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volksmarschall

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Hello AARland, I am your humble (maybe) host volksmarschall! Welcome to yet another AAR of impulse! I will be accompanying you all on journey across the Mediterranean World (both historical and in-game) as it relates to a game as it mostly pertains to the reign of Charles I de Trastámara. While the title of the AAR states this work will cover what happens during Charles’ reign, there will be much more to this AAR than what the title might imply (I will be writing this in homage to the Annales School of “Total History”, much like my other ongoing AAR The Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization).

This AAR will be written in history-book format in the typical volksmarschall tradition for those of you familiar with my work. For those who are not, that means this is a text-driven AAR with just enough images to please the eyes (from paintings to screenshots, etc., but hopefully a few more screenshots than usual). Naturally, I will set out basic rules: no cheating, gamey-tactics, reloads, etc. Furthermore, I claim no ownership to any pictures or images used in this production, all rights should go to their rightful owner!

I like to give “bonus points” for those who catch my cultural/historical homages, so the first one to name the two books that I pay my respect to in the naming of my AAR will get the bonus points! Happy hunting, and welcome to our latest product! And I specifically included the Annales School of Historiography to provide a hint to the historian whose work I am primarily giving homage to, although the “other guy” deserves some credit as well.

Note: This AAR will be somewhat unconventional as it will need really read chronologically, but be written in frame narrative. I plan to take everyone on a journey across the history of the Mediterranean, and perhaps, just perhaps, one might start to realize the underlying theme of the work as it relates to my game with Aragon/Spain.

Table of Contents:

Prologue (below)

Part One: Civilizations of the Mediterranean

Ch. I - Classical Civilizations
The Greeks
The Phoenicians
The Rise of Carthage
The Fall of Carthage

The Romans
 
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volksmarschall

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Prologue

Of all the seas in the world, the Mediterranean is the greatest. It has been the sea upon which the rise and fall of civilizations and empires have taken place. The Mediterranean is the birthplace of western civilization, the bridge between the East and West, and the stage for some of the greatest works in human literature and mythology. From the Phoenicians to the Greeks to the Romans to the clash of civilizations between Islam and Christianity, the Mediterranean has been a place of great tragedy, chaos, triumph, and failure.

While today, the Mediterranean is a tourist destination, a place for great luxury and relaxation, 500 years ago, the Mediterranean was the bedrock for the oncoming clash of two great powers, two great civilizations, and two great religions that would give rise to the foundational Mediterranean so many tourists travel to. Beneath the scenic seas lay the many ships, bodies, weapons, and cartons of cargo long forgotten from our history. This work will be an analysis of not only the great political struggle that rocked this very sea to her foundations, but also serve as an analysis of the entire Mediterranean Sea; her peoples, cultures, customs, logistics, and influences that all helped to shape the sea that served as the great collision of two empires that would determine the fate of Europe and perhaps, the entire world.

Of all the figures in Mediterranean history, no single ruler stands out more than the man who dominated the sixteenth century Mediterranean, eventually cementing western dominance over the Mediterranean, confronting and laying the foundation to challenge the greatest threat to Western Europe itself! Although I have my own suspects of declaring an entire age after a single person, particularly a ruler, in this case it seems most applicable. Charles I de Trastámara, when he ascended to the throne, was just one of many players on the Mediterranean, which included both illustrious and tragic characters and peoples like Charles IX of France, the various Doges of Venice, Pope Paulus II, Fernando V of Castile, and the Ottoman Sultans Baeyzid I and Abdulaziz “The Magnificent”, all of whom contributed to the creation of the modern Mediterranean during the age of Charles among many others.


~ The Mediterranean just after the birth of Charles, son of Prince Ferdinand (III) – the presumptive heir to King Ferdinand II of the Crown of Aragon, thus making Charles the second-in-line to the Crown of Aragon.

The world inherited by Ferdinand III, being the same world that Charles was raised in, had been won over several centuries of Reconquista between the proto-Spaniards against the various Islamic emirates and caliphates who were the scions of the Umayyad Dynasty in Spain. As such, we conventionally call these Muslim people of Spain “The Moors,” whom I shall cover shortly in the very beginning of my work – but it should be known that the use of the word “Moor” is anachronistic in the sense that there never was a Moorish people nor was there ever a Moorish Empire in the strictest sense of the word. The many centuries of Reconquista led to the formation of the Crown of Aragon as one of the great Iberian Catholic powers, the other being Castile, the two of whom would foster a rivalry between one another in the decades prior to the birth of Charles for control of the Iberian Peninsula.

