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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Teutonic King

Vine-Regent of Dorwinion
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Dec 8, 2012
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The Faith of A Man

A curious thing, religion. There are an innumerable number of faiths, each with their own denominations, and each with their own personal view on the divine. However there was a time, a brief moment, when everyone believed the same thing, and praised the same God. It was a moment brought about by blood, toil, sweat, and dedication. A moment forged by one man, who had a vision for a united world.

Akhiban.png


Born in the year 752, Akhiban, was the last surviving descendant of the few devoutly Nestorian Assyrian dynasties. The Ashitha dynasty also managed to retained some semblance of control after the Muslim invasions of Persia. Through the centuries his people had been pushed back, marginalized, and made to feel less important than those who dominated the lands of Assyria. This, along with being ruled by a heathen, were unacceptable to Akhiban. However he knew that he wasn't strong enough to take on the Abbasid power, so Akhiban began 'playing a game of chess' as it were.

His first "Conquests" weren't conquests of new lands, but rather a consolidation of power. Slowly building up his control of the lands of Mosul, later called Nineveh. Through guile, intrigue, and no small amount of cash, Akhiban was finally able to secure the lands of Mosul for his own dominion. However it was a slow process taking him over a decade to complete. Now a decade is a long time for anything to take, even for a man with a mission, and goal. So, in his down time he began studying the intricacies of the Nestorian faith. His interest would not go unnoticed by the higher powers, and in the year 776, he was offered to join the most prestigious holy order of the Nestorian Faith, the Community of Saint Abraham.

Secluded Penetence.png


The Megaloschemos of the Community of Saint Abraham wrote a letter informing Akhiban that he would be accepted if he simply secluded himself and meditated on his life, as a penance of sorts. Suffice to say, Akhiban happily accepted, and after a week of seclusion, was admitted into the Community. Akhiban's piety and dedication to Christ, and the Order, would not go unrewarded. The first gift, a personal item of the then Megaloschemos Halil, was the finger bone of a saint. A holy relic who's original owner was supposedly Saint Abraham himself.

Saint's Fingerbone.png


Honestly, Akhiban's rank up to the prestigious level of Stavrophoros was something truly impressive. In less than two years, Akhiban was poised to become the next leader of the Community, and with it the power to really change hearts and minds. However not everything went so smoothly for Akhiban in his life. While he wished to focus on his domain at first, only expanding after the weakness of the Caliph was proven, the wheels of revolution were turning and he was squarely in the center of it.

On the 9th of June, 779, Akhiban finally usurped power in the duchy of Mosul, and crowned himself as Emir, or Du'ku in Assyrian. According to scholarly writings of the time, it was the proudest day of Akhiban's life. Yet it would not come without its own strife and conflict. For exactly six months later, on the 9th of December 779 a war against the tyrannical rule of the Abbasid Caliph was started.

The leader of the revolt, Emir Sulayman of Azerbaijan, was among the most disgusted with the rule of Caliph Al-Mansur. The reasoning behind it likely had something to do his lack of genitalia that seem to have mysteriously disappeared after he was imprisoned by the aforementioned Caliph.

Emir Sulayman.png


Of course this... theory, was aided by the well known fact that Caliph Al-Mansur was a prideful, and cruel, man who would imprison you at the slightest hint of insult.

Caliph Al-Mansur.png


Far from the just, and righteous rule of better men, Akhiban felt that it was his duty to side with the revolting party in an attempt to curtail the power of this Abbasid villain. The revolt, while being minor in the grand scheme of things, would aid the future endeavors of Akhiban and his desire for an independent Assyrian state. While Akhiban wished to aid his ally in the revolt, he also could not risk any soldiers for the conflict as his own power was not yet fully secured. So for much of the war he remained "neutral", however neutrality would not be allowed by the Caliph.

On the 6th of May, 780 the armies of Caliph Al-Mansur marched on Nineveh. With a tallied nine thousand soldiers, the Caliph laid siege to the ancient capital. However Akhiban was not about to let a heathen crush his ambitions. Leading a contingent of his forces out from Nineveh, Akhiban was able to successfully stall the Abbasid siege just long enough to allow his thirteen thousand strong army muster on the field of battle. According to historian Ashur-rabi Natan the battle took place near the city of Nineveh, on the flat flood plains of Kanisah, just across the Tigris from Nineveh.

In an excerpt written by Ashru-rabi he states that "...His [Caliph Al-Mansur] armies and generals greatly under estimated the might, and resolve, of the Assyrian people. With an army over four thousand stronger than the Caliphs, Akhiban's victory was assured. Leaving the city of Nineveh to join up with his main forces, Akhiban looked like a true Assyrian king, with his regal Assyrian garb, and riding on the back of an Assyrian heavy chariot. Truly no king could ever look as magnificent, the sun, light from God himself, shining through the dust and haze, to cover Akhiban in a Saintly glow."

Later artists interpretation
Akhiban Inspring the Troops.jpg


While this is clearly propaganda to improve the glory of Akhiban, it can't be said that the Assyrian forces weren't a match for the forces of the Caliph. The battle of Kanisah was a pivotal point for the Assyrian people and Akhiban, as they forces of Caliph Al-Mansur were utterly crushed at that battle, leaving open the pathway into the heartlands of Abbasid power.

At roughly the same time, Akhiban was surprised to be handed the greatest honor to a true Nestorian faithful. On the second of May, 781, after being in the Community of Saint Abraham for only five years, Akhiban was raised up the to status of Megaloschemos, the leader of the Nestorian faithful in the east. Honestly it was a truly magnificent status as it was second only to the Patriarch of the East in terms of importance to the Nestorian faith.

2nd of May 781.png


It was at this time that the people in Assyria began referring to him as a Saint, a True Christian Knight, one who fights for the righteous light, and who strives for the divine through acts. Of course it certainly helped that the publicity of Akhiban's success against the Caliph's forces had spread like wild fire through the Assyrian lands.

A True Galahad.png


A True Christian Knight, those were the words spoken by the people on the streets, and the priests in the churches. Honestly that is how the world saw him, and it wasn't entirely wrong. However it also wasn't entirely true, as Akhiban did have some vices, few of which were ever brought to public light until decades after his death. For example, Akhiban's carnal desires, and his insatiable lust for more. Be it power, women, or wealth, he always wanted more, and never rested. A testament to his virility would be the fact, and I do mean fact literally, that he sired no less than twenty children, with a total of four women. By the time he was in his thirties he was already the father of ten children. If one thing is certain, it is that he ensured his dynasty would last for all time.

After his advancement of Megaloschemos and the publicity that was brought along with being called a true Christian Knight, Akhiban decided it was time to take the fight to the Caliph himself. So, mustering his army of 13k, Akhiban marched south, carving a path straight through to Baghdad. Fortress after fortress, castle after castle, none of them stood in the way of Akhiban and his armies. Yet, we can't give all the credit to Akhiban alone, as he did bring back some ingenious siege weapons from the time of his Assyrian ancestors.

Using designs drawn up from stone reliefs by the Neo-Assyrians, Akhiban had effectively reconstructed the great Assyrian Siege Tower, and Battering Ram. Large enough to carry two hundred solders on its platforms, and an impressive defensive tower for archers to fire from all sides, it was a terror on the field of battle to be sure. However Akhiban's engineers made a few adjustments; according to the Abbasid scholar Maslama Ibn Ulaym Ibn Rasheeq al-Ebrahimi, he claims that "... These Assyrian men, just like their ancestors of old, were masters of siege craft. They had improved their forebears' weapon of war to such a degree that they could assemble it, disassemble it, and transport it twenty miles in a day. Just as fast as the army could move."

Assyrian Siege Tower.jpg


As we can see here, in an artists depiction, although agreed by most historians to be slightly smaller than Akhiban's creation, it would have been a terror to face on the field of battle. Unlike many armies of the time, highly decentralized and focused on man to man combat. Akhiban retained almost sole control of the military, only doling it out to those generals who proved worthy of taking command. With this, Akhiban was able to take cities, besiege fortresses, and conquer vast swaths of Abbasid lands in a short period of time. In total it took him five months, to march south, conquering every city, castle, palace, along the way. Finally reaching Baghdad in the late days of October, Akhiban laid siege to the city. The siege though, unlike most, was rather uneventful. The Caliph, terrified of the might of Akhiban, and fearing for his families safety, surrendered to the revolting forces. Thus, on the twenty fifth of October, 781, Caliph Al-Mansur surrendered to Emir Sulayman of Azerbaijan and Du'ka Akiban of Nineveh, swearing to never again take up arms against them.

