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Duke Valentino
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Setup

I find that the setup for Persia in the vanilla grand campaign isn't very fair; to wit, the Ottoman Empire receives a core on every province it ever controlled, as well as four cultures, one of which is quite good (Arabic) and the other three of which (Turkish, Slavonic, Greek) are at least average. Persia, meanwhile, subsists with cores on little more than the modern Iranian state and has merely one culture. Also, Persia gets a profusion (dozens) of unavoidable "political instability" events that, in effect, punish you for having the temerity to play as Persia.

Hence, Persia in this game has been modified by use of the save file. It has cores over areas which were Persian possessions, and Baluchi, Kurdish, and Afghani cultures are added to it's list. Also, I added a trigger for centralization to the political instability events, so that a highly centralized Persia need not suffer them.

This is the sum of my changes to the game. It is played on Normal/Normal, autosave yearly. I have already played and written the entire AAR, so updates will be pretty quick and the AAR will be over in not too long.
 

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Prologue

Excerpted from My Journey Into the East: The Account of Christiaan Sutphen, Ambassador to Persia

My journey had begun in Amsterdam, 1809, when King Louis Buonaparte dispatched my father to Dutch India as governor. My father was then a burgher of some renown who had been suspected of anti-Bonapartist leanings, so posting him to such a distant land, even in a position of authority, was calculated to remove him as a threat. And so it did, my father never again saw his home in Holland--he was to die in Vishakapatnam.

I was at that time three years old, and in my father's entourage were tutors to give me an education as befitted a high official in the government of the Kingdom of Holland. I learned liberal principals, the biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, mathematics--and also I learned the local languages. I found that I had an unusual facility with Hindi and Bengali, and as I grew older my father drafted me as his personal interpreter and assistant. I was born to him late in life, and in his age he lost the ability or, more likely, the will to learn new languages. French and Dutch had served him all his days, and if he must rely heavily on his polyglot son, then so be it.

The tropical climate of India did not agree with my father, and his health declined over time. In 1826 he died; I elected not to return to Holland. It existed only hazily in my memory, and I had lived most of my life in Dutch India. I stayed on with the governor's office until 1834, when King Bonaparte ordered that an ambassador be sent to Isfahan, the capital of the Empire of Persia. Mohammad Shah of the Qajars had seized the throne and seemed to be the first dynamic monarch of that empire in decades, if not centuries. At that time little was known of Persia, except that it was enormous and vastly rich and powerful, and if a nation had interests in the near east, it was Persia that must be dealt with above all others. Because of my skill with language and long years of experience in statecraft, I was selected. I made preparations to charter a ship for Basrah, when a letter arrived from Mohammad Shah himself.

In it, he said that if I was to be an ambassador to Persia, I ought to at least see the lands of his domain. I was to travel by land the more than 2000 miles to Isfahan! It would be a long journey, but as the Shah demanded, so was I bound. I took a horses and a platoon of sepoy cavalry to defend me from dacoits, and I was underway by October 1835, with the best season for traveling through India before me. My first stop would be the eastern capital of Persia, the great city of the subcontinent, Delhi.
 

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Duke Valentino
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Part One

The Tribe of White Sheep

The story of modern Persia begins, oddly enough, with a Turkish tribal confederation in the Caucasus Mountains. The tribe of Ak Koyunlu, or the White Sheep, first established a presence in 1402, when they Tamburlane granted them authority over a part of Armenia and Kurdistan; their further expansion was blunted for some years by the presence of their cousins and enemies, the Kara Koyunlu, or Black Sheep. However, this was to change in 1419.

The Kara Koyunlu experienced some internal instability, with a portion of their population practicing the Shi'ite branch of the Muslim religion rather than the Sunni faith practiced by the Kara Koyunlu. In a pattern that would see itself repeated across the region in years to come, the Shi'ites rose up against their overlords. They found remarkable early success and took the Black Sheep capital of Tabriz as well as other provinces. The Kara Koyunlu rallied their forces, however, and were poised to reestablish control.

