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

  1. #241
    Zardishar Calipah's Avatar
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    What is unusual is that the ulema and religious scholars have not risen up to condemn this 'fitna' that mirrors so much the early civil wars. Also, I want to add that while "Warda" is a good name, I think Al-Zahra (the Resplendent - also means flower) is far better and more connected with older Imperial traditions if you are looking for a proper name for a palace

    Excellent update! Hoping for a reunified albeit much smaller Caliphate!

    Please tell me you are going to have a 19th and 20th century sneakpeak. I gotta see the world man!
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  2. #242
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    again, brilliant stuff. Like the meshing of a certain amount of economic determinism with due regard being paid to the purely local and idiosyncratic - in others words it all looks terribly logical with hindsight unless you are careful.

    I guess that Ali's big problem now is the centrifugal elements, the outlying regions all have a variety of reasons to want to go their own way and that isn't compatible with an early modern centralising state.

    ... and great picture of the Ukrainian steppes, captures the reality of the place

  3. #243
    NOP-field present Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    I don't know how I managed to forget about this. I read your earliest updates but then went on to read other things. You're writing has definitely improved and this is a true gem!


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

  4. #244
    First Lieutenant gremlok's Avatar
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    Somebody might have asked the question before - how do you make these beautiful maps?
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  5. #245
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    I'll just take this space to answer some questions you've been having, now that this AAR has completed one year of running time (actually one year and a month, but I forgot ). Here we go:

    One, I (save for some sprinkles of 'Moorish' blood) am neither Muslim nor Arab (nor highly versed in topics associated with either one) so the choice of a Baghdad-centered Caliphate may be somewhat outside my cultural background; I appreciate that any mistakes regarding Islamic rituals/practices and use of the Arabic language be reported (as they invariably have been, by good ol' Calipah)so I don't make a fool of myself . Still, I've learned a lot about the region's history and customs by writing this AAR, and I hope this learning to continue.

    Two, I'm not very skilled at writing characters, so I've tactically chosen to make this AAR History-Book (after a bizarre initial wandering into 'comedy' - but then again, what is comedy if not bizarre?), a style which is also suited to describe historical events and trends from a more objective and impersonal point of view.

    Three, I prefer to use images other than screenshots. This is due to the influence of a old In Nomine Netherlands AAR whose name I don't remember (but which was one of the first I read in this forum) and the fact that I just feel it gives a more 'bookish' feel for the AAR.

    Four, update frequency has been dying down a bit for quite some time but I don't intend to ever abandon this ('that's what they all say'). But I'll respond to the comments now, instead of making lists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calipah View Post
    What is unusual is that the ulema and religious scholars have not risen up to condemn this 'fitna' that mirrors so much the early civil wars. Also, I want to add that while "Warda" is a good name, I think Al-Zahra (the Resplendent - also means flower) is far better and more connected with older Imperial traditions if you are looking for a proper name for a palace
    I'll wait till the Caliphs find it fit to furnish themselves with a new residence.. It shall be truly resplendent
    Excellent update! Hoping for a reunified albeit much smaller Caliphate!
    At this rate, you may not have to wait for long...
    Please tell me you are going to have a 19th and 20th century sneakpeak. I gotta see the world man!
    Methinks you'll have to wait a couple of centuries Nah, but I'm still thinking about how the modern world will turn out... I have some nice ideas, but I don't want to be too rigid so the AI has room to surprise me

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    again, brilliant stuff. Like the meshing of a certain amount of economic determinism with due regard being paid to the purely local and idiosyncratic - in others words it all looks terribly logical with hindsight unless you are careful.
    If you search along the Civil War updates, I pretty much talked about its causes in every single update, simply because it always felt like I was painting a a clear nobility vs merchants war, which wasn't really what I was going for. Apart from other concerns - such as the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, there is no homologue to the rigid European nobility of the time - it just felt... weird... to have an entire empire split up in the 17th century due to class warfare
    I guess that Ali's big problem now is the centrifugal elements, the outlying regions all have a variety of reasons to want to go their own way and that isn't compatible with an early modern centralising state.
    He, and his successors do indeed have a serious problem with the same processes that led to the civil war.
    ...and great picture of the Ukrainian steppes, captures the reality of the place
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Qorten View Post
    I don't know how I managed to forget about this. I read your earliest updates but then went on to read other things. You're writing has definitely improved and this is a true gem!
    Good to have reunited you to the flock

    Quote Originally Posted by gremlok View Post
    Somebody might have asked the question before - how do you make these beautiful maps?
    I use Paint.Net, but pretty much any image editing software that supports layers works. I use a blank map, usually of a EU3 mod (MEIOU and DAO[1] are the best) and paint it whatever way I want. It can be a simple political map, a religious one, or something more complicated, like the map of the Jalayirid Civil War. Then I delete the borders between provinces of the same color. I also sometimes change the shape of provinces to make the map more appealing.

