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Yvanoff

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Hello everyone and welcome ! Thank you for passing by and reading this :)

This AAR will be a little special. Or maybe not. As you can probably tell, I'm new here so I don't really know the standards of AARs in these parts - sure, I've read the three threads pinned at the tops, contacted the mods before posting this and read a couple AARs here and there from time to time, but not much otherwise. So expect rookie mistakes in how I present the updates - I'll do my best to have this being an enjoyable experience !

Now to present the settings used for this game. First of all, know that this game is already over. As such, there is no need to try to give me advice for this particular run because the game is terminated - advice for playing CK2 in general is always welcome, though ! As for why AAR a terminated game, well, this game unfolded in a rather awesome way in the end (I hated the game more often than not, let's be honest, but now that it's over - I can say I loved this). And I thought it would be a shame not to share this. Because the game is over, I'll be mostly relying on my memory and on the very useful chronicles to find the information, presenting the AAR in the form of a kind of historical guide as to what happened - now memory and chronicles unfortunately do not store every useful information, so I'll be a bit vague sometimes. Consider this knowledge lost to history !

Since the game is over, and because it was an Ironman game, posting screenshots of past maps is going to be problematic. I can try to recreate these maps in CK2, but I'll mostly try to describe the situation - hopefully in a concise and precise way, so that you can easily see how things are without having to read tons of descriptions (I'm very verbose so that will be a challenge !). Do not hesitate to suggest any improvement on that front - if maps really end up being necessary, I'll recreate the situation in game.

This game used a bunch of custom rules. For convenience, if you're interested, you'll find them spoilered below - any rule that doesn't appear in the spoiler is set to its default value:
Aztec invasion: off
Exclave Independance: harsh
Chinese Interactions: restricted
Dynamic de jure drift: restricted
De jure assimilation duration: short
De jure requirements: required
Culture conversion: combination
Religious conversion speed: slower
Provincial revolts: rare
Provincial revolts strength: powerful
Vassal limit: half
As you might be able to tell from these rules, I have all DLCs, all of them used in this game. No mods used, it was a 100% vanilla experience.

Finally, I'll need to speak about the AAR length. I'll describe the starting situation in the following post, but this AAR will be rather short. I expect at minima 6 posts, more likely 7 or 8. This might end up being more than that if I don't control myself and end up being more verbose than I thought - but hopefully it isn't, the aim is to present everything that happened in a clear and concise way (ie the exact opposite of this post). I'm currently working on the updates, because since I'll rely on memory (I finished the game yesterday) I have to write this quickly. I'll then be publishing one update per day, so I expect this AAR to last about a week.

Hope this wall of text did not deter you, and that you will enjoy your stay here !
 
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Overview of real-life history

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So if you're still here, this means you were undeterred by the OP - good, good ! Now that I have presented the settings of the AAR overall, let me enter the thick of it and present you whom I will play as, and especially when.

Now, I would like to make a quick lecture on history. What could I possibly want to present you ? The Sunni Turkic Zengi dynasty. Anyone interested in the Crusades will have heard of them, since they were a powerhouse in Syria in the XIIth century. They were quite forgotten because of the rise of Saladdin, whose family were.... servants of the Zengi rulers (in fact, Saladdin's uncle went in Egypt at the behest of Nur ad-Din Zengi, who ruled over Syria at the time - setting Saladin's destiny in motion). Their height was certainly reach in 1174, just before the death of Nur ad-Din:


The Holy Land and its surroundings in 1174. Nur ad-Din is the Emir of Damascus - another Zengi Emir reigns in Mosul.

However, Nur ad-Din died that year, and the fortunes of the Zengis went downhill ever since. Dominated by the new Ayubbid power, they dwindled, losing land and influence, until in 1250 their last possessions, in al-Jazira (modern northern Iraq) were lost, leaving the Zengis as a footnote of history. Ah, what could've been....

As you might have guessed from the title and the lines above - I played as the Zengi dynasty. But not as Nur ad-Din, no. While the "what could've been" is an interesting and fascinating question, playing as the powerful and more than able ruler of Syria in 1174 would certainly be boring and too easy - or it might not, feel free to try it yourself !

