to warrant the sending of a Japanese (Christian) embassy to Rome.

    In southern India and Ceylon – which, in accordance with Portuguese naming and for convenience, shall be referred to as ‘The Malabar’[3] – matters were different. The Malabar, while having enjoyed prosperity under the Vijayanagara Empire[4], was also divided into several smaller, feuding states after its collapse to Nayak – feudal and military leaders – revolts. After their conquest of Goa, the Lisboetas began to acquire large expanses of territory in the region from the bickering kingdoms. The large populations of these new lands made the task of administering them a hard one for the Republic. Since its interests were in maintaining spice production for export, the colonial Portuguese were to support a policy of extensive inter-marrying with the former ruling classes in order to assure their loyalty. Their direct control of the lands enabled them to actively support Catholicism and missionary activities without fear of having their missionaries prosecuted by zealous heathen kings.


    Goa, the capital of the Portuguese Oriental Empire. All goods from Portuguese Asia were brought here before shipment, and the city grew immensely due to its new-found prosperity.


    The Portuguese maintained control over their lands both by working inside the caste system, through intermarriage and assimilation into the higher classes, and outside it, by propagating their faith. A series of Indo-Portuguese creoles appeared and prospered during this period, revealing the extensive cultural intermingling that occurred. This is not to say that Portuguese rule was not resented or even resisted by certain segments of society; just that their conciliatory policy towards the local elites allowed them to avoid most of the problems and expenses of maintain a strong presence overseas, in such a distant land, by enlisting the help of several segments of the native population. Once again, Catholicism was easily propagated among the lower classes, oppressed as they were by a rigid caste system, theoretically four-tiered, but in practice containing hundreds of sub-castes. The Shudras and Pariahs, as the lowest of the lot, were, much like the peasants and Burakumin in Japan, attracted to the religion as a means of assuring social ascension. However, others were far more distrustful of the religion. The Brahmas, the priestly castes, were threatened by the new religion’s grip on power, both for fear of having their morals replaced by an exotic new creed and for desiring to maintain their position at the top of the social pyramid.

    While the Portuguese often denounced the syncretic tendencies among the new converts and even some of the assimilated Europeans as corruptions of the Christian message, most accepted them as inevitable compromise to maintain order in the region. To this end, the Inquisition was refused jurisdiction in Portuguese India – and later even repudiated altogether from the Republic following the events of the 1532 Lisbon Massacre[5].

    After the Republic of Lisbon


    The surrender of Lisbon to Murad Bey.


    But more importantly, what happened to Christianity in the Orient after the Republic’s fragmentation and later dissolution at the hands of the Jalayirid Caliphate? Outside of Japan, the Malabar and a few outposts – ‘feitorias’ – it was seemingly forgotten. With the large-scale closure of Portuguese sea-lanes to the Orient – maintained as a well-guarded secret – the flow of goods and missionaries stopped, safe for a few intrepid souls, like Matteo Ricci. For the most part, the main attraction of the faith disappeared. European help barely trickled as the Republic was busy fighting its sister cities, which had rebelled in the wake of the Muslim Invasion of Al-Andalus; many of its lands and fortresses found themselves uncertain as to their loyalties: to their employer, the Republic of Lisbon, or to their home town[6], which had likely seceded from the Lisboetas’ control?

    Amid this period of war and chaos, missionary results were lackluster. With a far smaller military force under the Republic’s control, and unable to intervene in all theatres of Asia, they chose to focus in India, where Portuguese control was more cemented. Non-Christian daimyo often suppressed their Christian subjects, although some valued their expertise in European ‘arts’: cannon-making, shipbuilding and the running of printing-presses, the largest of which was located in Nagasaki – Japan’s largest Christian stronghold, and the seat of the Japanese Patriarchate until its move to Kyoto.

    The Republic’s death-knell and that of its rebellious sisters was delivered by Murad Bey during his Iberian campaigns. With the end of the Republic and the annual trade ships, laden with colonial magistrates and goods to use as barter, the administration of the Oriental Empire was thrown into further confusion. The colonies, whether they identifies as Lisboeta or otherwise, were now cut off from their homeland.

    The Malabar


    An excerpt from a Portuguese atlas of Asia


    The East African ports and cities that had been seized from the Swahili Confederacy promptly reverted into their former owners, as their garrisons, clergy and administrators realized their precarious situation and fled to the Malabar. There, the fall of the Republic was not felt nearly as strongly as elsewhere. Republican ideals were quickly dropped, as indigenized Portuguese and Christian natives carved their own kingdoms from the Aedile’s lands, alongside Hindu princes and rajas. The Christian rulers were mainly supported by their converted subjects, but the Hindu princes counted on the help of the Northern kingdoms to drive out the Catholic menace. A series of campaigns followed where the number of Christian kingdoms was diminished. Still, they were never truly extinguished, and the Hindus found it difficult to persuade the masses to give up their new-found, militant faith; a number of resurgent Christian kingdoms appeared during the first half of the 17th Century. Their rulers bore Portuguese names, and under their rule the caste system was very much relaxed, though not altogether abolished. The Hindus eventually relocated northward as the result of campaigns to expand the faith. In India, Catholicism enjoyed a comfortable position among the traditional Tamil regions and up the coast to Goa. The kingdoms grew rich from trade, although relations with the Caliphate were sometimes tense due to religious differences, whereas commerce in the area was previously controlled by Muslim traders[7].