    [1]Scroll down to the second 'Code' thingy you see and search it. It has maps for several time periods with nations' color already present, which is quite nice.

    Then, search Google Images for 'old paper' or some such. I personally use the 11th one, which I'll put here as an attachment. All you then is copy the image and choose 'Paste as Layer'. It will be then superimposed on the base map. There is a dialog box with the various layers, and there is a button you can use to adjust the settings of each layer. Modify the settings pertaining to the newest layer you pasted (the paper texture) and put it in 'Multiply' mode. Save, and you now have your map!

    But if you want some really great maps, check out Vishaing's unfortunately dead AAR, A Tale of Two Germanies. What I do is primitive compared to some of his stuff

    Now, I won't provide you with a step by step guide to making these maps because I recently had to reinstall Windows on my computer due to a rogue graphics card going bazooka. It's mostly resolved now but I've yet to install both Paint.Net and Microsoft Word, which I use for text editing. So, until I can track down a couple of things (a day or two tops) I can't update, even though the current update is some 2/3's completed.

    Keep on commenting and being all-around awesome, it gives me incentive to actually write anything worth a damn
    Last edited by mayorqw; 05-07-2012 at 21:26.
    Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds: Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3: Round 4 2011 and Round 1 2012 (co-winner); WritAAR of the week: October 2nd, 2011
    Updated 27/08/13!

  6. #246
    Saver of the World robw963's Avatar
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    this is so well done. I adore the maps and graphics in your AAR but maybe more significantly enjoy how well they support your story and the rhythm created between the paragraphs. Great job...I'm inspired!

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  7. #247
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robw963 View Post
    this is so well done. I adore the maps and graphics in your AAR but maybe more significantly enjoy how well they support your story and the rhythm created between the paragraphs. Great job...I'm inspired!
    Thank you so much! I've been slowly bettering my humble skills at graphical work s I wrote this, but it0s always great to have your work praised! I hope you keep following.

    While I assume you've all been accustomed to an erratic update schedule, I'm currently unable to post the next chapter, as I find himself far away from my writing apparatus. Why then, am I posting this?

    The AARland Choice AwAARds, of course! There is already a quite large voting pool (compared to previous installments) and I hope some of you have already cast your vote, but that is no excuse not to promote the prizes which distinguish writers and AARs in our community.

    Vote for one, vote for all, to your hearts' content! The voting rules have changed somewhat, so take care to read the first post attentively. I won't even be (very) mad if you don't vote for me!

    But remember who brought you there...
    Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds: Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3: Round 4 2011 and Round 1 2012 (co-winner); WritAAR of the week: October 2nd, 2011
    Updated 27/08/13!

  8. #248
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    It's aliiiiiiiiiiiiive!

    Chapter 33
    The Spanish Empire



    The Spanish Main at the time. Note the withdrawal of the Aztecs from the far west of their dominions and the expansion of the metalworking Tarascans


    The exodus of the Spanish[1] to the New World following the seemingly eminent conquest of their homeland by Muslim armies presents itself as one of the most interesting aspects of early European colonialism. Far before the cities of British and French America had shed their frontier character and established themselves as self-sufficient centers of trade, the influx of skilled craftsmen and trained administrators to the Spanish Main had done much to elevate the wayward Spaniards' newfound home to the standards of Europe. The need for an efficient administration - whereas the British and the French were more than happy to maintain their colonies' ruling structures morose as long as colonial goods came through - prompted the founding of permanent institutes of learning to educate the children of the ruling classes, while most other European settlements in the continent were often only endowed with such organizations after their independence. All in all, the early success of Spanish settling in the Americas came due, not to any overwhelmingly positive traits characteristic of the settlers, but rather to the colony's self-contained nature: the presence of a royal court and its myriad servants, courtiers, ministers and entertainers provided a small, but persistent consumer base around which a Spanish manufacturing industry developed; the lack of a home port in Europe, the long journey across the Atlantic and the then popular mercantile policies favored by the great colonial powers - France and Britain, who also controlled all of the (Christian) Atlantic coast - hindered commerce with Europe or with other American colonies. Thus, Spain's economy would be centered on its own demands - and eventually those of the nearby Amerindian urban civilizations - and while this provided a rather small market of buyers, it allowed it to avoid for a century and a half the destructive effects of a colonialist, extractory economy, wherein the colony's products are mostly raw materials (usually agricultural), which require great effort to obtain and generate little profit for the seller; this system was evident in other American colonies - to the great advantage of their European metropoleis.

