wonderful update ... & a fascinating survey of the main issues in governance of the time
wonderful update ... & a fascinating survey of the main issues in governance of the time
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
I have a question for all of you: do you prefer it when the names of wars and such events are modified from history (30 Years' War = 40 Years' War) or would you rather have completely different names? Also in the topic, should I direct my efforts towards following some semblance of RL history (this update is an example, since, it some minor modificaions, it could describe history as it actually happened) or would you like to see 'completely' new events and situations?
Would you like resonance and perhaps some subversion of historical events or for a more, ehm, weird evolution?
(18th century jetpacks!)
since you are playing for an alternate but plausible world (ie its not a Ryuku world conquest or whatever), then I rather like the sly tweaks, so if the religious wars in N Europe become the 40 years war I rather like the variation but still being grounded in a phrase that carries a particular meaning.
whilst here is no place for a thorough debate on the reasons for the emergence of the modern nation state from say 1700 onwards, it did happen for underlying reasons, not just as a fluke of historical individuals. Since the pressures of a more professional army (& in particular the production of regularised cannon), of a need to more clearly delineate administrative borders etc will occur in any EU-verse (again with the proviso of a reasonably plausible mode of game play), then there is no reason why all the various forms of political institutions that emerged to try and make sense of those challenges should exist in this time line too.
But then, to be mildly perverse, I also like the a-historic and the posts you've developed that are really a consequence of the world that is being formed in your game too.
So as long as the history book makes sense in your own terms thats great. If you can develop that sense by looting our time line for a richer back story, thats even greater ... all reasons why I think, despite all the competition on the EU boards, this remains the best.
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
I think whatever works for you works for us. Real history is a very useful tool because a lot of the things that actually happened would be unbelievable if they were fictional (reality is unrealistic!) but at the same time deviations from history or completely left-field stuff can be very entertaining, done well.
Only thing I'd, personally, refuse to touch are dates of major scientific discoveries... even discarding the incremental nature of discoveries, the ripple effects would just be too insane and wouldn't jibe with an EU game. If the folks who say information accrues at an exponential rate are right, eg, Newtonian mechanics in 1600 could easily mean nukes before 1800.
(Although that could be funny in its own way... "Bloody Americans want to rebel, do they?! Want to form their own country, do they?! Unleash the ICBMs!")
@loki100: Thanks for the input!
@bananafishtoday: That doesn't rule out steampunk... I hope
Flyguy117, thy wishes are my command... behold, anarchy!
The Compromise of 1607 and the Tailors’ War
Hasan III and Anna’s reign, while prosperous and long, was a time of conciliation - not of solution – in regards to social issues. Political expediency and the maintenance of the central state’s power were above squabbles between the aristocrats and the emerging urban bourgeoisie; the worst offenders were imprisoned and tried, with the Caliph content to maintain a rather precarious social order. The death, first of Anna and then of Hasan, ensured that a stable transition of power would be extremely difficult, given the fact that Uwais and Ali were (heterozygotic) twins; both had a respectable claim to the throne.
The twins’ positions had polarized as their father’s health deteriorated. Uwais’s appointment as regent for his ailing father and, shortly after, as heir brought over the high bureaucracy and the clergy, swayed by his apparent legitimacy. The more strongly plutocratic factions adopted Ali as their leader for lack of a better option: Fahima lived a mostly encloistered life and, while Mariam and Anna’s rule were not altogether removed from public knowledge, she would have been harder to legitimize as a ruler, barring her outspoken lack of desire to intervene in matters between her brothers.
Pressure by Ali succeeded in him being granted increasingly greater power, though still under the aegis of his brother. Since coronation had not yet occurred, the brothers slowly achieved a more or less equal standing. While Ali and Uwais, brothers as they were, had an extraordinarily conciliatory attitude towards each other, their supporters did not. Continued pressure from these would lead to the Compromise of 1607.
The Compromise, whose manuscript was prepared by the lawmaker and later vizier Ahmad Gaber, established Uwais as Caliph, but formalized Ali’s extensive powers. While Uwais had more power de iure, he was obliged to consult his brother on political appointments, and to take into account Ali’s personal proposals, both in terms of appointments and policy.
Ali and Uwais
Caliph Uwais was regarded as a meek man, somewhat frail of constitution but skillful in dealing with the state’s administration. The workings of deceit and intrigue escaped him, both by his own moral objections and (apparently) solid position, who never forced him into such shady activities. He had a taste in music, and supported music schools during his reign, whereas previous Caliphs had been more engaged as patrons of sculpture, painting and architecture. A number of poems - of his own pen – were preserved, revealing his calm demeanor but increasing uneasiness in the months preceding his deposition. On the other hand, Ali was remarkably headstrong, and, having already ensured some parity with his brother, attempted to place some of his own supporters in key positions, both in the internal (palace rulings) and external (governorates, trade missions, embassies) administration. In this he was mostly successful, establishing a powerful support base in the provinces; still, choosing officials based on loyalty rather than merit had negative implications, as the regional finances were to be thoroughly mismanaged; this coupled with the excesses of war, caused their profoundly indebted (both to internal and foreign moneylenders) state in the civil war’s aftermath.
While the quarreling factions had been somewhat eased after the Compromise - which, beyond mediating Ali and Uwais’s powers, also addressed several sources of grievance between the traders and the landowners - Ali’s power mongering and forceful personality alarmed them once more. Rumors of his plans to seize the throne began to circulate among the court and Uwais, while disturbed by his brother’s increasingly forceful actions, stubbornly dismissed the claims.
It is unknown if Ali’s ambitions were due to harboring any ill will towards his brother; correspondence between them shows no outright hostility, and court records report no given circumstance in which the brothers clashed to any degree, only their supposed followers. Indeed, a case can be made for the two brothers being attached to neither the aristocratic or merchant factions; in Ali’s case, his supporters appear to be seen as mere pawns, to elevate him onto a greater title; for Uwais, as a power base from which to expand his hold on the state.
Harun Jahagir, leader of the Red Army and a crucial supporter of Ali.
After two years of planning, assuring his supporters were in control of key positions, final preparations began, in the utmost secrecy, in May 1608. Possessing his father’s talent for deceit, on May 27, Ali sent a letter to General Harun Jahagir - from a long line of military men (the first of which had been Zulqifar, War minister to Calipha Mariam) – the commander of the Red Army…
The artists, the courtiers, the myriad secretaries, ministers and viziers were all but gone. But not the guards; yet those were quickly serviced. In the pitch black of night, an eerie silence took hold of the place. The loud, organized marching of the various divisions was replaced with a careful walk; some fifty men were on the tip of the toes. They moved from courtyard to courtyard of the hundred-year-old palace. A few lanterns gave out precious light under the dark blue sky.
The quarters of the Royal Family. Having been abandoned in the wake of Jahagir's drive into the city, the Warda palace (and other, minor, ones) would see little use during the war, after which they would be expanded.
They reached the residential quarters soon after. The men clutched their guns and sabers fiercely, yet they found no resistance to their movement in the inner sanctum of the palace. When they slammed open the cumbersome doors of the Caliph’s bedroom, they found nothing… Save for a small scribbled note, with a seal. It was meant to be easy!
Uwais’s escape from the Warda Palace just before its takeover by Ali endangered his brother’s position. While he now controlled the central government, much of the personnel had fled with Uwais; with the rightful Caliph reluctantly gathering his supporters, Ali would have to fight a drawn out war. The Ummah would split once more. He sent orders for his accomplices to rally their troops. The Civil War had begun.
The breakup of the empire along the lines of the various governorates. Those in ed supported Ali; those in green remained with Uwais. The Yemenite Kingdom and the Bosporan Republic, both satellite states to some degree, opted for different candidates. The Republic supported Uwais as commitment to the ruling monarch, and due to the fact that his control of Constantinople and the Straits was vital to their trade interests. The Yemenites held onto Ali, and would be rewarded with autonomy. The Maghreb remained undecided till the war's practical conclusion, while Al-Andalus did not even bother to profess their devotion to either claimant. Targoviste was split, and is portrayed in cyan as such. Bear in mind that this map presents a simplified version of the loyalties of each region. Within them, support for each candidate varied, especially when comparing more rural areas with the cities
Ali’s policy of appointing loyal governors paid off: The wealthiest regions of the Caliphate joined him in his revolt. One should note however that these were also the most urbanized, where support for Ali’s supposed merchant policies was the highest. The peripheral regions (North Africa, Arabia, eastern Persia) was overwhelmingly in Uwais’s favor, and their economies were dominated by subsistence agriculture for the most part, under a system of landlords; in the central areas, smaller land holdings were common, owned by a mixture of wealthy merchants and aristocrats. Many of the ‘dynasties’ dominant in these lands been given these properties by earlier Caliphs (Hasan II, Mariam) as rewards for military service; they constituted the vast majority of the local officials. While those who had participated in the Revolt of 1575 had had their land confiscated, they pushed for action against the increasingly plutocratic focus of the central government.