No, as hinted again by the title, I started later on. On the penultimate start date, actually. As I mentioned, the Zengis lost their last lands in 1250. In 1241, there is only one playable Zengi character - Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud, who is the last playable Zengi character in CK2. By a fortunate twist of history, he also accessed the throne in 1241, so this AAR will present to you what could've happened if the last Zengi had been an able ruler bent on restoring Nur ad-Din's legacy, instead of letting the Zengi dynasty fade away. (Note that according to Wikipedia, this character was actually called Mahmud al-Malik al-Zagir, son of Mu'izz al-Din Mahmud. In CK2 both father and son are called Mu'izz vMahmud, so I went with the CK2 name).

So, when I said this would be a short AAR - I wasn't lying. The start date being 1241, I'll be narrating you 212 years of action, dear reader ! That might look short, but let me assure you that the end of the Middle Ages were troubled times in the Near East. There certainly is enough content for a small AAR, which, as I said previously, will essentially consists in me adopting the external point of view of a later historian chronicling and presenting the history of the Zengis.

And with this the presentation of the AAR is complete. I hope this was interesting, and leaves you guys craving for more - if it does then good ! As I said in the previous post, there will be one update per day, so tomorrow I'll be posting the first one. Hope to see you then :)
 
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I’m subbed too! Interesting premise. I also did an AAR from a played game (in HOI3) that I had finished well over a year before discovering AARs on this forum and then deciding to write it up. I found it an interesting experience and hope you do to.

The differences with your situation here was it was a game with many save points I could tap into for retro screenshots (if at variable periods), but because it had been played so long before I often couldn’t remember why I had done certain things or what had actually happened along the way!

The similarity is that I too had to do it as an historical research piece, though often trying to guess what happened behind the scenes, as a real historian would with old sources. I’ll be interested to see how your short project evolves!

By the way, I realize I made my first mistake by not creating an "index" post :D Threadmarks are handy to easily navigate between posts, so I'll use that instead
Not a mistake at all! My two earlier AARs (still going) we’re started before threadmarks were introduced and had long index pages, but I’ve discontinued those because the threadmarks are much quicker and easier to do and quite adequate to the task, I reckon. :)
 

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Ok, so I've finally written the first two updates. I'm rather satisfied with myself - I hope you all will enjoy it.

The "bad" (well, I don't know if it's bad) news is that these two updates were supposed to be only one :D I was a lot more verbose than I thought I would be, and while I could publish it as one update it would be too long for anyone to really read clearly.

So if this keeps up... Well, we might be looking at twice the number of updates compared to the 6-8 I had originally planned. I'd now say 10 looks like the minimum of posts this will take, maybe even more.
 

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Welcome to AARland! :D

I wouldn't worry too much about not "knowing the standards" per se -- in fact, I'd say it is a bit of an advantage, since that means your expectations aren't constrained by what you think people should be expecting. Honestly, so long as you're enjoying yourself and keeping your audience entertained, you're doing something right :)
 
Part 1: Regaining independence - the beginning of the reign of Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud, from 1241 to 1252

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Part 1: Regaining independence - the beginning of the reign of Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud, from 1241 to 1252

Hello, class, and welcome on this new lecture about the Zengi dynasty - one of the major actors who have made the Near East into what it is today. Last time, as you undoubtedly recall, I detailed how the Zengis, after their rise to power under Nur ad-Din, quickly declined and lost most of their influence in the Muslim world. While, being all students in history major, you already did know about this prior to my lecture, the scale of their downfall left many of you aghast - how could the Zengis lose that much power over the course of a little more than half a century, and still become the pivotal force they ended up being ? All of this is thank to the man I will speak of today, Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud, whose reign started a Zengi comeback so unbelievable you would accuse the scenarists of not caring about realism should something on this scale happen in your favorite TV series.


Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud, as he looked like according to our facial reconstruction software who worked with descriptions of his time. Additional information represents the traits of personality and abilities he seemed to have according to these same sources. Note that as a reconstruction made by a computer program working with historical - hence biased - sources, this should not be taken for the absolute truth.

Now, should you study historical sources of the time yourself - the Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud who is the topic of today's lesson started his reign in 1241. The most alert ones among you - no, that's certainly not you, Bernard, seeing how much time you spend looking at this cellphone - may recall that I used the name last lesson, for a man who reigned before 1241. That's right, very confusingly Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud's father was also called Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud. So do keep that in mind, and do not forget that Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud Junior ended up being much more relevant than his father, so if you see the name without any additional information in a source about the subject, it is probably him who is spoken of.