This victory against the Caliph was celebrated with a great feast, and it was during this feast that Akhiban became truly fascinated about the lands to the east. Now this wasn't by accident, as word had spread up the Silk Road, and back to China about an Assyrian who 'Had the might of the kings of old' and was 'Beloved by all'. It was during this revelry that a stranger, from an even stranger land, arrived in Nineveh.

Mercy of Akhiban.png


This stranger, a man by the name of Chengqing, of the house Xie, arrived at the gates of Nineveh, half starved and begging to see Akhiban. Seeing as it was the "Christian" thing to do, Akhiban offered this man his home, and food, but in exchange he wanted information. Chengqing was more than happy to oblige, and after a few months of study, both Akhiban and Chengqing were able to communicate without a translator. They spoke of the vast riches of the lands they knew about, for Akhiban that was Constantinople and Rome, and the Chengqing that was the entire lands of the Middle Kingdom. Speaking about how there were cities ten times the size of Nineveh, and they weren't even the big ones. How vast fields of rice stretched from horizon to horizon, as far as the eye could see. How the Jade Emperor sat upon a golden Dragon Throne, and oversaw the glory of the empire from his capital of Chang'an. How upon that throne, within his high towers, the Emperor saw all, and directed the lands. These stories seemed marvelous to Akhiban, and after a few months deliberation, he decided that he would go and meet with this Emperor, and preform the Kowtow, in the hopes of earning his favor.

We are fortunate to know about Akhiban's travels east as the first portion of the journey was actually catigorized in a number of letters to his then thirteen year old son, Ashur-etil-ilani. While not all of them survive, a few of them do. It is from these letters that we can infer what Akhiban was like as a man, in his daily interactions with his family.

"My son, I write to you with the most exciting of news. While you know I left for the lands of Cathay some months ago, the route there has proven to be more pleasurable than expected. Along the way we stopped in every great Silk Road market from Bav-ilim to Fergana. I tell you the cities are truly something to see, with vendors selling goods from as far east as Cathay, and as far west as the Baltic. With fine Amber goods, beautiful silks, and spices from the far Indus. I tell you I wish I could have brought you. Perhaps one day you too will explore the great trade road of the east.

Our journeys took us into the Fergana valley last week, and upon arrival we were accosted by a group of mercenaries. At first I thought they wanted our goods and money, but after a short discussion I learned that these mercenaries were actually sent to aid us in our journey. While the Jade Emperor might be able to protect those within his lands, all beyond are outside of his reach...."

Arrival in Fergana.png


".... Our good fortune continued as we met a most pleasant governor of the western provinces. After spending a good three days in his house, sampling his hospitality, we bid our host fairwell and continued on our journey east. Honestly son, the things I have seen, the people I have met, and we aren't even in Cathay yet, it confounds the mind and senses. To think the world is so much more vast than anyone could have ever imagined..."

Recuperation in Fergana.png


"Lastly my son, I should inform you that this will likely be the last letter as we are nearing the heart of the middle kingdom, and our entourage bid us to not delay too long as the Jade Emperor sees all and would be most displeased if we were not to hasten our journey. So I will leave you with this, my son, never be afraid to explore new lands, and always seek to learn more about your brothers. Be they in faith, blood, or unrelated, there is something that everyone can teach each other."

Letter from Akhiban.png


From these letters we can discern just how much Akhiban truly cared about his children, or at least his oldest son. Although the stories of Akhiban don't really portray him as a great father it is hard to explain in excitement how good of a parent someone is to their children. Thus most historians believe that the tales of his parental skills and love were merely dropped due to lack of interest. For the following years, yes years, as Akhiban didn't return to the Assyrian lands for nearly three years, there is nothing of note.

The nation that Akhiban had established remained stable, there were no revolts, or fights against his rule. The Regent of the realm, a man skilled in diplomacy, ensured the realm remained peaceful in his lord's absence. It was only after the three years spent in China that news of Akhiban's exploits came to light once more.

The return of Akhiban from China was followed by a procession of caravaneers from every corner of the Silk Road. Apparently Akhiban had made such an impression upon those he met that traders from all backgrounds arrived in the great trade capital of Bav-ilim, and the capital city of Nineveh, for the sole reason of seeing the lands in which he ruled. The trade caravan, which extended 'further than the eye could see' according to one report, brought in so much wealth to Nineveh that it would have allowed Akhiban to build, tear down, and rebuilt the great palace of Nineveh three times over. Suffice to say it was more than enough to make even the Caliph envious.

Artists interpretation of the Nineveh Trade Caravan
Trade Caravan to Nineveh.jpg


The return of Akhiban to Nineveh also brought with it tales of the great Middle Kingdom that marveled and astounded all who listened. From the rich cities, laden to the brim with spices from Indo-China, silks from the rich fertile lands near the ocean. No to mention the thousands of jade, gold, and silver trinkets and jewels.

Exploration of the Middle Kingdom.png


However a few things stood out as objects of true interest and importance to Akhiban. The first was a jade amulet, carved with intricate detail that could only hope to match the beauty of the jade itself. The next was a game, but it was unlike any game Akhiban had seen before. With little round, white and black stones. Akhiban watched the two old masters playing the game, seeing white overpower black, with an intrigue and finesse that seemed to be lost in the more commonly played game of Chess back in his homeland. After watching for a few hours the elder men asked if he would like to join, to which Akhiban happily agreed. He fell so in love with the game that he brought it back to Nineveh with him, and it is still on display to this day in the Nineveh national museum.

Learning to play Go.png


According to records of his journeys, Akhiban claimed that he was 'Called to the Celestial Palace, to kneel before the Dragon Throne, and the Jade Empress'. We know that this must have been unusual to Akhiban as he had expected to see a man sitting on the Dragon Throne. It was only after the Kowtow that he was informed of the previous emperor's demise at the hands of illness and how this was the prior emperor's granddaughter.


Kowtow Before the Empress.png


However after his Kowtow, Akhiban was bayed to remain in China. According to Chinese historians, the Empress had taken a liking to him and wished for him to remain for a while longer so that they could talk, and perhaps learn, from each other. Akhiban, 'reluctantly' stayed, and for the next two years studied philosophy, politics, and war, with his Chinese counterparts.

Studying Chinese Philosophy.png


It was from these learned men that Akhiban brought back a copy of the famous Art of War by Sun Tzu. It was also after the discussions with these learned men that another ambition, another goal, was dreamed up in Akhiban's mind. A dream of a reborn Assyrian empire. While Ashur might have been the high god of the ancient Assyrians, now they would be united under the Nestorian faith. However his ambition could not be completed just yet, not while he only controlled the lands of Mosul. To make matters worse, while he was away, the county of Deir, on the southern border of his lands, was lost to the Shiite muslims who rebelled against the Abbasid rulers and established the Shiite Caliphate in the lands of Iraq.

With the knowledge that the Abbasid power was weakened, and likely would be at it's weakest, Akhiban began making his moves. The first was the establishment of claims to the rest of the lands of Assyria.

The first Claim.png


That was the easy part, as each claim took roughly six months to get. After about two more years, Akhiban had laid claim to all of the lands of Assyria. It was on his son's sixteenth birthday, the 1st of December 785, that Akhiban lauched a rapid, five pronged invasion for all the lands he had laid claim to. This war, while obviously to increase Assyrian power, was also to allow Akhiban to prove the mettle of his son on the field of battle. While Akhiban couldn't be there for his son in all factors, he did prove to be an excellent educator and taught his son exceptionally well in all things relating to war. In fact Ashur-etil-ilani was so much like his father that people often confused the two men, and would sometimes think that Ashur-etil-ilani was merely Akhiban's body double or doppelganger.

1st of December 785.png



This war was Ashur-etil-ilani first test of power, and the thing that would set him apart as one of the great commanders of Akhiban's forces. Without ever telling his son what to do, Ashur-etil-ilani lead his fathers forces on the lands of Jazira to the north, and quickly subdued them. With the aide of the great Assyrian Siege Tower, and the impressive Assyrian Heavy infantry, the fortresses of the Emir of Al-Jazira fell quickly to Ashur-etil-ilani. Truly masterful skills made it seem like Ashur-etil-ilani was acting as the hand of god on earth. At that time people from all across the lands looked to Ashur-etil-ilani and could see him as the future king of the Assyrian people.