The Grand Bazaar in Constantinople. While it supported Uwais, the city was a model of the urban, bustling environment where support for Ali was the highest.
Slavery was not as widespread there as it was in Egypt and Mesopotamia. It would be helpful to contrast the increasingly different economic regimes between them: the central regions absorbed the vast majority of the slave trade, which fueled their plantation-like farming (both of foodstuffs and cash crops – coffee, sugar and cotton), highly dependent on the large-scale irrigation granted by the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile river valleys. In this economic heartland, manufacturing centers abounded in the large cities, while they formed isolated pockets elsewhere. They were also the major recipients of the East-West trade routes, which normally entered the Persian Gulf, going overland through Mesopotamia and Syria, and were shipped to European markets either through the Levantine port cities or Constantinople.
However, there were some irregularities in adhesion to either side that muddy this clear definition. The Governorate of Constantinople supported Uwais for fear of competition from the Levantine merchants, who were predominantly pro-Ali. The cities of the Hedjaz, headed by Mecca and Medina, supported Uwais as Caliph due to hostility to the secular literati and merchants that grappled Ali’s attentions, as well as the elder brother’s purportedly more solid claim.
Increasingly, the rulers of Al-Andalus ignored the central authorities, leading to the eventual secession of the territory from the Caliphate.
To the Far West, the Maghreb and Al-Andalus mostly removed from the power play, voiced support for neither candidate. While the Maghreb was to join Ali near the end of the war, the Iberian lands were apathetic to both Caliphs, thus evidencing the already present independent spirit of the local populace. Somewhere in between in economic terms between the two major blocs, and with a vastly larger Christian populace, Al Andalus grew increasingly distinct from the rest of the Empire. With well-trained regional forces, it was to – without any authorization by either pretender – invade what remained of the Spanish lands to the north, on account of several daring Spanish raids. Spain could do little but complain, now entirely exiled to the Americas. With the rest of Europe aflame by creed, as shown by the Forty Years’ War, the French Wars of Religion and massive Orthodox revolts in Russia, the Taylors’ War came at an opportune moment.
In regards to the military, the Red Army, under General Jahagir, supported Ali’s cause. The Blue army remained steadfast to Caliph Uwais, partly out of their officers’ sympathy and mostly due to simple antagonism with the Red Army. The Yellow Army was to defect to the revolt later, while the Greens, assigned to Al-Andalus, failed to intervene. The Caliph’s Guard stayed on Uwais’s side. The intense, often petty rivalries between the various ‘sections’ of the military was to lead to their extinction and replacement of the middle Jalayirid military system with the Jahagir reforms. Ali enjoyed control of most foundries and military depots (as well as the officers’ academies) and controlled the major dockyards and, soon the majority of the war fleet, docked primarily in Hormuz and the Levant. However, Uwais was in control of the eastern border regions, with their systems of forts and plentiful frontier troops, which could easily be diverted into internal warfare. In addition, while outmatched in terms of weaponry, he had a more experienced officer corps and cavalry forces (including the able Bedouin) which were usually staffed by men with an aristocratic background.
The first moves undertaken by Ali, besides crushing dissent in the regions mostly under his control, was to move quickly against Uwais’s pockets in Eastern Persia and Anatolia, while maintaining a spirited defense elsewhere. In the western Balkans, mostly cut off from lines of communication, the fight was messy as there was much confusion was to the actual loyalist and revolting troops. Little progress was achieved, as both sides faced insurrections by the still sizeable Christian populations in response to mandatory conscription.
Muskets such as this one were used extensively during the Tailors' War by both sides.
The first (large-scale) battle of the civil war occurred in Mosul’s environs, at Karamlish. The Battle of Karamlish unfolded as two divisions of the Red Army - who were on their way to Anatolia, so as to dissuade the loyalists from striking in the region, from Constantinople - numbering some 21,000 men (along with 1,700 horse and 75 artillery pieces, mainly new demi-cannons) were met by part of the Yellow Army, at 23,000 strong, including 4,000 conscripts. The inexperience of the latter was compensated to some degree by the well-drilled professional troops, with plenty of ammunition. The Red Army attachments had neglected to bring with them sufficient supplies for a pitched battle, as they expected to be refitted along their journey and at their destination. They had also been the victims of forced march, and arrived at the battlefield not quite as energetically as their opponents.
The Loyalists occupied the road to Bartella, and placed rudimentary defenses before the enemy could approach. While at first the results were promising, the Loyalist center held on volley after volley, while the Red Army detachments suffered from withering morale and were prevented from charging the enemy head on by the erected defenses. After a cavalry attack against the Loyalist rear was thwarted, Omar Aqil, the ‘Tailor’ commander, gave orders for a withdrawal due to lack of ammunition. While it was orderly for the most part, overeager soldiers rushed out of battle, giving the impression of a rout. The Loyalists descended from their positions and began melee combat; the swift movement provoked disarray in both lines.
After a quarter hour of intensive fighting, both sides began to slowly withdraw. The Tailors retreated southwards, and the Loyalist army in the opposite direction. Some 7,000 lay dead from both sides, yet the battle wasn’t truly decisive; still, it prevented an effective defense of Ali’s lands in Anatolia, and the Yellow Army was to hinder communication between the two halves of Ali’s main bases (Egypt and Mesopotamia). Thus the campaign began on a bad note for Ali, who furiously proceeded with his campaign to pacify the eastern borders.
 From a long line of military men (the first of which had been Zulqifar, War minister to Calipha Mariam), Harun Jahagir was to be an irreplaceable cog in Ali’s bid for the throne. Leading the Tailor armies eastward into Khorasan, his neutering of a potentially difficult front was to enable the eastern push that would characterize the second phase of the Civil War.
 In the form of Mozarabs; while many had departed for the Spanish Main, a significant number of Christians adopted - like their forefathers before the Christian ‘Reconquista’ – Arabic customs, including language. Intermarriage with the Arab colonists was to slowly dwindle their numbers; native born Christians constituted merely some 3% to 5% of the population in Al-Andalus.
 In fact, each so-called army included several army-sized subdivisions, subordinate to an authority (the corresponding army’s command), who only then communicated with high command and the War Ministry. This system had the downside of promoting bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Last edited by mayorqw; 20-03-2012 at 02:47.
stupendous stuff. Like the way that the rivalries around the two brothers, merged with existing tensions to escalate things. Your treatment of the role of Al-Andulus mirrors neatly its partial disconnect from the Middle East in our time lines. And the idea that a provincial governor uses central chaos for a bit of local expansion is out of the Roman Empire play-book.
Its hard to see this ending well. Not least its as much a civil war between potential futures as ambitious individuals, even if Ali wins he'll struggle to hold the peripheral provinces in the Empire.
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
Spectacular. It just keeps getting better! Can't wait to see how the civil war develops.
And as for steampunk, Rule of Cool trumps all else! Airships are laughably slow, inefficient, and either deathtraps (hydrogen) or unsustainable (helium, which the world is literally running out of thanks to party balloons.) Most "steam-powered" technology in fiction is silly compared to electricity. But these things are totally permissible, because they are awesome.
The Tailors’ War, Part II
While Ali’s forces were still somewhat reeling from the unexpected impasse at Karamlish, his efforts in the east were successful. Forces under Muhammad al-Dabir and Jalal Nejem routed Khorasani militias in several encounters and were poised to take the regional capital, Herat. The support from border troops failed to materialize. Cut off from the Caliphate’s breadbasket regions, the large armies on the frontier suffered the hardships of famine before even meeting their enemy on the battlefield. While some supplies were brought in from abroad, mostly India, the lack of a sea route limited the viability of this supply lane. Desertion and disease dwindled the armies’ numbers. Marauding bands of unfed deserters pillaged villages and agricultural estates, further worsening these already grave logistical problems.