Now, when Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud succeeded his father in 1241, which situation did he find himself him ? Well, certainly not a great one.


The lands of the Zengi dynasty in 1241, as part of the Lu'Lu Emirate itself subject to the Ayubbid Sultan of Egypt. The Zengis controls Hasakah. To the south of the Zengis, Rahbah is also a vassal of the Lu'Lu Emir. In Syria Ayyubid power extends as far North as Edessa, encompassing the emirates of Edessa, Halab (Aleppo), Damashq (Damascus), Oultrejourdain and the lands of the Aybakid and Suleimids in Egypt proper..
Having lost most of their power during the previous decades, the Zengis found themselves not even emirs, having lost the Emirate of Mosul to the levantine Lu'Lu dynasty, to whom they were subject. The Lu'Lu themselves were subjects of the Ayubbid Sultanate, of course. We can see on the map, however, that the Zengis still owned, as personal belongings, a fairly extensive piece of land in the al-Jazira region. It is said, according to records of the times, that the people living in the Nisbin, Sinjah and Hasakah Sheikhdoms were subject to Zengi rule, with the Zengi capital of Hasakah located in the Sheikhdom of the same name. That made them, despite the lack of prestigious title, fairly powerful - however their overlords, the Lu'Lus, themselves owned personally 4 Sheikhdoms, those being Mosul, Irbil, Samarra and Kirkuk, and also ruled over the Sheikh of Rahbah.


A reconstruction of Badr al-din Lu'Lu (r. 1222-1255), Mu'izz ad-Din's overlord and a loyal subject to the Ayubbid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub

Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud's first act as a Sheikh was, according to sources, to go on pilgrimage and accomplish the Hajj, which is as you all know one of the pillars of the Muslim faith. Now, going on pilgrimage at the time remained a relatively dangerous endeavor, and was also time consuming. Nonetheless, historical sources rapport that Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud was keen on making this as soon as he inherited his father's lands. It seems his ambitious intentions were already present at this time, since one justification advanced for this Hajj was to have the Greatest protect the new ruler and to give him the strength to accomplish "what needs to be done to save the Zengis from oblivion". A successful pilgrimage augured nicely for the young sheikh. Then history took its course.


Lucius IV (r. 1241-1255), the Catholic pope during these times and someone who played a great role in shaping the Middle East...

As you all know, two years into his reign - that's 1243 -, Pope Lucius IV declared a Crusade against the Ayubbid Sultanate, aimed at conquering Egypt from the Muslims in order to relieve the Kingdom of Jerusalem, under severe pressure from his neighbors at the time. The Catholics also aimed to have a springboard from which to retake the Holy city, Jerusalem, since the weakened Kingdom of the same name was not enough for such an operation. It was a stunning success, the Ayyubid Sultanate falling in a mere two years. As you all know, Riccardo Riccardo, the bastard son of Friedrich II von Hohenstaufen, was made king of Egypt by the Crusaders, but this had a more direct, profound impact on our subject of today. Indeed, with the loss of the Sultanate of Egypt, the central Ayyubid power essentially disintegrated, resulting in all the petty Emirs of Syria becoming independent - including Mu'izz ad-Din's overlord, Emir Badr al-din Lu'Lu.


...just as important as his Sunni counterpart, the Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta'sim (r. 1245-1255)

As you all know the conquest of Egypt by the crusaders was short lived - the following year, a Jihad was declared by Caliph Al-Musta'sim, and just as quickly as Egypt had fallen, it was retaken in 1248. as-Salih Ayyub, the Sultan who had been chased by the crusaders, had died in 1247, so the conquest were given to Nosrat-es-Din instead, a surviving son of Saladin himself. Strangely, the man did not take up the title of Sultan, while Riccardo kept using the title of King of Egypt. Nosrast-es-Din decided instead to assume direct rule over all of his lands, without any vassal - an overwhelming task, which probably explains why he was unable to muster the strength to wage war on the petty Emirs of Syria and bring them back into the Ayyubid fold.


Nosrat-es-Din (r. 1248-1253). That's a lot of titles to rule over personally. After the Jihad, overwhelmed by the task of ruling over all these titles by himself, he accepted to swear fealty to his young nephew, the Ayubbid Emir of Cairo Yassir - who had retained the title of Emir of Cairo and Alexandria despite all of his lands being located in northern Syria, around Edessa and in the al-Jazira region.