    This curious economic situation was to continue until the mid-to-late 18th century, when the so-called Physiocratic boom occurred. Unrest in the French colony of Brazil drove sugar, tobacco and cotton prices up; the huge amounts of underused, fertile land, the then popular Physiocratic economic theory[2] and the growing market in Europe for colonial goods dictated the massive increase in agrarian production and land use. This was accompanied by the importation of slaves to perform the back-breaking tasks charecteristic of plantation life and the loss of much of the colonial manufacturies, given the Spanish Empire's newly found exposition to European goods.


    Spanish missionaries had an overwhelming role in the evangelization of the American natives.


    New Spain's unique position as a rather isolated outpost of Europe - though one with imperial pretenses - favored a greater absorption of native culture than might be found in other former European colonies. While religious syncretism (especially in areas of Mesoamerica affected by the more organized native religious institutions) was frowned upon, it occurred nonetheless; blended with the many pre-Reformation Catholic traditions that were brought over in force during the Habanerian Flight[3], created yet another distinct brand of Catholicism, united with the Church in Rome but with its own idiosyncrasies that set it apart from its Italian, Indian, Japanese and a myriad other sibling traditions.


    While most appointed governors were of aristocratic origins, the conquistadores, soldiers and explorers who pushed deeper and deeper into the American interior, were commoners, soldiers who rose through the ranks and managed to gather an expedition or be appointed as the leader of one. Many of these were often granted estates in newlyfound lands and married native women, in a process that not only created ties between native groups and the spanish, but also provided a number of able-bodied men to defend a given area.


    Spanish society during this period was (relatively) more egalitarian than its predecessor in Iberia, although it retained most of its fiercely aristocratic leanings, mostly due to. The uprooting of the nobility from its centuries-old estates in rural Castile made them far more dependent on the King as an endower of land and as the protector of their privileges. The need for capable administrative staff prompted the sale of aristocratic offices, both as a means of revenue and of rewarding good service. The consequently diluted nobility was far more at ease to serve as an instrument to their lord, reliant on him as it was, and this eased the affirmation of royal power as paramount in New Spain, in contrast to the lengthy struggles between the royal families of France, England and old Iberia and their respective nobilities. Even then, an old noble name served as an important means of accession to positions of power, and the monarchy intermittently supported either the low aristocracy - most of it unlanded and formerly plebeian - for its loyalty or the higher cadres - those of pure Spanish blood who could trace their lineages back to Reconquista era Visigothic and Frankish knights - for their clout and large fortunes.


    The complicated system of racial categorization, as depicted in the "Pintura de Castas".


    Below this new nobility were the commoner Spaniards, who usually served as soldiers, traders, craftsmen or sailors. These 'Petit Blancs' - to use the term often found in discussion regarding French Brazil and Saint-Domingue and with whose society some comparisons can be made - were mostly urban-dwelling, and manned the workshops that drove domestic production. They operated shops and conducted overland and small distance maritime trade, and served in the developing public administration. Under them were the mestizos, children of Spaniards and local natives. While discriminated against, their growing numbers - given the relatively small amount of ethnic Spaniards and the absence of immigration from a home country - and their role as the anchors of the new Spanish state - often valuing the society of their fathers more than the tribal affiliation of their mothers - meant their complete, though de iure emancipation from 1630 onwards.

    Finally, at the bottom rung of society, were the slaves. Often indigenous peoples taken as captives from petty wars against the local caciques (chiefs), their low populations and the need for good relations with the local tribal groups dictated the their substitution through the importation of African slaves. These were acquired indirectly through purchase from French, Dutch and British traders, usually in lower quantity than in French Brazil or the Dutch Antilles. Until the 18th century intensification of agricultural production, these slaves enjoyed relaxed working conditions - compared to other colonies - and there was a small, but persistent, natural net growth in the African population, something unseen in French tropical colonies, were the slave population had to be renewed constantly through importation due to the brutality of plantation life. Thus society is mostly structured on a racial, rather than aristocratic regime, with the purer whites up top and the population becoming progressively mixed and non-European as one moves lower and lower in social strata, culminating in pure-blooded black slaves at the very base.


    A plantation crewed by African slaves.


    The position of Indians in the social ladder is rather more difficult to explain without approaching other, namely political, aspects of the Spanish state. Initially, the small number of dependable, educated Spaniards after the Habanerian Flight, as well as the large, sparsely populated territory of New Spain and its poor transportation network (lack of quality roads and port facilities) obliged the King to delegate his powers immensely, though not, as it could be understood, to the point of feudalism. The aforementioned subservience of the nobility to the monarchy's wishes and the relatively safe position of the would-be Empire precluded the formulation of a Feudal Contract of any kind, as authority was strictly derived from the King despite the substantial leeway provincial governors were given. The situation is more comparable to that of military commanders in the Byzantine Empire rather than the feudal lords in Latin Europe: the far-flung nature of Spanish settling and the need for good relations with the locals spurred the nominally temporary appointment of generals and bureaucrats as delegates of the monarchy in a given area; many of these, in turn, when not prosecuted for unlawful behavior, accumulated a fortune in their dealings, one which they could use to either buy an extension of their terms or to effectively retain power despite the loss of their official authority. Here lies the origin of many of the dynasties that held power in the many cities throughout the Spanish Americas, with the caveat that, due to much tighter central control, they were liable to be prosecuted and replaced should they incur Havana's wrath.