    Colombo, the capital of Portuguese Ceylon was named after Fernando Colombo, the leader of the first Portuguese expedition to land in Ceylon. The city was to remain an important nucleus for several post-Lisboeta Christian kingdoms.


    In Ceylon, the period after Lisboa’s fall was less violent, as the island’s traditionalist rulers, mostly based in the central highlands, fought unsuccessively against the Christian Rés[8] (kings). Unlike in the continent, a distinct European identity remained, since the Portuguese did not feel assimilation was as pressing as in the mainland, and the isolated and peaceful period that followed kept the Europeans on the island from being driven off or forcefully integrated. Instead, many formed dynasties of their own, alongside Christianized native rulers. The last Buddhist kingdoms were driven off in 1622, by then mere enclaves. The island’s solidarity with their brothers in the faith in the mainland was expressed through several expeditions against the Hindu kingdoms by the likes of João Rodrigues and Ré Álvaro Jayakody. With the threat of Hindu conquest dissipated, and in the wars that followed between most Christian kingdoms, alliances by states on Ceylon and in the continent were common and demonstrate the close bonds between the various kingdoms and polities, thanks to their common religious and cultural bonds. Together with Christianity, these Rénatos (kingdoms) stood out by their far larger European cultural heritage, at least in comparison with Japan.

    ___________________

    Notes

    [1] Originally meaning the Levant and Middle East, the Orient in the western mind has gradually shifted eastwards, as European explorers braved new lands. Orientalist painting and literature depicting it as an exotic, sensual land proliferated in the 18th and 19th centuries, dealing with everything from the Arabian Nights (a collection of folktales) to scenes of everyday life in India. The representation of the Orient as a more morally lax land, while not altogether true, proved popular with painters, who struggled with finding settings in which to set up nudes that did not involve the restrictions of classical Greco-Roman mythology.

    [2] While battles had once been matters of personal dispute, subject to one-on-one fighting, the Sengoku Jidai introduced armies in which only the core was constituted by elite, aristocratic warriors, the samurai. The vast majority of the army was composed of conscripted peasants, usually wielding weapons that were easier to use in formations, such as spears. The introduction and widespread use of firearms enabled quick training of peasants in their use, and contributed to the increase in the destructive capabilities of war.

    [3] In fact, the ‘Malabar’ usually means only the stretch of coast from Cape Comorin to approximately Mahe. However, the Portuguese referred to all of their south Indian domains by this name, and it will be used in this work to avoid repetition of the terms ‘Ceylon’ and ‘South India’, the latter of which may include non-Christian areas.

    [4] Called the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, it enjoyed hegemony over the Indian continent for a certain time. The coalition of Northern Indian states, led by Rajputana, together with disagreements over the division of land and the Nayaks’ desire to carve their own kingdoms dictated its end, allowing the Portuguese to expand freely in the south.

    [5]A group of Dominican friars instigated a terrible riot that lead to the death of six thousand – alleged or open – Jews in Lisbon on 27th July 1532. The Jews enjoyed better relations with the Republic than with the monarchy, serving as moneylenders and sometime even as merchants in the Far East. The Inquisition, although not directly implicated in the riots, was expulsed from fear that it would lead to the prosecution of converted Jews, much like it did in Spain.

    [6]Alongside their own inhabitants, the Republic employed large quantities of men from its subordinate sister-Republics on the rest of the former Kingdom of Portugal. These found themselves with conflicting loyalties after their city’s secession. The Lisboetas’ often heavy-handed attempts to maintain them in line often contributed to desertion and sometimes even secession of colonies to other Republics, like Mombasa’s, who moved into Oporto’s sphere.

    [7] These were driven out during the Lisboeta administration of the Malabar, and although some returning during the Hindu kingdoms’ control of the area, they later found themselves discriminated against by the Catholic kingdoms, who had also adopted European shipping practices, using ships with large hulls and huge tonnage, compared with the small dhows used by Muslims outside the Caliphate.

    [8] What is here featured is transliterated Ceylonese; this language, borne out of Portuguese-Indian creoles and standardized only at the beginning of the 20th Century, is written in the ‘Sinhala’ alphabet, updated to accommodate new phonemes absent in non-Purthugalay (those that do not possess vast vocabulary or grammatical borrowings from Portuguese) languages and dialects. To avoid confusion, any and all words shall be referred to using their equivalents in modern Ceylonese (i.e. Nirena vs. Ré, both meaning king, one in the old Jaffna dialect and the other – a borrowing from Portuguese - in proper Ceylonese).

    ___________________


    Originally, this chapter numbered over 4000 words, so I split it in half for your sakes. I’ll post Part two shortly. Treat it as me making amends for not updating last weekend!
    Last edited by mayorqw; 15-01-2012 at 23:36.
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  20. #200
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    superb interlude ... these posts are one of the many delights to this AAR
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

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