Assyrian forces besieging the fortress of Jazira in northern Mesopotamia.
Assyrian Siege.jpg


In a matter of a few months, ten to be exact, the lands of Assyria were firmly under the command of Akhiban, his son Ashur-etil-ilani, and the growing Assyrian power. It was at this moment that Akhiban made his ambitions clear to everyone. Then he formally declared that he would restore the kingdom of Assyria, and lead them as an independent nation, free from the shackles of Abbasid oppression.

Kingly Ambition.png


This caused outrage at the Abbasid court, who had just recently lost the lands of Iraq to Shiite rebels. To then know that one of your vassals demanded independence and freedom for forge their own destines. It sent Caliph Al-Mansur into a tailspin of disbelief and hatred for the Nestorians, who he had up until that point, been on good terms with. At least that is what he thought, in reality he was an old man, with failing vision, a weak mind, and an overblown sense of self worth.

It was at his declaration that the great independence revolt began. Now it wasn't started by Akhiban, no he was too cautious to do something so drastic. No the independence revolt was started by a petty count in the far northern reaches of the Abbasid empire. However the revolters who had joined the faction were from all across the lands of Persia and the Middle East. This revolt, one of the largest in recorded history, had a total manpower of roughly twenty thousand. An innumerable amount considering that the Abbasid Caliph could only muster a total of thirteen thousand. However this number did not come from most of the other revolters, as their armies barely numbered in the thousands. No, by this time the sheer brunt of the power came from Akhiban and his domain of Assyria. With a tallied seventeen thousand soldiers ready to heed Akhiban's call, it was the largest army Akhiban had ever assembled. From what reports at the time say, the army of Akhiban, while consisting of mostly professional solders, also held a vast army of militia who joined willingly in the hopes of ridding themselves of the yoke of Sunni rule.


While they might have thought that they were freeing themselves, the reality is that Akhiban was planning on making an extremely centralized and powerful kingdom, just like the ancient Oriental Kingdoms of old. A note about the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, while they weren't massive by later empire standards they had and extremely efficient bureaucratic system that allowed for an extreme centralization of power in their capital cities. This meant that the kings could be Absolute monarchs with none to question their power or authority in anything. This also meant that they were the religious head of the country, and that was something that appealed highly to Akhiban, because if you control the faith, you control the people.

7th of March 793.png


The war for independence, which started in the year 793, would be a shockingly short one by military standards. While most grand war campaigns took years, even a decade or more in some cases, this revolt took barely six months. Now I know what you must thing, 'What? Six months?! Impossible, there is no way the Abbasid caliph would be so easily overthrown'. Well that is where you are wrong. You see the loss of the southern lands of Mesopotamia proved to be too great of a hit to Abbasid power as it was where the vast majority of their military might came from, aside from Egypt of course. So without Iraq, the Abbasid armies were forced to draw upon levies from the local militia all around the Levant and Egypt. These Levies, while supplied with armor and weapons, were poorly trained, and ill equipped to handle the might of the Heavily Armored Assyrian forces. To give a short understanding of the vast difference in clothing and armor of the two forces. The Abbasid military consisted of mostly lightly armored, fast moving troops. While the Assyrian forces were almost all garbed in Heavy Scale armor. In fact, the battle of Damascus, which consisted of nearly twelve thousand Abbasid solders and ten thousand Assyrian solders, found the Abbasid infantry severely lacking in power, and thus unable to deal any significant blows to the Assyrian forces.

Assyrian Heavy Infantry attacking the lightly armed and armored Abbasid militia.
Assyrian Battle.jpg


The battle of Damascus was a resounding victory for the Assyrain forces and a crushing defeat of Abbasid power. Just like that, six months after the war was started, Caliph Al-Mansur surrendered to the independence league war, and the state of Assyria was born.

24th of September 793.png


The twenty fourth of September, 793, will be a day rued by Muslim rulers, and a day celebrated by Assyrian historians, for all time. For it was on that day, over a thousand years ago, that the Kingdom of Assyria was restored and Akhiban, then called the Usurper, now called the Glorious, stood proudly at the helm of this reborn nation. Ready to face all threats before him, and ready to expand the nation of Assyria, and the Nestorian faith, to limitless heights. However this is not where Akhiban's story ends, oh no, not even close. For Akhiban would go on to be known as one of the greatest kings in all of Assyrian history.

His first known act as King, or Malka in Assyrian, was to reestablish the royal library, the same library that was established by Ashurbanipal nearly two thousand years earlier. While the original library had been lost to time, this new one was established using a similar design and construction to Ashurbanipal's. To this day, it still stands, as a testament to Assyrian endurance, and quest for knowledge.

19th century painting of the Library of Akhiban at Nineveh.
Reconstruction of the Library at Nineveh.jpg


This library, while built in the same style of Ashurbanipal's, would actually come to house books and scrolls rather than clay tablets. While at the start it was small, and had little in the way of writings, it would soon grow to be one of the greatest libraries in the world, rivaling the Library of Alexandria, and surpassing all of its contemporaries. Not even the Imperial Library in Constantinople would be able to match the number of writings in the great city. However books and libraries were merely distractions to Akhiban, less important things in a world full of war, and conquest.

Following his victory, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Assyria, Akhiban turned his sights southward, towards the recently born state of the Shiite Caliphate. While new, it still had a military of at least twelve thousand, and growing by the year. Akhiban knew that if he were to take out the Shiites, he would have to do it soon, or the power of the Shiite Caliph would be harder to overcome than that of the Abbasid. So, with his armies mustered, and his men prepared, Akhiban launched a holy crusade for the lands of Bav-ilim. It should be noted that Babylon, or Bav-ilim as it would come to be renamed, was still the single greatest trade city in the Near East. While some scholars argue over the true value of Bav-ilim in the grand scheme of politics to Akhiban, almost all agree that it was the riches of trade that really drew him to strike there first. As well as the fact that it was the seat of the Shiite Caliph's power.

15th of April 795.png


On the fifteenth of Apirl, 795, Akhiban launched his attack against the most fearsome foe he had yet faced. The Shiites, having just gained land, were zealous about protecting it, and wished to ensure that none, not the Abbasids, not the Sunnis, and especially not some Nestorian upstarts, laid their hands on their new home. Unfortunately for them, they too face the same problem as the Abbasids, tons of manpower, but they were mostly light infantry and skirmishers. Forces which could do little against the Assyrians. The battle of Makasib was the greatest battle in the entire war, when the armies of the Shiite Caliph met up with the armies of Akhiban. The clash of the Assyrian forces and the armies of the Caliph are written down in the Shiite scholar Marzuq Ibn Abdu'llah ibn Abdul Lateef al-Mansour's book: Histories of the Caliphs; The Rise and Fall of Muslim Rule.

"...He [Akhiban] stood on top of a great chariot, his forces arrayed behind him. With a wave of his hand, his chariot moved forward, to meet with my Caliph. The two men looked at each other for a time before speaking. After glancing up at the sky he [Akhiban] looked back at my Caliph and spoke to his enemy in his guttural Akkadian tongue. For a while my Caliph did not respond, and after about two minutes the heathen king spoke up properly.

'Fine, we shall converse in your language then.' My Caliph's eyes went wide for a moment. Neither he, nor his servants knew that this man could speak our tongue. 'I do not wish to see a massacre, and judging by your forces arrayed behind you, I know it will be a massacre, just like the Abbasid failures...'

'Do not speak the names of those fools and usurpers!' My Caliph burst out of anger. 'Leave these lands at once, and I might forgive you for your trespass against my sovereign lands.'

At this Akhiban burst out into laughter. 'Your lands? Funny, just a decade ago these were the lands of the Abbasids. Before that the Umayyads, before that the Persians, before that the Romans, before that the Parthians, before that the Greeks....'

'Get to your point fool!'

The smile fled from Akhiban's face. 'My point is, BOY, that these lands have changed hands so many times throughout the histories that no one has any more right to claim this land than you. By your logic, the next man that sets foot on this ground can claim it as his.' With those words Akhiban hopped off his chariot and landed on the beige dust beneath his feet. 'And by that logic, I know rule these lands. Now then, turn your armies around and never come back to these lands, or I will kill you and your kin.' All the sense of joy, and merryment had left this heathen king's voice. It was now stern, and powerful.

My Caliph though merely scoffed. 'I have an army that is larger, a people more serious about victory, and the power of Allah, the All Mighty, on my side. What can you possibly do against that.'