    A battle between Caribs and Spaniards.


    This delegated system of power in turn made it so that the authority of tribal chiefs was far more valued, both by the King - as a form of maintaining the security of his lands - and by his representatives - as a way of cementing their position. Unlike the ostracized natives in the other European colonies, the native chiefdoms were usually integrated, formally or not, into the power structure. Their value in securing a region from other tribal groups - the most ferocious of which, such as the Caribs, conducted raids and slaughtered colonists at will - dictated their usefulness to the Spanish authority. The settlers' amiable relationship with several tribal groups and the latters' interest in continuing this relationship as well as acquiring Spanish goods spurred the conversion of entire tribes to Catholicism. Neophyte chiefs were often granted confirmation of their hereditary tribal titles as valid under Spanish law and several treaties even go so far as to proclaim a chief's tribespeople as under the Spanish King's protection as his subjects. This privilege was often extended to warlike tribes, who would henceforth be obliged to contribute to the Spanish military. Thus, Spain followed a policy that envisaged the division and assimilation of the non-Christian natives, shrewdly absorbing amiable natives while massacring those who persistently opposed its rule. Loyal caciques were integrated within Spanish society and their followers constituted yet another reliable asset for further Spanish expansion.

    Unlike the European colonies, New Spain's unique position as a European nation thoroughly transplanted overseas provided incentive for the sponsoring of public works by local families as well as the rulers; with no surpluses (in the form of goods or funds) being transferred to a European mother country, under the usual system of metropolitan colonial exploitation, these were free to be invested into the land itself. The presence of the country's ultimate power center within the territory did more than just provide patronage for public works; in some ways, it precluded the acceptance of popular mandate and constitutional rule as the basis of government in the way it was envisioned by the American revolutionaries of the late 18th century, following Enlightenment traditions. Whereas in the North America the colonial gentry and bourgeoisie that had administered the colonies in the name of the (British or French) Crown set up more or less democratic republics after their independence, in New Spain there subsisted a monarchical tradition unseen in the Americas outside Mesoamerica and Peru, something which would bring the entire Spanish Main down a different path in social evolution than its northern neighbors.


    A theological school annex to a church and monastery.


    As an example of the aforementioned patronage, seldom seen elsewhere, King Enrique II ordered the paving of what was then the near entirety of Havana as well as the approval of a plan for construction of the sturdy palaces and public buildings that now make up the downtown area, which replaced the old, mostly wooden structures that housed the newly arrived émigrés, as well as a public bath, created for the comfort of the Spanish nobility unused to the torrid and humid climate. This urban renewal produced a basic plan for Spanish architecture, with colorful facades, evened floor heights, porticos and wide, gardened courtyards. The first permanent royal palace dates from this period, as well as the older mansions that housed the Empire's illustrious lineages. A university was established, as well as a seminar and the port of Havana was formally founded. Puerto Principe, then a slightly larger town than Havana, was also fitted with buildings of its own.


    A plan of Havana of a later date (1853) shows clearly the fortifications constructed at the time as well as perpendicular streets

    ____________

    Notes

    [1] In this sense ‘Spanish’ includes not only the Castilian speakers that would dominate in New Spain, but also most or all peoples of the Iberian Peninsula before the Istardad, including Portuguese, Basques, Aragonese and so on that chose to leave for the Americas. Do note that small, scattered communities of speakers of these languages remain in the overwhelmingly Arabic-speaking Al-Andalus, mostly in the north.

    [2] A system of ideas, whose core principle is the assertion of agricultural and extractor work as the basis and motor of an economy, together with attempts at either modernizing or restoring the prominence of these sectors. While most proponents of these ideas in New Spain did not favor the degradation of the incipient industry, the lack of a processing and trade infrastructure to accommodate the huge increase in land use and hence agricultural (especially sugar) production meant a surplus of sugar; this was rapidly taken advantage of by foreign traders, who would for some time since dominate external trade and flood the market with cheaper and higher quality goods from Europe.

    [3] Chief among these are the continued emphasis on Saints and their relics, as well as the ‘compadre’ system. While present in English as ‘godfather’, he who sponsors the baptism of a child, the role of the compadre (and his wife, the ‘comadre’) in New Spain is more akin to the medieval ‘fosterling-guardian’ tradition. The compadre would be tasked with a child’s education by his or her father and mother, which constitutes an interesting divergence from a usually strongly patriarchal society. Compadres weren’t usually related by blood to the parents of an infant (who they addressed as ‘compadres’ as well, as a testament to their shared education of the child), but rather by trade, with this institution serving both to reinforce the identity of various social groups and to facilitate the introduction of young adults to society via their guardians.