Wars with France, Castile, the “Moors” and the exploits of Charles’ father, grandfather, and great grandfather – Ferdinand III, Ferdinand II, and Martin II, respectively, laid the foundation for the world Charles was raised in and the world he would come to inherit when he eventually ascended to the throne. Indeed, the Crown of Aragon had amassed a vast trading empire that rivaled and surpassed that of Carthage that stretched from the Caribbean and coast of Brazil to the many markets and harbors of the Mediterranean Sea. The introduction of certain cash crops to Europe from Spanish colonies from the New World would also have the remarkable impact on helping to form the Spanish Empire that struggled with others and eventually rose to preeminence during his reign.

Yet, while Charles accomplished so much, the results of his accomplishments lay also with his father, Ferdinand III. Ferdinand III’s reign cemented the lasting hegemonic power of Aragon over the Western Mediterranean and created, without a doubt, the Crown’s claimant to forming the Spanish Empire. Additionally, Ferdinand III began to expand aggressively in the New World against their colonial rivals Portugal (albeit Portugal was a military ally back in Europe). The Portuguese Empire stretched from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco to Bermuda and to Long Island, being the first to start colonization of North America whereas the Crown of Aragon concentrated its efforts in Central and South America. All of this happening while Charles was bearing reared by his father to inherit the great kingdom and transform it into an empire whose chief rival in the world wasn’t Portugal or France – but the great Ottoman Empire whose rise in the Eastern Mediterranean would lead it into conflict with Charles just like the old Roman-Punic Rivalry that brought Carthage and Rome into a path of collision. Of all of Ferdinand III’s accomplishments, perhaps the greatest – which dazzled all of Europe, was the stunning victory over the Maya at the Petén Basin where a Mayan Army three times the size of Aragonese Army of Andrew de Luna was defeated in one of the greatest upsets in military history in which the young Mayan chief Chaan Muan II was also captured in a battle that lasted less than 30 minutes!


~ The young teenage boy, Charles, at his coronation when he became King of the Crown of Aragon on 20 August, 1521. At the age of 16 and much to accomplish, the sixteenth century Mediterranean would be the nexus of the great confrontation and wealth of the world during the Age of Charles I.

As I alluded to earlier, this work will be an analysis of not only the reign of Charles, but an in-depth study of the world he inherited, the world that influenced his world he had political control over, and the clash of empires that could only have one victor. It is my expectation to also highlight how events that seemingly have no apparent importance to the heart of our story, did in fact, play a significant role in shaping the Mediterranean world, even if such events were half a world away. If the world is stage, the greatest stage is arguably the greatest sea the world has ever known.
 
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Director

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I confess that when I read the title I thought first of the lamentable Charles I of England and wondered how you would connect him to the Mediterranean.

Good to see you writing again volksmarschall. I will be reading.
 

volksmarschall

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I confess that when I read the title I thought first of the lamentable Charles I of England and wondered how you would connect him to the Mediterranean.

Good to see you writing again volksmarschall. I will be reading.

Haha! I was thinking of adding "de Trastamara" into the thread's title since I am transliterating most of the Catalan/Spanish names to provide a little better indication of who I am since, as you said, "Charles I" sounds very English instead of Carles I... (it was too long for me to want to do that)

That said, I can't quite remember what movie or show Alec Guinness plays the poor Charles I. I think it might be Cromwell. Watch that ages ago...

Glad to see you here Director, although - I'll be up and away in Boston when you and some of the Paradox crowd will be in Charlotte! :(
 

tnick0225

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Well I keep meaning to go read your Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization Read the first few updates, just haven't had time to get back to it yet. So I'm also looking forward to this one :)

On that note, the world looks rather interesting...as in that Bosnia is crazy!!!

Should be interesting to see how Carlos fares in the Mediterranean.
 

the_evil_one44

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Well I keep meaning to go read your Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization Read the first few updates, just haven't had time to get back to it yet. So I'm also looking forward to this one :)

On that note, the world looks rather interesting...as in that Bosnia is crazy!!!

Should be interesting to see how Carlos fares in the Mediterranean.