The heathen king was quiet for some time, I had hoped that he knew he couldn't win against my Caliph and would decide to return home. However his answer did not please any good Muslim. His response was curt, and, almost deadly sounding.

'Win' was all he said before climbing back onto his chariot and riding back to his army lines."

With this excerpt, we can see how truly terrifying it must have been to stand with titans of the age such as Akhiban. Suffice to say the Assyrian armies utterly crushed the Shiite forces and pushed them all the way back to Baghdad. The siege of Baghdad, while not especially quick was actually not overseen by Akhiban, but rather one of his generals. Akhiban had to return to Nineveh to plan his next attack against the Uqaylid Sultanate of Armenia.

Assyrian general Iptar-Sin Banipal besieging the city of Baghdad.
Assyrian General.jpg


Shortly before the war for Armenia was about to begin, Akhiban as approached by a young German man claiming to be of a Bavarian dynasty. However he didn't want help claiming Bavaria for himself, no he wanted help in getting the rich and powerful kingdom of Lombardy for himself. The kingdom of Lombardy was currently ruled by an aging queen, who by all rights shouldn't have taken the throne. Seeing this as a great attempt to expand the Nestorian domain Akhiban agreed on one condition. The condition being that Dieter marry Akhiban's daughter, and that he convert to the Nestorian faith. Supposedly Dieter converted 'without hesitation', and thus Akhiban declared two more wars simultaneously.

12th of October 796.png


Nestorian Claim on Lombardy.png


On the twelfth of October, 796 a formal declaration of war was called upon both the Queen of Lombardy, and the Sultan of Armenia. If I may take a pause, I would like to point out that this, during any time period, is bizarre. For the most part, when nations declare wars, they usually declare wars focused on a single target, yet in this situation Akhiban, so sure of Assyrian military might, and his role as the arbiter for a Nestorian world, believed that he could not be stopped. It is a testament to the amount of trust Akhiban placed in his generals to lead his armies to victory without him watching over them.

The first proof of the prowess of his generals came in the form of Iptar-Sin Banipal returning to the capital of Nineveh with the Shiite Caliph in chains. After a brief discussion about the future of the lands of southern Mesopotamia, the Caliph agreed to hand over all the lands of Baghdad to Akhiban. It was a tough pill to swallow to be sure, as the Shiite had just recently gained a home, only to loose it all again in a matter of years. However Akhiban could not be concerned with the bemoaning of heathens as he had a nation to run, and wars to win.

The war for Armenia was nearly a quick, with less than a hundred days spend in all out war. The fact was that the Uqyalid Sultanate was actually far weaker than any other Muslim kingdom nearby it, and had been fighting a near constant war of attrition against the Khazar horde just north of the Caucasus mountains. This constant state of war with the hordes to the north left many of the Uqyalid lands depopulated and ripe for the plucking by an upstart conqueror, just like Akhiban.

While both wars that Akhiban had won were important to him, the most important was the war for Lombardy. If he could some how establish a Nestorian king on the throne of one of the most powerful kingdoms in western Europe it would go a long way to pushing his Nestorian agenda upon the whole of the west, and beyond. So Akhiban, along with a contingent of ten thousand Assyrians, marched upon the throne of Lombardy with Dieter to crown him as king. While Akhiban marched with the ten thousand, it turned out that a mere five thousand would have sufficed as by the time Akhiban arrived much of the Lombard army had been worn down by near endless civil wars and struggles between the Queen and those who wished for a king.

All sides were aggressive to Akhiban and this would be usurper, but Akhiban thoroughly crushed and routed each army that face him. Only once did Akhiban loose a battle in the war for Lombardy and that was due to a minor miscalculation of his part where he arrived in Pavia nearly a week before the rest of his army. In so doing putting himself in danger, and the war. So he fell back to join up with the rest of his forces, however on his route back he was ambushed from the rear by some of Queen Agatha's forces. While his rear guard were able to hold them off, keeping Akhiban and the main army safe, Akhiban did end up loosing a good two thousand men needlessly in his retreat. Unfortunately for Queen Agatha, her victory was short lived as the remaining ten thousand arrived and utter crushed her army of three thousand leaving her with nothing more than scraps and militia. While there weren't many battles for Lombardy, the war took some time just due to the seven months spent traveling to the kingdom itself. Yet, less than three months after arriving the war was over, and Queen Agatha abdicated her crown, and throne to the new King Dieter of Italy. After that last great war, Akhiban returned home, and planned for his future conquests.


Over the following decades, Akhiban would go on to conquer the lands of Palmyra, Damascus, Israel, and the remaining lands of Iraq. Finally, after decades of war, an age of expansion, and a near endless conquest, Akhiban decided it was time to rest for a bit. In his rest he ordered all great works of literature be copied, all the copies were to remain in their respective place, with the originals being transported to the Library of Nineveh. In his later years Akhiban could often be seen reading the innumerable scrolls and books of his library, and studying up on all things, from natural philosophy, to the movements of the stars in the heavens. He even found a copy of the writings of Aristarchus of Samos, an Ancient Greek natural philosopher who postulated that the Earth was not the center of everything, but rather the Sun was. While most discounted him, the idea was intriguing to Akhiban so he had copies made and kept safe in his Library.

Akhiban in his later years.
Akhiban in his Library.jpg


In spite of all the great things he did, of all the wonders he created for the Assyrian people, and all the marvelous battles he won, no man is immortal, and on the 26th of June, 823, Malka Akhiban of Assyria passed away. While succession would have passed to his son, Ashur-etil-ilani, he passed away nearly 8 years earlier due to an unknown sickness. So it would be Akhiban's grandson Nebuchadnezzar who would take up the mantle of Malka of the Assyrians, and continue holding the torch of Assyrian dominance high. Something that must be said before the chapter of Akhiban's story closes is that, while he only reigned as King of Assyria for just under 24 years, his rule lasted for a staggering 65 years from the time he was a petty Sheikh under Abbasid rule, to the time he liberated his people and established a new Assyria.

26th of June 823.png


I wrote the last bit of Akhiban's life story while listening to this song...
 
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dark_melancholy

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With how amazing Akhiban is, it kinda feels like a "mythic founder" story exaggerated through multiple retellings. But then he is ressurrecting an empire that would've been close to myth itself at this point, after all!

(as an aside I found the yolk/yoke typo in the great independence revolt paragraph funnier than perhaps one should :p )
 

Teutonic King

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With how amazing Akhiban is, it kinda feels like a "mythic founder" story exaggerated through multiple retellings. But then he is ressurrecting an empire that would've been close to myth itself at this point, after all!

(as an aside I found the yolk/yoke typo in the great independence revolt paragraph funnier than perhaps one should :p )
You try writing a single chapter out of a man's entire life and tell me you don't make a mistake too. :p

With that in mind, yes he is, but he was supposed to be. He was meant to be a Mytho-historic character, someone that future generations of Assyrians looked too as a great hero, but also based on the real events of a real king in the past. Kinda like Ragnarr Loðbrók.

A fun and interesting side note, out of curiosity, I open the console to check his overall health, and the fact that he died to cancer is total bull. His case of cancer was mild, so the -3 turned out to only be a -2. Then he got a successful experimental treatment to his cancer, so that also increased his health by 3, so he had a health of 10. When he got "infirm" at the age of 68, it still only reduced his health by 1. Honestly I think the game just wanted to kill him because he was too good.
 
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stnylan

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Well he certainly packed a goodly deal into his life, as appropriate for any semi-mythical national founder. Certainly he leaves his heirs with a great legacy to live up to.
 

Maxim Cherepanov

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This is one of the more interesting AARs I've seen. Also written and illustrated well. I'll be sure to keep an eye for more updates!
 

Teutonic King

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I am sad to say that I have to go back and restart this. Since the new update is coming soon, the game will be unstable. That being said, I also need to redo it since I lost all the information on Nebuchadnezzar. I don't have any of the events, and the art work that I have isn't enough to work with alone..... don't worry this is still going on, but I just need to restart it and bring in a new Nebuchadnezzar to work with. So, Akhiban will still be the first Malka of the Assyrians, and his heir will be Nebuchadnezzar, but it just won't be the same Nebuchadnezzar.
 

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No worries.
 