    ____________


    Not quite confortable with the font choice on that map. What do you think? I had a nice font with which I made a map regarding Christianity in Japan (one that will be shown a few updates from now); I lost it when my computer went bust.

    Anyways, it's aliiiiiiiiiveeeeee! Because I must fight bananafishtoday's"Pine, Bamboo and Plum" for the status of rebooted AAR. And someone called me out on letting this one die.
    Last edited by mayorqw; 03-10-2012 at 22:16.
    Baghdad in the Sky with Diamonds: Favorite History-Book AAR, EU3: Round 4 2011 and Round 1 2012 (co-winner); WritAAR of the week: October 2nd, 2011
    Updated 27/08/13!

  9. #249
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Yay! It's back! And yes I like the font on the map, and I love the new entry!
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  10. #250
    Wonderful to see Baghdad in the Sky still breathing. I especially love these entries where you go into detail on the social and cultural effects of your counterfactual events. It makes the world seem so alive and real, and gives an impression that the politics and wars have greater importance than changing colors on a map.


    Speaking of maps, the font was good, but you may want to use a slightly larger size on a few parts of it. Everything from the map description and smaller became quite difficult to read.


    Cool to see the Aztecs, end even better, the Mayan city states are still in existance. Wonder how long they are going to last with a new empire as a neighbour. Do you plan on making a chapter about them in the future? I have allways wondered what kind of culture a modern Aztec state might develop. For instance, consider the strangeness many Europeans percieves in Japanese cultural products like cinema. Now imagine what kind of movies, or for that matter video games, a modern and undisturbed Aztec nation would produce. From an European perspective, it may be the closest thing possible in the world to something from outer space.

  11. #251
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    good to see this back - and another highly impressive map.

    and the Empire really is extending its reach

  12. #252
    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Chapter 34
    The Aftermath of the Tailors' War
    Ali's Reforms




    It was easy to imagine the beautiful summer day that reigned outside. A few intrepid rays of light managed to pierce the thick red Damask walls of the tent. The division was showered with a warm orange glow that highlighted the lacquered chairs and the table's metal inlays. The curtains that led into the tent fluttered, revealing two perfectly immobile soldiers on guard duty, their ornate halberds planted on the dusty soil.

    Outside, iron nails noisily struck the Earth amid the fanfare of the luxurious encampment. It was designed to impress. In a few hours, a small city of colourful tents had risen in Constantinople's outskirts. The Civil War was seemingly over.

    At least for Uwais. He had scarcely recovered his senses after the kidnapping when he found himself in this tent. For two hours or so Uwais had been alone, after waking up in a dingy carriage as it entered the camp. Meanwhile, no one had spoken to him. The disappointing sight of Ali's banners had informed Uwais that his silence was also probably for the best.

    The Caliph lay looking at the tent's pointed ceiling when a tall figure entered. The man was dressed in his best, a green tunic with a gold yellow surcoat covering his sides, shoulders and back. His bearded head was crowned by a huge, antiquated turban in the style of the Ottoman court. Suleiman, was that his name? He was a Turk that worked as a representative of a few of the city's guilds to the Caliph.

    Suleiman stood at the entry to the tent, looking at Uwais. Finally, he motioned for the Caliph to follow him. As he did, a silver bracelet, which Uwais did not remember, glistened in his arm. A promotion.

    ____________

    The March of Unity

    [
    An illustration of the dignataries that participated in the parade ahead of the two Caliphs.


    On July 15, 1612, having already captured Uwais and secured Constantinople, Ali and his armies paraded throughout the city. The sheer volume of troops that marched through the narrow streets and plazas of old Byzantium was intended as a show of military might, a propaganda piece to commemorate the success of Ali's bid for the throne and to intimidate his enemies. As a final touch, in the carriage that transported the new Caliph, at the heart of the procession, was his brother, on equal footing. The procession ended with both of them and a number of high officials entering the Ayasofya and praying together.

    It was as if to give off the idea that the war had been a minor spat between brothers, an insignificant fight that had been resolved amicably over a plate of lentils. Most historians describe both Caliphs acting in a friendly manner towards each other. Others, such as Murray and Shirazi, are more skeptical. Murray in particular presents several first-hand reports that seem to indicate a colder and more reserved attitude between the twins.

    In any case, it appears that Ali either intimidated or convinced Uwais to participate in this delicate act of showmanship to allow for a smoother transition of power. Uwais was to spend the remainder of his life in imposed exile, first in a section of the old Warda Palace, but later in his own residence[1] after Baghdad's devastating Fire of 1623.