I agree-that is a very nice Bosnia. It'll be interesting to see If they survive the Ottomans.
 

volksmarschall

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Well I keep meaning to go read your Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization Read the first few updates, just haven't had time to get back to it yet. So I'm also looking forward to this one :)

On that note, the world looks rather interesting...as in that Bosnia is crazy!!!

Should be interesting to see how Carlos fares in the Mediterranean.

Well, I would still of course encourage you to delve into Decline and Fall, if you have the time since - as you have noticed by reading the first few updates, it is heavy text AAR. But this should compensate because I will be writing in the same Annales Historiographical manner for this AAR as well (although this will be in historical frame narrative rather than chronological like Decline).

Ah yes, Bosnia is pretty impressive - but they're the new "shield of Europe," but they have some powerful friends.

Btw, I should probably let you know by commenting on your incredible Welfs AAR in CKII, but alas, I haven't caught up with it fully even though it is superb read! No surprise it has so many accolades! ;)

I agree-that is a very nice Bosnia. It'll be interesting to see If they survive the Ottomans.

Well, I know what happens! :p And in explaining the Mediterranean World, you all will learn how Bosnia became the Balkan Orthodox Giant!

I feel obliged to inform all the readers that even though the subtitle is "The Mediterranean World of Charles I" (King of Aragon/Spain), so much of this AAR (at least how I intend to write it) will actually be focusing on so many other countries outside of my own (whereby frame references to Charles and my Spanish Empire will fill in the gap until I finally reach to the part where I intend to write on the World of Charles a la as Charles himself presided over it).
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter I: Classical Civilizations

The Greeks

One might ask, and perhaps rightfully so, what do the ancient Greeks of Antiquity have to do with the formation of the Mediterranean World in the Age of Charles I of Aragon and Spain some 2,000 years later? At the face of it, it would appear as if the two civilizations and two empires are so far separated by time and technology that they have no relationship to the world that Charles was born and raised in, and eventually came into a great conflict with the Ottomans for domination of the sea at the center of the world. It is my intention to highlight histoire Longue durée (the long duration of history popularized by the great Ferdinand Braudel) and hopefully show how seemingly unrelated events and moments in history have a deep impact in the world that we live in today. History only gets one run, so what happened even long ago has a deep and meaningful influence upon the Mediterranean world of Charles I.

The Greek civilization is the first Western civilization in the dichotomization of the global civilizations. Primitive democracy, which had little resemblance of contemporary democracy which finds its roots in the Protestant Reformation, is generally highlighted as being among the many reasons why the Greeks are the mother of Western civilization. The Persians, one of the great opponents of the later Greek city states, was a major threat the Greeks had to deal with when the Persian King Xerxes gathered a large invasion force to cross into the Greek homelands. The factional and rivalrous Greeks who were busy squabbling among themselves for dominance in the Mediterranean - as Greek colonies had spread from Anatolia to Italy and Sicily, Xerxes invasion finally united the powerful Greek nations just as Agamemnon had done during the Greek conquest of Troy some many generations prior.

Indeed, had the Greeks not united and confronted the Persian invasion by forces, much of the world could have been starkly different. The philosophies and sciences of the Greeks, typified by men like Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Epicurus, and Democritus may have been lost if were not for the Persian incursion and invasion. Almost paradoxically, the rise of Persia led to the Greeks incorporating Zoroastrian philosophy into their own philosophy, which in turn, influenced the development of Christian theology and philosophy when the Early Church Fathers and the Medieval Scholastics spent their time synthesizing Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. Thus, in a way, the intellectual and scientific tradition of the West comes from the East. But, perhaps more important was the victory of the Greeks at Salamis ensured that the Mediterranean would become a lake for the Western civilizations to contest over.

A fledgling Rome was not a power that would have been able to stop the prospective conquest of the “King of Kings” (the title the Persian rulers had given themselves) had the Greeks failed to stop the Persian invasion. Thus, had the Persians been able to capitalize on their early victories and had defeated the Greeks, the Mediterranean World of Charles I would have been radically different. In so many ways, the Mediterranean of Charles I mirrors the Mediterranean world more than 2000 years ago. Another great power was rising in the East - the Ottomans, who would come to inherent and absorbed the great Hellenic empires and all of their traditions ever since the birth of Muhammad and the rise of Islam. Thus, Charles always invoked himself as the new Leonidas in his bid to attain Mediterranean mastery against the new Xerxes, the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz “The Magnificent.”