But what about Mu'izz ad-Din ? Did he help the Ayyubid defend against the infidels ? Did he heed the Caliph's call for Jihad ? It would appear that not - no source mention it, and instead in 1247, Mu'izz ad-Din went to war against the neighboring Sheikh of Rahbah. The motives for the war are obscures. Some say that while Mu'izz ad-Din was mourning his first son and third child Kaya, dead a mere 1 year after his birth, the Sheikh of Rahbah, a man named Ashraf ibn Bashar Abolhassan, insulted him and his family. Whatever the reason for the war was, it was a quick affair - by 1249 Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud had won, adding the lands of Rahbah to his domain. Having grown his power ever so much, the sheikh decided the time had come for the Zengis to once again direct their own affairs themselves. War was declared to Badr al-din Lu'Lu in 1250. Now, you might think that this was a bold decision to make, since I said earlier that the Lu'Lus reigned over 4 sheikhdoms directly. That was true in 1241, when Mu'zz ad-Din had become Sheikh; that was no longer true in 1250. Indeed, in 1247 the Shi'a Khagan of the Ilkhanate, Hülegü the Monster, had easily conquered Samarra and Kirkuk from Badr al-din. The diminushed Lu'Lu army was quickly and soundly beaten under the walls of Mosul by the Zengis, and after taking Mosul itself and some other territories Mu'izz ad-Din had won the war - the Lu'Lu emir had to concede independence to his former vassal in 1252. Having not fully recovered from his defeat against the Mongols, the Emir could not stop his now powerful vassal's ambitions. And there were more sources of joy for Mu'izz ad-Din in these times, with the birth of a new son, Kutlug, in 1251. This must have pleased Mu'izz ad-Din greatly, since being the last Zengi, his dynasty was facing extinction if he did not have a son.


Hülegü, Khagan of the Ilkhanate (r. 1232-1253), who rightfully earned the nickname 'the monster' by his exactions. He brought the Mongol threat ever closer to the Zengis, but died before having the opportunity to campaign against Mu'izz ad-Din

The Zengis were now independent again, and with Kutlug their continued existence seemed to be ensured. But the ambitions of the newly freed Sheikh did not stop there - see you this afternoon for the the second part of his reign !
 
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Yvanoff

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I’m subbed too! Interesting premise. I also did an AAR from a played game (in HOI3) that I had finished well over a year before discovering AARs on this forum and then deciding to write it up. I found it an interesting experience and hope you do to.

The differences with your situation here was it was a game with many save points I could tap into for retro screenshots (if at variable periods), but because it had been played so long before I often couldn’t remember why I had done certain things or what had actually happened along the way!

The similarity is that I too had to do it as an historical research piece, though often trying to guess what happened behind the scenes, as a real historian would with old sources. I’ll be interested to see how your short project evolves!


Not a mistake at all! My two earlier AARs (still going) we’re started before threadmarks were introduced and had long index pages, but I’ve discontinued those because the threadmarks are much quicker and easier to do and quite adequate to the task, I reckon. :)
Welcome to AARland! :D

I wouldn't worry too much about not "knowing the standards" per se -- in fact, I'd say it is a bit of an advantage, since that means your expectations aren't constrained by what you think people should be expecting. Honestly, so long as you're enjoying yourself and keeping your audience entertained, you're doing something right :)
Thank you both of you for your kind words ! Well, the first update is here - I hope you'll enjoy it. I'm kinda stressed, to be honest
 

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Hello, class, and welcome on this new lecture about the Zengi dynasty
Nice premise for the AAR - very well suited to the approach you are taking. Looking forward to the next lecture! :)
 

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As above, definitely enjoying the lecture format.

Mu'izz ad-Din has certainly had quite the run so far, managing to keep ahead of the chaos that surrounds his realm and even profit from it. Still, having the Ilkhanate right next door might be just a little worrisome... Hopefully they'll be focusing their attention elsewhere until the Zengis have a much more secure power base.
 

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Nice premise for the AAR - very well suited to the approach you are taking. Looking forward to the next lecture! :)
Thank you ! I have to say this idea kind of appeared naturally, since I was confronted with the problem of the playthrough being finished and as such I could no longer do an AAR from the characters' perspective but had to approach a more historical one

As above, definitely enjoying the lecture format.