    The Aftermath of the Civil War


    Having formally stepped in as Caliph, Ali moved swiftly to put down any remaining dissidents, curry favour in disloyal regions and pave the way for the Jalayirid Caliphate's economic and social recovery. Harun Jahagir was sent west with a sizable force to ease the surrender of rebel strongholds in the Balkans, and to man important forts in disrepair, both along the northern borders and strategic positions further inland.Besides this military mission, Jahagir was also tasked with negotiating whatever terms were necessary to ensure the support of the inhabitants in this region. The general performed admirably, tactfully renewing the treaties that ensured the autonomy and religious freedom of the large Christian and Jewish populations of the Balkans. Also of import was the integration of Legitimist soldiers back into the army and Harun's personal efforts in rooting out corruption and installing efficient governors in the reason. It was for this impressive reliability during and after the war that Harun Jahagir was to remain Ali's chief lieutenant throughout the latter's reign.

    Meanwhile, the Caliph and the bulk of his army returned to Baghdad. Another triumph was staged there, sadly without the previous one's theatrics. Ali rode alone. Still, these were quite less pompous than those in Constantinople, as Ali intended to begin his tenure as rightful Caliph in earnest. The year of 1613 was spent removing presumably disloyal officials from the system, reoccupying forts and cities and reestablishing regular diplomatic relations with surrounding nations. After this process, so as to assuage the empire's growing pains and strengthen his hold on power, a number of reforms and procedures were enacted. Some of these were extensions or reformulations of policies already introduced during the war (see Chapter 31). However, while most of the latter were understandably concerned with the military or the procurement of men for the administration, the newer reforms were more in line with a restructuring of the regional and central administration and especially the relationships between them.

    Ali's Reforms
    (1614 onwards)



    Various ministers of Ali's government.


    The central administration was streamlined. A number of departments were created for each topic of government[2] – War, Foreign Relations, Religious Matters, Trade, Espionage and so on – to reduce administrative multitasking and to foster a specialization of each section of the bureaucracy so as to increase efficiency. Each department answered to an appointed minister that reported directly to the Caliph. Periodic inspections of activities and financial irregularities were formalised. Also important was the creation of an inquisitorial office, tasked with rooting out threats to the Caliph's authority.

    A thorough list of all government officials across the Caliphate was drawn up. This list was notable for leading to the normalisation or abolishment of many ad hoc appointments and positions. Leaders of largely autonomous communities within the Caliphate – Bedouin and Turkoman tribes, religious groups and guilds – were awarded permanent positions within the administration as a means of integrating them with the government at large. The practice of ignoring elected leaders of cities and towns across the Jalayirid Empire was also much diminished. Extensive background checks were mandated before imperial confirmation of candidates were given. Direct appointments for these lower offices were also common, safe in areas – such as the the greater trading cities – where freedom of choice had been cautiously awarded to the local elites. Furthermore, various key figures in the Caliphate's client states – the Bosporan Republic and the Yemenite Sultanate – were also made, theoretically, into civil servants.[3]

    The regional administrations were to mirror the capital's in all but scope. Their power, while by no means residual, was nothing compared to that enjoyed before the war in places like the Maghreb. Their appointments were subject to heavy vetting, causing local administration to be rather cumbersome, although the issue was mostly solved in the latter half of Ali's reign, during which most such restrictions being relaxed. It is unknown whether this was pragmatic thinking by Ali or rather a calculated step, with the earlier restrictions imposed as a means of enforcing centralisation, as a sort of 'purge' of dangerous local elements, replacing them with loyalists.[4]. Even after this relaxation, government officials were regularly dispatched to keep an eye on troubling activities, real or imagined.


    The war ravaged the countryside, especially in Anatolia. Irrigation works were often destroyed as part of scorched earth policies. In order to lead to the resumption of normal economic activity, Ali lead a large-scale reconstruction of damaged farmland and infrastructure.


    In the economic front, Ali ordered a full report on the damages caused by the war. This report, dated 1614, along with the previously mentioned administrative list, has thankfully been recuperated after having been deemed lost in the Fire of 1623, giving us a rather thorough insight into the economic state of various regions after the war, as well as before – judging by the measures that were deemed necessary to revitalize the economy. The data in this report led to a series of policies with the aims of recuperating abandoned land, settling veterans, promoting irrigation and drainage systems, repairing roads and canal systems, as well as encouraging the expansion of long-distance trade.

    This last point is rather important. The economical effects of war, though a boon to blacksmiths, ravaged the growing merchant houses that shipped products from far-away India and China to the Caliphate and Europe. Piracy had increased tremendously, and many merchants had seen their ships and goods requisitioned for the war effort. Most of these were returned to their rightful owners, and compensation was provided for the rest. Warships were designated to protect merchant shipping as well as hunt down pirates, although the latter was mostly unsuccessful during Ali's reign. Pirate ships tended to be light and maneuverable, unlike heavy trade ships and the cannon-laden navy. Experimentation with lighter ships that could more effectively use wind power was mostly successful, although piracy in the Indian Ocean would only be truly obliterated in the second half of the 17th century.