The tribe of the White Sheep had other ideas. They declared war, with the support of the resurgent Ottoman Empire, and swept through the Caucasus in their thousands. In a few years they had laid the Kara Koyunlu low, and the Ottomans negotiated a peace whereby the northern part of Mesopotamia would be surrendered to the Ak Koyunlu.

akk1422fm7.gif

This was only the first act in a remarkable era of expansion for the tribal confederation. For some 60 years they struck out in all directions, the terror of the Middle East. The thundering hooves of the Horde of the White Sheep swept their enemies from the field time and again. They captured Baghdad and Damascus, and even held Jerusalem and the Sinai for a time.

Wary of the fate that had befallen their Black Sheep rivals, the Ak Koyunlu carefully maintained a policy of conciliation with the Shi'ites, who by midcentury made up a majority of the population of the realm. While the demands of their religion would not allow outright toleration of the 'heretics', they stopped the pogroms and allowed the Shi'ites to practice their religion, if not openly, then at least in relative safety. This was of great help to their continuing expansion, because as the Shi'ite Persians chafed under the Timurid yoke, their unrest played into the hands of the Ak Koyunlu. The once-mighty Timurid Empire succumbed to Ak Koyunlu's hammer blows and surrendered almost all of Western Persia.

But it was their very success was to be the undoing of the Ak Koyunlu. The many nations of the region, including the Ottoman Empire and the Delhi Sultanate, looked on the growth of the Ak Koyunlu with consternation. They had taken too much too fast, and had to be cut down. Virtually every nation with a border on the White Sheep attacked them, not just once but several times. Decades of continuous war gripped the realms of the White Sheep, and yet they resisted defeat, surrendering only a few small territories at the margins of their realm to the Ottoman Empire, and striking vengefully at their other enemies. Armies from Central Asia, India, and Arabia attacked time and again, only to march deep into the realm of the Ak Koyunlu to be annihilated by surprise cavalry raids.

akk1487dv0.gif

Yet this state of affairs could not last forever. As the end of the fifteenth century drew closer, the strategy of tacit toleration for the Shi'ites began to bear bitter fruit. The relaxation of persecution allowed the Shi'ites to look beyond mere survival toward the goal of self-determination; this combined in the case of the Persians with a renewed appeal to the idea of a Persian state. The leaders of this movement were the Safaviyeh order of Sufists, who had been transformed by their leader Sheikh Junayd into a revolutionary Shi'ite movement. They were joined by the vast numbers of disaffected Persian aristocrats, and by peasants exhausted by the decades of war. These forces were joined into one, and the Safaviyeh order led them all toward the goal of a reborn Shi'ite Persia.
 

coz1

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Next to the great Peter E., I've not seen too may Persian AARs in EUII. This should be pretty good. Great start already. Looking forward to more. :)
 

stnylan

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Good start. Interesting to see several WATK AARs at the moment.
 

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Prologue

Excerpted from My Journey Into the East: The Account of Christiaan Sutphen, Ambassador to Persia

I arrived in Delhi in January 1836, after a difficult journey across Nepalese controlled Orissa and Bihar. When the princely states of northern India began to collapse in the seventeenth century, the princes of Kathmandu snatched up their territories, and similarly they profited from the collapse of Tibet to expand all through the Himilayan Mountains. By territorial size they are a close second to their ally the Vijayanagarian Empire, but in strength they are far behind. From Kathmandu they exercise scant control over the Ganges basin, and the territory has poor roads often overrun by thugs and bands of dacoits. Fortunately, the weather was mild and dry, at least for India, and we made reasonably good time.

As we neared Cawnpore, the city that marks the farthest frontier of the Persian Empire, the whole landscape changed. The dirt track on which we travelled became a stone road, with all the vegetation and cover cleared away for a hundred yards on either side. Moreover, we passed caravans of traders moving without escort, as if they feared no bandits. We soon saw the reason; at least twice a day we saw a patrol of fifty men on horseback, wearing white turbans and green uniforms--by their complexion, dress, and carriage these were clearly no Indians. These were my first encounters with Persians.