With the West’s fall a question of time, cities in Georgia and in the Governorate of Tabriz began to slowly defect to the recuperated Red Army during its march. However, while this campaign was a resounding success, Ali’s cause was struggling in the Balkans. Despite help from Naples and naval support by the Mediterranean fleets stationed in the Levant, Targoviste’s swing to Uwais’s faction sealed the region’s fate. With Naples occupied with revolts by the Christian population and a Tunisian invasion led by Ibrahim Amjad, and the navy engaging the Bosporan galleasses, Governor Harun al-Abbas felt the full military might of Greece and Rumelia’s armies. He put up a spirited resistance, with himself participating in the Battles of Uskub, Ipek and Sarajevo; the latter resulted in his final capitulation and execution.
The Battle of Trianto, one of many between Ali's Caliphate and the fleets of the Bosporan Republic.
With the peripheral regions being pacified by either side, and naval conflicts wielding little result (safe for nearly paralyzing legitimate trade) both parties of the civil war began to gear themselves for the struggle to come in Anatolia. Otherwise, Naples and Tunis were locked in perpetual conflict and the Omanis organized a series of raiding parties against coastal Persian cities which later resulted in a full naval blockade of their lands by the Indian Ocean fleets. After overseeing his armies’ preparations, Ali rode to Mecca at the head of a large force to retake the holy city and face his brother, who was reportedly residing there. While the city surrendered after being granted amnesty, Uwais escaped by means unknown, and resurfaced in Constantinople later that year. Undeterred, Ali seized Medina in the following weeks. His legitimacy enhanced by the halfhearted support of the two cities, he left a sizable garrison to ward off against any raids by the Yemenis or Bedouin and departed to Alexandria and, with a fresh, though inexperienced army, marched to al-ʼIskandarun, so as to participate in the conquest of Anatolia, where his borders had been shifting daily since the Battle of Karamlish prevented the region’s reinforcement.
The New Cape Route
Once again, it was the Caliphate’s affairs that lead to a new shift in European imperialism. The Iberian powers of Lisbon and Spain, finding their ambitions in North Africa and the Mediterranean crushed, had taken to exploration in search of India, after the occupation of Lisbon - the seafaring republic that held a monopoly on the Indian Ocean and Far East trade – much of the momentum for ventures in the Americas and in Asia ceased. While Spain aggressively colonized the newly-discovered Caribbean – just as her mainland territory was being absorbed by Islamic forces – England, France and all other powers with the means to acquire for themselves a share in the new lands were little inclined to do so. As the religious troubles of the Reformation began, most states struggled to remain united, let alone commission expeditions to far-off lands.
The Spanish merchant fleets that traded with Europe were popular targets for privateering. Without enough domestic population to absorve her production of cash crops in the fertile Caribbean, New Spain resorted to selling her produce to those across the Atlantic for profit. In the return trip often came immigrants, as well as manufactured goods (nails, tools, wine, military equipment and so on).
As the 17th Century dawned, this situation began to change. The rising middle classes of Western Europe sought to usurp the Spanish – whose apparent disappearance had not gone unnoticed - monopoly on trade with the new lands to the West, which was still not entirely distinguished in most minds from India. Notions of an eastern passage through the southern reaches of the African continent were sparsely entertained by those in power. Coupled with the religious refugees that fled prosecution at home and were to settle across the Atlantic, good conditions were established for the widespread colonization of the Americas.
Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.
Still, just as the European powers carved pieces of these lands for themselves, the Indian Ocean - its peoples still remembering the Lisboeta onslaught, along with the invaders’ descendants and the catholic converts – remained empty of their interference. The new companies established by Caliph Hasan as well as his expansion of the road and port system meant that the price of Indian and Chinese goods – which passed through Muslim hands due to geographic necessity – was at an all-time low. With the companies themselves arranging for the buying, shipping and delivery of these goods (from trade posts in India and Transoxiana) to Europe, and the consequential reduction in middlemen and costs, the Christian Europeans were more than happy to negotiate with their supposed enemies. The reliability of Russian trade routes, which passed through central Asia, bypassing Muslim control, remained sketchy due to constant banditry by nomads and the constant insurrections and civil strife that plagued the Tsardom.
The Civil War between Uwais and Ali was to alter this careful balance. With the Caliphate’s factions at war with each other, trade diminished, remaining so even for quite some time after the war's resolution. Though the navies, stationed in Hormuz, did what they could, their main task was to safeguard grain shipments and stop seaborne invasions; they could barely afford any manpower to protecting merchant traffic from both the Omani raiders and non-partisan pirates that sprung up in this period as all forms of state control waned in the area. The situation in the Mediterranean was likewise untenable, as the Bosporan Republic did all it could to keep the Dardanelles open to its trade, while prosecuting all others. Despite his control of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia, the main points of travel for eastern goods between Asia and Europe, Ali was overextended.
The port of Antwerp, which remained the most important commercial center in Northern Europe until the unification of the Netherlands by the Calvinist Republic of Holland.
Prices of previously affordable asiatic commodities rose in the great merchant centers of Europe, damaging the thriving burghers that depended on its trade. As these pressured their rulers for redress, plans for maritime voyages to the Orient were drawn up. The first to take action were the French. Despite the ongoing religious wars in the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom was living a period of fragile peace after the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes, one which, while not lasting, would provide conditions for the rediscovery of the Cape route.
Samuel de Champlain.
Samuel de Champlain was dispatched, along with an expert crew, mostly composed of Frenchmen and Italians, but also Germans and (Christian) Greeks and a few others – along with interpreters - to find a route to India. With the explorer having agreed to furnishing quite a large amount of the expedition’s costs – in which he was aided by the merchants of La Rochelle and the Duke of Brittany – he was mostly left to his own devices, though royal inspectors supervised his preparations, though sparingly. The Crown had even neglected to indicate what route to take towards the supposed destination. After six months, the task of assembling the crew was completed, with one galleon having been purchased, another built and two caravels brought along as well. After deliberation with his captains, Champlain chose to search for a southeastern route, by way of Africa. It is possible that François Lyon - a navigator suspected of being the son of (exiled) Lisboetas - may have swayed him towards this route.
The small fleet departed for their reenactment of Paulo da Gama’s journey on the 12th of May 1610, with four years’ worth of supplies, mainly in the ‘Saint-Esprit’, Champlain’s flagship. Arriving in Lisbon in early June in search of a pilot to help in the journey southwards, after failing in doing so, the fleet departed to the south, hugging the African coast. Champlain noticed several stone crosses along the coast, but did not elaborate his thoughts on their functions or significance; they were most likely planted there by Lisboeta explorers. Much like da Gama, the southeasterly winds sent them into the open ocean. Latching on to the westerlies, Samuel was lead towards the Cape. There he faced terrible weather, proving its earlier name, ‘Cape of Storms’. Disaster struck when the ‘Archange Gabriel’, the second galleon, became stranded on a rocky outcrop.
Champlain and his crew arrive at early Cape Town.
With the ship rendered unusable, what remained of its crew and supplies was transferred to the other ships, which now had an excess of men, sleeping on the floor due to cramped sleeping quarters. Once the storm began to subside, what remained of the fleet moored at False Bay to harvest food and repair the ships. A few days into their stay, they were contacted by a number of strangely European-looking men. Champlain found, to his surprise, a colony in the southernmost regions of Africa, cut off from all else. A Portuguese crewman served as an interpreter, and the crews remained the guests of the Capuenses, European colonists dispatched to the region by the Lisboetas. In his position as a plenipotentiary, Champlain drafted a treaty of friendship with the wayward town, granting French ships access to its primitive harbor. Some of his crewmen stayed behind by choice in the fertile land, both due to their own desire and the ships’ overpopulation.