    Rich merchants played an ever greater role in the state after the Civil War.


    There was however, another matter: the treasury. Five years of war, rebuilding efforts and compensation to soldiers, merchants and officials took a toll on the once bright Jalayirid finances. The ambitious new reforms introduced an element of uncertainty, and Ali was reluctant to introduce new taxes. So, for the first years of Ali's reign, the state borrowed heavily from the rich merchants that, while having suffered with the war, had the most to gain from Ali's faction. These loans were theoretically donations, but they came at the cost of granting important positions to the creditors that undermined Ali's methodical state order. While these loans were a minor concern, they set a dangerous precedent[5].

    Al-Andalus: A Region Adrift



    Old Muslim Iberia at its near maximum extent.


    For the central administration and Ali in particular, the topic of Al-Andalus was a severely preoccupying one. Having been conquered some 60 years before – in 15 the region was already showing an unwelcome eagerness to slip away from Baghdad's control.

    A broad study of the factors that defined life in the Iberian Peninsula in the half-century since its incorporation into the Caliphate puts several trends in focus.

    Firstly, the region's Spaniards were staunchly Catholic and openly resisted Muslim rule for quite a while. Resistance was facilitated by the lack of reliable roads and the area's rugged terrain. Conversion efforts were met with little success. Frustrated, the Muslim rulers of the Peninsula began imposing Draconian measures: the Yellow army was quartered at the expense of the locals, punishments for aiding rebels were increased and often targeted entire families. These unpalatable conditions convinced many to cross the Tagus, with many moving to the Spanish colonies afterwards. The slow trickle of Muslim immigrants was heavily bolstered, with favourable land grants being offered, which included large amounts of abandoned farmland, as well as considerable privileges – tax exemption for a variable amount of years was the norm. Merchants were also attracted to the region's new markets and (again) favourable governmental practices.

    Just like in other colonizing ventures, many of the participants were single men who would endeavor to take native wives, who were offered a chance at higher status and security. With a sizable base of support, most measures were relaxed, although sporadic revolts remained until the 1570's. The gradual addition of other territories in the peninsula to the province at Spain's expense did in fact better the Muslims' position, with their constant military victories convincing many locals that insurrection was simply not an option.

    By 1580 colonization and marriage policies had paid off and the territory was fast becoming Islamified[6]. Tax exemption and the granting of civil liberties to the cities had created prosperous burghs with a sizable merchant class. The governor's court at Cordoba was also becoming a center for artists and scholars, who stayed in the region after the long works undertaken to restore structures from the previous period of Muslim occupation, mainly mosques[7]. Construction of roads, canals and the introduction of innovative irrigation techniques – as well as the reparation of older systems – increased commercial and agricultural output.


    The Great Mosque of Cordoba


    At the turn of the century, the brilliance of the regional court rivaled the Caliph's. That there was a regional court at all was remarkable and a touch preoccupying, with the post of governor elsewhere in the Caliphate being a mostly administrative job, even before the Civil War. Indeed, the governor of Al-Andalus was often chosen by the local potentates, and his role was more like that of a king than a centrally-appointed bureaucrat. By this time, the position of governor began to be hoarded by the Hatimid family. This dynastic focus only further alarmed the central government. Still, no action was taken, with Caliph Hasan III being deathly ill and the court absorbed in the looming succession crisis. Thusly, policies throughout undertaken the latter half of the 16th century by the local government – together with benign neglect from Baghdad – resulted in an increasingly prosperous region whose people were mainly a mix of native Spaniard influences with Arab immigrants, plus a sizable Christian and Jewish minority – all of which were zealously protective of their rights.

    The Andalusian question was a difficult one for Ali. His efforts at standardisation as well as centralisation both collided with the interests of the locals. With initial efforts being resisted, the Caliph stubbornly went further, being eventually presented with a petition for the conservation of the region's rights, after a major crackdown on local authority. Defeated by the dogged determination of a territory 4300 kilometres away, Ali threw the towel in and confirmed many of the region's rights, remaining content with the occasional briefing on the governorate's loyalties.[8]


    Ali's Absolutism and Legacy


    This lack of will to exert authority was very much an anomaly in Ali's behaviour. Typically very forceful and persuasive, he sought to impose his personal authority on the entire breadth of his territories. His crucial splitting of the administration's departments followed a policy of 'Divide and Conquer' that ensured his supremacy. While his power theoretically derived from his ability set out a path for the empire's Muslims in accordance with Islamic law, Ali imposed a form of personal autocracy upon all of his edicts. His agents policed the empire guaranteeing strict obedience to the god-given Caliph.