At that moment I thought little of their appearance as men; I was most shocked by their level of soldiery. A European who has travelled in the east expects little of oriental troops. Some nations have yet, even to this day, to adopt the musket, and very few have gotten to the stage of issuing regular uniforms. The Persians however, seemed to be not only the superior of any Eastern force, but also any European of which I had heard. Like any well read person, I had heard of the crushing Persian triumph over Russia, which had shocked and amazed the courts of Europe--the strongest army in Europe, crushed by an eastern horde? It was unprecedented.

Now, on sight of these cavalrymen, I knew it was no fluke. They put my bodyguards to shame, and it was clear that any body of dacoits would find itself annihilated if it tried to ply its trade on the Persian roads.

\/\/\/\

con't.

When we reached Delhi, it was still a journey of several hours to reach the city center and the offices of the governor. Delhi is today the largest city in the entire world, with over one million inhabitants, and it is perhaps also the most diverse. Its marketplace is the pulsing heart of South Asia's trade, and people of every description cram its streets. It was these crowds that slowed our progress. The sights, the sounds, and the odors that assailed me from every direction were overwhelming, and I retreated into myself and considered only my upcoming meeting with the governor.

As we neared the city center, the crowds thinned out. The palace of the governor and the other buildings of the provincial government stood out in this Indian city, as towering pyramids and elaborate stonework gave way to airy domes, arches, and minarets. Before the governor's palace was an immense open plaza, called the Maidan Abbas II, after the Safavid Shah who conquered Delhi. When I arrived, there was in the center of the plaza a large part of the city garrison marshalled for inspection; perhaps 20,000 men stood in formation there, bayonets shining in the afternoon sun. Such was the scale of the Maidan that these columns of men seemed small in comparison to the space. (I would later learn that every regional capital in Persia had such a plaza, though Delhi's was substantially the largest)

My passage through the city gates had been communicated to the governor, and upon our reaching the Maidan Abbas II my bodyguards were joined by an honor guard of a dozen Persian cavalry. These were not the utilitarian troops who had patrolled the roads, but young noblemen liveried in clothes the like of which I had never seen, all trimmed in gold and jewels. They escorted me to the governor's palace, where I had my audience with the man himself.

I wish that I could say that after the grandeur of the city itself my meeting with the governor was equally exciting, but this would be an untruth. He was a rather small man, though very finely dressed and inhabiting a splendid audience chamber, and he had little to say but the usual platitudes of diplomacy. We spoke in Hindi, as indeed I would speak to them until I had learned Farsi, because that was the only language we had in common. In the end he excused himself for he was very busy. He told me that I would dismiss my sepoy bodyguards to return to their unit and that I would henceforth be escorted by one of his retainers and a body of Persian cavalry.

His retainer, or more accurately his secretary, was named Hashimel Daud, who was not Persian but a Pashtun of Afghanistan. As we left he told me that the governor was indeed very busy. In years past the Shahs had been weak, and it was the governors in the provinces and the advisors at court who truly ruled the empire. Mohammad Shah, however, had rebuilt his royal prerogative, and now the governor was fully occupied with conducting a census of the city. When I voiced my disbelief that a census of such a large city could be conducted, Hashimel told me that it was not only the city itself that the governor had this responsibility over, but the whole of Persian India from the Indus River to the borders with Nepal and Vijayanagar, within which undoubtedly subsisted tens of millions of souls. Despite this, the census would be completed, my guide told me, because Persian government was very good.

I spent the night in my extraordinarily well-appointed chambers dreaming of my meeting with the Shah. The governor of Persian India ruled an area greater in wealth, population, and extent than that of any crowned head of Europe save perhaps the Tsar of Russia, and still he scrambled like a stableboy at the beck and call of the Shah. How vast must Persia be, I thought.