Refitted and repaired, the crew sailed eastward, and then to the north, confirming the hypothesis of a route to India through the Cape. Well received by the Zanzibar Confederation, they proceeded to India with a Muslim navigator. There, however – in contrast with Da Gama’s looting of merchant ships – they were on the receiving end of piracy. A great deal of men were lost to fend off pirate attacks, with one of the caravels being badly damaged. They reached Cochin on the 27th of June 1611, enjoying the Monsoon winds. There they were greeted by the Catholic Kingdom of Mysore. Amazed once more at a Christian offshoot so far from Europe, Samuel, as other would have, suggested that they were the ‘Kingdom of Prestor John’. When he was told of their origins - as converts by way of Lisboeta missionary activities - he was somewhat disappointed, but carried on nonetheless. Being a European ambassador in a predominantly Christian area, he was now in friendly waters, and was met with august celebrations in every port. Readers more interested in this chapter of his voyage may consult his Journal de l’Inde. After several months of visits and good living, Samuel de Champlain commanded his followers to return to France and complete their mission. Though initially reluctant, they acquiesced. The various Ceylonese and Southern Indian kingdoms sent a combined embassy with him, to establish further ties with the Christian West.
As he departed, his fleet augmented with a new ship, courtesy of the Ré of Colombo, navigators and the ambassadors, all seemed well. He was to go south again, resupply at Cape Town and journey home. This was not to happen. A large Omani fleet was to assail him, seeking the spices he brought in the ships’ hulls, and his crew, to sell into slavery or to ransom. The Christians fought valiantly, but the superior firepower of the attackers (whose ships were built for war and privateering) proved decisive. Nearly half of the remaining crew perished, and most others were sold as captives in Muscat to a rich Jewish trader, by the name of Yacob Eliasi. Travelling by land with his rather large retinue – some of which died – he brought them to Basra. There, he was alerted to their foreign origins, and brought them to Baghdad, where Ali was on leave from the Anatolian front. An audience was arranged with the Caliph. Amazed at the lost travelers, he arranged for their voyage back to France – perhaps to extract some goodwill from the Christian kings – buying their freedom from Eliasi.
Of the original 180 odd crew - with those lost in shipwrecks and battles, settled in the Cape or in Ceylon or the unlucky souls who were sold to other slavers – only some 20 remained, along with the Indian dignitaries. Unlike the rest of their journey, their return through the Mediterranean was mostly uneventful, and they arrived at Marseille on Christmas day 1611.
They were received as heroes, and accorded pensions; nonetheless, their economic situation later on would be precarious, as the king seemingly forgot to pay the payments it owed to the seamen. Whatever the case, Samuel de Champlain’s journey informed a curious merchant world of the opportunities to be found in the East, through the Cape route; a series of other French expeditions would be dispatched in 1615, 1619 and 1627. Still, it would not be until the end of the Religious wars in Europe that any long-lasting contacts would be established between Europe and India, with the sending of Duke Jacques of Flanders at the head of a royal flotilla in 1635, establishing an outpost in Surat.
La Rochelle was to become the main overseas French port.
The Indian ambassadors were to remain in Paris for quite some time, later travelling to other European courts. They returned to their homelands a few years later, after having received communion with the Pope in Rome, and were the first Indian Catholics to visit Europe.
Last edited by mayorqw; 04-04-2012 at 13:33.
... thats one large bit of foreshadowing given where you left off with the civil war, ...
Last edited by loki100; 04-04-2012 at 01:24.
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
Nope, no editing here...
Last edited by mayorqw; 03-04-2012 at 23:45.
also proves how carefully I read your brilliant updates
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
Damn, it's been over three weeks. What happened to my weekly updates? But fret not! I have the next update nearly ready and should post it by Friday. In the meantime, why not participate in the AARland Choice AwAARds? It's currently in need of readers to nominate their favourite AARs! It's always a perfect way to meet great new AARs even if you don't partake in the vote (though you should!).
And since I can't post this without a shameless plug, you can always nominate this AAR under the EU3 History Book section. Huzzah!
The Tailors' War, Part III
The Time of Troubles
It is important not to equate the period of civil strife that followed the Compromise of 1607 with the bourgeois revolutions of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Whereas in these (in a minimalist interpretation) an increasingly wealthy middle class reacted to economic stress and social stratification, demolishing the last vestiges of feudal society, and with it the old privileges of the aristocracy and clergy – against which it was usually fundamentally opposed, espousing views, whether secularist or atheist, that permanently undermined its influence - the burghers that were the driving force of Ali’s cause sought not to replace the old system, but rather integrate themselves into it.
In fact, what were termed as 'merchants' were far more than mere caravan drivers or sailors. They were scholars, shopkeepers, brokers, bankers, experienced artisans, plantation owners and so on.
The Jalayirid state’s relying on the merchant classes to provide government officials dates back to Ahmad’s reign, during the strengthening of his struggling Mesopotamian polity. In fact, the entire question that lead to the civil war was the resistance of the high cadres of civil and military administration to surrender their positions to the new members of the court. Wealthy and urban, they faced a civil service dominated by the old families which was reluctant to share its power. The enrichment of the merchant classes as a whole during Hasan III’s reign intensified these issues, and the succession crisis after his death fully polarized the two parties.
In fact, a more truthful analogy to this issue could be found in the struggle in ancient Rome between the patricians and plebs for political representation, rights and influence in the state machinery – in this case, that of integrating the Caliph’s inner circle, and thus dictate his empire’s policy. In any case, the reasons for the civil war included not only social but also regional and political differences; the outlying provinces disliked the heavy-handed centrally appointed governors, who oftentimes despoiled their assigned provinces for personal gain.
While Ali was in control of the critical routes - both for commerce and supply - that moved from the Persian Gulf into the Mediterranean and Europe, Uwais and the Loyalists after the disintegration of his eastern territories, was now fully perched in the Mediterranean. Controlling the profitable Bosporus straits and commanding the mighty Bosporan Republic’s trading fleets, the Aegean was his lifeline of support. Losing control over the narrow body of water that had for millennia separated Europe and Asia would mean the end of the war. The Bosporans would surrender, their traders trapped in the Black Sea, and withdraw their navy.
The Rumelihisari, a fort constructed by the Ottoman Dinasty. Together with its twin, the Anadoluhisari, its function was to control the Bosphorus Straits, having the power to effectively cut off the Mediterranean from the Black Sea; as such, it was a priority of Ali's to take both and grant him a stranglehold on Constantinople
Without protection against the Levantine ships under Ali’s authority, the Balkans would be exposed to seaborne invasion, whatever the state of his armies. With the war raging in Anatolia, the carefully constructed naval fortresses along Greece’s rugged coast were undermanned and underfunded, and would likely fall if faced with a determined attack; so would Constantinople if the forts on both sides of the straits were taken.
A warship in Ali's fleets.
Ali knew this. He put off any serious military action against Oman and Yemen and sent his troops into Cappadocia. As thousands poured into Anatolian from all corners of the Jalayirid domains, Uwais fortified the Sea of Marmara. Ali directed operations and broke through all resistance, reuniting with his allies in Smyrna. While clashes with Legitimist armies were favorable, everywhere he and his forces were denied supplies and rest. The cities closed their doors and burned their crops. Those that surrendered did so by force of arms, at the cost of quite some fighting men. With a considerable area under his belt by November, Ali camped his troops in Cankiri for the winter; he then waited for reinforcements from the Syria.
A levy under Andreas Makris, a prominent official in Constantinople, was sent to meet him; they collected extra men along the way, weakening the garrisons of the cities they passed through. Another army was dispatched from Sinope sometime later. While most of Ali’s troops were likewise levies (from Syria), together with more experienced Hedjazi troops and his personal guard - selected from the best men of the Red Army – their dug-in position and previous scouting of the terrain enabled them to best the incoming forces at the Battle of Khangari. Though suffering heavy losses, the center held on, long enough for the cavalry to defeat what little mounted detachments the enemy had. With those dealt with, they swept the line as the infantry charged and disintegrated the center and right flank. As the troops swarmed the remaining Loyalist regiments, these too gave way and routed. The fleeing infantry were easily cut down.
The situation now placed a difficult decision into Ali’s hands. He could try and take the weakened towns to solidify his tactical and logistical position, since reinforcements would still take a while to arrive. On the other hand, while doing so, he would be spread rather thin and difficultly face an organized enemy force with the same ease. However, with his troops hungry, he chose the former, unaware of the army travelling from Sinope. Deprived of soldiery by the army of Andreas Makris, they capitulated easily to the large force under Ali. To appease his soldiers, he allowed them to loot Ankara. This proved to be a costly mistake.