Just as the Battle of Salamis cemented the birth of a Western Mediterranean world, the victory won by Charles’ father, King Ferdinand III at the Battle of Toledo against the French would give birth to a Spanish Mediterranean that Charles inherited. After being defeated in a string of battles against the mighty French armies, the tremendous victory at Toledo, which I shall cover in greater detail in my work, is the seminal moment in Spanish history that united the Iberian Peninsula behind the House of Trastámara and gave rise to Spain as the pre-eminent military power in Europe for well over a century!



The victory of the Greeks over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis (at top) was a critical moment in the formation of the modern Mediterranean Sea, it ensured the expansion of Western civilization over the entire Mediterranean Basin. Below, the Battle of Toledo fought on July 15, 1508 - was the seminal moment in the rise of Spain and cemented Spanish dominance over the Western Mediterranean basin for the next century to come! Charles I, reflecting on the victory won by his father Ferdinand III (present at the battle), called it "Our Salamis."

The Greeks themselves were a people rich in history and tradition. Not only are they the forerunners of Western civilization, the Hellenization of the “Known World” in the conquests of Alexander the Great was also a tremendous accomplishment, even though the Wars of the Diadochi weakened the fragmented and splintered Greek Empires and they, one by one, fell to the conquests of the Roman Republic before her transition to the Roman Empire. In many ways, the Romans themselves were Greek. Roman tradition and mythology, beginning with Virgil’s Aeneid , maintained that the Roman state and Roman people were the descendants of Aeneid, the survivor of the Siege of Troy. The Roman gods and goddesses were Latinized versions of the Greek gods. Roman philosophy and political theory was indebted to Greek philosophy and so forth.

The Greeks were great traders and colonizers, much like the Spanish under Charles. Their empire and civilization came to stretch across the entire Mediterranean basin, primarily to gain the lucrative trade routes that had been established over centuries of explorations and inter-cultural communications. The great trading network that the Spanish and Ottomans would contest one another over was the product of the the cementing of Greco-Phoenician relationships. The great Semitic civilization of the Phoenicians had, centuries prior to the Greco-Persian conflict, had seen Phoenician traders reach as far as the Straits of Gibraltar and establish the world’s first major sea trading network. After the Phoenicians had faded away, the Phoenician colony of Carthage and the explorations and colonization of the Greeks helped to build upon the foundation of the Phoenician trading networks. Thus, the Greeks were indispensable in preserving and expanding the vast network of sea trade started by the ancestors of Queen Dido.

The Greeks, being the forerunners of Western civilization and classical learning, would give the West a remarkable intellectual tradition passed down by various groups and institutions over their heyday had long passed. The Roman intellectual tradition was indebted to the Greeks. The Christian intellectual tradition, which preserved the tradition of Greek scholasticism, science, and philosophy, kept the torch of Western thought alive after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and Europe entered its “Dark Age.” The only institution in the West that preserved the torch of enlightenment, high culture, and education was the Catholic Church. Thus, the Church itself nurtured an infant Western society until the period of the Renaissance which begins with the influx of Byzantine Greek scholars fleeing the conquests of the Ottoman Empire. The Byzantines, although the heirs of the Roman Empire, were culturally, linguistically, and intellectual a Greek people (but one could say the Romans were Greek as well). After the fall of Constantinople in 1449 to the Turks,* Byzantine scientists and philosophers fled across the Mediterranean to places like Italy and Spain and brought with them a greater volume of classic Greek wisdom which sparked the Renaissance.

Nearly 2000 years after the classical Greek civilization had disappeared, the Greeks had given birth to the “great awakening” of the Renaissance which influenced the formation and identity of Western Europe and helped to create three of the great intellectual revolutions that all occurred during the reign of Charles I: The Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution.



The Reformation and Counter Reformation, two of the most important events in the development of Western intellectual history and thought, have their roots in classical Greek philosophy. Reformation theology and Counter Reformation theology saw a renaissance in Greek scholasticism and philosophy as Protestant and Catholic defenders of the faith used the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and others to validate their positions. Spain would become a seat of power for the Counter Reformation under Charles I.