In the morning before we departed, I asked Hashimel for a map of the domains of Persia; here I faithfully reprint it.

westasiasv9.png


He traced with his finger the route we would take to Isfahan, from Delhi through the Punjab, up into the Hindu Kush and his Afghani homeland, thence to the fabled cities of Samarkand and Merv, and finally across the mountains and deserts of eastern Persia until at last we reached the Ali Qapu palace and the court of Mohammad Shah.

My trip out of Delhi was far faster than it had been coming inward. At the sight of my escort of Persian cavalry the sea of people parted, and in only a few minutes of riding we were once again in the open air and heat of northern India. We would cover many miles each day, with the clear weather and good roads, but when we reached the Hindu Kush the mountains would slow our pace.

On that first day of travel I asked many questions of Hashimel. He told me of how Pashtuns and Persians were separate peoples, and the differences between Shi'a and Sunni Islam--colored, I am sure, by the adherence to Shi'ism that he shared with the Pashtun people and the Shah himself--and he snickered all the while at my European ignorance of matters within Persia. To this I could say nothing in my defence; Persia was the most powerful nation in all the world, and still I was the first European in centuries to try to penetrate its mysteries.
 

stnylan

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I do like the travelogue you are providing us with.
 

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Ismail I and the Rebirth of Persia

Ismail I, the founder of the modern Persian state, was born in 1487 in Ardebil, in southern Azerbaijan. Though he would rule as a Persian Shah, the language of his birth was an Azeri dialect of Turkish, and in fact he was a prolific poet in his native tongue.

His father, Haydar Safavi Sultan, had spent his life in war against the Ak Koyunlu Turks, and died when Ismail was only a year old. Ismail followed in his footsteps but bettered him in every respect; at the tender age of fourteen Ismail I walked into the desert and took over leadership of the Kizilbash, the Shi'a order of holy warriors.

He was greatly aided by the hardships and instability of the Ak Koyunlu; at this time, in 1500-1501, the White Sheep were losing a war with the Ottoman Empire, and political problems within the tribal confederation deepened their crisis. While the White Sheep armies were concentrated in eastern Anatolia, Ismail and his Kizilbash struck at Isfahan and Teheran, and the other cities of Persia, and took the defenders by surprise. They were aided in no small part by the peasants and city dwellers, who were in great part Shi'ites themselves and had no love of the White Sheep.

Ismail proclaimed himself Shah of a resurrected Persian Empire in Isfahan in 1501, and the Ak Koyunlu, predictably, swore to destroy him and his new state. They soon found, however, that they lacked the strength to do so. Ismail I himself led the Persian army into Mesopotamia in 1503, annihilating the sparse defenders in several battles. He besieged Baghdad and captured it in a few months, and in 1504 he took Tabriz. So it was that Ismail I marched across the lands of the White Sheep with great ferocity, taking many cities, until finally in 1507 they were forced to recognize the independence of Persia and surrender Tabriz, Baghdad, and Kirkuk to Ismail I.

Ismail was not satisfied by this, however, for he had determined not just to rule a small kingdom centered on Persia, but a Persian Empire, the equal of the Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Timurid Empires of times past. Persia would be a Shi'ite country stretching from Mesopotamia to the Indus River, and no one would stand in the way.

To this end, Ismail entered an alliance with the Sultan of Oman and the Mameluke Caliph of Cairo, both good Shi'ite rulers, and began to expand aggressively in all directions. He first fought a series of wars against the Ak Koyunlu which culminated in the succession of all his claims in Mesopotamia.

overrunningakkge1.gif


At the same time, his armies assaulted the Khanate of the Uzbeks, who were allies of the Ak Koyunlu. Their armies were annihilated and their cities taken by siege, until finally Kochkunju Khan was dragged before Ismail in the ruins of his own capital and forced to swear his loyalty and the loyalty of his heirs to Shi'ism; yet Ismail was merciful as well as strong, and once the Uzbek Khan had made good his conversion, he was spared any further ravage of war and lost no further territory.