Finally informed of the encroaching enemy army, Ali ordered a tactical retreat back to Cankiri. Weighed down by the loot and with the soldiers unwilling to part with it, the army was intercepted. The long convoy was harassed by cavalry, and the Legitimist army fired upon them from cover. Ali brought his troops in the front to the already engaged back, but they were already being dispersed by the bulk of the advancing enemy. Resigned, he gathered what remained of his troops and retreated.
The consequences of this battle were twofold: firstly, Ali’s defeat prevented the establishment of a stable, well-controlled region in Central Anatolia to be used in operations further up Loyalist territory; still, his forces were not entirely shattered thanks to his speedy withdrawal, and the survivors were mostly the well-trained core that was intended to do most of the fighting, who would integrate themselves with the coming allied armies. Secondly, it, together with his sacking of Ankara, wounded much of the goodwill the allied Anatolian cities had provided him. Many of them outright flipped to the other side, while others simply refused to send any more troops or taxes but remained nominally on Ali’s side. With the Anatolian situation muddied further, the Legitimists secured some vital lands, while Ali continued dependent on the arrival of additional forces in spring. The battlefield in Asia Minor thus began on a bitter note for Ali.
The Time of Troubles
With the peoples of the Near East and Europe dilacerated themselves in costly infighting, Russia was to be no exception. Still heavily feudal by Western European standards, the Lithuanian monarchy’s adopted homeland – which elevated its rulers from Grand Dukes to Tsars – was never too stable. Despite their adoption of Russian culture, the Royal family (and, effectively, the whole of the high nobility) remained staunchly Catholic in an overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox land.
In the two centuries prior, the breaking of the personal union between Poland and Lithuania increased the great state’s appetite for expansion. With Poland forming a large band from the Baltic to the Black Sea, the only route the armies of Lithuania could take was east. Intervening on behalf of the Russian princes against the raiding Tatar nomads, the Grand Dukes gradually built up their allies’ dependence on their military might. In 1486, they were granted the extraordinary right to stand in the noble assemblies. Soon, their lands were integrated outright. With time, these same princes either converted to their newfound master’s faith or were replaced.
Lithuania's old coat of arms was a metaphor for the state's military might and reliance on horsemen and the nobility.
The boyars of old were expelled from higher offices – save for the handful that converted – and replaced with Catholics. Most of the land was in the hands of Lithuanian nobles that had helped the Grand Dukes of old in their expansion into Russia. Simultaneously, a Catholic and mostly bilingual minority appeared in the major Russian cities – Moscow, Novgorod, Kiev and Smolensk – from Lithuanian colonists and Russians. Mostly tradesmen - while they were still far in the shadow of the all-powerful nobility – they were among the most loyal to the Tsar; reasonably well-to-do, they would play a part in the formation of a professional army, free from the feudal landlords’ hold.
The combined disenfranchisement of the Orthodox nobles, a program of centralization that encroached upon the great landowners’ rights, the expensive and fruitless campaigns in Central Asia - pursued so soon after the relative pacification of the Tatars - and an incapable ruler in the person of Ivan I conspired to undermine the Czar’s authority.
The Kstovo Uprising began, in the village whose name it bears, in June 1609. Clearly rural, the small village was chosen as the meeting place for the rebellious boyars. Their small levies were soon supplemented by those of their companions in arms; without facing any resistance, they marched on Nizhny Novgorod.
Kuzma Minin gathering the city's people and urging them to take up arms in service of the Tsar. Honored as a national hero in the 19th century under royal patronage, he was to fight in Ivan's ranks until the end of the Time of Troubles.
There, a force of conscripts was raised by the townspeople, under Kuzma Minin. The two hastily put together armies met outside the city. While the infantry held the townspeople in check, the vastly superior rebel cavalry began to cut them down. As the conscripts began to run, the cavalry cut off their escape. With the army surrounded and soon annihilated, Nizhny Novgorod and its mighty fortress proved a base from which to expand the rebellion’s control. With a large amount of troops fruitlessly serving as garrisons in Central Asia, a great deal more in the South to quell the nomads and what few professional corps on the former polish border or too small to matter, Tsar Ivan was forced to rely on the great lords, those same that were threatened by his reforms. With what few goodwill they still had, they declared for the Tsar and raised their hosts. In the meantime, the rebels had expanded their lands.
Tsar Ivan, as depicted in Sergei Eisenstein's film 'Ivan the Terrible', in which he is depicted as a cruel tyrant.
Tsar Ivan was a peculiar man. Described as having a keen mind, his brilliance was nonetheless tempered by a lack of charm or charisma. He would sometimes alternate between periods of frantic activity and indulgence, being even described as bipolar in recent research (see Kasimov’s ‘The Time of Troubles: a Comprehensive History’). His mercurial personality alienated his subordinates, and jeopardized his campaigns. As he marched with his armies to quell the rebellions, his requests to his nobles grew greater. After a string of victories, the rebels adopted a Fabian strategy; wearing down the large enemy armies with guerrilla-like warfare, they weakened Ivan’s reputation.
On March 8th 1610, a large section of his army was ambushed in Uglich. Underfed and demoralized, the unprepared royalist soldiers couldn’t last long under the enemy’s repeated, fearsome charges. Nearly 10,000 died on the field and in the aftermath.
The already unhappy high nobility turned tail and formed a third faction. Ivan was now challenged not only by the Orthodox nobility, but by those of his own faith and blood. By the winter of 1610, Ivan, much like Ali in the south, found himself in a delicate position.
A respectable amount of them Mongol in origin, having followed the Ilkhanate’s conquests in the Middle East and taken up Arabic customs under the first Jalayirid rulers, had formed the rulers’ circle since the founding of the modern (which must be distinguished from the sporadic tribal despotisms before Ahmad) Jalayirid state. The others were usually great landowners in conquered territories which readily submitted to previous Caliphs’ authority or held distinguished service in the provincial government; a small number had risen to their status by exceptional military exploits in campaigns.
While the Orthodox, native Russian boyars had quite a few things in common – religion, old custom, a desire to replace the Catholic monarchy – in practice, their cohesion left much to be desired. Due to their demotion, most of the nobles that supported the movement were of equal rank; decision-making was often dependent on councils and not on a single man’s strong leadership. This unwieldy form of organization facilitated the appearance of several autonomous ‘cells’ in the rebellion and their individual destruction.
enjoyable as ever, do like your sort of melding of the narrative in two states. Gives this the air of a period of historic change where each segment has its own logic and dynamics but equally one of those periods when profound change is afoot, and when all sorts of wierd and disturbing trends and characters can come to prominance
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
I feel in someways the current civil war mimics the internal disruptions that occured in the late Abbasid era - properity for a centralized empire always spelled fragmentation, especially when the authorities did not know how to make use of it. Nice update on Russia I should add.
"Praise be to God who ordained that he who
speaks with pride about Al-Andalus may do
so without fear and as boldly as he likes
nor meet any person, who may contradict him"
Al-Shunduqi "Risala fi fadl al-Andalus"
Engrossing stuff as ever. The ongoing civil war continues to prove a tense affair, no one side quite in the ascendancy yet. News of unrest in Russia is most interesting and I daresay it will have some bearing upon the civil war being fought in the Jalayirid Empire.
This AAR Soks
WritAAR of the Week: 8 January 2012 and Weekly AAR Showcase: 15 April 2012
Are you Deshtined to suffer another kiss?
Favourite EU Comedy AAR AARland Choice AwAARds 2010 (Q3) and 2011 (Q3)
Character Writer of the Week: 5 December 2010
My Inkwell - Warning! This content is rated EP: Extremely Poor
Fan of the Week: 7 September 2010, 27 February 2011 and 26 April 2012
Sorry for the long delay! Also, it has 3000 words, so it's one and a half updates! You have no reason to complain my absence! [/pathetic excuses]
I thought Russia needed some serious light, since its interactions with the Jalayirid Empire will be very important.
The Tailors’ War, Part IV
The Anatolian Campaigns
The mountainous terrain of most of Anatolia only made it harder for both sides to maneuver through the region and establish effective control.