Mu'izz ad-Din has certainly had quite the run so far, managing to keep ahead of the chaos that surrounds his realm and even profit from it. Still, having the Ilkhanate right next door might be just a little worrisome... Hopefully they'll be focusing their attention elsewhere until the Zengis have a much more secure power base.
Indeed. The Near East (I tend to use Near East and Middle East interchangeably even though they're not exactly the same thing, so please don't pay too much attention to it :p) in the XIIIth century is a volatile place. Fortunately with the Mongols having converted to Islam, and the powerful Sultanate of Rum being Sunni too, there are diplomatic opportunities to be had, to avoid getting caught alone in unwinnable wars
 
Part 2: From Sheikh to Sultan - the end of the reign of Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud (1252-1276)

Yvanoff

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Part 2: From Sheikh to Sultan - the end of the reign of Mu'izz ad-Din Mahmud (1252-1276)

Now, class, let us examine the course of action Mu'izz ad-Din took. Newly independent, as we saw this morning in a lecture I am farily hopeful you did not forget yet, the Sheikh had great ambitions, ambitions which required him to wage more war. However, war is prepared during peace, and the next couple of years were quiet. We do have the first evidence of the Zengi-Rum alliance in action in 1254, which also explains the peacefulness of Mu'izz ad-Din himself. Various sources state that that year, the Zengi Sheikh personally led troops to help the Rum Sultan Kilij Arslan IV defend Anatolia against the infidels. What exactly Mu'izz ad-Din did there military is unclear. He did not seem to take part in any major battle, but the event is still of great importance. The Zengi-Rum alliance, taking its roots in the marriage between one of Mu'izz ad-Din daughters and a prince of Rum, would play a pivotal role in shaping the Middle East for the centuries to come. Celebrating his growing power, Mu'izz ad-Din also proclaimed himself Emir - or Beylerbey, according to more Turkish-minded source, the Zengis being Turks and not Arabs - of Mudar the same year, in the place of the Lu'Lu Emir who had been using the title since 1242.


The traditional lands of Mudar - from North to South, Hasakah, Al Bichri and Rahbah. At this point, the sheikhdom of Al Bichri was outside of Mu'izz ad-Din's controls, being ruled by the Ayubbid Emir of Aleppo. However, the Zengi Emir also ruled over lands outside Mudar's borders - the lands of Nisibin and Sinjar.

Then Mu'izz ad-Din went to war again, this time against the Ayyubid Emir of Aleppo, or Halab as it is known to Arabs. The war started in 1256, over the lands of Al Bichri. Mu'izz ad-Din maintained that as Emir of Mudar, he was the rightful liege of Faisal Tawfiqid, sheikh of Al Bichri. Emir Yasar the Young, then liege of Sheikh Faisal, did not share this opinion, and so war was declared. This war lasted much longer than the previous ones, the Emir of Aleppo being a far stronger foe than either the sheikh of Rahbah or the Lu'Lu Emir. We have records of no less than 4 pitched battles taking place during this war, once in Nisibin, two in the vicinity of Rasbah and once near Al Bichri. The last one was decisive: conjugated with the loss of various strongholds in the contested region, Emir Yasar had to concede defeat after 4 years of warfare. This is an important event, because it places the newly hatched Zengi power on the map of Syria, showing its strength to be the equal or even superior to the petty Emirs ruling over lands in the region.


Yasar the Young, the Ayubbid Emir of Aleppo (r. 1256-1276 over the Emirate of Aleppo - he held the sheikhdom of Tell Bashir until his death in 1310). He was 4 years old when Mu'izz ad-Din declared war on him, having ascended to the throne a couple months ago upon the death of his father An-Nasir Yusuf, who died in battle aged 28. A rough start of reign for the young Emir, and a weakness the Zengi ruler ruthlessly exploited.