Ismail's wroth flowed still farther east, and he fought wars against the remnants of the Timurid Empire and other nations of Central Asia; it was during one of these campaigns in 1524 that Ismail fell ill and perished at the young age of 36. His religious enemies claimed that he had been struck down by God, his followers whispered that he had been assassinated, and his doctors determined that he had simply drunk foul water.

Whatever his fate, Ismail had died a Shah, and a conqueror of the first order. He had remade Persia and brought her to prominence by his own hands in a hundred battles, and he had put her on firm footing for the future. A network of tax collectors operated throughout the realm, and the governing of the provinces, always a problem for Persia, had been put in the control of a strong centralized government based in Isfahan. So, too, had Ismail I secured religious concord within Persia, by making the full toleration of Sunnis the law of the land, and enforcing his laws with an even hand.

His successor, Tahmasp I, continued his policies, both domestic and expansionist, to victories of less striking proportions but similar success. Sindh, at the mouth of the Indus River, was converted to Shi'ism, while the so-called "Mughal Empire" under Humayun Khan was decisively beaten and made to surrender a large part of Afghanistan.

persia1543ww9.gif


By 1543, Persia was master of a considerable part of Asia, and could be opposed in the Middle East only by the Ottoman Empire.
 

fj44

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Very nice work there. In my games, Persia rarely crops up as a major power.
 

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Looking Great!

*Subscribes*
 

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Persia's looking very strong already, and I'm enjoying the other story too.
 

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:eek: damn persia gets big... im enjoying this so far, waiting to see how you get from point a to point b
 

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The only question is will Persia be content with just its natural sphere, or will it attempt to expand into Asia Minor, Central Asia, or India? Or any combination thereof?
 

EvilSanta

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Dec 18, 2004
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Excellent progress for Persians. Very well written story. This is definately AAR worth keeping eye on.
 

unmerged(15751)

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Prologue

Excerpted from My Journey Into the East: The Account of Christiaan Sutphen, Ambassador to Persia

For several days after we left the gates of Delhi the traffic remained heavy. A stream of people flowed uninterrupted in either direction, and represented among them was every race of man that lived in the Subcontinent. It seemed as if the whole population of India marched along the same road as us. We skirted around the northern edge of the Thar, the great desert of northern India, following the Shah's road through the Punjab to the city of Lahore. This city, too, bustled with trade, but it seemed to have a more hurried character. The merchants were always on the move, bound either for Delhi or boarding one of the many ships that clogged the River Ravi on whose banks Lahore is built.

Lahore and her sister city near the mouth of the Indus, Karachi, are the vital stopping points in Persia's India trade. Ships sail from Basrah to Karachi, and then enter the Indus to travel as far north as Lahore, before they are moved onto caravans for the trip overland to Delhi or Samarqand, as the case may be. From Lahore, now, we followed the Samarqand route through Peshawar and the Khyber Pass, taking in reverse the same path that so many armies had trod. From the legendary entrance of the Vedic peoples over 3000 years ago, to the arrival of Persian armies in the 17th century, the Khyber has been the traditional path of invaders into the Subcontinent; was it coincidence that the composers of the Vedic texts were called by the same name that Persians give to themselves--Aryan?

As the days passed, the flat and fertile plain of the Punjab gave way to the rocky soil and highlands that lay at the feet of the Hindu Kush. On horseback in this terrain, we easily outpaced all the camels, draught horses, and carts of the merchants. We passed quickly through Peshawar and into the Khyber Pass. I could not feel the sting of ancient combat, nor hear the whispered cries of soldiers across the distance of centuries. Though my horse's hooves fell on unmarked graves, the Khyber seemed now to be as innocuous as any Alpine pass of peaceful Europe. Even as I considered this, we trotted past a cart loaded high with colorful lengths of cotton cloth; dresses in the style of the Indian sari.

Hashimel perhaps noticed my attitude, he rode closer to me with a familiar smile, one which I had already learned to recognize and resent as a silent mockery of his pale, red-haired, and ridiculously dressed charge.