The failure of Ali’s early advances in Anatolia heralded the most static period in the entire war. Despite superiority in numbers and in armament, the Legitimists proved tenacious enemies; the locals were helpful in some times and adamantly obtrusive in others. The uncooperative Anatolian cities, the terrain and the mere distance from his bases of support in Mesopotamia and Egypt diminished the total amount of fighting men available at any given time; all of these restrictions conspired to rob Ali of the ease he had enjoyed in subduing the eastern provinces and the Hedjaz. It’s hard not to feel some pity for Ali: a good general overall, with occasional brilliance, but whose performance was dogged by seemingly insignificant mistakes or difficulties with terrain which a better general would have avoided. Instead, much like his father, his skills were more clearly demonstrated in statecraft, dealing with the day-to-day matters of his enormous realm, perhaps not always tactfully, but with unrelenting efficiency. Yet still, his stubbornness in leading his forces might have well have cost his side some key victories. His self-admitted partial withdrawal from the actual decision-making contributed to the rise of a new cadre of experienced young officers - from the various state-funded army schools – who attained positions in high command for particularly daring moves in battle.
But, in the meantime, both sides found themselves locked in a profitless war, with the increasingly ravaged territory of Central Anatolia as the unfortunate battlefield. However, Ali held the strategic advantage; both by geographical happenstance and through his superior navies, the blockade of the Aegean Sea affected the Bosporan Republic and the Legitimists far more than any operation or fleet either could muster. With the overland routes through Central Europe – during the Forty Years’ War – being both unsafe and uneconomic, the mounting pressure on the Pontic Merchant Republic was proving unbearable. If the Bosporan Republic turned to Ali, the war would quickly end, as the vital grain shipments to Constantinople would be cut off and the city itself surrounded. Despite an active diplomatic campaign to drive the Bosporans away from Uwais, they held strong, their loyalty even being praised by Ali as he dictated his terms.
With the back and forth fighting in Anatolia far too boresome to describe completely, it is better to focus on other developments during this final portion of the civil war. While fluid and ever changing, the conflict in Anatolia was largely self-confined and, barring the troubled area between Tunis and Naples, Ali’s portion of the Caliphate was functionally at peace. Ali’s general preference of professional troops over conscription may have diminished the combat strength of his armies after the disaster at Cankiri – in which a sizable portion of the army’s more experienced veterans were killed – and as the war drew on, this decision meant that most able-bodied men remained in the countryside – tending to the crops – or in the cities – producing manufactured goods –resulting in far less damage to the economy.
Thus, while Uwais’s realm struggled with green recruits and diminished agricultural output (exacerbated by international isolation), life in the prosperous regions of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia or Persia remained rather unchanged, except for the ongoing trade recession. Even then the overabundance of agricultural goods (not just foodstuffs, but also cash crops such as cotton, henna, various spices and tobacco) usually destined for export, grown in the fertile valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt, while dangerous for the export-driven plantations that became increasingly common, drove prices down and for a while permitted some comfort for most of the population in the empire.
[I]Piracy, while kept under check by the Caliphate and, to a lesser extent, the Zanzibar Confederacy, exploded during the Civil War with decreased patrolling and the active promotion of piracy by the Loyalists in Oman, Yemen and the Horn as a means of compensating for their general military inferiority and to take advantage of their excellent geographical position in regards to Indian Ocean trade.[I]
The Omanis and their extensive piracy were dominated in the spring of 1612; large amounts of rogue pirates still roamed the Indian Ocean – far more than before 1606 – but the navy managed to keep them at controllable levels. The still defiant regions of Yemen and the Horn were put in check as the Yemenite Sultanate declared its support to for Ali after ignoring the conflict for a full six years. The strongholds along the Bab el Mandeb quickly capitulated under an onslaught from the Ethiopian Highlands.
With some semblance of normality restored, trading by the shipping companies resumed, albeit with great care and under heavy guard. Independent traders, who could hardly afford larger ships, laden with cannon and spacious hulls – not to speak of actual warships as escorts – often travelled with these improvised caravans, on several occasions forming entire fleets during the more perilous part of the journey along the Indian Ocean.
It is at this time that larger, more advanced ships begin to appear in the Indian Ocean, both due to advances in shipbuilding as well as the necessety of taking as much cargo in one ship to reduce losses to piracy. It is also at this time that the French - and later on, other Europeans - begin to gain some presence in the Indian Ocean, and it is possible that their larger designs influence the change from dhows (shown above) and newer models.
This practice faded after the trading companies complained that they were supporting other traders through their escorts, with little gain, as the larger fleets only presented more appetizing targets for pirates. With the poorer merchants unable to ship their goods with decent chances of them reaching their destination safely, the same scheme that had nearly put them out of business (that of the licensed trading companies) was adopted by the disenfranchised merchants too poor to acquire a position in the larger companies – entry into each required a substantial fee. These cooperatives, local and more or less official, stood in contrast with the large ‘corporations’ (though such a term is perhaps rather too modern to refer to these economic organizations) which comprised the greater merchants - who frequently held land and public office - and were based throughout the major cities in the Caliphate.
Together with the economic reorganization of commerce in the East - which would spread slowly to the Mediterranean port cities – reforms of a more administrative character were carried out by Ali himself. Having resigned most of his responsibilities as head of military operations in Anatolia, he now had quite some time to mold state machinery to his liking, so as to prevent future fragmentation of the Caliphate. While our foresight allows us to conclude that his reforms failed to stop the disintegrating processes that plagued the Caliphate, his measures are nonetheless worth reviewing.
Just like with previous rulers, administrative reforms were concomitant with expansion of the palaces. Pictured here are one of the luxurious (though in need of repair) courtyards of the new Mutanabbi Palace, constructed during this period both as another residence for the Caliph and, as always, a new center for the bureaucracy.
He began by offering higher stipends to civil servants to deter corruption. The prospect of establishing standardized examinations was considered but never revisited; instead, just like for the military, several schools were established by decree, dedicated to educate future civil servants. Still, enrollment did not always result in a position in the administration, nor was enrollment strictly necessary for it. Therefore, the administration was comprised of: a mix of students from these schools, whose numbers grew as the schools were built and expanded; other educated men – officials in city administration, priests and jurists, generally from more well-off families – who pried open positions through personal connections or whose outstanding abilities were requested; finally, a small but constant number of slaves who either rose through the military ranks and assume palace duties or were groomed from early on to enter the public administration.
Ali also promoted the expansion of port infrastructure in the larger cities of the empire as well as providing each governorate with at least one major port to increase their permeability to trade. Not only harbors and wharves were built, but also naval yards and roads connecting the expanded ports to the interior. New naval academies were also established and were specifically tasked with developing more efficient ships. The old stone waterfront in Basra is from this period, although part of it, including some of its most beautiful designs, have been overtaken by modern shipping structures; still, the damage is far smaller than in other port cities around the world, given the fact that Basra’s relatively shallow waters aren’t fit to accommodate larger ships, which require far more spacious port infrastructure.
But perhaps more importantly, Ali thoroughly reformed the military, splitting the four main armies into smaller, more maneuverable units. Growing out of Ahmad’s levies and tribal troops, the armies were built upon without any meaningful modifications for some 150 years. The causes for this reform were many:
- Their size grew, and they were now in fact comprised of several actual armies, all united at the top by common commanders. While useful in some situations – being able to provide a platform for concerted action and easier logistical planning - this united top cadre was often estranged from the younger officers and soldiers in the frontlines, forming a class usually permeated by centrally appointed officials with little combat experience presiding over grizzled professional soldiers. This also prevented advancement for career soldiers pending incorporation in the top ranks, further accentuating the ossified character of the top tier in army command
- Given the sheer size of the number of soldiers each army commanded, consensus among the generals was often slow, and the centralized control of several armies limited or annihilated independent action by commanders of smaller units, thus critically affecting the maneuverability of the army in the heat of battle or when contact between the various parts of the larger army was not possible.
The general chaos following the Christian assault on Caliph Isma'il's camp.