Peace was finally there, but the ambitious Mu'izz ad-Din knew not the meaning of this word. He immediately waged war on the new Lu'Lu Emir, a man named as-Salih Isma'il. This time, the contested territories were the lands of Mosul itself. The issue of the war were not in doubt, the Lu'Lu having lost most of their strength since 1241 while Mu'izz ad-Din star kept rising. The strongholds of Mosul, Bakhdida and Oromieh were swiftly taken in 1261, and a desperate attempt to relieve Mosul crushed. The next year as-Salih Isma'il, broken, was forced to accept the loss of Mosul. The Lu'Lu were now confined to Irbil, which they would keep ruling for a long time - most notably thanks to the Ortokids. Indeed, the peace terms also included the renunciation by as-Salih Isma'il of the title of Emir of Mosul, which was taken by Mu'izz ad-Din in addition to his title of Emir of Mudar. Undoubtedly, Mu'izz ad-Din had the intention to annex Irbil in a later war, but the Ortokids, neighbours of both Mu'zz ad-Din and the Lu'Lu's to the north, saw the opportunity and subjugated as-Salih. The precise date is unknown, but the Ortokids were vassals of the Sultan of Rum, allied to and far more powerful than Mu'izz ad-Din, whose ambitions over Irbil were abruptly curtailed.


as-Salih Isma'il, the last Lu'Lu Emir of Mosul (r. 1255-1262 as Emir) .He kept ruling over the Sheikhdom of Irbil until 1274, when he was accused of heresy and burnt at the stake by his new liege, Sultan Kayqubad II of Rum. The poor guy did not have a lot of luck in his reign.

This did not deter Mu'izz ad-Din, who decided to turn his attention elsewhere. In 1266, he declared himself Sultan of al-Jazira, confirming the growing Zengi power in the region and using this as an opportunity to claim the various lands in the area which he did not yet own. Unsurprisingly, immediately following this accession to the rank of Sultan, he went to war against the Ayyubid Emir of Cairo, the 15 years-old Pamin. The title of Emir of Cairo was mostly a misnomer - while Pamin had inherited the title from his father, his family did not own lands in the region of Cairo, those having being lost after the 1245 conquest of Egypt by the Crusaders. In addition to the Emirate of Cairo, Pamin also held the titles of Emir of Edessa and, in direct opposition to Mu'izz ad-Din, of al-Jazira. It is the later title that was being contested, Mu'izz ad-Din arguing that as Sultan of al-Jazira the title of Emir of al-Jazira and the lands belonging to it should be his. The war was won swiftly, the armies of Pamin being beaten near Nisibin in 1266, and despite the threat of a Christian revolt in Nisibin that same year, the new Sultan won the war easily, taking hold of the Sheikhdom of Amida. But, wasn't the war over the lands of the Emirate of al-Jazira ? Surely an Emir would rule over several Sheikhdoms, you might point out. And you would be right - the Sheikhdom of Bira was also among the contested territories. Problem is, sensing Pamin weakened, Sheikh Bashar Biraid decided to use the opportunity to declare independence from his liege. Independence he wouldn't get - having signed the peace confirming his rule over Amida, Mu'izz ad-Din turned his sight on the troublesome lord, who was brought into the Zengi fold in 1269. Mu'zz ad-Din, already Sultan of al-Jazira and Emir of Mosul and Mudar, could now proclaim himself Emir of al-Jazira. He celebrated his iron grip over the al-Jazira region by holding a Furusiyya, a grand tournament where the finest warriors of his new realm could fight one another in order to crown the finest warrior of al-Jazira (the name of the winner, unfortunately, has been lost in time).


The lands associated with the Sultanate of al-Jazira, in northern Mesopotamia. By 1269, Mu'izz ad-Din had established Zengi control over all of these lands, save for Irbil, which used to be associated with the Emirate of Mosul but over which the Zengis never had any control.

Having united al-Jazira, Mu'izz ad-Din was now setting his sights on Syria, the region where his ancestor Nur ad-Din rose to prominence, a fragmented region in dire need of external protection against the Crusader threat. The Sultan was determined to make his move, but at the right time - near-constant war had left his warriors weary, and as such he decided to offer his realm some peace to replenish some strength. As such, there is not much to report in terms of wars for a couple years - in 1270 it is said that Mu'izz ad-Din pledged his troops to the Sultan Kayqubad II of Rum, a pledge renewed 2 years later. His presence in the battle of Amorion, which pitched the Sultanate of Rum against the Orthodox Golden Horde, is recorded by several sources. This does not mean that nothing was happened domestically either - the rebellious Bashar Biraid, who had sought independence from the Emirate of Cairo, seems to have been plotting against Mu'izz ad-Din's rule, and rose in open rebellion in 1272 when the Sultan tried to imprison him. The rebellion was quickly crushed, the vigilant Sultan having seemingly posted his army in Bira to prevent Bashar from escaping the region.