Teutonic King

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Elden

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This story was great. A shame you have to reboot it so soon, but I'm sure it will be just as good second time round. :)
 

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An Empire Born of Blood

Nebuchadnezzar, the grandson of Akhiban, came into the throne of a nation on the rise. Thanks to the actions of his grandfather, the Bedouin Abbasid Empire was no more. The Shiite rebels who claimed the lands of southern Mesopotamia for their own were crushed, and the fertile crescent lay firmly in the grasp of the Ashitha dynasty. Nebuchadnezzar, like his grandfather before him, was an avid scholar, and powerful warrior. While taking the throne in his late thirties, he proved himself in combat during his early years as a masterful tactician and an expert general.

Nebuchadnezzar.png


In spite of Nebuchadnezzar being a truly exceptional king he always felt that he had to contend with his grandfather for the glory. His grandfather had broken free from Abbasid rule, his grandfather was the one who established the kingdom of Assyria. It was Akhiban, not Nebuchadnezzar, who secured the lands of Israel for the Assyrian empire once again, and it was Akhiban who ensured the dynasty of Ashitha would last. This knowledge gnawed at Nebuchadnezzar incessantly, the knowledge that no matter what he did, he would always be seen as second only to his grandfather. We, being the readers of this history, know all too well the sad truth, that no matter how good you are, you will always be second best to the person who did it first. Nebuchadnezzar was no exception to this rule, and while he started off his reign contented to simply maintain his rule over the Fertile Crescent, it didn't take long for his desire to outdo his grandfather to begin weighing heavily on his mind.

With his ambition to surpass his grandfather laid bare, Nebuchadnezzar began to look beyond the ancient borders of the first Assyrian Empire. The second Assyrian Empire, what we now call the Neo-Assyrian Empire, was impressive to be sure. Not only was it was the first major Mesopotamian Empire to stretch beyond the borders of Mesopotamia, but it also established one of the few Standing Armies in the world at the time. At the absolute height of the Neo-Assyrian Empire it controlled all the lands from the Nile River in the south, to the southern edge of Anatolia in the north; from the island of Cyprus in the west, to the Zagros mountains in the east. The Neo-Assyrian Empire contained lands that prior empires had only dreamed about controlling. Yet now we look at that and say, 'Wow, what a small empire'. The same thing can be said for Nebuchadnezzar when he wished to usurp his grandfather. For Nebuchadnezzar nothing was ever enough, he always had an ambition for more, and a drive for conquest.


Nebuchadnezzar pondering the expansion of Assyria ca. 1865
Nebuchadnezzar Pondering the Expansion of his Nation.jpg


It was decided early on by Nebuchadnezzar that he would expand back into the rich lands of Egypt, and reclaim them for, as he put it in one of his speeches, 'For the glory of Assyria'. Of course the glory wasn't really for Assyria, but rather himself, and to be remember as the Conqueror of Egypt. However the conquest of Egypt would not be an easy task. The Muhallabids, former vassals of the Abbasid empire, were the lords and masters of Egypt, and they were powerful. Having conquered their way south, slowly pushing the Nubians and Ethiopians further south. By the year 824, the Sultanate of Egypt controlled all the lands to Damot, and was pressing the Abyssinian king hard for more. If given a few more decades the whole of Ethiopia would soon be under Sunni control. The control of Egypt, along with the crushing of Islamic power in the world, were both high on Nebuchadnezzar's list of objectives. However his declaration of war was, for lack of a better word, unfounded. In truth he didn't have any truly valid reason to declare war, not like the Catholics. You see, unlike the Catholics and the Orthodox, the Nestorians weren't able to claim war in the name of god. The idea of a Holy War was against the commandments of the Nestorian faith, so unlike his western counterparts, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to make up a different Casus Belli for the lands of Egypt.

For a solid two years, Nebuchadnezzar was stuck on what to do, he didn't have the ability to declare in the name of God, yet he needed to prove himself superior to his grandfather. That was until he stumbled upon a means of conquest that he ancestors used; Might Makes Right. It was out of this that Nebuchadnezzar could see his future rise, because the will of the strongest is what all great conquerors used when usurping power from those they deemed unworthy. With his means of conquest assured, all he had to do now was, like his grandfather before him, win. So, with his fabricated Casus Belli, on the 30th of October, on 825, Malka Nebuchadnezzar declared and invasion for the lands of Egypt.


30th of October 825.png


This war, Nebuchadnezzar's war, was one of the most costly wars in all of Assyrian history. It wasn't due to battles but rather disease that cost so many Assyrian lives. Scouts sent ahead of Nebuchadnezzar's forces returned with information claiming that the lands of Egypt and the Nile were rife with death. Slow Fever had taken hold over the lands and many of the people now lay dying in the streets. Typhoid Fever, as it was known back then as Slow Fever, has been an incredibly deadly disease that only until the early 1900s was defanged. During Nebuchadnezzar's time it was still incredibly dangerous, and could kill thousands in a matter of a week, should the contagiousness be great enough. However to Nebuchadnezzar it was seen as less of an obstacle, but rather proof that God was on the side of the Assyrians and their conquests. So, ignoring the warnings of his scouts, Nebuchadnezzar pushed into Egypt without hesitation. On the 16th of November over thirty thousand Assyrian soldiers marched through the Sinai and into the Nile Delta.

Artists interpretation of Assyrian scouts marching through the Nile delta. ca. 1945
Assyrian Troops in the Nile Delta.png


With his armies on the march, and the Muhallabid forces no where to be seen, Nebuchadnezzar began leading his armies on a near endless series of sieges and conquests. Due to the Muhallabid focus in the south, they hadn't been prepared for an invasion from the north, and it would take them a fair few months to return to Egypt proper. Using this to his advantage, Nebuchadnezzar took his forces straight for the capital city of Cairo, and began sieging the palace of the Sultan. Once arriving at the city of Cairo, and seeing the Pyramids of Giza, it is said that Nebuchadnezzar was, 'Overwhelmed with pride and let a scant few tears fall from his eyes'. Now this is clearly propaganda to support the king, and remove any doubts about his greatness as a ruler, but we have the gift of hearing about it from the perspective of the modern day. In truth, we know that Nebuchadnezzar was an ambitious man, and the more likely fact is that upon reaching Egypt and seeing the Pyramids of Giza, he might have shed a tear in knowing that he finally stood where his ancestors stood so long ago, and that soon Egypt would fall into the hands of the Assyrians once again.

Assyrian Forces Assault the Muhallabid Palace in Cairo. ca 1786
Assault of Cairo.jpg


Using the siege engines reinvented by Akhiban, and the most heavily armed and armored professional military force of the day, Nebuchadnezzar was able to besiege and take the palace of the Muhallabid sultan in a matter of weeks. Inside of the palace Nebuchadnezzar found some rather impressive artifacts, which lit a fire for something else inside him, something that he would, in time come to truly love. However that would have to be pushed off to the side, as the armies of the Muhallabid Sultanate had finally arrived, and were quickly approaching Nebuchadnezzar, and his armies. There, on the sands of Cairo, just east of Nile, the forces of Nebuchadnezzar met with Misfar ibn Izzaddeen ibn Muhalla Muhallabid. This battle, while written heavily about by both Egyptian and Assyrian scholars, tends to be viewed more from the perspective of the battle itself, rather than the more intriguing Human component. We modern viewers weren't the only ones to see this, and a joint effort by two scholars, both Assyrian and Egyptian, attempted to work together and write up the human aspect of the battle.

The Egyptian scholar Muslih ibn Fawzi ibn Abdul Hameed al-Mansoor, and his Assyrian counterpart Ninurta-apal-Ekur Zomaya, went about the cities and towns shortly after the conquest of Egypt and gathered the stories of the solders, and their families who fought in the war. Thanks to their work, we have a record that shows both the human aspect of the war, and the actual conquest by Nebuchadnezzar. A small excerpt from this book is more than enough to show you what it is about, and this small section has been considered on of the better reads.

We [Muslih ibn Fawzi ibn Hamed al-Mansoor and Ninurta-apal-Ekur Zomaya] went from house to house both the delta and the flood plains of the Nile. There we met many people, of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, to each we asked the same question. 'How did you, and your family, fare in the war?' and in each household we got a different answer. A woman whom we me in our journeys, Mardina, an Assyrian colonist from the motherland of Assyria, claimed that she came here after Nebuchadnezzar granted the families of each solder lost in the war a small parcel of land. While I might not agree with my Assyrian counterpart on how good of a man Nebuchadnezzar is, it is clear that he does intend to rule with a just hand, and seeks to do the best he can in his lands.