- The joining of the chain of command at the top required most of the officers in the top ranks to be assembled in one spot, and deal with debates rather than actual soldiering. In tense situations, this assembly of the top commanders in one spot meant that their lieutenants were often left to command the armies themselves; while usually having more recent field experience and contact with the soldiers themselves, they often had no prior experience in directing an entire army. Furthermore, the physical presence of senior commanders in one spot made it a tempting target for enemy attacks; the cornering and disorganization (or even massacre) of this central unit resulted in, for all effects, a decapitation of army leadership. This is perhaps more acutely visible in the near failure of the Siege of Vienna: surrounded through a clever ambush by Christian forces, most of the generals as well as Caliph Ismail himself were slain. Had it not been for Murad Bey’s energetic leadership, the vast Muslim host would have been annihilated and the Christians would retake the lands so hardly fought for by the Muslims throughout the year of 1553. Even with the day saved and Vienna burned by Murad, the political vacuum created by the death of the cream of the Caliphate’s military and political officials allowed Murad to appoint himself regent, marking a period of weakness in the Jalayirid house’s strong rule.
The Blue Army mobilizes in defence of Uwais after knowing of the Red Army's defection to Ali's cause.
- Perhaps most importantly for Ali, the age-old rivalries between the various armies – most prominently between the Red and the Blue Armies – had a sometimes destructive effect on coordinated command. As was so clearly seen at the start of the war, the entirety of the Red and Blue armies joined opposite sides. While an in-depth analysis of this nearly tribal rivalry is perhaps overdue, it would likely be far too long and detract from the essence of this portion in Jalayirid history.
As Ali reorganized his portion of the Caliphate to ensure its more harmonious functioning, in July 1613, seven years past since the beginning of the war, the conflict in Anatolia was giving to an end.
 With both sides firmly engaged in Anatolia, the governorates of Tunis (Loyalists) and Naples (Tailors) were left to their own devices and, due to their isolation and geography, were naturally inclined to war with each other, behaving nearly as sovereign states due to the lack of contact with neither Constantinople nor Baghdad due to compromised sea lanes. The fighting between the two further paralyzed trade in the eastern Mediterranean.
 Tobacco growing, while originally the province of Spanish colonials in the New World, quickly spread to Europe and the Middle East as the herb’s popularity increased. The first evidence of growing of tobacco at a respectable scale in the Jalayirid domain comes from a tax report of 1597, which refers to a plantation near Aleppo in Syria, with a production of some five tons.
 Piracy would once again explode in the mid-17th century as a result of the navies’ complacence in their patrols and the then-ongoing war with Russia. Admiral Suleiman ‘Kaplan’ (the Tiger) was then tasked with rooting out the pirate bases along the Swahili coast and those that had been set up in the Horn under the patronage of local emirs. French piracy were also prosecuted, but to a lesser extent to avoid diplomatic incident with France (whose pirates were authorized by the crown to plunder shipping, except for those carrying Jalayirid seals; this condition was frequently ignored).
 Curiously enough, up until this time the Yemenites were so indifferent for either candidate that the yearly tribute –a hundred rolls of gold brocade and several tons of ebony - and information –regarding the Royal family, military threats from the south and east, revenue and so on – were stacked in the Palace warehouses in Gonder. With the change of balance in the areas surrounding the Indian Ocean, the Yemenites declared for Ali and the outstanding tribute was sent, paraded through Baghdad and personally presented to Ali by Crown Prince Omar.
 A fee devised to cover the companies’ expenditures with escorts and the building of new ships, both of which were necessary with the entry of new merchants into the ranks and thus the growth in the company’s size and volume of trade.
 Most importantly for the study of the Tailors’ War, it is quite possible that the death of so much of the political and military elite may have precipitated the large-scale intrusion of the merchant classes into the higher offices and thus radically diminished the power of military and religious leaders in the business of government, thus putting them on the collision path to the start of the civil war after the Compromise of 1606.
Last edited by mayorqw; 04-06-2012 at 01:04.
well worth the wait ... good on the relative advantage of a professional army in minimising the disruption of war (except where the war was actually being fought), does seem as if Uwais is losing but its less clear if the western provinces will be reconciled back into Ali's realm or will make a bid for independence?
Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...
The Tailors’ War, Part V
The Two Brothers.
One could make the case that the civil war was decided from the beginning. This perception can take several forms, one of which proclaims the inherent virtue of the winner’s beliefs and another that relies simply on the distribution of each side’s lands to explain the results of the war.
In truth, Ali’s control of the rich areas along the Nile River and the Euphrates and Tigris valleys – as well as of the Levant and its great ports and expert seamen – put him at an advantage. Furthermore, his domains were mostly contiguous and similar to each other – urban and prosperous.
Those regions that flocked to Uwais’s banners were peripheral, sparsely populated and decentralized. Their stake in Uwais’s continued rule lay less with any perceived class antagonism against the plutocrats that swelled the central administration than with the desire to achieve greater autonomy and privileges. While the old landed warriors were perhaps important in the radicalization of the peripheral regions – as their smashed revolt in 1575 showed the ever-increasing power of the plutocratic administration – the political leaders of these lands all had to gain with a Caliph indebted to them. Despite the best efforts of Baghdad, power in these regions remained overwhelmingly in fickle local – and, on occasion, tribal – hands.
This is not to say that that the power brokers of these lands (or the lands themselves) were backward or destitute. In eastern Persia and Central Asia, the many cities had a wealthy merchant class, whose fortunes had been watered by the steady stream of trade along the Silk Road. In an otherwise barren land, of mountain and steppe, geography conspired to unite East and West along the routes of the great caravan trade.
A large, organized and increasingly professional bureaucratic class was a staple of the inner, richer regions of the Caliphate. Elsewhere, appointment of officials was more erratic, with appointees being mostly natives of the areas they ruled over. In western Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Thrace, Egypt and most of North Africa, this professional ruling class was incredibly diverse, perhaps more so than any other segment of the population they ruled over. However, the growing influence of these corps had a price: the many secretaries, viziers, ministers and all other men needed to work the machine of state were as susceptible to corruption and intrigue as any other; their growing influence and favor with the successive Caliphs put them at odds with local authorities. This was less perceptible in the more urbanized areas, where most of the powerful merchants, courtiers and religious scholars were integrated into their ranks.
The heartlands of the Caliphate, where the bureaucracy was the strongest and agriculture was developed on a massive scale - with canals, irrigation works and new crops, worked upon by a large workforce of slaves – was increasingly different in terms of economy and social structure when compared with the outlying regions. The introduction of trade on a larger scale, both due to bigger and better ships - which enabled the trading of goods across massive distances and with far fewer costs and dangers – and the trading companies created by Hasan III, allowed greater interaction between the various regions of the Jalayirid Empire and foreign lands. Plants from the New World found their way halfway across the world, leading to bountiful crops; better permeability to trade allowed not just trade in luxury goods – the silk, gold, spices, perfume and dyes that were the staple of trans-Eurasian trade – but in basic commodities: grain, salt, fish and so on.
This reflects the growing urbanism and diversification of the richer areas of the Caliphate. Entire regions became increasingly non self-sufficient (excluding the millennial breadbaskets of Egypt and Mesopotamia, where yields remained high even with the widespread cultivation of cash crops) as more and more people migrated to the cities, taking up jobs as artisans, soldiers or small merchants in the favorable economic climate. This shift of priorities from the countryside to the city allowed specialization and the growth of the learned classes. The new Arabic printing press allowed the spread of literacy as books became cheap and were marketed to a hungry, cultured audience. The religious establishment was somewhat more tolerant in these areas, due to their cosmopolitan nature and the government’s encouragement.
In contrast, the regions on the periphery were more conservative, with the Ulema holding incredible sway over local matters. Ali’s rise to power as an usurper of the title of Caliph did little to endear him to religious leaders. It would be natural for them to oppose him and favor Uwais.
A bearded mullah, from a late 18th century sketch. The Ulema were a formidable force throughout Jalayirid lands, serving at the same time as foes and proponents of the various Caliphs. The very theocratic structure of the Caliphate supported their influence, though it was stronger in poorer regions, where, in absence of a larger 'middle class', indebted to the Caliphs for their promotion of trade, they were used to balance out the influence of ambitious local lords.
However, these socioeconomic factors do not provide us with the whole picture: if Uwais’s supporters were merely rural and conservative, then why did Thrace, Bursa and Greece join his side? As some of the more urban and richer regions, as well as religiously diverse (and, thus, home to a syncretic and tolerant – if not by spirit, by necessity – brand of Islam) given their relatively recent Muslim conquest. Oman, with its famed traders and sailors, joined Uwais as well.