Bashar Biraid (r. 1259-1276), a decidedly quarrelsome vassal. Mu'izz ad-Din calmed him by easily crushing his little rebellion, then imprisoning him. Bashar remained in prison until his death in 1276.

And finally, after these years of peace and deepening the Rum-Zengi alliance, Mu'izz ad-Din saw his opportunity. In 1276, tired of the reign of the weak and decadent Yasar the Young, a rebellion overthrew him from the Emirate of Aleppo, resulting in the loss of the title and the independence of all his former vassals. With the disappearance of his main rival to the West, Mu'izz ad-Din saw a unique chance to unite Syria under his banner. Using the weakness of the various lords and their need of protection for a more powerful ruler, he moved in, starting with the Sheikh of Al-Suknah, Faisal Salahhadin. But the Sultan would never see his ambition of a united Zengi Syria come true. Under a lot of stress, depressed according to some accounts, the Sultan was weaker than he let on, and he passed away that year, aged 56. His son Kutlug, of great fame, inherited the throne and a war.


Mu'izz ad-Din's children. He was survived by two sons, Kutlug and Sönmez, the latter born in 1254. He also had numerous daughters, who, while they could not inherit lands under the traditional laws, were still very useful to conclude alliances. Marriages were concluded with the powerful Sultanate of Rum, but also with the threatening Mongols of the Ilkhanate and the Abbasid Caliph. This diplomacy greatly helped the Zengis survive despite being surrounded by more powerful rivals

And.... That's enough for today. As you have seen, though, while Mu'izz ad-Din is often forgotten in favor of his more prestigious successors, knowing what happened during his eventful reign is absolutely crucial in understanding how the Zengis bounced back to become a major local power again. Expect a lot of this content to be in the test - tomorrow I'll lecture you about the achievements of Kutlug, which you should already all be familiar with to an extent.
 

Yvanoff

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Hum, and if I may ask one question - the updates are bigger than I thought they would be (and I'm already forgetting tons of interesting and mildly important stuff happening in neighboring realms) and looking at other AARs the "one update per day" format doesn't seem very widespread.
So is the current rate of updates fine for you or would you prefer to have it reduced to one every 2/3 days ? Since I'm currently writing the updates in advance (more than 25% of the AAR is done by now, tonight I should've added another 10% to this progression) the rate of update is fully in my control and I can change it if you so wish
 

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Hum, and if I may ask one question - the updates are bigger than I thought they would be (and I'm already forgetting tons of interesting and mildly important stuff happening in neighboring realms) and looking at other AARs the "one update per day" format doesn't seem very widespread.
So is the current rate of updates fine for you or would you prefer to have it reduced to one every 2/3 days ? Since I'm currently writing the updates in advance (more than 25% of the AAR is done by now, tonight I should've added another 10% to this progression) the rate of update is fully in my control and I can change it if you so wish
My experience (reading and writing AARs) is that if you post daily with big updates, you will proportionally decrease the number of comments you get, as people fall behind and then don’t comment because they’re not up to date. Depends how much you want such comments.

It’s certainly also a characteristic of start-up AARs, especially by a first time writer, to post very frequently at first, when the initial enthusiasm is there (and perhaps a patch of time is available) and you rush the eps out. I certainly did it on my first one. I hadn’t received a single comment until I’d put up a big intro and 11 large chapters in 15 days! I was getting worried, I can tell you.

I could see I was getting a few reads, but no comments, at all!? :confused::eek: They came after a while, and the publishing pace slowed down as my annual holidays finished, and it settled into a routine. The same AAR is going more than three years later and now gets plenty of comments, currently with an ep every 10-14 days (but that’s because it’s competing with three other AARs, plus the ones I read and comment on, plus RL ;)).

If you just want to get it out there, go as fast as you like. If you want to have as many comments as possible and an active discussion in between each episode, my rule of thumb is to wait until about a day or two after all new comments on the last episode seem to have dried up. You can take your pick anywhere along that line, purely up to you and what you want (and maybe how long your eps are).

There are some great writers on here who go from almost daily sometimes on two different AARs at once (say @Eurasia) but with shorter eps, to frequent publishers who often outpace their readers with longer eps but just wants to get it out there (eg the great @coz1), but finds the comments are sometime fewer because of it, as people catch up, or the CK2 doyen @JabberJock14, who usually publishes very big and action packed narrative and character driven at a regular but not as frequent rate, and has amazing and long comment discussions in between. All are valid, of course.