All of this may have been lost to us if were not for the Greeks and their accomplishments at Thermopolyae and Salamis. Indeed, the Greeks themselves influenced the Arabs and Islamic tradition as well. Greek science and philosophy experienced a renaissance in the great Islamic Arab empires of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages as their conquests of the Byzantine Levant exposed them to the workings and teachings of the Greek Atomists and philosophies of Plato and Aristotle which helped give birth to the Hanafi Legal tradition - the Hanafi School being the most progressive of the major Islamic legal traditions which was embraced by the Ottoman Empire, which was arguably the most progressive Empire and people in the world until the rise of the Enlightenment.

The Mediterranean world of Charles I was a Mediterranean that was preserved and reinforced by the Greeks two millennia ago. Thus, the legacy of the Greeks cannot be understated. The rise of the Roman and Arab civilizations, which also contribute to the Mediterranean world of Charles I are indebted to the Greeks. Thus, I shall naturally write about the importance of the Romans and Arabs in their contributions to the world of Charles I in the sixteenth century. Furthermore, I have stated that the Greeks preserved and reinforced the foundational Mediterranean that had been created by the Phoenicians and the heirs of the Phoenicians - the Carthaginians. The importance of the classical civilizations in the foundation, development, and preservation of the Mediterranean would come to a threshold with the Fall of Rome and the rise of the Barbarian successor kingdoms who allowed the great logistical infrastructure established by the Phoenicians, preserved by the Greeks, expanded by the Romans, then rebuilt by the Arabs and the successor Islamic civilizations that came into conflict with the Western Europeans who would inherit and absorb this Mediterranean world built many millennia ago are indispensable in understanding the world of Charles I and why a great Mediterranean Kingdom came to conquer the New World and eventually led them into a clash with the Ottomans where the fate and destiny of the world was in balance.


*Obviously, OTL the Fall of Constantinople happened in 1453. But as this is an AAR, although I am also included much OTL history in it, has to reflect gameplay developments as well. The Fall of Constantinople occurred in 1449 in TTL.
 
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Beautiful formatting and a great read, being unfamiliar with the subject matter. Subscribed.
 

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About the book minigame, I suggest that: Fernand Braudel,La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l'époque de Philippe II, has been made an homage to. :) (a great 3 tomes book)
 

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Of all of Ferdinand III’s accomplishments, perhaps the greatest – which dazzled all of Europe, was the stunning victory over the Maya at the Petén Basin where a Mayan Army three times the size of Aragonese Army of Andrew de Luna was defeated in one of the greatest upsets in military history in which the young Mayan chief Chaan Muan II was also captured in a battle that lasted less than 30 minutes!
So, in this TL, this isn't the expected result? Are Maya westernized?
 

volksmarschall

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Beautiful formatting and a great read, being unfamiliar with the subject matter. Subscribed.

A very interesting format - at least through the first part of this AAR. One might find striking the parallelism of Mediterranean history as it relates to TTL (my game as Aragon)! :)

About the book minigame, I suggest that: Fernand Braudel,La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l'époque de Philippe II, has been made an homage to. :) (a great 3 tomes book)

The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II is one of my favorite works of history ever. Period. Braudel is also among my favorite historians. Of course, a good Frenchman as yourself (seeing your location also says Lyon) - I am not surprised you knew this! :) If you continue reading, you might find I have more than just a titular homage to him too! :cool:

So, in this TL, this isn't the expected result? Are Maya westernized?

As someone who writes and lectures in history as a profession, the AARs I write are highly "not the usual" (since they read like history books). It is very easy for us in the 21st Century to read such a statement and say "So what, that's what happened anyway" (and yes, the game mechanics reflect such engagements). However, it is my responsibility as a historian to ask "why" this happened. When I get to the Aragonese/Spanish conquest of the New World, much like Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel, I will analyze why things happened the way they did. Furthermore, back in the 16th Century - such accomplishments did stun Europe for no one back then would have expected such outcomes as a few hundred Spanish defeating tens of thousands of indigenous native warriors.

Cheers! :)
 

DensleyBlair

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[...]although the “other guy” deserves some credit as well[...]

Would he be David Abulafia? (Thank you Google! :D)

I must say, I meet the fact that you haven't informed me of this fine work earlier with positive indignation! I'm sure this will be just as good as your excellent The Revolution's Greatest Foe, and I look forward to catching up with the first few updates some time soon.
 

volksmarschall

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Would he be David Abulafia? (Thank you Google! :D)

Hmm, I do believe he wrote a book that I read called "The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean" to which I just added [est] to Great for part of this AARs title! :p Although Ferdinand Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II is really the catalyst that has influenced me to want to do this radically different approach to an AAR.