This is how the story tends to go, as the chapters are interchanged between the perspective of Mushlih al-Mansoor and Ninurta Zomaya. This book, widely considered by most to be one of the first examples of Personal Stories about an event written. True to their attempts to unite the people, both Mushlih al Mansoor and Ninurta Zomaya copied the book in both Egyptian and Assyrian, making it also one of the most easily accessible books to peoples from Egypt or Assyria proper.

For a militaristic and war focused side of the story the best scholar to go with would be Naram eil Ashur-nirari. Naram wrote extensively about the battle on both sides, since he was a Nestorian Assyrian living in Egypt at the time, and was able to walk about both camps due to his anonymity. His book, An Empire of Kings: The Rise of the Third Assyria is widely considered an outstanding first hand report of the times. In which he states:

I oft find myself wandering about the camps of both the Assyrians and the Egyptians. On both sides men prepare for battle, but none, save the oldest, appear ready for it. I sit by the fires with the Nubian mercenaries, and Muslim tribesmen as they speak of glory they will gain in battle. Meanwhile my eyes are drawn towards the silhouette of a lone solder sitting alone by his tent. After excusing myself, I go and sit by this lone man. I ask if I may join him but he doesn't move, his eyes unblinking face the firelight in front of him.Taking his silence for acceptance, I sit beside him and stare at his personal fire. After about five minutes he finally speaks up, and to my surprise he speaks in Assyrian. After a few minutes of conversing he explains how his linage comes from the very heartland of Assyria, near the city of Nineveh. In the early years of the rise of the Ashitha dynasty his family were forced from their homes by Akhiban and his conquests. Due to this, his grandfather, once a farmer, was forced to take up arms as a mercenary in order to pay for his family. However his work forced the family to move almost monthly from place to place. By the time he was born, he hadn't known anything as home other than the ground beneath his feet and the sky above. Yet his family always instilled a sense of pride in their homeland, and who they were as Assyrians. As this young man's tale goes on he explains that he decided to follow in his father's, and grandfather's, footsteps and become a mercenary. He believed that he would gain riches aplenty and be able to finally return to Assyria as a wealthy man, able to buy land and slaves. Yet here he was, sitting in the camp of the Muhallabid Sultanate, staring at a fire, awaiting his death. He knew that it was coming too, he said he could feel it. The man explained to me that within the fire he had some how foreseen his death, and nothing would stop it now. I finally took the time to ask the young man his name, and he said that he was Nimruh, Nabû-shar Nimruh, and his family were once the rulers of the city of Nimrud, or rather the newer Nimrud, built near the ancient city.

Later on, after the battle, I scoured the fields of dead, and sure enough, Nabû-shar was there, propped up against a tree, head raised and staring at the sky. Apparently a spear had pierced his armor and pinned him to the tree. As I approached I thought him dead, only to notice there were faint movements. Walking to him I sat down next to him and stared up at the sky. He only told me one thing as he lay passing and that was that he was home. Moments later he passed, after which I got up, and moved on.

As we can tell from the writings of Naram, he did his best to combine the aspects of war with the loss of human life. Many agree that it was done to an extreme degree, and one that is not easily matched even to this day.

On the 26th of December, after just over a year of sieges, battles, and victories, the Muhallabid's sent a diplomat to parley with Nebuchadnezzar. They came with a treaty for peace, the Muhallabid's would leave Egypt to Assyrian control and the war would be over. Nebuchadnezzar merely nodded at this and just like that, the war for Egypt came to a close, with a decisive Assyrian victory.


26th of December 826.png


It was in the siege of the Muhallabid palace that Nebuchadnezzar found a love for something else, besides conquest. Within the palace walls Nebuchadnezzar found a vast cache of treasure, golden coins from Al-Andalus, treasures looted from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs, relics from the Muslim conquests. All of these things, truly beautiful objects, were taken personally be Nebuchadnezzar to be put into a personal treasure hoard. Upon returning to Assyria he ordered the construction of a new wing of the Royal Library, a place to house all of the glorious treasures he found. This expanded wing became the first known museum in the world, where objects of great value were placed upon display for all to see.

The Great Treasure Horde of Nebuchadnezzar.png


Over time this collection would grow and shrink as pieces were added and lost to thieves, but for the most part they have remained intact for all time, with a few of the more practical pieces being used personally be Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants. However the establishment of a museum wasn't the only jewel that Nebuchadnezzar would add to his crown of achievements. After hearing of his victory over the Muhallabid sultanate, a diplomat from the Merchant Republic of Socotra arrived. They wished to establish trade posts in the Assyrian held lands of the Sinai and Egypt. Apparently they tried to establish trade posts under the Muhallabid, but the Sultan refused them, now they were trying their hand with Nebuchadnezzar and the Assyrians. In the hopes of enticing Nebuchadnezzar even more, the diplomat of Socotra arrived with a special gift, a Dragon's Blood Tree, specifically a Socotra Dragon Tree. It would be the first tree in what would become the Royal Gardens of Assyria.

Dragon's Blood.png


While the original Dragon's Blood Tree is dead, its decedents still live on today in the garden, and all throughout Mesopotamia. Also, with the victory came a wave of support for Nebuchadnezzar and the Ashitha dynasty. So much so that a priest came to Nebuchadnezzar wishing to commission a statue; the priest refused to say of whom, but Nebuchadnezzar didn't care specifically who it was, so long as the priest followed Nebuchadnezzar's one demand, that the statue be made of bronze as to last eternally. The priest humbly agreed, and with Nebuchadnezzar's money, and blessing, went off to craft the grand statue. It took nearly a year for it to be completed, yet upon completion it was revealed to be a statue not of Nebuchadnezzar himself, but rather the Patriarch of the East, and Vassal to the Assyrian kings, Pethion II. Pethion himself was in the crowed at the time and was, according to some records, 'overcome with joy'. Nebuchadnezzar merely smiled at this and ordered it to be placed in the center of the city of Nineveh, so that all who came to the palace would walk by it and see the might of Assyria and the Nestorian faith on the rise.

Holy Statue in Nineveh.png


Statue of Patriarch Pethion II in the ancient center of Nineveh
Patriarch of the East Pethion II.jpg


Even still, with the flurry of actions being taken, news arrived at the Royal Palace that the religion, which had long since been overshadowed by its larger western cousins, had finally grown enough in power that a religious order came forth to act as guardian of all Nestorians. The Knightly Order of Saint Addai declared their intent to protect all good Nestorians and insure that the Nestorian faith would always remain strong and true.

The Order of Saint Addai.png


Throughout all this revelry, all this adoration, and all of the praise, the nation of Assyria failed to look outside their own borders to the wider world at large. While yes the Nestorian faith, powered by the might of the Assyrian kings, grew, other places also saw a rise in power and potential. To the east, the lands of Persia, now liberated from the grip of the Abbasids, were returning to power, and the Zoroastrians, who had once been second class citizens in their own countries, were now heading up a powerful Persian Shahdom which were a constant threat on the eastern border of Assyria. Even further east, the stirrings of a new faith began to bear fruit, the Zunists, worshipers of the sun, had united under the banner of a formerly Afghan, now Punjabi, dynasty which had gone on to conquer all of the Indus and establish themselves as Kings in Delhi. From there the Zunbils reinforced, and spread, the Church of Zun far across their lands. With a reformed faith, and a strong base of power, the Zunbil Dynasty seeks to spread their influence even further east, with the ambition to conquer all of India for their own.

Zun Reformation - 4th of January, 831.png


Of course this sent Nebuchadnezzar into a tailspin, the idea that someone else's actions would overshadow his own made him incessantly annoyed. So, in the hopes of throwing off the specter of anonymity, Nebuchadnezzar did something that no prior Assyrian king had ever done, not from the first time Assyria emerged as a nation, up until that very moment. Nebuchadnezzar established the first true Assyrian Empire. So, on the 18th of January, 831, exactly fourteen days after the Church of Zun was reformed, Nebuchadnezzar established the first true Empire of Assyria, one who's dominance and power could not be contested by any who now lived.