Thus, we are forced to accept an inconveniently complex reality: the divisions that occurred at the time of this civil war were as motivated by socioeconomic phenomena as by the local’s rulers’ ambitions, ties to either candidate (Constantinople’s governor was betrothed to Uwais’s young daughter) and mere opportunism – as the Yemenites’ late adhesion to Ali clearly demonstrates.
The stalemate in Anatolia shows that both sides were of comparable strength. While had a larger, richer domain, he also had to oversee and guard its borders, as well as administrate the country itself. Piracy, sporadic rebellions and small but persistent raids on the frontier – as well as on Arabian cities by irredentist Bedouins -remained a constant annoyance throughout the war in addition to the war against the Loyalists. The northeastern border, from the Aral Sea to Samarkand, was in utter chaos. The Russian Empire’s implosion resulted in the unleashing of the Turkic tribes in the area, as they and even Mongols from the east fought for supremacy, resorting to raiding and pillaging. The disorganization brought upon the area’s support of Uwais and the subsequent invasion and occupation by Ali’s forces did little to assuage the situation and placed yet another burden on Ali’s back.
These problems weren’t exclusive to Ali: the Forty Years’ War had also resulted in a dangerous environment in Central Europe and Protestant and Catholic groups alike acted as a destabilizing factor in the Caliphate’s Balkan borders, diverting troops from Anatolia much like the Turkic raids had done to Ali. But most importantly, this general instability affected the Bosporan Republic.
The imposing Pontic Steppe to the north of the Black Sea was always a nuisance for the dwellers on the coasts to the south and the woodlands of the north. Unsuitable for farming until the development of modern agricultural techniques, the land was inhabited by a succession of pastoral nomads, skilled horse riders, who raided the surrounding areas and were exceptionally difficult to control given the terrain and their fighting styles.
In the area of the northern Black Sea home to the Bosporan Greeks, ever since the arrival of the first Greek colonists in the 7th century BCE, protection from nomadic raids had always been conditioned by the existence of a unified polity to the North, in the steppe. For the Bosporan Kingdom of old, this had come in the form of the Scythians and later the Sarmatians; for the Bosporans of the 15th century CE onwards, it was Russia. Far more comfortable in its fertile domains to the north, Russia nonetheless took it upon itself to pacify the Tatars and the Cossacks. It exerted a weak hold, enough to prevent rampant banditry but not enough to collect taxes or pressure its Greek neighbors to the south. Thus, the young Bosporan Republic, except for a brief interlude in the form of the Crimean War, was left to its own devices and free to turn to the sea, aligning itself with the growing Jalayirid Caliphate once it absorbed the Ottoman Empire. However, with the Peasant’s War, Russia dropped even the pretense of controlling the nomads. Raids became increasingly commonplace and forced the maritime nation to form for the first time in its history a permanent land force – in contrast with the previous, temporary, militias. While this marked an important new chapter in Republic’s history, it detracted from its duties as the most important and numerous part of Uwais’s navies.
Uwais’s arrival in Constantinople after the occupation of the Hedjaz by Ali’s troops created an interesting situation. Mecca, despite being the spiritual capital of the Caliphate and obvious home to the lucrative business of providing for pilgrims, was not quite the best place to direct an empire due to rather difficult communication with other regions. Constantinople was, on the other hand, a sprawling metropolis that had dutifully recovered from misgovernment under the late Byzantine Empire and was the political and economic capital of the Balkans and Eastern Anatolia. It was extraordinarily integrated into the trade networks of Eurasia thanks to its geographical position and millennia-long history as a trade hub. Unlike a provincial capital, its position as one of the major cities of the Caliphate meant it and the surrounding areas were greatly provisioned with public works, administrative buildings - which would house the exiled bureaucrats that fled with Uwais – and infrastructure: ports and, most importantly, the great roads whose construction had been encouraged since the Alexandrian Period.
The Blue Mosque of Constantinople, whose planning began sometime around 1609, was perhaps meant as a sort of tribute to the people in the city for their service to Uwais. The later unfortunate turn of events would have its actual construction overseen by Caliph Ali, whose name it still bears today, despite the enduring popularity of its alternative, borne out of the temple's distinctively blue exterior and interior.
With significant ties to the city’s political bosses (as mentioned before), Uwais was well-received in spite of his losses in the eastern provinces. The influential merchants were relieved with the Bosporans’ oath of allegiance to defend Uwais’s waters; the Caliph became significantly popular with the common people by apparently breaking out of his shy demeanor and attending celebrations of religious festivals as well as through works of charity. Lastly, the religious leaders of the large non-Muslim populations in the Balkans were happy to hear of his maintenance of the old Ottoman Millet system, while Ali’s position on the issue was less clear, given his need for compromise with the more rigid Ulema at home. Just like with Alexandria a century before, the coming of a large population of learned scholars and administrators as part of the ruler’s entourage favored the establishment of a more vivid environment of intellectual and cultural exchange – for which Constantinople was already famous – with the creation of schools devoted to the arts, as well as universities, salons and mosques.
With Constantinople closer to the front lines than Baghdad and certainly more so than the other far-flung provinces under Ali’s control, the Loyalists, while lacking in exceptional military leaders, were able to respond quickly to developments in the Anatolian theater. However, no significant breakthroughs occurred for either side as the war drove on, even given the Tailors’ and the Loyalists’ individual advantages.
As the civil war - which could have easily ended with Uwais’s capture in the Warda Palace or in the Hedjaz - entered its 6th year, both sides began to show symptoms of exhaustion. However, these affected Uwais far more than Ali. With the fertile land in Anatolia burned or too close to the frontlines to be effectively used, grain prices rose as well as expenditures with naval warfare ; the region's isolation prevented access to food sources beyond its immediate surroundings. With li able to call upon more manpower his armies were easily replenished while Uwais was hard-pressed to find recruits among an increasingly disgruntled populace. Trouble at home for the Bosporans resulted in a decrease of naval power as Constantinople had to substitute the Greek veterans for less experienced soldiers. Collisions between Uwais and his collaborators and the local powerful – who were initially supportive – have also been pointed as part of the growing difficulties in the Loyalist side.
The Battle of Datça.
A decisive naval victory by Ali’s Levantine navies near the small fishing village of Datça precipitated the fall of Uwais. What little Bosporan support Constantinople still had slowly grew more uncooperative, as the Levantines used the lack of a concerted response to raid and seize key positions along the Aegean. Disembarking regiments were able to corner Loyalist troops and cause defeats at Mihalgazi, Sinanpasa and, most importantly, in the Battle of the Taybi Plain. With their lines receding, this last battle enabled large detachments of Persian cavalry to sweep through the territories along the Black Sea and further weaken Uwais’s position. As the Tailors annihilated resistance along the way under the brilliant command of Harun Jahagir of the Red Army, many cities opened their gates and finally Bursa surrendered in June. Uwais called upon all available forces to mass in Constantinople, but it was too late: the Anadoluhisari was laid siege to and quickly captured due to spies in the garrison. Predicting the withdrawal of Bosporan support and therefore the complete dominance of the waves by Ali and Uwais’s defeat, a number of Uwais’s circle successfully captured their master and delivered him to his brother on 12 July 1612. The war was effectively over, but what would Ali do now?
Ali and his huge armed entourage plan their crossing of the Bosporus, as they prepare for a monumental procession along the city's streets. Part mourning for the dead, part victory celebration, this march marked the decisive end of the war.
 Agriculture in most of the Muslim world was, at the time, dependent on free labor rather than on serfs or slaves, but the never before seen growth of the agricultural sector with better infrastructure and canals resulted in demand for a larger workforce. The conquest of the Horn of Africa facilitated trade with the Swahili city-states in the Zanzibar Confederacy and cheapened the prices of slaves; these forced workers were also more accepting of break-back labor, were more easily controlled and were not subject to the same fluctuations that affected rural free populations, who often migrated to the cities. In fact, soon, the abundance of slaves resulted in less jobs for these people, thus encouraging flight to the cities and renewing the cycle.
 Indeed, the region is, today, among the largest producers of wheat (and other cereals) in the world.
Last edited by mayorqw; 22-06-2012 at 04:09.