Hurray for frame history! :cool:
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter I: Classical Civilizations

The Phoenicians

While the Greeks had thwarted Persia’s bid for universal empire which ensured that the Mediterranean would be dominated by the developing Western civilizations of Antiquity, the civilization that built the foundation of the Mediterranean were the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were Semitic people that sprang up in modern day Lebanon in the 13th Century B.C.E. The Phoenicians, who were surrounded by powerful empires throughout their existence, the Hittites to the north, the Egyptians and Israelites to the South, and the Babylonians and later the Persians to the east, naturally took to the sea to find save heaven and expansion. Thus, the Phoenicians were among the first great seafaring peoples in human history. Based out of Tyre, Phoenician traders moved west into the heart of the Mediterranean and began colonizing long before the Greeks and Romans would do the same.

The Phoenicians built the vast and wealthy trading network that Charles I came to inherit at his ascension to the throne of Aragon in 1521. The Mediterranean’s rich trading network that stretched from the Levant to the Straits of Gibraltar was carved out by Phoenician traders. More than two millennia later, the same trading routes were the sight of great conflict and rivalry by the Spanish, Italians, and the Turks. While it is true that the Greeks reinforced this network of trade, the Phoenicians had laid the foundation. Thus, the Mediterranean was the first great seat of naval exploration and the birth of the naval tradition that epitomizes the prestige of empires. It should come as no surprise that the Spanish inherited this great naval tradition as they rose to power in their own right. Just as Phoenician explorers mapped the Mediterranean and established the first “global” trading empire, the Spanish and Italian explorers in the service to the Aragonese Kings followed the Phoenicians in this great tradition. The beginnings of the Spanish trading empire that dominated the Caribbean, Africa, and India has its roots in the Phoenician Mediterranean trade that made Phoenicia one the greatest (but forgotten) civilizations the world has ever seen.

The galley, a ship that became famous for extensive service in the Mediterranean Sea since the age of Antiquity to the great naval battles between the Ottoman and Spanish Empires, were first crafted by Phoenician shipbuilders for the navigable abilities in the waters of the Mediterranean. The double-mast galleys that became famous by the Romans, Greeks, and the Europeans and Turks were among the finest specimens of human ingenuity and design in our entire history. Indeed, the Mediterranean would become the sea of the galley for more than 2,000 years! The galley took Phoenician traders and explorers to every corner of the sea, and brought back the wealth and luxury of distant lands like the Iberia, Italy, and North Africa. This wealth was so profound, it prompted the Phoenicians to take to the same seas to begin colonizing, thus, not only were the Phoenicians among the first great seafaring peoples, they were also among the first great colonizers. While the Spanish explorations were no longer using galleys to explore the unknown western oceans – for they would have sunk, the long tradition of seafaring has its beginnings in the Mediterranean Sea by the Phoenicians.


A Phoenician built galley - the type used to explore the Mediterranean Sea under the Phoenician Empire.


King Martin II of Aragon hires the explorer Martin Pena to begin exploring for a direct trade route westward to India in 1484.

Phoenician exploration mapped out North Africa, Italy, Southern France, and Iberia. The most important colony of the Phoenicians was Carthage, founded sometime in the 9th Century, long after the fabled tale of Aeneas and Queen Dido in Virgil’s epic work. Nonetheless, Carthage was rather undistinguished at this point in her history, although she would replace her colonial founders as the next great civilization in the Mediterranean which I will cover shortly.

Another important contribution from the Phoenicians to the Mediterranean world of Charles was the Phoenician alphabet. While forms of writing and other formalized recorded means of communication had begun in Sumer, the Phoenicians were among the first to develop a proper alphabet – which helped them in the expansion across the Mediterranean and guided them in the mastery of the sea for several centuries. The Phoenician language was understood by the proto-Italians and the Greeks, for among the first known documents outlining trade agreements was between the Etruscans and the Phoenicians. Not only is the development of language important in human history – the interaction between cultures and societies is also just as important. Societies and civilizations that have historically isolated themselves, particularly economically – have been the battering ram of destitution and often, extinction.