Third Assyrian Empire - 18th of January, 831.png


Now the word Emperor, or Empire for that matter, doesn't exist in the Assyrian language, and Nebuchadnezzar knew this. However to be accepted on the world stage as a true Emperor and Empire, he would have to come up with a name that was equivalent for both the landed title and his personal title as ruler. After some deliberation with his councilors, the ruler title was settled upon as Enutu Rabutika, which means Greatest King, and Ba'ulu Tahumu, which means Greatest Kingdom. So yes, technically he wasn't an emperor, and yes technically it wasn't an empire, but they were the closest equivalents available that also worked within the Assyrian language, and Nebuchadnezzar could easily back up his claims with military might. With his position secured, and his empire established, Nebuchadnezzar took it upon himself to rid the world other Christian sects. For too long the world had been divided amongst all the different sects of Christianity, and Nebuchadnezzar knew that the only way to fix this would be to ensure that they all sat under the same religious head, a head which could be controlled, a head which was subservient to the Assyrians.
 

stnylan

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Assyria has grown into a mighty power - if they can keep together.

And Nebuchadnezzar certainly has no shortage of ambition
 

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Unity or Oppression

A few days after the creation of the Assyrian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar was sitting within his palace, mulling over the same problem that his grandfather had mulled over all those years ago, 'The conversion of all Christians to the Nestorian faith'. Akhiban had intended to conquer all of the world and place Nestorian kings upon the thrones of each kingdom. While it would have been more effective, it also would take longer and could see a relapse due to the power of the Patriarch of Orthodoxy, and the Pope in Rome. However Nebuchadnezzar had a different method in mind, which would take less time, but wouldn't insure that all peoples were of the same faith. Rather than trying to conquer the world, Nebuchadnezzar decided that he would mend the Eastern Schisms.

14th of December.png


Now the mending of the schisms of the east weren't originally Nebuchandezzar's plan, he had intended to follow down his grandfather's route and simply conquer and establish. However it was only when his grandson, and heir, also name Nebuchadnezzar, yes there was a fair amount of nepotism in the Ashitha dynasty, came to him with a plan, drawn up by the Patriarch of the East Pethion II. According to Pethion all it would take to unite the Eastern churches would be to take control of major holy places of the other Eastern Christian denominations. The surprising simplicity of the plan though belied the truth of the matter, that no longer would these be wars against non-Christian nations. Now the Assyrian war machine would be turned towards the other Christians of the world. While this did not sit well with Nebuchadnezzar, he knew that his grandfather's plan would have been far worse, and would have cost many thousands of lives. So, with a bit of reluctance, and a desire for unity, Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' agreed to Patriarch Pethion's plan and began making preparations to take over the required lands and bring all Eastern Christians under one faith.

In spite of what Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' knew needed to be done, he was, as of yet, unwilling to attack his fellow Christians just to claim lands. So, rather than bring the full might to bare against the Greeks of Anatolia, the first conquests of expansion were for minor, one province counties, in and amongst the region of Anatolia. The conquests were far from the mighty wars fought against the Abbasids, Muhallabids, or even the Italians in the past. Rather theses conflicts rarely consisted of more than 7-8k solders. The following series of wars, call the Wars of Dominion were actually a pseudo Cold War fought between the Assyrian empire and the rising might of the Empire of Trebizond. If I may go on a slight tangent, the Empire of Trebizond was the last remaining center of Isarous power in the Greek lands. After the Tang Empire utterly crushed the Byzantine Empire, forcing the title to be shattered and releasing the innumerable dukedoms as independent states, only the Kingdom of Trebizond was released as a fully united kingdom.

Under the watchful, and highly nepotistic, gaze of the Isarous dynasty, much of the empire was handed out to family members. In so doing the Isarous were able to retain a surprising amount of control of the former Imperial lands in spite of not having the actual title of Byzantine Emperors. From their base of power in Trebizond, the Isarous dynasty slowly began rebuilding their power, and forming a new Greek Empire, based out of their Pontic capital of Trebizond. While the Assyrians were busy trying to unite the lands under Nestorian rule, in order to remove the schisms between the faiths, the Isarous were contented to try and rebuild their power and restore themselves to the title of Emperors of the Greeks. While on paper the Ba'ulu Tahumu and Trebizond were in a non aggression pact, in the real world there was a rapid scramble for the lands of Anatolia.

For the Assyrians part, their spies were sent into the administration of Trebizond to not only learn the secrets of the leaders, but also to, perhaps, disrupt Isarous plans, and chip away at their power from within. It was thanks in no small part to these spies that the Assyrians learned of the Trebizondian goal of restoring the Byzantine Empire, and they had already gone a far way in accomplishing their goal. By the time the Assyrians even arrived in Anatolia the Empire of Trebizond already controlled all of Georgia, parts of Armenia, all of Bulgaria, and were pushing their way into Greece and Anatolia. Seeing this as the best opportunity they would have to expand, Nebuchadnezzar began launching conquests into the heart of Anatolia in order to rapidly advance into the region, and insure that he could accomplish his ultimate goal. The first war that was launched was actually against the Duke of Cherson, not for total conquest mind you, but rather the return of de jure lands to the Du'ka of Cilicia.


View attachment 406130

Like many of the other Wars of Dominion, this war could barely even be registered on the radar of true Assyrian wars, as only 10k infantry were used, less than a third of the total might of Assyria. Yet these wars would come to shape the future of Assyria, an her people, as a whole. While the first War of Dominion against the duchess of Cherson was ended rather rapidly, with victory over the Duchess coming to fruition by the 7th of October 832.

Victory - October 7th 832.png


While all of this was going on the Assyrians also began focusing south, into the lands of Nubia and Ethiopia. While those wars were far smaller by comparison, the Muhallabids, who still controlled vast swaths of the Nubian and Ethiopian lands, were beginning to fall apart. With the loss of the title as Sultans of Egypt, they were forced to try and stake a new claim as Lords of the South, yet even here they were facing troubles. Due to the rough terrain of Ethiopia, and the hot climate, with few water sources, they were unable to field vast armies like they had done in the past. Now, at best, they could field maybe ten thousand solders. This, coupled with their lack of a power base, made their position as Lords of the South tenuous at best. It certainly didn't help that the Assyrians, who had driven them out of Egypt and into the south, were now forcing them even further south with conquests into northern Nubia.

Artists Interpretation of an Assyrian Soldier fighting a Muhallabid Nubian Archer ca. 1945
Assyrian solder vs Nubian Conscript.jpg


The knowledge that the Muhallabids were forced to raise the inferior light infantry of the Nubians to try and fight against the Assyrians only weakened them further. After decades of war, and failed conquests, the Muhallbids, which had once been one of the great threats to Assyrian dominance, were stripped of their power. According to later historians, such as the Nubian scholar Adojurê Eitani, "They {Muhallabid's} had lost the divine will to rule. One by one the Petty Kings of Nubia and Ethiopia broke free from the failed Muslim state and began striking out on their own in the hopes of reforming the might Abyssinian Empire". While few articles from Nubian, or Ethiopian, scholars remain, this bit of information was secured thanks to a Nubian King who was placed upon the throne of Nubia by the Assyrians. This king, Joassi Kattikouda would go on to become one of the most influential Nubian Kings to ever live, with patronizing grand public works and helping to expand the domain of Nestorian rule.

Following the Ducal conquest for the county of Tarsos, the Assyrians began a slow grind into the heart of Anatolia in the hopes of taking Constantinople before the Empire of Trebizond could reach it. Sadly, the Empire of Trebizond had one thing on its side that the Assyrians did not, a similar faith. Trebizond, just like all the Greek states, was an Orthodox nation, so rather than forcing people to kneel via the sword, they could offer them protection against outside threats. Suffice to say, Trebizondian expansion was far faster than the Assyrians could cope with, and while Assyria fought for ten years to try and reach Constantinople, the Empire of Trebizond gained it in less than two years. Yet all was not well in the Empire of Trebizond. Assyrian spies returned to the capital of Nineveh informing Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' that the Empire of Trebizond was a multi-religious nation with both Tengri Pagans and Sunni Muslims living under their banner. Neither of which were happy to live under the banner of a Christian, and both were plotting a revolt against the rule of Trebizond. Seeing this as the best opportunity to break Trebizond before it became a real threat, Nebuchadnezzar ordered his spies to begin sewing distrust and dissent amongst the Tengri and Muslim populace through out the empire.

It took some time, but this eventually paid off in spades as in the year 835,and for the next eight years, the Empire of Trebizond was locked in a deadly civil war that effectively halted their expansion in every direction. In this time Assyria continued to consolidate power in Anatolia, pushing all the way to Nikea by the year 839. Yet all of this would be merely a build up to the greatest conquest in all of Assyrian history. A conquest that would be started by Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside', and would be finished by the Saint of Nineveh, Nebuchadnezzar II. While Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' kept pushing north, his body was failing him. One day, while feeling especially ill, Nebuchadnezzar summoned his court physician and asked him if he could figure out what is wrong. The court physician, a Chinese healer from the Tang Empire, did some tests and came back with unfortunate news; Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' was dying of cancer.