So I’m tracking your AAR and enjoying it, but must fit that into writing four AARs and reading and commenting actively on around another 12-15 AARs at any one time, and glancing in or trying out others. It’s easy to lose track and fall behind. :eek:;) You will find the pace and amount of feedback you’re happy with. Really, my main piece of advice is keep to something you and your readers can sustain that gives the amount of comments you desire. :)

Now I have to go back and read your latest chapter! :D I only went into such detail here as I had been there, done that myself and it struck a chord. I’ve seen seasoned writAARs struggle with same question.
 

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Yeah, I think a slower pace would be good. I do love the lecture format though. I'm surprised it hasn't been used before. It might be bad for character work. If you want to do that sort of thing maybe have the class read a primary source like a letter or something. Hell if you want a side topic you could have one of the students do an essay, complete with the teacher's failing comments.
 

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He kept ruling over the Sheikhdom of Irbil until 1274, when he was accused of heresy and burnt at the stake by his new liege, Sultan Kayqubad II of Rum. The poor guy did not have a lot of luck in his reign.
Definitely unlucky - burnt at the stake by your liege? :eek:

Mu'zz ad-Din, already Sultan of al-Jazira and Emir of Mosul and Mudar, could now proclaim himself Emir of al-Jazira.
He had built much from little by then.

His presence in the battle of Amorion, which pitched the Sultanate of Rum against the Orthodox Golden Horde, is recorded by several sources.
Don't you love the little alternate developments the game produces? :)

But the Sultan would never see his ambition of a united Zengi Syria come true. Under a lot of stress, depressed according to some accounts, the Sultan was weaker than he let on, and he passed away that year, aged 56.
He burned brightly until he burned himself out. Still, he has passed on a great legacy for his son to build upon.

Another excellent episode and a good length, I thought.
 

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The current pace is fine for me, but feel free to adjust it as and when needed :)
So that's one vote for the status quo, but not a very strong one. Thank you for the comment, btw - it is appreciated :)

Now I have to go back and read your latest chapter! :D I only went into such detail here as I had been there, done that myself and it struck a chord. I’ve seen seasoned writAARs struggle with same question.
Thank you very much for all your feedback ! I'm not totally a stranger to this kind of project, I've done similar things before - but not here, and not on the scale of this AAR. I have to say that I started this AAR with the idea of "getting it out there", as you put it - but I would be lying if I said comments aren't appreciated. I know some people actively ask for comments, and I try not to do that because IMHO it's up to the reader to comment or not depending on how he/she feels (also I tend not to comment on AARs I read, so it would be hypocritical of me to ask for comments on my own AAR !). But I can't deny that it feels great to have people posting :D
That also counts as a not strong vote for status quo, btw ;)

Yeah, I think a slower pace would be good. I do love the lecture format though. I'm surprised it hasn't been used before. It might be bad for character work. If you want to do that sort of thing maybe have the class read a primary source like a letter or something. Hell if you want a side topic you could have one of the students do an essay, complete with the teacher's failing comments.
And here we have a strong vote in favor of a slower pace ! Very well then, I'll be switching to a "one update every other day model" then - don't hesitate to ask for a slower speed if it's still too fast ! I know I'm asking for a lot of time from the reader, but now that I found my feet and my rhythm in preparing the updates I'm a bit unwilling to change the size too much, but I can change the rate of updates
Thank you very much for the post, by the way ! And for the suggestion too - I didn't have that in mind, it's a clever idea. To be honest I'm not sure if I will be using it, because I didn't plan to do too much character work, but... the idea is there and it's a good one, so I'll see

Definitely unlucky - burnt at the stake by your liege? :eek:
I don't think the Zengis can comment too much on this though - I certainly did execute a number of apostates during this playthrough :D I don't think any of them had a rank higher than baron though

Don't you love the little alternate developments the game produces? :)
Errrr.... We'll see about that, ok ? :D

He burned brightly until he burned himself out. Still, he has passed on a great legacy for his son to build upon.
Indeed, indeed ! A pretty good rule, I think Mu'izz ad-Din can be proud of himself

Another excellent episode and a good length, I thought.
Thank you very much ! Good that the length is fine for you, the next 4 updates will be approximately the same