Thus, the formalization of the Phoenician alphabet helped to build the first international markets for trade that had been opened by Phoenician exploration and colonization. These new markets and trade agreements were then documented between the multiple parties to ensure a fair deal amongst each other. Without an alphabet, it is difficult for people to understand and to know one another – thus, the expansion of the Phoenicians meant the expansion of the Phoenician alphabet, which was recorded by the Greeks and proto-Italians, which influenced their own alphabets. The Greek alphabet shares some commonality with the Phoenician alphabet. Thus, when the Greek alphabet influenced the Latin alphabet and the Latin alphabet influenced the development of the Romance languages of which Catalan and Spanish derive from – the very language that Charles spoke has its roots in the Phoenician language. In a way then, the Romance languages are indebted to the Phoenician alphabet, and the thus, the common tongue used by speakers in the Mediterranean World of Charles I comes from the Phoenician alphabet that was expanded across the Mediterranean 3000 years ago.

The Spanish followed the Phoenicians in so many ways that cannot be but a coincidence in the history of the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians were among the first great seafaring peoples. They were among the first great colonizers. They opened international trading markets. And they conquered the Mediterranean with their language. The Spanish were among the greatest seafaring people in the age of discovery. They amassed the greatest colonial empire, which saw its greatest expansion during the reign of Charles I. They opened new markets, as well as exploited them and dominated them (just like the Phoenicians). And furthermore, the explosion of the Spanish language across the world is the result of Spanish colonization. Spanish speakers can be found in all over North and South America, and even in the Pacific and Indian Subcontinent because of the extent of Spanish exploration, trade, and colonization. As the Phoenician traders and explorers charted new waters, so did the great explorers in the service of the Crown of Aragon and Spain. Martin Pena, one of the greatest Spanish explorers, started his career by exploring the coasts of Africa.




Explorer Martin Pena heads south along the coast of Africa and discovers the "Gold Coast." The Gold Coast would eventually become a Spanish Colony and be the base of operations for the Spanish Gold Coast Company during the reign of Charles I, and was an important harbor stop for Spanish trade ships bringing spices and other goods from the East Asian trade routes back to Spain in the sixteenth century!

Over time, he was determined to make the trek to India via a direct route west. He set sail, like the Phoenician explorers before him – determined to open the world to discovery and trade. In 1486, he landed in Brazil – having discovered a new world in the process! For next decade, Spanish exploration missions mapped the coasts of North and South America. The discovery of Brazil marked the beginning of a European colonial race in the new world, which initially pitted Aragon against Portugal (who had a latter start because of their colonization of West Africa). Eventually, the Kingdoms of Castile and England would follow in the same footsteps.

The discovery of Brazil, as crazy as it sounds, also has a tremendous impact upon the formation of the contemporary Mediterranean world. At the time, the hope of Aragon was overseas. The discovery of Brazil opened a vast new market of cash crops that provided the wealth of the Spanish Empire. Not only was there a steady supply of gold and silver flowing into Spanish coffers, but the most important influx of wealth into the Spanish Empire were the cash crops of sugar, tobacco, and cocoa. The wealth of these crops ensured a steady flow of gold to Spain as Spanish merchants crossed the world and provided the wanton desires of Europeans with the great crops of America. The wealth of the Americas helped to build the Spanish Empire, just as the wealth of the western Mediterranean built the great Phoenician civilization.

Yet, the Phoenicians of the Levant were eventually overshadowed by Carthage during the decline of Phoenicians. When the Phoenicians in Lebanon died out, conquered by Persia, the new great power of the Mediterranean was the Phoenician empire of Carthage. The wealth and tradition of Carthage was akin to the Phoenicians, Carthage’s wealth would draw legions of peoples from other cultures into her ports and cities. Carthage became the world’s first international city, the city of new beginnings, and the city of great power and wealth. Carthage inherited the lost Phoenician Empire’s trading empire, and her wealth eventually led her into conflict with another rising power – Rome. More than 1500 years after the Roman-Punic Rivalry rocked the Mediterranean Sea, the Spanish-Ottoman rivalry shook the sea to its very core!
 