    Ali's court.


    All in all, Ali's reign was a decisive milestone for the Jalayirid Dynasty, which could very well have fallen sooner had the mild-mannered Uwais allowed centrifugal forces to progressively tear the Empire from the inside. The new Caliph's policies, while not perfect, allowed for renewed prosperity under his strong rule. His energetic reforms breathed new life into the increasingly anachronistic bureaucracy, promoting one single standard throughout the empire that would weld together the deceptively fragile state for the coming century. However, resourceful men such as himself did not come once every generation, much less into positions of supreme power. Perhaps the greatest shortsight in his policies were that they were enacted by Ali for Ali. In hindsight, his reforms failed to stop the dynasty's decay dead in its tracks, arguably due to the Empire's simply immense size and population.

    Understandably, Ali's rule was very much focused inwards. The system needed reform and the economy needed healing. In addition, the surrounding areas were less than attentive to the Caliphate: to the north, Europe was absorbed in its conflicts, as were India and Russia to the east.This phase of regrowth came at an excellent time for the Caliphate, although few people could expect that the primer for its downfall was to come from the outside.

    ____________

    Notes

    [1] While this new palace was only occupied by Uwais for a few years before his death, it would forever remain associated with the deposed Caliph in popular imagining thanks to a series of poems by by 19th century authors such as Dandachi and Taghvaei.

    [2]Aside from increasing the overall efficiency of governmental activities, this division had the welcome effect of ending the trend of powerful viziers accumulating excessive power in their hands. In Ali's government, the role of mediator between the various departments fell exclusively to the Caliph himself.

    [3] These measures sought to increase the proximity, at least formally, between the Caliphate's client states and the central government. The disconnect between these disturbed Ali: the Yemenites had barely provided any assistance to Ali during the war, and the Bosporans had openly fought him to guarantee their access to the Mediterranean, although they did so valiantly. This policy fits neatly into the Caliph's attempts at rationalizing the administration and asserting more effective control, especially over the Bosporans, whose grain supplies were crucial to sustaining a growing population.

    [4] Despite being an incredibly driven individual, Ali was also able to be pragmatic. Either way, these two policies removed influental and problematic characters from the regional admnistration and then restored privileges to loyal officials, which made them grateful to the Caliph. Corruption was severely reduced both through this and heavy penalties. Indeed, Ali's rule, though heavy-handed, remains one of the least plagued by corruption among the Jalayirids'.

    [5] Just like some Jalayirid rulers before Ali were confronted with strong viziers, those after him would have to contend with powerful traders who provided funding for the government in exchange for the fulfillment of their private agendas. While this was seemingly anathema to Ali's nearly absolute rule, most of his successors lacked his administrative genius and capability for reform. Thus, Ali's attempts to institutionalise a strong, decisive role for the office of Caliph were, in the end, flawed in that they assumed that his descendants would have the ability or even the will to personally oversee the well-being of so huge an Empire. The entropy in such a system was far too large, and it appears that the Jalayirid Caliph only learned the virtues of proper decentralisation after the window in which they could have been useful.

    [6]Curiously enough, a large amount of Sephardi Jews returned to the Peninsula as well, although these were a fraction of the amount expelled during Spanish rule. They were also joined by Mizrahim and Maghrebim from elsewhere in the Caliphate.

    [7]Many of these places of worship had a long history of being repurposed to fit whatever religion was dominant in the Peninsula at the time. The present-day site of the Old Mosque of Lisbon housed once a Roman temple, then a Christian church, in turn a mosque, a church again and a mosque once more. Little structural remains of all but the last two remain; however, the constant recycling of the weathered stones from the previous shrine mean that stone blocks with Roman mason's markings, Christian crosses and Arabic text coexist side by side.

    [8] Indeed, Al-Andalus would remain in many ways an anomaly within the Caliphate, and would be one of the first nations to secede in practice from the Caliphate at the turn of the 18th century.
    Last edited by mayorqw; 02-09-2013 at 01:08.
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    Squiiiieeeee!!! ITS BACK. Still kicking ass and taking names. Can't wait too see what the Enlightenment will do to the Caliphate.
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    Jalayirid Caliph mayorqw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rifal View Post
    Squiiiieeeee!!! ITS BACK. Still kicking ass and taking names. Can't wait too see what the Enlightenment will do to the Caliphate.
    It's more the question of what the Caliphate will do to itself

    I would like to do a ROTW chapter up next, but lack a distinct motivation. What are your suggestions?
    - Spanish in Mesoamerica
    - Japanese Civil War
    - Chinese decline and splintering
    - HRE confessional politics
    - Christian Malabar and Hindu kingdoms up north
    -...?

    Choose away!
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    Anything really, you could write a quarterly report from a clam distribution company and still make it interesting.
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