It's Cancer - 26th of March 833.png


On the 26th of March, 833, Nebuchadnezzar was informed that he was dying of Cancer, and that no treatment would work. According to historical records, Nebuchadnezzar had requested that the Chinese doctor simply cut out the infected tissue, but was told that it surrounded his heart and lungs, to do so would kill him. We know that he had cancer because of a letter written to his grandson, and heir, Nebuchadnezzar II. It was near to his death bed that he wrote this, but it is surprisingly cheery for a letter about one's immanent demise.

"My Grandson,

By the time you find this I will have passed. I can feel death creeping up on me as I write this, and I can tell it won't be long now. I have hidden this from everyone, your Grandmother, your mother, you and your brothers and sisters. I do not wish to alarm any of you because I know you would dote upon me if you had known. I ask you, as my heir, to watch over the realm, see to it that your Great Grandfather's ambition comes to light, and that all people are united under a single faith. I will not ask you to dry your eyes, for I know the pain of loss too well, yet I ask you not be sorrowful for me. All men die, and I have merely been blessed to know the hour of my demise, so again, do not let sorrow overtake you. Fight on, ensure Assyrian dominance, and stand as the pinnacle of the Assyrian Empire, lead our people well.

My Eternal Love,
Grand Pa Nebu"

A very personal letter to be sure, but it helps to shine some light on Nebuchadnezzar himself, and how he interacted with those he loved.

Just as he had said, death finally came for him, and on the 26th of October, just three days after he declared war for Constantinople, Nebuchadnezzar 'Ironside' died.

26th of October 843.png


Taking up his grandfather's mantle as Enutu Rabutika of the Assyrians, Nebuchadnezzar II continued the conquest of Constantinople against the Heretic King. Before I dive too deeply into the war for Constantinople, I feel as though this needs a bit of context.

As we know, the Empire of Trebizond was locked in a deadly eight year long war for the future of the Empire. In the midst of this war a Bogomilist rebel rose up in the heart of Constantinople itself and proclaimed himself King of Constantinople. While this revolt wasn't large by any stretch of the imagination, with the revolting army only consisting of 8k forces, the Empire of Trebizond was so busy that it couldn't focus on yet another revolt against their rule. So, after just a year of this revolt the Empire of Trebizond simply gave up their claims to Constantinople and turned their attention back towards the Tengri and Muslim revolt.

The Heritic King - 1st of August 843.png



So, Nebuchadnezzar II continued his Grandfather's work, and declared for the lands of Constantinople.

For the Faith!.png


While the Assyrians were masters of Siege Craft, they had never faced an imposing fortress like that of Constantinople. Defended on all sides by high thick walls, and prepared to withstand a decades long siege if need be, the city of Constantinople would be a nigh impossible beast to face without the proper equipment. After listening to his advisers, Nebuchadnezzar II was left with three options. He could either attempt to assault the city from the sea, trying to take the port of Constantinople. Assault the city from the front, trying to overwhelm the mighty walls of Theodosius, or last, but not least, he could try to force them to capitulate to his rule through open combat. In all truth none of the plans seemed good to Nebuchadnezzar, as he had seen the walls of Constantinople, and he knew that unless something drastic was done, none of the plans would succeed.

While he first thought that a naval blockade would be best, he remembered that while the Assyrian navy might be large and powerful, the Assyrians were not sailors. They contracted sailors from the Greek and Italian lands who were the better navigators. This, coupled with the inferior Assyrian ship design to that of the Greek Dromons, made the idea of a naval assault impossible. The next possible option was to draw out the armies of Constantinople, and force them to fight in a pitched battle. Nebuchadnezzar actually tried this for about two years, he and his army of twenty thousand solders gallivanted around the countryside pillaging and burning in the hopes of drawing the Heretic King's forces out and into a fight. Yet all this did was cause Gennadios to turtle up even more, forcing Nebuchadnezzar's hand and drew him into a grueling twelve year long siege.

For the first eight years Nebuchadnezzar attempted to assault the walls, yet time and time again his heavy infantry were repulsed. It seemed as though an actual siege of the city itself would be impossible, that was until a strange man came to visit Nebuchadnezzar in his military camp. This man, who turned out to be a Greek, entered the camp and wished to speak with Nebuchadnezzar. He informed Nebuchadnezzar that the mighty Assyrian Siege tower, built by his Great Grandfather, could be used to break through the walls of Constantinople, if they could merely get it to the walls. However Nebuchadnezzar knew this, and was about to send the man way, except the man offered Nebuchadnezzar something else. He offered to show him how to drain the moats of Constantinople and by extension make them passable. According to the man, all it would take to drain the moats would be to cut off their supply of water from the ocean. This meant breaking the locking mechanism used to hold up the flood gates.

Thanking the man, Nebuchadnezzar ordered six, five man, teams to steal way in the night and sabotage the flood gates and forcing them to close. Due to the lack of experience of Gennadios in how to properly defend the city of Constantinople, he was unaware of the impact the destruction of these flood gates would be and was unconcerned when informed about their destruction early the next day. Seeing his opportunity, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the rapid construction of three large wooden platforms that could be laid over top the moats, allowing greater access to the walls of Constantinople. Much to the surprise of the defenders, when they awoke the following day three Assyrian Great Siege Towers were perched in front of the moat, ready to roll up to the walls. Defending these towers were around 7k Assyrian Heavy Archers, and 6k Assyrian Cataphract Cavalry.

Artists Interpretation of the Siege of Constantinople - 855 ca. 2013
Siege of Constantinople.jpg


The siege, which lasted a total of three days, was by far the bloodiest siege ever fought. The defenders, all 8k of them, slew the Assyrian invaders in droves. For every Greek that was killed three Assyrians fell, for every inch of ground that was taken by the Assyrians, the Greeks took another life. Hands down, the Siege of Constantinople, was the bloodiest siege in all of history, with a total 18k lost, 7900 Greeks and 10,100 Assyrians now littered the walls and outer fields of Constantinople, but it was a victory that the Assyrians fought, and died, for so it was celebrated none the less.

Unfortunately, in spite of their victory at Constantinople, one place still held out against the Assyrian war machine. The Hagia Sophia, which was actually independent of the Bogomilist Heretic King, refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar. So on the first of September, 856, Nebuchadnezzar declared war on the Patriarch of Constantinople for the Hagia Sophia. Yet this "war", if you could even call it that, was less of a war and more of a dispute as the defenders of the Hagia Sophia were barely 900 men. As it turns out, the Hagia Sophia had become a refuge for all the faithful Orthodox people who were scared of Bogomilist rule over them and sought refuge in the Hagia Sophia. Due to Byantine Law, the Hagia Sophia was free from attacks by Greeks because of its sacred status. The same could not be said for the Assyrians, and while they avoided damaging the Hagia Sophia at all, the walls surrounding the grand cathedral were destroyed easily and the defenders inside put to the sword.
War for the Hagia Sophia - Febuary 5th to September 1st 844.png


Finally, after nearly fifteen years of constant warfare, and over thirty years of slow and methodical expansion, the heart of the Orthodox faith now sat squarely upon the shoulders of the Assyrians and Nebuchadnezzar. So, with the backing of the Patriarch of the East, and the might of the armies of Assyria at his back, Nebuchadnezzar II, now called the Saint of Nineveh, decreed that Orthodoxy was merely just a heretical branch of the true Eastern Christian faith, Nestorianism.

Nestorianism Victorious - 28th of August 847.png

Nebuchadnezzar the Saint.png


All that was left now was to bring the Nubian and Ethiopian Miaphysite to heel, and all of Eastern Christianity would be united under one banner. However that was a goal that still seemed a far off dream to even Nebuchadnezzar, the Saint of Nineveh.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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I think you mean pinnacle in the letter.

And the son is certainly achieving the ambitions of the father. And perhaps one day a descendand might unite East with West? Once the East has been properly united first, of course.
 

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I think you mean pinnacle in the letter.

And the son is certainly achieving the ambitions of the father. And perhaps one day a descendant might unite East with West? Once the East has been properly united first, of course.
I did mean pinnacle, thanks for noticing. I just wrote the whole chapter in about 3 hours so I might have missed some stuff.
 

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guillec87

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