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MiniaAr

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The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II is one of my favorite works of history ever. Period. Braudel is also among my favorite historians. Of course, a good Frenchman as yourself (seeing your location also says Lyon) - I am not surprised you knew this! :) If you continue reading, you might find I have more than just a titular homage to him too! :cool:
Well as a Frenchman and an amateur of history, yes, I've read Braudel, indeed. ;) I will surely follow your AAR and I am really interested in how you would explain colonisation in your game's timeline. :)
 

tnick0225

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Btw, I should probably let you know by commenting on your incredible Welfs AAR in CKII, but alas, I haven't caught up with it fully even though it is superb read! No surprise it has so many accolades! ;)

Why thank you :) hope you are able to catch up to present on it someday. I've slowed my rates of updates down to more or less one sometimes two a week.

And I will definitely try to catch up on your Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization every time I open that up I realize I need to start reading my abridged version of Gibbons. Set it aside a few years back somewhere around the reign of one of the Valentinians and never went back to it, probably because Tocqueville's Democracy in America stole me away for a while, and then real life stole me away from both as it usually does.

But onto the two updates of yours I just read...very great pieces, I like how you mix in ancient history to the Spanish Empire of Charles. Especially since ancient history is one of the few parts of history I have a large knowledge of :) The time periods from CKII through about 1700, I'm fairly clueless about save for like the Borgia papacy which has always been a weird favorite of mine.
 
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Another volksmarschall AAR, count me in! Like the unconventional focus on a geographic region, and I look forward to the level of detail we have come to expect from your writing :)
 

DensleyBlair

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It seems your explorer is actually going towards India. Now there's a novelty! :)

A very interesting look at a civilisation with whom I'm not all too familiar (ancient history isn't one of my strong points...) and interesting as ever to see how our historian manages to link nigh on every point back to Carles. Certainly a unique way to write a history – or, at least, an AAR.
 

volksmarschall

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Well as a Frenchman and an amateur of history, yes, I've read Braudel, indeed. ;) I will surely follow your AAR and I am really interested in how you would explain colonisation in your game's timeline. :)

Anybody who has read Braudel is more than an amateur in my book! ;) Of course, I think Part 2 will be "Geography of the Mediterranean" (I wonder where I got that idea from) and relate (via Jared Diamond) why Aragon came to conquer the new world!

Why thank you :) hope you are able to catch up to present on it someday. I've slowed my rates of updates down to more or less one sometimes two a week.

And I will definitely try to catch up on your Decline and Fall of Roman Civilization every time I open that up I realize I need to start reading my abridged version of Gibbons. Set it aside a few years back somewhere around the reign of one of the Valentinians and never went back to it, probably because Tocqueville's Democracy in America stole me away for a while, and then real life stole me away from both as it usually does.

Well, I'm sure I'll catch up someday soon, maybe the next month! :p I don't think I've picked up "Democracy in America" in like 5 or 6 years! maybe I should re-read him for fun! :p

But onto the two updates of yours I just read...very great pieces, I like how you mix in ancient history to the Spanish Empire of Charles. Especially since ancient history is one of the few parts of history I have a large knowledge of :) The time periods from CKII through about 1700, I'm fairly clueless about save for like the Borgia papacy which has always been a weird favorite of mine.

I have often lamented that there is no PhD in "General History" since I tend to have a fluency (with high points and lower points scattered throughout) through world history (from the Mesopotamia forward). I read Simon Montefiore (sp?) Jerusalem: The Biography and saw an underlying current in his work is that world history can be retold through the history of the eternal city in the Holy Lands. It sort of just happened, I realized, "Hey, the history of Aragon/Spain resembles the past history of the Mediterranean..." :cool:

Another volksmarschall AAR, count me in! Like the unconventional focus on a geographic region, and I look forward to the level of detail we have come to expect from your writing :)

I hate the level of detail in my writing because I'm often writing updates with books on my side, while I really should be reading the books I have to get through for my work! :glare: :p But I appreciate that you think of my writing as being high quality!

...A very interesting look at a civilisation with whom I'm not all too familiar (ancient history isn't one of my strong points...) and interesting as ever to see how our historian manages to link nigh on every point back to Carles. Certainly a unique way to write a history – or, at least, an AAR.

I often joked with my History Advisor in university that I would "cheat" and just get a PhD. in classical history (Greeks/Romans, etc.) or as Medievalist because of my background knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew just so I wouldn't have to re-learn French (it's been 6 years! :eek: ) to do work as an Early Modern Europeanist. Of course, I have a soft spot for ancient history because of the "romantic" attachment to it!

What's with the imperial "our"! :p