"You wish to hear of battles, Christiaan?" Hashimel asked. I could tell that he took pleasure in using my given name, because it referred not only to me but also to my religion. It was a novelty for my escorts, who lived in an empire where only one province--Shirvan and its city of Derbent, not so long ago seized from the Tsar of Russia--boasted a majority population of Christians.

"Perhaps," I replied guardedly. I did want him to tell me, but I hesitated to again suffer his smug grin and schoolteacher's bearing.

He pointed off of the road, at a hill a few hundred yards distant.

"There," he said, "stood ten thousand Pashtun warriors. A hundred years ago my people, and the other people of these mountains, fought for Afghanistan against the decay of the Safavid dynasty, and they were right but also wrong. The Safavids were weak but Persia was strong. Nadir Shah made himself ruler and came to Afghanistan; he broke the power of the rebels and here at this battle slew eight men of every ten. Among the two thousand survivors was my great grandfather."

I said that I had read of Nadir Shah--the Englishman William Jones's translation of a Persian biography.

Hashimel replied, "So you see, then, how it was almost an honor to be beaten by such a man as Nadir Shah."

I asked if the Afghans would rise up against Persia again. He smiled.

"We are Afghans, the question of what we will do in the future is the same as to ask what path the wind will take. God knows," my guide explained. "But as for me and my clan, and as for today, we stand with Persia. In Persia men are free as they have never been before."

I asked him to explain what he meant by 'free.'

He said, "This is a difficult question. Afghan people, and our cousins who live in the steppes to the north of us, have always been independent. We go where our feet take us, and do what pleases us." He waved his hand to indicate the tall mountains on either side of the pass. "In such a country, how could it be otherwise? And the same on the steppes, where there is neither hill nor tree within the sweep of the horizon. Authority does not loom tall in such lands. After the rebellion here, Nadir Shah said, 'We must respect the rights of the people and leave them be.' This was a great wisdom.

"In Russia I have heard that the greatest part of the people, the ones who live on the land, are reckoned a part of the land and are owned like unto property, to be bought and sold. They cannot leave the land and must remain slaves to their lord; this is a sin, I could not live such a life. And in India--I have seen with my own eyes--the Hindus say that there are five kinds of people, the Brahmin who are higher than the Kshatriya, who are higher than the Vaisya, who are higher than the Sudra, and the untouchables are below all, and no man may become anything other than what he was born. This is also a sin, to put people into set orders. In Persia a man can become what he makes of himself. If he lives on the land he can go to the city to make his fortune, as I have done," he finished.

I asked, if this was so, why did Persia still have a hereditary aristocracy.

Hashimel gestured dismissively. "The Persian noblemen, like my own governor, run the Empire and dominate the court, but this does not mean that the people do not have rights.* "the governor's highest advisor is dalit, an untouchable. He is not the governor and because he was not born to a Persian family of the right rank, he could not become so, but he is not without his influence. In your own country, could a man rise from the lowest station of society to become advisor to a king?"

I admitted that he could not, and the conversation ended. A bit later I grew tired of the crowds of merchants and let my gaze wander to the distant mountain peaks. The Shah's Road was packed with humanity, but beyond it the landscape was empty. I asked Hashimel if we could leave the road and see the part of Afghanistan that lay off the main road, in other words, the true Afghanistan.

He approved, and suggested that we leave the main road after Kabul, and travel south to Ghazni, where he had been born.

"There," he said, "I know a man who could make for you proper clothing."

I tentatively agreed, though only on the condition that I would not wear a heathen turban, instead keeping my tricorn hat. Hashimel laughed and told me that if I would refuse the turban, then I would wear a fez, preferably made from qaraqul wool in the Afghan style. My European hat was ridiculous enough in the company of my European wardrobe, it would become doubly so worn atop the costume of a Persian grandee. I could not go before the Shah wearing such a travesty.

To this I said nothing. I truth, I feared to commit the sin that so many men in Dutch India spoke of, and "go native". If I kept my hat, I would have at least one element of western dress on which to keep hold of myself.

.

*DP settings for 1820 were ARIS=8 and SERF=1